Saturday, November 29, 2014

How to suck your Slann into a hole

Well, Well, Well look who is back!  Much has happened in the last 5 months, all worthy of their own posts. Leadership 2 traveled to the North East and took Best Overall at the Bragging Rights Team Tournament.  Team play is very different and is a great change of pace from normal tournament play.  I ran a little (103 player) Tournament called the Quake City Rumble and had intended on discussing the army breakdowns.  I then returned to the North East and soloed Crossroads in upstate New York, representing the California well with much alcohol consumed and a 9th place finish.  Finally, Leadership 2  did its annual pilgrimage to the Alamo in Texas.  Always a blast and just barely missing a out on the big prize, though 2nd place and Best general is nothing to sneeze at.

While all worthy of posts, there has been a seismic shift in the Warhammer World.

Nearly to biblical levels!

To much gnashing of teeth, twitter trolling, Fan Boy excitement, and salivating over amazing models, the End of Times has arrived  (see Hinge's Ramblings #1).

However I will save my thoughts on the changes for another day.

Since the year is winding down, I would to talk about the Lizardmen list I have been running as my primary tournament list.  I ran variations at WCGT (8th) in SoCal, SAWS (4th) in NoCal, Crossroads (9th) in NY, and Alamo (2nd) in Texas.  The list went 14-3-3 in tournament play with only 1 loss being major, the other 2 being minor.  Dark Elves were its bane, going 1-2-1 (VC the other loss).

I very much enjoyed playing the list, feeling it gave me the tools to compete against every potential adversary I would run across.  I will do a quick rundown of the list and the major variation (see Hinge's Ramblings #2) then give my thoughts on the choices I made and how they performed.

Slann, Focus of Mystery, Harmonic Convergence, Channeling Staff
Old Blood, CO, LA, GW, ToP, OTS
Scar vet, BSB, CO, GW, BSB, Armor of Destiny
Scar vet, CO, LA,  SH, Biting Blade, Dawnstone, DB Helm, IC Icon

Option 1 
Skink Priest, L2, heavens, Scroll
Skink Chief, terradon, LA, Charmed Shield, DB Gem, Warrior Bane
Option 2

23 Suarus Warriors, FC
3x10 Skink Skrimishers, Javelins and Shields, patrol leader
2x10 skink cohort, Mus, Std
2x5 Chameleon Skinks
2x jungle swarms
3 Terradons
6 Cold One Cav, Mus, Std
2x1 Salamanders

When I sat down to design the list, I had several concepts I wanted to advance.  The first, minimize cannon targets! So no Carno's, no Stegs, no Basilidons.  

This would be a major departure from my Thundering Herd Monster Mash but the proliferation of warmachines meant I either double down on the concept or move in another direction.  I decided to focus on Cowboys since this is one of the strongest elements of the Lizardmen book. I wanted maximum flexibility with the my Magic, so at long last, the Slann would be in a  tournament list.  . Finally, I wanted to control the movement phase but still have one hammer unit, hence loads of skinks.

Slann:  Yes the big toad.  The Channel Staff/Harmonic is nothing original and I found it to be hit or miss.  However, a couple times it lead to a big advantage in dice.  When it did, I wanted lots of spells to cast. This lead to a choice between Wandering Deliberations and Focus.  I have been playing with the Loremaster of Hoeth on the High elfs I have been painting.  I love the tool kit nature and redundancy of having all sig spells.  However I was searching for a different experience and gave High Magic a try.

I fell in Love!
(see Hinge's Rambling's #3)

It is also a utility lore, with lots of flexibility.  It can also be used to mess with your opponents plans in ways most Magic Lores can not.  The lack of Miscast protection is a big disadvantage and would cost me several times.  Oddly, the 3 times he sucked himself into a hole (and the once he was dweller-ed off) I was a 2-1-1, leading me to believe he is not the most critical piece of the army.  He was taken out in combat once but that was the tabling I received from the VC.

 Lets Break down the Lore:

Drain Magic:  A bit of a get out of jail free card.  It is always best to engage in combat on your turn/terms so you have the magic support to tip a combat.  This spell allows you to pull any annoying hexes and buffs off units and is almost always overlooked by opponents.  

Soul Quench:  Cheap and powerful Magic Missile.  Down side is its short range.  This is offset by the ability to cast through a skink priest.  With the abundance of elves in today's meta, a must have.

Hand of Glory:  Reverse Miasma.  This goes a long way to addressing some of the shortcomings of Suarus.  When facing Purple Sun/Pit I look to always keep the Initiative buff up on the combat blocks.  Cast early in the phase, opponents usually let it through.  The shift in WS is also a big plus.  It can turn getting hit on 3's to hitting on 3's.  A big swing indeed.

Apotheosis:  The least likely to be cast spell.  Usually when the OB is getting beaten up.

Walk between Worlds:  One of the best spells in the lore.  Getting Salamanders into prime frying position, units into the back field to warmachine hunt, and most importantly, getting the Slann and/or the Suarus block out of danger.  You can almost always surprises an opponent with a clever walk early and it keeps them thinking about it all game, altering the positioning of their units.

