Broken Realms Kragnos Review
In the final moments of the Soul Wars and the twilight of the 2nd Edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar we have seen the realms broken over the course of 3 volumes so far. Morathi saw the a quest for godhood with unforeseen consequences, Teclis brought about the end of the Necroquake and Be’lakor changed everything with his storm of chaos spreading across the realms. We have been huge fans of this series and I have been very excited to read the final part of the Broken Realms story. That time is finally with us, as Broken Realms Kragnos is up for pre order today along with the End of Empires himself and a host of new character models across a range of factions!
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Thanks to Games Workshop we have been provided a copy of Broken Realms Kragnos to review and share out thoughts on the conclusion of this brilliant series! If you would rather watch this review than read it then you can see our YouTube video on www.youtube.com/spruesbrews or just below!
Broken Realms Kragnos Review
It’s safe to say I was more than a little excited to read this book! I had been pleasantly surprised by Broken Realms Morathi in what had been an absolutely fantastic supplement that set a high standard for Age of Sigmar publications, something that continued in quality through Teclis and Be’lakor. I hungrily read each new book, absorbing each revelation and plot twist as it happened and was fully sold on this narrative hook and way of expanding the story from the events of previous battletomes and supplements. As we draw nearer to the end of the series it was with some sadness that it would have to end, but the announcement of the 3rd edition of Age of Sigmar and the upcoming Dominion launch box left me really looking forward to seeing how things would play out in the final instalment of the Broken Realms series, Kragnos.
As with our other reviews we will be going into spoiler territory – however these will be at the very end of the review so that anyone wanting to read the book spoiler free can bail out when they get to that point!
So before we get into the story let’s take a look at all the gaming content found within the pages of the book!
In the previous 3 Broken Realms books we have seen a linked narrative campaign allowing players to fight through the events of the narrative, and Broken Realms Kragnos is no different in that respect. We again get a series of 6 linked scenarios with the outcome of missions affecting later games in the series – I really like the look of these battleplans and again we get a nice mix of different styles and scenarios, from having to destroy Skaven Gnawholes, to a tag team smackdown with gods fighting each other we get some great variety and ideas to use as the basis of your own homebrew battleplans.
As with the previous books the army selections are a little more freeform to allow different armies than those “historically” used in the battle. These are all easily adapted to allow you to use whatever forces you have within your gaming group. There is also a nice mix of different armies involved, so if your group does have multiple different armies amongst your collection you will be able to get multiple people involved in playing through the campaign. As these battleplans do not use points values, we instead see unit selections rules that allow suitably right feeling armies to be drawn together from your collection without too many limitations on what you must or cannot bring to the table.
We don’t see much in the way of new supplemental rules content here if you already have the other Broken Realms books, Streets of Death rules are reprinted here, and we also get rules for playing games within the Coast of Tusks in Ghur. As with the other Realms of Battle rules in this series they are very much suggested for Narrative and Open Play games, so may not be the most suited to Matched Play.
A lot of people wanting to pick up this book however will be most excited about the Battletome Updates within. This time we get a nice assortment of new warscrolls and updates covering a number of different factions. Represented we have Kragnos himself, The Gloomspite Gitz, Sylvaneth, Hedonites of Slaanesh, Cities of Sigmar, Seraphon, Skaven and Beasts of Chaos making this a book a large chunk of the playerbase will want to pick up.
Kragnos The End of Empires
The star attraction of the book has to be the big man himself, Kragnos the End of Empires! This new character is an absolute force of destruction and a truly impressive model to add to any destruction force (I do suspect that the destruction force in the Dominion launch box will get him as part of their army allegiance when the battletome drops too)
Stats wise he is an utter monster, with a 2+ save and 18 wounds it will take a while to chew through him. What’s more, as he takes more damage he causes mortal wounds to nearby units too – the chance of this triggering increases as he takes more damage making it dangerous to leave him on a couple of wounds remaining! This ability can also destroy nearby terrain pieces and whatever unfortunate unit is garrisoning them too!
Traditionally the best way to deal with something with a decent save is to chuck magic at it, but Kragnos has some tricks here, as he simply ignores the effects of any spell or endless spell on a 3D6 roll that beats the casting value – note that this is the value on the spell not the roll made to cast it, so with an average roll on 3D6 he should stop all spells in the game more often than not!
