“We are His Chosen”
The Spire Tyrants is a Chaos warband for Age of Sigmar: Warcry. They are durable and hard-hitting gladiators who excel at building momentum from one kill to the next.
If you want a challenging warband that rewards careful planning with spectacular hero moments, the Spire Tyrants might be the right warband for you.
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Background and Lore of the Spire Tyrants Warband
Where every other Warcry Chaos warband calls one of the eight Mortal Realms their home, the Spire Tyrants’ homeland is the Eightpoints itself. They have been raised as fighters in the pits of the Varanspire, and have spent their whole lives trying to catch the attention of Archaon with their victories in battle.
This sets them apart from the rest of the Warcry Chaos warbands, since they don’t worship a shamanistic symbol of Chaos. The Spire Tyrants know what they’re dealing with, and calls themselves the Chosen of Archaon himself.
This also defines the way the Spire Tyrants look as a warband:
They don’t style themselves after an animal God or a specific element, but are quite varied in appearance with the only common trait being their Spire Tyrants symbol on their belts and some vaguely Chaos Warrior-esque armor.
This makes them the most diverse warband in the game in terms of appearance: They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the hero-posed muscle man that leads them to some very skinny pit fighters, and they even include two non-human models, a Beasts of Chaos Bestigor and a Chaos Duardin.
In battle, the Spire Tyrants are not as distinct as the other Warcry Chaos warbands. They have high Toughness and slow movement like the Iron Golems, but more attacks. Their leader can give his followers extra attacks like the leader of the Corvus Cabal, but only after killing an enemy.
This makes them quite an advanced warband to play, as your strongest abilities often require you to set up a kill that can trigger them.
This complexity is fantastic if you like a challenge and want to show your mastery of the game’s systems, but it also makes the Spire Tyrants a warband that’s difficult to recommend for beginners.
The Spire Tyrants do not have their own dedicated short story yet, but there is plenty of background to find for them anyway, since their home in the Eightpoints is described in great detail in the recent campaign book for Age of Sigmar, Wrath of the Everchosen. Like the rest of the Warcry Chaos warbands, the Spire Tyrants also fight in Archaon’s armies as Slaves to Darkness in the regular AOS wargame.
The Spire Tyrants see themselves as an elite fighting force far superior to the ragged tribes of Chaos worshippers that flock to the Eightpoints in Warcry, but how does that translate into their rules in the game?
Let’s have a look at their fighters and abilities.
Overview and Points for the Fighters in the Spire Tyrants 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
Pit Champion: 180 points
The Pit Champion is the Leader of the Spire Tyrants warband. Apart from looking like a hilariously cheap cosplay of the Khorne Slaughterpriest with Hackblade and Wrath-hammer (second image above), he is also a very versatile fighter. He has a good melee attack with 4 attacks at Strength 5 and a 3 inch range attack for striking from a distance.
As a Leader, he brings the most value to your warband if he fights at the frontline of a large group of fighters against other large groups of fighters. His unique ability, the Triple Champion of the Warpits, lets him add 1 to Attacks of nearby friendly fighters after he kills an enemy fighter. This sounds pretty straightforward, but to make the most of it you have to be almost sure you kill off an enemy fighter in your activation (probably with a move and an attack), and that you have lined up other fighters ready to take advantage of the extra attacks, and that they have targets within reach on which to use those attacks.
This means that, while the Spire Tyrants looks like a bunch of berserking madmen and -women, they require a lot of careful planning for their abilities to pay off. The Pit Champion has average survivability for a Chaos Leader in his 20 Wounds and 4 Toughness, so he has a good chance of surviving a duel even if his abilities don’t work out, but since he often has to run into the middle of a group of enemies to use these abilities, he can easily go down if he gets stuck in melee.
So, when the Pit Champion is at his best, he’s great. Imagine moving into melee, killing off one weak enemy with one attack action, and then triggering extra attacks for, say, the Headclaimer and Bestigor you brought along in the same battle group, or for a bunch of Shield-wielding Pit Veterans who are likely to survive the counterattack if any enemies survive.
