Warhammer/Tactics/8th Edition/Skaven

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Why Play Skaven[edit]

The Skaven army is for people who like randomness, silliness and fantastic models, but don't think that liking those things should preclude you from winning. The current rules set favors large blocks of infantry, which the Skaven have in spades. They also have a selection of silly rules (one of which makes all warpstone attacks count as magic, great for trolling all-ethereal bastards), random abilities and powerful shooting. Plus, you can shoot at enemies in combat against your Slaves units. Also, DOOMWHEELS!!!! and after all what is better than mansized rats addicted to a glowing stone and an even bigger rat with horns?

Unit Analysis[edit]

Lords & Heroes[edit]

Named Characters[edit]

Note: Under the current edition, named characters tend to be overpriced; you can pretty easily emulate most named characters from scratch and save yourself some points. That said, a few named characters do have abilities and wargear or wargear combos unique to them, so if you absolutely need to have them, go ahead. Just make sure you're really getting your points worth. Among Skaven this is double true, since one of the main advantages of Skaven characters is how cheap they are.

  • Lord Skreech Verminking: The greatest Vermin Lord and the avatar of the Horned Rat. Quite powerful in combat, being able to switch between ASF dagger and Multiple Wounds Doomglaive every turn, but that's not why you take this beauty. Being the biggest dick in a race of dicks, Skreech always knows the Dreaded 13th Spell and CAN. REROLL. DICE. WHEN. CASTING. IT. That said he has his downsides, it's very hard to cast with Khaine magic (even with re-rolls) and you're running the risk of cascading your 650 point monster in regular magic. Like every other vermin lord, he is expensive, has no armour and only a 5+ ward, slow with no flying and unable to skitter leap himself. Still, he can be incredibly fun (and frustrating - for enemies) in casual games and face it, you didn't pick up Skaven for boring realiability. Leave him out of tournament lists though.
  • Lord Skrolk: The reason you like Lord Skrolk is because he makes Plague Monks core. Seriously, that's the ONLY thing that justifies his inhumanly high entry cost (230 points more than a Vanilla Grey Seer, or 30 more than a Grey Seer on Screaming Bell). He comes with some fun abilities and magic items, but even they can probably be outdone for less cost (Liber Bubonicus would be more fun if it weren't for the current rules on Bound Spells and it's 1 in 6 chance of going dud when cast). Ultimately he's too pricey. If you're planning on taking a lot of Plague Monks, he can justify his points, but otherwise? Skip him.
  • Thanquol and Boneripper: Do you want your army led by a drugged up failure with his mechanical bodyguard? Okay, so that's kinda mean, but he's not bad. He comes with some amusing special rules (his Ward Save deflecting onto a nearby model is funny, as is his kinda ganky wound regeneration) and Boneripper can be nasty but like Skrolk, he costs way too much to be properly competitive (210 points more than a Vanilla Grey Seer). So he's non-competitive, but if you wanna take him for fluff reasons, he's an amusing addition. Keep him out of Tournament lists.
    • End Times Version: End Times bring us a new and upgraded Boneripper as well as Thanquol being elevated to somewhat of a chosen of the Horned Rat and riding his faithful bodyguard. Sporting a new model and combined statline (like most End Times characters), Thanquol is a typical Grey Seer magic-wise, but gains +1 to casting spell of Ruin and Plague (but not the Dreaded 13th, as it doesn't belong to those lores). He retains his healing amulets (though it has been toned down), gets whoooping 2d6 Warpstone Tokens and his addiction now makes him completely immune to rolling a 1 when consuming a token. Boneripper can choose to be armed either with Warpfire Braziers or Warpfire Throwers. The former grant him +1S in melee, while the latter are basically a regular Warpfire Thrower - no longer one-use - with a hilarious misfire: instead of exploding (Thanquol is lucky as fuck, if you remember), it automatically hits a nearby allied unit. However, this is one of those models that don't know what they want to do. Even equipped with Warfire Throwers, Boneripper is likely to stand close to the enemy and get into melee soon, while a level 4 wizard is best kept away from the front lines, and 6+/4++ is not enough to save it. A hilarious and powerful character for casual games, but leave him out of tournament lists, much like original version.
  • Ikit Claw: Wore power armor before it was cool . Like Skrolk and Thanquol, Ikit is too expensive. Unlike them, I can say without reservation that you're not getting anywhere near enough for his cost. He seems like an odd attempt to combine a caster and a combat lord and even more than other armies, that's a job you want to split. He also costs nearly 400 points, and he doesn't do anything casting that a Grey Seer couldn't do, nor anything in combat a tricked out Warlord couldn't do. As far as melee goes, no he won't go 10 rounds with Archaon, but he wasn't meant to. His combat aspects just mean that unlike virtually every other wizard in the game, he won't get his ass kicked the moment some skirmishers pop out of nowhere. Still too expensive.
    • Alternate Opinion: Uh, yes he will get his ass kicked by Skirmishers. He's got high Strength, but only 2 Attacks at Initiative 3, so unless you're up against REALLY weak Skirmishers/Fast Cavalry like Ungor Raiders or Mounted Yeomen, he's probably fucked (never mind if he winds up against good close combat Skirmishers: Try him against Great Weapon armed Shades, lemme know how that works). Statistically he's only going to get 1 wound in per round so he can't fight off attackers very efficiently and he's so expensive (again: 395 points) that he makes a 'No duh' target, so every skirmisher and their dog Sabertusk is gonna be gunning for him. This means you have to keep him in a unit to keep him alive, but then the unit is a no duh target because it's probably gonna cost upwards of 500 points and he can't join a unit that can reliably fight off Mournfangs and the like and...are you starting to see the problem? Yeah, don't take Ikit.
  • Throt the Unclean: Throt could be useful if you're planning on massing Rat Ogres and Giant Rats, in which case his LD ability can work. But, he's expensive (225 points) and while he can be nasty in close combat, especially against big things, but he's more than a little likely to eat an entire model from your own unit (which means he could end up chowing down an entire fucking Rat Ogre) and he's not powerful or durable enough to make up for that. He can make up his points, if you slap him in a unit of Giant Rats, but at that point you're just wasting him in a unit that's liable to get run over due to combat res. Not worth it.
  • Queek Headtaker: Okay so he, like the others, runs a little on the expensive side, but he's a reliable combat character, and unlike a lot of Skaven heroes/lords, he can actually punch out other lords in a Challenge. He can be truly brutal against high armor save guys, which is always nice. If you're tailoring a list to take on Dwarves, definitely give this guy a look, as he'll do an average of 4-5 kills per round against them. Still a little too pricy, but a solid all around choice. Also the EMPRAH in disguise. Also he can upgrade a unit of Stormvermin for 4 points a model to add +1 WS and S to make a unit of S5 I5 WS5 Stormvermin. Its great weapon rats without the initiative penalty. Not to be overlooked as a strong way to cut through a horde.
  • Deathmaster Snikch: At first Deathmaster Snikch looks like a perfect Assassin, until you read his, you guessed it, points cost. 150 points more than a basic Assassin, and all you're getting for that is some Weeping Blades (30 points), a Tail Weapon and a Cloak that doesn't do jack if he's in combat (where you want him) or with a unit (where you want him). Aside from that, he has higher WS, BS, I, A and LD, but not enough to make up for the the over 250 points required to take him. He will almost never see enough action to justify that cost. Don't bother.
  • Tretch Craventail: Tretch is, put simply, hilarious. He has the exact same stats as a Chieftain, for 100 points more, but he has some amusing abilities. He's got a 4+ ward (nothing to sneer at), a total of 5 attacks, a single reroll per game (do not forget it) and most amusingly, the ability to bamf out of a unit in combat and into another Clanrat/Slaves unit within 3D6. He also grants rerolls to hit to his unit of Clanrats or Stormvermin if they're attacking on the flank or rear, but in practice that's not as useful as you might think. Obviously, he's best in tightly packed battle lines, as if he fails to reach a viable unit with his leaving combat ability, he auto-dies. He can be fun to help countercharge (draw a unit in, leave combat, charge that unit on the flank next round) but that's not as reliable as you might think. Ultimately, he's a fun but non-competitive character. He can be funny in a casual game, but don't take him in a tournament.
  • Skweel Gnawtooth: Everyone's favorite Clan Moulder monster-wrangler, mostly because he's the closest thing any of the named Skaven come to being actually cost effective (100 points, more affordable than some generic heroes.) Skweel is an apex support-unit, and you'll never be remiss with adding his special ability (whether that be natural Poison, an extra +1 Attack, or even Regeneration) to one of your beast stacks. Stick him in with a half-dozen Rat Ogres and watch his soft touch with animals propel them to hit the enemy like a meteor. The main issue with the uppity runt is that he's too much of a snob to latch on to a new unit if his personal retinue all bite it, and if you're unlucky and don't roll Regen on your Rat Ogres you'll probably have your investment on the lot fall apart after a couple of flank passes. That said, he can usually be counted on to do enough damage to justify his initial extra down payment, and is surprisingly capable when it comes to self-defense, all things considered.

