Way back in the late 1900s there was a cartoon show that ran for 1 season and 3 specials. It was called Dino-riders and it was absolutely the greatest idea anyone had ever come up with for a cartoon built to sell toys. GoBots? Terrible. Transformers? GoBot rip-off. GI Joe? MEH, should have been called Snake Eyes and Friends. Mummies Alive? Ok, Mummies Alive was sick as hell too but it wasn’t aliens from the future fighting animal-hybrids from the future while they rode dinosaurs (Hence the name Dino-Riders in case this is going too fast for you). I loved Dino-Riders though I honestly have 0 recollection of the story. I just know that when I looked at the VHS tape I found in my stocking that Christmas that I immediately understood it was my Platonic ideal for what the world should be. When I found out my parents also got me the Styrakosaurus? I just about headbutted the moon I was so happy.
20+ years later, I played my first game of Warhammer Fantasy Battle and within a week I walked into my local game store to buy my first Starter set. I had done about 0 research (I just wanted models) and there on the wall was the most glorious thing I would ever see; an entire army of alien lizard people riding dinosaurs. It was Dino-Riders but infinitely cooler. It was every paleontology sticker book my parents bought me when I was 6 but the dinosaurs in those books didn’t have blowpipes or kickass spiked clubs. I was 8 years old and launching little red discs Emperor Krulos again because that guy was a dick. My inner child burst out of my chest like one of those aliens in those movies with a probably apropos name. I was in love. When that starter set found its way under my Christmas tree that year I was transported back in time.
Now here I am, once again back in that shop, and my slimy inner child’s head has split my sternum open a second time and it is staring Sigourney Weaver dead in the eyes while I talk about the return of Lizardmen in The Old World.
First, let’s get it out of the way. Yes, Lizardmen are a Legacy Army in The Old World. Yes, that is a bit of a bummer. Yes, this is a free PDF with really well thought out and balanced rules for the majority of the models that used to exist in the Lizardmen range. And yes, I will play them anyway knowing that all of the events local to my area will allow them and that’s really all that matters to me right now. Maybe some day these Legacy armies will get promoted to the major leagues by GW, but for now playing in the Minors is ok by me. With all that reminiscing out of the way, let’s dive into what is in this PDF! As always big thanks to Games Workshop for giving us the opportunity to preview these rules in advance.
Table of Contents
Why Play Lizardmen
If my introduction didn’t hype you enough to play this army then you are dead to me and the world. Lizardmen have big dinosaurs being ridden by little dinosaurs. They have lasers. They have incredibly fast and deadly skirmishing units that spit poison and probably killed John Hammond in the books. They have floating frogs that can control time. There is fundamentally no better army that has ever been created. I have no bias, I speak only truth.
Five Things To You Need To Know To Play Lizardmen
- Skinks are the best unit in the book. They are extremely mobile and highly versatile. I’d run 200 if I didn’t care about my lower back and my relationships with my friends.
- A Slann’s casting is only as good as the positioning of their Arcane Vassals.
- Cold-Blooded now only works on Fear, Panic, and Terror, so Stupidity and Break tests are far more dicey than they were in the past.
- Slanns Fly now and they’re very good at it. Rocket frogs do a lot of work.
- Stegadons are cool, the older the better. Salamander stocks are poor at best.
The Rules and Weapons of Lustria
As with all of the other armies in the Old World, Lizardmen have several Special Rules and Weapons that are unique to their datasheets.
Blowpipe: Range 12, Strength 3, AP -, Poisoned Attacks, Multiple Shots (2)
Arcane Vassal: Once per Turn, if a friendly Slann is not fleeing or engaged in combat, it may cast a spell through this model if it is within 12 inches. If they do, the range and targeting restrictions, line of sight, and effects of the spell are measured from this model rather than the caster.
Aquatic: Models with this special rule suffer no modifiers to their Movement characteristic when moving through difficult or dangerous terrain which has been designated a ‘water feature’.
Beast Handlers: When an enemy unit shoots at a Salamander or Razordon Pack that contains one or more Skink Handlers, they must roll a D6 for each successful roll To Hit before making any rolls To Wound. On a 1-4, the hit is inflicted upon a Salamander or Razordon. On a 5+, the hit is inflicted upon a Skink Handler. In combat, enemy models must allocate their attacks against a model they are in base contact with (or against the closest model if they are within the fighting rank but not in base contact) before rolling To Hit.
