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 Post subject: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:17 pm 
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Magic Phase Strategy

First off, let me start by saying that by no means am I a master of the magic phase. I have stinky phases and make mistakes just like the rest of us. However, due to the nature of my army list, quite a bit of the overall functionality of my army relies on a solid magic phase, and as such I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned over the course of 8th edition

Magic Offense

1. The magic phase actually starts in the movement phase

In 8th edition we were given the ability to measure at any point in the game. Yet I'm still amazed at how many people I see completely foregoing that opportunity.

Nearly every spell has a range, and because of this the magic phase should have a strong consideration during the movement phase. There is nothing worse than figuring out that your unit is just out of range of that critical buff, or that unit you wanted to use a direct damage spell on is just out of your front arc.

Take a bit of extra time in the movement phase to think about the upcoming magic phase, and ensure that your units are in a position to execute your strategy.


2. Rank your spells in terms of importance to you, then rank them in terms of percieved threat to your opponent

If you want to be effective in your magic phase, it isn't a one sided equation.

Try this experiment - in the next friendly game you play, secretly rank your spells in order of importance to you. Then ask your opponent to rank them in order of threat level, also secretly. Play out the phase without revealing them (to not disrupt the game), then compare your lists. You'll find that many times, your opponents list will be different than yours.

The idea that I'd like to convey here is percieved threat. Net of Amyntok is a great spell to illustrate this. In many cases if I cast it on the opponent's main caster unit, there's usually a 1/3 chance that it will do anything (S4 units are pretty common). To me, this isn't near as critical as a Banishment or Pha's Protection, which have guaranteed, powerful effects.

However, flip the situation around, and to an opponent it's a 1/3 chance that they might whiff their entire magic phase next turn. This is a HUGE threat to them. So the percieved threat is much greater to the opponent than the percieved value is to you.

Use this knowledge to start crafting a casting strategy - use the spells that your opponent percieves to be a huge threat to start in order to draw out dispel mechanisms, clearing the path for the spells that you feel are the highest value.

3. Assume they have a scroll

A dispel scroll will stop any one spell - it doesn't care whether 3 dice were used to cast it or 6 dice. An opponent is going to look for situations where they can get the most value possible from the scroll. I personally don't see any reason to hand them 6 dice on a silver platter by going big on a spell. So my policy is this: Assume they have a scroll until you can irrefutably know that they don't. Some good ways to tell:

- They let a spell go through that has potentially devastating effects. For example, if I get through a Banishment on a monster and don't get a scroll, I assume at that point that there isn't one in play.
- They try to divide their dispel dice among your threats resulting in a sub 80% chance to dispel any given spell. For example, if you roll 12 and they throw 2 dice at it, if the effect is reasonably powerful, they're likely scroll free.
- They've used it already (obviously :P)

Having said that, there is also a time and a place to just force out the scroll to free up further phases. 6 dice on a pit, dwellers or withering (in a shooty list) in an early magic phase needs to be a calculated risk, however - you're essentially giving up that magic phase in favour of future ones.

4. Consider the power vs. dispel dice spread

Think about not only how you're going to divide your dice among your spells, but also how your opponent can divide their dice. It's often very possible to use a casting strategy that leaves an opponent with a useless number of dispel dice if they try to dispel witht the "right" number of dice. In this case, it can pay dividends to ignore what the "right" number of dice are to cast with and use the number that forces a tough decision. For example:

Magic phase is 10 v 5 - Long range banishment is usually cast on 3 dice with my level 4 for an 83% chance of success - good odds in my books.

However, casting with three dice gives the opponent the ability to potentially dispel with 3 and save 2 dice, which versus a "trickle" casting phase (see below) is a decent number.

If I cast banishment with 4 dice, he's either got to throw 5 dice or let it through, since throwing 4 dice will result in one left over which is next to useless, as the rest of my phase will be a long string of 2D6 spells.

So even though 3 power dice seems outwardly like the right choice, 4D6 actually will be more beneficial when you consider the phase as a whole.

5. Strategy #1 - Be a bully

As has been discussed countless times before, with the introduction of 8th edition came the introduction of game altering, high level spells. These spells are often powerful enough to justify reckless casting strategies, because the return from even just one successful cast is often enough to counter the potential ramifications of the miscasts that are much more likely to occur.

