Age of Sigmar/Tactics/Order/Wanderers
"Oh well, they're the type of elves who will never settle down
Where pretty girls are, well you know that they're around
They kiss 'em and them love 'em cause to them they're all the same
they hug 'em and they squeeze 'em; they don't even know their names"
"They call them the Wanderers
Yeah, the Wanderers
They roam around, around, around"
These guys are the elf part of the old Wood Elf range, the dryads and treemen becoming their own army as the Sylvaneth. They now also include the Sisters of Averlorn for some reason, now re-branded as Sisters of the Watch. The Wanderers are one of the more tactically interesting armies in Age of Sigmar, especially with the Waystone Pathfinders battalion (highly recommended despite its cost). A variety of ranged options and some flexible heroes combine with the encirclement to make this army a cut above the usual "always be charging" approach that many other AoS armies encourage.
Why play Wanderers?
- Shooting is their forte; only a handful of armies can put out more damage than them at a distance.
- They have a decent range of heroes that can fill particular niches.
- Melt-and-Strike tactics will have your opponent chasing you around while you pull him into bad situations.
- The ability to redeploy to keep your troops away from harm, or outflank your opponent.
- They have healers who can restore lost models, very few armies can do that inherently.
- Their battalion battlescroll gives them massive out-of-phase shooting.
- They are one of the legacy WHFB collections that still has a good range of units: cheap/elite/ranged/melee/casting/cavalry units are all covered (sometimes in combination) so you don't especially need a lot outside of the list in terms of filling gaps
- While you do have a couple choices for Wizards, they aren't all powerful, so you'll never dominate in terms of magic.
- For the most part your units are fragile, expect casualties.
- No behemoths or heavy hitters, you'll have to look elsewhere if you want someone winning duels.
- Very few ways to churn out Mortal Wounds.
There isn't currently a Battletome for Wanderers.
- 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.
Armies with the WANDERERS allegiance have the following abilities:
- Defiant Hunters: You may reroll battleshock tests for WANDERER units. This is literally the ORDER allegiance ability repackaged in a way that only works on Wanderer units. Your best abilities are the next two:
- Realm Wanderers: at the start of your movement phase, one of your WANDERER units that are within 6" of a table edge can be removed from the table and be set up at anywhere wholly within 6" of the same table edge that is more than 9" from the enemy. This counts as their movement. General's Handbook 2018 makes it one unit per turn.
- When used correctly, this ability will have your opponent howling with neckbeard rage at his inability to corner and overwhelm your units. You can comfortably hug the board edges with your ranged units and take him out at your leisure knowing that if he approaches too close you can simply redeploy somewhere else and continue raining arrows on him. If used on the wide board edges (or in conjunction with the Stalker of the Hidden Paths trait) you can even outflank your enemy and strike him in the vulnerable rear if he leaves himself open.
- As of the 2018 Compendium Realm Wanderers has been Restricted to being used once per turn, nerfing Arrow spams and Keep away tactics. A way around this would be to bring max size units, you will have a harder time giving the hero support
- Waystone Pathfinders Battalion is still valid so you still can do first turn flanking, but latter relocation will be harder
- Melt Away: Any WANDERER unit can shoot in same turn it retreats.
- This ability goes some way in making up for the overall poor melee quality of your ranged units. Don't do well in combat? Just back off and keep shooting, possibly even kiting enemies into better positions for yourself to shoot or countercharge them. Sisters of the Thorn and Glade Guard will thank you for this.
A general of an army with a WANDERERS allegiance and has chosen to take the WANDERERS allegiance abilities can choose one of the following Command Traits:
- 1: Stalker of the Hidden Paths: If a friendly WANDERER unit that is wholly within 12" of the general leaves the battlefield using the Realm Wanderers ability, then it can return wholly within 6" of any table edge.
- If you are uncertain about which trait to take, then take this one, all the other traits make your general better, this one makes your army better. If you bunch your army together at deployment, you can easily take a first turn redeployment right behind your enemy's line and screw his weaker/ranged units over from the get go. Even throughout the course of the game your army should be hugging the board edges in order to quickly escape, having your hero nearby then allows you move them pretty much anywhere you want.