Cleaving Blow: If a model with this special rule rolls a 6 to wound; Regular Infantry, Heavy Infantry, Light and Heavy Cavalry are not permitted an armour or Regeneration save against a Cleaving Blow.
Cold-Blooded: Models with this special rule that make a Fear, Panic, or Terror test may roll an extra D6 and discard the highest result.
Drop Rocks: Once per game, a unit with this special rule may ‘Drop Rocks’ on an enemy unit that it passed over in the Remaining Moves sub-phase that is not currently engaged in combat. The targeted unit suffers d3 Str 4 hits for each model in this unit that passed over it.
Obsidian Blades: A hand weapon carried by a model with this special rule has an AP value of -1. This only applies to a single hand weapon and does not apply to a model’s mount.
Units and Army Composition
All of the old Lizardmen favorites from 8th edition are back (sorry Southland Tales lovers, I’m 90% sure The Rock has the rights to the books and all your bow skinks), minus the special characters. No Gor-rok or Tetto’eko here to guide your path, just generic badass monsters and your imaginations.
In terms of Army Restrictions, you are only allowed 1 Slann in your army regardless of point value and Skink Priests and Saurus Oldbloods combined are locked to 0-1 per 1000 points. At Core, Saurus Warriors are a mandatory 1+ and you may choose to field a single unit of Temple Guard in your list. In the Special Slot, Terradons and Ripperdactyls are each locked to 0-1 per Skink hero taken, and Bastilladons are 0-2 per 1000 points. Rare slots are restricted to 0-1 Salamander or Razordon packs per 1000 points and 0-1 Stegadons or Troglodons per 1000.
All units in the Lizardmen codex have the aforementioned Cold-Blooded special rule and I won’t be bringing it up again.
Let’s start things off with the Battle Toads themselves, the Slann Mage-Priest. Slann are lvl 4 wizards by default and have access to the Lores of Battle, Elementalism, High Magic, Illusion, and Necromancy. They Fly (8!), have the Large Target special rule and may purchase a single Discipline of the Old Ones (these are baby Slann, all the good ones are napping because Todd the Everchosen isn’t very scary). All Slann also come with a 5+ ward save. As the only leadership 9 option in the army and the only level 4 casting option, it is very difficult to leave home without a Slann in your list. Luckily, Slann are very much worth every penny. The Arcane Vassal rule, on top of their massive Fly range, means it is relatively easy for the Slann to cast their most important spells while staying out of pertinent dispel ranges and having the Large Target special rule on a Monstrous Infantry body means they actually can take advantage of the Lone Character targeting rules to avoid enemy shooting (not to mention Temple Guard rules which we’ll touch on later) while still maintaining line of sight on all of their casting targets. I am a very big fan of Becalming Cogitation and Lore Familiar on a Slann with either Elementalism, Illusion or High Magic as they have some really serious tools that shore up some of your weaknesses. As in previous editions, your Slann can still be your Battle Standard bearer.
Old Bloods and Scar Vets are still around and they are combat machines with Str and To 5 and 5-6 base attacks each on the charge due to the Furious Charge special rule. Both options may choose to be mounted on a Cold One or a Carnosaur. The days of the solo Saurus Cowboy characters tying up units and assassinating characters are sadly behind us due to how much more punishing stupidity is on the army and how difficult it is to get to a 2+ armour save in this book. While you can still make some pretty fun beatsticks, their reliability has gone way down. With the changes to ridden monsters, Carnosaurs are an interesting option if you find your skinks aren’t doing the job at monster hunting if a bit soft by other armies’ standards. Carnosaurs come into the game now by bumping your heroes up to Toughness 6 and increasing their wounds by 4. At an additional 170 points, they are a pretty good deal, giving you 4 more attacks at Str 7 AP -3 with the Multiple Wound (d3) rule against opposing monsters, boosting your movement to 7 and have the Terror and Swiftstride rules. If you’re not feeling the need for a T-Rex in your life, Scar Vets on foot are still great at shoring up the combat res of your slow moving Saurus Warrior blocks.
