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Treatise on Magic Lores 
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Dragon Lord
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I was wondering the other day about usefulness of the magic lores we have access to.
You only see pretty much three of the five we have access to in the lists.
Dark
Shadow
and Death
What about the remaining two? Fire and Metal?
Well, lets see. I'm deliberately skipping Power of Darkness as all our Sorceresses have access to it, no matter what lore they choose.

Disclaimer: I'm writing this with no preconceptions. I have no idea what the result of this article will be in the end. I have personally only used Shadow, Dark and Death lores so far but I'm going to try out the other two in future games.

I will attempt to value each lore in the following categories:
Difficulty - How hard the spells are to cast in general, taking the average casting value of all spells in each lore and using the powered up versions.
Killing Power - How damaging the spells are, ranging between mass destruction spells and more focused but more powerful spells
Support - How many and how good augments does the lore give us.
Disruption - How many and how good hexes does the lore give us.

Lets get this thing started then.


The Lore of Dark Magic

Direct Damage Spells: Chillwind, Doombolt, Bladewind, Soul Stealer, Black Horror
Augments: none
Hexes: Chillwind, Word of Pain

Clearly focus of our main lore is to deal damage, with five out of six spells capable of doing so.
One spell shares benefits of a damage spell with those of a hex
And one is a pure hex.
All Dark Magic spells are really easy to cast.

Difficulty: 7.8 average casting value, even our level 2 sorceresses have no issue getting that on as little as two dice. 5/5 - can't get better than this
Killing Power: Two Spells with small amount of hits, one awesome against war machines, and two great against weak hordes (anything above T3 or S4 and both Soul Stealer and Black Horror start having trouble). 3/5 - spells very focused. Some become useless depending on the opponent you face, others gain in power. Sucks when you get the wrong spells against the wrong opponent.
Support: - 0/5 - no augments present
Disruption: Two good, but situational hexes. 2/5 - Chillwind becomes useless against no-shooting force. Word of Pain on the other hand shines against shooting force, or if your army is heavy melee oriented. Too situational.


The Lore of Fire

Direct Damage Spells: Fireball, Cascading Fire-Cloak, The Burning Head, Piercing Bolts of Burning, Fulminating Flame Cage, Flame Storm.
Augments: Cascading Fire-Cloak, Flaming Sword of Rhuin
Hexes: The Burning Head, Fulminating Flame Cage.

Fire is very... Firey. Every spell burns, and only one spell doesn't deal damage to the enemy by itself.
Very flexible signature spell, going from small firey bolty to an exploding sun.
Big downside is that no spell ever goes over S4

Difficulty: 12.8 Still possible to cast every spells without major drain on power dice. 4/5 - second easiest lore to cast
Killing Power: five out of seven spells do damage directly, four out of seven can cause massive amount of hits. Only downside being S4. 4/5 - Lore loses out due to its low strength, struggling against high T or high AS foes.
Support: Two spells that help out your own troos. Flaming Sword of Rhuin is great on our crossbowmen, dealing with their problem of being S3 and also giving them magical flaming attacks. Cascading Fire-Cloak doesn't help your own troops survive, as much as it burns everyone nearby, would be better if wounds caused added to CR. 3/5 - Tackles our weakness in strength with one spell, but doesn't help us survive in any way for longer... it's fire after all.
Disruption: Well aimed 36" burning head can cause panic in most of the enemy force, even one unit suddenly running through your own line can be really dangerous. Flame Cage on the other hand can stop those big hordes from moving. 50 marauders with flails with the flame cage on them? They sure as hell won't go anywhere next turn. 3/5 - Much bigger impact on the battle than Dark Magic hexes, but also somewhat situational (as all fire magic losing against high T and AS...)


The Lore of Metal

Direct Damage Spells: Searing Doom, Gehenna's Golden Hounds, Final Transmutation
Augments: Enchanted Blades of Aiban, Glittering Robe
Hexes: Plague of Rust, Transmutation of Lead, Final Transmutation

Metal clearly works best the more armor your opponent has, something our basic troops struggle with, elves being plagued with strength 3 on almost everything.

