Arks of Omen Vashtorr Review and Wrath Of The Soul Forge King Unboxing – Warhammer 40k
Vashtorr The Arkifane. Master of the Soul Forges. Demigod of technology, invention and artifice.
He goes by many names, and is an entity of untold age, but he desires one thing above all else – to ascend to godhood and take his place alongside the 4 great powers of Chaos. With the forging of The Key and the assistance of Abaddon The Despoiler, Vashtorr believes he can offer up a weapon of unfathomable power to The Warmaster and finally become a Chaos God. In Arks of Omen Vashtorr, up for pre order today, we learn about Vashtorr’s mission to recover the final piece of The Key from the very heart of The Rock and his assault against the Dark Angels in order to find it. Alongside the Arks of Omen Vashtorr book, this week also sees Wrath of the Soul Forge King go up for pre order allowing you to recreate battles inside The Rock, also being the first place to pick up the new models for Vashtorr and Azreal.
In this review and unboxing we will be taking a look at the contents of the new battle box, checking out the sprues and rules and building up and painting the Chaos side of the box. We’ll also be taking a deep dive into Arks of Omen Vashtorr, checking out what gaming content is in the book and at the end of the review we will be delving into spoiler territory as we deduce what exactly Vashtorr is after…
Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us free review copies of Arks of Omen Vashtorr and Wrath of the Soul Forge King. If you would like to support the site then why not order your copy through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself some cash too?
We also have done a full video unboxing of Wrath of the Soul Forge King, which you can see just below or over on YouTube
So let us take a peek into the web that Vashtorr has been building and see if we can uncover what his plans are…
Wrath of the Soul Forge King Unboxing
Before we dig into Arks of Omen Vashtorr, let’s first have a look at the Wrath of the Soul Forge King battlebox!
Inside we get a small Chaos force based around the new Vashtorr model and a Dark Angels force themed around the new plastic Azreal.
For the Chaos side we get Vashtorr himself, who is absolutely gorgeous and a joy to paint up. What’s cool about Vashtorr is that you can leave his optional armour plates off if you want him to look a little more daemonic. He’s also a pretty big kit too! Alongside him are a set of Cultists and the frame that contains Obliterators and a Venomcrawler from the old Shadowspear box. I’m hoping that this is a sign that when Vashtorr gets his own faction (Which I’m sure will come at some point following 10th edition)
This puts the Chaos side of the box at a value of £75 before we add Vashtorr (Who I’m going to put at around £35 optimistically) for a total value of £110 – not bad considering the box costs £130 and you get a stack of Dark Angels in there too!
Speaking of Dark Angels, in the box you get the new plastic Azrael, 5 Deathwing Knights, 10 Intercessors and 2 Dark Angel upgrade frames.
This works out at £85 plus Azrael who I suspect will be £27.50 when released seperately for a total value of £112.50 for the Dark Angel half, so a total value in the box of £222.50, saving you around £90 on the separate contents, and you get Azrael and Vashtorr a little early too. As ever this does depend on you wanting both sides of the box, but bargains can be had here if you split a box!
These are the full sets, so full instructions and transfers are included, meaning you can build the Deathwing as Knights or a Command Squad for example.
Also included is the Wrath of the Soul Force King supplement which contains lore about Vashtorr’s assault on The Rock (Which we will explore when we talk about Arks of Omen Vashtorr further down) but also the rules for all the models in the box. Sadly there’s no campaign here to fight through, which is a shame – but Arks of Omen Vashtorr does contain a Boarding Actions campaign retelling the story through games.
Azrael is very similar to his previous incarnation. He has just gone through the Rubicon Primaris, which has lent him an extra wound and an extra attack. His Sword of Secrets now hits harder too, striking at Strength +3 and damage 3 making him excellent at taking out characters or elite bodyguard units single handed!
He still has all his old tricks too such as giving nearby units a 4+ Invulnerable Save against ranged attacks, and getting 2 additional Command Points.
