This is part 2 in our review of the Battletome: Seraphon included in the Seraphon Army Set. We received a free copy of this box from Games Workshop.
A couple of models have either been squatted entirely or given new names. This is largely due to redundancy, with heroes either not really having a role to fulfill. In other cases, new names have been introduced. For the sake of clarity, these are the models that do not appear in the book:
- Skink Priest – Presumably because the model was old and it was hard to give it something to do with the hero heavy book. Can always proxy the model as a Star Priest.
- Saurus Eternity Warden – There’s already too many melee Saurus warriors, this ones an old Finecast model that almost never saw play anyway. Could proxy it as an Oldblood.
- Saurus Sunblood – Likely for the same reasons as the Eternity Warden.
- Scar-veteran on Cold One – Eclipsed by the new Scar-Veteran on Agaddon.
- Saurus Knights – Functionally replaced by the Agadonn Lancers. We don’t yet know the base size for the lancers, but these might be too small to function as adequate proxies.
- Salamanders – Not really removed, the new Spawn of Chotec is the new name for this. If you want to keep using your old models, you should be able to.
- Chameleon Skinks – Basically had their job permanently replaced by Hunters of Huanchi.
- Razordon Hunting Pack – Another old finecast model that probably won’t be missed too badly. Sadly, it doesn’t really have a clear replacement.
The big man himself, he hasn’t really changed since he got a new warscroll during Broken Realms. He lost Supreme Gift from the Heavens and, of course. Comet’s Call. Azyrite Force Barrier still gains its number of attacks from how many models are within 3″ of him, but deals Mortals on 5+ now. Still, I wouldn’t let him get into combat.
He knows the Slann lore of whichever army you put him in, but not both. This does make him a higher value since base Slann can’t hot swap spells for free anymore (and Coalesced ones at all). He dropped to a very nice 395 which makes him even more appealing – if he wasn’t before.
To accompany his new beefier model, he gained 2 more wounds, which is honestly a good place to stop since it keeps him within Look Out, Sir! range, and able to avoid enemy fire this season, as his Palanquin isn’t a mount. Other than that he really hasn’t changed. He also lost Comet’s Call of course.
Otherwise his role is pretty much the same. He’s basically Kroak’s understudy, with 1 fewer spell, +1 to cast instead of +2 but most of the same abilities. Notably Celestial Equilibrium was moved from the lore to a warscroll spell, which does soothe losing Comet’s call a bit, giving all other Wizards a +1. He also gets the new spell Shield of the Old Ones to give him a 4+ Ward against Mortals, good for avoiding being targetted by the enemy’s own spells.
You’re likely still going to bring Kroak or this guy, you can do without it but you need a damn good reason, they do too much as the center pillar of your army to ignore.
Saurus Oldblood on Carnosaur
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. It’s not a secret that Saurus were a real weak point in the book, and the heroes were pretty underwhelming compared to similar Monster Heroes. Well, this is definitely a lot more impressive. He gained 3 more wounds for a max of 15, and like most Monsters in 3.0 books, the drop off on the damage chart is a lot less stark, so he can fight better for longer.
While the damage of his weapon went from 3 to 2, he picked up 2 more attacks so it’s a fair trade. The mount gained an extra rend on each attack. 3 Rend -2, Damage 5 attacks aren’t messing around.
Finally, the abilities are where the differences become apparent. There’s fewer abilities, but they have much more of an impact. Blood Frenzy now grants +1 to wound for the rest of the battle after killing a model, a far more practical bonus than Run and Charge if you’re already in combat. Terror now blocks Inspiring Presence, way better than -1 to Bravery. While they lost the hilariously bad Wrath of the Seraphon ability, its replaced with Ancient Warlord to issue an order to two units instead of one.
All in all, a really solid backbone to a Saurus heavy army. Much scarier in combat, and spreading out your orders lets him support his troops much better.
