View Full Version : Dark Elves vs. Skaven - what do I have to expect?

26-07-2006, 11:12
Today, I'm gonna have my first game against Skaven. I know that I'm gonna face ratling guns, those weird mages with their warp lightning attack and most probably a Warp Lighning Gun as well as Plague Monks and lots of Rats.

Does anyone of you have experience (with elves, preferrably dark ones;) ) in dealing with this vermin? Is there any weak spot to exploit? There's the formidable Ld due to rank bonus which also works against fear and terror, the cheap, fast, CR-delivering combat units and a lethal shooting phase.

I thought of making my army mobile, hitting him in close combat as soon as possible so I don't have to stay in a hail of lightnings and warpstone bullets for too long. Using monsters surely isn't the way to go because even when hiding them, they can be hit by the WLC. So my main mobile elements are Dark Riders, Cold One Knights, Cold one Chariots and Harpies.

I think that Cold One Knights are not a perfect choice due to all the armour piercing stuff that lurks around so I might go for chariots. Harpies are a must to get rid of this annoying Cannon and generally for being a menace to Jezzail teams and Ratling Guns.

How would you rate the value of skirmishers with missile weapons (read: Shades) against Skaven? Should I go heavy in numbers with Warriors and Corsairs? How would you rate Skaven magic defence abilities?

thanks for your help guys.

26-07-2006, 11:38
What you want to do is to hit is units head on with Witch Elves (the filthy ratmen die in droves to their blades).

What you really want to do though is to get to their flanks, but beware Ratlingguns and warpfire throwers, they'll guard those flanks well. Remember, no rank bonus = no leadership bonus.

Unfortunately, if he brings jezzials and a warplightning cannon, your coldone knights may end up with big problems. Shades are nearly worthless if he brings in ratlingguns.

An Assassin or a scouting noble might be what you want to take out that one grey seer (I did know of a perfect configuration for the job, but can't remember)

26-07-2006, 11:41
I very recently played in a tourney against dark elves. His list was like:
level 3 sorceress with 4+ ward save (alone)
noble on foot (executioners)
16 warriors with spears and shields, command
16 warriors with spears and shields, command
13 crossbows
20 corsairs with full command
5 dark riders with crossbows
8 knights with full command
15 executioners with the +1D6 charge banner
a chariot
1 or 2 bolt throwers

And I had a list led by a warlord, single engineer and no plague monks (the rest is you described).

I found the knights were an easy prey for my jezzails. But if for some reason a unit has low LD (far from general, no ranks), the knights will annihilate them if they're still alive (even with 4 knights left, I had to continue to shoot them).

The chariot proved to be a real nuisance, far from my jezzails. And he partially hid behind a house, so my ratlings didn't dare to come close to shoot at it. The chariot went stupid for 2 turns and stopped 1 inch in front of my slaves :) but before that, I wasn't thinking my whole flank team could handle it.

Both teams of 16 spearelves proved useless, but 1 did manage to hold my half-dead clanrat unit for a turn. But your opponent will probably shoot many down, or let you charge (no spear bonus) and then flank charge with something else.

The executioners really surprised me with their +D6 charge, I had to run away in surprise or be destroyed. But 1 jezzail salvo followed by a ratling gun almost destroyed them all. So in 1 turn of shooting, I reduced them to a pitiful unit.

The corsairs were supposed to screen a bit, which they did well. But after I got LOS at the knights and executioners and destroying both, the corsairs fell quickly against my ratling gun and jezzails. Remember, I skaven get stand&shoot except with the cannon.

The dark riders were quickly run down by my swarms, his sorceress and bolt thower(s) also quickly died to my tunnelers/night runners. And I managed to get an IF warp-lightning which killed almost all his crossbowmen.

Result: all units got neutralized. Only the chariot did it by itself though. I really didn't like the chariot coming that way. Many units of infantry still fell under my shooting and overwhelming numbers. And only 1 unit of knights is just like screaming "shoot me". The sorceress' spell #6 could have been devastating against my weapon teams and main clanrat units (aim so as many clanrats as possible are hit, while touching the ratling), but I used both my scrolls and then the sorceress died in CC (night runners).

I'd also like to note that flyers would not be very useful IMO. Weapon teams get a rather long range, 360 sight, S&S and will most likely make harpies panic quickly. Characters on monsters would only get the cannon and ratling attention for about 2 turns.

