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Mcthew

Summoning! Argh!

27 posts in this topic

Mcthew    15

Hi there

I'm a long time TGA reader, first time poster and I've been dragged back into the hobby by my nine year old son who has gone AoS mad (good job I kept those Skaven and Undead in the loft!).

We've been playing AoS since Christmas and the whole magic-thing is doing my head in. I welcome news that GW are doing something on magic, but I wonder if they're going to sort out the mechanics of it or just do more fluff as an excuse to sell more models. I'm hoping both, because a bit of balance whilst keeping the simplicity would be nice. Especially summoning units. I mean, for f-sake, how can you have a Grey Seer summoning a creature that's worth more points than the Grey Seer? Or a necromancer summoning unlimited skeleton warriors? It's ludicrous.

The rule of setting aside points for summoning also seems a bit point-less (ahem) as I'd rather have all my points on the field of battle than risk them on the roll of a dice. It seems like a ham-fisted way of balancing something, or an excuse to hide the fact the rules on summoning are an after-thought.

At the moment, we've been running with the following rules for summoning, to balance it:

  • you can only attempt a summoning spell of a particular unit, once during a game per army. If it fails, that's tough.
  • all summoning rolls require +2 than on the war scroll (because, let's face it, a roll of 9 to summon a Keeper of Secrets is plain silly. It's like Paul Daniels pulling a demon out of the hat without even trying. A roll of 11 seems more realistic but with the following rule to help succeed...)
  • you can improve a casting roll by sacrificing some of the wizard's wounds. This effectively means throwing life-force into a summoning to improve the chances of success. The player can opt for a D3 or D6 wound-sacrifice before a casting is made. For example, a chaos wizard opts to summon a Keeper of Secrets which under the new modifier is 11 to cast. The Chaos Wizard has 5 wounds, so takes the risk of adding D6 of their wounds to the roll. They roll the D6 and get a 4, reducing the Chaos Wizard's wounds to 1 and adding 4 to the casting roll. The casting dice roll is two 4s. With the additional 4 wounds added, the casting roll is modified to 12 and thus the Keeper of Secrets springs forth, but the Chaos Wizard is severely weakened (he won't be trying that again in a hurry).
  • Also, you don't need to set aside points for summoning - you get these as additional units, but obviously they come at a wounds cost to the caster. And casting is a gamble. You could kill your wizard during the summoning and still not succeed.

We tried these out and a casting nearly killed my Gaunt Summoner, so he spent most of the battle running away from Prosecutors, while the summoned Keeper of Secrets played merry hell with a unit of retributors. It was more fun: more of a gamble, more of a strategy. My son thought it was much better.

However, is there a better way of resolving summoning? Would love to know what everyone else is doing at the moment, before GW rush out a book on magic...

Thanks in advance

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RuneBrush    1,890

Hi and welcome fully to the forum!

Summoning is slowly getting revised as each army gets a battletome.  Nurgle units can now only be summoned with contagion points, and for Death armies it's now a deployment mechanism or resurrection mechanism.  I think each army will ultimately be tackled differently depending upon how they work from a background perspective.  I think many generals have the same issue with summoning in that it's safer to have models on the table than somewhere else, although the ability to summon an appropriate unit and catapult it across the board is powerful, the risk of having a wizard killed early on was a bit too much.

Prior to the Generals Handbook and points, most GW tournaments limited the number of models you could summon based on the wounds characteristic, generally being 50% of the deployed army (so if you both were playing a 40 wound game, you could each summon an additional 20 wounds to the board).  It was basic, but it did a reasonable job.

I quite like the changes you've house ruled, though would probably tweak the sacrifice element depending upon the grand alliance being paid.  Instead of suffering wounds, an Order Wizard may become debilitated instead - reducing stats as they over exert themselves until they fall over exhausted.

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I can't speak for the Grey Seer because I'm not too familiar with skaven, but Death no longer has summoning via magic.  You should pick up the Grand Host of Nagash book.  They replaced all instances of summoning with a new Keyword SUMMONABLE for some warscrolls: Spirit Hosts, Hexwraith, Skeleton, Black Knight, Grave Guard, Zombies.
Heroes have a deathly invocation ability that allows you to return models back to SUMMONABLE units.  There are also gravesite markers you place and they can be used to return fallen models to the SUMMONABLE units as well as allowing you to place any SUMMONABLE unit in reserves to appear near a gravesite later in the game.

