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Gunpowder and Greed – A Warhammer Fantasy Narrative Battle Report

As Snorri Whitebeard led his company through the winding mountain paths towards the rendezvous, he couldn’t help but feel frustrated. Despite the snow-covered terrain, their spirits remained high as they sang dwarven songs of old, fuelled by the hope and promise that Belegar had given them. He had promised change, a chance to reclaim their lands from Urk, Grobi and Thaggoraki filth, and Snorri had left his father’s side to join him in this quest with many of the younger Dwarfs following his lead.

Snorri’s thoughts drifted to his father, the Lord of the Whitebeard clan, as he marched alongside Belegar. He had heard Belegar’s speech promising change and hope for the future of the dwarves, and for the first time in a long while, he felt a sense of optimism. However, his father would not listen to Belegar’s words. He was a stubborn dwarf who only listened to words that pleased him and was content to watch their lands, and people slowly eroded.

Snorri had argued with his father about the slow decline of the dwarves many times before, but this time was different. Snorri couldn’t help but wonder whether he would ever see eye to eye with him on the matter

As they neared the foothills. Snorri noticed a gyrocopter overhead and couldn’t help but mutter a curse under his breath at the unpredictable engineers who piloted them. Despite this, he recognized the potential usefulness of the contraption for scouting ahead on their journey.

Their arrival at the rendezvous where they were to meet other like minded Dwarfs was met with suspicion from a half-dead looking Manling known as Von Ehrenreich, who claimed they were trespassing on ancestral lands and owed a tithe to his lord. Belegar, however, refused to back down, asserting that these were ancestral dwarf lands and that they owed nothing to the Manling lord. As they made their plans to move forward, Snorri couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease at the unfamiliar cream and purple colours of the messenger and his bodyguards, likely mercenaries.

Their unwelcome guest departed, and Belegar and his captains planned their movements. Belegar and Snorri would head south in the morning towards the Black Mountains, gathering more volunteers from Dwarf settlements en route. The rest of the force would move east to Zhufbar and collect more supporters.

Snorri and Belegar set forth only for their journey to be interrupted by the mercenary company of Captain Dienst, who blocked the road out of the foothills. Snorri noted the poor quality of their equipment and the presence of a hedge wizard, dabbling in Elgi business and likely to come to a bad end. Despite the odds, Belegar refused to back down, demanding that they step aside. Snorri steeled himself for battle, ready to fight their way out and continue their quest to reclaim their lands and restore the glory of the dwarven people.

The Dwarf Plan – Peter

For those who have been following our Tale of Wargamers, you’ll recognise that this force is the one that I’ve put together over the last six months. Belegar, the Gyrocopter and the Ironbreakers along with a Rune of Spellbreaking for Snorri, while also giving the Gyrocopter Vanguard, it all rounded it out nicely to 1,000 points.

With that, Dave challenged me to a game of 8th edition Fantasy, and I gladly accepted! I knew my list wasn’t that competitive with Belegar included and taking up just over 300 points that could be spent on additional troops, but that didn’t matter for the narrative we had in mind. Seeing Dave’s list, I knew the Pistoliers would be a problem, as would his missile troops. My best bet would be to try and remove the Pistoliers early and have the Gyrocopter harrass his missile troops while my footsloggers marched up and beat the crap out of everyone else. Deploying, I decided to try a refused flank on the left, hoping that I could challenge his smaller units before I talked that massive block.

The Empire Plan – Dave

When Pete and I set this game up I mulled over what I fancied playing for a while but as the shape of the campaign started to form in our minds it became clear that Pete’s intrepid dwarfs would be the ‘good’ guys and so I elected to take the ‘baddies’. We were re-learning the game at the same time, and so I wanted to play something that covered all phases of the game but which was not too complex. This led me to my old favourite, the Empire, which can really do pretty much everything(ish).

As my army was travelling into the foothills to confront the dwarfs and given their objective, I thought I would dispense with war machines as they didn’t fit what I had in mind for the narrative and would be another thing to re-learn/remember. For my leadership core, I wanted to take a Captain to leave myself with plenty of points for troops, I definitely wanted a wizard as I know from experience that a well-timed cast can turn a game. I chose a Level 2 as I didn’t want magic to dominate the game as it sometimes can in 8th Edition Warhammer. I decided on Fire for my lore, as I recall it isn’t necessarily the strongest, but it has some great direct damage, some buffs, and one of my favourite spells – Flame Cage. Flame Cage makes units take a Strength 4 hit on every model when they move and then disappears, this can absolutely change games and really mess with the opposing General’s plans (and head). 

Possibly controversially, I didn’t choose a Battle Standard Bearer….! A Battle Standard Bearer would give me extra combat resolution for the unit they are in but more importantly, I could reroll any failed leadership checks within 12″. I chose not to take one as I thought a battle this small might not merit it, it would take some of the risk out of the game but I quite liked the idea of just rolling with it and again I wanted to have more points for troops.

Now I was on to what I usually consider the fun stuff! I needed some good bread and butter first, and this would be my main combat block, a big unit of spearman – a horde no less! The spearmen can fight with an extra rank, so this would potentially mean all of them fighting. My general would be in this unit, and I hoped that they would be able to give a unit of dwarf warriors a fairly stiff fight. Basic dwarf warriors would be a tough proposition for my State Troops, but if I could get a buff off from my wizard and get another unit in the flank, I might do OK. I chose another smaller block of State Troops as my second unit, this time halberdiers. Halberdier’s extra pip of strength would really help against the tough dwarfs and their high armour. I hoped to use these in a tag team with the spearmen against any of the hardier dwarf units and grind them down. I decided to pop my wizard in here. This was risky as he is worthless in combat, but I wanted to make sure he had plenty of use out of his spells and would be in range.

I needed a bit of firepower so that if the dwarfs had leaned into shooting I would have some response, to this end I added a unit of handgunners and a unit of crossbowmen, these would chip away at the dwarfs at range and might not threaten large combat blocks but could really work lighter and smaller units.

