Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to Anthony Magro AKA the AoS Coach about his gaming history, what he thought about the new GHB and what he plans for the future.
If you’re not aware of the AoS Coach (and why not?!) Then why not catch up with his YouTube channel.
Coach is known for interviewing competitive players who have won big tournaments or are known for leading the way with a particular faction. Indeed, our very own Declan was interviewed by Anthony last year!
But that’s enough of me waffling on let’s get to the chat!
Peter: Firstly, thank you so much for agreeing to our interview. We’re big fans of you on the website. I always ask our guests about their gaming background, so I guess my first question is; how long have you been a Wargamer and what first drew you in?
Anthony: G’day and thank you for this opportunity. I’ve been in the hobby since the late 90’s though like many others did take a sabbatical.
I was introduced to Warhammer after my family relocated 500kms and my new school mates showed off the Bretonnia vs. Lizardmen box. At the time I had only the Warhammer Dark Omen video game but I was hooked after that intro game.
My mates and I would set up our own games club at 15 years old and run weekly meets, my first pay-check was on the Grand Theoganist Volkmar and it’s eventually lead to the beast that is AoS Coach. I did dabble in Warhammer 40k between 2e to 5e but I preferred the fantasy games like WHFB, Mordheim and Blood Bowl.
What initially drew me and keeps me here are the people, the story telling and the spirit of competition. I love the wide variety of challenges each match up poses, the puzzle on trying to solve them, and creating those memorable moments. There are so many gaming stories I’ll never forget like how my Empire artillery crew was able to slay a giant… I always believed they used their tools to stab it in it’s infected toe.
Ah the 90’s, the heady days of tie-dye t-shirts and curtain hair cuts! I played hours of Dark Omens and Shadow of Horned Rat myself, I still claim Shadow of the Horned Rat to be the best video game that GW was involved in!
With an early love of Warhammer Fantasy, did you find it difficult to accept AoS when it eventually landed on the scene? And likewise, are you looking forward to the “Old World” once that gets released?
I did. I struggled to get my over Warhammer Fantasy battles but not through a lack of trying. I bought that initial Stormcast vs. Khorne boxset but I wanted to play Free People (the Empire range). In a time before points & the Generals Handbook when we used a Wound limit to construct army lists, my 60 wounds of basic humans didn’t seem comparable to Archaon & 2 Bloodthirsters. I also missed the maps and having my place in the Warhammer World that was lacking in the older novels like the Realm Gate Wars but the world started to expand through the global Seasons of War campaign, and the world became more tangible when GW released a video by Phil Kelly giving a tour of the mortal realms. That video made a huge difference to me.
I’m excited to see The Old World and explore a new timeline in the World That Was since it looks to take place a few hundred years before the setting of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. I can only imagine this is our Horus Heresy and gives us the Great War Against Chaos. I just wish the updates were a little more frequent.
I felt the same way, my Dwarfs just couldn’t seem to compete. Though that could partly be down to me being their pilot.
At what point did you go “all in” with AoS, and what prompted you to create the AoS Coach?
The original Generals Handbook was a game changer for AoS as it put the structure around the game that it was lacking at the time. I know some people enjoyed the original beer & pretzels AoS but it wasn’t for me. I played AoS during the wild west but it was very casually. I wasn’t inspired to start a new army.
Following the original GHB was Australia’s first major tournament at the time: CanCon. Growing up in rural Australia i had never attended a Warhammer Fantasy tournament and this event kick started competitive AoS for Australia. That first CanCon run by Clint was 50 players and our latest CanCon before COVID struck was 220 players. It was this moment that I went from casual player to tournament addicted. It was still another 1-2 years til I bought that next army but I challenged myself to do the best I could with the predecessor to the Cities of Sigmar.
As for AoS Coach, it started after I flew to the UK to play at the Blood & Glory tournament in 2017. I listened to so many great podcasts on my 22 hour flight but they were all international… Facehammer, Heelanhammer, and Garagehammer to name a few. After that trip I was inspired to talk to interesting people about Warhammer and help highlight the Australian scene. I learnt how to play Warhammer in a bubble during a time before the internet and our only source of information was White Dwarf. I hoped AoS Coach channel would distribute information from experts in their faction to improve how we play with and against them.
