Friday, June 25, 2010

High Elves in 8th - Magic, Part 2

Since I've gotten a lot of responses from other gaming forums on my articles on High Elves and Magic, I guess I'll write a Part 2.  Keep in mind that this time, I'll go over the rest of the lores (and High Magic) except for Fire and Heavens.  The reason why is because I feel that there are just better lores out there.  Fire can be easily replaced with High Magic for a larger array of supporting and potentially dangerous spells and Heavens is just random all over the place.  Relying on the enemy or yourself to roll a certain way for the spells to gain effect is just mediocre.  Not to mention that the comet is a big fat "Eh.." in 8th because everything moves quite readily and its the other spells don't do enough damage for my liking.

The first lore that I'll cover today is the Lore of Light.

Lore of Light - The Wind of Hysh
Special Bonus: Exorcism. If targeted on a undead or daemonic unit, spells from the lore of light deal an additional D6 hits.

Lore of Light has always been the lore that saved us from the damnation that is undead and daemons.  Exorcism is testament to such claims.  The extra d6 might not seem like much, but once you go down the tree and look at its other spells, you'll see that it compliments them perfectly.  The only thing that puts me off a little about this particular attribute is that it only benefits you vs. undead and daemons and no one else.

Basic Spell: Shem's Burning Gaze: Magic Missile. D6 S4 hits to a unit within 24", causing flaming attacks. The scaled up version is 48" range and S 6.

For dirt cheap, you get 2d6 S4 missiles vs undead and daemons and it negates their regeneration.  Really craps all over the Drakenhof Banner and other forms of regen.  48" and S6 is also pretty solid because it can reach across the map and hit like a truck.  Not convinced that this is cost effective vs anything else outside of the undead and daemons.

1: Pha's Protection: Unit Buff. Affects one friendly unit within 12", all to hit rolls against this unit have a -1 modifier. All auto-attacks or auto-hits have to roll a 4+ or are wasted. May be extended to all units in 12"

Great against units with higher weapon skill than you.  Anything that prevents them from hitting makes your units more survivable.  Auto-attacks like slam attacks from big bad monsters and Destroyer of Eternities have to make a 4+ or miss all together.  Keep in mind this also applies to temple weapons or indirect weapons such as Stone Throwers, breath weapons and cannons.  It's a great way to keep you alive when facing these type of things as well as keeping you alive in close combat.

2: Speed of Light: Unit Buff. Choose one unit within 24". It has Weapon Skill 10 and Initiative 10.

Now here's a good spell.  At first you might think High Elves don't need I10 or WS10.  Let me ask you this:  Would you like to hit everything in the game on 3s (save a Bloodthirster)?  Would you like them to hit you on 5s?  (WS4 and below)  And how does it feel to win combat every time vs. I6 Black Guard?  These are the things that come into effect when you cast Speed of Light on one of your units.  WS10 not only allows you to hit more frequently, but it makes hitting you a nightmare.  Stack this ontop of Pha's Protection and just laugh at WS3-4 troops needing 6s to hit your Elves in close combat.  This also makes superior fighters such as heroes and lords hit regular troops on a 4 rather than 3.  Saves you casualties all around for dirt cheap.

3: Light of Battle: Unit Buff. Rally 1 fleeing unit. Targeted unit automatically passes all Leadership tests until casters next magic phase.

Not only does this rally the unit it targets, but basically ensures your unit is unbreakable.  Passing all leadership tests means it's not going anywhere vs. anything.  If you need something to stay and hold the line while the rest of your units move into a game winning position, this is the spell to cast.  Don't forget about this spell!  It makes the impossible possible.  Scenario:  Your Spears are going to get murdered this turn but you need them to hold at all costs.  Next turn, you flank charge and kill everything that's stuck in combat with them.  This is the only spell in the game that makes that happen.

4: Net of Amyntok: Hex. 24" range. Targeted enemy unit has to pass a Strength test for each action they want to take (move, shoot, cast spells, pursue, flee, strike in cc, etc.) If they fail they may not perform the intended action and suffer D6 S4 hits instead. Lasts until casters next magic phase. 48" range scaled up.

