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8th Ed. Rats! A Lizardmen vs Skaven tactica for WHFB 8th

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by airjamy, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. airjamy
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    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    The vile Skaven are the army the Lizardmen have quarreled with most in the lore. I have been on the Lizardmen side of the competitive matchup quite often back in the days, so I think I am able to give a good overview of the army from a Lizardmen perspective. In the competitive scene Skaven are a force to be reckoned with: they have strong magic, good damage dealers and a lot of cost-effective expendable units. The tactical niche we normally possess, that being board control through our Skink Skirmishers, is challenged very well by the opponents Skaven Slaves, making this a tricky matchup in my opinion. We however, do have a lot of tools at our disposal to combat the rat menace, which I am going to tell you about in this tactica.

    General points about the Skaven

    A few things stand out when playing against the Skaven.

    1. They almost always run a Grey Seer, even in 1K games. This means their magic is on par, or sometimes even better than ours. The Skaven have two lores, Ruin and Plague, with their own signature spell. Every Grey Seer (or Verminlord, but nobody ever runs those) can also decide to swap any spell for the Dreaded Thirteenth Spell, which they often will (especially against us Lizardmen), as it is the strongest spell in their book. They also all get Warp Tokens for free, which are essentially free power dice whenever the Skaven player wants them (it is as good as it sounds). More on magic in the magic section.

    2. Every unit that has ranks, has Strength in Numbers. This gives them an LD bonus equal to their rank bonus (max 3). Unless you Disrupt them (which will be very hard to do, given the high number of units they usually field) they all have a permanent +3LD. This means that with a Warlord (LD7) and a BSB, every block within 12 inches of their general leadership bubble has LD10, with rerolls and Stubborn due to Steadfast (you probably do not have more ranks than they do.). The Warlord and BSB often hide in a so called leadership bunker behind the Skaven lines, making them hard to get to. This makes breaking the Skaven a lot harder than it seems at first glance. This however, all starts to crumble as soon as a unit starts running, as they then lose their strength in numbers LD bonus (fleeing units have no ranks). This makes it so that once a Skaven army is running or if when their BSB/general is dead you probably have won, but it is hard to put them in that place reliably. Try to kill their general/BSB if you can, even more than in other matchups.

    3. Verminous valor. Skaven units can still use the leadership of the characters that have declined a challenge. This makes challenging the Skaven worse than usual, it is often better to just snipe their characters with rank and file or a Scarvet that happens to be in base contact. Never challenge when you have finally cornered their Grey Seer in close combat, do not give them that free escape.

    4. Scurry Away. Every Skaven (except rat swarms and field artillery) unit has a +1 to running away. This is both a blessing and a curse, it is harder to catch them than other armies, but it also makes it more likely that they run through their own units for more panic checks and it makes it more likely that they run of the table. Be aware of this rule, but often you won’t be able to exploit it.

    5. They almost always run multiple blocks of Skaven Slaves. Due to their laughable price (2 points per model) it is really hard to not have them be very annoying. This especially messes up us trying to get board control with our Skinks. Our Skink Skirmishers lose hard in CC even against these S3T3 combatants, and shooting into them is not cost effective. This is the main problem of the matchup, dealing with the Slaves often means winning the game. One peculiar aspect about Skaven Slaves is that they “explode” when they run away, instead of running they do D3+their ranks of S3 hits to everyone with D6 inches. This is painful for our Skinks.

    6. Their hammers come in both the ranged and CC variety. Doomwheels and Hellpit Abominations stand out as the guys you do not want to have in your flank. The Warp Lightning Cannon and the Skaven Weapon Teams are the main ranged damage dealers, which are also not to be underestimated, but not as strong as the CC hammers.

    7. Especially the ranked Skaven damage output is random, with most of their artillery having unique and frankly hilarious misfire charts. They are however, generally just as reliable and damaging as the artillery of other races, so don’t let their flimsy looks and wonky misfire charts fool you.

    8. Some Skaven units like Poisoned Wind Globaliers (not all of them) have the ability to shoot into close combat. To resolve this, they randomize hits, 50% of the hits go to Skaven, 50% of the hits go to you. While hilarious, this is actually just pretty poor from the Skaven point of view. While the Skaven player often does not care about their own rats dying, they do care about wasting 50% of their shots, so they will often shoot if able at units that are not engaged in close combat.

    9. Most Skaven units come in the flavor of one of the four Clans, Skryre (experimental warp lightning shooty stuff), Moulder (big monsters and experimentation), Pestilens (sickness and the plague) and Eshin (ninja rats). Most of the competitive choices are either clan Skryre or clan Moulder, and clan Eshin is by far the worst, offering no strong units at all. The clans itself offer no special rules, there are only some magic items that only characters from that clan can take.

    You will also notice that I do not write about any special characters or End Times/Forgeworld units in this guide, in my club there was a strong anti-special character and anti End Times meta so I have no experience in playing with or against them. In most tournaments, End Times units were also not legal, and special characters are often overpriced. Any input from somebody that has experience against them is more than welcome to contribute.

    I will now break down all the units with an individual threat level, what these means I have wrote down below. Skaven are a strange army list to list in this fashion, as they have so many cost-effective but expendable units. It is important to note that this is NOT a rating based on their comparative strength, the text I write will be an indicator of that. The amount of X’es indicated how much you should care about the unit in question in a game.

    X: Dead. These units are useless units in the Skaven list, and are either used as options in friendly battles or not at all.
    XX: Negligible. These are units that need help from other units to do their job or they are simple anvils or chaff that can’t really do massive damage on their own. In the right situations these units can do some damage or anchor a battle line however, so they should not be written of immediately.
    XXX: Moderate. These are the mainstay units in a Skaven list that will have to do at least some damage to mitigate their points cost, and often enough they are more than ready to do just that in a battle against LM. From this threat level onwards you should note where your opponent deploys these units and react accordingly.
    XXXX: Strong. Expensive, or crucial units in a Skaven list that are either really good at what they do or that are often part of the core of the enemy strategy.
    XXXXX: Must kill. These units do so much damage over time that they will have to be stopped or else you will face the consequences. Have Chameleon Skinks or other Skinks ready to harass these units, or have at least some plan to deal with them.

    You will notice that Warlords and Chieftains have a different rating for when they are the General or BSB. This is because if you are able to, destroying the enemy leadership structure is a good way to win a game against the Skaven. I will now elaborate on individual unit entries. You will also notice that I use slaves instead of point values when describing units. Back in the day forums could get into trouble for publishing point values, so even if it is not neccesary now, i still like to do it, as expressing value in slaves is pretty Skaven-esque. For those that do not know, a slave costs 2 points, so just double any amount of slaves I mention to get the actual point value.

    Lords

    X Verminlord. This guy looks like a daemon prince, with M8, WS8 and I10, with a Doom Glaive that makes any unsaved wound into D3 wound, and is a L4 wizard to boot, but there is a small problem. He has no option to buy equipment, and he only has T5, 5 wounds and a 5+ wardsave, while costing 250 slaves. This makes him absolute cannon fodder to well, cannons. The other lord options are also a lot stronger, making people even less likely to actually run these guys. Against us, he is not even that strong, as he will lose in combat to for example a unit of Temple Guard (hitting on 4s, wounding on 4s, 5++ save will make him drop quick). He is better against us than other lists, as we do not have cannons, but as he still just dies to our infantry, I do not see why someone would run it outside of noncomp games, he can’t even be the army general to use his for Skaven standards excellent LD of 8! He can cast the Dreaded 13th, so on the off chance that he does make an appearance, take note of that.

