Set against a dense fantasy world that stretches across aeons and contains an overflowing cast of characters, it can be hard work getting to grips with the armies of Warhammer Age of Sigmar. They’re numerous and large, and the fact that many avoid, or splice together, typical fantasy tropes, can make them that much harder to quickly pick up. Amongst all the sigmarite plate armour, elemental sorcery, and questionable tentacular appendages, it’s easy to feel lost – unsure of where to begin or which army you might like to collect.
Well, banish your fears to the fourteen winds: we’ll walk you through everything you need to know. Introducing the 20-odd Age of Sigmar armies warring for domination of the Mortal Realms, this guide features digestible summaries of each army’s most interesting features and possible attractions to the budding player or collector, and handily distils – for your delectation – their overall schtick, both in the lore and on the tabletop. You might be enamoured with a couple and dive further into their army specifics – or conclude which factions are definitely not your thing, swearing never to gaze upon their sprues again.
Before diving in, it’s useful to know what to consider when picking an army. Of course, there’s each faction’s lore – the stories and mythologies that cement their place in the Age of Sigmar – and no one could ignore the enormous variety of miniatures between each. But they also cater to playstyles. Some armies focus on fielding few, elite units that soak up damage and dish out fatal blows; others lean into sorcery to disrupt opponents and buff their own ranks, while more are purely melee-focused and crave the chaos of battle – and yet others are malleable to a host of options.
While none is better than the rest (whatever anyone tells you in impassioned rants that use the word ‘meta’ a lot), it’s worth your time to grasp what each army provides and consider whether you’d enjoy leaning into its playstyle.
When choosing an army in Age of Sigmar, it’s important to pick one that will provide longevity of entertainment. Go for an army that plays in a way you’ll enjoy, but also has a killer aesthetic you dig. Don’t let yourself paint your fiftieth grot before realising the Orruk Warclans aren’t for you. Before we go further, let’s cover off just how many armies there are to choose from…
AGE OF SIGMAR ARMIES
- Stormcast Eternals
- Kharadron Overlords
- Daughters of Khaine
- Idoneth Deepkin
- Lumineth Realm-Lords
- Cities of Sigmar
- Slaves to Darkness
- Blades of Khorne
- Disciples of Tzeentch
- Hedonites of Slaanesh
- Beasts of Chaos
- Maggotkin of Nurgle
- Legions of Nagash
- Flesh-Eater Courts
- Soulblight Gravelords
- Ossiarch Bonereapers
- Orruk Warclans
- Gloomspite Gitz
- Ogor Mawtribes
- Sons of Behemat
OK, that’s all of them. Whew!
To start, a teensy bit of Warhammer lore is needed. All armies in Age of Sigmar belong to one of four Grand Alliances – Order, Chaos, Death, or Destruction. Each fights the others for domination across the multitude of inhabited worlds in the (current) Warhammer universe – known as the Mortal Realms – and brings its own moral compass, motivation, and proclivities.
Order chases stability, Chaos wants nothing but disruption and corruption, Death seeks to kill everything, and Destruction craves total anarchy and the unfettered freedom it brings. Each has its defenders and champions, enemies and foes, friends and allies.
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For the sake of selecting an army, you won’t need to know the volumes of lore behind each of these alliances. Know only that whichever army you pick, it will belong to one of them and its role in the world of Age of Sigmar influenced by this background.
And if you couldn’t care less about the fictional goings-on of Gods with names like “Malerion” or “Nurgle”, feel free to look no further into it. You can still select an army, build your forces, field battles on the tabletop, and stare lovingly at your painted miniatures. You do you.
We’ll begin with Order – and with their most stalwart, shiniest champions, the Stormcast Eternals.
Kitted out in shimmering sigmarite plate armour – complete with bulky shoulder pads and noble, facially-sculpted golden helmets – they’re the closest any army gets to being the ‘good guys’. Immortal warriors that ride down from the celestial plane of Azyr, Stormcast Eternals are the righteous souls of dead warriors, reforged by the God-King Sigmar into a holy force of magical marines.
Targeted towards new players wanting a smooth introduction to the game, Stormcast Eternals are easy to learn and offer a forgiving playstyle. An elite force of few units, you can command fearsome garrisons into battle without getting overwhelmed by tactical decision-making or strategic possibilities at your disposal, and their durability forgives any tactical faux pas that would put them on the wrong end of your enemy’s steel.
