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Made in gb
Jinking Ravenwing Land Speeder Pilot





The Death faction receives its first real Battletome this weekend, covering the ghoulish Flesh-eater Courts. Luckily, I managed to snag an early copy this week and have been paging through it. As always, many more piccies at: https://ttgamingdiary.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/review-battletome-flesh-eater-courts/



Starting to page through it, your eyes are first drawn to the artwork. As we have come to expect from Age of Sigmar, this averages in at a very high level of quality, as this piece demonstrates.

The basic idea behind the Flesh-eater Courts is that you have a ghoulish vampire who thinks himself a great king. His followers are not actually undead (a welcome return for ghouls to be hideous mortals, rather than dead things), but are instead wildly delusional cannibals – they truly think they are noble Knights, squires, peasant soldiers, and so forth. When they drink the king’s blood, they actually think that are having wine from his table.

This, incidentally, is the reason no one wears any armour in this force – they think they already have it on…

So, everyone, from the king to the lowest Ghoul, is utterly mad, and they think they are defending their great kingdom when, in fact, they are sucking the marrow from your bones.

Nice.

Nagash remains the god of the Flesh-eater Courts, though their views on him are divided – some worship the Great Necromancer, others are fearful and view him as a destroyer…

As with all other faction in Age of Sigmar, the background section of the book goes on to describe how the courts are actually organised, from the Ghoul King and his Royal Family, down to the lowly Ghouls – these organisations are all drawn from the Battalion Warscrolls at the back of the book, making it an easy job to ‘fill in the gaps’.

We are then treated to an exploration of each component of the court – in other words, each unit in the game.

We have seen most of these before and, even though they are now ‘alive’, a Ghoul remains a Ghoul. However, there are two new units (though they are based on existing kits).

First up are the Courtiers, which come in Crypt Ghast, Haunter, Infernal and Varghulf flavours. These are the ‘nobles’ of the court, either fighting at their king’s side or leading his forces when he is not present. The Varghulfs are the highest ranking members of the court below the king himself, and most likely to be ‘generals’ when he is not about.

Then there are the Crypt Flayers, basically Crypt Horrors with Vargheist wings. These are the airborne scouts of the court, sniffing their way to new hunting grounds – though, in their minds, they are actually more akin to Stormcast Prosecutors…

The ‘hobby’ section follows. While it has plenty of pretty pictures of ghoulish minis, there are relatively few ideas for paint schemes (take your pick of pale white or pale green skin). For the artistically challenged, such as myself, this is a shame, though I am guessing we will see a painting guide soon enough in one of the campaign books (we didn’t even get one in White Dwarf upon the launch of this force…).

Following the normal format for Battletomes, we next come to my favourite part of these books – the Battleplans. I like these sections as a) Battleplans drive Age of Sigmar, so new ones are always welcome, b) they are a great way to showcase a new force, and c) there are always little titbits of background lore that are worth reading.

The first was previewed in White Dwarf, and is Stirring the Nest, pitting the Stormcasts against a Flesh-eater Court. The Stormcasts have wandered into what looks like deserted territory but, before they can properly react, ghouls start springing from every nook and cranny, and the Stormcasts have to fight their way free! A simple enough Battleplan with few extra rules, but it will create a nice dynamic as fights break out all across the table.

On the Hunt pits a Flesh-eater Court against the Bloodbound – or, rather, Slaves to Darkness with a distinct Khornate leaning (so, more War Shrines and Chaos Knights, less Wrathmongers and Khorgoraths). In this one, the ghouls are weakened by hunger, but they soon get going when they start to feast on enemy units! This is balanced by them being able to recycle units as new forces catch the scent of flesh and dive into the battle.

Finally, there is Two Became Three, a three-way battle (for three players, natch) that kicks off with Fyreslayers fighting Skaven – and then the ghouls appear to eat both! The fight continues until one player has been wiped out and then victory is decided by the losses sustained by the survivors.

We have seen some pretty wild and wacky Battleplans for Age of Sigmar lately, and while these three are not in that category, they are perfectly serviceable and should lead to some different and interesting fights – which, of course, is exactly what a Battleplan should do.

Finally, we get to the Warscrolls. These feature all the units you have seen before, and add the Courtiers and Crypt Flayers (the latter having a nice Battle Cry ability that dishes out mortal wounds in the shooting phase – it is going to be punishing to any Hero with a low Bravery…).

The Battalion Warscrolls allow you to build up your Flesh-eater Court as detailed earlier in the book and, in keeping with recent Battletomes, most of these are ‘doable’ for the average collector – there is nothing that needs what might be seen as an excessive number of models (whatever that means, he said, looking at his Age of Sigmar collection…).

