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Game-Winning Magic in 7th Edition Warhammer 
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Lord of the Dragon Caves
Lord of the Dragon Caves
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1. Overview

I wrote an article for the May 2007 Edition of the Druchii Herald detailing my approach to the magic phase. The point of the article was to describe how to get the most out of the magic phase, from selection of magic items through budgeting of power dice and the casting order of spells. The article was (I think) well received, but it is far out of date given the significant changes in the new Dark Elf book. Dark Elves no longer have a +1 to cast, they now get the Druchii Sorcery rule, and they have access to an expanded selection of lores, including the new and improved Dark Magic lore. Other changes affecting the magic phase include an expanded selection of mounts for spell casters and a new set of magic items.

Because of all these changes, I decided to go back and update my article. This post relies heavily on the 2007 article, in some sections not changing the language at all, and I am definitely recycling the tables used as illustrations. Ultimately, the purpose is the same—this post is all about managing the risk and rewards of the magic phase to try to make your magic more effective and to help you win games.

Note that I have been and will continue to update this article based on games that I have played, the input of others, and changes and clarifications reflected in GW errata and FAQs. As one example, when I first wrote this article, I was highly enamored with all the additional arcane item choices in the new book versus the ones that held over from before. I have since re-evaluated somewhat, and have a new appreciation for the old Tome of Furion on a level 2 caster. I have also updated both this article and my companion article on the defensive magic phase to address the changes in the way Magic Resistance works according to the official errata and FAQ issued in the spring of 2009.

As in the 2007 Herald article, I am not giving general advice about army construction. Heavy-magic, low-magic, somewhere in the middle, or even no-magic builds can all be appropriate based on your opponents and local gaming environments—and you can win with any of these overall approaches. Instead, this article is about making the most of the spell casters you do have regardless of the overall level of magic in your army.

2. Casting Order

a. The General Rule—Save the Big Stuff for Last


As I said in my 2007 article, I think the key to getting the most out of your magic phase is to keep pressure on your opponent. You need to force your opponent into hard choices about what spells to try to dispel, and what to let through. If you have enough magic that your opponent won’t be able to dispel everything you cast, you need to try to ensure that you can capitalize on that advantage. And even if you don’t have an overwhelming amount of magic, you want to maximize your chances of getting something through the enemy defense.

To force your opponent into making hard choices, you need to maximize the number of spells you cast successfully in each magic phase. Try not to give your opponent any “freebies.” Every time you try to cast a spell and fail, you make it easier for your opponent to manage remaining dispel dice and scrolls. Next to a miscast, the worst thing that can happen in your magic phase is to fail to cast a spell at the beginning of the phase. It just makes it easier for your opponent to defend against your remaining spells.

Although a failed casting roll at the beginning of your magic phase can make things much easier for your opponent, a phase-ending miscast is even worse. So in order to keep the pressure on, you also need to avoid miscasts early in the magic phase.

Obviously, if you roll more dice, there is a greater chance of a miscast. The exact percentage chance is in the table below:

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As the table illustrates, the risk of a miscast goes way up when you start rolling more dice. With 5 power dice, you have about a 20% chance of a miscast—a pretty big risk. Planning on throwing four or five dice at casting Black Horror? You should normally save it for the end of the magic phase so that a potential miscast won’t shut you down completely.

The goal isn’t to avoid miscasts entirely—there isn’t much you can do about that—but to minimize the potential effect of a miscast. A miscast late in the magic phase is much less harmful than a miscast early. To minimize the possibility of an early miscast, start with the spells that you are only rolling 1 or two dice on and work your way up. A corollary to this rule is that all other things being equal, you should cast with your low-level casters first. The simple reasoning is that if you do suffer a disastrous miscast, it is much better to lose a level 2 Sorceress than a level 4 High Sorceress.

Remember, there is nothing that requires you to cast all your spells from one caster before moving on to the next, so bounce around a bit if necessary, casting a spell with one Sorceress, switching to a second, and back to the first for a spell that requires more power dice. So if all you had to consider is this issue of minimizing miscasts and the effect of miscasts, you would prioritize your spells as follows:

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b. The Exceptions to the Rule

There is something about the new 7th Edition Druchii that throws a bit of a monkey wrench into application of the “Save the Big Stuff for Last” rule—Power of Darkness. The last thing you want to happen is a phase-ending miscast that leaves unused bonus dice on a caster, since it could potentially kill her. So once you cast Power of Darkness with a particular caster, you should not jump to another caster before using up the dice generated from Power of Darkness.

The other main obvious exception to the general rule on casting order is “Remains in Play” spells. Since these spells expire if the caster tries to cast another spell, they should always be the last spell a particular caster tries, even if it is not the one with the highest casting value. If the spell goes through and it’s not the last spell you planned to cast, then you have to make a choice of either stopping casting with that particular caster or of letting the effect of the prior spell go. Either way, you’ve probably wasted power dice. This is not an issue if you are using the Dark lore, but other lores, such as Shadow and Death, have Remains in Play Spells and you need to take them into consideration in your casting order.

The final exception is if you are at a critical point and there is one particular spell that will have a major effect on the game. Even if it is the biggest, highest-casting-value spell you’ve got, if you are absolutely sure that your opponent can’t stop it because of a lack of dice and scrolls, cast that important spell right up front. It can really ruin your day if you are planning to cast Pit of Shades on a Treeman Ancient only to miscast and end the phase on another spell, preventing you from even trying. But again, only cast the big, critical spell once you know your opponent is out of scrolls and has no real chance of stopping the spell with remaining dispel dice.

c. Use of Bound Spells

My general rule is that Bound Spell items should be used first in the magic phase. The primary reason is that a Bound Spell requires no casting roll, and there is therefore no chance of generating a miscast. If you cast a regular spell first, there is a chance of a phase-ending miscast, and you won’t get a chance to use your Bound Spell at all in that turn. Also, since a Bound Spell always works, it keeps the pressure on your opponent in managing dispel dice and scrolls. Your opponent has to decide whether to use dispel dice for the bound item or whether save them for a later spell. If you cast a regular spell first and fail, it allows your opponent to save dispel dice for the Bound Spell or for other spells.

Having set out the general rule, there are a couple exceptions to that rule. The first exception is that if you are playing in a “closed list” environment (i.e., you do not exchange lists with your opponent beforehand), you might want to save you Bound Spells for last—at least the first time you use them. If you catch your opponent with no remaining dispel dice, a bound item can be a nasty surprise.

The second exception to the rule is Bound Spells that are one-use-only—not an issue with the two bound items in the new Druchii list, but still an issue worth noting for those players for whom the Druchii are not their only army. If you try to use a one-use bound item at the beginning of your magic phase, they will simply draw dispels and you will never get to use the item again. But if you save it for the end of your magic phase, you can wait for a phase when your opponent has no remaining dispel dice or scrolls. Even if you are playing in an “open list” environment, the threat of a one-use-only Bound Spell can sometimes cause your opponent to conserve dispel dice or scrolls. If that happens, the Bound Spell item has served a valuable purpose in that your opponent probably let some of your other spells through. If your opponent saves dice or scrolls for your one-use-only Bound Spell, just wait for a turn when your opponent is out of ways to stop it. If your opponent keeps saving dispel dice for it, the item continues to serve a purpose as a decoy since those are fewer dispel dice to use against your other spells.

