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Tutorial A Guide to Seraphon Battalions

Discussion in 'Seraphon Tactics' started by Killer Angel, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Mortheim
    Skink

    Mortheim Member

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    Saurus warriors has 1 wound, 5+ save, 2 attacks (weapon and jaws).
    Saurus knights has 2 wounds, 5+ save, 4 attacks. So, they are nearly close.
    But they have one small advantage - movement. And, with firehost, it seems like on 6 they deal 2 mortal wounds (1 for blazing cohort, 1 for blazing lances). With starseer it is 2 mortal wounds on 5+. 10 guys can make 6 mortal wounds on average.
     
  2. Killer Angel
    Skink Chief

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    My experience against elite has always been bad. Agreed on the weaker melee troop, included it in the post


    Well, warriors fight better in large groups, attacking also with the rear "rank" (a thing knights cannot do), delivering more attacks.
     
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  3. Tokek
    Skink

    Tokek Active Member

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    The Firelance is all about being able to pull off that difficult charge - which works very well with Lords of Space and Time. With a Curse of Fates to make it all work a unit of Knights can reliably move to the ideal charge position and have a 5/6 chance of pulling off the charge. The old problem with slow progress across the table is much less of an issue with the new allegiance abilities but they do leave you needing a 9" charge which for most of our units is a stretch.

    Against big mobs/hordes being able to hit them from two opposite directions is very powerful and the Firelance has that ability better than any of our other Saurus. In a direct face-off and for this reason I think Firelance has the upper hand over Sunclaw Starhost. If hordes are going to be a thing then I would be happy to have a Firelance in my list.
     
  4. Mortheim
    Skink

    Mortheim Member

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    Those still aren't mortal wound(s). As you see, with firelance starhost and starseer give you 33.(3)% chance to get 2 mortal wounds. Even without batallion it is 1 mortal wound 100% in each combat phase, but i will count it with firelance, so 2 mortal wounds. And you will also get 3 hits with 3+ to wound, ~8 hits with 4+ to wound. This will become 6 wounds and, if enemy has 4+ save, it will end as 5 wounds (two of wich are mortal). And it is for 100 points. But more than 5 is...questionable.

    While for 100 points of warriors you can get 5 hits with 3+ to wound, 3 hits with 4+ to wound. It is 4 wounds and, after 4+ save, it is just 2. For 100 points it looks "Meh". But warriors shine in horde.

    So, we see that, on paper, they ARE useful. But what are they useful for? Mainly - going in the backlines, helping another unit or tiying enemy for one turn. They are good as something that will distract or help in fight. In firelance, think of them as LIGHT cav - they are pretty fast (+3 to charge), they can take a punch, but they are support or range-hunting unit.

    Example:
    Something fights our 34 warriors (good luck with that lol). Something with ~30 units and 4+ save after some buff (theory, not reality) and with 10 bravery (i love big numbers).
    You have one unit of knights nearby, so you decide to port your scar vet to them. With Scar Vet they will get this 9' charge on roll of 6 or higher. With mean of 7 on 2d6 you have pretty good chances. While, in bad situation, you can use Curse of Fates, so they will have that small edge. If Scar Vet will also get into fight this will be even more devastating (2 wounds after saves). Our light cav dealt ~7 wounds.
    Warriors also strike: 7 wounds.
    Our guys just dealt 14 wounds all in all.
    In battleshock phase they have only 16 units left. Their bravery is 10. +1 for 10 models. We take roll of 3 for test cause we are generous. 16+1+3=20. Another 9 units run, leaving 7 poor guys behind. And, well, it can be even more cause in 2k points you can have firelance and sunclaw.

    The real problem, imho, is that Shadowstrike is better. You can have your flyers to appear where you need them, same for chameleon skinks. You can have pretty good screen. Some rerolls for rippers or cham skinks. And you can advance (pretty useful for objectives). AND you can teleport your other guys.

    Firelance at lowest costs 160 less (but you will always use the lowest). So, you can much easier get starseer or just take scar-vet on carno, which will bring difference only to 20 points.
     
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  5. Killer Angel
    Skink Chief

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    my anecdotal experience
    The problem is that mortal wounds are unreliable.
    5 knights will do 6 lances Attacks, re-rolling 1s. So 3/4 roll "to wound" and you need a 6... so you need also Curse of Fate to change a 5 into a 6.
    But you cannot be sure of average results when you roll just 6 dices... up til now, my anecdotal experience tells me that i can count more on the bites.

