View Full Version : Vampires or Skaven ??

26-12-2006, 15:35
Hey all,
I have been playing 40K for a while and a couple of mates are wanting to have a go at WHFB. I was thinking of playing either Vampire Counts or Skaven but would just like to know from you guys which one you think would suit a newbie better. I will probably be playing mainly against Orcs & Goblins or Dwarves. Any input would be much appreciated. :)

Goq Gar
26-12-2006, 15:57
IMHO, Skaven are far too unpredictable, and not very fun to play, which confuses me as they seem to be the "space marines" of fantasy.

Play vampire counts! Once the game starts you can create new units of zombies!

26-12-2006, 16:12
In my opinion Skaven are a lot of fun to play and only Orcs&Goblins have the potential of more fun. I don't get why they should be the 'Space Marines' of Fantasy; that would be more fitting to Chaos.
Vampire Counts can also be very interesting to play, but you will have a hard time against your Dwarf colleague with them. If you choose Vampire Counts, you furthermore have to decide between five very differing Bloodlines (and thereby style of play).
Skaven on the other hand would fit perfectly to your opponents background-wise, as Goblinoids, Dwarfs and Skaven are ancient enemies of each other that fought innumerable wars.

26-12-2006, 16:16
I don't get why they should be the 'Space Marines' of Fantasy; that would be more fitting to Chaos.

Because Skaven can and do dominate games through shooting. Chaos cannot do this. Heck, Skaven have no real weakness what so ever, Chaos does. Sounds like Skaven are the Space Marines of fantasy to me :)

I don't have experience with either army, but from what I hear, Skaven can be prone to abuse very easily ( like Iron Warriors ).

26-12-2006, 16:57
...Skaven have no real weakness what so ever,...

erm, flankers? Fear? Weapon teams can be picked on?

If I can beat them, anyone can :D


Chicago Slim
26-12-2006, 16:58
Skaven have both huge strengths and huge weaknesses. Playing against Skaven is an excellent and fun excercise in denying him the opportunity to apply his strength, while attacking into his weaknesses. Once you start to drive a wedge in the right way, the Skaven army cracks apart like dry wood.

The greatest weakness of the Skaven is their low leadership (typically 5 for most troops, up to 7 for their best fighting characters). They augment this by adding their rank bonus (which puts the Ld of a big block of unlead troops up to an 8, which isn't bad at all). It helps that their Clanrats are pretty cheap (5 points per model), so it's easy to field big units of them. That said, three fast cavalry into their flank will negate their rank bonus, leaving them easy to break (in fact, it's not uncommon to have just three cavalrymen hit the flank of a full unit of 25 Clanrats, and break them! If the cavalry win the combat by just one point, then the clanrats need to roll a 4 or less on 2d6, or flee!) Now, Skaven are a bit faster than the normal trooper, to help make up for this (their infantry moves 5" per round), but they don't have anything really fast, either-- several units move 6, but nothing faster than that, so no 3d6" pursuit ever, and it's a bit tricky to chase down those cavalry units and keep them off your flanks)

Skaven shooting is highly touted as well, and it's true that the shooting is quite strong (jezzails have great range and do good damage, the warp lightning cannon is quite powerful if a bit tricky to use, and the ratling gun can mow down a whole unit in no time at all, if it gets the chance to). However, Skaven shooting is also fragile: kill 25% of a Jezzail team with a single round of shooting (they have good armor, but are generally not that many models, so you probably need 2 casualties), and now they have a very hard time with the panic test (need a 5, unless they're near the general, in which case they can use his 6 or 7)-- since they don't have ranks. Under the new 7th ed rules, the ratling guns can be targeted by any shooters that can see them, which makes them very vulnerable too.

Like any army, Skaven forces can be built out in several different ways: they have some big multi-wound guys (Rat Ogres), some tough guys (Plague Monks), some armored guys (Stormvermin). They have a bit of trouble coming up with high strength attacks, but they make up for it with things that auto-wound. They have some hard-hitting magic, which they can power up with extra casting dice.

