Tag Archives: Battletome

Lumineth Realm-Lords Battletome Review

OK, I have returned from the dentist and all of my teeth are back in my head. Hopefully that remains the case for a while. Let’s talk Lumineth Realm-lords. Overall I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen. The core rules of the army are flavorful, and encourage a very unique play-style. The Realm-lords are built to be the essential “Take All Comers” faction, and I think they will fit into that role well. The artifacts and command traits encourage players to build their heroes in such a way that emphasizes their strengths, and Teclis looks just as powerful as a god should be. I’m not completely happy with the internal balance of the book, which we can get into later, but there are plenty of viable builds presented. What are your thoughts on the core rules of the army?

I more or less echo that sentiment! High level – combined with what I’m hearing from my shiny, pointy-eared Clubmates, is that the feel of the army has changed significantly. On the overall plus side, the Great Nations are much better balanced now, offering a variety of contrasting play-styles. The main army rules are unchanged – and remain as useful and thematic as before. In true LRL fashion they have a lot of bling – i mean, enhancements – to choose from. But I think in many ways, discussing them will make more sense after considering the units. What were your gripes with the internal balance on the unit side?

Specifically with the durability of the Alarith units and rules. Taking the Ymetrica great nation allows your Alarith units to ignore Rend -1 and Rend -2, giving the Stoneguard units easy access to a 3+ that is potentially unrendable against many armies. They gain a 4+ ward when contesting an objective that is controlled by the LRL player, which means when those attacks do penetrate the armor, there is a 50% chance of the wound being shrugged. Overall I feel the combination makes those units so powerful that they overshadow many other elements of the book, and may encourage a mono-build faction.

The balancing point would be their relatively limited damage output, but if you can consistently hold primary objectives, you don’t necessarily need to destroy your opponent’s units. Ignoring that, however, the rest of the book is great. Most units seemed to come out of the new book without any major nerfs, and the Stoneguard and Windchargers are the only units that received major buffs (notably the Windchargers’ ability to ignore ward saves). Teclis took a minor blow, limiting his spellcasting slightly as he suffers wounds, but he received a points drop to counter that, which I think leaves him in a great position. Are there any warscroll winners in your opinion?

Yeah it does seem like Alarith and Stoneguard rules are very pushed in this book. Bear in mind the objective ward is only against MWs – but it’s still very strong and with Speed of Hysh it’s easy enough for them to zoom onto an objective to proc the ward. Pair that with generic or named Big Cow – who can target an enemy unit within 18″ for a -1 to hit (ranged AND melee) and Alarith can actually be insanely tanky on paper. You’re right they don’t slap the hardest but with a decent number of attacks – and the Stonemage giving them MWs on 5s to hit – they can still bring the pain! Agreed that Windchargers got a big glow up – ignoring wards and their extra shot being extended to 6″ is huge, both for zooming up to something and making it a pin-cushion or UH behind a screen.

The other biggest glow ups for me are Avalenor, Eltharion and the Ballistas. Eltharion now absolutely slaps, dealing extra damage to monsters and being on an unrendable 3+ by default kinda makes him a mini-Gotrek in some ways – certainly has rules befitting his beautiful model now. The Ballistas also got pretty reliable for their points, and adding one more source of targeted -1 to hit (once per battle in their case) is icing on the cake. Have GW finally figured out how to balance artillery!? How do you feel the Enhancements and streamlined spell lores fit in with the newly improved heroes?

The artefacts are all pretty viable, with some really standout choices for each type of hero. The Waystone would allow you to build a versatile Vannari hero, since it provides a free 13″ teleport with the ability to deploy at least 3″ from an enemy. This could either get your beatstick in range of an unprotected hero, or allow them to jump through terrain to grab an unoccupied objectve. The Silver Wand is a straightforward, but great artefact providing an extra spell cast for a Scinari hero, and while the Arcane Tome would do a similar job, I expect the balance scroll may make the Arcane Tome less appealing. The other artefacts are all decent, but I think that those two are the standouts for me.

The Command Traits set the book up to make list building interesting. All of them are good, and all of them buff the heroes to do the job they are designed for. This will make picking the general for your Realm-lords list a slightly difficult prospect, since you will wish for ways to take more than one. Almighty Blow and Swift are both simple, but deceptively good. The first allows for some pretty reliable mortal wound output, and the second makes it much easier to place your Wizard more efficiently.

There may be too many to dig into in this article, but what are your thoughts on the spells?

Agreed, the Artifacts/Command traits seem nicely balanced and should give a fair bit of flex and depth to your hero makeup. Spell lore wise, things have been streamlined a little – which was necessary, both from a book keeping standpoint and general external balance. Lambent Light has gone (re-rolling failed hits) which makes sense as that was the primary vector for abusing Sentinels. Solar Eclipse, another spell on the ‘watch list’ remains but had it’s CV increased to 9.

The new lores are mainly balance tweaks like this – but the higher CVs are mitigated by most casters now having a built in once per battle auto-cast on their warscroll. Either way, LRL still have an incredible magical toolkit – with Howling Gale for turning off CAs at 12″, the new Unbreakable Stoicism spell for allowing Stoneguard to do MWs on 5s instead of 6s, and the good old teleport spell ‘Transporting Vortex’, which when combined with Stoneguard and their mw ward of 4+ on objectives they control, will allow you to plonk them down T1 and ask your opponent some rock-hard questions.

How do you feel the tweaks to the Great Nations have ended up?

I think the Great Nations are all pretty great (see what I did there?). Ymetrica has already been mentioned, and is the go-to for building extremely tanky Alarith units, but I won’t say that it’s a standout winner. All of the Great Nations strike me as useful, it’s just a matter of how you want to build your army. If you want to focus on spellcasting, Zaitrec provides your wizards with a +1 bonus to casting, dispelling, and unbinding rolls, which will help offset the high casting value of the Realm-lord spell lore. Meanwhile, if you want to have extremely powerful Vanari Sentinels, Helon increases the Attacks characteristic of your ranged weapons if your target is within 6″. Syar and Illiatha boost Aetherquartz reserves, and Alumnia rewards you for playing tight formations. Most tomes that have been released so far leave me thinking there are either one or two subfactions that are better than the rest, and here I can honestly say that I can see relatively equal value in all of what’s presented. I think that leaves us with the Matched Play rules. How do you feel about the Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics?

Interesting, I didn’t think of Sentinels as benefiting much from Helon – I think it’s Windchargers that become a real menace there though. A reinforced unit of 10 is able to fly forward 12″, ignoring terrain – say it can get within 6″ of an enemy unit, and then put out 31 attacks – with AoD on 2/3/-1/1, ignoring ward saves – before charging for 10 more attacks 3/3/-1/1 and 20 3/4/-/1 from the mounts OR proccing ‘Move Like The Wind’ to pile in 6″ in ANY direction – i.e. sling-shotting themselves out of engagement range. That’s a powerful drive..well, ride-by.

The Matched Play rules are seeming really quite pushed in the most recent books. We discussed how DoT’s bump them up a tier instantly – LRL fare pretty darn well too. In terms of Grand Strats, it’s a mixed bag, but ‘Alarith Aftershock: 2+ friendly Alarith units contesting 2+ objectives’ is very doable unless you’ve been tabled in which case, who cares. Battle Tacs are much easier. Now ballistas are good, ‘kill a monster with one’ is going to be an obvious pick, especially if you’ve taken 2, once you leave a monster on around 3-4 wounds. ‘Kill an enemy unit with a unit with an aetherquartz reserve, without spending that reserve’ is also going to be fairly trivial when the time is right. ‘Cast 4 spells’ is extra points for exactly what you want to do, and will be easily able to do against all but the most magic dominant armies, especially factoring in the auto-casts. ‘Have 2+ endless spells at the end of the turn’ will be super easy first turn most of the time. By and large, I think they’re just about within acceptable parameters. The main issue I have with them is, when the LRL picks then, 9/10 times they will just be utterly non-interactive and impossible to deny.

Mind you, given how techy the rest of the army is, maybe anything more complicated would have been the mental straw that broke the camel’s mind.

So to cap off – let’s pin our hats to the wall again – competitive rating guess?

I think this will be a top tier army, competitively, but I’m not sure if we’ll see spam lists the same way we do with other high performing armies. I suspect that players will lean heavily on windchargers and stoneguard, and a fair few of their battle tactics can be instantly scored by Teclis. Given what we’ve shown above, though, I’m not sure that the army composition is what will win games, so much as the battle tactics. I think the ability to easily score points will drive the win rate above 50%, but I honestly think there are other factions that will be good counters for them. DoT and ThunderKroak will counter their magic, and hard-hitting armies like DoK may be able to remove the problem units before they become an issue. Overall, I think their win rate will be above 50%, but I don’t know that they will break 55%.

Closing Comments
As we’ve been a little slow in posting this review, there’s been a chance for some new lists to meet the (searing) light of day – with some success, it seems!

Orruk Warclans Battletome Review Part 2: Ironjawz

Peter: Kieron has had parts 1 through 4 written for a good while now and it’s only my own schedule that’s prevented me from posting these for him. For those who enjoyed Part 1: Kruleboyz and have been waiting for the others, I can only apologise. Part 3: Bonesplitterz will be posted this time next week. With the final part: Big Waaagh! Coming a week later. If you want to read them earlier they’ll be available on our Patreon site

Allegiance Abilities

Woehammer Winner:
How can Ironjawz reliably get three turn 1 charges off, even when their opponent is hiding back in their territory? The defining battle trait Mighty Destroyers is the answer. This amazing ability allows a unit that receives this command to make a normal move if they are outside of 12” of an enemy; attempt a charge if they are within 12” of an enemy unit; or pile in 3” if already in engagement range. Combine that with a Megaboss on Mawkrusha, who can issue the command to three different units and you could have two units of Gore Gruntas moving 18” and then charging. That is to say nothing of the Mawkrusha itself who can also receive the command, moving 12” due to Mighty Destroyers, 12” if they have the Fast ‘Un mount trait followed by a move of 12” and then a charge of up to 12”! Just a casual 48” threat range then on this monster! If your opponent doesn’t screen well, the heart of their army can be ripped out before they can respond, especially when considering…

Honourable Mention:
Smashing and Bashing. This ability means that if the first unit activated in the combat phase kills and enemy unit, instead of your opponent being able to hit back, you choose a second unit to activate. If that unit wipes out an enemy, the Ironjawz fight again and so on until either there are no units in combat or an enemy is not destroyed. Combined with Mighty Destroyers, it is not unusual for an army facing the Ironjawz to be at least three units down while doing no damage in return AND to be pinned in their own territory.


Woehammer Winner:
This is incredibly close and depends what sort of army composition you are planning. If you want to lean into speed and mobility while avoiding fielding any Galletian Veterans then you are probably wanting to take Gore Gruntas as battleline and Bloodtoofs lets you do that. In addition, if a Gore Gruntas unit is still in engagement range at the end of the combat phase then they can pile in an additional 3”. Even better is that Gore Gruntas that fought but are not within engagement range can either make a normal move or attempt a charge, further increasing the range of these now turbo-charged pigs who may have moved 9” in the hero phase, 9” in the movement phase, 12” in the charge phase, piled in 3” and then charged an additional 12” for a mindboggling 45” or five times the movement characteristic on their Warscroll.

Honourable Mention:
If you are looking to include mostly Ardboyz and Brutes in your army, then Ironsunz is probably the one you want to go for. Their clan trait is that you can charge at the end of your opponent’s charge phase as long as you are not already engaged in combat. Nurgle players know and love this ability (called Blightkrieg on The Glottkin’s Warscroll) but Ironjawz had it first and it’s free for all units to use, including your Mawkrusha. With Ardboyz and Brutes moving a frankly sedentary 4” each, anything that can give them extra movement is helpful, so having twice the number of charge phases helps get your Orruks across the board and where they want to be: in combat.

