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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Armies in 8th: Magic Part 3: Lore of Fire

Time for the Lores! We’ll start with the rulebook Lores and then go break down individual armies. These articles will look at the overall effectiveness of the Lore in question, insight into what Lores work well for specific armies (provided in the army specific Lore posts), what each Lore is best used for, an overall verdict of the Lore and the run-down of good and bad spells. We’ll start off today with Fire!

Everyone loves Fire right? I mean, whenever you start a new Fantasy RPG we all start with Fire for spell-casters. Am I right or am I right? Fire is your basic direct damage Lore. If you want a bunch of spells which you can throw at your enemy and burn them to a cinder, Fire is your buddy. The Lore attribute exemplifies this by adding +D3 to any casting attempt when successive fire spells (only magic missiles or direct damage spells though) are cast on the same unit. This makes the spells both easier to cast and harder to dispel. Thanks, come again. Remember also all Fire spells are flaming so no regeneration for you! Let’s check out the spells then which are in general pretty easy to cast and have multiple levels.

Signature Spell – Fireball: Perhaps one of the best signature spells of the game. Easily spammable on low level wizards to create a bunch of damage on units fast. Hope your opponent has a bunch of dispel dice! The best thing about this spell is it is easy to cast and has decent range with 3 levels upgrading both damage and range. Each level improves the range by 12" and ads a further D6 hits but the casting value is pretty steep at Level 3. The fire attribute bonus should help here. Whilst only S4, the ability to throw out 5+ fireballs on a bunch of low level spell-casters can quickly turn a unit into a smouldering heap. Importantly, Fireball doesn't care about unit size and always does D6-3D6 S4 hits.

1 – Cascading Fire-Cloak: Another easy to cast spell which remains in play and does a lot of damage to any unit in BtB with the targeted unit. Great for casting on combat units which are likely to remain in combat against a lot of other units (i.e. stubborn) or simply a deterrent for any potential assaulting units (no one wants to be hit by an extra 2D6 S4 flaming attacks each magic phase). Not a direct damage or missile spell though so doesn’t take advantage of the Lore attribute but is easy to cast so nothing too major.

2 – Flaming Sword of Rhuin: Two levels which are both easy to cast which improves the unit’s chances to wound (+1) and gives them magical and flaming attacks. Great against armies which fear flaming attacks but can often be done by a banner for cheaper (i.e. Eternal Flame). Like Fire-Cloak, Rhuin doesn’t gain the benefit from the Lore attribute but doesn’t have the upsides Fire-Cloak does.

3 – The Burning Head: Casting costs are getting a bit higher now but still not really hard to cast, especially since Burning Head takes advantage of the Lore Attribute. Although short-ranged, this power can do a lot of damage to clumped units or units in a line (try and hit units at an angle to clip more bases) and can force multiple panic tests. The level 2 casting of this power is significantly better with double the range but that much harder to cast. Again, the Lore attribute will help significantly here but Fireball is probably going to do more reliable damage unless versusing horde armies.

4 – Piercing Bolts of Burning: Same casting cost as the Burning Head with a level 2. Like the Burning Head, the range increase for the upgraded version is great and the casting benefit from the Lore is a welcome sight. Also like the Burning head, damage is dependent on how many models there are on the table. This spell only really outshines a lv2 Fireball when there are 4 or more ranks so can be very situational. Against horde armies though who do have a lot of ranks, this spell can inflict an impressive number of hits (D3 per rank of 5+).

5 – Fulminating Flame Cage: Highish casting cost and no benefit from Lore attribute is bad news for Flame Cage but can cause significant damage if the unit moves. It is however reliant on a large unit size to do said damage and on the target moving. Like Fire-Cloak, this spell is great to deter units from doing things (specifically moving or assaulting) as no one wants to move a unit if they automatically take a S4 flaming hits. Again though, for direct damage Fireball is still more reliable. The level 2 of this spell doubles the range for a moderate increase in casting cost but without benefiting from the Lore attribute, is best left as a deterrent later game than an offensive tool early on.

6 – Flame Storm: Casting cost still isn’t huge but getting up there, especially the level 2 version. It is a direct damage spell though so benefits from the Lore attribute and has a good range (unfortunately not increased with level 2). With the new blast rules, both the large and small blast versions of this spell have a very high ceiling in potential damage but due to scatter and unit sizes, might not always do what you want. Perfect against hordes but like most of the fire spells except Fireball, not great against MSU armies.

Most of the spells are decent choices and can certainly find a use in most armies. If you’re looking for damage though, Fireball is your most reliable spell unless versusing an army with a lot of large infantry blocks. Since Fireball is the signature spell it is quite easy to create a ‘battery’ of spell-casters which chain up level 2 Fireballs and melt units before your eyes. You can back this up with higher level spell-casters taking more spells such as Fire-Cloak and Flame Cage to discourage units from closing with you but when you take the Fire Lore, you’re generally looking to do damage.

Verdict: a good Lore but should probably be taken on a lot of spell-casters rather than just one or two. The Lore really comes into its own as you start chain casting fire spells on units and getting the casting bonus. The additional benefit of all spells inflicting flaming damage is great against armies which use regeneration but is next to useless against flame resistant armies. The utility of this Lore is minimal compared to others and is best taken as back-up to the damage it can do. Can be very effective for armies with minimal shooting or to bolster an already impressive shooting army. It really comes into its own when cheap spell-casters are available and power dice can be generated reliably.

4 pinkments:

Zenos said...

All very valid comments. A section could be added to each of these on how they can work well in combination with other lores and spell casters. Perhaps do something along the lines of this;

Level 4 Shadow Lore.... blah blah blah for this reason.... coupled with a level 2 Fire Lore can pull off this combo... etc.

You should also discuss each lores weakness. In the case of fire imo, it is how easy it can be cast, but coupled with the fact its therefore fairly easy to dispel unless spammed. Therefore does it really require to be effective 2 casters to ensure your lighting up the target well enough every magic phase? etc.

Another thing you might like to add, is complimentary or protective magic items from the BRB and well known army books. 2+ ward gem and helm come to mind for fire. etc.

But you have a good grasp of fire lore. You forgot only one thing... Signature catch call of all fire mages.... I cast magic missile at the darkness. :)

Caz said...

Great article, I'm really looking forward to the rest of them. For my Dark elf army I'm having a level 4 with Death and a Level 2 with either Shadow or Fire, was thinking if I took Shadow I could take Ruby Ring of ruin (bound fireball)?

Chumbalaya said...

Lore of pew pew {^}

Kirby said...

@Zenos; I'd love to do something like but think that would take all of my time :P lol. Like deployment articles there are so many variables to cover... I might attempt to cover them more in the Army specific Magic posts or in the Armie entries themselves. You're welcome to encourage discussion in the comments section though :).

Forgot to put in the dispel part woops. Can't imagine everyone will extrapolate cheap spells + spamming = it's own dispel defense :P lol.

@Caz; I'd really go with a bunch of Lv1s with Fire backed up by a couple higher levels. The Lv1s both have power of darkness and fireball and you can flood your power pool with dice and keep casting lv2 fireballs and simply overwhelm your opponent.

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