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Tutorial Metal, Formal Tactica

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by Scalenex, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Metal is probably the least used lore by Lizardmen. It’ll never be a top pick, but how can we make the most of it? I've been trying it out in a few games, and I've gained some insight, but I'm hoping for more opportunities to test Metal out in the field.


    Lore Overview


    Metalshifting: Metal use the armor save to determine how a target is wounded rather than Strength versus Toughness. This is an advantage and a disadvantage. This is an oversimplification of the math but the magic number is an armor save of 4+. Targets with that armor save are usually more vulnerable to Metal spells than other lore spells. Targets with armor saves of 3+ or lower are nearly always more vulnerable to Metal. Targets with Armor of 5+ or 6+ are usually harmed more by other spells. If you are tailoring a list to fight Empire or Brettonians, Metal becomes potent indeed.

    On a related note. Since both the damaging spells are flaming attacks you need to watch out for fire resistant troops like High Elf Dragon Knights and pretty much the whole Chaos Dwarf army except for the Iron Daemon (which dies very easily to Metal).

    Flaming attacks are nice for wounding flammable troops and nixing Regeneration but unfortunately most units with Flammable or Regeneration tend to have weak armor saves. The flaming aspect is most likely to benefit you when assaulting buildings, so Metal may be worth trying if you know building assaults are part of the scenario. It’s also worth considering that the standard terrain generator in the BRB has lots of buildings on it.

    Don’t let a lack of armored knights keep you from playing Metal. Metalshifting only applies to two spells out of seven.


    Searing Doom: At first glance I would say this is a better magic missile than the others if the target has armor save of 4+ or better. That’s not the case though. Searing Doom is 10+. Most signature spells and magic missiles. Unless you are shooting at a high value target such knights or the Steam Tank or an Ancient Stegadon this should probably be a low priority spell.


    Plage of Rust: I like this one. A long range Hex that lasts all game and there is nothing your opponent can do about. Metal shifting using the “unmodified” armor save for determining ease of wounding something. It is debateable whether the permanent nature of the hex counts as a modification or not. This means you can soften something up to make it easier to hurt with your mundane attacks without making them harder to wound with magic unless you call it the other way (aren’t you glad I cleared that up ;) )

    This spell is a good stand by if you happen to be fighting a weak armored army. Knock the 6+ to nothing so your Skinks can kill them or knock the 5+ to 6+ so your Sauri can kill them.


    Enchanted Blades of Aiban: This is probably the best spell in the lore. It’s cheap to cast and has good range. A +1 bonus to hit is pretty potent by itself. Adding Armor Piercing to the pile is a nice bonus. The magical attacks don’t become necessary very often but when they are necessary (like say the local Vampire Count player loves to fill the first rank of a giant zombie block with ethereal characters) magical attacks tend to be VERY necessary.

    Unfortunately the spell can’t be cast on more than one unit at a time. This means you have an incentive when designing a metal list to deploy your units with wide frontages for extra attacks. Remember that this spell works on shooting too. It’s generally more potent in close combat than in shooting, but you can (and should) use this spell to boost your shooters in the turn or two before your forces get into close combat.


    Glittering Robe: Saurus already have Scaly Skin 5+ so this only helps our Skinks. It has an area of effect option so it can potentially affect a LOT of Skinks if your army leans towards the Southands style. It synergizes well with the general notion of Skroxigor. The Kroxigor inflicts the hits while the Skinks take the hits and die. With their armor save boosted to 4+, the Skinks will die a lot slower means your Skrox units will be a lot more hard wearing. Combine it with Enchanted Blades of Alban and your 5 point Skinks will be fighting at nearly a Saurus’ level for less than half the points. Problem is that since Skinks have Scaly Skin 6+ already, this spell is now less of a boost than it used to be.


