A Closer Look – Seraphon in 3.0

Welcome to our Closer Look series. We are digging into the changes for each faction in the new edition of Age of Sigmar. Join us moving forward as we bring on different authors to give insights into their favorite factions!!

This week we are taking a look at the cold calculating dinosaurs Seraphon!! Let’s dive into the great plan!

The Changes

Editor’s Note: Across all armies, points seemed to increase around 7% across the board, with leaders and behemoths around 5% across the board. We’ll only highlight points increases of 6% or greater, or points decreases of any amount.

Leader:

  • Lord Kroak: +110 points to 430
  • Ripperdactyl Chief: +5 Points to 85
  • Astrolith Bearer: +10 points to 150
  • Eternity Warden +15 points to 125
  • Oldblood: +10 points to 120
  • Priest: +10 points to 80
  • Starpriest: +10 points to 130
  • Terradon Chief: +10 points to 80
  • Oldblood Carnosaur: +40 points to 270
  • Oracle Troglodon: +50 points to 270
  • Stegadon Skink Chief: +55 points to 305

Battleline

  • Skinks: +15 points to 75
  • Saurus Warriors: +15 points to 105
  • Saurus Knights: +10 points to 110
  • Saurus Guard: +15 points to 115

Behemoth

  • Bastiladon with Ark: -35 points to 185
  • Bastiladon with Engine:+15 points to 235
  • Stegadon: +25 points to 265

Units

  • Chameleon Skinks: +25 points to 115
  • Kroxigor: +10 points to 150
  • Razordon Hunting Pack: +15 points to 95
  • Ripperdactyl Riders: +15 points to 95
  • Salamander Hunting Pack +10 points to 120
  • Terradon Riders +25 points to 115

Many of the Seraphon FAQ changes clarify unit keywords and streamline the language from 2.0 into 3.0. That being said, these are important changes that can give your scaly skinks a boost when combined with the new rules.

Wild endless spells can now be harnessed by Seraphon casters, and Seraphon ignores the 30” rule that other factions must obey for bound endless spells. While this is a slight nerf in the context of what bound endless spells used to be, in 3.0 this is still a big advantage as you can still expect to see powerful endless spells zipping around the battlefield.

Realmshaper Engine is now more relevant. A beautiful model in its own right that commands a space on the table, the Realmshaper Engine’s new warscroll now explains rules for placement pre-game, which allow you to move terrain features already placed on the table and for placement near objectives. This can be critical depending on the matched play rules of a tournament and can give you a defensive bulwark to hold the line against an aggressive army while allowing your casters to shelter in place and sling spells across the table. Additionally, the terrain piece now allows for “garrison… by up to 15 models”, which is a potential improvement from the previous “20 wounds or fewer” depending on what you commit to the inside of it.

 

The Impact

Below are our resident lizardman Sean’s thoughts on an in-depth look at the impact of these changes, and what to look forward to in the next few months as the 3.0 meta adjusts around the points changes and additional rules:

I love dinosaurs!! As a child, I had every book I could get my hands on for dinosaurs so when my fellow Highground Gaming founder, Brad, introduced me to Age of Sigmar how could I not pick up an army of dinosaurs riding dinosaurs! At this point, I have built and painted way too many dinosaurs(or not enough depending on who you ask!). I played this army extensively in AOS 2.0 and I somehow still have friends that play with me. If you’re unaware this army was bonkers in 2.0 and arguably one of the top 3 armies. Today I am going to dive into my thoughts on the army. How to adapt it to 3.0 and the new General’s Handbook missions. The focus will be on the competitive aspect of the army in the context of the new edition. 

The new missions and the introduction of battle tactics dramatically change the focus of our games. Now, the majority of games will be decided on which player completes the battle tactics and grand strategy successfully. On top of that, we are rewarded for playing monsters with access to bonus points for certain tactics. There is a delicate balance in list building as monster-heavy lists allow your opponent to score bonus points on battle tactics and the +1 point per battle round for destroying a monster. We also can’t forget that the smaller board size means that it’s easier than ever to contest objectives, meaning we need units that are tough enough to stand on the objectives for multiple turns to score primary points.

Seraphon had an incredibly well-balanced battletome with a deep roster of units to choose from. This leads to multiple viable competitive builds. Looking ahead, we’ll focus on how these builds will change in the face of the new missions and mechanics that shape the way we’ll need to play into 3.0 and beyond.

 

Looking Ahead

Seraphon was a dominant force in AOS 2.0 on the back of old Kroak and hordes of Skinks. In 3.0 we have a new version of Kroak at a higher points cost and increased points across the board meaning fewer horde numbers than we had access to in 2.0 and the big kicker for Skink hordes is the change from a max squad of 40 as a default to the new reinforcement system further limiting the effectiveness of Skinks. 

While Kroak deserves his infamy as one of the game’s most powerful wizards, it’s time to take a harder look at his little brother the generic Slann. The Slann had been shoved to the side by Kroak for the majority of 2.0 as Kroak offered loads more power for very little cost. Now we have a 165 point spread between the two units and the points increase on everything else to consider. The Slann offer a very similar, yet toned down, version of what kroak has to offer, in a vacuum kroak is clearly superior but our army’s power is the sum of its parts as a whole.

