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Lizardman Strategy Guide

Strengths:

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.

Weaknesses:

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.

Skink Deprivation

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.

Passing Plays

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.

Team Development

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.

Reliable Blitzers

  • 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.

Saurus Development

  • 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.

Offensive/Defensive Skinks

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.

Credits

Thank you very much to Colin, Asperon Thorn, Circular Logic, Mezir, tautology and fork for contributing the best of this guide - Cheers, Wombats


A Counterpoint: Scoring with Saurus

The above is for the most part an excellent guide to conventional Lizardman strategy. However, in more recent times these conventions have to an extent been overtaken by a new approach. One of the first assumptions in the guide above is: "Only Skinks can handle the ball …" A large number of successful Lizardman teams on FUMBBL have demonstrated that this is not the case.

The Concept

Countless problems in managing Lizardman teams are described under Team Development above:

  • "Around TR150-175 you may find you have 30SPPs on each Skink and almost no skills on Saurii."
  • "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."
  • "You may lose scoring opportunities and probably matches as well if Skinks get injured."
  • "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."

All of these troubles can be minimised by scoring with Saurus (in conjunction with minimising the number of Skinks on the team). A team which does so is likely to find that it is the Saurus who are running away in SPP, while the Skinks remain almost skilless. This is a much better situation than the converse, as a Skink with no skills can still carry out its basic functions effectively (providing assists, moving to cover a loose ball) whereas a Saurus without skills is a liability, since it generates turnovers and is easy for the opponent to knock over.

The Difficulties

Okay, now that we've established that scoring with Saurus is a good idea in principle, we now have to look at the practice. Let's face it, an AG 1 pick-up isn't a trivial matter. That said, it's really not as difficult as many assume: it has a 1-in-3 chance of working (33%) under normal conditions, which increases to 5-in-9 (55%) with a re-roll.

It is particularly difficult though on a starting team which probably only has two team re-rolls (assuming a start-up with 6 Saurus, 5 Skinks and 2 RRs). You badly need those re-rolls for blocking … But you've got to start out on this path some time, so go for it anyway! Just don't automatically use a re-roll on a failure.

The initial AG 1 pick-up is a big risk, but look at it this way: this is the only big risk you are going to take in your offence. After that it will be two dice blocks, caging and the occasional Skink dodge. Take this one big risk and then you have a formidable ball-carrier and an opponent on the back foot - a cage with four Saurus surrounding a Skink with the ball is already a formidable one: think how your opponent will react to four Saurus surrounding yet another Saurus with the ball!

However, there are lots of times when picking up with a Saurus is too big a risk. If the opposing team would be able to capitalise on a failed pick-up (for example, if the kick is short or if the opposition are Wood Elves or Skaven) or if it's raining, for instance, you may have to resort to using Skinks after all. (It goes without saying that any touchback should automatically go to a Saurus - or even the Kroxigor!)

It's important to play conservatively. Cage around the pick-up site with as many players as possible. Don't try to push into the opponent's half on the first turn of your offence. Build that intimidating cage as deep in your own half as you have to, secure the ball and then start moving forward. The combination of pace and high ST makes Lizardmen superb cagers, able to exploit any weakness to rush the whole cage through a defence. And even if something goes a little awry, your opponent will still have to overcome the high ST of your ball-carrier.

Accumulating Benefits

It will be touch-and-go at first and your early efforts at Saurus TDs may end in embarrassment. Don't give up though! As your team develops it will get easier. Your early purchases (along with an Apothecary) should be a Kroxigor and more team re-rolls. Do not buy Skinks! Even if most of them are dead. This will ensure that more MVP awards hit your Saurus. In combination with TDs and maybe even the occasional CAS, your Saurus should start getting Block much earlier (in TR/TS level terms) than a Lizardman team following conventional strategy.

So, now you have a few Saurus with Block (consider giving one Tackle first skill instead of Block if you are up against a lot of Blodgers), a Kroxigor, 3 or 4 team re-rolls and a handful of bashed-up Skinks. Scoring with Saurus should be becoming easier now. With more Block, you no longer need nearly so many team re-rolls for blocking and you have more re-rolls anyway! This means you can easily afford to use them on pick-ups. The reaction of opponents who realise that not only do they have to fight the usual wall of Saurus plus Krox, but that they are also skilled and that one of them has just nonchalantly picked up the ball should be reward in itself.

Another benefit of this approach is that - in the event that any of them do actually skill up - you don't have to worry about giving your Skinks skills to help them score like Catch, Sprint or Sure Feet. That's not their job anyway. Instead you can concentrate on making them defensive annoyances with Side Step and Diving Tackle - far better skills for the team as a whole.

Eventually, once your Saurus all have at least one skill, you may decide to change your habits and score with some of those poor useless Skinks. (As long as the 'big seven' are all in place, and fully fit, and you have 4 or more re-rolls, you can start replacing injured Skinks and expanding your squad with some spare ones too.) The Saurus will be able to block effectively and can start concentrating on gaining SPPs that way. On the other hand, you may want to develop a Saurus who doesn't just score because it's a pragmatic way to develop a player which can bash effectively, but because it is his calling … You may want to pursue the path of the legendary Wh'ine


Link to Lizardmen Starting Lineups

Last update: June 19, 2007