Command Traits

Woehammer Winner:
Whereas Kruleboyz players probably want to take at least two if not all three of their versions, the Ironjawz ones are somewhat lacklustre in comparison. The winner is definitely Mighty Waaagh! Leader, which allows you to re-reroll charges for Ironjawz that are wholly within 12”, which is quite big area once you factor in the Mawkrusha’s huge base. With the Waaagh adding 1 to charges and adding a much needed pip of rend to weapons, the last thing you want it for charges to fall short and for this once per battle ability to have gone to waste.

Honourable Mention:
There is a possible combo with the Arcane Tome as an artefact and either Touched by the Weird and Master of Magic to help a spell (Hand of Gork – see below) be cast, but I’m going to stick within the book for this one and go with Hulking Brute. Hulking Brute adds D3 mortal wounds once the general has completed a charge on a 2+ to one enemy unit. While not incredibly inspiring on its own, if the general on Mawkrusha also takes Mean ‘Un as a mount trait, then Stomp goes to D6 instead of D3 and there are no more pesky Hunters of the Heartlands left to stop you! Add in the Warscroll ability Destructive Bulk and not only are another 3 mortal wounds (at top bracket) added to the damage, but if a unit is then destroyed, the Mawkrusha can immediately pile in D6” and Stomp again for another D6+3 mortal wounds. Add in the impact hits from Gore Gruntas who are probably fighting alongside the Mawkrusha, ten wound screens are at serious risk of just making charges shorter and not actually achieving any screening at all.


Woehammer Winner:
As mentioned above, there is a combo with Arcane Tome available, but I’m going to stick to the Ironjawz Artefacts of Power here with Armour of Gork being the winner of the three. Armour of Gork gives a 6+ ward and adds 1 to hit rolls, but with a penalty of 2” from the model’s movement characteristic. On a Megaboss on foot this results in a hilariously bad 2” move, but on the Mawkrusha, that’s still a 10” move that can get up to 20” once per battle with Fast ‘Un. A 6+ ward also makes the Megaboss effectively 21 wounds rather than 18 and offers some measure of protection against mortal wound spells and shooting.

Honourable Mention:
A close second and probably the one you’d give to a Megaboss on foot (though see why this might be different for Big Waaagh in Part 4) is Destroyer for a once per battle +3 damage to the bearer’s melee weapons. Combine with the Warchanter’s +1 damage buff for between seven and eight 6 damage attacks depending on which flavour of Megaboss is carrying this artefact.

Mount Traits

Woehammer Winner:
To give the option of a first turn angry Orruk cabbage charge, there can only be one: Fast ‘Un. The base that the Mawkrusha sits on is huge and while this can be a good thing, it can also make manoeuvring difficult, meaning that an extra move can be really helpful to get in exactly the right place for that charge, be it on the first turn or not. It’s also a great combo with Armour of Gork to offset the movement penalty that comes with this artefact.

Honourable Mention:
As referenced above, taking Mean ‘Un can maximise the damage done on the charge and through stomps by your Mawkrusha, making it your second choice. Double Mawkrusha lists have taken down many events in the past (and have done so even in 2022-23 Season 1) so Mean ‘Un could be a choice for a second mount trait if you go down the Warlord/Command Entourage Battalion route. Then you need to ask whether the D6 damage vs. D3 damage on the Stomp every turn is worth more than Destroyer as a second artefact? Probably not, but it’s quite a fun option.

Spell Lore

Woehammer Winner:
If you are not using herds of Gore Gruntas and Mawkrushas to get across the board, then the mobility of your foot troops is one of the biggest challenges as an Ironjawz general. Step up Da Great Big Hand of Gork to solve all those problems. For a mere casting value of 7, a unit that is not in combat and is wholly within 12” can be redeployed any where on the battlefield 9” from the enemy, but cannot move in the following movement phase. At this point, if Gork is throwing Brutes across the board, you can then Mighty Destroyers the Brutes to get them to attempt a 9” charge, with another two attempts possible in the charge phase if you don’t make it first time. However, if you want to channel that other Orruk god, Mork and be cunningly brutal, you can use Da Great Big Hand of Gork on a unit of Gore Gruntas and then place them outside of 12” (that is, 12.1” away). When Mighty Destroyers in then used, they can make their normal move of 9”, ending up with a 3” charge away from the enemy, getting around the restriction on moving after using Hand of Gork as it’s out of phase and preventing enemy redeploys for the same reason. (You could use the same trick with Brutes too, especially if you plan on calling the Waaagh that turn to get +1 to charge rolls in the charge phase, making it effectively a 7” charge.)

Honourable Mention:
While Foot of Gork is hilarious, potentially causing enough wounds to one-shot a fully tricked out Gargant, second place goes to Bash ‘Em Ladz! It is quite tricky to get off, with a casting value of 8, but Touched by the Waaagh! can help with that and it gives a buff of +1 to wound for ALL Ironjawz units wholly within 16” of the caster. Bonuses to hit are fairly commonplace, but there’s a reason that Inspired is the best Triumph you can pick – often there’s no other way to get this buff. Now imagine this on a Mawkrusha and two units of 6 Gore Gruntas…Destruction Grand Alliance indeed!

Grand Strategies

Woehammer Winner:
More so than with Kruleboyz, Waaagh is a fantastic Grand Strategy for Ironjawz by virtue of the fact that your general is probably flying around the place and looking to stomp enemies in their own territory anyway and, if you chose the Bloodtoofs Warclan, then a single Gore Grunta can score this for you.

Honourable Mention:
For the second choice, if you are going GHB only, the Ironjawz best pick is the opposite to Kruleboyz with Take What’s Theirs as your whole battleplan involves getting right in your opponent’s face and killing their army in their own territory and this Grand Strategy plays right into these strengths.

Battle Tactics

Woehammer Winner:
Continuing the theme of Battle Tactics with interesting spellings (or should that be spellinz?), Ironjawz have access to Squish Da Puny Gitz. There needs to be at least one Battleline unit left on the battlefield and there needs to be none left at the end of the turn. With the amount of output possible from Ironjawz, particularly Bounty Hunter Gore Gruntas doing up to 3 damage per attack against Galletian Veterans, this should a fairly straightforward one to get.

Honourable Mention:
With such an absolute beat-stick as a Megaboss on Mawkrusha as your general, This One’s Mine is a total no-brainer. Find it. Kill it. Score points. ‘Nuff said.


Woehammer Winner:
This unit has been mentioned repeatedly throughout this review, so it has to be the Megaboss on Mawkrusha. Not only does he allow three uses of Mighty Destroyer a turn and have a huge base for sharing this command and other buffs (e.g. re-reroll charges), but he can be absolutely devastating in combat too. With the Warchanter buff and if the Destroyer relic is taken, he should do between 5-10 mortal wounds before even fighting and then, with All out Attack and Finest Hour (aka Best Day Ever) and the Ironjawz Waaagh, seven attacks that hit and wounds on 2+ at Rend -2 for 6 damage each followed by eight attacks from his mount that hit and wound on 2+ at Rend -3 with the Waaagh for 3 damage each. Add all those up and it’s a potential of 70+ wounds in a single combat from a unit that may have started over 50” away from you. You can close your jaw now.

Honourable Mention:
A very important unit to Ironjawz is the Warchanter, but based on a lot of the combos discussed so far, I’m going to go for Gore Gruntas. They’re significantly faster than other troop options available and movement is absolutely key to this edition of AoS. They also hit pretty hard – not quite Fulminator hard – but plenty hard enough to clean up Battleline in short order and push more elite units too, particularly with the chip mortal wound damage they can do to help make any attack back pretty inconsequential.

Final Thoughts

Ironjawz are a really fun army and a pretty good first army to pick up as they’re relatively forgiving with their tough armour and relatively straightforward gameplay, resulting in quite a high skill floor for new players. There is still plenty of nuance in this army though, with Mork-like sneaky plays with Mighty Destroyers and the Hand of Gork and just because you can charge everything turn 1, it doesn’t mean that you should. Jiwan Noah Singh is a great American Ironjawz player who can be found on streams playing a more considered approach. The thinking being that if you can hold the Mawkrusha back a couple of turns then by the time it is committed, there’s nothing left that can meaningfully threaten it, allowing it to rampage around the board, destroying all it touches.
Next up will be Part 3 of 4 of the Orruks book, the weird cousins of both Kruleboyz and Ironjawz that live on a commune to be in touch with nature, usually touching them with a massive stone spear: Bonesplitters.

Disciples of Tzeentch: Battletome Review

The Changers of Ways return! And fittingly, we’ve decided to try and change our review format a little. Mainly because, to support the new release, we’ve decided to break things up and create a conversational, high-level review, a more detailed guide to playing the faction, and the next in our ‘Getting Started’ style series.

So read on to discover what two of the finest (and by finest, we mean, ‘most attracted to bright colours’) minds of Woehammer had to say about the new Tzeentch Tome.

What’s CHANGED in this Tome? Eh? *cough*

Danny:  So, Patrick – let’s start with what we were hoping for from this book. Put simply, I was hoping for balance. I feel like 3e books (apart from the opening brace of SCE and Orruks, who suffered from time honoured first-book syndrome) have been wonderfully balanced, internally and externally. Such a control and magic heavy army as Tzeentch risked being problematic to balance, so I thought if they could make a few of the lesser seen units more viable without breaking the game, we could all be happy.   How about you?

Patrick: I like variety and flavor, and with a few exceptions (looking at you, Gore-gruntas) AoS 3e has been good about making enough units viable in each tome to prevent mono-build and spam lists. Like you said, heavy magic armies make that balance and viability a little more difficult, but I was mostly hoping to see some varied lists start to show up in the top 10 spots at tournaments.

As someone who plays against Tzeentch rather than as Tzeencth, a selfish part of me was also hoping that the army would be bad. I don’t think I got my wish.

Danny : Good segue to your ‘favourite’ 3 things about this book, and a one line summary of where you think it will land competitively?

Patrick: My favorite part of the book is the spell lores. There are two spell lores with 11 spells between them. All of those spells are great, with maybe one or two exceptions. Tzeentch players are going to be able to customize their Wizards to perform whatever specific task they want. Past there, I think the summoning mechanic is interesting, and generating summoning points with every spell successfully cast means that even high level units like Lords of Change will see summons. I also like that the mechanic gives some counterplay, since your opponent can technically block your summons by killing your heroes, or swarming them with units.

The Change Covens are also great, and you will easily see two different Tzeentch armies have very different playstyles based on the chosen Coven. While some are going to be chosen more often than others for competitive games, I think there is play for each. Guild of Summoners will probably see the most play, but there’s something to be said for Pyrofane Cult and Cult of the Transient Form, both of which improve the utility of your battleline units. Competitively I think we’re going to see this army float to the top for a while.

The options that are presented are strong. I will say that I think the army is going to suffer against some current top contenders, though. Thunder Kroak lists are going to create problems for spellcasting and may be effective enough to delay summoning, and some top-tier Stormcast and Ironjawz lists will present problems for Tzeentch’s relative squishiness. That all being said, Tzeentch was in a good position before this book came out. We’ll see if the win rate breaks the 55% barrier that they were already flirting with.

Big Bird Make More Stuff Cast Good Now

What about you? I expect that you have more experience to see some exciting changes.

