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Opinions on the Magic Phase? Broken or Not?

Joined
Jul 15, 2011
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64
#1
So, odd thing came up today. I've just recently started going to my local games evening and have been looking to get some games of WHFB going, however the response has been less than exciting....

Apprently there is a gentlemens agreement to use little to no magic in games...which as a VC player seems entirely rediculous to me but hey ho, i don't have to agree to that rule lol.

My question to the boredis, and based on why at the club some of the players have this rule...Is the magic phase in Warhammer broken? Apprently the game is now to dependant on the magic phase and the spells/winds of magic to not create fair or even games?

Surely this is down to the players? if you know magic is dangerous...plan to counter it? I know I do? Whats been everyone opinion and experience in this area? I fear I may be playing alongside some 5th/6th/7th Gen players hence why they have such an aborration on the current rules.
 

Alabaster427

Minister of Thriftiness
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#2
Do they all play dwarves or something? The shooting phase is broken for us, so we better not include it... It sounds like that group of kids that think they have the coolest pokemon cards and "run" the way the game is played then throw a hissy fit when you smack em down with a Magikarp deck. It's not a gentlemen's agreement; it's a pansy handshake.
Side question: Do they allow magic items? If so, where does the magic come from?
 

najo

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#3
I've been playing warhammer since 3rd edition. For 25 years. Players of 8th fall into three stages from what I can tell.

1) the game seems super random with 2d6 charges, nuke spells like people sun, dwellers etc and there is a lot of cross referencing when learning as the book has a lot of circumstantial rules. Some players try 8th, long for cavalry charges of 7th and declare 8th a mess without really giving it a fair shot.

2) the game then turns into death star units and uber spells. Players at this stage learn to over clock everything. They learn to maximize horde, step up, steadfast and nuke spells. They declare the game is all about these massive units and spells, they often get bored and quit or make others bored with the lack of tactics around the game.

3) then the game blossoms. The players realize the game is very elegant. The 2d6 charges creates a whole new level to movement and baiting your opponent, step up and steadfast has gotten rid of hero hammer and made infantry viable, the 2d6 for winds of magic keeps the magic phase balanced. The nuke spells are only overly powerful vs the stage 2 style of pay, this discouraging it. All of the unit types have a role. Its these reasons that you hear a lot of us veterans praise 8th edition. It's because it's the most balanced and tactical version of the game so far.

8th isn't perfect. Laser guide cannons, unmodified modified leadership, six dicing spells lacking consequences even though miscasts are nastiest they've been. Perhaps it's biggest flaw is its learning curve and that so many players had trouble getting to stage three. But I can tell you honestly, play well rounded, balanced armies with out deathstars and the game is really solid. Your group sound to me like they haven't reached that point yet. Because aside from the six dicing nukes that occasionally happens, the magic is fine.
 
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#4
see that's very much what I believe! Personally I slot myself into 3...I went tonight and although I didn't get a game of Fantasy, the only other two players already had a game organised I got to watch them. And these guys play like they enjoy it, it was Brets vs. WoC and neither had a deathstar and neither maxed out on magic, it was a fun and balanced game.

then IO rock up with my Undead Legion next week and ruin it for everyone :)
 
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#5
Magic phase broken? How do they figure that?
Magic phase can be super annoying, yes. sometimes gamechanging.
But ive played many a game where magic just was needed support, adding the right amount of fun and tactic.


@najo. 6-dicing spells shouldnt have more consequences imo. Its either uses to cast a 21-24 large spell (which is still hard to succesfully cast) or to try make sure a smaller spell gets through. 6-dicing brings the increased danger of IF with all its, like you said yourself, very nasty consequences.
 

najo

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#6
I think 6 dicing pays off to much with nuke spells. That is where it can ruin games unexpectedly. There are some simple solutions too. 1) miscast table can have effects that scale based on number of dice used. 2) Miscasts can occur on double 1's and IF still occurs on double 6's, with Miscasts occurring even with IF. 3) You can get rid of IF effect but keep miscasting table and broken concentration.
 

midean

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#7
I think 6 dicing pays off to much with nuke spells. That is where it can ruin games unexpectedly. There are some simple solutions too. 1) miscast table can have effects that scale based on number of dice used. 2) Miscasts can occur on double 1's and IF still occurs on double 6's, with Miscasts occurring even with IF. 3) You can get rid of IF effect but keep miscasting table and broken concentration.
I agree with najo here. The miscast table needs to be more nasty. Way to often people get that one uber spell and just keep 6 dicing it with little care of the consequences. I like the idea based on the number of dice you throw.
 

bigbadbat

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#8
I think magic is the spice and balance of any army (excluding stunties of curse!). You can use magic to shore up weaknesses in your army or to create favorable in game match ups or include some extra randomness in what would otherwise be spreadsheet clash.