Imagine casting this on something like Daemonettes.  Everytime they do something they have a 50% chance of taking 2d6 S4 hits in the face.  Imagine again that you're casting on Dark Riders, a unit of Spearmen who are cannon fodder for that daggered Lv.4, or any unit that relies on actively moving and preforming actions (like 90% of the skirmishers and light cav in the game).  Remember to keep an eye on enemy Elves with their Lv.4 Archmage sitting there ready to cast next turn.  Yeah, this spell is for them.  Enjoy.

5: Banishment: Direct Damage. 12" range. Deals 2D6 S4 hits, against which all successful Ward saves must be re-rolled. For each wizard other than the caster using the lore of light within 12", the strength is increased by 1. 48" range scaled up.

Now this spell just get silly vs. Daemons.  If you take something like a Lv.1 Caddy, a Noble with Radiant Gem and a Lv.4 with Book of Ashur, you're looking at 3d6 S6 hits at the target unit with re-rolls to ward saves.  This spell is also quite excellent against enemy Phoenix Guard since they're mainly reliant on their 4+ wards.  Quite situational and quite fluffy, but in all, your bread and butter vs. the daemonic hordes.

6: Birona's Timewarp: Unit Buff. Targeted friendly unit doubles its movement characteristic, increases its Attacks by 1 and gains the ASF special rule until casters next magic phase. The scaled up version is for all friendly units within 12"

We love his spell.. not because of its default spell, but because we have Teclis and the Book of Hoeth that can make its boosted effects happen!  Everything within 12" gets ASF (including our Eagles, Lions and Dragons), everything gets an extra attack and everything doubles its movement.  Our basic infantry charges an average of 17".  Our Dragon Princes will happily charge 23" and deliver an insane amount of attacks.  Our entire army is fast as lightning, buck as hell and re-rolls to hit with ASF.  And thus it shall be written:  On this day, I got wiped off the board because my opponent's entire army charged me from across the table.  Have fun with this one.

Man.. that was fun.  Now onto the Lore of Death!

Lore of Death - The Wind of Shyish
Special Bonus: Life leeching. For each casualty caused by lore of death spells, roll a D6. On a roll of 5+ you are granted an additional power dice.

The more you kill, the more chances you'll have at casting more spells.  Works best with Purple Sun because the kills that thing generates can potentially make up for its casting cost entirely plus more.

Basic Spell: Spirit Leech. Direct damage, 12" range. Nominate a model. Caster and Target roll 1D6 and add their unmodified leadership. For each point the caster's result exceeds the targets result it suffers 1 wound with no armour save allowed. The scaled up version has an increased range.

This is pretty much Mind War in Fantasy.  You and the other dude roll off basically.  Winner takes all.

1: Aspect of the Dreadknight. Unit Buff, 24 " range. Targeted unit causes fear. Caster may decide to make it cause Terror for a higher casting value.

Not as powerful as it was last edition, but since it's extremely cheap, you can cast it on something like Dragon Princes and charge them towards the enemy.  Feel free to cast this on anything if you have enough dice left for it.  Having some fear is better than no fear.  Now I'm not sure if casting this on another unit that already has Fear will cause them to cause Terror.  7th Ed. had the spell that worked in the same way but I forgot what the 8th Ed one said exactly.  Does anyone know?  If that's the case, it would be great on something like Phoenix Guard.

2: Caress of Laniph. Direct damage, 12" range. Nominate 1 target model. Roll 2D6 and subtract the target's Strength. The result equals the number of hits the target takes, wounding on 4+ and ignoring armour saves. The scaled up version is range 24".

A cheap method of picking off enemy BSBs, heroes or even Lords.  Something like this can easily ruin Teclis' day or kill any Elf hero with good enough rolling.  The 4+ wounds is quite a gamble, but it's cheap enough that you can snipe that Ring of Hotek or any other model that's causing you some grief.  Things like Standard Bearers come to mind.. or anything that's expensive really.

3: Soulblight. Hex, 24 " range. Targeted unit suffers a -1 strength and toughness. The scaled up version is ALL enemy units within 24". Lasts 1 turn.

Not only does this make the enemy unit susceptible to your attacks but it also makes them incapable of dealing damage.  Since this spell has a pretty fair price and good range, it should be cast on any unit that you feel can need a debuff.  When in doubt, go crazy and nerf his entire army.  This is a very solid debuff and there's almost no circumstance that's holding you back from weakening him.

