Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Warhammer Storm of Magic

Griffon from Games Workshop Storm of Magic book.
Last night, Eli and I waged our first Storm of Magic battle.  It felt a little like playing Warhammer for the first time, such was the impact of the adapted rules.  We just tried out the basic Storm of Magic setup rules, no special scenario.

Eli arrayed a High Elf force made up of a couple huge blocks of spearmen, a unit of White Lions, and one of Swordmasters, a White Lion chariot, and some Dragon Princes.  For his extra Storm of Magic points, he added a unit of Royal Unicorns, a decked out Griffon, and the Dawnseeker sword.

My 2500 points of Lizardmen were a couple big blocks of Saurus Warriors, a couple Stegadons, a pair of Salamanders, some Chameleon Skinks, and a random little unit of skinks. For Storm of Magic, I added in binding scrolls to give me a Zoat and plain Griffon, and threw in the Woodwakers Wand on my Slann Mage Priest.

Lizardmen got the first turn which largely consisted of me forgetting about all the bonuses that are the whole point of Storm of Magic.  I got a couple unimportant spells off after I shuffled my army forward, shot the customary Stegadon giant bow bolt into the ground, then handed it off to Eli.  He learned from my mistake in the magic phase and took advantage of some of the casting bonuses, but his winds of magic roll wasn't nearly as good, resulting in a magic phase similarly underwhelming as mine was.

We played three more turns before running out of time (over 3 hours), in which we bloodied each other fairly well, but showed no decisive winner.  There were a couple of wizard duels, Eli's general with the Dawnseeker sword largely cut through the weaker half of my army, and after getting the Woodwaker Wand bound spell off in the second turn, I proceeded to completely forget about my monstrous awakened forest of death for the rest of the game.  The Griffon fighting for the High Elves did pretty well, bringing the Slann down within 1 wound of death before he transported away to safety on another fulcrum.

It's hard to give a well formed opinion of this expansion after only one game, because it adds so much and will take some getting used to.  I really like the more personal feel it gives to the wizards.  The cantrips add a new element that turns your wizards into individuals struggling for power in your mind rather than just fountains of damage blanket buffs/de-buffs.  The cataclysm spells saw some use in our game, but it was actually pretty balanced.  Eli made a good match with the Lore of Metal and got some good use out of the new spells which tended to complement High Elves well.  I leaned more on the old spells from my lores, as the cataclysm spells at equilibrium only seemed useful at a few points in time for me.  I had also misunderstood how the cataclysm spells worked originally too, thinking you can only cast the specific spell for the level you are currently at (presence, equilibrium, dominance), but you actually have access to your current level and lower spells.

Regarding the scrolls of binding we took, our monsters saw some pretty good use.  Zoat weaved some good spells from the middle of a forest until he got run down by a White Lion chariot (which must have been built quite sturdy considering all the dangerous terrain tests it passed).  Both the unit of Unicorns and the basic Griffon on the Lizardmen side didn't really get a lot of use, so it's hard to judge their worth.  If nothing else, they made great meat for the grinder.  The mythic artifacts seem quite powerful.  The Dawnseeker sword in the hands of a character with a lot of attacks is just devastating, easily worth taking if in the right hands.  Sadly, I will have to save the judging of the Woodwakers Wand for another day, if I ever manage to get the bound spell off again.  I thought maybe if I make a custom terrain piece for it to replace the forest with when it goes off, I might actually remember to make it fight for me.

I'm looking forward to trying out another Storm of Magic game and getting more familiar with how it changes the game.  I'm glad I took four wizards, so will probably stick with that, but change up my Storm of Magic selections other than Zoat.  It seems like as we go through more games, some new strategies will be developed.  You want to make armies better geared to hold up and be defensive on the battlefield while at the same time having key things to own those fulcrum hugging wizards.

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