Royal Family: A Ghoul King on a Terrorgheist or Zombie Dragon, leading 2-6 more Ghoul Kings. If you are buying up Zombie Dragins and Terrorgheists for the Menagerie below, you will easily get this one together – otherwise, eBay will be your friend.
Attendants at Court: A Crypt Haunter Courtier and 2 units of Crypt Horrors. A minimum of 7 models in total, easy to collect and they double the Command Abilities your Ghoul King can dish out if they are close.
Deadwatch: 1 Crypt Infernal Couritier and 3 units of Crypt Flayers. A little more involved, but still not a biggie, and you get to pile in during the hero phase.
Abattoir: 1 Crypt Haunter Courtier (seeing a trend here?), 2 units of Crypt Horrors and 1 unit of Crypt Ghouls. These are good monster hunters and dish out mortal wounds to close by units.
Ghoul Patrol: 1 Crypt Ghast Courtier, and 3 units of Ghouls. Three box sets will sort you on this one, and make for a good starting Flesh-eater Court force. The nice thing with these guys is that every hero phase, every unit adds d6 Ghouls to its ranks.
King’s Ghouls: As above, but swap a unit of Ghouls for a unit of Crypt Horrors.
Royal Mordants: 1 unit each of Ghouls, Flayers and Horrors, led by a Varghulf, gets a nice bonus that makes them very mobile and will keep your opponent on his toes.
Royal Menagerie: The big guys, three Zombie Dragons or Terrorgheists that get boosted healing.

Finally, as with other Battletomes, there is the Flesh-eater Court that combines the other Battalions into a large army.

Conclusion
Overall, while this Battletome is not in the same class as Ironjawz or Pestilens (to my mind, the best Battletomes released this far), I would call Flesh-eater Courts ‘decidedly solid’.

If undead are your thing, you are probably going to pick this up anyway and if you like the idea of delusional cannibals who think they are noble knights, you definitely will. For everyone else… well, it is a solid book, and there really is not anything wrong with it. I would not call it remarkable, but coming after Ironjawz was always going to be a tough act to follow.

Certainly worth a look, if nothing else.

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

Mongoose Publishing: http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/ 
   
Made in us
Tough Treekin




Tempted by these guys because Morlocks...
Had the paint scheme figured out, and then the hi-res photos for WHQ dropped.
   
Made in gb
Rampaging Carnifex






Man as an undead fan I gotta get this book for the fluff. Still in the fluff even during the old world ghouls were never undead but just devolved human cannibals feeding on flesh. Hmm now mannfred feeding the ghouls his blood makes a lot more sense in the audio drama and how they got them into their armies during the old world.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/05/13 12:34:22


 
   
Made in au
Steadfast Grey Hunter




Good review as always. That three-way battleplan sounds like heaps of fun.
   
Made in us
Enigmatic Exalted Daemon





Albany, NY

Thus far I've been highly skeptical of these Battletome books - because of prices being a bit high, art quality a bit low, fluff a bit meh and new rules a bit light - but Pestilens, Ironjawz and now Flesh-Eaters are showing a fairly convincing upward trend. I look forward to a book I can't say no to (definitely Ogres, likely Clan Moulder or Verminus), however this book here is way more interesting than I thought it could be. What crazy background! And I wholeheartedly welcome the return to insane cannibals for ghouls - do wish the plastic kit was a bit more upright, ala previous metal ghouls, or that the Horrorgeist kit was a tad cheaper

Much more tempted to run a Royal Family and/or Abattoir than I thought I ever would be Despite liking Strigoi from several editions back, I don't think the faction has ever been given much life until this book, or not a back story I could really get into. Very cool stuff.

*vows to stay strong and make Skaven his only AOS horde army*

- Salvage

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2016/05/13 16:06:24


BLOODFIRE: KOW SALAMANDER REPORTS 
   
Made in us
Pyromaniac Hellhound Pilot





You know what? That's actually pretty cool! It's a neat new take on GW ghouls (although I actually think a Mousillon-centered WHFRP supplement got there first, but that's okay, that's a good place to draw inspiration from), it opens up some cool creative concepts and reinforces the whole 'undead are icky but maybe there's room for the good guys to work with them' vibe. I was always a Strigoi fan, too, so it's neat to see the Age of Sigmar version getting some love. Good job, GW!

Got to take a shot at some of the names on the Flesh-Eater Court Flow Chart, though. It looks like they took them verbatim from an internet name generator. Illcreep? Slumcrawl? Filchlurk? Think they missed a trick here; these guys wouldn't name their packs things like Glugspew or Slopcraw, they think they're noble knights and doughty salt-of-the-earth peasants and so forth. It should have been Sir Tarrymore's Retainers or the Oath-Sworn Five, stuff like that.

Lord Liverbelch made me laugh, though.
   
Made in gb
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM





Thanks for the review. I like the idea they believe themselves to be noble Knights. Is there any artwork of how they perceive themselves?

