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Age of Sigmar: How To Play Stormcast Eternals

7 Minute Read
Feb 03
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Today we check out the basics of Stormcast Eternals, and how to play the chosen of Sigmar.

In Age of Sigmar, there is no army more iconic than the Stormcast Eternals. The poster boys and girls of the whole game since its inception, the Stormcast are the fantasy answer to the Space marines, and they are just as varied. They are powerful, forgiving, and the optimal choice for a beginner. Of course, once you master them, you’ll be nigh unstoppable on the battlefield.

What Are Stormcast Eternals?

The Stormcast Eternals are the God-King Sigmar’s answer to the myriad threats facing the Mortal Realms. Heroes of old or brave warriors of the Realms reforged into warriors of Sigmarite and Living Lightning, they are even free from conventional death, instead returning to the halls of Azyr in a bolt of lightning to be reforged again. However, they are not immortal, and some factions have found ways to contain that escaping spark, chiefly the Nighthaunt. Such foes are especially hated by the Stormcast and wiped out with extreme prejudice whenever they are encountered. The Stormcast are further divided into Chambers, representing their focus, and Stormhosts, to represent different approaches to warfare. They favor all forms of combat, from maces, swords, and magical staves to crossbows, javelins, and even arcane firearms. In the defense of Order, there is no greater might than the armies of Sigmar.

Why Play Stormcast Eternals?

As a beginner army, there’s really no force better than the Stormcast Eternals. There is nothing they can’t do and do well, and they have one of the most solid defensive lines in the game. Their Stormhost special rules let them take advantage of some gnarly abilities, they have some of the most powerful magic in the game, and their shooting is so good it’s become something of a meme. If you want a well-balanced force that still leaves room for hyper focus, this is the army for you.

Strengths

  • One of the largest unit rosters in the game, matched only by Cities of Sigmar and Slaves to Darkness.
  • Units that can do a bit of everything without sacrificing focus.
  • Some of the most powerful shooting in the game.
  • A good mix of speed, power, magic, and defense.
  • Awesome subfaction special rules.

Weaknesses

  • So many units that it can be overwhelming for new players.
  • The unit interactions can be a little daunting.
  • As tempting as the big units are, they’re a little too expensive for what they do.

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Signature Rules

The Stormcast get most of their powerful rules from the Stormhost they select, but the following apply to all units regardless of Host.

  • Scions of the Storm – Half your army can set up in the Celestial Realm during deployment, to arrive via lightning bolt. At the end of any movement phase, you can deploy as many of them as you want anywhere on the battlefield, outside of 9″ of any enemy units. Any units you drop that close to the enemy will be a threat, but especially some of the insane shooting Stormcast can bring. This is also helpful for gauging how your opponent sets up or moves their army in the first turn, and you can react with war machines or support units as needed.
  • Shock and Awe – Dropping out of a bolt of lightning is startling even to the most doughty of foes, and doing so will leave your opponents momentarily stunned. Any unit that attacks one of your Stormcast on the same turn it arrives from reserves suffers -1 to hit. If you drop a combat unit and then charge in, you can keep your troops safe while putting the hammer down on your enemy, especially if you go first in the turn.

Subfactions

The Stormcast have a myriad of battle tactics designated by their Stormhost. Each one has its own command trait, command ability, army trait, and in some cases, restriction. For example, Hammers of Sigmar have a lot of abilities that make them harder to take down, but one of your heroes MUST take the God-forged Blade artefact, locking you out of some of the other potentially powerful items. You are not required to take a subfaction, should you wish not to limit yourself, but it will offer you extra focus once you’ve got a grip on the army.

5 Key Units

The Stormcast have an enormous selection of units, and that can be pretty overwhelming for new players. Below are 5 units that stand out above the others and should always be at least considered in a Stormcast army.

