Total War Warhammer/Tactics/Skaven
- – Game battle chant for Skaven
Why play Skaven
- Because you are a backstabbing bastard that cares little about the lives of your very numerous subjects
- You like bringing down classic high fantasy tropes with the power of raw industrial might, like Saruman
- Even your most basic Skaven is by all standards batshit insane and CAs Voice Acting is spot on
- You are an opportunist that takes advantage of other factions being distracted and like making plots
- Skaven are entirely unique to Warhammer, in no other setting there is something quite like them
- IKIT CLAW HAS FUCKING NUKES
- Numbers: Even at the highest tiers, you will outnumber your enemy easily. Even higher tier infantry units outnumber every enemy unit and you have the units with the highest base model count in the game.
- Firepower: Your ranged units are easily unsurpassed by any other faction, this goes for your missle infantry as well as your artillery. Skaven have the strongest ranged roster in the entire game, and don't necessarily need a lot of micro to make the most out of them.
- Ambushes: Your normal movement stance on the campaign map lets you ambush enemy armies on the attack.
- Cost: Everything you have is extremely cost-efficient and your melee infantry in particular is dirt cheap.
- Under-Empire: You can establish hidden bases all over the world, siphoning other factions income into your pockets as well do some really crazy shit with this mechanic.
- Flexibility on the campaign map: Skaven have by far the most tools on the overworld to shift the odds the AI throws at you in your favor, and being a proper Skaven player, you weren't really interested in a fair fight anyways.
- Sooo much DLC: Skaven currently have the highest number of supplemental DLC Lord Packs out of every other faction in the game. With a grand total of 3 separate packs, each introducing a handful of other units to further supplement your forces, you won't ever find yourself wanting for diversity.
- DLC is mandatory: The big issue. The "The Prophet and the Warlock" DLC is absolutely mandatory to make your faction work well on the battlefield; your roster will lack essential units like Ratling Guns and Warplock Jezzails without it.
- Sooo much DLC: A continuation of the first point; you need to purchase three separate DLC Lord packs if you want access to the entire Skaven unit roster. You can just get by with only "The Prophet and the Warlock" if you just need solid workhorse units, but those other AI Skaven factions will taunt you with all the shiny toys you didn't get around to buying.
- Morale: Get used to hearing "BACK UNDERGROUND!", "SCARPER! FLEE!" and "SH-SHAMEFUL DISPLAY!" because Skaven Leaderships is generally quite low. Most skaven infantry will break before their counterparts from other factions will.
- Slow Economy: While many of your baseline troops are dirt cheap, your crazy weapons are not and your economy needs some time to get going and you will be overshadowed in terms of money by most other factions in your general vicinity. Special attention needs to go to your food economy, which is easily one of the biggest pitfalls an unexperienced Skaven player can fall into. Once you have some provinces under your belt, you can start bringing in the cash.
- Hard to play: You need at least a basic grip at how the game works to play Skaven, they punish mistakes heavily. Your troops may be numerous and dirt cheap, but have little staying power and will rout at the first glance of danger. Add to this mechanics like the Under-Empire and Skaven Corruption, which need constant attention to make the best use out of them.
- Challenging Campaign Starting Settlements: Your starting positions (aside from Ikit Claw) put you in opposition of factions that have a lot of tools to counter your strengths, particularly the Lizardmen or Dwarves (or both, in some cases).
- Verminous Valor: The Leadership of Skaven Units depends stronger than other factions on many Skaven are left, and will regenerate faster after breaking if the unit has more models left.
- Scurry away!: Skaven units get a speed bonus when their leadership is low (including when routing). This is both good and bad; on one hand, they can quickly escape most pursuing infantry, recover then rejoin the fray in record times. On the other hand (particularly if near battlefield edges), they may full on abandon the battlefield long before their morale regenerates due to how quickly they move.
- Strength in Numbers: When HP is above 50, skaven units are slower, have +6 leadership, and +8 melee defense. (Not universal across the roster, but close. Every infantry unit, melee and ranged unit has it. Entities like characters, Monsters/monstrous infantry, and artillery do not have it)
- The Menace below: THE universal Skaven ability and one that is easily underestimated. It summons a unit of clanrats on any position on the map you wish. The rats will stay on the map for 60 seconds, after which, they die. The times you can use this ability depends on the Skaven corruption in the region the battle is fought in. Before the battle, you can increase the number of uses for a price of 3 food each. Never underestimate this ability, it's utility value is enourmous. That High Elven archer regiment that keeps eluding you? Throw rats on them. That scary looking Bretonnian Cavalry charge? Throw rats at them and negate their Charge bonus. That bloated corpse that could devastate your front line? Throw summoned rats in. The ability to summon sacrificial units for free is extremely powerful, be it to harrass skirmishers or missile units, bog down cavalry and elite infantry or just to have something expendable against suicide units.
