Getting Started: Seraphon

An article by    Age of Sigmar Getting Started        0

At Goonhammer we’ve devoted a lot of words to talking about how to compete and take your game to the next level. In “Getting Started,” we look at how to get started with an army – the basics you need to know, how to start collecting models that will leave you with a serviceable army, and what the best deals are. In this article, we’re looking at the Seraphon.

Who are the Seraphon?

Some of the only survivors of the World-That-Was aside from the gods themselves, the Seraphon are a race of lizard-like creatures, refugees of the Old World who fled aboard starships, before finding themselves in the realms we know today. Guided by the remnants of a Great Plan left behind by a mysterious race of omnipotent beings known as the Old Ones, the Seraphon seek one thing: The total defeat of Chaos. They will do anything to achieve that end, resulting in a cold, predatory ruthlessness that regularly results in conflict with their own Sigmarite allies as often as it does the forces of Chaos.

As an army, you have two aspects of the Seraphon to choose from: The Starborne, representing the Seraphon in their more ‘alien’ aspect aboard their starships are capable of teleporting units in from space, and the Coalesced representing the Seraphon in their more ‘primal’ state in the realms, where you tap more heavily into brute primal force, and the various monstrous dinosaurs at their disposal- that’s right, I did say dinosaurs. The Seraphon’s most unique aspect, and likely the reason you’re interested in them, is the fact that they’re all dinosaurs from space.

Army Strengths

-Some of the best casting in the game. While not on the level of the Disciples of Tzeentch, Seraphon have access to one of the most powerful wizard options in the game-The Slann Starmaster. They provide both a consistent casting base, and a powerful defensive base against magic being able to dispel up to three spells at infinite range with a +1 to the attempt. If you want to go even further the Seraphon’s only special character lord Kroak can cast and unbind 4 spells a turn!

-Huge diversity of models. Almost the entire range survived the journey across the stars from Warhammer Fantasy to Age of Sigmar, what results is a plethora of options of powerful heroes, infantry, monsters and cavalry and many of them can be your battleline choices.

-Command Points for days. Every wizard that Seraphon have access to (and believe me, you’re going to take them) also has a chance to generate CP at the beginning of your turn. What results is you on average having an extra 2-4 CP a turn – which is great, because this army has a tonne of really useful command abilities to choose from.

Army Weaknesses

-Character-heavy. Seraphon are very character-heavy with their synergies and rely especially on  their Slann- many of the army’s key abilities, especially if you’re playing Starborne rely on them. If you lose any of your heroes, you’ll find many of your key units will suffer.

Probably the worst scenery piece. The army’s unique scenery, the Realmshaper Engine is one of the weakest in the game, as it’s deployed before you choose sides, meaning your opponent could sneak you out and choose to deploy on the side you put it down. At least they can’t use it, I guess.

-Old models. Whilst the Seraphon got a wonderful update to many of their larger kits back when they were called Lizardmen in Warhammer Fantasy, the rest of the range is starting to show its age; beyond our goofy darlings the Saurus, half the range is Finecast. Whilst this isn’t a problem for some, keep it in mind.

Starting your army

When starting your army, its worth familiarising yourself with the army’s allegiance abilities, as there are a lot of them. Primarily, read up on the differences between the Coalesced and the Starborne, as they can dramatically alter the way you play your army. Luckily, there’s nothing that actually locks you into playing one or the other as they both use the same model pool so its relatively easy to switch between them game to game if you change your mind. Beyond the bonuses being Coalesced or Starborne  give, you also get to choose a constellation that your army hails from, with a choice of two each for both the Coalesced and the Starborne, which give you some additional bonuses and specialisations for your army, functioning similarly to the Stormcast Chambers. Of course you don’t have to pick a constellation, and then you get to choose your own command trait and relic, instead of having to take the ones the constellations give you, which can be a good option if you’re just starting out and don’t want to get too overwhelmed by the huge pool of abilities on offer.

Starborne

The Starborne are those Seraphon who live on the original Temple-Ships that brought them to the realms from the World-That-Was and are thus infused with the magic of Azyr itself. Play the Starborne if you’re after manoeuvrability and utility, as they get the ability to teleport a unit anywhere on the board 9” away from any enemy units. It’s a powerful and flexible ability that has a lot of utility, whether it be zapping small units of skinks around to grab lone objectives or teleporting a block of Saurus Warriors across the board to attempt a charge on a vulnerable unit. As well as this, Starborne units get access to summoning, as their Slann generals can teleport in new units from their starships. Being able to summon additional units to your army is a powerful ability, as Hedonites of Slaanesh have painfully proven in the past, and whilst the Seraphon’s summoning isn’t nearly on that level, its still very useful. Just keep in mind that you would need to own whatever additional models you intended to summon when building your army.

