AoS: Wanderers & Sylvaneth Lessons Learned



Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk about some of what I’ve learned in Age of Sigmar with my Wanderers & Sylvaneth Warband.

Hello all, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk about some of what I’ve learned in Age of Sigmar with my Wanderers & Sylvaneth Warband so far. Be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more Age of Sigmar tips and tricks!

Wanderers 101

So now that I’m about a dozen games in with my Warband, I feel like I’m starting to get a good feel for how it plays. Wanderers are a finesse army for sure, they are fragile and don’t hit terribly hard in general terms (with a few notable exceptions) but they are FAST. They also have the inherent advantage of being a primarily shooting force in a game that definitely favors shooting over melee. I would LOVE to see some improvements to melee by increasing the number of models that actually get to swing in combat. In our games, big melee units can all get killed in a fight but cannot all swing. It creates situations where they feel like a bit of a liability. If you could swing with more models in a unit than just the first row or two, it’d be a bit more equitable. But, as it stands, you cannot. Therefore, shooting units that can fire at full efficacy–even while in combat–simply are more efficient than their melee counterparts. Perhaps with more experience that opinion will be overturned, but as is that is where our entire studio is at.


Frankie’s Magmadroth! Still WIP, but looking awesome!

The notable exception to this of course, is monsters/characters. They get to concentrate all of their force into a single model and as such, get all of their swings in melee which means we see them doing more damage than entire units of infantry models. Again, a simple and easy fix would be to allow large units of models to swing deeper into the unit so you actually get to utilize more of the models in a squad, but, that is perhaps a topic for another article!


My WIP Durthu

Durthu Tricks

So, back to big monsters! I have been using one of my favorite models in our 50 wound games: Durthu…and WOW! He is a complete beast. Looking at the rumors of a 400pt price tag, I have to say that that is absolutely fair. He is just monstrous.

My first game with him he ate a couple of cannonballs to the face and was turned into Kindling with a quickness. I didn’t really understand how to use his Tree Singing ability and totally misplayed him. However, now I have the trick to using his abilities to maximum effect and he is a beast!


Reinforcements: Trees!

He’s slow as mud with move 5″, but when you use his ability to teleport from Sylvaneth Wyldwood to Sylvaneth Wyldwood, he becomes crazy fast. You just have to plan a few turns ahead to make it work for you. We used the South Coast GT guidelines for placing two Wyldwoods before deployment (minus their offensive abilities) as that felt fair to us. I place them along the middle line of the board to give me lots of options for movement. Then, I leave one corner of my deployment zone empty of all models so that Durthu can create a Wood in the Hero Phase in order to teleport to one of the central Woods on turn 2. Alternatively you can place one of the Woods in your deployment zones so you can start flying around the table on turn 1! First though, be sure to try and cast Shield of Thorns on him with Sisters of the Thorn as it allows him to reroll saves. While in the Woods, his save goes up to a 2+, which means only weapons with Rend or Mortal Wounds are going to damage him. As he pops up 9″ away from enemy units when teleporting, it is unlikely he is going to make a charge that turn, so he needs to max out his defense to survive the inevitable attention he will receive. This is a good example of why you really need the ability to deal Mortal Wounds in your army, even if just Arcane Bolt from a Wizard. In AoS, big nasty Monsters get weaker as they take damage, and especially Durthu becomes MUCH less potent after taking just 3 wounds.


Image by Hobby Hammer

So, with Durthu in place to pounce on turn 2 or 3, and hopefully in range to blast a unit with his Lamentations of Despair, you have applied a LOT of pressure to your opponent. They either have to go all in to destroy Durthu, or move away from him and hope to stay away. Either way, you are imposing your will on the battlefield which plays to your advantage.

If Durthu goes into melee with 10+ wounds…wow. It is brutal to see. His Sword automatically does 6 wounds which is devastating. I had him destroy an 18 strong unit of Fyreslayers in a single attack! Not normal of course, but he just wrecks things. With his high save–particularly when buffed with Shield of Thorns–if the enemy can’t inflict Mortal Wounds they will struggle to deal with him.


Image by Blackmoor


The other little bad ass in my army is this chieftain! The Shadowdancer is such an amazing support character. Formerly known as a Wardancer Lord, the Shadowdancer is pretty mild on her own being very fragile but with solid offense and speed, however, her spell is simply amazing. Bridge of Shadows is a 5+ spell that allows a unit of Wanderers to double their move and count as Flying…wow! You take an already fast army and double their speed and you get insane levels of mobility. I use it on Warhawk Riders and Glade Riders who can threaten nearly any part of the table with lightening speed. They don’t hit that hard, but they are awesome for move blocking and hunting Wizards, MSU shooting units as well as artillery.