- 2: Myst Walker: Enemy units can only attack the general (ranged and melee) if he is the closest target.
- 3: Masterful Hunter: Add 1 to the general's hit rolls for attacks he makes with a missile weapon. If he does not have one then they receive a hunting hawk just like the Nomad Prince gets.
- 4: Eagle-Eyed: Add 10" to the range of any missile weapon the general has. If they do not have one then they receive a hunting hawk just like the Nomad Prince gets.
- 5: Lord of Blades: Your general may re-roll hit rolls of 1 for melee attacks.
- 6: Singer of Spells: If the general is a Wizard, they add 1 to their casting and unbinding rolls. If they are not a wizard, they gain the WIZARD keyword and can attempt to unbind one spell in each enemy hero phase (but cannot cast their own spells)
- 1: Falcon of Holthaven: Any time an enemy unit ends its normal movement within 12" of this unit roll a die, on a 4+GHB2018 that unit takes a mortal wound. Opponents who run lots of MSU will suffer the most against this. Though it largely depends on the general you take, since it works best when you are surrounded by lots of units, which means putting your hero somewhere uncomfortable, so be sure to hug that board edge ready to redeploy when things get hot.
- 2: Starcaster Longbow: In your shooting phase, pick a unit within 20" of this model and roll a die. On a 2+ that unit takes a mortal wound, on a 6+ the unit instead takes D3 wounds. Not game breaking, but a perfectly reliable way of ensuring you cause wounds every turn.
- 3: Splinterbirch Blade: an upgrade for one of your melee weapons. As of the General's Handbook 2018, this now simply improves the Rend value of a weapon by 1. This is arguably more useful than its earlier incarnation, in that it is more likely to hurt an opponent, though the other relics are probably better.
- 4: Wending Wand: Once per game, any unit returning to the table using the Realm Wanderers rule can instead arrive within 18" of this character that is along any board edge.
- Operates like the inverse of the Stalker of the Hidden Paths command trait, bringing a unit to your character rather than spreading units away from them. Not helped by the fact that it can only be used once per game. Best use of this ability requires your character to get across the board before it really becomes useful where he can bring a unit to them if they get stuck in a jam. For it to really do its job you'll want a powerful unit like Rangers or a massive unit of Glade Guard to hang back ready for redeployment, though if you're keeping units away from battle your opponent may see right through this and screw you first.
- 5: Viridescent Shawl: Adds +1 to the casting rolls of WANDERER WIZARDS within 9" of this model. In addition, enemies must subtract 1 from hit rolls when targeting this model in the shooting phase. Great to combine with a Waywatcher for a -2 to get hit in the shooting phase, or for creating a support hero if you play lots of casters.
- 6: Forget-me-Knot: Once per battle, in any combat phase, pick an enemy HERO within 3" of this model. That hero may not pile in, attack or use any abilities this phase. Fantastic for shutting down enemy generals for a turn; this artefact is particularly useful on your melee heroes like the Nomad Prince or the Waystrider because they are the only ones you really want to get that close.
Common keywords in these warscrolls are ORDER, AELF, and WANDERER.
- Nomad Prince: Araloth as a generic character. In his original Legacy Warscroll, Araloth was a pretty meh guy all in all, but after switching Commands with the Glade Lords and getting a few buffs here and there, the Nomad Prince is actually a very powerful leader. Armed with a very powerful melee profile that's arguably better than a Vampire Lord's and an awesome shield on top, the Prince can hold his own in combat perfectly well and his Command is a godsend, as it lets you reroll 1s To Hit for Wanderers around him, not specifying melee or range. Therefore, the Prince feels at home wherever you put him. Advancing along with Glade Guard and Wildwood Rangers? Sure. Castling up with Eternal Guard and Sisters of the Watch? Sure. His hawk is unlikely to wound most models, but if you do wound something with it the model takes a -1 to hit penalty. For best results, use this on a monster with multiple scary attacks as an indirect way to boost your army's mediocre survivability.