The on foot version, and don’t count him out just because he doesn’t have a scary mount, he has some nice tricks
The weapon options have been compressed down to just one, which makes things much easier to work with. Basically the best of everything with a 3+ to hit 3+ to wound, Rend -1 and Damage 2 like the mounted version. Where he really shines is a slew of support abilities. Predatory Examplar is part of the de rigueur combat abilities where a unit of Saurus Warriors or Guard can immediately fight after him. Wrath of the Seraphon got moved over here, but now it gives +1 to wound in addition when using All Out Attack on a Saurus Warrior or Guard unit, which makes him absolutely essential for any Saurus-based force.
Saurus Astrolith Bearer
New model, but the warscroll hasn’t really changed. +1 to casting and increase range of spells by 6″, and a 6+ ward within 12″. Is even more essential since you can’t use Sacred Asterisms for a +1 anymore, so staple one of these guys in your list. He’s especially important in Starborne, where his ward can be boosted to a 5+.
Saurus Scar-Veteran on Carnosaur
This guy is practically identical to the Oldblood on Carnosaur, but instead of doubling up on a command ability he can just drop a few extra mortal wounds on a wounded unit with Maim and Tear. He rolls a number of dice equal to the wounds on a unit and for each 5+ deals a mortal. This makes him a really good monster or Hero hunter, cleaning up what he didn’t quite kill – but makes him less useful against Hordes. He is 30 points cheaper than the Oldblood on Carnosaur, which is a pretty fair deal.
Kixi-Taki and the Starblood Stalkers
Games Workshop has been making a concerted effort to make Underworlds Warbands worth taking in recent months and honestly – these guys ain’t bad. The attack profile is wholly unremarkable, but Kixi-Taki can make a unit within within 6″ not count on objectives once per game on a 2+ with Servant of the Starmasters. Klaq-Trok, the included Saurus Oldblood basically shares their stat block but can reroll all hits and wounds, which isn’t nothing. 290 points is a bit steep for this however, and if he came down a bit that might be a neat party trick, since Kixi and his retinue are likely to get slaughtered immediately after they shut off a unit from capturing objectives
Saurus Scar-Veteran on Aggradon
This is, functionally, the new Scar-Veteran on Cold One. He’s got both a spear and club options, functionally the same but the spear gets an extra rend while the club has an extra attack. The club is going to do better in most cases – but its close enough to not be a huge deal if you think the Spear looks better.
He introduces the Rage mechanic shared with the Saurus on Aggradon unit, where he will accumulate a “Rage Counter” for each combat phase he ends in combat, to a maximum of 3. If he ever ends the combat phase not engaged with something, it resets to 0. You can add the number of rage counters to the attack characteristic of the mount’s weapons – which are pretty gnarly at Rend -2 Damage 2. He also has a handy Feral Roar once per game command ability that boosts the rage counters of all Aggradon units within 18″ at the start of the combat ability.
The rage score is generally less something to aspire to, since it would encourage you to not kill an opponent, and more a the reason to make your opponent want to avoid a protracted fight with this thing, because it’s just going to get deadlier.
This guy is…weird? Sadly he lost a lot of his utility – though he did make up for it in other ways. He doesn’t grant you 3D6″ charge anymore (which would be really nice with all the new cavalry that just came out), nor does he grant extra CP. He does however have 2 spell casts per turn, which makes him a nice support piece. Scry the Stars lets you roll a number of dice equal to the battle round and for each 2+ grant a 5+ ward. It’s got unlimited range, but you will probably drop this round 2 or 3 since that’s where most games get decided. Finally he has a nice niche warscroll spell, Celestial Doom which shuts off Wards to a unit within 12″. Not always useful but if you go up against an army with Wards you will be so happy he’s here.
This guy is basically the same as before, but circumstances have changed around him that he’s arguably less useful than before. He can’t grant you a bonus CP anymore and while his primary reason for being, the Serpent Staff to get mortal wounds on 6s to wound still exists the number of available targets just aren’t as juicy as before as most ranged units have fewer attacks now. Blazing Starlight still remains with its crucial -1 to hit, so it’s not all bad, but you may just want to stick to a Starseer now.
