New Stormcast Eternals Battletome 2021 Review – Age of Sigmar 3rd Edition
Like a bolt of celestial lightning from Azyr, the new Order Battletome: Stormcast Eternals has crashed down from the heavens and is up for pre order today! Since the brand new Stormcast were unleashed upon the Mortal realms in the Age of Sigmar Dominion Launch Box, we have been eagerly anticipating the new book to discover what the God-King has done to reinforce his forces following the Broken Realms series, and thanks to Games Workshop for sending us an early copy to review we are able to explore all the awesome new things in this book with you!
If you would like to help support the site, then why not order your Stormcast Eternals through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself 20% too?
We also have a review of the Orruk Warclans Battletome which you can find here
Below we also have a full video going through the book, checking out the Warscrolls and seing all the great Path to Glory content on offer here – check it out over on our YouTube! If you would rather read our in depth review of the new Stormcast battletome then grab a drink, strap in and get ready to lead Sigmar’s glorious hosts to victory!
Order Battletome: Stormcast Eternals 2021 Review
Like with Warhammer 40k 9th edition last year, the initial two battletomes for Age of Sigmar 3rd Edition have come a little later than the main edition launch. We’ve managed to play games using battlepacks from the main Core Rulebook, General’s Handbook and played all of the Path to Glory missions and managed to get a feel for how old armies play under the new edition. But what exactly would be within the new Battletomes, what the format would be and how the way units interact with each other in books designed for the 3rd edition was still a big unknown. Thankfully today we have the answer with the Stormcast Eternals and Orruk Warclans (also reviewed here) getting their new Battletomes and some incredible new miniatures!
The first thing to address before anyone asks is that, yes, this book does indeed contain a code at the back in order to unlock digital content in the upcoming Age of Sigmar app. While this was not yet live at the time of writing this review, I imagine this will work in the same way as the 40k one where if you purchase the Battletome you also get access to all the gaming rules and list building within the app itself – We’ll give this aspect a deeper dive as soon as we are able!
Stylistically both the Stormcast and Orruk Battletomes have had a bit of a refresh, now in the red and gold of the new edition rather than the white of previous books, making them quite eye catching! The book is as gorgeous as ever with both old and new artwork, attractive page design and epic spreads of painted models (along with an updated painting guide section showing you how to paint a whole swarth of different Stormcast units, this is something I love to see in a Battletome even in this age of painting videos available easily on the internet)
Also updated in this book is the lore for the Stormcast Eternals taking us right through to the current Era of the Beast and building on what we know from the Core Book about Grungni working with Sigmar in order to craft his weapons of war and even mastering the art of forging souls to allow them to piece the storm unleashed by Be’lakor. Whether you are a new or existing Stormcast player there are new and exciting things to read in here, along with some tantalising hints of things that may be to come (Krakanrok the Black, the father of Dragon Ogors is mentioned as is a new Khorne Daemon by the name of Doombreed – somehow I get the feeling we might learn more about these characters over the course of this edition) With 104 pages of lore, miniatures and painting guides before we hit any rules content this must be the biggest Age of Sigmar battletome yet! And speaking of rules…
The allegiance abilities of the Stormcast Eternals have had an impressive re-work with lots of options now available to players. As seen in the Dominion rules, all Stormcast Eternals now have Blaze of Glory allowing them to do Mortal Wounds to nearby targets when they are slain based on getting 6’s when rolling dice equal to your wounds characteristic – giving you some nice splash damage to finish off weakened foes or even the numbers when your precious Stormcast fall in combat. Its worth pointing out that every Stormcast has this rule (with them getting more dice to roll if they have the Thunderstrike keyword) – and yes, that includes the massive new dragons…
The first big choice you have to make as a Stormcast player is deciding if your army comes from the heavens in a flash of lightning as a Scions of the Storm force, or if they are stationed in one of the Stormkeeps of the Mortal Realms and ride out from there as a Stormkeep army.
