So. The new Lizardmen have been out for a while (in case you missed it, I wouldn’t overly blame you, though there have been plenty of pictures of plastic dinosaurs on twitter), and it appears they will soon be yesterday’s news with the upcoming release of Dark Elves.
If the Lizardmen book comes out and no one on the scene really notices, does it
make a sound exist? Ahem…
Seriously though, the Lizardmen book is the first book in a very long time to have had a seriously limited impact on the scene immediately upon release (even the Tomb Kings probably caused an initial surge of activity). There are some clear reasons for this – the new book is basically the old book, with some severe nerfing of things that people disliked, and with a smattering of dubiously good new stuff. No Mournfang/Terrorgheist/Demigriff Knights/Scullcrushers/Daemon Prince/Nurgle or even Necropolis Knights here. The strength of the book appears to still be in the hands of the humble Skink and the meditating Frog.
Now, they are by no means bad. You can still play them more or less like the old book, and if played well, that makes it very possible to not lose/win small against most opponents. The issue is that in the land of the 20-0, a 14 is the King’s little biatch (if you are looking to win events).
The UK scene has long not been overburdened with Lizardmen armies at the top end of the scene for the last year or so (pretty much since the explosion in 1+ armour began), with maybe half a dozen players or so routinely breaking into the top 20 of events, so perhaps that explains the lack of “splash” the release has had. Even so, the new book averaging in the bottom half of events when basically uncomped is uncomfortable (if that’s not too strong a word) reading.
Now, LizardmenSensei and I have looked at a lot of the lists in the events since the book release, and there have been some… unexpected?... choices in army builds, so that may help explain the army’s performance too.
An abundance of Loremaster High (experiences definitely vary, but have found it to be far better in theory than in practice), Saurus blocks everywhere, even (whisper it) the odd (in every sense of the word) Troglodon. The occasional Monster Mash list is understandable for its novelty, as is the odd Carnosaur (at least from a modelling point of view). Conspicuous in their absence, or at least scarcity, thus far have been Salamanders, rulebook magic lores and, most bizarrely of all, Tetto’eko. It is not surprising that the best performing list we have seen thus far has been a very “normal” list, used by an experienced Lizardmen general.
Later this month is the Blood&Glory event, organised by the mighty Bad Dice team (podcast and website can be found over à somewhere).
My original idea for this article was to do something slightly different to what I normally do, and design what I would consider the best possible Lizardmen list for the event. Unfortunately a combination of this event being heavily (and I mean heavily) weighted towards that bane of my life, painting scores, and real life preventing me from doing much (read: any) painting ahead of time means that I will be using stuff I already have ready (which reminds me, I have to find some terrain from somewhere!).
As a result I will instead briefly explain why I have taken what I have taken, and will follow it up post event to have a look at exactly why I was so hopelessly wrong (and occasionally unwittingly right). An important point: there are scenarios in play (rare in England) at this event – we don’t know much, other than they involve fortitude capturing points on the table. Other than that this is out-of-the-book Warhammer. A refreshing change! (I’ll keep tabs on how often I am Dwellersed off).
This immediately made me think one thing: unlimited dice generation from Death. Having used it at the Masters in January, I still remember how a Purple Sun against the right opponent can fuel another whole magic phase. Death also provides an answer to Daemon Princes (ok, not a great one, but still, an answer) and the like, and Doom and Darkness is a game winner.
With no ability to take Loremaster Death, I decided on a cheap Slann so as to also fit in an Old Blood. Vets and Old Bloods have really benefitted from the Predatory Fighter rule, and bring S7 to the party. These can either hunt in packs, or take out/hold up flying threats to the backfield. They can be especially effective when utilising Tetto’eko’s vanguarding goodness.
On Tetto’eko, he primarily fills the pseudo-Slann role, heavens magic answering different questions to Death, a nice compliment. The 5/6 chance every turn of rerolling 1s to cast also really help force through spells. He is brilliant. His mission this event: Windblast something through a Purple Sun...
For Core I got epically adventurous with various sizes of skink units – trying to find the right balance between banners and actually being good… Temple Guard are there to either provide a punch to the face or a wall to hide in/behind, depending on the matchup. They at least offer some harder to kill fortitude. I am not much of a fan of these (especially with a Death Slann), but concessions to painting and the urge to drink copious amounts of gin and tonic (cider at a push) meant that I really couldn’t be bothered to include more skinks.
Salamanders are in because they are awesome, and better against most things than they were before. Not much else to say really.
The things I dropped to include the Temple Guard are arguably much better than the Temple Guard – Terradons and an Ancient Stegadon. One would require painting though, so was out. The Ancient was going to be a backfield deterrent/stubborn roadblock, but had to go to make the Temple Guard unit a usable size. The Terradons especially will be sorely missed.
I am a massive fan of the Bastiladon, especially as an answer to Abominations and the like, but was very nervous about investing any more points into the magic phase in this list (especially as had also invested so many in characters generally), and was struggling for points. I like Rippers and Skinks Chiefs on Terradons, simply didn’t have the points for them though.
Until next time,