We've got access to all 8 lores of magic and our own amazing lore now! With that in mind, my last Treatise on Magic Lores has become obsolete and I intend on writing a new one, including all 8 lores. It will of course take significantly longer to write and as such I'm going to split it into separate posts/edits. This will allow me to expand more than I have in the past on each lore and I will attempt to discover as many combinations and synergies as possible, potentially editing already written text (so do re-read it once I have all lores documented) I will begin with our own signature lore: The Dark Magic.Dark MagicLore Attribute: Spiteful Conjuration
There isn't actually that much to say about this lore attribute as it's random and does extra damage. There's no downside to it, but it's also not something you can count on, just a little extra damage if you roll a double or a treble when casting your spells. Being limited to Hex, Magic Missile and Direct Damage spells is not horrible, as that includes 6 out of 8 spells (Only Black Horror and Power of Darkness don't qualify). It's best if you get a treble when casting Shroud of Despair as it affects multiple units, each of those units takes damage and if any of them happens to die (could be a single model left from a unit) or loses enough models to cause a panic it has a potential to cascade with the Shroud of Despair but it's not something I would count on. Additionally, as Dragon9 pointed out, the damage from the lore attribute is resolved after the spell itself is resolved so there is a potential that the spell will reduce a unit to below 5 rank and file models enabling the attribute to hit any characters in the target unit.
S1: Power of Darkness
8+ to cast means level 4 sorceress can cast it on a single die on 3+ making it a handy spell for that one last power die left in your pool. It's the last one so if you fail there's no real loss, but if you roll 3+ (66% chance) you have a good chance of being able to cast one more spell and that ability should not be frowned upon. Taking a wound on generating 3 dice should not be a problem for a level 4. With Cloak of Twilight and Obsidian Trinket she'll have 2+ ward save against that wound. If taken on a level 2, I believe it's better used as a support for the unit she's with. Reliably cast on 2 dice, she will more often than not get those dice back and boost the power of her unit making it essentially a free spell. This is a spell I believe you have to prepare for. Sorceress in a unit of warlocks can make a good use of it, making them equivalent to Dragon Princes on offense, or a sorceress in a unit of cold one knights, allowing them to charge with S7 (as well as making the Cold Ones/Horses +1 S)
I wouldn't take this spell on a level 4 sorceress as being in combat will limit the choices of targets for the remaining spells she might have while a level 2 with one other spell will be fine powering through just the Power of Darkness. Additionally it's a handy spell to protect your unit from Dwellers Below or opposing Black Horror.
Level 4 - cast on 1 die to regain some power dice
Level 2 - cast on 2 dice to boost a combat unit for essentially no PDS2: Doombolt
This is one spell I believe my supreme sorceress will often default down to. It does require 3 power dice to be cast reliably by a level caster, but the power of 2d6 S5 hits is not to be underestimated. The boosted version of the spell is a hit and miss as even a supreme sorceress has barely over 50% chance of a successful cast when using 6 dice. When it comes to a level 2 caster (including warlocks) the spell requires at least 4 power dice to be cast effectively so unless supreme sorceress isn't present (or has no viable targets) I wouldn't attempt to cast it often as the drain on PD is significant, not to mention trying for a boosted version with either one requires 6 dice and being really lucky. I would leave Doombolt to the Supreme Sorceress and let her blast away at the tougher enemy units.
Level 4 - cast on 3 dice, attempt to boost it on 6 dice only if you're feeling lucky
Level 2 - cast on 4 dice as a last resort measure since supreme sorceress is far more likely to get it off1: Chillwind
super easy to cast, even a level 1 will always either cast it or lose concentration on a single die. While S2 is not exactly very impressive, it's the 2d6 hits that make or break this spell. On average, the chillwind does about 2 wounds on your typical ranged unit (T3, 6+ save) while old chillwind did a wound and half on the same target. Additionally, the extra die of hits makes chillwind far more likely to cripple war machines since up until S6, the strength of the attack doesn't really matter, just the number of hits. New chillwind does a wound on average, while old one wouldn't even get that far. The effect also got improved. Where old chillwind required a casualty (removed model) making the effect essentially useless on war machines, the new one only needs to inflict a wound so all BS based war machines are affected far more easily. Now there's an additional effect chillwind has which is more of a psychological one. Having your unit unable to shoot at all (like with the old chillwind) allowed you to freely take the turn to move into more advantageous position. With -1 BS you're tempted to keep shooting... and we all should know how effective hitting on 6+ is. If you don't roll the spell though, it's fine, this spell is not the top of the pack by any stretch.
Level 4 - cast on a single die, but I would trade Chillwind for Doombolt whenever possible
Level 2 - cast on a single die, essentially poor man's magic missile that can in fact shred small units due to number of hits. It can be useful and easy to cast to pull out dispel dice.2: Word of Pain
Oh my goodiness, we're getting to the really good spells and we're only on number 2! Unboosted version is easy to cast and reduces WS and BS by d3, -1 to BS often cripples shooting units, -3 renders them useless and with 24" range it's easy to get in and I shouldn't have to count benefits of reducing enemy's WS... we've all used Shadow Magic long enough. Important fact to notice here is that there's no limit on reduction for WS and BS, which means that it's very possible to reduce target's WS and BS to 0, making them unable to attack at all
. Now the meaty part of the spell, the boosted version does have that limitation but it's still easy to cast! on only 12+ a supreme sorceress pulls it off on mere 3 dice. Now we're reducing WS, BS, S and I. Its like rolling Miasma and Enfeebling Foe into a single spell and making it easier to cast on top of that! With the enemy's stats reduced like that, our fragile elves suddenly become much more resilient. This spell also builds sweet synergies within the lore itself like Bladewind or Black Horror!
Synergies: Bladewind, Black Horror
Level 4 - cast on 2 dice, boosted on 3 dice. Aim at ranged units first, then at combat units that you're about to engage. Win those combats with a single spell.
