General’s Handbook Season 2 – The Goonhammer Review

This Review was completed using a free copy of the General’s Handbook Season 2 given to us for free by Games Workshop.

It’s time for another season of Matched Play. With the last General’s Handbook Games Workshop declared they were planning on releasing a new season every 6 months instead of yearly. This season is still in Gallet, like last time, but the focus is being pulled away from infantry and over to foot Heroes.

Foot Heroes have struggled throughout Sigmar. Some armies have some great ones, but they lack a delivery mechanism to get them there and can easily be bogged down by chaff and they just don’t do as much damage as you’d expect. So if this can shift things in their favor it’s going to be a very big deal.

Realm Rules

Special Rules

Similar to last season, units that fulfill a certain set of criteria will gain a new keyword that influences many of the rules going forward. In this case, any hero that has less than 10 wounds, does not have a mount and is not unique gains the Galletian Champion keyword. An exception was written into a day 1 FAQ that companions do not count as mounts for purposes of this rule, so don’t panic Deepkin players!

Probably the most ubiquitous benefit from this is The Key to Victory rule, which makes it so Galletian Champions cannot be targeted by ranged attacks if they are within 1″ of a battleline unit. This basically gives Age of Sigmar the Look Out, Sir! rule from 40k. A massive benefit against the extremely powerful ranged shooting from armies like Lumineth and Daughters of Khaine, be aware it won’t protect you from spells and other abilities that hit your Heroes from range, so don’t get too reckless. As always there’s also a core battalion to counter this rule, but we’ll get to that.

Credit: Warhammer Community

The other half is Desperate Actions which only applies to the player going second for the round. One Galletian Champion gets two Heroic Actions instead of one (but only in your hero phase) which is a huge windfall for whoever is going second. Can’t decide between Heroic Recovery and a Command point? Why not both? It also pairs well with this season’s Heroic actions, which we’ll detail next.

A surprising change is a lack of objective control like the first season’s Tectonic Shift or last season’s Proving Grounds. Desperate Actions kind of gets there, giving a massive bonus to the player going second, but it is odd there isn’t a direct way to control the battlefield this time around.

Heroic Actions

Credit: Warhammer Community

Basically you get to be Daughters of Khaine. Worse, but only slightly. Meant to work together, Strike at the Opening lets a Hero who is in combat immediately fight, but when the combat phase rolls around they have strike-last. Lead by Example is used in tandem, and only after Strike at the Opening is used, which means in most cases it’s only going to happen on your turn at the bottom of the round. It lets a nearby Sworn Bodyguard unit do the exact same thing, with the same drawbacks.

Any Daughters of Khaine player knows that fighting in the Hero phase is powerful. Since you’re in combat at the top of the the heroic phase, you probably already did some decent damage last turn’s combat phase, but didn’t quite wipe the unit. This helps you finish the job and then move on to a new target in the following move phase. Since these are heroic actions, they happen at the start of the turn and your opponent may not get a chance to put up their defenses in time (i.e. Finest Hour, Heroic Recovery) if it’s your turn. It also means they cannot use All Out Defence to stop you.

That strike-last drawback should not be underestimated. Even if you do wipe a unit, you’re going to lose many of the benefits of charging into something else by going second and it could be a bad time if your units aren’t resilient. Make a carefully weighted assessment if going into combat is worth it for you, unless you have a way to gain Strike First to balance it out (Deepkin are going to love this).

Realmsphere Magic

One spell, Grinding Teeth of Gallet, with a casting value of 6 and a range of 12″. You pick an objective within range and then roll for each unit (friend or foe) within 6″ of the point (so anyone contesting it) and on a 4+ deal D6 mortals.

I don’t think this really gets there. The range is too short, and the damage is too variable. Consistency is key and while it might be worth trying to snipe a Galletian Champion, it’s not a guarantee you probably should rely on something more consistent. It also doesn’t scale well to large units (which is probably what you’d want to use this on). Just not a great spell overall.

