Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Lizards in the land of the Dragon – Tribute 2013


So, as a lot of you will know, this past weekend was the Tribute tournament in the beautiful stag and hen (of the relatively human farmyard variety) infested city of Cardiff. Thought would do a quick run-down of my games for y’all (I spent over a year in Kentucky but I never got the “y’all” down right… arguably one of my lesser failings I’ll admit).

So, this event had some comp in place (cue booing and applause from the cheap seats). Nothing major really, a lot being the “norm” for UK events. Key ones for me were:

*No special or named characters.
*Non war machine shooting is limited to 80 shots per army … Ranked (non-skirmisher) infantry with missile weapons with a range of 20” or less are excluded from this restriction.
*Maximum of 12 power dice may be used in one magic phase.
*Apart from the Winds of Magic and channelling armies may only generate an additional 2 power and dispel dice

Two non-battleline scenarios were in play – Watchtower and Blood & Glory (both of which were played to at least 6 turns, the one who won the scenario getting 800 points).

As I said, nothing major, but Tetto’eko and I had to bid a tearful farewell over the weekend as the mean angry organisers – if anyone has met the Team Andy Joyce guys you will know just how mean and angry they are – had forbidden his attendance.

Now, this caused a list writing quandary. I have gotten to the point where I think the flexibility and all round support provided by the Skink Yoda makes him a definite 1+ in a list.
After two weeks of vigorous toys-out-of-pram throwing I calmed down and took pen to paper (or at least thumb to Quartermaster) and started bombarding Jake with lists that included such epically balanced elements like 4 Stegadons – that is how crazy not being able to take Tetto’eko makes me…

But no, when the dust settled, I had a look at the field – a 1/3 of which was Chaos and got down to business. What could I bring to deal with Monstrous Cav, Daemon Princes, Monsters, Chariots and Walls of Nurgle?

I came up with this:

Slann Mage Priest (General) The Gatekeeper
Lore of Death
BSB, Harmonic Convergence, Channelling Staff
Saurus Oldblood Taipan
Light Armour, Great Weapon, Cold One
Charmed Shield, Dawnstone, Other Tricksters Shard

Saurus Scar-Veteran Blue Mamba
Great Weapon, Cold One 
Armour of Destiny
Saurus Scar-Veteran Cottonmouth
Great Weapon, Cold One
Dragonbane Gem, Gambler’s Armour 
Saurus Scar-Veteran Sidewinder
Light Armour, Great Weapon, Cold One 
Dragonhelm, Luckstone, 
Skink Priest
Lore of Heavens
Cube of Darkness 
Skink Priest
Lore of Heavens
Dispel Scroll 

18 Skinks
Standard, Musician
18 Skinks
Standard, Musician
16 Skinks
Standard, Musician
10 Skink Skirmishers
10 Skink Skirmishers
10 Skink Skirmishers
10 Skink Skirmishers 

5 Chameleon Skinks Spec Ops Ninja Alpha
5 Chameleon Skinks Spec Ops Ninja Beta
5 Chameleon Skinks Spec Ops Ninja Gamma 

Salamander Hunting Pack
Salamander Hunting Pack
Ancient Stegadon
Ancient Mai
Sharpened Horns 

TOTAL - 2398

Without Tetto’eko I realised I could take the two scroll equivalents (so seemed rude not to), and then decided to go for the 3 cheap Scar Vets over the more normal 2. Not entirely sure this is the right call… It gives you more board coverage, the ability to block more units and fundamentally more attacks in exchange for survivability. I insisted on having them all with 1+ armour saves, I just think it’s too good not to have, though can see the argument for the likes of glittering scales.

Death on the Slann is a no brainer for me. It can threaten character points and is a potential hard counter to endless Nurgle Daemon filth. The threat of Doom & Darkness + Salamanders keeps people honest – in fact with Death most of the time it is the threat of something rather than what it actually does full stop. Death also has a beautiful synergy with the Priest’s Vassel rule – meaning that the likes of Fate of Bjuna, which used to be often dropped due to its 12 inch range is now a brilliant spell. They took Heavens to help out the Vets really.

The Old Blood is my other “no brainer” choice. His job is, quite simply, to sit on Daemon Princes, and quite often kill them. Simple really.

Core of Skinks is what I like to do and am comfortable with. Cohorts are my favourite unit in the book – a nice cheap way to get shots and banners in. The three Chameleon units were something I had not used in the new book, which is weird, units of 10 were my work horses of the last book, so back in they went. Good to see the Spec Op Ninjas back on the table!

