All across the ruins of the land of Hysh are scattered the powerful magical artifacts of the Lumineth Realm-Lords. These brilliant, graceful Aelves dedicated their near-endless lives to the creation and engineering of greater and greater feats of magic - but that would prove their downfall. After a great cataclysm, all that was left was rubble... and those treasures the Lumineth thought were better left buried. But for the Chaotic God of Change, Tzeentch, there's no such thing as magic too dangerous. Warhammer Arcane Cataclysm, a new big battle box up for preorder this weekend, pits the disciples of Tzeentch against a remaining band of Lumineth in a fierce magical struggle for power. Games Workshop sent us a preview copy to check out, so read on for our review of the set.
What's Included In Warhammer Arcane Cataclysm?
The box set for Warhammer Arcane Cataclysm includes everything two players need to start their journey in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, with two built out forces and their respective stats, the rules to play the game, tokens, and a scenario guide book.
The full list of components is:
- 1 Scinari Enlightener
- 5 Vanari Bladelords
- 5 Vanari Dawnriders
- 10 Vanari Auralan Sentinels
Disciples of Tzeentch
- 1 Curseling, Eye of Tzeentch
- 3 Tzaangor Enlightened on Discs of Tzeentch
- 20 Kairic Acolytes
- 10 Tzaangors
Rules and Tokens
- 40-page Arcane Cataclysm Book
- 56-page Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Rules Book
- Token Sheet
- 8 Warscroll Cards
Now let's take a closer look at each faction in the game, starting with the Lumineth Realm-Lords.
Warhammer Arcane Cataclysm Lumineth Realm-Lords
The Lumineth Realm-Lords presented in the Arcane Cataclysm box represent a strong fighting force, and we'll start with a look at the leader of this band of fighters, The Scinari Enlightener.
The Scinari Enlightener is a wizard-type hero who can cast and unbind two spells, and they're armed with a powerful Crescent Staff with an 18" range (dishing out d6 attacks) and a close-range Moonshimmer Blade. With 5 wounds, they're not the sturdiest hero, but their special abilities and spellcasting are impressive. To start, once per battle, they can cast a spell with a casting value of 9 without needing to roll dice (though it can be unbound), and their Rune of Enthlai reads "Once per turn, if this unit successfully casts a spell from the Lore of Hysh, and that spell is not unbound, you can roll a dice after the effect of that spell has been resolved. On a 3+, you can immediately resolve the effect of that spell for a second time."
Along with guaranteeing a successful spell once a game, and copying the effects of a spell once a turn, they have the special spell Twinned Tether, which targets an enemy unit and effectively copies any damage dealt to the Scinari Enlightener onto that enemy unit. The Enlightener is meant to be your spell-blasting source of huge power, and is meant to be played as an out-of-the-fray hero.
Also included in the Lumineth forces are the Vanari Bladelords, who can choose either to strike in each combat phase with a perfect strike (which always hits, and you do not have to make a hit roll for) or a flurry of blows (which has an attack characteristic equal to the number of enemy models within 2" of the attacking model. There's also the cavalry units, the Vanari Dawnriders, who count as wizards and deal automatic mortal wounds on a hit roll of 6, and can cast a spell which allows them to score a critical hit on a roll of 5+. Finally, there are the Vanari Auralan Sentinels, a group of ranged fighters who also count as wizards, and can choose to either attack from a great distance or closer for a more precise hit.
All in all, the Lumineth Realm-Lords are a fearsome fighting force, imbued with magic and able to strike right when it matters. You should play them the way you'd expect a classic fantasy elf to play: keep your distance until the time is right, and then move in (or send a volley of arrows) to tear apart a scattered or injured enemy force.
Warhammer Arcane Cataclysm Disciples of Tzeentch
Next up are the twisted Disciples of Tzeentch, lead by their hero unit, Curseling, Eye of Tzeentch. This hulking monstrosity sports a friendly fellow sprouting out of his shoulder who whispers arcane secrets into his ear at all times. It's good to have a friend!
The Curseling is a wizard-type hero with a fair suite of weaponry on his battle card. First, he can hurl Arcane Energy at 18", and has a Blazing Sword and a Staff a Tzeentch at close range. As a wizard, he can cast and unbind a single spell each turn, but can re-roll attempts to unbind spells. He can also pick an enemy wizard within 18" and with a roll of 4+ basically drains them of one of their spells, allowing him to cast an additional spell and costing them one of their spells in the turn. His special additional spell isn't too exciting, giving a friendly Arcanite unit within 9" of him a 6+ ward save until end of turn.
Where the Lumineth hero is a powerful caster with multiple spells, the Curseling should be treated more like a spell canceller, going around with his sturdy 3+ save and 6 wounds to drain enemy spellcasters of their valuable resources while hitting hard with his multiple attacks.
Along with the Curseling, this kit includes a unit of Tzaangor Enlightened on Discs of Tzeentch. These bird-like warriors fly around on bladed discs, attacking with their spears, beaks, and the teeth and horns that adorn their discs. They also stop nearby enemy units from receiving orders, which can be handy when you're trying to lock down an objective. There are also the Kairic Acolytes, who are pretty beefy considering they're rank and file. These cultists attack with ranged bolts of sorcery as well as melee weapons, and if they're weilding a shield they have a 6+ ward save. Finally for the Disciples are the Tzaangor Host, who gain a bonus to wound rolls if they've charged this turn.
All in all, both of these armies feel well balanced and do different things, though they all center around magic. The Lumineth want to hang back and pick apart their enemies, while the Disciples want to charge in, hurling arcane magic and unraveling the plans of their enemies.
Along with these models, the box includes three unique battle scenarios that see the Disciples. ofTzeentch seeking out powerful artifacts discarded by the Lumineth, as well as all the tokens and battlecards you need to make fighting it out in Hysh easier. These models, like all Warhammer kits, come unassembled on sprues, so you'll need sprue cutters, glue, and any paints and basing materials if you want to get them looking good.
What Are Our Final Thoughts on Warhammer Arcane Cataclysm?
As with all of the big box sets that Games Workshop releases, this is an incredible value in the box. While there are only two new models in this set -- the two heroes -- the forces all work really well together, and don't feel forced together. There are really fun synergies to be had with each army, and as mentioned above both armies play very differently from one another.
Should I buy Warhammer Arcane Cataclysm?
If you've yet to seriously take the plunge into Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, splitting this box with a friend is a great entry point. Though the use of magic all throughout the armies may feel overwhelming at first, it's really just an extra phase in the game that lets you try to do a cool extra effect. So if the models look cool, and you want to dive into a wild set of magical battles, this is the box to start with.
The copy of Warhammer Arcane Cataclysm used in the creation of this review was provided by Games Workshop.