The Stormcast Eternals are one of the most famous of Age of Sigmar armies and they could not miss the opportunity to move war to Chaos in Archaon’s stronghold itself.
The Vanguard Auxiliary Chamber represents the scouts and skirmishers of the Stormcast armies.
If you are looking for a warband to perform flanking manoeuvres and ranged damage, then this is the warband for you
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What changed in Warcry: Sentinels of Order for the Stormcast Vanguard Warband?
Note: The new Warcry books released with Tome of Champions 2020 brought some changes in how Thralls, Monsters but especially Allies work. The roster of available leaders has been massively increased and it’s now possible to use more than one as a “Hero” (1 in matched play and up to 3 in a Narrative campaign).
Link to the 4 new books:
– Warcry: Sentinels of Order (all Order warbands updated)
– Warcry: Harbingers of Destruction (all Destruction warbands updated)
– Warcry: Agents of Chaos (all non-warcry specific Chaos warbands updated)
– Warcry: Bringers of Death (all death warbands updated)
The new fighters are:
The new abilities are: Ride the Winds Aetheric, Lightning-fast Strikes, Star-fated Arrow and The Light of Sigmar.
Background and Lore of the Stormcast Eternals Vanguard Warband
The Stormcast Eternals are the mortal heroes taken by Sigmar a moment before their death to create the most powerful weapon he could imagine to fight Chaos: an army of supernatural almost immortal warriors.
Once Azyr doors were reopened, the Stormcast have been sent by Sigmar to spearhead the retaking of the territory lost in the Age of Chaos and re-establish civilization in the Mortal Realms.
Stormcasts are composed of different chambers, the Vanguard Auxiliary being the scouts of Sigmar, experts in ambush and tactical warfare.
The Vanguard is an Auxiliary Chamber of the Tempest Chamber, usually led by a Lord-Aquilor and containing only the most independent and resourceful of the Stormcast Eternals.
For this reason, smaller detachments have been sent to the Eightpoints to explore and report back to Sigmar. They are also responsible of protecting the Stormvaults still hidden in the region or other more flexible tasks.
But how do they play on the tabletop? Let’s take a look at their fighters and abilities.
Overview and Points for the Fighters in the Stormcast Eternals Vanguard 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
The Vanguard warband is made of 8 leader options and 6 more models coming from 8 distinct kits.
Lord-Aquilor: 300 points
The Lord-Aquilor is the most important official in Stormcast Vanguard Chamber and in Warcry he is a veritable force of nature.
Being the most expensive fighter in the warband comes with some perks: 38 Wounds with Toughness 5 and 10″ Movement! Pity he is mounted meaning there are some restrictions in his movement (no climbing, doors, etc.).
He has also 2 weapon profiles with an average ranged (3 Attacks at Strength 4 for 1/4 damage at 8″ range) and a good melee (4 Attacks at Strength 4 for 2/5 damage).
If he needs to get into place faster, his ability allows him a free Move for up to 6″ allowing him to focus his two actions on the task at hand, be it reaching an objective at the last turn or engaging/shooting away an enemy.
Alternatively he can increase the Toughness of all friendly fighters with the generic Leader ability Righteous Aura.
He introduces a different gameplay than the Raptors shooting the enemies at distance and he may be the right leader for you for a more melee based warband.
Knight-Venator: 295 points
This angel of destruction focusses on ranged damage for 3 Attacks at 20″ range for 2/6 damage.
He is understandably only slightly cheaper than the Lord-Aquilor having same Movement (10″) but Flying (no penalties), same Toughness (5) and a bit less Wounds (30).
In melee he also has a really similar profile losing only one damage on critical (2/4).
His special ability, Star-fated Arrow, has a chance to do 10 damage for a Triple! Roll a dice, after selecting an enemy within 20″ (huge range): allocate 3 damage on a 2-3, 6 on a 4-5 and 10 on a 6. Considering the range and that statistically you will have 50% chances to make at least 6 damage it’s probably better than the Aquilor ability.
For a similar cost they perform two different roles, where the Aquilor is more melee, the Venator is more ranged.
Knight-Azyros: 265 points
The melee version of the Angel is the Knight-Azyros. He has the same identical weapon profile in close combat but no ranged profile.
Same Movement, Toughness and Wounds.
Apart the cost the main difference comes from his ability to allocate up to 6 damage to any visible enemy within 3″. The Light of Sigmar costs a Quad and requires the Azyros to be in good position before being used, but with a high value Quad it could become devastating especially against horde warbands.
Knight-Zephyros: 245 points
The Knight-Zephyros is the first of our on-foot heroes, with “only” 5″ Movement, but same resilience (30 Wounds on Toughness 5).
In close combat her profile is the same as all other leaders (4 Attacks at Strength 4 for 2/4 damage) and ranged she performs like a Lord-Aquilor being an optimum alternative leader at a cheaper cost.
Her special ability for a Double allows her to get up to 7 Attacks for one melee attack action that can be devastating.
