Alright, ever since 8th edition came around, a Slann has pretty much become a mandatory choice for Lizardmen armies. I've yet to see a workable Lizardmen list of 1500pts+ without a Slann at it's centre. Also, whenever someone posts a new Lizardmen list, at least one of two arguments/questions always crops up - What lore to take? It's an extremely important question, as often the rest of the army will be built around what lore you decide to use. To help shed some light on this question, I have started this thread.
The general consensus amongst Lizardmen players is that one should take one of two lores- either the Lore of Light, or Lore of Life. Both work fantastically well with Lizardmen. Before I get on to these two lores, I will discuss the implications of the other lores of magic for the Lizardmen army. First off, The Lore of Fire.
The Lore of Fire is my least favourite lore. Why? It's bloody unimaginative. When you see that an opponent has taken a Bright Wizard, you bloody well know what he's planning. Anyway, let's discuss what Fire can bring to the Lizardmen. The Lore Attribute is fairly good- especially if there's an enemy deathstar you want to kill with fire. Something it does bring that the Lizardmen lack is ranged firepower. The majority of Lizardmen shooting has a range of 12" or less, the only exceptions being regular Stegadons and a lucky roll with Salamanders, so on the outset this sounds like a great deal, until you realise that Lizardmen can't really play with a static firebase in their own deployment zone, as other armies such as the Empire can. So this becomes a moot point. Furthermore, a similar advantage can be gained via the Lore of Heavens, which Skink Priests are forced to take. So why take a Lore that does what your Priests are already forced to do? Another problem with Fire is the lack of augment spells. Your Saurus are some of the best core in the game, but they still need magical support to win combats against foes such as Chaos Warriors. This cannot be effectively achieved with only The Flaming Sword of Rhuin
to back them up. So in short, I wouldn't bother with a Lore of Fire Slann.
Next, Lore of Beasts. When it comes to Lizardmen, this lore is probably even more useless than the Lore of Fire. The lore attribute is too situational- it may prove useful when augmenting Terradons, but why the hell would you do that anyway?. Whilst it does have the augments that Fire lacks, they're pretty crap for the most part. Three of the four augments can only affect characters, and frankly you want to be boosting up your entire army. On top of that, one of those augments, The Transformation of Kadon
, cannot be used by a Slann, as per the FAQ. So as well as only having one good augment for your troops, you have no 'super-spell'. Fantastic. The Flock of Doom
is next to useless as a damage spell, since it hits at S2, although I will grant that The Amber Spear
and The Curse of Anraheir
are useful. So these two spells, along with Wyssan's Wildform
give us three decent spells at our disposal, and that's all they can be described as - decent. So in short, if your Slann is using Lore of Beasts, he's basically using half of a decent lore. I'd avoid Beasts with Lizardmen, although if you desperately want to use it, just take Tenehauin.
Next, The Lore of Metal. This lore provides an interesting ability for the Lizardmen- the ability to deal with armour from a range. Magic aside, the only things that Lizardmen have to deal with heavy armour are Salamanders and Stegadons, so the ability to prey upon one's armour becomes very attractive. Metal has a good amount of hexes and augments, although one in particular is near useless for lizards- Glittering Robe
. Since this gives 5+ Scaly Skin, which Saurus already have, its only use is to augment your skinks. Now if you're like me, and only use skirmishers, you're not going to be terribly fussed about giving your 70pt skirmisher units a 5+ AS. On the other hand, Enchanted Blades of Aiban
is an extremely powerful additive to a block of Saurus. Augments aside, the basic spell can decimate heavy armour, and the 'super spell' Final Transmutation
statistically should take out one third of an entire unit, and cause everything around them to become stupid. Not bad. On the flipside, Gehenna's Golden Hounds
is pretty much pointless, given that the hits allow Look Out Sir! rolls. So in a similar fashion to Beasts, Metal only has five spells that are terribly useful to Lizards, and on top of this, as with any other army, Metal is a highly situational lore. Should you use it, you'll completely decimate Bretonnians, and put quite a dent into WoC and Dwarves, whilst the Skaven, Beastmen and O&G will laugh at the pathetic pointsink that the Slann is. So whilst Metal can work for Lizardmen, there are much better lores around.
Next we'll look at the Lore of Heavens. This will be short. Whilst Heavens is a good lore for the Lizardmen to use, never under any circumstance take a Slann with the Lore of Heavens
. Why? It's bloody pointless, that's why! Your Skink Priests are forced to take Heavens, why would your Slann take it as well? Half the point of taking a Slann is to gain access to other lores. If you want to use Lore of Heavens, either take a few Skink Priests, or use Tetto'eko. It'll be much cheaper.
