Thursday, 9 June 2011

Lores of Magic: The Lore of Light

Often people are undecided what Lore of Magic they are going to take with their wizards (those of us who have a choice, anyway). This can be a major decision, in particular now that the Lore selection is effectively part of the army selection. In some ways this is appropriate, given your choice of spells will often affect what troops will work most effectively with them, and vice versa. I thought I would run through the different Lores and discuss their uses, and which armies they work best with.

I have decided to start with the Lore of Light, which is what I took most recently to a tournament.

What does it do?
The Lore of Light is an interesting mix of augment spells, with a couple of magic missiles and a hex for good measure. Exorcism, the Lore Attribute, makes the magic missiles more dangerous against Undead and Daemons, which is obviously highly situational – great if you happen to be facing these enemies, but otherwise useless. However, the magic missiles are probably not the reason you would choose the Lore anyway.

Shem’s Burning Gaze is a solid Signature Spell. It’s a basic, Flaming magic missile, however when it’s boosted to a 15+, the extra range and strength bonus make it potentially damaging. You will probably normally use the spell at the higher level, purely because of the extra strength. Strength 6 will wound most targets on a 2+, making the spell a moderate chance to savage or even wipe out lighter targets. Of course, if your target happens to be a Daemon or Undead unit, the damage you put out will be considerable.

Pha’s Protection is a very basic augment spell, conferring a -1 to hit on units attacking the target. This is a handy penalty, however it’s only because the casting value is so low that you would normally consider the spell, often using leftover dice after attempting something more important. The ability to boost the spell to affect all units within 12” might come in handy very occasionally. This spell is not the pick of the augments on offer in the Lore of Light.

The Speed of Light is a better spell, as it effectively offers similar protection to the target unit. In fact, if the enemy unit was hitting your unit on 3+ to begin with, this could shoot all the way up to a 5+ when the unit becomes WS10. Obviously this offers no protection against shooting, however the combat benefits are obvious. Offensively, with WS10 the unit will hit almost anything on a 3+, and Initiative 10 will ensure they go before anything without Always Strikes First. Again, there may be times when being able to boost the spell to affect everything within 12” is handy. If you have several units in combat within 12”, it’s likely to be a critical point in the game and this spell could well swing things in your favour.

Light of Battle is all about making the target Unbreakable. This is a spell with a slightly negative slant, as it’s likely you will only cast it on a combat you are expecting to lose. Obviously there is a place for this, and it could be a game-winning spell if cast in the correct situation. There may be times when you would cast the spell to prevent failure of critical Fear and Panic tests, although this will probably be a “nice to have” rather than a game-winner. Casting it with a 12” area effect could really frustrate your opponent, but if you need several of your units to be Unbreakable, things are probably not going so well.

Net of Amyntok is a bit of a gamble. Any spell which can be rendered completely ineffectual by a single strength test will never be anything but a gamble. Of course, if you cast the spell on a critical unit to prevent a game-winning charge, it will be a brave opponent who lets the spell through and takes the gamble himself. Not a spell to be relied upon, but it could swing a game unexpectedly.

Banishment is the upgraded magic missile in the Lore of Light, however depending upon the situation and target, a boosted version of Shem’s Burning Gaze might do more damage. This spell is a true Daemon-killer, given it forces the target to reroll failed ward saves (along with the extra hits for the target being a Daemon), however the spell’s strength will rarely be increased beyond 4, as it requires extra Light wizards to be nearby. This is most likely to be an enemy Light wizard, given that players will probably not field multiple mages with this Lore, however it seems that will still boost the spell…

Birona’s Timewarp is the top-level spell on the Lore, and it can be a real doozy. Opponent’s will probably get sick of you capering around singing “let’s do the Timewarp agaaaiin,” but if you have been getting the spell off multiple times in the game, there is every chance you will feel like dancing. Double movement, +1 attack and Always Strikes First can make a unit a formidable force. Being able to cast the spell on all units within 12” is incredibly powerful. Unlike the other area-effect augment spells, there will be plenty of times where you would like double movement on everything within 12”. This spell is fantastic, and it’s highly likely a player will be thinking about getting Birona’s Timewarp when they choose the Lore of Light for their list.

Who can get it?
High Elves
Lizardmen (Slann only)
Tomb Kings
Daemons of Chaos (using Master of Sorcery)
Vampire Counts (using Forbidden Lore)

Who will use it best?
This question really comes down to “who will the augment spells work best for?” Anyone can use a magic missile reasonably effectively, but this Lore is all about the augments. Specifically, the army with the best targets for Speed of Light and Birona’s Timewarp will get the best from the Lore of Light.

High Elf players are unlikely to get great use from this Lore. Their units already have high WS, Initiative, good movement and they already have an upgraded version of Always Strike First in the Speed of Asuryan. This means the most powerful spells in the Lore are largely wasted on them, so they would be best served looking elsewhere.

Lizardmen players might be tempted by the possibilities of Saurus with +1 attack and ASF, not to mention double movement. Turbo-charged Temple Guard and Kroxigor might concern people a touch as well. Unfortunately the low Initiative of the combat troops in the army mean that ASF is unlikely to get the units rerolls to hit, but the other benefits may be enough. You might hope to get both Speed of Light and Timewarp off, in which case your Initiative and WS will indeed be impressive. However, in order to get both spells past enemy defences, you will probably need a kitted out Slann with Focused Rumination and a willingness to weather miscasts.

Vampire Counts are in a similar situation to Lizardmen, however some of the benefits found in this Lore can be covered by their own Necromantic spell of Vanhel’s Danse Macabre.

Tomb Kings and the Empire both have good targets for the best spells. Tomb Guard with halberds will become a fearsome regiment when bolstered with ASF and +1 attack, and bolstered WS will help hold fragile targets like Skeletons together. Flagellants and Inner Circle Knights are likewise lethal with the right boosts, although units with great weapons will hope striking in Initiative-order will get them over the line, and must rely upon things like Hatred to get re-rolls to hit.

As with many Lores, the high base profiles of a lot of Daemon units make them ideal targets for spells from the Lore of Light. The possibilities of units like Bloodletters with Birona’s Timewarp in play are rather frightening. Daemons can only get these spells on a Tzeentch Herald, Daemon Prince or Lord of Change with Master of Sorcery, however should they choose such characters, the Lore of Light is a definite possibility.


  1. really great article, do you plan on doing more?

  2. Thanks Bob, yeah I figured I would run through the various Lores - at least the ones in the rulebook.

  3. If its ok with you im going to do a back link to your posts on my blog (basically read here for an on going guide to these lores etc)

  4. No worries, you can link whatever you like.

  5. I just thought I would mention that someone told me yesterday that I had predicted that people wouldn't get massive mileage out of Banishment because they would be unlikely to field multiple Light Wizards in the same list. Apparently I totally failed to anticipate the dreaded "Light Council" approach to Warhammer. It is indeed a frightening spell when it's boosted to Strength 7 or 8. There, I said it. Go spoil someone's hobby with your battery of Light Wizard clones.