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Dominic1905
20-01-2011, 16:52
Hiya Guys,

I'm going to start playing warhammer, and am going to start with the Lizardmen; I like that army because of its look, and ability to be dominant in the magic phase.

So, I have absolutely no idea at all how the army works, or which units to take or what not to take. So far, all I know that the Slann is good in the magic phase, and I'm leaning towards taking the lore of life (whats your opinion on that), and would appreciate your advice on the Lizardmen.

Ultimate Life Form
20-01-2011, 17:02
I'm leaning towards taking the lore of life (whats your opinion on that)

Perfect choice. As far as my advice is concerned...


Army Critique

So let's take a look at that army; Lizardmen. What drew me in in the first place was my love of reptiles and the unique imagery. I instantly liked the looks. This is actually a very important aspect when deciding which army to start. However I was soon to learn that they are also a very solid army choice and a serious contender on the table. Lizardmen are actually a perfect beginner's army. There are many reasons for this:

- Lizardmen are an allround army. That means that they can make use of all options that the game offers, and do so well. You'll miss out on nothing with these guys. Their many choices allow the army to be tweaked and tuned to one's liking, and to suit the preferred playstyle. They can be very mobile, very aggressive, and wield destructive magic. Merely their shooting is a bit weak, but if used correctly can be devastating nonetheless.

- Lizardmen tend to be an elite army. That means they usually rely on few heavy hitters as opposed to strength in numbers. The financial aspect of needing to buy less models aside, it also means that Lizardmen usually have the upper hand in battle due to their superior statline and can take down many things without a fuss. That means even when an inexperienced player makes a tactical blunder (and believe me, you will make LOTS), chances are the troops will compensate it through pure awesomeness. I've seen them emerge victorious from a seemingly hopeless situation on more than one occasion.

There is however one thing to keep in mind. Don't let the vicious look of the models befool you. No matter how sharp the Carnosaur's teeth, no matter how spiny the Razordons, no matter how angry the Saurus Warriors, Lizardmen are by nature a defensive army. Their killing power is actually not very impressive, and there are a few armies that clearly outshine them in this department, so be careful. What they do well is shrug off damage and wear the enemy down. The secret to using them is to pick your charges well, single out targets that you can easily cope with, and avoid, redirect, bog down or cripple the scary stuff if possible. There is no glory to be won in a hopeless fight, and many games are decided by accurate use of cowardly yet devious hit-and-run tactics, which the Skinks excel at. That being said, Lizardmen is a great army with well-balanced units and untold customizability, and is extremely powerful in the hands of an experienced player.

Army Lists

Before starting your Lizardmen army, you will have one important choice to make: who will be your Lord? The Lord choices, if you do not already know, are the most powerful and influential warriors each army has at its disposal, and in case of small games, as beginner's games tend to be, they follow the Highlander rule: There can be only one. So which will it be? There are two different disciplines you can follow: The way of the Slann and the way of the Carnosaur. Think well, for with each comes a unique playstyle that you have to master.

The Carnosaur is an aggressive, and also not very subtle choice. With him you'll carry the fight to the enemy. You will want lots of fast yet hard-hitting troops to accompany him, like Cold One Cavalry, Kroxigors, Stegadons, and mostly various Skink units for Core requirements. That means that you will have no 'base' to defend. You'll rush up to the enemy and try to get into combat as soon as possible in order to prevent enemy Warmachines and other nasties from shooting too much at you. Together they'll hopefully smash through the enemy lines and leave nothing but rubble in their wake.

The Slann Mage-Priest on the other hand is a defensive choice. He is also harder to master and less reliable, yet more powerful. This is due to him being a spellcaster, and much randomness occurs doing the magic phase. Depending on how well you roll, he will absolutely brutally nuke the enemy in one turn, and be quite unhelpful or even dangerous to yourself in the next. In fact I once had him do nothing due to broken concentration on the first spell. In addition you must have a certain understanding of how the game works in order to use his spells to best effect. And even if all works out as planned the opponent still has a chance to intervene, dispeling your spell or doing other nasty things. So many unforseen things may happen, which makes this choice a gamble, as opposed to the Carnosaur who is easy to use and has staying power. However most experienced players still choose the Slann over the Carnosaur, for he is more flexible and has the potential to be far more damaging and dangerous if all goes well, and in fact a fully powered Slann in a large block of Temple Guard is a sight that instills fear in the hearts of even the most hardened veterans. You will have to protect him though, and that usually means bunkering near your deployment zone and defending your flanks against oncoming assaults. Saurus blocks are perfect for this task, as well as Jungle Swarms and of course the Slann's personal Temple Guard - in other words, anyything that's slow but nearly indestructible. This strategy means you'll let the enemy come to you, hopefully through a hail of devastating spells, and employ Terradons, Skinks and Chameleon Skinks to venture behind the enemy lines and deal with Warmachines which pose a huge threat to big blocks of troops amassed in one spot.

But of course, no one forces you to take a Lord, though you deprive yourself of some very powerful options that way. It is also possible to make all-Skink or all-Saurus armies, though these are specialist armies best left to experts. And then there's the dreaded Stegzilla list, which means taking minimum Core and filling up the rest of your point allowance with as many Stegadons as you can cram in. There are countless ways to customize the army, but all extreme lists have one thing in common: They're unstoppable against some armies and chanceless against others. The best approach to Lizardmen (and in fact most armies) is to build a varied, well-balanced list, for these are the most flexible and deal well with most situations.

Ultimate Life Form
20-01-2011, 17:04
Unit Review

I will now give a rundown of all the units and powerful artifacts of the Old Ones that Lizardmen have at their disposal. We are in a very comfortable position here, because before we get started let me say that unlike other armies there are no useless or redundant choices in the army. Every unit type fills its own niche and does what it's supposed to do very well, but sucks at other things. There is no 'wrong' or 'bad' army list in Lizardmen, they're all unique in their own way and it's up to you to learn what works for you.
Lords

Slann Mage-Priest: 10/10

This guy is a king among Lizardmen, and this is reflected in both point cost and power level. In fact, he's almost too good if there were such a thing. There are two different approaches to using him: Either you stick him in a big block of Temple Guard, as shown in all the ads, or you'll have him run around on his own, but that makes him very vulnerable so I do not recommend this strategy for a new player or he'll soon become an endangered species. The Slann can actually join other units as well, but you'll want him in the Temple Guard for the unique synergies this combination provides, which make the unit extra tough and the Slann nigh unkillable. Be warned however, this combination will typically eat up half your point allowance (or, in layman terms, constitute half your army) and suffer from the 'all eggs in one basket' syndrome, so it's a very good idea to protect them really well. If you do, this unit will typically stay around forever.

The Slann is the best spellcaster Lizardmen have, and in fact the best wizard in the entire game of Warhammer. In combat, however, he does zilch and will go down quickly. That means you'll have to use the standard spellcaster tactics with him: hide and blast the enemy from afar. It works horrifyingly well. The Slann is free to choose any of the 8 Magic Lores from the basic rules, which makes him versatile in the extreme. All Lores have their strengths and weaknesses and support certain strategies, and indeed it's a good idea to ponder which to take while you're writing the list and to either attune your army accordingly or choose a Lore that goes well with it in order to maximize the synergy, but an in-depth analysis is not possible here and would offer material for an entire tactics review.

New players will typically wonder how to equip him properly in order to get the most out of him, and the Slann offers a multitude of confusing options, so I'll give a quick breakdown.

Battle Standard Bearer:
As a big exception to the rule, the Slann can be your General and your Battle Standard Bearer at once. And in fact it's a good idea not to waste that option, because it makes him and his unit almost impossible to shift in battle. Nothing's worse than a Slann who turns tail and is run down by the enemy (trust me, I know that feeling well). With a Battle Standard and in a Temple Guard, there is a 99% chance he won't. I'm not talking a Magic Banner here; he probably doesn't need one anyway and it would make him horribly expensive. Just a vanilla flag will do fine. You've paid so much for your Slann already, surely you can throw in those few extra points as well; it will pay off tenfold.

Lore:
So many choices, so which Lore of Magic to use? Well, there is no right or wrong. It actually comes down to personal taste. Everyone has their favorite spells, and will swear by them, so I suggest you try them out yourself. However a great many people, me included, agree that Lore of Life is an excellent choice for the Slann, and I'll never leave home without it. This is mainly due to the vital Miscast protection Throne of Vines offers, but the other spells also support the army very well. This Lore allows you to boost your already formidable warriors to demigod status and raise losses back, which is much fun. Another noteworthy thing is that Lore of Heavens is a slightly less favorable choice, because this is what Skink Priests use and when you have a Skink Priest in your army you will typically want to take a different Lore on the Slann in order not to have redundant spells and add more flexibility to your army.

Disciplines:
The Slann can pick among the Disciplines of the Ancients, and he'll always have at least one of these. But which are favorable?

