Age of Sigmar/Tactics/Order/Free Peoples
- 1 2nd edition Age of Sigmar
- 2 Why Play The Free Peoples
- 3 Rulebooks
- 4 Allegiance Abilities
- 5 Wargear
- 6 Warscrolls
- 7 Battalions
- 8 Army Building
- 9 Tactics
- 10 Allied Armies
2nd edition Age of Sigmar
With 2nd edition release take all of this with some salt. While we do know that the warscrolls are going to be the same, we also know that new things (such as command points) are being added that will change tactics. One thing you may have noticed is that certain auras (Indomitable trait for example) got their range doubled at the expense of becoming wholly within.
Why Play The Free Peoples
Do you want to fight the good fight? Are you partial to moustaches and feathers as signs of authority, instead of huge pauldrons or a huge frog-gut? Are you prepared to fight the thinking man's fight and to be prepared to utilize all the tools in Order's proverbial shed? If so, go get your completely regular sword and shield, find a little armor, put a feather in your hat and stand for inspection! See Impossible Sights and Bang Improbable Chicks! Fight the Unending Hordes of Chaos, give that dead fellow the fucking finger and Rebuild the Realms! Die for the Cause! Sigmar Needs You To Join the Freeguild!
The Free Peoples, or more accurately, the Freeguild w/ Friends, is a weird faction in Age of Sigmar. Compromising most of the left-over Empire models that aren't war-machines, holy or magical, the Free Peoples are the exact opposite of most Age of Sigmar armies: Defensive and ranged, in comparison to aggressive and melee-oriented. Not that they can't or won't fight in melee (they will, but don't forget they are no Stormcast, they aren't really suited to anything beyond defensive combat), but Free Peoples have easy access to a lot of ranged units that can really make the difference in a battle, especially against opponents who have no ways of protecting themselves against it. Plus, Free Peoples have some really great synergy, which you should totally built around: The Freeguild Guard is phenomenal as a huge, 30 something mob with swords and shields and a little bit of buffs from characters around them, and the Greatsword can really be a good melee elite unit with the right timing. This, of course, gets even better with the addition of the other mortal Order armies like the Collegiate Arcane or the Devoted to Sigmar who can give back the magic and faith that this army lost. Or the Stormcast Eternals who can add great hammer and anvil units to this force.
Essentially, the Free Peoples are the Imperial Guard to the Stormcast's Space Marines and should be treated as such, as the two forces synergize just as well as their 40k counterparts.
There isn't currently a Battletome for Free Peoples.
- The Grand Alliance Order book has all the Warscrolls and Battalions.
- This should be supplemented with the Grand Alliance Order Errata and Designers' Commentary from the FAQs.
- Allegiance Abilities are in the General's Handbook 2018.
- Matched play points are in the General's Handbook 2018.
- Alternatively up to date Warscrolls can be found in the WH AoS app.
As with all factions you'll want:
- The core rules are either downloadable or in the Core Book.
- Games taking place in a Realm need the Realm of Battle rules from the Core Book.
- In you want to take advantage of realm specific artefacts you'll need the Artefacts Of The Realms section from the Malign Sorcery book.
- Matched play battleplans are split across the Core Book and General's handbook 2018.
- All books should be supplemented with any updates from the FAQs.
With the advent of the General's Handbook Part Deux, the Freeguilds have now become even better with new Battle Traits, Command Traits and Artefacts! Now the mortal armies of Sigmar are even stronger than before!
- If your army has the Free Peoples Allegiance, Greatswords and Demigryph Knights count as Battleline choices!
- Defiant Avengers: Basically the same as the normal ORDER Allegiance; Re-role battleshock tests for FREE PEOPLES units. Especially useful for Free People, since it stacks with both the unit and Freeguild General banners to make us surprisingly safe from Battleshock (but still far from immune).
- Freeguild Great Companies: DETACHMENTS 2.0! Yes, the old detachments system from the old Empire returns, but with a twist! Now any unit with FREEGUILD in its keywords can support their brethren in battle!
