AoS Shorts: Your Essential Guide to Age of Sigmar

Cities of Sigmar

Hey all, so the new Cities of Sigmar battletome is up for pre-order next weekend, revamping Firestorm for Age of Sigmar Second Edition. First previewed at the Warhammer World Open Day in July, it is highly awaited.

Here I’ll be doing my usual thing and compiling all the information about the new release as and when the information drops. Just what you need to know, without click-bait, obnoxious ads or pop-ups.

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Age of Sigmar

Cities of Sigmar Battletome

The Cities of Sigmar is the battletome which will pull together the disparate peoples of the free cities – humans, duardin and aelves. These cities were first introduced through the Season of War campaign and then the Firestorm campaign supplement.

Cities of Sigmar Allegiance Abilities

Cities of Sigmar have a set of universal allegiance abilities that affect everyone, then further optional allegiance abilities if you select your army from a particular city.

Games Workshop have previewed that the universal allegiance abilities will improve the survivability of your small heroes (Wounds characteristic of 6 or less). The general can pick a retinue of elite bodyguards which will intercept wounds and mortal wounds. Helping you keep those command abilities, buffs and synergies working longer.

Further, any Endless Spells cast with a Cities of Sigmar Wizard count as being empowered (regardless of the realm you are fighting in). Early useful options include:

  • an even deadlier Purple Sun
  • Portals reaching anywhere on the board
  • the Bridge allowing you to move a short range shooting unit 24″
  • Lifeswarm giving its maximum heal to durable units such as Phoenix Guard
  • 15 dice Quicksilver Swords

The cities are:

  • Hammerhal
  • The Living City
  • Tempest’s Eye
  • Greywater Fastness
  • Hallowheart
  • Anvilgard
  • The Phoenicium

Seven sets of allegiance abilities and a countless selection of units to choose from.

Hammerhal Allegiance Abilities

Hammerhal looks like it will be the command point farm city. Command points being a very valuable resource in Age of Sigmar.

Hammerhal armies

As the greatest of the Cities of Sigmar, Hammerhal can field seemingly endless regiments of loyal warriors, armed and armoured with the very finest equipment and clad in the Twin-tailed City’s sacred gold and blue. These soldiers march and fight in perfect order, singing hymns of battle as they raise high the banners of their beloved city.

The people of Hammerhal are a prideful breed with an esteemed martial tradition; the city’s war colleges are amongst the most renowned in Sigmar’s empire, training new generations of commanders and generals to carry out the God-King’s will. Warriors of the Twin-tailed City see themselves as the embodiment of the divine right of the faithful, and more than once a Hammerhal regiment has refused to withdraw in the face of overwhelming numbers, unwilling to cede the battlefield to bestial savages or Chaos-worshipping heathens.

Firestorm, p 59

Greywater Fastness Abilities

Greywater Fastness is the artillery platform of the realms and home to the Ironweld.

Greywater Fastness armies

The engineers and gunsmiths of Greywater Fastness are some of the finest in all the realms, and its regiments of Freeguild soldiery – known as Greycaps – wield their master-crafted blackpowder weapons with a skill honed by countless hours of firing drill. Enemy armies are left reeling from punishing artillery bombardments and eye-searing lances of energy from the arcane machines of the Collegiate.

The wilfully aggressive and destructive tactics of the city’s military commanders has won them few admirers amongst Sigmar’s allies, yet they have been undeniably effective upon the battlefield. These generals believe that there is no enemy that cannot be quelled by a sufficiently devastating bombardment. More often than note, they are correct. When the Ironweld guns have quieted and the filed ahead is little more than a churned-up wasteland of smoke, ash and mud, the handgunners advance to finish the task. Those few shell-shocked foes who survive the initial devastation are cut down by ranks of grim-faced soldiers, blasted apart by deadly accurate fusillades of musketry.

Firestorm, p64.

Hallowheart Abilities

Likely to be magic focused.

Hallowheart armies

Hallowheart is a city infused with magical power, the radiant aura of Aqshyan magic that emanates from its crystal caverns. From the lowliest foot solider to the fierce Battlemages of the Whitefire Court, those who dwell within the city’s borders share a lingering fragment of this eldritch energy. This can manifest in many different ways, from strange birthmarks to an excess of unexplainable good fortune.

In all cases, this attunement to the flow of magic grants warriors of the city surprising resilience to sorcerous attacks. Spells hurled at formations of Hallowheart warriors have been known to sputter and disappear before impact, as if breaking against an invisible wall. The fireballs and lightning bolts hurled by Hallowheart Battlemages suffer no such misfortune.

Clusters of heavily armoured infantry cluster around these devastatingly powerful wizards, a wall of grinding metal that thunders forward to exploit gaps blasted in enemy lines.

