This review was completed with a copy of the Seraphon Army Set given to use for free by Games Workshop.
Saurus are one of the more controversial armies in Age of Sigmar. While some armies were hurt by the rules changes to 3.0, while they waited for a new tome, Seraphon benefitted. Largely due to getting access to a ton of rerolls, and abilities that didn’t require a roll, Seraphon were extremely powerful and difficult to disrupt. While they have waned a bit in power, the book has started to feel unwieldy and needed some work.
We’re getting a bit of a sneak peak with an army box ahead of the “actual” release, with the tome inside. So let’s take a look at the book!
Why Play Seraphon?
Seraphon are arguably one of the best “Combined arms” factions in the game. While most factions have a specific strength or niche they excel at, Seraphon have access to a wide enough variety of units and abilities that it’s possible to design lists that can meaningfully contribute to every phase of the game.
Seraphon are a war engine, they function as a machine where every individual cog may not be all that impressive on its own, but they all work together into an Engine of Destruction that will lay the enemy low. If you like to orchestrate a complex plan and executing it with precision, Seraphon are for you.
What’s in the Book?
- Warscrolls for the Seraphon, including the Slann, Skinks, Saurus and Kroxigors.
- Army rules for playing both the magical Starborne and physical coalesced.
- Rules for fulfilling the great plan in your Path to Glory games
- Lore about the Seraphon and the Great Old Ones
- Matched Play rules to bring them up to date with other 3.0 books.
5 Best Things About The Book
- Less Maintenance – Seraphon were an army notorious for having a ton of “At the start of the Hero Phase…” abilities to remember. No more, now you can get into the action a lot faster.
- More Ways to Play – The distinction between Coalesced and Starborne have been divided even further, practically putting 2 armies in one book and giving players more variety.
- Better Saurus – Saurus struggled with some pretty ugly ass models and just not being all that great on the table. Now they’re far more resilient and can put up a decent fight too!
- New Cavalry – Possibly the one thing that Seraphon weren’t good at was cavalry, now you got two options – heavy Saurus cavalry or light Skink skirmishers.
- Improved Skink Chiefs – The non-Wizard skinks tended to be…not great. Some tweaks to their rules make these guys a bit more impressive.
Like in the last book, Seraphon come in two forms: Starborne and Coalesced. These function less like subfactions and closer to two separate armies who share the same book and units. Like the last book, the rules are very different between the two and this book divides that distinction even further as both have their own set of Command Traits, Artefact and even spell lores are different between the two. This gives a lot of versatility in how you play and while each of these tends to favor specific units, neither are locked out of any of the warscrolls.
Speaking broadly, Starborne have more of a magical bent to them. Their abilities accent those who bring a lot of spellcasters, and their command traits and artefacts are for Slann and Skinks. That said, they’ll still want to bring some muscle to protect their delicate spellcasters.
A weird sort of mix between Tzeentch and Khorne’s point mechanic. Like Tzeentch, Cosmic Power rewards you for casting spells good, but unlike Tzeentch it also rewards you for shutting down enemy spells. Each turn you receive a Cosmic Power Point (CPP) for each Cosmic Node you have, which includes:
- Each Seraphon Wizard
- Each Astrolith Bearer
- Your terrain piece
In addition, you also receive a point for each spell cast and each enemy spell you unbind or enemy endless spell you dispel. Which basically just makes it better Tzeentch, not punishing you for unbinding enemy spells.
What do you cash these points in on? Well it’s sort of Khorne-lite, you have both a list of summons and special abilities to spend it on, to compensate for how easy it is to generate CPP, they do cost a bit extra than those.
Azure Light costs 5 points to return D3 models to every unit with a wound characteristic of 1 or 2. Can really come in clutch if you spam lots of Skinks, which you will, and even Saurus.
Protection of the Old Ones comes in at 10 points, and improves the Ward from The Astrolith Bearer from 6+ to 5+. Pretty damn good for keeping the objectives on your side of the board, yours.
Finally at a whopping 15 points we get Cleanse the Realms which lets you roll a die for each enemy unit within 12″ of any Cosmic Nodes. On a 2+, deal that many mortals. It’s a potentially useful late game sweeper, after you’ve pushed your army up a bit, or to drive them off your home turf. But it costs a lot and the range is potentially limited.
As for summons not much as changed. It’s can be hard to generate CPP, Slann can’t sacrifice spells to get points which is actually an improvement, and it lets them take a more active role in the battle while still generating points. Unless you’re going against Tzeentch or Lumineth you probably won’t generate enough for the big stuff and mostly want to summon in more Skinks to screen out the enemy.
