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Old January 8th, 2009, 05:25 AM

rdonj rdonj is offline
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Post An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

I have two purposes in writing this guide. One, to hopefully draw a little more attention to Sombre's Excellent Lizardmen Mod, and second to also hopefully get some new ideas for when I'm playing with/against them. This is my first guide and definitely not going to be up to the same quality as some of the great guides on this forum, so please be gentle This is going to be more along the lines of general advice than an outlined specific strategy, so my apologies if this isn't that great or useful.

Itza is one of those nations that is practically screaming for a bless. It has powerful sacred mages, cheap recruit-everywhere sacreds, and a number of national summons that are also sacred and will benefit from a good bless. Looking at their unit roster and saying "hmm, looks like a bless rush nation" would be to do their national recruits a tremendous disservice though. Every single unit they can build has its purpose in Itza's military, and even playing with no bless at all would be completely possible, despite their powerful sacreds. That said you will expand much faster with a bless strategy than you would without one.

Units:
Firstly, Skinks. They may not look like much, but they can be very useful. The skink skirmishers are excellent chaff. For 13 gold, you get a unit with two melee attacks, a shield, four javelin attacks, stealth, high poison resistance, and forest/swamp survival. Even better, and perhaps not immediately obvious, each skink you recruit is actually TWO skinks. When you kill the unit (which is admittedly not that hard) it turns into a single skink skirmisher with the same stats but fewer weapons. This means you're getting two decent chaff units, in effect more like 2.5 for basically 6.5 gold and 2.5 resources each. For the price, there is pretty much nothing that beats that for absorbing damage. They have fairly poor morale and won't do huge amounts of damage with their melee attacks on heavy armor, but if they're taking hits that would otherwise damage something larger and more costly, they've served their purpose. As a bonus, they should fairly solidly beat any other chaff unit in the game on a pound for pound basis. One thing to note is that since all of the skink ranged weapons are custom made, Flaming Arrows will NOT work on them (actually it might work on small bows).

The other skinks are similarly useful as chaff, though most lack the shield so they're not quite as cost-effective at that role. But that's not what you really bought them for. Skink blowpipes have a maximum of 1 damage, but anything hit by it is also hit by a secondary "dart" attack that does a small amount of damage. Not really useful on heavy armor, but it's a reasonably effective weapon on light and medium infantry. The range is pretty short so you have to be careful about how you deploy them if you use them in conjunction with Saurus Warriors. The bows carried by Skink Archers only do 6 damage, but they also have a significant range advantage over the blowgunners and can be quite useful with their massed firepower on things like barbarians and soulless. Chameleon skinks are incredibly stealthy and will pretty much never be found when hiding in enemy territory. Plus they have glamour, not that it will probably help them much if an enemy gets to melee with them. But they're also armed with poisoned blowpipes that allow them to kill even heavy infantry, and behind a line of poison-resistant skink warriors they won't do too much friendly fire damage either.

Red-crested skinks deserve something of a special mention. They have above average defense at 11 (16 with the shield, but even a spear can easily damage a skink through the shield prot), have an extra point of morale, and are armed with short swords. They're a little more expensive at 8 gold per skink, but they're fairly effective in melee. And though you might not think it, they're great at killing elephants. Say that again? With 6 attacks per square instead of 3, they reduce the effective defense of an elephant down to nothing with ease, and since only one of them dies when the first shape is killed, you get all the benefit of size one creatures while negating their biggest weakness! Another poster in the Lizardmen mod thread suggested using Kroxigor mixed in with the skinks to add an extra heavy-hitter in and improve squad morale. With almost the same ap as a skink and two attacks, one of which does an incredible 27 damage and having 30 health, these are just the thing to add a little extra punch into your skink squad. This is also one of the better ways you can use Kroxigor as they're rather expensive compared to most of Itza's units and rely more on their health than anything else to stay alive. You could try to use Saurus Warriors to do the same thing but it would be a lot harder to do effectively, as Saurus Warriors are a bit slow.