The Scions of the Storm are the Stormcast we all know and love – for each unit you deploy on the battlefield you can also place one in the Celestial Realm allowing them to “deep strike” later in the battle outside of 9″ of enemy models
What is new are the Stormkeep army, this allows you to take 1/4 units of your army from the Cities of Sigmar battletome as coalition units. These units then also get +1 bravery while they are within 12″ of your Stormcast. That’s pretty cool, but the main reason that people will gravitate to this is the fact that each of your Stormkeep Redeemer units (this covers Vindictors, Vanquishers, Liberators and Sequitors) count as 3 models for the purposes of objectives! In turns one and two this is only objectives in your own territory, however from turn three onwards this then applies to the entire board! Making this even better is the fact that when an enemy unit charges one of your units near an objective you cause the charges mortal wounds on a 3+
I really like that you have to pick between the two as this gives you an interesting and important decision about getting the amazing mobility and deployment options in the Scions, or the fantastic objective holding power of the Redeemers. Various units in the book are geared towards one of these two options, opening up list building even more.
Next up you get a choice of 8 different Stormhosts, each with a different special rule associated with them:
Hammers of Sigmar
The Hammers of Sigmar gain a 6+ ward save when wholly within 12 of an objective – take this with blocks of 10 Vindictors in a Redeemer list (With Yndrasta nearby to bring back dead models) to have a super tough unit that counts as 30 models and is really hard to shift!
These get the ability to fight when they are slain on a 4+
The Vindicators now get to pick a unit what made a charge and allow them to get 2 hits for every hit of 6
Anvils of the Heldenhammer
The Anvils of the Heldenhammer get an amazing ability that allows them to ignore the first 2 wounds suffered each fight phase if they can roll over the attacking unit’s bravery on 2D6!
If you want multiple small units of Annihilators then this is the Stormhost for you, 1 Paladin unit per turn gets +1 to hit and wound if the unit they are fighting has more models than them.
The Warbringers get some good utility in the ability to reroll 1 hit, wound or save roll per phase
Always failing charges? Well then the Tempest Lords are for you! They make charging much more reliable by letting you reroll one of the charge dice! Really like that it’s not both of them, allowing you to keep the highest number and try your luck for a longer charge.
In the monster heavy meta that is the Age of Beasts, the Astral Templars have it easy in that non of their units can be targeted by Monstrous Rampages!
You’ll note that there are no command abilities or artefacts tied to each Stormhost, and I think this is something that we will see for all subfactions going forwards! Instead we get list of enhancements that any subfaction can pick and choose from – no longer are we locked into a particular choice for going with whatever subfaction we liked! This is a great change and I hope that this continues into the other Battletomes.
We get the old -1 to hit Stormcast Eternals units that arrive from the heavens return, or if you take a Stormkeep Redeemer army you can instead reroll the number of Mortal Wounds dealt to units that charge objectives. Alternatively Envoy of the Heavens which improves the save by 1 for any Stormcast within 12″ of a friendly model that is slain! This potentially puts a lot of your army on a 2+ save as soon as you take a casualty! Finally if you are taking an army of Dragons (And let’s face it, we all are!) then you can take Master of the Celestial Menagerie that makes any attacks that target friendly monsters anywhere on the battlefield -1 to wound as long as the general is alive!
Artefacts of Power
We get a trio of weapons, one allowing you to reroll hits, one that gives a weapon double (!) damage on a wound roll of 6 and finally an interesting one that “Burns” an enemy target – when a model suffers a wound from it they then take 1 mortal wound at the end of each turn! Great for getting on a high wound target to get a stream of damage on them for the rest of the game.
In addition to the weapons we also get three pieces of armour, one that lets you reroll saves against damage 2 or greater weapons, that makes them immune to shooting attacks unless they are within 9″ and finally one that stops your opponent from rerolling hits in melee against the bearer.
Finally we also get 3 trinkets, the Quicksilver Draught which can be used to make the bearer fight first in the combat phase, the Luckstone that allows you to choose the result of any dice roll (This includes rolls on 2D6) once per game or the Obsidian Amulet that makes the bearer immune to magic until your next hero phase one per game.
We get a great assortment here and without being locked into subfaction specific ones I imagine this will lead to people building around getting more enhancements
The Stormcast get a lore of 6 spells which are on the whole reworked from the previous book, for the majority of these if the caster is a Lord or Draconith they get extended range:
Lightning Blast – Easy to cast spell that deals D3 mortal wounds
Azyrite Halo – Bounces back mortal wounds on successful saves of 6 on a target unit
Celestial Blades – Adds 1 to wound rolls for a target unit until your next hero phase
Chain Lightning – D3 mortal wounds with additional splash mortal wounds to units nearby the target
Thundershock – Gives a target enemy -1 to wound
Starfall – makes a point on the battlefield that can stop enemy units from piling in when within 3″ of it.