Lords of Space and Time
This is where it turns into a bit of a bummer. Two abilities that used to be freebies have been changed to heroic actions, which means you have to be a bit more considerate of using them. You still have methods of generating extra CP, so not being able to do Heroic Leadership isn’t as bad as it sounds, but you don’t have as many.
Contemplations of the Ancient Ones allows a Slann to switch their memorized spell. Previously this could be done for free, but now requires a bit of forethought. Spatial Transformation lets you teleport a unit wholly within 12″ of a Slann. Previously this was for free at the end of the movement, but even as a Heroic Action still incredibly powerful. You still can’t move in the movement phase, so be aware.
There are 4 command traits for Slann and 3 for Skinks. First lets look at Slann. Arcane Might returns but is a bit underwhelming – they can control 3 predatory endless spells and double the range. The doubled range is actually quite good, but controlling more than 1 is usually unnecessary. Higher State of Consciousness gives the slann Etheral – ignoring positive and negatives to save. This is a bit of a crapshoot, but will probably save you against some ranged fire. Vast Intellect lets a slann know 3 spells from their lore, which is still useful even with the heroic action to change spells, as many of your spells are a toolkit and may not be immediately useful if you only take one. Lord of Celestial Resonance is probably the best of the batch – granting 2 CPP for each spell you unbind, and you’ll unbind almost every spell that comes your way.
Skinks got a really good suite and it’s going to be a hard choice. we got Master of Star-Rituals to learn all the spells in a lore, it’s a good lore and probably a good take on a Starseer who can now cast 2 spells, but we can do better. Shrewd Strategist can be a game changer, giving you a free charge to a unit within 18″ at the end of your opponent’s charge phase, if they were too cowardly to charge you or thought they could pick off your Skinks without the Stegadon joining the party. Finally Nimble Warleader gives all Skinks within 18″ 2D6″ runs, and this procs off the keyword so it also works on things like Stegadons. Very nice!
Like the command traits, 4 for Slann, 3 for Skinks.
First for Slann you got the Relocation Orb, once per battle on any turn the Slann took damage, they can teleport within 12″ of a Cosmic Node and more than 9″ from the enemy. As much as we say Slann need to stay out of combat, mistakes happen and they get trapped. Should they survive, this will get them out of Dodge and is, if nothing else, an excellent safety valve for learning the army. The other once per battle artefact is the Prism of Amyntok, which lets you pick an enemy unit within 12″ and roll a die, on a 2+ it deals that many mortals, sparing you an extra dice roll from how it was previously. Potentially insta-merc a hero but more likely will just scratch em. Pass on it. The Zoetic Dial returns and remains…interesting, in that you write down a round and on that round, the Slann heals any wounds on it, and get +1 to save. It may save your life or it may do nothing, and definitely is a downgrade from getting to reroll all saves. All of these pale in comparison to the real showstopper, the Spacefolder’s Stave, which lets you deep strike one unit per turn 7″ away instead of 9, tipping the odds of a successful charge slightly in their favor rather than against. If you got a Slann, you’ll always take this.
For Skinks, all 3 artefacts actually return from the book but with changed abilities. Incandescent Rectrices, instead of killing you half the time heals D3 wounds per turn, it’s not bad. Skink heroes are generally quite delicate, and wizards can hurt themselves, so consider this an insurance policy. Not bad, but not great either. Sacred Stegadon Helm, while usable by any skink, is probably best for a Stegadon or Ripperdactyl Chiefs. +1 saves and +1 to damage for melee weapons on the charge is solid, even if it doesn’t affect the mount, so this is a high value take if you have a Chief. Cloak of Feathers, a fan favorite, also returns granting -1 to be hit, 4″ of movement and fly to a Skink Hero. Great on both your delicate Wizards and combat heavy chiefs. Sadly it can’t be taken by Stegadons anymore, but we knew that party had to end right?
As before, Slann and Skinks each get their own lore. The twist is these are tied to Starborne only – Coalesced get their own lores. This makes the two armies differ quite a bit more than before.
Lore of Celestial Domination (Seraphon)
As to not bury the lede, let’s look at Comet’s Call, no longer on the Slann Warscroll. It is otherwise the same though, Casting Value 7 to do D3 mortal wounds to D3 units, D6 if you got a total casting value of 10 or higher. A staple spell but needing to take it as your discipline spell means losing out on other spells, since you can only swap with a Heroic Action now. Stellar Tempest also returns as your other big damage spell, targeting a unit within 24″ and rolling a die for each model in a unit doing a mortal wound on each 5+. Casting value 8 is a bit high, but easy for Slann due to all the buffs Seraphon get.
