This article will describe in detail the Fyreslayers army starting from its lore, describing the main units and their roles, how the army plays and finally our personal opinion of the army.
For a complete run-down of the different armies available in Age of Sigmar, consult our army overview article.
In this article we will refer often to Matched Play and other technical terms like allegiance abilities, command points, army roles in building a list, core battalions, Endless Spells/Invocations, etc. We assume the reader will be knowledgeable with those terms, otherwise please refer to the relevant guides for more details.
Overview of Fyreslayers Army
Fyreslayers are a faction of the Grand Alliance Order representing the fiercest and feistiest duardin (the name for dwarves in Age of Sigmar) in the Mortal Realms.
Originally from Aqshy, these duardin are constantly in search of ur-gold, believed to be the essence of their long-dead God, Grimnir. Legend says, should they be able to collect enough of this resource, their God would be reborn and guide them to one final epic battle.
In the meanwhile they scour the Mortal Realms lending their axe to anyone who can pay their price, that includes occasionally working with other Grand Alliances as well…
In game terms, the Fyreslayers are a slow melee-focussed army with great resistance but mobility problems. They have plenty of synergies that they need to use to maintain a competitive aspect where they normally perform decently.
Visually they are half-naked dwarves with a big Mohican hairstyle, usually painted using red and orange tones to represent the realm they hail from (Fire). They suffer from limited troop options and a multitude of heroes pretty similar to each other.
The latest battletome, released in March 2022, continues the work of the previous book, expanding on the main rules and bringing this army to Age of Sigmar 3.0 with the right tools to compete at high levels.
Lore of Fyreslayers Army
Grimnir, the duardin God of war, has his origin in the World-That-Was where he thought the hordes of Chaos before the world was shattered. Awakening in the Mortal Realms, he soon reunited with his brother Grungni and became a deity of the first duardin inhabiting Aqshy, the Realm of Fire.
It is not known how the two duardin gods were imprisoned but was Sigmar to free them and, bound by honour, vowed to serve Sigmar. Grimnir requested Sigmar to name the most powerful enemy he could vanquish and so he challenged Vulcatrix, the Mother of Salamanders.
The fight that ensued became legendary and ended with both gods self-destruction and Aqshy reshaped by the conflict. The Fyreslayers kept venerating their fallen god and occupied the volcanoes that were previously the lair of Vulcatrix forming the first magmaholds. They soon discovered that Grimnir’s essence was spread across the realms and fused with gold to become what they call ur-gold. This material can then embedded in their skin through runes that alter their body and mind allowing them for feats otherwise impossible.
Another consequence of that fight was the formation of Magmadroth eggs, giant drake-like beings of lava that the Fyreslayers quickly adopted and trained for war.
Since then, the fiery duardin are out in search of ur-gold in the hope that, once enough has been found, Grimnir will return to the Mortal Realms to guide them once more. In order to achieve this, they sell their services to the highest bidder. And while they can be found escorting Sigmar’s Dawnbringer Crusades in securing the most strategic points to build new cities, they can equally be found in the service of darker forces should the price be the right one.
The Fyreslayers are a war-like race dwelling in the deepest mountains. Their ancestral home are the volcanic areas of Aqshy, but they have since expanded in all other realms maintaining a direct line of descent with the original lodges.
Each lodge is ruled by a Runefather who controls all important activities and leads the Fyreslayer fyrds (armies) in the crucial battles. One of his sons or Runesons, will inherit the lodge on his death based not on birth right but by merit in battle. All other Runesons can then be sent across the realms to establish new lodges.
Fyreslayer’s devotion to their God and all religious activities are overseen by the Zharrgrim priests of which the Runemaster is the leading authority. Each lodge would have one Runemaster and different other attendants. One of their duty is to forge the runes that will eventually be pound in the flesh of the warriors to ensure they can use them when required to enhance their abilities.
The biggest and most famous Fyreslayer dynasty is Vostarg, that traces its origin all the way to the first-forged lodge of Vosforge. They are the clear embodiment of Grimnir, proud warriors with histories of conquests and victories to fill a library.
The Greyfyrds are the most widespread mercenaries thanks to their unique position in Chamon, realm of Metal, close to other realmgates that allow them to pursue as many contracts as possible in all corners of the realms.