Skink Oracle on Troglodon
The basically never used Skink Oracle got a retooling that gives it a bit more of a role as ranged support. The attacks got a point of rend but that’s not really what its there for – you have Carnosaurs for that. The important change was to the ranged attack, Noxious Spittle which now is a flat 3 attacks and does 2 mortals on 6s to hit instead of a bonus MW on 6s to wound, nice change. The new Stench of Death causes -1 to hit on all enemy units within 9″, 12″ on a 2+ with its monstrous rampage in Coalesced (so you’ll almost always turn that on). The fairly generous range lets it hang back and support its units, rather than getting into combat itself.
The new spell to replace the lost Comet’s Call, Primordial Mire is interesting, he can target an objective or terrain feature within 12″ (it says Visible to the Casters…so like Grinding Teeth of Gallet that’s going to need an FAQ) and all non-Skink or Flying units within 3″ of it cannot run or retreat and must half all charges. This makes it exceedingly versatile, able to keep opponents locked into a losing combat, or keep them away from you. While a smart opponent will be able to avoid its triggers, just forcing them to keep away from terrain has a lot of potential.
If you want to run Terradons for some reason, this guy is a reasonable assistant. He got his own Deadly Cargo now, which deals D3 mortals and halves movement for a turn once per game, not bad honestly. Lead from On High was changed to the less clunky Attack from On High which causes -1 to hit for ranged weapons, rather than melee weapons from non-fliers. Definitely an improvement, since this guy should never get into combat.
Unlike the Terradon, these guys actually have gotten a radical change to help distinguish them. They have Bloat Toads, which are a nod to the lore where Skinks will plant Bloat Toads near the enemy to attract Ripperdactyls to the scent. As such you can plant these as tokens on 1 enemy unit for each Chief at the start of the game to grant all Ripperdactyls +1 to hit and to wound against them.
This is better than it might sound, as the Ripperdactyl chief can also grant +1 attack with the Ripperdactyl Assault command ability. Combined with the fact there is a -1 to hit against them by ranged attacks, and Unleash Hell can only hit them on 6s, they’re going to be pretty tough to take out before they close the gap. A ripperdactyl Chief and riders is only 230 points together, so you could do this.
The last of the Skink “Chiefs”, these have been in the solid B or C Tier. Not auto takes, but you could make them work in the right lists. They haven’t changed a whole lot, but whats there is a marked improvement.
Coordinated Strike, rather than a mediocre command ability, is now a free command to any Skink unit (including itself). You have a lot more options for viable skink units than before, so this is well appreciated. Otherwise the 4 wounds make it a lot more durable, especially with Armored Crest against elite or single model units. Just a solid buff bot that can also scrap alongside his comrades.
Finally with a miniature and warscroll befitting their concept, Saurus are now chunky. Coming in at 200 points for 10, you get 2 wounds and a 4+ save with an acceptable if uninspiring attack profile. If they’re contesting an objective or wholly within your territory (i.e. most of the time) then they pick up a free +1 to save rolls which is very welcome. All in all, quite a vanilla warscroll and quite a hefty price tag. There are lots of buffs available for Saurus in this tome now though, so if you are investing in them they will start earning their points back.
One of the few old sculpts to survive the purge, it is very funny to see them sitting next to their new big brothers. Now no longer the ‘elite’ melee combatants of the foot Saurus world, with regular Warriors catching the same combat profile, Guard come with a baseline 3+ save and the Selfless Protectors rule allowing them to catch incoming wounds and mortal wounds on a 3+ for non-monster Seraphon heroes. At 130 for 5 these are really spendy for what they are, but the catch is: they’re the only unit that does this job. If you’re playing Starborne your gameplan probably revolves around keeping a Slann alive. These keep your Slann alive, and therefore have a role.
