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Made in gb
Jinking Ravenwing Land Speeder Pilot





GW have just released their latest tome for Age of Sigmar, Grand Alliance: Chaos – and a bit different it is from the rest too!

As always, more piccies here: https://ttgamingdiary.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/review-grand-alliance-chaos/



I am not going to go into a blow-by-blow account of every page and section because, if you are playing Age of Sigmar already, you have already seen 96% of what this book has to offer. So, I will just give the highlights.

You first need to be aware that this is a budget book. You are getting 304 full colour pages, but it is a softback, much of the information inside is available elsewhere (for free, legitimately!), and there is a lot of re-used art inside.

But it only costs £20 straight from GW, and I have already seen it offered for £18 from independents. You get what you pay for.

For my part… I would have preferred this as a hardback, and would have happily paid £30 or even (gulp) £40 for it. I do have concerns about durability, and I think if you like to keep your books pristine, that will be a pipe dream if you also use this book to regularly look up stats during games. In that case, I might suggest you cut your losses early; separate the pages, hole punch them, and set them in a folder.

Then again, it is only £20 for all this material. You might think about buying a new one every year or two anyway (wouldn’t it be interesting if that was GW’s idea all along, and these Grand Alliance books become the tomes that are reprinted/updated every 2-3 years to include new models – just four books would give you every unit in the entire game, and would mean you just buy one £20 book every year, hardly a burden…).

Oh, and I mentioned recycled art. Yes, that is a thing though, again, for £20 you cannot really complain. Now, there are pieces in this book that you have not seen before, like this rather funky one of a Liberator facing off against a Bullgor (that is what Minotaurs are called now):

However, I am willing to bet a doughnut that we see those pieces in the next handful of books, perhaps starting with Balance of Power, released next week…

Anyway, enough of that – the book is £20 and you get what you pay for. Fair do there.

What about content?

Well, as I said, I’ll just give the highlights, as you have seen most of this before. The book is divided into factions within the Chaos Grand Alliance – in the past these would have been separate armies but, with Age of Sigmar, you can mix and match to get some funky combinations, or remain ‘pure’ for some very interesting forces…

Everchosen: Basically all the rules, including one of the Battalions, from Battletome: Everchosen!

Slaves to Darkness: These are the original unaligned Chaos Warriors (and Marauders), though every unit in this faction can be given the Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch or Slaanesh keywords, meaning the four powers can dip into this section as they see fit, and make each unit truly their own, no fudging. There is a bit of background that shows how Chaos Warbands are created and organised, and this leads directly into three Battalions – not too big and not too small, if you followed just one of these Battalions, you would have yourself a fully functioning Chaos army.

Khorne Bloodbound: There is really nothing new here – you have seen everything before. Even the Goreblade Battalion will seem familiar.

Daemons of Khorne: A little update/revision here – Heralds are no longer just on foot or on a Juggernaut. If they are on foot, they are Bloodmaster Heralds, if they are on the Juggernaut, they Skullmasters. Still get the option for the Blood Throne, but no new title there…

Tzeentch Arcanites: Possibly the shortest faction with just Tzeentch Lords on Discs, Sorcerer Lords (but still no Sorcerer on Disc -see my downloads for a different Warscroll!), and a Curseling. Not the Curseling, a Curseling. HOwever, bear in mind that you can just dip into Slaves to Darkness, and you will be well away for a pure Tzeentch warband.

Daemons of Tzeentch: The same, and Kairos still gets his Oracle ability. Nice variant painting on the Flamers though…

Nurgle Rotbringers: All three Maggot Lords get proper pretty Warscrolls now, and the Nurgle Chaos Sorcerer is now the Rotbringers Sorcerer – fulfils the same role.

Daemons of Nurgle: Fairly predictable, though the Beasts of Nurgle get two pages to themselves, so perhaps that model is not going anywhere soon…

Hosts of Slaanesh: Ah, now, this is where things start getting interesting… There is a short background piece about the effect Slaaneshi’s absence has had, but of particular note is what the god’s followers have decided to do about it. There are basically three factions within Slaanesh now. The Pretenders rally around a Keeper of Secrets or Daemon Prince, who thinks they are going to be the next Slannesh. The Seekers actually try to do something practical, and are looking for their god. However, by far the largest groups are the Invaders, those who just said %^*& it, our god has gone missing, I am going off to %^*& something!