Level 2 - cast on 3 dice, boosted on 4 for maximum result.3: Bladewind
The horde thinner spell. By itself it's ok with majority of units (especially the ones fielded in large numbers) that are prime target for this spell are WS3, meaning you will hit half of the models in the unit, possibly wound two thirds of that, so for an easy spell to cast you can thin a horde by a third, more if you get lucky... or slaughter them if you pull off Word of Pain first. Yeah, imagine taking a WS test with WS1 or 0. You need to start practicing your evil laugh right now. The delivery is simple and it can still hit characters out of a unit like it used to, but now they need to fail a WS test, which compared to the last version is just fine. With 3d6 attacks you'd average 10 and about 5-7 actual hits regardless of the size of the unit. Now the spell can slaughter troops like almost no other (Fiery Convocation comes to mind). These are no longer close combat attacks so the spell has lost its usefulness as a war machine blender.
Synergies: Word of Pain
Level 4 - cast on 2 dice, target a WS3 unit and watch your opponent rush to dispel it
Level 2 - cast on 3 dice to ensure successful cast
4: Shroud of Despair
Oh my goodness. When I first read this spell I had a giddy moment. It doesn't seem like much at first, after all its effect doesn't actually do anything initially. Ld is extremely important in 8th edition. Especially the BSB re-rolls. taking away Hold Your Ground! and Inspiring Presence would often be enough by itself... but on top of that the spell reduces Ld by 1 for each failed Ld test and that's shared among targets! If you catch three units (and it's not hard with 12" bubble and fast sorceress), and one of them fails to... say.. swift reform... all 3 take -1 to their Ld! Just think how many times BSB re-roll saved your game plan... now take that away from your opponent. If that wasn't enough, our list is currently equipped to capitalize on this like no other. Cry of War from a death hag forces fear tests at -3 Ld, Bloodwrack Shrine adds additional -1 to the pile, Kharibdyss forces a re-roll of successful tests. It's a spell with enormous potential that if used well can single-handedly win you a game. It can also do absolutely nothing if you cast it willy nilly so be careful jumping all over it, make sure the situation is beneficial to you and keep stacking those modifiers. It lasts until your next magic phase so you have opportunities to force leadership tests in the same magic phase, shooting phase, close combat, enemy movement phase (march blocking and swift reforms), enemy close combat, your following movement phase (terror while charging). That's a lot of opportunities.
Synergies: The Burning Head
Level 4 - cast on 2 dice if you only want to keep pressure on but spell is not essential, power it through with as many dice as you feel necessary if you absolutely need it
Level 2 - cast with 4 dice minimum5: Soul Stealer
Much reduced version of our old soul stealer that would hit every model in the unit (now Bladewind takes that role) but it got improved! Now the sorceress can gain up to 10 wounds maximum instead of double her starting wounds! Due to the nature of a scattering small template it's only really useful when facing large blocks of enemy infantry to avoid scattering too far. It's likely a spell I would trade for a signature if I didn't see viable targets for it on the other side of the table unless I built a sorceress to abuse it... and there's a sneaky way to abuse it. As a Direct Damage spell, you can cast it from combat (but not into combat) so it can be used on a sorceress equipped with the Black Amulet to charge enemy characters and challenge them to a duel to the death (theirs of course) Black Amulet, Other Trickster's Shard and Tome of Furion to ensure you can replenish lost wounds with Soul Stealer and she can be a veritable assassin of enemy combat monster characters. Sadly Black Amulet only bounces wounds in a challenge, but how many tooled up combat lords will refuse a challenge from a little sorceress?
Level 4 - cast on 3 dice and aim in the middle of an at least 5x5 infantry block, the bigger and heavier armored the better since it ignores armor saves
Level 2 - cast on 4 dice if you have to, but it's not an optimal spell for level 26: Arnzipal's Black Horror
It's almost exactly as I predicted! Vortex that causes Strength test or kills outright. Unfortunately unlike nearly all "instant kill" spells, this one allows for ward saves (but not regeneration saves, as they are no longer a special kind of ward save). It's a shame but not the end of the world, the spell is a unit killer, not a character killer (like Dwellers) and most units don't have the luck to sport a ward save. Many people say that Purple Sun is far better due to the I test having a wider range of targets, which partially is true. S test though, opens up a venue for a completely different type of targets, namely those with high natural I and not so high S... like elves. At the same time, models with high I often have it far higher than their S, while models with high S, often have accompanying comparatively high I. What does that mean? It means that spells lowering S (like Word of Pain!) have far greater effect for Black Horror than spells lowering I (like... well, Death doesn't have I lowering spell so like Word of Pain!) have on Purple Sun. Just look at our units and do the math of what you'd be more worried about, Black Horror with -2 S or Purple Sun with -2 I? The boosted version is hard, there's no doubt about it, only about 50% to be cast by a level 4 on 6 dice so I would only use it in most desperate times. And never forget, a vortex is an impassable terrain so even if you don't do any damage with it, you can attempt to position it in front of an enemy unit that you don't want moving any closer to you (easiest done from behind said unit which shouldn't be too hard with our speed)
Synergies: Word of Pain
Level 4 - cast on 4 dice and sail smooth with small template, only cast the big template on 6 dice in most desperate times.
Level 2 - cast on 5 dice for small one... big only if you hope for irresistible force.