Skink Cavalry probably seems a bit more expensive than it's worth, and it is pretty fragile for a cavalry unit. On the other hand, they do have two attacks, are very fast, and stealthy! How often is it that you get stealthy cavalry in a nation? They might be a little niche and you probably don't want to keep large amounts of them around most of the time, but with their resource cost you should be able to build them quick enough if you run into a situation where they would be useful.

Terradon Riders are pretty much the same story, except they give up their shield for an extra attack and flying. Unfortunately there are no national flying commanders to lead them on stealthy flying raids, but later on you could forge winged boots and give them to a Skink Warchief to lead them. Terradon Riders are probably more useful than the Skink Cavalry for trying to kill mages supporting enemy PD.

Saurus Warriors are great units. Shields, 10 natural prot, and all their weapons are magical and do extra damage. The spear-wielding ones are great defensive units, and the sword-wielding ones hit for 19 damage with their Obsidian Swords. Not to mention, they all have 2 attacks. And are size two. These are pretty much your heavy infantry, though they are really shock infantry as well. Use them as arrow catchers, mix them with temple guards to reduce the number of attacks coming at them, show your enemies that ethereality is about as useful as donning a tablecloth to forestall your wrath With these guys at your side you should never have to worry about ethereal elephants.

Temple Guards are great sacreds and can benefit from most blesses. They have good protection, two attacks, a 9 damage magical halberd and only 4 encumbrance. They're pretty cheap, too. I would say this makes them a good choice for an E9 bless. However there are plenty of options options. I will go into bless possibilities later.

Saurus Cavalry... pretty much heavy cavalry with recuperation. They're not quite as survivable as normal heavy cavalry, but they have 3 attacks including a lance and their mount keeps fighting when they die. Not too shabby. They're a bit on the expensive side, and unfortunately rather slow. Still, they're decent units and can really hurt when they charge into an enemy formation. Despite the recuperation they will probably not survive too many battles as they are size 4 and easy to gang up on. The cold ones do NOT stay after the battle ends.

Salamanders. 85 gold might seem like a lot, but consider that these guys can essentially throw 5 fireballs each fight, with a bit more accuracy, and they have a pretty decent amount of health. Screen them with some of your incredibly inexpensive skinks and watch your opponent's elites be brought to a glorious, fiery death. Note that they're also amphibious. I haven't tried leading them into the water yet but I doubt the fire breath works under the sea. Still, if you have them and there's a lightly defended underwater independant province or two nearby, it could be worth using them to help you break into the water.


Commanders:
The first three commanders are pretty obvious so I'll skip them. The next three however are very important as they are your primary mage force. None of them are very impressive, having two picks each and only one in each path. But you will want to recruit these commanders almost exclusively throughout the game.

Skink Priests are magical batteries for your Slann. They automatically cast communion slave in battle (for free, it does not need to be researched either), while the Slann auto-cast communion master. They have some minor magic of their own, 1AWE and 1SN that they will mainly use for forging, since they can't site search anything but astral natively. Another really good thing about Skink Priests is that they're cheap. 90 gold gets you a sacred, multi-path mage with 5 research under magic 1. Unfortunately you can't really use them as anything other than communion slaves in battle, but that's ok. You've got other mages who can use them. One thing that may or may not be immediately obvious about these is, like every other skink you've recruited, they are stealthy and have forest/swamp survival. Since all of your Slann can teleport, you can surprise your opponent by teleporting a Slann on top of a Skink Priest communion in a province that you expect to be attacked and cast just about anything you want. Earthquake, rain of stones, fire storm, soul slay... you will probably want to ensure your communion has some sort of protection before raining down death on your enemy, but the possibilities are endless. Or you could use the Slann to cast buffs on an otherwise stealthy skink army. Weapons of sharpness, army of lead/gold, fog warriors... suddenly those red-crested skinks are looking pretty impressive for an 8 gold unit. I've seen a lot of mentions lately about star children being good for feebleminding mind hunt casters... these would also be pretty ideal for that.

