Thursday 16 July 2015

Game 133 - Lizardmen - 2015/03/20

Game 6 - Battle Line - Jamie - Lizardmen

In the morning I talked to Jamie about all things Warhammer. We haven't played against each other yet but since Castle Assault 2013 we have been joking it would be great to meet on the battlefield. In fact, Jamie mentioned that he should have grudged me so we could have played game 1. However, somehow it happened we didn't need to as we were paired in game 6!

Jamie usually plays High Elves but this time he brought his Lizardmen. I must admit I don't have a good track record against this army. A year before Chris Cousens smashed me 19-1 with his Tetto-Eko led force and I was determined to use the opportunity and break that "tradition".

Since CanCon 2015 allowed special characters Jamie decided to build his army around Lord Kroak. Here are the details:

Lizardmen - Army List

Lord Kroak - 400
Oldblood, Shield, Glittering Scales, Potion of Speed, Luckstone, Sword of Striking - 196
Scar Veteran, Great Weapon, Light Armor, Cold One, Dawnstone, Dragonhelm, The Other Trickster Shard - 160
Skink Priest, level 1, Scroll of Shielding - 80 - Lore of Heavens
Skink Priest, level 1, Cube of Darkness - 95 - Lore of Beasts

34 Saurus Warriors, Spears, Full Command - 404
10 Skink Cohort - 80
10 Skink Skirmishers, blowpipes - 70
10 Skink Skirmishers, blowpipes - 70

6 Cold One Riders, Spears, Full Command - 234
39 Temple Guard, Full Command, Razor Standard - 621

Swedish Comp: 15.4

Let's have a look at each choice as usual:

Lord Kroak - I have never had a chance to play against that character so it was already a challenge to develop a good counter to his abilities on the spot. He has a single spell to cast, The Deliverance of Itza, that looks like designed to kill MSU armies in particular. It deals 2d6 S4 hits to all enemy units in 12", 18" or 24" depending on the casting value. The way that spell was interpreted was that despite the fact it is a direct damage spell it affects all the units in the radius, not only front arc of the model. That makes it even more dangerous. This spell can also be cast more than once per magic phase. I planned to use all my dispel dice to stop that spell but I was aware that my chances depend a lot on winds of magic strength.

Lord Kroak is also very hard to kill. He ignores miscasts on 2+ but gets d6 S6 hits instead. However, his 3++ ward should take care of that. He makes a unit of Temple Guard unbreakable and that is huge as this enormous regiment is very hard to defeat for my units. -1 to hit in close combat and in shooting is just a nice but useful bonus.

I decided that my chance lies in trying to kill as much as possible from other regiments and keep Lord Kroak and his unit diverted and re-directed all the time.

Old Blood - not the most popular option, pedestrian Old Blood is still tough nut to crack. He sports 2+ armor save, with a single re-roll, most opponents will hit him on 5+ and only the most skilled on 4+. He will hit on 2+ or 3+ on the other hand and he will do great against rank and file. He might be a tough opponent for my heroes anyway. If he is in Lord Kroak's unit then he will be even better protected with penalties to hit stacking. So even my heroes would need 6+ to hit him!

He can also jump to Saurus regiment to help them out if needed.

Scar Veteran - One of the typical mounted Lizardmen characters. With Oldblood they can take on any of my units on their own so I will need to pay attention to how to deal with these individual threats too. If they are going to stick with their units (and Scar Veteran can potentially join 3 of them for extra punch) then these regiments will be even harder to defeat. However, Star Lance noble in particular should be able to get this character and Spirit Leach should be helpful too. If he goes alone then he will have to take into account my bolt throwers. Hence I assumed they will stay with units.

Skink Priests - very useful, keep Saurus in line so they don't overrun if no need to, provide very important channeling and act as vessels that means even greater range for that nasty spell. Their own spells can also be very useful indeed. Not to be underestimated.

Saurus Warriors - tough phalanx of these can chew through any of my unit but they are also easier to defeat than Temple Guard. If I can divide both blocks and surround Saurus Warriors from 2-3 sides, then there is a chance I can eventually break them. But I was under no illusion that it will be easy and I knew it would cost me too.

