Examining the Malign Portents 2.0 reveals from Warhammer Fest

So the Warhammerfest reveals just dropped for AOS and it looks like they are rounding out the edition with a major narrative arc similar to Broken Realms, called Dawnbringers. The first book seems to be doing a Malign Portents 2.0 routine with a new hero for each Grand Alliance, except this time they are backed by a brand new Regiment of Renown. You can read all about it here.

We were engaging in a bit of idle speculation at the Plastic Craic offices (The Craichouse?) when I realized that we should be spinning our ill-informed musings into clickbait gold like proper content creators.

Rather than focusing on all the reveals I figured we should take a look at each of the special characters, say some nasty things about the ones we don’t like and have a wild guess at the rules for them and their special regiments.

Phlugoth the Miser – Harbinger of Decay

by Patick Nevan

Credit: Games Workshop

Oh hell yeah! Clearly the pick of the litter in miniature terms this bad boy replaces the existing, and still awesome, Harbinger of Decay sculpt. It doesn’t have quite the same relaxed posture as the original but this one gives of even more of a Frank Frazetta DeathDealer vibe with his turned-to-camera scythe posture.

Credit: Games Workshop

As a Nurgle player I can only hope the awesome new sculpt is accompanied by a bit of a warscroll glow up. He’s not awful in his current form but he is just a bit meh.

My guess is he will retain his current speed and resilience. (6 inch move, 7 wounds, 3+) but get a bit of a bump to his warscroll abilities.

His Aura of Entropy currently gives you d3 command points turn one if he is within 7 inches of your general. That should be handing out more. Let’s be optimistic and say he gets three 4 up shots at a command point in your hero phase provided he isn’t the general.

Courtesy everywhere on the internet

Currently Shudderblight gives him a 3 plus chance to stop command abilities within 3 inches at the start of the combat phase. Current trend seems to prefer a random chance of stopping them at any time so I’m going to go with a 7 inch 5+ deny a command ability. They are going to want to sell these things.

The Regiment

Credit: Games Workshop

New Harbinger, two Flies, five Blightkings. Money wise this doesn’t seem like too bad a deal assuming it comes in at around the same price as a Vanguard box. The new mounted hero looks like at least 90 AUD on his lonesome which is a fair replacement for a Sloppity and Plague Bringers. I do hope you can buy him single: like most Nurgle players I need more Blightkings like I need a movement reduction on Great Unclean Ones.

This will be an interesting Regiment of Renown, at current costing this comes in at a whopping 640 points, well ahead of anything we have seen so far. I’d expect a fair reduction from those costings, Blightkings in particular aren’t worth their points with their allegiance abilities let alone without them.

As for the Regiments rules, most of the last wave seemed to have 2 special abilities. At a minimum I would expect these guys to get their 5 up ward, they really aren’t Nurgle units without it. No one in their right mind would give a unit Nurgle disease rules outside there army but they will probably get something similar as mercenaries. Lets say all Non-Nurgle units within 3 inches take d3 mortals on a 6 up at the end of the combat phase, plus one to the roll for each other unit from the regiment within range.

Pure guesswork of course but I’m pretty pumped for this kit. The models have been around such a long time it’s easy to forget how cool they are. A lot of people are going to enjoy painting these.

Fjori – Grimhold Exile

by Peter Atkinson

So GW got the memo loud and clear: little orange-haired dudes running around in their nappies kinda merge together on the tabletop.  So first we got little orange-haired dude in cape, and now we get little orange-haired dude leaping off a tactical rock.  Credit where it’s due, it’ll be obvious who he is on the tabletop, at least until the next eight Fyreslayers foot heroes are all on their own tactical rocks.

Credit: Games Workshop

I’m actually a closet Duardin fan: I mained The Chosen Axes in Underworlds for a while back in the day, and I keep picking up and putting down that KO -> Grot Sky Pirate conversion challenge.  So when I say that this goon looks like a cranky toddler even by the low, low standards of Fyreslayers characters, know that it doesn’t come from a place of contempt.