If you play the Starborne, you can choose between two Constellations, Dracothian’s Tail and The Fangs of Sotek. Dracothian’s Tail are the only constellation that don’t specialise in a particular unit, instead granting the ability to hold units in reserve and deep striking them on the board during the course of the game, granting even more flexibility to the Starborne’s movement, and can put your opponent on guard against the potential threat of dangerous melee units able to appear anywhere on the board. The Fangs of Sotek favour leaning into Skinks, granting all Skink units an additional 3” to their move on the first turn, bringing them up to a whopping 11” move, allowing you cover the board with the little blighters easily, as well as providing them a command ability to shoot and try to retreat when they’ve been charged, which is extremely useful for keeping them alive. If you want to play tricksy, The Fangs of Sotek are the way to go.

Coalesced

Play the Coalesced if you’re after raw, physical power and toughness. The Coalesced’s first ability increases each of their jaw attacks by 1, which is less impactful than you’d think as essentially only Saurus have jaw attacks and they aren’t particularly powerful, being the equivalent of other armies’ knife sidearms, attacking at 5+/4+, though Kroxigor take real advantage of it. The real meat in the Coalesced is their other ability, their Scaly Skin, which subtracts 1 from the damage inflicted by each successful attack that targets a Coalesced unit (to a minimum of 1). This makes Coalesced units especially resilient against your enemy’s powerful units, who often rely on damage 2+ attacks to get their work done. You’ll often find that you’re halving the damage output of elite units like Morsarr Guard as their spears go down to only 1 damage, it’s great! Of course, keep in mind that against basic infantry units that often only do 1 damage, this ability does nothing, but its still immensely useful in blunting the hits of many of the Realm’s most powerful fighters.

For the Coalesced, you can choose between Koatl’s claw and The Thunder Lizard. Koatl’s claw lean heavily on saurus, giving them a +1 to hit on a turn that they’ve charged, turning your Saurus Warriors into very powerful battleline units, hitting out with 4 attacks each, averaging 3+ to hit and able to tank the damage they take in return too! The Thunder Lizard, as well as having the coolest name out of all the constellations, favour the big beasts of your army. As Thunder Lizards, your Stegadons are battleline, allowing you to take an army entirely made up of them if you choose which, lets be honest, after seeing the original Warhammer community article, is likely why you are here!

Once you’ve decided between Coalesced and Starborne, and once you’ve chosen a constellation, its time to start choosing models. As mentioned earlier, the nice thing about Seraphon is that you aren’t locked out from unit choices and battleline options depending on which constellation you choose, so you can easily with a large enough collection switch between Coalesced and Starborne on the fly. However, when starting off its worth keeping in mind which constellation you’ve chosen as they do tend to skew towards certain unit choices. For now, let’s focus on whether you’re building Saurus heavy, Skink heavy, or monster heavy!

What to buy?

Now that you have an idea of what kind of army you want to run, you need to know what models to buy. Thankfully you have a lot of flexibility here. As stated above, allegiances don’t really affect what units you can use (though they do grant a certain preference). We’re going to look at 3 possible options, with room to expand.

Saurus Heavy

Seraphon are one of the only armies to have not one, but two Start Collecting kits. The original Start Collecting! Seraphon, which we’ll go ahead and call Start Collecting! Saurus as it only includes Saurus units, is great value for money as the Carnosaur inside it nearly costs as much as the box itself, as well as including a good baseline of two battleline units in the form of Saurus Warriors and Saurus Knights. Unfortunately, both the Saurus Knights and Warriors, as older kits come in an odd unit size of 8 and 12 respectively in the set, so you’re left with 3 spare knights and 2 spare warriors. Luckily, there are many ways within the box to use spare parts leftover from the Carnosaur and a little imagination to convert them into extra heroes if you so choose. Absolutely pick up the Start Collecting! Seraphon if you plan to play a Saurus heavy list, or if you plan to run a Carnosaur or Troglodon, as even if you don’t plan to use the other Saurus in the Box, the price difference is so small its worth it just for the extra conversion parts from the two units, as well as the fact that the Carnosaur box on its own is a direct-only item.

Beyond the start collecting, the first thing you’ll need is more Saurus warriors, as they get bonus attacks when in a unit with more than 15 models, so you’ll want to run at least one block at a minimum of 20 warriors to take full advantage of their hitting power. After that, you’ll absolutely want to pick up a caster for your army. While Slann are a must for any eventual 2000pt Seraphon army, if you’re starting out with a Carnosaur you’ll find yourself spending all your points on heroes if you take that and a Slann as well, so it’s worth starting small with a Skink Starpriest or Starseer, and investing in the big frog once you start playing larger games.