Difficulty: 14.7 Spells are getting harder to get off now. 2/5
Killing Power: Depends heavily on the amount of armor your opponent has. Even the snipe spell allows look out sir from potentially lower armor troops. Shining (pun intended) example here is the Final Transmutation which cuts down *any* enemy unit by a third, with a chance of killing enemy characters right away. 3/5 - too much reliance on enemy armor.
Support: Glittering Robe makes even our warriors 3+ save, that's save of a chaos chosen, nothing to laugh at! And because it's not a remains in play spell your opponent can't dispel it in his turn. Enchanted Blades are a notch weaker than Flaming Sword, We usually have no problem hitting the enemy, but wounding them.. and the addition of Armor Piercing is useless on our Crossbowmen (who need the boost to accuracy the most). 4/5 It makes our troops much more durable than they seem, and improves our already good accuracy.
Disruption: Plague of Rust counters its own lore damage spells, but makes enemy troops easier to kill by everything else, while transmutation of lead is a weaker version of Word of Pain, though it has the addition of -1 to armor saves. 4/5 - it deals with what our troops tend to have problems with... armor. Successful Final Transmutation can also cause massive problems in the opponent's battle plan if half of his units go stupid for the gold.


The Lore of Shadow

Direct Damage Spells: The Penumbral Pendulum, Pit of Shades
Augments: Steed of Shadows, Okkam's Mindrazor
Hexes: Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma, The Enfeebling Foe, The Withering

We're looking at a very hexing lore here, and possibly the best synergies within a single lore. Its Damage spells depend on enemy's initiative, but its signature spell reduces the initiative among others.

Difficulty: 14.2 A little bit easier than Metal, but harder than fire. 3/5
Killing Power: Only two damage spells, both strongly dependant on enemy's initiative. One aimed more at single models and characters (Only hits what's in a straight line, like a cannonball), the other can cause huge devastation, but again relies on initiative. 3/5 - you can't debuff everything's initiative to do reasonable damage, and no of the damage spells are particularly easy to cast.
Support: Not a whole lot of it here, Steed of Shadows lost it's main use from 7th edition which was jettisoning sorceresses out of combat. Just a fly for a character is a little less useful now... Okkam's Mindrazor on the other hand is amazing with our high leadership across the board (it even boosts harpies very nicely, go figure) 2/5 - One crap, and one very good augment. Though Mindrazor has to be cast on a unit already in combat as it's not RiP, reducing its usefulness a little.
Disruption: The Hex lore out there, if you want to make enemy troops useless, this is the lore for your level 4. 5/5


The Lore of Death

Direct Damage Spells: Spirit Leech, The Caress of Laniph, The Fate of Bjuna, The Purple Sun of Xereus
Augments: Aspect of the Dreadknight
Hexes: Soulblight, Doom and Darkness

Focus on single-target sniping spells coupled with one extremely powerful mass destruction spell (and only Vortex available at the moment). Lack of strong debuffs makes this lore a really good combination with shadow hexes.

Difficulty: 14.2 very much like Shadow. 3/5
Killing Power: Three out of four damage spells focus on killing single models, and with the increased power of magic, and importance of BSB, those spells are amazing. Purple Sun comes in when there's too many targets for you to handle. It has the same issue as Pit of Shades, but hits many more targets and sticks around, Nobody is going to come close to a swirling vortex of killing power, forcing your opponent to get around it. 4/5 - kills vital, expensive targets the opponent might have, characters and/or single monsters.
Support: Single spells that makes our troops cause fear or terror, useful, but not as useful as it would've been in 7th edition. 2/5
Disruption: Limited usefulness of Soulblight, but Doom and Darkness is really handy at breaking those stalwart troops. Stalwart on Ld5 or 6 isn't that amazing anymore. 3/5


Summary:

Easiest to Cast: Lore of Dark Magic
Most Damaging: Lore of Fire/Lore of Death
Most Supportive: Lore of Metal
Most Distruptive: Lore of Shadow
Best Overall: Lore of Fire very closely followed by Lore of Metal and Lore of Shadow


Conclusion:

On its own, Fire Lore seems to be the most universal, sporting both augments and hexes as well as a healthy dose of damage dealing spells.
But when lores come together forming synergies, things change a little. Here's a little summary of good (IMO) synergies:

Dark + Shadow = Shadow lowers enemy stats to make Dark damage spells even more deadly (Soulstealer on a T1 unit? yum, Black Horror on S1 unit? even more yum!)

