Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Arena of Shades Review

Last Updated on April 13, 2022 by FauxHammer

Today we jump back into the high fantasy world of Age of Sigmar for Games Workshop’s latest battlebox: Arena of Shades! With the sadistic Daughters of Khaine matching up against Nagash’s legions of spectral Nighthaunt, it promises to be a good ‘un!

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Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Arena of Shades Review – Summary

Rammed full of all the miniatures you could possibly need to kick-start both a Nighthaunt and a Daughters of Khaine army and saving you bags of money at the same time, Arena of Shades is another successful entry into the annals of Age of Sigmar battlebox history.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Arena of Shades Review – Introduction

It looks as if 2022 is shaping up to be a year of Age of Sigmar battleboxes. Hot on the heels of January’s Fury of the Deep, which saw the sea-dwelling Idoneth Deepkin trading blows with the hot-headed (pun intended) Duardin Fyreslayers, comes Games Workshop’s latest box of miniatures.

Arena of Shades sees Nagash’s undead Nighthaunt legions battling with the Aelven god of violence, war and cruelty’s staunchest – and most bloodthirsty – defenders, the Daughters of Khaine. This epic clash of spooky ghosts and creepy she-Aelves set along the Charrwind Coast sees the two factions battling for control of Har Kuron’s souls. Who will win?

And, more importantly, is the box worth it?

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Arena of Shades Review – Unboxing

We know how these work by now. Here’s the box – as ever, bedecked in the finest art Games Workshop’s illustrator grots can produce from where they’re kept in their dark caves ‘neath the ravaged planes of Nottinghamshire.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Unboxing 1

Cracking the box open we’ve got – yup, you guessed it – a pile of plastic!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Unboxing 2

And, heavens above, there’s a lot of it today!

There are no fewer than 12 sprues in the Arena of Shades box, which, by anyone’s calculations, is a lot of plastic.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Unboxing 4

You do need to be careful when moving around and unpacking these sprues. Daughters of Khaine and Nighthaunt figures have a propensity to be covered in lots of thin pointy bits. These thin points bits have a habit of getting caught on other thin points bits, which can mean things get broken off or damaged if not moved with care. I had a casualty of this: something had plucked a Nighthaunt head off one of its sprues.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Unboxing 3

Beneath the plastic, we have our divider. This little rectangle of paper, once again emblazoned with GW’s illustrator grots’ finest work, is designed to keep the pointy bits of sprue from scratching up the more fragile paper goods beneath it. However, if it has survived transit, you could always use it as a poster.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Unboxing 5

And last of all, we have all our paper-based goods (and some more bases for our to-be-built figures).

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Unboxing 6

Heaps of stuff. We’ll take a closer look at it all in a moment.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Arena of Shades Review – Contents

So, with the box now open we can take full stock of everything we’ve got here.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review All

There’s a lot of stuff here. Like, a lot of stuff. Fury of the Deep caused me similar issues trying to fit its many things into my lightbox for a picture, and Arena of Shades has a similar amount of goodies on offer between its cardboard walls.

So, all this is:

  • 21 x Daughters of Khaine miniatures:
    • 1 x High Gladiatrix
    • 10 x Sisters of Slaughter, also able to be built as Witch Aelves
    • 5 x Khinerai Heartrenders, also able to be built as Khinerai Lifetakers
    • 5 x Doomfire Warlocks
  • 23 x Nighthaunt Miniatures
    • 1 x Scriptor Mortis
    • 5 x Craventhrone Guard
    • 10 x Bladegheist Revenants
    • 1 x Spirit Torment
    • 2 x Chainghasts
    • 4 x Myrmourn Banshees
  • A 56-page Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Rules book
  • A 40-page Arena of Shades booklet
  • 10 x Warscroll Cards
  • 36 x Tokens
  • 2 x 9″ Range Rulers
  • 1 x Daughters of Khaine transfer sheet

Let’s have a more detailed look at this huge pile of stuff.


As ever, we’ll start off with all the written bits and pieces that come in the Arena of Shades box. There are a fair few bits this time around: a copy of the Warhammer Age of Sigmar Core Rules, the Arena of Shades booklet, and some Warscroll Cards for you to use with your new miniatures.

