My plunge from Warhammer: Fantasy to Age of Sigmar was no honeymoon.
One of the hardest parts (if you disregard the fact that they blew up the fictional Old World) was to fully grasp was what the different armies from Warhammer Fantasy were now called in Age of Sigmar and how they were separated in different factions.
Note: a lot has changed since this article has been written. Some of the things here are slightly outdated.
Here is a quick rundown on the name changes (but read along for a more comprehensive explanation on how your old fantasy army is situated in the new world):
- Elves have turned into Aelves
- Dwarfs are now Duardin
- Orcs are Orruks
- Goblins are Grots
- Ogres want to be called Ogors.
- Trolls are Troggoths
- The Empire is Free Peoples
- Lizardmen are Seraphon (and technically no longer lives in the jungle)
- Greenskins is spelled with a Z in the end
- But Chaos largely kept their names
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Who is allied with whom?
In Age of Sigmar, each of the different armies (now called factions) are a part of one of the four Grand Alliances.
It is possible to field an army with models from the different factions within the same grand alliance, although it might not be the strongest army you can field.
In Warhammer: Fantasy this would have been called ” mixing armies”.
Some factions have a Battletome. This Battletome is what was earlier called an army book.
In the battletome, you will find rules that make that particular faction stronger if you stick to only models from that faction. The bonuses you pick for having only models from one faction is called allegiance abilities.
An example: instead of playing with a bunch of different Order models you only play with models from the Lizardmen range. This will give access to extra spells, artefacts and the summoning rules for Seraphon.
This should look very familiar if you played old fantasy since it is basically a return to the old system – but with the addition of being able to field a grand alliance army or adding allies to your faction army.
The Four Grand Alliances are Order, Chaos, Destruction and Death.
The best way to follow along is in the AoS app, where you will be able to see what models are in each faction.
‘The good guys’ (Order)
The Order alliance is united by Sigmar (he is a walking living god now) against the armies of the four Chaos gods.
Many of the faction included in the Order alliance is in no way what we would normally call ‘the good guys’.
As an example, the new Idoneth Deepkin (Aelves) raid peaceful human fishing villages, they slaughter everyone and steals peoples souls so they can make offspring.
The Fyreslayer dwarfs are only helping because they get Ur-Gold and the Daugther of Khaine… well, let us just say they are not are probably closer to evil than they are good.
The alliance is mainly united by Sigmar and the general stance on Chaos.
They all agree that we gotta unite against these big Chaos bullies, because if they fail the world will end up looking like the old world.
Old Fantasy armies in the Order Grand Alliance
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The old dwarf miniatures range has split into Dispossessed Ironweld Arsenal and some are in the Dwarf faction.
Dispossessed: is an army made up of all the old dwarfs on foot. Your longbeards, Hammerers, Ironbreakers and so on are still alive and kicking!
Ironweld Arsenal: this is a bit of a weird faction. It is made up of the old empire war machines, old dwarf war machines and the heroes that were machine dudes. From the dwarfs, you find cogsmith, the Organ gun, the cannon and the gyrocopters.
Dwarfs: Some of your old dwarves are hidden away here. This is not a great place to be, because without a new AoS name you are getting phased out of the game.
The guys here are not part of the matched play system, which means they are usually not usable in tournaments. Here you can find the Anvil of Doom, a few characters, the miners, the old slayers, bolt thrower, flame cannon and the grudge thrower. That is really tough to see those models go. Luckily, the dwarves also have some new toys!
New factions: if you liked slayers you are going to like the Fyreslayers! This is a whole army just about these guys! If you were more into the shooting and mechanic aspect, then the Kharadron Overlords might suit you better. Who does not like flying airships AND dwarves!?
The Empires pretty big range is split up in quite a bunch of small weird factions. Some make sense, and some are just a little weird.
Free Peoples: this is the part of the empire army that focused on foot troops and troops in general. All of your swordsmen, halberdiers, militiamen, archers handgunners, crossbowmen and greatswords are here.
You can also find the demigryphs, pistoliers, and outriders. A hero on foot or mounted as well as the hero on griffon is included as the hero option.
Collegiate arcane: you might be asking where the wizards went.
Well, they are part of the collegiate arcane together with Luminark and the Celestial Hurricanum. This is just a weird small faction.
Devoted of Sigmar: and what about all the crazy flagellants? They now have their separate crazy faction together with the priests, the witch hunters, and the war altar.
Ironweld Arsenal: al the guns are now lumped together with dwarf guns. The hellblaster volley gun, the rocket battery and the steam tank all survived the explosion of the old world.
Empire: the dreaded non-AoS’ed named faction. Units that are not legal in (most) tournament play are the empire knights, the mortar, cannons, the engineer on that cool robot steed and Balthasar gelt on the pegasus.
