So the veil has finally been lifted on the Storm of Magic expansion. Not officially, of course, but the Interwebs are full of images purloined from the next issue of White Dwarf. Unlike the vast majority of the pics I post on this blog, you can click them to enlarge. These models are worth a look at full-screen.
Once again it amazes me how GW manages to keep things so secretive these days… reminds me of Apple, but without the $300 billion market cap and the turtlenecks. You’re never going to completely keep things off of the rumor sites, but to prevent any leaks of rules and/or images for the months and years leading up to release is remarkable. Somehow the Grey Knights always manage to find their way onto the web in PDF form prior to release, but everything else is locked up pretty tight and I will tip my cap to GW for that. It can’t be easy.
The SoM expansion means a lot of things for Warhammer this summer. More wizards, bigger spells (Cast on a 35+ and requiring multiple wizards, you say?), more monsters, and (finally) some epic scenery pieces that go beyond the Empire village sets.
And just like every other major release, you get your limited edition junk. I fully admit that I’m a sucker for the card decks, and a customizable “grimoire” for the 64 card Storm of Magic deck plus room for army specific spells is no exception, but the dice and the templates elicit a resounding “Meh” from yours truly. I don’t want to know how much a set of 6 same-size vortex counters will cost. I really hope that the Storm of Magic deck doesn’t have so many spells that you actually need 6 of them just to play the game.
And the best part? There’s still more to come! As if an expansion hardcover rulebook (weighing in at 200+ pages supposedly), Black Dragon, Manticore, Cockatrice, Chimera, 4 new plastic wizards and a bunch of scenery wasn’t enough, there’s a few Vampire Counts gribblies still to come. Lots of people are pointing to an Abyssal Terror model, but there is also indication that it might be a totally new monster.
Breaking it all down
So, once I managed to scrape my jaw off the floor, I was able to put some thought into how this all came together (as far as we can tell from these early sneak peeks anyway!). It’s still far too early to tell how the game will play, how people will react to it, etc. but overall I think it’s a very encouraging sign. GW is clearly doubling down on something without power armor. They are releasing more and more centerpiece figures for a number of different armies that just beg to be built and painted, larger and more impressive terrain kits to make the battlefield as visually exciting as you have in 40k, and the full force of the design team and
propaganda marketing machine.
These kits are big. They are versatile, with many of them sporting multiple mounts or the ability to possibly run them without a rider at all (still not sure how that works, but you will hear some whispers about the new uber spells summoning monsters to the field similar to Beastmen/Transformation of Kaidon). There are new monster types in addition to the ones that already exist in specific army books. There’s promise of more yet to come.
There’s still a few puzzling things about this release though. Many astute readers on the forums have begun to ask the question: What’s up with the four plastic wizards? They look great and everything, but the decision to do them in plastic and package them in what appears to be a clamshell pack is a bit strange. Is this a new thing that they’ll be considering? Doing much smaller scale plastic character kits that can be tucked into the new blister packs? If they are small enough to fit into a clamshell pack, the odds are they won’t quite have the same variety of components as something like the Empire Wizard kit. Speaking of which, where’s the new wizards for the Forces of Order? I can only assume that there’s an Elf and a couple more representatives of the Colleges of Magic yet to be seen. Hopefully we’ll know for sure about that next month.
And with the big push for Finecast resin miniatures, I can’t quite understand why they skipped the opportunity to sculpt some of the first models specifically designed for the new casting technique. If the monsters were started several years ago, as the literature seems to indicate, then they likely weren’t built with resin in mind. Hell, most of them are plastic, so they clearly won’t have that same crisp uber-detail that they could have delivered in resin.
The Cockatrice and Chimera may end up being Finecast miniatures, which is fine by me. I really like the look of that Cockatrice, and while it lacks the Tarouk Makto color scheme of the mid 90’s studio model, it still manages to catch my eye. The official color scheme for the new one looks very Tzeentchy, which makes me and my Warriors of Chaos happy.
Are you guys looking forward to this or what? Obviously it won’t be for competitive play, but unlike Apocalypse, I don’t think you’ll have to run out and buy 10 Leman Russ Battle Tanks or anything silly to play the game. Pick up the rulebook, some of the Arcane Fulcrum terrain kits (or build your own!), and you’re good to go for some very unique and interesting games of Fantasy.