Danny: Yep, the new Guild of Summoners capping the 2nd LoC summon at 18 is potentially huge, especially given there are now plenty of ways to generate fate points, including one off guarantee chunks of them. The spells, predictably, do kick ass too – the strongest for me is easily Arcane Suggestion due to the tactical flexibility of it. Choosing whether to turn off commands, -1 to hit and wound, or put an extra -1 rend on a unit is absolutely game-changing in many circumstances

Danny: I’m not sure I agree on the Change Covens though. I like that they offer plenty of conditional battleline now, but they’re definitely not all created equal. Eternal Conflagration giving extra rend to flamers is potentially very strong – combo with the above spell for -2 rend flamers for example, screened by horrors etc.   But I think Hosts Arcanum (one free unbind and nothing else), Transient Form  (very unhelpful fight on death on Acolytes with a 6 generating a Tzangor) (and Pyrofane Cult super niche extra damage from Acolytes shooting) are all hot garbage, basically, and I see no reason to take any of them outside of fluff or really loving your Acolytes and wanting to juice them to the max.

Patrick: Interjection: I do love fluff and Acolytes.

Danny:   Interjection noted!

As a counterpoint, I’m going to list my 3 least favourite things about the book.

1. A whole bunch of the artifacts are geared towards melee (e.g. Daemonheart being a once per battle, number of MWs equal to battleround within 1″ of the bearer) with no good melee heroes to utilise them.

2. The aforementioned Change Coven internal balance – I think there are basically 2.5 competitive ones and 3 assuredly garbage ones. It’s a shame, given they could really have been a way to elevate Tzangors or similar that doesn’t really exist anywhere else in the book.

3. Warscroll wise, there are quite a few heroes who just don’t really seem to have a well defined niche and are variations on a theme. There’s some missing identity and fun factor there for me.

Patrick: I 100% agree on the relics. There are some strong choices, but there’s never a good reason to put a melee-focused option on a Tzeentch Hero. You’re always better off with something that’s going to improve your spellcasting like the Nine-Eyed Tome, or your Destiny Dice mechanic like The Eternal Shroud. I don’t see a lot of good uses for the Arcanite Artefacts at all, though. Especially the “deal mortals equal to the battle round” appearing twice. That is either going to do nothing, or only deal a solid chunk of mortals too late in the game to do anything. I also don’t like the number of “feels bad” mechanics in the book.

The ability for a Lord of Change to simply turn your endless spells back on you is going to feel rotten every time it happens. The presence of a non-interactive Grand Strategy that only requires you to have Destiny Dice equal to or greater than 9 at the end of the battle is bad. It guarantees that you succeed without giving your opponent the opportunity to play around it.

Danny: Moving on – we’re not going to talk about every damn allegiance ability and army enhancement. Some stuff got taken away, some stuff has been streamlined – but let’s quickly talk about Arcane Armies, which is an excellent new rule allowing for a Tzeentch endless spell to be auto-cast before the start of the first turn, which can’t be unbound in the first battle round – how do you see that playing out?

This is huge!

Patrick: I really like Arcane Armies. I think we’ll mostly see the Tome of Eyes to get rerolls on casting. That will guarantee an effective first hero phase, especially for a unit like a Lord of Change, and push some summoning points early on. If the ability was not restricted to faction endless spells I think it would be broken. A guaranteed turn 1 purple sun, or deploying in a way for all of your wizards to get the benefit of the Chronomatic Cogs would be devastating. As it is, it’s a nice ability that won’t be game changing.

Danny: Tome of Eyes is great but it’s hard to overlook Sigil – the ability to do multiple instances of d3 mortals and turn stuff into spawn in both turns of the first battle round – maybe pinning units in place and killing more in melee is potentially huge. I think it is a game changer!

Now, we both agree the artifacts are, overall, a missed opportunity. Do we feel the same way about the command abilities? Any stand outs for you?

Patrick: The Command Abilities either stink or they’re amazing, and there isn’t a lot of in-between. Cult Demagogue providing a 1/6 chance of automatic casting without the ability to be unbound is incredible, and Arcane Sacrifice can seriously improve the function of your wizards early-game, since your opponent will generally want to deploy outside of the 18” danger zone. I personally don’t love the Daemon traits, they don’t seem to synergize well with what the units want to do outside of Arch-Sorcerer providing two extra known spells. (edited)

Outside of those, we are once again seeing a few abilities to improve the melee capabilities of your Arcanite units, which you will never take, and they wasted ink by putting them in the book. (edited)

Patrick: I’m interested in your thoughts on the matched play rules, particularly the grand strategies. I have some strong opinions, but maybe you can provide some counterpoints to my rage. (edited)

Danny : They’re undoubtedly strong. Maybe close or equal to the strongest of any book in 3e so far. Master of Destiny – ‘add the total value of your unused Destiny Dice – score the GS if they’re above 9’ is effectively guaranteed. The others are good, but why would you ever not take this one?

The battle tactics… Call for Change wants you to summon a LoC. In Summoners, with an obvious combo of Enhancements/units, you’ll be able to guarantee this on the appropriate turn at near zero risk. Mass Conjuration needs a wizard casts 3 spells that go off and aren’t unbound in a turn. You’re Tzeentch so this isn’t hard. Ninefold Dismantlemant asks you to kill a unit with 9 or more models, or a monster with 9+ wounds. This will be almost any unit, in reality, on the board. Reckless Abandon wants a moral more than 18″ from an enemy to complete a charge – bit naff but ways to get it done. And Tides of Anarchy wants you to take control of an objective from your opponent and have 9+ models within 6″ of it.

Now, as a DoK player I’ve heard plenty of salt about trivially easy to score battle tactics. They’re obviously one of the main vectors a book can become unbalanced along. And it’s pretty clear to see DoT are going to have an incredibly easy time of scoring 3-4 of their book tactics every game. Given I think the army plays the mission very well anyway, yeah I’m going to agree with your implication Patrick, these are over-tuned and almost impossible for your opponent to deny in most match ups.

Should we move onto the warscrolls? Who do you think are the biggest winners?

These guys hit hard now.

Patrick: The changes to Arcane Tome for the Fateskimmer and Fluxmaster are great. The security provided by a reroll alone is excellent, but adding 3 to the value of the second attempt makes most spells a guaranteed cast. The Blue ascribe is also an insanely flexible caster, and I expect we will see him used in most lists. The gaunt summoners created some rumblings over their new Lords of the Silver Towers ability, potentially one-shotting an enemy hero. The summoner has to survive the initial attacks to use the ability, however, and if an opponent can’t kill a Gaunt Summoner in one round then they deserve what’s coming.

I think Tzaangors Skyfires are going to show up a good bit, too. Their speed and flying makes them an excellent harassing unit, and the ability to ignore hit/wound penalties with their bows means they might pose a threat to more targets. Special shout out to Kairos Acolytes. I wouldn’t describe them as good, but Arcane Cataclysm made them pretty bad. The Battletome corrects all the changes, and leaves them pretty much identical to their 2e profile.

Danny: Agreed, Skyfires doing d3 mws on 6s combos nicely with Fate Dice, and I think a unit of 6 will be common given how reliably they can snipe off support heroes at range – their movement and relative durability make them excellent objective grabbers too. I think it’s fair to say everything that was already good, stayed good – including Screamers, even if they lost their extra damage to wizards, at 100 points and with their newly reliable combat profile, they’re fantastic value. In general, things got more consistent – especially flamers.

For me, the losers are Tzangors, on foot and Enlightened. I just don’t really get what they do now, aside from look pretty. I also nominate a fair few heroes – Curseling, the Ogroids, Tzaangor Shaman especially – as being highly uninteresting now. But overall, there are some serious buff bots here with plenty of fun and powerful rules. Be prepared to have many of your models turn into spawn…

Ok let’s wrap this up. I wanted to hold back my reaction to your competitive rating until now – and I think I agree. Some folks are bemoaning what the book has lost, but overall I think it contains board control (horrors, Sigil, fast cheap grabbers), extremely powerful magic, and A+/S tier matched play rules.

Weaknesses will be fast, aggressive armies and powerful shooting that can shut down their casting momentum. I predict it’ll take some time to bed in, but then we’ll absolutely see it taking down podiums but not reaching the heights of Nurgle, Seraphon or SCE – certainly not this season anyway.

Patrick: I completely agree. I expect that they will break the 55% win rate barrier. There are a handful of rules that they lost, but I think what they gained more than makes up for it. The only real complaint I have comes from me being an opponent rather than a player, but I don’t want to restate what I’ve already said. Overall, this is a great tome, and I think Tzeentch players have a lot to love.

And there you have it! Bird fans – agree, disagree, just want to talk about how good big birds are? Let us know in the comments, twitter or discord! We’d also love to know what you think of this review format. Don’t be shy now.

Orruk Warclans Battletome Review Part 1: Kruleboyz

Allegiance Abilities

Woehammer Winner:
No question here, it has to be the faction-defining ability that is Venom Encrusted Weapons. If the unmodified hit roll of an attack is 6, that attack does a number of mortal wounds equal to the damage characteristic of the weapon. A Shaman can change the unmodified hit roll to a 5 and if a unit is wholly within 12” of a Sludgeraker, then 6s (not 5s) are an extra mortal wound on top. If you lean as hard as possible into this with 9 Big Yellers Boltboyz then with your 19 shots, you can expect 15 mortal wounds straight off before you even get to the damage stage.

Honourable Mention:
Synergising well with Venom Encrusted Weapons is the Kruleboyz Waaagh. For all the output that this army has, it cannot take a punch at all with Gutrippas only having a 5+ save and Boltboyz only having a 6+. This is where the Kruleboyz Waaagh can help as you can call it once per game when you general is chosen to fight and two other friendly units can fight with your general in the order of your choice. Potentially this means that you can move towards your enemy, fire off a volley with two units of Boltboyz that are getting buffs on the Venom Encrusted Weapons from the Shaman and the Sludgeraker and then charge these two units along with the Sludgeraker. Even in combat, 6 Boltboyz have 12 attacks that should do 6 more mortal wounds on top of whatever they did in shooting. Add in the pretty great combat of the Sludgeraker on top and topping 30 mortal wounds from those three units in two phases is very realistic.


Woehammer Winner:
A few months ago, the winner would have been Big Yellers by a mile, but the simple deletion of the five words, “During the first battle round…” in the Grinnin’ Blades Warclan ability to take it from okay to great. It’s a total game-changer as it means that the Boltboyz can’t be sniped out by the enemy before getting to shoot. Now, with good screening, Boltboyz will be able to shoot back at (and probably cripple) anything moving close enough to attack the screen.

Honourable Mention:
In second place is Skulbugz…not really, they’re hopeless. Before Grinnin’ Blades, Big Yellers was the Big Dog due to two main features: Boltboyz can be battleline, removing the Troops tax of 540 points that Kruleboyz generals had to pay and, therefore, allowing Boltboyz to be taken in units of 9 so as to maximise the effectiveness of, for example, Unleash Hell. If there’s no shooting in your meta, then maybe Big Yellers is still the way to go, but with Daughters of Khaine Bowsnakes, Idoneth Turtles and Sharks and with Lumineth and Tzeentch coming shortly as of writing, my vote still goes with Grinnin’ Blades.

Command Traits

Woehammer Winner:

It’s a shame you can only take one command trait as all three of the Kruleboyz ones are pretty decent, with the winner being Supa Sneaky. Supa Sneaky allows you to infiltrate one Kruleboyz unit 9” away from an enemy unit immediately before determining who has first turn. A great combo with this command trait is a Breakaboss on Mirebrute Troggoth with the Fast ‘Un mount trait as you can place the Breakaboss 9” away and then move 5” in the hero phase (so no redeploy is possible) and smash face T1. This works best if you can outdrop your opponent, obviously, but even placing a screening unit of Hobgrots in your enemy’s face can really mess with their plans, especially to scupper plans of using Ironjawz Mighty Destroyer command ability (see below). Final point to make is that you can infiltrate but you don’t have to. Sometimes it’s best just to stay in your castle.

