Skink priests are not going to win any popularity contests when compared to the other non-lord wizard options of other armies. Their relative short comings are magnified by the fact that Slann are so awesome. They aren’t going to win a game by themselves, but they do have contributions to make so let’s discuss what a Skink Priest can do. Preliminary Assessment of the Lore of Heavens. Lore of Heavens is considered fairly weak by many. It might not have the awesome that is Shadow, Light, and Life, but I don’t think it should be written off. Heavens has a little bit of everything, two hexes, a buff, damaging spells, battlefield control. The problem is with other lores you can plan around having a certain type of spell, on Heavens you have to hope blind luck gets you the spells you were hoping for or be very flexible. Iceshard Blizzard: This isn’t the greatest spell in the world, but there are no matchups I can think of where Iceshard Blizzard’s simple hex can’t do SOMETHING helpful. If there is a spell on the list you really don’t want take solace that you can’t do worse than Iceshard Blizzard. Harmonic Convergence: It’s cheap to cast and there isn’t a single unit in Warhammer that won’t benefit from ignoring 1s, the trick is figuring out which units need the bonus the most. Wind Blast: I’ve tried to come up with a way to use this, but 1d3+1 inches isn’t far enough to seriously slow down enemy advances and it’s hard to count on units being close enough together to get collision hits. This is probably the least useful spell of the lore. In most cases I’d swap this spell out for Blizzard without a second thought. Curse of the Midnight Wind: Potentially as useful as Harmonic Convergence. I prefer the lower casting value of Harmonic Convergence though. Uranons Thunderbolt: I remember fondly in 6th edition when this spell had unlimited range and no required line of sight. It’s still an okay spell, 1d6 hits isn’t going to devastate a horde of enemies, but S6 hits are fairly potent. The spell is best used on lone models and small units like elite cav where you can use the high Strength to counter their high T and AS. Comet of Casandora: Lots of damage potential but a little unreliable sometimes going off too early and too late. It’s a lot of damage for a 12+ spell and can’t be dispelled once cast. Fantastic for blasting war machines. Not bad at blasting other troops if you know where they are planning to go. Chain Lightning: I do not like this spell. A third the time spell is identical to Uranon’s Thunderbolt though with the higher casting level. There’s a chance the spell will be spectacular hitting a theoretically unlimited number of units. I’m personally not a gambler. Magic is already risky enough: you can get an unfavorable winds of magic roll, you can miscast, you can fail to successfully cast your first spell, etc. A deeper analysis of the Lore of Heavens probably deserves its own thread. Let us look at roles a skink priest can play that aren’t tied to specific spells. Skink Priest Scroll Caddies Only wizards can carry arcane items. Slann can only carry one arcane item and it’s usually Cupped Hands. Some armies don’t have a Slann at all. Cube of Darkness, Dispel Scrolls, Hex Scrolls, and the various other Dispel Scroll variants are handy. If you are using a skink priest as a caddy, it’s still worth your time to figure out how to use his spell (or spells if you decided to make him a level two caster) and figure out a safe place to deploy him. The best thing about the Scroll Caddy role is that it’s not mutually exclusive with any of the following roles. Backup Caster When I play a Slann, I like to flood enemies with low casting cost spells apportioning out power dice slowly rather than throwing max dice on the heavier spells like Dwellers. Sometimes this strategy results in me whiffing the casting roll on my first or second spell and losing the rest of my power dice. If you have a skink priest and your Slann drops the ball, at least you can use your remaining power dice to do SOMETHING. Primary Caster Slann are better spell casters. That’s about as obvious as saying “water is wet”. Slann have more lore choices, can easily get lore mastery, extra power dice and miscast protection. If you want raw magical power, take a Slann. Only take a skink priest as your primary caster if Slann are off the table for some reason. Perhaps the point size of the army is small, lords are not allowed in a tournament, you are running with a Saurus general, or running a skink themed army. If a Slann is not available, your options are now Skink priest or no magic at all. Multiple skink priests for extra magic are a possibility for extra magical power, but if you can’t get a Slann and want some magic, a single skink priest with a handy arcane item is probably all you need. Anything beyond that is going to have rapidly diminishing returns. Engine of the Gods The Engine of the Gods is a cool idea and I like to field Stegadons out of sheer principle. The Stegadon models are what made me decide to collect LM years ago. That’s a lot of points invested in one model though and with the prevalence of artillery and heavy hitting spells out there there’s a lot that can kill a Stegadon. Even if the Ancient Stegadon survives the first cannonball the skink priest likely won’t survive the hit. Even if your foe lacks the long range hitting power to kill the priest, the priest won’t last long in close combat if your opponent wisely directs attacks towards the priest. If you are taking the EotG it’s probably a good idea to give the priest a protective talisman of some sort to mitigate the risk of your priest dying early. It’s also worth considering your liklihood of going first or not. If you lose the first turn your opponent gets a free round of shooting at your army without facing the 5+ Ward save. Poor Man’s General If your army point size is very small or you are deliberately going light on characters, a skink priest is not a terrible general. You are required to take at least ONE character after all. Saurus characters Ld only helps out skink units and LM are coldblooded, so the lost leadership bubble is not a huge big deal. If a skink priest is your general that means he’s also your primary caster, and he may be a scroll caddy as well. In a small game one nasty spell can ruin your whole army so even with your points tight as they are, it’s worth taking a defensive arcane item. You want to keep your puny general out of close combat since he fights like an ordinary skink and you don’t want to hand your foe the free victory points. Dying for the Greater Good Version 1: Hand Grenade The lives of the Skink Priests are nothing compared to the will of the Old Ones. This option is most effective if you are especially worried about your opponents dispelling power. If you can get a high casting level spell like Comet or Chain Lightning for your priest, cast it with six dice and try for IF. If the skink blows up, who cares? Skink priests are cheap and he probably already used his dispel scroll last round. Warhammer Siege On the defenders side I would definitely want to take a skink priest and wizard tower upgrade. Unlike a regular scenario, a wizard in a wizard’s tower can share the building with a unit of infantry. Lore mastery helps a level one skink priest a lot more than a level four Slann. This way you can be guaranteed the Heavens spells you want. Windblast might actually be good at delaying something when you consider how slow battering rams can move and Comet is fantastic for blasting the war machines you are all but guaranteed to be facing. EDIT: Play testing this showed the combo breaks down once casualties in certain section force you to swap units around, the means the Skink priest may get shuffled away from the wizards tower inadvertently.