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AoS2 - FREE CITY DISCUSSION

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If you're asking what the hell a Free City and is and/or if GW managed to sneak another battletome out without you noticing, worry not, you've come to the right place. The Free Cities are the settlements founded in the Mortal Realms by the races living in Azyr after the Stormcast did the really difficult job of beating Chaos back into it's rightful place as a second tier antagonist behind Death. If you like old WFB good guy factions you've come to the right place!

The Free Cities do not have a battletome per say, but the seven best known ones to have their own boutique sets of mini allegiance abilities, usable in any AoS game included in Season of War: Firestorm, a map-based campaign supplement that's probably one of the best things released so far for AoS - check it out if you haven't already (Destruction , Death and Chaos also got one set of mini allegiance abilities each but they've got their own sub forums). These "City Armies" as they're termed by the Firestorm book all have an extra battle trait that you get on top off the existing grand alliance allegiance abilities for Order are unlocked by taking an army made up of only the required factions for that paticular Free City (for example an army from the Phoenicium could only contain Stormcast, Free People, Dispossessed and Phoenix Temple units), and no named (special) characters (I will be abandoning this thread for good when a Gotrek model is released alongside Realmslayer at the end of the year ?).

I created this thread as a response to the discussion of Free City allegiances currently spilling out of the Dispossessed thread, and thought it would be cool if we had a community hub to share list ideas, tactics, awesomely converted and painted armies, and background for such a cool set of mini-factions. Without further ado here's a list of resources for current and aspiring Free City players:

USEFUL STUFF: 

Edited by Double Misfire
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OVERVIEW OF THE SEVEN FREE CITIES

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Wondering which Free City allegiance is for you? Already have a mixed Order army you want to get the most mileage out of? Decided your army's allegiance abilities are rubbish and want try something new? Just curious about the cities individual makeup and character?

I've put together a quick primer of the allegiance abilities and factions available to each Free City, plus a few ideas to get the ball rolling on how to get the most out of them. Each Free City has a bonus battle trait on top of the existing vanilla Order allegiance abilities that are qualified for by choosing only units from only the factions available to your Free City and staying away from named characters (Gavriel Sureheart, we hardly knew you alas).

HAMMERHAL

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The most cosmopolitan of the Free Cities. Also probably the most bland.

Avalible factions: Everyone but Seraphon (I'm not sure they like living in houses)

Second only to Azyrheim in scale and scope, Hammerhal is available to everyone who isn't a lizard or special character. Being as impossibly diverse and tricky to balance as you'd expect, Hammerhal forces gain a fairly unremarkable battle trait, giving them a bonus to bravery that increases based on how outnumbered the are, eventually making them immune to battleshock. Nothing to write home about, but also nothing worth turning your nose up at when it's effectively free if you're running a mixed Order army without named characters that's recently lost its battleline Skinks anyway.

TEMPEST'S EYE

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Gotta go fast!

Available factions: Stormcast Eternals, Free Peoples, Kharadron Overlords, Swifthawk Agents, Eldritch Council, Dispossessed, Ironweld Arsenal (the last two added in errata)

Easily the most awesome Free City going (absolutely nothing to do with being made up of the factions that already comprised my mixed Order force when Firestorm was released ?), and home to the coolest Stormhost on the market, the mighty Tempest Lords (go read The Realmgate Wars: Godbeasts if you haven't already), Tempest's Eye boasts a diverse range of cool looking factions able to cover pretty much every available playstyle.

Tempest Eye's battle trait grants a bonus to movement (higher if you're a flyer) and save rolls in the first battleround. It's got the potential to combine beautifully with the Chonomatic Cogs (in fast forward) mode and/or the extra 4" move given by the Thermalrider Cloak realm artefact (characterful given that Tempest's Eye resides in Aqshy). The initial extra move is also a massive boost to normally slow moving Dispossessed armies, and well worth a look at as an alternative allegiance for them.