Tempest:  The least useful spell in the deck.  I almost always cast early to switch it out for something more useful.  Once again, while getting switched out it can hurt those pesky elves and their shooting.

Arcane Unforging:  This spell is the biggest reason I take this lore.  Its what I call "kicking the crutch" out from an opponent.  It is amazing how WoC players will freak out when you pull the 3+ ward off their character!  The Cloak Master becomes much less scary! Licking your chomps with the Sword of Anti Heroes?  Not so fast.  Ogre Blades, pfft, Eternal Blades, please.  Sure you want to risk miscasts when the Banner of the World Dragon is broken?  Taking out the item/combos that many players depend on puts pressure on them to adjust there game plan and puts them in an uncomfortable position. (see hinge's Ramblings #4)

Fiery Convocation:  Awesome against large formations of troops.  As a RIP, it will often kill my opponents next magic phase.  I have seen some players just write off the unit it has been cast on.  Particularly nasty v. those Nurgle blocks.

Lore attribute.  I have found I rarely exchange more then 1 spell and never more then 2.  With Tetto, even 1 becomes tough (see below).  However they are always a key spell for the situation.   Wysan's, Savage Beasts, Searing Doom, Ice Shard, and Fireball. Except the one time I kept Savage (oh boy did that work out well!) they are all signature spells, keeping to a low risk approach in making sure you get something useful.  Wysan's is excellent in buffing the Suarus and Cold Ones (not to mention Cowboys), Searing Doom for those high AS targets, Ice Shard is always worth it, and Fireball once again for pesky elves.

I am sure this is how my Lizards saw themselves

Old Blood:  The first of the Three Amigos is my favorite model in the army.  A powerful combat lord that can go toe-toe with most anything in the game, especially when getting buffed.  Frankly I project my self into this guy.  Fierce, a leader, prone to the occasional stupidity, ancient and enjoys locking horns with the best warhammer generals in the country.  My friends will look at my beer gut and tell me the Slann is closer.  Far to cold and calculating for my tastes!  Give me Predatory Fighter and a ghizzilion ST 7 attacks. All but one game I lost,  he was killed (the last he sat on his horsey lizard and did not earn any points).  While I would love to put him on a Carnosuar, the sad fact is he is much more powerful running around on a simple Cold One.  Depending on threats, he would start in the Cold one unit or running around on his own.

Scar-Vet BSB:  This Amigo is also critical.  It is shocking how frequently I fail Cold Blooded Leadership test, so the re-roll is much needed.  Will usually start in the Suarus block, and stays near the Slann.

Dawnstone Cowboy:  The most likely Amigo to find himself in trouble!  He eats low ST infantry and  chariots for breakfast.  He is also kitted out to deal with nasty etheral units, who started to disappear when the Wood Elves came out but I suspect will be back in force with the Lore of Undeath.  Will usually start attached to a skink cohort unit until he can shoot out unless cannons are present.

Skink Priest:  Simple scroll caddy and arcane vassal.  The occasional timely Iceshard is also useful.

Skink Chief:  A fun choice if not optimal.  The Egg can be ace against elves since it is popped before combat but its variable effect is always a crap shoot.  He is also useful in locking up a K'Dai, charge chariots in the flank, and dealing with opposing chaff.  The inability to go into a Terradon unit makes him very vulnerable to shooting.  I have hopped him from skink cohort to skink cohort when facing heavy BS shooting.  He is also easy to keep close to Suarus to prevent forced overruns due to Predatory Fighter.

Tetto:  I broke my long time personal ban on Special Characters and took him to the Alamo instead of the Priest/chief.  Frankly he is amazing and gives my lists 15 spells to choose from (see hinge's Rambling's #5)!  First the down sides.  I give up the Dispel Scroll.  Not inconsiderable and a very uncomfortable feeling! I also tended to keep him back which takes away the arcane vassal and forces my Slann forward to get many of his spells off.  Finally, with so many options, I always felt I was starved for power dice.  I was rarely able to toss a high magic spell just to change it out.

However his benefits far out weigh these negatives.  Access to Loremaster Heavens and re-rolling when the comet hits is worth it on his own.  Throw in Vanguarding several units and re-rolling 1's the magic phase and he is over the top.  The re-rolling 1"s allowed me be much more efficient in the use of my dice.

3 x Skink Skirmishers:  Always a great choice. The shield gives them a 5+ AS and makes them marginally survivable.  I have had thoughts of casting Wysan's and/or Hand of Glory on the unit but their small size just never made it seem worthwhile.  The Patrol Leader is my twist.  It allows them to take a charge from a mean character and only suffer the one wound and hopefully give my opponent a tough choice of chasing the unit down and facing a bad counter charge or letting the points go.  For 10 points it seems like often I get to use the unit twice.  There are conga line shenanigans available, often times coupled with baiting Frenzy/Predatory Fighter troops.  Finally I have managed charges with a conga, down hill, and into a flank.  They kill the Champ but I win by charge, flank, down hill.  Sometimes it is just worth seeing if they can make a steadfast test.  The Patrol Leader gives me additional optionality with the unit, however, you have to really think a turn or 2 ahead to take advantage of it.  Finally some tourneys will allow a unit that can not take a banner to take another command model and count for fortitude or some other scenario objective.