In my opinion, every Empire Army should have a unit of knights. They are so cool! I took a minimum sized unit of five, which could potentially be a terror to any smaller dwarf units and would threaten the flanks of the more unwieldy dwarf combat blocks. In a pinch, they could also be sacrificed to redirect any angry dwarf lords!

Finally, I added a unit of pistoliers. I really like pistoliers blasting away with their pistols, and as Fast Cavalry, they should be able to run rings around dwarf warrior blocks (if they don’t get shot off first).

I had some points left and I thought I would add a magic item to my wizard to make him a bit more effective so he got the Channeling Staff, with a lucky roll I might get an extra power dice to punch through the dwarf anti-magic.

Looking at Pete’s army when we were setting up, I knew I could be in trouble, I could potentially kill everything else in his army, but Belegar would be an unholy terror. I had to make sure that I had the freedom to move and that my cavalry could delay Pete’s big warrior block with his characters. If I could deal with the dwarfs a piece at a time I might be OK and that meant one thing – the Gyrocopter had to go as it had the movement and firepower to remove my options to do just that.

The Armies

Turn 1

The battlefield erupted with the sounds of clanging metal and thunderous hooves as the humans made their first move, sending their cavalry charging forward to threaten the dwarf left flank. Both sides exchanged volleys of fire, causing chaos and confusion. In the midst of this chaos, Snorri’s heart sank as he watched the gyrocopter he had spotted earlier fall from the sky in a fiery wreckage.

Calling for an advance, Snorri marched his troops forward alongside the Ironbreakers of Karak-Durn. As they moved forward, Snorri felt the tingling of magic in the air, sensing the wizards’ presence too late to stop the first attempt. However, he was ready for the second attempt, quickly responding and expertly stopping the fireball the hedge wizard had summoned with ease.

1st Turn

Turn 2

With the Gyrcopter destroyed, the humans turned their firepower upon the Thunderers, almost wiping the Dwarfs out. “We’ve got to stop the Manlings from turning our left!” Belegar shouted across to him from the other side of the Dwarf Warriors. Snorri nodded, and his warriors, the Greenbite Guard, formed up facing the human Horsemen. What he had first thought to be human knights turned our to be Pistoliers with Knights supporting them. Seeing the Dwarfs turn to face them, the Pistoliers withdrew behind some ruins, leaving the Knights facing off against the angry Dwarves. They had to act quickly, though, as it wouldn’t be long before the human troops would be in a position to flank the Dwarfs.

Feeling the distinctive tingling of Magic once more, Snorri could feel immense power flash through the air. Being unable to counter, Snorri watched helplessly as a fireball consumed more of the Thunderers, despite their losses they held firm.

2nd Turn

Turn 3

The remaining Thunderers having little option, stealed themselves and charged into the Hedge Wizard and his troops hoping to down the Manling before he could inflict any further damage on the Dwarf troops. Thorim Brokkson ordered his Ironbreakers into the Crossbowmen ahead of them, but fighting over the fences and bushes proved troublesome for the stouter Dwarfs and their charge was unexpectedly held in place.

Kaboom! Every being on the battlefield was laid low by a mighty explosion that almost deafened all those in the valley. Snorri, seeing double as he staggered to his feet. The humans were retreating now, and leaving the Dwarfs were they lay as they recovered from the explosion. “My King, they retreat!” Snorri called to Belegar, but there was no response…

3rd Turn

Ruger Dienst blinked the dust from his eyes, the afterimages from the blast still seared there in purples and pinks. They had succeeded in spite of everything, the Dwarf Lord was trussed up and being hauled on a wagon as quick as they dared on these mountain paths. However, things could not have been said to have gone to plan. Jensch, the Fire Wizard, was gone and while he expected losses, this was a surprise. The Wizard had been with him since Altdorf and though he had always been unstable that damn staff he had received from Von Ehrenreich’s representative, Thanamann, had done something to him, tipped him over the edge it seemed as he had been heard chattering to it in the night. The explosion, or whatever it was, had killed most of the heavy cavalry and most of the halberdiers but it had flattened everyone around it long enough for the pistoliers to dash in and net the dwarf.

The Dwarf flying machine had been put down, a malfunction or a lucky shot, thank Ranald if that thing had been aloft they would have had no chance. As it was, he knew the situation, he needed to get the dwarf to Von Ehrenreich and his part in this was over, he could use the gold from this job to provision for the journey to the Border Princes and rejoin the Boss there. Ruger trudged down into the valley towards the camp and the rest of his men filtering in to the rendezvous, he could see it had grown somewhat, more men disaffected or disgruntled tempted to the life of adventure the Boss offered. Better to take a chance of glory in the Princes, in his view, than a nothing life on the farm – that was the deal he had taken. Dienst mused on his chances, he couldn’t abandon the artillery and baggage and run for the Noble’s Manor, turning up with no artillery and a starved band would likely get him killed if he ever even reached the Princes. He would need to hope the Dwarfs couldn’t reinforce and catch him with the numbers to stop him in time, he had campaigned with them before – over a day a man might outpace them but they would never tire and the odds slowly tuned their way. No, he would move swiftly but cautiously with a fighting rearguard behind. Then, Von Ehrenreich could deal with the horde of angry dwarfs on his doorstep and he would be away with a full purse.

Dwaft After Game Thoughts

Wow! What a game. I don’t think Dave or myself had quite remembered what an affect Dimensional Cascade could have. In a way it worked out well for me in that respect as Dave had to throw quite a few dice at each spell to make sure that I couldn’t dispel them. This resulted in two irresistible force rolls during the three turns of the game, the first knocking a single wound of his wizard and the next one essentially knocking out a good portion of his army.

My plan didn’t quite work out, as Dave took out the Gyrocopter very early doors after I stupidly gave the first turn away – hoping that by bringing him closer it would make it easier for me. After that he could pick off the Thunderers without reply and then focus eventually on the foot troops.

