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Why does GW hate Death Players?

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First off, I am an avid AoS player, I have been playing AoS regularly since day one. I have at least 8000 points in both Death and Skaven, have large collections of Stormcast and Nurgle and a few smaller collections. I started a local FB group to promote AoS in my area which has grown to 124 members and continues to grow at a regular pace, and I host an AoS night at the local GW every Wednesday night to promote AoS games. I love AoS, the 'new GW', I think that the new GH:2017 has done a lot of great things for the hobby & I'm very excited for the future of AoS ..... but I think that it is time to ask the hard question-

Why does GH hate Death?? At this point, the treatment GW has shown to Death players since the launch of AoS is nothing short of deplorable.

November 2017 will mark the 3 year anniversary of the start of the End Times. This was an exciting time for Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings, as they were united into one mega-army, along with the release of awesome new models - Nagash, his Mortarchs, the Morghast & an awesome replacement for the Spirit Host kit. This 3 year anniversary will be marked by the release of the Sepulchral Guard, the first new Death models since that time, and the first one in the Age of Sigmar (though its not an AoS model kit).

The Sad History of Death
9 months after the end times, AoS launched. This was an exciting time for Death players, as they were now being organized into one of the 4 main groups. There was lots of talk about how this means that there are smaller groups and no one fantasy player is going to ever have to be ignored for years again. What a wonderful idea - if only that was GW's actual plan.

The first year was great, Death was split up into arbitrary groups, but this didn't really mean anything, as people were still just playing their VC/TK lists from WHFB. A lot of the models received great rules. A lot of stuff had generic Death synergy. Some stuff was left in the dust, but there was plenty of stuff to work with. The audio books were also coming out, which told an awesome story with Stormcast and Death, filled with all kinds of new Death units, places and concepts. Hope was in the air for Death players.

Then they dropped the first major bombshell: the Tomb Kings were being completely discontinued. It's understandable that they decided not to move forward with all the old resin kits, but they could have absorbed the awesome plastic kits into Deathrattle. Instead they decided to just end everything. A lot of us thought that it was because they are about to release a brand new replacement army. Maybe this is still true, but its hard to believe when a year and a half later there is still not even a whisper.

Then the GA:Death book came out, and it was kind of silly; a Grand Alliance of 1. It outlines 8 non-armies that they have arbitrarily split Vampire Counts into in order to justify it as a "Grand Alliance". This battletome has the least content of any released, its 88 pages are predominantly filled with pictures, along with a few half pages of lore and one single battalion. The smallest battletome - not for an army, but for 8 armies.  

Most death players were holding on to hope. They are going to fill out these 9 armies with new models to make each one an actual army .. right?? 

Then the first (and last) blessing Death would receive came out; the Flesh Eater Courts. While having no new models, they cleverly moved parts around on the models to create "new" ones. So this was a model-less re-imagining - similar to the treatment that Seraphon and Clan Pestilens had received (as well as the Bonesplittaz and the Beastclaw Raiders were soon to receive). This was a hard cover book, filled with great lore  outlining two lore based battleplans, a 12 unit army and 9 battalions. While this does feel like a legitimate army,  note that the entire army is based on 4 kits; The Dragon/Tgheist, Crypt Ghouls, Crypt Horrors and (the outdated resin) Vargulf. These kits also contain two units (VLoZD, Vargheists) that aren't even in the army.

With even Clan Pestilens and Bonesplitterz having 6 kits, this makes FEC the 'legitimate' army with the least variety out of all armies in AoS (and its the largest death army to date).

Just as we were enjoying our first real army, Sylvaneth was released, pivoting AoS armies in a new direction featuring allegiance, artifacts and spell lores. This created a very exciting new direction and Death players eagerly awaited a simple FAQ or App update which would bring them up to speed. Unfortunately FEC had to wait a year and a half for their two pages of Allegiance, and even then they didn't get a spell lore. Stormcast and Khorne in contrast quickly received full book updates with deep, well thought out allegiance stuff, multiple groups of artifacts, prayers and more.

Then there was a global campaign, for making new models and playing games. Unsurprisingly, Order which had 3 brand-new armies completely dominated, while Death, having nothing new and starting to feel very outdated, came in dead last. For me, this campaign was only rubbing it in our faces the imbalances between their 'Grand Alliance' concept, further creating a gap between what par is for a GA, and how far Death was from it. 

Soon Destruction would have their day with a brand new awesome Orc army, a re-imagining of tribal Orcs and mounted Ogres, all of which would become some of the most competitive tournament armies. (Destruction has been neglected, don't get me wrong, but GW clearly doesn't hate them). 

