Faction Pack Overview: Seraphon – Age of Sigmar 4th Edition

A thank you to Games Workshop for sending us these rules and the Skaventide box set to be able to cover and review. Over the coming weeks, and with the benefit of having played dozens of games, we will be having faction experts provide insight into how they are building and running lists with these factions. For this overview we’re looking at what stands out for the faction, how much has changed, and how we would approach dealing with some of the common threats that are present in all wargames.

In the simplest of terms: Lizards riding dinosaurs. That’s the army. That’s the sales pitch. And it’s a good one. Seraphon are what Lizardmen were in the days of Warhammer Fantasy Battles and despite a range refresh and new units they haven’t really changed all that much in all this time. You get access to pretty much everything the game has to offer within one faction: powerful magic, brutal melee, tricksy movement, tough units, and solid shooting. From monstrous Carnosaurs to skirmishing Skinks there’s really no wrong way to go!

Credit: Matthew Herrington

Army Rules

Warhammer Community has already shown off the army’s Battle Traits so I won’t rehash in their entirety here, but will just note that you get an Asterism during the deployment phase giving your army a passive ability for the game. You can activate additional Asterisms throughout the game by achieving simple things like “kill 3 enemy units” or the incredibly easy one of having a Slann on the table and not in combat. If you have Slann on the table in the first battle round you just about do this automatically.

credit Warhammer Community

Battle Formations

As part of your army list you get to pick one battle formation that your units are part of. Typically these are geared towards taking a specific kind of army like Oop-All-Monsters or more Skinks; whether you build your list around a Battle Formation or just take the units you want and then pick a battle formation that suits as much of your army is entirely up to you!

Celestial Translocation

So long as you have wizards in your army this is a pretty solid choice regardless of what else you have. During your own Movement phase you can pick a unit near a wizard to roll a dice, on a 3+ pick up the unit and set it back up anywhere on the board more than 9” from enemies. A simple teleport that will go off most of the time. I guarantee you though that the turn you need it to happen it absolutely will not. This is wargaming, folks, and some things never change.

Shadowstike Starhost

In your own shooting phases you pick three different sking infantry/cavalry units (restricting Stegadons and Bastiladons) to make a D6” move. You can use the ability either to help get those short ranged weapons into range or to move back further away after shooting; or just to move more dudes onto an objective to steal! Free movement is always good, even when it might not always be obvious how to use it straight away.

Sunclaw Starhost

Leaning on the bigger-infantry models, this goes off at the ened of every turn to choose three Suarus or Kroxigor units in combat to make a pile-in move (not attacks) and deal out the 2+ D3 mortal damage that’s become so prevalanet this edition. A few extra mortal wounds can be the difference of scoring a battle tactic or not and that bit of extra movement can be very situational but still very good for stepping more dudes onto an objective or any number of niche situations. Like piling in and pulling in more enemy units that were just out of range before or to get within range of an enemy unit with a lower wounds characteristic so you can then use Power Through to move to a much better spot.

Thunderquake Starhost

All monsters get +2 health characteristic. Simple and good. Running a monster mash of lizards? This is the one you want. No tricks just extra health to keep fighting a bit longer.

Heroic Traits

Being of the Stars

Ignore all modifiers for saves. That’s both negative and positive though so you won’t be able to boost the hero’s armour save but they’re also completely immune to all rend and abilities that would otherwise lower their save. Great on a Carnosaur who wants to be using other commands for better attacks anyways to be on a permanent 4+ save.


Cavalry and Monsters wholly within 12” of the hero gain +2” to their movement stat. All the time. Also a solid choice for a Carnosaur but really only if you’re making use of it with more units that will be effected too. It makes them run in a bubble, at least in the early game, but will mean the difference between making a charge or not.

Reptilian Cunning

Probbaly the best of the bunch for most armies. Whenever a unit uses All Out Attack near the hero you don’t have to spend a command point. Getting a free +1 to hit with a unit every fight phase is saving you up to two command points every battle round; you’ll only have four or five to start with so getting free commands is massive.

Treasures of the Old Ones

Coatl Familiar

The only once-per-game for Seraphon gives a wizard an extra D6 on one cast. I’m not sure that there are any spells that will be so game-winningly important for you to choose this over one of the other two that work all game long.

