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Middle heavy magic? Are 2 lv. 2 instead of lv. 4 viable? 
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Shade
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Greetings, fellow generals!

I was searching Draich about magic and realized that there hasn´t been a more systematic and focused discussion about the viability of going with a middle strong magic army, instead of the classic lv. 4 with or without apprentice.

I´m personally not a big fan of going too magic heavy, because of its fickle and dangerous (to oneself...) nature, and prefer to rely on cold sharp steel and naggarothi discipline instead, using DLs for leadership and generally having more troops on the field. Also, fluffwise, I just don´t like a Druchii army led by sorceress instead of battle hardened professional/noble officers.

However, the current magic system really seems to favour the lv. 4 build, specially in bigger battles. The advantage to casting and dispelling is simply huge and I´m having trouble in finding a way in which a lv. 2 could have a chance to even get some spells through.

Now, I´ve seen that several druchii commanders actually advocate the use of more lower level sorceresses and would like to debate this option in comparison to the lv. 4.

Possible advantages I can imagine (and was hoping to find for my list) are:

A1) Less eggs in one basket: a) In case of miscast or enemy attacks, you don´t loose all your expensive magic support at once.
A2) Less eggs in one basket: b) In case of failure to cast or dispell, other sorceress can still do something.
A3) Less eggs: c) More battlefield coverage, as you can distribute your casters more evenly over the table to cover/threat more space.
A4) Less eggs: d) give your opponent more targets to worry about and shoot at.
A5) Channeling (although really only a marginal issue)
A6) Possibility of a more agressive (reckless?) use of your casters, as they are each less expensive and expandable.
A7) Use of different and synergetic lores
A8) More arcane items
A9) No usage of Lord points, enabling Dragonlords etc.
A10) More PoD attempts

Unfortunatelly, there are two major advantages of the lv. 4 that seem to overshadow all of the above considerations:
D1) +4 for casting and dispelling.
D2) More spells in one lore and the consequently higher chances of actually getting the spells you want.

A +2 difference in each attempt is pretty huge. From what I´ve seen around, pretty much every army of the lesser races field at least a lv. 4, so chances are high our lv. 2s magic is dispelled. PoD can go only so far to get more PD, as the +2 difference to dispell from a lv. 4 enemy should easily hinder us to cast PoD in the first place.

So, what have been your thoughts and experiences? I´d really love to be convinced otherwise and continue to be able to field my 2 lv. 2s.

Cheers!


Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:42 am
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Corsair
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There are other advantages for the lvl 4:
D3) A supreme sorceress does not eat precious heroes %. If you add the usual COB BSB or the fully loaded peggy BSB to 2 arcane loaded lvl2, you cannot play below 2400pts.
As a result, it is for smaller games (1.5-2k) that the supreme sorceress is the most useful, as it leaves room for a BSB.
D4) A supreme sorceress can be your mandatory general, and, with the Ld banner, she can raise her Ld to Ld10.
If you took 2 Lvl2 and a BSB and a dragonlord, then close to half of your army list would sink into these 4 models.
If you named one of the Lvl2 as your general, you'd loose Ld (and fluff).
If you had a captain as general, you could not get a BSB.


The selection of characters does not leave much room, especially in small-medium games. Here's your wish list:
W1) you need a general, for which the highest Ld is the best.
W2) one sorceress is nearly mandatory: you want to make good use of the PD which come for free.
W3) in addition, you're happy to get the best magic offense & defence with a supreme sorceress, in the lord %.
W4) you wish to have a BSB; the BSB must be a hero and cannot be the general.
W5) you'd like to get the COB buff; the COB must be a hero, she may be general, she may be BSB, not both.
W6) you'd like to get a flying monster riding fighting character (crowned dragonlord or peggymaster); the dragonlord can be general, the peggymaster can be BSB (as they usually are).

In addition,
W7) In order to respect the 25%+25%, you have to spread out between lords and heroes. BSB and COB are heroes. Dragonlords and SS are lords but have hero counterparts, so this provides some leeway.
W8) The more pts spent in characters, the less bodies on the field. In order to keep the character % low, the best solution is to mutualize.



Here below are some logical ways to select your characters:

C1) The most %-efficient combo is a Lvl4 general & COB BSB (W1-2-3-4-5-7-8). But no flying fighting character (W6).

C2) The dragonlord with a single Lvl2 needs no flying BSB but combines well with the COB BSB (W1-2-4-5-6-7-8), just suffering from a weaker magic phase (W3).

