Ruleshammer: Age of Sigmar 5/12/2023

It’s time for another waltz down to the mortal realms for Ruleshammer. Like 40k, there is no shortage of confusing rules interactions in Age of Sigmar and it can really trip up new and experienced players alike. So this week we’re going back into the mailbag to explore some questions by readers.

Does giving the Arcane Tome prevent a Sylvaneth model from learning Verdent Blessing? Since it isn’t on their lore, and their faction states all Sylvaneth units gain the spell, I leaned toward the model gaining the spell.

Credit goes to Algodor Zero who posted this in the Comments on the last Age of Sigmar Ruleshammer

Great question! For those who may not have heard the news, Arcane Tome was recently errata’d due to the perception from Games Workshop that it was a bit too good and showing up in too many lists. The new text says

HERO that does not have the WIZARD, PRIEST or KHORNE keyword. The bearer becomes a WIZARD that only knows the Arcane Bolt and Mystic Shield spells (if you take a spell lore enhancement, you cannot pick any spells from that spell lore for the bearer to know, but the bearer can attempt to summon any endless spells included on your roster if otherwise eligible). They can attempt to cast 1 spell in your hero phase and attempt to unbind 1 spell in the enemy hero phase.”

In short, Arcane Tome now only grants Arcane Bolt and Mystic shield like all wizards know, and explicitly does not grant access to spells from the generic spell list or Battletome lores, even if you take the spell enhancement through a Warlord Battalion (or Similar).

Now, Verdent Blessing is a spell that all Sylvaneth Wizards know, the wording specifically says:

SYLVANETH WIZARDS know the Verdant Blessing spell, below, in addition to any other spells they know”

The wording here is tricky, as we have a contradiction. As it says all Sylvaneth wizards know it but Arcane Tome says they know no other spells but Mystic Shield and Arcane Bolt. A specific callout likely wasn’t made for it as the designers A. Forgot and/or B. As Battlescrolls are a test bed to try ideas that may or may not become permanent, they intend to refine it after the Battlescroll is over. But how does that help us now?

Ultimately it’s going to become a Rule of Intent over Written here, though we can back this up with the written word. The Arcane Tome really seems to go out of it’s way to try and stop someone from casting other spells, specifically emphasizing they only know Arcane Bolt and Mystic Shield, and barring them from using Enhancements to bypass the restriction. It can be assumed other ways to earn it are also gone. Even if you did not choose Verdant Blessing, that “only knows” is pretty serious, and seems to only call out Endless Spells as an exception.

Ultimately, listen to your TO, but I’m gonna have to go with them not knowing it as taking the Enhancement, and it’s rules, should override the Battle Trait.

Saurus Warrior
Credit: Raf Cordero

How Does the timing on Bites work in Seraphon? Is it before or after models are removed? After Wound Allocation?

Credit for this question goes to Etherkavu on r/AgeofSigmar

This ability is shared across all Saurus and Kroxigor units, printed on their Warscrolls. There’s slight variations on the number of Dice but the wording is largely the same so we’ll crib from the warscroll of the Saurus Warriors:

“Each time this unit fights, after all of its attacks have been resolved, pick 1 enemy unit within 1″ of this unit and roll 3 dice. These dice rolls are referred to as bite rolls. For each bite roll of 6+, that enemy unit suffers 1 mortal wound.”

The question is when exactly does this kick in? The timing of damage allocation can be a bit tricky sometimes, particularly if you want to split attacks. Thankfully we do have a pretty easy pathway to figure this out. The key phrase in the text above is “after all of its attacks have been resolved”. So how does the game define “resolving” attacks?

We jump to rule 13.3.1 ALLOCATE WOUNDS which has the exact sentence we need: “Once all of the damage inflicted by a unit’s attacks has been allocated, that unit’s attacks have been resolved.”

We could stop there, but the next section gets us what we need:

Wounds are allocated to the models in a unit 1 wound at a time. You can allocate the wounds caused to your units as you see fit. However, once you have allocated a wound to a model, you cannot allocate wounds to other models in the unit until that model is slain (see 14.2). If a unit is destroyed, all wounds that remain to be allocated to the unit are negated and have no effect.

Once the number of wounds allocated to a model equals its Wounds characteristic, the model is slain and you cannot allocate any more wounds to it. A slain model is removed from play (see 1.2.2) after all of the wounds caused to its unit have been allocated and all attacks that inflicted damage on the unit have been resolved.”

So we come full circle here. After rolling your hits, wounds, and your opponent has rolled saves (and wards if neccesary), the following order of events happens:

  1. Wounds are tallied up, per 13.3.1
  2. Wounds are assigned one at a time (14.1)
  3. Once a model is slain, wounds are assigned to the next model until it is slain (14.2), process repeats until either you run out of wounds or the unit is wiped, then the rest is wasted.
  4. Models are then removed once all attacks have been resolved (circle back to 13.3.1)

Because the bites are not attacks, they happen after models are removed, because all attacks have been resolved and models are removed as a result.

