Thursday, June 10, 2021

The "Best" Unique Age of Sigmar Army

With the Kruleboyz set to join the party soon I thought I would take a quick look back at the other wholly unique armies to AoS. The definition of what a wholly unique army to AoS is may vary from person to person, so I apologize if I left any off the list. So, how do these brand new additions to the game rank against each other?

To start off, I'm not going to rank these in the order I think they fall in, but I will tell you which one I think is the best at the end of the article. Also, like I said, everyone has different criteria for what qualifies as a unique army. I'm looking at stuff that either had no models before, or very, very few. So stuff like Nighthaunt and Daughters of Khaine don't qualify, since they were more expansions in new directions on previously existing armies. I'm also not counting Fyreslayers, even though they're all new models, since they're so closely tied to the old Slayer aesthetic.

Stormcast Eternals

Let's start off with the most obvious one, and also the oldest and largest, the Stormcast Eternals. These golden warriors may be a little easy to overlook since they've been with us since the launch of AoS, but they are brand new to this game system. They had no counterpart in Warhammer Fantasy. Being the poster boys for the game, they've also had the most attention and variations on their look and feel. With a new chamber opened every few years we now have the regular Stormcast, the Extremis, the Vanguard, the Sacrosanct, and now the upcoming Thunderstrike. I've always liked the look of these models, and in some ways I think they're even more iconic looking than the Space Marines of 40k. I particularly like their new redesign with the Thunderstrike armor. It's much more streamlined and realistic. Smaller shoulder pads and actual straps to hold the armor on. They're also the most likely to get new models on a regular basis.

They also have super engaging lore behind them. I love how they still retain a ton of their humanity, at least initially. This makes them a lot more interesting and relatable for me. The reforging process is also super interesting and I almost feel like how they lose a little bit of themselves each time is almost more tragic than dying. For the most part, they've been denied the escape of death, even if they want to. They also have some of the best novels with stuff like Champion of the Gods, the Hallowed Knights series, and the Blacktalon novel. In that last one they also broach the idea of how they've essentially had their freewill and autonomy stolen from them by Sigmar. They were not asked if they wanted to become Stormcast Eternals, Sigmar just made that choice for them. He stole them away from their lives, their loved ones, their humanity to an extant, and signed them up for a eternity of war, all without their consent. It's easy to see why some Stormcast resent him. Sigmar Soul Thief indeed. 

Kharadron Overlords

Where the Stormcast played it a little safe with the classic paladin theme, the Kharadron Overlords flew onto the scene in over the top, steampunk fantasy style. I remember being so blown away by this army since it was our first look at how different armies in the Mortal Realms could be. Up until this point everything was either based off old armies, or neatly fit into the old classic fantasy style. The Overlords though fully embraced the wild and whacky side of AoS. They announced that literally anything could happen with this new setting. I love how they took the mechanical nature of Dwarves and dialed it up to 11. Also, flying boats, that's just plain cool!

The background for them is pretty awesome too. Gone are the classic duardin ancestor traditions, instead we got an army that was basically capitalism within a fantasy setting. Everything is about money and how much money you can accrue. This also meant that literally anyone could rise to the top since bloodlines don't matter. Though I'm sure they probably suffer the same problems that we do in our own world with that system. They've been fully incorporated into the background, which is not entirely surprising since for one, they're awesome, and secondly, their ships are a convenient way to have armies move from point A to point B. On the novel side they've had two of their own books, as well as being side characters in a ton more.

Idoneth Deepkin

Fish elves! Well, kind of. I LOVE the look of the Deepkin. People have wanted a "Fishman" army forever, and now they kind of, sort of have one. I've never been a huge aelf/elf fan, but the Deepkin are just cool. I would love to do an all cavalry army with them using eels, sharks, and turtles. It doesn't hurt that that's also a pretty good list to use on the table. There's just something so cool about seeing all of the sea creatures flying across the table top. I honestly don't think there is a single bad model in the range for them and I'm super excited to see what comes next for them when they get their next book. I mean, we've already seen the crab in Underworlds, just imagine what other sea creatures they can incorporate into the army? What about some chariots pulled by seahorses, or a kraken type monster?

The background for them is super compelling, and also pretty dark for an order faction. I almost think they're a little more dark than even the Dark Elves of old. I mean, torture is dark sure, but it's not "stealing the souls of the living to give your own soulless newborns a meagre half-life" dark. I also really like how they're a failed experiment on Teclis' part and how he was ready to wipe them out completely. They're not tainted by Chaos Teclis, they just have super complex emotional problems and severe depression from having been eaten by a literal god then pulled out and given bodies again, have some compassion! They also have a really awesome novel, Court of the Blind King, which I really hope gets a sequel.

Ossiarch Bonereapers

Ah, Death, my favorite grand alliance. The Bonereapers were the first wholly new army for Death. Sure, they have the Morghasts, but that was only one model, and it came out at the very tail end of Fantasy, so I'm not counting it. I know the model line for these was pretty divisive when they first came out, with a good chunk of people not being fans of their heads. Personally, I like it, but I can see where others wouldn't. Their characters are all awesome though, and Katakros is just an amazing model. I have a bit of a complex relationship with the Bonereapers due to my love of the Tomb Kings. They're clearly meant to fill the hole of the Tomb Kings with their super regimented and militarized nature, but at the end of the day, they're just not the same as Tomb Kings. Like I said though, I really do like the Bonereapers, and with the introduction of the bow model in the Underworlds warband, I'm even more confident that we may see a further expansion of them with archers and maybe chariots in the future.

Their lore is undoubtably awesome though. I really dig the whole bone accountants thing. The tithe is a wonderful idea and I love how "reasonable" they are. If you're able to meet the tithe they'll just leave you alone. For now at least. Katakros leading the war in the Eightpoints is a really interesting storyline as well and I'm excited to see where that progresses. They haven't had any full length novels yet, but they've had several short stories and the excellent novella, Bonereapers

Those are all of the "wholly unique" armies introduced in AoS, with the Kruleboyz soon to join the party. As you can tell, I'm a fan of all of them, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses, but there can only be one top dog. So, which one is my overall favorite?

The Idoneth Deepkin!

I know, it's a bit of a surprise that it's not the Bonereapers, but they're second on my list. I just really love the whole aesthetic of the Deepkin. The underwater stuff is fantastic and all of the sea beasties are great. I think they have tons of room to expand to with each new addition having the opportunity to be really unique. As cool as the Bonereaper expansions will be, they'll all have that bone construct look. With Deepkin we could literally get any sea creature. They also have tons of room for awesome color schemes, even within the same collection. You can paint the eels one way, the sharks another, and they'll all be tied together by the aelves riding them. You can get super vibrant with the colors too and it'll fit perfectly.

Obviously this is just my opinion, so which of these armies do you think is the best? Are there any I left off the list that you would include? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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