Realm Command

The command ability, No Retreat, No Surrender is actually really good! It must be issued in the Combat phase to a unit that is not a Hero or Monster, and it cannot have charged this turn. That unit gains an extra attack but cannot pile-in. There’s a lot of tactical flexibility here, the most obvious is if you are already stuck in pretty good and don’t need to pile in. This makes it a no brainer, it’s just going to make you fight better. Grinder armies are going to appreciate this most of all because it is not unusual for them to get stuck in protracted fights where they’ve got themselves cozy and just need to kill the enemy first.

Another key use is when you just don’t want to pile in. There can be a few reasons for this, but generally it’s because there are other enemy units nearby that might get pulled in if you do, and you need to maximize the few models that can get into combat. Finally, there is fringe uses for when you can’t pile-in. The most obvious example is Nurgle, who can stop all pile-ins with Sloppity Bilepiper, and on the Wheel of Contagion. Well if you can’t pile in anyway, maximize the damage you’re able to do.

The fact you can’t use this ability on a charge limits much of its use to the later game, but it can make a crucial skirmish more in your favor, especially if you got charged and your opponent got too greedy piling in.

Core Battalions

Credit: Warhammer Community


Artefacts of Power

For the first time, the GHB grants 3 unique artefacts you can take in addition to your battletome and the core rules. In fitting with the theme, these are only for Galletian Champions and tends to favor skirmishing foot heroes who want to join in the fight.

Tuskhelm lets you roll dice equal to your charge roll and for each 4+ deal a mortal wound. For those getting clever ideas with a Tyrant, sorry, it specifically states if you have multiple similar abilities, you only pick one. Absolutely a solid pick on Heroes with bonuses to charge like Fyreslayers or Daughters of Khaine to soften up a unit before combat.

The Nightflayer Cloak is one of those things that may not be immediately useful to everyone, but in the niche that you need it can be game changing. It grants deep strike to a Champion, with the usual stipulations (more than 9″ from the enemy) but it has an odd quirk: You must deploy within 1″ of a friendly Battleline unit.

That drawback ends up making this work very differently that you might expect. While deep strike is generally seen as a way to get to the enemy where a footslogging hero might require additional movement phases to get there, locking this to a friendly battleline unit does limit placement, and means you won’t simply be able to deploy behind the enemy objectives, unless your unit also has its own means of tunnelling in. If it does, you’re in business. The real strength of this is that it allows the hero to be more unpredictable, if your opponent has Galletian Sharpshooters, you can put them off the board to keep them safe for a turn. You can then bring the Hero in where they would be most effective, whether that be joining in the fight or offering a buff aura to the battleline unit that needs it the most. By witholding this information from your opponent that will make them more cagey in how they choose to tackle your army.

It’s worth noting that the artefact says Battleline, and does not specify Sworn Bodyguards, which is a key distinction if your army has access to elite battleline.

The Gryph-feather Charm is the most boring but probably the easiest pick. Did you miss the 5+ Ward Amulet of Destiny? It’s back, in Charm form. Since it can only be taken by a foot hero and not, say, a Mawcrusha, it’s fine now. Good even, the default choice if you don’t have anything more pressing to take.

Aspects of the Champion

These are Unique Enhancements, not Command traits. You get one of these for free for one of your Galletian Champions, even if they’re your General. This means that there are powerful combos that can be netted with judicious use of Command Traits and Artefacts.

Tunneling Master – Basically a free once per game teleport with the usual 9″ from the enemy stipulation. This is arguably one of the best ones because foot Heroes often struggle to get where they need to go, whether because the route is blocked by infantry or just the slow plodding movement speed. If your opponent has to leave an objective undefended, pop up behind them and take it. Many missions this season give bonuses for having Galletian Champions contest an objective.

Fueled by Ghurish Rage – Once per game when the Galletian Champion die, they can survive on 3+ and gain D3 wounds back. A dicey choice but useful if your army is lacking for Galletian Champions and keeping the one you do have alive is too important.