I think there is probably something for everyone there…

Another interesting note on Slaanesh – daemons and mortals are rolled into one faction, no separation for them while their god is gone.

Daemons of Chaos: Instead, there is this ‘general’ category for, well, miscellaneous daemons, I suppose. Includes the Furies, Daemon Prince, Soul Grinder, and Be’lakor. Very much not a faction in and of itself, but something to be dipped into for other forces.

Brayherds: Having faced these guys for the first time, it is good to seem them representing.

Warherds: Now these, apparently, are very much a thing – not just intended to be used by Brayherds for heavy support, you can rock up with a Doombull and use Bullgors for your main troops, adding a dash of Cygor for something really tough…

Monsters of Chaos: Another ‘dipping’ faction, includes Centigors, Razorgors, Warhounds, Harpies, the Jabberslythe (got one of those to paint up at the moment!), Chimera, Slaughterbrute (perhaps not going away to be replaced by a Khorgorath kit, as was rumoured at one point?), Vortex Beast and Cockatrice. Basically, everything except the Forge World stuff. Get your skates on, Forge World.

Chaos Gargants: I was a bit worried when I saw this, as I really like the idea of a bunch of drunken giants staggering across the battlefield, but to have them all turning to Chaos too? As it turns out, only some have, so you can still have non-corrupted beer-drinking giants if you like!

Thunderscorn: Dragon Ogors and Shaggoth, plus a little background about how they got really shafted by Chaos…

Masterclan: Back onto the interesting stuff! We have seen a fair bit of information about Pestilens in the Realmgate Wars – now we see the rest of the Skaven! First up is Masterclan, and we learn the Council of Thirteen is still a thing. Not the one that was in the World-That-Was though. Remember the other Council of Thirteen that popped up in the End Times? The one that was staffed by Verminlords? That is the one that survived.

However, Skaven are still Skaven, and even these guys are still trying to screw one another over, their Grey Seer minions helping out where they can.

Now, here is another interesting thing… We have seen some personalities from the World-That-Was disappear (normally because of tired, old models), some become regular heroes (such as the Seraphon Eternity Guard), while those that were transported to the Mortal Realms generally had really good reasons – Chaos preserved its most favoured, Alarielle was basically becoming a goddess anyway and survived the End Times… that sort of thing.

And now here, we have Thanquol and Boneripper.

Now, being a fairly new plastic kit (not to mention a beloved character in Black Library fiction), I did not imagine for a moment that he was going to be going away. However, this is the first truly mortal character to make the leap to the Mortal Realms… and we still don’t know why!

Hopefully something that will be answered in a forthcoming Realmgate War book.

Clans Verminus: Slaves are gone, but that just means more Clanrats to fill the position, I suppose (model-wise, there was never a great difference unless you used really old models). However, it is quite apparent that Verminlord Warbringers are very much invested in the Clans Verminus.

Clans Skryre: Notice Clans Skryre. No longer just one, big, monolithic clan, Skryre is now spread throughout the Mortal Realms and from the background text, this can range from a small group of Warlock Engineers with their followers (a perfect small force for Age of Sigmar, if you just want the cool toys while avoiding painting up loads of Clan Rats – not cheesy and perfectly viable with these rules…) to million-strong hordes who create walking war-cities and giant warp lightning cannon capable of splitting mountains apart.

Cool.

Clans Moulder: Another clan that now works perfectly well on its own.

Clans Pestilens: You have seen this before in the Ghal Maraz book. Nothing new other than a different paint scheme on the Plague Priest and Censer Bearers that looks quite funky.

Clans Eshin: The last and my favourite – a bunch of Gutter Runners led by an Assassin is such a good force for Age of Sigmar!

The book finishes up with the four page rules.



