After the hecktickness of the show and getting things ready for it, I might have been forgiven if I’d had a bit of hobby burnout or taken my foot off the gas. However at the minute i feel really galvanised, so got straight back on the bandwagon and finished off a unit of 6 Ripperdactyls.
I’m really liking painting Lizardmen, as you can really go to town with colours and having not used warlock purple in a while and with withdrawal symptoms kicking in (😉), it felt only right that I dig it out and use it as the basis of at least one unit in the army! Being a particularly predatory unit in the fluff, also leant weight to having a bright scheme.
How they play
Ripperdactyls were a new unit introduced during 8th edition and were part of a duel kit, that also made terradons. Whereas terradons are great chaff units, Rippers are an out and out combat unit though of the exceedingly glass hammer variety!
Each Ripper packs 2 attacks base + an additional one for being frenzied. These 3 attacks are at initiative 3, Str 4 and have armoured piercing (AP) so deduct -2 from armour saves. On top of that they have killing blow (KB), so on a 6 to wound, ignore armour and will kill infantry outright. Being monstrous cavalry they also get a Str 4 stomp. The rider is comes armed with a spear and shield, adding another Str 4 attack at initiative 4, on the charge as well as giving the model a 4+ save.
So far not bad. They also come with another trick up their sleeve. For each unit on the table, you get a lustrian bloat toad counter. These can be allocated to any enemy unit of your choice. If your Rippers get into combat with that unit, they get D3+1 frenzy. This means a minimum sized unit of 3 will get between 12-18 Str4, AP, KB attacks, instead of their basic 9 (plus stomps and rider attacks). A considerable boost. If you take more than 1 unit you get to place multiple counters and they aren’t unit specific so any of your Rippers get the bonus if they make combat. One reason that if you are thinking of taking one unit, to take a second.
Having waxed lyrical about the unit, it would be remiss not to then touch on some of their downsides. The Ripperdactyls have initiative 3. This is very average. It means against a lot of things you’ll be attacking simultaneously. Against all elves and quite a few other units you will strike last and with their defence, you don’t want that, as they are only toughness 3 with 2 wounds and a 4+ save. They will die to a stiff breeze. They are definitely not a unit to charge straight in. They are best employed hitting weaker targets. Small units of shooters/warmachines etc and then rear /flank charging units that your combat blocks have already engaged.
Frenzy is also a huge double edge sword for these guys. Sure it can massively boost their combat output but at only leadership 5, cold blooded or not, that’s not a test you want to be taking too often. Thankfully as flyers, they auto skirmish, which not only gives them -1 to hit from shooting (a huge bonus for a fragile unit) but means you can pull movement shenanigans and face them back to your own lines after moving them, preventing frenzy baiting.
I’m a big fan of this unit and often pair them with duel carnosaurs and tetto’eko. Tetto’eko gives D3 units vanguard, so it allows me to place a Carnosaur and unit of Rippers on each flank and move them 12 inches forward before the first turn. Having one extremely hard hitting monster and a unit of flyers that can pump out a large number of attacks, threatening both flanks early on, often really screws with an opponent, especially when it’s not a standard Lizardmen list and they aren’t expecting it!