Games Workshop Announces ‘Malign Portents’

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There were bad omens in the air during the festive season, with teaser trailers and photos of new miniatures released by Games Workshop, but now the official launch of Malign Portents is here.

What is Malign Portents?

At the moment, it’s all sorts of things and not very much. It does have its own website, however. For those of you who don’t follow the Warhammer world very closely, Malign Portents will be a set of new stories and rules for their Age of Sigmar game.

One of the things the Age of Sigmar has lacked (in my opinion, I know many disagree) are good stories that give the world a purpose, a reason to exist beyond gorgeous miniatures chucking dice at one another. The world was split into 8 Mortal Realms, all different, but homogenous throughout–a bit like the desert planet, the forest planet, and ice planet in Star Wars. They don’t feel very real. Nobody has jobs (other than soldier or conscript), and what, in the name of Sigmar, does everybody eat?

Malign Portents is set to change that. This is going to take place in the Realm of Death, Shyish. Named after the sound made by million bank accounts dying beneath a deluge of sculpted plastic.

The Age of Sigmar story is to be advanced. Nagash, the Immortal Leader of the Death faction, has been mostly quiet so far in the Age of Sigmar saga, and now he looks to be taking center stage. Four new heroes have arisen, drawn to Shyish by portent and prophecy. It would appear the Malign Portents book will add bones (ahem) to both story and setting. The new website already contains several stories to read.

Will there be new rules?

Malign Portents heroes
Four new great looking models ready to lead their troops into the Realm of Shyish

It appears so. Portent and prophecy will leap out of legend and into your games, with characters able to scry the future to give you an advantage on the battlefield. Details on how this will work are non-existent at the moment, but the book promises as many new rules as there is new lore.

Is this an Age of Sigmar reboot?

Probably not. Maybe just a kick up the backside. It’s reasonable to say that 2017 was a bit of lean year for Age of Sigmar. With a completely new version of Warhammer 40K and the release of my new favorite game, Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespirethere wasn’t much love for AoS, especially in the latter half of the year. Malign Portents looks set to change that.

The new website contains lots of existing information about the generation of the Age of Sigmar world and its realms. It very much looks like a way to draw in new players. Players who have never heard of the “Old World,” nor mourn its passing. And that, he says through gritted teeth, is a good thing. Games Workshop has only ever looked forward with Age of Sigmar, and this new campaign looks set to add some oozy, drippy grimdark to their high fantasy setting.

The new miniatures and snippets of story are, to me, much more engaging than those in the original Khorne vs Stormcast boxed set. The announcement of new a new Nurgle range over the holidays also suggested that loyalties and divisions may be much greyer than the “are you filled with light or do you bathe in blood” allegiances of the original box set.

Which leads me to speculate whether, as well some new funky figures and a juicy campaign book, we can expect a new starter set filled with new plastic. I hope so. The existing starter box is far cry from this grave new world (see what I did there?) and I think a new boxed set would certainly be fitting. If it was filled with gorgeous new Nurgle and Death miniatures, so much the better. Or perhaps we will finally see those missing Aelves… Could be!

Malign Portents definitely looks to be a new entry point for the game, there’s even a painting competition for new “Start Collecting” sets this month. With Shadespire bringing in fresh blood from the CCG market, what better time for Games Workshop to dust off their existing wares and give them a couple of new coats of thinly applied paint!

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