How to Use Magic Effectively
By Lord Brrrrp
All was lost. The armor of their forefathers battered. Horses slain. It had not been so early in the battle. The lance formations crashed into walls of skaven. By the hundreds, the slaves and clan rats died and those who did not fly fled. But the assassin, reached the damsel and she died dishonoring the knights protecting her and their families for generations. But for today, the effect was death. With the damsel dead, the grey seer engaged in battle near death himself ushered one last spell. Soon knights fell dead in scores. PLAGUE!
The Mechanics of Magic
Spells are picked at the beginning of the game. This gives an enormous advantage to any caster that can pick spells from Empire Wizards to High Elf Mages. The ability to chose from multiple lores may be the single most important factor in having a successful magic phase.
Timing of Magic.
Magic occurs before shooting and close combat. It can often be used to clear a unit of skirmishers or screens so shooting can occur on the intended target. It can be used to get a character out of trouble before combat actually occurs. It can be used to get a character or unit into combat or improve the fighting ability of a unit before combat. Never forget the timing of magic.
Remember you can always take the first spell on the list. Much should be focused on the value of the default spell . If that is what you are stuck with, will it help? How much are you relying on a single spell being obtained? This is also what makes slaan so enormously powerful. They can pick 8 spells without rolling (all 8 of the lores of magic default spells). They can hit you again and again with magic missiles.
What level Mage to Take?
The most common number to cast on 2d6 is 7. A great number of spells take more than that. 3d6 and 4d6 are often needed for a single spell. This makes level 2 mages a huge improvement over level 1 mages. You can cast Level+1 die only. Generally, on a point basis a level 4 mage is just about equal to 2 level 2 mages (per Empire).
Tricky thing about low level mages? Certain default spells are powerful when used more than once a round. Treesinging (wood elves), Skitterleap (skaven), Rune of Burning Iron X2 or X3 can destroy enemy characters. A level 4 mage can cast the default spell once.
On the other hand, if you take a low level mage, be sure you can actually use the default spell successfully. Many spells will be “out of normal range” for Level +1 die casting limits.
Why a high level mage? 100 pts of magic items. But more importantly, getting 4 spells on a list and the ability to cast so many dice. They are simply more flexible casters.
Higher levels don’t produce higher dice than multiple low level wizards in casting nor in dispelling. Multiple low level mages provide greater magic protection, less likelihood of losing that protection in one battle but less casting. There is the paradox. 4 level 1 mages create 6 dispel dice. 1 level four mage creates only 4. It’s a clever balance.
Other Notes on Magic Mechanics.
Dispelling spells in play poses a strategic problem. You dispel spells in play AFTER casting or AFTER all other spells are cast/dispelled. You must hold back just enough dice to beat the initial casting value, but hold back too many and you lose your effectiveness in your casting phase. The larger the spell to be dispelled, the more problematic.
When a character joins a unit, he comes under the benefit or harm of the spell in play. The key thing often forgotten is that if he leaves the unit (which he often can), the caster is forced to choose between holding the spell on the character or the unit. You can often save your character by having him leave the unit or you can save the unit itself.
The doubles rule for dispelling matters little. If you roll 2 1’s, you undoubtedly won’t beat my score (though I guess in dispelling a spell that remains in play it could matter). If you roll 2 6’s, you fairly certain will out roll your opponent.
One of the best ways to destroy a “remains in play” spell that has an area it effects is to march in a unit with high magic resistance.
But when casting doubles cause miscasting or irresistible force. It remains rare but spectacular even when casting quite a few dice.
Most spells can’t be cast into close combat. If you fear the enemy’s mages, get stuck in.
WHAT THE RACES CAN TAKE:
Ogre: Gut Magic
Tomb Kings: Incantations
Empire: Any of 8 Lores
Orcs and Goblins: Little Waagh and Big Waagh
Beasts: Lores of Beast, Shadow, Death or Slaanesh or Nurgle
Vampires: Necromancy or Lore of Death
Brettonians: Lores of Beast and Life (Damsel) and include Heaven (Prophetess)
Hordes: Lores of Death, Fire and Shadow or Slaanesh, Nurgle or Tzeentch
High Elves: Any of the Lores of Magic and High Magic (mages) and Lore of Fire (Dragon Mage)
Lizardmen: Any of the Lores of Magic (Slaan) and Lore or Heavens (skink priests)
Wood Elves: Lore of Life or Beasts (Spellweaver) and Athel Loren (all).
Dark Elves: Lores of Shadow, Death or Dark
Play the Odds
A Level 2 wizard can use 3d6 to cast. So look at the range of possible spells that can be cast.
3+ 4+ 5+ 6+ 7+ 8+ 9+ 10+ 11+ 12+ 13+
1 67 50 33 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 97 92 83 72 58 42 28 17 8 3 0
3 93 93 93 91 88 88 74 63 50 38 26
4 87 87 87 87 87 87 85 83 80 73 65
5 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 78[/FONT]
Even an 11+ spell is cast 50% of the time. Yet, if you have a 2d6 cast, at 8+ you are below 50%.
Similarly, IF and Miscasts are rare with each cast but not rare in the course of a game.
At 3d6 there is only a 7% chance of either. However, that is a 14% chance that either you will cast IF or Miscast.
Ok, what that means is that you can take a level 2 mage and cast most spells. You can’t count on your level 2 mage though for the top tier of casting value spells though.
Likewise, the numbers tell us that worrying about miscasting and IF don’t pay off. It is too random. Even if you were to cast 5d6 your chance of IF is still only about 15%. Let fortune be fickle (pardon the pun). Think about the low odds when deciding if a 4th generation slaan is really that much better than a 5th generation slaan.
Why spend the money on magic? Why fear magic if it is not worth the points you spend on it? Why not just take more troops or shooting? The answer is simple. Magic compliments most armies. Magic does something most armies are weak at. The more lores you can take, the more flexible it is.
Let me give you some examples. Chaos Hordes lacks shooting but has access to the Lore of Fire. Empire has access to all 8 lores and depending on the enemy can have spells specifically devastating. The undead build more troops that simply do not break or flee. Brettonians who fear shooting have the best anti-shooting lore available (Life). Wood elves strike hard but lack strong defensive capabilities against shooting or combat. The Lore of Athel Loren helps mitigate these problems. More importantly, spells often do things you can’t otherwise do and give enough advantage to win combat, cause panic or terror etc. For magic missiles, never forget you get magic first before shooting. Cut down the number of models and then your missile fire can more easily cause panic tests immediately thereafter. Magic matters. In short, think carefully before dispelling magic (another cheap pun) and its role in your army.
Lores of Magic
Fire Magic: (Chaos Sorcerers, Empire, Dragon Mages (HE), High Elves)
1. You are fairly certain to get raw damage spells.
2. 2 magic missile spells require LOS and your mage can’t be in combat. However, because a slaan is always able to cast (so long as there are models in the front row) even if in combat and is a large creature, fire magic can brilliantly allow him to cast damage every round all the time.
3. Avoid your mage getting his sight blocked or being engaged. Fire magic works best when your mage can break off and secure a flank or is mounted.