When the Pit Champion is at his worst, he is a Leader that has to be in a situation he is unlikely to survive in order to use his best ability. So expect him to die often, but to serve up some epic hero moments when the dice are in your favor and you’ve planned your positioning well.
Headclaimer: 135 points
The Headclaimer is a Brute fighter for the Spire Tyrants warband. He has the same melee attack profile as the Pit Champion minus 1 attack, and the same defense profile minus 5 wounds. This means that he is one of the stronger fighters of your warband, but with only 3 attacks, his damage output can be unreliable.
He makes up for this with his access to the Quad Ability Brutal Strike, which lets them do damage equal to the value of the roll used for the ability to one enemy fighter within 1 inch on a dice roll of 3-4, or double the value of the ability roll on a 5-6. So if you’re lucky enough to have a Quad roll of 4-6, you can really soften up an opponent before attacking.
Like many other aspects of how the Spire Tyrants play, you can’t rely on this ability all the time, but if it works out optimally, it’s a lot of damage if combined with an attack or two.
Bestigor Destroyer: 145 points
The Bestigor Destroyer is another Brute fighter for the Spire Tyrants warband. Its abilities are similar to the Headclaimer, but it has 3 more wounds, one less attack and a stronger damage profile with a critical damage value of 6.
Having so few attacks is definitely a drawback, so the Bestigor is best used in combination with the bonus from a Pit Champion’s ability or at least the use of the universal ability Onslaught, which gives you 1 extra attack for a Double. When the Bestigor hits a couple of crits, it does a lot of damage for its points cost.
The best argument for fielding a Bestigor Destroyer, however, is that it’s a Bestigor! It’s an amazing and imposing model that’s a lot of fun to paint (more on that below), and it really nails the aesthetic of the Spire Tyrants as a kind of Eightpoints All-stars team.
Pit Veteran with Shield: 110 points
The Pit Veteran with Shield is an elite fighter of the Spire Tyrants warband, and you can build 3 of them from a single box. It is also one of the most versatile fighters in the warband.
It only has 2 attacks and only 3 Strength, so it is unlikely to do a lot of damage from its melee profile alone, but with their solid critical damage of 4, they benefit greatly from being close to the Pit Champion when his +1 attacks ability goes off.
On top of that, they have access to the Double ability Shield Ram, which gives them a chance to do either 1 damage or damage equal to the value of the Double roll to an adjacent enemy fighter after the Pit Veteran makes a move action. This can be a good way of adding some damage to a double move action, which is often a good idea since the Pit Veterans can survive pretty well in a melee with their 5 Toughness.
They also have access to the Triple ability Readied Stance which adds half the value of the Triple roll to their Toughness until the end of the battle round. Since they already have a Toughness of 5, this is usually a bit overkill, but in a pinch it can be used to survive the onslaught of Strength 6 enemies.
Pit Veteran with Dual Weapons: 105 points
The Pit Veteran with Dual Weapons is an alternate build option for one of the Pit Veterans with Shield.
It is slightly cheaper, has 4 Toughness instead of 5, and has 1 additional attack. This means that they have much more need for the Readied Stance ability than their shield-wearing comrades, since it greatly increases their survivability.
In terms of doing damage, more attack dice is always great, so build this version of the Pit Veteran where you can, even though the basic box for the warband only lets you build 1 of them.
Pit Fighter with Punch Dagger/Pit Fighter with Spear: 60 points
The Pit Fighters are the most basic fighters of the Spire Tyrants warband, and this version can be built with either a Punch Dagger which brings it up to 4 attacks (which is great for a 60 point fighter), or a Spear which gives them a range of 2 inches and an extra damage point on a critical hit.
Which version you choose to build is very much up to the strategy you want to use. The extra range on the Spear is generally an advantage, as it allows you to attack enemies that can’t immediately follow up with a double attack (since they would have to use one of their 2 actions on a Move to get into melee range), but this only really pays off in a Spire Tyrants warband if it’s paired with the Pit Fighter with Net who can render 1 enemy unable to move.