    XXX Warlord. (XXXXX when general) Not terrible, and cheap lord level fighters with 4 attacks, WS 6 and I 7, but with S and T 4 and with 3 wounds. Warlords are often seen as generals in core LD units with a BSB to give all Skaven within 12 inches LD10 (his 7+3 strength in numbers). This makes him a priority target, as making Skaven run is so much easier when their LD is closer to 7-8 than 10, and a running Skaven does not often regroup. When he is not the General, he often wears the Fellblade. This gives the Warlord S10, makes the target that is hit reroll failed Ward Saves and makes any unsaved wound into D6 wounds. Oof. The downside of this obviously extremely potent weapon is that it takes up the whole magic item allotment of the Warlord in question, and that on every turn the Warlord needs to roll a dice, on a 1 or a 2 they take a wound. This will probably not kill him, but it will make it so that with a 100% certainty you know if your opponent has a Fellblade, and you know who wields it making it easy to play around. Basically, when your opponent is rolling a dice every turn for his Warlord, you know what is up. One of the ways you can really punish a Fellblade wearing Warlord is casting Arcane Unforging on the Warlord in question, this will be the most valuable Unforging you ever cast. All in all, a must kill if he is the general, but as his magical equipment makes him not very potent against us, not that much of a threat in combat. They can take mounts, but this does not often happen, as the options are all quite expensive and not that strong.

    XXXXX Grey Seer. This guy is the real deal. Often the general in lower point totals, as you can run his 125 slave price tag for a lord even in 1K games. Lvl 4 wizard with three wounds, capable of using the two Skaven lores of Plague and Ruin and capable of switching any spell to either the Dreaded 13th or Skitterleap. Both are very potent, more on the Dreaded 13th in it’s section and more on Skitterleap in the warlock engineer section. Grey seers are hard to kill, as they often hide in the leadership unit along with the BSB, making assassination difficult. A lore of Death Slann to kill the grey seer is not a bad idea when tooling a list to best Skaven. I would kill the grey seer first when choosing between it, the BSB and a Warlord general. Make sure to never challenge the unit that has the grey seer in it if you catch it, Skaven decline challenges for free. Kill him with rank and file, he has no save. Also has D3 free Warpstone Tokens, which are free power dice for the Grey Seer that involve a small risk of taking a wound when used. The often run with either nothing, a dispell scroll or the Warp lightning condenser. Most often takes the Lore of Ruin, as its spells are a bit stronger than Plague, and because Grey Seers often want Skitterleap to combo with Warlock Engineers.

    - XXX Screaming bell. The Screaming Bell is strange, and sort off strong. It is a chariot in a unit (it can be pushed by for example Clanrats, and must be in a unit to function) and it offers Impact Hits to the unit in question if it charges. It’ main attraction is that it increases the LD bubble of the Grey Seer to 18 inches, which is interesting. Its damage output is quite random, as it is based on a table which you have to roll 3D6 on, on the first turn the Skaven player only gets to roll a D6 though. Its main downside next to its heft price of 100 slaves excluding the Grey Seer is that you get to attack the Grey Seer on top of the bell in close combat if you are in combat with the unit pushing the Bell, making it pretty easy to snipe to Grey Seer in combat. This leads to you owning the magic phase. Your best way of dealing with it is thus slinging a unit of Skrox or Sauri into it, kill the Grey Seer and grind with the unit the rest of the game, knowing that you now control the magic phase and knowing that both those units probably won’t move the rest of the game. It does have MR, so don’t go casting magic missiles or something on it. Also, part of a hilarious 100% turn 1 win combo in the first edition of AoS.

    Heroes

    XXXXX BSB Chieftain (XX if not BSB). Every Skaven list I ever saw only had one Chieftain, and he was always the BSB. Almost always kitted with heavy armor and a halberd for some affordable chopping power and defense if worse comes to worse. This guy always hides in the leadership unit behind the main line, to offer his extremely important reroll on LD checks to his fellow rats. As you probably know, the base leadership of Skaven is quite poor, the +3 from strength in numbers and the BSB keeps them from running if everything is going well. When Skaven start running, they don’t have ranks, making it so Strenght in Numbers does not work, making it even harder for them to regroup. This makes it so important for Skaven to not fail that first test, and even better for you if it does happen. The Skaven do not have that impressive magic banners, the best one is the Storm Banner. For the cost of 25 slaves, this once per game activated banner makes it so flyers have to move using their normal M value (Skaven have no flyers so this does not affect them), all missile fire is at -2 to hit and all non-magical missile attacks that do not use BS to shoot roll a 4+, on a 1-3 they may not fire. You roll for this effect to continue at the beginning of eac following player turn, the effects of the banner end on a 4+. This is most likely to effectively cancel the shooting of each player for one turn of the game. It is totally possible to build a full close combat Skaven army with Hellpits, Slaves and some elite close combat units like Stormvermin or Plague Monks with perhaps a Plague Furnace, making this a decent item. It is highly dependent on the matchup how good it is though, against Wood elves it is one of the best items in the game while it does nothing to Tomb Kings (as they ignore all modifiers when shooting) or something like Vampire counts.

    X Assassin. Assasins are sadly way too expensive for what they bring to the table, especially against us. For the 60 slaves, you get a hero with 3 attacks base, Always Strikes First and Poisoned attacks and a 4++. He can be buffed further with items, but he simply has no good targets in our list. He is most often used to kill wizards, and even for that he is just too expensive, as wizards cost less that 60 slaves base, and you need to kit him out to let the assassin do his job. We have no wizards to snipe, as our Slann is not targetable, and if you have a good Scarvet loud out he won’t have the killing power to kill you. He must hide in an infantry unit, so perhaps only a Skink character will be afraid of him if for example your Stegadon with a Chief on it clashes with a Clanrat unit. In competitive lists, you will only take Scarvets/Oldblood/Slann, so that makes this guy even worse.

    XXXX Warlock Engineer. Warlock engineers are awesome and really tricky, as this massive paragraph on one unit might show. Only 7.5 slaves for a character is a steal, seeing how they give their for Skaven excellent LD of 5 to a unit they are with (which is 8 with Strength in Numbers). Given their ridiculously low price point they are great in combination with many of the one shot Skaven magic items, which gives them a lot of load outs which all require you to deal with in a different way. I have listed all good load outs I know below, let me know if you know of any others that I might have missed!