4. As much as fire magic works well with the mage on his own, the range is not sufficient to avoid getting in mid-range (where in 2 turns you would be charged or where you can be shot). This is not a lore for the lone mage without protection of a unit. . . .typically.
5. Fireball is plain damage and perfect for clearing a small enemy unit but its pricing is high relative to the benefit. At 5+ you really need to dedicate 2 casting die. This is a solid spell for chaos that often lacks the ability to kill small units that harass. Try to make a small unit panic if you can.
6. Sword of Rhuin may make you feel powerful and if you are in a close fight, try it. But you still only have 2 attacks. It can be powerful depending on the mage/race but generally it is used to survive a charge you simply never wanted. Chaos does an exceptional job with this spell as do Dragon mages. That being said, mages don’t fight. . . typically!
7. Burning Head: 3d6 for a 8+ spell. I wouldn’t trust it at 2d6. The spell is brilliant at causing panic amongst screens and sacrificial units as well as scouts. Later in the battle, get your mage to the flank so he can cast it down the file of many units. You can potentially cause panic on several units.
8. Fiery Blast: The agony of being on the border of needing one extra die to cast an upgraded fireball. But can you be confident that 2d6 is enough? Unlike a fireball, the extra hits make an enormous difference in the spell being able to clear enough models or cause panic to do more than just “slightly tenderize” a unit. It is ideal also for war machine units where the distribution of hits requires you have enough to actually take out the crew.
9. Conflagration of Doom rarely is spectacular and often has the same effect as a fireball. Ties go to your enemy in terms of the flames going out. Here is the one exception that has often made this spell a winner. You can cast it anywhere on the table including right smack on the one model that decided not to be part of a unit. So for war machine crews, sometimes not needing to be in range is worth this expensive spell. You are right at the border of 3d6 versus 4d6.
10. Wall of Fire: Misunderstood. The key is that if the unit moves, all models take a hit. Play on the largest unit of infantry the enemy has and enjoy. At 12+, the chance of dispelling it once cast would basically take the opponent out of a magic phase. Getting a 10+ remains in play spell off poses a huge challenge to the opposing army because of the large cost of dispelling will take away a magic phase. 4d6 isn’t exactly going to leave much else for the magic phase.
Fire magic is great for any elite force that simply needs to do damage to soften up the opposition because it has too few models by comparison. For armies simply lacking in high strength shooting, war machines or any shooting, Fire Magic can overcome some of these weaknesses.
Lore of Metal: (Empire, High Elves, Lizardmen)
1. The spell list focuses on impacting armor saves.
2. The lore is wonderful against enemies having high armor infantry. Range issues impact the benefit of the lore against cavalry.
3. Across the board the range is only 24” meaning you are within shooting range and not terribly far from being charged by cavalry.
4. The default spell quickly wounds characters. Note, even if the strength of the spell is only 3, there is no armor save. Where this spell becomes powerful is in its ability to target characters. A single wound will not kill a general or hero.
5. Having 2 low level mages with the default spell can quickly lead to the death of a character if the enemy is not able to dispel consistently.
6. Commandment of Brass: Stopping a single war machine may be easier with scouts or flyers but if you really need to stop it one round, this is an easy spell to cast.
7. Transmutation of Lead: Just how lucky do you feel? 2d6 is 58% likely. Just how badly do you need the spell? The spell immediately makes an enemy unit much easier to attack INCLUDING CHARACTERS. One of the keys to its beauty, is that it effects all models in the unit. This has destroyed more than one vampire and made challenges that might have been difficult, trivial. Often this spell will have more impact than a magic missile. It is the bane of close combat characters!
8. Distillation. Your standard lore of magic 2d6 st4 magic missile. Remember, you need line of sight. Like other spells of its class, you will struggle between chancing casting it on 2d6 versus being relatively certain on 3d6.
9. Law of Gold. The opposing player picks the magic item. Unless you are sure the opponent only has one or two items, chances are the one you need will not be picked to be destroyed or iced for a turn. HOWEVER, the spell is quite good against a solo character. One great example is the sarrus hero with a jaguar charm. Remove the charm and he is vulnerable and easy to avoid. Very situational. Worst part remains the opponent picks the item.
10. Spirit of the Forge. Affecting 2d6 heavily armored foes helps but if the enemy is not armored? 2d6 yeah! 12 to cast is tough. 4 dice ouch!
11. Overall, the lore of metal is lacking because it lacks focus. What you need in a spell you may well not get. Few instances press an Empire, High Elf or Lizardman to want this lore over others available (well basically any other college of magic).
Lore of Shadows: (Empire, High Elves, Lizardmen, Beasts, Chaos, and Dark Elves)
1. One of the more effective lores of magic.
2. Also one of the harder lores to cast. Go figure the balance J
3. Steed of Shadows. Most important thing to remember is that the wizard must be close to the model and the model must be on foot. That limits its utility in two ways. First, if you want to be defensive and get a character out of combat, you need to be in charge range of most things. BUT, it works brilliantly if the remaining unit is say stubborn. Secondly, if you want to use it offensively, how often are characters on foot? So where does it matter? Well, it is phenomenal to get a shadow wizard in range for the crown of tardyon or shades of death which are low range spells. It can get your mage into cover or woods too. The other use is to move characters to where they would be most helpful such as getting wizards in range or getting a standard where it would do best or getting that general in leadership range. So for the Empire and especially the Beasts were leadership can be an issue the spell really has additional value. Likewise, Beasts in ambush benefit greatly from a shaman having this spell as does any army that may run its army in more than one “part” or battleline.
4. Creping Death. Take a look at the likelihood of killing something versus say a fireball. You get about 10 st 1 hits with no armor save. 1 in 6 wound so about 2 wounds. A fireball gets 3 hits at 4 strength. Even if that is 2/3s likely to wound, you get only about 2 wounds. Now. . . assume your opponent is armored. Creeping death tends to be more effective than the baseline magic missiles at the same cost. Armor saves are not automatic either.
5. Crown of Tairdon. All units take effectively a magic missile fireball D6 St4 (friend or foe). The key is to get in range (12”). This is a perfect complement to the Steed of Shadows. Fly in and blast everything. The trouble with the spell is the mage needs to be setup to use it (e.g. on foot to benefit from the steed of shadows) or able to be on his own to not harm your own unit (or setup to be with a heavily armored unit). Once again, very powerful when used by Chaos that has such high T and armor. There are times I will sacrifice models from my unit to hurt the enemy. Great spell for a mage that is mounted on a flyer or is mounted and able to go off on his own for a turn or for armies that can place a mage in expendable models. Great spell for beasts.
6. Shades of Death. When you know you are about to win a battle, cast it on your unit. Enemies must flee fear causing units that beat them in combat. Of course, you need the unit strength to make this work, but causing fear at just the right time can make a huge difference. The other absolutely stunning use of the spell is to take a fear causing model and make it cause terror. If you lack terror causing units, you can quickly force all sorts of panic tests! That can change the course of a battle. Remaining in play adds value to being terror causing more than fear. Great spell for Chaos Hordes that have a lot of fear causing units. You will still cast this on 3d6.