Legendary Lords and Subfactions
- Queek Head-Taker (Clan Mors): Queek of Clan Mors starts in the Southlands in both campaigns and as well, has a pretty rough start. You are surrounded by factions that absolutely hate you and have a lot of tools to counter your strengths; it doesn't help that your economic base isn't that good (other than, let's say, Ikit Claw)and you get minor penalties if you don't control Karak Eight Peaks on Mortal Empires. That being said, if you are familiar with the game and aren't shy of taking a gambit (i.e. expanding as aggressively as possible early on), you will find Queek's Campaign very much to your liking. Important to note is that the Penalties for not having Karak Eight Peaks are not nearly as crippling as they are for Skarsnik and Belegar Ironhammer.
Queek himself is a slightly improved Warlord with some unique boons. He excels as a melee fighter despite not having access to any mounts and stomps most enemy Lords and Heroes with relative ease. Add to this that he is the only legendary lord with a reliable escape ability and you can do a lot of nasty things to not-Skaven-Things. He buffs up Stormvermin by a good amount, as well as cutting their Upkeep in half, so Clan Mors Armies tend to stack a lot of Stormvermin, which never is a bad idea. Starts out in the Vortex Campaign near Not Capetown and to the south of Karak Eight Peaks in Mortal Empires.
- Lord Skrolk (Clan Pestilens): Skrolk leads Clan Pestilens in the overcrowded clusterfuck that is Lustria. Same problems as Queek in the early game, although the game is a bit more generous with early expansion opportunities. He basically has the same pitfalls as Queek, with the significant disadvantage that he starts the game pitted against Lizardmen, which are easily one of the faction that counter Skaven the hardest. Important to note is that Pestilens, as its name says, likes to play around with Plagues, and you actually benefit from catching it, giving you unit discounts, growth boosts and upkeep reduction.
Skrolk himself excels at Spellcasting and little else, but maxing out your Lore of Plague should be a top priority. He also gives nice boosts to all kinds of units that are associated with Clan Pestilens and starts with two Plague Monk Regiments, which will carry you through most of the early game.
- Tretch Craventail (Clan Rictus): Tretch starts in fucking Naggarond of all places surrounded by most of the Dark Elves, Alith Anar right on top of him, with no prospective allies nearby except for maybe Grand Hierophant Khatep over the mountains and Cylostra Direfin to the south. Everyone hates your guts, and considering his special campaign rules (gain public order for breaking diplomatic treaties as well as a hefty melee attack bonus in battle) it's not hard to see why. You are a vanilla Skaven faction in every other regard, and Rictus is probably the hardest Skaven start in Vortex if not counting Queek. He does however start with the most top-tier units out of any other Skaven LL (Stormvermin, Death Runners and a DOOMWHEEL) which will easily let you expand quickly.
Tretch is in many regards an unremarkable Warlord, but he does gain his special rules from the old tabletop in the most faithful way possible - his iconic Stay Here, I'll Get Help rule returns as an active ability that will massively buff the Leadership of whatever units that are close by while granting Tretch himself stealth to save his own skin. He excels in campaign battles because of his ability to Vanguard Deployment his entire army, an ability only shared by Vlad von Carstein.
- Ikit Claw (Clan Skryre)(DLC): Comes with the "The Prophet and the Warlock" DLC, which, if you play Skaven, you should own anyway, so we could as well Ikit include as a Vanilla lord. Forget about the game telling his Campaign being hard, Ikit has by far the easiest start and can snowball out of control extremely quickly. Clan Skryres Campaign comes with features that are unique to them, first of all is the Forbidden Workshop, which lets you boost all Clan Skryre Units (as in Ratling Guns, Doomflayers, DOOMWHEELS etc.) with ridiculous buffs that make them even more powerful and gives you access to Doomsday Rockets, which are in essence, tactical nukes. Ikit Claw and Clan Skryre start the game in Skavenblight, squished in between Tilea and Estalia, and start the game at war with the latter. Interesting to note is that the AI rarely, if ever, attacks Skavenblight and the city itself has good protection from outside threats due its location in a toxic swamp alone and the ludicrous size of its garrison. Why this campaign is considered difficult by CA standards is beyond me. To top it all off, Clan Skryre also has exclusive access to the Doomsphere Under-Empire building which will wipe out any settlement above it in a truly glorious fashion.
Ikit himself packs the strengths of both Queek and Skrolk into a nice Skaven-sized-Package without possessing the weaknesses of either; his animations make it really hard to actually land a hit on him, he has a good amount of HP, high armour and a flamethrower. If that's not enough for you, he can also use the Skaven Lore of Ruin for even more damage, and if that is still not enough, you can stick him into his personal DOOMWHEEL (Although it's not recommended, a Doom-Flayer is the much better mount option). And even if that's not enough, he can unlock "Second-Wind Serum" skill, which activates every time he casts a spell and heals him for a flat number of points. Yeah, he is pretty busted and outright broken at times. You're still not convinced? He also happens to have some of the best voice acting and quotes of all characters in the game ("Hm-hm, forgot pesticides" "Biggest Brain of all rats, yes-yes!")
