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Over the past few weeks pretty much every VC unit has been covered in some detail on this forum, so I decided to start a pre-emptive thread on my tactics with how to use Skeletons. Thoughts and comments would be a appreciated.
First lets have a look at some of the pro’s and cons. On the plus side Skeletons are in their own way unbreakable, you can raise more of them and they have a number of options available to them in terms of spears, light armour etc. Like all undead troops they also cause fear. On the negative side they are fairly expensive considering their stats (which are quite bad) as a result they are stuck in a kind of Limbo of being not good enough as a regular infantry regiment but also too expensive for a regular tar regiment.
I would argue then that one of their most effective use is in the expectation of what they could do rather than what they will actually do.
By this I mean a large units of skeletons can be used to anchor a flank or even the centre of an army with the intention of intimidating the opposition into deploying his main attack else where. Such a tactic works well when combined with low level characters that make the enemy think twice before engaging a unit of skeletons.
For example a unit of skeletons with a Strigoi thrall armed with Infinite hatred and iron sinews (+1 St re-roll to hit). or a Wight Lord with the Hell banner ( causes Terror) becomes a tougher prospect for any opponent.
Alternatively a skeleton unit can become a very defensive anchor unit. Armed with Hand weapon and shield and combined with specifically equipped characters such as a Blood Dragon thrall with the cursed shield of Mousillian and the sword of might (-1 Attacks from enemy +1 St) a Wraith with the Obsidian amulet or a Wight Lord with a battle standard with Banner of doom (5+ save vs. Missiles) then these units can hold their own against most opponents. Indeed in very small games (1000pt) such units become very dangerous. That said In large games (2000 pt or higher) I would probably rather spend the points on a nice large unit of Grave Guard.
An obvious strategy which is especially open to magic heavy armies is to chose a small unit of skeletons and then boost their numbers in the first couple of turns. If you take as a rule of thumb that a points difference of 250-350pts between two armies will give one army a huge advantage then this tactic will work decisively in your favour. I personally think this tactic works better with Skeletons over Zombies simply because skeletons have a higher chance of actually winning a combat.
You can use the same tactic but slightly later on in the game for even more impressive results. Although riskier it can be more rewarding. A unit of 16-20 Skeletons with a thrall will be a prime unit for a large powerful enemy unit who may well deploy accordingly. Suddenly raising this unit to 25 or 30 skeletons should give you the edge and allow you to ‘trap’ an enemy unit.
In summery then I would argue that at first glance skeletons are simply a poor but numerous infantry choice designed to overwhelm the enemy by sheer weight of numbers. However on closer inspection and with good integration into the rest of the army skeletons can quickly become a sophisticated infantry unit that can be used to devastating effect.
Last edited by Visitor Q; May 3rd, 2006 at 03:07.
Well said. couldnt agree more. I luuuv my skellies
What you are we once were. What we are you will become!!!
hmm, well this can be a desisive point on skeelies but at 10 point a modle for sheilds and light armor and sheilds, is 10 points for that worth it? I say no.
think of it this way... you pay for 16 models... raise TEN more... and you dont have to pay ANYTHING for them... yours opponent doesnt even get more VP for killing them... only if you raise ten NEW skeletons... thast the beauty of having a 15 man strong skellie unit that costs all of 175pts... say you add 20 skeletons through out the game to that unit... thats a free 200 points worth of armoured up skellies
What you are we once were. What we are you will become!!!
Great post, Berny Mac.
Are they worth 10 pts? I'd say so. Yes, their stat line is the pits. Not much better than goblins, but with armor, hw, and shield and fear, they're worth every bit. And like Big_Canadian says, raising more with no additional VPs attached is pretty big.
Fear is why the cost of so many VC troops is inflated. The biggest detriment across the board for all but characters is the lousy weapon skill, IMO. They hit on 4s or 5s most of the time, which is average and not so bad, but being hit on 3s almost always flat out stinks. And skeletons get hit a lot, but they do have a decent armor save, and with numbers, you can lose three or four to combat and still break the enemy, especially if you've got a character in there, as Berny Mac mentions, adding combat res to the skellies. And that's an important point, IMO, as most undead troops (even GG sometimes) need the killing power of characters.
The fact that the skeletons cause fear and are unbreakable easily makes them worth 10pts with sufficient magic backing to raise more the enemy simply will not be able to destroy the regiment. Something i forgot to mention was that a large unit of skeletons is a good way of detracting enemy attention away from either your grave guard or more vulnerable units like dire wolves. If say you you only took zombies the enemy will realise that the zombies are all but impossible to destroy (normally coming in units of 30+ and with more coming each turn) and won't do to much damage other than disrupting his lines as a normal tar regiment is wont to do.
Therefore he will concentrate his efforts on destroying your best regiments(grave Guard Black Knights) or your weakest regiments (i.e the ones with no armour save).
By fielding skeletons on the other hand you are presenting him with a target that can hold its own (armour save, unbrakable ability to raise more troops) but is also a viable target for his efforts (i.e represents a real threat). This then leaves or at least lessens the pressure put on your other regiments.
You should consolidate your two posts on here, Berny Mac, and put them in the "Playing With" sticky. It's great commentary, but over time this thread will die off and disappear to somewhere on page 11. The stickied thread will insure that your comments stick around (ugh, pun unintended). It's kind of like being immortal, but in a virtual, undead kind of way.
Thanks I appreciate that you think my commentry is worth keeping. I might dig up some of my comments about nechrachs and Zombies as well and lump them all together.
Wow, Excellent point, really. Good perspective!Originally Posted by Berny MacPLEASE do haha, I was wondering about Nechrachs a bit ago, that would be quite .. Awesome! I'll hold you to that heh.Originally Posted by Berny Mac
i gatta say if you think that skellies are worth ten points a peice, two points less than gg, well thats fine, but 6 points to pay for zombies is by far better, you say that 175 points for a small regiment of skelletons if ok, well fine but that small skeleton regiment is the same price for 29 zombies almost double, double, 15 skellies vs 29 zombies, if your into small fragile units that require you to win the magic phase, ok, if you want reliable units that let you use your magic elswhere, like creating units behind the enimies or cursing the years out of them, use zombies.
on the point of giving another threat to elieviate the concern on gg and black knights, well first hopefully if your running them in a 2000 point battle your not running both. both of them in one battle and then skelletons, small units to boot will require you to count on luck comming your way. ok, back to the point, skelletons with armor are huge in the point cost area, but add gg or bk and expect them not to target knights, your telling me they will target skelletons instead. No I dont think so.
Also, zombies may not be able to kill...well anything in combat but their offence is just about the same as skelletons, yeah they strike last but with in2 skellies usually do too, what should be doing the damage is characters, skellies wont win comat without them, and zombies wont either, unless the outnumbering comes in. Anyway, flanking, and characters are how they win. gg bk can win without characters, although characters can help them as well. So my conclution is, they play the same purpose, this can be debated sure, but with gg or bk they dont play the heavy hitting role, they can play the flanking role. so they are the same but for a dramatic price difference.