Vashtorr himself on the other hand is an odd one. Despite not really being part of the Chaos Space Marines, he has the Heretic Astartes and Traitoris Astartes keywords, making him more at home in a CSM army. He does have the Agent of Chaos keyword allowing him to be taken in any Chaos army without affecting your army rules, but I have a feeling that this is a place holder profile for him until he has an army to go with him. This would be possible with just a handful of kits, as they could easily have the various Daemon Engine and Soul Forge created units such as Obliterators and Venomcrawlers be part of his unique faction (This also leaves the door open for new multipart kits coming out for both of these units alongside him if and when a book is released) alongside some of the more weird and wacky stuff that we see illustrations of within the book – unfortunately I can’t include any images of the Arks of Omen Vashtorr book here, but there are multiple examples of artwork that look like they depict a new daemonic unit fused with machines – such as a creature that moves on a giant wheel, has a lance for an arm and a havok launcher for a head, or a flying unit with smoke stacks on its back and a chainsaw for an arm, or even something that looks greater daemon sized with mechanical spider legs, and an arm holding a sword above its head – I think it might be a new interpretation of a soul grinder, but with more technohorror vibes!
His hammer is cool, if a little light on AP, having 7 attacks at S14, AP2 and damage 3 – but the best thing about his hammer is its ability to deal 4 mortal wounds on each wound roll of 5+ when attacking vehicles, get lucky and this guy could do up to 28 mortal wounds to a vehicle.
He also gets to choose one of three abilities to trigger – give a Daemon Engine within 3″ +1 to hit, half a targets weapon range or half the move and attacks of a vehicle. These are really cool abilities, but the last two are impacted a little by having an 18″ range, meaning that to reduce weapon range he is going to have to put himself in potential range of being harmed himself, though he does have a 4+ Invulnerable save and reduces damage by 1 to mitigate this a little. Over on Warhammer Community there are also rules to put together a Daemon Engine flavored Vashtor themed faction, which seems pretty fun to use.
Arks of Omen Vashtorr Review
So we come to the main event, Arks of Omen Vashtorr! Like the Broken Realms series for Age of Sigmar before it, I’ve been a massive fan of the Arks of Omen series. Games Workshop have absolutely nailed it with these edition bridging story series, and Arks of Omen in my opinion has been some of the most fun 40k lore we have seen in a long time. In addition to containing new lore, the books have also introduced and expanded the Boarding Actions game mode, which allows players to enact small scale fights onboard spacecraft. Again, this has been a really fun addition to the game and a refreshing breath of fresh air as we get to the end of 9th edition.
So what’s happened so far? Well Vashtorr The Arkifane has offered a deal with Abaddon to try and fulfill their own individual goals. Vashtorr is a demigod of technology and invention and wants to ascend to godhood to take his place among the Chaos pantheon as a true Chaos God, while Abaddon wants to finally have his vengeance upon the Imperium and bring it to it’s knees. Vashtorr believes that by constructing something known as “The Key” it will unlock a weapon that will allow both parties to fulfill their goals. The Key has been separated into a number of different artifacts and relics that are scattered across the galaxy. In order to gather them, Vashtorr has created something known as the Arks of Omen – gigantic spaceships created by fusing daemons to spacehulks in order to create a fleet that can be used to far outgun anything the Imperium can send against it. These craft have been sent out into the void to rather and recover these fragments and relics.
As we start the book Abaddon and Vashtorr have 2 of the major fragments needed, and with just one more piece they will be able to forge their key. Vashtorr knows where the final fragment is, however it’s not going to be easy to get to as it is located within The Rock, the remains of the Dark Angels home world turned into a spacecraft and repository of all the Chapter’s secrets.
Now, this book is the mid point of the series and so I don’t want to go too far into spoilers without giving people a chance to avoid them – So I’m going to discuss the plot at the very end of this post, so that people who want to read this for themselves can do so, and those who want to be spoiled can learn all about what happens!
Regardless of spoilers though, this is an excellent story with some exciting twists and turns and I was engrossed with the story and eager to see what happens next!
Boarding Action missions are expanded further with the rules for 6 more factions – Chaos Daemons, Necrons, Tyranids, Genestealer Cults, Death Guard and the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Like with Arks of Omen Angron, these build upon the free Mustering download that can be found on Warhammer Community and adds enhancements and a page of Strategems for each of the factions.
