Age of Sigmar Armies Guide: a Faction and Race Overview

Age of Sigmar Armies Guide: a Faction and Race Overview

As a new player, it can be insanely hard to figure out how the armies in Age of Sigmar are comprised. Can I take I take Stormcasts in my Idoneth Deepkin army? Why are the Aelves and Duardin split in so many multiple sub-factions? Is legions of Nagash and Nighthaunt to different things?

I am in the process of making a short guide for each faction. Only the factions from the Grand Alliance: Destruction is done. The overview for each faction will contain:

  1. The lore and theme for that particular faction
  2. The special rules and quirks that make up the faction (allegiance abilities and battalions)
  3. What miniatures are available for the faction
  4. How the playstyle is for the faction and what kind of combos the army can do
  5. What books are available for the army (as well as what other books you will need)
  6. What allies you have available for the army
  7. Some sample builds or common army lists
  8. The overall pros and cons of each army.

If you are a new player, you might be a bit confused as to what the army/faction/race system is for Age of Sigmar. If so, I suggest you read on below where I explain it a bit, before you go to the Grand Alliance guides

The factions in Destruction is done but the rest are under construction. Last updated 24th of April.

What armies, races or factions are there in Age of Sigmar?

There are right now 21 factions with a Battletome and about 4-6 (depending on how you count) without a Battletome.

The factions in Age of Sigmar are:

  1. Skaven (Chaos)
  2. Beasts of Chaos (Chaos)
  3. Maggotkin of Nurgle (Chaos)
  4. Blades of Khorne (Chaos)
  5. Disciples of Tzeentch (Chaos)
  6. Everchosen (Chaos)
  7. Slaanesh (Chaos)
  8. Flesh-Eater Courts (Death)
  9. Nighthaunt (Death)
  10. Legions of Nagash (Death)
  11. Gloomspite Gitz (Destruction)
  12. Beastclaw Raiders ((Destruction)
  13. Ironjawz (Destruction)
  14. Bonesplitterz (Destruction)
  15. Stormcast Eternals (Order)
  16. Idoneth Deepkin (Order)
  17. Daughters of Khaine (Order)
  18. Kharadron Overlords (Order)
  19. Sylvaneth (Order)
  20. Fyreslayers (Order)
  21. Seraphon (Order)
  22. Various Aelves (Order, no Battletome)
  23. Various Duardin (Order, no Battletome)
  24. Gutbusters (Destruction, no Battletome)
  25. Greenskinz (Destruction, no Battletome, maybe gone)
  26. Various Humans (Order, no Battletome)

Age of Sigmar has four Grand Alliances. Each faction is part of only one of those four alliances. The four Grand Alliances are Destruction, Death, Chaos and Order.

Each Grand Alliance is made up of several factions. A faction could be Skaven (Chaos), Nighthaunt (Death), Gloomspite Gitz (Destruction) or Stormcast Eternals (Order). You could also call the factions the “armies” or “races” of Age of Sigmar, but they are most commonly referred to factions or sub-factions.

A faction will normally have a rulebook called a “Battletome” (if one has been released yet for the faction), giving them special abilities when you take only units from that faction. As a rule of thumb, I would shy away from starting an army that does not have a Battletome. There is a chance that the faction could be merged (or discontinued if you are really unlucky). The fact that at battletome has been released far a faction means that the faction will likely be supported in the future (not to mention the factions with special rules are more fun and perform better).

Within a faction, there can be several “Sub-factions”. In the  Battletome: Gloomspite Gits you have Moonclan Grots (Nightgoblins), Spiderfang (Forrest goblins riding spiders) and the Throggs (Trolls). In the coming year, we will probably see a ton of Battletomes that gather smaller factions and making them a sub-faction.

Below I have created a list with each grand alliance and what factions have a battletome or not.

If you want to know more about how the special rules for each faction (called “Allegiance Abilities”) work or how you can take units from other factions into your army (Allies) you can read my guide on it here.

Guides an overviews for the Destruction Factions

Overall overview of the Destruction Factions

Gloomspite Gitz Guide and Overview

Beastclaw Raiders Guide and Overview

Bonesplitterz Guide and Overview

Ironjawz Guide and Overview

Chaos Factions with a Battletome: Small Overview

Battletome was released in early 2019. The Clan Pestilens Battletome is outdated.

A few new models have been added in Age of Sigmar, but mainly this is the Skaven army of old.


  • Masterclan
  • Moulder
  • Eshin
  • Verminus
  • Skryre
  • Pestilens

Battletome was released in late 2018 and gathered all of the different subfactions within one faction.

A few new models have been added in Age of Sigmar, but this is mainly the old Beastmen army.


  • Breyherd
  • Warherd
  • Thunderscorn

The nurgle book is from 2018. Some new models but also som old ones.

Updated with new battletome in 2019. They also got a few new models, Endless “Prayers” as well as faction terrain. You can also get the box set “Wrath and Rapture” with some cheaper Khorne models in it.

A 2017 battletome and it is still pretty damn good. Keep in mind that there is a lot of errata and FAQ for the book, so if you do not like that kind of stuff it might be best to stay away.

The Everchosen battletome from 2015 is horribly outdated and it is one of the battletomes I get the most question about. Put simply, the rules align very poorly with all of the new Chaos Battletomes and I was starting out I would simply avoid this book.

Updated in 2019. Now with a battletome, new models, terrain feature, endless spells and a box set in the Wrath and Rapture game.

Death Factions with a Battletome: Small Overview

An updated Battletome was released in early 2019. The older Battletome is outdated.

Models mainly from the old world, but also endless spells and a terrain piece.