The premise here is to use the threat of that one spell to force a tough choice on the opponent - save up their dice to try to dispel that spell and allow the rest through? Or dispel the rest and risk the big spell?

There are, of course, downsides:

- Far more likely to miscast and damage your own troops and/or lose the wizard
- Enemy scrolls are significantly more valuable due to the large number of dice being thrown around
- Outlying events have a huge effect on the overall phase - eg. failing to cast on the big spell results in a huge number of power dice lost

6. Strategy #2 - Trickle

The idea behind a trickle strategy is that many small spells can add up to an overall effect that can compete with, and often surpass the effects of a single large spell.

Essentially a phase built with this strategy will contain many spell options and opt to use as few dice as possible to cast as many spells as possible, making it impossible to completely shut the phase down. For example, whereas in a 9 power dice phase, a lore of life caster might try 3D6 Throne --> 6D6 Dwellers, a trickle phase might look like this (using my own list as an example)

3D6 Banishment
2D6 Pha's
2D6 Pha's
2D6 Speed of Light

The result is that rarely can the opponent stop everything - usually two of the spells get dispelled, and the rest go through. There is also a significantly smaller chance of miscast, and it's almost guaranteed that your magic phase will amount to *something*.

This particular strategy is also excellent against armies with plenty of magic defense - multiple low dice spells greatly reduces the effect of scrolls, and it also amplifies the effects of the +4 to cast versus dwarves. Even if they have more dispel dice than you have casting dice, it's still possible to force through spells, since they usually have to throw more dispel dice than you throw casting dice to compensate for your bonus to cast.

The downsides here:

- It's far easier for the opponent to dispel one or two of the spells of their choosing
- It's rare for one magic phase to change the course of the game drastically - whereas one well timed purple sun can win a game, you're not going to achieve effects as outwardly dramatic with a "trickle" based strategy

7. Two dice from a level 1 is the same as two dice from a level 4

If a level 1 casts a 5+ spell on 2D6, then provided it goes off, the opponent is forced to choose between throwing 1 dice and risk a 1/3 chance of losing their dispel bonus, or to throw 2 dice and expend the same amount of dice as the caster despite being significantly higher level. Either way, it's an uncomfortable situation for the opponent.

Dark Elves use this to great effect with the power of darkness, and I've also seen Beastmen do quite well with this using miasma spam from a herdstone.

Magic Defense

1. Starts in the movement phase

Similar to the way movement effects the offensive magic phase, it also effects the defensive magic phase. The best way to defend against a spell is to deny the opponent the opportunity to cast it in the first place. In your own magic phase, consider the ranges of the enemy's spells, and if it is plausible to fit it in with your overall game strategy, place your key targets outside of the range of their spells in the next turn. Remember to factor in their own movement!

2. Write down your opponent's spells

Almost nobody I know or have played against does this! When your opponent rolls their spells, write them down or pull out the relevant cards. This way you get to consider all possibilities before comitting to dispel a spell. If you rely on memory, inevitably you'll run into situations where you forget about that one spell and it comes back to bite you.

As GI Joe once put it: "Knowing is half the battle"

3. Focus on stopping the worst spell(s), not every spell

We've all been on the recieving end of a brutal magic phase - a relentless barrage of spells where each one seems like it's going to end the game right then and there.

It's in situations like these that it becomes critically important to keep your cool, look at the list you made of your opponents spells and decide which one will have the *greatest* effect on the overall game.

Often this choice is neither easy, or obvious, but once you've chosen, stick to your guns. A good opponent is going to try to draw out your dispel dice using spells that they think hold a high threat level to you, clearing the path for their desired spell. It's tough to do, but in some cases you just need to take a few on the chin to prevent the knockout.

4. Use the 80% rule and know your math

In a game where so much relies on chance, it becomes very necessary to mitigate risk in order to achieve consistent results. If you start making risky rolls (ie. sub 80% success rates), then you must be willing to accept that you're going to have a high degree of variance in your phases. Some phases you'll look like a pro because everything works out, and others you will fail to stop anything.

