How fitting we wake up to new High Elf pictures of a new Phoenix model on Easter Sunday...
It however leaves us with more questions than answers. Speculation time...
What we see is is three Phoenix models, two painted up as 'fire' phoenix, and one as an 'ice' phoenix presumably, or as the rumours suggest. What is odd, is the formation. They are not ranked up in any known formations. They look almost randomly distributed in the picture. Does this mean High Elves will have the option to purchase theses individually in an army?
Another observation about them is that all of the Phoenix share the same body, but there are two different wing styles, and two, possibly three different head styles. The riders all appear to have the same lower torso and at least two have the same ornate back plate on their saddle. I am guessing this model will be released as a box of one, with different options. Will it be a rare option, or character only mount?
Now in the foreground we can see the top part of what is presumably the new flying chariot, along with a portion of a wing from an eagle. Two elves are mounted in the chariot, one hanging onto something like a tiller at the back, and the other holding a very larger arrow or bolt. The wing tip from the eagle appears to be in the wrong position to be drawing the chariot from the little we know and see. However, and likely there is another chariot right next to the pictured one. But immediately behind the chariot are some other new models. The look like Lothern sea guard, but with shields on their backs, and no bows/quivers visible. They may well be part of the flying chariot but do not appear in the same style as the new chariot crew.
Of course this leaves the (presumably) last new plastic kit High Elves will receive. What is it? There is nothing obvious in the one picture we have. If we have a look at some of the rumour dumps we have received, we get the following list:
Lothern Sea Guard
We can discount the spearmen straight away, as the old models are in the picture. This also IMO discounts the archers, as GW would be most likely to continue the current trend of dual kits.
Lothern Sea Guard however are plausible. Only due to the leaked image, as the duders behind the chariot are very similar.
Shadow Warriors I think could still get new models, however I do not think they will be plastic. Unless they become the new must have core unit and we will be encouraged rank upon rank, I think if we see them, they will be resin. Being a skirmisher unit and of limited numbers in the fluff makes me more certain.
This leaves us with Drake Riders... Will we see a monstrous cavalry and the phoenix riders? Well based purely on the rumour compilation and the leaked picture, I think this is most likely. And if this is true, it will be an amazing release from GW. Add to that High Elves have the majority of their elites and core infantry in plastic, there is not much else to do. Before you say Swordmasters they are in the starter box, plus no rumours for them.
This last picture is rumoured to be the cover art. Very nice if it is
So here is my speculation of the next release: High Elves
Flying Chariot with possible dual option
Phoenix riders, fire and ice options
Drake riders, monstrous cavalry
A single plastic character, either mage or hero
two special characters
a generic character
Here's hoping Silverhelms or Ellerion Reavers will become core. What do you guys think?