Part Two: Lizardmen Versus Vampire Counts
I collect Lizardmen primarily and I am a newbie Vampire player. I have lots of experience having my LM
beaten by other Vampire players so I have much valuable wisdom.
This guy summarized the new book pretty well if you want a non-VC specific overview that is very detailed.
All Lizardmen are Cold Blooded, they roll three dice to take an Ld
test and remove the highest. This means they are less likely to fail tests. Rather than go into mathhammer, assume that a LM
unit has roughly the same chances of passing an Ld
test as a regular trooper with one Ld
Saurus, Kroxigor, and Troglodons have Predatory Fighter (PF here on out). They get an extra attack whenever they hit with a 6. We are waiting on Games Workshop to update the FAQ. It is unclear whether supporting attacks can use PF or not. All units with PF automatically pursue broken units when not having a Skink character nearby but undead don’t have to worry about that given that they don’t break.
Skinks, Salamanders, Razordons, Troglodons, Kroxigor, and Swarms all have Aquatic. This means River Strider, Marsh Strider and the ability to march across rivers. Aquatic units gain soft cover in water features but VC don't have BS
based shooting so it matters not.
: Strength and Toughness 4, good saves, two attacks and PF means and Ld
8 mean these guys outclass all undead Core by a good measure. Their exploitable weakness is Intiative 1, that means everything other than zombies will always go first and Intiative based attacks will take a heavy toll on them. Good thing Vampires can take Shadow and Death, huh? Also Saurus don't do great against T5 or T6 targets
Skink Cohorts, vanilla
: For their cost, Cohorts are rarely taken for their fighting skill. They have low T, low WS, low Ld
, and reasonable saves. They have poisoned javelins. For an expensive upgrade, they can get Poison melee attacks too. Small Cohorts are frequently used as redirectors. Large Cohorts can be used as tarpits if kept near the general and BSB
(who is usually one and the same for LM
armies). A medium sized Cohort can become a big pain in the butt if they get in a building (holding up a unit with three or four times their points value), but for the most part Skink Cohorts are little threat to VCs.
Skink Cohorts, Skroxigor
: Skroxigor units are mixed Skink/Kroxigor units. They used to be fantastic anti-VC units, now they aren’t very good against undead. What changed? They are no longer immune to Stomps and Kroxigor can now be attacked by enemies in the front rank so Skroxigor aren’t nearly as good at killing Terrogheists, Vargheists and other big things that don’t end in "gheist". If you fight a Skroxigor block, you should probably direct maximum attacks into the Kroxigor to neuter the unit unless you are fighting them with VC Core in which case you should concentrate hits on Skinks to maximize CR
: With the mobility and poisoned shooting, they are pretty good at putting wounds on Terrorgheists. With their low Ld
scores they are vulnerable to Terrorgheists themselves. Skink shooting can put some wounds on dire wolves, ghouls, Fell Bats, Bat Swarms, Crypt Ghouls, Vargheists and the like okay. They can hold their own against zombies but that’s it. They will crumple if engaged in close combat by pretty much anything else.
: These are what Bat Swarms should be. The new book has made them cheaper AND better. If they join a mult-unit combat, they bestow poisoned attacks on any friendly unit in base contact with the same enemy that they are in base contact with.
Deployment wise you can avoid this by putting your troops tight together so as not to a unit get charged by Saurus and Jungle Swarms at the same time. Even better, kill them before they can get into melee with you. Their Ld
is too good for Scream attacks, but Gaze of Nagash (or any magic missile) will rip up these low Toughness Swarms. Ethereal units should be able to flatten Swarms quite nicely since the poor little snakes can't fight back and get little if any static CR
: They can do the same things Skirmishers can do only better since they have higher BS
and can deploy forward with Scout. Their durability isn’t any better than a garden variety Skink so give them a hard slap with well anything and they should die or panic. You only have to worry about these guys unless your opponent is taking multiple units of them. In that case you will be hard pressed to kill them ALL before they get some volleys on your big monsters.
: Usually they aren’t a threat against war machine-less armies like the VC. They have low Ld
and fairly poor saves and Toughness scores for their points cost. They are normally not much of a threat to undead except for Dire Wolves. They can take take an upgrade for flaming shooting attacks which means they can become a minor threat to your Regenerating units. In order to utilize this, a LM
players needs to hit a Crypt Horror unit with the Terradons (to negate Regeneration) and then follow up some Skink shooting to be effective.
