Age of Sigmar Armies Guide: a Faction and Race Overview

As a new player, it can be hard to figure out what Age of Sigmar armies there is and how the different factions are split up.

This article will run you through exactly what armies and faction there is in Age of Sigmar.

 

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Age of Sigmar armies and factions: the complete list

There are right now 24 factions with a Battletome (or a confirmed battletome) and about 0 without a battletome.

The fact that no armies are without a battletome is insanely good because that was certainly not the case earlier in the lifespan of Age of Sigmar.

Right now, you know that whatever army you buy, they are at least supported with a battletome.

The factions and armies in Age of Sigmar are:

  1. Beasts of Chaos (Chaos)
  2. Blades of Khorne (Chaos)
  3. Disciples of Tzeentch (Chaos)
  4. Hedonites of Slaanesh (Chaos)
  5. Maggotkin of Nurgle (Chaos)
  6. Skaven (Chaos)
  7. Slaves to Darkness (Chaos)
  8. Flesh-Eater Courts (Death)
  9. Legions of Nagash (Death)
  10. Nighthaunt (Death)
  11. Ossiarch Bonereapers (Death)
  12. Gloomspite Gitz (Destruction)
  13. Mawtribes (Destruction, Beastclaw Raiders merged with Gutbusters)
  14. Orruk Warclans (Destruction, Ironjawz merged with Bonesplitterz)
  15. Sons of Behemat (Destruction)
  16. Daughters of Khaine (Order)
  17. Cities of Sigmar (Order, old Empire and other factions merged)
  18. Fyreslayers (Order)
  19. Idoneth Deepkin (Order)
  20. Kharadron Overlords (Order)
  21. Lumineth Realm-lords (Order)
  22. Seraphon (Order)
  23. Stormcast Eternals (Order)
  24. Sylvaneth (Order)

What are grand Alliances, Battletomes, Factions, Sub-factions, Endless Spell and Faction Terrain?

Before we get to the tables with an overview of all the armies, it is helpful for you to know what pieces the various armies are made up of.

Grand Alliances

Age of Sigmar has four Grand Alliances.

Each faction is part of only one of those four alliances.

The four Grand Alliances are Destruction, Death, Chaos and Order.

Factions

Each Grand Alliance is made up of several factions.

A faction could be Skaven (Chaos), Nighthaunt (Death), Gloomspite Gitz (Destruction) or Stormcast Eternals (Order).

You could also call the factions the “armies” or “races” of Age of Sigmar, but they are most commonly referred to factions.

Battletomes

A faction will normally have a rulebook called a “Battletome”, giving them special abilities when you take only units from that faction (or one of the other factions it can ally with)

If you are used to 40k, you will be pleased to know that it is rare to see an army in Age of Sigmar that is not made completely from units that are found in the battetome for the army.

This means very thematic armies (even in hardcore competitive play). Allies are mainly for narrative and casual games.

Sub-factions

Within a faction, there can be several “Sub-factions”.

In the  Battletome:  Gloomspite Gits you have Moonclan Grots (Nightgoblins), Spiderfang (Forrest goblins riding spiders) and the Throggs (Trolls).

A lot of the small factions/races from Warhammer Fantasy have been merged in so-called “soup” battletomes, Cities of Sigmar and Legions of Nagash being the best examples of that.

Cities of Sigmar is all the old empire, dwarf and elf stuff (besides all the units that are gone).

Legions of Nagash is all of the old undead stuff (besides the removed units).

Some people also refer to the sub-factions as tribes or clans (depending on the army and the lore behind it).

Endless Spells and Faction Terrain

The Bad Moon Loonshrine which is the faction Terrain for the Gloomspite Gitz

The Bad Moon Loonshrine which is the faction Terrain for the Gloomspite Gitz

Most new and updated armies have faction specific Endless Spells and Faction Terrain.

You usually get 3 endless spells, which is powerful spells with a cool miniature attached.

The faction terrain is some sort of awesome terrain piece that you can plop down in the game. It will give some sort of bonus to you or debuff to your enemy.

The endless spells you need to pay points for in matched play, but the faction terrain is (usually) free to use.

If an army has both endless spells and a faction terrain piece, you can be quite certain that the army is up to date with Age of Sigmar second edition.

Some of the “merged” armies will only have either terrain or endless spells. Why GW decided to do it that way only Sigmar knows.

Start Collecting Boxes

Start Collecting boxes represent the cheapest way of getting your hands on the miniatures for a given faction.

