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In the Mortal Realms, armies come in all shapes and sizes, each with its unique strengths and weaknesses. To truly test a general’s mettle as a commander, there needs to be a level playing field that accounts for the variety of forces abroad in the Age of Sigmar. This is the goal of matched play.


Introducing Matched Play

The main differences between matched play and open play lie in army selection and battleplan design. Matched play games include rules that allow players to pick armies of equal power, and the battleplans written for matched play games are designed to provide tactically challenging games where each side has a more-or-less equal chance of winning.

The emphasis of matched play gaming is on planning, tactics and military nous, so it is the perfect format for those who consider themselves accomplished strategists and savvy commanders. While narrative and open play games can vary greatly in scope and content, presenting you with all manner of scenarios to battle through, matched play games are all about you and your army, the models you select and the tactics you use. They are driven by every player’s desire for a satisfying and well-earned victory.

Matched Play Armies

As you will see, there are a number of ways to choose an army for a matched play game. Later in this section you will find our Pitched Battle rules, which can be used to pit your matched play army against those of fellow players. It uses a comprehensive points-based system that assigns a value to every unit available in the Warhammer Age of Sigmar range. Using this system, you and your opponent can assemble your armies based on a prearranged total of points so as to ensure that your forces are as equally matched as possible. Also included in this section are six battleplans designed to be used as part of a Pitched Battle game, which have been designed to provide players with different sets of tactical challenges to overcome.

There are other methods of choosing an army that don’t involve adding up points, but still suit the matched play format. For example, you could use the Wounds characteristics listed on each unit’s warscroll as a guideline, either setting an upper limit for the number of wounds a unit can have, or a fixed total of wounds that an army can have as a whole.

Whichever method you use, assembling an army for a matched play game is an important part of the process, and an interesting challenge in its own right. Do you spend a lot of points on one high-powered model and risk being overrun by a larger force? Do you allocate your points evenly on a versatile middleweight force? Your knowledge of the units available to you will be pivotal in this selection process, and knowledge of your opponent’s force can be just as vital. These choices may be hard to make at first, but once you’ve found the perfect balance, you’ll be able to use the same formula again and again to great effect, and this in turn can guide you when it comes to expanding your collection.

Matched Play Battleplans

In order to create a fair and balanced contest, matched play games have a method of setting up terrain, deploying armies, and determining the winner that is as even as possible for both sides.

Because of the desire to create an even contest, the battleplans for matched play tend to be quite simple, and both armies will usually be set up in a territory near one table edge.

Victory conditions can be more complex, but will almost always be the same for both sides (a process called ‘mirroring’). Some common victory conditions in matched play battleplans include determining which side has slain the most enemy units after a certain number of battle rounds, and assigning victory points to players who are able to take control of objectives set up at the start of the game.

The Pitched Battle battleplans you’ll find later on in this section use a combination of these two methods, with players winning points for destroying the enemy and capturing objectives to determine the winner.

However, whatever rules are actually used, the aim is always to create as even a contest as possible between the two armies, and this usually leads to fairly straightforward ‘line up and fight’ battles with mirrored victory conditions for both sides. The overall effect of this is a format that is ideal for ‘pick-up’ games between two players that have not met each other before. Matched play battleplans allow a player to simply go ahead and collect an army, choosing whichever models they like within the constraints of the army list, and then turn up at a club or gaming event, find an opponent, and play – knowing that the game will be as fair and even as possible.

Gaming Clubs

A wonderful feature of the Games Workshop hobby is the degree to which it enables collectors to socialise. Hobbyists can connect via organised clubs, meet up, make friends, and play games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar in a friendly and supportive environment. The Internet makes this process easier than ever, especially for those who can’t easily get to a Games Workshop store.

A good start would be to search the Internet for ‘Warhammer clubs’ and the name of your town. You’ll see which are popular, and chances are there’s one close to you.

Tournaments

Throughout the wargaming hobby world, gaming events and tournaments take place virtually every weekend. Wherever you are, you’re likely to find a tournament you can reach in the near future, and they’re well worth attending.

Not only will you get to meet up with a warm and welcoming community of fellow hobbyists, but you’ll get to play some great games, and see some truly amazing-looking armies. Often, special ‘house’ rules will have been created for the event, and no two tournaments are ever the same, keeping things exciting and interesting.