Regarding particular bound items in the Druchii list, the Cloak of Twilight should be used according to the general rule above—if your opponent knows about it, use it first. If your opponent thinks it important enough to stop, he or she will save dice to stop it regardless of when you use it, so you might as well get it out of the way early.

The Black Staff can be an exception to the rule of using bound items first for the simple reason that it contains the Power of Darkness spell and can only be carried by a Supreme Sorceress. If the Supreme Sorceress is your only caster, then by all means, use the Black Staff at the outset of your magic phase. Because the Black Staff provides such a boost to your magic phase, it is really a “must stop” spell for smart opponents. But even then, it will draw out dispel dice making the rest of your magic phase easier. In a multi-caster list however, I would save the Black Staff until you are ready to start the casting with your Supreme since you don’t want her to be holding dice if another caster miscasts.

A final note on this point—if you are in a closed-list environment, both the Black Staff and the Cloak of Twilight should be saved for late in the magic phase the first time they are used, hopefully at a point when the opponent has burned through his or her dispel dice. Both items can have a pretty nasty surprise factor.

3. Budgeting Your Power Dice—Keeping up the Pressure

a. Power Dice Per Spell


Again, a successful magic phase depends in large part on maximizing the number of successful spells each phase, forcing your opponent to let some spells through rather than dispelling everything. And to keep up the pressure on your opponent, you need to make sure you are rolling enough power dice to give yourself significantly better than a 50% chance of successfully casting each spell. It does you no good to try to cast several spells at a low percentage of success. Only a couple will get through, and your opponent will have an easy time dispelling them.

Table B sets out rounded percentage chances of a successful cast, taking into account the probability of a miscast (automatic failure).

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The green squares in Table B correspond to what I consider to be the ideal number of dice for a given casting value. They generally reflect situations where you are getting the maximum out of each power die. For example, rolling three dice when needing a 9+ gives an 74% chance of success—roughly 25% of success probability per die. Rolling four dice gives a higher chance of success at 85%, but it is less efficient since you are only getting a little over 21% of success probability per die.

The yellow squares in Table B represent acceptable but non-ideal numbers of power dice to roll for a given casting value. For example, if you need to roll a 7+ to cast, you have a 58% percent chance of casting if you roll only two dice. The chance of failure — 42% — is a bit high for comfort, but you might go for it if your budget of power dice is tight. The orange squares represent situations to be avoided. Rolling more dice doesn’t always result in a significantly better chance to cast, and it can actually decrease the chance of success because of a greater risk of a miscast. And rolling too few dice generally results in wasted dice and should be avoided.

A key to success can be to try to make a plan at the beginning of the magic phase of which spells you are going to cast and how many casting dice to use for each one. You should normally deviate upwards from the ideal number of power dice only if you have a single leftover die after budgeting for all the spells you want to cast—if you have two leftover dice, that generally means that you should be planning to cast an additional spell. When deciding which spell to use an extra power die on, use the extra die in a way that will maximize its value. For example, it is better to add a third die on a spell when you need a 6+ to cast (raising you chance of a successful cast by 19%) than it is to use a fourth die on a spell when you need an 8+ to cast (raising your chance of a successful cast by only 5%). Similarly, you should try not to deviate downwards from the ideal number of dice on multiple spells, since that can result in a lot of wasted dice. If you do plan to deviate downward from the ideal number of dice, try to do it on the spell you plan to cast last. That way, if you fail to cast it, there will not be any negative effect on the rest of the magic phase.

Of course, Power of Darkness adds a significant complication since the number of Power Dice you have in a particular phase is not necessarily set. You need to be able to adjust your plan on the fly if you get additional dice. One thing to be careful of is that you should no bother to cast Power of Darkness if you might end up with more dice than you reasonably need to cast your remaining spells. Even if you use up the “bonus” dice right away so that you don’t have any casters taking hits, it is generally better in that situation just to rely on the dice you already have for the simple reason that in casting Power of Darkness, you are adding one more chance at a miscast.

There are a couple exceptions to the general pattern in my table. The first is that I prefer to use four dice when casting a spell when I need a 10+. Although it is slightly more efficient to use three dice (a ratio of 21% of casting per die) than it is to use four (a ratio of just under 21%), I want that extra die for insurance purposes. A 37% chance of failure is unacceptably high when the potential consequence is wasting three power dice.

The second exception is for spells requiring a 4+ to cast. If you roll two dice, you have a 92% chance of casting (a ratio of 46% percent per die), and it’s almost a sure thing that you will be successful. If you roll one die, you have a 50% chance of casting, which is actually a slightly more efficient use of dice (and you have no chance of a miscast)—but you also have a 50% chance of failure. Since Druchii no longer have a +1 to cast, they now only have access to one spell that casts on a 4+, and that’s Power of Darkness.

b. Power of Darkness

In terms of net gain of power dice, casting Power of Darkness on one die or two gets you roughly the same result either way. The average result number of extra power dice from Power of Darkness is three — meaning that if you throw one die at it, your average net is two dice on a successful cast. But since you have just a 50% chance to cast it on one die, that cuts the expected payoff in half to one die. If you use two dice, the average payoff from a successful cast is only one die, but you have a 92% chance of being successful. This makes the overall expected payoff 0.92 dice, slightly lower than if you used one die to cast.

Nevertheless, my preference is normally to cast Power of Darkness on two power dice. There are two related reasons for this. First, I don't like to waste power dice on unsuccessful casts since it takes pressure off my opponent. Even throwing away one die makes it easier for my opponent to defend the remainder of the phase. Second, I find that my opponents almost always try to dispel Power of Darkness if I do cast successfully. And rolling two power dice generally draws out more dispel dice from my opponent than if I just rolled one. So in that regard, the expected payout isn't so important.

If your caster is carrying the Sacrificial Dagger, the decision is easy—roll just one die. If you cast Power of Darkness successfully, then you’re in good shape. You may want to then sacrifice to add an additional die and make it harder to dispel, but you don’t have to. On the other hand, if you fail on a roll of 2 or 3, you can sacrifice and toss another die at the spell with no fear of miscast. If you roll a 1 on the first die, you can tempt fate or not—I leave that to you! But in any case, the “free” extra power die from the Sacrificial Dagger ups the average net gain to 1.84 since you have the same chance to cast as if you rolled two dice, but you only spent one actual power die to get it. Using the Sacrificial Dagger to effectively ensure the casting of Power of Darkness can really turbo-charge your magic phase. If nothing else, it can prompt your opponent to toss two or more dispel dice in order to stop it, making the rest of your casting easier.

