Getting Cold in Here…

With the Bonesplitterz done and dusted, the Christmas Project could move onto a brand new army – enter the Beastclaw Raiders!

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Not planning a massive force of these guys – but then, everything is relative, isn’t it (there is a truly frightening number of Stonehorns and Thundertusks sitting on my painting table right now.

Anyway, this is the first little group, and a fairly convincing show of force it is too.

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To get all the colours set, I did Beastriders on a Thundertusk to begin with, as this is the model Duncan goes through step-by-step on Warhammer TV, and I intended to follow his colour scheme pretty much to the letter.

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When you start off, it looks like a fairly complicated model, and Duncan encourages you to do lots of things I normally go a very long way to avoid, such as thinning with Lahmia Medium, but I persevered, and I don’t think it has come out too badly!

The scheme is not particularly time-consuming, and I would recommend it.

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The Mournfangs (of which this clan has eight total) were done in exactly the same way as the Thundertusk, just scaled down a bit.

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Frost Sabres are easy to do, and I went with a white scheme to lock them into the rest of the army. The Hunter I was fairly dreading, as he has a lot of detail on him with different furs, bones, and trophies.

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However, he turned out to be fairly easy. The trick was in doing the fluffy fur first, in the same way as the the Beastclaws (Rakarth base, Agrax wash, and then drybrush Wrack White). This left a very nice colourng on the flat hide, which meant I could just pick out the thicker hide – and that meant 90% of the model was done!

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The last of this little group was formed from a family of Yhetees. I avoided the ‘dirty’ scheme that Games Workshop has on these guys and instead used the same colouring as the Thundertusk once more.

Makes them look a lot ‘colder’ I think!

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Bonesplitterz Complete!

The Christmas Project is well under way (a little behind schedule, but we’ll gloss over that for now – still another week to catch up), but there is one bit of good news – the Bonesplitterz are ‘finished’.

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This little group represents the last of the units I had originally envisaged to do for the tribe. Granted, there is lots more I could add (more Arrow Boyz for a start, if I were playing competitively – which I have no intention of doing so with the Bonesplitterz, at least for the foreseeable future), but I now have enough for all the campaign battles planned for them.

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Two units of Maniak Boarboyz were done first, making for a total of thirty piggies across the tribe. Curiously, these were perhaps the easiest and quickest models to do in the entire army – while the pigs are an obvious addition, they are really simple to do (the fur is just a Mournfang Brown base with Tyrant Skull drybrush, topped with Agrax Earthshade, then you just have to do their faces and tusks), and the riders themselves have less detail in the way of leather, straps and bone. You could punch out a great many of these over an industrious weekend…

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Joining the piggie riders are the Maniak Weirdnobs. A little less happy with these, as all four are in the same pose, though they have a little less detail (complications) on them than you may think. Still, grateful that I won’t have to do any more of these…

More infantry appeared in the form of a unit of Morboys.

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While my first unit of Savage Orruks were a noticeably slow affair (planning your approach to the order in which you do the straps, hide and bone is key), once you have a rhythm down Bonesplitterz are super fast to get through, and I did these Morboyz alongside other units.

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Arrowboyz have a certain reputation in Bonesplitterz forces, but I kept things groovy by just having a single unit of 20. If I ever look ‘seriously’ at Bonesplitterz (for tournament or campaign use), then this is the first unit to get bumped up to 30 but, for now, they will serve well.

And that is it for the Bonesplitterz! 80 infantry, 30 piggies, and a smattering of characters.

Next up, the Beastclaw Raiders!

 

Battle Report – Over the Abyss

As we continue our tour of the Mortal Realms, we descend to the Realm of Fire where the forces of Khorne are holding an important bridge against repeated attacks from the Stormcasts, using one of the ‘historic’ Battleplans from the General’s Handbook. This time, however, Sigmar is not mucking around – he wants that bridge…

 

The Story So Far

The Emberport Realmgate in Aqshy could only be reached by crossing the Black Chasm Bridge, held by Daemons of Khorne who used the Realmgate to dominate the surrounding rich area of the Sunderflats.

