There is no entry-level Warhammer Age of Sigmar army quite as versatile as the Stormcast Eternals. Frequently (and aptly) compared to Warhammer 40k’s Space Marines, they’re pretty good at just about everything, possess one of the best defensive lines on the table, can counter tough abilities thanks to their effective Stormhost subfaction rules, and boast exemplary shooting and magic abilities. Whether you’re playing with them, or against them, any Age of Sigmar player should know the basics about these guys – so read on for a nifty primer on Stormcast Eternals lore and tactics.
If you’re a beginner player, Stormcast Eternals are one of the easier factions to pick up, as they’ll operate well even if you make some mistakes – allowing for a much friendlier learning curve. Even if you’re not looking to rack up your competitive skills, the Stormcast Eternals could still be an ideal choice for their sheer simplicity; since their base units are all strong independently, building lists is easy, flexible, low maintenance stuff.
Plus, if you do get hooked on the game, you’ve got the added benefit that the Stormcast Eternals are Games Workshop’s highly-promoted flagship Age of Sigmar army, consistently kept front and centre in the game’s main storyline – so you certainly won’t find yourself short of support or model options in the future.
If you want to pick up a very individual, idiosyncratic force with its own distinct concept or aesthetic – or one which, in exchange for more complexity, allows you to push one specific in-game strategy to the absolute max – you’re probably better off with one of the other Age of Sigmar armies – check out our guides to the Soulblight Gravelords and Skaven, for example.
If, however, you’re after a well-rounded, highly accessible faction – with just enough complexity and nuance to dip into if and when you fancy it – then these folks are for you. But who wants to play with models they know nothing about? Time to delve into the Stormcast Eternals’ lore, Stormhosts, characters, and tactics.
Stormcast Eternals lore
Shimmering guardians, exemplars, and foot soldiers of Grand Alliance Order, the Stormcast Eternals are the God-King Sigmar’s response to the swarm of threats that blights the Mortal Realms. Brave young tearaways or old, grizzled soldiers, heroes of the Realms are plucked from the battlefield, and reforged into warriors of sigmarite and living lightning in the heavenly Realm of Azyr.
Each reforging makes the Stormcast Eternals more divine - and less human
During this process, these heroes are reshaped in body and mind, rising as immortal, shining warriors ready to fight the ills of the Realms. Stormcast Eternals cannot be killed through ordinary means; if slain in battle, their soul is transmitted back to Azyr, there to be ‘reforged’ in a new body, and sent back into the fray once more. Somewhat miraculous in nature, this ritual of ‘reforging’ can erode these warriors in distinctive ways, causing them to lose memories, sapping their humanity and sense of self, or giving them strange and supernatural effects. By experiencing numerous reforgings, Stormcast Eternals become progressively more divine and less human – knowing they have no alternative but to continue fighting the armies of Chaos, and all Sigmar’s enemies, for all of eternity.
Stormcast Eternals Stormhosts
In another direct parallel with Warhammer 40k’s Adeptus Astartes, the Stormcast Eternals are divided into subfactions called Stormhosts, closely analogous with Space Marine chapters.
Each Stormhost has its own colour scheme, iconography, backstory, and lore, while some of the most prominent – like the Anvils of Heldenhammer or Hallowed Knights – get their own specific in-game rules and abilities as well. It’s therefore a good idea, before painting your Stormcast Eternals army, to see if there is a particular Stormhost that complements your desired playstyle, narrative, or fashion sense.
Colours of the storm: Read our guide to painting miniatures
That said, it’s equally important to remember that these are your models, and you can paint them however you like – so, even if you’re going to use the rules for a particular Stormhost, you should feel free to invent your own variant, with a unique colour scheme and backstory. Unless you happen to be going to a strictly canon-narrative-adherent event, this shouldn’t ruffle anyone’s feathers too much (nobody you’d want to play with, anyway).