To find one near you, simply type ‘Age of Sigmar tournament’ and your town or area into an Internet search engine and get ready to go to war.

 

Pitched Battles

The following rules allow you to play a Pitched Battle, either as a one-off game, or as part of a tournament. These rules are designed to allow players to take part with the minimum of fuss, making them ideal for matched play pick-up games at clubs or gaming events.

To play a Pitched Battle, you and your opponent will first need to decide what type of Pitched Battle game you want to fight, and then pick your armies. The type of game you pick will determine how big the battle will be – the larger the battle, the more points you will have to spend on units for your army, but the longer the game will take. There are three different types of Pitched Battle to choose from:
Game TypeGame Length
VanguardUp to 1 ½ hours
Battlehost2 to 2 ½ hours
Warhost3 or more hours
After you have agreed what type of game you want to play, look it up on the chart to the right. The chart lists the number of points each player has to spend on the units for their army, and what limitations apply to the types of unit you can bring. Each player must pick the units they will use for their army as described next.
PITCHED BATTLE CHART
VanguardBattlehostWarhost
Points1,0002,0002,500
Leaders1-41-61-8
Battleline2+3+4+
Artillery0-20-40-5
Behemoths0-20-40-5
Other UnitsAny numberAny numberAny number
Allied Units (pts)≤ 200≤ 400≤ 500

 

Picking Your Army

Each unit in a Pitched Battle is assigned a points value and a minimum and maximum unit size in its Pitched Battle profile. Pitched Battle profiles can be found in the General’s Handbook or the book where the warscroll for the unit appears. The game type you have chosen for your battle determines how many points you can spend on the units in your army. The combined points of the units in your army must not exceed the number of points shown on the chart. For example, in a Battlehost game, you can each field up to 2,000 points worth of units.

In a Pitched Battle game you must pick an allegiance for your army. All of the units in the army must either have that allegiance, or be allied to that allegiance (see Allied Units, below).

Endless spells have Pitched Battle profiles and a points cost. By paying the spell’s points cost, all WIZARDS in the player’s army know that endless spell, and the player can use (and re-use) one endless spell model of the appropriate type in the battle. A player cannot take the same endless spell model more than once for their army, but can take any number of different endless spell models (for example, you could not take two Balewind Vortex models).

Battlefield Roles

Some units are assigned a battlefield role in their Pitched Battle profile. A unit’s battlefield role is based on how it is used in a battle.

The Pitched Battle chart above lists the minimum number of Leaders and Battleline units you must include in a Pitched Battle army, and the maximum number of Leaders, Artillery, and Behemoth units it can include. A model that is a Leader and a Behemoth counts as one Leader and one Behemoth in your army.

Allied Units

In a Pitched Battle, the number of points that can be spent on allies from the player’s total points allowance is shown on the Pitched Battle chart above. For example, a player playing a Battlehost game can spend up to 400 of their 2,000 points on allied units. This is in addition to the restrictions that normally apply to taking allied units.

Allied units are not included when working out the number of Battleline units in the army. They do count towards the maximum number of Leader, Behemoth and Artillery units that can be included in the army.

Warscroll Battalions

If a player’s army includes the units needed to field a warscroll battalion, then the player can include the battalion as part of their army by paying the points cost for it as shown on its Pitched Battle profile. You must pay the cost of the units in the battalion normally – the points value listed for each battalion is an extra cost that allows you to use it.

Pitched Battle Variations

If both players agree, you can use either or both of the following variations to the way that the armies are picked:

You can agree to modify the points allowed for a Pitched Battle by plus or minus 250 points. For example, you might agree to play a 750 point Vanguard game, or a 2,750 point Warhost game.

You can agree to use points on their own. When playing a pointsonly game, ignore the limits on the number of Leader, Battleline, Behemoth and Artillery units you can take – you can take any units you like as long as they do not exceed the points limit you have set for your game.

Army Roster

Once you have picked your army, record the details on a piece of paper (your army roster), and show it to your opponent before setting up your army at the start of the battle. Follow this link for an army roster you can photocopy.