Another situation to use one power die on Power of Darkness is if for some reason you reach the end of your magic phase with only one die remaining and still have some uncast spells. At that point, you may as well throw your remaining die at Power of Darkness to try to get the power to cast something more substantive. But this situation should be avoided if possible. If you are about to cast a spell that will bring you down to one power die, it might be better to first cast Power of Darkness on two dice. Unless you fail to cast entirely (8% chance), at worst, you’ll get back those two power dice, and will hopefully get enough power to cast the spell you intended plus something else too.

c. Sacrificial Dagger

The discussion about Power of Darkness actually illustrates my general rule for the Sacrificial Dagger. It allows you to roll one die less than you otherwise would. Again, if you cast successfully on fewer dice, you can let things stand or sacrifice to make a sacrifice to make the spell more difficult to dispel (don’t bother if you expect your opponent to use a scroll). And if you are unsuccessful, you can decide whether or not to roll an additional die based on whether or not a 1 came up and the result you need on the extra “free” power die. For example, if you are casting Black Horror on three power dice and roll a 10 with one die showing 1, it’s a pretty easy call to throw an extra die since that extra die will let you get the spell off in 5 out of 6 cases. On the other hand, if your total is only a 5 with one die showing a 1, you may not want to bother with that extra die since you have an equal chance of success versus miscast and have to kill a model to do it. In any event, the Sacrificial Dagger provides a great benefit in that it allows you to manage the chance of a miscast by rolling fewer dice than you would normally have to.

4. Arcane Item Selection

If you have any intent to have an offensive presence in the magic phase, you should definitely boost your capabilities with arcane items for your casters. Bearing in mind that (with the exception of scrolls and stones) you can only carry one arcane item per character, how exactly should you equip a Sorceress?

Black Staff—If you are running a Supreme Sorceress, I consider the Black Staff to be the best all-around item for her to take. The biggest limitation a Supreme Sorceress is that she usually does not have enough dice to cast all three or four of her spells. To get the best return on your investment, you need to boost the number of power dice she has available. Since the Black Staff gives an extra d3+1 free power dice per phase, it can be a HUGE boost. Of course, opponents will quickly learn to respect the power of the Black Staff and will try to dispel it. But even then, because it is Power Level 4, opponents need to use two dice to dispel it reliably. And that means two fewer dice to use against your other spells. Any way you look at it, the Black Staff is tremendously beneficial.

Staff of Sorcery—This item is more attractive than it used to be both because of its reduced cost, and because of the number of Vampire Count armies out there these days. The Staff of Sorcery can be a boon when facing a VC army with casters raising up troops on spells cast with one power die. The Staff of Sorcery gives you a reasonable shot at stopping those castings with only one dispel die of your own. The item is also useful against Tomb Kings or magic-heavy Ogre Kingdoms since they also tend to do a lot of casting on one die. But unless you know for sure that you will be facing such an army, the Staff of Sorcery is probably best left at home.

Focus Familiar—The Focus Familiar seemed to get a lot of attention when the new Dark Elf book came out, with a lot of non-Druchii players claiming it was broken. That seems to have really died down. Sure, the Focus Familiar is cheap, and it allows a caster to sling spells while remaining out of sight, but it’s certainly not broken. When you put the Focus Familiar on a caster, you are making a decision not to give her any items (except for Power Stones) to really boost the amount of damage she can do in the magic phase. Personally, I prefer to go for items like the Black Staff, Sacrificial Dagger or Darkstar Cloak, hoping to get more out of my casters and relying on my ability to see threats and keep my casters out of the line of fire. However, if you are running a Supreme Sorceress on a Dragon or a Manticore, I think the Focus Familiar is an absolute necessity. It allows you to get into combat and use the hitting power of the mount while not handicapping your ability to cast spells due to being in combat.

Sacrificial Dagger—In my opinion, this item runs a close second to the Black Staff in terms of its value in boosting your offensive magic phase. In many ways, it’s better than the Black Staff. As discussed previously in this article, you can use the Dagger to minimize the risk of miscasts—in fact it is one of the only items in the Druchii list that can help give any form of relief from miscasts (ward saves can provide some protection against the damaging effects of a miscast after it happens). Also, your opponent can’t prevent you from getting the extra power dice—it can’t be dispelled like the Black Staff. Finally, the sheer number of extra power dice you can get over the course of a game or even a round of casting is staggering—it can equate to an extra 30 power dice over the course of a six-turn game for a Supreme Sorceress who uses it on every spell (including Power of Darkness). There are some downsides to the Dagger though. First, it limits deployment and mobility since a caster has to be in a unit to use it. And all those extra power dice come with a price. Although the Dagger itself only costs 25 points, all the troops you kill can quickly add to the tab. And even if you don’t massacre the entire unit (hopefully of cheap warriors … ) you are effectively making a choice that the unit is not going to serve a real combat role, effectively adding to the cost of the unit to the cost of the Dagger. The Dagger can also be an option for a Level 2 caster since with fewer spells, you don’t have the ability or temptation to slaughter half your army with it—but it can be wasted points in a level 2 without a good spell selection. As a final note about the Dagger, remember that you don’t always have to use it. Especially if you successfully cast Power of Darkness (on one die with help from the Dagger of course), your caster may be able to fuel her remaining spells with the full optimum number of dice, in which case you can simply use the Dagger as an insurance policy against bad rolls.

Darkstar Cloak—The Cloak was a favorite of mine under the old book, and it is still quite good—in fact, I think it is underutilized. The Cloak is a very good choice for a mobile Level 2 on Dark Steed or Dark Pegasus who either can’t join a unit or who will be joining small units with a relatively high value per model (like Dark Riders) who should not be indiscriminately slaughtered.

Tome of Furion—My initial view of the Tome of Furion in the new book was that it paled in comparison to the new and better options in the arcane item section. I have since revised that assessment—at least in the case of Level 2 casters. With Power of Darkness, it is now less important for a level 2 to have an item that generates more power dice than it is to ensure that she has spells worth casting. I have had more than one game where I put the Sacrificial Dagger on a level 2 and it turned out to be a complete waste since my spell selection was poor — the only thing she ever had the opportunity to cast was the default spell in the lore, and she had the dice to do that without the Dagger. I have come to the conclusion that the Tome is a near-necessary item to ensure that a Level 2 gets a usable spell selection. Pairing the Tome with a Power Stone can be a good idea so that if you get a really good spell selection you could potentially cast all three (for at least one magic phase). I’m not a fan of the Tome on a Supreme Sorceress since she will generally have enough spells already and what she really needs is another item to help power them.

Power Stones—Same great Power Stones, now for 20% less! Power Stones are still great items, especially since they can be taken in addition to other arcane items. They are a nasty surprise when your opponent thinks you are out of casting dice, and they are highly recommended in closed-list environments where you don’t disclose what items your characters have until you actually use them. Since there are now so many other ways for Dark Elves to get more power dice, Power Stones may be a bit of overkill. But there is one set-up where they could be really very useful. If you have a Supreme Sorceress on a Dragon or Manticore who is using the Focus Familiar, then Power Stones are the only option you have to boost the actual casting ability of that Supreme Sorceress. And since they are now only 20 points each, you can give that Dragon Sorceress the Focus Familiar and the Pendant of Khaeleth and still have room for two Power Stones.

5. Spell Lores

No article about the magic phase would be complete without a discussion of the spells available. After all, having a massive amount of power dice and avoiding miscasts means nothing if you have useless spells from the start.

