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Tutorial Choosing the size of your Skink Cohorts

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by Scalenex, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Skink Cohorts

    A few skinks or a massive block? What do you do with plain Skinks versus Skroxigor blocks? When should I take command (if you aren’t like me and tend to take FC gratiously)? I try to establish guidelines, not rules. I haven’t even tried everything listed. Much of it is Theoryhammer, feel free to share relevant experiences using different sized skink units.

    The idea of poisonous melee attacks appeals to me, but I don’t see it being worth the points cost, so I’d be very wary of doing it outside a friendly game played for experimental purposes. For about the same price as giving Skinks poisoned melee attacks, you can buy Swarms.


    Vanilla Cohorts



    The roles for Vanilla Cohorts are essentially unchanged in the new book. Scaly Skin 6+ means our Skinks will survive a little longer. Ld 5 means it’s more important to keep your larger Skink units close to your general if at all possible. Since smaller Cohorts are pretty much supposed to flee, the reduced Ld is less of an issue for them.



    Minimalist, 10 Skinks: This is the cheapest unit we can field. When any unit suffices, a skink cohort will do. A lot of tournaments have special rules for bonus points for controlling certain terrain features. Sometimes after clearing a space you need to move your combat units to clear the enemy. You can do worse than leave a skink cohort there. Of course they won’t be able to find to fight back against much, but if you keep the pressure on your foe with your main units the Skinks won’t have to fight back.

    A cheap cohort can draw out things like Goblin Fanatics, redirect charges (especially of a Frenzied unit). They can also screen your forces. Skinks Skirmishers are a little more maneuverable, but they cost more. If you are very good at positioning (not me) you can counter balance the lack of maneuverability and really maximize the use of your points. Some people are so good at redirecting and screening with small Skink cohorts that they are being partially restricted in some events. (I believe ETC is going to eventually restrict every LM unit that starts with “S”).

    Also, they can still throw javelins at things while they are waiting for their command to die for the greater good. A block of cheap skinks can still deny ranks with a flank charge (just make sure you don’t give them free CR with easy kills). A musician is a good idea since your unit is likely to be strategically fleeing a lot. Any other leadership upgrade is probably a luxury purchase.



    Small, 11-19 Skinks: No idea what to do with a unit this size. It’s too big to be small, too small to be big. MAYBE it can serve as a bunker versus shooting and magic missiles to a paranoid player with a skink priest, but most players prefer a maneuverable team of skirmishers, especially with how useful Arcane Vassals have become in the new book. If you want to protect your skink priest with a block, a unit champion and musician would not be amiss. A standard bearer wouldn’t be a terrible idea if a Breaking Point Scenario is a possibility, but otherwise you can probably leave your standard at home.



    Medium, 20 Skinks: Still too small to be big. I see the main purpose of these guys being a place holder in a Watchtower Scenario. If you can them in Slann General/BSB within 12 inches on turn one, the skinks will hold out till they are wiped out. Their Stubborn Cold blooded Ld 6 is adequate if not great for holding the tower for a turn or two (and with a quick to fire missile weapon, will get poisoned shots off every time they are charged regardless of the charge distance). They don’t have to stay there all game, just long enough to let your large Saurus blocks get in there and they only have to fight ten models at a time.

    The problem is what to do with 20 Skinks outside the Watchtower scenario. Command upgrades would probably be of little use here. I got a friend at my gaming store who collects several armies and is a part time LM player. He has had some success using a flanking force of 20-25 skinks back up his Saurus. Being much better than I at positioning his battle lines he can make sure the skinks provide support where they are useful and aren’t open to an enemy attack.

    I have had a decent amount of success garrisoning buildings with a 20 model unit of Skinks and generally being a nuisance to remove. Quick to Fire Poison combined with Stubborn does not need a Watchtower Scenario to be useful given how common buildings are as a terrain feature.