In terms of rules, those Rune-encrusted weapons have some kind of Blessed Weapons ability written all over them, quite literally.  I’m guessing factory-standard exploding 6s or D3 MWs on 6s to hit.  My hope is that he has like 7 attacks on one melee profile; my fear and expectation is that he’ll have a separate weapon profile for Lefty and Righty, 3 dice each, to force you to roll the bloody things separately.  One hits on 3s and wounds on 4s, while the other hits on 4s and wounds on 3s…shoot me now (preferably not with laughably undercosted Thunderers though). 

Switching off wards is a design motif right now so maybe that’s what those Runes on his weapons do?  I’m going to say there’s some kind of mini game here too, where you achieve his warscroll quest and get a bonus for the rest of the game.  He looks like a dualist so I’m going to take a punt that if he slays an opposing Hero in combat, he gets extra attacks for the rest of the game. 

As a combat foot hero, if you were playing the odds you’d have to say this guy is the most likely to be a flop, but I do kinda like the mini and the way he’s going full send with those dual axes.  It clearly looks dumb, but I reckon it’ll be a sleeper hit aesthetically and people will value how he looks amongst the army on the tabletop with that slightly different height profile.

As for the Regiment, that’s another big ‘un.  You couldn’t import the whole Runes mechanic, so maybe they get one set rune for the game, like maybe movement rune?  And if they’re meant to be the remnants of a dead magmahold seeking to establish a new home, they could get some kind of territorial theme, like a 5++ ward while they’re on an objective or in your opponent’s territory, something along those lines.

Braggit Big-Talka

by Peter Atkinson

Hooo boy, this is a sweet, sweety mini.  Those swarming Bat Squigs look amazing, and he does have an aura about him.  Bat Squigs warscroll when?

Credit: Games Workshop

I’m gonna tip him to be surprisingly menacing in melee, rocking the 5 attacks at 3/3/-1/2 that is popular currently, along with a few rend -1 damage 1 attacks from his little compadres.  He’s there to rustle up his mates and the GW article hints at him being good at issuing CAs.  I’d say 18” is an unexciting certainty, but I’m hoping he gets that thing where they can issue one for free each turn.  Just being able to take a free punt on Redeploy every turn is cash money.

We also know that he “can gather great hordes of agitated cave-critters that flood from the tunnels”.  So that’s gonna be a mechanic for putting extra models on the board, then: either an enhancement to the Loonshrine, or (preferably) a second source of a similar ability.  It’s actually really easy to harass your opponent’s Shrine, with its huge footprint and need to be placed prominently, so a backup source of recursion that isn’t tied to the Shrine would be sweet. 

Most notably the Regiment includes a Gobbapalooza which could gets access to a Lore spell (Itchy Nuisance for Fights Last would be handy for a lot of armies), and I’m going to say that the units from the Regiment can come back at half strength on a 4+ while the Rabble-Rouser is around. 

The last time they did this with Malign Portents, the Destruction hero (Snazzgar Stinkmullet) had an enduring impact: I won a whole bunch of games using his Command Ability to let Maw Krushas retreat and charge back in his early days, he then had a long life as a cheap wizard that could ally into unusual places like Ogors, and even today he’s still popping up on podiums with the Tunnel Master and Moonface Mommet combo.  It’s a pretty high bar, but we’d be delighted if we’ve found another one here, and the mini is certainly good enough to merit that kind of table time.  This is a Day 1 purchase for me regardless of the rules.

Sir Jerrion – Marrowscroll Herald

by Calvin Rarie

Hoo-boy does Sir Jerrion have several bones to pick, and so do I!

Credit: Games Workshop

The Marrowscroll Herald is hopefully the herald of more Flesh Eater Courts models–or really anything at this point–in the near future. Beyond the obvious lag in rules, the models have been few and far between for what I consider the COOLEST Death army in the game. There, I said it.

