REVIEW: Fyreslayer Battletome

The Fyreslayers are the first re-envisioning of one of the classic Warhammer races in AoS so far. Let’s see how they did.

If there is one race in any of the Warhammer universes that usually excites me the least, it was the dwarfs. I quite like the lore for them and the aesthetic, but just something about how the army was presented always made me kind of shrug with indifference. With the Fyreslayers, Games Workshop has finally caught my attention.

The Fyreslayers are the first re-envisioning of one of the classic Warhammer races in AoS so far. The Seraphon got a new story and feel, but all of their models stayed the same. With this army GW has taken the core idea, berserk dwarfs with orange mohawks, and put a completely new spin on it, and I for one, really like it.

The physical book itself is exactly what we have come to expect from GW at this point with the battletomes. It’s a very nice, high quality hard cover. The cover on this one is another great piece of artwork, which I feel harkons back to what we saw on 8th edition books more then the AoS aesthetic. It’s more realistic looking with a grittier feel to it. I’m pretty sure it’s even the same artist who did the covers of many of the old books such as the Empire and Warriors of Chaos. The Seraphon cover is still my favorite at the moment, but this one takes a close second.

When you flip open the book the first section is of course the background lore. We learn where the Fyreslayers come from and who they are. We get a bit of a recap about Grimnir’s story from the Age of Myth which we had previously seen in the first big book for AoS. The Dwarfen god fought the great fire salamander, Vulcatrix, in Aqshy and the two managed to kill each other. When Grimnir died his essence spread across the land, bonding with select pieces of gold which is now called Ur-Gold. To the Fyreslayers, this Ur-Gold is sacred since it contains a bit of their god. They will do anything to obtain it, which often means selling their services for payment in gold. Not all gold is Ur-Gold, but their priests can sense when some is nearby so they know when to accept payment or not.

Once they have this gold they craft it into sacred runes and then hammer it into their own flesh. This brings them closer to their god and also imbues themselves with a bit of his power. The Fyreslayers live in lodges, the oldest of which is in Aqshy and is called the Vostargs. For a long time this was the only lodge stronghold, but eventually the Runefather, who is the head of the lodge, died in combat and left no clear successor amongst his Runesons. Instead of letting the lodge fall into civil war, the Runemaster, the head of the priesthood, split the lodge’s wealth equally amongst the Runesons and bade them to go off and found their own lodges. This led to Fyreslayer lodges settling in all of the realms, with some even in Azyr now that Sigmar has reopened the gates. The Fyreslayers are not like the Slayers of the Old World. They have no death wish and they are not shamed. They merely honor their god, whom they lived with for many years during the Age of Myth before he died, by trying to look like him, hence the mohawks.

Each lodge’s stronghold is generally in some kind of volcanic area, since they do also tend to like fire a lot. You may have noticed that the Runemasters look a little bit like Chaos Dwarfs, which is no accident. The priesthood is even called the Zharrgrim. Chaos Dwarfs were called the Dawi-Zharr. They both also really, really like fire. They never come out and say that this is where the priests come from, but it’s heavily implied. It looks like the Chaos Dwarfs, or at least a segment of them, have repaired relations and are now integrated into their society. Whether they explore this more, or just leave it as a little nod to the World-That-Was, it’s a fun addition to the army. What makes this even more interesting is that Forge World just released a new Chaos Dwarf model for Age of Sigmar, so apparently those guys do still exist in the new lore. As always the artwork is fantastic and GW continues to impress with their output for AoS. There are one or two bad pieces in the book, but they are outweighed by all of the really well done ones.

Once we move past the main chunk of lore we get to the individual unit descriptions. There aren’t as many units in this book as other armies have gotten, so it’s a little short in length, but not in quality. Each unit and hero gets fleshed out a little more and I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of who they are, not just what they do. This was a trap that the Seraphon book fell into that thankfully the Fyreslayers have sidestepped. We also get a timeline in here with a bunch of little story hooks in the form of past battles and major events. It starts with Grimnir fighting Vulcatrix and goes on past the arrival of the Stormcast. As always, I really like these timelines since it gives you a bunch of potential ideas that they can come back to later, or the hobbyist can use to theme their own forces or battles.

