Tabletop Review: White Dwarf, Issue #86 (Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Warhammer 40,000)

White Dwarf, Issue #86
Publisher: Games Workshop
Page Count: 32
Cost: $2.99
Release Date: 09/19/2015
Get it Here: The Black Library (Or your local Games Workshop retailer)

Another week, another White Dwarf. This week the focus is on Khorne’s forces in Age of Sigmar.I keep hoping they’ll release 40K stats for some of Chaos’ Age of Sigmar guys, if only because then everyone can use them. I mean I’m a fantasy guy, not a Warhammer 40,000 one, but I’d imagine some 40K guys would enjoy having stats for these sculpts so they can (legally) add them to their space Khorne team. Anyway, only two miniature releases this week, so expect another issue of heavy padding. Let’s take a look.

“Prayers of Blood” is the intro to the sales piece, setting the stage for a Khorne heavy issue. Then it’s the sales pieces. The first miniature is the Slaughterpriest. I just don’t care for the way it looks. Of course, I tend to think most Khorne figures are unintentionally hilarious looking. They’ve always been the least interesting part of any form of Warhammer. It’s too bad Malekith and Tyrion didn’t kidnap Khorne instead of Tzeentch. Anyway, the Slaughterpriece sounds like a nice piece for board control and there is some interesting fluff around him, but the figure is really laughable. From the giant spine exploding out of his back to the face that looks like he is having an extremely large bowel movement, this is an easy pass for me. The Skullgrinder however is an interesting piece. I LOVE the idea of a weaponforger/blacksmith, especially for Chaos but the figure is just very uninteresting to me. The fluff constantly talks about the Skullgrinder’s anvil, but it is nowhere to be seen on the figure. That’s just stupid. I would have definitely included that on the sculpt – maybe even have him use it as a weapon to show the insane berserk nature of Chaos. Plus wouldn’t it be fun to say “I murdered your Celestant with a freakin’ anvil?” Of course, the fluff tried to pass off the massive Warhammer the SKullgrinder carries as an anvil, but holy crap if you can’t tell the difference between a Warhammer and an anvil, you probably shouldn’t be crafting fantasy miniatures. Just terrible. A lot of lost opportunity here with this piece. So 0 for 2 in terms of sculpts this week. Very disappointing. Saves me money though!

There are other things Games Workshop wants you to purchase besides some plastic figurines though. There’s a new “Chaos Battletome” aka what we used to call Army Books/Codexes. This time it is for the Khorne Bloodbound and it’s very similar in design and layout as the one the Stormcast Eternals got a while back. Of course, since most warscrolls are free to download in several different ways, you’re really only purchasing this book for fluff and art. There are three new Battleplans in the book, but sooner or later they’ll be online too. It’s not worth spending $58 for a book without any real impetus to purchase it. Of course, if you really want to, you can always spring for the limited edition which comes with a special cover and some art prints for only twice the cost of the standard edition. Sheesh. We also get a new audiobook entitled The Prisoner of the Black Sun.It features the Hallowed Knights, an appearance by Nagash and a tease of a pre-Age of Sigmar favorite for fans of the old version of Warhammer Fantasy. Considering the author is Josh Reynolds, I’m guessing either Arkhan the Black, Neferata, Khalida or ugh…Manfred.

Warhammer 40,000 gets some releases too. There are two books and a giant Forge World Ta’unar K139. I don’t even want to imagine the price tag on that piece of resin. It looks like something out of Robotech rather than 40K, which I strongly approve of. The first book is Sons of Titan which is a collection of four Grey Knights stories. The Purge is a novella about the World Bearers. If you’re a Horus Heresy fan, it sounds like a great addition to your 30K library.

There is one last sales article but it doesn’t talk about new releases. Rather, “Unleash Khorne’s Chosen” focuses on previous Khorne releases and talks about several ways to build an army of bloodthirsty warriors. From the Age of Sigmar boxed set to the truly terrible Skarr Bloodwraith, a lot of options are sold to you hear. The only one that even remotely piques my interest is the Skullcrushers boxed set and that’s only because I like cavalry units (Bretonnia forever!)