But they’re also a great army to grow into. Once you’ve tired of staring at clusters of hammer-wielding Sequitors or the magical Evocators, super-elite Paladins and an array of spellcasting Lords bring even greater abilities, which can be brought to bear to decimate the enemy. In many ways, the tough celestial armour of the Stormcast Eternals acts as a cushion – new players can have fun charging the battlefield, while more experienced generals can get to grips with their more nuanced abilities.
Steampunk dwarves (or duardin, to use their proper Warhammer title instead of the Tolkien vernacular) in flying ships. Not content with the murky interiors of mountain caves, these duardin took to the skies in blimps and floating fortresses powered by magical aether-gold to escape their crumbling cities, destroyed at the hands of Chaos.
Technologically-minded and doing their best to ape the chic aesthetic of sky pirates, the Kharadron Overlords come close to a Victorian’ inventor’s speculative perception of the 21st Century – all airborne inventions and rattling machinery. Their voracious appetite for profit, using their mercantile fleet to squeeze every last drop of gold from their traders, wouldn’t be out of place in Victorian Britain, either.
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Although primarily composed of sailors and merchants, their forces are heavily armoured and laden with old-timey guns and cannons. Pound enemy defences with thunderous salvos, before using your airborne transport ships to move infantry to the frontlines and finish them off.
But don’t leave them stranded, as the stout duardin’s little legs won’t be fast enough to outrun most opposing forces, should an overwhelming counterattack come to call. Kharadron sky vessels, however, can scoop them up, disengage from battle and fly high above the fray to escape harm. Get the hang of using your gunboats to bombard the enemy while keeping your duardin fighters in the right places at the right times, and you’ll find the Kharadron Overlords among the most powerful armies in the game.
Sentient trees. Trees possessed by cognisant spirits that bring to life hulking trunks of bark, and bring with them a vicious thirst to destroy anything that dares defile their sacred woodlands.
From the sapling-sized dryads to the mighty Treelords, the Sylvaneth are primarily concerned with protecting the Realm of Life and seek to protect nature from corrupting forces. But they’re no eco-pacifists, and will happily slice and dice anyone they perceive as a threat with their sharp mahogany talons. Splinters will be the least of your problems.
On the battlefield, the Sylvaneth excel at hit and run tactics, appearing on the battlefield to surprise the enemy and dish out damage, then ducking away to safety. Teleport across the tabletop to out-manoeuvre your opponents by quickly redeploying melee and ranged units right where you need them, to exploit gaps in the enemy’s fumbling, inflexible ranks.
A big part of this is their unique deployment mechanics, including the option to place up to half of your army in reserve and bring in new units mid-game. Keep your opponent guessing and infuriated by your surprise assaults.
DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE
Cultic followers of the aelven god of blood and battle, and followers of the sadistic, scheming Morathi, the Daughters of Khaine are a murderous gang of bloodthirsty rogues, delighting in fresh kills and spilling the blood of their enemies to momentarily satiate their merciless bloodlust and celebrate their god. Although they stand on the side of the righteous Stormcast Eternals, their allegiance stems more from a visceral hatred of Chaos than any genuine commitment to Order.
Quick-moving and agile, the Daughters of Khaine are one of the fastest armies on the table and revel in their ability to cut through enemy defences before your opponent can even begin to get a hold of the field.
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Use knives and whips to torment enemies, bloodying them until they are exhausted into submission. A mixture of lamias, harpies, and other snake-bodied monstrosities, you’ll be fielding an intimidating fighting force of fierce (and murderous) women.
But, while deadly on the offensive, their units are weak and easily cut down. Lose the momentum of your army, or allow your opponent to establish a strong, central defensive line, and your knife-wielding butchers will soon be nothing more than sacks of flesh on the flocked floor. Dance around the battlefield and keep moving to stay alive.
Muscular, bearded, and wearing naught but loincloths, Fyreslayers are warrior mercenaries fond of heavy axes and sick hairdos. Descendants of the fallen dwarf-god Grimnir, these duardin search the realms in pursuit of ur-gold, which they believe holds the fractured essence of their deity.
Smelting the gold into runes to graft onto their bare flesh, they gain preternatural strength that they incite in battle to crush enemies through sheer strength alone. They’ll sell their abilities to any bidder with enough ur-gold to satiate them.
