As promised earlier in the week, I'd be talking about the Lizardmen army book. I'm going to start out with the Magic Items. For this purpose I'm going to establish what shall from now on be known as the "Lenny Magic Item Rating System". It uses the standard letter based grading system.
A - An excellent magic item, you'll see this in a lot of lists.
B - A very good magic item, worthy of serious consideration.
C - A decent magic item, could see some use, mostly in less competitive play.
D - An OK magic item, won't see much if any competitive play but could see situational use.
E - A poor magic item, you'll rarely see this used.
F - An awful magic item, there is no reason to ever use this.
The Blade of Realities - An interesting item. Does something no other item in the game can do by ignoring Ward Saves completely. Obviously you won't spend 100 points on a Magic Weapon for a Slaan Mage Priest, so I'll only consider it's usage on a Saurus Oldblood. It's going to make him extra killy, but by using up all his Magic Item allowance, so he'll have no Ward save or other protective gear other than mundane armour. Unlike many other Lord choices, an Oldblood may be tough enough to pull that off, but the Blade of Realities doesn't massively increase his killyness against weaker targets. It's not a bad weapon, but there are better choices for an Oldblood if you ask me. C
The Piranha Blade - In the current Warhammer meta, this is quite a useful item, although it may be slightly overcosted. With the current preferences for big monsters, monstrous infantry and monstrous cavalry, the multiple wounds rule could come in very useful. As the likely wielders of this weapon would be Oldbloods or Scar-Veterans who have a solid profile behind them with S5, plenty of attacks and Predatory Fighter, the Armour Piercing rule brings it to a -3 armour save. I like this more on an Oldblood, as you can protect him as well as giving him this weapon, although it's not bad on a Scar Veteran on a Cold One either. B
Sacred Stegadon Helm of Itza - As well as providing the standard bonus of +1 to armour save for a helm, this helm also gives the wearer +1 Toughness and Impact Hits (D3). I like this item a lot, and can see several good uses for it. It can make an Oldblood very difficult to kill, and can be used by a Scar Veteran to good effect also. Something I'd like to try out is this item on a Skink Chief on a Terradon/Ripperdactyl as a warmachine/light troop hunter. I'd use this a lot. A
Skavenpelt Banner - The first thing to note about this item is the cost makes it a Battle Standard Bearer only choice. It provides the unit with Frenzy and Hatred (Skaven), but Skaven hate the bearer back (but not his unit). Now, if you're playing against Skaven, maybe you might get some value from it. But, if you're not, it's 65 points for Frenzy. D
The Jaguar Standard - Gives a unit Swiftstride for 50 points. This is one for the heavy combat blocks, which in the Lizardman army, is the only real option, as outside of the Battle Standard Bearers, the only unit which can take a magic standard is Temple Guard. That extra dice will help you get your charges off as well as giving you longer pursuit and overrun moves (and even flee moves, but that will rarely come in handy). This has a place in both Temple Guard and large Saurus blocks, but is a little on the pricey side. B
Cube of Darkness - This is an item I really like. Unlike the Dispel Scroll, it's not a guaranteed dispel, it also gives a chance of dispelling any Remains in Play spells on the table. It costs slightly more than a Dispel Scroll as well, but if your opponent casts a lot of Remains in Play spells, you can save your dispel dice, let them go, and use the Cube of Darkness on the final big spell. If I had to choose one, I'd take the Dispel Scroll instead, but the good news is, you won't always have to choose. A
Plaque of Dominion - A bound item which can potentially make all enemy wizards within 18" gain Stupidity. This can be very useful, as the stupid Wizard can not only take himself out of the game for a turn, but his unit as well. The main problem is, in most armies with a General and Battle Standard nearby, the chances of failing the test is quite slim. It's potentially devestating, but it will rarely live up to that potential. D
The Cloak of Feathers - A flying Skink character, you say. With Magic Resistance to boot. Sounds nice on paper. But, how much value is a lone Skink character going to get out of it. The Magic Resistance does nothing against most of the big damage causing spells, and even when it does work, it's only a 6+. Combine that with the vulnerability of a Skink character out on his own, it's situationally useful at best. D
The Horn of Kygor - A one use item, giving all your monsters and cavalry mounts Frenzy for one turn. Obviously situational, if you don't have much in the way of those, it's not going to be worth taking. For a nice big monster mash style army, it's going to be much better, although the main decision is going to be which turn to use it in. One interesting feature is that it doesn't specify whether it's "models" or "units" within 12" which are affected. My reading suggests models, but I'm sure there are arguments for units as well. C
The Egg of Quango - At the start of the combat phase, causes hits on an enemy unit in combat with the bearer, or his unit. The main downside of this item is it's randomness. First you randomise the effect, then you randomise the number of hits. It can range from a single S3 hit to 12 S5 hits. Even so, it has plenty going for it. Firstly, it happens as the start of the Close Combat phase. That is, before any fighting happens. Also, any wounds count for combat resolution. The main problem might just be fitting it into an army, but I do like this item. Here's one for the FAQ team though - If I charge in, use the Egg of Quango, and wipe out my enemy, do I get an overrun or reform afterwards? B
Well readers, this is my first attempt at writing an article in this style, so I would very much like to hear what you think of the format. Also, if you think I'm wrong on any of my ratings, please tell me why. Even though this is the internet, I'm not actually infallible.