During the entire game I killed precisely 5 models which were three Handgunners and two crossbowmen after my Ironbreakers completely whiffed in that final turn! That meant with Dimensional Cascade, Dave actually killed more Empire Mercenary troops than I did, with his count at 16 models!

Great fun either way, now to plan Belegar’s rescue..

Empire After Game Thoughts

Wow! That was great fun and such a blast (tee-hee). Despite almost annihilating two of my own units and my wizard becoming best friends with Tzeentch, things actually kind of worked somehow. The crossbowmen were heroes for finishing off the Gyrocopter, picking off a few of the Ironbreakers, and actually holding them up. They were certainly going to lose, but they had bought time. The handgunners worked out too, though I wonder if I shouldn’t have switched them out for some skirmishing archers and put the wizard in there…… ahem.

Speaking of the wizard, he got off a good fireball and some buffs before invalidating local maps. Maybe it is the Skaven player in me, but I was still happy with him! The pistoliers also did well for me. With the gyrocopter gone, they could really get to work chipping at Pete’s Thunderers and jamming things up. I have never actually tried Outriders, so another time I might go for those, but I was pleased with pistoliers (maybe a unit of each?). The spearmen and General didn’t end up in a scrap, but could they have won…… well, maybe. I think it might have ended with the last dwarf warrior falling to the spearmen and then Belegar just killing away until his Mom called him home for tea.

Next time, we are planning a slightly bigger game, so what do you think I should I add or switch out?

Product Review – Fortified Tower (Tabletop World)

I hear the cry of male hobbyists the world over – ‘I’m disappointed in the size of my tower’, well, if your erections just aren’t quite piercing the clouds, fear not as I have a product review for you.

I recently picked up the Fortified Tower from Croatia based Tabletop World and tried it out, so you can see if it meets your needs.

This is a five piece resin kit (three of the pieces being the flag, pole and base). The main tower consists of just two pieces, with a little bit of internal detail which might be nice for D&D etc but not enough to do too much with as you only have that level plus the roof.

This kit can also be incorporated into Tabletop Worlds Town Walls kits, these look pretty interesting but for my purposes I only wanted the singular tower.

Tabletop World states that the resin comes pre-cleaned but I didn’t want to risk it and gave the beast a good wash and brush up with some washing up liquid. I was pleased and surprised to find no bubbles or problems with the product to repair, given the material (!), I don’t know if this is their usual quality but I was very pleased. The irregular stone effect of the sculpt looks great and I think you could really put as much or as little effort as you wanted into painting this and it will reward you.

I #slapchopped up the tower very simply and it took the paint very well. I then added some spots of Dirty Down moss on the odd ledge here and there.

The kit is a bit pricey at €65, or £54.90 from Element Games. This beast is absolutely rock solid though and feels like it will last as long as if it really were made of stone. Terrain always is a bit of an investment and I can use this for the Warhammer Fantasy Watchtower scenario objective, in Age of Sigmar or even in 40k for a feudal world.

I’ve added a few pics, with a little green friend, so you can see the scale and how mine turned out

All in all, I’m a fan and might pick some more up…. I’ll let you know!

Start Collecting: Slaves to Darkness – Beginners 1,000 Point Army

What’s in the box……!?

1 Chaos Lord on Karkadrakk
5 Chaos Knights
10 Chaos Warriors
16 miniatures, including a mounted hero and five cavalry

One of the best things about the Start Collecting! boxes are the savings, which are usually great. In this case, (as of 18/06/22 in GBP) the box is £65… What do you save, you may ask…. Well, that’s a bit of a complicated question, the Chaos Lord on Karkadrakk isn’t available in any other way and the newer knight and warrior models are also only available in this set…. Oof.

Aside from this, these sculpts are push-fit and the two units do not include options for either banners or standard bearers which you will want. This means that, in order to have units working at their full potential some conversion is needed, which isn’t brilliant for a starter set presumably aimed at beginners.

There are some minor options available – two head options for the Karkadrak Lord and head options for the warriors (male and female which is cool). There’s also the option to build a Doom Knight champion, with a Doom Flail, for the Chaos Knights to give extra Doom.

Unfortunately, the nature of the kit does mean that only one of the four potential Chaos Warrior option weapon fits is available, as these are hand weapon and shield warriors only. In addition, only the lance option is available for the Knights (other than the aforementioned Doom Knight option).

The push-fit nature of the sculpts does also present a bit of a tricky painting problem as there are some hard to reach bits and sub-assembly may be a bit fiddly.

These sculpts are excellent though, very dynamic but close enough to the originals to fit nicely in in with the rest of the range. They also don’t have markings for any specific god so can be painted to suit your taste in appalling extra-dimensional overlord or overlords. A great update to classic sculpts.

As mentioned, the Chaos Lord on Karkadrak sadly isn’t available in any other set and so there really isn’t any way to give yourself much variety if you wished to run more than one…. though I don’t know why you would.

A separate Chaos Warrior regiment set, with the older sculpts, is available direct from GW at £35 for sixteen(!) warriors. The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that this isn’t a good number as the minimum unit size is ten, so you will have more hotdogs than buns. On the flip-side, whilst these are older and more static sculpts, which were designed to rank up for Warhammer Fantasy, they are multipart and do have banner and musician options.

This older kit can be built with either shields or two hand weapons but if you want halberds or great weapons you will need to spend a bit of money. GW used to make upgrade kits for these options but have discontinued them, sad to say. It is possible to make some quite convincing halberdiers though by using the spears from the separate Chaos Knight kit, if you choose to build your Knights with Ensorcelled Weapons.

For separate Chaos Knights, with the older sculpts, you will need to find £36 for ten. YMMV on this but I don’t think this is terrible value though I do really like the aesthetic of the kits. This multipart offers all of the build and command options and fits in reasonably well alongside the Start Collecting! knights, though perhaps not so well aesthetically as the warriors.

Who or What are Slaves to Darkness then?

The Chaos Gods are the ‘Big Bad’ of the setting and have had a huge trove of lore written about them over decades, so please forgive the rough edges of what follows…..

