Inside Pulse 12

Tabletop Review: White Dwarf, Issue #79 (Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Warhammer 40,000)

White Dwarf, Issue #79 (Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Warhammer 40,000)
Publisher: Games Workshop
Cost: $3.99
Page Count: 32
Release Date: 08/01/2015
Get it Here: The Black Library (Or your local Games Workshop store)

Another week, another issue of White Dwarf. I’ll admit, last week’s issue was bad enough I considered not getting this week’s release. However, I am very interested in the two scenery pieces that are up for pre-order and featured in this issue, so I decided to pick it up and see if it helped sway my decision. Let’s see if I made the right choice or more importantly, if you should get this week’s magazine or not.

First up, the sales pitches…I mean pre-order preview articles! This week the big push is for the Stormcast Eternal Paladins. Now I’m not interested in any of the models you can make from this box set. $58 plus tax and shipping is way too much for five figures. This week’s giant SCENERY costs less than that. Still, if you’re trying to build a big Stormcast Eternals army, you can make Retributors, Protectors or Decimators. I like the Protectors best, but really the only difference between the three is the weapon they wield. Oh, and different heads. Each figure type gets several pictures devoted to the various models you can make, along with a decent amount of fluff background. I’m a little disappointed that the WDteam can’t tell the difference between glaives and naganatas though, because the latter is what the Protectors are carrying but the magazine calls them the former. Ouch.

Next we have the scenery. First is the Numinous Occulum which appears to enhance magic-users that control it while also weakening your opponents. I guess due to my Tomb King and Lizardman armies, this might be a helpful bit of scenery for me. My Bretonnians…not as much. It looks gorgeous and like it would be a lot of fun to paint. To glue it together though…not so much. I hated putting together the Ophidian Archway, so much so I haven’t bothered to paint it yet. So I’m still on the fence with this one. The Dragonfate Dias is the other piece of scenery and it looks incredibly cool. Painting the big goopy bubbling pool of blood in the center would be quite interesting too. If I buy anything this week, it’ll be this piece of scenery.

After that we get the repackaging of the Sylvaneth, now with round bases. You get thirty-six figures for $225, which isn’t a bad price for GW models. Finally we have a blurb on the new Age of Sigmar Short Story Collection The Realmgate Wars: War Storm. Honestly, the book sounds like all the stories it contains will just be retelling of what’s already in the sub-par Age of Sigmar Campaign book. This is exactly what happened with The Gates of Azyr, so don’t make the mistake of double-dipping and buying the same story twice. Yuck.

Now for the actual articles! Well, kind of. Our first real article is “The Sylvaneth Come to Life!” but considering we have a big boxed set of these guys up for preorder that also just had a sales pitch article earlier in this issue, I’d call this a gray area piece. At least the article is about the history of the race and not talking about the models and why you should purchase them. You get to learn about Alarielle’s Realm of Life and the treefolk that dwell within it.

The next article is “The Forces of Death,” which focuses on Nagash’s army of the dead and how it plays out in Age Of Sigmar. Notice Arkhan the Black (who is now Ionus Cryptborn) is nowhere to be seen. Hmmm. You get to see Mannfred and Neferata though. I wonder when GW will finally actually tell the story about the changeover and how Nagash feels about his righthand man now being Sigmar’s #2 guy? Anyway, you get several pages of army/world background on Nagash’s team and his home plane of Shyish. Of course things have new names because GW can’t copyright words like zombies or skeletons. So now we have Deathrattle Warriors, Deadwalkers and the like. Feel free to roll your eyes. I know I did. Still, it’s good to see all of my Tomb Kings/Vampire Count figures will still be a decent amount of fluff behind them.

We then get two sub-articles in “The War of the Dead” and “Vengeance of the Necromancer.”The first talks about Sigmar and Nagash’s alliance breaking up, leading to Chaos taking over the Realms and ultimately Nagash’s death at the hands of ugh…Archaon – the lamest character in Warhammer Fantasy. This is what we call an attempt to put over the new Big Bad by jobbing out the previous Big Bad to him. There’s a terrible idea in this piece that suggests (much like the Campaign Book) that Nagash betrayed Sigmar to side with Chaos only to be betrayed himself but the whole End Times constantly pointed out that the Undead are Order all the way, so it’s bad writing trying to explain why Nagash’s deadfolk broke up to form one of the four possible crews. The second article talks about the return of Nagash in Age of Sigmar and how Nagash is using Realmgates to attack everything, similar to what SIgmar is doing. So not a lot of substance behind whys or hows. It’s merely an excuse to have ONLY WAR. As much as I am enjoying Age of Sigmar, the worldfluff and writing could be a LOT better – especially compared to the super high quality of The End Times.

Our next article is “Paint Splatter” and here we get a look at painting Stormcast Eterenal Paladins. To be specific, it is the Retributors as the models shown have hammers, not axes or naganatas. You get a fantastic step by step guide in painting these figures though. I really liked the advice in washing metallic paint off your brushes in a separate water pot than non-metallics. I have never done that. I wish I’d been given that advice while painting my 40K Guardians of the Covenant since they’re 90% Runefang Steel. You also get a plug for the Age of Sigmar Painting Guide book which is essentially “Paint Splatter” articles for every AoS piece. As “Paint Splatter” tends to be the best articles in White Dwarf when they appear, I’ll admit I’ve been tempted to purchase this book. Interesting to see a sales plug at the halfway point of the magazine though.

“Armies on Parade 2015” is the next piece, which is odd, at that feels like it should be in the Warhammer Visions magazine instead. Essentially this piece talks about the rules, which is to paint a small army that fits on a 2’x2′ board and then display your work at your local Games Workshop store. You’re then given three incredible examples, but really something like Armies on Parade would be better suited towards newer/younger gamers to give them confidence in their painting ability rather than have it be the experts or pros having yet another painting competition where people get too intimidated to pick up the hobby. So Armies on Parade is a good idea, but executed poorly. With Age of Sigmarbeing designed for newcomers/younger chaps and lasses, this would be the perfect time to tailor painting things for said newbies as well.

“Warscrolls” is our next article as like every week since Age of Sigmar began, we get free stats blocks for the piece of the week. In this case it’s all three Paladin variants. Each has their own special attacks. Retributors do 2 damage instead of 1 if they roll a six on their attack. Decimators get to add to their battleshock rolls. Protectors have a little more range and do d6 damage on an attack roll of 6. They also get extra defense against ranged attacks. Basically, go Protectors. They Retributors and then some.

This brings us to the usual “This Week in White Dwarf” tail end of the magazine. It’s usually useless filler but this week we actually have a lot of quick bits of world fluff. We have a bit of Paladin fluff that should have been in the articles about them at the start of the magazine, a bit of fluff on Dracoth which are the collest part of the Age of Sigmar boxed set. There’s some quick commentary on combining scenery pieces together. This really should have been a full length article though as pages could have been devoted to this topic, not a freaking sidebar. Then it’s just the model, weapon and bit of the week filler White Dwarf needs to stop doing but since when do they listen to common sense, right? That’s the whole magazine for this month.

So issue #79 was better than #78, which is something. This ends all the bits on the Stormcast Eternals and brings us to the Khorne side of things for August. As Chaos is the least interesting thing about the fantasy side of Warhammer to me, it means I get to take a review (and purchasing) hiatus unless some really cool scenery rears its head. Well, it was seven straight weeks of White Dwarf reviews. That’s pretty fantastic. I’ll be back when things take a turn for the more interesting, such as non-chaos armies. Instead, I’ll be reviewing other stuff but mostly likely painting and playing. Enjoy!

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