Seraphon: The Lizardmen largely survived intact, have a new battletome and are now Seraphon. A few units are not part of the faction, but these are some minor things: chameleon stalker, a skink prophet, a skink chief and the swarms of old.
The biggest blow for the Lizardmen is the lore. It is getting better in some of the newer stories, but the spaceship stuff is very far from the jungle vibe most Lizardmen players are in love with. Thankfully, this is AoS and you can make up that your Seraphon just lives in a jungle anyway.
The dark elves are in a bit of a weird, but maybe good place. Four factions make up what was the old dark elves. A fair few models are gone (and I cannot even find them on the compendium site)
Daughters of Khaine: the witch elves have a new leader, new models and a new battletome for AoS. Good times! Included together with the witches are also the Doomfire Warlocks (I know you have some because they were broken once).
Darklings Coven: this faction made up of the old foot troops. Spearmen, repeater crossbows, executioners, the black dragon and a sorceress is found here. Feels a bit like the free peoples in how they lack of options.
Scourge Privateers: what an oddball faction. The corsairs, the chariot, a hero and the hydra in a weird form. The faction is mentioned in some of the books and there they are really cool, but this is just a weird collection of models.
Shadow Blades: what the… a faction made out of a hero assassin and dark riders?
Order Serpentis: black dragon, hydra, cold one raiders and cold one chariot.
Dark Elves (or gone): Manticore, dark riders, shades, bolt thrower, and harpies. Maybe more, as it is hard to get any good overview because it is not in the app.
If you like themed dryads and treeman armies rejoice! If you just want some cool elven dudes, you are in for a bummer.
The army has been split if with the trees in one faction and the elves in another faction. Quite a few models got lost on the way to AoS.
Sylvaneth: the trees are doing good man! Alarielle the Everqueen has awoken as a god and now have an amazing model.
All the old trees survived and they now have more options including a solid battletome.
Wanderers: Wizards, waywatcher hero, waystrider hero, glade guards, rangers, guards, sisters of the thorn, wild riders and sisters of the watch (earlier in high elves) – this is all you get.
The wanderers are thematically a very cool army, but due to the nature of the rules for the models I doubt I will ever finish painting my elves.
They are ok, but they mainly shoot and teleport away (seems boring).
Wood Elves: the following is a list of units not legal in matched play (and being phased out of coming books).
- Banner hero
- Hero on eagle
- Hero on stag
- Forest dragon (in both forms)
- Orion and hounds
- Waywatcher units
- Glade riders
Damn, those are some big losses!
The High elves almost take the price for being blown up in the most amount of small factions. 5 factions make up the old army and some key units are now in the “high elves” section, so are not really part of the competitive game anymore.
High Elves: damn. Spearmen, archers, silver helms, bolt throwers, eagles and a sea hero on foot. All (more or less) gone.
This feels really bad, as I remember these exact units as some of the coolest to play against as a kid.
Eldritch Council: Loremaster, the dragon with wizards on, archmage, and swordmasters.
Lion rangers: white lions and chariot…
Order Draconis: Fighting hero on dragon, dragon noble and the dragon type riders.
Phoenix Temple: Flame phoenix, frost phoenix, phoenix guard and a hero.
Swifthawk Agents: flying chariots things, chariots, seatype footmen with spears, fast cavalry and the rest of the flying stuff.
I am sorry man. You can still find something here to play with, but this cool army is getting discontinued.
Looking to get into Age of Sigmar?
Old Fantasy armies in the Chaos Grand Alliance
The Skaven army has joined Chaos, and have been split up in 4 clans and one master clan.
They are still called Skaven and have exactly the same flavor as before (sweet!).
Clan Eshin: all of the assassin type skaven.
Clan Moulder: all the big monsters
Clan Pestilens: all the plague skavens
Clan Skryre: all the warmachine stuff
Clan Verminus: all of the foot soldiers and heroes
Masterclan: the big guys, greyseer and the screaming bell.
Skaven (getting phased out): skavenslaves (nooo!) and hero with banner.
Daemons of Chaos, Warriors of Chaos and Beastmen
Things have really shaken up in the chaos faction.
GW have decided to split things up according to what chaos gods the units are aligned to.
Getting phased out:
- Beastman hero on chariot
- Centigor hero
- Hero with banner
- Chaos ogors
- Chaos dragon
- Troll King (*sadface*)
- Chaos trolls
- Great Taurus
- Chaos Familiars
Beastmen: are now in two different factions. The Warherd is all the big guys (doombull, bullgors and ghorgon) and the rest is in the Brayherd faction.
Everchosen: this is Archaons (he has a nice model now) faction. It is him, some riders and the new gaunt summoner.
