GW: Developer Chat & Art of Sylvaneth


Listen to a GW developer and enjoy the amazing artwork and contents of Battletome Sylvaneth.

Battletome Sylvaneth Developer Chat

Gaming with SylvanethThe Sylvaneth book is the first of new type of Battletome – featuring loads more rules content than any before.
James Hewitt, one of the team behind the rules section of the new book shares some of his thoughts on the book:

Posted by Warhammer Age of Sigmar on Sunday, July 3, 2016

Artwork of Battletome Sylvaneth

Artwork via GW and Black Library

syl-016 syl-015 syl-014

Alarielle vs Bloodthirster – place your bets!

syl-013 syl-012

I really want to see that beetle take on Archaon’s mount.

syl-011 syl-010 syl-001

Leaf-wings – you don’t see that everyday!


Sylventh is the first Battletome that is completely designed to work with the General’s Compendium, so it has all the special rules, equipment and points included to drop right into Pitched Battle play.

~ Take an honest look at what the old WFB Wood Elves and the new Age of Sigmar Sylvaneth.  Do you think GW has done a good job here of updating the faction?

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    The models look cool, and points makes this into a game I might try, but the models are just so expensive! My whole Bolt Action German army cost less than that woman on the beetle.

    • SupPupPup

      You get what you pay for… most of the time.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        if we are talking about collector’s pieces I would agree with you (most of the time) but as game pieces these are well overpriced. I can’t knock the technical accomplishment or the sculpts, they look really good, but its not a realistic purchase option for me. I think 40K’s minis are overpriced, but AoS ones make them look like bargains.

        • SupPupPup

          Are you saying that they are too expensive for you specifically, or in relation to others on the market?

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            there isn’t really much comparable on the market, the problem is the price as a whole when you take the total cost of a playable force into account. An expensive single figure would be OK if it made up 30% to 50% of the points cost of an army, which is why I think people don’t perceive Imperial Knights as overpriced.

          • SupPupPup

            Ahh I see.

            I’ve found this release to be on the expensive side, but not completely outrageous.

            To have an entertaining game, I would probably want to spend maybe £120.00 as a starting point.

            I like to spend a long time painting, so an army like that could take me half a year to paint and convert and what not which isn’t too unreasonable.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            £120 would get you the HQ, 5 other figures and a few pots of paint, doesn’t seem enough for a decent game to me.

          • Koen Cambré

            Again, I think you are looking at this quite pessimisticly. I recently got into AoS…. They do have quite nice start collecting boxes for most armies.

            In fact, I got the flesh eater courts box for that money, which is basically a full 1500p army in one go (although the pricing on that box is quite exceptional).

            I do hope GW will be smart and add another of those sylvaneth armies with 30 ish% off MSRP.

          • SupPupPup

            I wouldn’t start off with Alarielle. She’s very powerful.

            To have a enjoyable game using her, you’d probably want a really large army, or as part of a team game.

            She’s also quite daunting to paint, so starting off an army I’d probably get some dyrads to learn to paint wood, the Household bundle and maybe some Kurnoth Hunters.

            That would cover all of the phases of the game and a somewhat balanced force.

            Maybe some wild woods if I was extra fancy.

          • Koen Cambré

            Seeing as this model is about 640p, compared to (in general) less than 200p for a single unit box, this has similar gaming value. So this would in fact be 30% roughly of a 2000p army. 🙂

            On top of that, people are willing to splash a bit more for their main character (lore wise) of their force. This is the equivalent of a titan in AoS after all.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            OK fair enough

      • blackbloodshaman

        If that were true I would get about five of those ugly beetle thingies in a box for the same price

    • euansmith

      Looking at the whole Sylvaneth line, there are some very technically accomplished minis, just look at the great weapons for the Kurnoth Hunters, but the cost is a bit of a shock; £35 for 3 minis :O You do get loads of options for them, and they do come with the cutest little Quiver Bugs, and I guess I don’t think £20 for three Ghar Battle Suits from Warlord is to horrendous (and they don’t even come with any options).