- The Great Company is made up of 3 units, one of which has to be a Freeguild Guard unit with at least 20 models in it. The other two choices choices each require at the least 10 models, but are otherwise entirely up to you.
- Take into account that Demigryph Knights can be included in a Company, but the must be 10 at least, which puts them at 560 points in matched.
- What do you get from this? Well, at the end of the enemy charge phase, units in a Great Company can support each other by Shooting as if it were the shooting phase, or Charging as if it were the charging phase, so long as:
- The Unit lending support is more than 3" away from the enemy.
- The unit being supported is within 3" of the enemy.
- Both units are wholly within 12" of each other.
- The Freeguild Regiment Battalion can form 3 Great Companies on its own. Use this to your advantage!
- If you have the feel that both the musicians' effect and the companies work similarly, you've been paying attention. But there's a key difference here: companies only affect the members of their company while musicians have no such limitation and can use their effects in units outside their company. This can be used to inter-company and/or hero support which is awesome all in itself.
- The Great Company is made up of 3 units, one of which has to be a Freeguild Guard unit with at least 20 models in it. The other two choices choices each require at the least 10 models, but are otherwise entirely up to you.
- 1. Inspiring: FREE PEOPLES units that are wholly within 12" of your General DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE BATTLESHOCK TESTS. While still good, note that it is not as useful on Freeguild as it would be on other factions due to our banner induced bravery shenanigans.
- 2. Battle-tested Veteran: At the start of the hero phase, as long as your general is still on the battlefield roll a dice. On a 5+ you gain 1 additional command point. Glory to Cadia! *ahem* This is a sure way to make your opponent cry as you rack up additional command points for that major push. On average you should get 2 additional command points during a standard game.
- 3. Shrewd Commander: Roll in the Triumph table at the start of a battle. This is in addition tomorrow winning a major victory in your last battle. Pretty great in matched play if you fall short some ten points or so. Two rolls on the triumph table? Two sets of re-rolls to wound, to hit or saves? Yes please.
- 4. Indomitable: Add 1 to the save rolls of friendly FREE PEOPLES units wholly within 12” of your general so long as they didn't charge. With this trait your expendable, cheap-as-shit Guard models go to a 3+ re-rolling 1s in combat. Throw down a block of guard, use it in a grand company of Handgunners and laugh your heart out, you sick bastard. Though this will mean that you will have to clump your units up a bit (wholly within 12" folks), but fortunately Free Peoples are pretty much designed to work as a giant blob army. Note it also brings your General up to a 2+ (because you took a shield like a good boy, didn't you?).
- 5. Righteous Fury: Add 1 to the general's wound rolls if the target has the CHAOS keyword. Very situational
- 6. Grim Resolve: This trait adds one additional wound to your general. Not a game changer, but definitely useful on a normal Freeguild General
- 1. The Armor of Meteoric Iron: This returning piece of armor adds 1 to save rolls to the model. While it doesn't protect against mortal wounds, sticking this bad boy on a Freeguild General with a Shield can make your enemy have a tough time wounding without high Rending weapons.
- 2. Blade of the Realms: Pick one of your weapons, and if you roll a 6 or more for your weapon, the target suffers a mortal wound, IN ADDITION to any other damage that the attack inflicts.
- 3. Luckstone: Re-roll one failed hit, wound or save roll for the model EACH PLAYER turn (not Battle Round). Useful on an Indomitable General so he can reroll his first failed 2+ each turn.
- 4. The Broken Shackle: The unit wearing these broken ass boots may retreat or charge as if they could fly, AND can retreat and charge in the same turn. Most useful on a Griffon General, as it'd allow you to charge into, and subsequently hop over any tarpit lines to get at the juicy backfield units.
- 5. Writ of Dominion: Plant your feet in the ground, roll out a piece of paper, and declare that everything Chaos owns is yours now; you add 1 to the wound rolls made for friendly FREE PEOPLES units that are wholly within 12" of the person who has this artefact. Combo with Hold The Line! on a unit of 30 Crossbows and you will mulch anything short of the gods themselves in a single turn.
