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
What changed in the new edition for the Stormcast Vanguard Warband?
Stormcast Vanguard received some nice upgrades in the new edition starting from the 8″ ranged profile that is now 10″. The Vanguard-Hunters went from 4″ to 5″ movement but lost 1 attack, while the Gryph-hound is cheaper but also less scary.
Two new profiles were added, alternative loadouts of the existing Palladors: the Pallador-Prime with Starstrike Javelin and the Vanguard-Pallador with Starstrike Javelin.
Of the abilities changes, the most notable is Warning Cry that is now a Reaction and Ride the Winds Aetheric is now a Double.
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 9 leader options and 7 more models coming from 8 distinct kits.
Lord-Aquilor: 310 points
The Lord-Aquilor is the most important officer in the Stormcast Vanguard Chamber and in Warcry he is a veritable force of nature.
Being one of 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 10″ range) and a good melee (4 Attacks at Strength 4 for 2/5 damage).
If he needs to get into place faster, his ability grants him a free Move of 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. If you can afford the cost, that’s it.
Knight-Venator: 325 points
This angel of destruction focusses on ranged damage for 3 Attacks at 20″ range for 2/6 damage.
He is understandably a bit more expensive than the Lord-Aquilor having same Movement (10″) but Flying (no penalties), same Toughness (5) but much less Wounds (28).
In melee he also has a really similar profile losing a bit on the damage potential (1/4).
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 3-4, 6 on a 5 and 10 on a 6. Considering the range and that you have good chances to do at least 3 damage, it’s probably better than the Aquilor’s ability.
For a similar cost they perform two different roles, where the Aquilor is more melee, the Venator is more ranged.
Knight-Azyros: 260 points
The melee version of the Angel is the Knight-Azyros. Compared to the Knight-Venator, he has the an improved melee profile (4 attacks for 2/4 damage) but no missile weapon.
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: 200 points
The Knight-Zephyros is the first of our on-foot heroes, with “only” 5″ Movement, but same resilience (28 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 to increase the Movement up to 3″ more for a single action.
Vanguard-Raptors with Longstrike Crossbow
- Raptor-Prime with Longstrike Crossbow: 230 points
- Vanguard-Raptor with Longstrike Crossbow: 195 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 is one of the most versatile leader in the game combining the longest-range weapon with the highest damage (4/10) with 25 wounds and Toughness 5.
In melee the Longstrike Crossbow cannot be used as there’s a minimum range of 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 is a nice synergy that you can implement to maximise efficiency. The first step is a reaction, Warning Cry, that allows to re-roll 1 attack dice against a single target unit per attack action.
This reaction can be performed by this Prime but also by an Aetherwing, so the first part of the combo is to put the Aetherwing in position, wait for the right enemy to pass-by (has to move within 6″) and then let him “cry” against the opponent that has to go down that round.
Then you can use the Longstrike Crossbow 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 that single dice in case it’s needed.
Obviously requires a Quad and an available reaction with the right enemy passing-by, but is cheaper than the 6 dice it required earlier and has still the possibility to do an insane amount of damage.
The drawbacks of all Raptors with Longstrike Crossbows is that they are relatively slow with their 4″ movement, quite expensive, and that single attack per action can be dooming.
Vanguard-Raptors with Hurricane Crossbow
- Raptor-Prime with Hurricane Crossbow: 245 points
- Vanguard-Raptor with Hurricane Crossbow: 210 points
The Hurricane Crossbow has a shorter range (3-15”), less damage (2-6) but, with more attacks (3) at 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 (25 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: 185 points
- Vanguard-Hunter: 145 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, 10” range) and one of the best melee profiles in this warband (3 attacks, Strength 4, damage 2/4).
The Hunter-Prime has one more attack (4) and few more wounds. He is also 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.
On the other hand, with toughness 5 and 20 wounds the Vanguard-Hunters can be extremely survivable. And their 5″ Movement means they can get easier in position as they would faster than the average fighters.
- Pallador-Prime with Shock Hand-axe: 285 points
- Pallador-Prime with Starstrike Javelin: 280 points
- Vanguard-Pallador with Shock Hand-axe: 230 points
- Vanguard-Pallador with Starstrike Javelin: 220 points
The Vanguard-Palladors are the cavalry of the Vanguard with 10″ Movement (mounted).
While being extremely expensive, they have the same ranged ranged profile and ability of the Lord-Aquilor to do a bonus move for a Triple.
