Ricki Reflects… Seraphon

OK to start with this isnt a review in the traditional sense, I dont have the book, I’m not a competitive gamer and at heart I hate doing videos in which I hold up a book and everyone stares to glean snippets of rules to misunderstand until an eventual release of the book settles down arguements over half blurred snippets of rules. Instead this is a review my way, of my potential army theme based on the fantastic new Coalseced lore within the book. To me the mark of a fantastic new battletome is that it encourages new ways of thinking about the setting or faction, whilst I loved the Starborn Seraphon concept I found it really hard to engage with narratively. Its hard to think like a giant space toad and without the ability to have an emotional or instinctual core to the army that put me off painting up a force (and I love dinosaurs so that was sad).

Now however we have the concept of Coalesced, Seraphon who are creature of flesh and blood who have settled into the realms, forging bestial kingdoms and hostile wildlands that the tides of chaos will soon come to fear. The concept of what a “jungle” will look like within the realms is also a great chance to explore the base concepts of the realm and how they translate to the flora within them:
A Ghyran Jungle may well be the closest to what we know traditionally, packed with vibrant life, perhaps even jungle sylvaneth roaming around detached from the will of Alarielle. No less dangerous than other realms but packed with the rare herbs and plants used to refine medicines across the roams.
For Ghur the trees themselves would be just as hungry, vicious as the beasts of the realm around them, each seeking to strangle the life of those around them as they compete to gain the most sunlight. Every thorne potentially dripping with toxins, every beautiful flower a potential lure to entice pray.
In Aqshy the clingling humidity would be near intolerable, such a heat with the air thick and close, every breath within the jungle scorching to the lungs. No fire around to be seen but suffocating humidity, here you mgiht find the herbs used by the less savoury characters in the realms, narcotics and the like.

With the pending release of this book my Other Half (Charlotte) and I have opted to try our first doubles event together, where as I am a heavily narrative player Charlotte is someone who just wants to enjoy a game regardless. To this end we’ve avoided “competitive” events together for the longest time as I’d hate for her to lose what love she currently holds for the game in the hands of overtly competitive players, however I’ve recently been enjoying my Throne of Skulls experiences and the chance to make a combined force is so appealing we’ve opted to make Junes event (near enough my Birthday) our first doubles event. She’s always loved the Seraphon models specifically the Carnosaur so the chance to use the new book and do a combined Seraphon force is a great project for the two of us to pursue together.

The Paint Scheme:
Here’s the rough colours I intend to translate to my army, this model will likely not make the final list but is a nice exploration of the traditional scheme with minor tweaks, “aging” the lizard with darker tones to give a sense of a forboding, calculating Seraphon force, tactically astute and lethal.

Part 1: The Concept (RICKI)

Anyone who has seen my armies will know by now I need a narrative core to engage with in the list, and hopefully translate this aesthetically to the models. This isnt me saying that is the “right” way to play, anyone who engages with the hobby at all does it in their own way and so long as they get joy out of it that is fantastic. But for me the ability to shape something unique, something personal to myself is the main lure to the army.

Knowing Charlotte would be taking atleast one, probably two Carnosaurs and therefore align better with a full Saurus army I felt it best to explore one of the three other avenues available to me in the book: Slaan, Skink or Monster. I’m still not overly good at exploring the nature of being a magic space toad and given the fondness of competitive players for them I’ve immediately ruled out Slaan, and whilst I love a good monster force as much as the next guy I expect we’ll be seeing a fair few of them in the immediate future, so I’ve opted for Skink instead.

Skink however is still too broad a concept for me, so I’ve refined it further into Flying Skinks, a force that will (for the most part) be all flying or atleast all modelled as flying. This gives me a link to the nature of the force, they’re going to be relatively light and fewer in number than horde armies, focusing on rapid strikes from the skies before disappearing once again. The idea of having this all flying force centred around floating islands, every inch of the surface covered in sprawling junglescape and Seraphon temples and at the very centre of this nexus lies the flying realmshaper engine as it pulls the rocks into a defensive spiral. To have a force both at once part of the realms and detached from them lets me develop a culture in the skies that has reason to be relatively defensively safe but narratively leans into why they are all flying, it is after all not a smart idea to ride a Steagdon off of a cliffs edge.