When you're looking to dispel, you want an 80% chance to successfully take out the spell. Any less, and you'll be that guy that tells his friends after the game "If I'd have just made that roll, it would have been a different game"

A few rules of thumb to simplify things in-game:

- Two dice roll 7 or higher 58% of the time, so think of things in terms of 7's
- Take your wizard's level off the opponent's roll to get you the base number you need to roll. For example, if he rolls a 12, your level 4 needs an 8 or higher. 2 dice rolls 7 58% of the time, so rolling 8 is well below 80% success rate. Therefore, roll 3.
- It's better to dispel one spell with certainty than it is to accept too much risk and potentially have two spells go off unimpeded.

There are, of course, exceptions, but by and large these ideas will keep you on track and avoid the "OMG A SPELL, THROW SOME DISPEL DICE" syndrome.

5. Save your scroll for the turn that counts

The tendency is to drop that scroll the minute a big spell gets cast. However, stop to consider what is yet to come in the game. Saving that scroll might produce some unrealized benefits. First and foremost, if a big spell like that goes off, provided the losses are manageable, you will have successfully convinced your opponent that you *don't* have a scroll. Some of the toughest opponents I've played against, have pulled out a scroll on me in Turn 4 or 5, right when I was counting on a series of combat buffs to give me the edge. They let multiple banishments go through on high cost targets to save it for the turn that really mattered.

Often the scroll can be a knee jerk reaction to a 6 dice spell, but really stop to consider if it's absolutely critical, or if you can save it to mitigate a later phase.

6. Remains in Play spells aren't just for offense

Remains in play spells not only provide beneficial effects for your army, but they also force a choice for your opponent: Do I allow it to continue and carry out my magic phase as normal? Or do I dispel the remains in play spell at the expense of my magic phase? The choice is simple for Dwarves, but everyone else is going to be in for quite a struggle - provided you were successful in casting a threatening enough spell in a threatening enough spot. Shield of Thorns on a unit that won't see combat, for example, probably won't get much attention.


While the magic phase seems outwardly simplistic - here's your dice, pick a couple spells, see if they cast - it becomes clear when you sit back and think about it that it's more like a good game of poker. It's as much a phase of reading your opponent as it is about casting spells.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading! I'd love to hear your feedback, or if anyone has any different casting strategies they'd like to share.

D

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Last edited by Brewmaster_D on Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:02 pm 
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Great article D

Theres some really good information in there and a lot theat i'd never even considered before. The maths part will really help me as i have no idea how to calculate percentages based on the number of dice and was just using multiples of 3 to work spells out. E.g if i needed 12 + my level id throw four dice at it.

Those players you've faced that have saved their scrolls for critical moments are braver than me. If something critical to my plan gets nuked im usually chucking my scroll straight at it :D

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Last edited by Caradryal on Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Added note - Save the big spells for last.

1 - It means the enemy has to save his dice to counter it.
2 - If the enemy dispels other spells first, you don't have to over whelm his defenses to get it past
3 - If it IF's on your first cast, he still keeps his DD to stop the rest of your phase
4 - Most Miscast results involve losing power dice. You mitigate the damage by not having any power dice left to lose.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:13 pm 
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1. In genreral, you normaly should place your mages at the corner of a unit. It may reduce attacks on them (hopefully not necessary) and more important, it will in most cases reduce the damage from IF.

2. I somewhat have to disagree with the "opponent and you will disagree what is the worst spell". 1st, there is no "worst spell" as this will change from turn to turn, and second, most of the time I play my opponent and me have quite clear ideas about what will be the most devastating spell for that turn, which means that both of us have quite a clear idea of what to dispell and what to let through.
Creating situations where the opponent has the choice between burning and drowning and where he will always fail to dispell a crucial spell is often key to get through the real usefull spells without risking IFs. This is of course dependand on your opponents army and your own spells, and that is imho the main problem with the lore of shadow, as it will be usefull against anybody everytime. If you have to chose wheter to dispell that pit of shades that will suck your hydra OR the toughness debuff that will turn your witches into mere archer fodder, than magic really starts to hurts (even without IFs or book of hoeth).


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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:01 pm 
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Good points everyone, however I just wanted to address this one in particular:

Paricidas wrote:
2. I somewhat have to disagree with the "opponent and you will disagree what is the worst spell". 1st, there is no "worst spell" as this will change from turn to turn, and second, most of the time I play my opponent and me have quite clear ideas about what will be the most devastating spell for that turn, which means that both of us have quite a clear idea of what to dispell and what to let through.


