Age of Sigmar/Tactics/Old/Mercenary Companies
Introduced in the 2019 General’s Handbook, and then killed off in the 2020 General's Handbook, the Mercenary Companies were 10 unaligned groups that could've been included in your army regardless of Grand Alliance or Faction. You wanna have your Free Guild army supported by Deathrattle? Maybe a Slaves to Darkness horde accompanied by some Ironweld firepower? Maybe you just want to add some Chaos monsters to your Ironjawz army. All of this was possible with Mercenary Companies!
- 1 Basic Rules
- 2 Companies
- 3 Tactics and Notes
- You can only choose 1 of the 10 Companies for your army.
- For every 4 units in your normal army, you may include 1 Mercenary unit. In matched play they use your ally points allocation
- Mercenary units still cost the same points as the basic models.
- No Mercenary unit can be your General.
- You can include a Warscroll Battalion of Mercenary units, but they must all be from that Company.
- Each Company comes with an additional rule that makes them unique compared to their stock counterparts.
- Disruptive Presence-A side effect of having a third party join the fight. You do not receive the initial command point on your first Hero Phase. This can be extremely detrimental to some armies or an easy work around for others.
The Greyfyrd Lodge
Pragmatic Fyreslayers that actually decide to live up to their lore by selling their axes to any and all buyers...as long as they have the ur-gold of course. You can choose any Fyreslayers unit (except Auric Runefathers) to represent this group.
- Fulfill One’s Oaths- Add +1 to hit rolls for melee weapons when targeting an enemy unit that charged in the same turn. At the start of the 3rd battleround, subtract -1 from the Fyreslayers’ Bravery if they are NOT wholly within 18’’ of your General.
The Tenebrous Court
A Flesh-Eater Court that for one reason or another decide to fight alongside the mortals. They can be comprised of any number FEC units, except for Royal Terrorghiest and Royal Zombie Dragon.
- Frightful Allies- Add +1 to hit rolls if that unit has charged in the same turn. However, no unit in this Mercenary Company can retreat.
The Sons of the Lichemaster
Motivated by a legacy of death and the promise of fresh corpses, this Company must contain at least 1 Necromancer. He can then be supported by up to 3 units of Zombies/Skeleton Warriors (any combination) and 1 Corpse Cart with Unholy Lodestone.
- Power of the Lichemaster- Add +1 to the Attacks of any Zombies or Skeleton Warriors unit wholly within 18’’ of the Necromancer.
Order of the Blood-Drenched Rose
Cavalry vampires who don’t like serving Nagash. Can you blame them? It must include at least 1 unit of Blood Knights (a maximum of 3) and can be joined by a Vampire Lord on Nightmare Steed.
- Unreasoning Bloodlust- This Mercenary Company does not have to take Battleshock tests.
The Grugg Brothers
A bickering belligerent family of Aleguzzler Gargants. Includes up to 3 of these beasts.
- Sibling Rivalry- Reroll hit rolls of 1 if the unit is within 6’’ of another Mercenary unit. Alternatively, you can reroll all failed hit rolls if they are within 6’’ of 2 Mercenary units (though not in Matched Play).
Nimyard’s Rough Riders
Otto Nimyard is a dishonored Free Guild General who has taken his loyal cavaliers in the quest to strike it rich. The group must contain at least 1 unit of Freeguild Pistoliers (maximum of 3), and can be supported by 1 unit of Freeguild Outriders and a Freeguild General on Warhorse (No Stately War Banner).
- Eyes and Ears- Deepstrike Mercenary edition. At the end of first Movement Phase, set up the Company wholly within 6’’ of the table edge but also 9’’ away from enemy units.
The Blacksmoke Battery
Dour duardin gunners who specialize in heavy weapons. Must include at least 1 unit of Cannons or Organ Guns (maximum of 3 in any combination). Can be supported by a Cogsmith and either a Gyrocopter or Gyrobomber.
- The Spotter- Artillery Spotting in a neo-fantasy setting because why not? If the group contains a Gyrocopter/bomber, add +1 to hit rolls for the Cannons/Organ Guns as long as the copter is within 12’’ of their target.
- As of the Cities of Sigmar update, this Company is the ONLY way to get your dwarf Cannons and Organ Guns in current AoS, though expect this to be FaQ soon.
