Age of Sigmar FAQ Hot Take: Core Rules

It’s here! At midnight tonight we will officially be in the third edition of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. Just a few hours ahead of release, Games Workshop launched a series of FAQs for every faction to help bring them up to code with the new edition’s vocabulary and rule expectations. Surprisingly this has also come with one for the core rules. Yeah the brand new ones.

You can get the core rules for free on Warhammer Community, and for the most part these aren’t changes so much as clarifications. Most of the FAQs Games Workshop did promise the most comprehensive ruleset yet but no ruleset can cover every possible convergence of warscrolls and rules and explanations for edge cases become needed in a way that is separate from the core rules so that the explanation doesn’t become too bogged down in minutiae that will only apply to a small percentage of players. This is particularly compounded when the vast majority of army rulebooks were written before this ruleset was even a twinkle in Games Workshop’s eye.

I’m not going to cover every rule here, There’s a lot that happened and you can read them yourself if you need to know everything. Instead I want to focus on the ones that are interesting and pose particular challenges or changes to the way the game is played.

A potentially controversial is going to be the one regarding proxies. Proxies have always been a sort of Gentleman’s agreement, if your opponent says it’s ok then it’s ok. Usually tournaments take stricter stances on it, but when in doubt check your TO. Games Workshop has tried to take a more firm stance on proxies and kitbashes in recent years and it’s fanned quite a few flames from the community. One of the particular issues that I think will come up is how paint schemes are being filed under “proxy models”. For example a Hammers of Sigmar army painted like Hallowed Knights would not be allowed. Realistically this will probably only end up applying to official GW tournaments and is worth its own editorial but it seems a bit unnecessary to police this. Age of Sigmar color schemes don’t have the same cultural cache as say, Space Marine chapters which are very iconic. You also can’t mix subfactions in most cases, so the risk of confusing your opponent seems pretty minimal. I’m not going to dwell on it too much, I don’t think it’ll affect most players because GW can’t tell you how to play casually.

There are some interesting rules written around the idea of multiple Generals. In many of the Battletome FAQs, a new ability was added to some Warscrolls called Warmaster which allows the Leader to count as a General even if they are not the one the player chose. While not an entirely new idea, it was usually locked behind specific rules like Slaanesh and has steadily trickled in to various books like the Nighthaunt Subfactions in Broken Realms: Be’lakor. There’s 2 important rules here, both beneficial to the player running it. First is that battleline determined by your General counts even if the Warmaster isn’t your “main” general and if your “main” general dies you still gets 2+ to generate a CP from a heroic actions. Though it’s not all great, you still only generate one CP for your General being on the field.

A rules question that plagued 2nd edition has finally been answered in the form of outflanks. Abilities that let units come in wholly within 6″ of the edge of the field, a gray area had been if it counts as “within” if an objective is exactly 12″ from the edge of the board if theyre within (due to the 6″ capture range) and they are! This is huge for armies that rely on outflanks, as they can snap up an objective left open on the turn they come in without needing to move up first.

Yndrasta, the Celestial Spear
Yndrasta, the Celestial Spear. Credit: Jack Hunter

There’s a sidebar that tries to collect all the rules you’d need to know to make “older” command abilities (i.e. any written before this edition) make sense. Most are pretty clear and it’s simple enough to work out enough that you need to do to follow the rules now. Most of the confusion was going to be centered around the fact that a unit can only issue and be issued a command ability once per phase. What is issuing a command? What is receiving one? The number one question for me has been how Aura’s work, such as Katakros’ Supreme Lord of the Ossiarch Bonereapers which gives buffs to all units within 18″ or 36″ depending on his health. Do the units that are buffed count as receiving a command ability? The answer is no. Katakros is the one both issuing it and receiving it, everyone else just benefits and can still issue and receive orders. Which is good, it takes a lot of the fear out of using Aura command abilities lest you accidentally buff a unit you didn’t want to.

The other interesting quirk is how faction command abilities work. Unit Champions can now issue orders but it’s clear now the intention was to limit it to the new generic ones, subfaction traits are specifically called out to being Hero only, so you still need to do some level of babysitting if your list relies on those abilities. Otherwise, follow the rules as written in the core rules and you’re good to go.

A new mechanic which wasn’t announced in the core rules but has been added to a lot of factions FAQs is Coalitions which work similarly to allies but are legally distinct. We’ve seen these before, though they weren’t called that. Stormcast and Cities of Sigmar adding 1 in 4 units to their list from another army that fit their flavor, now these have a name. They don’t count against your ally limit, and in many cases function as part of your army. For example they do count as battleline (Edit: Clarification, this isn’t the case in the 2021 General’s Handbook which is what most player’s are actually going to use). This seriously helps clean up the mono-god lists for Chaos, because it could be confusing for new players to be told they could take Chaos Warriors (With the approriate mark) despite those not being in the book. Even better, coalition battleline count as battleline for purposes of your requirements and allies & coalitions can be added to Battalions unless your battlepack says you can’t which will make them a more promising proposition

Wards are a new term for 3.0, often called Feel No Pain (FNP) or Damage Prevention Roll (DPR) by the player base they finally got an official name. There are some funky ones that don’t fit squarely into the “cancels a wound on a certain die roll” such as ones that only block mortal wounds (or only normal wounds) or more complicated ones like Nagash or Archaon who kick them back when rolling a 6+ but otherwise negate them as usual. The FAQ upholds these, and while many warscrolls will likely be written to specifically state they have a “Ward”, for now you just keep the writing as it is.

Most of the other stuff is more technical rules stuff but a few remaining neat things. You can’t pile-in and attack more than 3″ from an enemy if you’re not in combat unless it says otherwise (securing the Deadwalker Zombies working as intended). Models that were killed and came back as part of regenerative spells and the like still count against battleshock, and enemies killed by battleshock count as slain.

One last amusing thing I did catch a bit later upon rereading the rules, there was nothing telling you you couldnt take a generic Artefact more than once! I assumed that was the case as it’s a legacy mechanic at this point, but it’s been confirmed that is the intention so no doubling up on Ward amulets. Sorry.

Overall the intent seems mostly fixed on “Getting you started” on 3.0. A lot of outdated terminology or mechanics don’t work anymore so GW is just focused on making sure the game functions with the units you have. Balance changes will come later, even if there are going to be inevitable rises and falls just from mechanics changing around them. The fact most of this is just really technical high level stuff is encouraging, it seems to imply that these rules really are clear and functional in a way they weren’t in the past, and that’s great.

Any rules in particular caught your eye for good or for ill? Let us know in the comments below or email us at