Stubborn as a Rhinox – This Galletian champ counts as 10 models on the objective. Fantastic for shutting down those MSUs who might try and cramp your style. A powerful choice, especially for armies with few models.

Leadership of the Alpha – Once per game, the bearer can issue All Out Attack, All Out Defence, Rally or Redeploy to 3 units for one CP. Potentially a game changer during a major push, or to rally back after watching your units be decimated. Possibly the most powerful of the 4, with the right timing.

Credit: Richy P

Grand Strategies

Six grand strategies, with the first 3 returning from last season. Of course, book Strats are still open season.

Tame the Land – Capture all objectives wholly outside your territory. Like last season this is too volatile to rely on, depending on the mission that could be as few objectives as 2 and as many as 4. Youd basically need to control the board to such a degree you ran away with the victory anyway.

Defend What’s Ours – Keep enemies out of your territory. This one is dicey, with some missions (and opposing armies) it can be quite easy. If they have a teleport and the deployment is wide it can suddenly get very very difficult.

Take What’s Theirs – Was the “default” option for armies who had terrible Battle Tactics last season and I think it will retain that position, have more units in the enemy deployment than they do. You generally want to try to push up when possible and your opponent will need to do the same to capture objectives so you just need to make up for those that leave the safety of deployment, you don’t need to kill everything.

Stake a Claim – Have 3 Galletian Champions wholly within enemy territory. This is going to come down purely to whether or not you have the ability to field that many. Many armies cannot, and even if you field just 3, one dying can end it all. Probably too risky unless you somehow have like, 5 or 6.

Survivor’s Instinct – Your General (who must be a Galletian Champion) is contesting an objective wholly outside your territory. In past seasons this could be a bit of a trap, as some missions had battleplans where territory went up to the middle, and all objectives were in the center (i.e. partially within both players zones). There are no missions like that in this book, so your only task is to keep them alive and make sure they contest an appropriate objective at the end of the game. A fairly reliable option.

The Day Is Ours! – Have more Galletian Champions from your starting army than your opponent at the end of the game. Kind of unreliable unless you’re an army who can field a lot (say, Fyreslayers). Then this might be worth looking at.

Battle Tactics

Like the Grand Strats, half of these return from last season. Notably, the slam dunk Against the Odds is gone, which pretty much has stripped out the last of the “Do nothing” battle tactics. Players need to really push up to start scoring early on.

Gaining Momentum – A staple of last season and it’s good that it makes a return. Pick an enemy unit, destroy it and hold more objectives than them. That’s basically how the game works so it’s a reasonable expectation that you can complete this against a weak enough unit.

Eye for an Eye – Simple as could be, if you lost a unit last turn, kill one this turn. Unlike Gaining Momentum uou don’t need to nominate one, just do it.

Desecrate their Lands – Control a piece of terrain partially or wholly within enemy terrain. Either the easiest one in the book or impossible depending on deployment. For missions with large territories, this will be a solid opener, as there will often be a piece of terrain on the fringe the opponent can’t control on the first turn.

This One’s Mine! – You pick a unit and your General tries to finish them off. This likely will go up in value as the season shifts toward combat capable Galletian Champions that can chip down weaker units.

A Matter of Honour – Pick an enemy Galletian Champion or Bodyguard and destroy them with one of your own Champion or Bodyguard. Very similar to Head to Head from last season, for many armies this is reasonable and a matter of course for playing Age of Sigmar.

Lead the Assault – Control 2 objectives in enemy territory with Galletian Champs. It’s a touch confusing because it doesn’t clarify if it means partially or wholly, so I’m going to assume partially unless correct. Many missions won’t have objectives with a layout conducive to this and you need at least two Galletian Champs ready to go. If all of these factors line up, it’s likely part of what you’re trying to do anyway.

United Offence – Pick an objective your opponent controls and Control it with 2 or more Galletian Champions. Like Lead the Assault you need multiple Champions and be willing to push up with them. This is basically just more evidence you should pack more Champions if possible to snag lightly defended objectives.

