Empyrean Faction Overview & first buys

We Are Cyriss Eternal

The Empyreans, as celestial masters of the galaxy, once constructed the enigmatic Void Gate network to regulate the ebb and flow of arc. At the heart of the galaxy, they erected the Great Constellation, their very own celestial haven, and united their souls within its ethereal embrace. In a gesture both benevolent and ominous, they extended an ultimatum to all civilizations: join them by relinquishing their mortal shells or face obliteration. After claiming dominion over every world, the Empyreans seemed to retire, savoring the fruits of their celestial afterlife.

Then humanity arrived, tracing an age-old Empyrean message that had journeyed across the cosmos for millions of years, long after the Empyreans had entered their dormant slumber. Humanity overcame the remnants of the Empyrean presence on their initial landing world and quickly expanded through the void gates, subduing most connected worlds within a mere 5,000 years. HHowever, the humans were extremely wasteful with arc and never truly understood the void gate network they were so reliant on. Recognizing the threat and the resultant disruptions in the arc’s natural flow, the Empyreans have begun to address the encroachment of humanity with heightened urgency, vowing to safeguard their beloved Cyriss.

Among their ranks, the Empyreans possess a formidable cadre of Aeons, immortal warriors ensouled within formidable metallic forms, each bearing the wisdom of millions of years. Yet, the bulk of their army comprises Sabers and warjacks—robotic legions developed in response to humanity’s sudden emergence. This strategic development serves as a deliberate safeguard, protecting the limited and irreplaceable Aeons from direct confrontation.

Faction Overview

On the battlefield, Empyreans have a high skill ceiling, and an expert can make the most of the complex ability interactions. They are masters of arc – having some of the most powerful abilities on their cards, but this comes with impactful decisions about when to leave it on the table vs spend it. This can leave an Empyrean player arc starved, dividing their attention between powerful abilities, reinforcements, and not often leaving much in the well for furies or next turn. They also have variety in abilities – with every continuous effect in their cards (and most of them hot swappable to warjacks), including a few ‘signature abilities’ from other factions. This leaves few bad options, but a lot to tweak for the most experienced players.

Empyreans are notable for their powerful heavy warjack, the Sentinel, being the best in the game. He has access to a staggering array of weapon options. His defensive abilities are among the best in the game: with a spike to ignore damage effects as well as powerful defensive weapons available to double down. He also has a well deserved reputation for endless reactivations: a cortex that avoids activation tokens, and Factotum solo to ‘Jump Start’ to remove the token. The Factotum can also repair the Sentinel, in case some damage gets through.

The Empyrean’s Aeons, a symbol of excellence, include heroic solos known to be among the most powerful models in the game. The Aeon cadre, known as the Harbingers of Cyriss, stands as an elite force in its own right.

  • Antecessors Eternal are the headline 3 model squad: with all stats above average, 2 HP, 3 attacks with Weapon expert, and powerful abilities to allow reactivations, and an ignore LOS gun. With flight, spd 7, and spike to move 3”: they can move wherever needed: threatening deployment zone in skirmish or rushing objectives. 
  • he Exalted Paragons take on the role of the cadre’s tanks. Although they possess only 2 hit points, which is slightly below average for ‘marauder stat line’, but at 3 models for 2 DC are still a good drop to clog an area. Additionally, their Retributor ability enables them to launch a counterattack when one of their own is destroyed.
  • The Paragon Commander is a valuable utility solo within the Empyrean ranks. With the ability to channel Cyphers and engage in combat, this versatile figure combines both skills with Thamaturgic Initiator, enabling the casting of an additional fury after eliminating an opponent in melee.
  • To round out the cadre: the Champion Eternal Metator brings it all together. When Aeons die, you can charge your friends within 10” for free, then you can spike from the Metator to resurrect an Aeon. The combos with Exalted Paragons are clear: your chunky infantry die, retributor to counterattack, then charge the metator for free and then resurrect the Paragon to keep the pain going.

On the downside: they can’t do it all, and will want to. Arc will often end up tied to the strong defensive and charge abilities and not available for big reinforcements and furies. Some key models are also more expensive DC wise than equivalents in other factions: (eg Heavy Saber, Antecessors and Paragon Commander), which combined with arc starvation might make it difficult to deploy them. This is the real trick with Empyreans as an ‘expert level’ faction: making the best use of limited but powerful arc effects. Also, despite the variety in the faction, each model tends to do only one role but do it well. However this can sometimes be inflexible against ‘swiss army knife’ models elsewhere. You need a plan to make the most of your strengths, and it may be difficult to resummon models if you lose them carelessly.

