Hey y'all! When I was working on my army list I stumbled over this question so I am going to try and find out if I solved it right or not. Imagine I have 50 Skinks (I have only 48. Dammit why are they packaged in groups of 24 when you can only place them in increments of 10?) And I want them as two groups, for a Shadowstrike Starhost for example, equipped with shields and blowpipes. 1. Should I go 40 and 10 ? 2. or should I go 30 and 20 ? 3. Does a Skink Chief tip that balance (he can buff only one group)? So let's start with the math: Skinks have one attack each, 5/4/-/1 If they have 20 or more models in the unit that becomes 4/4/-/1 If they have 30 or more models in the unit that becomes 3/4/-/1 option 1: group A is 40 Skinks. 40 attacks with 66% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 13.33 wounds on average. group B is 10 Skinks. 10 attacks with 33% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 1.66 wounds on average. So combined those make 15 wounds. option 2: group A is 30 Skinks. 30 attacks with 66% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 10 wounds on average. group B is 20 Skinks. 20 attacks with 50% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 5 wounds on average. So combined those make 15 wounds. Interesting and not too unexpected, but let's check with the Skink Chief first before going to the conclusions: option 1 with group A buffed: 40 attacks with 83.33% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 16,66 wounds on average. 10 attacks with 33% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 1.66 wounds on average. So combined those make 18.3 wounds. option 1 with group B buffed: 40 attacks with 66% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 13.33 wounds on average. 10 attacks with 50% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 2.5 wounds on average. So combined those make 15.8 wounds. option 2 with group A buffed: 30 attacks with 83.33% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 12.5 wounds on average. 20 attacks with 50% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 5 wounds on average. So combined those make 18.5 wounds. option 2 with group B buffed: 30 attacks with 66% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 10 wounds on average. 20 attacks with 66% chance to hit, and those 50% chance to wound = 6.66 wounds on average. So combined those make 16.66 wounds. Without the Skink Chief we get the same number of wounds with both options, so I'd tend to use option 1, because with that one I can lose 10 Skinks and still have the bonus for the rest of them, plus I have better bravery. If the situation (terrain and so on) allows it it seems the first option is better, although you have one unit of 10 Skinks that is almost useless with no real chance to put wounds on the enemy. Looking at it defensively there might be one or two arguments (such as some artillery hitting big groups more easily) that speak for or against smaller groups. Battleshock favours big groups though. Concerning movement smaller groups have it easier I guess. With the Skink Chief (and if I did the math right, which is by no means guaranteed) the mathematically best option is number 2, and buff the bigger group. There is one real downside to it though. When you lose even one model in the bigger group you lose three possible wounds. So I would tend to favor option 1 and buff the bigger group despite losing 0.2 wounds on average. Perhaps the 10 Skinks unit can be used to claim objectives or as chaff... So what do y'all think about that? I am pretty sure I wasn't the first person to do that math, and I may be missing something or did the math wrong. Either way, I am looking forward to your comments!

You go with Option A buffed to hit on 2+ and reroll 1's only problem with a group of 40 is moving them but skinks are meat shields, stick a basildon and hurricanium with battlemage behind them, you can keep them buffed and just use hit and run tactics, while dealing massive damage from your big hitters, have some fast flankers like Saurus Cav or Reavers (Aelf) and with some Chamo skinks your set. I wish they still did Skink cav! I'm not that clued up but Skinks are by far my favorite core choice.

you're probably better of with 40 - 10 since it's more difficult to wipe out the bonusses for both of them. With 20-30 you just need to hit both of em once to significantly reduce their output. Also the skin chief's buff will affect more skinks in a given turn this way if you put it on the larger group. Basicly 20-30 would be better if you could magically make sure none of them died due to it being slightly better statistically. But since the game doesn't just consist of your 2 groups of skink attacking it'l be less effective in practise due to them dying at one point or another and thus losing their advantages quicker than the 40-10 would. As far as I can tell for horde units the "best" size to utilize their buffs seems to be to have about 5 more models than the horde buff requires. This gives enough of reserve to be able to take some losses without immeadiatly losing their bonus. Also it is just low enough a reserve that attacking them to weaken them is still interesting, which helps with some target saturation tactics to protect your other models (e.g. a group of 40 skinks isn't that interesting to attack if you can reach the chief, as killing the chief is easier and probably has a larger effect than killing 10 skinks, however, a group of 35 skinks "only" needs to have 6 die to lose its buff which is easier than killing the chief.) Sadly you can't field them per 5, but this would probably be the most effective