Cunning Manoeuvre – Pick a Galletian Champion who is not in combat and capture an objective with them wholly outside your territory. In short, it’s encouraging you to grab lightly defended or undefended objectives, but you can’t get into combat to reduce the number of models on the point, at least not unless you can kill them. The opportunity to do this will likely come up often, as this is one of the easier tactics, and opponents should prepare their units in such a way to block this.

Credit: Evan “Felime” Siefring


The first 6, half of the total, of these missions return from last season unchanged. The good news is there seems to be some player feedback as the missions chosen were ones that tended to show up most often at events.  The other 6 missions are brand new and have stronger interplay with the Galletian Champions mechanic. We’ll cover all 12 anyway, to discuss if and how the missions work differently.

As always, unless stated otherwise every mission uses the “Score one, score two, score more” mechanic. For new players this means that you max out at three points per turn (plus 2-3 points depending on your battle tactic). One for one objective, one for a second and one if you have more than your opponent. This can sometimes mean you need as little as two points to max score, and shouldn’t stretch yourself too thin if it isn’t necessary. That said, board control can prevent your opponent from catching up as well.

Minor change I like, rather than listing the Battleplans as 1-12 like previous GHB, they now say Battleplan X/Table Y, meaning you don’t need to flip back to the table to figure out which one you rolled. Nice change.

The Prize of Gallet

5 Objectives, but all 5 start deactivated. Each turn the player going second “turns on” one of the objectives, and it remains active for the rest of the game. Probably my favorite Sigmar mission of all time, it brought a lot of strategy to the table in terms of whether going first or second was worth it.

Removal of proving grounds does change the mission a bit, as that did add an extra layer of difficulty for the player going first (As the player going second got to choose which was activated and make it only contestable by Galletian Veterans if they wished) but it retains the necessary strategy for players to keep proper board coverage.

The Realmstone Cache

One objective in the middle, which explodes on round 3 and the shards fire off in opposite directions, becoming the new objectives. Another fan favorite, the mission is deceptively complex, as both sides must commit forces in the center to get up in points early on, but make sure to keep enough back to capture objectives (and anticipate which direction they may travel) in the back half of the game.

Battlelines Drawn

Notable for being the only mission with no objectives, capturing board quarters instead. In a case of Games Workshop listening to player feedback, unlike last season there is no longer a stipulation against Teleports. Likely due to the Galletian Champion ability granting a teleport, and also that it unfairly maligned specific armies who relies on teleportation, especially Sylvaneth.

The Lurkers Below

3 objectives, capture all 3 to win the game. The trick is you must start with your own objective, then capture the center, then finally your opponent’s.

Games Workshop has an obsession with making instant win missions happen. I don’t really understand why and will continue to not understand why. Few like them, and they tank tournament scoring (if you win too fast, that means battle tactics are left on the table, incentivizing drawing it out instead to maximize scoring). I would have preferred Close to the Chest to come back instead.

In the Presence of Idols

3 objectives, each player picks 3 units out of their army to be “idols”. If a unit fails a battleshock test wholly within 6″ of an idol, you only lose half the number of models. If an idol kills an idol, you get an extra point.

The missions good, gives a lot of play options for how to choose your idols. Do you choose your biggest threats to try and score off your opponent, or the stuff in the back to protect yourself? Do you give it to your big Monster, or the unit who is most likely to suffer a large battleshock test so they can benefit themselves?

Interestingly, this does not include the errata that had to be included from last season, that Kroak and The Krondspine cannot be chosen as Idols, since they can kill other idols, but they themselves can’t be killed. Their mechanic is ultimately what kills them, not the attacking unit. This will likely be fixed pretty quick but if you wanna cheese it for the first 2 weeks go for it.

The Nidus Paths

Last returning mission. An interesting mission with 4 objectives and wide corner deployments. This makes both players need to start far from each other and foot slogging armies will sometimes take a moment to get into combat.