Image by GoldMundsWelt

Lastly, Waywatchers are just mean! With tons of shots or 2 wound shots, defensive buffs and more, these guys are incredible! Worth every point, I take 2 units of them in every army I play. They have never let me down and my opponents always make them a high priority target.


Image by MiniCreatures

I’m sure I still have tons to learn, but so far in our games these simple tricks have helped me to win more games than I lost with my Warband! Age of Sigmar has been such a pleasant surprise as a game when you simply add in some sensible restrictions. We are pumped for the impending General’s Handbook and think that that will be what brings this game into its own. Also, we’re launching an Age of Sigmar podcast this Thursday, The Ninth Realm! Be sure to find us on iTunes if you are interested in tuning in.

And oh yeah, those new Sylvaneth models are just ridonculously amazing! Can’t wait to get my hands on them.



Thanks for reading and remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

~Exciting Times – you can almost feel Age of Sigmar growing by the day.

  • dave long island

    Double introductory sentence: What does it mean??!!?!?

    • ZeeLobby

      It’s a CLONE!

  • Zingbaby

    Man, just as I was starting to really like AoS here comes Reecius with a new podcast to make sure we all WAAC-out and hate it like 40K.

    • ZeeLobby

      I mean I’m hoping they wrote balance into the handbook, and non-abusable rules. If they did that then WAAC-ing can only go so far.

      • Zingbaby

        People will always find a way. I think GW has secretly always understood that their customer base is “special” — but it seems that now they are finally fully embracing that, so maybe they’ll provide some anti-jerk checks and balances in this one.

        • ZeeLobby

          That’d be nice.

      • The points are based on scgt points which heavily favor under pointed heroes and monsters.

        By summer’s end we will have a tournament meta that tea bags the rest of the game just like classic whfb and 40k, i’d stake anything on that.

        • ZeeLobby

          Which is sad if that’s the case. Maybe they need to rehire some game designers, lol.

          • All the competent ones have gone off and formed their own companies, so I don’t see that happening.

          • ZeeLobby

            Wheres the fresh blood though, haha. They could even reach out to other game industries.

          • The talented fresh blood is being hired away by all the lighter, faster, younger companies or by the video games industry.

            What’s left after that is… well, the last time GW tried to hire a young gun we got Mat Ward.

          • ZeeLobby

            I hate to say it, but you’re probably right… the plus is at least there’s a bunch of good alternatives out there now

          • We’re kind of in a golden age of wargaming right now. Ten years ago, you had the GW stable, and this plucky little startup called Warmachine… and that was about it, since a lot of the other first gen games (Vor, Warzone, etc.) had died off by that point.

            Here in 2016… pick a genre, pick a scale, and you’ll find a dozen games that fill whatever niche you’re looking for. There is a staggering variety available to us, from third-gen juggernauts like X-Wing and Bolt Action to boutique euro-style, almost-indie games like Raging Heroes and Kingdom Death.

            …and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has a range of absolutely gorgeous miniatures to go with it. The kind of production technology available to even small manufacturers these days was a pipe dream even as little as a decade ago, and with the impending rise of 3D Printing over the next decade as well as companies like GW and Wyrd continuing to push large-scale technologies forward, that situation is only going to improve with time.

            I don’t even think we’ve hit the peak of this explosion of choice in the industry yet. Crowdfunding has allowed ever-smaller companies to put out fantastic products and leverage that success into new companies, and I think the best is yet to come.

            It’s a good time to be a wargamer.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yup. Awesome :D.

  • SacTownBrian

    How are you getting Durthu into the woods? Are you playing 40k/house rules where you ignore the terrain? Do you use really big and open custom terrain? Since he can’t fit in a normal Wild Woods and you can’t toe in such big models now seems like he should not be getting the save bonus.

    • Ross Howard

      If you’re talking about removing tree’s I think it’s an interesting house rule you’ll see people play differently.

      With the woods, if the tree’s are removable usually I’ll tell me opponent that I’ll be removing trees to make room for units and I’m happy for them to do so also. But if there’s resistance then we’ll dice for it.

