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Your Favorite Mortarch?

Who's your favorite Mortarch?


  • Total voters
    31

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
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#51
Word from leaks is the third nighthaunt hero is another brand new character, so it seems odd that they asked us to guess who it was? Eh, whatever.
 

Jon

Mortarch of Salt
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#53
Well, the new Mortarch of Grief looks great, but it'll take rules and story to really sell me on her. I'd like to see Isabella back again - her 'divided loyalties' plot in the End Times was potentially quite interesting and I honestly thought, with Blightwar and then Malign Portents happening in quick succession, that a Mortarch who lives for vengeance against Nurgle would be a perfect fit. (Not that we know who it is under that veil. For all we know the new Mortarch might BE Isabella by another name, which would be nice.)

Of the ones who actually exist in game right now: Arkhan the Black. An absolute lad. Loyal to the bitter end, and yet a classic Robot's Revenge figure who needles Nagash constantly. And he has that amazing hat.
 

Malisteen

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#55
Arkhan's hat is great, and, without getting into specific spoilers, he has some fantastic moments in the 'undying king' book that really highlight both his sense of honor and even courtesy towards those who show the dead their proper respect /and/ what a colossal bastard he can be even to his own allies despite it. It also does a great job setting the tone for his relationship with Nagash after so many centuries in the mortal realms that neither of them can truly remember a time before Nagash was a literal god of death.
 
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#58
Arkhan's hat is great, and, without getting into specific spoilers, he has some fantastic moments in the 'undying king' book that really highlight both his sense of honor and even courtesy towards those who show the dead their proper respect /and/ what a colossal bastard he can be even to his own allies despite it. It also does a great job setting the tone for his relationship with Nagash after so many centuries in the mortal realms that neither of them can truly remember a time before Nagash was a literal god of death.
Glad to hear "Undying King" is worth it. I just bought that and the limited edition of Soul Wars. I loved Mortarch of Night and Lord of Undeath, despite the weird cover wraparounds that made the books difficult to read.
 

Borgnine

Moderator
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#59
If it was Mannfred from before the End Times, when he was a serious and credible threat, I would easily vote for him. After seeing his bullshit and hissy fits all over the End Times, I just have to vote for Arkhan, who remained as cunning, plotting, evil and dangerous as he should had ;)

If it was about all the Mortarchs, then it's Krell easily. Because, you know, Krell!
 

Malisteen

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#60
If it was Mannfred from before the End Times, when he was a serious and credible threat, I would easily vote for him. After seeing his bullshit and hissy fits all over the End Times, I just have to vote for Arkhan, who remained as cunning, plotting, evil and dangerous as he should had
Most of Manfred's flailing about during the Realmgate Wars has been retconned as a deliberate show put on for the stormcast's & sigmar's benefit. Basically keeping the Stormcast hosts assigned to Shyish distracted from Nagash's preparations, preferably chasing Manny around other realms altogether, and later giving them a scapegoat to blame when Nagash failed to fulfill his side of the supposed new alliance against chaos.

It doesn't work perfectly, and in particular seems to be something that was thought up well after mortarch of night was written, but it works well enough, and does a decent job salvaging manny as a respectable character if you don't look too closely at the papered over details.

Honestly, of the three initial mortarchs, Neferata's the one to get the most consistently lacking treatment. As in the end times, the writers just seem to have no idea what to do with her, and in particular seem incapable of writing her with the power and presence that she should have as the first true vampire. She's theoretically a very imposing figure, but in practice, sadly, not so much yet. I would almost blame the writing staff being cliche nerdbros who don't know how to write a competant female character to save their lives, except for the fact that that's exactly what I'm doing. :tongue:

Oh, well. Maybe she'll get some decent spotlight whenever GW gets around to fleshing out the soulblight into their own proper minifaction with a separate book and all.
 

Menkeroth

A Knight of Blood
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#61
Honestly, of the three initial mortarchs, Neferata's the one to get the most consistently lacking treatment. As in the end times, the writers just seem to have no idea what to do with her, and in particular seem incapable of writing her with the power and presence that she should have as the first true vampire. She's theoretically a very imposing figure, but in practice, sadly, not so much yet. I would almost blame the writing staff being cliche nerdbros who don't know how to write a competant female character to save their lives, except for the fact that that's exactly what I'm doing.
That's not true, because in all the novels where she is she rocks, more or less. Some even center on her for some part, like "Undying King" and "Lord of Undeath". Arkhan is much more underwritten, to be honest.
 

Malisteen

Master Necromancer
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#62
In undying king she tries to get one character to do one thing for her, and fails. Arkhan is the mortarch who actually inderstands what's going on and succeeds at tbe things he attempts in that story. In lord of undeath, she's a cat's paw of nagash, used to manipulate the stormcast for a plot to betray them that she doesn't even know is happening. In that story Mannfred's the mortarch who actually knows what's going on.

