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How to Skin Friends and Assassinate People - The Skaven Tactica 2012
A Guide to Manipulating the Verminous Horde



While reading this Tactica, understand that the following analyses are based on the personal experience of a few Skaven players. All recommendations are just that... recommendations. This is a game and rule #1 is to have fun, but if you're looking for some suggestions on how to best use a unit or build a list, or simply where to start, you've come to the right place.

Credit to Warlord Vrrmik and BrockSamson for compiling this Tactica.

Welcome to the Under-Empire!



Contents:
1.0 - Why Play Skaven?
2.0 - Types of Skaven Lists
3.0 - Skaven Weapon Run Down
• 3.1 - Magic Weapons
• 3.2 - The Scavenge Pile
4.0 - Skaven Armour Run Down
5.0 - Skaven Magic Item Run Down
• 5.1 - Talismans
• 5.2 - Arcane Items
• 5.3 - Enchanted Items
• 5.4 - Clan Eshin Tools of War
• 5.5 - Clan Skryre Gear of War
• 5.6 - Clan Pestilens Befouled Items
• 5.7 - Clan Moulder Beast-Prods
• 5.8 - Magic Standards
6.0 - Skaven Magic
• 6.1 - The Lore of Ruin
• 6.2 - The Lore of Plague
• 6.3 - The Dreaded Thirteenth Spell
7.0 - Skaven Unit Run Down
• 7.1 - Lords
• 7.2 - Heroes
• 7.3 - Core
• 7.4 - Special
• 7.5 - Rare
• 7.6 - Auxiliary Units

8.0 - Examples of Skaven Builds
• 8.1 - Characters and Units
• 8.2 - Army Lists
9.0 - The Skaven Clans and Warbands
• 9.1 - The Four Great Clans
• 9.2 - Major Warlord Clans
10.0 - Welcome to the Under Empire

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1.0 - Why Play Skaven?

If you're reading this, you are probably already interested in Skaven as one of your potential armies, or maybe you already collect them but are looking for strategic assistance.

Most Skaven players love the lore, the attitude, and the character of the army. The Skaven are unique in the fact that they will stab each other in the back, even in the middle of a conflict, and the society actually prides itself on this concept. Clan Skyrye possesses some of the best warmachines in the game, like the destructive Warp Lightning Cannon and monster-exploding doomwheel, and they will serve you well. Clan Moulder will send you masses of hell-spawned creatures and hulking abominations to crush your enemies. Clan Pestilens will lend you their Censer Bearers, Monks, and the deadly Plague Furnace, and will rip apart the opposition limb from limb in a poison-induced frenzy. Clan Eshin prefers less direct methods, and their Gutter Runners and Assassins will arrive as sneaky infiltrators to reinforce your flanks at the exact moment needed. A Skaven army working in perfect unison is a sight to behold.

...Except for when it doesn't. Which leads me to the most important note about choosing to play Skaven... while the army may have access to some of the most dreaded units in the game, it also easily has the most random and haphazard events in the game. Choosing to play Skaven is choosing to watch your army either decimate your opponent, or shoot itself in the foot in spectacular fashion. This is the entertainment of the army, the randomness that it can bring to the table. Some of your most memorable moments will be utterly destroying your friend by turn 2, but some will be of "that time when my Warp Lightning Cannon misfired, shooting my Doomwheel at full strength, which then caused it to rampage into my jezzails and kill the entire unit with impact hits." If fireworks like these, win or lose, bring a smile to your face, then Skaven may be right for you. Just blame your second-in-command, have him assassinated, and move on.

But make no mistake, barring the dice gods abandoning you, the Underblight can field one of the most devastating armies in the game.

2.0 - Types of Skaven Lists

There are generally two types of lists you can build – a combat list and a ranged list – and the awesome thing about Skaven is that they’re good at both of these (perhaps slightly more competitive with a ranged list).

Most of the armies you see will be Warlord Clan armies, however occasionally you’ll an army based on one of the Greater Clans alone. The most viable of these is a Pestilens army, with Lord Skrolk at its head to make Plague Monks Core choices. You can have a Moulder army as well, with Throt the Unclean at its head, but generally that doesn’t work too well in your favour, especially against ranged lists (they’ll just crush all of your units before you reach them, speed bumping you along the way… sounds like the kind of thing Skaven players do ;)). You cannot make a complete Eshin list as their Assassins are ‘Killers, Not Leaders’ and Clan Skryre has no core choice.

Some clans do better than others in shooting or combat lists, and you should build them accordingly. So a good shooting list will be a Warlord Clan allied with Clan Skryre, featuring a bit of Clan Eshin (these guys are technically not shooty, but are required in the list regardless to pack some punch). A good melee list will be a Warlord Clan allied with Clan Pestilens, featuring some Clan Moulder. In summary, the two best types of lists are Shooting Skryre/Eshin and Melee Pestilens/Moulder.