Fire + Shadow = Shadow in this situation needs to have The Withering, to lower the T of the target, and then Fire comes in blasting with increased force (also Fire + Shadow = Balrog!)

Death + Shadow = one of the most common combinations. Shadow kills stats, Death kills models.

Metal Magic stands on its own, not gaining much by combining with any other lore since it attacks something no other lore does - armor saves.

Shadow on the other hand can be effectively mixed with any lore, but at the same time doesn't do much for itself (it does help the army in general though)

In the end the choice of Lore of Magic depends largely on what the rest of your army *can't* do.

Do you have little shooting and are worried about horde armies? Fire Lore is your friend.

Are you worried about fully armored knights charging down your lines? Here comes Lore of Metal to the rescue.

Want to make killing easier for the rest of your army? That's where the Shadow comes in.

Enemy characters making you lose sleep when they reap through your expensive troops? Death Magic will take care of that.

Dark Magic? well... do you only have one wizard and want to cast as many spells as you can? Dark is cheap and not totally useless. Personally I would only use it with a supporting Shadow Sorceress

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7th edition army book:
Games Played: 213
Games Won: 114 (54%)
Games Drawn: 33 (15%)
Games Lost: 66 (31%)

8th Edition army book W/D/L:
Druchii: 36/4/16


Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:25 am
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I don't know why you don't rate soulblight highly? Unlike the shadow hexes, it isn't remains in play, has a longer range and it's easier to cast. I think it's probably the best spell in the lore of death.

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Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:10 am
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Great work!

In the analysis, I would emphasize on the signature spell and I would also mention the additional uses of the Lore attribute.
The signature spell is particularly important if you consider Level 1 support sorceresses, either lone scroll caddies or a spam of low cost mages.
The colour-code is chosen in order to get a full rainbow.

Dark
Signature spell.2/5. Only good against skirmishers and shooters.
Lore attribute.0/5. None.

Fire
Signature spell.4/5. Extremely flexible, with 3 increasing variants. Perfectly adapted for a lone caster who will cast all dice on a single spell.
Lore attribute.1/5. Kindleflame just makes cumulative uses of the Lore a little bit more difficult to dispel.

Metal
Signature spell.1/5. A mere MM, nothing fancy, useless against skirmishers as those wear light armor at best, so they would be wounded on 6+. But the spell on its own is great to deal with large threats like Steam Tanks (wounded on 2+) or Skaven machines (wounded on 3+) even Hydras (wounded on 4+ and removes regen). In addition, it has a rather high casting value.
Lore attribute.4/5. It is just a fancy way of inflicting damage with armour-related strength. It is already included and dealt with inside the spells description.

Shadow
Signature spell.5/5. Extremely versatile spell, with an incredible range. Its hexes can stack. There is always a use for this spell, which can be efficiently spammed.
Lore attribute.2/5. Swapping places is very difficult to use practically.

Death
Signature spell.3/5. Useful anti-character snipe, which will often require 2 or 3 casts to become deadly. Rather short range. Very handy if you don't build your army around magic.
Lore attribute.5/5. Brings more PD. Very useful for a Level 4, utterly useless for a Level 1.


Summary:
Best signature for rookie mages: Fire for a lone mage, Shadow or Death for a support mage.


EDIT: for the recall, here are the previous discussions about Lore selections. I did not check if they were taken into account in the above discussion.

A nice discussion about which lore to pick.................* Choosing your Lore
Dark or other Lores?...............................................*Lore of Dark Magic
Dark or other Lores?...............................................*Is it still worth using dark magic?
Fire is scrap or not?.................................................*Does Lore of Fire have a use?
What about metal?..................................................* Using the Lore of metal?

EDITED with Dalamar's comments, below.

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Last edited by Calisson on Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:59 am
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Having said what you said, what do you take to a all comers tournament?


Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:03 am
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Great summary, thanks for all of the effort you put into this, Made me consider fire alot more.

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Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:08 am
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Great work Dalamar and Calisson.

