Age of Sigmar Fourth Edition Explained – May 13th

Games Workshop confirmed what we suspected: That Dallas will mark the big reveal of the new launch box. There should be a few key models but I’m most looking forward to seeing what is being previewed for Spearhead. We know that this is going to be the first chance for the general public to check out Spearhead and look for our impressions of the event soon after.

What We Learned – The Models

This week continues with a single unit being shown, the warplock jezzail. I think it looks fine and continues the trend we’ve seen with the Skaven’s new units being updates to classic models without being a full reimagining. This was a unit that was originally shown to have been removed, but like the Clanrats this appears to be a 1:1 update to an ancient kit that doesn’t require the older models to be thrown out completely. The current jezzail is so old that Games Workshop helpfully points out that they they are resin models with rectangular bases.

Credit – Games Workshop

From what we’ve seen between Stormcast and Skaven I get the sense that they’ve been holding something back on the Skaven side that hopefully they will release soon. All of the models we’ve seen for Skaven have been completely fine updates that aren’t needle movers and my hope is they take some big swings with some of the remaining kits. Skaven is the kind of army that can really have some panache and from what we’ve seen released they have been lacking that extra, “Oh that’s dumb as hell” that compels players to push the big red button. So far Stormcast, with the Reclusions and the Memorians, have embodied the spirit of excess that I associate with the best Age of Sigmar Models.

With all that being said I’m fully prepared to have this look dumb when we get the revel of the rats riding rats shown in the opening cinematic later this week.

What We Learned – Indexing

Basically nothing. An ability on the jezzail, but not the entire jezzail warscroll, was shown. If a jezzail doesn’t use a move ability in your phase it gets +1 to hit. It’s a choice to have this ability active only in one part of your turn. Additionally, the “not use a move ability and not set up” language is a cleaner way of wording this compared to third where we were plagued by Irondrakes hopping over a bridge and getting extra shots in the beginning of the edition. I’ll admit I’m not above using some extremely cheeky garrison interactions to maximize the range of my Boltboyz.

Credit – Games Workshop

However, it makes one ask why move is a keyword while setup isn’t. Most armies in third edition had the ability to setup units, and nearly everyone had the ability to interact with garrisons.

What We Learned – The Rules

Speaking of garrisons and other terrain rules, we saw some more information on how terrain is going to act in the new edition. We already learned that faction terrain has health and is going to be attacked and destroyed. Now, we’re getting some more details on how other terrain works. Some of what we learned was:

  • Units can no longer finish a move mid-climb
  • Units must count any vertical distance over 1″ as part of the movement
  • Units can hide from another unit blocking line of sight.

A lot of these terrain rules are aimed at taking away the extremely fiddly interactions that units had in regards to terrain. The “climbing up terrain” interaction was always an extremely weird interaction that led to lots of issues in practice such as forgetting models and trying to measure out spheres radiating from a piece of terrain from a circular base.

It appears like the flavor of the terrain is going to come from a set of universal terrain abilities and not the mysterious terrain rolls. Mysterious terrain has always been a weakness in the Age of Sigmar rules because it did nothing (sinister or inspiring) or had a disproportional effect one certain armies (Slaanesh LOVED damned terrain). Remembering to roll a deadly check after moving just wasn’t fun.

Credit – Games Workshop

Some highlights:

  • Those tracking save stacking will have noticed that cover now reduces hit rolls by one instead of adding to a save.
  • “Place of Power” is a neat ability that can be used to negate the -1 to cast you get for casting on your own turn.
  • Obscuring only impacts shooting for non-flying units. I wonder what the core rules will say about determining visibility. At Adepticon the rules writers talked about how they looked at every single unit and its profile when writing the new warscrolls. There are A LOT of units that are going to be completely hidden except for a single banner.
  • Obscuring now only impacts shooting, and doesn’t hamper visibility for spell casting.
  • Unstable is a keyword that is going to do a lot of work and having it separate from Impassable is going to allow for some interesting interactions. There will be standoffs around Unstable terrain where a smaller unit is able to charge/pick a fight while the larger unit is completely unable to engage in the fight.

Another detail is that there will be a citadel terrain list that will list out what features have abilities such as obscuring and cover. Games Workshop has released A LOT of terrain specifically for Age of Sigmar and included features in adjacent games like Warcry. From a matched play and event perspective, I think it’s unreasonable to expect the vast majority of events to have all GW terrain boards. However, I hope that the community will try the default maps out and see how they work before putting out custom rules.

Line-of-sight blocking combat range seems like it will have a big effect on the game and positioning around terrain. Thankfully, as far as we know the pile-in rules prevent you from moving into combat range with new units, a lot of the superjank we are use to in third edition won’t be following us in this edition. We’re looking forward to the new flavors of superjank that involve spirited debates about what it means for a unit to “not have any room” and “being visible”. After modeling out a few scenarios over the weekend the simplest thing is going to be making terrain Unstable to avoid the possibility of a setup in a weird place.

What We Learned – The Lore

Not much despite having a post dedicated to lore on Friday. With a sixth Dawnbringers book providing the majority of the setup for the next edition still on the way I’d expect to see something before the end of the edition that sets up where all these rats came from.

What Needs to Be Done

This is a good week to play a game of third edition – why not? Model announcement weeks are always fun and we look forward to seeing and talking about Age of Sigmar next week.

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