Bursting onto the scene with firepower from Azyr, the Storm of Celestus strike into action!
Welcome to another warband review, this time of the Storm of Celestus. This warband is a special release from the new Warhammer Underworlds starter set. As always thanks to Games Workshop for providing these to review for free. Still, I always aim to be impartial and honest. With that all out-of-the-way, back to the article at hand.
As an aside, if you prefer video format, I’ve done a YouTube version of the review which you can watch below:
The Storm of Celestus were sent to investigate the bleeding effects of Shadespire by Sigmar himself. The cause and reach of this dimensional bleeding had to be found in order to prevent the threat of Nagash spreading ever further. The Castigators new their mission would likely never end but they gladly marched on forwards in the name of Sigmar.
The Storm of Celestus are another 4 fighter warband. This warband consists of: Drakan Celestus, Mellisan Star-Sighted, Aphus the Brave and Sleek. These Stormcast Eternals are once again from the Sacrosant Chamber like Ironsoul’s Condemnors and Stormsire’s Cursebreakers, sent to deal with the deathly forces of Nagash. The Storm of Celestus echo the hallmarks of the chamber with their ornate trinkets and robes. My favourite fighter is Sleek and he should be your favourite too. He’s loyal, useful and isn’t draped in armour and robes. He’s also a very good boi.
The miniatures come in Stormcast blue. It’s fine. Miniatures go together quite well for an easy to build Age of Sigmar kit but I find you still need to clip off some of the pegs here and there. Otherwise they can be easily painted separately from the base and are sturdy once built.
The Storm of Celestus are a 4 fighter warband which puts them closer towards the elite spectrum of warband size. As a 4 fighter warband, the Storm of Celestus occupies a great space in terms of defensive and offensive deployment while also helping you use your activations more efficiently (1 activation per fighter each round). The fighters generally all share a movement characteristic of 3, 4 wounds and 1 block defence.
All the Stormcast have Thunderhead Greatbows. These are all range 3, 2 smash and 2 damage with the important rule that they can only be fired once per phase. While strong and accurate, each fighter basically only has 1 shot with these guns per round which can result in some feel-bad moments if you miss. However, this helps off-set their awesome damage and threat range.
The Stormcast also all inspire after a successful Thunderhead Greatbow attack action. This should be fairly reliable but it also means each fighter only has the chance to inspire once per round which can be incredibly limiting if you always miss.
Sleek is very unique but I will cover him separately.
Drakan Celestus, in addition to his Thunderhead Greatbow, has his Heavy Stock which is range 1, 2 smash and 2 damage.
Celestus Inspired has his Heavy Stock increase to 3 smash. He gains 2 block and while he is holding an objective, Celestus cannot be driven back. It’s a nice inspired side and you generally want it for that 2 block.
Mellisan Star-Sighted has her Crushing Kick! This is range 1, 2 smash and 1 damage.
Mellisan Inspired has her Crushing Kick increase to 2 damage with Knockback 1. She also gains the ability of +1 attack dice while holding an objective. This is so huge! 3 smash Thunderhead Greatbow but also any other attack action of her’s too. Super strong. She does remain at 1 block, however.
Aphus the Brave
Aphus the Brave has his Shoulder Barge, like Wario. This is range 1, 3 fury, 1 damage and Knockback 1.
Aphus Inspired has his Shoulder Barge increase to 2 damage. While holding an objective, Aphus can re-roll 1 defence dice. It’s fine but he still is only 1 block. Inspiring isn’t really necessary for Aphus, just an alright bonus.
Sleek is your Gryph Hound, armed with Beak and Claws which are range 1, 3 fury and 1 damage. Sleek cannot have attack action upgrades but can, oddly, hold objectives. With his movement of 4, it makes him quite the speedy objective grabber. Sleek’s main power comes from his Warning Cry reaction ability. You can only make this reaction ability once per phase after an opponent declares an attack action while within 2 hexes of Sleek, you can then give 1 Guard token to each friendly fighter within 1 hex. This is really good, although requires lots of setup to give Guard tokens to everyone at once. Here is one setup that is doable (thanks Wathlab for the image):
Even if you can’t get multiple fighters on Guard, protecting a key fighter who is on an objective is amazing. Warning Cry is basically a free Buried Instinct. It can even block enemy reacting windows too!
Sleek also inspires after a successful attack. 3 fury makes him pretty reliable but still it is not something to bet on.
Sleek Inspired has his Beak and Claws gain Ensnare. He also goes up to movement 5 and 2 dodge. It’s nice but you mainly want it for the boosted movement and defence.
Now we’re at the card part of the review! As always faction cards then universals.
Bulwark Against the Dark is 1 glory for having each friendly fighter with 1 or more upgrades each. If the Storm of Celestus were a 3 fighter warband then this would be much better, otherwise I would just pass.
