Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Skaven under 8th Edition - Part 2

There are a number of characteristics that define the Skaven army:

1. Apart from the Grey Seer the characters are very cheap compared to most other armies.

2. Leadership is variable. Base leadership is low but Strength in Numbers and Inspiring Presence can boost it to among the best in the game.

3. The spell decks are very effective.

4. Quantity has its own quality.

5. Weaponry is variable - inconsistent, unreliable but potentially devastating

With that in mind how have the Skaven fared with the move to 8th Edition?

I think the answer is not too bad. Like most armies I believe they have received an overall boost which has leveled the playing field.

Key to performing well with them in 8th is to play to their strengths (no shit, Sherlock!). So what are those?

Skaven have access to very cheap troops (Slaves @ 2 points each and Clanrats with Shield @ 4.5 points). This allows you to build big units that take advantage of the special rule, Strength in Numbers. There is no instance where a Skaven unit should be less than 4 ranks and therefore getting the +3 bonus to Leadership. Place them within 12" of the General and BSB and you have a "rock".

These cheap troops also allow you to take advantage of one of the most important new rules in 8th, Steadfast. Very few armies will be able to match the number of ranks that the Skaven can deploy. As a result all Skaven ranked units are likely to be Steadfast at least for the first round of combat. This is a fantastic tactical situation to be in as it allows the Skaven player to pick where the combats will be fought and plan accordingly. You have the opportunity to set up flank attacks, defend in depth etc with the knowledge that you have reasonable certainty in holding that position.

So in 8th: Steadfast + SIN = Big win for the Skaven

Another win for the Skaven is the removal of slots. Nowhere is this more evident than in the choice of characters. Previously you generally had a single lord and a total of four characters. This has all changed with the moves to percentages - and Skaven along with Orcs & Goblins (and to a lesser extent Empire) are the big winners here. The base cost of an Engineer is 15 points.

Why is this so important? Because all characters have access to the list of Common Magic Items.

Your cheap characters can buy the peripheral items that your army needs - a magic weapon, Magic Resistance etc - without impacting on the Magic Items your main characters need.

This also allows you to spread the risk out across your army by not concentrating too many points in a single model.

So in 8th: Removal of Character Slots = Win for Skaven

Next post I'll discuss the change to percentages on the rest of the army and also look at the effect 8th has had on Skaven magic.


  1. These articles have been hugely helpful! Please keep them up! Cheers!


  2. Your definately right about the benefits of cheap characters. The other issue as well that many ppl seem to be overlooking is the inc'd expenditure req'd on core troops. Armies that were used to minimising core selections e.g., HE only taking 2 units of 10 archers in 7th now have to completley change their army lists. Skaven and other armies with CHEAP core gain some serious benefits under 8th.

    Looking forward to playing vs. Skaven at CTA this weekend if I get the chance