Generic Characters[edit]

Note: While named characters are judged against their generic counterparts, generic characters are examined based on their role in your army.

  • Vermin Lord: The Great Horned Rat looked at the Greater Daemons and thought 'Why should Chaos have all the fun?' At first blush, this guy is horrifying. M8, WS8, I10, 5 attacks, 5 wounds, S6, T5, 5+ ward, Level 4 Wizard with access to both Skaven Lores (and he's one of only two models to get access to the Dreaded Thirteenth Spell). Everything is slinky, right? Well then the issues set in. He can't join units, he's got no extra protection from shooting, he's not Unbreakable or even Stubborn, at T5 he's vulnerable to high volume S4 and above attacks, oh and did we mention that he costs 500 FUCKING POINTS! Don't get us wrong, he's a beast if you get him into combat and he can be a nasty caster under a lot of circumstances (he can even, in theory, drop a Bloodthirster, though don't count on that). But his price of entry is inhumanly high and he's a really big and obvious target (a solid Ogre Kingdoms or Dwarf list will have his ass dropped on turn 1), he's weak against getting tar pitted and he has a troubling lack of Always Strikes First. You can safely leave him out of a tournament list, but he'll make a big splash in casual games.
    • Exalted Vermin Lord (Forge World): Forge World has a variant that clocks in at 775 points. His Strength, Toughness, and Wounds have all been boosted to 7 each, although his Initiative is now 9. He also gains some special rules the vanilla lord lacks, namely Always Strikes First, Stubborn, and Loremaster for both Skaven magic schools. He also gains a Multiple Shots (D6) Poisoned shooting attack and Multiple Wounds (D6) for melee combat. Still costs way too much for most games, but if you want to go nuts in a Grand Army or End Times match he can definitely turn heads. KEEP IN MIND, he's not a character, but a Scroll of Binding monster, that can be taken by any army!
    • Verminlord Deceiver: New beastie brought to you by End Times. Clan Eshin themed Verminlord, not too strong in duels due to lack of Doomglaive with Multiple Wounds, but has a nasty ranged attack (number of shots is equal to number of models in target unit's front rank), is -1 to hit when shot at and can Skitterleap around, and so is a perfect Verminlord for Warmachine hunting, chaff killing and general dickery. Although those roles can be performed better for 500 points. This variant upgrades from the original 8th ed version to have 6s for Wounds and Toughness, so it's a little more survivable. Fun tactic: skitterleap behind that huge horde of goblins, outside of their range and charge them next turn. If your terror doesn't make them flee, just skitterleap back again before combat, and try again next turn. His name is Lurklox - Master of Deception and Verminlord of Clan Eshin.
    • Verminlord Warbringer: New beastie brought to you by End Times. Has Doomglaive and a paired weapon with Killing Blow, and as such is the best duelist from all the Verminlords. Adept at casting Death Frenzy so he is perfect for leading a charge, slaughtering enemy characters in duels and buffing your hordes, so they slaughter rank and file. May be the best combat Verminlord. This variant upgrades from the original 8th ed version to have 6s for Wounds and Toughness, so it's a little more survivable. This one also has 6 Attacks, whereas the others only have 5. His name is Kreeskuttle Verminlord of the Warlord Clans.
    • Verminlord Warpseer: New beastie brought to you by End Times. Always knows Warp Lightning and cast reroll the dice when casting it, making it a powerful blaster, although a few Warlock Engineers can do the same thing for much, much cheaper (this beauty costs 550 points as per the end times books and the rules in the box, the WD point cost appears to be wrong). Has a Doomglaive and 4++ Ward save (as opposed to regular 5++ of other End Times Verminlords) which you want to bring into melee, although at the same time you want to keep back and shoot lightnings at your foes... Just take Warbringer and a few Warlock Engineers. This variant upgrades from the original 8th ed version to have 6s for Wounds and Toughness, so it's a little more survivable. You can also sacrifice your boosted Ward save, dropping down to just 5++, for a once-off small round template attack that kills anything that fails Initiative tests. But it's hardly worth it unless you're looking at high-value low Initiative foes, like the Glottkin. His name is Soothgnawer - Verminlord of Clan Scruten.
    • Verminlord Corruptor: New beastie brought to you by End Times. Always knows Plague and can reroll dice when casting it. Not too brilliant in combat (trading Doomglaive for additional attack and ASF), although that ASF may prove handy in challenges. Reliable Plague is more interesting, being a hilarious spell, allowing you to fuck up whole games with bouncing Plague every bloody turn. This variant upgrades from the original 8th ed version to have 6s for Wounds and Toughness, so it's a little more survivable. His name is Vermalanx the Poxlord- Verminlord of Clan Pestilen.
      • Note: Again remember, these guys will be shot to smithereens by a solid gun-line, making them very uncompetitive.
  • Warlord: Point for point, a Warlord is one of the most effective heroes in the Skaven book. He drops in at 90 points for a solid statline, along with the precious LD7 that lets all units with 3 ranks in his General LD Bubble hit LD10. He can have some solid magic equipment (discussed later) and can actually be an unusually effective combat lord (don't expect him to go 10 rounds with most other Lords though). He's a good choice. He can also take mounts (below) which are generally not the best choice, but can be fun and if you expect him to do some frontline fighting and want him to cause casualties there are worse ways to up his kill count. Also, one of the few Lords who can be taken in 500pts games and be effective in them with almost no magic items.
    • Note: Although kitting out a Warlord for close combat is right and proper, don't try to make him a challenge Lord. There's a reason Skaven can run from Challenges without losing LD bonuses, and that's because a Skaven in a Challenge is a Skaven who's a corpse. Even Empire, Bretonian and Wood Elf Lords will stand a good chance of stomping him, and if you're up against a real challenge monster (Ogres, VC, WoC, DE) you might as well remove him. No, kit your Warlord out to kill basic dudes to up your combat res, it's better for him.
      • Counternote: If kitted out properly, a Warlord can easily reach a 2+ armor save.
  • Mounts:
    • Rat Ogre Bonebreaker: If you're up for modeling it, and you need a mount, this is the one you want. It's got a good statline, lets him push up rank bonuses in whatever unit he joins, runs fairly cheap at 65 points. If it had an armor save, it'd be perfect (but since it is a mount, you actually get it.). As is, it's a fun choice if you're in the mood and easily the best mount option. Just remember, he can't join infantry units outside Clanrats and Stormvermin (what a sacrifice). The warlord riding it also gains get +1 W (and an additional point of T). However, unless he rolls with Rat Ogres (which is sub-optimal due to frenzy) he has no Look Out, Sir!, making him a free kill for bearded buggers.