Lightning Strike (not Strikes) is faction Assassinate. 1 glory for having an enemy leader out of action. Alright but not reliable.
Shining Heroes is 1 glory for having all your fighters inspired. Just too hard to score consistently with the tight inspire conditions of the Stormcast.
Faction Objectives – Top Picks
Advancing Storm is a Surge you score for taking an enemy fighter out of action with a range 1 attack action. Seems limiting on paper but your Thunderhead Greatbows help setup this and the warband has access to some decent range 1 attacks. Plus any good range 1 attack action upgrade will help here a lot.
Balanced Strategy is a Surge you score after an opponent’s activation if you hold objectives 4 and 2 for 2 glory. It is a little difficult to score due to the fairer reaction window but that 2 glory is too good to pass up!
Bold Claim is a Surge for 2 glory but if you instead hold objectives 1, 3 and 5 in any combination. This is easier to score than Balanced Strategy but you may want to just run Temporary Victory instead but this 2 Surge glory is just too tempting to pass for me. Needs investment for lots of Guard tech yet the payoff will be great.
Crucial Objective is 1 glory as a Surge for holding objectives 2 or 4. Technically should be a Hybrid too but this is just so damn good. Always take.
Great Purification should also be a Hybrid but as a warband that wants to be on objectives, faction Supremacy or kill 4 fighters for 3 glory is just good. It helps if you have been on the offensive as well or when against horde/swarm warbands.
Here We Stand is 1 glory for holding 2 objectives. Simple and reliable end phase glory.
Point Blank. Pow! Right in the kisser! Fire any range 3+ attack action at an adjacent enemy fighter for 1 glory as a Surge if it is successful. Doesn’t even have to be a Thunderhead Greatbow attack! Simple and generally easy to score.
Righteous Banishment is 1 glory for having 2 or more enemy fighters out of action. Once again this is easy glory which the Storm of Celestus can score quite reliably.
Zone of Banishment is soooo good. Score 2 glory in ANY end phase if there are no enemy fighters in your territory. Not so great now due to the surge of aggro, but anyone going first who buys their time for too long will be giving you 2 glory for free. Amazing.
Distracting Shot causes -1 attack dice to your opponent in their next activation. It’s alright but the bigger question is how do you play this if all your fighters have already shot their Thunderhead Greatbows? It’s a minor funny thing that I always like to point out.
Healing Tempest is faction Healing Potion. Heal 1 to 2 wounds. It’s fine but run consistently only at your own discretion. If getting to damage 4 was more difficult in Direchasm then this would be an auto-include.
Stalwart Defence is once again just fine. +1 defence to friendly fighters holding objectives in your opponent’s activation.
Faction Gambits – Top Picks
Aetheric Chanelling is an amazing buff gambit ploy. In your next activation, your first range 3+ attack action has either +1 dice, Cleave or Ensnare. Just so good and a great way to ensure inspiring/getting an attack to succeed.
Channelled Step may sound confusing at first but is basically an objective teleport. You can only play this while holding an objective if there are no enemy fighters within 2 hexes, then place that fighter on another objective hex anywhere on the board as long as there are no enemy fighters within 2 hexes of that new objective. Has a lot of counterplay with the opponent by babysitting certain objectives but the mobility this card offers is amazing.
Concerted Consolidation is an interesting Sidestep. Up to 2 friendly fighters in your territory can be pushed 1 hex each towards the nearest objective. Use this to secure your end phase and any objective holding objectives in general.
Greatbow Block reduces the damage dealt by 1 to any Stormcast in your opponent’s activation except for poor Sleek. This card becomes even better if Sleek is out of action as it is surprise damage negation that your opponent can’t really prepare for.
Lightning Flare is good but situational. Your opponent cannot target your fighters in their activation unless they are adjacent to them. A bit moot currently to all the speed about now but corralling your opponent’s movement like this has very strong possibilities with the right setup.
Raise the Alarm. +1 dice against enemy fighters with charge tokens in your next activation. Easy and another good way for more accuracy buffs.
Swift Step is a buffed Sidestep. Push a Stormcast 1 hex or Sleek up to 2 instead! Great for objective grabbing and mobility.
Cautious Advance is Duellist’s Speed, yay, for Aphus, aww… Just take Duellist’s Speed instead.
Cool Head is faction Awakened Weapon for Mellisan only. It’s good but only run if you plan to make lots of use of her.
Loyal Companion is for Sleek and lets him react after another friendly fighter’s activation to push him up to 2 hexes so they are adjacent. If you cannot do this, the reaction cannot be played. It’s fine but not something I really like as Sleek is fast and mobile enough already.