Honourable Mention:
A close second for command traits is Egomaniak, which allows the general to pass off wounds to a friendly unit on a 4+. While having quite a bit of output, the Sludgeraker isn’t the most robust hero ever, so being able to pass off wounds can help him last a bit longer, especially with the Smelly ‘Un mount trait to make him harder to hit. The recipient of these wounds can be any friendly unit, be it Hobgrots, Shootas allied in from Gitz or, for extra jank, into an Incarnate who will just soak those wounds up.


Woehammer Winner:
Sadly, it’s the Arcane Tome. Not only does this give an extra deny in a meta with lots of (Endless) spells, but the utility of a mystic shield on the Sludgeraker or the cast of Choking Mist to slow down your opponent can be key. You can even give it to the Breakaboss to put on Flaming Weapons on their clubs (this has been FAQd to be allowed).

Honourable Mention:
If you are going to take a faction-specific artefact, you’re probably taking Mork’s Eye Pebble for the once per game (really, GW?!) 5+ ward against shooting only for units wholly with 12” for the phase. With Grinnin’ Blades on the rise, this is less useful that what it was but if you’re taking a Mirebrute in a Command Entourage or a Warlord detachment (as you’re definitely taking a Sludgeraker in the commander slot of a Battle Regiment) then you may as well.

Mount Traits

Woehammer Winner:
With how slow the rest of the army is, Fast ‘Un is a great choice of mount trait, particularly in conjunction with your Sludgeraker moving into position for This One’s Mine as it is a hero phase move that prevents redeploys from your opponent. If you combine Fast ‘Un with Sneaky Miasma then that’s a 16” move in the hero phase that gives a threat range of 36” when considering the movement phase and charges. The only issue may be that your screens might be blocking your hero phase moves if you’ve gone with a Sludgeraker, so a Vulcha can get around this by flying over it.

Honourable Mention:
Smelly ‘Un is not only very appropriate from a lore perspective, but also combos very well with the command trait Egomaniak. If you manage to get off the Skareshields debuff from Gutrippas as well, add in Mystic Shield, Their Finest Hour and All out Defense, a pretty flimsy character is now -1 to hit from Smelly ‘Un and -1 to hit from Skareshields, meaning that All out Attack does nothing. They are on a 3+ save, ignoring up to Rend -2 due to the +3 to saves and anything that does go through can be passed off to a nearby unit on a 4+. If you really want to, you could also throw in an Amulet of Destiny for a 6+ ward as well before wounds are passed off.

Spell Lore

Woehammer Winner:

There are five good options for Kruleboyz, which is frustrating as most of the time it’s more efficient for Shamans to be giving out poison rather than casting and there are no casting bonuses available without making too big of a concession elsewhere. The winner is Sneaky Miasma, which allows a Kruleboyz monster (probably a Sludgeraker and/or a Rogue Idol) to move in the hero phase. Combined with Fast ‘Un and a normal move, even the relatively sedate Sludgeraker can move 24” and then charge another 12” or run another 6”. With the Grand Strategy picks below, this speed can be useful. If you go for a KillaBoss on Vulcha, this could be a whopping 42” before charging or running!

Honourable Mention:
With Nighthaunt on the rise and Daughters of Khaine being able to get to a 5+ ward then Nasty Hex is very handy. It can be particularly useful by the time a Shaman or a unit that would receive a buff is in combat as poisons or elixirs can’t be given out or received by units in combat. While the output if lower than with poison, taking away that ward save mostly balances that out.

Grand Strategies

Woehammer Winner:
If book Strategies and Battle Tactics are being used, then Waaagh! can be a potential winner as you just need to have your general or a friendly Battleline unit in your enemy’s territory at the end of the game. If you have Fast ‘Un on your general and Sneaky Miasma on a caster, one command point for auto-run can result in a 30” move by a Sludgeraker, which should be more than enough to cover the distance needed.

Honourable Mention:
If it’s GHB only for Strategies and Battle Tactics then Defend What’s Ours is a good choice as Kruleboyz are a castle army, even if you do need to be, to some extent, a (slow) mobile castle. Some battleplans are harder to do this with than others but at least half are do-able and your enemy can’t be in your territory if they’re dead!

Battle Tactics

Woehammer Winner:
Again, there is one good option in the book, which is Take Dat, Ya Suckers! This is achieved if you force your opponent to allocate 10 wounds or mortal wounds (i.e. after ward saves) and you allocate fewer than 10. If you’re not in combat and you have Boltboyz, this should be relatively straight forward and is a good choice for one of the first three rounds along with Against The Odds and Desecrate Lands.

Honourable Mention:
If you have chosen Big Yellers, then Boltboyz will be Battleline and Galletian Veterans, making Head-to-Head fairly straightforward, but assuming you’ve taken my advice and chosen Grinnin’ Blades, then Gaining Momentum is a good choice. Not only is killing a unit relatively straightforward with all of your output, the need to control more objectives will help encourage you forward as it’s very easy to hold back, stay in the castle, table your opponent…and lose as you only took objectives turn 4 or 5.


Woehammer Winner:

There is only one winner here and it’s not Boltboyz but the Swamp Donkey Derek himself, the Sludgeraker. From a combat perspective, the Sludgeraker is the gift that keeps on giving, with my opponents often looking aghast as the pile of mortal wounds builds up. If you double-down on the combat potential and give the Sludgeraker the Shaman poison buff then he’ll really go off. You can probably expect 10 mortal wounds across the attacks, with typical Kruleboyz spikes doing up to 15 mortal wounds from the first three attacks (if Flaming Weapons is also used). Some lists have been successful with 3 Sludgerakers and an Incarnate for literally monstrous output. However, on top of that, the Sludgeraker adds one to the number of mortal wounds caused on 6s whenever a unit attacks wholly within 12”, making it an auto-take for every Kruleboyz army.

Honourable Mention:
This is going to be Boltboyz isn’t it? Actually not! Maybe I’m being a little obtuse here as Boltboyz are really key units, but the next most important unit for winning games (not necessarily for killing your enemy) are Hobgrots. At 80 points each for ten grenades that hit on 4s, wound on 3s have rend -1 for 1 damage, they’re a bargain. They even roll a huge amount of dice in combat, even if they don’t end up doing much more than a wound on most occasions. The reason they are so good is that they die cheaply. Yes, Gutrippas have 2 wounds each and a 5+ save compared to 1 wound and a 6+ save, but on the table, two units of Hobgrots for 160 points are much more of a speed bump to an enemy that a single unit of Gutrippas for 180 points. They can also be in more places at once for scoring objectives.

Final Thoughts

At the time of writing, Kruleboyz are among the lowest performing three factions in the game with the other two (Gitz and Ogor Mawtribes) both due a 3rd edition book relatively soon. It does feel like there’s more to the model and unit range to come, e.g. where’s the light cavalry harassment unit that would fit well with the lore and what the hell is with Gutrippas being 180 points when Phoenix Guard are 170?! However, they do have a lot of tricks and are fun to play, particularly when the stars (or should that be swamps?) align and you spike the 6s with your Boltboyz, removing threats like Nagash or Alarielle or even Archaon in one phase or even one activation.

Next up will be Part 2 of 4 of the Orruks book, Kruleboyz bigger, meaner and more successful older brothers: Ironjawz.

Age of Sigmar – Sylvaneth Battletome Review

Limited Edition Sylvaneth Battletome
Limited Edition Sylvaneth Battletome

Sylvaneth have been a troubled faction for a while in Age of Sigmar – a beautiful but relatively small model range, endlessly tweaked faction terrain rules (and let’s not get started on transporting those wyldwoods) and almost all competitive lists lists built around the dominant ‘Warsong Bomb’ combo.

In no uncertain terms, the new book changes everything. That’s almost literally true. So without this review becoming a novel-length guide to the entire faction, I’m going to try and focus on the biggest changes and offer a broad perspective on what it looks like Sylvaneth are now, in terms of play-style, predicted strength overall, and the biggest winners/losers from the Tome.

A quick note on ordering, based on some learnings from our last Tome review. And we feel it actually makes sense to start with army abilities and sub-faction rules, before diving into units, then tackling Enhancements (so you can understand who they make sense on) before finishing up with the Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics.


Sylvaneth Battletome Review


Sylvaneth strike from the trees

There’s a crazy amount of synergy in this Battletome, and it all starts with and revolves around Places of Power.

Image taken from Warhammer Community

Start of a battle you pick 3 terrain features wholly outside enemy territory and they become ‘overgrown terrain features’. By default, each Sylvaneth unit within 9″ can regen 1 wound. Where it gets interesting is how this combines with all sorts of rules – but the next army rule is From The Woodland Depths, which has two main effects.

Image taken from Warhammer Community

The first is essentially the same as the old Walk the Hidden Paths allowing one unit wholly within 9″ to teleport to within 9″ either an overgrown terrain or wyldwood – with two provisos. Standard teleport rules apply (not within 9 of an enemy unit) and crucially, the terrain piece can’t be in engagement range of an enemy unit.

For the rest of the review we’ll refer to these combined teleporting restrictions as ‘Walking the Paths restrictions’. And we’ll use the shorthand ‘within terrain range’ to mean ‘wholly within 9″ of an overgrown terrain or awakened wyldwood’.

Overall this is more flexible than before but does mean a clever opponent can limit your teleporting options by careful positioning.

Image taken from Warhammer Community

The second effect is Strike and Fade, which is potentially huge, even if it requires some careful set up – once per turn, a Sylvaneth unit that has fought can immediately teleport, with Walking the Paths restrictions. This is potentially very tasty, allowing glass-hammer units to fight with impunity, or as a way to radically reposition a tanky slow unit, etc etc – I expect we’ll all be having lots of fun with this one.

Finally, Verdant Blessing remains, unchanged – a cast 6, 18″ spell to summon a wyldwood outside of 3″ of the usual objects.

A really tactical and interesting new addition are Seasons of War, which you can essentially think of as modifiers to the terrain rules, and therefore apply to units wholly within 9″ unless stated otherwise. These are added to your list, and you obviously just pick the one.

The Burgeoning gives units that didn’t charge a Ward of 6. Can’t complain. The Reaping adds 3″ to the terrain effect range – probably really useful given the average big base size of sylvaneth units, and allows you a bit more latitude. In many ways I can see this being my go to, as being slightly outside of ‘wholly within’ could ruin a whole turn’s worth of shenanigans.

The Dwindling allows for a hero phase re-roll of 1 cast, 1 unbindand 1 dispel – as in, 1 of each. Obviously strong given how good Sylvaneth magic is. Lastly, Everdusk reduces terrain effect range by 3″ but in exchange you get exploding 6s to hit in melee. I feel like the 6″ range is going to be too restrictive for this to be reliable, but you’ll see that there are a few ways to make certain units count as overgrown, which does make this more flexible than it appears at first glance.

Overall, I love these rules, they’re easy to remember, are all upside, and give you a meaningful tactical layer.


Glades return (obviously) but follow the 3rd edition paradigm of being streamlined and fluffy. And good!

Oakenbrow makes Treelords battleline and for bracketing purposes you halve the damage taken by all of the biggest trees – so also Treelord Ancient and Durthus. Durthi? In the new GHB meta, this is an interesting option to avoid giving up extra damage against your battleline units and allows you to lean into a tanky Ent list, which is awesome for obvious reasons.

Gnarlroot remains the magic pick of choice, allowing a once per turn cast on 3d6 removing one dice while in terrain range. Given some of our spells get better with higher values, this combined with the potential re-roll from Dwindling could be very nice.

Heartwood sees a big change – now it makes Kurnoth battleline, and allows you to pick 3 enemy units that your whole army gets +1 to hit against. This is a great CP saver and even though, as you’ll see, I’m not totally sold on Kurnoth Bows, it means they could make sense as MSU in this Glade.