Conclusions
So, should you buy Grand Alliance: Chaos?

If you are a regular user of the Age of Sigmar app then, frankly, no. You will be able to pick up the new Battalions (if you want them) fairly cheaply, and you already have everything else.

If you like reading every scrap of information on the Mortal Realms, well, who am I kidding? You already have this book in your hands, right?

For everyone else… I don’t see how you can really go wrong for £20. Yes, I have concerns about durability, but if these Grand Alliance books do indeed end up getting updated every few years (the more I think about it, the more sense that makes)… you know what? That would be fair enough. £20 every few years to keep your army updated (remembering all those free Warscrolls you will get anyway) is not too much. Even if you want to be updated on everything and it ended up being £20 every year for a Grand Alliance book, that is not too much after so many years of the Codex Treadmill.

So, for that alone, I might say go ahead and buy it, to show your support if nothing else.

Oh, and those ‘joke’ rules that were in the ‘legacy’ Warscrolls? Gone. Mostly. I found a little one with the Great Unclean One but, frankly, it is the sort of thing you might do anyway. You won’t be pushing Beastmen around while making bestial roars (well, not unless you want to).

Final Verdict: For £20, buy it. You cannot go wrong.

40k and Age of Sigmar Blog - A Tabletop Gamer's Diary: https://ttgamingdiary.wordpress.com/

Mongoose Publishing: http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/ 
   
Made in gb
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM





Thanks for the review! The burning question is if models recently relegated to the "Last Chance To Buy" section on the Webstore are included? For example the Hellcannon and the Forsaken?

Anyway, I think these battletomes are great. My Chaos army is currently IoB Skaven (and still all on sprue) so I'll be giving this a miss, but an Order one would be very tempting as I have so many models from across Order factions now.

Bye bye Dakkadakka, happy hobbying! I really enjoyed my time on here. Opinions were always my own :-) 
   
Made in gb
Jinking Ravenwing Land Speeder Pilot





 Bottle wrote:
Thanks for the review! The burning question is if models recently relegated to the "Last Chance To Buy" section on the Webstore are included? For example the Hellcannon and the Forsaken?.


No, they are not there...

40k and Age of Sigmar Blog - A Tabletop Gamer's Diary: https://ttgamingdiary.wordpress.com/

Mongoose Publishing: http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/ 
   
Made in ca
Fresh-Faced New User




Slaanesh Formations?
   
Made in us
Major General





Florence, KY

So any indication on if this takes precedence over older warscrolls? For example, the original Beastmen warscroll let a Bray Shaman summon a 'Monster' while the new Great Bray Shaman warscroll limits him to a 'Chaos Monster'.

I've also noted at least one warscroll missing on the website. The Ungor Raiders warscroll (Ungors armed with short bows) is no longer available on the website

'It is a source of constant consternation that my opponents
cannot correlate their innate inferiority with their inevitable
defeat. It would seem that stupidity is as eternal as war.'

- Nemesor Zahndrekh of the Sautekh Dynasty
Overlord of the Crownworld of Gidrim
 
   
Made in ca
Dakka Veteran




 Ghaz wrote:
So any indication on if this takes precedence over older warscrolls? For example, the original Beastmen warscroll let a Bray Shaman summon a 'Monster' while the new Great Bray Shaman warscroll limits him to a 'Chaos Monster'.

I've also noted at least one warscroll missing on the website. The Ungor Raiders warscroll (Ungors armed with short bows) is no longer available on the website


Interesting change on the shaman. I don't think it matters a lot but I'd say whatever's most recent takes precedence. I see the ungor raiders in the table of contents though.
   
Made in us
Major General





Florence, KY

Yes, but wasn't the idea behind AoS was that the rules were free?

'It is a source of constant consternation that my opponents
cannot correlate their innate inferiority with their inevitable
defeat. It would seem that stupidity is as eternal as war.'

- Nemesor Zahndrekh of the Sautekh Dynasty
Overlord of the Crownworld of Gidrim
 
   
Made in ca
Dakka Veteran




Right, get your point now, think they should make a slot for them on the site. Seems to be a lot of little errors right now with all the re-shuffling.
   
