Age of Sigmar 3 Launch FAQs Hot Take: Ossiarch Bonereapers

Credit: Robert "TheChirurgeon" Jones

GW released a bombshell of new FAQs today, covering errata for the core book and lengthy FAQs for each faction. And as always, we’ve got you covered with the rundown of what’s changed and what it means for your games. In this series of Hot Take articles, we’ll be covering the changes and our initial reactions to them but for more detailed analysis, check back over the next two weeks as we dive deeper into how these changes affect the game and its factions.

 

So this… isn’t a good day for the Ossiarch legions, I’ll just get that out of the way right now. A few things have changed and tightened up, but you’re looking at an army that is much, much worse off, relative to other armies, than it was six months ago.

The Good

  • If you go first in a round, gain a Relentless Discipline Point. If you go second, gain two! Yay! You’re gonna need it when we get to the ugly part, but honestly this is a nice treat. It also allows people to worry less about farming those points and lets you lean into other interesting builds.
  • Petrifex got unnerfed! Sorta. Instead of the original +1 save, or the later re-roll 1s to save, you now reduce enemy Rend by -1. This is probably the best of all worlds, and combined with Mystic Shield and their Bludgeon Command Ability I think you’re going to see more Petrifex on the table than anything else this edition.
  • Katakros, Nagash and Arkhan are all Warmaster now, which mostly only affects Katakros because you can now take a generic general and still use Supreme Lord of the Bonereaper Legions, which requires Katakros to be your general.
  • A bunch of rules got tightened up. 
    • Zandtos’ Command Ability now stipulates an end condition (that phase). Rules as written previously an affected unit would have that bonus for the rest of the game, which was clearly absurd.
    • Entirely missed by everyone, there was a contradiction which meant that, depending on which page you read, Ossiarch endless spells could only be cast by Mortisan Wizards, of which Arkhan and Nagash aren’t one. They now can according to every part of our rules. Hooray! Edge case dependent on a jerk TO, probably, but still tightened up.
    • Kavalos Deathriders can’t Deathrider Wedge more than once per turn, which no one was doing anyway.
  • Endless spells got fixed! There was a lot of stress that everyone else was basically getting the Soul-linked rule but without the -1 to cast, but now we have Bonded, which basically means that the Ossiarch player always retains control of the spell, unless the summoner dies, in which case it disappears; no wild spells here.
  • On the topic of endless spells, the Nightmare Predator is really good right now you guys. Potentially doing 2d6 mortal wounds to an enemy hero with Nightmare Predator is something that should honestly scare your opponent. Also, it’s the cheapest endless spell? Am I missing something here?

The Bad

  • Bone-tithe Nexus got a whole scroll rewrite. The big change here is that it has to be set up wholly within your territory and more than 3” from objectives and other terrain. If you can’t do this, you can move a piece of terrain. Firstly, check with your Tournament Organiser to make sure they’re allowing you to mess with their preset boards, but secondly this is Not Good for Punishment of Agony and Punishment of Lethargy, both of which require a target wholly within 18”. Given this model’s sheer footprint, there may also be objective heavy scenarios where you just don’t have space to place it. At least this way you can avoid having your terrain piece murdered by a giant turn one?
  • Nagash can’t cast Mystic Shield multiple times anymore, only Arcane Bolt. This is probably a fair balance, since he could give +1 save to most of an army, but on the other hand the God of Death is, and I must stress this, almost a thousand points. Would multiple Mystic Shields really have made him overpowered?! No. The answer is no.
  • Soulstealer Carrion’s casting value went up to 7 from 6 for some reason and is still garbage.
  • Bone-tithe Shrieker doesn’t lower your opponent’s bravery, but does prevent them from using Inspiring Presence or Rally. Sidegrade, maybe? Also, this ability cannot affect Ossiarch Bonereapers units which… already couldn’t use those abilities. Hrm.

The Ugly

  • This is it. The big one. Ossiarch Bonereapers, confirmed here in black and white, cannot use any of the new Command abilities. Not being able to use Command Abilities wasn’t a huge deal in 2nd edition, but no All-out Attack, All-out Defence, Redeploy, Expert, Slayers or Swift really, really hurts when everyone else is getting a huge upswing. Sure, we’re technically better off than last edition, but everyone else is a *lot* better. For all the talk of interactivity in both players’ turn, OBR get nothing.
  • There’s nothing here to allow us to use a Command Ability more than once. OBR armies often lived and died on stacking Command Abilities, so I’ll call out some of the major ones here:
    • One unit per turn can use Unstoppable Advance. We’re slow, and we just got slower.
    • Only one Mortek Guard unit can use Shieldwall. Multiple resilient blocks of Mortek Guard are now a thing of the past, regardless of the changes to Mystic Shield, which were often replicated by Katakros anyway.
    • No multiple units getting Endless Duty. Goodbye, both Catapults and a unit in combat all getting an extra attack
    • Just generally you’re likely looking at major changes to how you use RDP, because without the ability to use them more than once per phase you may very well have more than you know what to do with now.
    • You know how you used to use Endless Duty and Shield Wall on the same unit, maybe buffed by Still Their Breath? No longer. Don’t worry, it was only what your whole book was based around!

 

Just from raw wordcount there’s a lot more good here than bad or ugly, but that hides the true pain the Ossiarch legions are facing in third. We’ll go into this in more detail in our upcoming faction focus series, but OBR’s entire thing was command ability shenanigans. Ripping that away guts the way the book plays, and it does’t leave OBR with a new thing to replace it. Yes, no one else can stack command abilities, but everyone else gains new ones, and no one else was really based around that as the core of their book.

Look. Third edition Age of Sigmar is going to be a great game, and it’s a hell of a lot tighter ruleset than it was before. Ossiarch Bonereapers aren’t in a fantastic spot, which probably makes some other armies pretty happy, but I don’t see them climbing out of it on the back of their rules until we get a second Battletome. But, hey, at least we aren’t Slannesh players, right?