Goatboy’s 40k Thoughts – How Good are Skitarii?


Goatboy here again on another Monday morning and the discussion today is all about the newest “army” on the blocks – the Skitarii.

I put the army in parenthesis because just like the newest Harlequin book it again feels like its missing some pieces to complete it.  The difference is that the Harlie book at least has its two brothers available – Eldar and the Dark Eldar.  Skitarii seems to be missing its “leadership”.

First thing is that I really think the models and army seem cool.  Even without any real HQ’s available I think as a whole this is a really neat release.  It has the full – design by committee feel that the Necron has but with the added in mixture of being built to sell.  I say this because I feel as a whole the army is cheap enough and decent enough to ally up with just about any Imperial option and add some decent set of rules and abilities.  It also has the option to be left along as a stand alone army but I feel the physical model costs will make it hard for more players to build a truly valid – Skitarii only list.

Normal a review breaks down each army choice in order to see if the whole is worth wile.  Missing the HQ choices in an army means you end losing out on the normal point syncs of HQ choices or leadership choices that create army archetypes.  This breaks the army away from the normal build design you see in a lot of lists.

Either in creating death stars with HQ’s everywhere (Super Friends, Screamer/Drone Star, Etc) or Murder stars (Centurion Star, Farsight with friends) with offensive units mixed with special rule generating HQ’s.  This army seems built to use and abuse MSU. This means that while the army might be completely murdering you it will probably be out scoring you depending on the type of event you are playing in.

With that in mind – lets just see what is the Good, the Ok, and the Ugly.


The Good

The first thing I can say that is good about this army is looking at it a bit more abstractly in the sense of the cost of the army.  This army is completely new – with models that do not have any kind of equivalent in the game.  Think of how you could easily create a Marine army from all the options available in the game.  Whether evil or good it really isn’t hard to find basic marines in some form or fashion.  Even using 3rd party bits you can quickly create a unique force.  The only thing this army has that you could say duplicates in the other books is using the Mechanicus cog you see on a lot of Imperial stuff.  This means if you planning on playing this army you will most likely be buying a ton of new plastic.

Thankfully the only thing I think is too expensive to purchase in this book is the two legged walker guys.  I understand from a size perspective that leaving them cheap might cheapen some of the other purchases but if GW is listening/reading you should look at some way to cheapen buying those turkey robots.  Still most of the other boxed sets seem well within range of decently priced GW stuff.  The codex is the cheapest we have seen for a new “army” book at thirty three dollars US. We were expecting it to be soft cover due to the cheaper nature but hey a 33 dollar hardcover book is not bad.  I think if GW lowered their rule book costs you would see people going back to the days of buying every army book they release.  Of course this 33 dollar book could just be a way to get you to pay 66 bucks for a book (this book plus the main book Adeptus Mechanicus).  Still it is nice to have a book not cost near a video game cost.

After that the 2 troop choice boxes are cheaper then a Marine boxed set, give you the options to make 2 different units, and let you create 2 troop choices with one purchase.  This is pretty dang good as it also gives you a ton of weapon choices too and I feel someone figured it out when they wanted to sell a new book.  Make the “main” purchases cheap enough to help facilitate the selling of the more expensive options.

Beyond costs I think this army is also designed pretty interestingly.  You have 2 troop choices with a large variety of options.  I think for a small “faction” army having 2 troops is a great thing as people can easily create their own personal armies.  Plus each choice is different enough to warrant some thoughts on what you actually need.  You mix in the minimum unit size of 5 and and you have a winner basic building grounds for any army choice.  I like that the troop box gives you all the models you need to make the largest unit size for this option.

The rules themselves seem to be pretty good too.  Their weapons are built upon a bunch of new rules that do not seem to be too confusing.  There is nothing worse then an army having a bunch of weird weapon rules that cause you to ask a ton of questions.  The only rule so far that could be weird is the whole – wound on 6’s causes 2 wounds.  I think it basically reads 6’s always cause 2 wounds so it is a different form of rending basically.  I also like some of the assault weapon rules that either give you a fluffy set of good rules (transonic figuring out your molecular structure) or just a decent rule idea with Taser.  Overall the book just feels like a bunch of people got together and hammered out a ton of new and interesting set of ideas that represent this high end technology of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

The Ok

The Ok mechanics of the army is the overall lack of HQ.  Yes they built in “characters” into the regular troop units with 2 Wound leaders it still leaves me feeling kind of sad as it would have been awesome to have a clam pack tech priest.  The fluff explains the lack of leaders so at least they tried to cover the feeling of missing data slates.  It also makes sure you don’t get some HQ’s that might do really well combo’ing with some of the other Imperial super stars.