Made in ca
Fixture of Dakka




This is my first pre-order. Will not get it until next week since that is when my FLGS will have it.

That being said, I got a little chuckle of "re used" artwork. I never bought an Age of Sigmar book because I don't like the price. So for once, everything will be new art work for me, until and if I buy the next AoS book.

Great review, looking forward to get it in my hands.

I don't know, I have an iPad and all the warscrolls that I can get for free, but there is something about holding a book with the pages and flipping through a book instead of reading it electronically.

Agies Grimm:The "Learn to play, bro" mentality is mostly just a way for someone to try to shame you by implying that their metaphorical nerd-wiener is bigger than yours. Which, ironically, I think nerds do even more vehemently than jocks.

Everything is made up and the points don't matter. 40K or Who's Line is it Anyway?

Auticus wrote: Or in summation: its ok to exploit shoddy points because those are rules and gamers exist to find rules loopholes (they are still "legal"), but if the same force can be composed without structure, it emotionally feels "wrong".  
   
Made in sg
Regular Dakkanaut




I can't wait to see your balance of power review!
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Dankhold Troggoth






Shadeglass Maze

MongooseMatt wrote:Oh, and those ‘joke’ rules that were in the ‘legacy’ Warscrolls? Gone. Mostly. I found a little one with the Great Unclean One but, frankly, it is the sort of thing you might do anyway. You won’t be pushing Beastmen around while making bestial roars (well, not unless you want to).

Interesting! Did they actually remove them from warscrolls that had them, and if so, what happened to the benefit (just gone, or automatically included?).

If so, I'd actually be tempted to buy this, and it'd be a nice show of listening to feedback a bit on GW's part! I saw you also mention Forgeworld lacking from part of the book - is it present at all (i.e. chaos dwarfs) or lacking completely? No hellcannon though... ouch.
   
Made in us
Been Around the Block






Great Review. I picked up the book as well and I'd like to point out a few changes for those asking as well as a few of my own observations.

All of the warscrolls in this book are available for free. Battalions must be purchased in the book or on the app, as normal.

They're on the website under each model's webpage, as well as on AoS App. If you have the old war scroll saved, you can delete it and reload it to get the new one.

All of the units and warscroll compendium Battalions that didn't make it to the new book are still available in the App under the original headers like "Beastment" and "Warriors of Chaos" instead of the new ones like "Brayheard" and "Slaves to Darkness."

Also, the original warscroll compendiums for bringing over WHFB armies are still available on the AoS rules page on GW's website.

Finally, some of the unit changes to note:

Chaos lords (the ones on foot that can summon new StD units every turn) are gone, replaced by Exalted Hero of Chaos (dual axes) and Lord of Chaos (glaive & sword) who each have new abilities that don't summon.

Brayshamans can now only summon Chaos Monsters, as mentioned above.

Daemon soldiers, like Blood Letters now need to be near a Daemon Hero of the appropriate type to get their "Locus of..." abilities instead of just Heralds. That means they get their bonuses from Greater Daemons as well now.

The Cockatrice's gaze attack now hits on a 4+ and doesn't require any sort of staring contest with your opponent.

On a side note, the Sigvald the Magnificent model is now the default Chaos Lord of Slaanesh model and does not have his own rules. Many of the older WoC special characters no longer have their own rules, except in the older war scrolls compendium.

   
Made in gb
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM





Interesting - once those compendiums have gone (and I presume that will happen eventually) - the now replaced/missing warscrolls will also be lost if you haven't downloaded them.

So make sure you download them everyone! As unless the game mechanics change, out of date warscrolls will still be compatible, so that's all fine and dandy.

The part that's filling me with anxiety is if the popular comp systems are going to continue to keep out-of-date units on roll. At the moment we can of course continue to use the Hellcannon with comps, let us hope they do not decide to remove units no longer supported by GW.