26-07-2006, 11:53
@Nekoth: Thanks for the advise. I haven't even considered Witch Elves due to previous experiences, but now I might add them to my list.

Hitting their flanks must be the way to go with Elves. Unfortunately, we're playing on a quite small board (4,5'x4,5') so that might become a bit difficult. Anyway, I'll give it a try.

@skavenguy: Uh...thanks for sharing.:eyebrows:

26-07-2006, 13:08
A good configuration for fighting skaven characters is to mount a noble or a bastmaster on a manticore/pegasus and to fly it behind the enemy lines - equip them wih the web of shadows (I think thats the name) and watch as you can kill their main character then cause lots of fear tests. This is especially good if you can hit the general, as the skavens deployment tends to veer towards the dense and you can run a lot away in a single turn. This will probably be a suicide mission for the noble or beastmaster as you shouldn't expect him to survive long.
If employed properly though there is a good chance this will break the backbone of the Skaven force and take the heart out of the enemy.

The only other advice I can offer is to keep CoK away from the Armies general and target units that are isolated and will have to take fear tests on their own leadership rather than the Generals.

26-07-2006, 14:54
Your main problem is that Skaven are faster, have more powerful magic and can out shoot you. Chances are they'll fill the board edge to edge as well meaning opportunities for flanking will be few and far between. Harpies might be a good bet but other than that you need to puncture their line quickly and get your hard hitters into the flanks asap.

Post game you'll realise why they call them the LOATHESOME ratmen ...

26-07-2006, 17:13
Having just checked the Dark Elves army book, Witchbrew is a must for them.

26-07-2006, 20:24
If he goes SAD army you could pray a bit for some misfires. Pther than that Go as magic heavy as posible.

26-07-2006, 20:24
meh elves normally have a hard time vs skaven due to their More offensive shooting and magic, and good numbers. neither of you will be able to take hits very well, but remember that they move just as fast as you and that your troops arent to much better in cc then theirs due to both being lightly armoed and toughness 3. I would suggest trying to mage hunt effectively and trying not to get redirected by the slave blocks.

Inquisitor Maul
26-07-2006, 20:36
Skaven hate Black Horror. Magic is gold worth. Chill wind can mess up shooting pretty good even with it's low strengt and soul stealer (is it?) can realy mess up if you get close.

26-07-2006, 22:55
Well his battle was today - how did you get on Sigur?

27-07-2006, 00:22
I just returned.

And actually, while the second game was running, I thought of retiring from Warhammer and withdraw to painting my armies neatly and sell them on ebay.:eyebrows: :p

Two games, two massacres. I'm far from being a cunning general and I made mistakes, but my Druchii just got crushed underneath furry paws.

First game: 1000pts

My List:
2x lvl2 sorceresses, one with lore of death, the other one with dark magic (as suggested, I went magic-heavy)
16 Corsairs + full command (many attacks to counter their combat resolution, especially against T3 foes)
10 RxB Warriors (this unit somehow never lets me down and RxB work well against T3 rats)
12 Witch Elves + full command (including Witchbrew) and the banner that improves your charge distance by 6" (Witch Elves just make sense against Skaven, for reasons stated above at the Corsairs)
1 Cold one Chariot (High Toughness, quite fast, good armour save, impace damage)

His list:
two Warlock Engineers with impressive arcane items (some stormdemon thing and other one-hit-wonderweapons)
2 packs of giant rats
2 rat swarms
2 units of clanrats
2 ratling guns
10 or 12 of those plaguemonks with the huge censers (models in base-tobase have to do a T check and so on...)
12 plaguemonks

I think he killed more rats with his own shooting into close combat than I killed by shooting/stabbing. I guess I just made some terrible mistakes (like setting up the Witches behind the Corsairs to screen them from shooting, deployment in general, ...). I managed to pull off the not-so-undirty sorceress-sniping-ratling gun maneuvre, still everything didn't turn out so well. Anyway, I got obliterated.

Second game was far less interesting, HE&Skaven vs. Dark Elves&Chaos, 750pts for each player, up to three characters for each team.