Overall we can only boost three of our spells, Doombolt, Word of Pain and Black Horror. Doombolt and Black Horror boosted have such high casting values that I would only attempt them in dire cases while boosted Word of Pain is still easier to cast than equivalent spells in other lores. Looking at my writeup, I will say that Dark Magic is a lore for a level 4 wizard, as most of the spells hover in that magical area where level 4 can still cast them on 2 dice, while level 2 starts to need more and more. That's not to say that lower level caster has no place with Dark Magic, but their role should be much more specific, like a Power of Darkness booster for a combat unit or Word of Pain spammer (which would require Tome of Furion to ensure the spell)The Lore of Fire
Lore Attribute: Kindleflame
This attribute is two-fold. First, all spells from lore of fire have the Flaming Attacks
special rule. This has twofold consequences. One, it makes it a relatively good lore (why only relatively I will say at the end) to combat regeneration troops. Two, it makes is basically useless against anything with protection from fire. These days that includes Dragon Princes and any character that wears armor regardless of army due to the ease of access to Dragonhelm and Dragonbane Gem. Second, all magic missile and direct damage spells from the Lore of Fire, get an additional D3 to the cast roll, if the spell is cast on a unit that had another magic missile or direct damage spell from the Lore of Fire already cast on it in the same phase. Keep in mind it only affects Magic Missile and Direct Damage spells, meaning Fulminating Flame Cage does not benefit from this attribute because it's a Hex. The lore attribute works like a fire would, start small and fan the flames. Starting your magic phase with the small or medium fireball will make all subsequent spells cast at the same target easier to cast. It doesn't stack with itself though. Once you cast a fire spell successfully, all subsequent spells cast at the same target will be at +d3, and not +3d per successful spell.S: Fireball
One of the easiest spells in the game to cast and one of the few spells that has three levels of fire. From a little ball of fire to throwing blazing suns at the enemy. It is a very straightforward magic missile, doing d6, 2d6 or 3d6 S4 hits with increasing range which makes it a very good spell at clearing out enemy back support like ranged units and war machines (those sixes to would count!). The fact that it's so easy to cast and so versatile makes it a great spell for a support wizard. You can scale the fireball depending on your needs sending d6 or 2d6 hits after chaff and forcing 3d6 hits after larger units.
Level 4: 2 dice for the least fireball is a waste but 1 risk loss of concentration, always cast at least the middle Fireball on 3 dice and if you go big use 5 dice for best chance of success. Cast it first for an easy Kindleflame
Level 2: 1 dice small fireball as loss of concentration is not so terrible for a level 1 and can pull out some dispel dice, 3 dice for middle fireball and 6 for the biggest one. Cast it first for an easy Kindleflame1: Cascading Fire-Cloak
The spell remains in play which is its saving grace, but with a cast difficulty of only 5+ it makes it also very easy to dispel. Targeting only the wizard's unit severely limits its use but it's not to say that the spell is useless. Considering most wizards like to hide in small shooting units not really geared for combat that get hunted by equally lightly equipped fast cavalry or scours this spell is the perfect deterrent. Cast it in your magic phase when you see enemy getting ready to charge you with a small unit and now they need to do the following: Decide if they still want to charge you and face 2d6 hits (which will cripple such a unit), if they decide to charge, they will have to use their power dice to remove the spell (which a level 4 wizard removes by rolling a 1) and reduce the power of their offensive magic. Even then they might fail (maybe they only had a level 2 Loremaster?) and you still have a protected unit. Far from useless, this spell is more of a "if it happens, great, if not no big loss" kind of spell.
Level 4: Cast on 1 die as the last spell in the phase so the loss of concentration won't be an issue
Level 2: Cast one 1 die as well.2: Flaming Sword of Rhuin
One of the best augment spells in the game if I dare say so. +1 on to-wound rolls is inherently better than +1 Strength as far as wounding is concerned as it automatically puts you on the one easier level so you can end up wounding even Necrosphynxes (T8) on 5+ while +1S would only let Executioners and Cold One Knights achieve that feat. It also makes the attacks magical, making it a great weapon for a unit of crossbowmen who need to deal with some ethereal targets as no spirit host enjoys a salvo of 20+ magical bolts coming its way. The spell does not remain in play, so once cast you're safe until your next magic phase, making it a good spell to use defensively as well as offensively (as a charge deterrent when your troops wound at +1) unlike the Cascading Fire-Cloak which can be dispelled rather easily. More importantly in can be cast on any unit within a rather long range (24" boosted to 48") so you can keep your wizards safe.
Level 4: 2 dice for a safe cast, 3 dice for the boosted version
Level 2: 2 dice if you like risk, 3 dice to ensure it and 4 for boosted range.3: The Burning Head
A "template" spell in the fact that it can hit multiple units in a straight line. With its boosted range of 36" that can be a rather large number of units. The spell itself is not very devastating but it has a handful of combinations that work particularly well. Best used on a fast sorceress which can go down the enemy's flank, the spell's strength lies in forcing a panic test even if only a single casualty is caused. This means that if you cast the 36" version and hit 5 enemy units in the battleline, as long as you manage to kill at least a single model in each, that's 5 panic tests your opponent has to take which works great with Shroud of Despair.
Synergies: Shroud of Despair
Level 4: 3 dice for the short range, 4 for long.
Level 2: 4 dice for short range, 5 dice for long4: Piercing Bolts of Burning
The anti-horde spell. The more ranks the target has, the more effective the spell gets. It's in rather direct competition with fireball though. Cast on 10+ it's twice as hard to cast as the small fireball and to have same effectiveness as the small fireball, the enemy has to have at least two ranks, so as the battle progresses and the units get smaller, this spell's effectiveness diminishes. At 4 ranks, the spell is a little bit better than middle fireball and this is where the spell begins to be useful. 5 ranks or more is where you want to cast it, and you should know when you roll it if you have enough targets, otherwise fireball will always be a better choice.
Level 4: cast on 3 dice for best results, if you really need the extra range, add 4th die.
Level 2: will also need 3 dice to cast reliably and 4 for longer range5: Fulminating Flame Cage
The even better anti-horde spell. Not only it does massive damage to large units (much larger than Piercing Bolts of Burning) it also has the potential to stop an entire unit in its tracks (at the cost of not doing the massive damage) Any T3 infantry will be terrified of this spell as it hits every single model in the unit. If you've ever been on the receiving end of the Fiery Convocation, this is it's younger brother with just as devastating potential damage output, but cast on 8 less than the Convocation. Additionally, if you have any effects that can force any models in the unit to move, you will be able to force that damage on them. Panic is the most obvious, but you can also challenge a character in the unit and if they refuse, they will move to back ranks, triggering the cage. If they accept and are not in base contact with the challenger, they will have to move into base contact, again triggering the effect. Since the spell is a Hex it can be cast on already engaged units, potentially dealing the damage if they lose combat and break. Even Make Way! will trigger the effect so your opponent might think twice to move his characters around within units.
