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10/24/2014

The End Times cometh...

...and they are glorious.

For a couple of months now Warhammer Fantasy has been subjected to massive changes, all of which are caused due to the new End Times campaign. For the first time, a universe know for its stagnation (altough not as drastic as the 40K one) is truly moving forward and it's a ride without breakes.

There are no breakes on the fluff train!

With the re-introduction of everyone's favourite Liche and his gang of goth-obsessed henchmen, the End Times are truly in full swing, So let's analyse whats is going on in the Old World and then how this is represented on the tabletop.

A couple months ago GW introduced a campaign, backed by a spiffy Black Library novel called "The Sigmar's Blood". It ended (spoliers ahoy!) with huge hints that most of Warhammer world's big names, like Volkmar The Grim, The Fay Enchantress and Alarielle's daughter Aliathra, will be receiving the short end of the stick i.e. get killed. Painfully. The perpetriator of this douchebaggery on a massive scale was none other than Mannfred Von Carstein.

Basiacally the Erebus of Warhammer Fantasy

The bald bastard orchestrated the whole thing with the help of Arkhan the Black (or as he's more commonly known among the fandom, Arkhan the Based), who decided that leaving the whole world on th emercy of four, dickish daemon Gods is not a grand idea. What a cool guy!

I'm on a Dread Abyssal!

Long story short. Despite the armies of Elves and Dwarfs uniting and racing to stop the ritual, it went off and brought back the First Necromancer. Nagash rose again and set out on his quest to turn the whole world into one great cemetary.

This however did not went unnoticed by the eyes of the Four. Since Storm of Chaos got retconned out of existence (meh) Archaons has been restored to his status of unchalenged badass. No more sucker punching from Grimgor. The greatest of the Everchosen went on the warpath once again and set out to bring about the end of the world. Interestingly he dosen't do this for the Chaos Gods, but simply beacuse he believes that all life should end.

Pictured: a true nihilist

In fact Archaon's march towards south is simultaneous with the defeat of Settra at the hands of Nagash. Interestingly enough it seems that the Everchosen dosne't have as firm a grip on his men as he'd like. Case in point: Glottkin and his Nurgle forces. Apparently they've detached themselves from the main horde and went to ransack Altdorf! That's a huge blow for the Empire. Not only that but the Emperor went MIA after a rather close encounter with Walach Harkons blade. Don't worry tough. He's scheduled to return as an immortal. No, really. Also Balthasar Gelt is a necromancer now. It's...not what I expected to be honest.

So where does this leave us? Here's the recap of all, major changes to the Warhammer world during the End Times campaing.


