After reviewing Age of Sigmar: Skirmish yesterday, I thought it might be fun to explore some starting 25 Renown point warbands for campaigns, to see what is possible…
Lord-Relictor (Merciless Killer, Blessed Amulet)
2 Liberators (Warblade and Shield)
At this level, you basically have a choice between a Lord-Relictor and a Knight-Azyros to lead your Stormcasts but while the Azyros certainly has a great deal of mobility (objectives are a thing in the Battleplans), the Lord-Relictor can heal himself and others, which is a rare enough trait in Age of Sigmar.
The Merciless Killer command ability will mean, so long as the Liberators stay close, their Warblades not only hit on 3+, but they wound on 3+, removing the absolute bane of the weapon (Stormcast players will know what I am talking about). The Blessed Amulet gives the Lord-Relictor another wound, which will buy him a little time to heal himself.
Branchwych (Masque of Horror)
3 Tree-Revenants (Waypipes)
Overall, this warband is a trifle fragile for my liking (Mystic Shield and cover will offset that a little), but the Branchwych is actually not bad in close combat once removed from the full-on battlefields of Age of Sigmar – so long as she does not get hit too much (getting hit a little actually helps her in a fight)…
For a command ability, I might select either Tenacious Defender, to keep her alive just a little bit longer (maybe) or Indomitable Will, to properly shut down any enemy wizardry. The Masque of Horror is hardly reliable, but it will be very funny when it kicks off and may keep the Branchwych alive for a round longer.
Instead of three Tree-Revenants, we could instead have four Dryads, but if we assume there will be an absence of Wyldwoods in a desert city, they become less attractive. Waypipes can also lead to various shenanigans involving Tree-Revenants bouncing around the table, which is always useful in a Battleplan.
Anointed (Tenacious Defender, Soulsever Blade)
3 Phoenix Guard
I haven’t got the models for this warband but I spied it in the book and it might just have to be done!
The Anointed does not have the strongest attacks (Rend -1 is useful, but Damage 1 will mean he has to work at things), but he has four of them (and the Soulsever Blade re-rolls failed wounds), and a 4+ save combined with a 4+ ward means he is survivable enough. He may also be able to stay out of trouble altogether, with his 2″ reach, though that may be more difficult to pull off in Skirmish.
The Phoenix Guard themselves have the same 4+/4+ armour, though their attacks are a little weaker. That said, the Anointed’s command ability means they get to re-roll wounds and, with two attacks, that could make a difference. However, they are mainly about survivability.
Black Ark Fleetmaster (Merciless Killer, Soulsever Blade)
8 Black Ark Corsairs
Fun fact – the Fleetmaster is the cheapest Hero in Skirmish! This means you can have a bigger warband than other people at the start of a campaign…
As befits a low cost, the Fleetmaster is… average. However, he does have some nice abilities to bring him back up to speed. Re-rolling hits with his cutlass is nice as he has three attacks (make it a Soulsever Blade, and he gets to re-roll wounds too), and his Murder Hook at least gives him Rend. His cloak means he already effectively has Tenacious Defender, so Merciless Killer seems fitting, as he is bound to be close to at least some…
… of the real heroes of this warband, the eight (eight!) Corsairs. Their close combat attacks are nothing special, but if they all have Repeater Handbows, kicking out a total of 16 shots every shooting phase (albeit at 9″ and with a 5+ to hit), they are going to worry the 3-model warbands at least a little!
Grimwrath Berzerker (Inspirational Fighter, Blessed Amulet)
At 25 points, you get access to the full range of Fyreslayer Heroes, one of the few forces where this is true in a starting level warband in Skirmish. However, the Grimwrath Berzerker is notoriously funny to use, so we’ll go with that!
He already starts at 6 Wounds, so we’ll give him the Blessed Amulet (7 Wounds!) to really take the mick, and Inspirational Fighter re-rolls hits of a 1 one all nearby friendlies, which Fyreslayers always need).
Then it is really just a case of wind them up and watch them go. The Grimwrath is just rude in close combat and while the Hearthguard Berzerker only has one attack, at Rend -1 and Damage 2, he can put a Stormcast down with one solid hit. The Vulkite I would give the Bladed Slingshield, for extra mortal wound goodness on the charge.
In building this Warband up, I might be tempted to start bringing in some Kharadron Overlords and maybe even some of the Ironweld Arsenal for some trans-Duardin fun.
Warchanter (Inspirational Fighter, Blessed Amulet)
There is not too much variation or subtlety in this warband, but that is an Orruk for you (and if you are sticking to 25 points, this is the only combination you can have as a pure Ironjawz force).
The two Ardboys are likely to be surprisingly effective (especially if one is a Boss and the Warchanter can get the other excited), while the Warchanter can at least hold his own against low level Heroes.
Being a 6 Wound Hero, my eye immediately goes to the Blessed Amulet for the Warchanter and, again, the re-rolls of 1 on missed hits from Inspirational Fighter will work well so long as the warband can stay close to one another.
Lord of Plagues (Tenacious Defender, Blessed Amulet)
This warband looks more to the future, as it can lead very nicely into both more Daemons of Nurgle or, alternatively, Blightkings – you can even sensibly mess around with Nurgleised Slaves to Darkness.
This warband is all about the survivability, starting with the automatic healing of the Lord and going on through the Disgustingly Resilient ability of the Plaguebearers. The Lord of Plagues ability and artefact are similarly intended to keep things alive and fighting.
Plague Priest (Crusader, Oblivion Charm)
8 Plague Monks (Book of Woes, Doom Gong)
I am not saying this warband will be good – but it is large!
The lack of a save on the Plague Monks is a big issue, and Bravery 6 on the Plague Priest means that once they start running, they will keep on running! However, the Plague Priest himself has is prayers to keep things interesting, can actually do some damage with his staff (especially if he is charging), and if the Plague Monks can outnumber selected enemies one at a time, you might be surprised as to what they can bring down in combat.
The Plague Priest has the Crusader command ability to ensure his little horde can get into combat and take advantage of their charge bonuses, while the Oblivion Charm (which explodes if he is killed) is suitably vicious enough for a rat.
There are, of course may, many different combinations for warbands across the board – the Bloodbound might well have the greatest variety at their hands, but the Herald of Slaanesh and her pet Dragon Ogor could be fun, or maybe the Darkoath Chieftain with his 9 Chaos Warhounds, or the Cairn Wraith who leads 13 Zombies….
You can have a lot of fun building warbands!