Something a bit unusual for you today, the first (and hopefully not last) offering from guest writer Ben "the Panzer" Harris.
I was going to do a nice intro piece, using epic descriptions along the lines of "bat-wielding", "straight-talking", "twitter warrior" and other even "all-round nice guy (despite his 40k roots)". I was even going to throw a few "SMASH" references in there, but it seems Ben has covered all that. Suffice to say, however, that Ben is one of the foremost proponent of tournament ManHammer on these shores.
|I couldn't find a picture of a Stonehorn :(|
Now, before I unleash him on you, it should go without saying that any and all views expressed below are purely his (however correct they may be...) :) .
So, without any futher ado, I present to you:
Panzer on Lizards
Hello and howdy to all of Raf’s loyal readers!
As the more astute may have picked up this isn’t actually Raf – my name is Ben Harris, aka the Panzer, and the aim is to attempt to entertain and provide an alternate viewpoint without driving away too many people.
For those fortunate enough to have never heard of me, I’m also a UK tournament regular albeit at a somewhat lower level than Raf. Attendance wise I average around 18-20 [I am epically jealous! Edit.] events a year and can usually be found around the top third if I’m trying to play seriously, or anywhere down to the bottom table if not.
I’ve played Fantasy since 8th edition came out; I defected from 40K, where I’ve won some 14 tournaments including a Games Workshop GT final, as the tournament scene became (in my eyes) too focused on downloading the latest power list and arguing over every quarter of an inch. Started out with the old book Daemons of Chaos where I stuck with the Bloodthirster despite a drunken Nick Pym’s best efforts to convince me they were rubbish (see Panzer Aside 1). Recently I’ve taken up the Ogres, long after the bandwagon had rolled on, and enjoyed some minor success but mostly a heck of a lot of #panzerfail pushing multiple Stonehorns, a Tyrant on a flying carpet and even Gorgers (see Panzer Aside 2).
My first contribution to this august journal is a look at the new Lizardmen book from a newcomer’s perspective. Playing someone with a Skink cloud army from the now old Lizardmen book was an experience akin to dental surgery, the bright spots only being when you played Raf himself (see Panzer Aside 3), or Jack Armstrong (see Panzer Aside 4).
Lizardmen players traditionally would have had maybe one combat unit and one or two all-powerful Slann mages. Between you and that unit with its attendant froggy priest were approximately 2.5 million Skinks of varying descriptions, throwing poisoned pointy stuff, running away if you got close and occasionally poking a Salamander to immolate your key unit at the worst time possible. Sufficed to say I never had much luck in this particular match-up.
This version of the list is still very viable in the new book. It’s been interesting looking at the great reptilian sages such as Raf and Jake Corteen discuss how it would work, and my illiterate friend Ian Sturgess also believes this is how you should play Lizardmen (see Panzer Aside 5). All 3 are much better placed to discuss this version of list than a man who has willingly taken 3 Stonehorns to a major event.
Personally I welcome the fact that the Lizardmen book now actually allows you to field an aggressive army, capable of going for the jugular. There are the stupid monster mash builds that will no doubt feature on a What Would Curry Do episode of the Bad Dice Daily (see Panzer Aside 6), but it’s the toned down versions of this that appeal to an over-aggressive nutter like myself.
A unit like the Ripperdactyl is a case in point. I’ve seen a lot of people dismiss them as just a gimmick, and something that would never be taken instead of Terradons because you can’t double-flee with the Rippers. My lists so far have always included at least 9 of these bad boys – in a metagame laden with armour, having both Armour Piercing and Killing Blow on a unit that can fly over intervening chaff looks worthy of exploration.
Another tweak supporting this style of play is that Skink Priests can now take Beasts magic, and when they catch on with Skink Skirmisher units and go bombing down flanks they’ll be in range for a cheeky Wildform or two on those same Ripperdactyl units. Best part is, those Priests cost just 65 points, so if you do have a rush of blood to the dice hand and blow the Priest up on a Miscast, you can shrug your shoulders and carry on taking models off with the Rippers.
Bastilodons also seem to be attracting abuse as being just another token monster. Again, I would disagree. The Ark of Sotek looks rubbish – that one I can’t really argue with (see Panzer Aside 7). But stick a Solar Engine on and these things really have potential. +1I on all units within 6” is really useful, and there’s the dirt cheap magic missile that will most likely chuck out 2D6 hits of varying strength. This can potentially be your chaff unit clearance spell, leaving you free to take a different lore on your Slann without worrying so much about it. The monster itself can be a support unit for your infantry – it’s slow, but so are Saurus so that’s less likely to be an issue.
I’m not going to look at the Troglodon (see Panzer Aside 8). Just… No. Don’t. Carnosaurs are awesome – that Swiftstride option means that in my mind they cost 235 points. M7 Swiftstride loons that do D3 Wounds to Monstrous Cavalry models are worth it against the Warrior bandwagon.