Ironbark now gives you a command ability usable on a unit in engagement range of an enemy that has charged – on a 2+ that unit suffers d3 mws. A nice punishment for daring to charge your lovely stickmen – and here’s the kicker – it can be used multiple times, but not on the same enemy unit. Obviously fairly useless against horde units but the chance to kill a mid-wound model and deny its attacks could add up over the course of the game – overall, I think this is too niche to be taken competitively.

Winterleaf leans intro a control playstyle, and prevents enemy units from falling back. And if combined with Everdusk (which is a cool combo, and kind of a shame the others don’t offer a combined effect) that unit also can’t be removed – as in, they can’t be teleported somehow away either. Teleporting shenanigans are becoming more prevalent in the game so this is (situationally) more useful than it first appears.

Dreadwood plays clearly into Spite-revenants – making them battleline and allowing you to use Walk the Paths and/or Strike and Fade twice but with the proviso that one of those times it must be Spite-revs. I can’t really think of a reason this isn’t the weakest Glade going, but, y’know, if you really love Spite-revs and want to play more of a horde Sylvaneth, this is how you do it.

Harvestboon allows EACH unit of the new flying cavalry to make a pre-game move of 12″ – and they’re battleline in it. You will see that Spite-riders have a strike first effect, meaning if you can fit into a one drop, this Glade allows you to set up an alpha strike of as many bug cavalry as you want, all fighting before any enemy unit can retaliate. Risky but potentially hilarious!


Sylvaneth are a faction who’ve always had a pretty great time with magic, and it’s better than ever now.

Throne of Vines (casting value 9) heals 1 wound to the caster at the end of each phase until next hero phase – so a minimum of 6 and a max of 12! It’s a ‘heal over time’ so you trade immediacy for reliability. At CV 9 it’s a great candidate for using the Vesperal Gem on (more on that below).

Regrowth (18″ – cv 5) heals d6.

Dwellers Below (12″ cv 7) rolls a dice per model in a unit and does mws on a 5+. Could be fun now we’re more likely to see more, bigger units in general. As you will see, there are similar spells you can combo this with to potentially decimate big units – although part of me would like to see a little variation in effects, and something more targeted towards smaller units.

Deadly Harvest (3″, cv 6) does d3 mws to each unit in range. Not amazing but fine for combat-casters, of which we have a couple.

Image taken from Warhammer Community

Verduous Harmony (18″, cv 7) brings back a model to a unit, or d3 models to tree/spite revs or dryads. See a healing theme emerging yet?

Treesong (16″, cv 7) is a great new spell that gives any unit in terrain range but specifically of wyldwoods an extra rend. Shame it’s not any terrain, but still potentially very strong, as in the right situations you could improve the rend of multiple units at once with this.

Overall, it’s a useful, fluffy and powerful lore with some fun effects. At first glance it seems like it wants you to lean into big, tanky, multi-wound units to make the most from it.


I’m over the moon with what GHB22 is doing for endless spells in general and Sylvaneth’s fall in line, offering some excellent, highly synergistic effects at a new bargain price that means *gasp* you will actually use them.

Spiteswarm Hive (40 pts) got brought in line with 3e rules but still rocks – you choose between two effects, each applying to one unit wholly within 9″ in the hero phase – +3″ to move and charge or reduce rend by 1. Buut both go off on a 2+, annoyingly again – you’ve already paid the points, summoned the spell…and it can still fail on you? Bogus!

Gladwyrm (50 pts) is the same but well costed now – d3 mws on a 3+ to owt within 1″ AND heals d6 on a 3+. Get that in the mix and it will add tonnes of value to a melee.

Skullroot (60 pts), one of the damn coolest looking endless spells in the game, adds d3 units to a failed battleshock test AND, when it flies (8″) over an enemy unit, and any unit within 1″ of the tree, it does d3 on a 2+, or d6 if that unit is within 6″ of a wyldwood. There are plenty of opportunities for enemies to be near wyldwoods, but even if they’re not, this has clear and obvious value.

I mean, you’d be tempted to take all 3 right?

Sylvaneth Battletome Review
Sylvaneth Lady of Vines


Heck, there’s an awful lot to cover here. Lots of varied stat lines, abilities, and huge changes to the old book. Again, we’ll keep this high-level – don’t want to miss the wood for the trees – (SORRY I HAD TO) in the interests of not just transcribing the entire book.

Let’s start the A-mama herself, the Beetle-Queen, Ol’ Thunder Thighs, Alarielle. She’s good now – potentially really good – but with provisos. Talon of the Dwindling, Swirling Glowspites and her spell, Metamorphosis remain the same, but Lifebloom has seen a crucial glow up – now, after she’s been killed, she comes back on a 6+battle round number, but you only get one attempt so choose when to try it wisely. She’s got a great 1 shot 2/2/-2/6 bracketing shooting attack, and the beetle horns are decent in melee.

Alarielle the Everqueen

Sylvaneth Battletome Review
Alarielle the Everqueen

The other great new addition to her scroll is a once per game ‘turn everything into Overgrown’, which obviously has big synergy implications.

Basically, Alarielle does a little bit of everything now, and seems very viable to me as a lynchpin piece that operates in all phases. If she gets shot off turn 1 by pesky Stormfiends or what have you, at least she can now come back to play in the later rounds.

A big investment at 840 – but if you subtract the cost of the best unit she can summon, that’s more like 590. You’ll need to build your list around her, but a very pleasing glow up from her previous incarnation. Difficult to gauge whether she’ll be competitively viable – 16 wounds on a 3+ with no built-in after-save can still be liquified by plenty of things without too much effort – but I think with careful use she can contribute meaningfully to a list.

Sylvaneth Lady of Vines 

Sylvaneth Battletome Review
The Lady of Vines

Her (strong independent literally used to be her)right hand – The Lady of Vines – is an exciting alternative. A good, tanky wizard who can chip damage at range and hold her own against smaller stuff in melee, her main incentives are a once per game Dryad summon – although it’s super frustrating to me that it goes off on a 2+ and is therefore guaranteed to fail when you really need it – and a 12″, CV 7 spell to give an aura of a 5+++, which is potentially huge. She also counts as Overgrown terrain but with a 9″ range, allowing her to be a mobile, much-cheaper alternative to her ‘mum’.

Drycha remains largely unchanged, functioning as a harassment piece who buffs spite-revenants with a +1 to their wound rolls. But I still don’t see why you’d ever really want to run them even with that. She still offers plenty on her own merits, as a mixed range, 1 cast wizard with a super swingy warscroll spell that does MWs based on the difference between your roll and their leadership. Her notable strength is the ability to double either her melee or ranged output to 20 attacks, and fish for mws on 6s, which means flexibility, good horde clearing potential, and a potentially great Unleash Hell candidate. Hard to see how the tree-mech competes with the more specialised Big Trees, but her versatility and speed (9″) does mean she’s nice and flexible.

Warsong Revenant also remains pretty much the same, losing his knowledge of the whole lore but remaining a very potent wizard (the only straight source of +1 to cast) with 2 casts and his great warscroll spell, rolling dice equal to the casting roll and doing mws on 5+. The 4 up ward will keep him hanging around, and as you will see, there are plenty of Enhancements that will find a great home in him. He also has a 12″ +1 bravery to friendlies and -1 to enemies aura which, weirdly, kinda combos well with Drycha’s warscroll spell – and also the Skullroot. Bravery buffs are always welcome too as a way to just avoid having to use Inspiring Presence.

The Arch Revenant gained a huge ability, and nothing else on his scroll is worth a damn, including his melee output – but it doesn’t matter. He now gives +1 wound to Kurnoth (ANY attack) within 12″, and has a CA to give one unit of them +1 attack. If you take any Kurnoth – who, spiler alert, are now amazing – you’d be mad not to bring him too. A fantastic buff piece now with another 4+ ward to help him survive sniping attempts.

Durthu remains a beat-stick – in the truest sense of the term! Well, more of a beat-wood but that has its own problems…. anyway, he’s the big melee hero. The main change to him is that his ‘fight last’ ability now counts as a unique monstrous action BUT goes off on a 3 now. So less swingy, but unfortunately means you can no longer try to do it twice with two Durthus. Still great overall as he dishes out the damage, walks the spirit paths himself (so freeing up the generic version) and gets an extra attack for being in terrain range.

Sylvaneth Battletome Review

The Treelord Ancient is basically unchanged, which isn’t exciting, but his once per game auto-wyldwood has bigger implications before due to our improve army rules, and he’s the tankiest wizard yet – bar Alarielle – who is no slouch in melee with a few -1 d2 and 2 -2 rend 3d attacks.

The generic Treelord is also largely the same, buuuut has one really cool new ability called ‘Lash and Tangle’ – if he hits something in melee, it can’t pile in. So, charge him into the ‘end’ of an enemy unit so only one of them is in weapon range of him, fight, dish out a fair bit of hurt – and boom, only 1 or 2 can slap back. Against a bigger unit, this is potentially HUGE if you position him right.

The Branchwych remains unremarkable save for having the Warsong’s spell and basically being our cheapest wizard. Which isn’t a bad thing to be in such an elite army – unexciting but fills a role, so can’t complain.

Gossamids! Much has been made of their d3 mortals on 6s to hit ability but, with 2 shots each, that’s 2 mws on average and not much else on top given they have no rend. They exist, frankly, to be an annoying screen, with their ability to fly away on a 2+ after Unleashing Hell – again, guaranteeing them to hover in place when you most need them to buzz away. They’re also flimsy, and will die to almost anything with so much as a rock to throw. I’m not saying they’re bad – against predominantly melee armies, the ability to fly up, do a few lucky MWs, move-block and fly ‘safely’ away once charged could be very annoying. But at 220…it seems like a big risk to me.

Sylvaneth Gossamids

Sylvaneth Battletome

OK, let’s talk ‘true’ battleline: Tree Revenants, and their woodier counterparts, the Drayds. The Revs have 2 wounds each now but still die to a mean look. Their Tree cousins teleport still (which is always useful and a great scoring vector) and get a free All Out A/D which is fine. Dryads picked up a -1 to hit and -1 wound while within terrain range, which is kinda funny and could make for a frustrating screen, but they do literally nothing else other than hope for cold rolls from your opponent. And require careful positioning – a big blob could be nice but fitting it wholly within terrain range makes it much less appealing.

Spite Revenants, if you were paying attention in the Glades section, are no longer ‘true’ battleline. And they still don’t excite me, with 6s to hit doing a mortal and 3 attacks each, that’s 2 MWs (and again, not much else) per activation. Now, there are ways to situationally buff them a fair bit by adding rend while near a terrain, but in all honesty, the amount of set up required to make them put out meaningful stats is going to be too difficult or unfavourable in the vast majority of circumstances. They’re kinda cheap though and worth running if you want lots of little bodies accompanying Drycha. Maybe.

Sylvaneth Spite Revenants

Kurnoth of all variety fare much better, and frankly are going to be hard not to take. Scythes points went up to match swords at 250, and do -3(!) rend for 2D. Swords get -1 but do their 2d on 6s to hit. Bows, bafflingly, still hit on 4s but have flat 2 damage and are slightly cheaper. So you have some tactical decisions to make – for my points, bows are out in the cold at the moment as you’re paying a large premium for how tanky they are – which is great for swords/scythes who are also standing there on objectives dishing out pain. But statistically the bows do very little without some buffing and support – and while useful for MAYBE sniping out a support hero, there are just much better ways in the book to do that.

Also, all flavours of ‘Noth have an updated ‘Envoys’ ability – when the ‘Noth is contesting an objective, they make friendly units in objective range also count as being within 6″ of terrain. More mobile synergy!

