The 8 Basic Lores in 7th Edition
This little article will deal with the eight lores of magic featured in the 7th edition rulebook and should hopefully be of use to those who have not had a chance to check it out yet (my local store has the book, yay!).
One little note first: It was rumoured, when we did not know many details of 7th edition, that spells would over all be toned down and not be capable of inflicting horrendous casualties. This is not true. Some spells can do terrible amounts of damage (Spirit of the Forge on a unit of Chosen Chaos Knights, for example), but they have proportionally high casting values to match this. Some spells have been reduced in effectiveness, though. No longer will you be able to smack a casting value 10+ Comet into the battlefield and cause 2D6 S5 hits on all units nearby.
One new biggie is that all spells that do direct damage and have a range of more than 12" now require line of sight, apart from the Comet of Cassandora and the Wall of Fire (for some reason).
A note: All spells that grant a unit additional movement allows the enemy to make charge reactions as normal, while spells cannot be cast into combat unless stated otherwise (more spells can now do this).
- Lore of Fire
- Lore of Metal
- Lore of Shadow
- Lore of Beasts
- Lore of Heavens
- Lore of Light
- Lore of Life
- Lore of Death
- Overall verdict
Contender for (and proably winner of) 'Least changed Lore'. Burning Head is a little easier and a little better (now causing Panic as long as it causes casualties) and Wall of Fire has been better defined and that's it. It could be argued that the Wall of Fire is now very, very good compared to the previous incarnation, which you could just walk around after taking the initial hits, and that might be true, but with a casting level of 12+ it should be and the original version was embarrassingly bad and needlessly complicated.
Fire remains a Lore with relatively high casting values, with only two spells with a casting value of 7+ or lower and two with a casting value of 11+ or more. All the spells are destructive, with two also being disruptive. Great on a high-level caster, lower levels might find themselves limited to casting Fire Balls with their own two dice while the other Wizards play around with the remaining Power dice.
One greatly improved lore, with four out of six spells becoming better. Rule of Burning Iron now allows no armour save (which avoids the silliness of being protected by your armour from the damage caused by your armour heating up) and goes from S1 for unarmoured creatures up to S7 for Empire Knights and Chosen Chaos Knights. It is now also properly defined who you can target (anyone you can see within range), instead of the previous semi-magic missile nonsense. Casting value is up a bit, though, but not by too much. Very useful basic spell.
Of the other spells, Transmutation of Lead now also affects rolls to wound and the Law of Gold has a greater chance of nullifying the item for the entire battle. There is also a new spell to replace the clunky Bane of Forged Steel, the Spirit of the Forge which is essentially 2D6 hits like the Rule of Burning Iron and a sure hate-object for all players with heavily armoured models.
The Lore of Metal has a rather balanced spell selection, with half the spells having a casting value of 7+ or less, while only one spell being 11+ or more. Being quite suited to combating enemies with good armour and relying on magic items, chariots and war machines, the Lore of Metal is great against Empire, Bretonnia, Dwarfs and Chaos Mortals.
How much this lore is improved, depends on which army you are using. The basic spell is still the Steed of Shadows (now slightly more difficult), which is not terribly useful for all armies.Creeping Death now has less Strength but causes more hits, a change I'm not sure I see the point of, but there you go.
The Pelt of Midnight (not terribly useful unless the opponent had a lot of missile weapons) is gone and replaced by the new Crown of Taidron, a medium difficulty spell which does D6 S4 hits on all units within 12", friends and foes. A bit risky and not for all armies, but it can certainly clear up those small, expensive enemy units.
Shades of Death follows the theme of the Wood Elf spell, the Twilight Host, and now makes a Fear causing unit cause Terror, with the casting value being increased a bit to make up for it. Unseen Lurker now grants the unit an additional move (which can be a charge or whatever), which is very, very useful for units with a decent Movement value. To compensate, the casting value has gone up, while the range has been drastically reduced.
We all know the old Pit of Shades, don't we? If you are hit by the template you take a S3 hit and have a 50% chance of having halved Movement next turn. Not particularly scary, is it? The new version is. It requires line of sight and has a (not too) limited range, but if you are hit by that template you must pass an Initiative test or be destroyed. Very, very, nasty against low-Initiative enemies.
The Lore of Shadow is the one with the highest casting values, having only two spells that are cast on 7+ or less and two that are cast on 11+ or more. It therefore encourages a higher level caster, which also gives you more chance of getting the spells you want. Low level casters will struggle unless they have some kind of bonus to their casting - the idea of a level 2 with Steed of Shadows / Crown of Taidron might seem tempting until you realise that a normal lvl 2 will have max 4 dice to play with and has a low chance of getting both those spells.
Continuing to be a lore with generally low casting values, the lore of Beasts is now more aggressive in nature instead of the more disruptive / defensive nature it used to have. The first indication you have of this is the fact that the Bear's Anger is now the default spell (and with a reduced casting value as well!). Not something you normally want to give to a fragile High Elf Mage.
The age-old question: If a unit is below 25% of its starting numbers, can you rally it with Oxen Stands? The answer is now Yes. Otherwise no change.
The Crow's Feast has not been altered at all, while the Beast Cowers is now actually useful, stopping creatures in affected units from both moving and attacking. And it's easier to cast as well. New on the list is the Hunter's Spear, which replaces the Eagle's Cry. Being a magic missile that hits pretty much like a bolt thrower (except for causing only 1 wound and not D3), this is another spell cavalry owners will not appreciate. The Wolf Hunts is as it was, apart from the general change to movement spells (see above).