This leads into some of the special “artifacts” that I feel are ok but without a true HQ to peg these on they end up feeling like shining up a target for your opponents ire.  This leads into the next thing I find kind of underwhelming.  This entire army is pretty low on the toughness side of things.  This leads into the whole – while FNP is cute it won’t come into effect nearly as many times as you would want it.  How many times have you seen a Dark Eldar player getting excited when he gets FNP.  If the wave serpent gets knocked down a peg in a few weeks then this might become a better rule all around for the low toughness armies.

The cool Elite choices look cool, have good rules, and decent effects but are hampered by getting shackled with the dreaded Toughness 3.  I will tell you right now while they have 2 wounds in their profile most of the time you will remember them having only 1 wound.  It will be just like the Archon from the Dark Eldar.  How many times did the 3 wounds ever come into play?  Usually failing the 2+ shadow field save was the only thing that mattered.

Speaking of changing the Wave Seprent, look for the walkers to get a big push in usefulness when that dreaded super tank gets changed.  Right now the Walkers are neat but any real attention paid to them will just shut them down pretty quickly.  I think all their rules are great. Dune strider is a great rule that lets GW not have to create a new movement/unit type.

The Meh

This army is initially fairly cheap for the basics but when you start to look at getting into the other options and unit sizes to starts to get very very damaging on the wallet.  The Baba Yaga robot has rules that make it so much better in squads of 6.  One or two are cute but without having a large number to ensure they get somewhere it becomes less exciting.  I wish they had either put 2 in a box for 65 or at least created a old Apocalpyse style boxed set that gave you a ton for a decent price break.

The big crab walker – while initially cheaper than other other armies big walker type – is still hampered by really becoming stronger with 3 of them next to each other.  I guess you could say it is a genius set up from a model selling point but I think this game has moved away from creating/buying new armies every 4 or so months to maybe buying a new army a year.  Most of the time it seems to revolve around just reworking an old army or putting the plastic crack into a slurry of simple green.

The other big Meh is a lack of an army boxed set with a discount involved.  The old Battleforces were great for starters and I think any “new” that is released should always have an accompany big boxed option.  The web bundles always feel like slaps in the face as they offer no discounts other then limiting the amount of mouseclicks.  I guess clicks are worth some kind of superior golden standard but with no way to quickly start an army just leaves me feeling sad.  I think GW would garner a lot more good will if they even offered discounted Web Bundles.  But again I am just on my soap box and not on the board etc.

Overall I like the release and while I am not interesting in creating my own army (Daemonkin, baby, life, Orks, Necrons) I still look forward to fighting games versus the cyborg robotic jerk faces from Mars.  I hope the rumored Dark Angels release doesn’t screw up my new army but I get the feeling I will only gain extra points instead of losing options.

Until next time – roll 6’s, profit, and take over the grim dark universe.

  • RexScarlet

    The Good;
    Costs of points per dollar = Bad (your SM comp)
    Leftovers in the box (useless weapon bitz) the customer once again pays for = Bad
    Rules = Unfinished and confusing = Bad
    Where is the Good part? Oh right, they “Look Good” in your opinion, then you call one of the models “Turkey Robots” lol…
    The OK/Bad; no leaders, toughness 3, etc., so, Bad.
    The Ugly/Meh; Costs. so, Ugly.
    Did you read your own article, especially your closing? C’mon man…

    • disqus_I1VIVQiPZK

      He said the rules weren’t confusing just that he thought there was a slightly better way to write one of them.

      • RexScarlet

        Thanks, fixed. The only single error in my post.

      • SacTownBrian

        And the wound roll of six is wrong. I don’t know if he means the Taser rule or Transonic but either are wrong.

        • disqus_I1VIVQiPZK

          He is talking about the Rad Poisoning rule, which states any roll of a 6 to wound deals 2 wounds regardless of toughness, that are saved vs armor separately

    • I like having bitz…

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        at least those of you living in the USA can buy cheap Wargames Factory Shock Troopers and use the extra heads and weapons from the official box to make cheap Skitarii. I’ll be trying it with some old Mutant Chronicles plastic Bauhaus.

        • Shawn

          Yeah, but aren’t there a large range of third party bit sellers like Hi-Tech, Puppets of War, Maximini, etc. That are much cheaper for you in Britain than the U.S. and are of great quality as well?

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            there are, but most are GW prices and none that I know of provide dirt cheap infantry for conversions, it would be cheaper just to buy Skitarii from a discounter at 25% off.

            The exception being Prince August’s Bumper Bag of Bauhaus ($25ish for 80 minis), which are the old Warzone Mutant chronicles figs from the 90s Mutant Chronicles starter set which I have lots of already.