I'd controversially argue that Tempest's Eye was also a better allegiance for Ironweld Arsenal artillery with the first turn movement bonus buying critical extra threat range to keep soft crews out of harm's way with.

If you'd like to take a more detailed look at making the most of Tempest's Eye's battle trait and the factions available to it, check out the first Realmsphere Guide, covering exactly that HERE.

ANVILGARD

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Nice special rule, shame about the aelves.

Available factions: Stormcast Eternals, Free Peoples, Dispossessed, Devoted of Sigmar, Darkling Covens, Scourge Privateers, Order Serpentis

Anvilgard is where most of the old Dark Elf  units who didn't make the cut for the Daughters of Khaine book hang out, and if you're a Druchii player of yore well worth looking at. "Implacable March", it's battle trait is rather jazzy and unique, and involves a chance to automatically kill any enemy models you've pinned in in a way they can't retreat.

There's an entire thread discussing how  to get the most out of the intricacies of Anvilgard and Implacable March in the last edition, and @Kaleun, @Jamie the Jasperand @syph0nare much better qualified to talk about it than I am.

THE LIVING CITY

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I hope you ordered gunfire with your trees!

Available factions: Stormcast Eternals, Free Peoples, Sylvaneth, Wanderers, Dispossessed

Saved by the US and Canada in the Season of War 2016 summer campaign, the living city is home to the two factions formerly known as Wood Elves, with a surprising side order of duardin. It's battletrait allows units to deploy in reserve and set up during any of your movement phases, either from a table edge or out of a Sylvaneth Wildwood. This has seen a massive boost in usefulness in AoS 2.0, with Wildwoods no longer costing points in non-Sylvaneth armies, allowing you to pick up a Treelord Ancient or three and summon them to your heart's content.

If you're a dwarfy sort who's not too keen on war machines and does't miiiind trees, the Living City is also surprisingly accommodating of Dispossessed, with it's nifty deployment options compensating for a lot of their usual shortcomings when it comes to getting near objectives or in to first turn shooting range, especially if you're comfortable with the idea of Treelord Ancients summoning a Wildwood you can drop a unit of 30 Irondrakes (or a Celestar Ballista or two) out of!

GREYWATER FASTNESS

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No, I don't know why the Wood Elves are there.

Available factions: Stormcast Eternals, Free Peoples, Ironweld Arsenal, Collegiate Arcane, Wanderers, Dispossessed (added in errata)

Saved by the UK in the Season of War 2016 summer campaign! Given the peculiarity of my appetites, you think I'd be more into Greywater Fastness with it's status as a production line for the Ironweld Arsenal and battle trait offering war machines a small chance to fire in the hero phase, but I decided to fall in love with Tempest's Eye instead (and probably paint my models too bright for anything with "grey" in it's name).

If you would like to collect a Greywater Fastness force, and want to maximise on its battle trait it's worth doubling it up with the Ironweld Arsenal's Artillery Detachment battalion, effectively doubling each war machine's chance to get bonus shots in.

HALLOWHEART

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Infused with magical power, the citizens of Hallowheart are especially good at... unbinding other people's magical power. ?

Available factions: Stormcast Eternals, Fyreslayers, Free Peoples, Collegiate Arcane, Dispossessed, Eldritch Council, Order Draconis, Phoenix Temple

Hallowheart's battle trait gives a bonus to unbind spells and a bonus unbind. While this has undoubtedly improved with the advent of AoS 2.0 and the influx of wizards casting endless spells it's still a bit underwhelming compared to most of the other Free Cities'. Could potentially be combined with an Archmage and/or Luminark of Hyish's existing bonuses to unbind if you play in or are expecting to play in a magic-heavy meta.

Also offering a home to most of the old High Elf factions in the same way Anvilgard does Dark Elf ones, Hallowheart is probably worth setting up shop in for lack of better options if you already play an Order Draconis or Eldritch Council army.