These are extra-dimensional representations of mortal drives and emotions become self-aware and turned up to eleven. These ‘Gods’ destroyed the Old World (does this mean GW is actually Chaos Undivided?) and are intent on corrupting the Mortal Realms and doing it all again. The Chaos Gods are reflections of mortal drives and emotions and seek to drive mortals further and further down the path of dedicating themselves to those drives and emotions. There are separate books for those purely aligned to a single God and their Daemonic footsoldiers. The Slaves to Darkness book is more for those who are still holding their cards close to their chest before playing a hand they can’t win. Chaos Undivided is the worship of all of the Chaos Gods, if you enjoy buffet food for some reason then this may be the option for you.

Slaves to Darkness are the (largely) mortal worshippers of Chaos Gods who are still sampling the buffet and have not yet dedicated themselves (entirely) to a single God, though they may have a Mark which bestows some Godly favours.

Unit Review

Chaos Lord on Karkadrakk

This got a slight points drop after the book was released from a slightly bonkers 250 to a slightly less bonkers 225.

Our Karkadrak can move 9″ and comes on a 90 by 52mm base which can be useful in blocking off an enemy move and generally being a bit annoying.

At 9 wounds Look Out Sir! is available, with a 3+ save and a 5+ mortal wound save this is moderately survivable but can’t stand with any serious melee threats for too long.
Your healing options in Slaves are limited so be aware that, if focused, this Lord will go down quick. This is a sad truth of Slaves, in my opinion, your generic Lords are not the melee terrors they were in The World That Was and if you try to use them like they are you will suffer.

The Karkadrak does have a plethora of attack profiles though – five with a total of 13 attacks!

These aren’t great though, most are zero rend with six at -1. Your Karkadrak does have a heal effect with their axe, if it slays an enemy with the weapon it can heal D3. On the charge the Karkadrak can deal D3 damage to each enemy unit within 1″ on a 2+

The Karkadrak may be best described as a moderate utility buff hero and not an anvil or a beat stick. What buffs though….? Well, Slaves units receive buffs from nearby heroes with the same Mark. Plus, the Karkadrakk has a Command Ability which buffs Chaos Knights and Chariots wholly within 18″ giving them reroll charges and +1 to hit. This means that, if you wish to lean into Knights and Chariots, the Karkadrak can be a fun addition.

Chaos Knights

These are currently 170 points for a five and sadly often used more like semi-survivable chaff rather than delivering the hammerstrike you may be wishing for, I am afraid you need to look to Varanguard for that.

Knights have a 10″ move which is OK for cavalry and a 75 by 42mm base. Knights also have a 4+ save and a 5+ mortal wound save with 3 wounds. Their big bases are helpful for screening but again they won’t survive prolonged attention.

Command options include a champion, standard bearer and musician. The Doom Knight champion gets an extra attack and can take a flail with a 2″ range and D6 attacks. IMHO both the Ensorcelled Weapons and Cursed Lances outclass this but YMMV.

The Standard Bearer (1 in 5) adds plus one bravery giving a potential bravery 8, it’s free so you take it but I do usually find this unit is either OK or just blows up….

The Hornblower musician (1 in 5) adds plus 1 to run and charge rolls, which is always a great buff.

Knights are apparently scary *cough*, so their Horrifying ability subtracts one Bravery from enemy units with a model within 1″…. ahem.

Are they actually scary though? Well, with Ensorcelled Weapons they’re putting out 3 3+ 3+ -1 rend 1 D attacks…. plus the 2 4+ 4+ – 1 D attacks from the horses. We have the lance variant from the Start Collecting box though which gives us buffs on the charge (2 damage and -2 rend) but is less effective in a prolonged melee grind with only 2 attacks and hitting on 4s.

Knights sadly don’t do great damage and can’t really take a punch.

Chaos Warriors

These clock in at a whopping 200 points for ten. They do have 2 wounds though and taking mark of Tzeentch can help their resilience, which really spikes in units of ten or more though (+1 to save taking them to 3+) so if you are looking for that you will need to pile in 400 points or lose it quickly.As mentioned, Warriors have a range of weapon options – Hand weapon and shield, Great Weapon, dual hand weapon, halberd and dual wield.

We all know dual wield should be the correct option, with a dove fly-by, but sadly only giving reroll hits and losing the mortal wound repelling ability of the shield (5+ MW ignore) simply isn’t worth it.

Great Weapons are another cool choice but again the loss of the shield is a huge blow, though the pip of rend is nice.

Halberds give us a 2″ reach, compensating for the 32mm girth, with the trade off of a 4+ rather than 3+ to wound and may be a nice option for a large block of warriors, allowing more to attack.

The only option in our start collecting box though is hand weapon and shield, giving 2 3+ 3+ 0 rend 1 D attacks, I haven’t found Warriors very killy in any variation but they can do some work against light armour and can be considered an OK anvil.

As mentioned, Warriors have a range of weapon options – Hand weapon and shield, Great Weapon, dual hand weapon, halberd and dual wield.

Points mean prizes

At the time of writing the Start Collecing! box clocks in at a fairly respectable 595 points and immediately fills our core requirements for a 1k game of a hero and two battleline.

Should you buy multiples of this set?

Well, in the current meta definitely not (and possibly not even one….). They are fantastic models though and really give the heavy metal theme of Slaves to your army. You will have a bit of a samey feel to your army though due to the lack of variety in poses and will need to do some work to create your command models.

So, a 1K army list might look like this:

Allegiance: Slaves to Darkness
Damned Legion: Ravagers
– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
– Triumphs:
Chaos Lord on Karkadrak (225)
– Artefact: Mark of the High-favoured
– Mark of Chaos: Khorne
– Ravagers Command Trait: Master of Deception
Chaos Sorcerer Lord (135)
Ravagers Command Trait: Bolstered by Hate
– Spell: Mask of Darkness
10 x Chaos Warriors (200)
Hand Weapon & Shield
– Mark of Chaos: Khorne
5 x Chaos Knights (170)
Cursed Lance
– Mark of Chaos: Khorne
10 x Chaos Warriors (200)
– Hand Weapon & Shield
– Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
9 x Untamed Beasts (70)
Mark of Chaos: Khorne

Total: 1000 / 1000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 2
Allies: 0 / 200
Wounds: 78
Drops: 6

Battalions to taste.

