A Beginner's Guide to Realms of Ruin

A Beginner's Guide to Realms of Ruin

Hail Commanders!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin, the realm-shattering fantasy real-time strategy game from Frontier, is now available to play!

Delivering an authentic Warhammer Age of Sigmar experience and classic RTS gameplay, Realms of Ruin offers a variety of ways to play, create and dominate the battlefield in the Mortal Realm of Ghur.

With many different paths to victory, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to help you get started and find your feet as a commander in the Mortal Realms.

Experience the campaign

With a story penned in conjunction with Black Library author, Gav Thorpe, the campaign features a twisted narrative and challenges a-plenty to sink your teeth into.

Experiencing Realms of Ruins’ cinematic campaign is the best way to acquaint yourself with the game’s core mechanics and the world of Age of Sigmar itself. Leading your forces across a series of challenging chapters, the campaign will equip you with all the gameplay knowledge you need for success in multiplayer and Conquest modes.

Brand new to Warhammer Age of Sigmar? We’ve got you covered with our introductory guide to the setting and lore.

Master the basics

Realms of Ruin - Killaboss on Great Gnashtoof

Realms of Ruin features a modern spin on classic RTS gameplay, with a mix of both familiar and new mechanics to learn. Here are just a few of the mechanics you’ll need to master:

Combat Locking – war in the Mortal Realms is brutal and when forces clash, disengaging is no mean feat. When units meet on the battlefield in Realms of Ruin, they will fight to the death and cannot be manoeuvred out of combat, save through a full command to retreat. Positioning your forces, choosing when to engage, and picking the best targets is key to success.

Abilities – units in Realms of Ruin wield powerful abilities that can be used to gain an upper hand on the battlefield. Timing the use and managing the resource cost of these abilities can turn the tide of battle, allowing your forces to overcome what may have appeared as insurmountable odds. Beware though, your foes also wield their own fearsome abilities, so keep a close eye on your enemy lest they catch you unawares.

Faction Abilities – after fully upgrading their Command Post each faction can summon their own devastating powers for use on the battlefield. These powers can significantly disrupt the flow of the battle, so be sure to wield their might for maximum effect and steel yourself for your opponent’s own brutal abilities.

Terrain – the Realm of Ghur is treacherous and full of danger, with the land itself posing a challenge. Some terrain will slow or even damage units as they move through it, so keep an eye on how you manoeuvre and position your units. With skill this terrain can even be used to your advantage, weakening your opponent as they attempt to reach your forces.

If in doubt, refer to the in-game Battletome which is packed full of useful tips and explainers to keep you right. The comprehensive ‘How to Play’ menu here explains everything from flanking to how different status effects work in the game.

Control the battlefield

Realms of Ruin - RTS view of battlefield

Effective control of the map is the key to victory in Realms of Ruin. Each battle map features strategic locations named Arcane Conduits which can be captured and defended to provide a steady stream of resources that will help determine the result of the battle.

Arcane Conduits will provide one of two resources:

Command – the control and coherency of your forces, Command is a representation of your ability to lead your army to victory. Command is automatically gained from any controlled Arcane Conduits and will scale depending on the size of the controlled region. The amount of Command you collect can be improved by building and upgrading a Vision Bastion on the Arcane Conduit.

Realmstone – a physical concentration of raw magic, Realmstone is one of the most sought-after resources in the Mortal Realms. You’ll need to build a Harvest Bastion on an Arcane Conduit to collect Realmstone, with the amount collected scaled based on the size of the controlled region. Upgrading the Bastion will further increase the amount of Realmstone you receive.

Arcane Conduits can be further fortified with other types of Bastions to resist recapture from your opponents. Depending on the type of Bastion chosen, additional bonuses will be provided, including healing for nearby units, a tower which attacks nearby enemy units and other benefits.

In addition to collectible resources, you must also take care to manage your Population. Population is determined by the tier of your Command Post and surplus Population is required to summon more units.

Multiplayer, Conquest and AI skirmish maps also feature Victory Points which play a key role in these battles. Hold more Victory Points than your opponent and they will begin to lose Victory Score – once they’re out of Victory Score you win. The more points you hold, the faster the score is depleted, so these will quickly become key flashpoints in tug-of-war combat.

Invest for success

Controlling Arcane Conduits and Victory Points is just one step on the path to battlefield domination. Leveraging your resources and managing your economy is essential if you want to remain competitive on the field of battle and bring the full power of your faction to bear.

Resources can be spent to buy new units and purchase upgrades and are also used when your units cast their abilities. Determining when and where to invest your resources can often be just as important as the actual placement of your units. Spending your stockpile on lots of fresh units might give you an early lead, but if your opponent has invested in upgrades and higher tier units, you may come to regret your decision.

Consider the longer-term impact of your spending, keep a buffer in your budget for your unit’s more powerful abilities, but most importantly – make sure to spend your resources! A huge stockpile of resources means nothing if your foe controls the map and you’re on the verge of defeat.