The Generals Handbook came out and launched fantasy into a golden age, giving people the points they wanted all along, and a bit more competitive options. GW started participating in tournaments again, GW TV launched, regular YouTube videos and the 'New GW' was officially here.

Points-wise death was fine, in the same boat as everyone else. The good news was that they gave Death its own Allegiance, which was for the most part the best of them. Mixed Death had a lot to offer and would see a healthy participation in tournaments, though it would never see a high placement in any major tournament. Despite this, the nerf hammer would fall hard for Death. First they made the Ring of Immortality useless in a FAQ, basically taking it away from us (only to totally reverse their ruling a year and a half later in the GH2). Next (despite no major tournament successes) they massively increased Tomb Kings points across the board . This trend of kicking death while its down would continue - and continues to this day.

The GH: 2017
The new GH made a big change for death, lowering the point cost of its hordes and providing allegiance for its 3 most popular armies. 

Death Grand Alliance: Without really having a single reasonable army, the generic death list is going to be very popular. There are still things you can take which have overall synergy. With the Horde discounts, you can squeeze even more on the table. Unfortunately, the new GH was mostly a nerf. For the Battle Trait, you only get the same 6++ ... at a reduced 6" range. The command traits took a huge hit; instead of the 5++ at 10", you are stuck with a 6++ (half as good) from 12". Red Fury also took a huge hit since its clarified to only effect the rider, not the mount. Overall the Command Traits are not impressive - which is not uncommon - though Death really needs good traits more than most armies. Regardless, with the continuation of the 'Named Char'penalty, you miss out on your traits for taking a named char. While most armies had their chars re-invented as generic chars, death continues to have a lot of important named chars, and taking them as your general continues to penalize you. The artifacts are mostly the same, with a few notes; the Cursed Book continues to be the only one you would take, and it now affects shooting, making it the best artifact in any death allegiance. The cloak was the most useful and most popular, but now is completely nerfed to be little more than a retreat move. The Ring was fixed to work the way we were all trying to play it already. Even so, getting your general back with a couple wounds rarely is enough to turn the tide of a battle.

In addition to the massive nerf to the 6++, some of our best models got huge nerfs. Again, despite never making it to the top tables, all the 'compendium' scrolls had all their synergy removed, the Necrosphinx received a hard rule nerf AND a 40 point increase, the VL on Abyssal Terror (probably the most important scroll in mixed death) received a back-breaking point increase to where its basically priced out of the game, and several key named chars were completely discontinued. 

The Flesh Eater Courts: The inclusion of the 6++ was a nice touch, but the Feeding Frenzy and Delusions are clumsy nothingburgers for the most part. They do some good things but its really hard to pull them off in most cases. The command Traits and artifacts, however, have some nice gems. That being said, the army still desperately needs a clampack Abhorrent, a plastic Vargulf (like the one from Total War), more functioning Command Abilities and its own Spell Lore.

Nighthaunt: So they copy and pasted Stormcast allegiance and added some cute things .... its still an army of two units and two (extra weak) heroes. The heroes do very little and have only 4 wounds, Hexwraiths are almost useless and the black coach is not even worth mentioning. Its an army of Spirit Hosts, which are totally negated if you give them -1 to hit. The only reason to play the army is because of FWs insane Mourngul, which was nerfed and for 400 points, can barley do more than give enemies a -1 to hit, which ironically ruins Nighthaunt lists. This 'army' needs several new models for it even to be a small army.

Soulblight: Soulblight is not an army, its a list. Its a VLonZD with three units of blood knights which is 1320 points to start. Both of these units took a hit in the new handbook, as well as several soulblight scrolls being discontinued, and the most important key piece - the VL on Abyssal Terror - being no longer soulblight. Despite the mediocre bloodlines, this 'army' is currently in shambles, it doesn't really make sense why it even got allegiance stuff.

No. New. Models.
Being broken down into 7 armies, the #1 thing Death needs is new models. Death has yet to receive a single new model.. Even Elves got two chars in the Silver Tower, and Skaven got a new hero. This is ridiculous and its gone on for at least a year too long. Yes it takes time to plan out the models and make the molds - so that means they planned out this 3 year gap for death far in advance!!  It looks like they have decided to only make new armies, and if that is the case, you would think they would have planned out for each grand alliance to get a new army within the first year? two years? No - its going to be at least 3 years at this point before Death gets its first legitimate army, other than "hey we can stick wings on a Crypt Horror and call it a new army". 

