2021: A Year in Plastic

2021 has been a weird old year; and although some of us will be glad to see the back of it in many ways, it’s still a year in our lives and time we’ll never get back. So let’s take a wander through the highs and lows, and value what we have by awarding “The Plazzies” for 2021. These awards focus on the stuff that interests me: rules, content, snark and minis, roughly in that order. We’ll occasionally lapse into 2020 because our Masters season straddled both years here, so the memories kinda merge together, but there is definitely plenty to celebrate.

Tweet of the Year

Heywoah’s FAQ tweets are my favourite thing about Age of Sigmar bar none. I seriously could link any of them here, because they’re all solid gold, but we’ll be giving the crown for 2021 to his take on the baffling-yet-predictable Morathi buff:

Blog of the Year

The main reason I got into this gig was that nobody else seemed to be doing it. I enjoyed the Editorials on Mengel Miniatures, but they were few and far between on what was primarily a hobby-focused site, and I wanted to read something like that every week.

As well as my own posting becoming (very) sporadic these days, Tyler has largely hung up the keyboard, and likewise another bearded old git like me whose work I’ve enjoyed over the years.

The good news is, there is some fresh writing talent stepping up – and they mostly skew green. Now I’m not saying that Destruction players are more intelligent, more articulate and more in love with their armies than the rest of you. But the facts are kind of saying that for themselves, right?

https://greenskinzgaming.blogspot.com/

https://woehammer.com/blog/

https://casualhammerer.wordpress.com/

So give all of those guys a look, but especially Declan from Woehammer, who wins my Blog of the Year for his dedication to Gits. Keep the articles coming mate, I still enjoy reading them even if I’m not chipping in much myself currently.

Podcast of the Year

Slim pickings these days, right? Loads of top shows have hung up the mic and gone after the easier monetisation on YouTube or Twitch, and I couldn’t say I blame them either.

I’m gonna chuck this one over to the Kiwis…Notorious really know their shit, so I had no hesitation in blocking out my Friday night to join these two legends in their Kruleboyz review.

Cards on the table, I smashed through 12 beers and blacked out before the end…and I reckon I gave Big Shaun a big old editing job, because the final show was at least 90 minutes shorter than the recording time, and they haven’t recorded another episode since.

Did I break him? Eh maybe. But hopefully the Shauns keep recording their competitive Battletome reviews in 2022, because they’re the best there is at what they do.

https://notoriousaos.podbean.com/

Achievement Unlocked of the Year

Now you see them…

…Now you don’t!

That was 90 Skinks fucking BACKHANDED off the board turn 1 by my Ironjawz, and the Ironjawz just barely clung on for the win.

In fact, I managed to take a few good scalps last year:

  • Rohit Thomas’s Fangs of Sotek with my Ironjawz, above
  • Corey B’s 5-0 Changehost list, again with my Ironjawz
  • Netlist Mick and Tristan Smith’s DOK (starring Morathi and the Snakes), with my Big Waaagh and Ironjawz respectively
  • Lachlan McClean‘s Archaon STD with my Big Waaagh
  • I broke Netlist Mick’s 48-0 Giants win streak with my Ironjawz
  • Dalton Copeland‘s Big Waaagh with my Ogors

All experienced players with top armies, and I smashed the fucking lot of them!

What has this got to do with 2021? Bugger all really, but why have your own soapbox if you’re not going to jerk yourself off occasionally?

Shout out to me!

Sex Face of the Year

This cheeky sausage lurking in the Kruleboyz book has wanker’s squint, peering at his phone while the wife is out:

A picture may say 1000 words but I think the top five coming through here are relief, bliss, confusion, emptiness and disappoinment – mainly with himself. I reckon the camera shot snapped to the guy’s face at just the wrong moment for him – ah well, time to clean yourself up lad.

Artwork of the Year

This little beauty from Stormcast takes the biscuit:

Credit: Games Workshop

Bastian Carthalos has an aura of real authority around him, as we can see from those flanking Liberators with their heads bowed in his presence. Love it.

Rules Writing of the Year

Allow me to step outside the GW bubble for a moment, and show you some rules writing that actually does have no room for ambiguity.

I’ve been leaning into Marvel Crisis Protocol for a while now, and their Attack Sequence chart is a thing of beauty. On the “Quick Reference” sheet we have the summarised form:

Credit: Atomic Mass Games

Then in Appendix A to the full rules, it goes deeper. For example on point 11:

  1. Resolve effects that happen before
    damage is dealt.
    a. Apply attacker’s effects.
    b. Apply defender’s effects.
    c. Apply effects of Crisis cards.

You’ll regularly see rules queries in MCP discussions answered swiftly and accurately with reference to this chart, and it’s hard to overstate how elegant this whole system is. A series of bullet points answers 90%+ of your queries at a glance, then you will occasionally refer to the full rules for a complete and unambiguous answer to everything else. It’s concise without lapsing into legalese, and it answers every situation that comes up in the game.