That kind of one-two punch is hard to set up when you get Vargheists and Dire Wolves playing crowd control. It becomes nigh impossible with Ethereals threatening chaff units and Terrorgheists screaming at everything in reach.
players such as myself haven’t gotten to use these badboys of the skies yet. They have better saves and hit harder than Terradons and have Frenzy. They are strong enough to beat up Dire Wolves and Vargheists pretty well as well as anything they can flank. They are expensive points wise and they still are only Ld
5 so they are a good target to hit with Scream attacks.
: A better stronger Saurus that is Stubborn and Immune to Psychology when lead by a Slann. They are a tough nut to crack but they won’t fare very well against a blender
vampire or a wraith wall. Conventional tactics like flanking and hexing work too. If you kill the Slann you probably win, so it’s worth throwing every you have at the Slann bunker
—except for your Core. If anything at a ghoul’s level or less fight TG you are going to lose gobs of units to crumble. Temple Guard unit champions can take cheap magic weapons, so they are probably worth singling the champions out if you are the sort who likes using ethereals. They are only Initiative 2 so it’s not too hard to hit them before they can hit you.
Temple Guard are currently the only non-character unit that can take magic standards. You might want to be a little cautious charging a TG block with Regenerating units since Banner of Eternal Flame is quite popular and should be on the list of any LM
player expecting Vampire Counts.
: A Stegadon adds impact hits and thunderstomps which will help your melee blocks chew up enemies and drive up your CR
. They can even take an upgrade to do d3 wounds on their Impact hits making them a threat to Monsters and Monstrous Infantry. With their low Ld
and the fact that they are tough to wound by conventional means, these guys are the best
targets to hit with screams. EDIT: Since they test on the Skink rider's Intiative now, Pit of Shades and Purple Sun aren't the Stegadon killers they used to be. The shooting attacks of the Stegadon's crew are not worth worrying about overmuch.
Cold One Cavalry
: Stupidity is more of an asset than a liability since COC are Immune to Pyschology and ItP
is very handy against the undead. They also have good saves and hit hard. They are expensive, so you won’t often see them in large numbers. A blender
can handle Cold One Cavalry without a lot of trouble and screams are an ok strategy to take them out. You can also tarpit
them with cheap Core and bog them down with numbers since their true Achilles heel is battles of attrition.
The real danger with Cold One Cavalry is the character (or characters) the unit is joined by. It's very uncommon to see Cold One Cavalry used for purposes other than a character bus
: While Skroxigor has been nerfed against Vampire Counts, Kroxigor have been elevated. They hit at Strength 7 and have PF. Thus they can chop up Terrorgheists, Mortis Engines, Black Coaches, and the like pretty well. A blender
vampire can take out a small unit of Kroxigor before they can do any real damage given the fact that Kroxigors have ASL
and a relatively low WS. To take out a larger Kroxigor unit, I’d recommend bogging them down with Skeletons or Zombies. Make the Strength 7 attacks go to waste and let attrition carry you through.
Recent experience has taught me that ethereals are even better at tying up a large unit of Kroxigor. Kroxigor are almost never joined by characters, so there's no magical attacks to worry about. Also they can't standards or musicians, so static CR
from these guys is pretty low.
: Bastiladons can don’t inflict a lot of hits but they can take a lot of damage with T5 and AS
2+. They also don’t have a flank or rear for CR
purposes. One of their attacks is at S10 and their one über attack isn’t that threatening because it is only WS3, though they get +1 if the enemy is in the rear so don’t rear charge them with a big monster if you can help it. Bastiladons can take a Solar Engine or the Ark of Sotek. Regardless of what it is equipped with its Achilles heels are its low Initiative and low leadership.
The Solar Engine boosts the Initiative score of all LM
units within six inches by +1. It doesn’t sound like much but most LM
units of consequence have Initiative 1 or 2 and most undead units have Initiative 1 or 2 so the bonus will matter in a LM
vs. VC matchup. The real power of the Solar Engine is a cheap bound spell magic missile with a variable number of variable strength flaming hits. The middle tier effect is 2d6 S 5 hits so it’s pretty potent on anything other than a 1 really.
