This is a thread designed to examine the Lores of Magic in 8th Edition. Feel free to suggest silly combos, share your ideas on your army-specific Lores, and which armies would benefit most from certain lores over others. Just be careful not to post too much rules text!
Lore of Fire - The Wind of Aqshy
Overall, a very middle-of-the-road lore. Everything does damage, so there are no “useless” spells per se, but it tends to be outshone by lores with more utility.
Lore Attribute: Kindleflame. A nice way to make sure that low-level wizards reach the casting value, but I’m not convinced it’ll help them get their spells off against a higher level dispeller. Also requires either multiple Fire Wizards or multiple casts, and I think there are better choices for a high level wizard.
Cascading Fire Cloak
: For such a stupidly low casting cost, this is a very good spell. I’d happily try to sneak it in as your last cast of the turn on one dice, in the hopes that your opponent spent all his dispel dice on bigger spells.
Fulminating Flame Cage
: High casting cost for a minimal initial effect means that if cast on a bad target, it’ll be a waste of dice. However if you pick a good target, you can seriously ruin that units day. Pick something that you know wants to flee as a charge reaction, reform, march or charge and you’ll be fine. Warhammer is a game of movement, and if you can interfere with your opponents then you should gain a significant advantage (as we saw last edition with march blocking).
The Lore of Fire benefits armies with little ranged firepower in order to get rid of annoying things like Wraiths, Eagles, Skirmishers and Fast Cav.
Lore of Metal - The Wind of Chamon
Lore of choice against Warriors of Chaos, or if you know your opponent loves his heavy cavalry. Also a nice selection of (de)buff spells.
Lore Attribute: Killing 40pt knights with no save on a 2+ is really really nasty. Obviously worse against goblins or the like. I’ll be interested to see how many people take it in all-comers lists, as it’s power waxes and wanes depending on context.
Potentially the most devastating “6” spell out of all the Lores, due to not having to make a characteristic test or use a template, somewhat ironic that the entire Lore is dependant on context, apart from this one which goes “FFFFUUUUUUU!!!” equally to everyone.
Blades of Aiban
: Incredibly powerful in terms of the power granted vs casting cost. +1 to hit AND Armour piercing is rather sexy, making most units hit on 3s vs most opponents.
The Lore of Metal benefits anyone planning to fight Chaos Warriors. I'm not sure if that was the intent, or just the way it turned out. Anyway...
Lore of Shadow - The Wind of Ulgu
One of my personal favourites, it makes me wish I could take it AND Mark of Tzeentch for the +1 Cast bonus. Oh well. The direct damage spells are too unreliable to be great, but the debuffs are lovely. A good choice to support the poor-to-medium infantry in your army (bring them down to your level!). It also synergises well with itself (and Purple Sun!).
Attribute: The character swapping is nice, but apart from going “bwahahaha” as you swap in your tooled out Lord and save your Wizard from combat, I can’t see a good tactical use for it.
Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma
: Possibly my favourite signature spell, it has a 48” range for a 5+ casting cost (which is amazing) and has great versatility. If it shoots, go after BS. If it fights, go after WS or I. If it’s a Dwarf, go after M and laugh as they fail to do anything except charge.
: Nothing like hitting people with S7 skaven! Makes every single unit in your army a potential killer-unit-of-death. If you get this off the turn before your opponent is due to charge, he’ll have some very hard decisions to make. Best used on units who didn’t buy expensive weapon options!
The Lore of Shadow benefits anyone with weakish infantry, or alternatively anyone fighting very strong infantry like Elves or Chaos/Daemons.
Lore of Beasts - The Wind of Ghur
A very good “Buff” lore, especially if you expect to fight a lot of challenges. Access to an auto-hitting bolt thrower is often overlooked, but shouldn’t be.
Attribute: Not sure how much this’ll affect anything unless you play with Beastmen. Maybe Brets might like it too.
: One of the highest difficulty signature spells, but oh-so worth it. +1 S and T to a unit of your choice either makes a mediocre unit good or a strong unit very silly indeed. There’s a reason they don’t let Warriors of Chaos anywhere near this lore.