In my two years complaining about the treatment of Death, I've heard several bad arguments regarding GW's reasons for not releasing new models for death: 

They are trying to make unique IP's, and its hard to create them for Death.
Take any one of their unique IPs, kill it ... and you have a zombie. Rip its skin off and you have a skeleton. Turn it into a cannibal and you have a Ghoul. Banshee Queen, Skeletal Dracoth ridden by the demon bats, giant skeletal beasts of ... anything you can imagine. That's just off the top of my head. The new skulls kit contains the heads of over 20 types of creatures they could simply add a body for. Undead pirates, undead daemons, undead ... anything. There are literally an endless possibility of ideas to create unique IPs for new death models, they almost come up with themselves. 

Lots of armies like Dwarfs and Elves haven't gotten new models either.
Death is not an army, its one of the 4 grand alliances. Even so, most of the old armies from WHFB are still somewhat intact. Armies like Wanderers and Dispossessed still have a lot of their old models left. Some of them, like High Elves, were split a few ways, but not 7 different ways like VC. If VC was simply transferred into one army when AoS started, things would be really good for Death. The rules for VC would have moved forward with more cohesion and all of its parts would have worked better together. As only one army it would have likely gotten more attention - instead of splitting its ideas 7 ways. When I started playing Vampire Counts 5 years ago, I didn't expect new models. Only when they broke my army down into 9 groups did I start expecting new models, because these underdeveloped groups need new models.

Death is just not popular.
When I wen't to LVO, about 1/4 of the players brought Death lists. I see a lot of interest in death locally. Maybe there is not a huge interest worldwide, but that is likely due to the lack of models and support. Ask any Death player if you should play Death and the answer will be "only if you like disappointment".  Regardless, there is enough interest to see that if they released new Death models, they would sell well.

GW's Comments about Death 

When they announced the GH:2017, they said "Commanders of Death armies in Warhammer Age of Sigmar have a lot to look forward to in the new General’s Handbook."

"Death factions benefit hugely from the new allies system"
- No not really. Most death players played a generic death list, which taking anything you want was commonplace. Now with allegiance restrictions, there is a limit on who and what you can take, and are now limited to 20% of your army.

"Excitingly, several Death factions are gaining completely new Allegiance Abilities."
- Not that exciting, as I outline above.

"One small but significant change that’s going to be great for Death armies in the new edition is Massive Regiments."
- With the big increases in many of our core units, it more evens out than gives us more models on the table, so this really didn't do anything for us.

 You failed to mention the point increases, the removal of keywords on key units, the discontinuing of several models, and the nerfing of the 5++. Not a whole lot to "look forward to".

Another big announcement was the new Skeleton models coming for Shadespire

"We know loads of you Death fans have been patient as the grave waiting for new miniatures since the Age of Sigmar began, and these guys don’t disappoint."
- First of all, these models are not for AoS. Secondly, since Stormcast and Bloodbound alone are getting two factions apiece, and since this is the only Death faction, it looks like Death is going to be getting the same treatment for Shadespire as they are in AoS.

Lastly, they announced another new model from the Nova Open:

"It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a new Death model for Warhammer Age of Sigmar. Patience is rewarded though – we hadn’t forgotten about you. Alongside this Herald of Nagash, each of the other three Grand Alliances will also be getting a powerful new hero."

A 'little while'? Is this sarcasm? We are only getting a new model because everyone is getting one, so thanks a lot.

The Start Collecting! Boxes
Death has two getting started boxes:
Start Collecting! Skeleton Horde: A Deathrattle box featuring Arkhan the Black, who does not have the Deathrattle keyword.
Start Collecting! Malignants: Malignant is not a thing, the army is Nighthaunt. the box features a Mortis Engine, which does not have the Nighthaunt keyword.

Both are start collecting broken factions boxes, which is reflective of how Death is, and continues to be in the Age of Sigmar

Shadespire has been a big part of the lore since Skirmish (which takes place in Shadespire). Now they are releasing the Shadespire card game. For those who don't know, Shadespire is a city in the realm of Death. Its a Death city filled with the dead. So they are using Death themes to carry their new releases, but they are not releasing new models. Their new Shadespire game is going to feature 100 new models, only 8 of which are new Death models. Would have been nice if they put a little bit of the effort they put into releasing 100 new models for Shadespire and 100 new models for Death Guard and Primaris into releasing just a few desperately needed models for Death players. 

How to Fix it 
The way to fix it is not to release a bunch of new Death armies. Unfortunately, that is the only way they seem to fix things in the AoS. So far there have been a few factions which were built up on old models; Sylvaneth built upon the tree spirits in Wood Elves, and Ironjaws threw in the Black Orks.