Core Rules

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: these books are absolutely excellent.

I love books. Books are great. Games Workshop and Black Library also produce some truly beautiful books: their special editions and limited releases take the absolute mastery of artistic understanding, skill and direction the company possess to a whole new level with each release.

Games Workshop have produced incredible tomes stamped with jaw-dropping artwork and filled with eye-popping illustrations. I remember when I picked up Indomitus, only a month or two back into my Warhammer journey after a fifteen year or so hiatus. This great grimoire – which, in hindsight, is a fairly so-so effort compared to some GW books – was, and still is, awesome to behold. Dominion’s rulebook was exactly the same, with a phenomenal picture of Yndrasta mid-battle gracing the cover.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Dominion Review - Limited Edition Rulebook

But there’s a time and a place for a beautiful rulebook, and the tabletop is not necessarily it.

These limited edition hardbacks are unwieldy and take up a lot of space on the table. Also, you want to keep them nice, so dragging them from place to place each time you want to play a game isn’t always what you want to be doing with your swanky book. They’re also filled with lots of extra non-essential stuff which can make it a bit more difficult to hunt down that all-important rule you’re after.

And that’s why this miniaturised and slimline version of the core rules are so excellent.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Core Rules 1

Thinner, lighter, and with much smaller dimensions, the Age of Sigmar Core Rules book that comes in the Arena of Shades box is the perfect tabletop companion of the itinerant – or sedentary – wargamer. It takes up less space on your table top or in your bag, but is just as well-formatted and masterfully written as the much larger hardcover rules.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Core Rules 2

It has all the information you need and none of the non-essential fluff you don’t want to be tripping over when trying to check that one particular rule mid-game. They’re clear, they’re concise, and they are oh so convenient.

They’re an excellent addition to any gamer’s kit – so much so, I’d recommend every Age of Sigmar player had one.

Arena of Shades Booklet

The Arena of Shades campaign book that comes with the box contains all the faction- and unit-specific information you need to take the miniatures that come in the set to battle.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Campaign Book 1

These Age of Sigmar battlebox campaign books lack the lustre of, for example, the much larger Kill Team expansion books, but they serve roughly the same function. Their primary purpose is to inform buyers of all the new rules, datasheets, and other bits of info they need to actually play the battle part of the battlebox.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Campaign Book 3

By extension, then, this also includes battleplans for a set campaign, as well as heaps of lore and narrative information describing the events that have drawn Nagash’s ghosties and Khaine’s bloody children into conflict.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Campaign Book 2

As part of that, there are, of course, also plenty of gorgeous pictures of miniatures and illustrated scenes to inspire you to put paint to plastic before making war with your new figures.

The book is a fairly standard fair and is exactly what one would expect. It follows the tried-and-tested formula for these releases, with the appropriate lore and setting info, followed by lots of cool pictures, before moving on to the rules, warscrolls, and other statistical information you need for the figures.

It does exactly what it’s supposed to, and that’s good.

Warscroll Cards

Warscroll Cards are an extremely useful resource for players of Age of Sigmar to have at their disposal. Whilst the Arena of Shades campaign book has warscrolls (or in the common tongue, stat blocks) for the miniatures in the set, it’s not necessarily the most practical thing to have to carry around with you as you go from battle to battle, nor is it necessarily the easiest thing to refer to mid-game.

This is where the Warscroll Cards step up.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Warscroll Cards

Each card refers to an individual unit that comes in the box and contains all the info you need to wage miniaturised war with them. They’re small, easy to store, and won’t take up too much place on a table, so – much like the slimline Core Rules we looked at earlier – they’re a very convenient reference for players to have.

Each card bears the Arena of Shades box art on the obverse, but each reverse is printed with an image of the corresponding unit and all their information. Quick, easy, and resourceful, these’ll be a great help for players when fighting either the campaign in the Arena of Shades box, or if they decide to start building an army with either Nighthaunt or Daughters of Khaine.