    Gehenna’s Golden Hounds: Probably the weakest spell on the list, though still useful if you can safely close to short range with a target. This is pretty much the same spell as Searing Doom except you have a slightly better chance of hitting a hero with it and you have to cast it at the augmented level to cast it more than 12 inches. This spell has gained utility in the new book. While a Slann is constrained by the twelve inch range of this spell, a Skink priest running around with a pack of Skirmishers lets you hit more things.


    Transmutation of Lead: Not the most exciting spell in the world, it doesn’t seem to offer anything the other Lore’s hexes don’t. Transmutation of Lead offers something the other hexes do not. Reduced traits are NOT capped at 0. That means (in certain situations) you can take a unit down to WS 0 and then walk all over it. To do this you have be fighting zombies, fighting something that failed a Fear test or using a Shadow/Metal Slann tag team. A unit that has WS0 can’t attack back at all and is hit automatically by all incoming attacks.


    Final Transmutation: Taking out roughly a third of an opposing nasty unit is always nice. I don’t view the weakened chance of killing multi-wound models a serious problem. A one-in-six chance to kill a multi-wound target is nice. The Stupidity test is a nice bonus. If the enemy BSB is still alive the odds of the target failing the Stupidity test are fairly low but the Stupidity secondary effects hits every unit within 12 inches. This means if you hit the center unit of the opposing force you could in theory cause three or four enemy units to take a Stupidity test increasing your odds of someone failing it. It only takes one unit to fail to disrupt someone’s coordinated multi-unit attack plan.


    Army Builds


    Lone Slann or Bunkered Slann?
    Metal helps Skinks more than most other units. You could go the extreme and go all Skink units have the Slann float behind your Skinks. The short range of some of the spells means your Slann needs to get right up close to your enemy (unless you have well positioned Skink Priests). Even with ethereal, this is risky so I would say Metal Slann probably works best in lists with a Temple Guard bunker flanked by big Skroxigor units.


    Unit Synergy
    Skinks! Skinks! Skinks! Non-Skinks don’t gain as much from the buff spells. You don’t have to go crazy with Skinks though since Glittering Robe is but one spell among seven and the other buffs and hexes help Saurus almost as well as Skinks. The others work out fine with non-Skinks, so there is really no highly specific things you need to do for your list. Make sure your Slann can safely close to twelve inches of the enemy fairly easily.


    Double Slann
    Metal doesn’t have much in the way of cheap spells. A double Slann list with Metal and pretty much any other lore probably needs someone holding the Forbidden Rod for extra power dice. In my opinion the best partners for Metal are Light, Shadow, and Death (though I am biased, those are my favorite three lores all the time).

    Light is probably a good pairing with Metal because Light is fairly cheap to cast. Timewarp, Pha’s Protection, and Speed of Light synergize very nicely with Glittering Robe, Enchanted Blade of Alban, and Transmuation of Lead. Everything stacks, so your troops will be mighty indeed if you have enough power dice. You also have lots of ranged damage to throw down.

    Shadow is probably a good pairing with Metal if you want two Slann and no Temple Guard. Steed of Shadows and the lore attribute will give your Metal Slann the mobility you need to counteract the low range of most spells. The hexes to enemy stats also stack neatly in theory taking a double hit foes down to WS 0. Light makes your own troops into demigods. Shadow makes your enemy’s troops pathetic making your troops SEEM like demigods.

    Death and Metal is a promising mix, the extra power dice are useful given the high casting values of both lores. The downside of this combination is most of the spells are short range so both your Slann will be right in the enemies faces. Soulblight stacks seamlessly with the Metal hexes and buffs. Doom and Darkness makes units more susceptible to the Stupidity effect from Final Transmuation.


    High Magic Slann and WD Slann dabbling in Metal


    Most armies have at least one unit with a good armor save so a WD Slann will usually get good mileage out of Searing Doom.

    If you are dabbling in Metal with a High Slann switching spells, you are probably angling to get Searing Doom. If you roll Gehenna's Golden Hounds you might want to keep that instead if you have a Skink priest to close the range for you. If you roll Final Transmuation is a good spell to keep if you roll it. I think it will help you more than Fiery Convocation since it's easier to cast and has a chance to hit embedded characters. The other spells are probably worth dumping for Searing Doom unless you are facing a very situational problem.