His attacks do not degrade much as he takes damage, and he has some decent output being able to deal as much as 45 damage a turn with his standard attacks making this guy a real threat on the tabletop
As a raging embodiment of destruction he inspires nearby Destruction units with +1 Bravery. I suspect that we may see bravery take a more important part in 3rd edition of Age of Sigmar, and giving destruction with it’s traditionally low bravery values a boost is a plus.
It turns out that Kragnos really isnt a fan of Dragons, and this is reflected in his rules allowing him to reroll charges and hit rolls while within 12″ of Stardrakes, Drakes, Dracoths or Dracolines. The Drake keyword is interesting there as currently there are no Drake models in the game – perhaps a new unit we might see for the Stormcast Eternals? I’d love to see an entire army of Dragons, but rumours suggest they are all but extinct due to Kragnos himself – but then Death isn’t always the end in the Mortal Realms.
Finally, Kragnos has an ace ability that triggers when he makes a charge move – he can do D6 mortal wounds to each enemy unit within an inch on a 2+, or if he charges a monster he can instead choose to roll 2D6. If the result of that roll is a 7 (The most likely result) then nothing happens, however on any other result you multiply the dice together and cause that many mortal wounds, so if he rolls a 2 and a 6 he would cause 12 mortal wounds, going the way up to rolling two 6’s causing 36 mortal wounds! I feel that this is one of those that wont trigger most games, but when it does it will be massive!
As amazing as he is, Kragnos is a little pricey at 760 points – however I imagine we are going to see smaller tables and generally smaller armies as we have seen in the latest edition of 40k once AOS 3 launches, and as a collector of both Ogors and Sons of Behemat I’ll be adding this god to my collection!
The Gloomspite get a couple of things in the new book, firstly the Bad Moon Loonshrine has been tweaked to allow you to return Spider Riders, Squigs or Troggoths depending on what keyword your general has, meaning you don’t get penalised for taking one of those thematic forces.
Next week see the Squig, Troggoth and Spider subfaction allegiance abilities that had previously featured in White Dwarf. I love this addition as again really rewards you for taking an army based around one of those sub factions. I’ve always been tempted to do an army of squigs, and this could well push me to finally taking the plunge!
Alarielle the Everqueen
The Everqueen has increased substantially to 740 points, however she has had some pretty decent buffs to her warscroll. Firstly her spear now has a fixed range of 24 and does flat 6 damage rather than D6 (Though this does degrade as she takes damage) – she also has less of a drop off in movement as she takes damage, still moving 12″ rather than 6″on her bottom profile.
The range and number of attacks of the Wardroth’s antlers has dropped, however they now hit on 3s and wound on 2s making them more reliable.
The Talon of Dwindling has also changed somewhat. In her new profile you now roll a dice whenever a wound is allocated to a target and not negated – on a roll of 1-5 that wound is negated, however on a roll of 6 the target is slain! So while this reduces her average damage output it does mean she does have 4 chances to get a 1 in 6 change of killing Kragnos in combat! The question you have to ask yourself is “Do I feel lucky?”
She’s also tougher to kill now that she heals 2D6 wounds every hero phase! To keep the rest of your army still fighting she also still does an area heal of D3 wounds to every unit in 30″ – and don’t worry, she still summons a unit too with the same list of options available! Ghyran’s wrath is still intact too allowing rerolls of wounds of 1 in a 14″ bubble.
Making her a little more tricksy, she has gained the ability to fall out of combat and still shoot or charge which really helps her in a pinch against getting fed chaff units.
Finally, her magic skills are improved with her now knowing the entire Lore of the Deepwood and her Metamorphosis now triggers on a 3+ rather than a 4+
This is the new hero added to the Sylvaneth and is a pretty fun character at 275 points, its a decent caster knowing all the Lore of the Deepwood spells, can cast 2 with it adding +1 if it is within 9″ of a Wyldwood. It also has a pretty good combat profile being able to put out a total of 10 damage in combat and shrugs wounds or mortal wounds on a 4+
Finally the Warsong Revenant has a +1 friendly / -1 enemy bravery bubble of 12″ which again I think will be something that may have more impact in 3rd edition.