Salamanders are epic, and Ancient is cool. I was wondering what to do with the points (an Ancient is the equivalent of 50 skinks after all). The Ancient offered another threat to M-class enemies and something else that can protect the Slann/hold up a threat for a while. Also dinosaurs are cool, and don’t let anyone tell you they’re not! Of course… this meant painting one… in 4 hours…

Sometimes 4 hours really isn't a lot of time...

Game 1 – Terry – DoC

Terry has been tearing up the scene somewhat of late with his most recent list – a list that frankly seems to be racists against Slaanesh as it has units from all the other gods. I spent a lot of time thinking and worrying about this game for the week preceding it!
His list was along the lines of:

Lord of Change, lvl4 Tzeentch, Exhalted and Lesser
Tzeetch Herald BSB, lvl1 Metal
15 Horrors
10 Horrors
10 Horrors
10 Horrors
6 Beasts
1 Beast
1 Beast
4 Drones
5 Drones

The battlefield was dominated by a very large hill in the middle (one of those nice ones that actually block line of sight). Crucially I got comet this game. Terry split his army in two. On my left he amassed the Tzeentchian hordes, screened and flanked by Beasts, whilst on my right his Drones and Cannon readied for what I assumed would be a sweeping envelopment. When facing an army with so many drops I tend to deploy central-ish to give me lateral movement options. Terry thought I was going to try and hide form him in my right corner so deployed his LoC about 10” onto the board.

Spec Op Ninjas: Target Acquired.
3 wounds caused turn one.
Result: Chicken into hiding.

I instead had plans to go all out aggressive against the magical machine gun potential of his list. I tasked Cottonmouth and Sidewinder, as well as Ancient Mai, with bringing down/tying up the Drones on my right, whilst the rest of my army moved left – cheekily offering the oldest trap in the book (ok, ok, double flee and counter charge is probably the oldest, but this one is up there). As is usual when facing an army with masses of magic missiles my Vets started off in skink cohorts (on the flanks because of footprint). As my army wheeled to the left I presented the right (Sidewinder-containing) flank of such a unit to his smaller drone unit. I made it look like Cottonmouth was blocking the possible counter charge of Ancient Mai, but positioned him in such a way that even a failed charge by the vet at another target would clear the way. This all went to plan – Drones went in, Ancient Mai charged in an popped them all. The two other vets went into the other Drone unit and proceeded to fluff for most of the game, Mai had to go and help and was killed in the attempt… Bloody Nurgle. I got them in the end – spending slightly more than their points to kill them, but couldn’t have them flapping around.

Meanwhile in the Tzeentchian paradise of the left flank the chicken was getting worried. I had him down to 1 wound and threatening the corner he could hide in with comets, so he tried to make a big breakaway to get clear. The Gatekeeper did not like this impudence and hit him 5 times in the face with a Fate of Bjuna. Job done. Alas we were running out of time so did not quite finish the game (think having combats from so early on did not help). I was whittling stuff down and his big drones were down to 3 but their death was not to be. One ignominy was still to be endured though.

Tasked with shutting down the potentially devastating Infernal Gateway from the large horror unit Taipan charged in wielding his devastating combo of high attacks, high strength and The Other Tricksters Shard. And did nothing. Broken the next round, he rallied defiantly only to be charged and run down in our last turn. Long must he work to make up for this humbling.

End result, 12-8 win. 1520 vps.

Game 2 – Matthew – O&G

A classic Green Dwarf list, plenty of artillery, hard to kill blocks and some chaff.

Black Orc Warlord
Lvl4 Savage Orc
Savage Orc BSB
Lvl1/2 Night Goblin
Goblin Big Boss on Wolf
Goblin Big Boss on Gigantic Spider
40 Savage Orc Big Uns
20ish Night Goblins
8ish Trolls
2x Wolf Riders
2x Manglers
2x Rocker Lobbers
2x Doom Divers

The shooting and magic in this matchup scared me a lot, with good reason. Between foot, doom divers and rock lobbers you can, for instance, put incredible pressure on the Slann. This is known in Lizardmen circles as a Bad Thing.

Matthew went first and made the one mistake that cost him the game. He hand of Gork’ed his Savage Orcs into my face to put pressure on the Gatekeeper. Cue enveloping of the unit and shooting off 30 of them in my first turn, and finishing them in my second. This left his trolls leadership-less and mopping up commenced. Still lost a lot of points to a mangler and one rock lobber that was on fire, killing the Ancient, the Old Blood, a Scar Vet and two salamanders (or something along those lines). Old Blood Taipan’s shame continues.

