@Axiem - point taken about the cavalry units. Will give it some thought! Regarding metal vs shadow, it's a really tough choice. The game-lasting effect coupled with the extremely low casting value of Plague of Rust is just so lucrative. As Furion pointed out, this list has an issue with armoured opponents. Remember that Blades also has a tremendous effect on close combat. With Shadow though, I can seerstaff withering and mindrazor - effectively making any and all of my units a potential beast in close combat. These spells do not however synergize too well with my shooting + remaining magical assault: the withering is very expensive to cast (essentially 4 dice with my level 2 if I even wanna try it) and I'm still out of options against fast, heavily armoured opponents. You do indeed have a very good point though, so I will give it some serious thought and perhaps playtesting.
@Nicene - the point you're making is exactly one of the reasons why I believe more in magic-heavy, shooty-oriented synergy list. I find it hard to use Archers properly, with them being rather weak and expensive. I don't even know if it would've been worth it in that fight. The point is, in this kind of list they're transformed into a core of the army instead of some must-have just in case your opponent brings fanatics etc.
I just finished my Mighty Empires campaign game. I tried out the new magic-heavy synergy concept. Want to know how it worked out? Read on!
:: The Darkened Sky ::
Disc Lord, 3+ ward, infernal puppet
18 Khorne Warriors, halberd & shields
18 Khorne Warriors, halberd & shields
5 Chosen w/BSB
He gets 1,2,3,4 from Tzeentch lore, I get 1,2,3,6 from High. Missing out on both flames and fury had me worried as my magical onslaught would be somewhat lacking since courage is next to useless with my White Lions as the only combat unit.
:: Pre-battle thoughts & deployment::
All his rock hard combat units scared me at first. Also, I knew his Hellcannons could be really devastating. I knew I wouldn't have my normal deployment advantage, so I went with the obvious first - Archers in building and on the hill. This left my centre for my RBTs, giving them really good fire lanes, and the WLs could go either centre or left flank, depending on his deployment. I ended up parking them on my left, forcing him to split his advance.
He goes first, with a 6 vs a 3. Chosen gets 3+ ward after a million re-rolls.
:: Chaos Turn 1 ::
Everything walks up, his advance forced to split. One Hellcannon rampages but no ill effect to his units. His wizard lord flies behind a building, out of LoS from my army.
Magic is 8v8. He gets pandaemonium through on my Lions and kill a handful with a Hellcannon. I pass the panic test, and his turn is over.
:: High Elves Turn 1 ::
Very little movement on my part, though the Eagle moves up and Archers out of the building in which they deployed.
Magic is 12v5 and I start with a 2-die pandaemonium dispel. I then proceed to land Plague of Rust on his lone warriors and give the smaller archer unit enchanted blades. I finish off with an IF Vaul's unmaking on his Lord, removing puppet. The ensuing miscast takes a wound off of both of my mages.
Shooting kills a handful of warriors from his rusted unit, which is revealed to have a 5+ ward save from shooting due to a banner.
:: Chaos Turn 2 ::
The Chaos forces continue their advance towards my lines, his hounds taking up some annoying positions.
Magic is 5v5 and he again gets pandaemonium through. Both Hellcannons miss.
:: High Elves Turn 2 ::
I'm forced to deal with the Hounds now or they'll be more of a threat next turn, seeing as my mage is down to 1W and the others can mess with my LoS, cover etc.
Again, movement is almost non-existant. Magic is 12v6. The result is that curse goes through on his chosen, along with Plague of Rust. Vaul's unmaking removes his ward save vs shooting and I finish off revealing the ring of fury which promptly kills his hounds. Ring of Fire targets his Chosen but to no effect.
Shooting - the smaller archer unit let loose upon the hounds, easily killing them. The rest of the army combine to put a staggering 13 wounds on his Chosen -- only to see it all saved by his annoying 3+ ward (some amazing rolls here on his part).
:: Chaos Turn 3 ::
Again, a cannon fails its rampage test. Still, no ill effect though. The rest move up fairly fast.
Magic is 4v4 but he gets both pandaemonium AND treason through my defences, due to his +5 to cast. This sees me White Lions take quite a few casualties (I really hate that spell). They are now down to 14 strong. Imagine what a couple more Hellcannon hits would have done...
The remaining cannon kills a single Lion with a short scattered shot.
:: High Elves Turn 3 ::
It's a crucial turn for me, and I know it. Carefully measuring the distance, I'm glad to find that a slight withdrawal makes a charge improbable in his next turn. I free reform the Lions and withdraw them a bit.
Magic again gives me 12 dice vs his 6. The result is somewhat disappointing though, with only Saphery and Plague getting through (I rolled 1,1,2 for curse and 1,2,2 for enchanted blades - granting him easy dispels. My last dice was attempted at ring of fury but came up a '1').