She is a good alternative as a leader if you need melee power, and if you need to move faster to compensate, Tireless Hunters, available to all Vanguard Chamber for a Double, allows for up to 3″ more Movement in the move action.
Vanguard-Raptors with Longstrike Crossbow
- Raptor-Prime with Longstrike Crossbow: 280 points
- Vanguard-Raptor with Longstrike Crossbow: 225 points
The Longstrike Crossbow is the long-range weapon of the Raptors, one of the most powerful, comparable to a ballista with a range of 20” and a damage of 10 on a critical (but only 1 attack).
The Raptor-Primes are the leaders of the Vanguard-Raptor units and this one of the most versatile leader in the game with the longest-range weapon with higher damage (4-10) and 30 wounds with toughness 5.
In melee the Longstrike Crossbow cannot be used as ranged (minimum range 6”) but it can be replaced with 3 attacks at strength 4 for 1-4 damage so you will want to try to keep them as distant as possible from the front lines
This way the Prime loses a bit the use of Righteous Aura (but who needs Toughness 6 when you have 5 anyway?).
There are 2 abilities that can be used in combo to maximise efficiency. The first is a Double, the Warning Cry, that allows to re-roll 1 attack dice against a single target unit per attack action.
This ability can be performed by this Prime but also by an Aetherwing, so first part of the combo is to put the Aetherwing in position and let him cry against the opponent that has to go down that round.
The second ability is a Quad, Aimed Strike, that allows to add to the damage characteristic (both for hit and critical hit) the value of the ability, allowing then to shoot twice at strength 5 within 20”, for a potential damage of 10-16 per shot, re-rolling attack in case it’s needed.
Obviously requires a Quad and a Double but having 7 dice (or even more if keeping the wild dice in later turns) is not impossible and 2 of those shots would potentially wipe any enemy unit that turn.
The drawbacks of the Prime is that he is the one of the most expensive leader in the game with a price comparable to Gargantuan units and a movement of 4” that would mean once a position is taken will be hard to move from there.
Vanguard-Raptors with Hurricane Crossbow
- Raptor-Prime with Hurricane Crossbow: 245 points
- Vanguard-Raptor with Hurricane Crossbow: 195 points
The Hurricane Crossbow has a shorter range (3-15”), less damage (2-6) but with more attacks (3) with strength 4, could statistically do more damage than the Longstrike version.
The attacks can be increased even further up to 3 more on one single activation using the Rapid Fire ability for a Triple. Against medium toughness fighters, this could bring 12-36 damage on the first attack.
In melee the weapon profile is the same for all Raptors: 3 attacks, strength 4 and 1-4 damage. Toughness 5 and 20 wounds (30 for the Prime), plus the Righteous Aura, would make these fighters extremely durable as well.
The difference in model between the prime and the non-prime is a unique pauldron with a raptor motif.
- Hunter-Prime: 210 points
- Vanguard-Hunter: 165 points
The Vanguard-Hunter is a mix of infantry and ranged unit with the same ranged profile of the Lord-Aquilor (3 attacks at strength 4, 8” range) and the attack profile of the Gryph-Hound (4 attacks, strength 4, damage 2-4).
The Prime is the cheapest leader in this warband, allowing to use non-leader options for the high-output damage shooters and to be more effective in the use of the Righteous Aura when attacking in force in melee.
- Pallador-Prime: 290 points
- Vanguard-Pallador: 250 points
The Vanguard-Palladors are the cavalry of the Vanguard with 10″ Movement (mounted).
Extremely expensive have the same ranged and melee profile of a Knight-Zephyros but the ability of the Lord-Aquilor to do a bonus move for a Triple.
30 Wounds (35 for the Prime) makes them extremely resistant but they are not the best damage dealing unit but melee wise in this warband can’t get better.
Gryph-Hound: 150 points
For 15 points less than a Vanguard-Hunter you can have a Gryph-Hound. Same melee profile (4 Attacks at Strength 4 for 2-4 damage) but a movement of 6” instead of 4” and the Darting Attack ability.
For a Triple they can do a bonus attack and then a bonus disengage move getting in a better position around that objective or forcing the opponent to follow you wasting one of their activations.
Toughness 4 and 20 wounds guarantee a decent survivability, especially if protecting the leader under the Righteous Aura that increases their toughness to 5.
The Gryph-hound becomes an interesting choice in Warcry and a small pack of these fighters can bring down some tough opponents.
Aetherwing: 45 points
The Aetherwings are one of the cheapest unit in the game (same points as some grots) but can help increase the number of fighters in an otherwise pretty expensive roster.
With toughness 2, 8 Wounds and 3 Attacks at Strength 2 they are definitely not there to hold the ground in melee, but they can be really useful scouts.
They can fly with a movement of 12” allowing to reach the furthest objectives or run in circles around opponents eager to pull them down.
Their Warning Cry ability (one attack against a targeted fighter within 6” of the Aetherwing can be re-rolled) it’s extremely useful to assure maximum damage from the snipers.
Abilities for the Stormcast Eternals Vanguard Warband
- Tireless Hunter (Double, Everyone): Add up to 3″ to the next move action.