Magic to me is the extra element that keeps games from becoming paper, rock, scissors.

Built a shooty army? Use spells to lower toughness or movement or decrease armor to maximize your shooting.

Built a combat list? Use spells to protect your troops against incoming fire.

Built a balanced list? Use spells to increase efficiency in areas where you need them when.
 
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#9
More nasty??
I think 4-dicing CoY and then rolling IF and getting your general sucked in the void is pretty bad enough. especially with a mortis engine that makes you roll twice on a miscast table and the opponent gets to chose.
How hard and nasty do you want it to become.
Tbh i think irresistible force should be banned altogether, it makes spells impossible to dispel, i dont like that. and it can even happen on 2-dicing a 6+ spell. which simply makes no sense to me.
 

najo

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#10
What I think is crucial about warhammer's magic phase is it brings psychological warfare and a poker element to the game. On top of supporting our units, magic is unpredictable and to make it go well you need to control that unpredictability. But choose the right lore, have the right items, get the threat of certain spells occurring and your opponent starts to feel like he is going to lose even before he has.

I think this is where having nuke spells can do a lot of damage. When your opponent gets that purple sun, your stomach turns a little. This is one of the reasons I that black periapt and store two dice in my opponent's phase. Sure, I take an extra spell here and there. But honestly, short term the damage is minimal and the psychological edge I get when I say "I get two dice from my periapt", they noticeably whince. Especially if the wins rolls doubles and had a huge spread. Even if it doesn't, say a 1 & 6. I still get 9 and they have 6.

So, magic and it's tools let's you mess with your opponent's head. It brings out their imagination of what could happen. It plays with the unknown. Use that right, and magic is a powerful phase.

@Skittelz1981 First, you should be two dicing your vampire spells with ME+BT. Maybe three. Not four. BT allows you to cast on fewer dice, that's the point. So, you shouldn't be miscasting.

But, most miscasts do a single wound and drain dice. The table is to severe for weak spells and to weak for nukes. The uber spells getting off with IF is worth it to have your wizard take a wound and kill a chunk of his bunker.

My proposal is create a scaling table based on dice used in spell. It could easily be 1-2, 3-4,5-6+. Result 1-2 only sends you into the warp on 6 for example. While 5-6+ could deal multiple wounds to the caster. The other option is hits caused could be wound on 4+ and wizard takes hits equal to dice rolled or when rolling 6 dice takes d6 wounds on a miscast.

There is tons of possibilities, but if they curb dicing dicing by making the miscast table punish you more it would make nuke spells a bigger risk without nueturing them.

Side note on miscasts: I rarely miscast, like once every other game. When I do miscast, my wizards are in my infantry units and a single invocation fixes the wound to my wizard and some of the damage to the unit. So, unless I get sucked into the warp, miscasts are not dangerous to some one who plays like me. I usually run three casters too. A 4, 2 and a 2/1. My point, miscasts are not deadly enough.
 
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#11
What I think is crucial about warhammer's magic phase is it brings psychological warfare and a poker element to the game. On top of supporting our units, magic is unpredictable and to make it go well you need to control that unpredictability. But choose the right lore, have the right items, get the threat of certain spells occurring and your opponent starts to feel like he is going to lose even before he has.

I think this is where having nuke spells can do a lot of damage. When your opponent gets that purple sun, your stomach turns a little. This is one of the reasons I that black periapt and store two dice in my opponent's phase. Sure, I take an extra spell here and there. But honestly, short term the damage is minimal and the psychological edge I get when I say "I get two dice from my periapt", they noticeably whince. Especially if the wins rolls doubles and had a huge spread. Even if it doesn't, say a 1 & 6. I still get 9 and they have 6.

So, magic and it's tools let's you mess with your opponent's head. It brings out their imagination of what could happen. It plays with the unknown. Use that right, and magic is a powerful phase.

@Skittelz1981 First, you should be two dicing your vampire spells with ME+BT. Maybe three. Not four. BT allows you to cast on fewer dice, that's the point. So, you shouldn't be miscasting.