- Focus of Mystery
This lets you know all the spells from your chosen Lore. While not absolutely necessary, this is quite nifty for adding flexibility and broadening your range of abilities, and give you something to throw your dice at. It would indeed be unfortunate if you didn't get the spell you wanted and crippled your abilities because you were too miserly to pay a bunch of points for this...

- The Focused Rumination
This gives you extra dice. Since those are the power source of your Slann, this discipline is extremely useful. In fact, these free power dice are what gives the Slann the edge over other casters. This will make his fuel supply last a lot longer, and in fact most likely exceed the number of dice other armies are allowed to command by far. There is not a single reason in the world I can think of why you would ever not want this ability, and it should be your standard Discipline.

- Transcendent Healing
This rule was developed under 7th Edition where you could take a Ward Save and a Regeneration Save. Since this is no longer possible, the ability is useless as of now. Except when something would ignore your Ward Save, which happens... never.

- The Harrowing Scrutiny
Terror is no longer very dangerous, and since the thick of the fight is the last place you want the Slann, I daresay you can ignore this Discipline with a clear conscience.

- Higher State of Consciousness
This is useful for protecting the Slann from stray cannon balls and some such, and to make him virtually untouchable. Very useful when he's on his own and accidentally gets caught in a fight, but if he's in a Temple Guard it's not really necessary.

- The Becalming Cogitation
This can potentially silence an enemy caster. However there are two problems with this: If the opponent has many casters, he'll just resort to others to do his bidding, and if he has no casters, the ability is points wasted. Can however be useful to ensure you have the magic superiority.

- Unfathomable Presence
This will make the Slann almost invulnerable to spell damage, so is a natural choice to go with Higher State of Consciousness on a solo Slann to make him even harder to kill. As for the bunker Slann, it will make his Temple Guard even more resilient. So it's a good choice in any case, and not a bad buy if you have a few points left and expect the enemy to wield lots of Magic.

- Soul of Stone
This allows you to reroll any Miscast result, and therefore is extremely useful. The Slann will cast a lot (that's what he does), and thus has a tendency to attract Miscasts. Nothing is more painful than losing your super-expensive General/Main Wizard/Battle Standard Bearer/army centerpiece/strategic key element to a single bad dice roll. Doing so usually means instantly losing the game, so everything that can help avoid it is highly welcome.

Equipment

As a spellcaster the Slann is dependent on good rolls, support and protection during the Magic Phase, and indeed it is a good idea to buy him some extra stuff. Here are some recommendations. Weapons are obviously of little use to him, and armor he can't take, so what does a Slann bring home from the shopping mall of the Old Ones?

- Power Stone:
The Slann has more dice at his disposal than any lesser Wizard, but sometimes it's just not enough. In this case, a Power Stone might be a useful backup to fire up your Slann.

- Wand of Jet/Itxi Grubs:
While not impressive at first glance these can be real lifesavers. They can prevent the Slann from breaking his concentration, and keep him active. Nothing is more annoying than messing up on your first spell, effectively costing you the magic phase. This can even potentially be game deciding, so an additional safeguard could come in handy.

- Healing Potion:
The Slann is very tough and hard to kill with the right setup. Should your opponent manage to cause a few wounds nonetheless by accident (Warmachines have a nasty habit of sneaking past your Ward Save), imagine his frustration as you pop a Healing Potion and refill to max. This will keep your important caster around for a while longer and you can sit back and enjoy as your opponent throws a tantrum and tears his hair out.

- Divine Plaque of Protection:
Makes the Slann almost impervious to ranged attacks. I actually had one opponent cease shooting at this tasty target upon the revelation that it would most likely be in vain. Definitely a very useful item.

- Bane Head:
This makes the Slann the... bane of an enemy character. With a quick sniping spell the enemy warrior could be dead before he knows what hit him. I have no personal experience with this item but I've seen it in countless army lists so many times there must be something to it. It is also cheap to boot, so try it.

- Cupped Hands of the Old Ones:
My favorite item, and unique in the world. This allows you to pass a miscast on to the enemy wizard, or ignore it if none is present. You mess up and they bear the consequences... oh, the sweet irony. Also as has been mentioned before anything that can save the Slann from a Miscast is a great help, so no there's no reason not to take this.

So all in all the Slann is a very powerful and unique choice. He is flexible and dangerous. He is also much fun and allows for very interesting combinations. So what to rate him? Well, actually I am of the mind that nothing can ever have or deserve a perfect score, for there is always room for improvement, but what can I say, he is the best wizard in the entire game hands down, he is the most powerful entity in the army, he is a staple and the standard choice in most competitive (and also non-competitive) lists and some people even take two of them, and he is a really great looking and impressive model, what's not to love so I have no choice but to award a perfect score of 10/10.



Saurus Oldblood 7/10

The Saurus Oldblood is your heavy hitter. If you lust for raw, unrestrained power, wanton destruction and coldblooded murder, detest subtlety, choosing brawn over brain, he's your (Lizard)man. He is an incredibly tough warrior, and only through luck (or special rules like Killing Blow) can standard troops hope to take him out. He is however not undefeatable, and especially shooting will take its toll quickly. Also other armies, like Daemons of Chaos, Warriors of Chaos, Ogre Kingdoms, Dwarves and Beastmen in form of the Doombull have characters at their disposal that can easily put down even the hardiest Oldblood. Therefore it's important to use him properly. Which leads us to the question, what does an Oldblood contribute to our army?

The Oldblood is a fighter choice. That's all he does; he fights. That means he's useless if he's not in the thick of the fray. That on the other hand means you want him to be quick to reach the enemy as soon as possible and give them less time to shoot at you. Thankfully he has a few options that help out with this, like riding a Cold One, the Arabyan Carpet or even the mighty Carnosaur. If you use him to babysit a unit in the corner all game his talents are wasted and you'd rather spent the points on a Scar Veteran.

Actually, while the Oldblood is the best fighter in the army, he is not that much better than his younger brother, the Hero Scar Veteran. If you compare the two you will find that the Oldblood has somewhat better stats, but they come at a steep price increase. Therefore some players choose to forego the Oldblood and take two Scar Veterans instead for almost the same points. But the Oldblood isn't subpar because of that, far from it! Taking an Oldblood over one or even two Scar Veterans has two advantages:

Slot argument: By taking the Oldblood, a Lord choice, you can take pressure from your Hero point allowance. Lizardmen aren't cheap, and character points add up quickly. In smaller games you won't have much space for many tooled-up Heroes, By taking a Lord instead, you can effectively double your character allowance. Keep this in mind; this is really good advice.

Equipment argument: There are some very tasty options in the book, that only an Oldblood can take and no one else. If you want to use those, you must take an Oldblood. I'll discuss these next in the shopping section.

Equipment

Armor:
Since the Oldblood starts out with an impressive Scaly Skin Save, it is very easy to reach the maximum 1+ Armor Save with him, especially if he's mounted. This should always be done and offers excellent protection.

Weapons:
Great Weapon is excellent, boosting his Strength to ungodly levels, but comes at the price of striking last. Since the Oldblood is the model with the highest Initiative in the army, he might actually strike first against some things if it wasn't for the Great Weapon, so it is a tough choice. Halberd is a good compromise, offering the best from both worlds. Both potentially hamper your Armor Save though. Spear is not good as it's only useful when mounted and has a one-time effect, and even then only when you charge. Additional Hand Weapon is nice but not exactly world-shattering. All being said, the real use of an Oldblood lies in using Magic Weapons.

Any Magic Weapon that costs more than 50 points can only be taken by an Oldblood, and are a natural choice for him.

- Giant Blade:
This will make the Oldblood really scary. With such high strength, he'll cut even Monsters down with ease, and hell smash through Armor like nothing. Few can stand up to his wrath.

- Sword of Bloodshed:
While it sounds awesome on paper, the Oldblood will have to resort to his own strength wielding this, so tough stuff will give him trouble. However he'll chew through regular troops like a shredder, especially if accompanied by his trusty Carnosaur.

- Blade of Revered Tzunki:
This used to be a big winner, but now that we have the Giant Blade which does a better job for less points, I'd say leave it at home.

- Blade of Realities:
This is my personal favorite. It doesn't boost your attacks, but it has a chance to instantly take out anything it touches. That makes it a natural choice to go after big targets with low Leadership, like Monsters. Nothing beats the sadistic glee when you pop the enemy's most dangerous critter without hope of salvation. I've taken down numerous Treemen and even an Ogre Tyrant with this, and it's always a blast. It is also very good for chewing through Monstrous Infantry because they tend to have low Leadership and lose multiple wounds upon death. It's a gamble, but when it works, it's devastating.

Since the Oldblood should already have a 1+ Armor Save, we'll not concern ourselves with Magic Armor at this point, but a noteworthy exception is the Shield of the Mirrored Pool, which may avert enemy spells and help keep him alive longer.

