By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes… The Forces of Hordes: Grymkin book is the first of its kind. A faction sourcebook with… no stats in it for any of the model entries. No tactical tips either. It’s almost an entire book of fluff, detailing the creation of the Defiers, their hands in mastering the Grymkin, and their return to the world at the hands of Zevanna Agha herself, the Old Witch of Khador. Interestingly, for those who are fans of the Old Witch, the book even provides inside into just what she herself is, and how she came to be…
The Grymkin are an interesting and eclectic mix. We start with the Defiers, each railing against a different aspect of Menoth’s rule over the early people of the Iron Kingdoms. The Fire, The Wall, The Sheaf, The Law – each a gift of the Creator of Man, but each the cause of a Defier’s rebellion. Perhaps the most interesting thing in the background is the reasoning as to just why the Old Witch has thrown open the gates that held the Defiers and their hordes (hah!) imprisoned.
From the Defiers themselves, unleashed to forestall the coming darkness by rooting out the corrupt and evil (Seriously, who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?) we move to the Warbeasts of the Grymkin. Great stalking creatures of nightmare, these things are… demons? Devils? Boogeymen? Something of a melange? That last term is especially appropriate for the Frightmare, at least. While the Grymkin themselves may seem a blend of the creepy and the whimscal, the warbeasts are categorized as Nightmares with good reason. From the Crabbit to the Cage Rager, there is nothing comical about these nasties.
The Grymkin themselves purport to be fae manifestations of judgment upon the sins of mankind. The corrupt, the greedy, the slothful, the vain – each of the Grymkin is targetted with purpose. Slave to the bottle? Cask Imps and Mad Caps may have spotted you already. Abusing a position of power for personal gain? Murder Crows are circling. We talked about the Witchwood and Lord Longfellow last week as we looked at their models, as well as the Hollow Men and Dread Rots. Whether they be creatures of fae or beings from the pits of Urcaen, it is for certain that the Grymkin are on the hunt.
Beyond the fiction, the Grymkin introduce something new to the game of Hordes through their new Arcana mechanics and State of War abilities.
While Warlocks of other factions have their Feats and their Spells, the Defiers have magical potency in the form of arcana. Each Defier will bring three arcana cards to the table, their own primary “trump” arcana and two from a pool shared by all Defiers. Like Feats, the arcana are one-use abilities, and the Defier player is limited to using only a single arcana card each turn. Even the shared arcana are very powerful, such as The Shadow, which can add an immobile Heavy Warbeast to your army for a single turn, creeping from the shadow of one of your small-based models. Imagine running an imp up to the opposing Warcaster, only to have a Cage Rager suddenly appear out of nowhere…
The State Of War abilities directly affect the terrain on the board. Each Defier has their own chart which allows for unique terrain (and really opens the door for custom terrain building hint hint), and a roll could result in a forest that sets everything entering it on fire (The Child), ruins that imbue every weapon in it with magical properties (The Heretic) or even a hut that no-one wants to go near (The King of Nothing).
The end result is a play experience quite unlike anything we’ve seen before from a Hordes faction.
The book also includes painting tips and model galleries, but of note are more tools to broaden the gaming experience, in the form of two new scenarios and a three part scenario campaign. With one of the scenarios being a four-player game with 25 point lists, this could be perfect for an evening’s shenaniganry with friends.
Of course, what’s most disturbing is spotting Lostie Faultie’s name on the Old Witch’s list inside the back cover… is he getting a Hogswatch card this year, or is this her to-do list? And if so, to do what exactly? Run, Faultie, run!!!
The Wicked Harvest is in stores.