Lord-Arcanum on Gryph-charger – There are several incarnations of Lord-Arcanum, some focused more on speed and others on damage, but the Gryph-charger variant has the most support. It can keep nearby models alive once per turn, it can empower fellow Redeemer and Sacrosanct units (which are some of the best in the book, in my opinion), and if it gets bogged down in combat, it can Ride the Winds Aetheric to reposition quickly. He’s also a spellcaster, and his signature spell Healing Light can keep one of your nearby heroes (or himself) topped off and fighting. All Arcanums also carry Prime Electrids, which empower their casting of Arcane Bolt, and Soul Flasks, which can be a lovely last-second panic button to take down a powerful enemy hero or stubborn unit. For a good, well-rounded leader, this is the best variant of the leader, and gives you access to many other synergies.

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Evocators – Legends have been told of the might of these battlemages, and for a good reason. They have a powerful attack profile, they’re wizards with a strong support spell, and they can unleash lightning on any enemy unfortunate enough to tangle with them in combat. If you brought along a Lord-Arcanum, you can make sure the Evocator spell goes off every turn with a command ability, which is strong to ensure that your Redeemer or Sacrosanct forces hit hard where they need to. They also have a good defense, so for a small, elite line breaker unit, look no further than the Evocators.

Sequitors – Your go-to Sacrosanct/Redeemer troop unit, the Sequitors are the perfect balance of offense and defense, especially if you brought along either of the above choices. They can re-roll saving throws of 1, unless you choose to empower their shields, in which case they re-roll ALL saves, and they are savants at mincing Daemons and Nighthaunt. If you choose instead to empower their weapons, you can re-roll hit rolls with all their weapons. Of course, if you brought an Arcanum and have a command point to spare, you can do both, making the Sequitors a solid mid-line defensive unit. In any kind of Sacrosanct army, most or all of your battleline will be these guys.

Celestar Ballista – A warmachine combining the best parts of a crossbow and a bolt of lightning, the Celestar Ballista is the bane of horde armies and monster junkies alike. Whenever you fire one, you get to choose between the long-range single-shot variant or the close-range rapid-fire variant that sacrifices accuracy for weight of fire. Whichever choice you make, every hit is multiplied up to d6, and with -2 Rend, you’ll shred all but the toughest armor with very little consequence. It’s also Sacrosanct, so it synergizes well with the Lord-Arcanum, and taking multiple units is a good way to shore up your backline.

Vanguard-Raptors with Longstrike Crossbows – Hoooooo boy, are these guys nasty. They have a crossbow that shoots 30″ if they don’t move, hits on a 2+, has a Rend of -2, and deals 2 damage. If any of those shots roll an unmodified 6, then instead you dish out 2 mortal wounds as these snipers plink their target right between the eyes. So the thought, of course, would be to try to engage them in melee. Well that could be just as perilous since their commander brings an Aetherwing along, and whenever an enemy finishes a charge move, you get to roll a d6 for each model in the unit, dealing out 2 mortal wounds for every 6 as the Raptors open fire on the approaching enemy. If you really want to ruin someone’s day, take these guys in an Anvils of the Heldenhammer army, where they get to shoot in the hero phase as well.

Sample Army (1000 pts)

Army: Stormcast Eternals

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Stormhost: Hammers of Sigmar

Leader: Lord-Arcanum on Gryph-Chager. Command Trait: We Cannot Fail. Artefact of Power: God-Forged Blade. Spell: Celestial Blades. Mount Trait: Wind Runner

Battleline: 10 Sequitors with Stormsmite Mauls and Soulshields. 4 Stormsmite Greatmaces. Sequitor-Prime with Stormsmite Greatmace.

Battleline: 10 Sequitors with Stormsmite Mauls and Soulshields. 4 Stormsmite Greatmaces. Sequitor-Prime with Stormsmite Greatmace.

Unit: 5 Evocators with Tempest Blades and Stormsaves. Evocator-Prime. Spell: Speed of Lightning

Artillery: Celestar Ballista.

How to Play Stormcast Eternals

Stormcast are a great, well-rounded army that can adapt to any sort of playstyle. They do favor a sort of hammer and anvil style of play, using your tough defensive line units to hold your enemy still while your punisher units slam into their flank or rear. You can quickly reposition, you have access to a ton of spells, and you can toss out prayers that your opponent can’t counter. You’ll definitely want to let your opponent come to you, punishing their overextension with your vanguard units and bogging them down with your heavy armor. Set your shields, don’t back down, and meet aggression with aggression, and you’ll find success.

For Sigmar!

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