Are champions worth it? All else equal, taking champions or not will have less impact on your lists than your other decisions, but some people, myself included, like to play with the margins. The 5+1 Boons of Unit Champions 1) They can issue or accept a challenge, so that your character in the unit doesn’t have to. A non-fighting character can avoid one-sided combats this way, and a fighting character can wrack up a higher body count if he’s not bogged down fighting someone on his tier. 2) They can issue or accept a challenge so that an enemy fighting character doesn’t kill as many rank and file. Sure the overkill hurts you about as much on CR either way, but if you are Stubborn or Steadfast, you managed to buy the lives of several of your soldiers with a one model sacrifice. 3) They give you an extra attack on the same frontage or they make your shooting a little better. 4) If an opponent allocates attacks outside of a challenge, they might allocate too many and get overkill with no CR. 5) They have a slim chance of getting you bonus points with an underdog challenge. +1) They look cool. There is but one downside. Champions cost a fair bit relative to the cost of an ordinary trooper. Saurus Warriors Spawn Leaders 1) Minor boon. Generally if you have a Saurus character in the block, you want your character to tussle with enemy heavies, unless it’s your BSB or someone who is bestowing Stubborn. 2) Minor boon. Saurus Warriors don’t always have Steadfast so this can buy you some time, but if an enemy blender is tearing through Sauri that easily, you are in trouble unless you can get reinforcements in immediately. 3) Moderate boon. Saurus hit fairly hard compared to most Core and have PF 4) Minor boon. With their decent Toughness and saves, few opponents will bother targeting your unit champion. 5) Minor boon. If you really get lucky with PF, you might kill a Hero, statistically speaking. Killing a Lord is theoretically possible but it's a one in a thousand chance. Conclusion: I’d go either way depending on points. Cohort Skink Braves 1) Situational. It’s relatively uncommon put a character in a Cohort, but characters in Cohorts tend to be squishy priests making it moderate boon if you have Skink characters in said unit. 2) Moderate boon in a designated tarpit, negligible boon in a redirector. 3) Negligible boon, unless you have the poisoned attack upgrade in which case it’s a minor boon. 4) Negligible boon. Only the most anal retentive opponent would bother allocating attacks to your unit champion, especially if it’s a Skroxigor block (they’ll target the Kroxigors instead). 5) Negligible boon, winning an underdog challenge with a Skink is a hole-in-one on a par five course. Conclusion: Good idea for tarpits. Excellent idea for character bunkers. Fluff purchase for anything else. Skink Skirmishers Patrol Leaders 1) Moderate boon, most lists have at least one Skink Priest and most Skink Priests join Skirmisher units. Major boon if you are running a Slann with your Skirmishers. Even a cheap character probably costs more than the whole unit so what’s an extra 10 points for the Champion? 2) Minor boon. While a Skirmisher unit is usually going to be flee either way if engaged, a sacrificial unit champion is great if your Skirmishers are in a forest and thus gain Stubborn. That’s a good chance of tying up a stronger unit in the woods for two rounds. 3) Negligible boon. Since it’s the 6s to hit that matters, it’s pretty rare for the +1BS to amount to much. 4) Negligible boon, only the most anal retentive opponent would bother allocating attacks to your unit champion on a throwaway chaff unit. 5) Negligible boon, winning an underdog challenge with a Skink is a hole-in-one on a par five course. Conclusion: A good idea if you expect to put a Skink Priest in the unit. A fluff purchase elsewhere. If you are taking more Skink Skirmisher units than you have Skink characters, I still would advise taking Patrol Leaders in all of them. Since characters are deployed last, you don’t want to shoehorn their placement before you have to. Though if we are talking primarily about designated Arcane Vassals, they are somewhat shoehorned by where your Slann is so take the preceding sentence with a bit of salt. Temple Guard Revered Guardians 1) Moderate boon. A TG bunker with a Slann refusing a challenge keeps Sacred Duty and actually gets more attacks (since the two back ranks taken up by the Slann are now filled with Temple Guard), but you don’t want your Slann to have to refuse a challenge since you lose the BSB reroll and drop to the Temple Guard’s base Ld. That’s dropping from an almost 100% chance of passing your break test to just under 90%. That’s a hefty risk for a unit with the bulk of your points invested in it. 2) Major boon. Once a TG bunker is engaged, you’ve committed yourself to a battle of attrition. Anything to save bodies is a good deal. 3) Moderate boon. Strength 5 PF (or Strength 4 with a magic weapon) plus whatever Slann buffs or magic banner buffs you are taking is nice. If you give him a cheap magic weapon you have a tool against Ethereal troops. The Warrior Bane Sword can also blunt a monster attack. 4) Minor boon. A Revered Guardian with a magic weapon may draw allocated attacks but most opponents will opt for a maximum body count. 