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One of the guys in my regular opponents group, just gave up on his Ogre army and has moved over to Skaven. In a previous post, I mentioned how in low point games, I felt that HE (and any ranged army in general) have an advantage over Ogres in particular. Being that my friend is hypercompetitive and a mathematically optimizing machine, I believe he agreed.
I have never played against Skaven since I am a relative newb. Any pointers? My freinds play tested them out against my standing HE army and I lost (well the guy playing the army I normally play lost.)
So, are my winning ways with the HE about to end? I sure hope not.
Hmm... let me start off by saying that that's a VERY odd choice to move to in order to compete against HE. Skaven are a rare army, and an expensive army to collect, seeing as they're all metal. Also, they have a pretty old book and aren't slated to get a new one any time soon.
Skaven can be nasty, they can field large numbers, or they can take dangerous warmachines. They are similar to dwarves, but easier to break through. I would start by treating the list as if you were facing dwarves. Dwarves with a little bit of magic. That'd be a start. Then, determine where you can kill the most rats and score the most points, or where you can hit to ruin his plan. Once you do it like this a few times you should have his list figured out, his weakest units figured out, and you should have a plan for getting rid of him.
Remember, flank him to negate rank bonuses, and try to keep your units large and keep several guys on the field. Your oppoent has ogres, so i'm guessing he's going to include them as DoW. Should be interesting.
If you start figuring out what list he is planning on, send your info back to us and we'll be happy to give you better details on tactics.
bolt throwers and archers are gonna be ur best mates they will scythe through the ranks of skaven like noboddys buisness then it'll be easy to clean up with a decent ranked unit of spearmen
our magic should trump their unpredictable variety 9/10 times and their close combat heroes are nothing
but you should watch out if he take a warlord that lil guy is seriously cheap and easily the equal of our prince, very nasty magic items will make him far worse but in the end theres no real uber unit for him in that list so it shouldn't be too hard to run him down
oh and if he takes storm vermin pit them up with phoenix guard i've seen some pretty entertaining encounters between them
"take my love, take my land, take me to where i cannot stand, i don't care i'm still free you can't take the sky from meee" ;- firefly
"i'm gonna grant you your greatest wish i'm gonna show you a world without sin" ;- serentiy
"I am a leaf on the wind, watch how i soar" ;- serenity
Scything thre skaven units means little since most of their units are mobs of cheap single models.
Second do not in fact treat them like dwarves. Sure they have war machines, but they are also a lot more mobile. A lot. And a lot more fragile.
Now here's the thing, the nastiest list ever to be made is a Skaven list. The Skyre gunline list (Containing interestingly, few actualy guns, and a lot of warplock engineers). The thing will rip open almost any enemy army (Except maybe wood elves if they have enough cover). It will also explode about one in every six game.
You'd have to tell me what he has for me to be able to tell you how to beat it.
May the Emperor forgive you, for his servants cannot.
Yeah, in honesty I have limited ACTUAL experience with fighting Skaven. I've read their book, and my friend "plays" them, but they hardly ever hit the table against me. I've played his army maybe twice, and another army just once. But I've heard the horror stories of the Skyre Line.
Whether they're mobile or not though, you never sit around under superior enemy fire, so it IS like dwarves to me, I want to be across the table before they tear me to bits with guns.
Plus, as mobile as they are, i don't want to give them any room to breath, and as panicky as they are, keeping them close to the table only saves you running them down ;Y
The following advice is just my opinion and doesn't even scratch the surface of tactics and pitfalls to be aware of when fighting Skaven.
A few things to keep in mind.
1. Dwarfs and Skaven are nothing alike. To make that claim based on the fact that both armies can be "shooty" is a generalization too wide to have any merit.
2. Skaven is a horde army with viscious shooting (in the form of ratling guns, warp lightning cannons and warplock engineers. The worst thing about Skaven is that they can shoot into CC...and their troops are so cheap in comparison to HE that they wont think twice about doing it.
3. It is difficult to flank Skaven, they are so cheap they can cover a board from one side to the other in large blocks of totally expendable troops.
4. Skaven leadership is low at its base, but their leadership is also based on their ranks. A fully ranked up block of Skavens can have very solid leadership.
Some things to watch out for.
1. Plauge Rats, This is one of the few skaven CC powerhouse units that can win combat entirely unsupported. T4 and likely the banner that gives them combat bonuses make them a force to be reconed with. Be very careful around these guys.
2. Skaven SAD army list. This is the competitive skaven list maxing out warp lightning cannons, ratling guns and warplock engineers. This build can rip through elite and heavy armour troops with ease. If your friend is a "power gamer" expect to see this and expect to have a difficult time winning.