7. Unseen Lurker. Move the whole unit but it costs 3d6 minimally and realistically 4d6. While difficult to get enough dice, when it goes off, it can be devastating allowing you to get a charge where one would otherwise be missed or waiting. Remember, you can move a unit out of combat too (at least the way I read it you can).
8. Pit of Shades. Few armies above will consistently have the 4d6 it really takes to successfully cast the spell. Lizardmen and High Elves clearly have the advantage of dice. Initiative is low for most races so the vast majority in the unit simply die. It is only the small template, but the effects on the right will destroy the unit. It is a template attack so look out sir rule still applies for characters. Better have a lord level mage too.
Lore of Beasts (Empire, High Elves, Lizardmen, Brettonians, Beastmen and Wood Elves).
1. The lore is one of the cheapest to cast.
2. A key focus is protecting or hurting cavalry or other mounted creatures and beasts and becoming a primal beast yourself.
3. You will always find a use for the spells in this lore even if there are few “game changers”. It is a very safe list for low level mages. It is not flashy, but it is a smart list for virtually every army that can take it to consider.
4. The base spell allows a whopping +3 attacks, +2 strength and +1 toughness on one character. It is very easy to cast but also easy to dispel. Cast it and expect the best for a single combat! Here are the limitations:
· 12” away from the caster which is fine for Brettonians (because of lance protecting damsel) and Lizardmen but hard to imagine wood elves staying together or Empire combat heroes staying close to the mages.
· Unit Strength 1 only models so man sized on foot. That effectively makes it a difficult spell for Brettonians.
· Lizardmen do extremely well casting this on saurus vets and oldbloods making them real “beasts” pardon the pun.
· This is MUCH better for casting on a mage than the Flaming Sword under fire. The key is getting +3 attacks which makes a wizard on par with a combat veteran.
· Cast it on a character that is using mundane weapons (great advantage for lizardmen and high elves and even wood elves using a bow). Mages always have mundane weapons. . .well nearly always!
5. The Oxen Stands. One fleeing unit rallies. Extremely good for low leadership units of skinks and armies that are very spread out such as wood elves. Often a single model rallying can block a march or harass a war machine crew keeping it from firing for a turn (great for wood elves). Facing fear causing enemies the Oxen Stands can be vitally important.
6. The Crows Feast. Is a remarkably easy spell to cast for a 2d6 damage spell. The downside is only St3 versus the St4 hits for other lores. But at 7+ to cast, you can do this on 2d6 more easily. Other lores larger magic missiles are cast at an 8+ which makes it more likely to fail than succeed on 2d6. It is a spell best for clearing unarmored troops. The empire often is better served using the armor piercing gunlines on well. . . armor. Bretts routinely lack enough firepower for harassing units and well lizardmen benefit from a slaan who simply can stand up and shoot whenever.
7. Beast Cowers. 7+ and you can make one unit simply do nothing. As for unit choices, you have cavalry, swarms, chariots or a monster (ridden or unbidden). The spell has far more choices typically than the Lore of Metal’s Commandment of Brass. Lizardmen can’t have their skinks running off just because a monster with terror came nearby. Bretts too hate monsters charging their lances versus visa versa. Empire and High Elves often want to make a cavalry charge fail. For High Elves, always strikes first doesn’t keep lances from having +2 strength when they charge! One overlooked element is stopping swarms. Swarms can be a huge headache to go thru. There are some few armies where this won’t help much like dwarves.
8. The Hunter’s Spear. You will probably want 3d6 to cast but it is a wonderful spell. It is somewhat like a bolt thrower but the wounds are not d3. Mages that can move easily like skink shaman do well with the spell. It is ideal against human or elf cavalry. It only does single wounds on large monsters though. Slaan greatly enjoy casting this spell! 3d6 and you will want something heavily armored.
9. The Wolf Hunts. Take any monster, swarm, chariot, or cavalry unit and move it 2d6. Of course, it must go near the enemy and of course you have no idea how close it will be. It is a great spell if you come up short on a charge. You will only average 7”. The spell can help move a unit closer so it can charge one turn sooner, but no other units will be in position (often) to support. This is far more limited than Unseen Lurker. You can’t use it to move away from the enemy either. Yawn.
Lore of Heavens (Empire, High Elves, Lizardmen, Brettonian Prophetess, Skink Priest)
1. This lore is designed to change the course of time or fate. In short, you can reroll or tempt the very gods to crash a comet down. . . but when will they respond?
2. The damage spells are quite expensive with fewer hits but lack any range requirements and are excellent at taking out troops way into enemy deployment zones (like war machines), early in the game. NOTE: You must still have LOS.
3. Portent of Far. The mage has to be close to the unit engaged in combat. This favors Brettonians but not empire or high elf mages that often have cavalry far ahead of them or slaan for that matter. The impact of rerolling 1’s for to hit and to wound depend a lot on how frequently you hit! Overall though, you get say a ballpark of 10% more wounds. The key often is the impact on a character that is in a close combat with another character. One failed hit or wound may mean a win or loss in a challenge. Cheap and decent spell but only decent.
4. Portent of Far’s limited usage makes the lore much better for high level mages than low level mages who may well have to swap for the default spell.
5. Second Sign. The key is you can reroll any dice without limit to distance or line of sight and they can be used for everything from wounds, hits, armor or ward saves. This allows you to both use the spell for offense or defense. Weapons that do extra wounds or don’t allow armor saves are perfect examples of offensive uses of rerolls. The most powerful use is rerolling a failed Slaan ward save or for that matter any ward save. Note: you are not limited in using the rerolls for characters. You can use them for your monsters or to ensure that you don’t lose combat by rerolling that one or two armor saves that could turn losing by 1 into winning by 1. Don’t forget this humble but vital role for the Second Sign. Remember, you can’t reroll the enemy’s to hit or to wound so no avoiding attacks with no armor saves or killing blows. This is by far one of the most useful spells in the game and cheap to cast. Smartly, Games Workshop does NOT allow this to be a default spell.
6. Celestial Shield. At 7+ , the spell can be cast with 2d6 safely or 3d6 for extra assurance. The ability to have a ward save versus all missiles. The question is “what is a missile”? Certainly everything under missile weapons and everything that requires you to use your BS (salamanders, bolt throwers, etc.). Are cannon balls missiles? Probably not nor would template attacks be. The safest bet might be “if it uses BS it is a missile”. With that being said, some units benefit greatly from having a ward save against missiles. . . like skirmishers. I have often given the skinks the Shield just to keep the screen intact. Fast Cavalry benefits greatly from immunity to missiles as well.
7. Forked Lightning. Another d6 st4 attack. . . or is it. Moving from 5+ to 6+ you still will probably cast on 2d6 anyway so who cares. The difference is there is no range. If you see the enemy, you can cast it and that is a huge advantage. You can see enemy units on hills by definition (just as they can see and shoot you). Blast those pesky war machine crews! A Slaan as a large target can see everyone. Now he has his pick of units to blast. One key is that you can start on the very first turn noting that you start 24” away which is just out of range for most magic missiles. This is also NOT a magic missile so you can theoretically cast it if you are in combat. However, combat often blocks line of sight (unless say you are on a dragon!!!). that you need.