Transformation of Kadon
: The “ooh, ahh” spell of the new edition (in my local group, anyway). I’ve played against it a few times and it hasn’t actually made much difference, because it’s always fought in a challenge. Yes, it will kill a unit champion, but that doesn’t help when you’re losing the combat by lots in the first place. Potentially devastating though, it would be nice to see if it’s worth going for the lower casting cost. I’m also waiting for a 20+ Cast dragon get hit by Purple Sun and die due to his I1...
The Lore of Beasts benefits anyone who wants an excuse to use a huge dragon model. Oh, and who likes Characters with ridiculous statlines.
Lore of Heavens - The Wind of Azyr
A strangely underwhelming lore, it nonetheless has a decent mix of damage, buffs and debuffs. It just seems that other lores can do the individual jobs better. If you like flexibility, I guess this Lore might be a go-to for you.
Attribute: Very underwhelming. Hysterical against those bastard skink/Tomb King priests but otherwise probably not all that useful.
: Now this intrigued me when I first saw it, but I still don’t have a clear idea of the tactical options. The “must be moved directly away from the caster” is a pain in the proverbial, but I guess shoving opponents in the direction of your choice would be a bit too good. Amusing to push a War machine off a hill though.
Curse of the Midnight Wind
: Irreplaceable against Khorne Daemons (killing blow) and Witch Elves (poison), and still good against everything else (especially when the enemy is rolling lots of dice). I think the debuffs in Shadow do a better job though.
The Lore of Heavens benefits Gunlines with S6 damage spells (in case bow/gunfire isn't enough), rerolls to hit and wound and the Comet (just drop it right in the middle of the shortest route to your lines).
Lore of Light - The Wind of Hysh
Light on damage spells (ah-hahaha) but oh so sickeningly good buffs makes this a godsend for Deathstar units and generally weak horde units alike. Competes with Life though, so we’ll see which one people prefer.
Attribute: No effect except against 3 armies, and even then only on 3 of the spells. Bad for general use. If you’re planning games in advance against VCs though...
: Wow. Words fail to describe the awesomeness. Double movement and +1 Attack and ASF. Gibber. Can you imagine a unit of Chaos Knights with that? Pity it can’t happen. Cross your fingers for the next army book release. Combine with the Speed of Light to make your totally crap unit suddenly deal death to everything. Funny for hiding your flying unit behind some terrain turn one and then hitting their war machines on turn two while giving no opportunity for them to inflict damage on you.
Light of Battle
: Another overlooked spell, it makes a unit of your choice unbreakable, therefore so as long as you have 1 guy left, you can tie up his death star unit as long as you like. Also good if one of your important units fails a critical panic/terror test (you didn’t take a BSB, did you?).
The Lore of Light benefits anyone with a Death Star unit that already has sufficient defences, and needs some ramped up killing power. Also the Net is very good if you know your opponent uses Light Cavalry (who like to move, shoot and flee).
Lore of Life - The Wind of Ghyran
5 seperate augment spells should tell you what this lore does, and boy does it do it well. Generally defensive where Light is offensive, it still has major power behind it.
Attribute: Restoring wounds is often overlooked, but can be very good for either a Lord on a big mount of death or your rare choices. Keep your wizard near either and combine with regrowth to make a unit nigh on invulnerable.
Throne of Vines
: I love this spell, both for the in-game effects and the idea behind it. It has such flavour. The fact that it makes Life’s already solid spells into overpowered buffs of doom is entirely beside the point. The only downside is that it’s a Remains in Play spell and only casts on an 8+, allowing a good caster to dispel it on 1-2 dice in his turn. Worth it though.
: Another “characteristic test or die” spell, this one is actually not one of my favourites due to it being on Strength, which is a generally high stat (and difficult to modify) and only having a 12” range isn’t very impressive. However being able to increase it to 24” for a relatively tiny increase in casting cost makes it a very powerful addition. Overall I prefer the much cheaper Black Horror from the Dark Elf book (you gain 6" of range for a lower casting cost, and the difference between a Large Template and "whole unit" is normally pretty small).
The Lore of Life benefits anyone with good monsters/multi-wound models or infantry that they want to protect.
