[WFB] Legion of Azgorh Review: The Lore of Hashut

Only available to Sorcerer-Prophets, this Lore has one immediate and evident and horrible feature. It likes to burn stuff. The Lore attribute is a +d3 to casting total when casting magic missiles or direct damage spells against Flammable targets, and most of said spells are Flaming Attacks to boot. This also means there’s a clear and transparent Best In Lore spell, which we’ll come to in good time. As Attributes go I think this is a decent one; it’s an aggressive Lore and making the spells both easier to cast and harder to dispel is by no means a bad thing.

The Signature Spell, meanwhile, is an augment; Breath of Hatred, which hands out Hatred to one unit within 12″ for cheap, or all of them for not-cheap. Given that most Chaos Dwarf units don’t have the world’s highest yield of attacks (there aren’t many additional hand weapons to be had), and a tendency to strike last or simultaneously in combat, those attacks could stand to be made a bit more reliable. Not a bad spell, although from a Lore efficiency perspective I’d have liked a damage spell as Signature.

Burning Wrath is a d6 S6 magic missile that is, you guessed it, Flaming. An upgrade is available for 2d6 hits, which is nice, but there’s a downside: a rather poor 12″ range. I guess there’s an incentive to smack your Sorcerer on a monster right there, since you’re unlikely to get more than one or two of those off with a slow-moving footslogger.

Dark Subjugation is subtle, but interesting, inflicting a Ld test at -3 on its target; failure means a permanent -1 Ld for the target for the rest of the game, and it’s cumulative down to Ld 2. The prevalence of Battle Standards, however, makes me look askance at this one, as does the whole Inspiring Presence thing. I’m not sure how to evaluate this one. At first glance I thought “three rolls have to go your way for it to do anything and will it really matter anyway”, but then I realised that whittling down an enemy General’s Ld a couple of times could have a really significant impact on, say, Empire or Bretonnians or Ogres or Orcs and Goblins or even Skaven, anything where there’s a significant gap between the Ld of the troops and the leaders. Dwarfs and Chaos will be laughing though, and it’s a non-starter against Undead.

Curse of Hashut is a nice sniping spell; pick a model within 24″ and inflict 2d6-its-Toughness hits, which wound on a 4+ and allow no armour saves. Not Flaming, but still benefits from the Lore attribute against a Flammable target, and… ahh, now I start to get it, you zap the Battle Standard away with this ‘un and then start throwing Dark Subjugation around.

Ash Storm is… oh, bugger me sideways. Let’s see now. Interferes with WS and BS based hitting of things. Restricts the movement of its target to a basic, ordinary, equal-to-your-M shuffle and potentially damages the target if it decides to move. Prevents spellcasting from any Wizard affected by it. AND it makes the target Flammable. 24″ range, 12 to cast, and you’ll have it on a L4 wizard. Best. In. Lore.

Hell Hammer is another of those spells that looks nice on the surface but is, I suspect, afflicted by a bit too much randomness to actually be worth the effort. First it has to be cast, then it has to not be dispelled, then you have to roll a goodly number on 3d6 to reach the target you want and then the target gets an I test to dodge it and then it still has to roll to wound and even then it might only do one of its potential d3 wounds. I’m not impressed. The boosted version (travelling 3d6 x 2 inches) is a slight improvement but at an 18+ casting value I want a damn sight more than “might still end up only going six inches.” It does have one saving grace; the automatic Panic test for taking even one casualty from it. So, if you’ve already removed the enemy’s Battle Standard and whittled down their Inspiring Presence a bit with the other spells you might make something run away. It could end up being brilliant or it could end up being an expensive fizzle or it could just be matched up against stuff with high I or multiple W and not be able to do much to them.

Flames of Azgorh is the spell in the top slot; we should expect a unit-nuker and we get… well. Place a small template, scatter it d6″, do a S6 Flaming d6 wounds hit to everything it touches and, as a nice bonus, there’s a test-or-die roll (T at -2) to the model under the hole. Boostable to use a 5″ template for an achievable casting total, given that it benefits from the Lore attribute. A little bit of everything, again gate-kept by a fair bit of randomness, but you have good control over where the template goes and there’s no test to ignore it.

As a whole, the Lore of Hashut seems to be about combo play. You Ash Storm something, then Flames of Azgorh it, you nuke the Battle Standard with Curse of Hashut and then start throwing Dark Subjugation around. There’s nothing quite so simple as HURR DURR SIX DICE DWELLERS BELOW EVERY TURN HURR TAKE UNIT OFF NOW to be had, admittedly; there’s also the nagging prospect of getting one of these effective-in-pairs spells but not the other.

If taking two Prophets I’d rock this Lore hard: I’d be guaranteed all six spells, plus the Signature twice, across the pair of them. With just the one, it’d be worth a shot just for Ash Storm, but I might be more tempted by Fire or Death if I wanted to lock those down with the help of lesser Daemonsmiths or the Lammasu. That said, characteristic debuffs from the Lore of Shadows, and a flying mount to mitigate the Hashut spells’ middling range. That’s tempting…

You may now commence belching

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