Skinks - 3 support units, very useful as always, very dangerous against light cavalry but fortunately die easily to my shooting and any attacks. I will use any opportunity to kill them so that they don't interfere with the movement phase.

Cold One Riders - very good unit but a lot will depend on who is with them if anybody at all. If hey operate alone then my cavalry has a chance to break them on the charge. If scar vet is with them, the help of any of my heroes will be required. Definitely not to be ignored at all but due to relatively small numbers (at least in comparison to infantry) I had a chance to kill them.

Temple Guard - with Lord Kroak, potentially even all characters, and all the benefits of their presence I think this unit was too much for my Elves. I would love to try and take on it but I would need to attack them from both flanks and grind them with my units losing a few in the process. However, due to that powerful spell that can be cast while being in close combat I was not really safe in hand to hand either. At least that was the interpretation. In any case, I decided I need to stay way from TG and try to kill the rest. With such a huge unit it is doable.

In general, as I have just mentioned my plan was to:
- avoid and block TG
- dispel the Deliverance as a priority with all dice
- try to get as many other units as possible to make up for any casualties suffered

I assumed that if 2d6 will generate average 7 hits that would transfer to 5 wounds per unit. Then, depending on the unit, I may have some 6+ saves or none at all (Dragon Princes and Heroes are an exception) and 5++ ward from MR should also help a little. That means I would need to move fast in order to get some kills as any time the spell goes off I will suffer badly.


The terrain did block lines of sight and as such I think it was more helpful to Lizardmen. The hill in the middle in particular was useful. Ruins in two "corners" were dangerous terrain and some more of this type were on the South too. Some of them might block line of sight occasionally. The forest was a good soft cover while the small pond added some variety and possibility to exploit if I could draw the infantry of the enemy into it.

I think both sides were equally good for my army, with no particularly great options but enough of clear terrain to try and surround the enemy.

Jamie aka Lord Kroak :)

Jamie initially had a very broad smile on his face but I told him he should behave in a more coldblooded way as befitting of his army and the Slann so he assumed proper facial expression. :) He also won the roll off to pick the sides and chose North.
Deployment after vanguards

Skinks got the following spells:

Skink - Thunderbolt
Skink - Curse

Unsurprisingly Lizardmen won the roll off and had the first turn:

Lizardmen - Turn 1
Right flank

Left flank

Lizardmen move forward

Two phalanxes of brute Saurus warriors moved forward as ordered. Nimble skinks hid behind them or in the forests to avoid the attention of the Elven archers. Lord Kroak was still in his meditative state and didn't harness the winds of magic to his will. That left the skink priests in charge and they used their chance well. One of them called on the power of heavens and powerful thunderbolt stroke Dragon Princes. Two of them were reduced to ash and the abrupt and violent demise of their companions horrified the survivors who simply turned and fled the battle, including the noble who accompanied them.

Not a good start for the Elves!

Outcasts - Turn 1
Is it a good idea?

The Elves, probably not fully understanding they may walk into a trap, exercised their typical outflanking maneuver on the right flank, planning to draw attention of a smaller block of saurus and driving it towards the pond where their ranks would not be as solid as they were now.

The magic was stopped but the shooters claimed a few casualties.

Lizardmen - Turn 2
Deliverance of Itza

Part One
Lord Kroak finally acknowledged that the Elves may pose some problem and diverted part of his attention to the solution. The loremaster was unable to stop the chain of energy blasts and the casualties among the Elves were horrendous!

Outcasts - Turn 2
Outflanking continues

Elves keep advancing
As if oblivious to the fact they were just hit very hard, the Elves continued their advance and outflanking of Lizardmen. The Loremaster even succeeded in winning mental duel with Saurus Scar Veteran and the brute leader fell with his brain fried to the ground.

Lizardmen - Turn 3
Deliverance of Itza
Part 2

Since Elves behaved as children to Lord Kroak and didn't hear his warning for the first time, he decided to repeat the punishment so that the lesson is not missed. More energy blasts run a quick succession through Elven lines and it was clear that children of Ulthuan had no army any more.

Outcasts - Turn 3
The plan has failed
With the army in tatters the Elven leaders called for a withdraw. The battle was lost so it was now the question how many of the Elves can still survive. The run against time begun.

