Over the past year, the Games Workshop skirmish tabletop game Warcry has kept growing with new rules, releases and warbands. I have covered every warband released so far here on Age of Miniatures, but with more than 30 warbands available, it can be a bit overwhelming to even choose a warband to play in the first place!
Fear not! Through the time-honoured tradition of the Choose Your Own Adventure format, this post will help you choose which warband to go with. Just read through the next paragraph, and then continue reading through the links that seem most true to the kind of gaming experience you’re looking for.
Please note that this article doesn’t presume to know everything about the competitive meta of the game. You can’t be sure to get the absolute best, always-winning warband by reading this article. This article is much more about playstyle, collecting the warbands and having fun with the game.
The links in this article will all go through the guides we have for the warband right here on the site.
As an experiment, we have kept this article more lore heavy and kind of like a “pick your own adventure”. If you see text with this background colour, it is meta text that you can read if you are confused about what is going on.
The Three Gates of Warcry
You stand before the game of Warcry.
In your mind’s eye, it appears to you as a vast fortress, adorned with towers, walls, staircases, corridors – and a ton of skulls mounted on spikes.
In front of you is an old duardin sage, and behind him are three gates that lead into the fortress.
“Welcome, traveler,” the sage says. “The fortress of Warcry can only be accessed through these three gates.”
He gestures to the gates behind him, and you feel the significance of the moment shimmering in the air around you.
The sage continues: “Those who enter through the first gate value power above all. They seek to join the warbands that will lead them to the most victories in battle. All the warriors that have entered through this gate yearn to discover the battle discipline that speaks to their soul, and their warrior hearts will truly be tested in the dungeons of Warcry.”
“The second gate is for travelers who seek efficiency. They long to join the fray as swiftly as possible, and are thus looking for warbands that are easy to muster, equip and train for battle. They realize they might not win every battle, but they can’t wait to join the Path to Glory regardless.”
“Behind the third gate is the path of the storytellers. They seek the most glorious warbands, with fighters so unique that every battle will be remembered in saga and song, and with weapons and armour so splendid that even the finest smiths of Azyrheim would weep with joy at the mere thought of them.”
The sage pauses. Suddenly, his expression morphs, and his voice changes to a higher pitch (sounding almost like a normal human being)
“Hey, it’s quite simple, buddy! Click the first gate if you want to fight the most powerful warband within each playstyle in the game.
Click the second gate if you’re looking for easy to play warbands that you can build from just one box of miniatures.
Click the third gate if you want a warband with amazing models to paint and weird, lore-appropriate rules that will make for some cool hero moments in the game – without neccessarily being the most powerful.
You can also just read through the article from top to bottom if you want! It’ll be confusing at times, but you’ll get an overview of all the warbands. Have fun!”
The sage’s expression reverts back to normal, and both he and you shiver with cognitive dissonance. What in Archaon’s name just happened? Surely, the Changer of Ways is afoot…
Gate 1: The Precipice of Power (or powerful Warbands in Warcry)
You enter through the first gate, and once again, you are faced with hard choices. A four-headed Fomoroid warrior stands before you, and you look at your right hand and see that you are holding a plate with a delicious meal on it.
The heads speak in turn.
The first head says: “There is no greater power on the battlefield than swiftness with which to surprise your foes and outmanoeuvre them! Give me the morsels on your plate to receive the fleetest feet and the most soaring wings!”
