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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Armies in 8th: Magic Part 4: Lore of Beasts

We reviewed the Lore of Fire last time which is an excellent pure damage Lore and particularly good on a bunch of low level wizards. Beast time! The Lore of Beasts attribute makes Beast spells easier to cast on beasts (wow) which include swarms, chariots, cavalry, war beasts and monster variants plus anything from the Beastmen Army Book. This bonus makes each spell easier to cast by 1 so not too great but it can help. Like Fire, Beast spells are on the whole pretty easy to cast and in a Beastry army, are that bit more likely to go off. Let’s check out the spells then.

Signature Spell - Wyssan’s Wildform:Short-ranged which generally means the unit is being buffed by a spell-caster within the unit or at least near-by. This limits the applicability of the spell somewhat even though the level 2 doubles the range. For a signature spell it’s pretty expensive but it is a good all-round combat spell buffing both strength and toughness.

1 - Flock of Doom: Crap strength but can do a lot of hits for a cheap casting cost and decent range which can be extended significantly by casting the level 2 version. Strength 2 really drags the spell down though as it cannot be relied upon to actually wound opponent’s and get through their armor.

2 - Pann’s Impenetrable Pelt: again a very localised spell due to it’s short-range but very cheap to cast and +3 T is pretty good for a character. This is excellent for any character accepting challenges and the level 2 spell gives +3 T to all characters within range but doubles the casting cost. This would only be useful in a very character oriented army which needs careful planning to still be balanced.

3 - The Amber Spear: The second and final magic missile of the Lore of Beasts, this one is actually useful. Basically operates as a Bolt Thrower but it automatically hits thanks to being a magic missile and allows no armor saves. For the pretty decent casting cost, this spell can provide some significant firepower to your army. The level 2 of this spell raises its strength to 10 (multiple wounds D6) but is a lot higher in terms of casting cost. Main drawback? Not spammable as it’s not a signature spell.

4 - The Curse of Anraheir: Pretty good range and a moderate casting cost which makes the unit less effective in both shooting and combat. It really shines against a unit which wants to move though as the unit counts all terrain as dangerous which inflicts wounds on a 1 or 2. A unit that’s about to charge you through terrain or move into terrain won’t like this cast on them so can work very well as a deterrent and defensive spell. The spell can be very situational though and the level 2 version has a ridiculous range for minimal increase in casting cost.

5 - The Savage Beast of Horrors: Like Pelt and Wildform, this spell is very localised due to it’s short ranged and like Pelt, can be cast at a higher level to affect all characters within range. Horrors however increases strength and attacks and can greatly boost character combat ability. Once again though, this spell really comes into its own when there are multiple characters engaging in combat around which isn’t always easy to do. The high cast cost of the level 2 spell can also make this spell difficult to get off.

6 - Transformation of Kadon: Your spell-caster can become an awesome beast of awesomeness? Awesome. Casting this at the higher level is a lot better as the Mountain Chimera and Great Fire Dragon are much better options than the ‘smaller’ monsters. The biggest drawback is if the monster form is dispelled and the monster has any wounds on it, these carry over to your spell caster and are quite likely to kill it. That said, this is a very ‘cheap’ way to add an extra monster to your list but does cost you some magical flexibility.

The Beast Lore is less about damage and more about buffing characters for combat. Whilst Amber Spear is an excellent spell, not being able to take it more than once really doesn’t make the Beast Lore worth taking just for it. The other spells, whilst quite capable of buffing multiple characters or units simultaneously, sit on very high cast costs and require you to have a lot of combat focused characters to really gain the most out of the spells.

Verdict: bad. Again, the Lore relies a lot on combat characters and getting the higher level spells off. Whilst Wildform is a decent signature spell to spam on units (especially weak units who could use the T increase), the rest of the spells don’t back it up well enough and +1S/T isn’t worth taking multiple spell-casters over. Transformation is an awesomely fun spell but the weaknesses highlighted above limits its use. With the best spell being Amber Spear, Lore of Beasts generally has minimal applicability for most armies.

6 pinkments:

Jason said...

Surely Transformation is better than that though? Given you can still be a part of the unit you were when you cast it means you can add an extra 2d6 auto hit str 4 attacks on the enemy unit, as well as the 7-8 from the dragon itself. You'd win combat easily.

Also, Flock of Doom is pretty good against warmachines, given it is so hard to wound them anyway.

I agree there are better lores though.

Kirby said...

Transformation is a pretty good spell, especially because the monster can stay in the unit (if it fits properly) so is that much harder to take down but is ultimately dispelled the next turn and you're losing all the magic potential of a high level spell-caster. Casting this on a low level caster is begging for a miscast and since you're hiding in a unit... well you get the general drift I imagine ^^. Transformation doesn't make Beasts worth taking though because outside of Amber Spear, the spells are very expensive to get the most out of them and are about character buffing.

In the end there are going to better Lores. If you can build a wizard who is likely to get transformation off reliably (i.e. ignore first miscast, don't cast until he gets there, etc.) you can use a unit pretty much as a delivery system for the monster but you also need to ensure you get that spell. You really have to work around the spell-caster with this Lore to make a good list I feel.

And flock is only range 24", it shouldn't be in range of Warmachines for a couple of turns.

Oh also, where are you getting the 2d6 auto hit S4 from?

Jason said...

Regarding Transformation, it also works well with your magic defense concepts; your opponent needs to roll pretty high to get rid of the spell in the following turn.

But I agree with you regarding the Lore itself - I've thought and thought how to incorporate it, mainly so I can use some cool models in my army :) But I can't seem to make it work with my Empire reliably. It probably does alright in a beastmen army, given your characters are pretty cool anyway? I imagine.

Flock can be 48 inch with the increased version? Which I don't imagine is that much harder to cast.

The auto 2d6 str 4 is from the breath weapon - a number of the transformations have it. In combat you can breathe and do 2d6 hits, at the strength of the breath weapon. That is a lot for combat res!

Chumbalaya said...

I can see it for fighty armies like WoC and Beasts, but it just doesn't impress me.

Kirby said...

Very true regarding magic defense. It's a modellers dream for sure. Huge flamey thing! lol Beastment is your best bet as you can get easy mileage out of Wildform but it's not earth shattering really. Ah breath weapons, thought there was some random stomp rule I was missing :P lol.

Correct with flock, I completely mis-read it when I re-checked it thinking 2nd casting was 18+. Woops >.<.

Jason said...

Also, Empire with Flock = rerolls to wound. Which against warmachines usually means it is dead. But meh, Empire have better things for that (and there are other lores that do it as well).

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