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Tutorial Chameleon Skink Tactica

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by Scalenex, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The forums have been a little slow on new posts, so I’m going to take a stab at making a Chamo Skink Tactica. If anyone things I missed something that should be included let me know.

    I know they fill similar roles, but I’d prefer to save a Terradons vs. Chamo Skinks debate for another thread. Mostly I gravitate towards Chamo Skinks because those are the models I have more of.


    What do you do with Chamo Skinks?


    Hunt Warmachines: Chamo Skinks are ideally suited for hunting war machines. Most war machine crews have low armor saves and double tap poisoned shots will handle the high toughness scores of most war machines in short order. The value of a scout deploying near a war machine is handy too, with luck and good placement you can shoot out a war machine before they can fire a shot, or at least before they fire their second shot.

    Most of the time shooting is the best way to take out a war machine with Chamo Skinks since Chamo Skinks get bonuses to shooting (multi-shot and poison) and suffer from their low T and WS in close combat. Sometimes you are better off charging the war machines despite this. If the war machine has hard cover, your probably are going to have better luck with CC than with shooting. If you can buff the Chamo Skinks with magic before the CC phase, then CC is probably a safer bet (though there are buffs that improve shooting). Anything that makes them deadlier or more survivable is a good buff.

    It’s not just a matter of what will kill a particular war machine faster. If you wipe a war machine out in one round of close combat you can overrun into the next one if they are arranged in an artillery line (as is often the case). Whether you kill the war machine in CC or not, a war machine engaged in melee has to stop shooting at you while it’s in melee.

    Hunting Big Game Units: Large monsters with high toughness and weak or nonexistent saves are vulnerable to mass volleys of poisonous darts. This category includes but is not limited to Giants, Terrogheists, Mangler Squigs, and the occasional low save monstrous mount for a lord (such as Manticores). Sometimes you can kill these monsters with darts alone. Other times you just soften up them enough to make them much more killable when said monsters reach your mainline. Either way the Chamo Skinks inflict serious damage. Even better most giant monsters are not maneuverable enough to prevent a Chamo Skink from circling around them and firing on them again next round. Said monsters pretty much have to act like the Chamo Skinks aren’t there and make their best possible attempt to reach your Saurus blocks as quickly as possible before they succumb to the dart barrage.

    A different sort of “big game” target is lone character, while a large monster is likely to keep lumbering towards your main line, a lone character is likely to stay back in a little nest much like a war machine (perhaps even nestled amongst the war machines). Like a war machine, you can often stop a character from doing their nasty stuff by engaging it in melee. Lone characters are usually tougher fighters than war machine crews. Because of this, buffs on your skinks are even more important if you are going the CC route. If you go the shooting route and fail to kill the character, the risk is that the character will retaliate on the following turn, either by charging you, pulling out their special ability, or blasting the skinks with a spell.

    A third type of big game is elite infantry with low armor. This includes but is not limited to Dwarven Slayers, Savage Orcs, and High Elf Swordmasters. While the results are less dramatic than with the other “big game” targets, Chamo Skinks will usually pay for themselves whittling down these types of targets to a manageable size to let your Saurus or Skroxigor beat them.

    Being annoying: A group of Chamo Skinks can keep moving and shooting while staying well out of the charge arc of a big block of infantry (or most other unit types) and keep nickeling and diming the unit while avoiding its wrath. An experienced player will either entrap the unit boxing it with another unit or just ignore the little guys altogether, but sometimes this is the best option available for us to do with our Chamo Skinks. Even if the enemies entrap your Chamo Skinks, you can at least console yourself with the fact that they the units they are using to pincer your skinks probably cost a lot more than the skinks themselves and you’ve kept them away from the rest of your army.

    Regular skinks can run similar interference for fewer points, but Chamo Skinks can keep their ability to hit on 6s even when using multi-shot at long range, something regular Skinks cannot do. Also on average, Chamo Skinks will get into firing range at least one round before regular skinks will meaning that not only is their shooting better, but you get more of it. The same comments also apply to the Big Game Hunting targets. Skink Skirmishers can do it too, but Chamo Skinks do it better.