Incadescent Rectrices

Rectrices are the large feathers found in a bird’s tail. Had to google that one and thought it was a fun bit of info to share. The bearer heals D3 wounds every hero phase. That’s obviously very good on larger heroes with more wounds like a Stegaon Chief.

Bloodrage Pendnant

The bearer gets +1 attack on all of its melee weapons, +2 instead if its’ suffered at least half its health in damage. That bumbs an Oldblood on Carnosaur up to six, and then seven, damage three attacks on the charge. Healing each turn will likely work out better for it though.

Credit: Matthew Herrington

Spell Lores

Seraphon have access to two spell lores, the Lore of Celestial Manipulation and the Lore of Primal Jungles. That means your wizards will pick one of these to know, on top of any on their warscroll and a manifestation lore of your choosing.

Lore of Celestial Manipulation

Mystical Unforgiving

As the Unlimited spell of the lore you can cast this as many times as you like in one turn, just not with the same wizard more than once in the same turn. You only need to roll a 6+ (easily getting +1 to that roll too from your Battle Traits). One enemy until within 12” subtracts 1 from the rend of all its weapons until your next turn. That’s not just melee weapons either but all weapons! Making your units even tough is incredible and being able to cast this easily against multiple enemy units makes it difficult for your opponent to stop.

Comet’s Call

Mortal wound spells are a bit less common in this edition it seems and are typically better against a larger unit of models instead of dealing multiple wounds to single big monsters, which is the case here. Pick a unit in range and roll a dice for each model in that unit with 5+’s inflicting one mortal damage. Against a big block of 40 rats that’s averaging you about 13 mortal damage, not bad at all.

Speed of Haunchi

Another easy 6+ cast spell that gives a friendly unit the ability to run and shoot and charge all in the same turn. That amount of extra movement can really throw you units across the board. Mix the right traits and abilities and you’re looking at Aggradon Lancers moving 20” before making a brutal charge.

Lore of Primal Jungles

Light of Chotec

This is the unlimited spell for this lore. You pick a friendly unit within 12″ and roll a die for each damage point it has and heal it one for each 4+. This’ll be great for keeping your big monsters in the game, effectively healing half the damage they’ve taken each time you cast it.

The Earth Trembles

You select a point within 18″ and draw a line between it and your wizard. Every unit (your guys too) takes D3 mortal wounds on a 2+. This is a great spell to have in your back pocket but usually your wizards will have a screen in front of them and they probably wont take too kindly to earth quaked.

Empowered Celestite

Pick a friendly Saurus unit within 12″ and they get +1 rend. A simple and powerful buff to a lot of your warscrolls.


Realmshaper Engine

This is another one of the “why is this so big, do I really have to transport it?” pieces of faction terrain, only outclassed by the Ossiarch Bone Tithe Nexus and maybe the Gitz Loonshrine. It’s free to take like any other faction terrain and it is very useful to have, unfortunately(?); if you don’t build it with the magic bits stuck on top it’s a very, very solid piece of plastic so if you travel a lot and worry it’ll break there’s an idea for you (idea credit: Becklespinax from an online community I’m in, I don’t think that far ahead).

What it actually does for you though is splashing mortal wounds to enemies on/next to a piece of terrain and the terrain itself if it has health, like other faction terrain, but you do need to have a Wizard next to it to activate the ability; not the end of the world but maybe not something you’re keeping your wizards stationary for if their spells and abilities would otherwise be more useful elsewhere. Also your Saurus and Kroxigor units get +1 to hit against enemies within 9” of it. Your best play here is to place this chunk of terrain somewhere covering an objective (or two) with that aura to make the most of it.

Warscroll Showcase

This is the best bit, where I get to just choose a few things I want to talk about.

First up is one of the first units that I ever played with in the first edition of Age of Sigmar: the Bastiladon. There’s actually two different warscrolls, so I’m cheating here a little bit talking about both, but they’re both really cool! Their basic stats are the same: 12 wounds, 2+ save, Control and Move of 5 each with a handful of javelin attacks at range from the skinsk crawling all over them. The Solar Engine variant gets you an additional ranged attack at 18” with 3 attacks, rend 2, and damage 3 with Crit (2 hits). If you are really lucky that can spike for an absurd amount of ranged damge but even when it doesn’t dealing six or so damage to a target before closing in with your other units is fantastic. Or if you prefer snakes there’s the Ark of Sotek which deals a few mortal wounds to a few enemies in the combat phase before making twenty attacks with Crit (Mortal) from all those snakes it unleashes. With a low move, decent control stat, and very good save I think the Solar Engine wins out here.