The Hermdar are the most honourable, pursuing evil-doers even without compensation, while the Lofnir are the most isolated of the Fyreslayers. They venerate Vulcatrix and their aim is to bring her back through the ur-gold collection.
Army rules for the Fyreslayers
But how does a Fyreslayers army play on a tabletop? First let’s go through the main rules for this army.
The first choice you have available when creating a Fyreslayer army is the Lodge or subfaction:
- Vostarg (focus on Vulkite Berzerkers)
- Greyfyrd (focus on unmounted heroes)
- Hermdar (small help in battleshock phase, Auric Hearthguards become battleline)
- Lofnir (focus on Magmadroths, Auric Runeson on Magmadroth becomes battleline)
Those provide a slight bonus on a certain aspect of the army with Greyfyrd benefitting unmounted heroes meaning that is the bonus most widely spread (unmounted heroes represent more than 50% of the army).
The other major faction ability concerns the ur-gold runes. At the start of the hero phase you can activate one and only one rune, and that cannot be activated again in the same battle. You roll a die and on a 6 the rune effects are enhanced. Those effect vary, for example, to name few:
- Mortal wounds on an unmodified roll of 6 to wound (Searing Heat)
- Enhancing movement (Relentless Zeal)
- Adding 1 to the hit roll (Fury)
- Improve the rend characteristic (Awakened Steel)
If you need a hero to use a specific enhanced rune, then a new specific heroic action allows a hero to use the rune as if it was enhanced independently from the previous roll (Blaze of Fury).
A Fyreslayer-specific command ability (Fierce Counter-attack) allows the core troops to counter-attack a unit charging them once per game. In game terms this means they can get the strike-first effect in the combat phase if they have been charged in the previous phase.
The last battle trait is specific to the Grimwrath Berzerkers: each one can choose a different oath that would apply for the rest of the game providing bonuses like +1 to wound and hit when in proximity to friendly allied units (“I will prove Grimnir’s might to our allies”!) or the ability to run and charge in the same turn (“I will let nothing stand in my way!”).
Fyreslayers have also access to faction-specific enhancements, these include:
- Command traits, divided in Runefather/Runeson or Priests. A notable one would be Leader of the Duardrazhal that allows friendly Duardin allies to benefit of the ur-gold rune effects.
- Artefacts, divided in Runefather/Runeson, Priests or all heroes, like The Axe of Grimnir that increases rend and damage characteristic of a melee weapon of the wielder.
- Prayers, available only to Priests like Ember of Storm that allows a unit of Vulkite or Hearthguard to run and charge in the same turn.
- Mount traits for Magmadroths like Coal-heart Ancient that reduces by 1 the damage taken from melee attacks.
Units and their roles in the Fyreslayers Army
Heroes in Fyreslayers
Heroes can perform Heroic Actions, in addition to the other abilities they can perform. You do it in the hero phase and you can only do one heroic action. Here is the list:
- Heroic Leadership: a chance to get a command point only that hero can use.
- Heroic Willpower: one non-Wizard hero can attempt to dispel or unbind a spell for one phase like he was a wizard.
- Their Finest Hour: once per game improve save and wound rolls for one hero.
- Heroic Recovery: a chance to heal some wounds to a hero based on his Bravery characteristic.
Fyreslayers are disproportionately heavy on the hero side considering that they make up around 75% of the entire roster. At the top of the chain there is the Auric Runefather, that is available both on foot or on Magmadroth. Both versions are available from the same kit that allows to assemble one hero on a Magmadroth and 2 on foot between the Runefather, the Runeson and the Runesmiter.
The Magmadroth is a veritable beast whose profile is shared across the 3 heroes. High wounds, a shooting attack depending on the enemy models in the target unit (but a mount trait can make it such that it always starts from 5), powerful melee attacks (including rend -2), end of combat mortal wounds chance (lashing tail) and kick back wounds to melee fighters damaging it (volcanic blood) makes it extremely dangerous.
The Auric Runefather is the top fighter between your heroes with scary weapon profiles before you start buffing it with the various runes and traits. Both versions can, once per battle, increase the attack characteristic of all friendly Fyreslayers within 12″ that, combined with the rune effects, can transform them in a slaughter machine for a combat phase.
