Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Stormcast Eternal Battletome Review

Hi all. 


We have been fortunate enough to have been sent a copy of the new Stormcast Eternals battletome, and I wanted to share a quick review with you all. I will be going over some stuff that have already been released in previous battletomes, however I will do so briefly.




 


Background 


As we know, Stormcast were people who were hand picked by Sigmar, often moments before death in the Age of Chaos. These people were then infused with the power of Sigmar and then unleashed into the Mortal Realms to fight back Chaos. Whenever a Stormcast dies, his soul is taken back to Azyr on a bolt of lighting, and then reforged. The Stormcast that comes back however, has often lost a little bit of his humanity. These happens more and more each time they die. A very few Stormcast seem unaffected however. 


The Stormcasts first objective, was to try and claim some of the Realmgates. This is now known as the Realmgate Wars. Durning this war, the Stormcasts were able to reform an alliance with Alarielle and her Sylvaneth, and fought back the forces of Nurgle in the Jade Kingdoms in Ghyran. They were even able to reclaim Ghal Maraz, Sigmars warhammer that he was tricked into loosing at the Battle of Burning Skys, by storming the Eldritch Fortress in Chamon. 


The conclusion of the Realmgate Wars happened when the Stormcast attempted to reclaim the Allpoints - a nexus of Realmgate that allowed passage to all realms - from the armies of the Everchosen, Archaon. Although the Stormcast were not entirely successful, they were able to recover 2 vital gates. These were the Genesis Gate in Ghyran and the Brimfire Gate in Aqshy. During this time, 2 other dark forces began to stir, the greenskin tribes and the Legions of Nagash. 


The Stormcast had reclaimed much of Aqshy and Gyrann, and small pockets in the other realms, and have been able to establish new outposts and cities which most still stand proud today. 





Now we get into some of the new fluff. As I mentioned before, the reforging of the Stormcast was not perfect procedure as it often lead to the hosts loosing a little of theirselves. As a result of this, and the fact that Sigmar is not able to oversea every reforging, Sigmar created a legion of Stormcast specifically to guard the souls of those who would reforged. The duty was to watch over each and every reforging process from start to finish, and to see to the unfortunate souls who did not fare well enough during the process to rejoin their Stormhosts in battle. This legion are known as the Sacrosanct Chamber, and are the Stormcast force included in the new Soul Wars boxset. The individuals in the chamber were once the most powerful wizards and priests from across the Mortal Realms.





The Sacrosanct Chambers task was indeed a laborious one, as not even Sigmar could not foresee the heights of slaughter that would be reached. The souls that were too damaged to be remade, as well as the ones that were able to escape the soul forges, were bound into statues that lined the Avenue of Saints. Some people even claim they can hear screams coming from within the statues, which could mean they are acting more as prisons than a haven. No one has voiced this however as Sigmar does not suffer the inquisitive gladly, and as a god, cannot be judged by mortals. 





While Sigmar was waging his war with Chaos, Nagash was plotting his revenge against Sigmar as he saw him as a thief, stealing souls that were his by right. Nagash expanded his domain by overthrowing the lesser deities of a hundred different underworlds, swelling his forces so much that Chaos was not able to hold back the flow of undead in Shyish. This was however just a feint to hide what Nagash‘ plans really were. 


Nagash ordered Shyishan realmstone to be brought to his lair at Nagashizzar and also for huge black monoliths and pyramids. With these, Nagash was able to invert the magical polarity, causing magic to be drawn to the heart of the realm. As a result of this, a wave of Undeath cascades across the aether into the other realms, which In turn caused millions of Nighthaunt to materialise. In one devastating act, Nagash became a force so powerful, that he had a claim on all of the Mortal Realms.


Sigmar had suspected that Nagash would not be contempt with the rise of Order, so in secret, he created a force designed to counter Death. This was also the Sacrosanct Chamber. So, following the Necroquake, Sigmar sent this chapter to hold back the hosts of Nighthaunts that roamed across the realms. However, since these were no longer about to oversee the reforging process, this meant that there was a huge increase in the chance that reforged souls would go back to battle carry scars, both physical and mental. Therefore, the Sacrosanct Chamber also has a secondary objective, and that was to find a solution to the flaw in the reforging process. 


