So with a little experimenting and a dose of theorycrafting (not forgetting a pinch of 'bored with a little too much spare time on my hands'), I present the following for your reading and army building pleasure!
At first sight the myriad new common magic items in 8th can be a little bit confusing to choose from. Everyone has an idea what works well in their own armybook and it is tempting to stick to old favourites from 7th. It is also fair to say that in the past, common magic items have often been over-costed or simply not as good as their armybook counterparts. The good news is in 8th there are some good options hidden amongst the new common magic items.
So before we get started, here are a couple of important caveats to have in mind:
- Always check your armybook to see if there is a cheaper/better version.
- Anything very situational is probably not worth the points. For example items that only work against flying enemies.
- Think about how an item works for your character or army. Immunity to flaming attacks is worth a lot more if the character has regeneration.
Finally, a lot of the common magic items are what might be described as ‘fluffy’ (or garbage depending on your outlook). At least 50% of the options just aren’t worth taking due to the cost or the effect.
Basic Principle – If it costs a lot of points it is not worth taking.
Very Good Choices
- Sword of Swift Slaying – This is a really good choice for most armies (obviously pointless for HE). On a good combat character with high I you have just earned re-rolls to hit against most opponents. Even on less able fighters getting your hits in first is a useful ability.
- Sword of Striking – This is a really strong choice on characters with reasonable strength. Most combat characters will go from hitting on 3s to hitting on 2s making them much more powerful for the cost.
- Sword of Might – Not bad for the points. In most cases this will make a character rather more powerful for limited investment.
- Gold Sigil Sword – Again, getting your hits in first can make a big difference, particularly when combined with other items.
- Biting Blade – Armour piercing for the points is not bad at all, basically a cheap and cheerful alternative to +1S.
- Relic Sword – A cheap way to double your chance of wounding against high T units like the STank. Not an all rounder, but very good at what it does.
- Warrior Bane – A cheap way to stymie those combat monsters IF you have high I or ASF.
Basic Principle – Generally pretty expensive for what they do.
Very Good Choices
- Dragonhelm – If you have regeneration this is pretty much a must have. +1AS and a guaranteed 4+ save? Yes please! If you don’t have regen then keep looking.
- Glittering Scales – Not a bad choice. This will mean most things go from hitting you on a 4+ to hitting you on a 5+. LA means it is accessible to most characters too.
- Enchanted Shield – A cheap way to get a decent AS. Pretty much a Ronseal® item.
- Armour of Destiny/Armour of Silvered Steel/Armour of Fortune – Expensive and most armybooks will have a cheaper option. However, for some characters these are the only way to get wards or decent AS.
- Charmed Shield – A cheap way to have a good chance of ignoring the first bit of artillery thrown at your character on a monstrous mount.
Basic Principle – Generally cheaper than Magic Armour for the same effect, some good options for your squishy wizards.
Very Good Choices
- Dragonbane Gem – If you have regeneration this is pretty much a must have and is even better than the Dragonhelm. This is the perfect combo with armour that gives regen or wizards that want to be fireproof; it’s super cheap to boot!
- Talisman of Preservation – This is expensive, but it is the only way some armybooks can get a decent ward save for wizards. If it were cheaper it would be a very good choice, as it is for some armies this is almost a must have.
- Talisman of Endurance – A basic ward save. A little over-costed against various items from armybooks but again, the only way some armies can get a basic ward save for wizards.
- Luckstone – Got the points left over and not sure what to do with them? Give this to your BSB or other key characters to keep them alive a little bit longer.
- Obsidian items – If MR is going to be useful then these are not bad choices if very expensive, best used in combination with a good ward to make a unit nigh on magic proof.
Basic Principle – Some really good options here that are pretty much essential choices. Avoid the 50+ points choices in particular.
Very Good Choices
- Razor Standard – This is pretty much a must have. It makes your big combat units even more deadly and can turn lacklustre shooting in to something to be feared.
- Banner of Swiftness – For the points this is a strong option. Getting across the board quicker is a plus, but having a better charge is really quite good.
- Banner of Eternal Flame – This is cheap and very, very effective against flammable units and units with regen. Unless you know you wont need it, it is a good option to have up your sleeve and will make Hydras and Treemen quake before you.
- War Banner – Not a must have, but a strong choice. Particularly if you can get it for the old cost with your armybook. This is a good option for ensuring your combat units have maxed out CR.
- Standard of Discipline (Rulebook FAQ v1.2) – This item has gone from situational and good for some armies (particularly WoC), to good for any army with low leadership generals. The FAQ allows the general to gain the bonus too if in a unit with this banner; this means any unit within range of the general also gets the bonus. Pretty big upgrade I'd say.
- Gleaming Pennant – If you don’t have a BSB this handful of points might just save your day. Situational but very cheap.
Basic Principle – Not so good…
Very Good Choices
- None. Seriously, this section is over-costed and not that effective.
- Power Scroll – Basically enables you to suicide a big spell with one of your throwaway wizards. Want to throw a Purple Sun or Dwellers Below that will change the course of the game? Just remember to keep your hapless wizard away from your important stuff as he will go bang after he casts. This is powerful, but your opponent should see it coming really
- Dispel Scroll – Not as important as they were in 7th but good for stopping that game changing spell dead. Save it for the big spell that may well turn the game if successful.
- Staff of Sorcery (Rulebook FAQ v1.2) – If you need a little help dealing with your opponent's magic, this is a good option. Some armybooks have better choices and this will compete for a place in your list with other choices, but worth considering.
- Feedback Scroll – Too expensive really, but if you know your opponent is going to rely on magic you can throw a monkey wrench in his plans as long as they don’t cast irresistibly…
- Scroll of Shielding – Useless against the big spells that ignore wards but could save a unit at an all important moment if you are on the ball. Not too costly either.
Basic Principle – Some good stuff here, but choose carefully.
Very Good Choices
- Crown of Command – This is one of the strongest choices of all the common magic items. You can make any unit you choose in to a rock that is going to be very difficult to get rid off. Perfect for getting the most out of your powerful but small unit, with a BSB to make them even harder shift.
- Ironcurse Icon – Ideal for protecting your large bunker unit from war machines. It only takes 1 or 2 saves for this item to have made its points back for you. Pretty much a must have unless you have a better option.
- Fozzrik’s Folding Fortress – Can be very powerful in the right situation. All you non WE players that whinged about the free wood? Get your own back by dumping a building full of ranged units in your deployment zone. Situational for sure, but quite a powerful option if you use it well.
- Ruby Ring of Ruin – Good for sniping at regenerators or soft, vulnerable targets when the occasion presents itself. Bit pricy though.
- Potion of Foolhardiness – A reasonable option if you have a suicide character, or want to beef up an important charge. This may make the difference or add some extra damage for very few points.
- Potion of Speed – A reasonable option if you have a suicide character that is aimed at taking out wizards, etc, in tough bunkers. This may make the difference or add some extra damage for very few points.
Hopefully this rundown of the various common magic items will prove useful. If you really want to take an item not on this list then by all means do, but make sure you think about what you want to get from it. If you want it for fluff reasons you probably aren’t too fussed about this review. If you want it for a situational reason and can make it work then great. If not, you should really consider all the alternatives first.