In both cases Neferata is just kind of there making other characters look cool. I'm still waiting for an AoS story where she sets out to achieve an objective, on purpose, and actually does so. It's frustrating because I really like her as a character, I thought she was great in her origin novels. I want to see her actually get the better of the other mortarchs sometimes, like there's actual give and play between them.

Arkhan's maybe more understated, but i wouldnt call him underwritten. He's less in your face, spends more time in the background, but then turns out to be the one successfully manipulating those around him. That neferata's more front and center, trying so much harder only to get outplayed or revealed to be an unwitting pawnl in the end... it just makes her seem a bit foolish by comparison.
 
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Menkeroth

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#63
Well, if you count only success, then yes, Neferata is not the best. But then this is not the sole criterion after all. She knows she is a pawn of Nagash and tries always to break free, while Arkhan is just a slave who obeys without questions. Neferata also can manipulate and have good results, for instance, she got a Soul Lash, one of the eight lamentations, in a short but good story "Auction of Blood". And remember, she is already successful by far the most by creating all the vampires, back in the day.
 

Malisteen

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#64
Success isn't the only measure, but it is a necessary one. A character doesn't need to always succeed in order to be taken seriously, but they do need to succeed sometimes. When was the last time she had an actual win? As far as I'm aware, you have to go back to the end times, and even then her only significant contribution was leading a small diversion force to distract Khalida's army away from the defense of Khemri, and she mostly sat out the rest of the campaign.

Maybe in Auction of Blood? I missed that one and still have to track it down.

Otherwise, she shows up early on in the End Times only to need to be saved by Krell. In Undying King she gets a lot of 'screen time', and is generally pretty cool, but she doesn't actually accomplish anything the way Arkhan, Nagash, or Tamra do (and I want to be clear the joke about not being able to write female characters WAS mostly a joke, particularly in light of how great Tamra was in that book, seriously Tamra-for-deathrattle-mortarch-2019, please, GW). And in Lord of Undeath she's a cat's paw. Like, it's one thing that she serves Nagash, but that he doesn't trust in her ability to successfully deceive the stormcasts if she knew that's what she was doing? That doesn't exactly speak highly of her when deception and manipulation are supposed to be her specialties.

Sadly, most of the stories that use her lean way too heavily on her vanity, and not nearly enough on her cunning. A problem that extends even onto the tabletop, what with how the Legion of Blood rules represent the opulence and pride of her vampyric court by giving her army the lordliest vampire lords and the knightliest vampire knights, but there's nothing in those rules to represent her supposed extensive network of spies and informants. The sort of tricksy rules that would have helped characterize her as Nagash's brilliant spymaster and manipulator were all reserved for Mannfred's Legion of Night.
 
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Malisteen

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#66
See also Failbaddon the Harmless…
That's actually a good example, given that GW did eventually realize the problem, and have put considerable effort into giving Abaddon actual wins, and recontextualizing most of his previous losses as actually largely successful guerrilla campaigns in a single ongoing war against an enemy that until very recently had considerably superior reserves of supplies and manpower to draw on. Whether those attmepts have been successful... well, that's more questionable. Once a character has been reduced to a meme, it's hard to come back from that. And it hasn't helped that the efforts towards rehabilitating Abaddon as a villain have been rather... inconsistent. Black Legion Supplement, Pandorax supplement, talon of horus & black legion novels? All brilliant. Pandorax Novel and Fall of Cadia in general? both huge steps backwards, even if he did actually accomplish his main goal in that latter case.

While I do want to see Neferata actually succeed at something she attempts, I don't want her success to look like that. Bumbling around, wasting huge amounts of resources that he know he'd need later, letting several important enemy figures slip through his fingers, and almost dying, only to reveal he actually could have won at any time with the push of a button and the only thing stopping him from doing so from the very beginning was his own dumb pride? That is garbage tier villain writing.


In general, though, I'd rate Abaddon higher than Archaon, and I'm confused why the community gives archaon such a pass. Archaon never won a campaign except through overwhelming force, and in the end only managed to destroy one planet thanks to starscream von carstein throwing a tantrum at the worst possible time. Abaddon, even at his worst written, destroyed dozens of worlds, razed hundreds more, and did severe damage to an entire galactic imperium through multiple campaigns, despite being hugely outmatched in material resources and manpower. Yet abaddon is the joke of a failure, and archaon gets respect. Bah. Some things I'll just never understand.
 
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Menkeroth

A Knight of Blood
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#67
Maybe in Auction of Blood? I missed that one and still have to track it down.
You will enjoy this short but good story, especially after the overrated and too long "Spear of Shadows" which was frankly a huge disappointment. And yes, at least Neferata has that powerful weapon of Khorne, so she does have a win. But otherwise I get your point and agree for the most part.