The new Bug Cavalry are also wonderful. Tanky, fast, and they hit hard with a good number of attacks, -2 for both with the Seekers having d2. The main difference is the Spite-Riders have fight first, while the Seekers can revive something with up to 5 wounds on a 2+. So yep, chances are they can bring back a Kurnoth model per turn, per unit. Both flavours heal their own models back to full health if they kill a model, have a 6″ pile in and rally on a 5+. So they’re survivable, flexible, hit decently hard and fill a niche Sylvaneth were otherwise sorely lacking. Very impressive unit.

Sylvaneth Bug Cavalry

Sylvaneth Battletome Review

Overall, a huge glow up, which was expected. There’s speed, tankiness, some good reliable output and a number of fun plays. There are some outright swings and misses – Spite Revs, Dryads – and some situationally good but too costly (and therefore risky), like Gossamids and maaaaaaybe Alarielle – or that require maybe too much set up (Dryads…again) and potentially Treelords. But I think overall there’s multiple viable lists in here.


Gnarled Warrior makes your save unable to be modified, up or down. Obviously application on a 3+ Durthu or such! Lord of Spites reduces a unit’s attacks by 1 if it finishes a pile in within engagement of the hero – another great way to boost survivability. They’re both good, but Warsinger might be even better – adding 3″ to units within 12″ of the hero at the start of movement phase. Combine with Spiteswarm for 11″ move Kurnoth with a 10″ average charge, don’t mind if I do.

Wizard traits also run hot – Nurtured by Magic heals a unit d3 wounds within 18″ on a successful cast. Certainly not a bad incidental source of healing. Potentially HUGE is Warsinger, allowing a wyldwood to be where you measure the effect of a spell from – yeah, any wyldwood. This allows you to potentially be in spell range from turn 1, punish people trying to block your teleports, and all sorts – really interesting plays available here. Radiant Spirit ignores spell effects on a 4+, which seems more niche to me but is still a good counter to magic heavy armies if you pop this on a Treelord Ancient or you really want to ensure your Warsong remains alive and kicking, etc.

Hero wizards get Acorn of the Ages for an auto-wood within 12″. Luneth Lamp gives a wizard the option to banish an invocation with +2 to the roll – this is massively niche! Why you would ever take this unless you’re playing a casual grudge match against your invocation loving friend, I don’t know. Unless it’s a sign we’re somehow entering an invocation meta…. Preventing this page from being a complete waste of a dryad is the returning Vesperal Gem, allowing a once per turn auto-cast that can’t be unbound, but a 1 on a d6 roll does d3 mws to the user.


Sylvaneth artefact, Luneth's Lamp. Add 2 to the roll when the bearer attempts to unbind an endless spell.

Other heroes can choose from Greenwood Gladius, which adds d3 attacks to a melee weapon. I can the whispers of ‘Durthu’ on the wind…. Crown of Fell Bowers picks a unit within 6″ and gives all units +1 wound against it. This would be decent if it was just the hero, but all units? Nice! Seed of Rebirth rolls a d6 when the hero dies – on a 2+ they survive with d3 wounds and all other damage negated. With all the healing Sylvaneth has access to, this could be huge on a chonky hero.


Topline, most of these are unfortunately a bust, which is frustrating given the design space and the fact the forthcoming GHB Tactics all seem harder to pull off on average. Factor in the book’s lack of good Galletian Vet candidates and it feels like Sylvaneth have been a bit short changed in terms of scoring potential, at least in the short term.

Grand Strategy wise, it’s tempting to just write ‘bin’ and move on, but in the interests of being thorough… Chorus of the Woodlands asks you to complete 4 battle tactics from the Sylvaneth list. You’ll see why I don’t think that’s very doable shortly. Vengeance and Spite wants you to kill the enemy general with an Outcasts keyword unit – so, Spite-revenants or Drycha. Urm. That’s not going to be terribly easy. Drycha could do it, but if the general is any kind of monster, she’s not doing it alone, which means a big game as you will have to soften it just the right amount with other units for her to finish it off.

Baffling that they’d hinge a whole Strategy on a keyword only two units have. Baffling and aggravating. Roots of victory tasks you with having a wyldwood in each corner of the board, and there being no enemy units with 6″ of them. This feels more doable but also like a huge win-more strategy, as it basically implies you will have almost complete board control. Thematic but hugely risky for so many obvious reasoons.

Massive let down.

Battle tactics fare slightly better. Eradicate Trespassers wants an enemy unit within 6″ of a wyldwood to die. With good positioning, there should be plenty of times in a game the enemy can’t help but be in range for this, so overall it’s nearly as bankable as ‘bring it down’ or ‘broken ranks’ used to be, perhaps better in some ways as it’s any kind of unit.

Harness the Spirit Paths requires a unit to use From The Woodland Depths (i.e. teleport to a terrain piece) and successfully make a charge. Now, charges of 9″ are far too risky, so I don’t like it – unless you have a Spiteswarm Hive set up, in which case your charge is now a re-rollable 6″ – much more doable.

Balance the Cycle wants you to kill a unit within 12″ of a terrain piece by a unit added to your army that turn – which basically means you’ll need Alarielle to summon Kurnoth or a Treelord, and for them to make a 9 incher – in this instance Spiteswarm doesn’t help because it picks a unit end of hero phase and Alarielle summons end of movement. I guess you could summon in 3 bow hunters and plink the last couple of wounds off a weak unit – otherwise this is a massive gamble.

March of the Forest Lords is, thank god, another sensible one. Kill an enemy monster with one of your Big Trees. All of which are good – but Durthu is obviously a beast, so this one goes some way to making amends for the others.

Unleash Ghyran’s Wrath needs a wizard you pick to kill a unit with a spell or endless spell. Given, as I mentioned before, that none of the Sylvaneth spells are really reliable single-target damage, this isn’t super bankable. However, plenty of our wizards have casting bonuses and multi-casts – so Warsong using Unleash Spites, having a Gladewyrm or Skullroot kicking around from the last turn and another spell/Arcane Bolt means you may have a few chances to finish off the last few wounds needed to score this.


There’s a lot to take in here. Having noodled on it all for a few days, I think the book’s strengths lie in tanky, reliable damage units that have surprising mobility – but the best combos in the book require a lot of careful positioning and over-lapping failable effects – i.e. there’s a risk one part of your plan falls through and ruins the synergy.

It’s also a really expensive book – and even though on average the costs are fair, it makes list-building a challenge because of not many smaller costs that can slot into the gaps between 300+ models/units.

A corollary of that is it’s another highly elite army. Heartwood offers the chance to take battleline that doesn’t give up additional damage against them from the new GHB Bounty Hunters battalion, but it also means it doesn’t place super nicely with some of the keyword scoring opportunities. And in general, if you wanted to run a more horde or infantry based list, in light of GHB 22, your options are severely limited – in competitive reality, I’d go so far as to say, limited to zero.

However, I’m bullish on the book in the long term. It’s flexible and non-linear – Enhancements seem varied and have plenty of candidates for them, the book can lean into magic dominance, pure anvil lists, hyper-mobility and alpha strikes, or leafy, synergistic death stars.

If nothing else, for existing Sylvaneth players, it feels like the first time in many years the faction feels like it should. And I woodn’t trade that for the world.

What do you think of the Tome? Got any thoughts on combinations that we may have missed? How will the Sylvaneth slot into the current meta?

Age of Sigmar – Daughters of Khaine Battletome Review

Many players have asked, ‘why Daughters of Khaine, and why now?’ – and who knows! Especially given not much has changed.

Daughters of Khaine (DoK) are an army of slithering and/or bikini clad glass hammers – ruled over by everyone’s favourite double-act, Morathi and The Shadow Queen. DoK enjoyed a period of dominance, largely thanks to their patented ‘Morathi and the Bow Snakes’ list, predicated on double-shooting 15 bows, with mortals on 6s – earning approving nods from Longstrikes.

For at least the latter half of 3e however, they’ve been hanging on in there but rarely wrapping their tails around that trophy. The question is, how can they be made more reliably competitive, while radically improving their internal balance, with a relatively small unit roster and while following the 3e tradition of clamping down on re-rolls, something they relied heavily upon?


A quick proviso, I’m not going to bother comparing what has and hasn’t changed the entire way through –  but most of the Traits, and Artifacts have, even if they kept the same name. So if you’re a returning player familiar with the old book, I encourage you to read on – I’ll call out when a unit is largely the same!

Read on to get the WOOT! (Woehammer opinion of Tome!)

Let’s start with a high level hypothesis, so that the rest of this review is contextualised. Overall, I think the new book is a slight diagonal-grade. I think DoK have the tools to podium again, without being broken, with better (but still not perfect) internal balance. There are however, some missed opportunities and some ever so slightly concerning trends.

Old DoK players who were happy with where things stood will have a good time with this. It should be pretty accessible for new players too. But I also think it’s launching into a fairly hostile meta. All that said, let’s dive in.


Overall, the new and improved battle traits fit the bill – they allow you to slither or dance quickly into a good krump, even if they don’t set the world on fire creatively.

Blood Rites is the same idea, but without re-rolls as per the 3rd edition crack down. The following battle traits are all clearly aimed at combining with it, and there are plenty of options throughout the book to accelerate it. And I mean, it works. It’s functional. I feel like +1s to stuff is a nice way to not rely so much on CP, but it’s also just basic – and there are plenty of armies whose main battle traits are highly effective from battle round 1 or 2, so I don’t love the philosophy of playing around the timing of it, or leaning into various combos just so that it IS effective from turn 1 – but on the other hand, it does give you some flexibility with how the trigger-timings of your list.

Battle Fury is a heroic action that a non-monster can carry out, adding 2 attacks to all melee weapons used by that hero until the end of the turn. More attacks the better, and there are some heroes that benefit a lot from this – you’ll just have to time it right with Finest Hour, but it’s a good option to have in a pinch.

All-Out Slaughter triggers when you pick a unit to fight in the combat phase, and gives them exploding 6s. Does what it says on the tin, and obviously once you’re onto Rite 3 (+1 to hit) you don’t need All Out Attack anyway. Pop this on Morathi, a reinforced blob of Blood Sisters of Aelves and watch the sparks fly.

Fanatical Faith is a ward of 6. Better than nothing (just).




The command traits in this book are collectively one of the highlights, with a few things that allow you to really juice a favourite hero and affect the battle in meaningful ways. Most of them, however, we’ve seen before – and I do wish armies would get some more unique traits overall.

I’ve ordered these in order of my favourites first.

Zealous Orator rallies on a 4+. That’s big. Ardboyz have it conditionally, Fyreslayers got it, and now DoK have it – a 15 blob of bow sneks? A 30 blob of Aelves? Prime, prime targets.

Fuelled by Revenge allows Melusai Ironscale a once per battle, +1 attack to Melusai melee weapons within 12″ – not hard to guess the application of.

Sacrificial Overseer lets a general fight again, after killing a model, and after the unit it’s engaged with has fought back. Useful on smaller heroes you’ve chucked into chaff for finishing off a unit, or on a (well, the only) bigger one to go much harder into tougher targets.

Arcane Mastery teaches the general all the Lore. It’s a great lore – even though DoK lack great casters. It gives you flexibility though, which is powerful.

Bathed in Blood gives a general a wound back after killing a model – too niche for my tastes but it makes that ‘one big hero’ (have you guessed it yet?) potentially a lot tankier.

Master of Poisons procs on a wound allocated to a model – and does d6 additional mortals to it. Fits the name, but swingy, and therefore sub-par.

True Believer is +1 to Rites. Fairly useless on most heroes really. I guess if you really want to get a hero repeatedly stuck in, it could be useful, just seems to me all the above alternatives either have more utility or raw strength. Prove me wrong though!


Artefacts can potentially change a hero’s role, help spike their output, or otherwise combo interestingly with a Trait, or otherwise. In theory. Unfortunately for DoK, theirs are boring, if relatively useful.