- Deathmaster Snikch (Clan Eshin)(DLC): Coming in with "The Shadow and the Blade" DLC, which brings the third great clan of the Skaven into the game along with three new regiments to round out both the Eshin and Skryre rosters. Snikch's campaign is intertwined with the other DLC Legendary Lord of his pack (Malus Darkblade of Hag Graef) and is centred on the race for control of the daemon Tz'arkan, so you won't be participating in the race for the Vortex. Instead, Snikch gains exclusive access to Shadowy Dealings, a set of unilateral campaign actions that involve sending out Snikch and his lords to murder, sabotage and infiltrate other factions in the classic Eshin way. What makes the Shadowy Dealings bonkers is their final, ultimate scheme - Plunge into Anarchy, which permanently assassinates the leader of any faction (even a major one) and immediately sends all of their settlements into revolt. All of Lothern confederated? One click and they're all gone, just like that. Thankfully the scheme is on a 100-turn cooldown but it doesn't make it any less obscene.
Snikch is the legendary assassin we've all come to expect - stealthy, unbelievably fast and undeniably deadly up close. Stack those Weapon Strength buffs on him and watch as he one-shots almost every other Legendary Lord in the game, and for certain all of them if you give him the Sword of Khaine. In terms of army-wide buffs he does grant your slinger troops Armour-Piercing on their projectiles which is very good in the early to midgame against most of his neighbours. On the flipside you have initial increased upkeep for every other unit that isn't a slave or Eshin, which you'll need to fix via the Clan Contracts system.
- Throt the Unclean (Clan Moulder) (DLC): The final Legendary Lord for the great clans of the Skaven has arrived, and oh boy is he a piece of work. Throt the Unclean has arrived with new units for the monstrous-minded player along with some interesting new mechanics. Like Snikch, Throt isn't going after the Vortex and instead thirsts for Queen Ariel of the Wood Elves, whom he believes that if he can nom her, his Black Hunger will be cured. To assist in this endeavour Throt gets access to the Flesh Laboratory which can give your infantry and monsters powerful individual stacking boosts at the risk of making them unstable. If a unit becomes too unstable they are liable to blow up Bloated Corpse-style in battle.
Throt is a different beast entirely for the Skaven lords and he packs a variety of monster-buffing abilities that let him crush through any opposition that gets in his way. To begin with he has Regeneration which makes him the tankiest Skaven lord so far, and that's not even including him being able to mount a Brood Horror, which will also make him the fastest Skaven on the battlefield. Befitting one of the greatest Packmasters of all time he can heal and buff monsters on the fly with his many abilities and can even summon a unit or two of Rat Ogres on the field to RIP AND TEAR as he pleases. His stats and his Creature-Killer also make him a nightmare to deal with for Monster- and Cavalry-heavy factions because the Weapon applies a Bonus vs. large buff on all allied units around him. If your enemy is Bretonnia or the High Elves, you pick Throt.
- Warlord: Your generic frontline melee Lord. Sufficiently armoured, but not very tanky, he struggles a lot against most enemy lords and even some heroes. What makes him a little worthwhile (but not much) is the Bonecrusher mount, effectively making him monstrous cavalry.
- Grey Seer: Your caster Lord, in almost any case preferable to Warlords. Can choose between Lore of Plague and Lore of Ruin. Most notably is that, regardless of your Lore choice, Grey Seers have exclusive access to The Dreaded Thirteenth Spell that summons Stormvermin for additional crowd control and staying power as well having exclusive access to the Screaming Bell mount, which is just awesome in general. CA even added loud bell sounds whenever you cast a spell or use the special ability that comes with it, a short melee buff for all units on the entire map.
- Warlock Master (DLC): A pimped up Warlock Engineer, he provides less utility than the hero, but makes for it by being really good in combat and having much easier access to spellcasting (but let's face it, if you pick a Warlock Engineer for spellcasting, you're doing it wrong). Can be put on a Doomflayer or a DOOMWHEEL for extra Dakka. A very good hybrid lord, he can basically do anything. Don't expect him to last long against enemy Lords, though.
- Master Assassin (DLC): A step up from the generic Assassin hero who found some extra time to command an army of his own. A much preferable frontline melee Lord that can actually maybe kill the opposing lord and put the hurt on their heroes. Befitting a rat ninja he gets no mounts but somehow can lead an army of Clanrats without blowing his cover. Keep him around some Death Runners or Gutter Runners, he'll be able to keep up with them and apply his stealth tools to them.
- Plague Priest: Arguably one of the best heroes in the entire game. He is your primary sorcerer that has access to the Lore of, you guessed it, Plague. Plague Priests make pure ranged doomstacks of Ratling Guns, Plagueclaw Catapults and Warplock Jezzails work. Formidable fighters when put on a Plague Furnace, their speciality is summoning a crapton of Clanrats (and Plague Monks) to your side and having access to the best AoE damage spell in the Skaven arsenal.
