Age of Sigmar Fourth Edition Explained – April 22th

Age of Sigmar fourth edition will be here sooner than you think, and until then, every week Andrew “Marchettus” Brennen will be summarizing, categorizing, and interpreting all the little bits and pieces of information that come out before the new edition itself drops.

The Models

It seems like we’re getting a kit a week for now and “Model Monday” leaves us with a slower roll out compared to other recent editions. The next really big official Games Workshop event is going to be the US Open in Dallas and it will be interesting to see if we continue to receive a drip of models until this event.

This week we saw the Reclusians and the Memorians that accompany them into battle. They look great and are the stormcast cover art for this edition similar to have Annihilators defined the last edition. The Reclusian looks sharp and clean and I don’t know if I’ve seen an option without a metal head yet.

Credit – Games Workshop


We’re getting to the point with indexing where we might be setting up faction articles with what we “know” vs. putting out the tidbits into the world. As rules are being released more and more factions are being used as an example for what interactions will look like.


We’ve seen Liberators, who are set up to hold objectives and gain control for doing so. Now, we’ve seen the updated Vindictors warscroll, who are clearly an anti-charge unit with multiple abilities (Anti-charge (+1 Rend) and a hold the shield wall ability. Interestingly enough the ability doesn’t have a declare step – only an effect.


We saw our favorite 5 wound models, Kroxigors, get another wound and they look to be a powerhouse against hordes of lightly armored opponents with the Brutal Blows.


Based on the first warscroll we saw for Khorne they still have blood tithe points and hate wizards.


credit – Games Workshop

  • We saw a warscroll for Weirdnob Shaman (below) that only had the Ironjawz keyword indicating that the Kruleboyz and Ironjawz may truly be split into new books. There has been some doomsaying that between the removal of Bonesplitters and the lack of Orruk keywords that Big Waagh! might not be part of the next edition. However, during the release video at Adepticon it was revealed that the Armies of Renown from the Dawnbringers would be brought into fourth edition. As always, paint your unfinished models prior to succumbing to panic.
  • We also saw “Mighty ‘eadbutt” with the familiar Declare Step that includes picking a target and rolling the casting roll. If successful, you’re able to inflict D3 mortal damage. Or 3 mortal damage if the target is a wizard.
  • We received a preview of the Shield Bash ability. This ability currently occurs after this unit fights and all of its attacks have been resolved and requires you to pick an enemy within 1″ and roll a dice for each model within 1″. For each 6+ you do a mortal wound. Now, Declare: Pick an enemy unit in combat with this unit and that charged this turn to be the target. Effect: Make a shield bash roll of D6 for each mode in this unit and on a 6+ inflict 1 mortal damage on the target.
    • This requires much less fiddly measurement and screams “PLEASE PUT ME IN FRONT TO BE CHARGED BOSS”. No word yet if you can improve the shield bash roll.

Daughters of Khaine

The crystal touch ability for Blood sisters was highlighted and now provides a strike-last effect until the end of the turn if a dice roll exceeds the targets Health characteristic. This is an ability that has gone through multiple changes. In the second edition book at the end of the combat phase you could pick a unit within 1″ and do a mortal wound for each model in this unit on a 3+. This was significantly ungraded in the in the third edition to take place after the unit has fought you could pick a unit within 1″ and do a mortal wound for each model in this unit on a 2+.

The Rules

This was a big week for discussing rules but in both cases the answers just lead to more questions. The changes to pile-in moves, coherency, and the turn order in the fight phase are going to have a big impact in the game.

Coherency – Each model must be within 1/2″ an inch of another model. If your unit has 7 or model models you must be in coherency of two models. Finally, you can’t pull models out of coherency.

Pulling models out of coherency is a key part of the third edition of Age of Sigmar. This can occur for a unit in combat that will pile-in into coherency, but also led to some extremely janky situations when a unit would be used as a screen. Without looking the full rules there are some potential situations where a unit could be placed in a formation that wouldn’t allow any models to be pulled. I’m sure the full core rules will reward such counterintuitive behavior.

Pile-in moves are having the biggest change. Per 12.2 Pile-in rules must be made on a model by model basis towards the closest unit. This allows technics like corner tagging, where you charge in with units at the edge of an opponents formation and prevent them from piling in on either side, that are part of the skill expression in the game. Going forward, pile-in moves moves will pick a target where each model in your unit can move but be no further from the target. Additionally, you must be in combat with every unit that you started with. With the addition of every model having 3″ reach the way you will position units is going to significantly change.

