Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Skaven Vs. Death Star

Shane Irons sent me an email asking about Skaven tactics against the current flavour of the month, large Death Star units.

I am seeing a lot of Warriors of Chaos and Ogre Kingdoms running huge brick armies.

What is the best way for Skaven to deal with these armies? So far I have just been throwing Slaves into them and shooting them with 2 WLC and spells but it never seems to be enough. Ogre Kingdoms seems worse because I cannot use the 13th Spell on them and their regeneration spell is so cheap. Also they keep stacking multiple copies up to make dispelling them harder.

I have to be honest playing against armies that literally have 90% of their army in one block is not what I thought fantasy would be. Everyone was telling me that fantasy is a more tactical version of 40K, but I really do not see the skill or tactics in moving one unit down the table. I am not losing horribly in these games, but I am not able to kill off the death star units in 6 turns either (I usually get down to 4-6 models left which nets me 0 points).

The big Death Star units are very difficult for Skaven, particularly if they are Warriors of Chaos with their Stubborn 3++ Chosen or Ogre Kingdoms with their non- infantry models.

The first thing I would suggest is to play the scenarios if you aren’t because these do have some aspects which limit the effect of the Death Star – e.g. those that can effect deployment.

Let’s take the two armies separately, first Ogre Kingdoms. One of the best ways to deal with the big block is to use your Slaves as an anvil (as you point out that you are doing). If you can, include a 15 point Engineer in the block and run him out in front (more than 6” away) to act as a diverter. He’ll be killed and they’ll likely reform but it gives you an additional round of shooting for 15 points.

Let the block charge your Slaves, on the proviso it is 30+ and your General and BSB are in range. One of the best things about Slaves is that they let you use ranged attacks into combat. So tarpit the block with your ranks and then hit it with everything. You don’t randomise so only the ogres will take casualties. I find Gutter Runners great for this with their poisoned sling attacks, Engineers with Lightning, Ratling Guns etc. Lacking a decent army save you will soon deplete them.

Finally look at Plague Monks and especially Plague Censer Bearers to charge the unit once they are pinned. PCBs with Gas attack and then 3 re-rollable Str 5 attacks at Init 3 will do real damage to most Ogre units. Seven PCB, 35 Slaves and an Engineer costs around 200 points so they are pretty cost effective investments.

For WoC I find that the biggest impediment is the Infernal Puppet which limits my ability to trow magic dice. However you can give your Seer some protection by taking an Earthing Rod which means you’ll generally be able to get one 13th Spell off with limited damage. I tend to wait until Turn 4 or 5 so that a high Miscast Roll isn’t too limiting. You can usually remove a unit of Chosen with this before it gets into combat especially if you have some engineers.

The keys are to only ever fight these units on your terms. Therefore delay, divert or feed it crap while all the time chipping away at its numbers. For Ogres use the Slave tactic above backed up by PCBs into flank and for Chosen line them up for the Turn 4-5 13th. Alternatively if there are sufficient points in the rest of the army then focus your energies there while frustrating the Death Star.

Hope that helps.


  1. > include a 15 point Engineer in the block and run
    > him out in front (more than 6” away
    Wouldn't they kill the engineer in the first turn and overrun into your slave block anyway?

  2. You set up the Engineer so there is no overrun path into any of your units.

    In 8th the rules changed so that the charging unit has to conform to the unit charged (even if a single model). This allows you to stop overruns by careful placement

  3. It's not that I don't believe you! I'm asking dumb questions because I don't know the answer :)

    If it's one engineer, and you've angled him enough so that the overrun from the center of the charging unit won't hit - that's fine.
    But can't the charging unit decide to make contact with the engineer with (for instance) it's very left model? The charging unit aligns, with the majority of it hanging off the right of your engineer in such a way as to hopefully make contact in the overrun.
    Does that make sense?

    Do you still have to maximise base to base contact in 8th?

    Cheers Pete.

  4. The charging unit still has to move into contact with the model. Therefore you move the Engineer up to 1" away and angle him.

    The Charging unit therefore has very little scope to maneurve. They either contact the Engineer and align at first point of contact or don't charge.

    It is the primary reason why the 15 point Engineer is hated. Lot of competitions put limits on them