GH23-1: A Guide to Endless Spells

Hey, you wanna know something cool? Purple Sun is really good now. Don’t tell anyone though, it’s a secret. You’re welcome.

Well the actual good news is that there’s plenty of life beyond that thing – so when the nerfhammer inevitably crashes down upon it, there are plenty of Endless Spells that are worth a spot in your roster.

What I’ll be doing today is giving a quick refresh on why this matters, grading each of the universal Endless Spells, cutting you in on some delicious bullshit and then wrapping up with some overall thoughts on the update.

Ready? Let’s go.

How They Work Now

Without regurgitating the core rules here, it’s worth touching on why Endless Spells are so popular all of a sudden.

Banging in both Hero Phases (rather than between rounds) was a new thing for 3rd Edition, and because they could now do roughly double the damage, their points were jacked up through the roof. The risk-reward wasn’t quite there in a world where magic doms can stop you using your toys, with the result that Endless Spells were rarely seen over the last 12 months.

With a bunch of points drops and refreshed and revitalised warscrolls, they’re suddenly smashing into the meta left and right. So because they’ve been a rare sight in the Mortal Realms until recently, let’s briefly refresh on how Endless Spells work these days:

  • Predatory Endless Spells now move (and bang) at the end of every Hero Phase
  • Wizards control the Spell they cast as long as they remain within 30″ (no more alternating movements unless they’ve gone Wild)
  • They are dispelled at the start of the Hero phase, so Spells already out on the table can be banished before they have the opportunity to move and pop again
  • Dispell range is 30″ and you have to beat (not match) the Casting Value to get rid of them
  • Although the Core Rules (Rule 1.4.1) allow one Endless Spell per Wizard in your list, in practice the Battlepack imposes a hard cap of 3 per army
  • You can walk right through ’em (Rule 19.3) but not land on top, so it’s much harder (though not impossible) to use them as pure movement blockers

While using them as movement blockers was a legit strategy in 2nd Ed, it’s not a bad thing to see a refreshed roster of Spells that are truly fit for purpose. They’re (generally) cool models, and something that’s unique to Age of Sigmar, so I’ll be happy to see them getting a good run out doing their thing rather than just gumming up the board with big lumps of useless junk.

I’m all for it.

The Endless Spells

Horrorghast

CV 5, 40 Points

What it does: Switches off Inspiring Presence, and adds D3 to Battleshock rolls. Fucking hell!

As a Destruction player cursed with low bravery, this is terrifying. Between this and Nighthaunt, that’s a VERY good reason to be taking the Indomitable Triumph every time.

People seem to be sleeping on this a little, and long may that continue – while it’s very matchup dependent (it won’t do much to Sons of Behemat), it dumps hard on my armies.

Tier: A

Aethervoid Pendulum

CV5, 40 Points

What it does: Mortal wounds.

Anything else? No, just mortal wounds.

You can hit multiple units for D3 each, but with the limitation that it only ever moves forwards in a straight line. Still, it gives access to mortals at an affordable price point, and could maybe be used to bully a single objective.

Tier: C

Chronomatic Cogs

CV 6, 40 points

What it does: lets all wizards wholly within 12″ reroll all casts. Yes, it’s back to being insanely strong. At least they can’t all reroll Unbinds and Dispells too.

You can also speed it up to reroll charges in a bubble, but it’s the reroll casts that you’re taking it for. 40 points is incredibly cheap, so get ready to see plenty of it.

Tier: S

Credit: Plastic Craic

Emerald Lifeswarm

CV 6, 60 points

What it does: heals or adds back D3 wounds of models.

Note that it’s been fixed so it doesn’t double-bang on the turn that it’s been cast. Still disproportionately strong where you have models with a powerful ward though, since the effective wounds it’s adding back ratchet up exponentially.

Tier: A for the right armies (looking at your Gotrek), B more generally

Geminids

CV 6, 40 points

What it does: Ah, Geminids. Back when Endless Spells first hit the scene, these were the best by a mile – you could cripple a given unit with neg 1 to hit, neg 1 attacks and 2D3 mortal wounds, all at extreme range and for 40 points.

It was frankly ridiculous, and I loved it; and now the ‘Nids are BACK. What they do now is potentially ping out one mortal wound and more importantly, switch off Command Abilities for units it hits until the combat phase. In other words, it switches off Redeploy and Unleash Hell. Fuck yeah!

When Joel Graham speaks, I listen, and Joel tells me he rates this as the most important spell a combat army can take. That’s good enough for me.

Tier: S

Malevolent Maelstrom

CV5, 50 points

What it does: Not much. There’s a minigame where it ratchets up points as things are killed nearby, and then you have a little roll off and it might do a few mortal wounds.

Too many hoops to jump through for too little payoff I’m afraid, when there are other Endless Spells that do similar damage more easily. A rare misstep.

Tier: D

Prismatic Palisade

CV5, 40 Points

What it does: Switches off shooting.