Quote:
Great summary, thanks for all of the effort you put into this, Made me consider fire alot more.


Yes I agree, although I have used Fire in the 8th but not with DE's
The Sword of Ruin stands out to me augmenting our Xbows.

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Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:52 am
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I think lore of metal and lore of fire are a good tag team, toughness is still an issue but you take care of numbers AND armour. Limited in direct synergies but they take care of the other lore's weaknesses.


Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:32 pm
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I didn't value Soulblight very high for one reason. For it to be really good, you need to use the boosted value. Now reducing most of your opponent's army S and T by 1 is really good.

Thank you Calisson for adding the Signature spells and Attributes, but the article was meant to tackle the lores as a whole, not any one particular spell on its own. You made a mistake with Metal signature though. It's useless against skirmishers as those wear light armor at best, so they would be wounded on 6+. But the spell on its own is great to deal with large threats like Steam Tanks (wounded on 2+) or Skaven machines (wounded on 3+) even Hydras (wounded on 4+ and removes regen).

Quote:
Having said what you said, what do you take to a all comers tournament?


The answer is in the article.

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Games Drawn: 33 (15%)
Games Lost: 66 (31%)

8th Edition army book W/D/L:
Druchii: 36/4/16


Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:29 pm
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can shadow magic kill whole units reducing their T to 0?

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Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:48 pm
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No. The wording mentions that it does not go below 1.

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Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:17 pm
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There's been a lot of discussion about the different lores, from the kill-everything uber spells that they can bring, to the natural synergies that can be utilized. It's interesting to see Fire emerge as an effective all-around choice, but it's consistent with a discussion I recall having a while back. One particularly nice thing about Fire too is that you'll almost always be able to cast a relevant and useful spell, regardless of what's happening on the battlefield. Strong direct damage means you can blast away in the early turns, and then you have your augments/hexes for later in the game when more units are stuck in combat.

A good overall summary. Great food for thought.

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Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:13 pm
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I think that lore of fire is good. There are several reasons:

- All the spells can be buffed to a 30'+ range, and the best ones even up to 48'. This allows you to anchor your sorceress at your table edge outside range for nasty character snipers, dwellers bellow and other abilities such as becalming cogitation.

- The lore features several spells which are all equally effective to cast in the first turns and in the later turns. Unlike shadow, where the opponent often just lets the spells go the first couple of rounds and then scroll the important spells in the important close combats.

- Since you have fire damage spells and flaming sword, you dont have to waste points or banners on the flaming banner. You dont have to worry much about etherals either, and your characters can go with mundane great weapons.


Flaming sword is really the thing in the fire lore! +1 to wound is just nasty with repeater crossbows in addition to magical flaming attacks. Suddently you can kill warmachines or monsters easily!
For my next battle I will run a unit of 12 shades with rending stars assassin and continoually cast flaming sword on them every round. That is VERY killy!


Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:24 am
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Very good work and an interesting read! What is missing from the above reasoning is the synergies between the Lores and the rest of the army, including magic items. Some examples:

Death is great combined with Focus Familiar as the range of all spells are increased with 6".

Death is great combined with Standard of Dicipline as the "unmodified" leadership of the Sorceress in increased. This means a High Sorceress and a pair of regular Sorceresses all cast the signature spell at LD 10 (the regular sorcs may use the LD of the High sorc).

Shadow is great in combination with low-strength shooting (which we excel at). The obvious one is the Withering to lower the toughness of the enemy, and the less obvious one is the signature spell which can be used to reduce the movement of the enemy, giving us more time to shoot.

Shadow is great in combination with regular infantry, as can be used to increase our survivability by reducing the strength of the enemy. The signature spell can also be used for this by reducing the enemy WS, making them hit us on 5+. Occam's Mindrazor needs no further motivation.


Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:03 am
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For Dark Magic + Shadow Magic, will it be neccesary to have the lvl 4 on peggy
for Dark magic and the Sorceress lvl 2 with tome of furion?

What else can be put in the sorceress lvl 2?


Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:54 pm
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Dragon Lord
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Nothing is missing because it wasn't part of the original plan. If you wish you can write a new article about Lores of Magic with Magic Items, or Lores of Magic and synergies.
This article was meant to cast a light on all lores of magic we have access to ad prove some are not as useless as some people might like to think.

