Friday, May 24, 2013

8 Skaven Battlefield Tips for Beginners...

...learned the hard way!


As it may take me some time to finish up my most recent battle report, I thought I would cut to the chase here! 
These are a few things that came to mind after my most recent battle. They aren't all of benefit to the Skaven Warlord, but in the interests of fairness in a friendly game these things are important! (in my gaming group, friendly players will often offer you a chance to take a forgotten role etc. This is lovely, but makes me feel even more guilty of I then roll well!)

These are things that I think in the excitement of a game with other inexperienced players if it's easy to forget (and I did!) 

1. You rocked your painting (and your budget) to bring a Screaming Bell... 

... so don't forget to ring it! Remember that it gets rung at a very specific time (sorry, don't have my Army Book with me at the moment). More than once I forgot to ring it at the right time (if at all!)

2. Plague Monks are awesome in Close Combat because they have Frenzy... 

...but Frenzy doesn't only apply in CC! Remember that (if I have it right) they have to try to charge the nearest eligible enemy unit in the charge phase, even you don't want them too! (Or something!)

3. Plague Monks are awesome in Close Combat because they have Frenzy...

...until they don't have Frenzy anymore. 
Situations include: losing CC, not being in the attacking front ranks etc. (or something!)

4. Fear and Terror are great...

...and you have them, not only on models that would obviously terrify anyone (e.g. Hell Pit Abomination) but also on high comedy value warmachines such as your Doomwheel. 
Also, don't forget that the effects of these rules apply in Close Combat too (is that right?). 
Don't forget to do a check each turn of CC. Your Doomwheel is precious, and it may last longer if you get it out of CC with enemy Chaff units (yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn't have been stupid enough to let it get caught by enemy infantry in the first place!)

5. If the enemy is a cannon-toting, black-powder lovin' kinda guy or gal, (I'm looking at you Dwarves and Empire)... 

...consider not taking a Screaming Bell!

Instead of rockin' up to the party with mega large juicy cannon-bait, instead consider putting your Grey-Seer in a block of infantry.
(thanks to an anonymous poster for this tip previously - very true!).

6. If they dropped an Organ-gun on the table, don't setup anything within 24 inches (I think that is the range). 

These will be auto-hit. Forgetting this is a dead easy way to lose scouts (such as Gutter Runners). As in dead, dead, dead.

7. Excited by finally getting that block of 50 "counts - as" Goblin Skaven Slaves into combat for the first time?

 ...don't forget then that you can blast/ burn and gas that block of slaves with your warmachines and weapons teams in order to take out the unit it is fighting. You will take casualties, but so will they.
 (*hangs head in shame* yes, I forgot to sacrifice their lives several times)

8. "Oooooooo, look at all my lovely rats lined up for war...

... now, how am I going to get them across the table in an orderly fashion!?"

Skaven armies MUST bring a lot of bodies to the table (a strength) but "with great numbers of troops comes great responsibility for deployment planning" (or something). With even a few bits of terrain on the table, you could well get into a tragic traffic jam, delaying the arrival of your best troops, or hampering charges etc.
So think carefully in your head about not only who will fight where, but how are they going to get there, and in what order?
Literally, good deployment could win you the battle and bad deployment could almost certainly help you lose it!

To all you experienced Skaven Warlords out there, what lessons would you pass on from your own experiences to your comrades?

(I know of course that no TRUE Skaven would ever pass on a winning tip to even another Skaven, but think of the greater future of our race!)


 P. S. Sorry if the post is formatted poorly, but I'm writing and posting this on blogger mobile.


  1. lot of good points. i almost always forget my terror and fear units.

    couple of ideas:

    skavenslaves with slings. line them up in a 20x2, and if you can, get Bless with Filth on them. this makes for 40 dice worth of poisoned attack stand and shoot reaction, which more than likely will kill 25% of a charging unit causing them to take an immediate panic test. this is also good for blocking off a large area in front of a couple of warp lightning cannons (keeping those pesky miners from getting to them).

    unless your enemy has outright poor placement it's almost always better to use gutter runners come-on-the-board-later ability instead of as scouts. war machines will be stuck in the back row and protected from the front, no point trying to wade through infantry and and gun/bowfire to get to them.