In my mind, the most important factor in picking a lore or lores for your army is the utility of the default spell. This factor is a little bit less important now due to the Druchii Sorcery rule and Power of Darkness—even a level 1 can have a chance at casting the bigger spells and won’t necessarily have to downgrade to the default spell. But I still think the utility of the default spell is critical in having an effective magic phase—especially for a level 2 or level 1. You need to make sure that a caster with only 1 or 2 spells can downgrade to a useful default spell if your roll for spells goes bad. If a caster does not have a useful spell she can reliably cast every turn, you are wasting points in your army build and are also negatively impacting the rest of your magic phase—opponent can ignore that low-level caster and focus on the spells coming from others.

So which lore should you use? Druchii generals now have more choices with access to Fire and Metal as well as a revised Dark lore and the old standbys, Shadow and Death. I definitely have my favorites, but the optimal lore for any given game really depends on your opponent’s army and army build as well as your own.

a. The Dark Arts

Dark Magic was an excellent lore in the old book, and it has only gotten better. Dominion is a spell I miss since being able to control enemy movement at a critical point can be a real game-breaker. But with the addition of Bladewind and upgrades to both Chillwind and Black Horror, is in my mind now unparalleled in its direct-damage capability. And after all, killing the enemy is really what the game is about. In most situations and against most opponents, I don’t think you can go wrong by choosing Dark Magic with some or all of your spell casters. The lore really shines against shooty armies since Chillwind and Word of Pain can all shut down enemy missile fire, and Bladewind gives you good means to deal with war-machine crews from a distance. The lore is an excellent choice against Empire and Dwarf gun-lines, skink-heavy lizards, and shooty Wood Elf, Dark Elf and Tomb Kings armies. Against enemies with a fair amount of missile troops, Dark magic should probably be your lore of choice.

Chillwind—(2 power dice recommended) The upgrade from strength 3 to strength 4 makes a huge difference, putting it on par with the default spells from Fire and Death in terms of pure damage-dealing, but with the added bonus stopping an enemy unit from shooting. A great spell against missile-armed cavalry units since such units tend to be small and easily panicked. Definitely the best all-around default spell of all the lores available to the Druchii.

Doombolt—(2 power dice recommended) A strength 5 magic missile, this spell is really requires no tips on use. The -2 armor save makes it a threat even against armored opponents. The 18” range is a bit of a handicap.

Word of Pain—(3 power dice recommended) Word of Pain is good for shutting down enemy missile troops that rely on ballistic skill. It can also be cast into combat to make it easier for your troops to hit and harder for the opponent to strike blows. A useful but situational spell. Casting value has dropped and the spell is no longer “Remains in Play,” improving the spell and lending a bit more flexibility to your magic phase.

Bladewind—(3 power dice recommended) The new spell in the Dark lore, it’s a pretty good spell in terms of dealing damage. It will average right around the same number of wounds inflicted as a 2d6 strength 4 magic missile. But the fact that it generates close combat attacks lends the spell additional versatility, making it better than Wind of Death or Distillation of Silver at the same casting value. The ability to allocate hits to characters inside units is a nice bonus—but don’t waste those hits on hard-to-hurt combat characters. Remember that unit champions are treated as characters and so you can (and should) allocate hits against them with Bladewind.

Soul Stealer—(4 power dice recommended) Soul Stealer has improved in some ways from the version in the old book. It’s still short ranged—although not as bad as before—and so can be difficult to use. But the fact that it hits every model in a unit means it can be excellent against big groups of infantry. The strength has dropped down to 2, making it slightly less effective against things like big blocks of gobos, but the fact that it now ignores armor save makes the spell MUCH better against things like Dwarven infantry. Since Soul Stealer can be cast into combat, it can be useful for thinning the ranks and numbers of an enemy unit in advance of the close-combat phase. The downside is that the spell has gotten significantly harder to cast. An increase in the casting value combined with no more +1 to cast means that optimum number of dice to throw at it is now four instead of three.

Black Horror—(four dice recommended) An awesome damage-dealing spell with good range. The large template allows you to cover entire infantry units. Strike fear into Dwarfs everywhere with this one. The fact that it now automatically hits all models the template even touches makes the spell better than pretty much every other template spell out there. Not great against units with high strength values or against single models, but a truly superior unit killer. This spell became even better with the 2009 changes/clarifications to Magic Resistance. Since you do not pace the template until after a successful casting, it appears to bypass Magic Resistance entirely.

b. The Lore of Death

The lore of Death was formerly my favorite—and it is still very good. But as an all-around lore, it is probably a step behind the Dark Arts. Its damage-dealing potential is high, but not quite as high as the improved Dark lore. The thing that makes the lore of Death so good is a single spell—Doom and Darkness! Although subtle in its use, the spell can be a true game-breaker. Since Doom and Darkness! lowers enemy leadership, the lore of Death works very well in any army that forces the enemy to take a lot of leadership tests either through Terror-causing monsters, missile fire, or damaging magic. So the lore can be a good one for all the double-hydra armies out there right now. On the other hand, Death may not be the best choice against two of the most prevalent armies out there right now since they are both immune to psychology—Deamons and Vampires.

Dark Hand of Death—(2 power dice recommended) A basic magic missile. Useful against almost any opponent. Great for taking out enemy fast cavalry and other light elements, but strong enough to pose a threat to other elements of the enemy army as well.

Steal Soul—(3 power dice recommended)—Since the spell has no targeting restrictions, it is great for picking out unit champions or characters that have already suffered some damage. The short range of the spell is a drawback.

Wind of Death—(3 power dice recommended)—A stronger version of Dark Hand, this is a no-nonsense direct damage spell.

Walking Death—(3 power dice recommended)—A useful spell that can be used in a number of ways. First, you can turn a fear-causing unit into a terror-causing unit. You can move your knights or a chariot into the midst of the enemy, cast Walking Death, and cause all the surrounding units to take a terror test at the beginning of the next turn. This means you can make terror part of your army even without large monsters. A second use is to make a regular unit cause fear in order to auto-break the enemy if you win combat. Casting the spell on Harpies or Dark Riders is a good way to make sure you break enemy war-machine crews, especially of the stubborn Dwarf variety. Finally, you can cast the spell as a defense against enemy psychology. If a unit might be forced to take a Terror test at the beginning of the next turn, cast Walking Death on them and they won’t have to test. Or when fighting fear-causing enemy, cast the spell on one of your own units to keep them from auto-breaking if beaten. The downside of the Spell is that it is “Remains in Play,” meaning it should be the last spell a caster should use, lending a bit of predictability to your magic phase.

Doom and Darkness!—(3 power dice recommended) An excellent spell against enemies that are vulnerable to psychology, it can either be used to help ensure that an enemy unit will fail its break test if beaten in combat, or it can be used to make an enemy unit more vulnerable to psychology—panic, terror, fear or stupidity. Since panic tests are taken at the end of the magic phase, a nasty trick is to cast Doom and Darkness! on a unit that has already taken 25% casualties from other spell casting. Another sneaky thing to do is to cast the spell on an enemy unit that is near a combat you expect to win handily (or that is within 6” of a unit that was wiped out by missile fire), increasing the chance that the second unit will panic when the first breaks. If the enemy has a unit subject to stupidity, cast Doom and Darkness! and it is almost guaranteed to become ineffective for a turn. You can also increase the chance that an enemy unit will flee from a nearby terror-causing unit. Another use is to cast the spell on an enemy unit that is fleeing to reduce its chance of rallying in the following turn. Obviously, the spell is useless against Daemons and Undead, but against everyone else, the spell can do great things. If you haven’t yet figured it out, I love this spell.