Lizardmen - Turn 4
One more Deliverance for good measure

Mopping up

Lord Kroak decided to make sure the Elves also remembered the lesson long enough not to try any foolish attempts to disturb his meditations in the future and more Elves died, almost entirely disintegrating the army.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Elves keep fleeing

Maybe they can save the battle standard at least!
The Elves run for their lives as fast as possible but the Loremaster managed to cast two protective spells. First, he healed himself a little and then toughened up his warriors in anticipation of an incoming energy blast.

Lizardmen - Turn 5
Chasing Elven leaders

No casualties this time!

Temple Guard followed the orders and chased Elven leaders but it seemed they were a little too zealous in that pursuit. Lord Kroak summoned his powers again but this time he was surprised to see some kind of magic resistance working well to protect the very few survivors.

Outcasts - Turn 5
Changing direction

Last evade

Elves were always fleet on feet and their quickly changed the direction to evade the enemy. It was clear now that the pursuit is not going to be successful and Lord Kroak decided the children of Ulthuan are punished enough and he can come back to his meditations.
(Edit: I am not sure but it is possible we played full 6 turns but by that time not much happened and there were no extra casualties anyway.)

Turn-by-turn summary animation

After-battle thoughts

Ouch! That definitely hurt! Like last year, I got massacred by Lizardmen, although this time of a different kind. I would like to congratulate Jamie for sticking to his plan that worked for him very well! It was good to know he got his first victory that day too! :) Always happy to help friends :D

I also need to apologize for being quite grumpy from turn two, very grumpy from turn 3 and trying to regain my composure by the end of the game. While it may be understandable why I felt unhappy about the beating I was receiving I must fully admit I got what I deserved.

It is easy to assume that it is easy to take 6 dice and cast the most powerful version of a spell that seems to be designed to kill MSU armies. However, I did everything I could to help it work too! Somehow I was naive to think I can be quick enough to claim some enemy units. I played stupid and paid the price. After calculating the points the difference was 1000+ VP into Jamie's favor that translated into 15-5 victory within the brackets we used at that event. Considering my misguided approach, that was quite a good result!

We discussed the alternative with Jamie and we agreed that unfortunately, this time I should have gone full defense. Either sit in one corner or spread the units at the edge so that wherever Lord Kroak intended to go it would not be enough to catch everything. At the same time I could have sent light troops to slow his unit down and use magic and ranged attacks to inflict some damage on the skinks and cavalry to further mitigate the losses.

It was interesting, however, to see that my losses were not bigger than in other games of CanCon, I simply failed to kill much in return!

Last but not least sorry to disappoint as this game was pretty one sided and I failed to provide entertaining report. I know it is a very good example how not to play against Lord Kroak :) If only I could have a rematch and see if I could make it better and more entertaining :D

Thanks for reading!


  1. Wow mate! I don't know if I've ever seen destruction on such a scale. That was harsh...

    I think you're correct in saying that a wide defence would have been a better approach. Give you more time and keep the damage caused low too. But ultimately, that feels like you're accepting the defeat from turn 1 and are just trying to keep it as small as possible. I don't really like that.

    That Kroak seems built as a counterweapon against your kind of list. He's also far too protected to be easily taken out. Furthermore, your opponent kept him centrally positioned, which meant his area of power projection was hard to avoid. Well played and a fully deserved victory. Still, don't be too disheartened, I really struggle to see exactly what you could have done to win here.

    1. Hi there!

      Yeah, I was properly grumpy about it, haha! I usually don't think I am so outmatched on the army list level but you are spot on, somebody designed Mr. Kroak as anti-MSU force!

      However, if I were to play that game again I would definitely avoid the stupid mistake I made and would not approach Big Toad at all. With the exception of a few units that would sacrifice themselves to keep him away from other units. I had some ranged attacks and could use that for getting a few points (which I did in a way).

      I would definitely love to play that re-match against my friend, Jamie as I am sure we would have a lot of fun betting who will die next :)

      As I mentioned I was mainly unhappy due to my grumpiness as it is a shame to be so in the game with a friend in particular. He deserved the victory, exploited my mistakes and it was simply unfair to make a crying puppy face. Fortunately, he is coldblooded so such behavior has absolutely no effect on him. :)