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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Default Purple Sun of Xereus: Game Ruiner?

I've heard complaints here and there, but I'd like to take it a step further. The sixth spell of Death Lore: 'Purple Sun of Xereus' ruins games. It can reduce even the largest, most promising battle down to a small handful of dice rolls.

Take my first game at Ard Boyz this weekend. I play Ogres and my opponent plays Dark Elves. I know going in that Ogres (although better now) still aren't a top tier army, so I'm probably just playing for fun.

The game starts, we get into position, we trade initial blows and prepare for close combat. All in all, it looks like it's going to be an interesting and fun game that can easily go either way.

Then he casts Purple Sun. He rolls all the dice he has in his pool, and gets two 6's. I have no way in my list (or army) of preventing it. He rolls a 9 (the average roll) and it lands in the front line of my 2nd most expensive unit, killing two of my four characters, including my lvl 4 wizard.

I try to shrug it off and readjust my strategy, only to have the purple sun slam into my most expensive unit (containing my Lord) the next magic phase. I try to dispel it with all the power dice in my pool, but fall short by 1. The next magic phase, it completely engulfs my main unit, and I concede.

I don't mind powerful magic, but when even a beginner can roll a small handful of dice and beat any player on the planet, then the spell is broken. Granted, it could have backfired on him, but that didn't stop him from taking 2nd at the tournament, mainly from exploiting that single spell.

What do you think?

Last edited by mynameisgrax; 08-30-10 at 03:47 PM.
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 03:18 PM
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Sounds a little like sour grapes to me. But I don't necessarily disagree with you, either. Some of the magic in the new rulebook is extremely powerful. A lot of the skill involved in the magic phase seems to have disappeared, because players realize that you can just roll six dice no matter what level wizard you are, get a miscast/irresistible force, and throw some game-winning spell at their opponent. Magic has become entirely a function of dice, rather than player decision, I think-- purely because of how the Winds of Magic works. The defending player is going to have enough dispel dice, no matter what, really, to stop stuff that isn't irresistible; and the casting player is most likely going to have enough dice to at least throw the big spell and look for the two sixes.

GW clearly designed it that way, too-- case and point, look at Lore of Life. That spell list encourages you to throw as many dice as you can at things, and even accounts for damage the wizard might take from miscasts by either negating it or healing the wounds later.

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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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I like to think it wasn't just frustration with losing. Hell, I played Ogres in 7th edition, I'm used to that. ^_^ If it's sour grapes, it's not really over losing (I know the opponent and he's actually a very good player), it's over not being able to play out the game. I had to kill almost 2 hours before the next round began, for Christ's sake.

What really frustrated me is that it could've been a really fun and engaging battle, but instead it was decided by a small handful of dice that any player (or their pet monkey) could've rolled and won with.

An extra problem is the spell, as random as it may be, is clearly worth the risk. There is a possibility of it backfiring horribly, but odds are it will only damage your opponent, and in some situations, completely cripple him. In order for it to truly backfire, they would have to either roll a misfire (1 in 6 chance) or roll a 4 or less on 3d6 movement distance (another 1 in 6 chance).

So instead of a flip of a coin, it's more like a roll of a d6:

1: you lose two units close to your caster.
2: you lose most or all of one unit close to your caster.
3: it does nothing.
4-5: your opponent loses a unit close to a spot of your choice.
6: your opponent loses two units close to a spot of your choice.

All in all, I'm not saying it isn't a fair spell, as it is a very difficult spell to cast, it can backfire horribly, and you usually have to suffer a miscast to cast it (it reduced the caster in our game to a 0 lvl caster, effectively taking him out of the game), but it reduces what could have been a great game to a small handful of dice rolls. After all the time and effort it took to set up (it was the random deployment mission), it just made the whole experience seem like a waste.
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 03:46 PM
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I was talking about this with my gaming group the other day and basically my point of view is "It might happen. There is a much larger chance that it won't."

To illustrate a few examples:

The second game I played with my Dark Elves in the new edition, I took Purple Sun on my Level 4 Sorc, and cast it on turn 2. I rolled a Misfire and then a 6 for her initiative test, she promptly died, leaving me with ~1500pts vs my opponenents 2000pts.

The third game I played, I managed to cast it without mishap, and it then spent the rest of the game zigzagging back and forth in front of the enemy without ever touching his units.

The fourth game it ate about half a unit of Ironbreakers, which was nice, but not gamebreaking at the time.