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On the tabletop, Fyreslayers are a straightforward army to play. Near-unmatched in melee combat, but with poor ranged abilities and a complete lack of magical inclinations, they have a simple tactical plan – get close and wreak havoc in hand-to-hand combat.
Meanwhile, the gargantuan Magmadroths they ride into battle not only look like hulking, fire-breathing beasts, but act like it, too, bringing the pain to any poor creature that finds themselves under their claws. Oh, and the colour red. If you’re going to start collecting Fyreslayers, make sure you’re in the mood for crimson, because you’ll be seeing (and painting) a lot of it.
If you’ve ever thought miniature wargames are lacking a formidable representation of fish or thought cavalry would be best replaced by flying sharks, look no further than the Idoneth Deepkin, Age of Sigmar’s resident Atlantean warriors.
Battling to steal the souls of their enemies, to fill the gaping voids that exist within their own beings and extend their cursed lives, these tragic, aquatic lovelies are visually the silliest army in the game, fielding a panoply of warlike ocean creatures, from giant turtles with gnashing teeth to giant, taloned sea horses.
An elite army that consists of few units, a single battle will see you control only a handful of units, tailored to breaking enemy ranks through brute force. But most novel is the ‘tide’ mechanic, which sees the Idoneth Deepkin’s combat ability change with the shifting oceans. One stage of the tide will provide cover to your units, while another lets them fight first in the combat phase, regardless of the usual activation order.
Not a hugely varied army, and their rules are tailored to do one thing well. But if you like their appearance, then you can surely make room in your heart for their playstyle, too.
High aelves with amazing headwear. The Lumineth Realm-Lords combine the weaponry of a typical medieval army with powerful elemental magic. Cavalry lancers pierce enemy ranks, archers fill the sky with volleys of missiles, and pikemen form a tight defensive line, all while a colossal armoured spirit – half mountain, half cow (yes, as in the bovine, and endearingly nicknamed Battle Cattle) – swings a magical hammer the size of duardin skyship. Decked in gleaming white armour from head to toe, they’re staunch defenders of Order and will quell any corruption that crosses their path.
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The Lumineth Realm-Lords are a real tactician’s army on the tabletop. Position your units resourcefully to weather your enemy’s charge and return a punishing missile attack. But they’re also powerfully magical. Every unit of your army, down to the humble archer, is magically attuned, capable of collectively dispelling enemy casts and boosting their strength to pierce armour.
If your history with Warhammer is seeing one ancient White Dwarf cover featuring Warhammer Fantasy Battles’ gleaming, pointy-helmeted High Elves and thinking ‘wow, those white and blue guys look cool”, then friend, welcome to the Realm-Lords.
Anthropomorphic dinosaurs with a heavy dusting of Aztec aesthetic, these fierce reptilian warriors are leftovers from the world-that-was. Possessing an impassioned hatred for chaos, they direct all their predatory energy into defeating the corrupting forces and exacting vengeance for their lost homeland.
The Seraphon are one of the most versatile armies in the game. Nimble Skinks and hardy Saurus Warriors provide a solid infantry line, while living reptilian aircraft can swoop in to deal deadly crowd damage, and hulking earthbound dinosaurs are the centrepiece of the table. Whether you’re fielding the armoured Bastiladon or the triceratops-esque Stegadon, there’re enough scaly beasties to make Steven Spielberg jealous.
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And they aren’t all sharp teeth and bludgeoning clubs. Powerful toad-like Slaan mages and lizardman Starpriests bolster the faction’s ranks, casting effective defensive buffs as well as deadly ranged spells. Or, save your spellcasting and invest in conjuration to channel your magic-users’ celestial attunement and summon new units to the battle.
The Seraphon are a lot of fun. Their gargantuan size, variable units, and vivid colours make them visually distinct, and the variability of play makes for some engaging tactics that beg for return and refinement. Plus, who doesn’t want to command rampaging dinos across the table?
CITIES OF SIGMAR
A hodgepodge of disparate mortal races, the name Cities of Sigmar is a unifying banner for all ordinary folk that seek to protect the last remnants of the Old World from the forces that would destroy it.
The weaker armies band together in walled cities, collecting their strength to stave off the overwhelming threats that mount against them. Humans fight alongside duardin and aelves, grabbing pikes, swords, runic weapons, handguns and anything else this plucky band of Order-loving folks can bring to the table.
