In this article, we will go through allegiance abilities, allies and coalitions and explain what each is in Age of Sigmar. We will also look into how they changed from the second edition of Age of Sigmar to the third edition of Age of Sigmar.
By the end, you should know everything about these core concepts of Age of Sigmar Third Edition.
A note on rules in Age of Sigmar 3.0: In this and other articles, we take an in-depth look at how Age of Sigmar 3.0 is played. In doing this, we often refer to the Core Rules of the game. Those rules are available as a free download from the Age of Sigmar website here.
What are the Grand Alliances?
Each model in the entire range of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar will belong to a faction. Each faction can be recognized because they have a Pitched Battle Profiles described either in their own battletome or in the General’s Handbook (whichever has been published later).
At a high level each faction belongs to a Grand Alliance. Note that in Age of Sigmar 3.0, those are used only as guidelines as there’s no more allegiance for them. There are four Grand Alliances: Order, Chaos, Death and
Destruction. At the bottom on the warscroll of each unit you will see different keywords, including to which grand alliance they belong to.
- Order consists mostly of Duardin (Dwarves), Aelfs (Elves), Humans, Seraphon (Lizardmen) and Stormcasts Eternals (the chosen warrior of Sigmar).
- Chaos consists of the armies of the four Chaos Gods (Nurgle, Khorne, Tzeentch and Slaanesh) plus the Skaven whose god, The Hornet Rat, reached the Chaos pantheon, and the Beasts of Chaos (the old Beastmen).
- Death represents undead beings and not, with armies led by vampires, ghosts, bone constructs or ghouls.
- Destruction is everything else that wants to smash, for example Orruks (Orcs), Grots (Goblins) and Ogors (Ogres).
If you want more details on the factions available in Age of Sigmar you can consult our Age of Sigmar army overview article.
A note on keywords and warscrolls
Earlier we mentioned keywords and warscrolls. Warscrolls are the rules for each model or unit in Age of Sigmar. You can find them in the Warhammer: Age of Sigmar app or battletome for that faction. The warscroll includes how the model attacks, its defence, movement and so on. Basically, the warscroll is all the rules for the specific model or unit. On the bottom of each warscroll is a collection of keywords.
Keywords are important to understand the synergies in the army as many abilities may require the target unit to have one or more keywords to be used. Sometimes allegiance abilities will affect only certain keywords.
The Grand Alliance keyword, that is usually the first one in the list, is used in the same way but most of the time has no other relevance, at least in Matched Play. There are other type of games where mixed armies can be used.
What are Allegiance abilities in Age of Sigmar 3.0?
Every faction has one or more set of allegiance abilities as described in their battletome. An allegiance is a set of rules you can use only when all models you are fielding belong to the same faction.
There are two types of allegiance abilities: battle traits and enhancements.
Battle traits are abilities that can be used by the models in your faction. Example of those would be battle traits or subfactions.
Enhancements are specific rules that can be given to a specific unit of your army following certain restrictions. For example wizards can be given spells, priests can be given prayers and heroes can be given artefacts of power. These also include faction specific command traits.
In matched play there are several limitations on how many and which ones you can take, in narrative campaigns instead is all about the thrill of finding new ones and ever expanding and customising your army.
If you decide to use subfactions (and why would you not? some are very thematic and some can even influence which colour schemes to adopt for your army), they all have their own set of allegiance abilities that complement or supersede the faction abilities, so read carefully the relevant section in the battletome.
- You get all of the battle traits for your faction and all of the battle traits for the subfaction you pick (if your army has subfactions).
- You get 1 enchantement of each type + what ever extra your get from Core Battalions or the Battlepack (you can read more about battalions here or about building an army here)
- Enchancements cannot be taken by unique units nor by allied units.
Should you use Allegiance abilities?
In Age of Sigmar 3.0 matched play games you cannot field an army that does not belong to a faction and all factions have at least one set of allegiance abilities you need to use. So this has gotten a lot simpler than in Age of Sigmar 3.0, where you could pick a Grand Alliance, get unit from across all of that Grand Alliance and also get some allegiance abilities.
In open and narrative games you may have different options, but in general is much funnier to have a cohesive army and be rewarded with extra rules. Note that if you are using points to determine which units to field, the point cost of each unit already takes in consideration the allegiance abilities in the cost, so not using them would mean missing out on things you have already “paid for”.
How do allies work in
Age of Sigmar 3?
At the end of the Pitched Battle Profiles of your army there is a list of other factions you can ally with. So to get the Age of Sigmar allies chart, you basically have to get either the battletome for your army or the latest Generals Handbooks. You can add 1 allied unit for every 4 units you field but those do not inherit or nor use the allegiance abilities of your faction. They also cannot get Enchancements. Think of them like “mercenaries” that will play for you but keep their own identity.
In matched play there are further restrictions, for example allied units do not count as battlelines but they do count in the limit of leaders, behemoths and artillery that you can field. Further more there are limits on how many points you can use for allied units depending on the point limit on your match: a 1000 point match has 200 points limit, while a 2000 points has 400. Also, an allied leader cannot be your general.
Certain units, like Gotrek, Nagash or Kragnos, will have in their own warscroll or in the Pitched Battle Profiles in the General’s Handbook how to integrate them in other armies despite not being in the list of Allied and even if they exceed the point limit available for allies.
Most armies will have a specific portion of the Grand Alliance they can ally with. So the Grand Alliances are formed up into several groups that can ally across that group. Other factions can allied into all armies of the Grand Alliance (the Stormcast Eternals Allies springs to mind).
A new concept introduced recently is that of coalition units. If a faction has access to them, it will be determined in its allegiance abilities (rather than in Pitched Battle Profiles). That will also determine how many they can take (1 every 4 units, and so on), but they don’t have points limit on them like allies do.
Coalition units depend from the battleplack if they count as battlelines or not (the current General’s Handbook battlepack doesn’t allow it), but they still count for the limit of leaders, behemoths and artillery that you can field in an army.
The advantage of coalition units is that they can receive enhancements and can benefit from certain allegiance abilities (depending on the keyword).
Changes from Age of Sigmar 2.0 to 3.0 regarding allegiance abilities and allies
Here is a list of main changes on Age of Sigmar 3.0 from previous versions:
- Grand alliances armies are now not valid in Matched Play (but can still be used for other type of games).
- All artefacts, spells, etc are now classified enhancements but follow roughly the same rules even if in a confusing way.
- Realm artefacts and realm spells are gone, replaced by universal enhancements and battlepack realm rules.
- Allied or coalition endless spells and incantations cannot be taken anymore.
- Coalition units roughly replace certain warscroll battalions and the rules for Cities of Sigmar “1 in 4”, but they are more flexible.
- In the battlepack from General’s Handbook 2021 coalition units don’t count as battlelines anymore.