8. Uranon’s Thunder Bolt. At 9+, you can comfortably get the spell off with 3d6. This is nothing more than Forked Lightning that ignores armor saves. Perfect for hurting cavalry well beyond their charge range. D6 hits only though.
9. Comet of Casandra. Potentially the most devastating spell in the game, but also the hardest spell to use effectively. Its high cost 12+ makes it difficult to dispel both initially and in subsequent rounds. The spell shines against armies that bunch together and don’t move. Against wood elves that skirmish and simply can leave the vicinity quickly, little will be done. Note: It seems like you would have lots of chance to dispel this “remains in play spell”. Incorrect. After cast, there is a 50% chance that the comet will come before the enemy’s magic phase. If you have the dice and your opponent does not, this spell can be a game winner. Hope for a huge roll because the difference between 2 inches and 6 is well several units! Even if I wind up with a second coin, you get ONE chance to dispel the spell in play and better have a solid 4 dice to do it. If not, it will be the start of my turn (and once again the comet may come). Absent a dispel scroll, this is a very hard spell to stop and if the caster gets lucky and it lasts 2 turns, much of your army will be impacted. Armies that can generate power dice excel with this spell such as High Elf’s with the banner of sorcery and Slaan (especially 2cd generation slaan). You can tie the enemy up in combat too so that when the comet comes he can’t get away. Skinks are lovely for such a purpose of the Old Ones. Note: they die horribly once the comet comes! Be smart where you pinpoint the spell. You only have to touch the corner of the unit to impact it for the full 2d6 strength 4 hits. Place the comet between units so that the roll of even 2 inches can hit at least 2 units if possible. Don’t count on the comet lasting more than to the beginning of the opponent’s turn (so having only ONE coin). It is better to affect two units that are standing shoulder to shoulder than get cute and have to rely on a great die roll after spending 4d6 to cast! Remember, units can move. If you place it over a unit that is obviously going forward. . . shame on you. Likewise, if you think the enemy will not move into the space that could be impacted by the comet, think again. 50% of the time, the comet will drop well before he has to declare charges or move. You need to use this on units that are so bunched up they can’t move or war machines etc. Placement is everything!
Lore of Light: (Empire, High Elves, Lizardmen Slaan).
1. The bane of undead and deamons everywhere. Several spells impact undead or deamons more than others.
2. Note: Some spells both affect undead more than other units and count as flaming attacks which can count for extra wounds against many tomb king models.
3. Lore of Light is one of the most balanced lists with damage spells, spells impacting psychology, a healing spell and a spell that affects an enemy unit’s close combat ability.
4. The spells in Lore of Light are so versatile that you hardly can pick one and not be able to use it effectively.
5. The versatility comes at a cost in that often there are better spells (turn character into a beast or heal) of their class in other lists. Definitely not an impressive list unless you are facing the very deamons and undead the lore clearly focuses on.
6. Burning Gaze. Classic 5+ magic missile with a small twist that it does St6 hits on undead and deamons. Don’t forget they are flaming attacks so things immune to flaming attacks are well immune (dragon princes). Things which are susceptible (tomb kings) are well. . . susceptible.
7. Pha’s Illumination. Giving a character 3 St 5 attacks matters in a couple of instances. First, you are a mage and have 1 attack under St 5. Secondly, you have no magic attacks and need them. Almost all other close combat heroes have three attacks and will do almost as high attacks. Another use might be for St3 characters mounted with lances in the second round. Now if you can cast this on a champion, well that would be spectacular! Mages tend not to charge and they tend not to have much armor, so even with attacks getting them in combat is a bad thing.
8. Healing Energy. Restores one wound. While one wound helps certainly, does it change things in the next close combat??? You are not saving a wound for combat resolution. So the model must already be wounded but not dead. This favors of course lords and high mages which can get damaged without dying. Will it change the tide? Probably not but it can be a good spell.
9. Dazzling Brightness. Remember, you not only make the enemy miss. You make your unit hit a lot more. This is a wonderful spell. The enemy and more importantly his characters will hit on 5+. Your unit will hit the enemy and his characters on a 5+. That is quite a swing of fortune! It is evil against big monsters or small units of elite troops that have no static combat resolution. They miss and you win the combat!
10. Guardian Light. The real benefit is that it impacts all units within 12”. Immune to psychology is double edged. You no longer can flee! Still, overall it is a powerful spell for a race like High Elves or for the Empire. Rallying immediately is equally important. The spell is relatively easy to cast too and remains in play.
11. Cleansing Fire. Extremely powerful and at 10+ it is a bargain for the final spell in any list. It is not a magic missile so you can cast it even in combat as it requires no LOS. This spell is also limited to ONLY hurting enemy units unlike Crown of Tadrion and it has a healthy St5 which makes even tough armored foes possible to wound.
Lore Of Life. (Empire, High Elves, Lizardmen Slaan, Brettonians and Wood Elves).
1. Extremely powerful anti-shooting spells.
2. The best heal in the game.
3. All damage spells are impacted by having the right terrain around.
4. The worst final spell which is situational at best.
5. One of the best default spells in the game.
6. This is a lore that works extremely well with several lower level mages.
7. Wood elves being guerilla warriors should seriously consider any default spell that slows movement of the enemy!
8. Mistress of the Marsh. One unit moves at only ½ speed through the end of its turn. Cheap to cast often on only 1d6. Offensively, this can allow M6 and lower troops the ability to catch a fleeing unit that would get away with M7 or higher. Excellent for Lizardmen. On the other hand, anything which is not cavalry will require less than 12” of separation to charge. It absolutely can destroy non M7 or above armies. You can prevent a charge by halving movement of one enemy unit. Even if a unit can make a charge, having it miss hitting you because it can’t pursue decently is a wonderful ability. Gun or missile oriented armies do extremely well slowing down the enemy. When using this spell most effectively, I like to use a tactic referred to as “multiple small mages MGM”. Every level one or two mage can default get this spell. So you can easily have two or three castings/round. Make sure when you pick the one terrain feature you always get, you pick a water feature and put it as close as you can to the center of the board. Yes, the spell ONLY works within 12”. Some people think that means that cavalry will get the charge. Not so. Remember, it goes movement then magic. When the enemy gets into range, use your turn to move your units up and get those mages into 12” range. Next segment is magic and they can cast. Remember, the enemy has no way of actually reaching you with a charge if you flee (generally). Next turn, you have every opportunity to charge him. However, the real key is to ensure that your guns focus first on all M7 units and decimate them or use your other troops to tackle the M7+ units and then sit back and wait. If the enemy comes, chances are many of the units will fail a charge.
9. Master Of the Wood. D6 4 hits. 12” only. The only real advantage is if you are near a forest there is no Line of Sight issue.
10. Gift of Life. A model regains not one but all lost wounds. The more wounds a model has the potentially greater impact this can result in. Lots of heroes and wizards simply will die the first round they are attacked, but killing a treeman, stegadon or chaos demon prince in one round (save by breaking him) is difficult. Gift of Life almost always has a good use sometime in the battle.
