Fury of the Deep is coming and the Auric Flamekeeper is arriving with a lot of sizzle but no steak behind it.
Games Workshop showed off part of the rules for the Auric Flamekeeper and, while there are some interesting options, it’s just not that exciting. But before we start our rant let’s take a look at the rule first.
Auric Flamekeeper Rules
How this works is that when 5 friendly models die within 12″ of the Flamekeeper you can activate one of the 4 buffs on another friendly unit wholly within 12″. The buffs are actually not too bad.
- Grimnir’s Grit: 6+ Ward save
- Grimnir’s Wrath: fight after lethal damage but before it’s removed
- Grimnir’s Resolve: immediately attempt a charge
- Grimnir’s Vengeance: +1 Damage to melee weapons
The 6+ ward is…only a 6+ ward. Not great but you might get lucky. Fighting after dying can be useful if you know the unit is going to get smashed. The two that I really like are the extra damage and the charging during the fight phase one. That bypasses Unleash Hell and can surprise your opponent with a new threat they weren’t planning on.
So what’s the problem? My main issue with these rules is how you trigger the ability. It requires that models in your army get slain so to build up enough charges so you can then activate the ability. The Fyreslayers are all about noble sacrifice and stuff but this mechanic seems a little…punishing to activate. You also have to track it with a D6 next to the model which a lot of folks might get confused for a wound counter — but that’s a different issue.
Personally, I would have liked to see this work more like a prayer where it was just a flat roll. Maybe it starts at a 5 and gets easier when models die near it. This would be the same basic mechanic with the main difference being you can still attempt to use it instead of waiting for at least 5 friendly models to die first.
The Stacking Game
My other issue with this ability is the question of stacking the buffs. A unit can only be affected by an order/command ability once per phase. And you also cannot use the same prayer more than once per phase either. But this is neither an order, command ability, or prayer. If you do have more than one Auric Flamekeeper on the tabletop can you use this ability to stack the various buffs on a single unit? Or the same buff on the same target unit? I don’t think you can but I’d like to get a closer look at the whole warscroll first.
On the other hand, there’s nothing preventing multiple Flamekeepers getting the “fuel” from the same model deaths. Maybe there will be an FAQ stating that only one Flamekeeper within 12″ can increase their tracking dice per model death. But, right now, there’s nothing preventing multiple Flamekeepers from increasing their die if a single model dies within range of them. Imagine one Fyreslayer model dies and 3 Flamekeepers increase their die…I don’t know if it’s supposed to work like that.
At the end of the day, it’s a new model with new rules and I’ve got questions and I’m not sold on the mechanic as presented either. It all just feels off. The idea is almost there but it’s just not quite fully baked yet.
That’s part of the problem with these unit previews and not seeing all the rules to go with them. You never know what exactly you’re missing from the equation and if there’s some other key part that’s being held back. For now, we’re going with what we’ve seen and so far it’s all sizzle and no steak.
What do you think of the Auric Flamekeeper and his new rule?