Seraphon split four ways means we’ve got a lot to learn in our time quarantined, and I’m here once again breaking down one of the four constellations that came with our 2020 update to the faction. Last week, I covered Dracothion’s Tail, which you can find here, and this week I’m covering the other sub-faction available to the Starbourne; the Fangs of Sotek.
Once again, I highly advise using this spreadsheet I’ve made as a guide if you aren’t familiar with the new rules for Seraphon. I’ll be referring to abilities by name, but to make sure I don’t make this too wordy, I’m going to be skimping on details. So, with that out of the way, let’s be off!
Fangs of Sotek – Abilities
“The Fangs of Sotek strike as swiftly as a streaking meteor. Cohorts of stealthy skirmishers populate their armies, and are masters of the hit-and-run attack; enemies find it impossible to land a blow against the crafty skink warriors, their plans cast into ruin in the moments before a brutal saurus assault crashes home.”
One thing we will quickly learn is that Fangs of Sotek requires you to play Skinks. A lot of them. Their first ability, First to Battle gives all your SKINK units 3” of additional movement in the first battle round. What’s notable about this ability is that it is SKINK units, and not Skink units. This means your Skink Starpriest, Salamander Hunting Pack, Ripperdactyl Rider, Terradon Riders, Skink Oracle, Engine of the Gods and Stegodons all get 3” added to their movement. This would be trash if it was specifically Skink units, but SKINK units are pretty nuts.
The command trait that you have to take, but only if you have a SAURUS general is Old and Grizzled, potentially getting you an additional command point every turn, which I think is hot garbage. It’s just 16.66% better than the generic SAURUS command trait Mighty Warleader, and you don’t even want to be playing a SAURUS general with Fangs of Sotek. As it should be easy to avoid, I don’t think I will ever play with this ability.
The artefact that we get is the Serpent God Dagger, which is just a sweet ability, and excellent for taking down models with 6+ wounds, which is what I think the general should be targeting if they have this artefact. With the added mobility between First to Battle and Lords of Space and Time, I can absolutely see this artefact doing work.
The last treat we get from Fangs of Sotek is the command ability Parting Shot, and my goodness if this isn’t incentive enough to buy 60 Skinks I don’t know what is. Because I noted this earlier I think I need to note it now, this ability only works for actual Skink and Chameleon Skink units. Sorry guys, no getting two shots out of the Skystreak Bow on your Stegadon. However, this is an extremely huge ability for the nerf that Skinks got by losing their old ability Wary Fighters, which essentially allowed them to use their pile in move as a retreat. This is even better though.
In order to go further into how we best utilize these abilities, we need to talk about the units that best synergize with what Fangs of Sotek is offering.
So for a Skink sub-faction, Skinks are required, and where we are playing Skinks, we want to be running the Skink battalion; Shadowstrike Starhost. This battalion requires a Skink Starpriest/ Priest, two units of either Skinks or Chameleon Skinks, and one unit of either Ripperdactyl Riders or Terradon Riders. This battalion allows us to set up the units in reserve, and at the end of one of our movement phases set up any number of units more than 9” from an enemy. This is excellent, and unfortunately takes some units from the advantage that First to Battle provides, however the Skink units are the only ones that will typically be set up in reserve.
Terradon Riders are insane now, and Ripperdactyl Riders are awful, so we’re leaning towards the Terradons. I want to go on a tangent about it because I’m upset that I built 6 Rippderdactyl Riders before this update, but it’s not necessary for this discussion, so I digress.
Terradon Riders will have 19” of movement on the first turn before running, and their Deadly Cargo ability is an excellent pay off for this extended movement. The Skink Oracle will have 13”, and with it’s Drawn to the Screams ability adding to its charge distance, he will be able to get right into the fight.
Oh, what’s this? Skink Oracle has the HERO keyword, which brings me to our next talking point, who best to wield the Serpent God Dagger.
Ultimately, it came down to either a Stegadon with Skink Chief, or Skink Oracle on Troglodon. The weapons in question to choose for the artefact is between the Stegadon’s Crushing Stomps, and the Troglodon’s Venomous Jaws.
Crushing Stomps has 5 attacks, 3+ hit, 3+ wound with -1 rend and 2 damage. The 5 attacks is a variable number for a chart however, and quickly lowers upon taking damage.