I mean just look at this guy! If you don’t see a glorious, knightly orator looking to spread the word of the La–I mean, the nobility then I don’t know what to tell you. GW is just tantalizing us here, hinting at some kind of aura ability, who “act as vectors for the madness of the carrion kingdoms, spreading and magnifying the delusions that drive them.” Given that historically FEC courts play pretty intense Bubblehammer, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that being near a Mawscroll Herald boosts the range through which units get their buffs–maybe acting as a Saurus Astrolith Bearer of sorts, where instead of Celestial Deliverance via Kroak you instead get to cast your buffs through them instead.

The other thing sorely missing for the army is the ability for a unit to receive both Feeding Frenzy and another combat command in the same turn. It sure would be nice for our favorite knightly orders to both be able to fight twice and at a better profile at the same time!

The regiment is loaded with Knights and Serfs, and should hopefully offer a cheapish method for another Death army to get some extra bodies on the board, like OBR running around with Immortis Guard. I’d suspect some kind of recursion mechanic for the regiment, letting the Mawscroll Herald call more troops to sally forth and take the fight to the enemy. It’s hard to get really creative with now the oldest book in the game–but I’m optimistic that we’re gonna see an absolutely banger of regiment and hero. Either way, I’m looking forward to bolstering the ranks of Flesh Eater Courts in anticipation of the new book coming eventually!

Bonus Fapp: Maw Grunta

Bam!  Would you take a look at this magnificent beast!

Credit: Games Workshop

I’m actually surprised at how big the thing is: I would have put good money on a generic ~220 point mounted hero.  Going off the scale of the Brutes alone, this little beauty seems to be on a Stonehorn-sized base at a minimum.  Big stompy smash-mouth monster thing is probably one archetype that Ironjawz are good for, so it’s not really filling any of the gaping holes in the range, but I’m not gonna split hairs when we’ve been given something so magnificent.

In terms of rules?  The Big Pig just screams violence, speed, momentum.  Those gigantic, side-mounted dagger things are no melee weapon: they are charge mortals or nothing.  The Brutes will obviously bring some respectable melee output in their own right, and the pig’s jaws need to be rend -2, especially when you look at those mounted blades.  Serious business.

Credit: Games Workshop

Ironjawz can be a pretty easy army to play against, moving at lightning speed but generally in straight lines.  There’s a lack of flying units in general, with only the one humongous, difficult-to-land base in the range.  The pig clearly doesn’t fly, but it can and should have some sort of linebreaker ability to charge right through screens and out the other side.  GW have already understood the assignment with the modern classic Stonehorn Trampling Charge, so look out for this fella having an equivalent.  I don’t mind it proliferating to the Mangler and now the Maw Grunta, as long as it’s ringfenced to Destruction armies, because I’m biased like that.

We already know that there’s a hero and generic version, so the big question is, what does the hero do for the rest of the army?  My first instinct was that he’d be ringfenced to buffing Gore Gruntas, and maybe this is wishful thinking because it’s Brutes that need the love, but we do have actual Brutes here for the ridealong. 

He’s sure to have a CA or (preferably) aura, and I’m not looking at this thing and thinking “finesse”.  It’ll be some variation on move faster and hit harder: I reckon what we’ve been given right here is a green Stonehorn, and he’s going to continue the theme by stealing Ogors’ trademark charge mortals.  I’ll stick my neck out and say that he has a Stonehorn charge of his own, and gives out some form of charge mortals in a bubble to other units around him. 

This wouldn’t be entirely new to Orruks – long term Ironjawz players will recall the classic Brutefist warscroll batallion that did something similar.  I’m tipping that the Maw Grunta pays homage to the Brutefist.  The ability to punch holes in screens on the charge will add another dimension to the army, and I can’t wait to get this cheeky sausage on the painting table.

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