Lore of Death - The Wind of Shyish
The final word in character sniping, the lore of death also includes two nasty hexes and a very shiny (if unreliable) magical vortex of mass killy death.
Attribute: Now, if only this lore had a decent magic missile... wait, that’s probably why it doesn’t... if you get a good purple sun hit off, you can probably cast every spell you have. Nuff said.
: I’ll cover all of these because they all basically do the same thing. Kill big nasty combat characters/monsters before they reach you. The downside of all of them is their 12” ranges, leaving you a very small window to snipe in. If you don’t 1-shot the gribbly thing, you’re not going to get another chance. The option to extend the first two to 24” is nice, but means that a level 2 is not going to reliably get them off. Still, nothing better than Mind Warring a Hydra to death. Another problem is that your target gets Ward Saves, I expect this Lore to wax and wane depending on how much your local players protect their characters – if you take this for a few games and still no-one buys Magic Res then Darwin says they deserve everything they get!
Doom and Darkness
: A very nice way to make Terror... well... terrifying again. Even with rerolls from a BSB, he’s not going to be passing many Ld 4-5 tests. The fact that you can cast it into combat means you can swing a close thing into a crushing rout for a measly 10+ to cast. Worth it, in my book.
The Lore of Death benefits anyone who has little answer to big combat nasties like Shaggoths, Stegadons, Hydras etc or nasty characters (especially silly wizards or BSBs who are traditionally less well protected). Hysterical vs Ogres if you can get Purple Sun.
Warriors of Chaos: Tzeentch
No attribute for these, so I'll pick out my three favourite spells from each lore! We also benefit from very low average casting costs, the highest being 15+ compared to 25+ in the new Lores.
: Lovely spell. Forces the opponent to waste 2 dice dispelling it or risk miscasts every time he rolls more than 1 die to cast. The Ld removal is also very useful in this new edition of BSBs and Stubborn General's Leadership check. Especially funny if playing against Trolls or other Stupid creatures that normally depend on being near a general to pass psychology tests.
Treason of Tzeentch
: Will generally kill about a quarter of the unit you aim it at (4s to hit, 4s/3s to wound, negligible save) which is really rather good for a 9+ spell (that's an even odds 1-dice spell for a Tzeentch Level 4!). Obviously best used on big units of Halberdiers or equivalent, but also works efficiently on large archer units due to lack of armour.
: Honestly, who doesn't like this spell? Well... anyone who plays against it I guess. In the new editions I've had it remove 2 complete units - 50 Bloodletters with Skulltaker and a Herald and also 40 Swordsmen with a BSB, General and a Wizard with an active Kadon transformation going. Works very well if your opponents love their Horde units! Easily cast on 3 dice for a Tzeentch Lord, you get a lot of bang for your buck even if you don't get the silly result - averaging 7 S7 hits on a unit is no picnic for them either.
Warriors of Chaos: Nurgle
Even more cheap than our other Lores, a Level 4 Nurgle caster can easily expect to try casting all 4 spells per turn even without bonus power dice.
: Three wonderful things about this one. First, a 24" range means you can start casting on turn 1. Second, it's a guaranteed wound, something that's rather rare in this game. Third, it can be cast into combat. All for a measly 5+. Extremely good cost/benefit there.
: Significant improvements i nthe new edition makes this much more viable than previously. No guess range, S1 being able to hurt anything, and lack of partials all combine to make the large template actually quite scary. Still scatters, and make sure that the caster is in a unit of Nurgle Warriors, but all things considered it's been made much better.
Curse of the Leper
: Great for sneaking up with the Lore of Shadow combo when your opponent isn't paying attention and removing an entire unit in one phase! Will only work once though before they get wise to it. Even if you can't kill a whole unit in one turn, it's a very foolish opponent who lets it stay on longer than necessary (although I have seen people forget about it, to their regret). Not a bad spell, just a little underpowered compared to the new Shadow.
Warriors of Chaos: Slaanesh
Unfortunately the weakest of the Chaos Lores, Slaanesh suffered as we moved into the new ruleset even more than the others, making it rather underwhelming until we get a new book.
