The command points system in Age of Sigmar can be a bit confusing, especially with the latest changes in Age of Sigmar 3.0. This guide is for beginners who want to learn what Command Points are and how they work, but it’s also useful for veterans to refresh their memory and in the end we list the changes from the previous version.
A note on rules in Age of Sigmar 3.0: In this and other articles, we take an in-depth look at how Age of Sigmar 3.0 is played. In doing this, we often refer to the Core Rules of the game. Those rules are available as a free download from the Age of Sigmar website here.
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How Command abilities in Age of Sigmar 3.0 work:
Command abilities in Age of Sigmar 3.0 are abilities that can be issued by a model and received by one or more, as described in section 6.0 of the core rules. This is different from Age of Sigmar 2.0 and it is important to understand the difference.
In the big day 1 FAQ, there have been many clarifications on how the old command abilities have to be interpreted and we refer back to those for more details. We also recommend that you look at your army’s FAQ as many abilities changed wording to be more in line with the 3.0 version.
In summary to use command abilities you have to follow these rules:
- To issue a command ability you need to spend one command point.
- It has to be issued by one unit; this can be a hero, a general, a totem or a unit champion.
- The same unit cannot issue more than one command in the same phase.
- It has to be received by one unit; this can be even the issuing unit.
- The same unit cannot receive more than one command in the same phase.
- The same command ability can be used only once per phase.
There are different generic command abilities that can be used by any army in specific phases, we will look at them in detail in a later section. However, most factions have a list of command abilities available in either their allegiance abilities or on specific unit warscrolls.
You cannot use the same command ability multiple times in the same phase, but if the ability can be used in multiple phases you can. For example, you can use All-out Attack on the same unit once in the shooting phase and once in the attack phase.
A unit cannot receive more than one command ability per phase, but there are abilities that allow you to provide an area effect to different units without them receiving the command. For example, a Loonboss on Mangler Squig can issue and receive “Bite Da Moon!” that provides + 1 to Wound to all units with the Squig keyword wholly within 18″. Another unit can still issue All-out Attack to one of those units to provide also a +1 to hit.
Command abilities have a specific phase when they can be used, even if their effect is felt in another phase. If not specified in the description of the ability, then it is intended to be used only in the hero phase.
Command abilities have a range. If the description does not specify it, then you revert back to the default ranges (section 6.1): unit champions can only issue to their own unit, heroes to any unit within 12″, generals and totems to any unit within 18″.
Command Abilities are lost at the end of the round. In AoS 2.0 you could save them for later, but in AoS 3.0 you have to spent them each round or lose them.
Here is a summary of what Heroic Actions and Monstrous Charges are:
Heroes can perform Heroic Actions, in addition to the other abilities they can perform. You do it in the hero phase and you can only do one heroic action. Here is the list:
- Heroic Leadership: a chance to get a command point only that hero can use.
- Heroic Willpower: one non-Wizard hero can attempt to dispel or unbind a spell for one phase like he was a wizard.
- Their Finest Hour: once per game improve save and wound rolls for one hero.
- Heroic Recovery: a chance to heal some wounds to a hero based on his Bravery characteristic.
Monsters can perform special abilities called Monster Rampages at the end of the Charge phase. Each action can be performed only once per phase therefore only up to 4 monsters can perform one at a time. Here is the current list:
- Roar: a chance to prevent an enemy unit to issue or receive orders in the following combat phase
- Stomp: a chance to do D3 mortal wounds to a unit
- Titanic Duel: + 1 to hit rolls against another Monster
- Smash to Rubble: a chance to demolish a terrain feature, disabling it’s scenery rules
How to get command points in Age of Sigmar 3.0
You can get command points in several different ways:
- At the start of the battle round the player taking the first turn receives 1 command point, while the second player gets 2 command points.
- Every hero phase (yours and the opponent) each player receives 1 command point if their general is still alive.
- Every hero phase, between the heroic actions that you can perform, you can try to generate a command point that a hero has to use that same turn (on a 4+ or a 2+ if your general has been killed).
- Some factions, units or artefact abilities can help you generate extra command points.
- Some core battalions allow to generate command points or use once per battle a command ability for free.
What are the generic command abilities every army and faction can use?
- Rally: you can use this ability at the start of the hero phase on a unit more than 3″ away from any enemy unit. Roll a dice for each slain model, for every 6 you can return a slain model to its unit (section 7.2).