You mean apart from Sentinels, right? Wrong, it even works on those fuckers! Your opponent has to be within (not wholly) 6″ for it to work, but that range does extend by 3″ every round that it stays on the table.

While it sounds amazing, it is also very easy to play around. The test does not trigger during the Hero Phase, meaning that your opponent can just walk away from it before shooting as normal, and it’s also an easy Dispell.

Lumineth will just get rid of it, DOK and KO will just teleport to get a vector on you. I’m actually struggling to think of shooting armies that will struggle to play around this, apart from maybe Kruleboyz who are hardly a meta-defining powerhouse.

Maybe the risk-reward is there at the points, because it only needs to work once to turn a game on its head, so I’m not quite ready to give up on it just yet. The best use I’ve come up with is probably Kruleboyz themselves, where you could establish huge No Shoot zones in conjunction with the Grinnin’ Blades ability.

Tier: B

Purple Sun of Shyish

CV8, 70 points

What it does: It means that in conjunction with Krondspine, only 75% of my army has noticeably worse rules than Order and the other 25% is identical. I’ll take that.

The Sun is effectively a floating rend bubble, and would often be worth running for that alone. But it doesn’t stop there.

You can also pop enemy models on a natural 1. Given that you’re doing it every Hero Phase, and that you can roll into multiple units every time, chances are you’ll bang something big by mid game as the impossible becomes the inevitable.

There are sooooo many stories about this already, and it’ll be a staple of the game until the looming nerfbat clobbers it right in that smug little purple face.

A quick word on counterplay: If you’re stressed about Purple Sun you can always take the Master of Magic Command Trait (I know I often will be) to have a good chance of shutting it down, and don’t forget the “Heroic Willpower” Heroic Action (which has always been underused, but should be right at the front of your thoughts in the current climate). While we’d all obviously love to have access to the Knight Incantor, we can at least all access the above tools, and a lot of armies will have more besides – as I’ll touch on at the end with my Bonesplitterz tech.

Tier: S

Quicksilver Swords

CV 6, 60 points

What it does: Mortal wounds that bypass Ward saves. Dicey AF but with huge spike potential, this one is simple but very effective and should come under heavy consideration for most armies.

Tier: A

Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws

CV6, 60 points

What it does: This one has been tickling me in all the right spots ever since Endless Spells first hit the scene back in 2018. It looks amazing, and the (excellent) Malign Sorcery fluff implied that it has a strong link to the Great Maw itself. I think a lot of us felt that spiritually it was Destruction’s own pet spell, with the minor drawback that it’s always been unplayably shit. Until now.

Angry Pacman rolls 3D6 for its movement (rerollable on the turn it was cast), and you bash out Mortal Wounds equal to the difference between that and the movement characteristic of the target unit. The higher you roll, and the slower they are, the bigger a bite you take out of the fucker. Againn it’s dicey, but with huge upside and a really good chance of popping a foot hero outright.

I’m an unabashed Kieran Harper Stan and put this in my list on his advice – and I’ve loved it. Yes, there will be some matchups where it’s more powerful than others, but at 60 points it’s well worth taking a punt. The 3D6 roll is exciting and the payoff is there to back it up. Go on, it’s awesome!

Tier: A

Soulsnare Shackles

CV7, 50 points

What it does: Well I certainly missed the mark on this one – when 3rd Ed landed, I predicted this would have a huge impact on the game, and I could not have been more wrong. The Shackles put out a fairly large No Charge Zone around themselves, and that hasn’t changed; I already knew from experience with old school Fanatics that switching off charges is game-warpingly powerful – so powerful they had it taken off them, and given to Stormcast pigeons instead.

They in turn had it taken off them (due it being – y’know – game-warpingly powerful), and over the last 12 months we’ve seen Khorne Daemon Princes employing the same tech win event after event after event (because…you get the picture). I guess the main difference between those units and Shackles is that a Daemon Prince can’t be unbound, and you can’t accidentally fuck yourself by placing it poorly (since Shackles affects friendly units too). Nonetheless I do think people are somewhat sleeping on this one: cheap as chips, tricky to Dispell and in the right army, devastatingly effective.

I know that Ash McEwan recently did really well with it in Sons of Behemat for example – good luck passing a DPS test when you can’t actually engage with them. I believe Ash grabbed a strong 4-1 at a major event just a week or two back, so while Shackles has not had the broad impact on the game that I anticipated – far from it – it shouldn’t be completely overlooked either.

Tier: A in the right builds, D if you’re liable to fuck yourself

Credit: Plastic Craic

Suffocating Gravetide

CV6, 40 points

What it does: It’s an anti-horde spell, but only doing Mortals on 6s. Meh.

Tier: C

The Burning Head

CV6, 20 points

What it does: Costs you a Triumph, mostly.