Of course the Oldblood can make excellent use of a Ward Save. Obvious choices here are Talisman of Preservation, Talisman of Endurance and Glyph Necklace, but Amulet of Itzl does a good job as well. If points are scarce you can also choose among the other Talismans in the rulebook.

Mounts

Carnosaur:
This is another choice that is only available to the Oldblood, and for most people the reason they take one. He falls into the 'badass General on Monstrous Mount' category that many players find appealing. While there is nothing wrong with this, it is worth keeping in mind that the Carnosaur, unlike its counterparts in most armies, cannot fly. That means its tactical uses are limited, it's 'only' a big bloodthirsty force of nature that doesn't add anything substantially new to your army. He'll have to leg it across the field first in order to get into action, and since the enemy will typically avoid him like the plague you may even have to play a game of cat and mouse with them. It is not uncommon for him to join battle as late as 4th or even 5th turn, giving the enemy far too much time to shoot at him. However he is a force to be reckoned with, and the mere threat he poses and the ability to 'dictate' enemy movement is of great use and can give you the upper hand. You could say that the real benefit of the Carnosaur isn't the few wounds he'll cause in battle but the pressure he imposes on the opponent. He excels at psychological warfare.
In many ways, the Carnosaur is the opposite of the dreaded Stegadon. Whereas the Stegadon is comparably slow and nearly impervious, sacrificing killing power in favor of sturdiness, the Carnosaur is fast, and backed up by its fully tooled rider enemy encounters invariably end in a bloody mess. However this may well include the Carnosaur itself, for it is kind of squishy. The Oldblood tends to have far better survivability than his mount, resulting in enemies going for the easier target, and especially shooting will take its toll quickly as it will mainly hit the Carnosaur, and even average bowfire is sure to score a few wounds. It is not uncommon for the Carnosaur to die quickly and leave the Oldblood stranded somewhere in the boonies. While this is not a favorable situation, the Carnosaur has at least acted as a meatshield and kept the Oldblood alive, who can cow continue to go on a rampage. Since Stegadons and Carnosaurs complement each other so nicely, I've found them to go together well, and when faced with a spearhead of an angry Oldblood on Carnosaur backed up by one or two Stegadons on the flank only very few opponents will be foolish enough to seek battle, and should they do so they will inevitably be trampled and crushed to a bloody pulp.
Due to its limitations, the best strategy for a Carnosaur is to use him like the jungle predator it is and sneak up the flank, exploiting any cover it can find, and breaking through the trees during turn 3 or 4 to engage the enemy flank. If you use him carefully, he'll be very effective. If you just go for a a headlong rush towards the enemy, he won't live past turn 2.

Cold One:
This little critter is of course no compensation for the awesome power of a Carnosaur, but you can't really expect that for 10% the points. In fact, compared to what its rider can achieve, its killing power is actually negligible. However you don't take a Cold One for killing stuff. The role the Cold One fills is as cheap Oldblood delivery system. It is just as quick as the Carnosaur and almost doubles the Oldblood's movement. Also it adds a nice bonus to his Armor Save, which is never bad. In addition he can now join units, and of course a natural choice are Cold One Cavalry. He can 'hide' in their unit to be save from shooting while they rush across the plains, and reach the enemy on turn 2 to really put the hurt on them, which is far quicker than what the Carnosaur usually does. Not favorable however is joining other troop types like Saurus blocks for example, as he won't be entitled to a 'look out sir' roll and will most likely meet an untimely end at the hands of a cannon if the opponent is only halfway past the beginner stage. Likewise having him run around solo is not such a great idea, for he will be the enemy's top priority target, and if cornered, he won't be able to hold his own for long without the terrifying power of the Carnosaur to back him up. He is really best used for quick hammer tactics. Stupidity shouldn't be much of a problem, either with his high Leadership and Cold Blooded, and usually occurs once per game, if ever.

On Foot, in a unit:
Well this is really the worst choice as it lets go to waste all the fantastic options the Oldblood has, and a Scar Veteran will usually do the same job, only for half the point cost.

Ultimate Life Form
20-01-2011, 17:05
Heroes

Saurus Scar-Veteran 8/10

The Scar Veteran is the poor man's Oldblood. Accordingly, most things that have been said about the Oldblood are also true for him. He doesn't pack the same power but he's still a cut above the rest, and inspires awe in many other armies. A very solid choice, and reasonably priced to boot. You can put him in a unit as bodyguard, you can put him on a Cold One to accompany your cavalry, or you could even have him go solo to hunt for tasty targets with either the Cold One or the ever popular Charm of the Jaguar Warrior.

Equipment

Always try to max out his Armor Save. As with the Oldblood this is ridiculously easy. His Weapon choices follow the same guidelines as the Oldblood's, except that the Great Weapon always striking last is not such a great drawback to him due to lower Initiative. Once again however the Scar Veteran really yearns to be outfitted with a suitable Magic Weapon to further boost his skills.

The Scar Veteran gets to choose among a great number of excellent Magic Weapons. Feel free to take your choice and try them out. Since he does already have formidable stats, he greatly benefits from anything that gives him additional attacks, but having him strike first is also very powerful and can come as a nasty surprise to an overconfident opponent. Special mention deserves the Burning Blade of Chotec, which allows him to chew through heavily armored stuff like Knights with ease, and can scare the occasional War Beast or Flammable enemy.

As for Armor, the Hide of the Cold Ones will seriously boost him if he's assigned as a bodyguard. Have a Slann enhance him further with Lore of Beasts or Lore of Life and you're looking at something that can take down even the most horrifying Monster without much trouble.

Mounts

Cold One:
The Cold One is as useful to the Scar Veteran as it is to the Oldblood. It adds a healthy bonus to his Armor Save and makes him quick to boot. He also has the same chance to pass Stupidity (as all Saurus have by the way). It is an excellent idea to include him in a unit of Cold One Cavalry and smash up the enemy flank. He's even better suited than the Olblood for he'll still wreak havoc, but if he fails evetually it's not such a great loss. Again, he should not join different troop types, for he can be sniped out of unfitting units.

The way of the Jaguar Warrior:
This is a special setup that was very popular among Lizardmen players. It involves a Scar Veteran and the Charm of the Jaguar Warrior. This is a nifty trinket that allows the bearer to make a flying move. Of course this comes as a complete surprise to unsuspecting individuals. Since it's a bound spell, it is however only recommended in magic-heavy lists to make sure it isn't dispelled by the opponent. You'll typically wait till they burned through their dispel dice, and then fire up the ring. If it works, the Scar Veteran will take wing and zip to the other end of the battlefield. This strategy is no longer as powerful as it once was, but a Scar Veteran surprisingly unleashed behind the enemy lines can still cause a lot of havoc. Give him Light Armor and the Enchanted Shield, and he's a force to be reckoned with. If left unchecked he can easily overpower small units of archers, Warmachine crews and stray wizards all on his own. He will cause quite a ruckus in the enmy army, and this can help you a great deal even if it only means diverting attention from your main army for a turn.



Skink Priest 7/10

This is your standard spellcaster type. Since he's a Skink, his stats are even more abysmal than most other wizards, so it's extremely important to keep him out of harm's way. Standardly that means sticking him in a big block of Saurus and bailing out when things get too hot, for wizards are very popular targets in close combat.

As a Wizard, the Skink Priest fills the same role in the army as the Slann Mage-Priest. However, he is vastly inferior to him in each and every regard. In fact he counts among the weakest spellcasters in the entire game, being restricted to one Lore and such. However that doesn't mean he's useless. There is a niche in the army for him that he fills quite nicely. First and foremost, he's cheap. If you can't afford a Slann in smaller games, the Priest is the Wizard of choice. Next, maybe you want to take the Carnosaur instead. In this case the Priest supplies you with some Magic backup. Third, he is the only way you can get access to the dreaded Engine of the Gods. And fourth, he is a cheap way to get some Magic defense. Even if a Slann is present in the army, it is not uncommon to employ a Skink Priest in addition in order to put even more pressure on the opponent. This yields you additional spells, someone to carry the Magic Items the Slann can't be bothered to hold and a backup caster should the Slann break his concentration.

It is an eternal controversy among Lizardmen players whether to upgrade him to Level 2 or not. Personally, I think it's a cheap upgrade that greatly adds to his versatility and threat level. In truth however it depends on the role you want to give him in your army. If you want him to be offensive and fling a spell sometimes, go for the upgrade. Not so much for the casting bonus but for the additional spell. that way he does ideally make two casting attempts each turn. If you run two of them, you do already get four spells, which puts considerable pressure on the opponent. Lore of Heavens offers some devastating damage Spells, and even a small caster like the Skink Priest can be a big threat if he throws a lot of dice at Chain Lightning, especially in smaller games. If you take him solely for defense, however, there is no real point in upgrading him. Just give him a Dispel Scroll and Diadem of Power and call it quits. That leads us to analyzing possible equipment choices.