THE PHOENICIUM

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Good luck spelling THAT!

Available factions: Stormcast Eternals, Free Peoples, Dispossessed, Phoenix Temple

Saved by the Europe and the rest of the world in the Season of War 2016 summer campaign, the Phoenicium has an awfully weird little battle trait, offering units a very minor boost to combat prowess and bravery if a friendly unit is killed in the combat phase. Maaaaybe worth using if you're the proud owner of a Phoenix Temple army, but the Anvilgard and even Hammerhal battle traits are probably much better. One to play if you're into the background (and the Phoenicium has some really cool background).

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Edited by Double Misfire
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Small correction - it's Phoenicium not Phonenicium. Besides that - great read! And I agree with Tempest's eye being the best city (completely unrelated to my Swifthawk collection and love of blue colour :)) .

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Another fantastic guide.

Well done dude!

My default allegiance might be tempests eye over dispossessed for my dwarf army, especially because I have a few too many ironwood units to fit into allies at the moment. Super speed gyrocopters might be fun.

Greywater fastness is a bit too random for my tastes, although I might give it a go one day.

In the meantime I will give thought to the living city. Some very interesting possibilities.

Thanks once again!

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Great idea for a thread, and a very well put together first post!

For me, as an Anvilgard player who likes to mix in as many subfactions as possible, I don't see the new edition changing my army composition much. My army leans heavily towards shooting, which will definitely mean that it's overall effectiveness is now reduced, but I'm not a competitive player, so meh. I did pick up a Lord Ordinator for Malign Portents so I'll probably add the new artillery at some point.

As for endless spells, I'm torn between adding a Stormcast wizard and painting the spells in my Anvilgard scheme or keeping my Anvilgard magic-free and painting them to match my FEC.

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Being very new I had no idea about any of this until I read your comments on the dispossessed thread, thank you for putting this together. Living city seems perfect for my nature loving daurdin plans. 

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I'll start my contributions in this thread with a bit of theorycrafting ported over from the dispossessed topic! Currently I'm thinking about several lists, the ones you can see here:

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What are your thoughts guys? Do you like any of them? What cities do you want to try out?

Edited by smucreo
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Another fantastic topic @Double Misfire - Appreciate you going to all this effort for under represented factions/armies. Very useful information.

For what it's worth, there is a weird nuance with Phoenicium where you can't actually take a straight up Phoenix Temple army for it, as the Phoenix Guard loose their battleline status because technically your allegiance is Phoenicium and not Phoenix Guard!! Please correct me if I am mistaken, but that is how I (frustratingly) understood it.

Thanks again mate, adding this to the Order Hub,

Chris

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It might have been asked before but is their a clear guide on what is usable in match play? Are the free cities legal? Same with the new realm artefacts and spells?

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@Chris Tomlin- thanks dude. I'm going to draw the line at starting one for Lion Rangers. ;) 

You in fact can use a Phoenix Temple allegiance army with Phoenix Guard battleline according to the latest Firestorm errata, here's the passage in question:

Quote

Page 55 – Season of War: Firestorm City & Warlord Armies Change the third and fourth paragraphs to: ‘When you organise your collection to be an army from a specific city or under the command of a specific warlord, and you choose to use the Grand Alliance allegiance abilities instead of any others available to your army, it benefits from an additional City & Warlord allegiance ability; these can be found on the following pages. This does not change the army’s Grand Alliance allegiance, and you can still use the battle traits, command traits and artefacts of power for the Grand Alliance normally. You cannot use the City & Warlord allegiance abilities with any other allegiance abilities apart from Grand Alliance ones.

For example, if you had an army made up entirely of Stormcast Eternals and you chose to use the Order allegiance abilities instead of the Stormcast Eternals ones, you could also use the Anvilgard allegiance abilities on page 60. If you later added Free Peoples to your army, both they and the Stormcast Eternals would be able to use the Order and Anvilgard allegiance abilities.’