So now we’ve handled themes. Let’s talk about units in relation to these themes. All shooting lists should have some magic (with a Battle Standard Bearer, for the Skaven’s pathetic leadership). This means a Grey Seer (or heaven forbid, maybe even two) and at least one shooting and/or magically potent Warlock Engineer, preferably two or three. These units should be spread out throughout the battlefield to provide as much leadership and ranged coverage as possible. Now, the next unit that also features in a ranged list is the humble Skavenslave… times 100. Big blocks of Skavenslaves are truly magical in these sorts of lists, acting as really good speed bumps for your enemy’s close combat units (which you can then shoot into with no penalty whatsoever (see FAQ)).

Next is going to be your main weapons of war. One of the most overlooked of these is the humble Weapon Team. Weapon Teams, although very dangerous to handle, can be spectacular on the battlefield, and the best ones are the Ratling Gun and Poisoned Wind Mortar, followed by the Warpfire Thrower. Of course to have these, you’re going to have units that equip these. While most units have a Stormvermin bunker, which allows one of these guns to be equipped, you may find you want to have more in your army, and that means Clanrats. More expensive than Slaves, but not really too much better, these guys are the only other unit that is able to equip Weapon Teams, so take a unit or two if you need them. Then after all your weapons and all come the fun weapons, such as the Warp Lightning Cannon and other little toys that you can find in the Skaven army list.

Melee lists are rather self-explanatory – simply grab yourself a monster or two and a big bunch of diseased rats and head straight into the enemy! It is in these lists where the biggest guys shine – the Hell Pit Abomination can be devastating if it gets stuck into the enemy, and the Plague Furnace is extraordinarily deadly in the right hands. Not too much needs to be said about melee lists – just charge in and hope for the best, and only in hordes! Try get a flank charge with the Hell Pit or a Rat Ogre Pack too, it really adds some punch to the combat.

So generally, what you need to think about when you’re looking at types of lists is:
• Do I want ranged or combat?
• Do I want to be a Warlord Clan or a specific Greater Clan?
• Which Greater Clan do I like the most? How can I incorporate them into the list I require?
• Which of the Greater Clans best suits my needs?

It is when you answer these questions that you’ll have the army list that’s right for you.

3.0 - Skaven Weapon Run Down

3.1 - Magic Weapons

Fellblade

This item is one of the nastiest weapons in the game. Every hit is almost guaranteed to wound, pierce armor, and break ward saves. Oh, also, each hit does a lot of multiwounds. This item can make a bad day for anyone. The only problem is that it has a 1/3 chance to wound the bearer every turn (and this check has a habit of letting your opponent know you have brought this cheese to the table!).

Warpforged Blade
Carbon copy of the Obsidian Blade out of the BRB. Not a bad choice when combined with Poisoned Attacks to inflict auto wounds with no armor, but it will get pricey to do so.

Warlock Augmented Weapon
Adds good combat stats for a high price. A note: warlocks can take this without counting against their 50 point magic item allowance (they still have to pay the cost though). Although it looks solid on paper, the price puts it really only in the range of Warlords, and there are better options for them.

Blade of Corruption
The first weapon realistically affordable by hero-level characters, and it's a doozy. Extra Str and multi-wound, what more could you want for a middle range price? The chance to hurt yourself is negligible. A very good pickup for assassins or combat kitted Chieftans.

Weeping Blade
Armor Pierce and multi-wound, for a little lower than the Blade of Corruption. As such, it is just as solid. For its price, one of the better weapons to take on our list.

Dwarfbane
Exactly like it sounds. Overpriced vs. anyone but dwarves, but against dwarves, it is a steal. If you are playing a themed list or simply know you will be facing dwarves, a good take (though I would make sure your opponent is ok with list tailoring first).

Blade of Nurglitch
Each wound lowers toughness permanently. While that may sound great for the price, Skaven have a bad habit of needing a lot of help wounding and piercing saves. Since this weapon offers no assistance to either category, you can pass it by. Might be good as a cheap option for magic attacks if you need them (although Biting Blade is cheaper).

3.2 - The Scavenge Pile

Note: While these items are not magic per se, they will take up magic item cost on our characters, and so should be considered a magic item for builds.

Warpmusket
While strong and with decent range, and solid when combined with Warlock Optics to make a warlock good at shooting, this item does not see much use. This is likely due to the fact that it is move-or-fire in a very mobile army, and that its cost (combined with the Optics) is expensive for what it does.

Poisoned Attacks
Probably the strongest 'item' on the Scavenge Pile, this can be the icing on the cake to very solid combat builds. If you have a few points left on a combat character, consider this; it can counteract our relatively low strength.

Tail Weapon
An extra attack at Str 3. Only useful (if ever) when combined with Poisoned Attacks, but generally not worth the cost. If there is a build you are considering that has certain effects based on the number of your attacks, this can be a useful item in that circumstance.

Warp Pistol
Similar to the musket, except you can move and fire. But your warlock still has bad BS, and you are moving, which means its worse. Still not worth taking, with or without Optics. However it does make your all of your close combat attacks magical, which is a steal against ethereal units.

