I have been lurking around this site for a little while now, and have enjoyed much of the discussion that has taken place about the new book. I used to frequent TPV for lizard advice, and have played both Dwarfs and Lizards since early 6th edition. When the new book came out I was expecting some big improvements to our monsters, specifically the Carnosaur, as they where what drew me to Lizards in the first place. I was initially disappointed, but I decided to try and make this new list work. I play primarily in tournament play (usually a couple per year), and don't have much time for fun or practice games anymore. One of the new aspects that I really like about our new book is the continued strength of the Cowboy. In fact, I feel that that these guys have become better with the new predatory fighter rules. I think that the Cowboys may be what we got/kept instead of massive improvements to our monsters. As I have been doing a lot of theory hammer with the new book, I have been building my own set of notes that, in part, outline many of what I believe the good Cowboy builds are. I noticed that there was no Tactica on Cowboys in the Tactica links, and I decided that I would share what I have been working on to get things started. What I have produced below is the Cowboy builds that I prefer, and the notes that I have taken on each one. Obviously, there are countless options and builds available and I have not reproduced each one. I do think, however, that these are some of the better builds and provide a good number of different setups to help newer players see what is important for a Cowboy build. In most of the lists that I have been building I have been including a 5-6 man unit of CoR to act as cannon ball protection for my Cowboys. This is especially true for the Old Bloods who certainly draw a lot of attention. I feel this is an important point to make up front, because Cowboys are more vulnerable to cannons than monsters are due to lower wound counts. They can be protected with a charmed shield for a one time LoS equivalent, but I feel that this does not allow for the optimal builds that can be achieved without this item (more for Old Blood than Scar-vet). They can also be protected with ward saves, but we all know how often those wards fail when you need them. I also want to point out that I normally believe that a GW is the best choice for a Cowboy over a halberd due to low initiative of Saurus characters. They should also be equiped with whatever the best defensive setup is. His job should usually be to survive as long as possible, and bring pain to whatever he charges with his str7 GW. There are a few magic weapon setups that I like, and these could be particularly useful for a player who often plays Ethereal filth. For those who are not familiar with the uses of a Cowboy, he is essentially the "Swiss Army Knife" of the Lizardmen army. He can be added to any combat to help give you an edge, he can take down monsters on his own (especially the Old Blood), he is probably the best unit this army has to deal with monstrous cavalry, and he can even be setup to deal with large units of infantry all on his own (especially Old Blood with Crown of Command). The combination of good armour save, toughness 5 (6 w/ Stegadon Helm), decent WS, str7, movement 7, immunity to stomp, and either ward save or re-rolling armour makes this guy a pain in the butt for your opponent to deal with. Load up with a couple of these guys and you will enjoy the results. What I like, and what everyone will say, is that there really is not a good opponent for these guys to deal with. Scar-vets bring this in a relatively cheap package, and can usually earn plenty of points back by eating chaff units, cavalry, hunting war-machines, or just helping your main units win where the important fight is taking place. Old Bloods can do these things, but have the ability to withstand much greater punishment. This allows them to go after the toughest units in the enemy army. Part of what got me thinking so much about Cowboys was the roster from the most recent tournament I played in had 8 of 32 players playing warriors of Chaos (25% !!). Only one of these armies did not have a unit of Skullcrushers, and only two of them did not have an un-killable Daemon Prince of Nurgle. While Lizardmen do have the ability to chaff many of these units out of the game, a Cowboy gives lots of additional options to kill these units or stall them out of the game. When you also consider the number of Ogre and Empire players with monstrous cavalry, I believe that Cowboys are becoming an essential part of a tournament list for Lizardmen. There are really not many units I worry about charging with a Cowboy (some monsters or KB infantry are