    A 20 Skink block is the only type of vanilla Cohort where I’d even consider springing the extra points for poisoned melee attacks. A smaller unit will probably die before poisoning anything and a larger unit would become prohibitively expensive.


    Large, 21-49 Skinks: Another awkward size. Perhaps a special scenario with buildings you are defending would give you a use for blocks this size. Skinks are cheap place holders and can throw a lot of javelins at anything assaulting a building. Qupakoco found more use for this block than I could.



    Huge, 50+: For the newbies out there, a tar pit is a very deep ranked unit of inexpensive troops. The goal isn’t to kill the enemy but to get them stuck. No matter how many the unit kills, the unit keeps Steadfast. It doesn’t matter that the tar pit inflicts negligible damage because the unit stays put sticking the enemies in place either tying them up all game or tying them up until you are ready to engage said unit.

    I’ve avoided Skink tar pits because other armies can field tar pits for cheaper. I’ve since learned this was an erroneous conclusion. We may not have the best tar pit unit in Warhammer or even the fifth best tar pit, but a tar pit is still a tar pit. I did an army swap with a friend who collects dwarves. He proves he can use my LM better than I can use his Dwarves. He managed to school me with my own Lizards tying up my elite Hammers and a flanking force of miners pretty much all game with 80ish Skinks. Steadfast in range of the Slann BSB, I couldn’t dislodge them no matter how hard I tried. While my two units were tied up, he took out the rest of my army. A skink tar pit will work if you have a coherent plan as my friend did, but if you just decide to tar pit something randomly, the skinks points will probably go to waste.

    Most skink units of this size will stretch farther than your typical deployment zone if arranged five wide. Thus a musician is good for a first turn swift reform, unless you are planning on the skinks staying put, then a regular reform will suffice. The champion and standard bearer add relatively little to a tar pit, but I believe for thematic purposes if not tactical purposes, very large units deserve full command.

    The Achilles heel of enormous tar pits is spells like Dwellers which affect every single model in a unit whether it’s 10 or 150, so ration your dispel dice carefully when fielding HUGE blocks and facing a foe with Metal, Life, or one of the army book lores with a spell that says “every model in the enemy unit”.


    Skroxigor Cohorts



    Kroxigor are cheaper and hit harder than they used to be. With the leadership reduction Skinks received in the new book, having a Kroxigor provide Ld7 is more important than it was before. Tetto’eko can join Skroxigor blocks and you probably should put him a Skroxigor block unless you plan on Tet hanging back for most/all of the battle. Also, Kroxigor aren’t required to all remain in the second rank giving us more flexibility with Skroxigor builds.

    Kroxigor do not negate Stomps for Skinks anymore meaning Skroxigor aren’t the perfect monster hunters they used to be.
    As unpleasant as that is, what’s worse is that Kroxigor can now be singled out by the enemy. If you are fighting a monster or elite, the Kroxigor in your units can be taken out before their Always Strike Last attacks fall in. The exception is Dwarfs. Since Dwarfs rely so heavily on great weapons themselves, Skroxigor remain as potent as ever.

    I believe the net effect of the new book’s changes to Skroxigor is that small units are just as useful as before and very large units are more useful, but medium and large sized Skroxigor units are suddenly far less useful.


    Minimalist, 1 Kroxigor, 10-15 Skinks: The minimalist Skroxigor block. I’ve started incorporating 11 Skink, 1 Kroxigor blocks into my lists (11 Skinks give them three full ranks). I pretend I’m a scaly Empire player and play them like a detachment for a Saurus block. First while the Saurus marches 8 inches, the Skroxigor buddy walks six and throws javelins at something (if they aren’t in range they can march instead). You probably won’t kill much but you want the Skrox to hang back so they don’t get charged in lieu of the Saurus, so they might as well throw poisonous shots while they wait. Then, when the Saurus charge into combat or are charged themselves, the Skroxigor hit the flank providing positive combat resolution to the Saurus. As an added plus, your Saurus now benefit from having a Fear causing unit on their side.