- 6. Flag of the Conquerors: Add 1 to the Bravery of FREE PEOPLES units wholly within 12" of the model holding this glorious flag. Also, it lets you re-roll charges for units that are supporting another unit in their Great Company.
Notable Artifacts of the Realms
While there's gear exclusive to the different units, there's several pieces of wargear common army-wide and have the same effect. To count:
- Shields: Army wide, our shields allow us to reroll save rolls of 1, except for Generals who instead add +1 to their save. Helps add some more resilience to your meatshields and makes your Griffon as protected as a Steam Tank.
- Banner: Their bonus is the same army wide, and it allows you to pass battleshock tests on a roll of 1 without losing any models. GREAT when you lose 6+ models in a single phase.
- Musician: This is when the Free Guild gets fun. Remember the Detachments of the Old Empire? Their descendants do and trigger those effects with their musicians. We have 3 main types:
- Melee infantry (Guard, Greatswords): Lets you attempt a d6 counter-charge to get more units into combat. Really fun for swarming over-reaching enemies. It's also not effected by hold the line since these charged happen in the enemy phase, not your own.
- Ranged Infantry (Crossbowmen, Handgunners): If a ranged unit with musician gets charged you can fire all your guns/crossbows at the unit that charged you BEFORE they get to swing. That's right, we have "Stand and Shoot"! Even better, the shooting unit DOESN'T have to be the one charged, so if you have two ranged units and one is charged both can shoot the charging bastards.
- Light Cavalry (Pistoliers, Outriders): This allow the unit to run, shoot and charge. A godsend because it lets the unit to close in and shoot hell on the enemy or flee a dangerous situation while still being on the offensive.
- Heavy Cavalry (Demigryph Knights): Get 2 extra inches on your charge rolls. Useful.
- Freeguild General on Griffon: It's a general, on a Griffon. Oh my lord, this is magical. Has access to a Sigmarite Runesword for anti-infantry, a Sigmarite Greathammer (aka Mini-Ghal) for heroes and elite killing and the Freeguild Lance for monster killing. Here, the Hammer might actually be the best choice as you can take a shield with any weapon and the Hammer is pretty strong with its high Rend. Since the Griffon itself is actually pretty damn killy, with two high Damage Beak attacks and quite a lot of Claw attacks with 2 Damage, it can really rip into a Manticore or a Terrorgheist who got too close to your lines. Now, the biggest change from the Freeguild General below is, that this guy has a very, very offensive Command Ability, which boosts Bravery, charge range and Hit rate, but only to one unit, unfortunately. In addition, you can use the Shield with any weapon, which the General can. Do you want to kill things? This' the guy.
- Freeguild General: Mr. Moustache and quite the leader for a Freeguard army. Despite being a regular human, he still has a 4+ and five Wounds, and some surprisingly great weapons: Sigmarite Weapon and Shield for infantry-mulching, Great Weapon for elite-killing and Freeguild Lance for monster and hero-hunting, give him what he needs to fulfill whatever role you need him to. While he can do a pretty good job in melee, he's still not a duelist and should be kept safe so he can keep using his Command Ability. Now, this thing is just plain fun, it allows up to three Freeguild units within 15" to add 1 to their Hit and Wound rolls, but they can't Move or Charge on their turn (but apparently can do so on their enemies' turn, like drummers' countercharge). Put this German mofo in the middle of it all and anchor one hell of a gunline. Be careful to not overlap buffs. Of course you can give him a horsey,
but since the Knights have been removedyou can still "ally" them to the knights in the legacy list with no issue UNLESS it's 2nd Edition in which they lost their points cost; regardless, this may help if you want to keep him close to the cavalry. If you want to charge though, take the Griffy-Genny up top.
- Freeguild General with Stately Banner: How's that no one did this yet? Anyway, the Stately Banner is an optional upgrade to your General that supposedly doesn't interfere with the others (the Warscroll Builder states that it does and there's no FAQ clearing the issue). With this Mr. Nice Moustache gains TOTEM and all Free Peoples units at 24" check battleshock with two dice and choose the lower. Alone it's already interesting, but along the units' banners and benefits of the Regiment, Defiant Avengers, the Flag of the Conquerors can and will make your soldiers surprisingly effective against battleshock. Let's check how: at 24" all units roll battleshock with two dices, rerolling failures and all 1 and 2 are auto-success and atv 12" with their Bravery at least at 6. WOW.
