In this episode, we’re going to talk about taking Warcry into the Old World.
If you’re not familiar, “the Old World” is the setting Warhammer Fantasy had before Age of Sigmar came along. You can see it in the Warhammer Total War series of computer games by Creative Assembly or in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay line from Cubicle 7. It’s also referenced in Age of Sigmar, with the background starting with the destruction of the Old World. This is a well-loved setting that will forever hold a place in many gamers’ hearts. So, it’s no surprise that many of us are looking forward to Games Workshop’s attempt to tap into the nostalgia with Warhammer the Old World. That is going to be a full wargame with big ranked armies on square bases. On this channel, though, we’re a little more interested in the smaller skirmish-sized games.
I’m not holding out hope for it, but I think if GW were smart, they’d release a Warcry Tome of Champions with a Warhammer the Old World section, adding some profiles and warband abilities. Based on the roadmap we’ve seen, I think it’s unlikely we’re going to see a Tome of Champions for a while, and the main releases look like they’ll be for the expanded Cities of Sigmar army rather than looking back at the Old World.
Luckily, we don’t need to wait for GW to release something. As Age of Sigmar has its roots in the Old World, we can take the existing profiles and trim them back to get something that looks a lot like Warcry the Old World. If you’re already a fan of Warcry, you might be wondering what the point of all this is. Above, we’ve got ten Warcry-specific warbands, and I’m telling you to limit yourself to the Darkoath Ravagers or the Untamed Beasts. What gives? There are two main reasons to embrace a limit like this. The first is simply because it makes for a fun story. Second, it shakes up the meta a little.
To take an extreme example, a Warcry event where everyone comes as Skaven is very limiting but could be tons of fun. You could do this as a one-off evening where you bring four Skaven warbands from your own collection and have a big multiplayer game with lots of backstabbing and fighting over warpstone. If you have a few friends who are willing to do it, you could do a campaign with battles set in sewers and the rewards suitably Skaven-like. The goal, as always, is to have some fun games.
While we have a ton of background and lore to still tap into with Age of Sigmar, the Old World has a charm all of its own, especially if you’re a fan of some of the old fiction like the fantastic Gotrek and Felix books. It’s also worth looking at if you have any friends who never quite got over GW leaving their favourite setting behind and are resistant to Age of Sigmar, or if you have friends who really enjoy the Total War series and are interested in exploring that on the tabletop.
Games Workshop has made the somewhat controversial decision of only supporting a limited number of armies at release. Those are the nine listed here. That leaves a bunch of armies out in the cold, which is a real shame. In this video, I’m going to focus on the main nine, assuming that we might actually get to see some new models for them. You could definitely put together something for the Chaos Dwarfs if you wanted, but you can’t get the models anymore. On the other hand, you have a massive amount of new Lizardmen that look awesome, so why haven’t GW included them? Their reasoning is that they’re setting the game in the lands between the coast of Bretonnia to the west and the Worlds Edge Mountains to the east, during the decades immediately before the Great War Against Chaos and the Siege of Praag. So they have a specific time and theme they want to hit. That’s fair enough. You could definitely expand that, or as I’ll explore in another video, you could focus the game on another area like Lustria for a really unique gaming experience.
The first warband we’re going to look at is the Empire of Man. For this, we obviously have the Cities of Sigmar list, but we’re going to limit our own access to it considerably. In this case, we’re only going to look at the City of Hammerhal, and we’re only going to use the Human Heroes and Human Fighters. The usual pick for Cities of Sigmar warbands would be the Tempest Eye, but since we’re going to have a few, I’m just going to leave it out.
I would suggest using knights mounted on horses instead of the Demigryph Knights, but apart from that you’re still good to go. That leaves nine heroes and ten fighter types to pick from. At Warhammer Fest, we actually saw a couple of lists that would match this. Leonardo Cognigni, for example, went with two Knights, two handgunners, two greatswords, and a battle mage, winning 50% of his games.