We went for a balanced force each, the HE-Skaven-Team went for lists that just worked together perfectly with HE only having shooty units (2x RBT, archers, archer character) and the LOATHSOME ratmen adding the bodies and a ratling gun. We got crushed and surrendered after turn#3. But the way we got crushed was quite interesting: We decided to send a unit of Chaos Knights including the chaos general (exalted champion), a chaos chariot and a Cold One Chariot up a flank, practically refusing the other one. Problem was, they sent a unit of gutter runners including an Assassin with Warpstone Shuriken of Doom and a unit of shdow warriors scouting into the forest nearby, denying marching for the chaos knights, then getting out of the woods, charging the chariots, shooting the chariots and so on. So our "fast attack was delayed/destroyed, while the center force, consisting of a unit of marauders and a unit of Corsairs got smashed too and we gave up. Ingame mistakes mainly as well as cunningness of the Skaven guy and a bit of bad luck killed us.

*stops whining now*;)

27-07-2006, 01:19
cunningness of the Skaven guy and a bit of bad luck killed us.
Skavenguy is in 1 word:angel:

I'd say that the skaven list isn't exactly as you explained... and 1000 points! Still, for game #2, your biggest mistakes seems to put everything on the flank. IMO it's never a good idea. Especially since skavens excel at avoiding tough units, they could have even march-blocked you for like 5 turns before you made it to the battle.

Oh yeah and PCBs (the ones with toughness tests)... you NEED to avoid those when you have small units.

27-07-2006, 13:07
Don't blame yourself entirely, Dark Elves are an elite army in both senses of the word requiring great finesse and experience to use effectively. Skaven are proper hard, having few or no weaknesses in the army list that aren't compensated for by a special rule so, in many ways, I'm not entirely surprised you got battered.

Set up some games against Empire, Wood Elves, Chaos and O&G. You'll get a much better feel for what your army can do. Shift it up to 2000 pts as well - that makes a big difference for Dark Elves.

27-07-2006, 14:58
Skavenguy is in 1 word

Oh, I KNEW you'd exploit that one for one of your cheap puns, ratman! :p ;)

@Pravus: Thanks, I'll challenge the Chaos guy next time. Played him before which was in fact my first victory.;) I'm just tired of the Skaven player. He played Southland Skinks before which wasn't much of a pleasure to play against too.

maze ironheart
04-08-2006, 12:20
The problem is that a lot of people think skaven are weak but their not if you know how to use them right. Because i play a skaven player a lot and i now how he plays his skaven. Because he plays as eshin and his own skaven force and soon he will have a moulder force or pestalence army.

04-08-2006, 12:53
Well, thanks for contributing, maze ironheart, but please use proper spelling, punctuation and capital letters. It was quite hard for me to understand your posting.

04-08-2006, 13:56
Gods teeth, that hurt my eyes Maze Ironheart. Basic punctuation should be a requirement of Internet forums.

Sigur - Do not be disheartened by your loss to your Skaven friend. There are ways of combatting the loathsome ratmen. I have been looking into it and have come up with the following conclusions;

1) Without their characters they are weak: A skaven character makes things a lot easier, but if you can remove them from the equation early on, then fear and other things will make the enemy suffer tremendously.

2) Psychology is going to have a profound effect on the ratmen. If you defeat a central unit and cause panic tests, there is a good chance others will follow suit.

3) Ratling Guns & Warpfire Throwers only need a very basic salvo to be able to destroy them RXB warriors can do this very easily, as can chillwind from a sorceress. Always take Dark Elf Magic and Chillwind against the Skaven.

4) A Lord choice is going to change a lot of the dynamic of the game. With a Lord Choice you open up opportunities for two manticore armies and using Hydras with Bolt Throwers. The extra points can make all the difference.

5) Druchii.nets MSU Dark Elf army is going to run circles around skaven, causing them to shoot through their own army to get to you. This breaks them into VERY manageable portions.

Ah well, thats my 2 pence worth.

04-08-2006, 15:34
Sigur, I play with both Dark Elves and a truly SAD:cries: army - 4 Ratling guns but Ive been outshot by Dwarves!

Looking at his list, you could concoct a list specially to beat him **

First just a few points which have not been mentioned

1) Dark Elf shooting has a longer range - bolt thrower is further on avg than a warplightning cannon and X-bowmen is further than a 15" ratling gun.

2) His only real combat threat are his plaguemonks and censers which have weak points - they have to stay together until the first charge and they have no armour.

3) Your Dark riders and Harpies are faster and your Dark Riders could, scenery permitting run around the monks and shoot them.

4) Fear causers or even better, Terror causers could have been effective against this army.