At the head of the charge are often found frenzied Fyreslayers, lending their axes to the city’s cause in exchange for a portion of its vast gold reserves.

Firestorm, p.62.

Tempest’s Eye Abilities

As expected, movement and anti-shooting focused.

Tempest’s Eye armies

None can avoid the gaze of Tempest’s Eye. The mountaintop city’s planar observatories can see past even the most complex illusions and obsfuscations, and thus its Aetherguard detachments and allied forces enter battle alert and forewarned. They strike with the precision of a hunting hawk, aiming to snatch the eyes and cut the throat of their prey before it can react.

Fast-moving infantry and cavalry detachments advance and eliminate key threats upon the battlefield, while flights of Stormcast Eternal Prosecutors and Swifthawk Skycutters, supported by Kharadron Overlord privateers, overwhelm the foe with a blistering aerial assault.

Tempest’s Eye has formed a strong bond with the skyfaring Kharadron, who earn considerable profits at the city’s bustling ports. The sight of their bulky Ironclads appearing on the horizon, the graceful forms of winged Stormcast Eternals flitting between their great spherical endrins, has come to be greatly feared by the city’s enemies.

Whether in the skies or on the ground, the armies of Tempest’s Eye eliminates their foes in a single, lethally precise assault.

Firestorm, p61.

The Phoenicium Abilities

As expected, very revenge focused.

The Phoenicium armies

The Phoenicium is a holy city sacred to the worshippers of the Ur-Phoenix, the godbeast venerated by the aelves as the avatar of righteous vengeance.

The silent, wrathful warriors of the Phoenix Temple are a common sight in the armies of the Phoenicium, and their fearless example has inspired their fellow soldiers to countless acts of bravery and retribution. Having suffered insult or injury, warriors of the Phoenicium will not rest until they are revenged upon the perpetrator.

To allow a defeat to remain unanswered is a mark of great shame for any regiment of the city, and many would rather risk death than accept such dishonour.

Over the heads of the Phoenicium’s gleaming hosts, Flamespyre Phoenixes whirl and glide, creating iridescent trails in the sky. Swooping down into battle, these noble beasts engulf the foe in streams of cleansing fire.

No less devastating are the cavalry charges of the Lions of Sigmar, the stalwart Stormhost that guards the city of the Ur-Phoenix, who crush the enemies of Order beneath the claws of their fearsome Dracoth steeds.

Firestorm, p.65.

The Living City Abilities

Likely to be healing and regenerative.

The Living City armies

The Living City stands as a symbol of the great alliance between the people of the God-King Sigmar and the Lady Alarielle, and its citizens are attuned like few others to the wonders – and dangers – of nature.

From an early age, the wardens of the city learn the arts of woodcraft and tracking, mastering the ability to move at pace while leaving barely a sign of their passing. In the depths of the forest and upon the battlefield, the shadows are a powerful ally. Warriors of the Living City pass unseen until the moment they strike, cutting down their prey in a pinpoint storm of arrows.

Graceful, inhuman forms lead the city’s armies to battle: sylvaneth, separate but always close to their mortal allies, honouring the alliance between the Sigmar and the Lady Alarielle.

Though the guardians of the Living City are fine trackers in their own right, they know little of the ancient places of the realms, the primordial paths through nature that the Everqueen’s children still recall.

Should battle be joined, the sylvaneth will willingly lay down their lives alongside humans, duardin and aelves, sacrificing themselves for the cause of order.

Firestorm, p63.

Anvilgard Abilities

Anvilgard armies

A lifetime of fighting back the monstrous megafauna that haunt the jungles and seas of the Charrwind Coast has fashioned the people of Anvilgard into hardened frontier survivors. They are well versed in fighting in the most extreme conditions, and are bound together by strong tradition, having inherited some of the strange, archaic rituals of the city’s founders, the mysterious Anvils of Heldenhammer.

From an early age, natives of the city learn to hunt and fight, to survive in the lethal wilds that surround Anvilgard. By decree of the city’s arbiters, all inhabitants of fighting age must be drilled daily in swordmanship and archery, for the dangers of the Charrwind Coast are without number, and Anvilgard must always be ready to defend itself.

Aelven privateers and monster hunters add a rugged spine of vanguard troops to the city’s armies. These hard-bitten mercenaries provide their centuries of experience in exchange for trade monopolies and trapping rights.

Grim and humourless folk they may be, but there is little in all the realms that can halt the implacable march of an Anvilgardian regiment.

Firestorm, p60.

Army selection

The Cities of Sigmar have the greatest number of unit options of any battletome in Age of Sigmar. Not only do they have access to a wide range of forces from humans, duardin and aelves, but they can also use any units from Battletome: Stormcast Eternals (which will gain the relevant City keyword).