There are a couple of entiries into the Wargear (the name we give to all the other bits and pieces that come with these boxes that are designed to help you play the game) category with the Arena of Shades box. Namely, these are a collection of tokens and a pair of range rulers that are pushed out from a perforated cardboard sheet.


Did anyone here read out Fury of the Deep review? If so, do you remember when I said “How is it possible that the company responsible for such wild, colourful, and interesting tokens such as those we’ve seen in HarrowdeepRed HarvestKill Team: Octarius, and, to be honest, just about every other recent release that had tokens in it, capable of creating such dull tokens as those in this box?” in reference to the boring white disks that came with that battlebox?

Well, that. Again.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Tokens 1

I find these desaturated, unimaginative tokens to be really jarring with the Arena of Shades – nay, the entire Age of Sigmar – aesthetic.

Age of Sigmar, and, if we’re being honest, Warhammer as a whole, is all about vibrancy and colour. The path of artistic direction down which Games Workshop leads its flagship franchises is one drenched in gorgeous imagery and bedazzling colour: look at the artwork on the cover of any codex or Black Library release, that fills the margains and heads of every newsletter, and that is resplendent across every series on Warhammer+ – even just look at the colour on the front of the Arena of Shades box!

And yet, for some reason, the tokens (and range rulers, but we’ll get on to those in a moment) in the last two Age of Sigmar battleboxes have been so dull. This might seem like such a small thing, but given just how good examples in other recent boxed releases have been, these colourless white disks just make no sense.

Just look at these other examples from other boxes we’ve had over the last two years. Bright, distinct, colourful. So why are the tokens in Arena of Shades so boring?

Warhammer Underworlds Starter Set Review Tokens

And they don’t just make no sense from an artistic perspective, but also from a gaming point of view. In a pile, these little white disks are basically indistinguishable from each other. Age of Sigmar version 3.0 has been all about speeding stuff up, about making battles faster and more exciting. How is having to stop the flow of play to rifle through a pile of featureless and near-identical circles to find one the one that says “Bless” on it instead of “Cursed”, “Arcane”, “Mystical”, “1 Wound” or the classic old “Objective Marker” going to help anyone play quicker? And once they’re on the battlefield, you’ll be craning your neck over your units to try and read the tiny font on each one, as you aren’t going to be able to tell them apart from each other.

For a gaming system and a hobby that’s literally all about putting colour on stuff, I don’t understand how these tokens just get it so wrong.

And I’m afraid that’s not all, either. One thing these tokens don’t do that those in Fury of the Deep did is come off their board easily.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Tokens 2

This is a fairly minor – but nonetheless irritating – thing to have happen to your tokens. I expected to be spending my Saturday afternoon filing down models, not snipping fuzzy card tabs off white circles.

And breathe.

Range Rulers

The range rulers suffer from basically the same malady as the tokens – except they aren’t quite as bad.

For starters, there are only two of them in the box, and it’s pretty obvious what they are when they’re all in pile. You’re not going to mistake either of these for anything else, whereas you may mistake a “Levitate” token for a “Sinister” token.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Range Rulers

It’s the art that gets me again, though. At a glance, you barely even notice that each range ruler is themed for one of the factions as the artwork on them is so faint. If you look closely on the images above, you’ll see a Nighthaunt’s hooded skull in the 6″ square on the ruler on the left, and a Khainite Aelf’s visage on the 8″ square on the one on the right. In fact, had I not had the same issue with the Fury of the Deep box, and had been expecting to see this again, I might have missed it completely.

It’s little details like this that make these releases feel special. As a Nighthaunt fan, being able to turn up to a game and whip out my Nighthaunt-themed tokens and ruler would feel pretty neat, but if I actually have to convince my opponent that, yes, there is in fact Nighthaunt artwork on each part, the glean comes off quite quickly.

Also, what’s with these 9″ rulers? I thought we agreed 12″ was the standard like forever ago?

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Arena of Shades Review – Models

Now we arrive at the meat of this review: the plastic. There are no fewer than 44 miniatures in the Arena of Shades box, spread across a whopping 12 sprues. Grab your plastic nippers and your glue – there’s a lot to be getting on with!

