Change for Change’s Sake: Guide to Destiny Dice in AoS

Since they emerged from the Silver Tower, Destiny Dice have been a potent (and controversial) mechanic in Warhammer Age of Sigmar. The first Disciples of Tzeentch Battletome introduced Destiny Dice back in Tzaanuary 2017. The second Battletome heralded profound changes to how Destiny Dice operate (2020 Destiny Dice). Tzeentch armies play differently under the second Battletome and 2020 Destiny Dice have contributed to that new playstyle. 

Reading this article will help you to understand the nuances of 2020 Destiny Dice. We’ll explore available combos, nonbos* and counters to improve your games of Age of Sigmar.

This article covers a lot of ground, so I’ve split it into these three parts:

  1. how core mechanics of the game such as Pick, Change, Replace, Reroll, Multiplier and Modifier abilities operate and interact;
  2. the evolution of 2017 Destiny Dice mechanic and their impact on the wider rule set; and
  3. a guide to 2020 Destiny Dice as they operate in the game now.

We at The NicoLab hope that you enjoy this article and survive the puns. You can also check out other articles in the NicoLab series:

*Nonbos in this context are where two abilities combine in a negative manner for the player using them (anti-synergy or lack of synergy). They can also arise when the player expects there to be a combo/synergy but in fact there is no such combo/synergy.


Part 1: Pick, Change, Replace, Reroll, Multiplier or Modifier

You’re likely familiar with Rerolls and Modifiers as common dice mechanics in Warhammer Age of Sigmar.  However, there are also more exotic species of dice mechanic, including Picks, Changes, and Replaces. Let’s explore each of these in turn. 

Rerolls in Age of Sigmar

Since Age of Sigmar Second Edition, Rerolls have evolved from Reroll failed Hits/Wounds/Saves, to you can Reroll Hits/Wounds/Saves. This change has made Rerolls more efficient. Rerolling only failed hits/wounds/saves leaves you at the mercy of debuffs and rend which are applied after rerolls (causing you to fail). Now you can often Reroll dice which would fail after modifiers are applied.

For example, if you can only reroll failed hits, your To Hit is 4+ and you face a -1 to hit Modifier, then you can only Reroll 1s, 2s and 3s. If you roll a 2, 3, 4 and 6, then you can Reroll the 2 and the 3, but the 4 is not a failed hit at the Reroll point in the sequence. The 6 does hit.  After the Rerolls you have a 1 and a 5 together with the original 4 and 6. You then apply any Modifiers and find that the 4 becomes a Modified 3, which is below a 4+, so it misses. You’re left with the 5 and the 6 (Modified 4 and 5) as the only 2 hits. If you had Reroll hit rolls, then you could have also Rerolled that 4.

The Gruesome Bite Mount Trait for Flesh Eater Courts seems to be a deliberate exception. This is a new rule which only rerolls failed hits (perhaps the intention was to limit fishing for unmodified 6s that inflict 6 Mortal Wounds).

Modifiers in Age of Sigmar

Modifiers are additive buffs (+1 to hit), which can affect either a characteristic (+1 to bravery) or a dice roll (+1 to save rolls). They can stack on top of each other, unless expressly prohibited in the rule.

Multipliers in Age of Sigmar

Multipliers are anything that multiples or divides the value of a dice roll. The Core Rules FAQ confirms that Multipliers are applied before Modifiers. In practical terms, this reduces the impact of Multipliers compared to first modifying a value and then doubling it.

Picks, Changes and Replaces

Picks, Changes and Replaces allow you to either:

  • pre-determine a dice roll (proactively before rolling); or 
  • change/replace a dice roll (reactively after rolling).

By convention, Change abilities have been performed by physically turning a single dice to the desired value. For example, at Blood & Glory 2016, Terry Pike (@terrypike84 of the Facehammer podcast) pioneered the combo of:

  • Warpfire Stormfiends, when they spewed out Mortal wounds to any target;
  • Sayl the Faithless, whose spell could (at that time) double their move to pump up their threat range; and
  • Kairos, who could change priority rolls, the casting roll, unbinding roll or any other crucial roll for your opponent.