I work in IT, so I'm quite frugal with my use of absolutes like the above paraphasing :P

Here's my quote:

Quote:
You'll find that many times, your opponents list will be different than yours.


Just so everyone is clear, there are no absolutes here. Paricidas is right that many times it really will be like night and day which spells are the best. This particular point was meant to address those "in between" situations that pop up.

You'll also find that this point becomes especially poignant when you opt for a "trickle" based strategy over a "bully" strategy. Problem is that Lore of Life and Shadows - the two most common lores - pretty much force you into a strategy that forces you into throwing plenty of power dice at each spell.

When you're only casting two spells per phase, prioritizing spells becomes easier for your opponent. Much less decision making required :P

D

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:17 pm 
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Very nice write up and hopefully very helpful to people (i know i will take something away from this).

Just one thing though in the "Trickle" tactic that you didn't mention is a downside that by using less dice you increase the chances of not rolling the minimum 3 to cast 'not enough power' and 'lose concentration'. Though the chances are low they are still greater then when you use 3 dice (minimum 3 on the roll then).

Very well done a great job Brewmaster! =D>

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:38 pm 
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Just personal opinion:

When using the "trickle" tactic and both you and your opponent agree that there is one big bad spell that should (not) go through the following has proved to be rather usefull to me:

Cast the "unimportant" spells first. This will rob your opponent of one of the main advanatges of all dispellers, as he will not know how many PD you will use for that one big fat spell. This leaves him in the dire situation to a. Let most of the unimporant spells through and save the majority of his DD for the big one or b. try to dispell even the small ones and risk a lack of DD for the imporant one.
This will of course work best with (very) low casting values. If you are relying on dwellers or okkhams, the opponent will know that you need a minimum of 4 PD to get them off and can plan accordingly.
I think the best situation to try this one out is a game versus vampires when the HE choses high magic. Both players rely on spell-spam and with an annulian crystal, two drain magics, a dispell scroll and a +1 to dispell the HE can really mess up a vamps magic phase quite hard.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:43 pm 
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Brewmaster you've produced an article worthy of praise. I really do enjoy everything you write from your battle reports to articles such as these.

I just want to emphasise what a great point you make in ranking your spells and having your opponent do that as well, often you can totally miss something just by overlooking a situation or not looking at the next turn ahead rather focusing on the 'now'.

I think this article should be stickied or added to the tactical library for all 8th edition eternity.

On your point 6 - "Strategy #2 - Trickle" I really find that lately when running my Tomb Kings this is the only way to go, backed up by a Hierotitan you literally force your opponent to make some crucial choices in what to dispel and can often get a scroll out in the first two turns. It also minimises your risk of miscasting which is a huge bonus.

Once again, great write up. Well done! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:54 pm 
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Good article.

I normally just put the spell card next to the unit it's effecting instead of writing it down.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:20 am 
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Very interesting!

I have to say that's much more involved than one of my phases! I completely agree about positioning your mages correctly. One reason I use an LSG bunker is because 24" is the range of most High Magic spells.

I too use a trickle strategy but with a single caster. So I can't double up spells. Failing to roll a 3+ is not a big problem for the Coven I suspect? It's a 1-in-36 at the end of the day, if it happens it happens. Much bigger chance of ruining the phase on a miscast.

Recently faced a scary phase with a Light Loremaster and a Lvl 3 Horror block. Especially when he rolled a 12 for his first phase! So many spells, very hard to prioritize my dispels.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:53 am 
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Thanks for the write up D. It was a great read and I think many people will take away something from reading this. I'll add it to the library of Hoeth sticky topic and I'll see if I can get it in the library itself once the discussion here has run its course (so you can still change some things...)

A point I have about bully vs trickle strategy is that it is very dependant on the lore you use, but also on the amount of mages you have. And you can combine the two strategies to realy give your opponent some hard choices. For instance, you have a lvl4 (shadow, 2,3,5,6) and a lvl 2 (light 1,5). With this set up you can either choose a trickle strategy or a bully one. For instance, you can go for Pha's, enfeebeling, withering, banishment, but also just for mindrazor and pit.

But, to complicate matters, you can combine the two (if you have a lot of powerdice). Your opponent wont want you to get mindrazor off on that crucial combat, but he can't stop both mindrazor and 2 small spells. So if you start with a trickle, you can be sure of getting pha's and withering off while your opponent saves his dice for mindrazor/pit. You could even decide to end your magic phase after those two spells, leaving your opponent with unused DD. I think these magic phases are hardest to defend against, since you might end up in a situation where you have DD left over or can't realy stop any crucial spell.