These guys really feel the crunch of the new book, even if they themselves havent changed much. They no longer gain an extra attack from having a reinforced unit, so their damage output is far less powerful, and losing the run and charge of Star-stone Staff from the Skink Priest and the Hand of Glory spell to reroll hits. While Serpent Staff is still available, all these other changes around it make the damage output really mediocre.
So what do these guys do? Well they do make excellent screens, and that is maintained. They redeploy really well now, getting to roll 2 dice and pick the better one so you can do a lot with them, move them away from charging enemy, reposition them to block a more delicate unit, or back up onto a point that might be unattended otherwise.
Another nice little perk is that the shields now grant a 5+ save instead of a +1 save, so a 4+ save is quite doable, making them deceptively tanky for 85 points, should they need to hold the line.
Battleline in Thunder Lizards. Very similar to before, but actually decently improved. It’s seen a points bump up to 300, but the Stegadon now has some interesting extra utility. First the least interesting news: 14 wounds is Real Monster territory, and just feels better for such a classic unit. Barely more interesting is a reduced damage table that has the Stegadon operating on its top bracket for longer, it’s expected given the trajectory of the edition but welcome all the same. Most interesting is Skink Warparty which means the Stegadon counts as 10 models on an objective. This is great! Objective control is classically the main issue holding back monster mash armies, and the ones that have done well have always brought some kind of solution to this. Whilst Stegageddon is still unlikely to be troubling the top tables, it now plays much better into battleplans – and throwing one or two into a more rounded list is more viable.
The same concept as before but with a fairly radical rewrite of the details. Interestingly, Bastiladons no longer degrade at all, and have a flat 2+ save and 12 wounds. You still get to choose between either the Ark of Sotek or the Solar Engine for equipment. The Ark now has 20 attacks that do mortals on a 6 to hit, the Solar Engine is more radically different and now packs just 3 shots, but at a higher rend and a flat 3 damage. In terms of cost you’re looking at a gobsmacking 265 for the Solar Engine and 200 for the Ark.
The last time Seraphon were crushing all before them in the meta, players used the much cheaper Ark version of the Bastiladon as a cheap, efficient, roadblock. This is still their role now, and they will do this job better for a mild increase in points. The Solar Engine Bastiladon is just too expensive for the gun attached to it.
Engine of the Gods
Oof. This one is going to hurt. A fully normal (now no longer a hero) Stegadon with a Cosmic Engine ability, so let’s have a look at that. This is a shooting phase ability that lets you either store or release power. If you release power, you pick an effect and roll 2d6 to see if it happens. If you store power, you can roll an extra dice next time you release power. This stacks – so if you store for one turn and then release, it’s 3d6. If you store for 2 turns and then release, it’s 4d6. The trick here is that all of these power scores are high and will require significant luck, or enough turns of storing that you’ll be limited to using them only a few times.
- Healing Light – Power 7+ (no ill effect for failure). You can heal d3 wounds to each Seraphon unit wholly within 6”
- Bolts of Azure Energy – Power 9+ (mortal wound for failure). You pick an enemy unit within 24” and roll a number of dice equal to your power score; they take a mortal wound for each 4+.
- Time Slows – Power 11+ (d3 mortal wounds for failure). Friendly Seraphon wholly within, sigh, 6” get strike-first until the end of the turn.
- Starlight Summons – Power 13+ (3 mortal wounds for failure). You get to summon 10 Saurus Warriors or 20 Skinks.
Let’s talk probability, then. Just going for the 2d6 every turn is a fool’s errand. The healing ability is more likely than not to go off, but is a fairly poor healing ability. For bolts of energy you’ll want to store for a turn to get almost a 75% chance of it going off – but the really big damage rolls are quite unlikely. If you’re fishing for strikes-first and have your army clustering around this one model, they’ll need to be there for a while as an 11+ on 3d6 is a grim 50/50 shot. If you want to summon, play Starborne.
