Inside Pulse 12

Tabletop Review: White Dwarf, Issue #78 (Warhammer: Age of Sigmar/Warhammer 40,000)

White Dwarf, Issue #78
Publisher: Games Workshop
Cost: $3.99
Page Count: 32
Release Date: 07/25/2015
Get it Here: The Black Library (or your local Games Workshop store)

Issue #78 of White Dwarf marks the fourth straight week devoted to Age of Sigmar coverage. Since releases have gotten a lot sparser each week with AOS, it means the White Dwarf team can actually concentrate more on articles of substance instead of soft sell quasi-advertisement pieces for a big chunk of the magazine. Don’t worry though, White Dwarf is still White Dwarf and so of course we start off with sales article. This week the focus is on Judicators, which are the archers of the Stormcast Eternals. WHY they just aren’t called archers are beyond me since everything looks alike save for the weapons they wield (granted the figures all look cool). I really love how these guys look, but I do admit archers in full plate armor are a rather implausible concept, even for a fantasy game. You can build them in one of four ways: bows, repeating crossbows, and then the lead figure gets one of two heavy weapons. Basically the crossbows get an extra attack but the bows get twice the range, so both serve their purpose – you just have to decide which. The Judicators cost five figures for $50 or you can get a bundle of ten for $100. Hey, that’s how Games Workshop works. Why give a discount? I have to admit the giant super Thunderbolt Crossbow for your Lead Justicator reminds me of the Decepticon Shockwave. I might have to paint a set of archers in his colors for that.

Even though that’s the only item up for pre-order, there are still some more sales articles this week. The utterly worthless Warhammer Visions, #19 is for sale, along with two new Horus HeresyCybernetica and Scorched Earth. An easy pass on everything for me this week because even though I like those Judicators…I don’t want them for $10 a figure. Of course, if you have money to burn you can always look at the last sales article this week – which is a plug for the Mars Alpha Warlord Titan for Warhammer 40,000 It’s ONLY £1,240. You know…only two thousand dollars. FOR A RESIN WARGAMING PIECE. Jesus.

Only 20% of the magazine is devoted to sales pieces this week. That’s an all-time low. Now for the meat of the issue. Our first real article is “Forging the Stormhosts” and it discusses how a Stormcast Eternal is chosen for indentured servitude to Sigmar. One’s personality decides what branch of the Space Mar…Stormcast Eternals a being joins. You get some army breakdowns too. For example, each Stormhost has seven Chapters. Each Chapter has a Leader Lord Celestant and then several Lord-Relictors and Lord-Castellants. Each Chapter is also broken down into the different ranks like. The Justicar are the Judicators, the Angelos are the Prosecutors, the Redeemers are the Liberators and the Paladins are the Retributors. Why does everything need two names? That’s insanely overcomplicated and nonsensical. You could easily get rid of the extra Conclave titles and just call the troops by their figure type. Typical GW overdoing it. Age of Sigmar is supposed to be newcomer friendly, right? Also, wouldn’t it make sense to have the Redeemers be the Retributors? Keep the alliteration going.

Anyway, the rest of the article breaks down how you can tell what each figure is. The weapon shows their type. Their left shoulder pad tells their Conclave (which the article says all of one type belongs to the same conclave…insane) and the color tells you what Stormhost (army) it belongs to. Like gold and blue means Hammers of Sigmar. So that just leaves which of the seven chambers (division) a figure belongs to. That is only signified by the plumage and crests of the troop leader, which means you can only tell from a few figures in your army, which is a terrible decision. With Space Marines you can tell even with the rank and file. Oh, Games Workshop…you’re dropping the ball already. Age of Sigmar started off with such a great bang too. After that the article lists the entirety of the Hammerhands, First Chapter of the Hammers of Sigmar, the army you see plastered on all the AoS covers currently. Basically it’s showing off one of the officially painted armies over at GW. Of course they look fantastic but it would also be nice if they showed the rank and file gamer how to make them look so pretty.

The next article is “The Mortal Realms” which gives us a brief overview of the different planes of reality that make up the worlds in Age of Sigmar. Essentially the Winds of Magic from previous Warhammer Fantasy editions evolved and became entire realms of existence which battles are now fought upon. There is less than a paragraph of detail on each world, which does each a disservice and makes them look far more shallow than they probably are. Then the article rambles on about the forces of Chaos and how ultra evil powerful they are. It’s essentially a recap of everything we have been told for the past few weeks. This was little more than a filler article that makes the White Dwarf team look a bit inept and/or scrambling for something to fill the remaining space with. Give us something new, not a retread of what we’ve already seen in books, manuals and other issues of this magazine.

Next is more filler as we get a “Hall of Fame” piece on the Chaos Demon Prince miniature which, honestly, looks extremely generic and uninteresting. I wouldn’t purchase it, especially with GW costs. They should be using this space for Citadel pieces that actually stand out. Truthfully they should be actually using this space with articles of substance like a battle report, some fiction or actual gaming information, rather than on what is essentially a sales piece.

There’s another Age of Sigmar article this week. “Forces of Destruction” talks about one of the other forces in the game besides Order and Chaos. It’s your beloved greenskins and friends– orcs, goblins, giants, and ogres, Sorry…it’s now orruks, grots, gargants and ogors. Ugh. Insane name changes. This is another filler piece with no substance. It just talks about the current state of Age of Sigmar and how greenskins love to fight and kill for the sake of it. You get a bit of info on Gorkamorka that is already well known from other previous AoS releases (and issues of White Dwarf) and some pretty art. I suppose this article is helpful to people who haven’t looked at ANYTHING from Age of Sigmar so far, but it’s really just another retread article in a massive line of recycled pieces that waste your $3.99 this month. Terrible, just terrible. I could have easily come up with a full magazines worth of articles myself that would have been quality reading. How come an entire team of writers couldn’t? Bad show, White Dwarf. Hopefully next week’s look at the forces of Death will be better (Let’s go Settra!)

“Warscrolls” is next and it’s your free stat block of the week. Obviously it’s for the new Judicator archers. This is a nice way to check stats without spending $50 on figures. The bows seem a lot better than the crossbows overall, but the only way to tell is through play.

The last quarter of the magazine is “This Week in White Dwarf.” For the past three issues, the magazine has been really impressive even though this section tends to be nothing but filler. This week, when the ENTIRE MAGAZINE IS FILLER, the streak of “Why would anyone spend money on this issue?” continues. There’s a discussion on Stormcast Eternal armor. A piece on should pad transfers for the type of role they figures plays (really???) , a retread on the Chaos Demon Prince piece (why not put it in the actual article earlier in the issue???)

The best article in this issue is under “This Week in White Dwarf” however, and it’s a piece on how to paint the Celestial Vindicators branch of the Stormcast Eternals. The turquoise warriors do look gorgeous and if you wanted to paint these guys, now you know how to do it yourself. Great stuff. Unfortunately it is follow by the usual model and bit of the week, which is a waste.

So unfortunately, after three absolutely fantastic issues of White Dwarf, issue #78 breaks the streak and it actually pretty crappy in nearly every respect save the Celestial Vindicator paint guide. You can easily save yourself four bucks this week and not purchase this. Between how bad this issue and the campaign guide for Age of Sigmar were, I hope AoS isn’t going to be the GW equivalent of D&D4e like all the naysayers prophesized it would be. Get better next week dammit. From the description in next week’s teaser…it might not be though. It sounds like Nagash and then a bunch of crap. Be warned.

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