Equipment

Don't give him anything protective. It's really not worth it doubling his point cost so he can shrug off a wound or something; if he gets into any kind of trouble he's dead anyway. As has been mentioned his main purpose is carrying items of magic defense. The best option is Dispel Scroll and Diadem of Power, but the various other anti-magic scrolls and Cube of Darkness aren't exactly bad, either. On the offensive side, you could try Ruby Ring of Ruin and/or Plaque of Tepok for an additional spell. However, it's always best to keep the Priest as cheap as possible.

Mounts

Engine of the Gods:
This is one heck of a mount. However it changes the Priests role in the army so drastically that it works like an entirely new model and thus warrants its own entry in this review, so read on if you wish.



Engine of the Gods 8/10

The Engine of the Gods is basically a Skink Priest on steroids attached to an unstoppable force of nature and armed with a giant laser cannon. Don't believe me? Think again, for this guy means serious business. This is however unfortunately also reflected by a sudden jump in point cost to make the Slann look cheap in comparison. It's still well worth it though, and the Engine of the Gods does a pretty sweet job supporting your army. Let's see how.

First and foremost, the Engine of the Gods is a wizard. The Skink Priest on top gains a considerable boost to his abilities, effectively granting him an additional Level. That means he can be like Level 3 and is as far as I know the only (quasi) Level 3 Hero wizard. It would be truly foolish not to take this opportunity, so leveling up and maxing his equipment out for casting is a must. Plaque of Tepok, Ruby Ring of Ruin, here is where they belong. An Engine Priest can not compete with a Slann, but he is a force to be reckoned with.

Second, he rides an Ancient Stegadon, and a very grumpy one at that. This is the only way for a Skink Priest ever to have an Armor Save, and a very potent one to boot. That means this caster can actually kill something in battle. No, make that a lot. That means he's really scary, and people will think twice before attacking him. Heck, if you feel like it, you can even charge him right into the enemy and watch the Steg pound them into the dust. I once had him take out an entire State Troop regiment on his own. However this tactic is to be applied with extreme caution, for reasons we'll soon discuss.

And thirdly, you get the awesome an unique powers of the Engine of the Gods. These are nifty effects it creates during the Magic Phase, but they aren't Spells so actually can't be shut down. Once the Engine of the Gods has been activated, the opponent can only watch in horror and endure the wrath of the Old Ones. The Engine of the Gods has three different powers at its disposal:

- The Arcane Configuration:
This gives a boost to casting a certain Lore. This may sound awesome, but the Slann and Engine Priest should actually manage on their own, and the Skink Priests aren't really powerful enough to warrant this. The boost is so marginal that it should only very rarely make a difference. The effect is a nice cantrip, but the other two are just plain better, so this is actually not a very good choice in most situations

- The Burning Alignment
This is where the laser cannon comes in. This is a circular magical blast that centers on the Engine and will reduce anything in its area of effect to a smoldering pile of goo (well any hostile things anyway). Forest Spirits and Daemons are usually instantly burnt to ashes, while other things, especially tough customers, may have the endurance to withstand the blast. Still, nothing likes coming too close to an Engine of the Gods, so you may actually have to go and hunt them down. Nothing's more fun than charging a terrified enemy unit and trampling them to bits all the while blasting the heck out of them.

- The Portent of Warding:
While the Burning Alignment is fun, it can only operate in close range. Thankfully we have another awesome effect for times when there's nothing to blast, which is the Portent of Warding. The Engine of the Gods projects a protective energy barrier, which gives a Ward Save against shooting to all own troops in a considerable area. Enemy shooting is a traditional weakness of the army, so having something that works against it is of great help. In addition Lizardmen armies tend to be small, so a single Engine may be enough to shield your entire force. Talk about awesome! This should be your default setting, and is applicable in many ways. You can park it near the Slann to protect his unit and make shooting at him an even more joyless affair, or you can advance along with your army and protect them from shooting until they hit close combat, at which point you switch to Burning Alignment. An incredibly useful ability!

So as we have seen the Engine of the Gods is an excellent all-purpose tool and will give your opponent quite a headache. However, it is mainly a support unit and far from unstoppable. There is a weak link in the chain, and that's the Skink Priest. He is a lousy fighter with horrible toughness, only protected by an Armor Save, and if you lose him not only can't you cast anymore, but the Engine will stop working as well, leaving you with what is actually a subpar version of an Ancient Stegadon. A cunning opponent will try to assassinate the Priest by sending quick attackers to deal with him. Especially nasty are things that can deal Killing Blows. It is of little consequence to them if the assassination squad dies to the revenge attacks of the Stegadon as long as they take the Priest with them. Mission accomplished, Priest is dead, 500 points model is henceforward useless. This fate is to be avoided at any cost. Sadly the Engine cannot join units, but that would also be of little help against this tactic. So what to do? The best strategy is keeping the Engine sandwiched between other units in order to protect its broad flanks from attackers, and it would be wise to screen its front and rear as well. The Engine sits quite comfy in the center of your army and can use Portent of Warding to protect them, and if enemies come dangerously close you blast them to pieces with the Burning Alignment. Fun stuff. It is also a good idea to give the Priest a Ward Save of sorts; Talisman of Preservation is a very good choice here even though it will eat up his item allowance. All in all a great support for your army.



Skink Chief 5/10

The Skink Chief is another fighting Hero choice. He does everything a Scar Veteran does. Only worse. Since this niche in the army is already occupied by a vastly superior contender, it doesn't come as surprise that the humble Skink Chief spends most of his time on the substitutes' bench. He is a truly miserable fighter, playing in the same league as Skaven characters, and even minor things can take him out with relative ease. In an army that brims with powerful troops this is not a good place to be, and he is considered a weak brick in an otherwise solid wall.

However that does not mean that the Skink Chief is useless. There's more to him than meets the eye, and he has uses beyond making an all-Skink army. He can't hold his own in battle, but he has access to some very interesting and powerful tools that no one else can use. Thus is he pushed into the role of a specialist, and he fills it well. The main use of a Skink Chief is to give him Skink-only items.

The Skink Chief also has access to some options that make him really fast. Therefore he can fill the role of an assassin. Give him the Cloak of Feathers or a Terradon and unleash him onto the enemy army. With the right equipment he can deal quite some damage to Warmachines or other soft targets, or he could even charge an enemy block head-on in a suicidal attempt to take out an enemy wizard, though you need to make sure there are no other Characters or Champions there who could challenge. Terradon has the advantage that he'll get Drop Rocks, more attacks, a small Armor Save and Stomp, thus making him stronger, while the Cloak of Feathers has the advantage that he opponent doesn't see it coming miles ahead.

Another popular option is putting him on a Stegadon mount. This can have advantages when fiddling around with the army composition. Since the Skink Chief's mount falls into the Hero's shopping category and doesn't come from the Special and Rare point allowances respectively, this allows for including more Stegadons in a list than would actually be possible without him, leading to the dreaded Stegzilla list. Likewise, if you don't spend many points on Heroes but want to make good use of your Special or Rare point allowances, it can be advantageous to buy it as a Skink Chief's mount, effectively using Hero allowance points to buy Special or Rare stuff, thus exceeding your point limit for these sections.

Equipment

If you plan to use him as an assassin, anything that makes him more dangerous is a good idea. An obvious option is the Additional Hand Weapon, but many people feel the the Sword of Might, though more expensive, is more worth it for he has an easier time wounding. Dagger of Sotek confers Killing Blow, which is also potentially dangerous. Also he can use a Shield in this setup. With Terradon and Light Armor he can reach a respectable Armor Save that should offer some protection. The Charmed Shield is a cheap item that helps keeping him alive as well. If you like being offensive instead of defensive, consider Additional Hand Weapon and Potion of Strength. Your opponent will stop laughing and bite his tongue when the sweet little Chief suddenly hits with the strength of a Carnosaur.

- Stegadon War-Spear:
This is an obvious choice for a Chief on Stegadon. With it he'll effectively deal double Impact Hits, and they're magical to boot, so the Stegadon can actually trample ethereals into the ground. Always use an Ancient Stegadon for this combo, for its higher Strength is of unimaginable value.

- Dagger of Sotek:
The Fear factor is pretty much a joke, but Killing Blow is a very dangerous thing. As has been mentioned this is a nice item for murdering stray multi-wound models.

- Sacred Stegadon Helm:
This further improves the Chief's Armor Save, and boosts his Leadership as well. As Skinks tend to have a problem with morale, this makes him a perfect General for an all-Skink army, especially when you put him on a Stegadon to increase his Inspiring Presence radius.

- Cloak of Feathers:
This allows the Chief to fly. This is of great use in assassination tactics as it'll often catch an opponent off-guard, possibly costing him an important model.