11. The Howler Wind. This is another spell that can define a game for so many enemies of High Elves, Lizardmen, and the Empire undoubtedly and to a lesser extent Brettonians. Any unit that has a single model within 12” of the wizard can’t be shot at by any missile under St5. Don’t forget the entire unit does not need to be within 12” just some part of it! YET, your archers can fire out of the area and through it. You shut down enemy shooting. Now before thinking the spell is that wonderful (it is but wait), remember the sequence of a turn. You cast it in your magic phase. The enemy can dispel it then. LIKEWISE, as a remains in play spell, he has a second opportunity to dispel it BEFORE his shooting phase. That is what balances the spell’s incredible ability to make so many units immune to shooting. The low casting cost is actually a curse for this remains in play spell. The spell works extremely well if the enemy has to worry about even bigger magical threats. Howler Wind and Drain magic (for the High Elf) and you have a painful choice etc. The other thing to remember is that you dispel remains in play spells after you cast all your spells. The impact of this single spell can have your opponent hold back casting to have enough power dice to ensure a successful dispel.
12. Rain Lord. Its effect lasts for the entire game and effects a full unit. You will struggle to decide just what unit you want to cast this on (missile fire or war machines). It will dramatically weaken that unit’s effectiveness. Of course, you will often want 3d6 to cast it. Making most armor piercing crossbows or handguns fire at -2 to hit is going to largely negate their impact while losing 50% of shots of a single war machine may have less impact.
13. Master of Stone. The spell is entirely situational and often will not be effective. D6 st6 hits is wonderful IF you have a unit near high ground. It depends on how you draw spells. If you do this after setting up the board, it can be effective. Otherwise, trade it in for mistress.
Lore of Death (High Elves who have no honor, Lizardmen Slaan, Empire, Beasts, Vampires and Chaos Hordes).
1. Lore of Death has many formulaic spells such as your d6 and 2d6 magic missiles.
2. The Lore is anti-leadership, anti-character and anti-armor all depending on which random spell you get. You just can’t predict what benefit this lore will provide you.
3. It is the most expensive lore to cast. By the second spell you are at 8+ really needing 3d6. You will probably want a lord level mage.
4. It is very hard to predict what type of spell or spells you will get.
5. It has a devastating spell for enemy unit leadership that generally lasts for two rounds without being remains in play.
6. Dark Hand is the classic 5+ Fireball and the comments can be seen above again and again. Note: several races like Vampires lack missile fire so a default “blast” spell can be extremely useful.
7. Steal Soul. Take a wound with no armor save. No need to check toughness makes this the best 1 wound spell where you can pick out a character in the game. Likewise, you get a wound (even if that takes you above where you started). Ok, what wizard benefits from more wounds? Who really is going to allow their wizard to fight? Chaos, Vampires, Beasts (to an extent) and Slaan (just to avoid the cannonball) all benefit potentially.
8. Walking Death. Same spell as Lore of Shadow Shades of Death. But many of these armies have more fear causing troops and the largest impact of the spell is when you can cause a series of terror tests.
9. Doom and Darkness. -3ld for until the end of the turn (which includes close combat) and likely for the next turn (your opponent’s). Two turns of benefit. Look at all the fear causing units that are owned by Beasts, Vamps, and Chaos Hordes. This is a phenomenal spell when used with an already fear causing attacker.
10. Drain Life. Works extremely well against cavalry (human) and other heavily armored troops. They better be bunched in for serious impact and with only a 12” range, getting the mage in position to cast it before charges is important.
RACE SPECIFIC LORES AND RULES
[FONT='Cambria','serif']The Corrupt Races First:[/FONT]
[FONT='Cambria','serif']Orcs and Goblins: Waaagh Magic[/FONT]
1. Goblins take little Waagh and Orcs take Big Waaagh.
2. The miscast table is brutal reflecting the unrefined nature of orcs and goblins
3. When groups of 20 or more orcs fight, add a power die. When they flee, lose a dispel die. A smart enemy will shoot them down to under 20.
4. Goblins don’t count in adding or subtracting.
5. Waagh magic is all about hitting and stompin stuf.
6. On the Little Waaagh
· Little Waagh is difficult to cast.
· There are spells to die for (2) and the rest well are just plain marginal.
· The Gaze of Gork is a horrible default spell with low range and extremely low strength hits. It is a weak version of a fireball for the same cost.
· Brain Busta is a simple 2d6 spell. But 3d6 to cast forces you to take a great gobo shaman. Often, you will find goblins are best when little.
· Gork “ll Fix It. Is perhaps one of the best greenskin spells. All rolls of 6 for magic and close combat are now 1s. That means 1/3rd of rolls now automatically fail and the chance of miscasting is significantly higher. No fear of IR.
· Foot of Gork. Decent high strength. Best factor is you can use it on any unit anywhere on board.
· Hand of Gork. One unit and you move it a random number of inches toward the enemy. See Lore of Beasts, The Wolf Hunts.
· Morks Wants You. Reasonably cast on 3d6. Characters often have low I in many armies. D6 St10 hits often equals death. Brutal character assassination spell, but a goblin needing to be within 18” of the enemy balances it.
7. Big Waaagh
· Four of 6 spells can reasonably be cast on 2d6.
· Much cheaper than goblin magic.
· Orc shamans are brutally priced though for their effectiveness.
· For a 6+ spell you have a St5 no armor save snipe at a character. Too bad the orcs will never have more than a shaman because you need heroes and lords as a greenskin!
· Gaze of Mork equals a Fireball.
· EdButt . You can pick any model. Chances are if cast they get a single wound.
· Bash Em Lads. Limited to using it on orc units. That being said for 2 dice to be able to strike first is great especially if the unit is in their second round of combat.
· Fists of Gork. Every model in the unit has a 50% chance of a st4 hit being taken. The range won’t allow you to cast it until you are in charge or be charged range.
· Gork’s Warback. So rare is it that you will actually keep stomping units, that it really isn’t wonderful.
· WAAAGH. Ok, you don’t move all your units the same distance at all. Moving 2d6 is ok, but can get you in trouble too. But having all these units strike first and rerolling misses. . . well that makes the spell extremely attractive. \
[FONT='Cambria','serif']Gut Magic (Ogres)[/FONT]
If you want magic as an ogre, you take gut magic.
1. You rarely will have as much magic.
2. Your mages can fight with the best. They better at 200pts.
3. Your mages survive.
4. All Spells are cast on 3+. You typically just use 1d. On the other hand, your opponent must dispel on a 7+ for RIP spells.
5. It is really hard to miscast if say you don’t cast with 2d6!!! Just don’t cast spells twice in a round.
6. You don’t pick spells. Cast what you like. Because you cast what you like, gut magic is extremely versatile.
7. However, you can only really cast a spell once a round UNLESS you want to have the casting value be double.
8. You rarely will have multiple butchers. Ogres are expensive and you will have very few troops.
9. Ogres can have more than one remains in play spell.
10. Bloodgruel: You can heal yourself for a wound and considering that butchers actually need to fight, this is very valuable where for other races it would not be.