The roster must include a list of the units, warscroll battalions and endless spells included in your army, what size the units are, details of weapons and equipment they have, the army’s allegiance, which units are allies, the number of command points you have, and which model is the army’s general. In a Pitched Battle, your general must be a Leader, and may not be an ally.

If your general is slain in a Pitched Battle game, do not select a new one. If your army includes any units that are given keywords when they are set up, such as units with a Mark of Chaos, then these must be written down when the unit is added to the roster.

You must also record the allegiance abilities you have chosen for your army, the spells that are known by the wizards in your army, any artefacts or other items wielded by heroes in your army, and what command trait you have chosen for your general.

Triumphs & Command Points

Do not roll on the Triumph table in the core rules if you won your last battle. Instead, if one player has more points left over than their opponent after selecting their army, then they can roll on the Triumph table after both armies have been set up.

In a Pitched Battle, an army receives 1 extra command point for every 50 points that were not spent on units for the army. For example, if you are fighting a Battlehost game and spend 1,895 points on units, then you will receive an extra 2 command points.

Battleplans

We have provided six battleplans designed for use in Pitched Battles. Each offers a unique set of tactical challenges, and will provide each player with a chance to show their skill. To pick a battleplan, roll a dice on the table below, and use the battleplan that corresponds to the dice roll.

 

Battleplan

Blood and Glory

Two armies meet upon a battlefield, each ready to deal death and destruction upon their hated foe. The conflict will be settled in blood between the two rivals, with spoils going to the victor, and death and dishonour to the loser.

PITCHED BATTLE
Use the Pitched Battle rules.

SET-UP
The players roll off, and the winner decides which territory each side will use. The territories are shown on the map below.

The players then alternate setting up units one at a time, starting with the player that won the roll-off. Units must be set up wholly within their own territory, more than 12" from enemy territory.

Continue to set up units until both players have set up their armies. If one player finishes first, the opposing player sets up the rest of the units in their army, one after another.

GLORIOUS VICTORY
This battle is fought to control four objectives. The objectives are located at the centre of each quarter of the field of battle, as shown on the map.

Starting from the third battle round, one player immediately wins a major victory if they have control of all four objectives.

If neither player has won by the end of the fifth battle round, or the amount of time allocated for the battle runs out, then the player that controls the most objectives wins a minor victory. If both players control the same number of objectives, each must add up the points value of any enemy units that have been destroyed during the battle (excluding any new units that were added to the armies after the battle started). If one player has a higher total, they win a minor victory.


Battleplan

Escalation

Sometimes, two deadly foes will stumble across each other, and a bloody engagement will start.

PITCHED BATTLE
Use the Pitched Battle rules.

SET-UP
The players roll off, and the winner decides which territory each side will use. The territories are shown on the map below.

The players then alternate setting up their units, starting with the player that determined territories. Units must be set up wholly within their own territory. Battleline units must be set up more than 9" from enemy territory. Behemoths and Artillery must be set up more than 24" from enemy territory. Units that are both Battleline and Behemoth can be set up within 24" of enemy territory, but they must still be more than 9" from it, as above. All other units must be set up more than 18" from enemy territory.

Continue to set up units until both players have set up their units. If one player finishes first, the opposing player sets up the rest of their units, one after another.

GLORIOUS VICTORY
This battle is fought to control three objectives. The objectives are located on the border between the player’s territories, one in the middle of the battlefield and the others 12" from each corner, as shown on the map below.

Starting from the second battle round, at the end of each of their turns a player scores 1 victory point for each objective they control. The player with the most victory points at the end of the fifth battle round (or when the amount of time allocated for the battle runs out), wins a major victory. If the players are tied on victory points at the end of the game, then each player adds up the points value of any enemy units that have been destroyed during the battle (excluding any new units that were added to the armies after the battle started). If one player has a higher total, they win a minor victory.


Battleplan

Border War

Two armies approach the same battlefield, determined to capture the vital ground that separates their territories and, if possible, strike deep into enemy territory.

PITCHED BATTLE
Use the Pitched Battle rules.

SET-UP
The players roll off, and the winner decides which territory each side will use. The territories are shown on the map below.

The players then alternate setting up units one at a time, starting with the player that won the roll-off. Units must be set up wholly within their own territory, more than 12" from enemy territory.

Continue to set up units until both players have set up their armies. If one player finishes first, the opposing player sets up the rest of the units in their army, one after another.

