Eldritch Omens Review – Ominous Indeed

Upon the announcement of the Eldritch Omens box for Warhammer 40,000, my excitement was positively palpable. As a long-time Chaos Space Marine player, I’ve waited ever so patiently for the impending new rules and miniatures that would usher the faction into 9th edition 40k. However, whilst the Eldritch Omens box emerges with some wisps of light around it, it’s hard to deny some of the more malign portents that emerge alongside this box.

Doomed Warriors

The highlight of the box is easily the new miniatures within. 16 miniatures, 15 of which are brand new. Eldar players have waited ever so patiently for their time in the spotlight and I’m elated to say that the light shines dazzlingly upon them. The Eldar models in the box include:

  • Autarch – The new Eldar HQ kit that has a surprising amount of versatility to it. Likely my favourite Eldar model of the box, purely due to the options available for it.
  • Rangers – Another new kit for an existing unit that was in dire need of an upgrade.
  • Shroud Runners – Jetbike-riding snipers? Sounds pretty badass to me. No alternate weapon loadouts for these guys.
Warhammer 40,000 – where your most valuable target either has the biggest helmet or no helmet at all.

The new Chaos models stomp onto the scene with enough warped power armour to shake a power stave at. Within the box are:

  • Warpsmirth – One of the fiddliest and most brittle finecast models finally gets a plastic release. Hopefully snapped mechadendrites are now a thing of the past!
  • Chosen – For the first time (to my knowledge) the elite foot-sloggers of Chaos Space Marines have a multi-part plastic kit, with a strong number of options across all five models.
  • Forgefiend – The runt of the litter (in some regards, definitely not in size) this is the only existing kit to be included in the box. It’s a wonderful model that can also be built as a Maulerfiend.
Just some Chaos Marines taking their pet pooch for a walk…

Whilst the Chaos kits come with more customisation, the Eldar kits are the stars of the show here simply due to how long the range has needed these updates. We’ve already seen some of the other models that will come alongside the full release. It certainly seems like Games Workshop aren’t doing the Aeldari any injustice here.

Miniature Crusade

Alongside the new models, there are unsurprisingly rules on using them. There are rules for using these models across two specific missions designed for the box. The missions aren’t particularly noteworthy and also don’t seem particularly balanced considering the two armies. There is little that the Eldar can do against the Forgefield unless the Autarch is armed with particular loadouts.

Inversely, the Chaos Space Marines Chosen are still only one wound in this box. This means that they will fold like paper against the long-ranged weapons of the Eldar. The Ranger Long Rifles vastly outrange the Chosen ranged weapons and so the Heretic Astartes will be taken out quickly. The Forgefiend will then inevitably take out the Eldar Rangers and Shroud Runners, leaving the Autarch to take on the Warpsmith and Forgefiend. It’s difficult to imagine battles ending any way that doesn’t consistently involve a Forgefiend meandering around the battlefield alone and with smoking barrels.

Each of the Chaos Chosen models looks like a Chaos Lord in their own right!

If this box had shipped with an amount of sight-blocking terrain of some sort, I’d be a bit more “on-board” with it. Whilst there are some curious “Goliath Down” rules and ruses to help balance the two armies, inevitably I don’t feel that these will be particularly fun fights in most situations. Although, I’ve been wrong before and would be happy to be so in this case…

Fear is the Hype Killer

The content of the box isn’t what is perturbing me. The models are all fantastic, even including the old Forgefiend. The mission rules aren’t hugely enthralling but there’s plenty here to play right out of the box. What is most upsetting to me about this box is, well, the overall scheduling, the factors of its release and the supposed cost.

This box comes with fresh Eldar models as their codex looms, likely a couple of weeks away at most. Superb news – good for them! The Chaos Space Marines, however, look to not be getting their codex for some time yet. This is reflected in their rules within the box, namely them still only having 1 Wound per Chosen. Why is it that the Heretic Astartes now the only space marine faction to still be lingering in 1W territory?

Even more bizarre is that Games Workshop has even confirmed that the next codex is going to be the Tyranid codex. Thus, why not have it be an Eldar versus Tyranid box? I’d certainly say that the Tyranid range is more in need of a visit than the Chaos Space Marine range. This just feels like some bizarre stop-gap for Chaos players. A stop-gap that feels poorly thought out and somewhat nonsensical. This is such a shame, since the new Chosen models are great – but the rules really let them down.

Something gribbly this way comes…

Worse yet, sources have claimed that the box will be coming out at £125 RRP. You’re still making a saving here costing up all the miniatures within the box, of course. However, considering the small model count, it feels like an eye-watering price. If you compare this to the Kill Team: Octarius box that contained 23 miniatures as well as an entire battlefield of sizeable terrain, it’s just such a stark drop in content for the same price.

Whilst the models in the Eldritch Omens box are wonderful to behold, the box has little else going for it. The timing of its release is bizarre, the choice of armies feels disjointed and the price is wildly inconsistent compared to recent Games Workshop releases. If this is the trend from Games Workshop moving forward, then Eldritch Omens paints a sinister picture indeed.

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Note – Games Workshop supplied us with a copy of the Eldritch Omens for this review content.

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