Next, we have the Dwarfen Mountain Holds. Again, we’re looking at the Cities of Sigmar list. Stick to the Greywater Fastness abilities and the Duardin Heroes and Fighters. I would suggest banning allies from outside your own warband, but for the Dwarfen Mountain Holds, I’d be tempted to allow a Fyreslayer, maybe a Doomseeker, to stand in as a Troll Slayer for this warband. We did actually see a Dwarf list go 3-1 at Warhammer Fest, taking the Warden King and 9 Ironbreakers. It also took the Akhelian King, which won’t be an option, so you might have to look around for some punch.
Our first wild card is the Bretonnian list. We have no direct analogy at all. What we’re expecting here is Knights, Archers, and Men-at-Arms. It would also be thematic to have a Sorceress to back the warband up. There are a couple of different options here, and it’ll really depend on what models we end up getting. We could merge them into the Empire warband, so they’d be identical mechanically but would have a different look. We could do the same and give them a different City or a variation in abilities, maybe Hallowheart. The last option is to get a little crazy and pick a warband to reskin as Bretonnian. For example, the Lumineth Realmlords have Mounts, Archers, Spears, and Sorcerers. It will really depend on what models we get in the end and how they match the profiles.
The Wood Elves are also in an interesting situation. Rather than having no list, their list is split across two. So we can see some of the classic options in the Cities of Sigmar lists with the Wanderers, while the Sylvaneth list has a lot of the tree options. My first instinct would be to stick with the Sylvaneth list but make a few adjustments. We can change the Tree Revenants into normal generic Wood Elf melee troops. Frustratingly, we’re missing archers, though the gossmid archers are all too fast with a move of 10 and the ability to fly. So instead, we backtrack and head back to the Cities of Sigmar, this time using the Living City abilities and only picking from the Wanderer Heroes and Fighters. This gives us all the typical Wood Elf options apart from the Dryads. If we then allow access to the Sylvaneth heroes, we can get something like a Kurnoth on the table, which will really make the warband feel like a Wood Elf Army.
For the High Elves, we’re looking nervously back at the Lumineth. For whatever reason, the Cities of Sigmar Aelf section just doesn’t cover the High Elves from Warhammer Fantasy. It’s a weird mix with one or two High Elves and a bunch of Dark Elves thrown in. We want some Dragon Princes on mounts, High Elf Archers, lots of Spearmen holding the line, some White Lions with big Axes, and maybe even an Eagle thrown into the mix. The Lumineth list does seem like the best option. We can even take the Stoneguard with Mallets as White Lions, which is nice. How do we set them apart from the Bretonnians, though? The simple answer is we probably don’t, and to be honest, that’s fine. The goal is to get some great minis and get them on the table in a way that makes sense.
Orcs & Goblins are the reverse problem. Here we have too much choice. This will be our only entry for Destruction, though, so there’s probably no harm in having a few options. I didn’t mention it before, but no monsters is the best approach, and in this case, the Thralls are the two Trolls, which are good to have. We have two kinds of Orcs we can go for: the Bonesplitterz or the Ironjawz. While the Splitterz make perfect Savage Orcs, the Ironjawz don’t quite fit. The Ardboyz are straight from the Black Orc kit, but the Brutes are new for Age of Sigmar, especially when you start scaling up into the Megaboss. The Ironjawz list just isn’t as much fun without the Brutes, so I’d suggest just sticking to the Splitterz. For the Gobbos, we’ve got a lot of new models and the fantastic squig-riders, which I think are new for Age of Sigmar but still in keeping with the madness of the Gobbos in the Old World. As the army list would normally mix the two warbands, I’d suggest letting them have allies between the two rather than keeping them separate.