For debuffs, Drain Magic returns but isn’t totally useless if your opponent doesn’t have Endless Spells! You can add +1 to Dispelling rolls for all friendly units, and crucially -1 from Unbinding rolls for enemy units. Since it’s not quite as situationally useful as just removing all endless spells, it’s lowered casting value to 6 is fair. Finally, Mystical Unforging was rewritten, since breaking an artefact was very niche. Now it reduces the rend of an enemy unit within 12″ to 0. Ouch! A bit close for a slann to get, but remember they can cast through cosmic nodes. A casting value of 8 makes it somewhat tough to cast, but tougher to unbind.
Finally one buff spell, Tepok’s Beneficence makes an opponent -1 to wound a skink unit. Skinks are pretty delicate, but you can also use this on say, an Engine of the Gods or Stegadon Chief. A nice easy Casting Value of 5 rounds it off nicely.
Overall, a very nice lore set. Good mix of utility that can be hot swapped with a Heroic Action as needed.
Lore of Celestial Manipulation (Skinks)
One returning, and 2 new. Celestial Harmony is the same, Casting Value 5 and makes a unit within 18″ Bravery 10, all units on a 10+. This actually has a bit more value now that Starborne don’t automatically get Bravery 10. High Bravery is a bit of a wash, but as more ways to block Inspiring Presence take the field, it may be useful.
Speed of Huanchi let’s you make a non-Monster Skink unit or, interestingly, Kroxigors gain a free move wholly within 18″. Out of movement phase moves are always appreciated and this will allow Raptor riding Skinks to really book it.
Finally, Cosmic Crush is very similar to Comet’s Call but is proc’d from the target’s save characteristic instead of a flat 5+. Really really good for dealing with heavily armored targets like Stormcast. The short range of 12″ is a tough one, so keep your little Wizard protected.
First, Dracothian’s Tail gives your army deep strike options. Up to half your army can be deployed off the field, and brought in at the end of the movement phase wholly within 12” of a Cosmic Node (see above) and more than 9” from the enemy. The Cosmic node stipulation can make this a bit trickier to use, but half your army in deep strike is extremely potent to keep your good stuff from ranged fire and get slower things (like Bastiladons) up the field faster.
Fangs of Sotek lost their 4+ fire and fade, but the replacement is nearly as good, possibly better in certain situations. Each turn you can issue Redeploy to three different units, but importantly the first two uses of the ability are free, rather than the last two. This means you can Redeploy up to two units and never pay a Command Point, only needing to pony up on the third one. While not quite as good as being able to duck out of a successful charge half the time (and do some damage on the way) it does let you move multiple units out of the way, or reposition in a bad spot.
In contrast to Starborne, Coalesced are more physical bruisers. Their buffs favor Saurus and monsters, but you still want to bring along Slann and Skinks for spellcasting support.
Add +1 to bite rolls from Saurus and Kroxigor units. All Saurus and Kroxigor attacks were changed from yet another set of attacks to rolling a die for each model in a unit, with 6s deal a mortal wound. Heroes naturally get a few more dice. Overall a solid buff as the mortal wounds can help finish off a unit that didn’t quite get there or chip a second unit they are engaged with.
Returns in its nerfed form intact. All Saurus, Kroxigors and Monsters get -1 Damage against them, to a minimum of 1 damage. Extremely effective against armies that deal 2 damage on the regular and still does work on units damage higher than that.
Beasts of the Dark Jungle
Since Coalesced tend to favor Monsters more than Starborne, they get their own set of Monstrous Rampages:
Gargantuan Jaw – CARNOSAUR only. Pick a model in combat and roll a die, if it is higher than the model’s wound characters, slay that model. Not as good for forcing a coherency break as similar abilities, since they’ll still get the pile in later, but it is particularly useful for picking up champions and instrument bearers.
Earthshaking Charge – STEGADON that made a charge move this turn only. Pick an enemy unit and apply Strike-Last on a 4+. Bit dicey but absolutely worth the pay off if you get it.
Odious Roar – TROGLODON only. On a 2+ extend the Stench of Death aura from 9″ to 12″. This is important because its one of the few monstrous rampages that doesn’t require it to be in combat, or near terrain. So this is basically free!