For this opportunity to gamble in the middle of your game of Age of Sigmar, you pay 300 points. The same as a vanilla Steg. The regular Stegadon gets to count as 10 models on an objective and has a decent gun, so go with that.
Spawn of Chotec
The Salamander replacement is paying for the sins of its parent.The Spawn of Chotec gets to pick between two different firing modes when it shoots and neither is wildly impressive. It can choose a glob of flame acid, a single shot that hits on a 4+ with d6 damage (this is a terrible attack profile, if it needs to be said) that subtracts 1 from save rolls for units that take any damage from it. If this ability triggered just on hits, we might be talking.
Otherwise, you can use the stream of fire. This is just a 12” range and has a number of attacks equal to the number of models in the target unit, capped at 10. These attacks are respectable quality, hitting on 2s and with rend -2, but the damage 1 limits the number of targets they are truly effective against. They can defend themselves in combat and 8 wounds isn’t trivially easy to remove, but they’re a disappointing artillery piece, I thought we’d moved beyond the bad days of one-shot, d6 damage.
Kroxigor & Kroxigor Warspawned
Battleline in Koatl’s Claw. Big beautiful new models that are awakening things in players across the world, both flavours of Kroxigor are similar enough in warscroll and in disappointment. 4 wounds, 4+ save and movement 5” are all OK stats for big models but both just lag behind similar warscrolls in terms of damage output for cost.
If you love Kroxigor and want to run them, then the vanilla version does work out as marginally more efficient damage at a baseline with their inbuilt extra attack. If you can proc the bonus attack on Warspawned then they can hit fairly hard, but it’s very awkward to engineer – you have to have a friendly skink model within 12” die in the same phase. These models are just clunky across the board, not having a commander and not being elite is replaced by being able to be commanded by skink unit commanders. It’s cute, but the package struggles to add up. For 175 and 185 points respectively, these feel pre-costed for Coalesced bonuses but the warscroll pushes you towards skinks. They’re not a total lost cause, just an odd bit of design.
Battleline with a Saurus General. On paper these guys replace Knights, but with only 3 models instead of 5 they don’t screen quite as well. That’s OK because that’s not the most exciting way you got to use them. As far as linebreakers go, which is what you expect Cavalry to do, they do work. They’re basically a unit of the Scar-Veteran on Aggradon, down to the attacks profile and the Rage mechanic. They’re also 5 wounds per model, which functionally means they count as 6, still making them better at grabbing objectives than knights were. All in all, very solid.
The ranged version of the new Skink riding Raptadons, and are meant to work in a synergistic pair with their melee cousins. Raptadons are much more agile harassers. Their ranged attack isn’t bad at all, 2 attacks per model 4+/4+ Rend -2 (!) and Damage 1. Where it really gets spicy is if they are within 12″ of any Raptadon Chargers who charged that turn they get another ranged attack the end of the Charge phase, so that damage is going to add up.
It probably won’t surprise you in contrast to the Aggradon being “heavy” cavalry meant to get stuck in and grind out the enemy, these guys are light cavalry, meant to hit and (hopefully) take out the enemy first. Working on their side of the Synergy, Chargers get +1 to hit if their target was hit by Hunters this turn, and they get Damage 2 on the charge. Not much fancy stuff here, they hit pretty decent and working in tandem with Raptadon Hunters the damage output can get pretty aggressive.
Hunters of Huanchi
These guys haven’t changed, given how new they are, and while they have 2 warscrolls they’re really the same thing with a different ranged weapon. These guys have effectively replaced Chameleon skinks, occupying the same role as a deep strike unit that pops onto the field and pisses your opponent off. They also get to dip out if they don’t like it, so that’s handy.
The difference is if you want ranged or melee. The Bolas are a ranged attack but at a piddly 8 inches, a +1 to save over the other and the fact they have actual weapons, they’re meant to be able to skirmish pretty well should it come down to it. The -1 to hit from the Bolas can make combat with the Hunters more than just a losing prospect. The blowpipe version basically covers the old Chamelon skinks, doing mortal wounds on 6s to hit and then probably trying to leave after to avoid getting destroyed.