Chaos Sorcerer Lord

This makes good use of our box and adds in a wizard with a teleport and an extra couple of wounds, courtesy of Bolstered by Hate. Our Karkadrak Lord now has an 18″ range on their Aura of Chaos and so can buff your Khorne units from further away, in addition Master of Deception subtracts 1 from hit rolls of melee attacks directed their way.

An extra block of warriors gives our wizard a body guard and a nice target for their teleport spell to go objective grabbing. Untamed Beasts round out our points and are a good cheap screen with a cheeky pre-game move.

Untamed Beasts

A nice trick in Ravagers is the ability to summon in models via the General which you can rotate through your heroes. This summoning is more impactful in smaller games and the ability to bring in ten marauders is very nice. You will need to pick these up though to effectively round out your list (I would suggest twenty marauders) but these models will be useful as you expand to 2000 points.

All in all I think this is a nice fluffy list which will be fun and meets our heavy metal theme from the Start Collecting! box.

What will it cost?

Start Collecting: Slaves to Darkness£65$110€85$165
Battletome: Slaves to Darkness (2nd Ed)£27.50$45€35$70
Chaos Sorcerer Lord £11$16.50€13.25$22
Chaos Warriors £35$60€45$75
Untamed Beasts£42.50$70€55$110

With the above you’ll end up with 10 additional Warriors for when you look to expand to 2,000 points. You’ll also have a Warcry warband, which is nice. As always, shop around. You’ll be able to find retailers who’ll offer 15-20% off the prices above. If you live in the UK sign up to SCN Hobby World and join their mailing list, with them you’ll receive 25% off GW prices!

If you want pure metal though, buy a second Start Collecting! and use everything from both, excepting the second Karkadrak….. I am not saying it’s great on the table but you can turn the volume up to eleven and headbang your way to a 0-5.

So, is it a buy?

Overall, I would say yes…. it was a buy for me. I picked one of these up and use all of the units in most of my Slaves to Darkness lists. They look cool, especially if you like the heavy metal aesthetic and are a truly great reimagining of classic Warhammer Fantasy units. They do currently lack a bit of juice on the tabletop but who knows what a new book and a shaken up meta might bring……

Speaking of which, with a new Battletome coming for them later this year, it’s likely they’ll also receive a new Vanguard boxed set much like the other factions.

But, until then prepare your claim for whiplash injuries and bellow to the uncaring skies “For The Everchosen”!

Top Three AoS Lists from the Slambo GT

Slambo GT took place in Texas, USA on 21st and 22nd May. It involved 91 players vying to be crowned champion in a 5 game tournament.

Before I jump into the Top Three, I wanted to remind everyone of our friendly Discord server where you can join in the conversation with the Woehammer crew and suggest articles or series for the website.

1st Place – Anthony Trentanelli

Anthony followed up his Motor City GT GrandSlam with yet another, winning all five games over the weekend with his Skaven list for the second time. Along the way he beat Beasts of Chaos/Gavespawn in round 1, Seraphon/Thunder Lizard in round 2, Idoneth Deepkin/Dhom-Hain in round 3, Nighthaunt/Emerald Host in round 4 and LVO winner Gavin Grigar and his Daughters of Khaine/Hagg Nar list in Round 5.

Allegiance: Skaventide
Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
– Triumphs: Inspired

Thanquol on Boneripper (405)*
– 4 Warpfire Projectors
– Lore of Ruin: Skitterleap
Arch-Warlock (175)*
Artefact: Vigordust Injector
– Lore of Warpvolt Galvanism: More-more-more Warp Power!
Arch-Warlock (175)*
Lore of Warpvolt Galvanism: More-more-more Warp Power!

9 x Stormfiends (945)*
3x Windlaunchers
– 3x Ratling Cannons
– 3x Doomflayer Gauntlets
– Reinforced x 2
5 x Skryre Acolytes (65)*
5 x Skryre Acolytes (65)*

Endless Spells & Invocations
Soulscream Bridge (70)
Warp Lightning Vortex (90)

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment

Total: 1990 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 2 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 89
Drops: 1

Peter: Anthony is a big name on the American tournament circuit. He loves to call out big opponent’s before events in a Boxing bout style.

He comes off the back of another 5-0 with Skaven at the Motor City GT as well. To do it once could be viewed as lucky, but twice really shows his skill!

Danny: Two in a row with a list as swingy as double reinforced stormfiends is a helluva flex, Thanquol is the scourge of any kind of large unit. With so few bodies he must just systematically table opponents because the objective play is virtually non existent.

Honestly i can’t see the full rerolls surviving the new book, it’s probably the most oppressive shooting in the entire game.

Peter: I’d just like to add that Anthony beat Las Vegas Open winner Gavin Grigar in the final round. Who himself is a bit of a tourny legend for getting to the podium with Gloomspite Gitz.


2nd Place – Zach Kennedy

Zach also managed five wins over the two days with possibly the worst book of 3rd edition. Along the way they beat Maggotkin of Nurgle/Befouling Host in round 1, Idoneth Deepkin/Nautilar in round 2, Ironjawz/Bloodtoofs in round 3 and Seraphon/Thunder Lizard in round 4 and Maggotkin of Nurgle/Drowned Men in round 5.