    - XXXX The Doomrocket Engineer. Using the Warlock Engineer only item known as the Doomrocket in combination with the spell Skitterleap is an often used Skaven trick. Skitterleap is a part of many Warlock Engineer combo’s, so I’ll explain how it is used first. A Grey Seer can exchange any spell for Skitterleap or the Dreaded Thirteenth, so if you have a Grey Seer, you are 100% to have Skitterleap if you want to. Skitterleap lets you put one model (itself or a character within 12 inches) anywhere on the board, as long as it is 1 inch or more away from an enemy. A Grey Seer can thus teleport an Engineer right next to your line, and then explode the Doomrocket (or some other goodies, as we will go into). Keep in mind that for these tricks, using Skitterleap, an Engineer can be anywhere on the board, and as these tricks are often very short ranged, this is pretty strong. Do not be afraid to counter that Skitterleap if you can! To now further get into the Doomrocket, as it is a pretty weird weapon. It is one use only, and when shooting it, you declare 4-10 D6’s. The total amount that you roll is the amount of inches the rocket will fly, misfiring if your roll three 1’s. You put a large S5 blast template where the rocket lands, everything hit by the template is hit. This 4-10 D6 system makes the rocket one of the most inaccurate weapons in the game. Using Skitterleap however, it is possible to position the Doomrocket Engineer in a place where they can “line up” a few units so that whatever they roll on their 4D6’s, they get a hit. Often they want to land at the end of your battle line, to increase their chance to hit. If they get a full hit, the slim 22.5 slaves they paid for the Engineer plus Rocket often pay off, as S5 is high, your Slann unit does not want to get hit by this. The only real way to counter this tactic is to dispel the Skitterleap and to not put your units in a way that the Skaven player gets a good Doomrocket “line” to Skitterleap to. Try to look if there is an Engineer within 12 inches of the Grey Seer, this makes it quite likely that your opponent is running an Engineer that needs SKitterleap, like the Doomrocket Engineer! To make it a bit more clear what I mean, in this image you might see more clearly what I mean with a Skaven player trying to set up a good Doomrocket.

    Skitterleap!.png
    - XXXX The Brass Orb Engineer. Similar to the Doomrocket Engineer in the sense that Skitterleap is often used to get in position. This is important, as the Brass Orb is a grenade-like magic weapon, being short ranged (8 inches). When used, the small template is placed within 8 inches of the Engineer, after which it scatters like a Stone Thrower. After that, everything that touches it makes an I test, if they fail, they die! This can be very strong against monsters like the Stegadon or the Bastiladon, or our solo Scarvets. Make it so they can’t target two at them with one shot if it does not scatter, as it will not scatter 1/3 of the time. It can also misfire 1/6 of the time, which makes it less reliable than the Doomrocket, while it is also more expensive (37,5 slaves including the Engineer). Be wary of it, and make sure they can’t hit multiple targets with it. Just killing one monster makes this trick totally worthwhile though, so it is somewhat down to luck how strong it is.

    - XXXX The Death Globe Engineer. Very similar to the Brass Orb Engineer, this Engineer is identical to the Brass Orb Engineer save that instead of making I saves, you roll a simple 4+ for every target hit, doing a wound without Armor saves if the roll is failed. This is a lot more narrow than the Brass Orb, it is only really good against heavy cav and heavy infantry, but it is also cheaper, costing only 20 slaves including the Engineer. It does not seem that strong, but remember that they only need to kill 3 Temple Guard for this to be ok and the rest is bonus, and you start to see the strength. Be wary of this if you have Cold One Knights as it decimates them. Most Skaven players I saw rolled two of the three Skitterleap variants, one of which is often the Doomrocket because it is the most reliable. You can still only cast one Skitterleap each turn with one Grey Seer, getting 3 off in a row is pretty unlikely, so the third is often inefficient.

    - XX The LD slave/pistolier. A really different kind of Engineer, you can also just run them in a unit for their LD of 5. Sometimes, when Skaven players have points left, they give them a pistol for some firepower. Not great, but still kind off efficient, for 10 slaves including the pistol.

    - XXX The Caster/Scrollcaddie/Warpstone Energy Condenser user. The most expensive type is the caster, as you can also make these guys level 2 wizards! They combine well with a strong Arcane Item, the Warp Energy Condenser, which makes Warp Lightning into a D6+2 S5 magic missile instead of just a D6 S5 magic missile. It also gives you a PD every magic phase on a 5+, which is a great deal for 10 slaves. Going for the Scroll is also just strong as it always is, do note that you have to buy a level of magic to actually do that. This is also a budget alternative for a 1K list, but I honestly would have to go below 1K to not play a Grey Seer, because as a general, LD5 does suck.​

    XX Plague Priest. Overshadowed by Grey Seers, these guys are just not that good when compared to the cheap lvl 4 option this army has. He is quite expensive, 62.5 slaves for a lvl 2 wizard, but when compared to other wizards he can do at least a little bit of damage with a base S of 4 and 3 attacks and frenzy and the option to take magical goodies to make him more killy. Has the issue of that you do not want your wizard in close combat, as he dies to dedicated cc units, and due to the fact that he can cast a lot worse in close combat. If your opponent has this, they often play some dedicated Clan Pestilens list, and they just run it for the Plague Furnance.

    - XXX Plague furnace. The Plague Furnace is like the Screaming Bell, in the sense that it is a chariot that is pushed by a unit, and that it gives Impact Hits and MR. It however, must be pushed by Plague Monks and it does even more damage in close combat with its Wrecker Attack, which causes an artillery dice worth of S5 hits in close combat. It can also shoot, it just has the range of a Flame template though, so it’s shooting is quite short ranged. It’s main strength is that it gives the unit that is pushing it Unbreakable, making it the a centerpiece in many Clan Pestilens armies. This combined with a unit of 50 or so Plague Monks is quite strong, but very slow. If your opponent fields it, do not engage it in the front, but try to avoid it.​

    Core

    XX Clanrats. The standard sword and board unit of the Skaven is very cheap at only 2 slaves per model, and also far below par when compared to most standard infantry. They are overshadowed by Slaves for point for point effectiveness, and overshadowed by Plague Monks and Stormvermin in killyness. They can be given shields or spears for 1/8 of a slave each, Skaven players often give them shields for the better save and parry. The only reason to really take them is for the Weapon Team options they have, as Slaves are not allowed Weapon Teams. Weapon Team are units that you buy with a unit of Clanrats or Stormvermin, but that can operate independently on the battlefield. Often it stays with the “parent” unit though, as it only gets a 4+ ward save if it is within 3 inches of the parent unit. Stormvermin can also take weapon teams, but they are more expensive to begin with so if a Skaven player wants a lot of Weapon Teams, this is the best way to get them. The Clanrats are not going to kill anything, so if a Skaven player just wants more bodies, they will always take Slaves (and often they do). Most of the Weapon Teams are pretty bad, their main issue is that they have just 1 wound on T3, with just a 4+ ward save keeping them “safe” against missile fire. One volley of Skink javelins (or bows from any other army) kills them dead, this makes Clanrats a not often seen unit in competitive lists.

    - XXX Poisoned Wind Mortar. Relatively expensive at 32.5 slaves, this is the one of the two good Weapon Team options. It can move and fire and has a 24 inch range, with leads to a respectable 29 inch threat range. It can also use the line of sight and range of its parent unit if it is within 3 inches (which you want to do anyway for the 4+ wardsave), which makes it threat range even greater. It can also shoot at things outside its line of sight (even though it then scatters double), which is pretty good. It fires like a stone thrower, except when hit, you roll a 5+ (or a 4+ for the model under the direct center of the template), for each 5+ the unit suffers one wound with no armor save allowed. This is pretty good against heavy cav, Cold one Knights and even Scarvets without a Ward save really do not want to be hit by this weapon. This is one of the more survivable Weapon Teams, as they can hide behind their parent unit to remain out of sight or with Hard Cover to protect them against missile fire, while they can fire unimpeded while moving with their parent unit. A good way to mitigate damage is to spread out your units a bit, and perhaps shoot them with Scouting Chameleon Skinks if you can get behind the Skaven Lines. A good volley of Javelin fire can also kill them, but do take care that due to the Hard Cover friendly units provide you might need 7’s to hit, which cancels out your poison.

