2020 Seraphon Breakdown – Koatl’s Claw

Just when you thought your mindless scrolling during the quarantine couldn’t get any better, I’m back at it again with another Seraphon article. The subject; Koatl’s Claw. This is part three in a series of four articles I have been working on, going in depth and discussing what exactly these new constellations add for Seraphon. Thus far, my research has led to the certainty of one variable; versatility.

You can find my breakdowns of the Starbourne constellations here; Dracothion’s Tail, and Fangs of Sotek, and once again I am linking you a spreadsheet that completely breaks down all of Seraphon’s updated allegiance abilities, which I highly recommend using as a reference for this article. I am also going to be linking PDFs for most warscrolls over a unit’s name. Paragraphs can quickly become oversaturated with descriptions which eat up the actual content, so this will hopefully help with lessening how much garbage I have to spit. With our introduction out of the way, let’s move on to the good stuff!

As a quick reminder, we are no longer Starbourne aligned, but rather Coalesced. This means we have different allegiance abilities than before; all of our units get +1 attack with their Jaws weapon, all of our units take -1 less damage from all attacks (to a minimum of 1), and all of our units ignore bravery modifiers. These will be important while theory crafting, and will be mentioned later.

Koatl’s Claw – The Abilities

‘Butchery and brutality are the hallmarks of Koatl’s claw. The sheer savagery of Ghur has buried its way into the hearts of those Coalesced, rendering them furious and unsubtle fighters. Their saurian legions fight without heed for their own survival, a tide of thick scale and sharp fangs come to obliterate all before them.’

 

Koatl’s Claw is the Saurus constellation, and is savagery incarnate, which actually brings me to the first ability for this constellation; Savagery Incarnate, giving our units +1 to hit if they charged this turn. This ability seems neither amazing nor garbage. A good middle ground between ‘fine’ and ‘not bad’. It provides a decent upside, and the requirement to benefit from it, while not tough, can be obnoxious. It’s not unheard of for units to get locked into a combat, and stay in that combat until the game ends. Turn order and movement can be adjusted as needed, but if your unit gets fogged down by something like a Frostheart Phoenix, there’s not much you can do past retreating and re-charging to get the benefit.

The command ability offered by Koatl’s Claw fixes this issue with Controlled Fury, allowing you to proc a unit as having charged this turn for the sake of Savagery Incarnate. This pushes Savagery Incarnate from ‘fine’ to ‘good’. Adding +1 to all of your hit rolls on a unit for the price of a command point is pretty decent, but this still isn’t advantageous enough to warrant a ‘build-around’. However, these two abilities have a floor of ‘add +1 to all hit rolls a unit makes’, which is a pretty decent floor.

The command trait Koatl’s Claw has access to (which can only be taken by a Saurus general) is Dominant Predator, which lets you roll a rice anytime you spend a command point on a Saurus unit, and on a 4+ you get the command point back. A 50% chance to not expend a command point is a-okay in my opinion, there are better traits offered by some of the other constellations, and there’s an argument that some of the Saurus only command traits outside of the constellations are better, but Dominant Predator combos extremely well with Controlled Fury. If you are able to proc multiple units in the same combat, suddenly your entire army becomes a lot more punchy. This command trait helps you get there.

Lastly, we come to the artefact of power offered by Koatl’s Claw, the Eviscerating Blade, whose ability is as excellent as the name, making a melee weapon of choice inflict two mortal wounds on top of any regular damage on a hit roll of 6. This is absolutely disgusting, and probably won’t happen very often, but when it does it will almost definitely swing the combat into your favor.

Closing thoughts; all around, these abilities seem fine. With three okay abilities with synergistic value, it makes charging pretty good for us. In order to perform well and get the most out of Koatl’s Claw, we need to take a look at what models now reward us for charging.

The Synergies

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of charging is Saurus Knights. They were the second unit that I ever built, after Troglodon, so they have a soft spot in my heart, and before this update they were pretty unplayable. However, they now have an ability called Celestite Warspear that gives their Celestite Warspear +1 to damage after they charge. 

So we can field a unit of five models, four of which are equipped with the Celestite Warspear, and the fifth equipped with a Wardrummer, being able to re-roll charges for free, which is huge as it also saves us command points that we can then use towards Controlled Fury.

