Sunday, 31 January 2016

A review of the Fyre Slayers Battletome

I have picked up the new Fyre Slayers battletome so thought I would just pop up a quick review of it. First thing to note is that all the rules for the models are actually available on the website, so you don’t need to buy the book to get a small mercenary fyrd in your army.

So, who are the Fyre Slayers? In the Age of Sigmar setting Grimnir was freed by Sigmar and to repay this debt, hunted down a mighty evil – Vulcatrix the mother of Salamanders. This confrontation resulted in the destruction of Grimnir and Vulcatrix. The Fyre Slayers were born from this conflict (shades here of the auto chthonic myths of the ancient Greeks – ref. Myrmidon’s origin myth), and it justifies their lust for gold – they do not seek normal gold, rather they seek ur-gold which contains a fragment of the power of Grimnir. There is a religious aspect to this search for ur-gold (potentially resurrecting their god? – ref. ancient Egyptian myths around Osiris), as well as a practical aspect that the use of ur-gold in their tattoos provides them with greater than human strength and resilience. Originating in the Realm of Fire, the Fyre Slayers now exist in every realm.

Osiris is cut to bits, and restored once brought together again
The book does a reasonable job of detailing the back ground of Fyre Slayers, how they are organised and what different lodges look like, with the proviso that I would have loved more writing on all of this. For example, magmadroths are new, look fantastic, and feature in a lot of the stories but there isn't actually a dedicated bit of the book to talk about them (thinking here of the 3rd edition Warhammer rulebook which actually had about half a page for each creature and - that would have been great). Artwork is extremely solid, some of the artwork pulling from artists such as Frank Frazetta in style and composition. Again, to quote Oliver Twist, please sir can we have some more?

Frank Frazetta

Fyre slayers

From a gameplay point of view it provides three new battle plans which are all very different from each other and quite different from any other Age of Sigmar battle plans that I have read. My favourite involves dividing the board up into a number of sections, with the evil units deploying as you progress, all while zombies arrive into the battle at random. Lots happening and a really strong RPG feel to the mission and victory conditions. Although all of them are Fyre Slayers vs... it would be easy enough to adapt any of them to Army X versus Army Y. In general as well there are some really interesting concepts in these battle plans - secret deployments, movement on blinds, secondary narrative objectives (if you are a historical player all should be familiar but are great to see in a GW product given the target market). Overall the battle plans are great and inspirational no matter what army you play. 

You also get all the rules for the new models, and four fyre slayer battalions – Lords of the Lodge, Warrior Kinband, Forge Guardians, and the Grand Fyrd. All of these I would describe as interesting, with none really looking like complete cheese. From the point of view of collecting an army, I actually think the battalions are an excellent resource and guide to how any given army 'should' look. Each of the first three I mentioned have very defined units that make them up, and the Grand Fyrd is 1 Lords of the Lodge battalion, 2 Warrior Kinband battalions, and one Forge Guardians battalion. 

So, I have decided to build my way slowly to a Grand Fyrd – first battalion will be a Lords of the Lodge, and then a Warrior Kinband. After that I will aim for a Forge Guardians battalion, and finally the second Warrior Kinband. This way I feel that I will be able to get both an interesting army, and also one that will match the background. For a Lord of the Lodge Battalion I need one Runefather (foot or Magmadroth), one Battle Engineer, one Runemaster, and one unit of Hearthguard. I have the Runemaster, and the Hearthguard. I was planning to get the Magmadroth in April, but I have decided to instead pick it up in March, and overspend a little to get the Battle Engineer at the same time.

From a modelling point of view I have put together the Runemaster and the Hearthguard, undercoated them, and got down the basing sand. With the Hearthguard Berzerkers I have given them Flamestrike polearms, partly because they look very cool, and partly because they fill a useful role in the army. The Fyre Slayers have quite a few units that are able to do mortal wounds (Magmadroths, Runemasters, charging Vulkites with sling shields), but in general they work best against large units or are situational. The Flamestrike polearm works when you hit, so are just as good against a one model unit as against a unit of 30 models, and are doing mortal wounds no matter what the situation. 

Karl with Flamestrike Polearm. Image from GW

I am hoping that by this weekend I will have pictures of Runemaster Ghorth completed. I don’t think I will have the Karl Sindri and his warriors done, but will get up pictures of the progress at that point.

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