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Tutorial LM on LM Tactica

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by Scalenex, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    LM versus LM Tactica

    Some of us are lucky enough to have other LM players in their area. Others of us, such as myself are crazy enough to have bought over 6,000 points of LM. Thus I can equip my own army and an opponent’s army if I find someone up for it. Some of the following is play tested, some is not. Let me know if you have anything to add or change.

    Battle reports I'm aware of for this matchup: 1201 point game

    Discussing Terms: If two LM players end up fighting in a campaign or tournament you are stuck with what you bring. If you plan to play LM versus LM with someone for a casual game, it may be worthwhile to set terms. If one player is more experienced than the other perhaps that player could self comp. The easiest way to give one player an advantage is probably to have the more experienced player forgo taking a Slann.

    Another thing you might want to sort out is making sure the armies are sufficiently different. Primarily Skinks versus primarily Saurus or Fast Attack army versus Traditional army for instance. If the armies are too similar it might make the match boring. Alternatively you could agree to make the armies extra similar in order to test the tactical acumen of the two players without confounding variables.

    I see a LM versus LM fight being determined on three fronts: Combat Blocks, Skirmishers, Magic

    Combat Blocks

    The most important front. Obviously units are evenly matched when they are fighting units with the same stats as themselves. It gets into positioning: basic Warhammer. With the abilities held constant it’s mostly about who positions their troops better than the other side (unless one player is luckier with dice than the other). Beyond positioning there is the possibility of strategic matchups. I proscribe to a Rock-Paper-Scissors theory. Most units have an advantage against the unit that has an advantage against the unit that has an advantage against them. For example: Saurus (scissors) will usually beat Skroxigor (paper) who beat Stegadon (rock) who will beat Saurus Warriors when they can get the charge.

    Saurus blocks and Temple Guard will win against most other LM units in a head-on fight against Stegadons, Kroxigor, and Cold One Riders. The aforementioned units all have M6 or 7 Meaning that have a better chance of hitting flanks, getting the charge bonus, and dictated when and where the individual battles are which will give an advantage not reflected in their stats and points cost.

    Skroxigor are kind of the omni-unit not quite as good at Saurus in head-to-head fights and not quite as good on the flank as the other M6+ units. In the new book they can be hit by the front rank of opposing models now, this means you probably want more Kroxigor than you’d want to Kroxigor A Saurus block (on Cold Ones or on foot) in a frontal assault can strip a Skroxigor block to just Skinks before the Kroxigor can get a swing in. Initiative 1 beats ASL.

    Stegadons deserve special mention. They are probably the single greatest threat to Saurus and Temple Guard. With their speed they should get the charge on Saurus foes most of the time and their impact hits and Thunderstomps will deal a severe beating. That being said, a Stegadon fighting a large block with extra ranks of Sauri by itself will eventually be nickeled and dimed to death by a sheer volume of attacks from their Steadfast opponent (especially if Sauri unit is made up of Halberd wielding Temple Guard). A combo Stegadon Saurus charge should have a good chance of breaking an infantry unit in a single round but will probably lose a battle of attrition. The greatest threats to Stegadons are Kroxigors, Cold One Riders, and Carnosaurs. Fast moving foes immune to Stomps, likely to get the charge, and capable of inflicting high strength hits.

    Saurus or Temple Guard? Without getting into the specifics, Saurus outclass Temple Guard in straight up fights on a point for point basis by a slim but real margin. While playing Temple Guard without a Slann is viable sometimes, I wouldn’t recommend it in a LM vs. LM match unless you are packing a magic banner of some kind. Whatever lore you choose, the Temple Guard will be first in line to receive buffs (or their enemies will be first in line to receive hexes). Thus, I’d put my money on Temple Guard over Saurus Warriors in most one-on-one fights because I’m assuming the Temple Guard will have a Slann casting spells on their behalf.

    With the high cold blooded leadership LM combat units enjoy, most battles will be fought to last man unless luck is extreme or one side can successfully double team the other’s units. Going light on fighty characters will give you a slight edge in attrition fights. Going heavy on fighty characters will give you a slight edge on winning CR and causing foes to break.

    Bastilodons will be invaluable on this front. If you have one boosting Initiative and the other side doesn’t, you’ll be striking first anytime two units of the same type fight. Boosting Swarms is nice too because Swarms can provide A LOT of poisoned attacks to various melees.


