I still can’t quite believe it’s happening. This has to be the most BDE move that GW have ever pulled: you have to be super-confident in yourself, your company, your game system and your direction of travel to whip this one out.
The buzz is real, the excitement is real, and I’m convinced that this Battletome is going to be a roaring commercial success. The world and his wife is going to jump on board this release, believe it!
Will it be OP? Eh, for the first time ever, I genuinely don’t care. I’m just so delighted that this is an actual thing that I’m all in, regardless.
In Part One of the preview, I’ll be recapping some adventures I’ve had with Gargants so far, and taking a broad (and excited) look at what my hopes are for the release; Part Two, which I am hoping to get out within the next week, will be a self-indulgent wankfest as I delve into one of my Gargant-themed hobby projects.
So join me as I do a terrible job of taking a break from the blog, lured back in by this awesome army!
What we know so far
Sprues and Brews have done some excellent sitreps on the reveals to date, which I would encourage you to take a look at. Beyond the (fantastic) storybook preview video released by GW, solid information is currently scant; so rather than repeat the same stuff that’s been covered well elsewhere, I will be taking a more personal look at this release: running through a couple of my own experiences with Giants, and wrapping up with some reckless speculation.
I first got into the hobby back in the mid-90s with 4th ed Fantasy. I was too young at the time to play properly, so I really just collected the models, but two things stood out from that box set: Grom the Paunch, and the fallen Giant template. Grom was just a shitty cardboard cutout, but I loved his story so much, I was fucking rapt when it came out as a limited edition model a couple of years back.
Owning an actual Giant had seemed like an unimaginable luxury to my younger self. But that black and white template was enough to make me want one so badly; between Grom the Paunch, and the fact that they were the lucky bastards who got to have actual frikkin Giants in their army, that’s a big part of why I’m still an Orcs and Goblins guy to this day.
Let’s skip ahead 20 years to AOS dropping in 2015. When I got back into the hobby, an Aleguzzler Gargant was one of the very first things I bought, and I ended up with two in quick succession through the Ironjawz Battleforce box. What does someone who lives near Melbourne call a pair of Giants? Gog and Magog, obviously.
Despite coming in the bundle, you couldn’t actually run Gargants in Ironjawz at all back then (no such thing as Allies), so Mixed Destro was your only option for running them in Matched Play; but that was cool, Mixed GA lists were King back then anyway.
I ran mine early and often. One game that I will always remember was a Friday night session in Shane’s shed, where he was running the classic Liberators, Retributors and Judicators Stormcast. I was bringing the heat with two Gargants, an Arachnarok spider and some Fimir: a proper grab-bag of cool stuff, perfect for some Friday night Beerhammer.
Having been whittled down by Shane’s dakka on the way in, I was set up for one big turn to try and break through the shield wall. Shane Lays Low the Tyrant, and topples Magog.
Which way will he fall? I lose the roll off and BANG he falls into Gog, who is on 3 wounds. D3 Mortal Wounds, oops, he’s dead too.
Which way will he fall? I lose the roll off again and BANG he falls into the A-Rok, who is on 3 wounds. D3 Mortal Wounds, oops, he’s dead too.
Bang, Bang, Bang! Fucking domino rally right through the heart of my army, and the siege has been repelled just like that. Fucking Order wankers.
Excuse the grey plastic…this was “back in the day”.
Fast forward a few years and I’m playing against Australian Destruction legend Deano Matthews. Now to put it in context, Deano has a podium under his belt with Greenskinz – not a Big Waaagh! army with a couple of Greenskinz units, but an actual, 100% Greenskinz army using the current Destruction GA allegiance kit. I’ve struggled to win games with Ironjawz over the years, while he’s been dominating with the bottle-fed version.
We’re playing up on the top tables at SAGT 2019; I’m packing Bonesplitterz, as an anti-meta Kunnin Rukk gunline (designed to take on the new FEC and Skaven books), while he is rocking an army that has no business being in the mix, but it is, because he’s Deano. Greenskinz and Ogor battleline, an Orruk Bully, you get the picture. But the heart of the army is so fucking cool: a Troggoth Hag, a Bonegrinder Gargant, and two Aleguzzlers. And not just any Aleguzzlers; these were the classic metal Giants, about the size and shape of a hand grenade, and likely to do a similar amount of damage if you chucked them blindly into a crowded room.
We had a good chat about our armies beforehand, during which I explained at length why I didn’t like the Aleguzzler warscroll: it charts too hard, the armour save is crap, Drunken Stagger is crippling and the attacks are too swingy. My opinion was (and is) that they could easily just get the maximum number of attacks every time (e.g. 18 at full health) without being OP. Having got that off my chest, he of course proceeded to kick my teeth in with them. Plucking out Banners and Bosses, rolling hot on their number of attacks, they went absolutely mental and devastated a 60-wound unit of Arrow Boys without breaking sweat.
I got stupidly lucky at this point: we were playing in the Realms, and the Realm Rule in play was that a Battleshock roll of 1 always meant that nothing flees. I roll the dice, and that skull stares back up at me. This was crucial because it meant that even if Deano won priority (which he did), he would have to fight through my few remaining Arrow Boys rather than getting into my backfield and start merrily slaughtering my Heroes. After that, my weight of shots and anti-Monster bonuses carried the day, but I’m gonna be honest – I got away with one there.
