Cities of Sigmar Shieldbands, and their division in 7 different cities with abilities and reactions, has been completely changed with the launch of the updated range for the Age of Sigmar army. The rules are available from Warhammer Community website under the Warcry FAQ section.
The warband, that had a whopping 60+ fighter profiles has seen many profiles being removed with some new addition, but more importantly, has been split in 3 distinct warbands, one for each major race populating the cities: the Humans of the Castelite Hosts, the aelves of the Darkling Covens and the Dispossessed Duardin.
Background and Lore of the Dispossessed Warband
At the beginning of the Mortal Realms, civilization thrived under the leadership of Sigmar’s pantheon. All gods collaborated and taught the mortals many things ushering a golden age. But Chaos planted its poisoned seeds within mortal minds and eventually managed to take a grip on this new universe.
And so, the Age of Chaos dawned, with the mortals being chased to the brink of extinction from all realms except Azyr, Realm of Heavens, where Sigmar retreated bringing as many as he could before closing the gates and leaving everyone else to fence off for themselves.
Centuries later, Sigmar deployed the Stormcast Eternals, warriors forged from the best mortal souls who died fighting against Chaos, to retake that was lost. A new era started and where before there was only desolation and everything was under control of the Ruinous Powers, now there’s a spark of hope. Civilizations started reappearing in all realms and new metropolises grew from tiny outposts thanks to the blood and sacrifice of the many mortals that flocked under Sigmar’s banner.
Where the aelves bring magic expertise and humans the manpower, the duardin are better known as the craftsmen that build the cities and fortifications. Sturdy and stubborn, they are equally efficient with a hammer crafting some extremely resilient engine or smashing enemies’ skulls.
The Dispossessed are all is left of the Khazalid Empire that once occupied a vast network of mountains. Their leaders are elderly Warden Kings and Queens, as age is extremely revered in duardin culture. Their infantry is famous for their toughness, be it simple Longbeards or elite Hammerers.
If there’s a need for more action, the Ironbreakers, clad in enchanted gromril armour, are veritable walking tanks, while the Irondrakes wield mini-cannons able to fell even the toughest troggoth.
The Ironweld Arsenal provides the war machines that support duardin and Castelite formations alike, with Steam Tanks vaporising anything opposing them and Gyrobombers and Gyrocopters representing the flying scouts, able to identify enemy threats or bombard them from atop.
But how sturdy is a Dispossessed warband on the battlefield? Let’s find out.
Fighters in the Dispossessed Warband
Note: if you haven’t read the basic rules for Warcry before reading this article, it might be helpful to know that the game’s abilities are activated by using 6 dice that you roll at the start of your turn.
If two of the dice show the same value, they can be used to activate a Double ability. If three show the same value, they can be used for a Triple ability, and so on.
So, when this article refers to an ability being a Double, a Triple or a Quad, it refers to this system. It might sound a bit confusing, but takes no time to get used to when you start playing
The Dispossessed warband is made of 14 different fighters, of which 7 are leaders.
Warden King: 145 points
Every Dispossessed throng is led by a Warden King. His base stats introduce the overall feeling of the warband with high Toughness (5 for him, but the rest of the warband never goes below 4), high wounds (22), low movement (3″, the same across all duardin on foot) and attacks like a blacksmith hammering in his forge (4 attacks at Strength 4 for 2/5 damage).
On top of that, there are some abilities shared by the entire warband including the reaction that allows a dying duardin to provide a free move or attack to any friendly fighter when he is taken down by a melee attack. Apart being extremely thematic, it is a great reaction as it transfers an action of a comrade that is never going to activate to another fighter anywhere on the board. There’s no compromise here, you are 100% going to use it should your duardin start falling down before exhausting their actions.
The next shared ability is a Double and is also thematic but less useful as it requires at least two duardin to stay still on an objective in close proximity to reduce the damage received by 1. It can be handy, but the next Double sounds much more interesting as Over My Dead Body makes the activating fighter count as 3 when checking which player controls an objective.
