The Winds of Magic provide spellcasters in Total War with their source of power. The available magic is depleted when a spell is cast. They recharge quickly at first, but get slower each time a new spell is cast until eventually they no longer recharge. The Winds of Magic pool is shared across all spellcasters in a player's army. Not all powerful abilities are spells.
In Warhammer Fantasy lore, all magic derives ultimately from Chaos, flowing as a "wind" from the broken Chaos Gates or Warp Gates at the north and south poles. The gates lead to the Realm of Chaos, another dimension of pure thought and emotion, which endlessly changes and does not conform to the physical laws of the real universe. This is what magic is: the raw matter and energy of another chaotic universe.
The Winds of Magic are most powerful and most dangerous as they first pour out of the Gates, and much of them solidify into mutating warpstone - essentially raw, chaos magic, solidified into mineral form. This is why the Chaos Wastes are so strange, otherworldly and changing - they are the part of the world most affected by this outpouring of magic at the poles.
As such, all magic is inherently dangerous and potentially can have a corrupting, mutating effect, even when used with great care and attention by a spellcaster of great skill. Most races try to practice magic as safe as they can, while others (particularly Skaven and the followers of Chaos) embrace its raw chaotic nature.
Most races have some individuals which are born with the ability to harness magic. Slann and Elves are generally considered the most magically attuned, and have the greatest natural skill at controlling magic. Some humans also have the ability to harness magic, but they are also very easily corrupted and mutated by its power.
Dwarfs are much less magically attuned, and in fact have an innate resistance to magic. The few Dwarfs who are born with the ability to direct the Winds of Magic risk turning themselves to stone if they do so. Dwarf Runelords and Runesmiths long ago learned how to direct magic into Runes struck into metal or stone, insulating themselves from the danger of using magic directly. The Sorcerer-Prophets of the Chaos Dwarfs use magic directly, but pay the price for it, slowly turning to stone as they age.
Winds of Magic Panel
The Winds of Magic Panel is part of the Battle User Interface located in the bottom right of the screen.
If the player's army contains no spellcasters, this Panel will simply be a golden image of Morrslieb, the Chaos moon which strongly influences magic in Warhammer lore.
The Power Meter
However, if the player's army has spellcasters, the center of this panel will be a blue meter with a number between 0 and 30. This is the Power Meter. This indicates the current amount of Winds of Magic available to the player's army.
If the caster has access to more than one lore of magic, then a small bar will appear above the Winds of Magic Panel with buttons to switch between the lores.
Each spell has a cost in Winds of Magic such as 4 for a relatively weak spell or 16 for a very powerful one.
The Reserve Bar
The small blue bar to the right of the Power Meter is the Reserve Bar or Recharge Bar. It indicates how much magic is left to refill the main Power Meter, as well as how fast the Power Meter will recharge. A full Reserve Bar means that the Power Meter will recharge very fast and that there is lots of Magic left if the player can wait.
Every time a player uses one of their spellcasters to cast a spell, the Reserve Bar will go down permanently.
When the Reserve Bar reaches 0, the Power Meter will no longer recharge.
Magic availability in the Campaign, and "Gambling"
"The fickle Winds of Magic blow whence they will..."
In Warhammer Fantasy lore, the Winds of Magic are extremely unpredictable at times blowing a gale and at others suddenly still. As a result, the amount of magic available to the player's army in a battle in the Campaign mode can vary greatly depending on the army's location. The Map will tell players how strongly the winds of magic are blowing in any given Province.
At the start of a battle in the campaign, the player is presented with the option to gamble, or to accept the current amount of magic available. If the player chooses the "gamble" option then the amount of magic and reserve magic may go up or down at random. As such, it is generally inadvisable to gamble if the Winds of Magic meter is at 15 (out of 30) or higher.
If the result is positive and the amount of magic rises above the previous total, then flavour text appears stating that "Ranald favours you!"
Amounts of Magic
- Blowing - 0
- Tempestuous - very strong (+10)
Overcast spells and miscasts
Some spells can be overcast which increases and/or changes their effects. This costs extra winds of magic, and has a risk of resulting in a miscast which damages the spellcaster, although the spell will still be cast with the extra overcast effects. Some character skills and items in the campaign mode can decrease the risk of miscasting.
As of the The Hammers & Herdstones Update, miscast explosion damage now does:
- Explosive base damage 288
- Explosive AP damage 300
Notably, miscast damage is magic damage, so it can be reduced depending on your caster's magic resistance or ward save.
To overcast a spell, double-click its button before casting/setting a target. Spells which can be overcast will have a small double arrow on their button in the battle UI.
Lore attributes are passive abilities. Each lore of magic has its own associated lore attribute. For instance the Lore of Heavens has Roiling Skies, which is a map-wide constant debuff against flying enemies. Most casters that use just one specific lore have access to that lore's attribute. Teclis is notable for having access to 9 different lore attributes in campaign.
Bound spells are spells - the same ones in the various lores of magic. However they are conferred by an item or other ability/upgrade and do not cost winds of magic to cast, nor do they have a risk of miscast. A character need not be a wizard/caster to cast a bound spell. Bound Spell ability buttons are put next to the character portrait window in battle.
Types of Spells
This section lists different types of spells, with some examples of each.
A buff spell which increases the power/stats of friendly units or gives them new attributes (eg: Mantle of Ghorok).
- Not to be confused with the regeneration ability.
A buff spell which causes units to heal over time, or even raises them from the dead (eg: Regrowth).
A missile which shoots across the battlefield towards the enemy. Magic missiles can miss, or be blocked by terrain (eg: Fireball).
