Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Evolution of Magic

I've previously stated how much I like the 8th Edition system for Magic. The Winds of Magic coupled with the requirement to choose your lore at the time of list construction makes Magic a fickle beast.

It is also an evolutionary process. Whether driven by your local meta game or as a result of re-evaluation of lists, three months after the launch of 8th we are starting to see lore choice evolve.

I'll take a local example. One of my regular opponents plays Warriors of Chaos. Under 7th it was the Tzeentch lore choice all the way - Flickering Fire, Pandemonium and Gateway. These spells served him well and complemented his 7th Ed list build. With the advent of 8th he used this lore initially and again it worked very well. The spells were easier to cast in 8th given the +5 to cast a Tz Sorcerer Lord had.

After a few weeks I suggested to him to have a look at Shadow Magic. This lore had a series of augment and hexes that dovetailed with his WoC Combat build. He studied it and started using it - to good effect.

Fast forward two months and the two of us have started to discuss his lore choice again.While Shadow is a very strong lore, it reinforces the strengths of his WoC build i.e. it makes his strong combat troops even stronger (either by buffing or making opponents weaker). What the Lore does lack is a focus on direct damage spells and a magic missile.

This becomes very important in a list that has next to no shooting capability - particularly with the "Dead or Fled" rule and Victory Points. Essentially it restricts his offensive capacity to the Combat Phase. Now this might be more decisive in 8th but a smart opponent can exploit this reliance and likely give up few VPs.

Now we are discussing the use of Death Magic instead. Not only does it contain the dreaded Purple Sun but it also has a signature spell and one other strong direct damage spell. In this instance the choice of lore clearly strengthens the capability of the list rather than reinforcing an area where the build is already strong. He now has a ranged ability to finish off units/characters that are harbouring precious VPs.

And who knows, in three months we might be back at Tzeentch Magic for all the reasons it was originally taken?

Just to show not every is cut from the same cloth and to reinforce the point above. My son Jack uses Dark Elves. He has been using Dark Magic but has recently been considering the switch to Shadow Magic. Why? Well, whereas the WoC player has little ranged capability the Dark Elves have it in droves. That is not an area of weakness for them. Their main susceptibility is survivability in a prolonged combat and - as we have seen above - the Shadow deck has augment and hexes that perfectly provide a solution to this problem.

So in the end I suppose the message is to constantly re-evaluate Lore choice and list build in light of one another. As one changes so might the other.

Or you could just play Skaven where you are totally deprived of choice!!!!


  1. I wouldn't say the skaven are deprived of choice, they just get to choose all the good spells from both of their decks (while the rest of us are stuck with one)!

  2. Of course you wouldn't - but then you are a stupid elf-thing!