- Spellweaver: At face value a very simple spellcaster. However, this model has a couple of tricks that can prove very useful. Has all the stats you would expect from such a unit (meh) so keep it out of combat at all costs. This unit does however come in handy to remedy those usually below average saves that the Wanderers all seem to have by throwing a Mystic Shield on key units. The unique spell, however, has quite a bit of potential allowing you to respawn D3 dead models from a unit as long as they are WANDERERS. Though if your Glade Guard are in a position to get hurt you are likely to lose more than three models a turn, so don't expect to recover all of your losses this way, however, it can be helpful for trying to keep unit numbers high to gain massed unit buffs. Most interestingly, however, is that the only criteria for this spell is WANDERER meaning that you can restore D3 models from any Wanderer unit such as Wild Riders. Yes, now we are getting somewhere. restoring a potential D3 Wild Riders or Sisters of the Thorn if you happen to have some can be quite a major inconvenience for your opponent. To cap it all off this Spellweaver also has the ability to automatically unbind one spell (within range) once per battle. A useful trick in the right circumstances.
- Keep in mind though, that as of Grand Alliance: Order, the Spellweaver can't be mounted anymore, so have fun keeping up with your cavalry to revive them, HOWEVER, this only unless your playing in competitions that forbid it. You are still allowed to use the older warscrolls that allow you to mount your Spellweaver on a horse.
- Wayfinder: Somewhat overshadowed by the Waywatcher, but still a fun Hero. Basically, he has a bow that's a bit weaker than the Waywatcher's, but with the ability to once per game fire 3D6 instead of 3 shots. This is, of course, best used to alpha strike something you really want down a peg. Remember, using it early is always better than the Wayfinder dying before you used it. Other than that, he's a shooty Hero. Good at range, shit in melee.
- His inherent Command ability is a ranged version of the Warstrider's ability. Wanderer units within 18" of him can use his bravery stat, and in addition, whenever they roll a 1 on battleshock tests they may immediately make a free shooting attack. Which with the Wanderer/Order trait that lets you get a battleshock reroll means about 31% of the time. Which is pretty useful if you have Command points to burn.
- Waywatcher: Has the same name as the now retired troop choice subordinates. This guy is a great marksman by himself and is quite effective and whittling away at enemy Heroes. with a decent shooting statline, including rend the hit of which is improved if this guy stands still. His save isn't bad for an archer which will be improved while in cover, which consequently will debuff all hits made against him by 1. Now the defining trait of this guy is his ability to choose between which type of shots he fires Fast or Precise. Fast grants him twice the shots with 6+ To Hit generating additional shots (the standing-still bonus stacks on this and lets you generate new shots on 5+) while Precise doubles your shots' damage and 6+ To Wound grant you better Rend. All in all, the Waywatcher has a tool for every job so long as the job is done at range.
- Don't forget about the Waywatcher's pretty cool command ability, See, But Do Not Be Seen, which applies the Waywatcher's Invisible Hunter ability to ALL Wanderers within 18 inches of him, giving all affected units a buff that subtracts 1 from any hit rolls that enemies target them with. This is pretty fucking awesome.
- Fast Shots doesn't specify the newly generated shots cannot themselves generate further shots, making Fast a more effective option than Precise in literally every scenario, 6 dice hitting on 2s if he hasn't moved, generating extra attacks on as low as 4s (with a command trait), with those extra attacks able to generate additional extra attacks, he's able to stack up an absurd amount of shots surprisingly fast.
- Waystrider: could be considered a "normal" commander choice as he benefits from a very well rounded stat profile. fast like an Aelf with a regularly standard stat wheel. Upon setup this guy gets to take a pot shot at your enemy's general providing they are within view and deal a mortal wound (On a roll of 5+) before you even hear the starting gun. The Starlight Greatblade makes him decently killy in combat with 3 attacks at 3+/3+/-1/D3 meaning he's almost as good as a Vampire Lord, THE gold standard for killy footsloggers. He also has a bow so he can add his own arrows to the swarm that you are likely to unleash during your shooting phase. If you are playing typical Wanderers which is to say 'Shoot alot' then its a good idea to keep this guy out the way and have him shoot along with the rest of your archers until the enemy come close and he can do his thing. However do not make the mistake of using him as a shooter first and melee Hero second. That's what Waywatcher and Wayfinder are for. THIS guy is your hand-to-hand expert, the bow is just proforma. Have some Wildwood Rangers around him and send them into the thick of it.