The Tzeentch Battletome of Tzaanuary 2017 heralded much change (27th pun in this article). One welcome development was that Kairos could no longer change a priority roll:

Oracle has the potent (and very rare) wording “Once per battle” as its timing trigger. As users of the “Laser Pen” (Luminary Rod artefact) know well, this can create all manner of opportunities. You could interrupt your opponent to change a single dice roll. The June 2018 Disciples of Tzeentch FAQ later emphatically clarified this as “Just one dice!” rather than (say) 35 hit rolls or a 2D6 charge roll.

Other example of Changes are Prime Time (The Celestant Prime) – who can change the entirety of a 2D6 Charge Roll using Orrery of Celestial Fates. However, this is then subject to forced rerolls from your opponent and modifiers.


The sequencing of Pick, Change and Replace abilities

The sequencing of these types of ability is as follows:

  1. Proactive Pick/Replace. This is where you use the ability instead of rolling the dice. For example, 2017 Destiny Dice used “predetermine”. 2020 Destiny Dice is a “would have made”. You don’t roll a D6 first for both of these.**
  2. Rolling the dice.
  3. Reactive Pick/Change/Replace. This timing is the default position, unless there is a more specific timing within the ability. 
  4. Rerolls
  5. Multipliers
  6. Modifiers

** Proactive Pick appears to mean choosing any arbitrary value (1 to 6) for the D6, whereas Proactive Replace is limited to specified values (e.g. the actual Destiny Dice you have available).

Core Rules FAQ

The following Core Rules FAQ makes clear that the rule set recognises distinct categories of Picks, Changes, Replaces, Rerolls and Modifiers and explains the timing in point 3 above:

2017 Destiny Dice were subject to rerolls, multipliers and modifiers. So back then Lord Kroak was the hard counter for Disciples of Tzeentch with his supply of universal rerolls (including forcing your opponent to reroll). He could simply make the Tzeentch player reroll a Destiny Dice.

A few special cases

However, as with many things in Age of Sigmar, there are unique abilities that operate outside this neat characterisation. 

The Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon’s Ancient Shield causes the model to have a 3+ Save (rather than adding 1 to its save roll as a Modifier). Hence, this synergises with the Ethereal Amulet (for a 3+ save that ignores all modifiers like rend).

The Freeguild Shield of the Freeguild General on Griffon no longer works in this way (so the Ethereal Amulet doesn’t synergise – a nonbo).

The Mistweaver Saih’s Glimmermist ability allows it to tank one attack with a 1+ save:

The timing is a little odd here (as the attack could miss or fail to wound, so you could waste the ability). However, this 1+ save is even better than it sounds because dice rolls (unlike characteristics) cannot be modified to below 1.

This means that even a -5 rend Attack from Volturnos will modify a roll of 2-5 to a 1. A 6 will also be modified to a 1 as normal. All of these are ‘‘1+’, so this armour save succeeds. Only a natural 1 fails (from the Core Rules).

The new Bastiladon

The FAQ to the Seraphon Battletome confirmed this position regarding the 1+ Save Bastiladon. With the benefit of hindsight, a Designer’s Note printed in the Battletome may have reduced the confusion over this mechanic.

This is particularly strong in melee due to the All-out Defence generic command ability from GHB 2019 for Reroll saves of 1. But because this is activated in the Start Part of the Combat Phase, cunning Hermdar Hearthguard Berzerkers with Broadaxes could activate first in the Fyreslayers’ turn and hope the Seraphon player rolls some natural 1s and inflict enough damage to drop the save profile of the Bastiladon. Then the HGB could fight again in the During Part of the Combat Phase against a reduced armour save. Or they could just bring Poleaxes!

At the Double

The At the Double generic command ability provides that the run roll is reactively treated as being a 6. This is efficient as you can roll the dice and only then decide whether you need to use the command ability (a 5 or 6 run roll might be sufficient to tag an objective for example).


Part 2: The Evolution of 2017 Destiny Dice

The first Disciples of Tzeentch Battletome introduced 2017 Destiny Dice back in Tzaanuary 2017. This proved to be a controversial mechanic. It’s worth seeing how 2017 Destiny Dice evolved over time, as the rules writers have learned from the mistakes made and taken on feedback when writing the rules for 2020 Destiny Dice. Of course, as with all things Tzeentch, be careful what you wish for….

The Mortal Wound distinction

Prior to 2017 Destiny Dice, mortal wounds and “regular” wounds had been fairly similar (just skipping the wound roll (and sometimes the hit roll) and the armour save). There were lengthy debates over whether ward saves (damage prevention rolls) that worked against mortal wounds also worked against regular wounds and vice versa.

