Hello folks, and welcome to Warhammer Wroundup (or whatever I end up calling this), a monthly catch-up on all the various Games Workshop and Warhammer news. My goal is to write something that will act as a reasonable one-stop-shop for people who don’t typically follow Warhammer news, so my apologies to the rest of you if this is light on details. This was a pretty busy month, for Warhammer (Good) News as much as for Regular (Bad) News, so I’ll kick right off.
As previously announced, Games Workshop’s release rate has slowed down a little this month, paring back to a fortnightly schedule, which I’m personally finding a bit of a relief: the sheer amount of stuff coming out was starting to feel worryingly unsustainable, a bubble waiting to burst. The main reason for this is Brexit (*spits*) apparently, since they can no longer rely on their export logistics being what they were, but it’s not hard to see the Coronavirus also taking its toll.
Presumably shifting their design studios to work from home has hit their schedule as much as it did everyone else’s, and I would speculate that we’ve moved on from stuff that was finished at the start of 2020 and waiting for release to stuff that was being worked on, at a reduced rate, throughout the Plague Times.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Games Workshop from doing the latest in the string of big preview events on their Twitch channel: the “Dead and the Divine”.
This was as hyped as ever, but barely a week before that, the wind was rather taken out of its sails by a pair of leaked box art images, one revealing a Vampire, and the other a Lumineth Realm-Lords archer riding a kangaroo-like mount.
Closing the stable door after the kangaroos have bolted, GW posted nicer-looking shots of the two units, and as a bonus showed off the Lord-Regent character that will be leading the new Lumineth cavalry.
I imagine your mileage will vary significantly on the Lumineth – personally I love the deer-like creature that the Lord Regent is riding – but the Vampire Lord model is stunning. It’s poised and restrained, with less greebling and gubbins than GW’s style has tended toward lately.
Notable by its omission from the official release was the leaked box-art’s subtitle, identifying the vampire as a member of the “Soulblight Gravelords”, which many have taken to be an indication of an entire upcoming Soulblight army. (If you’re not familiar with the CompoundWords TradeMarks, Soulblight is an army of vampires and vampire chums, currently with a limited range mostly consisting of old resin figures – the prospect of a new book and model range for them is very exciting for neck fetishists everywhere.)
The other big reveal before the preview was Broken Realms: Teclis, the next in the sequence of books that started with Broken Realms: Morathi. BR: Morathi dropped both some significant rules changes and lore progression for the factions involved and was pretty well-received. It’s interesting to see how Teclis will take the ball and run with it, even if the teased narrative – Teclis takes his Lumineth and marches into Shyish to take on Nagash and end the Soul Wars once and for all – seems entirely unrelated to the massive bombshells Morathi was dropping.
As well as the Lumineth and Bonereapers as (presumably) the main protagonist and antagonist, the book will update Cities of Sigmar, Flesh-Eater Courts, and Nurgle (about time too).
The Dead and the Divine
Thus, hype for the big preview was significant, and as usual was far more than it could expect to live up to. In approximate order of reveals:
- The sisters of battle are getting Palatine Warsuits, sort of spindly piloted mecha with swords and multi-meltas. The models are pretty neat, don’t get me wrong, but conceptually kind of odd, and I’m not sure who was asking for them. GW have also told us to expect more models for the Sisters: does this imply a whole new Codex?
- A new Kill Team expansion is coming out, featuring some models that have been awaited since the release of 9th edition, some “necron tomb doors” terrain, and cardboard boards. Details are pretty thin on this: is it going to be like Arena, the Rogue Trader narrative campaign, or something else? Given the lack of a core rulebook it seems highly unlikely to be Kill Team 2nd Edition or anything similar, and the general response seems more than a little put out, especially since, for a little while at least, this probably-£100-ish box will be the only way to get Heavy Intercessors and Flayed Ones.
- The Warmaster Titan is coming out for Adeptus Titanicus. GW followed the reveal up with a closer look at its rules – it’s significantly larger, tougher, and more expensive than the previous largest model, the Warlord, and will presumably cost a chunk more currency as well. It’s the first release for Adeptus Titanicus that hasn’t existed in 28mm scale already, and to me is an interesting expansion of the Titan aesthetic: very vertical, with high shoulder plates and a surprisingly narrow profile.
- Following this will be a “Loyalist Legios” book collecting the various rules for the Good Guy factions in AT. This feels like a slightly odd step to me – how many Legios will the average player need? Will this invalidate whatever source each of those came from? Am I going to need this entire book for a single page of rules?
- Following up on the Broken Realms: Teclis reveal, this preview confirmed that it will be accompanied by another wave of Lumineth models. The only one we were shown in any detail is a pair of fox-air-spirits with bows, but the reveal video also shows the Lord-Regent and his Kangaroo Kavalry, plus a handful of spindly heroes jumping around on things, archers with massive longbows and a unit of greatsword wielders. These are all collectively referred to as the Hurakan, and it seems reasonable to guess that they’re the “Air” to the existing “Earth” units. The Lumineth army always felt a bit half-finished to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people were a touch put out to have their codex invalidated after a year (a year in which, lets face it, few people got their money’s worth out of the rulebooks).
