Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A Critical Evaluation of the role of Lore of the Wild in practice.

Sorry...I went all "Uni work" on you there, the lines are blurring...

Not to be out done by James over at Gaming with the Ansy fancy fairy men I thought it was about time I also got on and reviewed the magic of the beastmen. Honestly, I've been toying with the idea of this post for a month or three now, but I don't often use Lore of the Wild. Hopefully, this will show you why.

Lore of the Wild

Off to a losing start already as it has no Lore Attribute. Lore of Beasts, which is basically the "sister lore" to this, has a -1 modifier to casting on all of your own troops. The dominance of the Big Rule Book (BRB) lore's is due in part to each lore having such exellent lore attributes (I'm looking at you Death). - 0/5

Signiture: Bestial Surge 7+

Again, signiture spells are oh so important, as they give you that safety net of rubbish spell generation rolls. Bestial Surge in theory sounds great - A free D6+1 move towards the enemy. But then you look a little closer...

- All friendlies within 6inches: Awfully short range, if you're in a hoard formation that may be two units maximum.

- Towards the nearest enemy via the shortest route: So no real potential for flanking unless you're already on the flank...

- Units stop within 1" of another unit - Come on, even undead were allowed to charge zombies with Van Hel's!

So many places this could be improved - Range would help outflankers get into position quicker, the need to move towards enemys is ok until you hit the point where when you get there you have to stand 1 inch away. It's also likely to leave you in an unpredictable position where you can easily be flanked or counter charged. A bad, bad spell. Especially for 7+ casting.

The only point this spell may be useful is IF the shamen and is unit are way away from their target, but with an average charge range of 12", we're talking a 10 march, an averge 3" surge, then a 12" charge - 25 inches away from where they want to be. Not good. 1/5.

1. Viletide 7+

Not bad, not great. Something to chuck 2 dice at to either sneak past a dispel dice strapped opponant or to soak up dispel dice. You're looking for 15 hits that wound on 6s, so two or three wounds. Not bad for hoard knobbling. Jurys out over whether flock of doom is better or not - same range, doom casts on a 5+ but is 2d6 st2 rather than st1. I'll give this 3/5, as it's very situational but could be useful.

2. Devolve 9+

Leadership tests or die spells never excite me. The prolifancy of Inspiring Presence and rerolls from BSB means these often fail, and even if it does get through - the average leadership of 7 for most rank and file mean you might get a handful of wounds, but nothing to write home about. With doom and darkness, cast on the general, and this, it may get nasty. But that situation will never happen! 2/5

3. Bray Scream 10+

I don't think this is too bad! A St3 Breath which can be used in a combat multiple turns in a row by any character within 12". Granted, it'll eat up hoards, but ignoring armour saves may make even chaos warriors sweat a little bit, potentially removing a third of their number. As our hoards lack any real armour ignoring weapons, it can be useful.

EDIT - Upon further investigation, this cannot be cast into combat, as it has no spell type, thus cannot be cast into combat. This drops it's usefulness 2/5

4. Traitor kin 10+

Potentially the best spell in the Lore, making mounts attack (and automatically hit!) their riders at a reduced armour save (-1 for normal, -2 for barding). So, snake surfers, mournfangs, chaos knights, chariots - even the filthy hydra! - Are all up for a nasty suprise should you get this off. Trust me, your opponant will not let you get this off, so it's one for later in the game when dispel scrolls are eaten up and dispel dice are running low. It's relative short range is a down side - the target unit will always be further than 12in away unless it's in combat already. 3/5, with it going up to 4/5 if your opponant brings a particularly nasty cavalry or mount.

5. Mantle of Ghorok +13

Similar to Savage Beast of Horros, but instead of D3 strength and attacks you get D6. And its casting value is 4 higher. And it's only 6in range not 12. And you suffer a wound if you roll a 6 on either dice. And it cannot be upgraded to all friendly characters within 12in. Oh, and because it lacks the "augment" in it's rules description it technically cannot be caston a model in combat. You get the idea... extremely powerful, but also risky and may not leave you much better off. 3/5

6. Savage Dominion 16+

Now THIS is a spell. You can summon a jabberslythe, giant (not likely thanks...) or a Ghorgon - Hell yes! Onto any table edge. Nothing messes up a plan like a huge hulking monstrosity like a Ghorgon turning up behind your lines. Unfortunately, the shamen is effectively useless until the beast is killed - which should be a long time if played correctly. Luckily the beast costs no victory points to lose. But the shamen may not do anything else - attack, cast, or dispel. Not bad for a level 1, but for a level 4...not great. The level 4 will have toughness 5 though, so maintaining his life while the Ghorgon is being pummelled is more likely - although 6 wounds means that on average your shamen will take at least one wound for his troubles. Again, this spell could be improved by allowing a Cygor who could start lobbing rocks straight away - and the good possibility your shamen will end up dead for his troubles is also a major drawback. 3/5


So, as you may have gathered, the Lore doesn't exceed 4/5 often. It's not a bad lore, by all means, just it's been superceded by The Lore of Beasts, which does all this, but cheaper, and with a better signiture.

I give this lore 3/5. And, in honesty, I think that's rather generous.

How to run Lore of the Wild

I'd take Lore of the Wild on a Level 3 or 4 great bray shamen. The spells are too hit and miss to risk on a single or multiple level 1s - as you are aiming for Traitor kin, Dominion, and Ghorok. Due to the frankly poor signiture you don't have anything to fall back on should you roll poorly (anything but a 1 or a 2!). I'd always pair this with another level 1 wild, to ensure you get the best spells.

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