Just for the record, here are all the current official Stormcast Eternals Stormhosts in Age of Sigmar 3rd Edition:
|Stormhost||Has its own rules in Battletome?|
|Anvils of Heldenhammer|
|Blades of Dawn|
|Fists of Sigmarite|
|Hammers of Sigmar|
|Knights of Azyr|
|Knights of the Aurora|
|Lions of Sigmar|
|Maelstrom of Light|
|Radiant Suns of Sigmar|
|Sons of Mallus|
|Sons of the Gladius|
|Sons of the Storm|
|The Bloodied Dawn|
|The Silent Host|
Stormhosts with a green tick mark have their own in-game rules provided in the Stormcast Eternals Battletome; each grants your army access to a specific Allegiance Ability, Command Ability, Command Trait, and Artefact of Power, which can help shape your tactics and game plan.
Perfidious ratmen: Read our Age of Sigmar Skaven faction focus
As with other Warhammer Age of Sigmar or Warhammer 40k armies, you don’t have to organise your army around a particular subfaction (or, in this case, Stormhost) but it does help provide your army lists with more strategic focus, once you’re a bit more familiar with how the vanilla Stormcast Eternals play.
Who are the Stormcast Eternals Characters?
As with any Age of Sigmar faction, there is a swathe of characters available to bolster your Stormcast Eternals army. Here’s a run down of the biggest, shiniest names:
Also known as Lady Arcane, Astreia Solbright is the Lord-Arcanum of the Shimmersouls, the top-ranking Sacrosanct Chamber of the Hammers of Sigmar Stormhost. Renowned for her intellect, Astreia spends her time searching for a cure to a mysterious ailment affecting her warriors – mostly by leading them on endless hunts to slay undead creatures of all kinds.
Aventis Firestrike is another Lord-Arcanum, whom the God-King has also granted the title of Magister of Hammerhal (one of the greatest of the Cities of Sigmar). With surpassing magical talent, and a manifest hatred for Chaos, Aventis swoops into battle on his impressive Tauralon steed, Loithar.
Bastian Carthalos is the Lord-Commander of the Hammers of Sigmar Stormhost. As shown in his spiffy new model, revealed as part of the wave of new Stormcast models following the Dominion box set, Bastian wields an almighty two-handed hammer (and can summon thunderbolts from Azyr, if brute force alone won’t shift the enemies in his path).
Also called ‘The First Scion of Sigmar’, the gigantic, metal-winged Celestant-Prime is the first Stormcast Eternal ever to have been forged by Sigmar. He leads all Lord-Commanders, and only answers to the God-King himself.
Born into servitude in the bowels of a Chaos citadel, and captured while escaping it in a slave rebellion he started, Gavriel Sureheart was saved and reforged by Sigmar at the split-second of his execution. He is now a legendary Lord-Celestant of the Hammers of Sigmar, using his sharp combat skills to lead the Stormcast Eternals into battle.
Neave Blacktalon is a Knight-Zephyros of the Shadowhammers, a Vanguard-Chamber of the Hammers of Sigmar. A somewhat mysterious character, Neave appears entirely driven by a sense of duty to Sigmar, and Order, as opposed to personal glory or revenge. Very fast, and very deadly with her twin Whirlwind Axes, she’s the very definition of a melee ‘blender’ character.
Ordinarily seen mounted atop his mighty Dracoth steed Calanax, Vandus Hammerhand is another outstanding Lord-Celestant of the Hammers of Sigmar Stormhost.
A blacksmith and tribal leader in his previous, mortal life, he saw his people massacred by the servants of the Chaos god Khorne – and is thus imbued with a stronger than average desire for revenge (combined, of course, with uncommon martial talents). Like his Lord-Commander, Bastian Carthalos, Vandus favours a huge hammer in battle.