    Since you will be seeking to fight alongside a tougher block (that likely has a Standard already), you probably don’t need to mess with any command crew for a unit this size. A Musician is probably the first thing you want to consider in case this little unit gets over its head and breaks.

    You do NOT want this little faux detachment to fight by itself. The only possible exception is if you are fighting to keep a WEAK mobile unit from causing trouble such as a single great eagle, hopefully you can soften them up with javelins before engaging.


    More Skinks?: A unit with a single Kroxigor can have more than 15 Skinks of course but I believe you face diminishing returns at this level. The rationale behind this is that it’s not a Skroxigor unit with extra skinks, rather it’s a Skink block that happens to have a Kroxigor in it. The Kroxigor confers the Skink block but with a single Kroxigor providing Ld 7, Fear and a little extra hitting power. That’s a valid choice, but I’m still going to explain why I am not endorsing it.

    First, giving the way BS shooting is randomized between Skinks and Kroxigor (not to mention line based attacks like cannon balls), the Kroxigor would die relatively easy. Second, a large skink block is usually meant to serve a purpose OTHER than killing enemies so the extra hitting power is an inefficient use of points. Third, you want to keep your larger skink blocks near the general whenever possible so the Kroxigor’s Ld7 is unlikely to come into play.



    Small, 2 Kroxigor, 16-23 Skinks: This unit is bigger, but it’s still not that big. You can be a LITTLE bolder with a block this size though you should aim to have this unit act primarily as support to another unit rather than fighting its own battle. This unit is capable of laying the smack down on things smaller than them, but against something the same size, you will probably lose combat, you’ll run out of skinks and the unit will break. This is a decent option for attacking small units of monstrous infantry. A block of three or four Monstrous infantry will struggle to kill your Kroxigor before they get to strike and an opponent who tries this ploy will likely be losing out on CR by not targeting Skinks. You still need to think of this as a flanking unit, not a stand alone unit.

    A unit this size is more likely to fight by itself so a full command may be useful in case of that contingency. The champion is probably the least useful upgrade because if you are fighting an enemy blender with this block alone, chances are you are going to lose this combat badly regardless of what you do.



    More Skinks?: More than the minimum Skinks is a good idea for two Kroxigor Skrox units. A few extra ranks to maintain your steadfast and deny enemy Steadfast. This will help your Kroxigors stay in a position to lay some smack down round after round. Don’t go too crazy. A two Kroxigor/gazillion Skink unit turns into an inefficient multi-tasking tar pit. Once you start thinking of Horde and near-Horde formations you probably want to add more Kroxigor.

    This is the only sized Skroxigor Cohort where I’d even consider springing the extra points for poisoned melee attacks. A smaller unit will probably die before poisoning anything and a larger unit would become prohibitively expensive. I certainly wouldn’t add more Skinks than the minimum to field two Kroxigor if I chose this unorthodox route.



    Medium Sized, 3 Kroxigor, 24-31 Skinks: Resist the temptation to go Horde, the extra attacks from the skinks will not make up for the liability of the increased frontage. If you must protect your Kroxigor’s flanks, go eight wide, otherwise you are probably better off with the minimum six wide. A six model wide three Kroxigor block is vulnerable on the flanks, but face the facts. If this unit is hit in the flank, you are probably going to lose the unit regardless.

    Three Kroxigors with a swarm of skinks certainly look badass. Know their limitations though. You should still seek to use a block this size as a supporting unit and not have it fight on its lonesome unless the target is pretty puny or your hand is otherwise forced. A medium sized Kroxigor unit IS big enough to get away with being the frontal assault unit while another unit is the flanker however (or both units can hit the front of a horde or other large unit). Because the 3 Kroxigor block is showing a little greater independence than the 2 Kroxigor variety, at 3+ Kroxigors you have little reason to not take full command crews.