      Still, one would hope the Tree Elves will all end up in some Sylvaneth Bundles to make them more affordable; like the way that you can get nine Ghar Battlesuits and a unit of infantry from Warlord for £50 (or £42.50 as they are currently on special offer).

      • Aezeal

        I must admit that I’m hoping for a get started sylvaneth… though it’ll probably include dryads… and I have those already.. enough.. more than enough.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        I think these minis look great, and show GW do make the best in the world of this type (large, intricate fantasy minis from plastic). Can you imagine the cost of an army though?

        The GoA stuff looks good, but its the whole package of reasonable price, sensible army size, good fluff, good sculpts, popular enough game and affordable prices that makes a game system one I want to get into.

    • Aezeal

      I’m all for GW… but the models are very expansive.. I’m mostly annoyed at the price for 5 revenants/spites, compared to the regular dryads.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        their pricing has never been at all logical.

        • vlad78

          Far to the contrary, it is totally logical. Now that they think they managed to created something vaguely new or unique (tree and elven hybrids which I don’t like btw) which should not be copied outright by the competition, they will set the price at the highest possible level.

          • blackbloodshaman

            And lose sales yet again

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            what I mean was that within their ranges two sets of apparently similar models will be priced wildly differently.

        • I spent some time talking with someone intimately familiar with GW’s manufacturing processes, specifically the costs of the molds for production. The prices aren’t as illogical as they might seem. It’s expensive to make even a single basic mold, not to mention design and marketing. And then your basic supply and demand kicks in. GW prices the same way other companies do: design + supply + demand + reasonable markup to meet their corporate goals, and they do need to turn a profit.

          • ZeeLobby

            Having talked to similar individuals in the industry, much of the high GW prices stems from drops in sales numbers though. They’re trying to keep their sales figures inflated why they lose customers.

    • Davor Mackovic

      I hate to say it, but to complain about price and then saying you have this for that price, it is telling me you are in the wrong area.

      After all you don’t go to Ferrari and say “hey look, I got this Chevy, and Ford and Toyota and Chrysler for one of your cars, HA!”

      Seems foolish to do.

      Just like I say, “wow look at my Timex, so much cheaper than a rolex.”

      If you want something badly enough, you save for it. If it’s too expensive and not worth it, you don’t buy it. If it’s expensive but worth it, you buy it.

      You want to take a stand and say “I find the products too expensive, I won’t buy it” fine you vote with your wallet, but to say what you did, just shows you are not GW customer base and you so sadly want to be so.

      We have to face it, We are not GW customer base, or I should say we were not a few years ago. That could have changed now. If you want to play with the big boys, then play with the big boys, but don’t cry and whine when you choose not to play with the big boys.

      Remember, these are all “wants” not “needs”. We need food to survive. We need shelter to survive. We should complain if we are forced to eat spoiled food or live in poor housing because everything is too expensive, but to cry about toy soldiers is too expensive is just childish. If you want it, you save for it. Don’t think it’s worth it, vote with your wallet.

      Saying quick shouts on the internet is not giving your opinion anymore, it’s just us acting spoiled entitled adults. Yes I use to be like that as well. Maybe that is why I ramble on now. We all whine too much without ever explaining anything.

      • vlad78

        GW is no ferrari, or Ferrari would be really bad cars.

        • DeathBy SnuSnu

          With too many skulls on them 😉

        • Artistically- and technically-sophisticated but temperamental products marketed at a premium price to a small group of high-end buyers with lots of disposable income, made by a company with a long habit of telling its customers what their opinions are and a penchant for an “if you can’t have fun MY WAY then you can’t have fun AT ALL” attitude.

          …I dunno, I’d say the comparison between GW and Ferrari is fairly apt. It actually makes perfect sense, too: GW consider themselves an exclusive luxury brand the same as Ferrari does, and acts accordingly.

          • vlad78

            That’s interesting because i have to admit GW attitude feels like they ware selling Ferraris.

            But the comparison ends here imho.
            When you talk about a Ferrari, you talk about a beautiful car, a product of love and passion with the best technology available at the time of its conception on the drawing board and above all I imagine Ferrari drivers are attracted to the fame of the brand AND the pleasure driving a Ferrari will give you.