Allegiance: Fyreslayers
Lodge: Greyfyrd
– Mortal Realm: Aqshy
– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
– Triumphs: Inspired

Auric Runefather on Magmadroth (360)
– Command Trait: Blood of the Berzerker
– Artefact: Master Rune of Unbreakable Resolve
– Magmadroth Trait: Coal-heart Ancient
Auric Runesmiter (135)*
Runic Iron
– Universal Prayer Scripture: Curse
– Prayer: Ember Storm
Battlesmith (150)*
Artefact: Nulsidian Icon
Auric Runemaster (125)*
Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
– Universal Spell Lore: Levitate
– Universal Prayer Scripture: Curse
– Universal Prayer Scripture: Heal

15 x Hearthguard Berzerkers (480)**
– Reinforced x 2
30 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Bladed Slingshields (480)**
Reinforced x 2
10 x Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (170)**

Endless Spells & Invocations
Runic Fyrewall (55)

Core Battalions
*Command Entourage – Magnificent
**Hunters of the Heartlands

Additional Enhancements

Total: 1955 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 4 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 145
Drops: 7

Peter: And it’s Fyreslayers! I think their new book is really starting to find it’s groove now, especially with players who have stuck with it. Admittedly it probably requires a high skill level, but this just goes to show that you’re still able to do well with them. This is regarded as possibly the worst of the new books as well.

Dave: What they really need to compete is trousers.

Peter: Ha! And sensible hair. Where do you stand on the Snake ladies then?

Dave: Tail probably, stop them wrapping you up so easily.

Peter: Brilliant

Danny: ahahahah. So they went with two magmadroths and lots of vulkites, very interesting. I found vulkites surprisingly tanky when I fought them and Hearthguard surprisingly non-lethal, so going wider for board control and relying on the Magmadroths for overlapping charges up rend shots is really clever.

Peter: This Fyreslayer list also beat two Maggotkin lists including a Dreaded Drowned Men fly list.

Danny: Very nice. It’s maybe because they’re tanky – and iirc they have a way to turn off wards?


3rd Place – Randal Brasher

Randal finished the weekend with one draw and four wins. His path saw him beat Lumineth Realm-Lords/Zaitrec in round 1, Sylvaneth/Gnarlroot in round 2. In round 3 he drew against Soulblight Gravelords/Kastelai Dynasty, then beat Soulblight Gravelords/Kastelai Dynasty in round 4 and Seraphon/ Thunder Lizard in round 5.

Allegiance: Cities of Sigmar
City: Tempest’s Eye
– Mortal Realm: Aqshy
– Grand Strategy: Dominating Presence
– Triumphs: Inspired

Celestial Hurricanum with Celestial Battlemage (280)*
– Command Trait: Hawk-eyed
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
– Lore of Eagles: Strike of Eagles
Aetheric Navigator (95)*

5 x Freeguild Pistoliers (105)*
5 x Freeguild Pistoliers (105)*
5 x Freeguild Pistoliers (105)*
10 x Ironbreakers (115)**

4 x Stormdrake Guard (680)** Priority Target
– Drakerider’s Lance
– Reinforced x 1

Arkanaut Ironclad (490)*
Main Gun: Great Volley Cannon

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment
**Hunters of the Heartlands

Total: 1975 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 1 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 110
Drops: 3

Peter: So Randall went the weekend with four wins and one loss with a list that’s made up of 30% Kharadron and 34% SCE. A very fast moving army aimed at board control early on.

Dave: Poor Cities units, there are some good or even great ones but most never see play in favour of stuff from other books. Especially SCE.

Peter: True, it’s not as bad as some like Living City where we can see Dragon spam amounting to over 1.2k of points in a list.

Dave: Imagine what they’d have been like without the pre-nerf.

Danny: so…much…shooting…

Peter: Each Pistolier unit having 10 shots at 4/3/-1/1

Danny: The 4 dragons bog you down while everything else takes pot shots. Well, Ironclad is more tactical missiles rather than pot shots. Hurricanum can ruin your day too, really oppressive list.

Dave: Lots of pew pew noises!

Danny: Ha! What did it lose to?

Peter: It didn’t lose, it drew in the third round against SBGL/Kastelai list with Blood Knights and a Vamp Lord on Zombie Dragon.


Wildcard – Jacob Mathias

Jacob won four games and lost one, ending his weekend in a very respectful 8th. Along the way he lost to Maggotkin of Nurgle/Drowned Men in the first round. He then beat Beasts of Chaos/Gavespawn in round 2, Soulblight Gravelords/Legion of Night in round 3, Stormcast Eternals/Astral Templars in round 4 and Blades of Khorne/Reapers of Vengeance in the last round.

Allegiance: Ogor Mawtribes
Mawtribe: Bloodgullet
– Grand Strategy: Beast Master
– Triumphs:

Frostlord on Stonehorn (430)*
– Command Trait: Nice Drop of the Red Stuff!
– Artefact: Splatter-cleaver
– Mount Trait: Metalcruncher
Butcher (135)*
– Bloodgullet 2nd Spell: Molten Entrails
– Universal Spell Lore: Levitate
Butcher (135)*
– Bloodgullet 2nd Spell: Ribcracker
– Lore of Gutmagic: Greasy Deluge
Kragnos, The End of Empires (720)

2 x Mournfang Pack (160)*
Culling Clubs or Prey Hackers with Iron Fists
2 x Mournfang Pack (160)*
Culling Clubs or Prey Hackers with Iron Fists
2 x Mournfang Pack (160)*
Culling Clubs or Prey Hackers with Iron Fists

20 x Gnoblars (100)*

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment

Total: 2000 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 101
Drops: 2

Peter: I mean, Gnoblars…..

Danny: Gnoblars!

Peter: Four wins and a loss with that list is pretty insane.

Danny: Yuup!

Peter: It beat a Maggotkin/Drowned Men list in the first round with All the flies plus Bel’akor. I’m assuming the Gnoblars gum things up and the mournfang/stonehorn pounce on them?

Danny: Mournfangs are objective grabbers and chaff clearers really. The man is a hero for taking gnoblars, but at 5 points per wound they’re actually good value chaff and Mournfangs, at 10 points a wound and their damage potential – shooting chip damage, damage 2 tusks on the charge, 2 damage weapons_ are really solid picks, even if the bigger buffalos are more eye-catching.

Butchers are seeing repeated play as good utility pieces (like Warchanters, can buff damage AND cast a spell) and Kragnos ties it all together. Smart list and shows there’s life in the old frost-bitten tusk-dog

Final Tournament Placings (Top 10)

Merry Chistmas!