The fight phase is now structured to have all of the active player use abilities, allow the other player to use abilities, and then have alternating fights. While it is too early to tell many of the abilities that we’ve seen previewed have an impact on the order of fighting.

Spells and Prayers were also previewed. As many suspected after reading the Nagash warscroll the little (9) near his name indicated that he was able to cast or unbind 9 spells in a turn. This number also applies to priests so I’m very excited to see how many prayers the dog-faced gremlin herself, Pontifex Zenestra, is able to bring to bear in a turn.

Prayers and priests have always felt like they have short shrift in Age of Sigmar. Priests are really just “different wizards” and haven’t had the same level of attention and interactivity that casting and unbinding spells presents. Priests will now make a chanting role and build up “ritual points” that can be banked over the course of several turns. Once you’ve gained enough points you can chant the prayer. But wait – if you gain even more chanting points you’ll be able to have an additional effect. Finally, if you roll a 1 you’ll lose ritual points. This sounds great and hopefully there will be more priests on the table.

More importantly, wizards can now attempt to banish an invocation. Many of the invocations that pop up have a big impact on the game and were just unable to be interacted with or removed. Unlike endless spells killing the priest that summoned them did very little and there wasn’t another way (without a priest) to remove them.

Finally, each endless spells and invocations are now “free” in that you can pick a manifestation lore. Hopefully there will be a few more boxes of Maligned Sorcery and Forbidden Power sold as well as faction manifestations in the near future.

Credit: Games Workshop

The Lore

In building model airplanes there are two types of people: Those that move them around and make engine noises, and liars. It is pretty safe to say that if you have miniatures around you appreciate them as aesthetic works of miniature art. Also, we are playing dolls with more steps. The duality of this experience extends to the lore we learned this week.

Option 1:

Brave Stormcast warriors, each a hero who protected humanity prior to death, have been forged by the God-King Sigmar to deliver a sliver of light and open the door of hope a crack and serve as a rallying cry for all the good peoples of the mortal realms. Each Stormcast doesn’t just sacrifice once for those they love, but may times over for the sake of future. The Reclusians of the Ruination Chamber have given so much that they slowly lose the  connecting threads to the very humanity that gave them the strength and that first drew Sigmar’s eye. A treasured memory of a grandparent here, watching a cousin play without the threat of Chaos, the sweet taste of a fruit at the harvest festival one by one these memories are stripped. The Reclusians are so to losing sight of why they fight that mortal priests, the Memorians, accompany them into battle to make sure the few remaining strings keeping them connected to this world are strong enough to hold them safe till they return to Ayzr.

Option 2:

Grandma is sundowning and is trying to leave the house to kill rats she thinks she hears. I CAN’T go to the Slipknot concert because it’s my turn to watch her.

Warhammer is at its best when the models, rules, and lore line up and produce something that is cohesive. Having an in-game model represent the lost humanity helps bring ideas that are informing choices and hopefully the rules incorporate how the narrative team things a Stormcast would act without having lost more humanity. I’m sure that this has been explained in books or stories that I haven’t read but allowing the leap to the table and rules is really excited. It’s would also nice to see that the impact of the Stormcast being reforged is more than “They get mean and stern.”

What To Do

It’s getting harder to say, “just paint up what you have already” and telling people to not worry about the rules. This last week is the first time I’d recommend looking at picking up the endless spell boxes if you’re a current Age of Sigmar player who doesn’t have them. They’re likely out of stock but I know I picked up my boxes at the start of third edition so it is possible they could arrive in the next couple of months. I’m personally focused on painting a few of my Kruleboyz, the Murknob, the Killa-bow, and the Mirebrute Troggoth, that received the “built and primed” treatment but never got that final paint job for an event.

I’d also like to acknowledge a positive trend that I hope Games Workshop continues in recognizing and humanizing the people who create Warhammer. The company has been doing a better job in letting people who are passionate about the game, models, and lore speak directly on channels about those subjects and I hope this trend of credit continues. Showing us names and roles, even in the contrived interview segments, makes for a better experience compared and properly credits those who are doing labor compared to the thematically correct unnamed council of 13 Skaven-style system that was used before.  Now, between talking about the lore, updates on the balance patches, and discussing the models Games Workshop is doing much better in getting people who are passionate and knowledgeable to share what they have done. I’ve never been a part of a good organization that didn’t have the ability to celebrate people that outgrew it, and Games Workshop should be celebrating when presenters like Duncan Rhodes or Louise Sugden are embraced by fans and able to start projects outside of the Games Workshop system. Ideally this circle of recognition would continue to expand so that the rules books themselves and the drawings and photographs in them are properly credited to those who put passion into creating them.

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