    Unfortunately this block has become somewhat nerfed in the new book. An enemy unit strong enough to warrant using a Skroxigor block this size to fight is probably also strong enough to take out your Kroxigor before they can strike if they target their attacks appropriately. This used to be my go-to unit for fighting lone monsters. Now I think most monsters would defeat a 3 Kroxigor mixed cohort fairly easily.

    More Skinks?: A few extra skinks won’t hurt as a supporting unit. If you want to use a 3 Kroxigor block as standalone unit, you are going to need LOTS of extra Skinks. In the long haul a Skroxigor block will win out over most things on a point for point basis giving up 5 point skinks and inflicting 10 or so points per Kroxigor hit (depending on what you are fighting), but most rounds you will lose CR even if you win on points. In a one-on-one fight, 3 Kroxigor blocks need to keep Steadfast or their odds of losing and breaking are pretty good. Trios of Kroxigors need a strong buffer of Skinks to stay healthy.

    With the new book I would not try a three Kroxigor block with extra Skinks unless I was fighting a human or elf army. This unit should be a good knight killer. After the enemy has used up their charge round (or if you denied them the charge), the knights won’t be hitting hard enough to be able to effectively single out and destroy your Kroxigor. Then you can sit back let the combination of S7 hits and Static CR do it’s thing.



    Large Sized, 4 or 5 Kroxigors, 32 or 40 Skinks: Finally a skink cohort has enough heavy hitting power to be a main infantry block (at least in theory). A Kroxigor block this size should probably be fielded in horde formation.

    That’s a lot of points in one unit, so make sure whatever target you are pointing your mega block is one that needs that many S7 hits to take it down. You shouldn’t use a sledge hammer to tap in a nail. Since you are investing that many points into Kroxigor, you might as well take full command, even the Brave can come in handy to buy you a one-turn distraction from a nasty enemy character. Perhaps even a cheap Skink Chief so this unit doesn’t go all Predatory Fighter on you and chases an opponent somewhere you don’t want this über unit to go.

    With the new book you have to be very careful about fighting an enemy that is capable of bringing down Kroxigor from the front rank. You should probably make this unit priority one to receive helpful buffs or hexes. Especially if this block is fighting Monsters. If the Kroxigor are cut out this block, what you have left is a giant point sink.

    More Skinks?: Yeeeessss!!! Chances are if an enemy is tough enough to warrant 12-15 S7 hits, said enemy will have the necessary might to chop down skinks like wheat. Thus, you will still lose CR even as you are winning on a point-for-point basis. You spent well over 200 points on Kroxigor alone for this block, protect your investment by making sure the skink buffer is very big. Skink buffers will help protect your unit against hordes and cavalry but against elites and monsters they’ll just target the Kroxigor and your Skinks will do little. You need WS or Toughness boosting buffs or Strength and WS sapping hexes in that case.



    6+ Kroxigors, Skroxigor Deathstars: Since we can now put Kroxigor into the third rank, this is suddenly viable where once it was just unwieldy and foolish to field a Skroxigor block this size. I’m making two assumptions, first I’m assuming this unit will be deployed in horde formation. Second I am assuming you are deploying your Kroxigor in two ranks, not one really long unwieldy rank or with a third redundant rank.

    You get your entire allotment of three Kroxigor attacks each with this set up. There are enough Kroxigor now that attacking them individually will not severely blunt this unit’s offensive power. You can pretty much take on anything with this unit. My suggestion is to point this unit on whatever the strongest thing on the other side is and go nuts with buffs and hexes just to be sure. You should have n+10 Skinks in your unit, where n the number of Skinks you think is adequate for what you expect to be fighting.

    This is not a stupid build, but it is an unorthodox build. You should still ask yourself. “Would I do better with a Deathstar made up of Kroxigor or Saurus instead?” If filling your Core’s required 25% and staying under your 50% Special ceiling are not really concerns, then the answer to the question is probably yes.