Bludgeoning Sweep – BASTILADON only. Choose a unit engaged in combat and roll a die and if it is less than the number of models in the unit, deal that many mortal wounds. Basically a better Stomp against hordes, pretty good for your Ark of Sotek Bastiladons.
To reflect its more Saurus heavy nature, Coalesced Ape Starborne by giving 4 command traits to Slann but 3 to Saurus instead of Skinks.
Slann get some serious bangers Master of the Material Plane lets them learn 2 more spells from the lore and its probably damn near essential. They can’t hot swap spells anymore, so you really don’t want those 3 casts to go to waste, if you didn’t want to bring Kroak. Dominating Mind is a once per game ability to grant a friendly Monster (at any range) +1 to wound from melee attacks…on a 2+. The problem is most things you’d want to use this on, namely Carnosaurs, get +1 to wound very easily so whether or not you want this depends on how important you want to buff your Arks of Sotek Bastiladon. Wrath of Aeons gives all Saurus and Kroxigors within 12″ +1 attack. Perfect before launching your big charge assault or making a last stand against the enemy. The most exciting though is probably Custodian of Divine Technology. It lets you pick two artefacts from the Slann options and neither count against your freebie. Easy auto take.
For Saurus, they get less exciting but more consistent work horse options. Prime Warbeast gives +1 attack to mounts attacks, which on the new Carnosaurs can be mighty impressive. Thick Scaley Hide gives +1 to saves, rather than Rerolling 1s, still solid if dull. Vengeful Defender is potentially the most interesting, letting the general and 2 Saurus or Kroxigor units within 12″ to make a free move in your hero phase if the General is in your territory, making a turn 1 charge almost inevitable.
Like Starborne, 4 for Slann, 3 for Saurus.
Throne of the Lost Gods returns intact, granting +4″ to movement and +1 to wound. This is actually probably bad now, because it boosts them to 10 wounds, making them ineligable for Look Out, Sir! or to get into Cover. So maybe don’t take this one. Ixti Grubs returns, shockingly, also intact. Healing a wound each turn and granting 1 free reroll of a casting, unbinding or dispelling roll each turn. Definitely an easy take. The last 2 are once per battle, Crystaline Skull gets a charge each time the bearer successfully casts a spell and then you can target an enemy within 12″ and break it to roll that many dice, and on a each 3+ deal a mortal wound. Probably will take too long to set up, but the last option is still solid. The Coatl Familiar is a once per game free cast from the Coalesced Slann lore, and doesn’t count against your 3 spells. If you took Custodian of Divine Technology I’d probably take Ixti Grubs and Coatl Familiar.
Saurus get 3 artefacts, 2 return and 1 new and they’re all pretty good. Blade of Realities remains intact, increasing rend by -1 and +1 damage if targetting a Hero, solid even if you don’t get to fight a hero. The Bloodrage Pendant returns, improved. It now grants +1 attack base, and a second attack if under half health, rather than needing to be wounded for it to do anything. The final one, Sotek’s Gaze shuts down all enemy units within 6″ from capturing objectives if they have 1 or 2 wounds. Genuinely hard to pick which is the best, Bloodrage Pendant and Sotek’s Gaze both are strong competitors. Blade of realities isn’t even bad, it just has to contend with these two.
Lore of Ancient Domains (Seraphon)
Drain Magic is the only spell that is duplicated across both, it’s…fine but unlike Starborne you can’t swap to another spell if your opponent doesn’t have much in the way of spellcasting, so you’ll probably skip it here.
The lore mostly focuses on buffing your muscular dino boys. Empowered Celestite has a casting value of 7 and boosts the rend of a Saurus Celestite Weapon by 1, not bad at all and likely going to be a staple in many coalesced lists. Itzl’s Invigoration is very much an edge case, letting a Monster fight at Top bracket. Useful in Monster Mash lists, but probably not worth your one spell slot outside of Thunder Lizards. Finally Telepathic Summon lets you teleport a non-monster Saurus unit anywhere on the field, which is always handy. This is likely the best of the set, making up for the lack of deep strike you otherwise do not get.
There’s only one damage spell, and it’s a bit awkward. The Earth Trembles is Casting Value 8, pick a corner and measure from there to the caster’s base. All enemy units along that line take D3 mortals on a 4+. Definitely no Comet’s Call, hope you did well at Trig.