These have had a couple of changes – firstly Models with 10 or more wounds or Sylvaneth units no longer have no visibility across them, next the Roused by Magic rule has been removed no longer making it dangerous to cast spells near a wood! To make up for this a little bit, wizards are now more likely to be affected by the Vengeful Forest Spirits rule.
Hedonites of Slaanesh
Dexcessa the Talon of Slaanesh
The first of the bouncing baby twins of Slaanesh is Dexcessa the Talon, and they are the more combat orientated of the two. They are quick with Fly and a movement of 12, and have a built in -1 to hit on them making them a little slippery.
They have a decent attack profile, and each weapon gains an extra attack at the start of each battleround after they has been in combat for the first time, finally they can issue a command once a turn without a command point being spent – I really like this unit and feel they will be useful in a Legion of the First Prince army as they are in a Slaanesh army.
Synessa the Voice of Slaanesh
The other half of the terrible toddler twosome is the magical variant Synessa. The Voice of Slaanesh shares it’s siblings -1 to hit aura and similar attack profile but has a ranged attack, you roll a dice and on compare it to the target’s save – on a 6 nothing happens, roll under it and you cause D6 mortal wounds and roll equal or over it and you cause D3 mortal wounds – feel this is really good for sniping support heroes or taking out heavily armoured elite units!
While only being able to cast a single spell a turn, they have access to every spell out of the Hedoniites of Slannesh book giving them a load of utility! Their own spell gives you +1 to hit a target unit if you can beat their bravery on a roll of 3D6. What’s more both that spell and Pavane of Slaanesh can be cast on any target the Voice can see regardless of range! Being able to cause up to 24 mortal wounds to that pesky Lumineth fox warms my cold black heart!
Cities of Sigmar
In Broken Realms Kragnos we get rules for a new City of Sigmar, Excelsis – this is based around a cool gift of prophesy mechanic where your units can gamble to get +1 to hit with a 1 in 6 chance of instead getting -1 to hit. Command abilities include being able to redeploy units, and artefacts include being able to pull a Kairos once per game and decide on the dice roll result for a hit, wound, save, run or change! Finally they get a trio of spells based around the old amber lore from Warhammer Fantasy including fan favourites such as Amber Spear and Flock of Doom!
Doralia and Galen ven Denst
I am including these both together, however these are separate units with their own points costs. The duo presumably go round saving people, hunting things, the family business etc etc, and they have some really cool rules to fit their hunting ways – both daddy and daughter get a 5+ wound or mortal wound shrug and cause double damage to Daemons and Wizards. They are also able to shoot or attack endless spells, removing it from play if they can roll over the casting value on 2D6.
Also the models are brilliant hopefully a hint towards a full Order of Azyr range at some point!
Trusty old Lord Kroak has an awesome new model and profile – he now has a massive 18 wounds to fit his impressive new model, but there is a twist – whenever he takes damage, at the end of a phase you roll 3D6 and add his wounds suffered, if the result is 20 or more he is dead, but on anything less he fully heals! Now, on average you would have to cause 8 wounds in a phase to take him out, but if the dice gods are not smiling on you he could in theory die after taking just 2 wounds! He no longer has a wound shrug either, so make sure to bring some Saurus Guard to protect him! Both his Master of Order and Gift from the Heavens are now “Supreme” and have been given buffs with him now getting +2 to cast and unbind and being able to affect D3 units with Gift from heavens! Now costs 430 points!
The Skaven get some cool new abilities in the book such as being able to hide weapon teams within units of clanrats and stormvermin, keeping them safe until you reveal them in the shooting or charge phase and they hop out!
There is also a list of mutations you can give to Hellpit abominations and Rat Ogors – some really run stuff here such as Movement 8 Rat Ogors that heal D3 wounds each turn!
The Beasts of Chaos also get some tweaked rules, Gors can now reroll charges, Warherds do impact hits on the charge and Thunderscorn now get the Raging Storm ability as a basic allegiance ability rather than needing the warscroll battalion!
Beastlords have been updated and can now run and charge, and Jabberslythes now have the chance to give enemy units +1 attack, but make them suffer mortal wounds on each hit roll of 1!