The Firestorm City and Warlord allegiances abilities aren't full allegiances, but are a sort of add on that sit on top of the existing vanilla allegiance abilities for their grand alliance, and much easier to define if you think of them as "bonus" allegiance abilities that you unlock by taking your GA's vanilla allegiance abilities, only including units from certain factions and avoiding named characters.

Not that it matters for the Phoenix Temple, who don't have their own set of boutique allegiance abilities (yet!), but you can always choose to use your grand alliance's default allegiance abilities over any faction specific ones available to you - for example a Dispossessed army (with battleline Hammerers and Ironbreakers) could choose to use the default Order allegiance abilities over the Dispossessed allegiance abilities in the GHB, in the same way that say,  an Eldritch Council army (with Swordmaster battleline) would be able to use the vanilla Order allegiance abilities (Eldritch Council having no allegiance abilities of their own).

Firestorm's City and Warlord allegiance abilities are then taken on top of the vanilla grand alliance allegiance abilities if you've chosen to use them (or have no choice but to use them in the case of factions like the Phoenix Temple), provided none of the allies you've taken are factions not listed on the page for that City or Warlord ability. For example if I wanted to run my Order-allegiance-abilities-using Dispossessed with the Tempest's Eye bonus ability I would have to make sure that they only had allies drawn from the factions available to Tempest's Eye and didn't include any named characters.

 

Whew, I hope that makes sense! I don't have the new core book to hand and will probably be able to make a better post clarifying how allegiance abilities work in matched play at the weekend.

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11 minutes ago, Mordeus said:

It might have been asked before but is their a clear guide on what is usable in match play? Are the free cities legal? Same with the new realm artefacts and spells?

The Free City allegiance rules from Firestorm are 100% matched (or and kind of) play legal. There was a bit of controversy when they first came out (blame Anvilgard!) and hadn't been errata'd to only be usable with the vanilla grand alliance allegiance abilities yet that lead to a few TOs banning them, but I can't imagine anyone would have enough of a problem with them to ban or question them now (have you seen the Anvils of the Heldenhammer allegiance page?!)

The realm-specific artefacts from Malign Sorcery can be used in any game by selecting a realm for your army to hail from after picking an allegiance for it.

The realm-specific spells included in the new core book and Malign Sorcery are designed to be available to all wizards fighting battles taking place in that particular realm and using it's Realm of Battle rules as described in the new core book. They do not work in the same way as the spell lores several allegiance abilities have and you can't have a wizard take them as part of your army list.

:)  

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11 minutes ago, Double Misfire said:

@Chris Tomlin- thanks dude. I'm going to draw the line at starting one for Lion Rangers. ;) 

You in fact can use a Phoenix Temple allegiance army with Phoenix Guard battleline according to the latest Firestorm errata, here's the passage in question:

The Firestorm City and Warlord allegiances abilities aren't full allegiances, but are a sort of add on that sit on top of the existing vanilla allegiance abilities for their grand alliance, and much easier to define if you think of them as "bonus" allegiance abilities that you unlock by taking your GA's vanilla allegiance abilities, only including units from certain factions and avoiding named characters.

Not that it matters for the Phoenix Temple, who don't have their own set of boutique allegiance abilities (yet!), but you can always choose to use your grand alliance's default allegiance abilities over any faction specific ones available to you - for example a Dispossessed army (with battleline Hammerers and Ironbreakers) could choose to use the default Order allegiance abilities over the Dispossessed allegiance abilities in the GHB, in the same way that say,  an Eldritch Council army (with Swordmaster battleline) would be able to use the vanilla Order allegiance abilities (Eldritch Council having no allegiance abilities of their own).