I posted up a question in the Gloomspite Whatsapp recently, asking who was in the Ethereal Amulet Owners’ Club. Stealing an Ethereal Amulet with Skragrott is a rite of passage for any Destruction player, and plenty of us have managed it. Here’s another on for you: who’s in the Drunken Stagger Club?
I’m in the VIP Lounge of this one. I took a drinker’s army to Ardfist 2018, since it was in a fully licensed venue and I was in the mood for a relaxed weekend: Gutbusters allegiance, with the classic Tyrant of Doom (doing Damage 6 per swing), a couple of Ironblasters and Gog and Magog along for the ride as Allies.
Magog managed to pull off the perfect Drunken Stagger shaft in one game at the event, failing a 3” charge by rolling box cars. Fucking cheers for that lad!
Hopes for the Battletome
We’re obviously getting new models for the new Gargants. My best guess would be that these are a 3-in-1 kit, but it could be three separate kits.
I’m thinking they are all Heroes, and larger than the current Aleguzzlers by some distance, possibly in line with the current Mantic kit:
Points wise, I’d expect something like 320 to 380 points each, depending on which variant you go with.
I’m also expecting an even larger kit to be released into the range, essentially a new, plastic Bonegrinder. This one could be a dual-purpose kit allowing you to make either King Brodd, or a generic Gargant King.
Again this is a Hero, and probably coming around the 460-520 point range.
Existing Aleguzzlers will also be a part of the range. Some people don’t like them, but they are a plastic kit, and I don’t see this being a large enough release to squander a relatively modern plastic kit like that.
There’s a couple of things I hope and expect to see. Johann is the most iconic bit in Warhammer; we really need to see a tribute to him on the new sprues. I want a heap of these so I can use them as Objective Markers (especially for Relocation Orb), and have my whole collection of models doing terrible, terrible things to them. I want so many Johanns that I have Slaughtermasters dipping them in cauldrons, Megabosses holding them by the throat and Troggoth Hags motorboating them.
Wild punt: the new Gargants can have a unique role as both Leader and Battleline, underlining the theme of “everything is a centrepiece” and allowing a hyper-elite army amongst elite armies, consisting of 3 to 4 models.
I gotta say: I love the storybook theme so far. Fe Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of Order scum!
The aesthetic is amazing, but the artists’ main challenge will be tying together the existing Aleguzzlers with the newer, more modern sculpts. We know that this is an area in which GW consistently excels: a great example is Ironskull’s Boyz. Ardboys are a similarly divisive, older plastic kit, but the Warband managed to update, refresh and modernise the look, while still fitting in. People can and do use them as unit leaders within a unit of Ardboyz, and they fit in fine, while at the same time looking entirely new.
I can’t wait to see what they do with the new Gargant models in that context.
Wild punt: I’d love to see humans who idolise and worship the Gargants in a Cult of Behemat. I get that this won’t be part of the release; and as much as I’d love it personally, objectively it shouldn’t be a thing, because the whole point of this release is to allow an army of nothing but nothing but Giants.
So this one might be something that we pick up locally for a multi-player campaign, where I team up with our local Cities of Sigmar player for example. That being said, Shane hates Destruction, so maybe I can rope in our Fyreslayers player instead, to ransack the Free Cities. Dwarves worshipping Giants has a nice ring to it – and Adam has plenty of Vulkites lying around, maybe we could convert them up as Duardin stilt-walkers?
There are already rumours of Gargants kicking objectives around the table. The Sons of Behemat Whatsapp has also thrown up the possibility of picking up and flinging other models around the table, how cool would that be!
Capping Objectives as 10 models would be sweet, although really I wouldn’t mind seeing that remain as Ogors’ “thing” since it really is their main Battle Trait. Maybe a nice alternative army-wide rule could be Longshanks: everyone gets the 6” pile in from the Bonegrinder Warscroll. We already know that’s a game-changer, and it’s super thematic:
Taking a step back, the comparison has been made with Imperial Knights, which means they should be “Good against everything”. You’re not going to have many models on the table, nor (in all likelihood) many Warscrolls in the book; so everything you put on the table has to be able to do work in most games, with the payoff being that every model you lose is a crushing blow.
The classic “Good against everything” weapon profile would be for the main attacks to be Rend -1 Damage 2. That’s the sweet spot in terms of having some game against both larger and more elite units. Maybe in that context, you can choose how to use your secondary attack (similar to a Gorkanaut): choosing between “Swipe” (high volume of poor-quality attacks, used for crowd control) and “Stomp” (low volume of high quality attacks, probably at Rend -2 Damage 3).
There will still be random elements in there, but hopefully without crippling Sons competitively. Nobody wants a 400-point centrepiece model to roll up 4 attacks from its 3D6 and do nothing – that’s not fun. “Baseline good – upside better” is what we are hopefully aiming at here.
On a similar theme, I expect that Gargants will keep their classic rules, or at least a nod to them: you will still have a way pluck models out of units and stuff ‘em down your pants, and a “falling over” mechanic, taking us full circle to that fallen Giant template back in that 4th ed starter box…but please, for the love of Gork, not in the Charge Phase!
Wild punt: the power build shakes out to be two of whichever of the new storybook Gargants is the most efficicent, and about 10 Aleguzzlers in a Battalion or two.
So there we have it! I know there is a real buzz about this army, and so many of us can’t wait to know more.
Let me know what you think the book could bring, what this release means to you, and until we have that new Battletome in our hands: May Gork bring you strength, may Mork bring you wisdom.