The Ark of Sotek is somewhat less popular. It bombards all enemy units within d6 inches (even if the Bastiladon and/or enemy in question is engaged in combat) with 2d6 S2 hits each shooting phase, nasty against elves but fairly underwhelming against the undead. It also can add bases to swarm bases within six inches on a 4+. That sounds good in theory but in practice it doesn't work. A swarm that's staying near an Ark of Sotek is a swarm that's NOT running up ahead to stall the big nasty enemy unit.
Note the real Achilles heel on these guys is there low leadership (they aren't Stubborn like the Stegadon). I've seen quite a few of these guys get broken and run down, but I've yet to see one get killed in close combat by damage alone.
: Salamanders are fantastic against living enemies and okay against VCs. Okay, not great. The undead have lots of slow moving tightly packed units to burn. The problem is no one is ever going to take a Panic test and the very same units that burn easily also regrow pretty easily with Invocation of Nehek, so LM
players need tight magic defense to make Salamanders effective against VC.
Salamanders will lose a battle of attrition against dire wolves and they are very vulnerable to scream attacks with their Ld
5. With the loss of the fancy armor piercing rule Salamanders aren’t very good at toasting undead knights anymore but now that they are Strength 4 they can in theory put a wound or two on some Crypt Horrors, allowing a pack of Razorodons or a unit of Skink Skirmishers to finish the job once Regeneration is negated. Also being Strength 4 means they will kill lightly armored infantry better than ever.
: Everything I said about regular Stegadons applies here except that they are an even greater priority to kill with Scream attacks since they hit harder and have a better armor save, but they have the same low Ld
score. If they don't take an Engine of the Gods (hence forth EOTG) then their giant blowpipes, while better than the Stegadons Giant Bow, will likely not be worth concerning yourself with as a VC player.
Ancient Stegadons no longer require a Skink Priest to take an EOTG . The EOTG has had a makeover making them a bit more like the Mortis Engine. They bestow a 6+ Ward save on all friendly units within six inches, they can reduce the casting difficulties of a BRB
every turn, and they Burning Alignment. Burning Alignment is much less threatening to VC than it used to be. It’s a bound spell now so it requires a least one power die and it no longer inflicts extra damage on undead, but it gained Flaming Attacks. It zaps all enemies within 4d6 inches with d6 S4 hits. Infantry blocks don’t care, but you want to keep your dire wolves, Fell Bats cheap ethereals and lone characters away from the EOTG if you can. Also it's a moderate danger to Regenerating things.
: Razordons are probably the second least taken unit in the current book. In my opinion, Razordons have only one useful purpose against VC. They can intercept Fell Bats, Dire Wolves, and Vargheists protecting Skink Skirmishers and Salamanders as well as your Saurus blocks’ flanks. Like most dinosaur units, they wilt quickly if screamed at, but they should probably be priority target compared to everything else unless you are really protective of your chaff units or there are nothing else to go after.
: They are a multipurpose unit. They fight, they buff PF units (once per game), they boost Slann’s magic phase a bit. The problem is they aren’t very good at ANY of their three purposes and they cost a lot. Their combat stats aren’t great and their Ld
is low so you have a wide variety of options on how to kill these guys in the extremely unlikely event your opponent decides to take a Troglodon in a competitive game.
Scar Veterans and Oldbloods
: I have never seen a Saurus character take on a kitted out vampire successfully unless I buffed the crap out of them with magic spells that’s because all of my opponents have been smart enough to take Quickblood. Saurus characters are strong and tough but they aren’t very fast or skilled so ASF
will let your vampires chop them up easily. Once the Saurus characters are cleared away, you should have little problem using your characters to wrack up heavy CR
in your favor or clear the way for ethereals to have a hey day.
In my opinion the only way a Saurus character can be a serious threat to a vampire is to ride a Carnosaur. At S7 with d3 wounds, the Carnosaur need not hit very often to ruin a vampire’s day (or a Terrorgheist, or Black Coach, you get the idea). In the new book both Oldbloods and Scar Veterans can ride Carnosaurs. Carnosaurs should be your number one priority to hit with screams and Death spells.
: Skink Chiefs are cheaper now then they used to be so you might see them used as cheap delivery systems for magic weapons. They only have T3 and their non-magical armor options are pretty weak so they shouldn’t be a serious threat to VC armies outside of games less than 1000 points. At low levels, a Skink Chief can tear up light ethereal units such as hex wraiths or assassinate Necromancer generals.