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No flashy deified lords or behemoths to field on the battlefield, the Cities of Sigmar get by on their diversity. Stick to an army of gunners in you’re so inclined, or mix it up with a smattering of aelven guardsmen and plodding duardin infantry. Mix some gyrocopters, arcane mages, and mythical beasts into the fray and you’ve got a bona fide potpourri of fighters.
Choosing one of the main free Cities from the Battletome (faction rulebook) can also give your army special rules and abilities, or even access to some other factions’ units. A great pick if you’re after variety above all else and want an eclectic bundle of sculpts to lay on the tabletop.
Slaves to Darkness
And so begins our journey through Grand Alliance Chaos.
Previously known simply as Chaos Warriors, the Slaves to Darkness are – at least most of the time – the clearest ‘bad guys’ of the piece. Zealot worshippers of the Chaos gods, these hefty mortal warriors clad themselves in thick, black plate armour decked out with horns, skulls, and an assortment of other trinkets that let everyone know they are just so evil, and don’t you forget it. Their poster-boy is the illustriously-named Archaon the Everchosen, champion of the four Chaos Gods and literal destroyer of worlds, who will ruthlessly slay lords and deities to advance the corrupting forces of Chaos. He ain’t playing around.
Central to Age of Sigmar lore, the Slaves to Darkness have a massive array of units at their disposal. You can form lines of evil black knights that hold their own in any melee, or raise a horde of marauding barbarian tribes, and even supplement them with feral chaos creatures with enticing names like “Slaughterbrute” and “Mutalith Vortex Beast”.
The army is geared towards standard close-combat – beefy units marching to the enemy, launching crushing melee attacks, while enemy blows bounce like pebbles off their magic-imbued battle armour. Hero units that look incredible and play well – from typical Chaos Lords to Daemon Princes – bring massive spellcasting capabilities that are easy to slot in. With few ranged units, though, be prepared for close quarters and the bloodiest view of war.
Blades of Khorne
Like the sound of Slaves of Darkness but want a little edge to your nefarious warring? Consider the Blades of Khorne and their daemonic forces for your next tabletop fancy. Crimson Bloodletter daemons, adept in gouging the vital organs of others in melee combat, rush to the frontlines of conflict, supported by a satanist’s dream dinner party of other devilish creatures – complete with pointy horns, serpent tongues, and bat wings. Other mortal cultists are along for the ride, sporting big axes and big abs.
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Subtlety has never been Warhammer’s watchword, and this army doesn’t know the meaning of it. Charge forward, hit anything you touch, rinse and repeat. With no ranged or magic units (the blood-god Khorne can’t stand either), and little defensive capabilities, they’re all about the attack. Stay on the attack, never give up the attack, and sure as hell don’t retreat, and you’ll probably do fine.
DISCIPLES OF TZEENTCH
Tzeentch is the Chaos God of Change, a schemer who relies on masterful sorcery to upend the natural order of things and manipulate the rules of the game. Often, this involves growing a new limb on the side of your body or sprouting some new eyes on the side of your head. The somewhat lighter side of Chaos, this army is full to the brim with brightly-coloured, capering Horrors and corrupted humans spliced with the heads and appendages of other animals.
A very magic-focused army, they have dozens of spells at their disposal to turn the tables in their favour. This might involve a few essential buffs, or even more brazen moments of trickery as you manipulate the dice. Also one of the few Chaos armies with respectable ranged units, the Disciples of Tzeentch tend to mix magic and missiles to secure victory.
Rat men. Humanoid rats that bring all the stink, pestilence, and wretchedness you’d expect from such a verminous race. Individually, they’re yellow-bellied and bitter, but they band together to form a domineering force of shocking strength and matted fur. They’re not all dumb rodents, though. Technologically inventive, the Skaven clans wield deadly inventions – from handheld bombs, to gatling guns, to lightning cannons – alongside arcane sorceries, and monstrous mutated, beastie-boy rats that hulk across the field to stamp warriors and chew flesh.
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Very much a horde army, Skaven send barrages of rats to overwhelm enemies and use pernicious condition attacks, like poisons and plagues, to chip away at their health. But be wary of your gutless troops, as they’ll turn and flee at the slightest retaliation – so rely on specialists to supplement the underlings.