The Warden King signature ability instead costs a Quad and allows all friendly Dispossessed within 6″ to make a bonus move action. Abilities that provide free movement when the average is 3″ are always pretty good, but compared to the warband’s reaction, it may be much more situational.
Runelord: 145 points
The Runelord is the master smith of the warband specialised in runes. His ability allows to increase up to 3 (half the ability’s value rounded up) the Strength of melee attacks of a targeted fighter within 9″. While the average Strength of the warband is 4, going even just to 5 can really help, especially considering it costs only a Double and has a 9″ range!
Apart from that, the Runelord is still a valid fighter with 3 attacks for 2/4 damage and Toughness 4. If you need a support hero, he is your duardin.
Cogsmith: 145 points
The Cogsmith is less of a support guy a more of a “I-do-everything-by-myself” type. His ability can increase his ranged attacks to Strength 7 (up to +3, half the ability’s value). It costs a Triple, but is valid until the end of the activation so he can shoot twice and with 12″ range and 2/4 damage, he can remove some chaff.
He is equally dangerous in melee with 1 attack more than the ranged profile (3) and is a good option if you need a lonely hero to lead your warband, otherwise he is more of a hybrid between the Warden King and the Ironwarden without excelling in either role.
- Keeper of the Gate: 120 points
- Hammerer: 85 points
The Hammerer is the basic fighter profile, but also your heavy hitter with 3 attacks at Strength 4 for 2/5 damage and Toughness 4. He is hard to dispose of, and his signature ability, for a Double, provides him +1″ move bringing him to 4″ that is a decent amount for a duardin. In addition, should he be within 1″ of another friendly hero, he adds also +1 attack, meaning that he can easily join your leader and hammer down any resistance.
The Keeper of the Gate is the leader option and he is a good one, with the same attack profile of a Warden King but less Toughness (4) and wounds (16) for a cheaper profile. He can still use his ability to move an extra inch but is unlikely you’ll have another hero nearby to bring his attacks to 5.
- Old Guard with Ancestral Weapon and Gromril Shield: 115 points
- Longbeard with Ancestral Great Axe: 85 points
- Longbeard with Ancestral Weapon and Gromril Shield: 85 points
The Longbeard is the other basic infantry profile with two different loadouts and a leader option, plus a great ability that for a Double increases the Strength of any other Dispossessed fighter within 6″ by 1. Now all your Duardin have Strength 4 or more, so a couple of these can make your Runelord redundant.
The Longbeard with Ancestral Great Axe is the most balanced with the same attacks as a Hammerer but less damage on critical hits (2/4).
The Longbeard with Ancestral Weapon and Gromril Shield loses 1 in Strength to add 1 in Toughness (5).
The Old Guard with Ancestral Weapon and Gromril Shield is the leader option that adds an extra attack to the Longbeard profile with the same loadout. He can’t improve his own Strength with his ability, so that value of 3 seems a bit too low for your main Leader, but on the other side Toughness 5 is a plus.
- Ironbeard with Drakefire Pistol and Cinderblast Bomb: 110 points
- Ironbreaker: 75 points
The Ironbreaker represents the heavy armoured infantry with Toughness 5 but weak attacks (3 at Strength 3 for 1/3 damage). They are the cheapest option available in the warband and their ability allows another comrade with the same runemark to perform two bonus move actions towards him but needs to end the last movement within 1″ and can’t move for the rest of the battle round. It is useful to double down on an objective, it would have been better if the proximity was 3″ instead of 1″, but with low speed you take any movement buff they give you.
The Ironbeard with Drakefire Pistol and Cinderblast Bomb is their leader option but with a quite different profile. To start with, he has the same attack but with 8″ range (no minimum range), plus an extra ranged attack at 3-5″ range for 2/4 damage at Strength 4. The lack of melee profile means he is the only duardin in the warband that can’t benefit from the various Strength upgrades.