Archaon never won a campaign except through overwhelming force
back in the day he was bad, true, but now he is a demigod of immense powers. He defeated Sigmar and Nagash (the latter being defeated two times in a row), conquered most of the mortal realms and controls the Eightpoints which means all the hard-won victories of late are nothing while Eightpoints remain in his power. Sigmar may dream of ruling all over the realms alone but he knows he never succeeds while Archaon lives and he fears him to the point he never takes to the field while Archaon, destroyer of countless worlds, is as a feared warrior as he is a general.
 

Malisteen

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#68
Oh, yeah, Archaon's much more imposing in Age of Sigmar, both narratively and in model terms.

Not that the previous model was bad. Maybe that explains the difference, because Abaddon's figure is hopelessly outdated, and wasn't exactly jaw dropping when it was released. It was serviceable for the time, but was never really a 'wow' figure.
 
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#69
In general, though, I'd rate Abaddon higher than Archaon, and I'm confused why the community gives archaon such a pass. Archaon never won a campaign except through overwhelming force, and in the end only managed to destroy one planet thanks to starscream von carstein throwing a tantrum at the worst possible time. Abaddon, even at his worst written, destroyed dozens of worlds, razed hundreds more, and did severe damage to an entire galactic imperium through multiple campaigns, despite being hugely outmatched in material resources and manpower. Yet abaddon is the joke of a failure, and archaon gets respect. Bah. Some things I'll just never understand.
I tend to agree.
I understand why Abbadon is seen as a failure… the man (?) dared to say "Horus was weak, Horus was a fool. He had the galaxy in the palm of his hand, and let it slip away". Except that Abbadon, over 12 consecutive campaigns, failed to accomplish a fraction of what Horus did.

But the respect tributed to Archaon, escapes my comprehension...
 

Menkeroth

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#70
Not that the previous model was bad. Maybe that explains the difference, because Abaddon's figure is hopelessly outdated, and wasn't exactly jaw dropping when it was released. It was serviceable for the time, but was never really a 'wow' figure.
Modelwise - yes, I like his old model just as much, but narratively he was just one of the many and not imposing at all. I like how he was promoted :D
 

Malisteen

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#71
Horus had literally half of the forces of the Imperium working for him AND all the daemonic powers of chaos, and lost. He was fighting a war that wasn't just on equal footing, it actually favored him, and he lost. Abaddon was always fighting a very different war. The imperium won the civil war, inherited all the power and resources of an entire galactic empire, one with a clear hierarchy of command. Terra issues orders and they just happen. Slowly, ponderously, but also inevitably, and without meaningful resistance. But the forces of chaos? First they lose the war, and with it their homeworlds, forgeworlds, ability to recruit or build power, they suffer further losses in the scouring, and then the forces left over turn on each other in the legion wars within the eye. Abaddon's black legion only rises to prominance in the wake of that, and Abaddon has to be constantly contending with rivals from other legions without anything like the brainwashed hierarchy of imperial authority forcing them to follow him, only his own personal power and charisma.

The problem with the old fluff, is that the GW writers kept trying to frame Abaddon as darth vader, the Black Legion as the stormtroopers, but they're not that, and they never fit that role in the 40k setting. Not at all. Chaos in the 40k era isn't the galactic empire, the Imperium is. Chaos were the rag-tag rebels, getting by on ingenuity and individual competence rather than mindless servitude and weight of numbers. When they wrote abaddon as tossing countless lives into meat grinders to achieve minor victories or executing subcommanders who failed to achieve impossible assignments, he just came off as stupid, because if you think for three seconds about the setting, he doesn't have those resources to burn. Abaddon simply cannot be Darth Vader. At least, he couldn't be pre-8th edition, where the imperium is broken in two and chaos has much more free reign and actually holds territory outside the eye.

but whatever, I'm getting way off topic here. The point is, Abaddon is another character I very much want to like, but it's hard due to how poorly he has been handled.
 
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#72
Don't forget that Neferata was responsible for the Creation of Nulahmia during the Age of Chaos. Sure, it was destroyed at the beginning of Lord of Undeath (?) but at least she got it started!
 

Malisteen

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#73
Yeah, but that's also kind of framed as a wasteful, empty endsavor of pride and misplaced nostalgia, especially when contrasted with manfred, who did the same thing in recreating his old world home, only to realize how empty it all was and abandon it.

That neferata is still hung up on recreating lost glory days thus paints her as less mature and self aware than even starscream.
 
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#75
Neffy as she most matches my army of Vampire queens, maidens and matrons, though I don't run a mortarch as my army all has its own fluff and very much relies on "your dudes".
 
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