    When do you want to field a Skroxigor Deathstar? When you are fielding a Monster Mash or Fast Attack army build. Saurus Warriors do not have the movement rate to keep up with your dinos. Skirmishers do not hit hard enough to justify taking more than two or three units of them. Thus Skroxigor are the only viable option you have to fill up your Core requirement in these army builds. Since you army is based around hitting your opponent really hard all at once, your Skroxigor should probably fit the theme.

    In theory you could use smaller Skroxigors as flankers to support your dinosaurs, but it’s better to use your dinosaurs to provide flank support for your Skroxigor since they have smaller footprints.



    A Second Look at Poison



    I generally spoke ill of poison, but here is a differing view on the subject.

    The 70 Skinks will maintain Steadfast longer than the 50, but the Mathhammer argument is compelling nonetheless.
     
  2. Qupakoco
    Skink Chief

    Qupakoco Keeper of the Dice Staff Member

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    Another great write-up.

    For units of 21-49 skinks, I have used them a few times as tarpit tarpits. They hold up relatively well against Skaven Slaves, Giant Rat Darts, and sometimes against Goblin hordes. It'll throw a small wrench in your opponents plans.

    They also make good screens for your saurus and can sometimes be used to get rear-charges, if you are lucky.
     
  3. Lord Tsunami
    Salamander

    Lord Tsunami Member

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    great article!

    a few pointers:
    1) i think you should have two or three blank rows after each section. this will make the test much easier to read. it is a long article after all.

    2) i dont really agree with the "80 skinks is good" argument. 80 skinks is 400 points. 30 dwarf hammerers cost 450 points. using one to hold up the other isnt really that great. for the same 400 points you could get 130 goblins or zombies. sure it could work, but at what cost? the usual idea of a tarpit is to keep a very expensive unit busy killing a much cheaper unit. even if a 80 unit of skinks can keep an elite unit busy a while it is very expensive. i dont say you should remove the part, but maybe you should stetch the fact that 80 skinks costs as much as an elite combat horde.

    3) you say that you need 5 kroxigors to qualify as a horde. why? have i missed something?

    4) about the horde formation. normally its bad, but as stonecutter showed here the other day there are some very real cases when 10 or even 12 wide skink units (with 3 krox) will be beneficial, namely when fighting expensive low defense targets like minotaurs or maneaters (or monsters). the skinks will do so much damage with their shoot + stand and shoot and stiking first that they can cost efficiently trade, since they will kill fighting models before they get to strike. remember, you can always reform to suite the situation :)


    thanks again for an ambitious article :)
     
  4. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    1) Added empty spaces as you suggested


    2) He actually held up 34 hammerers AND 20 miners. I told him he could have done just fine with 60 skinks but 1) my friend believes in large units as a preference and 2) I he knew I was bringing over 100 skinks anywhere for our OTHER army swap that day where he fielded an all skirmisher army, so I think the super large horde was partially so I didn’t need to pack as much.


    3) I didn’t mean to state or imply that you need to have 5 Kroxigors to qualify as a horde. I just want to reiterate the fact that with 5 Kroxigors you must go at least 10 Skinks wide so a 5 Kroxigor block MUST be a horde whether you want that or not.


    4) Excellent point, I hadn’t given much consideration to the stand and shoot for Skink cohorts with Kroxigors. I figured it was like the Stegadon’s giant bow, if it kills something great, otherwise no biggie. I guess one should never neglect a quick to fire poisonous weapon just like never neglect to remember to make your foe take a Fear test, if they are testing at rerollable Ld 9.
     
  5. Caprasauridae
    Stegadon

    Caprasauridae Well-Known Member

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    Great article, thank you so much for putting this up!
     
  6. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I believe I initially undervalued 20 model units of Skinks! I just played five consecutive games, (three tournament, two tournament practice rounds) taking 20 vanilla skinks on each list. They did great for the point size in four of those five games.

