Thursday, June 16, 2011

Revisting Initial 8th Edn Skaven Thoughts

It is a commonly known fact that in the Skaven calendar June 16th is a day of reflection.

In keeping with this tradition I thought I’d revisit my thoughts on Skaven under 8th edition made in August 2010. There were three articles that can be found here:

Part A

Part B

Part C

In the articles I identified what I thought were the key characteristics of Vetock’s book. These were:

 Cheap troops – quantity having its own quality
 Cheap characters – Grey Seer excepted
 Effective spell decks
 Weaponry potentially devastating but inconsistent/variable

The three features of the new rules that I felt would have most impact (in this case all positive) on Skaven were:

 The introduction of Steadfast
 The removal of slots
 New Magic mechanics

Well guess what? I reckon I was largely spot on. Those three facets have all been positive for Skaven and have all become features of the Skaven lists I run.

The introduction of Steadfast in conjunction with Strength in Numbers has meant that relative cheap units (e.g. 40 Slaves) have a high degree of certainty to stand up first the past round of combat – effectively they are Stubborn on Ld 8-10 (usually 10) with a BSB re-roll. I generally build my list around three blocks of 35-40 Skaven Slaves that allow me to put roadblocks in the way of elite units.

The removal of slots has had a twofold effect. The most obvious is that Skaven are no longer disadvantaged by having relatively cheap efficient Special and Rare choices. In the past the limit was slots rather than points whereas for other armies the points were the constraints e.g. 6 kitted out Gutter Runners are 108 points whereas a unit of kitted out Tomb Guard is 300-400 points. This is even more evident in Rare choices with 90 point WLC and 100 point Plagueclaw catapults. In the past you would fill rare with 200 points….now you’ve got points (and slots) to buy HPA.

The second effect is the access to multiple cheap characters. When I first saw this I thought that the benefit was that I’d get more 50 point magic items point allowance. However that hasn’t been the major benefit. For me it is the fact I can get a 15 point character that provides a +Ld 3 boost to slave units (very useful outside the Ld bubble) but also as a cheap re-director/diverter/roadblock. I call these cheap engineers “Doomskaven” and have painted up Trentch as one.

The third benefit has been the new Magic mechanics. The Skaven decks are great as the highest casting value (apart from 13th Spell) is 9+ for a Grey Seer. This means typically you are achieving the casting value far more often.

So there you have it…all those suspicions were right. But what did I miss/

I think the one thing I really missed was the access to an increased Common Magic Item list. My magic allowance is spent on these items to give me things the Skaven book doesn’t? Ward Save, Earthing rod, Magic Resistance, Characteristic potions etc. There is a lot in this list to tailor your specific character. Generally my Seer will use the generic 4+ Ward plus Earthing Rod. If I want MR I can buy cheap engineer and then buy specific MR to give to a unit. There is far greater flexibility.

As a result my list hasn’t changed too much since August. I’ll look back this time next year to see how the release of books has changed things.


  1. I don't see the release of other books changing much, your strengths are core fundamental strengths, not gimick's that could be negated without affecting every other army... by a new armybook. It is a golden time for the bold and experienced rat-generals! Chaoswolf

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