: Nice if you want to have access to Frenzy without painting your whole army red, but not nearly so good now that you can't force your opponent to make a Frenzy charge against your Doggies or Marauder Cav.
: One of the spells I'd really love to use, but can't quite justify dropping Tzeentch for. Nothing like making a Deathstar unit wheel 70 degrees and present you with a beautiful flank charge. On the other hand, it says "must move as fast as possible" so you can also run someone's cavalry through a forest taking dangerous terrain tests all day.
: In addition to the amusing mental image of making an Orc orgasm til he dies, this is better than Dwellers below because it is a 24" range for a 12+ cast value (as opposed to 21+), but it's worse because it doesn't instant-kill multi wound models. I'll leave it up to you to weigh up the pros and cons!
Daemon Lore of Tzeentch
This is a very shooty Spell lore with 3 Magic Missiles and 1 Direct Damage. Unfortunately the ranges are very limited meaning you're going to have to get into harms way with them. The Magic Missiles themselves are very nice, doing significant damage for relatively low casting Values. Special mention goes to three spells.
Firestorm of Tzeentch
This is the longest range Magic Missile available at 24" doing 2D6 S5 flaming hits can make it very dangerous. All for a Casting Value 13 which is a little high. What it does do though is create a really annoying march blocking unit of horrors I the enemies rear or flank. It will only be a unit of 1 or 2 horrors but that can be really irritating for the enemy.
Boon of Tzeentch
This is a nice little power for the end of your magic phase, throw a single dice into it and assuming you get 3+ you'll get at least 2 power dice back. Hopefully by this point you'll have run down your opponents Dispell pool and that allows you to fire off a quick Bolt of Change or something.
Or you could use you Boon dice to cast this. Your opponents wizards probably have good spells. Who wouldn't want a 7+ casting Dwellers from Below or Purple Sun. It is very situational but devastating. You've run down their dispell dice Glean Magic into Final Transmutation/Purple Sun/Dwellers etc.
Daemon Lore of Nurgle
Nurgle is a bit of a hotch potch of things, some direct damage, a magic missile, a hex, a buff. Its a lore I would take for a themed army but its just not focused enough to build a caster around. It does have some very nice individual spells in there.
This is the obviously good spell from the Lore, 13+ casting value is not very strenuous for a toughness test or die type spell. And on top of that you get bases of Nurglings from it. This is one if the most devastating spells in the whole book. A unit of 20 T3 guys will get cut in half and 3 bases of nurglings will hang round March Blocking them in the flank or rear assuming they pass the panic test.
Miasma of Pestilence
This is the base spell , with a trivial casting value. But the effect is pretty bold, reducing WS, S, T, I, A to 1 makes it much easier to beat people down. On a Daemon Prince or such like it makes people 5's to hit you, 6's to would you. If you're going up against something big and scary like Minotaurs or Orges then suddenly S1 T1 Minotaurs are a lot less forbidding. It's situational but very effective when it is needed.
Pit of Slime
Again a very situational spell, giving the opponent a Strength test or leave the unit unable to move or shoot. In certain situations that is simply awesome, leaving a unit stranded for a turn can hold up an entire advance. Also War Machines automatically fail Strength tests as it uses the lowest strength in the unit. Can be very handy.
Daemon Lore of Slaneesh
This is a great lore to load up on. It has relatively easy spells, the hardest being a 10, and four of them focus on leadership. If you don't go all out on this Lore I feel it's a bit of a waste as the power alone are a little mediocre.
This is the key spell in the Lore, combined with the Great Icon of Despair especially. Forcing Leadership tests on 3D6 really makes the other spells in the lore work well. Acquiescence making you Stupid is suddenly a lot worse when you're testing on 3 dice. Slicing Shards can devastate a unit, Pavane can snipe Characters well.
Succour of Chaos
This is a great little buff, Always Strikes First cannot really be under estimated. And giving you the ReRolls to hit as well just incase ASF doesn't give you them.
The Dark lore
The Dark Lore is, first and foremost, a generalist lore. If you only have one wizard, or are unsure who you'll face up against, this lore is a good choice. It provides a good mixture of utility and damage-dealing, sometimes combining both at once, with low casting values that allows a level 4 to cast optimally on two dice per spell! This lore also combines well with the Sacrificial Dagger on a level 4, as you can cast most of the spells on one dice and use the Dagger to save you if you fail.