Bye bye Dakkadakka, happy hobbying! I really enjoyed my time on here. Opinions were always my own :-) 
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Protoculturist






RVA

Great review! I love the sound of this book so much, it's on my wishlist for sure.

   
Made in ca
Dakka Veteran




It's amazing how much my view of these guys did a 180 with this release.

I had a pile of broken ghouls on my shelf for ages and thought they were the worst models ever. They break so easily, I found. Then this fluff comes out and now I've rehabilitated, round-based and painted 20 of them in a couple of days. I'm a moment of weakness away from buying the Vlagorescu set. The only thing holding me back is the finecast Varghulf.
   
Made in us
Enigmatic Exalted Daemon





Albany, NY

Spinner wrote:Think they missed a trick here; these guys wouldn't name their packs things like Glugspew or Slopcraw, they think they're noble knights and doughty salt-of-the-earth peasants and so forth. It should have been Sir Tarrymore's Retainers or the Oath-Sworn Five, stuff like that.
Smart! Definite missed opportunity to root the crazy a little deeper into the book.
coldgaming wrote:The only thing holding me back is the finecast Varghulf.
If in a fit of madness I find myself building some Flesh Eaters, I'm pretty sure I can do better on the giant werebat, even if I just end up taking a PP warpwolf and resculpting his face / adding vestigal arm wings myself ...

... that or take a trip over to Amazon

- Salvage

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/05/13 17:04:44


BLOODFIRE: KOW SALAMANDER REPORTS 
   
Made in gb
Towering Hierophant Bio-Titan





Fareham

As always Matt, really appreciate the book review.

And this is the first one that has tempted me.
May grab the £130 box or whatever it is and the book.

Thanks again.

   
Made in us
Major General





Florence, KY

 Boss Salvage wrote:
Spinner wrote:Think they missed a trick here; these guys wouldn't name their packs things like Glugspew or Slopcraw, they think they're noble knights and doughty salt-of-the-earth peasants and so forth. It should have been Sir Tarrymore's Retainers or the Oath-Sworn Five, stuff like that.
Smart! Definite missed opportunity to root the crazy a little deeper into the book.
coldgaming wrote:The only thing holding me back is the finecast Varghulf.
If in a fit of madness I find myself building some Flesh Eaters, I'm pretty sure I can do better on the giant werebat, even if I just end up taking a PP warpwolf and resculpting his face / adding vestigal arm wings myself ...

... that or take a trip over to Amazon

- Salvage

Did you give Reaper a try?


'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 gb
Towering Hierophant Bio-Titan





Fareham

Well, GW are sold out of the £135 box set for flesh eaters which sucks a bit.
Just says "email me" instead now.


May have to hang on for more or snag one from the local GW or eBay.

   
Made in us
Thinking of Joining a Davinite Loge





Pittsburgh, PA

This release tempted me so much I gave and bought the box set, and the battletome (which is the first battletome I've purchased). I'm rather excited about them, and it'll be a good counter force to my stormcast ("hordes" compared to elite units).

I like the reimagined fluff behind the ghouls, and cannot wait to dive into them. I'm nearly finished painting my Stormcast army, and will be done by the time this arrives, so I'll be able to dive right in.

As an aside, I really like these reviews you do of the printed material. It makes it easier to sort through and decide on what to buy vs what to just download in the app
   
Made in us
Grey Knight Psionic Stormraven Pilot





The fluff behind this army is great.
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut




How did their warped reality begin? Was it a curse or something?
   
Made in us
Sister Oh-So Repentia



Stuck in the snow.

Tailessine wrote:
How did their warped reality begin? Was it a curse or something?


They spent too much time posting on DakkaDakka, after all a warped perception of self worth seems to be quite mild for some posters here.

In all serious though, I kinda wonder that myself. Also, how does the god of death just misplace his entire favorite cannibal kingdom? Did they get Sigmar-ed out from under his nose?
   
Made in gb
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM





Tailessine wrote:
How did their warped reality begin? Was it a curse or something?


It was a slippery slope that began when the Brettonians were moved to 'last-chance-to-buy' and sold out before they could get any.

Bye bye Dakkadakka, happy hobbying! I really enjoyed my time on here. Opinions were always my own :-) 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

 Bottle wrote:
Tailessine wrote:
How did their warped reality begin? Was it a curse or something?


It was a slippery slope that began when the Brettonians were moved to 'last-chance-to-buy' and sold out before they could get any.


Surely I can't be the only one imagining that these loony Ghoul Courts are what became of what used to be the Bretonnians in the Old World... Bret high society was already pretty messed up when that all went boom, a few thousand years cut off in the Realm of Death would be more than enough to send them this nuts! They weren't Squatted after all!


Paradigm's New Blog- 22/03: Gandalf and Pippin

Available for Commission Work. Click the banner or PM me for details.
 