- A blink-and-you-miss-it moment afterwards also revealed the new battletome for Daughters of Khaine. I predict this will mostly consolidate the rules updates they got in BR: Morathi, but will still lead to a significant uptake in play for the faction thanks to the key piece of art on every book not being, lets face it, a lady in a bikini. They’re also getting Endless Spells, one of which is a big snake. Rad.
- The next force for Direchasm will be Vampires! They’re real cool looking! That’s about all I have to say about them! If a new Soulblight book wasn’t already leaked, you might be expecting one sooner or later, because the final reveal is…
- A Warhammer Quest game about Vampire hunting! (Remember Warhammer Quest? GW’s range of collaborative narrative boardgames.) Details are limited so far, with the dedicated website mostly gesturing at the lore, but there’s a video that drops plenty of hints about models followed up by closer looks at two characters, a witch hunter type who is very reminiscent of the Old World, and a gravedigger zombie.
- No further news on the Soulblight Gravelords. Everyone was expecting a big reveal after the leak, but it’s not really surprising that nothing was planned for them, given how much else was shown.
When will all this be coming out? It’s hard to tell. GW’s usual pattern would imply the next quarter or so, but with the current delays to their release schedule, we could be looking at months and months of stuff here.
(As an extended aside, I’ve heard a lot of speculation about Cursed City’s place in the release schedules, including the theory that it was due to arrive in the same November-ish pre-Christmas slot as Blackstone Fortress, but was forced back due to *gestures broadly at everything* which seems feasible. I’ve also heard speculation that it’ll be taking the summer release slot which might otherwise have been predicted for AOS 3rd Edition: to me personally a five-month gap between reveal and release seems a little long for this, but I would be unsurprised if AOS3 wasn’t also going to get a significant delay. For one thing, a lot of the assorted doo-dads and cards and whatnot that come out with a new edition are the sort of thing GW has been outsourcing to China recently, and have been pretty significantly delayed in the past: if I were them, I’d feel a lot happier not trying to do a tentpole release until very late this year.)
In release news, both Death Guard and Dark Angels got their books this month, which came with some assorted reboxing of previous box-specific models, terrain and a new hero for the Death Guard. The Dark Angels are coming out alongside a handful of models for all space marines such as the Eradicators, Bladeguard, and Storm Speeders – plus, they’re now selling a box which contains a sprue from Dark Imperium with the Primaris Ancient, if you were hoping to pick that up – shame it comes bundled with lieutenants and intercessors, boosting the price to £45.
Both books are apparently very powerful, with Deathwing in particular getting boosted significantly – it’ll be interesting to see if that’s the general pattern, or just a consequence of the specific upgrades that Astartes got in their last book.
Due in the near future is the range of Slaanesh Hedonites for Age of Sigmar, a book that will presumably wrap both 2019’s daemon range and the upcoming Slaaneshi mortals into one package. (If you missed it, last month showed off a lot of the new Slaaneshi units.) This might also be where the big lore changes for Slaanesh teased in Broken Realms: Morathi will pay off? Who knows: GW have failed to follow up on big hints before.
Drukhari have been announced as the next codex for Warhammer 40,000, and the big Christmas reveal was Piety and Pain, a Drukhari versus Sisters of Battle box with a small force for each, including brand new models for Lelith Hesperax and the Palatine, a sort of mid-grade Sororitas hero. This could all reasonably be taken as news of a Sisters book as well. GW have promised at least one 40k book per month, so if I were a betting man, my predictions for the future would be:
- February: Drukhari, Piety and Pain, Slaanesh.
- March: Sisters of Battle, BR: Teclis and the Lumineth, assorted discount boxes for BR:Teclis like the ones for BR: Morathi.
- April: Daughters of Khaine and another 40k Codex. There’s no real indications as to who that would be, but I’d say Adeptus Mechanicus need it most, since they now have one of the oldest books in the range, have had a major model release since, and were teased as one of the upcoming models in the same video that showed us the Palatine and Lelith.
That’s all pretty speculative, though – it’s become clear recently that sometimes unexpected delays can hit their schedules at short notice, so who knows what things will look like by mid spring.
And In Other News
- Some individual Orlock women have been shown off for Necromunda, and will presumably be released by Forge World in the near future. The last Necromunda roadmap promised them in January, but presumably that’s out the window by now. They’re neat, but I do wish GW would just sell us some Orlock Lady Heads so we can mix and match with existing models.
- Lost Crusade has entered Open Beta. It’s a free to play mobile game – I imagine you’ve already decided whether you’re interested or not based on that alone.
- Khagra’s Ravagers, a Slaves To Darkness warband, were released for Direchasm. They have a new mechanic that allows them to prevent other teams claiming objectives.
- Forge World has released some neato grisly Night Lords terminators, some neato cats to accompany Necromunda’s Escher, and some neato undead for Blood Bowl.
- Both 40k and AOS have received FAQs this month – I’ll leave a deeper analysis to someone more qualified, but note that the community response has been muted to the 40k one and very loud to the AOS one. The AOS one came without points changes, you see, which GW claimed was due to a lack of data, despite the fact that they’re still doing data-driven things like their regular competitive Metawatch articles. Personally I think the significant reduction in tournament data is probably enough to prevent them from trying big rebalances, while still being enough for Metawatch, a PR exercise.
And so on to February! With no big shocks or reveals rumored, perhaps it will be a quieter month. I suspect a lot of these articles will end this way but Christ, we could use one.
Until next time,