Warhammer Reign of the Brute Review - Big Lore, Bigger Monsters

Published: September 16, 2023 5:00 AM /

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An image of new models for Destruction armies as part of our Warhammer Reign of the Brute Review

As the Cities of Sigmar begin their twin-tailed crusade, powerful and brutish enemies seek out glory, destruction, and power. I recently reviewed the Cities of Sigmar army set box. And when it comes to the awesome power of Destruction, we spoke about the gargantuan Sons of Behemat in a new release roundup I put together last year.

Games Workshop sent along new Destruction-aligned units, and the newest supplement in the Dawnbringer Crusade Storyline, Reign of the Brute. Read on for my thoughts in our miniatures and Reign of the Brute Review.

Reign of the Brute Review - The Crusade Marches Onward!

So far in this season's storyline, the Cities of Sigmar - an army comprised mostly of humans without any particularly spectacular powers - have begun to muster for a mighty crusade. In the God-King's name, two battle contingents march out into the wilderness to create strongholds for the forces of Order to cling to amidst a sea of ferocious enemies. Reign of the Brute follows each of these forces as they set out.

With one force from Hammerhal Aqsha heading out into the Great Parch to set up holdings in the land of fire, and one force from Hammerhal Ghyra embarking to set up a stronghold in the verdant, deadly wild forests of Verdia, it's clear that this will be no easy task for either "tail" of the twin-tailed crusade.

Reign of the Beast Review - Maw Gruntas on the attack
Oink! Oink! The giant maw-grunta pigs bring the pain! Image: Games Workshop

For the Ghyranite Crusade, their journey into a world of parched earth and scorching air saw them come head to head with Trugg, an almighty, long-slumber Troggoth with a magical layline welded into his back (don't ask him how it got there, he was asleep and has no idea!).

Side Note: Games Workshop just posted some incredible fiction surrounding Trugg, if you'd like to learn more I highly suggest diving in!

The Orruk Warclans miniatures from our Reign of the Brute review
The Orruk Warclans are always ready for a fight, much to the chagrin of the Aqshian Crusade!

For the Aqshian Crusade, who delved deep into the jungles and forests, they came upon another huge force of destruction, Orruk rampagers riding giant, earth-shattering Maw-Grunta's (aka BIG PIGS)!

The lore in this book is rich, in-depth, and - above all else - an incredibly engaging read. Written from the perspective of both tails of the crusade, the story invites the readers into the inner workings of the Cities of Sigmar army - before introducing us to the monstrous foes who will challenge and rout them.

With over 45 pages dedicated to telling the story of the Crusade, the inner-workings of various factions, and even how Orks get their hands on wild, rampaging boar-monsters, there's so much flavor here. You could pick this up just for the storytelling and lore, and come out of it feeling totally satisfied.

Reign of the Brute Review - Rules That Tell A Story

Along with engaging lore, we'd be remiss in our Reign of the Brute review if we didn't mention all of the incredible special rules included that bring these stories to life. And I'm not talking about the warscrolls which describe how new units work on the battlefield (though we'll get to some of that in a moment).

In Reign of the Brute, there are special rules for four different armies of renown you can build, including Trugg's Troggherd, Grunta Stampede, King Brodd's Stomp, and the Grundstok Expeditionary Force. Each of these armies of renown place restrictions on army building, but give impressive benefits.

Reign of the brute photo of Trugg going berserk, with flames surrounding him. Photo: Games Workshop
Trugg is finally awake! Good morning sleepyhead! Image: Games Workshop

But on top of that, what really stood out as I was putting together this Reign of the Brute review were the different Path to Glory options. Path to Glory is a way to play Warhammer: Age of Sigmar narratively, playing out campaign goals to reap rewards (or suffer the complications of defeat) over a series of interlocking missions.

With Reign of the Brute, players can choose to either embark their Cities of Sigmar army (and only a City of Sigmar army) in either the Ghyranite Crusade or the Aqshian Crusade. Special battleplans lay out the battlefield map, win conditions, twists, and more, and the story will continue forward with future releases in the Dawnbringer Chronicles supplemental books.

Though I haven't had a chance to play through either of these crusades yet, I'm immediately drawn to the Ghyranite Crusade, which offer blessings of nature, setbacks including swarms of biting insects, and innovative battleplans.

Reign of the Brute Crusade Branching Quests
Games Workshop provided this snapshot of the Branching Quests for both crusades - which will you embark on? Image: Games Workshop

In Bloom, one of the two Ghyranite Crusade battleplans, sees each army trying to cover as much territory as possible before the end of five rounds.

Thematically, the Cities of Sigmar are trying to protect precious, magical seedlings which will produce crops they need to stay nourished and keep fighting, while the enemy army is trying to destroy this crucial production source. This thematic overlay to a solid battleplan feels right, with smart design showing through.