As a result, and following a Warhammer TV episode introducing and discussing Battletome: Disciples of Tzeentch, it was confirmed that 2017 Destiny Dice can substitute 5 or 6 mortal wounds for “D6 Mortal Wounds” on the basis that this was a “Damage roll”. This led to perhaps the worst non-interactive playing experience of AoS – a 1 drop list that surgically zapped 20+ Mortal Wounds into key targets turn 1. Players such as Tony Moore found success with this type of army. This could be followed up by a guaranteed charge by a Lord of Change with a -3 Rend Sword that rarely missed (the Rob Bradley build at The South London Legion). 

A swift FAQ prevented this application of Destiny Dice. The following FAQs enshrine a hard distinction between mortal wounds and regular wounds:

There are numerous examples of this distinction being important in the current rules:

  • Ardboyz’ shields only work on regular wounds.
  • The Godbone Armour (Petrifex) only works on regular wounds (compare with Mannfred’s Armour of Templehof)
  • Scaly Skin (Coalesced Seraphon) does not work on Mortal Wounds inflicted by an attack (Poleaxes, Keepers of Secrets) – as confirmed in the FAQ for Seraphon:
  • Gotrek’s Avatar of Grimnir ability is plainly intended to work on mortal wounds caused by abilities and spells (noting in particular that years have passed since the last spell that caused regular wounds, namely Malagor the Dark Omen’s Carrion Viletide spell):
  • It is interesting to try to resolve Curse of Years against Avatar. The FAQ provides that you roll the 10 dice looking for 6s, apply the Ward saves, then carry on rolling based on the failed Ward Saves looking for 5s, apply Ward saves again, etc. Avatar seeks to aggregate the mortal wounds, reduce them to 1 and then apply the 3+ Ward save, which conflicts with the Curse of Years FAQ.
  • The Curse of Years FAQ should be deleted to fix this. Presumably this arose from player feedback (ignoring the silent evidence of when Curse inflicts zero or one mortal wound). A similar issue arises for Tzeentch’s Firestorm (where multiple D3 mortals are inflicted by a single spell).

The hard distinction between mortal wounds and regular wounds is also easier for new and experienced players alike. 

Using a 2017 Destiny Dice on a reroll and for one of the dice in a 2D6 roll

Originally, players used Destiny Dice on their rerolls. This was efficient for casting as Tzeentch had access to bubbles of reroll casts and reroll ‘1s’ in a casting roll. It was also possible to use only one Destiny Dice for a 2D6 roll (like a casting roll or charge rolls). 

Combining these two gave a decent outlet for those pesky 2s (the weakest Destiny Dice), since for a cast of 7, you could use a 5 Destiny Dice and roll the other D6. If you rolled a 1, then you could Reroll it and then make use of that 2 Destiny Dice. The June 2018 FAQ prevented the use of Destiny Dice for Rerolls.


Part 3: Your guide to 2020 Destiny Dice

Having traversed the background, it’s easier to see how the new 2020 Destiny Dice operate and why they do so. The re-amended Masters of Destiny Rule is as follows:

We’ll summarise the key points here and then go on to consider some of the interesting nuances. Where there is significant doubt over a point, we’ve included a percentage to reflect the degree of confidence/uncertainty.

9 Destiny Dice “at any time”

There is a hard cap of 9 Destiny Dice “at any time”. It seems that gaining a new one when you already have 9 would have no effect (unless the wording of the ability in question specifically caters for this scenario).

Only the 10 types of roll – Kairos hit

Destiny Dice and Kairos’s new Oracle of Eternity only work on the 10 types of dice roll listed above (Dispelling has been added to the previous 9 types). The restriction to these 10 is a significant limit to Kairos – he can no longer rig those critical 2+ rolls or 3+ rolls for your opponent’s abilities that aren’t spells (the Run and Charge prayer Ember Storm for Hermdar Fyreslayers or Prayer of Ash for +1 to save; Blessing of Khaine for Daughters; or changing Arcane Channeling to a 1 against Hallowheart).

Destiny Dice don’t work on mortal wounds from spells

The new version of “Damage roll” makes it clear that Destiny Dice do not work for mortal wounds from a Spell (like Bolt of Tzeentch, which causes D6 Mortals). The mortal wound/regular wound distinction is addressed directly in the ability.