I have been trying out multiple lists since the beginning of 3.0 and so far I am playing Seraphon in a different way than I did previously. Fangs of Sotek with a unit of 40 skinks, skink priest, starpriest, a pack of 3 salamanders, kroak and a stegadon with skink chief was my go-to for competitive 2.0 games, the rest of that list was fill in the blank with your favorite units. I am finding that I do not care for large blocks of skinks anymore. Kroak is still a beast but the new points cost means that you have to be very careful with how you play him and need to maximize his value each game. He’s a beautiful model and a blast to play with but the generic Slann is a more efficient option especially if you want to play hordes of skinks. 

I am leaning toward playing a Slann in the majority of my lists moving forward. However in the Highground September GT I played the list you can find on the link below to 2nd place. https://hggaming.org/2021/09/12/highground-september-gt/

Thunder Lizard is a great sub-faction for 3.0 as the -1 to incoming damage is a huge asset to the style of games the General’s Handbook 2021 encourages. Many of the battle tactics are about killing certain units such as a battleline or a monster. The best combo that Thunder Lizard unlocks is the double shooting bastiladon, from the thunder lizard command ability. Not only is he a great shooting unit but it is also one of the toughest monsters in the game due to the innate +1 save and the -1 to damage that further compounds his toughness. This allows you to score bonus victory points with a monster from 24” range and have reasonable certainty that he will live multiple turns to do so, especially with proper screening units in front of it. This unit can be further buffed if you bring a Skink Priest along to use his +1 to hit command ability; this one is done in the hero phase and lasts until your next hero phase. Meaning, the bastiladon can benefit from +1 to hit for both activations in the shooting phase. 

Looking back at the list I took to the Highground September GT, I would do things a bit differently. I was a huge fan of the Geminids of Uhl Ghysh in 2.0, I found that they don’t do quite enough in 3.0 to be worth their points value. If I was to go to a tournament in the next month or two I would play something close to this: 

View List

Allegiance: Seraphon

– Constellation: Thunder Lizard

– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line

Triumphs: Inspired

 

Leaders

Slann Starmaster (265)**

General

Command Trait: Arcane Might

Spell: Stellar Tempest

Skink Starpriest (130)*

Spell: Hand of Glory

Skink Priest (80)*

Artefact: Fusil of Conflaguration

Universal Prayer Scripture: Heal

Saurus Astrolith Bearer (150)**

Stegadon with Skink Chief (305)*

Artefact: Amulet of Destiny (Universal Artefact)

Weapon: Skystreak Bow

Mount Trait: Beastmaster

Battleline

5 x Saurus Guard (115)**

20 x Saurus Warriors (210)**

Clubs

Reinforced x 1

10 x Skinks (75)**

Boltspitters Celestite Daggers & Star Bucklers

Units

2 x Salamander Hunting Pack (240)**

Reinforced x 1

5 x Chameleon Skinks (115)**

Behemoths

Bastiladon with Solar Engine (235)**

Endless Spells & Invocations

Purple Sun of Shyish (70)

Core Battalions

*Command Entourage – Magnificent

**Battle Regiment

Additional Enhancements

Artefact

Total: 1990 / 2000

Reinforced Units: 2 / 4

Allies: 0 / 400

Wounds: 98

Drops: 4

The Purple Sun of Shyish is an interesting endless spell for Seraphon as it cannot go wild and can do boatloads of mortal wounds over the course of a game. The Skink Chief on Stegadon is tough with the amulet of destiny and the new mount trait, I purposely chose the Slann as the warlord to disincentivize my opponents from throwing everything at the Skink Chief to score an extra point for killing a monster and taking out my warlord. Now they have to decide which one to go after. 

The Astrolith bearer is excellent as the +1 to cast is needed with the Slann, the 6+ ward bubble is always great and the 6” range extension now applies to the Purple Sun as well which makes it an even spicier addition to the army. The unit of Chameleon Skinks is there to help score a battle tactic and plink away at small heroes or monsters with mortal wounds. 

The most controversial aspect of this list is the unit of 20 warriors. I like the clubs over the spears for two reasons. 

1) My units are already modeled with clubs. 

2) While you can get more attacks with the spears due to coherency rules, I find the rend to be more important. 

The last point on the warriors is how I play them. They are not meant to be a hard-hitting melee unit to throw at the opponent. They are fairly tough with the 4+ save, plus mystic shield and all-out defense. 20 wounds at a 3+ save, ignoring -1 rend and -1 to incoming damage is no joke for a battleline unit. Their one job is to sit on an objective and not engage the opponent’s units until absolutely necessary. They hold objectives well and provide a large area of board control as they are on 32mm bases. Opponents have to chew through them before they can get to the valuable Slann, salamanders, and bastiladon that are busy mortal wounding and shooting them to death. 

The unit of ten Skinks is there to either be a cheap screening unit or to hide in the backfield for the entire game to ensure no teleportation units come in and/or to be alive at the end of the game for our grand strategy if things go poorly for the warriors and saurus guard.

Myself and our team will not be playing in our Highground December GT, but I sure hope to see some dinosaurs riding dinosaurs on the table taking bites out of other armies!!

As the metagame shapes up early in 3.0, we’ll discover how to best integrate these new concepts into future Seraphon lists. Stay tuned to Highground Gaming for ongoing Age of Sigmar insights, tactics, and more.

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