Outcasts from the Darkoath tribes dedicated to mindless slaughter. 1 to 3 units of Chaos Marauders that maybe joined by either a Darkoath Chieften or Darkoath Warqueen.
- On the Rampage- All Mercanary units get to move d6’’ after initial deployment.
An oddly intelligent Chaos Gargant (Sound familiar?) who leads a petting zoo of various warped monsters and beasts. Must include 1 Chaos Gargant, who can be followed by up to 3 units of Chaos Spawn, Warhounds, and/or Furies in any combination.
- Lord and Master- Skroug can use At The Double, Inspiring Presence, and Forward to Victory command abilities, but only on his own units.
The Firebelly shaman called Ashur leads a team of Maneaters across the Mortal Realms in the name of fine dining. Must include 1 Firebelly and 1 unit of Maneaters (maximum of 3).
- Hungry Beyond Reason- You can reroll failed charge rolls for this group, however, if they are able to charge, then they MUST do so.
Tactics and Notes
Tenebrous Court & Greyfyrd Lodge
The biggest companies, put together just for simplicity, also because they share similar traits. Basically, you can take any units in the Flesh-Eater Courts or Fyreslayer, as allies, with the exception of a Royal Zombie Dragon, Royal Terrorgheist, and Auric Runefathers, respectivelly. Flesh-Eaters are what you need for getting shock troops onto the battlefield, something that you will use once at the last moment, for a critical strike. Being incapable of retreat make this mercenary a group of kamikaze. If you want to hit hard, take the crypt horrors, if you need a fast unit, take the flayers, and if you need a good, tarpit horde, go with 40 ghouls. Better not use heroes, because they usually are for support, while a varghulf instead can be a good hero-killer or horde-dealer. Instead, fyreslayer are a incredibly good tarpit if you get the right units. A group of hearth guards followed by a battlesmith is the perfect way to slow down your adversary or for hold objectives, especially if he charged them. If you instead want a thematic, and also strong, monster, the magmadroth is the right choice. A good choice for hordes centered armies, if you want to get some quality between the quantity. An interesting tactic you can do with the Tenebrous Court is taking Duke Crakmarrow and his Grymwatch from Underworlds and fielding them as monster hunters.
The Sons of the Lichemaster
This guys are... Nothing special, really. Being forced to take the necromancer is already terrible, because he is quite expensive and specialized to help only summonable units. The horde that you can bring are good only if taken with the max cap, something that you can't do if you have the necromancer. Also, all of them are incredibly slow, easy to kill and with a bad ability to respawn. All in all it is better if you grab Rampagers, or ghouls if you want cheaps and good hordes. Only truly makes sense with nighthaunt, because you can't ally the necromancer normally. Other than that, completely useless.
Order of the Blood-Drenched Rose
Oh boy these guys are terrifying. Getting a change of points cost, you can now play ten blood knights, and if you know how strong they are, you already know that they are worthy of their points. The problem is their price, because you would get 5 at the price of 82€ (yes, it's a lot). Especially good for a slow army who need someone capable of moving fast and hitting hard, or cavalry-centric armies, for one of the best heavy cavalry units. You can also play 5 knights and a vampire lord, but I'm not sure if this is a good idea, because the vampire only gives you an extra attack using command points, something that you surely don't already have.
The Grugg Brothers
You can have two giants for 320 who get the ability to re-roll hit rolls of one of they are close one to another. If this isn't already a good, freaking reason for taking them, they are also glass cannon monsters. Particularly good in a defense centered army like cities of sigmar, stormcast or legion of nagash, where you stop your enemy with a big horde who have inside the giant. They have two weapons with the range characteristics of 2" and 3". Also is really easy to give them particulars theme and you can go crazy about painting and personalization (I.e. painting them as Frost Giants for a Beastclaw Raiders list). Personally I repute them worthy of their price.
Nimyard’s Rough Riders
Before the Cities of Sigmar, I would have said that these guys are the shittiest band of mercenaries, but now it is quite the opposite. The best way to set these troops is to have 2 units of ten outriders, who can unload a nasty hail of bullets, move around, charge the weaker enemies And hold objectives, all of this is greatly helped by the ability to appear from the edge of the table. Instead, if you want to go all out, take a big unit of 20 pistoliers. Keep them away, possibly using other units as shield while they shoot if possible, then, when the moment is right, move them, shoot, charge, shoot again and attack with their sabers whoever remained. Almost nothing would survive that, especially big hordes or nasty enemy tarpits, like sequitors (particularly them, because they wouldn't be able to use the save - reroll ability when you shoot at them.)