Proactive Replace 

Destiny Dice proactively Replace a dice roll.

Oracle of Eternity is a reactive Replace

Kairos’s new Oracle of Eternity has a distinct timing “Once per battle, in either player’s turn”. Therefore, it can be a reactive Replace by contrast with Destiny Dice (“Instead of making one of the rolls….”).

This is slightly more restrictive than the old wording (“once per battle”). Oracle cannot be used:

  • in the start of a battle round or
  • to rig a run roll for a unit making a scout move in the start of the battle.

However, you can still wait to see if your opponent fails a roll, then only Replace it if they succeed.

Destiny Dice before Rerolls, Multipliers or Modifiers

Destiny Dice operate before any Reroll, Multiplier or Modifier (both from the wording of Masters of Destiny itself and consistent with the FAQ discussed above under The sequencing of Pick, Change and Replace abilities). This maintains the status quo that you cannot use a Destiny Dice for a Reroll.

Oracle can Replace a rerolled dice

Conversely, it seems (60%) that you can use Oracle to Replace a dice that has already been rerolled. This is particularly useful if your opponent has rerolled a charge roll for example and succeeded. This maintains the status quo for Oracle.

This probably works because the specific timing of Oracle (point 5 above) is a possible exception permitted by the Core Rules FAQ on Pick, Change and Replace. That FAQ accepts that the general rule can be overriden (“Unless noted otherwise in the ability”). Kairos can wait until after the Reroll has happened, which is still “Once per battle” and still in “either player’s turn”.

Destiny Dice are “unmodified”

As confirmed in the re-amended FAQ above, a dice roll replaced by a Destiny Dice counts as unmodified. This is significant for rules that operate or trigger on unmodified rolls of 1 or 6. The re-amended FAQ helpfully gives the specific example of the Icon Bearer for Horrors of Tzeentch (which returns Horrors to the unit).

You can’t reroll Destiny Dice

A dice roll replaced by a Destiny Dice cannot be rerolled. We refer to this as “unrerollable”.

A Destiny Dice can’t be modified

A dice roll replaced by a Destiny Dice cannot be modified. We refer to this as “unmodifiable”.

There are two narrow exceptions – the “Casualties Exception” for Battleshock rolls and the “Rend Exception”. 

The Casualties Exception

A Battleshock Test is a comparison between the Battleshock Roll (replaced by a Destiny Dice) plus the Casualties (which is a modifier to that Roll that still applies due to the Casualties Exception) against the modified Bravery. The Bravery is not a negative modifier to a Battleshock roll. You don’t ignore the Bravery if you use a Destiny Dice for a Battleshock Test.

The Modifier in the Battleshock Phase for every 10 models in a unit is a modifier to the Bravery of the unit. This Modifier is not a Modifier to a Battleshock roll either. 

The Casualties Exception is narrow. It only applies to casualties, not to any Modifier to a Battleshock roll, so any ability that adds to or subtracts from a Battleshock roll would still be overridden by the use of a Destiny Dice.

Both exceptions still apply to Kairos

It almost goes without saying that the Rend Exception and the Casualties Exception for Masters of Destiny are intended to apply equally to Oracle.

If Kairos Replaces a save roll, then the rend would still apply. If Kairos Replaces a Battleshock roll for 40 Marauders, you don’t ignore the 21 casualties suffered as a modifier.

Oracle is meant to be an exceptional ability, but not in this regard (particularly given the visceral reaction of the Community to this aspect of Destiny Dice).

Replacing other dice rolls

There is no core rule that you cannot Replace a Change, Replace a Replace, Replace a Pick etc.. We’ve discussed the core rules relating to these abilities above.

It follows that there is no reason why Kairos in Tzeentch Army X cannot use Oracle to Replace a dice that Tzeentch Army Y has Replaced using its Destiny Dice. (85%)

Furthermore if Tzeentch Army Y also has its own (pretender?) Kairos, then it could use its Oracle to Replace the dice a third time! In practical terms, similar to “Vecting a Vect” in 40K, the first person to use or rely on Oracle usually loses out in this scenario. All of this preserves the status quo as far as Destiny Dice being replaced by Oracle and competing Kairoses.

