Wednesday, December 15, 2021

KOW - Can Ratkin "Horde" With The Best Of Them?

One of greatest discoveries I made when I first played Kings of War, and in particular the v2 Uncharted Empires Ratkin list, was how much better the rats played as a horde army compared to my experiences in WHFB.

I found that the list really captured my perception of what a horde of rats would be like.


Coming back to the game after a break, I have been trying to consume as much material as possible to give myself a solid grounding in rules and potential tactics. One series of articles I've read was the series by Nick Williams on his adventures with Scarecrows (you can read the first article here). The premise here was whether you could overwhelm your opponent by sheer weight of bodies. I really enjoyed the series and was wondering whether it was transferable to Ratkin.

When I look at the "Scarecrow" solution, the base stats are:

Horde - 21 Nerve - 130 points - De 3+ 

Legion - 27 Nerve - 190 points - De 3+

The most obvious candidate are the Wretches:

Horde - 21 Nerve -115 points - De 2+

Legion - 27 Nerve - 170 points - De 2+

At a headline level this looks really promising. Cheaper by 15/20 points, worse De and lacking Stealthy.....maybe something I can work with. Perhaps the biggest downside is that, unlike Scarecrows, Wretches can be Wavered.

However, further investigation kills the concept DEAD. Unlike their Scarecrow friends, the units of Wretches are Irregular and must be unlocked. You can have some but nothing like the weight of Scarecrow units that can be brought to bear.

The next option is to look at Warriors. Their stats read:

Regiment - 14 Nerve - 85 points - De 4+

Horde - 21 Nerve - 145 points - De 4+

So in this instance, I dismissed Regiments and focused on Hordes. More expensive (15 points), susceptible to Wavered and no Stealthy is offset by higher De value. You also get to give them Rallying.

Perhaps this could work?

Checking through the rest of the stats, the rats are faster(ish). However, besides existing, these units need to do something....even if slowly. Unfortunately for Ratkin, the Warriors have 5 less attacks than the Scarecrows (both hit on 5s).

Wrap Up

I think that if you are looking for pure, pure Horde then a Scarecrow horde just does it better than what can be achieved by the Rats. Cheaper and better on the grind with no Wavered risk.

However, reading through Nick's full series, I believe he reaches a point where he suggests that rather than "full" horde, a nuanced "support" horde may yield better long term results. This may be the case but I do believe there is a certain value in the despair of your opponent when faced by so many resilient units (by despair, I mean more potential for indecision).

Certainly believe that he identified a "sweet spot" unit that in retrospect may be either a bit underpriced or potentially a candidate for "Irregular".

So can Ratkin "horde"? Of course they can. You can definitely create an extended frontage of Nerve 20+ which will occupy space. What it is lacking is damage-dealing potential. Therefore the "support" needs to be carefully thought through. The ideal tactics being to pin the enemy with the Horde and have dangerous and maneuverable units that can hit the flanks. Simple but the proof is in the execution 😉 

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