- His command ability is fairly interesting. First of all any units within 18" take his bravery instead of theirs. On top of that if you should roll any 1s during your battleshock tests for these units they can immediately pile in and attack like its the combat phase. However this is simply not as good as the Wayfinder's ability. If you use mostly Eternal Guard and Wildwood Rangers then go for it, otherwise most of your army have better shooting attacks than melee and are less likely to benefit since they aren't going to want to be engaged.
- Glade Guard: Counts as BATTLELINE. At first glance the legendary archers of the Wood Elves don't seem to have quite remembered how to fire a bow properly during their transition to AOS. They are more or less Pink Horrors with better range but worse armor, having only one shot at 4+/4+/-/1 with a bonus To Hit at 20+ models but only if they're not in melee. Considering the basic tenor for aelves has been to get rid of all the mass infantry to make them look more elite, these guys stick out like a sore thumb. Is there value to them, though? Why of course there is, as they make amazing alpha strikers. Once per game, they can shoot special arrows with a Rend of -3. Yikes. It's not uncommon for a big enough unit of these guys to wipe the enemy General off the board turn 1. Of course, this MUST be done as soon as possible obviously because otherwise your opponent will decimate them before they can mow down anything. After that, every volley of shots they get off is just a bonus. Additionally, unlike Sisters of the Watch, Glade Guard gain no bonuses for standing still, so you can comfortably make use of their 6" Move and still shoot at full efficiency-. Couple this with the your ability to phase on and off the table from the edges there is almost no where that you can reach with your bows, and a 20-30 strong unit appearing out of nowhere to gun down an important gunline or frag an enemy general before ghosting away is nothing to scuff at. Also note that while not keeping up with the standard of quality over quantity that defines Aelfs these guys are still better than average archers especially when making full use of their buffs and synergy.
- Eternal Guard: Count as BATTLELINE if your army has the WANDERERS allegiance. The rank and file spearmen of the Wanderers? Close but not quite. These guys are all about the defense. When on the attack they are basic foot troops with a less than encouraging armor save and melee weapon. However on the defense they can reroll saves of 1s (which is upgraded to 1s and 2s when they are in cover. most importantly however is the Fortress of Boughs ability which states that if used the unit cannot move (At all) they do however gain a +1 to their hit, wound AND save rolls. These guys can be an absolute pain when used as a road block particularly if kept in cover and become easily one of the best anvils of any Aelf faction. And they also have 2" range on their weapons so they can comfortably attack in two rows while your opponent struggles to find ways to kill them. Keep them away from Mortal Wounds though.
- Sisters of the Watch: Counts as BATTLELINE if your army has the WANDERER allegiance and your general is a Waywatcher. The ladies with the flaming bows are now Wanderers? Well okay. They REPLACE Waywatchers? Not okay. But survivable, as rules-wise, they fit incredibly well into the Wanderers. In fact, Sisters of the Watch are pretty much married to Eternal Guard. Sisters get to shoot twice if they did not move, Eternal Guard get tougher and stronger if they did not move and Age of Sigmar lets you shoot into combat. Do the math these two units were made for eachother.
- Don't forget that the High Sister already fires two shots with her bow, doubling to four if she doesn't move.
- Also of considerable note is that Sisters of the Watch are one of the few units that have access to any kind of overwatch fire when an enemy charges at them. Once per turn if an enemy unit finishes its charge move within 1/2" of the Sisters then they immediately take a free round of shooting without penalty. This is also subject to most aura bonuses which do not state a phase such as the one which comes from the Nomad Prince, though they cannot use their Quicksilver Shot to fire twice, since it does explicitly say in the Shooting Phase only. Either way, charging a full squad of Sisters without somehow neutering them first is a surefire way for your opponent to lose models.