Cities of Sigmar Battleline

This variety is seen quickly in the number of units which are Battleline or Battleline if you select a particular general. Battleline Steam Tanks anyone?!

  • Bleakswords; Darkshards; Dreadspears; Eternal Guard; Crossbowmen; Halberdiers
  • Pistoliers; Longbeards; Ironbreakers; Black Ark Corsairs; Dark Riders; Demigryphs
  • Drakespawn Chariots; Drakespawn Knights; Executioners; Flaggellants; Greatswords; Outriders
  • Pistoliers; Hammerers; Irondrakes; Phoenix Guard; Scourgerunner Chariots ; Shadow Warriors
  • Sisters of the Thorn; Sisters of the Watch; Wildwood Rangers; Steam Tanks; Khra

Notable absences – Glade Guard, Dwarf Warriors, Dragonblades, Swifthawks, High Aelf Spearmen/Bowman.

Individual Cities

There has been a change to how the Cities of Sigmar worked in Firestorm. Now any combination of units from the book can be used in any city, even though certain cities are better when combined with specific units. This is quite a significant change!

Let’s see if we can make some educated guesses about what will be the synergistic units for each City based on the Firestorm army selection rules.

Hammerhal Units

  • Any ORDER other than SERAPHON

Anvilgard Units

  • Stormcast Eternals
  • Free Peoples
  • Dispossessed
  • Devoted of Sigmar
  • Darkling Covens
  • Scourge Privateers
  • Order Serpentis

Tempest’s Eye Units

  • Stormcast Eternals
  • Free Peoples
  • Kharadron Overlords
  • Swifthawk Agents
  • Eldritch Council
  • Dispossessed
  • Ironweld Arsenal

Hallowheart Units

  • Stormcast Eternals
  • Fyreslayers
  • Free Peoples
  • Collegiate Arcane
  • Dispossessed
  • Eldritch Council
  • Order Draconis (RIP?)
  • Phoenix Temple

The Living City Units

  • Stormcast Eternals
  • Free Peoples
  • Sylvaneth
  • Wanderers
  • Dispossessed

Greywater Fastness Units

  • Stormcast Eternals
  • Free Peoples
  • Ironweld Arsenal
  • Collegiate Arcane
  • Wanderers
  • Dispossessed

The Phoenicium Units

  • Stormcast Eternals
  • Free Peoples
  • Dispossessed
  • Phoenix Temple

Cities of Sigmar Battalions

Battalions work slightly differently in that they are associated with only a specific City.

Warscroll Changes

We can expect a number of warscroll changes with the new Cities of Sigmar battletome.

Shadow Warriors can now be deployed in reserve, ready to jump out and grab an objective or threaten a backline hero when required.

Pistoliers can also now shoot on the charge to try to help sway the balance of combat.

New warscroll cards and counters too.

New Start Collecting Sets

The release is coming with two new Start Collecting sets – for Greywater Fastness and Anvilgard.

Cities of Sigmar Background

Its also great to hear that the background was written by Nick Horth (author of City of Secrets and Callis & Toll: The Silver Shard), with additional short stories from Josh Reynolds (Spear of Shadows).

I’ll now cover off the background for each of the Cities 🙂


The Hallowed Knights founded Hallowheart within a huge, crater like pit known as the Shimmering Abyss – once a Tzeentchian stronghold, until Sigmar’s faithful slaughtered its inhabitants and consecrated its tainted ground.

The walls of the abyss are riddled with crystal caverns, while atop a monolithic basalt column stands the great city itself.

Winding stairways descend to the mining camps below, and to duardin communes built deep into the bedrock.

The city’s gem mines offer a wealth of magically infused minerals, including much-prized primordial realmstone. These vaguely humanoid accumulations of powerful, volatile matter burn with a furious sentience, and it takes skilled miners – aided by the latest eldritch technology to gather them. As a result of this buried bounty Hallowheart seethes with latent magical energy.

Yet this powerful aura may not come without a price. Both the Devoted of Sigmar and the city’s Stormcast guardians maintain a vigilant watch for the merest sign of corruption, any remnant of the Chaos taint that once suffused the Shimmering Abyss.

Firestorm, p8.

Tempest’s Eye

Tempest’s Eye is a city carved out of the rock of the gigantic Titanspear Mountain, a multilevel metropolis linked together by winch-lifts and cable carriages. At the apex rests the imposing Stormkeep of the Tempest Lords, ringing the top of the Titanspear like a jewelled crown. No less regal a citadel would suit these noble heroes, who rule their city with stern benevolence. Jutting out from beneath this palatial fortress are great ports where duardin airships and gyrocutters arrive to barter and deal.

