The Stormcast Eternals are the most famous of Age of Sigmar armies and they are at the forefront of this new age in search of beasts to kill in the Realm of Ghur.
The Thunderstrike represent the new armour that allows the best Stormcast Eternals to return back to Azyr and alleviate the current problems caused by the “Cursed Skies”. They are the best soldiers and represent every Chamber and are present in every Stormhost.
If you have a Dominion box set or one of the newest Starter Sets, this Warband will introduce you to the world of Warcry. The cards are instead available here.
What changed in the new edition for the Thunderstrike Stormcast Warband?
As all warbands, even the Thunderstrike saw some profile changes, in particular point adjustments and Leader wounds going down. The Lord-Imperatant obtained also a new ranged profile, while the Annihilators saw either their Grandhammer go to 2″ range, or their Meteoric Hammer increase the attack and damage value.
Their abilities saw minimal changes, except the Guided Lightning that went from a Double to a Triple.
Background and Lore of the Thunderstrike Stormcast 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 warriors almost immortal.
However the powers of Chaos schemed to hinder Sigmar’s plans and somehow destroy his army. Be’Lakor, the First Daemon Prince, always trying to become again the favourite of the Chaos Gods and take revenge on Archaon, discovered that the consequence of destroying some Realmgates included a thick cloud permeated of Chaos magic that prevents Stormcast Eternals to return back to Azyr when they die or being deployed from the sky.
This would have been the end for Sigmar’s allies, but once again the Duardin God Grungi, the Great Maker, came to rescue Sigmar and forged a new type of armour: the Thunderstrike Armour. This allows the soul of the deceased to pass through the Cursed Skies (the name for the chaotic storm permeating the skies of the Mortal Realms) and return to Azyr for reforging. Or the other way around, allowing for a fast deploy from the skies, that is now not allowed anymore to the warriors with the older armour.
Only the best warriors have been armed with the new instrument, and then deployed in all existing Stormhosts and Chambers. For this reason “old” and “new” Stormcast can coexist in the army.
For the scope of this guide we will analyse the new Warcry warband that can field only the latest models. They can however be painted following any of your favourite stormhosts.
Fighters in the Thunderstrike Stormcast 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 Thunderstrike Stormcast warband is made of 18 different options, of which 11 are leaders.
Lord-Imperatant: 240 points
The Lord-Imperatant is the great leader of the new Thunderstrike divisions. As a fighter, his high cost is highly justified by his longevity (Toughness 5 and 30 Wounds), his decent attacks (melee and ranged) and his few abilities.
While is highest damage potential is in melee (4 attacks for 2/4 damage), he can still zap enemies 15″ away for some decent damage (4 attacks at 1/4 damage).
His signature ability, Coordinated Strike, for a Triple allows up to 3 other friendly fighters within 9″ to perform a bonus move or a bonus attack. This can be devastating as an opening act of round 2 or 3. Considering the high damage of most Thunderstrike and no range limit on the attack they can perform, this ability is a good candidate to be used every turn.
As all leaders the Lord-Imperatant can also perform a bonus move or bonus attack for a Double after killing an enemy (Shock and Awe) or, as all Thunderstrike, if injured at least 15 Wounds, perform a bonus attack for a Double (Blaze of Glory).
In summary this leader is probably a must for any Thunderstrike warband.
Knight-Arcanum: 205 points
The Knight-Arcanum is the wizard of the warband, able to shoot up to 7″ away for 3/6 damage (at Strength 4) or to club his opponents at 2″ range for 2/4 damage.
As most other Thunderstrike leaders, his Toughness 5 and 28 Wounds makes him a tough nut to crack.
His special ability, Bolt from the Heavens, costs a Double and allows to hit an enemy 18″ away for up to 9 damage. In reality that damage is not so certain, as you roll up to 3 dice depending on the value of the ability, and allocate 3 wounds for each 4+. You start with a 50% chance to do 3 damage, and go up to a 12% chance to do 9 damage (if your ability’s value is at least 5).
Normally you would consider this fighter at least as a supporting hero, but with all other choices available, it is probably a pass.
Knight-Relictor: 180 points
The Knight-Relictor is the priest of the warband, he has the same defence characteristic as most other leaders and similar attacks (4 at Strength 4 for 2/4 damage).