Warriors of Chaos is an expansive one. This is almost the entire Chaos Grand Alliance in a single list. We are, of course, going for the Slaves to Darkness warband as the Chaos Warrior, which is key. I would actually suggest throwing in the Untamed Beasts and Darkoath Ravagers as warband options. These two really capture the Chaos tribes’ feel. The generic Chaos Allies, Monsters, and Thralls I’d leave out, although I often feel the Chaos Warhounds work well with any of these lists. Personally, I use the Fenris wolves rather than the weirdly mutated ones, although you have to change the base sizes. As the Slaves to Darkness list is so big, I’d suggest not giving it extra options, but you could give the two smaller warbands heroes from the Slaves to Darkness.
The Brayherds are another one of those neglected model lines where basically everything you could run is a classic Old World model. No need to make any changes here at all. What’s interesting here is that we’ve massively culled the Chaos options. We’ve completely ignored all of the Chaos Gods, each of whom has a mortal and daemon warband, and we’ve also ignored the Skaven, along with a massive number of bespoke warbands. There definitely is a case to be made for those warbands, but in the approach GW has decided to take, we’re limiting all this down to just the essential core of Chaos: Chaos Warriors and Beastmen.
Lastly, we have the Tomb Kings of Khemri. This doesn’t really have an analogy in the current ruleset, but we can look at the Soulblight Gravelords or the Ossiarch Bonereapers as options. While both share the hordes of skeletons approach to warfare, the Tomb Kings’ use of Ushabti probably makes more sense as the Necropolis Stalkers. The Ossiarch Bonereapers haven’t been doing great in the current format, but this Old World format should be a lot friendlier. So this might be a good opportunity to take a weaker warband out to see how it plays.
And that was the full list. Yes, it’s a bit weird that we’re missing what many would consider key armies like Dark Elves, Lizardmen, Skaven, and Vampire Counts. Presumably, if the whole thing is a success, GW will look at expanding the game. If you wanted to, you certainly could do something similar with any of the missing armies. With the warbands we have though, as new models get released like this Knight and Pharaoh, then we can get some Warcry games in.
As we talked about earlier, however, there were two main reasons for taking this approach. The first is to shake up the meta game, and I guess part of that is to give us an excuse to play with some nice-looking miniatures. The second reason, though, is to enjoy the narrative elements. So while we’ve focused a lot on the mechanics of the game, once you have an idea of the factions you want to play and some of the miniatures you’d like to use, then give some thought to how the battle is going to play out.
There is a wealth of Warhammer background out there, including the Roleplaying Game and the Gotrek and Felix series, which you can also pick up in audiobook format to listen to while you paint. Use these as inspiration for some battles. In a few stories, Gotrek and Felix are defending wagons traveling through the Empire forests that get attacked by Orcs. In others, they battle Chaos Warriors in the northern wastes as they seek to reclaim Dwarven treasures. It’s fun to do a mission where you collect abstract objectives, but when you’re rescuing kidnapped children whom the Beastmen are about to sacrifice to their dark god, it becomes something a little more epic. If you’re struggling for inspiration, have a look at the Necromunda AI video I did where we used ChatGPT to generate some fun stories. It turns out it also remembers Warhammer the Old World and is pretty good at inventing some fun stories.
There are lots of ways to play Warcry, and my favourite is when we’re able to get an epic story onto the table. When Warcry first came out, it was very much focused on Chaos Warbands in the Bloodwind Spoils, much like Necromunda is focused on gangs in the underhive. In some ways, it was a blessing and a curse when GW decided to bring in the other factions. More options meant more fun, but it pulled us away from that story focused on the Eightpoints. However, we also have the option of going back. We get to decide together what story we want to tell. Since we’re expecting some new models for the Old World, I think it would be a shame to not play with them. This isn’t limited to just the Old World either. There’s also a very exciting setting where Dark Elf Corsairs battle Vampire Pirates off the coast, and Lizardmen battle the Skaven of Clan Pestilens in the temples of Lustria.
If you have any comments or feedback please post them in the comments section below. Check us out on the Optimal Game State website, Mastodon, and YouTube channel for more discussion about the Games Workshop Specialist Games.