Skink Chiefs are cheap, fast moving heroes that make for great artillery hunters and cheap character assassins. They’re initiative 6 and have base 3 attacks for only 45 points and can be mounted on a Terradon, Ripperdactyl, or Stegadon. I have found them particularly cute when embedded in a small unit of Terradons or Rippers where they can dive into an opponent’s back field gun line or beeline towards a particularly soft wizard or hero that they can cut down with something like the Piranha Blade. Just be wary about using the Ripperdactyls, as while they do have a large number of attacks, the impetuous rule will occasionally ruin your plans.
Skink Priests are the other casting option for Lizardmen and they’re worth it for the Arcane Vassal rule alone. They have access to my 2 favorite magic lores in Elementalism and Illusion and can be mounted on an Ancient Stegadon with the Engine of the Gods upgrade. The Engine of the Gods is quite the glow-up for the priest as it gives them a 4+ armor save and bumps their wounds characteristic up to 8 on a Toughness 6 body. This is my current favorite way to run the priest, though if you’re not interested in the massive point sink or simply want way more mobility, the Cloak of Feathers still exists to let them flit in and around the field with Fly(10).
Temple Guard have moved to the Core slot (they were long a Special choice in the army), but are now a 0-1 option regardless of your army size. At 16 points, they aren’t bad at all for a heavy infantry choice as they are WS, Str, and Toughness 4 with 2 attacks a piece, though they still suffer from the Initiative 1 blues. They’re equipped with Heavy Armour (Scaly Skin), Halberds, Shields, and Hand Weapons (with the Obsidian Blades special rule). The Guard have both the Shieldwall and Stubborn special rules which can make for a pretty potent combination if you’re looking to lock a more elite opposing unit in place for a turn or 2. What the Temple Guard are really useful for is ‘Guardians’ a special rule that allows a Temple Guard unit within 3 inches of a Slann to transfer the results and any special effects of any shooting attack that strikes the Frog to them instead. On top of that, Temple Guard within the Slann’s massive 18 inch command range can issue and accept challenges in the same manner as a character. There is a lot of value to TG as either a small bodyguard unit that can blend opposing infantry and lock a big scary character into a sea of challenges or as a bigger anvil to hold your line together.
Saurus Warriors are kind of the tax you have to pay to play Lizardmen, and lucky for us it isn’t a particularly terrible one. With the same stat line as their Temple Guard spawnkin (except -1 WS because they’re babies), Saurus may choose to take thrusting spears on top of their obsidian blades for 1 point which is a fine choice if you want to invest heavily in a unit and find yourself locked in combat with a particularly annoying horde or like the idea of seriously compact formations. You may also choose to pay for the Shieldwall rule which is nice if you have the points to spare. I have generally found regular Saurus most useful in smaller squads lined out relatively wide (7-10) to inflict as much damage as possible on opposing infantry without being too unwieldly, though they definitely have the tools to be a tarpit if you’re willing to invest.
Skink Skirmishers, as already mentioned, absolutely shape the Lizardmen army. At 5 points per model, Skinks with javelins and shields are skirmishers with a 5+ armour save and a native -1 to hit against shooting that Move Through Cover and can March and Shoot with Poisoned Attacks (AND they have Quick Shot!). Given that much of the game has had its armour saves reduced, and skirmishers by default do not have the march and shoot rule that they used to have, these little guys have incredible value. They block line of sight for opposing guns, they block and redirect charges with ease, and they plink wounds off of tough targets (with access to Plague of Rust even heavily armoured units have to hold onto their butts). At 50 points for a unit of 10 they are extremely potent and frustrating to play against. I also failed to mention that 1 unit per 1000 points can be upgraded to have either the Vanguard or Scout special rules for a flat 5 or 10 points which is incredibly potent. Skinks can also choose to sacrifice being able to March and Shoot to take Blowpipes for 1 point per model and double your effective shots. I’m not particularly fond of this despite owning 60 of these guys from the old days. The loss of March and Shoot (and Quick Shot) does not feel worth the option of the extra shot and dropping an armour save to boot is a lot to ask on top of it. I will say that if you’re really set on blowpipes, then I do think a large squad of 20 or so skinks that act as a centrefield screen and hope to spike a scary stand and shoot reaction isn’t a terrible option for only 120 points.
