Faction Focus: Stormcast Eternals

Credit: Robert "TheChirurgeon" Jones

Reforged warriors created by Sigmar, these (mostly) immortal warriors are the best of the best – or at least they’re supposed to be. Regardless of how you build an army it’s going to be pretty elite and hit hard in one way or another. 

The original new army for Age of Sigmar, the Stormcast Eternals offer one of the largest ranges in the game to choose from, with no legacy holdover units from the Old World. The sheer volume of options can be a bit overwhelming at first, but that variety is also a plus: Stormcast Eternals can cater to a large variety of play styles and build preferences while letting players build some very thematic armies. Along with Orruk Warlcans, Stormcast Eternals have received one of the first two new Battletomes for Age of Sigmar’s third edition.

 

3.0 Changes

Stormcast Eternals is one of the first tomes of 3rd alongside Orruk Warclans, and so in addition to updating the rules for they army the book also gives us a glimpse of what to expect going forwards. The first choice you make in building your army for a game is whether you’re going to be playing as a Stormkeep or a Scions of the Storm army, each giving different benefits that any Stormhost can benefit from. 

Scions of the Storm: You can set up up to half of your units in reserve, off table, and drop them at the end of any movement phase. In matched play you’ll need to drop in before turn 4 or else you lose the unit, but being able to drop in mid-game where needed can be exceedingly powerful. 

Stormkeep: Along with 3rd came Coalition armies and this is one of those. Allowing 1 in 4 of your units to be Cities of Sigmar units. Allowing for even more choice might not seem necessary, and it’s probably not, but is thematic. As well as that, all of your Redeemer units count as 3 models each for contesting objectives within your own territory turns 1 and 2, and then from turn 3 onwards across the whole field. Not just that but if an enemy unit finishes a charge move within 3” of any Redeemers that are within 6” of an objective, then on a 3+ that unit suffers D3 mortal wounds. It’s not much in the way of damage, but pinging off an extra wound or two can be the difference between holding an objective or not. 

Regardless of any choices you make though all Stormcast units have the Blaze of Glory rule: each time a Stormcast model is slain within 1” of an enemy unit roll a number of dice equal to that model’s wound characteristic and each 6 is a mortal wound to that enemy unit. If the slain model has the Thunderstrike keyword then add 1 to the number of dice you roll (so a 2 wound Vindictor would roll 3 dice instead of 2 for having 2 wounds).

One of the changes I wasn’t expecting is that none of the Heroes have Command Abilities on their Warscrolls any more and wonder if that means there won’t be any on Heroes moving forwards. 

Yndrasta the Celestial Spear. Credit: SRM

The Units

There are far too many units to hope to cover them all here, check back later for a Start Competing: Stormcast Eternals where we will go further in depth on each hero and their place in the army. We have also covered some units not seen here in our review of the new Stormcast Eternals battletome. 

Leaders

One of the best but also simplest changes and buffs was for the Celestant Prime who gained a 4+ Ward. This hero was always able to dish out the wounds but usually died immediately after so this is a nice little buff. Also, now every single turn before making a Hit, Wound, Save, Run, or Charge roll with this hero you can decide to just choose the result instead, needing to choose a 1-6 for a single D6 roll or a 2-12 on 2D6 rolls (like charges). Simply being able to auto-charge 12” every one of your own turns while automatically hitting, wounding, or making a high rend save in your enemy turns is huge. 

Lord Celestants come in a few flavours, can be on foot or mounted on a Dracoth or Stardrake. The version you take changes the profile pretty dramatically but each being a massive help to your army. Each of them can issue an order once per game to a friendly unit without spending a command point, but the non-stardrake variants have to issue All Out Attack for that free order. Not bad, but does make the Stardrake far more flexible. Stardrakes now also give friendly Wizards within 18” +1 to casting and unbinding rolls. 

The new Lord Imperatant is incredibly useful but even more so for Scions of the Storm armies being able to allow 1 unit each turn to be set up more than 7” away from enemy units as opposed to 9” making charges much easier, but also allowing more space for Annihilators to deal mortal wounds to more units. Not only that, but also issues an order per turn to a friendly unit without the need to spend a command point.

Stormcast have a few Priests to choose from as well but the two that stand out are the Lord Relictor and Lord Veritant. The former has two prayers on his own warscroll: one to deal D3 mortal wounds to an enemy unit within 12” and the other to heal D3 wounds to a friendly unit within 12” all while having a +1 to all chanting rolls for any prayer. The latter has an additional 2 wounds thanks to a little Gryph Hound that follows him around and can unbind 1 enemy spell per turn as if he was a Wizard. The Veritant also has a different prayer to deal D3 mortal wounds to an enemy within 12” meaning it can be chanted in addition to the Relictor’s if you were to take both.

One of the most exciting units to be added though is the Knight Draconis. A powerful hero on his own with 5 attacks at Rend -3 Damage 2 on top of the mount’s attacks he is still best taken alongside a unit of Stormdrake Guard. Once per game this hero can make one unit of Stormdrake Guard shoot with their breath weapons in the Hero phase and also still shoot in the shooting phase, coupled with the Stormdrake Guard’s once per game ability to move in the hero phase and that can be a lot of turn 1 mortal wounds. On top of all that, whenever this unit would be affected by a spell or Endless spell you can roll a dice and on a 4+ ignore the effects. 

