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Monday, October 18, 2010

Armies in 8th: Magic Part 11: Lore of Darkness

The first installment of the army specific magical Lores and the text is blue, odd... Well Zenos sent me in his Lore of Darkness thoughts quite some time ago so I'm going to be posting them and adding my thoughts in blue! That's his army in the picture as well (shiny). So thanks to Zenos for the e-mail, thoughts and pictures. Darkness magic is pretty easy to cast with it's ultimate clocking in at 11; very nice. With the addition of Power of the Darkness no matter what Lore you pick, DE magic can be very potent in terms of throwing a ton of spells at you. Darkness is focused primarily on damage (who'd of guessed with those crazy Elves!) but oddly doesn't have a signature spell. This is made up for with Power of Darkness but means there is no spamming spell. So, let's get to Zenos' thoughts.

As a Dark Elf wizard your basically given two signature spells. Chillwind is classified as the signature spell for Darkness.

Bonus Spell - Power of Darkness: The heart of the dark elf spell casting list. This simple spell allows you to generate additional power dice over the course of your magic phase. In the new edition this is a fundamental boost over a lot of your opponents as your able to continue to replenish your pool of power dice and continue to cast, useful and game altering as soon as your opponent is out of dispel dice. (Coupled with magic items like the Sacraficial Dagger your producing a battery of power dice to fling spell after spell) And when you literally run a battery of spell-casters for DE, this is what fuels your magic phase. You can run as many Sorceresses as you can buy and Power of Darkness will be able to fuel their heart's desires. It is also ridiculously easy to case and therefore easy to dispel but when you've got ~10 spell-casters with it and spells which damage your opponent, you will simply overwhelm their ability to stop your magic phase.

1 -Chillwind: Compared to the other basic lore spells, at first it may appear weak as it has no higher casting value increase in power, but for its ease of casting and its ability to stop your opponent shooting with a unit it comes into its own. Fantastic spell against gun line opponents when you need to shut down a particularly powerful shooting unit as your toughness three army begins its advance toward the foe. Stopping a unit from shooting is great (especially if some noobs are running huge blocks of LSG or something) but limited by 24" range means you're unlikely to stop a warmachine. This can be spammed as it is classified as a signature spell so you can get a number of units disabled early on as you advance but in terms of damage potential, other spells like Fireball have more capacity.

2 -Doombolt: Underrated spell, fairly easy to cast, its greatly overlooked strength is how strong the hit is. Makes an excellent sniper spell against a lone mage or even some characters. Its great drawback however is its limited range. For a one higher cast than Chillwind you gain 1 strength, lose 6" and don't have the utility of stopping a unit from shooting. It's a nice 'extra' spell, especially if you are running a Sorc-battery but nothing fantastic.

3 -Word of Pain: One of the more powerful spells with a decent range for darkness. You do need to think when to cast it however for maximum effect. Never cast early in your phase unless your sure it will not be dispelled. Reducing your opponents WS and BS to 1 can only bring a smile to any Dreadlord about to crash into the enemy backed up by his Blackguard or Cold One Knights. +1! This is WFB's paroxysm and it can be cast into combat. Joy. Again when combined with a Sorc-battery this spell can go off later in the turn when your opponent has no dispelling capabilities left. Not only does it render a unit virtually useless in combat but through shooting as well. This + multiple chillwinds can really put a damper on a shooting army. Decent range and casting cost, too.

4 -Bladewind: An interesting spell, the fact it does close combat attacks makes it rather different from most spells. It is also one of the few unit affecting spells that can directly affect the champion and characters. Against weak mages hiding in large blocks, a decent choice as the strength of the spell is either better or on par with most infantry spell casters. This spell can do a lot of damage but is relying on a lot of rolls to get there. Cast, determine number of hits, roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save, ward saves (if any) compared to most Magic damage spells which don't need to roll to hit. As Zenos said though, can target out Champions and Characters which Darkness doesn't really have elsewhere.

5 -Soul Stealer: The big downfall of this spell is its range. Although it allows no armor save, one of its benefits as opposed to Flock of Doom from Beast Lore, with charge ranges and being able to get to grips with a unit easier in 8th it becomes situational. Its added benefit is nice, but no sorceress or dark elf wizard should find themselves in a close combat situation which is likely given the spells range. Its best use is probably cast from the back of a Pegasus against a unit about to engage a block of your spear men to whittle down the numbers. Agreed re range. Casting cost is easy for what it does and being able to leech wounds is a great utility but 12" means your caster is very vulnerable unless there are screening units in the way. In terms of damage you'll probably get more reliable results with a Sorc-battery or higher strength spells unless you're targeting a very large unit.

6 - Black Horror: One of the more under rated killer spells. Overshadowed by the Purple Sun its best use is against low strength targets and mass units. Excellent spell against skaven and goblin swarms threatening to overwhelm your own battle line. For strategy best cast on the second turn after your opponent may have wasted spells toughening up a unit to resist shooting or ranged spell fire. The lack of scatter and instant 5" template + a very easy to cast spell make this a very good damage spell. Combine with Shadow spells to reduce Strength or target low-strength units and you've got a very evil (albeit short-ranged) spell which is capable of wiping a large unit.

Verdict: Good. Coupled with the power of darkness, this spell list allows you to get a variety of good spells that shine against 8th edition horde blocks. Its weakness is the most powerful spell is only strength 5 and short range and the general lack of range of most of the spells. For the canny dark elf dreadlord a situation easily countered by the use of a familiar. Power of Darkness really opens up a lot of variety in being able to take a couple big spell-casters and geta wide variety of spells and still be able to cast them or spam a bunch of signature spells but Lore of Darkness is pretty strong for the casting cost. As Zenos says, limited by range somewhat but very capable of dealing with horde like units.

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