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Author Topic: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions  (Read 487 times)

Offline Shadow_Zero

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WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« on: November 09, 2017, 07:28:05 AM »
I'm reading into Mathias' stuff over at Warhammer Armies Project (like http://warhammerarmiesproject.blogspot.nl/2015/07/brainstorming-for-85-ed.html and http://warhammerarmiesproject.blogspot.nl/2016/02/warhammer-9th-edition-beta-out-now.html) and also came across a nice blog about WHFB Magic in various editions: https://robhawkinshobby.blogspot.nl/2014/12/magic-in-warhammer.html

Rob makes some good points in my opinion. I'm curious about other people's thoughts and experiences on the pro's en cons of Magic in the various WHFB editions!


I also created a Spells and Magic tab in my comparison sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1POX5mejpKDSb3a7aQqpNe5RdqldAEcG3J2Ck4P8fCAs/edit?usp=sharing
It's still a work in progress, but it helps me to understand how Magic developed through the years, and think for myself of what I think were pluses and minuses (but heck, so many spells available for The Empire!).


EDIT:
Also an interesting read, on the 5th edition days: http://herohammernostalgia.blogspot.nl/2009/10/warhammer-magic-card-game.html
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 08:23:04 AM by Shadow_Zero »

Offline Rowsdower

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2017, 10:44:50 AM »
I like the rule books which had magic stuff written in them. I don't like having to sink more money on decks of cards I wont use.

Offline RE.Lee

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2017, 01:01:08 PM »
So the guy took the worst of both worlds and called it ideal?

Because the only thing that kept the 6th edition's magic power builds honest was the relative weakness of the magic lores. Now they get the consistent 12PD per phase AND spells like Dwellers, Purple Sun. Good job!

Personally I liked the card system of 5th edition - plenty of bluffing and the fabulous escape card. The 8th edition system for generating dice is also nice, as it blocks spaming Wizards. However, some spells in both 5th and 8th are a just too powerful, especially compared to things like Wind Blast. I think 6th and 7th had better balance there, though charging in the magic phase was perhaps too much.
cheers,
Lee

Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2017, 06:15:07 PM »
As much as I think 6e/7e was the high point of canonical Warhammer, the power/dispel dice generation rules weren't. The utility of magic is proportional to the amount of spells you manage to successfully cast, and the more power dice you have, the larger a fraction of your spells end up successfully cast, for a given number of opposing dispel dice. Hence, magic in competitive play ended up being an all-or-nothing affair, either you have a bucketload of power dice or you ignore magic and just take measures to dispel said bucketload.

As much as the spell selection of 8e was broken, the power die generation system was far better because, contrary to 6e/7e, bringing more wizards meant diminishing returns as they'd compete against each other for the same largely fixed number of power dice. Or would, if several armies didn't have ways to circumvent that mechanism through additional power die generation.

Nope, T9A is where it's at. 8e system for power/dispel dice generation but without all kinds of ways to break it. Spells that, for the most part, are quite powerful but situational, requiring smart play and not just nuking the enemy with damage spells.
The only good thing about 7th ed heads is that they look particularly inbred and superstitious which is perfect for Stirlanders

Offline Shadow_Zero

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2017, 10:14:10 PM »
So the guy took the worst of both worlds and called it ideal?

Because the only thing that kept the 6th edition's magic power builds honest was the relative weakness of the magic lores. Now they get the consistent 12PD per phase AND spells like Dwellers, Purple Sun. Good job!
What is your thought on/experience with 7th edition then? It sounds quite fluffy to me that each Wizard has his own personal power dice pool, depending on the level (next to the two general power dice). If I'm not missing anything, a lv1 Wizard would have max. 3 dice to cast and a lv4 Wizard max. 7 dice. Sounds to me it makes the Magic phase a bit simpler, a lot faster, and prevent the role of Wizards being too big (although I'm thinking for the dispel side you really need to bring Wizards along just for that, which I don't really like). 

@Konrad von Richtmark: How is the spell 'selection' in 8e broken?
And what did they change for T9A?


Offline RE.Lee

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2017, 07:23:53 AM »
Konrad von Richtmark pretty much sums up my opinions. In 6/7th it was either 4+2+2+2 levels or a level 1 with 2 scrolls. That was literally it.

In 8th you can take a level 2 and be ok - it will be better than a level 1. An additional level 2 will give you some more spell selection, which is important and also some redundancy should one of the wizards get killed. It does not make your magic phase twice as strong, with an additional level 2 making it 3x as strong and adding a level 4 even more so.

People complain that a level 4 is pretty much mandatory in 8th, but at least he does not need to be backed up by 3 level 2 power dice generators to make him effective.

My experience with 6/7th was that I either didn't play in the magic phase at all, took a caddy and try to break the enemy army or assassinate their wizards early on, or go for full on magic phase an hope to blow the enemy from the field before they could get to me (Skaven - yay!).

