[WFB] Eighth Edition Step By Step – Magic

This week, I do not have much time on my hands – every evening is taken up with either rehearsals or performances of the play what I’m in, and so what time I do have is trapped time, when I’m sitting around waiting for cues to shuffle on and pretend to do stuff.

Trapped time is good reading-and-thinking time, though, so I’m spending the week battering my way through the WFB.8 core rulebook.  It’s proving impossible to approach like a completely new game, but I’m going more slowly than I ordinarily would, looking for things that are a bit weird or a bit exploitable, that I’ll have to have references to hand for, lest I be accused of cheatering when I forget them – or remember them.

It’s a wall of text.  I’m sorry.  It’s taking long enough to read and write up this stuff without spending more (limited) time hunting for pictures.  At least this one’s shorter…

Magic seems fairly straightforward in its essential principles.  Gazing into my crystal balls, I see a lot of things that are going to need ‘eighth edition insurance’ – ways for forces to avoid the magic phase turning bum on them that are a little bit more sophisticated than ‘take a level 4 to shut down the enemy’s level 4’.

For one, the Winds of Magic.  The prospect of having two power dice must be accounted for in successful list building.  Eighth Edition Insurance – either build a list that doesn’t care if it casts spells or not (I see High Elves being very good at this; one level 4 who unlocks a Dragon, thereby contributing outside the magic phase, and who can just cast an opportunistic Drain Magic on two dice turns) or one that has ways to pack extra dice (Vampire Counts, Dark Elves, Lizardmen, High Elves again if that Banner of Sorcery thing is still around).

The dispel dice pool is equal to the highest roll on the 2d6 for the Winds of Magic.  A six and a one would probably be the no score draw, then, with next to no discernable advantage in one direction or the other (assuming both players have brought a decent Wizard).  Eight Edition Insurance – umm, same as before really.  Either find an opportunity to not cast or find a way to notch up more dice in a turn.

Both players roll to channel in both turns (so when you channel power, I channel anti-pow… dispel).  This looks a bit too unreliable to actually insure against poor Winds rolls (spamming cheap wizards to channel might give you more dice, but if you don’t have the casting modifiers to actually get spells off, the quantity of dice don’t mean squat), but if there are items that modify or reroll the channelling dice, that might change.

The default setting for spell targeting: no LoS requirement, but the target must be in the caster’s front arc, within the spell’s range, and not in close combat.  Spell ‘types’ each break one or more of those default setting rules: magic missiles do need line of sight, while the targets of augments and hexes do not need to be within the caster’s front arc.  You can never augment an enemy unit or a hex onto an ally (tipping the odds in combats that you want to lose, maybe for reasons of positioning and board control).  I wonder how that Slaanesh spell that gives Frenzy and inflicts wounds is going to work?  Be interesting to see if that’s a hex or augment depending on who you’re casting it on.  Seems like a logical bit of design space to me, anyway.

Players will need spare templates for casting magical vortices… vortexes… swirly things that keep swirling around the board once cast.  Tactical note – if you’re taking advantage of that whole ‘no line of sight’ thing and bunkering your wizard, don’t cast a vortex.  Although, that said, if you did want to kill your own dudesmen for whatever reasons, swirly things are the spells to do it with, as the templates are placed in front of the wizard and don’t care what they touch or move over.  All spells that place templates seem interestingly abusable, in that you can attempt to cast them into combat just by slapping the template behind the intended target or in front of the wizard and hoping for a favourable scatter roll.

Players must declare their intention to go for the boosted version of a spell BEFORE CASTING.  I foresee miscommunications; Eighth Edition Insurance might be needed, in this case a behaviour rather than a tactic.  I think I’m going to ask ‘boosted?’ every time someone declares a casting attempt, just in case.

Natural casting rolls of 1 and 2 always fail; failing to cast times that wizard out for the rest of the phase; suddenly, selling the Vampire Counts doesn’t seem like a bad idea, with single die castings having a one in three chance of taking your fancy spell-spamming Vampires (Spampires?) out of action.  Cast on three dice and the problem ceases to be a problem, so the only people who care will be the people who like to bung out lots of little spells on lots of little wizards or one big one with Loremaster.

Rolling double sixes has a whole mess of possibilities and needs.  Crucial to understanding these is the detail that irresistible force and miscasting are two separate mechanics that share a trigger (rolling double sixes on a casting roll).

Cast something with Irresistible Force and it goes off even if the spell would ordinarily fail – I remember this being the case before, but from what I’ve seen of the new Lores of Magic, there are some far higher casting values involved.

You resolve miscasts after the spell has been resolved.  I’m assuming that things which modify the Miscast roll or discount it entirely (your Eighth Edition Insurance) trigger after the roll on the table (that’s what the FAQs for the existing items seem to indicate) but in an order chosen by the active player.

On that note, some magic items or special rules can cause miscasts without irresistible force and irresistible force without miscasts.  Pandaemonium, for instance; still a beast of a spell.

Remember that there are no ‘Look Out Sir’ rolls against Miscast templates.  Not that the eighth edition rules have introduced ‘Look Out Sir’ yet, but I did say I can’t pretend I didn’t play previous editions at all.  Basically, there’s a thing which most templates do that Miscast-induced ones don’t.  Exceptions need noting.

In dispelling, natural rolls of 1 and 2 always fail, and wizards who fail to dispel can’t attempt to dispel again, but the army can still attempt further dispels without adding a wizard level (the new ‘Dwarf rule’ is that they always have a +2 to these ‘army dispels’).

Remains in Play spells only end when the target ‘is slain’ or the caster ‘is slain or leaves the table’. What happens if the target ‘leaves the table’ without ‘being slain’, i.e. fleeing off the board with a spell still on them?  By the letter of the rules, you can’t recast that spell.

Failing to dispel a Remains in Play spell with power dice in your turn breaks your wizard’s concentration in the same way as failing to cast one of their own spells would do.

Some spells do not Remain in Play, but have a set multi-turn duration.  The difference is that these cannot be dispelled once they’ve gone off.

Do not add Wizard levels to Bound Spells even if a Wizard is using them.  Wizards using Bound Spells and failing do not have their concentration broken.  Bound Lore spells are always unboosted.  Miscasts on Bound Spells either destroy the magic item that grants the spell, or prevent the model from casting again this phase if the spell is built in.  The net effect of all this is that Bound spells, particularly useful ones like the Book of Arkhan’s bound Vanhel’s Danse, are a form of Eighth Edition Insurance – a wizard can take a key spell in Bound form and not worry about breaking concentration if they stuff it up, or about exploding half your army if they Miscast.

Yes, those bolded instances of eighth edition insurance will be coming back to haunt us in future posts on WFB.  Now, if I’m talking magic, I should probably talk Lores as well, but to be honest, the different Lores are going to have different uses in different armies and different lists, and evaluating them is always going to be a matter of thinking about what you want magic to do and what holes it’s going to patch in the rest of your army.  I’ll do that when I get around to considering particular armies.  As far as knowing what’s in the Lores goes, Kirby’s done a writeup of the eight from the core book plus High and Dark magic, and that’ll serve you just as well as anything I could do in that line.

Reading up the Shooting rules tonight.  Expect the post tomorrow.

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