Thursday, September 29, 2022

REVIEW: Disciples of Tzeentch Battletome 2022

Back in the mists of time of the 1st edition of Age of Sigmar, Disciples of Tzeentch was actually the first god centric book to come out that encompassed all of the mortal and demonic units for said god. Now, in 3rd edition, we're appropriately onto the 3rd version of the Changer of Ways favorite army. So, what's changed in the lore and rules for everyone's favorite technicolored army?

First off, thank you to Games Workshop for sending me an early review copy of this book to look at. The very first thing you'll notice is the new cover art. Tzeentch has never been lacking for a good cover. Honestly, all of them have been great, and this iteration is no different. I will say, I really appreciate the moodiness of the mostly red and blue art. It has a ton of motion too. The first cover was demon focused, with the second having an Arcanite front and center, so it's only fitting that this version gives the Tzaangor the spotlight.

Once you crack open the book we dive right into the lore. If you've been a fan of Tzeentch or read either of the two previous battletomes then most of this will be pretty familiar. In fact, it's so familiar that I'm not going to recap the majority of it again. You can check out my review of the first Battletome here, and the second one here to catch up on the basics. This isn't a knock on the lore or anything. Tzeentch is Tzeentch, and the core of that is going to stay more or less the same in each iteration. Also, as has been mentioned, we're now onto the third version of this book, so these forces have been thoroughly fleshed out in the Mortal Realms at this point. There are no new units added to the army, so there's nothing new to explore there. 

That's not to say there is nothing new at all, as one of the coolest things about AoS is its constantly moving timeline and story. Since the last battletome came out a lot has happened with the Broken Realms and the Era of the Beast. What does this mean for the Changer of Ways? Well, they pretty much admit upfront that the Era of the Beast doesn't present a ton of opportunities for a deity who relies upon manipulation and subterfuge for the majority of their tactics. The forces of destruction are not ones for guile after all. This doesn't mean there are zero opportunities though. In fact, with the burgeoning Dawnbringer Crusades, Tzeentch has the chance to get in on the ground floor of a bunch of potential new cities. Seeing as how he was involved in the creation of the original Cities of Sigmar via the Changeling, this is a fantastic development. As many crusades as possible have been infiltrated by his agents, just waiting to fan the flames of change.

The coolest bit of new lore though, at least to me, involves the Seraphon. As has been alluded to in several newer publications, the lizards' temple ships aren't the only thing prowling the inky blackness of the Aetheric Void. The Silver Towers of Tzeentch are also space/void capable, and have engaged with the servants of the Old Ones several times. In one such instance, the forces of Tzeentch attacked and boarded a Seraphon ship seeking out a specific relic. After fighting their way through the Seraphon defenders, the demonic invaders found what they were looking for, an ancient plaque containing secrets of the Great Plan and the Old Ones themselves. After obtaining it, they leave the temple ship to crash down into the Mortal Realms. Though it doesn't state it outright, I'm guessing this is the temple ship that crashed into the Gnarlwood. With this plaque in hand, Tzeentch now has a map of magical ley lines within the Mortal Realms and a plan to corrupt them to his liking. I really like the continued rivalry between the Seraphon and Tzeentch. The lizards seem like a force capable of truly defeating the Changer of Ways' plans. They're also a race that holds almost as many secrets as him. One of the things he seeks to unlock are the secrets of the Mortal Realms themselves, as it seems even Tzeentch isn't sure how they came to be or how they exist.

I always enjoy checking out the timelines, as this is where you're most likely to find new additions to the history and lore of the army if nothing else changed. While comparing the old book to the new, there is some overlap, but plenty of new entries as well. There's a bit tying them in more to stuff like the fall of the Lumineth and such, but most of the interesting new entries, at least to me, take place during the Era of the Beast. One states how the new prominent amber magic has been creating more and more Tzaangors, growing their flocks exponentially. There's also a cool bit about an agent of Tzeentch sowing discord amongst a Dawnbringer crusade and the Lumineth in Hysh, leading to bloodshed and hopefully mistrust and retaliation later on. After that it goes over the organization of the armies of Tzeentch, as well as the most prominent factions, including four for demons and four for the Arcanites.

In the unit entry section, since there is no new unit, a lot of it will probably be familiar if you've read the old books. I feel like the Ogroid got a little more exploration as his race is now going to be fleshed out more in the upcoming Slaves to Darkness book in December. I also like how it mentions the athletic physiques of the Kairic Acolytes is a complete lie, and most of them are weak scribes and nobles. I knew they were like that most of the time, but before I thought they used magic to actually physically change themselves into fighting form, instead it's all a trick to once again prove the superiority of magic over brawn.