Usually the army colors pages come off a little boring to me. How many colors can you see Bloodbound painted in anyway? They do provide some cool alternative color schemes though, and for some reason I found the Fyreslayer’s section more compelling then the past ones. Not only do we get to see the colors of a few different lodges, but we also get to see the Lodge symbols, their name, and a brief description of them. I’m particularly interested in the ones from Azyr, as well as the one from Shyish and the Lodge from Ulgu whose symbol looks suspiciously Dark Elfish. This is very well done with great artwork for the Lodge symbols.

The first battleplan revolves around a horde of Bloodbound assaulting the lodge of the Vostarg in Aqshy. There’s plenty of fire and lava flying around and the story for it is pretty entertaining. A particularly evocative moment involves a waterfall of lava (lavafall?) blocking the Chaos forces from reaching the Fyreslayers, at least for awhile, until the madmen just start running right through it anyway. This is actually a major part of the scenario as well. The board is split in half with each force deploying on the opposite end long ways. So they’re deploying on the short ends. Running across the middle is a wall of lava with only a 12″ wide tunnel in the middle for the Chaos forces to get through. Their whole objective is to breakthrough the Duardin battle lines and exit off their table edge to attack the Fyreslayer hold. They can run through the lava if they want, but run an extremely high risk of dying before they even get to do anything, unless the use their special command ability. This allows them to run through, shoot, charge, and attack, and then role to see how many of them die from their horrible lava related wounds during the Battleshock phase. It’s very thematic. The whole scenario seems like a ton of fun and is my second favorite of the bunch.

The Second battleplan focuses on an army of Fyreslayers hired by some poor mortals in Shyish to help overthrow their tyrannical Vampire lord who rules over them. I of course love all things having to do with the Realm of Death and this is no exception. This is the stand out battleplan for me. The story is compelling with some of my favorite artwork from the whole book. Once the dwarfs get into the vampire’s lair there is a literal rain of zombies falling from the sky. This comes across in the battleplan itself too, with zombies suddenly appearing about half way through. You have to roll for them when they appear though because there is a chance that they could land to hardly and splatter all over the ground, dying before you get to use them. The coolest thing for me about the whole scenario is the way it’s set up. The board is divided into two foot square sections with certain areas blocked off so they aren’t visible until you round a corner. The Fyreslayers have to snake their way through the board, not knowing what will be in the next section until they get there. It really has a strong dungeon crawler feel to it. It’s nice to see GW playing with the standard four by six table we are used to. AoS has let them open up what they can do and come up with seemingly obvious, yet highly creative and fun scenarios like this. This never would have been possible in 8th edition and I don’t think I have seen anything like it in 40k either. The Fyreslayer’s objective is to kill the enemy general, who awaits in the last section like a video game boss. It’s fantastic and I definitely want to try this one out.

The final battleplan centers around a lodge of Fyreslayers hired to remove a nest of Clan Pestilens Skaven and their foul warp stone monument. For me this had the weakest story as well as the weakest scenario. The one cool thing about the scenario is that before the game begins, the Fyreslayer player has to declare whether their forces are advancing cautiously, steadily, or speedily as the Skaven lair is in a swampy bog. If they advance cautiously they suffer no ill effects, but the skaven player gets two free turns before the Fyreslayers even get to do anything, effectively allowing them to reposition themselves. If they advance steadily the skaven only get an additional free hero phase, but the Duardin potentially start taking casualties before the game even starts, and if they advance speedily the skaven get no bonuses, but the Fyreslayers suffer even worse. It’s a really cool mechanic to help add some story into what we all know happens before battles. The rest of the game involves the Fyreslayers attacking the warp stone monument at the center of the table, attempting to unroot it. The whole time the skaven are trying to finish a ritual with it, which gives them bonuses the closer they get to completion. It’s by no means a bad scenario, it’s just a little similar to past ones I have seen and is the weakest of the three in this book in my opinion.