Considering this point further, players did ask the FAQ team whether Oracle can replace the opponent’s Destiny Dice. The question wasn’t answered in the FAQ, suggesting that it may have been considered clear that it can. It remains possible to assume that the FAQ team meant to write: “Cannot be rerolled, modified or changed or replaced” in an errata that has itself already been amended. It is not possible to put this down as an unlikely or obscure interaction either given that Kairos is the most significant named character in the faction. In other words – the FAQ team didn’t just forget to say that Destiny Dice can’t be replaced again by the iconic named character.

You must use two Destiny Dice for a 2D6 roll

In contrast to 2017 Destiny Dice, for a 2D6 dice roll (casting, charges) you must spend 2 Destiny Dice to replace the entire roll. This seems more consistent with the Lore (the result is completely set in stone – subject to the named character Kairos further pulling on the strings of fate). This also implements part of the author’s stated intention, namely “to control unruly casting rolls and other exploits….” Intention is discussed further below. This is a substantial nerf to the efficiency of Destiny Dice (see 2017 Destiny Dice above). You can no longer replace one dice with a 6 and then roll the other one when you’re looking for an 8. You can’t reroll the entire roll, which prevents you from rerolling if you rolled a 1 for a (6, 1) – a casting roll of 7.

Oracle still works with 2D6 rolls

Oracle replaces only a single D6 (including one D6 from a 2D6 roll). Significantly the unrerollable and unmodifiable rules apply to the entire roll (not just the D6 of the 2D6 that was replaced).

This means that if Kairos replaces one D6 in an opponent’s charge roll or casting roll, then the entire roll cannot be rerolled and no modifiers apply even though the other D6 has been rolled as normal.

The FAQ from the Skaventide Battletome regarding Warpstone Tokens is consistent with this point as neither the 3D6 and the resulting 2D6 roll can be rerolled or modified.

This creates useful counters against abilities such as Marauders charging using Boundless Ferocity (after they change the lower D6 to a 6, you replace it with a 1 and also turn off their +1 modifier to charge from Barbarian Drummer, capping them at a 7” charge (if they rolled at least one 6 in the initial roll):

Master of Magic is a Change rule

Lords of Change and Kairos also have the Mastery of Magic ability, which is a Change rule (not a Replace). There is an FAQ for how this interacts with Destiny Dice, preventing the Lord of Change/Kairos from Replacing both dice in a casting roll with Destiny Dice and then Changing the lower one with Mastery. You cannot use Destiny Dice to replace a casting roll with (6, 2) and then use Mastery to change this to (6, 6).

There is no reason to generalise the above narrow FAQ into a general rule that you cannot Change a Replaced dice roll (75%). Had this been the intention, then it could have been expressed in general terms here in the FAQ. We’ve seen that Games Workshop are happy to set out global changes in faction-specific FAQs before (e.g. Gristlegore and The Activation Wars, see here https://aosshorts.com/nicolab-sequencing-warhammer-age-of-sigmar/ 

It is very likely that Replace abilities can be used to Replace a dice roll previously affected by a Change ability, e.g. Oracle can trump Orrery of Celestial Fates, Boundless Ferocity etc.. This preserves the status quo. (90%)

It seems that if Kairos uses Oracle to replace one D6 of a casting roll, then he can still use Mastery on the other normal D6. This is powerful, but it’s a once per game ability for a named character (75%)

Arguably a Multiplier could still affect a dice roll that has been Replaced using a Destiny Dice. This could be relevant to an ability that halves or doubles weapon damage for example. One could argue the other way that this is an oversight (noting that Multipliers are comparatively rare) and that there’s no reason to distinguish a Modifier and a Multiplier in this specific regard. (55%)

Despite the unusual wording of At the Double (discussed above – A few special cases), Oracle should still be able to Replace a run roll that has been treated as being a 6.

We can speculate as to whether Destiny Dice should perhaps have been a Pick ability with Oracle remaining as a Replace. This could have made it easier to distinguish them as proactive and reactive abilities. On the other hand, using significant amounts of wording in common (except for the timing trigger) has its advantages in terms of consistency and clarity.

The Casualties Exception and the Rend Exception

Upon the release of the Battletome, 2020 Destiny Dice provoked a visceral reaction in players (particularly at Heat 1 at a Warhammer World) due to two particular interactions. 

