So yesterday, I got together with a group of friends for a game of WHFB with the End Times magic rules (sans arcane fulcrums). Granted it was only a single game but I could see the pros and cons over the standard 8e magic rules.
- Low level casters gain relevance. Because Wizards know all spells for their lore, a lvl. 1 or 2 Wizard has options, particularly in a game where it may be the only Wizard in the army. It doesn't just come down to your opponent saving all his dispel dice for your one important spell.
- The powerful, game-changing spells like Purple Sun and Dwellers Below are far less common, but not unattainable. Having 4d6 power dice gives you a large enough power pool that its okay to burn 1 in attempt to cast something big without crippling the rest of your magic phase. (However, Dreaded 13th for Skaven is another matter. You are pretty much relying on Irresistible Force to cast this.)
- Wizards can be deployed much more tactically and in fewer numbers. Since you are not relying on luck to get the spells you want, Wizards can occupy a much more solid place in your battle plan. Additionally, since you don't need to take multiple Wizards to guarantee you have access to a certain spell, you can field them in fewer numbers, freeing up points for other characters or units you may not have fielded otherwise. That's not to say there aren't benefits to continue fielding multiple Wizards, however it is more of a preference as opposed to a requirement.
- Casting spells is less about power dice management, and more about who can throw more dice at a spell. It seemed in the game we played that more often than not, the success or failure of a spell was determined by who rolled higher for determining max power/dispel dice for a given spell. This probably deserves a few more games to verify this assumption though.
- Magic reliant armies, particularly Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings, are disadvantaged by the added randomness of the magic phase. While the randomness is not inherently bad (in fact, I very much like the added unpredictability of magic), armies that use magic as an integral part of their army's playstyle are relying more on good luck than skill in some circumstances.
- Higher level Wizards seem to be marginalized a bit since all Wizards know all the spells for their lore. You are essentially paying 35 pts per +1 on cast/dispel attempts.
Overall, our impressions of the End Times magic was positive. However, should we use it regularly in the future, we will most likely do so with the addition of an extra house rule, which was caused in no small part to a ridiculous string of spells resulting in a lvl. 1 Plague Priest 'Wither'ing a horde of goblins to death in a single Magic phase.
Our house rule is as follows, "A Wizard may only cast the same spell a number of times each Magic phase equal to his Wizard lvl."
This actually will prevent something like what I described above from happening, but it also counteracts one of the other cons in that it provides additional incentive to run a higher lvl caster.
I'm curious to know what anyone else who has used the End Times magic thinks, as well as our house rule addition.