Warhammer Age of Sigmar is more than a game – it’s a hobby. Build armies of plastic warriors drawn from the many warring factions that inhabit the Mortal Realms, paint your models to personalise your collection, and take them to the tabletop to play fast-paced games of strategy and action that will allow you to tell your own stories within the Age of Sigmar.
The new edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar features the most comprehensive look at the core rules since the first Generals Handbook, and like those changes, the new ones will have an equally huge impact on the tabletop.
Artefacts of the Realms
The Mortal Realms are enormous, and the factions that fight among them are characterised as much by which of the realms they hail from as by their Grand Alliance. Previously, we’ve seen this represented largely through creative paint jobs and appropriate basing, with some hobbyists using clever conversions to identify where their force comes from. Now, in the new edition, you’ll be able to represent where your army hails from with 84 new magic items. When you’re writing your army list, you have the option to pick a Realm for your army to be from. As well as providing you with loads of opportunities for roleplaying (not to mention painting and converting), you’ll be able to replace one of your normal Artefact picks with a special artefact from your chosen realm.
Battling in the Realms
The new edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar turns the Mortal Realms into rich backdrops for all of your battles. These aren’t just optional expansions, but a core part of the game. Each of the Mortal Realms has a set of unique rules that create unusual challenges and opportunities for the armies fighting in them. Firstly, each realm has a command ability, apart from Shyish, which has two, and Ghur, which has wandering, feral monsters instead. Available to every Hero fighting in that realm, these abilities ensure that your army fights in a thematically appropriate way for the realm it’s in. Secondly, each Realm has a set of Realmscape Features – a random in-game effect that’ll often have a significant impact on how your game will go. Last, but not least, each of the Mortal Realms has a massive selection of spells associated with it, representing the unique powers that Wizards are able to harness. Each realm has seven spells, ALL of which will be available to ANY Wizard fighting in that realm. Finally, choosing a Realm has a range of impacts on certain warscrolls. Each endless spell, for example, is more powerful when cast in its associated realm.
Command Abilities and Command Points
There are loads of awesome command abilities in Warhammer Age of Sigmar, but in the previous edition, some would almost never see play because they belonged to models who weren’t being used as generals. In the new edition, every Hero can contribute and use their command ability, whether they’re your general or not. There’s a twist, however – to use any of your command abilities, you’ll need a new resource, known as command points. Command points represent the tactical cohesion of your forces – you’ll receive one to add to your pool every turn, and you’ll get an additional point at the beginning of the game per warscroll battalion you’ve used. That’s not all! There are now three command abilities every single army and every single general can use – a tweaked Inspiring Presence, At the Double and Forward to Victory.
Magic is changing in the new edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, offering you something never seen on our tables before – physical sorceries with models and rules of their own. Endless spells are cast like normal spells, but rather than resolving their text with a mere roll of the dice, each summons a model to the table. This miniature then persists throughout the game until it’s dispelled. Endless spells are moved at the start of each battle round after determining who gets the first turn, with players taking it in turns to pick a spell to move, starting with the player that has the second turn that round. You’ll be able to move any Endless Spell with this move, not just the ones you control, representing their wild and untameable nature.
Look Out, Sir!
With the new command ability system making Heroes more useful than ever, the last thing you want is to watch a critical support character get shot off the table before they get to do anything interesting. In the new edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, we’ve balanced this with a new ability for Heroes that’ll make your smaller and more vulnerable characters a lot more durable at range. By keeping your heroes close to your units, you’ll make them much harder for enemies to kill at range.
Magic: Casting and Unbinding
Magic is most interesting when each army’s magic phase is distinct and defined by the unique character of the wizards involved. To do that, the new edition sees a change to two classic spells – Arcane Bolt and Mystic Shield – to offer more incentive to use the unique spells each Wizard has access to. You’ll still find these spells a valuable part of any wizard’s toolkit, but they’ve been toned down in comparison to others. Secondly, you can now attempt to unbind a spell at a massive 30″ range, up from 18″, making unbinding much easier and also giving you a chance to deny your enemy key spells even in the first turn of the game, where you may not have had a chance to move your wizards into defensive positions.
Measuring and Piling In
We know most people play Warhammer Age of Sigmar measuring from bases already, so this is just a case of enshrining it in rules and making way for a more tactical era of Warhammer Age of Sigmar. Piling in has changed to work with the new, official base-to-base system, to allow you to get as many models into combat as possible. Where previously, you could only pile in towards the closest enemy model before having to stop, now, you can pile in even if you’re right next to someone – provided you don’t move any further away from the nearest enemy model. This should make large units a bit easier to use and should make surrounding enemies a bit simpler. Secondly, you can’t choose not to attack with a unit anymore – the combat phase only ends when every single eligible unit has piled in and participated.
Shooting in Combat
Shooting in the new edition is changing slightly. While you’ll still be able to shoot whilst in combat, you won’t be able to shoot out of it. This makes for a more dynamic game as far as shooting is involved. Taking a few fast-moving, durable units in your army will be key for quickly occupying shooting units that’d usually play havoc with the squishier elements of your forces, while defensively, you’ll want to screen your key ranged troops with support troops.
Summoning, For Free!
In the new edition, summoning has been changed to work better for everyone and to properly reflect the unique character of each army that uses it. Rather than summoning units through magical spells, every army that could summon units before now has a unique resource that allows them to bring fresh reinforcements onto the tabletop that fits with their army’s background. The big change for matched play, though, is that summoning now no longer costs reinforcement points! Instead, you earn your summoned units with in-game actions: bloodshed, spreading plague, mastering magic, and other thematic goals.
In Warhammer Age of Sigmar, the game is split into battle rounds, and players roll at the beginning of each round to see who goes first. This means, in effect, a player may occasionally get to take two turns in a row. In the new edition, the studio have added an extra level of depth, choice and chance to this mechanic, as well as removing some of the randomness, to make for more tactical games. Previously, players would roll off to determine who gets to decide who gets the first turn in each battle round, with the winner getting to choose. This works in much the same way in the new edition, but now, if the players get a draw, the player that went first in the previous battle round wins the roll.
—description from the publisher