    Anyway yes, I put Knights and Warriors on a similar "power level", they just do different things. Luckily, there is the points discount fo knights, with the old price they were worse.
     
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  6. Canas
    Troglodon

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    Against elite it mostly depends on how bursty the elite is. The knights have 2 wounds and a 5+ save, which means you need (on average) 3 succesfull wounds to actually kill one.
    Now let's see how that measures up against certain levels of attack:

    • 6+/6+/-/1 requires 108 attacks to get 3 succesfull wounds.
    • 5+/5+/-/1 requires 27 attacks to get 3 succesfull wounds
    • 4+/4+/-/1 requires 12 attacks to get 3 succesfull wounds
    • 3+/3+/-/1 requires 6,75 attacks to get 3 succesfull wounds
    • 2+/2+/-/1 requires 4,32 attacks to get 3 succesfull wounds
    Looking at these amounts it seems like it'l be rare for a single unit to actually have the sheer number of attacks needed to quickly chew through a unit of knights. Yea they might lose (badly) to more elite units, but it'l take a while and they have enough going on to make it cost the opponent more than he'l gain. Hence why it isn't necesarly a bad trade.

    Admittadly, this is without taking into account stuff like mortal wounds or other riduclous tricks a more elite unit might have. I wouldn't field them against silly stuff like kurnoth hunters or a lord celestant on stardrake that can do every kind of attack and then some...
     
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  7. Njot
    Jungle Swarm

    Njot New Member

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    As somebody who is just starting up seraphon, im watching this tread with interest. Biggest problem i have so far with batallions like the sunclaw is that they take up such a big part of your army and leave little left for cool stuff. In fact i find it sifficult to have cooler suff (flyers and big dinosaurs) while maintining good battleline presence.

    Im looking forward to see thunderquake and shadowstrike guides as they actually include models i love to a far greater extend than sunclaw or firelance which have very dated models.
     
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  8. Mortheim
    Skink

    Mortheim Member

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    As i said - they are good on paper :) Their biggest advantage is that they work pretty good as 5 models and can have pretty decent bonuses from cheap batallion. And, ofc, command ability of scar vet on co helps them a lot. Even without batallion those 200 point combo can work.
    Scar vet on co will have 7-10 attacks: 4-6 hits on av, with reroll maybe 5-7; with 4-6 wounds (3-5 of them with rend -1, maybe -2 if you give him blade of realities); w/o blade it will be 2-3 wounds; w blade it will be 4 wounds.
    and
    25 from knights; 13 hits on av, with reroll maybe 16; 7 wounds will go; on 4+ 3-4 won't be saved.
    Nothing to sneeze at :)


    Why would you do it?xD They are light cavalry - support unit that can fight a little bit against other battlelines.
     
  9. Canas
    Troglodon

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    Yup, it's a major problem our faction has. A lot of our "cool" stuff is expensive and subject to special rules (e.g. you may only field x behemoths). Not to mention we need synergies. This all makes small games a bit "meh"

    I've used them plenty of times as a sacrificial pawn to keep a more elite unit busy and at least wear it down (or even kill them if I get lucky) while I deal with the bulk of the enemy before turning my attention to them. It works well for semi-elites. Just not for the properly ridiculous elite stuff :p
     
  10. Killer Angel
    Skink Chief

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    SHADOWSTRIKE STARHOST

    UNITS REQUIRED:

    1 Skink Starpriest OR 1 Skink Priest
    2 units of Skinks or Chameleon skinks (any comb)
    1 unit of terradons riders OR ripperdactyls riders

    Minimum size cost: 490 pts (Starhost, Starpriest, 2 x 10 skinks, terradons) - just for the record... it's unusable
    realistic minimum size costs:
    1) 610-630 pts (Starhost, Starpriest, 2 x 5 chama skinks, flyers)
    1) 690-710 pts (Starhost, Starpriest, 1 x 5 chama skinks, 1 x 40 skinks, flyers)
    Size increases: upgrade to 10 x chama skinks, or to 6x flyers



    Skinks stats:
    Save 6+, ignore rend up to -1, Move 8. wary fighters
    Weapons choice: with this starhost, imo it's Boltspitters. range 16", 5+/5+. +1 to hit if 20 or more; +2 to hit if 30 or more.

    Chama Skinks stats
    :
    Save 6+ (3+ in cover), Move 8. ambush, vanish from sight
    Dartpipes: range 16", 2 attacks each, 3+/4+. 1 dam / 2 on a 6+. 3 on a 6+ vs chaos daemons.