Yndrasta, The Celestial Spear
Yndrasta is a near-mythical Lord of Azyr who, like the Celestant-Prime, takes her orders directly from Sigmar. Equipped with the legendary spear Thengavar, Yndrasta stalks the Realm of Beasts, hunting monsters and takings their heads as grisly trophies. Introduced in 2021’s Dominion box, she also currently seems to hold the award for ‘most widely converted model in Warhammer Age of Sigmar’.
Stormcast Eternals tactics
Stormcast Eternals are now – and are pretty certain to remain – a well-rounded army that can adjust to various playstyles. Typically, you’ll usually want to let your opponent come to you, since Stormcast Eternals defensive lines are strong, and you can use your aggressive units to flank their rear.
Stormcast Eternals tactics are flexible and easy to grasp
Games can sometimes take a little while, since you’ll often be playing somewhat defensively, holding ground and waiting to counteract whatever your opponent does – but even this pacing can be worked around by tailoring your lists for faster units, if that’s what you decide you’d prefer. Stormcast Eternals tactics are flexible and easy to grasp, but tricky to master, which makes them the ideal tabletop training for any Age of Sigmar beginner.
That said, with one hefty batch of new units added to the Stormcast Eternals roster in the recently released, limited edition Dominion box, and several more revealed to be on the way in its wake (step forward, the Vanquishers, Vigilors, Knight-Judicator, and Thunderstrike Chariots), we can expect at least some remixing of Stormcast Eternals tactics in coming months. The army is getting full size, bona fide dragons and units of dragon-mounted cavalry soon, for one thing.
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Not to worry, though – the Stormcast remain the shiny, welcoming face of Age of Sigmar, and will never stray too far from its core role as a forgiving, adaptable, take-all-comers faction that you can learn easily, and mould quickly to your preferred playstyle. Don’t sweat it over tactics straight away – just go with the rule of cool to begin with.
Stormcast Eternals Battletome
Be aware, though, that everyone’s favourite reforged holy warriors in shining sigmarite could be seeing something of a tactical shake-up very soon, as the brand new Stormcast Eternals Battletome is due out in September, and, given how long the current book has been knocking about, we could be in for some significant rules changes.
This guide will be expanded to cover the new Battletome
When the new Battletome does arrive, though, don’t panic – there’ll be all sorts of new builds, combos, and unit abilities to try out, in your own time – and this guide will be right here to break down some of the book’s strongest content, to help you on your way. While the competitive power of one unit or another will inevitably wax and wane with new rulebooks (and the ‘meta’ of the opponents you tend to play against) all your favourite models will still have their place, one way or another.
Starting a Stormcast Eternals army
Even if you weren’t lucky enough to grab Age of Sigmar: Dominion, as a Stormcast Eternals player, you’re spoiled with low cost ways to get started. The new Age of Sigmar starter sets – Warrior, Harbinger, and Extremis – are the obvious choice, as any would provide you a small starter Stormcast force, at a discount versus buying individual kits.
Whichever one you choose, we’d recommend a squad of Judicators next – a brilliant battleline unit, these superhuman archers are famously powerful, and will give your fledgling army some much needed ranged punch. If you went for a smaller starter set, you’ll also want to build out your melee-fighting frontlines (and spellcasting options) with some magic-wielding, mace-toting Sequitors.
Beyond that, though – now more than ever – you should be guided mainly by what you like the look of most!
The Stormcast Eternals have a massive roster of character models; four types of battleline troops (not counting the new ones from Dominion); various magical attaché units from the Sacrosanct Chambers; four flavours of heavy cavalry riding hulking, reptilian Dracoth mounts; and a hell of a lot more besides – and we won’t know which of them are ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ (competitively speaking) until the new book comes out. So, follow your heart for the time being – there’ll always be time to tailor your army later.
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That about wraps up our beginner’s guide to the God-King’s own shining, sigmarite-clad paragons, the Stormcast Eternals. They truly are Age of Sigmar’s best beginner army, thanks to their versatility, ongoing support through popularity, and ever-growing range of stunning models.