off-limits), and even if/when you do lose them they usually have done their job. Please note that these builds do take some considerations to my local tournament scene with regards to opponents and comp restrictions. Some of the notes may not apply to your army build or style. These are just the notes with regards to Cowboys from my personal tactica, and it is possible that I may have missed some of your preferred builds. OLD BLOOD COWBOY BUILDS: 1 – Old Blood - CO, GW, Armour of Destiny (4++ ward), Dawnstone (re-roll) • Has 25 pts remaining; can take Other Tricksters Shard; best defensive setup of all Cowboys; uses up two good protection items – does not allow for an ideally setup Scar-vet. (Still allows for a good Old Blood w/ Glittering scales and 4++ ward). Very good choice if including only one Cowboy – maybe best choice. Can drop GW for Halberd to allow Slann of 375pts at 2500. 2 – Old Blood – CO, GW, Glittering Scales (-1 to hit), Dawnstone (re-roll) • Good budget setup, can include 395 pts Slann in 2500 game; can drop GW for Halberd to include 400pts Slann; very survivable, especially compared to the Scar-Vet (81pts more than 1+ re-roll SV); can switch Dawnstone to 4++ ward if preferable (+20 pts). This will likely be my auto-include for an army with a Slann; this guy brings so much more survivability than a Scar-vet Cowboy, for only a small amount more. 3 – Old Blood – CO, GW, Stegadon Helm, Dawnstone, Crown of Command • Very well protected against lower str attacks; is stubborn and can hold many infantry units up for long periods on his own; provides impact hits in the first charge to help win combat phase and reduce steadfast/rank bonus. This build brings the Crown of Command to allow for holding of infantry. Toughness 6 prevents most infantry from being able to wound easily. 4 – Old Blood – CO, GW, Glittering Scales, 4++ Ward, EGG of Quango • Good partner for the above Old Blood; good defensive setup, and provides extra combat res/rank busting though the EGG. When combined with the above setup, the Armour of destiny is still available for Scar-Vet BSB (Which you will need due to no Lord points left for Slann). 5 – Old Blood – CO, GW, Trickster’s Helm, Dawnstone (or 4++ Ward for 20 pts) • Very survivable combination; Trickster’s helm provides very good survivability – best results against low strength (4 or less); even better than Armour of destiny and Dawnstone combination at strength 4 or less, and equal at strength 5; does not allow for other useful items such as EGG or Crown of Command. Provided similar protection as Glittering Scales or Stegadon Helm against str 6, worse against str 7. Not likely worth the points; less optimal build than others due to higher cost of Trickster’s Helm. 6 – Old Blood – CO, Fencer’s Blades, Glittering Scales, Dawnstone • Very survivable against WS4 or lower (need 6’s to hit – actually is the most survivable setup vs. other builds, but only against the low WS); in Challenge vs. other characters he will only be hit on 5’s (unless sword of striking, then 4’s); VS a Daemon Prince w/ Sword of Striking, he will give up 0.416 wounds per turn; an Armour of Destiny and Dawnstone will give up 0.345 wounds; he is therefore slightly less survivable vs. nastiest thing going. Has 6 str 5 magical attacks instead of 5 str 7; is not as good against toughness 4 or higher, cannot pierce good armour saves very well, does have magical attacks for Ethereal creatures. Is a bit of a gamble; when fighting lower WS armies or monsters who tend to have lower WS, then this guy is basically un-killable (108 str6 ws4 attacks to take him out – Gutstar counter); when you run into anything with ws5 or better, then the cheaper build with the GW is probably better. 7 – Old Blood – CO, Piranha Blade, Stegadon Helm, Luckstone • Impact hits and multiple would rules should combine to make effective monstrous infantry/cavalry/monster hunter. Fairly survivable with the one time re-roll, although not as survivable as other builds. Probably not the best combo due to less survivability; multiple wounds and impact hits are done better by the Ancient Stegadon. Prefer the next build for Piranha blade; although this combo actually pairs nicely with other builds because it does not use dawnstone/4++ ward/armour of destiny. 8 – Old Blood – CO, Piranha Blade, Glittering Scales, Dawnstone • Combines the survivability of the Glittering Scales/Dawnstone setup with the multiple wounds of the Blade. Less likely to would higher toughness monsters. Although, with the multi wounds and AP he will actually do more total wounds to many monsters and characters. Is very good vs. monstrous infantry and cavalry – will eat Mournfang Cavalry. Could be a very nice addition to the army, as he brings a very survivable character who can deal with multi-wound creatures/Ethereal creatures. Would pair well with a Scar-Vet w/ Armour of Destiny. Only leaves Tricksters Helm/Stegadon Helm w/ 4++ ward setup for an additional Old Blood. 