His ability, Purifying Incense, is really interesting: for a Triple he can reduce by 1 (to a minimum of 1) the damage taken by friendly fighters within 6″ from both hit and critical hits. Stormcast Eternals usually suffer mostly critical hits and this is a way to reduce the damage taken. Works only on attack actions so abilities will still do full damage, but in general it’s a good defensive mechanism, especially on a low Triple.
Knight-Vexillor with Banner of Apotheosis: 170 points
This Knight-Vexillor surely has an impressive banner, but his characteristics are the same as most leaders, with 3 Attacks.
The difference is made by his ability to heal D3 wounds to all friendly fighters nearby. It costs a Double, so it can be useful in certain contexts. In general Stormcast have many wounds (20 is the minimum) and high Toughness meaning most of the damage comes from critical hits that are usually at least 3 damage…
On the other hand, an injured Thunderstrike can get a bonus attack for the same Double… It’s an interesting trade-off but in general abilities that go against the default of the warband are not our favourite.
Knight-Judicator: 235 points
The Knight-Judicator is probably one of the best sniper in the Mortal Realms: 20″ range for 4/10 damage at Strenght 5 (comparable to the Vanguard-Raptor with Longstrike Crossbow from the Vanguard Chamber).
In melee he can also defend himself with 2/4 damage and the usual high defence will make him last longer.
For a Quad his ability allows him to perform straight up to 3 damage (if the ability’s value is at least 5) to any enemy within 3″ of a chosen spot anywhere on the battlefield. It is useful to trim down horde armies or to give the coup de grace to an injured enemy, but it does require a really good roll in the Hero phase.
On the other hand, since there is no limitation on the use of generic abilities like Shock and Awe or Blaze of Glory, for a Double he can get quite few bonus attacks: he needs to have at least 15 Wounds or kill with one of his shots, for a potential 3 shots a turn without moving.
- Vindictor-Prime: 170 points
- Vindictor: 135 points
The Vindictors are the battleline of the army and core of this warband. The Prime is one of the cheapest Leaders available in the warband, but his lack of special abilities, despite the good attack profile with 2″ range, makes him quite forgettable.
What makes the Vindictors (including the Prime) different than the rest of the troops is their Toughness 6 and the 2″ range. Their attack is also decent with 2/5 damage at Strength 4. The Prime has the same profile with more wounds.
Apart from the generic ability Blaze of Glory, they don’t have other abilities.
- Vanquisher-Prime: 185 points
- Vanquisher: 140 points
The Vanquishers are the swordmasters, able to cut down the surrounding enemies with their special ability Vanquishing the Horde. For a Triple they roll a dice for each enemy within 3″ and on a 3-4 they allocate 1 damage, on a 5+ up to 6 damage (depending on the value of the ability).
Their attack profile is already quite impressive with 4 attacks (5 for the Prime) at Strength 4 for 2/4 damage, but you need also to add Toughness 5 and 20 Wounds (25 for the Prime) to understand why they are the all-round unit.
- Vigilor-Prime: 225 points
- Vigilor: 165 points
The Vigilors represent the archers of this warband, and the only non-leader model with ranged attacks. 15″ range at Strength 4 for 2/4 damage is not bad and even in melee with 3 attacks at Strength 4 for 1/4 damage makes them a threat to not underestimate.
The Prime adds 1 more ranged attack (3 instead of 2) and few more wounds for a valid alternative profile if you need a support hero different from the ones above.
And the reason is the Vigilors’ special ability: Guiding Lightning. It costs a Triple now and basically creates a beacon for other fighters facing the same enemy: add +1 to all attacks that target the same enemy that was previously selected by one of the ranged attacks of this fighter.
You would use it against the toughest opponents to ensure more attacks go through. As a Triple is not always easy to pull off, but is quite good in the right situation. It may allow another leader to finish off his opponent and then perform a bonus move (using Shock and Awe).
Another advantage of the Vigilors is their 5″ Movement that makes them the second fastest unit in the warband (behind the 6″ of a Gryph-hound).
- Annihilator-Prime with Meteoric Hammer: 180 points
- Annihilator-Prime with Grandhammer: 200 points
- Annihilator with Meteoric Hammer: 130 points
- Annihilator with Grandhammer: 145 points
The Annihilators are the elite of this warband, surprisingly having more or less the same cost as the other fighters in the warband.
They come with two profiles: one with Meteoric Hammer focussed on defence, and one with Grandhammer focussed on attack.