Skink Shamans are interesting in that 50% of Shamans get an astral pick, making them capable of controlling a priest communion. Unfortunately they'll only get one path, but that's all you really need for most spells. With a guaranteed elemental pick they can cast just about any artillery spell and most buff spells that you'll want (arrow fend, wind guide, fog warriors, marble warriors, army of lead/gold, etc etc). They only have 3rp per turn though under magic 1 and are a bit more expensive than Skink Priests though, as well as not being sacred... you will want to avoid using these as researchers as much as possible.

Priests of Sotek are actually not priests at all. They're even heretics. But they are also your only national blood mages. They also have a guaranteed random for nature or fire magic. There are a few uses I could see you having for these. You could use them to gather slaves to eventually empower a Slann to blood one. With a RoW and a RoS he could forge blood stones. This doesn't really sound that efficient however as they can't hold a dwarven hammer. You could empower a Priest of Sotek in earth instead, but it would take a long time to make back the investment. You would probably be better off using them to forge blood items and to cast spawning of sotek/rain of toads once you have time to research blood. You could make sabbaths with them if you really needed extra communion slaves in a hurry. I can't think of anything really interesting to do with these guys though, any ideas?

Slann. Well, they have their pros and their cons. Pros: Very healthy, very powerful sacred mage-priests with diverse paths who can all teleport. They also generate lots of research. Some of them can forge dwarven hammers natively. Cons: They only have slots for miscellaneous items, the Fourth Generation Slann are more expensive than some forts, the 5th generation Slann can only get a maximum of level 2 in any elemental path, and they make great targets for magic duel *cough*especiallytoanS9pretender*cough*. Also, despite being very powerful in astral the best you can get is S6 without empowerment. They do have the ability to change shape and remove or vastly lower their upkeep by going dormant, but in this state they can't research, cast, or anything really. It is therefore important only to use the Slann when and where they're needed, and to be very careful around astral nations. In the early game, you will probably end up using them to site search. This will probably feel horrible. But think of it this way. Each Slann you make can site search something remotely and can probably site search multiple diferent paths. With their randoms you will probably spend a lot less gold getting site searchers for each path than some nations with very finnicky randoms that may be on a non-sacred mage (I'm talking about you, Jomon). It is either this, an awake rainbow pretender, or waiting until construction 4 to be remotely searching in all paths (for fire you'd need the ruby eye or an empowerment unless you get fantastically lucky on a 4th gen slann). I highly recommend against that last one. You will want to use at least one for some manual site searching until you have a little income in every path other than blood and death.

Saurus Oldbloods are capital only, but they're sacred and have pretty good stats. And as a bonus, they always have Luck in battle. It wouldn't take much work to make one into a decent thug. A shroud of the battle saint provides more protection than their standard armor, and even a small earth bless and a girdle of strength would give them 0 fatigue. Give them an eye or vine shield and a frost/fire brand and they'll be pretty durable, capable of thoroughly annoying anything short of an SC.




On Pretender Design:
One of the most frustrating thing about playing the lizardmen is how hard it is to build forts. IIRC they can only build great cities, which take 1400 gold and 6(!) turns to build. This drastically cuts into your research speed, and pretty much makes magic of at least 1 a necessity. Between expensive forts and slann, you definitely need all the gold you can get. So order 3 is also almost a necessity. However all of your units also have very low resource costs, so you can take sloth 2 or 3, I prefer 2 as it makes buying indy commanders easier. Since all of your units except the Slann are cold blooded you probably want heat 3, your heat preference is 2 anyway so it won't hurt you that much but will hurt most people who try to invade you.

