PART 1(Troop Choices)
The rats have been swarming here in Austin. I have had a chance to play with and against the new skaven a few times now. I have also watched a lot of other skaven players mess around with the new rats as well. Today, I will breakdown the skaven books troop choices and rate them on a scale 1(bad)-10(good). I will also list why I dislike or like each choice. The unit will also be compared to its old version self if one existed. In later articles I will breakdown characters choices, magic items, and make a 2250 tournament list.
Final’s are around the corner, lets see how skaven did this semester.
Slaves: A cornerstone of the last edition’s skaven army is now more widely accesible with no mainstay requirement. There is some debate about how the explosion rules work and will probably need a FAQ. Some cheesy gitz around here are claiming skaven 1×20 would cause d3+19 S3 hits and while by RAW they are probably correct I feel it is an oversight. For 2 points and access to very cheap command I think 2 units of these guys will be fielded in every army. Backed by the general’s leadership these guys are great for setting up tactical traps or just swarming the enemy’s weaker units. I feel the only downside is the explosion and that argueably is a plus as well. Slings would be usefull if they were BS3.
8/10 Great (+++Point Cost, +Can shoot at combats with slaves, -Explosions can hurt you,-Low LD away from general)
Clanrats: No longer the required mainstay unit for a minor reduced cost. Really these guys are barely an upgrade from slaves. These guys get access to: Standards, Weapon teams,LD5, WS3, and lt. armor. For the supposed backbone of a skaven army from a fluff standpoint they are not impressive on the tabletop. The only real reason to field these guys is the weapon team in my opinion. Combined with Doomflayer they are actual compentent in the close combat phase.
7/10 Good(+Point Cost, +More options then slaves,-Comparable to slaves in combat)
Giant Rat Packs: The giant rats are vastly improved vs. the previous incarnation. The 2nd rank of giant rats can attack. This is the sleeper hit of the skaven book when combined with death frenzy. The master moulders are now champions instead of heros and can have some decent gear. Unless you go crazy with the master moulder the unit is also very low point cost.
10/10 Awesome(+Point Cost, + Massive attack output potential,+Great spell target,+Great unit upgrades,-Possible loss of control if shot down, no saves)
NightRunners: Huge overhaul compared to the old version. Now a ranked unit. Access to missle weapons is interesting. I think they really only have one use though. Skaven introduce us to the 1st ranked tunneling unit in warhammer. A pretty heft cost at 200 points with full rank bonus. But, this has game winning potential. Not alot of units want to be reared charged by 3ranks. Even a bloodthirster does not want to start combat 6 down.
5/10 OK(+Ranked tunneler,-Useless and expensive if not tunneling, -Tunneling is dangerous and unpredictable)
Rat Swarms: Cheaper with no more plague swarms is what we get in the new book. If you have 50 points pick up 2 bases. I don’t see this being a bad choice to take. A great target for the poison attack spell. Swarms are quite capable of beating on machine crew, holding a flank from low number attack units like spawn or tomb scorpions, and contesting a table quarter.
5/10 OK(++Point Cost,+ Good friendly spell target, -Swarm rules crappy, -Low strength/toughness)
Stormvermin: Probably the most disappointing unit in the new book. Staying relatively unchanged besides a small point change from the old book. This supposed elite unit is still lacking compared to some of other elite units in recent books. Heavy armor shield and access to a magic banner is the only redeeming qualities when compared to clanrats.
4/10 Bad(+Armor save,+ Magic banner access,-Only slightly better then clanrats in combat)
Gutter Runners: A new weapon option with nets and a sliglty modified point cost is what the gutters got in the new book. A solid scout unit that is neither amazing nor horrible.
6/10 OK(+Weapon options, -Point cost)
Censor Bearers: At first glance you might not notice this ,but, censor bearers have gained an attack increase. Going from 1/2 to 2/3 frenzied is a nice upgrade. There is also a champion option as well. If that was not enough to make this unit more attractive the old leash rule is now a benefit instead of a hindrance. No more being choked up by slow moving plague monks. There is a question if censor are stubborn 5 or 8 when next to the furnace.
9/10 Great(+Attack output, +Skirmish, +Gas,+-Frenzy, -Point Cost)
Plague Monks: 2nd hand weapon is now included combined with a lower point cost. While not a shining star , a definite argument for plague monks can be made when including a plague furnace.
7/10 Good(+Point Cost, +Furnace unit,+Tough 4, +-Frenzy, -No armor, -Low Strength)
Poison Wind Globadiers: Similar to the previous version, with the extra tid bit that they can still shoot into any combat. I dearly miss the core 2 man units , but, that was a bit much. They have the ability to have weapon team attached which could be intersting. I think they are a great for big monsters. If you can have slaves or a bell/furnace unit hold up a big creature these guys could easily finish him off.
8/10 Good(+Shoot into combats, +Skirmish, -LD)
Rat Ogres: Frenzied with a champ option is the new version of rat ogres. Still severly hampered by the packmaster rules. The slightly lower point cost and the extra attack from frenzy is a nice touch. I still don’t see them being taken over censor bearers being in the same special slot.
1/10 BAD(+Attack output, +-Frenzy, -Packmaster rules, -Compete with better specials)
Jezzails: Lost skirmish and gained a unit champ option is the changes to the jezzails. Losing the ability to shoot into combat is a big hit for these guys. I think you will see less of these guys in the tournament skaven armies.
5/10 OK(+High strength long rang threat, – no 360 line of sight, -can’t shoot into combat)
Doomwheel: Back from 5th edition with a vengeance. Impact hits, shooting beams of death, random moving beat down. I like the new doomwheel model a whole bunch. I think I would consider fielding it just for having that beauty on the table. Keep your multiwound models away from this guy though because his shooting doesnt discriminate.
6/10 OK(+-Random shooting, +-Random combat, +Tough, +Not like a normal chariot)
Plague Catapult: Stonethrower like plagueapult. No armor save is nice. Decent at killing big blocks of stuff.
6/10 OK(+Long range threat,-low strength)
WLCannon: This changed drastically in the new book. Now much more like a normal cannon with the added effect of a 3″ template of doom added onto the end of the shot. Its random strength is the only downside. Having to have line of sight in exchange for a more reliable target with the 3″ template is probably a decent trade.
8/10 Good( +3″ template possible strength 10, +-random strength, -needs line of sight)
Abomination: The big hitter in the skaven book. In my opinion the nastiest model in warhammer. This thing hits harder, lives longer, and has crazy move potential.
10/10 AMAZING(+Warhammer combat god, +Regen, -+Random move, -Leadership)
Doomflayer(9/10) Great in combat. Makes clanrats/stormvermin viable. Nice armor.
Ratling Gun(6/10) Rolling to hit was not worth the trade off in range increase.
Plague Mortar(8/10) Deadly if your a good guesser and have decent scatter rolls.
Tunnel(5/10) Game winning potential but expensive
Warpfire(7/10) Hits hard, but, random shots with nasty misfire chart.
This is just a little insight on my thoughts for the skaven troops in the new book. Obviously some people will swear by that one random unit that killed a dark elf lord on a dragon in 1999. Look out for part 2 where I rate the characters and mounts.