Skaven lean into the fun side of Age of Sigmar. Snivelling rats that come in all shapes and sizes, their repulsiveness is as entertaining as their in-game strengths, and their striking (if often gross) larger models make for great sculpts to display off the battlefield, too.
Hedonites of Slaanesh
Zipping about the battlefield, cutting enemies down before they’ve had a chance to glimpse the clawed appendage that sliced them, the Hedonites of Slaanesh are all about speed.
Quick and graceful, these intoxicating, gender-bending daemons hit enemies fast and hard, hoping to deal enough damage in a first strike to leave the enemy so weakened they can’t muster the strength to cripple your precarious defences. Use speed to out-manoeuvre your opponent and run them in circles until you can launch your final, exquisite killing strike.
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A fairly recent addition to Age of Sigmar, there’s not masses of unit options available to build your army, and you’ll likely be fielding a mix of Daemonette infantry and Hellstriders – but their sub-factions make for some varied playstyles.
Arrogant, elegant and, probably, fragrant, the sexy, sensation-obsessed daemon children of the Dark Prince are a fantastic choice for anyone eager to subsume themselves into the welcoming arms of Chaos, but not keen on the butch machismo of the other gods’ armies.
Beasts of Chaos
Horns, hooves, and snouts – the Beasts of Chaos collect all the Chaotic fauna roaming the Mortal Realms under one banner. Some are savage human-like creatures with preternatural strength, others are chunky boulder-wielding behemoths, and still more are mutated chimerae, sprouting animal appendages from every orifice. They all share one common, simple goal – to destroy all civilisation until nothing remains but anarchic Chaos.
A huge – if mostly quite dated – range of models that look imposing on the tabletop, these aren’t the lumbering beasts you might expect, but fast-moving brutes that gallop up to the enemy’s frontline to get into a scrap. While not the most effective fighting force – with comparably weak attacks and fragile defences – the creativity of their models should be enough to pull you in if you like the idea of hoof-based warfare.
Maggotkin of Nurgle
All blighted skin and pus-filled abscesses, the Maggotkin of Nurgle are loyal followers of the Plague God, who devotedly spread his many poxes across the Realms. Organs spill out from the gaping holes in their flesh, and hideous tentacles pierce their putrid sides. When they’re not checking out what cool new medical afflictions have cursed they’re bodies, they’re busy gouging out the eyes of enemies (it makes more room for maggots).
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Apart from being gorgeously disgusting to look at, they also pose a formidable combat force. Massive daemon-spawn bring the scale you’d expect of any Chaos army, swinging swords or vomiting acidic bile, and the ‘noble cavalry on trusty steeds’ are mouldering Plaguebearer daemons, flying giant, plague-swollen mosquito mounts into battle to spread unholy contagion.
Physically decaying but imbued with their patron god’s fecund, regenerative power, they’re resilient to attacks and hard to kill for good, while leveraging the magic of their spellcasters for powerful damage combos. Ultimately, though, you do it for the sculpts – if you can hold down your breakfast while looking upon them, they are truly incredible.
Legions of Nagash
Leaving the malign forces of Chaos behind, we turn to an altogether colder, more calculating and tyrannical form of evil in the Mortal Realms: this is Grand Alliance Death – and we begin with the core armies of the Big Bony Bastard himself, the Legions of Nagash.
True to Nagash’s moniker as the Great Necromancer, scores of zombies, skeletons, and other undead delights make up the ranks of this army. Clad in the ancient remnants of armour they wore in life, they shuffle across the battlefield, eager to tighten their bony fingers around the neck of any unfortunate soul that opposes their master, and swiftly recruit that fresh spectre into their union.
The Legions of Nagash can be fielded in multiple forms. Elite Vampire Lords and Morghasts make for a terrifying central force, while armoured skeletons can be collected into board-controlling hordes of bony aggression, supported by mighty undead dragons and – of course – the Supreme Lord of the Undead himself, Nagash (one of the most magnificent, physics-defying sculpts Games Workshop has ever created). Domineering Lords also offer lots of hero options and combine command abilities to stack buffs on your undead servants. With no ranged units, bar a few offensive spellcasters, you’ll be getting up close and personal with those who mock your osseous physique.