Drain Life—(4 power dice recommended) A nice spell for damaging multiple units at once, there are no tricks to using this one. Since it ignores armor save, Drain Life is a perfect spell if you happen to be facing an army with a lot of knights. The loss of +1 to cast makes this spell a bit harder to cast, requiring four dice now instead of 3 for best results. Since the spell is short-ranged in a radius about the caster, it works best on a caster with mobility—either a Dark Steed or a flying mount who can get in the midst of the enemy—and should normally be downgraded for the default spell by casters on foot.

c. The Lore of Shadow

Shadow Magic is still not my favorite, but it has improved a bit for a reason that may not be obvious—Assassins are now worth taking in Dark Elf armies, meaning that the default Steed of Shadows can actually be a worthwhile spell with the right army build. Overall though, the lore is a bit of a mixed bag. It does have one truly devastating spell—Unseen Lurker—and a few good spells—Pit of Shades, Shades of Death and Creeping Death. But the default spell is mediocre unless you have an Assassin or two to zip around the field, and Crown of Taidron is hard to use without hurting your own troops. Another downside to the lore of Shadows is the generally high casting values. Overall, probably the weakest of the available lores.

Steed of Shadows—(2 power dice recommended) Because this spell can only be cast on characters on foot, it is worthless if all your characters are mounted. In addition, the spell generally does not put much pressure on your opponent to dispel it, meaning your opponent will have more dice/scrolls to stop your other spells. Why should your opponent care about a sorceress zipping around? As noted in the intro to this lore, the equation changes if you have an assassin or two to cast it on, since you can use his flying charge to engage and destroy light elements in the enemy army. Another good use is to use the spell to charge an enemy unit that is already fleeing, potentially cutting it down and at least forcing it to flee again.

Creeping Death—(2 power dice recommended) An unusual magic missile due to the high number of potential low-strength hits that ignore armor save. This spell is very good against Lizardmen—it’s a skink killer. It is also good against knights, where the lack of armor save more than balances out the low strength of the hits.

Crown of Taidron—(3 power dice recommended) The Crown is a poor spell for Dark Elves. Since elves are toughness 3, the Crown can end up doing more damage to your own army than the enemy unless your Sorceress is in the right position—something that can be hard to achieve without leaving the caster in a vulnerable spot. Drags down the overall utility of the lore.

Shades of Death—(3 power dice recommended) Identical to the Death spell Walking death, it should be used in the same way.

Unseen Lurker—(4 power dice recommended) Magical movement is game-breaker, and so Unseen Lurker is a great (albeit expensive) spell. Since Unseen Lurker allows a unit to make a “normal move” or charge, it really shines when cast on cavalry since their higher base movement stat allows them to move farther. A unit of cold-one knights can move a total of 28” if it first marches and then has the spell cast upon it. Obviously, the most devastating use of the spell is to move into a flanking position in the movement phase and then use Unseen Lurker to charge. One of the best spells in the game.

Pit of Shades—(4 power dice recommended) Pit of Shades is a truly awesome spell against high-value, low-initiative targets like a Treeman, a Tomb King, or a Slann. It is also great against expensive, low-initiative troops like Dwarfs, Saurus Warriors and the like. But it is an expensive spell in terms of casting dice required, and it is not worth those dice against targets like Skaven or Elf infantry that have High initiative. And remember, since the spell uses a template, a character in a unit can get a “look out sir!” roll to avoid its effects. The chances of picking off a Dwarf Lord with this spell are pretty low.

Although Pit of Shades can be good against some opponents, and Unseen Lurker can be great against pretty much anyone, these two spells should not necessarily dictate your choice of spell lore. Because of the overall weakness of the lore of Shadow, your opponent might be able to hold dispel dice and scrolls just to stop the one good spell you do have, while not really having to worry about your other spells. Unless your army is built around the idea of flying Assassins (which I think could be fun and effective), in which case the Shadow lore is a necessity, I would choose something else.

d. The Lore of Fire

The lore of Fire is not one that I would typically choose. The lore is all about direct damage, but the Dark Arts generally do a better job of direct damage while providing some additional effects that the more straightforward lore of Fire does not. The lore also has a couple of weaknesses. Flaming Sword of Rhuin will generally not strike fear into anyone’s heart, which results in more dispel dice directed at your other spells. The lore also has two “Remains in Play” spells (including the flaming sword), which can make your magic phase more predictable and easier to defense against. That being said, Wall of Fire is a very good spell. Also, the flaming attacks from the lore of Fire do give it an advantage when facing an opponent with regenerating troops—the “Wall of Nurgle” with big blocks of Plaguebearers accompanied by Heralds to give them regeneration definitely calls out for lore of Fire. One other potential situation to use the lore of Fire is on casters with flying mounts. Due to their mobility, a caster on a Dark Pegasus, Manticore, or Dragon can get into position to use the Burning Head, and might even end up in combat to make use of the Flaming Sword.

Fireball—(2 power dice recommended) A basic magic missile. Nothing more needs to be said.

Flaming Sword of Rhuin—(2 power dice recommended) Druchii spell casters normally do not belong in combat, and so this spell has limited utility and is generally a poor choice to get stuck with. “Remains in Play” further limits the spell. As noted above, it could be useful on a caster on a flying mount, adding some additional punch to combat. With Flaming Sword in play, a caster on a Dark Pegasus should be able to reliability take out enemy war machine crews without fear of getting bogged down in protracted combat.

The Burning Head—(3 power dice recommended) A hard spell to use. The fact that it spell hits everything under an 18” line can be either a blessing or a curse. Against single-ranked troops, it does poorly in the hands of a typical spell caster sitting back away from the enemy. But the Burning Head is potentially devastating in the hands of mobile caster who can get in the flank of wide enemy formation such as an archer line. As noted above, the utility of this spell in the hands of a caster on a flying mount and/or who has the Focus Familiar can substantially boost the overall effectiveness of the lore (as compared to the spell in the hands of a caster on foot) and can make the lore a viable choice for a mobile caster. Automatic panic test is a nice bonus.

Fiery Blast—(3 power dice recommended)—A stronger version of Fireball. You really don’t need me to tell you how to use this.

Conflagration of Doom—(4 power dice recommended) In theory, this spell can cause an infinite number of strength 4 hits, devastating enemy units. In practice, it is usually no better than a Fireball but is much harder to cast. A truly savvy opponent will normally let this spell go without trying to dispel.

Wall of Fire—(4 power dice recommended) A top-tier spell against armies with infantry blocks. This is not so much because of the damage-dealing potential from the initial cast, but because of the movement control in the following enemy turn. The option of staying in one spot and versus a strength 4 hit on every model in the unit can be a real Hobson’s choice. Although the spell is “Remains in Play,” that’s not a huge drawback. Due to the high casting value, you should be casting Wall of Fire last in any event.

e. The Lore of Metal

Metal is one of the weaker lores available. It is hampered by the fact that some of its spells can be nearly or completely useless against certain armies. For example, while Spirit of the Forge is an amazing spell against units of knights, it is an expensive, pointless spell against Daemonic infantry. Commandment of Brass is useless against armies without chariots or war machines, of which there are many. And Law of Gold doesn’t work well against opponents that either don’t take a lot of magic items by choice, or that boost their characters through means that aren’t really magic items, like Daemonic Gifts. All that being said, lore of Metal can be devastating against the right opponent. A combined-arms Empire army, with knights and war machines, would probably give you a target for every spell. And the insanely devastating effects of Spirit of the Forge could make the lore worth taking against any army that relies on heavy cavalry. The rest of the lore is good enough that if your opponent focuses on stopping Spirit of the Forge, you should be able to do some damage with your other spells.