The Battletome then goes on to explain a bit about how the Stormcast go about building their strongholds with the help of the Dispossessed which is pretty cool. Not only do these act as defensive positions, but the Lord-Ordinators have created metaphysical links between the Stormkeeps and the underspires of the Sigmarabulum known as Star Bridges. This helps Stormcasts who have been slain near the Stormkeeps, to be swiftly transported back to Azyr to be reforged much quicker. 


Next up we have the timeline, which is mostly the information we already know, however, there are a couple of new bits added. One of standouts for me is the Resurrection Crusade. This is the name given to the Sacrosant Chamber trying to reclaim land in Shyish lost during the necroquake. I would not be surprised if this campaign will feature in a series of novels by Black Library, or even new campaign books.


The Battletome then goes into great detail as to the structure of the Stormhosts, which is well worth a read. There is also mention of new Chambers which are not currently in use. These are called the Unopened Chambers. Could this mean that there are more Chamber releases on the horizon? 


There is a huge amount of information about different Stormhosts, each units and a few hero’s. Most of this has been included in previous Battletomes, but there are still well worth a read. 


There is also the usual painting guides. 






Rules


Now we finally get to the actual rules. 


First up is the command traits called Aspects of Azyr. There are quite a few good ones to chose from, my pick however is Shielded by Faith. This grants a 5+ invulnerable save to mortal wounds. 





Next up is the Artefacts of Power.  There is an incredible 30 to choose from. Some of which any hero can take, other are specifics to certain leaders. Looking at the ones that only the new Sacrosanct leaders can take, I really like the Scroll of Condemnation. This lets you add 1 to wound rolls for attacks made against an enemy hero. This would be great if you use this artefact in an enemy hero, then have your best ranged unit fire everything they have at the hero. 


With the introduction of the Sacrosanct Chamber, of course we would have done new spell available. Most of these involve inflicting mortal wounds on your opponent, I partially like Azyrite Halo. With this spell, you pick a Stormcast unit within 12”. Any save roll of 6 made, inflicts a mortal wound on the attacker. This could be a good spell to cast on a unit on an objective, making your opponent think twice before attacking them. 





Priests are also able to select certain prayers to do. I like Translocation. This slows you to move a unit to anywhere on the battlefield more than 9” from an enemy model. 





There is a load of Mount Traits to pick from depending on what mounts your hero is riding. 3 for each to be precise.





On to the Battleplans. There are 2 in this book, and both of these are the Stormcast trying to prevent their opponents from escaping the battlefield. 




There is of course the normal Path to Glory section. 





There are Warscroll Battalions for each of the chambers, so of course i has a look at the new Sacrosanct Chamber. The only ability that this battalion gives, is that the Lord Arcanum can cast 1 additional spell. However, with the focus magic in the new edition, I’m sure this will be useful. 





The remainder of the Warscrolls are available to download for free on the Age of Sigmar App


All in all, I do really like this release. There is so much background and lore included, that it really helps to flesh out the Stormcasts and I am very excited to see how the new chamber will do in battle


Let me know what you think in the comments down below


Take care :-) 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Top Black Library Staff Picks

Hi all


There was a great little post put up on the Warhammer Community today about some of the staffs top picks for Black Library releases. Be carful as there are some slight spoilers





It may surprise you to learn that the Warhammer Community team are keen hobbyists (we know, who’d have guessed?), and part of that is that we all love Black Library fiction. Indeed, it’s a rare day that the office doesn’t ring out with “I just finished reading…” followed by an enthusiastic chat about the latest and greatest novels, short stories and audio dramas. So we rounded up a few of the team to talk about what they’ve been reading recently.

 




‘We shall see,’ the witch hunter said. ’Bind the aelf’s hands,” he barked to Callis. ‘She comes with us. I have more questions for her.’


The aelf raised her chin. ‘My name is Shev Arclis, and it would do you well to use it.’


Following their debut in City of Secrets, unlikely duo Armand Callis and Hanniver Toll are back in their second novel. Callis and Toll are, as ever, a compelling pair, but it’s the vivid cast of characters they’re joined by that make this book such an enjoyable read.