- Warning Cry (Double, Aetherwing and Raptor-Prime with Longstrike Crossbow): Select a target enemy within 6”. You can re-roll one dice per attack action against that enemy.
- Lightning-fast Strikes (Double, Knight-Zephyros): Add up to 3 attacks to the next melee attack action.
- Righteous Aura (Double, all Leaders): Add 1 to the Toughness of all friendly fighters within 6” of the leader.
- Darting Attack (Triple, Gryph-Hound): You can make a bonus attack and then a bonus disengage action.
- Rapid Fire (Triple, Raptors with Hurricane Crossbow): Add up to +3 to the attacks for the next action.
- Ride the Winds Aetheric (Triple, Lord-Aquilor and all Palladors): Perform a bonus move up to 6″ away.
- Star-fated Arrow (Triple, Knight-Venator): Damage an enemy within 20″ based on a dice roll up to 10 Wounds.
- Aimed Strike (Quad, Raptors with Longstrike Crossbow): Add up to +6 damage to both hit and critical hit.
- The Light of Sigmar (Quad, Knight-Azyros): Damage up to 6 Wounds to all nearby enemy fighters.
Strategy and Tactics for the Stormcast Eternals Vanguard Warband
This warband is extremely powerful in ambush tactics and control from afar. They have probably the best ranged fighters and their melee combatants are more than capable.
Your warband will most likely be low-count models if you want to take advantage of the best shooters.
A Vanguard Chamber has the answer to most objective based questions.
If you need to survive for 4 turns, you can pick an Aetherwing and run far away while your other fighters snipe out every single opponent getting too close or any ranged option threatening your birds.
If you need to control objectives, you can start sending the Aetherwings to control them early on while Gryph-Hounds and/or Vanguard-Hunters get closer using the Tireless Hunter ability. You can even have the fast Palladors closing in.
If you need to kill fast, snipers are your best option but in melee do not underestimate the survivability of your fighters thanks to the Righteous Aura that increases the toughness to 6 (5 for the Gryph-Hounds)!
20 wounds are a lot to bring down but be careful about the critical hits: warbands with high volume of attacks can score multiple critical hits bringing you down independently from your toughness.
Gryph-Hounds are extremely useful for their potential damage but also for the ability to attack and disengage that, if planned correctly, allows you to dance around an objective and avoid retaliation.
Aetherwings are a utility piece that should not be used in fights but do not underestimate their warning cries to re-roll one attack (with or without using the Aimed Strike ability) and their mobility.
Pros and Cons of the Stormcast Eternals Vangaurd Warband
+ Ambush tactics
+ Best ranged attacks
+ Mobility options
+ High toughness
– Low model count
– Hard to manage certain situations
– Susceptible to criticals
Some thematic warbands for the Vanguard Auxiliary Chamber
Just for fun here we present few thematic warbands, meant more for fun or narrative context than for competitive play. Note that in narrative play you need to control at least two territories before mustering your first hero.
At full speed: Lord-Aquilor, 2 Vanguard-Palladors, a Gryph-Hound, an Aetherwing.
Shoot ’em up: Raptor-Prime with Longstrike Crossbow, 2 Vanguard-Raptor with Hurricane Crossbow, 2 Vanguard-Hunter. Dare your opponent to come closer.
How to buy a Stormcast Eternals Vanguard Warband
The Start Collecting Stormcast Vanguard (£60) contains several useful models including a Lord-Aquilor, 5 Vanguard-Hunters (one can optionally be assembled as a Prime), 3 Vanguard-Palladors (with a Prime) and 3 Gryph-Hounds.
Add to this box a Vanguard-Raptor box and you have 3 Raptors (1 can be assembled as Prime) and 3 Aetherwings.
The Raptors can be assembled with either crossbow option; if you are confident with magnetizing you can have both available and use the one you need at the occurrence. The only downside is the different base size between the Hurricane (40mm) and the Longstrike (60x35mm) forcing you to magnetize also the bases.
A box of Gryph-Hounds can also be bought separately containing 6 for £17.5£ in case you want to avoid the Start Collecting box.
In that case a cheaper way to obtain the Hunters is the warband for Warhammer Underwold “The Farstriders”, containing 2 of them and a Hunter-Prime.
The new models are available in individual blisters: a Lord-Aquilor for £25, Knight-Azyros and Knight-Venator come from the same kit for £25 while the Knight-Zephyros is sold (£20) as Neave Blacktalon, a protagonist of some Black Library novels.
Finally, the Vanguard-Palladors, outside of the Start Collecting mentioned above that we strongly recommend, are also available in a box of 3 for £35.
Tips on painting a Stormcast Eternals Vanguard Warband for Warcry
How are your Stormcast Warband?
If you think they are the shizzle, I really want to display them on this article.
Vanguard Chambers are just an auxiliary chamber of the Stormcast Eternals and they can be painted using the many stormhost colour schemas available or you can invent even your own.
Check the videos below as Stormcast have a vast amount of tutorials out there.