Unique Strategies

Wide Range of Weapon Abilities

Empyreans have every continuous effect you could need available, and most of the other abilities you could need. The warjack weapons alone have near every ability meaning it is very easy to swap them in – between Corrosion, Lockdown, Fire, null, Stun, Ignore Continuous, Slam, Ignore LOS, Revelator, winch, cancel enemy cyphers, shield, defense matrix, intercept driver. Many of these abilities are signature of other factions, making it exceptional that Empyreans can access basically all of them. Outside warjacks, there are also displacer shots and system failure. If you need a gameplan or combo to deal with something specific, Empyrean warjacks can probably provide it

Throughout the rest of the faction, High intensity (get bonus red dice on attacks when charged) and Ignoring Line of Sight are widely available, along with a few abilities to get additional attacks. They hit hard, hit often, and from directions you don’t expect.

Arc manipulation 

Empyrean’s signature ability is Arcanum module: letting you charge them when they are targeted with a cypher or fury. Most models have this available, although weavers have a variant that lets them charge after channeling a fury.

Being the universe’s masters of arc manipulation, this lets you charge multiple models at the start of each turn – charging normally then casting a cypher to charge a second.

Arcanum module also makes you immune to the null effect of the null collider cypher: you take off an arc then put it on again.

Reactivations & ignore activation effects

Empyreans have widespread access to effects that either allow them to reactivate or not place an activation token – for example Eclipse Drive on all sabers (spike at end of activation to not place an activation), Impulse Reactor (when charged at start of turn, can remove activation token), and Sequence Alpha maneuver on the vehicles.

The Sentinel heavy warjack is particularly notorious here, able to take Eclipse drive, cypher to reactivate, and jump start from Factotum. He has a reputation as king of Skirmish games in particular – if he deploys at the start of the game he can activate all 9 turns. This constant pressure from a heavy warjack will force your opponent on the back foot all game.

Example chain activation

  1. Turn 1: deploy Sentinel and solo, Activate both
  2. Turn 2: ready phase clear activation, activate sentinel
  3. Turn 3: use Impulse Inducer Cypher, Activate Sentinel
  4. Pulse 2, turn 1: clear activations from End Pulse Round, activate Sentinel
  5. Pulse 2, turn 2: Factotum clears activation, activate Sentinel, use Eclipse Drive
  6. Pulse 2, turn 3: Activate
  7. And pulse 3 can go similar to pulse 2, and should have Impulse Inducer Cypher again

Example Warjack Loadouts

In truth, you can do no wrong with Empyrean weapons: they are a bag of tricks and you can take what you need for your specific problem. On the downside, it can be mind boggling to choose between them all: take the below as guidance to start but feel free to experiment.

Quicksilver Fiend

Daemon with Guardian Cortex, Phase Trajectile Cannon, Plasma Blade, Starfire Array

Less flashy than the Sentinel, this is an allrounder light warjack. Comes with a good LOS-ignoring ranged gun, a strong sword, and a defensive starfire array that happens to be a strafe gun. Guardian cortex gives a bit more utility to let him take hits intended for others. While charged he gets cover which, combined with extra defense against ballistic typed guns, can make him quite a pain to shoot at.

Celestial Cannons

Sentinel with Divinator Cortex, 2xAntiminator, Starfire Array, Chronomorphic Accelerator

A ranged focussed Sentinel trying to load as many continuous effects. Starting with Chronomorphic Accelerator for Corrosion and lockdown: Corrosion is a good starting move to reduce armour for later shots. Starfire is a good Pow4 weapon with strafe, but adds +3def against ballistic shots: one of the most common damage types of ranged weapons. Antimators are good cheap guns that can clear enemy cyphers and hit at pow 4. Divinator cortex was chosen to ignore cover with all his guns, although Avatar for chain reractivations is also solid.

Flaming Wrath

Sentinel with Hellion Cortex, 2x Heavy Plasma Blades, Force Shield Projector and Dark Star

For when you want to hit something with a sword and make sure it stays hit! The Heavy Plasma Blades boast the Highest Pow in the game and add a Fire continuous effect for good measure. Relentless is fun to keep moving as you hit things with your sword, making for long threat ranges. A shield increases his armour to make him nigh-unkillable and Dark star is a solid long range gun. With his movement, 2 sword kills and Rng 14, you can shoot 24” from your starting position. Hurricane cortex is also an option: giving him 3” extra movement if he hogs all the arc.

