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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

8th Ed Tried to Destroy the Metal, but the Metal, Will Live On.

The Lore of Metal - Better than it seems?

Note: While I use specific examples in this article, you can swap them out for the "closest match" in the armies you face. For example, when I say empire knights, they could just as easily be Stegadons, or Dwarf Ironbreakers that you're struggling to deal with. Continue!

Yup. This is, in my opinion, the most underestimated lore of the edition. I think it's absolutely fantastic in the right army, as it lends a great mix of support and offense. Armies that get good use of it are High Elves, Dark Elves and Lizardmen. There's more in the right situation, but these ones really stick out. What I'm going to do, is go through the lore and discuss some uses it has in "real game" situations. *theatrical music*

Ok, so the Lore of Metal. One of the biggest strengths of the lore is that's it's all relatively easy to cast. Not as easy as fire, but definitely still easy. The erm, "strength" of the lore is against armour. This is pretty obvious if you look at the spells. So I suppose, lets get started.
Well, I wrote out a bit about the Lore, but decided I would just use Kirby's and then talk about the application of the lore. So, here's his article, read this first!

Ok then, so, the only thing I feel Kirby didn't really cover in this post, is how cheap and easy most of the spells in the lore are to cast, and how well the lore "combos". So, I'll talk about that. Now then, the easy casting spells are also the ones that work best when combined (handy that, isn't it). Personally, I really feel that Metal works best if you have 2 casters, preferably 2 level 4s. Now, I'll throw you a hypothetical. Say I'm playing against Empire. I'm using my soon to be revamped Lizards. This list is basically 2 Slann (one loremaster, both rumination), 160 skinks, 15 chameleons, and 6 Salamanders. Ok, so the Empire fellow has 2 big blocks of knights. How do we go about dealing with this threat? Well, if I get first, my skinks wont be in range to shoot, so say magically I get 4+3 (average). I use 4D6+my free one on a 2D6 searing doom, and then then I use 1D6 and my free one on a second "lesser" searing doom. These are obviously high priority spells, as they wound those knights on a 2+, and are likely to cause major damage, possibly even wiping a unit. But it gets better. I only have 2D6 left right? Well, I have Slann, so I don't mind that so much. Each can throw 1D6 and another free one on Plague of Rust, so going into my next turn, those knights (the ones I didn't doom) only have a 3+ save. This is going somewhere, don't worry.

Next turn rolls around, and this time I only get a 3+3 for magic (I actually rolled the results used in this, total freak coincidence). This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as my opponent has less DD, and if you're an army with Power Dice generation (Tomb Kings, Lizards, High Elves, Dark Elves, Skaven and Vampires spring to mind) it means you'll probably be able to overpower your opponent with magic. So, what do I do now? Well, casting Plague of Rust twice (2D6 down), followed up by Enchanted blades of Aiban twice (4D6 down), then a Transmutation of Lead once (6D6 down) on that other big knight unit. This brings it's armour save down to -+. Now, this is assuming everything goes off. Chances are they'll stop one. So they'll be left with a 6+ to skink saves. Considering the mass number of shots this army can bring to bear though, that's huge.

Obviously that's a "this unit needs to die" strategy. But you can combine it with armour negating abilities withing your army already. If you think about it, going from a 6+ save to none is actually pretty big, if it's on a big unit. So say you're playing Dark Elves and your opponent has a huge horde of, I don't know, clanrats. Those clanrats have a 5+ save, so 6+ from your shooting. However, as it's a block of 50, 1/6 comes out to be 8-9 extra wounds you need to cause. A single plague of rust (easily managable for the Dhar whores the Druchii are) is enough to negate that. It's little applications like this that make metal a nice lore for a level 2 (although the way 8th ed works I'd always advise 2 level 4s first before a level 2).

Ok, there's an Elephant in the room, and it's name is Final Transmutation. Yes, this spell is good. Not as good as Dwellers, and more reliable than Purple Sun, with a nice range that doesn't need boosting that often. Considering the tools that metal brings though, I would almost always cast the shiny buff/debuff spells first, to make it so that your units just rip through the units of your opponents, rather than relying on magic and risking a miscast to do it (if you go the buff/debuff route you'll probably only throw 3D6 as a maximum, so it's an awful lot less risky). However, it does have uses. Lets go back to those Dark Elves. Say you're against an army with a big horde, and Lore of Life. Now, normally you'd be in a position to use Blades of Aiban (increased accuracy) and Plague of Rust to just make that horde disappear in a hail of crossbow bolts. However, they've managed to get off a Flesh to Stone, and that horde is now toughness 7. This is the kind of oppertunity where Final Transmutation really comes through. Killing 1/3 of those T7 monstrosities is definitely a good thing, and very difficult to achieve for your normal units. (:

Ok, the other spell, that doesn't fit into any of the categories I've spoken about earlier, is Glittering Robe. This is, quite frankly, a good spell. It differs in worth from army to army, and (in my opinion) gets most use against armies that are majority strength 3. If you're running MSU shooty armies however, the worth of this spell goes down somewhat. Most shooting wont allow you to take a save that's only a 5+. So it's not worth much for my Lizardmen. However, say with Dark Elves, if you spring for that extra point and get a shield on your crossbowmen, they now have a 3+ save, which is respectable, even against shooting. Another absolutely fantastic use of this spell is with High Elves. Have Teclis force this off (not difficult) and suddenly your White Lions and Phoenix Guard are scarily resilient. This spell also goes well in armies that like close combat, however Lizardmen don't get much use for it, as it doesn't stack with their existing scaly skin.

Now people, unfortunately I'm running out of time, and am going to need to wrap this up here. However, if you have any questions or points you want to raise, please do so in the comments, as I have a bit more I'd like to say on the topic.

In Conclusion

The Lore of Metal in my opinion is a very powerful Lore, however, it requires an army being built around it. For example, in my Lizardmen Army it's my main method of dealing with armour (I have a backup of course, but it's the best way). It supports Dark Elves exceptionally well too, because while Repeater Crossbows have armour piercing, which is nice, it's not so great when your opponent has a 1+ armour save. With metal, you can turn that into a 6+, or just blow them off the board with Searing Doom. Yes, this lore is definitely malleable, and you can fit it into a lot of situations, but it needs to support your army, as, I suppose, does all magic.

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