You then have two choices in my opinion. You can go for an awake rainbow pretender (dormant if you really want a few more design points) for research and site searching to help kick-start your mid-late game magical onslaught, or you can take an imprisoned bless chassis. In my mind an SC of any sort is mostly irrelevant for the lizardmen as they have strong sacreds and should be able to fight off tramplers relatively easily even without the use of magic. You can take one however if you don't mind a lighter bless, and llamabeast's cyclops may well have saved him in the warhammerama game with its timely entrance into the fray.

If you choose the rainbow pretender you will probably want to give them death/fire/water/earth/air/nature as this will allow you to completely ignore building Slann early on and allow you to build forts more quickly. I can't remember the minimum paths to hit every site manually atm, but if someone can remind me I will edit this post and be slightly more precise here. It would be nice to also have astral 6 to be able to hit S9 without empowering, but would require ditching something else. There are only two real reasons you need death: skull mentors and end game SCs. Forging clams will either require your pretender or a slann (barring empowerment), neither of which is completely ideal, so chances are your astral pearl income will not be sufficient by the late game to chain-wish for SCs. That said you do not have many good thug/sc options with Itza, you will probably have to rely on Sleepers to fulfill that role for most of the game unless you can build up your death magic.

If you go with the imprisoned bless pretender, you have a number of choices. As I mentioned earlier an Earth 9 bless is great for your Temple Guards as it gives them endless staying power against anything without a chill aura as long as you're not fighting in a cold province. It's also a good bless for your priests and Slann to keep your communion batteries powered. Rather than just taking a single bless though the Temple Guards really benefit from a lot of smaller blesses. You could do something really crazy if you wanted, but I would go with something along the order of S9E6N4 (I used an oracle). With this bless your sacreds still only have an encumbrance of 1, are largely invulnerable to arrows and poison, and are really tough to kill even with magic. As an added bonus this bless actually helps your sacred spawnings (sacred Saurus Warriors with some stat increases and sometimes special abilities) and in the mid-game you can have ridiculous numbers of sacreds, all capable of shrugging off a gift from heaven or frozen heart and tough to bring down with soul slays. As an alternative, you could remove the nature bless and take E9 instead. It's not quite as good for the sacred spawnings (they have no armor) and poison can actually hurt you so it's not as synergistic with your chameleons, but it does get Temple Guards down to 0 fatigue and help a lot with your sacred mages. The S9 bless is very key though, going back to my earlier example of teleporting a slann onto a priest communion, if he divine blesses it doesn't matter what he casts, he won't kill any of your slaves at least on the first round. A Slann scripted to cast Dbless, earthquake, returning should be pretty devastating to a mage-heavy army, as well as doing a good job of frustrating your opponent. Bonus points if the Skink Priests can flee and survive. I would suggest taking a high dom with this sort of build, as you really want your dominion to spread (heat) but your pretender will be unavailable for a long time. You don't need awe though so I would not go above 8 dominion.

Anyway, I hope my guide has inspired someone who hasn't had the chance to play them yet to go out there and give the Lizardmen a whirl. If not, do it anyway!

Last edited by rdonj; March 12th, 2009 at 12:58 AM..
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Old January 8th, 2009, 05:28 AM

rdonj rdonj is offline
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Default Re: An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

Oops, I also wanted to make a note that Quagmire was a good niche spell for use with skinks since they all have swamp survival, especially in a heat 3 province.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 06:46 AM

Sombre Sombre is offline
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Default Re: An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

Red Crested Skinks, since they worship Sotek, also have 100% poison res, which is very handy when you can toss about poison spells and use chameleon skinks.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 12:57 AM

rdonj rdonj is offline
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Default Re: An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

Bumping for a few reasons. I reorganized the "guide" slightly, so it's got a bit less of that feeling of smacking you in the face with a wall of text. I also added a little bit of text in the pretender design area, it didn't really seem necessary for me to add but it makes sense in the context of the guide. There were also numerous typos, grammar issues and half-started sentences that I was far too tired to fix when I posted the guide initially. Also, I suppose this should be added to the list of mod nation guides?