Low cast values across the board (The toughest one is 6+) makes these great to pepper the enemy with.
We get 3 new prayers – One makes one of your units -1 to hit, another allows you to teleport a unit anywhere on the battlefield outside of 9 of enemies, and the final one gives 2 hits on any hit roll of a 6. Again some nice options here when picking multiple enhancements
The Stormcast book has 6 mount traits split over various mounts with a range of cool abilities – You can give them the ability to retreat and shoot or charge, make it more difficult for enemy wizards to cast, pile in 6″ or do damage when they arrive from the heavens in the same way as Annihilators. We also get 2 that unlock two new monstrous rampages, Thunderous Presence works in a similar way as roar, locking out the target from receiving commands and Light of the Young Stars makes the target -1 to hit on a roll of 3+
Finally when you make your army you can choose one of 5 Command Abilities to gain access to, again giving you lots of variety in list building without feeling tied to a subfaction. All these command abilities are limited to one use per battle
Call for Aid is a one that can be used to add a duplicate unit to the battlefield when a Redeemer unit of 5 or fewer models is destroyed – Again combos great with the Stormkeep army as those models count as 3 each for objectives.
Steadfast March allows Stormcast to run and charge, allowing you to cover ground a little quicker
Thunderbolt Volley lets a Justicar or Angelos unit shoot in the hero phase
Unleash Hatred increases the attacks of Paladin units
Final Thunderstrike makes a unit add one to its Blaze of Glory rolls
While these are one use only I can see some great utility here, especially as you have options for lots of different unit types, and much rather this than a locked ability from a subfaction as you can really tailor this to your force.
Path to Glory
One of our favourite parts of the new edition of Age of Sigmar is Path to Glory, if you haven’t checked this out yet then essentially it is a way of playing an ongoing campaign with an army that grows both in size and power as they claim territories and “level up” after gaining experience. It’s massive fun and for me how AOS 3rd edition plays at its best!
And I’m happy to report that the Path to Glory content within the new Battletome does not disappoint!
One of the key lore points about Stormcast Eternals is that when they fall in battle they are reforged anew, each time eroding a little part of their soul. The Studio have recreated this in Path to Glory by allowing you to return them to your force at the cost of renown – however the more times they get reforged then their ability to gain renown decreases over time as their soul starts to fracture. This is a great rule that really captures the feeling of your heroes slowly becoming a soulless husk as the reforging takes it’s toll on them.
Another fun thing that heroes get are Heroic Upgrades! From the Core Book there wasn’t really anything your general could do with renown, but now each of your heroes can use their accumulated renown in order to unlock new mounts or upgrade them to higher ranking characters! This is brilliant as it allows you for example allow you to add a simple Knight on foot to your force then over the course of the campaign earn him the right to ride a mighty Draconith to battle! I really hope we see this extended to other battletomes to allow us to upgrade these heroes over time!
Exclusive to Path to Glory games is also the ability to create your own Stormhost by picking 2 tenets from out of 3 different lists. By tying this to narrative games this eliminates any min-maxing problems of matched play games while allowing Path to Glory players crafting something narrative and unique for them to grow.
Expanding on those in the Core book we also get a list of new Veteran Abilities, 6 new Territories that take the 61-66 slots on the D66 chart and 4 new quests. One of the quests “Guardians of the Dawn” actually unlocks one of 2 special “showpiece” battleplans that allow your Path to Glory army to try something cinematic in order to gain additional benefits – this I really love and to me that is an ace reward for completing the quest.
For example Into the Fire pits your Stormcast against an enemy force that outnumbers you in units 2:1, despite the odds you are tasked with eradicating this army before it either flees or takes out your own force. These are the kind of games that you would not be able to do in a Matched Play setting, but here allows you to win against the odds and have an epic tale to tell about that time your massively outnumbered Stormcast army managed to fight valiantly for a win!
Rounding out the Path to Glory section we also get a host of Warscroll Battallions, these no longer have points values and allow Path to Glory players to use something a little more narratively themed than the Core Battlions. While the bonus are good, they are nowhere near as strong as what they used to provide, making them fun to use within your campaigns.
I am really excited to seeing the first Path to Glory supplement and how they build on this further, as this is already gearing me up for launching my Stormcast Path to Glory!
In the new Battletome we also get some new goodies for Matched Play in the form of new Grand Strategies, Battle Tactics and Core battalions.