After the capture of the Brimstone Peninsula and the Godbeasts War, Sigmar directed his Stormcasts to take the bridge and the Realmgate that lay at its end.

Eleven times Sigmar sent chamber after chamber to capture the bridge, and eleven times they failed, for the bridge was guarded by the Helfire Legion, its gatekeeper Khaaraks, a Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury.

When Sigmar’s lightning struck the bridge for a twelfth time, no warrior chamber emerged, but the Celestant-Prime and a single retinue of Prosecutors. This seemed a derisory force to send against the Helfire Legion and Khaaraks fumed against the perceived insult. As the Celestant-Prime dived downwards, the Bloodthirster was determined to avenge his martial pride upon this affront.

 

The Forces

Though this battle takes place on a (relatively) narrow bridge, the forces of Khorne have mustered a veritable horde of daemons. The Stormcasts have rather… less in their force.

Daemons of Khorne
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury (Khaaraks)
Bloodmasters x 2
Skullmaster
Blood Thrones x 2
Bloodcrushers x 3
Bloodletters x 80 (eight units of 10)
Flesh Hounds x 5

The Daemons of Khorne have the full spread of units available to them, but they have been battered by fighting in the past and can only field minimum size units. However, this should be enough to overwhelm the Stormcasts, so long as they can bring their forces to bear.

Stormcast Eternals
Celestant-Prime
Prosecutors x 5
Retributors x 10 (two units of 5)

The Stormcasts are dreadfully outnumbered, but they have a few things in their favour. First, Ghal Maraz starts the battle pre-charged. Second, the Daemons of Khorne will be coming onto the bridge piecemeal, allowing the Stormcasts to tackle them a little at a time. Finally, they are using the Hammerstrike Force Battalion, allowing the Prosecutors to bring the Retributors into battle exactly where they are needed.

 

The Battleplan

The Stormcasts start with the Celestant-Prime and Prosecutors on one end of the bridge, with the Retributors ready to deploy via the Hammerstrike ability. The Daemons of Khorne begin with their Bloodthirster and the two Bloodmasters (what used to be called Heralds of Khorne), with one new unit from their army appearing every round thereafter. Whoever destroys the enemy army first claims a major victory (minor if their general is dead).

We will be using the Brimstone Peninsula Time of War sheet, and the Daemons of Khorne can roll on the basic Triumph table immediately because they have done so well on the bridge up to now. In addition, anyone getting too close to the edge of the bridge (except flyers and Retributors who stick close to Prosecutors) run the risk of falling off to their dooms!

 

Deployment

As the Celestant-Prime and Prosecutors alighted upon the Black Chasm Bridge, Khaaraks rushed forwards out of the gates, his two Bloodmasters hot on his heels.

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Behind him, the Helfire Legion stirred, all eager to rip the Stormcasts apart.

 

Battle Round One

The Stormcasts floated forward along the span of the bridge, carried aloft by their glowing wings. The Prosecutors hurled javelins at Khaaraks, but the lightning-wreathed weapons simply bounced off the Bloodthirster’s brass armour.

Then the Celestant-Prime pointed his sceptre at the oncoming daemons and the heavens opened, parting to permit the passing of a massive comet that ploughed into the bridge. The deamons staggered under its impact, but though one of the Bloodmasters was now running with a pronounced limp, the missile had done little more than anger Khaaraks.

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Bellowing with rage, Khaaraks rushed forwards, intent only upon tearing the Celestant-Prime limb from limb.

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Khaaraks’ whip snaked out to catch the Celestant-Prime across the chest, but the Stormcast’s armour held firm under the lash. However, the blow still sent him reeling, knocking him to the ground just as Khaaraks charged.

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Desperately, the Celestant-Prime climbed back up, his wings beating furiously to gain altitude, but Khaaraks was much faster. A series of powerful swings from his axe knocked the Celestant-Prime back down, allowing the Bloodthirster to crush him with a single stamp. The Celestant-Prime’s armour burst apart and a bolt of blue lightning raced up back towards Azyr.