    • War-Litter: Not as good as the Bonebreaker but..yeah, still good. It's a cheap way of dropping a bunch of attacks on him, and pushing up his armor save. If you really can't spare the 30 extra points for a Bonebreaker and you want a mount, you could go for this one. (alternate take: kit out 3 warlords with this, a ward save, and throw them in a an unit with 6-wide ranks and possibly your BSB. Laugh as you opponent is forced to divide its attacks on very defensive lords, and loses to combat res.) It also counts as infantry, so he gets a Look Out, Sir! in a unit of Stormvermin. It also can look badass. Anyway, there are worse choices liiiiiike...
    • Great Pox Rat: This. You're paying 30 points for 1 armor save and 2 S4 poisoned attacks. Woo fucking hoo. It doesn't even come with extra movement, and you can't use the Swiftstride ability for cavalry when he's in a unit (and trying to make him run touchdowns on his own is a surefire way to get him killed). If you're committed to him having a mount, drop a Clanrat and give him a War-Litter. Can also be taken as a mount for a Plague Priest, but it's not a good choice for him either.
    • Brood horror (Forge World): Once in a blue moon the Forge World production team stop designing new overpriced shit for 40K, and instead design overpriced shit for Fantasy, finally delivering one of the most hideously overpriced things in the game. For 130 points more than the Rat Ogre Bonebreaker, you get an Extra Wound, Thunderstomps, Regeneration, an option to buy an armour save, an option to buy an extra attack to make its attacks on par with the Rat Ogre, an option to make it Armour Piercing+Magical, and an option for a breath weapon that ignores armour. If this seems fine, then remember, it's a monster, it can't fly, it's toughness 5, so it can't avoid getting killed the second your opponent sees it and points their archers/guns/cannons its way and you watch it dissolve into nothing on turn 1. Even against armies with terrible archers it'll end up crushed against their monsters who are almost always going to be stronger and sometimes cheaper too. Not to mention all of these points could be spent on far more useful slaves or just regular Clan Rats, not on a Lord character in a Horde army.
  • Grey Seer: Your general Lord Level Wizard, with a crap statline (though he has T4, which is kinda awesome for a wizard - especially if you gonna make him a general) and a 240 points pricetag. Like the Vermin Lord, he can mix spells freely and get access to the Dreaded Thirteenth Spell, but don't count on him casting that too much (you need to roll all 6 dice to have a relatively sure chance of casting it). He's a good caster for his points and you'll probably get a lot of mileage out of him, so if you have the points free, he's a good investment. Note that he too has LD7, meaning that he can end up being general by default, which you probably want to avoid, as your enemy is already going to be gunning for him, don't hand them more points for killing him.
    • The Screaming Bell: The Screaming Bell is for players who love randomness and who are playing in a non-competitive environment. The Bell doesn't come into it's own until well above the usual tournament level (recommended size is 3000 points or so). The major reason is the huge pricetag, attached to an already pricey model (a Bell mounted Seer will clock in at 440 points without any equipment). But, if you can fit it in your army, it makes a great center piece. It can cause a lot of damage with a little luck and if there are buildings on the board, it can make everything really hilarious really quickly. Be aware, everyone will be gunning for it. Also, under the current rules, it might be worth it to make a Bell mounted Seer the General, as his LD range will be 18 inches as opposed to the usual 12.
  • Chieftain: Your basic Hero choice, and a bloody good one at that. With a relatively good statline (as Skaven go, don't expect him to beat anything better than a Chaos Warrior unit champion. Hell, my Marauder Champion even bested one in a challenge) and access to some nifty magic items can turn him into a cheap wizard hunter in a unit of Night Runners. However, you really need him as your BSB. If you play Skaven, you MUST HAVE A BSB OR YOU DIE HORRIBLY. Srsly, if one of your Clanrat units is shot up a bit by war machines or spells, running away CANNOT BE AFFORDED. Not to worry, because they are easily cheap enough to take 2.
  • Assassin: An Assassin is an incredibly expensive way of killing enemy Heroes and Wizards and maybe War Machines or small shooting units. That's about it. Unlike his Dark Elf counterpart (the comparison is inevitable, sorry), his mediocre stats (except for Initiative) means he can't be trusted to kill anything above a hero and he digs into Hero points. He's highly non-competitive, and there will be games where you take him and he gets killed without accomplishing a thing. But hey, you played Skaven cuz you liked the randomness, and given to a unit of Scouting Gutter Runners, they'll excel at War Machine, and the like, removal. So while you should avoid him in tournament lists, he could be fun in casual games.
  • Warlock Engineer: Don't you sit there expecting to get a hero for 15 points, if you're going to take a stripped Warlock, you might as well replace him with 4 extra Clanrats, it's a better use of the points. No, if you want to get use out of a Warlock Engineer, you're gonna wanna update him to level 2, give him some Clan Skryre goodies and then you're in the hole for 150 points. But don't despair, he's a fantastic investment. Actually 15 points Engineer are extremely powerful, since they can be skitterleaped everywhere, acting as: charge redirector, fanatic hardcounters against goblins, slannsnipers (with bronze globe) or even as a cheap leadership boost to your slaves (+3 LD for 15 points, are you kidding me?). Stick him in with a unit of Jezzails and have them blast things to pieces (except that in that case you either will have to position Jezzails closer to enemies than is wise, or be constantly out of range. Better ditch that musket and buy 4 slaves instead). Having one-two level one engineers purely for the sake of throwing warp-lightnings is actually nice. WL is quite cheap, and if you haven't got a Grey Seer, you have to use all those power dice somewhere, right? Also, obligatory scroll caddy.
  • Plague Priest: Can only get up to level 2 But can equip a Plague Censer and uses spells of plague. (go figure) Essentially mandatory for any Clan Pestilens themed armies due to how much they increase plague monks effectiveness in battle. Other than that, their only use is to take Plague Furnace. If you just want plague magic, grab a Grey Seer.
    • Plague Furnace: This monstrous contraption is an attrition monster. It kills everything around itself - including your Plague Monks... only Plague Monks die much slower from it than enemies. Don't forget to cackle maniacally as a small part of your Plague Monks choke around it along with majority of enemy's deathstar unit.
  • Master Moulder: For an extra 25 points over a bog-standard Packmaster, you gain the ability to roll 3D6 (minus the highest die) on all Leadership checks involving any Monstrous/War Beast units in a 6" radius of him (ALL monsters and beasts, not just Giant Rats and Rat Ogres.) If you're fielding a whole bunch of unattended beasts, he could maybe be useful if you're confident in your rolling.