    Terradons:
    3 wounds each, move 14", save 5+. Drop boulders 1/game
    Ranged Weapons choice:
    Starstrike javelin. range 10", 2 Attacks 4+/3+. (3+/3+ for Alpha)
    Sunleech bolas: 1 Attacks: 4+ (3+ for Alpha) / d6 "to wound" at 3+
    Melee:
    Terradons beaks: 4 Attacks 4+/4+, 1 dam
    Skyblade: 3 Attacks 3+/4+

    Riperdactyls:
    3 wounds each, move 14", save 5+ (ignore rend -1). Re-roll failed to hit / to wound. additional attacks with vicious beaks for successful to hit.
    Melee:
    warspear: 1 Attacks (2 for Alpha) 4+/4+, 1 dam
    slashing claws: 3 Attacks 3+/3+
    beak: 1 attack (3 if near blot toad) 4+/3+

    Skink Starpriest
    Serpent staff (useless for the formation), wizard with Starlight

    Skink priest
    priestly trapping, 50% re-roll saves. With Cloack of feathers canfly with move 14" and save 4+. Nice missile weapon.

    The Starhost gives:
    - you can move 2d6" your units after set-up
    - re-roll 1s to hit / wound for all the units of the Starhost agains a target visible to your skinks starpriest / priest,
    - you can set up the Flying unit in the sky. Set it up at more than 3" from the enemy, then you can add +1 to all "to wound" rolls




    HOW TO MAKE IT WORK

    This is going to be complicated, I'll try to keep it short.


    This Starhost gives us amazing units, buffing them with additional abilities that otherwise we cannot have. It's certainly one of our most useful battalions, not for its brute strenght (which it lacks), but for the utilities it brings on the table.
    This Starhost works essentialy as support, and won't win the game by itself, however it will give you a great help, no matter the enemy you are going to face.
    You have units that can act as assassins, redirectors, bait... but the main role of this starhost is the Alpha strike(s), to eliminate dangerous targets / enemy heroes / general, key units and similar.
    Usually, you will set your Flying unit near the target you want to kill, and attack, with the support of your light shooting.
    All your units are supposed to work helping each other in their role, so we'll try to see how we can exploit their use, analyzing each one of them.

    Starpriest / priest.
    they use their abilities in the hero phase, and with units set-up in the sky or camouflaged, there's almost nothing they can do. Unless they target the unit of skinks, if you're using it (theyre still useful for the rest of the army!)
    Anyway, the 2d6 initial move granted by the starhost, may be exceptionally useful to move your priest, and see that hero that is hiding behind a scenery and you want to target...

    Skinks.
    I hate how GW nerfed our Skink Chief, sadly he's no more usable, but you can still put at use one unit of them in the Starhost.
    Your 40 skinks, now can be teleported anyway on the battlefield, setting them at more than 9" from the enemy... and that's way you will equip them with the boltsplitters, to be able to shoot.
    40 shots at 3+, rerolling 1s to hit, on average 30 will hit successfully.
    It's 30 "to wound" at 5+, rerolling 1s: on average you will force 11-12 saves. Not exceptional, but it may be useful. If your skinks are buffed with a mystic shield or Starlight, it should be a nice investment.
    (side note: if you equip them with javelin, you would score 16-17 successful "to wound", but you must be able to move them at less than 9" from the target: this could be done with a Stegadon)

    Chameleon Skinks:
    They are made to cover a support role, appearing from nowhere and shooting at the enemy, to weaken it and prepare the setting for our troops to clean the battlefield.
    You can employ them as objective grabbers, assassins (a squad that pops up and targets a wizard in the rearguard), redirectors, (place them on the rear flank of an advancing unit, that must choose to ignore it and suffer ranged Attacks, or chase it and lose a couple of turns) or bait (they appear and shoot, luring the enemy to chase them, but you placed them within range of charge from another unit).
    in the Starhost, they are probably going to further soften the target of your Alpha strike, or to clear the way to charges by rippers, by eliminating screen units.

    Ripperdactyls:
    Their job is fairly simple: pick a target, stick the toad to it, let them descend from the clouds and shred it to pieces.
    With the nerf of the Rule of One, you need to do some math to know what they can give you.
    With rerolls, a unit of 3 will do
    theoretical max result:
    31 successful to wound
    average rolls:
    21-22 successful to wound
    There you are: against a unit with save 4+, you know your rippers are going to deal (on average) 10-11 unsaved wounds.
    When you want to go heavy on assassination, pick a unit of six of them. The only downside is that you couldn't be able to attack with all of them, if the opponent is wise enough.

