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Posts Tagged ‘Lizardmen’

Another┬árun-in with the Lizardmen this week, but only at 1000 points; a different opponent, too. It’s still early days in terms of my getting a sense of what the most common armies in my area are, but Skaven and Lizardmen certainly seem to be a regular sight on the local tables.

chaos

I rejigged my standard 1K list, partly because I wanted to try out a small unit of Forsaken, and partly because a close re-reading of the rules revealed my general’s magic item selection was a tiny bit illegal. In came the Forsaken and a Nurgle Spawn, out went a unit of Warhounds and a couple of arcane items, and my main Warrior unit got the Mark of Nurgle.

As usual I was left somewhat envious by the sheer amount of toy soldiers virtually every other army seems to get at 1K compared to mine: on this occasion the Lizards turned up with a big block of Saurus Warriors, a small regiment of Temple Guard, five Saurus Cavalry, three Ripperdactyls, and a swarm of Skinks, led by a Skink priest and a Scar-Veteran on a Cold One.

Three Warhound deployments gave me a decent sense of how the Lizardmen would be advancing – Sauri and Cold Ones in the centre, Temple Guard and Ripperdactyls on my right flank, while the Skinks would be lurking in some woods on my left. Bearing this in mind I put the Chaos Warriors down centrally, supported by the Spawn and the Forsaken, while the Chariot and the Marauders went down on the right.

The three spells I had wound up with were Doom and Darkness, Fate of Bjuna, and Purple Sun of Xereus (I’ll come back to the wisdom of this and its impact on the battle later), and my mood was distinctly lifted when, with practically the first dice roll of the game, I fired off Purple Sun and destroyed half of the main Saurus Warrior block, whose very low initiative made them horribly vulnerable to the spell.

Things went on in this vaguely positive vein as the Saurus Cavalry charged the Chaos Warriors, clipping some woods in the process and losing two of their number, allowing the Warriors to deal with them fairly easily. The Temple Guard were lured by Warhounds into a position where they could be frontally charged by the Gorebeast Chariot and the Marauders. The Temple Guard put up stiff opposition, especially when the halberdiers in the back of the Chariot fluffed their dice rolls, but were eventually hacked down (the cold blood rule effectively made the Lizardmen combat troops almost impossible to break).

However, our old friend New Model Syndrome made an unwelcome appearance as the Forsaken first failed the easiest of charges into the Scar-Veteran and then, when they finally got into combat with him, ended up with Strikes Last as their mutation that turn. This allowed the Veteran to hack them all down, not least because the Skink Priest had been casting Wyssan’s Wildform and/or Beast of Horros on him every turn. The following turn he sorted out the Spawn as well, leaving him in a position to take on the Chaos Warriors (who had just wiped out the Ripperdactyls).

At this point a nasty wrinkle in the Chaos Warrior rules became apparent: the requirement to issue a challenge whenever possible. Neither of the characters in the Warrior unit realistically had a chance against the Scar-Veteran, and the small unit lacked the static resolution to make up for the sizeable overkill the Lizardman hero would be scoring every turn. The fact that some poor choices when it came to dispelling the Skink’s magic had left the augmented Saurus with somewhere in the region of seven attacks at strength nine didn’t help much either. The unit champion and then my general were chopped to bits on successive turns and the unit broke (confessions of a dummy gamer: I forgot about the Banner of Discipline, which would have kept them in the fight and given me a chance to beat up the Saurus with the rest of the unit in the following turn).

The Scar-Veteran duly chased down the Warriors , but on a more positive note the Chariot got into the flank of the Saurus Warriors (who hadn’t really been doing much following their first-turn magical mauling) and broke them, cold blood for once proving ineffective. This resulted in one of those uneventful endgames, with the surviving units scattered across the table and no prospect of further combat – the Skinks loosed a few darts at the Chariot, which took a couple of wounds before withdrawing out of range.

So we counted up the scores and it turned out that the final tally was 805 to the Chaos Warriors and 750 to the Lizardmen – a draw, which I suppose was a fair result. My chances of a clean win were scuppered by the reign of terror from the Scar-Veteran – small Chaos Warrior units are quite capable of being monstered by single top-tier combat characters like this one, largely because of the Eye of the Gods rule. Bearing this in mind, the failure of the Forsaken to perform could have made a big difference – on any other result they would have been striking first, potentially delivering 12 attacks with re-rolled hits.

I think my sorcerer underperformed, as well, probably due to my spell selection. The casting of Purple Sun was my only real success all game – okay, a significant success – partly due to bad dice but also because I had three high casting value spells in the first place. In retrospect I should have swapped Doom and Darkness for Spirit Leech – the only viable target for the spell was really the Scar-Veteran, while Spirit Leech could potentially have zapped the Skink Priest from across the table and got rid of those annoying augment spells.

Not sure how useful this is in terms of general strategy, though. This game has left me really wishing I could sneak a proper combat character into the list – wreaking havoc with a Chaos Champion is very appealing, but it would mean going on the defensive magically and I’m not sure of the wisdom of that given how destructive many spells can be. Something to consider in the couple of weeks before my next game.

 

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With my usual immaculate timing I have invested in a new set of knives just at the start of gunfight season: the unexpected onset of 7th Edition 40K does not exactly make it easy to secure pick-up games for WFB. At present I have no plans to invest in the new edition (this doesn’t mean I may not indulge in some paranoid speculation about what’s going on with the rush-release of a major rules-set at some point in the near future, naturally) but, as luck would have it, managed to secure a match-up with a pretty experienced and very agreeable Lizardmen player with a somewhat-retro (and extremely garish, even by Lustrian standards) army.

