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: 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. Don’t forget that the Skink Crew has javelins! 3 Extra shots can make a difference sometimes. 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, but I’ll get to that and a couple other cannon tactics later. 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. If your Steg is packing a Skink Chief, the odds go up to 80.5% making combat much more favorable. Make sure you pick your fights, so to speak. 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. Oh and on the note of low initiative, watch out for Cracks Call and Purple Sun. How to use Stegadons in 8th edition As with everything else in our army (as of writing this anyway) 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. 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. 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 playstyle 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! 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 it’s abilities do not need power dice to function. The Priest in this case is most often thought of as “Skink Tax” that you have to pay in order to take the Engine. He’s really there for you to bring along the Cube of Darkness or something equally arcane. 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. For me, my turns with the Engine typically play out as follows: Turn 1: Portent of Warding against a shooty army; Arcane Configuration against anything else. Turn 2: Am I close enough to do damage? If not, Portent of Warding or Arcane Configuration. Otherwise use Burning Alignment. Turn 3-6: Burning Alignment. Of course this is a general outline. There may be a few times in the game where everything seems to be just too far away. If you know the upcoming magic phase is going to be very important than perhaps selecting Arcane Configuration for your desired lore would be the best option. Don’t forget that the little Skink Priest in the howdah effectively acts as though he is one level higher than normal when it comes to casting and dispelling. If you pick Heavens, the Arcane Configuration technically reduces all the casting costs by 2 instead of 1. Not a bad deal. And if the Priest is a level 2 this means he TECHNICALLY becomes a level 4 for casting. Neat, isn’t it? Let me know if I lost you on that train of thought, haha. 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. The Dawnstone is an excellent investment if you are paranoid of losing access to your EOTG powers. Cannon-proofing your Stegs There are a few things we can do as Lizardmen Generals to avoid losing our Stegadons to the dreaded cannon. Fortunately our beasties have 5 wounds, so on average you won’t lose a Stegadon to a single cannonball shot. But it can happen. It’s happened to me, and it will happen to you. So heads up. Dwarf and Empire players go nuts when they kill one with a single shot. Bring Warmachine Hunters This is the easiest safeguard against losing a Stegadon. Chameleons can easily zip around enemy lines to get into position to lay down some threatening fire on a cannon. Heck, they may even take a grapeshot if your opponent feels really threatened by them. And if that happens it means your Stegadon gets to go for a turn without being shot at. Good trade in my opinion. Terradons can sometimes get to an enemy cannon on Turn 1 with their Vanguard move, but usually it won’t be until Turn 2. Still, often times your opponent may take the Terradons as a more immediate threat and lob a shot at them instead. Gungan Bubble Shield Bring the Engine of the Gods! A 5+ ward save against a cannon is amazing and more times than not actually turns out to be helpful. You can easily fit another Steg or two within the effective area of the Portent of Warding. It’s not the best but easily better than just taking a shot. Target Saturation Kind of a familiar term for Lizardmen Generals I think. Basically bring too many targets for the cannons to deal with. Two Stegs, three Stegs, Stegs and a Carnosaur, Salamanders all over the place. Anything to tempt cannon fire. The crew working the gun will be so excited that they might not pick the right thing to shoot at! Use the Terrain Get yourself behind things! Buildings and hills are great. Heck, you can even hide Stegs behind other Stegs. Remember, if a Monster takes a cannonball and doesn’t die then the bounce stops there. Kind of a morbid tactic but it can work. Would you take a Baby Steg to protect your EOTG? Falls back to target saturation at that point I suppose. Take a Life Slan! Do I need to explain this one? Heal those wounds and toughen ‘em up. You can make a Steg Toughness 10 if you’re really worried. Turn it Sideways? I’m not sure I fully believe in this tactic but I see it pop up from time to time. The basics is easy: put your Stegadon sideways to the cannon during deployment. This effectively shortens your base in the direction of the bounce, giving the cannon a bit less of a target in its line of fire. With less depth to your base the odds of the cannonball rolling too high and flying over your Stegadon are better. Make sense? Kinda rules lawyery I think and probably only effective 10% of the time. Good cannoneers should still be able to hit you so don’t rely on this too much. But it could work! After the first turn simply reform and get a move on it. Gotta sacrifice your march move though, so keep that in mind. Sneaky Tricks Take a Skink Chief with the Stegadon War-spear. Rather self explanatory, but it can catch an opponent off guard. It gives you the potential to pull off 13 wounds on just the charge! Whew baby. If you are feeling cocky you can even take out some bigger monsters with Impact Hits alone. 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… Life Slann!! Kinda already covered this one, but it is sorta sneaky if you and your opponent have closed lists. A Regenerating, Toughness 10 Stegadon? Dang. 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 opponents 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.