In melee they differentiate from their weapon loadout:
- While the Shock Hand-axe has a more balanced profile with 4 attacks and damage 2/4,
- the Starstrike Javelin introduces 2″ range and higher damage on critical hit (2/5) at the cost of 1 attack (3).
The Pallador-Primes have the equivalent weapon profiles, but with 1 more attack in melee. As melee goes, these are the best damage dealers in the warband, but they come at a significant price.
The cheapest unit available in this warband is the Gryph-Hound. They have good attacks (4 Attacks at Strength 4 for 1/4 damage), a great movement of 6” 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 an objective or forcing the opponent to follow them and waste one of their activations.
In defence they don’t excel with Toughness 4 and only 12 wounds, and comparing with the rest of the warband they are quite fragile.
The Gryph-hounds are an interesting option in Warcry in particular for their cost and to compensate slower warbands with few elite members, but remember that being Beasts they are limited in what they can perform (grab treasures, open doors, etc.).
The Aetherwings have the same cost of a Gryph-hound, meaning it’s often the choice between these two.
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 reaction (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, but apart from that they cost too much for what they represent.
The Farstriders (575 points)
- Sanson Farstrider: 225 points
- Almeric Eagle-eye: 175 points
- Elias Swiftblade: 175 points
- Guided by the Astral Compass (Triple, Sanson): each Farstrider within range from the leader can perform a bonus move action.
Sanson is identical to a Hunter-Prime, the leader of Vanguard-Hunters. It does have a Warrior runemark, but currently no ability in the Vanguard Chamber or The Farstriders is associated to that keyword. Maybe the FAQ will clarify it, would be good if the Aetherwing on his arm could use the Warning Cry to allow re-rolling hits.
All members of this Bladeborn warband are able to perform a bonus move after the Leader activates Guided by the Astral Compass (for a Triple) while within 6″ of him.
Both Almeric and Elias are Vanguard-Hunters with identical weapon profiles (both ranged and melee) and 2 wounds more. With the Tome of Champions 2021 point changes, they are now slightly cheaper than the base version so if you need hunters, those are probably your best option.
Abilities for the Stormcast Eternals Vanguard Warband
- Tireless Hunter (Double, Everyone): Add up to 3″ to the next move action.
- Lightning-fast Strikes (Double, Knight-Zephyros): Add up to 3 attacks to the next melee attack action.
- Ride the Winds Aetheric (Double, Lord-Aquilor and all Palladors): Perform a bonus move up to 6″ away.
- 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 2 to the attacks of the next missile attack action.
- 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 close-by enemy fighters.
Reactions for the Stormcast Eternals Vanguard Warband
Introduced in the new season of Warcry, Reactions are things that can be done in certain circumstances, but always during the enemy turn. They cost one action, so they can be used only by fighters that have not activated yet or are waiting. There are 3 universal reactions and one specific to each warband:
Thunderous Departure (Everyone except Gryph-hound and Aetherwing)
- When: During an enemy melee attack action that takes down this fighter.
- What: D6 damage to the attacking fighter.
Warning Cry (Aetherwing and Raptor-Prime with Longstrike Crossbow)
- When: After an enemy finishes a move within 6″.
- What: Friendly fighters targeting that enemy can re-roll one dice per attack action.
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 ability to attack and disengage that, if planned correctly, allows you to dance around an objective and avoid retaliation.
Aetherwings are a utility piece, an expensive one, that needs to be used carefully. Do not engage at all costs, but use them to scout around and if you have the occasion, use their warning cries to re-roll one attack (with or without using the Aimed Strike ability).
Unfortunately neither the Gryph-hound nor the Aetherwing have access to the warband reaction that would allow them to explode when dying leaving the melee attacker with D6 damage, but the rest of the warband does. So, if you are unlucky enough to die before having had your turn, remember to bring with you your attacker.
In certain situations, especially when you need board control, Vanguard will struggle as they prefer to sit tight in sniping positions and let the animals do the initial exploration, but a balanced warband should be able to tackle most situations.
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 critical hits
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 complete a quest that allows you to recruit a Hero before being able to add him to your roster.
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, 1 Vanguard-Hunter, 1 Aetherwing to spot the weakest enemy. Dare your opponent to come closer.
How to buy a Stormcast Eternals Vanguard Warband
The Start Collecting Stormcast Vanguard (£60) contained 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. If you can still find it, it’s a great started box for this army.
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.