Trouble's brewing in the Mortal Realms as the forces of Order seek to rest control out from the clutches of the forces of Chaos, and we've got a sneak peek at a slew of new releases coming out for Warhammer Age of Sigmar. Games Workshop provided us with copies of each of the four regiments of renown releasing this week, as well as the 2023-2024 General's Handbook, the new supplement Dawnbringers: Book 1 Harbingers, and - as a bonus - some new releases for Blood Bowl. Follow along as we dive into it all in our Warhammer Dawnbringers new release review.
What is Warhammer Dawnbringers?
In this review I'm going to be using the overall term Warhammer Dawnbringers to refer to a series of upcoming products for Warhammer Age of Sigmar, and it all kicks off with the release of Warhammer Dawnbringers Book 1: Harbingers. This is a new supplement for the game that continues the ongoing story of Age of Sigmar, offers new rules for campaign play, and has Warscrolls for all units included in the four new Dawnbringers Regiments of Renown.
The story picks up after the Era of the Beast, the last great storyline that raged through the world of Age of Sigmar. Now, civilization is fighting to maintain a foothold against their enemies. Chaos continues to encroach on the land, Death slowly marches onward, and Destruction does what Destruction does best... continues to destroy! With the need for decisive action becoming more and more apparent within the forces of Order, plans are now set to muster an incredible Dawnbringer Crusade, a massive undertaking (likely) led by the Cities of Sigmar (a new army coming soon to the game).
The book also includes rules for the 4 new Regiments of Renown. These forces, which I'll touch on in a moment, are each aligned to one of the Grand Alliance (Order, Chaos, Death, Destruction). These forces can be slotted into an existing army of the same alignment, though they can't be of the same type of army. For example, you could add the Fyreslayers Regiment of Renown into an Order army like the Sylvaneth, but you couldn't add this Regiment into an already existing Fyreslayers army. Though, as you could imagine from the above scenario, there isn't a ton of synergy between these factions and their wider Grand Alliances, the flavor and storytelling are great for casual play, and it'll be exciting to see the expert list-builders prove me wrong.
Also included are new rules for Path to Glory, the game's campaign narrative mode. There are quests here for players including quests to find a Harbinger (a hero who will spread the word that war is coming), quests to spread the word as a Harbinger, rules for establishing communication outposts where you can request support from your peers, as well as rules to upgrade units as you play, and so much more. I can't cover everything included here, but my initial takeaway is that this is one of the more robust Path to Glory packs I've seen. There's so much to do between games, and the impact of those actions really adds to the flavor of your forces and gives tangible benefits.
Finally, what I really love about this book is that it includes the Warscrolls for all units included in the Regiment of Renown boxes. Each box contains a new Hero model, and an assortment of pre-existing models, and I would have expected rules for just those new models. But by reprinting the rules for every model included, you have everything you need if you want to grab a box and go.
Warhammer Harbingers - Regiments of Renown Boxes
Now let's take a quick look at what's included for each of the four Regiments of Renown Boxes. Each of these boxes includes a robust assortment of units, each flavored around their Hero Harbinger.
Dawnbringers: Fyreslayers – Fjori’s Flamebearers
The Fyreslayers Regiment of Renown box brings a nice assortment of fiery dwarves to the table. It includes a unit of Auric Hearthguard, who have ranged Magmapikes (kinda like dwarven flamethrowers), Hearthguard Berzerkers who wade into battle with long axes, and Vulkite Berzerkers who dual wield throwing axes. They're led by the new model in the kit, a Grimhold Exile, who bashes his opponents with Fyre-rune Hammers and can inspire those around him to run and charge in the same turn - handy for all those melee-focused berzerkers with their short little legs!
Dawnbringers: Gloomspite Gitz – Braggit’s Bottle-snatchaz
Next up are the Gloomspite Gitz. This kit includes one of my favorite-looking units, the Gobbapalooza. This unit of weird goblins riding giant mushroom monsters has so much personality in the kit builds, and is great at throwing all kinds of strange potions into the mix. The box also includes a massive Squig Herd and Squig Hoppers, who bounce around the battlefield unpredictably, but chomp down hard if they make their randomized movement rolls. They're led by the Rabble-Rowza, who can send "Mushroom-stuffed Bat Squigs" (wow) against the enemy, and - in a move that is a bit strange as there are no Monsters included in this kit - can buff and goad Monsters.