Now on to the articles that aren’t directly about selling you things. “The Omnissiah’s Chosen” is a look at the army that won the Warhammer 40,000 Throne of Skulls Event in June. It’s an Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation by the way. White Dwarf interviews the creator of the army where he talks about why and how he painted this assembly of figures. Even if you don’t care about 40K, this is a fun read and you get some insight into how the figures were painted, which is always extremely helpful.

“Armies on Parade 2015” takes a look at an undead army led by Nagash that will be on display in late October. This week the focus is on the display board being used for the army. Much of the article acts as a painting guide for making a desert display board, which is really cool to me, especially since one of my armies is Tomb Kings. There is a seven point guide to painting the desert and then an explanation of how the Baleful Realmgates were painted as well. It’s very cool and painting tips like these are always extremely helpful to wargamers of all experience levels. The article then turns to someone’s Grey Knights army although it’s nowhere as in-depth as the Nagash desert piece. It’s just a quick token 40K piece and nothing more.

“Armies of Slaughter” is a large background/fluff piece on Khorne. It’s less selling than “Unleash Khorne’s Chosen” but to have two “Here’s what you should purchase to start a Khorne army” in the same issue reeks of desperation and a lack of something more substantial to put into the issue. Might I suggest a Battle Report, painting guide or brief bit of fiction? Anyway, you get a nice bit of background information on how a Khorne army works, considering every member just wants to kill and destroy in the name of their god. There is a weird diagram showing the internal structure of a warhorde for Khorne, which makes no sense because it is CHAOS. Chaos shouldn not have an anally retentive structure like this. It’s completely in the face of the very concept of Chaos, but I digress. After the fluff comes some suggestions of what to put into your army besides the Age of Sigmar starter pieces. If I was going to expands, I would probably get the Skullcrushers for cavalry, Valkia the Bloody (because I’m old school, yo) and the Lord of Khorne on a Juggernaut as a good juxtaposition to the Celestant on a Dracoth that comes with the Stormcast Eternals side of the AoS boxed set. This is a very long article with some good tips on how to build up an army, but make no mistake, this is a sales pitch first and foremost.

Now it’s time for the Warscrolls, which gives you stat blocks and mechanics for your Age of Sigmar releases. This week we get Warscrolls for BOTH new Khorne releases. As I said earlier, I don’t care for the sculpts of either one at all, but stat-wise, they are both nice additions for a Chaos army. If the Slaughterpriest rolls well, he can forces your opponent to move towards one of his units or do an extra d6 damage. The Skullgrinder is probably the more helpful piece as he adds 1 to the bravery of all mortal Khorne units within 6″ of it and if it kills something, any units within 8″ of it get to do double damage when they get a 4 or higher on a a hit roll. That’s pretty powerful. Especially when you notice the Skullgrinder only needs a 2+ to wound! Yeah, you’re going to be seeing a lot of Skullgrinders fielded.

This brings us to the “This in Week in White Dwarf” odds and ends where quality sometimes lurks amongst a lot of filler. The first part is “Unleash Khorne’s Warhordes” which is almost the exact same name as an earlier article in this issue. Man, where is the editing and creativity this week? This is a small blurb about a specific sect of Khorne’s warriors followed by a sidebar about Korghos Khul and Valkia the Bloody. “The Brazen Anvil of the Skulgrinder” talks about the anvil the figure is supposed to carry into battle. Except or course, anyone can look at pictures of the figure and see he doesn’t actually have an anvil – he has a Warhammer. Sigh. How did this massive screw-up between fluff and figure happen? Usually GW is so much better with quality control than this.

Finally we have model/weapon/bit of the week blurbs and an “Ask Grombindal” question where we learn more about the Dracoths of Age of Sigmar. That’s your White Dwarf for the week and unfortunately unless you REALLY like sales pieces about Khorne, it is definitely a skippable issue this week. Aside from the piece on painting a desert display board, there’s nothing here I’d recommend or consider worth reading. Give it a pass.



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