We also get new Warscroll Battalions based around the new boxes that are getting released alongside this book, however with the rumours that they may not be usable for matched play in 3rd edition then it might be only a short window in which these are playable!
Right, we are about to delve into spoiler territory – so if you want to experience the narrative for yourself then stop reading now! Still here? Excellent, then scroll past spoiler guarding Kragnos to see what goes down in the final part of the Broken Realms series!
The book opens in the Realm of Life with Alarielle trying to complete a ritual to regrow the Oak of Ages Past by using the lifeblood of fallen Sylvaneth and the enchanted song of her and her Treelord choir. Despite an ambush from the Beastmen, the spell is a success not only growing the Oak of Ages from a rotting fallen stump into the mighty tree it once was in another age. As it shoots into the sky acorns drop drop its branches which grow into Warsong Revenants upon hitting the ground – these Revenants venture out across the realm echoing Alarielle’s song. Rapidly the magic of the ritual causes a deep forest to grow radiating out around the Oak itself – Athel Loren regrown! All the former corruption of Nurgle is washed away and Alarielle’s realm becomes a glorious place of life abundant, spreading uncontrollably even reaching its roots into other realms – something that we will see later has unforeseen consequences…
We also learn of the major city of Sigmar within Ghur, Excelsis. This is a place beset with danger, constant attacks of Oruks, prior Soulblight infestation, and Tzeentian schemes. With the city being unlucky to have been affected by chaos, a religious order the Nullstone Brotherhood have taken matters into their own hands by burning suspected witches and evil doers in the street and even confiscating mirrors as they are a sign of vanity and ultimately a gateway to Slaanesh. Racial tensions are high with Aelves often targeted by the Brotherhood due to their magical nature. When the city attempts to clamp down on this however the Brotherhood become more secretive instead taking their victims in the dead of knight and imprisoning them in the vault where they keep their confiscated mirrors – with a sick point of view they want to ensure the Aelves see their crimes in these mirrors before they die. Aelves getting murdered in a room full of mirrors, that deffo wont attract the attention of a certain god, right?
The Witch Hunting ven Denst family begin to look into these crimes suspecting something else at play when they are granted a vision from the resident Seraphon based in the city of a tide of Vermin and the machinations of Newborn daemonic creatures in a room of mirrors…
They manage to warn the Stormcast of the Knights Excelsior based in the city moments before the Skaven invade via the sewers. We get an ace scene with the defenders of the city taking on the Skaven, while unknown to the people of Excelsis the twin newborn of Slaanesh has been drawn to the prize of Aelven souls trapped by the Brotherhood in order to feed their father entrapped between realms.
The next act gives us a flashback to an age long before the coming of Sigmar and the bestial tribe of Drogrukh who fought across the Ghurish Heartlands. Most impressive of this race was Kragnos, a warrior so filled with bestial wrath that the greenskins believed him to be the god of earthquakes – and when the combined energy of the greenskin races believe in something strongly enough it comes into being, granting Kragnos even more power. As his strength grew so did his arrogance until he decived to make war against the face of Dragons that once were allies of the Drogrukh. Kragnos was a force of destruction and his war brutal – Known as the End of Empires for his ultimate eradication of races, Kragnos brought the race of dragons to its knees until just a handful remained. In desperation the survivors used ancient magic to communicate with a creature from another world, the being known as Kroak. The Slaan agreed to stop Kragnos in exchange for the last remaining dragon eggs to be handed over to him (I do wonder if this is setting up the return of Dragons in the future, perhaps raised back to a mighty dragon empire by the Seraphon?) – the Draconith agree and so Kroak, a host of mage priests and Dracothion itself use their powers to trap Kragnos in a temporal trap within the heart of a mountain – imprisoning the creature for all time. Or so they hope…
Back in the present day, Alarielle’s spell has gone out of control and spread throughout the realms, reaching the prison of Kragnos the abundance of life weakens the bindings and rouses him enough to beat his way out of the mountain through sheer fury. Greenskins across the realms hear the THUD THUD THUD of Kragnos breaking out of the mountain like a war beat in their heads.