    - XXX Ratling gun. Pretty cheap at 27.5 slaves, this is the best weapon team in my opinion. It is relatively short ranged with 18 inches and it needs line of sight but it can do quite some damage with its S4 armor piercing shots that suffer no penalty for Multiple Shots and Long Range at BS 3. They basically always hit on 4’s. In true Skaven fashion, when firing, you first roll 2D6, this the amount of shots the Skaven player gets. The Skaven player is then allowed to roll additional D6’s the increase the amount of shots. The risk is that whenever a double is rolled, the gun misfires, which often kills it or makes it not fire, or fire at their friends. Most often Skaven players roll 3D6 shots (as the chance of misfires skyrockets at 4D6), giving it an average of around 10 shots, which is not bad at all. This is actually a good target to kill with javelin Skinks, one volley of 10 shots should kill it and the Skink javelin threat range of 24 inches is greater than the 18 inch threat range a Ratling gun has, so you should be able to shoot first in most circumstances. This thing can also stand and shoot, which is not really relevant, but should you want to charge it be aware of it.

    - X Doomflayer. Also cheap at 27.5 slaves, this is the only melee weapon team the Clanrats and Stormvermin can take. This makes it quite poor, as it is very fragile with T3 and 1W, even with the 3+ armor save it gets in close combat. It also is only M4 so it won’t often charge. If it gets to close combat, it does D3 impact hits if it charged at S4 and an artillery dice worth of S4 hits armor piercing hits, which averages at 4S5 hits. This thing is useless, as its damage output is around the same as the Ratling gun while the gunt is ranged and this has to get in combat. You will probably never see this on the tabletop.

    - X Warpfire thrower. The most expensive option at 35 slaves, this is essentially a move or shoot Flamethrower (think of it as a Salamander with less wounds) with S5, does D3 wounds and flaming attacks. Not being able to shoot and fire with this bad boy kills it, the moment it is getting close to a good place to shoot you can just walk away from it (remember it is move or fire, and terribly short ranged) or shoot it with some javelins. It can stand and shoot, but this is irrelevant, because why would you ever charge this? Against something like Vampire Counts this thing might be decent as you will have to spend an actual magic missile to kill it, but even then you can walk away from it. This will never get its 35 slave investment back, which makes it terrible.​

    XXX Skaven slaves. XXX for Skaven Slaves, what is going on?! Without joking, I do think that Skaven Slaves are one of the stronger units in the army book. For only 200 points, you get a whopping 100 models, which all have T3 and one attack each at S3. They can be given equipement, but they are almost never given anything, to keep them as cheap as possible. They also count for the Skaven core, which gives them a very good way to spend the Core tax. This, in combination with a leadership unit of a Grey Seer/Warlord + a BSB gives a unit that is actually very likely to remain in combat with anything they crash with. Consider a unit of 25 Temple Guard, they cost a massive 175 slaves. Even if they are in combat with the Slaves for multiple turns, even our elite Infantry with multiple attacks and Predatory Fighter will never chop through 100 Skaven slaves in a game, especially if you consider that the first 2 turns probably won’t have infantry units in close combat, as long as you can’t bust the leadership unit of the Skaven player. Skaven Slaves actually chop through units of Skinks in close combat (remember that they get 3.5 Slave for every Skink Skirmisher!) which means that our Skink Skirmishers can’t challenge Skaven Slaves to control the battlefield. This makes it quite easy for Skaven Slaves to lock our Sauri and Temple Guard units in close combat, making it so their strong hammers (mostly the Doomwheel and Hellpit Abomination) get to chew up anything not locked down by the Slaves. Slaves are easy to kill, but so cheap that there are very little to no cost-effective ways of actually dealing with them (apart of getting them to run away). Firing even dedicated anti infantry spells into them like Salamanders is not that great, they probably won’t care. I actually think they are one of the best Tarpits in the game, as they are super cheap. They do have some vulnerabilities, they do have to stay within the range of their general and BSB, as they only have LD5 without the general, and losing one single break-test means that the unit is actually wiped off the table due to the Cornered Rat rule. Trying to spread out is thus sometimes a good idea against Skaven, as they can only really focus on one part of your army, maybe giving you opportunities to flank. I think a lot of people underrate the slaves, as many people simply did not have the 200-300 slaves you actually would want in a Skaven army, leading to inefficient builds. I think the more slaves you have, the better they become, as they start clogging up all your opponent’s units, killing power and board space. As I do think Skaven slaves are very cost effective and good at controlling the board, I think you should mind where your opponent fields them and plan accordingly (try to make your opponent want to split up, kill their general/BSB), this unit deserves a XXX rating.

    XXX Stormvermin. The Skaven elite infantry are pretty much the standard infantry of other army books. They are 3.5 slaves each, boast an ok WS 4 and I of 5 and chop at S4 with their halberds. They are also durable for a Skaven, with a 5+ save. They can take shields, but as they can’t wield those along their Halberds, they are rarely taken. They can have an attached weapon team, look at the ratings for that at the Clanrat entry. They are often taken as a unit to host a Screaming Bell, or as a centerpiece unit, at 3.5 slaves a model it is pretty affordable to get a horde. Our basic is pretty cost-efficient against these guys with 2 attacks each and Predatory Fighter, so you should not have that much issues against them, but they can put out some hurt in prolonged engagements.

    X Night Runners. The first of the Clan Eshin units, these guys are sadly just really bad for the cost of 3.5 slaves. Imagine Skink Skirmisher without poisoned attacks, only 6 inches of range, without the Skirmishers special rule and without any armor but with a weird version of scout, and you have Night Runners. The only thing they sort-off have going for them is that they have 2 hand weapons so they do kill your Skink Skirmishers in close combat, but that is the only target they can really harass if they get close to them. They can take slinks for ½ slave each, which gives them a too expensive range upgrade if you ask me. Looking at these guys, I can only be amazed at how overpowered our Skink Skirmishers really are.

    - X Warpgrinder. Pretty expensive at 30 slaves, this weird melee weapon teams basically lets your units tunnel onto the board. You do not deploy them, instead they get onto the board on a 4+ every turn. A 4+ is pretty dicey, most units with this kind of alternate deployment option get increasing chances to get on the board in later turns, but with the Warpgrinder you only get that 4+ each turn. The units that can take this option are at their strongest in turns 1 and 2 as most of them want to shoot, and even though Skaven can shoot into the close combats that will probably have erupted around turn 3, wasting 50% of your shots is not something a Skaven player wants to do. Too expensive an upgrade for units that do not want this upgrade in the first place.​

    XX Giant Rats. Giant Rats are like Skavenslaves, except that they fight in an extra rank, have M6 instead of M5 and are WS3 instead of WS2 and they cost ½ slaves extra and you need at least one Packmaster that costs 4 slaves. The big downside is however, that they do not count towards the core tax. I do not see the point of this unit nor why anyone would play them over the good old slave. The fighting in an extra rank thing and the extra point of WS is wasted on a unit that will barely do any damage, there are just better tarpits and damage dealers in this army book. One way they can be played is as a Rat Dart. They can be run as a unit of 5 rats and 1 packmaster for the price of 11.5 slaves, giving you a cheap and relatively fast unit to redirect with.

    X Ratswams. An even worse version of Giant Rats, Swarms are way too expensive at 12.5 slaves per base, while being less durable than Skaven slaves. Per base you only get 5 wounds at a T of 2, slaves get 12.5 wounds at T 3 for that same price, while not having the suffer from Swarm unstable damage that they will suffer due to combat resolution. When you add in that they do not count towards core, you have a unit that is probably the worst in the book.