Daughters of Khaine

With no fewer than 21 miniatures making up the Daughters of Khaine half of the Arena of Shades box, there’s enough stuff in here to kick-start a new army or reinforce an existing one.

High Gladiatrix

The High Gladiatrix is one of several brand-new units currently only available in the Arena of Shades box. She’s the only new figure on the Daughters of Khaine side of things, whilst the Nighthaunt – who we’ll get to in a moment – have a couple.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review High Gladiatrix

She’s a really cool and imposing miniature, and will make an awesome centrepiece to any Daughters of Khaine army – if you can assemble her.

It’s not that she’s difficult to build. The issue lies with her whip. The whip is a very fragile part of the figure and is made of three components: a hand holding the base of the whip, a central part, and the tip. Because this sprue has shipped loose in the box with so many other parts, there’s a good chance it may have been damaged in transit. Mine had ended up twisted, which means I couldn’t actually get it to go on the figure properly.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review High Gladiatrix Damage

It took a lot of very careful twisting and bending to get the part in the rough shape it was supposed to be, and I then had to glue the head of the whip to the base (it’s supposed to be off the ground, around the base of the stone she’s standing on) to ensure it stayed in position after being so badly bent. You can see the strain on the component in the image above where the plastic has turned white from pressure.

On the whole, though, she’s not too bad to assemble. She’s very small – as are all the Daughters of Khaine miniatures – but as long as you’re patient and careful, you shouldn’t have any trouble. She’s also extremely detailed, so there’s plenty to keep painters pleased.

Sisters of Slaughter/Witch Aelves

I struggled to decide which to build – sisters of Slaughter or Witch Aelves. The Sisters of Slaughter are what was primarily advertised as being in the box, but the Witch Alves are the archetypical Daughters of Khaine unit.

After plenty of umming and aahing, I eventually decided to go with the Sisters of Slaughter – though I would have been perfectly happy with either. This was inspired predominantly by the fact there are no instructions for the Witch Aelves in the Arena of Shades build guide, which does mean you’ll be left over with a lot of spare parts.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Sisters of Slaughter

Much like the Gladiatrix, the only real problem you might face with the Sisters of Slaughter is that they are very small and they do have a few delicate bits. You’ll need to be very careful when clipping bits from sprues, as some parts – in particular their whips – will be prone to breaking.

Once they’re together, though, they’re great models. They’re extremely dynamic and full of energy. Their sculpts give them excellent forward momentum, so they really feel as if they are mid-charge, streaking across the battlefield.

Khinerai Heartrenders/Khinerai Lifetakers

The Khinerai Heartrenders can also be built as Khinerai Lifetakers. Like the Sisters of Slaughter and the Witches Aelves, there’s not a massive difference in appearance between these two units: Lifetakers have uncovered faces and wield sickles, whilst Heartrenders wear helmets and carry spears.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Khinerai Heartrenders

I ended up building the Heartrenders for the same reason I built the Sisters of Slaughter over the Witch Aelves: there is no guide for the Lifetakers included with the Arena of Shades box, so although the box says you can build either or, it doesn’t necessarily support you in doing so.

That same sense of advance that was so prevelant in the Sisters of Slaughter also exists here in the Heartrenders. They feel like very active models: even though they’re frozen in their plastic forms, the spread of their wings, the poise in their bodies, and the angles of their weapons gives them a real sense of purpose, dynamism, and real menace. They’re really nice little figures.

Doomfire Warlocks

It’s just occurred to me that in two years of building and painting models from various places across the Age of Sigmar range, the Doomfire Warlock miniatures are the first examples of miniatures riding horses – as in actual, living horses – that I’ve seen in that time.

I’ve painted all manner of weird and wonderful dragonkin, undead, and chaos-warped mounts over the last twenty-four months, but not one actual horse.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Doomfire Warlocks

As excited I was initially at the prospect of painting a horse or five (my partner is an equestrian, so was really excited to see some horses taking shape on my hobby desk), the Doomfire Warlocks are showing their age.