Rat Hound Bodyguard
While slightly cheaper than the Tail Weapon, this item is much worse. It provides a Str 3 attack, but one that swings at WS3 instead of the owner's WS, and has a chance to wound the owner. If you are looking for more attacks, tail weapon is the way to go over this item.

4.0 - Skaven Armour Run Down

Warpstone Armor
Plate armor that can wound people that hit the character if an armor save is made. Best taken on characters with high armor (shield, mounted). Can be expensive protection considering it does not offer a ward save or other protective function. Still, it is the Skaven's only access to Plate Armor (along with World's Edge), and that alone can be its saving grace. Usable (but not recommended) by Warlocks.

World's Edge Armor
Plate armor that will break the first time you are not allowed an armor save (though the hit is negated). Less protective than Warpstone Armor, but more affordable. It might sound like a nice way to negate a miscast, but none of our casters can take it. Still, the lack of a ward save or other protective function hurts the item, and if you're looking for Plate, Warpstone is better as it does not blow up in the middle of the game.

Shield of Distraction
Reduces incoming attacks in close combat. For very cheap, this can be a good item to finish off the protection of a Warlord.

5.0 - Skaven Magic Item Run Down

5.1 - Talismans

Foul Pendant
Carbon copy of the Talisman of Endurance from the BRB. Useful for spreading around ward saves since you cannot double up on magic items in a list.

Shadow Magnet Trinket
Makes the hero and his unit harder to hit with shooting. A must have for any Plague Priest on Plague Furnace, so they have a decent protection from ranged attacks

Rival Hide Talisman
One use only, causes a model to miss more of its attacks in close combat. Can be a decent protective item, but given the plethora of other great talisman choices, this one should be saved for when you don't have the points for anything else.

5.2 - Arcane Items

Warpstorm Scroll
An extremely expensive one use spell that is extremely painful for flyers. Only take if you know you are up against a heavy flying list.

Warp Energy Condenser
A cheap must have for one Warlock in your army. Augments the damage of Warp Lightning.

Scrying Stone
A one-hit blocker, it can be an effective means to avoid the pain of the first miscast, but the stupidity associated with the item, and the fact that it uses an Arcane Item slot, is its downfall.

Warpstone Tokens
The quintessential Skaven caster item, Tokens allow you to add free power dice to spellcasting attempts. Sure, they might wound your caster, but hey, its Skaven, its bound to happen. These are great if you have the free points, they can turn a bad magic turn into a good one. Great on turns where you roll low winds (and therefore the enemy has only a few dispel dice), or as a surprise at the end of a magic phase.

5.3 - Enchanted Items

Skavenbrew
Although pricey, this item can be nasty in a combat list with a large unit of Stormvermin. With the right roll, the cost will feel like a steal for the buff the unit gets. A pity it is limited to only Stormvermin and Clanrats. If you take it, take it on a naked Warlock whose sole purpose is to use this item.

Skalm
Considering Skaven have a habit of injuring themselves, any item that heals a character is a premium. A great take on a Grey Seer to negate a bad miscast (or to buy time to Skitterleap out of a bad combat).

Pipes of Piebald
Forces enemies to take a leadership test to charge. Considering the rampant ITP that is currently running amok, this item is less useful than it sounds, especially for the price. However, if you have the points, taking this on the Warlock in your Seer's unit might save your bunker another turn from combat.

Portents of Verminous Doom
Negative LD for enemies in base contact. Not amazing, your points are probably better spent elsewhere. If those points are spent on something that causes another point of combat resolution, you have essentially accomplished the same thing.

5.4 - Clan Eshin Tools of War

Warpstone Stars
Only available to assassins, these are best used on an assassin in a unit of Gutter Runners that plans on never seeing combat. These can be an effective way to take down monsters and the like, but they will fill your assassin's point allotment, and there are other things in the army that excel at killing monsters (ironically, Gutter Runners are among them). If you're taking an assassin just to take these and shoot all game, that combination of points is probably better spent on more shooting units.

Infernal Bomb
While the concept is fun, and it can be used similar to the Comet spell to make an opponent think twice about moving toward a certain location, the damage on this item is generally considered not enough to warrant its price (or the risk of placing it where you want!).

Smoke Bomb
A nice item for getting an Assassin or unit of Gutters out of a jam. The only issue is that most Assassins are kitted out to kill as much as possible, and only the champion can take these in a Gutters unit (the champion being a waste of points). As such, these don't see much use.

5.5 - Clan Skryre Gear of War

Brass Orb
Similar to many other one-use items, these are best taken on a naked Warlock whose sole purpose is to use the item. While pricey, it is essentially a one-time free cast of Pit of Shades, and has a solid chance of ending a monster outright. Since magic items don't have to be revealed to opponents, this can be a sneaky way of downing a big enemy who underestimates a unit of slaves headed by a lone warlock.