    Generic skirmishers (by which I mean all LM units with Skirmish) affect the overall outcome peripherally by aiding their respective side indirectly via the Combat Block and/or Magic fronts. In the following section I am referring to skirmishers in the generic sense every time I use the word unless I put the word “Skink” in front of it.

    With large blocks and decent armor saves, Skink BS shooting will do negligible damage to main blocks. If you want to hurt the main blocks, you have to rely on your Salamanders (to burn large swaths of troops) and Terradons (to catch fleeing units and run battlefield interference). In that case your other Skirmishers are there to protect your Salamanders and Terradons and to go after the other side’s Salamanders and Terradons. If your skirmishers aren’t protecting or attacking Salamanders or Terradons then they better be redirecting something. Otherwise, they are likely to contribute very little to the battle. Skirmishers can also affect the Magic phase of the battle by protecting your Skink Priests and non-TG bunkered Slann or chasing after Skink Priests and lone Slann belonging to the other side.

    Skink Skirmishers and Razordons should probably be used as a counter to enemy skirmishers as opposed to sending them at your enemy’s combat blocks. They especially shine versus enemy Salamanders since a Salamander is poorly equipped to lob damaging flame templates at a unit that is mere inches away. You should probably give your Skink skirmishers javelins and shields in lieu of blowpipes. You’ll very rarely get good double shot opportunities against enemy skirmishers and the armor and parry saves provided by shields would be a huge edge in skirmisher versus skirmishers tussles. If you are going after non-skirmishing units you are probably better off with blowpipes since it’s not generally a problem to close to short range to get multiple shots on 6s (since skirmishers run circles around the other units, almost literally).

    Swarms potentially are useful in an anti-skirmishing role. Their lack of ranks, Unstable rule, and low WS are not huge liabilities if you are fighting skirmishing skinks, but their poor Initiative stings, so you need to have numbers or a back up unit of something that skirmishes. They have enough wounds to outlast other skirmishers in shooting or CC, They are small so you (and your enemies) can still shoot over them which could be a strength or weakness depending on how you set them up.

    Rippers can wail on enemy Skirmishers quite well, but you probably want to use them to support your combat blocks instead. Since Skirmishers are so mobile, Rippers are vulnerable to being pulled out of position via Frenzy.

    Chamo Skinks are multipurpose. Lizardmen don’t have war machines to hunt and we don’t have high toughness models with low armor save units to pin cushion with darts either. Thus, the classic roles of Skink shooting are not useful versus LM, but Chamo Skinks still wield considerable flexibility. They have similar shooting damage output to Skink Skirmishers but are harder to shoot down themselves making them good anti-skirmisher skirmishers. If anti-skirmisher actions are deemed unnecessary, they can use their talents to weaken your enemy’s melee units. Their Scout ability gives you the flexibility to run Chamo Skinks for interference. Because they can get into shooting range at least a round earlier than other skirmishers and have higher BS skill, they are probably the best unit besides Salamanders for whittling down on enemy blocks, so if circumstances make anti-skirmisher actions or general interference undesirable, they can still be at least somewhat useful.

    Terradons are pretty much the kings of skirmishers in a LM vs. LM match. They can run interference, make careful precision strikes with flank attacks and hunt after lone Slann or Skink Priests traveling in Skirmishing units. Terradons can be effective anti-skirmishers skirmishers with their drop rocks ability and their Stomps. They even hit hard enough to be able to participate in block versus block fights (in a supporting role of course). They will lose a shooting match against the other skirmishing units with skirmish once the rocks are gone, but you can avoid this with careful positioning since the Teradons are much faster. You can ease the pressure off your Terradons from Skirmishers by constantly threatening enemy Skirmishers with charges. Terradons will beat Rippers if they gain the strategic intiative. You can fly the Terradons over them Rippers and their front arc, drop rocks, then throw javelins. The Rippers are then forced to charge the Terradons and face a poisoned Stand and Shoot. It’s unlikely the Rippers would have many models left for Close Combat.