These miniatures, which were originally released circa 2010 during the 8th Edition of Warhammer Fantasy (if my Googling is correct – please feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken), don’t look quite as impressive as the other more recent miniatures in the box. There’s a certain cartoony quality to them: the last dregs of that larger-than-life, tongue-in-cheek art style of the 80s and 90s that has been thoroughly scrubbed clean over the last few years and replaced with the gritty realism so synonymous with current GW IP.

The void between old-school (though, since when was 2010 old school…?) miniatures and the more recent sculpts we’ve seen over the last four years or so feels fairly massive when the Doomfire Warlocks are compared to the High Gladiatrix – or any of the other Daughters of Khaine miniatures in the box, to be honest. There’s no two ways about it: they just aren’t as nice.

It’s a bit of a dud note to end on for what has otherwise been a truly wonderful symphony of sado-Aelf miniatures.


With 23 Nighthaunt miniatures in the Arena of Shades box, buyers can be certain that their hobby desks, display cabinets, and piles of shame are set to get a whole lot spookier.

Whilst there were a handful of alternate builds amidst the Daughters of Khaine miniatures, you won’t find any such options here. What you see advertised is what you get. This can, perhaps, be forgiven considering that there are a handful of brand-new and Arena of Shades-exclusive miniatures scattered amongst the Nighthaunt half of the box.

Scriptor Mortis

The Scriptor Mortis is another model currently exclusive to the Arena of Shades box. And, oh man. Look at this chap.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Scriptor Mortis

This is a truly impressive model. The sculpt is absolutely phenomenal and the figure itself is gorgeous. Covered in details – the quill, the lantern, and his great tome (which will be a freehander’s dream) – and truly haunting in appearance, the Scriptor Mortis will make a breath-taking centrepiece for any Nighthaunt army.

Like a lot of Nighthaunt miniatures, he requires some patience. Make sure you hold things in place until they’re set, as a lot of the Scriptor’s parts are often quite unbalanced so will need that extra bit of help to ensure they stay in place. Other than that, he’s a truly stand-out model.

Craventhrone Guard

The Craventhrone Guard are the final unit currently only available in the Arena of Shades box. The Scriptor Mortis was always going to be a hard act to follow, but the Craventhrone Guard do their best.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Craventhrone Guard

There’s a lot of crossover between the Craventhrone Guard and a lot of other Nighthaunt units, such as the Bladegheist Revenants that we’ll get to in a moment. They have the fairly typical shrouded and wispy look you’d expect to find with any Nighthaunt models, but beyond their weapons, there’s not a huge amount going on with these guys to make them truly stand out.

What makes them pop, though, is their banner-bearer.

Aside from the fact he’s an excellently-sculpted figure, something about him makes me smile. Perhaps it’s the way he’s nonchalantly leaning on his crossbow, or propping himself up on the haft of his banner. Maybe it’s the slightly jaded look upon his skeletal face, or the way he’s gazing off into the near-distance through empty eye sockets. Whatever it is, he looks like he’s totally bored stiff.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Craventhrone Guard Banner Bearer (2)

Everyone – literally everyone – else on the Nighthaunt side of the box is more interested, more dynamic, and more purposeful in their posing. The furious Bladegheist Revenants swinging their swords, the screaming Myrmourn Banshees swooping over the battlefield, the Spirit Torment and Chainghasts’ postures heavy with the weights they drag with them, whilst the Scriptor Mortis surveying the field through his empty, dispassionate eyes. Even the other Craventhrone Guard have an alertness to them.

But not this guy. This guy’s just had enough.

They’re also surprisingly easy to put together. Models are made up of a few parts (a left side, a right side, and a front that are put together in a triangle-like formation; a crossbow, made up of two parts, and arm or two arms to hold it depending on the parts; a quiver attached to the rear, and a head), and slot together with ease and minimal need for clean-up.

Bladegheist Revenants

Thanks to my now-complete Mortal Realms subscription and being able to nab a few extra copies of a couple of issues from my local Tesco, I own about 30 Bladegheist Revenants already.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Bladegheist Revenants

Whilst they are of relatively few components, they do suffer from the eternal Nighthaunt curse of having lots of long, thin, pointy, easy-to-snap-off-if-you’re-not-careful bits. They are also prone to some gaps on their bodies.

