Age of Sigmar May 2023 FAQs – The Goonhammer Hot Take

Games Workshop dropped some surprise FAQs for recent books today, some of the changes being very interesting. Khorne and Slaanesh already got some quick FAQs within the week they came out but a few more expansions hit today as well. Kharadron Overlords finally got a book and some very surprise changes to the General’s Handbook are about to redefine matched play forever.

Blades of Khorne

Let’s get the least exciting out of the way. Khorne already got a quick FAQ shortly after release but it didn’t have too much of interest. Unfortunately this isn’t going much, the book is pretty clear in its intent.

The stuff that does matter mostly involves dogs. Karanak can summon a unit of flesh hounds, and breaks the usual “outside of 9″ of enemy units” convention of such an ability. In case you weren’t sure, yes he can spawn them directly into combat with a unit. Great way to shut down Unleash Hell before your Bloodthirster charges in!

For Magore’s Fiends, they can summon a Flesh Hound to help them out. What wasn’t clear was if this could be a Gore Hound, the unit’s champion. This actually mattered because in addition to the extra attack most unit Champions have, he has a ranged attack the rest of the Flesh Hounds don’t. Well sad to say you cannot, ah well.

The rest is a lot of bookkeeping. Bloodthirsters forgot their “Single” identifier, but you probably weren’t reinforcing these guys, right? There also is an expansion to the restrictions in the Slaves to Darkness units. In addition to Tzeentch and Mark of Chaos you already couldn’t take, they forgot to consider Khorne units (because the Slaughterbrute exists). So that was pinned there just for his sake. If you want to bring him, use the coalition rule instead.

Hedonites of Slaanesh

A fair amount of new stuff here, actually. First, Phantasmagoria is classified as a simultaneous effect with attacking and piling in. This means that the spells usefulness will vary wildly depending on who’s turn it is. Whoever’s turn it is gets to decide what order simultaneous effects occur, so if its the Slaanesh player’s turn they can choose to retreat before the pile in (and fighting) occurs, while the opponent will want to pile in and fight before the retreat happens (if theres anything left standing).

Next, Figureheads of the Dark Prince, the Invaders battle trait, lets you do another heroic action on a 2+. There is a good argument you could chain it between multiple heroes, since it didn’t say you could only do it once. GW has confirmed you cannot do this, however. Fair. Two Asterisks were added to the heroic action of Invaders as well: First, if you do use this ability more than once per turn, you cannot double up on command traits, and you cannot use it as a back door to hand out a command trait to a Unique Hero. Sorry Siggy.

The final battle trait is the almighty Temptation Dice which actually did not say the die is spent if the opponent refuses the offer. While most likely read the intent pretty clearly (they wouldn’t give out D3 mortals for free, surely?), fair enough to clarify.

Onto the units. The Herald on a Hellflayer had a bit of a confusing ability. All Heralds can do D3 mortals on a 4+, which also grants them an extra attack for each 4+. However the Hellflayer has ability to turn it into a 3+ for all heralds within 12″. What wasn’t clear is if they still get +1 attack on a 3+, which they do not. This is probably the most accurate literal reading of the rules and I could have agreed either way on it, just making it a 3+ might have been faster, but it’s not a catastrophic choice either.

Some quick errata for the Lord of Hubris. First, if you attempt to stack the ability multiple times with 2 or more Lords of Hubris, the latter takes effect. The point of this is to make it so the enemy unit cannot be stuck in a paradox where they are forced to attack two separate units and cannot do so (since attacking one would mean not attacking the other). The other change is that the this only applies if the model is within 3″ of the enemy unit, so they cannot say, use Phantasmagoria to duck out, leaving the enemy unit stuck in the wind with no way to fight. In essence these changes make the unit work like how it’s supposed to, with fewer exploits to cause a Negative Play Experience.

Kharadron Overlords

The bulk of the article, as this is their first time FAQ, so there is a lot to cover.

Let’s focus on Transport Vessels, everyone’s favorite rules nightmare (although it’s still not as bad as before), as it’s going to make up the bulk of things. The basic jist of all of these rulings is how the stuff inside is affected. As the only army with a Transport mechanic, it works a bit oddly with several game mechanics otherwise taken for granted.

The overriding thesis in most of the FAQ is that the transport and all units inside are treated as the same for the purposes of movement, that was stated in the Battle Traits section of the book and is used to drive a lot of these rules choices. If a Transport charges, the models inside count as having charged. If the transport retreats, the models inside can’t shoot because they also retreated. Same for Teleports, Redeploying and Unleash Hell, etc. The only change the FAQ actually makes is that after a charge, the Vessel, the units inside and any that disembark as a result of the charge still count as having charged, so they can all potentially be targets of Unleash Hell.

Mostly, this is understandable and intuitive, but there’s a few outliers. One decision made with the Tuskhelm is that if a Hero wearing it is in a boat, he does not get to do Mortal Wounds. Other than the idea frankly being silly, I’m not sure I agree with their logic here that a charge roll wasn’t made for that unit, as that isn’t what the artefact is asking for. But it’s what the rules say. Another more reasonable one is that if a unit teleports (whether he has Tunnel Master or Grapnel Launcher) they can use these to get off the boat if they need to, though any movement restrictions that might be imposed by the boat moving still apply.

Other than that we got some odds and ends. The Spell in a Bottle doesn’t give you the actual spell to cast the endless spell, so you can’t get a free endless spell and ally in a Wizard (or use an Arcane Tome) to cast it once it’s gone. Nice try though. Grundstokk Thunderers Choking Fug ability can be applied multiple times if you have multiple units in combat, since nothing says they can’t. Multiple Aether-Khemist cannot apply their -1 Rend to one unit thanks to a new errata, which is honestly probably fair. Finally, Skywardens Demolition charges did not specify they could not be embarked, which led to some weird rules conflicts on ships. Now it does not work when Embarked. Fair.

General’s Handbook 2023 – Season 2

So I buried the lede on this one a bit. First, Regiments of Renown from White Dwarf were added to the list of valid books so it’s clear they are matched play compatible, should you wish to use them. Not shocking, just making it all official. The Big change that really matters here is the Monstrous Compendium is officially dead for Matched Play.

This probably isn’t a shock. Forge World support in Age of Sigmar has always been pretty lacking, and over time it only got worse as the Chaos Dwarf line disappeared and more and more models stopped being supported. At this point only a very small handful of things were actually supported, and even fewer used. The Rogue Idol is probably the only thing that realistically saw use in actual Tournament play, arguably the Mourngul. Forge World likely wishes to direct their efforts on the upcoming Old World and one less set of rules to balance allows them to focus harder on that.

Closing Thoughts

For such a low profile release, there’s some surprising changes here. From some nuanced changes to how Transports work for Kharadron Ovelords to the big bomb shell of losing Forge World support, anyone using these books probably is going to stand up and take notice. The next Battlescroll is likely a month away, and the GHB not far behind, not to mention possible FAQs for Ossiarch Bonereapers, Soulblight Gravelords and Seraphon. It’s gonna be a busy summer!

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