    Special

    XXX Plague monks. The Monks are the other decent Skaven “elite” close combat infantry unit. They have a ton of attacks with their 2 hand weapons and Frenzy, and are not as flimsy as other rats with their T4. They do however, do not have any armor, which makes them not that effective in close combat, as it is easy to rack up CR. If the Skaven run a Plague Furnace, they often let it be pushed by these Monks, as it makes the unit Unbreakable. A lot of Skaven armies I have seen have a centerpiece unit of either a large (40+) unit of Stormvermin or a similarly large unit of Plague Monks, as to not have to let the Doomwheels and Hellpits do all the close combat killing. Like Stormvermin, they do not match up against our actual elite infantry all that well, and they are decent targets for spells like Dwellers or Fiery Convocation.

    X Poison Wind Globadiers. Globadiers have to low a range to really be effective. These grenade lobbing rats need to be within 8 inches to throw their bombs, and within 4 inches to not suffer from long range negative modifiers. Their BS of 3 is too low to get consistent hits, even though if the target is hit, it is pretty strong (wound on a 4+ without an armor save). This unit seems to be written as one that should fire in close combat, but as I mentioned before, even if Skaven do not care hitting their own guys, they do mind effectively halving the amount of shots they do (if they shoot into close combat they must randomize what is hit). The fact that I think they are “designed” to shoot into close combat is further emphasized by the fact that ranks that do not fight can actually shoot while they are in close combat, which is pretty interesting. But, since Skaven players do not want these T3 1W skirmishers in close combat, they seem to not want to know what they actually do want to do, shoot or be in close combat. When they roll a 1 to hit, they even hit themselves, so quite often they are around as likely to hit themselves as you, with the many penalties to hit they are likely to suffer. For a change, they do actually have armor for a 5+ save, but their price tag of 5 slaves is simply too high to be considered in any serious list. These guys can take a Death Globe, but as you cannot combo it with Skitterleap (the unit champion may not leave the unit using Skitterleap), it is a bad idea to give them a Death Globe. They can also have a Poisoned Wind Mortar weapon team, but if you want those, you are better off getting Clanrats or Stormvermin.

    XXX Warplock Jezzails. These rat snipers are quite price efficient for their cost. At only 10 slaves a pop, these rats fire 36 inch range S6 armor piercing shots, which really does a number on heavy cav. Their BS of 3 is still quite medium, but especially if you get in short range, expect them to do some damage. We do not have great targets for these snipers, but Stegadons, Bastiladons, and especially Cold One cav and solo Scarvets might want to look out for these snipers. They are quite fragile though, with only 1 wound and T3 and with a 4+ armor save, so any retaliating fire should deal with them.

    X Gutter runners. Gutter runners are maybe even worse than Night Runners, especially when you compare them to Skink Skirmishers. 6 slaves for an admittedly BS4, scouting and skirmishing unit with a 6++ seems overpriced for what other armies bring to the table. These guys can take a shield for free or pay ½ of a slave to get a Sling, or a whopping 2.5 slaves for Poisoned attacks. These guys show once again how underpriced our Skink Skirmishers are, and have no real role in the list. They are too expensive for what they bring to the table and Skaven need skirmishing units way less than other armies, due to the board control Skaven Slaves offer. They might be decent warmachine hunters, but as we have none, that is no issue to us. If an opponent went and payed the full 9 slaves for the Sling plus Poisoned attacks, be happy, because even if they might now pose a tiny threat to our dino’s with poison, your Skinks just got a fantastically point effective target to throw Javelins at. They simply are too flimsy to invest too many points into with their T3, 1W and 6++, Skirmishers is not enough to keep them safe for their point value.

    X Rat ogres. The Ogres seem cool, and are way more often played than you expect for their relative competitiveness, probably due to their inclusion in a starter set. These Ogre lookalikes seem strong with their 4 attacks including Frenzy and S5 and Fear, and Skaven looks like an army that could use a unit of strong Monstrous Infantry, but it all falls apart when you notice that they do not even have a save at 20 slaves a model. This is another excellent target to throw Javelins at if your opponent runs this unit, as you only need 6 6’s to make your Skink Skirmishers get their points back. Will never be played in serious lists.

    - X Master Moulder. For some reason you can pay 16.5 slaves for a special type of unit champion in this unit or in the Giant Rat unit. This is a tough rat with WS 5, T and S 4 with 2W and 2 attacks, and they can even take some magical equipment. I see no reason to run them, as both units that can take the Master Moulder are just pretty bad. They can take a Shock Prod for 12.5 slaves to ignore armor saves, which might be good against Scarvets that depend on a 1+ rerollable armor save or killing blow for 10 slaves for the same effect, but I don’t see why a Skaven player would invest in this in lieu of something else that is actually good, like more slaves or a Doomwheel.​

    X Plague censor bearers. Too expensive for what they bring to the table. At 8 slaves a model they are quite flimsy with T4 and 1 wound, especially since they have no save. They do have Frenzy, Hatred and Skirmish, and their whole deal is that they get to deal a medium amount of damage with their Plague Censers (that they can also use as Flails). At the start of combat, before even impact hits, everything in base contact with them rolls T tests, and if they fail them, they suffer a wound without an armor save allowed. I have never seen them on the table and I expect I never shall, as even if you are afraid for this pretty point inefficient amount of damage, a few Javelins in their midst will solve all your problems. Other armies have even better answers against them (bows) that usually have no or only poor targets against Skaven, so taking these guys is just a real liability.

    Rare

    XXXXX Doomwheel. The rare slots are really strong in the Skaven army, and every serious army I have seen maxes out on either Doomwheels or Hell pit abominations. Doomwheels are a steal at just 75 slaves. They are really quite tanky with T6, 5 wounds and a 4+ save. They also do quite a bit of damage with D6+1 S6 impact hits, and it still does D3 impact hits even if it did not charge. It rats also attack 2D6 times each combat, which is very nice. It also shoots 3 bolts of warp lightning to the closest unit in 18 inches, even in combat at the S of an artillery dice. Each unsaved wound is multiplied in D6 wounds, which makes it so that our Stegadons and Scarvets might just die from one good turn of Doomwheel shooting. Another perk is its random movement, it moves 3D6 inches each turn in the compulsory movement phase instead of normal movement. The writers of the army book probably thought that this is a downside, but it actually is not as if you charge using a compulsory move, the enemy does not get a charge reaction, they have to hold. It also allows Doomwheels to charge units that are out of line of sight which is normally not possible, as they are allowed to pivot facing any unit before they move, which lets it charge units even if they are directly at its rear. This makes it almost impossible to evade a Doomwheel, as a Skink unit that can usually slink past its target to harass from outside line of sight range gets charged very easily by a Doomwheel, and when they are charged, they are not even allowed to stand and shoot to do at least a bit of damage. Experienced Skaven players can also control the movement of Doomwheels using blocks of slaves. When a Doomwheel collides with a friendly unit, it stops it in its tracks, making it so the Doomwheel can use friendly units as bumpers if a Skaven players wants a Doomwheel to hold its position. This does not damage the Doomwheel, it only does D6+1 S6 impact hits to the unit hits, which is something the Skaven player will not care about if slaves die. Another reason Skaven players often leave units of slaves close to their Doomwheels in the early turns is to tank the Warp Lightning shooting, as something like a Hell pit abomination does not like being hit by the Warp Lightning either while it does not matter if the basically free slaves die. We do no have great answers to the Doomwheel, and most of them are not cost-efficient, like many other armies. Skink skirmishers are not great at harassing Doomwheels, as they cannot evade their charge, and due to their short ranged, are often in charge range when they are firing at them. Something like Searing Doom is not fantastic as it only wounds on a 4+, and most magic missiles bounce off the Doomwheel due to its high T of 6. Even things that force I checks like Purple Sun are not all that strong, as the crew has a good I of 4. A charge of an Ancient Stegadon with Sharpened Horns does do quite a bit of damage to a Doomwheel, but if you do not kill it on the charge, its retaliatory Warp Lightning fire and Grinding Attacks are quite likely to kill you right back. Charging it is also quite difficult, as it is fast with its 3D6 movement each turn, and due to its random movement, it is hard to set up a charge or a pincer on it. You can get lucky and have it misfire which might decrease its movement and do damage to itself, but one misfire result actually gives it another dice of movement, making it even faster and more unpredictable. It can often not chew through a unit of infantry as it does not have that many attacks, and our Temple Guard can actually put a dent in it with their S of 5. Skrox are also probably decent against it, if the Skinks can get a turn to fire at it they are bound to do some poisoned damage, and the Kroxigors like hitting it with their S7, while you do not care that much if the Skinks die from the Warp Lightning and Impact Hits. You should probably have a layered approach when dealing with the Doomwheel, and expect it to do some damage.