Like I've mentioned, the 8th ed system is far from flawless, but the dice generation makes so much more sense.
cheers,
Lee

Offline Shadow_Zero

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2017, 08:24:52 AM »
Refresh my memory, was 8th edition the first one to add the Wizard's Lv to the casting value?
And in which edition(s) was the dispel scroll limited to one per army?

Also, people seem to name 6th and 7th Magic in one breath, but it 'is' a big difference in 7th you don't add the Wizard's power dice to the general power dice pool, right? (as in, it's only usable for 'that' wizard).
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 08:27:58 AM by Shadow_Zero »

Offline Warlord

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2017, 03:11:09 PM »
Correct. And the impact of spells other than magic charges in 6th was very different from 7th and 8th with the uber unit killing spells.
6th and 7th were not the same. 7th was an iteration on 6th, which inproved but created new problems too.
It also doesnít take into account the strict character limitations in 6th and 7th, which meant taking multiple wizards meant sacrificing other characters in your army. 5th and 8th have broadbrush percentages. The whole meta was different.
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Offline Shadow_Zero

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2017, 03:09:33 PM »
6th and 7th were not the same. 7th was an iteration on 6th, which inproved but created new problems too.
Which problems were those?

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 03:23:38 PM »
As so ofte, one must distinguish between the BRB and the ABs. The magic system of the BRB in 6th/7th was balanced per se. However, the magic lores and/or equipment of various ABs broke that balance.
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Offline RE.Lee

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2017, 05:33:02 PM »
The basic system was rock-paper-scissors kind of balanced. The growing returns from investing in magic levels was the silly bit and that was the result of the core rules not any of the ABs. The army specific rules imbalanced the game (7th at least) though I pretty much already quit playing by that time.
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Lee

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2017, 05:50:45 PM »
What do you mean by "growing returns in magic levels? And how would that be more the case than in 8th, where you add the wizard level to cast/dispel? if that is not a growing return in magic levels, what is?
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Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2017, 06:06:32 PM »
I think the term he was looking for was "increasing marginal returns from additional wizard levels bought". As in, 4 levels of wizards is more than twice as powerful than 2 levels of wizards, and 8 levels of wizards is more than twice as powerful as 4 levels of wizards. For the reasons described in my post.
The only good thing about 7th ed heads is that they look particularly inbred and superstitious which is perfect for Stirlanders

Offline RE.Lee

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2017, 08:45:15 PM »
Again, Konrad is better at expressing my opinions than I am. In 7th there was no point in taking a level 2 (perhaps even 2 level 2s). None.

Your magical setup versus a typical combat army with a caddy:
- caddy - you just both do nothing in the magic phase
- 2-3-4 levels of magic - you pretty much wasted whatever you invested (its 4-5-6 vs 3 dice and he's got two scrolls, counting roughly as 3 DD each - just enough for the 2 turns before you get smashed)
- 5-6-7-8-9 levels of magic - not bad, each extra dice allows you to cast something, but its still a spell per turn and you're heavily invested
- 10 levels of magic - now we're talking, you have a 9 dice advantage, so even against scrolls you can push through perhaps 2 spell in the first couple of turns

Not saying these were not fun games, but still - a weird system.
cheers,
Lee

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2017, 09:10:55 PM »
While this may or may not be theoretically true, it certainly did not hold water in practice (at least in my experience), because of the limitations of the number of characters and the lack of overpowered BRB spells. For something that allegedly made no point in 7th, I myself and the majority of my opponents in a standard 2.000 points game took exactly that: a single level 2 wizard sometimes supplemented by another level 1/2 wizard.
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Offline Warlord

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2017, 04:45:57 AM »
New problems of 7th magic were more related to armybook spells and combos than core rules.

Agree with Fidelis.

Taking 1 level 2 to push a spell through by the 3rd turn wasnít a bad strategy. 100 odd points on a wizard is hardly going to make all the difference to a combat centric army and mean you are wasting points. You could also supplement with bound spells - something that are pretty terrible in 8th edition IMO.

Furthermore, taking a no wizard, combat army was a viable option. There were not many unit destroying spells, and if you donít want to engage in the magic game, you didnít have to. That to me makes magic balanced, not overpowering like it is in 5th and 8th. Not all that different from shooting really - if you dont want to engage in the shooting phase, you dont have to. If you want to heavily invest in magic or shooting, you can and it will mean you are sacrificing on another phase - is that not what balance is all about?

If you want to talk meta, what is the point of a level 2 in 8th if you can easily take a level 4 and get so much more out of it. Almost every 8th ed army has a level 4 - how is that balanced?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 07:46:39 AM by Warlord »
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Offline Shadow_Zero

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2017, 05:42:04 AM »
Interesting!
What are considered the overpowered/game-breaking spells in 8th edition? Are there none in 6th and 7th?

Offline Warlord

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2017, 07:55:48 AM »
In 6th and 7th, it was primarily movement spells. Thing is, undead were the main users of them, and it was a balancing choice based on their bad movement rules regarding marching. Part of the issue with the movement spells coupled with undead, is that coupling losing combat from a fear causing enemy that outnumber, makes the problem worse, and without multiple rank attacks back, or step up, and chargers attacking first, it made it a powerful combo.

