We haven’t added a new Tactica in a while, so I wrote this up on creating balancing fun and competitive lists for Storm of Magic games. In my opinion, the rules apply to virtually all Storm of Magic Lizardmen armies. The guidelines are what I consider applicable to MOST Storm of Magic Lizardmen armies, but it’s not hard to think of situations where it breaks down and should be ignored. Rule Number One: Don’t Nitpick the details of the add-ons. Is there are BEST Scroll of Binding choice? Is there a BEST Lore? Probably, but it’s not worth burning your gray matter trying to find out what is best. All choices will work and SOM is random enough that the difference between the best and worst Scroll of Binding choices is probably pretty slim in the grand scheme. With hundreds of combinations of monsters, pacts, and Mythic Artifacts from many different sourcebooks, it’s beyond the scope of one Tactica to compare and contrast them all. If you want to spend all your SOM points on one Emperor Dragon, do it. If you want lots of cheap monsters, do that instead. If you want a pact using your favorite models from your secondary undead or daemonic army, then Bob can make you a special Avatar. If you are a purist and want to take all dinosaur based Scrolls of Binding, that’s also good. Storm of Magic games are too random to take serious from a hyper-competitive angle. Take what seems fun first (or what models you have that look the coolest), even in a tournament. Rule Number Two: Take lots of magic. Don’t be so enamored of the weird magical items and cool monsters that you forget to take wizards. You need at least two wizards to claim your side’s starting fulcrums, you want at least one wizard to claim an enemy fulcrum. You want at least a fourth wizard as spare because SOMEONE will almost certainly die no matter how skilled or lucky you are. Not only do you have redundancy for claiming or holding fulcrums, but more wizards means more different lores and more different lores means more chances to get the lovely +5 from the wheel of magic chart. It’s very difficult to get the 25+ and stronger spells cast without an ascendant lores. Rule Number Three: Avoid putting your Slann on Arcane Fulcrums. Your Slann has access to cataclysm spells as long as your side controls one or more Arcane fulcrums. Your Slann will still get the Wheel of Magic bonuses if he’s not on one of your Fulcrums. The Slann’s 4+ Ward save is factored into his points cost, so if you get the Arcane Fulcrum’s 3+ Ward save you are overpaying for your Slann. Since a Slann is going to be casting most of your important spells and probably serve as your general and BSB, you cannot afford the double miscast he would receive if he was sitting on a fulcrum. In a normal game, a Slann is priority target because of their raw power and points cost. He will still be a priority target in a SOM game, but ideally your opponent should be splitting his fire between your Slann and your fulcrum wizards making him less effective on each battlefront.. That being said, if there is an empty fulcrum and your Slann can claim it, do so if no one else can. It’s still better to have a Slann on the fulcrum than to have nothing on a fulcrum, but ideally it should be part of your endgame push. If you have two Slann you can put one on a bunker if you want, you can use Telepathic Confabulation to make sure your fulcrum Slann isn’t casting the high risk spells. Guideline One: Take the Lore of Heavens Somewhere All of the Cataclysm spells are useful, but the Cataclysm spell Fantastic Foresight is truly well…fantastic. It’s cheap to cast, so a level one caster can cast it without Ascendance easily and it will practically double your channeling (stacking with Channeling Staff and Harmonic Convergence) and letting you afford getting away with using fewer dice to cast or dispel. Of course, most enemies will dispel this spell hard, but that’s still in your favor because you will usually draw out more enemy dice than you spent casting this. Best of all, it costs us next to nothing to include the Lore of Heavens. A High Magic Slann can pick up any Heavens spell and get the Fantastic Foresight, or he could be a Heavens Slann, or WD Slann. Lots of heavy magic armies plan to take Tet anyway for his useful grab-bag of abilities and a L1 Skink Priest caddy can take Heavens. Feel free to ignore this guideline if you do not want to use Skink priests or if you vastly prefer Beast magic. Guideline Two: Take Lots of Caddies The Dispel Scroll, Book of Ashur, Forbidden Rod, and Cube of Darkness are as useful as they ever were. The Feedback Scroll, Wand of