On top of that, we need to keep in mind the battle trait Predatory Fighters, giving our units +1 to attacks from Jaw weapons. Saurus Knights have two separate Jaw weapons, one from the Knight, and one from the Cold One, so Predatory Fighters nets a unit of five Saurus Knights a grand total of 10 additional attacks. This cavalry unit is okay, but when mixed with all of these factors they are excellent.

Now we must check for what else gets benefited for charging, and with some digging I was able to bring up the next two most relevant units; a Saurus Scar-Veteran on a Carnosaur, and a Dread Saurian. The Scar-Veteran doesn’t benefit too much on its own, it has the same Celestite Warspear ability as the Knights, but he only has one weapon that benefits, and even though there are two mouths on the model, the unit only has one Jaw weapon sadly, though the Jaw weapon is a particularly good one.

I’m just excited to finally be able to talk about a Dread Saurian. I’ve wanted one of these guys ever since I heard about it, and this might actually be the straw that breaks my self control and forces myself to buy one. You’d think we would want to play the mega-monster in the Thunder Lizards constellation, and I’ll talk about that next week, but for now we’re talking Koatl’s Claw.

His relevant ability is called Obliterating Charge, dealing mortal wounds each time he charges. I was always envious of the Ogor Mawtribes having this ability, so now it’s our turn. While the Dread Saurian has between 0-12 wounds allocated to him (he has 35 total wounds by the way), his Jaw attack (which he gets an additional one for being Coalesced) deals 6 damage. He costs 510 points, but holy heck if he’s not worth it I don’t know what is.

We’ve got a pretty decent outline for where this list is headed, so now I want to move to theory crafting.

Theory Crafting

So, let’s start our Koatl’s Claw unit from the ground up, starting with the general. We want to make sure we get the command ability and artefact of power from Koatl’s Claw, which requires a Saurus unit with a good melee weapon. This doesn’t narrow it down too much, so I’m going with a Scar-Veteran on a Carnosaur. He’s fast, can shovel out damage, has a good wound characteristic, and fits the bill perfectly. For the artefact, we will choose his Celestite Warspear weapon, as it makes the most attacks, thus the highest likelihood of rolling a 6 to hit.

We will definitely be including Saurus Knights, the only question is how many? Well, we’ve got this neat warscroll battalion called the Firelance Temple-host, which includes a Scar-Veteran and three units of Saurus Knights, and gives all of them +3 to run and charge rolls while within 18” of the Scar-Veteran. This is exactly what we want, and we would be fools to not include this.

Now, I have to talk about Salamander Hunting Packs. I’ve talked about them in every article so far since the update, and now that we are Coalesced and they get an additional Jaw attack, they’re even better now that we’re Coalesced. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and these will likely be sold out on Games Workshop’s website until the day I die, so I’m going to skip them over and opt for what is likely a worse unit, albeit more fun. That being said, Salamanders are absolutely insane, and if you have access to them I highly recommend you play them.

Of course, who else could fill the immense shoes of the best unit, save for Saurus Warriors. The lizardmen are back, and they’re mediocre as ever, however they have a battalion with them called the Sunclaw Temple-host, which requires a Saurus Oldblood/ Sunblood, and three units of Saurus Warriors, and it improves the rend characteristic of all of their Jaw weapons by 1. I’m sad that this requires Saurus Warriors, and not a more stellar unit, but we need somebody to be capping objectives while our Knights are charging into the action.

Not to mention, if we plan on running a Dread Saurian, it will make for an excellent distraction from my smaller squads, especially if it is also charging into the kill zone. It’s hard to ignore a 35 wound monster when it’s shredding units right in front of your face.

Closing thoughts; I love the Coalesced. It is a sharp change from the spell casting heavy Starbourne and anything Seraphon used to be, and I love it. I thought for sure I would enjoy Starbourne more, but talking about Koatl’s Claw has sparked an incredible interest in the diverse mechanics offered as opposed to Dracothion’s Tail and Fangs of Sotek. Later this week I’ll be covering the Thunder Lizards, so be sure not to miss out, and stay tuned! I leave you with a sample of what I would want to bring to a 2,000 point game with Koatl’s Claw.

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