After all of the battleplans we get to the warscrolls for each unit. There’s nothing particularly fancy here. There are three main units and six heroes, three of which have a warscroll for a mounted version and a version on foot. It’s a fairly small army, and I think was designed with the idea of allying to a larger force for bigger games. The battalion formations are characterful and nice additions to the army. There is basically one for each hero with the type of units attached to them that would make sense, such as Hearthguard with a Runemaster. The only downside for me, is that every one of them includes a Magmadroth. While it’s a great model, and I understand why they would want to include on from a sales point, I wish there was a smaller formation without one. I don’t think I’ll ever do a large Fyreslayer force, mostly just because of time limitations, but I would like to ally some to my Stormcast. A Magmadroth is probably too much of a commitment for a small allied force for me, so it would have been nice to have a formation for me to aim to complete that just had footsloggers.

Overall I think the Fyreslayers Battletome was very well done and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It definitely gave a better sense of the army outside of the battlefield when compared to the Seraphon book. I think this is a really important point, since we all want to believe that these armies really exist in this setting, which means they need motivation and they need purpose outside of war. The Fyreslayers are a great evolution of the classic Slayers we are used to from the old Dwarfs and feel completely natural within the AoS setting. I definitely want to add some to my Stormcast at some point, if not a whole unit then at the very least a lone Grimwrath Bezerker. I think this Battletome is very encouraging with where GW is going to take AoS in the future, as well as their abilities to create new and engaging forces. The only downside is the small unit count. They could work fine as a force of their own but I think are ideally meant to be allied with other forces. I have a feeling that this is how a lot of the new armies and books for AoS will be going forward outside of the Grand Alliance books, and I’m perfectly fine with that. While I probably wouldn’t have the time or funds to start a whole new army very frequently, painting up a small force like these guys is completely feasible.

If you like the Dwarfs I highly recommend this book. If you just want to keep up on what’s going on in the ever evolving lore for AoS this also is a good choice with some intriguing stories and innovative battleplans. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention how great the entire model range is for the Fyreslayers. The only slight hiccup are the couple of goofy poses on the Vulkite Bezerkers, but overall I really like everything they did with the sculpts.

Final Score – 4/5

Until next time,

Tyler M.

Tyler is a life long painter and hobbyist and took home his first Golden Demon award at the 2012 Chicago Games Day with a follow up at the 2013 North American Games Day. More of his work can be found at his blog, Mengel Miniatures.

  • Dan Lewis

    I’m confused. They’re not re-envisaged or anything – they’re just Trollslayers aren’t they? Lots and lots of them. What’s the new direction? I personally don’t get why the idea of distilling a varied faction down to one basic unit type (dialled up to 11) is considered a step forward.

    • Hamish

      AoS’s design aesthetic is not and should not be considered a step forward; it’s just a cartoony parody of proper Warhammer

      • Dennis Finan Jr

        Lol, and what company doesn’t do that let alone not steal anything from warhammer. Stop the insanity.

    • Wolfgard

      Amen, The ‘new’ lore is too dumbed down for my taste. The new races too one dimensional. For instance, before dwarves had a variety of motives behind why they might be fighting whether it be glory, honor, a grudge, shame, etc. Now they simply fight for MOAR GOLD! To make things worse the 4th grade naming conventions of 40k have now infected AoS. Fyresteel, fyrepike, fyreaxe, fyreslayer. You’d think they could come up with a unique name that didn’t involve fyre or rune.

      Makes me glad I sold my WHFB armies before AoS came out.

      • Hamish

        fyrethewritingstaff

      • Евгения Ремезова

        That’s like 40K problem – Wolfy-Wolfarmored-Wolfgunned-Woflguards of the Space Wolves.

      • georgelabour

        Can you point to a page reference in the extant material that says the various dwarven factions only fight for money?

      • Dennis Finan Jr

        I love it because I’m a dumb 37 year old. Why would you sell your army thats still usable and you enjoyed. Now thats silly

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Nuance and variation come with time. You first must know the baseline and then you can spin that out into variations on theme. Depth is also something that develops as a setting ages.