 

Battle Round Two

Having seen their champion felled so quickly, and mindful that more daemons were already entering the battle, the Prosecutors resolved to finish the Bloodthirster. Calling upon the power of their God-King, they watched as massive bolts of lightning struck the ground all about the Bloodthirster. When the flashes dissipated, two retinues of Retributors remained, hefting their massive hammers as they prepared to attack Khaaraks.

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As they floated backwards, the Prosecutors once more hurled javelins and tridents at Khaaraks, and this time their aim was true. Bolts of lightning dug into the Bloodthirster’s flesh between his plates of armour, causing the daemon to roar in both pain and fury.

Grim-faced beneath their helmets, the Retributors swung their hammers in unison, bright flashes discharging from the heads of their weapons as the Bloodthirster was methodically pulped into oblivion before the Bloodmasters could get close enough to aid their general.

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Bloodcrushers, led by a Skullmaster, pounded out of the fortress, even as a Skull Cannon appeared behind them. The Skull Cannon was wreathed in black smoke as it launched a hellish projectile at the Retributors, claiming one of them immediately.

Led by the Bloodmasters, the Bloodcrushers charged into the Retributors, their Juggernauts crushing one Stormcast underfoot.

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The speed of the Khorne daemon cavalry staggered the Retributors and one of their retinues was quickly wiped out in the charge. The second retinue moved up to take revenge, crushing two Bloodcrushers flat with their hammers, but then reality blinked and they reappeared right in front of the Stormcasts.

 

Battle Round Three

Gaining altitude and distance, the Prosecutors kept in tight formation.

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They continued to rain javelins and tridents upon the Khornate daemons, claiming a Bloodmaster as its attention was focussed on the Retributors.

Once more, the Retributors concentrated their attacks upon the Bloodcrushers, and once again they slew two of them and badly injured the third. However, the last Juggernaut managed to stomp yet another Stormcast into the bridge.

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As two Bloodthrones emerged from the fortress alongside the Skull Cannon, the Skullmaster spied the Prosecutors raining death upon his daemons and urged his Juggernaut to chase them.

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However, the daemonic beast was far more interested in the closer Retributors and, ignoring the curses of the Skullmaster on its back, it charged.

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The Juggernaut ran down on Retributor, while the Hellblades of the Skullmaster and Bloodmaster claimed two more. For their part, the Retributors finally managed to destroy the last Bloodcrusher and wound the Bloodmaster, but they were now pitifully few in number.

 

Battle Round Four

A horn sounded from the fortress, heralding the arrival of more daemonic reinforcements, and the baying of Flesh Hounds was heard across the bridge.

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Feeling confident, the Bloodthrones and Skull Cannon gained speed, all intent on claiming the lives of the Stormcasts who had the temerity to attack their bridge.

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The Retributor-Prime stood his ground, though he was starting to look seriously outnumbered, and his hammer knocked the Bloodmaster flying. However, the daemon recovered quickly, and its Hellblade sliced through the neck of the Retributor-Prime, sending him back to Sigmar.

The Bloodthrones clattered forward as they bounced over the rough surface of the bridge, but only the Skull Cannon had enough speed to reach the Prosecutors. Having seen it coming from some distance, the Prosecutors took to the air as the Bloodletter crew raged with futility from below, then hurled their javelins and tridents downwards, smashing the daemonic war machine utterly.

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Battle Round Five

Hoping to tempt the Khornate daemons into a foolish rush that would spell disaster, the Prosecutors moved to the very edge of the Black Chasm Bridge, their wings holding them safely above the lethal drop.

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The Skullmaster was the first to reach the Stormcasts, its Juggernaut crushing one under its iron-shod feet as the Skullmaster’s Hellblade claimed another.

The Prosecutors fought hard against the Skullmaster, forcing the daemon back, but they had been distracted from the oncoming Bloodthrones. With shrieks of fury, the daemonic chariots thundered into the Stormcasts.

