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Cities of Sigmar Shieldbands: Anvilgard Guide

This guide is part of a big series of guides for the 7 different Cities of Sigmar Warbands. You can find all of the different Cities of Sigmar guides here:

  1. Overview of Cities of Sigmar warband
  2. Tempest Eye
  3. Hallowheart
  4. Anvilguard
  5. The Phoenicium
  6. Greywater Fastness
  7. The Living City
  8. Hammerhal

Introduction and Lore

Anvilgard is a port city in the Realm of Fire, and probably the most sinister among the Cities of Sigmar represented in Warcry. It is a city filled with scoundrels, criminals, pirates and the warriors and sorceresses of the Darkling Covens.

In a recent development of Age of Sigmar lore, this city was made even more sinister when it was conquered by the forces of Morathi, the leader of the Daughters of Khaine, and renamed Har Kuron. This means that from a narrative perspective, you can play your warband as either a Har Kuron warbands of mortals in service of Morathi, or as a warband that still fights for the survival of Anvilgard as it once was – the philosophy of war for both of those factions is essentially the same.

Fighters from Anvilgard are used to a harsh environment of jungles, crime and corruption, and this is evident in their fighting style: Like beasts of prey, they pick out wounded enemies and hunt them down with terrifying melee attacks, and their ruthless Leaders will not hesitate to kill one of their own to remind the rest of their fighters why running away might be just as dangerous as facing the enemy.

If you would like to play the antiheroes of the Cities of Sigmar, and if you like tactics centered around devastating melee attacks, Anvilgard might be just the warband for you.

Abilities for the Anvilgard Warband

Like all other Cities of Sigmar Shieldbands warbands, The Living City has access to four unique abilities, as well as six abilities shared with the rest of the Shieldbands:

  • Merciless Raiders (Double, Everyone): Only on the first round, add +2″ Move and +1 Attack for melee actions.
  • Perfect Position (Double, Leaders with Agile runemark): Perform a bonus move up to 6″ away.
  • Make an Example of the Weak (Triple, all Leaders): Take down a friendly fighter close-by to add +1 to Attack and Strength of melee actions of friendly fighters nearby.
  • Show no Mercy (Quad, Everyone): Make a bonus attack action. If the target of the attack action is wounded, improve the damage up to 3.
  • Vitriolic Spray (Quad, Leaders with Mystic runemark): A chance to do an incredible amount of damage to an enemy fighter and then halve his Toughness.


Introduced in the new season of Warcry, Reactions are things that can be done in certain circumstances, but always during the enemy turn. They cost one action, so they can be used only by fighters that have not activated yet or are waiting. There are 3 universal reactions and one specific to each warband:

Cutthroat Strike (Everyone)

  • When: When an engaged enemy performs a disengage action but before it moves away.
  • What: On a 3+ allocate D6 damage to the enemy.

Which Fighters are best for the Anvilgard Warband?

When building a Cities of Sigmar warband, there are two things to consider: first, which of the 68 fighter types available to the faction best represent the inhabitants of the city you’re playing on a narrative level, and second, which fighters can make the most use of the unique abilities available to the city.

From a narrative point of view, an Anvilgard warband is a great opportunity to field Darkling Covens and Scourge Privateers fighters and Leaders. This gives you the chance to make a fast warband with many models on the battlefield that can attack with both melee and ranged weapons. Some of the best picks for your basic fighters are Black Ark Corsairs with Vicious Blade and Wicked Cutlass for very cheap melee fighters with many Attacks, and Darkshards if you want cheap ranged fighters.

For the Leader slot the Sorceress is the obvious narrative choice for a Leader with the Mystic keyword so you can use your Quad Leader ability Vitriolic Spray. For the hero slot you could take a Black Ark Fleetmaster as a good melee Leader who isn’t expensive, or get a cheaper one with almost the same damage output like the Black Ark Reaver.

If you want elite melee fighters, Executioners fit the theme of the city, but they are pretty expensive, so if you’re playing a competitive warband, go for Wildwood Rangers instead, even though they don’t fit the dark theme of Anvilgard very well.

Tactics for the Anvilgard Warband

Playing the Anvilgard warband is all about hitting the enemy hard in melee with as many fighters as possible. The Triple ability Make an Example of the Weak does require you to sacrifice one of your fighters (so bring a cheap one), but it boosts Attacks and Strength for all melee attack actions made by your fighters in an area around the Leader using the ability. This is great, as this buff is easy to activate (you don’t have to have a good dice roll for the ability or take down an enemy fighter first), so make use of it whenever you can.

That means putting your Leader or Hero in a battle group with as many melee fighters as you can fit within reach of Make an Example of the Weak.

Another battle group could consist of quick aelven elite fighters, or even mounted fighters if you’re fighting on a battlefield that suits them (which is somewhat rare, depending on objective placement) paired with a cheap ranged fighter. A cheap ranged fighter is a way of making sure an enemy target has taken at least one point of damage, so your fighters can use the Show No Mercy Quad to take them down later in the game without the risk of losing a melee fighter just to make sure an enemy is wounded.

Another aspect of the abilities that should be considered in the tactics of an Anvilgard warband is that you have to get your Leader with the Mystic keyword in melee range of the enemy to use their Quad ability. It can do an awful lot of damage, but your Leader has to live long enough for you to be able to afford a Quad, while still being close enough to the frontline to close in for the use of the ability. This means your Mystic Leader needs bodyguards: keep them close to strong fighters that can screen incoming attacks until you’re ready to use Vitriolic Spray.

The warband reaction, Cutthroat Strike, is something important to remember in case the enemy tries to disengage, as it can give you a chance to do some extra damage or even finish him off before it’s your turn.

Example List for the Anvilgard Warband

This list makes use of all the tactics mentioned above, and it takes fighters from two of the most iconic Anvilgard factions of fighters. If you only have access to one of the factions that are being mixed here, feel free to replace Executioners with even more Black Ark Corsairs or vice versa, and the Darkshard can also be replaced with a Black Ark Corsair with Vicious Blade and Repeater Handbow.

  • Sorceress (Leader)
  • Black Ark Reaver (Hero)
  • 7 Black Ark Corsair with Vicious Blade and Wicked Cutlass
  • 2 Executioners
  • 1 Darkshard

Colors of the Anvilgard Warband

The Colors of Anvilgard are black, red, white and blue, with plenty of gold added to metallic areas that aren’t blades or chainmail. This makes for a fairly complex color scheme, and black can be especially tricky to paint well. You can find recipes for painting it in the Battletome: Cities of Sigmar for the Age of Sigmar tabletop game.

If you want to play as the Anvilgard successor city Har Kuron from the Broken Realms: Morathi book, you can paint you fighters as shown a video from Warhammer TV here.