- Warlock Engineer: You're starting to see a trend here, in that your Lords are mostly mediocre but your heroes pretty damn good. You don't get a Warlock Engineer for their spellcasting (though a warp lighting here and there doesn't hurt) but for their other yellow skilltree that transforms your already great ranged weapons into unholy monstrosities of death. Ballistics Calibration makes your artillery laser-accurate and it buffs the range and missile strengths of your weapons teams (i.e. units you would use anyway at any time once they are available). His bonuses do fucking stack (seriously, a Warlock Engineer +2 Ratling Gunner Doomstack is some of the most hilariously overpowered shit in this game), but one alone is goddamn powerful and in a pinch, you can even comfortably use him to stall enemy cavalry. He is that good.
- Assassin: Your go-to choice for getting rid of enemy agents on your turf or hanging around your armies doing things you'd rather like them not to be doing. On the battlefield they have an excellent array of stealth items and abilities that support getting in nice and close and wrecking generic lords as well as other heroes before vanishing without a trace. Excellent base melee attack means they will get their targets most of the time, try not to let him get surrounded because his defence is sucky. But just in case you need to get him out of there in a hurry, you've also got...
- Eshin Sorcerer (DLC): Comes with the Shadow and the Blade DLC alongside his big daddy Deathmaster Snikch. Said DLC introduces the Lore of Stealth exclusively to the Skaven, which in turn is wielded exclusively by the Eshin Sorcerer. The Lore of Stealth is designed to supplement the weak initial siegecraft of Clan Eshin as well as enhancing their playstyle, but in many ways is almost functionally similar to the Lore of Ruin that Grey Seers have. The standout spell is Veil of Shadows which is a non-damaging stationary vortex that can unblob dense crowds and either let your Assassins or other heroes escape, or let your rat-fu infantry easy access through a defended gate.
- Packmaster (DLC): Befitting the arrival of Clan Moulder to the game, Packmasters provide sorely-needed support to the various monstrous beasts of the Skaven. They provide ongoing buffs to monsters much like how Necrotects do to Tomb Kings constructs, but also have a couple of useful Wolf Rat summons that can easily give your army some cheap flanking on demand. They can also be taken on Brood Horror mounts, allowing them to zip around the battlefield at the fastest speed known to Skavenkind.
- Ghoritch (DLC): Ghoritch is an absurd beefcake of a legendary hero. For one his big armour stats and good morale combined with his raw weapon strength make him an infantry lawmower; even Phoenix Guard don't stand a chance against him in the long run. Second is that he, being a Northman transplanted into a Rat-Ogre, also shares a lot of Norscan traits, most importantly the one that increases a fat bonus for his combat stats the longer he is tied up melee, making efficient counterplay against him difficult, because he also happens to move at Mutant Rat-Ogre speed.
- Chieftain (FLC): Budget Warlord that does a surprisingly okay job at being the anchor for your frontline and fits rather well into melee heavy armies. Has Access to the Bonecrusher mount.
- Skavenslaves: Cowardly, flimsy, expendable, cheap. Skavensklaves form the healthy base of any early game Skaven army. You send those guys in to die, not to do damage and to keep the enemy away from your weapons teams. Skavenslaves are by far the most efficient option to do just that. Can come with Spears if you want to give them more staying power against cavalry, but they are Skaven, do you really care if they die?
- Clanrats: Just a tier above Slaves, with the same attributes, albeit a bit more costly. Basic Clanrats without shields are not worth your time, you're better off just using Skavenslaves. Clanrats with shields will be your bread and butter for the early game, just don't get attached to any one unit of them.
- Clan Vulkn Tailslashers (RoR): Flaming attacks with fire resistance doesn't add much to the chaff role Clanrats are supposed to play but that do make a good companion unit with Warpfire Throwers since they'll be able to shrug off some of that friendly fire(heh) while pinning down the poor sods who are getting magical napalm'd.
- Stormvermin: As "elite" as melee Skaven can be. In contrary to Clanrats and Slaves, they actually have staying power (due to being armoured) and good leadership for a rat. Take them with Halberds but as with the other frontline options, don't expect them to move mountains. Your strengths are elsewhere. Fairly big unit size for an elite unit which is a mixed bag. On the one hand big target, on the other hand you can use them to bog down enemy cavalry.
- Council Guard (RoR): Unbreakable halberd-wielding rats of doom that also have Guardian for protecting your Lords and Heroes on foot. Common auto-include for many of the Skaven's Legendary Lord armies.
- Eshin Triads (DLC): Eshin ninja Stormvermin with Armor rending attacks. A very odd unit that comes with some downsides and all the same weaknesses Stormvermin has. If you don't play as Sniktch, forget about them. Their most mind-boggling weakness is their extremely low model count of just 75 models even on the highest settings. As if that wasn't enough, they are subpar at best even against most other factions early game infantry and lack the abilities and speed to make sneaky hit-and-run tactics you can do with Gutter Runners or Death Runners feasible. All of this wouldn't be as bad if they had 160 models, but alas, they don't.
