Age of Sigmar Armies Guide: a Faction and Race Overview

Age of Sigmar Armies Guide: a Faction and Race Overview

As a new player, it can be insanely hard to figure out how the armies in Age of Sigmar are comprised. Can I take I take Stormcasts in my Idoneth Deepkin army? Why are the Aelves and Duardin split in so many multiple sub-factions?

Below I have created a guide for each Age of Sigmar Grand Alliance. Each will contain an overview of what is factions are contained in each Grand Alliance as well as:

  • How the playstyle is for each faction
  • What books are available for the army
  • The special rules and quirks that make up the faction
  • A description of the overall lore for the faction
  • A bit on the miniatures available for the factiond

If you are a new player, you might be a bit confused as to what the army/faction/race system is for Age of Sigmar. If so, I suggest you read on below where I explain it a bit, before you go to the Grand Alliance guides

The four guides below are under construction and are coming soon

Destruction Faction and Army Guide

Death Faction and Army Guide

Order Faction and Army Guide

Chaos Faction and Army Guide

What armies or races are there in Age of Sigmar?


There is quite a wealth of different armies available for play in Age of Sigmar – and not all are created equal.

Age of Sigmar has four Grand Alliances. The four Grand Alliances are Destruction, Death, Chaos and Order.

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 that is not the terminology that is officially used. Armies the thing you put on the tabletop (your army) and a faction can contain multiple races. At the end of the day, it is easier for people to go with factions instead.

A faction will normally have a rulebook called a “Battletome” (if one has been released yet for the faction), giving them special abilities when you take only units from that faction. As a rule of thumb, I would away starting an army that does not have a Battletome. There is a chance that the faction could be merged with another or simply discontinued from one day to the other.

Within a faction, there can be several “Subfactions”. In the  Battletome: Gloomspite Gits you have Moonclan Grots (Nightgoblins), Spiderfang (Forrest goblins riding spiders) and the Throggs (Trolls). In the coming year, we will probably see a ton of Battletomes that gather smaller factions and making them a subfaction.

If you want to know more about how the special rules for each faction (called “Allegiance Abilities”) work or how you can take units from other factions within your Grand Alliance you can read more here.

Chaos Factions with a Battletome and the subfactions within each (listed by battletome release date)

Battletome was released in early 2019. The Clan Pestilens Battletome is outdated.

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

Subfactions:

  • Masterclan
  • Moulder
  • Eshin
  • Verminus
  • Skryre
  • Pestilens

Battletome was released in late 2018 and gathered all of the different subfactions within one faction.

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

Subfactions:

  • Breyherd
  • Warherd
  • Thunderscorn

The nurgle book is from 2018. Some new models but also som old ones.

Maybe GW's first attempt at merging a few factions, as the 2017 book united the Khorne Bloodbound humans with the demons of Khorne.

A 2017 battletome and it is still pretty damn good.

The Everchosen battletome from 2015 is horribly outdated and it is one of the battletomes I get the most question about. Put simply, the rules align very poorly with all of the new Chaos Battletomes and I was starting out I would simply avoid this book.

Death Factions with a Battletome and the subfactions within each

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

Models mainly from the old world.

 

    Released with AoS 2.0 in the summer of 2018, the nighthaunt got a ton of love in the form of new miniatures,

    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:

    • Grand host of Nagash
    • Legion of Sacrament
    • Legion of Blood
    • Legion of Night

    Destruction Factions with a Battletome and the subfactions within each

    Battletome was released in early 2019. A load of new miniatures but also a lot of classic models.

    Subfactions:

    • Moonclan Grots
    • Spiderfang
    • Throggs

    The book released in 2016 in a time where GW still though multiple very small factions was the way to go. Luckily, they have changed their mind on it now because the Beastclaw Raiders are just too tiny to make up a faction.

    Granted the models are cool and everything, but it is limited in what you can do from a gaming perspective.

    A 2016 battletome, this was released after the Sylvaneth which was the first “real” battletome (meaning it has artefacts, allegiance abilities and so on).

    I would have a hard time recommending this faction to anyone (I play them myself), solely because of the lack of options in the army. You only have Orruks on foot and mounted Orruks, and that does not really make an army.

    The 2016 battletome included some battalions, but nothing else from the fancy new battletomes. It is now evident that GW is updating the older battletomes, so this will certainly be in line for a new book as well as endless spells. Rumours are still going around that they could get a new kit of some kind, but I would not hold my breath for it.

    The faction is really small, so is quite limited from a gaming perspective.