Power of Darkness
This spell isn't a Dark-only spell, as every Sorceress gets it, but I'll cover it anyways. While this has been nerfed somewhat, with natural 1's or 2's autofail, it also has been buffed a lot, seeing as the extra power dice mean that much more. D3+1 power dice is a lot. There are two options for getting it off. Playing safe, and using two dice, or waiting till you only have one or two dice left and casting it for each of your sorceresses.
Like many other spells, Sacrificial Dagger can help here, allowing you to cast it on one dice regardless, but even without, it can have a huge impact. Your opponent has a tough choice, they can save several dice for this spell, letting other spells go off, or they can let you cast this unhindered, potentially extending your magic phase by 2 or 3 spells, after your opponent has used all their dispel dice. Very useful.
When you look at the basic effects of this spell, it's good, but it's gotten even better in the new edition. D6 S4 hits can cause a couple casualties, nothing that good, but preventing a unit from shooting can be insanely good, especially when it's the larger unit that likely would be used with the new editions 2-ranks-shooting.
This spell is, well, probably the worst in the Dark Lore. D6 S5 hits can be decent at killing skirmishers, or perhaps killing one or two heavy cavalry.
Word of Pain
Best hex ever? Probably. Reducing WS and BS to 1 can be useful in a huge variety of situations. Since nothing in the Dark Elf book is below WS3 this means that the enemy hits you on 5's, and you hit them on 3's, potentially a total turnaround. Even better, this debuffs characters in the unit as well, which can make even the most killy lord flail around uselessly, and, depending on what he's in base-contact with, very vulnerable.
The secondary use, the reduction of BS, can't be used in as many situations, but is still very useful. While not guaranteeing no hits like a successful wound from Chillwind, there won't be many, or any, probably. Try using this on a ranged unit, then, in your following turn, before the hex goes away, charge them. This will affect their stand-and-shoot, *and* their previous shooting phase. Also makes even small units capable of taking them on.
On the surface, this spell appears to be just a magic missile that you have to roll to hit for, but don't be fooled. 3d6 can be a *lot* of attacks, and against some enemies, you can actually get some good damage going. The real use of this in the new edition however, is warmachine hunting.
Since the warmachines are likely in a place to maximize LOS, it shouldn't be too hard for your Sorceress to see them as well, and here's where the kicker comes in, Bladewinds attacks are close-combat. That means that you bybass the toughness thing entirely, likely killing or maiming a 100+ point warmachine with one spell. Very nice.
This spell is awesome. No two ways about it. In the new edition, with everyone taking larger units, a S2 hit ignoring armor on everyone in a unit can easily kill around a hundred points. Just throw it at the largest unit the enemy have and boom. Also good for using on existing combats to swing the tide by destroying some of the enemy models before the next phase of combat starts.
The secondary effect is also awesome for protecting your Sorceress. The very first casting should take her up to 4/6 wounds, and subsequent castings can give those back if the magical protection fails.
And the final spell in this lore, Black Horror. Compared to the previous spells, a menagerie of mixed utility/damage, this is fairly straightforward, but also very reliable. Low strength isn't as easy to count on as low toughness for Soul Stealer, but each can do similar amounts of damage, this having a greater range and possibility of touching other units, while Soul Stealer can be cast into close combat, and regenerates wounds on the Sorceress. Use it to kill big units, or, a secondary use, place it over clustered warmachines to inflict auto-wounds and panic tests on each.
Silly Combo Section!!
High magic is nice (and if you are only running one mage I would say take it every time, unless you're using Teclis). But one of the biggest strengths the high elves have is in the range of lores they can choose from. We have access to all the rulebook lores, plus one of our own. There aren't many really nasty synergies with the rulebook lores, but the beauty of the high magic list is that it covers most of the bases - if you are taking multiple mages, you can give your high mage the seerstaff and then tailor your high spells to cover the weaknesses in your other lore(s). I tend to run a dragon mage and a high mage, so my high mage takes buffs and hexes leaving direct damage/missile spells to the dragon mage. Conversely, I know a few players who take an archmage with life and then use their high mage for offense.