But the primary appeal of this deathly cavalcade is their reticence to die. Many fallen soldiers can be quickly resurrected and returned to the frontlines, replenishing your forces mid-battle to withstand continuous onslaughts. You’ll be relying on these summoning and healing abilities to maintain your units long enough to wear down the enemy.
A spectral army of scythe-wielding and sword-toting apparitions, the Nighthaunt is Nagash’s elite vanguard, gliding across the battlefield to bring all living things the cold touch of death.
Clad in black hoods that morph into their ghostly lower halves, they bring cavalry, wraiths, and all manner of see-through soldiery to the field, all of them filled with an eternal hatred of those goody-two-shoes Stormcast Eternals.
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Hard-hitting and tough to kill (how do you kill a ghost, after all) the Nighthaunt are another forgiving army that’s easy to pick up but challenging to master.
Ignoring fatal wounds keeps their unit count high, and flying means they can circumvent enemy lines to pick off the defenceless. Although packed with hero units to support a solid frontline, keep them well-defended or the destruction of those figureheads will leave the rest of your force dissipating into so much harmless vapour.
Slavering, cannibalistic ghouls that got on the wrong side of Nagash, the Flesh-Eater Courts have long been afflicted with tragic delusion that they are whole, living creatures organised into noble, royal courts.
Thinking themselves kings on thrones, chivalrous knights pursuing noble deeds, storied pennants fluttering, et cetera, they’re permanently unaware of their grotesque forms and bestial, flesh-eating proclivities.
Rotting skin, flesh-eating monstrosities, and abominable bat-like horrors hallmark the Flesh-Eater Courts, who surge across the battlefield in packs of feral infantry, interspersed with great skeletal beasts.
Possessing some of the more powerful summoning abilities among the armies of Death, they can maintain enough units to wear down the enemy – and you’ll need to bring a lot of them, since these misshapen sacks of flesh have weak saving throws. With no ranged units, you’ll be relying on your spellcasting and heavy creature attacks to make major dents in the enemy.
Aristocratic vampires who are as monstrously macabre as they are pallidly chic. These bloodsuckers are cursed to forever lust for sweet, sweet drops of blood, and serve the will of Nagash in exchange for monstrous powers and inhuman strength. Descended from ancient bloodlines, the Soulblight Gravelords are split into various dynasties that stem from powerful matriarchs and patriarchs – all with their own heraldries and themes, of course.
Under these vampiric leaders are vast legions of undead fiends, raised in shambling warbands to crush the life from the Mortal Realms. Functionally, this means the Soulblight Gravelords rely on swarms of Deathrattle Skeletons and Deadwalker Zombies to bulk out their ranks, while pepperings of elite glass cannons swoop in for sporadic, but massive damage.
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There’s also a heavy emphasis on theme. The army’s five subfactions greatly differ in playstyles, and the gorgeous Soublight character models, each one belonging to its own dynasty, are intended to be paired with a specific bloodline and units. The half-wolf Belladamma Volga provides support boosts to Dire Wolves, while Lauka Vai, Mother of Nightmares betters suits push-your-luck offensive play. There’s masses of room for versatility guided by thematic rulesets. Plus, the miniatures look amazing.
The martial Ossiarch Bonereapers are the closest the alliance of Death comes to refinement. Dispensing with the shambling skeletons and disorganised zombies that hallmark other armies, this faction offers tough, disciplined troops that can be trusted to hold the line and follow orders. They represent Nagash’s intended transformation of the Mortal Realms – the perfection of his deathly touch, in the form of elite enforcers made from magically-reforged bone and strong armour.
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A tanky army that’s durable to attacks and shrugs off blows without a second thought, they leverage combos of powerful abilities to deal high damage in quick succession. Reanimated human and other remains are still very much their main motif, but they’ve also got a chic Egyptian-theme going on, with a touch of east Asian design thrown in to prove it’s not entirely just a re-skin of Warhammer Fantasy’s ever-popular Tomb Kings.
With lots of intricate sculpts, the Ossciarch Bonereapers will test your painting skills and have you highlighting more human ribs than you thought possible.
Enough of this fancy-pants, good and evil nonsense; it’s time for some good old fashioned smashin’, as we examine Grand Alliance Destruction, starting with its keenest, and indeed greenest proponents, the Orruk Warclans.