  • Mannfred and Arkhan ressurect Nagash by killing off Volkmar the Grim, Aliathra, Fay Enchantress and a couple of other important peeps.
  • Nagash is back and he starts kicking ass and taking names by destorying Settra and taking command of all Tomb King armies. He devoures Usirian, nehekharan god of the underworld with the help of Dieter Helsnicht, who apparently was chilling there. This made him the embodiment of Shyish, the magic wind of death. All Death Magisters became shades, albeit still loyal to the Empire.
The return of Nagash
  • Next Nagash rises his Black Pyramid into the sky which now works as his mobile base, Necron Monolith style. Nagash needs to use it beacuse Aliathra's blood was "tainted" i.e. it contained the curse of Aenarion. That was the only thing that stopped Nagash from ataining true godhood. Apprently Teclis was involved in this scheme.
Pictured: a real asshole
  • Settra, who had to watch helplessly as his empire of sand got destoryed suddnedly get restored and starts hearing voices in his head. Four, laughing voices who tell him to take his revenge on Nagash...
  • Nagash gathers his lieutenants, or Mortarchs as they are called. There are nine of them all, and so far we know of: Arkhan the Black, Neferata, Vlad von Carstein, Walach Harkon, Mannfred von Carstein, Dieter Helsnicht, Luthor Harkon, A nameless necromancer of great power (hinted to be Drachenfels himself) and Krell.
  • With Drachenfels back it can be assumed that Genevieve Sandrine du Pointe du Lac Dieudonné and Detlef Sierck are back!
  • Khalida decides to stick with Nagash in hopes that this will help her get her revenge on Neferata, who sets out to thrash some Dwarves.
  • Menawhile Archaon makes his move. He invades Kislev and trashes it utterly. Tzarina is belived to be fighting a gruelling guerilla war with the remnants of her forces. Meanwhile Balthasar Gelt, with some help from one of Nagash's minion, creates a mystical wall which is protecting the north portion of the Empire from encroaching Chaos Hordes. At the same time Nagash sends Vlad von Carstein, whom he ressurected (to much of Mannfred's displeasure) to help the forces of the Empire in holding back the line. Apparently only the highest echelons of the Empire's command know this. Vlad turns out to be rather calm and calculated, unlike in the Von Carstein trilogy by Steven Saville (which was awesome by the way, read it if you can). He sticks with Nagash in the hope of gaining back his beloved Isabella.
He's the leader the Empire needs, not the one it deserves
  • During the huge battle for the wall a force of Blood Dragons, send to help Vlad and humans by Abirash himself, turns to Khorne and massacres the defenders. Karl Frnaz is heavily wounded by Walach Harkon himself, but thanks to the timely intervention of Vlad, manages to avoid death. Walach is dusted but the wall falls and Chaos forces pour in.
  • This is where things start to get really interesting. Apparently all those zombies in Nagash's Undead Legion greatly strenghted Father Nurgle, who became the strongest Chaos God, and whose legions broke off the Archaon's horde and marched towards Altdorf, sacking the almost defensless city. More on this will be said in the second installement of End Times: Glottkin.
Awwwwwww...
  • Back at the wall, Balthasar Gelt turned to necromancy (lol wut?) to help stem the tide of Chaos. This didn't sat well with some of the Empire's generals, more specififcally the Elector Count Aldebrand Ludenhof of Hochland who tried to kill Gelt, but got himself om nom nomed by some skeletons. Gelt fled and became the Vlad's apprentice (srsly). In reaction to this the Witch Hunters performed pogroms on Gold College and its mages. This is the second wizard order that got wiped out, leaving the Empire dangerously weakend.
  • The Skaven are united when the Horned Rat manifests himself before the Council of Thirteen, zaps the leading Grey Seer and orders all the rats to go out and conquer the world, Pinky and the Brain style. They do this by conquering Tilea and Estalia and hard pressing Araby. They also take large portions of Lustria.
If Pinky and the Brain had genocidal tendencies
  • The Ogre Kingdoms are destroyed by a huge volcano eurption. Ogres migrate west to join the free-for-all brawl and sell their services to the highest bidder. Greasus Goldtooth takes the advantage and declares himself the king of all Ogres.
  • Lustria is burning. A massive Daemon army is attacking the home of the Lizardmen. This combined with the Skaven assault and having most of their Temple cities destroyed, forces the Slann to declare the Great Exodus, but so far it is not known where.
Screw it, we quit!
  • Ulthuan is attacked by Daemons and Finubar is dead. Teclis conspires with Malekith, tries to aid the Empire, while Tyrion travels to the Blighted Isle, the resting place of the Sword of Khaine. Meanwhile Anarielle travels to Athel Loren to help the Asrai in their hour of need. Also GW hints that there will be another High Elf civil war with Caledor seceding from the rest of the their kingdom. Apparently HElves ceased to be the good guys.
  • Naggaroth is besieged by a huge army of Chaos Warriors led by Valkia the Bloody. Malekith conspires with Teclis. Malus Darkblade makes a small appearance. He's still shady as hell.
  • Athel Loren is dying. Ariel is sick and Orion went mad. Alarielle is willing to hel the Wood Elves in exchange for their aid in finding her daughter. The Asrai agree but then Lileath, the elven goddess of the moon, teleports Araloth and his forces to unkown place (another dimention?). Once again the Wood Elves prove that they aren't willing to work with anyone living outside of their forest.
Unless by "working with" one means "running them through with spears"
  • Dwarfs retreated to their holds and barricade themselves there. They've barely managed to avoid another war with the Elves, thanks to the clear heads of Finubar and Thorgrim. Unfortunately Thorek Ironbrow, the greatest Runesmith of his time, commits an explosive suicide involving overloading his Anvil of Doom to take out Neferata. It dosen't work, and worse, by opening the Vaults of Valaya, he'd allowed Nagash to consume her power, and possibly the goddess herself. This would be the second deity devoured by the Great Necromancer. There's just no stopping this guy!
  • Cathay is under constant attacks by the Chaos Warriors (Hung?) and possibly Hongoblins. Ind and Cathay are in simmilar perils. Of course GW won't flesh out those lands, and that's a real shame.
  • Orcs and Goblins are mustering for war. Grimgor is still da best! and Skarsnik still values brains above brawn. Wurzzag declares them the champions of Gork and Mork. Hopefully there will be no head-butting Archaon this time around.
Hopefully this time there won't be any full-on goblin purges in the ranks of  O&G's.

And to think that we're only one book (and some rumors) in the whole deal! According to certain gossip originating on the net, the whole End Times campaign will consist of five to six books. This is truly an epic endeavor on GW's part and one that I wholly support.