    Don’t forget your wizards (or your opponent’s wizards). A lone Slann needs to watch out for enemy skirmishers above all else. Now that ethereal Slann are unstable, they can’t just count on being invincible anymore. More often than not, Skink priests travel with a pack of skirmishers, so they are too are vulnerable to skirmishers acting in an anti-skirmisher capacity. A Skink Priest running around the board in a skirmisher unit can help your Slann direct spells anywhere you want which may be against the anti-skirmisher skirmishers threatening your skirmisher Skink Priest bunker.
    I used the word “skirmisher” eight times in the above paragraph.


    LM have the best spell caster in the game, no spellcaster can stand up against a Slann! What do you mean the other side has a Slann too?

    If you are planning a LM vs. LM fight instead of accidentally falling into one (like at a tournament), you may want to consider a gentleman’s agreement with your opponent to multi-laterally disarm (limiting certain disciplines, no double Slann army, no High magic, etc). That way you can focus more on traditional tactics and less on fickle magic. If one side is much more experienced with LM than the other (such a case where a newbie is trying a game against you using borrowed models from your enormous collection), perhaps a unilateral Slann disarming is in order. If you are playing to win all costs, play a tooled up Slann. Without Cupped Hands and Banehead a Toad vs. Toad matchup won’t be near as dirty as before.

    Will playing without a Slann put you a disadvantage? Probably. Will it be a crippling disadvantage? Probably not. Skinks with dispel items will buy you a round or two of safety. Skink Priests can take two lores now. The extra points you save by not taking a Slann (and perhaps not taking a Temple Guard block) can be used to buy extra mundane troops which will give you a numbers edge. Not taking a Slann opens up the possibility of taking an Oldblood Carnosaur which could be an advantage in its own right.

    I’m going out on a limb and saying a High Slann is the most powerful Slann type in a LM vs. LM matchup. LM are a diverse army and High Magic is like a Swiss army knife, lots of different tools for different jobs. That’s before spell swapping comes into play. Searing Doom is a good spell to swap out to blast some Bastilodons or Steggies. Death is handy to load up a couple to throw spells at the other Slann, and Life is nice to dabble in to heal all your multi-wound models. That’s just skimming the surface.

    A Wandering Deliberations Slann should do pretty well. That’s a lot of magic missiles, so you can dominate the Skirmisher side of things. Soul Leech will come in handy if your enemy Slann (or other characters) are already wounded. Wyssan’s Wildform, Iceshard Blizzard, and Melkoth’s Miasma will help swing any even matchup in your favor (and since you are fighting the same army you will have lots of even matchups).

    If both sides have a Slann the winner is probably whoever kills the enemy Slann first (hence why you may want to multilaterally remove Slann to make games less hit-or-miss). If that’s the crux of your strategy, take a Death Slann and knock out the enemy Toad. Purple Sun is a killer to Saurus troops and the hexes are nice too, particularly if you lean heavily on Salamanders. You definitely want a Skink Priest or two to let your project your short range spells easily.

    If you want a more general approach to the enemy’s army, Take Shadow. It’s got a potent Buff for your Sauri, and various hexes to knock the enemy Sauri down a peg. The two attack spells which rain devastation on low Initiative Saurus and dinosaurs. Smoke and Mirrors and Steed of Shadows can allow a lone Slann to stay one step ahead of any mobile units trying to catch him. It can set up nice combos if you have are fielding a two Slann army.

    Light is what you turn to if you want to focus on winning combat. Obviously you are as strong and tough as your opponent. If you use Light you will hit more often and be hit less often. The two magical missiles gives you extra leeway with dealing with enemy skirmishers and Light of Battle will let your own puny Skirmishers hold even mighty enemy combat blocks at bay.

    Fire is good if you want to dominate the Skirmisher side of things. The magic missiles can wipe out enemy skirmishers pretty easily and having skink priests in your own skirmisher units will let you channel nasty magic missiles through them against whatever target(s) you chose. Kindleflame will help you against the bigger Saurus units but you will be lacking magical hitting power to take out the bigger dinosaurs that your enemy is probably fielding. The two buffs and Flamecage make for great battlefield control.

    Beast is potentially a lot of fun. The Wildheart attribute applies to many different LM units so you can easily get casting bonuses on offense and defense. Might be good if you want to differentiate your forces by having a high character army take on a low character army. If you just want Wyssans, give it to your Skink Priests and give your Slann something else.

    Life is always potent. If you are evenly matched, the side with toughness boosts and Regrowths will win out by attrition. The buffs are nice on everything, Dwellers will halve a Saurus block, and Awakening of the Wood will keep enemy skirmishers from taking cover in the woods making them easier to shoot.