5) In a straight head to head battle of Witchelves vs PlagueMonks, your poisoned attacks would probably kill more but only if you avoid the Censers.

**2 Bolt Throwers - 12 shots causing 5 wounds and 2 X 10 Xbowmen aimed at his general's unit - 40 shots causing a further 4 wounds on average.

In a 2000pt army, 4 Bolt throwers becomes a real annoyance for Skaven.

2 rounds of shooting would cause panic with a Ld test down to 5 or with a bit of luck wipe out a whole unit!

maze ironheart
04-08-2006, 20:09
Yeah but if you open up to lord choice a skaven player could take a grey seer and their harder then warlock engineers because they have some thing like 4 warp stone tokens and thats if he does not put him on a screaming bell. I say this because the opponent i face a lot in an 2000 battel takes a greay seer with 6 warp stone tokens and the twisted crown of the horned rat.

Ps-sorry about the spelling and not using punctuation in my last quote its just geting hang of using the internet sorry.

04-08-2006, 20:43
Greyseers arn't that powerful without engineer backup. Although this could be because my rats spend their entire military career wondering how the frog-guru got so good at dispelling...seriously, check out some of the lizardmen magic stoof, they make my greyseers spells go poof unless I use my engineer to get rid of a few of his dice.

Cavalry charges and impact hits can be deadly if you can hit a unit thats bound to cause panic, especialy if you can dispose of any LD boost although I relise this is hard considering cavalry and chariots will be the first thing to hit the enemy line. (never put cavalry on a flank Vs skaven.) My opponents started putting them either in the centre of the line or just to the right or left, never fully on the flank. scouts hamper the effect too much. Put them with a unit guarding their flank so scouts can't get within 8 of them, swarms and skirmishers fill the role easily.

maze ironheart
04-08-2006, 20:56
I agree slanns are stronger spell casters then grey seers because i play as lizardmen myself. I meant that grey seers magic is stronger with the aid of warlock engineers using their power dice to cast spells.But skaven do have a good choice of spells like plague and 3 different warp lightening levels.Skitter leap is a useful spell if you teleport some thing like a plague priest near some thing like a cannon. Because my opponent once did that to me when my despell dice ran out and he had 1 power dice left and cast skitter leap with it my cannon crew bearly survived the attack but they won combat by 1.

04-08-2006, 21:07
If they bring in a Grey Seer hope to god that you don't get plastered with their plauge spell. The most fun spell I have ever used :) watching my freind's DE warriors crumble like dust to it is always rewarding.

Watch out for tunnling teams. I use mine to kill leaders for the most part so leaving you characters behind the army is a no-no. Make sure that you can break the clan rats that is a key element, once they break you wonder if they will ever come back. Well at least to my army.

04-08-2006, 21:15
Skitter leap is a useful spell if you teleport some thing like a plague priest near some thing like a cannon.

Skitterleaping frenzy effected troops...not the safest of ideas. Chieftanes and the trademark assassin maybe...wouldn't recomend somthing that you couldn't controll, waste of victory points when he gets butchered after charging somthing strong. Nothing annoys a chaos knight more than finding a smelly, plague ridden rat-man half the way up his mounts ass.

Greyseers are strong but I find that i rarely use them unless im playing in a 3k point game. My warlord is the leader of my army. Higher leadership, he can actualy use a weapon etc

maze ironheart
05-08-2006, 08:50
Yeah i onced played using my empire army against my cousins skaven army and he cast plague on my unit of great swords.They went from unit strength 20 to 4 god he laughed it was quite funny but the game was a victory for him.

06-08-2006, 05:10
I HATE Skaven. They are the hardest race (with maybe the exception of some cav based armies) for Druchii to take down, but it can be done!

Aim your magic towards the shut down of their magic and try to take their units out in combat... in one turn... yeah I know it's asking alot especially if they screen their front with a rat swarm, but DE are much better in hand to hand.

Aim the missile fire at their support units. Take out the swarm, the rat ogres and the giant rats. Forget their main units, besides it's much more satisfying to run down 60 rats with 10 witch elves and a chariot.

Here's the best part, use small long units of yours to gain unprecedented frontage when you 'clip' two of their units. It's 31 poisoned attacks (with witch elves) and then throw a chariot in for a bit of extra oomf (thats a sound effect displaying power for my non-english speaking friend) though you probably won't need it. Take witch brew of course.