Jungle Swarms are the last Core option to play with for the lizards of Lustria, and honestly? They’re worth a second look for sure. At 40 points they’re a bit more expensive per wound than the skinks but they have 5 wounds a piece, are Immune to Psychology, and have the Vanguard, Skirmisher, and Unbreakable special rules along with 5 Poisoned Attacks per base. This is honestly not bad at all if you’re looking to build a more traditional rank and flank list, as 3-5 of these bases trudging down the midfield can reliably hold up most close combat threats for multiple turns.
Moving on to Special, we start with my old pet unit Chameleon Skinks. At 11 points per model, Chameleons aren’t quite as impressive as their regular counterparts but they do come with a BS of 4 with blowpipes meaning you will be more apt to take advantage of Multi-Shot and are Scouts by default. Unfortunately they lost their old chameleon skin rules that would reduce enemy to hit rolls by an additional 1 and can no longer march and shoot. Instead, they have gained the Evasive special rule which isn’t quite as good most of the time but can lead to some interesting playlines. I do still like a small unit or 2 to hunt artillery and create pressure early (especially in formats applying a Rule of 3) but they’re not nearly the threats they used to be and are no longer the must take of previous editions when they would run circles around opposing units and harass them from out of LoS with ease. It should be highlighted that weirdly a Chameleon Skink champion is Strength 4 now which I assume is a clerical error as it will not do much with that with it’s paltry WS of 2 and 1 attack.
Kroxigors are a really fun unit to play with these days. They still move at a good clip and swing hard at Str 7 AP -2, though at first glance they look pretty fragile with just a 5+ armour to protect them. In previous editions, Kroxigors would get a bit (or a lot depending on the FAQ) of protection by being able to join large units of skinks and that has been replicated here with the Skirmish Screen special rule which effectively turns all friendly units of Skink Skirmishers into Chariot Runners for the Kroxigors. Skinks do not block line of sight for Kroxigors like they do for everyone else and any move that would cause a Kroxigor to be ‘on top’ of a Skink model just pushes those skinks to the side. Skink Skirmishers also treat friendly Kroxigors as part of their unit for the purposes of unit coherency. Being able to hide these big brutes behind a cloud of poisoned javelins and then burst through their ranks on your ‘Go turn’ all but guarantees you will be the one setting the pace in those combats which is so critical, and Strength 7 is a great breaking point against just about every monster in the game.
I want to love Cold One Riders, I really do. They have so many attacks (4 per model) and so far this edition I have loved most shock cavalry I have had the opportunity to play with. But Stupidity, a 3+ armour save and a paltry 7 inch movement at their price tag sucks the wind out of your sails pretty fast the first time you stumble forward when you need to hit that big charge. That said, things aren’t all bad for Cold One Riders. The changes to initiative do mean that if you DO happen to get that charge off, opposing units will be facing a pretty hefty amount of Str 4 or 5 hits and all these attacks are a great place to throw an enchantment or magic banner. Cold Ones also have the option to pay for the Drilled special rule, which can set you up for some cool long distance flanking maneuvers in marching column that make up for the lower than average movement speed.
Terradon Riders are an iconic Lizardmen unit that soars the skies pelting opposing forces with either poisoned javelins, small flammable rocks, or large inflammable ones. At 32 points per model, Terradons are 2 wounds a piece with 1 str 3 and 1 str 4 attack in close combat. Drop Rocks is still here as a special rule, allowing each Terradon that flies over an unengaged enemy unit in the remaining moves phase to inflict D3 Str 4 hits on the move once per game. While in the past they made for excellent artillery hunters and backfield harassers, the loss of their Stomps has really relegated them to tie-up and chaff clearing duty (keeping in mind that they DO still get to march 20 inches and shoot their javelins or bolas which isn’t nothing).