- Skavenpelt Banner:
This Magic Standard is Skinks only, and thus if you want to use it you need to give it to a Skink Chief BSB. However that does not mean its use is limited to Skinks, and in fact there are far tastier options. He can go with Cold One Cavalry, though he'll slow them down a tad. If you put him into a Saurus or Temple Guard block, be careful; there is a slight chance he might be forced to charge out of the unit on his own due to his higher Movement, most likely resulting in his untimely demise. Put him in a unit of Kroxigors for maximum synergy and watch mayhem ensue. If you run them like 5 wide you can even keep the Chief out of the battle. All in all a very potent and useful item; you only have to be careful with the Skink Chief himself as he's a top priority target and will usually not live past his first fight, and then that's the end of the fun.

Mounts

Stegadon:
An impressive choice as it backs the Chief up with awesome power and grants a good Armor Save, but in all honesty you should never ever take this option. Like, never.

Ancient Stegadon:
Now we're talking. This beast confers an even better Armor Save than its younger cousin, and the additional point of Stregth will make your day. Give him the Stegadon War-Spear and watch as he stomps his hapless enemies into the ground. Never again will they ridicule the Skink Chief for his small size.

Terradon:
This makes him very mobile, and the bane of all war machines. Just be careful; any kind of missile fire will instantly sweep him out of the skies.

Ultimate Life Form
20-01-2011, 17:07
Core

Saurus Warriors 9/10

These are your basic soldiers, and they're awesome. There is no way around it. They count among the toughest troops in the game, and indeed many players hold that they are the best infantry unit in 8th Edition. While such a statement is always subjective and necessarily biased, it cannot be denied that they do a damn good job.

Their high Toughness paired with a considerable Armor Save means that they can shrug off a lot of damage, and in return they dish out a lot of strong attacks. However, first and foremost they excel at survuiving. They're perfect for holding the enemy in place while preparing that Carnosaur for a flank charge - there are few things in the world that can withstand this combination.

As with anything, of course they have a few weaknesses as well. The most obvious is their comparably low Movement. In an army that is at the upper end of the speed spectrum, these are not able to keep up and usually end up dragging behind. Isolated in the rear, the enemy has an easy time picking at them. It is for this reason that some fast lists choose to forego the Saurus Warriors in favor of quicker troops. For the same reason they're quite vulnerable to shooting; while they can shrug off a blow or two the casualties start adding up and when you have to spend the whole game walking idly across the table, chances are, not many will arrive at their destination. Like all block types they're somewhat cumbersome and unwieldy and are very vulnerable to rear and flank attacks. Therefore it is of utmost importance to protect these sensitive areas. If you do, they will not yield to the enemy and typically fight to the last Lizardman.

All these properties mean they're better suited to a defensive playstyle, and will excel at protecting important spots. They're very good at bunkering and make for excellent flank guards for your Slann. They benefit greatly from his Inspiring Presence, and if in addition a Battle Standard is around they'll almost never turn tail.

The sole point of strife among Lizardmen players is the question if they should be given Spears or not. Spears make them more deadly in combat, but also make them more expensive and bereave them or their Parry Save. Actually this discussion is not only restricted to Saurus Warriors, but covers a great deal of other units in other armies as well, and over the course of many a heated debate I have come to the conclusion that there is no definite 'right' or 'wrong'. It depends on your personal playstyle and preferences. If you want them offensive, take Spears. If you want them defensive, don't. Each version has its own distinctive strengths and weaknesses. I'll leave it to you to find out what works for you.

Personally I do always give them full command, not only because it looks amazing but also because it's quite handy. They're a big, expensive block, and they should get all the assistance they can have. I can't count the times that Standard has swung the battle in my favor, the Champion is extra killy and it's always good to have someone who can challenge or accept, and the Musician provides the odd Swift Reform or can even decide combat in your favor once in a blue moon.

All in all, they're solid fighters, a very good choice for most armies and very reasonably priced. There's really no reason not to take these guys.



Skinks 6/10

In times of danger, the Skinks take up arms and rush to battle, eager to destroy all who would oppose the will of the Old Ones. Unfortuately, the block formation is a very bad fighting style for them and leads to unfavorable results, as pretty much everything in the Warhammer world, maybe with the exception of Gnoblars, can effortlessly wipe the floor with them. The only time I've witnessed them kill something was when they took down an impressive 5 Squighoppaz over subsequent turns, and that was mainly due to ludicrously bad dice rolls on part of my opponent. They have the same battle prowess as Goblins, but are easier to kill and cost almost three times as much. Sound bad? You got that right.

This is however not to say they're useless. As with all things in the army, there's a place and time for everything. The Skinks' saving grace is their incredible speed. They are a perfectly good cheap harassing unit that can be a pain in the enemy's flank from turn 2. I usually run a small force of 10 to annoy and irritate the opponent. The Javelins they wield are in fact deadly missile weapons, and their time is far better spent pelting the adversary with poisoned shooting than assailing an enemy they cannot hope to surmount. They can charge Warmachines, against which they even have a small chance of winning, or at least occupying them for a few turns.

Larger blocks of Skinks are able to handle bigger things, but they also cost far more, and from a certain point the enemy will start hunting them actively, for they are expensive as hell yet can't take a beating, making them a very juicy target for enemy shooting. The larger the block gets, the more cumbersome it bcomes, and starts losing its advantages. You'll end up with a point sink that puts up a mediocre show at best, and leaves you scratching your head and wondering why you didn't invest the points in Saurus Warriors to begin with who fill the role of fighting block much better.

Some people like putting Kroxigors in the unit via the Spawn-Kin rule. Some of them also claim to have good success with them. There are several arguments for and against it (pro: adds a punch, a way to buy Kroxigors from your Core point requirement, a way to run "single" Kroxigors, so cheaper than a full unit, cheap rank bonus, contra: Skinks give away 'free' Combat Resolution, more expensive than running a pure Kroxigor unit due to the necessity of buying Skinks in addition). Personally I have no experience with it, but I can imagine a mid-sized force of maybe two Kroxigors to be an effective flanker due to being quick and hitting hard. They can also negate Rank Bonus in sufficient numbers. Try them out if you want. However they are rarely seen in competitive lists.

If you use them as cheap harassers, there is no need to buy anything special. Just buy minimum unit size to keep them as cheap as possible and be done with it. If you want to run a bigger block, or maybe a Spawn-Kin unit, you may want to consider adding Command options. However it is probably generally not necessary, and always remember, if the Standard Bearer dies, the opponent gets points for it.


Skink Skirmishers 8/10

These guys are awesome. They combine the innate quickness of their race with the degree of freedom in movement that only Skirmishers enjoy. They're commonly named as the most annoying unit in Warhammer, and indeed, if you want to drive your opponent insane, this is the unit of choice. They'll dance around between the enemy troops, keep them from marching, block Line of Sight, and just generally get in the way. On the other hand they're cheap enough that it doesn't really warrant the effort to go after them, and considering you should have a Stegadon or Carnosaur in waiting position, they really have other things to worry about.

Skink Skirmishers aren't all about annoyance however. In fact they also employ poisoned shooting, which is a very deadly weapon against anything not protected by an Armor Save. Players have come to fear the little blighters with good reason, and more than one careless Giant quite literally fell victim to their poison darts because he underestimated them and deemed them harmless. Applied in great numbers, Skink Skirmishers pose a serious threat to many things, and in fact all-Skink lists tend to do surprisingly well at tournaments. The only thing that really gives them trouble are heavily arnored troops. Never underestimate the Skink Skirmishers and their poisoned double-tap shooting, for doing so invites swift and certain death, and more than one general realized not until his dying breath that he had fallen for their deadly trap.

Skink Skirmishers generally don't need options. A Champion is no use to them; rather spend the points on another member. Some people swear by the Javelin/Shield upgrade and justify it with better combat performance. I'm not sure why, since there already are regular Javelin/Shield Skinks in the army for half the price, and if I expect them to do combat I don't really need the Skirmish rule. In addition you lose out on the devastating double-shot that the default Blowpipe offers. Whatever floats your boat I guess. Personally I suggest and recommend running them as cheap as possible in multiple units of ten, so that the enemy can't focus his attention on all of them at once.


Jungle Swarm 3/10

Holy moly, what a letdown! Okay, I lied when I said there are no bad units in this army. Every army has its share of useless units, and while the Jungle Swarm isn't quite as useless as certain things in other armies, it is simply not able to compete. The sad thing is that it's not really bad; it's simply just plain overcosted for what it does. It costs twice as many points as a Rat Swarm, and still more than a Bat Swarm that can fly for god's sake, and even those aren't popular choices. In addition, it doesn't even count towards your minimum core requirement. In an army that is chock-full of the most amazing stuff and where you have to think twice or thrice how you spend every single point, this is a really bad thing. It doesn't come as a surprise that the Jungle Swarm is probably the least popular choice in the Lizardmen book.