            On the other hand, GW is the most well known fantasy miniature brand (which is a small niche). During the last decade, they made tremendous progress concerning the production of plastic kits, especially big ones which are really their comparative advantage over the competition.
            Yet GW weaknesses are numerous.

            GW primary market is not only to sell miniatures but also the games in which those miniatures will be used. In that aspect they are especially lacking, because actually no GW game is better designed than what the competition can offer. They are working on it as the new AOS ruleset shows but you can’t erase 3 decades of poor rulesets. So much for the pleasure of playing at such games.

            GW gambled everything on their new CAD technology, yet their plastic minis lack the small scale details of resin miniatures.
            And much worse the design of the minis is particularly lacking imho.
            I’d say while most of their plastic kits are technically almost perfect, 70% to 80% of their new releases have been just ugly, devoid of any emotion since the last 5 years.

            Moreover, by growing up, GW became very corporate, it lost the innovation and the craftmanship of smaller companies. When you’re buying GW you’re buying .. a Ford produced in china .. with a Ferrari price tag, and what you buy is not something the studio or all the people working upon designs and lore within GW wanted to make, it’s the result of specifications dictated by the board.

            Forgeworld used to be the bastion of creativity and quality within GW, but it’s been losing it since GW forced them to increase the pace of releases.

            Eventually, when you’re buying a ferrari or a real luxuous product, it won’t get old, it won’t lose value, it will not get obsolete if you take care of it. It will stay a testimony of superior craftmanship of the times of its creation.

            Now I aknowledge it difficult to compare luxuous cars and plastic miniatures, but when I look back at the rogue trader days or the ending days of GW metal minis, maybe it’s nostalgia, but I still admire the skills the designers put into it at the time and I feel some minis of those times are still beautiful even if sometimes crude.
            Those latest golden dudes in armor, fat dwarves, or tremen elven hybrids, stir nothing in me.

          • I realize you’re trying to disagree with my comparison, but I don’t think you actually are. Just because you don’t like GW’s minis doesn’t mean they’re bad. I didn’t chose the phrase “artistically- and technically-sophisticated” by accident.

        • Koen Cambré

          I do quite a bit of commissions on the side, the full service from assembly to painting. In terms of ease of assembly, easy to clean, easy to work with materials,… GW models really are the “premium product” compared to other companies.

          If you don’t agree with their style, that’s your problem… but the quality of their models and their customer service really is second to none. (Except their finecast models, and even those got massively better and are being used less and less).

          • vlad78

            I agree with you, but their design is not only MY problem, it is their problem if too many people think like me.
            Selling a miniature is not only a question about how good the product technically is.
            I had some lousy chapterhouse parts in hand and of course they were a million times worse than today GW quality, yet those part were compulsory to make of the awful stormraven something palatable.

            Furthermore, you ‘re the main target market, but who are GW main customers? gamers, not just hobbyists or people doing commissions.

            I’m sure a lot of people might be tempted to buy Allarielle or any other center pieces, but how many of them will buy an AOS army if they ‘re not gamers?
            GW does not sell miniatures. They sell miniatures AND the games needed to use them.

            And the new CEO perfectly understands that. But the AOS concept is rotten at the core and it will take quite a lot of work to make it work.

          • Koen Cambré

            Seeing how the general reaction is to the sylvaneth models, I’m pretty sure that more people actually like the models rather than hate them…

            Mind you, I’m not quite sure what exactly you think is rotten at the core of the AoS concept. The rules are very simple and straight forward. Balance was an issue but hopefully this new general’s handbook can adress that somewhat. And they seem to be making small adjustments to make gameplay deeper as you go along.

            Coming from 40k, I’m actually quite pleased that they came up with a game system where every model can actually make a contribution and damage other models. It’s actually refreshing after the exaggerated “rock paper siscor” gameplay of 40k.

