This is Anvil, excited and ready for another tactics article for Age of Sigmar! Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
Today, we’ll be covering the rest of the models with the Hero keyword that have not been covered yet from the Stormcast Eternals. If you want to check out tactics for the Celestant-Prime, Lord-Celestant on Dracoth, and Lord-Relictor, or other great articles like this one for your favorite game, check out the Tactics Corner! (Note: Weapon Profiles are as follows: [Range/Attacks/To Hit/ To Wound/Rend/Damage/])
Lord-Celestant (on foot)
Primary: Support, Secondary: Striker
Despite sharing the same rank in Sigmar’s army, the Lord-Celestant plays very differently from his mounted version. With Movement 5”, Save 3+, Bravery 9, and 5 Wounds, he has a statline that is very similar to most other heroes in the SEs, making him rely on his Save for durability, and can keep up with the rest of the army. He wields two melee weapons: the Sigmarite Runeblade [1”/4/3+/3+/-1/1], and a Warhammer [1”/2/4+/3+/-/1]. They’re not bad in close combat, allowing him to inflict a wound or two, but not too impressive once stuck in. His Inescapable Vengeance rule grants an additional attack with each weapon, giving him the chance to inflict another wound to possibly make a difference, but only if charging would be beneficial. But what makes him really stand apart from other heroes is his Sigmarite Warcloak and his strong Command Ability: Furious Retribution.
The Sigmarite Warcloak is a “missile” ability, and I put that in quotes because unlike missile weapons, he can still perform a Run and fire this off. You roll a die, and choose a number of units within an impressive 16” equal to the result of that roll to be hit by flying hammers (you can choose the same unit multiple times). For each hammer that flies, roll another die, and on a 4+, they take a mortal wound. This is a really flexible ability, as it allows you the option of either focus-firing down a unit, or ping several units in the hopes of forcing a Battleshock test. The Battleshock test opportunity might not come often enough, but combo it with either the Decimator’s Grim Harvester ability, the Celestant-Prime’s Retribution from On High ability, or any other rule that negatively affects your opponent’s bravery, and you can inflict some serious losses to their army. SEs perform best when you have your melee units assisted by ranged attacks, and the Lord-Celestant helps solidify that synergy.
While the Lord-Celestant on Dracoth’s Command ability is defensive in nature, the Lord-Celestant’s one is offensive. Him and all SE units within 9” of him add 1 to their To Hit rolls in the Combat Phase. It has the potential to make a lot of your units hit on a 2+, which is a rare and massive boon in AoS. Liberators with swords or have Lay Low the Tyrant active, Prosecutors with hammers in combat, most of your heroes’ attacks, Decimators, Protectors, Celestant-Prime, etc, all can reach such accuracy. There is one unit that gets more use out of this ability than anybody else, and that’s the Retributors. Not only do they hit with their hammers more often, but you trigger their Blast to Ashes ability on a 5+ instead of a 6+, which can wreck any unit they come across. It’s one of the reason’s why Retributors are so popular amongst SE players, outside of their very balanced profile and rules (balanced as in able to take on a variety of unit types rather than specializing against one). But due to the short range of this Command Ability, it’s advised to keep him surrounded closely by units, both to protect him from being charged at and to have as many units benefit from it. Due to his slow movement, he will most often be beneficial when you are playing defensively because of how clustered your forces will probably be. But if you want to have him move up the field quickly, you can keep him in the backfield turn 1, activate his ability, and then warp him forward near your other units that are fast (or Lightning Strike in) using the Realmgate, with the Lord-Relictor minimizing your chances of losing him during the travel.
Primary: Support; Secondary: Tech, Tank, Striker
Perhaps one of my favorite models amongst the SEs, the Lord-Castellant is one of the most “complete” heroes in the faction. He is one of those heroes where you won’t regret taking multiples of (it is possible to overdo it, though). His profile is just like the Lord-Celestant, except with an additional Wound, making him slightly tankier. His weapon profile is also pretty good, [2”/3/3+/3+/-1/ 2], allowing him to stay closely behind your lines while still inflicting some damage. Even if he’s caught alone, he’ll be able to stand his ground against most basic units.
The Warding Lantern allows him to fit a roll that’s somewhere between a Wizard and a Priest. You can either choose a Chaos unit or a friendly Stormcast Eternal unit within 12”. Chaos units automatically take a mortal wound, Chaos Daemons take D3 mortal wounds, making it another tool to inflict more ranged damage against some opponents. If you target a SE unit, it gives them the extremely valuable +1 to their Save rolls, and if your result is a 7 or more, they heal 1 wound. Remember that if you get multiple increases to the Save roll, it improves your odds of that heal, like if you have this buff plus being in cover, you heal when you roll a 5 or 6, etc. But I haven’t found that part to be reliable, since most players are taking a lot of units that inflict mortal wounds or have Rend values. The Rend will decrease the Save result, so even if you roll a 6, you add one for the Warding Lantern, and subtract one or more from the rending, ending with a result of 6 or lower. Regardless, the ability to give one of your SEs +1 to their save, combined with their already durable minimum 4+ Save, can make them survivable against a lot of devastating attacks. Best of all, unlike Mystic Ward, it requires no checks! Activate, boom, done. Super reliable. Combine that with his profile, and you can understand why having 2 or 3 of these guys supporting your army would not be a bad choice, though I would not focus all of their +1 Save buffs to a single unit. Yes, it allows you to potentially have a 0+ Save or better, but it leads to two problems: 1) They’re not immune to mortal wounds, which are pretty common in the game; and 2) If you make one unit “unkillable”, that means the Lord-Castellants have not buffed each other, meaning they are vulnerable to attacks. Once you get rid of them, then the mentioned “unkillable” unit becomes killable. (Hint: This is a common way to counter massed Mystic Shields and Wizards! There’s always a weak link in that strategy.) My advice: spread the love! Make the choices tougher for your opponent.