2x Skink Cohort:  Mostly Fortitude purposes.  However, they are also another real good parking place for the Three Amigos (mounted characters can not go in skirmishers).  They are not as useful and harder to use.  However one is worthwhile just to be able to bury a scar vet in.

Jungle Swarm:  These are included simply because I ran out of skinks!  They are an infoerior choice to another unit of skink skirmishers, which is the same price.  However, there is some hidden attributes.  The biggest is there LD 10 and ItP.  This makes them an amazingly dependable piece of chaff, one I can deploy outside the IP bubble and know it will still be there.  Surprisingly they make a good warmachine hunter.  They tend to get over looked and with MV 6 are decently fast.  I have never been able to get them engaged while the big boys are also engaged with the same target.  Poison and Predatory Fighter sounds so delicious.

Suarus:  Sigh.  I really wish these guys were better.  They will under perform when left to their own devices.  However, buffed, they start getting real good really fast.  They bring some beef to the list as well as providing a focal point.  That focal point may be what my opponent focus's on, which I can plan for.  Or maybe I just creating a battering ram with chaf swirling around it.  Start packing cowboys in this unit and it gets scary real fast.  Wysan's and Hand are the single 2 best buff spells.  Yes, Light Magic certainly makes them awesome but the other 2 do it as well or better.

2 x Cham Skinks:  What can you say.  Excellent scout unit.  Part of the double threat on opposing warmachines.  I think they shine when you can also bring terradons.

Terradon's:  I think an amazing and underrated unit.  When combined with the Cham Skinks, they bring a multi-dimensional threat to war machines.  Many times I keep behind cover then roll them out to drop rocks.  A gentlemen by the by name of Grrn has been playing several Terradon/ripper units with skink chiefs on terradons to good effect.  I really want to try this out!

Cold Ones:  This unit is a delivery system, pure and simple.  The three amigos often can be found in this unit, especially when cannons are in abundance.  Thye rarely do anything on their own, unless they have Wysan's up!

Salamanders:  What can you say.  They are awesome but cheap enough to sacrifice if needed.  the 2 ST 5 attacks catches the occasional person by surprise.

Deployment:  I have 2 basic deployment strategies.  The first is spread out with the Three Amigos sprinkled in.  I do this when I anticipate a movement intensive game, think I can take advantage of my more numerous deployables, and want to project threats from multiple avenues.  The other strategy is what I call the Battering Ram.  This is much more compact, centered around the Suarus block and with the chaff swirling around it.  WoC is probably when I use this strategy the most but there are other times based on my gut when I pull it out.  Probably loads of double flees, so keeping those skinks in the IP bubble to help with rallies is important.

It has been a build I have enjoyed immensely and will be my go to standard build.  Frankly, with the exception of Crossroads, I was in excellent position to win every tournament.  This is all you can ask for!

Up Next week:  You have how many power dice!


Hinge's Ramblings #1:  I freely admit I am one of those freaking out about End Times.  While the Fan boy in me loves advancing the fluff, I feel very strongly that there is some lazy rules writing.

Hinge's Ramblings#2: slight variations for comp pack, such as combining the salamanders   The Tetto variant is much more powerful.

Hinge's Ramblings #3:  I apologize, Sinead O' Conner was playing on Spotify when I came up with that meme.  It always seemed Sinead or the Cranberries were playing in the background when I was "getting lucky" in the early years of my life, so I have a soft spot for them.  As an aside, I was hitch hiking through Ireland when Sinead ripped the picture of the Pope up on SNL.  Holy Crap!  Literally.  Catholic countries were not happy.

Oh, and yes they had radio when I was young! Rumors aside, I am not one of the Old Ones!


  1. Hi Hinge,

    Great to see you back and posting! You have so many great stories to tell from all these events you went to. I hope you will have some time to still cover these, be it singles or team tournaments.

    I had a first hand experience to meet Three Amigos and their merry band of coldblooded killers in person! One of the best games I have ever had and with time traveling included too! It is a fantastic and flexible force you created and works very, very well. What I like the best about it is that while it has a few of usual suspects it does play in your unique way. I am very happy I could learn from you and that I could see this force in action.

    It would be fantastic to see it live so I encourage you to provide some coverages from events you attended as I am sure you have a few pictures to share too!

    Like you I am also concerned about the future of Warhammer but until new edition is released we have a little precious moment to enjoy the game as it is.


  2. Thanks for the comments as always SM. Seems like I have so many subjects rattling around in the head, I am not sure what to write about. With that said, I shoudl put a couple things out in Dec.

    1. One at a time, Hinge! They are always fantastic read and whatever you choose I am looking forward to. You can always make a poll and see what the masses want :D

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