Tabletop Review: White Dwarf, Issue #49 (Warhammer: The End Times/Warhammer, 40,000)

White Dwarf, Issue #49 (Warhammer: The End Times/Warhammer 40,000)
Publisher: Games Workshop
Cost: $3.99
Page Count: 32
Release Date: 01/03/2015
Get it Here: The Black Library

So I went to one of my local Games Workshop stores this weekend because it is closing (don’t worry – it’s just moving) and wanted to get something, but all they had of interest to me was the new White Dwarf. Alas, at this point I’m waiting to see if The End Times brings me any new Lizardmen or Bretonnians. Otherwise, it’s just books this year I might be interested in. I’m glad I did pick this up, because like many, if not all of The End Times issues last year, White Dwarf really pulled out all the stops and made issue #49 pure content.

The key to whether you should pick up this issue or not is the following question: are you at all interested in Skaven? If the answer is yes, then you need to get a copy of this issue NOW, either in physical or digital form. If you’re not interested, then you can probably pass on that. I myself have always been interested in Skaven, but not enough to field an army of them. I mean, I’ve already got three fantasy armies, but if I was to get a fourth, it would be either Dark Elves or Skaven. Up until this year, Skaven novels have been the only ones I’ve really enjoyed from Warhammer Fantasy, like Grey Seer and Skaven Slayer. So I definitely wanted this issue (and next week’s #50 looks like it’s going to be equally awesome!). Like the Nagash and Khaine oriented issues, I was not disappointed at all with Issue #49. Let’s show you why this is a must have purchase for Warhammer Fantasy fans.

The magazine starts off with the usual “Here’s what is coming out next week” articles. They take up fourteen pages this week – nearly half the magazine. Now for many of you, reading that probably harkens you back to the dark days of White Dwarf when it was little more than an advertisement for the company. Take heart though – there is no hard selling of these upcoming releases, and very little soft selling as well. In fact, all five of the Skaven Verminlord articles are pure content, and at no point do they feel like a sales pitch at all. Each of the five Skaven Verminlords – Warpseer, Deceiver, Corruptor, Warbringer and Lord Screech Verminkind – get two pages devoted to them. They follow the same format of four pictures (two action shots of fully painted models and two close ups of specific details) along with three paragraphs of descriptive text. Each piece was a lot of fun to read, especially if you prefer the Warhammer fluff to the mechanics. The five different Verminlords do look very similar, but that’s because they are all made from the same kit. The faces, arms and weapons are where the real difference is. Out of them all, I definitely think the Deceiver is the best looking, although I like the Corruptor and Warpseer too.

Besides the Skaven, we also get four pages devoted to the other new releases. There is a Flesh Tearer novel, a 40K audio collection, a Blood Angels boxed set, the new issue of Warhammer: Visions and a Forge World Konrad Curze, which is the best looking thing I’ve ever seen them put out. I’m not all that interested in 40K though, so these are all passes for me.

Now back to the Skaven! “The Terror Beneath” is a four page history of the Skaven. It’s really tailored towards newcomers, so Issue #49 is a great way to learn about the Skaven, especially if you’re interested in fielding an army of ratfolk. You learn about different clans, their fighting techniques and a lot of Warhammer Fantasy history. Again, if you’re not a Warhammer player, this issue, coupled with Island of Blood, is a perfect way to get started.

“The Rules” is the next article. Here you’ll find four pages devoted to all the stats of the Skaven Verminlords. This means you don’t have to purchase the upcoming The End Times: Thanquol to field these new figures. Just pick up this issue of White Dwarf and you’re set. I love that White Dwarf is giving away stats these days, as it makes the game so much more inviting to those that don’t have a lot of money to throw at the game. Each of the five Verminlords has mostly the same statline, except the Warbringer, who has a 6 attack instead of a 5. Point cost ranges from 500-650 due to different powers. Overall, I do think the Deceiver is the best figure mechanically, but we won’t know for sure until people starting building and fielding these.

“Paint Splatter” is four pages long this week, and focuses only on Lord Screech Verminkind. How can four pages be devoted to a single model? Well, there are fifteen different aspects of the figure that the article focuses on. This might be the most in-depth “Paint Splatter” yet. My favorite part is the sidebar on eye painting. That is always the toughest part for me. Not getting paint in the eyes, but having them look real. So this was very helpful.

Finally we come to the hodge podge that is “This Week in White Dwarf.” Usually, these five pages are generally worthless filler that could be spent on another quality article or two instead of “X of the week” pieces and pictures of people’s models. This week they paid heed to my usual complaint. The first two pages of this section are more Skaven articles. One talks about the design process for the new Verminlords and the other talks about the dangers of summoning, with an amusing sidebar about Thanquol. Other than that, it’s the usual “Ask Grombrindal” and picture based fapping that is better off in Warhammer: Visions. Still, the content in this issue was so good, I feel like complaining about “This Week in White Dwarf” is petty for once.

Overall, the first issue of in 2015 is an amazing one, and it’s really going to give the magazine some huge momentum. Can they keep the quality level up? With Issue #50 hitting next week, let’s hope so. I can’t wait for The End Times: Thanquol to get released, and I’m especially excited for the newest two book set and the accompanying novel.

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