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GW teaser hints at Skaven in Age of Sigmar 4th edition

A cryptic twenty second teaser trailer is the first hint that Warhammer: Age of Sigmar third edition is coming to an end - but what does it mean?

The Skaven, hinted at in the Age of Sigmar 4th edition trailer - a giant, humanoid, rat-faced monster with four arms, two of them tipped with weapons that spit green fire, ridden by a smaller horned ratman, towers above a tide of smaller ratmen creatures, facing off against dwarfs in full-body armor suits

We’re calling it now: Skaven will be the main antagonists in Age of Sigmar 4th edition. Games Workshop released a short teaser trailer on Sunday, and the signs and portents point to both a new edition of Age of Sigmar and the squeaking megalomaniac ratmen being this edition’s title villains.

The signs of a new edition of Age of Sigmar have been visible for a while. First, every Age of Sigmar army has its own Battle Tome for this edition, and Games Workshop has moved on to publishing narrative campaign supplements, a sure sign of an edition change. The current edition of AoS will also be three years old this summer, the usual lifespan of an edition for a main GW game.

With that information available, we’re confident that Sunday’s teaser trailer is the start of a marketing campaign for AoS 4th edition. We can also be certain that one of the two title factions who will feature in the launch box and this edition’s AoS starter sets will be the Stormcast Eternals, because it’s always Stormcast Eternals.

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That’s not just faction favoritism. Like Space Marines, Stormcast Eternals are really easy to paint, which makes them a perfect first faction for newcomers to the game – our “how to paint Space Marines” guide applies to them just as well.

We’re putting money on Skaven being the other side of the coin. There are a few, subtle reasons for this. First, the antagonists for the first three editions of Age of Sigmar have been, in order, a Chaos faction, a Death faction, and a Destruction faction. Fourth edition brings us back around to Chaos, and Skaven are the only Chaos faction not to receive a major range update since Age of Sigmar first launched.

Age of Sigmar 4th edition trailer - a nighttime scene in a fantasy city, a deserted cobbled square surrounded by tall buildings - a red circle highlights a small rat running across the screen

The trailer features a cheeky rat scampering across the screen. That could be a bit of set dressing, since the trailer is set in an urban environment, but it’s the only living creature in the whole teaser, suggesting it’s rather more important than that.

The trailer’s camera focuses on street level, and the accompanying WarCom article mentions something “brewing in the dark” – the threat is coming from under the streets. There are, arguably, three subterranean factions in Age of Sigmar: the Gloomspite Gitz, the Undead, and the Skaven.

The Gloomspite Gitz are known to burst up through the cobbled streets of cities – Andy Clark’s truly excellent novel Gloomspite shows this happening, and it’s terrifying – but they already have a massive modern model range, and received new minis alongside the Dawnbringers narrative books.

The Vampiric Soulblight Gravelords already have a large, urban product connected to them, Warhammer Quest: Cursed City. Meanwhile the ghostly Nighthaunt were the focus faction of AoS 2nd edition, making them more or less ineligible for another title position.

Age of Sigmar 4th edition trailer - a nighttime scene in a fantasy city, a deserted cobbled square surrounded by tall buildings - red circles highlight three triangular banners with comet motifs

A far subtler hint comes from the Sigmarite banners hanging in the trailer, which are triangular. That’s notable because Cities of Sigmar banners are twin-tailed, to reflect Sigmar’s twin-tailed comet icon – but the Skaven icon is triangular.

The plot of the next edition of AoS remains a tantalizing mystery. Each edition of AoS has advanced the history of the Mortal Realms. In first edition, the Stormcast Eternals rode forth from Azyr, realm of heavens, to retake the most important realmgates from the Bloodbound of Khorne, and found the first Cities of Sigmar.

In second edition, Nagash, lord of undeath, turned his forces on Sigmar in an effort to reclaim the souls that had been stolen from his domain to create the Stormcast.

The life magic of Alarielle finally quieted Nagash’s surging death magic, but it also brought the powers of primal destruction into the ascendant, with the ancient god Kragnos freed from imprisonment. This set the scene for third edition, in which great Dawnbringer crusades set out to establish new Cities of Sigmar in the realms of Fire and Beasts.

Age of Sigmar 4th edition trailer - the phrase "SIGMAR LIED" in white letters on a black sceren

The only words in the trailer which might hint at a plot are “Sigmar lied”. This could mean that the existing Cities of Sigmar are not the bastions of safety and order they purport to be. It might also reference the inherent flaws in the Stormcast Eternals that gradually erode their humanity as they are reforged after death – the Knights Excelsior are known to have wiped out mortals they view as impure.

All in all, a juicy mystery. Whether we’re right or wrong, we can’t wait to see new Skaven models. They will also be a big boon for Warhammer: the Old World players – check out our Old World Skaven guide for an in-depth look at the faction in that game.