AoS: The Four (For Now) Factions of Shadespire

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Meet the Warbands of Shadespire: Steelheart’s Champions, Garrek’s Reavers, the Sepulchral Guard, and Ironskull’s Boyz.

That’s right friends, Shadespire’s going to be up for pre-order this very weekend. We’ve talked about (and played) this game a bit on the site before–if you’re unfamiliar with it, Shadespire is a competitive, tightly-written, arena game that pits warbands of champions and chumpions against one another in fast-paced combat. It uses boards and minis, and is in general one of the most well-written games GW has produced.

So with all that in mind, let’s meet the warbands of Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire.

via Warhammer Community

Steelheart’s Champions

First up, we’ve got Steelheart’s Champions aka those Shiny Gits–they’re a band of three Stormcast Eternals, and their modus operandi is making each model do the work of two (at least). These guys and gals are elite warriors who are tough, accurate, and who are even better when they fight defensively. Defending against attacks powers them up, and once they’re powered up they really put the l33t in elite. Their objectives tend to be broad, reflecting the versatile skillset of each of the Fighters in the Warband.

Severin Steelheart is the warband’s leader. With great all-round stats and a devastating melee attack, Severin can knock out most Khorne fighters with a single blow, while in the late game, he can transition into a ranged attacker thanks to some handy power cards or take out multiple opponents at once with his Mighty Swing.

Obryn the Bold is a key fighter for controlling territory. Even if his mighty attacks don’t succeed, his Knockback ability allows you to drive the foe away from the rest of your fighters, stopping you from being surrounded. When Inspired, Obryn is great for dealing with heavily armoured fighters from Ironjawz or other Stormcast Eternals warbands.

Angharad Brightshield excels at dealing with swarming fighters from Garrek’s Reavers or the Sepulchral Guard warbands. With 3 attack dice, her Sigmarite Hammer is more reliable than her fellow fighters’ weapons, at the cost of some damage, while Brightshield Inspired is very hard to kill, with 2 defence dice and Furious Parry, allowing her to injure anyone who fails to take her out.

Garrek’s Reavers

Next up Garrek’s Reavers, aka those not quite orky humans–they are a band of incredibly aggressive fighters. Reavers hungry to get blood for the blood god, their objectives center around fighters getting killed (Khorne cares not whose blood gets spilled, or whose skulls get taken, any skull can go on that throne), or other combat-focused goals. If you want a bloody, deadly skirmish, these guys are your best bet. When they hit, they hit hard.

Garrek Gorebeard is a fairly reliable fighter, dealing decent damage and possessing enough Wounds to withstand a blow from a Stormcast Eternal or one of the Sepulchral Guard’s more dangerous fighters. With upgrades, Garrek can become incredibly dangerous and will be the lynchpin of most of your opening moves with the warband.

Saek is an essential fighter in Garrek’s Reavers. While he’s fairly fragile with a mere 3 wounds and Dodge for defence, his great axe excels at killing fighters and, with Cleave when he’s Inspired, is very hard to avoid.


At first glance, Karsus doesn’t seem like much; he’s neither as durable as Garrek nor as deadly as Saek. However, with a ranged attack and the ability to attack multiple fighters at once, he’s a key component to many Khorne Bloodbound strategies. With the right cards, he’s one of the warband’s most dangerous fighters.

There’s not a great deal that’s noteworthy about Arnulf – even when he’s Inspired, he only deals a single damage! Nevertheless, he’s useful for triggering Supports with your other fighters, holding objectives or being sacrificed to score certain objective cards or activate your Inspire condition.

Targor behaves very similarly to Arnulf, but does become a little more powerful when inspired.

The Sepulchral Guard

The Sepulchral Guard, or, dem Skellingtons are an unusual warband. They are by far the biggest in the game, wading into the fray with seven different models. They are definitely more of a “finesse” faction, as they rely on things like the ability to come back from the dead–stronger than ever–or being able to move multiple units at once with the right cards in order to get the most out of a turn. They are both more and less forgiving in some ways. Yes they can come back form the dead, but positioning is doubly important here. With only 4 activations and 7 total models (many of whom you want to be killed so you can raise them again) it definitely takes practice. Once you have the hang of them, though, they are an incredibly flexible and deadly army.