          • Shawn

            Really? I think some, those that are in Euros mainly are a bit cheaper than FW and GW when converted to US dollars. But hey, you got to squeeze every penny/pence pound/dollar out of everything you got, right?

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            can you think of any? Real bargains are to be had in the world of historical minis, but most are nearer true scale than GW so wouldn’t fit. I wonder if any Perry Miniatures models would be big enough to fit the Skitarii arms?

          • Shawn

            They might Knight. I can’t say for sure, but I mean the third party groups, while cheaper than GW aren’t super-deals. I just know with shipping, the pricing better, maybe a 5-10 dollar difference in some cases. Try Anvil Industries, they might have what your’e looking for. I hope that helps

      • RexScarlet

        So, you must not mind paying a premium for them in the unit box.
        Good for you.

        • jonathon

          and you don’t so good for you.

          It has been said before but I’ll say it again because I’m that type of crazy… if you don’t enjoy the HOBBY element of the HOBBY – y’know, everything that isn’t complaining on the internet, list building, and actually playing games…. y’know, the part that involves physically and painting building models – then this is the wrong game system for you. There’s no problem with that, but this is akin to buying a surf board & then complaining that you can’t use it in your neighbour’s half pipe…

    • Victor Hartmann

      “Costs of points per dollar = Bad (your SM comp) Leftovers in the box (useless weapon bitz) the customer once again pays for = Bad”

      Actually, the infantry box (as mentioned very clearly in the article) is a good value. The extra weapon bits are a bonus above and beyond that. You’re looking so hard for something to complain about I would guess that if they sold the weapon types as different boxes you’d complain that they were breaking from the tradition of dual kits to price gouge the customer.

      The walkers are higher priced for their points value but that was covered by both of you as a separate entry. And I’d agree, the costs their go into the “Ugly” category. But that has nothing to do with the infantry kit being a good deal so it’s a big stretch for you to take that and then somehow use the walker price to negate the troops being a good deal. The troops, as he explained in the article, are solidly in the “Good”.

      “Where is the Good part? Oh right, they “Look Good” in your opinion, then you call one of the models “Turkey Robots” lol…”

      Seems pretty clear, not sure why you’re working so hard to twist what he considers “Good”. People like coming up with funny names for things. We’ve been calling the Helldrake a Hell Turkey since it first came out. It’s still a cool looking model.

      “The OK/Bad; no leaders, toughness 3, etc., so, Bad.”

      Toughness 3 is bad in a purely competitive sense I suppose but only if you look at it in the context of one stat. They have other abilities built into their price point which may or may not balance with that. But really, what do people expect? Toughness 3 should never be used for new units? Disposable troops based on humans gradually dying from rad poisoning are somehow going to be tougher?

      In regards to the lack of HQs, a rating of OK makes sense. It’s kind of good because you don’t have to pay an HQ tax. The value of this shouldn’t need explanation. Kind of bad because you don’t get cool combos (theoretically) from an HQ’s special abilities. All of this with the understanding that Skitarii are a lot like the Scions codex. An army primarily intended to be taken as allies without having to deal with the additional requirements of the parent codex.

      “The Ugly/Meh; Costs. so, Ugly.”

      Yup, this was pretty clear. You’re on target here.

      “Did you read your own article, especially your closing? C’mon man…”

      Goatboy was very consistent within his own article. The better question is: why are you trying so hard to twist his very clear statements to make them into negatives?

  • Aezeal

    I really think you shouldn’t see harlies and Skit as armies.. see them as allies for your Eldar/Dark Eldar and the any sort of imperial army you have and you’ll be less dissapointed I think.

    • 100% spot on.

    • disqus_I1VIVQiPZK

      I might be crazy, which I am, or it could be the fact I wanted AdMech for a long time, but this will be my primary detachment until the supposed Cult Mechanicus Codex comes out, if it does. Once I buy enough models that is

    • Shawn

      Absolutely Aezeal. I intend to run Skitarii with my Iron Hands, team the vanguard units with techmarines, stick them on or near objectives, fortify ruins, and just shoot whatever comes in range.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        I am thinking about using Vanguard as a bodyguard for an unkillable Iron Hands Chapter Master on bike with shield etc, plus a backfield unit of Rangers with Arquebuses. I might expand this to include one or more Dunecrawlers with neutron lasers at some point.

        Skitarii Warlord in a Plasma Obliterator would be a laugh (preferred enemy and boostable weapon skill)…

        • Haighus

          The Preferred Enemy also allows a re-roll on the Gets Hot! roll (as does boosted BS). Add an Omnispex to his squad for -1 to enemy cover saves too… 😀

          Just be aware that the Vanguard will drop the toughness of the Chapter Master in melee :/

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            I know, I thought of his preferred enemy as soon as I read the rules for the Plasma Obliterator. His two wounds mean he can’t be killed outright even if you roll two ones and then get him in the random roll. With the Omnispex and a BS boostable to 7 he is the best chap I can think of to man the Plasma Obliterator. He + his squad is cheap and adds a useful USR. The building protects him too so he won’t give up an easy Slay the Warlord .