Core Units[edit]

  • Clanrats: Your basic infantry. Very cheap so you can put them in HUGE units. They will die by the truckload, but you should have so many that even if they get blasted by a cannon, there will still be a good number left. Have them in units of thirty, forty, even fifty. They also have a host of neat special rules that your opponent won't be expecting. Highly recommended. Give them weapon teams for added lulz. It's funny when a ratling gun shoots up the enemy, but funnier when it shoots your own guys and then explodes. You'll have so many clanrats it's not as though you're suffering a real loss here. ALWAYS take shields, doubles your chances of surviving a S3 hit.
  • Skaven Slaves: See clanrats, but no weapons teams. These fuckers are twice as cheap as clanrats, meaning you'll have a lot of them. They have leadership is equal to their average dinner (ie, fucking nothing) so keep your general nearby to 'fix' that. Make sure they don't get flanked and they're not going anywhere. Keep a warpfire thrower close and have it set the unit held by the slaves on fire, since Skaven are bastards and are allowed to shoot at units tied down with Slaves(Funnily enough the errata removes the sentences where you randomnize hitting slaves you shoot at when engaged, so technically you always hit enemies theyre engaged with with no slave casualties). Watch as your opponent quits in a huff. Laugh. Take it like a scrawny bitch when he beats your ass in a neckbeard rage for trying to rules lawyer even more (obviously unintended) cheese. Also never horde them up; make as many ranks as your wish so they can hold units in place for your ogres or plague monks to flank charge them. Slaves aren't meant to cause damage; they take it; cause they are whipped. Note that Slaves have the option to take slings. Generally won't do much but can be a nasty surprise for your opponent if he's not expecting it (though nightrunners/gutter runners with slings are a much more efficient investment). Don't bother with spears , Slaves are there to take damage, not dish it out. Shields allow them to last somewhat longer, with effective 6+/6++ in melee (also, IoB slaves come with shields, so keeping shields is also cheaper).
  • Stormvermin: Slightly more elite infantry. Still nice and cheap so huge units are not out of the question. Units of forty or fifty are not unreasonable. Can also take a weapon team. Shields are a preference choice, depending on how much fire you expect them to absorb. Stick a warlock with Skavenbrew in them for berserk armor-covered, halberd-swinging rats of doom. Or take Queek Headtaker and upgrade your Stormvermin to a REAL elite unit.
  • Night Runners: Decent skirmishing infantry/harassers. Their scout move allows you to set them up as charge blockers but other than that; expect them to die rather quickly. As far as choosing them above slave or clanrats is up to you. They can also chose a Warp-Grinder, so you could go warmachine hunting/ rearcharging with these guys. Shame their models look like deranged chimps. However, if you want a shooting unit, Gutter Runners are notably better.
  • Giant Rats: Make a very nice tarpit but Slaves are cheaper and do it better. If you're looking for cheaper ways to get giant rats than the Rat Ogre/Giant Rat box set; there are about 12 rats in the doomwheel kit, the plague monk kit and several more in the screaming bell set as well. They are great to throw on those big bases but you can easily build up a nice pack of rats while you're collecting on the side.
  • Rat Swarms: It's a Swarm, usual rules apply. Don't discount the swarm, even groups of three or four are useful in tying down a unit long enough to get those valuable flank charges. Less experienced players are even likely to flee instead of allowing a rat swarm tie them down in combat! Str 2 is far from great, but they aren't there to kill stuff, they're there to distract and detract. Skavenslaves are arguably more efficient though.
  • Weapon Teams:
    • Poison Wind Mortar(NO LONGER A CORE UNIT): Lobbing big glass Globes of poisoned gas has never been so much fun. Ignores armour saves, wounds on 5+, unless your the poor bastard underneath the centre of the small blast template. Then it's a 4+. Plus it's the only weapon team to be able to move and fire allowing for a lot more flexibility when deploying it. Keep it right behind it's accompanying unit for extra protection and to make use of it's line of sight. A slight downside is the small template, which can make hitting MSU armies in smaller games a pain. best used on high T and armor save units like chaos knights
    • Ratling Gun: Can you say tons of shots? This thing rolls for its shots, if you roll doubles however, it misfires. Don't take this unless you're in a casual game. The Cheapest weapon team, but you pay for it with a higher chance to blow up. Although if you roll two dice per turn, you average to 7 shots per turn, with just 1/6th chance to blow up - same as PWM. Take this against smaller elite units (like elves). Ratling guns are also better against Monstrous Infantry, since a template will have a harder covering more models (and the PWM doesn't kill, it wounds).
    • Doom-Flayer: This bad boys armour save will protect it long enough to get it in to close combat... The one wound that the team has will probably result in it being killed in the first round unless you manage to decimate them in the first round. Not the greatest team out of the four but has potential against smaller foes. Not to mention if it misfires in close combat there is a chance it can blow up and take some enemies out with it. Glass is half full kinda guys.
    • Warpfire Thrower:(NO LONGER A CORE UNIT) This is a good choice, but there are better, (see the Poisoned Wind Mortar) It has more of chance to kill you, explode, and blow up on you than whatever you're hitting with the Mortars. It's essentially small blast vs Flame Template and move or fire at this point. Standard rules for flaming attacks using the template apply. Best used on low LD units as this weapon is great for causing panic checks.
    • Warp-Grinder: A smaller variant of a similar machine, the larger machinery of this weapon was meant to carve large tunnels within the earth with relative ease, meant to allow passages for whole armies of troops to move with speed through the underground tunnels of the world. Although those machines were larger than the biggest Empire warships, the smaller version acts as a more portable and hand-held one, used for the same purpose, but also as a weapons platform to be used against infantry. Similar also is the need for a two-skaven team to operate; one to hold the ammunition and another to aim the shot.

