Have you ever wanted to try playing a fantasy wargame? Well, if you answered YES, then the best game that you should try is Warhammer Age of Sigmar. In this game, you’ll have the chance to command warriors with awesome armor and monsters with varying levels of ferocity and hunger. Yes, there’s magic as well.
But before playing Age of Sigmar (AOS), you definitely need to get a Warhammer Age of Sigmar starter set. There are numerous sets to choose from, and all of them have a specific number of models, rulebooks, and accessories. They also look cool.
This article will help you explore the most popular AOS sets. We’ll cover important details such as set composition, models, and even a buying guide.
The Best Warhammer Age of Sigmar Starter Set
AOS Soul Wars – Best for Long-Term Play
Complexity: 3 / 5
Variety: 4.5 / 5
Style: 4 / 5
Affordability: 4 / 5
The Age of Sigmar Soul Wars starter set is the best long-term option because of the number of models included. This set comes with a whopping total of 54 models, perfect for pitched battles or narrative scenarios. If you want to save money without cutting corners on Age of Sigmar enjoyment, the Soul Wars set is the answer.
You’ll find two factions in the Soul Wars starter set – Stormcast Eternals and Nighthaunts. The models from the Stormcast are Lord Arcanum, Castigators, Evocators, Sequitors, a Knight Incantor, and a Ballista. From the Nighthaunt, you’ll unpack a Lord Executioner, a Knight of Shrouds, a Guardian of Souls, a Spirit Torment, Grimghast Reapers, Glavewraight Stalkers, and the awesome Chainrasp Horde. All of these models have a total of 1676 points.
All of the models of the Soul Wars set look beautiful. The Stormcast models shine in their traditional golden armor while the Nighthaunt models are dreadful with their immense hate for the living. Since all of these models have excellent detail, you need to spend a great deal of time painting them. Additionally, you must have a large variety of paints to make the models as awesome as they can be.
Another downside of this set is its low competitive rating. You need to add more models to make each faction of the set competitive, particularly the Stormcast. Fortunately, you can just order the needed models online.
Why Soul Wars?
The Soul Wars starter set is a trove of beautiful minis and accessories. While the price tag is somehow intimidating, the Soul Wars set is a better choice compared to buying minis one by one. Getting this set means that you’re now serious about the hobby!
AOS Storm Strike – Best For Beginners
Complexity: 2 / 5
Variety: 2.9 / 5
Style: 3.9 / 5
Affordability: 4.5 / 5
The Storm Strike set is a smaller version of the Soul Wars. It comes with 15 distinctly armored models from the Stormcast Eternals and the Nighthaunts (grand total: 318 points). Aside from the models, the set also contains a playing mat, six dice pieces, and a decal transfer sheet.
Storm Strike represents the relentless speed and fervor of the Eternals, always ready to counter the advance of the hateful Nighthaunts. From the Eternals’ side, you can easily field Sequitors (3 models), Castigators (3 models), and a valiant gryph hound model. The Nighthaunts, on the other hand, have Glavewraith Stalkers (4 models) and some strong Myrmourn Banshees (4 models). All of these models have remarkable action poses mirroring the intensity of fantasy combat.
All Storm Strike models are push-fit but you’ll have a difficult time assembling the Banshees. The Banshees’ parts don’t snap well, so you probably need a stick of glue. Well, at least, you don’t have to spend a long time painting all 15 models.
Since the Storm Strike only has 15 models, you might feel that the set is undervalued. It probably is! But always remember that Storm Strike is designed to attract beginners. Storm Strike is an ‘easy starting point’ that will push you deeper towards the hobby.
Why Storm Strike?
If you’re the type of player who wants to test things out before jumping head-on, Strom Strike is an excellent option. You won’t get overwhelmed with the small number of models, and you can run a test game immediately. As you delve deep in the hobby, you should consider getting advanced sets or – at least – try upgrading your current Storm Strike units.
AOS Tempest of Souls – Best Set for Display & Narrative Games
Complexity: 2.9 / 5
Variety: 3.9 / 5
Style: 4 / 5
Affordability: 4 / 5
The Tempest of Souls is a popular starter set because of two reasons: style and flexibility. You can simply open the box, paint the twenty-four models, and prepare them for display or action shots. Tempest of Souls is also affordable, roughly half the price of the Soul Wars starter set.
In Tempest of Souls, you’d still encounter the warring factions of Eternals and Nighthaunts. Stormcast Eternals have fourteen models, while Nighthaunts have around ten. There are no Banshees in this set, so expect a significant power drop from the Soul Wars.
When it comes to style, the Tempest of Souls earns a sweet spot. The models look great, especially if they’re painted properly. The Eternals even have a cool golden plated Ballista manned by fully armored crew members.
If you’re looking for a competitive starter set, you might be disappointed with the Tempest of Souls. The amount of the models are not enough to constitute an effective army. The Stormcast Castigators, for example, only have three models. To make this unit strong, you need at least five Castigators equipped with their magic crossbows. The Nighthaunt units are also outclassed by the Eternals, creating pure imbalance. At least, the Nighthaunts look cool with their dreadful cloaks and empty stares.