    In a watchtower they were able to hold off a massive force of orcs for two rounds giving me enough time to put my Temple Guard in there. In scenarios where buildings were towards the center of the board they were able to gain Steadfast, 360 degree shooting, and more firing models than they would have gotten otherwise. If a Slann general/BSB is nearby they will not yield the building until wiped out.

    The shooting can really add up. once you are in the building, chances are good you can shoot at everyone at the base difficulty of 4 on your own shooting phase and hit on difficulty 5 for anyone assaulting the building. A 20 man skink block won't keep an elite force out for very long, but even if they don't they are still seriously slowing down said unit which should buy some time for your actual fighting units to get into position.

    I plan to take a 20 man block of Skinks in most of my lists from now on unless I am (a) fighting a static army that forces me to come to them (like dwarfs or some Empire list) or (b) am playing with a terrain generation method with relatively few buildings.
     
  7. Lord Tsunami
    Salamander

    Lord Tsunami Member

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    what will you use them for if you do not play the watchtower scenario, and if you do not have the first turn? a 100p unit doing the exact same redirecting job that a 50p unit can do just as well? sure you are only gambling with 50 points, but you are spending 50 "worthless points" in 11/12 matches.

    nice use for the cohort though if you know you have the first turn and playing watchtower.
     
  8. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    If you use the terrain generator chart on page 142, there is approximately each roll gives you a 28% of having a building. You don't need a watch tower scenario to have a useful building. But you are right, if you don't have a useful building, the skinks aren't worth as much. I think given the likelihood of buildings it's a good gamble though.
     
  9. Kroxigor83
    Jungle Swarm

    Kroxigor83 New Member

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    I'm slightly new to this.

    Are two blocks of 24 skinks with two kroxigors good?
     
  10. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    It depends on what you do with them. I think blocks of that size need to have a buddy to be most effective. When I go heavy on Skrox I tend to prefer one big unit over two medium units, but I think two Skrox blocks of that size should be good "bookends" for your army to protect your flanks and support your center left and center right units.
     
  11. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I have revised the OP to bring it inline with the new army book.
     
  12. Caneghem
    Carnasaur

    Caneghem New Member

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    One thing I didn't see you mention, is that in the new wording for skrox mixed units, it appears your formation choices are more varied now. Taking more kroxigors no longer forces you to go ultra wide.

    As an example, say you take 4krox/32skinks, you could set up like this..

    SSSSSS
    KKKKKK
    KKKKKK
    SSKKSS
    SSKKSS
    SSSSSS
    SSSSSS
    SSSSSS

    You don't really lose out on too much, because you can usually assume when anything nasty hits you, that you will most likely lose a kroxigor before they can strike anyway. In this formation, you'd just remove the one from the fourth rank and still have 3 kroxigors ready to fight back! I don't know, I think you can think of this type of unit as a forward hammer/tarpit. It can hammer into things requiring high strength hits until it starts losing kroxigors, at which point the enemy is stuck fighting steadfast skinks. It is roughly the cost of around 33 saurus warriors... I don't know, this might work out to be better than saurus for your core choice. Saurus Warriors are really just an anvil, where these can actually threaten some things and open cans with their strength. They need to be well supported, but I think it could work... just watch out for purple sun. Probably keep a Bastiladon nearby to help save them from initiative tests. This is probably best paired with Temple Guard with Razor Standard off to one side, and maybe an Ancient Stegadon to the other side.
     
  13. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I found a differing point of view on poison.

     
  14. Caneghem
    Carnasaur

    Caneghem New Member

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    I think the poison cohorts might be fairly useful, especially if you can get one into combat with something like a Frostheart Phoenix or a Warsphinx. It's like a tarpit that can eventually kill off those things reliant on high Toughness. Against good armor saves, they at least will force those save rolls, which anybody fails on a 1. It also removes the safety of a high Toughness monster when in combat, since the skinks can always pile in later.
     

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