I’m still a little torn on these, as I really liked that the original Boarding Actions rules in Arks of Omen Abaddon stripped all the Strat bloat out of the game. However, I am happy that strats have been reduced to just 6-8 per faction, making it much easier to remember what they do and make use of them during a game compared to the many found in codexes.
For me this is a book to pick up as I play 5 out of the 6 factions on show here, but your millage may vary!
Like with the previous two books we also get a new campaign and 8 more missions for Boarding Action games. This time the campaign is themed around the war on The Rock and uses components from Kill Team Shadowvaults. If you already have that expansion then you will be able to use those parts to play these missions, but the sprues are being sold separately alongside this book to allow you to add the parts to your Board Actions scenery.
There’s some really fun missions here such as a game that takes place over two separate boards, with your forces fighting over control of a teleportium that will allow you to beam your units from one board over to the other.
Ultimately, if you want the full Boarding Actions experience you are probably going to want to pick up each of these books as they are released in order to gain access to all the missions and all the army rules. While I would perhaps rather see these gathered together into a single book, I do much more prefer this to having army sub factions tied into the book.
We also get the rules for Vashtorr and Azriel printed in here too, so if you don’t have the Wrath of the Soul Forge King box but do have this box then you have everything you need in order to use these new characters.
I’ve said it on the previous books, but I really do think the Arks of Omens series is worth picking up – the story is great and Boarding Actions is loads of fun and a great addition to the game. It’s refreshing using 500 point armies and having fast paced games over a smaller environment that would fit on a dining room table, and I think this is also a great point of entry into the game for newcomers too.
So what about those spoilers? Scroll past The Arkifane for more…
Still with us? Then let’s have a quick chat about what happens within the book!
Vashtorr has manipulated things for centuries with everything leading towards his quest for godhood, and one of the things he has been involved in is getting an Abominable Intelligence into the hands of an Inquisitor who is looking for The Rock. The AI is clever enough to know that it would raise suspicion by being to good at it’s job, so it throws out the occasional sighting and prediction of The Rock, but secretly it is fully capable of tracking it’s position at all times and has been waiting for Vashtorr to complete his deal. In exchange for the AI’s information about The Rock, Vashtorr has promised to combine the AI’s essence with that of an Ark of Omen – creating a fully intelligent and conscious spacecraft who is loyal to Vashtorr. This is really cool and maybe a sign to the kind of weird stuff we will get in the future!
Once Vashtorr and his fleet arrives at The Rock things do not look great for the Dark Angels. The protective shields are swiftly brought down and battles erupt both on the surface of the Rock and deep within. Vashtorr is heading towards the very center looking to collect his final major key fragment needed to complete his plan. Now, it is never explicitly stated what exactly the key fragment is – but over the course of the story I was beginning to think that it is now a what but more a “who”. Could it be that The Lion himself is one of the fragments needed to enact Vashtorr’s plan? Sadly for Vashtorr he never gets the chance to get to the center as everyone’s favorite trouble maker Be’lakor turns up with an army to stop him from achieving his mission! An epic battle ensues and ultimately Vashtorr is forced to return to Abaddon empty handed.
Vashtorr seems to be able to shift the loss to a possible win however, the book ends with the two of them discussing the fact that it is going to be very unlikely they will be able to get back into The Rock a second time as they would not fall for the same surprise attack again, and Vashtorr has already had his once shot at stripping the shield. However, Vashtorr believes that they can draw the Key fragment to them in a desperate last ditch gambit. Abaddon very nearly says the name of the fragment but stops himself as he does not know who is listening, as Vashtorr explains that as they speak the prisoners taken by the Dark Angels after his failed assault are giving the Dark Angels the exact location of Vashtorr and Abaddon in an attempt to lure “the Key fragment” to them.
Could we see The Lion himself lead a glorious assault on the forces of Chaos after the Dark Angels feel they have a once in a lifetime chance to eliminate two major players from the forces of Chaos? From the book I very strongly feel that he is at the very least connected in some way to the Key if not a fragment himself, and that in the final book all these threads will come together and set up the 10th edition of 40k!
We still have Arks of Omen Farsight to come first however, so we have a little longer to wait until we get the full reveal.
Arks of Omen Vashtorr is up for pre order today and released Saturday 18th March
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews with a free copy for review purposes.
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