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I thought a Guide to Skaven Army building / Basic Tactics would be very helpful, especially considering how many new players there are (With IOB skaven creating a lot of new players)
Here is a Basic Island of Blood Summary:
http://www.librarium-online.com/foru...-where-go.html (Starting from Island of Blood, What to do and where to go)
Making a Unit:
In creating armies core units i keep on seeing the same common mistake - Please, Stop making your combat units 20 Strong!
You need some extra spare men in the unit to soak up the damage before you start losing your rank bonus - This is vital for combat resolution AND your LD! It's twice as important for skaven compared to any other army!
The size for your units that you intend to stand on their own slugging it out with the opponents units, and hopefully stay in combat and win should be 30 Minimum. If you have no shields / or include spears I would recommend more than 30.
I would highly recommend fielding a Full command on any units that may try to stand toe to toe in a fight
- some people don't use champions as they have put a cheap chieftan / Warlord / other characterin the unit and don't feel they need it. DO NOT DO THIS.
I would recommend the following tactic with your champions: when challenged always accept, and put your champion in the way. Yep, your champion will be chopped into small ratty chunks in no time whatsoever. However, this leads to a few things:
1) Your Lord / Hero in the unit (if there) can attack the opposing unit. This is a better course of action (see point 2, but the opponent is on the negative side of this tactic).
2) Your losses are reduced to losing one rat. Did the opponent overkill you by 5? He would have the same combat result slaughtering your rank and file, but this way you don't lose a rank / start heading that way. It's the same combat result, but you lose less men.
3) You never know, with your mighty 2 attacks/ whatever you just #may# wound the opponent - You will typically have the higher Initiative so get attacks in first.
If the opponent has challenged with his unit champion, (even if he's harder than your champion but your Lord/Hero in your unit would chop him to bits) - Still accept with your unit champion. You may win!
4) In the event you have been charged by a opposing Lord when he's alone, accept (or challenge) with the unit champion. Yep, he's very dead. You'll win by combat resolution, and if said lord is mounted you'll be dead waay before the beast attacks, wasting the beast's attacks for a turn. This is good for combat resolution (your rank/banner etc vs his damage dealt) - This is especially vital on the first round where he'll get the charge bonus.
Oh, never forget to put at least two attacks on the opposing unit champion at every opportunity. Kill them whenever possible (as a opposite reaction to above)
In units you intend to flank with / guard your flanks I'd shy away from banners as it just gives away VP's if something happens to the unit, these units do tend to be the weakest
A General View on army strengths and weakneses
Your armies general weakness compared to other armies are:
You are fragile. Your men will die in droves
They're ok -ish at hitting people, but by no means the best.
You do not have a very sturdy LD base (if hit in the flanks with something that negates rank you're fairly stuffed)
Your characters toe-to-toe with other characters aren't the best (Notably STR and Toughness are a problem)
Your general strengths are:
You are cheap. cheap cheap cheap. you can have lots and lots of rat-heros and lords and many units
You are quick - Initiative and movement. You should be hitting first in combat and quite capable of outmanuvering your opponent / getting that charge in
did I mention you are cheap? If you want to have lots of magic or shooting it's easily done (to a extent - you can only have so many spells, and repeat only so many war machines, but hey - Doing so won't really dent your points as they're pretty cheap)
A good thing to bear in mind when making your army is that you are a "horde army" (not just he rule) - Have plenty of large units and have more units than your opponent.
In a 1,000 point army don't go spending 1/2 your army on 2 no 20 man units and then get hero's, Lords and a bunch of special / rare things that won't win a combat or stand up in a fight for a prolonged period of time. (Well, it's your army so do what you want but my advice is don't)
Ideally you should have as many units as your opponent (and larger units) and then have some spare units for flanking. I prefer to make massive blocks of clanrats, flanked by solid units (Stormvermin / plague monks / sometimes Rat ogres) to ensure they hold ther line, then finish off the edges of my armies deployment with flanking units (small giant rat units, medium sized Slaves, Night Runners etc.
Please note, I've already said don't use 20 rat units - For a "flanking" unit (where you only need two ranks of 5 wide men to stop their rank bonus) - This is a different case.
20 is just fine. Oh, flanking units don't want banners really (they just give away VP's) or really need champions (Your opponent can challenge them and then position his lord/hero to start flaying your flanking unit until it's less than 10 men in the next combat phase, and does not stop his ranks ) Musicians are fine (the draw / reform bonus is just worth it on it's own - they're cheap anyway)
A vital part of your army is the General and BSB. I tend to put them in different large central blocks of clanrats - as your army is stretched out (in physical distance) enough due to it's size splitting them up helps solve this.
Some people prefer to put them in small units behind the actual combat blocks. (This also means you can try to save a flank with your "spare" unit if it looks like it's going to crumble)
The General and the Battle Standard Bearer
Your LD is unfortunately poor. The General gives his LD to nearby units (within 12") # for skaven It's only what - 7? but you add up to +3 of the unit's rank bonus to it) # This is quite useful for some units, who would usually have a LD of 5-6.