Typical greenskins. Aggressive, muscular, and beastly, with thick skulls and sharp tusks, many orruks clad themselves in brightly painted sheet metal armour, while others incite shamanic rituals to call down the winds of magic and enhance their fighting ability. Always on the hunt for big prey, these Waaagh!-hungry monoliths of muscle will throw themselves into the throes of combat to prove themselves to their chosen gods – the deceptively poetic Gork and Mork.
The current ‘Orruk Warclans’ force is an amalgamation of two early Age of Sigmar armies – the Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz. Players can field an army aligned to one or the other to incur specialised abilities and form a more directed playstyle, or pledge allegiance the Big Waaagh! and put aside tribal differences for the sake of the slaughter. Their abilities are designed to accelerate the offensive and rewards players for risky assaults.
This army isn’t for hesitant players who care for the safety of their troops, but those preferring to plunge their forces in the heart of a melee. Big, boisterous, and loud. Make sure to buy lots of green paint.
The Orruks’ shorter, skinnier, but no less deadly cousins, these conniving backstabbers kit out their forces with a selection of creepy creatures, and worship a partially-sentient planetoid, The Bad Moon, vying for its affection and celestial power.
Snivelling grots, rotund squigs, cumbersome troggoths, and fearsome giant spiders, the forces of the Gloomspite Gitz are perhaps the closest Age of Sigmar comes to slapstick comedy. Yes, they’re wicked and slimy creatures that won’t think twice about spilling your guts on the floor, but there’s something hilariously endearing about a goblin shaman struggling to balance on a walking toadstool.
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Another versatile faction, the Gitz can be played as a horde army to overwhelm the enemy through sheer volume of units, a magic army that concentrates on damage-dealing spellcasters to turn enemy forces into goop from afar, or a cavalry-led force charging headfirst into the fray on their many-legged mounts. They also make for great painting, with a variety of cartoonish sculpts to draw every eye on the battlefield.
Introduced in Age of Sigmar’s third edition launch box, Dominion, the Kruleboyz are another faction of Greenskins. While the Orruk Warclans are beefy and bellicose, and the Goomspite Gitz rabid and rowdy, this lot are cunning and devious. Hiding in swampy bogs, they were unknown to most players in the Mortal Realms, only revealing themselves to follow the ancient deity Kragnos in his destructive rampage.
As a new faction, official lore is scant, and favoured playstyles even sparser. So far, we’ve seen a lot of melee units with appropriately silly names like ‘Hobgrot Slittaz’ or ‘Killaboss with Stab-grot’, as well as a few beasties to go along with them. They sport venom-encrusted weapons that can quickly dispatch enemies on favourable dice rolls, but their full potential is yet to be discovered.
If you want to take your forces up a size, consider the Ogor Mawtribes. Composed of tough-as-nails, ten-foot-tall ogors (that’s ogres, you’re welcome for the translation) that sling about massive warhammers and clubs to turn their enemies into sticky puddles of goop with in one fell swoop. It’s not all close combat, though, as some units some carry full-size cannons in their arms. They’ve also got a whole ice age theme going for them – riding woolly mammoths into battle.
Third edition: Read our review of Dominion and its contents
The Ogors are nearly the pinnacle of elite armies. With a very high unit cost, you’ll be fielding only a handful of units per game, relying on their ability to withstand blows and access to healing to keep your big lads alive long enough to flatten swathes of enemies. The low unit count also makes them a great pick if you’re not keen on painting, but want to quickly jump into a battle.
Sons of Behemat
Titans of the Realms that strangle dragons, kick down city walls, and wield giant, uprooted tree trunks like baseball bats, this army of giants has no equal in size. Plodding around the battlefield half-drunk and wrapped in animal hides, ropes, trinkets, and (sometimes gory) pendants, the Sons of Behemat aren’t the most complex of creatures, nor the most complex of armies to play – move them forward and hope to wipe out the enemy before they whittle down your prodigious health.
Although they can stand as an individual army, the giants are intended to supplement existing forces – in the manner of an Imperial Knight in Warhammer 40k – and can add some extra might to any one of the four alliances.
The Sons of Behemat have one major appeal – their size. Pushing literal giants across the battlefield to tower over your puny opponents brings an egotistical gratification matched by little else in the game. With each army composed of two or three units, it’s a great choice for anyone opposed to painting scores of identical miniatures – although that’s not to say painting one of these gargantuan units isn’t a gargantuan task.