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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Guest Article: Warhammer Fantasy Magical Item Review - Part 3

Common Magic Items Part 3: Talismans

This part is a short one; there aren’t as many Talismans as there are weapons and armour. Let’s crack on.

Talisman of Preservation, Talisman of Endurance, Talisman of Protection

These three Talismans each grant a ward save, 4+, 5+ and 6+ respectively. Exciting! These are your best options for straight up defence against other characters, monsters and war machines. You’ll always get to take these saves, regardless of what hits your character, which is why they're so expensive.

They compete with the trio of magic armours that grant the same ward saves of course, but the advantage here is that Wizards can take these. This way, you can give the same ward save to two different characters in your army, provided one can take magic armour.

That’s really all there is to this set of talismans. If you need a ward save but you can’t take one of the magic armours, or someone else is hogging the one you need, grab one of these.

Obsidian Lodestone, Obsidian Amulet, Obsidian Trinket

These items give your character a similar save to the proper ward save trio above, but they work differently due to Magic Resistance. They are fantastic against one kind of attack, and utterly ineffective against all others, as they grant a 4+, 5+ or 6+ ward save against any wound caused by a spell, and this is granted to every model in any unit the bearer joins.

Take the Lodestone for example (we’re going to keep this simple and assume the character doesn’t have another ward save from another source that the Magic Resistance will stack with). Against a wound caused by a spell, you get a 4+ ward save, and so does every chap in your unit. Giving your big unit of Ogres a 4+ward against those incoming fireballs and the like? Awesome! The Talisman of Preservation, while giving a permanent 4+ ward to your character, does nothing to benefit the unit he joins, while the Obsidian trio can make a unit impervious to most spells.

Unfortunately, those same Ogres will be running on their basic armour saves and toughness against anything else, which is the Obsidian trio’s big downfall. They're a lot of points spent on saves which you won’t be using against most things, and even if you do face lots of magic, you won’t be taking them against every spell. Hexes don’t cause wounds, so they are no help their, and most importantly you can’t take saves against the infamous Purple Sun and Dwellers Below and their ilk (why not dammit?! This is my only gripe with this edition of Warhammer Fantasy. I hate losing entire monsters and units to one failed characteristic test, even worse when its one my army is poor at.) Against a magic missile spam army (here’s looking at you, Tzeentch-only Daemons) or if you have units which already have ward saves (here’s looking at you, Tzeentch-only Warriors) they're great, but distinctly bad against balanced armies.

For these reasons, I wouldn’t take anything above the Obsidian Trinket, maybe the Obsidian Amulet in big games. The Lodestone is just too expensive.

Dawnstone, Luckstone

These items give you rerolls to your armour save; the Dawnstone all the time, and the Luckstone once per battle. It goes without saying you need an armour save to use them.

They work for any character with armour, even one with a 5+ or 6+ save (every little helps, right?) but to get the most out of them you need to go all the way. I’m talking heavy armour, Enchanted Shield, barded mount here. If you can get this save on your General, no matter his job in your army, slap the Dawnstone on him before you consider any other items and he’ll be twice as protected. They of course go very well with the ward save granting magic armour trio (Armour of Destiny, Armour of Fortune, Gambler’s Armour) as they can give you a ward save as well as let you take one of these items, something you couldn’t do if you took one of the Talisman trio above.

If you don’t have the points for the Dawnstone (something I always make sure to do if I have a high-armour character) the Luckstone can be helpful for its incredibly cheap cost, allowing you to have two attempts at saving that game-changing wound.

Opal Amulet

Quite similar to the Luckstone, but different in a few key areas.

The Opal Amulet grants you a 4+ ward save against the first wound the character suffers in battle. Unlike the Luckstone, where you can choose when to use it, you must use it against the first wound you take. It’s also not dependent on any other gear your character is wearing, such as their armour.

I find this item would work best on a cavalry character, or some other fast type of character. The guy you expect to take a cannonball to the chops, or a few ranged attacks, before he charges into the relative safety of close combat where only the pointy-stick wielding plebs can poke at him. The Opal Amulet can save such a guy from untimely, shooting attack related demise, making it a good choice for this specific type of character.

Seed of Rebirth

For five points cheaper than the Talisman of Protection, you get the same save, with the disadvantage of losing it to any Flaming Attacks that hit your character.

However, Flaming Attacks are relatively rare, and given the choice between Seed of Rebirth and Talisman of Protection, I choose the Seed simply because of the points it saves.

Dragonbane Gem

If you want the Dragonhelm’s 2+ ward save against Flaming Attacks, but also want to take a different piece of Magic Armour, this item is for you. Excellent on characters that have Regeneration from other sources as it allows you to overcome their weakness to fire.

Nice and cheap, but dependent on who you face.

Pigeon Plucker Pendant

Another “getting a ward save but only in certain situations” item here. Most models with Fly are also quite powerful, so if you expect to face this type of enemy frequently the Pendant can be okay, but it’s a rare situation at best, even with its cheap cost.


The Talismans are your main source of defences for your Wizards, replacing Magic Armour, but they're also a mixed bunch. Some are good (Talisman trio, Dawnstone) but most fall into the “protecting against a specific situation” crowd. Pass on the gimmicky tricks and get a straight up ward save. It’ll be more expensive, but that’s what you pay for dependability.

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