Once escaped from his prison, Kragnos attempts to find his people – however aeons have passed and they are long gone, furious he turns his attention to the city of Excelsis, standing defiant against the bestial nature of Ghur itself. On the way he turns Oruks, Gargants and Grots to his cause, impressing Gordrakk himself after getting into a duel with the Warboss – Gordrakk orders his followers to follow Kragnos as a Waagh of epic proportions heads towards the city.
Excelsis has not had a great time, and things are about to get worse when Kragnos and his army arrives headed by Mega Gargants with defensive shields and a battering ram with the skull of a godbeast! The defenders of the City are joined by Kroak, who has come to assist in person as one of the few perhaps able to restrain Kragnos once more – They manage to defend the city as well as they can, unfortunately however the might of Kragnos proves too much and he simply destroys the walls with the power of Earthquakes, allowing his combined destruction army to pour forth into the city. Meanwhile the forces of Slaanesh are growing feeding upon the Aelven souls imprisoned and making their move to take the city under the noses of the defenders as they fight in a siege.
When all seems lost, a fleet of ships led by a Black Ark approaches the city. Morathi-Khaine and her army have come to support the besieged city. Working together Morathi and Kroak manage to trick Kragnos into charging through a magic portal sending him far from the city (I guess it worked for Doctor Strange in Avengers End Game) while the Daughters of Khaine make light work of the invading army, now much less effective without their godlike leader. Meanwhile the Witch Hunters work their way into the hidden places infested with Slaanesh and with holy bullet, exorcism and stake send both of the twins back to the Realm of Chaos.
At the end of the narrative we see events related to each character we have met across the series. Be’lakor mocks the twins for failing, they are happy that the atrocities in the city have strained relationships between Human and Aelf, while Be’lakor himself is still concerned about the white bearded Duardin he encountered in the previous book and feels that Chaos is running out of time.
Teclis is musing on how things are playing out, he seems aware that he has perhaps pulled the strings leading to Alarielle attempting her ritual that ultimately led to the release of Kragnos – he feels a wild force of destruction could be the trump card they need in the war against Chaos. The spirit of Nagash taunts him and threatens his revenge. Teclis tells the essence of Nagash that he has no power over him, though Teclis isn’t actually convinced of this and the Lord of Death implies that his revenge is already in motion.
Kragnos has been teleported to a swamp far away, and creatures living there see him as a legendary god that his been recorded in pictograms for generations – presumably this is the new race from the Dominion Launch Box.
Finally we see the trial of Morathi, She is not impressed that Sigmar himself has not attended and instead left the Celestant Prime with his authority. The Prime is on the verge on sentencing her to death for her treachery when the White Bearded Dwarf interrupts proceedings advising that the Prime show clemency and spare her life as they need to work together. The Dwarf is revealed as Grungni the Great Maker, and it seems that he has stepped back out of myth in order to get the forces of Order ready for the new dangers that now face them.
So what did I think of Broken Realms Kragnos? I thought it was a satisfying conclusion to the Broken Realms series. A few things seemed a little rushed such as introducing Kragnos, then shortly after simply chucking him through a magic portal out of arms length for enough time to save the city. I’d have also liked to have seen the fracture in Order last longer, though I can’t imagine this being the end of Morathi’s scheming.
I really liked the representation of the Newborn twins and I’m interested to see what their wider role will be as Slaanesh’s proxy in the Mortal Realms. I also feel the board has been suitably reset for the new stories that will follow in the next edition of Age of Sigmar – there’s potential for lots of things here: Wood Elves/Kurnothi would tie in nicely to the regrown Athel Loren and the return of Grungni gives us hope for a “classic” dwarf army in the same way that Lumineth are reimagined High Elves. There’s also more tantalising hints of what we might see for Cities of Sigmar with the Order of Azyr and darker elements such as the Nullstone Brotherhood.
All in all I have thoroughly enjoyed the Broken Realms series, and while I feel the story of Morathi and Be’lakor are the stronger two, the 4 books have done an excellent job of closing the Soul Wars story and setting things up for Dominion and onwards! It’s going to be a long couple of weeks until we start to see glimpses of what is coming next!
Broken Realms Kragnos is up for pre order today and released Saturday 5th June
Games Workshop provided Sprues and Brews a copy of the book for review purposes.