Monday, 6 September 2010

The dreaded 13th Spell of Dwellers Purple Suns Miasma!

Or a more fitting title.... Magic and 8th Edition Warhammer.

For the last two months I have been slowly returning to Warhammer. Like a few of you out there I decided to return to the Warhammer world with the release of 8th edition. (yes, TKE I am still lurking about, in fact Mr. Kirby and I will be doing *CENSORED BY ORDER OF THE INQUISITION* hopefully by end of October-December.. stay tuned).

The first things I hit literally however when returning to 8th edition is what a mixed up place the Internet is for somebody attempting to find out basic information to design lists. I don't consider myself a top tourney player by any hope and means of a definition, but the old man still likes to be competitive and hopes he learns from the games and blogs he reads, primarily this, kirby, YTTH and sometimes Dethrons. But I walked into a maelstrom of activity and lists and advice about 8th edition and had to learn very quickly to filter the crap that is out there and then begin a process of building an army. (my choice was Dark Elves by the way TKE... and yes its painted, and yes I will post some pics so you can take a look and yes they are my own sexy dark elf wizards in the pic above... do you like them TKE?... they tell me that you think about them late at night when your alone dreaming of being a swooping hawk...)

What astounded me however was how much Magic in Warhammer had become such a topic of heated debate. So I thought I would write down my observations so far about the Magic Phase and discount what I think are net hypes and some common problems I see with players approach to Magic.

1). Magic is game altering. (true... to a point).

8th edition rules particularly for horde blocks have changed the game fundamentally from its previous incarnations. As expected with steadfast now being viable as a tactic, a lot of lists have appeared that have horde blocks. Skaven come to mind as the biggest contender for the horde approach, but Empire, Orc & Gobs, and others have their own variants. Most players appear to have stopped short though of following things through to their logical conclusion.  A large horde unit is asking for the biggest badest spell that can wipe out a lot of figures to be cast at it. Most lists so far are not catering to this assumption defensively.  To a point they are right to do so, 40 Empire State troops costs less than 210 points even with a full command. Defending it with magical items appears to be why the hell would I? However there has been an outcry of how spells are broken as it wiped out this or that... and tabled me! But if horde formations are what your basing your army around, then expect magic to destroy quite a bit unless you defend yourself or tool your characters to compensate.

In the world of 40k, players who play horde lists are well attuned to the fact that they will suffer casualties. As a guard footslogger its nothing for me to lose 20 or 30 troops in the opening turn to some well placed templates or a list specifically designed to take me on. What is so different about the Warhammer mentality that is leading people to think..... OMG I lost 20 stormvermin.... its over!

2). Purple Sun of Dwellers Below is broken and kills everything!

I scour a lot of forums like some of you, and see thread after thread about how do I deal with this spell or that spell. With IF entering the game to such a level I feel its become a matter of IF! we cannot stop it so we may as well never compensate for magic. This is where so many players I feel are falling down and doing themselves and their game no good. You have to learn to compensate for game altering spells that will and can wipe out a unit or two. Therefore like 40k players have learnt, you build redundancies into your list to compensate. I see a lot of lists out there with zero magic defence or lords and hero choices which are tooled to do 900000 attacks at strength 29! and get the charge and can be in combat second round. Awesome.... till somebody casts a killer fireball and roasts it on turn 1. Then you hear the whine..... that spell is so broken! True some are powerful, but if your not thinking, can this army survive without this character or unit and win, then your not thinking tactically. The age of the deathstar unit is fast fading, due to magics ability to smash down even the toughest of opponents with IF.

3). I don't know what I don't know.

The general rule of all good war gaming is to know your rules. Whats now even more important is to know your enemies Magic. I admit for somebody on a budget, buying every single army book is a fair hike.... (I was 17 once and had a limited budget too). But to play the game at any level of competition even at the FLGS you should and need to make an effort to read and understand your opponents Magic and what it can do and more importantly what it cannot do. I see so many threads about Teclis! Well I sat down for 5 minutes in the local GW and read his entry.... he is a great mage/wizard/ might have some musical theatre experience single male in his late 20's type of guy. But he is not indefatigable. I worked out he can easily be dispatched by my own Dark Elves on Turn 2..... Did you consider before you played against him working out how to beat him?

4). Terrain and TLOS and Magic.

Most players appear to be struggling with the change over to a more terrain littered field. We have to face that the terrain is there for a reason. It adds a lot more random elements to the Fantasy Game and if its an indicator..... wait for 2012 and the new 40k release.... zomg. But unless you specifically play missions that require a set up consider the terrain when your setting up your units and the placement of the enemy wizards. Putting down your heavily armored bret knights opposite the empire metal mage.... not a good move. But time and time again, I see people even those I observe playing ignore deployment and ok setting up my battle line....... Has horde formations led us to I place the unit with the Screaming Bell right down the middle always?

5). Teething issues are always with us for the first 12 months.

I can remember a time when 8 Terminators were an army, I can remember when Eldar Harlequins were a common thing.... The one thing about every edition of every GW game for 40k and Fantasy I have noted is; It takes time for things to settle down and for people to get to know things and common strats. You see it now every time a new army book or codex is released. Who can remember screaming at SW libby powers? OMG BROKEN... or BA devastators costing 10 points less... ZOMG BROKEN... or a large cockroach that was attempting to leech things inside tin cans... ZOMG REALLY REALLY BROKEN.  At the moment I feel we are seeing a lot of knee jerk reactions to lists and strats, from the Purple Sun routine with a power stone..... through to the Empire Steam Tank crusher. The point is it takes time for people to get used to the game again and the changes. If your out there and thinking.... its broken giving up. Stop.... yes you might have had your ass handed to you once or twice or five times.... but learn to compensate, learn to adapt, learn to change your list a little. It all changes again as soon as the next army book is released.
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