If you’re more into high-risk high-reward, or simply wake up every day choosing violence then look no further than Ripperdactyls. At 40 points per model, Rippers sacrifice an inch of movement (Fly 9) and any concept of a shooting phase to emphasize being real assholes. Ripperdactyl riders have a 4+ armour save and are equipped with Cavalry Spears and Str 4 claws and teeth. Before the game starts and after Scouts are deployed, you may place a Blot Toad marker on an enemy unit on the battlefield for each units of Rippers you have in your list. When any of your Ripperdactyls are engaged in combat with that unit, the Ripperdactyls themselves gain the Extra Attacks(1) special rule and reroll any natural to hit rolls of 1. Given that the Ripperdactyls already have the Furious Charge special rule this means that you’re going to be swinging with 4 Str 4 attacks from each bird in the unit (each with the Cleaving Blow Special Rule) and 1 Str 4 attack each from the riders. While the Impetuous rule can be a nuisance, it is pretty well offset by the unit’s speed and Swiftstride, meaning they’ll pretty frequently still get to hit what they want with that 18 inch threat range, particularly if you go first and have a turn to set yourself up for success. You can also mitigate Impetuous in the early game by keeping the rippers behind enough skinks that they simply can’t see anything to declare a charge against anyway.
At 160 points base the Bastiladon is a slow-moving monster that is more of a support piece and anchor than a roving nightmare. While it only has a movement of 4, it boasts a 3+ armour with a Toughness of 5, 4 wounds and the Impervious Defense special rule which negates any combat resolution bonus a unit may have for being in this model’s flank or rear. In combat, the Bastiladon has D3 impact hits, D3+1 Stomps and 3 attacks at Str 4 AP -3 making it relatively decent at thinning out elite enemy units. You may choose to run the Bastiladon with the kinda boring Ark of Sotek which heals a single Jungle Swarm within 6 inches on a 4+ every turn and does 2d6 Str 2 hits to every enemy unit within D6 inches of the Bastiladon in the Command Phase (big yawn) OR you can run it with the extra cool Solar Engine!!! Solar Engines give the Bastiladon the Solar Radiance aura that increases the initiative of all friendly units with the Cold-Blooded Special Rule within 6 inches by +1 (no stacking) AND the Beam of Chotec bound spell, which is a Power Level 2 Magic Missile with a range of 24 that does 3d3 Str 5 ap -2 hits. The Solar Engine is actually very useful on paper. It really ups the viability of lists that want to dig deeper into the Saurus side of the Lizardmen PDF and the Beam of Chotec is no joke if you ever get it off.
Salamanders and Razordons are our first Rare choices and honestly they’re probably the two units I am most disappointed in. Both units have the Beast Handlers rule, giving them a pseudo 5+ ward against shooting, both are Skirmishers that Move 6; are Str 5, To 4, initiative 4 with 2 attacks at AP -2 and have 3 wounds a piece. Both units cause Fear and are required to field a minimum of 3 skink handlers per war beast in the unit. Where Salamanders used to be Fire Throwers (They had the equivalent of Column of Fire special rule in previous editions), they now have a Str 4, AP -1 breath weapon with the Flaming Attacks special rule and Razordons can March and Shoot with D3, Range 18 Str 4 AP -1 shots. Losing Column of Fire is a massive hit to Salamanders, particularly given the minimum 90 point investment you need to make to field them and the D3 shots on the Razordons is hard to swallow given they come in at 75 points a piece and don’t necessarily have the most impressive combat profile. I feel like if you were not required to pay the initial skink handler ‘tax’ for the first 3 skinks these units would be well and truly playable but at their current cost they require some real help to get decent mileage. Salamanders with Travel Mystical Pathway or Arcane Urgency, for example, are a little more palatable if you find yourself running into hordes of Night Goblins, but you are relying on getting a spell off to make proper dividends. I can see a world where Razordons have a place in your list but it is a weird hazy place where you forget you can run 15 skinks for the same price, and similarly costed units in other armies outstrip them in most ways.