Lore of Primal Jungles (Skinks)
Like Starborne, one returning and all new ones. Tide of Serpents has had it’s range extended to 15″, but it otherwise works the same. Basically a more restricted Comet’s Call, but it has more value here since you can’t get access to Comet’s Call from here anymore. Light of Chotec is a new spell very useful for your monster mash lists, on a Casting Value of 7, roll a die for each wound allocated to a Monster and heal a wound on a 5+. Finally Heavenly Frenzy gives a unit Run and Charge with a Casting Value of 7.
All in all an excellent lore with a lot of useful utility for Coalesced.
One of the previously neglected subfactions, all Saurus and Kroxigor units get +1 to wound on the charge, and makes Kroxigor units Battleline. Both Saurus and Kroxigor are much improved and if you want a more dino-centric force they’ll both hit harder and take it on the chin.
Thunder Lizards now lets you use 2 Monstrous Rampages instead of 1, fitting and arguably a better bonus than just 2 bonus wounds. Obviously the double shooting Command Ability is gone, and it isn’t coming back. Stegadons are, of course, now battleline in this subfaction.
Just one, Thunderquake returns from the white dwarf and it’s still bad! While the requirements are a bit looser, just requiring a Stegadon Chief and 2 Bastiladons or Stegadons with optional slots for 2 kroxigor units, an Engine of the Gods and a Spawn of Chotec it still only has Slayers or Swift (your choice).
There’s often rare places to put monsters in Monster heavy lists – Battle Regiment only gives one slot, but man this is not the way to do it.
Four Grand Strategies, as usual, and they’re mostly not too bad. Astromatrix has been removed, likely for being a pain in the ass. Let’s get the boring Further the Great Plan out of the way, you’ve seen this one a lot. Complete 4 out of 5 battle tactics using only Seraphon ones. Lives or dies by how good the Battle Tactics are and this is not a good one. While there are some very good ones in there, there’s not enough good ones that arent keyword heavy.
Continuous Expansion returns from White Dwarf, requiring you to put a unit wholly within each square of the battlefield. Quite doable, it requires they be Seraphon units instead of just any allied unit, but for most this won’t make a difference. Probably best of the lot.
Realmshaper Guardian is a pretty common style of grand strat, to keep the enemy outside of 12″ of your terrain and make sure it’s not smashed to Rubble. Seraphon excel at holding their own territory down, so its quite easy to repel enemies from it. The struggle is their terrain piece is huge and therefore has a large 12″ aura around it.
Repel Corruption is just Defend What’s Ours, but evergreen once this season ends. Keep all enemy units out of your territory, which Seraphon can do pretty well, but on some missions it can be harder to keep everything covered.
Stampede of Scales sees a return of Ferocious Advance all the way from the launch GHB, with some retrictions to make it less bullshit. You’re still picking 3 units to run and end within 6″ of each other, but they now must all be Monsters (instead of gaining a bonus point for doing so) and end wholly within enemy Territory. So no sitting in deployment and not actually moving. Certainly viable in Ark of Sotek Bastiladon lists, where running 3 isn’t unheard of.
Celestial Obliteration asks you to pick an enemy unit and kill it with mortal wounds by a spell or endless spell. Quite easy, as you have multiple ways of generated mortal wounds, just pick something you know you can hit hard enough to kill. Maybe bring Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws – just in case your other methods didn’t work.
Overwhelming Numbers – Pick an objective your opponent controls and take it, using only units with the Skink keyword. Hilariously simple, as using Skinks to tip toe onto objectives is going to be your basic strategy anyway. This also works with the new Cavalry or one of the many many units with Skink riders like the Stegadon.
Apex Predator – Pick an enemy Monster, and kill it with one of your own (Seraphon, sorry no Krondspine here). Doable if you got an enemy Monster on its last legs and just need to tap it to put it down.
Cold-Blooded Resiliance – Pick a Kroxigor unit within combat and do not leave combat (whether by retreat or teleport) or be destroyed by the end. If you’re locked into combat from a previous turn and feel pretty good about survival, go for it.
Pack Hunters – Is an interesting twist on the “charge with cavalry units” style of Battle Tactic. Pick an enemy unit and charge it with 2 of the new Aggradon units. This is a rough one because like most of these you need to pick an enemy unit that can take the hit (without dying) and not outright kill one of your two units because if you wipe it off the board it’s no longer within 3″ of that unit. Your opponent could also potentially pull models to get one unit out of combat so be cautious.
With what is essentially 2 army rules in one book, this is already getting pretty long so we’re going to break this up into two parts. Next up is the units, so stick around for part 2 of our Battletome: Seraphon review.