GLORIOUS VICTORY
This battle is fought to control four objectives. Two are located at the centre of each player’s territory. The other two are located on the border between the players’ territories, one at the centre of the left half of the battlefield, and one at the centre of the right half as shown on the map.

You score victory points for each objective you control at the end of each of your turns. The number of points you receive varies depending on the objective’s location, as follows.

Objective is in your own territory: 1 victory point

Objective is on the border between the territories: 2 victory points

Objective is in enemy territory: 4 victory points

The player with the most victory points at the end of the fifth battle round (or when the amount of time allocated for the battle runs out), wins a major victory. If the players are tied on victory points at the end of the game, then each player adds up the points value of any enemy units that have been destroyed during the battle (excluding any new units that were added to the armies after the battle started). If one player has a higher total, they win a minor victory.


Battleplan

Three Places of Power

The leaders of two rival armies have learned the location of three places of great power. If a mighty warrior stands upon such a location, they can leech some of the energy and siphon it away. The longer they can remain upon the place of power, the more energy they can steal!

PITCHED BATTLE
Use the Pitched Battle rules.

SET-UP
The players roll off, and the winner decides which territory each side will use. The territories are shown on the map below.

The players then alternate setting up units one at a time, starting with the player that won the roll-off. Units must be set up wholly within their own territory, more than 12" from enemy territory.

Continue to set up units until both players have set up their armies. If one player finishes first, the opposing player sets up the rest of the units in their army, one after another.

THE PLACES OF POWER
The three places of power are located upon the border between the two territories. One lies at the centre of the battlefield, and the others lie halfway between the central place of power and each narrow edge of the battlefield, as shown on the map.

A player controls a place of power if a friendly HERO finishes a move within 3" of it. The player loses control of the place of power if the hero finishes a subsequent move more than 3" from the place of power or is slain. Only one hero can control each place of power at a time – if more than one hero is eligible, then the first to arrive controls it. If a hero slays an enemy hero that is controlling a place of power, then they immediately gain control of the place of power if they are within 3" of it.

GLORIOUS VICTORY
At the end of each of your turns, you score victory points for each place of power controlled by one of your HEROES. The number of victory points is equal to the number of your turns that the hero has controlled the place of power for: 1 on the turn they gained control, 2 if they controlled it in your last turn as well as this one, and so on.

For example, a HERO controls the same place of power for 3 turns without losing control of it. They score 1 victory point at the end of their first turn, 2 victory points at the end of their second turn and 3 victory points at the end of their third turn, making 6 victory points in total.

The player with the most victory points at the end of the fifth battle round (or when the amount of time allocated for the battle runs out) wins a major victory. If the players are tied on victory points at the end of the game, then each player adds up the points value of any enemy units that have been destroyed during the battle (excluding any new units that were added to the armies after the battle started). If one player has a higher total, they win a minor victory.


Battleplan

Gifts from the Heavens

The battlefield is frequently bombarded by meteors of sigmarite and warpstone that fall from the skies. Ambitious warlords are willing to sacrifice any number of their followers to gain control of such a valuable substance. As time goes on, the prize only becomes more coveted.

PITCHED BATTLE
Use the Pitched Battle rules.

SET-UP
The players roll off, and the winner decides which territory each side will use. The territories are shown on the map below.

The players then alternate setting up units one at a time, starting with the player that won the roll-off. Units must be set up wholly within their own territory, more than 12" from enemy territory.

Continue to set up units until both players have set up their armies. If one player finishes first, the opposing player sets up the rest of the units in their army, one after another.

THE METEOR STRIKE
Two meteors strike the battlefield in the second battle round, one landing in each player’s territory. Each player rolls a dice in their second hero phase, and a meteor lands at the centre of the board section in their territory that has the corresponding number. The locations of the meteors are treated as objectives for the rest of the battle.

GLORIOUS VICTORY
At the end of each of your turns you score a number of victory points equal to the number of the current battle round for each objective you control. For example, if you control 1 objective at the end of your turn in the third battle round, you score 3 victory points.

The player with the most victory points at the end of the fifth battle round (or when the amount of time allocated for the battle runs out), wins a major victory. If the players are tied on victory points at the end of the game, then each player adds up the points value of any enemy units that have been destroyed during the battle (excluding any new units that were added to the armies after the battle started). If one player has a higher total, they win a minor victory.