- Ironwarden with Grudgehammer Torpedo: 160 points
- Irondrake: 85 points
The Irondrake is the shooting fighter, with 12″ range for 1/4 damage at Strength 3. In melee they are less scary with 1/2 damage but they are overall cheap to be a missile unit. Their main ability for a Triple reduces by 3 the Toughness of an enemy within 6″. If you ran out of Runelords and Longbeards and want to take down a particular enemy, reducing his Toughness will give you a clear advantage. It can be useful also if you have many Irondrakes as they can’t improve their Strength 3 and could all focus on a single target.
The Ironwarden with Grudgehammer Torpedo is their leader option, with 15″ range, Strength 5 and 2/5 damage, making him a much scarier shooting profile. In melee he hits as an Ironbreaker, but if you take him is to keep him out of harm way.
- Gyrobomber: 215 points
- Gyrocopter: 190 points
The duardin helicopters represent the fastest unit in the warband, with the plus that they can also fly.
The Gyrobomber has 10″ movement but 15″ range for 3 attacks at Strength 4 and 1/3 damage, with a melee profile also quite interesting with Strength 5 and 2/4 damage.
The Gyrocopter is lighter with 12″ movement and range but one less melee and ranged attack (2) and Strength in melee (4). He is also cheaper and useful to compensate the overall duardin slowness.
They don’t have specific abilities, but they can use the warband Double to count as 3 models when controlling an objective taking advantage of their speed.
Abilities for the Dispossessed Warband
- Grim Last Stand (Double, Everyone): Subtract 1 (to a minimum of 1) from the damage received by friendly Dispossessed fighters within 3″ that did not move.
- Over My Dead Body (Double, Everyone): For this battle round this fighter counts as 3 when checking who controls an objective.
- Back In My Day… (Double, Old Guard and both Longbeards): Add +1 Strength to other Dispossessed fighters within 6″.
- Kingsguard (Double, Keeper of the Gate and Hammerer): Add +1″ movement, in addition if within 1″ of a Dispossessed Hero, +1 attack.
- Stand Together (Double, Ironbeard and Ironbreaker): Another Ironbeard or Ironbreaker can perform 2 bonus move action but they must finish within 1″ of this fighter and they can’t move for the rest of the battle round.
- Forgefire (Double, Runelord): Add up to +3 to the Strength of melee attacks of a fighter within 9″.
- Raking Fire (Triple, Cogsmith): Add up to +3 to the Strength of ranged attacks of this fighter.
- Flesh-melting Torrent (Triple, Ironwarden and Irondrake): Subtract -3 to the Toughness of an enemy within 6″ (to a minimum of 1).
- Fearless Leader (Quad, Warden King): Every Dispossessed within 6″ can make a bonus move action.
Reaction for the Dispossessed Warband
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:
- When: A fighter is taken down by a melee attack action.
- What: Another friendly fighter makes a bonus move or attack action.
Strategy and Tactics for the Dispossessed Warband
The Dispossessed are the duardin side of Cities of Sigmar, so if you have an old Dwarves army from Warhammer Fantasy, converted for a Cities army, chances are that you also have the basis for this warband. Otherwise, the warband is split across different boxes of sculpts 10 years old.
The Dispossessed play exactly as you would expect from a band of duardin: slow but tough to crack. Their average movement is 3″ but the two “copters” can drastically change it with 10″ and 12″ flying respectively. One of them should always be in your list because, combined with the warband Double, Over My Dead Body, they can fly to a far objective and count as 3 models when contesting it, taking over from your opponent that thought that leaving 2 of his fighters there would be enough…
To compensate their low movement, they also have few ranged options, in particular the Irondrakes and their 12″ range, but also several leaders, and of course the 2 “helicopters”. The Warden King’s Quad can give a free move action to all duardin within 6″ and the Hammerer gets +1″ for a Double (similar to the universal Rush but when ending next to a hero, they add also +1 attack).
