The beaten Lizardmen skulked back to their jungle hideouts to lick their wounds as the Nauticans prepared to lick their sticky barbeque sauce fingers.
After an epic Warhammer encounter the Nauticans claim their first victory in a 2250 pts game (and their second only victory in 10 outings)
This was the first battle I had fought with the draft 3.6 Nautican army. It was also the first time I had faced the new edition 7 Lizardmen army and the first time my opponent had brought his reptilian "pets" to the battlefield. So, there were a lot of firsts.
As it happened the latest units added to the Nautican army had very little impact on the final result (except for the 2 tripoon batteries which came good near the end).
The 3 weresharks fled before they made it into combat and the Octobipods were held up by a unit of Cold One riders and a Scar Veteran as a Nautican Hero and his Great White Titan mount gradually whittled down the Cold One unit (the hero died in the process).
The real heroes of this battle were the Nautican Oceanic Trident Guard (more on them later). The 2 tripoon batteries failed dismally in turns 1 and 2 despite firing 12 bolts and having a Range Fathomer champion attached to each unit - they killed just one skink of the 2 stegadons crew. The tripoons were then out of action in turns 3 and 4 because they could not fire into combat but they did improve their aim in turn 5 and 6 and dispatched both enemy Stegadons and a skink chief before the end of the battle.
The sandgangers proved very useful and despite causing very little damage, they held up the Lizardmen battle lines. This prevented the Stegadons from getting off all but one of their important charges and impact hits.
The 45 coral hunters (3 units of 15) were soon brushed aside by the Lizardmen and they achieved little other than acting as a missile shield for the all important Trident Guard.
I took a big risk in my army selection and I was somewhat lucky that it paid off. I decided against taking any magic users whatsoever. This gave the enemy lvl 4 slann and level 2 skink priest almost total control of the magic phase. They were using metal lore and lore of the heavens and caused lots of casualties from turn 3 onwards (my opponent had some unlucky casting dice rolls in turns 1 & 2).
When they eventually managed to get into combat, the lobstrosities were useful in holding up a large 20 strong unit of Saurus although they only managed to kill 3 lizardmen. The lobstrosities were finally wiped out by a ferocious stegadon charge, the only successful impact hits that the stegs delivered.
The single Trident Guard unit was the most valuable contributor to the Nautican's victory. I had invested a lot of points in the unit which included the Nautican Lord and a Prince acting as battle standard bearer carrying the Bull Shark banner (permanent frenzy). The unit was also equipped with a unit standard bearer holding aloft the Venomous Spine banner (poisonous attacks and regen of 4+ against enemy poison). Along with their 5+ regen (Creatures of the Deep save) against normal attacks and a 4+ armour save, scalemail (-1 to hit) and Oceanic Tridents (+1 str, armour piercing) they were a formiddable unit. They were also carrying Kraken (to be renamed Leviathan) shields which gives Magic Resistance (1) but I totally forgot about this. To top it all off I gave the army general in the unit the Crystal Crown. This meant that the lord had a leadership range of 18" rather than the usual 12". In addition, any unit within range could use his unmodofied leadership of 9 for their first break test. These attributes saved the unit and those nearby on a couple of occassions.
The Trident Guard simply proved too much for the Lizardmen in combat. The presence of the extra attacks from the Lord and BSB helped a lot. Even when the Lizardmen managed to charge the unit in the rear with 20 Saurus, the lizardmen were soon routed. In one of those strange battlefield incidences when the dice gods favour the weaker models (usually cavalry horses) a unit of skink skirmishers managed to inflicted 3 kills on the Trident Guard, who with a toughness of only, 3 clearly remain vulnerable when they do not strike first.
My opponent conceded when it became clear he could no longer win or draw. The Nauticans had dispatched 2 Stegadons, a Saurus unit, a unit of Cold One Riders (including a scar veteran), most of the skink skirmishers and most of his temple guard leaving the level 4 Slann dangerously exposed.
In return the Lizardmen had taken out all 40 sandgangers, about 40 coral hunters, a Nautican hero, the lobstrosities and about 15 of the Trident Guard out of a unit of 22 (which included the Lord and BSB).
It was a very interesting game and exciting because it kept swaying one way and then back the other way. The key moments were the loss of the Stegadons and the Trident Guard's 3 combats.
I think things might have been different had my opponent managed to engage my tripoons and prevent the death of one of the Stegadons.
Many thanks to my regular opponent "J" for courteously offering to let me take the Nauticans out for another test drive. Also, for his patience with my over excited (and probably quite irritating) glee over the performance of the Trident Guard.Drawing of a Nautican Trident Guard trooper is by Gareth Pannan
(see Nautican Army list artwork)