Synergy: The Burning Head
Level 4: Cast on 3 dice, target something that you can try to force a move on, or you want to not move in their turn. Boosted range will require 4 dice
Level 2: cast on 4 dice for shorter range or longer range, depending on the risk you want to take.6: Flame Storm
The Fire spell that has potential to be very devastating... or very useless due to the fact that it scatters. You still have 1/3 chance of a hit, which if centered on a unit can be pretty devastating, but large template scatters whole 2d6" making it wildly inaccurate. It's a great spell against horde armies though since very often regardless of where you scatter you will end up hitting something. It's casting difficulty is also rather easy for a 6th spell so there is some benefit to that. Overall I think it's a pretty mediocre spell for the position it occupies.
Level 4: cast on 4 die for the small template, 5 dice for big one
Level 2: 4 dice for small template and 5 dice for the big one.
I haven't mentioned the strength of the attacks in any of the spells as they are all the same, and I believe this is a weakness of the Lore of Fire. All of its attacks are S4 and they can't be boosted in any way, limiting the use of the lore largely to fighting large units of low T/low save infantry. It is a great lore against elven elites but not very universal so I would caution against taking it in an all-comers list. It is by its design a support lore for a lower level caster with none of its spells being game breaking but most being capable of turning the tide of battle. Well placed fireball can win you the support war, flame cage and stop a nasty unit of swordmasters in its tracks and burning head can scare away half a greenskin army if placed well. Level 2 wizard can always drop the less useful spell (Piercing Bolts or Flame Storm) to a fireball and keep the good ones (Flaming Sword or Fulminating Flame Cage) as a d6 S4 hits is always a useful spell, especially if it's cast on 3+ by a level 2 wizard. For a level 4 I believe Fire magic is a waste as none of the spells are capable of making up for the cost of the wizard, barring crazy luck.The Lore of BeastsLore Attribute: Wildheart
This lore attribute is very specific and heavily dependent on both your, and your opponent's army list. Since you can't guess what your opponent might bring, you may as well disregard that part and treat it as a bonus. When it comes to your own list though, the lore attribute makes this lore benefit greatly from your build. All spells that target some sort of a "beastly" unit, get +1 to cast so if you build your list fully mounted, every augment (except one) is easier to cast by 1 point. It's worth mentioning that 4 out of 7 spells are augments (with one not benefitting from the attribute. When it comes to hex and magic missile spells in the lore, you will also gain the benefit of the attribute as long as you don't target infantry with them (unless they're beastmen).S: Wyssan's Wildform
The spell that the entire lore largely revolved around. It's a powerful and universal spell that greatly benefits anyone it's cast on but it's particularly good when cast on elves due to natural elven lack of resilience. T4 elves are unheard of and Wildform gives us easy access to it. The downside is, it's pretty hard to cast for a signature spell, needing 10+ to be successful. This can be slightly mitigated due to the attribute if you augment cavalry or monsters and making our knights S7 on the charge and T4 is pretty useful. It's also useful defensively against enemy spells like Dwellers or Black Horror or any generic magic missile thanks to boosted T
Level 4: Easily cast on 2 dice
Level 2: Use 3 dice even if targeting cavalry1: The Flock of Doom
The spell seems rather underwhelming. 2d6 S2 hits is barely enough to cause a scratch in most targets. Don't underestimate the value of a cheap magic missile though, it's cast only on 5+ so a single die cast will either be successful or fail completely due to not enough power. It's even easier cast on cavalry and I believe it's one of its three prime targets. One - fast cavalry, they are T3 and in small numbers so a missile that inflicts double the hits of a typical magic missile can't be disregarded. Two - skirmishers, for the same reasons as fast cavalry. And three probably the most surprising - war machines. You wound war machines on 6s unless you can get an S6 or better ranged attack which means that until S6, S is irrelevant and the number of hits matters much more. 2d6 hits has much higher chance of inflicting 2-3 wounds than 1d6 after all. With it's boosted version doubling the range, it can snipe out war machines starting from turn 1.
Level 4: single die as the last spell, two dice if you actually need to cast it or are boosting it
Level 2: single die as the last spell, two/three dice if you actually need to cast it or are boosting it2: Pann's Impenetrable Pelt
The first of the character improvement spells, especially useful if you have multiple characters in close proximity. It's simple in its use, like the beasts that the lore represents. By increasing the T of a single character by 3, you can create a tank in a pinch out of anybody. Master with re-rollable 1+ save and T6 will be a really tough nut to crack. Boosted version makes all characters within 12" gain the benefit of the spell so keeping them close together (a bunch of cheap masters perhaps? acting as a character based unit of fast cavalry?) and amaze your enemy with tough elves!
Level 4: 2 dice for an easy cast, 4 dice for boosted
Level 2: 2 dice could be tricky so 3 to ensure it. 2 dice if you will get the attribute bonus, 5 dice for boosted3: The Amber Spear
Pocket Bolt Thrower, or pocket Cannon. It is a really handy spell but also extremely straightforward so there's really not much I can say about it. Keep in mind the lore attribute when using it though as most of your targets will be of the big and ugly type and you'll likely get the benefit of the attribute, making the spell easier to cast.