I'm also really hoping that someone else will have something to say about the lizards. I did initially post this hoping that someone else would come up with a particularly neat idea or two that made me see them in a new light. Particularly the llama, as he played them very effectively in a game against me and it would be nice seeing them through another's eyes.

Itza is scheduled for another update at some point, and I may or may not do a minor update to this guide at that time. I should have gone into more detail about national summons, and the 3rd generation slann should make it into the next iteration of the mod. It's a good thing the 3rd generation are summons, otherwise we'd probably have to mortgage half our empire to buy one :P
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Old March 12th, 2009, 11:11 PM

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Default Re: An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

I'm surprised the auto-communion master Slann didn't feature more. It just seems so powerful, I cannot help but think of so many ways to leverage that.

I like having a Slann cast (Fire Resist)(Firestorm). Very few armies (especially the AI) are ready for that as early as you can get it (how long does it take to research Evo7Alt1? Will your opponent always script (Fire Resist) on their mages?).

It also seems that you could put your high-health Slann at the back and let communion-buffed priests act as a meat shield (admittedly, they are a bit fragile, but they can serve when a real meat shield is hard to get and if you buff them with luck, invulnerability, resist elements, w/e else you want... You can even lay down some fire shield/astral shield!)

Coupled with your very nice recruitable thug (who doesn't even need Ye Olde Lucke Pendant), I don't think you need a strong bless to expand. Try research Const-2, handing them an eye shield and let'm go. High defense + high health + auto-luck + low MR indies = happy thug.

I would rather E8 or even just E6 for the reinvig and good scales to support your expensive castles and *very* expensive mages.

--NOTE-- The MP applications are just speculation as I mostly play SP

Last edited by Fate; March 12th, 2009 at 11:24 PM..
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Old March 13th, 2009, 12:44 AM

rdonj rdonj is offline
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Default Re: An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

There's no doubt that the slann are the centerpiece of the nation. It's just that, there's so much that they can do the list covers almost every spell in the manual. I didn't want to point out individually everything they could do of worth, so I didn't go too much into that. If you have any particularly sneaky or nasty combinations in mind though, you can feel free to point them out. I'm not sure I would want to use the communion priests as a meat shield. You could do it, but I've found that trying to use communions that way builds an awful lot of fatigue, leading to the eventual death of the communion. If you wanted to do that though you could set your normal troops to guard commander and let them sit on top of your priests to dilute incoming attacks. But all in all I would avoid it as much as possible. That said, you can put enough buffs on your skink priests for them to survive just about any spell you can think of. The main thing you're going to have to watch out for with the lizardmen is enemy SCs, and assassins targeting your slann.



You completely can play Itza without a bless, you will just be very hard-pressed to expand as quickly as you can with their excellent sacreds. If you're going to use saurus oldbloods early on, you're going to be really hurting for magic research for a while, between expensive forts and the somewhat slow research of your national mages. You would probably want to take an awake or at the very worst dormant rainbow pretender to help get your research flowing. Otherwise you will probably have trouble once midgame rolls around and your magic is far behind the curve. I haven't really experimented with expanding with them though, so I won't say it won't work I'll try playing with it a bit.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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Fantomen Fantomen is offline
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Default Re: An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

Can the slann go dormant in battle? That could be a nice final order for reverse/linebacker communions.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 06:58 AM

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Default Re: An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

That's a brilliant question, actually. I hadn't thought about it before, but they do have the change shape command available for battle orders, so it should be completely doable.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 07:20 AM

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Default Re: An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

Ha! That is genius.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 08:12 AM
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Default Re: An Introductory Guide to the Lizardmen Mod

Sounds to me a good way to still play WHFB, did anybody knows if the mod is balanced?
I would propose all the WHFB ones to my friednds....
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