Rule of Burning Iron—(2 power dice recommended) Ability to pick out individual models makes this spell great against any army where characters or unit champions have high armor saves. Obviously not so good against an army with poor armor saves. Against the right opponent, this spell can make the lore of Metal a good choice for a level 1 scroll caddy, since if you get the spell off, you are essentially guaranteed some victory points—all you have to do is take 1 wound off of a 2-wound enemy hero.

Commandment of Brass—(2 power dice recommended) Disables enemy an enemy war machine or chariot for a turn. Excellent against some armies, worthless against others.

Transmutation of Lead—(3 power dice recommended) I can’t help but compare this spell to Word of Pain, against which it suffers in comparison. Although the effect is powerful and it can help tip a combat in your favor, unlike Word of Pain, it can’t be used to help stop missile fire. This means that in the early turns of the game, the spell is normally useless and does not put any pressure on your opponent during the magic phase.

Distillation of Silver—(3 power dice recommended) A 2d6 Strength 4 magic missile. Nothing to complain about here. Not much to talk about either.

Law of Gold—(3 power dice recommended) If you are in an “open list” environment like many of the big independent tournaments in the United States, Law of Gold could be a great spell since you will know exactly where to target it for maximum effect, and that could be a point in recommending the lore. Even in a “closed list” environment the spell can recommend the lore against the right opponents since you can frequently guess where magic items are located—if facing another Dark Elf army, it’s a pretty safe bet that the Pendant of Khaeleth is on the opposing Lord …

Spirit of the Forge—(4 power dice recommended) No better spell in the game against heavy cavalry. Truly devastating against them. The spell is also amazing against any single model with a high armor save—you can roast a Treeman Ancient for example. As good as the spell is against high armor saves, it is bad against armies with poor armor saves (5+ or worse).


6. Mounts, Deployment, and In-Game Use of Sorceresses


The best way to use and deploy your spell casters in the course of a game depends on the overall level of magic in your army and the role and purposes of your casters. As an example, if you have a single spell caster in your army as a scroll-caddy for defensive purposes, the most important consideration is keeping her alive to use her scrolls and the dispel die she generates. But for casters who are expected to have an offensive role in the game, then you need to balance the ability to get in range and cast spells versus keeping your vulnerable casters alive.

a. Defensive Casters

If all you have is a scroll-caddy (or two for you overly-conservative types), the best option for a mount is none at all. Put the caster on foot since this that gives you the ability to enter buildings and move freely in difficult terrain. If your primary concern is keeping the caster alive, find a forest or building in or near your deployment zone and stay hidden for the entire game. But facing an army with damage-dealing spells that don't require line of sight (of which there are a few), stick her in a unit of crossbowmen and keep her far away from the action. Deployment with a bolt-thrower crew is also an option, but don’t do that against an army with war machines since the crew of a bolt thrower is so small you cannot use the “look out sir!” rule to protect her from cannon-sniping.

All this being said, if your opponent lacks any real missile or magic threat, you may want your caster to show her face and try some spells even if all you have is a single level 1. Due to the Druchii Sorcery Rule, the ability of a level 1 to roll three dice even if alone means that you have a at 7.41% chance of getting Irresistible Force. So long as you minimize exposure to missiles and mage hunters (stay in a forest, building or unit), it can be worth trying to cast a few spells.

b. Level 2 Casters

If you are taking level 2 casters, you are expecting to get some offensive spell-casting ability out of them. Whether they are your primary casters or supporting a Supreme Sorceress, the use and deployment of is generally the same. You need to balance the ability to get into position to cast spells against safety.

The spell roll and lore for a regular sorceress will have some influence on use and deployment. For example, if you have a roll that gets you spells that all have a 24” range, then the ideal place to deploy is in a unit of crossbowmen she and the unit won’t have conflicting interests in terms of proximity to the enemy. The crossbowmen won’t be particularly interested in getting into combat, so you won’t be tempted to put your Sorceress at risk. But if your spell selection is such that you will need to be closer to the enemy in order to cast, you may need another option for movement and deployment.

This segues into the issue of mounts for a level 2. In general, I think the best idea is to put your level 2 casters on Dark Steeds. This gives you flexibility to join units of Dark Riders if they need maneuverability to get close and cast their spells. The casters can still join a unit on crossbowmen or other infantry, and will also have a higher movement rate to allow them to get away from trouble if it arises.

Under the new book, a regular sorceress now has the option of taking a Dark Pegasus for a mount. I personally have not done this, but it has some appeal. Although the sorceress cannot join a unit for protection if mounted on a Dark Pegasus, the maneuverability this option affords generally allows you to keep the caster alive. Also, there is some independent utility to having a Dark Pegasus for purposes of dropping in behind enemy units and preventing march moves. I would not put more than one caster on a Dark Pegasus since the points cost would add up very quickly.

One other option worth mentioning is to keep a caster on foot and give her the Focus Familiar so that she can stay safely hidden and still cast spells. This is not my first choice since I would prefer to use my arcane item selection to boost the spell-casting ability of my sorceresses rather than to protect them, but it’s an option that some might choose.

As for the possibility of a Cold One, as nice as the model looks, don’t do it—the risk of Stupidity preventing an entire phase of casting just isn’t worth it.

c. Level 4 Casters

This section is titled “Level 4 Casters” since although you can take a level 3 High Sorceress, I don’t see a reason to do it. If you are going to spend that many points on a single model, then spend a few more points for an extra power die and an extra spell. It’s the most cost-effective way to boost her casting ability.

If you want to use a Supreme Sorceress to full effect (and you should), you will want some mobility. You need to be able to get into position to cast some of your shorter range spells, but at the same time, you want to stay out of danger.

So at the very least, you will want to put your High Sorceress on a Dark Steed and stick her in a unit of Dark Riders. If you do this, be sure to include multiple units of Dark Riders in your army. The first reason is that when a Dark Rider unit has a High Sorceress in it, you should not use it in the flank-support and harassing role Dark Riders normally fill. It puts your very expensive character at far too much risk. You should have some units in your army to fill that role, so have at least 1 or 2 extra units of Dark Riders to carry it out. Second, a unit of Dark Riders with a High Sorceress in it will be a major target for enemy shooting. Having extra units gives your High Sorceress places to hide in case her original escort gets devastated.

If you take the Focus Familiar, you can even run a Supreme Sorceress on a Dark Steed behind a unit of Dark Riders, giving you both more flexibility (the Dark Riders can charge without the Sorceress, for example) and potentially better protection (if the sorceress is not in the unit, she cannot be hit missile fire when the unit is reduced in numbers). Just be careful of missile units on hills and spells that do not require LOS.

