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What is the Better Lore? Dark or High?

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I am looking at Lores for my Wood Elves. The fluff bunny in me wants to play with the book lores. I realize given the background in the new book, Shadow, Death, Life, + Beasts, are all valid thematic lores, but I want to try the core spells: High or Dark Magic.


Looking the book, I would expect to see mirrors and parallels in the two schools of magic.


Drain Magic is the opposite of Power of Darkness. Hand of Glory is the reflection of Word of Pain.


Soul Quench is like Doombolt. Apotheosis is similar to Soul Stealer. Tempest has an affect like Chillwind.


Which book is better? I don't know?


Let's start with the Signature Spells.


High has Drain Magic. Drain is a rather unique spell in that it can not only stop Remains in Play Spells, but it can immediately terminate augments and hexes. Drain Magic can disarm buffs and cancel banes. In a game where combat wins points, it can save the day. If an over running enemy unit with Mind Razor hits your spearmen, you can make the spell go away. Your spearmen now have a chance.


Drain Magic can be boosted to stop all opposing hexes, augments, and remains in play spell within 18 inches of the caster.


In avoidance armies, Drain Magic is not essential. But it is a tool that can be applied to help win a pivotal point in the game.


The mirror is Power of Darkness. Every time I read the spell, I want to saw out loud in my best Bela Lugosi accent. It is spooky-ookie! The obvious bonus to the spell is to gain more power dice and have your opponent burn there dice. The spell lore attribute does not work for this lore, so you can force pain counters on other units. The secondary boon is the caster and the unit is +1 Strength for a turn. Why would this be good? It is really not. You don't want your caster to be fighting. It could help if the caster is a desperate situation, but there are other spell in the Lore of Darkness to use in this situation.


The next Signature Spell in the Lore of High Magic is Soul Quench.


Compared to Fireball, Soul Quench is a blasty magic missile spell. Compared to Doombolt, it is only Strength 4, but Soul Quench has a definite role. It is a chaff clearer. It kills fast cavalry, skirmishers, and redirectors. If the spell cannot eliminate the opposing annoying unit, Wood Elf archery will do the rest. Second, it is a rank reducer. Wood Elves can't and thus don't fight fair. They need to reduce steadfast and ranks as quickly as possible. Soul Quench will do it. The boosted version will do it better. Unfortunately, the spell is not suited for heavily armored troops.


The Lore of Dark's Doombolt spell is the bomb. Other than it's higher casting cost, it is clearly the better spell. It's a bang your are dead spell. Since it is Strength 5. It has a great chance or wounding and negating armor. Doombolt is almost wasted blasting chaff. It is better at reducing ranks, punishing monstrous infantry, and can even hurt heavy cavalry. I have seen it wipe out 19 of my models on a go with a boosted blast. What is not to like? If you are going for a shooty avoidance army. This spell will single handled eliminate threats and will massed bow fire, it can remove whole units quickly.


Apotheosis. The first spell in the Lore of High Magic is a low cost healing spell and a great way to keep Treemen, Treekin, and characters in the fight. There is nothing more annoying than trying to nickle and dime wounds off a treeman, only to have them grow back


The spell has a nice synergy when the caster uses Apotheosis on himself. It is like a two for one boon with the spell lore attribute. The caster can heal one wound on himself and have another token for a future wound.


Overall, the Apotheosis allows the caster be more adventurous with the casting dice. Mis-casting is not a terrible with healing spells and healing tokens on hand.


High Magic has Apotheosis. Dark Magic has Soul Stealer. Soul Stealer is a necromancy style spell. Help yourself by hurting others. The wounds are hard to make. First, the spell template has to hit a unit. Then, The Strength 2 hit have to wound a model. Then, the caster has to roll a $4 to add the wound to her stats. Soul Stealer is not a true healing spell in that the caster can increase her wounds to the max of 10. The spell has high potential, but there is a potential of nothing happening as well. It is not a guarantee like Apotheosis.


Hand of Glory is boost spell. It is great for an archer army. Need to hit? Augmented Ballisitic Skill will help. Glade Guard with a shooting skill of 7. Yes. Please. Want to avoid your opponent? How about a treeman with a movement of 8? Need a your Initiative to be higher to save your precious ASF? Hand of Glory will do it for you and it will do it on a two dice casting cost. For the cost of a Wildform, it will boost all of those stats and did not mention the potential to increase Weapon Skill. It is a finesse spell for a finesse army. I like the risk of casting it on two dice.


The Word of Pain is the counter to Hand of Glory. The basic spell causes units to loose D3 point of Weapon and Ballistic Skill. For a few more casting points, the spell neuters an opposing unit. The boosted version of the spell also drops Strength and Initiative. Since Elves can be injured by flails of wet paper bags, anything that drops opposing attacking power saves elves. The drop in Initiative also helps ensure ASF re-rolls against the most elite troops like Warriors of Chaos. It is great spell. It wins combats. It is a no brainer to take and a makes the Lore of Dark Magic a solid choice.


