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Tutorial Revised Stegadon Tactica

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by Scalenex, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    It’s been a month since we’ve added a new Tactica to the index, so I figured I could rewrite the old Stegadon Tactica for the changes in our 8th Edition book. I left most of Qupakoco’s old stuff intact and only added or removed things to put it in line with the changes between our 7th and 8th edition books.

    TL;DR – Stegs are great! Take one! Heck, take two! These guys are pretty forgiving and usually pull their weight. Just watch out for cannons and high strength attacks. And get the charge for goodness sakes!

    Stegadons are a staple of the Lizardmen army. They have been around since our first book in 5th edition in which it graced the cover of our army book. The Skink Chief on his back shouting to the heavens, “Fear my mighty beast or be destroyed!” And woe to those who did not take heed of this warning, for the wrath of the Stegadon is great.

    First up, let’s talk terminology. We have 3 main flavors of Stegadons.
    1. Stegadons, often called Baby Stegs or Regular Stegs.
    2. Ancient Stegadons, typically called Ancients or Big Stegs.
    3. The Engine of the Gods, abbreviated EOTG or called The Engine. (Not to be confused with the Eye of The Gods from Chaos.)

    What’s good about them?

    The bigger they are…

    Stegadons are classed as a Monster, rightfully so. Thunderstomp and D6+1 Impact Hits (cause of those big old skull spikes) all at Strength 5 or 6. Talk about ouch. On a lucky day that’s 13 hits right off the bat. And given the relatively high strength of these beasts it likely means the same number in wounds. What a great way to peel ranks off a unit! Sayonara, Steadfast. On top of that, this beasty can weather quite an assault. Toughness 6 means most things wound one on a 6, and we still get a nice 3+/4+ armor save depending on the flavor of Steg in question.

    Insult to Injury

    Stegadons cause Terror. Don’t forget it! The big ol’ scary triceratops might just make a unit or two run away! On top of that, if the unit is brave/foolish enough to pass the Terror test and NOT elect to flee, Stegadons are Stubborn. It’s like being Steadfast forever!! Mwahahaha...actually it is exactly like being Steadfast forever. Oh, and they are Cold Blooded. And on top of all that Stegs are Immune to Psychology, granting them less care about the world around them. Causing Terror more or less trumps ItP, though it does come in handy when the odd Skink unit gets overrun by Dire Wolves and forces Panic tests.

    You can take my giant bow when you pry it from my cold dead fingers!

    Lastly, Stegs have ranged attacks! Say whaaat?? Baby Stegs get the super fancy Giant Bow, an ancient technology that Skinks somehow only invented in large scale. Relying on a Ballistic Skill of 3 for anything is a fairly poor decision, but it’s good for the occasional pot shot. Keep in mind that it does do D3 wounds and penetrates ranks, so it has some potential to take out Monstrous Cavalry and lone Characters. Strength 5 ain’t too bad either. Plus it’s poisoned! And no armor saves! There is an unwritten rule you need to keep in mind with the Giant Bow:

    Dance of Delectation:
    Any Lizardmen general who scores a hit with the Giant Bow is required to throw their hands in the air and do a little dance. This is a Remains in Play effect that can only be removed by the opposing general recognizing the amazing feat.

    Giant Blowpipes on the other hand are gravy. 2D6 Poisoned shots PER Blowpipe? And an Ancient packs two of those suckers? Yes please. Talk about mulch cannons. I don’t know what else to say about these, but keep in mind that your Stegadon is more likely to do more damage in Close Combat if it can charge. Hanging back and shooting them is really only an option if you already moved or if you don’t want to risk getting into a dicey charge. Blowpipes can also be used for Stand and Shoot reactions, so that’s a great option when it comes up.[/quote] The Giant Blowpipes are fired at BS3. Usually you get two negative modifiers long range plus either moving or stand and shoot. If you get a third negative modifier you are no longer hitting on sixes and would actually be better off using all five Skinks as Javelin throwers.