Level 4: 2 dice will cast the bolt thrower version, 4 for the cannonball
Level 2: 3 dice for bolt thrower, 5 dice for cannonball4: The Curse of Anraheir
This spells is somewhat controversial due to the definition of "terrain" some players use. Thankfully the rulebook itself comes to our rescue and silences those dissenters (in case you need a proof). The rulebook defines Open Ground as "the most prevalent type of battlefield terrain" so it is clearly affected by the curse. This spell can be deadly on any kind of unit (that doesn't have ward saves available) as failing dangerous terrain on 1-2 will mean a third of the unit will succumb to it if they are careless enough to take the risk. It is a great spell to stop otherwise hard to deal with heavy cavalry or slow down large units of infantry. Keep in mind, your opponent can ignore the dangerous terrain part of the spell if they don't march, charge or flee with the unit it affects. On top of that effect the spell also reduces the chances to hit of an affected unit by 1, so it's very universal as it lowers the odds of ranged units hitting you, as well as slowing combat units down (or killing a third of them if they charge/march anyway). The ability to extend the spell's range can be useful sometimes, even though base range is already 36", I doubt that anyone will ever use the maximum 72" range though... after all the standard game table is 80" across.
Level 4: 3 dice, 4 if you for some reason need to long range. 2 and 3 dice respectively if you get the attribute
Level 2: 3 dice, 4 for the longer range5: The Savage Beast of Horros
The second of the character improving spells. This one increasing S and A, and both by 3 can make our characters into incredible killing machines with typically 6-7 S7 attacks and that's before you take any weapons into account. If you're feeling lucky, this is the spell to go for if you take some of the more dubious weapons in our arsenal. Chillblade has issues with going through armor? Not so much if you're S7. Obsidian Blade or Hydra Blade has troubles with wounding? Not so much if you're S7. Even better when you double the available attacks. Even more incredible when used on Death Hags, making them 8 S7 attacks PMSing monstrosities. Add Rune of Khaine for a mini Hellebron with 9-11 S7 attacks. The boosted version affects all friendly characters within 12" like the pelt so again, keeping them close is a good idea for the lore of beasts.
Level 4: 3 dice to cast it, 2 if getting the attribute bonus. For big version you will need 6 dice, 5 if you're getting the attribute should do it.
Level 2: 3 dice to cast regardless of attribute, 6 dice for boosted version.6: Transformation of Kadon
The Transformation! This spell is more fun than anything else as it faces a handful of issues. First - it can only be cast on the wizard herself, and she has to be on foot (so no lore attribute bonus). Second - it's remains in play, so your opponent can dispel it in their magic phase. This means that you either have to put your wizard in a risky combat first, and then try to cast the spell... which is a pretty obvious thing to dispel by your opponent, or cast the spell first and hope your opponent doesn't remove in in their magic phase. There is an upside to it though. Once successfully cast, the sooner the better, it puts pressure on your opponent since nobody wants to get charged by a Mountain Chimera. This means your opponent will want to dispel it in their magic phase if they failed to do it in yours, taking away on average 4 PD from their resources. Even better if they try to dispel it and fail, but it all is a very risky prospect meaning you can't count on it as a strategy.
Level 4: 4 dice for smaller monster, 6 dice for big one
Level 2: 5 dice for small monster, 6 for big.
With Lore of Beasts you can count on only one thing - augments. They are really good augments but aside from the signature they all improve your characters in one way or another which in a way forces your army build down a certain path. If you decide to take a level 4 sorceress with lore of beasts, I believe you will have to emphasize on that part really strongly, fielding multiple mounted characters and plenty of mounted units so you won't waste the strength of your magic. This leads me to believe that Lore of Beasts is best used on a support level 2 wizard. You can always drop down to the signature which is a universally good spell. If you happen to get either Flock, or Amber spear you can always make her act as ranged support and if you roll the transformation with a level 2 wizard, she can double up as protection against enemy magic if you're willing to force the spell through. A mountain chimera is far more dangerous than any level 2 wizard. Concluding I believe Lore of Beasts is best used on a support level 2 caster. We're not beastmen after all.The Lore of MetalLore Attribute: Metalshifting
As great as this attribute is, it only affects two spells of the lore - Searing Doom and Gehenna's Golden Hounds. While Final Transmutation also fits within its restrictions, it already overcomes everything the attribute would help with on its own. It ignores all saves and kills outright so even flammable troops won't be any worse off (since they will be the ultimate worse). That said, it is still an attribute that defines the lore and the reason why this lore is most often taken. The ability to turn someone's defense against them is not to be underestimated. Watching heavily armored knights die as their heavy armor melts on them is a glorious sight after all. One problem is that it also makes the spells flammable, rendering it nearly useless against most armored characters due to cheap and easy access to 2++ against flaming attacks.S: Searing Doom
The bread and butter of the lore. Probably the main reason why you chose lore of metal with the rest of the spells being a bonus. It's not easy to cast for a signature spell and even harder to cast when you consider the difficulty of other spells that do d6 hits. This one gets better with the quality of the target though, and sometimes is even worth it to cast on targets with low save if they have comparatively high toughness. While the most common target for Searing Doom is knights, look at potentially casting it on a Frost Phoenix, giving the spell an equivalent of S5 missile or a Necrosphinx with 5+ save and T8. Searing Doom would be like an S7 shot in that case
Level 4: 3 dice for small version, 6 for the big spell
Level 2: 3 dice for small version, 6 for the big spell1: Plague of Rust
Remove 1 point of armor from any unit for the rest of the game. With 24" range, it's easy to keep casting this spell at your intended target from turn 1. Remember that dropping someone's save from 2+ to 3+ or from 5+ to 6+ effectively halves successful saves made. Warhammer is filled with little thresholds like that where a single point makes a world of difference. Important fact to notice here is that this spell, while reducing target's armor, in no way adversely affects Searing Doom. This is because Metalshifting works based on unmodified armor save of the target so even if the knight's armor is rusted completely through, it's still metal armor. This spell will remain on the target for the entirety of the game and can't be dispelled except with Drain Magic. Only one other spell like this exists in the game so it's definitely something worth looking into.
Level 4: easy cast on 2 dice, boosted range with 3
Level 2: easy cast on 2 dice, boosted range with 32: Enchanted Blades of Aiban
Enchanted blades are simply amazing, especially for Dark Elves since we lack any units with magical attacks so ethereal units can sometimes have a field day. The benefit is not as great as it used to be as with ASF we re-roll pretty much anytime but a +1 to hit, can't go wrong. This, coupled with Armor Piercing special rule is especially beneficial to our Executioners, who don't get ASF re-rolls, making them hit on 2+ and 3+ when fighting elites, then wound on 2+, re-rolling 1s and reducing armor by 4 points. Nobody wants to fight a monstrosity like that. Similar to Flaming Sword of Rhuin, it's a great tool to give your darkshards an accurate salvo against ethereal targets. Just remember you don't get the benefit of Armor Piercing twice.