Stormcast Vindictors. Credit: SRM

Battleline 

Depending on your Stormhost of choice or if you’re running a Stardrake or Draconith as your General then you unlock other units to be battleline, such as Paladins, Dracothian Guard, Stormdrake Guard, and more. I’ll instead be focusing on your generic Battleline units, the ones that any Stormhost can take as Battleline. Also to note is that all of these are also Redeemer units except for the Judicators. 

Liberators, the first battleline unit Stormcast ever had from the very first Age of Sigmar starter set and in this book they see some minor changes. No longer does the choice between hammers or swords matter and now 2 per 5 can take the two-handed weapon option as well, giving a nice number of damage 2 attacks. Equip the unit with a weapon and shields and as long as half of the surviving unit has shields then add +1 to their save (boosting from a 4+ base). Take 2 hand weapons however and go up to 3 attacks per model which isn’t bad when you’re hitting with rend -1. I think shields are still the pick here though, you want your Redeemers to be hunkering down on objectives. Also, Lay Low the Tyrants has changed and now at the end of the combat phase if the Liberators  are within 6” of an objective and there’s an enemy within 1” of them on a 4+ they suffer D3 mortal wounds. In a Stormkeep army this means this unit could potentially dish out up to 6 mortal wounds across one combat phase if charged on top of their attacks. 

Sequitors came out with the second edition and have seen a few buffs here. Slain models cannot be returned to enemy units while within 3” of any units of Sequitors (or 9” of a Lord Exorcist who has the same ability at longer range) and while that won’t be stopping any Rally orders, it does become a nuisance to armies like Ossiarch Bonereapers who rely somewhat on returning models to units turn after turn. Also in each combat phase they can empower their weapons (dealing 2 hits per 6 to hit instead of 1) or their shields (granting a 5+ ward) both of which last till end of phase. With a 4+ save and 5+ ward these will be tough to shift. 

With Dominion came Vindictors, a spear and shield unit that has 2” reach on their weapons, a better wound roll than Liberators and deals a mortal wound per 6 to hit in place of normal damage. This is a great battleline unit and you can expect to see them in most lists, being able to sit on objectives and be a real threat to any unit in the game. Oh and they are Thunderstrike

The other Thunderstrike battleline unit of the army are the Vanquishers who trade out shields and spears for two handed swords and gain extra attacks if they attack a unit of 5+ models (for +1 attack) or 10+ models (for +2 attacks). That means a unit of 5 make up to 21 attacks, easily clearing out chaff units such as skeletons and zombies. The musician of the unit adds a (so far) pretty unique ability too, if the unit is ordered to Rally then slain models are returned on a 5+ instead of just on a 6 meaning you’ll want to take a unit of 10 to get more use out of this. 

The ranged units are the Judicators, first up with Skybolt Bows. At 2 shots each at 24” range at rend -1 and damage 1 the attacks also deal 1 mortal wound per 6 to hit instead of normal damage. The Shockbolt Bow can be taken 1 in 5 models and works the same as the normal bow but maked D6 shots instead of 2, meaning you’ll always take as many of these as you can. 

The other version of Judicators with Boltstorm Crossbows trade range and rend for more hits. At only 18” range and with no rend these get 2 attacks per model but every successful hit becomes 2 hits making it a better weapon against very low armoured horde units like Clanrats or Zombies but worse against anything with a decent save. That said, the Thunderbolt Crossbow which is taken 1 per 5 models does not gain the extra hits but does have 2 shots at Rend -2 and Damage 2 giving the unit some bite at least. 

Stormcast Praetors. Credit: Wings

Other Units

Let’s get the big one out of the way, Stormdrake Guard. The unit everyone is (im)patiently awaiting the release of and what many expect to become the Stormcast competitive meta, and for good reason. This unit does it all. They’re Monster keyword, they deal mortal wounds at range, on the charge have a combined 7 attacks per model at Rend -2 Damage 2 (with lances), can ignore any spell or endless spell on a 4+ when affected, and once per game can move in the hero phase and still move in the movement phase giving an effective 24” move before charging. All for 285 points for 2 of them with 9 wounds a piece and a 3+ save. They also get a 3” coherency instead of 1” to help with the models being as large as they are. 

I’m personally pretty excited for Dracothian Guard units which become battleline in Hammers of Sigmar armies. There are a few options but I like the look of the Concussors for being able to get stuck in and keep punching, with numerous damage 2 attacks between rider and mount and the riders dealing 2 mortal wounds per 6 to hit instead of normal damage they can swing into high priority targets and do well. 

