Friday, August 9, 2013

Initial Thoughts On The New Lizardmen - Part One

I've had a good read of the new Lizardmen book over the past few days, glanced at some forums and listened to a few podcasts.

There is an enormous amount of doom and gloom being spouted by current Lizardmen players - if you want to punish yourself read the 60+ page thread on Warseer - that the book has taken a significant nerf.

I'm not so sure.

The three key criticisms being promoted are:

  • The reduction of Skink Leadership to 5
  • The changes to Salamander rules
  • Cost increases and changes to Slaan
Yes, there have been changes but I'm not sure it's all the doom and gloom.

1. Skink Leadership

The drop in Leadership reduces the odds of passing a Ld test from 68% to 52% (if testing on their own Leadership). Yes it is a drop and removes some "certainty" but to be honest 68% was never a certain thing anyway. You needed to factor in the almost one third chance of failure previously - now you still have to.

What it should lead to is more careful placement of the Slaan to give you the Leadership boost (and critically re-roll) where it is most important.

Working outside the Slaan Leadership bubble always carried some risk - Camo Skinks and Terradons were vulnerable. They remain so. If you are making 20 tests per game previously you were failing six now it's nine.

There is vulnerability around Ripperdactyl Frenzy checks but again this can be accommodated by placement in the Leadership bubble. As I said, it was there anyway.

2. Salamander Changes

There are five changes. First, they have increased in cost by 5 points. Second, no march and shoot. This is big but realistically they were, to use the vernacular, "broken". Removing this is the thing most likely to result in the previous comp restrictions around Sallies' numbers being removed. Third, they have increased to Strength 4. This is a major boost and increased the casualty rate on very lightly and non-armoured models significantly.  Four, this is offset by removing -3 AS modifier which made them such a boon against knights and the like. However hitting 5 knights previously killed 1.1, now it kills 0.8. Is it such a big loss? Lastly, auto-panic test for a wound is gone. Probably the biggest change apart from March and Shoot. It was always a threat but is the loss of this the difference between success and failure?

A question for Lizard players. Are you still going to include Salamanders in your list despite the changes? I bet you are!

3. Slaan Changes

The key changes here is the effective points increase. There is now virtually no potential for Dual Slaan list at 2400 points so some lists will have to change. Power Dice generation has been limited and there is a change to miscast protection. Is this a nerf? Yes in the current form because you have to change/adapt. In the second part I'll lay out my thoughts as to why I think the "new" Slaan is as least as good as before.

So I'm far less pessimistic about the book than conventional "internet wisdom". In fact I'm sufficiently enthused by what I see as the potential in the book to contemplate (see what I did there) breaking them out to run over the next few months. In the second part I'll round through the significant boosts I think that the book has been given.


  1. I'd heard murmurings that the Salamanders were now just Fire Throwers out of the Rulebook. I don't have the Lizard book to confirm, but if so, they would still cause auto-panic?

    1. that's correct, I don't have the book either though.

    2. They no longer cause panic, are move or fire, str 4 and no armour piercing

    3. If it's a Fire Thrower, any unit taking casualties takes a Panic test (p114). There's no Ld modifier though.

    4. You wish it was move or fire Sam

  2. Agreed regarding the salamanders, I still think 2 singles will be a staple of most lists. With walk between worlds you can still get them in the right place as well if you go high magic loremaster.

    I do think the leadership change is significant, though I agree it'll come down to playing better and accepting more risk to mitigate it. You'll still have to work outside the bubble though and when you do the lower leadership will become an issue.

    As for the Slann, I do feel there is a nerf there, but I'm unsure as to the implications of the high lore attribute and being able to take all signature spells. He's probably going to be a more flexible caster, but will lack the "brute force" of the old slann. Unsure how this will balance out overall.

    My main disappointment with the book is that the new kits (while being gorgeous models without exception) appear to be underwhelming (caveat being I haven't played a game yet) on the tabletop. Most people (myself included) like the thought of getting a bit of new filth with a new book but this book appears a lot more subtle than the last few releases.

    Time will tell, and I'll be taking my lizards up to Tauranga and to Warpfire at this stage.

    1. My understanding of the new monsters is that they are the lizardmen equivalent of buff one is complaining about Hurricanums being useless in combat because of what else they do.

      Getting primary fury on a 5 or a 6 (and vs me you can get it from supporting attacks too cos that's RAI), + the swarm/poison thing/lazorbeam thing the other one do are all "buff wagon" mechanics...just with thunderstomp instead of impact hits.

      The thing I LOVE about the new book is that it is built around combat being a rather attractive proposition filled to the brim with anti monsterous cav/infantry toyz. SKink Cloud seems less appealing - I would LOVE your Slann to be closer to my army so you can get IP thank you!

      Slanns? They are now more defensive and losing the free dice is in line with 8th books...however there are some nasty tricks with them...IF you get the dice (just like every other 8th ed mage).

  3. Actually my biggest problem with the new book is the removal of the old Becalming Cognition. (Hear me out) Yes it was 'brokenly' overpowered, yes it shut down most magic by itself. However, what do you do if you have Purple Sun (and to a lesser extent other I-test spells) against Lizards? throw 6 dice at it, get IF so we cant scroll it, and wipe out half my army 1st turn. No other army has that big of a weakness to something so common and hard to prevent. And now it is impossible to prevent.

    1. Yes it is a problem but to get IF Purple Sun it is probably a Level 4 and that is not without risk. Six dice is still only 27% chance and if he does get it without IF you have two chances to try and dispel it with new becalming.

      Also armies do have to have some weaknesses - I is the one for Lizards - and I'm not sure I buy half an army being wiped out first turn. It suggests that deployment could have been a little better :-)