- Iksha's Triads (RoR): Improved Triads unit that gains the special ability Doppelgang, which will spawn a fake copy unit of itself that deals no damage and can be moved around freely. Great for feinting and luring guarding units away from your intended target.
- Death Runners: Whoo boy, those guys are really interesting. Probably the highest damage output a Skaven melee unit has, at the cost of a relatively low unit count and being overall very flimsy. That said, they can easily outclass even some elite units and are outright devastating against chaff. Their quick movement speed tends to push them towards a cavalry role, where they are best used.
- Visktrin's Death Squad (RoR): Faster, tougher Death Runners with their Duck & Weave passive ability, granting them some Missile Resist to boot too.
- Plague Monks: They trade armour for raw damage, but unlike Death Runners, can actually take a beating due to a high model count. Still, they cave easily against missile and skirmisher troops, so be prepared to have an answer to that. Their high cost both in recruitment as well as upkeep won't justify their use as mainline infantry, even though their morale holds up pretty well and they come with Frenzy.
- Plague Monk Censer Bearers: Same weaknesses as Plague Monks, but come with Great Weapons and magical attacks. Great for stalling enemy elite units, but need to be kept save from enemy missiles. Their attacks also inflict a leadership penalty on the enemy, which make them a good flanking unit to quickly cause routs.
- Brightscab's Plaguepack (RoR): Wish your clanrats wouldn't piss themselves when some skeletons crash onto your lines? Well this RoR is for you - the Plaguepack grants Immune to Psychology to all nearby units, stopping them from terror-routing just long enough to actually get some fighting (and most probably dying) done.
- Warp-Grinders (DLC): More of an utility unit than something you would straight up use in a fight. Their bonuses against large and AP damage have some merit, but don't rely on them to do any meaningful damage in prolonged combat. They can bring down walls and gates with ease, something to keep in mind during sieges.
- Skavenslave Slingers: Best used as a suicide screen on your flanks where they can absorb charges, chase off ranged skirmishers, and huck rocks into the enemy line. Can do a surprising amount of damage if ignored for an extended period of time. And if your opponent orders a 500 gold unit to chase your 200 gold slingers for half the game, that's a win-win for you too.
- Night Runners: Your fast and maneuverable skirmisher unit that also comes with Vanguard Deployment. Good at harassing the enemy backline and best used in that way. Come in Hybrid and Slingshot varieties.
- Warpfire Throwers: Where the fun begins. Ridiculously high damage output, solidly armoured. Need positioning to work right, but will absolutely demolish anything that you point them at. They are surprisingly strong in melee against infantry if not deployed in a thin line because the back row can use their flamethrowers at point-blank, but not against cavalry as they'll pierce till the back row.
- The Doombringers (Ikit's Workshop): Takes their interesting ability to murderkill infantry in melee with point-blank warpfire to its logical extreme; the Doombringers gain Stormvermin-levels of melee attack and defence on top of being Unbreakable. Put them in the middle of your line in sufficient ranks and watch that unit of Chaos Chosen get destroyed in short order.
- Ratling Guns (DLC): You liked Fall of the Samurai? Then you are going to love these guys. They are machine guns in a late 16th century setting. Not terribly accurate, but with a high rate of fire, slowing enemies down, good range and a whopping 18 shots per volley. Did we mention that they have 36 models on large unit size settings? These should form your main gun line and are accessible pretty early on. Ikit Claw's Workshop gives them tremendous bonuses, the first one making it essentially impossible for them to run out of ammo.
- Teeth-Breakers (RoR): Concealment Bombs on Ratling Guns; for the discerning commander who likes to flank and enfilade for juicy kills.
- Death Dealers (Ikit's Workshop): Increased range and ammunition, matters less in Ikit's faction with their unlimited Ratling ammunition cheese but potentially good counterplay against Sisters of Avelorn when buffed with Warlock Engineers.
- Poisoned Wind Globadiers: Essentially grenadiers. They lob their toxic gas over your units heads and are pretty good at doing it. They have a lot of positives over Warpfire-throwers. They have a slightly larger range, can fire indirectly and deal armour-piercing single target damage, Ikit Claw also gives their projectiles bonus vs. large. The most important difference between them and their upgraded brethren, the Death Globe Bombardiers is that they hit single models, reducing friendly fire casualties (as if you care about that) and generally being more accurate.
- Gutter Runners: A straight upgrade from Night Runners, fulfill the same niche, but also come with poisoned shots.
- Death Globe Bombardiers: Straight upgrade from Poisoned Wind Globadiers, but even more deadly. Their purple balls of death deal enough damage to kill any infantry model in a single hit, deal armour piercing AND bonus vs. large damage and all of that as AREA. OF. EFFECT. DAMAGE. Used correctly, they easily rank amongst the most deadly units in the game by far and destroy big blobs of infantry with ease. One salvo is usually enough to send any unit (apart from Chaos Chosen, perhaps) into a rout.