Otherwise, the Spear Pit Fighter will be standing alone, since everyone else in your warband is moving into 1 inch melee range. From that perspective, joining in the melee mayhem with 4 attacks is better.
Pit Fighter with Net: 55 points
The Pit Fighter with Net is the cheapest fighter in the Spire Tyrants warband, but one box only lets you build one of them.
He has the same statistics profile as the Pit Fighter with Punch Dagger, but with 1 less attack. He makes up for this missing attack with his unique ability, the Double Gladiator’s Net, which lets him tie an enemy fighter to the ground for one battle round on a dice roll of 3+.
This is a very useful ability, since some of your other abilities like the Pit Veteran’s Shield Ram work best if you get into combat first rather than the enemy closing in on you, and since the Pit Fighter is so cheap, there’s no reason not to take him as part of your warband, even if it is only for the access to his ability.
Also, since the Pit Fighter with Net doesn’t have a weapon with a Range of 2 inches or more, he can’t take advantage of his own ability to attack the grounded enemy without getting in melee range, so he once again shows how much the Spire Tyrants depend on cooperation between the different fighter types.
Frenzied Rager: 95 points
The Frenzied Rager is an elite fighter for the Spire Tyrants Warband.
Like a true duardin, he only has a Move characteristic of 3, but he has 4 attacks with Strength 4, a low standard damage of 1, but a critical damage of 4. This means the best use of him is to set him up as close to an objective as possible and hope for a lot of dice rolls of 6.
Like the Pit Veterans, he can use the ability Readied Stance, which improves his Toughness, so he has a better chance of surviving another round to roll for more crits.
Since the Frenzied Rager is so dependent on rolling criticals, place him close to your Pit Champion to get another attack if the Leader uses the Champion of the Warpits ability.
I don’t think an optimized Spire Tyrants lists needs a Frenzied Rager, but if you care about narrative and visuals, he is a must-bring like the Bestigor, since the diversity of the Spire Tyrants warband is part of its lore and cool aesthetic.
Abilities for the Spire Tyrants Warband
- Pit Fighter (Double, Everyone): If a fighter has taken down an enemy fighter in the same activation, this ability lets that fighter take a bonus move or attack action.
- Gladiator’s Net (Double, Pit Fighter with Net): Pick an enemy fighter within 3 inches. Roll 1 dice, and on a 3+ that fighter can’t move or disengage for the rest of the battle round.
- Shield Ram (Double, Pit Veteran with Shield): The next time this fighter finishes a move in the same activation as they use this ability, roll 1 dice for an enemy within 1 inch of this fighter. On a roll of 4-5 do 1 damage to that enemy fighter, or do damage equal to the roll used for this ability on a 6.
- Readied Stance (Triple, Frenzied Rager, Pit Veteran with Dual Weapons, Pit Veteran with Shield): Add half the value of the roll used for this ability (rounded up) to this fighter’s Toughness for the rest of the battle round.
- Champion of the Warpits (Triple, Pit Champion): If an enemy has been taken down by the Pit Champion in the same activation, add 1 to the Attacks characteristic of friendly fighters within 6 inches of him for the rest of the battle round.
- Brutal Strike (Quad, Headclaimer and Bestigor Destroyer): Roll 1 dice for 1 enemy fighter within 1 inch of this fighter. On a 3-4, do damage to that fighter equal to the value of the roll used for this ability, or on a 5-6, do damage equal to double the value of the roll used for the ability.
Strategy and Tactics for the Spire Tyrants
An effective strategy for the Spire Tyrants warband is all about taking advantage of the warband’s synergies around taking enemy fighters down.
Build your battle groups so that there are plenty of fighters around your Pit Champion who can get extra attacks from his Champion of the Warpits ability.
Try to keep enemy fighters close to each other, and save ability dice for using the Double Pit Fighter action to get another attack in when you take down an enemy fighter.
Also, keep in mind that while your fighters don’t have that many wounds, most of them have an okay chance of surviving whichever melee they get stuck in, but their low movement stats mean that they risk never reaching combat in time – so make sure you know where you need your fighters to go, and don’t be too afraid of overcommitting with a double move action to get them there.
