Basic principles of all comp systems is to limit that which is underpriced or just too damn good. some times this goes too far but as far as the etc have it it is pretty spot on. This actually makes building a top tier list for a beginner much easier as it reveals all the broken combos that they would be unaware of normally. Hence the first principle of good list building is if it's comped max it. Second one is be lazy, dont do all the hard work yourself, look at what others have done. Humanity would never have reached the stars if they had to reinvent the wheel each generation. http://baddice.co.uk/lists/ is a pretty good resource for tournament lists. Be warned that some discretion is required as not all tournament lists are good lists First lets read the restrictions: Salamanders 0-1 is in most comp systems in one form or another for good reason they are a damn good units. However we dont want to commit too many points just yet so we will include a unit of 2 for 150( to avoid the last restriction). Next mounted scar vets 0-2. this means we take 2 mounted scarvets, a quick bit of searching of last year's ETC lists finds that the most common builds are 1. dawnstone, charmed shield and either burning blade or sword of might 2. Amulet of Itzl, Venom, Dragonhelm and a great weapon. so thats 160 and 166 for those 2 respectively. Cupped hands brings us into the magic restrictions of the ETC namely 12 dice max per phase and only 2 extra above the winds of magic roll. Also of note is the 5 dice cap on everything and 4 dice casting cap on shadow and death. Magic lores I'll leave to the end. A quick bit of research finds that nobody took cupped hands last year so this may be a case of too harsh a comp on the item. At the moment we will leave this aside as we want to actually have 2 extra dice each magic phase rather than some pretty irrelevant miscast protection for the slann (he is unlikely to die to miscast especially with the dice caps.) Cogitations vs scroll is a tough one and I'm not sure there is a right answer here. Last year when cogitations took 2 DD and scroll+cube was allowed most people took the easy choice of scroll+cube. Now I'm not sure so we'll leave this until we know more about what our army looks like. Bane head with death is a combo we can remember for uncomped play but is just banned here. No other lore has much character killing spells but maybe death is good enough on its own. A look at history shows us that there were a large number of death slanns last year even with the 4 dice cap and no bane head so death is looking promising. We'll pencil that in as a possible lore for the slann. Crown, +1 LD, rumination or higher state. Pretty easy choice of rumination on the basis of if they comp extra power dice it must be good. We dont really need leadership 10 coldblooded,higher state is nice but our slann has a 4++ and should be nice and safe in a skink bunker at the back anyway. Crown is only good if you lose combat, I dislike planning to lose and with 2 extra power dice every turn we probably can swing that combat with magic. Max 6 units with <20 models which are also <130 points. This one is the toughest and makes us choose what kind of army we want to play. It is essentially a limit on our ability to spam massive amounts of chaff which is worth very little points. Going with principle 1 we will try to fit as much in as possible. First we need to find out which units are affected by the restriction: Terradons<5, Chameleon skinks (all sizes), single salamanders and razordons, jungle swarms<3, small skirmisher skink units and ranked skinks <20. We managed to avoid the hit on our one unit of salamanders by taking a unit of 2 so that leaves us the choice of do we want our chaff units to deal damage or just let us get favorable combats. Once you add the no brainer choices to the list such as scar-vets, sallies and at least one slann you need to decide how to actually win the game. Pure Magic dominance is probably out due to the restrictions but it can definitely help either shooting or combat. Shooting lists tend to win small but reliably, about 13-15 on the 20-0 system. They tend to rely on player skill in pulling off the double flee maneuver, focus firing easy points while conserving your own. They tend to mentally draining to play as the movement phase will have lots of units and must be exact as a gap or poor angle can cost the game if it means the enemy gets into combat. On the upside if they lose you know that most of time it was not the fault of the dice and you are much more in control of the game flow. They rely on big units of chameleons, salamanders and ranked skinks to keep shooting and terradons to double flee with one medium sized block and scar vets to go mop up point turn 5 or 6. Usually have a death slann to snipe characters for easy points. See poland's lizardmen lists form 2012 and 2011. Combat lists tend to have bigger wins but occasionally will have one bad turn of dice at a key moment and will lose big time, only getting 2-3 points or less from the game. Combat lists require you to know which unit/size/character combinations you can fight and which you can't with your army. Sometimes you will just fluff your dice for a round, break and lose based off dice. These style lists are easier to play in theory but require good mental math skills to predict the outcome of a combat before you charge. They mainly rely on 2 big hordes of saurus backed with vets and buffed with magic, usually shadow or light. See Austria's list from ETC 2012 for an example. I'll try to finish this later with a run down of what units/sizes/lores fit in which lists and build a sample list for each style as well as covering the 'dud' units and why not to take them.