The novel opens with Shev Arclis – aelf, historian and treasure hunter – navigating an expedition through the jungles of the Taloncoast and into remarkably dangerous territory. Joining her are a ragtag group of sellswords and mercenaries, all under the leadership of the mysterious and sinister character known as The Golden Lord. Together, they are searching for the ancient ruined city of Quatzhymos and the treasures buried there.


The party’s quarry is the resting place of the scholar Occlesius the Realms-Walker; a renowned traveller and explorer from centuries past, who lived in the city before its fall. Shev is hoping to uncover his manuscripts, but soon she realises The Golden Lord is on the search for something else – the fabled Silver Shard, a powerful artefact hewn before the time of Sigmar and possessing great and terrible power… When Shev stands in his way, their alliance is broken, and she finds herself on the wrong side of a very powerful enemy.


After narrowly escaping the clutches of the Golden Lord, Shev ends up with Callis and Toll, first as a captive and later as an ally. Callis and Toll are, as always, a brilliant double act with the kind of odd-couple chemistry usually reserved for buddy movies and cop shows. Hanniver Toll, a grizzled and cynical witch hunter in the Order of Azyr, is the perfect counterbalance to the uptight and grounded soldier Armand Callis – not only do they work seamlessly together on the battlefield, they trade plenty of hilarious barbs that really keep the book moving. Toll’s motivations for hunting down the Golden Lord are revealed to be personal, and fascinating glimpses into his past in Excelsis are revealed.


With the help of charismatic aleven shipmaster Arika Zenthe, Shev, Callis and Toll join forces to try and stop The Golden Lord from reaching the Silver Shard. Along the way, they try to gain more information about their foe. Who is he and, more importantly, what he’s become. And what horror is his golden mask really hiding? A long and treacherous journey ensues to the Fatescar mountains at the very peninsula of the Taloncoast, to a land once ruled by mages where it is rumored that many have ventured, but none have returned…


Following this perilous journey was incredibly exciting, with a captivating denouement that made me eager to turn every page. Shev was a particular joy to follow – a scrappy and sarcastic protagonist who I felt as though I was fighting alongside. I am hopeful that she, as well as Callis and Toll, will return to the page soon.


Callis and Toll: The Silver Shard is available to pre-order now.





A compelling sci-fi saga about women working in tech, who solve complex data puzzles together and ruminate over the vulnerability of abused robots. Read it if you want to explore hidden depths of the Omnissiah and have been known to philosophise over the emotional welfare of Kaban Machines.








The Emperor’s Legion is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in the current timeline of Warhammer 40,000. The Adeptus Custodes provide a perfect, detached perspective from which to observe the changing Imperium and pivotal events like the return of the primarch. I loved every minute they were on the page, especially the surprise return of a character from the equally enjoyable Vaults of Terra novel.







City of Secrets takes a different perspective on the war against Chaos – how would you fare if you were just an average human in the Mortal Realms, rather than a seven-foot tall crusader made from storms and vengeance? It was a real treat to discover what life is like at ground level in the Mortal Realms – there are still plenty of mysteries, monsters, and magic, but also more tangible, human struggles too. If you’re looking for a grittier take on the Mortal Realms that takes a closer look at the dark underside of Sigmar’s cities, I’d highly recommend it.







Hammerhal is a great introduction to fiction from the Mortal Realms. Before reading, I’d always felt a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of narrative available for all the races and the cities from the worlds and history of Warhammer. Hammerhal does an excellent job of introducing you to a whole host of unique characters, with the right amount of details to hint at a vast backstory, from the shaky alliance between the gods to the regular happenings within the cities, not to mention the dark and twisted machinations of Chaos.

 






At first glance, Spear of Shadows looks like it’s going to be an adventure-packed romp through the Mortal Realms in search of a weapon of unsurpassable power. Which it totally is, but it’s also so much more. We get to see the very human side of warfare in the realms, as well as the dangers and privations met by travellers, traders and those on missions from the gods. If you want to read a book about a quest to find a fell weapon while exploring the rich variety that only the Mortal Realms can offer, this is the book for you!





Thanks to Lex, Carla, Eddie, Rhuairidh, Maddy and Chris for their contributions. If their words have whetted your appetite to read one of these books, they can all be downloaded now from Black Library, iBooks and the Kindle store. We’d also love to know what you’ve been reading recently – why not head to our Facebook page and tell us?