    XXXXX Hell pit abomination. Hell pits are the other outstandingly strong unit out of the rare slot. They are somewhat more expensive than Doomwheels at 117.5 slaves, but they are really tough at T5, 6 wounds with Regeneration and Stubborn. They have the same random movement at 3D6 inches each turn, which gives it similar advantages as a Doomwheel (no charge reaction, and being able to charge things that are outside its line of sight). It does a ton of damage in close combat with its D6 impact hits and its special attacks. It is somewhat similar to a Giant in the sense that it does not attack normally, but instead rolls on a chart to see what it does each combat. All options are very strong, with 2 of the 3 leading to hits for every model that is in base contact to it, which often translates to effectively 8 or more hits. Its Thunderstomp at S6 is also nothing to sneeze at. As a last hurrah, when you have finally killed a Hell pit abomination, if none of the damage dealt was with Flaming attacks, on a D6 roll of a 6 the Hell pit abomination stands right back up with D6 wounds. On a 4-5, D3 rat swarms emerge in the place where it dies, which can also be quite annoying for the Skinks that perhaps just used their javelins to kill the Hell pit abomination. On a 1-3, it is just dead. This also leads into how you can counter the Hell pit, flaming attacks both ignore its Regenaration and stop it coming back. Anything that offers flaming attacks like the Solardon and anything from the Lore of Fire is pretty good against the Hell pit. Also do not forget that if a model with regeneration has taken a wound from something with flaming attacks in that phase, it loses regeneration for that phase, so if you can hit it with a Fireball first something like a Soul Quench might do a lot of damage. It might seem smart to use a Salamander first to then use Javelins, but as the Salamander does only get one hit on a Hell pit, this is very risky, as you need a 5+ to wound, and the template has to hit the Hell pit in the first place. Salamanders have better targets in the Skaven list, like Stormvermin or Plague Monks. Hell pit abominations are allowed to take Warpstone Spikes which gives them (MR1) and Magical Attacks, which is only relevant against something like Vampire Counts, and not often taken. Hell pit abominations become even better in multiples as the things that offer Flaming attacks are not that many, making it so that it is hard to deal with 2 Hell pit abominations at the same time. Most common 2K setups involve 2 Hell pits and no Doomwheels as that neatly fits in the 500 points allowed in a 2K game. Common 2.4K setups involve 1 Hell pit and 2 Doomwheels, as that fits neatly in 2.4K. Be wary of these beasts, and know that Flaming attacks are good against them.

    XXX Warp Lightning cannon. As I eluded to before, Doomwheels and Hel pit abominations are really good. So good in fact, that they crowd out the Rare slot in any game below 3K, making it so that there rarely is room for Warp Lightning cannon in optimized Skaven army lists at the 2.4K standard of competitive play. This makes Warp Lightning cannons and Plagueclaw catapults a lot rarer than you might actually think, they are pretty good but just not as good as Doomwheels or Hel pit abominations, which I think make the competitive Skaven lists viable. Warp Lightning Cannons itself are cannons but a lot more random. They fire pretty similarly to normal cannons, but instead of a normal bounce, the distance the cannonball bounces is equal to the S. At the end of the bounce the Skaven player also gets to place a small template which does damage equal to the S, with all wounds multiplying in D6 wounds. If a misfire is rolled on the first turn, the cannon actually misfires and has to roll on the chart, while if on the second roll a misfire is rolled, no hits are suffered but the Skaven player does not have to roll on the misfire chart. The highly random S (keep in mind that the average of an artillery dice is 5) makes it a lot less good than a normal cannon. It also has a slightly lower T of 6 when compared to other cannons, but a higher amount of wounds (4), which makes it less likely to die in one volley of Skink javelin fire. At 45 slaves it is somewhat more expensive than a normal cannon but less reliable, which makes it fine in my book, especially against a monster heavy list. When you see it, try to kill it as normal with Skink Skirmishers or Chameleons, but I don’t expect you to see it often if you are playing against a competitive Skaven list.

    XX Plagueclaw catapult. All the same caveats to the Warp Lightning cannon apply, in the sense that the rare slot is really crowded in the Skaven list. This makes the catapult pretty sad, as it is quite easily the worst of the 4 options. It is a stone thrower that fires a large template (woot?) but with only S2 (oh), with no additional effect for the models under the center hole of the template. Even though it ignores armor saves, this wounds our infantry at 6’s, which makes it quite bad. It is also more expensive than the Warp Lightning cannon at 50 slaves, which makes it really inefficient. I considered giving it only an X rating, but since if it is on the battlefield you might as well kill it with Skink Skirmishers for easy VP and because if it is ignored it might get its points back anyway, I gave it XX anyway.