    Don’t forget that the Skink Crew has javelins! 3 Extra shots can make a difference sometimes (or 5 quick to fire shots on a stand and shoot).

    Note, it’s not a bad idea to cast Hand of Glory to boost the BS of a Skink crew about to fire the Giant Blowpipes or Giant Bow, especially the Giant Bow, though if the juiciest potential target for your Giant Blowpipes is behind cover, you could get decent mileage out of the buff with blowpipes.

    What’s bad about them?

    …the harder they fall.

    Stegadons are great at shrugging off most attacks, but high strength stuff really does a number on them. Anything over Strength 6 can really mess up your day; ignoring most armor, wounding on a 4+ or better, often times doing multiple wounds. And if you see a cannon in the opposition you better start praying that the dice gods are on your side. Stegs are cannon-magnets unfortunately. I attest that I have lost a Steg on turn one, so if you haven’t had that happen yet then get ready. It’s only a matter of time until you are weeping over the corpse of a once great beast. On the flip side the cannon might get a few Terradons in the face before it has the chance.

    Follow this link for tips on mitigating cannon damage.

    Intrepidly Timid

    Probably the worst thing about Stegadons is their Leadership. Yes they are Cold Blooded and Stubborn, which are some redeeming points. However a 68.0% chance to pass a leadership test is not amazing by any standards.[/quote] Try to keep Steggies near your general and/or BSB whenever possible, or better yet back bring enough supporting units to win your combats as the next paragraph goes into.

    On the note of picking your fights, Stegadons excel against rank and file troopers that are S3 T3. Rats, Elves, Humans, Goblins, etc… If you can get the charge you will most likely end up on the winning side of the fight. If they get the charge on you it’s often a different story as these troops in large numbers are made to out-grind all sorts of things, Stegadons not being an exception. Stubborn helps us out here significantly though not enough to matter sometimes. It is critical that Stegadons in this situation get some sort of help, be it another Stegadon or a simple supporting charge from a Salamander. Anything to help even the odds.

    Slow to the Punch

    Like lots of stuff in our army, Stegadons have a very low initiative and an average weapon skill. More often than not you will find that the Impact Hits and Thunderstomp are the deciding factor in combat with Thunderstomp being the redeeming quality that these beasties bring to play. However if you compare them to other monsters who ALSO have Thunderstomp, 3 or 4 attacks at WS 3 is pretty wimpy. The Skinks in the Howdah don’t help much either, but that’s ok. They try. That’s really all we ask from Skinks.[/quote] Note that while the low Initiative hurts a Stegadon in close combat, you test on the Skinks Initiative rating of 4 versus Purple Sun and similar spells or effects.

    How to use Stegadons in 8th edition

    Stegadons are a 7th edition relic. They were designed to be able to fight with a Unit Strength of 10 against enemies that were not always Steadfast. 8th edition is a whole new ball game. Thankfully someone had the wonderful idea to make Stegadons be Stubborn a long, long time ago, so we haven’t lost all combat potential. Additionally we have the introduction of Thunderstomp; something the rule-makers at Games Workshop saw would be the downfall of Monsters in Warhammer had it not been included.

    Sometimes if you are running a Steg as a character mount, you might get pulled into a challenge. Unfortunately the only way out of this is to not have a character due to the "Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide" rule. If this happens, your only real hope is that you have more than one thing in combat with the unit. So yeah, heads up.

    Note that it is satisfying to have a Stegadon mount of Skink Chief or priest flatten an enemy character that would have easily made mincemeat out of the Skink if her were on foot.

    How to field them

    Stegadons can be taken in lots of varieties thanks to the ability to use them as mounts or as troop choices. Let’s look at our options.

