Just when I thought I had a handle on my projects for the year, GW drops the Carrion Empire in our laps! Time to see how the Flesh Eater Courts and Skaven will fit into my schedule, and make some rampant speculations...
As soon as I knock out that second Terrorgheist, I'll be putting the wraps on my Undead Legions for a bit, and moving on to a dedicated Nighthaunt force. Recently, I've been stealing a half hour to paint here and there and catch up on my Necron backlog. I have plans to add a few more units to the army, just enough to have a varied army of about 2000-2500 points. I also want to finish off the Primaris Space Marine models I've got, and see about bringing them up to a decently-sized army.
Those three factions are more than enough to keep me occupied all year, and maybe I could get through them in time to collect some Sisters of Battle when they are released later this year. And now GW announces a new starter set for Age of Sigmar with Skaven and the Flesh-eater Courts inside, which probably means those factions will get more attention in the coming months.
First off, even though the new character models look fantastic, I have no intention of picking up a starter set just for them. I have more than enough of the other models, and the characters will likely be released separately after the initial launch.
And for once, I'm actually ahead of the game! I already have a warlock engineer armed with a doomrocket. You can see the step-by-step process I used to convert this model here.
I also have these models, sculpted by Karol Rudyk. I wasn't quite sure what I'd use them for; they are a little small for Crypt Infernal Courtiers, and Abhorrant Ghoul Kings don't have the option to get wings, but I think they would make perfect Abhorrant Archregents. You can find these at www.karolrudykart.com
But what does this portent for the factions themselves?
I think the Skaven release will be similar to the Beastman release– A new battletome, a set of endless spells, and no (or at least very few) new models. The book could be the thing to finally tie all the Skaven clans together, with allegiance abilities that allow the clans to be fielded together while maintaining the individual clan keywords when it comes to abilities and bonuses.
There should certainly be a set of endless spells (that's the new normal), and I'll bet there's a Vermintide spell in there, something similar to the Gloomspite's Skuttletide spell or the Suffocating Gravetide– essentially a large base of rats swarming out of the ground.
The Skaven model range is so expansive, and much of it is plastic, so I don't expect much to be added. There's certainly the new engineer with the doomrocket, but I don't know what else they could add. Maybe a unit of plastic Jezzails or weapon teams to retire the old metal (now resin) models? A plastic version of the Plague Censor Bearers? GW seems more likely to add brand new units, maybe to flesh out the Moulder clan with a bunch of new monsters, than they would be to revisit old kits.
It comes down to GW's production bandwidth, and I think there's so many things coming down the pipe, that the Skaven is perfect for this year's "book only" release. I just hope they don't use it as an opportunity to cull some of the older units. Since the release of the Gloomspite Gitz, all of the non-Gloomspite grots are missing from the GW site– Wolf Riders, Rock Lobbas, Doom Divers, etc. It's all gone. I hope we don't see the same with Skaven units like the Censor Bearers, Rat Ogres, Giant Rats and Rat Swarms.
The Flesh-eater Courts, on the other hand, could use a complete faction overhaul. Right now, they only have three plastic kits-- little ghouls, big ghouls (or big ghouls with wings), and the Terrorgheist. There are several characters that can be built out of those kits, and the resin Varghulf, but that's a pretty shallow range of models to choose from when putting together an army. There's nothing exciting about painting the same unit over and over.
I really hope they add some new character types and units. I also think this could be an opportunity to incorporate some of the other "bat" units like Bat Swarms and Fell Bats that really should be part of the Flesh-eater range, and would be perfectly appropriate for a subterranean cavernous environment. GW could update them with new plastic kits that could serve double duty for the Flesh-eaters and Legions of Nagash warscrolls (or maybe just for the Flesh-eater Courts, and GW can tell us in the FAQ that they can't be used to represent the same exact model in a Legions of Nagash army, like the Black Coach).
Either way, there's plenty to be excited about, and I'm looking forward to whatever is in store for my two favorite fantasy armies!