The Auric Runeson has a melee profile slightly weaker than the Runefather and an ability that does straight mortal wounds to Monsters on an unmodified 6 to hit. In this case the best weapon option is the Ancestral War-axe as it is more reliable on damage (2 instead of D3) and provides more attacks.
Both Auric Runefather and Runeson on foot have access to new abilities (but lose all those associated to the Magmadroth) linked to their retinue (a unit of Auric Hearthguard or Hearthguard Berzerkers): they can transfer wounds to the nearby retinue (that keeps their ward save) and allow their retinue to attack immediately after them before the opponent can pick their next unit.
The Auric Runesmiter is the best Priest available in the army. In particular, on top of the Magmadroth, it’s extremely resilient and with high mobility (starting at 12″ instead of 4″). His prayer provides +1 to wound to a friendly unit. Or you could take the universal prayer Curse that ensures the target enemy units suffers mortal wounds every 6 to-hit thrown at them.
The on-foot version of the Runesmiter is a must for all Fyreslayers armies, allowing him and another unit to be set as reserve and re-appear anywhere on the battlefield 9″ away from enemy units at the end of a movement phase. Such versatility for an army otherwise quite slow (4″ all troops) is essential. Alternatively a Runesmiter can be kept next to the Magmic Forge to ensure his prayers (and all other priests) have a higher chance of success.
The Auric Runemaster is the leader of all priests and, as such, knows all Fyreslayer prayers. He can also provide 1 extra command point when close-by the general (note that he can be a general hence always close-by to himself) and his prayer transforms a terrain feature in an active volcano for a turn, damaging all nearby units and blocking visibility through that feature. The Auric Runemaster is more flexible than a Runesmiter in the fact that he is not limited in which prayers he knows, and could be another great option as a Forge attendant to provide bonuses to all priests.
The Auric Flamekeeper is a Totem, meaning he has a range of 18″ to use command abilities. His main function is to buff troops even if to activate those buffs other troops need to die around the Flamekeeper. Those buffs are useful, from a 6+ ward to the ability to fight after death.
Finally the Battlesmith is another Totem that provides a 6+ ward to all units nearby or 5+ once per game. He can also improve the Rally command ability (at the start of hero phase the target unit not in combat can roll a dice for each slain model and on a 4+ resurrect it).
The next two are Heroes but not Leaders, meaning they do not limit you in list building but can still benefit from the appropriate enhancements and use of Heroic Actions.
The Doomseeker is the least used of the two. While he gets considerable buffs when attacking a unit chosen as his oath target at the beginning of the game, those buffs, and the Doomseeker utility, mostly ends with his, or his target, destruction.
On the other side the Grimwrath Berzerker has its own allegiance ability that allows considerable buffs that complement the other synergies from the army. As multiple Grimwrath benefit from different oaths, you can experiment trying various combinations. For example, you could have a Grimwrath next to Gotrek swearing “I will prove Grimnir’s might to our allies!” with a Draught of Magmalt Ale artefact for 2 rounds of attacks in the same combat phase at 8 attacks, 2+/2+ -2 rend and 2 damage per hit…
The last of the heroes is Fjul-Grimnir, the leader of The Chosen Axes, a warband from Warhammer Underworlds season 1. Fjul counts as a Runefather with its own 3-men retinue.
Monsters in Fyreslayers
Monsters can perform special abilities called Monstrous Rampages at the end of the Charge phase. Each action can be performed only once per phase therefore only up to 4 monsters can perform one at a time. Here is the current list:
- Roar: a chance to prevent an enemy unit to issue or receive orders in the following combat phase
- Stomp: a chance to do D3 mortal wounds to a unit
- Titanic Duel: + 1 to hit rolls against another Monster
- Smash to Rubble: a chance to demolish a terrain feature, disabling it’s scenery rules
Fyreslayers monsters are all linked to a single kit, all of them Leaders and Behemoths: the Magmadroth. That means that the 3 warscrolls available with this keyword are: Auric Runefather on Magmadroth, Auric Runeson on Magmadroth and Auric Runesmiter on Magmadroth.