Like all swarms the Jungle Swarm poses only a marginal threat, and will quickly be overwhelmed in battle. The trick with swarms lies in their Unbreakable rule, which means they will never flee and can potentially bog down enemy units forever. However Lizardmen don't really have much use for this ability, because their main troops are reliable enough and will usually do a far better job at that themselves.

A defining trait of the Jungle Swarm is the high number of Poison attacks it dishes out, which is also what you pay the points for. Unfortunately for this to work you must first get into close combat, where you'll probably be mercilessly trampled before you can even sink your teeth into their heels. If I want to poison my enemies, I take Skink Skirmishers who will do a far better job at it, and from a safe distance to boot.

In all my time I have almost never seen a list include Jungle Swarms, and none of them were meant seriously. I have heard from one person that he has a great time with his Jungle Swarms, and that they eat Giants like flies or something, but that is really the only time I ever heard anything positive about them. With clear conscience I daresay: pass them up.

Ultimate Life Form
20-01-2011, 17:08
Special

Chameleon Skinks 6/10

These are the Skink Skirmishers' bigger brothers, surpassing their skills by far. Unfortunately, they also cost twice as much. Like their cousins they excel at harassing and annoyance tactics, and their higher Ballistic Skill means they'll almost always be able to unleash the dreaded poison double shot flurry on the hapless enemy. Even small groups can kill stray Giants with ease. Unfortunately their high point cost is prohibitive, and therefore they don't lend themselves to spam tactics. This makes them specialists. Only few in numbers, they can still be deadly if applied correctly.

Chameleon Skinks are the only Scouts in the Lizardmen army. That means you can deploy them somewhere near the enemy, and they can start pestering them from turn 1. If an opponent makes the mistake of underestimating them and chooses to ignore them, all the better. In that case they'll either take care of his Warmachines, or advance alongside his troops, carefully avoiding Line of Sight all the while firing their Blowpipes at tactical targets (preferably something with high Toughness without an Armor Save). If the opponent decides to divert his attention at them, it is only to your advantage. They're not easily shot at with their Chameleon rule, and if he dedicates a unit to hunting them, it's time to play a game of cat and mouse, which usually works in your favor.

A dedicated specialist unit for various purposes that is rarely seen but can work wonders in the hands of a skilled player.


Terradon Riders 7/10

Terradon Riders are Flying Cavalry and our main way to deal with Warmachines. Their high Movement allows them to zip across the table in no time and start pecking at them from turn 3. Since war machines are our main weakness, these fulfill a vital role in the army. On the other hand, there are armies that don't use Warmachines. Against certain setups they can't really do much. They also tend to die at the smallest breeze, and woe betide you should the enemy point a bow at them, for in that case you can kiss them goodbye for sure. They're usually the first victims of war.

Their Drop Rocks rule however is an incredibly nifty thing. Once per game, they can drop a buncha... stuff on an enemy's head, which inflicts serious pain. They have two kinds of droppings, neither of which is particularly pleasant... in any case, that's a lot of automatic hits, and it can severely decimate small units. The real use however is hunting stray mages, who will instantly succumb to the applied pressure and suffer a crushing defeat. This ability alone can potentialy earn their points back, and once they dropped their load I don't really care if they are shot down or otherwise destroyed later in the game, for they did already do what I take them for in the first place.

Terradons are best run as one, at most two small units of 3. Anything beyond that is really a waste of points, and they'll never achieve anything that would justify spending so much on them. Many people swear by Terradons, call them indispensible and think of them as the only unit that is an inevitable trait of any Lizardmen army. Other people haven't used them in their entire lives and are still very successful Lizardmen generals. So like everything in the army, these are optional, and it comes down to whether you like them or not. They are, however, never a bad bargain.


Temple Guard (5)10/10

These guys have two scores? No, wait, don't leave I'm not drunk or something. The Temple Guard indeed deserves two scores, for it is like two different units in one package.

Basically, they're Saurus Warriors, only a bit stronger. They're armed with Halberds, have a slightly higher Initiative (woohoo), a slightly better Armor Save against shooting and, which is indeed very good, higher Weapon Skill, meaning they will hit many things on the 3. So since Saurus Warriors were such an excellent unit, surely those must be better, right? Sadly no, for there comes a number of drawbacks as well. First, they are quite expensive. Paying 30% more for a slightly beefed version of the same unit is not out of the reasonable, but at that price, it starts to hurt. Of course you want a big unit, and it quickly adds up to a considerable chunk of your army. Unfortunately, these points come out of your Special allowance, which is where all the tasty choices are located in our army. That means they compete with a lot of heavy contenders, and you'll severely cut back your other options when you go overboard with Temple Guard. If faced with the choice between a block of glorified Saurus Warriors and two Stegadons, I know what most people will take. It's not that the Temple Guard is bad; it's just that the other choices are better and a Saurus block can do their job just as well. A solo Temple Guard is almost never seen on the table, and while the unit isn't bad per se, it gets a low score of 5 due to slight redundancy, heavy interference with army building options and rare use.

However things instantly change when they're accompanied by a Slann. Their Sacred Duty rule boosts them far beyond anything a Saurus unit could ever hope to achieve. Give the Slann a Battle Standard and these guys will positively never run. They're typically the last thing left standing, and they've got a good chance to win any combat on their own if the Slann supports them well. Take Lore of Life to further boost them and replenish their numbers, and they become virtually indestructible.

Always give them full Command. A Magic Banner they can do without for this will only serve to make them even more expensive, but the Sun Standard of Chotec is not exactly a bad buy. The Champion has the option to take a Magic Item, and I have found he really likes carrying the Blood Statuette of Spite or the Curse Charm of Tepok for the Slann.

A bit meh on their own, but in cooperation with a Slann simply insane, and a standard choice in any given Slann list. They're possibly the best unit in the army.



Cold One Cavalry 6/10

These are your cavalry (obviously), and they're very dangerous. They're fast and mobile, and they hit like a ton of bricks on the charge. However, they are also kind of squishy, and once they lose the impetus of the charge they return to fighting with their standard stats, which are not that impressive. Therefore, they are a weird hybrid unit that's a cut above what other armies can muster but not really hard enough to count as heavy cavalry, and fall somewhere in between. In addition their low Initiative means they'll usually have to take a beating before they can even strike, and if the enemy manages to take out two or three through good rolling they severely crippled the unit and won't receive much damage back. Their Stupidity is an added drawback, and while they actually have a good chance to pass it they tend to mess up in the most important situations for me. Being the most unreliable unit in the army, they understandably don't enjoy great popularity among players.

Cold One Cavalry are best run in small units, not exceeding minimum unit size by much. Don't go for multiple ranks in order to get Rank Bonus, for those are a huge point sink on heavy cavalry. You'll pay an insane amount of points for troops that won't actually fight much, and take a few casualties to shooting and you lose the bonus anyway. You will want them as wide as possible to maximize the number of attacks they dish out, trying to win combat through wounds. What you do is rushing them up the enemy flank. Provided they survive enemy shooting, they can then proceed to flank the enemy or take out important targets, like Warmachines. Weak troop types can usually not stand up to their power, and thus they mercilessly crash through the enemy lines until something manages to stop their progress, at which point they're pretty much doomed. A frontal assault however ensures they won't live to tell the tale (the Saurus Cavalry, not the enemy). Choose your targets wisely, as cavalry need to break their targets on the charge, and things like Steadfast or Stubborn can really ruin your day.

They also are an excellent entourage for a Carnosaur, and make for a combo that is hard to crack. No matter which the enemy charges, the countercharge is sure to spell their doom. As they have the same Movement value, they're a natural choice to accompany each other and assure no one is left behind (unless the Cold One Riders decide they need to be stupid again). The unit is also very good in combination with a Scar Veteran on Cold One. He will join the unit and use them as meatshields to avoid enemy fire. Once they reach the enemy lines, mayhem ensues. A tooled up Scar Veteran is a fearsome opponent, and he will be sure to make a mess out of them. It is not unusual for him to outlive his companions and continue to fiercely rip at the opponent for turns to come on his own, until something finally manages to take him out.

Cold One Cavalry are fast assaault troops without staying power. Therefore, it is usually best to max out the number of attacks they can deal. They don't need much upgrading. Points you spend on command and a fancy banner could just as well be spent on an additional member. However it can also have its advantages. The War Banner can easily swing the battle in your favor. If you want to give them Command, do it. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, and after all we all want our units to look as cool as possible.

The Cold One Cavalry are not really bad. The problem is that they're unreliable with their Stupidity, and as a Special choice they're in direct competition with other very powerful units, which cost roughly the same. If asked to choose between somewhat unreliable, squishy semi-heavy cavalry and the Stegadon, a near invulnerable force of destruction, most find the choice easy. Sadly a mediocre score for this cool unit.



Kroxigor 7/10

Kroxigors are our Monstrous Infantry, and they're a force to be reckoned with. As far as Monstrous Infantry goes these are at the upper end of the scale and outshine most other Monstrous Infantry that other armies can muster with their Great Weapons and a considerable Armor Save. Unfortunately, as always, this also means they're among the most expensive. That means their numbers will necessarily be low.