The Meteoric Hammer comes with their giant shield that introduces for the first time Toughness 7!!! Only a handful of fighters in the game have Strength 6 and none 7, making them hittable only on a 5+. You would think this comes at the cost of the attack profile, but no! They can dish 3 attacks at Strength 5 for 3/5 damage. The Prime has one more attack.
The Grandhammer instead reduces Toughness to “only” 6 but the attacks are 3 at 2″ range with Strength 6 for 3/5 damage. The Prime once again adds one attack.
Of course there is a downside: movement 3″ means they will struggle to get where they are mostly needed. Unless you have a Quad available… In that case you can perform a bonus move and even do up to 12 damage on impact based on the value of the ability (Force of a Falling Star). The 2″ range of the Grandhammer can help a bit here as it extends the potential reach.
For a Double the Prime can perform a bonus move after killing an enemy, otherwise you have to rely on the universal ability Rush that adds 1″ Movement to all actions that turn. Note that if you have a low value Quad and you want to use it to move, then better using the universal Rampage that at least allows an extra bonus attack for a chance to do much more damage.
- Praetor-Prime: 215 points
- Praetor: 160 points
The Praetors represent your bodyguards. They are able to heal back a nearby Leader up to 6 wounds (based on the ability’s value) at the cost of D3 damage and a Double.
Praetors are reliable hitters, with Strength 5 and 2/5 damage (the Prime has 4 attacks instead of 3) and they have more Wounds than most other troops (22, while the Prime has 28).
They are a good choice although on the expensive side: they pay their 2″ range and slightly above average characteristics.
Gryph-Hound: 115 points
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.).
Xandire’s Truthseekers (660 points)
- Calthia Xandire: 210 points
- Dhoraz Giant-fell: 165 points
- Luxa Stormrider: 170 points
- Taros: 115 points
Xandire’s Truthseekers is a Bladeborn warband from Warhammer Underworlds Season 5, whose rules are available in White Dwargf 477. Please note we have seen that this warband will be in a new Warcry product to be released later in 2023, so rules may change.
- Lantern Astrala (Double, Calthia): subtract 2 to the value of enemy abilities used within 9″.
- Staggering Blow (Double, Dhoraz): force an enemy to perform a bonus disengage action or suffer D6 damage.
- Quick Volley (Triple, Luxa): +2 attacks to the next ranged attack.
Xandire has a unique profile as she has the base profile of a Vigilor-Prime (5″ movement, Toughness 5 and 25 wounds), the weapon profile of a Vanquisher-Prime (5 attacks at Strength 4 for 2/4 damage) but access to the Triple, Coordinated Strike of the Lord-Imperatant (up to 3 fighters can perform a bonus move or attack action). Her special ability, Lantern Astrala, is becoming more and more redundant with fewer abilities depending on their value, but can be super annoying against some warbands.
Dhoraz is another odd one: he is an Annihilator with access to the same abilities plus Staggering Blow, but a leaner profile that sacrifices Toughness (“only” 5) for speed (4″ Movement) and the weapon profile of a simple meteoric hammer while wielding a grandhammer (still 3/5 damage at Strength 5 is not bad).
Luxa is a Vigilor, same identical stats but in addition she has access to Quick Volley, that for a Triple allows her to buff a single ranged attack rolling 2 dice more. Taros instead is a bird, a fast (12″ movement flying) and expensive bird. If you were missing Aetherwings in the Thunderstrike, now you have one.
Abilities for the Thunderstrike Stormcast Warband
- Blaze of Glory (Double, Everyone): This fighter can do a bonus attack only if they have 15 or more Wounds allocated.
- Soul-forged Guardians (Double, all Praetors): Remove up to 6 wounds from a nearby Leader, then allocate D3 damage to this fighter.
- Shock and Awe (Double, all Leaders): After taking down an enemy you can perform a bonus Move and Attack action.
- Plant the Banner of the Reforged (Double, Knight-Vexillor): Heal D3 wounds to all friendly fighters in range (roll individually).
- Bolt from the Heavens (Double, Knight-Arcanum): A chance to do up to 9 damage to an enemy within 18″.
- Guiding Lightning (Triple, all Vigilors): After attacking an enemy with a ranged attack, everyone else has +1 attack against that enemy.
- Darting Attack (Triple, Gryph-Hounds): Make a bonus attack and then a bonus disengage.
