Ask any fan of Chaos in the Mortal Realms where the biggest gap in the range was and, if they were honest with themselves, most would probably have agreed it was Slaaneshi mortals. Over the last few years times have been good for those like me who worship the Ruinous Powers. We now have well developed ranges with unique models and a distinctive aesthetic for each of the gods (that’s Khorne; god of war and violence, Nurgle; god of plague and decay, Tzeentch; god of magic and change and Slaanesh; god of decadence and excess). Gone are the days when I differentiated my Khornate troops from your followers of Nurgle because I painted mine red and you painted yours green. For a while there only Slaanesh, the longest neglected of the four gods, was left with a limited range but Games Workshop have turned that around in style, first by bolstering the daemons with some fantastic new recruits and now with a soon to be released wave of mortal followers, the first we’ve seen for Slaanesh in a very long time.
It’s a huge boost to the range and the miniatures are exquisite, but rather than talk about them I’m here to speculate baselessly instead! Once the Dark Prince has his mortal followers in tow where might Games Workshop turn their attention next? Of course they might come up with something wildly different, the Mortal Realms offers a lot of scope and potential as the Warcry warbands proved, and if they went off to stake out new territory with something a bit more unusual I’d be all in favour. Plus there still gaps to be filled in the current ranges, I’d like to see unique looking daemon princes for each god for instance, light infantry for Nurgle and beastmen for both Nurgle and Khorne.
Indeed, speaking of which I just kitbashed a pestigor to join a little Nurgle warband which has been whispering in the corner of my brain lately. Shall we sneak a peek at him before we begin? Oh go on then!
Ah the beastmen, men who have become beasts and beasts who have devolved into something akin to men. The horned ones, the true children of ruin who lurk in the wild places, driven by a hatred of all that is civilised and orderly. I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for these shaggy barbarians, being hairy and uncouth myself. In fact, now I think about it it’s strange that I’ve never really painted many of them – something I’ll have to rectify.
This range of models dates back to Warhammer as was, and although there are some excellent models in there it also leans heavily on a lot of older sculpts, bulked out by models borrowed from other ranges like the Tzaangors. Plus there’s the fact that, despite beastmen being traditionally described as an amalgamation of beasts and men, “goatmen” might be a better name for them nowadays. Those of us who are still steeped in the old Realm of Chaos era will recall beastmen which hybridised all kinds of beasts with all kinds of men, but nowadays the braying despoilers of the forests seem to be almost exclusively Pan-like creatures with hooves, horns and long ovine faces. Far be it from me to question their commitment to disorder but a little more chaos in the mix wouldn’t hurt! The birdlike Tzaangors (see below for a couple of them that I’m currently working on) and the lanky, sinuous Slaangors which are soon to be released go to prove that Games Workshop aren’t unwilling to break out of the goat archetype however, and beasts of Khorne and Nurgle don’t seem too much to hope for someday either.
Slaves To Darkness
Take a look at the Slaves to Darkness range (that’s humans sworn to serve Chaos undivided rather than dedicated to just one of the gods) and at first glance it looks pretty healthy, packed with lots of kits, many of which were released in the last year or so. Dig a little deeper however and you start to release that most of the range comes either from the Warriors of Chaos from the WHFB era or, in the case of the newer models, are borrowed from Warcry. Now personally I love Warcry, in fact I tend to take things from Age of Sigmar to make Warcry warbands rather than the other way around, but I’m glad to see the Warcry warbands given a home in AoS armies all the same. Likewise I was a big fan of the Warriors of Chaos and that range has some great miniatures that I’m pleased to see are still available.
However there are some models in there which are undoubtedly past their best, like the Chosen and the Marauders. Plus there’s the fact that, before the End Times, the Warriors of Chaos made use of all kinds of troops dedicated to specific gods, all of which have since been split off to form new factions of their own. With them gone the range has been left looking a little thin. Time to give it a bit of a boost. Thanks to Warcry we know what the warbands seeking to join the Everchosen’s legions look like, but what about those legions themselves. Time to bring the warriors Sigmar abandoned into the modern era – after all we don’t want that weakling thunder god to think he’s getting everything his own way now do we?