Primary: Striker, Flanker, Tech
He’s a sniper. Trying to come up with a colorful way of describing his job is pointless. Same profile as the Lord-Celestant, but with 12” Movement and the ability to Fly, giving him positional advantage along with the ability to grab late-game objectives quickly. His Realmhunter’s Bow has an amazing statline of [30”/3/2+/3+/-1/1], and his Star-eagle’s Celestial Talons have [30”/3/4+/3+/-/1], granting him a total of 6 attacks at 30” range each turn. Combine that with his mobility, and almost no target is safe. His Star-eagle’s Celestial Talons can also be used as a melee weapon, if it ever comes down to it, though try to make this a rare occurrence. Despite his eagle’s talons having a mediocre attack profile, if you roll a 6 to wound, it becomes a -3 Rend attack, making it a nice little bonus on lucky rolls, negating most saves for units out in the open. Most of the time, he’ll be thinning down units or weakening monsters for your other models to face in combat. But once per battle, the Knight-Venator can let loose a Star-fated Arrow. Instead of 3 attacks with his bow, he only makes one, but if it goes through to damage his target, it deals D3+3 damage against a unit, or D6+3 against a Monster or Hero. The first time I used this bad boy was against a Nurgle player. He had a decent number of Wizards ready to buff and summon the entire game. First turn, target the Wizard with the lowest Save (5+); it hits, it wounds, he fails the save, 7 Damage on the spot. *Plink* One less force multiplier at his disposal, and that’s what I think this character is best at doing: killing Wizards. Wizards will commonly have lower saves than other heroes, and with their potential to ruin your day with buffs, attacks, and summoning, they are the perfect targets to use this ability on. I’ve had success against most monsters as a lot of them only have a 4+ save at best (yes, there are exceptions), or I sometimes feel the risk is worth the potential reward against a General, but Wizards are my go-to target.
Primary: Support, Flanking; Secondary: Tech
The Knight-Azyros plays a niche role in a Stormcast army. Unlike Lord-Relictors, Lord-Castellants, or Knight-Venators, I don’t see him as a model that you should take multiples of, unless you face against a lot of Chaos armies, and even in that case, I’m not too crazy about the idea. He has the same stats as his sniper-bro, but wields a Starblade ([1”/4/3+/3+/-1/1]) and the Celestial Beacon. His abilities are even more unique because unlike the rest of the heroes we have covered so far, you HAVE to build around them to make him work.
His first ability is called Leader of the Way, and is an amazing mobility boost that SEs sorely lack. It allows any friendly Stormcast Eternal unit that arrives into battle via the Lightning Strike ability to set up within 5” of this guy, even if they land within 9” of enemy models. I’ve discussed how Flanking units are good at countering Summoners and other units that arrive “Deep Strike” style by negating area that they could arrive at, like the signature Lightning Strike ability. Well, the Knight-Azyros allows you to negate that counter, and bring some of your most devastating models to the frontlines quickly, like any of your Paladins. For battleplans that require quick movement to complete objectives, this hero allows you to have that flexibility, and even allows the opportunity to land just beyond the model you really want dead for a pincer attack. I saw someone do this against the new version of Archaon, charging with one unit of Retributors from the front, and Lightning Striking another unit behind him, and laying some serious smack-down. But I do want to stress that this ability ONLY works with Lightning Strike, and not any of the other options that SEs have to arrive on the table.
His second ability is Illuminator of the Lost, and it allows your ranged attacks to reroll 1s to hit a target within 10” of him. Judicators, Prosecutors with javalins, and the Knight-Venator get the most out of it, especially considering they all hit on a 3+ or better. I feel that the Prosecutors get the most out of this because they will often be escorting the Knight-Azyros around the table, providing some protection for him, along with their weapons only getting 1 attack each, making any buff they receive to be that much more precious. Plus, if you face against a Chaos force, Judicators have the reroll built into their warscroll.
Finally, he has The Light of Sigmar, which essentially turns him into a once-per-battle bomb. It occurs during your hero phase, and requires him to not move during the movement phase, charge, or pile in at all. But every enemy unit within 8” take D3 mortal wounds, D6 if they are Chaos. There are ways to abuse this effect, like moving him forward quickly, risking the chance to fire it off, explode, let him die, and if you have the opportunity to bring him back as a reinforcement (either Time of War rules or Battleplan rules) do so, with a fresh use of it ready. Don’t rely on being able to pull that trick off, but it does come up once in awhile.