C3) If you want a CO/DS-riding,-crowned-unkillable-lord, then it makes sense to combine him with the flying BSB. In that case, you would be tempted to get only a single lvl2 (W1-2-4-6-7-8). But no COB and weak magic (W3-5).

C4) What you suggest is to get 2 Lvl2 and free the lord % to get a dragonlord. In that case, you have to renounce both BSB and COB in small games (W1-2-6-7; missing W3-4-5-8). In games >2400pts, you could get a COB BSB (W1-2-4-5-6-7), just suffering from a heavy character % and underoptimized magic (W3-8).

C5f & C5c) In order to keep the lord % low, you could do with just a crowned lord. Add the 2 lvl2, there is still some room for a necessary BSB, who can be flying or COB (W1-2-4-5or6-7-8), just missing a better magic and either the COB or the flying hero (W3-5or6).


As you see, there is always a balance to take (W7) and you cannot get everything and bodies on the field (W8).
The decision to take a lvl4 does not come only for the sake of a powerful magic phase, but also for a decent Ld and moreover, for getting some magic at all without eating the hero %.
The decision not to take a lvl4 not only decreases magic efficiency, but also leads to increase the total character % or to renounce something else (usually the COB).

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Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:56 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Um... what he said :shock:

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Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:24 pm
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Shade
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Hi guys!

As always, Calisson brings an excellent analysis of the problem, and unfortunately it shows what I was expecting, that is the superioriyt of the lv. 4 build, plus the insertion of the issue in a broader army perspective (W1-W6).

However, I´d still like to see the arguments of those that actually field more lower level casters instead of the lv. 4, as the question of this topic wasn´t so much if the lv. 4 build is better, but if the 2 lv. 2s are a viable option.

After all, they still have some advantages too (A1-A10) and some of the refutation expressed by Calisson is based on the almost obligatory use of BSB and/or CoB (and consequent hero points) and the maximisation of army wide efficiency by taking a lv. 4 with Std. of Discipline for Ld, instead of the DL.

My personal list is actually going in the direction of a fighty DL on foot or mounted for Ld, fighty troop protection and active CR (which is something that the lv. 4 doesn´t provide and has not been considered in Calisson´s analysis), 2 lv. 2s for magic protection and support and maybe an assassin. I, personally, dont´find the BSB that all important with DE high ld and don´t like CoB for fluff and model reasons. But that´s my personal problem ;)

Still, even if not optimum, I´d like to hear what people think about the 2 lv. 2s, as I have seen them being defended elsewhere by veteran players.

Cheers


Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:26 pm
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Scourge
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From a magical perspective, the benefits of the multiple low level casters are that they have the option to get more than one lore, more than one of each type of item (for instance, 2 lv2s can have Darkstar cloak and sacrificial dagger, rather than only one of them for a single Lv4) and can be in more than one place. So basically, you are sacrificing increased casting power for increased versatility, which makes it very viable if you want more options, if you want to be in more places at once, if you want to take more arcane items, if you want to use more lores...

In taking MLLC over single high level caster or SHLC, you get more versatility and less restrictions, but sacrifice the extra casting power, it also restricts you from taking certain, high point cost items, such as the black staff which a Lv4 can take but two Lv2s can't take, not that the black staff is used very much anyways, most of the useful items for our casters can be taken by a hero-level one, so this is not a major restriction. All of this has basically been covered above, but the point remains, MLLC is often less powerful but more versatile than SHLC

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Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:39 pm
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Cold One Knight

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I think that 2 lvl 2 could get some use, but in an army based around that.

The first idea that come to mind is a Shadow lore build army. Revolving around the basic spell from the lore. Having multiple shadow caster that will cast it multiple time can be very nasty for a battle line. Could even take 3 lvl 1 with that idea. You need 1 with the dagger, 1 with the cloak and maybe one with the common item that boost your channeling attempt. It will cost you 365 pts, exactly the same cost as the lvl 4, but you'll cast 3 time each phase the basic lore. With max dice (the average will be 9 each turn, so 3 dices each).

But you're lacking a big part: the bonus on the casting. Any opponent with a lvl 4 will dispel all your attempt on 7-8 (average roll with 3 dices is 10-11 with +1, dispelled on 7-8 with a lvl 4). You can pay the 100pts more to make all of them lvl 2.

