Thursday, 21 February 2013

A Guide to the Skaven Mindset

In my experience with Skaven, they require a pretty unique frame of mind when handling them on the tabletop, being a fairly unique army to command.

Honestly, this is mostly aimed at newer Skaven players to help them get the most out of their army and so they can make the right decisions with a Skaven army on the spot and, most importantly, enjoy standing behind the rats. But if you're not so new, well, I dunno. May as well keep reading anyway, right? Right.

Once you get the hang of it, playing Skaven is kinda like this...

*Disclaimer: I do not condone giving cocaine to babies..*

With that out of the way, let's get down to business, shall we? Yeah, I think we shall.

Rule No. 1: Skaven die. All the time.

The most fundamental part of playing Skaven is getting used to the deaths of your own units. It happens. A lot. And it mostly happens because of your stuff, not the enemy's. It happens because Skaven are a pretty random army, with Doomwheels Zzzaping your own guys and Doomrockets firing backwards onto the Engineer's own unit and Plague bouncing straight back onto the unit acting as a meat shield for the wizard that cast it. However, with all these mishaps and more, Skaven make up for it by means of having all of these powerful yet random items and units that do more damage to the enemy than something less random of the same cost normally would, so it's very possible (and likely) for you to wipe out half of your own army before completely tabling your opponents. I know, because I've done it before.

Rule No. 2: Running away is good!

Even the special rules help us do it, so make use of them. If you ever get charged by something you don't think you'll be able to handle and you actually want that unit alive (usually only happens when expensive characters are in the unit) then Flee! without hesitation. Well, maybe hesitate for a moment and check how far away you are from the table edge, but mostly without hesitation... And deny challenges too. All day long. Unless you're confident your character can beat theirs in a scrap, just throw him at the back of the unit.

Opponent's get mad, you laugh, you run away more, and they get mad some more. Such is the cycle of Trying to Charge Skaven Units With Expensive Characters in Them.

Happens to me all the time.

Rule No. 3: Rats like cheese

People will complain about your things being overpowered. Often they're pretty close to the truth, too. They'll winge and they'll moan and they'll cry. And you know what you do? You laugh. Because while things like the Hell Pit, Doomwheel, Warp Lightning Cannon, Doomrocket, the Dreaded 13th and so on are all insanely powerful when they hit properly, they're all incredibly random as well. So don't be disheartened by their foolish crying, because for every S10 Zzzap! you get off on 3 War Machines in a row, there's always those times when you need a 6 on 3 dice to slam into the side of a unit and you manage a 4. And if you ever think to yourself "This is pretty powerful, maybe a little too powerful even..." just remember: rats like cheese.

Rule No. 4: It's everyone's fault but mine

If you ever lose, you didn't lose, the dice lost. Or your opponent cheated. Or your Grey Seer got distracted. Start searching for the culprit and have them used to feed the Rat Ogres immediately!

Seriously though, if you are new and you're losing, don't get down on yourself. Skaven are the most enjoyable armies I've ever played and losing just comes with being new, whether it's new to the game or just the army. There's plenty of time to learn the art of sabotage! And one day your opponent will concede on turn two and you'll be like...

"I was just losing so I could crush your spirit later!"

Story time!

Writing about laughing at my own guys dying reminded me of part of a game that illustrates my point pretty well, so here goes:

I was facing Dwarfs in a 1250 point game, and was testing out a Warlord on Rat Ogre Bonebreaker build (which is godlike, mind you) so I had no Grey Seer and a Level 2 Plague Priest as my only mage. Fortunately enough, my spells were Wither and Plague. I had a legendary magic phase, and managed to cast Wither on a unit of Dwarf Longbeard, then hit the same unit with Plague. The unit was brought down from 40 models + character to about 20 models. But it didn't end there...

Plague then bounced from the unit to an Organ Gun, managed to cause a wound, bounced to another Organ Gun, caused another wound, bounced to a Cannon, caused another wound and then, finally, bounced straight back onto the Clanrat unit in which the Plague Priest who cast the spell was in. Now I have never rolled more 4+'s in my life, because the unit went from being 20 Clanrats with Full Command, a Plague Priest and Warlord to the Clanrat's unit champion and standard bearer, a wounded Plague Priest and the Warlord.

It is by far the most enjoyable (and successful) magic phase I've ever had. I went on to win that game after my Warlord beat his Dwarf Lord in a challenge after many, many rounds of combat. Many 6's were rolled that game.

Anywayz, thanks for reading! Thoughts and comments always welcome.

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