Monday, February 20, 2012

The Magic Meta

One of the most noticeable things at HomeCon II was the emergence of Lore of Light as the most popular lore. Of those armies that could take it, only the High Elves (Shadow) chose not to. In the past the Lores of Life, Fire and Shadow have been the most popular followed by Heavens.

Everyone remembers Lore of Life in the months after 8th Edition was released. Everywhere there were horror stories of The Dwellers Below, Regrowth and Flesh to Stone. In the end the lack of a good magic missile hurt the lore when –if you played by the rules – you needed to destroy a unit to score points. This was followed by the raft of Shadow mages – MINDRAZOR! – that emerged in 2011. Backed by Withering, Pit and Miasma the Lore of Shadow was a solid all round choice.

As the difference between the various books has flattened out and we are seeing 8th as Games Workshop imagined it, there has been a further move to combat. This has been accelerated by the new Ogre book. With Shadow, the Lore of Light is great for supplementing your combat with its mix of buffs and hexes. One of the big benefits with Light though is that the spells all have relatively low casting values compared to other decks.

I’ve always though a Slaan with Focussed Rumination and the Lore of Light is the way to go. You get the opportunity to cast lots of spells and maximise the benefit of the magic discipline. When facing Light, with a good Winds of Magic roll, you can quickly find yourself facing high Inititiative, ASF, WS10 Saurus – that never a good sight. Or, as I saw yesterday when a gap was left in an advancing battleline, a Stegadon moving 24” and turning up behind you!

I love following the local meta game in both armies and lores as it isn’t necessarily the same in each locale but reflects responses to the most popular or effective armies locally. It is also cyclical. I’m sure Death and Life will be flavour of the month at some point in the future.


  1. Yeah I much prefer Light on my Slann to Life (although I'm experimenting with Beasts atm). Apart from Dwellers (which is both incredibly boring and has been widely nerfed) Life is a very defensive and is a single focus (i.e not AoE) Lore, so it works ok in large Deathstar type builds which already hit pretty hard (Temple Guard being the obvious one here). Light is much more interesting and flexible, to me the biggest advantage is that all the major spells can be boosted to an AoE version, which gives you multiple chances to effect multiple units with significant buffs. For Lizards in particularly this is particularly valuable, since an Ethernal Slann can easily squeeze into gaps to effect most of your combat blocks at once without much fear of damage.

  2. I had some fun using the lore of life at Call 2 Arms last year with my High Elves, well I had fun with Dwellers (i didn't really use any other spells). Mainly because most of the other spells have high casting values, are fairly defensive in nature and often aren't needed or useful in the given turn.

    I think the lore of light is a very useful lore, especially when you have lots of troops that don't have ASF, high I or high WS. So Lizardmen and Empire can really benefit from casting the AoE spells on their troops. Light would be even more useful given the low casting cost if a second mage with shadow is taken.

    Lore of light though is not very useful though for High Elves as they already have ASF and high I. Shadow is still one of the most popular for them. I will definitely be taking it with my High Elves for Runefang next weekend.

    1. I've long been a light fan with my Empire, however with my high elves I've found shadow to be lacking (other than MINDRAZOR) and needing to be in combat to be effective means I am pushing forward too hard to get to safety! Light has magic missiles which are becoming more and more important with every book release and is useful before combat begins. Also High Elves do not struggle to bring high strength attacks to combat (unlike dark elves who have an army of s3) making some of the hexes a bit excessive. I will be trialling light on the High Elves for the next while. No pit will be a "problem", but I'm sure I can live without it!


  3. Light is good if your army doesn't need another lore to deal with certain threats (chiefly deathstars, stanks, sphinxes etc). If you can put out high strength attacks (talking s9/10) somewhere else, then you can likely benefit from light. If not, I think taking light leaves you open to bad match ups.

    Take for instance Tom's Homecon army. You said it was super tough, which it is, but if a stank comes rolling along you either need to expend your chaff holding it up while you push forward or need to hope bolt of change rolls s9/10. If somehow you know you're not likely to come up against these things, then take light, it's a good choice, but I don't like leaving such a critical weakness in my armies.

    The only lore I feel that covers enough of your bases is Shadow. Being able to alter match ups in combats or over-power your shooting while still being able to deal with big threats via mindrazor or pit makes it vastly superior to lore of light.

    Overall I think light is a good secondary/support choice, but for most armies doesn't give you enough of a punch to hold up over shadow.