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Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Colours of Magic: The Wind of Light

Second article in a series, eh? Well, the Lore of Light is certainly worth it.
Like all of the Lores in this edition, this Lore has been massively buffed... wow, I said pretty much the same thing in the previous article, didn't I? Well, unlike Death, the Lore of Light was buffed in an entirely different way. It's focus has been sort of shifted. Now that isn't to say that its gone away from it's 'Anti Undead' image - that'd be totally incorrect - but the focus has MAJORly shifted.

Now the lore is pretty much a combat one. Why? Because of two spells:
- The Speed of Light is cast on an 8+ - fair enough - but it's got a 24" range and makes a single unit both WS and Initiative 10 until the next magic phase. It can be cast into combat. That's not it - the epic (16+) version makes every single friendly unit within 12" have the same boost for pretty much, what, 4 more power dice? Ouch!
- Birona's Timewarp is the real deal here, though, with a casting value of 12+. Sure it's got a range of 12", but not only does it double the target's Movement, give +1 Attack, AND gives Always Strikes First to the target unit, it has an epic (24+) version which gives the same buff to every unit within 12". Painful.
Combine the two together and, for the cost of pretty much all the dice in your pool, you've just made EVERYTHING WITHIN 3 MILES turn into fighting gods. Those Free Company just became MENTAL.

The idea of this being painful is fair enough - you could be excused for saying 'wow those spells are good. they're probably the only gems in this here lore'. Well, you'd be wrong. There are the OTHER FIVE spells to worry about...
- Light of Battle is a simple spell, with a value of 9+, which means that until the caster's next magic phase, the targetted unit within 12" passes all Leadership checks and, if fleeing, immediately rallies. Fair enough. But the dealmaker is that it's epic version (18+) makes ALL UNITS within 12" have this effect. Nice.
- Pha's Protection is another gem, with a value of 6+. Until the next turn, the target essentially turns into a Follower of Nurgle with even more protection vs. Warmachines. The epic version (12+) extends this to all units within 12".

Hold it, Herald of Nurgle, didn't you say FIVE spells? Well, I did, but the last three all benefit from the Lore's Attribute ability - dealing extra hits to Undead and Daemons. Haha! Looks like armies such as Empire just got the upper hand against Sylvania!
- First, the attribute deals exactly D6 more hits. No additional strength, no extra abilities. That makes it pretty tame in comparison to the Lore of Death's bonus, but still quite annoying.
- Net of Amyntok casts on a 10+, quite cheap then (the epic one is 13+ but only increases range so meh), and snares a unit within 24". They must take a Strength Test or else take D6 Strength 4 hits whenever they try to move. The Undead and Daemons may not be broken, but they will hurt. Oh yeah, the kicker? It remains in play till dispelled, and the wizard can cast more.
- Banishment is the spell you bring to the table when you're playing a horde of Light users. With casting value 10+ (13+ epic, but only doubles range) Banishment deals 2D6 hits to the target, with a Strength of 4+X (X= Lore of Light users within 12" of initial caster). That's a potential 18 hits with Strength 7 under the previous Hero system of 3 Wizards in the force.
- Shem's Burning Gaze, the signature spell with casting value 5+, deals D6 Flaming Attacks with Strength 4 to the target. It's Epic version (15+) makes these hits a Strength of 6.

But how can you combo the Lore of Light?
The Lore of Light works well as a gun which is loaded with the bullets given by other Lores...
- In the Lore of Death, Soulblight reduces Toughness, increasing damage from actual damaging spells, and also Strength, making Net of Amyntok more likely to go off.
- The Lore of Shadow works similar to Lore of Death with The Enfeebling Foe, which reduces Strength, and The Withering.
- The Lore of Metal makes your super combat units even more deadly with Enchanted Blades of Aiban, which makes their attacks Armour Piercing, Magical, and gives them +1 to hit on Shooting and Combat.
- So does The Lore of Beasts, with the Signature Spell (Wyssan's Wildform) giving the super combat units have +1 Strength and Toughness. The Curse of Anraheir also helps in Combat as a Hex, making the foe even less likely to hit you.
- Even more so with Lore of Heavens, with Iceshard Blizzard making you nigh impossible to hit with even more -1 modifiers. Likewise your super combat unit can re-roll all 1s with Harmonic Convergence. The foes attacking your super combat will have to roll double 6s to hit you with Curse of the Midnight Ward, so that's useful too.
- The Lore of Fire has Flaming Sword of Rhuin to make your super combat unit more likely to wound and with Flaming Attacks make these wounds count.
- The Lore of Life can buff your super combat unit with Flesh to Stone, which gives +2 Toughness, and the Signature Spell Earth Blood which gives the unit 'Lesser Regeneration'.
Overall, I recommend a combination of The Lore of Heavens with the Lore of Light, ironically.

VERY VERY major lore this edition, the Lore of Light. I would be surprised to see people taking other options nowadays. If you're a High Elf, Empire, or Slann... replace your usual ones with Light for a change. It will not let you down!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Colours of Magic: The Wind of Death

Ah the Lore of Death, most pleasing of the lores of Warhammer Fantasy. Like all the Lores of the Basic Rulebook, the Lore of Death has been vastly buffed in comparison to its 7th Edition counterpart and now forms a viable alternative Damage dealing lore for one simple reason.