    Terradons:
    They are slighly cheaper than rippers, but also less threatening. They can inflict mortal wounds (but they're not reliable on it), and can do some damage with the burst effect of sunleech bolas, but again, it's random and, in both cases, you need to be dangerously near the enemy.
    It's still possible to do something good with them: here's an idea that worked for me, but other tactics are certainly possible
    Place your terradons "hidden in the clouds", and field also a unit of rippers, placing the bloat toad near the target unit
    Then pop the terradons, exactly where there is the toad, and shoot the enemy, enjoinin the rerolls of 1s and the+1 to wound... the rippers will remain in a safe position in the rear.
    Then, the enemy will have to choose... If he charges the terradons, he will probably kill them, BUT he will place himself exactly upon the toad. And your rippers are waiting. So, your opponent will probably bypass the terradons (thus losing some movement). In your turn, terradons will move over the target unit, releasing the boulders, shooting again and charging the weakened unit.




    EVALUATION:

    Power level: medium-high.
    You need to invest points in this starhost (around 630-730), you're not going to fill the slots of battlelines, and you'll have a battalion that is just a support to your army.
    However, the abilities of the battalion and the utilities of the units that form it, are amazing, and the wide choice you have within units is great. This Starhost may be just for support, but its versatility is beyond compare. It will never let you dissatisfied.
    One of the best things is the fact that you have a nice range in the units' choice. For example, if you want to focus on assassination, pick chama skinks; if you want also a a battleline unit that can skirmish better than its usual standard, insert skinks. The same can be said for the choice of the hero. Basically, you can model the starhost upon your needs.
    Probably, the best combination is to have both skinks and chama skinks, to cover more roles.

    Low points game (750-1000)
    Sadly, the battalion cost is too high for low points games... but it could let you kill the main threat of the enemy, and at that point chama skinks are great to take objective, providing you have something big to fight what remains of the opponent.
    It's a hard task to field it at 1000 pts, but you could try to play a 630 pts Starhost (with Starpriest, double chama skinks, and rippers), add 2x10 skinks as battlelines and a Stegadon. Pretty fast, considering that you can teleport one unit even without the Slann. 990 pts.

    Mid points game (1250-2000)
    Excellent.
    The Starhost will let you deal with some of the most dangerous enemy units, and you will have enough points to develope the rest of the army, even with another melee starhost, that will enjoy the support of the Shadowstrike.

    High points game (2250-2750)
    Again, Shadowstrike is great. Plan the core and the tactics of your army as you like... no matter what they will be, the shadowstrike will support your strategy. Its strenght is not in the combat prowess, but lies in its versatility.




    Final note.
    As said, this starhost shine in a support role.... however, if you want to try different things, it can be possible to build an army with almost just Shadowstrike.
    Exploit chama skinks and their ability to vanish and reappear, using that as combat style, using pieces of terrains to gain cover’s bonuses, working on attrition.
    Given that chama skinks appear in the movement phase, the bonuses you'll have will be those of the Starhost, re-rolling to hit and to wound rolls of 1.
    You can include up to 2 chama units in the formation, so you’ll do it.
    Use TWO Shadowstrike Starhosts, to have 4 buffed units of chama, and 2 units of flyers to deal with the main targets.
    you should have no less than 25 chama skinks, at least 6 flyers, a couple of priests. use minimum size units of skinks for battleline, use a Slann with double teleport and possibly 1-2 durable units to teleport for more shooting (bastiladon / Razordons).
    It's doable at 2000 pts; pop and shoot, then teleport/vanish again. Don’t leave clear targets to your enemy. Use Ripperdactyls and concentrated fire to eliminate long range shooters that could hit your chama, then proceed to erode the rest of the troops.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017 at 7:31 PM
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  11. Canas
    Troglodon

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    you've said the starhost allows all your units to re-roll 1's, you should probably specify it to be only the units from the starhost.

    Also, skinks vs chameleons depends on what tactic you want to use.

    Chameleons are great for assasination, and herding the enemy in a certain direction by harrasement/baiting. But they lack the true burst of an assasin and they're too squishy to skirmish all that effectivly. And even if they're extremely mobile, they're bad at capturing objectives since they're not going to survive anything. They might be at the objective before the enemy, but if they're dead the turn afterwards it didn't really amount to much. Though this does make them amazing at "get a unit to X to win"-objectives.