Kroxigors are very fast and can pose a serious threat even early in the game. With their great number of high strength attacks they typically clobber anything that's stupid enough to stand in their way and move on. However just charging head-on into the enemy isn't a good idea, as they soon start taking losses and will quickly be overwhelmed without support. Their abysmal Initiative is of little consequence since they strike last anyway due to their Great Weapons, but that means that the enemy will strike first and that's where the problems begin. Kroxigors are tough, but not invulnerable. They will deal well with average stuff, but as soon as they face something even remotely skilled in combat, they'll soon start hurting. If they charge let's say elite infantry in the front, like Black Guard or Warriors of Chaos, they'll get a nasty bashing, and chances are the opponent will kill one or even two before they can even strike. Needless to say this pretty much spells doom for the gargantuan Lizardmen. Therefore it is important to pick your charges well and go for soft targets they can mow down with ease. They're a great support unit, but on their own they're in over their heads.

Monstrous Infantry is very good in 8th. You could even try to run them in two ranks in order to gain Rank Bonus and negate Rank Bonus in the flanks, though this starts getting prohibitively expensive. I also hear people have started running them in 2x2 formation in order to minimize frontage without missing out on attacks. The Champion upgrade is entirely optional.

A great unit overall. These guys reliably dish out insane damage, and thus are somewhat the opposite of the Stegadon which is more known for its great survivability. They'll smash up the enemy like no one's business, though usually only few survive the ordeal. Great stuff.


Stegadon 8/10

The Stegadon is a weird cross between a Ridden Monster, a Chariot and a Warmachine. While it fills neither of these roles well, together they make it very versatile and dangerous.

The Stegadon isn't a very subtle choice. You move up and generally try to charge the first thing that crosses your eyes, with messy results. Like a chariot however it is dependent on its impact hits to break the enemy on the charge. Getting stuck due to bad rolls means you're caught. However that doesn't mean it's curtains for the Stegadon. Now the incredible resilience of the beast comes in. Its high Toughness and respectable Armor Save mean that most basic troops won't so much as scratch it. They'll typically target the Skink Crew for easy kills now. The Stegadon itself isn't such a great fighter, and it's not uncommon for it to fluff all its attacks. Being vastly outnumbered and beset from all sides means that it'll lose combat horribly. However that is of little consequence, seeing how it has the useful Stubborn special rule. That means no matter how much it loses combat by, it always has a good chance of holding out, especially if the Battle Standard is nearby. That means it's locked in kind of a stalemate, losing combat over and over all the while flailing and thunderstomping at the enemy. It's impossible to predict how this'll turn out, but fun to watch. In any case you have a good portion of the enemy army busy while you prepare your countercharge. Nothing's more fun than watching the enemy be squashed between two raging Stegadons.

The Giant Bow it sports is however pretty useless. It can't march and fire, and since you typically want to either run towards the enmy as fast as possible or are locking horns with something, opportunities to use it are few and far in between. In the rare cases where you can't or don't want to march it doesn't hurt to fire the odd bolt, but to hit modifiers mean it has only a marginal chance of hitting (though I usually roll the 1 anyway). In all my time the Giant Bow has killed like five models, to give an estimate. Nothing is worse than having your Stegadon hang around the deployment zone and use it as a Bolt Thrower. That way you get roughly a Spear Chucka, only paying seven times as much. I assure you it will never kill anything. This is probably the highest degree of incompetence a Lizardmen player can display, and in all honesty if you do that you deserve to lose.

Warmachines are the bane of Stegadons. You can expect every single cannon to be pointed at them, and it usually takes only two hits to take them out, sometimes a single headshot is enough. Therefore you need to apply extreme care moving your Stegadon in the presence of Warmachines. Sneak around the flank, use cover and wait until the other troops have softened them up. Then you break out of your hideout and finish them off. It's not a favorable strategy, but better than seeing your Stegadon dead in turn 1. Alternatively you rush at them full throttle and hope you hit combat before you're dead.

All in all a very powerful choice, and most lists include at least one. You'll have much fun with it.

Ultimate Life Form
20-01-2011, 17:08
Rare

Ancient Stegadon 8/10

What's true for the Stegadon is also true for its ancestor. It's a powerful Monster that must seek battle. However there are a few twists, that shall be discussed here. Concerning the army list, the most obvious difference is that the Ancient Stegadon costs an additional chunk of points, and more importantly is paid out of your scarce Rare allowance. That means they don't lend themselves to spamming very well, and indeed in 2000 points you can have only one (this is where the Skink Chief factors in, as has been discussed.) In addition they charge your account quite heavily and thus eat up valuable points that the poor Salamanders might have wanted.

Gamewise the Ancient Stegadon has higher Strength than the normal Stegadon. This is a huge boon, and while more or less irrelevant when fighting small stuff the difference will soon be felt when facing the tougher things, like for example Orcs. Especially its Thunderstomp and Impact Hits will be devastating, and this is also the reason why the Stegadon War-Apear should always go on an Ancient; for the easier time wounding and the additional Armor Save Modifier. The drawback of having one attack less than their younger and more vigorous descendants is of no concern as Stegadons tend to fluff their attacks anyway, at least for me, and their punch lies in the Impact Hits and Thunderstomp, which will be that much more effective with higher Strength. It also has a better Scaly Skin and offers a better Howdah Save, which is of additional help to both beast and crew.

The Ancient Stegadon is armed with Giant Blowpipes, and these work pretty much the same way as the standard Skink Blowpipes. They can unleash a flurry of poisoned darts, which is a nice bonus, but just like the Giant Bow this is not what we take them for. For the Ancient Stegadon's cost you could get 40 Skink Skirmishers, which would fire 80 shots. It's simple math really, and imagine a giant dinosaur sneaking up from behind to pester the enemies with pinprick attacks. This would not only be ridiculous but also highly inefficient.

As with the regular Stegadon it is a very powerful choice, but Warmachines are its undoing. If you use it with care, it won't disappoint. Despite the two Stegadon versions being almost identical they actually fill quite different roles in the army, mainly due to occupying different slots. Both versions have their own advantages and drawbacks. Both versions are really great. Which is better mainly depends on what other choices you may want to take, and their synergy with the rest of the army. Therefore, I find it impossible to give preference to one over the other and award the same score.


Salamander 9/10

Awesome. That's really all that needs to be said. But since I'm in a generous mood, I'll tell you all there is to know about these fiery beasties. One Salamander Hunting Pack is a combined unit consisting of one War Beast and some Skink Handlers. However the Skink Handlers won't really do anything most of the time and are more there for decoration, or as occasional meat shields as shooting may be randomized onto them. The Salamander has decent stats and can take out minor threats on its own, but its place is not in battle and enemy contact should be avoided for the most part. In fact, the Salamander somewhat poses as the Lizardmen's idea of a Warmachine! However they are a tad short-ranged, so you'll have to go and get them. This is however no big deal, as Salamanders are able to march and shoot, and thus should be a considerable threat from a very early point. A misfire however means that they'll snack on their Handlers instead, so watch out!

The Salamander has the ability to spit a gout of flame at its opponents, and does so frequently. In game terms, this means firing a flame template over a random distance. Anything touched by the template will burst into flames, and mayhem ensues. Actually, the attack is not very strong. Even a direct hit, which is difficult enough to achieve, won't cause many casualties against many things, and if you face tough stuff like Orcs, or anything with a halfway decent Armor Save, you may consider yourself lucky if you drop one or two. However the power of the Salamander's fire does not lie in the wounds it causes, but in its special rule, which requires any unit wounded that way to take a Panic Test! That means that the unit in question may turn tail and run away just like that, even if only a single member died! But wait, that's not all! Thought this was good? Well, yes, but the nature of the flying flame template means that the shot may also overarc or fall a bit short. In that case it can touch, and possibly wound multiple units at once! A single well-aimed Salamander shot can panic half the enemy army! Put him in the flank and fire away! In the right position he's practically guaranteed to hit something. Armies with notoriously low Leadership like Orcs & Goblins, Empire, Beastmen and Skaven are going to tremble in fear! And the best thing is, you can have multiple Salamanders, normally up to six! I'm not one to turn down powerful options, but even I would find this a bit unfair, though my own Salamanders mysteriously seem to always Misfire or aim too short... well, a bit of risk is included!

The Leadership based nature of this tool however means that while it's devastating against some army types (low Leadership horde types, plenty opportunities to hit something), it is of limited use against others, namely high Leadership elite armies like Elves of all kinds, or, even worse, armies that are entirely Immune to Psychology, like Daemons of Chaos, Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings. Against these, they are really not very good at all, especially since they tend to raise back the few casualties the template causes. In that case, it is probably wiser to use them for combat purposes and go hunting soft targets.

