Well, that was bigger than expected. The Grand Narrative Preview came and went at 4am for those of us in the UK, and at the Handful of Dice offices we’ve been picking over the reviews since. We have opinions, which is of course the reason you’re all here, so let’s get under way.
The World Eaters traitor legion fast approaches, and this time we saw more new models in the form of the Eightbound, Jakhals and Juggernaut Lord, as well as the art work for Codex: World Eaters
KVB: As the resident Khorne enjoyer, I am thoroughly down for these boys. The models are amazing, and those Exalted Eightbound are great replacements (probably) for the old Mutilator models. The Jakhals are a massive upgrade over your standard cultists, in my humble opinion, and they might even get me over my reluctance to paint skin tones. And the best bit about all of these? I can take the backpacks off and have a load of dudes for my Blades of Khorne army too.
Arron: I on the other hand am not a Khorne player, but have to admit these are some pretty badass looking models. The Eightbound are pretty awesome models, covered in all sorts of spikes, skulls, chains and teeth. The real standout to me though are the Jakhals – my head is already buzzing with some great conversion and kitbash ideas. I’m sure we’ll see these models used for a few different things.
Niall: Though I’m renowned for being the anti-chaos one in the team if I was being forced to play a chaos faction I’d be choosing Khorne. The Eightbound are all you could look for in Khorne warriors; ultra-violence, with just the right level of brutal mutations starting to take hold. The Jakhals give me serious Mad Max vibes and I can definitely see the conversion potentials if you’re that way inclined.
Beasts of Chaos
Next up to receive a new battletome after the full release of Slaves to Darkness will be the Beasts of Chaos, and their new book is accompanied by a new plastic model for the Beast Lord
KVB: I am both happy and sad for Beasts of Chaos players. Happy, because the number of plastic heroes they have has increased by 50%, joining the Bray Shaman and Tzaangor Shaman. Sad, because there’s still quite a few Beasts of Chaos that could really do with a glow-up (looking at you Bullgors). Rules-wise, I’m hoping to see something akin to the Genestealer Cults of 40k, where the Beasts of Chaos mechanically sell the idea of ambushes and hit-and-run tactics from the deep woods.
Arron: Beastmen are in dire need of a complete range overhaul at this point, so I’m glad to see they’re at least getting something. But I have to admit, the existing Beastlord is already one of the better models they have, so I’m a little unimpressed by this one overall. Time will tell if the rules are solid at least.
Ben: It’s always nice to see an old or metal model turned into new plastic. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the beastmen, willing this not to be the last new model before the book drops. I’ll be looking for something exciting to splash into my Hedonites of Slaanesh and keep my Slaangor company.
Niall: It’s great to see the Beastmen getting some love, and like Ben says always good to see a old school metal model getting an upgrade. The army isn’t really my cup of tea but I can’t deny this is a great looking miniature packed with some great details.
Hot on the heels of the Beasts of Chaos come the Gloomspite Gitz, bringing with them a brand new unit: Snarlfang Riders
KVB: Definitely a surprise, but a welcome one to be sure. Wolf riders were a dearly beloved and iconic part of the old Orcs & Goblins army of Warhammer Fantasy, so seeing them return is just brilliant and hits me right in the nostalgia. It’ll be interesting to see where these fit in the keyword blancmange that is the Gitz, but then again hopefully GW will work to address that in their new book.
Arron: I also had a small force of Orcs and Goblins back in the day, but also Rippa’s Snarlfangs are one of my favourite Warhammer Underworlds warbands, so I’m super happy to see these release. I’m not saying I’m likely to start an army of Gitz any time soon, but if I was, these would definitely be on my list.