I believe that GW is slowly phasing out all Magic based summoning in the game.  Nurgle no longer has it, neither does Death.  I believe the only three factions remaining are Tzeentch, Slaanesh, and Seraphon?
 

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RuneBrush    1,890
1 minute ago, Tittliewinks22 said:

I believe that GW is slowly phasing out all Magic based summoning in the game.  Nurgle no longer has it, neither does Death.  I believe the only three factions remaining are Tzeentch, Slaanesh, and Seraphon?

It's a few more than those three as Khorne and Legions of Azghor immediately spring to mind as having units able to be summoned.  One thing to remember is that you can actually summon outside your allegiance - so a Nurgle wizard could still summon a unit of Bloodletters as it currently stands.  I'm sure that as time goes on we'll see things drastically change for summoning though.

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I think Sylvaneth have at least one Battalion that summons a dead unit back as well, great until you realise you need to pay the points, making it utterly pointless. 

Hopefully AoS2.0 makes some more sense in this respect!

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30 minutes ago, Thebiggesthat said:

I think Sylvaneth have at least one Battalion that summons a dead unit back as well, great until you realise you need to pay the points, making it utterly pointless. 

Hopefully AoS2.0 makes some more sense in this respect!

I would love it if all the "conditional" summoning required no reserve points.

Examples:
Screaming Bell #12 (random if you get or not)
Branchwraith? (2d6 Dryads)
Old Blood Kiss Rule (kill a hero make a vampire)

Stuff that is not reliable should not require you to set aside reserve points in order to get them.

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The problem is that the older armies are now looking out of date with some of the rules.

Would be nice for them to take a break from the new releases and give some older books a bit of a refresh that didn't get anything in GHB17 (Sylvaneth, Pestilens, SCE maybe..) as it wouldn't need new models.  I guess that doesn't make money though

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AaronWIlson    26

I think with summoning it's such a fine line between bonkers good and being unusable and they just haven't found that middle ground quite yet. 

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Mcthew    15
3 hours ago, Tittliewinks22 said:

I can't speak for the Grey Seer because I'm not too familiar with skaven, but Death no longer has summoning via magic.  You should pick up the Grand Host of Nagash book.  They replaced all instances of summoning with a new Keyword SUMMONABLE for some warscrolls: Spirit Hosts, Hexwraith, Skeleton, Black Knight, Grave Guard, Zombies.
Heroes have a deathly invocation ability that allows you to return models back to SUMMONABLE units.  There are also gravesite markers you place and they can be used to return fallen models to the SUMMONABLE units as well as allowing you to place any SUMMONABLE unit in reserves to appear near a gravesite later in the game.
 

 

Ooooh, I like this much better than the mechanic of summoning up a legion of undead while the necromancer sits on his ****** at the back of the battlefield. Sounds much better. I read a review of the Legions of Nagash battle tome, and the idea of Grave Sites sounds interesting. Might have to pick this battle tome up as I've around 100 skeletons shambling about in the collection - is it worth the purchase?

3 hours ago, RuneBrush said:

Summoning is slowly getting revised as each army gets a battletome.  Nurgle units can now only be summoned with contagion points, and for Death armies it's now a deployment mechanism or resurrection mechanism.  I think each army will ultimately be tackled differently depending upon how they work from a background perspective.  I think many generals have the same issue with summoning in that it's safer to have models on the table than somewhere else, although the ability to summon an appropriate unit and catapult it across the board is powerful, the risk of having a wizard killed early on was a bit too much.

Prior to the Generals Handbook and points, most GW tournaments limited the number of models you could summon based on the wounds characteristic, generally being 50% of the deployed army (so if you both were playing a 40 wound game, you could each summon an additional 20 wounds to the board).  It was basic, but it did a reasonable job.

The GH rule sounds fair, although I'd much rather have a chaos demon on my side than 10 skeletons any day. I wonder how far the summoning mechanic will be revised, as in the Legions of Nagash? Narratively, you can get away with re-strengthening a unit of zombies from the grave, but demons?

Yeah, I think reducing wounds in order to summon is a high price to pay, so debilitating the stats of the wizard might be the way to go, as long as weak wizards are effectively stopped from summoning over-powered units.