The lynchpin of the Sepulchral Guard is the Sepulchral Warden. With 4 Wounds and a powerful ranged attack (it *is* a very long spear!), the Warden would be a key fighter even without their additional abilities. Using the Warden, you can move two fighters instead of one in a single activation, allowing you to mobilise your whole warband in a single turn. Meanwhile, if you lose any, the Warden can simply bring them back, and in fact, Inspires when you do this twice!

The most powerful fighter in the Sepulchral Guard is the Champion. With Cleave even before he Inspires and a range of upgrades, they’re lethal against the Stormcast Eternals and Ironjawz warbands. Like all the other fighters in the Sepulchral Guard Warband, The Champion Inspires when he is returned to the battlefield.

The Prince is a highly technical fighter in the Sepulchral Guard. With a weak but reliable attack, you’ll want him for his ability to knock fighters back, allowing you to surround enemies with ease or negate key Supports.

The Harvester isn’t as offensively reliable as their counterparts, but is a key fighter when facing numerous warbands like Garrek’s Reavers and other Sepulchral Guard, thanks to a whirling attack that hits multiple foes at once.

The Sepulchral Guard warband features three Petitioners – hapless souls looking to pledge themselves to Nagash. These fighters are fairly feeble, but nevertheless, have a variety of uses – even when they’re dead (or dead-er).

Ironskull’s Boys

Finally we have my personal favorite, Ironskull’s Boyz aka Da Best Ones, Ironskull’s Boyz are tough fighters who hit fairly hard. They are the best generalists in the game. They’re mobile. They hit hard. They’re surprisingly resilient, and when you hit them it only makes them fight harder, so you’ll want to try and eliminate the–if they get to hit back, it’ll likely put something in the ground. Their objectives are similarly orky, and revolve around getting in a good scrap, or taking objectives–I really like their playstyle.

With 5 Wounds, Gurzag Ironskull is one of the most durable fighters in all of Shadespire, while his Boss Choppas can make mincemeat of lesser fighters. Even attacking him – or the rest of the warband – is a serious risk, as the Ironjawz Inspire when taking damage.

With four wounds, Bonekutta is only a little less durable than Gurzag, with a dangerous attack that’ll make mincemeat of even your enemy’s tougher fighters, with a hefty 3 Damage when he’s Inspired.

Basha is a pretty durable fighter, but suffers from somewhat unimpressive offensive stats before he Inspires. Afterwards, he’s a very versatile fighter, capable of knocking enemy fighters back, helping you claim terrain and disrupt your opponent’s positioning.

Hakka is very similar to Basha, expect with the power to Cleave through enemy armour on critical hits, making him effective at downing wounded fighters or Inspired Stormcast Eternals.


Those are the warbands–you can find out more about them over at the official Shadespire Page, but in the meantime, get ready to fight.

Which Warband are you going to go with?

  • Koen Cambré

    Well… It looks like you have to buy the starterbox to get the boards/dice/cards needed to play the game anyway. So those 2 and the sepulchral guard.

    And hell, I might end up with the orcs at some point to if I fancy something new to paint…

  • My heart is divided with this game. I really want to like it, but those factions don’t really interest me enough to get started with it. Bring in some Aelves or Seraphon or something different and I will be in!!

    • Seienchin

      Always a problem with AoS… I really dont like the “lore” and having forced Khorne and Stormcast down my throat constantly doesnt help…

  • Sonic tooth

    No interest till we see other factions and I don’t mean more khorne, sigmarines and disco dwarves

  • Xodis

    Im really excited. Just read the article about it in the new WD. Pretty pumped. Hope we get cards for other characters like all my Gorechosen characters and Starter set characters, etc….

    • Xodis

      Im also going to need some AoS warscrolls to add these guys to my armies. K thx lol

  • DoctorBored

    With two more factions coming by December, according to my GW guy. I’m a bit hyped for this. Mostly I’m waiting for other factions, but I’d play skeletons in the interim.

  • Hagwert

    I haven’t had time to check this game out in detail but like the look of it allot, but my one question is do you have to play with the pre set war bands or can you build your own ?

    • Fomorian

      The warbands are preset as GW stated on their Facebook Shadespire webpage, within the comments. Dunno if there will be the opportunity in the future to switch models from your warbands!?

  • Shadowstrife

    You can’t fault Orcs for their lack in origninal name choices.

  • ZeeLobby

    Def looking forward to trying this. Unlike past game candy I won’t buy it immediately, but I have hopes.

  • Skaven please.

  • Fomorian

    Grots only would be funny, or non a Stormcast Eternal human faction also, or big guys like 1-2 Trolls/Ogres 😀 !