9 – Old Blood – CO, Shield, Blade of Realities • Not very survivable compared to all of the above Old Bloods; can kill 3++ ward w/ Third Eye setup from Chaos. You can get a no armour save sword w/ other tricksters shard for 35pts less; does not wound higher toughness models, probably will have better results from the multiple wound Piranha Blade. Seems very specific; must have ward save to get good value from this item. Probably preferable to choose other setups due to survivability, and in many instances a GW will actually be better (for 94pts less – easier to wound and eliminates most armour). 10 – Old Blood – CO, Stegadon Helm, Sword of Blood Shed • This character takes advantage of the predatory fighter rule by adding an additional three attacks. His toughness 6 protects him from str3 and str4 attacks that can only wound him on 6’s. His impact hits and potential for high number of attacks make him very good at chopping through large blocks of non-elite (goblins/skaven) or non-high str infantry (Phoenix guard or Chaos Warriors w/ shield). Is not as survivable as other builds, and is likely more of a specific tool to deal with low str infantry. Could be useful in a specific match-up against large block/cheap troop wielding army, or as a third Old Blood in a large 3000+ point game. 11 – Old Blood – Arabyan Carpet, Armour of Destiny, Shield or GW • Flying Lord grants extra mobility, and no chance of failed stupidity. Can be stomped, loses defensive capability compared to other Old Bloods. Swapping defence for speed; could be fun, but probably not as optimal as more traditional Cowboy builds. Would not feel confident using him against many of the foes who I see as ideally suited for Cowboys. 12 – Old Blood – Arabyan Carpet, LA, Enchanted Shield, Dawnstone, Sword of Might • Similar to above build; maybe slightly better build for survivability. Uses the enchanted shield which I prefer to use on skink chief w/terradon build. Still think that he would struggle against traditional opponents of Cowboy, and is susceptible to stomp. Maybe useful in a fun build, or for a specific modeling project. Otherwise, will likely see better results from Old Blood on CO. NOTE: Can swap Enchanted Shield for Charmed Shield for better cannon protection, but will lose combat survivability. SCAR-VET COWBOY BUILDS: NOTE: Can add BSB to any of these builds, although more defensive setups should be preferred for a BSB. 1 – Scar-Vet – CO, GW, LA, Dragonhelm, Dawnstone • Best value setup for a Cowboy; this guy is very survivable and brings str7 pain. If fielding only Scar-vet Cowboy, this is probably first choice. Don’t like that he uses Dragonhelm, prefer to use that item on Skink Chief w/ terradon build. Would normally prefer to use the Dawnstone on an Old Blood; probably would prefer budget Old Blood build w/ glittering scales, dawnstone instead of this Scar-vet. Useful if wanting to field expensive Slann. NOTE: can swap Dragonhelm for Gambler’s Armour if wanting Dragonhelm on Skink Chief 2 – Scar-Vet – CO, GW, Armour of Destiny • This is probably the next most useful Scar-vet build after the first. He gains a 4++ ward instead of the armour re-roll. Very survivable, and is more likely to be included than previous Scar-vet because I foresee often using Dawnstone with Old Blood. This will probably be my BSB build if no Slann. 3 – Scar-Vet – CO, LA, Charmed Shield, Sword of Might, Dawnstone • Good build for running lone Scar-Vet Cowboy. He has same defensive capability of first Scar-vet (1+ reroll), but also has charmed shield protection. Could run him with the Armour of Destiny Scar-vet as a good pair who both have some cannon protection. Don’t like that he has str6 instead of str7. Still, very good option. 4 – Scar-Vet – CO, Shield, Glittering Scales, Dawnstone • Possibly the most protection you can get for a Scar-Vet; could be useful as a well protected BSB, especially in a Knight Bus that grants a LoS roll. Don't like str5, but would only field this option as a pure defensive setup. Prefer this setup on Old Blood with GW, as it is only 72pts more. 5 – Scar-Vet – CO, GW, Glittering Scales, Dawnstone • OK build; however, the 2+ reroll offers less protection statistically than the 1+ 4++, and certainly much less than the 1+ reroll. Probably not the best use of Dawnstone. 1+ reroll is still king, and shouldn’t waste Dawnstone on 2+ armour. 6 – Scar-Vet – CO, GW, Armour of Fortune, Luckstone • Offers very good protection on a character without using the Armour of Destiny, Talisman of Preservation, or Dawnstone. Useful as possibly a third or forth Scar-Vet build in a spam type setup. 