Conquer the factions

Realms of Ruin - Screenshot - Dankfeer Combat

Realms of Ruin features four unique factions, with their own strengths, weaknesses and playstyles to master.

Stormcast Eternals

The Stormcast Eternals are Sigmar’s will made manifest, a host of demigods charged with returning hope to the war-ravaged Mortal Realms. A balanced, sturdy faction with the tools to respond to whatever threats await them.

They bring a versatile squad selection to the field, as well as heroes who provide vital buffs and crowd control of enemies. Their units are costly, however, and have only average mobility across the battlefield.

Learn more about mastering Sigmar’s elite in our Stormcast Eternals Faction Guide.

Orruk Kruleboyz

Swamp-dwelling Orruks whose tools of destruction include poisons, foul beasts and cunning brutality. What they lack in brute strength they make up for in disruptive abilities that allow them to manipulate the tide of battle.

They offer cheap units, surprise attacks and strong defensive squads, yet they lack strength in the early game, relying on buffs from their hero units and only reaching full power when their monsters enter the fray near the end of the battle.

Learn more about these cunning swamp warriors in our Orruk Kruleboyz Faction Guide.


A tortured spirit host of damned souls, united in a war against the living by the Great Necromancer Nagash. Alone they are weak, but in legion they overwhelm and terrify their foes.

They thrive in swarm tactics, bringing diabolical horrors to the battlefield, and have high mobility. They can return from defeat to continue fighting, although their units are individually weaker, vulnerable to ranged combatants and easier to overcome with crowd control tactics.

Learn more about commanding the undead in our Nighthaunt Faction Guide.

Disciples of Tzeentch

Mortal worshipers and demons who pledge allegiance to Tzeentch, the Chaos God of Change. They are masters of treachery and foul plots, controlling the battlefield with immense ranged offensive sorcery and disruptive magic.

They are deadly at range, use powerful spells to control the battle and can bring the astonishingly powerful Lord of Change unit to control the late game. Their units, however, carry a high cost, and they lack defensive capabilities relative to the other factions.

Learn more about the devious adherents of the Great Schemer in our Disciples of Tzeentch Faction Guide.

Balance the scales of combat

Units in Realms of Ruin have their own weaknesses and strengths depending on their unit type. The combat triangle is a useful principle for understanding how this works in the game.

  • Units with the Shield icon are strong against those with the Bow icon.
  • Units with the Bow icon are strong against those with the Sword icon.
  • Units with the Sword icon are strong against those with the Shield icon.
  • Hero units – marked with a Star – exist outside of this paradigm and will require experimentation to determine how best to use them in battle.

With these weaknesses and strengths, it’s important to diversify your forces and avoid over committing with a particular unit type. Keep in mind your opponent’s faction and their playstyle, before building a diverse army to counter their forces.

While the combat triangle demonstrates the innate strengths and weaknesses of the available units, more advanced tactics will be required to find success in the Realm of Ghur. Unit abilities, upgrades, terrain and control of nearby Arcane Conduits can all influence the outcome of a clash.

Control the ebb and flow of battle

Understanding when, where and how to commit your forces to battle is at the core of Realms of Ruin’s gameplay. Finding the right pace to spending resources, capturing points and defeating enemy units will determine your longevity in battle.

Each stage of your battle may require different approaches, so be careful to consider the consequences of your actions further down the line.

Rapidly capturing points at the beginning of a battle may provide an early influx of resources, but this could leave you overextended and vulnerable to attack. Alternatively, acting too slowly may allow the odds against you to snowball and give your opponent an insurmountable lead – this can be doubly dangerous in Campaign chapters, which may see enemy units continuously spawn and enter the battlefield.

One step back, two steps forward

Realms of Ruin - Screenshot - Horror Combat

Over the course of the battle your units will take some knocks and will need to be given the opportunity to recover unless you want to lose them entirely. Using healing abilities, Arcane Conduit Bastions or returning your units back to base will allow them to recover their numbers and return fresh for battle.

In an emergency you can also issue a retreat command to your forces. This will enable them to immediately disengage and rapidly flee back to base to heal. However, retreating requires you to spend some Command points and will see the retreating units return all the way to your Command Post, which may leave any remaining units open to counterattack.

A useful strategy can be to keep some units in reserve and cycle these with your more battered units as they recover – this allows you to keep up the pressure on the enemy, without risking the total destruction of your forces.

Make your army your own

If you’re familiar with the tabletop game or you want to leave your own personal mark on your army, you won’t want to miss the Army Livery tool. Customise your armies using Citadel paints to determine their paint scheme, both for individual units and for the entire faction. Personalised factions can then be used on the battlefield in multiplayer and Conquest Mode.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin is available to play now!

Armed with wisdom you’re now ready to take your first steps as a warlord and lead your army to victory on the battlefield. Remember though, this is only an introduction to Realms of Ruin and mastery of more than just the basics will be required to dominate the bestial Realm of Ghur.

Realms of Ruin is available to play NOW on PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S|X.


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