11. BrainGobbler. The enemy unit must be unengaged, but great to cause panic from a unit that could harass the small unit ogres.
12. BullGorger. +1 strength for all models in a unit. Remains in Play. This spell is helpful but Ogres tend to have high strength. Still, it never hurts to have more strength. Note, it can result in ogres with great weapons having St7 for chariots.
13. Bonecruncher. You will take a St4 hit but it will probably not cause a wound on an ogre. In return you get a low strength magic missile 2d6 with no ability to save for armor. And the range is a meager 18’. Helpful sometimes, but not nearly like the other spells.
14. Toothcracker. St 6 hit so you likely take a wound. Increasing toughness and being stubborn can make an ogre unit win as they simply could care less now about static combat resolution, ranks, banners etc.
15. Trollguts. An automatic wound to allow a unit to regenerate and have MR2. Very powerful spell versus magic heavy armies or those units that can actually damage ogres.
16. Spells typically cover weaknesses in armies. Ogres have quite a few glaring weaknesses from few troops, inability to lose models easily, lack of combat resolution, the need to heal damaged models and fast but not 3d6 fast units. The predictability of being able to cast spells that cover each weakness is a unique feature of the ogres. . . however. . . so is the fact that the most important weaknesses to cover (Tookcracker) cause or can cause wounds. Of course, you can heal the wounds with magic too.
17. Gut magic just can’t be stopped easily if you take enough butchers. It helps ogres stay in the fight and generally if they are in the fight they will eventually start winning. But like ogres, it is all about attacking and little about defending yourself outside of close combat.
[FONT='Cambria','serif']CHAOS TZEENTCH (Beasts and Hordes)[/FONT]
· Chaos lacks war machines and ranged missiles in general . The focus is on heavy and vicious hth combat.
· A Lord of Tzeentch is both a combat and wizard monster. The base is a Lord or Hero level standard close combat model. Chaos mages are anything but easy to destroy. Daemon Princes likewise are both mages and can fly (so range is less of an issue) and can manage a good close combat. All things to remember, when looking at who will use this magic.
· Red Fire: Your default spell has the full range of crossbows. But it is woefully unpredictable. Most spells guaranty what strength they are. Yours is D6. You are as likely to have St1 hits that bounce off skinks as St6 hits that go straight through heavily armored troops.
· Orange Fire: Remember, the mage of Tzeentch is a full fledged combat model in the race noted for having the toughest and best combat fighters. I have a 5 attack St 5 T 5 model I can reroll and it can be flying or not (hordes). I get to reroll all my “failed” (meaning only failed) rolls to hit, wound and save. That is an enormous ability and it remains in play.
· Yellow Fire. A 5+ ward save for a unit that remains in play. Remember, what you are protecting often has high T and armor. That gives a phenomenal boost as chaos is all about running down the field and getting stuck in. Ward saves help against the number one enemy of chaos, war machines.
· Green Fire. Perhaps the most devastating chaos spell in the game. A whole unit will attack itself. EACH model will do one standard attack. Beautiful for large infantry blocks that have more weapon modifier (e.g. great weapons) than armor. Elves can wipe out nearly a whole unit of theirs with one simple 9+ spell. Sure it takes 3d6 to easily cast but. . . a whole unit gone or dropped to ½ size is amazing.
· Blue Fire. By making it 9+ versus 8+ for other 2d6 magic missiles, you basically force the spell to be cast on 3d6. But. . . . you have 2-7 Strength hits. Only 1/3rd of the time would you do worse than a traditional 2d6 spell. 50% of the time you score with higher strength than 4. The problem with the spell is certainly not its random strength. The issue is range. You have to be within 12” and it is a magic missile so once you are in combat, you no longer get to cast it. Basically, you won’t be casting this spell many turns of the game, but it will be effective when you are in range and not in combat.
· Indigo Fire. The mechanics are simple. 11+ so 50-50 on 3d6. You impact a whole unit. Every model takes a st2 hit. If you get a wound, you get a horror placed in combat with the unit. Combat occurs next turn (yep the enemy’s). Ok, so what does this spell really do? Well chances are you won’t do a lot of damage to high T models or to heavily armored models? This spell is less about wiping a unit out than stopping their action next turn. If you get a single horror created, the unit will not move in its turn. It did not charge, so it will not pursue. If cast on a war machine, the crew most likely will take a wound and the machine crew will be in combat in your opponent’s turn. If cast on missile troops, they typically lack the armor not to take a few wounds and again, they will be in close combat and not shooting. The spell, while not designed to clear out enemy units is wonderful at stopping the peskiest from attacking you at range as you charge down the battlefield.
· Violet Fire. Disappointing in that it automatically kills a character in close range but only if they fail the single easiest test to pass (leadership). You are casting on 4d6 certainly and you get one chance at the spell as you need to be within 6” (so effectively you will be in combat when casting this spell). It can be an absolute game winner if your opponent rolls poorly. Big if when the test is on leadership.
[FONT='Cambria','serif']CHAOS NURGLE (HORDES AND BEASTS)[/FONT]
· Nurgle faces the same problems as mentioned above regarding chaos. You lack missile fire. While Tzeentch mages are also warriors, the nurgle mage is just a sorcerer or shaman. You won’t be able to rush him into combat as easily.
· Nurgle spells don’t have great range especially their default spell. So you have to get personal with the enemy.
· You have no magic missiles so the nurgle sorcerer or shaman will cast the full array in combat though spells requiring LOS will have to be cast on the unit engaged in combat.
· Nurgle diseases are marked by being anti-character and anti-armor. They are wonderful against low toughness and highly armored races that keep multiple characters or need certain characters like the battle standard bearer to maintain discipline.
· Buboes. Brilliant spell which makes you take one wound if you fail a toughness test. Sure it impacts only one model, but testing against T is painful for enemy wizards.
· Poxes. Lacks a bit of range but can be used initially to take fewer missile hits (impacts BS) then just before getting into close combat to impact Strength, WS and LD. The impact often is enough to change combat resolution. Inexpensive to cast too. The only issue is the range. For the first couple turns, you simply won’t be able to stop extremely long range shots.
· Boils. Nothing more than Uranion’s Thunderbolt that is slightly easier to cast.
· Scabs. Impacts a single character who becomes -1T. But when did chaos worry about having the strength to kill characters??? While great from a background story perspective, the spell is helpful but not amazing.
· Afflictions. Chaos hates to be charged especially knights (hordes) or chariots (beasts). Giving a unit ½ speed that remains in play sounds wonderful and is because you can stop any unit on the battlefield. If the enemy relies on things moving together, that poses a huge problem. You can also “ground” a flyer. Flyers are problematic for chaos especially monsters. You can cast it on 3d6 which makes it even better.
· Pestilence is a slow unit death spell designed for an enemy that simply wants to stand back and shoot you or is not willing to engage in glorious combat. Needing to be within 24” makes it difficult to cast on war machine crews. D6 St3 hits with no armor save each turn (yours and mine) quickly depletes almost any unit. Go after the enemy’s heart and soul with this spell. Note, that in short time it will leave almost no models left to protect fragile characters like enemy wizards.