Special Units[edit]

  • Plague Monks: Your actual elite infantry. 3 attacks (1 base, +1 for two hand weapons, +1 for frenzy). They have frenzy, which can work against them. Again, take in huge numbers. Make sure to deploy them in a way where they won't stray to far so they get the flank charge. They have no armor and are only I3 which means they will attack at the same time as the more well armored I3 cores out there. Put them with a Plague Furnace and shit will go down (in a positive way).
  • Poison Wind Globadiers: Anyone they hit takes a wound on a 4+ with no saves. You want these. They also have a special rule that allows unengaged models to lob globes into the same combat the engaged models are fighting which can be funny as hell. Keep in mind that against elves and other T3s you will be wounding on 4+ with most of your units anyway, and PWG's range is disgusting. Night/Gutter runners with slings are more effective (and cheaper) against T3, unless the enemy is really armored.
  • Warplock Jezzails: Kind of a preference unit. Some people swear by them because their S6 -4 armor shots can make mincemeat of annoying heavy infantry. On the other side they are expensive to field in any high numbers. To effectively shoot down a squad of 5 Chaos Knights with BS 3 and a 36 inch range means needing 5s and up for anything down range. Not a bad unit but you really need to consider what role they will perform. These guys are easy to convert with some skaven shields and green stuff. The GW models are outdated and way too overpriced. You can make your own way cheaper and make them look way better.
  • Gutter Runners: A decent choice for war machine hunting as they can come from the back of the board. Slings and poisoned weapons are decent investments but you might want to skip on the champion to save points if you only plan shooting. If your worried about them not showing up you can run with 2 squads of 6 or 7 but they can get expensive in the special slot that can get loaded up with points quickly.
    • Alternate Suggestion: 2 squads of 7 with a warlock engineer in each (give him a doom rocket/brass orb) but don't waste points on making him a wizard. Infiltrate these death squads and Watch the reaction on the Dwarf players face as his army is melted in a hail of poisoned slings while a crack-addict throws orbs that erase Beardlings in blobs
    • Alternate Suggestion 2: Flanking squads of 10 units with poison and slings can melt any light-armored army. 20 poisoned shots per unit will shred most things. They're lethal against DoC, other Skaven, all flavors of Elves, you name it.
  • Rat Ogres: If hulk had a rodent counterpart: Seriously though In a unit of 6 with their masters they will rampage through anything they flank attack BUT they can be easily baited due to their high movement. Generally a good investment particularly if they have slaves or clanrats holding a unit in place for them.
  • Plague Censer Bearers: At first glance; expensive for what they are but their plague censor special rule makes them useful for severely shrinking hordes down to size and whats better is that they can be fielded in small groups as speed bumps or charge deterrents. A lot more useful with a plague furnace around so they become stubborn and therefore get more use from their censors.
  • Packmasters: Add-on unit for stacks of Giant Rats and Rat Ogres. Attaching him gives them access to Strength in Numbers, and he can also replace them both in Strength and Leadership checks. He also waives natural Stupidity checks on Rat Ogres (read: his only actual purpose.) Don't even bother tying him down with Giant Rats, that's a definite waste of resources and energy.

Rare Units[edit]

  • DOOMWHEEL: A bit of a fun and random unit ( moves 3d6, fires off 3 lightning bolts per turn at the nearest unit, friendly or enemy, hits like a ton of bricks, has a weird and fun little misfire chart, as well as the chance to go spinning out of control if it takes a wound). It will struggle against extremely high volume S5 and S6 attack, but low number, heavily armored units are pretty much fucked if it charges them. As such, enemy war machines will want to shoot at it but, being the clever rat that you are, you know you have scarier rare choices liiiiike....
  • Hell Pit Abomination: The Hell Pit Abomination is a really, really good DISTRACTION CARNIFEX. Mainly because its Adorable. So much so that no opponent can bear to look at it without clawing their eyes out. It's like baby kittens in shoes and jaunty hats only this kitten has a lot more heads to Awwww... at. The war machines will shoot at it and you will laugh as it shrugs off a lucky cannon shot or two (or six if you're facing dwarfs) they will probably survive long enough to RIP AND TEAR at least one unit to shreds before he goes down. But that's the best part. The Abomination knows how cute it is and has the potential to bring itself back to life to spread its adorable brand of love to those that put it down. On a side note it can be on the expensive side and the Warp Lightning Cannon is generally a better use of points but its role as a fire magnet is unparalleled.
    • Note: Be CAREFUL with it. If any of the wounds it takes at any point in the game are flaming, it cannot stand back up again. Given how common flaming attacks are these days, you need to be careful to make sure that doesn't happen. Keep it away from Firebellies, Sisters of Avelorn, any unit with the Banner of Eternal Flame, etc. Just be aware of what you're facing and what to keep it away from. Also if you end up against a Beardy player with flaming cannonballs...well that's about it for your Abomination, but you knew that.
  • Warp Lightning Cannon: Low risk (in the skaven sense of the word), low price, high reward, and safe choice for rares. Its a cannon with a blast template at the end of it. The variable strength of the shot is chosen by the misfire dice which is FUN*.. Very reliable warmachine in an army who enjoys blowing themselves up.
  • Plagueclaw Catapult: Decent but generally outshined by the Warp Lightning Cannon. S2 hits with no armor saves allowed is a decent pie plate to throw onto a large horde of (insert tarpit here). Also causes a panic test on unsaved wounds. Take if you want a clan pestilens themed army otherwise not a must have.
  • Stormfiends: A new unit intoduced in the End Times, Stormfiends are to Rat Ogres what Stormvermin are to regular Clanrats. They're Monstrous Infantry, they cost 85 points each, and you need at least three of them to make a unit. For that, you get an M6 WS4 BS3 S5 T4 W4 I5 A4 LD7 flock of killers. Each model is armed seperately with one of six weapon choices, which has certain effects on their rules depending on what you choose. You don't have to kit out each model in the unit with the same gear as his buddies, so long as you can remember what each model is actually carrying and are okay with the potential hassle of mixed armor saves in a single unit. By default, they wear Light Armor, they cause Fear, they're Skirmishers and they're Big And bulky (cannot use Fire on the March and Light Troops rules). They also have the unique special rule Double The Death, which means they re-roll all failed To Wound rolls with their weapons, though when that re-roll applies depends on what they're using (melee for melee weapons, shooting for guns, obviously). Taking Doom-flayer Gauntlets or Shock Gauntlets upgrades them to having Warpstone Laced Armor, which gives them a 4+ save.
    • Doom-flayer Gauntlets: Your Stormfiend hits at +2 Strength and has the Impact Hits (D3) special rule.
    • Windlaunchers: Lets your Stormfiend fire as per a single stone thrower with a range of 6-24" and the special rules Plague Wind (ignores armor, wounds on a 4+), Slow to Fire, Warpstone Weapon, and Wild Misfire.
    • Grinderfists: This Stormfiend's unit has the Tunneller rule, and this Stormfiend inflicts D3 automatic Warpstone Weapon hits.
    • Shock Gauntlets: +1 Strength, Stomps do D3 hits, ignores armor.
    • Ratling Cannons: Range 18", S5, Armor Piercing, Hot Warplead (no penalty for firing at long range or Multiple Shots), Multiple Shots (3D6_, Quick to Fire, Warpstone Weapon, Wildfire (each To Hit roll of 1 inflicts one hit on the closest friendly target in range).
    • Warpfire Projectors: Fires as a single fire thrower, S5, Flaming Attacks, Multiple Wounds (D3), Move or Fire, Quick to Fire, Warpstone Weapon, Wildly Off-target (inflicts D6 hits on the closest friendly unit within 12" if misfires).
  • Wolf Rats (Forge World): These things used to be core in the old Hell Pit list, but have since been added as a Scroll of Binding for Storm of Magic games, so what slot they occupy is going to be up to whomever you are playing with. They're 16 points a piece for a War Beast that moves 8 inches and has Swiftstride. They get Always Strikes First on the turn they charge and have 2 attacks base. They also gets +1 Impact Hits for each rank they have. There are also three upgrades available, ranging from Poisoned Attacks to Armour Piercing and Warpstone Weapon to +1 Toughness (bringing them up to 4) at a cost of -1 Initiative (they are Initiative 5 base). Whether these guys are worth it or not depends on what slot they occupy; at rare they certainly aren't, but in core or special they aren't a bad choice.