But, most miscasts do a single wound and drain dice. The table is to severe for weak spells and to weak for nukes. The uber spells getting off with IF is worth it to have your wizard take a wound and kill a chunk of his bunker.

My proposal is create a scaling table based on dice used in spell. It could easily be 1-2, 3-4,5-6+. Result 1-2 only sends you into the warp on 6 for example. While 5-6+ could deal multiple wounds to the caster. The other option is hits caused could be wound on 4+ and wizard takes hits equal to dice rolled or when rolling 6 dice takes d6 wounds on a miscast.

There is tons of possibilities, but if they curb dicing dicing by making the miscast table punish you more it would make nuke spells a bigger risk without nueturing them.

Side note on miscasts: I rarely miscast, like once every other game. When I do miscast, my wizards are in my infantry units and a single invocation fixes the wound to my wizard and some of the damage to the unit. So, unless I get sucked into the warp, miscasts are not dangerous to some one who plays like me. I usually run three casters too. A 4, 2 and a 2/1. My point, miscasts are not deadly enough.


Losing 3 wizardlvls and all your spells is also an option.
2-dicing is far too much risk. even with lvl4+ME. a spell that requires 12 you still need to roll 6, which is basically a 50/50 roll. 3-dicing is safe on those numbers. without ME you rly need 3 dice.
I think miscasts shouldnt be punishing much more, what they should do is remove units like Doomlocks, which ruin the miscasttable and are completely unbalanced.
A lvl 4 should never miscast, hes not a lvl4 because hes a noob at channeling the winds of magic. I find it ridiculous to have my lvl4 general, highly schooled in magic to be miscasting even the simplest spells that he has been practicing for 900 years.

Like you said Najo, there should be more differentiation but i am reluctant on being more punishing. Too much depends on succesful magic. Its already a luckbased game for a big part, dont increase the x-factor too much, it ruins tactics
 

najo

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#12
IMHO warhammer is a tactics and odds manipulation game. Luck only applies when you charge in balls first without any strategy or maneuvering or you throw tier 2 units and chaff into deathstars and their like.

And you can two dice nearly everything, three dice the 12+ casting values.
 
Last edited:
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#13
True, but things like:
Un/succesful charges
Un/succesful overruns
frenzy checks
leadership tests
any characteristic test
actually: any dice roll

is luck.
and can be a decisive factor in the outcome of a battle if 2 players are of equal skill with similarly balanced lists.

Ive seen people, including myself, losing battles simply because diceluck failed at the wrong times, which heavily influenced the general outcome of the game.

So you can manipulate and calculate all you want, even those things can go terribly wrong because of luck.
which is the x-factor.
the more you increase the importance of the x-factor, the less the game becomes tactics and manipulation.
Losing a wizard due to heavy penalties on miscasts can be completely game-deciding.
 

Alabaster427

Minister of Thriftiness
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#14
I don't know about you @najo , but @Skittelz1981 seems to have felt the pain of 2-dicing invocation and boxcar it on the first turn. The miscast table balances out the odds of rolling each result. Although a 7 is the most likely single result, it only has a 6/36 chance of rolling. 2-4 and 10-12 also have a 6/36 chance each and 5-6 and 8-9 have 9/36 chance each. So basically, 15/36 chance to ruin your wizard.

In tournament, 2 games IN A ROW, I got IF with 2 dice on my very first spell of the game, then rolled double ones for each miscast table. BOTH times my wizard (both my general) got sucked onto the warp! I had basically lost both games right out of the gate because of how nasty the miscast table is.
 
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#15
Yeah i think the miscast table is nasty enough. its just not nasty enough for the big nuke spells and idd not for 6-dicing those same nukespells.

Also i dont agree on always 2-3dicing all our spells.
Depending on the situation you want to ensure a high casting result on 1 spell ie: vhdm. 4-dicing a 12+ vhdm and trying to get at least 18 to dispel is not something uncommon.
Many times my opponent choses to neglect my other spells at certain moments and saves up its dispeldice to counter vhdm. IoN and raise dead or any other of our spells are not always as dangerous as Vhdm when units are in combat.
Sometimes you just need to have a high castingresult and 3-dicing a 12+ spell and risking to have 3-3-2+lvl4 is just really not worth it.


rolling 2-4 on miscast is actually better than 10-12. 10-12 is going to hurt your wizard badly 100% and losing a spell.
2-4 still has 50% chance of at least saving your wizkid. 8-9 is also a bitch since youre getting wounds.
even 7 and 5-6 can be mean, maybe less to VC but moreso to other armies. so making the miscasttable even nastier isnt a good idea imo.
im never happy with an IF, even if it means 100% succesful spell. ive had many cases of IF ruining the advantage of the succesful spell.
 

najo

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#16
I have a lot of experience with campaigns where players are playing with uneven point values. Also, if I start losing, I reassess my situation and how I can win. Then go for it. Doing both these things has taught me to play and win with less resources than my opponent's. There is ways to get greater returns on your efforts.

