Age of Sigmar 4th Edition: New Factions?

Carter Kachmarik
November 01, 2023


There comes a time in every Games Workshop game’s lifespan where everybody knows their time with it is finite; everyone knows that no edition lasts forever, and while in the moment that fact can be easy to forget, it now looms over Age of Sigmar as we enter Winter 2023.  Each edition has brought with it a theme, a concept, and often rules-systems that borrow aspects from its direct predecessor, and those of earlier years.  In brief, I would say that AoS’ 3rd edition has been an incredible ride, and I hope they keep much of its scaffolding as we move forward.

But one key facet of editions for Age of Sigmar is the introduction of brand-new factions, something always sure to set the community abuzz.  In 2.0, it was the expansion of Nighthaunt into a full range, and in 3.0, it was a whole-cloth retooling of the Stormcast Eternals on top of a fleshed-out Orruk faction, Kruleboyz.  As editions move ahead, sometimes we receive brand-new armies, sometimes additions to existing ones, but there’s never been a point in AoS where nothing exciting is on the horizon.  So now, I wanted to take some time and explore potential expansions, based on information currently available, for what may arrive in AoS 4.0.

Via Warhammer Community

The first, and clearest, example of a faction expansion comes from a recent rumor engine — what looks to be a sinister aelven sigil.  Many people have jumped to saying this confirms the rumors of Umbraneth in 4.0, but there’s history to this symbol beyond baseless conjecture.  This is the spitting image of Morai-Heg’s iconography, illustrated in various books for AoS, notably that of the Daughters of Khaine.  Morai-Heg is a deity of the old aelven pantheon, made forbidden by Morathi when she ascended to godhood, though splinter DoK cults of Morai-Heg remain in hiding.  Morai-Heg represents a more subtle side to the Daughters of Khaine, less obsessed with artistic violence and blood sacrifice, instead being a goddess of ravens, witchcraft, and prophecy; where current DoK are a fusion of gladiator Amazons & mythical Greco-Roman beasts (gorgons, medusae, etc), Morai-Heg’s contingent could lean into a different mythos: Norse.

The idea of a prophetic raven familiar is obviously inspired by Odin and his ravens, Hugin & Munin, and while the Slaves to Darkness are viking-esque, pantheonic Norse aesthetics remain relatively unclaimed.  Where the current line is Gladiator-Amazons, this new contingent could be more subdued, or even noble, like Valkyrie-Seers.  Daughters being in Order has long been a point of contention, and something like this to diversify their look, and make them a bit more at-home in the Grand Alliance could work well.

Next up is the one I’m personally invested in: Chaos Dwarfs.  As a bit of background, the Forgeworld era of ‘Chorfs’ was always my white whale, the faction I saw but lacked the funds to purchase, before they went away forever.  This is a faction whose aesthetic has radically changed over the years, from Mesopotamian slavers, to dark-iron forgers of daemons and fire elementals.  Still, their general look is alive & well in AoS — the Horns of Hashut are a direct reference to the minor god Hashut, worshiped classically by Chorfs, and Hobgrots are a return to the Hobgoblins of old, which served as chaff for the army.  There’s direct references in the form of Hashut, the mysterious original masters of the Hobgrotz, and most recently a homeland for ‘twisted duardin’, in the form of Zharr Vyxa, which references chaos-tainted Duardin.

That said, this is a release I am hesitant to believe, at least compared to the new Daughters models.  The units we’ve seen are spread across two whole Grand Alliances, and only passing references exist, with no current rumor engine obviously pointing to an upcoming release.  If these are on their way for 4.0, it’ll likely be the tail end.

Via Warhammer Community

When it eventually comes time for Death or Destruction to receive a new faction, there’s got to be something entirely new planned.  Each of these Grand Alliances is tied for the least number of unique factions, with 4 apiece compared to Chaos’ 7, and Order’s 9.  For Death though, I feel one untapped aesthetic exists that’s already been explored in passing, in the form of the Exiled Dead, and their ‘force dynamic’.

Death in AoS tends to rely on the trappings of classic horror, with everything from skeletons, zombies, cannibals, and ghosts, but also werewolves and ‘mummies’ (using this loosely) via Radukar and the Ossiarch.  One horror icon that’s noticeably missing though, is that of Frankenstein’s Monster, the dead reanimated through science.  This concept exists of course, in the form of Deintalos as a rogue vampire, but only in the form of an Underworlds Warband.  That said, I feel this aesthetic could very readily be expanded into a full range, with everything from amalgams of flesh powered by electricity and phantasmal forces, to ‘igor’-type units as support heroes, and much more.  I’d bet there’ll be something akin to this eventually, once Games Workshop actually gets around to expanding Death, but it may have to wait given Flesh-Eater Courts is getting a range refresh soon (as spoiled models have revealed). 

Via Mengel Miniatures

For Destruction, however, I’m somewhat at a loss.  While ‘Destruction’ is a broad moniker, it really means the abhuman, often greenskin or mortal-adjacent creatures which tend to talk funny, and enjoy a good scrap.  That said, all the way back in Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave, there were whisperings of a strange enemy that lay dormant within the living mountain, The Silent People.  These insectoid (or bug-worshiping) humanoids supposedly once had hives along the surface during the Age of Myth, but have long since gone dormant.  The unfortunate part is that I’m skeptical of this ever being a real faction.  While a non greenskin/’big human’ (ogor/gargant)’ Destruction faction is indeed tempting, especially for someone who doesn’t really enjoy that aesthetic, I doubt Games Workshop will pursue The Silent People for an army.  Their name would need a change, first of all, to allow for a copyright (notice Aelves & Orruks), and the way Destruction tends to be marketed would likewise shift.  Moreover, Underworlds is known for introducing groups that never see support after their debut, such as the Kurnothi & Deintalos, the latter of which pains me greatly.

With that, I’ve covered some of the running theories for 4.0’s new factions!  What sorts of factions do you think might come about, and what evidence did I miss for those predictions?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so post them in the comments below, and we’ll get brainstorming!


Related Product