- Freeguild Guard: Your basic infantry. With sword and shield your guys make an amazing anvil (dirt cheap and a 4+ save, though only in combat so nothing against missiles), but that's not to say other load outs don't have merit. With halberds, you get a unit that can mow through skeleton and skaven hordes pretty quickly, and with spears, you gain a little bit of reach. Arguably sword and shield are the best loadout, with halberds coming next. Another interesting loadout for them is using militia weapons, which are the same statline as swords in close combat (no parry bonus though), but it also unlocks a 14" ranged attack for the unit. At 20 men in the squad they get +1 to hit, at 30 they get +2, and at 40 models or larger you get 3+ to your hit rolls. Putting a few squads of these in either the Freeguild Regiment or the State Troop detachment and popping hold the line will give you an amazing anvil unit that can dish out the pain (under the right buffs, you can easily get to 2+/3+/-/1).
- Freeguild Greatswords: With Oathsworn Honour Guard and Hold the Line! Greatswords have the potential to deal 2 attacks each at 2+ to hit and wound if they stand still. Compared to other Elite infantry like Stormvermin, Bestigors, Wildwood Rangers etc. Greatswords are an absolutely brilliant and powerful unit, even more so with all the buffs your army has going. Also, remember that their Save is 4+ without all the ifs and buts that your Guard has to deal with.
- One great thing about Greatswords is that they're one of the few rare "elite" units on 25mm bases (usually reserved for chaff units or "shorter than humans" models like stormvermin). This means they can attack in 2 ranks with their 1" weapons.
- Freeguild Crossbowmen: With the aid of your General, they're a solid ranged unit to have. If you're looking for some decent 20" shots to throw out, consider getting 30 of them so you don't lose the bonus as soon as the first guy dies. If you can't afford the 30 model count or aren't planning to use a general to buff, then it might be best to pass.
- Freeguild Handgunners: Handgunners, at the beginning, seem bad. A sucky save, low bravery and a short-ranged missile weapon that needs a 5+ to hit. Now you look at it's 3+ and it's -1 rend and think: it's not that bad. Then you look at their skills: 20+ models give +1 to hit and if there are no enemies close them and they didn't move, they add another +1 to hit. Now couple them with an Empire general and State Troop Detachment. Pick 3 units of handgunners and don't space them too much. Enjoy 90 auto-hits (not in match play, where it'll be on a 2+ instead) and nigh ensured damage. Skeletons will shit bricks.
- Hot Take: Given the FAQ buff to crossbowmen not needing to stand still to get off two shots, handguns are no longer the king of massive units. What they are perfectly priced to do now, however, is to function as 100 point mini warmachines. Take MSU of 10, equip each squad with a Long Rifle and then relish in having 30" snipers that are sitting on 3+/3+ if they've not moved before even factoring in any other buffs. Leave the volleys to crossbowmen, but allow your handgunners to function as sniper squads. The other 9 bodies throwing out their cheap Rend is just icing on the cake, along with an ability to make an enemy cavalry charging pay a price when they get with the the Stand and Shoot before -- let's be honest -- probably wiping out the squad.
- Freeguild Archers: Honestly worth a second look after admiring the insane combos available from Crossbowmen and Handgunners. A free move before the game begins and an 18" range mean these boys can reach out and poke someone quicker and easier than the handgunners. An average profile of 4+/4+/-/1, but you can reroll hit rolls of 1 or 2 if the unit has 20+ models, or all rolls to hit if they have 30. The bonus, however, is the fact they can shoot this well while on the move, while crossbowmen and handgunners have to remain stationary.
- Freeguild Outriders: Decent-ranged guns and a bonus to hit if they stand still, with an impressive number of shots, but in exchange, they are quite a bit worse in melee (where you don't want them anyway).