Another thing to note is that remains in play spells are a form of magic defence in their own right. Because your opponent has to use PD in his own magic phase to disspell them, they move the balance of PD/DD in your favour. Spells like flames, doom and darkness, withering can all mean that your opponent doesn't have much of a magic phase himself.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:08 am 
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Great write up man!

I have one thing to add that is a little bit of a special case.

Lore of Life!

Always, always dispel Throne! I have found that odds are the Dwellers will be an IF, or just silly high so you cant dispel it with your dice anyway. Commonly most players will whip out throne first, then 6dice Dwellers and use any excess dice on flesh to stone. Thing is this, with throne dispelled none of the normal spells are silly good. Sure he might get Stone off, but on +2T it's "only" T5 for the most part, so you can live with it. And Dwellers will be needed to be scrolled unless you have 6 dice yourself and feeling lucky. However, when throne is down it's a big risk to 6dice spells. And if you have spread your characters out it's not all that bad. I have started to run my lvl4 with a Potion of Strength just for Dwellers protection in that one critical phase where it's more important to stop all the arguments and let the Dweller slip. I also play with Beast magic so I try to cast Wyssan's and Savage Beast in a defensive manner the turn before all the important combats are going to happen.

And lastly. Dispel Throne!!! The lore is pretty meh if they don't have throne!


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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:16 am 
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joey_boy wrote:
Great write up man!

I have one thing to add that is a little bit of a special case.

Lore of Life!

Always, always dispel Throne! I have found that odds are the Dwellers will be an IF, or just silly high so you cant dispel it with your dice anyway. Commonly most players will whip out throne first, then 6dice Dwellers and use any excess dice on flesh to stone. Thing is this, with throne dispelled none of the normal spells are silly good. Sure he might get Stone off, but on +2T it's "only" T5 for the most part, so you can live with it. And Dwellers will be needed to be scrolled unless you have 6 dice yourself and feeling lucky. However, when throne is down it's a big risk to 6dice spells. And if you have spread your characters out it's not all that bad. I have started to run my lvl4 with a Potion of Strength just for Dwellers protection in that one critical phase where it's more important to stop all the arguments and let the Dweller slip. I also play with Beast magic so I try to cast Wyssan's and Savage Beast in a defensive manner the turn before all the important combats are going to happen.

And lastly. Dispel Throne!!! The lore is pretty meh if they don't have throne!

I'm not sure I agree here. Yes the lore is considerably weaker without throne but due to this some players tend to throw too many dice at it in order to get it off. This can leave them short on remaining power dice if you do not dispel it. I've gone through more than one game against life mages where pretty much all they've got off is throne :D

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:56 am 
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Hi Brewmaster!

An excellent read! I believe you covered all important things about magic without getting into details of particular lore. Very often you can read advice about particular set ups for wizards and their equipment. Your article is much needed step forward showing how to actually use them :) I have a few questions which I think might add to the discussion.

1. How Lore of Light in your case affects your strategy? - the great strength of this lore is that you can either cast many low level spells or area spells but then how and when do you choose which option to pick?

2. How is the casting/dispelling strategy dependant on winds of magic? - we already know that having 12 dice to cast can be good but not necessarily the best situation from the point of view of casting spells. But in general, how do you plan your magic when winds are low and how does it differ from the moment when they are strong (apart from the obvious that you can cast many spells :))?

3. How to plan magic phase when you cannot augment it with Banner of Sorcery and channeling? - you designed a very powerful and efficient Coven of Light. Yet not many of us use more than 2 wizards and sometimes do not have access to BoS either. However, an efficient magic phase can happent in such circumstances too. Any advice for those who use fewer wizards and without opportunity to mitigate winds of magic?

Once again thanks a lot for great write up!

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:26 pm 
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Great article brewmaster, haven't got much to add to it myself, the other replies pretty much mention most important things.

This article should definatly be read by new players. I myself could have used it a few months ago.
Thus far I have been experimenting with the "bully" (shadow) and "trickle" (high) tactics, I've come to realise that trickle is effective. Some opponants have a hard time choosing priorities. Whilst with bully prioritizing is less difficult.
Offcourse, good point made swordmaster of hoeth, all depends on winds of magic..

