Warhammer 40K New Release Review - The Lion And Retinue, Commander Dante, HH Tanks

The sleeping Lion has awoken! We review The Lion & Retinue along with other new Warhammer releases in this week's review roundup!

Published: April 15, 2023 5:00 AM /

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An image of several Warhammer 40K New Releases including The Lion, Horus Heresy Tanks, Commander Dante and more

The sleeping Lion has finally awoken! After 10,000 years of slumber on The Rock, the Primarch Lion El'Jonson returns to lead his legion of Space Marines, the Dark Angels. To mark his triumphant return, Games Workshop is releasing a special showcase set called The Lion & Retinue, featuring the Primarch and three elite Bladeguard Veterans. Games Workshop sent me a copy of The Lion & Retinue (as well as other releases heading to pre-order this weekend) to check out. So follow along for our coverage of a big ol' batch of Warhammer 40K New Releases.

If you're looking for all things Games Workshop, you've come to the right place. We preview and review items coming up for preorder every weekend, covering releases like the new Age of Sigmar battletomes for the Ossiarch Bonereapers and Soulblight Gravelords, new terrain for the Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game, and the new Board Patrol boxes for Warhammer 40K Orks and T'au

Warhammer 40K New Releases - The Lion & Retinue

I was extremely excited to check out the new box set for Lion El'Jonson and his retinue, and the build, sculpt, and new rules did not disappoint! The Lion is an incredibly imposing figure on the battlefield, and it's nice to see the kit come with so many customization options. I decided to build him with his helmet off but cloak pulled over his head, to give him that Arthurian Legends vibe I love from the Dark Angels. The build wasn't overly complicated or difficult, with pieces fitting nicely into their grooves.

Rules-wise, as you'd expect from a Primarch, Lion El'Jonson is an absolute problem for your opponents on the tabletop. You can check out his full datasheet (while it lasts for 9th edition) from Games Workshop, but I think it's worth highlighting a few key points here. Firstly, while he comes with a special pistol called Arma Luminis, he's truly a melee juggernaut with 10 Attacks with his sword Fealty, which you can adapt to either strike or sweep (aka take out a primary target or spread the damage around). To make him even more lethal in melee combat, he has the Martial Exemplar ability, which states: "At the start of the Fight phase, if this model is within Engagement Range of any enemy units, it can fight first that phase." Nasty!

Warhammer 40K New Releases - Lion El'Jonson miniature with sword and shield against a white background
The Lion's awake! Look sharp!

He also allows friendly Dark Angels Core and Character units near him re-roll Attack and Wound rolls of 1, can be set up flexibly on the board, and can even attempt to cancel out two enemy psychic attacks per game (even though he's not a Psyker himself). When playing him on the tabletop, I found him to be a force that absolutely needs to be dealt with immediately by your opponent. So not only is he great at holding his own, but he acts as a sort of magnet of your enemy's attention.

Also included in the kit, as mentioned above, are three elite Bladeguard Veterans to back him up. These are hearty space marines with a 3+ WS and BS, 3 wounds each, and a 3+ Save. They're armed with a heavy bolt pistol, a master-crafted power sword, krak and frag grenades, and a storm shield. And the veteran of the three can have their heavy bolt pistol switched out for a plasma or neo-volkite pistol.

The full contents of the Warhammer 40K New Releases kit - The Lion & Retinue, including Lion El'Jonson and three Bladeguard Veterans
The full contents of The Lion & Retinue kit (sans Dark Angels transfer sheets, which are also included)

All this is to say that, even though you're only building four models with this kit, there's SO much power on display here. And while including everyone in the box will take up over 400 points of your army, I think - at least for now - it's well worth the commitment on the board. To get the whole story of The Lion, his return, and more, we've covered the final Warhammer 40K Arks of Omen book this weekend as well, so check it out to get the whole story.

Warhammer 40K New Releases - Commander Dante

Now let's take a look at another new model up for pre-release this weekend, the venerable Commander Dante. Commander Dante is the oldest living Space Marine (aside from those locked in Dreadnoughts), and as such his model deserves an upgrade too.

I love the dynamic look to this miniature, leaping into the air to blast his opponents to smithereens. This is mostly an update to make this legendary Chapter Master a larger presence on the table, with his datasheet staying mostly the same. Though his pistol has now been upgraded, with special ability text that reads: "Each time an attack is made with this weapon, if a hit is scored, draw a line between the closest point of this model’s base (or hull) and that of the closest model in the target unit. Make one wound roll against the target unit, and each other unit this line passes over (excluding units that were not eligible to be targeted by this weapon when targets were selected)."

Warhammer 40K New Releases - A photo of Commander Dante leaping into action with his pistol
He's so refined!

That's a lot of damage potential for a pistol! If you're looking to upgrade your Dante model (or don't yet have him in your Blood Angels army) now's the time to follow his lead and leap into action.

Warhammer 40K 30K New Releases - Horus Heresy Tanks

Also releasing this weekend for pre-order, I got a chance to build two amazing new tanks for Horus Heresy - the Cerebus Heavy Tank Destroyer and the Sicaran Venator Tank Hunter (both of which are also playable in Warhammer 40K, so they'll be finding a home in my tank-y Dark Angels army soon).

I won't get into their rules too in-depth here, as Horus Heresy is its own beast and trying to explain every nuance would be a bit much, but suffice it to say both of these tanks bring intense firepower to the battlefield.

Warhammer 40K New Releases - A photo of the Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer, a massive tank
Don't get stuck under my treads!

The Cerebus Heavy Tank Destroyer is a massive unit that took quite a bit of time for me to build, but it looks so impressive on the battlefield - even unpainted (for now!). Armed with a triple-barrelled neutron laser battery, it may not be the fastest tank on the field, but it can easily turn most enemy units into a fine mist.

If you're looking for speed, the Sicaran Venator Tank Hunter is for you, with less impressive (but still pretty punchy) weaponry while taking in a major speed boost. Both of these models come with lots of options for alternate sponsor weaponry, but I've gone for lascannons across both because I love that long range.

Warhammer 40K New Releases - Sicaran Venator tank rumbling along a white background
A bit smaller than the Cerberus but just as ready to melt your enemies!

Warhammer 40K New Releases - Lion El'Jonson and More - Final Thoughts

This is an incredibly exciting weekend for pre-releases, and I have to say I'm really, truly impressed by The Lion & Retinue kit. Full of tactical power and featuring an amazing sculpt, this really does feel like the arrival of a famed Primarch, with all of the gravitas you'd expect from the Lion. If you're already a Dark Angels player, this release is likely a no-brainer (as long as you can find a place to cut points to make room for him).

The copies of The Lion & Retinue, Commander Dante, and the Horus Heresy tanks used in the creation of this review were provided to TechRaptor by Games Workshop. These models were assembled by the author over 15 hours, and the Lion & Retinue models and their new rulesets were playtested in three Matched Play sessions. All photographs (aside from the header photo) were taken by the author.

Review Summary

We round up Warhammer 40K New Releases, including our first look at Lion El'Jonson as included in The Lion and Retinue showcase set. (Review Policy)

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| Tabletop Editor

Giaco Furino joined the TechRaptor team as a Staff Writer in 2019 after searching for a dedicated place to write and talk about Tabletop Games. In 2020, he… More about Giaco

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Warhammer 40,000
Game Page Warhammer 40,000
Games Workshop
Release Date
September 1, 1987 (Calendar)
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