1. Large blocks of HE spearmen could rip up slave rats and clan rats using the "Always Strike First" rule.
2. Those bloody HE bolt throwers will rip blocks of skaven apart. Remember, fleeing slave rat blocks wont cause panic to other units. Try focusing your fire on a clan rat blocks (if they arnt all screened) to force domino effect panic check.
3. Flying units to take out warplightning cannons and ratling guns quickly.
4. Magic??? I am unsure on this point as I play Dwarfs and Tomb Kings so I'm not terribly familiar with the uncertain magic of the lesser races.
I can't say for certain as i don't play HE, but I would think your best bet would be two or three blocks of spearmen to serve as anvil units backed up by a couple flanking/fast units. Go light on your uber HE elites, hard hitting units arn't nessesary to fight skaven. The high WS and ASF first in 3 ranks will make your spearmen your best anti-horde bet and they are aslo your cheapest troops to lose to warp lightning.
Above all remember this...Skavens can be a rock hard army with unholy CC and shooting potential, but the Skavens weakness is the domino effect. If they break in just one area the whole army can fall apart quickly.
The only honorable options left to we combatants is seppuku or semantics...which amount to the same thing really.
Skaven are probably one of the toughest lists in the game, despite being rather old. I am actually against the idea of using bolt throwers against them, blocks of very cheap infantry will usually be 25-30 in number at least. The Skaven play won't even bat an eyelid if you rip through 3-4 of them a turn. And tunelling teams make short work of bolt throwers. Plus you will want to advance to get into a good position, and will probably block most of your own LoS.
Skaven magic can be very very deadly. They have some of the most powerful offensive spells in the game, and really really hurt our HE. A couple of them cause toughness tests for entire units, which you can imagine isn't pretty, especially against dragon princes or the like. (No armour save) And their magic missile is s5 not s4 like most, which makes it very effective at taking out things like chariots, eagles, lone characters or even just ripping up small units. Well, even DP only get a 4+ save against them so will fall easily. It depends on how much the Skaven player chooses to take though.
Overall I would say get a hold of their book and read through it very thoroughly. They have lots and lots of nasty little tricks that it is best to know about before they are sprung on you, and they have lots of things that can hurt themselves quite badly which some Skaven players may (quite innocently) forget. Keep an eye out and question any 1's that he rolls. Besides knowing your opponent well and prioritising your targets based on what you think is most deadly, there isn't really a lot of advice to give.
Most armies tend to be able to focus on only one or two phases of the game. Skaven are very cheap, so they can easily have a massive amount of models (including some that really hurt in combat), a deadly amount of magic AND powerful shooting all in the same list.
Thanks for the info so far.
Unfortunately, I won't be at the gaming table for another week or so. I will update this thread with the results of our first match.
I would suggest trying to keep your numbers as large as you can. Skaven being a horde army are still going to outnumber you but by having more of your core choices in large blocks you can minimise this effect. Your basic infantry are much better than the skaven's so theres less need for as many specials as normal, you will generaly still outclass them with just your core choices. Loosing 4 archers in a large unit of spearmen from some shooting is less damaging than loosing 4 swordsmen of hoeth in a small unit of 12. Skaven rely on rank bonuses more than other army so as already stated make a larger than normal effort to negate them. Skaven do have amazing magic but so do high elves! Not only that but you have drain magic to help reduce theres. You can play defensive or aggressive very well with high elf magic.
Skaven actually *ARE* remarkably similar to dwarves in the sense that they lack any cavalry at all, and also in the sense that they can be more than happy to sit back and blast apart your entire army with shooting.
Of course Skaven have strong magic and good infantry speed, and they lack the close combat power of dwarves.
High elves don't really have the ability to exploit the weak combat stats of skaven, lacking high toughness anywhere in their army. What you *can* exploit is the lack of cavalry, and what you need to avoid (as much as possible) is the shooting.
In my opinion, your best bet to beat any skaven army is to match their shooting, magic, and numbers with your own shooting, magic, and cavalry. You don't have any kind of worthwile screening units, so your shooting and magic should be directed at taking out jezzails, then WLC, and then ratling guns and warpfire throwers. You will have a better time than most dealing with skaven magic, having both the +1 to dispel, and a plethora of anti magic items at your disposal. Heck, Drain Magic alone can probably make their magic a non issue if you use it faithfully and well. As long as you are winning the shooting/magic battle you can use your mobility to beat their infantry one regiment at a time. If he wins the shooting battle, you can't hope to win, because you will be forced to stay out of range or else lose your expensive and numerically inferior army.
If your opponent instead opts for a true horde strategy, then your only real hope is pound one flank of his army, and let your cavalry roll his lines up from side to the other. Skaven are doubly hosed if attack their flanks. THey need rank bonuses both to win combats and to have decent leadership. Get ANYTHING into the edge of the skaven army and you can be successful.