I also heavily play the mathhammer game while playing. I maximize odds, playing to the bell curve and Murphy's law. Yes, things can go wrong, but you have redundancies, and back up plans. You play all game to these things and it will level out.

Sure, you can have two crappy miscasts in a row, but at some point the odds swing back into your favor. Especially if you manipulate the opportunities and control charges and positioning. It should be noted, magic is the most random part of the game, whereas charging, deployment, movement aren't very random at all.
 

Blutsauger

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#17
IMHO warhammer is a tactics and odds manipulation game. Luck only applies when you charge in balls first without any strategy or maneuvering or you throw tier 2 units and chaff into deathstars and their like.

And you can two dice nearly everything, three dice the 12+ casting values.
Luck applies to everything. You can mitigate it to a certain extent, but at the end of the day everything rests in the hands of the dice gods.

As far as the miscast thing goes, I think it's too harsh at the low end of the spectrum, and too soft at the high end.

You can roll double sixes with two dice for a low-level spell, have your lord sucked into the aether and lose the game before your opponent even has a turn. Or you can roll double sixes when you're six dicing the Dwellers Below or Purple Sun and you only lose a single wound.

I think the miscast needs to scale. The simplest thing would be to tie it to the amount of dice you used to cast. You could have results where you reduce stats by the amount of dice you rolled, with other sundry effects. This means a miscast on not many dice isn't very scary (small risk, small reward) where a miscast on six dice is very scary (big risk, big reward).

I have other issues with the magic phase. For instance, I think the random 2D6 for the winds of magic needs work. The old version of generating power dice was very broken, but investing three or four hundred points in wizards, just to roll two or three power dice is also a bit crap. I also don't like that an Irresistible Force is impossible to stop. It encourages six dicing with no holds barred since a miscast is probably not going to kill the caster, and if he gets a double six then his spell goes off no matter what.

I don't really know what the best way to address that is. Perhaps if Irresistible Force wasn't completely unstoppable, perhaps if Irresistible Force simply meant that you apply a miscast, and that the only way it can be dispelled is by a natural double six dispell roll. It means you still can't dispell it with a scroll or rune, but it makes it a less attractive choice since your opponent can still dispell it and (if the miscast table was scaled according to the dice used to cast) it makes it a bigger risk.

That would encourage less 6-dicing and more tactical use of smaller casting rolls, but still allow people to 6-dice spells when the situation called for it.
 

najo

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#18
I think either scale the table by power dice used, and six dicing could kill your wizard. OR IF can be stopped by double sixes on dispell. Either tones it down and reduces the nuke spells.
 

GDD

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#19
As a former Dwarf player I can tell you.. Yes your clubmates are a bit whimpy. But the reason I quit my stunites is the magic phase. Dwarfs became much stronger with their new book IMO, but they crippled our magic defense, and anvil. And with that is became even more discouraging to play them. Dwarfs were masters at dispelling, which is being masters at ruining the fun of other players. So I see why they changed it. But now my opponent WILL get off that nasty spell if he has one, and it WILL ruin my day unless I build a list as anti magic. Which will mean I am less effective in other necessary phases. And more than anything the fact that I don't get to participate in a phase that (as you all have been saying) changes the outcome of the game with one spell.

I completely miss out on an entire phase.. No amount of boring-to-play-with lazer cannons is going to make me less grumpy about that. In all honesty if I was going to change something I would make the template spells less devastating. And maybe have OTHER checks than initiative all the time :tongue: I guess it's just that everyone takes purple sun, unless you are a mindrazor elf with pit of shades I guess.

I have played Chaos Dwarfs, and VC so I am not new to casting. But I still think the big "nuke" spells are a bit to harsh I guess. I still get tricked to use my scrolls at the wrong timings though.
 
