So the Skavenblight Panzer Division…….how did it perform?
The quick answer is okay, the considered answer is that the jury is out.
How did I get to this? Well, the army took a narrow loss and had four big wins.
However, the army was largely untested versus warmachines, only facing a Hellcannon, mortar and cannon over the weekend. Against some of the Orcs and Dwarfs it would have had bigger problems but even this would be a bit misleading given the restrictions to no duplicate Special or Rare choices.
As a result I didn’t lose the Furnace, Bell or HPA over the course of the weekend. The pushing units were wiped out in a couple of cases but in all games the points for the big three (around 950) were preserved. So it is very difficult to advance a categorical case either way.
What was learned over the course of the weekend? Well, Skaven without shooting are more difficult to use than a Skaven army with that capability. I missed my Doomrocket and having at least one warmachine to deplete blocks prior to contact. This meant I needed to rely on magic and then the weight of ranks. I also really missed my Gutter Runners. Those units are worth their weight in gold in most games and to not have them meant my army was very linear. I guess the one thing I would say is that removal of the shooting aspects of the list is like playing with one arm in shackles.
Prior to the weekend I made a conscious decision to stick to the Plague Lore rather than use any Ruin spells. This meant my effective range was more limited so that I couldn’t sit back and try and blast opponents with pseudo-shooting. I really enjoy the Plague Lore but again it really works against the opposition armies I had over the weekend. Unfortunately I never got the Plague Spell to jump and nor did I ever generate new rats with the 13th Spell – however in spite of that both were effective tools.
Not having shooting removes “one” of the advantages of big slave blocks. One of my common tactics is to tie up an elite unit with slaves and then pepper it with poisoned shots from my Gutter Runners. Aah, good times…..I missed that.
I’m still really unsure about the Grey Seer on Bell. There are advantages and disadvantages to its use. He becomes largely impervious to magic that allows a Ward save, the leadership bubble of the army is extended, you have 360 degree LoS and you get some nice “Easter Eggs” by ringing the Bell (though I think this feature is overrated). Against this you take a unit out of the game, he becomes more static – Skitterleap is useless – and I think the army as a whole becomes more defensive.
The Furnace is the Furnace. I tried the Plague Banner instead of my normal Banner of the Underempire and to be honest I’m not sure which is best. The PB is more aggressive giving you that solid single phase hit but the BotU gives you ongoing benefits and probably helps long term survivability. Either are good choices.
With the addition of 400 points of shooting the army could be devastating. Certainly I’d fancy my chances to be competitive if it had the WLC, two units of Gutter Runners, a Doomrocket and an upgrade to an Engineer.