The Troglodon is a bit of a jack of all trades master of none. They’re as big as a Carnosaur but are only Toughness 5 with a 5+ Armour Save and 5 wounds, making them very susceptible to being un-alived for their 200 points. They come with a Level 1 wizard that can take either the Lore of Battle or Illusion but does not count as a character, and they have a Str 3 AP -1 Breath weapon that always wounds on at least a 5+ regardless of the opposing unit’s toughness. What could make you consider running one (or 2 if you are insane) of these guys, is that a) They are Arcane Vassals with the Large Target rule, and b) once per game, the Troglodon can let out a Primeval Roar during your command phase. On a successful Leadership test (using the Oracle’s leadership of 8), all Cold-Blood units within 7 inches of this model gain the Furious Charge special rule if they do not already have it. If you can get this off at the right time it can lead to some really devastating turns with units like Cold Ones now putting out 6 attacks each, or all the Skinks on a Stegadon deciding to go feral for a hot minute. It’s definitely a bit of a build around unit that I would want to spend some more time with if only they weren’t so mushy in the middle.
Last but certainly not least, the poster-boy of Lizardmen monters, the Stegadon, is still around and with many of the changes to the games mechanics I think it really has some legs. The regular Stegadon is Str 5, To 6, has 5 Wounds, I 2 and 4 Attacks at WS 3. At 215 points it can be armed with either a Str 5 bolt thrower with the poisoned attacks special rule or Giant Blowpipes with 2d6 Str 3 poisoned shots and an 18 inch range. If you’re more into Dilfs, the Ancient Stegagon is a 15 point upgrade that reduces your Attacks and Initiative by 1 but increases your WS and Strength just as it did in the past. Ancient Stegadons may take the aforementioned Giant Blowpipes or Bolt Thrower OR may spend an additional 25 points to be made an Engine of the Gods. Engines come with a Power Level 3 Bound Spell “Burning Alignment” which is effectively Fireball but at a 15 inch range. In addition, if your list contains 2 Engines of the Gods then any wizard within 6 inches of one gains +1 to their Casting Rolls (this includes any Skink Priest that might be hanging out on top). On top of all of the above, Stegadons are one of those few monsters that have both a respectable amount of Impact Hits (1d3+1) and Stomp Attacks (1d3+2), are Stubborn and Immune to Psychology. I have been a big fan of the Double Engine list since I got access to army list as it pushes all the right buttons for me. Having a Lvl 2 Skink Priest get aggressive, while your Slann sits just outside of dispel range and tosses spells through them is really effective given that the Stegadon has both the Howdah for 360 degree line of sight and Large Target special rules, and the extra damage from the Burning Alignments as you set up for combat is killer. On the other hand, if you’d prefer running a Stampede style list you can slot 5 of these into a 2000 point list between characters and Rare slots and that is a whole lot of meat.
Disciplines and Magic Items
In previous editions of WHFB, one of the things that made Slann stand out from their peers were their Disciplines. These were special abilities you could pay for that generally defined Slann as the masters of Magic they were supposed to be. In the Old World, these are back, though you are now locked into only taking 1. Normally this would be a big let down but most of them aren’t particularly amazing anyway. In fact, I would argue only Becalming Cogitation and Soul of Stone are worth their points to begin with.
To start, Higher State of Mind grants the Slann Ethereal. Given how Lone Character targeting works, their access to Temple Guard, and the abundance of magic attacks a number of armies can throw together, paying 60 points for the Ethereal Keyword is FINE but not terribly efficient. If you plan on building a combat oriented Illusion Slann as a meme then this is the build for you. Take Lore Familiar to ensure you get Spectral Doppelgänger and then your weapon of choice (either the Revered Blade of Tzunki to ignore Armor and Ward Saves or the Dragon Slaying Sword) to become a Slayer of Tyrants as you fly around the board murdering dragons and laying low knights like some eldritch nightmare made manifest.
Becalming Cogitation allows the Slann to reroll one of the D6s when making a wizardly dispel attempt once per turn and increases their Dispel range by 3 inches. This is far and away the most generically ‘good’ Discipline. It allows you to stay just outside of your opponent’s dispel ranges while constantly keeping them within yours, and acts as a repeatable dispel scroll. If your plan is to mitigate your opponent’s magic abilities you just take this.
Wandering Deliberations is back from 8th and allows the Slann to know 4 signature spells from any of the core lores that aren’t Waagh in the game (Battle, Daemonology, Dark, Elementalism, High, Illusion, and Necromancy). Honestly? This just isn’t good at all, don’t do this to yourself, take literally anything else. Please. I beg of you. Your Slann doesn’t deserve this. While Drain Magic is an excellent signature spell, most of the others swing from ‘Ok’ to ‘Terrible’ on a Slann and you’re always going to be better off rolling on one of the better Lores or paying for Lore Familiar.