7th only had 2 unit killing spells I believe - a chaos one, and a skaven one. Comet of Cassandora was the only big spell from the BRB. The rest were minor to mid strength damage, buffs or hexes. 6th didnt even have the chaos or skaven ones, just comet.

8th retains the chaos and skaven ones, and has purple sun and dwellers. Comet is a sub-par choice in comparison. There are other powerful spells in the other lores too, such as mindrazor. Most of the #6 spells in 8th were not in 6th and 7th.
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Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2017, 08:54:09 AM »
Plus the Comet in 6th/7th was a Remain in Play spell: it could still be dispelled later on, and the wizard could not cast any other spells without terminating the Comet.

Certainly, step-up and no more auto-break were very welcome and necessary improvements in 8th.
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Offline Shadow_Zero

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2017, 09:44:42 AM »
In 6th and 7th, it was primarily movement spells. Thing is, undead were the main users of them, and it was a balancing choice based on their bad movement rules regarding marching. Part of the issue with the movement spells coupled with undead, is that coupling losing combat from a fear causing enemy that outnumber, makes the problem worse, and without multiple rank attacks back, or step up, and chargers attacking first, it made it a powerful combo.

7th only had 2 unit killing spells I believe - a chaos one, and a skaven one. Comet of Cassandora was the only big spell from the BRB. The rest were minor to mid strength damage, buffs or hexes. 6th didnt even have the chaos or skaven ones, just comet.

8th retains the chaos and skaven ones, and has purple sun and dwellers. Comet is a sub-par choice in comparison. There are other powerful spells in the other lores too, such as mindrazor. Most of the #6 spells in 8th were not in 6th and 7th.
It's a complicated puzzle  :happy:

I'd like to use 8th edition rules as much as possible, but the 7th edition Magic rules seem to appeal more to me. I mostly play against my Vampire Counts friend, we haven't experienced any real game breaking Magic phases, other than miscasts going horribly wrong making a big impact (and a nice moment where I was on the losing side big time, but my Wizard who had left it's archer regiment successfully casted a "The Dwellers Below" on his 6 unit of, I think it was, Varghulf's got hit hard  ^^ ). But a lot of spells seem to be dispelled in my experience.


Would you consider 8th edition rules concerning the available Spells, Fear, no more auto-break, multiple rank attacks, step-up (and then I'm still pondering on charging getting first attack, or leave it at Initiative as 8th edition introduced), no character limitation (but broadbrush percentages) to be a balanced set of rules?

But it also makes me think that it's kinda unfair that Skaven, Beastmen and Bretonnia didn't get a 8th edition book with spells (I have a friend who plays Beastmen and another who plays Bretonnia), but maybe WAP, 9th Age, EEFL or someone else from the community already provided an alternative for that?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 09:58:22 AM by Shadow_Zero »

Offline Naitsabes

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2017, 07:17:28 PM »
For me the worst part about 6/7 magic was all the 'magic movement' type spells. Really could kill all the careful maneuvering that this game should be about. In my recollection it wasn't just undead either. There was a shadow magic spells and, the orcs had something similar. Ah, the bad old days.

The other part was magic didn't scale that well. It got out of control in bigger games so this required some gentlemen's agreement.
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Offline Shadow_Zero

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2017, 06:58:04 AM »
The other part was magic didn't scale that well. It got out of control in bigger games so this required some gentlemen's agreement.
What kind of gentlemen's agreements did you play with?

Offline Naitsabes

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2017, 01:11:29 AM »
Details are fuzzy, this was a long time ago. I think it was usually an agreed upon max of wizard levels. This you can easily scale to game size and it left room for customization since you could bring a few powerful wizards or many lower level ones.
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Offline Shadow_Zero

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2017, 07:31:57 AM »
I would think in 7th edition it was hard(er) for lower level Wizards to cast higher level spells, due to their limited power dice available. WAP (Warhammer Armies Project) has a nice suggestion for that, that Lv1/Lv2 Wizards roll a D3 on the spells list, thus not having availability for the 3 higher spells. But I don't know if there are lores for which you would 'really' want a higher spell from the list for a Lv1/Lv2 Wizard (though chances are slim to begin with, I guess you would take a Lv3/Lv4 then). Maybe a houserule that only 1 Lv4 and 1 Lv3 Wizard is allowed in a (bigger) game. But for <2500 point games I kinda think it is uncommon to take multiple Lv4 (or Lv3) Wizards...?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 12:11:06 PM by Shadow_Zero »

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

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Re: WHFB Magic & Spells in various editions
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2017, 09:28:43 AM »
Before 8th, it was not uncommon, but simply impossible to take multiple lvl 3/4 wizards in < 2500 point games. In games < 2000 you could not take any Lord, and in games < 3000 just one. Basically, starting from 2000 points, an extra Lord could be added with each extra 1000 points.
Regarding lvl 1/2 wizards: there were a number of common and specific magic items to allow a wizard to roll more PD than normal.
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