    Skaven Magic and the Dreaded Thirteenth Spell

    When talking about Skaven magic, you got to talk about the Dreaded Thirteenth Spell (D13 from here on) as its potential will probably dominate every Skaven magic phase. To start, Skaven have to use one of their two lores, Ruin or Plague, they are not allowed any BRB lores. Ruin is most often seen as it has the strongest spells, but Plague also has its uses. Grey Seers are allowed to always swap out one spell for the D13, as are Verminlords, but since Verminlords are terrible and Grey Seers are awesome, you will almost always face a Grey Seer wielding the D13. The D13 is really good, for those who don’t know, it is a whopping 25 to cast and can only target enemy infantry units within 24 inches that are in line of sight. When successfully cast, 4D6 models of the unit just die with no save of any kind allowed, and if this wipes out the unit, the Skaven player gets to replace that unit with a unit of Clanrats the size of the just destroyed unit. This is very strong against any army with elite infantry, and we are no exception, you do not want this to hit your Slann bunker. A sly Skaven player knows this, and knows that you will want to save your dispel dice to dispel this, and can further exploit their available Warpstone Tokens by delaying to cast the D13. A typical Skaven magic phase if they roll something like 8 PD with 3 warpstone tokens available against your 5 DD might look something like this. They can start with something like Warp Lightning with 2 PD, which will be awkward for you to dispel using something like 3 DD even if they roll poorly, because then they can just slam 5 dice into D13 which will leave you with too little to dispel if they get a 25. This makes you just want to let it go. After that, they could use something like Scorch at 3 PD, leaving you with the exact same problem. If you try to dispel it, the Skaven player might just eat all his Warpstone Tokens for 3 extra PD, and just slam D13 with 5 dice, which makes you just want to let the Scorch through. After this, the Skaven player would have 2 PD with 5 against 5 DD, at which he could just end his magic phase, getting 2 spells through while you haven’t even rolled a dispel dice yet. It can be really hard to play against this, and having a Scroll against Skaven is quite good for this reason as you then have at least that option for one magic phase making this waiting tactic a lot less efficient. Skaven players are also known for just throwing all their dice at a D13 hoping to get Force, it is often worth the Miscast for them if they get to resolve D13 against a strong elite unit like our TG bunker. The best thing you can do against this is keeping your TG outside of the range D13 for at least the first turn if you can, but as it is 24 inches range, it is pretty hard to do. Also Winds of Magic rolls of something like a 2 and a 3 are really bad for us, as they just get to swing 5 dice at D13 with little we can do about it with our 3 DD. This tactic of delaying your strongest spell is good for many armies, but even better for the Skaven as their ace spell is really strong, and the free Warpstone Tokens Grey Seers get and can buy amplify its strength considerably. Be wary of D13 when playing against the Skaven, try to not let them cast it for free, and know that a Dispel Scroll is one of the better items against the Skaven, better even than the Mastery that rerolls the first failed dispel attempt in my opinion, even though I would normally take the Mastery over the Scroll.

    I will now go over the spells in each lore. The Skaven have no Lore Attributes.

    Lore of Ruin

    XX (XXXX when the target is a seemingly irrelevant Engineer) Skitterleap (5+). Skitterleap is an often situational spell, letting the Skaven player set any friendly character within 12 inches of the caster (so the caster can target itself) anywhere on the board. This can be used to get out of close combats. This can be used cutely to get in range for certain spells by bouncing from one unit to another, but its most often used to get an Engineer in range with either a Doomrocket, Brass Orb or Deathglobe. Read the Engineer entry for more information on this tactic. Don’t simply allow a Warlock Engineer to reign destruction on you while you could have easily stopped it in the magic phase! Grey Seers can always elect to take this spell.

    XX Warp Lightning (6+). Standard issue D6 S5 24 inch magic missile. On one hit, the caster hits itself, which makes it a bit worse than a standard magic missile. Its casting cost is pretty low, so that makes it a decent spell for the Skaven to weave into a magic phase. The only unit that is really afraid of this are our Hunting Packs, that can get one shot by this, so consider dispelling it if they target one. Can be upgraded using the Warp Energy Condenser for 10 slaves to make it do D6+2 hits, which makes it considerably more consistent. If the enemy has this, you should know it, because the caster with this item will have also rolled a D6 to possibly get an extra PD on a 5+ in that magic phase, so act accordingly. Warlock Engineers can always elect to take this spell.

    XXX Howling Warpgale (7+). This spell affects the entire board, and makes it so flyers can’t fly, and makes it so non-Skaven units have an additional -1 to hit. It is pretty dependent on your army how effective this is against you, monster mash or full Sauri armies probably do not care about this, while Skink clouds and especially Ripperdactyls are severely hampered by it. Look at your army and what you need to do for the turn, and dispel accordingly.

    XX Death Frenzy (9+). Gives a unit Frenzy, but instead of 1 it adds 2 attacks. This augment remains on the unit until it loses in combat. In addition, it loses D6 automatic wounds at the end of each friendly turn. This can make a Skaven close combat unit quite a bit stronger, but the elite close combat units like Stormvermin and Plaguemonks do actually mind losing D6 guys every turn, so the drawback is real. It is an ok buff spell, and the only one in this lore, so that makes it pretty usable.

    XXXX Scorch (10+). When successfully cast, the Skaven player gets to put down a small round template down anywhere within 24 inches, any model touched gets a S4 flaming hit. Any unit that suffers an unsaved wound must also take a panic test. This does not scatter, which makes it quite reliable if it is cast. Our Saurus blocks do not like the 16 or so hits they will have to endure from this, and our Skinks hate being hit by this, as it probably just deletes a unit of Skirmishers. This makes this spell quite strong.

    XXXX Cracks Call (11+). This is a whacky spell, that can do some serious damage to our monsters. When cast, the Skaven player rolls 4D6 and makes a straight line with the amount rolled in inches away from the caster. Any models in iets past must make an initiative test, when failed, they are casualties. Weirdly enough, War Machines and Chariots roll a 5+ or be destroyed, while monster just use their own I. This does a number on slow monsters of other armies like for example Giants, our I of 4 on our Stegadons keeps them relatively safe, but as you can lose them due to a single dice roll, this still is often scary to let resolve. It is best against Bastiladons and our Saurus infantry, as their low I means that quite often they will die. Be wary of this spell, and try to not line up your units that much. In a hilarious twist, this spell can also destroy buildings that are on the line, for every building on the line it is destroyed on a 5+. Units inside must then also take an I test and be destroyed if they fail. This can lead to very weird situations in the Watchtower scenario is it can destroy the Watchtower, making it impossible for anyone to occupy it for the rest of the game, which is quite impactful.

    Lore of Plague

    X Pestilent Breath (5+). This lets the caster basically use a breath weapon at S2 which does not allow armor saves. Like a breath weapon, it can also be used in close combat, the targeted unit then gets D6 hits. This does not do that much damage against basically anyone, and especially not our T4 infantry, and seeing how your wizard needs to be basically on top of the enemy to use it makes it pretty bad. Plague Priests can always elect to take this spell.

    XX Bless with Filth (7+). This grants a unit within 12 inches Poisoned Attacks in close combat, or improves the Poisoned Attacks from triggering from only 6’s to trigger on a 5+. This is a decent spell when combined with Death Frenzy, as lot of attacks equals a lot of poisons especially against monsters, but since they are in two different lores this combo is pretty hard to get, and also relies on you resolving two spells. This is only good against really high T units like maybe our monsters, so if it is cast on for example a unit of slaves that is fighting a Stegadon, you might want to dispel it. Else, it just does not really meaningfully increase the damage of a unit to be that big of a deal.

    XXXX Wither (8+). IMHO the reason to take this lore, this lowers the T of one enemy unit within 12 inches by 1. This will swing combats, and is a steal for this casting cost, it is often a lot harder to cast than just needing an 8+. Its only downside is that it is pretty short ranged, so this can be used to our advantage.

    XX Vermintide (8+). Skaven already had a Vermintide before it was cool. This is a mediocre sort of Magical Vortex. When cast, a large template travels 4D6 inches away from the caster, all units hit suffer 3D6 S2 hits. It dissipates at the end of the magic phase, so it does not stay around like an actual vortex. Our Sauri still laugh at S2, but our Skinks and small units like Chameleons and Hunting Packs don’t like to be hit by 3D6 hits, even if they are at S2, so if the caster might be able to hit multiple units using this template spell, consider dispelling it.

    XX Cloud of Corruption (11+). When cast, every enemy unit within 12 inches gets D6 S5 hits without armor saves on a 2+, friendly Skaven units are hit on a 4+ while Clan Pestilens units are only hit on a 5+. Units are hit even if they are in close combat. Against certain units, like our Scarvets, Stegadons or Cold one Cav this can do some damage, but it is hard for the caster to get close enough to have multiple targets and also survive the next turn. Take care how many units will be hit and how well they can take it (Sauri do not really care about D6 hits for example), also considering how much self-damage this spell might do, and act accordingly.