Still, my shooting goes to town and reduces his lone warriors by 7 men. With their -2AS I no longer fear them as they're but a handful with a very poor armour save. Between stand and shoot and 18 Archers getting ASF + steadfast, I'm confident that this threat is effectively gone. The Chosen also take a couple of casualties for a change - the Reaver Bow BSB being responsible for both of them after he again makes a big amount of 3+ saves from the other 26 Archers.
:: Chaos Turn 4 ::
His Warriors make a last effort to charge my Archers, but roll poorly. The Stand and Shoot kills one of them. The other attacking units close with my Lions, but do not declare charges as it's improbable.
Magic sees me getting an amazing 5v8 (!!) phase, after I channel successfully with both mages. I'm finally able to dispel everything, saving me having to spend 2 dice on dispelling pandaemonium all the time (which I did religiously throughout the game as my first action).
His cannons both miss the White Lions. It's a fairly compact unit now, and with even mediocre scatters the shots are off.
:: High Elves Turn 4 ::
I contemplate eagle-blocking his Warriors and charging his Chosen. I decide against it, and let the Eagle stay in the middle, ready for any last-minute action if necessary, should my White Lions fluff it. I instead charge the Warriors, figuring 13 Lions should be able to deal with them rather well, although they are 18 strong with a A3-S5 base: both saphery and enchanted blades can help me out here.
Magic is again strong, with 12v6 dice. Being very afraid of enchanted blades, he lets everything else through. What is everything? Curse, fury, plague on chosen + saphery on Lions. He naturally dispels the blades but I'm happy with Saphery being up. The Chosen and his lone Warriors are now both at -2 armour save permanently.
My big shooty-unit with the help of an RBT sends all his Chosen with the BSB to whereever they came from, many thanks to Curse of Arrow Attraction. This allows my other unit and the last RBT to focus on the few remaining Warriors on the other flank, reducing them to a single man.
In close combat, my Lions kill 8 Warriors, losing 4 in return. He fails his break test and is run down. At this point he concedes the game but we agree to play on as we just wanna see how it plays out - after all it's not often High Elves are able to score a wipeout!
:: Chaos Turn 5 ::
Both Hellcannons charge my Lions, his last Warrior charges my Archers (but is killed due to stand and shoot). His Wizard Lord tries a desperate flanking manoevre.
Magic is stopped. In close combat I kill one Hellcannon and wound the other. In return, only 4 Lions are left standing.
:: High Elves Turn 5 ::
I have no charges to declare, so free reform the big Archers to face his Lord. A Vaul's later ensures he's out of his pesky 3+ ward save, and the unit promptly puts enough arrows in him to make him fail his 1+ armour save (the Reaver Noble really helped out here as well). This was cast with IF though, and the feedback kills my metal mage, leaving the Archmage on 1W.
In close combat I leave the Hellcannon on 2W but lose the last Lions.
In the last turn of the game his Hellcannon rampages but can't reach anything. With only 2W left and my entire army looking at him, you can guess what the outcome was...
:: Victory Points ::
We didn't bother calculating: I had a wipeout and lost ~550 + 150 points myself. A clear massacre to the High Elves!
:: Evaluation ::
I was really lucky with the winds of magic this game, but to be honest it matters little. With 6 dispel dice (which he usually had) he's able to stop 2 spells, in general (giving my casting strategy). If it had been 10 v 4 instead, it mostly would've been better for me (as he's usually forced to commit 3 dice to safely dispel, this leaves him in an awkward position). The slow trickle of dangerous spells really paid off. He was usually able to stop THE most crucial thing going through, but the sum of all the other ones proved too much. The effect of Plague towards the end was just insane - his Warriors would've been left with a 6+ save in combat -- something even Archers can make short work of.
The metal mage worked out spectacularly. The combination of Enchanted Blades and Rust allows me to potentially reduce a unit's armour save by 2 (relative) in a single turn with a mere 5 dice! The Archmage was unlucky with spell selection, and this hurt me a bit. I would've really wanted to cast Flames on him to boost my magical defense. I never once cast curse nor drain. Still, between the two of them I always had a plethora of threats. His look when I revealed the ring of fury as well was priceless!
Had the White Lions received more of a beating, I could've been in trouble. This has really made me think about dropping the Lion chariot at 2500 points and rather going for 2 decent-sized blocks rather than one Horde. Also, I found the fireball-ring to be overkill - this game I didn't get fury of khaine and still found no use for it (I did cast it once though).
The crystal was indeed an amazing item and allowed me to control his magic rather well throughout the game: I only once failed to dispel Treason.
Lots of this army: items, units, spells, is really new to me. I must say that I absolutely like the way it plays though, but it probably needs some tweaking first. If I remember correctly, the next game I have is on Sunday, 2500 points vs rusty. Could be interesting, indeed!