I always include one.
I include one often.
I include one about half of the time.
I do not include one all that often.
I do not ever include one.
The (Rat)Men of (Under)Talabheim! - A Painting Log
"From the fires of betrayal, Unto the blood of revenge, We bring the word of Lorgar, The Bearer of the Word, The favored son of Chaos; All praise be given unto him, For those that would not heed, We offer praise to those that do, That they might turn their gaze our way, And gift us with the boon of pain, To turn the galaxy red with blood, and feed the hunger of the Gods." - Excerpt of the 341st book of the Epistles of Lorgar.
Waaagh! Gutzag - my first 40K Plog
For empire: Level one, lore of metal, dispel scroll, ruby ring of ruin.
For WofC : Level 2,MofT, Enchanted shield, Infernal Puppet, Lvl 2, Mof T, Spell Familiar,
For HE: Lvl 4 Spell Familiar
My armies are Bretonnians, Orcs & Goblins, Ogre Kingdoms and Vampire Counts, and I always have a lvl 4 in my armies.
"Karkahautti karhiainen, mylleröitti messän herra, kaatu maahan kuninkaana, lävistyipi leppäsille.
Pejihaiset pijetähän, messäläistä muistetahan, Ukolleki uhratahan, poikoansa palvotahan."
I voted never which isn't true but almost. Sometimes you have to shake things up a little so that your main opponents doesn't know exactly what to expect. But for me it's more about denying my opponent his magic than making use of mine.
Then I try to kill them off in the other fases... ;-)
I often take one, depending on what army i take, in skaven i always do because I love the bell and its one of they're strongest aspects, (Magic, not the bell... ) but in deamons, its 1 maybe 2 lvl 2's at best, I usually run Khorne heavy with a couple Tzeentch Harold's in there for life buffs.
The Under-city (WIP SKaven Plog)
Lizardmen of the City of Mists (WIP lizardmen Plog)
Miniatures bought this year 2013: 17 Miniatures Painted this year: 2
Sweet sweet Horrors all the way. The main attraction of a lv.4 being his raw dispel pwoer and his "level-the-field-ness", Horrors fulfil this, as well as havin over 40 wounds, a 4++, many ranks and a **** tonne of static combat res. This is also paired w/ Heralds of Tzeentch, who can take whatever lore (at loremaster) that he needs (life, death, shadow, beasts etc.)
My wood elevs often take a Lv.4 w/ beasts for some extra bow line firepower and on the spot hero buffing. Or possibly a Treeman ancient w/ Annoyance of Netlings, but more often a lv.4
And my lizards ALWAYS take the flying Shadow-slann of doom. -D3T + salamanders is brutal
I've been trying to make do for comp reasons with a Level 2 and a Level 1 (daemon prince and slaanesh herald) and man, it really hurts not having that level 4 to dispel with.
... and then I won.
Honetly, I win more games without a L4 then I do with one. People overcommit to magic defense so much that its like having 350 dead points in your list, most of the time. The need for one largely depends on your choice of army, as I think (Daemons aside) any army with mostly T3 and a low model count needs the extra push in the magic phase, both offensively and defensively. If a lore is really good and has a solid signature, I will sometimes take just a L3. Looking at the armies I have commonly run in tournaments the last three years:
Daemons (Tzeench Slaanesh mix)- I generally just run one Heavens herald and the L3 horror block and thats all I ever really seem to need. Having a L4 Keeper can be awesome, but it just makes losing her to cannons that much more painful. This is an army that can work just fine with L2s.
Ogres (Ironguts and Maneaters)- I prefer the Tyrant to the SM for various reasons. I run two Firebellies and pop the Hellheart to keep the magic phase in my favor on the key turn I am doing my decisive combats (I do not bring a scroll in this list) and win a lot of games that way. In fact, I think its safe to say that I do better with my Ogres than my Daemons, in terms of win loss ratios.
Bretts (Mixed army)- This army I bring a L4 Heavens wizard and leave her in the back to guard the peasants, but I have run her as a L3 (Did this at Throne of Skulls last year in vegas) and done just fine with her like that. Ice Shard and one other workable spell are all I really want out of her and this army can take two scrolls, so L3 gets it done. I would not likely take less than that in a competitive environment.
Night Goblins (all NG)- Not exactly my strongest list, but again I win a lot of games with it with just a pair of L2s. Sneaky Stealing obviously makes them better offensively and the entire army is MMU, so someone sticking a spell on a medium sized unit of goblins is not exactly game breaking for me. I mean, yeah go ahead and dwellers that 30 man spearmen unit; I got four more like it waiting in the wings. Go ahead and miasma my WS2 goblins. Go ahead and Mind Razor. The army just does not care at all, by design.
So those are my four tourney armies and the one with the lowest win percentage is actually the only one I habitually run a lord level wizard in. If you are not good at managing your magic phases, you might need to play it safe, but having a L4 is not an essential ingredient of a good list, despite what the internet masses might say.