    Heavens is versatile. I’d probably want a Skink priest or two regardless of whether I have a Slann or not, so I doubt I’d take a Heavens Slann. A Heaven Slann (or Tet) is a viable choice though it is not my cup of tea. Taking a Heavens Slann means your enemy’s Terradons and Rippers are toast. The two hexes and the buff are good always good at tipping the balance of close battles. Since you are fighting identical troops, the battles should be close. The two direct damage spells are threatening against enemy skirmishers (especially Chain Lightning if you are lucky). Given how much both sides would be moving in and around each other, casting Comet is highly risky.

    We Lizardmen players don’t use Metal very often. I think it’d be moderately useful in a LM vs. LM throw down. Skinks don’t have much Scaly Skin so your Skinks can benefit a bit from Glittering Robe. The LM have a lot of units with 4+ saves or lower so the damaging spells work out well there too. Bastilodons really fear Metal, the other dinosaurs don't like it much either. Given that the two fighting sides are fairly evenly matched the hexes will likely help swing things in the caster’s direction. Enchanted Blades of Alban will help any unit, including a hypothetical group of Skirmishers that is in combat with an enemy lone Slann who is Ethereal.

    The Catalysts

    Troglodons can fight, but they won’t win in a shooting contest against Skirmishers or win in a melee contest against Saurus or Skroxigor. Troglodons don’t shine by themselves, they help others shine. They can channel dice and help Slann aim spells. They can enhance the Predatory Fighter of MANY friendly troops.

    Bastilodons can take a lot of punishment, but they aren’t the best at laying down punishment. They shine by helping others shine. They boost your combat block’s Initiative so they can strike first or they boost your Swarms so you can keep your Poisoned Attacks longer. Sadly the snake "shooting" will probably help little since most Skinks can keep their distance and the other LM units are too hardy to wound consistently. Unless you really want to take lots of swarms you are probably better off with a Solardon for it's nifty bound spell and the fact that the Initiative boost should go to good use since your enemy has EXACTLY the same unmodified Initiative as you. Bastilodons are pretty hard to kill with no cannons to worry about.

    Swarms aren’t meant to be by themselves anymore (if they ever were). They are at their best when they are providing poisoned attacks to the masses. Recent experience tells me that if you using them for extra poisoned attacks instead of as a simple stall to try to pair them with Saurus Warriors.

    Engine of the Gods provides Ward saves to your blocks, boosts to your magic phase, and a powerful weapon that is especially potent against chaff units making up your enemy’s Skirmisher front.

    Rock Paper Scissors

    Saurus Warriors
    Counter: Skroxigor, Kroxigor, and Skink Cohorts. Pretty much anything in a frontal assault
    Countered by: Stegadons, any flanking non-Skirmishers, Salamanders

    Skink Cohort
    Counter: Potentially any unit if used as a redirector or tarpit
    Countered by: Potentially any unit if Cohort is NOT used as a redirector or tarpit.

    Skroxigor (deep ranks)
    Counter: Stegadon, Bastilodons
    Countered By: Saurus Warriors, Temple Guard, Swarms (stalling only), Salamanders, Saurus Cavalry (who could strip the units of the Kroxigor pretty easily)

    Skroxigor (small units)
    Counter: Anything it successfully flanks
    Countered by: Anything it can’t flank.

    Counter: Skink Skirmishers and Chameleon Skinks, big blocks on a stall, they can also enhance any LM unit they are paired with (ideally Saurus) by supplying free poison attacks
    Countered by: Everything else

    Chameleon Skinks
    Counter: Terradons (if they get the first shot), it can’t exactly put the hurting on most units but they can run excellent interference
    Counted by: Anything with M7 or higher, direct damage spells and magic missiles

    Counter: Fleeing units, your enemy’s movement phase, all other Skirmishers save Razordons, lone Slann
    Countered by: Skink Priests with Heavens, most attack spells, Chameleon Skinks (if the Terradons can’t charge them)

    Counter: Things it can flank (preferably as part of a multi-unit melee).
    Countered by: Skink Priests with Heavens, most attack spells, Most things that can Skirmish.

