Monday, November 29, 2010

Magic in the (New) Old World

8th Edition has been out for a few months and I've actually gotten a few games in. So far I do like it in general. The game seems to flow better and I can usually get through a 3000 point game in a surprisingly short time. One aspect of the game that's changed significantly is magic. Sure, there are some insane new spells, but it goes beyond that. Magic has changed the way some armies play and has affected every aspect of the game in varied ways.
First magic has become unpredictable. In the old days you built your power dice into your list. Now it's based on a roll of the dice. Now for most armies, this isn't a big deal, but there are a few armies, namely the undead, that rely on their magic. For those armies, life has become a bit of a challenge. When you need a strong magic phase, be ready to roll a small number of dice. My Vampires have seen this costing them dearly on the table. Their units are largely mediocre because they can be replaced with a few spells. Now rolling a 2 for the winds of magic at a key point will cost them the game. Any ability to affect the number of dice will come in handy so Dark Elves, Villitch the Curseling and certain gear have become far more effective in helping you get a strong magic phase off.

Spells have become more potent...or should I say devestating? The low to mid spells are decent and handy but the upper spells become just beastly. Honestly I feel this was why power dice became variable from turn to turn. It balances the spells in the rule book and big spells should be seen as a bonus to fire off instead of something to be counted on. Of course the magic found in army books are a bit different. Army-specific spells are generally not as insanely destructive as the new rulebook spells, but also are easier to cast.
Of course all isn't fire and the death of your foes. Miscasts have changed to become far more dangerous. The spell is guranteed to go off, but you have the potential of paying dearly for it. You can lose spells, wizard levels (even losing the ability to cast at all) and possibly even have your caster explode taking nearby models with him.
Magic is still a powerful aspect of the game, but I don't think building an army around the magic phase would be effective. No one should leave home without a caster or two for defense and the potential to destroy a huge hammer unit if things work out the right way but armies that win with their magic won't be winning often. Some armies have access to some fun tricks to help them maximize the magic phase. Empire wizards can be built cheaply and have access to every school of magic. High Elves have some spells of their own that are force multipliers as well as access to some tricks to affect dice and casting rolls. Chaos Sorcerers are more durable then most to the point that they shouldn't fear combat as much as most casters and Tzeentch makes getting spells off easier. Lizardmen probably have the most going for them with the potential to shrug off a miscast. The best thing is to look at your army and decide where magic can fit best and how many points you want to dedicate toward the dark arts.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Webcasts part 2

A bit back I ran down a few webcasts that I listen to regularly. Since then, I've added a few so they get the same treatment...

The Independent Characters -I just started listening to these guys following the appearance of one of the hosts, Carl, on Imperial Vox Cast. So far I like what I hear. They will analyse strategy and tactics more then just read the codex (like a certain mediocre former show...) and they have a good on-air chemestry. If there's one thing I don't like about them so far its that I can't download the show directly from the Zune Marketplace.

The 11th Company - This one is interesting. The show's format is different from most as it seems to be recorded in pieces during the week and editided together. They combine tactics with interviews, though I usually skip the interviews as they rarely talk to people I care about. It's possible to do a show without mentioning Adepticon every 5 minutes and interviewing everyone from the organizers to the janitor that vaccumed the hall afterward, right? Not that I have anything against Adepticon, but i'm never going to it so I could give a damn and everyone seems obsessed with it. There was the con run by The War Store here in NJ that I could have gone to, but no one seems to be covering that...ok, back to the topic. They just finished doing a ranking and rundown of every army, and while they did get a few things wrong (Space Marines are at very best a mediocre army and definately the weakest 5th ed book) it was a good breakdown. What I found interesting is when they talk about certain tactics. When covering the IG they regarded the Infantry Platoon as something you'll never see, when it is quite the opposite. I thought they got things like that mixed up a lot until I realized that what I was hearing was an insight into a completly different local meta then I was used to. All the other shows I listen to seem to have players similar to my local game scene, but these guys don't. It's pretty interesting to hear about the game from such a different perspective...and if that's their opinion, I'm pretty sure I could destroy them should we ever happen to get a game, but it's cool to hear about the game from a fresh perspective.