    Released with AoS 2.0 in the summer of 2018, the Nighthaunt got a ton of love in the form of new miniatures, endless spell, terrain piece and all the works.

    The battletome for Legions of Nagash was released in 2018. It was the first book to really gather several smaller (and big) factions within one big book. Basically, all undead miniatures can be played in a Legions of Nagash army.

    There are four major factions within the book:

    • Grand host of Nagash
    • Legion of Sacrament
    • Legion of Blood
    • Legion of Night

    Order Factions with a Battletome: Small Overview

    Updated battletome was released with AoS 2.0 in the summer of 2018. The older Stormcast books are outdated (including the Stormcast Extremis).

    The Stormcast Eternals are comprised of different chambers:

    • Normal Stormcasts (the first wave)
    • Extremis Chamber
    • Vanguard Auxilliary Chamber
    • Sacrosanct Chamber

    More battletomes and chambers coming for Stormcast? Yes, anything else seems unlikely…


    Battletome was released in 2018. Completely new Age of Sigmar army with completely new models.

    The battletome released in 2018. It united some of the Dark Elves factions of old and added some new models on top.

    Released in 2017, the Kharadron was the first completely new Age of Sigmar army.

    There are no subfactions within the book.

    The Sylvaneth Battletome from 2016 was the first that included artefacts and allegiance abilities and ushered in a new age of much better books.

    The Sylvaneth are getting an updated battletome. It was supposed to be released a long time ago, but it is stuck in some sort of trading disagreement between countries. 

    The Fyreslayers have been updated in 2019 with a new battletome, endless spells and terrain feature.

    The Lizardmen of old holds up surprisingly well, in spite of their 2015 (!) battletome. The only have miniatures released before AoS, but they most are still looking good and they have a surprising amount of options. With the addition of the new summoning rules (found in the Generals Handbook) this is the only one of the old battletomes that I would recommend getting and collecting the army for.

    Overview of Factions without a Battletome

    There is a HUGE range of Aelves (pronounced Elf as in the Old World) not included in any Battletome and split up in multiple small factions.

    Wanderers (Wood Elves): have Allegiance Ability in the Generals handbook, but I doubt they would get their own battletome anytime soon.

    The old High Elves: consists of several very small subfactions. Wait for an update.

    Most of the old Dark Elves: multiple small factions that makes very little sense to buy right now.

    The old Dwarves are split up in Dispossessed (Dwarf on foot) and the Ironweld (guns from the old empire and dwarfs).

    Multiple small factions make up the Old Empire army. This should get fixed in a future battletome.

    The sad Ogors (Ogres) on foot still have no battletome. Their image has been featured on several posts on the GW community, so a battletome is not that unlikely.

    And why the heck do we have a one model subfaction in the form of the Firebelly?!

    Where did the Gitmob and Greenskinz go? They are gone from the store, but they could still show up in a merged destruction battletome of some kind (maybe with the Ironjawz?).

    Potential future army releases and battletomes for Age of Sigmar

    GW is pumping out updated Battletomes left, right and centre. Will they get all battletomes updated before the end of 2019? It looks likely.

    As always I would suggest looking at AoS Shorts Website, as he is doing a very good job of keeping his site up to date when new releases are confirmed. I will link to his sites below.


    • Sylvaneth (battletome, new terrain and endless spells). Should have been released, but weird things can also happen in our own realm.

    Very likely: 

    •  With the Malign Portents book, four heralds were released. Three of the four heralds have ushered in a new battletome and army (Sacrosanct, Gloomspite Gitz and Nighthaunt). Who is missing out? The Darkoath. Likelihood of a new Slaves to Darkness style marauder army? 99% or so.
    • I find it very likely that all Battletomes released before Allegiance Abilities (the Sylvaneth book) will get a new battletome in 2019. Fyreslayers already got theirs, so this means Seraphon and Ironjawz are due for an update. Rumour right now is 1 battletome for each grand alliance before the end of the year. If Sylvaneth counts as the order one, we might not see the Seraphon this year.
    • More new Battletomes incoming!


    • Even with the newer battletomes, we have some that really are a mess. Big FAQ's, bits of rules updated in the Generals handbook and so on. Tzeentch and Nurgle are getting an update in the not for of future. The Bonespliters and Beastclaw Raiders are also quite dated so one of those would be next up for the Destruction players.
    • Those Gutbusters have certainly had their image on a lot of pictures symbolising the Destruction faction. They will get a battletome, it is only a matter of what year it will be.
    • With the release of the Generals Handbook 2019 Gutbusters and Bonesplitterz got zero points changes. They went out of their way and talked about it in their community article, which was really weird. It could further indicate a release for these two armies.
    • There is a big range of Order miniatures lacking a battletome and a home. Will we some kind of merger of the Aelves faction? Or maybe a big free armies style book gathering all of the old empire, the dwarves and the elves?
    • The Gitmob Grots was removed in the latest Generals Handbook, signalling that they might be gone forever.
    • It is sort of consensus that the Kharadron Overlords really need a new battletome. In fact, the rules need to be rewritten for quite a lot of stuff. This could happen, as the army could be hugely popular with some better rules.

    In need of a Start Collecting Box or a Starter Set?

    If you want to start a new army, a good way of getting a discount is buying a Starter set or going with the Start Collecting box for your faction.

    Below you can slide through all of the Start Collecting Boxes and here you can read my comparison of all of the Age of Sigmar Starter Sets.

    Thanks for reading!

    Thanks for taking the time to read. I hope this army resource was useful. Please share with friends that might enjoy it as well. Leave a comment below with suggestions or just a simple thank you.

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