Due to a combination of factors, magic has become a lot more unreliable than it was previously. I've played games where I've had 5 dice at most during all of my own turns, and been unable to get a meaningful cast off. I've also played games where I got 12 dice twice in a row and cast every spell I had.

I have similar examples from my WoC with Gateway, but I think you get the gist. Sometimes you get a silly silly phase, and it wins you the game. Other times it can fail totally right when you need it.

My point is that this is no different to anything else in the game. A bad double 6 can always screw you over (whether it's a gateway cast or a break test), and the misfire dice is nobodies friend. A Hellblaster can either munch its way through unit after unit, or it can explode on turn 1 depending on how the dice feel.

I'm sure we can all come up with an example of unlucky scenarios that we've seen/encountered, but at the end of the day it's just a result of rolling dice to win games. Sometimes they just refuse to work. I don't think complaining about Purple Sun is any more productive than complaining about Cannon or Stone Throwers or Terror, and I don't think any of them ruin the game in general. However, occasionally, they might ruin one or two games that otherwise would have been close.

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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 03:48 PM
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Sadly there's not much you can do, that's just the new magic of the edition. Purple Sun is a impressive Spell especially with Irresistible force but I seen it backfire enough to not be worried. Lore of Death is Indeed a powerful Lore but I feel Purple Sun isn't the best spell from it, I lost more due to Doom and Darkness and Fate of Bjuna then to Purple Sun. Just gotta keep on trucking and find away around powerful magic

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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 04:10 PM
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Purple sun is an initiative test, that means that it depends who they're using it against, if they use it against chaos/elves it will do very little and be quite unlikely to effect any characters (barring bad luck).

It just really sucks for you as ogres, as the spell is especially effective versus your army.

I definately agree with you on magic though, in this edition it takes no skill, people just throw 6 dice at every spell and guarantee a powerful cast. Removing the double 1 really made magic a very low risk option. Previously the double 1 issue made it risky to do this, now there's no risk, just throw all of your dice in.
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 04:15 PM
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I hate coming up against the lore of death with my ogres too- there really is nothing you can do to prevent a purple sun from wiping out the majority of a unit.

As for THoH saying that its easy for a defender to dispel it I can't say Ive seen that born out in 8th. A lot of the time we see 5-7 power dice with 3-4 dispel dice... a level 4 should be able to cast the higher purple sun with that, and is almost certain to get the smaller one... while if the defender doesn't have either a Lv4 or a scroll the spell is going to go through (even with a lv4 its unlikely they'll stop it)... but it is always fun getting a double 6 when you have almost no dice left.

I think that the ogres will do better after the new army book is released (hopefully early next year).... I expect we'll new banners that protect from characteristic tests (or give some sort of bonus/save to them) as well as hopefully being able to take both more magical banners and on more units (currently ogres can have 1 <25pt banner on ironguts and 1 of any points on the BSB... thats it for the entire army, no matter how big a game it is).

Then again its not just ogres that have to worry about purple sun- its has the ability to trounce dwarves, lizards, nurgle daemons and to a certain extent VC in a single pass (its nasty for other armies, but about right for what it costs to cast). Then again I would say ogres are the most vulnerable of those. With I2 core, I3 characters and an I4 general they'll fail a lot of 'I' tests and then the fact of them having many wounds is irrelevant as they just straight die (plus at least 3 roles for more PD per model failed).
It just means that those armies have something of an auto-loss button built in if they start running anything that looks remotely like a deathstar, and since a hoard of ogres is about the only thing I can do to counter massive hoards from other armies (other then multiple scraplaunchers.. which Im not going to do).

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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 09:55 PM
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the thing is lore of life with dwellers bellow combined with lore of shadows can be more deadly than the purple sun
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 10:29 PM
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sure, but thats ok- that requires 2 mages, both to roll the right spells, then they need to manage to cast both. A nice big combination like that requires some skill, some planning and a nice helping of luck to get going (spread through several dice roles).
On the other hand purple sun can end the game with 1 spell, which is a little harsh when it doesnt require any skill or planning.

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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 08-30-10, 10:30 PM
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Unfortunately, it's not the fault of the spell. Theres a 50%+ chance of most armies surviving- combined with the initial dispel chance and the RiP dispel, there's a reasonable chance of stopping it with most up to date armies.

Compare that to Ogres, and Dwarves, and it's a nuke - but they're out of date, requiring defensive magic - of which defensive magic being a couple of additional dispel dice is not up to the scratch of what current 8th Edition Magic is.

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