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Battle Round Six

A desperate fight at the very edge of the Black Chasm Bridge erupted. The Skullmaster leaned forward over his Juggernaut to snatch the life of the Prosecutor-Prime with his black sword, but savage thrusts from the two trident-wielding Prosecutors sent the Skullmaster back to Khorne.

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It was to no avail. The Bloodthrones smashed into the last Prosecutors before they could regain height, and the final bolts of blue lightning rocketed up from the battlefield, carrying the souls of the Stormcasts back to Azyrheim to be reforged anew.

The Black Chasm Bridge was to stay in the hands of the Blood God.

 

Conclusion

Well, that was utter carnage!

The one thing I had been fearing for the Celestant-Prime – being charged by a nasty beastie – finally happened. The Celestant-Prime is a bit of a glass hammer and, so long as you retain the initiative, he normally does okay, laying any foe low with Ghal Maraz. However, if he is caught on the back foot… well, things do not go so well, as Save 3+ and just Wounds 8 means he cannot take a savage attack.

And that is exactly what the Bloodthirster delivers.

Once the Celestant-Prime was out of the picture, the Retributors took over, and they made very, very short work of the Bloodthirster. However, it seems as though they had forgotten to put all of their armour on for this battle, as they made very few saves (the mortal wounds dished out by Bloodletter heroes and charging Juggernauts really did not help either).

With the Retributors gone, it was all down to the Prosecutors and their ranged firing. This might have just worked if the Bloodthrones had not made it so far along the bridge so early. If the Bloodthrones had not appeared (a really big if, they were always going to pop up early), then the Prosecutors might have stood a reasonably chance of whittling down the likes of Flesh Hounds and Bloodletters.

So, the moral of the story? Don’t rush your general in on turn one…

(You would think we would have learned that by now).

 

The Story Continues…

Next time, we have a fairly special battle – Alarielle has awoken and, it turns out, she is quite annoyed. The first target for her wrath will be the Khorne Bloodbound as she leads a force of Sylvaneth into the Realm of Fire to give them a good kicking.

Warscroll – Giant Spined Chaos Beast

Just a quick post, as some people have been asking for this – the Warscroll we have been using for the Giant Spined Chaos Beast…

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Forge World does this model but they don’t seem to have done a Warscroll for it (there is a link, but it just points to the Beast of Nurgle, which is just not a good fit – I have emailed them about this but it is still not fixed). Still, Forge World’s omission is our opportunity, so I put together a suitable Warscroll:

Giant Spined Chaos Beast

The background fluff for this beastie (drawn from the old Storm of Magic book) suggests it is a (very) heavily mutated Chaos Warhound, so I gave it the same Outrunner rule as the dogs (it is very fast!).

The special rules in Fantasy Battle also had it regenerating and dishing out extra wounds with its spikes, so I simply AoS’d them, and did a quick monster damage table.

Simples!

Incidentally, if you want to make your own Warscrolls, there is a simply yet very effective generator that will do everything you need at Warscroll Designer.

Preview – Disciples of Tzeentch

Well, the new Warhammer TV channel on Twitch has just done its preview of the next Battletome to come out for Age of Sigmar and… it looks very good, actually!

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The first thing to note – yes, that is a Lord of Change on the front cover.

OMG, plastic LOC confirmed!

This looks like it is going to be one of the meatier Battletomes so far, weighing in at 136 pages and, apparently, about half of the book is dedicated to rules – not just Warscrolls (many of which look like they are going to be brand new, more on that in a bit) and Battleplans as before, but rules for Matched Play (including points, they will be in the book too, no waiting for General’s Handbook 2) and Narrative Play (yay!).

An example of this was previewed, with Tzeentchian tables for the Path to Glory campaign.

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And already we can see some new goodies popping up, such as the Tzaangor Shaman and Tzaangor Enlightened…

The central thrust of this book is that it is not Battletome: Arcanites, but a Battletome for every force based around the Keyword Tzeentch. So, you will find a happy hunting ground here for not only Arcanites but also Tzeentch Daemons and Slaves to Darkness/mortal forces that are using the Tzeentch Keyword.