Then on foot are the various Paladin units which include both versions of Annihilators. My choice of both would be the Annihilators with Meteoric Grandhammers and Retributors which both fill a very similar role. The former deals mortal wounds when they’re set up as well as on the charge followed by 10 attacks at Rend -2 Damage 3 with a unit of 3. The latter however in a unit of 5 do not deal any wounds on the way in, but hit with 16 attacks at Rend -2 Damage 2 with each 6 to hit dealin 2 mortal wounds in place of normal damage. The Annihilators want to be charging into lighter units they can remove while the Retributors deal the same amount of damage turn after turn whether they’re charging or not. 

As well as great combat units Stormcast boast some great ranged units as well. Vanguard Raptors with Longstrike Bows are a great character sniping unit, or to pick off the last few wounds to an enemy Monster. Use All Out Attack to counter the -1 from Look Out Sir and a unit of 3 puts out 6 shots at 3+ hit, 2+ wound, and -2 rend Damage 2 to reliably drop support characters. In addition, 6’s to hit deal 2 mortal wounds instead of normal damage. Combine with a unit of Aetherwings to be able to get an additional +1 to hit at any enemy within 12” of the birds for even better sniping. 

Also from the Dominion box, Praetors are the book’s only bodyguard unit. Before the game starts after deployment, pick 1 Stormcast hero on the table (meaning they can’t be off table in reserve) and this unit can take wounds for them. Now, there’s no wound limit for that hero either so you could even have then bodyguard a Stardrake and just Translocate them across the table to keep pace. Before allocating a wound to that hero, if this unit is within 3”, then roll a dice: on a 1-2 the wound is allocated as normal to the hero, 3-4 the wound is allocated to the Praetor unit, and on a 5-6 the wound is outright negated. A great pick for any army, but especially when you’re fielding a foot General that would otherwise be targeted and killed too soon. 

The Farstriders. Credit: SRM

How to Play

As has probably become very apparent there are many ways to be able to play a Stormcast army, so let’s’ look at 2 potential lists. These might not be the be-all-end-all competitive lists, but they lean into a theme and do that well. 

The first is a Knight Excelsior list heavy with Paladin units since this Stormhost also makes them Battleline. The unique enhancement chosen there is a once per game order that gives a unit of Paladins +1 attack until the end of the phase, very powerful on the Annihilators with Meteoric Grandhammers especially after charging in for a mighty 25 attacks at Rend -2 and a flat damage 3, enough to down just about any unit in the game. This army is Scions of the Storm and the Lord Imperatant will be bringing one unit of Paladins each turn needing only 7” charges each turn and creating a blockade of tough units to chew through. The Praetors protect the Lord Imperatant as well to ensure he can keep doing so and issuing free orders to units nearby. 

Allegiance: Stormcast Eternals
- Stormhost: Knights Excelsior
- Grand Strategy: Hold the LineTriumphs: Bloodthirsty

Leaders
Lord-Imperatant (175)**
- General
- Command Trait: Envoy of the Heavens
- Artefact: Mirrorshield
Lord-Relictor (145)**
- Prayer: Translocation
Knight-Incantor (125)**
- Spell: Chain Lightning

Battleline
6 x Annihilators (400)*
- Reinforced x 1
6 x Annihilators with Meteoric Grandhammers (480)*
- Reinforced x 1
5 x Retributors (235)*
5 x Vindictors (130)*
5 x Vindictors (130)*

Units
3 x Praetors (165)*

Core Battalions
*Redemption Brotherhood
**Command Entourage - Strategists

Additional Enhancements
Holy Command: Unleash Thy Hatred

Total: 1985 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 2 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 98
Drops: 4
Stormcast Annihilators. Credit: SRM

This other list is something similar that I’m working on myself, focusing on Redeemers for objective holding/taking as well as Conussors as battleline since this is Hammers of Sigmar. Playing as Hammers of Sigmar also makes all of your units that much tougher, granting a 6+ Ward so long as they’re within 6″ of an objective. Translocate from the Lord-Relictor adds some much needed speed to the slower units and the Stormdrake Guard are able to sweep in quickly to become an immediate threat leaving less attacks going into the Redeemers allowing them to do their job of objective holding.

Allegiance: Stormcast Eternals
- Stormhost: Hammers of Sigmar
- Grand Strategy: Hold the LineTriumphs: Inspired

Leaders
Knight-Draconis (255)**
- General
- Command Trait: Master of the Celestial Menagerie
- Artefact: Amulet of Destiny (Universal Artefact)
- Mount Trait: Celestial Instincts
Knight-Judicator with Gryph-Hounds (205)*
Lord-Relictor (145)*
- Prayer: Translocation
Lord-Veritant (155)*
- Prayer: Bless Weapons

Battleline
4 x Dracothian Guard Concussors (440)*
- Reinforced x 1
5 x Vindictors (130)**
5 x Vindictors (130)**
5 x Liberators (115)**
- Heavens-wrought Weapon and Shield
5 x Liberators (115)**
- Heavens-wrought Weapon and Shield
2 x Stormdrake Guard (285)**

Core Battalions
*Warlord
**Battle Regiment

Additional Enhancements
Holy Command: Call for Aid

Total: 1975 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 1 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 113
Drops: 5
We’ll have a full Start Competing in the coming weeks once the new meta shakes out. Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.