    March blocking also fits under this heading. March blocking is most viable as a strategy against low leadership armies, but it’s worth remembering even against high leadership armies. Once in a blue moon a High Elf unit will fail a Fear test. Likewise, once in a blue moon a High Elf unit will fail a march test too.

    EDIT: Even more useful than march blocking is Vanguard blocking. @Hooligan's trick works against any enemy with Vanguard units and be accomplished even if the enemy deploys his units too tight to allow Scouts in his backfield.

    Skirmisher Screen: This is a concept I’m struggling with. From my limited understanding of skirmisher screens you probably want regular skinks to screen for you since they are cheaper and thus more expendable. If your screen is mainly to prevent BS shooting, Chamo Skinks may be worth the extra points. As scouts you have more flexibility deploying Chamo Skinks than regular Skinks. Also if you don’t take regular skinks on your lists, you can use Chamo Skinks as a skirmisher screen if circumstances beyond your control prevent you from using your skinks to do the above mentioned roles.

    Skirmisher vs. Skirmisher: There are usually better things to do with Chamo Skinks than matching their blowpipes against the bows of enemy skirmishers, but it is still a viable strategy. Chamo Skinks have an edge over most other Skirmishers in a pure shooting match between multi-shot, poison, BS4, and the additional penalty enemies have for shooting at them. There are a few skirmishers that can hold their own versus Chamo Skinks in a shooting match, but most of the units that CAN are pretty expensive. Thus, Chamo Skinks still win out on a point-for-point basis. Whoever you are fighting with, make sure that you stay out of their charge arc since Chamo Skinks are noticeably WEAKER compared to pretty much every other skirmisher in close combat unless you are fighting another Lizardmen player.

    Culling the Weak: While it’s normally not efficient to shoot at the regular infantry units of your opposing side with Chamo Skinks, sometimes the tiny dregs of a fleeing unit escape the wrath of your Saurus. You want to get the victory points for the unit, but you can’t afford to redirect your main units away from the stronger threats. It usually a simply matter to redirect your Chameleons to finish the unit off for you, especially late in the game when most war machines and big game targets have been accounted for. You can also shoot up small healthy units such as Empire Detachments. The downside of targeting small healthy units with Chamo Skinks is that it’s not that cost efficient. A healthy unit that is weak enough to succumb to Chamo Skinks is likely to cost a fraction of the Chamo Skinks you are wielding against them. Even then, you do not what Chamo Skinks to fight regular Skinks hand-to-hand. That's a battle of attrition you will lose.


    Common Threats to Chamo Skinks


    Auto-hit ranged Attacks: This broad category mainly includes magic missile spells, but auto-hit special abilities creep up in various army lists, especially undead with their scream attacks. There are others I’m sure as my knowledge of Warhammer is not encyclopedic; feel free to add to these in replies. Each threat has a different response.

    Magic missiles are the most straight forward, dispel anything directed at your Chamo Skinks. The army specific threats require you to know the basic capabilities of the unit and plan accordingly. Tomb Banshees (and other screamers) only have an eight inch range so use your 12” march move to stay out of range. One thing you can do against all auto-hit threats is bring additional units of Chamo Skinks, that way you can afford to lose one unit and still hit your desired targets. If I can’t afford two or more Chamo Skink units, I usually go with zero. EDIT: I've experimented with larger units of Chamo Skinks. That works too, but I think multiple small units are sightly better.

    Shooting from Tomb Kings or Wood Elves: All Tomb King BS based shooting has no penalties to hit for skirmishing, camouflage, or anything else. Chances are pretty good that a typical TK list will take enough archers to guarantee that your Lizardmen will be fighting in the shade, especially if they take the buff spell that gives them an extra round of shooting. Chamo Skinks cost 13 points each, have practically no armor save, low T and Ld. They will be very popular with the undead archers. Tomb Kings conveniently have war machines for us to hunt, but I am still at a loss for what to do when my all-comers list leads to me pitting my Chameleon Skinks against the forces of Nehekara. If anyone knows what to do in that situation, feel free to share it in this thread.

