"I Have A Use For You"
Unlike the plans of James Delaney, the utility of the new Magic Artefact, the Lute of Insatiable Darkness is pretty straightforward. For 20 points you get the ability to provide one of your Heroes with the Bane Chant (2) spell.
In 99% of armies (I'm a chronic underestimator), this item will be plonked onto the Hero providing the role of Army Standard Bearer. Previously, the ASB would have been naked or for those people who had to give him something - carrying the War Bow. However with the Lute he now has a worthwhile second line of business to Inspiring the troops. So ubiquitous is this item likely to be, rather than saying a "2000 point army", people might as well say "1980 points plus the Lute".
So why is it so good? Apart from the obvious addition of providing some armies access to otherwise off-limits Bane Chant, it helps those that do already have Bane Chant added flexibility. You will see Magic Users who have Bane Chant, taking a second spell.
For instance, in my Herd I have a Shaman with Bane Chant. Previously I was reluctant to take a second spell as there were very few turns when I did not need to use the option of adding Crushing Strength to a combat. However, now I can take the Heal Spell knowing I have potential not to need to cast Bane Chant.
In practice, the first spell I cast will be Bane Chant courtesy of the Lute. Where it is required for Piercing it has only a 25% chance of success (two 4+ results). However for Crushing Strength, it will likely be successful 75% of the time (one 4+ result) - this second case is one that I can plan around. Given success, I now have the opportunity with my Shaman to add Crushing Strength to another combat (with 87% chance of success) or instead use the Heal spell to recover on average 2.5 wounds.
The Lute, for 20 points, is just too good to leave at home.