The Lore of Death Generates Power Dice for dealing wounds.

Woah. That is one pretty nifty change, mes amis. For each unsaved wound dealt by a Lore of Death spell (the most effective, i'd say, being Spirit Leech) roll a d6. On a 5+, the army's power pool increases by a single d6. Wow. While you may not be able to spam spells like you used to to really benefit from this buff, it certainly is one of those reasons why you want Death to either be near the middle of the spellcasting list due to the glass ceiling of 12 Power Dice in your dice pool.

The Lore of Death is more than just a damage dealing lore, though (ironic, eh?). This Lore is based entirely around really disrupting your foe by stacking debuffs onto his units...
- There are two Hex spells in the Lore, being Doom and Darkness (which reduces Leadership) and Soulblight (which reduces Strength and Toughness)
- There are three Direct Damage spells in the Lore, being The Fate of Bjuna (which damages based on the foe's Toughness), The Caress of Laniph (which damages based upon Strength), and of course Spirit Leech (which damages based upon Leadership)

Oh jeez mister, I think that says it all. The Lore of Death is a self fuelling lore! Level Two Wizards will just love being able to fuel their own damage by picking up Doom and Darkness and the Signature Spell, Spirit Leech, or alternatively by picking up Soulblight and either of the other Direct Damage spells available really. But that isn't all that the lore is for...
- The Purple Sun of Xereus aka the 6th Spell of the Lore is another 'Direct Damage' spell but with a twist - it's a Stone Thrower of doooom! The target takes an Initiative Test or is literally torn apart and removed from play. With the fact that all models under a template are auto hit now that is one nasty effect.
- Aspect of the Dreadknight is an Augment spell - the only one in the Lore of Death - which literally just makes the target scarier. Though you can't automatically make a Fear unit Terrifying, this can really make that giant unit of, say, 30 Flagellants really tough to deal with.

How does the Lore of Death team up with other Lores, though?
The Lore of Death, while already quite daunting in its self sustainability, should be teamed up with any of the following Lores:
- The Lore of Fire has one combo, which is the Fulminating Flame Cage. This Hex will cause each model in the unit to take a Strength 4 hit if it moves (before ceasing). Using Soulblight on that unit will increase the chances of wounding. Using Aspect of the Dreadknight on a unit charging that Caged unit could cause it to flee, causing damage to it as it does so!
- The Lore of Shadows can combo The Enfeebling Foe with The Caress of Laniph due to the spell's effect of decreasing the target's Strength by D3. Ooh, more damage... Alternatively Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma can be combined with the Purple Sun to deal Initiative test pains.
- The Lore f Life can combo The Dwellers Below with Soulblight in order to increase the chances that the target will fail their Toughness Tests.
- The Lore of Light can combo Net of Amyntok with Soulblight for more Strength Test shenanigans.
- The Lore of Heavens can combo Iceshard Blizzard with Spirit Leech (Wow, two Signatures working together!) to deal some more Leadership damage.
Overall, I recommend a pairing of the Lore of Shadows with the Lore of Death.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Imperial Ideas: Age of Steel 2000

Games Workshop posted a number of FAQs - about 15 actually - which cover many of the changes which are occurring to armies due to 8th Edition. As part of this, there's one very handy ruling on Engineers... if they stand within 3" of a war machine, the war machine gets massive bonuses. That's the thing... some people have been just noting this simple fact by itself.

With the new 'Force Chart' for choosing your army, it is quite possible to plan an entire army about this fact... An Age of Steel as I call it (or the Gunline force as people sometimes call it :P)

The idea of the Age of Steel is that you launch as many rocks into the foe's face as possible. Whether these rocks are from the Lore of Metal, Great Cannons, or just Handgunners is irrelevant. The core of it will generally be Engineers in units of Swordsmen.

Master Engineer with Hochland Long Rifle. 85
Master Engineer with Hochland Long Rifle. 85
Master Engineer with Hochland Long Rifle. 85
Master Engineer with Hochland Long Rifle. 85

20 Handgunners with Full Command. 180. 4 Ranks of 5.
20 Handgunners with Full Command. 180. 4 Ranks of 5.
11 Swordsmen with Musician, Standard Bearer. 81. 4 Ranks of 3.
11 Swordsmen with Musician, Standard Bearer. 81. 4 Ranks of 3 .
11 Swordsmen with Musician, Standard Bearer. 81. 4 Ranks of 3.
11 Swordsmen with Musician, Standard Bearer. 81. 4 Ranks of 3.

Great Cannon. 100
Great Cannon. 100
Great Cannon. 100
Mortar. 75
Mortar. 75
Mortar. 75

Helstorm Rocket Battery. 115
Helstorm Rocket Battery. 115
Helblaster Volley Gun. 110
Helblaster Volley Gun. 110

This main force comes up to 1999 points. It uses...
0/500 Lords
340/500 Heroes
584/500+ Core
525/1000 Special
430/500 Rare

If I were to increase this to higher points, i'd probably add loads of fodder to run at the front...
Warrior Priest. 90
Warrior Priest. 90
24 Free Company. 120
24 Free Company. 120

Total Points? 2419.
Total Units? 24
Standards? 6
General? Just any of the Engineers. To be in the middle.