      • DeathBy SnuSnu

        This is the rationale you hear from folks that are willing to pay the GW tax. As a war gamer I look at GW’s figures post their switch to CAD and all I see is massive, overblown pieces that are totally impractical to transport, let along play war games with. Watching 40k these days at tournaments is watching people take the minimal troop figures required, and then taking a bunch of single figures mounted on dinner plates and trying to push them around terrain without damaging them. I can’t comment on AOS as a war game because hardly anybody in my local market plays it. There’s more WHFB still going at tournaments than AOS.
        Regardless of cost, these highly detailed figures also make it very difficult for entry level gamers who may lack the modelling skills required to build and paint these ‘collector’ figures. The 16 year old lads that used to be their core market. GW’s ‘collector’ idea does have an appeal to the elite that can afford it and model those figures, but it seems like a self limiting market to be in as the detail and cost of each figure spirals slowly upwads.

        • ZeeLobby

          and the reason for that upward spiral is loss of customers. They’ve decided they can make a single sale to a GW fanboy for $100, instead of having to make 4 sales to gamers for $25 each. Problem is that only lasts for so long, as those fanboys eventually want to find people to play the game with.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        I am happy to buy some GW products. I have about 20,000 points of painted CSM, Iron Hands, Chaos Daemons and Renegade Guard. I’m a pretty big time collector. But that said there are issues of a) the total expense of a playable army and b) the perceived value of one purchase over another.

        Seems to me AoS as a new system has to jump through more hoops before I choose to buy into it than just expanding a collection I already have, which is both less expensive and less of a gamble. AoS simply doesn’t tick enough boxes, and one big reason for that is price and perceived value. I could collect an army for every major Bolt Action faction for the cost of a Sylvaneth army.

    • Admiral Raptor

      I feel you on that, I don’t think any single miniature is worth more than $100 unless it’s the size of a child. Superfluous detail for the sake of detail doesn’t add value in my mind.

    • DeathBy SnuSnu

      Stick with Bolt Action, it’s a better system. Instead of buying a single large figure from GW, buy yourself another 1000pt Bolt Action army. It’ll see more use. Locally we’re currently using our WHFB armies to play Kings of War and the smaller Dragon Rampant system.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        ahah, I haven’t tried Dragon Rampant, how is it?

        • DeathBy SnuSnu

          I’ve only played a handful of games myself. It’s a very streamlined, very flexible rule-set with a pretty low figure count required. It’s not really massed battle like WHFB or KoW, but your figures are meant to represent a smaller force, like a lord and his retinue. WHFB figures work nicely for it, I have a half painted Orc/Gobbo army that converts into a fully painted DR force. Foot units are typically 12 figures (to equate to their 12 ‘strength points’), while cavalry are usually 6. However the system is totally flexible so you can have an Elite Foot Leader figure as a single figure. A 24 point army (the recommended starting point) equates roughly to 5 units or so. You can bang out a game in 90 minutes. It captures a reasonable amount of the old WHFB play of manuever to advantage because some units are better on attack/defense etc. You can model pretty much any WHFB force using the flexible army + fantasy options. For example in my Orc DR force, I’m fielding a WHFB Giant as a single figure ‘greater warbeast’ with 6 str points, while also fielding two Orc chariots as ‘heavy cavalry’.

          DR shines if you’re too lazy to paint a massed force of hundreds of figures for WHFB or KoW, but still want an evening of fantasy war gaming. Thoroughly enjoying it myself and the rules are super cheap from Osprey.

    • Because I enjoy collecting, painting, and playing, I don’t mind the prices so much. I get a lot of value. To each his own, naturally, and I would like to have cheaper minis. But I understand how it works. Now, if I were the kind of person who only enjoyed a single aspect of the game, it would seem a lot more expensive to me.

  • Nameless

    But where does the water go? All three rivers flow into Vastclaw Valley and none flow out, surely that water has to go somewhere? Also Vastclaw because it looks like/is a vast paw print, clever… no wait the other one.

    • Aezeal

      Trees use lots of water.. it’s all comsumed.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      or maybe it goes underground and flows out to sea that way. Lots of disappearing rivers in the real world.

      • SupPupPup

        The whole thing might be a floating island (like the smaller ones in the picture) with the water flowing down through the cracks of an impossibly large pool and out into the void.