EDIT: Don't forget that high elf mages get +1 to dispel, so you can run effective magic defense with just a couple of level 2s and the right items.
On to the spells:
Often overlooked, this spell has dropped somewhat in usefulness now that all mages can throw up to six dice at any spell (before, you could use multiple castings to put high difficulty spells out of reach for low level mages). It is still incredibly useful, however, and as a free spell it is always worth throwing out as the last spell of your phase (the difficulty is only 7, so even a L2 has a 1/3 chance of getting it off on one dice). The thing to remember with this is that for each successful drain magic you put out, your opponent is going to have to commit one more dice to each of his casting attempts.
Shield of Saphery
What's not to like? a 5+ ward that lasts until the start of your next magic phase goes a long way towards countering the fragility of high elf units. It's a lot less situational than Earth Blood (more things bypass regen than wards) and cheaper too.
Curse of Arrow Attraction
Of all the high spells, this depends most on the rest of your army to take advantage of it. If you are running multiple bolt throwers, however, this one is a keeper.
Courage Of Aenarion
Not that great, IMO, since spear units will often have steadfast anyway and if your elite units start having to take break tests something has already gone horribly wrong. For one extra point of difficulty Light Of Battle is by far the better spell.
Fury of Khaine
2d6 S4 attacks may be nothing to write home about, but it is easier to cast than the equivalent spells from the rulebook lores.
Flames Of The Phoenix
This has always been a tricky spell to use, although it has arguably got nastier now that S3 can wound anything on a 6. Remember that your opponent has to roll for each model in the unit, so this is a horde killer. And your opponent will have to commit at least two of his precious power dice to dispelling it in his own magic phase unless he wants to take another load of hits on your turn.
This is the hardest spell to cast in the whole lore, and its still only 12+. It has also become much more important now that there is no equivalent spell in the lore of metal (which there was in both 6th and 7th). As an added bonus, your opponent has to reveal ALL the items in the target unit, so it's great for guaging the weaknesses of enemy deathstars.
Melkoth’s Miasma [Lore of Shadow] targeting Initiative + Purple Sun [Lore of Death]/Pit of Shades [Lore of Shadow]/Penumbral Pendulum [Lore of Shadow]
Enfeebling Foe [Lore of Shadow] + Dwellers Below [Lore of Life]
Enfeebling Foe [Lore of Shadow] + Caress of Laniph [Lore of Death]
The Withering [Lore of Shadow] + Fate of Bjuna [Lore of Death]
Fulminating Flame Cage [Lore of Fire] + Wind Blast [Lore of Heavens]
Doom and Darkness [Lore of Death] + Spirit Leech [Lore of Death]
Doom and Darkness [Lore of Death] + Final Transmutation [Lore of Metal]
Transformation of Kadon [Lore of Beasts] + Savage Beast of Horros [Lore of Beasts]
Iceshard Blizzard [Lore of Heavens]/Curse of Anraheir [Lore of Beasts]/ Melkoth’s Miasma [Lore of Shadow] targeting BS + Pha’s Protection [Lore of Light]
Enfeebling Foe [Lore of Shadow]/The Withering [Lore of Shadow] + Curse of the Leper [WoC: Lore of Nurgle]
Doom and Darkness [Lore of Death] + Baleful Transmogrification [WoC: Lore of Tzeentch]
Doom and Darkness [Lore of Death] + Aura of Acquiescence [WoC: Lore of Slaanesh]
The Withering [Lore of Shadow] + Ecstatic Seizures [WoC: Lore of Slaanesh]
Melkoths Mystifying Miasma [Lore of Shadow] targeting WS / The Withering [Lore of Shadow] + Bladewind [Dark Magic]
The Withering [Lore of Shadow] + Soul-Stealer [Dark Magic]
The Enfeebling Foe [Lore of Shadow] + Black Horror [Dark Magic]
Not a spell, but Supreme Sorceress with Sacrificial Dagger, Lore of Death, and using Power of Darkness can put out more power dice than anything else in the game most likely.
More will be added if people suggest others!
Feel free to add more or ask questions!