Lightning Bolt and Fireball - changes needed?

So we all know LB is the 3rd ed shooting hotness. But should it be?

Especially if we compare it to Fireball. Lets pretend these spells could be cast in the real world - I think it would be way more tricky to target a unit in a forest with a LB. If it hits a tree, that will stop it going into its target (although the tree may fall on the target). Sending a sheet of flame into a forest will burn the whole thing and anything inside it, yet it’s only FB that takes a cover mod.
Similarly trying to direct a precise bolt of lightning onto a small human sized target is surely more difficult than chucking a flamethrower at them? Yet LB doesn’t suffer the Individual mod.

Gamewise it seems like LB, having become the subject of min/max in 3rd ed, ought to get at least one of these modifiers in the next update, and in my opinion, Fireball should lose one.
What do others think?

6 Likes

Some tweaks could be made for sure. It’s common to choose only one (max 2) spells on wizards so players will often go for something with a long range so they will be able to cast the spell in most/all turns.
I think it would be more interesting then if the longest range spell was less damaging than closer range ones. Fireball should be the one with piercing damage and closer range, and lightning cold be long range with no piercing. It would be more of a choice.
As it stands now, of course players will choose the one with both the longest range and the piercing. (And no cover on top of that?)

3 Likes

I totally agree. At the moment it is too much of a ‘No-Brainer’ choice.

Swap those modifiers, and give Fireball something special to make up for short range and no damage bonus maybe. A few more dice isn’t quite enough. Easier to cast perhaps?

And revert at least one of the nerfs to shooting while you’re at it. Not all of them, just one should be fine. There’s so many cool shooting units that don’t seem to see use because “3 LB wizard” outperforms in all cases.

2 Likes

Ignoring cover could make up for the short range just fine.

1 Like

As it stands LB is just a no-brainer over FB (esp on those who can swap it out for free).

In principal, more attacks for shorter range isn’t a bad exchange, but take into account piercing and the fact that LB also ignores stealthy, and it really isn’t worth it.

If you left LB as is and gave FB a default 4+ to hit you could see it being useful.

Otherwise, you always take LB or (where appropriate) another short range damage spell (drain life/bloodboil)

2 Likes

I’m definitely of the mind that “Lightning Bolt may have your name on it, but Fireball is addressed ‘To Whom It May Concern’”.

Let Fireball ignore Cover and the Individual shooting penalty, while stripping those away from Lightning Bolt and that should fix it, at least in my opinion.

4 Likes

I think fireball got hammered due to all the efreet spam lists in 2nd.

They weren’t actually massively overpowered, I took one to CoK 2016 and only placed somewhere in the middle, what it did produce was very stark game outcomes, either I got wiped out by turn 5 or my opponent did. Anyone who understood target saturation, had some fast or shooty elements and wasn’t terrified of taking a round or two of shooting on the chin beat it. Also, any height 2 shooting shut it down very effectively.

But, of course, if the successes a list does get result in it tabling the opponent, it gets a lot more requests for nerfing, it’s failures tend to be overlooked.

I agree that fireball ignoring cover, but lightning bolt no longer ignoring it would be fair and quite thematic.

The magic supplement would be the perfect place to tweak it.

My (Kingdoms of) men armies feature wizards on pegasi quite a bit these days. While the to-go option is Lightning (3), I’ve considered switching out to fireball (8) quite a few times.

The average damage per shooting round vs def 4 is 1 damage for lighting and 2 damage for fireball. On paper this looks quite a bit better.

I haven’t switched over due to:
a) when I need a bit of chip damage, 34" effective range (for LB) covers the whole board and lets me land somewhere safe. 20" (effective range FB) touches most of the board, but usually lands me in a chargable place and usually facing cover.
b) focus fire. Lightning 12 (3 wizards and the boomstick) will do some serious damage, especially when combined with one or more pieces of artillery. Getting 3 wizards to unload their fireball (24) on the same (let alone the preferred) target is neigh impossible.

The question at which point fireball is more interesting than lightning bolt is a dificult one. On a mobile unit such as a pegasus, this will probably be when fireball gains piercing (1) and maybe if it ignores the penalty for cover. On a static (infantry) model, this definately won’t be enough.

It’s already a more balanced question than in KoW 2nd edition when the choice was between lighing (3) and fireball (6).

The default for KoM wizards is fb6 - where are you getting fb8 from?

The fb10/lb4 choice that the Basilean war wizard gets seems better (from a balanced choice comparison) than the 6/3 KoM choice.

I always thought that Fire Ball should have the vicious special rule.

2 Likes

The diadem of Dragonkind is Fireball 8

apparently, my imagination.
My to-go army was Basilea using wizards with fb10/lb4, so I naturally asumed this was the same for KoM wizards. Clearly not.

Well, in that case it’s even more a non-issue. LB all the way.

1 Like