    Show me the Metal!


    Obvious Targets

    Most Empire lists have plenty of tin plated units. Empire has three knight choices that have Armor saves of 1+ or 2+. The Steam Tank has a 1+ armor save. In the unlikely event none of these units are around, you should shoot at the great swords which have a 4+ Armor Save and are pretty expensive.

    Brettonians are a knight army, all Brettonian armies have good Metal targets a plenty.

    The Chaos Warriors have a wide variety of units but the majority of it has lots of armor saves. Knights should be your first choice, then monsters (MOST of them have good armor saves be careful what you target), than elite infantry.

    Non-obvious Targets

    Lizardmen have middle of the road saves. The direct damage spells don’t do a lot of hits so they won’t put a serious dent in infantry blocks unless they are Temple Guard which have ranged saves of 3+ and cost 16 points a piece. If you are fighting other Lizardmen, Metal will help you best to give your Saurus and Skinks and edge over the other side’s Sauri and Skinks. Golden Hounds would be murder to a Skink character riding an Ancient Stegadon or an Old Blood on a Carnosaur. Even character-less Stegadons are pretty vulnerable to Metal. The new Bastilodon does not like being hit by Metal spells. The new Bastilodon REALLY hates Metal spells.

    Vampire Counts have two knight units that cost a lot of points so they don’t like Metal Shifting. Most of the chariots don’t like Metalshifting either. Transmuation of Lead has no lower limit for how low they can hex something. Zombies are normally WS 1 so you take them to WS 0. Enchanted Blades of Aiban will let your Skinks shoot up a unit of Hexwraiths or other roving ethereals quite nicely. The same Enchanted Blades will also help your Sauri if they are fighting a massive unit of skeletons or zombies where most/all of the front rank is made up of ethereal characters (a player in my store is fond of that cheap tactic and it’s nice to have a counter). The downside is the Lore of Metal has no effective way to stop a Blender Vampire Lord.

    Chaos Dwarfs have good armor saves but since their armor gives them a 5+ Ward save versus flaming attacks and they rarely come running at you, Lore of Metal may not be the best choice, but Metal will melt their nasty trains in no time.

    High Elves have two strong cavalry units. Sadly, the Dragon Knights have a special Ward Save versus Fire. This means you are probably going to play your game around the non-damaging spells unless you happen to see chariots or Silverhelms. Given the high Toughness score of the Frostheart Phoenix, Metal spells should be able to soften them up a bit.

    Dark Elves have a lot of weakly armored things, but they also have Cold Ones and Cold One Chariots. Metal direct damage can also kill Chuck Norris Dread Lords. It technically doesn’t have a strength so the funky amulet that gives Ward saves based on the Strength of the attack will do nothing and the character’s armor save will turn against it.

    Demons don't have a lot of well armored targets but the few they have are VERY powerful and I'm guessing they will become very popular as players adapt to the new book: Bloodcrusher of Khorne, Skull Cannon of Khorne, Soul Grinders, and MOST Daemon Princes (I don't expect many players to choose NOT to buy the extra armor). If a Greater Demon has the Scaly Skin enhancement, Metal instantly becomes very powerful since Greater Daemons are NOT cheap.

    Difficult Targets

    I never read the Skaven book and only played them once. You mainly want to concentrate on buffs and hexes over direct damage though I’m guessing some of the oversized war machines have good armor saves to exploit.

    I have rarely fought Beastmen and never iwth Metal. They seem like the worst contender to use Metal on. If your all-comers Metal Slann is fighting Beastmen, focus on the buffs and hexes as best you can and make sure your non-magic game is flawless.