Doomrocket
Already a very solid item in its own right, especially considering its cost/damage ratio, this item really shines in tandem with Skitterleap. Take this on a naked warlock, Skitterleap him 14" away from the center of a big block of elite infantry, and roll 4D6 for distance. He will mess up that unit and easily get his points back.

Death Globe
This is essentially a one-use item that shoots like a Poisoned Wind Mortar at much less range. Although similar to the doomrocket, this item's drawback is that it needs skitterleap to succeed, whereas the doomrocket is only preferable with skitterleap. Although it can be useful, consider the points being spent somewhere else.

Warlock Optics
An upgrade to a Warlock's BS, and allows him to avoid cover with ranged attacks. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, this item in tandem with a ranged weapon is a significant investment that tends to underperform.

5.6 - Clan Pestilens Befouled Items

Warp Scroll
Although it is a unit-wide one-use hitter, it is not very strong and is a significant point investment for a Priest. Considering Bound Spells now require dice to cast, this item should be avoided.

Plague Banner
If you run Monks in any significant number, you run them with a Plague Banner. No questions asked.

5.7 - Clan Moulder Beast-Prods

Shock-Prod
Although it may sound like cheap armor avoidance, this item cannot be used 'over the heads' of beasts like a whip, and so a model with this item will invite attacks back, and probably die.

Electro-Whip
A whip that grants more attacks for very cheap. This would be a great item, except for the fact that the Skaven Errata thought it appropriate that all master moulders, technically being unit champions, should be forced to be in the front of the unit. Therefore, not only does this negate the 'whip' property of this item, it negates any reason to ever take a master moulder, as there would be no way to protect them in the back ranks. As such, you will likely never be inclined to field any Moulder item.

5.8 - Magic Banners

Sacred Banner of the Horned Rat
When banners cost over 50 points, they can only be taken by BSBs without any other magic items, which means they better be worth it. This banner is not. With a weak LD reduction aura, and causing LD rerolls in base contact (as if the unprotected BSB will live that long), this banner does not merit its point cost.

Storm Banner
An excellent banner in combat armies. Although Skaven can be very shooty, if you choose to field a combat army, this banner can make your footslog across the field much more tolerable. It does impact your shooting though, so avoid it in shooty lists.

Grand Banner of Clan Superiority
While the Storm Banner is the banner of choice in combat lists for Stormvermin, this banner is probably the banner of choice in shooty lists. If your bunker is Stormvermin, you can take this to make combat a little less painful, and possibly even break a tie.

Shroud of Dripping Death
Like the Grand Banner, this banner can be used to generate a little free combat resolution, but this time in the form of kills. While only Str 3, no armor saves is what really makes this banner shine. As banner bearers cannot be targeted individually, make sure this guy is not on the end of your unit for maximum impact.

Banner of the Under-Empire
Although it may not look like it at first glance, the Shroud does exactly the same thing and does it better, even considering the amount of hits this banner can inflict. Str 2 with full armor saves is weak indeed. If you want this effect, take Shroud instead.

Dwarf-Hide Banner
A double-edged sword against dwarves, granting both sides hatred. Be careful though; there are dwarf units that may outclass yours in close combat. Obviously, do not take this unless you know you are facing dwarves.

Banner of Verminous Scurrying
This can be a cheap way to get a close combat unit across the board faster. Do not underestimate the usefulness of banners like this and the Storm Banner when playing a close combat army against a gunline.

6.0 - Skaven Magic

Skaven magic is part of what gives the army so much punch. Generally regarded as one of the best four or five armies in the game at magic, the Lores of Ruin and Plague can give you that extra punch your army needs.

6.1 - The Lore of Ruin (Grey Seers and Warlocks)

Skitterleap: This spell can be extremely useful under certain circumstances. Allowing the caster to teleport himself or any hero within 12" to anywhere on the battlefield can provide a big strategic boost. The obvious use to is save your Grey Seer's behind from combat on turn 5 to make sure he's around at the end, but it has other uses, such as teleporting a Warlock with a Doomrocket into optimal range. This is the default Ruin spell for Grey Seers only.

Warp Lightning: Pound for pound, perhaps the most painful magic missile in the game. This is the default Ruin spell for Warlocks, and man does it pack a punch. The drawback, of course, as with any Skaven implement of death, is that while it is cheap and effective, it is also (hilariously) dangerous to the caster. Occasionally, he may feel the need to shock himself in the mouth.

Howling Warpgale: A circumstantial spell. Since you can wait to see what spells you roll until you see what opponent you have, this can be a very good spell to take against a gunline or a heavy flying list. Otherwise, leave it at home.

Death Frenzy: Continuing in the spirit of granting exceptional power at a cost to one's safety, Death Frenzy can be a very effective spell. Granting two additional attacks to a unit, depending on the unit, can be extremely painful for whatever it runs into. However, the unit will start to slowly kill itself off. A decent choice for a combat-focused list, as the frenzy will be more effective.

