Deathmaster Snikch, Chief Assassin of Clan Eshin, is a skaven special character for Warhammer Fantasy. Introduced in 4th edition, Snikch is the latest ratman to hold the title of Deathmaster, the bestest ninja assassins of the bestest ninja assassins in Skavendom. Given how incredibly badass Clan Eshin assassins are, it's safe to assume Snikch is pretty goddamn good at his job and is undeniably one of the deadliest, if the not THE deadliest, Skaven alive. Indeed, back in the old Warhammer Fantasy days, Snikch had the highest Weapon Skill stat of any Skaven, equal only to that of a Verminlord, which is a daemonic avatar of the Horned Rat himself. His reputation precedes him everywhere, to the point where the merest rumor that Snikch might be on the hunt gets other Skaven to vent their fear musk glands and fall in line with whoever is applying leverage to them. Lord Sneek, the Grand Nightlord of Clan Eshin and its representative on the Council of 13, is more than happy to use the fear of Snikch as a tool to get work done. As such, Clan Eshin never tells anyone where Snikch actually is at any given time (so he could be anywhere, even RIGHT BEHIND YOU!), so that both the clan and the Council of 13 can maximize the Deathmaster's reputation to suit their own ends. This also means that other assassins' kills regularly get credited to Snikch, inflating his scary reputation even further. Presumably these other assassins don't complain about this kill-stealing, lest they find a certain dark figure popping up behind them when they least expect it.
Snikch is one of the Skaven that actually gets shit done prior to the End Times. When the Deathmaster is deployed on a mission, he simply does not fail. When he was sent after Warlord Sskut of Murkpit, he left the wayward Skaven leader's head sitting atop a pile of the 100 noggins of his elite Stormvermin bodyguard. In another incident, he single-pawededly wiped out the entire leadership of Clan Festerlingus when they tried to outdo Clan Moulder by crossbreeding alligators with giant rats, leaving his symbol on each of their corpses for everyone to find. And those are just some of the cases where he made it obvious he was responsible.
Of course, Snikch gets sent out after all the other races of the Warhammer world as well. One of his oldest and most famous kills is Celestial Wizard Heinrich Frisen, whose flayed corpse was found in his still-locked chamber, completely stumping everyone who tried to figure out what happened. In another mission, Snikch was sent to mess with Belegar Ironhammer (because Skaven haven't screwed with that poor Dwarf-thing enough apparently), the would-be King of Karak Eight Peaks, by assassinating his beloved brother Dromgar Ironhammer. Dromgar was found dead in the middle of a heavily fortified Dwarf stronghold and they still haven't found his head to this day. When you think about it, that's adding even more insult to injury, because it means that Dromgar can't go to the halls of his ancestors fully intact. He also went on a killing spree in Karaz-a-Karak, which included Thorgrim's daughter and two of his sons, and when Thorgrim put the city in lockdown, Snikch escaped through a sewer grate after killing the guards with warpstone-laced throwing stars. This also adds insult to injury, as Thorgrim didn't have a name or even a race to put in the Book of Grudges for this, just a moniker that translated to "murder-daemon of darkness". In the now-retconned Storm of Chaos, it was Snikch who finished off the wounded Valten, Exalted of Sigmar, after the major events of that story. Did we mention that Snikch is good at his job?
But wait, there's more! Snikch is also responsible for a number of high-profile acts of sabotage and destruction in the world above, including the Great Fire of Lothern (thoroughly proving that the elf-things are not outside the reach of Skavendom), the bombing of the Imperial Navy in the Reiksport, and the destruction of a Dwarf-engineered Iron Cog-dragon on the eve of a major battle. And that's just the ones we know about! Presumably the leaders of men would sleep a lot less easier at night if they actually knew that Snikch was out there lurking and there's little doubt that Dwarf leaders check their closets for Deathmaster Snikch before they turn off the lights.
In battle, Snikch flits and slinks through the battlefield like a living shadow, triple-wielding deadly Weeping Blades - enchanted weapons infused with toxin and warpstone during their very forging - two in his hands and one gripped in his prehensile tail. Imagine the feats he had to take to do that. Snikch also wears the Cloak of Shadows, a magical garment woven from stolen human hairs and spider silk and enchanted with the best concealment and sneaking magic Clan Eshin has to offer. Beside being pretty metal, this also makes Snikch incredibly hard to see, helping him sneak-scurry much better than other Skaven possibly could.
During The End Times, Snikch keeps up his record of getting shit done, slaying Thorgrim Grudgebearer, the last High King of the Dwarfs in his private chambers with a nice clean decapitation (the ol' Snikch Special). Thorgrim Grudgebearer was also the Incarnate of the Lore of Metal at this time, which just makes this whole kill even more impressive. Admittedly, Snikch only gets to Thorgrim because the High King leaves a secret door open by accident (what a doofus), but hey, the Horned Rat provides, right? Snikch's blade at that time is also blessed with all the possible blessing needed from the Horned Rat to make him even deadlier.
There's plenty of other Clan Eshin assassin action in the End Times, so who knows what else Snikch got up to, because the death of Thorgrim was really the last we heard of him. Regrettably, we never got an epic ninja assassin death battle between Snikch and super Dark Elf assassin Shadowblade (who was killed by Malekith in the end times), but we all know it would have been amazing and we here at 1d4chan eagerly await your fanfic of it.
In the Age of Sigmar, there's no word of Snikch. He might still be around, he might not. Until Sigmar knows for sure, he's going to keep checking under the bed for Snikch at night and sleeping with a light on. Snikch's model now serves as a generic Deathmaster for Skaven forces.
Total War Warhammer
The Deathmaster makes his debut in Total Warhammer in the Shadow and the Blade DLC, where he faces off against Malus Darkblade. In complete defiance of tabletop rules and fluff, Creative Assembly have applied their trend of turning named heroes into legendary lords to Snikch. We'll leave whether that's good, bad, or not worth caring about to you. Unitwise, his DLC draws from the Eshin list for Storm of Chaos, and adds the Master Assassin as a lord, Eshin sorcerer as a hero and the Eshin Triad as a new unit, as well as Warp Grinders and Poison-Wind Mortars to fill out the remaining weapon teams for the Skaven. Predictably Snikch himself excels at dueling and assassinating single lords and heroes, having good combat stats, armour sundering and increased damage the more health his target is missing. However he's also extremely squishy as he has very little armour and a pretty small healthpool, so he's ill-suited to fight it out in the infantry blobs on the frontline. But most notable about playing him is his late-game scheme Plunge Into Anarchy that only he can enact which assassinates a faction leader and causes their entire faction replaced by rebels on a 100 turn cooldown, for when you just can't be bothered to grind through that #1 Strength Rank faction that's standing in the way of your victory objectives.
His reputation is also clearly such that players will hear their generic Skaven Assassins vocalize that, in an overinflated sense of self-worth typical for a Skaven, they fancy themselves a Deathmaster.
Fun fact: He was originally classified as “Dual Sword Infantry”. After demand by a lot of fans, he is currently the only unit in the game classified as "Triple Sword Infantry" due to his tail-blade.
Snikch's old 4th Edition miniature. Showing off his triple-wielding technique like a certain anime character.
Snikch in Total War: WARHAMMER, meditate in his glorious non-rat ogre abs, Nippon style.
|Deathmaster Snikch - Ghoritch - Ikit Claw - Klawmunkast - Lord Skrolk |
Morbus Sanguis - Queek Head-Taker - Skreet Verminkin - Skweel Gnawtooth
Thanquol - Throt the Unclean - Tretch Craventail