Having an amazing Start Collecting box for an army, will make it much easier to cheaply start collecting them.

Most Start Collecting boxes are a bargain, but some include miniatures that are a bit “meh”.

We have an overview of the Start Collecting boxes to help you out (value, units etc). If you follow the links in the table on that page, you can also find reviews for the specific start collecting boxes.

Below I have created a table for each grand alliance.

It list each army so you can sort them by release date, how updated, wether or not they have endless spells, terrain and so on.

A note on the tables:

I list the date of the original release of the army (first battletome) and a link to the SC box, Endless Spells and Terrain (where they are available).

I also list the release date of the current battletome and judgement on whether or not the models are “old” for the army.

Lastly, safe to buy is a judgement if this army is due for an updated battletome in the future.

 

Chaos Faction Army Overview

ArmyBattletomeArmy First ReleasedEndless SpellsFaction TerrainSC BoxAge of battletomeAge of modelsUpdated for AoS 2.0Safe to buy?
Beasts of ChaosBeasts-of-Chaos-Battletome-small9/2018Endless-Spells-beasts-smallTerrain-beasts-of-chaos-smallStart-Collecting-beast-of-chaos-small9/2018Getting agedYesSomewhatCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Blades of KhorneBattletome-Khorne-small4/2017Endless-Spells-Khorne-smallTerrain-Feature-Khorne-smallStart-Collect-Khorne-small3/2019Somewhat NewYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Disciples of TzeentchDisciples-of-Tzeentch-Battletome-small1/2017Disciples-of-Tzeentch-Endless-Spells-smallStart-Collect-Tzeentch-small1/2020Somewhat NewSomewhatYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Hedonites of SlaaneshSlaanesh-Battletome-Small5/2019Slaanesh-Endless-Spells-SmallSlaanesh-Terrain-SmallSlaanesh-Start-Collect-small5/2019Somewhat NewYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Maggotkin of NurgleBattletome-Nurgle-Small1/2018Terrain-Nurgle-SmallStart-Collect-Nurgle-Maggot-Small1/2018Somewhat NewSomewhatSomewhatCheck Miniatures on Amazon
SkavenSkaven-Battletome-Small3/2016Skaven-Endless-Spell-SmallSkaven-Terrain-Feature-smallSkaven-Start-collecting-small2/2019OldYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Slaves to DarknessBattletome new version12/2015endlessspellsSTDNew Start Collecting Slaves to Darkness12/2019Somewhat NewYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon

Beasts of Chaos Army Overview

The Beasts of Chaos Battletome was released in september 2018 and gathered all of the different beastmen subfactions within in one battletome.

A few new models have been added in Age of Sigmar, but this is mainly the old Beastmen army from Warhammer Fantasy.

Subfactions you get in the Beasts of Chaos book:

  • Breyherd
  • Warherd
  • Thunderscorn

With the Beasts of Chaos you get both Endless Spells and Faction Terrain, so all is good in that department.

The Start Collecting: Beasts of Chaos Box represents solid value (about 33%). Picking up more than one is an option, but you gotta ask yourself many big guys you really gonna field?

All Beasts of Chaos products

Blades of Khorne Army Overview

The Blades of Khorne were first released in 2017 and, together with that version of the Stormcast Eternals, marked a new and updated way of doing battletomes.

Instead of doing multiple small factions each getting their own battletomes, from this point onwards AoS shifted towards battletomes with sub-factions.

The Blades of Khorne were updated with a new Battletome for 2019 and are fully updated for AoS 2. It now contains both the Daemons and the human Khorne dudes (and a few dudettes!).

Khorne has access to both endless “spells” (in this case flavoured as “judgments”) and terrain for the Khorne faction.

Blades of Khorne players will also have access to two different Start Collecting boxes, as well as multiple different starter sets that will include the Khorne models (you can read our rundown and review of all the AoS starter sets here).

Some of the Start Sets might be difficult to get a hold of, but here is a list of all SC and starter sets that include Khorne units:

See all Blades of Khorne units

Disciples of Tzeentch Army Overview

The Tzeentch army was one of the last ones to get updated to aos 2.0. Their first battletome from 2017 was quite good competeviely, but was a mess with FAQ and summoning rules scatered in various pdf’s.

Now, with the 2020 version of the battletome, the Tzeentch are much more rules streamlined army.

Sadly, GW have continued the trend of not giving all armies endless spells and faction terrain. So for the Tzeentch, you are only getting some endless spells and but no terrain.