Scorch: A good follow-up damage spell to Warp Lightning. While a good chunk higher casting value and a little less strength, Scorch can hit a large amount of rank and file models for solid damage. Causing Panic and being Flaming are icing on the cake. However, unlike Warp Lightning, it does much less when directed at a monster or small unit. Another wait-and-see spell, whose effectiveness is based on your opponent's army.

Crack's Call: Although it has short and random range, this spell can be a very bad day for big baddies, such as monsters or ogres. If an enemy is bearing down, it can be a solid last resort shot at a monster, or can be used by a Level 2 Warlock lucky enough to roll it to go monster hunting. Or, if you're playing the Watchtower scenario and decide you don't like that building, you can make it disappear.

6.2 - The Lore of Plague (Grey Seers and Plague Priests)

Pestilent Breath: This spell gives a mediocre breath weapon for a low cast value. Better against armored targets or T3 armies. This spell is also the default spell of the lore for both Grey Seers and Plague Priests.

Bless with Filth: A very good spell from this lore, giving Poison to a unit. One of the Skaven weaknesses tends to be Strength, and Poison allows a unit to be much less concerned about that. Especially good on Rat Ogres and Plague Monks, who can dish out a large number of attacks.

Wither: One of the best debuff spells in the game, lowering a units toughness by one. Permanently. Really can't say any more than that... it is effective against everything. Can also solve the 'strength problem' Skaven can have.

Vermintide: The other mediocre spell on the list, vermintide sends a template forward that does a number of low strength hits to enemies. Since the number of hits is per unit, it can be effective against single models, who have to bear the entire brunt of the hits, although they will do so with full saves.

Cloud of Corruption: Imagine a Warp Lightning spell... that hits EVERYTHING. Except it's poison, and it also might hit your own troops, but not as likely, and Pestilens is almost immune. Still a very impressive spell, even with the collateral damage.

Plague: In the land of 8th Edition, where unit-wide characteristic tests reign supreme, we have one of the best. A bouncing unit-wide toughness test. As with Cloud, it may hit your own units... but hey, that's what being Skaven is all about. Also very powerful in conjunction with Wither.

6.3 - The Dreaded Thirteenth Spell (Grey Seers only)

Yes, this spell is powerful enough to get its own section. If you have a Grey Seer, don't leave home without this. In fact, you probably shouldn't leave home without your Grey Seer. This spell can alter games, and is specifically built to be cast with Irresistable Force, possibly killing your Grey Seer in the process. It is still worth it. While unit-wide tests get worse as a unit gets smaller, this spell gets better... possibly completely wiping out a unit of infantry and turning them into clanrats under your control. The best part is... NO SAVES. Black Orcs? Rats. Warriors of Chaos? Rats. Temple Guard? Rats. It's only drawback is that it can only target infantry. Use this spell as much as possible.

7.0 - Skaven Unit Run Down

7.1 - Lords

Plague Lord Skrolk
Overall Rating: B+
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: All armies
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Plague Monks, Plague Censer Bearers

Grey Seer Thanquol and Boneripper
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: All armies
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Stormvermin, Clanrats

Ikit Claw
Overall Rating: A
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: All armies
Can be taken against: N/A
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Poisoned Wind Globadiers, Stormvermin

Throt the Unclean
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: All armies
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Rat Ogres

Warlord Queek Headtaker
Overall Rating: B+
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Armies full of characters
Can be taken against: Everything else
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Stormvermin

Vermin Lord
Overall Rating: C+
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: Everything
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: any combat oriented unit

Warlord
Overall Rating: B+
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: Any, depends on what army you face and the kind of list you take
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: Everything
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Stormvermin

Grey Seer
Overall Rating: A+
Recommended Number per army: 1-2
Recommended Upgrades: Any Arcane Items, Power Stones, Dispel Scrolls
Always take against: Everything
Can be taken against: N/A
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Stormvermin

7.2 - Heroes

Deathmaster Snikch
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Enemy characters
Can be taken against: Infantry, Cavalry, War Machines
Never take against: Monsters
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Clanrats

Tretch Craventail
Overall Rating: C+
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: Infantry
Never take against: Everything else
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Clanrats

Assassin
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: Clan Eshin Tools of War, Weeping Blade
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: Infantry units, Artillery
Never take against: Cavalry, Monsters
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Large infantry units

Warlock Engineer
Overall Rating: A
Recommended Number per army: 1+
Recommended Upgrades: Level 1 Wizard, Warp Energy Condenser, Warpstone Tokens
Always take against: Everything
Can be taken against: N/A
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Skavenslaves, Stormvermin

Chieftain
Overall Rating: A+
Recommended Number per army: 1-2
Recommended Upgrades: Battle Standard Bearer (Storm Banner w/Halberd and Shield), Warpforged Blade, Warlock Augmented Weapon, Shield, Shield of Distraction
Always take against: Everything
Can be taken against: N/A
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Clanrats, Stormvermin