Transcendent Healing grants the Slann a 5+ Regeneration Save, which is fine if you feel like your Slann just can’t avoid being in combat or getting shot. No notes.
Sorcerous Void grants the Slann the Magic Resistance (D3) special rule. Also just Ok. The fact it is random and not a flat 2 or 3 is a bit of a feels bad, and honestly because of Lone Character targeting your opponent is often going to be hard pressed to hit the Slann with anything you care about anyway.
Harrowing Scrutiny grants the Slann Terror, and has some potential side uses if you’re looking to debuff leadership or cause/avoid panic tests.
Soul of Stone allows the Slann to modify their result on the Miscast Table by + or – 1. As the cheapest Discipline (just 10 points), Soul of Stone is actually worthwhile if only to keep you from occasionally having to halt your whole magic phase for a turn.
As far as Magic Items go, there are some decent ones here. I’ve mentioned a number of them higher up in the article already like the Cloak of Feather and Blade of Tzunki. Outside of those, Scimitar of the Sun Resplendent is a well-costed magic weapon that grants you the Extra-Attacks D3 and Flaming attacks special rules without requiring 2 hands like most Extra Attack items do. Cupped Hands of the Old Ones (my favorite magic item in history) is back after an edition in the dark and much toned down from its zenith. Now, for 55 points, the bearer may ignore any spell they miscast on a 2+ and instead place a 3 inch blast template on the head of any enemy character. Models under the template may suffer a Str 6 AP -2 hit. This is a really cute magic item that will sometimes pay off really big for you (especially if you have some really atrocious magic dice) but will more often than not just net you a couple of wounds over the course of a game. If your inner goblin craves chaos and is immune to disappointment then you should look no further.
The Lore of Lustria
Slann, Skink Priests, and the Troglodon all have access to the Lore of Lustria signature spells, and they are both situationally very powerful abilities to have in your back pocket depending on your list or match-up.
Apotheosis is an Enchantment with a casting value of 10 or 12+ and a range of 24 inches. Friendly characters with the Infantry or Cavalry troop types (booo) immediately regain D3 lost wounds on a 10+ and D3+1 on a 12. In addition, the target friendly character gains the Fear special rule for the remainder of the game, or have their Fear special rule upgraded to Terror. While it is unfortunate that you can’t use this to keep your Stegadon or Carnosaur mounts alive, being able to top up your Slann in a pinch or turning your Ripperdactyl Chief into a Terror bomb aren’t anything to sneeze at.
Monsoon is a Remains in Play Magical Vortex with a casting value of 8+ and a Range of 15 (or maybe 12) inches. Place a large blast template so that the central hole is within 12 (or 15) inches of your caster. Whilst in play, this template is considered Dangerous Terrain that blocks Line of Sight. Furthermore, the template moves D6 inches in a random direction at the start of every turn. Any unit that the moving template touches suffers a -1 to hit penalty in the shooting phase for the remainder of the game and War Machines must roll a d6 before shooting. On a 1 they fail to fire. This spell has the potential to do so much work despite suffering from the pitfalls of being remains in play, and with the Slann’s ability to duck out of opposing spellcaster ranges it isn’t out of the question to keep this thing up for multiple turns either. Static gunlines and bow spam lists hate to see it.