Suddenly, the duardin sage is right next to you, and he’s acting all weird again:
“In an objective-based game like Warcry, being able to move quickly to where you need to be is often way more important than being able to defeat your enemy in combat (but being able to do both is downright scary). Fast warbands are great for players who love manoeuvring and tactical gameplay, and in Warcry, manoeuvrability comes in three variants
– High Move statistics
– Fighters with the Fly runemark, which don’t take vertical movement into account when they move
– Abilities that let you move your fighters around or give them bonus move actions
There are too many warbands that have abilities with bonus move actions to list them all here, but if you’re a looking for a fast, manoeuvrable warband, I would suggest the following:
- Nighthaunt – ghost warband where everyone has the Fly runemark
- Corvus Cabal – shamanistic bird-worshippers who are both fast and extremely good at exploiting the verticality of scenery on the battlefield
- Sylvaneth – treefolk who are able to teleport some of their fighters around the board, which is great for grabbing undefended objectives and treasure
- Cypher Lords – Chaos tricksters who can teleport their fighters around the map
Other great fast warbands include:
- Flesheater Courts – ghouls with access to both fast land-based fighters and fighters with the Fly runemark
- Seraphon – has some excellent flying dinosaurs as well as fast cavalry
- Kharadron Overlords – steampunk duardin with elite flying fighters that can also shoot, giving you even more range (but their other fighters are very slow)
- Idoneth Deepkin – underwater aelves with some strong, fast cavalry
- Daughters of Khaine – very fast but fragile warband of female berserker aelves
- Skaven – rat fanatics with very fast, cheap basic fighters so you can swarm the enemy
- Beasts of Chaos – beastmen who are also great at the swarming fast horde tactic
- Tzeentch Arcanites – magic-worshipping cultists and birdmen with some good flying fighters
The duardin sage is silent again. What is wrong with him?
The second head bellows: “When locked in battle with a formidable foe, there is nothing more joyful than to slice him up with a flurry of blows! Who cares if he has the greatest battleaxe in all the Realms, if you can cut him five times before he can even lift it! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Let me feast on your meal and I will grant you the ferocity and rage to become a whirlwind of blades and fangs that no foe can withstand!”
The duardin is back, whispering in a strange, electrical voice:
“”Wow, that almost rhymed there at the end! While Strength and Toughness have their uses in Warcry, the game is tilted towards critical damage being the most direct route to doing damage to your opponent. And, the more Attacks a fighter has, the more chances she has of rolling those sixes and causing critical damage. If you want a warband built around that philosophy, I would suggest one of the following:”
- Splintered Fang: Snake worshippers with many fighters that have both a lot of attacks and good critical damage. Their snake pets are particularly good at this
- Khorne Bloodbound/Khorne Daemons: Skull-collecting murder-berserkers with a ton of melee attacks
- Daughters of Khaine: combine many attacks with great speed
- Fyreslayers: Murder-berserkers with a ton of melee attacks, but they’re duardin and sorta the good guys?
Many other warbands have individual fighters with many attacks, but these warbands are really built around it. Look at that guy, he really wants the meal!”]
The third head speaks:
“What is best in life?
Many slashes with a knife?
Soaring high on wings above,
like a fluffy turtledove?
NO, to hunt along your pack,
in a glorious swarm attack!
THAT is best in life.
[a thousand little nurglings erupt in wild cheers, waving banners with the words WE LOVE THEE, POETIC THIRD WARRIOR HEAD]
Give your food to me, and I will summon warriors in numbers such as the world has never seen!”
Here’s the duardin again, clapping along with the nurglings, sporting a THIRD WARRIOR HEAD ROCKS t-shirt (what’s a t-shirt? You feel like you should have stayed at home today):
“That’s what I’m talking about! In a game where you often control objectives by having the most models near it, and where more attacks mean more opportunities to do critical damage, having two weaker fighters in your team is often just as good as, or even better than, having one strong fighter. If these cheap warriors then have spears or other 2+ inch range melee weapons, they might even survive for more than one battle round of combat! If you want to play a “horde” warband with a lot of models on the battlefield, I would suggest:”
- Legions of Nagash – cheap skeletons and undead that can be resurrected by their powerful necromancer leader
- Skaven – cheap, fast swarms of rats
- Gloomspite Gitz – tiny grots and squigs with both ranged and range 2 attacks, and a cool mob ability that makes its fighters better when they stand next to each other
- Slaves to Darkness – very cheap barbarians with a melee range of 3, and a Leader that can buff the attacks of everyone within 6 inches of him on a Quad roll. Can make for some nasty horde assaults.