Basically, if you are even slightly interested in Tzeentch, this is going to be the book for you…

We had a quick peek at the Traits for Tzeentch forces too…

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… which have brought Destiny Dice into Age of Sigmar! In a nutshell, you roll nine dice at the start of the battle and can substitute them for dice rolls throughout the game, guaranteeing a spell, charge, or attack goes off just when you need it.

Command Traits, as you can see, are split between Daemon, Arcanite and Mortal, meaning you won’t just have A N Other Tzeentch forces, but can personalise them at a more fundamental level, which is nice to see as it means not all Tzeentch armies on the table will all be the same.

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The first three traits on the tables are (more or less) the same (everything is Tzeentch after all, but it looks like the bottom half of the tables get more specific.

And then there are the spells.

Tzeentch forces will have access to two new Lores, the Lore of Fate (for everyone) and the Lore of Change (for Daemons). The Gaunt Summoner, notably, has access to both Lores, making him a very flexible spellcaster now – expect to see more of him on competitive table tops!

In fact, given that many Tzeentch units are spellcasters, this spread will make Tzeentch armies very powerful spellcasters in the hero phase, even (or especially) when the Rule of One is in effect. And, of course, what does not evaporate in the hero phase from spells will get blown away by magical fire in the shooting phase.

It looks like Tzeentch just got very powerful on the tabletop…

Some artwork was previewed as well, such as this piece with a Tzeentch Sorcerer Lord fighting a Battlemage:

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And Horrors giving the Ironjawz a good bashing (or it may be the other way round):

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There was also the tiniest of peeks on Warscroll Battalions:

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And one for Daemons:

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And I think everyone has seen this already, one of the new models:

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What you might not have seen yet is the Warscroll for this beastie:

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Some of the week’s earlier previews also had Tzaangors floating about on discs in the far background. Those are most certainly a thing:

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Check out that bow…

That was about all we gleaned for the new Battletome, but there were some the bits and pieces about what is coming afterwards.

 

The Future of Age of Sigmar

First up, this Battletome marks the start of Tzeentch’s big push into the Mortal Realms. Up to now, Khorne and Nurgle have been the main powers of Chaos making their play, but Tzeentch (we can now see) has been working hard in the background, getting all his plans together. 2017 sees the forces of Tzeentch make their move.

To begin with, this will mean a multi-week release for Tzeentch. We are not just getting the odd Tzaangor and Acolyte but several new units (including, surely, a Lord of Change, though this was not confirmed – but come on, there is a huge one on the front cover of this book!).

Oh, our poor wallets.

However, I also very much got the impression that the campaign books (presuming they are still part of the picture) will have a Tzeentch focus, as the Realmgate Wars stayed close to Khorne and Nurgle.

There was also a note that in Age of Sigmar material in 2017 we will see a lot more information about how the Mortal Realms work and the ‘normal’ settlements and peoples present (cities and markets were mentioned).

Make of that what you will.

Anyway, a big thumbs up to Warhammer TV – this was exactly how to handle a preview like this; show some goodies, make a big hint about something else (Lord of Change), and then tell us to wait just a short while for everything else.

I don’t know about you, but I am going to be making sure that I have enough blue paints for the New Year!

Bonesplitterz Arrive En Masse

I haven’t managed to get a huge amount painted of late, mainly because I have been prepping miniatures for the Christmas Project (the numbers of which are beginning to get a little daunting, but best foot forward!).

This weekend, I did manage to get a goodly lot of the Bonesplitterz done, enough to make a convincing show of force at least.

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With these, the Brutal and Teef Rukks are done, and the Kunnin’ Rukk is well on its way.

The leadership of the Bonesplitterz is well on its way too, with just the Maniak Weirdnobs to go. My favourite is, of course, the Wurrgog Prophet, an utterly mad Orruk whom the others simply assume is in touch with their god.

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And you have to love the Big Stabbas, little groups of Bonesplitterz who rush forward to impale the biggest monster they can find!