    The normal skinks on the other hand have the numbers to skirmish, can be used as to screen a unit, or just provide ranged support and can actually hold an objective while waiting for the real fighters to arrive.

    Simply put, don't focus on chameleons unless you want to play purely on assasination. Normal skinks if you want them to do basicly anything else. And as a general rule, a healthy mix is probably best (and of course it depends on the rest of your army).

    On a sidenote, this is the only skink-based battalion we have right?
     
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  12. Killer Angel
    Skink Chief

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    Fair points. I've added a couple of notes.

    Yes and no.
    Yes, it's the only one in our battletome.
    No, we have also the Heavenswatch Starhost (which is basically a grand mix of Shadowstrike and Thunderquake, so nothing really new)
     
  13. Canas
    Troglodon

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    meh, heavenswatch is not different enough... plus, it's not on the same scale (it's significantly larger/more costly)
     
  14. Killer Angel
    Skink Chief

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. They put zero effort into it, and that's really a shame.
     
  15. Canas
    Troglodon

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    Meh, it mostly annoys me that making a proper skink based army is effectivly impossible like this. Or at least terribly limited. Saurus at least can choose between various playstyles.. Ah well.
     
  16. Killer Angel
    Skink Chief

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    without the skink chief, they basically confined skinks to a side role.
     
  17. Tokek
    Skink

    Tokek Active Member

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    Chameleon skinks only gain the re-roll 1's from this battalion. That is not nothing but I think you would be losing out having spent 170 points just for that. A teleporting Astrolith bearer can give re-rolls on all misses to anything in your army for fewer points.

    Ripperdactyls by contrast get to alpha-strike reliably anywhere you like on the table which is a threat very few opponents can disregard and most must specifically deploy against. I think you will usually see this battalion used to bring 6 or more Ripperdactyl Riders to the table as a means to eliminate threats.

    The choice of skinks to use also needs to take into account that regular Skinks are now one of the best battleline units in the game. A cheap fast unit that can screen your forces or win the objectives game. Their damage output is not spectacular but that is not really the point of them - in any event if you drop 6 to 9 Rippers onto your key target and it is vulnerable to non-rending damage it is probably as good as dead already. Skinks gain a pre-game redeployment which in some scenarios - especially Scorched Earth - can be game-saving.

    If this tutorial is going to stand the test of time then I really think it should include the options where you go big on the Ripperdactyls and fill it out with Skinks. That is a tried-and-proven formula in tournament play already.
     
  18. Layken
    Jungle Swarm

    Layken New Member

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    Can you deepstrike a flying skink priest?
     
  19. Killer Angel
    Skink Chief

    Killer Angel Well-Known Member

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    Nope, but the skink priest can use the 2d6 free movement

    Yep, but I'm spending 170 to have the whole formation. A 160 astrolith would be just an additional cost that would benefit very little the units of the Starhost.
    The scope of the starhost is to give you "hidden in the Clouds" and a rerolls of 1s (which works also on to wound, a thing that the BSB cannot do)

    Well, leaving aside the fact that is the opponent deploys its army wisely, you couldn't be able to charge the intended target with all your rippers...
    in the tutorial it has been taken into account the possibility to upgrade the Flying unit to 6 models.
    That said, I agree that it should be made more clear: I will edit it, trying to be more explicit.


    Yes, but unless I'm fielding two units of 40 skinks each , it would be counterproductive to use a 10 x skinks in the starhost (instead of a unit of chama skinks).
    10 or 20 batlleline skinks that act as screen / objective takers, may not use the bonuses and work the same... in the formation, I'd rather use 240 pts of 10 chama skinks with rerollabe 1s, AND a block of 40 skinks.
     
  20. Canas
    Troglodon

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    meh, we've got plenty of skink heroes. Priest and starpriest mirror an oldblood and sunblood, troglodon and EoTG mirror the carnosaurus, starseer mirrors slann, the only hero that isn't mirrored is the skar-veteran on an oldblood (just make a skink on terradon/ripperdactyl a hero). Plenty of options for skink based leadership, and there's plenty of troops as well. Kind of weird we don't have the option.


    I think you will nearly Always want to go for a combination of chama skinks and normal skinks. Pure chama results in too great a focus on assasination and pure skinks leaves the assasination up to the terradon's/ripperdactyls which leaves your assasination a tad too weak to reliably succeed. You want both.
     

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