by unknown (FUMBBL)
The greatest asset of the Lizardmen is their speed; the Skinks are lightning-fast with Ma 8, and even the strong Saurus have Ma 6. The Kroxigor is considered to be one of the best Big Guys out there being able to tie up opposing players with Prehensile Tail. Many coaches who have not played Lizardmen before struggle against them, mostly because they are so different. In the hands of a skilled coach, Lizardmen are very hard to beat.
Saurus Immobility Syndrome
The very low agility of the Saurus means they get tied up easily by opposing Linemen and are unable to blitz key opposition players – without Break Tackle the Saurus’ extraordinary Str 4 Ma 6 won’t be available to blitz ball carriers. Using Saurii in pairs means that one can free the other by blocking the player marking him. It will be a long road to getting Break Tackle on even one Saurus so get used to planning ahead so you have a free Saurus to blitz with.
Only Skinks can handle the ball and beginning Lizardmen coaches often don’t protect them as well as they could. If an opposing player has Tackle and not Dodge remember you can mark them with a Saurus so they won’t blitz your Skinks. Dodge away from Block range before you tempt the dice with turnover inducing tasks. Be aware that some coaches ascribe to the “Blitz a Skink every turn” philosophy. This boils down to luck on the armour rolls. At some point you’ll find yourself with one or two Skinks on the field – I wish you the best of luck.
Plays & Tactics
Basic Skink Running Plays
Three well-placed skinks and two hand-offs can move the ball the entire length of the field and score with ease in two turns. Getting Catch on Skinks makes hand-offs reliable and lets you use the team reroll on the pick up. The trick is to get two or more skinks four deep in their half and keep at least one of them clear of blitzes and tackle zones for one turn. A weakness is the Skinks’ inability to take Sure Hands without a double skill roll – This can leave you without a reroll for go for its and catches.
Three Player Sidestep Sideline Cage
Protecting skinks in scoring range from blitzes and tackle zones can be done in several ways: Get enough skinks in range so they can’t all be covered or cage one securely with a player on each diagonal square. A compromise is using a skink with Sidestep to form a half-cage on the sideline with A Saurus on each diagonally adjacent square. This gives you multiple potential scorers with the security of caging. Sidestep is vital so a crafty Elf or Goblin doesn’t send your would-be scorer crowd surfing.
The majority of Lizardman coaches will avoid more than a Quick Pass. Skinks are Stunty and suffer a penalty on their range making a Quick Pass a 4+ roll. The extraordinary movement of skinks will get you further with less chance of a turnover. Once you get an Agility 4 Skink though…try not to let your opponent kill the little feller
Hail Mary Pass/Catch/Diving Catch Combo
Skinks have no General skill access without doubles so you’ll find you have a lot of Agility skill choices. Taking Catch and Diving Catch on two or three skinks then hoping for a double for Hail Mary Pass makes for an alternative scoring method. A Skink with Catch and Diving Catch has a 37% chance of receiving the ball including throwing the initial Hail Mary Pass through to the catch. The HMP should be targeted on a Skink – not next to several – as Diving Catch is only activated when a pass targeted at that player scatters. You should not field your HMP skink except on offense as he will be blitzed and fouled leaving you without the keystone of a highly specialised team.
Kroxigor Snuggles and Screens
Lizardmen’s high movement allows them to put up an impressive screen. On a blitz or a fluffed Sure Hands roll you can often screen the ball from the opposition’s scrimmage line (most of their team) with Skinks and even a Saurus or two. Restricted Saurus movement is your biggest weakness – luckily you can share that joyous feeling with your opponent. Kroxigors are excellent for tying up players and forcing difficult dodges to free key players. Often you’ll not want to move your Kroxigor for fear of a Bone Head roll releasing adjacent opponents from its tackle zone. Tackle is worth considering after Block as a -1 penalty will not worry a Dodger. Diving Tackler Skinks can be used to tie down players further, particularly if nearby Guard can allow them to mark players without tempting a two dice block. Shadow on Saurii can further restrict your opponent although this is a rare skill choice.
Recycling Skinks and Developing Sauruses
- Around TR150-175 you may find you have 30SPPs on each Skink and almost no skills on Saurii. This situation can be avoided by maximising the Saurii in your starting line up and minimizing the Skinks on your team. Purchase Team Rerolls and a Kroxigor in preference to extra Skinks. MVPs should land on Saurii and the Kroxigor more often and your Saurii should all have block by TR 175 if not at 150.