Building Your Army[edit]

Buying Your Army[edit]

Protip: if you are ok with modeling, do it. You'll save a lot of bucks, because you can do almost everything with Clanrats, Stormvermins, and Rat Ogres boxes, some scraps, and green stuff. Yes, it's still expensive, but what the hell did you expect from an army that fields more than 150 models at 1000 points?

Island of Blood is a great way to start up your Skaven clan mainly because if you are interested in Skaven you also probably have an ultrasmurf fanboy (or Eldar nut) that wants to try out Fantasy battles but wants an army to auto-win with. Buy two boxes, sell the spare rulebook and templates and keep the miniatures: you get a great starter for the Skaven army and some money back. (Needless to say use the elves as slaves) Seriously though you get a good start on the multitude of clanrats/slaves and some pretty awesome looking weapon teams and heroes. The battalion is a decent buy but only if you are planning on running with plague monks. Otherwise its cheaper to buy Island of blood for what your getting. Be warned, you only get 20 hand weapons per 40 clanrats in Island of Blood, so if you plan on not using spears, you'll have to buy some bits, do some conversions, or have retarded mixed units.

Also, don't debate about it just buy the DOOMWHEEL. NO I DON'T CARE IF YOU WON'T USE IT!! You'll want it! Its allure is too strong. Fantastic model too so just give in to the Great Horned Rat and get one... it will please him.

Army Composition[edit]

If you haven't gathered: Skaven are a horde army so you are going to need some big blocks of clanrats and slaves to absorb the enemy's hordes and elite units such as rat ogres, DOOMWHEELS, plague monks, and adorable abominations on the flanks to RIP AND TEAR! The nice thing with Skaven is that even the worst units in the codex can find a use in almost any army. You come from Nurgulite Warriors of Chaos? Clan Pestilence go for it! Do you like fancy, absolutely unreliable tech? Here comes Clan Skyre! Get the DOOMWHEELS rollin'! You like muscles? Clan Moulder then! Rat Ogres aplenty and those adorable Abominations out there to spread the love! Or you can go full ninja with Clan Eshin and use loads of night and gutter runners! Are these all competitive? Probably not. But regardless of winning potential, they are fun to play.

Magic Items[edit]

The Scavenge-Pile[edit]

Many of these items are available to all your lord and hero choices as well as your stormvermin fangleader

  • Warpmusket: decent choice for a Warlock engineer hanging back with Jezzails. (although Warpmusket's range is half that of Jezzails, either making it quite useless, or forcing the Jezzails too close the enemy (not that warlock will hit anything anyway, with BS of 3); buy 4 slaves instead)
  • Poisoned Attacks: only one you'd probably use this on comes with it standard (assassin) situational use on a warlord (not so situational if you're not giving it a magic weapon and focusing instead on making it a nearly unkillable midget)
  • Tail Weapon: honestly haven't bothered using it so can't say if the additional S3 attack is worth it. You can stack it with poisoned attacks though so it could be a good use of 20+ points for the combo if you find yourself fighting monsters all the time; I'm looking at you, dark elves... freakin' hydras...
  • Warplock Pistol: not as strong as the musket but still just as useful in the right character's hands. I always give my Fangleader one just so I can elect to stand and shoot. Is it game changing? Heck no! But when the rat version of Clint Eastwood stands in front of a Warrior of Chaos squeaking "You feel lucky punk?" your opponent will give you respect knuckles.
  • Rat Hound Bodyguard: if you really just want to give yourself the chance of having your faithful giant rat bite your ankles and kill you be my guest, though, for 5 pts and with only a one in six chance for it to hit you with its S 3 bite rather than your enemy, it's by no means a bad use of your leftover points. Remember to name it Fido.

Magic Weapons[edit]

  • The Fellblade: feel like maxing out your magic item allowance on one weapon? You sure? Really? Ok. This is the one for you. Makes you S10, each wound caused rolls another D6 wounds, and successful ward saves must be rerolled. Ya. It's awesome but it's up to you if you're willing to drop the points on it. Also, you roll a d6 every turn, on a 1 or 2 the bearer loses a wound with no armour save allowed. Only real use for it is if you're facing nothing but ogres...or hydras...the bastards...
  • Warpforged Blade: ignores armor so its ideal against armies that run heavy armor all the time. Expensive but useful.
  • Warlock-Augmented Weapon: expensive but helps if you feel the need to spout out a ton of higher strength attacks.
  • Blade of Corruption: cheap version of the Fellblade without S10. Potentially worth it against Ogres and enemy heroes.
  • Weeping Blade: a solid option at a good points cost. Armor piercing is always nice and d3 wounds is a bonus that will pay off more than not.
  • Dwarfbane: must have against dwarfs (if you haven't guessed) otherwise skip for one of the BRB options instead.
  • Blade of Nurglitch: cheap as chips but hardly useful. Unsaved wounds cause -1T. Marginally effective vs WoC and Ogres.

Magic Armour[edit]

  • Warpstone Armor: 4+ armor save; successful saves inflict damage on who done hit ya and your warlocks can wear it. Use it, love it.
  • Worlds Edge Armor: 4+ armor save that disappears the second something strong enough breaks through it. Cheap but I'd pass.
  • Shield of Distraction: interesting. -1A to enemies in base contact with the model, but situational, and there are better options in the BRB.


  • Foul Pendant: cheap 5+ ward. Thanks. :)
  • Shadow Magnet Trinket: can be really useful in a wizard bunker; which for the Skaven means a Warlock engineer and his unit of Jezzails. Any enemy archers or riflemen are going to have to throw a lot more dice at them with this trinket on hand. -1 to hit from shooting may not sound like much but when you take a BS3 bowmen shooting at long range will need 6+ to hit and that's with your jezzails sitting out in the open. A solid choice should you choose the Jezzail-Warlock combo. When used on a Screaming Bell it gives your Grey Seer, Bell AND whatever troop type is pushing the bell a -1 to hit from ballistics helping the unbreakable horde get to battle with less casualties. (Probably works with Plague Furnace too)
  • Rival Hide Talisman: one use only to make your opponent reroll all successful to hits in base contact. Cheap. Extremely Situational. Yet potentially game changing in a challenge.