The big part of the casting is that since the winds of magic is the same for any number of caster, putting the dices you get at the optimize value is always worth it. A way to see it is that a lvl 4 got +2 to cast more than a lvl 2. It's a 1/3 of a dice roll. That can represent easely 1 dice each turn (if you throw and average of 3 spells each turn, or dispel 3 times each turn). So you'll need a lvl 2 with the cloak and a lvl 2 with the sceal of ghrond to just be equal to a naked lvl 4. So the lvl 4 at 260pts is worth the same as 328pts of lvl 2 with 1 life point less but 1LD more...


Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:50 pm
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Generalissimo
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Quote:
Um... what he said


My thoughts exactly! :)

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Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:56 pm
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Corsair
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I believe that a18no made a very valid point with the alternative of multiple casting of a same basic spell by several Lvl1. I don't see any interest to get a lvl2 for that, because you will not base your strategy on a random spell.

Sure, you have only +1 to cast, versus a likely +4 to dispel.
So what? Just cast with one more dice, it averages +3.5 to cast.
Anyway, you won't cast more than 1 spell per level 1, so you'll just divide your PD pool evenly among your casters, then they cast all they have on their single spell.

Let's see the Lores.
- Fire's Fireball: handy to get the higher version if you get more dice available. Lore attribute very useful for spamming.
- Metal: nothing special, except it's good against heavy armours.
- Shadows: Hexing is great. Attribute can make the sorceresses dance around, that's fun.
- Death. If the first one did not kill the opposing character, then try the second one. In addition, a few dice can be recovered (which is utterly useless for the last caster).
- Dark. Good for silencing shooters.

OK, overall, this strategy can be nice especially with Fire Lore.

It does present a real alternative to a Lvl 4... provided you don't want a COB and a BSB in your list.
I would probably like better 3 lvl1 over 2 lvl2, because I can plan better what I want to do (i.e. burn them all to Hell). :twisted:



Rabidnid, Red..., thanks for your support! 8)

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Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:17 pm
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Cold One Knight

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In that strategy, I would be tempted to play at least 1 lvl 2 just for dispel purpose... could be the last one that could take the sorcery staff to dispel at +3. You get

Lvl 1 cloak, Lvl 1 dagger, Lvl 2 sorcery staff

The best is still to take 3 times the same lore, and cast the basic spell 3 times. So like you said Fire, Shadow or Death. That cost you 420 pts. Maybe a little too much but can be very interesting to try. Both the lvl 1 could be naked to, to save 50pts since you're only casting 1 spell each. So for 370 pts, you can cast 3 basic spell and still dispel at +3.

If i'm to try it, I would play

Lvl 1, shadow, cloak
Lvl 1, shadow,
Lvl 2, shadow, sorcery staff
BSB Cauldron

Shadow is for the hex, I really like it. For a total of 620pts, fit just great in 2500pts game. So you can take a Stubborn lord on pegasus, or just stay cheap and buy lot of troops!


Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:36 pm
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Executioner
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The only time I would pick multiple low level wizards over a single high level one is when I actually want to make use of the signature spell. Main two reasons is, they're cheaper to cast, so it's actually possible for each of your wizards without burning too much PD, and it's a spell you want to spam for maximum effect. Otherwise I will combine them all into one wizard for the better defense and offense and to be able to cast the more difficult spells within the lore. As well as being cheaper too.

It's not really putting all your eggs into one basket either, because it's less points spent on magic. IMO you're actually putting more eggs into the one basket by utilising three Lv1/2 wizards over a single Lv4.

From experience, two level 2 does not beat a single Lv4 when it comes to casting and dispelling. They pretty much need to blow up every time to get a spell off, the only time they have an advantage is when the army has abilities to gain a significant amount of PD or DD. Otherwise you'll only expect to get one spell off, and it might not even be the spell you wanted to cast.

Many people who uses two Lv2 over a Lv4 relies on PoD to generate them those extra PD needed to counter the +2 advantage their opponent has. The issue is, they need to let you cast it first, then you need to actually gain more than you used to had made it worthwhile. When it works, great, when it doesn't, bye bye magic phase. You could had spent 135-185 points on a fighting character that'll actually kill stuff or more bodies that'll actually do something then.

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Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:46 am
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Rabidnid wrote:
Um... what he said :shock:


agreed.