The new spell comparison between the Lores of High and Dark is Tempest and Chill Wind. In the Dark Lore, Chill Wind is a low strength magic missile spell with a low cost. It is like a Flock of Doom with two differences. First, it is a causes a effected unit with wounded models to be at -1 Ballistic Skill. This does not seem like much, but getting one wound through is not hard. And it can make ambig difference on low BS troops like Empire and Dwarfs. Second, with wound counters, it is great for set up a one, two punch. Most players will let the spell go. A wounnd counter is placed. Then, cast Doombolt or Blade Wind or Black Horror on the same unit and use wound counter to cause extra carnage.

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To I answer that question I need to know more about how you intend to play wood elves.  So answer me this, what's going to do the killing in your army, and how is that killing going to be accomplished?



Without the Dragon and with the reduced strength on the Forest Spirits, I need to delay combat as long as possible. Only when I have the advantage, can I commit. So essentially, this will be an avoidance and surgical strike army.

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For wood elves, high magic is the better choice. The tokens you gain from high magic keep you alive....period. you don't care about cannons when you have tokens. Word of pain is meant to hex when you are planning to engane in close combat. This is something the wood elves don't excell at, unless in a forest. Speaking as a dark elf general, re-rolling 1's to wound is phenomenal, but I don't think you'll see too many combat blocks of wood elves just sitting in forest hoping to get charged. I just don't like lore of dark magic for wood elves.

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Also, I believe soul quench has a longer range. You don't want your caster 18" away from the enemy. About power of darkness. Again, not so much a needed thing for a shooty army. I love this for my dark elves because I can give my knights strengh 7 on the charge. I used this spell in every game when I played malekith. It was pretty key for a few combats.


As for monster spamming and treekin armies, lore of life is the biz. But, I still believe high magic is the better choice just based on the benefits from the tokens.

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Dark over High for me.


1: Dark makes people worse, High makes you better. When you're already better, as Elven troops often are, being better to the power of 2 isn't great. When you're up against troops that are just as good, I don't want to become better them them. They'll still get strikes in and WE still die to a accurate water gun. I want to make them weaker so they deal less damage with the bonus of making them easier to hurt (which is why I'm VERY pro Shadows for WE)


2: Range-Schmange. Acorn+Moonstone=Don't care


3: I don't care about chaff clearing spells. The whole WE army can clear chaff. What the rest of the WE army doesn't bring is a bigger punch or a way to make their hits seem harder then they are. Thus I want less magic missles but ones with better strength that can do something to mainline combat units.


MexicanNinja: Soul Quench has a 18" range as well

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There's no such thing as a "better" lore for an armybook, because the answer depends on how you've built the list and decide to run it. You need to look at your lore choice in the context of your army as a whole, and pick something that's going to add tools to your army's toolkit to dismantle the sorts of opponents you're likely to face.

For instance, shadow goes really well on an army full of shooting and waywatchers. Tank their toughness with Withering and your waywatchers go from wounding on 6s to maybe wounding on 3s. You can use Miasma to slow down that big fast unit you don't have time to shoot at, or to tank the ballistic skill of stuff that's shooting at your fragile little elves. When they get into combat you can mind razor. Trolls, Ogres, or warmachines ruining your day? Try Pit of Shades!

If you're not running lots of waywatchers then maybe Shadow isn't the best choice though, since how now are you going to deal with armour? So what about metal? Helps you hit, helps them not hit, lowers their armour saves, turns hordes into gold. Wicked.

High is just a wicked lore as well. Arcane unforging defangs all sorts of threats. Fiery Convocation will ruin your opponent's day AND their next magic phase. Not to mention that the lore attribute is just awesome.

Dark is really good as well, though. One signature gives you more dice AND makes your sisters of the thorn bunker have S4 AP javelins. Doombolt is good enough on its own, but even better when it chains with a half dozen previous spells that have built up a big collection of vengeance tokens. Plus it has a lot of the tools that shadow has (amazing debuffs, etc).

Big units? Run life. Hit with more arrows? Heavens. Acorn+Moonstone+Death Snipes / purple suns is always a funny one. Beasts to make your wild riders and warhawks hit harder. Every lore has SOME utility...you just need to decide what utility your list needs.

Edit: Also, never underestimate the power of running a couple different lores. Dual level 4s may be a bit much, but a secondary level 2 caster gives you extra flexibility and can caddy a dispel scroll to boot.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I vote high magic. With a low model count, T3, and the probability of you fielding at least one monster. The wound counters and healing are awesome.


Fiery convo really helps against big blocks.


Walk between worlds is amazing.


Arcane unforging is great for the unkillable disc rider or other tough characters that are fast enough and durable enough to be a problem.

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