Jet, Sivejir’s Hex Scroll, and Power Stone gain new usefulness you wouldn’t see in an ordinary game. The Channeling Staff and Scroll of Shielding are even better than they normally are. Since a Slann or maybe a spell casting monster is going to be doing most of the heavy lifting, you want to make most if not all of your backup casters L1. Avoid taking a wizard without an arcane item. Take as many caddy wizards as you feel you are capable of without overly squeezing the points from the rest of your list. Feel free to ignore this guideline if you prefer a two Slann army, are using wizard SCs, or favor spell casting Scroll of Binding Monsters such as the Zoat or Truthsayer (which sadly cannot caddy magic items) Guideline Three: Here There Be Monsters Players are encouraged to take big scary monsters. Regardless of whether you follow the mold or break the mold, make sure your overall list is tailored to fight monsters as well as to maximize magic. Many monsters have weak or nonexistent saves. What is our answer to that? If you said “Shoot it with Skinks!” this is probably not the first Tactica you have read. Skink shooting will handle about half of the Scroll of Binding Monsters. If your Skinks don’t have any soft monsters to shoot at, point them at an enemy wizard bunker and the results will be almost as good. High Strength attacks will hurt any monster. Kroxigor, Saurus cowboys, and to a lesser extant Temple Guard provide these. And of course you have access to lots of monsters for Godzilla Monster vs. Monster fights. Many monsters with poor Leadership or Initiative scores are vulnerable to magic that uses those traits in place of Toughness. Some spells hit at high strength. Some spells hex mighty monsters into oversized puppies. Some spells augment your troops into being monster killers or nigh invincible. Make sure your list of spells includes at least two or three spells that make you think “this will stop a monster.” A savvy player can redirect or tarpit monsters. Lizardmen have the best cheap redirectors in the game, but that tactic will only go so far. Redirection is easier in conventional games where you both armies start out on opposite table edges. Since Arcane Fulcrums don’t hug the back table edges you will have one or more fronts to defend that are relatively close to the enemy to begin with. Tarpits are actually slightly more effective than usual since your enemy’s objectives are crystal clear (your fulcrums) you can plop a big unit of Cohort Skinks (or in my case Skink zombies) in front of one your fulcrums and your opponent will usually have little choice, but to force their way through. Flyers can bypass this, but you can fallback on Guideline One to counter this. Feel free to ignore this guideline if are going for a specific theme and would prefer not to bog down your theme with crunchy builds and add-ons. Guideline Four: Bunker your Slann, then bunker it again Assuming your Slann is not on a fulcrum, he should have a hardy unit. Temple Guard are the obvious choice but you can get by with Saurus Warriors. Skink Skirmishers or lone Slann are nice in normal games but there are too many magic missiles and vortexes flying around to go with that route here. However many models of Temple Guard you’d normally take for the points level, take at least one rank more than that. Now give them something that bestows MR. Make sure they and your Slann BSB are carrying your personal favorite two Banners between them. To put the cherry on top of your Slann Bunker Sundae, give your Revered Guardian the Warrior Bane. For a minimal points cost you make protracted battles with monsters progressively easier. Feel free to ignore this guideline if your personal play style dislikes bunkered Slann (or you want run sans-Slann). Guideline Five: Avoid Redundancy Basically you have to protect your casters, kill the enemy casters, and waylay the Monsters with fewer points than normal because you are probably spending more on characters than usual. If you are spending your Scroll of Binding Points on two Carnosaurs, than taking a Carnosaur mounted Saurus is probably a waste of points. If you are taking a pack of Dragon Ogres or River Trolls, you probably don’t need Kroxigor. If you are have seventy zombies you don’t need a Skink tarpit. It’s even possible to take too many wizards. I saw many players with two or three wizards suffer a lot, but my own strategy of taking seven wizards was a little overboard. Feel free to ignore this guideline if you have a strong theme. Doubling on a theme is always fun to do in which case I say, don’t take three Carnosaurs, take four Carnosaurs.