    Single Steg – Just a regular Stegadon or Ancient Stegadon, taken by itself to be used as a shock trooper. Let him take on anything you want, just keep him away from high strength attacks. These guys are great for flanking, charging headlong into regular blocks of S3 T3 baddies, and even going toe-to-toe with a few other monsters, particularly if you are using an Ancient. Pot shot with the bow and blowpipes when you can and do your best to be the one who charges in order to get your precious Impact Hits. Stegadons of all types work great in tandem with Saurus blocks by letting you pull of the good ol’ Hammer and Anvil tactic.

    Two Stegs – Upping the damage output a little now. What your opponent feared with one Steggy now has been turned into a nightmare. There are a few different ways to run two Stegs together, often with devastating effect. It can also give you the flexibility to play both defensively and offensively depending on the situation. If you are going for a defensive type list, try putting a Steg on each flank to make your opponent have to pick and choose who goes where. Often times your opponent won’t be able to deal with a threat on both flanks and could force them to make a poor decision during deployment. The Stegadons of course can likely do alright by themselves. If you are going for an offensive army, put the Stegs together. I have yet to encounter anything that can withstand a dual Stegadon charge. Even the mighty Hell Pit Abomination won’t be able to compete with a combo charge like this, though it is over twice the cost of an HPA

    Now imagine two Stegadons with Sharpened Horns charging a HPA

    Three Stegs? – Well I only own two, so this would be theory crafting on my part. Though I have run two with a Carnosaur, so I would imagine the play style would be similar. 3 monsters are hard to deal with no matter what army you are playing. Just remember that Stegadons work best as shock troops and you’ll be ok. Ram them into squishy targets like hordes, getting all those nice Impact Hits to do the work for you. Keeping two together and letting the 3rd run the gambit is usually how I roll when I triple up like this. The spare guy does best providing supporting roles to your troopers while the other two can go after high-value targets or hard to break units. Just be wary of high strength stuff as usual.

    Four Stegs? – It’s doable! Two Baby Stegs, one Ancient, and one as a character mount. My goodness. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone do this but it could be fun. The drawback here is you are cutting into points for other useful things like Salamanders and Chameleons. Let them run amuck!

    I did six Ancient Stegadons in a 6000 point game along with a Troglodon. I discovered the upper limit of big dinosaurs is not based on pure numbers but on table width. Once you have so many dinosaurs that one dinosaur has to deploy behind another one, then you have too many.

    The Engine of the Gods

    Haven’t talked much about this option yet. The Engine is something that seems to usually be taken to fill a void if you are running sans Slann. That said, the Engine can actually buff up a Slann quite nicely since its abilities do not need power dice to function. I found EOTG to be a good investment when running a BRB lore Slann of any type for the casting difficulty break. When you are running a High Magic or WD Slann, the casting bonus from an EOTG is almost negligible.

    One key thing to keep in mind when you are running the EOTG is: It’s on an Ancient Stegadon. This isn’t some flimsy area buffing Cauldron or Priest Cart. This is a Stegadon. Ram it into combat! Don’t be afraid. Heck, the Engine arguably works better if you are closer to enemies. The Burning Alignment can easily take away a rank bonus from any unit around it. It even works decently against Ogres since its Strength 4 and isn’t a template. The most damage I have done to a single unit from an EOTG in a single turn was 20 casualties. It was amazing. I got 6 with Impact Hits, killed 5 more with Burning Alignment, killed 2 with regular Stegadon attacks, Skinks killed 2, and finally I got 5 more with Thunderstomp. Those clanrats didn’t stand a chance. Not to say that this will happen every time you get into combat, but it can. The potential is there.

    The absolute best thing to remember about the EOTG is that it can indeed hold its own. Don’t be afraid to use it as just a Stegadon. It can still fulfill all the tactics that the other ones do, even though it has a rather precious cargo on board. Since there is no longer a very vulnerable Skink Priest whose survival is necessary for your Engine powers, this is even more true now than when Qupakoco original wrote this.