The first two are your hammer type, that well combine with the power of the mount itself as discussed in the section above. The latter is your priest, with extra mobility (14″ movement) and resistance (16 instead of 6 wounds).
Considering point cost/value potential, the Runeson on Magmadroth is the least efficient, but can become battleline as described below.
Battlelines in Fyreslayers
The main battleline option for Fyreslayers is the Vulkite kit, that has now been split in two different profiles depending on their weapon loadout.
The Vulkite Berzerkers with Bladed Slingshields are best suited as an attrition unit or as an objective holder. Their greater save and ability to do mortal wounds on a charge, allows them to be a nuisance that needs to be dealt with, but don’t expect them to solve matches by themselves.
The Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes are your small hammer, able to increase their attacks further when they charge becoming a cheap but powerful damaging unit.
All Vulkite, once per game, can continue fighting after death, meaning that you can concentrate your priority on the more important fights.
Conditional Battlelines in Fyreslayers
That leaves us with only 2 units left to discuss, and they are both conditional battlelines coming from the same kit.
Auric Heathguard become battleline in an Hermdar army or if the General is a Priest. Conceptually they are Fyreslayers’ best missile unit, although quite expensive at it. In exchange they can halve an opponent’s unit movement on an unmodified 6 to hit on their shooting attacks. Even in melee they can defend themselves becoming a potential screening unit.
On the other side the Hearthguard Berzerkers are your anvil. With a 4+ ward when close to a hero, and the ability to become retinue of your on-foot leaders, take those wounds out of them and still use their ward, they are an essential part of your defensive strategies. They become battleline simply by having a Runefather as your General.
While they are resistant units perfect for keeping in place your opponent or holding an objective, they do not disregard getting in the midst of a fight. They have 2 weapon profiles: one for 2 damage with rend -1 and one for 1 damage but the chance of mortal wounds. Statistically the former (the broadaxe) performs better but they both have a use.
The Auric Son on Magmadroth becomes a battleline in a Lofnir army. Attention because in this case they lose also the Leader and Behemoth battlefield roles but not the Hero keyword.
Wizards and Priests in Fyreslayers
Fyreslayers have mainly 3 Priests available to tend to their Magmic Battleforge and invoke Grimnir’s power on the battlefield: the Auric Runemaster, the Auric Runesmiter and the Auric Runesmiter on Magmadroth.
The Auric Runesmiter is by far the most popular choice thanks to his versatility and his ambush ability. The one on Magmadroth is another great option as it adds more resistance and more speed, allowing the priest to Curse its enemies from close range (Curse is a universal prayer that allows mortal wounds on a 6 to hit against the targeted enemy).
The Auric Runemaster, with his knowledge of all Fyreslayer prayers, is the perfect priest to keep next to the Battleforge to buff all other units.
Endless Spells, Terrain and Start Collecting in a Fyreslayers Army
The Magmic Battleforge is Fyreslayers unique terrain piece, summoned in the heat of the battle to help Fyreslayers priests. Indeed his boons are controlled by priests as one is required to tend the forge in order to activate them. The standard bonus is a +1 to chanting roll for priests in range, while once per game the forge can be expended and provide a 6+ ward to all friendly Fyreslayers. Once this ability is triggered, the forge cannot be used again.
Fyreslayers have also their version of the Endless Spells called Magmic Invocations. They can be summoned only by Fyreslayers priests and cannot be controlled by enemy priests.
They all have a chance to be removed from play when certain occurrences happen.
The Molten Infernoth is the classic mortal wounds after-move dealer. It is removed after rolling a double for its movement.
The Runic Fyrewall is a wall that protects against attacks from the front as it can be crossed only by Magmadroths or flying units. If its power is collected, there’s a chance to be removed from play but the collecting unit always obtains an after-save ward for that phase.
Finally the Zharrgron Flame-spitter is a shooting unit that is removed after doing 4 or more mortal wounds in a single shooting phase. It becomes much deadlier against horde units (20 models or more).
Fyreslayers had a Start Collecting box but with the new trend, the new battletome was followed by the release of a Vanguard box in its place. Vanguard boxes are more expensive, but contain more miniatures and have more or less the same discount percentage.