Firestorm's City and Warlord allegiance abilities are then taken on top of the vanilla grand alliance allegiance abilities if you've chosen to use them (or have no choice but to use them in the case of factions like the Phoenix Temple), provided none of the allies you've taken are factions not listed on the page for that City or Warlord ability. For example if I wanted to run my Order-allegiance-abilities-using Dispossessed with the Tempest's Eye bonus ability I would have to make sure that they only had allies drawn from the factions available to Tempest's Eye and didn't include any named characters.

 

Whew, I hope that makes sense! I don't have the new core book to hand and will probably be able to make a better post clarifying how allegiance abilities work in matched play at the weekend.

Agreeing with on these with my two pennies. I think that in reality allegiances are twofold, on one hand there are allegiance for army building and allegiance abilities, and choosing one does not equate to choosing the other even if the conditions to meet the requirements are the same. Another Order example is the Order Draconis, who do not have allegiance abilities of their own, but can be played as their own type of army for them to become battleline. 

I would push it even further and say that a Clan Pestilens army to have Plague Monks as battleline, could be played under the Nurgle allegiance abilities(whilst respecting that only 400 points could be allied of without the Pestilens keyword, chosen in the list of allies). Because the requisite for that allegiance to be chosen is "all the units in the army must have the Nurgle keyword".  Slightly off topic, but I hope it explains how I see and understand the system to be working. 

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In my local gaming place they are a bit picky sometimes, do we have any kind of direct acknowledgement by GW about them being legal for matched play? I'd like to have something to show if they start telling me I can't use Firestorm allegiances.

Edited by smucreo

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8 minutes ago, smucreo said:

In my local gaming place they are a bit picky sometimes, do we have any kind of direct acknowledgement by GW about them being legal for matched play? I'd like to have something to show if they start telling me I can't use Firestorm allegiances.

https://www.warhammer-community.com/2017/10/06/firestorm-matched-play-rules-update/ here you go ! 

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9 minutes ago, smucreo said:

In my local gaming place they are a bit picky sometimes, do we have any kind of direct acknowledgement by GW about them being legal for matched play? I'd like to have something to show if they start telling me I can't use Firestorm allegiances.

https://www.warhammer-community.com/2017/10/06/firestorm-matched-play-rules-update/

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17 hours ago, Double Misfire said:

 

GREYWATER FASTNESS

65lN0uo.jpg

No, I don't know why the Wood Elves are there.

 

They are there becouse...I need those riders to take points early (?)

 

Firestorm cities are legal in matched play (unless you have an TO who doesn't like them but same goes with anything in this game) so if someone is thinking about making an GA Order List I always recommend giving this cities a try since GA Order ability is a little lackluster.

In greywater's case I think that Ordinator as a general is a must, grewater's ability + Ordinator's command could make your cannons shoot 3 times in one turn (ouch), even the steamtank can take advantage of that! Free Peoples give you the meatshield you need and wood elves the speed to take points or even magic (but who needs magic when you have 4 pieces or artillery on the table to shoot those silly mages?)

 

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I need to have a look again at Anvilgard because it's a nice little extra. Combined with endless spells and realm artefacts, it might be easier to properly hem people in and get off the Implacable March. 

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Awesome new artwork from the Stormcast battletome of a Free City and the Stormkeep outside. I know what I'm using for my next content post in this thread! ?

AoSBattletomeArt-June29-SCCity5h.jpg

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Great thread - fantastic idea to start this. I have a Sylvaneth army which I am expanding into (and out of) a Living City force.

As more of a narrative/theme player, I've spent ny hobby time this week building Freeguild Archers. 10 down, another 10 to go. I've also got Eternal Guard and Glade Guard on my to build pile.

