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.
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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: 210 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 32 Wounds), his decent attacks (4 at Strength 4 for 2/5 damage) and his few abilities.
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: 230 points
The Knight-Arcanum is the wizard of the warband, able to shoot up to 7″ away for 6 damage (at Strength 4) or to club his opponents at 2″ range for 4 damage.
As most other Thunderstrike leaders, his Toughness 5 and 30 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: 195 points
The Knight-Relictor is the priest of the warband, he has the same defence characteristic as most other leaders and really 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″. 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: 185 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: 265 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: 200 points
- Vindictor: 145 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 and less than impressive profile (only the 2″ range stands out) 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 one more attack (3).
Apart from the generic ability Blaze of Glory, they don’t have other abilities.
- Vanquisher-Prime: 210 points
- Vanquisher: 150 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 (30 for the Prime) to understand why they are the all-round unit.
- Vigilor-Prime: 225 points
- Vigilor: 185 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 10 more wounds (30) 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 only a Double and basically creates a beacon for other fighters to target the same enemy: add +1 to all attacks that target the same enemy that was targeted by one of the ranged attacks of this fighter.
You would use it against the toughest opponents to ensure more attacks go through. At the cost of a Double is a bargain if you are 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: 205 points
- Annihilator-Prime with Grandhammer: 225 points
- Annihilator with Meteoric Hammer: 150 points
- Annihilator with Grandhammer: 175 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 2 attacks at Strength 5 for 2/5 damage. The Prime has one more attack.
The Grandhammer instead reduces Toughness to “only” 6 but the attacks become 3 at 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 damage on impact based on the value of the ability (Force of a Falling Star).
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: 220 points
- Praetor: 175 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 30).
They are a good choice although on the expensive side: they pay their 2″ range and slightly above average characteristics.
Gryph-Hound: 150 points
Gryph-hound are normally the cheapest unit in a Stormcast warband (they are available in all warbands to date), but in this case, they cost like the average troop. They have the same profile as a Vanquisher (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 an objective or forcing the opponent to follow you wasting one of their activations.
Toughness 4 and 20 wounds guarantee a decent survivability, although everyone else in the warband is tougher than them.
The Gryph-hounds are usually an interesting choice in Warcry but in this case you can be interested in them mostly for their speed as they otherwise compete with similar profiles but being Beasts they are limited in what they can perform (grab treasures, open doors, etc.).
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.
- Guiding Lightning (Double, all Vigilors): After attacking an enemy with a ranged attack, everyone else has +1 attack against that enemy.
- Shock and Awe (Double, all Leaders): A bonus move or attack after taking down an enemy.
- Plant the Banner of the Reforged (Double, Knight-Vexillor): Heal up to 3 wounds to all friendly fighters in range.
- Bolt from the Heavens (Double, Knight-Arcanum): A chance to do up to 9 damage to an enemy within 18″.
- 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 6 wounds to that enemy.
- Draw the Gaze of Sigmar (Quad, Knight-Juficator): Up to 3 damage to all enemy fighters nearby the chosen point.
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.
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.
Where you will struggle is the choice of a leader, as you have 11 leader 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 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.
Vanquisher and Gryph-hound have the same weapon profile but the Vanquisher has Toughness 5 and he is able to do some area damage while the Gryph-hound can move 2″ more per action.
Vindictors are also a viable option especially if you are running out of points as they are the cheapest unit in the army.
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 specific like Annihilator 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).
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 overall 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 control at least two territories before mustering your first hero.
Dominion: Lord-Imperatant, Knight-Arcanum, 1 Annihilator 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.
All other miniatures are expected to be available sometime in September 2021.
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.