THIS JUST CAME IN: So I was ready to wrap up the post, but then found some interesting rumours concering the upcoming Glottkin book. Apparently Kurt Helborg dies during the assault on Altdorf, but he manages to take out Festus. Karl Franz friggin' reincarnates and now his body houses all the souls of Empire's greatest heroes, including Magnus The Pious, Helborg's and more. His "ascension" cleanses the Altdorf of all chaos and undead creatures. The capital of the Empire is still in the nahds of its defenders but is completely destroyed, and things remain to look grim for the sons and daughters of Sigmar.

Basically GW just went full God-Emperor on ol' Karly. I wonder where exactly this leaves Valten now?

Hey guys, what's going on here?


For my next post I'll write about changes to the crunch of the 8th edition. There are quite a lot of them and yes, they are game changing.

Until next time guys!

Xathrodox86

10/22/2014

It begins...

So, my first post on my very first blog. Not gonna lie, this is quite exciting.

The idea for this blog was forming in my head for quite some time now. I'm an avid wargamer and RPG player for more than two decades and, auite frankly, consider those things to be some of my favourite past times. I've decided to write about them, more as an excersise in the fine art of composing written texts, than anything else really. But I digress. If you came to this place, than you probably want to read about stuff like Warhammer, not about my motivation for typing words on a keyboard.

Right?

This is my first post, so it deserves to be special in some way. I've always loved reviews, any reviews really. Be it a movie, a game or a book review - I'd read it. That's why I've decided to kick this blog off with a review of my own.

But what could I possibly write about? Well, since I'm colecting Empire...

Without further ado let me present my review of the Emperor Karl Franz I, Protector of the Empire, Defier of the Dark, Emperor Himself and the Son of Emperors, Elector Count of Reikland and Prince of Altdorf.

Being the Emperor apparently entitles you to the possession of all those titles. It also entitles you to walk like a pimp with a severed orc head whenever you feel like it.

  Now THAT is swag

I'll be reviewing both his model, which is astounding, and his stats from the 8th edition Empire rulebook. My good friend Martin, with which I'm playing both WFB and 40K as well as RPG's for six years now, gifted me with the ol' Karly yesterday as a birthday present, and what a present that is...

Here's the magnificent bastard in all his battle-chicken glory.

  High Elf Griffons eat your hearts out!
                                       

Now let me tell you this. This model is friggin' awesome! Just look at him. Deathclaw is enormous, and I really do mean ENORMOUS. The size of this model is astonishing and greatly reflects the power and majesty of the heir to Sigmar himself.

Now let's unbox this bad boy.

Nearly 1/4th of my table has been annexed by His Majesty and his loyal mount!
                                        
The box is big with a solid feeling to it. As usuall of GW on the front is a photoshopped picture of the painted model in question. It's nice but I miss the times when the boxes had drawn artworks on them. Good old times...

After opening the box I saw two sprues and an instruction booklet. The sprues are full of tasty bits which let you build not only KF himself but also an Amber Wizard Lord and a generic (but still cool looking) general of the Empire.

Instruction booklet is filled with CGI images

A rather blurry, but still cool artwork from the newest Empire armybook in black and white no less

Those wings are ginormous. Also check out the heads. There are 3 (or 4?) of them!

I think the only beast which is simmilar in size to this griffon is the chimera. I may be biased tough

This kit allows you to assemble three different characters for your Empire army. It's a converters dream come true
The grifon can be assembeled in three ways. You can make the classic Deathclaw with his armoured head and a KF libery in front. You can take the generic, "bald" griffons head and there's the double-eagle head for your wizard lord variety, or as I like to call it, the Aquilla headpiece.

I think I'm going to assemble mine in the classic, KF form. Maybe with a different heraldry beacuase that dragon ornament looks sweet. On the other hand I just might magnetize the whole thing for the hell of it. The entire model is simply powerfull and menacing. There's a bit of fluff in the Empire armybook explaining that their griffons are bigger and nastier than the "normal" ones, beacuse they are selectively bred, and oh boy, does it show on this model. I can easily imagine this griffon tearing enemy units to shreds with every slash of it's mighty claws and hard-as-hell beak. Simply awesome. Solid 9/10.

Now the riders. Oh man, when GW is bothered to pull its head from its own ass, they can really make wondrous models. This one is no exception. Karl Franz comes with Ghal-Maraz the legendary warhammer wielded by Sigmar himself and it really looks majestic as all hell. You can also equip him with the Reikland Runefang.

But WHY would you do that when you can go hammer-time on your enemies asses?
The helmet used by the emperor differs slightly from the older model, but that's really the only thing that's changed in him, apart from the greater levels of detail of course. His Imperial Majesty will be the centerpiece of your army if you decide to field him . However he is not particulary different than the "standard" Empire generals. Sure he's got a full plate and a helm full of feathers, but that's all really. It's not a bad model. I just expected some more details from the Emperor himself. 8/10

Next is the amber wizard lord. Again, GW did an awesome job here. Warhammer fluff monkeys, such as myself, know that amber wizards almost never use "civilized" things such as clothes, metal weapons and so forth. They're the closest thing the Empire has to shamans, untamed and primal. This guy is exactly that. From the bald eagle hat that he wears, to the staff topped with a bird of prey talon, the amber wizard lord just oozes primal coolness and feral strentgh. A huge 10/10 from me.

