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This is the start of a new series, that will hopefully bring new ideas and tactics to the forums. Each week, a new topic will be posted up about a different unit in the army book. This gives you your chance to discuss the unit to its fullest. So, please leave your comment!
This week's topic is - Skink Skirmishers
Are these worth their points? Why take them over the ranked skinks? Is their skirmisher ability that good? Would you take a brave and swap their blowpipes for shields and javelins? What is the best unit size and use for them?
I use 2 units of 10 skirmishers. Ranked ones are no good because they are terrible in combat and very squishy. With T2 you don't want to be shot at and a formation is easier to hit. A formation is also harder to manouevre around enemies. Skirmishers can zip into forests, are harder to shoot, and can dance around enemies.
Skink Skirmisher braves are a fun extra addition, but not really worth that much. Skinks are all about the poisoned hits, and a higher BS makes it easier to hit your target, but the poison is still 6+ only. Only include if you have points left you can't spend anywhere else.
I went for varied weaponry ( it's more fun to paint, and makes the army look better on the table ). I use 10 skinks with blowpipes, and 10 skinks with javelins and shields. I like blowpipes because they have more range, and can fire twice. You only care about the 6's anyway, so better fire 20 times and hit on 6's then 10 on 5's. Barrages of skink fire have gotten rid of many a pesky enemy. Knights have to fail their armoursave some time, don't they? And I took down a high elf sun dragon with it recently. And don't count out the damage you can do with all the str3 hits either.
My other 10 skinks have javelins. Inferior to the blowpipe you might say, and more expensive. But they are thrown weapons, so don't suffer long range or movement modifiers. You will always hit your enemy on a 4+ ( except if there are other modifiers in play, like cover or skirmish ) and it's still str3, so non-poisoned hits can still do damage to elves, men, skaven, goblins etc. Blowpipe skinks die in droves when anything hits them in combat, javelin&shield skinks are able to kill warmachine crews, and maybe even units of archers, because they have the hand weapon shield bonus. A 5+ save is nothing to sniff at... with skinks. Once on a tournament I've incredibly lucky with my javelin skinks. They got charged by some wood elf eagle thingies. And they won the combat! The 5+ save made the difference.
And shields look cool.
I'm curious about the 'best' way to deploy skirmishers... I realize that they don't have a formation per se, but is it best to keep them in a tight block to maximize your range of the full unit (you'd basically need to get an inch closer for every rank deep you go).... or spread your guys out wide? Keep them in a loosely collected jumble?
Also, if you wanted to just move one or two skirmishers to reposition them better for LOS purposes, does that count as the entire unit moving or do just those units moved take the movement penalty?
I use 3 units of 10-12 in my lists. I honestly don't think there is a more dangerous unit for its points than skink skirmishers. Sure they have squishy toughness, WS, and saves (lol) but the volume of shots with poison they put out means they can bring down things quite quickly. Considering that they don't care about toughness to wound most of the time, they can bring down anything, and are often the best answer to a great number of problem units that the regular list can't handle. For instance, in my last game against dark elves, one unit of 10 skinks was able to shoot and kill 12 black guard, leaving the unit with just a command group. When he charged the same unit with dark riders, he was just close enough for stand and shoot and lost that unit as well. So for 70 points I killed well over 200 points of BG, and a 110 point unit of dark riders. Certainly earned more points back than the R&F units the skinks were protecting.
I deploy skirmishers essentially by what role they are expected to play that turn. If they are playing charge bait, loose formation with strategicly place models (they have to charge closest, and you can manipulate where you rank up) is best. If they are shooting or march blocking, tight formations are best (to avoid getting in the way and increasing available shots) Also be wary of units that have long charge arcs and liberal charge rules like monsters and chariots. These units can against skirmishers perform "J" charges, forcing you to rank up in manner that can be at 90 degree angles to the direction they charged from. Really wonky rules for it, but it is still legal. It means that skinks protecting flanks can sometimes do the opposite, giving your opponent free movement and direction change to hit a block units flanks.
in this post i will be focusing mainly on the sub topic of the pros, cons, and uses of both blowpipe and javelin skink skirmishers, and throw in a dash of math-hammer for those looking for statistics.
- concerning the unit size and number of skink skirmishers regardless of the equipment, in my opinion should 2 units be at least 10 strong, and i believe this to be the bare minimum. deployment could be as screening in front or on the flanks, or independent.
- if you are spending points are skink skirmishers for general, passive purposes such as screening, the better choice is blowpipes as they are cheaper, more expendable, and they have a longer range, subsequently firing more shots before fleeing or be run over.
- in cases of independent units, the choice may vary depending on the situation. if you are trying soften up an enemy block unit for a charge, blowpipes are better in this case since they release many shots, with poison. if you are in a position where you are low on points and need a cheap unit to take out some war machines, skirmishers, or in certain situations fast calvary javelins would effective, though not to the extent of their counter parts, since they are difficult to hit, have decent firing power and minimal armor, and go against low armor targets.
- 10 skink skirmisher firing on block troops
- effective range of blowpipes - 12" or less (6" movement and short range) - 20 shots, 6+ on poison
- effective range for javelins - 14" or less (maximum movement and range) - 10 shots, 4+ on poison
- a tactic that i like to use with javelin skink skirmishers is have the as an escort to chameleon skinks in low point games. have the chameleons fire at a medium strength unit or lower, the javelins act as support but primarily as a buffer. if charged the javelins most times will hold, giving the chameleons time enough time to remove themselves for any dangerous position, and if the javelins loose combat finish off the enemy. count less times i have been able to save my chameleons, a good number of them destroying or having the unit flee, and sometime the javelins defeat the enemy on their own.
- this next tactic can be very fun to watch, is for blowpipes but can be done by javelins. simply throw or blow a volley or two a fast cavalry unit keeping your distance, but try to funnel it into a certain area using terrain. the other player will charge in think only to get out or to kill the little squishy skinks. the stand and shot reaction with blowpipes can send 20 poison shot the enemies way most times not saved and sending the to panic due to small units. javelins have a weaker volley but can preform well in combat.
- all in all in my opinion blowpipes are more effective, but javelins can be more specialized, and are especially useful in low point game when you want to field something fancy, but need to fill that gap.
Last edited by camo-skink; May 26th, 2010 at 02:11.
20 more points gets you all the benefits of skirmishing and better missile weapons. One of the best screening / harassing units in the game.
1) as always it depends on whom you are up against.
2) Ranked Skinks have their advantages at times, if you are going up against REALLY weak CC enemies.
3) Skirmisher Skinks have their advantages. If you are up against a fast army they help speed bump against them. Their blowpipes can certainly bring down some mighty creatures with some lucky die rolls.
Vs high armor armies, they are less effective. They serve more as speed bumps and at 70 pts for a minimum unit, that's a lot.