[FONT='Cambria','serif']CHAOS SLAANESH (HORDES AND BEASTS)[/FONT]
· With the exception of the default spell, most of Slaanesh spells are effective at a reasonable range allowing the Slaanesh sorcerer or shaman to stay in relative safety.
· Blissful Throes. The strongest of all the Tier 1 magic missiles with Strength of 6. This is critical in two regards. Armor saves at -3 and you do damage against significantly tougher opponents. Yet, at 12” there is little use for the spell in the early rounds of the battle until you close into the enemy. Being a magic missile, once engaged, you won’t cast it again.
· Luxurious Torment. Amazingly effective and versatile. The KEY is that the spell can be cast on a unit friend or foe. The spell has impact beyond one round. Initially, you will use the spell that has excellent range to slowly whittle down the enemy’s shooting troops or war machines. D6 St3 hits will quickly neutralize either. It is only a matter of turns. Then, the spell can be cast on enemy troops who as frenzied can be led off or away or even egged into pursuing right into a trap. Finally, when the battle is just about to be engaged in epic format and the chaos knights are about to strike, you can cast it on your own troops, late in the game when the extra damage of frenzy can overcome the damage of D6 st3 hits. NOTE: You do get saves so chaos often takes little damage for the benefit of frenzy. It is extremely flexible and reasonable to cast on 2d6 with excellent range and no need for LOS. It can be cast into combat too.
· Tittalating Dillusions. You force where an enemy unit has to move. Sure it is line of sight but clever placement of the marker can open up a flank to your chargers. Besides setting up a charge that ignores characters and gets great bonuses, you can simply get a pesky unit out of the way. This spell is phenomenal for stand and shoot troops who simply cannot use their ranged weapons after moving, giving you an easier go getting into close combat and there is nothing preventing you from using this spell on war machine crews. I like making machines move in such a way that they lose line of sight. There is another evil use for this spell. Often the enemy will refuse to fight the very unit I want it to. Put the illusion marker behind the unit you want the enemy to engage. He is forced into a fight! Of course, 8+ isn’t going to be that hard to dispel next turn.
· Delectable Torture. Now the character attacks his unit. I would typically rather have every model in the unit attack the unit, but here is where it gets fun. Often a level 4 sorcerer will have both spells. Now that quickly depletes a unit that hosts an enemy character!
· Enrapturing Spasms. Here is another midrange spell that effects a whole unit. You shut the unit down (no moving, shooting, casting or fighting) for a round. The length of the spell ensures the unit if charged will lose that round of combat AND in your opponent’s turn will get a fair stomping too. You can cast it on a 3d6 fairly well.
· Delicious Excruciation. Makes a unit unbreakable and remains in play. Pretty simple you think. However, you can cast this on an enemy. Now why would you want to do that? Well being immune to psychology prevents you from fleeing! So I can cast it on a weak unit of say harassing fast cavalry then crush them to the model. As the caster of a remains in play spell, I can always drop it later!
[FONT='Cambria','serif']SKAVEN MAGIC (Skaven)[/FONT]
· The most important thing to remember with skaven magic is that they only have a single caster, a level 4 grey seer.
· It is rare to see 2 grey seers in a game, but not impossible.
· Skaven get warpstone tokens which dramatically assist them get all their spells cast.
· Many of the spells are wonderfully destructive but also are dangerous to the rest of your troops.
· Skaven magic hardly disrupts or protects. It directly attacks your foe.
· Skitterleap. This is better than your normal move a US1 model spell because there is NO range to where you can move him. You can immediately march block, get into range for a hideous warp weapon attack etc. Unlike previous versions of the spell, it only works on characters and it is cheap to cast. The downside is you can’t move on the turn you cast it. But you CAN shoot! One of the biggest hurdles is having enough characters that you can actually afford to have one lept. It can also be used defensively to avoid a charge.
· Warp Lightening. This is actually two spells in one. It is your classic D6 and 2d6 spell depending on the casting value you decide before rolling. Higher strength than other magic missiles, it has one downside. If you roll a 1 you not only lose the hit, you take it.
· Vermintide. One of the most powerful 7+ spells created. Note, it WILL affect your units too. The large template covers ever so many units too. You have to get the grey seer somewhat close which is dangerous if he is the general! But every unit taking 3d6 st2 hits is one of the best ways to clear a battlefield of speed bumps and blocking troops which are usually lightly armored. Watch out for your weapons teams as they cannot handle so many hits.
· Pestilent Breath. Still remarkably reasonable to cast especially since you will have 4 warpstoken tokens. Where Vermintide is a huge boon for killing lightly armored troops, The breath uses the flame target and automatically does st3 no armor save wounds. Again, you will need to be almost in close combat, but the spell is brutally effective. Just make sure you survive the charge so you can cast it! The trouble is you want your grey seer to lead from the back where he is safer as there is exactly one spell requiring LOS. Likewise, do I really want my general/only mage that close to combat?
· Death Frenzy. Either gain normal frenzy or “double frenzy” an already frenzied unit. For skaven that already frenzied unit would be plague monks.
· Plague. Extremely hard to cast without chomping down warpstone. Impacting every model in a unit makes this a great spell if you can cast it. It can be a bit random but when it works, it is spectacular!
[FONT='Cambria','serif']DARK MAGIC AND NECROMANCY WILL NOT BE REVIEWED AS NEW BOOKS ARE COMING OUT SOON.[/FONT]
[FONT='Cambria','serif']Nehekharan Incantations (Tomb Kings). [/FONT]
[FONT='Cambria','serif']The Neutral Races:[/FONT]
· Incantations are automatically cast.
· They either are considered 2d6 or 3d6 casts. So a High Priest’s spells are difficult to counter but there.
· You can only cast one (priest) or two (high priest) a turn. That is pathetically low. . . until you consider that tomb kings and princes ALSO cast (only 2 of four incantations though and at low power.
· All spells are short range. Though you may want to cast on a screaming skull catapult to get another turn of shooting. Are you within 12”? Can you keep up with the horsemen? Often your liches of tomb kings will be out of range to benefit many of their army’s units.
· Your combat characters (tomb kings and tomb princes) can also cast but their “power level” is only viewed at d6 (so much easier to dispel). They can only cast on either their unit (princes) or any unit within 6” (king) so their range is severely limited and they only get 2 of the four incantations.
· Vengeance. Another standard fireball type spell with lower range. Typically, this spell is not cast as I would rather use another incantation for my priests.
· Smiting. An extra round of combat or shooting for one unit (war machine, shooting or close combat). Don’t forget if the enemy takes a single wound in close combat from this incantation they must take a panic test. Also remember, you only get one attack per model (noting that steeds can also attack once). It does allow characters to attack too. Extremely powerful to cast on your war machines.
· Summoning. This spell restores champions and can heal characters, but you have to cast it separately on the character. D3 or D6 wounds are restored. Not stunning but situationally extremely helpful. Don’t forget the 12” rule which often leaves the chariots too far away with the Tomb king in them!
