Firstly, lets get the special characters out of the way. Chakax, tiktaq'to and oxyotl are all hideously overcosted for their respective abilities, so avoid them at all cost.
WIth the new changes to Comet, Tetto'eko is worth a look in as an insta-comet without having to use a power scroll, but really i feel he takes dice away from the Slann who is the important caster in the list. i personally wont use him but i wudnt put him in the "HELL NO" tray just yet
Gor-rock intrigues me, much in the way the old character lotl-botl did (anyone else remember him? now that was a character!!) for 215pts you get a scar vet with 4+ scaly skin, re-rolls to hit (in forst combat round) and both re-rolls for wounds suffered and immunity to killing blow. then throw into the mix that he always counts as defending an obstacle, which i rule as a -1 to hit, and you have one bad-ass scaly bastard. but probably his best ability is his Stubborn rule- chuck him in a big saurus unit and BAM mini-temple guard awesomeness. try him out and see wat u think
So with these out of the way lets get into the customisable heroes. First up we have the scar-vet. These guys are more than capable of taking on almost any hero-level character in the game (maybe watch out for the gorebulls...) and properly equipped can even give a lord-level a run for their money. not i did not say "beat" a lord level, well maybe an elf lord....
Scar-vets are there for laying the hurt, nothing more. no subtlety, no tactics, just pure stone mace-to-face bad-assery (its a word!!). First things first is deciding what role he is to play. is he a character hunter, a unit buffer or a rank-and-file murdering machine? each has a different set up needed.
For a character hunter you need him prepped for challenges. The biggest hurdle is the low initiative, as most characters will be higher than him. For me, the Sword of the Hornet is a must for him, along with a potion of toughness. Throw in the Enchanted shield and light armour and you can hold your own. 4 S5 attacks always striking first, and then the enemy has do get past a T8 2+ save. EVen if you dont own him first round, you should stil be standing ready for next round. Oh and a wee tip, if your Slann has lore of life cast Flesh to stone on the unit to get T10 Scar Vet
The rank and file guy has no qualms about striking first. I would go with a great weapon, venom of the firefly frog, shield and light armour. Items like Carnosaur pendant and Dragonhelm are optional and can work well with this set-up
The buff guy is simply there to add weight of attacks and support his unit. DO NOT LET HIM GET CHALLENGED- he is not set up to deal death as well as his brother-roles, sacrifice a champ if you must. the item he wants is crown of command, to give you a nice solid stubborn unit of saurus.
Just think of a block of- Saurus led by Gor-rok, Temple Guard with Slann, Scar vet w/ crown in saurus- all holding your central line. 3 stubborn units that can take a hell of a beating
The last point is about a scar-vet BSB. in my Slann tactica i highlighted the danger of the "Last Stand" rule and intend to playtest the Scar Vet BSB. I have never used one before but at first glance im going to say ignore a magical banner, and go for shield and Armour of Destiny. 3+ armour save with a 4+ ward save should keep him alive and kicking to give you those all-important re-rolls. SOme of you are maybe thinking "Cold blooded is all i need, i dont need re-rolls!!" Trust me, they are incredibly useful for those times the dice go against you
The Skink Priest is up next. These guys are not, i repeat NOT about casting. they are there for channeling, extra arcane items and a back-up incase your slann loses concentration. In saying that, however, if you find yourself up against a lot of war machines aiming at your slann, take the signature spell and hex those bitches, anything to keep your slann alive is worth it
Best picks for items are dispel scroll (for getting rid of Pit of Shades primarily), diadem of power (in case you have some power dice kicking about) or go with a suicide priest and take the forbidden rod, for those phases where you NEED your magic to go off. expensive way to possibly only get 1 extra dice, but if that phase could win you the battle then do it! its all part of the Old Ones' plan...
The other option of course the Engine of the Gods. THis was essential in 7th but many players have turned away from it because the Ancient Steg cant break units anymore. My question is- WHY THE HELL IS IT BREAKING UNITS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!???
This bad boy will give you a good solid save against shooting and war machines turn 1/2, and after that can fry units (even those in combat) or help your slann get those spells off easier. If needs be thunderstomp some skirmishers or fast calvary or something, but for the love of Sotek keep it out of combat!! why? because any opponent worth his salt will direct every attack at the priest. That 2+ save can only save him so long, and after he pops his flippers you have lost the engines ability. The EotG had a place in my 7th list but has dropped out of 8th, but only for the time being. If you can spare 400pts, take it. But dont skimp on the SLann or the core units to accomodate one
Skink Chiefs are the last entry to go. These guys are purely there for cheap combat support or mage/warmachine hunting. The cheap combat support guy gets a magic weapon such as Burning Blade of Chotec, something to buff the unit a bit like shield of mirrored pool and then sits in a saurus unit. yes, he has to go "outside" the unit but he stil claims his Look out Sir roll and is a dirt cheap source of extra attacks.
Anyone see what im saying here?
Waste of points. For the cost of him you can get a scar vet with pure mundane weaponry who will do so much more damage.
And if anyone mentions skink cohorts i will stab them. with a snake-tongue-shaped dagger. but more on that when i get to the core
The mage-hunter, however, is a viable option. Stick him on a terradon, give him sword of striking or (my personal fav) the spellthieving sword and watch as your opponent bunkers those mages in units. which just means they get hit by your slanns magic (Dwellers Beneath anyone??). And if they dont, swoop on in and wipe the floor with them. The same thing works against war machine crew, and small units of skirmishers. Just dont expect him to last the battle, he WILL get targetted. A magic resistance talisman might not be a bad thing for him to have
Finally- never give the BSB to a skink. Never. We arent elves, we actually have survivable characters to carry our totems around