Many other warbands have access to cheap fighters to help you gain numbers superiority on the battlefield, but the four warbands above really excel at it.”
Finally, the fourth head speaks:
“The enemy is
my unsuspecting target
I shoot his head off.”
“Whoa! Unsettling sniper haiku are going to be so big this year. In a game of board control and brutal melee combat, sometimes being able to end the fight before it even starts can be a rewarding playstyle. Some of the best shooting warbands in Warcry include:”
- Kharadron Overlords: Everyone in the Kharadron Overlords warband can shoot, and while I’m not sure they have the single best shooting weapon in the game, they have guns for so many different tactics and roles that any shooting fanatic should give them a go
- Stormcast Vanguard: Very elite warband, but with some of the best shooting in the game, especially at long range.
- Bonesplitterz: If you want orruks that excel at shooting, look no further
- Disciples of Tzeentch Daemons: Terrifying shooting flamer daemons
“That’s about it! I hope you find something that suits you, or the Fomoroid will eat both you and the meal on your plate. Don’t forget to like and subscr-what!?”
The duardin vanishes in a puff of smoke and blue sparks, and you walk toward the Fomoroid to give one of the heads the meal and receive the warband of your (competitive minded) dreams.
Gate 2: The Great Marketplace (or quick ways of building a Warcry Warband)
As you enter through the second gate, you are met by a cacophony of voices. Before you is an open square full of tents, stalls and platforms, and chaos duardin slave merchants are all shouting at each other.
The duardin sage runs past you, leaving a trail “pixels” and “code” toward a tent full of cages with groups of tribal-looking warriors in them, crying for help. You think you might be having a near death experience.
Follow me, I’ll show you around! In this tent, they have all the warbands that have a dedicated Warcry “box”. This means that you can go buy just one kit, and then have both the rules and models to build a good warband. This is great if you’re just starting out, and they’re all fun to play, at least in a friendly, non-competitive setting:
- The original Warcry Chaos warbands: Iron Golems, Untamed Beasts, The Unmade, The Cypher Lords, Splintered Fang, Corvus Cabal and Spire Tyrants are all models that are designed for Warcry from the bottom up. They simply aren’t as strong as the best of the rest of the warbands, but their playstyles are all very distinct and help you learn a specific aspect of the game. They also have the advantage that they all look absolutely amazing and are fun to paint. If you are playing with other friends with this kind of warband, you’re going to have fun, perhaps with the exception of the Iron Golems, which many players struggle with (they’re all about Toughness and there are many ways to negate Toughness)
- A bit newer on the block are the Scions of Flame and Khainite Shadowstalkers.
- The Stormcast Vanguard warband also has a dedicated Warcry box, so if you want an easy way to join the forces of Order, this is the way to go.
- The Nighthaunt Warband has one as well, making it a great Death starter warband
- The Gloomspite Gitz also had a dedicated Warcry warband box, but it seems to have been discontinued. If you can find it locally, it’s a really good starter box.”
- Recently Flesh-Eater Courts, Sylvaneth and Legions of Nagash also got a dedicated Warcry box (but for how long it will be in stock I do not know)
The sage then takes you to a platform where a portal flickers between images of various armies aligned for battle.
“Some warbands are also easy to collect because their Start Collecting!: Age of Sigmar box sets give you a good range of fighters to build your warband from. Just be mindful that buying your warband this way will also often give you a cool Monster or Hero that will bring you dangerously close to actually starting an Age of Sigmar army rather than a warband! (You involuntarily imagine yourself as a warlord leading a great host of warriors):
- Stormcast Eternals Warrior Chamber
- Khorne Bloodbound
- Slaves to Darkness
- Idoneth Deepkin
- Khorne Daemons
- Seraphon (2 different sets)
- Stormcast Eternals Vanguard Chamber
- Kharadron Overlords
- Legions of Nagash
- Flesh-Eater Courts
- Daughters of Khaine
- Gloomspite Gitz
“Of course, if you only want to build your warband from one or two fighter types, there are many warbands that will be cheap to collect, but that all depends on your playstyle! Here on the marketplace, it’s all about the quickest route to a full warband!”
