Cannon Fodder in the Age of Sigmar

Hello all,  Phat J here to talk to you about one of the most important tactics in Age of Sigmar, the use of cheap blocking units as cannon fodder.

With the advent of the General’s Handbook and the rise of organized play in the Age of Sigmar, one thing has become abundantly clear to me.  With so many alpha strike capabilities in the game such as summoning and reserve manipulation the ability to reach out and smack ‘dat, out on the floor is truly incredible.  If you are not taking units for the purpose of charge redirection you will be in big trouble very quickly.   I’ve witnessed and been a party to so many devastating reserve charges that are game ending in nature that  I thought it would be prudent to cover some of the best units to take to bubble wrap your more impressive and sexually virile warscrolls.

Pre-Requisite – Warscrolls must have a minimum of 10 models and must not cost more than 100 points.

Forces of Order


Skinks – You get 10 of these little guys for 80 points and can boost the units up to 40 models.  The Skinks come with both ranged and melee attacks, which is kind of a big deal in AoS.  If they take shields they ignore rend -1 characteristics and have attack boosts the larger their unit is.

Flagellants – The same point cost and unit max size as the skinks.  While not much to write home about with no save whatsoever, the Flagellants have some cool rules such as the ability to gain an attack (base 2) if any of their fellow have been killed earlier in the turn (to shooting, etc) and re-rolls to hit and wound on the turn they charge.  One of the cool and unique rules that Flagellants have is for each models that is removed during the battleshock phase on a 4+ a unit within 6″ takes a mortal wound.

Freeguild Guard – We are starting to see a theme with these cannon fodder units, as the Freeguild Guard are point costed the same as the above unit and max out at 40 as well.  You can kit them out with a variety of melee weapons and like the Skinks gain bonuses for having larger units.

Dreadspears – Same point costs and max unit size as all those above, the Dreadspears give you a solid line of Battleline troops that can effectively screen your hard hitting units.  With their Darkshields they re-roll failed saves of 1 and 1-2 in combat.  Like most of the above units they gain a to hit bonus for having a large number of them and get even better if they stand still in the proceeding movement phase.

Eternal Guard – Coming in at 80 points for 10 with a max unit size of 30, the Eternal Guard can’t take as many models as the above units but I find that 30 is just about the max size you want to go for anyways.  These guys are essentially the same as the Dreadspears with the added bonus of gaining to hit, wound, and save bonuses for not moving.

Forces of Destruction


Grots – Coming in at 100 points for 20 models and a max unit size of 60, the Grot is the ultimate cannon fodder unit.  If they take Moon Shields they have an average 5+ save, which can be increased even further if you include a Bad Moon Icon which will give them a 4+ save against shooting attacks.  Decent!

Orruks – 10 for 100 points and a max unit size of 40.  Surprisingly the same survive-ability if not worse than the Grots, the Orruks have a leg up in the combat phase.  As you would expect they gain some cool bonuses while in combat with a large sized unit and can take banners that either reduce the amount of Battleshock you take or increase you base Bravery.

Savage Orruks – Same point costs and max unit size as the standard Orruks, the Savage Orruks come with a reduced save but an additional wound.

Forces of Death

age of sigmar artwork flesheaters courts battle

Zombies – Coming in at 10 for 60 points with a max size of 60 models, the Zombies give the Grots a run for their money as the best bubble wrapping unit in the game.  While they are individually weak, they get better with numbers and though it is hard to improve their to wound rolls you can buff their to hit rolls to a 3+ with the right numbers and support.

Skeleton Warriors – A more standard 10 for 80 points with a max unit size of 40 the Skeleton Warriors have the ability to regenerate wounds throughout the battle and can boost their save up to the standard 5+ if a shield is taken.  Their to hit and wound rolls are standard and can be increased by bringing a large number of them.

Crypt Ghouls – Though a bit more pricey than the Skeletons at 10 for 100 points they do have a max unit size of 40 and in a mob can put out a decent amount of attacks that hit and wound on a 4+.


Forces of Chaos


Bloodreavers – This Khorne Bloodbound warscroll clocks in at 10 models for 60 points with a max unit size of 40.  This is an ideal unit to wrap around the powerful Bloodbound buffing characters, which will boost their attack characteristics and Bravery.  They come with absolutely no save but so what? Blood for the Blood God, etc.

Chaos Marauders – The guys check in with the same model caps and point cost as the Bloodreavers but come with a stock 6+ save that can be buffed to a 5+ if a shield is taken.   They get to hit buffs in combat for having a high number of models in their unit and can have score re-rolls to hit and Bravery buffs through the use of Icons.  You can give them the mark of any Chaos god in order to receive the buffs from Bloodbound characters for example.

Chaos Warhounds – For 80 points you get 10 of these fast-moving screeners and you can max out at 30 models in the unit.  They move 10″ and automatically add 6″ to their movement if they choose to run instead of rolling a die.  They have 2 attacks per model and hit and wound on a 4+.  Though not the best combat units in the game, and with a terrible save of 6+ these guys are ideal for screening your fast moving characters for a turn or two to avoid the charge.

