Introduction and Lore
The Living City is the sanctuary of Alarielle, the goddess of Life, and it is a forest-like city in Ghyran, the Realm of Life. While the indigenous inhabitants of the city and its surroundings are the Sylvaneth, all kinds of mortals are welcome in Alarielle’s realm.
The Living City’s defenses, as well as the weapons of its warriors, are made of the valuable Ironoak material, and everything in the city is either made of organic material or made to blend into its trees and gardens.
Even though the Wanderers aren’t allowed into the centre of the city (since the Sylvaneth haven’t forgiven them for fleeing Ghyran during the Age of Chaos), they make up a big part of the City’s armies. A Living City warband is often led by a Nomad Prince, and its ranks are filled with aelven rangers who ride stags or attack with glaives and bows, and they fight in symbiosis with the forest, ambushing enemies from the trees and vanishing seconds later, or using the healing power of the Realm of Life to heal their comrades.
If you want to use guerrilla tactics and strike your enemy before they have time to carry out their plans, or if you like the idea of a warband of forest rangers, the Living City warband could be the right warband for you.
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:
- Hunters of the Hidden Paths (Double, Everyone) Improve the Move characteristic of the next move action this fighter makes this activation based on the value of the dice rolled for this ability.
- Strike and Melt Away (Quad, Everyone) Make a bonus attack action with this fighter. Then make a bonus move or disengage action.
- Ambush (Triple, Leaders) In the first battle round, improve the Attacks of attack actions by friendly fighters in an area around this fighter until the end of the battle round.
- Lifesurge (Quad, Mystic runemark) Remove damage points based on the roll of multiple dice from a friendly fighter in medium range of this fighter.
Which Fighters are best for a Living City 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.
If you look at the warband from the perspective of the lore, any Living City warband should have at least some Wanderers fighters in it. After all, they make up the largest part of the city’s forces. Luckily, there are a couple of good fighters and Leaders to choose from in the Wanderers list: The Handmaiden of the Thorn is a good Leader for the warband, both because of her Mystic keyword and her speed.
Speed is very important to a Living City warband, as they have access to the Triple Leader ability Ambush, which is a good Attacks buff that works in an area around the fighter using it, but only in the first battle round. This means that you want to be in position for taking advantage of it as soon as possible, and the good Move characteristic of Wanderers and other aelves will help with that.
Since Ambush isn’t limited to melee attack actions, and you can cast it with your mounted Leader if you chose the Handmaiden of the Thorn, you could field a couple of Sisters of the Thorn along with it. They’ll then get extra Attacks on their ranged attack actions in the first battle round, which means you’ll be a threat to a large area of the battlefield, combining their mounted movement speed and their Range.
For the bulk of your infantry, Wildwood Rangers are a great thematic choice, but you could also go for Black Ark Corsairs with Vicious Blade and Wicked Cutlass or Freeguild Guard with Spear if you’re looking for sheer efficiency per point spent.
For ranged units, I wouldn’t recommend Sisters of the Watch, which fit the theme but are too expensive. Consider taking Freeguild Crossbowmen instead, since they’re better for their points cost, and are actually mentioned in Age of Sigmar lore as part of Living City armies.
For your hero, or as an alternative Leader choice, consider a Nomad Prince if lore is important to you, or a really fast melee Leader like the Assassin, who could get even faster using the Hunter of the Hidden Paths double ability.
Tactics for the Living City Warband
The Living City abilities are interesting in the way they clearly guide your strategy: You have the option to boost Attacks in the first battle round with Ambush, so you need to move up the board quickly, and try to decide the outcome of the battle before it gets going. Hunters of the Hidden Path also adds to your mobility, so you have to take advantage of that, either by making already fast fighters even faster to snatch objectives, or by moving heavy hitters close to enemy fighters you need to take down.
The other two unique abilities are tailored to staying alive after having made yourself vulnerable by running into combat with everything you had in the first battle round. Strike and Melt Away lets you attack and then move to a safer position, and Lifesurge lets you heal a friendly target, which is a good way of keeping that melee Leader you threw at the enemy in the first battle round survive to get another activation.
A warband built around this strategy could be entirely melee-focused, with Wildwood Rangers and cheaper troops following your Ambush-casting Leader, while your other battlegroups consists of similarly swift melee fighters or a Hero, so you can strike at multiple fronts and then use your Quad abilities to survive later battle rounds.
Guerilla tactics like these can be great for ranged troops as well: Sisters of the Thorn can threaten a large part of a battlefield with a buff from Ambush, or you can send a squad of expendable Freeguild Crossbowmen up the battlefield using the same tactics for less range but even more Attacks.
No matter what, stay on the offense and use your mobility to keep control of where battles are fought and when.
Example list for a Living City Warband
The following warband is really easy to buy and build, as it it made up of only two kits: A Wildwood Rangers kit and a Sisters of the Thorn kit. If you’re playing competitively, you might want to swap the hero for a more effective one such as an Assassin, but this list can use all the special abilities to good effect anyway:
- Handmaiden of the Thorn (Leader) 190 points
- Wildwood Warden (Hero) 130 points
- 6 Wildwood Rangers 510 points
- 1 Sister of the Thorn 125 points
= 955 points
In this warband, keep the Handmaiden of the Thorn, some of the Wildwood Rangers and the Sister of the Thorn in a battle group, so they can all benefit from Ambush, and then split the rest of the Rangers and the Wildwood Warden into the remaining battle groups. If you want more ranged firepower, you can replace Rangers with Sisters for a lower model count but greater mobility and range.
Colors of the Living City Warband
The colors of the Living City are very simple to achieve: you just want various shades of green, even on metallic surfaces. There are so many ways to do this, and it looks great if your combine it with a cream color for some of the cloth. Warhammer TV has a guide for how to make even a duardin look like a warrior of the Living City here.