Arcane Items[edit]

  • Warpstone Scroll: do you face eagles a lot? Like more than Sauron's orcs in LOTR? Then this scroll could be for you. But its expensive and the Skaven have plenty of weapons to counteract flying units.
  • Warp-Energy Condenser: now we are talking! Slightly better chance at channeling but that's not why you pick the WEC. You pick it up for a more powerful warp lightning attack. The extra hits are well worth the cheap cost of this beautiful piece of vermin engineering.
  • Scrying Stone: one time use 3+ ward save. I'd pass.
  • Warpstone Tokens: sweet sweet Skaven crack. Allows you to throw more dice at whatever spell you NEED to get off. Has the potential to roll a one and wound you but hey, you didn't choose Skaven to play it safe. And you really want The Dreaded Thirteenth!

Enchanted Items[edit]

  • Skavenbrew: a highly amusing item of much debate. On a roll of a 1, somebody spiked the punch bowl and a bunch of rats fall down dead. 2-3 gives Hatred to everything because Skaven are mean drunks. 4-5 gives Frenzy because they’re really mean drunks. 6 means they reach an Angry Marines level of rage, getting +2 frenzy instead of +1, but since they aren't Astartes every movement phase D6 of the little blighters have heart attacks. Skavenbrew... it's a good thing.
  • Skalm: regenerates all lost wounds (unless you’re dead). Its usefulness depends on who you are facing.
  • Pipes of Piebald: force charging unit to perform Ld test or fail charge. Kind of counterproductive in an army of tarpits... but still useful on Plague Monks. It can be useful on jezzails as it can allow you to get another round of stand and shoot/shooting off. Alternative take: grab this beauty and stuck it in any hammer unit against low ld/high movement armies. It's priceless.
  • Portents of Verminous Doom: -1Ld isn't all that useful but there are tactical applications for it, main one that comes to mind is Beastmen's primal fury. Less than situational but again, I'm no tactical genius. (actually, since it stacks with the banner, you can use it to basically create a LD trap on anyone dumb enough to come for you, as they will have to test at -2 LD, and reroll it if they pass it!)

Clan Eshin Tools of War[edit]

  • Warpstone Stars: a nice choice for the assassin that thinks he's badass enough to take down that hydra alone. 3X multiple S5 shots multiplying into D3 wounds. Probably won't kill a monster outright, but will soften him up a bit.
  • Infernal Bomb: for a decent cost your assassin can drop a nice little present near or in the path of anything you don't want heading your way. It detonates on a 2+ and you really want to target either monsters or hordes with this puppy. In practice hordes are the better target due to the time consuming movement needed to get around the bomb. Area denial is a great thing to have in watchtower games too so pick it up if your slaves are too spineless to do it on their own.
  • Smoke Bombs: really nice if you want to make sure your assassins stay around a bit longer. But if you had to use this you're probably doing it wrong or they had the devil's luck rolling charge distance on your lone assassin.

Clan Skryre Gear of War, AKA the fun stuff[edit]

  • Brass Orb: Mournfang Cavalry getting you down? Demigriphs ruining your day? What about that big ol' stonehorn? Well get out your cheap as chips warlock, equip him with this, send him to his doom and put on your best trollface as 3 Mournfangs fail their initiative test and disappear! Now its not really safe, as they still could pass the test or you could scatter horribly but its a really cheap counter to those monstrous infantry options a lot of new armies are getting. Or you could just throw it at a horde of dwarves. Best part, a misfire places the template on the thrower, so get into base contact for a guaranteed hit. Also a really nice counter to the Glottkin, what with their I of 1.
  • Doomrocket: rumor has it that it was developed by Doomrider himself. A cheap and fun way to make large horded up infantry disappear but this rocket is so freaking sporadic that it can overshoot or undershoot with reckless abandon. You nominate a direction and select anywhere from 4 to 10 dice to see how far it travels. If 3 or more 1's are rolled it misfires. Get into a position where at least 3 enemy units could be hit for maximum damage. Skitterleap is your friend here.
  • Death Globe: the Brass Orb's little brother, effective at bringing down cavalry and infantry alike on a 4+ with no armor saves, but you should only target models with 1W with it. Use the Brass Orb for the multiwound ones.
  • Warlock Optics: +1 BS for your Warlock and he ignores cover modifiers. Stick it on a Warpmusket Warlock. (though seeing that you already have at least 1 warlock (since this item is worst of all skryre goodies), just ditch it and get another jezzail. it's cheaper and more effective)

Clan Pestilens Befouled Items[edit]

  • Warp Scroll: it's a bound spell, so only cast it if you know your opponent has no dice left. Target the most numerous horde of enemy troops on the field and let loose as every model takes a S2 hit with no armour saves allowed. Is it great? Your call. Though there are better options like...
  • Plague Banner: ... this. One use only, all Plague Monks in the unit get rerolls to hit and wound. Activate this on a flank charge and watch the enemy melting. It may only be once in a couple of games that you can pull this off but it's worth investing into if you really like your rotten rats.

Clan Moulder Beast-Prods[edit]

  • Shock Prod: you get to ignore armor saves. Decent, but Rat Ogres tend to RIP AND TEAR good enough even without it.
  • Electro-Whip: +D3 attacks while attacking from the rear rank. With a Master Moulder able to attack from behind Rat Ogres or multiple ranks of Giant Rats, it could be very useful. Buuuut, that is impossible, since Master Moulder must fight in first rank, being a champion, see FAQ (apparently, the FAQ were written by Ward).

Magic Standards[edit]

  • Sacred Banner of The Horned Rat: expensive but worth the investment against certain opponents. All enemy units within 12" have -1Ld and any unit in base contact with the banner must reroll successful Ld test. Morale can be everything in battles and being able to weaken your opponents resistance is a great boon. Careful though: a unit with this banner will be heavily targeted so plan accordingly.
  • Storm Banner: a beastly beastly banner. Seriously any elf player or dwarf gunline that has faced a Skaven army hates this banner. Once activated it disallows flying movement and all missile fire has a -2 modifier. It also affects magic attacks that don't require BS by making them roll a 4+ before they can use the spell itself. At the end of each player turn on a roll of 4+ the effect ends. Beautiful.
  • Grand Banner of Clan Superiority: a decent cost for a banner that adds D3 to combat resolution as opposed to the usual +1. Worth it in most situations, but not necessary if you're going to have a significantly larger number of ranks and therefore be rolling Break tests on standard LD. Makes it a good banner for units that will be far from your general and BSB.
  • Shroud of Dripping Death: generally a banner not worth taking as it only affects models in base contact and activates a smaller attack if you are fleeing. Not useless but generally overshadowed by more favorable ones.
  • Banner of the Under-Empire: a nice banner to put in a unit of Stormvermin. At the beginning of each and EVERY close combat phase the enemy unit in base contact with this puppy suffer 2D6 S2 hits. May not sound like much but the weight of hits will equate to more wounds caused which leads to a better combat resolution. A worthwhile investment.
  • Dwarf-Hide Banner: cheap and causes Hatred Dwarfs and Dwarfs in contact gain hatred too. Dwarves already hate Skaven in their new book so you might as well take it if you're tailoring a list to them.
  • Banner of Verminous Scurrying: allows the unit (once per game) to march at triple speed instead of double at the cost of a few skaven falling down dead. Useful if you need to get into a different position quickly and cheap as well. Excellent on a group of Plague Monks to get into position on someone's flank, as the S3 hits will be less likely to wound them and they won't panic.