Due to the notable absence of a Deathrattle Allegiance in the GH, and the appearance of the new Sepulchral Guard skeletons, releasing a bunch of new Skeleton models and combining the existing ones into a new faction would make a lot of sense. Next, they should do the same for Nighthaunt and Soulblight. In doing so, the smartest thing to do would be to absorb Deadwalkers, Deathmages and Deathlords into the individual factions, because its unlikely they are going to create new armies for all 7 current factions (and even if they did it would be overwhelming). 

The way to fix it is NOT to leave every faction as it is and just release totally new armies that have nothing to do with the existing ones, but unfortunately this is GW's current MO.

A simpler fix would be to rewrite the Grand Alliance: Death book. organize the 7 factions down to a few less. Give each of them interesting and fun allegiance stuff, including multiple artifact lists and a unique spell lore for each &  Include major warscroll updates such as: 
- Add better command abilities for FEC
- Update scrolls to have more useful and better rules such as:  Hexwraiths, Coven Throne, Black Coach, Banshees and Wraiths, Black Knights, Mannfred and the Corpse Cart. (Just look at Total War for ideas)
- Include multiple battalions for each army
- Bring back named chars in the form of generic ones. IE, bring back Vlad Von Carstien as "Master Vampire Lord", etc. 

A a little bit of love in the form of a well constructed book could give a massive boost to Death, and massively increase model sales and the interest in Death. All it requires are some words on some pages. There are ten 40k codexes coming out before the end of the year, how about nine 40k books and one book for Death????????

Basically, I'm long past sick and tired of the neglect and mistreatment Death has received since becoming a 'Grand Alliance'. At this point they should probably issue a formal apology.



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GW is a business. Everything you suggest you do would take 2 years to develop. Everything you compare to we know took 2 years to develop. 

Its either in the pipeline and the business decided it was lower priority to other things or you are not getting anything.  We don't know. 

You are moaning about decisions to split factions that was done over 2 years ago that we know was done at a time when GW was a different company with different direction, yet still you make use read your moan. 

Really dude, I know it sucks but most of what you have written you know is already well known to them, the rest is asking for things you know they can't just give you. What was the actual purpose of this post?


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This is a very dramatic title.

Even if you've taken the time to write a bunchof your thoughts and feelings (always legitimate) it will (and has already) attract mainly the more unhelpful comments.

People will roll their eyes, other people (death fans) will agree and claim "GW killed death" and "It only takes 22 seconds to release an update for Death why haven't GW done it? I could!" and other such things.

A moderator will eventually show up.

The thread might get locked.

And in the end, it's really not more complicated than: "Of course everyone wants attention for their favourite armies and of course GW doesn't release everything quickly at once".


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I think comparing the AoS book/codex situation to 40k is a little ludicrous. Yeah they have released a lot of models for Primaris and Death Guard, but they are really the only new armies. The rest of the codexs literally are just that. Its easy to put out new books that are literally just warscroll updates and using the same concepts and lore. 

But AoS is a completely new setting and I think rather than a quick rushed rehash with a re-imagining of some of the kits like they have done for things like Beastclaw and Flesheater Courts, that people would actually want there Kharadron Overlord moment for death. Just like Elves, it will come, but no company in their right mind would hire the resources and release everything new and fleshed out straight out of the door.

As they mentioned at NOVA recently, they are struggling to come up with ideas for some things, but I think things like Kharadron Overlords, Sylvaneth, and even to a degree Fyreslayers and Ironjawz show that its worth the wait.

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Episode 1 : The honeymoon is over!

Episode 2 : DEATH is DEAD !

Episode 3 : to be done...

While i do agree on all the blabla about no release/meh rules/overall nerf/discouragement, i fail to see the point of sharing your grief with us.

Sure, it is a forum and everyone can say what he wants but we are not the right audience. This is something you can send to GW if you feel it, because, after all they are the only ones targetted by your speech, but for us, Death players or not it falls in the "yeah, whatever" zone, "we know, what can we do about that".

That beeing said, Bonesplitters and BCR didn't recieved a single model release too.

Maybe there is something coming, can't know. After all, we had no clue about Tzeentch release from two month before. The absence of DEATHRATTLE Alleigeance in thre GHB 2017 is something that should give you some wharm (strange for death).




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+++ Mod Hat On +++

@WoollyMammoth I like the fact you have put a lot of thought into this but at the end of the day this is a simple moaning post about something you have already moaned about. Do we really need another one? I'm going to lock this because we've already seen this off you and the fact its all it is you complaining you have no new models, when a lot of other factions didn't get anything. 

I'm locking this now as it's been done to death ;) 

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