You also organise events yourself though don’t you? We posted a top three lists on the Sydney GT, which I believe is one of yours?
Yeah I do run events as well as represent my state on our Masters committee. My biggest event is Sydney GT which is around the 100 player mark and I will run smaller one day events throughout the year when needed.
Moving on to the new season of Generals Handbook. What do you think to the new book?
I’m 10 games into this season and have played with 3 different armies (Daughters of Khaine, Gloomspite Gitz & Stormcast Eternals) and I’m enjoying the shake up between GHB’s. The battle plans are more dynamic, endless spells have returned to cause havoc and the battle tactics are definitely harder to score than previous sets. The meta does feel over represented with Bounty Hunter battalions which is keeping armies from over investing in Galletian Veterans.
I do think there are some things which need to be toned down (I’m looking at you Purple Sun & Bounty Hunters). We haven’t quite hit this infantry meta that Games Workshop predicted which I believe is down to the incentives on running large number of GV’s not being strong enough while not wanting to be punished by Bounty Hunters.
I’ve felt the difference between running a faction with faction battle tactics & grand strategies (Daughters & Stormcast) and without (Gloomspite Gitz) but with a bunch of books dropping over the next few months and another GHB at the end of the year, I don’t think the meta will actually settle which will keep players guessing and the game feeling fresh. Hopefully we can push down the price point of that GHB though if it’s going to be 6 monthly moving forward.
Yep, a lot of the tournaments I look at now for the top threes lists have seven or eight different factions inside the top 10. Agreed on the price of the book, I think it may dissuade players from attending tournaments as they’ll be required to spend £60 in 12 months just to play competitively.
But otherwise you must be excited for the new Gitz book rumoured to be coming out later this year?
I will be once it’s announced though it could be Sons of Behemat or Destruction Aelves knowing my luck. After playing Gitz over the weekend at a local store event and finishing 2-1, I’m hopeful they get a solid 3rd edition book like Nurgle or Skaven and some updated spider sculpts would be a bonus. It’s such a great faction that has fallen out of touch with how you play AoS though the recent update to the Loonshrine has helped massively with a 4+ rally and the Loonshrine giving out Da Bad Moon aura. Hopefully they get a bonus to reinforcement points so you can unleash the hordes. Until then, I’ll keep my expectations in check so I’m not disappointed.
Gitz are an incredibly fun army to paint and play with. They deserve to have a solid book because who doesn’t love squigs, troggoths, spiders, and the insanity that is grots.
I think it’s strange that Witch Elves get the bonus to reinforcement points but armies like Gitz or Skaven don’t!?
So what’s next for the Coach? What are you hoping to achieve in the next year or so?
It’s incredibly weird Skaven didn’t get any additional reinforcement points. I expected some type of boost within the allegiance.
As for me, the world is starting to open up again so I’d like to hit the road and attend a few international tournaments in 2023. I’m all booked in for the Las Vegas Open but I’d also like to attend something in England or Europe. I’ve had such an amazing time traveling to events pre-covid that I’d like to just hang out again with everyone and play some great games.
I’m in my 4th year now doing AoS Coach and it’s become more than I could have ever dreamt. The channel recently achieved 15,000 subscribers, over a million views and I’ve had the chance to chat with some of the best players across the world. My goal is to continue to grow the channel and help more players find our awesome game. I do everything in my spare time so it’s about doing more without giving up my other hobbies like fitness or getting divorced rofl.
Ha! Congratulations on that as well! Massive achievement! There aren’t many AoS YouTube channels from what I’ve seen, and certainly not many any where near the quality that you produce. Hopefully we’ll get to meet you you do come to the UK next year, perhaps we’ll even cross swords at an event.
But thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me allowing us to turn the tables and interview you! It’s been an absolute pleasure!
Thank you for asking, i’m usually the one leading the discussion so it was great chatting with you.