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You always need more boyz, of course, and another unit really begins to flesh the army out. I am sticking with common war-paint and using red as a spot colour. The standards get slightly different paint schemes to distinguish units.

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Finally, the first of the Boarboyz, riding their piggies into war.

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These are probably the quickest models to paint, incidentally, as the riders have a tad less detail on them than the infantry, and the pigs are very quick to do (Mournfang base with Tyrant Skull drybrush, finished with an all-over Agrax wash gets 90% of the pig done).

On my painting table right now are twenty Maniak Boarboyz and four Maniak Weirdboys, which will complete all the cavalry for the Bonesplitterz, and them I just have a unit of Arrow Boyz and Morboyz to do, and then I am calling the force finished (for now) before diving into the Christmas Project.

Review – Spire of Dawn

Quite a few people were excited to hear that the old Island of Blood starter set was being re-boxed and re-released for Age of Sigmar, in the guise of the £50 Spire of Dawn. So excited, in fact, that it sold out almost immediately (there is a new run coming soon though, we are told).

However, I managed to purloin a copy myself, and cracked it open to take a look inside…

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As with many recent releases of this nature from GW (thinking of things like the Knights box set, Lost Patrol, and the three aeronautical games), this set is really all about the miniatures. And, going for £50 for 74 of them, it is difficult to argue with the value.

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The Skaven and Aelven forces come with both square and round bases, for reasons that I really cannot fathom. GW are simply not going to be interested in supporting old 8th edition or 9th Age players (there are just not enough of you, sorry!), so maybe they really are just flushing out old stock (can’t melt down bases for recasting)?

The miniatures themselves, you have likely seen before – plenty of Clanrats to get started with Skaven, and a small but solid force for Aelves (of particular interest as this is currently the only place to pick up the Reavers, which I think are going to be a thing…).

With the miniatures you get a simple but comprehensive building guide…

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And, the thing I was most interested in, a background book…

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The basic idea behind the box set is that it is set around the Dawnspire, a fortress on the floating Transient Isles within the Realm of Light. There is a nasty artefact protected there – the Aelves guard it, the Skaven are after it. Simples.

This is covered in two background pieces, one covering the Aelven defenders…

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And the other, the Skaven…

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Four pages are then devoted to pretty pictures of painted models.

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The meat of the book(let) is taken up with Warscrolls, covering all the models in the set. I haven’t seen any huge deviations from the original rules for these models (although the High Warden on the Griffon does not seem to have a bow – didn’t he used to have one?).

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What is more important are the Pitched Battle Profiles.

First off, the 200 points for Spireguard you saw in the app is a typo. The Swordmasters are 200 points, the Spireguard 120. The Spireguard are also Battleline if you use the Swifthawk Agents allegiance.

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I think what will get the attention of many Order players, however, is that the Reavers are pure Battleline. Fill up on 2 or 3 units of those (depending on the size of game) and then have free reign over whatever you want from the Order Grand Alliance. I have a feeling that will make for some very strong Order forces in tournaments in 2017 (and also guarantee the Spire of Dawn sells out again when it reappears…).

There are two Warscroll Battalions given, one for each force and covering all the models in the set.

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These are mild enough at 40 and 80 points respectively. The Guardians of the Dawnspire make the Archmage and Swordmasters Swifthawk Agents, while allowing any unit near the High Warden to move or shoot int he hero phase. Ripsnikk’s Raiders get to pile-in during the hero phase, and also feature ‘deep-striking’ units.

The book concludes with the standard four page rules set, making it a proper starter set.

 

Conclusion

If you take the view that this is basically a £50 box containing a whole bunch of miniatures, you cannot really go wrong with Spire of Dawn. However…

It would have been really funky if they had included some Battleplans, perhaps just three linked ones exploring the Dawnspire location and (maybe) the Realm of Light in general. I would really have liked that, and it would have got me painting up the models in double quick time.

For me, that really is the only misfire on this set. Everything is solid enough and, for the price, you cannot really argue.