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#20
I feel what you mean but dwarf magic defense was completely unbalanced. ive played quite a few games against the old dwarfs and i simply couldnt get anything through sometimes. which crippled magicdependant armies way too much. especially VC that also has a hard time against bunkering shooty armies.... like dwarfs
 
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#21
The magic phase is definitely not a problem. The game is well balanced, with all armies standing fair chance in all phases of the game. Sure, some are more powerful than others, but each army has each own thingies. Playing with little or no magic takes away a whole phase of the game. And magic IS important to the game. With magic, you are gambling your wizards life in a lot of situations, to either destroy your enemy, or buff your units. Also, if they phase out magic, what of all those armies that RELY on magic, like TK and VC? Also, WoC, WE, Lizardmen suffer, not to mention my Brettonians! Where would I be without my beloved Wysssan's Wildform? It would be the same as telling them to phase out shooting or even Combat!
All in all, magic is a phase of the game and they should embrace it instead of (as a fellow vampire said some posts above) acting like little kids.
Now, on the 6-dicing part, the only thing I find really bad rules-wise, is the bound spell abilities of things like the WarAltar. They get to Irresistible Force a spell with absolutely NO consequences...They can't cast another spell this round. Yeah, gj. Let me cast all my other spells by using 1-6 dice, and now let me cast my 6-die Banishment, on str6, without suffering from a miscast....
 

najo

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#22
I think dwarves magic defense being toned down keeps them from being broken. Dwarves are hard as nails in combat, they got great leadership, great range, the gained movement and mobility. If they retained impenetrable anti magic, they wouldn't have much to fear. They still can stop a couple solid spells a turn. Their anti magic is better than most armies, they just don't have the unstoppable anti magic of before.

Dwarves are fine. Their new book gives allot more than it takes. Best dwarves book so far.
 
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#23
I've been playing warhammer since 3rd edition. For 25 years. Players of 8th fall into three stages from what I can tell.

....

3) then the game blossoms. The players realize the game is very elegant. The 2d6 charges creates a whole new level to movement and baiting your opponent, step up and steadfast has gotten rid of hero hammer and made infantry viable, the 2d6 for winds of magic keeps the magic phase balanced. The nuke spells are only overly powerful vs the stage 2 style of pay, this discouraging it. All of the unit types have a role. Its these reasons that you hear a lot of us veterans praise 8th edition. It's because it's the most balanced and tactical version of the game so far.

8th isn't perfect. Laser guide cannons, unmodified modified leadership, six dicing spells lacking consequences even though miscasts are nastiest they've been. Perhaps it's biggest flaw is its learning curve and that so many players had trouble getting to stage three. But I can tell you honestly, play well rounded, balanced armies with out deathstars and the game is really solid. Your group sound to me like they haven't reached that point yet.
I'm a bit late to the conversation, but I wanted to recognize that this is a great sentiment. Yes, that's where it can get to and I count myself lucky being in a gaming community that is generally this way.

As for the magic question, if people are "agree to no or little magic" perhaps have the discussion about why they're upset by it. I've found that talking with actual opponents, rather than with "the group" at large, is the best way. Change minds on the ground, rather than trying to change the local meta. If you're a friendly, fun-minded player it's likely that your lists will be perfectly balanced even with a bit of "magic heavy" formation. That just means points that won't be doing as good a job in other phases usually.

Best.

Andrew
 

najo

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#24
I agree. Work on the hearts and minds of individuals instead of against the mob mentality.
 

Smogg

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#25
In my opinion the magic phase brings something unique and important to the game. The magic phase can potentially be very powerful and it can even backfire with dire consequences. The magic phase is the most random and unpredictable part of the game.
This is really important because it allows for a player who is quite behind to still have a modest chance to turn the game around.

Monopoly is a classic example of the opposite. Once you have played 1/3 of the game, you already know who is likely going to win. 1/2 into the game, and it's just a matter of time. No one really enjoy to continue playing for several hours when they already know they will loose for sure. This is why Monopoly is a classic example of poor game design. (compared to games of today)

The magic phase in warhammer help bring so much randomness to the game, that even if you had a bad turn 1 and 2, there is still hope. Crazy things can happen. Even when the opponent wizard is casting spells. For new players its possible to compensate with luck where they lack the skills.

Of course for veteran players, there are many way to harness the magic phase to your advantage, and for my own part 8th edition has really taught me the discipline of dismissing my mages without further regret as they suddenly get sucked into the realm of chaos.
 
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