Ungors – You get 10 of these Brayheard models for 60 points and a max unit size of 40.   These guys are a solid screening unit with a 6+ save that can be buffed to a 5+ in combat if a shield is taken. They get the standard to hit buff for having a large number of models in the Warscroll but have a unique ability to run and charge in the same turn. Not too bad for Brayheard players.

Plague Monks – You get 10 of these putrid pusses for 70 points with a max unit size of 40.  These guys are absolutely brutal for what they bring to the table and for the low point costs to run them. They come stock with 2 attacks if they bring Foetid Blades, which increases to 3 if they charge and have a pair of them. They have an ability to re-roll wounds against a unit once per game and can even get their attacks to be rend -1.

Clan Rats – These are your standard 10 for 60 points unit with a max unit size of 40.  They come stock with a 6+ save that can be increased to a 5+ if equipped with a shield.  They have some unique abilities such as the ability to move an extra 2″ when they run or retreat and can retreat and charge in the same turn. They also have the standard bonus to wound if they have 20 or more models.

Bloodletters – These guys are a bit more pricey with 10 for 100 points and a max unit size of 30 but they are the best screening unit you will get with a Khorne Daemon list.  They have a decent attack characteristic, hitting on a 4+ and wounding on a 3+ with a rend -1 that inflicts a mortal wound if the wound roll is a 6.   They have some cool abilities such as the ability to add d6 models to the unit if a 1 is rolled during the battleshock test.   Standard bonus to hit rolls if the unit totals 20 or more.

Plaguebearers – They clock in at the same unit cap and points as the Bloodletters but offer a bit more survive-ability.  They come with a 5+ save and a 5+ ‘Feel No Pain’ type save they can take if they fail a wound. Ranged units hit at -1 due to their Cloud of Flies ability and they are, like the Bloodletters, able to add d6 Plaguebearers to their unit if a 1 is rolled during Battleshock.

So there you have it! My top screening units (aka Cannon Fodder) in Age of Sigmar. Don’t get caught with your pants down!


As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.



About Jason

Raw Dogger, aka, Phat J Sleaze (formerly of the Booty Boyzzz) is a highly opinionated, questionably skilled 40k enthusiast. When not working at Frontline Gaming, he can be found down on Jabroni Avenue.

10 Responses to “Cannon Fodder in the Age of Sigmar”

  1. Requizen August 4, 2016 12:20 pm #

    Chaff is super important in AoS!

    I was very surprised the other day with how good Sword and Shield Freeguild Guards were. 4+ saves rerolling 1s in combat is a terror to get through for anything that’s not Rend-2 or better, especially if they get their armor and/or Bravery buffed up. So cheap, so durable.

    And I can personally attest to the durability of Plaguebearers. “Disgustingly Resilient” is the name of their FNP rule and it’s aptly named, I had a unit of them hold up a Freeguild General on Griffon for several turns! And then they just popped back into existence once in a while, keeping it going. For a cool 100 points, I think they might be the best tarpit in the game.

  2. Huy August 4, 2016 12:31 pm #

    I have to agree with Requizen although I hope that this wasn’t done in order of best to worst because I would disagree that bloodletters are better than plague bearers. FNP is huge for durability.

  3. Chris August 4, 2016 2:27 pm #

    I think the normal gors work well as fodder too. They can deal some damage as well so that’s a plus. The ungors are cheaper but the gors dish out a lot more damage. While still taking up a lot of space.

    • FunBug No.1 August 5, 2016 3:28 am #

      Totally agree about Gors. Another useful feature, as with many but not all of the above units, is that they count as Battleline in a Pitched Battle, leaving more room for Blightkings and stuff.

      • Chris August 5, 2016 7:21 am #

        Very true. I just like them more than ungors because they can do more damage and be more survivable for just 2 points more per model.

  4. mmimzie August 4, 2016 4:58 pm #

    Little off on the zombies with the right numbers and support. namely 30 zombies and a corpse cart. they get to 2+ to hit, and 3+ to wound. get get +1 per 10 up to 3 for both to hit and to wound. So thats a +3 to hit and to wound. which means 6 goes to a 3+/3+ to hit/towound. Corpse cart gives you another +1 to hit. Giving you 2+ to hit/ 3+ to wound.

    • mmimzie August 4, 2016 5:00 pm #

      Oh and your wrong with grots, moon clan grots, and orge grots are different.

      ogre grots cost 100 for 20. Ogre grots don’t get any of the moon clan stuff you list.

      moonclan grots are 10 for 60.

      • mmimzie August 4, 2016 5:18 pm #

        sorry on the moon clan grots its 120 for 20. So it’s absicly 10 for 60. So they are more expensive than what your thinking, but do all the things you listed.

        Git mob grots get +2 bravery from standard. +2 move when running, they either have swords and shield for a 5+ save but 5+ to wound roll, or a spear with 2″ range and a 4+ to wound. They get better hit rolls in numbers for every 10 pasted the first.

        Ogre grots have traps that do mortal wounds to units charging them.

        there are a few other mistakes, but didn’t want to track them all down.

        • Jason August 5, 2016 8:53 am #

          Thanks mmimzie, I wasn’t really going for a detailed listing of each warscroll just letting people know the best screening units for each alliance. We will be doing detailed write ups for all warscrolls in the future.

  5. 21st_Primarch August 5, 2016 9:52 pm #

    Great article Phat J, and loving the podcast too!

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