Recommended first list

Skirmish List (8 units, plus 1 hero)

  • Fulcrum
  • Oculus
  • Saber Strikeforce
  • Quicksilver Fiend
    • Guardian Cortex, Phase Trajectile Cannon, Plasma Blade, Starfire Array
  • Celestial Cannons
    • Divinator Cortex, 2xAntiminator, Starfire Array, Chronomorphic Accelerator
  • Cadre: Antecessors Eternal
  • Cadre: Exalted Paragons
  • Cadre: Paragon Commander
  • “Free” Hero: Astreus, Aeon of the First Magnitude
  • “Free“ Champion: Eternal Metator

The core of the list is built around a Command Starter box and the “Harbingers of Cyriss” Cadre

  • As basic infantry, the Saber Strikeforce bring both melee and gun options and the ability to make multiple attacks after making a kill. High intensity on the ranged gun will leave a solid mark on any target.
  • Fulcrums are full of tricks: with 3 different ways to move itself, allies, and enemies. Its rat 4, pow 4, rng12 cannon is a nasty shot too.
  • The Cadre is a great option to fill out the list – giving 2 great squads and a second weaver in the commander. On a skirmish sized board, Antecessors can strike hard early – potentially reaching into enemy’s deployment from turn 1.
  • Sentinel is also great on a skirmish sized board and 3 turn pulse rounds – both letting him have a lot more relative impact.
  • Astreus is a great first hero: an all rounder with top tier offence and defense. A big fire sword and powerful strafe gun are great, and using both at once is amazing. Defense Matrix makes him almost invincible to ballistic type weapons, and Realignment codex lets you rearrange your arc if needed.

An option to give extra support for your Sentinel is to swap the Saber Strikeforce with the Factotum. This gives access to jump start, repair, and a system failure melee weapon.

Sortie List (11 Units, plus 2 heroes)


  • Factotum (or Saber Strikeforce if you already had Factotum)
  • Heavy Saber
  • Execrator Nix with Force Generator
  • Hero: Aerelion Aeon weaver

The additions here round out the list at modified size. 

  • Heavy Saber is a big combat piece, with multiple attack types. He is there to punch enemies in the face and take a shot in return. As a bonus, his gun can slam enemies away, and he can choose to not take an activation token, so he can punch again next turn.
  • Execrator Nyx is a hero vehicle in a support role. He is mainly there for “Gate Launcher” – giving you early reinforcements or flooding an area. His Sequence Epsilon maneuver reactivates solos to add options. His base gun is nothing to sneeze at: Rat5 strafe and high intensity. I added a shield weapon mainly to keep him alive longer, or at least force an opponent to commit to destroying him. Those looking for more output can take his signature Shadow Matrix for an additional dislocation shot, that is high POW and ignores LOS to warriors.
  • Aerelion is a hero weaver, who can effectively add Armour Piercing to furies cast from him. He also has a powerful LOS-ignoring gun that goes off every time you discard a cypher (should be every turn): making him a rapid fire turret adding sneaky extra shots. He will be a target, so keep him behind a building to use Soul Seeker as much as you can.

Full Battle Force List (15 Units, plus 3 heroes)

  • Flaming Wrath Sentinel
    • Hellion Cortex, Force Shield Projector, Dark Star, 2x Heavy Plasma Blade
  • Saber Guardians
  • Saber Vanguards
  • Hero: Axel For Hire
  • Hero: Harlan Sek, the Curator

To finish the list

  • Added 2 more saber squads – mainly for primary missions you often need 4-5 squads to maximise your scoring. These squads add the ‘heavy’ and ‘melee’ specialist squads.
  • An extra Sentinel focussed on melee: for if you want to hit something with big fiery swords, then use the cortex to step further towards the enemy.
  • Axel for Hire puts a bullet where you need it: an amazing gun.
  • Harlan Sek is a toolbox of ideas and dubiously acquired Alien Artifacts. Most notorious for peeking at his opponent’s hands and forcing them to throw away a cypher, but he can also heal models or teleport to any friendly model. If he needs to hit something, his stun module will add an activation, rudely stopping them in their tracks.

First Cypher Deck

Rack:- Fury (3)

  – Instability Equation

  – Cacophonic Declination

  – Pyrokinetic Surge

– Geometric (3)

  – Displacement Index

  – Reiteration Complex

  – Temporal Cycle

– Harmonic (3)

  – Aggression Theorem

  – Encrypted Command

  – Recall Initiative

– Overdrive (3)

  – Ascension Catalyst

  – Kinematic Reassembler

  – Impulse Inducer

This is a recommendation to start out with and tweak, for more information refer to the cyphers article.

Unique Empyrean cyphers selected are Cacaphonic Declination and and Kinematic Reassembler. The former is a fury to force system failure on a warjack, while Kinematic Reassembler is a useful repair to increase the survivability of your tanky warjacks.

Additional Resources for Empyreans 

https://m.soundcloud.com/morethandice-apodcast/wardice-ep-2-empyrean – Wardice Podcast focussed on Empyrean list building and tactics

Privateer press faction overview: lore, strategies and list building

(looking for part 2 & 3 of these articles, will add if I can find them)

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