I loved reading this post as it really made some of the staff relatable, and clearly shows they are fans in what they do, which is always a nice thing to know.


Take care :-)

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Introduction to Jaine Fenn

Hi all


There was a great post on the Warhammer Community today introducing Black Library’s newest author, Jaine Fenn.


Jaine Fenn’s name may be familiar to some of you. She’s a highly respected award-winning science fiction author, and we are delighted to announce that she’s turned her hand to fantasy with last week’s Warhammer Age of Sigmar Digital Monday story, From the Deep, which gives the War of Life a whole new dimension and introduces some fascinating concepts to the Mortal Realms. We asked Jaine to tell us about herself and the story, and here’s what she had to say.


Jaine: I’ve got a couple of confessions. Firstly I’m more of a role-player than a wargamer. I knew of Warhammer, but never played miniatures wargames, although my husband did have an Orc (now orruk) army to worry us with when he was running one particularly lengthy campaign.


With the friends I met at college, we played every role-playing game imaginable – I even did a conversational analysis of a tabletop RPG as part of my Linguistics degree. And we kept on playing. I ran a semi-weekly campaign for over a decade, writing loads of additional source material and scenarios – including LARPS.





Photo by James Cooke



We still play tabletop RPGs on occasion, even that original Orc-beset campaign, although now it’s changed beyond all recognition, and I may have, ahem, “misplaced” the orc army during a house move.


Second confession: I found Warhammer a bit daunting. The universe – or rather, universes – are so big, and full, and rich and… oh wait, there’s a new universe over here, barely explored. And I’ve been given a chance to play in it! Yippee!


My first story for Black Library is set in the Age of Sigmar universe. To ease my way in I’ve taken an established tale – the flight of the Everqueen across the Sea of Serpents – and put a new twist on it. From the Deep is the story of the epic and desperate battle on the ice, but told from the perspective of those who live below the sea. I had plenty of scope to come up with new, fun stuff while tying back to an established story. And it’s really whetted my appetite for getting to know the quirky, alien denizens of the Realm of Life…






If you want to dive into Jaine’s story, you can do so now – it’s available to download from the Black Library website, iBooks and the Amazon Kindle store.


I have not had a chance to read From the Deep just yet, but anyone who is into RPGs is alright with me. I do look forward to seeing what future Black Library released Jaine will be writing for both fantasy and Science fiction


Take care :-) 

Combos available in Shadespire

Hi all


Posted on the Warhammer Community today, is 5 fun combos you will be able to use in Shadespire 





The new Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – Leaders card set is available to pre-order now, and we’ve been going over the new cards in the office and putting together cunning combos (or kunnin’ kombos, for the orruk players among us) using the new cards. We wanted to share some with you – so here are our top 5 combos using just the cards from the new expansion.





Who Can Use It: Any warband


Turn your leader and one of his allies into a nigh-invulnerable duo with this pair of upgrades which makes either of them count as two supporting fighters when supporting the other – add in some weapon upgrades and you’ll have a truly fearsome fighting team… as long as they stay together. (If you have Linchpin among your objectives, it can also be good for a glory point if your paired fighters are in the thick of the action.)





Who Can Use It: Any warband


Undefeated is a great objective for any warband that relies on keeping its leader around, allowing you to grab an extra glory point at the end of the third phase if your leader is still on the battlefield – but to make it even more likely they’ll still be alive and kicking (or stabbing, or bludgeoning), you might want to include Look Out! among your ploys – sure, it’ll mean one of your other fighters takes a lot of damage, but your leader will be safe. And if you’re playing with the Sepulchral Guard or Spiteclaw’s Swarm, you can probably bring that fighter right back anyway.





Who Can Use It: Magore’s Fiends






An obvious one, this, but it’s so much fun to try, and forces the Magore’s Fiends player to play very much in the spirit of a Khorne warband, putting their Blood Warriors (and Riptooth, of course) in harm’s way with the intention of getting them killed, while Magore takes down the enemy’s hardest hitters and is the last man standing – for a massive 9 (yes, 9!) glory points. Add in Gory Visage to make Magore more survivable, or if you want some risk for your reward, the Cursed Shield might be fun





Who Can Use It: Garrek’s Reavers






Like to get Garrek in fast and furious and take the enemy leader down before he can make an impact on the game? The new objective Neutralise rewards that with two glory points (plus the one for the kill) – and when Garrek takes that skull (and if it’s the Sepulchral Warden’s, he won’t even have to clean all that messy flesh off it), you can play Coveted Trophy for a sneaky extra point. If you’re able to upgrade Garrek before he goes in for the kill, then Apex Predator works well for yet another glory point, taking your total to a sweet five for one kill.





