The Lords of Helstone by Josh Reynolds (Audio Review)

The first two installments of Josh Reynolds’ The Hunt For Nagash audio drama series have offered a very tantalizing introduction of the Realm of Death, Shyish, the domain of the great necromancer, Nagash. As we followed our protagonist, Lord-Celestant Tarsus Bull-Heart and his warrior chamber across some of the wastes of Shyish, we saw them encounter multiple enemy warbands and learn some of the secrets of the Realm, secrets at once fascinating and disgusting. But as is the way of the hero, Tarsus has to stamp down his moral sensibilities and work for the greater good of all the Eight Realms and get the audience with Nagash that Sigmar wants.

After the incidents with the debased vampire priests of the Sands of Blood, Tarsus and the Bull-Hearts have now been led to the ruins of the city of Helstone, where they’ve been promised by Mannfred Von Carstein that they will find one of the Nine Gates to Nagash’s Underworld. The Lords of Helstone is definitely the best of the three installments so far, and pitting the Stormcast Eternals against the Blightkings of Nurgle was excellent, not to mention that we finally learn some more about Tarsus’ history, marking out a tragic history for the leader of the Bull-Hearts.

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Sands of Blood by Josh Reynolds (Audio Review)

The first audio drama in Josh Reynolds’ The Hunt For Nagash series, The Prisoner of The Black Sun, was a tantalizing introduction to the Realm of Death, ruled over by none other than the greatest necromancer of the Warhammer Old World, Nagash. We met our intrepid Stormcast Eternal heroes as they traversed across the realm to find a gateway into Nagash’s Underworld and went on a bloody jaunt against Chaos forces and met a friendly neighborhood vampire with a certain… pedigree. It was certainly a fun audio romp and going by the description, the second in the series promised to be even better.

From the Vale of Sorrow, Lord-Celestant Tarsus Bull-Heart’s warrior chamber has moved on to the vast deserts of the Sands of Blood, their newfound guide leading them onwards to the fulfillment of their quest. New challenges abound however, and we get to see more of Shyish, the Realm of Death. This is important in the larger scheme of things and the travelogue written by Josh feels very rewarding as a reader. The larger cast also does its job really well in bringing more characters to life and the overall story progresses well enough for my tastes while preserving the various mysteries that abound here.

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The Prisoner of The Black Sun by Josh Reynolds (Audio Review)

Black Library has a very good track record of putting out excellent audio dramas, particularly anything that stars the likes of Toby Longworth, Gareth Armstrong and John Banks. These three have done much to provide me with some great times with various audio-based stories over the years, and it is certainly expected that once Black Library and Games Workshop phased out Warhammer Fantasy for Age of Sigmar that they would look to capitalize on these talents and more besides. Age of Sigmar is such an unexplored territory and the new avenues opened up are intriguing for sure. Combine it with these talents and you have something great.

Josh Reynolds’ The Prisoner of The Black Sun is the first of four audios (collectively called The Hunt For Nagash) that together tell the story of how Sigmar sends his warriors to the Realm of Death to seek out Nagash and treat with him. We meet a new warrior chamber of the Hallowed Knights Stormhost in this audio and get to experience their first battle in the Realm of Death against the Bloodbound who have invaded it in Khorne’s name. Even as Josh writes a down-right brutal but fun story, Toby, Gareth, John, Ramon Tikaram and Luis Soto take things to the next level and deliver a powerful opening performance.

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Adventures In Magic the Gathering: Eldritch Moon Spoilers Week 2

The first week of spoilers fromĀ Eldritch Moon proved to be fairly good. Lots of interesting, flavourful cards were revealed and while there were a good number of misses, there were plenty of hits as well, particularly Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Tamiyo, Field Researcher among others. The whole cosmic horror feel of the set is coming across well in all the cards, and that’s definitely a plus, since Shadows Over Innistrad dealt with it a bit tangentially whereas Eldritch Moon is the full and final realization for it. The plane of Innistrad is definitely doomed…

…unless Liliana, the Last Hope can save the day as she believes she can. We finally have the new card for Liliana, and it is definitely something that you have to see to believe (more on that below). We also got to see some more cool cards this past week, which help fill out the slots in various decks that needed them, such as spirits, which have gotten a big boost, and even zombies, to a degree. Werewolves still look to be a below average tribe though, and that’s mighty disappointing, given how much a signature element they are of the overall feel of the plane, and that last time they were much more competitive. Here goes…

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Adventures In Magic the Gathering: Eldritch Moon Spoilers Week 1

Time flies in the world of Magic the Gathering it seems. It feels as if it was just yesterday that I was doing the spoilers for Shadows Over Innistrad, and now here we are, the first of official spoilers for the sequel Eldritch Moon already over. Spoiler season is one of the most anticipated aspects of a new set release for the game, and as many a time before, this past week hasn’t been all that disappointing. Before we get into the nitty gritty of the spoilers however, here’s the trailer for the set.

Since the reveal about the big bad of the set, and indeed the entire block, being the Eldrazi Titan Emrakul, it has certainly been an interesting ride. The reveal isn’t particularly that big since the powers-that-be were pretty hamfisted with the signals and following on from the Battle For Zendikar block, it isn’t that exciting a reveal either. However, putting that aside, some of the flavour of the set that has come out has been incredible, with some cool new mechanics, and a lot of the rares and uncommons look like they have serious potential. Not to mention the mythics, so let’s dive straight into the meat of the spoilers!

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Adventures In Magic the Gathering: Women of Shadows Over Innistrad Part 1

Over the last few years, there has been a growing concern about where Magic the Gathering is headed in terms of its representation of women and also how the game is becoming more inclusive for women. The conversation isn’t just limited to the two two genders that we are familiar with, but it goes beyond that into the nuances of non-binary genders and sexual identity and so forth. And all of that is just scratching the surface. In recent months, we’ve seen the game take some big steps forward, whether that be in the story, on the cards, or even as part of the community, which has been rather fantastic to see as a new player. Not to say that there haven’t been any missteps, but on the whole, there is ample positive development.

This column today is all about the women of the upcoming set Shadows Over Innistrad, which little over a week ago and which features two of the game’s most iconic characters, the Archangel Avacyn of Innistrad, and Nahiri the Lithomancer of Zendikar. Unfortunately, they are both also the villains of the story for this block, but if we dig deeper, we find a lot of nuance and subtlety that isn’t on the surface. And these ladies aren’t alone in leading the charge either, because there are mortals and immortals alike who are prominent in the new set. This column will be part lore, part commentary, and I hope you enjoy it.

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