Skaven Spells of Ruin[edit]

  • Skitterleap (5+): a rather cheap and effective way of getting important characters out of harms way. Any infantry character within 12" can be placed anywhere on the board as long as they are at least 1" away from the enemy. So if your warlord or BSB is about to bite it in the next combat phase you can easily place him into a nearby unit with out losing that precious bonus they provide. Grey Seers can elect to take this as one of their standard spells.
  • Warp Lightning (6+): Warlocks that are at least level 1 can take this by standard. An amazing magic missile that causes D6 (+2 with the Condenser) at S5. Cheap enough to spam with several different Warlocks, but Gray Seers should focus on something else.
  • Howling Warpgale (7+): remember the Storm Banner? Well this spell does the same thing only it's -1 to hit and doesn't affect the magic abilities of your opponent. though it stacks with the -2 from the banner. Engage Trollface.
  • Death Frenzy (9+): gives a unit +2 frenzy attacks instead of +1 and cause D6 automatic wounds to the unit. Not the greatest spell but useful in the occasional flank charge scenario.
  • Scorch (10+): a very reliable small template S4 hit that's flaming and causes panic on unsaved wounds. Extremely useful and more powerful than Warp Lightning on large blocks of infantry.
  • Cracks Call (11+): this spell is nasty in all the right ways. Form a 4D6-long line from the caster and any models under the line either passes an Initiative test or dies. If a building is in the lines path it collapses on a 5+ and any unit occupying it has to take the initiative test on top of that. A bit random due to not knowing the exact distance the line will be, but fantastic on any board with a lot of buildings to occupy.

Skaven Spells of Plague[edit]

  • Pestilent Breath (5+): a flame template spell and therefore quite useful. Causes S2 hits with no armor saves allowed, it can be cast in close combat causing d6 hits instead of using the template. Very cheap to spam with multiple Plague Priests, who can take it as a standard spell.
  • Bless with Filth (7+): gives a target unit poisoned attacks, especially effective on frenzied Plague Monks in CC. The best part is that it can effect units already in combat, so if you need a few more wounds this spell is a solid choice.
  • Wither (8+): oh hell yes! Target unit within 12" gets -1T, I'll let that sink in. You say big whoop? Well hold on I haven't mentioned the best part: it last all game and it STACKS.Get two Plague Priest casting this on a T3 unit in the same turn and they will be wounded on 2+. Insert evil laugh. Remember if a model's toughness reaches 0 it is removed as a casualty.As each spell can only be known once in each army (unless it's the models substitute spell - effectively the signature for that character e.g. warp lightning for warlock engineers)its not possible to have this spell twice but could be cast over two or more turns as it stacks. Now that the end times are rolling out though... this is one of the most broken spells in the bloody game.unit of nurgle chaos warriors being a pain? Cast this baby 4 times on them and BOOM they're gone.
  • Vermintide (8+): Cracks Call lite It's effective and hits a lot more models but is restricted by impassable terrain and water. Causes 3D6 S2 to any unit caught under the template (which has a 4D6 range) so combined with a couple of withers from the turn before it can be quite catastrophic.
  • Cloud of Corruption (11+): kind of a mixed bag. You roll a dice for each unit within 12": on a 2+ (enemy unit), 4+ (friendly unit) or 5+ (Clan Pestilens) that unit takes D6 S5 hits with no armour saves allowed. Not bad if you have no friendly units nearby but will probably bite you in the butt if you cast it at the wrong moment.
  • Plague (13+): neat and quite potentially hilarious. Units within 18" must take a Toughness test per model: if failed, model loses 1W. If cast on a unit in CC it affects all units involved. After that roll a D6, if you roll a 1 your opponent gets to pick one of your units to infect. FUN*

The Dreaded Thirteenth Spell (25+)[edit]

Roll up your sleeves and eat some Warp Tokens 'cause if you pull this off you WILL have a trollface as big as a pauldron whilst your opponent rage-quits. Select a unit... no, not the small group of Swordsmen, pick that unit of Warriors of Chaos, that unit of White Lions looks good too... Much better. Now roll 4D6... 12. Before your opponent can sneer that your roll was below average, 12 of his soldiers are dead, just like that. Wait, that was a small unit and there's no survivors? Now all of them are Clan Rats instead, and you control them. This does include special characters, so you can just unleash your trollface when Teclis suddenly grows a twitchy nose and tail. There is a reason the spell stands alone. It's game breaking and Grey Knights Seers can elect to take it standard. Only use against opponents you don't mind never fighting again.


Models. More models. MOAR! Seriously, this is a horde army. You will buy at least 200 rats, you will assemble, paint, and base them all, and you will love it. A good guideline is around 1 model per ten points, and at least 1 slave per 20 points. Aim for at least 2 Hordes of 40-60 Clanrats in any game with a high enough points limit. Adding more is not just fine but recommended. Use slaves, love slaves, field 3 blocks of 50 slaves and watch your opponent's deathstar never do anything but munch 300 points all game (while getting shot at!). Never, ever skimp on protection for your general (heavy armour, shield, 4+ Ward). If he dies, your rats drop down to their (generally shitty) base Leadership.

Some armies (VC and Tomb Kings mostly) will ruin your day if you let them get in to a grind-fest. Flank them hard and don't let them get into the stand up fight that they want.

Also note, if fighting an OnG army with lots of goblins, or a VC army with a lot of zombies, your number advantage won't be as great as a good Skaven player should be comfortable with. Blow holes in 'em with warmachines and casters, and hope for the best.

Though it's a misconception that skaven HAVE to be a Horde army. Clanrats aren't the greatest warriors in the Old World, but have several small units of 20 just so you can take a weapon team with each can result in a bunch of added lols. Yes they will misfire more often than not. Yes they will blow themselves up, even sometimes in the opening salvo. But you didn't pick skaven for the reliability of the deranged warlock engineers mechanical contraptions. Tying a unit of Elite infantry down with a large block of slaves and unleashing flaming, poisonous wind, warp lead death without regard to who you actually kill? Golden!

If you do not fancy playing the horde game, skaven gunlines can be also quite devastating. 10 Jezzails can put serious hurt on any monster out there without a ward save, and Gutter Runners with poison + slings are the bane of nearly everything (20-30 poisoned shots on a greater demon on turn 1 = 500 points less for your opponent).

You cannons are stupid-good tier, as they can either snipe monsters (mediocre due to the random strenght) or obliterate large blocks of troops. Catapults are mainly for support, but against msu strategies they can force multiple LD test.

Warhammer Fantasy Tactics Articles
Forces of Order: BretonniaDwarfsEmpireHigh ElvesLizardmenWood Elves
Non-Aligned Forces: OgresTomb Kings
Forces of Destruction: BeastmenDaemonsDark ElvesOrcs & GoblinsSkavenVampiresWarriors of ChaosChaos Dwarfs