- Freeguild Pistoliers: Very short-ranged guns and awful Bravery. They do bring Rend and a lot of attacks, but since you have Demigryphs for smashy, you may want to skip Pistoliers for Outriders. Unlike practically any other unit, their melee attacks are exactly the same ones as their ranged ones (they shoot the same pistols point-blank). So, if you can charge the same thing you shoot and get the priority in that combat, they can make a good name for themselves, because they may very well kill their targets before they even get a chance to swing.
- Demigryph Knights: These monsters can chuck out a ridiculous amount of attacks for what they are and have a total of 4 FUCKING WOUNDS EACH. Not to mention they can move 10" like all Empire cavalry, they can and will charge into a unit and hurt it bad. Good at clearing hordes with the mounts 3 rending attacks each and rider's 2 attacks with either weapon. Personally, I would recommend giving them sword and lance as it does 2 damage on the charge and will wound on a 3+ like the halberd but this requires care with who they charge as they will lose effectiveness on the second round of combat. Not to mention the models look awesome as hell. Got a 20 point price reduction in the 2018 General's Handbook, putting them at only slightly more expensive than the two units above. Did I mention that these guys are battleline if your main force is Free Guild?
One Freeguild General or Freeguild General on Griffon, one unit of Demigryph Knights, one unit of Freeguild Greatswords, 3 units of Freeguild Guard, 3 units of either Freeguild Archers, Freeguild Crossbowmen or Freeguild Handgunners in any combination, 1 unit of Freeguild Pistoliers, and 1 unit of Freeguild Outriders. (Min: 1390, Max: 417)
This Battalion is humongous! Even at minimum unit sizes, you're looking at an army of 80+ models! The benefits of such a huge battalion are the following:
- Stand Together, Fight Together: Add 1 to hit rolls if the unit attack is within 6" of another unit from the battalion when the attack is made. This is especially deadly to your foes with the new Great Company ability, which has you keeping your army close together in order to reap the benefits.
- Regimental Discipline: Units in this Battalion have +1 Bravery when they're within 10' of their General, and NO models flee when taking a Battleshock test if you roll a 1; If the units include Standard Bearers, no models flee on a one or two. Combined with their Allegiance ability, "Inspiring" Command Trait and the Flag of the Conquerors, this basically makes the Freeguild almost unbreakable if they stay close to their general.
At it's core, Freeguild armies are horde armies, and starting with at least 2 20-man guard squads to act as a bubble-wrap for the wrest of your army, a general, and some Greatswords will give you a good core to expand off from. From there, adding in Handgunners or outriders for ranged support, more infantry for some staying power, or adding in some Demigryph Knights and allies for more punch, it's all a matter of what you want your army to play like. A huge part of making this list effective is stacking buffs and synergies to upgrade your crappy state troops to mustachioed sons of Sigmar. Unlike like some more elite armies (Stormcast Eternals) your units don't really do amazing independently, and when you take stock of their special rules you see that they are meant to played as mutually-supporting hoard. Things like the state troop detachment, hold the line, and other buffs that apply to FREE PEOPLES are almost mandatory from a more 'competitive' side of things. By themselves: a single guard squad will not do much beyond stall deadlier units or die, but with the right support they can make just about anything think twice. But this can also be a double-edged sword, as tactical errors that take out key aspects of your army (like your general or a sudden loss of Freeguild Guard) can cause the rest of your army to crumble. So it may be wise when list-building to include redundancies in case of surprise losses.
With the new Freeguild Allegiance, various points changes across the board and the new Allies system, things just a whole lot more interesting when fielding an army of the Free Peoples!
- A Freeguild army can draw up to 400 pts of allies and still keep their Allegiance abilities. The Allies that they can draw from include the Collegiate Arcane, the Devoted of Sigmar, the Ironweld Arsenal and the Stormcast Eternals. They don't count towards the number of Battleline choices you pick; however, they do count towards the number of Leader, Behemoth and Artillery choices you have, so choose wisely.
