Monday, 16 July 2012

Lores of Magic: The Lore of Dark Magic

NOTE: This review is of an older version of the Lore of Dark Magic, which has since been replaced. If you're looking for the current rules, please try here.

The Lore of Dark Magic is exclusively available to Dark Elves, however it is not that often seen nowadays. It is competing with the Lores of Death, Fire, Metal and Shadow when it comes time to choose spells for your Sorceress or Supreme Sorceress, and a lot of the time it loses out in the decision.

It’s worth noting that all Dark Elf Sorceresses have the Druchii Sorcery rule, which means they may ignore the usual limit of 6 power dice for a single spell attempt. This rule made more sense when the army book was released, when a wizard could only use dice equal to his level +1 for a spell attempt. Now its sole purpose is to encourage throwing a preposterous number of dice at a potentially game-winning spell. Anyway, let’s have a look and see what the Lore of Dark Magic has to offer.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Lores of Magic: The Lore of the Wild

Beastman Bray Shamans and Great Bray Shamans have a number of Lores to choose from. One of these Lores is specific to the Beastmen army - the Lore of the Wild. Today we'll have a look at what it has to offer, and how it stacks up with the other options at their disposal.
What does it do?
Being from a 7th edition army book (albeit a very late one), the Lore of the Wild doesn’t have a Lore Attribute. So it’s straight onto the spells, then…
Bestial Surge is the Signature Spell for the Lore. Cast on a 7+, it causes all friendly units within 6” to lunge D6+1” toward the nearest enemy they can see, or straight forward if there is nothing visible. Units stop when they come within an inch of another unit, so of course you can’t charge with the spell. It was probably the first hint that GW were killing off charging spells in the lead-up to 8th edition.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Convic 2012 Aftermath: Day 2

Comet? What comet?
This report follows on from a previous post, which covered day 1 of the 2 day event that was Convic 2012...

Despite not having much voice and probably not being entirely well, the Saturday night involved the usual Halo and pizza with the guys. I think we pulled the plug around 1am, but at least I had the common sense not to head off to karaoke with many of the others. Not that anyone could have heard me trying to sing anyway...

It occurs to me that I neglected to say in the previous post what comp score I received. I got a 2 out of 5, which makes it tough but not unreasonable. I figure that's probably appropriate, so was OK with the score. It's probably the first time that I've had a harder than average comp score with Empire, but then this was not my normal sort of list.

Anyway, I woke up on the Sunday feeling adequate and with about as much voice as I had at the start of Saturday - which is far more than I had had by the time I went to bed. All set, then.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Convic 2012 Aftermath: Day 1

Well Convic is over, and I survived the experience once again. Unfortunately I woke up on the morning of the first day with only half a voice, and that deteriorated over the course of the weekend. I was probably lucky that my final opponent could hear me at all, or I would have been forced to resort to holding up numbers of fingers and various obscene gestures.

As I've already discussed, the tournament was a final opportunity for me to try out my ETC list and confirm that it actually performs adequately before lists are locked in on the 17th. It was also the first time I had used an army from the new Empire book in a competitive environment, so it was all going to be a bit interesting. As usual, I'll give a bit of a run-down of how each game went. I'll try to remember what each opponent had in their lists. One day I will be organised enough to remember to take photos and all the rest, but sadly that was not to be this time.

As with my Cancon report, this is really too long to go into a single post so I am splitting it up into the 2 days. So games 4-6 will be covered in the next post.
Anyway, on with the show...

My Empire army
I have posted my army list before, but here is a picture with the characters all in the Inner Circle Knight unit as they were in all the games. So this is what my opponents were seeing. For the record, I hate the "all eggs in one basket" approach to making lists. If this wasn't an ETC list, I would never have considered it.
My Empire army for Convic 2012

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Lores of Magic: The Daemon Lore of Nurgle

The final Lore of Magic in the Daemons of Chaos book is the Lore of Nurgle. Time to have a look at it, then.

What does it do?
As with the Lores of Slaanesh and Tzeentch, the Lore of Nurgle gets no Lore Attribute due to its 7th edition origins. This means we can get straight onto the spells.

The Signature Spell of the Lore is Miasma of Pestilence. It affects all enemy models in base contact with the caster, and drops their Weapon Skill, Strength, Toughness, Initiative and Attacks to 1 for a full turn. In case you've not heard of this spell before, yes - you read that correctly. The casting value if a preposterous 3+, and it basically makes your caster immune to attacks from models in base contact. It also makes the enemies extremely vulnerable - WS and Toughness 1? That is worse than a drunken Snotling...

Miasma of Pestilence is an amazing Signature Spell in a Lore that is available to tough characters who are looking to be in combat. Great Unclean Ones and Nurgle Heralds are some of the tougher options in the Daemon army, and casting this spell makes them much more so. Realistically, the only threat then becomes models not in base contact - those offering support attacks from back ranks. Generally speaking, the number of these will be limited.

Offensively, Miasma is brutal. Affected models are almost entirely reliant upon any saves they have, as they will be hit on 3s and wounded on 2s - by everything. Even the Nurglings lugging a Palanquin about will demolish opponents when this spell is in play. That's 6 attacks that normally don't do a lot, suddenly elevated to lethal against anything without a good save. Friendly models adjacent to the caster also stand to benefit, as they can have a go at the weakened enemies as well.