      Removing tree’s to make room makes it massively simpler to move models around.

      • Brettila

        Most people use a piece of felt and a couple of trees.

      • SacTownBrian

        Except you don’t ignore terrain in AoS. Terrain becomes massively important for movement, placement and bonuses. Removing trees from a Sylvaneth Wildwood makes that piece of terrain something other than a Sylvaneth Wildwood. Do you also ignore the vertical distance of walls? Do you house rule that you abstract all movement and distances to the base? Just curious what the tournament players are going to do with the rules as all of that basically makes it a different game and removes a lot of the strategy from model placement.

        • Emdee

          Not sure where the +1 save comes from either. I don’t know the rules that well, but I don’t recall being able to boost your save with woods. The spirit path thing only needs to be within 3″.

        • Ross Howard

          Na vertical inches all play a part, I play a lot of Mordheim so that’s all force of habit. But we ignore crap like 1″ range foot troops not being able to hit flyers. Removing trees to make room for units is a hangover from 8th for me and my group. For us not being able to fit a treeman in a wyldwood is nonsensical.

          We’ve been with AOS since launch and have played under Clash and SCGT so a lot of people will say we’ve picked up bad habits but honestly we’ve put the effort in and made the game work for us. But we’re aware of the fact that people think tree’s should be static so there’s always a discussion ahead of time.

          We measure from bases for sure. If you have 25mm infantry it makes life very easy. I know that a 25mm bases is less than 1″ so with that knowledge I know straight away that the a line of halberdiers with 1″ range will be able to attack in two ranks if the second rank is base to base with the first. Whereas Fyreslayers on 32mms won’t be able to.

          Having listened to the Facehammer Podcast on the new Sylvaneth army there was a lot of talk about surfing treemen in forests using a spell etc so given that Russ wrote the comp for SCGT I reckon the tournaments he runs will favour removable trees.

          One of their members even suggested bringing two forests. One is the citadel wyldwood. The other is a piece of felt with a single tree. If your opponent disagrees that tree’s are removable, use the piece of felt.

          I honestly think GW scored an own-goal with that rule as they’ve created an army that performs well in and around a terrain piece that if the tree’s are fixed make it awkward for most of the army and completely useless for the remainder

        • Ross Howard

          Also we started out with fixed tree’s but it wasn’t cheese that drove us to abandon the idea. Nobody was bothered about not being able to camp a Steam Tank in there for a juicy save. It was moving infantry into and out of it. Pure awkwardness

  • OldHat

    I think the points I have seen help with any balance issues pointed out in Monsters vs Infantry. My Bloodreavers are 60pt for 10 dudes. Durthu is like 400pt. He should literally obliterate stuff, because he is a big bad tree dude, while my little mortal (albeit very buff) warriors will struggle to topple him. Makes sense.

    Good to see some AoS coverage and I hope it picks up even more after the Handbook hits. I just lament any potential WAACing of the game.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah, the coverage is promising. Hope it picks up, and hopefully overshadows the dying dog that is 40k. WAACing is really up to the players. Have you played in many events where you think it’d be a problem? So far the only AoS players I’ve met seem to be pretty “one of everything” types.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        I have run into a few waac AoS players, and they have all played stormcast…. Interesting eh?

        • Brettila

          Most people play their old WFB armies, which is perfect. Then there are those who are doing their utmost to max out the cheese. This is accomplished with Stormcasts. They can shoot you off the table in 2 turns or erase your army with mortal wounds. These should be harder to come by as they are automatic vs. practically everything. Unfortunately the Dracoths and many infantry squads get them. 4 starsoul maces per unit is 4d3 mortal wounds per turn. Oh, after being teleported to a charge…

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Yeah it is so much firepower. The older legacy armies can not repel power of that magnitude! When their flying axe throwers fire farther than any of my cannons or warmachines / big monsters.. there is a problem. I really hate those javelin tossers too! Then if I fire my Warp lightning cannon back all I hear is that weapon is broken! Even though they out range it, and have multiple wounds a piece and can one shot it in return fire!

            Let’s also not forget to mention they can have shields giving them a 3+ save with rerolls of ones! Failing that, they can have a priest thing that restores d3 wounds a turn! Thank god they have no real answer to magic! Oh wait, you can take a caster from any army, especially ones in GA order…. So much for obliterating them with magic attacks / debuffs

            Which I am fine with all the above if all the other armies can do such crazy things too! I really haven’t bothered to read the new rules for the dwarves, or the new orruks etc. Hopefully they have all been made to do similar things to keep them pseudo balanced. Also now with points again and defining what is and isn’t a battle line unit, that should help cut down the stupid stuff stormcasts were capable of.