The gallery section shows off all of the 'Eavy Metal models as well as some cool scenic photos. The hobby section here appears to be exactly the same as the last one, but is actually missing two pages showing how to paint a Lord of Change.

Moving onto the rules, a lot has stayed the same when it comes to Allegiance Abilities. In fact, I think it's exactly the same except that the Agendas of Anarchy rules are gone, which makes sense since they were kind of a precursor to Battle Tactics. Even the number of Fate Points needed to summon on units are exactly the same. One new addition are the Legions of Chaos rules, allowing you to take Slaves to Darkness and Beasts of Chaos units. This works the exact same way as we saw in the Maggotkin book. There's also a Transformed to Spawn rule, that use to be in various spells, and is now put at the front, presumably to save space in the text of the spells and artifacts that utilize it.

As has been the case in every book this edition, the command traits and artifacts have been pared back a bit. There are now six total command traits for mortals, and four for demons. The mortal traits are a mix of the old Arcanite and Mortal traits from the last book, with the demons losing Magical Supremacy and Aether-tether. The artifacts have similarly been trimmed back to six for mortals and six for demons. These are also a mix of the previous ones, with most of them being verbatim the same. The ones that are different are very minor changes, or just name changes. 

There are six spells for mortals that are more or less the same as last time. Some of them have slight tweaks to work better with new rules like the increased importance of command abilities, but the gist is the same. The demons have actually lost a spell, with only five to pick from. Arcane Transformation is gone. Again, what remains is all fairly similar.

There are also six Change Covens, or sub-factions to pick from, three for the demons and three for the mortals. These have been simplified a ton as we've seen with other 3rd edition books. I'm a fan of this simplification, as it's just too many rules otherwise, and no one liked being forced to pick a certain artifact or trait. Though they each lost three of the special rules they had before, the one that remains is usually the "core" ability they previously had, such as The Eternal Conflagration giving Flamers an additional -1 rend, or Guild of Summoners being able to summon on Lords of Change for a much cheaper Fate Point cost.

After this we get to the Path to Glory rules. I'm not going to spend a ton of time on these as they get rather complex and honestly deserve a more thorough review to do them justice. Some things that stood out to me though are the inclusion of Aerial Battle rules, which are used with the two Narrative battleplans presented here. They have two quests, six veteran abilities, six unique territories, a name generator, and then all the old Warscroll Battalions presented in a more streamlined fashion.

On the Matched Play side we get four Grand Strategies and five Battle Tactics. I like the Strategy Preponderance of Fate, which you score if you end the battle with 27 or more unspent Fate Points. I actually like a lot of the mortal units for this army, but am only a fan of a few of the demonic ones (visually), so giving me a reason to NOT summon on demons is a good thing in my book. On the Battle Tactic side, Call for Change is scored when you summon on a Lord of Change. Easy score for the Guild of Summoners. There is also one Core Battalion, the Omniscient Oracles, which is Kairos and three Lords of Change. You get the Strategists benefit for it.

As is usual for me, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the warscrolls, as you'll be able to see them soon enough. As is the fashion for this edition, everything is similar-ish. If you knew what the Warscroll did previously, chances are it'll be fairly similar now, though everything has changes in one way or another. Often rules have been stripped out, refined, or combined, to make the warscroll more straight forward. I've noticed that Screamers are a bit better, and Fatemasters have lost their command ability, though they know have a +1 to wound aura bubble. Kairic Acolytes are exactly the same, while Skyfires appear better to me. They now ignore any negative modifiers to their shooting attacks, and also, the target of their shooting ignore any positive modifiers to their save. One loss a lot of people may feel is that the Tzaangor Shaman no longer boosts Skyfires and Enlightened by being near them. There are plenty of little tweaks like this across the rest of the warscrolls, and I'm not even going to attempt to look at the Horrors scroll. That unit just always gives me a headache.

All in all this seems like a pretty minor tweak to the Disciples of Tzeentch in the new book. There were changes, for sure, but mostly just ones that bring them more in line with how 3rd edition works, while maintaining the core feeling of the army, which there is nothing wrong with. You don't want to have massive changes each edition. I do wish there was more new lore, but the bit about them stealing that Seraphon artifact is awesome, and I love that they're having them go more head to head with the lizards. They make sense as a natural enemy for them. I actually have about 1,000 points of mortals built up for this army, and have even more on sprues, so maybe I'll see about getting them completed. I did just paint up that new Curseling model after all.

What are your thoughts on this book? Do you like to see more streamline changes like this, or more complete overhauls like the Maggotkin book, or something more between those two like the Nighthaunt book?

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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