A spell which travels in a straight line, doing damage and/or knocking enemies down (eg: Wind of Death). In Total War: Warhammer II, wind spells can aimed in a specific direction by holding down the left mouse button and rotating the cursor when targeting.
Similar to a Wind spell, but has a cone-shaped area of effect rather than a rectangular shape (eg: Pestilent Breath). Breath spells can aimed in a specific direction by holding down the left mouse button and rotating the cursor when targeting.
A spell which targets enemy units directly and does damage to them (eg: The Fate of Bjuna).
A spell which targets an area or enemy unit, and bombards them from above with damaging missiles (eg: Comet of Cassandora).
A spell that causes a violent explosion outwards from a central point, damaging and knocking back all units (eg: Foot of Gork).
A spell, similar to an Augment, which causes a unit to become invisible (eg: Skitterleap).
A devastating spell which stays on the battlefield for some time, damaging all nearby units, friend or foe. Most vortex spells move randomly, though some stay still or home-in on the enemy (eg: Curse of Da Bad Moon).
Some spells summon new units to the battlefield. These spells are usually classed, officially, as Augments or Explosions (eg: Transformation of Kadon).
Some spells are unique to certain casters / types of casters, and not part of any lore of magic.
Lores of Magic
Introduced in Total War: Warhammer:
- Lore of Light
- Lore of Fire
- Lore of Death
- Lore of Metal
- Lore of Heavens
- Lore of the Big Waaagh!
- Lore of the Little Waaagh!
- Lore of the Vampires
- Lore of Beasts
- Lore of the Wild
- Lore of Shadows
- Lore of Life
Introduced in Total War: Warhammer II:
- Skaven Spells of Plague
- Skaven Spells of Ruin
- Skaven Spells of Stealth
- Lore of High Magic
- Lore of Dark Magic
- Lore of Nehekhara
- Lore of the Deep
- Runic Magic - presented similar to spells in game although they do not use the Winds of Magic
Introduced in Total War: Warhammer III:
- Lore of Ice
- Lore of Tempest
- Lore of Yin
- Lore of Yang
- Lore of Tzeentch
- Lore of Nurgle
- Lore of Slaanesh
- Lore of the Great Maw
Lores of Magic x Race
Magic in Total War: Warhammer III
(Work in progress)
In Total War: Warhammer III, magic is given an overhaul.
Levels of Magic
Magic is indicated in three levels, depending on the region. These affect how much Winds your army has when you start a battle in the region
- Calm Winds of Magic - 40 reserves, reduces by 10 from each turn.
- Daemonic armies suffer from debuffs due to lacking access to sustainable Magic.
- Blowing Winds of Magic - 50 reserves, no change in level from each turn. The default state.
- Strong Winds of Magic - 50 reserves, +5 per turn.
- Any army can adopt the Channeling stance, which increases additional reserves to +15 per turn.
- A Hero with the Magical Reserves skill can increase additional reserves by +20% per turn.
The maximum amount of Winds for any army is 100 reserves.
Reserves buffs for Chaos armies
Daemonic armies start getting buffs when they reach high levels of reserves:
- Tzeentch - barrier recharge speed
- Khorne - spell resistance
- Nurgle - melee defence
- Slaanesh - speed
Storm of Magic
In the Chaos Realms of Nurgle, Slaanesh, and Tzeentch, armies who fight there enter a Storm of Magic. All magical reserves there are infinite.
Any player must consistently use one Lore of Magic in order for it to reach Ascendancy, so they cannot use other spells from other Lores; they can receive passive bonuses as they continue to use that Lore. Once Ascendancy has been reached, they can use a Cataclysm Spell to annihilate their foes and win the battle.
- Lore of Beasts
- All units become immune to psychology and gain charge bonuses.
- Cataclysm Spell: Merciw’s Monstrous Regiment.
- The strength of the wild is imbued on one unit’s weapon damage, armour-piercing, melee attack, and physical resistance.
- Lore of Life
- All units gain perfect vigour.
- Cataclysm Spell: Storm of Renewal.
- A tree sprouts from the ground as raw life-energy flows across the battlefield, providing a huge regeneration aura.
- Lore of Death
- All units gain armour-piercing melee damage
- Cataclysm Spell: Ashes & Dust.
- A suffocating dust cloud chokes the life from enemies in a wide area after a short wind-up.
- Lore of Fire
- All units get bonus melee attack
- Cataclysm Spell: Magma Storm.
- A massive eruption protrudes from the ground, burning everything in the area in magical fire.
- Lore of Heavens
- All missile units deal extra damage and extra armour-piercing damage
- Cataclysm Spell: Thorsen’s Thunderstorm
- A great storm develops above the battlefield, annihilating an area with lightning bolts.
- Lore of Light
- All units gain magical attacks and immunity to psychology.
- Cataclysm Spell: Time Amok
- The flow of time is altered over a portion of the battlefield, improving allies’ reload skill, speed, and melee attack.
- Lore of Metal
- All units receive bonus armour and missile resistance
- Cataclysm Spell: Gehenna’s Golden Globe
- A great molten sphere emerges from the earth and rolls across enemy forces.
- Lore of Shadow
- All units get faster charge and movement speed
- Cataclysm Spell: Dance of Despair
- A haunting tune envelops enemies in an area, reducing their leadership, melee defense, and melee attack.
Because Khorne units do not have spellcasters, they instead receive buffs for their spell resistance. Khorne armies can also summon Daemons more easily to channel their god's hatred of magic.
Tzeentch armies can freely choose which Lore will be the first in Ascendancy.