    Tomb Kings don’t have much to exploit in the ways of armor but you still have a better shot wounding a Sphinx with Metal than with a lot of things (since it indirectly bypasses their very high Toughness). Remember that the Arrows of Aseph rule ignores most penalties, UNLESS the BS score itself is hexed which Transmutation of Lead accomplishes. Knock it down a notch and tell them to stick their arrows up their Asephs.

    Wood Elves aren’t big on armor either, but Enchanted Blades is handy for carving up Dryads and the like. Their Ward saves go away in the face of magical attacks. The hexes will keep the Wood Elves from hitting you as often and Plague of Rust can help your Skinks overcome the limited armor saves that these Elves do have. Searing Doom and Golden Hounds will ruin Treemen.

    You’d think Dwarfs would be especially vulnerable to Lore of Metal but they aren’t. Ironbreakers are the only non-characters with armor save of 3+ and they are rarely chosen. Most competitive lists are filled with gobs and gobs of AS 5+ troops. Also the short range of the Metal spells is problematic as most Dwarfs force you to march at then rather than coming to you. Your best spell against Dwarfs is Transmuation of Lead. Then transition to buffs and hexes when you close to CC. If you know in advance which units your Sauri will be fighting, use Plague of Rust to knock the 5+ saves down to 6+ (so your Sauri can ignore it with their S4 attacks).

    Unless you are facing a player who especially likes Arachnaroks and Black Orcs, there won’t be a lot of armor to Metal Shift in an Orc and Goblin army. Don’t shift the Metal, buff and hex things. Your Lizardmen slightly outclass the greenskins. A few judicious buffs should help you slide a slow attrition victory to a decisive rapid victory allowing you to take out his units quickly before he can flank you with his superior numbers.


    Storm of Magic Addendum


    Metal may be a little underpowered for us in normal games unless you are fighting an opponent with many low armor saves, but Metal is extra shiny in Storm of Magic games. The Metal Cataclysm spells are among the best of all of the lores regardless of who you are playing.


    Meteoric Ironclad: Giving a whole unit a 2+ Ward save, requiring mere Presence and only 10+ to cast? I challenge you to name a single more powerful spell that is that simple to cast! This basically makes a target unit impossible to defeat in conventional combat, so this will draw out the enemy dispel dice.


    Quicksilver Swords: All hits wound automatically with no armor saves allowed for only 15+ to cast. The Equilibrium spell is spectacular, especially considering that with Enchanted Blade of Alban you will hit an awful lot or that with Meteoric Ironclad your troops will be demigods on offense and defense. This is a great monster killer since this lets a lowly Skink automatically wound even the toughest monsters.


    Gehenna’s Golden Globe: A Vortex that casts a souped up version of Final Transformation. This spell is pretty good but it’s a high casting cost Dominance spell so you won’t get it off as often as you might like (and practically every lore has a Vortex of some kind available in Storm of Magic so this is not that exciting).
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  2. Lawot
    Kroxigor

    Lawot Active Member

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    Thank you, Scalenex, for another helpful tactical tool!

    I'd like to point out a couple more points of (theoretical) synergy I see between Metal and Skinks:
    1) More Poison.
    Enchanted Blades makes Skinks blowpipes far more effective. I usually take Javelins, because after moving and being more than 6" away from the enemy, blowpipes that take multiple shots would lose poison. Why take blowpipes if you can't take multiple shots? But with this spell, all Skinks shoot like Chameleons. Moving, long range and 2x shots means hitting on 6's. That means a Skink unit buffed by metal can throw a whole lot more poison out there.
    2) More Skink targets.
    Metal has 3 spells that reduce the effectiveness of armor (Plague of Rust, Transmutation of Lead, and Enchanted Blades). Skinks excel at taking out low AS targets. These spells, stacked together, put more units in that category.
    3) Complimentary Strengths. Skinks have a hard time with heavily armored targets, which are the targets that Metal is best for. With high Toughness and high Armor both covered, there are few elite troops unaccounted for.

    Also, one implication for list-building is that, because Enchanted Blades can only buff one unit at a time, it may be worth taking larger units of Skinks, allowing more shots to benefit from the buff.