Keep up the good work! Loving the tactics, articles and battle reps.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:10 pm 
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Hey Guys!

Thanks for the great feedback! Lots of good points brought up here, once I get a minute I'll edit them into the original article.

@The Silly Dragon - With 2D6, you're absolutely correct, there is still a chance that you could fail the cast on a natural roll of 2. It's even happened to me on occasion! However, this is a calculated risk - 1/36 odds are acceptable, since it usually allows me to squeeze another spell into the phase. I'd also sooner see my mage fizzle out than explode :P

@Paricidas - Psychology definitely comes into play here. Just because you have a big nuke spell doesn't mean you have to cast it, and what you mention really illustrates that. Often just the threat of that big spell is enough for your opponent to let you get a myriad of other, smaller spells off. The cheaper the high effect spell (call it the "Ace in your sleeve"), the more effective this strategy is. For example, if you have a high effect spell that only costs 10 to cast, then even two power dice are dangerous and your opponent will likely save his dice.

@Jimmy - I honestly think Tomb Kings are poised to have one of the most effective "trickle" phases in the game. Access to the lore of light, which is full of cheap spells, and most importantly the casket and Heirotitan makes them incredibly difficult to stop. +D3 to cast turns level 2 wizards into powerhouses!

@ Hero - Just to clarify a bit here - by writing your opponent's spells down, I mean at the start of the game when they roll for their spells. Then you've got a list in front of you of exactly what your opponent is capable of casting in their turn. Putting the cards down beside the units they're effecting, however, is also a great tool to help keep track of what is in play.

@ SpellArcher - It's funny you say that this is much more involved than one of your phases. I find that most players process a lot of these things behind the scenes without giving them much conscious thought - call it instinctual playing. I'd be willing to bet that you've been doing many of these things without even knowing it! I wanted to get it written down, however, so that new players and veterans alike could bring it to the forefront and analyze their own playing and possibly improve on something that previously was just a "gut" reaction.

@ Rod - Awesome! I'll try to get some of the additional points edited in to the main article once I get a chance.

To address your two points - absolutely you can combine the two strategies! It's all in how you build your magic phase in your list. If you build in tools for both, it's going to constantly keep your opponent on their toes, since they won't know what is coming at them on a given turn. This even further confuses their dispelling efforts.

Remains in Play, how could I forget those! This is part of what makes the lore of shadows so strong, for example. Not only do you have powerful hexes, but they remain in play, forcing your opponent to dispel in their own turn. If you feel that your opponent has a strong phase coming up (you have their spells written down in front of you, right?), then you can pre-emptively cast some RiP spells to take some of the wind out of their sails.

@Joey_Boy & Caradryal - There's arguments to be made for both sides of the equation here, but I wanted to try to stay away from lore specific tactics and keep things pretty general. At the end of the day this debate is going to boil down to one thing: which of the two you prioritize as higher in any given situation. In some cases it will be Throne, and in some cases Dwellers. Often, you'll find it won't even be a choice. Remember, absolute statements are usually proven wrong ;)

@ Swordmaster - Regarding the lore of light - I generally approach my phases with a general idea of what I want to accomplish; do I want to protect my troops, increase my damage output or create some ranged threat. Then, keeping the general strategy in mind I place the spells that accomplish this high on the prioritization scale. Because the lore has so many threats, it's pretty easy to build a phase around one encompassing goal.

Casting strategy vs. the winds: This is largely dependant on point 4. The strength of the winds largely dictates how many spell attempts you can accomplish, however the spread is really what dictates the casting strategy. The key is to use your resources (both spells and power dice) to force out his resources (Dispel dice). This doesn't change regardless of a 2 power dice phase or 12 power dice phase.

Planning a phase with no agumentation is similar. My coven is designed to create a huge spread and make my job easier in forcing out dispel dice. However, the same thing can be accomplished without the tools I have. The most important thing here is to be adaptable and switch between the strategies depending on the situation that presents itself in the game. My list is designed to create a huge spread, so I almost always have a trickle style phase, however if you're staring down the barrel of a 6v5 phase, it might be best to just go all in on an extremely valuable spell, since your odds are very high of pulling it off. Remember point 3 though!