This time in no particular order, because I wasn’t enthused enough to pick a favourite.

DoK generic heroes

When Bloodbane Venom causes a wound that doesn’t kill a model, a roll of =/+ the model’s Wounds Characteristic kills it. Vaguely useful against heavily armoured but low-ish wound stuff like Annihilators, or getting luck against a Blightking I guess.

The Crone Blade gives one weapon the ability to heal 1 wound on a hit roll of 6. At this point, I’m just going to say it – most DoK heroes aren’t going to stick around long if they don’t immediately kill whatever they’re fighting, so gaining a few wounds here and there back feels niche. Apart from… the the one big hero – the Cauldron!

Slightly more interesting is the Crown of Woe, which prevents Rally or Inspiring Presence within 9″, or 15″ for rest of the battle once the hero kills a model. Potentially devastating AND, finally, something that can work without chucking the bearer into combat.

Rune of Khaine is a ‘fight on death’ effect. Great…so long as you die in melee.

DoK wizards

The Crystal Heart doubles the range an endless spell can be cast at. If the DoK endless spells were better, this would be great. But they aren’t, so it’s not. Because James Workchap largely refuses to make one of the coolest things about AoS reliably usable. But hey if you really want to pop that Viper up in someone’s face, here’s how you do it.

Aside from sounding like a long-fringed metalcore band, Sevenfold Shadows allows a once per battle teleport. Useful if you’re not playing Khailebron, while Shadow Stone is +1 to cast Lore of Shadows spells. Useful, but uninspired.


Priests are hugely important to DoK. So it stands to reason they only get a choice of two unique artefacts. The Blood Sigil learns ya an extra prayer. The prayers are good! Whereas the Khainite Pendant is a once per game auto-answer. DoK have a lot of pendants, sigils, stones and assorted gew-gaws knocking around, huh?



So about those prayers I mentioned. These are mostly unchanged, which makes sense because by and large, they’re bangers – less ‘prayers’ and more ‘blood-curdling celebrations of gore’, but hey. I think with the new internal balance, there’s a little less a reliance on certain prayer combos, but they’re still at the heart of the army.

Catechism of Murder is the exploding 6s prayer you know and love.

EDIT/CORRECTION: Blessing of Khaine is currently in need of a bit of an FAQ – well, hopefully, otherwise it’s not great. The problem is, it currently reads ‘re-roll Fanatical Faith rolls’, i.e. your Ward of 6. But does Rite 5 IMPROVE your Fanatical Faith ward? Not currently as written. So does Blessing aim to re-roll your Ward save, just your Fanatical Faith roll, and/or does Rite 5 IMPROVE the ward or simply GIVE you a ward of 5. Grrrr.

Martyr’s Sacrifice gives each model in a unit the ability to do a MW on a 5+ upon dying in melee. Useful in a big blob of double-reinforced Aelves, if you really plan on them dying rather than killing… Crimson Rejuvenation heals d3 – big woop. Covenant of the Iron Heart auto-passes battleshock for when you really don’t want to save a CP for it – very handy in actuality if you’re leaning into the bikini-horde which this book definitely makes viable. And finally Sacrament of Blood gives +1 to the Rites table to a unit with an Answer of 3 – strong, for obvious reasons.


The spells are unchanged, rightfully so – this is a highlight of the faction – everything has a distinct use, and affects the game in a meaningful way. See, they know how to do it!

Steed of Shadows goes off on a 6 and makes the caster fly and move 16″. Pit of Shades pops on a 6, range 18″, picks an enemy unit and rolls 2d6 – difference between the roll and their move characteristic does mortals. Mirror Dance dings on a 6, 18″, picks 2 DoK heroes outside of engagement range and swaps them. The Withering procs on a 7, 18″, puts +1 to wound rolls on an enemy unit. Any attacks! This is stronk as it can improve Bow sneks, or allow multiple units to pile in and take down something juicy while you wait for the Blood Rites to catch up. Mindrazor – everyone’s favourite – dings on an 8 (so, risky with not many casting bonuses), 18″, gives a friendly unit +1 rend and additionally, +1 damage to melee weapons if you charged. Finally, Shroud of Despair gets jiggy on a 4 at 18″ and subtracts 1 from a unit’s bravery or d3 on a cast of 8+.  This could combo very nicely with Crown of Woe for battleshock shenanigans!

A lovely set of spells and I wish that kind of balance was present in some of the other sections.


Some fairly chunky changes here. Overall, a decent balance of competitive options with a few of your typical ‘what were they thinking’ moments thrown in just to temper your enthusiasm. As a general trend, sub-factions are pretty interesting in 3rd edition – and while none of these are bad per se, there are a few here that feel very uninspired.

Khailebron gives you access to a command at the end of movement phase and allows a unit to teleport. Teleportation is frankly super useful in a game of objectives – both defensively, offensively and for objective play. Want to deploy your bow sneks way back and teleport them up into range? Get something within charge range (preferably once the +1 charge Rite has kicked in)? Quickly screen something or help score Savage Spearhead, etc, all potential scoring applications. It also makes Shadowstalkers battleline, although why you’d want to take more than 1 unit of them is beyond me (you’ll see why)

The Kraith allows a Sisters of Slaughter (who are good now) unit to fight again on a 4+, with the strike-last effect applied, so they can’t fight twice in a row. Swingy, sure, but if you’re leaning into bikinki-aelves and running multiple squads of them AND charging multiple times, you could get a lot of value from this. But make no mistake – this hugely relies on bigger blobs of them, otherwise you’re not going to have a unit left after the enemy unit slaps back.

Zainthar Kai lets a Melusai unit fight on death. What, you want me to analyse that? Obviously it makes Melusai battleline too.

Hagg Nar adds 1 to the Rites chart. Simples! It also lets you include 1 Cauldron of Blood in addition to your behemoth limit, for some reason.

Draichi Ganeth improves the rend of both flavours of bikini aelf by 1 if they charged. Stack that with a Gladiatrix and Mind Razor and they can hit rend 3 – which is frankly brutal. This sub-fac also ups the reinforcement cap of Aelves by 2 (so you can include an additional reinforced or double reinforced unit) and your (power?) fantasies about flooding the table with murderous, lethal Morathi’s Secret models can finally come true. 

Khelt Nar (don’t exactly roll off the tongue some of these do they?) allows any unit to retreat and charge. Not my favourite but frankly, this is occasionally going to be clutch, especially against tar-pit armies or unfavourable engagements. It definitely has play even if it doesn’t jump off the page at you.


There’s obviously the potential here to get really into the weeds. So instead of describing every part of every warscroll, i’m going to pull out the most interesting bits.

THE SHADOW QUEEN is more or less unchanged. She slaps, and her damage table got upgraded to 6 being the first threshold. If you didn’t know, her gimmick is you can only do 3 wounds to her MAX per turn – but she can’t heal. Interestingly, you could probably compete without her now, but I’m not sure i would trust anyone who left her at home.

Most of the on-foot heroes remain very similar. But they all have a little more utility because of the other changes. I think Melusai Ironscale risks getting  edged out since you don’t need her to make Sisters battleline. Her melee damage cap is 12 – not great with only Rend 1. The reason you take her is her command ability – to let a Melusai unit run and charge/shoot – and at 115 points, she’s takeable.

Morgwaeth finally got the true Underworlds treatment and got made redundant.

Shall we talk about the One Big Hero? The Shrine – and its various combinations. It got a LOT better. Try and bear in mind those past hints I made – you’ll see the synergies on offer here.

Firstly, the configurations are as before – the Cauldron ridden by the Bloodwrack Medusa on her own, or with one of either the Hag Queen or Slaughter Queen and the Avatar riding shotgun with either Queen. It’s a fun modular approach you don’t really see elsewhere – each hero retains the same abilities on foot, but on the Cauldron become way more durable and and therefore much better platforms for many of the above enhancements – overall I’d say the book pushes hard for you to take some version of what I’m now calling the Bloodwagon. The wagon’s base abilities are +1 to chanting (huge), an impact hit (standard 2+ for d3) and Bloodshield, a +1 save aura tied to the damage table, and starting at 18″.

Personally, I think the Slaughter Queen variant is the spiciest. This combo gains the Pact of Blood ability not found elsewhere, which is an unbind attempt. The Slaughter Queen herself brings two abilities to the table…well, cauldron – Orgy of Slaughter, a her phase CA with a 3″ range that allows a unit to fight.

Yep, this thing can fight in the hero phase. Is it any good at fighting? The mounted Avatar (who retains these same stats on foot as above) swings 4 times for 3/3/-2/3 – a good start. The Slaughter Queen brings 4 attacks at 3/3/-1/d3, and it’s topped off by the attendant aelves with 8 (bracketing) 3/4/-/1. Individually, none of that sets the world on fire, but it adds up – and at 13 wounds, albeit on a 5+ save, you actually have the ability to tank a round of attacks from plenty of stuff, meaning the fight-in-hero-phase ability will actually see play, and if it helps you finish something off, being able to then reposition defensively or set up for another charge is potentially huge.

So pop Bathed In Blood on it and so long as you’re fighting units rather than single/very small elite units, you could easily get a bunch of wounds back, in up to two phases per (your) turn. Sacrificial Overseer suddenly seems great – imagine finishing off a unit in your hero phase, charging two units at the same time, then getting to fight twice in the following combat. Crone Blade and Rune of Khaine could be brutal on this platform. Exactly how you pimp your ride is up to you but there are definitely some fun options here.

But I saved the best for last. The Slaughter Queen’s second ability, Dance of Doom, answers on a 3 (2 while on the blood wagon) and applies strike-first. Now we rollin’!!

The Hag Queen instead has Witchbrew, another source of +1 to Rites, and Touch of Death, a 3 answer prayer for d3 wounds to a unit within engagement range. Unless you’re really playing to Blood Rites acceleration combos, you can see why I prefer the Slaughter Queen – even though she’s 315 compared to Hag Wagon’s 270.

The Bloodwrack Medusa is your budget wagon pick at 200, or 130 on her own – a 1 cast, 2 unbind hero whose real value is a source of +1 Rites for Melusai and a nice spell (5 – 18″) for minus 1 to melee wounds for an enemy unit. She buff, she debuff, she whiffs in melee. However, her Bloodwrack stare – mortals on a 5+ for each model in a unit within 12″ has much more play on a durable platform as incidental chip damage given you want the Wagon up close and personal.

When he’s not riding the Blood Wagon screaming ‘I’m King of the wooorld!’, the Avatar of Khaine got way better. 10″ range, 6 attacks 3/3/-1/1 ain’t nothing (obvs applies to Wagon variants) and his aforementioned sword are perfectly fine, and with 9 wounds on a 4+ he’s one of your tankier options. What he gains for going solo is a built in Ward of 5 and Wrath of Khaine, allowing him to use the Stomp or Smash to Rubble Monstrous actions, while being immune to monstrous actions himself. At 155, that makes him a cheap Totem, with good utility who can still put a dent in things.

The rest of the book is more straight forward. Gladiatrix is a straight up Aelf buff piece – she adds rend, and changes their wound characteristic to 3+. Very strong. Witch Aelves rip and tear when buffed by her, and various aforementioned other buffs – and get +1 to wound while within 12″ of a totem. Sisters of Slaughter are less killy but are eligible to fight within 6″ and can pile in 6″ – this is not to be underestimated, as with careful positioning this can avoid unleash hell or just cause headaches for your opponent wanting to stay out of melee.

Khainite Shadowstalkers lost their -1 to hit, so become a lot less interesting. 9 bodies on a 4+ that can teleport – so 1 unit is probably fine for screening/scoring, and I guess it’s cute that in Khailebron you can run a shadow themed list.