A chance to do something is better than you fighter surviving the game, at least for fighters that aren’t essential to the victory conditions.
Pros and Cons of the Spire Tyrants
+ good synergies between fighters and abilities
+ average to good Toughness and Strength values
+ Many options for extra attack actions or allocation of damage points from abilities
– doesn’t excel at any one statistic (speed, number of attacks, wounds etc)
– not an easy warband to master for beginners
– very dependent on combos, with the best abilities locked behind actions that take enemy fighters out of action (which can be hard against very though warbands)
Tips on painting the Spire Tyrants
While I think there are a few drawbacks to how the Spire Tyrants play that I think any potential buyer should consider before they commit to the warband, I can wholeheartedly recommend them as a painting project.
Each model in the warband has a lot of character, and as a painter you get to paint almost any kind of texture as you go through the project: Hair, skin, metals, cloth, fur, horns, armor plating, jewelry, nets and so on.
The armor plating that each warrior is equipped with also gives you a great opportunity to pick a strong color that lets other players easily recognize your warband. It’s the color of these plates that unites the visuals of a warband that otherwise looks like models from a handful of different kits.
For my warband, I chose Mephiston Red for the armor plates, so my Pit Champion would look even more like his great rolemodel the Khorne Slaughterpriest. Here you can see how I painted what I think is the coolest model in the warband: The Bestigor Destroyer.
I basecoated the armor plates Mephiston Red, the armor trim and metals Iron Hands Steel, the skin Cadian Fleshtone, the fur Russ Grey, the leather Gorthor Brown, the cloth Jokaero Orange and the horns Zandri Dust. Then I washed everything with Wildwood Contrast, thinned with Contrast Medium.
Then I reapplied all of those colors everywhere but the recesses and where I wanted the colors to be darker.
The skin was then highlighted with Kislev Flesh, and the horns were drybrushed with Ushabti Bone first, then Screaming Skull. All the metals were highlighted with Stormhost Silver, with a bit of thinned down Skrag Brown in a few of the recesses for a rust effect.
The fur was highlighted with Administratum Grey and then with a mix of Administratum Grey and Pallid Wych Flesh.
The armor panels were highlighted along the lines where it connects to the silver trim with first Wild Rider Red, then very carefully with Fire Dragon Bright.
The leather was highlighted with Karak Stone, and finally, the cloth was highlighted with Bestigor Flesh, and then I applied a glaze of Contrast Iyanden Yellow all over to give it a warm yellow/orange hue hue.
The base is a thick layer of Astrogranite Texture paint, a wash of Seraphim Sepia and a Drybrush of Administram Grey.
Different build options and how to buy the Spire Tyrants Warband
- 1 Pit Champion
- 1 Headclaimer
- 1 Bestigor Destroyer
- 1 Frenzied Rager
- 1 Pit Fighter with Net
- 1 Pit Fighter with either Punch Dagger or Spear
- 1 Pit Veteran with either Dual Weapons or Shield
- 2 Pit Veterans with Shield
Right now buying the dedicated Spire Tyrants box is the only way to get the warband.
The Spire Tyrants have many unique fighter types for a Chaos Warcry warband, which means you have very few options for diversifying your warband with just 1 box.
If you want more attacks, build the Pit Fighter with a Punch Dagger, but if you want range, build her with the Spear.
The Pit Veteran is probably best with Dual Weapons, and you already have two Pit Veterans with Shield, but if you want to run a very defensive setup, you have the option to field 3 Veterans with Shields if you want.
The Pit Veteran with options can also be built with a metallic visor instead of the regular face, which looks really cool but doesn’t affects its statistics.
If you want more Pit Veterans with Dual Weapons, it’s not that difficult to replace their shields with weapon arms from some of the other warbands, but if you want to build a more specialized warband, I would recommend buying two boxes so you can focus more on Spear-wielding pit fighters to take advantage of enemies trapped by the net of the other Pit Fighter, or to field more Headclaimers.