I do wish Age of Sigmar had something similar.

Batrep of the Year

Man I loved this one:

Technically from 2020, I saw it for the first time this year and it’s an absolute rollercoaster.

When you need a bit of peace and quite over the Christmas break, reward yourself with 20 minutes of pure emotion and smash into this. Superb.

Miniature of the Year

Hotly contested as always, Citadel just keeps raising that bar higher, and I really struggled to get this down to a top three.

Coming in third place we have the Dark Master himself, the mighty Be’Lakor:

Credit: Games Workshop

If you’re a painter, this guy is a dream come true. There are loads of opportunities to have some fun and showcase your skills here: the runemarks on his chest can really pop with some OSL, the chains and skulls (I know, I know) break up the darkness of the wings and the flaming sword lets you do flaming sword things – then just look at that base. An absolute menace.

Coming in second we have Gobsprakk, the Mouth of Mork:

Credit: Games Workshop

Feathers! I love painting feathers – there’s so much you can do, and even for someone with limited skills like me, it all comes out looking great. The Lord of Change trophy hand is already iconic, and that little dude poking his head through the banner is the true star of the show.

This kit also makes the Killaboss on Corpse Rippa Vulcha:

Credit: Games Workshop

My own plan here is to use the spare head and rider to convert my Mierce Wyvern into a Killaboss – cos let’s face it, this is a bloody expensive kit. But Gobby has so much charisma on the tabletop, you just fall in love with the guy.

And the winner for 2021 is…Sigvald, Prince of Slaanesh:

Credit: Games Workshop

In theory, I should hate this guy, because he’s strutting across a tactical rock and I’m no great fan of Oldhammer characters being dumped into the Mortal Realms. But fair’s fair, this miniature just oozes class.

The official paintjob above is beautiful, with the turquoise shield offsetting the maroon capes – and we have double the capes for double the fun. But what’s that second cape covering?

Credit: Games Workshop

Yes – the, um, “reveal” was a moment of tremendous theatre. The whole “What if Prince Charming was actually a complete douchebag” trope is not particularly new or unique, but I did chuckle when I read about his comeuppance in the End Times, and all in all Sigvald has definitely won me over.

Battle Trait of the Year

I’m still buzzing about Kruleboyz’ Dirty Tricks. It nails the hat trick: interesting, powerful and balanced.

Credit: Games Workshop via Wahapedia

First up, the timing is perfect. Most of these are highly situational, so you really need to see what’s across the table from you before you pick one.

Disappearin’ Act is cool and unique, but you can’t lift deathstar units (it doesn’t work if they’ve been reinforced) and there’s a delicious risk / reward factor with attempting to remove buffing characters. Noisy Racket helps you withstand the Alpha strike, and Covered in Mud can protect you from some shooting (although not from Point ‘n’ Click Sentinels, whose awful warscroll has sadly not yet been pointed out of the game).

It creates some cool combos like lifting off a chaff screen and redeploying a Mirebrute into the guts of their army, although this comes with the substantial trade off that you leave the crucial Sludgeraker exposed without his 4++ Bodyguard command trait. Similarly you can get first strike with some Covered in Mud Boltboyz camping upfield, but they will be out of range of the buffs from the Shaman. It creates a never-ending puzzle of opportunities and trade-offs, and it’s so damn good.

Warscroll of the Year

I’m going to narrow it down very quickly to the pretty much all of the Stormcast Eternals named characters – which also means I haven’t really narrowed it down very much at all, because there are frikkin millions of them. And yet they all have a reason to exist, which is a crowning achievement of the book.

Bastian has his ruggedness and is a peerless commander, redeploying his troops and issuing command abilities free of charge; Vandus gets your Vindictors and Liberators pumping with extra attacks and Battleshock immunity.

But this year, we are going with Gardus Steel Soul:

Credit: Games Workshop via Wahapedia

I love how they’ve brought a fan-favourite character from Black Library to life on the tabletop. There’s nothing particularly subtle about a 5++ ward bubble, but man it’s nice to have, and with Saintly Assault he does a lot for his chums in combat too. Only the Faithful, indeed.

Unique characters don’t all have to be hyper-competitive and make every tournament list – but it’s nice for them to be good, and most importantly, for us to have a reason to take them whether or not they are cutting-edge efficient. GW have absolutely nailed that with the Stormcast Class of ’21.


So there you have it! 2021 certainly had its ups and downs, and Covid continues to disrupt the hobby and many other aspects of life. Here’s hoping we can all step forward with purpose in 2022 and finally put that behind us.

You’re welcome to put forward your own nominations for the best of 2021 in the comments below, but beyond that, here’s wishing you all a safe and prosperous year ahead. Onwards.


Credit for the cover image goes to NC Dave

https://ko-fi.com/plasticcraic

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