Warhammer Age of Sigmar Flesh-eater Courts Army Set
review by Sergio Almonte
Are there any truer scions of that rare chivalrous breed than the Summerking? Upon his ermine coattails ride resplendent multitudes, his dreamlike daughters and steadfast sons commanded to strike out upon the War of Red Errantry and cleanse those dark places where his enemies may hide. And should our gilded blades and iron wrought lances fail to convince those dastardly villains of their misdeeds…
Then the dinner table is always open.
Hark! You stand in the presence of royalty! It is courteous to bow. Or continue to read, should you join us at the feast. In this review, I, the honorable Ghoul King Sergio, seek to pry open the flesh of bloody delusions contained within the Flesh-Eater Courts Army Set! We will continue the honorable work of Sumeros Summerking by exploring the contents of this army box, including the models, battletome and accessories inside, as well as provide a primer for the lore and gameplay style of the Flesh-Eater Courts! Without further ado, let us begin!
This Army Box contains…
Battletome: Flesh-Eater Courts (Exclusive cover)
1x Abhorrant Gorewarden
1x Varghulf Courtier
3x Morbheg Knights
Flesh-Eater Courts Warscroll Cards (exclusive to the army box)
Ability Cards and Tokens (exclusive to the army box)
This grisly collection is suitable for any and all players who seek to start a Flesh-Eater Courts army, with a strong selection of core units fit for any playstyle one may consider for their forces, as well as a rewarding menagerie of textures and details for an enterprising painter willing to challenge themselves. The exclusive warscroll cards allow for quick and easy referencing of rules and abilities on the fly, while the various ability cards and tokens included can be used to track any active spells, buffs and modifiers affecting your units. But to truly understand the gallant nature of the Court, one must carve their way deep into…
To best explain the origin of the Flesh-Eater Courts, and their macabre delusions of grandeur, we first seek to explain the progenitor of their madness; Ushoran, the Mortarch of Delusion. Thankfully, the Flesh-Eater Courts Battletome included within the Army Set expands on this monolithic figure, as well as the machinations of his court and the growing threat of the Flesh-Eater Courts against the Dawnbringer Crusades.
Raised from death by the Nagash, the Supreme Lord of the Undead, Ushoran was said to be the finest blade among the Mortarchs, and with just a touch could banish ailments and sickness from the poor and feeble. Beloved by the populace of those lands he brought under the thumb of the God of Death, it was common for peasants and peons to prostrate themselves before him, tossing graverose petals upon his path in an act of supreme devotion. Of course, all good things must come to an end, especially where Nagash is concerned, and so the Great Necromancer commanded Ushoran to investigate a mysterious disturbance on the edge of the realm of Death. Though framed as a gallant quest for Ushoran the Bold to undertake, it smells greatly of a convenient “reassignment” to ensure that, with his absence, Nagash could bring those kingdoms loyal to Ushoran under his complete control. However, Nagash had not accounted for the idea that Ushoran would come back… changed.
Whatever the Mortarch saw at the edge of Shyish, whether an infectious madness conjured up by the winds of pure magic that blow across the void between realms, an ancient godbeast of unimaginable power, or evidence of Nagash’s coming betrayal of Sigmar and the Pantheon of Order, Ushoran returned with a newfound fire in his heart, demanding the downfall of Nagash and the desecration of his sites of worship. Indeed, it appears that Ushoran’s hunger had increased in proportion to his rebellious fervor. Once a vampire famed for his ability to forgo the consumption of blood for weeks at a time, now the Mortarch was devouring the corpses of those he waylaid, gorging upon carrion until he swelled with monstrous power and could no longer hide his demented visage under a veil of deceit and delusion. It took the combined efforts of the other Mortarchs to subdue Ushoran, the Sombre Paladin brought to Nagash on his knees. The punishment devised for Ushoran to reward him for his rebellion was uniquely cruel, even for the standards of Nagash. Known as the Shroudcage, this prison had the souls of infamous madmen sutured into its walls, each one continually berating Ushoran for his failures and repeating his own lies back to him, driving the Mortarch to complete insanity.
However, imprisonment would not remain the true fate of the Mortarch of Delusion, as during the Age of Chaos, after Nagash incurred the wrath of Sigmar by stabbing the forces of order in the back, Sigmar rampaged through the realm of Shyish, seeking to bring Nagash low even as the realms were being devoured by Chaos and its endless hordes. Targeting the God of Death’s most prized creations upon his warpath, Sigmar broke open the Shroudcage, inadvertently freeing Ushoran and leaving him to crawl into the shadows of the realms, where the Mortarch remained for decades following the dawn of the Age of Sigmar and the excoriation of Chaos from those realms subjugated by their rule. It is with this knowledge that we can understand the modern inception of the Flesh-Eater Courts, as those vampiric dynasties sired by Ushoran followed him into madness, creating an infectious, magical delusion that cast themselves as gallant heroes and courageous knights of the realm, as opposed to their true nature as flesh-eating cannibals gurgling barely intelligible commands to their legions of similarly deranged followers, each of them forever hungering for the flesh of the living.
Ushoran, in all of his resplendent glory.
Note the fine ermine covering his back, and the soft, luxurious silks he wears with such lionhearted grace that his enemies are brought to tears at the sight of his majesty. One could hardly ignore his crown of fine bone, the mark of office gifted to him by Nagash himself, or the gemstone embedded into its crest.
May the beneficent Summerking reign forevermore.