Got everything eventually for the 19-1 win. 2499 vps.

Game 3 – Ben Diesel - WoC

The man, the legend himself. And the first time I got to face the Warhammer colossus. This was the Watchtower and he was bringing a typically no nonsense list:

Nurgle Daemon Prince, lvl4 Death
Nurgle BSB on Daemonic Mount (some confusion about what kit he had in the end)
3 Nurgle Chariots
3 Slaanesh Marauder Cav units
2 Nurgle Gorebeast Chariots
6 Trolls
3 Skullcrushers

I started in the tower and decided to deploy a cohort in there – the only unit he had that fit in was the Trolls, and 800points is definitely worth fighting for. I weighted my army to the left of the tower facing off against the bulk of his strength, with the ancient and two skirmishing units guarding my right. Ben did what one hears he always does – push everything forward max speed… A 6 dice irresistible Doom and Darkness and a direct hit from a Hellcannon on the Gatekeeper’s unit left me on a ld 5 test to not flee the table – but now was not the time to leave the battlefield.

My turn was the charge of the Viper Brigade – Taipan into the Daemon Prince, Blue Mamba and Sidewinder crashing into the scull crushers. Skink elements pick on isolated chariots, causing considerable damage. I waste a lot of time trying to block of charge of the BSB (modelled on a disc) not realising he was on a Daemonic Mount. Thinking he was flying, I loaded up a cohort with a priest and Cottonmouth to make it a juicy target – hopefully be able to hold him up for most of the game. Ben took the bait.

Meanwhile Ancient Mai pulverised a Chariot, using skinks to double flee though itself then counter charging, overrunning out of line of sight of (and panicking another chariot). A bubble Soulblight and bubble Harmonic Convergence covered most of the battlefield, and I punished the Warriors.
Blue Mamba and Sidewinder smashed the Scullcrushers, Taipan caused two wounds to the Prince and Cottonmouth wounded the BSB. Skinks and a Salamander wiped out the trolls. 2 more chariots were killed this turn too.

Then I almost threw it all away.

Looking to shift my centre to the right of the tower now that there were few threats there I moved the Slann and his skirmishing bodyguard to just out of charge range of two chariots that remained on my right… or so I thought, we measured and both agreed at the time...

When it came to checking again in Ben’s turn it turned out they were both easily within double 6 charge range (no idea how). Knowing his record at such ranges I fled to safety… or so I thought.

Cue Hellcannon direct hit on the unit, leaving two skinks alive and the Slann needing a double 1 to rally… He didn’t rally.

Still, as the game wore on I was still in control of the table. Sidewinder ripped apart the Hellcannon in his grief over what had been done to the Gatekeeper. Ben’s BSB was trapped on a steadfast unit for a good few turns after finally slaying Cottonmouth, the vet leaving him on 1 wound before being hit with the sharp end of a big hitty stick. The Prince, who had been unable to take down Taipan in honourable combat and was teetering on 1 wound, unleashed a Purple Sun through him and was suddenly free. With a leadership 5 army I was very worried he would simply terror stuff off out of the building. But no. Ben was determined to pick on Vets – pouncing on the wounded Blue Mamba and casting to the floor. This left him out of combat surrounded by 60+ skinks…  and was brought down.

The BSB, finally breaking the cohort he had been fighting all game… chased them down and into a very angry Salamander… who proceeded to rip the BSB’s arm off and urinate on him as he bled out.
Ben had a chariot and two Marauder cav units left.

End result, 20-0 win. 3091 vps

Game 4 – Glenn – O&G

Blood and Glory scenario. Glenn also had the standardish list, and had had a good day one shooting stuff off the table. I was understandably very worried he would do the same to me!

Black Orc Warlord
Lvl4 Savage Orc
Savage Orc BSB
Lvl1 Night Goblin
2 x Goblin Big Boss on Wolf
30 Savage Orc Big Uns
2 x 20ish Night Goblins
8ish Trolls
2x Wolf Riders
2x Manglers
2x Rocker Lobbers
2x Doom Divers
2 x Spear Chukkas

With the extra space to deploy into in Blood and Glory I went full out. Salamander + Ancient + skinks left only 2 trolls alive. Skinks skilled one of the Spear Chukkas. Glenn, seeing the damage the shooting could do, decided not to advance and see what damage he could do from range. Turned out Gork (or perhaps Mork) were not in a good mood that morning and his ranged damage was minimal.

