This year's grand story that spans across multiple Warhammer 40K releases is the Arks of Omen. Released as supplemental books and tied to feature products, the Arks storyline is all about the evil Abaddon the Despoiler's attempt to retrieve powerful artifacts known as Keys from across the wilds of the galaxy. Aided by Vashtorr, a daemon of the warp who acts as a kind of arms dealer to all four Chaos gods, Abaddon seeks to bring ruin and chaos to the entire galaxy. Now, with the release of a new big box set Wrath of the Soul Forge King, we can finally play out Vashtorr's attack against The Rock, a floating void-borne macro-warship of the Dark Angels. Games Workshop sent us a copy of Wrath of the Soul Forge King to check out, so read on for our review!
What's Included In Wrath of the Soul Forge King?
Wrath of the Soul Forge King contains everything two players need to build out the core of both Vashtorr and Supreme Grand Master Azrael's fighting forces, allowing players to recreate the Vashtorr’s invasion of the rock. This is the first time players will be able to get their power-fisted hands on models for Vashtorr the Arkifane and Supreme Grand Master Azrael.
This set also contains, on the Chaos side of the battle, a terrifying Venomcrawler, two stomping Obliterators, and 10 Chaos Cultists. They'll face off against the Dark Angels, which are comprised of (along with Azrael), 10 Intercessors and five Deathwing Terminators, who together make up Azrael’s honor guard. Players also receive two Dark Angels Primaris Upgrade frames and a set of 155 Dark Angels transfers.
While most of the models in this box have been released elsewhere, we want to spend our time and attention focusing on the two new models added to the mix: Vashtorr and Azrael.
Wrath of the Soul Forge King - Vashtorr The Arkifane
Vashtorr is a huge, hulking, flying unit who rains down destruction on his foes while throwing their technology into chaos. With a 12" flying Move characteristic at full health, it's not hard to scoot him around the battlefield. His ranged weapon, Vashtorr's Claw, is an Assault D6 weapon which automatically its target, and his melee weapon, Vashtorr's Hammer, is brutal against vehicles, stating "Each time an attack is made with this weapon against a Vehicle unit, on a successful unmodified wound roll of 5+, the target suffers 4 mortal wounds and the attack sequence ends." With an Attacks characteristic of 7 (at full health), Vashtorr can very quickly turn your enemy's tanks into heaps of smoking rubble.
Along with packing a healthy punch, Vashtorr is all about messing with your opponent. Vashtorr has three special abilities, and you can choose one at the start of each command phase. First, his Unholy Mechanisms ability allows you to choose one friendly Daemon Engine model within 3" of Vashtorr and, until the start of your next command phase, add 1 to that model's to hit roll. His Ghost in the Machine ability lets you select one enemy unit visible within 18" of Vashtorr and halve the Range characteristic of that unit's ranged weapons. Finally, the Agonise Machine Spirits ability lets you select one enemy vehicle unit with 18" and halve that vehicle's move and attack characteristics.
Wrath of the Soul Forge King - Azrael
Azrael is an absolute force to be reckoned with on the battlefield, with a WS and BS of 2+, a 2+ save, and 7 wounds ensuring he stays in the fight. Azrael comes equipped with his own tiny arsenal, including a bolt pistol, his master-crafted ballistic weapon Lion's Wrath, and the Sword of Secrets. He also has Frag and Krak grenades, as all good space marines should. His Lion's Wrath is especially worth noting, as it has a boltgun and plasma gun profile (which can both be selected when attacking during the Shoot phase, at a penalty of -1 to the hit roll).
Along with legion abilities you'd expect (Angels of Death and Inner Circle), he can also allow one friendly Dark Angels Core or Character unit to re-roll the hit roll any time they make an attack. Also, any Dark Angels Core units within 6" of him re-roll hit rolls of 1, he can attempt to Deny The Witch as though he were a Psyker, and gives nearby Infantry and Biker units a 4+ Invulnerable save.
How Do The Wrath Of The Soul Forge King Armies Stack Up?
The armies present in Wrath of the Soul Forge King stack up nicely with one another. Model-wise Chaos gets 14 models to the Dark Angels' 16, but with four separate units (Vashtorr, Venomcrawler, Obliterators, Chaos Cultists) Chaos will have more activations than their opponent. Wounds-wise (which isn't the end-all, be-all judge for balance in armies by a long shot, but fun to break down), Chaos sports a total of 43 wounds across all models, with the Dark Angels getting a total of 42 wounds across their models. Firepower-wise it's a pretty even split (though those poor Chaos Cultists will have a hard time making a dent in the Space Marines armor), but its worth it to note that Vashtorr's Agonise Machine Spirits special ability only affects enemy vehicles, of which none are present in this box.
What Are Our Final Thoughts On Wrath Of The Soul Forge King?
I really love all of the boxed sets that Games Workshop puts out for 40K, and even though this set isn't dripping with new models, the introduction of Azrael (in his current form) and Vashtorr are a very welcome addition. If you've already got a Chaos Space Marines army, or a Dark Angels army, this is well worth splitting with a friend to pad out your forces.
The copy of Wrath of the Soul Forge King used in this review was provided by Games Workshop.