Level 4: cast on 2 dice with 3 to boost the distance
Level 2: cast on 3 dice with 4 to boost the distance3: Glittering Robe
Really, really good augment, especially for our lightly armored elves. Turning nearly any of our infantry units into 3+ save heavy infantry, even letting our dark riders have 2+ save for a turn! It additionally comes with the option to bubble it onto every friendly unit within 12", making it an incredibly good defensive spell. The short range is rather limiting though, forcing you to keep your army compact so use your fast units to direct the enemy where you want them to go as best as you can. Keep in mind Scaly Skin doesn't stack so the spell will have no effect on any model wearing a sea dragon cloak or on any of our big monsters (except for a Manticore without Iron Skin... but why wouldn't you give Manticore Iron Skin?)
Level 4: 2 dice for single target, 4 dice for bubble effect
Level 2: 3 dice for single target, 5 dice for bubble effect4: Gehenna's Golden Hounds
This is basically a miniature searing doom. It allows you to pick out characters from a unit, but it also allows for a Look Out Sir! roll, so don't expect to actually snipe any characters with it. The upside is that if the character is in a unit that's just as heavily armored, the hits that don't go on the character will still do considerable damage, and it's easier to cast than small searing doom! Short range is the downfall of this spell as you're likely to get to cast it only once before combat is met. If you cast it on a rank and file model, the spell is no different from Searing Doom as excess wounds spill over onto the unit as normal.
Level 4: 2 dice for short ranged cast, 3 for extended range
Level 2: 3 dice for short ranged cast, 4 for extended range5: Transmutation of Lead
Very nice and not overly hard to cast spell which creates a synergy with our own dark magic. -1 penalty to weapon skill often can mean no difference so make sure you know the to-hit table before you cast it. Casting it on WS3 models fighting your WS4 elves will do nothing at all to the hit chances for example, you will still be hitting them on 3+, they will still be hitting you on 4+. -1BS is good point for point so it's always nice to cast it as the difference between hitting on 5+ and 6+ is colossal if you don't have the extra shots to offset it like the Druchii do. Finally the -1 save is a great addition to the hex, with magic coming before shooting phase you can set yourself a target for a following armor piercing repeater onslaught, or soften a target up for combat (It may even be used as a deterrent to stop your opponent from charging you with weakened troops). Combined with Word of Pain, or even Miasma, it can feasibly reduce the target's WS or BS to 0
Synergy: Word of Pain, Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma
Level 4: 3 dice for lower power, 4 dice for extended range
Level 2: 4 dice for lower power, 5 dice for extended range6: Final Transmutation
First from the "I kill you and there's nothing you can do about it" list of #6 spells. This one is peculiar in the fact that it doesn't cause statistic tests and it works very simply. Target has 1W - dead on 5+, target has more than 1W - dead on 6. Keep in mind it works based on wounds on the profile so even if you drop that pesky High Elf Prince to last wound, he'll still die only on a 6. Nothing else can affect that roll which is a blessing and a curse. Blessing, because your opponent can't protect his units other than by dispelling the spell, curse because you're unable to weaken the target to be more susceptible to it. The larger the target unit is, the more efficient the spell becomes making it an obvious anti-death star choice. Additionally once some models are turned into statues of solid gold the secondary effect of the spell comes active, it makes every enemy unit within 6" of the target (including the target) suffer from stupidity at the start of their next turn, potentially ruining your opponent's plan... and just think how many tests they can potentially fail for the Shroud
Synergy: Shroud of Despair
Level 4: 4 dice for an easy, short ranged cast, 5 dice for extended range
Level 2: 5 dice for extended range, 5 dice for extended range
Some say that the Lore of Metal is the lore of choice against heavily armored enemies. I have to disagree. Only two spells depend on enemy armor being good to work well, one of those two spells is rather mediocre. The remaining 5 spells either improve your own troops (always a good thing) or don't care about the enemy's armor. The lore also contains one of the anti-death star spells and those don't always carry a lot of armor (like the common in my area Phoenix Guard Death Star). Overall I would consider this spell a lot more universal than the general consensus is as you don't always have to switch a spell to a signature and if you happen to roll golden hounds and don't need them, you'll be down a single spell but will still have three very useful ones so it's certainly not the end of the world especially since all of the lores suffer from "this spells is useless to me right now" syndrome.The Lore of LightLore Attribute: Exorcism
Exorcism is very straightforward and opponent specific. If you happen to play against any army other than undead or demons, it's absolutely useless. Otherwise it's an extremely nice attribute when you take into account the damaging light spells and their options. Of course talking about an all-comers list, I don't see the attribute taking effect often, but if you're allowed to tailor your list, and know there are demons or undead you will be fighting... It can be devastating.S: Shem's Burning Gaze
It begins as a standard magic missile. d6 S4. But, where all the other missiles boost the number of hits, keeping their use to largely the same targets but with higher damage, Burning Gaze when boosted becomes an S6 missile, which drastically changes what you can cast it on. Need to deal with fast cavalry and scouts? Cast the small version. Monster bearing down at you? Boost it up. When you take the attribute into account, any greater demon will shake in their proverbial boots when faced with a chance of taking 2d6 S6 hits.
Level 4: you can give it a shot on 1 die, two if you want to be sure but to boost it you will need 4 power dice.