Old Blood Taipain roared to the heavens at the chance to avenge his mediocre Saturday and and charged the flank of the two remaining trolls… and failed to kill them. In fact he ended up being stuck there almost all game (even with Ancient help) until finally getting free and killing a unit of night goblins.

A badly chosen flee reaction by Glen allowed me to charge a unit of goblins off the table, panicking off all his chaff in the process. A purple sun + masses of shooting ended the Savage Orcs, though I was more efficient than bargained for, killing more than anticipated and allowing the remaining characters a charge on the Slann and his unit.

Orcs being Orcs they fluffed their attacks (he would have needed insane luck to break my steadfast to be honest) and allowed me to get support in to the flank and force through double iceshard to mitigate incoming damage. In a bid to force through the numbers, Glenn decided to 6 dice Ere We Go, miscasting and taking the last remaining wound off the Warlord, breaking his army (which I broke anyway later that turn) and the last (ever so slim) chance of victory. End of game I believe just the BSB and Lvl4 were left.

End result 20-0. 2917 vps

Game 5 – “The Master” AKA Tom – HE

Seems the Swedes like gunlines, and Tom likes the Swedes…

Archmage, Light, Book of Hoeth
Lvl1 Light
20 Archers
10 Archer
3 x Reavers
30ish Lions (Banner of World Dragon)
2 x Eagles
3 x RBTs
Frostheart Phoenix.

So, banishment + shooting that outranged my shooting. Great.

Tom, being the very good player that he is, had no interest in moving forward and just shot at me.

I expected this and countered by using the Spec Ops Ninjas in a vital cannon fodder mission – screening my army as I advanced.

Ancient Mai advanced into a wood to shoot at a RBT and dissuade the Frostheart from coming out of its corner. As ever the Viper Brigade hid in cohorts. Plan was a simple one – close down his RBTs. Once this was done take stock of the situation, and potentially go on an assassination run against his characters in the Lion unit – all the time threatening with Doom and Darkness and Salamanders.

Alas not much went to plan, other than the Chameleons buying me time – think I lost 5 models in the first two turns of High Elf shooting. But then things went wrong. Poison shooting spectacularly failed to kill any of the two wound RBTs – and each time they failed to kill them Tom would manage to panic one unit, which would panic the rest and buy himself a turn of peace. Ancient Mai was brought down by 2 shots from a bolt thrower at long range whilst in a wood. This meant I had to push for some points.

I eventually cleared off his archers and managed to get the Frostheart to commit to combat. Sidewinder and Taipan saw the opportunity and both charged, Taipan, being old and everything, epically failed to get in. Siderwinder got a wound off (not an epic return for harmonic + iceshard help) but the mighty bird refused to run (double 1-ing it’s test to make the point).

This allowed the Lions to charge the flank, and it was a case of trying to hold on and stay alive. Sidewinder valiantly held on, snake-eyeing his final break test before being brought down. This had bought me time to kill 2 of the RBTs and then surround the now unengaged Frostheart in my last turn and shoot it out of the air. Taipan this game killed an Eagle and failed a key charge, his shame is great.

Great tight game, Tom played it perfectly really. 10-10. 845 vps.

Ended up on 81 tournament points, top before soft scores and 3rd place for the yellow lizard tide after.
A great event that I would heartily recommend to anyone.

Lizards are still decent, though I do not think they are all that powerful, a lot of it relies on your opponent not being all that used to facing them.

Taipan is currently sitting on the naughty step.

Will write up some general thoughts on Lizards in the coming days.

Until then



  1. What with the random sports/paint/army list points?

    1. They were pretty basic really.
      Point for getting your army nominated for painting.
      Point per "Best Sports" vote you got.
      Point for submitting a correct list on time.

  2. Congrats for the good scoring!
    Your game against WoC showed how lists (and even armies) people think are too good to be real, often crush on the wall of bad matchups in tournaments. Having 5 chariots and a DP may look awesome, but then you face empire or lizards and things are really different.
    Anyway, running from a double 6 charge? XD

    1. Thanks man - as for the double 6 charge.... I know! :(
      Bought into his own hype (would have taken it if thought of the Hellcannon - thought was a 100% safe flee that wasted two charges of his....
      Cowardice pays itself back :)