Ben: This has been a long time coming since the release of Rippa’s Snarlfangs back in 2019. They’ve refined themselves a little in the intervening years, with some new spiked leather panels to protect their sides, but remain largely unchanged. With the “Smell Weakness” rule being taken straight out of the Rippa’s warscroll it’s probably fair to assume the rules will also be largely unchanged. With several variants of squig riders, and spider riders already in the mix I’ll be interested to see what space these models fill in the Gloomspite Gitz toolbox. I’m expecting them to be a faster more elite choice than spider riders, and a more reliable option than the squigs.
Niall: What’s not to love about little, angry, green fellas on big, angry, wolves. Enough said.
Riding into the Gnarlwood, high on the promise of glory and more than a few mushrooms, come even more Gloomspite Gitz in the form of Grinkrak’s Looncourt
KVB: I’ve been a bit down on Underworlds recently, the increased pace of releases has put me off keeping up with the game, but these guys might get me to come back. Gitz models absolutely ooze with character, and these are no exception; my favourites are definitely the grot pair that are launching squigs at people from behind a shield.
Ben: I appear to have a quite different opinion on the new goblins. I don’t think they sell the narrative they appear to be trying to sell based on the video, in the same way that flesh eater courts just look like flesh eaters without the courts getting much play on the models. Thats a personal preference though and comes from someone who already owns, the now ancient, Zarbags Gitz. While I wasn’t looking for a busier goblin warband I have to remember that not everyone was playing when the Gitz came out. It’ll be nice for goblins to be available for Underworlds again and they’ll certainly hit my painting table.
Arron: This warband is definitely trying to emulate Zarbag’s Gitz, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as they’re widely loved by players and a little hard to find these days. We’ve only seen a hint at their playstyle, but it seems that they’ll include some new ‘Quest’ objectives. Sounds fun – it’s just a bit strange that the leader’s ability works better if you don’t have any of them.
Niall: These guys actually give me a Grymwatch vibe – wildly unsuitable characters trying to live out their chivalric fantasies. Their background seems really fun, and hopefully they come with a playstyle to match.
Cawdor Ridge Walkers
Joining the likes of Goliath and Escher out in the wastes come House Cawdor astride their Ride Walkers
KVB: Cawdor have never really been my vibe but I can see great conversion potential with these guys, from particularly rusty AdMech to impressive steam mechs for the Cities of Sigmar. It also has me excited for the possibilities of the remaining Houses, if Cawdor get something this cool then imagine what Delaque are going to get.
Ben: Someone in house Cawdor has found the wrong trousers. They’re exciting and dynamic models, but they could be more on fire. 7/10
Arks of Omen
Heralding the next major narrative arc for Warhammer 40k is Arks of Omen, of which three have been revealed so far: Abaddon, Angron, and Vashtorr (more on him next)
KVB: I really like the fact that they’re only adding optional modes of play and lore, rather than the major faction rules that were introduced in previous books like this. 40k has a dear place in my heart, being where I started the hobby, so I always keep up to date with the lore and I’m looking forward to seeing how the story progresses next.
Niall: A new mode of play is always going to be intriguing and small, elite forces fighting in close quarters is going to bring a fun range of challenges and tactics. It’ll be interesting to see how popular it gets, but either way I think my T’au are screwed.
From the terrible Warp, a new player of the Great Game emerges. This is Vashtorr, the Arkifane, daemonic arms dealer and demi-god of invention
KVB: Pour one out for the people who thought this might be the first of a new Dark Mechanicum army (I was one of those people) but this guy still absolutely slaps. He’s creepy in all the right ways a daemon should be, and with a little creative license he might find a home in the chaos armies of Age of Sigmar too.
Arron: Wow, what a cool model. This is one of those models that really reminds me what the term Grimdark can represent. I can’t wait to see how the community paint up this one.
Niall: Yeah this fella definitely turns the Grimdark up a few notches. It kind of repulses me in exactly the right way for a chaos entity. I won’t be buying it, but I will be marvelling over the amazing schemes the community are going to come up with for it.
Well I think it’s safe to say that these reveals had people abuzz, and it looks like 2023 is going to be an exciting time to be a fan of Warhammer. Let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments!
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