Lore of Death: first hands-on experiences

lore of deathAs I start to explore the new wonders of the Cold One Knight, I felt it was a good time to try a new Lore which could work well in tandem with the unit. I picked Lore of Death.

And what have I learned? Well.. It’s not bad. But I fail to see what the buzz is all about… so far! Never the less, it has given some interesting experiences and some first lessons learned.


Overview of the Lore of Death

The Lore of Death spells can be placed in three categories:

  • Sniping: Spirit Leech, Caress of Laniph, Fate of Bjuna
  • Hexing or buffing: Aspect of the Dreadknight, Soulblight, Doom and Darkness
  • Downright killing stuff: Purple Sun

I believe Lore of Death could be considered an odd ball in the game. The Lore has more than half of its spells deal damage, but apart from “Purple Sun”, it’s not the Lore you’d seek for blunt firepower. It offers sniping possibilities like no other Lore or weapon in the game. The Lore offers a few buffs and hexes, which are interesting but seemingly less powerful than the specific buffs and hexes from the Lore of Shadow.

Still I feel it’s a good match for my COK focused lists.


I’ve experimented with the sniping quite a bit, but it has never yielded me terrific results… so far. There’s a few catches to sniping which I had to learn “the hard way”:

  • The sniping spells count as direct damage spells, and thus need line of sight and a target out of combat
  • The sniping spells still have a roll to go before actually doing damage… And then there can still be a ward save.
  • The range is limited, which combined with line of sight becomes a severe restriction on the positioning of your caster.

The cast values of these spells are just about high enough to make them cost you in terms of powerdice… but not dangerous enough to be a big threat “on their own”. With a fair chance to fail even if you cast it successfully, it’s easy to dismiss a single sniping spell. Of course, you can get lucky… but it’s a dangerous tactic to rely on. And this marks the weakness of sniping: in order to make it an effective strategy, you’ll need numbers to build pressure with it. First and foremost, this means you’ll need more than one sniper spell to make sniping an effective strategy. Secondly, to power two spells, you’ll need either a great deal of powerdice or a high caster level who can be near the enemy.

Over three games, my Lore of Death has only sniped 1 character, and this was achieved by 6-dicing Fate of Bjune, getting irresistible force and loosing my own caster in the process. But the Lore also managed to inflict 1 wound on a Dwarven hero, who was later killed in combat before he could strike back. This was mostly using a level 2 caster, however and this drained her powerdice considerably.

Hex and buff

Well I always passed on the chance to use Aspect of the Dreadnight. Part of my amy already causes fear, which means only the empowered version could be useful. It didn’t exactly strike me as a powerful choice in the games so far, but I may try that in the future.

The debuffs are remarkable. Doom and Darkness is probably the best one here. Combined with a tad of shooting, or even the charge of a one-hit wonder like Cold One Knights, Doom and Darkness is a tremendous tool to make the enemy fail leadership tests. I absolutely love the spell, but have not often had the chance to use it effectively.

Soulblight is good, but it requires some shooting to make it deadly on range. Once in combat, the reduced strength is a blessing for my Cold One Knights. Their mean weakness is strength, after all. The toughness bonus still weighs in with the cold one mounts but is particularly effective for our ranged power.

What’s so powerful about both spells is that they are very flexible, multipurpose tools. There is no army they can not perform well against.

Purple Sun

I have had only one game to try it out and it was against Dwarves. It’s an interesting spell, but hard to use. It’s demanding on your positioning, it takes a lot of powerdice, and a load of randomness… In my game against those Dwarves, it only managed to hit his unit once… of which he passed 4 out of 5 tests. Admitted, that’s an above average roll, but it’s difficult to imagine that the impact of this “big vortex” is so limited over the entire game.

In that battle, three weaknesses were shown:

  • It really needs your wizzard to be near the enemy for it to do damage
  • It’s a remains in play spell, so it can be dispelled whenever it bothers the enemy. That’s not necessarily bad… it can be used to force powerdice away from the enemy. But that’s not a brilliant tactic against Dwarves
  • It can be a fantastic road block, since an FAQ ruled out that you may not voluntarily move a unit through it. But that won’t work on a gunline.

Synergy with the Cold One Knights

Cold One Knights are fairly weak against opponents with high strength attacks. Once the enemy reaches strength 5, the wound rolls are passed with ease and armor will only save half the wounds. For their point cost and low wound count, they are not very resilient.

Another weakness is their low number of attacks. This makes them weaker against large units, which can offer more bodies than they can grind down. This usually translates to prolonged combat in which they are good, but not cost effective.

Combat characters, numbers and high strength are the bane of the Cold One Knights. Lore of Death counters this perfectly: sniping to handle characters, soulblight to reduce strength, doom and darkness to increase the odds of breaking the enemy, purple sun to handle hordes. As a bonus, doom and darkness helps the enemy fail fear tests.

Soulblight can also give a good boost to our high volume but low strength shooting, helping to thin the herds before Cold One Knights clean up the rest.

Overall impression

The Lore of Death proves a good Lore for a Cold One Knight list. The synergy is definitely visible. But it’s a bit weak as a Lore to take “solo”. On a level 2 Sorceress, even with a Tome of Furion for that extra spell, the Lore struggles to put a lot of pressure on the enemy. For a lonely level 4 caster, it’s a solid choice but it places demands on your list:

  • It requires mobility to make your caster reach the required position and range
  • It relies on firepower and combat power from another source to make every spell count. You need to have those in your list.

With Lore of Death, magic will not be your dreaded “it will kill everything phase”, bar the odd lucky snipe or purple sun. It’s great in paving the way for the terror that’s yet to come in subsequent phases and rounds… and when you have a hard hitting unit, that’s an excellent thing to have. It’s powers are subtle and difficult to use… something that certainly requires more training on my end.

5 thoughts on “Lore of Death: first hands-on experiences

    • Yeah… most of all though… It has given me the impression Lore of Death doesn’t work too well on a low level caster. It ‘can’ manage, but it’s a bit too limited.

      When do you plan to start your DE army then? 🙂

      • At the moment I’m still focusing on my Dwarfs, what with the upcoming tournament. But after that, I’ll start on my Dark Elves. I’ve been making some purchases mainly for the look and feel of the models but I’m looking forward to painting them.

  1. Hi

    You wrote about sniping:
    “The range is limited, which combined with line of sight becomes a severe restriction on the positioning of your caster”.

    You do not need LoS with direct damage spells. Only Magic Missiles 🙂 But you need to have the target in forward arc. This meaning you can stand behind a hill or building and still use sniping.

    Cheers 🙂

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