I dig his hat the most of all to be honest
Finally we come to the standard general of the Empire. You can assemble him with three weapons. A Runefang, a lance and a (not fluffy) Ghal-Maraz. I will run mine with a lance since it fits the theme of my cavalry-heavy army, and the Runefang will probably go to an Empire captasus (captain on pegasus). I think GW wanted to go with a dragon theme when it came to this general. He's got a dragon themed helmet and the heraldry on the armour of the vanilla griffon sports a big dragon. Now this would greatly fit in a Talabheim army, since they have lot's of dragon related myths and themes going on, what with their city being created when Taal casted a great dragon to the ground. However for players who collect armies from, lets say, Nuln (like me), Averland or Middenheim, this could not stick. I know that many people don't give a crap about how their general looks, but I'm always carefull to stay true to the fluff of my army, just like many others do. I mean there is an another head, which greatly resembles the one from the general/captain kit, but GW could have made something more universal for this one. Still, the model is great, and I will certainly deploy him on a battlefield without any shame or remorse. A solid 8/10 from me.

Not bad but could have been so much better

So after reviewing the model itself lets look at its stats and battlefield useability. Since 8th edition is a bane of all monsters, despite what Storm of magic makes you think, does the Battle-Chicken of Doom really delivers?

FYI, since I plan to make a series of full tactica articles later on, this time I'll be only reviewing KF and Deathclaw, but also a normal Griffon. General will have to wait, as well as the Wizard Lord.

The Imperial griffon itself looks good in the stats department. For 170 points with WS 5, S6, T5 and 5 wounds it can really dish out some pain. I wouldn't put it against a daemon prince or a dragon, but against a unit of tough infantry or small unit of cavalry (not Blood Dragons mind you) I could easily see it come out on top. Especially if you get him the blood roar upgrade for 25 pts. In that case you can use him as a chaff killer, sending him against a huge block of low S, low LD infantry to take care of. Just be sure to attack from the flanks. Oh and don't take the two headed upgrade. Blood roar is better. Also it costs 5 pts less.

Okay that was the general griffon, but what about the Deathclaw? Well, for starters it costs... 215 points? What the hell? And it has the same stats as vanilla chicken! Okay, he automatically passes any monster tests and hates the would-be killer of his master, but still... Sucks a bit. Oh well.

Karl Franz himself is looking pretty nice. He's a buffed up general with auto wounding, armour ignoring weapon that deals D3 wounds with each hit. Cool! His Silver Seal is great, granting him a 4+ Ward save and a MR 2. Pretty handy, especially if you consider that his base save is "only" 4+.

Never take the Reikland Runefang, just... don't. I beg you.

He can take four kinds of mounts. Deathclaw (duh!) for 215 pts, and Imperial Dragon for 300 pts, a Pegasus for 45 pts and a Warhorse for 18 with barding costing additional 6 points.

His Majesty's special rule is the inspiring presence. This means that his command bubble is 18' or 24' is he's sitting on Deathclaw or the Imperial Dragon. Extremely helpfull if you ask me, especially in an army where LD 7 is a norm.

Combat wise he's ok. WS 6 and S4 are ok, but be prepared that Deathclaw will be doing most of the killing anyway. Fortunately he's got Ghal-Maraz, one of the better magic weapons in the game IMO. So with his 4 attacks, and perhaps some rerolls to hit, he can really lay down some hurt.

However is he really worth his points? In my opinion yes, but you should not take him on Deathclaw or a Dragon (not to mention pegasus. Those should be captain-exclusive). Why? Cannons, that's why. And bolt throwers. And Doom-divers. And assasination spells. The times of hero hammer are long gone. You gonna put up a single, expensive-as-all-hell model on the table and it will get sniped. Period. Put him in a unit of Inner Circle Knights or in a huge block of 30+ Greatswords, both with magical banners and a mage support. His monstrous mounts are not worth it.

The Emperor is not amused. Also that is not the real Ghal-Maraz!
So that's it. That's my first blog post ever, and let me tell you, I feel awesome and tired at the same time. I've been writing it for two hours now, but I loved every, single minute of it. I think I just might really like this whole blog buisness...

Until next time guys. My next post will shed some light on my armies and the state they're in.
Also here's the pic of my general, Sigismund Orteli. There's a cool story about him, which I'll be happy to share with you. Some day.

But not today. I still need to work on the details
Until next time!

Xathrodox86