Working towards a list which looks something like this:

Allegiance: The Living City
LEADERS
Treelord Ancient (300)
Nomad Prince (80)
Knight-Azyros (80)
Battlemage (100)
- Specialisation : Jade
Mistweaver Saih (80)
- Allies


UNITS
20 x Dryads (200)
20 x Freeguild Archers (200)
20 x Glade Guard (240)
20 x Eternal Guard (160)
3 x Vanguard-Palladors (220)
2 x Gryph-Hound (80)
5 x Chameleon Skinks (120)


- Allies
TOTAL: 1860/2000 WOUNDS: 138
LEADERS: 5/6 BATTLELINES: 3 (3+) BEHEMOTHS: 1/4 ARTILLERY: 0/4
ALLIES: 200 / 400

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22 minutes ago, Nick in York said:

Great thread - fantastic idea to start this. I have a Sylvaneth army which I am expanding into (and out of) a Living City force.

As more of a narrative/theme player, I've spent ny hobby time this week building Freeguild Archers. 10 down, another 10 to go. I've also got Eternal Guard and Glade Guard on my to build pile.

Working towards a list which looks something like this:

Allegiance: The Living City
LEADERS
Treelord Ancient (300)
Nomad Prince (80)
Knight-Azyros (80)
Battlemage (100)
- Specialisation : Jade
Mistweaver Saih (80)
- Allies


UNITS
20 x Dryads (200)
20 x Freeguild Archers (200)
20 x Glade Guard (240)
20 x Eternal Guard (160)
3 x Vanguard-Palladors (220)
2 x Gryph-Hound (80)
5 x Chameleon Skinks (120)


- Allies
TOTAL: 1860/2000 WOUNDS: 138
LEADERS: 5/6 BATTLELINES: 3 (3+) BEHEMOTHS: 1/4 ARTILLERY: 0/4
ALLIES: 200 / 400

Hi Nick, very cool list and fluffy list concept. :D 

I'd advise at least two (three if you can spare the points) Treelord Ancients in a Living City list to guarantee a Wildwood for troops to pop out of on the first turn in order to fully take advantage of the unique battle trait.

It's also worth noting that you can't run a Mistweaver Saih (just call her a Spellweaver) or Chamelon Skinks in a list using Living City allegiance - even as allies. :( And also that you've used General's Handbook 2017 point values and unit sizes for most of this stuff (most of these don't really matter a great deal as they haven't changed by a lot, but Gryph-Hounds now come in units of six).

I'd love to see Chameleon Skinks as part of this list conceptually mind, converted to match the Sylvaneth and Wanderers.

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17 minutes ago, Double Misfire said:

Hi Nick, very cool list and fluffy list concept. :D 

I'd advise at least two (three if you can spare the points) Treelord Ancients in a Living City list to guarantee a Wildwood for troops to pop out of on the first turn in order to fully take advantage of the unique battle trait.

It's also worth noting that you can't run a Mistweaver Saih (just call her a Spellweaver) or Chamelon Skinks in a list using Living City allegiance - even as allies. :( And also that you've used General's Handbook 2017 point values and unit sizes for most of this stuff (most of these don't really matter a great deal as they haven't changed by a lot, but Gryph-Hounds now come in units of six).

I'd love to see Chameleon Skinks as part of this list conceptually mind, converted to match the Sylvaneth and Wanderers.

Thanks for the feedback - and I hadn't realised about the allies, that's a shame but will keep the concept of Chamleon Skinks for non-Living mixed Order lists.

Could swap out the Mistweaver for more points (maybe to go towards another TLA) or for a Branchwraith (dryad summoning).

I know I was using the old points but is more of a rough guide until I get my hands on the new GHB (hopefully this weekend). I hadn't realised about the gryph hounds - that's a shame as I like thier ability to warn of close by enemy units. Not sure I'd want 6 though. 

Anyway, my first job is to build the rest of the Freeguild archers, Wanderers and Dryads (I have one unit of 20 done but am working on a 2nd for my Sylvaneth army anyway).

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Oh, I've just thought - I think the new FAQ ruled that the TLA ability to grow a wyldwood can only be attempted once, irrespective of how many you have. So taking a second wouldn't help.

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