While extra Core Battalions may worry some people, they don’t add any new bonuses over what is available in the Core Book, just different ways of getting those bonuses – for example 3-6 Troops can be taken as a One-drop Deployment, or 2 Troops and an Artillery can be taken as Slayers (Free Unleash hell once per game) – combined with those in the Core Book this again gives people lots more options for list building without feeling restricted.
for Grand Strategies we get one based around your Dragon flavoured units surviving, another in which the ONLY battleline troops at the end of the game are Redeemers or finally if there are 2 Cities of Sigmar units on the battlefield at the end of the game. Again, these give you some more fun ways to play.
Likewise the Battle Tactics give you variations of tactics based on your stormcast units – for example destroy a unit with a Draconith or kill a target hero in a single turn.
These all seem to add some flavour without making the options in the Core Book or GH21 bad choices for your army.
So finally we come on to the new Warscrolls! As there are over 70 of them I’ll be focusing on the new units that have been added, but there are lots of changes throughout the book – the Celestant-Prime for example now has a 4+ ward save, characters and mounted units generally have more wounds across the board and long overlooked units like Fulminators have just got a lot scarier, their Glaives have gone from 3 up to 5 attacks each with 3 damage each on the charge and rend of -2 and their mounts damage output and rend has also doubled. This puts Fulminators with a potential damage output of 42 damage from a unit of 2 making them one of the surprise winners of the new book!
Another great thing GW have done is allow you to take those kits that build a HQ option (Fulminators, Stormdrakes) and use the “spare” model as a unit of 1 – they never count as Battleline but you get to take the extra model as a unit which is a brilliant change
All in all, Stormcast players will be happy with the changes to existing units – Yes, there are some points increases, but on balance the older units are in a much better place than they used to be. So let’s take a look at the new units added in this Battletome!
The first of the 2 new Dragon characters and he is amazing! 18 wounds with a 3+ save and a passive -1 Attacks abilities for weapons that target him makes him pretty tough. On top of this he is also a caster able to put out 2 spells a turn with a casting bonus starting at +3 on his top profile. His unique spell allows him to afflict a target with one of 4 debuffs: -1 to hit, worsen rend, -1 attacks on missile weapons or -1 save rolls.
His breath weapon has a potential of D6 mortal wounds on a 5+ without needing to roll to hit, making this a good way of chancing a lucky roll on a support character hidden behind a unit
He has less attacks than his more aggressive brother, putting out a potential of 20 damage with his “basic attacks” all at -2 rend and flat damage, the wild card is his tail that has an attacks characteristic equal to the under of enemy models within 3″ again with -2 rend and flat 2 damage – depending on what you are fighting he should be easily be able to wipe entire units.
The “Angry” Dragon, Karazai trades in his brother’s spellcasting ability for more attacks and rend on this weapons and the ability to gain stat increases based on what he kills – Each hero or monster he kills gives him an extra attack, each unit with a wounds characteristic of 3 or more that isn’t a hero or monster gives him a cumulative +1 to run and charge and each unit with wounds characteristic of 2 or less heals a wound on him – get this guy multi charging units and he will become scarier as the battle goes on.
In this battletome we get the Lord-Commander of the Hammers of Sigmar himself, and in addition to being a gorgeous model he is an absolute beast too! Rocking 4 attacks with damage 4 and -2 rend he is formidable in a fight. He can also call upon a thunderstorm to “shoot” a unit in the hero phase – he picks a unit anywhere on the battlefield and rolls a number of dice equal to their wounds characteristic, causing mortal wounds on each 6!
As Lord-Commander he has the ability to redeploy D3 units before the battle starts, and can issue commands to any Hammers of Sigmar unit anywhere on the battlefield without spending a command point once per turn.
Finally, if he slays a model he heals all his wounds at the end of that phase making this guy really hard to kill! combined with the Thunderborn ability this means you can reliably heal him to full in your hero phase.
Will 100% be bringing this guy along in my Hammer of Sigmar armies.
The new Dragon riding hero, and again very very good! boasting 5 rend -3 Damage 2 attacks with his sword and an additional 4 rend -2 damage 2 attacks with his mount he is a very formidable combat character and also boasts a shorter range version of the breath weapon seen on the 2 big dragons. Linked with this is the ability to make a Stormdrake Guard unit use that breath weapon once per game in the Hero Phase
Similar to Chaos spell shields he ignores all spells on a 4+
Finally after fighting you pick a model, and if you can roll over it’s wounds characteristic then it is slain! This makes him a very real threat against elite units with 4 or 5 wounds a piece, especially when combined with a unit of Stormdrake Guard!