Putting it All Together
The lizards of Lustria are a powerful army capable of drowning opponents in poisoned darts, extra attacks, and monstrous stomping feet all while trying to mitigate their ponderous initiative and lack of real artillery power. With probably the best chaff units in the game, they can be a real finesse army that is very rewarding to play well. To wrap this all up here are a couple of rough variations on the lists I’ve been trying out of late:
Army Composition: Lizardmen
Slann Mage-Priest: Battle Standard Bearer, General, Becalming Cogitation, Lore Familiar, Elementalism
Skink Priest: Lvl 2, Engine of the Gods, Talisman of Protection, Illusion
10x Saurus Warriors: Champion
12x Skink Skirmishers: Javelins and Shields, Scouts
12x Skink Skirmishers: Javelins and Shields, Scouts
16x Skink Skirmishers: Javelins and Shields
16x Temple Guard: Full Command
4x Kroxigors: Champion
6x Chameleon Skinks
6x Chameleon Skinks
Ancient Stegadon: Engine of the Gods
A very basic take on a Double Engine List, I’ve built this with a pure Rule of 3 event setting in mind. If you’re not limiting yourself, then it is easy enough to split the above Skink units into smaller sizes and/or drop a Kroxigor for an additional squad. Ideally you are able to play a game of guerilla warfare with this list in the first half, casting Plague of Rust on important units through the eyes of the Skink while your Slann hangs back and then lighting them up with poison darts and spells until you crash into their lines and they have to deal with all the scaly meat that has been hanging back. The Saurus Warriors go wide here, generally running in a single 10-wide line in the mid-field if terrain permits, while the Temple Guard sit in a 6-7 wide frontage while your Kroxigors should aim to take advantage of Skirmish Screen and hunt unsuspecting Monsters or Chariots.
My Favorite Murder
Army Composition: Lizardmen
Slann Mage-Priest: Battle Standard Bearer, General, Higher State of Mind, Lore Familiar, Dragon Slaying Sword, Illusion
Skink Priest: Lvl 2, Elementalism, Cloak of Feathers
Skink Chief: Ripperdactyl, Pirhana Blade, Charmed Shield
Saurus Old-Blood: Cold-One, Shield, Blade of the Revered Tzunki, Talisman of Protection
18x Saurus Warriors: Full Command, Shield Wall
12x Skink Skirmishers: Javelins and Shields, Scouts
12x Skink Skirmishers: Javelins and Shields, Scouts
20x Skink Skirmishers: Javelins and Shields
7x Cold One Riders: Full Command, Razor Standard, Drilled
6x Chameleon Skinks
3x Ripperdactyl Riders: Champion
This mess has the bones of something great and I decided to ruin it for fun and profit by fielding 3 specialist assassins that are maybe a little too unreliable when all thrown together. It’s high-risk high-reward but you have some solid answers to meta questions in here and it is really fun when it all pays off.
Firstly, our Slann Mage-Priest is a ridden monster’s worst nightmare, aiming to disrupt the field with Illusion magic and then beelining towards our opponent’s scariest monster in the hopes of casting doppelganger and sending it back to the shadow realm. Most of the scariest dragon/monster builds in the game are low on magical attacks in favor of defense, giving the Slann ample opportunity to tie up the beast and possibly kill it. However, if you fail to cast doppelganger you’re just a ghost toad flailing your stubby arms around in a wild interpretative dance even your skink attendants are ashamed of.
Second is the Ripperdactyl Chief who is quite efficient at taking down support characters. They are initiative 9 on the charge with a massive threat range and a multi-wound weapon at a pretty cheap price point. You can send them careening into units like a missile and direct your attacks into wizards or champions for maximum damage potential if your opponent fails to issue a challenge. As brought up multiple times already Impetuous means sometimes your escort sometimes decides it is going to eat something much less attractive so you’re going to want to manipulate their line of sight as best you can with your skinks in the early rounds of the game. If you aren’t in a rule of 3 environment then fleshing out your core to be 5+ units of 10-12 skirmishers will always be more ideal to do these things as skinks are just too multi-faceted.
Finally, the Oldblood is an elite hunter extraordinaire. With 6 Str 6 attacks on the charge that ignore all armour and ward saves if they make contact with something it will generally be maimed or made the dead in short order. If you’re not a fan of rolling for stupidity on your Oldblood in this list, you could split them out of the unit and give them a Horned One and a Paymaster’s Coin (at the cost of your Ward Save) instead, sacrificing all of your durability for a more reliable turn of violence. Otherwise, the Cold One escort works great here in a 2 wide marching column meant to push downfield and then use drilled to swiftly redress before hitting a flank if your mounts allow it.
We still have a Skink Priest for the Slann to cast through, though now they’ll be a bit more mobile, using Cloak of Feathers to stay outside of opposing wizard dispel ranges themselves while ducking and weaving through skinks/terrain for their own protection. The Saurus Warriors are your mid-field brick, just trying to stick around long enough for your characters to hit their assigned targets.