Battleplan

Take and Hold

Battles are often fought over territory. In such a battle neither side can afford to give an inch of ground, and must ruthlessly wipe out any enemy incursion while at the same time thrusting deep into the enemy heartland.

PITCHED BATTLE
Use the Pitched Battle rules.

SET-UP
The players roll off, and the winner decides which territory each side will use. The territories are shown on the map below.

The players then alternate setting up units one at a time, starting with the player that won the roll-off. Units must be set up wholly within their own territory, more than 12" from enemy territory.

Continue to set up units until both players have set up their armies. If one player finishes first, the opposing player sets up the rest of the units in their army, one after another.

HOLDING FORCE
This battle is fought to control two objectives. The objectives are located at the centre of each player’s territory, 9" from the edge of the battlefield, as shown on the map below.

In this battle, a player only controls an objective if they have 5 or more friendly models within 6" of the centre of the objective, in addition to needing to have more models within 6" than their opponent. The 5 models can belong to different units.

GLORIOUS VICTORY
Starting from the third battle round, one player immediately wins a major victory if they have control of both objectives.

If neither player has won by the end of the fifth battle round, or the amount of time allocated for the battle runs out, then each player adds up the points value of any enemy units that have been destroyed during the battle (excluding any new units that were added to the armies after the battle started). If one player has a higher total, they win a minor victory.


Battle Strategies

War is unpredictable and fluid, and opportunities to dominate and win a battle may appear at a moment’s notice. A good general must be flexible, prepared to take advantage of any opportunity, and ever able to adapt their plans to react to changing circumstances.

The following Battle Strategies can be used to determine the winner of games of Warhammer Age of Sigmar. Pick armies and set up terrain as described in the core rules, and use the map table to determine which map will be used in your game. Next, follow the instructions below to determine which Battle Strategies each side will need to achieve in order to win.

Objectives

After the map for the battle has been generated and the territories chosen, the players roll off. Starting with the winner, the players alternate setting up three objectives each as follows. Each objective set up by each player should be labelled A, B or C, so that each player sets up one objective A, one objective B and one objective C. Each objective should be represented by a suitable marker, such as a coin.

The objectives you set up are friendly objectives, and the objectives set up by your opponent are enemy objectives. Set the objectives up in order (A, B, C), placing A and C in your own territory and B in your opponent’s territory. Each objective must be set up more than 9" from any other objectives and more than 9" from the edge of the battlefield. Measure from the centre of each objective marker.

At the end of each player’s turn, check to see if either player has gained control of any objectives. A player controls an objective if they have more models within 6" of the centre of it than their opponent does. A unit cannot be used to gain control of more than one objective in the same turn. Once you gain control of an objective, it remains under your control until the enemy is able to gain control of it.

Generating Battle Strategies

After the objectives have been set up, both players must generate two Battle Strategies as described below. In addition, during the battle, each player generates one additional Battle Strategy at the start of each of their hero phases.

To generate a Battle Strategy, roll two dice, one after the other: the first dice represents tens, and the second represents digits, giving you a result between 11 and 66. Look up the result on the table opposite and make a note of the strategy you have generated. Note that the results are not secret; both players should be able to see which Battle Strategies the other has.

Battle Strategies that have been generated are said to be active until they are achieved. Once a Battle Strategy has been achieved, it ceases to be active. You can have any number of active Battle Strategies at the same time.

Note that while there are several Battle Strategies with the same name, they are all uniquely numbered. When generating your Battle Strategies, keep a note of the numbers you roll. If you generate the same numbered Battle Strategy more than once for the same game, roll again until a different number is generated. In addition, generate a new strategy if you roll a strategy that is impossible to achieve (for example, you cannot achieve the Slayer of Beasts strategy if your opponent has no MONSTERS in their army).

Achieving Battle Strategies

The description for each Battle Strategy tells you what the requirements are to achieve the Battle Strategy, at which stage in a turn this requirement must be achieved, and how many victory points (VPs) are scored for achieving the Battle Strategy. For example, a roll of 11 on the Battle Strategy table generates the Capture (11) strategy, which requires you to control enemy objective A at the end of your turn in order to receive 1 victory point.

