Gut Magic Tactica (2006)
The Tomb Kings' magic is often described as relentless. Most of the spells aren't of high value, but there is lots of them, and when you can't stem the tide, you’re in for a whole world of hurt.
Ogrish gut magic is very similar. All the spells have a low casting value, so are often successfully cast and all the butchers know all the spells, so no lost magic phases because of bad (random) spell selection.
Against "relentless" magic phases, dispel dice are often more useful than dispel scrolls, simply because against normal magic, a dispel scroll will stop a high-powered spell cast with three, four or even five dice - the same dispel scroll used against a butcher will only stop two, sometimes only one die. Often opponents are loath to 'waste' a dispel scroll against a Brainbuster cast with two dice - but if they don't, the spell will go through since they will eventually run out of dice.
Concerning gut magic, there are usually three ways (in 2000 to 2999 points) to go about it: one butcher, two butchers or even three butchers. I don't think I've ever seen either no or four butchers in a 2000 point-army, but maybe it's worth a try. Opponents probably WILL complain, though.
* Single butcher: he is usually used in a similar way to a scroll caddy, equipped with two dispel scrolls, he provides some magic protection, is not a bad fighter and might actually get a spell or two through, especially in late game if you managed to mage-hunt effectively.
* Twin butchers is a pretty standard set-up amongst ogre lists these days. Other than two level 2's of other armies, two butchers actually provide quite a punch in the magic phase, because they will on average get off three successful spells a turn - for which the opponent roughly needs between six and nine dispel dice (which of course he hasn't got). Remember, relentless!? Common set-up would be two dispel scrolls, and any combination of bangstick and/or skullmantle and siegebreaker.
* Three butchers are becoming a common sight in some successful OK tournament armies, especially over in down under. Obviously the reasoning is: if two butchers are good, three must be even better. And it's true, there will be games actually won by gut magic. But if comp restrictions are harsh, three butchers might be a bit over the top. Common set-up would be two to three dispel scrolls, the bangstick (see below), the skullmantle and the siegebreaker.
An excellent way to increase the 'relentless' nature of our magical assault is the Bangstick. Due to it being a bound item (and therefor never miscasting) and the low casting value, it ties in neatly with the rest of our magic. It's just another useful spell your opponent needs to worry about dispelling. When letting the Bangstick go off, you can cause significant damage, and when dispelling the stick, other spells of you will go through. I would include the Bangstick in any army list featuring two or more butchers.
Delivering the Punchline
There are tons of expertship written on the web about how to PREVENT strong magic and how mage hunt effectively. This expertise is based on the premise that lots of magic equals strong magic. But that is not a given. Lots of power dice a strong magic phase does not make, as the most famous of all gnoblars, Yoda, would say.
So, what are the components needed for a strong magic phase, and how do these components relate to gut magic:
* strong spell selection: check. While some of the gut magic spells are more powerful then others, they offer a broad range of possibilities which can be catered to any opponent. Going up against Brets? S2 is not a lot, but no armour save REALLY hurts. Goblins or Empire? Guess they don't like panic tests. Facing breaker units? Maybe a stubborn unit wouldn't go amiss.
* then GET the right spells: check. Other races have to rely on the luck of dice to determines whether they have strong spells or not. All lores are judged to a degree by their first spell, because that one is the one that is always to be had. Or ever notice how in most tourny reports of Vampire players, the opening words of any battle will be something along the lines of: I got three Vanhels or Unfortunately, I rolled no Vanhels? It's because spell selection is so important for magic-heavy armies. That's why the "seer"-honour is one of the most powerful and often underrated abilities of High Elf mages. Since gut magic gives every butcher in the army knowledge of all spells, we got this one coverd pretty well.
* have lots of power dice: not really a check. We don't have many dice, but we still get to cast lots of spells - see below.
* cast lots of spells: check. That's what relentless magic does best. Very soon, your opponent will run out of dispel dice and then has to use up valuable scrolls. After that, it's dinner time! If you throw two dice at any of the spells, they will almost all be successful. Other than 'normal' magic users, we don't often loose dice due to spells being unsuccessfully cast. If you only throw one die at any spells, less will be successful, but there'll be tons of them!
* use bound items: kinda check. We got one - does that count? The Bangstick is excellent in supporting our relentless magic phase. It adds just one more low-casting spell that the opponent has to decide whether to dispel or not.
Alea Iacta Est
One of the biggest questions when casting gut magic is the debate whether to throw one or two dice at any given spell. Sadly, there is no easy answer. Just some pointers for a general direction.
If we assume an army with two butchers, one carrying the Bangstick, we have six power dice and one bound item. Throwing one die at each attempt, we can try for six spells, of which four will statistically succeed. Given the laws of average, one of those successful attempts will yield a 3, one a 4 , another one a 5 and the last a six. Now, the 3 and the 4 the opponent could try and dispel with just one die, for the other he'd need two to safely dispel. So, for our own six power dice, the opponent needs six dispel dice to cancel all our attempts at magic. Very few armies boast six dispel dice - notable exceptions beeing Khorne, Lizardmen Tepok and Dwarf armies.
But this assumes that all six spells we cast are equally dangerous to our opponent. Given the nature of gut magic, we can try and cast any given spell twice, therefore in this example we've been trying at least three different spells.
Now, anybody who's played with gut magic will soon have realized that very often, there's only a couple of spells that are really dangerous for our opponent. The buffs (the spells that augment our own troops) are usually less dangerous in the early game, while at other times, line of sight or range will restrict what we can cast. What this means is that quite often we might not HAVE three spells that threaten our opponent enough to want him to dispel.
But what happens when out of three spells only two are really dangerous? The opponent can let two through with relative safety, and suddenly only needs between 2 and four dispel dice. Now, that's a very manageable level.
If we cast the spells instead on two dice, we will yield three successfully cast spells a turn (let's ignore the possible miscast every 12th turn, that's twice every game if you cast all the time, for argument's sake). Since 'successfully cast' means 'not dispelled by opponent', we can try and double a spell if it is dispelled. That means, we need 1.5 or a maximum of TWO dangerous spells every round. In most of my games, those two are usually the panic and the no-armour-save spell. In certain situations, the buff spells can make it up to that category, too.
Now, to successfully dispel our three (slightly more dangerous than in the previous example with one die) spells, our opponent needs between six and eight dispel dice. That's already more than above, where he only needed six. Plus, just as our chances of a miscast increase, so do the chances to have a dispel failure with two 1s for our opponent.
So, the conclusion for me would be to always cast your magic on two dice except when you are deathly afraid of a miscast.
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