Essentially a slightly weaker unit of the above as a Battleline choice (If you take a Draconith or Stormdrake general)! less attacks, rend and damage but still very scary and survivable as they have the same special abilities as the hero version! As they also have the Monster keyword they can do monstrous rampages too giving them some amazing utility in AOS3!
Some people had been worried about coherency with these, but it is extended to 3″ (Probably to account for their wings!)
Brilliant unit and I can see them being picked up by a lot of people to make an awesome Dragon themed army!
A new shooty hero who works well as a way of taking out heroes with his 30″ range bow – it only gets 2 shots however wounds on a 2+ has -3 rend and damage 3 making this a great option for reliably killing support heroes.
He comes with a unit of gryph hounds who can can be used to allow 3 Stormcast units to shoot if an enemy unit deploys within 12″ of them
Finally he has a one use area of effect shot, instead of firing as normal he can pick a point on the battlefield and every unit within 6″ takes D3 mortal wounds on a 4+
Another new Battleline unit who start with 2 attacks base but can get as high as 4 each when in a unit of 10 – the downside to this is that they have a 1″ range meaning models in a second rank will lack the each to make sure of the bonus attacks. 5 looks to be the sweet spot as they get 3 attacks each giving you the best bang for buck in a small frontage.
**UPDATE** – This ability as actually keyed off the number of models in a target unit, meaning that a 5 man squad can get 4 attacks each if attacking a unit with 10 or more models!
They can also take a musician allowing them to Rally on a 5+ rather than 6
I think I favour the Vigilators for the reach, but I really love the models so may take a small and manageable squad of 5
The new shooty unit (That can be unlocked as battleline by the Knight-Judicator) has an amazing ability that lets you add 1 to hit rolls (including melee) to any target they wound – amazing way of getting some reliable 2+ to hit across the army, but they are a little on the pricy at just under 200 points for 5 due to this and have to be a little closer to the enemy than they would like to be with a range of 18″ compared to some other archers. 2 shots each with -1 rend however makes them a pretty decent ranged unit.
A really cool looking model that can be taken as a ranged version or a close combat one – boasting 12 wounds and a 3+ save its pretty hardy, but I’d have liked to be able to take multiples in a unit (sadly it is “Single”) despite that it has some decent damage output in the combat version and is nippy with a move of 12
Annihilators with Meteoric Hammers
The final new unit in the book is the 2 handed weapon build of the trusty Annhiliators. If you like the Dominion ones you’ll love these too, they trade out the 2+ save for extra rend and damage and wound on 2s rather than 3s – I think these will also be popular, especially in Knights Excelsior where they are battleline!
Speaking of Battleline, we see lots of options in the new book! Judicators, Liberators Sequitors, Vanquishers and Vindictors are all base Battleline now, with Stormdrakes being Battleline with a Draconith or Stormdrake general and Vigilators being battleline with a Knight-Judicator
Hammers of Sigmar unlock all varieties of Dracothian guard as Battleline giving you another way of doing a pure dragon based army
Knights Excelsior have all Paladin units as Battleline (Annihilators, Protectors, Retributors)
Tempest Lords unlock Prosecutors as Battleline
Astral Templars unlock Vanguard Hunters and Palladors as Battleline
With all these options I feel we have the most choice we have ever had in a Stormcast army, really allowing you to build an army out of whichever models you like the most.
Also, sorry Daughters of Khaine players – you are no longer on the Allies list for Stormcast! I guess Sigmar and Morathi still have some unfinished business…
The first book in a new edition is always an exciting thing to look at, as it’s here where we get the threads and themes that will be developed and expanded over the life of the edition. I’m happy to say that Stormcast Eternals looks like a really fun army to play, now expanded out with lots of options to make every army different. As is the nature of the beast I’m sure people will gravitate to certain builds, but the real joy in the book is the freedom in how you build your army and some amazing Path to Glory content that captures the feeling of the army.
I can’t wait to see how future Battletomes look, as this one leaves me eager to see more already!
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews a free copy of Order Battletome: Stormcast Eternals for review purposes. The book is up for pre order today and is released Saturday the 18th September.
We also have a full review of the new Orruk Warclans Battletome – check it out here!