   
Made in gb
Arch Magos w/ 4 Meg of RAM





It would make an amazing diorama. Set it in the woods, a noble knight on horse leads his men-at-arms through a lush forest from one angle, from the other you see gnarled stumps and blood soaked ghouls following their master. :-)

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






Nice review. Thanks!
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

 Bottle wrote:
It would make an amazing diorama. Set it in the woods, a noble knight on horse leads his men-at-arms through a lush forest from one angle, from the other you see gnarled stumps and blood soaked ghouls following their master. :-)


Actually, I'm planning to do something similar when it comes to adding Undead to my own AoS force.
Spoiler:
In the last days of the Old World, a Bretonnian Lord takes his most trusted Knights and as many peasants as are needed to serve them to a witch he is convinced is truly The Lady. He petitions her to save him from the impending End of the World by any means necessary, and in the final moments she casts the only spell she believes might work...

The World Ends. A new one is born.

In this new world, the Lord and his retinue did indeed survive. perhaps saved by the spell, perhaps by his faith in The Lady... they are dead, but immortal, they're still convinced they're on their noble quests and such, but in truth are bound to the will of the witch they thought had saved them, whose motives remain a mystery...

Paint-wise, this means I'll be playing with a lot of colour fades, I envision some cleaned up/deskullified Black Knights with bright heraldy and polished armour fading into rags and rusted plate, the witch herself will be done as one side vibrant and alive, on the other, pale skinned, withered and cold...

Should be fun but it's a ways off yet. In light of this new Flesh Eater fluff, I might try and work that in somewhere.

Paradigm's New Blog- 22/03: Gandalf and Pippin

Available for Commission Work. Click the banner or PM me for details.
 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut




Thanks for the review, MongooseMatt! Amazing new lore for such a formerly uninteresting force.

Tailessine wrote:
How did their warped reality begin? Was it a curse or something?
1

Here's a source on their creation from 1d4chan:

In the new canon, the Ghouls and not-Strigoi began with Ushoran of all beings, who managed to survived the destruction of the old setting and was imprisoned in something called the Shroudcage by Nagash. He escaped and created a kingdom of monstrous undead due to his madness now being contagious, and gathered the living of the Realm of Death to him. As a result, most of the Flesh-Eater Courts are actually still alive (Ghouls are no longer Undead inbred monstrous humans, but rather just the starving peasants). Instead of being bestial monsters marauding the wilderness like werewolves, the Abhorrent Ghoul Kings are tragic figures like King Lear who see a court of magnificent marble and silk-wearing courtiers but instead are the scarred and tainted wearing rags.


They certainly mirror noble Bretonnia in their madness. Though since this is a spreading sickness that's affected more than those of the realm of undeath (such as the Lantic Empire. Nice call back) it's possible that ghouls in other realms are just remembering what they once were before the kingdoms fell and they had to survive at any cost. (Possible future Free People with strong Bretonnian influence? Free People in the realms would be as untouched in lore as Malerion and his kin are)

I also like how they are a shout-out to the ghoul kingdom that rested beneath cursed Mousillon.

Great stuff!
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran






Backwoods bunker USA

Sounds slightly like Maynarkh Necroms.
   
Made in se
Executing Exarch






Wow, really love the fluff, very unexpected! The conversion potential is ENORMOUS.
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut




I think the book had some great art of the Anvil of Heldenhammer.
   
Made in ca
Dakka Veteran




Ordered the Vlagorescu box. I know those things are surprisingly limited, missed my chance on the Heldrath kit before.

Liking the art:
Spoiler:



   
Made in us
Rotting Sorcerer of Nurgle






Having just gone through this myself I have to say the review is pretty spot on. I only have to disagree with the last bit; I think that while Flesh Eaters is weaker in terms of army/paint ideas it is at least on-par with other battletomes in terms of rule content and is superior in fluff and artwork. The art in this book is superb; the quality that should honestly be seen across all the hardbacks, and the fluff is both genius in concept and written to exude the character of the army. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this one more than any of the other battletomes (however, I have not read Stormcast or Bloodbound).

"Putting a statement in quotations makes it seem more legitimate."
--Bette R. Withname

Imagine three people with the same set of values but radically different emotional states, each of them believes their position is more valid than the other two, they all post using the same account, and your job is to make it coherent. 
   
Made in ca
Dakka Veteran




 Bottle wrote:
Thanks for the review. I like the idea they believe themselves to be noble Knights. Is there any artwork of how they perceive themselves?


Definitely agree a big piece showing their visions of themselves mixed with reality is missing, but saw this on FB, a tidbit:

   
Made in us
Manhunter





Huntsville, Texas

Wow, pretty dang cool. I really like what they have done with the Ghouls! Now hurry up GW and do the High Elves haha.
   
 
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