How to Temper the Dweghom Sorcerer
Our final article on the Dweghom characters focuses on the Tempered Sorcerer. I’ve saved him for last because he was the most popular since his release. People instantly realized how powerful two spell activations could be. He’s since lost the ability to cast the same spell twice, but he retains the ability to cast two separate spells every turn. His stats make him an excellent ranged support character and a caster. He’s the only unit in the game with the Wizard 6, and he’s got a potent selection of spells from which to pick. Much of designing the Sorcerer depends upon how you want him to function in your list. It depends upon whether he is the warlord or not, and what spell selection you’ve made.
Option-1 The Fire Sorcerer Warlord
Prior to the Sorcerer nerf, players were spamming powerful spells like Eruption and Flamewall. These did an absolute ton of damage quickly and were rightly nerfed (Eruption’s damage has been halved, but at 45 points instead of 60. It is also scaling. Flamewall was reduced to 8 inches from 10, and changed to scaling). At the present, you can still generate a lot of damage, but you have to be more circumspect about how you do it, and it is going to cost you twice as much.
Spells: All of the Fire Spells
This is a must and is critical to the build. If you don’t take all of them, you’re leaving damage off the table. The simple fact is that you will take time to close with your opponent every game. If you only take Flamewall or Flamewall+Fireball, you’re not firing any spell at all at 13-16 inches, and only one spell at 9-12 inches. By taking all three spells, you give yourself the most flexible options to ensure you are always casting two spells. If you’re going to make a Tempered Sorcerer the centerpiece of your list, you need him generating damage.
Retinue: Magic-3. Mastery: Magus (Focused works too)
Both of these are designed to maximize your successes. You’re investing heavily into this single activation. An automatic success is awarded for the Magic-3 retinue. I prefer Magus even though it won’t affect Flamewall, but I’ve seen plenty of argument for Focused, which is 5 points cheaper.
Relic: Heart of the Mountain.
First, please read the amended text carefully. You now have a free chance to activate it once per game, limiting interference and increasing the chances of success. Since the game will often revolve around damage on a critical turn and we are in the business of taking every last upgrade we can find that will maximize our Sorcerer, let’s do this one too.
The combined upgrades will give you 7 dice and one auto-success, hitting on 4s (or just 3s for Flame Wall). Once per game, you get hits on a 5 (or 4 for Flame Wall). Of course, you’ve also taken 105 points in upgrades and 85 points in spells for a 260 point character. At that price point, he should be significantly affecting the game.
Fireforged might quite possibly be the best regiment for him to be in. Their higher defense means you have less of a chance of losing your warlord to the enemy. Furthermore, you can live with delaying your Sorcerer’s entry onto the table, allowing you to see precisely where he’ll be most needed. Finally, the Sorcerer’s Flamewall and the Fireforged share the same 8 inch range, making them a natural pairing. You can always use him in a regiment of Hold Ballistae, but I’ve become increasingly wary of an enemy being able to drop enough ranged firepower on the regiment to remove it and therefore him. You can counter this partly by giving the Ballista a Herald of Stone. As a warlord, you naturally want to trigger “Turn the Tide” often activating your own regiment, whether to get to safety or to move forward aggressively and deliver damage. Few enemies want to be the recipient of two spells and a blast from the Fireforged.
Option-2: The Magma Sorcerer Warlord
Once you step outside the Fire school, you are no longer quite at the need of having to take every last upgrade to ensure every possible success on the dice. The two spells are Eruption and Magmatic Seep. You’ll be using Magmatic Seep to trigger “Until We Have To,” which incidentally, could be taken on your Tempered Sorcerer, since he has a restricted Tactical retinue.
