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Thursday, June 9, 2011

8th edition - Balancing Magic

Warhammer 8th edition has been with us for nearly a year now, and it seems that the major complaint many people have with the game is the magic phase, particularly the powerful spells with high casting values.

While these spells may have high casting values, they are not particularly difficult to cast. Most players have a level 4 wizard casting these spells, and they can use six dice to do so (except for Dark Elf wizards) - Okkam's Mindrazor only requires a roll of 14, as does Dwellers Below (17 for the boosted version). Even the Skaven spell Curse of the Horned Rat and the boosted version of the Purple Sun of Xereus only need a roll of 21 (average roll on 6 dice). As a consequence of this, these spells are also very difficult to dispel, particularly with the limit on Dispel Scrolls.

So what's the solution? Some suggest limiting the number of dice allowed per cast to 5. This means the casting values for these big spells aren't reached more often, as well as the defending player being more likely to have enough dice to dispel. Another solution is to allow players to take a Look Out, Sir! roll for their characters against the spells that kill models outright. Some others prefer to allow Ward saves against these spells.

However, here's a theory - revert to the previous rules for Miscasts. Rather than having Miscasts as a side effect of Irresistable Force, use the following rule instead - If, when making a casting roll, two or more dice show a result of 1, the spell automatically fails (even if it would otherwise be cast with Irresistable Force). The casting wizard must then roll on the Miscast table.

Should this be implemented, it now makes casting a spell with a lot of dice quite risky for the player. It may encourage players to cast more spells, and turn the magic phase into a more tactical affair. Rather than the defending player having to hold back all his dice to prevent the big spell, there will be a need to make choices on what to dispel and what spells to allow through. Plus, there will definately be no Dark Elf players throwing 10 dice at Pit of Shades or Okkam's Mindrazor anymore.

So, what think you?

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