    The one big hole I still see here is hordes. Between Skink shooting and Metal, there is still nothing here to take out big units of weaker troops. Then again, I guess that's what Salamanders are for.

    Light is often cited as the best lore for us, because it makes strengths out of our weaknesses. However, that seems most true for Saurus. I wonder if Metal is the Lore that does the same for Skinks? The big question still is, is this the Lore for the job, or are we just trying to make a subpar choice work?
     
  3. JWK47
    Saurus

    JWK47 New Member

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    I'm a huge fan of the Lore of Metal but a lot of that comes down to the fact that I'm running a skink cloud as opposed to a more balanced Lizardmen list. The lore's ability to delete high AS targets which the rest of my army lacks, down ethereals with enchanted blades and take characters off with FT is amazing. As you've written already, nearly every army has good targets for Lore of Metal damage spells and those that don't are sub-par books which are easy to roll anyways (Dwarves/OnG). Even if there aren't ideal targets, Final Transmutation is still an amazing spell in every situation which your opponent has to stop.

    As for how to run it, I run Dual Slanns and pair the Metal up with a Death Slann, I've felt that these two lores paired together can answer pretty much any question in the game.

    To sum it up: I feel that Metal is the lore of choice if you're running a skink cloud, because it can mitigate your normal weaknesses so easily. If I were running a more balanced list with Saurus that actually wanted to fight combats at some point though I wouldn't take it. If your plan is to grind out a win with Saurus/TG then Light or Life is the way to go.
     
  4. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Final Transmutation takes a third off a block and has a chance to take out embedded characters. The aforementioned weaker troops are also more likely than others to fail Stupidity checks. It's not the best anti-horde spell in the BRB but it's pretty good and relatively cheap to cast for a number 6 spell.
     
  5. Lawot
    Kroxigor

    Lawot Active Member

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    Awesome - JWK47, I was going to add a follow-up post today referencing your Skink Cloud w/Metal vs. WOC battle report. Perfect example of what I had in mind. How often have you run that combo? What do you see as its weaknesses?

    Scalenex - good point about Final Transmutation. I guess 1/3 is pretty significant.
     
  6. newscales
    Kroxigor

    newscales New Member

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    very nice write up! i feel Metal gets overlooked too often. it has some great potential.
     
  7. JWK47
    Saurus

    JWK47 New Member

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    I've been playing Lizards for about 2.5 months after deciding to go competitive this year in a bid to make the 2014 ETC and using Death/Metal pretty much the whole time (experimented with Life and Metal party Slanns but dual is the way to go imo.)

    I'm yet to find too many armies that Death/Metal brings nothing to the table against for a few reasons:

    1. Nearly everyone is rocking some sort of Monstrous Cav, making Searing Doom and Gehenna's Hounds useful.

    2. Final Transmutation is always useful, killing 1/3 of the unit and having the chance to grab characters means it's a spell I try to cast pretty much every turn.

    3. Doom and Darkness - No army bar Daemons can safely allow -3 ld, so either you draw out all their dice with this one or they ruin their next magic phase to dispel it.

    4. Purple Sun - Takes shit off.

    5. I feel they work real well together when you use Plague of Rust to drop armour, Soulblight to drop toughness and then just go to town on highly armoured deathstars with the skinks/salamanders. I killed 28 WoC in one round of shooting thanks to this combo in the last tourney..

    In short, given the large amounts of armies relying on high AS units (knightbuses, MC, Stanks) I don't think I've ever felt like I haven't had useful tools when using Death/Metal. I suspect that against Chaos Dwarves it wouldn't be much use, but even there I will attempt to snipe the L4 and Kadaii with FT/Purple Sun (though they should go down like a lead zeppelin to poison).
     
  8. Kharn The Betrayer
    Razordon

    Kharn The Betrayer New Member

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    Anyone else think that metal is epic for sniping pesky things like tzeentch flail lords on disk, grail reliques, stegs, etc?
     

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