Dawnbringers: Flesh-eater Courts – Jerrion’s Delegation
Now moving onto the Flesh-eater Courts, who see themselves as high nobility - unaware that they're bloodthirsty monsters whose flesh is falling off their bodies. This box includes Crypt Ghouls, Crypt Flayers who can fly around the battlefield and unleash their Death Scream, and Crypt Horrors who are sturdy brutes that can heal, making them hard to keep down. This box is led by a Marrowscroll Herald, who offers a tempting bargain for your opponent by forcing them to either accept or decline the King's Entreaty. If they accept, the unit is infected with a penalty commands, spells, and prayers. If they decline, you get First-Strike until the end of the following combat phase.
Dawnbringers: Maggotkin of Nurgle – Phlugoth’s Shudderhood
Finally, and this is the real showstopper of these four boxes, we see the Maggotkin. This box includes Putrid Blightkings who hit hard and sneaks in lots of extra mortal wounds, and it also includes Pusgoyle Blightlords, massive Rotbringers riding flying Rot Flies. They're led by the Harbinger of Decay, an utterly incredible-looking hooded figure on horseback who can be outfitted either with a Plague Scythe which deals 3 damage per hit, or the Doom Bell, which can be rung to do all kinds of de-buffs on an opposing unit.
All in all, this is an incredibly impressive series of boxes, and each one would happily slot into your Grand Alliance force. Visually, as I just mentioned, the Maggotkin brings the biggest wow factor, but they all look really good together.
Warhammer General's Handbook 2023-2024
The Warhammer General's Handbook for 2023-2024 is, as the title implies, designed to provide matched play rules throughout the year, and this time focuses on the primal magic that infuses the wild, frozen landscapes of Andtor. Magic users will see all kinds of good boons, but there are also benefits to non-magic armies via the nullstone enhancements detailed in the book. This is one of those releases really aimed at serious match-play players, but there are still tons of new fun rules and twists to the game to be of interest to more casual players.
One major standout from the GHB worth noting is the spell Hoarfrost, which could go on to become a defining spell of the season. Available to any wizard in your army whose an Andtorian Locus (meaning a Wizard Hero with 9 or less wounds who is not a unique unit), Hoarfrost lets you choose a friendly unit, roll a d3, and change the to hit, to wound, or rend characteristic to that number. Now that's just scary to imagine giving a melee powerhouse unit a -3 rend!
Warhammer Blood Bowl - New Teams And Gutter Bowl
Finally, as a quick addition, there are three major new releases for everyone's favorite Warhammer Football game, Blood Bowl. There's the Old World Alliance Blood Bowl Team: The Middenheim Maulers, which brings together Human, Dwarf, and Halfling units to form a sort of super-team of traditional fantasy peoples. Overall this team seems very well-balanced, and would serve as a good beginner team for newcomers to the sport. There's also the Underworld Denizens Blood Bowl Team: The Underworld Creepers, which pairs Goblin and Skaven players into one creepy, crawly force ready to play dirty (so long as the ref's not watching).
Speaking of playing dirty, this week also sees the launch of Gutter Bowl, a new way to play Blood Bowl that takes the game down into the streets and sewers, and away from the stadium with all those pesky referees issuing fouls. This is a much more brutal, foul-friendly version of the game that also complicates the pitch. On the street side of the board that comes with this set are stands and buildings to avoid, while on the sewer side stinking pits of sewage play hazard with everyone's health.
Warhammer Dawnbringers Final Thoughts
I've covered a ton of ground here, but in closing I think it's worth remarking on just how much care has been put into the Warhammer Dawnbringers set. This is a supplement that gives you everything you could want to dive into narrative play - and then some - and each of the four Dawnbringer boxes perfectly frames a fighting force into the larger story of the game world. It's all so thoughtfully crafted, its clear that Age of Sigmar is in a very healthy place right now, being tended to by absolute lovers of the game at Games Workshop. If you've wanted to jump into the world of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, one of these boxes (and the core rules... and the Dawnbringer book) will get you happily rolling into the hobby.
The various Warhammer products used in the creation of this review were provided by Games Workshop. The author spent roughly ten hours reading rules, constructing miniatures, and playtesting some of the new models. Photographs of unpainted miniatures courtesy of the author, press images courtesy Games Workshop.