As 2020 Destiny Dice are unmodifiable, an opponent’s unit’s rend was ignored as a modifier to the save roll itself (noting that it is not affecting the save characteristic). This allowed a 2020 Destiny Dice of 5 to bounce a -3 rend attack off a Flamer of Tzeentch. Furthermore, the number of casualties is a modifier to a Battleshock roll, so 10+ casualties would be ignored if you used any 2020 Destiny Dice for Battleshock (not only a 1 that triggers the Icon ability).

Ignoring rend and casualties seemed unintended in the players’ opinions. Destiny Dice have been controversial from the outset (even in the Warhammer Quest Silver Tower game). Games Workshop responded swiftly to this feedback.

Arguably, this focus on Destiny Dice distracted attention from deeper issues in the Battletome such as reliably stacking +3 to hit and +1 to wound on an undercosted shooting unit (Flamers) and the power of army-wide no-retreat in a combat-driven game, where you can 2.9” enemy units to take them out of the game. I must admit recommending in the past that dedicated anti-horde shooting be a bigger part of the game (and not of the 2D6 vs 10+ models variety, as D6 Damage is rarely desirable compared to flat damage), however Flamers are too efficient against almost any target and Tzeentch didn’t need the help!

On the other hand, as we’ve seen before with Gloomspite Gitz (“Skragrott is so undercosted!”), FEC, Slaanesh, Petrifex Elite and others, subsequent releases often tone down or soft counter an army or combo. Seraphon (Scaly Skin Salamanders and Bastiladons), Lumineth Realmlords and Sons of Behemat may soft counter Tzeentch’s shooting builds. The Battletome has tremendous depth so this is manageable.

The intention behind 2020 Destiny Dice

Rules in a game should be interpreted in their context and taking into account both the author and their audience (as with any other document in any other context). The key question to ask is what the audience would understand the author to mean by using these words (in context). This is distinct from the meaning of the words that the author uses.

Rules for a game are not written in legalese, nor with the mathematical precision required for engineering or physics. They may use vivid or poetic or fun language rather than dry, specific and less ambiguous words. 

Normally we can piece together the intention of Games Workshop by looking at similar rules and earlier FAQs, listening to podcasts from the Rules Writers and reading their articles in White Dwarf. We know, for example, that Games Workshop has used more extensive templating for Battletomes since at least the Beasts of Chaos Battletome. We’ve reaped the benefits of this, for example – none of the recent fight twice abilities allow you to fight for a third time (other than fighting twice and then fighting on Death, which may be possible).

That it may be impossible (or very difficult) to find or prove the definitive intention of the author to a 99% standard or a beyond reasonable doubt standard is not a good reason for adopting literalism or “rules as written”. If you and your opponent conclude that the author’s intention is (over 50% or more likely than not), then naturally you would use that one. The literal interpretation should not be elevated (when it is quite possible that it’s absurd or there may be multiple literal interpretations). If it’s close to 50-50 or you can’t agree with your opponent, then roll off or ask for the kind assistance of the overworked and underpaid TO.

Rules as written/literalism also falls down when common English words are regularly used to convey two or more different meanings. Words like “including” or “during” or “until” are inherently ambiguous. We’ll not risk a discussion of “wholly within”, where I’ve seen other players invoking advanced mathematics. The word “a” can mean “one” or “any” or “all” in normal English usage as the venerable Gnarlroot Wargrove FAQ illustrated:

Tying this back to Destiny Dice, we now see an acknowledgment of the importance of “intention” in the Designer’s Commentary for the Tzeentch Battletome, which twice refers to the Designer’s intention and spells out what that was:

The change to make Destiny Dice unmodified and unmodifiable reduces the power level of Destiny Dice significantly – especially for casting (Beacon of Sorcery, Arcane scenery and Mastery no longer allow a single Destiny Dice of 6 to yield a cast roll of 14 for a Lord of Change). This seems to be part of the intention to contain “unruly casting rolls”.

One can see how this is simpler to understand (“straightforward”)  for newer players who don’t have any baggage from the old Battletome and 2017 Destiny Dice. They aren’t having to unlearn combos and aren’t finding nonbos.

2020 Destiny Dice are also consistent with a broader drive towards abilities triggering on unmodified 6s (rather than modifiable 6+), which limits the power of a buff stack of +2 to hit or more and a 6+ ability (like old Murderhost Bloodletters).


What can I do against Destiny Dice?