 

You do get a Start Collecting box, but you can also find Tzeentch models in some other releases:

See all Disciples of Tzeentch units

Hedonites of Slaanesh Army Overview

It took a while before the Hedonites of Slaanesh really joined the fray of the mortal realms.

The naysayers kept spauting the lies that GW had squated the army because they would no longer show the delicate parts of female models.

As we all know, that turned out to be fake-news.

In 2019 the Slaanesh worshipers got their own battletome together with some lovely new kits.

Just look at that beauty of a model(!):

Together with some cool now kits, Slaanesh players also got access to faction Endless Spells and a sweet terrain piece.

See all Hedonites of Slaanesh units

Maggotkin of Nurgle Overview

Before The Maggotkin of Nurgle Battletome in January 2018, the followers of Nurgle did not even have a battletome.

Luckily for them, the nurgle battletome was build with AoS 2.0 in mind. This means that they have a faction terrain feature, but sadly no endless spells.

The book is pretty good and a lot of the models are of newer sculpts. You also have access to two start collecting boxes:

  1. Start Collecting Maggotkin of Nurgle
  2. Start Collecting Daemons of Nurgle

While the army looks slow on power, you have multiple ways of speeding up the army. Also, Nurgle is tanky!

In the army you will both find various daemons of nurgle and humans that have been (severely) decomposed by Grandfather Nurgle’s blessing.

An update could very well be on the docket as a future release, seeing as Nurgle is one of the few armies that have not gotten a new battletome since AoS second edition came out.

See all Maggotkin of Nurgle units

Skaven Army Overview

Skaven first battletome was from March 2016. It was called “Skaven Pestilens” and only contained a subsection of the Skaven as we know them.

Thankfully, GW decided against releasing multiple small battletomes for each faction and instead made the bigger battletomes with sub-factions in them.

So in February 2019 we saw the release of the Skaven Battletome.

Now all the subfactions of the Skaven are finally part of the same book:

  • Masterclan (rulers of the Skaven)
  • The Clan Verminus (loads of rats)
  • Clan Pestilens (plague monks and various diseased rats)
  • Clan Moulders (rat monsters!)
  • Clan Skryre (crazy experimental weapons)
  • Clan Eshin (assassins and that sort of stuff)

While the Skaven have acces to some epic and cool miniatures, they also have some real stinkers. Old sculpts, direct order only and other problems of that sort will plague you if you want to start a Skaven army.

That said, they did get some new minis in the form of Endless Spells and Faction Terrain.

The Start Collecting: Skaven Pestilens is also an okay buy (review of it here).

See all Skaven units

Slaves to Darkness Army Overview

One of the first Battletomes in Age of Sigmar was the Everchosen Battletome released at the end of 2015. And it was a real mess!

This was well before allegiance abilities and allies had been streamlined, so how the mechanics of the book functioned was highly confusing to new players.

The confusion was even worse when AoS 2.0 was released. The book was not compatible, to say the least.

Thankfully, the Chaos players got an amazing battletome in the form of the Slaves to Darkness Battletome released 4 years later at the end of 2019. 

You can use all of the amazing miniatures from the chaos released with Warcry.

In general, if you want to not play a chaos faction without “daemons lol”, this is for you.

This is the gritty dark part of chaos, where humans get turned and destroy the cities and nations they served before they turned to the dark gods.

For reasons unknown the Slaves did not get a faction terrain, but they did get Endless Spells and quite a few new cool minis (a lot of them in the new Slaves to Darkness Start Collecting Box).

See all Slaves to Darkness units

Death Faction Army Overview

ArmyBattletomeArmy First ReleasedEndless SpellsTerrain FeatureSC BoxAge of battletomeAge of modelsUpdated for AoS 2.0Safe to buy?
Flesh-Eater CourtsFec-Battletome-small5/2016Fec-endless-spells-smallFeC-Terrain-smallFec-Start-Collecting-small3/2019A Bit AgedYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Legions of NagashBattletome-Lon-small2/2018Start-Collecting-Lon-small2/2018Getting AgedSomewhatSomewhatCheck Miniatures on Amazon
NighthauntNighthaunt-Battletome-small8/2018Nighthaunt-Endless-Spells-SmallAge-of-Sigmar-Starter-set-small8/2018NewSomewhatSomewhatCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Ossiarch BonereapersOssiarch-Bonereapers-Feature10/2019Bonereapers Endless SpellsBonereapers Terrain10/2019NewYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon

An updated Battletome was released in early 2019. The older Battletome is outdated.

Models mainly from the old world, but new endless spells and a terrain piece.