In the old days, when the heavily armoured warriors of chaos marched south to attack the Old World they did so surrounded by hordes of barbarian tribesmen, clothes-phobic folk who’s hardiness and bitterness against the weakling southerners may be partially explained by the fact that they lived in a frozen wasteland but nobody seemed to own a shirt. In this regard people from the British Isles will recognise them as being essentially Geordies.
There are a few contenders for the title of “Worst Model in the GW Stable”, the Zombies and Skaven Plague Monks spring to mind, but the Chaos Marauders really have made a spirited attempt to claim that throne. Just a quick glance is enough to tell you that they’re past their best, if indeed there was ever a time when they looked anything other than awful.
For a while there was a persistent rumour (and we all know how reliable those are eh!) from those who claimed to be “in the know” that Games Workshop were planning a new faction based around a range of new Marauder kits. Nothing has ever come of it, although we have seen a range of new Marauder equivalents in the form of the Warcry warbands, as well as troops dedicated to specific gods like the Bloodreavers of Khorne, the Kairic Acolytes of Tzeentch and the forthcoming Blissbarb Archers of Slaanesh, each of which is close to the Marauder archetype of old, and the Godsworn Hunt from Warhammer Underworlds. The rumour may have proved to be either a case of mistaken identity or wishful thinking but it’s still a good idea so who knows, perhaps someday we shall see the Slaves to Darkness split into two factions, the grim heavily armoured foot soldiers of the gods and the shirtless savages of the tribes?
I know I sound like a stuck record here so I’ll keep it brief. The perfidious ratmen were my favourite faction from WHFB and over recent years I’ve painted up quite an army of them. Shall we remind ourselves of how they look? How could I ever pass up the opportunity!
Of course being a fan of the Skaven means being a glutton for punishment. Despite their ongoing popularity the range hasn’t seen much love in a long time and many of them models are so old they came off the Ark, and so rough they look like they were sculpted by the animals therein (and not the ones with opposable thumbs) rather than Noah himself. Get the finger out GW, give my rats some love!
An industrious race of slavers and daemonsmiths the Chaos Dwarfs were the Old World’s finest bull-appreciators and big hat wearers, famed for putting Nagash to shame when it came to outsized headgear. They were also wearing big cow horns on their hats long before Johnny-come-latelys like the Lumineth Realmlords rocked up.
By the later era of WHFB however they were almost extinct, their range of models long out of production and their sole surviving representatives the crew of the Hellcannon.
With the Hellcannon going the way of all things when AoS was launched the Chaos Dwarves passed into history, in the main Games Workshop range at least. Forge World however have done their bit to keep them alive in the form of the Legion of Azgorh.
Fantastic those these models are, a range which leans heavily on large and complicated daemon engines such as the Dreadquake Mortar (below) is going to be tricky in resin, and much easier for the average hobbyist to manage in plastic. Time to bring the bearded ones back I say!
From one end of the scale to the other, if we’re going to have Chaos Dwarves then why not Chaos Gargants? It’s not much of a leap really, there are already Chaos Giants and the new Mega Gargant kit contains a variant, the Warstomper, which can be taken by Chaos forces. Already I’ve seen plenty of them converted to be even more chaotic just as when the Imperial Knight kit was released many of us started welding on spikes to turn them into engines of the gods. After a few years of this GW yielded to the inevitable and produced a dedicated Chaos Knight kit, so it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that the same thing might happen with the Gargants.
Ogres and Trolls
Back in the old days all kinds of trolls and ogres shambled to war alongside the Warriors of Chaos. These days however such creatures exist almost exclusively under the remit of the Destruction faction (those who are particularly long in the tooth will recall Chaos orcs but let’s not go that far back!). There’s no reason not to bring these brutes back though, perhaps under the banner of the Slaves to Darkness or the Beastmen, or even as a faction of their own. Alternatively there could be versions of each of these incorporated into the four armies of the gods, each tainted and twisted by the favour of their particular patron, just like the Bile Trolls and Plague Ogres that formed part of Tamurkhan’s Horde in the latter days of WHFB. Regardless of which route was taken these brutes have plenty of potential, after all, as the Trogherds of the Gloomspite Gits demonstrated, people love big ugly monsters.
Those are my picks for the future development of Chaos in the Mortal Realms but what about you? Are there any of the candidates above you think are particularly deserving, or any that you would have preferred to see abandoned to the history books? Is there a faction in waiting that I’ve overlooked? As ever the comments section is all yours.