4: Doom and Darkness. Hex. Remains in play, 24 " range. Targeted unit suffers -3 Leadership. The scaled up version is 48" range.

Since RIP stays in play and allows you to cast afterwards, all RIP spells have gotten better.  Doom and Darkness is one of those spells where you cast as soon as you can and force him to dispel.  -3 Leadership is absolutely huge.  Fear checks (Aspect of the Dreadknight anyone?), Panic tests, break tests, Spirit Leech.. the list goes on.  This is one of those spells that your opponent will be wise to get rid of if he knows what's good for him.

5: Fate of Bjuna. Direct damage, 12" range. Nominate 1 model. Roll 2D6 and substract the target's toughness. The result equals the number of hits the target suffers, wounding on 2+ and ignoring Armour saves. Should the target survive, it suffers stupidity for the rest of the game.

You get this off on Teclis and he's done basically.  This is basically the same as Caress but a hell of a lot deadlier.  With this spell, you can essentially pick off 2 key models a turn between Fate and Caress.  Stupidity for the rest of the game is also extremely annoying.  If he's effected by Doom and Darkness, it'll be quite hysterical when your opponents most powerful Wizard won't be able to get his spells off (assuming he survives) or attempts to solo your army on foot.

6: The Purple Sun of Xereus.  Remains in play. The Purple Sun is a magical vortex which uses the small round template. Once the template is placed, the player then nominates the direction in which the Purple Sun will move. To determine how many inches the template moves, roll the artillery dice & multiply the result by 3. Any model touched by the template must pass an initiative test or be slain outright with no saves of any kind allowed. If the result on the artillery dice is a misfire, center the template on the caster and roll the scatter dice and a D6. The template moves the number of inches equal to the result of the D6, in the direction shown on the scatter dice (if you roll a Hit, use the little arrow shown on the Hit symbol). In either event, in subsequent turns the Purple Sun moves in a random direction and moves a number of inches equal to the roll of an artillery dice. If a Misfire is rolled in subsequent turns, the Purple Sun collapses in on itself and is removed. A particularly brave wizard can infuse the Purple Sun of Xereus with even more power, so that it uses the large round template instead. If he does so, the casting value is 25+.

Quite possibly the most complicated spell ever written.  One of those spells that Teclis will love and your opponents' will hate.  You get this off, throw it their way and watch the sweat beads start pouring.  It will rampage through his entire army and turn everything into amethyst statues.  Lizardman, Dwarves, any army with low initiative will absolutely cower at the thought of such a thing.  Large template, go big or go home type of spell.  Good thing for us that our entire army fails on a 6.. but even still, you don't want too many models taking these kind of tests.  Simply put:  If you have I3 and lower and this thing is coming towards you, you have better make some above average rolls.

Next, we take a look at the Lore of Beasts:

Lore of Beasts - The Wind of Ghur
Special Bonus: Wildheart. If targeted on cavalry, beasts, monstrous cavalry, monstrous beasts (razorgor, giant eagles etc), chariots, Monsters, or any unit from WA: Beastmen, the wizard gains an additional + 1 to cast.

If you have a good amount of beast-type units in your army (Eagles, Lion Chariots, Dragon Princes), this attribute makes it so you can get those spells off reliably.  Keep in mind that if you take a Book of Ashur on your Archmage, he can get a +6 to cast on your Dragon Princes or HIS Dragons.  Keep this in mind at all times!

Basic Spell: Wyssans Wildform: Unit Buff. +1 Strength and Toughness. Scaled up version 24" range.

Beautiful spell.  This is a spell worthy of a Lv.1 Mage even if his sole purpose is to cast this.  +1S and +1T gives you the offensive and defensive value needed to deal and sustain damage.  There's nothing else to say.  Being the basic spell, this is extremely rewarding.  Play this in combination with a Lv.4 Archmage using something like Lore of Metal or Shadow to deal ridiculous amounts of damage to units you wouldn't otherwise touch.

1. Flock of Doom: Magic Missile. 24" range. Deals 2D6 S2 hits. Scaled up version 48" range.

Terribad.  Quite possibly the worst spell I've ever seen.  Was this copied incorrectly lol? Switch for the basic as soon as you can.

2. Pann's Impenetrable Pelt: Character/ Caster Buff. 12 " Range. May be targeted on any character, or the wizard himself. Target gains +3 toughness. May be expanded to affect all friendly characters within 12 ".