Who Can Use It: Spiteclaw’s Swarm





Sometimes your leader’s gonna die – it’s just a fact of life, especially among skaven. Fortunately, Krrk the Almost Trusted always has plans in place for when his “master” succumbs to enemy blades (or one of Krrk’s schemes). And you can get an easy two glory points just for letting Spiteclaw get taken down – one immediately with Treacherous Second, and the other in an end phase – as long as Krrk survives long enough to claim it. Spend a glory on Rising to the Challenge to give Krrk an extra Wound and attack dice, and he’ll be sure to come out on top.





These are just the tip of the iceberg regarding what you can do with the new cards – when you start looking at combos with all the existing ploys, upgrades and objectives, the possibilities are endless. We can’t wait to see what you all come up with – if you have any particularly nasty combos in mind, let us know on Facebook, so we can try them ourselves. You can pre-order the Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire – Leaders card set now – check it out!


Some of these combos really do sound interesting, especially the one for Garrek’s Reavers


Let me know if anyone have used any of these in a game, and also how it went. Also, I’d be interested in any other combos you have found that work. 


Take care :-) 

Monday, 9 July 2018

Heroes Old and New

Hi all


Next week, we are getting some rereleased heroes and also some new ones


Next week, heroes old and new come to the fore, with a raft of new releases for the Mortal Realms and another exciting wave of Made to Order – a selection of classic heroes from the world-that-was.

The wave of new models for Warhammer Age of Sigmar continues with a range of push fit kits. For the Nighthaunt, you’ll be able to get your hands on the sinister Dreadblade Harrows and Reikenor the Grimhailer – a sinister, scythe-swinging sorcerer who excels equally at blasting foes to dust with bolts of magic or cutting them down in melee. Meanwhile, for the Stormcast Eternals, you’ll be able to pick up named champion Astreia Solbright – a Dracoline-riding Lord-Arcanum with powerful magic abilities – and the Celestar Ballista – a War Machine that’s great for Stormcast Eternals or as an ally in another Order force.










Also available will be Kurdoss Valentian – the Craven King. This sinister figure is an embittered Nighthaunt spirit with a particular hatred for enemy Heroes – on the tabletop, he’s able to steal command points and smash apart his lessers with his mace. Kurdoss is an ideal commander for your Nighthaunt army and a great companion for Lady Olynder – or just a nifty ally for your Legions of Nagash army.





For the Stormcast Eternals, you’ll be able to get your hands on the multipart Evocators. This set is packed with options for personalising and customising these invaluable Stormcast Eternals battlemages and even allows you to build a Knight-Incantor (you can never have too many Voidstorm Scrolls).





Getting started with Warhammer Age of Sigmar is about to get even easier, too, thanks to a new, specially designed range of kits for beginners, from paint sets to boxes like Tempest of Souls and Storm Strike that teach you how to play. You can learn more about these in our full preview.

















You’ll also be able to get all the models from the original Warhammer Age of Sigmar starter set in two new Start Collecting! sets – each of these is a great way to kick off your army or reinforce an existing one.







Finally, next week sees another wave of Made to Order – champions of yesteryear and fan favourite models from the world-that-was to add to your collections again for a short time, alongside some new Warhammer Legends rules for using them in your open and narrative games.









From legendary Orc Warboss Gorbad Ironclaw to iconic Tomb King Settra the Imperishable, this is your opportunity to pick up a piece of Warhammer history. Maybe you knew these characters from Warhammer Fantasy Battle, or perhaps you’ve been playing Total War: Warhammer or reading the Warhammer Chronicles and are looking to commemorate one of your favourite generals.









These guys will be available to order next week, starting on Saturday. From there, you’ll have 7 days to request yours, before they disappear once more into the mists of time – so don’t miss your chance!


I especially like the new starter kits. Making it even easier for people new to the hobby to get started. 


Let me know what you think in the comments down below


Take care :-)