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Warhammer: Age of Sigmar’s 4th edition will be full of Skaven and introduce a new hour-long game mode

Aw, rats!

Screenshot of trailer for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar's upcoming fourth edition
Image credit: Games Workshop

Warhammer’s fantasy-themed miniatures wargame, Age of Sigmar, is planning a massive overhaul due to drop like a bolt of lightning later this summer. Age of Sigmar’s fourth edition rules will reframe its grand combat around the Stormcast Eternals and the Skaven, while also introducing a new game mode - Spearhead.

Publisher Games Workshop dropped a 3-minute trailer that sets the stage for the next chapter in the world that Sigmar reforged. We see a sickly green shard of the Skaven empire burst forth from the ground, spilling a genuine horde of the fan-favourite faction on the field of battle against the static protectors in golden armour. Scattered throughout are vignettes of one eternal soldier’s life and the sprouting seeds of doubt that “Sigmar lied.” What about? That seems to be the crux of this new edition.

Age of Sigmar’s core rules will apparently undergo its largest revisions since the initial release in 2015 with an eye towards “ streamlining, accessibility, and modularity,” according to a Warhammer Community post. The publisher assures veteran players that the old feel and tactical chew will remain - just without the friction that kept it playing second fiddle to its science-fiction sibling. In fact, this vision sounds very close to what Games Workshop wanted to accomplish with Warhammer 40,000’s 10th edition last year.

Meet the Warhammer pro raising the bar of competitive play Watch on YouTube

“The rules for Warhammer Age of Sigmar have gradually introduced new layers of complexity over the past nine years, always building on a robust framework but perhaps not able to take stock and reassess the experience as a whole. So for this edition, the team wanted to make sure they got everything right,” the post reads.

Modular rules, updated command points and refinements to mechanics such as the double turn were all mentioned in passing, but we don’t yet have a clear look at the details just yet. Games Workshop mentioned that their redesign will be so fundamental that every warscroll and set of army rules will need updating. They plan to publish a free faction pack that players can download at launch in order to bring their existing armies up to speed, and all factions will enjoy at least one new battletome “over the next few years.”

Spearhead will bring the quick competitive action of 40K’s Combat Patrol to Age of Sigmar, packing a full match into an hour, at most. It will be supported by specific Spearhead and Vanguard box sets and is explicitly angled at new players who might look agog at the price and time investment when constructing a full army. Skirmish wargames are having a real moment lately, so it makes sense that Games Workshop would bring that fast and casual (without being shallow) feel to Age of Sigmar.

Warhammer: Age of Sigmar's 4th edition trailerWatch on YouTube

Expect some updates to Matched Play and Path to Glory and pretty much every other part of the wargame’s broad umbrella. It seemed as though Games Workshop was content to let its fantasy subgame languish in the shadow of 40K, appealing to established players with Warhammer: The Old World, Cities of Sigmar and related product lines. But this might be a true renaissance for players who’d rather paint crossbows and rat ears than cyber skeletons and yet another Big Boy in Blue Armour.

Age of Sigmar’s fourth edition is due out later this summer, with a specific date and more information waiting at the whim of its publisher. The Mortal Realms are no stranger to massive upheaval, so we’ll see what the latest table reset has in store.

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