: Nowadays Skink Priest can take Heavens OR Beasts. That’s very exciting for we LM
players. Mostly Beast Skinks are used for Wyssans Wildform. Heavens spells are nice for bashing flyers but the dreaded Terrorgheists are Toughness 6 with many wounds so a single lightning spell will rarely down a Terrorgheist and most of the lore attribute’s bonus hits will not wound. Vargheists are quite exposed to Heavens magic though.
Like many cheap wizards they are often magical item caddies. Slann can now cast magic missiles and direct damage spells through Skink Priests that are not engaged in CC
. If the Slann is packing Death or Metal spells, this can make the lowly Skink Priest a serious threat. Skink Priests are usually deployed in mobile units of Skirmishers. A good scream will generally fix your problem.
: Slann lost the ability to deny an enemy wizard 6s, the ability to easily avoid a miscast, and the ability to get a free power dice every spell (there are new ways Slann can get extra dice now, just not as well as before). There is no more Banehead magical item allowing a Slann to double wounds on your vampire general. They also can’t take loremaster any more unless they take High Magic.
The nastiest combos that made VC players gnash their teeth are now gone, but Slann have gained much. The Slann have went from having some overpowered abilities and some underpowered abilities to having lots of reasonable abilities. Therefore you won’t see the same Slann build over and over again. Slann disciplines are like vampire powers now (the better powers cost more rather than all powers costing 50 points regardless of usefulness, also no free power). The most popular combo is to take a power that allows the Slann to roll three dice for channeling every round and then take a Channeling Staff. Not quite as good as the free power die every spell from the old book, but this combo gives extra power AND dispel dice (averages to one free die each phase).
Slann can take any BRB
lore and now they can take High Magic. I’d expect to see High Magic chosen for the plurality of Slann if not the majority from here on out. High Slann can buy Lore Mastery fairly cheap and it comes with eight spells not six since there are two sigs. High Magic is very versatile and potent and the LM
Lore attribute for High Magic is phenomenal. After successfully casting a spell, a Slann can unlearn the spell and then generate a spell out of the BRB
taking the signature spell if they choose. That means a Slann can pick up Light, Death, or Metal as needed, whichever will best handle your assortment of undead facing him.
EDIT: Months of games after the release of the new book, another build is gaining popularity. The Wandering Deliberations power gives a Slann all eight BRB
signature spells in place of normal spell generation. It's a very diverse toolbox. Against Vampire Counts you have to especially worry about the Light spell for it's ability to inflict 2d6 S6 hits, Wyssans for it's general utility, and Spirit Leech as a monster killer, and Searing Doom as a knight killer. I'd say the vast majority of Slann either take WD or High Magic lore mastery.
There is no army wide crumble like with Vampire Counts, but LM
are an army that needs their characters almost as much. If you kill the Slann you are almost guaranteed to win, since the Slann is usually the general and BSB
as well as primary spellcaster. If you are facing a Slann-less army, you probably still want to hit the enemy characters first, especially the BSB
. Cold Blooded loses its luster when the rerolls go away, I know this from hard experience.
Take lots of units that have Scream attacks. All the dinosaur units and all the Skink units are vulnerable to this sort of attack. The only thing not especially vulnerable to Screams are Saurus based units and even they don’t like being screamed at especially. Once you clear the field of Skink shooting and dinosaur attacks, the Saurus units will fall if you pit T5 and T6 undead against them.
Initiative based attacks will wreak havoc on Saurus based units. However, Initiative attacks won’t work very well on most dinosaurs because with their joint profiles they use the Initiative score of Skinks which is 4.
With no cannons or cannon equivalents, Kroxigor, Stegadons, Carnosaurs, and to a lesser extant Temple Guard are the only sources of high strength attacks. If you can keep your heavies away from these units they should be able to rip the rest of the LM
army apart easily.
characters and wraith walls are very effective. Most LM
players will fill up most of their Lord points with a kitted out Slann and with the fancy rules for Slann casting magic missiles through Skinks, most players will take a Skink Priest or two. Add to the pot how many cool Specials and Rares the LM
have and you have a setup that means your LM
opponents will have relatively few fighty characters to thwart you if you go the herohammer route.