@ Lagast - I'm glad you've been trying out both! Each one has its merits, and having experience with both is advantageous not only in your ability to cast, but your ability to dispel too. So many players out there have never even seen a trickle style phase this edition - they expect you to come out and chuck 6 dice, and they get overwhelmed easily by the volume of spells.

Phew! Thanks for all the great responses guys! I hope I didn't miss anyone.

D

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:19 pm 
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One additional thing:

If you try to "bully" spells through, a single dispell scroll can simply end your magic phase, if you trickle, you lose 2 to 3 PD because of the scroll, not much of a loss.

This is of course not regarding IFs and spelldestroyers.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:47 pm 
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I'm not sure if this has been mentioned, but often times I find myself analyzing the opponent's army and measuring what Lore I have against them. Some lores and spells are devastating against certain targets and must be handled (scrolled) quickly. I'm talking about things like Dwellers, Pit or Purple Sun.

I tend to be really aggressive with my magic, so I tend to "bully" early and force the scroll. That why I can manipulate my opponent in the later phases of the game when I know their only scroll is gone.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:16 pm 
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Casting the most important spell as the last one does not only have psychological effects, it also has something to do with maths. If you have a really important spell with low comp like curse of arrows, you can cast it with 1-6 PD, while things like mindrazor need at least 4 PD (and even than it is quite a gambel). If the enemy wants to dispell reliably, he needs one more PD than you, that means he has to save 2-7 PDs just to dispell the curse, in fact it will rather be 3-7, as casting curse with only 1 die is rather risky.
If you cast your important spells first you:
a. deny yourself the possibility to cast it with only 1 die. Ok, not that important, as most spells will not work with one die, but anything with comp 7 or less will have a chance of 66% to work. Curse of arrows combined with a healthy amount of fire power is an example for such a spell.
b. You will tell your opponent exactly how many DDs he will need to dispell that "most important" spell, giving him a chance to thoroughly plan his dispell phase.

Some things that could be mentioned also:

The powerscroll is an expensive but reliable tool to royaly fxxx up an opponents dispell phase once the dispell scroll has been drawn out

With annulian crystal, +1 to dispell, a dispell scroll and drain magic, HEs are able to really cut a big hole into the enemies magic phase. They become even better with any RiP spell that you throw at the enemy, as RiP spells may draw PD and further reduce the magical offense capabilities of your opponent. A very good example is flames of phoenix. It deals good damage if not dispelled instantly (good enough to make it a "dispell at all costs" against certain troops), after its initial damage it will further "damage" the enemy in his own magic phase by stealing 3 PDs from him (or the enemy risks to suffer from str 4 attacks, in wich case the target unit is a goner).


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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:45 pm 
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For easy reference on casting percentages based upon number of dice rolled you can use my Math-Hammer PDF...

http://aaronchapman.us/warhammer/mh8.pdf

It has several other helpful dice roll chances in there too.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:56 pm 
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Hey Aaron,

This sheet is going to come in pretty handy in my next tournament! Thanks for posting this.

D

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:04 am 
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Just a quick question about magic defence. If you have 2 mages (lets say an archmage and a level 1) which build would be better? a dispel scroll with sigil or annulian crystal with sigil? either way i think sigil is a must but dont know what the 2nd archane item should be.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:48 am 
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I'd say Crystal. You have an auto-stop. Clamping down every enemy phase has more effect than a second one.

But what are you facing that requires so much defence Kourosh?

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:40 am 
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Kourosh84 wrote:
Just a quick question about magic defence. If you have 2 mages (lets say an archmage and a level 1) which build would be better? a dispel scroll with sigil or annulian crystal with sigil? either way i think sigil is a must but dont know what the 2nd archane item should be.


I always bring Annulian Crystal as my magic defense.
2nd item would probably be Ring of Corin (depending on setup)
3rd item might be sigil (depending on setup)

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:36 pm 
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I think you'll be amazed at how much effect the crystal has on the average game. It doesn't seem like much, but think of it this way: If your opponent rolls a "1" on either dice for the winds of magic, you will have more dispel dice than they have power dice. In this situation, it's usually a magic phase ender right there. If they roll a "2", then you have equal dice, but you've got your +1 extra to dispel, meaning there's a really good chance of ending the phase.