Plague Priest
Overall Rating: B+
Recommended Number per army: 0-2
Recommended Upgrades: Plague Furnace, Level 2 Wizard, Flail, Dispel Scrolls, Power Stones
Always take against: Most Units
Can be taken against: Everything
Never take against: Nothing
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Plague Monks, Plague Censer Bearers, Plague Furnace

7.3 - Core

Clanrats
Overall Rating: A
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 1-2 groups of 30+
Recommended Upgrades: Command, any Weapon Team
Always take against: Low toughness creatures, low armoured creatures
Can be taken against: Everything else
Never take against: Nothing
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Every entry in the army list

Stormvermin
Overall Rating: A
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 0-1 groups of 20+
Recommended Upgrades: Command, Grand Banner of Clan Superiority, any Weapon Team
Always take against: Tough foes
Can be taken against: Hordes, armoured foes
Never take against: Monsters
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Any Skaven general, Clanrats

Skavenslaves
Overall Rating: A+
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 3 or more groups of 40+
Recommended Upgrades: Musician
Always take against: Low toughness creatures, low armoured creatures
Can be taken against: Everything else
Never take against: Nothing
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Every non-character in the army, Warlock Engineers

Night Runners
Overall Rating: C+
Recommended Upgrades: Warp-grinder
Always take against: Hordes
Can be taken against: Low toughness creatures
Never take against: Everything else
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: None

Giant Rats
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 0-1 units of ~20 (exc. Packmasters)
Recommended Upgrades: Packmaster Skweel Gnawtooth
Always take against: Hordes
Can be taken against: Smaller groups of low-toughness creatures
Never take against: Tough/armoured creatures
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Rat Ogres

Rat Swarms
Overall Rating: C+
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 0-2 units of 4-6 bases
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Nothing
Can be taken against: Hordes
Never take against: Everything else
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: None

7.4 - Special

Gutter Runners
Overall Rating: A+
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 1-2 groups of 10
Recommended Upgrades: Deathrunner w/Weeping Blade, Poisoned Attacks
Always take against: Any army with artillery
Can be taken against: Any gunline
Never take against: Mid-large groups of combat units
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: None

Rat Ogres
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 0-2 units of 4 or 6 (exc. Packmasters)
Recommended Upgrades: Master-bred Rat Ogre, Master Moulder
Always take against: Medium-sized groups of tougher creatures, light cavalry
Can be taken against: Large groups of creatures
Never take against: Monsters
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Giant Rats

Plague Monks
Overall Rating: A
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 0-2 groups of 30+
Recommended Upgrades: Command, Banner of the Under Empire
Always take against: Hordes, mid-low toughness creatures
Can be taken against: Everything else
Never take against: Nothing
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Plague Furnace/Plague Priest, Plague Monks, Plagueclaw Catapult

Plague Censer Bearers
Overall Rating: B+
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 0-1 groups of 10-15
Recommended Upgrades: None
Always take against: Mid-low toughness units, armoured mid-low toughness units
Can be taken against: Everything else
Never take against: Nothing
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Plague Monks, Plague Furnace, Lord Skrolk

Warplock Jezzails
Overall Rating: B+
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 0-2 groups of 3-5
Recommended Upgrades: None
Always take against: Heavy Cavalry, High Toughness and Armour
Can be taken against: Heavy Infantry, Monstrous Infantry
Never take against: Swarms
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Warp Lightning Cannon

Poisoned Wind Globadiers
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army/per unit: 0-1 groups of ~10
Recommended Upgrades: Poisoned Wind Mortar
Always take against: Large groups of armoured/tough foes
Can be taken against: Swarms
Never take against: Small groups of cavalry, monsters
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Clanrats, Skavenslaves

7.5 - Rare

Hell Pit Abomination
Overall rating: B+
Recommended Number per army: 0-2
Recommended Upgrades: Warpstone Spikes
Always take against: Smaller groups of any foe
Can be taken against: medium groups
Never take against: Swarms (unless combined with combat-oriented units)
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: combat-oriented units

Doomwheel
Overall Rating: A
Recommended Number per army: 0-2
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Smaller groups of armoured foes
Can be taken against: Almost everything else
Never take against: Swarms (unless combined with combat-oriented units)
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: any combat-oriented infantry unit

Warp Lightning Cannon
Overall Rating: A+
Recommended Number per army: 1-2
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Monsters, Armoured Units
Can be taken against: Everything else
Never take against: Nothing
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Warplock Jezzails

Plagueclaw Catapult:
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Hordes of low toughness creatures, armoured low toughness creatures
Can be taken against: Medium toughness, low armour creatures
Never take against: Everything else
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Plague Monks

7.6 - Auxiliary Units

Master Moulder
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: Any Clan Moulder Beast-prod
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: N/A
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Rat Ogres

Packmaster Skweel Gnawtooth
Overall Rating: B+
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: N/A
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Giant Rats