Here’s an example 1000pt Saurus list you could start out with:

Leaders
Saurus Scar-Veteran on Carnosaur (210)
 General
 War Spear
 Command Trait: Dominant Predator
 Artefact: Eviscerating Blade
Skink Starpriest (120)
 Spell: Hand of Glory

Battleline
30 x Saurus Warriors (270)
 Spears
10 x Saurus Knights (200)
 Lances

Units
8 x Salamander Hunting Pack (160)

Total: 960 / 1000
Extra Command Points: 0
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 78

This list takes full advantage of Koatl’s Claw’s abilities, with a big block of Saurus escorted by a Starpriest to hand out magical buffs and a Scar Veteran rampaging across the battlefield on a Carnosaur throwing out their own command ability between both the warriors and the knights accompanying them. Finally, a small salamander hunting pack can provide a bit of ranged punch behind the safety of the warriors. There’s even 40 points leftover to chuck in an endless spell if you fancy!

Skink Heavy

The Seraphon in their new release also got a second start collecting set, aptly named Start Collecting! Skinks. Containing a good mix of strong units, this is an excellent place to start if you want to focus on an army of the little ankle-biters. Containing a Skink Starpriest, a Bastiladon, and 3 Terradons, it provides a great base for a fast, mobile army. To an extent, the best way to expand from the start collecting set is to immediately buy another, as all of the units in it are useful, and can happily be taken twice in any skink list. From here, your best bet would be to first get even more skinks, as with the right buffs, skinks can operate in huge blocks of 40 models and if you want to play them, this is the way to go. If you’re feeling adventurous, the second starpriest you got from the additional start collecting, with a little conversion work can make a great Skink priest, a vital hero for buffing your skink hordes.

At this point, you’ve likely made an 1000 point army that looks something like this:

Allegiance: Seraphon
– Constellation: Fangs of Sotek

Leaders
Skink Priest (70)
 General
 Artefact: Serpent God Dagger
Skink Starpriest (120)
Terradon Chief (70)

Battleline
40 x Skinks (240)
 Moonstone Clubs & Star bucklers
10 x Skinks (60)
 Meteoric Javelins Celestite Daggers & Star Bucklers

Units
6 x Terradon Riders (180)
 Sunleech Bolas

Behemoths
Bastiladon (220)
 Weapon: Solar Engine

Total: 960 / 1000
Extra Command Points: 0
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 91

This list centres on a core of 40 skinks, who you stack buffs from the Starpriest and Priest to turn into a big ball of murderous ankle-biters. This horde is supported by the long-ranged support and tanky capabilities of the Bastiladon and its solar engine, and IS flanked by a big block of terradons who supported by their chieftain can cripple a unit of your choosing with their boulders! And once again this list leaves you with 40 points to throw at an endless spell if you fancy it.

And for fun, the Stegadon Stampede

Lets finish this up with a guide to starting the Stegadon Stampede. To be honest, building a Stegadon stampede is extremely simple. You go to your retailer of choice and put multiple Stegadons in your shopping cart and call it a day. But, to go into more detail as someone who’s tried this list, it is extremely fun, but there are some pitfalls you can easily avoid if you take one or two other units besides Stegadons (heresy, I know). First of all, yes, you buy Stegadons, a lot. At least three. But from there, you’re going to want skinks. See, the big trouble monster mash lists such as the Stegadon Stampede run into is claiming objectives, and board control. By taking a couple of small groups of skinks, you can plug this hole in your army, whilst sacrificing very few Stegadons to afford it. Lets take a look at an 1000pt Stegadon stampede:

Allegiance: Seraphon
– Constellation: Thunder Lizard

Leaders
Engine of the Gods (260)
 General
 Command Trait: Prime Warbeast
 Artefact: Fusil of Conflaguration

Battleline
10 x Skinks (60)
 Meteoric Javelins Celestite Daggers & Star Bucklers
10 x Skinks (60)
 Meteoric Javelins Celestite Daggers & Star Bucklers
Stegadon (240)
Stegadon (240)

Units
3 x Kroxigor (140)
 1x Moonhammers

Total: 1000 / 1000
Extra Command Points: 0
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 64

This list centres around an Engine of the Gods, which, when surrounded by its smaller Stegadon children, will chuck out lasers and healing buffs to keep your herd in order. Don’t forget to pack 10 Saurus warriors in your case in case your engine of the gods summons them in! Beyond that, it has a small core of skinks to take objectives and block nasty units from hitting your Stegadon, backed up by some Kroxigor to help deal with any larger threats to your frontline.

Enact The Will of The Old Ones

You should now have everything you need to get started, no matter what breed of dino you’ve decided to focus on. Get out there, play a few games, find what you like and start spicing it up with some of the other lizards you have available, and soon enough you’ll be the lord of the jungle. If you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com or head over to r/goonhammer to discuss. We’re always happy to answer questions and help new players out!

 

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