    XXX Plague (13+). The other good spell in this lore, this is the other horde breaker next to the D13. It targets an enemy unit within 18 inches, and it can be even cast in close combat, in which case all units in the fight will be affected. All models in the affected unit must take a T test, and if they fail, they suffer a single wound with no armor saves allowed. After resolving, it has a chance to jump to a unit within 12 inches. On a dice roll of a 1 the enemy player gets to decide if it jumps to a Skaven unit, on a 5+ it jumps to another non-Skaven target. Units can only be affected once per magic phase. It is not fantastic against us like it would be against for example Elves, but it can still do some damage. It really depends on how large the unit is it is cast against for how dangerous it is and to what units it might spread, but as it only spreads more to your units on a 5+, the primary target is really the most important thing to consider. It is once again fairly short ranged, which makes it hard for casters of this lore to stay alive long enough to cast multiple spells. This spell is mostly overshadowed by the D13, as they are both large unit slayers, and D13 just does the job better. It is somewhat unclear how this spell interacts with characters in the unit. I would argue that you get a “Look out sir” roll as normal to be hit, but as it is not mentioned in the spell’s rule text, this is a good thing to discuss with your opponent before the game starts.
     
  2. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Some really well thought through points here!

    Well done!
     
  3. airjamy
    Terradon

    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot! I have played the rats pretty often, am glad it came out fine.
     
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  4. livewaaaaagh
    Saurus

    livewaaaaagh Member

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    What's the best way to deal with an Abom? Wandering Deliberations Slann?
     
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  5. airjamy
    Terradon

    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    Flaming attacks pretty much sums it up. The best way if you want to list tailor is something like Temple Guard with a Banner of Eternal Flame, but i don't think you should take that in all comers as you get shafted hard by something like the High Elf Dragon Knights or a character with one of the 2 2++ items against flaming attacks. Focus of Mystery Slanns (swapping to something like a Fireball into a damage spell) or Wandering Deliberations Slanns (Fireball and the Lore of Light main lore spell stand out) come to mind as options that are actually often taken. I do not think it is worth it to use Salamanders to try to get that flaming hit to then finish it with Skinks, as you need to wound on a 5 and you only get one dice at that, with your Flame Template also needing to hit. Salamanders are also needed elsewhere to deal with large blocks. I think Skink Skirmishers are fine to do chip damage, as are things like charging Stegadons or Skrox, but there is no clear counter to the Hellpit save the Banner of Eternal Flame, but as that needs list tailoring i do not see that as a reasonable counter.
     
  6. airjamy
    Terradon

    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    I think it is the strongest model in their book, with Grey Seers and Doomwheels as a close second and third, there are just not that many great answers for it in the game as a whole.
     
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  7. Gary_M
    Razordon

    Gary_M Active Member

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    Situational and “gamey” but I seem to remember you can railroad the hellpit. Not played 8th for a long time.
     
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  8. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    What does "railroad" mean?
     
  9. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    Something to do with railways? :confused:

    Perhaps it involves setting up a model railway track and sending a model train towards the Hellpit to knock it over? ;):p
     
  10. Gary_M
    Razordon

    Gary_M Active Member

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    If I am remembering it correctly, the hellpit can be forced to move in a straight line by positioning something like skink skirmishers 1” away on its flank. Since in movement it can’t go closer than 1” to another unit it can’t therefore swivel to turn. This means it has to live straight forward.
    In turn this means you can both clear a path for it through your troops, and potentially force it to move off the table as it has no where else to go.
    You also have the added bonus of the skirmishers chucking poisoned shots at it each turn.
    When my gaming club played 8th (we’d gone back to playing 6th when we’re allowed to meet pre-Covid) I did manage this against a bit of a power gamer at the club. Nothing he could do as other threats were more pressing. In the end I killed it via skink shooting.
    I think I very narrowly lost the game in the end, but he was complimentary about the way I’d played.
    I think there might be a batrep somewhere in the dungeons of this site!
     
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  11. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    To be honest, this is way too gamey/power gaming. Turning on the spot for a single model doesn't count as movement per the BRB and the fact that it is totally unrealistic means I would never use the rule in this way. A huge monster has to move forwards as tiny Skinks are beside it? Not for me thanks.

    Funnily enough though, I do understand your using it against someone who is gamey/power gamer :) I think that I would prefer to have a chat with him about sportsmanship and if he wasn't willing to change his mind, I'd just play against someone else. I play the game to have a good time and make an effort to ensure that the other person does as well. For me, doing anything else defeats the point of having this as a hobby.

    Slann fireball or Fiery Convocation or other fiery attack combined with Skink shooting would be how I would deal with this.
     
  12. Gary_M
    Razordon

    Gary_M Active Member

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    I said it was gamey!
    It is also very situational.
    I wouldn’t use it in a friendly game, but against that oppo.....lol
     
  13. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Totally. And I said I understood why you used it against him! :)
     
  14. airjamy
    Terradon

    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah i agree, in a competitive game or if (god forbid) you have to face 2 of the buggers, tactics like this would not be beyond me. You only need one unit of Skinks at its flank right for this to work, as he then would not be able to pivot to either side, and he can also not charge the Skinks as he can not line up to them properly? It is incredibly gamey, but hea, you gotta do what you gotta do.
     
  15. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    I would still argue the point that for a single model, turning on the spot doesn't count as movement.

    Or, since you couldn't leave any models even slightly in front of him as he could then declare a charge, he could move forwards, pivot (as a single model can rotate as many times as it likes during movement) and then move around the skinks.

    @Scalenex ? @NIGHTBRINGER ?

    Do you concur?
     
  16. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    I agree with this, as War Machines are allowed to pivot on the spot before they shoot and that doesn’t count as movement.
     
  17. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    In the BRB, under "LONE MODELS AND MOVEMENT": "The one exception is that a single model can pivot on the spot as many times as it wishes over the course of its move. It can do so without penalty and so pivoting does not prevent models from marching, or even from shooting later in the turn."

    It would need to pass a leadership test in order to march (BRB Movement, "ENEMY SIGHTED" section) but the above is true regardless.
     
  18. airjamy
    Terradon

    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    I would argue that rule is irrelevant in this context. Yes, it does not cost any movement to pivot the model, but you are still moving the model. Unless you are getting into close combat, you cannot move within 1 inch of enemy models, period. You cannot charge the Skinks either, as you need to make contact with your front (and you can't get your front in contact with the "railroading" Skinks as your side slams into them before anything else, as long as the Lizardmen player positions the Skinks carefully. Yes it is very cheesy and gamey, but RAW, the fact that pivoting does not cost any movement does not make it so you can ignore other rules concerning movement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
  19. airjamy
    Terradon

    airjamy Well-Known Member

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    Still would be interested in what Scaly and Nightbringer have to say for sure. :)
     
  20. Gary_M
    Razordon

    Gary_M Active Member

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    I’m glad I mentioned the railroading thing, if only for the debate above.
    I’m pretty sure the idea/term was given to me from this forum way back when!
    I would have asked for advice, knowing who I was playing, and was given that as a possibility.
    Maybe me mentioning the pivoting bit is a red herring, maybe it’s the bit about not being able to go within an inch of a unit in movement which is the ‘thing’.
    As I said above, my group have reverted to 6th edition, so it’s a bit mute for me now!
     
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