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Age of Sigmar spells, prayers, and manifestation rules for 4e

The rules for wizards, priests, and endless spells are getting overhauled for Age of Sigmar 4th edition - here’s what GW has revealed.

Age of Sigmar spells - the Black Sun of Shyish endless spell

Games Workshop has previewed the new Age of Sigmar spell and magic system for the game’s fourth edition, as well as details for how priests will invoke the favor of their gods, and the broad strokes of how endless spells and invocations will work. Here’s what’s changing.

Fans already know that the specific spells and prayers available to Age of Sigmar armies are likely to change in the new edition, after GW confirmed that all current Battletomes would be retired. In a Warhammer Community post on April 19, Games Workshop revealed changes to the systems underlying those magical abilities coming in AoS 4th edition, and expanded on the rules for ‘manifestations’ in a post on April 30.

Age of Sigmar spell template - Mighty Eadbutt

Age of Sigmar spell system

The new Age of Sigmar spell system keeps many features from the current version of the game. To cast a spell, a wizard rolls 2D6 and attempts to equal or exceed the spell’s casting value. A casting roll of double one is a miscast, causing the spell to fail and inflicting D3 mortal damage on the caster.

Opposing wizards can attempt to unbind a successfully cast spell before it resolves by rolling 2D6. If they can beat the casting roll, the spell is unbound and has no effect. This is all pretty much the same from previous editions of AoS. However, which spells a wizard can cast, and how many casting, unbinding, and banishment attempts they can make, have changed.

Age of Sigmar spell system - unbind ability

When building your army, you get to choose a spell lore for your army. All wizards in your force get access to all of the spells from the lore. Normally a spell can only be cast by one wizard each turn, but spells with the Unlimited special rule can be cast by more than one wizard. A wizard can’t cast the same spell more than once per turn, but can attempt to unbind more than one spell.

Each wizard has a power level, noted in their keywords in brackets as WIZARD (X). Each wizard can attempt to cast spells, unbind spells, or banish manifestations up to their power level each phase.

Age of Sigmar prayer - Witchbane Curse

Age of Sigmar priests and prayers system

In fourth edition Age of Sigmar priests are very different from Wizards – we’ll describe what they have in common first. Priests have a power level, like a wizard, which limits the number of prayer abilities they can use and manifestations they can attempt to banish, each phase. Just like with spells, you will pick a prayer lore for your army which all priests will have access to.

When a priest uses a prayer ability, they make a chanting roll by rolling D6. On a 2+ they gain that many ritual points: on a roll of one, they lose D3 ritual points. Each prayer has a chanting value which the priest must match with ritual points before it can be answered. Prayers have alternate, higher chanting values that empower them with additional effects.

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It’s not clear from the Warhammer community article what happens to ritual points after a prayer is answered. We assume that the points are spent. But perhaps prayers can only be answered once per battle, which would incentivize players to hold out for the empowered version rather than unleashing it as soon as they meet the minimum chanting value.

Prayers can’t be unbound, and they can’t be miscast.

Age of Sigmar spell system - Banish Manifestation

Age of Sigmar Endless Spells, Invocations, and Manifestations

Endless spells and invocations are now known as ‘manifestations’, powerful autonomous magical effects that can be summoned onto the battlefield. GW revealed more about them in a WarCom post on April 30.

Just like spells and prayers, the manifestations available to your army are chosen from a ‘manifestation lore’. There are several universal lores, and some armies will have army-specific lores. These are the universal lores Games Workshop has revealed so far:

Manifestation lore Endless spells and invocations
Forbidden Power Shards of Valagharr, Lauchon the Suolseeker, Horrorghast, Soulscream Bridge
Morbid Conjuration Purple Sun of Shyish, Suffocating Gravetide, Malevolent Maelstrom, Soulsnare Shackles
Aetherwrought Machineries Chronomatic Cogs, Quicksilver Swords, Aethervoid Pendulum
Primal Energy Burning Head, Emerald Lifeswarm, Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws
Twilit Sorceries Umbral Spellportal, Geminids of Uhl-Gysh, Prismatic Palisade
Krondspine Incarnate Krondspine Incarnate of Ghur

Games Workshop hasn’t stated exactly how manifestations are summoned. In the AoS third edition they are summed onto the battlefield by a Wizard casting them as a spell, or a Priest using a prayer, but their newly revealed warscrolls don’t indicate a summoning value.

The new Manifestation warscrolls are much closer to regular unit warscrolls than they previously have been. They can now “move, charge, attack, take damage, and use abilities in much the same manner as units”. You can finally punch that annoying Purple Sun of Shyish to pieces.

Age of Sigmar spell rules - Quicksilver swords

They’re not quite a full unit, though. Manifestations don’t block unit movement. They can’t contest objectives, destroying them doesn’t count towards any battle tactics or abilities triggered by the destruction of a unit. They can also only use Core abilities or abilities on their warscroll, can’t use commands, and are only affected by friendly abilities if they specificially affect manifestations.

Age of Sigmar Spells - manifestation rules

Manifestations that can move will normally need to be set up at least 9″ away from enemies – and conversely, enemies set up during the game must be placed at least 9″ away from them.

Static manifestations, which have a move characteristic of ‘-‘, act a bit more like terrain. They cannot move, do not project a combat engagement range, and do not affect where enemies can move. There’s usually less restriction on where they can be placed: GW hasn’t yet clarified this, but it seems likely that the rule will be “not within 1″ of terrain”.

Age of Sigmar spells - Prismatic Palisade static manifestation

Both wizards and priests can attempt to banish a manifestation within 30” by rolling 2D6 and attempting to equal or exceed the manifestation’s ‘Banishment value’. Attempting to banish a manifestation counts against the number of priest or wizard actions a hero can take based on its power level.

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