- Warplock Jezzails (DLC): SNIPER RATS. Long range, excellent accuracy, low rate of fire. Best used against single entity units or enemy lords and heroes, but easily have a place in most army builds. They also have Shieldbreaker attacks and unusually good armor, allowing them to tank missile fire considerably well.
- Natty Buboe's Sharpshooters (RoR): Gains Stalk and Snipe, allowing them to pick off anything they please while being completely hidden. Very strong in both campaign and multiplayer, since they actively make counterplay against them difficult.
- Eye-Takers (Ikit's Workshop): Exchanges Shieldbreaker attacks for Blinding, reducing melee stats and accuracy. As if the Skaven needed more ways to cripple their enemies' ranged units...
- Poisoned Wind Mortars (DLC): Poisoned Wind Globadiers, but with range. They help a lot during tedious sieges, where Skaven don't get to make use of most of their arsenal. Their strengths are somewhat offset by having a lower model count and being inaccurate.
- Avalanche Mortars (RoR): POISON WIND CLUSTER MUNITIONS. The most overpowered ranged unit in the game, able to delete entire infantry regiments in a single salvo with ridiculous AoE damage that surpasses most regular artillery.
Monsters & Chariots
- Rat Ogres: Strikingly similar to Greenskin and Chaos Trolls in a lot of respects; they move surprisingly quickly, pack a certain punch but can't take a beating and have awful leadership. They are useful for harassing archers and other units without armour and certainly have their place in the early game unit roster but become obsolete relatively quickly. Phase them out for Doomflayers as soon as you can. ...unless you're playing Clan Moulder, that is. With Throt as your boss, Rat Ogres become some of the most terrifying and cost efficient monstrous Infantry in the game and armour smashers and that's even before we count in mutations. You can hardly go wrong with Rat Ogres as your mainline as Throt.
- Pit Fighters of Hell's Deep (RoR): Gains Norsca berserker, making them a greater threat in sustained combat with the bonus of physical resistance and melee attack.
- Doom-Flayers (DLC): Your go-to choice for cavalry until the late game. Surprisingly durable and, unlike many other chariots, can withstand prolonged combat. They pack a whole bunch of that sweet AP goodness and are the bane of almost any Dwarfen unit, barring slayers.
- Dwarf-Thing Menace (RoR): As if the Doom-Flayer couldn't get anymore disgusting, this RoR variant adds Armor-Sundering to their attacks on top of their already-high Armor Piercing so you can rip up those high armor mobs with reckless abandon.
- Blackhole Flayers (Ikit's Workshop): Causes Fear and Brass Orb results in a Doom-Flayer squad that will in all probability rout everything it touches.
- DOOMWHEEL: The DOOMWHEEL is pure Skaven awesomeness. While being a little on the frail side, it moves quickly and can absolutely terrorize the enemy backline if it gets the chance. Warlock Masters and Ikit Claw can also use a DOOMWHEEL as mounts, keep that in mind.
- Wheelz of Dooom (RoR): A DOOMWHEEL with extra shots per volley, allowing it to shred enemy infantry even more effectively.
- Warpfire's Wheel (Ikit's Workshop): Regeneration on a DOOMWHEEL ironically makes this spinning piece of Skaven awesome a better DISTRACTION CARNIFEX than the meaty mutant you're supposed to use.
- Hell Pit Abomination: Your big fat DISTRACTION CARNIFEX. It takes a whopping buttload of damage despite having little to no armour and melee defence, but has decent regeneration and causes fear. One Abomination alone can easily tie up multiple enemy regiments in prolonged melee combat while your Ratling Guns and Globadiers do the actual work. And even if it dies, it explodes into more Skavenslaves that tie up the enemy. Have fun. What? You want more? Fine. Throt's inherent bonuses on everything that is a Clan Moulder creature make them surprisingly viable as an offensive unit, and if you start to throw mutations in, Abominations become walking engines of destruction. Vampiric regenration plus undeath and additional melee attack? Oh yes, please.
- The Thing Thing (RoR): A big upgrade to the Abomination's monster-killing capacity, with the temporary boost of the Fluid Injection, can put serious damage on most big things.
- Wolf Rats (DLC): The skaven get their very own Wolf Unit for giving archers hell. Much better in a lot of ways than their equivalents of the Chaotic and Vampiric variety and come in two Versions: Poison and Regular. Poison Wolf Rats are premium infantry munchers with a surprising amount of weapon strength and poison; they're usually your unit of choice when dealing with most backline units except armoured ones - that's where the regular variant comes in. With magic and AP attacks at the expense of pure weapon damage, armour gives them little trouble, however you should keep in mind that their lower weapon strength might contribute to them being tied up in melee for way longer they (and by extension, you) like. As hinted before, the Poisoned variant is much more desirable and actually much more effective at their jobs.