Merry Christmas from everyone at Woehammer! We hope that the Red Gobbo brings you all that you wish for and more!

To celebrate Christmas I thought I would look back over our first few months as a site and revisit our most popular posts to date!

This was out first post to reach over 2,000 views and was on the very popular subject (as you’ll see) of AoS competitive army lists.

Next up was one of our earlier Classic Battle Reports from White Dwarf, this time from White Dwarf 148 and the Battle of Blood Keep.

A more recent post this time, with the top three competitive lists from the Everwinter Grand Tournament in the US.

Our first (and to date only) 40k competitive list review also came in December with the coverage of the three lists from Swedish West Coast GT.

Our final top 5 post was about the Warhammer 40k Battleforce Boxes, how much they would cost and what your got inside them.

Start Collecting: Anvilgard – Beginners 2,000 Point Army

Following on from Declan’s article last week where he covered a competitive list that could be made using the Start Collecting! Ogor Mawtribes boxed set, we continue this week with a look at the Start Collecting! Anvilgard set.

What’s in the box……!?

1 Black Ark Fleetmaster

1 Kharibdyss, this can also be built as a War Hydra

10 Black Ark Corsairs

1 Scourgerunner Chariot, this can also be built as a Drakespawn Chariot

13 miniatures, including a hero a chariot and a monster.

One of the best things about the Start Collecting! boxes are the savings. In this case, (as of 18/12/21 in GBP) the box is £60 and the collected contents, if purchased individually, retail for £100 giving a sweet £40 saving (or a free Kharibdyss/War Hydra, if you prefer).

What is Anvilgard?

Anvilgard – A lovely place to visit…. Wish you were here!

Anvilgard is a subfaction of the Cities of Sigmar faction in the Order Grand Alliance for Age of Sigmar, to play the army you will need a copy of the Cities of Sigmar Battletome.

Anvilgard, also known as the City of Scales was a port city in the realm of Aqshy on the Charrwind coast. The city is surrounded by jungle and the Ironweld Arsenal constantly pump out defoliants which shroud the city in a stinking fug. The city was dominated by Blackscale Coil crime syndicate and has some interesting rules which align with this lore. This City of Sigmar fell to the forces of Morathi during the events of Broken Realms: Morathi but is still a playable subfaction in the game.

The background and the rules for Anvilgard encourage the use of our monster and the Privateers, so the box actually fits really well with the lore for the city.


Fans of Warhammer Fantasy will note that if they have an old Dark Elf army (and didn’t burn it), then Anvilgard may be a good entry into Age of Sigmar…. though not the only possibility.

Here’s a quick rundown of our units, please note this article was written on 18/12/21 and points etc. may change:

The Black Ark Fleetmaster is not a world destroying hero but at 70 points they are cheap and importantly have the Scourge Privateers Keyword. This means that, if used as your General, they make both Scourgerunner Chariots and Black Ark Corsairs Battleline. Furthermore, if your Fleetmaster hangs around with their Corsair buddies, they have a buff which will improve their fighting abilities.


Kharibdyss/War Hydra: The Kharibdyss comes in at 165 points and the War Hydra at 170. So, which one should we build? Well, sadly neither of these are brilliant in terms of their rules at the moment but they are great models and incredibly lore friendly for the city. Both are monsters, so can use the monstrous rampage actions and can give you bonuses in five of the eight core Battle Tactics. On the flipside, monsters give away points when slain and these are not particularly survivable so be cautious. Both of these monsters have some limited healing, though the Kharibdyss only triggers if it slays a model and the War Hydra does have a ranged attack. Playing Anvilgard, we get access to Drakeblood Curses, this gives us an extra buff which we can put on our beasties to make them a little more impactful such as improving their charge or debuffing enemy bravery. Personally, I would build the Kharibdyss purely because I prefer the model and it plays so nicely into the nautical theme of Anvilgard.


Scourgerunner Chariot/Drakespawn Chariot: The Scourgerunner Chariot and Drakespawn Chariot both come in at 80 points. Sadly, there isn’t much, in my opinion, to recommend the Drakespawn Chariot. If you would like to theme your army around a Dreadlord on Black Dragon then these do become battleline but unfortunately, they aren’t terribly impactful (no pun intended). The Scourgerunner chariot, however, becomes battleline with our Fleetmaster General and has a few things in its favour. Big Base Action, with a 120 x 92mm base the unit can be handy for blocking up the table and is quick with a 12″ move. Furthermore, its shooting attack is quite nice, two shots with a reasonable chance of hitting and wounding and d3 damage plus a chance of causing D3 mortal wounds.

Scourgerunner Chariot

Black Ark Corsairs: Our ten corsairs come in at 85 points for ten models on 25mm bases and can be armed with either vicious blade and handbow or vicious blade and wicked cutlass. An argument can be made for the ranged version but our first unit, I would recommend building with the blade and cutlass. The reason for this is the Black Ark Fleetmaster, our Fleetmaster can buff the Corsairs with +1 to the attack characteristic of their melee weapons, so it is definitely worth bearing that in mind.


So, our army list looks like this:

Allegiance: Cities of Sigmar
City: Anvilgard (Illicit Dealings: Black Market Bounty)
Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
Triumphs: Inspired

Black Ark Fleetmaster (70)*
– General
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
– City Role: General’s Adjutant
– Lore of Dark Sorcerery: Vitriolic Spray

10 x Black Ark Corsairs (85)*
– Vicious Blade & Wicked Cutlass
– City Role: Honoured Retinue (Must be 5-20 models)

1 x Scourgerunner Chariots (80)*

Kharibdyss (165)*
– Drakeblood Curse: Fell Gaze

*Battle Regiment

Total: 400 / 750
Reinforced Units: 0 / 1
Allies: 0 / 100
Wounds: 33
Drops: 1

I gave our General the Arcane Tome to make them a wizard and made the Corsairs their honoured retinue, to make the Fleetmaster more survivable. The Kharibdyss has received the Drakeblood Curse of Fell Gaze, this will stack with the native ability of the beast and will make battleshock a scary proposition for low bravery armies. This would be a fun start to an Anvilgard army but could also be used as a nice start for any Cities faction, though particularly Har Kuron (excellent if you want to port over a Dark Elf army as you can include your Witch Elves) or Misthavn.