- At the Double: you can use this ability in the movement phase to declare a unit will run 6″ without rolling the dice. Be aware that you need to declare the use before rolling the run dice (section 8.4).
- Redeploy: you can use this ability in the enemy movement phase if an enemy unit ends a move, run or retreat within 9″ of one of your units and that unit is 3″ away from any enemy unit. In that case you can perform a D6″ move in any direction but finish 3″ away from any enemy. That unit also cannot shoot later in the same turn (section 8.4).
- Forward to Victory: you can use this ability after you have made a charge roll for one of your units. You can reroll that charge roll (section 11.2).
- Unleash Hell: you can use this ability after an enemy unit completed a charge within 9″ of one of your units that is more than 3″ away from any other enemy unit. Your unit can shoot the charging unit with a -1 to hit penalty (section 11.2).
- All-out Attack: you can use this ability in your shooting or any combat phase when picking a unit to shoot or attack. That unit receives +1 to hit rolls for that phase (section 13.4).
- All-out Defence: you can use this ability in any shooting or combat phase when a unit is targeted. Add +1 to save rolls for that unit for that phase (section 13.4).
- Inspiring Presence: you can use this command ability at the start of any battleshock phase. The unit receiving the command does not take a battleshock test in that phase (section 15.3).
- Feral Roar: only when using the General’s Handbook 2021 Battlepack, you can use this ability at the start of any combat phase on a friendly Monster. For that phase, consider the monster’s top row in the damage table as if he had only 0 Wounds. A Monster is a specific unit with that keyword in its warscroll.
How are Age of Sigmar command points different from 40k command points?
- AoS command points can only be spent on command abilities. 40k command points can be spent on stratagems. Stratagems can be used for many different things, and are not bound to characters.
- 40k generates command points differently than AoS. In 40k, it is mainly provided by army composition and some heroes also give extra command points.
What changed from Age of Sigmar 2.0?
- Command points are now generated at the start of the battle round (1 for the player that starts first, and 2 for the player that starts second).
- Each unit can issue and receive only one command ability per phase (no more stacking).
- Each command ability can be used only once per phase (no more Inspiring Presence all your units, now you have to choose only one).
- Unspent command points are lost at the end of the battle round and regenerated in the new round.
- At the Double now has to be declared before you cast the run roll.
- Now unit champions and totems can also issue command abilities. Totems are units with that specific keyword in their warscroll.
- More units can issue the command abilities
The day 1 FAQ clarified the following related to old battletome command abilities:
- If an ability mentions a unit within a certain range that benefits from the command, that unit is the receiving unit and the unit from which the distance was measured is the issuing unit.
- When an ability specifies all units within a certain range benefit from the command (for example all units within a certain range with a specific keyword), the issuing unit is also the receiving unit, unless otherwise specified.
- Some abilities do not mention who is affected by the command, in that case the issuer is also the receiver (for example, Booming Roar from the Beasts of Chaos provides 1 Primordial Call point if the general is on the battlefield: the general is issuer and receiver).
- If an ability from the allegiance abilities (not on a unit warscroll!) mentions that can be used “by models with this command ability” means any hero from that faction or subfaction (not unit champions or totems who are not heroes).
Summary about command abilities and points
Now that not only heroes but also unit champions can issue commands, those units become more important than ever as they can work separate from the rest of your army.
On the other side all abilities that allow to pick a specific model and remove it from play, will easily dispatch your champions leaving the unit headless.
Heroes remain important, not only for the ability to issue command abilities but also because of heroic actions (see above), and many abilities (command and not) have a range wholly within that needs to be followed, so be careful in positioning your heroes. Wholly within means that you measure the distance from your issuing model to every other receiving model and all of them have to be within the range. For example if you have a hero issuing a command at 12″ range to 30 skeletons, all 30 skeletons have to be wholly within 12″ of the hero or they cannot receive that command.
There are different ways to obtain command points, but don’t hoard them! At the end of the battle round you lose all unspent command points. If your general is still alive, you are assured to have 1 command point to use every turn.
There are more generic abilities, and undoubtedly the new battletomes will add more faction specific abilities, so create a cheat sheet (or download one like this one) to remember which are available to you.
Remember to check how long a command ability lasts, most of the time it would be only for that phase, but some last until your next hero phase meaning that it can last up to 4 turns if you are on top of the turn and end up bottom of the following turn!