- Vanquish the Horde (Triple, all Vanquishers): A chance to do up to 6 damage to all nearby enemies.
- Purifying Incense (Triple, Knight-Relictor): Reduce by 1 the damage taken while within 6″ of this fighter.
- Coordinated Strike (Triple, Lord-Imperatant): Up to 3 other nearby friendly fighters can perform a bonus move or bonus attack.
- Force of a Falling Star (Quad, all Annihilators): Perform a bonus move and if ending nearby an enemy unit, allocate up to 12 wounds to that enemy.
- Draw the Gaze of Sigmar (Quad, Knight-Judicator): Up to 3 damage to all enemy fighters nearby a chosen point.
Reaction for the Thunderstrike Stormcast 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)
- When: During an enemy melee attack action that takes down this fighter.
- What: D6 damage to the attacking fighter.
Strategy and Tactics for the Thunderstrike Stormcast Warband
Thunderstrike Stormcast is the fourth warband available for the huge range of Stormcast Eternals. This comprises all the newest toys in town for a formidable and versatile warband.
Let’s start with the downsides: the high cost of the models means low numbers of models. An average warband is made of 5-6 fighters which, combined with a low movement (4″ on average), makes this warband a good one for beginners but to be used carefully. You cannot afford mistakes like going in the wrong direction, and you need also to try to not leave your fighters isolated as their armour will last little against multiple attacks and those pesky critical hits.
Once you have recognised the weaknesses of the warband, you can then explore how to compensate them: you need movement? Vigilors increase the movement to 5″ and add a 15″ ranged attack. Need more? Gryph-hound are still valuable fighters with 6″ Movement and the ability to retreat after the last attack.
You need to make every attack count? You have powerful heavy hitters, on average 2/4 damage per attack from most fighters, but you can further increase their efficacy with a Guided Lightning from the Vigilors (for a Double) or with the multiple ways to get bonus attacks. And the Annihilators are some of the strongest fighters in Warcry at their price cost.
You need to sit down on an objective and ensure no one moves you from there or you need a nigh unkillable fighter for an assassination mission? Place your Annihilator with Meteoric Hammer where you want and see your enemy try their best to put it down: they are going to hit them only on a 5+.
And if you lose one of your fighters, except the Gryph-hound, that has not activated yet, their reaction, Thunderous Departure, will inflict up to 6 damage to the attacker. Works only on melee, but is such a powerful deterrent because your opponent would need to decide if to kill your fighter immediately and risk to receive enough damage to be taken down at the same time, or wait for their actions and risk they kill their quarry before their turn.
The part of list building you will struggle more is the choice of a leader, as you have 11 options, all extremely expensive. You will need to consider carefully if you can afford a second hero for support.
Here is a summary of all leaders:
- Lord-Imperatant: best all-round leader, strong ability
- Knight-Arcanum: ranged leader, ability with potential ranged damage
- Knight-Relictor: melee leader with ability to increase defence
- Knight-Vexillor: cheapest leader with the ability to heal
- Knight-Judicator: excellent ranged potential but single shot, ability to do area damage
- Vindictor-Prime: average leader with high Toughness and no special ability
- Vanquisher-Prime: good in melee and potential for area damage when surrounded
- Vigilor-Prime: another ranged leader, useful to tag an enemy for the others to finish him off
- Annihilator-Prime with Meteoric Hammer: extremely resistant but slow
- Annihilator-Prime with Grandhammer: strong attacks but slow
- Praetor-Prime: good melee leader with the ability to heal other leaders
Our favourite are the Lord-Imperatant for the ability to provide bonus actions at the cost of a Triple (Coordinated Strike), the Knight-Judicator for his sniper shot and the Knight-Relictor for his ability to decrease the damage taken (Purifying Incense).
Between Toughness 5 and 7, the difference is minimal in a game where most models will have Strength ranging from 3 to 5. High number of Wounds will anyway protect you from the small but frequent attacks that some horde units have. What Stormcast Eternals struggle with are the critical hits and for that the Knight-Relictor can provide a little respite. It has a limited range but with accurate positioning it is possible to have half of your warband in range.
Going Toughness 7 at the moment seems unnecessary.
Other leaders have other roles, but they cost more or less all the same, except the Lord-Imperatant and the Knight-Judicator for which you need to consider a substantial investment, therefore they are all interchangeable and which to choose will not depend from the cost but from your preference.
