Writing your own Spellbook – Step One: Offense
Last week I presented an overview of how I go about designing a spellbook. This week we're going to look at the first step in that process which is creating a good offense. Before I go into too much detail, I want to state real quickly that this, and the rest of my advice, has been influenced heavily by the work of others on the Arcane Wonders and Board Game Geek forums. I make no claims of originality.
Now, the first thing you need to do when designing your own Spellbook, is to decide what type of strategy you'd like to employ. In my opinion, there are two distinct types of Strategies you can choose from to start with: Aggro and Control. If you think of Mage Wars like a race, Aggro would be like trying to run faster than your opponent, while Control is like trying to trip your opponent. All's fair in love and Mage Wars.
Gathering the Essentials
Once you decide what type of strategy you wish to use, it is time to gather the essentials needed to enact your plan. The specific spells will differ depending on what Mage and Strategy you've picked. Generally speaking, Aggro mages want to focus on ways to increase their damage, while Control mages want to focus on ways to limit their opponent. You usually want to include as many spells as you can within your Mage's school of training and avoid any schools of magic that they are weak in. I'll go over five example archetypes and give some advice on what you may want to include.
Solo (Aggro): Choosing to forego dangerous creatures and kill their opponent by themselves, Solo Builds rely a lot on burst damage to kill their opponent before being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The first thing to consider is how you will generate damage without using creatures. You will probably want to take a look at Conjurations, Equipment, and Attack Spells that can be used to cause damage. You may also want to look into ways to generate additional actions for yourself to help keep you from being overwhelmed by your opponent. There are some Spawnpoints and Familiars that can help with this.
Buddy (Aggro): This type of build casts one or two large creatures and then gives them a lot of love and attention. These creatures can potentially be buffed to insane levels and present a very formidable threat. Obviously, the first thing you'll want to do to make this type of book is to pick out a creature or two to be your buddy. It should be high level, able to deal a good amount of damage, and be fairly easy to keep alive. After that, you'll want to find ways to increase the damage your buddy(s) can cause.
Swarm (Aggro): Choosing quantity over quality, this build likes to field an entire army of creatures. Most of these creatures don't receive a lot of individual attention, and you probably don't really care a lot if a few of them are killed. Just like with the Buddy Build above, your first task should be picking out some cheap creatures that you can easily cast. After that, you may want to find a way to cast even more creatures, such as with Spawnpoints, or to cast bigger creatures, such as by increasing your Channeling. Finally, you may want to look at ways to buff your army's damage. You should focus on buffs that affect multiple creatures, such as Arena or Zone wide effects.
Mana Denial (Control): This build is designed to hit your opponent where it really hurts; their mana supply. Once you've neutered their ability to cast anything, you can kill them at your liesure. Obviously, you'll want to look for anything that reduces your opponent's channeling or forces them to pay extra for things.
Zone Control (Control): The name of the game is Positioning, and you are the star player. This build aims to keep your opponent right where you want them. Some place where you can hit them but they can't hit back. You'll want lots of things to restrict their movement. You might block them in with Walls, cast spells to Restrain them, or otherwise make movement painful, such as with a Suppression Orb or Chains of Agony. You'll also want to make sure you have ways to move around yourself and deal damage without fear of retaliation. Ranged Attacks and Damage Over Time effects (like Ghoul Rot) are very common for these types of builds.
I know I stated earlier that there are only two distinct types of strategies in my opinion, however I would like to add that you don't have to go with a pure build. It is perfectly acceptable to include multiple tactics within your spellbook and create some kind of hybrid. If you combine elements of both Control and Aggro, I would lable the book as “Mid Ranged.” Having extra options can make you more versatile, which can be a huge asset. However, if you include too many options, you may find that you can't do any of them well enough to actually win the game. We'll talk about versatility more when we discuss Step Three: Adaptation.
Next Week I shall discuss defending your chosen strategy from the evil plots of your opponent.