That said, though, once they’re together and adequately tidied up, they do number amongst some of my favourite Nighthaunt units. I love the Chainrasp Horde miniatures, and Bladegheist Revenants are essentially the bigger, meaner, much more deadly siblings of those little Chainrasp Horde chaps.

Spirit Torment

Arena of Shades is turning out to be a parade of some of my all-time favourite Nighthaunt miniatures. The Spirit Torment (accompanied by a pair of Chainghasts who we’ll get to in a moment) also numbers amongst my all-time favourite spooky chaps.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Spirit Torment

The only difficulty one may have building the Spirit Torment is getting his arms to stay put. His forearms, hands, and the large lock he’s holding are all one component, and the contact points at the tops of his arms, which need to be glued to his body, are very small. You’ll need to make sure the component is held in position to give the glue adequate time to set fully before you leave it be.

I love the figure, though. He’s a really grim, menacing figure, with his head fully encased in a ghastly helmet, and his body locked in a cage.


The Spirit Torment is accompanied by a pair of Chainghasts. Much like the Spirit Torment they accompany, they’re a pair of really forbidding figures that, thanks to their weapons and metal masks, look quite imposing.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Chainghasts

Much like the Spirit Torment before them, be careful when gluing on their arms. The contact points are quite small and the weapon components and arms to which they are attached are comparatively quite large and heavy, do they’ll need plenty of time to set.

Also, don’t make the mistake I did of gluing these onto 40mm bases to match the Spirit Torment. These guys go on 32mm bases.

Myrmourn Banshees

The Myrmourn Banshees will always have a special place in my heart. These models, which came with Issue 2 of Mortal Realms, were the first models I built when I re-entered the hobby a few years ago.

I’d had a truly dreadful couple of days and happened to spot Issue 2 of Mortal Realms on the shelf of the shop I was in. I decided to get it just to build the figures as something to do to take my mind off real-world matters.

Two years later, here I am.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Myrmourn Banshees

These are easy to build models, so anyone with even the tiniest bit of model building experience will be able to put these banshees together without any difficulty. They’re lovely figures too, each in its own unique and dynamic pose, and each comes with a nice sculpted base.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Arena of Shades Review – Price and Availability

It’s table time! This month, FauxHammer himself has made this very easy for me by already partially covering all this pricing gubbins in his excellent Price, Value and Savings Breakdown, so I’m going to pinch a couple of his wonderful tables to put here.

First up, here’s the value of the Daughters of Khaine half of the box.

High Gladiatrix*£21.00$35.00$41.50€27.00$55.00
Doomfire Warlocks£26.00$42.00$53.00€34.00$50.00
Khinerai Lifetakers/Heartrenders£35.00$60.00$70.00€45.00$90.00
Sisters of Slaughter/Witch Aelves£36.00$60.00$70.00€47.50$70.00
Total Value£118.00$197.00$234.50€153.50$265.00
*based on Melusai Ironscale

And here’s the Nighthaunt side of the box, complete with our predications vis-à-vis the price of the Scriptor Mortis and the Craventhrone Guard.

Scriptor Mortis*£24.00$38.00$48.00€31.50$60.00
Craventhrone Guard**£30.00$50.00$60.00€40.00$77.00
Bladegheist Revenants£30.00$50.00$60.00€40.00$77.00
Crawlocke the Jailor£26.00$42.00$53.00€34.00$70.00
Myrmourn Banshees£11.00$16.50$22.00€13.25$25.00
Total Value£121.00$196.50$243.00€158.75$239.00
*based on Krulghast Cruciator (similar size)
**based on typical Nighthaunt unit price

And now for the big one…

Total Value£239.00$393.50$477.50€312.25$504.00
Retail Price£115.00$195.00$230.00€150.00$320.00
TOTAL SAVINGS£124.00$198.50$247.50€162.25$184.00

Across the board, there are some pretty massive savings to be had. Consider also that we’ve worked the value of this box out based solely on the value of the miniatures inside it and have completely discounted the books, tokens, range rulers, and transfers.