5) Minor boon. While stronger and more skilled than basic Saurus Warriors, your Revered Champion is likely fighting nastier characters than your rank and file Spawning Leader so your odds of winning aren’t really any better than with regular Saurus Warriors. Conclusion: I’d take it most of the time. While you can do most of these things better with a Scar Veteran or Oldblood playing Eternity Warden for your Slann, if you are spending that many points on your Deathstar, what’s a few more? If you are running Temple Guard sans Slann, you probably want killing power so (3) goes up a notch. All comer’s list Revered Guardians should probably be packing the Warrior Bane. Chameleon Skink Stalkers 1) Negligible boon. Even if you are taking Oxyotl, you should be avoiding most close combats like the plague. 2) Minor boon. While you should avoid tough close combats with Chameleon Skinks, a large unit can salvage a lot of your points if they lose to CR from overkill and live to run away and rally. 3) Negligible boon. Since it’s the 6s to hit that matters, it’s pretty rare for the +1BS to amount to much. 4) Negligible boon, only the most anal retentive opponent would bother allocating attacks to your unit champion on a light scouting unit. 5) Negligible boon, winning an underdog challenge with a Skink is a hole-in-one on a par five course. Conclusion: There is there no non-aesthetic reason to take Stalkers unless you are fielding an unusually large unit (10+), but even then I’d still probably forgo the Stalker, tactically speaking. Cold One Riders Pack Leaders 1) Minor boon. Most LM players use their Cold One Cavalry as buses to escort very badass Saurus who don’t shirk from challenges. 2) Moderate boon. It’s not every battle that they will be fighting something nasty enough to take down multiple Saurus Cav in a single round, but they are expensive enough on a model per model basis that this is a good investment. 3) Moderate boon. Strength 4 (or 5 with spears on the charge) and PF at WS 4 is not too shabby. 4) Minor boon. With how small most COR units are, few opponents will bother with allocation, especially since they are likely to miscalculate if they do (2+ Armor save and all that). 5) Minor boon. They are a distant second to Kroxigor, but with the mount you get five attacks, three of which have PF. Still, in most cases your Scar Veteran or Oldblood will be doing the challenges. Conclusion: I would nearly always take one if I was running them without characters. I would usually take them when running with characters. Kroxigor Ancients 1) Negligible boon, it’s very rare for LM players to put characters in Kroxigor blocks, and if you do put a character in there, he’s probably a badass Saurus cowboy who can take care of himself. 2) Minor boon, Kroxigor don’t usually have to worry about a high body count. Unless you are fielding a 6+ unit, the unit will either be mostly intact or mostly dead after the first round or two of combat. 3) Major boon since we are talking about a Strength 7 PF hit. 4) Minor boon. With a three wound profile, allocation is unlikely but if it happens you are likely to save a whole model (and thus get three more attacks this round). 5) Major boon, while you aren’t guaranteed an underdog award, but no LM champion is better at killing characters. Few unit champions in any army come close to a Kroxigor Ancient’s power (barring monstrous cavalry of course). Conclusion: I’d take one every time. Compared to the cost of a rank and file Kroxigor, an Ancient is a bargain for what he brings to the table. Terradon Rider Sky Leaders 1) Minor boon (assuming your meta that allows Terradon riding characters to join). Flying Skinks of Doom are usually front-loaded with short-term offense so keeping them away from challenges is rarely an issue. Moderate boon if your character happens to be Tik’tak’to. 2) Minor boon. Usually the unit is so small and prone to fleeing saving a rider or two won’t matter much. 3) Negligible boon, throwing javelins or fireleeches is usually the least important thing Terradon Riders do. 4) Negligible boon, it’s highly unlikely an opponent would bother targeting your Sky Leader. 5) Minor boon. Your odds of killing a hero are somewhat better than groundling Skinks, especially since Terradons tend to fly at somewhat softer units such as engineers or wizards. Conclusion: No champion is ever totally useless, but Sky Leaders are the least valuable unit champions we have access to. Maybe viable with Tik’tak’to. Ripperdactyl Rider Braves 1) Minor boon (assuming your meta that allows Ripper riding characters to join). Flying Skinks of Doom are usually front-loaded with short-term offense so keeping them away from challenges is rarely an issue. 2) Variable. If you are the type of player to field units of six Rippers instead of the minimum three, I’d call this a moderate boon. Otherwise it’s a minor boon at best. 3) Minor boon, the extra Skink attack matters little compared to the fighting power of a Ripperdactyl, but since Rippers are an offensive unit with a relatively small model frontage, every attack counts and the spears help a bit. 4) Negligible boon, it’s highly unlikely an opponent would bother targeting your Brave. 5) Moderate boon, Killing Blow gives Ripper Braves a better chance than most to win an underdog challenges. Assuming a character accepts your challenge anyway. Most players cringe at the very mention “Killing blow versus my character.” Conclusion: I’d go either way depending on points. Miscellaneous Tidbits The larger your unit is, the more useful champions become, whatever the unit is. If you are just a few points over or under your points limit. Champions are more often to be added or removed than anything else, frequently making math a more important determinant than tactics. A Revered Guardian with a magic weapon is hitting at base Strength 4, not 5, but he does get his shield, making him slightly more survivable. If you have the Regrowth spell (via a Life or High Magic Slann), Champions become considerably more valuable. You can theoretically use boon (2) over and over again.