Poisoned Wind Mortar
Overall Rating: A
Recommended Number per army: 0-2
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Large groups of armoured/tough foes
Can be taken against: Swarms
Never take against: Small groups of cavalry, monsters
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Clanrats, Poisoned Wind Globadiers, Stormvermin

Warpfire Thrower
Overall Rating: B+
Recommended Number per army: 0-2
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Hordes
Can be taken against: Larger groups
Never take against: Cavalry
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Clanrats, Stormvermin, Ratling Gun

Ratling Gun
Overall Rating: A
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: large groups of armoured/tough foes
Can be taken against: Everything else
Never take against: Nothing
Combined with which units for maximum effect: Clanrats, Stormvermin, Warpfire Thrower

Doom-flayer
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Armoured combat units
Can be taken against: Unarmoured combat units
Never take against: Everything else
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Stormvermin

Warp-grinder
Overall Rating: C+
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: N/A
Never take against: N/A
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Night Runners

Plague Furnace
Overall Rating: B+
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: Almost all units
Can be taken against: Monsters
Never take against: Nothing
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Plague Monks

Screaming Bell
Overall Rating: B
Recommended Number per army: 0-1
Recommended Upgrades: N/A
Always take against: N/A
Can be taken against: Most units
Never take against: Monsters
Combined with which unit for maximum effect: Stormvermin, Clanrats

8.0 - Examples of Skaven Builds

8.1 - Characters and Units

In this segment, we take one character or unit from the applicable sections of the army book (Lords, Heroes, Core and Special) and talk about some example builds. This may be one of the most biased parts of this tactica, so do try some other builds out for yourself, and see what works for you!

The Grey Seer

The most magic-potent unit in the Skaven army, the Grey Seer worms his way into the lists of many a player.

You'll want your Grey Seer to be as tough and as all-round as possible. He needs decent protection so that he can cast his spells without having to worry too much about mishaps, and he needs protection from the enemy. The best build that the authors have come up with which fulfils all of the requirements is this:

Grey Seer:
- Talisman of Protection
- Skalm
- Dispel Scroll

The Talisman of Protection gives the Grey Seer a healthy 4+ Ward save, while Skalm allows him a second chance when he blows chunks of himself off. The dispel scroll is a great item for all magic users, saving yourself against some of the nastiest spells of the Old World.

Chieftain

Superior to all except the Warlord, the Chieftain acts as a command unit and a rallying point for the Skaven around him, steeling them up during the battle and making deadly contributions himself. The most trusted and useful of these chieftains is the clan's Battle Standard Bearer, often bearing a banner of the storm or even the sacred standard of the horned one himself.

If you're going to take a Chieftain, you need to make him your battle standard bearer. Almost essential in every list, he is responsible for keeping your Skaven in the fight, and more importantly, willing to fight. Try to keep him in a Stormvermin unit, especially with the following build:

Battle Standard Bearer with Storm Banner, shield and halberd.

The Storm Banner is most useful if you're using a melee oriented Skaven army, although it is generally good against any shooting army... including yours. The shield is best used to fend off incoming ranged attacks, while the halberd will give you the strength bonus in CC.

Clanrats

Barely superior to Skavenslaves (although they exploit this superiority in a way that only a Skaven could), the Clanrat horde can be one of the most useful in the army. Why? Because they allow weapon teams, that's why!

I wouldn't commonly advise to take over Slaves them unless you are taking weapon teams. Here is a set up (the full package, as I like to call it) I use frequently, which uses as many weapon teams as possible:

- 30 Clanrats w/Swords and Shields, Full Command, Warpfire Thrower. This unit targets targets casual or big infantry units.

- 30 Clanrats w/Spears and Shields, Full Command, Ratling Gun, generally for defence, may be combined in a multi charge or may be used to speed bump killy combat units. The Ratling Gun is perhaps my favourite weapon team, partially because it killed Malekith on a Black Dragon (which I believe is around 900 points, don't quote me on that).

- 40 Clanrats w/20 Spears, 20 Swords, and 40 Shields, Full Command, Poisoned Wind Mortar, for its versatility, does whatever I require it to do and the Poisoned Wind Mortar is great for taking out armoured infantry.

- 20+ Stormvermin w/Halberds and Shields, Full Command, Grand Banner of Clan Superiority, Warpfire Thrower. This unit marches forward using terrain as cover to around 14" from the enemy then holds its position and lets the WFT dish as much damage before the charge.

When it comes down to unit sizes and which weapon team to use, it's really personal preference. Try different styles out for yourself; see if it works for you, maybe you won't even like weapon teams. Have a go, it won't harm you (actually, that's not true... knowing Skaven ;)).

Gutter Runners

When it comes to sneakiness, they don't get much sneakier than that of Clan Eshin. Some of their most deadly warriors are the Gutter Runners, which strike swift and true at the heart of the enemy (literally).

These guys are great. They were one of the few units that received an A+ in the rating system, and with good reason. Not only can they work separately from the rest of the army or in cohesion with them, they save us a lot of models. Why? They have the capacity to hunt down enemy artillery.