Celestial magic swirls about the apex of Tempest’s Eye, and the city’s White Tower boasts an array of arcane engines and planar observatories from which seers scry distant lands.

Tempest’s Eye sees far indeed, and its elite detachments of Stormcast Rangers are constantly dispatched through the realms on secretive missions, arriving at the perfect moment to assist endangered allies, or to strike at targets of opportunity.

The four smaller peaks surrounding the Titanspear – known as the Talons – are the sites of fortified watchtowers garrisoned by Swifthawk Agents and allied human and aelf rangers. These warriors are known as the Aetherguard, and they are amongst the finest scouts and wayfinders in Aqshy. The enemies of Order long ago learned to dread the bite of their white-feathered arrows.

Firestorm, p8.


Anvilgard is a heavily fortified port city that borders the sweltering jungle of the Charrwind Coast, first founded under the direction of the Anvils of the Heldenhammer. The Stormhost’s morose traditionalism has been sown deep into the soul of the city; Anvilgardians are dour hardy frontier fold, distrusting of outsiders and beholden to superstition and ancient folklore.

Despite the intractability of its populace, Anvilgard draws many visitors from faraway lands. The city’s shipyards bustle with activity, with merchant fleets, nomadic tribesmen and foreign traders all flocking to the markets to sell produce and trinkets looted from the scattered ruins of the Searing Sea. Aelven corsairs regulate this busy trade, maintaining order with merciless efficiency.

Surrounding Anvilgard on all sides is a dense, sprawling jungle encircled by a series of active volcanoes – the locals call this region the Crucible of Life. Hunting patrols of Order Draconis riders filter out into this wilderness every day, for the monsters and great lizards that popular the Crucible are highly prized for their strength and ferocity.

Firestorm, p8.

Greywater Fastness

A blunt, uncompromising slab of iron ringed with cannon batteries and choked with the smoke of sprawling factory-complexes, the Greywater Fastness stands tall amidst a devastated wasteland, a no man’s land of shattered trees and bubbling swaps.

In the years since its founding, this great centre of industry and invention has remained stubbornly defiant in the face of numerous threats. Its smoke-spewing factories produce some of the finest blackpowder weapons and artillery pieces in the realms, and the gun-lines of a Greywater retinue are much valued by Sigmar’s battlefield commanders. Yet such power and autonomy has not come without a heavy price.

During the great war for the Seeds of Hope, the fortress-city’s Ironweld gun batteries and the Luminark arrays of the Collegiate Arcane decimated the bestial hordes that threatened to tear the city down, but the cataclysm they unleashed rendered the land around the city all but inhabilitable. This region, known as the Ghoul Mere, is populated by vengeful woodland spirits, who prey upon any mortals foolish enough to stray from the heavily guarded trade roads.

Firestorm, p16.

The Living City

Raised by Lady Alarielle the Everqueen from the stone and ironoak of the Jade Kingdom, the Living City is a natural bulwark against the savage powers of the realms, a mighty woodland city ringed by thorn-studded towers and walls of choking vines.

It was the first of the so-called ‘Seeds of Hope’ to be founded, the first of three fortified cities that would find themselves under siege by the forces of brutality and disorder during the bloody Season of War. After a vicious campaign, the battle was won, as the city itself stirred to life to crush and tear its foes apart.

In the wake of this victory the boughs of the Living City have continued to reach ever outwards, forming new perimeter walls of venom-tipped thorns and canopy-districts of winding, oaken pathways. Artisans and craftsmen flock to the Living City, fashioning wondrous artefacts and weapons from its sturdy ironoak branches. The city’s hunters are renowned as some of the finest woodmen and trackers in the realms, and their ironoak longbows loose arrows with unerring accuracy.

Firestorm, p16.

The Phoenicium

The city known as the Phoenicium was once little more than an ancient ruin, lying at the foot of the vast, tree-like Arborean Mountain. During a mighty battle the lower slopes of the mountain were torn asunder, and a tidal wave of sticky sap was released, engulfing the city and the helpless combatants before solidifying into a giant glacier of hardened amber.

It was this strange scene that was discovered by the Anointed of the Phoenix Temple, many centuries later. The aelves watched in astonishment as their Flamespyre and Frostheart phoenixes took to the air, flying over the preserved city and trailing sorcerous energy as they whirled and spun.

The rock-hard amber slowly melted, forming a golden mist that enveloped the ruins and persists to the present day, cloaking its wondrous promenades and white-marble towers in a warming haze. Enemies who stray too close to this mist are transformed into amber statues, and added to the gleaming ramparts into the city’s aelven guardians have fashioned around their home.

Many worshoppers of the Ur-Phoenix make their pilgrimage to the Phoenicium, the holy city of their deity, and the ranks of the city’s armies are thronged with silent, merciless warriors.

Firestorm, p16.