Now we continue on to the Lore of Shadow. The lore attribute is useless for a Slann- since he's almost certainly with a Temple Guard unit, he won't be able to leave it. This can be extremely powerful for the Lizardmen, if used right. The three hexes in this lore are incredibly useful- Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma
can potentially bring most opponents down to the same terrible initiative as your Saurus, which could prove invaluable, as well as being able to stunt your enemy's charges by lowering their movement. Steed of Shadows
is pretty pointless, unless you're playing a higher point game and are taking a Carnosaur Oldblood. Then it's freaking awesome! Whilst you can't make a charge with this spell (as it is made as if during the Remaining Moves subphase), you can use this to get your Carnosaur on to the enemy's flanks or even their rear to make a nice little rear attack. Actually, I would suggestplacing it on the flank so that it keeps overruning into the next unit. The Enfeebling Foe
and The Withering
are also incredible- Chaos Warriors aren't that scary when they're S2 T2! The Penumbral Pendulum
can do a fair amount of damage, but be warned- It will also kill the poor Temple Guard that will inevitably be standing directly in front of the Slann. If you plan on using it, buy a few more Temple Guard to soak up these inevitable extra wounds. Pit of Shades
is considered one of the strongest spells in the game- against the right opponents (including your fellow coldbloods!) it will be devastating. Finally, Okkam's Mindrazor
is bloody amazing. Seeing as how Saurus are Ld8 across the board, using this spell to augment your Saurus will put them at S8- more than enough to ignore all armour, and easily wound pretty much anything in the game. In short, if you feel like breaking away from the norm and not using either Life or Light, then I would recommend Shadow.
And this brings us to the Lizardmen's most feared Lore- The Lore of Death. To start with, let's look at the Lore Attribute. It's bloody awesome! Anything that adds more to the power pool get's a plus in my books, especially when used in conjuction with the Discipline of the Ancients, The Focussed Rumination. If done right, you can easily get off every spell in the Lore of Death. Now on to spells. Spirit Leech
is useful, but its uses are limited. Useful for killing characters, but that's not too much of a problem for the Lizards. Sure, if your enemy is packing Grimgor Ironhide or Skulltaker, you're going to want to off them pretty early, but otherwise this is a fairly situational spell. Frankly, the same can be said of half of this lore- The Caress of Laniph
and The Fate of Bjuna
also have this problem. Aspect of the Dreadknight
is useful; put it on your Saurus to give them a slight edge in combat. Soulblight
is pretty handy, and could easily swing a combat in your favour, and the larger version is just plain nasty, affecting all enemies within 24". I've seen some interesting tactics suggested involving a combo of Doom and Darkness
and a unit of Salamanders. The idea being that you first lower the leadership of a large, expensive enemy unit, preferably a whole heap of clanrats or goblins, or similar, and then fire your salamanders at them. Since a single wound from a Salamander's fire forces a panic test, they must test and with their pathetic leadership they will run. You continue casting Doom and Darkness
, thereby making them continually fail to regroup, until they have fled the board. I personally don't think that this is a tactic to base an army around, but it does give us another trick up our sleeve. Finally, we have the Lizardmen's worse nightmare- The Purple Sun of Xereus
*spits to get bad taste out of mouth*. Now, it would be lovely to just unleash this badboy on your enemy, but keep a few things in mind. Of course, as with The Penumbral Pendulum
your poor Temple Guard are going to suffer as they are in the way of the attack. Make sure to account for this. Second, since the Purple-Nurple likes to linger, make sure that you end the spell as you approach enemy lines, because as dangerous as it is to your opponent, it's even more dangerous to you. Third. remember that if you roll a misfire, the sun is placed above the caster. Meaning the Slann, as well as his Temple Guard, are screwed, as well as most of your Saurus, seeing as how it will hover around until another misfire if rolled. Because of this risk, I would strongly advise against Lizardmen players casting The Purple Sun of Xereus
So to cap off the Lore of Death, it has three highly situational spells, one that is just as dangerous to you as it is to your opponent, one really good spell, and two OK ones, as well as an awesome attribute. So in short, I'd avoid this lore.
And this brings us to the Lizardmen's bread and butter- the Lore of Light and the Lore of Life. the basic idea of using either of these lores is an attempt to circumvent the Lizardmen's biggest weakness- their pathetic initiative. Light gives a more direct approach, actually increasing their initiative and giving them ASF, whereas Life seeks to improve durability- essentially not caring about who strikes first, since the enemy will struggle to wound T6 or regenerating saurus.