    Character Mounts

    EOTG do not require Skink Priests and Skink Chiefs do not have access to a Stegadon specific magic weapon anymore. Sadly Skink Chiefs no longer boost the Ld of a Stegadon and neither Skink character gets a free 2+ armor save from the howdah like we used to. This means we have less incentive to put a Skink character on a Stegadon than we used to. There are still some situations when you want to do it.

    The most likely reason is math. You can use a Skink mounted character to field a Stegadon without using up Special or Rare points. If you are playing End Times percentages you should have Hero points to spare. This way you can take two Ancient Stegadons in a 2500 point game and have plenty of points left over for Salamanders or other Rares. Besides points issues, there are also slot issues. You can use a Skink character to let you field three Ancient Steggies in a normal size game or five Ancient Steggies in a grand army.

    The second most common reason to take a Stegadon riding Skink character is for a BSB. A Skink Chief BSB has an eighteen inch Stand Your Ground Range. While you can get this with a Scarnosaur BSB (which is better in combat against most things), but there are drawbacks. A Carnosaur usually is best deployed on the flank while Stegadons lend themselves to your army center next to your Saurus blocks, exactly where BSBs should generally go. That and Skink Chief BSBs are cheaper. I prefer defensively equipped BSBs, but for a different opinion: Take a Skink Chief Battle Standard Bearer and give him the Banner of Eternal Flame. Not only is the range of the BSB increased to 18”, but the Stegadon can run straight into those nasty things with Regeneration. Hell Pit? Hydra? They hate fire! And if they are lucky and get the charge on you instead they will regret it as soon as you announce Stand and Shoot with FLAMING attacks. Mwahahaa… I would not advise bothering with any of the other magic banners. Their buffs are generally not worth their points cost or worth negating your BSBs chance to carry other magic gear.

    A Skink Priest on an Ancient Steggy does not require you to requisition some of your Skinks a wizard bunker and the Steggy gives him a good vantage point to serve as an Arcane Vassal (at least in the first round or two before the Steggy charges into combat). A Skink Chief can add a bit of Initiative 6 killing power with the right magic items. Either way, you don’t have to treat the Skink character’s like they are made of glass. Even if your opponents target the Skinks individually, they will have to still kill the Stegadon too in order to collect the victory points. This can even work in reverse. If your Skink character is packing a Ward Save (or is simply freakishly lucky), they might find themselves surviving having their Stegadon shot out from under them. In that situation you can have the Skink character bolt into the nearest Skirmisher unit or behind some terrain to deny your opponent 300ish points.


    EOTG is technically an upgrade but that was already covered above. Mostly we are talking about Unstoppable Stampede and Sharpened Horns. Both Unstoppable Stampede and Sharpened Horns help Ancient Stegadons slightly more than baby Stegs. Why? Ancient Stegadons hit harder so the extra wounds or bonus attack will matter more. Also, Ancient Stegadons get fewer regular attacks so the bonuses are more valuable. All for the same cost for both. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t upgrade your Baby Steg, it just means that you should usually upgrade your Ancients first, and then your smaller Stegadons points permitting.

    Sharpened Horns will not help you if you are flattening infantry. I consider flattening infantry the primary niche of Stegadons, so you can survive without this upgrade. Still, Sharpened Horns gives Stegadons a new niche as Chariot or Monster killer. I would generally advise Sharpened Horns on most all-comers lists. You won’t use your Sharpened Horns every game, but when you do use them, it will be devastating. I would view them as nigh mandatory if you are trying Qupakoco’s Banner of Eternal Flame trick since most Regenerating and Flammable enemies are also multi-wound enemies. Also good in tailored lists if you know you will be facing multi-wound enemies slow enough to catch.