The Lore of Beasts is one of the easiest to cast, four spells are 7+ or less and none are 11+ or more. This makes for a decent Lore for low-level Wizards, especially for players who don't mind a bit of close combat. The lore is particularly good for combating enemy cavalry.
Being a previous favourite, the lore of Heavens will probably be less popular in 7th edition. The default spell is Portent of Far, which is admittedly better, being easier to cast and also working on ranged attacks as well as close combat attacks. Second Sign of Amul is pretty useless, though. Getting back to it's original casting value, it now only works on rolls to hit, wound and save, whereas previously the really good uses were other spells, leadership tests and random movement.
The Storm of Chronos is off the list, and replaced by a defensive spell, Celestial Shield, a medium difficulty spell that gives your unit a quite good ward save against normal and magical missiles. Not too shabby against the right opponent but not a great spell by any means.
Forked Lightning and Uranon's Thunderbolt went from unlimited range and not requiring line of sight in the original version to having a range and not requiring line of sight in the trial version. In the finished version they have unlimited range but require line of sight. Not actually bad (Forked Lightning is even a little easier to cast), but with normal magic missiles being able to target anything you can see, not that impressive.
And for those of you who complained that the Comet of Cassandora went up in casting value and down in Strength in the trial version, it has now gone up in casting value again, while still being Strength 4! Hah! And it's a remains in play spell, so if your caster actually manages to get it going he can't cast anything else until it comes down. Hah!
In it's latest incarnation, the Lore of Heavens is more supportive than before and most of the spells are rather easy to case, three being 7+ or less to cast and only one being 11+ or more. Having three spells with unlimited range, it is suitable for Wizards that hang back, for example next to a War machine they can enhance with Portent of Far.
I must admit that I have never faced anyone who wanted to take the Lore of Light in sixth edition, and I'm not sure you'll see it very often in seventh edition either. At least Burning Gaze is the default spell instead of the silly Pha's Illumination, and it is now Strength 6 against Daemons and Undead (for some reason), but it does not make up for a lore with a mishmash of spells. Pha's Illumination, as indicated, is still pretty crap. It can only be used by US1 models and give their stats a not-too-great boost while not allowing them to use weapons.
Healing Energy (formerly Healing Hand) is an example of a rather bad spell that actually got worse, now healing only 1 wound (though it admittedly went down in casting cost). Bah! Dazzling Brightness is still the same, as is Guardian Light (also clarified to be able to rally units below 25%).
Finally, the rather crappy spell, Blinding Light, is replaced by Cleansing Flame, which does D6 S5 hits to all enemy units within a rather short range, even if engaged in close combat (again Undead and Daemons get S6 hits). Compared to the other top of the list spells, this one doesn't quite compare.
One thing the Lore of Light has going for it, is that it's easy to cast. Four spells at 7+ or less to cast and none at 11+ or more. Sounds like a good Lore for low-level Wizards? If only there was some theme to what the spells did. And two of them are Remains in play. For a level 2 it's slightly better than Fire, as the Wizard will at least have a decent chance at his other spell if he gets tired of Burning Gaze every turn.
Not too great originally, this lore was given a tremendous boost in the trial version and has now been appropriately toned down, with correspondingly lower casting values. Happily, it also does away with the odd fluff bits they used to have mixed in with the spell descriptions ("The roots cause 2D6 S3 hits. The roots wither and disappear at the end of the magic phase.") Mistress of the Marsh is actually better than the trial version, since it can be cast into close combat and is back to its original casting value.
Master of Wood used to do one or two D6 S4 hits, then upped to S5 in the trial version. Now it only does one D6 S4 hits, with the same range as in the trial version (no silly immunity for Dryads or Treemen). Easier to cast as well. Gift of Life replaces the Father of Thorn and does what the Healing Energy (see above) should have done, though with a rather short range. Not too impressive.
The Howler Wind (the spell I hated the most in 7th edition) now does not affect enemy movement at all, for no reduction in casting value. And there was much rejoicing!
The Rain Lord and the Master of Stone has swapped places (don't ask me why, they have the same casting value), with the Rain Lord now being (more or less) properly clarified as to how it works. Master of Stone now works pretty much exactly as the Master of Wood, apart from having a higher Strength.
Still a disruptive Lore, particularly against armies that stand still and shoot at you. Casting levels are low (no spell above 8+!) and there is a theme to it which makes the lore good for supporting low-level Wizards.
Another contender for the least changed lore. Daemons and Undead have lost their immunities to these spells, the odd Death Dealer has been replaced by a copy of the Shadow lore Shades of Death spell (dull!), Doom and Darkness has had its casting value significantly reduced and that's about it. Oh, and Drain Life also affects units in close combat. Nice!
Very similar to Fire, Death has more mid-range spells and fewer very easy or very difficult, one spell being cast on 7+ or less and none on 11+ or more. Only one is Remains in play, which makes this a good lore for high level casters, but not so much for low level ones.
Short story: The two perfectly fine lores, Fire and Death got better by having their (quite few) sub-par spells becoming better and has had a few clunky oddities ironed out. If you liked those already, there will be even more reason to like them now. The lores of Metal, Shadow and Beast got better, while the lores of Life and Heavens got a worse. The Lore of Light is still rather useless.
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