I usually prefer to equip my general to be combat capable as he'll be stuck in the centre of my lines, right where the fighting is going to be and the opposing general is likely to be the same, so he's likely to face challenges from strong combat opponents.
# as a foot note if you decide to do a magical General like the Grey Seer on a screaming bell It raises the LD range to 18". This is nice, and worth considering
The Battle Standard Bearer
There is absolutely no model in your army more important than the BSB. Unfortunately your selection is restricted to: Chieftan.
Ah well, He's sturdy-ish and cheap at least.
Re-rolling your LD is of paramount importance. Keeping your army on the field is vital in order to win - With three ranks on a LD7 you'll end up with LD10 if you have a character / or about LD 9 without a character - that's actually more than most of opposing armies can boast. Re-rolling Ld 10 / 9 is great odds for your men staying about (To be precise the odds of failing re-rolled LD10 is 0.69% That's (3/36 or 1/12 or 8.33%) of (3/36 or 1/12 or 8.33%). Hopefully you have more ranks and are steadfast as you got so many rats with your cheap cost, right?
Now, unfortunately if you pick a magical banner you can't pick magical equipment. So it's a bit of a coin toss what to do
Stopping your units from fleeing is so, so vital as if one unit flees that generally means there's a great big gaping hole in your lines, with a enemy unit who will be hitting the sides of your other units soon. This will be very fatal (as your LD on the charged unit will drop by the denied rank and that unit is pretty stuffed, then the opponent who has probably won at this point will roll along your army. You are dead.
I'll do a Summary of the BSB's equipment choices on a different thread
Here is a guide i have written on the Battle standard Bearer:
http://www.librarium-online.com/foru...rd-bearer.html (A Guide to the Battle Standard Bearer)
Deploying Your Army
Ok, this is a fairly Neglected part of the battle, and one of the most important parts.
You are quick enough to outmanuver the opponent, just so long as you don't stuff up deployment. Now, obviously a battlefield will have scenery wich will affect it and every game will be different, but a few pointers:
1) Never give away where your characters are in deployment - you should have more units than the opponent, and thenput your characters down after the opponent deploys his. You're probably giving +1 on first turn roll off to the opponent, so you may as well use it to your advantage and deploy in reaction to his deployment.
It's a good idea to keep the option open to yourself to deploy your characters in a couple of places.
e.g. If you have a BSB, a mage and a warlord on litter, don't deploy your four 40 rat units (no characters), two 39 man units (BSB and mage) and one 34 man unit.
You may as well tell the opponent where they're going before deployment. Deploy 7x 40 man units, you can afford the points as compared to pretty much telling the opponent where they are.
2) As a further note with characters - If a unit is good in combat, it doesn't really need a exellent melee character. Weak units would benefit greatly from a good melee character (just my opinion on it - a proportion of players will disagree with me here, and some like having one really killy unit.)
3) Before putting down your first unit look at the table and think how things may go during the game. Where you will move, where the opponent will move, and how your battle line will fare when interacting with the scenery.
Deploy accordingly. Please. Every time a gamer does not do this a small fluffy creature is run over by a ride-on-lawnmower.
4) You have the luxury of having more units than the opponent. Fling a couple down at the edges of the battlefield first to see where he starts putting his important units down isn't a bad idea
- You're move is quick enough that if your opponent starts deploying to one side your "side" units still take part and so what if you lose a turn or two with them - they probably cost few points (slaves / giant rats / night runners are great for this.)
The idea of these units is to show the opponents deployment before you do then these units can hit them in the sides / stop any opponents units from trying to flank you / or go round the back and hit their war machines (giant rats have a 6" move and quite good for this)
5) React with your unit formation. Has your opponent put down a 10 wide horde of empire troops? Put your clanrats down opposite them 12 wide (you did have spares in your unit, right?) The opponent puts down a unit with a 5 wide front = you put down a 6-7 wide unit opposite.
6) I would recommend everyone gets their army as you are writing it and deploys it in front of you - you get a good idea of the "footprint" you will take in deployment.
and besides, it's satisfying to look at.
and some guides to do (by me as time goes by):
a incomplete one on giant rats:
http://www.librarium-online.com/foru...iant-rats.html (A Guide to Giant Rats)
Last edited by stayscrunchyinmilk; February 23rd, 2011 at 13:01.
Never played with my skaven, but some points I will use when creating my first skaven list.
What is a "massive block of clanrats?"
40? 50? 60? Or does that depend on army size?
I may go 60 in 2 - 2.5k, but i'd peak at 70 - there really isn't much more you can do that works (more ranks for steadfast works well, but 6/7 deep horde? It's just not efficient.
I will generally make them over sized more than under sized (if you start writing your list that way you can skim a few off at the end to neaten up too) - but i'll do the OP more later tonight / tomorrow AM
This sounds like a great idea. If theres any topics you need help covering, feel free to shoot me a message. I'll be glad to lend what knowledge I have.
BSB added and pretty finished. It needs proof reading and maybe a summary of units / roles with examples
Because a BSB is so important I wouldn't go for the banner, but for the magic equipment (as seen in the thread about the BS. This way you can boost the defence.