Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tournament Competitiveness - Part 3a

Okay, so now we're up to the Top 5 armies that I think have the chance to win a tournament. This means that in my opinion they can string 5-6 wins of sufficient size (at least 14-15 BPs per game) to come out on top.

I'm going to do them in reverse order, though to be fair I think #4 & #5 and #1 & #2 are almost interchangeable.

5. Warriors of Chaos

Far more than the Wizards of Chaos they were under 7th Edition. The WoC have very strong Core choices which means that it is hard to get cheap points. This is especially so if they are backed by strong Magic defense and in the Infernal Puppet, the WoC have the best in the game. I can't see a time when it wouldn't be in any list I made. It provides great protection against people who try the "Six Dice Monkey" (Pete puts his hand up), pretty much stopping this tactic until Turns 4-5.

They also have the ability to generate 3++ Stubborn Chosen very easily (Terror Banner) though I think WoC players use this as a crutch at times. Personally I can't think of anything I'd like to fight least so will divert, divert, divert....

The Standard of Discipline really strengthens this army and allows the Sorcerer Lord as a General. Plenty of other great items - Book of Secrets, Third Eye, Rage Banner etc

initially we were seeing Marauder Hordes but this switched to the Chosen Bus for 3-4 months. Now the trend seems to be back towards the big Khorne Marauder hordes.

Finally you have the Hellcannon - which can spoil your opponent's day if it misfires and you have the puppet.

4. Skaven

Anything I write here is going to be seen as biased! Ka Sera

I think that Skaven are the Liverpool or NZ Warriors of the Warhammer World. On their day they can beat anyone, and often do. However it can be very difficult to string 5-6 of those "days" together. There is a lot that has to go right in the Skaven list and there is a lot than can go horribly wrong.

That said, let's concentrate on their positives. Firstly, they can put together a combined arms force that competes in all the phases. Ranked troops with Ld 10 and normally Steadfast is a fantastic base. This however is all dependent on their characters being alive and more than any army other than the Undead, the Skaven are susceptible to this. Secondly, lots of cheap diverters - this is where the Skaven excel....they can chuck lots of chaff in your way so you get no real points. I like to use Doomskaven - 15 point naked engineers and can see how they frustrate opponents.

Thirdly, warmachines and magic. Point for point I think Skaven have some of the best options for dealing death en mass. Be it the WLC, the Doomrocket, Scorch or the 13th Spell there are big killers in their arsenal (however see later). Fouth, not only do they have diverters they have great disrupters. Skaven Gutter Runners are up with Shades as the most disruptive units in the game - 108 points buys your opponent a lot of anst.

Finally, they are cute and cuddly.

So what are their weak points. The biggest one is the inability to finish units off. While they can deal out death on a large scale they have few options besides Gutter Runners and Warp Lightning Engineers to chase down thos final wounds "efficiently". This means that they fail to reap the dividend from their offence. I have tried to address this through weapons teams, mainly ratling guns but they are too fragile to last until the time you need them in Turns 4-5.

With out the "finishers" the Skaven struggle to get the big wins they need - hence their ranking of 4th.


  1. If you have to win 5-6 games and say it is against skilled opponents, isn't mark of Tzeentch on everything the way to go, even marauders? Personally I love mark of Khorne, and i'm comfortable with it in terms of play style, but Tzeentch seems like the better option in the bigger picture.

  2. I think the Marauder blocks are there to deal out pain. A 6++ save is not worth the extra attacks in my view given a 5-7 wide unit

  3. Definately agree, most people's main concern is the occaisonal matchup situation where you're forced into an overrun after combat instead of a reform, usually late in the game, which could be costly. Its not an easy one to weigh up, though.

  4. I can't believe I missed this..... Anyway, my thoughts on the Skaven, as someone who's been smacked around by Pete's ratboys on a number of occassions.

    One thing missing from Pete's list is their excellent combat potential. Not the clanrats or slaves, but the true fighters in a Skaven list; the Abomination and Plague Furnace. The ability of both these items to deal death and destruction is pretty legendary, and deservedly so. I've learned the hard way that the Plague Furnace isn't that bad, relatively speaking, for Dwarves (charging it helps), but thinking about how High Elves and other T3 armies might handle it in combat, it really does stand out. Those T tests with no armour save will kill a lot of expensive elites. The Abomination is in a class of its own, and is a strong contender for best monster in the game.

    These monsters can of course be killed with shooting and magic, but Skaven have the first option very well covered. The obligitary Storm Banner mixed with the compulsory Gutter Runners means that war machines are likely to be neutered for that precious first turn, then poisoned very quickly thereafter. Add in the Screaming Bell and it's 11-12 result on 3d6 (Deafening Peals) which inflicts D3 auto-wounds on T7 war machines, and it gets real bad, real fast. So shooting is not a reliable way to kill the big nasties. Magic is an option for all armies (bar Dwarves) but by it's nature is random and unpredictable. A canny Skaven player will be waiting for that 3D6 Fireball after all.

    Pete did forget to mention one of the better mages in the game (Warpstone Tokens), with access to two strong lores and one of the least popular spells in the shape of the Dreaded 13th. I find that I need to dispel damn near everything, which is mostly doable with Dwarves, but I hate to think how other armies get on. A Scorch, Wither or Cracks Call at the wrong moment can make life very unpleasant for any opponent.

    Still, with Skaven in the hands of a skilled player, you know you've had a game at the end of the day.