Here's the bit that drove me up the wall for years. Bringing a ratling gun into the clip so that they can stand and shoot and effectively half your unit (or totally destroy mine since i play msu based). So I pretty much resigned myself to it by declaring a charge with a unit of dark riders to the ratling gun itself thereby forcing them to dedicate the stand and shoot to the DRs. They'll wipe them out for sure but your frenzied witch elves won't give a damn and they'll make it to the fight unscathed and drop a bomb of multiple poisoned bladed death. Works with cold ones as well but you have to worry about the panic from DRs dying and of course stupidity and you won't have witch brew. Those disadvantages are a little bit balanced by the longer charge range.

Any questions? Seriously any other problems specifically, i've thought alot of Skaven particularly.

06-08-2006, 05:21
Skaven arn't that hard for DE to beat. If they're SAD mow em down with superior missile power. If they're horde then they shouldn't be that over powered, just resistant to missile casualties.

maze ironheart
06-08-2006, 09:57
Yeah but the most tactical skaven players usaully use slaves as shields to protect their ofther units because they dont care about slaves.Also a unit of 20 slaves would only cost 40 points.

06-08-2006, 10:19
Hence the 'kill the general' things mentioned earlier. The Skaens low LD will be their undoing, especially for slaves.

maze ironheart
06-08-2006, 19:21
Yes but slaves dont cause panic to other units because they dont care if their slaves are killed.Also no one would put their general in danger thats why some skaven players use slaves to protect their most exspensive units.Because sacreficing 40 point troops wont tip the battel to the opposing player that much any way.because the skaven player i faced used that tactic the last time i played him he put his slaves in front of his rat ogers nowing that i would attack his slaves or shoot them and the rat ogers would not panic.Plus skaven ld is not low because they add their 6 leadership to their rank so if they have 3 ranks that makes them leadership 9.

07-08-2006, 04:42
I tend to agree with ironheart with the character hunting problem. Apart from screening there is the problem of getting a unit close to their leaders without taking a hail of "I don't need to roll to hit" firepower. I don't care how tough you think your shades/harpies/dark riders/assassin even manticore are, a pointblank ratling gun or warp-lightning is going to see the end of that threat pretty quick. Remember the 360 degree range on that ratling gun.

maze ironheart
07-08-2006, 08:34
Thank you Rae'arc ratling guns can be nasty because skaven players usually keep them close to their clan rats.So you can't shoot them as long as they are within 3 of their unit.Because i use to shoot them with magic spells but then the skaven player would say can't do that because their within 3 of the clan rats.But i find warp flame thrower's quite annoying due to the fact that they roast nearly every thing it hit's.

maze ironheart
09-08-2006, 11:09
Yeah i once had a game against my cousin's skaven army in our first 2000 point battle and i had a wizard lord with a depsell scroll and he had a grey seer with 6 warp stone token's and the twisted crown of the horned rat. I kept firing magical spell's after another but he made more come back's then Rocky due to regenarating. Finally the wizar'd meet in battle i won combat by 1 so he ran then i ran him down and that won the game for me.

15-08-2006, 17:26
Thank you Rae'arc ratling guns can be nasty because skaven players usually keep them close to their clan rats.So you can't shoot them as long as they are within 3 of their unit.Because i use to shoot them with magic spells but then the skaven player would say can't do that because their within 3 of the clan rats.But i find warp flame thrower's quite annoying due to the fact that they roast nearly every thing it hit's.

This will be thankfully fixed under the new 7th Edition rules :evilgrin: . I find that Skaven can be hard for a DE army b/c they have the ability to make an army that is good in just about evey aspect of the game. What I mean by that is that the same army can have powerful magic, good shooting (even if it is generally nastier at close range), and maybe not the most devastating combat units, but they can get a lot of bodies which makes up for it. This provides a problem when you are using an elite army such as DEs and see all of your expensive units getting shot up and becoming ineffective in combat. As someone pointed out earlier a MSU approach would be needed. That way if you charge a unit but get shot up due to the charge reaction then no big deal b/c you have multiple other units coming in too. Hitting his units with multiple small units is the key to victory. Under the new edition rules this will be even better since you can effectivly get two charges in per unit if you overrun. Skaven can be a tough army to face, but once you get the hang of them then they aren't too bad.

vampires are cool!
15-08-2006, 18:12
make him come to you! and have a big monster waiting for him
expensive units are an instant attraction to skaven and they can be just as gast as you