Quite good on the tabletop and very cool lore and story.

 

Released with AoS 2.0 in the summer of 2018, the Nighthaunt got a ton of love in the form of new miniatures, endless spell, terrain piece and all the works. You can also get them in the Starter sets.

The battletome for Legions of Nagash was released in 2018. It was the first book to really gather several smaller (and big) factions within one big book. Basically, all undead miniatures can be played in a Legions of Nagash army.

There are four major factions within the book:

  • Grandhost of Nagash
  • Legion of Sacrament
  • Legion of Blood
  • Legion of Night

LoN has some great options, but also quite a lot of dated models and a few very poor options in terms of power. Only a few builds are truly competitive.

Nagash will soon be getting some new toys in the form of the Ossiarch Bonereapers. 

The GW facebook did say they will be available to preorder some time in October 2019. 

You can check out the previews for the army here.

Destruction Faction Army Overview

ArmyBattletomeArmy First ReleasedEndless SpellsTerrain FeatureSC BoxAge of battletomeAge of modelsUpdated for AoS 2.0Safe to buy?
Orruk WarclansOrruk-Battletome-small10/2019Ironjawz-Start-smallNewA bit oldSomewhatYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Gloomspite GitzGloomspite-Tome-small1/2019Gloomspite-Endless-Spells-smallGloomspite-Terrain-smallSomewhat newSomewhat NewYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
MawtribesMawtribes Battletome10/2019MawpotBeastclaw-Start-smallNewA bit oldYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon

State of the Orruk Warclans

The Ironjawz and the Bonesplitterz have now been merged into one book, the Orruk Warclans. The Bonesplitters are the naked savage orruk and the Ironjawz are big orruks clad in heavy bulky plate.

You can still play mono Ironjawz or mono Bonesplitters (each has separate allegiance abilities in the book) but you can also play one big army with both factions in them.

The army is performing ok in terms of competitive play.

But why no endless spells or terrain? The small number of different models could really have used some support with those nifty AoS 2.0 thingymabobs, but sadly no. For odd reasons, GW decided that only some armies deserved this expansion of models. It might come later, but seems unlikely at this point.

Likelihood of Orruk Warclans getting updated

I think we are unlikely to see any updates for this army in 2020.

Start Collecting box for Orruk Warclans

There is no Start Collecting box for Bonesplitterz, but the Start Collecting for Ironjawz is quite a solid purchase.

State of the Mawtribes

Mawtribes is a merger between the Beastclaw Raiders and the earlier battletome-less Gutbusters.

Now that you have all Ogors in one book, they are definitely a better option than they were before. You have terrain feature, but weirdly no endless spell specific to the faction.

The mawtribes are likely to settle on a few builds that can go 4-1 and 3-2 in two-day tournaments.

Likelihood of Mawtribes getting updated

I think we are unlikely to see any updates for Mawtribes in 2020

Start Collecting box for Mawtribes

The Start Collecting box for Beastclaw Raiders is a pretty solid purchase.

If you re into the ogors on foot, you might be able to get a hold of the Feast of Bones set (but hurry, once it is sold out it is gone forever)

 

State of the Gloomspite Gitz

The Gloomspite Gitz released in early 2019 and consists mainly of new grot models. The battletome combined multiple small grot elements and jammed them together into a massive tome of gribly goodness.

In the book you have 3 subfactions:

  • Spiderfang (only old models)
  • Troggoths (new models)
  • Squigs and Moonclan grots (a mix of new and old)

The Gitz are AoS 2.0 fully certified, the amount of different models is staggering and they are quite good on the tabletop.

Read my full rundown on the gitz here.

Likelihood of Gloomspite Gitz getting updated

I think we are unlikely to see any updates for the gitz in 2020

Start Collecting box for Gloomspite Gitz

Sadly, no options. If you are extremely lucky you can get a hold of the Looncurse box, it is out of production and being resold for crazy prices.