    Wood Elf archers can take an upgrade to ignore all shooting penalties AND they have freakishly high BS traits. They are even scarier.

    Night Goblin Fanatics: Fanatics can steam roller your Chamo Skinks quite easily. One strategy is just to have your Chamo Skinks give blocks of Night Goblins a wide berth. That's a stall at best because that exposes the rest of your army to fanatics (unless you use Walk Between Worlds to trigger them, he he he). I prefer to have my Chamo Skinks trigger the Fanatics at maxium range (8 inches) as early as possible. Fanatics that spring early have a better chance of rolling doubles, blundering into a forest, randomly redirecting into a friendly unit, or flailing in an empty quarter of the table. Worst case scenario you have more time to pick off Fanatics with shooting. If you can send Chamo Skinks at a Night Goblin block and come at them from the side or the rear, the O&G will probably not want to send the Fanatics at your Scouts. Note, O&G players are not required to send their Fanatics towards the triggering units, they could send them out any direction they choose. Four times out of Five, if you can force your opponent's hand in this manner thought, it will be to your benefit.

    Fast Cavalry and Flyers: Like almost everything else, most Fast Cavalry and Flyers are capable of tearing through Chamo Skinks in melee without breaking a sweat. Unlike most other enemy units, these have a reasonable chance of forcing Chamo Skinks into close combat without another unit pincering them. Under most circumstances ,the maneuverability of Chamo Skinks will keep them out of harm’s way from even these fast unit types. There is a trade-off though. A skilled general expecting Chamo Skinks will deploy their mobile units in front of their war machines and other vulnerable targets. This forces you to make a difficult choice between exposing your Chamo Skinks to danger or sending them against subpar targets.

    Heavy cavalry is also a threat to Chamo Skinks. That’s like using a sledge hammer to tap a nail though, most of the time there are better targets in the LM army for heavy cavalry. The worst thing you can do is put your Chamo Skinks in a place where heavy cavalry can run them down and then still hit your main line. Then your Chamo Skinks can’t even have died for a redirect.

    Other Issues


    Should I take a Stalker?: A ten point upgrade will not make or break a game, but if you are the type of player who likes to squeeze every point, don’t take Stalkers. For almost the price of another Chameleon Skink, you can hit on 5+ instead of 6+. Poisoned Shooting really only needs 6s. Note: I usually break my own rule because I like my Stalker conversions, but on tournament days I’m far more likely to drop them.


    How Big Should my Units Be?: The consensus is that 6-8 is best, though some like ten. As far as I know, even though we aren’t capped at ten any more, few if any Lizardmen players have fielded units larger than ten. Multiple smaller units will usually out perform a single large unit because they split their fire and take a hit better. If you lose five Chameleon Skinks from a unit of ten, the unit is 50/50 likely to panic. If you lose five Chameleon Skinks and you have two groups of five, you still have one group shooting for you.

    Bigger units aren’t worthless. A larger unit can take a magic missile with less chance of dying or panicking. They gain more from buff spells. The buff spells worth casting on Chameleon Skinks tend to be Harmonic Convergence, Hand of Glory (BS), and sometimes Walk Between Worlds. Also, sometimes you just want to roll a lot of dice at once and big units help there. In a smaller game, large units of Chameleon Skinks will have generally plenty of room to move and they can devastate relatively small enemy units with their shooting.


    What if the Enemy Deploys Really Tight, are my Scouts Worthless?: Hopefully I gave you enough ideas for secondary targets to seek and roles to play. Also the very fact that your opponents are deploying to stop Chameleon Skinks means even at the deployment stage, your enemy is responding to you rather than forcing you to respond to them. Press the initiative if at all possible and your Chameleon Skinks will still be valuable additions to your army. A good example of this is using Chameleon Skinks to prevent enemy Vanguard moves.


    Irrelevance: The greatest threat Chamo Skinks face is irrelevance.