New Destruction Units

Now it's time to talk miniatures - my favorite thing to talk about! Games Workshop sent us a huge assortment of new releases to check out, so I'm going to briefly cover off on a few of the key new releases.

Trugg The Troggoth King

Trugg The Troggoth King is an absolutely massive force on the battlefield. Wielding a massive Ironshell Club (which, to get a bit in the weeds here, hits hard on a 3+ hit, 3+ wound, -2 Rend, and D6 damage!) and Mighty Antlers, Trugg is a menace on the mat.

But that's not where he really shines. You see, as I mentioned above, what makes Trugg so special is the malfunctioning leystone that's been grafted onto his back. At the start of your hero phase, you can say that Trugg will clobber the Leystone, activating one of a suite of powers.

Reign of the Brute Review photo of Trugg
Behold Trugg in all his glory!

With the roll of the dice, the Leystone could add 1 to his attack characteristics, save you command points, improve his rend, make it harder to target him with ranged attacks, get a ward of 5+, or - on an unlucky roll - deal D3 mortal wounds to himself! It's a fun, fast, and streamlined way to bring a bit of strange magic into your Troggoth/Destruction army, and it matches the lore perfectly.

Orruk Warclans: Orruk Ardboyz

Let's take a look at the Orruk Ardboyz. These are sort of the "grunts" of an Ironjawz Orruk army, but they should not be underestimated.

Reign of the Brute Orruk Ardboys ready for a fight with swords and shields raised
Don't mess with these 'boyz!

Weilding Choppas and Stikkas, these charge-happy warriors love to get stuck in on the battlefield, bashing with their crude weapons and shields. I really love the look of these miniatures, they're brutish, but look together as a rowdy group.

Ironjawz: Tuskboss On Maw-Grunta

Alright, the time has come to talk about the big ol' pig! This is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive-looking models we've seen come to Warhammer Age of Sigmar in a long time. And they've paired this incredible unit with a truly unique new mechanic.

Reign of the Brute Review photo of a Tuskboss on Maw-Grunta
Here comes the pig!!!

The Tuskboss on a Maw-Grunta has a Momentum Value. Basically, once a Maw-Grunta starts running, it just keeps running faster and faster. As the battle progresses, your momentum score will increase, which also increases your movement, the rend on some of your weapons, the damage from the Maw-Grunta's tusks.

It's a fun, wild, and truly thematic mechanic that turns this unit into a deadly, constantly moving mass of muscle, tusks, and blades. Truly rad.

Ironjawz: Zoggrok Anvilsmasha

Zoggrok Anvilsmasha is an Ironjawz warrior with the power of Gorkamorka! By smashing his weapons over the head of his rockbrow squig companion, Klonk (lol), he can charge up the weapons of nearby Ironjawz units, making them green-hot.

Reign of the Brute Review photo of Zoggrok Anvilsmasha
Zoggrok's cool, but get a load of KLONK!

Along with a mini arsenal of melee weapons (and Klonk's Ramming Head attack... I love him), Zoggrok ensures those fighting near him strike hard at their foes, letting natural hit rolls of 6 deal 1 mortal wound in addition to any damage they inflict.

Ironjawz: Weirdbrute Wrekkaz

Finally, let's take a look at the Weirdbrute Wrekkaz. These raging elite warriors have been driven into a frenzy by the Waaagh! Hoping to help relieve them of their frenzy, Ironjawz will often nail masks made of bone and steel onto their faces. Believe it or not, this does not relieve them of their frenzy.

Reign of the Brute Review Photo of Weirdbrute Wrekkaz
The Wrekkaz do one thing, and one thing only... wreck things!

What it does do, however, is turn them into berserking ragers, giving them extra hits, the ability to run and charge in the same turn, and a ward of 5+ while it's within 3" of any enemy units. 

Reign of the Brute Review - Final Thoughts

I can't express enough how satisfying it is to read through a supplemental book as well-written and well-thought out as Reign of the Brute. This Warhammer: Age of Sigmar supplement gives us so much incredible lore, continues the story with a novel-like approach to the writing, and comes with rules for some of the most exciting new models to hit the table for Destruction armies in a long time.

If you're looking to continue the story of the Dawnbringer Crusade, or just looking to fill out your Destruction/Ironjawz army, look no further than Reign of the Brute.

The products used in the creation of this review were provided by Games Workshop. Unless otherwise noted, all images courtesy TechRaptor.

Review Summary

We're calling on the Dawnbringer Crusade to protect us against all forms of destructive peril in our Warhammer Reign of the Brute Review. (Review Policy)


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More Info About This Game
Learn more about Warhammer Age of Sigmar
Games Workshop
Release Date
July 1, 2015 (Calendar)