· Urgency. Allows an extra move, which is helpful as undead do not march.
[FONT='Cambria','serif']The Good Races:[/FONT]
[FONT='Cambria','serif']Lore of Athel Loren (Wood Elves).[/FONT]
· Wood Elves are a guerilla and quick strike audience and their magical lore allows for disruption, hiding and hitting the enemy from the woods.
· Athel Loren has the only spell that changes the terrain of the battlefield and incredibly it is the default spell.
· The Lore of Athel Loren is about protection. Protection is the key weakness of the wood elves who can strike hard, shoot accurately but often face too much damage doing it.
· Treesinging. Perhaps the very best default spell of any list in the Warhammer World. It has an exceptionally low casting cost and can often be cast on 1D6 with a 50% chance. Therefore, every extra die can be spent on the spell. Similarly, the spell can be cast on any woods and more than once a round. It’s impact is exponentially better with each multiple usage. The range seems deceptively light D3+1” so between 2 and 4 inches on a 6” piece of terrain. Before explaining the uses, let’s remember, you will always have at least one woods on your side and often two (if you use default rules for setting up terrain). If there is not two woods in your deployment, there will be one in the enemy’s (again assuming you lay down a woods with the one piece you are guaranteed).
A. Protecting Your Troops: Wood Elves must strike first and survive until their guerilla attacks. However, they are frail in T and armor. Woods provide necessary cover. Your enemy will do everything to avoid your woods blocking their line of sight. Putting trees between you and the enemy can both block their line of sight AND allow the wood elves unfettered movement until they reach the wood line and then give them an advantage charging. What I mean by give them an advantage in charging is that the enemy can’t easy travel thru the woods to get to your models, but your entire army can travel quickly through the woods to get the final charge on the enemy. Moving woods can keep units in range or in short range of glade guard without losing the -1 to hit of soft cover.
B. Blocking Enemy Action. You can block his ability to shoot, the line of sight of his wizards and create an uncomfortable situation for movement. Note, there is nothing in the rules that prevents you from moving the woods onto an enemy unit. This not only blocks LOS (or can), it makes the unit move slowly, but generally moving a woods simply forces the enemy general to either redirect his movement and marching or accept that the wood elves will have an advantage when he enters the woods. The spell works whether you are charging at the enemy or waiting for the enemy to come to you.
C. Damaging the Enemy. The enemy who is blocked with a woods knows all too well that the woods may attack him the next turn (or even in this phase). D6 St 5 hits for any unit in the woods (if you cast it that way) plus by moving the woods you may well be within the 6” for the second spell Fury of the Forest. Once I get you in a forest or close, I can keep casting Treesinging for damage and it only costs 1d6 (generally).
· Fury of the Forrest. Typical magic missile but the range and damage vary just a bit. 18” means your wizard can’t quite sit back. However, you have forests (at least 2 under standard rules) and anything within 6” the strength goes to St5. Strength 5 hits are quite important for wood elves that often lack high strength attacks, particularly at range. Still, you need to be within 18” of the wizard so. . . it can be problematic. A branchwraith can survive being with combat units moving forward.
· Hidden Path. Wood Elves fear war machines and gunpowder. Hidden path helps. No non-magic missile weapons can affect the unit. However, the unit can itself shoot. Tree spirit units are often favorite targets as are your archers. Hidden path is an easy 2d6 spell.
· Twighlight Host. Priced so you may have to expend 3d6. The spell makes a unit cause fear. Many wood elf units already cause fear and frankly, you are unlikely to have more models than the enemy (though it does depend on the enemy). A fear causing unit now causes terror. Wild riders who are charging cause fear as well. A perfect time to cast this spell!
· Ariel’s Blessing. Another 3d6 spell but this one covers yet another wood elf weakness. When engaged in shooting, their lack of T and armor often makes them take more damage than the enemy’s shooters. When they attack, they often do damage only to have just enough damage done back to them to allow the enemy unit to win. The spell can be cast into combat and does not stop things like the tree spirit ward save. What Ariel’s Blessing won’t do is give you extra combat resolution but it will keep the enemy from racking up wounds.
· Call of the Hunt. Again, we have two spells merged into one which depends on the circumstances of your unit you cast the spell on. If in combat, every model in the unit gets +1A. Do not forget, this includes the characters. Wood elves have a huge number of attacks on the charge. Consider war dancers. You could have 4 attacks a model. Wild riders in trouble after a charge. Not with 3 attacks! But there are times you simply need to get into combat or get a bit of movement so you can charge the next turn. 2d6” movement can change everything tactically.
[FONT='Cambria','serif']High Magic (High Elves)[/FONT]
· High magic should be taken by High Elves absent a pressing reason tied to a specific army (Tomb Kings facing Fire lore for example). High magic is ideally suited to protecting your elite infantry units.
· Your core default spell addresses the key concern of high elves, survivorability in either close combat or facing shooting. A 5+ ward save for a 5+ roll (easy on two dice).
· All High mages now know drain magic and the cost. . . 7+ (the most common number on 2d6). The new method adding 3 to a casting score is far more consistent that previous elimination of die (6’s or 6’s and 5’s or 6’s, 5’s and 4’s) depending on casting cost. Plus, it is cumulative. Blow your dispel dice early and potentially face all spells having a +6 casting cost modifier. OUCH!
· If your opponent rolled high cost spells, drain magic is next to impossible to deal with.
· Consider the difficulty with casting the Lore of Death with Drain Magic.
· The effect of Drain Magic is to nearly require 3d6 for even entry level spells to be confident of getting the roll.
· Curse of Arrow Attraction helps redress the fact that you simply must make the most of every shot because they are st3 which impacts to wound as well as to save. The spell is cheap to cast and brilliant at forcing 25% panic tests even on large units in horde armies.
· Courage keeps your troops around after one bad round of combat. Given the ability of elves to countercharge and then bring both the new unit and the original block to attack first the next round, surviving the first round is often more than enough to turn the tide. Courage helps enormously. You can almost keep an entire half of your line of battle solid for a turn under extreme attack with a single spell. Stubborn with HE leadership is a good thing!
· Fury arguably is expensive in that you have no cheaper attack spell but it will clear out small units that get in the way.
· Flames of the Phoenix can be decisive but it is expensive to cast. However, HE excel at creating bonus casting dice. NOTE: there are limits to the number of dice a caster can use. Short of having an archmage, it is iffy getting the spell off. Once off, it is problematic for your opponent to dispel it. Use 3d6 or 4d6 to dispel it and very likely you ensured that drain magic will be unable to be stopped. Another important thing to remember is that unlike templates, this spell hits ALL models in a unit. Each round the enemy continues to take hits including characters at higher and higher strength. It can be a game winner to cast this spell and in subsequent rounds overload the enemy with drain magic spells.
· Don’t dismiss Vaul’s spell even if it is a brutal 12+ to cast. I find it even more useful to see ALL the magic items in a unit than deactivating one. Don’t dismiss this spell with certain armies in just determining what magic items a unit has before committing to the game altering charge (especially against things like stunties).