    Sometimes you face an army with no “big game” targets or war machines. When this happens, your Chamo Skinks main reason for existing is gone. In this case, the best thing you can do is fall back onto secondary targets plinking whatever you can get at without exposing your Chamo Skinks to things that can kill them. Not every unit in your army has to kill its point’s worth of enemy units. At least try to keep them alive.

    In a less severe case, the optimum Chamo Skinks targets are all locked away real tight in a place where it’s practically impossible to get your Chamo Skinks at them. This is something time called a “castle.” I have not yet figured out a good way to counter this without magic leaving my Chamo Skinks outside the wall impotently throwing darts at a wall of infantry. If any of you know a non-magical solution to counter an enemy “castle” let me know.

    Another cause of irrelevance is AFTER you killed the targets that are vulnerable to Chamo Skinks and your main infantry blocks are mixing it up with what’s left. This leaves your Chamo Skinks without anything obvious to do. This is a good problem to have because it means you’ve dealt with most if not all of the threats left on the table. Don’t fall into the temptation to use your Chamo Skinks just because they are standing idle. If you can take some pot shots at something, feel free to do so. Don’t feel obligated to toss your Chamo Skinks into the flank or rear of an enemy engaging your Saurus just because you can. Chances are they will fight so poorly and die so easily that it will be a net loss to your CR. Whether you seem to be winning or losing the main battle, you probably want to deny your opponent the victory points for killing your Chamo Skinks if you can.

    One thing you CAN do with your Chamo Skinks in the late stage of battle is parking your Skinks an inch away from the back of an enemy unit to prevent reforms. Particularly useful when you are fighting a horde formation unit that’s been reduced to the point where they would prefer to reform into extra ranks as opposed to remaining ten wide. They risk getting in the way if your units break the unit the Chamo Skinks are planted behind and are prevented from pursuing through them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  2. Kharn The Betrayer
    Razordon

    Kharn The Betrayer New Member

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    Good strategy guide, and I'd like to add that it really is a judgement call for cc or shooting, I.e. I find warplightning cannon crews are better to charge, and highelf repeater bolt throwers are good charge targets as well, whereas something like a dwarf crew is a VERY bad choice to charge
     
  3. Lord Tsunami
    Salamander

    Lord Tsunami Member

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    great guide. a note on shield of thorns though. it is a spell and not a close combat attack, and therefore the warmachines will get to use its high toughness (usually 7) against it. you would still cause ~1 wound on average but you are very unlikely to wipe it out with the spell.
     
  4. Nighteyes
    Jungle Swarm

    Nighteyes New Member

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    Another trick I started using my chameleon skinks for in a tournament recently was lining them up in a single file behind enemy units in a perpendicular line. The purpose was to help piggy back the enemy unit off the board when they flee so that I don't have to pursue them with my unit in combat and instead can reform to face the next threat.

    I was using unit's of 6 chameleon skinks, which are essentially 6" wide, plus the extra 1" units need to bounce add, so I was effectively adding an extra 7" to a units flee roll, combined with an average roll of 2d6, this creates a 14" flee.

    Chameleons do this well, since the scout move easily allows them to get in behind enemy lines.
     
  5. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Oh yeah I should probably bring up something that hurt me for not knowing the rules. Cannons using grapeshot have to roll BS to hit. It does not autohit what the number is rolled.

    That means grapeshot has a very poor track record against chamo skinks instead of a spectacular record against them like the one game I played.
     
  6. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Here's a good idea I hadn't thought of before because I rarely play against enemy Scouts myself though once time I did not factor in enemy Scouts appropriately and it cost me the game.

     
  7. Rhodium
    Kroxigor

    Rhodium New Member

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    Another thing I like using them for is stopping vanguards.

    If there is nothing worth taking in the backfield, or the opponent has deployed smartly so I can't get in.

    I just sit them 13 inches from a vanguarding unit, means they can't move forward in their vanguard

    If I get turn one, just move them away safely
    If they get turn one, usually they will charge them, I just flee back towards my slann, rally then use them as redirectiors later
     
  8. Kimiko
    Skink

    Kimiko New Member

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    If they vanguard and get 1st turn, they can't charge.
     