This is one of those spells that tends to show up gaps in the rules, unfortunately. How do Breath Weapons and Thunderstomp work? The FAQ states that when a unit has multiple toughness values or armour saves, you use the value of the majority or in the case of a tie, the best. This means that when the enemy unit drops to only a small number of models, you may find yourself breathing and stomping on those weakened by Miasma. Stream of Bile is a useful ability to begin with, but against Toughness 1 enemies, it's horrific.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Ogre Volley Gun finished

The push toward Convic continues, and I'm doing my best to get on top of the painting situation. I have 2 more evenings in which to prepare, so obviously I'm running out of time. On the bright side though, the Ogre carrying the Helblaster Volley Gun is finished!
My Ogre Volley Gun, ready to go!
It may be heavy, but it's worth the back pain for all the fun you can have with it...

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Lores of Magic: The Daemon Lore of Slaanesh

Continuing our review of the Lores of Magic in the Daemons of Chaos book, today we're looking at the Lore of Slaanesh.

What does it do?
As with all older Lores, the Lore of Slaanesh does not possess a Lore Attribute. I'm sure that's an advantage in some ways. Less for you to forget, right? Anyway, onto the spells...
Acquiescence is the Signature Spell of the Lore. It has an 18" range, and makes the target subject to Stupidity for the rest of the game. The best targets for the spell obviously have low leadership, and are out of range of the influence of the general and BSB. Some players employ flanking units that fit these criteria perfectly. For example, did you know Varghulfs have a leadership of 4? You might not, given that the value is not often used. What about Furies, with leadership 2?

To be honest, these are extreme examples. More often you will find yourself presented with targets around leadership 7 or 8, floating around the flanks or sitting back with the missile troops. The key to this spell is its casting value is only 5+. This means you can just throw the odd dice at it whilst saving most of the pool up for more important tasks. If you've found a really good target, your opponent will definitely try to dispel it. Otherwise he might decide to take his chances, and may find his plans unravelling thanks to a bad leadership test later in the game.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Lores of Magic: The Daemon Lore of Tzeentch

It's been quite a while since I reviewed a Lore of Magic, but there are plenty that we have not yet looked at. Today we will start looking at those found in the Daemons of Chaos book, starting with the Tzeentch.
What does it do?
Being an older Lore from a 7th edition army book, the Lore of Tzeentch does not possess a Lore Attribute. Therefore we can move straight onto the spells themselves. Again because the spells are pre-8th edition, none of them have boosted casting values. Keeps things simple, right?
Flickering Fire of Tzeentch is what serves as the Signature Spell in this Lore. It's a magic missile with an 18" range - not a great range, but adequate. As with many old spells, the casting value is very cheap - it requires a 4+. The damage from Flickering Fire is highly variable, however. It generates D6+1 hits, with a strength of D6+1 (the hits are flaming, as per the FAQ for the Daemon book). This means it has the potential to deliver a pitiful 2 strength 2 hits, or 7 hits at a frightening strength of 7.
In other words, it could do nothing, or bring down a large target with a single blast. This sort of unpredictability tends to make the spell a nightmare for opponents when it comes to dispelling. Do you rely upon the player rolling poorly on at least one of the dice, or do you stop it on the off chance that the spell is going to hit with brutal force? The decision gets harder when the target is something relatively vulnerable, like a chariot - where you only need a decent roll on each dice to threaten it. A light chariot, Eagle or fast cavalry unit won't appreciate an average roll of 4-5 hits at strength 4-5.
The low casting value, coupled with the ability to get multiple copies (thanks to its being the Signature Spell and the first spell each unit of Horrors receives) means it's quite possible to throw several attempts of Flickering Fire each turn - further compounding the misery of your opponent as he tries to decide what to dispel.
In short, Flickering Fire is a decent spell which is well worth the casting cost. It's not a reliable way to do damage, but it has great potential if the dice are on your side.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A Volley Gun with legs?

My preparations for Convic continue. This is probably a good thing, given it's now the week of the tournament. I have not yet undercoated the 2 remaining Wolfygryphs, but they are now ready for painting - I think I've managed to give them cloaks that look OK and don't interfere with their magnetised left arms. But they're not what this update is about.

The list I'm taking to Convic contains 2 Helblaster Volley Guns. However, despite the ridiculous number of Empire models I possess, I didn't actually have 2 Volley Guns. Poor planning, right? Well, I did have one and a half. The one is an old, original model from 4th edition which is all painted up and ready to go. The half... well, it was just the gun component from the current plastic set. The chassis, wheels and various accessories were used up by my Helstorm Rocket Battery, which is the other option for what you can build with the set. I'm sure plenty of Empire players are familiar with this approach by GW - they give you the bits to make 2 distinct war machines in the box, but they only give you one set of wheels, one chassis and one set of crewmen. It's these components that stop you getting a 2 for 1 deal when you buy the set.

I had planned to scrounge a set of wheels from somewhere, and scratch build the missing chassis part, with help from the leftover parts from Cannon and Mortar kit. However, when I sat down to look at it on painting night, I was completely uninspired. Whatever I came up with was going to look a bit dodgy, and wasn't going to match my other Volley Gun at all. I jokingly declared I should just give the gun to an Ogre and let him wander about with it, Arnie-style. Of course, the people I had around me are almost as crazy as I am, so they decided this was in fact a good idea, rather than a silly one. They were meant to talk me out of it. Hard to get good help these days.

So I raided my Empire Ogre bits jar for the components I needed, and set about assembling the thing with little regard for planning. Here is what I came up with:
An Ogre with a Helblaster. Obviously a ridiculous idea. Like Ogres carrying Cannons... Oh, right. They do that already.