 

Order Faction Army Overview

ArmyBattletomeArmy First ReleasedEndless SpellsTerrain FeatureSC BoxAge of battletomeAge of modelsUpdated for AoS 2.0Safe to buy?
Cities of SigmarCoS-Battletome-small10/2019CoS-Start-Collect-smallNewA bit oldSomewhatSomewhatCheck Miniatures on Amazon
SylvanethSylvaneth-Battletome-small8/2019Sylvaneth-Endless-spells-smallSylvaneth-Terrain-smallSylvaneth-Start-collect-smallNewNot new but not oldYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
FyreslayersSlayers-Battletome-small4/2019Slayers-Endless-Spells-smallSlayers-Terrain-smallSlayers-Start-Collect-smallNewNewYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Stormcast EternalsStormcast-Battletome-small8/2018Stormcast-Endless-Spells-smallStormcast-Start-Collect-smallSomewhat newSomewhat newYesYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Idoneth DeepkinIdoneth-Battletome-small4/2018Idoneth-Terrain-smallIdoneth-Start-Collect-smallNot new but not oldNewSomewhatYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Daughters of KhaineDoK-Battletome-small3/2018A bit oldSomewhat NewNoSomewhatCheck Miniatures on Amazon
Kharadron OverlordsKO-battletome-new-version-small1/2020KO-Start-collect-smallNewNewSomewhatYesCheck Miniatures on Amazon
SeraphonSeraphon-Battletome-small12/2015Seraphon-Start-Collect-smallOldOldNoNoCheck Miniatures on Amazon

Updated battletome was released with AoS 2.0 in the summer of 2018. The older Stormcast books are outdated (including the Stormcast Extremis).

The Stormcast Eternals are comprised of different chambers:

  • Normal Stormcasts (the first wave)
  • Extremis Chamber
  • Vanguard Auxilliary Chamber
  • Sacrosanct Chamber

The poster-boys of Sigmar is always a safe choice to pick as an army. Massive amounts of new models, very likely to get more and many ways of getting cheap models (Starter sets, Vanguard Start collect and Thunderstrike start collect

Battletome and army were released in 2018. Completely new Age of Sigmar army with completely new models makes this an excellent buy.

The battletome released in 2018. It united some of the Dark Elves factions of old and added some new models on top. The army is quite competitive right now, but the number of different models in the army is quite low.

Released in 2017, the Kharadron was the first completely new Age of Sigmar army.

There are no subfactions within the book and it is sadly, not that competitive. The rules are also a bit all over the place (you need to really know what you doing in order to get the most out of the army). An update could really make them shine, as they have what it takes to become a really amazing army in terms models and lore.

The Sylvaneth have an old Battletome from 2016 and a new one for 2019. With the updated battletome they got terrain feature (that they sort of also had before) and endless spells. The models are good and varied and it seems like they are okay from a competitive side.

The Fyreslayers have been updated in 2019 with a new battletome, endless spells and terrain feature. Not a lot of different models, but it seems like they are quite good on the tabletop atm.

The Lizardmen of old holds up surprisingly well, in spite of their 2015 (!) battletome. They only have miniatures released before AoS, but most are still looking good and they have a surprising amount of options. That said, they are starting to show their age. My suggestion would be to hold off on the lizard boys and wait for an update.

The long-awaited “soup” battletome have united the last remaining order factions into the Cities of Sigmar.

The battletome has a TON of different options, but sadly no new models.

You do get two different for start collecting boxes, one with Duardin and one with Aelves.

Overview of Factions without a Battletome

This is interesting, but after a crazy 2019 we actually have not more factions without a battletome (at least, all models not squatted and removed are now part of a battletome).

Age of Sigmar Rumours and Potential future army releases and battletomes

GW used 2019 for pumping out battletomes. They actually succeded in their mission, making all models part of one battletome (and removing quite a few models in the process). 

Confirmed:

  • We are getting an update for Kharadron Overlords and Tzeentch. No big surprise, since both tomes really needed an update. We are also getting a box set with both armies (but remember to preorder quickly, as it will sell out almost instantly).
  • We know that a game set in the “Old World” with “square bases” is coming in 2-3 (or maybe more) years. Right now we know nothing else about the game. GW is in the early phases of brainstorming (they do not even know what it is going to be), so do not get your panties in a twist just yet. 

Very likely: 

  • Seraphon is the very last battletome that needs to be updated for 2.0 Age of Sigmar. Will GW go ahead and do it in early 2020?

Speculation:

Remember that Old World article? The last sentence is a big clue for what is coming. It reads:

“There are some HUGE (some might say giant) plans for the Mortal Realms… More news soon. For now, we have to keep it hysh-hysh.”

  • So giants could be coming? The lore mentions some old giants back in the pre-sigmar days.
  • Hysh could be hinting at the aelves of Teclis from the light realms.

In need of a Start Collecting Box or a Starter Set?

If you want to start a new army, a good way of getting a discount is buying a Starter set or going with the Start Collecting box for your faction.

Luckily for you, we have written extensively about the different options.

Read our overview of all Start Collecting Boxes

Comparison of the AoS Starter Sets