Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Tactics of turning your opponent into a toad.

I'm composing and army list and I keep getting drawn to Sivjnirs Hex Scroll, you know the one that turns an opponent's spellcaster into a toad. I think the tactical advantages of changing all an enemy's spellcasters stats to 1 cannot be overstated, especially as now some of the toughnest characters in the game (greater daemons, Malekith, Nagash) are all magic users and therefore open to this attack.

First off, it's 50 points, double that of a dispel scroll, and there is no guarantee with it, in fact you have to let your opponent successfully cast a spell before you can even try to mess with his metabolism. So in effect for fifty points you get to suffer the effects of a spell before you get the use of the scroll. Assuming you do successfully transmogrify your opponents spellcaster then you have severely hampered his abilities. All stats are lowered to 1 (except wounds) until your opponent successfully rolls a 4+ at the start of his magic phase, can't cast, channel or dispel so in effect all he (or she) is an expensive bookend.

The subject- called Troy.

As this is an attempt at a tactical lesson maybe an in depth analysis of what each stat reduction can mean.
1) Movement, possible the most important and least important stat to reduce. Simply put if you transform a wizard in an infantry unit you have reduced the entire units movement to 1 (moves at the rate of the slowest model). This is huge as most of the time a mage will be put in the deathstar unit, that all of a sudden they can't move any faster than 2" march move. also puts a big dent in charge ranges too. Best thing about this is a lot of mobile cavalry units will be affected if there is a wizard in there (dodge me now, Dark Riders!). Of course if the mage is on a monster then movement is unaffected. So it's only in very rare circumstances where you won't severely hamstring said magic user.
2)Weapon Skill, most wizards WS isn't all that so it's not the biggest trait unless we're talking daemons or some geezer toting Fencer's Blades now technically his WS is lowered down to 1 but the weapon raises it up to 10 but the cool thing is all magic items cease to work so his WS does drop down, easier to hit in combat and easier to hit if you subsequently cast Bladewind  on his low weapon skill having ass! The ideal time to sucessfully cast this on a greater daemon of course is just after he has charged your unit in hand to hand combat confident he's going to squat infantry only to find the squatting will done unto him!
3)Ballistic Skill is pretty unimportant as once a toad the little feller can't use any of his weapons anyway.
4)Strength, can't hurt you in combat with a strength of 1 (or at least very unlikely) and also very susceptible to strength test spells, double whammy!
5)Toughness, probably the best stat to reduce as damaging the target becomes ridiculously easy. Bowfire, slings and angry skinks all wound on a 2+ now which makes survivability  a tricky prospect for your intended.
6)Initiative, now with the swiftness of attacks as a Saurus, the model will almost definitely attack last so combat is a nightmare and so is Purple Sun and any other dodge it or die spell.
7)Attacks, when you have the offensive capabilities of a wet mop your attack characteristics aren't very important, truth be told the toadwizard should be dead before it gets any return attacks.
8)Leadership, with all things considered a model with Ld 1 will fail all psychology tests but another fun thing is if the model is the units general then it's highly likely that your opponents army has just suffered a total leadership neutering which can only be good.

Premature Amphibication?

When is the best time to use the scroll? I must admit I suffer a bit from premature amphibication, I'm not proud, but these things need to be talked about. There is actually very few things more amusing than changing your opponents alpha wizard into a big frog on turn one but a lot of the time he's a healthy level 4 which gives you a slim 33% chance of getting him. It's possibly a better idea to wait for mid to late game attempt after a possible miscast has reduced his magic level. Of course this is in no way a given so you could be waiting for the oppertune moment to never arrive............

Pick On The Little Guy  

Another amusing tactic is to go after the enemy's second string mage. Most armies carry a scroll caddy that can have a decent spell (searing doom metal mage) who isn't really vital to the overall plan after he has done away with the enemy's heavy cavalry. If this guy casts his opening spell usually an annoying buff or hex, scroll him turn him and the unit he is in into a slow moving semi useless blob of slime. I have done this on occasion and a 125 point wizard get effectively taken out of the game for a while which if nothing else severely reduces your opponents options.

Troy's profile.

Best Case Scenario

Of course the greatest targets of the scroll are the low level spellcasters with uber combat capabilities eg. Vlad, level 1 Daemon Prince etc. There is little in the game to equal rendering a 500 point combat monster who has just buffed up his to hit roll after successfully reaching combat into a combat nerd who couldn't fight his way onto a lily pad! Unfortunately this doesn't happen every game so waiting around for it can be a waste of 50 points. However, if you do manage to pull this off you will be as close to bringing a WoC player to tears as is humanly possible!

The Ugly Truth

Below are 5 attempts at transforming enemy magic users.
Attempt #1 vs Brets turned level 2 into toad remained a toad for 4 turns until unit destroyed. This was very useful as the mage in question cast Comet Of Cassandora and nothing else in the game. Very useful, restricted a 35+ of peasants to M1 as well.
Attempt #2 vs Doc failed to turn level 4 GUO. This was a premature casting but the Great Unclean One is a target I feel is worth the risk. Didn't pay off but may do so again.
Attempt #3 vs VC failed to turn level 3 vampire lord. I have a 50/50 chance of turning a blender lord into something quite a lot less intimidating. Didn't work out but the look of anguish of my opponents face when I revealed it was worth it to me anyway.
Attempt #4 vs VC failed to turn level 2 Necromancer in a Triumph & Treachery game. All I needed was a 3+ to turn the Necromancer and a 2 was rolled. My probability was high, but it just didn't come off.
Attempt #5 vs DoC failed to turn GUO again! I was clutching at straws this time as a particularly unpleasant spell was being cast and I just wanted to cause unpleasantness back! Bad choice in using it.
The Attempt that got away! My last game against DoC featured a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh that was a level 2 mage. In my army I also had a unit of 16 Trueflight arrow toting Glade Guard. He/she/it also spent 2 turns on 1 wound within bowshot range of them. This was, an opportunity missed I feel. I bet if I rolled a dice now it would come up as a 5 or 6, giving me a retroactive draw or better! So my advice is kids, if you want to play to inflict embarrassment on your opponent, stop caring about the waste of 50 points and go in hard, no kissing!

Racial Profiling

As an asside, I use my Wood Elves far more than most of my other armies and Trueflight Arrows are murderous on a saddy no mates wizard/toad that thought he was safely hidden behind a unit. My Lizardman army however should take it on general principle as there are very few instances where a skink cheiftain can kill a greater daemon in combat. Also it's fluffy! Skaven have cheap wizards so taking an extra one along with the scroll is no big deal in my mind. 


So the internet, my own experience and common sense states that Sivijir's Hex Scroll is not worth the flayed Zoat skin it is written on. Therefore, being the obstinate sub par gamer - with a higher failure rate than success - that I am, I must keep trying to force it to work! So I can now see my quest, take the scroll until I can categorically state it is a pile of pants! Excelsior!

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