Even if you give your High Sorceress the Sacrificial Dagger and will therefore want her in a unit of infantry, a Dark Steed is a good option so that you can quickly move to another unit if threatened (or if you need a new source of fuel for your spells).

My personal favorite deployment for a Supreme Sorceress is a Dark Pegasus. Although she can’t join a unit, a Dark Pegasus is not a large target, so it is usually very easy to hide from enemy missile fire. You can use Harpies or Dark Riders as a missile screen, and can even hide behind and between enemy units. It requires some careful thinking, but when played right, the Dark Pegasus is very difficult to catch or bring down. I frequently run a Level 4 on a Dark Pegasus without a ward save.

As is the case with a lower level caster, never put a Sorceress on a Cold One or in a unit of knights. A failed stupidity check means you can’t cast spells, and that’s not a risk you should take. And a unit of knights is practically guaranteed to end up in combat, which is not a safe place for a Sorceress.

Regarding the big monsters, a Dragon mount really brings a lot to the table. Sure, it makes for one very expensive model, even without a combat character on the back, Hatred means that the dragon is a real force to be reckoned with in combat, and it has enough toughness, wounds, and armor to be hard to bring down. If you are going to go this route, in order to make sure that you maximize your investment, you really need to take the Focus Familiar. This allows you to get the dragon into combat and not have to worry about losing the ability to cast your spells. Even if being in combat only removes the possibility of casting 1 or 2 spells due to LOS issues, this can make it much easier for your opponent to defend against the remaining spells in your arsenal since he or she will have a better idea of what is coming. Granted, since the Dragon is a Large Target, the Supreme Sorceress will normally be able to see over any unit she is engaged with. However, entering combat can force the Dragon to align in such a way that the best targets for spells are outside of the Dragon's arc of sight and no magic missiles can be cast at all while in combat. You don't have to worry about any of this with the Focus Familiar. Also, if you put a Supreme Sorceress on a Dragon, you will want to take the Pendant of Khaeleth to protect her. Since the Dragon is a large target, there is the potential for tremendous exposure to enemy shooting.

I do not recommend putting a High Sorceress on a Manticore. If you are going to spring for a big monster, go for the Black Dragon. A Manticore does not pack enough punch on its own (without a Dreadlord on the back) to reliably deal with ranked units, even from the flank or rear. And with fewer wounds, lower toughness, and no armor, a Manticore is far more vulnerable than a Dragon. Admittedly, I have not put a Supreme Sorceress on a Manticore in the most recent army book, but I experimented with the option under the old book with almost uniformly disappointing results. Nothing in the new book makes the combination more attractive—if anything, the potential for being sucked into combat through Frenzy makes the option worse than it was before. In comparison, a Dark Pegasus is far cheaper than a Manticore and much easier to protect, and although it costs more, a Dragon is stronger in combat, easier to control, and far more resilient. The Manticore just isn’t a good value for the points in comparison to either a Black Dragon or a Dark Pegasus.

7. Conclusion

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas on how to make the most out of your magic phase. Although I was thinking of adding a section on defending against enemy magic, I think this article is long enough, and defense against magic is important enough that the topic deserves its own thread. That article can be found here:

Defending Against Enemy Magic — the Druchii Way.

May Khaine protect you from miscasts!!! — DT

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Last edited by Dyvim tvar on Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:40 pm, edited 29 times in total.



Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:46 am
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Hey Dvim,

I was really hoping you'd get around to doing this! It was a great article for the old book, so I'm glad you're breathing new life into it.

- Human

woohoo! 2000th post :)

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Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:35 am
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I agree with Human, this stuff is really good. If I had to pick one topic to discuss about the new druchii magic phase, I'd talk about using PoD. I've heard a lot of people arguing about how to use this spell and its probably the biggest change in our new book concerning magic.


Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:29 am
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I don't get why the chances of miscast and IF in the table A are different.
Shouldn't they be equal, since rolling two 1s is the same as rolling two 6s?


Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:06 pm
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When rolling double 1 AND double 6 in the same casting attempt, the spell is miscast. Is stated in the rulebook.

Now back to the topic:
Good idea to update the article. I used the previous a lot and indeed looked forward to its continuation after all changes.

'll be checking out this topic.

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Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:13 pm
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This was a very good article, and with the new Druchii magic it does need updating.

One comment: I disagree with your rule regarding casting order with respect to high and low level casters. You say that low-level casters should cast first, and you justify it by the fact that blowing up a low-level caster is less painful than blowing up a high-level caster.

However, this is not logical. Casting earlier doesn't decrease your chances of miscast.

Instead, I would propose a substitute rule: for all spells where you use equal amount of dice (i.e. for which the chance of miscast is equal), first cast the spells which are more useful to you. The logical justification is that the later you cast a spell, the bigger the chance to not be able to attempt to cast it at all (because a previous spell miscast ending the magic phase). Thus, those spells left for later should be those that are less useful for you.


Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:47 pm
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Lakissov -- The point about High versus Low level casters in the casting order is that if you save your High Level caster for later, there is less of a chance that the particular High Level caster will suffer a miscast, the reason being that a miscast by another caster could end the phase, in which case the High Level caster doesn't need to worry about miscasting herself since she won't be casting at all. This order may not have an effect on the overall chance of a miscast, since a level 2 rolling 3 dice miscasts just as often as a level 4 rolling the same number, but it can be benefical in terms of who might be hurt by miscasts.

I do think you have a valid point about taking into consideration the relative importance of spells in deciding casting order.

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Last edited by Dyvim tvar on Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:30 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:22 pm
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Yep, since spells are rolled randomly, and sometimes specific casters are in the position to cast at more juicy targets, there are a lot of factors to consider.

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Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:33 pm
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Ok, now I got that point too

In fact, when one decides when to cast a certain spell in the line of all spells, one has to consider two effects:
1. If you cast it later, then the possibility of it not being cast at all increases. Thus, the more useful a spell is, the earlier you should cast it.
2. If you cast it earlier, there is a possibility that spells going after it are not going to be cast at all (if this one miscasts). Thus the bigger chance of miscast a spell has the later you should cast it.

So the order of casting should be:
- High utility + low casting value
-
-
- Low utility + high casting value

And I don't even know what should go earlier - low utility and low casting value spells or high utility and high casting value spells. Unfortunately, utility can't be quantified, so one will have to use gut feeling.


Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:52 pm
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Lakissov wrote:
1. If you cast it later, then the possibility of it not being cast at all increases. Thus, the more useful a spell is, the earlier you should cast it.


This is true, but it doesn't really take into account the magic defense of your opponent. Casting a spell successfully is good, but getting it past magic defense is even better. An earlier spell can be more likely to draw dispel dice, thereby actually increasing the chance of a subsequent, more important spell getting through.

If you are confident that at a given point in time your opponent doesn't have the ability to stop the spells, then by all means, cast the more important one first. But if your opponent is still sitting on some dice -- maybe even saving them for the big spell he or she knows is coming, cast the other stuff. If your opponent uses those dice on the first spell, it makes the bigger, more important one easier to get through later. On the other hand, if your opponent is holding dispel dice for the big spell, it means you'll be able to get your other spells through without opposition.

I agree that there are a lot of factors to be considered in casting order ...