Abilities that heal are usually good, but when the amount of wounds on the warband is that high, the wounds that you heal are too little and potentially too late to actually make a difference. For this reason Praetors are much more useful than a Knight-Vexillor: first even the base troop can heal, second can heal only the leader but up to 6 Wounds depending on the value of the ability and not on a dice roll (more reliable) and finally a Praetor hits harder and from 2″ range.
Once you have chosen your leader(s) you have only 7 type of options for the troops:
- The Vindictor is your base troop but with 2″ range
- The Vanquisher is a melee fighter all-round
- The Vigilor is your only ranged option
- The Annihilators provide high defence or high attacks but are slow
- The Praetors provide protection to your leader
- The Gryph-hound are your jolly and fastest unit
Considering the costs of each, you can afford 4-5 of them maximum, and all depends on what type of warband you want to build.
A Vigilor is always highly recommended because it is quick and can compensate the overall slowness of the warband with some ranged damage. It can also provide an interesting buff to other units (+1 attack) when targeting an enemy.
Vanquishers have a good profile and an ability that can do area of damage around them, but the Annihilators at their current price are a bargain despite their slowness.
Vindictors are also a viable option especially if you are running out of points as they are the cheapest unit in the army.
And finally the Gryph-hounds will most likely be your gap fillers.
Overall the strategy to adopt will strongly depend from your choice of leader and the scenario, but you have several options to get in position between the universal abilities (Rush, Rampage) and some fighter’s specific ones like the Annihilator’s Quad that gives a bonus move with damage on impact, or the leader generic Shock and Awe. Do not forget if you have a Lord-Imperatant you can use Coordinated Strike and move (or attack) with up to 3 fighters.
Despite high Toughness and Wounds characteristic, you will be damaged and eventually you’ll be able to perform free attacks at the cost of a Double using Blaze of Glory (after taking 15 wounds). And when you die remember Thunderous Departure!
If you like ranged attacks and Stormcast Eternals, a Vanguard Chamber is probably your best option, but this warband has some valid choices to create a versatile group with different courses of action.
Pros and Cons of the Warrior Chamber Warband
+ High toughness
+ High wounds
+ Good ranged option
+ Extreme versatility
– Low models count
– Hard to manage in certain situations
Some thematic warbands for the Thunderstrike Stormcast
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.
Dominion: Lord-Imperatant, Knight-Arcanum, 2 Annihilators with Meteoric Hammer, 1 Praetor and 1 Vindictor, all available from the Dominion box set.
How to buy a Thunderstrike Stormcast Warband
Thunderstrike units are the newest available for Stormcast and as such are available in the new starter sets. If you can find a Dominion box (the box in limited availability presented at the launch of Age of Sigmar 3.0), then you have more than enough for a Thunderstrike warband and a Kruleboyz warband.
The box contains a Lord-Imperatant, 1 Knight-Arcanum, 1 Knight-Vexillor with Banner of Apotheosis, 3 Praetors, 10 Vindictors, 3 Annihilators with Meteoric Hammer and 1 Gryph-hound. All troops include their Prime.
If instead you want a Starter Set for Age of Sigmar, the Harbinger Starter Set is a cheap alternative to get your Thunderstrike miniatures (the Extremis contain the same content miniature wise but more terrain). This set will include a Lord-Imperatant with his loyal Gryph-hound, 3 Praetors and 5 Vindictors, both with a Prime option.
Apart from the Knight-Vexillor with Banner of Apotheosis (available only in the Thunderstrike Command with 3 Annihilators with Meteoric Hammer for £70), the Lord-Imperatant (available in the Harbinger Starter Set) and the Knight-Arcanum (from the Warrior Starter Set), every other fighter has now its own box:
- Knight Relictor (£21) in individual blister.
- Knight-Judicator (£21) with 2 Gryph-hounds.
- Praetors (£30) and Annihilators (£32.5) in box of 3. Both weapon layouts are available in the box.
- Vindictors (£32.5), Vanquishers (£37.5) and Vigilors (£37.5) in box of 10.
Tips on painting a Thunderstrike Stormcast Warband for Warcry
As all Stormcast Eternals, you need first to choose your Stormhost and the related painting scheme, that you can alter however you prefer.
Online there are multiple guides for all different stormhosts and you can also consult our other tips for the Warrior Chamber.
If you are interested in the new tutorial for the new armour, Warhammer Community released a new video for the launch of the Dominion box.