        Go back to the first edition of Warhammer Fantasy and you will see it is very much just a D&D clone. It took years for the setting to develop into something complex and interesting.

      • Aezeal

        None of the units has fyre in its name ?

    • georgelabour

      The Grand Alliance: Order book also has some of the original slayer types for the regular Duardin forces presented in that tome. They just get a slight name change to fit with their new role within a new setting.

      There’s also the matter of motivation, and accrual of abilities which make the Fyrslayers stand out from anything previously seen in other iterations of the Warhammer franchise.

      Really aside from the big orange mohawks and massive axes there’s not a lot of similarities between these guys and the old slayer cult from Warhammer Fantasy.

      • Dennis Finan Jr

        It makes total sense. They follow grimnir.

    • Aezeal

      1.Because your post is nonsense. They have an aesthetic similar to slayers but the units are plenty different in gameplay
      2. These are not all dwarves
      3 you even have more order to combi with if needed, which even fits their lore as mercs (even if it is in a sort of warrior monk religious way)

      • Dan Lewis

        1. Every single image in the article above has warriors in it practically identical to WH Trollslayers. So why is it nonsense to say that these appear to be just the same as Trollslayers. In game they may well play differently but the fact is they copied the Trollslayer look and rolled it out across everything. They did however drop the interesting (too dark?) “seeking a glorious death due to a previous failure” theme.
        2. If you say so. They do kinda all look a bit dwarfy though. Maybe it’s the same as the female Stormcast Eternals.
        3. Even? Wow. But let’s just assume someone took a whole army of these chaps they would, unless I’m very much mistaken, look like a whole bunch of Trollslayers.

        • georgelabour

          Practically identical?

          Never saw a troll slayer riding a giant lava dinosaur or with gold runes implanted into his skin.

          Definitely never saw one using a flamethrower ax.

          Can you please point to the Warhammer fantasy slayer models that had those things and whose sole connection to Fyreslayers isn’t an orange mohawk?

          Or would you like to continue with that kind of logic that can claim Master Chief and Marneus Calgar are the same thing because …power armored super soldier that fights aliens with a hive mind..

          • Dan Lewis

            [sigh]

            Just glance at the pictures. They took Trollslayers and gave them a few new toys. The fact remains that the basis of these was entirely the original Trollslayer concept. There’s nothing revolutionary, no explanation of why these magic gold hunters opted to wear no armour, grow their hair long and dye it orange in exactly the same way as Trollslayers of WH. Where’s the new ideas, the creativity? A flamethrower axe? A dragon? Seriously, that’s it?

            It’s as if GW said “people like Trollslayers so let’s just make every Dwarf a Trollslayer”.

            No, you couldn’t get a Trollslayer on a lava dragon, nor could you get one with a flamethrower axe. But there are more similarities than there are differences and those similarities are fundamental to their design. The article says that itself – “the core idea, berserk dwarfs with orange mohawks”. There’s nothing new here except gimmicks.

          • Dan Lewis

            In case I wasn’t being clear enough:

            The idea of a group of dwarfs trying to piece together their God – that’s good. That there may be some connection to Chaos Dwarfs – interesting. 2 for 2 so far. But then making them look identical to Trollslayers – that’s just lazy and / or moneygrabbing.

          • georgelabour

            Actually there is an explanation if you’d bother to look into any of the backstory behind them.

            But why bother with the actual content when you can just be negative and snarky like all the other internet hipsters.

          • Dan Lewis

            Ah, name-calling. Good work. I feel suitably chastised for holding a different opinion to you. I am a little disappointed that you didn’t sneak the word “whimsy” into your response though as it does seem you are so very fond of it.

            I’m pretty sure I’ve explained my thoughts on the matter previously. It shows a lack of creativity to simply reuse a concept from a world now destroyed. If they’d have come up with a different concept then these could have been an interesting selection. As it stands, they are just a quick rehash of the old slayers.