You only need ten of them to cause plenty of havoc for the enemy. Here is a build commonly used by Skaven players globally:

10 Gutter Runners with poisoned attacks, slings, and including a Deathrunner with a Weeping Blade.

With slings for better shooting, poisoned attacks for improved melee and with the Deathrunner as the icing on the cake, you don't get many units that can hunt quite as brutally as these.

As already stated, this is mostly personal preference of the authors. Feel free to try your own builds. You never know, you might be the person to discover the next wonder build for Skaven!

8.2 - Army Lists

Below are two examples of commonly played Skaven lists. By no means are you limited in your clan choices under the rules, but people tend to pick a theme and go with it. Also, certain clans lend themselves to either close combat or shooting, and work well in tandem in that regard.

Skryre/Eshin 1500

Grey Seer
Talisman of Protection
Dispel Scroll
Skalm
340

Warlock Engineer
Level 1
Warp Energy Condenser
85

Warlock Engineer
Doomrocket
45

Chieftan BSB
Armor of Destiny
Halberd
122

Stormvermin x24
Full Command
Attached Warpfire Thrower
263

Slaves x40
Musician
82

Slaves x39
Musician
80

Gutter Runners x9
Poison, Slings
162

Jezzails x4
**

Warp Lightning Cannon
**

Doomwheel
**

---------------------------------------

Pestilens/Moulder 1500

Plague Priest
on Plague Furnace
Level 2
Additional Hand Weapon
Poisoned Attacks (Scavenge)
Foul Pendant
332

Chieftan BSB
Armor of Destiny
Halberd
122

Stormvermin x23
Full Command
Attached Poisoned Wind Mortar
251

Slaves x30
Musician
62

Slaves x30
Musician
62

Plague Monks x25
Musician, Standard, Plague Banner
220

Rat Ogres x5
Packmasters x2
216

Hellpit Abomination
**

9.0 - Clans of the Under Empire

Here is a list of many of the Greater and Warlord Clans of the Under-Empire, with some detailing to describe their character, background and/or their most renowned traits. Of course this is just a small selection – you can easily create your own colour scheme, background and character of a clan of your own.

9.1 - The Greatest Clans

Clan Skryre: the most powerful clan. Responsible for all the machinery for the Skaven, they blend dangerous magic with insane science and engineering. Their war machines are regarded as the most powerful but the most dangerous in all of the Warhammer World

Clan Pestilens: based in the Southern part of the Warhammer World. They are responsible for both of the Skaven Civil Wars. They worship the Horned Rat as the bringer of disease and plague, while being immune to most plagues themselves, and concocting some of the deadliest diseases to have seen the Warhammer World.

Clan Moulder: based in the far north landscapes, infested by Chaos and very close to troll country. They breed all sorts of monstrosities through warpstone enhancements, genetic engineering and alchemy. They are very wealthy and rent their beasts to other Warlord clans.

Clan Eshin: considered lost for a long time by the rest of the Skaven race, this special kind of Skaven travel to and from the far east lands of Cathay and Nippon. When they came back, they had become changed. They had developed into an Assassin clan, and it is only because of them that the first Skaven Civil War was ended. These guys provide all the assassins and the sneakiness of the Skaven.

9.2 - Major Warlord Clans

Clan Mors: currently the most powerful of the Warlord Clans. It is here that we can find the infamous Warlord Queek Headtaker.

Clan Rictus: renowned for their endless swarms of heavily armed and armoured Stormvermin.

Clan Skab: were nearly wiped out in the invasion of Nuln.

Clan Skurvy: the largest and most prominent sea-faring clan of the Skaven.

Clan Volkn: renowned for being pyromaniacs. They dye their fur orange and/or red.

Clan Septik: a Warlord clan who has the closest ties with Clan Pestilens.

Clan Skuttle: the second largest yet still prominent sea-faring clan of the Skaven. They are the arch rivals of Clan Skurvy.

Clan Mordkin: a clan who are most renowned for their obsession with death and bones. They dye their fur white or bone colour.

Clan Gritus: a separate clan once part of Clan Mors, yet still powerful in their own right. After the death of the Great Warlord Vrrmik, they were left leaderless, and they formed their own clan.

Clan Gangrous: renowned for being the most vicious tunnel fighters in Skavendom.

Clan Gnaw: another powerful Warlord Clan, famed for their ravenous hunger.

Clan Ektrik: obsessed with harnessing and channelling Warp Lightning, and therefore a favoured clan of Clan Skryre.

Clan Rigens: a separate clan created in a spin-off universe that is responsible for controlling Skaven Bloodbowl teams.

10.0 - Welcome to the Under-Empire

So after reading all of this, you should have a good idea of what the Skaven are about, their themes, their play styles, and the capabilities of their units and magic items. Now go! Buy ten boxes of Clanrats/Skavenslaves, and get working! Well, maybe not 10... but you get the idea!

Welcome to the Under-Empire!
 
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