*

All in all, I do like the idea of summoning in general - the arcane adds another dimension to the narrative - but it's gotta be fair. Some of the under-strengthed wizards conjuring up furious demon-generals just feels stupid to me.

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sal4m4nd3r    258
5 hours ago, Mcthew said:

Ooooh, I like this much better than the mechanic of summoning up a legion of undead while the necromancer sits on his ****** at the back of the battlefield. Sounds much better. I read a review of the Legions of Nagash battle tome, and the idea of Grave Sites sounds interesting. Might have to pick this battle tome up as I've around 100 skeletons shambling about in the collection - is it worth the purchase?

The GH rule sounds fair, although I'd much rather have a chaos demon on my side than 10 skeletons any day. I wonder how far the summoning mechanic will be revised, as in the Legions of Nagash? Narratively, you can get away with re-strengthening a unit of zombies from the grave, but demons?

Yeah, I think reducing wounds in order to summon is a high price to pay, so debilitating the stats of the wizard might be the way to go, as long as weak wizards are effectively stopped from summoning over-powered units.

*

All in all, I do like the idea of summoning in general - the arcane adds another dimension to the narrative - but it's gotta be fair. Some of the under-strengthed wizards conjuring up furious demon-generals just feels stupid to me.

Well you cant summon outside of your GRAND ALLIANCE.. but you could summon outside your ALLEGIANCE. As such nurgle wizards can (even now) summon khorne demons without losing the allegiance to nurgle and all the traits and abilities that go with it. But Nurgle wizards (nor any other chaos wizards) can summon death units. 

That said I think your house rule is super cool, and thematic. If it works for you.. that is awesome. Especially when it comes to playing the game with your kids. My four year old girl already like "the rats" and I hope to get her into the hobby when she is older. Although I definetley spray extra models white and let her paint them with shades. 

As stated, summoning is slowly under going drastic changes, over time. I would HIGHLY recommend the Legions of Nagash book if you have a death army. Even if you dont play matched play! The Lore is great and it advances the story line of the mortal realms. And the very cool death mechanic of "healing" dead models back to the unit with the death wizards or grave sites doesn't require points/matched play. Im sure you could work it into your house rules!

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mhsellwood    208
10 hours ago, Mcthew said:

Ooooh, I like this much better than the mechanic of summoning up a legion of undead while the necromancer sits on his ****** at the back of the battlefield. Sounds much better. I read a review of the Legions of Nagash battle tome, and the idea of Grave Sites sounds interesting. Might have to pick this battle tome up as I've around 100 skeletons shambling about in the collection - is it worth the purchase?

The GH rule sounds fair, although I'd much rather have a chaos demon on my side than 10 skeletons any day. I wonder how far the summoning mechanic will be revised, as in the Legions of Nagash? Narratively, you can get away with re-strengthening a unit of zombies from the grave, but demons?

Yeah, I think reducing wounds in order to summon is a high price to pay, so debilitating the stats of the wizard might be the way to go, as long as weak wizards are effectively stopped from summoning over-powered units.

*

All in all, I do like the idea of summoning in general - the arcane adds another dimension to the narrative - but it's gotta be fair. Some of the under-strengthed wizards conjuring up furious demon-generals just feels stupid to me.

I think the Legions of Nagash Battletome is great. There is a lot of interesting background some of which is very inspiring from a modelling point of view (flaming skeletons from Aqshy anybody?), the new rules in it are both more fun than the previously available and also in game works better. Also good art. So really, very much a win win.

As Runebrush said there is a general trend towards removing summoning and replacing it with other alternatives, often more useful and less swingy. The only issue is that there are a lot of armies to update and only limited resources to do so. In the games I have played we basically did not allow summoning, and within the current Matched Play framework nobody uses it (one guy plays Undead so was very happy with the Legions of Nagash book).

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Mcthew    15

I reckon I’ll be breaking my own rule of not buying the battletomes until AoS2.0 is released.

Thanks for the advice everyone - about to order Legions of Nagasah (my eldest will be very happy with this news!)

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Mcthew    15
10 hours ago, sal4m4nd3r said:

That said I think your house rule is super cool, and thematic. If it works for you.. that is awesome. Especially when it comes to playing the game with your kids. My four year old girl already like "the rats" and I hope to get her into the hobby when she is older. Although I definetley spray extra models white and let her paint them with shades. 