With the theme settled upon and the concept of that flying Realmshaper engine lingering in my head it seemed a fantastic thing I had to integrate, as we’ll be running a doubles force and only get one Realmshaper engine between the two of us it was important to me to make it look suitable. So the plan:

That is a fantastic looking bit of skit, it is sleek and simplistic but effective. It isnt drowned in excessive details like some of the kits and yet tells you everything you need to know about the faction at a glance, my plan is to take two of these engines and fit them together, forming a combined floating engine suspended on Brass rods. To conceal the supports I will be carving a notch into the back of the GW vines kit to push over the rods and look like hanging vines from the temple dragging the floor as it floats. The fact it will then look mobile also helps avoid that narrative faux pas where two opposing forces always somehow happen to have build civilizations within spitting distance of each other without noticing, this will look mobile and has that narrative joy that I dont have to write in why there’s a temple ten paces from every Bone tithe nexus in the realms.

With the terrain piece now sorted I wanted to explore the heroes, first up the Terradon and Ripperdactyls now have HERO scrolls! I was hopeful this would translate into potential flyer battleline but sadly this has not come to pass (Just saying, one FAQ and I’ll be happy). What it does however do is give me great new heroes that fit perfectly into the all flying theme I’m aiming for, and brings the flying hero scrolls to 4 (5 including named characters):

Slaan (flying chair) – As I covered I’m not partial to the big toad because I find it hard to get in his head, he’s a fantastic looking model and a true generator of command points in the game but it doesnt really fit my flying skink theme.
Skink Starpriest (Flying Chair) – Love the model, Strong Maybe as he fits the theme of the list but I am somewhat concerned with his ability to keep up as he doesnt scream “fast”
Terradon Chief – Cool new scroll, big buff to the Terradons which I do intend to include so he’s a contendor in terms of heroes.
Ripperdactyl Chief – As ripper riders will be a large part of my list this guy is now an Autoinclude.

However as we’ve covered I’m a big fan of monsters, and that list is shy a flying monster to be a real centrepiece model to my force and I cant have that. But we’ve now got Skink Alphas on Stegadons as a Hero scroll, with a cool command ability that can boost the other models that I intend to include, and there are a number of artefacts that boost a Hero to FLYING status, so thats a great way of taking a slow but awesome ground monster and putting him into the army. Obviously the original Stegadon isnt immensely Aerodynamic, so looking at conversion potential this guy is the obvious choice (and comes on the right base size):

He Floats, He looks like a Dinosaur. Thats both my key boxes here ticked and those pesky Aelves can be shoved off to fit a Stegadon Howdah to the top and really fit him into the force, making a fantastically cool looking centrepiece model that fits aesthetically and narratively into the army whilst providing real ingame boosts to other part of the army.

There is one Warscroll that whilst not flying, really helps this force get up the table as fast as I’d like them to. As the subfaction I liked (fangs of sotek) are sadly not Coalesced it means that I will be running without a subfaction (if possible, again I dont have the book), but I also lose out on that great turn one speed to really push Ripperdactyls up the board. The Skink priest however has a fantastic ability (not a command ability, entirely uncosted) to allow a unit to run and charge, this means there’s potentially a turn one threat from the Ripperdactyl. He’ll also be sitting babysitting the Realmshaper Engine so it justifies his not flying, as he’s embarked on something that is.

Now at 1000 points I dont want to be too heavy on heroes, picking my top three here was challenging but there were a few stand outs, this means my intended heroes are:
Skink Chief on Stegadon (Flying Artefact)
Ripperdactyl Chief
Skink Priest

More to come in Part 2: The list

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