Keeping along with all-things-skink is the newer Spawn of Chotec. Who doesn’t love fire breathing lizards!? The big fire breathing beast comes with three skink tokens, which means they’re not real models on the table but instead markers that move around with it adding +1 to its control score for each one present; whenever an unmodified save of 1 is rolled then you remove a token and take a point of damage as normal. In the shooting phase you get the choice between two profiles: Glob of Flaming Acid or Stream of Fire. The former is a single shot at 16” range dealing D3+3 damage and if it deals any damage the targeted unit also subtracts one from its saves for the rest of the turn. The latter is a shorter ranged 10” shot with five attacks that hit much easier on 2+ and gain extra rend against infantry. The glob attack is likely going to be the more likely between either but if you really really need to just deal a point of damage or two to an infantry unit for whatever reason then the stream sure does also exist.

Sorry if you wanted something other than skinks but the Skinks Starseer has too much going on for the rest of the army to not include. First off he’s a Wizard (2) so makes two casts and two dispels every hero phase, already great. His own spell goes off on 7+ and removes ward rolls from an enemy within 18” for the rest of the turn; remember that with a command point you can cast that in your opponent’s turn just at a -1 to the roll which you’re likely already mitigating with bonuses to the cast. The ability he comes with works in one of your hero phases: roll a number of dice equal to the battleround number and for each 3+ a nearby Seraphon unit gains a 5+ ward. That’s incredible, and easy. From your second turn onwards you’re just about guaranteed a ward on a unit where you need it and that’s just about the only thing this army lacks. Handing that out to a reinforced unit of Saurus Warriors hunkering on objectives or to Aggradon Lancers before full sending them into something scary, so they can shrug off a few extra hits and keep fighting. 

I was only going to write about three units but it’s physically impossible to not include everyone’s favourite mummified Slann: Lord Kroak. Over the editions he has had a variety of different rules making him typically hard to kill or, if you rolled really poorly, surprisingly easy to remove. Now he simply has 18 wounds, a 4+ save, and a 4+ ward to chew through. Easy, right? Well, maybe actually, because you don’t have to do that much damage to him. At the end of every turn if he has suffered any damage you roll 3D6 and add the number of damage points on him; on a 20+ he’s killed outright and anything lower he heals all of his wounds back. An average 3D6 roll is about 10 so you only really have to do 10 wounds to him to probably kill him but more is always better. He has the same Skink Vassal rule as a Slann letting him cast spells through a Skink Wizard within 18” using the Skink for range and visbility. His spell casts on a 7+ dealing a bit of mortal damage to a few enemy units that got too close. He does have +2 on all casting rolls and can unbind and banish spells from any range, not just 30” like normal. Overall he’s a very powerful three cast wizard that will very likely get all of his spells off sitting on an easy +3 to cast making buffs nearly guaranteed.

Lizardly Battle Tactics

There’s really nothing that this faction can’t do and so long as you build a balanced list with wizards, fast moving units, tanky monsters and/or infantry, and skinks (always skinks) you won’t be struggling for battle tactics either. If you lean heavily into a Saurus or Monster build without many (or any?) of the supporting elements then you’ll want to plan your turns out from the beginning so that you can Take the Flanks and Take Their Land in the early game before using the more melee and killing-based tactics later in the game. Small units of deepstriking Hunters of Huanchi or quick little Terrawings will help you score those movement based tactics with ease.

Scaling Up for Battle

There’s easily a few different ways to put together a Seraphon army that really matches with your particular playstyle whether that’s using sneaky, tricksy, skinks to wander around the table and cause chaos or just go straight in smashing with kroxigors and monsters there’s no right or wrong way. Personally an army lead by the ever-existing Lord Kroak and then just surrounded by a bunch of Saurus to keep him safe and a healthy mix of other units would look incredibly cool and probably work out well, too. Be mindful with quicker units as these don’t tend to take a punch well. With various ways to reduce your opponent’s rend an army made up of 4+ and 5+ saves with wards few and far between won’t actually feel too bad and units that you might normally expect to fall apart will stick around longer thanks to it!

All in all a very solid faction and I am very interested to see what players come up with for their reptilian overlords!

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