Vanguard: Fyreslayers contains 1 Battlesmith, a unit of 5 Hearthguard Berzerkers, which can alternatively be built as Auric Hearthguard and 20 Vulkite Berzerkers that can be built as 2 units of 10 or a single unit and can use either profile.
This box is a good starter set for Fyreslayers, coupled with the Magmadroth kit that will give you 3 more leaders definitely provides enough gas for a small army.
Tactics and Final Verdict on the Fyreslayers Army
Fyreslayers suffer from a lack of visual distinctiveness as all units and heroes have a pretty similar look and feel. They also have a limited roster with 2 kits making up the 4 troop options (but two of them really are the same unit with 2 different weapon profiles) and an astonishingly high ratio of heroes per troop (excluding the Chosen Axes 11 heroes out of 15 warscrolls).
However, if the visual design of this army appeals to you, you will discover a rich and entertaining army to play with. The troops, while being few in numbers, all have specific roles that perform more or less well:
- Auric Hearthguard are your shooting unit
- Hearthguard Berzerkers are your anvil
- Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes are your hammer
- Vulkite Berzerkers with Bladed Slingshields are your attrition unit
The Runefather on Magmadroth, opportunely buffed, can perform well as a hammer, and the priests all have great use, especially the Runemaster with the flexibility to choose a different prayer every turn, and the Runesmiter that can dig straight into the melee with his ambushing ability (or riding on a Magmadroth if you have spare points).
And we have not discussed the Grimwrath Berzerkers, another glass cannon unit that has its own allegiance ability that well synergies with the rest of the army transforming it in a dangerous lone wolf.
All in all, there are really few units that do not perform well in their role, Doomseeker being one, so there is variety and different options available.
The playstyle is clear, you have some missile firepower but that is not what characterizes this army. They want to go straight into the enemy line and do as much damage as possible. While visually naked, they are protected by different wards that can be triggered at different times, for example exhausting the Magmic Battleforge or using the Rune of Fiery Determination, that can greatly increase their durability.
And here comes also the downside for Fyreslayers: many abilities are once per game that need to be timed perfectly to make the difference between victory and loss. For example, activating the ward too soon may mean you don’t have that extra protection in case you perform a double turn (two consecutive turns in two different battle rounds) or you don’t activate at the right time the Vulkite Berserk Fury that enables them to fight after dying.
One last unit we have not touched yet is Gotrek Gurnisson, the top dwarf, the hero of legends, now with his own miniature. Gotrek is not technically linked to any army but as a Duardin (yes despite being a Dwarf from the World-That-Was he has the Duardin keyword) fits the Fyreslayers army and can be used by any Order general as an ally.
Using the command trait Leader of the Duardrazhal, Gotrek can benefit from the ur-gold runes bonuses as if he was a Fyreslayer, meaning that he can get a 2″ extra Move when the Rune of Relentless Zeal is activated that is one of the best boon the greatest slayer of all times can get. But there are other runes that can still synergize with him and his efficiency in combat is well known.
Another great duardin unit not in this battletome could be the Irondrakes, that statistically can do more damage than Auric Hearthguard in the shooting phase, especially if they are opportunely buffed.
The final note goes to the Lodges. There are 4 to choose from, and if you are a narrative player there’s plenty of material to inspire you, but from a competitive standpoint Lofnir really fit the General’s Handbook 2021 battlepack, while, for the 2022/23 Season 1 and its focus on battlelines, Vostarg may see a revival. The bonus provided by Hermdar is the most negligible at the moment.
The new battletome has all the right tools to be competitive, but is not beginner friendly. It requires attention to details, accurate planning and use of the synergies across units. Once again Games Workshop delivered a great battletome for the third edition, one that really describes these feisty duardin and provides many tools to different types of players. Now we just need more core units!
Some excellent information that we often use from articles like this one comes from YouTube channels like Warhammer Weekly with Vince Venturella, AoS Coach and of course The Honest Wargamer.
If you are interested in the competitive standpoint, when we talk about statistics, a tremendous effort is done by Rob from the Honest Wargamer, Ziggy and Tsports Network! in the AoS Stat Centre with precious information, constantly kept up to date.
Really good informative material is also collected by Dan from AoS Shorts.