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9th Age Playstyle and the Skink Cloud

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by Lawot, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Lawot
    Kroxigor

    Lawot Active Member

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    Alright, I'm starting this because there's been debate raging on the T9A forum about whether or not the Cloud is overpowered, and I want to throw some ideas out there without showing off for all those non-Lizzie players the best ways to dismantle a Cloud.
    I started playing a Cloud. I beat my friends. They adapted. Now their tailored lists can beat me, hands-down, and their all-comers lists always include tools for dealing with the Cloud. So I find it a little absurd that competitive players find it too much to deal with, and I wonder if we wouldn't have to up the price tag on Skinks at all if people just started playing differently. But I don't play in highly competitive tournaments, so I'm putting these thoughts out there for you all to run with. Also, if this goes better in "Discussion", please, somebody, feel free to move it there.

    So here goes.

    1. Random Movement. My Skaven and OnG friends have a field day with this. You can't get out of their charge arc, because they don't charge - they just rotate to whichever direction they want to go. You can't stand and shoot, because they don't declare charges, and you can't flee, for the same reason. You can't trap them, because they can always go their full movement in any direction. So avoidance doesn't work, except by getting so far away from the unit that you are out of their movement range...and also out of shooting range. Haven't any of you ever had your swarms of Skinks wiped off the table by a few units of Squig Hoppers? HPA's, Doomwheels, Squigs of all kinds, and Pump Wagons will pretty much break a unit of 10-12 Skink Skirmishers/Hunters on contact...they might even annihilate the unit completely.

    2. Run Them Down. Small units of Skinks will die and break against basically everything, if they meet it in combat. They are as bad as Skavenslaves, or worse. So if a unit of cavalry - any cavalry - actually makes contact with a unit of Skinks, you can be pretty sure those Skinks will be wiped out. Obviously, this can be used to draw the Cav into a trap, and can be be avoided with the double-flee. So Cav is not quite as ironclad as Random Movement...but still, there are cheap Skink-hunting options in all Elven Cav, Wolf riders, most chariots, flying critters, flying units, flying characters...anything fast that hits harder than a wet noodle.

    3. Panic! I've seen people saying that a swarm of Skinks is just too many models to kill. But T2 5+AS doesn't hold up against almost anything. You don't need to kill every Skink, you only need to kill enough to panic the unit. If they were all in one big unit, that might be harder, but little units of 10-12 only need to lose 3 models to take a panic test, and Skinks are fraidy-cats. And the Skirmisher rule gives them some protection against shooting...but you only need to lose 3! Sure, the General's leadership bubble will help that a lot, and our new Ld-bubble-spreading Discipline does that, too...But 8 units of Skinks take up a lot of table. There's no way you can cover the whole army with the General's bubble, and Skink characters can be picked off. Especially when one of the strategy's key tactics involves fleeing 2 units at a time, a Cloud can turn into a rout quickly, and without even getting into a fight. Does your enemy concentrate his army in the middle, and try to get to grips with your Skinks in close combat? Of course you're going to win. Does he spread out his fast units in pairs, forcing you to spread out your Skinks while his tough stuff comes for your General? Those Skinks out on the flanks aren't going to rally. Or survive.

    So what am I missing? With a lot of ways for the Skink Cloud to crumble, why are serious players so afraid of it? And what would you field to destroy a Cloud?
     
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  2. Pinktaco
    Skar-Veteran

    Pinktaco Vessel of the Old Ones Staff Member

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    Perhaps better SA players have adjusted and learned how to deal with the various issues and gotten good at it. I can't tell because playing that way is boring for me.

    I use skinks to redirect, but I don't go the full extent :)
     
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  3. airjamy
    Razordon

    airjamy Active Member

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    You raise some reasonable points, but i think you are missing the point why the Cloud is as strong as it is. From a net gain standpoint, it is almost always a bad idea to focus your attention on skinks. I mean, it is easy to chuck in a Doomwheel or some magic missiles, but you do not have those to spare, you also have a big magical toad, a cowboy and some other large dinosaurs to deal with! XD Skinks are good because they do damage approperiate for their point cost, but they annoy a lot more then they should, they are cheap enough to throw away in redirecting. They become OP when you figure that when they are charged by an expensive monster, those two wounds you did in the stand and shoot actually got their point value back!

    They are also really strong in the sense that they are not only good to have in the game itself, but they are also extremely strong in the deployment phase. As a long time tournament player, i believe that most games are decided when deploying, if you can see the battle unfold before it happens, seeking good matchups for your units and a good position for your Slann and Skinks, it is easy to win games before they even start. The fact that i can throw down 8 point effective, fast and in the end not really important units before i put down any of my moolah is just so good, you only realise when you have played with Clouds a lot. Suddenly, your opponent cannot perform refused flanks, he cannot get his unit of trolls out of the way of your Sharpened Horns Stegadons (just giving an example of a really good matchup) and he cannot get his important units shooting at your TG right away, because you decide where everything goes!

    The combination of these two benefits, cost effective and deployment dominating is what makes Skinks good, so i agree with the changes made to the Skinks in this new edition, i even think a Cloud is still viable, it might even still be the best thing to do with your Core points.
     
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  4. Lawot
    Kroxigor

    Lawot Active Member

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    @airjamy ...
    To point #1, it's true that wiping out a unit of Skinks doesn't win you a lot of points. But it's also not hard to do, and once the Skinks are out of the way, an unprotected Slann/Cuatl is a pretty easy target. Even a cowboy can be, if you've got the right stuff to throw at it (bolt throwers, high-S attacks, hordes of Slaves to pin him down all game). A unit of Ellyrian Reavers (can't remember what they're called in 9th) isn't going to win its points back on one unit of Skinks, but it sure will by mid-game, once it's racked up a bunch of units. And while those Skink-hunting units, too, can be wiped off the table pretty easily, the cost/benefit analysis goes both ways: if my frog throws some magic missiles at the enemy's chaff, those are spells that aren't targeting the enemy's valuable units. Sure, if enemy comes Skink-hunting with Monsters, the Skinks will win their points back - but that's an ideal matchup for Skinks, a game of rock-paper-scissors where the Monsters are rocks and the Skinks are paper. Skinks won't win their points back against cavalry.

    Point #2 gives me something to think about. Even when I've taken a lot of Skinks, I think I've always put at least one small unit of Saurus or combat Skinks in there to protect the frog, Priest, whatever, reducing my overall number of units. So point taken about reliably out-deploying the enemy, though I'd also point out that there are other armies that can field even cheaper units, who could out-deploy us if they want to, or at least mitigate our lead.
     
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  5. Okaman
    Jungle Swarm

    Okaman New Member

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    Im sorry for asking a dumb question, but what is a "cloud"?
     
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  6. Rokanos
    Kroxigor

    Rokanos Active Member

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    With one less ld, the skink cloud is a bit less effective...not to mention that without poison shooting they have significantly less damage output. I can't even look at skirmishing core as a choice to consider as they are right now. They are beyond awful. Non-skirmishing with poisoned javs? Still not worth the points.

    Saurus warriors (not by much) and Scaiman units with poisoned cc attacks are about the only thing worth taking.


    That being said..even if skinks were reverted back to how they were, the cloud is about as fun to play against as a gunline.... it isn't. You will always have the players that love to take the super boring lists that they are quite aware are in no way fun to play against. Change the army? Those people move to the next army that has the cheese they love to bring. The biggest gripe I think stems from the fact that the army lost some flavor when the core skinks were changed. We hail from the jungle, but god forbid we have more poison than any other race.
     
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  7. n810
    Slann

    n810 First Spawning

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    A whole bunch of skirmishers.
     
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