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This was my first game at 2000 points so to (theoretically) take the competitive edge off the game we played a scenario: the Lizardmen would be defending a watchtower and if I could shift them out of it by the end of the game I would win.

A big block of Sauri went down in the tower, while marching across the table to relieve them were six Kroxigor, two Salamanders, another twenty Saurus Warriors, a Stegadon, three Terradons, and two units of Skinks, all led by a Slann and a Skink Priest.

I still feel I am pushing it a bit at 2000, with a lack of solidity on the table. I had brought six Ogres of Nurgle (first use!), a Hellcannon (first use!), twelve Warriors of Nurgle, twenty Marauders, a Gorebeast Chariot of Slaanesh, a Mutalith (first use!), and four units of Warhounds, led by a Sorcerer Lord of Death and a battle standard bearer (first use!).

Well, as you may or may not know, like every other pastime WFB has a specialist vocabulary of sorts – we players happily talk about things which might baffle normal people, using expressions like cocked dice, static combat resolution, flank charge, tactical deployment drop, and so on. We also use the dreaded words ‘New Model syndrome’ and I found myself a martyr to this in this game, possibly more than ever before.

Well, things got off to a reasonable start as the BSB passed his Stupid test (Ld 9 with a re-roll) and the Hellcannon behaved itself. However, it was clearly just lulling me into a false sense of security. Came the first shooting phase, the blast template was popped down on the advancing Sauri, expectations were high as the dice rolled… And the damn thing blew itself up on the first shot. (A 1 in 36 chance on paper, should you be wondering, but a virtual certainty under battlefield conditions.)

This put a bit of a dent in my mood, but once I had collected myself I found the battle mostly going pretty well: the Warhounds all got blowpiped to death, but thatwas hardly a surprise, but the Ogres battered the Kroxigor and chased them off the board, the Chaos Warriors engaged the advancing Saurus Warriors and after a grinding combat broke and ran them down, and – after another tough fight – the Gorebeast Chariot charged and killed the Stegadon.

However, the Mutalith was, frankly, behaving entirely unreasonably. Surrounded by a swarm of increasingly baffled Skinks whose blowpipes seemed unable to penetrate its hide, I tried for six successive turns to cast the bound spell which is the main reason you put it on the table. Four times I tried to roll a total of 5 or higher on two dice and failed. Once I managed it and the Slann dispelled it with dice; once I rolled a 21 (I was getting slightly fixated by this point and chucked all my dice at it) and the Skink fished a dispel scroll out from somewhere (my opponent was genuinely apologetic about this). So I still have no real sense of how this thing performs other than as a fire magnet.

And killing the Lizardmen army wasn’t winning me the game: I needed to take the tower, but didn’t have the right unit in place to do it. Baseline Marauders are not going to shift Saurus Warriors from a building without magical assistance of some kind – two or three assaults from them just resulted in the unit being thinned down. The remains of the Chaos Warriors had a go, doing some damage and taking none in return, but in range of the Slann the Sauri were not going to budge.

In the closing stages of the game the Slann magic really started to bite, as the Mutalith and Ogres were successively banished into the Pit of Shades, and things got to the point where I just didn’t have the models left to mount a serious assault and opted to concede the game.

Well, this was a clear loss for the Warriors of Chaos, mainly due to my inability to challenge the garrison in the tower. Possibly my Warriors or Ogres could have done this, but they were both in the wrong place – and I’m not sure the Marauders could have dealt with either the Kroxigor or the advancing Saurus Warriors. As it was, the two armies pretty much wiped each other out, with the exception of the garrison unit which was still in reasonable shape. This suggests that in a standard pitched battle the Lizardmen would have had the edge – but then again virtually a quarter of my army (the Hellcannon and Mutalith) had no offensive effect on the game whatsoever. Had either of them actually showed up things might have gone very differently.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised by the wallop packed by the Ogres, who were mainly there to bulk out the army (it was them or some Hellstriders and perhaps another character). Possibly they were lucky in their combats with the Kroxigor and Salamanders in this game, but they have earned their place for the time being. The Chaos Warriors got their first proper test as well, and despite my concerns over the size of the unit they managed to deal with a larger Saurus Warrior unit fairly comfortably: I still think an extra half-dozen models would make the regiment considerably more effective.

The Lizardmen army has not changed much since the last time I played them, which must have been in 2005: a cloud of poisoned darts obscuring a few competently-wielded maquahuitls. The Saurus Warriors are nasty, but manageable (says the guy who just lost the game largely due to the hardness of Saurus Warriors); it’s the Skinks who are the real pain in the neck. Killing them in close combat is easy; getting into close combat with them is very difficult, and if you ignore them then you are surely going to regret it. I must confess that it seems to me that the Lizardmen have much to commend them as an army, and when the stars are right I may paint a few myself.

In the meantime, I may drop the Mutalith and use the points to bulk up the Warriors a bit. The Marauders have proved distinctly underwhelming against anything other than frightened Skaven, but I’m not sure what to replace them with, and they do provide bodies and ranks for what’s otherwise a very elite army. Part of me just wants big blocks on the table, but that’s not something I’m likely to be able to satisfy playing Chaos.

 

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