Yeah, it’s been a fun rule that we’re keen to try out again; it works as a gamble.

Although the problem with house rules is that you need others to agree with them. Outside our home, I can’t see a 9 year old convincing someone much older that he needs to sacrifice wounds in order to summon if this were brought to a local gaming group alas - which is the next step for my son’s hobby (he likes playing AoS with his dad, but wants his friends to play too).

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On 17/04/2018 at 6:48 AM, Mcthew said:

I reckon I’ll be breaking my own rule of not buying the battletomes until AoS2.0 is released.

Thanks for the advice everyone - about to order Legions of Nagasah (my eldest will be very happy with this news!)

It's a pretty good tome. The Grave-site mechanic is really thematic (and horrible) and they are certainly better for it!

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AaronWIlson    26

The thing with summoning is, no one wants people to have free models as as SOON as that happens in matched play that will 100% be abused. 

So you have to find a system where people somehow make use of summoning models that are pre-paid for, but aren't summoned too close it's a guaranteed charge as that negates a lot of the positioning of the game as well as counterplay. 

So we're left in this weird state of summoning models too far away too reliably charge. I don't have a good idea how to balance it properly, peoples thoughts?

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But it is being fixed. the point is that some factions have it right and the older ones don't.

Summoning in LoN is fine. You pay the points, but you can bring a unit up near a grave site. Because you can deploy half of the sites in opponents territory, it's risk/reward. the threat of an opponent bringing 40 skellies makes you commit things to stopping it, that's worth it alone. and as you punch holes, you can bring up units to fill the void. 

It just needs the older batletomes to catch up wording wise. It's natural that this happens, as the rules writers mature they realise what works. In the UI, CI, CC, UC (Unconscious Incompetence, Conscious Incompetence, Conscious Competence and Unconscious Competence) scale, the early tomes were firmly in the UI. But they learned what they didn't know and realised what was wrong, CI, and are firmly now in the CC I hope, with writing good rules that make sense!

  

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MacDuff    324

I'm still trying to figure out where I fall on the unconscious-incompletence scale.

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Kramer    1,087
12 hours ago, MacDuff said:

I'm still trying to figure out where I fall on the unconscious-incompletence scale.

Well, you made a typo in incompetence....😂😜

Edited by Kramer
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Kramer    1,087
14 hours ago, MacDuff said:

I do my best which is obviously not very good. ;o)

Hahaha, there is a reason I had to edit my comment.....

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mikethefish    1

So, just trying to get this straight...

Somewhere in the new Death book, there is  Command ability that allows the Death player to resurrect a destroyed unit (not sure what the name of it is - my usual opponent  uses it).   Does he need to use Reserve Points every time he brings something back?

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6 minutes ago, mikethefish said:

So, just trying to get this straight...

Somewhere in the new Death book, there is  Command ability that allows the Death player to resurrect a destroyed unit (not sure what the name of it is - my usual opponent  uses it).   Does he need to use Reserve Points every time he brings something back?

It's on the bottom right corner of the Grand host of Nagash, Legion of Sacrament, Legion of Night, Legion of Blood page.  It allows them to return a unit from a grave site.  It does require reserve points.

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RuneBrush    1,890
21 minutes ago, mikethefish said:

So, just trying to get this straight...

Somewhere in the new Death book, there is  Command ability that allows the Death player to resurrect a destroyed unit (not sure what the name of it is - my usual opponent  uses it).   Does he need to use Reserve Points every time he brings something back?

It's "Endless Legions" - only applies to Summonable units though.

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mikethefish    1

Thanks guys.

 

So to a non-Death playing layman, I can see why this ability has a reputation for sucking pretty hard in Matched Play.

 

Out of curiosity, what are more useful Command abilities for Vampires to use?  My opponent is kinda new and I feel bad having to drop a fairly major bombshell on the tactics he has been using so far.  

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2 hours ago, mikethefish said:

Thanks guys.

 

So to a non-Death playing layman, I can see why this ability has a reputation for sucking pretty hard in Matched Play.

 

Out of curiosity, what are more useful Command abilities for Vampires to use?  My opponent is kinda new and I feel bad having to drop a fairly major bombshell on the tactics he has been using so far.  

For a vampire heavy list, he should consider Legion of Blood to get +1 attack to all vampire lords and blood knights (including mounts/dragon).

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