The duardin disappears, and you stand between the tent and the platform, unsure where to spend the coffer of gold you’re suddenly standing on top of.
Gate 3: The Hall of Heroes (or Warcry Warbands for storytellers)
Behind the third gate, everything is quiet. A few rays of the red sunlight of the Eightpoints pierce the darkness before you and reveal a room full of statues.
Your footsteps on the marble floor echo among the statues and pillars, and for a minute, you let your mind follow the sounds travelling through the seemingly endless architecture before you.
When you become aware of your surroundings again, the duardin sage is walking next to you, talking:
Then he slows down. Less static in his voice. He continues in his normal voice:
“Here in the Hall of Heroes, witness the fighters who are renowned not just for their discipline and tactical acumen, but also for their heroic feats in battle. They are the gladiators, the crowd-pleasers, the warrior poets of the Eight-Points. They may not have won all their battles, but everyone remembers the ones they did.”
His voice changes again, and now he’s standing on one leg on top of a golden Stormcast statue:
“If you are going for a fun narrative experience rather than the most competitive warbands, these are the warbands in the game that have either very elite, expensive superhero fighter types or other types of fighters that might not be as great from a mathematical rules perspective, but who, in best Warhammer fashion, can be really fun to play because there’s a chance they’ll do something awesome and look cool while doing it:”
- Spire Tyrants: The quintessential gladiator warband, with many abilities that trigger off of killing an enemy fighter. They are difficult to play, but they seem designed for making cool combos and Gladiator “are you not entertained!?” badass moments in the arena
- The Stormcast Warbands (Warrior, Vanguard, Sacrosanct: The “heroes” of the setting are all very expensive points-wise, but they all excel at what they do, so if you want a really heroic, low model count playstyle, go for the golden guys.
- Cities of Sigmar: After the release of the new Order Warcry book you got SO many options.
- Ironjawz: The armored Orruks are very slow, and have few attacks, but they hit so, so hard, and are very hard to kill. If you don’t care about winning objectives, but just want the satisfaction of killing anything that comes into contact with you, the Ironjawz are a lot of fun to play.
- The dedicated Warcry Chaos Warbands: While they’re often not that competitive, the original Chaos warbands for Warcry are full of memorable fighter types: The Iron Golem’s Ogor Breacher is an unstoppable bulldozer with hammers and maces for hands; The First Fang of the Untamed Beasts has a harpoon that can pull an enemy towards him; The Unmade are built around an absolutely bonkers Leader with stilts for legs and hooks for hands that can slice any enemy apart, and so on and so on. These warbands are designed to embody the over-the-top, fast-paced combat system of Warcry, and it’s always cool to watch that play out in the game.
- The Lumineth Realm-Lords: Brand-new as both a warband and an Age of Sigmar army at the time of writing this article, these shining Aelves from the Realm of Light are as heroic as they come: Stoic spearman, fast cavalry knights, and even a couple of graceful spellcasters make them stand out among the warbands of the Eight-Points.
- The Ossiarch Bonereapers: Another relatively new army, and these bone-collecting expeditionary undead legions are a big part of Age of Sigmar lore right now. Their combined arms playstyle can make them expensive to collect, but they’re a balanced force that just looks amazing, and nothing like any other warband, on the battlefield.
- The Ogor Mawtribes: The omnivore Ogors are on the top of my list (who’s really talking here? The duardin sage? The author? Your own inner voice?!) to collect: They are extremely elite (their points cost of their fighters is exceptionally high), except for the insanely cheap Gnoblars (45 points!), but they hit so, so hard. They have fighter types with 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 critical damage, so if you want your playstyle to be all about awesome takedowns, the Mawtribes are a good alternative to Ironjawz.
“So, what’ll it be? Big damage? Heroic good guys? The poster boys of the Age of Death? Your move, hero person!”
The duardin is suddenly eaten by an Ogor, pixels and all, and you instinctively run to the statue that looks the most like it could save you from the monster.