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Unsquatting the Squats – Take 3

04/04/2022

I should have known it would happen this way. At the start of 2021 I revisited an earlier post about finding ways to return Squats to the tabletop. I ended that post by talking about the Einherjar, a box of which I recently finished painting. Now it’s April 2022 and the internet is abuzz over two videos.

First, one deliberately timed to raise suspicions.

While the video has a jokey tone, I suspected it was a double bluff. Games Workshop like to make fun of themselves during their product reveals. At least this time they weren’t retrieving a model from a rubbish bin.

Turns out I didn’t have to wait long for confirmation, because the next day we got the second video

And there we have it. The Squats are gone for good – at least in name. I’m sure there will be some who comment on the name change – this is the internet after all – but I like it. Leagues of Votann feels like a natural progression from the Strongholds of old.

It also leads me to wonder how else the Squats Leagues will change for 9th Edition. Are they still planet-based miners, or has something prompted them to take to the stars? The two models we’ve seen have moved beyond the classic aesthetic.

It’s possible the lighter armoured warriors still exist, of course. You wouldn’t judge any other faction’s appearance on a single model. Even the Space Marines have a little variety. Speaking of Marines, the Leagues do appear to have borrowed a little of their look and feel. The armour sections and backpack are especially reminiscent. I also wonder if we’ll see the backpack used as a connection point for various tools, like a servo arm.

(c) Games Workshop

I guess the big question now is how will we see them in the game? The announcement article mentioned a full army release later this year, but what else?

Since the release of its latest edition, GW has used Kill Team to release new and updated model kits. It launched with updated Ork Kommandoes and the first ever plastic Death Korps of Krieg. More recently, it saw the return of reimagined Aeldari Corsairs.

Could we see a unit League troopers release alongside, or soon after, a big splash launch box? Could they even combine play up to the meta by placing them in a two-player box with an updated Tyranid force? Anything’s possible at this early stage, but the current Genestealers are in dire need of a revamp.

What could be fun, if unlikely, is a standalone board game based on the first video. They explore a derelict Imperial vessel, finding Imperial Navy survivors and insurgent Genestealers. A bit like Space Hulk, but less intense. A few years ago this would have been a given, but GW seem to have moved away from this approach.

(c) Games Workshop

The big question now is will I be signing on with the Leagues of Votann? Honestly, I don’t know. As I’ve had to point out a few times, GW’s price freeze for Australia and New Zealand only applied to existing models. New releases have been in line with higher prices overseas. With people jumping on the new faction bandwagon, any splash releases might be thin on the ground. Maybe I’ll stick to a Kill Team box.

In the meantime, the Wargames Atlantic Einherjar are great. I probably should write up a post about my plans for them.

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