- Wildwood Rangers: Counts as BATTLELINE if your army has the WANDERER allegiance and your general is a Wayfinder. Now these guys are amazing. Like lots of Elite infantry (Saurus Guard, Stormvermin, Hammerers) they have two attacks at 3+/3+/-1/1 each and with a 2" range they can cheerfully fight in two rows. Unlike most such elite infantry they don't have shields to improve their saves (Wood Elves, go figure) but instead their damage becomes D3 when attacking monsters. Hoo boy. Yes, your opponent will try to kill them as soon as possible before they can tear his favorite monster a dozen new assholes, but if he doesn't succeed, they sure can do that. Do not rely on these guys as they are fragile, but do use them and use them against the stuff they like to kill (basically any and all high-save infantry and big monsters crashing down the board).
- Wild Riders: Very fast, smashy cavalry, but not as much oomph as you'd hope. Actually kind of a disappointment to be honest as they have tons of attacks, but tons of meh attacks. Their spears don't even get damage boosts on the charge (though unlike other cavalry, they always swing their spears twice). Their one redeeming quality is their ability to run and charge in the same turn, which is something you want this unit to do as they are actually not bad on the charge and are actually pretty fast in getting in your opponents face, though don't start thinking these guys can wreck anything on the charge (they can't) but can make some effective harassers to tie up enemy shooting to prevent your army from getting decimated from enemy shooting (your guys DO NOT like getting hit). And thanks to your ability to deploy along board edges it will be just that much easier to get stuck in.
- faq has given them elven shield to reroll saves of 1, but at the cost of 2” movement. While definatly a trade off l, being in Wanderers your guys alliagence abilities allow you to compensate for lack of movement but what is lacking from this army is durability. While only a small re-roll anything that can help melee cavalry in defence should not be dismissed out of hand.
- Sisters of the Thorn: These ladies have the works. High Move? Check. Lots of attacks? Check, though they're meh attacks so don't go getting ideas. 9" Javelins with a -1 Rend for even more attacks? Check. This combination of melee + range probably makes them better value than Wild Riders as they can at least make up for their poor combat skills with shooting; but that's not all they do. The unit has the WIZARD keyword and together they can collectively cast and unbind one spell per turn, adding +1 to the roll if the unit numbers more than 10 models (max size 20) so it pays dividends to have a lot of these ladies to keep the spell boost up. They have an amazing unique spell which allows a unit to re-rolled failed saves until the next hero phase, and in addition if the protected unit rolls a 6 to save in the combat phase it returns 1 mortal wound to its attacker, which is pretty awesome. There are few to no reasons to ever use Wild Riders instead. Unless of course the reason is cost, as these ladies can get mighty expensive when taken in bulk and Wild Riders are almost half the cost while being better in combat. If all you want is combat cavalry save the points, but a fast-moving spellcaster in your army is never something to underestimate. Especailly with the changes to casting and unbinding (a fast moving wizard squad combined with the new 30' range unbind can be essential to shutting down enemy wizards).
You need 1 Nomad Prince, 1 Spellweaver, 3 of any other the other brands of HERO (in any combination), 4 units of any Glade Guard, Eternal Guard, Sisters of the Watch or Wildwood Rangers (also in any combination) and finally any two units of Sisters of the Thorn or Wild Riders.
The battalion provides two benefits: the first is Realm Wanderers which is unlike the Allegiance ability of the same name because it allows you to hold your units back from deployment and set your units up along any table edge more than 9" from the enemy in the first movement phase, giving you the edge on your opponent already since he won't know where to deploy. The danger is that on the first turn, a lot of enemy troops will be quite densely packed, and 9" is quite a short distance to move and charge when it gets to their turn so you might get overwhelmed immediately if you deploy too close. Though if your allegiance is still to WANDERERS (and not simply ORDER) you can always redeploy your units again in later turns when the enemy has to turn around and face you.
The second (and probably main) benefit is Protective Volley which allows your Nomad Prince to point at something 12" away in each Hero phase and allow EVERY unit in the battalion to get a free out-of-phase shooting attack at that unit, virtually guaranteeing a kill if you have enough arrows to throw at it, especially since it's still your turn and you will be able to shoot again a few phases later. For this reason, if you happen to have more units in your collection than the battalion requires, then you should probably leave your Eternal Guard and Wildwood Rangers out and stack up on as many Glade Guard and Watch Sisters as you can possibly get, they won't want to deploy as close as 9" in the first turn anyway so are less likely to get mulched when your opponent moves to ROFLSTOMP them.