So if somebody wants to crunch the numbers, the odds of pretty much shutting down a magic phase is the same as the odds of rolling a 1 or a 2 on either of 2D6. I'm no statistician, so I'll leave this to somebody who knows better. I *think* it's like a 66% chance. But again, my math is probably wonky here.

D

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:53 pm 
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I second Brewmaster on the matter of Annulian Crystal. Dispel Scroll is handy but it is one use only and you will always have dilemma when to use it. While Annulian Crystal gives you constant effect. If you think about it it actually makes a difference of 2 dice, one from your opponnet pool and one for your dispel pool.

As a funny thing that can further reinforce the idea of having Annulian Crystal as a better option I can give you real game example. I played against WoC and managed to cast Flames of the Phoenix on big Marauder unit. Usually the oponent would dispel that spell in his magic phase but then he rolled double 1. With crystal I suddenly had 2 dispel dice and he was left with a single power dice which was not even sufficient to have an attempt to dispel Flames! It is not going to happen often but wsa quite peculiar situation ineed!

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:44 pm 
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Ouch! That must have hurt...

One thing that interests me, when you have the Crystal against opposing bonus power dice, say Banner of Sorcery. Do these largely cancel out or is it more complex than that?

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:53 pm 
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Hey SpellArcher!

Good question. The Crystal is a 2 dice swing, and typically the banner is a 2 dice swing, so outwardly these cancel out. Where things get a bit complicated is when you consider the crystal's ability to often bring you above the 6 dice limit a natural Winds of Magic roll will give you. Remember that there is a 6 dice cap for throwing power dice, but no cap for dispel dice. This means that the crystal also potentially gives you access to a 50% chance for an irresistable dispel. I've had phases before (some even in the game I'm about to post) where I manage a channel or two, resulting in 8 or 9 dispel dice. Even on a 12 power dice phase, this is extremely menacing because the opponent knows they're probably not getting through their most important spell, or even their second choice.

The other thing to consider as well is versus power dice generating casters like the slann or the dagger sorceress. The dice you steal is one less potential power dice they can produce as well, resulting in a 3 dice overall net gain.

D

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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Without any disagreement the annulian crystal is an amazing magic defense item to have, but it is imho not "better" than a powerscroll but serves other purposes. The AC constantly and reliably drains PD, 6 per game. The powerscroll does not have this much of an impact most of the time, but it makes its impact in a single round and can sometimes simply end a magic phase in a single turn. Something an AC can only do if the opponent rolls snake eyes for PD.

Additionaly, the AC becomes better the less PD an enemy has to cast while the power scroll becomes better the more dice he has.

An example:

A HE with an annulian crystal faces a skaven army with a prophet and two lvl 2 warlocks, one equipped with a warpcondenser.
The skaven gets a total crappy magic phase with a roll of 2
The AC of the HE steals one of the 2 PD, making the magic phase seemingly over befor it began.
The skaven now channels dispell dice: 1:6 for each caster and 1:3 for the consenser which give him additional 0,8333 PD, nearly canceling the effect of AC.
The HE has, lets say, 2 casters and will channel 0,33 DD.
Now the prophet throws in his d3 warpstoone tokens he gets for free. Its now 3,833 PD vs. 2,33 DD.
The prophet throws all his PD to cast the plague spell.
The HE takes the power scroll and dispells plague, shuting down the whole magic phase of the skaven OR the HE tries to dispell plague, according to math hammer he does not make it and eats the plague spell.

To me, a dispell scroll is like an insurance. You hopefully will not need it often, but if you need it, it will probably save your precious little rear.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic Phase Strategy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:58 pm 
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I agree with Paricidas here that the scroll typically has a larger effect on one magic phase.

The Anullian Crystal has a smaller effect on many phases.

However, in the example you gave Paricidas, there's something to be said for forcing your opponent to use his items to accomplish something that phase. A 2v1 phase would be a free spell without requiring him to use those items, whereas a 1v2 phase forces his items out early and equalizes further magic phases. So while you have to eat a plague now, it may result in you eating less in future turns.

In my mind, these two items are so close that it really comes down to playstyle and what else you have in your army. If you think, in your list, that you can identify one critical turn that you need to stop, and weather the rest, then clearly the scroll is the choice for you. If, on the other hand, you feel confident in your ability to identify the critical spell each turn, and are ok with spells of lesser importance going off, then I think the Crystal will perform more to your tastes.

D

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