As befits his status as the Summerking, Ushoran has now established court in Ghyran, the realm of life, high enough in the mountains that few truly know of his existence. However, a rapidly swelling throng of cannibals is sure to draw some attention, and indeed his travel to Ghyran has caught the eye of a fellow deathlord, Neferata, the Mortarch of Blood. Seeking to contain the influence of Ushoran’s infectious madness, Neferata implanted one of her most trusted emissaries within his court, as well as commanding the Ossiarch Bonereapers to construct a massive wall of bone around New Summercourt. Despite her best efforts, cracks have begun to appear within the wall, each new break carved into its surface allowing for more and more desperate refugees to flock to Ushoran’s kingdom, to either be subsumed by his madness or consumed themselves upon the wet stone of his gore-stricken feasting halls. The situation is at a breaking point, and all it would take to unleash Ushoran’s insanity would be one more disturbance, one more crack in that great ivory barricade… the very same barricade that the Dawnbringer Crusades have begun to destroy in their ceaseless march into Ghyran…
It is little surprise that the models contained within the Army Set are fantastic, each of them positively oozing fine detail and rich opportunities for painting. A clear distinction is created between the vampiric nobility, their deathless grace now warped to transmogrify them into Ghoul Kings and Courtiers, and the peasantry, their gangly limbs and hunchbacked posture marking them as foul cannibalistic ghouls.
The Abhorrant Gorewarden is the most outwardly vampiric of the models contained within the Army Set, their large wings and batlike ears offering opportunities to inject stark bursts of color within an otherwise morose palette of sickly greens, pale browns and desiccated yellows. The small amount of jewelry dangling off of their limbs can be coated in pale golds and bronzes to contrast against whatever skintone one chooses, while the ivory sunburst covering their neck is sure to draw attention to the snarling visage of the Gorewarden.
The Varghulf Courtier is markedly different from the rest of the Flesh-Eater Courts, as its monstrous size and unnaturally elongated limbs gives it the stride more fit for a beast than anything that used to be a human. The Courtier’s gnashing mouth is the perfect place to add blood effects or hanging beads of drool, while its body can be decorated with combat wounds to contrast the mass of matted fur hanging off of its back.
The Morbheg Knights, of which the Army Set contains three, are a perfect opportunity to diversify the dominant hues within one’s paint scheme, as the batlike mount upon which the knights ride can easily be painted in contrasting blacks, browns, reds and whites to draw the eye to focal points on the model.
The Cryptguard, of which the Army Box contains twenty, can be modeled using either shortswords or rusted halberds. Viewed within the delusion as courageous serfs and peasants offered a weapon from their lord’s armory, the Cryptguard are the perfect model to begin assembling and painting within the box, their sculpts allowing for the emphasis of fine details, such as the bone ornaments worn as fashion accessories, among the canvas of bleached, half-dead skin and coarse tufts of fur.
Considered as a deep sampling of the various designs and aesthetics present within the Flesh-Eater Courts, the models offered within the Army Set are positively ripe, each one playing out a different skew of the faction in an interesting and unique way. Such incredible models deserve their due on the tabletop, allowing us to move onto…
Do you enjoy drowning your opponents in attacks? How about reviving slain units with the sumptuous ease of a king issuing a proclamation? An army wide ward save? Priests in Grand Alliance: Death? If any of these things appeal to you, then Flesh-Eater Courts are the faction for you!
The special rules for the Flesh-Eaters revolve around choosing to save or spend Noble Deed Points, gained through dealing wounds in combat with a hero, or having that same hero successfully cast a spell or chant a prayer. One can only have up to six Noble Deed points at a time on any Hero unit. Keeping your Noble Deed points at the maximum will provide an extra attack to any Flesh-Eater Courts unit within 12” of your hero, but they can also be spent to either return slain models to a unit or revive a destroyed unit, depending on if the Hero is a Abhorrant or a Courtier model. Balancing this resource is key to success, but it isn't the only trick the Courts have up their sleeve. After it is determined which player is going first, but before you generate command points, the Flesh-Eater Courts can select an ability from their Courts of Delusion, an army-wide buff that can boost your save on objectives, give you bonuses to charge, hit or wound, or allow you to activate your extra attack aura with only 4 Noble Deed points. Now that’s grisly.
The units within the Army Set establish the core of any Flesh-Eaters list, with a strong focus on versatility and movement. Your Gorewarden acts as a fast moving spellcaster who can dive into melee and revive destroyed units with his Summon Loyal Subjects ability. The Varghulf Courtier can completely annihilate the enemy’s battleline units, as he gains additional attacks when in combat with infantry units, while the Morbheg Knights serve as your primary damage dealers, with a powerful set of abilities that allow them to ignore enemy fire, retreat and charge, and even deal damage when they charge into an enemy unit! The Cryptguard serve as your surprisingly sturdy infantry option, with a bonus to ward saves made by any friendly Heroes within 3” of the unit.
As an introduction to the lore, hobbying and playstyle of the Flesh-Eater Courts, there is no better bundle than the Army Set, as it contains everything one needs to join the War of Red Errantry at a discounted price compared to purchasing everything individually. However, fret not if the Army Set is unavailable, as everything contained within, as well as a variety of additional accessories and models (including Ushoran himself!) will be available separately in store.
I leave you, proud scions of the Summerking, with an invitation to the upcoming feast. I implore you to partake, lest you become the main course…
The Warhammer Age of Sigmar Flesh-eater Courts Army Set is available now from our webstore.