Combine all of his abilities together, and if you built your army around him, it can lead to an absolutely devastating turn to shift the battle in your favor. Move him to an advantageous position one turn with his escort of Prosecutors or Judicators, Lightning Strike a powerful melee unit close to the enemy he’s near, let loose some missile attacks, charge with that melee unit, and then the following turn, unleash the Light of Sigmar. It would be as if a nuke went off, crippling a section of your opponent’s forces, and can relieve some pressure from the rest of your army or allow an opening to reach your objective. It all depends on if you can prepare for it.
Primary: Support; Secondary: Flanking
To me, the Knight-Vexillor is almost a must in any SE army that relies more on melee units and at being the aggressor. He has the same stat profile as a Lord-Relictor, with a fairly underwhelming melee weapon. But he marches into battle bearing one of two banners, giving him a choice between two very different powers. Regardless of which one he takes, he has the Inspired to Glory ability, giving all friendly SE units within 12” rerolls to their charges. Plop him in the middle of your army, and keep him moving forward and just behind your front lines, performing a Run whenever he can to stay with their pace. What makes this ability so good is that it not only makes your units more reliable on their charges, but it reduces the chance of them being isolated, should nobody else be able to charge as well. If you attempt to charge the enemy with 3 of your units, but only succeed with one of them, it leaves them extremely vulnerable to a counter-attack, and making the rest of your line that much more weakened. Basically, you just threw away a unit.
You have a choice of equipping him with either the Meteoric Standard or the Pennant of the Stormbringer, both giving you a once-per-battle ability in the hero phase. The former allows you to pick a point within 24” and deal D3 mortal wounds to all units (including friendlies) within 2D6”, which averages most of the time being a 6-8” radius. The latter is more complicated, but I feel is a stronger choice. You can pick a friendly SE unit within 12” of him and remove them from the table. Then you immediately place them back on the table anywhere, as long as they are more than 3” from enemy units, and cannot move during the upcoming movement phase. Then you get to roll a die for each enemy unit within 6”, and take D3 mortal wounds on a result of 4+. This gives you some strong positioning opportunities as I have stressed enough times throughout this and other articles, with some extra damage thrown in for good measure. Also, remember that combo that the Knight-Azyros can perform? Well, he can unleash all of that in one turn when paired with this guy. Knight-Vexillor activates Pennant of the Stormbringer on Knight-Azyros turn one, plop him right next to your enemy’s forces, he activates Light of Sigmar, Lightning Strike some melee units right in front of him, and any ranged units you have closely behind him, let loose a volley of missile attacks with those delicious rerolls, charge with the melee unit. *Explosion sounds with my mouth* There’s your alpha strike if you’re looking for one! It has the potential to inflict enough damage to cripple your opponent’s starting forces from doing the same to you and get a strong push early towards the objective.
Primary: Support; Secondary: Striker
Aw, crap! It’s that guy from every college sports game or football game! Blaring his vuvuzela as loud as he can, screaming “Go Team Sigmar!” Stat-wise, he’s the weakest of all the SE heroes, with Movement 5”, 4+ Save, Bravery 8, and 5 Wounds. He wields the Sigmarite Broadsword [1”/4/3+/4+/-1/1], which is better than some of the melee weapons we have seen, but still not terribly great. He brings two unique abilities to the field: Onwards to Glory and Thunderblast.
Onwards to Glory allows him to pick a friendly SE unit within 10” to be able to charge that turn, even if they ran or retreated from combat. It’s great for targeting Paladins to run up the field as fast as possible, and allows the option to not be locked down into combat when you don’t want to. Much like how boxers try to hug their opponent to keep them from punching, sometimes your opponent will throw a Tank unit at them to prevent from charging other units. But if you’re looking for a good combo with him, consider the Lord-Celestant on Dracoth. He gets an additional D3 attacks with his hammer on the turn he charges, which puts out a lot of damage. But by using Onwards to Glory on him, he can retreat from a fight, and charge the same unit, or another, keeping him on the offensive.
The other ability in his warscroll is the Thunderblast, a damaging ability to punish units that hide in terrain, and becomes more damaging as your opponent’s army gets larger. You choose a terrain piece within 15” of him and roll a die. For every unit within that many inches of the chosen terrain, takes D3 mortal wounds. I have been on the receiving end of this, and made the mistake of having 4 units near such a juicy target for him to start ripping my forces up. But be careful, as it affects friendly units as well. Primarily, it’s good for damaging ranged units that like to take cover, battlements, and large quantities of units bunched together. It also can act as a deterrent from your opponent wanting to take cover as well. Position him behind Tanks to keep him safe, preferably up the middle of the battlefield so that he can have more options for both abilities. Taking two or three of him is not a bad investment, either.
That wraps up this article! Thanks for reading, and be sure to check later for more articles on army overviews. I’ll be trying to get through the rest of the Stormcast Eternals quickly so that I can keep up with the release schedule, especially since Chaos just had a huge book hit the shelves with some juicy changes and battalions. Until next time!