Level 2: Same as level 4 largely as the low version is really easy to cast while boosted will require 5 dice from a level 21: Phâ's Protection
A spell that we, as squishy elves, should love. -1 to hit can me an enormous difference. Most things in close combat hit us on 4+, making it 5+ will drastically improve our chances of survival, moving the shooting table from 5+ to 6+ is incredible too when that happens. What's more, it has a 50% chance of stopping non-BS war machines as well so those cannonballs become a lot less scary. But that's not everything still! This spell (like many Light spells) can be boosted into a bubble version, affecting all allied units in range. Well placed you can walk your army up to the enemy under great protection of the Light magic. Small version often can be ignored, simply by choosing a different target, but bubbled you're making your opponent's life very difficult.
Synergy: The Speed of Light, Word of Pain, Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma, Transmutation of Lead
Level 4: cast on a single or two dice, bubble on 3
Level 2: cast on two dice, bubble on 42: The Speed of Light
By itself this spell is actually not that very impressive. WS10 and I10 sound great on paper but we already sport above average WS and excellent I. In most cases the Speed of Light will give us no benefit. There are a few times when it will though: Fighting enemy characters who can have higher I will let us keep the ASF re-rolls, fighting enemy elites with WS5 will enable us to hit them on 4+. Against troops that are already WS4 or less it can have a great benefit when combined with Pha's Protection, first becoming WS5 so enemy hits you on 5+ and then reducing their chance to hit by 1. Welcome to the world of Nurgle Warriors.
Synergy: Phâ's Protection, Word of Pain, Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma, Transmutation of Lead3: Light of Battle
This is a spell that's rather tricky to use, but its use when utilized to the best effect can turn the tide of battle (which is pretty impressive for a spell that's not #6). By casting this spell you're making the affected units essentially unbreakable with the benefit that you can still flee from charges if you deem them unfavorable (and will rally automatically next turn). A really good use of this spell is to use your usual charge benders to force your opponent's unit to charge them at an awkward angle or not charge at all. Without the spell, they would likely break the unit and reform, not gaining you much. With this spell in place, your little unit will hold the line regardless of the odds and you can counter charge the enemy into an exposed flank. This is easier said than done though but keep practicing. This is a second spell that can be bubbled and just ask any undead how great it can be to know for sure your army will not run no matter what.
Level 4: cast on 2 dice, bubble on 4
Level 2: cast on 3 dice, bubble on 54: Net of Amyntok
Given the right target (S3 or less) this is a spell that can really mess with your opponent's battle plan. Especially if the unit targeted contains any wizards. Reading through the spell, any time the target unit wants to perform *any* action, it must take a S test. If failed they take d6 S4 hits (2d6 if cast on demons!). Lets think how many actions a unit can take between the spell being cast and the beginning of your next magic phase shall we? Panic and run in your magic or shooting phase or break from combat in your combat phase - 1, rally in their movement phase (because rally allows you to reform, otherwise they are stuck facing away) - 2, cast spells in their magic phase - +1 per spell attempted so possibly +4 for 6 - panic from a miscast and run - 7, get charged in your next turn and flee again - 8. 8 S tests on a unit with the net on them. Of course you are unlikely to cause that many tests but then again you may not need to. If a fleeing unit fails their test, they can't move and you are very likely to catch them.
Synergy: Word of Pain, Enfeebling Foe, Soulblight
Level 4: cast on 3 dice, 4 if you want to boost the range
Level 2: cast on 3 dice, 4 if you want to boost the range5: Banishment
The spell that any form of Light Council relies on. Personally I don't believe Dark Elves can create a good light council as it depends on multiple Banishment spells and only a handful of armies are capable of that. Without the light council though the spell is rather underwhelming as a 2d6 S4 hits is a staple of a fireball. Start adding level 1 light wizards though and you are making the spell significantly stronger. You would need to make it at least S6 (so two additional wizards) but S7 is preferable (and deadly to most high value targets). If you believe taking a level 4 Light mage and 3 level 1 supporters is a good idea, go right ahead. Lore of Light is a pretty strong lore of magic (if situational). Just remember, especially when facing an opposing light council, that all wizards have to remain within 12" of the one with Banishment to increase its strength, forcing the council to stay close together and potentially making them vulnerable to targeted assault.
Level 4: 3 dice to cast, 4 for boosted range
Level 2: 3 dice to cast, 4 for boosted range6: Birona's Timewarp
The ultimate #6 is not as useful to us (or other elves) as it may be to armies without army wide ASF. Don't dismiss it based on that one point though, it's not all the spell does. In fact I would say it's a minor thing among what the spell does. Granting an additional attack to almost any of our units turns them from killing machines to slaughtering war monsters. Executioners and Cold One Knights are prime targets for this spell. Then there's the movement effect if you cast it on a unit that's out of combat which doubles their M value. In our cast this means every single affected unit becomes M10 (as that is the cap). By every single affected unit I mean, did I mention it can also be bubbled? It won't be easy to cast in that form but making a vast majority of your army M10 and +1 A is not insignificant (even though it may appear to be)
Level 4: 3 dice for single target, 6 for bubble
Level 4: 4 dice for single target, 6 for bubble... if you're feeling lucky
Overall I see Lore of Light as predominantly support lore. Do not get swayed by the shininess of an S6 or S7 banishment. While a powerful spell, all it does is a little bit of damage. Phâ's Protection, Light of Battle, Net of Amyntok and Birona's Timewarp is where the meat of this lore of magic lies, Burning Gaze and Banishment are just gravy (and something to switch to if you get speed of light without Pha's Protection). Personally I would take it on a supporting level 2 sorceress as many of the spell are rather easy to cast if you don't worry about boosting them. Signature is really useful to a support wizard due to its versatility in choice of targets but I would never pass up on an opportunity to throw the Net of Amyntok on anything valuable. Even failing a single S test can destroy your plans... just ask any greenskin player how they feel about planning and animosity.The Lore of LifeLore Attribute: Lifebloom
One of the nice attributes that work on all spells in the lore (that's actually less common than it should be). Every time you successfully cast any Life spell, the caster, or any friendly model within 12" regains a wound. It doesn't sound like much but in a good magic phase you should get two spells off, three if your opponent is concerned about dispelling Dwellers. Returning 2-3 wounds to a character or a monster is a very handy thing. It helps keep our (now much less resilient) monsters and new cannon magnets (both shrines) stay alive.S: Earth Blood
Regeneration is always a good thing to have, aside from Cauldron of Blood this is our only other way to give a reasonable ward save to a unit. There is a downside though as the spell only affects the unit the sorceress is in. This can be an unwanted scenario if you want to protect a combat unit, but it's always a nice thing if your sorceress is holding back, perhaps with a unit of darkshards, able to keep them alive longer.