We always recommend shopping around for these boxes: check your local independent retailer, as they may be able to offer you the same box at a discounted price. Also, consider splitting the contents of the box with a buddy if you’re only interested in one of the factions inside it!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Arena of Shades Review – Where to Next?

Unfortunately, the Daughters of Khaine is a little bit on the sparse side, so any would-be followers of the Aelven Blood God might be a little disappointed when shopping their range. GW’s webstore lists their Start Collecting! box as being out of stock as well, which is a real shame as there are some smashing models in this one. Again, it’s worth shopping around to see if you can perhaps find a copy elsewhere.

Oh, one thing the Daughters of Khaine range does have over literally every other faction is the truly incredible Morathi miniature.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Where to Next Morathi

On the other hand, the Nighthaunt faction – and by extension, all of Grand Alliance Death – is absolutely laden with miniatures. The Nighthaunt range is varied and impressive, with all sorts of ghosts and ghouls to keep you inspired and your brushes painting.

There are a couple of Start Collecting! boxes available for Death armies – Soulblight Gravelords and Flesh-Eater Courts, precisely. Nighthaunt don’t have a Start Collecting! box, but you can check out Hachette’s awesome Mortal Realms magazine if you’re in the market for some discount ghosties.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Where to Next Soulblight Gravelords Start Collecting
Warhammer Age of Sigmar Arena of Shades Review Where to Next Flesh-Eater Courts Start Collecting

Personally, I’ve never been able to settle on a single Death faction as I think they’re all great fun to paint and super appealing in their own right. I recently costed my entire Stormcast Eternal force at 10,000+ points, and I’m pretty sure that across Deathrattle Skeletons, Soulblight Gravelords, Ossiarch Bonereapers and Nighthaunt that make up my Grand Alliance Death collection, the count isn’t far behind…

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Arena of Shades Review – Final Thoughts

Slimline core rules is an excellent inclusion
Absolutely heaps of miniatures
Nighthaunt miniatures are absolutely on point
Loads of wargear to get you playing
Big savings
Fiddly, breakable bits on a lot of the sprues
Doomfire Warlocks feel very aged
Tokens and range rulers are bland (but at least they’re there!)

Arena of Shades is another excellent entry into the recent series of Age of Sigmar battleboxes. Filled with everything you need to kick-start both a Nighthaunt and a Daughter of Khaine army, as well as rules and warscrolls for both, there’s a lot to like in this box.

The selection of miniature is both substantial and of great quality, though there are a couple of drawbacks to those figures included in the box. The only real issue is that there are a lot of really small, really fragile bits in this box. Whilst this won’t be a problem for the experienced modeler, more inexperienced hobbyists should make sure they handle everything with care – and everyone should be very careful when unpacking the sprues from the box as many of the pointiest bits will have become caught on other sprues. This is just one problem, though, and shouldn’t deter would-be buyers from purchasing the box.

The books and warscroll cards are also excellent inclusions: clear, concise, and handy-to-have. Many of the resources that come as part of the Arena of Shades battlebox will find their way into more common use outside of the confines of the box’s campaign setting – particularly that awesome little slimline rulebook.

The tokens and rulers are a real disappointment. Little unique touches like decent tools to play your games with make battleboxes – or any boxed game, for that matter – feel complete. It shows that manufacturer really cares about your experience, and has really spent some time thinking about how to make the release into a single, coherent, enjoyable experience for the players. Arena of Shades’ token and rulers, just like their predecessors in Fury of the Deep, just completely miss this mark. They feel rushed, uninspired, and more like a token gesture (see what I did there?) than a meaningful inclusion in the box.

All in all, though, this is a decent purchase that’s worth serious consideration. Sure, it’s not perfect, but the positives – which include some substantial savings – vastly outweigh the negatives If you are a Nighthaunt, Daughters of Khaine, or just a general Age of Sigmar fan, take a look at this box. You likely won’t be disappointed.

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Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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