Hot on the heels of Balance of Power and Grand Alliance: Chaos, GW have released a new tome for Age of Sigmar – Grand Alliance: Death. So, should you be picking this one up?
The first thing you will notice is that it is quite small and, in fact, rivals Battletome: Chaos Dreadholds for smallness – just 88 pages. The second thing you will spot is the amount of money you handed over for it – just £10, a lot less than Dreadholds.
It is also a softback, in the same fashion as Grand Alliance: Chaos and given this, and the price point, three possibilities come to my mind.
- GW are intending to replace these books every few years to incorporate new models and Warscrolls, so they are being made cheaply and sold cheaply so no one has to worry about re-purchasing a £30 Codex. You are not going to complain too much if GW ‘make’ you spend £10 or so every couple of years.
- GW are looking for a cheap entry point through which people can buy Age of Sigmar books, in the same way as there are high price point new miniatures and low price point re-boxings.
- Age of Sigmar books are not selling particularly well and so GW are trying to support their new game as cheaply as possible.
A lot of cynics will latch on to Number Three, but we should remember that these books will have been planned a long time ago (before Age of Sigmar was first released, I would guess) and the campaign books and Battletomes are still hardback. For my part, I would lean towards Number Two.
The proof will come if either the campaign books or Battletomes go softback or a Grand Alliance book gets revised.
Remember, it really is okay to withhold judgement until you know more!
Like Grand Alliance: Chaos, this book features three core items.
This is the meat of the book, and the reason you would buy it.
In this book you will find all the Warscrolls needed for all current Death models.
A lot has been made of what has been removed, most notably the Tomb Kings. There has been a little outcry over this on various forums but I think the writing was always on the wall for these guys. If the Fantasy range was going to get re-organised, it would never make sense to keep two plastic sets of Skeleton Warriors and, once you have made the decision to lose them, the rest of the Tomb Kings were always going to follow quickly.
I must admit, I was a little surprised that some of the larger Tomb Kings plastics went as well, but if you have a large Tomb Kings force already, remember those Warscrolls that GW published for free are never going to disappear from your hard drive. This is one of the cool things about Age of Sigmar – you will never have to worry about an army being invalidated (or Squatted) even if the models are withdrawn from sale. Your Tomb Kings can carry on marching for years to come!
Anyway, the Warscrolls are organised into factions based on the keywords used in the free-to-download Undead PDF, such as Deathmages, Deadwalkers and Nighthaunt. Like Grand Alliance: Chaos, some of these are intended to be ‘stand alone’ forces (such as the Deathrattle, Skeletons and related models led by a Wight King), while others are intended to be mixed and matched with others – the Necromancers within the Deathmage faction being a good example.
Oh, and any of the ‘silly/fun’ rules that were in the Undead PDF before? Gone now. You won’t care whether it is dark or not outside, Mannfred still gets his special rules.
There is just one Battalion Warscroll in the book, for the Deathrattle guys – the Legion of Death. Yes, they could easily have included more, but I think they were probably working to a page count, and I am sure there will be plenty of Death-based Battalions to come (such as in the recently released Balance of Power).
If you are into the heart of the background and storyline for Age of Sigmar, this is the real reason you pick up the books… and you are not going to find a great deal in this one.
Instead of hard information that will flesh out the Death factions in the storyline, what you get in this book is a more general overview of each faction. This, I think, will serve to prepare you for the Death factions to enter the ongoing storyline properly (I think we all know they are about to arrive in a big way!). So, you will now know how a Flesh-eater Court is arranged and how the Soulblight Vampires rule their minions.
3. Specific Forces
There are a few forces showcased in this book, demonstrating how the factions go to war and how they can work together. There does not appear to be anything linked to the main storyline (though GW may well reference them at a later date, as they did with the Fyreslayers), it seems to be more a kick start to your own imagination to get you thinking about how to portray your own dead people in Age of Sigmar.
Still, always a good excuse for pictures of pretty miniatures and, if you are like me, it may get you thinking about colour schemes.
It would be easy to criticise this book for lacking the Tomb Kings, or Kemmler, or more Battalions… but that is really not the point of it.
It comes down to this, really:
If you prefer your Warscrolls to be collated in a single book, this is going to cost you just £10, which is way less than just about anything else you will get from GW. So get it. You won’t be sorry.
If you are happy with your printed Warscrolls (and all the Death units have had their Warscrolls updated for free download on GW’s web site), you won’t need this book. If you use the AoS app, you won’t need it.
It really is that simple!