Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Plague Banner

One Skaven question I’ve never been able to reconcile to my satisfaction concerns the question of which banner is the best choice for a unit of Plague Monks.

The three most obvious choices are:

• Plague Banner (30 points) – Re-roll To-Hit and To-Wound rolls for one round of combat

• Banner of the Underempire (25 points) – 2D6 Strength 2 hits on every unit in contact, every round

• Banner of the Eternal Flame (10 points) – All attacks are Flaming

Let’s dismiss the flaming banner as this is situational and concentrate on the other two.

Now to some extent I expect it comes down to how you run the Monks, what number you have and definitely what you are facing. The two situations I think are most common are 20-30 Monks with Furnace and 30-40 Monks with no Furnace.

Over the past 16 months I have run my Monks in the first setup. Typically I’ll have them in a five wide unit giving me a file either side of the Furnace. I have always felt that the Banner of the Underempire was the best choice as you have insufficient attacks to the front – typically nine from the Plague Monks, 7 from the Furnace crew and 4 from the Priest – to make the Plague Banner worthwhile. However perhaps I’ve been underselling it. To try and increase its potency I have started to go seven wide which increases the PM attacks to 17. Certainly without the Furnace the extra 12 attacks would seem to make the Plague Banner a no-brainer, particularly if you go in Horde formation and have sufficient numbers to soak up any attacks that strike before you. The ability to dish out 51 attacks once is scary but after that I suspect the unit is toast.

So how have others found the Plague Banner – either with or without the Furnace?


  1. I've been running the Plague Banner most of this year with 27 monks and the furnace in horde formation. I find that the banner adds a new threat for the unit. I tend to use my furnace quite defensively where I will sit it back for a while and then punch through an enemy unit when the time seems right.

    I don't find the under empire banner useful at all. 2D6 S2 just does nothing in 8th edition against the large units I usually send my furnace towards. It might add a combat res or two but so will the plague banner even if only running 5 wide.

    It really depends on how you use the unit itself. If you prefer to use it as an anvil (which if I'm not mistaken is how you use it Pete) then the plague banner is not really useful.

    But as a serious combat unit I won't be leaving Skavenblight without it in the near future.

  2. I give my Plague Monks the Storm Banner, since I don't take Storm Vermin and prefer to give my BSB a ward save rather than a magic banner.