        The silliness of the setting allows for pretty out there ideas, which can be a bit more interesting than OldWorld v024.

        • Nameless

          I did actually consider that the water was leaking out of the bottom of the plane, however the problem here becomes that the water is not retained.

          As most high schoolers can tell you, water moves in a cycle, evaporating and forming clouds -> raining and forming rivers ->flowing into the sea before evaporating again. It is never destroyed, lost or remade.

          If the water leaks off the plane then new water would have to be created at a constant rate, and whilst this is possible in a setting with magic and “out there ideas” if the setting never addresses or answers this then it remains a plot hole in the setting.

          bear in mind that this is not the first example of a lack of understanding of basic principles. The realm of fire existed without any plant life, and a heavy implication that cannibalism was the only means of sustenance -> contrary to any food pyramid ever drawn.

          Now I am not advocating that the setting should be devoid of anything strange, unusual or mind boggling. but I am suggesting that Games workshop cares as much about world building as they do high school science.

          • SupPupPup

            Science only applies to our world. This is a reality with wings made of light, immortal space lizards that can think whole armies into existence and Tzeentch. Its no more strange than the MTG universe.

            It might be too implausible to you, because we all have our own limits on how far you can suspend your disbelief. For me, its fine.

            Its basically a reality with magic and gods, pretty much anything can happen.

            In most cases however I think the most prudent answer could be ‘no one knows’… The ambiguity of these weird scenarios can create ideas for models and armies. We have just created several, that could all lead to fantastic battleplans. A plummeting naval battle on a waterfall being sucked into a void would be particularly interesting.

            How do the cannibals constantly fight and eat each other in a realm of fire? Who knows, but Khorne probably has something to do with it. His realm gets conjured up quite a few times in the books. Some of the dreadholds exist partially in his realm with forges and functioning hellcities.

            While we are at it. How is there a place that constantly rains zombies? Does that obey the water cycle, what do the zombies think about this? Should I bring an umbrella?

          • Nameless

            Okay a few quick notes before I go into a deeper explanation. firstly I have no problem with magic, suspension of disbelieve or things that seem implausible, where something is show to work in a fantastical way. mythical beasts with no logical anatomy: sure. warping reality with a thought: not a problem.

            On odd notes I very nearly cited Magic the Gathering as an example of how to do a better job worldbuilding

            Several years back they released a set called Shards of Alara, the principle idea for the setting was that the plane had fragmented into 5 shards, each missing 2 of the 5 colours of mana and therefore that colour’s aspect. Each shard was built up from the basics, what would life be like without decay or order? how could life survive without nature or peace? and the end result was five piece of a setting that is internally consistent but also each with a unique feel.

            A good adage is ‘show, don’t tell’ and in Alara we see what the answers to these questions are, In a lot of Doctor Who we are told how things work but rarely get to see how they fit together. however in Age of Sigmar we neither see, nor are told how these impossible things happen. As you say the answer in many cases is “no one knows” or as I would put it. “We haven’t made that bit up yet.” or “we don’t care buy our models.”

            and yes it is always wise to carry an umbrella, the weather can be a fickle thing.

          • ZeeLobby

            But bubbles?! Doesn’t that explain it all. They’ve basically created a universe where they don’t really have to design or explain anything because… magic!

    • Malisteen

      There are places in the real world where rivers or streams seem to disappear, or empty into a body of water with no apparent exit. In general, they continue through underground channels to reappear elsewhere before emptying into a larger body of water.

  • benn grimm

    Lovely models, completely lacking in subtlety or depth. Not sure id call it a triumph of anything, cept maybe style over substance.

  • Erik Brun

    Alarielle’s thighs are amazing

    • professorkylan

      Should we start calling her Chun Li-af?

  • blackbloodshaman

    Please post our content BoLS its the only way anyone will ever see it

  • Huntard

    It wrong I like the art for the Tree Revenants way more than the models? The elf part looks too offset from the tree part, making it kind of look like an elf torso is falling or wobbling out of the tree parts. I feel like I would have to cut in a bit to the tree and use some green stuff for a better transition between them or something, anything to make the model match the amazing art a little better.