@Maheros
Nothing is neccessary. Nothing is set in stone. You have to make those decisios yourself based on the composition of the rest of your army.

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8th Edition army book W/D/L:
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Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:27 pm
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I played a DE vs DE battle. I had 1 supreme sorceress and some rxbmen and he had 10 CoK and DreadLord on Cold One. Doom and darkness ment he just sat there for the whole game while i shot at him and killed his dreadlord. In my Opinion Doom and Darkness is one of the best spells available to dark elves.

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Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:58 pm
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Ld7 with a BSB reroll is still very likely to be passed. Doom and Darkness has its uses, especially against those annoying Stalwart units, but it's not be all end all spell.

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Games Won: 114 (54%)
Games Drawn: 33 (15%)
Games Lost: 66 (31%)

8th Edition army book W/D/L:
Druchii: 36/4/16


Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:46 am
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Another useful thing about the Lore of Fire that I found is that you can use the Red Ruby Ring to trigger Kindleflame, making it easier to cast your remaining spells. Not a huge bonus but it helps nonetheless.

Also I think that other uses for Flaming Cage should be mentioned: Cast on a fleeing unit, they will take damage if they continue to flee or if they rally(rallying counts as moved). Also can cast on a unit that is likely to break from combat but is likely to get away (Swiftstride or more than 1 enemy engaged). A third use is on an enemy that you have flanked, if they combat reform they will take additional damage as well. Flame Cage is also useful for disrupting the battle line so we can take it apart one piece at a time.


Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:04 pm
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Level 2 with fire casts first fireball on 3+
Level 2 or 4 or whoever uses ring of ruin on 3+...
I see little point really.

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7th edition army book:
Games Played: 213
Games Won: 114 (54%)
Games Drawn: 33 (15%)
Games Lost: 66 (31%)

8th Edition army book W/D/L:
Druchii: 36/4/16


Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:02 pm
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The point isn't to cast more fireballs, it's to make casting Burning Head, Piercing Bolts, Flamestorm and upgraded fireballs easier to cast.

Use the Ring first, if it goes off great if not its no big deal. Now cast your other magic missiles or direct damage spells at the same target and you will on average get a +2 bonus to cast.

Now all of a sudden your level 2 is casting with the power of a level 4 and your level 4 is casting with +6 making it very easy to cast whichever spell you want. Even the big flamestorm is cast only on a 10, very easy with 3+dagger or 4 dice alone. For only 25 points it's worth considering, but not a no-brainer by any means.


Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:15 pm
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If it doesn't go off, you lose at least one die, you're more likely to use 2 dice to get it off to make sure no 1 or 2 comes up. If you're using 2 dice, you might as well cast the second level of fireball.

Bear in mind that power dice are often quite limited and wasting one or two on a measly d6 S4 hits is far from optimal

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7th edition army book:
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Games Won: 114 (54%)
Games Drawn: 33 (15%)
Games Lost: 66 (31%)

8th Edition army book W/D/L:
Druchii: 36/4/16


Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:18 pm
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With metal. Is it just me or does plague of rust and transmutation of lead only affect single models?

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Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:59 pm
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It's just you. It's a hex and as such targets units. You can of course cast it on single models out of units as they are considered units in their own regard as well.

"target" here means "unit"

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7th edition army book:
Games Played: 213
Games Won: 114 (54%)
Games Drawn: 33 (15%)
Games Lost: 66 (31%)

8th Edition army book W/D/L:
Druchii: 36/4/16


Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:24 pm
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Dalamar wrote:
It's just you. It's a hex and as such targets units. You can of course cast it on single models out of units as they are considered units in their own regard as well.

"target" here means "unit"


Or that all hexes only affect single models. GWs writing really does suck. where in the rules or errata does it say that hexes affect whole units?

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Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:18 am
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It says so on page 31 of the rulebook where hexes are explained.

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7th edition army book:
Games Played: 213
Games Won: 114 (54%)
Games Drawn: 33 (15%)
Games Lost: 66 (31%)

8th Edition army book W/D/L:
Druchii: 36/4/16


Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:04 am
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