Is it worth buying multiples of these?

I would say yes to picking up a few if I wanted to build into Anvilgard. I should note, though, that if you are going into this Start Collecting! you are probably already accepting you are not playing at the competitive ‘Bleeding Edge’and you are leaning further into that. A second box will allow you to bulk out your Corsair unit to the maximum twenty for an Honoured Retinue and give you an extra Scourgerunner (which I would probably use as a separate unit, rather than increase to a unit of two). The only potentially questionable second unit is the Fleetmaster as the Command Ability to buff the Corsairs cannot be stacked so they may find their way on to be traded or sold. You could, of course, convert your Fleetmaster to something else as you will have plenty of spare bits from the Corsair set and they might look nice as an alternative crew model in one of your Scourgerunner Chariots. A third box could be useful, especially for the Chariot and you could convert the Corsairs into some nicely themed Shadow Warriors with a head swap with left over bits from other kits.


Looking to expand further, I would consider adding a Sorceress to our fledgling army, her warscroll spell debuffs an enemy unit’s to hit roll and also does D3 mortal wounds, she could be the Fleetmaster’s Adjutant and provide some extra Command Point generation as well. If taking a Sorceress, it’s worth remembering she can get buffs to cast by shanking her comrades with the Darkling Covens keyword, so give her some pawns to sacrifice! Cities of Sigmar also get +1 to cast Endless Spells, so it is worth perusing those to see which you might like and which might support your playstyle. I would suggest vitriolic spray as her chosen spell, removing enemy armour saves is not to be sniffed at, despite the short range. I like the idea of pairing her with Darkshards who can provide good sacrifice fodder while giving some shooting.

One of the most beautiful models still around from Warhammer Fantasy, in my opinion, is the Dreadlord on Black Dragon and they nicely line up with our theme. The Dreadlord is also quite strong and their buff works nicely on other Order Draconis and themselves, so consider some Drakespawn Knights for flavour. Picking up the Black Dragon, in combination with our two Kharibdyss, also opens up more Battle Tactics to us.

I would also consider branching out a little into Daughters of Khaine for a bit of fun and variety, the Khainite Shadowstalkers are beautiful models and their teleport ability is a great addition to any army.


This is what our 2K army might look like, add in Regiments to taste:

Allegiance: Cities of Sigmar
City: Anvilgard (Illicit Dealings: Dabbling in Sorcery)
Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
Triumphs: Inspired

Sorceress (95)
– City Role: General’s Adjutant
– Lore of Dark Sorcerery: Vitriolic Spray

Dreadlord on Black Dragon (290)
– Lance of Spite & Tyrant Shield
– Artefact: Drakescale Cloak
– Drakeblood Curse: Jutting Bones
– Mount Trait: Foetid Breath

Black Ark Fleetmaster (70)
– General
– Command Trait: Blackfang Crimelord

20 x Black Ark Corsairs (170)
– Vicious Blade & Wicked Cutlass
– City Role: Honoured Retinue (Must be 5-20 models)
– Reinforced x 1

1 x Scourgerunner Chariots (80)

1 x Scourgerunner Chariots (80)

20 x Darkshards (230)
– Reinforced x 1

10 x Dreadspears (90)

Kharibdyss (165)
– Drakeblood Curse: Fell Gaze

Kharibdyss (165)

5 x Drakespawn Knights (125)

10 x Shadow Warriors (120)

5 x Drakespawn Knights (125)

9 x Khainite Shadowstalkers (120)
– Allies

Chronomantic Cogs (45)

Total: 1970 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 2 / 4
Allies: 120 / 400
Wounds: 149
Drops: 8

I think this can be made more competitive with the addition of a Hurricanum, perhaps a Runepriest and an Anointed on Frost Phoenix instead of some of the Aelf units but this does somewhat compromise the theme for me and I truly enjoy this theme, if you are looking for a very competitive list then Anvilgard is probably not the place to start in any case.

To sum up, this is an excellent Start Collecting! with some great models and a good discount but it doesn’t have the most competitive choices and it doesn’t line up with the most competitive of factions. If you enjoy the aesthetics, lore and theme of Anvilgard though, it does fit them perfectly and is 100% a great buy.

All the Best and for the Witch King *cough* Sigmar!

Woehammer Warhammer Fantasy Project

A couple of the Woehammer group have been reminiscing about the joys of Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WHFB) and how much fun it would be to get some armies together to play not only this but the upcoming ‘Old World’, which is rumoured to be released in 2023. So we did just that, I’ve dusted off my fantasy collection and have started looking at which units I could take while Pete has been doing the same with his.

If you’re new to the hobby, WHFB was the precursor to Age of Sigmar. Rather than large skirmish games with quite unconstrained movement, WHFB focused on the clashes of large units in tight formations with precise movement and positioning. The element which particularly appealed to me was the aesthetics of the game which are very much focused on those large blocks, rather than large monsters (though these do exist in the game).

We’ve decided to start by playing out a narrative campaign, and where better to start than the Grudge of Drong, a Campaign Pack written by Nigel Stillman for Games Workshop. The campaign was written for the Fifth Edition of the WHFB ruleset, but we have chosen to use the Eighth Edition rules as we are more familiar with these and have the necessary army books etc. The campaign pits stalwart Dwarfs against the perfidious High Elves who have aligned themselves with one Dwarf faction against another in a rather fractious internal dispute.

We will need to modify the campaign a little for the armies we have available to us but are looking forward to getting this kicked off. In the meantime, we will be putting out some articles on the armies and how they are developing over the next few months, before beginning the campaign in the New Year.

Both Pete and I look forward to sharing more with you soon and may all your Grudges be satisfied.