Thursday, November 7, 2013

Magic - My Favourite Part of the Game

While I like the whole WHFB package, I (like I guess most people) have a favourite aspect. For me it is the Magic Phase.
So why is this?
Well I like the fact that it is multi-layered and that it contains uncertainty. To be successful in the Magic Phase requires both resource management and risk management. You also need the ability to bluff and to read people.
For me the Magic phase begins at the start of the game when you find out what is someone’s list. You see where they have invested points and where they haven’t, if they are offense-focused or whether they are possibly risk-averse. Generally I find that by reading a list, followed up by a quick conversation that I can coalesce a plan on where I should attack somebody and where I think their threat will come from. And remember people have favourite units and models and sometimes develop a blind spot in respect to them.
Based on the above, I then select my spells. I’ve always had disdain for people who have Loremaster. To me it betrays a lack of confidence in their ability to select the right spells coupled with a propensity to blame failure on bad luck….”Of I didn’t get Purple Sun, so I couldn’t win”. Show me a Loremaster and immediately I see weakness. Selecting your spells is key aspect of your gameplan but if you don’t get the ones you want it shouldn’t torpedo your chance to win. Your plan….if it is a good one…..should be adaptable. If it really is just six-dice 13th or Purple Sun, well you probably need a new plan.
When I select spells, I like multiple channels of attack – be it Direct Damage, Augment or Hex – as this gives me the opportunity to bluff and play mind games.
The fun really starts when you get to the Magic Phase and have to manage your resources while assessing then re-assessing impact. So many times you see an 11PD Magic Phase go to waste due to a lack of focus be it lack of a plan or indecision (I do it far more than I’d like and it is the most frustrating thing when it happens).
Generally in your Magic phase you should expect to get one spell off and attempt to engineer a second success. In defence, you need to accept that they will get one spell and try to ensure they don’t have additional success. Once this is done the games to ensure the spell that you get off and the spell you let through are the ones you want. I’ll let you determine how you do that but to me it is one of the key skills in the game and a major part of the attraction.
One way to improve the defensive part of your game is to play without a Dispel Scroll in practice games – effectively 25 points down (leaving Arcane slot empty). It sharpens your decision-making. When you then put the scroll back in, it fulfils its true purpose – last line of defence – rather than how it is commonly used (and generally wasted).
The real beauty of the phase is that through judicious use of dice and the order you cast you can achieve some great combinations. And there is nothing better than the look of horror on your opponent’s face when they suddenly realise what you’ve done. Priceless!
So for me this is the most enjoyable phase of the game….and probably the reason I hate Dwarfs so much. Their defence has no subtlety but works with as much guile as a killswitch. I realise though that they are miserable bastards and them killing my fun is the nearest they will ever get to a victory.


  1. Historically I have never really enjoyed the magic phase, mainly because with Orc and Goblins, rolling 1's generally means bad things, and you can get spells off but then have them fail because of a special rule... or bounce back and bite you...

    Prior to skitterleap, I had a re-think about the lore I would take and started playing around with Heavens. I think it is the change to Ogres, when I can try the rule book lords, that has increased my enjoyment.

    At skitter leap it was really good to play around with the synergies of hex/augment of Heavens/Maw and have fireball plus comet sitting in the back pocket for people to worry about... working out how they can play together and trying to outfox the opponent is a good mental challenge.

    nice post pete, although I think you need to talk to a respected someone about your little 'dwarf thing', reminds me of a modified version of a quote some minor author wrote ' me thinks Pete doth protest too much'


  2. "I’ve always had disdain for people who have Loremaster"

    Yet Skaven are still aloud to chose the lore they want before each game. I am still amazed comp packs have not changed this rort.

    1. And there was me thinking you were the Shieldbearer for RAW.

      Guess it depends on the circumstances

    2. I did find that comment odd, though more because, why wouldnt you take it if you had the option? More spells equals more options equals more ways to play wuth your opponents head. Sounds like you all over, Pete?

    3. Weakness, James, weakness

      BTW shouldn't you be at Ladies Day

    4. I wouldnt call myself a shieldbearer for RAW, but it is an obvious 7th edition hangover. Skaven are the only race who can pick and choose game to game what lore they use at tournaments. I've always found it odd that it has been left in.