- Sauruses will either cause turnovers from a lack of Block or be extremely slow to develop owing to you making all other moves before you start Blocking. Neither is desirable – extra team rerolls allow you to block more with Saurii.
- You may lose scoring opportunities and probably matches as well if Skinks get injured. Retiring high SPP Skinks and any Skinks without statistic upgrades or doubles in their first two skills is worth considering to keep matches at a TR your Saurii can handle. Each new Skink is a chance to get statistic upgrades or doubles for only two touchdowns.
- If you find your Sauri are not getting their first skill while Skinks hit their second you may want to consider making Blocking with your Saurii a priority.
Further Skink Life Support Techniques
- Block will increase survivability although it is best taken to protect an already valuable Skink (Agility 4 or your only Sure Hands) as even with Block and Dodge a Skink’s days are numbered.
- Sidestep can stop your opponent chain-blocking which is pushing back a skink into range of another block.
- General competance handling the ball (Catch, Sure Hands, etc.) reduces turnovers which let opponents slap your Skinks.
- Put skills like Diving Tackle on injured Skinks due for retirement soon. This saves your valued Skinks and can severely restrict an opponent’s tactical options.
- Lizardmen can capitalise on a dropped ball quickly due to their high movement but this won’t always happen. Their starting line up lacks a blitzer who can both dodge and hit hard.
- The blitzer Saurus archetype outlined below solves this problem although they only dodge once per turn and it will take time to get the right skills.
- A Skink with Block and Strip Ball can get inside a cage and hit the ball carrier with a one die block – this could be considered a waste of doubles rolls but is worth considering as Skinks have Stunty and can waltz through screens that would stop a Saurus in their tracks.
- Ganging up with Skinks works but may leave them vulnerable to retaliatory blocks.
- Before TR200 you really won’t be getting more than one or two skills on most Saurii (Frenzied Blockers are the exception) so plan for a useful combination of two skills. Consider giving your Saurii specific roles:
- Blitzers: Break Tackle, Block, Tackle, Strip Ball – Doubles: Frenzy, Dodge
- Support: Block, Guard – Doubles: Stand Firm
- Most coaches advise getting Block first as it drastically increases their speed of SPP gain and avoids turnovers. It is worth getting at least one Break Tackle Saurii on the first skill if you have trouble freeing a Saurus for a blitz.
- Against an intelligent opponent you will definitely need Break Tackle in order to Blitz with a Saurus.
- Guard is less valuable to a team with six Strength 4 players and a Big Guy.
- Mighty Blow with Block will increase your rate of SPP gain when Blocking but Block and Break Tackle will increase the number of opportunities to throw blocks – consider Mighty Blow as a later skill.
- Dodge can make a Saurus hard to take down but as Tackle becomes more common at high TRs it could well be a waste of a double.
- Stand Firm, particularly paired with Guard will drive the opposing coach nuts and Break Tackle will let that Saurus get in the most annoying places.
- Frenzy with Block makes for rapid SPP gain and a blitzer who can break into cages easily as well as send Blodgers crowd surfing.
Dealing with Blodgers
- Your Saurii will be getting Block about the same time Elves will be getting Blodge if you are lucky.
- Designated blitzing Saurii may want to take Tackle and Frenzy if they can get it. Tackle should not be chosen lightly when there are alternative skills that are effective against bashy teams with no Dodge.
- Set up chain blocks to knock Blodgers into the crowd, foul Blodgers you manage to get down and bring in assists for three die blocks against Blodgers in possession.
- This is an arms race of who can get Block, Dodge/Tackle, Sure Hands/Strip Ball first and you will always be at least one skill, probably two skills behind. Play as dirty as you possibly can.
An interesting concept is developing Skinks specifically for defense or scoring. Sure Hands, Catch, Sprint, Sure Feet and Sidestep are great skills for scorers while Diving Tackle, Sidestep, Block and Strip Ball are options for defensive Skinks to restrict your opponent and hit ball carriers that your Saurus can’t get to. Watch a good Goblin or Halfling player use their dodging ability to extract the ball from a supposedly impenetrable cage – you can achieve much more with Skinks.
Thank you very much to Colin, Asperon Thorn, Circular Logic, Mezir, tautology and fork for contributing the best of this guide – Cheers, Wombats