    Counter: Skirmishers they can catch and melee blocks they can flank
    Countered by: Anything they can’t outmaneuver, particularly Saurus units

    Temple Guard
    Temple Guard are the “Mario” of a LM versus LM throwdown. They are above average against most things and they don’t have any obvious strengths and weaknesses.

    Saurus Cavalry
    Counter: Skirmishers of all kinds, melee blocks that they can flank.
    Countered by: Skroxigor, Saurus Warriors and Temple Guard in frontal assaults

    Counter: Saurus Warriors, Skink Cohorts (with or without Kroxigor), Temple Guard
    Countered by: Saurus Cavalry, any other Skirmisher (especially Razordons), magic missiles and direct damage.

    Counter: Salamanders, Terradons, Skink Skirmishers
    Countered by: Any non-Skirmisher really

    Stegadons and Ancient Stegadons
    Counter: Any Infantry blocks
    Countered by: Skroxigor, Carnosaurs, any battle of attrition

    Counter: Bastilodons, Stegadons, Troglodons, enemy characters
    Countered by: Temple Guard, Saurus Warriors, tarpits and redirectors

    Counter: Skirmishers of any type (either by blasting them at long range or pelting them with snakes at close range), they are all but impossible for light LM troops to wound. They can counter almost anything if they are boosting a well positioned ally.
    Countered by: Carnosaurs, Sharpened Horns Steggies, static combat resolution.

    Counter: They don’t counter any LM unit unless it’s about half their points value in number. They are there to make other units better.
    Countered by: Being isolated from nearby allies.

    Counter: Things similar to themselves when they themselves are buffed (with magic or Catalysts) or holding the advantage of numbers. Things similar to the other side that are hexed or out-flanked.
    Countered by: See above, but flip the tables.

    Character Support

    Slann: Lore selection was already covered extensively. A bunkered Slann ties your Slann’s fate to the melee aspect of your game. A lone Slann ties your Slann’s fate to the skirmisher aspect of your game (and should probably take Higher State of Consciousness).

    Scar Veterans and Old Bloods: I’d go with a Cold One almost every time. There is not much on the LM list to make you regret losing the Look Out Sir and the extra armor save will help your character survive since there aren’t a lot of sources of high strength enemy attacks besides other Saurus characters. If you want to take on other Saurus characters I would suggest items that you try not to get hit in the first place (like Fencer’s Blades and Glittering Scales) or pile on Ward Saves because your enemy counterpart will likely hit hard enough to negate a lot of your armor save.

    Carnosaurs can potentially be a lot of fun in a LM versus LM fight. With the possibility of Scarnosaurs, you don’t have to give up a Slann to take a Carnosaur anymore. Now there are more dinosaurs than before to inflict d3 wounds on and a Skroxigor block will no longer easily counter a Carnosaur since a Carnosaur can now target Kroxigor in the second row. A tooled out Oldblood will last longer and kill things quicker though.

    Skink Priests: If you aren’t taking a Slann and your opponent is, you want a Skink Priest or two to give you some use of your power dice and caddy some dispelling items. If you are fielding a Slann against another Slann you probably want a Skink Priest caddy or two to give you the edge you need to beat the other guy’s toad. If your lore of choice has some magic missiles, A Skink Priest is probably a useful targeting tool if your Slann is going to be bunkered.

    Skink Chiefs: I would not field one without a dinosaur mount. On a Terradon or Ripper they can add hitting power to a unit of Terradons letting you take down tougher targets (such as Slann immune to non-magical attacks or the flanks of Saurus units. On a Stegadon you can enjoy a potent mount without as much risk as usual (no cannonballs). There is likely to be a lot of chaff around so you may want a few scattered Skink Chiefs to keep your Predatory Fighters from slipping the leash.

    Special Characters: None of the new SC seem to be unbalancing in a LM vs. LM matchup. If you want to bring a SC, more power to you.
  2. Qupakoco
    Skink Chief

    Qupakoco Keeper of the Dice Staff Member

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    I love this! It's hard to think about fighting your own army, but it can definitely happen if you are playing a tournament.

    Lizardmen Rock, Paper, Scissors is brilliant. We should do that in all the Tacticas.
  3. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I just revised this for the new book.
  4. Stonecutter

    Stonecutter Member

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    Fantastic work and a really nice, detailed update. Now, if only I had read it before my most recent LM on LM game :D

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