Synergies: Throne of Vines
Level 4: 2 dice to cast
Level 2: 3 dice to cast1: Awakening of the Wood
While Lore of Life isn't among the overall destructive ones, it still has some potentially devastating spells. Cast only on 6+, Awakening of the wood is just that spell when targeting the right victim. There's usually something sitting in a forest, most likely a unit of scouts or a ranged unit that wants to benefit from the soft cover. Those units are ripe for the picking of the really easy to cast 2d6 hits. If the Throne of Vines is in play, it greatly expands the range of targets for this spell, even if they're not in a forest.
Synergies: Throne of Vines
Level 4: 2 dice to cast unless it's your last spell or you don't mind high chance of losing concentration
Level 2: 2 dice to cast2: Flesh to Stone
One of the main spells for the Lore of Life, one of the reasons why you take this lore in the first place. Increase of toughness is a great tool regardless of army, but making elves T5/7 is incredible turning from the squishiest army out there to a stack of bricks. Obviously you will want this spell on a unit that will be taking the most punishment. Units that might get hit first before they get to attack can also benefit from the spell. Executioners or one of our monsters are your choice targets for this spell as well as anything getting shot at (your opponent will likely just target another unit instead of shooting at T5 elves)
Synergies: Thone of Vines
Level 4: cast on 2 dice
Level 2: cast on 3 dice3: Throne of Vines
The best... and at the same the worst in my opinion spell in Lore of Life. The best, because it makes other spells more powerful without making them harder to cast, making it unique among all the lores. The worst though, because it's a crutch. If you want to cast the more powerful versions of Life spells, your opponent will see it coming. This can still be used to your advantage though. Casting the spell early in the game, your opponent might let it through and will have to waste his power dice later in the game to remove it. Casting it later can draw out dispel dice, making room for your other spells. On top of making your other spells more powerful, it makes the wizard nearly immune to miscasts which is a great thing when 6-dicing Dwellers Below. I would not take this spell on a level 2 wizard, because it will leave you with one useful spell, making it easy for your opponent to decide which one to stop.
Synergies: Earth Blood, Awakening of the Wood, Flesh to Stone, Shield of Thorns, Regrowth
Level 4: cast on 2 dice, the more dice you use the more likely your opponent is to let it through and focus on dispelling other spells
Level 2: cast on 3 dice4: Shield of Thorns
Comparable to Cascading Fire-Cloak but potentially stronger due to the fact that it can be cast on any friendly unit within 24", freeing up the wizard to keep safe away from combat. 2d6 S3 hits doesn't sound like anything too powerful, but don't underestimate the power of a handful of hits on a small unit. Shield of Thorns is best cast on something threatened by typical fast cavalry or skirmishers, making them think twice before engaging your previously vulnerable war machines. With Throne of Vines in place it becomes a respectable S4, making it useful even in combat between professional warriors.
Synergies: Throne of Vines
Level 4: cast on 3 dice
Level 2: cast on 3 dice5: Regrowth
This one is a funny spell when you're playing Dark Elves due to our access to the Sacrificial Dagger. The spell brings back d3+1 (d6+1 with Throne of Vines active) wounds worth of models to a unit you cast it on. If it's a unit the sorceress is using as fuel for sacrificial dagger... well, you may end up with overall positive balance ratio of models sacrificed to models resurrected. It is also the ultimate evil to sacrifice someone for spell fuel and then bring them back to do it again. The spell returns models to full wounds first so if cast on a unit with damaged Bloodwrack Shrine it it, it will first bring back champion and the musician (if applicable) and then heal the Shrine back up to full wounds before bringing back any other models (keep in mind it doesn't work on characters or their mounts so it will not affect the Cauldron of Blood).
Synergies: Throne of Vines
Level 3: cast on 3 dice
Level 2: cast on 3 dice6: The Dwellers Below
Another one of the "I kill you" spells. Similar to the Final Transmutation in that it hits every model in target unit, making it really good at sniping characters, especially wizards which tend to have lowest S in their armies. There isn't much to say about this spell as it's the fire and forget type not requiring much thinking or strategy. Dark Elves are in a unique position here being able to ensure we have a Strength lowering spell makes for a deadly combo with the Dwellers below (even Warriors of Chaos won't pass many S tests when they're S1) but it requires magical superiority. It is a rather short ranged spell so being able to get in range and get out quickly (Dark Steed or Pegasus) is a good idea if you want to avoid trying to cast the boosted version.
Synergies: Word of Pain, Enfeebling Foe
Level 4: 5 dice, 6 for boosted but even that doesn't ensure it.
Level 2: 6 dice to even attempt the small one.
Overall I see Lore of Life as largely defensive lore designed to keep your forces alive as you cross the field and later in combat as it's able to give them regeneration, increase toughness and bring back dead models. It does have Dwellers Below though, making it one of the deadliest lores of magic as well if your opponent tends to build death stars. It can be effectively used on a level 2 wizard as long as you avoid Throne of Vines, making the wizard into a force multiplier, making your troops far more resilient. For a level 4, this lore is crazy easy to cast, being able to cast majority of the spells on 2 dice, you can invest in the Sacrificial Dagger and go for trying to 2-die every spell with a bonus die when loss of concentration is possible. Then you can bring the sacrificed models back to life. I would see this lore used in predominantly infantry force with a sprinkle of monsters and multi-wound single models like chariots to take advantage of the lore attribute and augments. All of the spells are single target so it's far more useful on large units than, unlike lore of light which can bubble most of its spells, on an MSU style list.