- Mutant Rat Ogre (DLC): Think of him like a mini-Ghoritch. He's absurdly quick on his feet, and dishes out the pain HARD. His animations frequently break any units formation that have him surrounded, and to top it all off, his health pool isn't too shabby either. If you're playing as Clan Moulder, Mutant Rat Ogres work the offensive counterpart to more defensive Rat Ogres; they take the beating and the Mutant charges in to dish out damage. He's also surprisingly viable as a counter to single entity heroes and lords, something Skaven have struggled with before The Twisted and the Twilight dropped.
- Morskittar's Hellion (RoR): Calls down Warp Lightning to bombard the enemy, letting it chew through enemy lines with greater ease, while also increasing the cooldowns of the abilities of the enemies it hits, making it effective against infantry and lords/heroes alike.
- Brood Horror (DLC): Moulder's high speed heavy hitter. Brood horrors are quick, cause terror and have a ton of AP damage. They are rather squishy and don't have great morale, so they should have a Master Moulder on hand for support, but used effectively they can be a rather effective Lord-buster.
- Plagueclaw Catapults: The more inaccurate, but more potentially damaging artillery piece. It lobs packs of toxic sludge over great distances. The one great strength that both Skaven artillery pieces have over enemy artillery is that their crews are surprisingly large, giving them a bit more staying power against direct charges by cavalry and melee infantry. Plagueclaws are best used against the more infantry-centric factions, as their greater AoE capabilities help a lot with thinning out hordes and enemy archers. Their projectiles also cause an extra leadership penalty to units they hit on top of the normal penalty for being damaged by artillery, causing many enemies to flee before they even get close.
- Warp Lightning Cannon: Basically a great cannon with a lot more ZZZAP and much less of a hassle to micromanage. It fires directly, but isn't bound to a high position to do meaningful damage and believe me, it will do damage. Three regiments of these things will obliterate all but the biggest of monsters in short succession and still retain a lot of firepower against hordes, especially when the enemy is all clumped up in one space.
- Ikit's Zzzzap-Zzzzap!: Though Zzzzap! is not a particularly useful debuff unless you really hate all those mages on monstrous mounts, you'll almost certainly want this Warp Lightning Cannon variant for its absurdly high missile damage.
Multiplayer Strategies/General Battle Strategies
Skaven were for a time one of the most difficult factions to play in MP before their first and then third DLC, but with the full suite of their Weapon Teams and monsters now available they're a force to be reckoned with and have many answers to many of the other factions. While you will never win a stand-up infantry fight against anyone that's not what wins you games - it's your ability to turn every battlefield into a twisted version of Omaha Beach, and you're the rats manning the machine guns.
- Beastmen: Unusually, the Beastmen have similar leadership problems as you do but they make up for it by having a lot scarier monsters than you do, as well as having the ability to summon them into the middle of your gunline. Fortunately for you that means you have the range and damage to easily break their problem units before they can reach you, and you will NEED to fuck their leadership up before your lines clash because again, their base infantry will fuck your up handily. They also have some very annoying skirmish units that will require some attention but luckily you have both similar and superior units to counter that.
- Bretonnia: Bretonnia are fucking fast with their many cavalry options and even their piss infantry will beat your frontline with sufficient time. They will almost certainly flank you hard so it's important to stock up on Skavenslave Spears and wolfrats to tarpit those precious Knights while you cut them up with your artillery and Ratling Guns. The two-punch combo of Ratling Guns and Warplock Jezzails works magnificently here, the Jezzails able to thin down their numbers before the charge and the Ratling Guns will mow them down when they get in range. Throw some Warp Lightning Cannons in for extra shredded cheese. In the case of that odd infantry build with Foot Squires and Pilgrims, bring your best tarpits (Clanrats with Shields will do just fine) and go to town on them with Globadiers, Warpfire Throwers, and Poison Wind Mortars.
- Chaos Warriors: Ungodly amounts of armor, infantry that walk right over yours like they're made of nothing, and monsters that deal ridiculous damage. Sounds like a massive pain, right? Not! Remember that you are the Skaven - to fight at range is the most desirable way of fighting and you have some of the best projectile weapons in the game, and on top of that they have some of the best Armour-Piercing capability in the game which means those slow-ass metal hunks they call Chosen will eat warpstone-lead and poison gas like it's the Battle of the Somme redux. You can kite really well against WoC and believe me you want to be kiting lots against Chaos.
- Dark Elves: The Dark Elves represent a faster, killier version of the High Elves and for the Skaven, that's worse news. Lucky for you their durability is much less which means that even your stompy rats like Rat Ogres and Abominations can get some solid work done against their infantry setups. Just watch out for their Shades with Great Weapons and Darkshards who like most archer infantry will rip up your rats if they're even slightly out of position, and the big bad monsters like War Hydras that will inevitably make a beeline for the centre of your line. Blow holes in them with Warp Lightning Cannons as usual.
- Dwarfs: Your arch-nemesis in the mountains has just as good artillery as you do and they can trade really well with your foot ranged because they have better armor and leadership than you do. Don't let them chew up your heavy hitters for too long! Your upside is that a hell of a lot of your roster has great AP and will easily mulch through their lines with proper tarpitting. Flank them hard, abuse your ridiculous magic and don't be afraid to send the occasional Doomflayer or Rat Ogre mob in to put more pressure on their Longbeards. Be wary of Miners with blasting charges and Firedrakes, they can easily interrupt your flank play or the advance of your tarpits with their ungodly amounts of fire damage.
