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I've been playing Skaven for a good while now, and the only army I've noticed that really gives the army any trouble is Vampire Counts. Unless it's a blatant dickmove army (Teclis w/ Death, Fire or Life / Double Slaan) Skaven can win pretty easily. Vampires are good at preying on the drawbacks in the Skaven Book though.
1. Magic Defense
Skaven lack any respectable Magic Defense. We have a Lvl 4 Wizard and can take a Scroll. That's it. No bonus dice, items that screw with enemy Wizards, etc. Since Vampires can cast all their meat and potatoes spells multiple times (Vanhel's, Invocation) there's really no stopping much of their Magic except on a bad Winds roll or a lucky Miscast.
2. Hero Killing
Skaven are also bad at killing characters. All Skaven fighters are sub-par combined to most armies and their fighting items leave a little to be desired. A Vampire kitted for survival can easily slap a Warlord around, and that's if he decides not to stick him against Zombies or Skeletons for a few delay turns. Since killing the Vampire is the best way to beat VC, that's a problem.
Grinding out fights is how Skaven win, we are better at it than anyone else.....except Vampire Counts. While our units are low cost, their units are hard to claim VPs for.
I've found a few decent methods to matchup with VC, but nothing to concrete. The easiest way is focus firing, they can't raise a unit back if it's completely destroyed. Since Skellies/Zombies are bad at tallying CR, it's easy to chop one down and see them killed by CR Wounds. This is significantly less easy if not impossible on Ghouls though, since Ghouls usually come in big units and are great at racking up CR with Poison.
Another way is to scare the General. Skaven don't have anythign that can go head to head with a Vampire Lord, but we have Shooting and Magic. Cannons in particular are great for intimidating a Lord. Just spend some resources whittling his unit down, he will spend dice Invocating more up to ensure he gets a "Look Out Sir!" and that means less dice for his other units.
The easiest way is when the army is built on a Deathstar of Grave Guard with Characters. This unit can be redirected with Slaves while your best units take on their weakest and rack up some VPs. Just advance away from the Deathstar and keep your General+BSB within 12" of the Slaves. Once they're low on numbers, just March away. Even with Vanhel's it will be late game before they get another target, if at all.
Since most missions are straight VPs, I find it's great to pick on those one of units some VC bring. Blood Knights, Varghulfs, Black Coach, Cairn Wraiths, Black Knights etc. are easy to kill in one turn and claim full VPs for. One Varghulf alone is worth a whole Slave block and then some, those are good trades.
So what are some of your typical tactics against Vampire Counts? I'm sure some people will say close combat, but if the Vampire player isn't really, really bad combat will never work unless you get very lucky with a HPA or a souped up Warlord.
The doomwheel is a potential, if very risky, assassination tool (assassins? meh!). Get it in close and line up with the character...start zapping (You get to choose who the target is with multiple targets, after all).
Just a theory, though...
A gamble on the Curse of the Horned Rat can really take a chunk out of a big block of grave guard - Either you get the opportunity to mob his weakened unit or you cripple his magic phase as panic sets in and every invocation going gets poured into that unit (But you have to be ready to jump on other units if you can't/won't take out the GG).
Having an army and not owning a rulebook is like owning a car with no steering wheel.Originally Posted by amishcellphone
Are you saying Zap the character inside a unit? Because that's not legal, it says the bolt strike the nearest unit, there is no reason the bolt would ever hit the character, it can be assigned to a regular rank and file. It's still a Shooting attack even in close combat, he just pushes 3 Zombies in front of him.
Dreaded 13th is pretty much the catch all for Skaven problems, if the risk is worth it. Depending on the list, I might hold off. You can lose your Grey Seer on a Miscast and then your army is running for the hills, while the VC might not suffer to badly on their decent Ld units. I think if there's ~10 models in the Vampires unit, you have 6 Power Dice and there aren't to many characters running around, it's worth the gamble.
appologies for the slight threadomancy, but as a VC player who has yet to beat skaven, here's some of the basic dick-moves the local vermin typically pull off to put the VC's back in their graves;
- scorch + 13th spell = insta win. anytime you get the dice to pull this off, go for it! that gravestar won't get regen, and you're likely to hit about half of them with the template. 13th spell insta gibs everything with no possible saves so it's a VC general's worst nightmare! just buy 4-6 naked warlocks with the Lv1 upgrade to build your dice pile for channeling...
if your seer is on a bell, or has a 4+ ward save, then the IF/miscast risk is well worth it since that gravestar will likely contain the BSB plus at least 1 or 2 other characters... (general might be likely too)
either way, with that gravestar out of the way, there's very little the VC player can do to out-damage anything beyond slaves/clanrats.
- 13th spell his general's bunker. yet another reason why i hate the bell, (and the lack of terrain at the local store!) if the general is in a skellie bunker, odds are it's never more than 20 skellies. hit it with a magic missile or two and then go for the 13th spell using your warp tokens...
VC's cannot come back from losing their general within the first 2 turns of the game... undead Ld is too crappy and stopping a bunch of Lv1's is dead simple.
- slave spam is godly against vampires! VC's have absolutely no way to get around 4-5+ 30 strong slave units... just run as fast as possible into the biggest threats and spend a turn magiking & shooting into those combats. 12 power dice is never enough to repair the damage, and the VC player will always flub at least a couple invo attempts at that point.
one guy i refuse to play now would typically bring 6 or more slave units of 30 models to form his front line because he knew there was nothing i could do to stop it before i got hit by them. since VC armies have only a few units, it's hard for them to avoid getting trapped!
- this should go without saying, but always target the characters with rank and file in combat. only wight kings and vampire lords are fairly resilient. thralls are still only T4/2W characters, so a round of two of concentrated attacks will kill them!
necros are a joke. they're hugely vital to the VC player since they are the main invocation & vanhel's batteries. thus, you should always aim for them when given the chance.
- assassin w/sword of anti-heroes + other trickster's shard. he's a solid character hunter who will bypass alot of the general's defenses. keep in mind that the general's unit tends to have at least 1 other character in it, so your assassin is almost always looking at getting off a minimum of 5 S6 attacks that force a re-roll on successful ward saves... (against unwary players, you might get 3 characters in the general's unit!)
plus, the assassin has a higher 'I' than the lord and due to ASF will re-roll his to-hit rolls.
i had a local player hide this guy in a unit of slaves and then slap them into my grave guard. took my general out quite easily. just watch out for a nighshroud lord!
- plague monk hoard w/banner of eternal flame + plague furnace. regen is gone, and even grave guard & ghouls will drop in droves to dual toughness tests plus the template attack.
plus the flaming poisoned attacks will chew through any hoard the vamps can take.
- don't fear the ghouls. they're simply neutured plague monks in all honesty. sure they can be nasty in a hoard formation, but they cost twice the pts of ranked skaven core. you'll be assured of steadfast, and a spear hoard of clanrats will do decent damage.
better yet, send your own plague monks into them! if you really want to make sure they die, send some plague censer bearers into the flanks... those toughness tests will still drop a few, plus the added hitting power will nuke the unit though crumbling damage.
- a black coach is free VP's. skaven have so many war machines that just chew the shit out of it! plus, it's ethereal abilities are worthless when warpstone weapons are floating about...
VC's overall aren't half as scary as they're made out to be - alot of players i find then to psyche themselves out over the fear causing & regenerating aspect of undead. once you start ganging up on their units and targeting the characters, they'll eventually go down!