OK I’m being slightly facetious there. The skull does D3 MWs to nearby units on a 2+, and then disappears (so you’re only getting one turn of output per cast, hence the cheaper cost).

It’s budget access to a bit of damage outside the combat phase if you really need that, or even just critical mass of D3s in conjunction with other spells for a true Mortal Wound barrage. The difference between almost killing a support hero and actually killing a support hero is night and day, so you will see it in multiple Endless Spell lists as a pure value proposition backing up the heavy artillery.

Tier: B

Umbral Spellportal

CV5, 70 points

What it does: Warps the game and limits design space by making it literally impossible for any spell in this game ever to be short-ranged. Every low-IQ player’s idea of a high-IQ move is casting something devastating through good old Portals and sitting back to stroke their beard.

It’s immensely powerful, of course, but in case you can’t tell I’m pretty much over the damn thing at this point. Year after year, the same old shit. Personally I’d make them 200 points or nerf them into the dirt, and I don’t care which.

Tier: A+

Soulscream Bridge

CV6, 80 points

What it does: Gives literally everyone in the game access to a teleport. Not you Gotrek, sit back down. Oh, you were sitting down already? Sorry, it’s hard to tell.

The good news is that the devs have finally cottoned on that gaining a bonus for “not moving” a shooting unit across this thing is every dickhead’s favourite zero-skill move; the bad news is that it took a Destruction army getting MW shooting for them to pull the pin on that nonsense.

Ah well. At least you can no longer chuck an entire City across the bloody things, and Kragnos loves it.

Grade: A

Shards of Valagharr

CV5, 50 points

What it does: Utterly cripples your opponent’s movement. Any units that it moves across have their movement halved, cannot fly and cannot teleport.

Cop.

That.

Tier: A+, and wildly underrepresented at time of writing

Lauchon the Soulseeker

CV6, 30 points

What it does: Zips any Wizard (on a small to medium base) across the board – and they get to move afterwards. Holy Shit! While this does open them up to a Redeploy, it also opens up a world of possibilities. Thanquol is the current darling of this maneuver, but don’t forget you can transport whole units of Stormcast and Lumineth with this tech. It’s even got me looking at the Scuttleboss Mortal Wound bomb again for the lulz.

30 points is honestly way too cheap for what it does, so smoke ’em if you got ’em.

Tier: S, due to the ludicrous and presumably temporary points cost

Is There Any Bullshit?

Oh yes. Firstly, ya boy Rob Symes grabbed himself a podium with some very naughty Tzeentch tech:

Rob’s powerplay was using his opponents’ own filth against them. He brought his own Purple Sun, and a Changecaster – the latter being able to cast his opponent’s Purple Sun right back at them, after he Unbinds their attempt, so Rob has potentially two Purple Suns prowling around under his control. Very cheeky, and very cool.

Secondly, I’ve had a bit of fun myself with Bonesplitterz and their pregame move. If you want to put your opponent on tilt, move a wizard or three just 8″ forward and get out your tape measure. You’ll see a look of blind panic in their eyes when they realise you can take a bunch of Endless Spells and ram ’em right up there, where the Purple Sun don’t shine.

And speaking of using your opponent’s own filth against them, I’ve been taking the Mork’s Boney Bits artefact to force through an important spell – your opponent will probably take Krondspine because they just can’t help themselves, and that alone will help you punch through your own spells and deny theirs. I regularly find this puts me at +2 in the real world, and even +3 on occasions – remembering that the pregame move can even help you grab Arcane terrain in the centre of the board. Glorious.
Credit: Games Workshop via Wahapedia

Thirdly, and finally for this article, be aware that you can combine Ravenak and Shards into a huge maelstrom of fuckery. Halve their movement with Shards, then batter them with Ravenak based on their new, ruined movement characteristic. Glorious.

Final Thoughts

Well if it seems like I handed out a whole bunch of A grades in this article, that’s not because I don’t know the whole alphabet. GW have absolutely smashed it with these updates, and revitalized an aspect of the game that was massively underused.

Although it might be an unpopular thing to say right now, I honestly even like Purple Sun. It’s exciting, I like that it craps on unkillable deathstars (well a lot of ’em at least) and it’s something we all have access to. Let’s face it, we all know its current incarnation won’t last forever, but I’m happy to enjoy the wild ride while it does.

If I was king for the day I would smash Soulscream Bridge and Umbral Spellportals into the dirt, and leave them there to rot indefinitely – they’ve been good enough for long enough, so I’d be glad to see the back of them. But I’m not going to dwell on that – there are more than enough positives here to focus on, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

I’ve been having a ball running a bunch of Endless Spells myself, and I suggest you do the same. GW have absolutely nailed this one, and the whole refresh gets a big thumbs up from me.

So have a good weekend folks, and I’ll see you next week when I’m back with your Formerly Prime Hunters lists. See you on the other side.


Credit for the cover image to Games Workshop

https://ko-fi.com/plasticcraic

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