Monsters of Chaos: Centigors, warhounds, harpies, chimera, jabberslythe, slaughterbrute, vortex beast, and cockatrice.
Slaves to Darkness: humans that are turned to chaos.
This includes Spawns, manticore, heroes on foot and mounted, chaos warriors, chaos chosen, marauders and marauder horsemen, chariots, warshrine and knights.
Some of these units can get marks so they can join some of the other factions.
Of course you have the four main factions with all the models you know and love:
- Khorne (has a battletome)
- Nurgle (has a battletome)
- Slaanesh (no they are not gone but no battletome yet)
- Tzeentch (has a battletome)
The Legion of Azgorh on forge world.
Old Fantasy armies in the Destruction Grand Alliance
Orcs and Goblins
The Orcs and Goblins have been sorted out in 8 factions, so they are somewhat struggling.
Aleguzzler Gargant: a faction made up of a giant and a forge world giant. Why?
Bonesplitterz: the savage orcs has their own faction now and a battletome (but no new units).
Gitmob: all the non-night or spider goblins make up this faction. The warmachines, the chariots, wolfriders and skulkers.
Greenskinz: see the trend with the ‘Z’? These are the smallest and oldest of the orc models. The standard orc models on foot, warboss and the wyvern, shaman, orcs on boars and orc chariots.
Ironjawz: the black orcs from old are here and they have some new friends.
New models for big armored orcs on foot and on pigs, a wizard hero, a hero on foot and a hero on a… well monster make up this faction. The battletome makes these the most competitive Destruction army (but that is no high praise).
Moonclan Grots: all night goblins are gathered here. Night goblins on foot, squigs, handlers, shamans, bouncy squigs, the mangler squig, fanatics and the forge world squig gobba and colossal squig.
Spiderfang: this faction is a bit odd, but also quite cool. It is only made up of the Arok spider, the big spider with hero and the small goblins on small spiders.
Troggeth: the trolls have their very own faction now…
Orcs and Goblins: the following models are going away: the mercenary orcs, the orc bully, the big fat goblin on chariot and a goblin hero.
The ogres have been split into three factions and a few models are going away.
Beastclaw Raiders: GW took all the riding and raiding models and put them into their own faction. Here you will find the Stonehorn, the thundertusk, the hero hunter and his pets, the yhetess, and the mournfang.
Gutbusters: Tyrant, butcher, normal ogres, Ironguts, gorgers, Leadbelchers, Ironblaster, Scraplauncer the goblins. Rumour has they could get a battletome in the coming years.
Firebelly: seriously GW, why do you do this? The fire-breathing wizard ogre has his own faction.
Ogre Kingdoms: the cool Goldtooth model and the hero with banner are going away.
‘The dead guys’ (Death)
Nagash is all and all is Nagash. The main man is back, bigger and more godlike than ever.
Nagash started out by helping Sigmar, but now the tables have turned.
With the introduction of the Soul Wars (the new story arch) Nagash has completely flipped the script with a big Necroquake!
The undead guys are like you used to know them but with a lot more focus on Nagash and his Mortarchs. The Tombs Kings are (for now) gone.
Old Fantasy armies in the Death Grand Alliance
Nagash has really shaken things up here. Death is a bit unique because their allegiance abilities are necessarily tied to only one faction. See the Legions of Nagash for how that works.
Deadwalkers: Zombies, Dire wolves and the Corpse Cart
Deathlords: all the undead kits that come out with the end times. Nagash, Arkhan, Mannfred, Neferata and the Morghasts.
Deathmages: Mortis Engine and necromancer. A bit of a bummer the engine is stuck here.
Deathrattle: all the skeletons baby! Wight, Black Knights, Graveguard and skeletons on foot.
Flesh-Eater Courts: maybe one of the coolest reskins of old models. All the ghouls think they are royal knights out to do good. In reality, they are eating people.
Pretty cool battletome! Includes Terrorgheist, Zombie Dragon, Ghoul King, Varghulf, Ghouls, Crypt Horrors and some of the flying ghoul things.
Nightaunt: are all the old ghost (not including the engine) and a lot of new ghost dudes. Check them out!
Soulblight: are the vampires of old. Manfred, Neferata, heroes on zombie dragon, Knights, Vargheists, bats, coven throne and vampire lord.
Vampire Counts: getting phased out is the old weird small dragon and an ugly vampire on horse model.
I am sorry dude, but you army is just a rumour in the lore. You can find your consolation prize here.
Some armies got the rough end of the stick and I feel the blow quite harshly with a massive orc army and some Wood Elves.
But at the end of the day, GW are still making new factions and salvaging the old stuff in cool ways.
What do you think? Comment below if I am missting something or if you just want to rage!