7 – Scar-Vet – CO, GW, Stegadon Helm, Luckstone • Offers good protection, although not ideal with only one reroll. Think I prefer the Stegadon Helm on an Old Blood who can be better protected with a ward or re-roll. Would be best used against low str foe to take advantage of toughness 6. 8 – Scar-Vet – CO, LA, GW or Shield, Talisman of Preservation • Gives an additional Scar-vet with 4++ ward. Not as optimal as first two choices, but could be a very solid third Scar-vet in a spam list. Prefer the GW, as str5 just doesn’t bring enough pain to monstrous cavalry or monsters. Still would be very survivable at 2+ 4++. OLD BLOOD/ SCAR-VET COWBOY DEFENSIVE BUILDS STATS: I ran some basic survivability numbers on the defensive setups of my preferred builds from both the Old Blood and Scar-Vet builds. The final number in the stream is the average number of wound that the character would take vs. those attacks. Please forgive me if the math is not correct. The number in brackets next to the str6 attacks is the number of str6 attacks it would on average take to kill the character. I chose str6 because I feel that it is the benchmark for what you will likely deal with in a worst case scenario. Obviously, str 7 is worse, but it is not very common. What becomes very apparent from these numbers is that the Old Blood is much more survivable than the Scar-vet, due to the ability to take an additional level of defence. (eg. -1 to hit from glittering scales, toughness 6 from Stegadon Helm, or re-rolling armour with 4++ ward) 1 - Old Blood – CO, GW, Armour of Destiny (4++ ward), Dawnstone (re-roll) • Vs: 12 str4 ws5 attacks = (12/2= 6/3 = 2/5/6= .33/5/6= .057/2 = .028) • Vs: 12 str5 ws5 attacks = (12/2= 6/2= 3/3 = 1/3= .333/2 = .166) • Vs: 12 str6 ws5 attacks = (12/2= 6/2/3= 4/2= 2/2= 1/2= .5) (72) • Vs: 12 str7 ws5 attacks = (12/2= 6/5/6= 5/2/3= 3.3/2/3= 2.2/2= 1.1) • Vs: 6 str6 ws7 attacks = (6/2/3= 4/2/3= 2.66/2= 1.33/2= .67/2= .335) 2 – Old Blood – CO, GW, Glittering Scales (-1 to hit), Dawnstone (re-roll) • Vs: 12 str4 ws5 attacks = (12/3 = 4/3 = 1.33/5/6 = .22/5/6 = .04) • Vs: 12 str5 ws5 attacks = (12/3 = 4/2= 2/3= .666/3= .222) • Vs: 12 str6 ws5 attacks = (12/3 = 4/2/3 = 2.66/2 = 1.33/2 = .67) (54) • Vs: 12 str7 ws5 attacks = (12/3 = 4/5/6 = 3.3/2/3 = 2.2/2/3= 1.48) • Vs: 6 str6 ws7 attacks = (6/2= 3/2/3= 2/2 = 1/2 = .5) 3 – Old Blood – CO, GW, Stegadon Helm (Toughness 6), Dawnstone (re-roll) • Vs: 12 str4 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/5/6 = 1/5/6 = .177/5/6 = .028) • Vs: 12 str5 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/3= 2/3 = .666/3 = .222) • Vs: 12 str6 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/2= 3/2= 1.5/2= .75) (48) • Vs: 12 str7 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/2/3 = 4/2/3= 2.66/2/3 = 1.77) • Vs: 6 str6 ws7 attacks = (6/2/3 = 4/2= 2/2= 1/2 = .5) 5 – Old Blood – CO, GW, Trickster’s Helm, Dawnstone • Vs: 12 str4 ws5 attacks = (12/2= 6/3 = 2/3 = .666/5/6= .12/5/6 = .02) • Vs: 12 str5 ws5 attacks = (12/2= 6/2 = 3/2 = 1.5/3 = .5/3 = .166) • Vs: 12 str6 ws5 attacks = (12/2= 6/2/3 = 4/2/3 = 2.66/2 = 1.33/2 = .67)(54) • Vs: 12 str7 ws5 attacks = (12/2= 6/5/6= 5/5/6 = 4.15/2/3 =2.76/2/3 = 1.84) • Vs: 6 str6 ws7 attacks = (6/2/3= 4/2/3= 2.66/2/3 = 1.77/2 = .88/2 = .44) 1 – Scar-Vet – CO, GW, DragonHelm, Dawnstone (re-roll) • Vs: 12 str4 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/3= 2/5/6= .333/5/6= .057) • Vs: 12 str5 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/2= 3/3= 1/3= .333) • Vs: 12 str6 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/2/3 = 4/2 = 2/2 = 1)(24) • Vs: 12 str7 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/5/6 = 5/2/3 = 3.3/2/3 = 2.2) • Vs: 6 str6 ws7 attacks = (6/2/3 = 4/2/3= 2.66/2 = 1.33/2 = .67) 2 – Scar-Vet – CO,GW, Armour of Destiny (4++ Ward) • Vs: 12 str4 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/3= 2/5/6= .333/2= .166) • Vs: 12 str5 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/2= 3/3= 1/2= .5) • Vs: 12 str6 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/2/3 = 4/2 = 2/2 = 1)(24) • Vs: 12 str7 ws5 attacks = (12/2 = 6/5/6 = 5/2/3 = 3.3/2 = 1.65) • Vs: 6 str6 ws7 attacks = (6/2/3 = 4/2/3= 2.66/2 = 1.33/2 = .67) After I considered all of these numbers, and looked at the different builds, I still tend to prefer the '"budget" Old Blood with Glittering Scales, GW, CO and Dawnstone. At his point value, he can still allow you to take a fairly tooled up Slann, and you therefore don't need to really sacrifice much when it comes to your Lord selections. Let me know what you think, and whether there is something important that I have missed.