Possible Counters

While one can see the appeal of the intentions behind the Destiny Dice changes, one consistent feature is that a number of soft and hard counters simply don’t work against Destiny Dice. This may be frustrating for the other player. 

  1. The Khorne Hexgorgers ability (-2 Modifier to cast) will not work against a Destiny Dice casting roll (as the roll is unmodifiable by either player).
  1. The Slaanesh Discordant Disruption ability (Enrapturess) will not force a Reroll of a Destiny Dice casting roll (it’s unrerollable).
  1. Suppressing Fire (-1 to charge rolls) from Raptors (Hurricane Crossbows) will not work against a Destiny Dice charge roll.
  1. Arguably (55%), the Khorne Daemon Prince Command Ability Bloodslick Ground will halve a Destiny Dice run roll or charge roll. This is on the basis that a Multiplier (or Divisor) is distinct from a Modifier. See point 25 above.
  1. The Hornblower rule for Bloodletters and many other Daemons (including Horrors themselves) do not force a unit of Horrors of Tzeentch to reroll a Destiny Dice of 1 for Battleshock (so the test is passed and this returns D6 Slain Pink Horrors back from the Icon Bearer). 
  1. While we’re on the subject, query whether you can bring back an Icon Bearer using the Emerald Lifeswarm if there are fewer than 10 Pink Horrors in the unit. It’s also worth remembering that the rule against returning models to within 3” of enemy units that aren’t already ‘tagged’ is a global one (so it applies to Emerald Lifeswarm too).

These examples are often the mirror image of a nonbo for the Tzeentch player (e.g. that Arcane or Beacon of Sorcery don’t modify a Destiny Dice cast roll any more).

The removal of Lord Kroak’s forced rerolls mechanic and the unrerollable and unmodifiable nature of Destiny Dice reduces interactivity and counterplay. Ultimately, there isn’t much you can do other than ally in Kairos (which I’ve been doing for Slaanesh), try to bait out the Destiny Dice (e.g. through the threat of Unbinding casting rolls) or give your opponent opportunities to make errors or mismanage their resources (for example using Destiny Dice, when rolling the dice was the correct call in the circumstances). 

A Silver Tower Lining?

There is a positive to this. While 2020 Destiny Dice remain a powerful allegiance ability, they aren’t as potent as 2017 Destiny Dice (in the current meta). Players rarely build entire lists around using 2020 Destiny Dice or generating more of them (though it does happen). James Page’s CanCon list leaned heavily into Endless Spells where Destiny Dice were arguably more important.

In this context, the Darkfire Daemonrift is extremely powerful in Tzeentch hands using 2020 Destiny Dice to cast it. It can lead to an area of effect of D3+10 Mortal wounds (or more) to multiple enemy units. After this carnage, a Lord of Change can then simply pick it up off the table using Spell-eater as this rule is intentionally worded as in the Hero Phase rather than in the Start of the Hero Phase (90%). Contrast this with the distinct Myrmourn Banshees’ Spell-eaters wording, which is a dispel “in the same manner as a WIZARD” (rather than causing the Endless Spell to be “dispelled”).

I’ve suggested that the bonus damage should only affect Wizard keyword (rather than just capping the damage – this is more fun and you live by the sword and you die by the sword). My own Heat 2 Syll’Esskan Host Slaanesh list sought to use an allied Kairos to rig the cast roll for Darkfire Daemonrift from a Sorceror on Manticore (or to rig an otherwise successful unbind).

Shooting or board control (Hosts Duplicitous) armies are the go-to options for Tzeentch with Destiny Dice largely smoothing out the random element of the game and increasing certainty. Typically, players allocate 2020 Destiny Dice to a key 9” or other charge, one or two casts and a clutch unbind of their opponent’s key spells. This is quite different from the T1 barrage of Gateway and D6 Mortal Wounds spam (early 2017 Destiny Dice, for example https://www.tga.community/blogs/entry/1513-archaon-does-a-submarine-at-heat-2/) or Endless Spell spam (late 2017 Destiny Dice).

Even if you have five 6s and a 1 staring back at you (as my Slaanesh army did in my first game against new Tzeentch at the inaugural Bucks Club Clash), you can still deploy defensively, try to bait out a mistake and give yourself a real chance to win the game in the late-game. I lost this one against my opponent Ed Hamon but we managed to make it a meaningful and enjoyable game for us both. 

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