If your army runs a Prince or Noble on foot that's a combat winner, this spell will make him even more of a winner.  Can you imagine a T6 Korhil slashing faces and laughing at others while they try to damage him?  I don't even want to think about the nightmares you'll cause people by putting this on Caradryan.  As if that guy needed 3 extra toughness to be a nuisance.

3. Amber Spear: Magic Missile. 24 " range. Resolved like the hit from a bolt thrower. May be boosted to gain S10 and causing D6 wounds.

Remember when you could use Beast Cowers and stop a Dragon dead in its tracks?  How about you just kill the Dragon outright with S10 and D6 wounds stead?  This spell gives you the ability to do so if you wanted.  More on the lines of Hunter's Spear but gives you that extra flexibility of more damage if you wanted.

4. Curse of Anrahir: Hex. 36" range. Targeted unit suffers -1 to hit (melee and ranged). Targeted unit treats any terrain as dangerous terrain, and suffers a wound on a roll of 1 and 2, not only 1. Scaled up version 72" range.

Good when used on a map with a healthy amount of terrain as it's likely to stop cavalry attempts to charge through terrain dead in its tracks.  The same applies to Chariots who would rather not risk d6 wounds on a 1/3 chance.  The -1 to hit that applies to both melee and ranged and its excellent 36" of reach is just wonderful.  One of those spells that disrupts all kinds of stuff at long range and force your opponents' into preforming actions he would otherwise not.

5. Savage beast of Horros: Character Buff. 12" range. Targeted friendly Character gains +3 attacks and +3 Strength until the start of the next magic phase. May be expanded to affect all friendly characters within 12".

You cast it, your combat characters go insane and start smashing faces.  As if the T6 Korhil wasn't bad enough before, imagine him now with S9 Killing Blow and 6 attacks with re-rolls to hit.  Things get quite ridiculous when you have Korhil taking skulls on the left side of your army and a Prince with White Sword doing the same on the right.  This spell is good if you have multiple characters in your army that you want to see rip face.

6. Transformation of Kadon. Character Buff. Remains in Play. The caster BECOMES the creature, not summoned on any board edge etc. Transforms the Caster into 1 of three lesser Creatures.  Can be boosted to become a larger, more powerful creature.

Becomes the Hydra (similar to DE one), Black Dragon (with Moon Dragon Stats), or a Manticore on one casting roll.  Becomes the Greater Fire Dragon or Mountain Chimera when boosted.

Mountain Chimera
S7 T7 W10, Fly, 4D6 attacks! Mage has to be on foot.

Greater Fire Dragon
WS8 S8 T8 W8 A8 Ld9, breathweapon S5, scaly skin 2+, terror, fly. mage has to be on foot.

Any lost Wounds are transferred to the new form (so, if the dragon lost 3 wounds, and the wizard is than transformed back, he would be most probably dead).  The Character may not use any wargear nor does he have any benefit from it, and may not cast any spells at the time. He keeps all his special rules, though. So a High Elf would transform into a ASF Chimera for instance.

The big bad spell that everyone's talking about.  Oh hey!  Let's take a Wizard with an Energy Scroll and throw 7 dice down on turn 1 to turn him into a giant Dragon!  This spell is quite.. erm.. breathtaking.  I mean, just look at the stats of the Mountain Chimera and the Greater Fire Dragon.  If you want Teclis or a Level 4 to turn into a 600+ point Dragon, then sure go ahead and do it!  Just keep in mind that those type of creatures are more likely to die now because of all the instant death stuff, TLoS, everything wounds on 6s, and indirect cannons that deal d6 wounds and require no guess range.  Also keep in mind that if you fly your arrogant self up the field and get dispelled out of dragon form, then it'll be lol times for you.  Use with caution!

Lastly, we look at the High Elves' lore of High Magic.  Keep in mind that I'm assuming that the casting values did not change and everything is what it is in the army book.  No balance changes or any alterations of any kind except with new 8th Ed. rules.

High Magic
Drain Magic (7+):  Casing values of all spells are raised by 3 for each level of Drain Magic cast.  Lasts until the caster's next Magic phase.

A great finisher to your magic round as its extremely cheap and affordable to get off.  This makes casting for all wizards on the table more difficult.  You can stack it if you wish, but one casting is often enough to force an extra die being cast.