I only use 2 L. 2's in many lists. I think once I pass 2250 is the points I usually start loading in the big gun. I also aim for the ones w lowest cast values if I am using 2's. Metal is GREAT for a 4... but a 2 trying to turn someone to gold is WAY too much risk for me- Dark and Shadow Sig or Fire Sig. and add a couple toys and mounts

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Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:11 pm
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The larger a game gets the less magic i take. There only ever be 2D6 power dice and, where magic is destructive as more units hit the board it seems to loss the hitting power to be effective. At 2000 points a level 4 seems to work well, after that two level 2 wizards "in my experience" with Augment/Hex spells seems to works better. cast POD 1st with your two casters then augment and hex your units/enemy units. Works well with an army focused around a lot of HtH and mild shooting.

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Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:55 am
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I'll try to make this as concise as I can.

The advantages of fielding a level 4 is obvious

-More chances of getting the spells you want
-Dispel attempt +4
-Casting attempt +4
-more magic item allowance
-ld9
-use less powerdice to cast lower casting spells

The disadvantage

-Prone to character sniping
-Big point investment
-if taken as a lone mage grants magic dominance for your opponent once killed
-Single lore dependency

The advantages of 2 level 2 casters

-access to two lores which may or may not equate to versatility depending on lores
-synergy between two mages is possible
-2 POWER OF DARKNESS ATTEMPTS
-guaranteed +2 even if one of them dies
-guaranteed two low casting signature spells
-forces opponents to handle 2 sorceress
-cost of 2 sorceresses is almost equal to a Supreme Sorceress
-2 sorceress = 4 wounds vs Supreme Sorceress 3

disadvantages

- +2 to cast and dispel
-low magic item allowance
-chances of getting desired spell is minimized (ToF is a must)
-must devote units to protect both casters
-cost of 2 sorceresses is almost equal to a Supreme Sorceress

The in between
-harder to cast the "big" spells but Druchii Sorcery helps with that and since you have 2 anyway you can risk the IF table and just suicide roll all your powerdice. Not my taste though but I admit it works.

I've toyed with the Idea of 2 Sorceress using the Common Shadow and Death but recently feel that Shadow and Metal hurts the enemy more as they compliment each other a lot better. Enfeeble+Glittering scales+ Cauldron Blessing can put Crossbowmen at par with Chaos Chosen even. 4+AS, 6+ parry save KB/+1 attack against something with -2/3 str is fun. metal really is a good lore imo that compliments DE lists well and with Shadow (also imo) being the best general lore for DE makes for some nasty combos. Just cross reference both Metal and Shadow and see how many spells compliment each other, now see how remarkable they are with our units. Just my two cents

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Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:32 pm
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Shade
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Hi guys, just wanted to thank all of you for the great responses and the very interesting debate. It certainly has helped me and I think the analysis that were made are very valuable for the naggarothi cause.

I´m particularly glad to have seen some viable ways to use the lower level casters, athough for myself I´l probably stick to the level four (not a particular fan of voluntarely going for irresistible miscasts...).

Cheers

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Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:41 pm
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Corsair

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Dunno why it takes so long before people see all the benefits that you now get with lvl 1 casters.

Yes they were totally, I mean TOTALLY useless in all earlier editions.

I use 1 lvl 1 metal mage, and 1 lvl 1 fire mage.

You cant go with 2 lvl 1s of whatever lore you feel like.. its pretty much Metal, fire, and death that are viable.


Fire- a constant dmg output that will always finde some use. Getting greater range with each spell upgrade is a very nice bonus.
Metal- your " game winning spell" This spell is at the very top of nastyness out there. Yes you need to cast 21 to get the 2d6 result but it totally anihilates cav units, monsters with good save, and are flaming so negates regen, and does double to flamable.

What the fire normally has trouble with, namly high armoursave, metal totally demolishes, and vica versa.

You get to roll twice at channeling. You get 2x power of darkness, and you get 4 wounds all for the price of 200 pts.

You can always use all of your dice on GOOD spells. And you dont need to worry so much about miscast, becouse it is only 100 pts after all, and more likely than not you will only take 1 wound.

If you see a knight unit or a treeman, you can now SAFLY toss 10+ dice and hope for IF knowing that you will earn back your 100 pts almost guaranteed. You do not risk loosing you 300+ only caster, and possibly general.


If you want finesse, and intricate plans revolving around shadow lore spells and the like then go for the lvl 4. If you want some serious serious dmg for 200 pts, well then 2 lvl 1s is the choice for you- And I do recommend fire and metal.


Never before could a lvl 1 cast all your dice, get a guaranteed good spell worth casting 20+ for if she feels like it. Embrace the change, its darn good.


Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:22 am
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