          • georgelabour

            Still waiting for you to dig into the original Warhammer Fantasy and find me the flame throwing dinosaur riding dwarf who carries pieces of hie broken god hammered into his body.

            SInce they’re identical you really should have an easy time finding it right?

          • Dan Lewis

            I’ve previously said there was no such fantasy miniature. You may have missed it.

            Maybe you’re right. These orange mohawked, armourless berserk dwarfs known as slayers are nothing at all like the previous orange mohawked, armourless berserk dwarfs known as slayers because some of these can ride dragons and have flaming axes. Totally different, awesomely re-imagined and not at all derived from the earlier work.

          • georgelabour

            You may wish to look up the definition identical then…

            And just to show you how silly your logic is let’s use it so show how ‘practically identical’ other things are.

            My Ford escort is a car with four wheels, an engine, and a red paint scheme. ZOMG! It’s practically identical to a lamborghini!

            Dark Eldar Wyches are eldar who have boobs, fight with exotic weapons, and scare the crud out of the enemy. ZOMG! Totes the same things as howling bansheese!

            The Master Chief is a super soldier in green power armor who fights aliens! ZOMG! he’s just a dark angel rip off!

            Orks use tanks, and artillery plus have a penchant for the color green and casual violence. ZOMG! Identical army as the Imperial Guard!

            The UNSC is a human government beset on all sides by rapacious alien hordes out to destroy them! ZOMG Halo is just a 40k rip off!

            Gears of war..has chainsaw weapons, and ‘roid abusers in impractical armor! ZOMG totally identical to 40k!

            An imperial Guarsdsman from Cadia has green armor, hates xenos scum, and fights for the emperor! ZOMG something else utterly identical to a dark angel!

            Na’vi are an abroreal people who live in a giant tree, and fight armored stormtroopers who have big mechs! ZOMG Avatar was really the exact same thing as Return of the Jedi! They even have a knife fighting scene to show just how unoriginal things are!

            Will these rip offs never cease!

            Well they will once people stop purposely making up half truths and outright lies in order to justify a pointless disdain for things they don’t want others to like.

          • Dan Lewis

            Another awesome post. Brilliant work again. Name calling *and* a wonderful straw man all from the same poster.

            I’d wager that if you showed the images in this article alongside images of the WH slayers most people, even keen hobbyists, would be hard pressed to tell them apart. But I guess that’s the point as they are honouring Grimnir aren’t they? That’s the “fluff” as I understand it.

            I’ll ignore your straw man as I haven’t mentioned anything other than slayers old and new. I’m sure you enjoyed typing all of that though so it’s not a total loss.

          • georgelabour

            I have yet to call anyone any names.

            You’ve yet to show me how a troll slayer and a fyreslayer are , as you yourself said, identical when the primary similiarity is a mohawk and muscles.

            Though you have tried to play the emotionally traumatized victim more than once now you’ve done very little to substantiate your stance on the subjec under discussion. That of course being your varied claims that they are the exact same things, and there’s nothing in the setting’s background marking them as different.

  • Alexandre-Albert Chartier

    The new warhammer storyline is total crap for me. I cnt believe they destroy warhammer old world for AoS crap. Young hipster on lsd could create a similar story. Even my 7 years old daughter could create a better story than AoS. All in all th3y remove all credibility and maturity from warhammer. Shame on those who create that.

    • standardleft

      Have you listened to any of the audiodramas? They are quite good and really help add a bit of character development.

      The Nurgle champions are especially wonderful.

      • Евгения Ремезова

        Towers of Lava. Lavafalls. That’s pretty much. It just instantly makes AoS into a piece of crap.

        • standardleft

          There were quite a few lava falls and lava based cities in the chaos dwarf lore.

          • Dennis Finan Jr

            Well it is the age of chaos. It’s not suppose to make sense

          • standardleft

            Sorry, I was referring to the Old world. Lava falls are awesome.

            I quite liked how in the fluff the fireslayers used Realmgates that were tied to lava worlds to heat their forges.