- Another quick note is the Freeguild General on Warhorse was squatted shortly prior to the CoS update, so this is the only way to get him back.
The Blacksmoke Battery
Except for the engineer and the gyrocopters, models from this unit are out of production (the organ gun and cannon, to be clear) making this group the most powerful mercenary order in the game. Having heavy fire power is always a good idea, and you, if you were cunning enough to buy them before, can play them in the following ways for having them at full power:
- 2 organ guns, one cogsmith and a gyrocopter(370p): Okay, for this one? The first key is the Gyrocopter as a spotter. That +1 to hit is ideal. Then, you take the Organ Guns, and fire, say...3 shots. That gives you a good chance, without risking it too much. Rerolls let you avoid those annoying 'same' results for a misfire. This is basically backline artillary of death, and a great, GREAT horde killer. For those worried about how to model them? Thunderfire Cannons with some LoTR dwarves make a GREAT counts as...and they're even still Games Workshop to stop those annoying complaints!
- 2 cannons and 1 gyrocopter(350p): No need for a Cogsmith when these cannons are this good. Low to-hit is handled by the Gyrocopter...and that D6 damage is GREAT. Expert character killer, or monster killer, and you got two of them who are out of range of anything except deep strike. Best part is? While they're out of print, Mordor Dwarves combined with a cannon from, well...anything, works. A great one is the Warmachines Pirate cannon. You could even probably get away with playing the troops next to them, as Empire troops. (Revenant cannon is also an option, looks a bit more in-depth, even if you can't really claim they're Empire)
The new slaves to darkness battletome change deeply the way to play this band. You can't field 80 marauders for 400 points anymore, so say goodbye to your endless horde of cannon fodder-objectives grabbers. What you get in exchange is a really fearful unit with a high move, together with the possibility to move a free d6, and a charge roll that can't go under 7! This guys are monsters right now, highly offensive but quite pricey, so forget to use them as tarpit, because even if they have shields their save isn't that better. The chieftain is a monster with a terrifying command ability (i know that command points are precious with mercenaries, but this is worthy 50 points) that make marauders attack when they die. So, for 390 points, you get a terrifying shock troop, fast and highly offensive that can easily get a charge at round one or two at worst, demolishing whatever the enemy put against you with a chieftain close to them.
Basically you get a chaos gargant (which is the same of a normal one) who is followed by a bunch of chaos beasts, respectively furies, chaos spawn and chaos warhounds. While this is one of the most difficult companies to give a theme at (two good examples being the live stock of a Scourge Privateers list or recreating the ice-warped monsters of Norsca/Troll Country), it's quite strong and worthy. Furies are fast, hit harder bastards, a perfect vanguard for most of the armies (also one of the most infamous objects catcher, because they can move, charge and retreat, moving basically of a 24"+2D6), chaos spawns are cheap and infamous, taking them is a fun gambling, because they can be utterly devastating or suck in a incredibly way, so don't base strategies around them. Warhounds are surely the worst of the group, being yes fast, but weak and frail, so never have them charging other units at their max combat capacity. The most versatile company thanks to his big range of units.
If it weren't for the obligation of taking the Firebelly, these guys would've been the strongest of all the companies. Maneaters are beyond doubt the best shock unit, good shooting, terrifying melee and some nasty passive ability. The Firebelly, however, makes this company very expensive, even at its base price. Thankfully they make up a little bit by being offensive glass cannons who easily take on a horde or a monster without problems.
When it comes to building the models around a certain theme, then these guys are likely the most fun you’ll have. Maneaters can look like just about anything you can think of which allows for some creative looking models. Maybe he spent some time with the Ironjawz so now he wears a set of bright yellow armor. Maybe he was hired as a bodyguard to protect a mage from the Collegiate Arcane, resulting in a crudely made wizard’s robe and staff made from a gnarled tree limb. Or you wanna relive the Chaos Ogres of old and give him some nice spiky shoulder pads and ruinous marks. The possibilities are endless. The Firebelly might be a bit trickier since it has to be associated with fire, but maybe you can make him an ally of the Fyreslayers and give him a Gotrek-style mohawk.