            Good point RE Chapter Master, though they do the same to the enemy too funnily enough! I guess the trick is to get him into combat simultaneously with a unit of Vanguard without actually joining their unit. Maybe give him a couple of ablative biker buddies.

          • Sam Bee

            An attached hq will not be affected, as for any rules purpose an IC counts as part of the squad he is attached to, and does not suddenly become a separate entity when they get into combat.

          • Haighus

            Hmm, I thought the way the rule was worded meant it did. I’ll have to have a look at the White Dwarf again if I can find where I put it.

        • Shawn

          I think preferred enemy is only if the skitari is your main detachment. They get that, and scout, but still can’t outflank.
          I do like the idea of putting my skitarri all 12-18 inches away, scout move forward before the game starts, and then unload with guns. Also, since Infiltrators have infiltrate, I can add Cypher to give them some extra shots. I think they already have stealth.

    • RexScarlet

      err, then why are they not “supplements?”

  • Orodruin

    Perhaps the rumors about this being a sort of Scions equivalent ahead of a “real” codex release are true. Doesn’t help this army at all, but for those who have a techno-boner for Mechanicus there may be hope yet.

    • Theres cheaper ways to get a “techno-boner” on google

  • Andrew Thomas

    Because everybody in the Grimdark wants to be a Space Marine. BFD. And no, the Codex Imperial already has enough unkillable vehicle shenanigans from Clan Raukan, so we could do without more IC/SC-driven nonsense. Lack of DTs are a bit of an issue, but that’s largely handled by Command Benefits.

    • generalchaos34

      and allied Valkyries!

  • Majere613

    It’s very important to remember the Doctrina Imperialis when thinking about Skitarii. Units suddenly going up to BS 7 for a turn are certainly no joke.
    I think the most obvious role for them is as allies to Knights. The Icarus Array neatly deals with the flyer vulnerability, and they can provide plenty of cheap bodies to deal with objectives, as well as some decent support weapons like the Transuranic Arquebus. The Dunestriders also have the speed and weight of dice to keep up with and support Knight Lancers if desired.

    • I use inquisition but skitarii would be a good change of pace. Nice idea there

  • Dragon2928

    Having “average” toughness (3) is not the problem; it’s the weapon creep. Many armies appear to be built around spamming S6+ fire to a ridiculous degree.

    • Kevin Buesse

      Which makes have an average T3 a problem. It’s not likely that GW will back off on the S6 shooting. Besides maybe tweaking the serpent shield down, the excess of high S shots was GWs attempt to offset the vehicle spam of 5th. And now that it’s harder to out and out kill vehicles HPing them out with mid strength shots is the only solid answer.

      • jonathon

        really they need to fix (3) units: HYMP broadsides, double missile pod crisis suits & wave serpents. Any other place in the game you’re getting consistent firewpower you’re limited by either incredible fragility (guard HWT) or incredibly limited mobility (artillery pieces / devastators).

        S6 is mean, but the volume of resilient S7 firepower (literally buckets of dice…) available to two armies is causing significant balance issue.

  • Wolfsark

    I think the best way to use them is as allies for imperial armies that struggle with flyers because of the Onager Dunecrawler. This would include Dark Angels, Imperial Knights, Sisters of Battle etc. The detachment only requires 2 troops and there are no HQs so the entry barrier is low. The troops can also be kitted out so they can take on both infantry and vehicles giving you more flexibility. Only problem is you can’t suicide them into objectives like you can with other ally Troops because they don’t have objective secured.

  • Tesq

    The real good thing it’s that, you can simply overload field with models ( no vehicle) and give them more special/heavy wep you can. This way opponents must deal with too much models and all can shoot, move charge as they are relentless, they move 6 but they can shoot lascannon or equal wepon in da face and then still charge, worthless say that they just buff themself when required and have +3 to ws/bw when iit’s need is wonderfull…..
    Also these lack are simple solved ally them with some elite force.
    They can deal with pretty much anything cos they can cc vs shooty armies and they can play shooty vs cc rmies and then finished even in cc
    What about mix this with other SM armies? i can see really good results.

  • SacTownBrian

    Did you mean to comment on the rule for Taser that every hit roll of a 6 causes two additional automatic hits? Taser Goads are freaking awesome! And I will play them just to get to say “now I will hit you with my Taser Goads” so I can see the look on my opponents face when I get more hits than I have starting attacks.