    Order Factions with a Battletome and the subfactions within each

    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

    More battletomes and chambers coming for Stormcast? Yes, anything else seems unlikely…

     

    Battletome was released in 2018. Completely new Age of Sigmar army with completely new models.

    The battletome released in 2018. It united some of the Dark Elves factions of old and added some new models on top.

    Released in 2017, the Kharadron was the first completely new Age of Sigmar army (at least after the failed Fyreslayers).

    There are no subfactions within the book.

    The Sylvaneth Battletome from 2016 was the first that included artefacts and allegiance abilities and ushered in a new age of much better books.

    GW's first attempt at creating a new Age of Sigmar army has not aged that well. The battletome is from 2016, there is only a very limited number of kits and while slayer dwarfs are cool the army quickly becomes samey. My suggestion is to stay away and hope for an updated battletome, some endless spells and maybe a new kit or two.

    The Lizardmen of old holds up surprisingly well, in spite of their 2015 (!) battletome. The only have miniatures released before AoS, but they most are still looking good and they have a surprising amount of options. With the addition of the new summoning rules (found in the Generals Handbook) this is the only one of the old battletomes that I would recommend getting and collecting the army for.

    Factions without a battletome

    There is a HUGE range of Aelves (pronounced Elf as in the Old World) not included in any Battletome and split up in multiple small factions.

    Wanderers (Wood Elves): have Allegiance Ability in the Generals handbook, but I doubt they would get their own battletome anytime soon.

    The old High Elves: consists of several very small subfactions. Wait for an update.

    Most of the old Dark Elves: multiple small factions that makes very little sense to buy right now.

    The old Dwarves are split up in Dispossessed (Dwarf on foot) and the Ironweld (guns from the old empire and dwarfs).

    Multiple small factions make up the Old Empire army. This should get fixed in a future battletome.

    The last Chaos God is still awaiting a Battletome. Slaanesh has summon abilities and allegiance abilities in the Generals Handbook and they are getting a release not too far in the future. 

    The sad Ogors (Ogres) on foot still have no battletome. Their image has been featured on several posts on the GW community, so a battletome is not that unlikely.

    And why the heck do we have a one model subfaction in the form of the Firebelly?!

    Where did the Gitmob and Greenskinz go? They are gone from the store, but they could still show up in a merged destruction battletome of some kind (maybe with the Ironjawz?).

    While you can still find this faction in the app, they are basically not a part of Age of Sigmar. You can sort of play them in form of undead (Flesh-Eater Courts), but other than that do not get your hopes up.

    Potential future army releases and battletomes for Age of Sigmar


    With the release of the updated Flesh-Eater Courts, Gloomspite Gits and the Skaven book, it is clear that GW is updating old battletomes and merging subfactions they find to be too small. This is very good news!

    As always I would suggest looking at AoS shorts, as he is doing a very good job of keeping his site up to date when new released are confirmed. I will link to his sites below.

    Confirmed:

    • Slaanesh will receive new models and a new battletome with the release of the box set Wrath and Rapture.
    • Khorne will also receive new models with Wrath and Rapture as well as a battletome.

    Very likely: 

    •  With the Malign Portents book four heralds was released. Three of the four heralds have ushered in a new battletome and army (Sacrosanct, Gloomspite Gitz and Nighthaunt). Who is missing out? The Darkoath. Likelihood of a new Slaves to Darkness style marauder army? 99% or so.
    • I find it very likely that all Battletomes released before Allegiance Abilities (the Sylvaneth book) will get a new battletome in coming year or so. This means Seraphon, Fyreslayers and Ironjawz.

    Speculation:

    • Even with the newer battletomes, we have some that really a mess. Big FAQ's, bits of rules updated in the Generals handbook and so on. Tzeentch and Nurgle getting an update is not unlikely. The Bonespliters is also quite dated.
    • Those Gutbusters have certainly had their image on a lot of pictures symbolising the Destruction faction. They will get a book, it is only a matter of what year it will be.
    • There is a big range of Order miniatures lacking a battletome and a home. Will we some kind of merger of the Aelves faction? Or maybe a big free armies style book gathering all of the old empire, the dwarves and the elfs?
    • The Ironjawz and the Bonesplitters are really small factions. Could we some kind of merger with a few of the old Greenskin and Gitmob units added in? They could also just expand on the Ironjawz and the Bonesplitters collection instead
    • It is sort of consensus that the Kharadron Overlords really need a new battletome. In fact, the rules need to be rewritten for quite a lot of stuff. This could happen, as the army could be hugely popular with some better rules.