        • ZeeLobby

          Hahaha. Go figure. SpezMarines!!!

      • OldHat

        Not run into any ….yet. I am in a heavily competitive 40k spot (Central NC) and I wonder if they will carry over. Thus far, its just me and my bud and we both are more about the look/feel/fluff than WAAC. Though we are still getting into it and hoping to drive interest… so you know, we will probably see someone try to be a dick. It happens. I am with you though – it is up to the players to police that behavior. 😀

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah. Solid balance from GW will help though. Many WAAC lists, and feeding WAAC mentality, usually originates from poorly written rules/combos. Hopefully those will be at a minimum since AoS was rewritten from the ground up and all rules released at once.

          That said, jerks will be jerks, lol.

    • Adrien Fowl

      Excuse my utter ignorance, what is that WAAC you all are talking about?

      • Hades

        It means Win At All Cost. It’s seen by some as playing ‘competitively’ and by others as ‘ruddy annoying’. There can be less fluffy construction in a WAAC army as the player choses units that will help them win rather than characterful or fun units. It’s all up to the player of course and how they like to play with their toy soldiers.

        • Valourousheart

          I believe there is huge difference between playing competitively and WAAC. Playing competitively just requires a spirit of competition between you and your opponents even outside of tournaments. WAAC on the other hand generally involves a very biased interpretation of the rules to create cross-Codex super combinations that statistically can’t fail.

          • Hades

            Yes, you’re right – apologies. I did not want to insinuate that that competitive always means WAAC but meant that WAAC players see how they do things in their interpretation as ‘competitive’.

          • This is true, though WAAC is a subset of competitive play – it is not fair to say all competitive players are WAAC.

          • Valourousheart

            Sort of. Most people when they talk about competitive play are talking about tournaments. But you don’t have to go to tournaments to have competitiveness with the people you play. You also don’t have to go to tournaments to take highly abusive lists (WAAC). In short WAAC isn’t just a problem with the tournament scene.

          • To be clear, when I talk about competitive play I am talking about two players bringing the most powerful list as possible where narrative considerations are largely ignored. These can be in a tournament, or in the shop at a pick up game or in someone’s garage. Its a style of play where the story and all takes a back seat to math and spreadsheets and odds and probability maxing. (also known as min/maxing)

            So correct WAAC is not just limited to tournaments, though you should expect WAAC play at tournaments. The problem that I see a lot is when WAAC play leaks into casual play, which is a fairly common occurrence I’ve found.

  • Aaditya Rangan

    Are waywatchers still in the game? Their legacy warscroll is pretty ridiculous (better than 2 glade guard) and they are not in the order alliance book. I’ve been playing mine as regular glade guard.

    In my games I’ve found that melee is far *more* powerful than shooting; you fight twice as often after all. If you’re having trouble getting models in range you can take weapons that have a reach of 2″; it seems to me that models get stranded outside of melee range only in the most rare of situations.

    • Brettila

      Yes, Reece, the trick of AoS is learning the subtleties of things like moving and piling in. Your move/turning of bases, plus maneuvering your pile-in is a way to increase the number of models attacking. Models in base can still slide over during pile-in for instance.

      • Ben_S

        Personally I find this a real problem with the game. Winning doesn’t depend on strategy or even dice rolls, but knowing how to fiddle your models around to do most damage. It’s not exactly a loophole – it’s entirely in the rules – but I don’t like games where such ‘tricks’ are so crucial to winning.

  • Hades

    If you’re bemoaning the fact that you are struggling to get units into combat, try smaller units. It’s a skirmish game. With charge & pile in moves, you get decent opportunity to get your men into combat. For units that get bonuses for 20+ models etc you take the bonus but you won’t get 20+ guys fighting – just like it was in old WH fantasy and you know, history.

  • Aezeal

    Waywatchers are nice but sisters of the watch have a potential for even more damage. Though the 3 man units With a champ With andere extra shot makes for cheap battlelinetax.

  • Paul Jacoby

    Frankly, I’m shocked the author didn’t mention the special abilities for
    Branchwraith or Hounds of the Hunt. These two alone would make
    Sylvaneth/Wanderers the new “free mob” army. o_o