There is the slight downside that a Death party Slann has been souped up even more by the fact that Skink Priests can now be used by the Slanns for direct damage spells as well as magic missiles. The one weakness Death Slanns used to have was that they had to risk getting close to the enemy to use the snipes. Not so any more, so those hobby killing Skink pushing charisma vacuums that relied on the cloud of poison have reason to be cheerful. That makes me sad.
Having looked at all this, I’ve recently invested a large chunk of the Government’s money (thank you tax rebates) in a new Lizardmen army. Never, ever thought that was a sentence I would type but this new book has given Lizardmen players options, and some of those options greatly appeal to me. I would love to break out the #panzerSMASH hashtag, which has been missing presumed dead for some considerable time (see Panzer Aside 9).
The first list I’ve put together looks a little like this;
Slann, BSB, High Loremaster, triple channel, Becalming
ScarVet on Carnosaur (because I never learn) with 50 points of toys to be determinedL1 Skink Priest on Beasts with ScrollL1 Skink Priest on Beasts32 Saurus, full command3 x 10 Skink Skirmishers with Patrol Leaders (I needed to spend 30 more points of Core, get off me)2 Bastilodons with Solar Engines3 x 4 Ripperdactyls2 x 6 Chameleon Skinks
Probably rubbish, but it looks fun to me.
Carnosaur and Ripperdactyls form a first wave that will almost certainly die horribly, but in the process should leave a very large hole for the incoming Saurus and Bastilodons to exploit. I know the likes of the Sturgesses and Heelans would abuse me horribly for picking an army where you plan to lose half of it, but I am fully aware of my tactical shortcomings. I’ll probably lose at least half the army anyway, so the new part for me is losing it whilst doing something useful instead of one of my trademark boneheaded mistakes.
Anyway. I’ll sign off now, and hopefully at some point in the future Raf will let me write a bit more after some playtesting. The plan is that I’ll be putting together tournament reports and posting these up so hopefully I’ll be able to regale you with tales of heroic victories. Granted, those victories will be other people’s, but whatever.
Unless you’re one of those bastards with bent symbol dice, at which point I hope you choke on them.
Panzer Aside 1: Having played Mr Pym, a game stuck in my mind for the fact I was able to have a chat to all my mates, drink 3 pints, go grab a curry and watch a football match whilst he was deploying one unit of Furies, I still prefer my version of Warhammer (“WAAAAGH! Smash! Bollocks I’ve lost…”) to his (“Hmmmm… I might do this… Or this… Oh, I win again!”).
Panzer Aside 2: There is never a situation where Gorgers will accomplish anything beyond making you look like an arse for thinking they could work. Stonehorns are a blitz unit that does really well in the right environment and the Flyrant will rip through monstrous cav. Gorgers just make you wish you could waterboard yourself in your own tears.
Panzer Aside 3: At which point the dentist is a friendly old chap who’ll buy you a pint of ale afterwards [he's a good egg, that Raf chap...Edit.]
Panzer Aside 4: Only applies if he has his extremely attractive girlfriend Sonia in tow, where any number of dental nurse fantasies can distract you from the pain being inflicted on your army on the tabletop.
Panzer Aside 5: Ian Sturgess, aka the Chaffmaster, aka Rowell Tinnitus, plays a style of Warhammer that no other human being alive can fathom. Sometimes it works and he ends up on the podium clutching a trophy with a gormless grin. Other times it doesn’t and I get two and a half hours of aural abuse in the car on the way back to Northamptonshire.
Panzer Aside 6: I’ve said for months that the Bad Dice Daily episode people would flock to is What Would Curry Actually Do [genuine laugh-out-loud moment... Edit.]. Aside from Tempest events when even Ben gets so trollied he has to be propped up next to the table to finish pushing his Manticores, does anyone out there believe he would ever seriously take triple Stonehorn or quintuple Stegadon to an event? Let’s hear some potential variation on the theme, a different take on the netlist, rather than the batshit mental lunacy he would dearly love to see deployed opposite himself for an easy 20-0 win. (Just kidding Ben, I love you really!)
Panzer Aside 7: Just what everyone’s always wanted! 150 points of subpar monster with no bonuses that adds models to a unit not even Wayne Kemp could find a use for, and a model that looks like the designers had dribbling cocks on their mind when they sculpted that thing to stick on the back of it.
Panzer Aside 8: I was trying to find something cool about the Trollololodon and gave up. 200 points for a useless Skink and even more useless monster? Taking one of these is not only akin to fielding a rubber mallet, but taking that same rubber mallet and thumping yourself in the nuts with it.
Panzer Aside 9: Fuck you Jak Spedding, I was gonna get SMASH in somewhere. Go shag Adam Elford and get over it. [The casual reader may think this sounds angry, but with Ben, until he is threatening you with a bat, its hard to say... Edit.]
If you want hear some of Ben's smooth tones, check out some of the podcasts he's been on, including 6DiceMonkies' SCGT coverage (as ever, over ---> somewhere).
Until next time, cheers!