    5. the same isn't he?

    6. He can pick each of his spells. Tournament packs Ive seen make him pick his spells and keep the same ones the whole tournament. No changing.
      Point I am trying to make is this is a rort to the system that every other army uses at a tournament.

    7. I've seen exactly the opposite and in fact mention was made on a recent UK podcast that a player had lists of spells prepared for each army.

      But given he's a SC I'd be happy to see the end of him.

      The Skaven situation is not a rort it a the rule put in place when they released the last book. the wording is clear and unequivocal. A GS gets to choose to roll from either lore and can mix and match. Presumably recognition of that ability was included in the pricing of the Seer.

      Will they keep it if they re-do the book? I don't know. They hadn't use it previously in 7th and we haven't seen it at all in 8th. If I had to bet I suspect that Skaven would get two signature spells but that's a guess. At the time the fact that there were 13 spells was paraded as a unique point of difference.

      Other armies have units that by your description rort the system e.g. Horrors and Warlocks in that the can generally micast with far greater protection that most casters or Warlocks in that they take spells from two lores or the new all signature wizs.

      Do you think comp packs should change these rorts* as well?

      * you say rorts, I'd say rules

    8. Hardly.

      I'd like to point out how you used the GW FAQ to justify changing lores on a Seer throughout a tournament. The GW FAQ was never written to encompass tournament play, and infact I was pointing directly at player pack comps making a specific ruling around this. This is not a rule change as the rule is designed for one off games.
      I cannot fathom how a claim can be made that the Seer pays for this design, as the design is intended for one off games. In this situation it is perfectly fine, but having the option to tailor your spell list during a tournament is an ability no other race has access to.

      A simple "Skaven seer must elect the number of spells they wish to roll from each lore at the beginning of the tournament for the whole tournament"

      I to read about the same situation re Kairos, hence why I stipulated how it should be played in tournaments IMO.

      At the end of the day we need to create player packs for the very reason the game was not written for tournament play in mind.

      The mention of units with spells is completely unrelated to the subject of Seers.

    9. Don't we use the GW FAQs for tournaments?

      I think you are really grasping at straws to try and change a rule you don't like and that the majority (if not all) events here and overseas don't play the way you intend. Not even the ETC that stamps the fun out of gaming as a matter of course follows your logic.

      The mention of units with spells demonstrates that there are many examples where individual books/units break the usual conventions.

      I find it amusing you are happy for one set to break conventions but another instance becomes a rort.

    10. Your missing the point. I am not talking about the ability to roll for spells on multiple tables (which is fine), I am talking about the ability to chop and change lores between games in a tournament.

    11. No I'm not missing the point, I just don't agree with you....and nor would it appear do the majority of TOs/Umpires worldwide.

      We'll just have to disagree. Cant see either of us changing our minds

  3. Didn't Tom use Lore Master consistently with his Daemons before the new book? "Competitive Dad"

    1. Yes....and a little bit of me died inside

    2. I loved using the same lore as him with my lvl4. I would roll up my 4 spells and there would be thus blank look of "I don't know which spells you have rolled" on his face when he saw my dice. Great memories.

      I find the magic phase very rewarding. Even down to picking the right lore to use. I switched off light to heavens all year and I enjoyed all the subtle differences it made to how my empire army operated.

  4. Certainly a phase I could personally improve on, my favorite is the movement phase.

    1. That's because your army is broken!

      However at least you don't use those Ethereals that "rort" the movement phase

  5. I like the magic phase.
    The mind battle of PD vs DD rolling, the need and ability to change your magic tactics to suit the flow of the game to get the most from your phase.
    But my favourite part of it actually starts list pointing.
    One of the wonderfull things about 8th is you get 2D6 dice a turn "SO you may as well use them" (Yay Dwarfs) which means every list has to work out how the plan to maximise its efficiency. Choice of Lores to reflect your other unit choices, items on wizards and where you are going to hide those squishy bastards to get the most from them.
    But then iv always loved theory hammer!