1. Shield of Saphery (5+):  18", even in close combat.  The unit has a 5+ Ward until the caster's next Magic phase.

Good extension and price on this spell makes it always a good choice.  Keep in mind that 5+ ward also stacks with MR now, so a unit with Banner of Arcane Protection receives a 3+ ward vs. magic missiles and direct damage.  And just like any other spell that provides another layer of protection, casting this on units in combat can save a third of your dudes.

2. Curse of Arrow Attraction (6+):  24", cast onto an enemy unit.  Any missile fire directed at the unit in the Shooting phase may re-roll failed rolls to hit.

People call this edition the gunline edition for some wild reason.  Maybe that's because all the partials are gone and everything wounds on 6s no matter what.  In either case, we have access to Longbows, Shortbows and Repeater Bolt Throwers.  At 24" and a 6+ to cast, this spell makes the unit you want to shoot deader.  There's no other explanation.

3. Courage of Aenarion (8+):  12" bubble.  All friendly units required to take a Break test counts as Stubborn.

With Stubborn being king under the 8th Ed. BSB rules, you are now almost guaranteed that your army will not break.  Rolling for your general's leadership with a BSB's re-roll regardless of ranks makes it so your army's staying in place.  Great spell, cheap to cast and with no such thing as outnumber + fear, you're sure to fight to the last man.

4. Fury of Khaine (8+):  24" range.  2d6 S4 magic missiles.

What more is there to say?  It costs 8+ and you're getting a Lv.2 Fireball equiv from the new book.  You don't cause fire damage, but you'll auto-hit and kill a good amount of fast cav and skirmishers each time.  Throw 2 dice at it because you don't ever want spells lower than 8+ cause a loss of concentration on your big caster.

5. Flames of the Phoenix (11+):  24" RIP.  Each model in the unit takes a S3 hit immediately.  If the spell is still in play at the start of the caster's next Magic phase, each model takes a S4.  The strength increases by 1 each turn until dispelled or the unit is dead.  All wounds inflicted are flaming attacks.

I've always loved this spell.  It is the hallmark of our High Magic and 8th Edition only made it better.  Since we can now cast whatever the hell we want after Flames is cast, the spell will not go away unless someone throws PD or DD at it.  No one wants to see their armies crumble in flames (except for us), and this spell makes sure your opponents DD are well spent.

6. Vaul's Unmaking (12+):  24", can be cast in close combat.  The owner of the unit reveals all magic items in the unit.  The caster then chooses one of them to be nullified.  The item loses all its magical properties and become mundane versions of its type.

This is the only spell in the entire game now that can strip any magical item from someone.  24", can be cast in combat is just amazing.  Drakenhof pissing you off?  What about that Runefang?  Or maybe even that epically epic Gal Maraz?  Vaul's Unmaking cares not for how legendary your item is, once cast, consider it gone.  The Emepror Karl Franz can enjoy swinging a blunt mallet for the remainder of the game.


Anonymous said...

Just clicked the link from Warseer and I think I've hit a tactics/info on new rulebook goldmine. Thanks and keep up the good job!

Woo said...

Same here!

Even with some disagrees here and there, one could drain tactics and inspirations from your blog!

Thanks alot.

Anonymous said...

Very nice write-up.
What do you think about a level 1 Mage with the Seerstaff (130pts) that chooses Transformation of Kadon?

Anonymous said...

Could you give me some clarification on how Purple Sun of Xereus work, is it like a cannonball, forcing a test on everything on the way or just on the models under the templates final position?

HERO said...

Purple Sun is like a cannonball that effects every model along the way!

Seerstaff is best used on a Lv.2 for spell diversity. Transformation is a real gamble that should not be the basis of your strategy with PD imo. Unless, of course, you don't plan on casting anything else and have a no magic army.

Anonymous said...

Wow, now I can understand what all the fuzz is about.

enrgie said...

Love this write-up. Keep up the good work!

Arch mage said...

I've had same idea, cheap fire dragon baisiclt!!!

Arch mage said...

Hero, the idea is having this Mage solely for the purpose of the spell. I.e. he would be the dragon that you so desire and are pissed that have been killed by 8th edition...

I'm. A new player but in my short play tests a dragon is definitely better than a Mage against low magic foes.

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