This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/01/31 13:42:23


Bye bye Dakkadakka, happy hobbying! I really enjoyed my time on here. Opinions were always my own :-) 
   
Made in bg
Dakka Veteran






 RiTides wrote:

Interesting! Did they actually remove them from warscrolls that had them, and if so, what happened to the benefit (just gone, or automatically included?).


The Masque's ability, for example, got reworked as to give the lesser bonus if her movement equals the one of the target unit, and the greater bonus if it exceeds it. On the other hand, Kairos' ability is removed completely (it was damn near impossible to trigger, but fun as hell )
   
Made in gb
Jinking Ravenwing Land Speeder Pilot





bleak wrote:
I can't wait to see your balance of power review!


Nor can I - really looking forward to that book (started reading the novel last night...).

40k and Age of Sigmar Blog - A Tabletop Gamer's Diary: https://ttgamingdiary.wordpress.com/

Mongoose Publishing: http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/ 
   
Made in nz
Giggling Nurgling




new zealand timaru

Just a quick question as I am still working my head around age of sigmar but with the chaos alliance I can practically select any warscrolls say plague bearers, blight kings and a grey seer all as part of the same army even though they are from different factions
   
Made in gb
Repentia Mistress





 plagueknight wrote:
Just a quick question as I am still working my head around age of sigmar but with the chaos alliance I can practically select any warscrolls say plague bearers, blight kings and a grey seer all as part of the same army even though they are from different factions


Yes. You could have Undead, Dwarves and an Orc if you wanted. But many stick to the four core factions for thematic value.
   
Made in us
Auspicious Aspiring Champion of Chaos




 Bottle wrote:
Interesting - once those compendiums have gone (and I presume that will happen eventually) - the now replaced/missing warscrolls will also be lost if you haven't downloaded them.

So make sure you download them everyone! As unless the game mechanics change, out of date warscrolls will still be compatible, so that's all fine and dandy.

The part that's filling me with anxiety is if the popular comp systems are going to continue to keep out-of-date units on roll. At the moment we can of course continue to use the Hellcannon with comps, let us hope they do not decide to remove units no longer supported by GW.




Azyr Comp will keep all of the units. I have been italicizing units that are removed from the battle tomes. I suppose I need to do that with the hellcannon and forsaken now as well but they will remain in the packet.

GW points don't bring balance. They exist purely for structure. You can get more balance from no points than you do from GW points. You however can get no structure in your game without points. 
   
Made in ca
Fixture of Dakka




Got the book, so glad I did. I think GW hit the nail for the price point. Expensive enough so they can rake in as much money as they can, and just not to expensive enough for me to depart my money.

Any bit more, and I wouldn't have got it. Hopefully GW will not price hike their next books and keep the same price point so I can buy more AoS books.

Agies Grimm:The "Learn to play, bro" mentality is mostly just a way for someone to try to shame you by implying that their metaphorical nerd-wiener is bigger than yours. Which, ironically, I think nerds do even more vehemently than jocks.

Everything is made up and the points don't matter. 40K or Who's Line is it Anyway?

Auticus wrote: Or in summation: its ok to exploit shoddy points because those are rules and gamers exist to find rules loopholes (they are still "legal"), but if the same force can be composed without structure, it emotionally feels "wrong".  
   
Made in us
Dangerous Skeleton Captain




Baltimore

Considering that 85% of the books content is free online (the remaining 15% being formation rules and fluff), there's not much more they really could have charged for it.

Not that that's a complaint, it's a very nice book. I would be all over a Death alliance counterpart.

EDIT: I would have been all over a Death alliance counterpart if it didn't drop one entire faction plus a bunch of scrolls from the faction it kept, added nothing new in their place, and include only a single formation total, itself mostly just a slight reworking of one of the two formations they dropped.

Boo, gw, bad effort. If you weren't ready to do anything with the death faction, you should have just left them with the compendium rules as is.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/02/20 15:14:34


The pursuit of knowledge requires a mind unfettered by the petty constraints of ethics, faith, or mortality.

~ Roderick Pale 
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut




I bought the book. I like having the pictures near the war scrolls vs. the app that only sometimes has pictures near the war scrolls.
   
 
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