Ever since 8th edition came out people have been arguing over which is better. To be frank, they're both fine choices, however, I'm inclined to towards the Lore of Life.
Firstly. let's look at the Lore of Light. Its lore attribute is highly situational, so there's no pluses there. It makes undead and daemons cry, but nothing else cares. Shem's Gaze
is a bit meh, but in all fairness, when it comes to Lizardmen magic we're looking to augment and hex, rather than damage. Pha's Protection
a good spell, but it's no different to the signature spell from Lore of Heavens, meaning if you want this spell you can just spam Skink Priests, allowing you to more effectively shut down enemy shooting. The Speed of Light
is one of the major draws of Light- WS10 and I10 saurus? yes please. and the bigger version affecting all my units within 12"? Awesomesauce. Light of Battle
is also extremely useful. Since this causes an auto-rally on a fleeing unit, this can be used to allow skink skirmishers to make a 'feined flight' in the same manner as fast cavalry. Essentially they act as bait, flee from a charge, thereby bringing a key enemy unit out into the open. Whilst an experienced general will probably not fall for this, it works a treat against kids who have no idea what they're doing (several of which inhabit my local battle bunker), as well as working against frenzied troops. Plus the larger version can keep your whole battleline in check, since it too affects everything in 12". Net of Amyntok
is another doozy- since this is based on a strength test, use this to stop those damned elven spellcasters from shoving purple suns down your throat. Alternatively, it's highly effective at silencing war machine crews. Banishment
is pretty straightforward; use it against things that depend on ward saves. Daemon, begone! This brings us to the coup de grace of the Lore of Light- Birona's Timewarp
. +1 attack, double movement and ASF. Oh, and the higher level, just like The Speed of Light
and Light of Battle
affects everyone in 12". Beautiful. You can see why so many Lizardmen players are attracted to the Lore of Light.
Before we compare the two, let's check out the Lore of Life. To start with, it has an awesome attribute. Healing Characters for each successful spell gets a big tick in my books. Earthblood
gives Regeneration(5+). Not bad at all! Awakening of the Wood
provides a nifty little damaging spell. Flesh to Stone
is one of the main draws of Lizardmen to the Life- T6 Saurus is nothing to be sniffed at. Shield of Thorns
is useful, if you have spare power dice, but not necessary. Very good to help make up for the Temple Guard attacks lost by the Slann displacing them from the 2nd rank. Oh, and should the enemy get by your defenses set up by your magic, no worry! We have Regrowth
to replace any models lost. The 'super-spell' for Life is none other than The Dwellers Below
, often touted as the most powerful spell in the game. Excellent for destroying those pesky hordes that otherwise would have tarpitted your precious, elite Saurus. and finally, we have Throne of Vines
. As well as giving a 2+ save against miscasts, it boosts all the other Life spells, bar Dwellers (and frankly it doesn't need boosting, now does it?). Now that is a good lore.
On to the comparison of these two lores in terms of Lizardmen. They're both extremely suited to our scaly friends, but there are a few advantages Life has over Light which I'd like to point out.
- Light doesn't have the miscast protection of Life. Meaning once you've used the Cupped Hands (and I certainly hope you take it) it's gone
- Life gives superior protection in general- Light only really protects your units in combat. Pha's Protection only goes so far. Life helps defend against those pesky gunlines as well
- Life has generally lower casting values- Light depends much more on using 'higher', 'boosted' versions of spells with incredibly high casting values in order to pass on your spells' benefits to as many Lizards as possible. This means that you're almost relying on miscasts to get these spells off, which without the protection of Throne of Vines means you'll be depending on your Slann blowing up.
- Lower casting values means it's easier to saturate your opponent and force him to make bad decisions
- Life has a superior Lore Attribute- OK, the lore attributes aren't too important, but they still count!
Whilst the only advantages of Light I can think of are
- Superior combat ability
- Protection against attacks that prey on low initiative- i.e. The Purple Sun of Xereus
- Light of Battle allows for superior tactics with skinks, seeing as how you can make 'feined flight' charge reactions, and then know that they'll regroup, as well as knowing that they won't panic your lines. When you first think about it, the skinks passing panic on to their fellows mightn't seem like a problem, but I've had a Salamader's flee reaction panic my entire line once. It happens.
As far as I'm concerned, the second point isn't too much of an advantage, seeing as how the Discipline of the Ancients, The Becalming Cogitation prevents *most* Irresistible Force from the enemy, which means a simple dispel scroll can deal with that.
So that's it from me. Tell me what you think. And if advocates for the Lore of Light would put any arguments forward as to why Light is better, please do so- I love being proven wrong, it makes me a better player.