Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Skaven Weapons Teams

One of the most appealing units in the Skaven army book are the weapons teams that you can buy to accompany other choices. Apart from a Warpgrinder to go with gutter Runners all the other options supplement Core selections.

So how good are they?

Rather than write a Tactica for Weapons Teams I’m going to lay out my thoughts on the key underlying rationale for including or excluding them from your army.


The teams range in cost from 55 points through to 75 points and can be bought to supplement another choice. For most teams the required unit is either Stormvermin or Clanrats, the exception being Warpgrinder which can come with Night Runners or Gutter Runners.

The cost may seem cheap but as I’ll highlight later this is a two edged sword. They do have Heavy armour for protection and a 4+ ward if in the vicinity of their parent. That said, they only have one wound. In all seriousness someone needs only to look at them threatening like and they are in trouble.

Offensive Ability

Again their offensive abilities look really good on paper….flamer template, strength 4 shots, impact hits and artillery dice attacks, template that wounds on 5+ etc ….however I have found that the reality does not reflect their promise.

Apart from the Poisoned Wind Mortar the other teams with shooting abilities are Move or Fire. This means they need to be positioned the turn before you use them. Generally this exposes them to a turn of magic and shooting and as I pointed out above their defensive qualities are very poor. On top of this they are very erratic. The Warpfire Thrower can vary by +/- 4” from average result while the Ratling Gun now needs to roll to hit removing its key function [removal of skirmishers] under 7th Edition (oh how it loved Wardancers and Shades).

The PWM offers more potential as it doesn’t need line of sight and it can move and fire. However the potential for self-damage from a misfire is quite damaging when you yourself are running blocks. Still, it probably represents your best offensive option.

The Doomflayer looks good on paper but is very susceptible to match-ups. The D3 impact hits are distributed as shooting which reduces the ability to snipe characters and the ability of characters to make way means that if they have a higher Initiative the Doomflayer will be dead before it gets its other attacks.

Finally, the Warpgrinder. No-one will ever put it with the Gutter Runners as it will only limit their contribution while who ever takes a block of Night Runners? No, really who?

Core Points

I suspect the key reason people take Weapons Tests is to pad out their Core requirement. Generally it takes time to paint a Skaven army and when a Weapons Team (1 model) costs the same points as a unit of Slaves (20+ models) I can understand why we see them on the table. However I suspect as you continue to build and paint your army well I know what I think offers the best value point for point.


One function they do have is in the support of Slave units. Because you can shoot into a slave combat with impunity, if you can set up an enemy unit you can drill them with a Ratling Gun. However it is very situational and I think you can achieve the same thing far more reliably with Gutter Runners if the opportunity present.


The Weapons Team can be used as a redirector to set up an enemy unit. However it is an expensive option for the role when a 5-6 ranked units of Slaves costs the same points.

Yes, you may get a Stand and Shoot reaction but you are unlikely to stop a charge.

Points Donators

The biggest downside I see to Weapons Teams is that they present your opponent with a very easy opportunity to harvest points in a game where for most units yielding points has got much tougher. If I was playing Skaven I’d see the inclusion of Weapons Teams as a gift from the Horned Rat. The work to get those points is significantly easier than getting them from a potentially Steadfast ranked unit.

In the UK situation where 100 VPs is a win, I’d be very surprised if you ever saw them at all.


So my wrap-up is not going to be a surprise to any of you. Unless you don’t have the necessary core points I don’t think there is a compelling reason to take them versus say a unit of Slaves or even a Level 1 Engineer (similar points). They struggle to harvest points and they give them up easily. I have been using 2-3 teams throughout 2011 and I’m about to give them away. It takes a better player than me to get value out of them.

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