|Drawn by Adrain Smith, coloured by MajesticChicken (DeviantArt)|
I got to play my two first games with Skaven yesterday and I wanted to give some inital thoughts on them. But firstly I want to say that I am in no way a regular WFB player and in fact these thoughts should be seen as being from someone who has just started playing the game. With that statement out of the way onto my thoughts about the army.
So both myself and my regular opponent Phil have been learning WFB with the same army, namely Vampire Counts. As you can imagine while having enjoyable games they have tended to be quite magic heavy with little to no shooting or psychology. The combats have also tended to be large grind fests with neither side breaking and each Vampire respawning any lost troops in the magic phase.
The get around this we decided to start another army each, so Phil decided on Wood Elves and from my previous posts you should know I have gone for Skaven. As I have said we played two games with these armies yesterday. The first was a 1000pts game and the second was a 750pts game.
The First Game:
I used all the mini's from the Island of Blood Box set along with a 15 man(rat) unit of Gutter Runners. I placed the Engineer (upgraded to a level 2 Wizard with Skitterleap and Warplightening) in the unit of Clanrat Spearmen with a Poisoned Wind Mortar, the chieftain was with the unit of handweapon Clanrats with a Warpfire Thrower and the Giant rats with a Master Moulder were on the right hand side of my flank. Phil had 2 ten man units of Glade Guard, 2 five man units of Scouts, an 8 man unit of Dyrads, 5 glade riders and a hero of some kind with a bow that shot four arrows a turn. He deployed the 2 units of scouts and the hero on my right flank. Everything else was deployed in front of me.
So how did it go for the ratmen? Awfully! I got completely destracted by the flanking force of the scouts and hero, and didn't know whether to stick or twist and in the end fell between both stools and ended up being pincushoned by the elves bow fire.
I used skitterleap in the first magic phase to move my engineer to behind the scouts units in the hope of killing them in my shooting phase only to realise I had forgotten to give my engineer a gun! (No doubt some rival engineer had switched the real gun with a wooden dummy!) He was quickly shot to death in Phil's turn, thereby giving up the clear magical advantage I had as Phil had no wizards in his army. From there on my force was really split in half with one unit of clanrats shot by the two units of Glade Guard and the Glade Riders and the reminder running away. The second unit of clanrats with spears and the Chieftain being beaten by 1 in close combat with the Dyrads and being run down and the Rat Ogres and Master Molder falling from the combined fire of the scouts and Wood Elf hero. The only high point was the Gutter runners coming on behind the Scouts and wiping out one unit with poisoned throwing stars and the other in close combat. But by the end of the fourth turn it was all over and a convincing victory for the Wood Elves.
What I learned:
- Skaven have really low leadership! Being used to playing Vampire Counts who never break in combat it was quite a shock to me how easily the Skaven broke. It was even more a shock how easily it is for the opposing player to run them down. If not in the turn which they broke but in the turn after. It really drove home to me the need for the extra ranks leadership boost the skaven have access to.
- ALWAYS know what your characters are equipped with. While the plan to skitterleap the Engineer behind the scouts and hero was a bad idea in the first place as I was never going to be able to kill them all even if I had a gun, to not have a gun at all was idiotic! We did have a good laugh at my stupidity though.
- Be focused. I really did get distracted by the flanking force and hesistated in my first turn. This allowed Phil to fire at me at will in his turn, as he didn't feel treatened by my units in any way. It was always an uphill struggle after the first turn.
The Second Game:
For this game we dropped the points down to 750pts. I removed the Chieftain from my list and coverted my Gutter Runners to Night Runners with slings. My Engineer Rolled Warp Lightening and Cracks Call (?) for his magic this game. Phil removed one unit of scouts, reduced the no of Dyrads and took away the command group from one of his Glade Guard. We left the table the same.
This time around I resolved not to get distracted by the flanking force (Phil used the exact same tactic) and instead marched both Clanrat units and the Rat Ogre Unit right up the middle of the board. The Night Runners scuttled up the side of the board. In the magic phase I got Warp Lightening off on the Dryads and rolled high for the number of hits and ended up killing 3. In Phil's turn he really had a hard time choosing what targets to shoot at but decided to shoot everything at the Rat Ogres. He succeeded in killing the Packmaster and one Rat Ogre. The final Ogre wandered into dangerous terrain 2 turns later due to stupidity and managed to kill himself. In my second turn I didn't move, but used Warp Lightening on one unit of Glade Guard who broke and ran off the table and hit the second unit with the Poisoned Wind Mortor, killing 8 of the ten, who also broke and ran off the table. The Night Runners on the flank targeted the Glade Riders with their slings and killed all five and finally the Warpfire Thrower killed 2 of the scouts on the right flank causing them to flee. From then on it was a mop up mission for the skaven, but not before my Engineer Clanrat unit passing a panic test on a roll of six when my leadership was a six. My other clanrat unit a turn later passed a leadership test on exactly the same score a turn later to stop them running of the table, only for their attached Warpfire Thrower to explode and wipe five of them off the face of the old world.
What I learned:
- Skaven have really low leadership! The game could have been quite different if I had not luckily passed two different leadership tests on a six. It seems lots of ranks of rats is the only way forward.
- Sometimes the dice gods are with you. See point 1 above. Also twice Phil rolled an inititive test to stop firstly his hero and then a dyrad falling into the crack from the Cracks Call spell, His inititive 7 models both rolled sixes.
- When Skaven magic and shooting hit they are very powerful. The second game only emphasied how much I missed my Engineer in the magic phase in the first game. I never got a chance to use the weapon teams in the first game but in the second game they were deadly to both elves and skaven.
- Stay focused. By giving Phil a lot of targets in the early stages of the game I forced him to make decisons. He wiped out my Ogres but that left the Engineer and the weapons teams to still cause a lot of damage. It was a lot better than dilly dallying in my deployment zone, which I did in the first game.
So two very enjoyable games with a lot learned about using skaven in WFB and I'm looking forward to using them again. I'm already planning on what to add to it and a Screaming Bell is really calling out to me! I also feel a Skaven Battalion with more clanrats/rat ogres and plague monks would be a good addition. Oh and an Assassin!
Until next time..............