Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Dallas-Fort Worth Area
I thought I'd post in response kind of an outline of what is being played and what to focus on when collecting a skaven army. A lot of players do not like Stormvermin and prefer large steadfast blocks of clan rats and/or slaves supported by a leadership bubble.
In terms of collecting, you will likely find you need a lot of models and characters. Painting a skaven army can take a long time due to the large number of models and detail on the models.
In the rare slots, doomwheels, hellpit aboms, and warp lightning cannons are all excellent choices. You will get complaints if you run doubles of any of these three rare options and max out the rare slots, especially with hellpits. It is not uncommen for a Skaven army to have one of each of four rares, hellpit, warp-l cannon, doomwheel, and plagueclaw catapult.
In the core slots, most players favour running larger blocks of slaves and clanrats. I find that you need to learn how to deploy and use these units to keep leadership and maintain steadfast break tests as long as possible. These units are really there to tar pit and hold up opponents so your magic, shooting and other units can do the damage and win the game. Don't expect to win combats with slaves. Many people use their other models, like gnolbars or night goblins as slaves to save $$$ and distinguish from clan rats. Storm vermin are rarely seen and many players do not feel that the extra points costs of storm vermin relative to clan rats is justified. Clan rats can take weapons teams, of which poisoned wind mortars and warpfire throwers are most in favour (I prefer the move and shoot of the mortars but their misfires can be a pain.). Do not be surprised if you end up having to have 200 to up to 300 slaves and clanrats to play some common strategies. Usually run only one storm vermin unit (possibly for the magic banner like the storm banner and for characters).
Night runners are generally out of favour (use those models converted to be gutter runners if you get them).
Giant rats can be interesting with the packmaster rules and their movement. Some skaven player run them in very small units for interference, redirection and flank attacks but they will run away if shot up. In 7th edition, it was more common to see larger ranked giant rat units do to the additional supporting attacks of the rats and ability of the packmasters to use their whips in supporting attacks. Because smaller rats come with many sprues, these are cheap to make with extra 20mm bases. Consider a larger unit to be 25 to 30 rats and 5 to 6 packmasters. Expect to have up to 50 rats and 10 packmasters in a full collection.
Gutter runners are very popular due to scouts and skirmish rules, as well as their abilities to have poison and ranged shooting with slings and come on later as "sneaky infiltrators". They are not cheap but fill an essential role in the Skaven army. Many players use a lot of gutter runners with slings and poison (such as 3 units of 6 to 10 in each unit for 18 to 30 models in the army) to go after tough monsters and war machines (they can come on as ambushers or scouts and can march and shoot and free reform to avoid combat as needed). Poisoned shooting autowounds with rolls to hit of 6 (as long as 6 would be a hit). They are not cheap but often deemed essential to deal with certain armies and commonly chosen models.
Rat ogres are played and playable but not points efficient given the strength in numbers rules and cost per ogre.
Plague monks are well worth their points, especially due to their abilities to carry magic banners such as the storm banner (which can shut down shooting and flying) and the plague banner (which only plague monks can carry and benefit from). The plague banner allows the plague monks to re-roll to hit and re-roll to wound in one combat phase per game, which is huge given that the unit has frenzy and an extra attack in the front rank. Also, this unit can push a plague priest with the plague furnace into combat and the furnace is considered a playable and viable benefit to the unit-so you will want to consider getting one).
Plauge censer bearers are interesting as skirmishers and for their special attacks but they were better in 7th edition and not played as much, considered optional for an army.
Warplock jezzails are played a lot but I, personally, do think that they are points efficient and their are too easily shoot up, panic and run away.
Poisoned wind globs. are interesting with their special shooting attack and ability to march and shoot and reform as skirmishers and shoot into combat but they are considered somewhat expensive for what they do.
The Grey Seer and magic lore of ruin and dreaded 13th spell (especially with power scroll even after the FAQ) is often the key to this army. The screaming bell is playable as a mount for the Seer. but many do not play the screaming bell because it just makes it easier to kill the seer and/or its unit. One Seer on or off the bell is usually all you will need in 8th edition.
The warlord is a very cheap and excellent fighting character, including to serve as a general. It is very common to put the warlord on a war litter because of the extra armour save and attacks the war litter provides (essentially four stormvermin on a 40x40 mm base carrying the warlord above them, so it is easy to make). Thus, you can afford one grey seer and one warlord in most lists at 2400 to 2500 points. This character can kill and survive combat quite well if kitted properly.
Assasins are out of favour, too expensive with the step and supporting attacks rules.
Warlock engineers are common and cheap. They can be cheap wizards, cheap means of carrying extra magic items (such as magic resistance for the unit with the lords in it), and carry special weapons. Consider a few of these in an army collection.
One chieftan is required for the BSB re-roll and the goal should be to keep this guy protected and alive to allow for re-rolls of panic and break tests within 12" of the BSB.
Plague priests are great if you get one or two of the plague spells but are really optional. They are more expensive wizards but are tough and can fight well. It is not uncommon to have one in an army (either on the furnace or in a unit of plague monks).
Because of the Island of Blood started kit being skaven and high elves, you can buy the kit and swap with someone that wants to high elves or sell them on e-bay and buy on discounts skaven clan rats and certain other models on e-bay. You need a lot of those clan rats. While I very much believe in supporting local retailers (not necessarily the GW store) that support the game, Skaven is an army where one can and probably look to help out by buying used a lot of the stuff (plus it might save a lot of time assembling and maybe painting models) online or from local players looking to exit the game.
Last edited by olderplayer; 10-06-11 at 08:01 PM.