    sometimes if your opponent uses a lot of war machines they will try to bunker up in a corner to deny gutter runners and other things space to come on the table with line of sight to the machines. this can be circumvented with an assassin or two. more expensive and less longevity than a pack of GR's, but can slip into damn near any gap.

    pricy to put together (both money for models and points wise), but a horde of rat ogres can squish just about anything and can be fun to use.

    doomwheel is damn near the best war machine/hero/monster killer you could ever ask for (yay auto hits). against dwarves drive that thing straight up the flank and park it in between a couple of war machines, or right in front of the anvil of doom and watch them melt.

    hellpit is gnarly, but beware of flaming cannons and whatnot. during terrain setup i like to try to make sure some big line of sight blocking terrain is smack dab in the middle of the field so i can use it as cover for my hpa in the first turn as he crosses the field.

    i like to build my army lists incredibly infantry heavy (read: wound heavy) with a smattering of nasty stuff in every unit to give an opponent way too many choices when aiming cannons and spells around.

    don't take storm banner if you're taking warp lightning cannons or slings or anything like that, it was errata'd and affects you too. i rarely ever bring it anymore since i almost always bring 2x wlc's.

    as a general rule when building think "is this unit/model going to earn back its point cost?" screaming bell, not usually, verminlord, pretty much never.

    be ware of making super units. the decked out item heavy storm vermin block with your grey seer and bsb in it is too inviting a target for a nice big grudge thrower template. try to spread all of your heroes out so the enemy has to make the decision between your general or your bsb (or your hellpit, or your doomwheel, or your plague monks, or your wlc's, or your gutter runners. i already said it i think but flooding your opponent with more "priority" targets than they have attack options available is always a good thing, you don't want them to able to concentrate their firepower on any one unit without giving you advantage to move in with another).

    ironcurse icon should go on your priciest infantry unit, always. don't leave home without it.

    that's all i can think of at the moment. might post more later since you got me thinking about it now.

  2. Thanks for those thoughts! This is exactly the kind of advice that other players will find useful to think about! :-)
    A couple of questions...
    ...what kind of size points game would you take that Gutter Runner unit?
    ...I have stayed away from Rat Ogres because they are massive arrow Magnets (even though they are awesome models!) it seems like you would have to have a silly amount of them to get into combat, and that in a friendly game that would be crowned - upon.
    What are your thoughts?
    ...and yes, do please come back with other tips for beginners. Much appreciated!

    1. i bring gutter runners to everything 1500 points and up, 1 unit at 1500 and 2 or 3 at 2500. i usually keep them really small though, like 5-7 guys. their job is to come on the board behind the enemy line in the safest place possible and one shot something with poison slings. when they use their infiltration rule to come on the board they can't charge or get into combat that turn which means a full turn where something can pivot and wipe them (like that organ gun), but they are not prevented from shooting. if they can 1 shot even one war machine with poison slings they've paid for themselves.

      i've only run the rat ogres once. they run the risk of getting shredded by artillery with multiple wounds attributes, but even so, nothing stands up to a horde of rat ogres in CC. nothing. they're more just fun to bring to watch your enemy go "oh shit, how do i deal with that??". since 3 rat ogres counts as 5 frontage you just need a 6x3 block and you've got a hoarde and back row can attack. so that's 54 ws3 s5 attacks plus stomps (because they're monstrous infantry). just bring plenty of packmasters.

    2. Thanks for the extra info! Like I thought, you need quite a load of ROgres to really be effective. I'm not sure I would take that many to a friendly game...
      ...but the thought of all those attacks is attractive!

  3. Pretty usefull! i have to try some of these in my next game.... of course counting on the inclination skavens have for blowing up themselves :)

    1. Thanks - and don't forget to let us know anything that you forget and wished you hadn't!
      Happy wargaming!

  4. i think one of the problems for us beguinners( at least it happens to me) is that we are not aware of how expendable our units are.... i sometimes try to maintain my units mnore or less safe... and usually this becomes my doom...

  5. Hey there,
    I've been following your blog for a few months now ever since I got back on the skaven painting train.
    Why do you run your giant rat packs 1x5 instead of 2x3? I find the little rat darts much more flexible this way. It's a little thing by I'd like to hear your thoughts.

    Kyle from Alberta

    1. Hi Kyle. Sorry I didn't reply before now!

      In answer to your question, no particular reason! I think I would probably run them the way you do next time.


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