What assists with this is the corner teleports, a single unit that ends its movement within 6″ of a corner can choose to teleport to the other side as long as they can appear more than 9″ from the enemy. This potentially gives you an opening to Nothing Personal Kid into your enemy’s back line, but realistically your opponent will keep some chaff or an artillery unit back there to keep you from doing it (and so should you!). The other corners have some potential uses if you need to move to the other side quickly, if the battle isn’t going in your favor on one side and needs reinforcements.

Only the Worthy

First of the new missions, 4 objectives and Galletian Champions get Objective Secured from 40k, which means that if there are any Galletian Champions contesting an objective, only they count towards contesting the objective.

This naturally does favor armies with more Galletian Champions, but not exactly how you’d think. Only one Galletian Champion from the same army can contest an objective, which means stacking multiple on top of one objective is (largely) useless. It does give you more board control, and redundancy in case one gets shot up. If your opponent attempts to ride up with their own Galletian Champion, they’re going to need to kill yours or somehow push them off to take it.

Path of the Champion

This ones uh…this one’s big. 4 objectives and if a Galletian Champion is contesting an objective wholly outside your territory at the start of your turn, you can (but do not have to) pick 2 battle tactics that turn.

Capturing an objective outside your deployment is easy, you likely will just be doing that over the course of play. However contesting is something else, if you can afford to keep a hero back you absolutely need to. The chance to double your scoring on battle tactics  each round is massive and if you don’t do this you will fall behind in points very quickly. For armies that don’t have this option, they will need to play more defensively to keep their opponent from scoring off of them.

While I like the idea, it might be a bit too cruel to armies lacking in a ton of Galletian champions, especially disposable ones to hang back and sit on points.

The Jaws of Gallet

Remember the first season of 3.0, when you got to pick an objective on turn 3 to remove? What if we supercharged that? 5 objectives and each round after the first, the second player must pick an objective to be removed. I expect big things from this one, the interplay between going first or second is going to be huge, and the battlefield will shift as the player who loses priority is forced into difficult situations.

Ours for the Taking

Not really a gimmick to this one except for the scoring. 3 objectives in a diagonal line, one on the edge of each player’s deployment and a center objective. Your own objective is worth one, your opponent’s is worth 2 and the center is worth 1 (2 if you have a Galletian Champion contesting).

It’s fairly basic but favors being aggressive to snag opponent’s objectives, and risks putting your precious Galletian Champion front and center.

Twists and Turns

This is a wild one. Three objectives diagonally down the middle, all objectives start Active. At the end of each player’s turn, the player who’s turn just finished up rolls for each active objective they control and on a 3 or less it becomes Inactive and cannot be scored. On future turns, the other player also rolls to try and turn inactive objectives active again on a 4+ (3+ if a Galletian Champion is contesting it).

I like the idea, it could potentially turn capturing too many objectives against the player as they become inactive. The randomness probably will make it too volatile for competitive play, however.

Position over Power

A neat, quaint idea to round out the missions. There are 2 objectives in the center of the board, one in each player’s deployment, and then 2 “flank objectives” that are worth a bonus point if a Galletian Champion contests them. The Flank objectives go away at the top of round 4, making it essential to move toward the edges early to rack up points and then brawl in the center to finish the game off.

Endless Spells

To cap this all off for the sake of completeness, the generic Endless Spells return here. While it is not in the book, the FAQ released today does include a change to Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws that clarifies damage rounds up if necessary (such as if a halve-movement ability created a fraction for movement) but functionally it doesn’t change.

Endless spells are finally in a pretty good place. Other than the deluge of samey mortal wound spells (which aren’t going away) there are enough that occupy important niches as silver bullets against certain lists. They did see some point changes, which we will discuss in the battlescroll review.


I’m well and truly excited for this General’s Handbook. It’s probably the most aggressive change with the system that we’ve seen. As players get more comfortable with AoS it’s become possible to get more experimental with mechanics. This also attempts to create an environment where foot heroes can succeed, which has been a bit of a shortcoming for AoS for a while. It’s going to be exciting to see how it pans out.