Reconquerer is Great Speed but lets you push the equipped fighter 1 addition hex as long as it finishes in an objective hex. Nice but Duellist’s Speed and Savage Speed give you more utility.
Faction Upgrades – Top Picks
Concussive Cloud is a range 3, 2 smash, damage 1 attack action with Knockback 1 which gives a move token to the target on a successful attack. It’s really nice move token application and gives more consistent ranged output.
I’ll Cover You! is a great support upgrade. Only can go on a Stormcast but as long as they haven’t made a Thunderhead Greatbow attack action, they count as a friendly supporting fighter to any friendly fighter within 3 hexes when they are attacked. Really good although you need to be more careful with who you attack with to get maximum usage.
Long Ranged is great. +1 range to Thunderhead Greatbows! Range 4 consistently? Yes please!
Reconsecrate is a better Shardcaller! As an action, the fighter can swap 1 objective token they are standing in, for another and then gain a charge token. This hugely improves the reliability of your objectives and can be used on Sleek!
Stoic Fortitude is faction Great Fortitude, always take!
Strength of Sigmar is +1 damage to only range 1 attack actions. I’m not sure if you would actually run this but Sleek or Celestus would make good use of this.
There are no universal cards in the Starter Set that the Storm of Celestus come in so this part will be skipped!
Now to the deck section! Once again these are sample decks to get you going and build off of. They’re not super competitive but designed to be optimal and fun. As I’m not sure if this warband is legal for Vanguard format, I’ll just be making a Championship Format deck.
Special thanks goes to Underworldsdb.com! As Games Workshop released all the cards during the week I now have an up-to-date deck builder to use for this. It’s a lifesaver.
Playstyle: Flex (Aggro and Hold Objectives)
This flex deck is more hold objective focused but does aggro decently. Swift Capture and Hidden Purpose help boost your objective grabbing Surges. Clean Kills is fairly straightforward and Winged Death can proc off of any range 3+ attack. Gambits are all about staying on objectives and grabbing them. Restless Prize basically ensures an objective for you with No Time to secure an end phase. Buried Instinct is surprise Guard to help stay on objectives as well. Upgrades focus more on durability and Armed to the Teeth is a really good pick here. Duelist’s Speed and Quickening Greaves ensure you remain and grab objectives you want.
The Storm of Celestus is an interesting warband. They look simple at first, stand on objectives and shoot, but they have more just below the surface thanks to their faction cards and abilities. Sleek is a big part of this, helping via either being used to give Guard tokens to friendly fighters or quickly capturing objectives. We’ve had a lot of warband “pets” before but Sleek really is the best in Warhammer Underworlds, hopefully future warbands follow this design cue. The Storm of Celestus can fold under constant pressure though and inspiring the warband can become especially frustrating if you keep missing with their attacks.
- Straightforward and fun to use
- Can do more complex plays and strategies
- Great threat range of 6 thanks to the Thunderhead Greatbows
- Consistent range 3 damage 2 output
- Sleek has a very flexible role and supports the warband
- Still can fold under pressure due to generally only having single defence characteristics while uninspired
- Rigid inspire condition which can lead to fighters never inspiring at all
- Each Thunderhead Greatbow can only be used once per round so careful thought needs to be taken when attacking with them
- Poor ranged 1 damage
In summary, the Storm of Celestus is another great warband to learn how to play Warhammer Underworlds. Not only are they easy to use but the warband also has a lot of hidden depth allowing experienced players to get more out of the Storm of Celestus. Impressively reliable ranged pressure and damage too with solid durability. They can fold under pressure, especially if their Thunderhead Greatbows miss and you want to keep fighters near each other in a supportive web. Then there’s also Sleek! The most useful warband animal yet!
So, would I recommend getting the Storm of Celestus? Yes! Especially if you’re new to the game and can regularly play Warhammer Underworlds safely where you are in the world right now. This is a fun warband that players on either end of the competitive spectrum will find fun to use. They’re just very consistent. Remember, the warband does fold when spread too far apart and up-close so always be prepared for range 1 battles. Also take mobility cards to offset their movement of 3 for increased objective-grabbing synergy.
If you want to buy the Storm of Celestus, you can get them only in the new Warhammer Underworlds Starter Set via the direct link to Games Workshop here or via my affiliate link to Element Games here which will net you a minimum 15% discount (20% during pre-order week) while helping to support my content, all at no additional cost to you.
Now we come to the end of the warband review. They’re a simple warband that holds objectives and shoots stuff but can do so much more with practice and experimentation. You could argue that they’re the best warband to learn how to play Warhammer Underworlds with. However, they may struggle against tough and fast aggro warbands like Morgok’s Krushas. Still, they’re very awesome indeed.
So until the Storm of Celestus come to purify you with righteous explosive energy, remember that not even Sleek can warn you about crits!