The Sylvaneth and the Skaven, two armies in the world of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar that are truly iconic, and couldn't be more different from one another. The Sylvaneth, those tree-like creatures of Order who cherish the natural world above all else, strike ferociously with well-aimed shots and powerful life magic. The Skaven, on the other hand, are a seemingly never ending swarming of rat people who gnaw their way through reality to spread chaos wherever they go. And this time, the Skaven went too far in their quest for power, stealing the sacred soulpods from the Sylvaneth. Now the forest folk are roused to anger (as they often are) and a great battle is about to be unleashed with Echoes of Doom, a new Warhammer: Age of Sigmar boxed battle set from Games Workshop. GW sent us a set to check out, so read on for our thoughts below!
What's Included In Warhammer Echoes of Doom?
Warhammer Echoes of Doom contains nearly everything you need to pit the ferocious Sylvaneth against the ravenous Skaven. I really love how kitted out these battle sets are, as they don't just give you the bare minimums needed to play, but give you at least 700 points worth of models per side (the Sylvaneth side comes out at over 1000 points). In layman's terms, that means you're getting more than enough to start jumping into smaller-sized games of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, instead of just a sample of a few random units.
So what, exactly, comes in Echoes of Doom? Included in the box is:
- 40-Page Echoes of Doom Book
- 56-Page Warhammer: Age of Sigmar Core Rules Book
- Token Sheet
- 8 Warscroll Cards
- Sylvaneth Miniatures: 1x Lady of the Vines, 5x Gossamid Archers, 3x Kurnoth Hunters, 1x Spirit of Durthu
- Skaven Miniatures: 1x Deathmaster, 10x Stormvermin, 20x Clanrats, 1x Grey Seer on Screaming Bell
Note: All miniature models come unassembled and unpainted on sprues, so if this is your first foray into hobby wargaming you'll also need hobby snippers, glue, paints, and other miniature modeling tools.
What's Included In The Warhammer Echoes of Doom Book?
The Warhammer Echoes of Doom book contains over 14 pages of lore describing the conflict at the core of the box set. Essentially, a Skaven Grey Seer named Skrittat feared that his rule over his people was in jeopardy, and so launched an attack to steal soulpods from the Sylvaneth in one of their home realms called Neos. The Sylvaneth, proud and connected intrinsically to the land, could not endure this defilement from the stinking Skaven masses, and so a great war has broken out.
Along with in-depth breakdowns and descriptions of all models featured in the box set, the Warhammer Echoes of Doom book also includes three Battleplans, meant to be played in sequence though they can be taken out of order or as a one-off, which trace the history of this battle between branch and tooth. The first Battleplan, named The Descent, takes place in cramped tunnels of Chakrik's Folly, the home to the Skaven. Here the Sylvaneth, made up of only four models, must make it to the far side of the board while 30 Skaven models attempt to hold them off. The second Battleplan takes place in high mountain peaks, and each model needs to end its turn within 3" of a terrain feature or they'll be slain (as they fall down the mountain!). Finally, the third Battleplan is an all-out war between the full forces of each army as the Sylvaneth attempt to reclaim the few soulpods that haven't been eaten by the Skaven.
Also included at the back of the book Warscrolls for each model included in the box set, though these stats are replicated on (in my opinion) much easier to use Warscroll Cards.
What Is The New Skaven Model Included In Warhammer Echoes of Doom?
Along with containing very well-balanced and fleshed out forces for both armies, both the Skaven and Sylvaneth include some new models which have never been seen before. For the Skaven army, that's a model called Deathmaster. A Deathmaster is a master assassin of the Skaven, and their blades are poisoned with toxins from Clan Eshin.
Along with his poison blades, the Deathmaster also has an incredible new ability called "Hidden Killer." Essentially, when setting up a unit of Clanrats or Stormvermin, you can secretly record on a piece of paper that your Deathmaster is hiding in one of those units. You set his model off to the side, then at the start of the combat phase, you can reveal him, placing his model within 3" of the unit it was hidden in. This is one of the coolest, most thematic abilities I've seen in the game in a long time, and it'll keep your opponents guessing as to when and where this hard-hitting (he has 5 ranged and 5 melee attacks with a D3 wounds weapon) killer will enter the fray.
What Are The New Sylvaneth Units Included In Warhammer Echoes of Doom?
There are two new units entering the game via Warhammer Echoes of Doom - The Gossamid Archers and The Lady of Vines. Let's start with the Gossamid Archers. With zephyrwing sprites attached to their backs, these archers are gifted the power of flight. Along with their accurate bows (which fire two attacks each and hit on a 3+), the arrows they fire are filled with ravenous grubs. On an unmodified hit roll of 6, the target takes D3 mortal wounds as the grubs devour the enemy from within. The Gossamid Archers can also be 2" away from each other horizontally and remain coherent, instead of the usual 1", and have a chance to retreat with a dice roll if they've been given the "Unleash Hell" command.
Finally, let's take a look at the newest Hero to join the Sylvaneth ranks, The Lady of Vines. The daughter of the goddess Alarielle, The Lady of the Vines is a powerful new force in the Sylvaneth army. She attacks with her mighty spear, either as a ranged weapon hitting and wounding on a 2+ and dealing D6 damage, or as a melee weapon with slightly lowered stats. She also has her lashing vines that sprout from her back offering up 4 powerful attacks that deal 2 damage per hit.
She also has a heavy slate of special abilities, and is a wizard as well with the ability to cast and unbind 2 spells per turn. She treats friendly Sylvaneth within 6" of her as though they're within 6" of an Awakened Wyldwood (a terrain feature unique to the Sylvaneth that grants myriad bonuses). Her vines, while being a melee weapon, also allow her to choose at the start of the combat phase whether she's using them to defend against attacks or ensnare her foes. She also has a chance once per battle to simply summon a unit of 10 Dryads onto the battlefield from outside the game. The only area where she's slightly lacking (at least for my aggressive Sylvaneth play style) is her special spell, Aspect of the Everqueen, which gives friendly Sylvaneth units within 12" of her a 5+ ward save while they're wholly within range of her.
What Are Our Final Thoughts On Warhammer Echoes of Doom?
There is just so much to love about this new set. The value here is going to be massive, with both armies getting a huge influx of models in exactly the way each army needs them. For the Sylvaneth, having a new hero, a new set of archers, the Kurnoth Hunters and a Spirit of Durthu (a huge, hulking tree monster) gives the heft and fighting power you need to round out a force of fighting vegetation. For the Skaven, along with the new Deathmaster and the massive Grey Seer on Screaming Bell, you also just get a TON of rats. What I love about this box most of all is the pairing of these two armies. I've always thought that Skaven and Sylvaneth would make wonderful mortal enemies, and seeing them pitted against each other in these fun, inventive Battleplans is a real treat. All in all, I can't recommend Warhammer Echoes of Doom highly enough for anyone interested in either army.
Should I Buy Warhammer Echoes of Doom?
If you're looking to start either a Sylvaneth or a Skaven army, this box is a no-brainer. It's also extremely valuable for those looking to round out either force, as the models included in here aren't just throwaways (okay, the Clanrats are technically, in terms of lore, throwaways, but they're supposed to be, that's how they're treated by their own Skaven comrades). If you're not interested in either of these two armies, then there are other box sets (like Arena of Shades, which we recently covered) which may better hold your interest.
Warhammer Echoes of Doom goes on preorder this weekend via Games Workshop.
The copy of Echoes of Doom used in the creation of this review was provided by Games Workshop.