Doomfires do a bit of everything, but nothing very well. Interestingly, while at 5+ models, they’re one of the army’s only source of +1 to casting/unbinding, making them potentially interesting for getting off early Mindrazor etc before zooming off to die. CORRECTION: A kind reader pointed out – correctly – that only heroes can take spells from the Lore! So this lowers Doomfires stock a little given their warscroll spell (scaling mortals based on size of enemy unit) is short range and will be tricky to get off while keeping them safe – but it does mean they still get a bonus to getting an endless spell off turn 1.

Blood Stalkers are unchanged, which means they’re still amazing given Shadow Queen kept her double shoot. Even though this is good for those of us who have 15 of ’em, It’s a worrying precedent – double shooting is not a popular mechanic, and for good reason. I’d have preferred to see that dropped in favour of a more interesting and tactical rule – standing still and raining hell from 24″ twice is uninteractive and bad for the game.

Blood Sisters however just became one of the best infantry units in the game, because Turned to Crystal now happens after their attacks have resolved. So, reinforce them, throw out 3 attacks each at 3/3/-1/1, add in Rites and buffs to taste, and whatever is left standing immediately takes 10 mws on a 2+. So that’s 8-9 MWs on average before everything else, before the unit gets to slap back. Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

Both flavours of Khinerai got better. Heartrenders can drop from the sky, shoot (1 attack 3/3/-1/1) then move 6″. This gives them all sorts of positional utility and scoring potential. LIfetakers are less tactical but get a bonus attack and are 3/3/-1/1 in melee – plus, after they fight, on a 4+ they can retreat 6″. Swingy, but if it goes off this could be a massively frustrating hit’n’run tactic – worth trying for the look on your opponents face.

Now, I’m always gonna bang the ‘Endless spells should be great – or as good as they are now, but dirt-cheap’ drum. Given they’re usually easy to dispel – sure, your opponent has to use up a cast slot to do it – and cost valuable points when you might even fail to cast them – people gravitate only towards the absolute best ones, which are generic – like life-swarm and spell-portal. Faction specific ones usually look great and COULD offer a tonne of personality.

Bloodwrack Viper comes up on a 7 within 9″, then picks a unit within 1″ after it flies 9″ and rolls 3 dice – each =/+ wounds characteristic kills a model and it can also ‘do an Avatar’, i.e. make a Stomp or Smash to Rubble monstrous action.

Hang on – is the Viper actually good?! Casting on a 7 isn’t too bad, a 19″ threat range – but 80 points is dear. If it was 60, I’d say hell yeah!

The others actually aren’t that bad but you probably still won’t take them at a high level. Bladewind passes across units and does 1 MW on a 2+ and removes their cover modifiers within 12″. So niche, and hard to see when you’d cast this for 50 points over anything else in the great Lore. Heart of Fury (an invocation not a spell) makes you roll – on a 1-5, -1 damage within 12″ – potentially useful for the odd occasion you really want to charge something and think you might not kill it. On a 6, you also get +1 attack in the same range. If you have a spare 45 points, that’s not a bad shout potentially!


I’ve left these for the end because it actually makes more sense to think about them once you know what the stuff can actually do. Overall, these are probably more viable than average, which is great.

For Grand Strats, you got Bloodthirsty Zealots which scores if all your units have fought at least once. This shouldn’t be hard – as long as you time it right with your weaker stuff. Say you have 15 Bow sneks – make sure you push them up throughout the game so you can charge them into something if necessary near the end-game before you table them – or the game ends. What’s nice about this is it’s VERY hard for your opponent to deny, and you can score it even more reliably when the game isn’t going your way!

Blood Bath however is a weak variation on that theme, requiring every enemy unit to have at least a scratch on it – i.e. not be at full health.

EDIT: On re-reading this, the wording is actually ‘all enemy HEROES and MONSTERS either have at least 1 wound allocated to them or have been slain and if all other enemy units on the battlefield have had at least 1 model slain.’

Overall, I don’t think it changes my analysis below, but it’s a tiiiny bit harder.

It’s not too bad, and means you don’t have to plan for your archers to be in melee somehow – but say a unit or hero is able to reliably hide in a corner or heal up in the last turn – could suddenly deny you. Overall, Grand Strats that are in your hands, so to speak, are quite good – and given DoK battleline units aren’t tanky and most everything else wants to be aggressive, I think these actually do compete with the Core options.

Naught but Destruction is your token ‘what the fuck were they smoking’ GS – you pick a defensible terrain piece in enemy territory, and if there isn’t one, the opponent picks one anywhere on the battlefield. Now you gotta demolish it. I mean – sure, the Viper or Avatar can smash to rubble, but what happens if there IS no defensible terrain? Every game should have it but…that’s just a ‘should’. Unless this is a hint the new GHB will mandate every game has to include some, this is a very strange one.

The Battle Tacs are actually fun, and continue the trend of really only 1-2 being doable by any one list – which isn’t a bad thing. Clash of Arms wants you to charge with 3 units and if two of ’em are bikini Aelves you get an additional victory point. Fine in a pinch, potentially great in Aelf spam lists given they will probably churn through Broken Ranks fairly quickly.

Tide of Blades is Savage Spearhead, but bonus point for doing it with two Witch Aelves units. Again, with Shadowstalkers, Khinerai and aggressive play in general, this become highly achievable.

Cruel Delight relies on 2 or more Khinerai units using their Fire and Flight or Fight and Flight ability – very doable and you’d certainly be within your rights to have 2 Khinerai units now. While Unexpected Attack wants Khainite Shadowstalkers to charge after deep-striking. Even with +1, the odds of a re-rollable 8 incher are far too low to ever pick this unless it’s an absolute last resort or you’ve gone full Khailebron and are popping 3 ‘Stalkers down in the same turn. Incredibly niche and risky.

On the more situation end of the spectrum we have Executioner’s Cult – which can be picked if you have a Gladiatrix – which well you might! She has to kill a hero with her Killing Stroke ability – this would be a flex to pull off – and certainly doable – but it would be so easy to either accidentally kill the hero beforehand or just…not. Why risk it? Baffling and risky specificity on this one.

Hatred of Chaos is available if you’re running Hagg Nar or Khelt Nar and asks for 2 or more CHAOS units to be destroyed this turn. Highly situational, but not necessarily difficult, so it’s a perfectly nice option to have in your pocket, especially given they’re both perfectly viable sub-factions. And Chaos suck. And everyone plays Nurgle now – so this might come up more often than you think…


3e books have been circumspect with Battalions as they have the potential to tip the balance massively. Take Nurgle’s rotbringers cyst for an example that is almost certainly too good. On the whole, I’m happy with Battalions being fluffy or just matching the core battalion effects when you have a more unusual army make up – and that’s more or less what’s on offer here.

Vyperic Guard comprises Morathi+Shadow Queen, 1-3 Khainite Leaders – 1 mandatory (Bloodwrack or Ironscale), and ~6 Melusai warriors – 2 mandatory, and offers an extra enhancement – so it’s basically a bonus/tweaked Command Entourage. Not bad!

Shadow Patrol however is the fluffy, competitively rubbish one that isn’t worth the ink used to print it. 2 Mandatory Doomfires and FOUR mandatory Khinerai gives you either a one-drop or Swift. I mean…why?


Hopefully that gives you a good idea of the fun, competitive and creativity level of the new book. My takeaways are that the internal balance got much better with only a few sore losers (especially Shadowstalkers), the creativity level ticked up a little with some annoying missed opportunities (straight forward albeit useful Command Traits/Artefacts), and the competitive factor ticked up a fair notch. Will the increased options and killing power be enough to deal with the oppressive tankiness of Nurgle, or the strike-first brutality of new IDK (who seem a particularly brutal counter to DoK at first glance) or the forthcoming mobility, the ‘I laugh in the face of your rend’ and oppressive charging/tar-pitting potential of new Nighthaunt? We’ll soon see – my knee jerk reaction is ‘sometimes’ – which is, honestly, as it should be! Now, go forth and bathe (but don’t drink – leave that to SBGL) in the blood of your foes.

Woehammer Facebook Group

Did you know that Woehammer have a Facebook group? Why not head over there and post some pictures of your miniatures, we’ll include them in monthly hobby summary alongside our own.

Age of Sigmar Winter FAQ released!

And it’s here… ready to smash face and take names. But has it worked?

Games Workshop has released an article and the Battlescroll Update for Age of Sigmar at the end of this year.

Despite COVID there has been a lot of tournaments in the UK (probably due to the pent up demand) with many 64+ player events occuring and some even bigger ones available. The USA has also seen some big tournaments and hopefull Oz & NZ will be able to have a few in the new year.

First up, the document:

What a lovely piece of design

Games Workshop are good at art and presenting things with pretty pictures and the Battlescroll shows that this is not just for battletomes and core rulesbooks. Well done GW.

Generic Changes

Heroic Actions – Heroic Recovery

Well I didn’t see this one coming, but it is a welcome change to reduce the healing of some heroes… especially those on monsters. I’m not sure it helps a huge amount to stop shooting and magic casting heroes, but it does mean if you can pin Nagash in combat he loses at least one of his healing abilities! A good change

Unleash Hell

Hurrah… Unleash Hell is reduced. Not what I’d hoped, but reducing it to units within 6″ and models within 6″ does at least mean the positioning of chargers can impact this, and no more defend in ridiculous depth. Shooting is still good… but this takes the edge off a little bit.

Amulet of Destiny

It appears that the Amulet of Destinies sold throughout the mortal realms have had a software update and they now only stop wounds on a 6+. This is much better, and at least makes you think during army building. It does hurt the armies at the bottom of the Meta that relied on it, but hurting the Maw Krusha & Gargants is no bad thing – and I say that as a Destruction player. Another change I’m happy to see.

Alliance Changes

Each of the alliances have a change to their god characters

Each Alliance has a change to their God characters, with buffs for Alarielle and Morathi-Khaine (more spells), a change to Archaon & Nagash, a significant nerf to collation troops following the Maggotkin of Nurgle release… and one for me – improving Kragnos!

I should finish him really!

As a Destruction player I’ll review Kragnos changes below, but for the others they seem like small changes which mean that collation has been hit hard – including Cities of Sigmar – and Nagash can now be part of Nighthaunt – probably a good thing.

Kragnos New Warscroll

Those who follow me on Twitter know I tried to get Kragnos working with my Squigs at a one dayer… and then gave up as he ‘won’ the wooden spoon for me – including losing to the Hobby Room’s Ceri’s lovely Squigs on the way… oh dear! So does this help?

He’s lost the anti-dragon synergy – with little time to trigger it – but he does gain two abilities and a 6+ ward save. This gives just a little more – especially if you get lucky and spike the rolls – and is a welcome addition.

End of Empires is great for helping his Destruction Bros (and himself)! A 3D6″ charge within 18″ is a great bonus and I’ll be writing some lists with him in a Ironsunz or Gloomspite (Squig) army to see if I can make him work… and maybe bring him along to Element Games in January (then again, maybe not!!). Just remember he can’t use allegiance abilities.

Avatar of Destruction means he won’t be autokilled by Nagash, Archaon or other instant kill abilities – well overdue and good to see.

The other benefit is a Mightiest Makes Rightiest getting onto the warscroll… starts as counts as 30 – brilliant – and degrades… like the MegaGargants should… but don’t seem to yet.

Is he good enough for 720? Probably not with Archaon being 860, but he’s not as bad as he was and there are benefits to him now rather than thinking your pushing his rock up-hill.

Oh, and in Ogors with Frostlords… a 3D6″ doing mortals based on charge roll seems great – fortunately I have one on a shelf… hmmm…!

Points changes

There are also points changes for each army, but I’ll review them later partly because they are underwhelming and this article is a positive to GW – let’s have more of this type of thing please!

Does this change how you build your armies?

— Declan