Salamanders have the option to buy additional Handlers. Some people swear by this, saying that it helps warding off Panic should a casualty occur. However in my experience, if casualties occur the Salamander is in serious trouble anyway, and nearing the end of its days. I've never found Panic to really be a problem for them, for shooting is far more likely to hit (and kill) the beast rather than a single Skink Handler of all things, and even then they have a realistic chance of passing their Panic check due to Cold Blooded. So in my opinion it just serves to make an expensive choice even more expensive without real benefit, but I suppose this is one of these things that come down more to personal belief rather than real in-game relevance.

Since Salamanders are a top priority target for most opponents, it is a good idea to spread them out when taking more than one. For example, if you take two Salamanders, make them two different units and run them across separate flanks. That way the enemy is sandwiched and can't take out all your Salamanders in one go but will have to focus his attention on one, and you can shoot at different targets from different angles. Likewise, if you're running three Slamanders, use one unit of one and one unit of two and so on.

Salamanders are quite possibly the most powerful unit Lizardmen have at their disposal, and the only one with the potential to be broken. However their limited use against some army types keeps them from being overpowered, and if you want a balanced list that can deal with various threats rather than a one-sided somewhat unreliable win button that may or may not work, it is a good idea not to go overboard on them. Still a very useful addition to any army, and sure to find its way into many lists.



Barbed Razordon 4/10

Oh my. So GW decided to give us a new unit along with the book, and make it completely useless. Well, what can I say? I really like these guys, awesome models and all, but they can't really compete. But let's take one thing at a time.

The Razordon, even at first glance, is a shameless spoof of the Salamander down to the stats. They share most rules, they occupy the same slot, heck, they even cost the same amount of points. The only real difference between them lies in their shooting attack, but this is enough to assign them an entirely different role in the army.

Unlike the Salamander, the Razordon doesn't use a template, but instead shoots an amount of barbs at its prey equal to the roll of an Artillery Dice. That would be all well and good, if it wasn't for the fact that it must roll to hit for each, effectively cutting the number of hits by half. And then you have to wound, and then the enemy gets an Armor Save... it goes without saying that the number of wounds caused will not exactly be breathtaking most of the time. This is, if it wasn't a Misfire to begin with, in which case the poor Handlers have to bear the brunt instead. Up to this point it's not really different from the Salamander, but now comes the big drawback: The Razordon's shots don't cause automatic Panic. The Razordon does not have this rule that makes the Salamander such a potent weapon, and thus is limited to turning a few guys who carelessly got too close into pincushions. Not exactly overwhelming.

The Razordon has an added twist, which is that it must always choose a Stand and Shoot reaction for two dice if charged. While well-meant by the designers, this actually isn't so great. First, it hampers tactical flexibility since it cannot choose to flee. And second, two Artillery Dice must be rolled for each Razordon, and if even one comes up as a Misfire, it will turn on its Handlers instead and not fire a single shot. One can imagine this is not very funny.

So the Razordon doesn't have a very impressive offensive shooting attack, but its powers double when it is charged. It is therefore obvious that unlike the Salamander its role in the army is a defensive one. The main use for a Razordon is to protect your flanks. Many players, if they have read my review and taken my advice to heart, will try and come around your flanks with quick and sneaky units to annoy you. In that case, you'll have an angry Razordon waiting for them. Its shooting attack should be enough to deal with most forms of fast cavalry or other small harassing units without armor that come around the corner. If the need arises it can finish off the rest in close combat. This is the Razordon's role in your army; as kind of a monstrous watchdog on your flanks.

All that wouldn't be too bad, however they're unfortunately horrendously overpriced. Their power pales in comparison to the Salamander, but since they have the same stats the designers apparently found it suitable for them to have the same point cost as well, not taking into account that one is a weapon of mass destruction that can annihilate entire armies, and the other is just good enough to (barely) scare away minor threats. This imbalance was only made worse by the rules of 8th Edition. In addition you have to pay them out of your valuable Rare allowance, while it would actually not have been out of the reasonable to make them core. Therefore it is no surprise that when Lizardmen players choose their army and come to the Rare section, the first pick is the Salamander, the second pick is the Ancient Stegadon and then no room is left for the Razordon. If you want to run them, nothing's stopping you, basically the same rules apply as for Salamanders (spread them out, no extra Handlers etc), but don't expect them to work wonders. A real shame this cool little critter can't stand up to the competition, but as things stand he's a very bad choice, and it is not by chance that he almost never finds his way into a list. Hopefully they'll fix him the next time around.


New Player Startup


So now that we have discussed the forces of Lustria out and out, surely you're now wondering how to get started with that wonderful army? Thankfully, it is incredibly easy to become a disciple of the Old Ones, for they have left us a very powerful tool in form of the excellent Lizardmen Batallion box. In fact, I recommend two of them. Don't fret at the thought of buying two of these huge boxes (and the price!), for they are very good value for your money, and together they hold everything you need to build a full army. Yes, that's right. The startup cost for Lizardmen is extremely low compared to other armies. Of course you'll want to add a few extras, like maybe 3 Terradons, a few Salamanders or, as I strongly recommend, some form of Stegadon goodness (conveniently the kit also holds a plastic Skink Priest and a plastic Skink Chief, so is actually pretty cheap considering you get 2 Characters with it), but that can wait for now. Now grab yourself a character model for a General, like the Slann or the Carnosaur or, if you like it cheaper, a Scar Veteran on Cold One is also very good, and you're set. Now if you want to actually play, you'll also need the Warhammer rule book (that big red thing that looks like you could kill someone with it, or its small counterpart from the Island of Blood box which should probably be on ebay for a cheap solution), the army book 'Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen', a tape measure with inches on it, a bunch of dice (look if you can get the Warhammer specific Artillery Dice and Scatter Dice somewhere) and maybe the templates for your Salamanders and some of the spells. Done!

Hope that little guide offered you some insight and helped you figure out if that's the army for you or not. If you're interested, don't hesitate and go for it. This is really an excellent and fun army, and very beginner friendly. With Lizardmen you'll never pick the wrong choice; there's so many ways to customize your army and try out all kinds of things, it never gets boring. So I hope you liked this little review, and maybe we'll soon welcome a new spawnling in the eternal service of the Old Ones, here in Lustria where we toil endlessly for the glory of the Gods and never get paid, but have untold fun! :)

- Ultimate Life Form

Malorian
20-01-2011, 19:07
Wow... great info ULF!

Ultimate Life Form
20-01-2011, 19:13
Wow... great info ULF!

Entirely subjective, like everything...

But remember, I do not play the Lizardmen, I am the Lizardmen.

Spinocus
20-01-2011, 20:31
I am the Lizardmen.

Coo coo kachoo.

Spinocus
20-01-2011, 20:34
By the way, brilliant treatise on ye cold n' scaly fanatical folk. I strongly disagree with your East German judge-like score of 6/10 for the Chameleon Skinks though. Expensive or not BS4, double tap, extra -1 to hit them w/BS ranged, Scout AND March and Shoot makes them simply brilliant in 8th.

Anyway two thick, spiny thumbs up sir! :D

ftayl5
20-01-2011, 21:27
Wow ULF. That's dedication.

Veritek83
21-01-2011, 03:00
Great stuff, though I'm seconding the love for Chamo-Skinks- they're easily some of the most versatile troops the LM can field- I always field at least 2 units of 7+. Just having Scout can completely change the flow of the game.

scruffyryan
21-01-2011, 03:49
The reason I usually pay for the jav+ shield upgrade for skirmishers is that it enables me more accuracy than the blowpipes. People talk about the blowpipe double shot but in my experience skirmishers spend so much time moving and at long range that adding double tap to that takes their modifiers to no-poison land. Javelin skinks can march and shoot at long range on 5's.

Goldenwolf
22-01-2011, 15:33
ULF,

Great explanations. I wish we could get one of these for each army stickied :)

Ultimate Life Form
22-01-2011, 20:25
ULF,

Great explanations. I wish we could get one of these for each army stickied :)

Actually that was the plan to begin with and what I wrote this for, but apparently it didn't play out (!?!)

As for the Chameleons, I was told to base the score for the units partially on how frequently they are used. If I see more Chameleons pop up as a result of the new Edition, I might amend their score accordingly (and also in part to avoid the East German stigma).

Jetty Smurf
27-01-2011, 00:37
A fantastic read and well written review, ULF! Nothing but a pleasure to read through! :D

Although I also feel that the score for the chameleon skinks is a little low. They are fantastic warmachine hunters in this edition and can usually take 1 out in the first turn (as long as it's an elven machine, or if I'm lucky, the same with dwarves).

Being that we have somewhat of a vulnerability to warmachines they are a great tool in our arsenal.

Sargarius
27-01-2011, 17:23
Awesome write-up! Needs sticky for sure :D

I've been playing lizards since the new army book released and I feel sad because I never realized that rule for the salamanders..... Must definitely get some now since my friend plays Empire....