          • Евгения Ремезова

            But unlike AoS, we knew how “normal” life works in WHFB. We knew what Chaos Dwarves eat, how they grow whatever they eat, how their economy works…
            AoS, in contradiction, is all about “AAARGH! BATTLES! SIGMARINES! TOWERS OF LAVA! AWESOMENESS!”. That’s just blant throwing of “awesomeness” in face, in hope to impress… *coughs* …young fanats of AoS.

          • standardleft

            Yeah, I think that’s what is more challenging for AoS compared to fantasy. With fantasy, you can fill in the blanks, even if it doesn’t really make sense.

            AoS needs to set the scene a bit before telling its stories. There are places in the novels and campaign books where its mentioned how humans or other creatures survive.

            The people on the brimstone peninsula barely survive, mostly eating each other and living a life of constant fleeing.

            The Candlemen who live in caves (also in the realm of fire) eat the moss and the odd Minotaur. They once had a thriving civilisation, but now its dust.

            There are a few descriptions of cities before the age of Chaos, where its essentially a medieval kindgom, with farms and everything.

            The stormcast from the realm of beasts have trees that produce water, but depending on the season its drinkable by man or beast. The stormcast there also drink ogre blood.

            The Fryedwarfs seem to drink a lot, but nothing is really said of their infrastructure, other than its based around urgold. I imagined they bought a lot of stuff and ate plants and foods that could survive the heat.

          • Евгения Ремезова

            You know, I’m probably better person, raised on Tolkien’s fantasy, rather than plebs that is ready to consume product with “candlemen eating moss and odd minotaur” or “drinking ogre blood”.
            This is soo ridiculous… god, how anyone can like it? Even fantasy should have some background rules and logic!

          • standardleft

            I don’t think you come across as a better person.

        • Alexandre-Albert Chartier

          Oh yeah naked dwarf, space marine with medieval arsenal (stormcast eternal) and more skull for the big bad villain. Wow too much is like not enough.

          • Aezeal

            What is wrong with knights using medieval weapons? Personally I find the 40k knights with guns way more odd

          • Drpx

            Something must be wrong with it because they just axed a whole faction of medieval Knights. The Ground Marines don’t count.

      • georgelabour

        Angryhammer players don’t let things like actual content, facts, or reality get in the way of a good bout of impotent whinging.

        Not when there’s nerdrage pixy dust and whimsy to vomit all over anything and everyone.

        • Alexandre-Albert Chartier

          Both AoS and rip Warhammer are games. We playing games to have fun. AoS rules are fun ( not to say funny). Rip warhammer rule were more technical. So GW switch serious game for a beer and pretzel game. Conclusion; It’s like games of throne next season turn out to be the battle of the unicorns vs carebears

          • georgelabour

            Your conclusion is based purely on your own personal whimsy and to reinforce a personal bias.

            That is to say your jumbled whirlwind of poorly thought out complaints hold little substance and are obviously a product of a mind that wants things to be terrible rather than a mind that has taken the time to objectively appraise and study the material under discussion.

          • Alexandre-Albert Chartier

            Could you see my finger mister poetic vocabulary? Cmon it’s easy to sell imagination to people who havnt, GW is there for them. You don’tt like unicorn and carebears? You have no heart.

          • georgelabour

            I prefer Earth Ponies to unicorns or pegasi. Pinky Pie for life here brah.

            As for Carebears..I was enjoying the antics of Grumpy before you were even old enough to be an willfully sad and negative prat on the internet.

    • Dennis Finan Jr

      Come on man, the violence alone in these books is enough to make it mature.

      • Alexandre-Albert Chartier

        Oh yeah naked dwarf, space marine with medieval arsenal (stormcast
        eternal) and more skull for the big bad villain. Wow too much is like
        not enough.

  • Commissar Molotov

    *vomits a little in his mouth*

  • Henri-Pierre Garnier

    Welcome the new dwarven Khorne warriors basically. Gold for the golden god, I can’t get behind that, sorry.
    I must disagree with the fact they have an existence beyond the battlefield, they live to fight, period.