  9. Rhodium
    Kroxigor

    Rhodium New Member

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    No, they don't vanguard because I am blocking them from vanguarding, unless they go back or sideways.

    They choose not to move because they coudlnt move forward then execute a 13 inch charge against me turn one
     
  10. n810
    Slann

    n810 First Spawning

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    And is at all possible, bunker your Chameleons in terrain, anying helps, forest are good, but water is best. :smug:
     
  11. Daneish
    Cold One

    Daneish New Member

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    Good tactician.

    Here are a few thoughts I would like to add.

    Against castles you can expect to see some ballistic based shooting. I am looking at you dwarfs or even against armies such as wood elves and dark elves you can string your chameleons out in front of your Saurus/temple guard/salamander. This gives the unit behind some cover and the skinks themselves are hard to shoot down. Combine this with the sig from heavens and you have a potent defence against bs armies. Yes the chameleons aren't earning their points but they are preserving your combat blocks to earn them later.

    Early redirecters of insane monsterous cav. This works best against skull crushers, thanks frenzy. Turn one you park in front of them at a funny angle. They charge and overrun strange or reform, not you crushers and have moved 2" instead of 14. Do they advance the rest of their army leaving this dangerous unit behind so you have a turn to deal with it before it arrives or do they hold back giving you more time to blast with magic or work better match ups. Another way to slow them is park a bit further away and try to force them into failed charges.

    Lastly for those games they are still alive at the end they can declare charges and puts fleeing units off the board to get their points.
     
  12. Caprasauridae
    Stegadon

    Caprasauridae Well-Known Member

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    Thanks yet again for the tactica. One thing you could add to the list of non-BS based shooting are the breath weapons. Here the same thing applies as with the Terrorgheist: try to stay away from them. Though, sometimes it's difficult to know whether or not something has a breath weapon (like the Ogre banner giving a breath weapon or the Tomb King Warsphinx who you can buy it as an upgrade, to name just a few.). On the other hand, whether a unit of Chameleon Skinks is the best place to use the breath weapon or not, is up to a debate.
     
  13. twistedmagpie
    Saurus

    twistedmagpie Member

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    Additionally, there are fanatics...as I learnt to my own detriment last week, they auto hit too - decimated my unit before I had time to think.
     
  14. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    ThreadNecromancy_zpsa40b9ee8.jpg

    Every time I play against the new Wood Elves, my Chameleon Skinks die in round one, usually to a single volley of shooting.

    I don't expect Chamo Skinks to do as well against Wood Elves as against other armies, but does anyone have any thoughts about getting SOME use of Chamo Skinks versus Wood Elves?

    I also added a blurb about Night Goblin Fanatics in response to Twistedmagpie's comment.
     
  15. n810
    Slann

    n810 First Spawning

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    Scout them in water based terrain. ;)
     
  16. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Most Wood Elf lists I see, give half their archers the "No penalties to hit" upgrade. That's the one I'm primarily concerned with.
     
  17. n810
    Slann

    n810 First Spawning

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    Well that's dirty,
    I think that was just on characters before. :(

    I suppose impassible, 100% LOS blocking terrain is your only option then. :jawdrop:
     
  18. SilverFaith
    Terradon

    SilverFaith Member

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    I bring them anyway. Just a small unit.

    The reason is because it means he goes overboard, and indeed gives half his units trueflight arrows (no penalties, ever). This means he isn't giving them something like poison instead.

    I had stopped using skirmishers almost entirely because of their penalty removing abiity, but then he stopped using the trueflight arrows... so I started using them again.

    Basically, my reason for bringing them, is forcing the WE player to deal with it.

    Generally, though... They rarely do well. I've once nicked down 2 wild riders with them, but they pretty much never kill their own point value.

    They are amazing warmachine hunters, but against WE, who don't NEED warmachines, and can outright ignore all shooting penalties, well...

    If it helps, Skaven struggle against those arrows as well. Storm Banner (-2 to ALL shooting, including the skavens own) generally shut down shooting, including your own, but those damn arrows just don't care :p

    I think we just have to accept that those arrows are effective hard counters against the poor chameleons.
     

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