    Unstoppable Stampede is half the cost of Sharpened Horns, but it’s probably only a third as useful at best. I consider Unstoppable Stampede nice to have, but not required. I tend to take it if I have points to spare but rarely make it a priority. It’s charge dependent. Since so much of a Stegadon’s grandeur is already charge dependent, I am slightly hesitant to dump more points into yet another situational ability. The slower my opponent’s army is, the more apt I am to take this.

    Note the Engine of the Gods does not require a Skink Priest, but it still costs a hefty amount of extra points and it also has the unwritten cost of the foregone Giant Blowpipes. I still think EOTG is a good idea in many lists, just be mindful of its full cost.

    I like my Stegadons to have be symmetrical with respect to their power. It’s not just OCD, identically equipped Steggies help with target saturation strategies. If you take two or more Stegadons with different upgrades and/or a mix of regular and Ancient Stegadons, you take the guesswork away from your opponent’s response. They will use their artillery and heavy hitting spells and abilities to target your most expensive Steggies round one and leave your cheaper ones alone. If your Steggies are all alike (or nearly alike), target prioritization will be based on unit positioning between the two armies, and your opponent is more likely to make a mistake.

    This principle works with other dinosaurs too. If I’m mixing Steggies with Bastiladons I like to take baby Stegs because they are comparably costed with Bastiladons and I would gravitate towards Scarnosaurs over Oldblood Carnosaur riders for a similar reason. Perhaps I’m overthinking it. I won’t fault anyone for having dinosaurs that differ by 100 points or more.

    Final Thoughts

    Stegadons are great. They can fill all sorts of roles in our army and are surprisingly forgiving. Keep in mind that they cause Terror and therefore Fear as well. You never know when a unit might just panic and run away before you get to them. It may mess up your charge, but that’s something you just have to deal with. It likely messed up your opponent’s battle line too. And don’t forget Fear! WS1 can make a bit of a difference. Psychologically they can cause panic in your opponent’s head, so that’s fun.

    That’s it! If you have any more tricks you’d like to add, write them up and I’ll include them. Thanks for reading. Comments and criticism are welcome.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
    npowell88 likes this.
  2. npowell88

    npowell88 New Member

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    Just wanted to point out, that the giant blowpipes on the ancient steg suffer from being "multiple shot" as well - so if you move, shoot at long range, and use the multiple shots, you're at 7's to hit without using Hand of Glory to boost BS. So its very tough to get them in a position to be used properly, but the way I look at it is the Steg is basically a lizardmen chariot - and if you find yourself in a position to use the blowpipes effectively, its just gravy; but the purpose of the beast should be to act as hammer in the flanks, protect your own flanks, and to target soft squishy hordes of T3 infantry.

    Great update to the original write up though, this was a great read!!
    Scalenex likes this.
  3. airjamy

    airjamy Active Member

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    Seems like a solid update once again, only mild thing that might be added to the writeup is that they are best at guarding your flanks. I might have missed it, but when i run Stegs i always keep them close to the flanks of my TG block for that sweet ld10 bubble, in that way you completely mitigate the usual problems with Stegs.

    After reading this, i really feel like going for the full monster mash. I think it can be strong, and cannons will not even be the biggest problem i think because you simply have to many monster for them to be shot, i think mass infantry is going to be a problem. Because, let us be frank, how are you going to kill 50 halbediers with a Warrior Priest in them? I sortoff dissagree that flattening infantry is the primary forte of the Steg. They are really good at killing elite infantry such as Chaos Warriors, but against the pure weight of attacks that some units put down they will die.
  4. npowell88

    npowell88 New Member

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    I think monster mash can work - not only with target saturation, but with our fast-moving war machine hunters (skink chiefs on terradons/ripperdactyls, or units of terradons/rippers instead) we should be able to threaten them on turn 2, meaning that they might get 1 turn of shooting before we take them down, and that turn of shooting might be towards our flyers instead of our monsters. In Age of Sigmar, monster mash is AWESOME, just plain and simple. Ancient Steg can take down a unit of 30 warriors of chaos like they're made of paper.

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