It is in the base rules. In the paragraph about battleshock it says add 1 for every ten models in the unit.

So where exactly does it say that you have to field them in units of ten? Like on their warscroll it says 10 or more wich to me means a min of 10 but any number higher than that is okay. Every time I think i have a good list i find some weird rule like this that makes it invalid.

General's Handbook page 106. Units can be taken in multiples of the minimum unit size, as long as the number of models in an individual unit do not exceed the maximum size.

You don't have to take them in multiples of ten, but you pay for them as if you did. So regardless if you bring 22 skinks or 30 you pay the same amount of points And unfortunatly getting 30 skinks and making them into two groups of 15 isn't allowed either To be honest it's a bit of a stupid rule.. especially considering that a lot of stuff isn't sold in the appropriate amounts. Plus it screws with properly optimizing lists... if you have say 20 points left to spend you won't be able to get anything since you can't buy say 2 saurus warriors you have to buy 10 for a 100...

I don't like that rule much either. My friend and I house ruled that. As long as the minimum size is there it is allowed to bring 38 Skinks or so. Especially since for example our starter box contains 12 Saurus... I refuse to play only 10.

same... to be honest I don't get why they went for this approach. Just seems pointless. And even on the grounds of "but then we sell more models", who in their right mind is going to buy another box just because he has 12 models and is "supposed" to only field them per 10. If you're going to play competitivly you won't care about having those 2 extra sitting around at home, you just want to have the 10 you actually need for your strategy, and if you play casually you'l just make some houserule to use them anyway...

Well I think maybe the idea behind the decision was matched play of some sort. It is easier to judge the strength of a unit if it is in nice packages of 5 or 10. Maybe they feared that otherwise you might play against one guy who tricks you by fielding strange numbers of models. Dunno. Or extreme min maxing by always having the statistically best odd number of models in a unit.

meh, it's probably just lazy balancing.. given that horde units have no particular cost for triggering their horde ability, the first 10 are just as expensive as the last 10, I'd probably say they were just lazy... it's not like an incremeant of 5 is significantly easier to balance than a minimum of 5 with an incremeant of 1.

Not going to comnent on the usage of skinks, etc, but in answer to your question about the boxes of 24, it's a relic of previous editions of the game. If my memory serves me correctly, the skinks were created for the 6th ed. codex when your standard rank was four models. It wasn't until 8th that 5 model ranks became standard (or was it 7th? I'll have to look.) and it wasn't until the switch to the AoS GH that number of models per buy was set to 10.

Ah ok, I really wondered about that. Then you may also be able to answer that other question about Skinks I have: Why in the name of the Great Coatl do I have only 20 Boltspitters in the kit? I ended up cutting the tips off of spears so everyone can have a Boltspitter. But Orruks have it still worse: My friend thought about getting them and read the Warscroll which says "Bows" black on white. He buys them and no Bows to be seen. What happened there?

It was probably for the best, he discovered Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz in the meantime and they seem to be better anyway. I expect he will cease playing the units from the Greenskinz Starter Box soon, except the Warboss. They just get slaughtered by my Seraphon.

Not sure on the boltspitters, but that is annoying. On the Orruks, yes, that is a result of the switch from WHFB to AoS. The Arrer Boys are the ones with bows, they were a separate unit entry in WHFB. When they switched to AoS, they conflated the warscrolls. Also, I don't think they were ever a normal release in plastic, instead they came in the 6th ed box set.