- Empire: The Empire can field a lot of different builds against you so you can never know what exactly they'll throw at you, but their artillery like Hellstorm Rocket Batteries and Mortars will mess up your day if they get the chance to fire. Spread your troops out, bring in some infiltrators with Vanguard Deployment and keep an eye on their fast movers, shut them down with Ratling Guns if they come too close. You can very easily back-flank the Empire with proper micro, and a good Assassin or two with Runner support in the rear can really fuck up their game plan.
- High Elves: Not an impossible matchup, but it largely depends on what the Elves field in their army. Your big advantage here are your numbers and the liberty of being able to just choose targets. Therefore, fight as any proper Skaven should do: Dirty! Use Howling Warpgale against those dragons, pin the Elven Cavalry down with Ratling Guns and decimate their Spearmen with Globadiers or Mortars. If you know how to make use of Tarpits, this will be going well.
- Lizardmen: Lizardmen are the bane of your existence. They are easily able to bring everything to the table you don't like: Scary monsters, flying units, lots of powerful AoE magic, and decent cavalry. Saurus Warriors easily chomp through your Slaves and Stormvermin and their abundance of giant fuck-off dinosaurs makes sure that your already subpar frontline has a hard time. A match against Lizardmen often means rapid redeployment and singling out key targets. If the opponent is bringing Skink Priests or a Slann, make sure that your front line is sufficiently spaced out to minimize their vortex spells. One key advantage you have over Lizardmen is your great arsenal of ranged firepower; make use of your range and your numbers to keep the big things busy. Warplock Jezzails are invaluable, as well as Warp Lightning Cannons.
- Norsca: Similar ordeal to Lizardmen, however their cavalry option mostly either suck or are vulnerable to tarpitting. Their monsters are scary but mostly unarmoured and their infantry will thrash yours with very little trouble. Don't even think about bringing Moulder beasts to this matchup, Norsca has no shortage of Anti-Large Options and their monsters are much more powerful than yours. However, at long range, you have a strong advantage. Kite their infantry, keep their monsters busy and snipe them with Jezzails or Warp Lighting Cannons. Ratlings have no trouble tearing through Marauder hordes. The best way to win this matchup is to keep the scary things away from your gunline.
- Tomb Kings:
- Vampire Coast: Free fodder for your Ratlings. No really. You have the best ranged arsenal in the game at your disposal, it has better range than abything on foot the Vampire Coast fields and the Vampirates are also very slow. While many of their units cause fear and terror, if any unit reaches your frontline, you're playing Skaven very, very wrong. Get Ratling Guns, some Warplock Jezzails against the big stuff. Clanrats should do well enough against their Frontline barring Depth Guard.
- Vampire Counts: The mobility of the Counts makes large gunlines and artillery a dangerous proposition, since Vargheists and Terrorgheists care very little about what may be going on on the ground and you can cast Howling Warpgale only so often. Luckily for you, the Twisted and Twilight happened and brought with it a scary arsenal of mutated horrors that match those of the Vampires. This is one of the few matchups where Stormvermin and Plague Monks can truly shine, as the Vampires Skeleton Hordes and Zombies stand no chance against them and Halberds have little trouble to come out on top against Black Knights, Blood Knights, and the like. Stormvermins better morale also helps out against the fear every unit of the Counts cause. The occasional Chieftain and/or Mutant Rat Ogre helps a lot of with the Vampire Lords themselves, especially when the Chieftain sits on a Bonecrusher. You might also want to bring a Warlock Master for magic damage against Mortis Engines and/or Hexwraiths.
- Wood Elves: Wood Elves are... complicated for you to deal with. In a straight ranged duel, you have the advantage; though they have very powerful and flexible archers, they lack any and all artillery to contest yours. Warplightning Cannons are great for sniping the giant, slow-moving Treemen and the Plagueclaw Catapults will chunk any of their infantry quite quickly. A combination of Ratling Gunners and Warplock Jezzails will deal terrible damage to a significant majority of their infantry as they get in range, though once they get too close you will start to have problems. As a glass-cannon faction, Wood Elves melee infantry can butcher vast swathes of your infantry at record speeds and are fast enough that kiting them will prove difficult even in ideal terrain. Death Runners and wolfrats are your best melee infantry unit against the unarmored elves, though they'll evaporate against War Dancers and Wildwood Rangers. Units like your Rat Ogres, Hellpit Abominations and Doom-Flayer will kill virtually any elf-thing you point them at, but the abundance of spear units in their front line will still deal not insignificant damage to them in the process. Beware their eagles and cavalry; they're extremely fast and can effortlessly flank your units to get at your vulnerable ranged back line. Keep a few units of Stormvermin in reserve to block these charges.
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