Mastery: Calm Strategist
Item-1: “Until We Have To”
Item-2: Obsidian Grafts
The principal idea here is that you’re now accompanying a strong melee unit forward, probably Hold Warriors. This ensure that you’re at the front and can hopefully get off a key activation of Eruption or 2 on your critical target. It may also work with a regiment of Fireforged, though if your opponent lacks cleave, the extra defense is wasted. Since you’re heading into melee in large block of trays, we’ll be using both Calm Strategist and Obsidian Grafts to ensure that we can decline one duel and be more successful at another one.
Option-3: The Support Earth Sorcerer
You take Magic-1 and Roots of Stone. This is a cheap Sorcerer designed simply to support the defense values in your other regiments. I’ve found Roots of Stone to be surprisingly powerful on Hold Ballistae, which may not want to move at all, but which may find themselves under fire from enemies across the field. If you’ve read my article on first and last activations, defense 5 makes it much easier for you to activate a unit late in the round without fear of it taking so much damage that it is rendered ineffective in combat. This works best at making cheap hold warriors really sturdy on an objective, or as a wall to stop approaching enemy regiments. It doesn’t cost a lot to play. It also pairs well if you want to run the Steelshaper as warlord, because your enemy will spend quite a bit of time chewing through high defense units only to have a whole tray of them pop back.
Option-4: The Damage non-Warlord Sorcerer
A non-warlord can generate a lot of damage while providing two key benefits. First, you tend to sink fewer points into the character than when you take a warlord. Second, the ferocity of the high damage Sorcerer builds can work against him in some settings. If your opponent knows where you are at, they can simply concede that side of the board and deploy away from you. This is less of an option when you have a strong, but not amazing Sorcerer who is simply there to amplify damage in their own regiment. A simple Magic 1 Retinue gives you Blessed when that regiment makes its ranged attack. Furthermore, by adding a little damage in one key quarter of the battlefield, you potentially give all of your regiments in the area the boost they need to secure the objective.
You have a lot of variety here. Since you are not the Warlord, you only need one spell. We’re also going to slim down our upgrades to avoid overloading the character. Magic-1 will typically suffice. Magus and Focused become solid Masteries if you’re not taking those elsewhere in the list. Graft of Fire becomes an interesting upgrade as well. I’m reluctant to take it on a Warlord Sorcerer because you have to pass a resolve test or take a wound. But for a secondary and cheaper Sorcerer, this is a strong way to add a die to your Fire School spells. Four spells stand out: Coruscation, Fireball, Flamewall and Eruption
Coruscation and Fireball can be combined with Magic-1, Magus, and Graft of Fire. The Fireball version runs 145 points. It will generate 5.36 hits on average per turn. That’s respectable. I’d personally go with Fireball, despite shorter range. With AP-1, it is the more flexible spell, but if you simply want to generate more hits against the low armor units that populate the middle game, then Coruscation is a solid choice. Both pair well with an early Hold Ballistae.
With Flamewall, you take Focused and place this Sorcerer with a group of Fireforged. Aiming to boost your overall damage. Graft of Fire becomes optional if you want an extra die. This is less about making the Sorcerer the centerpiece of your list, and more about amplifying your damage at a particular point on the board.
Finally, you can again take Magic 1, Focused, and Eruption. You need only reach the required number of successes to affect the regiment of your choice. On 7 dice and a reroll, you should see a lot of 3 and 4 success rolls. Your actual damage will vary depending upon how many trays you’re able to catch in the spell, and at 12 inches, it is a strong option. You pay 155 points.
When I sat down to write this article, I brainstormed seven different options. Because you have three different schools of three spells each, and because Masteries like Learned in the Occult make it easier to mix and match across the schools, you’ve got a lot of combinations possible. Four options in this article seemed sufficient. Naturally, if you have a more narrative-driven plan, you can feel free to take whatever spells match the character without needing to think critically about how to pair the Sorcerer with a list or with key upgrades.
The Tempered Sorcerer offers some of the most build options of any Dweghom character. He’ll run very well as your warlord, but he’ll also run very well as a cheap secondary character with one critical spell.