By the way, the next installments will be, in order:

1) Optimum number of power dice to use for a spell, updated to specifically discuss both Power of Darkness and use of the Sacrifical Dagger

2) Discussion of the new Arcane Items and their uses

3) Discussion of Spell Lores

4) In-game deployment of casters, including use of mounts

Also, I'll probably cover a topic not discussed in the original article -- the defensive magic phase

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Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:46 pm
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Quote:
Optimum number of power dice to use for a spell, updated to specifically discuss both Power of Darkness and use of the Sacrifical Dagger


When I'm playing a magic army I planning to have a lvl 4 sorc on dragon and lvl 2 with dagger.

First i cast PoD with lvl 2 on 1 dice. 3 things can happen:

roll is 1 : You can use the dagger with the risk of getting a miscast and you still need to roll a 3+. Personally i don't want to take the risk so i go on with my magic sequence.

roll is 2-3 : I use the dagger to get the spell through on a 2+/1+ and so forcing my opponent to choose to dispel or to get the risk of facing more PD (which is 66% chance)

roll is 4+ : I do nothing and let my opponent decide: to dispel or not to dispel. Hopefully forcing him to use his dispell dice.

Your sorc has 2 spells left. Hopefully one big and 1 small (first spell of the lore) Cast the small one and only use dagger when you
1: Fail the spell and with the dagger have a good chance of making it.
2 : You cast the spell succesfully and want to make sure the spell goes through.

Keep in mind when a 1 is rolled you take the risk of a miscast when you do this. I'm mostly unlucky so i wont take the risk.

Then i keep save the big spell as described above and move on to my lvl 4. Casting PoD etc... according to the post made by Dyvim.


Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:10 pm
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Yeah, with the Dagger I only ever take the chance when a 1 is already on the table, when the spell is *really* important to get through, and it actually makes a difference (i.e. isn't successful yet, is too easy to dispel, a 6 is also on the table for a potential IF).

In almost all cases, though, a 1 means no extra die.

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Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:26 pm
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Updated with the section on number of power dice to use added. My feelings on Power of Darkness and Sacrifical Dagger are generally in accord with Cervix's post two up.

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Last edited by Dyvim tvar on Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:22 pm
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Stickied for obvious reasons. Great work Dyvim.

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Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:29 pm
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Quote:
When rolling double 1 AND double 6 in the same casting attempt, the spell is miscast. Is stated in the rulebook.


Damn, I didn't think about it. Thanks for the clarification


Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:21 am
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I'd add a little bit about the Tome. One of the greatest values I see in the Tome is that it is immensely useful when using in conjunction with lores which have a big variety of spells, which for Druchii are the Dark, Death and Shadow lore.

As I see it, with the new Druchii ability to use any number of dice on a spell, the lore that we choose for a level 2 caster is less dictated by the default spell and more dictated by the overall usefulness of the lore against a given enemy. It can sometimes happen that a given lore is useful agaisnt a potential enemy, while also having the problem of some spells not being that useful.

An example:
When playing against dwarfs, Dark is very useful if you get the Black horror and Bladewind. Chillwind and Word of Pain are also useful, although less so. Doombolt is ok but sub-par, while steal soul is almost useless. If you have a level two caster with only two spells, then you are probably better off taking Metal with her against dwarfs, even though Dark has such two monsters as Bladewind and Black Horror. However, if your level 2 has three spells, then suddenly Dark becomes a more attractive choice.

To sum up: the tome gives your level 2 extra versatility by allowing her to take against a certain army the lore that is best against that army, even if that lore has some spells that are not useful against that army.

In a way, it adds pressure to the magic phase not through the sheer amount of spells cast but through the high threat that these spells have for the opposing army.


Last edited by Lakissov on Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:21 am
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Agreed. Maybe I sold the Tome a little bit short. Especially with Power of Darkness and the Druchii Sorcery rules, it can be good to increase the chances of a Level 2 to get some powerful spells and a broader selection.

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Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:25 am
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In my opinion, this item runs a close second to the Black Staff in terms of its value in boosting your offensive magic phase.


Interesting. I would clearly put it in first place. It gives as much and more PD than the Black Staff, while also offering control as to when and how to use them.

Only downside at all is, that you need a unit, but you usually want that, anyways, for protection. Obviously useless for a pegasus-mounted Sorceress. ;)

The Black Staff, however, is just like any other Bound Spell with the added disadvantage, that you still have to cast a spell with the PD, once the Bound Spell got through. It offers some flexibility, of course, but all in all, I don't see it's better than, say, the HE ring that casts the 2d6 S4 MM (for half the cost in points).

Bye
Thanee


Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:36 am
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Thanee wrote:
Only downside at all is, that you need a unit, but you usually want that, anyways, for protection. Obviously useless for a pegasus-mounted Sorceress.
I would slightly expand on this: the dagger is a good item in cases when you don't intend to have a lot of mobility for your sorceress. The reason is that sacrificing any cavalry models is prohibitively costly, so you'd have to stick with infantry, which limits the mobility. So, be it a sorceress on steed, pegasus or dragon, the dagger is not a good option.


Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:56 am
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Okay, infantry unit. :)

I usually have the dagger Sorceress mounted on a Dark Steed inside a unit of Warriors, though. Sometimes the maneuverability is more important than the extra PDs, and this way you can choose between both during the game.

And I have already recklessly sacrificed cavalry for extra PD, much to the rejoice of the spectators. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Bye
Thanee


Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:22 am
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Discussion of Spell Lores added.

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Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:29 am
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I'm a new dark elf player and I've alwas gone for luck with my dices not rilly thinking, just hoping for somthing good while casting. but now you have me intrested in the maths behined the dice and the % of casting correctly. So I just want to say thanks Dyvim Tvar for your secret it can rest easy in my gentle claws, and I'll put it to good use aswell.

Off topic: Your army is one of the most Beautiful pisces of destruction I've ever seen.

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Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:31 am
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Two comments on the lores of magic:

1. About the wall of fire, I didn't get what you meant when you said that the opponent can dispel it before the remaining moves part of his movement phase; as this phase is before the opponent's magic phase, he won't be able to dispel it, which makes the spell more useful - either he has to dispel it using his dispel dice, or he faces the consequences before having a chance to dispel it using his own power dice (same as comet really).

2. About the lore of metal, which, as you said, is situational. I do agree that it is situational, but I would stress very strongly that it the ability to choose the lore with each caster for each game what makes magic verstatile (changing the way it operates without changing the roster); hence, the addition of lore of metal is a great boon to the Druchii, as against some of the opponents, this is exactly the lore you need (any army with knights and almost any army relying heavily on combat characters [except HE and Daemons]).


Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:58 am
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Lakissov -- regarding Wall of Fire, I just wasn't thinking. I was tired ... edit made.

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Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:38 pm
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Very, very interesting read - I well done legacy of the old herald articel.

I would liike to add something to Doom and Darkness, a very beloved spell.
Quote:
Obviously, the spell is useless against Daemons and Undead,

I have my book not with me so I could be wrong. But I think the -3LD comes in very handy when winning combat vs. deamons, especially the big ones. Through they come with LD9, loss by 1 and the average roll is 7 on two dices - the spell would make the difference between no result and 2 wounds lost by the greater daemon.


Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:00 pm
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