The use of this battalion therefore requires you to protect your Nomad Prince at all costs, and makes him a great candidate for the Myst-Walker command trait that makes him unselectable as a target unless he's the closest target, so keep him out of the way and have everyone else can do the shooting for him.
In pitched battle games, you can generally take about 20% of your points allowance in certain allies without screwing up your allegiance abilities. WANDERERS can take the following allies with no penalty:
- Eldritch Council: Makes for an interesting choice that gives you a few options from a mixture of units that go well with any army. A Loremaster can buff your heroes into the stratosphere with Hand of Glory, while an Archmage on Dragon can outright dispel enemy buffs while providing a beatstick model that Wanderers dont have access to. A regular Archmage does provide you some protection, but your own Spellweavers are probably going to keep your numbers up more reliably, so measure up whether you need it. Swordmasters are ranged resistant and are more aggressive than Eternal Guard, but are decent for charging up the middle and creating an anchor point while you outflank with everyone else, but you are probably better off with Phoenix Guard if boots on the ground is all you want; use Eldritch Council for more variety in casters rather than looking for more squads.
- Lion Rangers: Not a lot here. Lion Rangers themselves are like slightly inferior Eldritch Swordmasters, so you'll probably want to look there instead. The Chariot is not much to shout out about either unfortunately, as on the charge it only does 12 attacks; while that seems like a lot for one model, you'll probably get more return per point by taking Rangers or the same value of some other form of heavy infantry.
- Idoneth Deepkin:
- Order Draconis: Unless you are outflanking, Dragon Blades are better than Wild Riders, plain and simple; they're better protected, do more damage on the charge, can charge more reliably with a Hornblower, all for the same cost. The might not be as brave as Wild Riders, but if you take a Dragon Lord that becomes a non-issue, as well as providing you a big meaty beatstick that Wanderers simply cannot get on their own. Problem is that most likely ate your allies allowance so you're not bringing much else.
- Phoenix Temple: A very good ally for Wanderers; Phoenix Guard cost twice as much as Eternal Guard, but are twice as killy even when not in cover, giving you a decent melee unit that can actually move. They are also incredibly tanky, which is something that Wanderers can struggle with. Having a Frostheart Phoenix in your army also helps with protection thanks to the Blizzard Aura, coupled with some decent synergy with your spellcasters which will buff the save of the Phoenix as well, it's a win/win.
- Stormcast Eternals: Realistically, these are probably the best choice to take, mostly due to GW favouritism since they keep get new releases that allow them to do a huge range of things. It's basically a pick-and-choose free for all where you can get some great units with a lot of punch to fill in a blank that Wanderers cannot otherwise fill. Paladins do fantastically as melee beatsticks whether you need to tie up hordes or knock out high value characters/monsters, just choose the weapon that fills your niche. You can also get tough fast-moving cavalry options for smashing face while not being so fragile as yours, or one of a huge selection of characters, the world is your oyster.
- Swifthawk Agents: A faction that does most of the things you can do anyway, but does melee slightly better. But unless you need something to go directly up the middle of the board, you're probably not helped or hindered by taking Swifthawk Agents, they generally mesh well enough with Wanderer's playstyle but don't have access to the Allegiance abilities, so you might get caught out if you try to use them the same way.
- Sylvaneth: It would be one of the fluffiest of combinations, except the lore states the Wanderers are persona non grata by Alarielle due to chickening out and abandoning the Sylvaenth during the Age of Chaos (though you could just say these are elves who stayed in the fight, as elves still live in Ghyran). Unfortunately Sylvaneth tends to do better on its own using their own allegiance abilities, or when they are served by Wanderers rather than the other way around. All of the best units that you really want are going to eat your allies allowance so it becomes impossible to take very much. Good if you only need a massive beaststick like a Treeman or Kurnous Hunters to balance out your army's fragility, but you'll be paying a lot for very little. You'll also never see Alarielle in your Wanderer's army unless you are playing MASSIVE games.
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