But what does this mean practically? Well, one major problem. Because models are removed first, and the bites only trigger if a unit is within an inch, your opponent can pull models so you are no longer within an inch of them, leaving you stranded. So if you charge with a unit with bite attacks, it’s recommended you try and hit two units near each other if you can. That way you can fight with your normal attacks, then bite the other unit.

Credit: Silks

How do abilities like Archaon’s “The Everchosen” interact with auralike abilities on endless spells like the -1 to saves from the Purple Sun of Shyish.

Credit for this question goes to Wampi21 on r/AgeofSigmar

For clarity, The Everchosen is what is commonly called in AOS parlance a “Spell shrug”, which means a unit can ignore the effects of a spell or Endless spell on a specific number, in this case a 4+. Spell shrugs pop up semi frequently, and this applies to all abilities like it.

If a spell targets a unit directly, sure, easy. The ability works. But what if it’s not, and the unit just happens to be in the blast radius? The Purple Sun is a great test case because it does two things, both directly targeting a unit to do mortal wounds (or slay a model) and has an aura that inflicts -1 to Saves.

Mercifully, the core rule FAQ answers basically this exact question!

“Subtract 1 from save rolls for attacks that target units within 6″ of this endless spell. In addition, roll a dice for each unit within 1″ of this endless spell after this endless spell has moved. On a 1, that unit has been touched by the Purple Sun’s rays. If that unit has a Wounds characteristic of 9 or less, 1 model in that unit is slain. Otherwise, that unit suffers D6+6 mortal wounds.’ This ability has 2 effects. The first effect is what is described above as an ‘aura’ effect. This means a dice roll is made each time a unit falls within range when it was not within range beforehand. The second effect is directly applied to units after the Purple Sun has moved. This means if a Purple Sun finishes a move within 1″ of a unit with an ability to ignore its effects, the commanding player of that unit would make 2 dice rolls, the first to see if the unit ignores the first effect of ‘End Given Form’ and the second to see if the unit ignores the second effect of ‘End Given Form.”

In short, the Purple Sun has 2 effects, and they are applied at different times. he mortal wounds/slain model only apply after the Endless Spell has itself moved while the -1 to Save is when a model moves into range of the endless spell when it didn’t before, whether the sun moved there or an enemy model walked into range. So the spell shrug is made specifically when the effect applies. So if the purple sun moves within an inch of Archaon, roll for that 4+, and then roll again when it tries to target him to deal damage.

Killaboss with Stab Grot
Killaboss with Stab Grot. That Gobbo

if a kruleboyz unit fails a battleshock test whilst within range of a ‘All Part of Da Plan’ and a Horrorghast how many models run away?

Credit for this question goes to a user on r/AgeofSigmar

A great rules interaction question. First, All Part of Da Plan comes from the Killaboss Warscroll (any of em):

“If a friendly KRULEBOYZ unit fails a battleshock test within 3″ of any friendly units with this ability, only 1 model from that unit will flee.”

While the Horrorghast says:

“Units within 12” of this endless spell cannot receive commands in the battleshock phase. In addition, if a unit fails a battleshock test within 12″ of this endless spell, add D3 to the number of models that flee.”

So lets assume in a group of Gutrippaz (Bravery 5), 5 models died and the player rolls a 3 on Battleshock. Under the battleshock rules, 3 models flee (5 dead models + 3 on the dice = 8. 8 – 5 Bravery = 3). Then one of two things is going to happen:

  1. All Part of Da Plan reduces that number to 1, then Horrorghast adds D3 to that number. So it’s 1+D3 models.
  2. Horrorghast adds D3 models to the 3 models, then All Part of Da Plan reduces that to 1.

Both effects take place at the exact same time (When a Battleshock test is failed) so we got a rule specifically for that! 1.6.2 Simultaneous Effects!

“If the effects of two or more abilities would be applied at the same time in a turn, the player whose turn is taking place applies the effects of their abilities first, one at a time, in the order they desire. Their opponent then does the same.”

So using the above scenarios, it’s going to depend on who’s turn it is. Amusingly, in both cases, it works out worse for whoever’s turn it is. Assuming the Horrorghast belongs to the opponent’s player, they want their Horrorghast to apply after All Part of Da Plan, so they get 1+D3 models. But if it’s their turn, their Horrorghast effect applies first, then All Part of Da Plan overrides it. The reverse ends up true for the Kruleboyz player if it is their turn.

Closing Thoughts

And that puts a wrap on another week of Age of Sigmar Ruleshammer. We’re likely to continue to do more of these in the coming weeks, with the lead up to 10th ed looming ever closer and the rules of 9th drift into our rearview mirror. If you have any other burning questions for Age of Sigmar or Kill Team, let us know in the comments below!