Why Tempest of Souls?
Warhammer AOS Tempest of Souls is best for players who care about style. All of the models have excellent details, and you’ll even get a strong kit value with the Commander Collection. Plus, the Tempest of Souls is a viable option if you want to upgrade your army later. Your upgrade path is even better if you wish to play Eternals or Nighthaunts.
Additional AOS Armies for Beginners
Are you curious about the other armies of Age of Sigmar? We’ll sate your curiosity by discussing some of the most beginner-friendly armies aside from Stormcast Eternals and Nighthaunts.
Disciples of Tzeentch
The Disciples of Tzeentch is a great choice for beginners because of its flexibility. Relying on spellcasting and schemes, the Disciples can truly make the battle difficult for your foes. Most models of Tzeentch reward synergistic builds, as well as deep combos.
Painting the Disciples is also fun and challenging. Every model has intricate details like extra body parts, tattoos, weapon carvings, and expressions of chaos. Tzeentch, being a Chaos god, sure loves a confusing display of knick-knacks!
Challenge: Tzeentch units are a bit fragile in combat. Try to maintain a solid formation and keep pelting your foes with devastating spells.
Dynamic lizard army – these are the simple words that describe the Seraphon. A superstar army in the recent Age of Sigmar edition, the Seraphon offers a wide range of playstyles and unit combinations. Trample the battlefield with your horde of lizards or blast your enemies with Starmasters. Or take it slow and always be on the defensive with the models’ synergy abilities.
Challenge: The Seraphon can’t withstand continuous attacks. Mop the battlefield fast or you’ll lose units within the next thirty minutes.
Known as the ‘steampunk dwarves,’ the Kharadron Overlords utilize the power of explosives and ranged attacks. The Kharadron Overlords is great for beginners because of the models’ scaling damage output. The models can even fly through the means of badass steampunk ships, perfect for deep strikes and strong ambush openings.
Some players think that Kharadrons can’t carry their weight in terms of close combat. This is not actually true. You just need to take advantage of terrain positions, cover, and proper ship deployment.
Challenge: You need to have a thick wallet to make a competitive Kharadron army. While most Kharadron models are affordable, the ships’ prices are steep. The Arkanaut Ironclad, for example, can reach as high as $110 and even more!
Warhammer AOS Buying Guide
Choosing a starter set shouldn’t be too complicated because of the limited number of factions involved. Still, you always have the option to go beyond the starter sets and pick the well-sought Start Collecting boxes from Games Workshop.
If you’re planning to shop for other Age of Sigmar boxes, you need a short checklist of factors that will guide you towards the right purchase.
Play Priority: Narrative or Competitive
Before you even look at cool pictures of AOS armies, you need to choose your gaming priority. Do you wish to make epic stories while adhering to big goals? Or perhaps you just want to see your army crushing the other side while emphasizing crunchy technical rules?
By choosing between Narrative and Competitive play, you can easily find an army that matches your goals. Narrative play is all about big stories of battle, while Competitive play is a slugfest of rules and numbers. Some armies are great for Narrative games because of their unique designs (i.e. Tzeentch, Seraphon) while others look simple (i.e. Fyreslayers, Cities of Sigmar) but can deliver big damage on Competitive games or Matched play.
Narrative play also benefits from fully painted armies because everything is visual. So, you probably need to finish painting your kit before heading to the battlefield. In Competitive play, the situation depends on the agreement between the players. You can always use proxies for unfinished models as long as you understand the rules.
Always Mind Your Budget
Budget is another factor that you should think about. Most players jump in the game without thinking about the rising costs of minis, paints, and tools. Don’t rely on the face value of a popular model because it might change within a few days or weeks. You should also consider the number of paints needed to make a model look awesome. Remember, your new Knight-Incantor will look totally dull in gray.
Set a wiggle room for your budget. If a model costs $50, adjust your current budget to $150. This way, you can purchase additional tools and accessories if needed. Doing this simple technique sounds easy, but it’s not. You have to resist the temptation to buy now and worry about paints later. Well, unless you’re rich and can afford a dozen kits from the get-go!
Coolness vs. Complexity
While Archaon the Everchosen looks terrifying and majestic at the same time, just imagine the length of time needed to finish painting this model. You can’t just rush in and dab all sections unless you intend to waste paints and the model itself. This statement applies to all Age of Sigmar models, regardless of size and coolness factor.
Always strive for a balance between coolness and complexity. If a model looks cool, ask yourself if you can finish it despite your busy schedule. Do an accounting of your tools, paints, primers, and working spaces. Research about the model and gather pointers from other hobbyists. You don’t have to rush unless you signed up for a tournament.
Spend some time watching tutorials on how to paint properly. Do this before buying your first model or AOS starter kit. This process is similar to combat preparation. You need to know your enemy and yourself first.