Venomous Jaws in the meantime has 3 attacks, 4+ hit, 2+ wound, no rend, and deals 2 damage. The 2+ wound is a variable number for a chart however, and also lowers upon taking damage.
The two are actually quite evenly matched, and I’m still not sure which one is better, however due to the Troglodon’s higher move characteristic, and it’s Drawn to the Screams ability making its charges better, the Troglodon is able to get locked into combat much quicker than the Stegadon. In addition, the Troglodon’s Regeneration ability lets it heal D3 wounds in your hero phase, and even has two more wounds than the Stegadon, allowing it to survive once it’s actually in combat for a much longer period of time. It is also not a SAURUS unit, so it does not get the Old and Grizzled command trait. For these reasons, the Skink Oracle is probably the best general for Fangs of Sotek.
The last synergies to talk about are what works best with Parting Shot. We want to be able to use this ability every single turn, which requires a lot of command points. What’s notable about Skinks is their Swarming Cohort ability, which doubles all of their attacks if there are more than 15 models in the unit. This means on our turn, with a unit of 20 Skinks, they can shoot, charge, and shoot again for 80 total missile attacks. They have the potential to move, and if they don’t then you get 40 additional melee attacks. The individual weapons aren’t impressive, but when they get 120 attacks in a single turn they don’t have to be impressive to deal insane damage.
So how can we get massive amounts of command points? Lord Kroak’s Impeccable Foresight, and Slann Starmaster’s regular Foresight. Between the two of them we have the potential for five additional command points, a sixth with Skink Starpriest’s Astral Herald ability. What I’m trying to say is command points probably won’t be an issue.
We’ve brewed around a few ideas now for what might work best, so let’s get to some theory crafting for what a list might look like.
Let’s start with the general; Skink Oracle on Troglodon. He’ll be taking the Serpent God Dagger for his artefact, and Nimble for his command trait. Nimble makes him faster and survive longer, both of which are required for the build we’re taking; aggressive. For his spell lore, he’ll be taking Bind Endless Spell, because it’s just a good fail safe to have. Most of the time he’ll be casting Comet’s Call anyways, but if need be we can hijack our opponent’s spells.
As previously stated we’ll also be taking Lord Kroak and a Slann Starmaster for a plethora of reasons; the command points they provide, the Celestial Conjuration Points they can give us, the excellent spell casting capabilities, the list goes on. Our Slann Starmaster will take the extra artefact that we receive for the Shadowstrike Starhost, being Itxi Grubs, just better survivability and spell casting, all around good and best for what we’re striving for.
As for our Shadowstrike Starhost, we have a couple decisions to make. Between the Skink Priest and Starpriest, in a vacuum I believe the Starpriest is better. With how many actual wound rolls will be made, the Starpriest’s Serpent Staff ability will be more effective a larger percentage of the time. Past that, the Starpriest has a more relevant spell in my opinion.
The only other choice left to make for the Shadowstrike Starhost is Ripperdactyl or Terradon Riders, and it’s Terradon Riders by a landslide. They have more movement, better missile and melee weapons, and their special ability is way better. Seriously, just read the warscrolls and you’ll understand.
Lastly are our Skinks, Chameleon and otherwise. For the Shadowstrike Starhost units, we’re taking two units of 20 Skinks for their doubled attacks. These guys will probably pop up and delete a unit or two before taking enough damage to make them sub par. Past that, we’ll just want extra units of Skinks and Chameleon Skinks for more options for Parting Shot once our initial best targets are no longer our best target.
As I have found also, it would just be incorrect to not include an amount of Salamander Hunting Packs. These guys are just insane, they have 7 attacks, all of which hit and wound on 3+ with -2 rend and deal D3 damage each, and if they roll a 6 to hit they don’t have to roll to wound or save. It’s sad, but I actually feel like it’s incorrect not to run them in most any list.
That about does it for Fangs of Sotek though, there are a few different choices that you can make, but unfortunately with how hard the abilities push you towards SKINK units you don’t have too many options, but it would be hilarious to see someone run a list with 200 Skinks, and as many ways to get command points as possible. Join me later this week and I’ll be breaking down the next constellation in line; Koatl’s Claws. But for now, here is a list I put together for Fangs of Sotek.