Like Chamelon skinks these are guys you slot in with some leftover points, to keep your opponent on their toes so they don’t know when you’ll appear behind them to snag a point they so absent mindedly left open.
They’re just little guys. Fast, cheap at 75 points and incredibly fragile, these can achieve things on the battlefield so long as those things do not involve touching the enemy. They have a gimmick ability that can stop enemy units from being able to receive command, which is a wild effect, but requires beating bravery on a 2d6 roll. Very matchup dependent, very random, 2d6 vs bravery does not have a storied history in Age of Sigmar.
These have been really improved, at a cost, but they end up being just a bit out-shone by the new Raptadon Lancers for their role. The good news is that the Ripperdactyl itself now has some real attacks, with -1 rend and damage 2 and blot toads now handing out +1 to hit and wound. Comparing them to lancers they actually do pretty identical amounts of damage if the rippers have a blot toad up… until the lancers bag their damage buff, and then they run away with it.
Rippers do have a cool rule to only be hit on 6s with Unleash Hell, which is an honest to god reason to take them, and a unit of 6 can do some good poke. Ultimately though, at 120 points for 3 models with 3 wounds each and a 5+ save this is a terrifyingly fragile unit that struggles to compete with other damage dealers available in-faction.
Another iconic Seraphon unit, Terradons are in perhaps a similar position to their sprue-mates in getting an upgraded warscroll with a points bump to 120 that might still make them a difficult sell. Still, these are now more of a utility piece, so let’s have a look. Both skink missile weapons caught a change, with javelins gaining rend and the bolas moving from d6 shots to a flat 4. Like rippers, these now have an always-on -1 to be hit with missile weapons – it’s not going to stop anyone who wants to remove this unit from doing so, it’s desperately fragile, but will protect them a bit from incidental incoming fire.
What Terradons have always done is drop rocks on people’s heads, and that’s what they still do. If you fly over an enemy unit with your 16” move (+run, if you want) you can roll for each Terradon and do d3 mortals on a 4+, once per game. In addition, if that enemy unit takes any damage from this you get to halve their movement until your next hero phase. That’s neat! Way back in the mists of time there was a Seraphon build with multiple units of them dropping rocks and making a nuisance of themselves and these days they’re just a bit pricey for this to be effective. But look, halving movement is always good and if you’re looking for an easy combo: Seraphon love to cast spells and Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws are right there.
In a surprise twist you get two Terrain pieces! Ok, it’s actually the same Realmshaper Engine, the buff just changes based on whether you’re Starborne or Coalesced.
The Starborne variant is the same one we know and love. Pick a terrain piece and deal D3 mortal wounds to each enemy unit you roll a 4+ for (2+ if within 18″ and 6+ if more than 36″ away). Simple, good for sniping from longer range and challenges anyone who gets too close to you before moping them up with your spells.
The new Coalesced version leans more on the physical aptitude of these armies. Within 12″, all Saurus and Kroxigors get +1 to bite rolls, and all Monsters fight at their top bracket. The short range makes this one tougher to use, you basically need to put it up front which makes it more likely to get demolished.
Neither function as garrisons anymore, and in fact are now Impassable. Hurts for units of blowdart skinks, but frequently you wanted to hide stuff behind it rather than in it.
Overall the changes to the book are intriguing. Seraphon were an army with a bunch of “it just works” abilities, a complex machine that opponent’s had few ways of disrupting and could do meaningful destruction at every phase of the game.
The new book carries on the spirit of that, but it feels a lot less cruel about it. Seraphon are still apex casters, solid ranged, and arguably better at melee than they were before, balancing the scales quite a bit. It still has that feeling of organizing a complex machine into an engine of destruction, and the new options granted actually give more ways to go about it than ever before. Whether you like the wise Slann, the crafty Skinks or brutish Saurus, there is a path to victory laid out for you.
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