Once you can assess the rationale of coolness and complexity, you’ll have the hindsight to pick a model that matches your skillset. Maybe you can set Archaon aside and grind through a box of affordable, beginner-friendly Stormcast models.
Warhammer FAQ: Stuff You Need to Know
What is the best faction to begin with?
Answer: Each faction in Age of Sigmar has advantages and disadvantages, so picking the ‘best’ can be tricky. However, if you’re looking for the best faction for beginners, then look no further than Stormcast Eternals. This army represents the might of Sigmar, boasting a neat combination of offense and defense. As a major bonus, the Stormcast models also look cool with their masks and golden armor.
Which faction is the cheapest to play?
Answer: There are lots of contenders for the cheapest faction. But if money is really tight, you can always count on the Beastclaw Riders. Also known as Ogors, the Beastclaw can dominate close combat with the right timing and advantage. While the Ogors are not as fancy as Eternals or Disciples of Tzeentch, they can still help you win a couple of battles here and there.
Which faction is the easiest to paint?
Answer: The easiest faction to paint is the Nighthaunt. Nighthaunt models require only a few colors and basic priming. Just be careful painting the models because they have weak parts that might fall off with one accidental pull.
Quick Tips on Playing Warhammer Age of Sigmar
Prepare A Big Table
Warhammer Age of Sigmar is a space-consuming game. You need a big space for your miniature storage, some seats for players, a place for snacks, and a big table that acts as a battlefield. While you can always prepare any table, a little bit of creativity can go far.
A sanded wooden table is the most affordable option that you can have. Sanded tables look clean, and they don’t have splinters or uneven areas. Always settle for wooden tables because they are more durable and worth your money.
If you’re pressed for time, you can ask a professional to help you build a custom table. With a custom table, you can choose from different shapes, sizes, and even types of wood. Push the budget a little higher and you’ll have the option to add engravings or other designs.
Other useful things that you can add in your table are drawers. With drawers, you don’t have to walk away from the game just to get something. Simply put your game-related stuff in the drawers and reach out for any item you need.
Organize Your Minis & Terrain Pieces
A typical Warhammer AOS game requires dozens of minis and terrain pieces. You can’t just put these minis anywhere. To make your games smoother, you need to find clever ways of organizing minis. One easy way is to use plastic storage boxes. Prepare a sturdy plastic box for your main army, then another for a secondary army. Don’t forget to use small boxes for painting tools and accessories.
Wooden boxes are also great but you need a bigger budget. Also, wooden boxes weigh more than plastic boxes. The main advantage of wooden storage boxes is durability. Even though you’re traveling from one city to another, you don’t have to worry about your minis and terrain pieces getting damaged.
If you’re planning a ‘miniature photo shoot’ before an AOS battle, try to organize your minis based on action scenery. Make the minis appear like they’re on a groundbreaking battle even before the actual game. These action shots are better than mandatory faction pictures.
Read the Battleplan & Battletomes
An Age of Sigmar Battleplan contains all the important details related to your chosen game. These details usually include objectives, faction lore, and special notes to players. Aside from the useful information, the Battletomes are also fun to read because of artwork and formatting. After all, it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about the Mortal Realms.
These following armies have the best Battletomes:
- Disciples of Tzeentch
- Kharadron Overlords
- Lumineth Realm-Lords
Learn From Other Players
The best way to master the game is by learning from other experienced players. These players can be your past opponents or challengers. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, especially important ones related to strategic planning, army builds, and battletome updates.
You should also consider joining a network of AOS players. Through a network or a community, you won’t run out of wargaming opportunities and other relevant information. You might even find an active seller of AOS minis, tools, and custom terrain pieces.
Prepare An Army List
Warhammmer AOS players, pros and beginners alike, love to create army lists in order to see different combinations or save time. If you have an army list, you know which units to prioritize and ignore. You will also see the models’ points easily without rechecking the Warscrolls all the time.
Online army builders, just like Games Workshop’s Warscroll Builder will help you save hours on making an army list. Since Warscroll Builder is an online app, you can access it anywhere.
Don’t Get Discouraged By Early Losses
Warhammer Age of Sigmar is easy to learn but deceptively difficult to master. Some days, you might win against an opponent and most days, you might lose because of a wrong move. If you’re currently eating losses with your chosen army, just step back a bit. Analyze your strategies and figure out if you’re maximizing the potentials of every unit.
Also, you should remember that all AOS armies have specific metas or general styles. Some armies are best for shock assaults while others are only viable for continuous spell bombardment or ranged attacks. Study the metas of AOS armies and try to build strategies that can adapt to your enemy’s moves effectively.
All of the Warhammer AOS starter sets have their advantages and disadvantages. Don’t pick a starter set based on looks alone. Rather, analyze all related factors such as army diversity, complexity, and even lore. This is the best way to play Age of Sigmar without getting burned out.
Do you agree with our choices of AOS starter sets? Share your insights in the comments below!