I think the key feature whether you need a Level 4 is really what your other magic defences are. I find that Ogres can do without a Level 4 as a Rune Maw, Hellheart and a Dispel Scroll are enough to make a mockery of any magical attacks. Likewise Daemons don't really have a problem if they take a couple of Loremaster Tzeentch heralds with daemonic Dispel Scrolls. As I said just above, playing with a Level 2 and no dispel scrolls is just horrific and last game I just got all my heroes splatted by a barrage of death snipes I just couldn't stop. Brets likewise can take two scrolls, which are enough to keep your army going long enough to get to the enemy at least. I can't contemplate not taking a level 4 in a goblin army, it's peanuts really for a level 4. But the armies you list all have substantial access to magic defences.
... and then I won.
I think it comes down to a cost against benefit thing. Some armies can just eat a bad magic phase for a variety of reasons. Ogres and Daemons can just kind of tough it out and goblins are just so numerous and inexpensive that you can afford to ignore most of the magic phase. On the offensive side, having two L2s generally will use up all your dice in a given turn without making you feel like you wasted points if you get stuffed, provided the wizards serve some other purpose.
In the case of the gobbos, one bad mushroom roll would end my phase if I had a single L4 (as opposed to two L2s) and having the second wizard lets me cram in the Frog Scroll. Not going bonkers on characters lets me put more raw bodies on the table, which in turn gives me more disposable units that can eat spells I might otherwise need to stop. Having really crappy troops helps, too, since over half the spells out there are effectively meaningless when debuffing goblin statlines.
In the case of the Ogres, I all bring is the Hellheart for defense, because with all the extra bodies I have by not paying the butcher tax, I can beat down most enemies in the decisive turns without magic interferance. The Firebellies also serve other roles (one has a crown) in the army, so I do not really lose much if a magic phase goes south on me, especially early in the game.
Daemons, its a little tricky since my army relies on a little push from heavens to offset certain weaknesses, but even then the Tzeench herald is also my BSB and the horrors are my lategame tarpit of doom. Defensively, it hurts a little if something rough gets through, but the army can generally hang in there and wait for the luck to switch sides.
Bretts very much need a lord level caster and probably both scrolls. They are succeptible to nearly every kill spell in the game and need either the pressure of Comet or the defense of Flesh to Stone to get through certain situations. Even with all that in place, I still tend to lose a lot more with Bretts than my other tourney armies and its usually directly attributable to the magic phase. Magic is fickle and I prefer reliable, but sometimes you have to dance with the girl you came with.
I don't know. Spells like boosted Soulblight win games and if anything the spell is more effective against armies with a lot of bodies on the field. I just can't imagine hitting the field with no level 4 and no respectable magic defence.
... and then I won.
Depends on your game theme. Are you playing 'regular' armies against your friends, or are you tournamenting and looking for every advantage?
Against certain armies I will take one (High Elves in particular), but I'm more inclined to take a pair of 2s than I am a 4. I think if I were tournamenting I'd really press to find room for a Lord level sorc, but in friendly games I'm looking for a little more variety in my force.
New DoC W1/L1/D0
Well so far I have won one five game event with DoC, with the Horror L3 block being my best wizard and not having any scroll against a pretty strong field of opposition. I won one five game event with my Ogre list with a pair of FBs, Hellheart, and again no scroll, but that event had far less difficult competition. I just got back from QCR, which is probably the best GT in the US, and came in 4th with the Night Goblins with a pair of L2s, but had the scroll there. The year I focused on Bretts I hit four events and generally placed around 2nd to 4th overall, but no trophies to show for it outside one best general showing and that was with a L4. So, clearly it is possible.
I think its just about threat assessment. I generally pick one spell that I think I will be able to stop and toss the pile and ignore most of the rest. The minute you play like you have to stop every spell is when they sneak the killers through or you put yourself into positions where a minor spell hoses you. I think its a common problem of players dating back to 6th edition that makes them feel like they are entitled to stuff each and every spell that is cast. A well designed army can let the small stuff through and endure it. Death Star lists with few units tend to suffer more. Your soulblight example is a good example of one possible exception, but even then I can weather one turn of that. Daemons will stick around, Ironguts will still rack up kills, Goblins with nets will tread water for a turn and ride it out with steadfast, Bretts cope with static and armor saves, and so on. Funny enough, with my MMU style of play, Comet is the spell I fear most, followed by Ice Shard and Light of Battle, since those spells can wreck most MMU armies.
I guess it goes back to MMU being the best counter to an unbalanced magic offence. Magic is pretty fickle and there is going to be a turn where they roll bad. Static res and raw numbers are always there and can wait for that moment to tip the scales. With a Lord level wizard, you are just basically sitting there hoping that 6 dicing your kill spell will win you the game without eating your wizard in the process, which is not very tactical or reliable.
At 2000pts I generally use a Lv3 Vampire Lord, because I spend a lot on defence and combat power, and don't have the points to upgrade him to a level 4.
Although, if i was playing larger games, I admit that I'd defiantly want to try and include a Lv4 Necromancer, alongside my Vampire Lord.
Only time I take a lvl 3, is Vlad.
The fact that Vlad is only a lvl 3 is kinda bull.
At 2500 and above I always will with chaos dwarfs. Only lord choice is a wizard so I may as well spend the 35 pts.
Sometimes with tomb kings. More often I wont though