As said up there, the Free Peoples is defensive first and ranged second. However, in a more generalist view, the Free Peoples have some pillars:
- 2+/2+ with 30+ guys: Let's be honest there. On their own, the Free Peoples units aren't good: crappy save and meh to hit and to wound rolls, not to mention their below average Bravery. They're outclassed by everyone. However they have the hidden strength to buff themselves to the stratosphere by numbers, Hold the Line or allies, which turns really ugly with units above 30 models. This is vital for them, and what makes them actually dangerous in competitive. Facing 40 guys with 4+/4+/-1/1 is already bad, but when it's 2+/2+/-1/1 is WAY worse.
- Protecting yourself against Bravery: As mentioned earlier, Free Peoples have low Bravery, usually in the range of 5 to 7. Take into account that the moment they charge you, you're losing people in heaps, so all Bravery rolls are gonna hurt. A lot. Unfortunately the Free Peoples doesn't have means to buff their Bravery or Commissars, but we have means to modify the Bravery rolls. Standard bearers auto-passes on 1s, Stately Banners makes roll two dice and choose the lower, Defiant Avengers rerolls failures... We have many means to make the Bravery roll our bitch and you should do it, lest you lose a unit the moment is charged. However, this makes them far from immune so be aware of that.
- Great Companies and music: No unit of the Free Peoples fights alone. Ever. Or shouldn't fight alone. Both the Grrat Companies faction rule and the musicians enable your units to support another if the need arises and acts as a deterrent for really nasty charges (I've seen ARCHAON falling to a musician-inspired Stand and Shoot of 50 Handgunners, go figure) or turn a combat in your favor. However, be aware that: you MUST include a 20+ Guard unit for each Company, all units MUST be 10+ models, even Demigryph Knights and their support ONLY affects units in their Company. For inter-Company support there's the musicians, which you should include in every unit you have.
In 2nd Edition there are two changes that change the way of play of the Free Peoples significantly: the Command Points and the reworking of Command Abilities. The latter means that any General you have can use their CA using CM as fuel. This is awesome as it doesn't makes the General on foot/horse an auto-General.
Unlike the Imperial Guard the Freeguilds can't bloat themselves fat on Command Points: our only Batallion is expensive as hell and usually the allied ones go over the points limit. This mean that we only get 1 CP per turn, so learning where to put it to use it's important. A hint is to not make that charge with Rousing Battle Cry the same turn the enemy closes in to your line infantry, for the HtL! buff might save your units. Thinking one or two turns ahead and adapting to the situation in the case that you lose initiative is useful in the management of CPs.
- Stormcast Eternals With the Freeguild General's incredible buffs, you have pretty good anvils and shooting in your Battleline already so you do not strictly need things like Stormcasts Liberators and Judicators. While these units are obviously much better per model than Freeguild equivalents and don't require as much support from generals and characters. The point of allies is to find things that you are lacking, not what can give an alternative to what you already have (especially since allies don't count towards Battleline). Thus, if you want these guys, you want Paladins and Dracothian Guard. A couple Retributors can do you some good as this army is lacking in Mortal Wounds and the fact that Dracothian Guard are ridiculously powerful even without buffs makes a couple Concussors a great addition as well. As what these guys really need is fast moving, high damage options with versatility. Demigryph Knights are great but they got nothing on the Extremis Chamber. Vanguard-Hunters, Vanguard-Palladors and Vanguard-Raptors could also prove useful as a distraction while your army moves up the field.
- However, if you're looking for a force multiplier the Stormcast possess a gem in the form of the Knight Azyros. The Azyros possess a fast, durable platform, the capability to pump out D3 wounds in an 8 inch bubble (D6 on Chaos because fuck 'em) and with the ability to give all your shooting attacks re-rolls of 1 against nearby enemies the Azyros will boost your gunline to unprecedented levels at an arguably criminal price. Keep your Azyros right behind your tarpit lines, giving out re-rolls and slapping out mortals when your lines eventually get swarmed, and you will aggravate your opponent to no end.
- Ironweld Arsenal: This, right here. The best choice. It gives you your cannons back.
- Collegiate Arcane: And this is also great as it gives you your Wizards back. Revel in the utter bullshit of the Celestial Hurricanum or give your Greatswords some Wildform.
- Devotaed of Sigmar
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