Only active Battle Strategies can be achieved. If you can achieve a Battle Strategy, you must immediately score the victory points for it – you cannot choose not to do so. Players can achieve any number of their Battle Strategies in the same turn.

Victory

At the end of the fifth battle round, the player that has scored the most victory points is the winner. Alternatively, a player can win by achieving a sudden death victory condition as normal.

 

Battle Strategies Table

D66NameRequirementWhenVPs
11CaptureControl enemy objective AEnd of your turn1
12CaptureControl enemy objective BEnd of your turn1
13CaptureControl enemy objective CEnd of your turn1
14HoldControl friendly objective AEnd of opponent’s turn1
15HoldControl friendly objective BEnd of opponent’s turn1
16HoldControl friendly objective CEnd of opponent’s turn1
21CaptureControl enemy objective AEnd of your turn1
22CaptureControl enemy objective BEnd of your turn1
23CaptureControl enemy objective CEnd of your turn1
24HoldControl friendly objective AEnd of opponent’s turn1
25HoldControl friendly objective BEnd of opponent’s turn1
26HoldControl friendly objective CEnd of opponent’s turn1
31InvadeControl two enemy objectivesEnd of your turn3
32ConquerControl all enemy objectivesEnd of your turn6
33No RetreatControl all friendly objectivesEnd of opponent’s turn3
34Take & HoldControl both A objectivesEnd of your turn2
35Take & HoldControl both B objectivesEnd of your turn2
36Take & HoldControl both C objectivesEnd of your turn2
41DominateControl at least two more objectives than your opponentEnd of your turn2
42OverrunControl at least four objectivesEnd of opponent’s turn2
43Hold OutControl an enemy objectiveEnd of opponent’s turn2
44ThrustControl the enemy objective furthest from your territoryEnd of your turn2
45Front Line DefenceControl the friendly objective closest to (but not within) enemy territoryEnd of your opponent’s turn2
46RetakeControl a friendly objective that was held by your opponent at the start of your turnEnd of your turn2
51Blood DebtSlay the last model in an enemy unitAt any time during either player’s turn1
52Blood on the GroundSlay the last model in an enemy unit, when the last model is in your opponent’s territoryAt any time during either player’s turn2
53Blood on the GroundSlay the last model in an enemy unit, when the last model is in your territoryAt any time during either player’s turn2
54Bloody RetributionSlay the last model in an enemy unit, when the last model is within 6" of an objectiveAt any time during either player’s turn2
55Blood TitheSlay the last model in two enemy units in the same turnAt any time during either player’s turn2
56River of BloodSlay the last model in three enemy units in the same turnAt any time during either player’s turn3
61SlayerSlay a model in an enemy unit using attacks made with melee weaponsAt any time during either player’s turn1
62Mighty SlayerSlay a model in two enemy units using attacks made with melee weaponsIn the same phase during either player’s turn2
63Exalted SlayerSlay a model in three enemy units using attacks made with melee weaponsIn the same phase during either player’s turn3
64Slayer of BeastsSlay an enemy MONSTERAt any time during either player’s turn2
65Slayer of ChampionsSlay an enemy HEROAt any time during either player’s turn2
66Slayer of KingsSlay the enemy generalAt any time during either player’s turn3
Command Abilities
If you have any HEROES in your army, you can use command abilities. Some command abilities are available to all armies, like the three on the right, while others are specific to certain models and appear on their warscroll. Some of these command abilities can only be used if that model is your general; when this is the case, it will be noted in the rules for the command ability.

In order to use any command ability you must spend 1 command point. You start the battle with 1 command point for each warscroll battalion you have in your army. In addition, you receive 1 command point at the start of each of your hero phases. You can use the same command ability several times in the same phase as long as you have enough command points to do so. Any command points you do not use can be used in a future turn. A command ability will usually specify when it is used; if it does not, it is used in your hero phase.
Roll-offs
Sometimes a rule may require the players to make a roll-off. When this is the case, each of the players rolls a dice, and whoever rolls highest wins the roll-off. If there is a tie for the highest roll, make the roll-off again. Neither player is allowed to re-roll or modify any of the dice when making a roll-off.
© Vyacheslav Maltsev 2013-2019