In addition, the Dispossessed have one of the most interesting reaction in the game so far: once a duardin is taken down, one comrade can perform a bonus move or attack. The best part is that there’s no range, so you can use it to move a Gyrocopter far away, or with a Hammerer to perform an extra attack. There’s no trade off, no roll of dice, you just immediately avenge your fallen friend.
And there’s more abilities centred in improving the duardin movement, but let’s focus on those more offensive. In particular how a simple Longbeard can increase the Strength of all Duardin melee attacks on a 6″ range by 1 at the cost of a mere Double. Sure, the Runelord can increase it up to 3, once again for a Double, but targets a single fighter, although 9″ away, and needs a high value to be more effective.
And if you need to target a single enemy instead of increasing Strength to your guys, you can reduce their Toughness for a Triple with an Irondrake. Useful to single out an opponent and bombard it with ranged attacks or hit it hard with the cheap Ironbreakers.
Each unit in the warband has its own role. Our favourite leader is undoubtedly the Warden King, even just for his Toughness 5 and the only Quad available to the warband. The Cogsmith is a good lonely leader and the Runelord is a nice support guy if you are doing a narrative campaign or if you don’t want to add Longbeards.
The others are straight-forward: the Hammerer hits hard, the Longbeard is a bit more defensive but is also a support unit, the Ironbreaker is the cheap profile and the Irondrake is the missile fighter. A combination of them can help the diversity of the warband, and depending on the points left you can have either a Gyrocopter or a Gyrobomber. Personally we would go for the 12″ of the Gyrocopter, mostly for stealing objectives and covering where the other duardin can’t reach on time.
Compared to the human side of Cities, the Dispossessed are less shoot-y, but more efficient. They are sturdy, but not excessively (apart a single ability that reduces the damage intake they don’t have defensive abilities) and if little bearded fighters are your thing, they can be a lot of fun to play!
Pros and Cons of the Dispossessed Warband
+ Tough fighters
+ Variation in the different profiles
+ Good abilities
– Slow movement
Some thematic warbands for the Dispossessed
Just for fun here we present few thematic warbands, meant more for fun or narrative context than for competitive play. Note that in narrative play you need to complete a quest that allows you to recruit a Hero before being able to add him to your roster.
Duardin Throng: Warden King, Gyrocopter, 2 Longbeard with Ancestral Great Axe, 2 Irondrake, 2 Hammerer, 2 Ironbreaker.
How to buy a Dispossessed Warband
The Dispossessed are part of the Cities of Sigmar range, in particular the duardin side. As any Age of Sigmar army, there’s no easy to collect Warcry box, but you would most likely need to start a Cities of Sigmar army or invest in boxes with multiple models.
The individual blisters that provide you hero options are:
- Warden King for £16
- Cogsmith currently unavailable
- Runelord for £16
- Not a hero, but Gyrobomber and Gyrocopter come from the same individual box for £32.5
Otherwise, the units (and their leader option) are available in the following boxes:
- Hammerers, 10 models including the Keeper of the Gate for £32.5. The Longbeards (and the Old Guard) come from the same kit.
- Ironbreakers, 10 models including the Ironbeard for £32.5. Irondrakes (and the Ironwarden) come from the same kit.
Tips on painting a Dispossessed Warband for Warcry
The Dispossessed are the last remaining models from the Dwarves range incorporated in Age of Sigmar Cities of Sigmar. No doubt they will become more popular in the coming years with the resurrection of the Old World game, but for now, you can use any guide for any fantasy dwarf.
Warhammer Community presents a tutorial for Ironbreakers armour that can be used across the entire range. Miniature Realms offers a guide for dwarves with a bit more cloth textures using Vallejo paints, while Awaken Realms is a bit more colourful and uses Citadel paints (he uses an airbrush but you can achieve the same with normal brushes).