But to say that they have no weaknesses is to dramatically misunderstand them. They're great at long range, and they move fast; if built right, they can do some good work up close, using their strength of numbers (and their ability to continue shooting into combat!) to break their enemies-- but if they get caught in an unfavorable close-combat position, they fold like a house of cards.

If you want to make a 40K comparison for them, I'd say they're a bit more like Tau, that way...

26-12-2006, 17:27
For a newbie, I would recommend Bretonnians.
Definitely not Vampire counts because the new book is on its way. Far better to wait for it.

26-12-2006, 17:39
Go for Vampires. Skaven have some kind of reputation, are easily exploited/cheesed out, for VC you have to get a few less miniatures, I think Painting and modelling-wise VC offer more opportunities. Plus....ZOMBIES! Skeleton Warriors! It's the Army of Darkness!:p

26-12-2006, 18:19
I started with Skaven and I love them. They are an extremely unpredictable and entertaining force. Sure that ratling gun can mow down tons of enemies, but more often than not it will either explode or shoot in a random direction (almost always into a friendly unit), plus it only has a 16" range. Skaven are all about the endless hordes of weak, cowardly rats pressed forward to overwhelm the enemy while zany stuff like Warp Lightning Cannons and the like (hopefully) cause serious damage.

I have never had an unenjoyable game with ==My== Skaven, mostly because their attitude and worldview is wonderful: there's plenty more where that came from. Besides, when things start catching fire and going boom, that's when it gets interesting :D

Go Skaven, don't bother with those silly dead-things!

26-12-2006, 18:30
You guys are missing the main point.

He's new to fantasy.

VC are not the easiest army to start unless you are a really competant general.

I am amazed that people hold skaven in such high deem. Maybe because only 1 person in my group plays non SAD skaven and his shooting and magic always fail spectacularly. (then again he plays skaven for the fun of seeing everything blow up and its not his main army).

I would say Skaven unless you 're confident in VC or have help in playing them.


26-12-2006, 18:45
Thanks for the replies so far guys. I am kind of leaning towards the Skaven army a bit more now after reading the posts. The thought of them blowing themselves up or shooting each other sounds hilarious and like something an Orc would do. Any other thoughts are still welcome. Thanks again guys. :)

Crazy Harborc
26-12-2006, 19:37
I go with the Skaven vote too. I do not play Skaven. (I've got TOO much stuff already, my play area is FULL.)

Um.....since YOU mentioned them......Why not da' Boyz:D They are A LOT better looking than the rats. Besides I like shades of green more than shades of grey, brown or black.

26-12-2006, 20:54
Skaven are very characterful, that's for sure.

With rules like "Lead from the rear" to characterise the cowardly nature of Skaven "heroes", and "Life is cheap" to characterise.. well, I'm sure you can guess, and also some amusing magic items/spells, they certainly get the feeling of a horde of unwashed vermin spilling across the battlefield, ready to spill back in the direction they came from at a moment's notice..

Plus, VCs are getting a rules update in the very near future, whilst Skaven won't be just yet.

27-12-2006, 00:05
Undead are a good army for a new player, since they are so forgiving. It's not a disaster if your units are charged in the flank, as they don't break. You have a chance to react and save them. Plus with your opponent taking fear tests every time they want to charge, you get more time to sort out your lines.

You seem to be leaning smewhat twards Skaven, but since your comment that Skaven sound good because they act like Orcs - why not take Orcs? They've a brand new army book, and a full range of miniatures.

27-12-2006, 00:18
I have a skaven army and it is the funnest army ive ever played. Something about the back stabbing unpredictable nature. I vote skaven and remember life is cheap.

27-12-2006, 01:22
Well your new to Fantasy...do you want ot start with a horde? A friend of mine started with Skaven and quickly got disgusted when he realized he needed 200+ models just to field an 2000 point army...

VC is difficult but has less of a reputation that Skaven (many people make cheesy armies giving them a bad rep.).

VC is an easier army to collect and paint (beside the zombies...)...

27-12-2006, 04:15
As you can see, we Skaven players have a bad reputation due to the alarming number of people who make SAD (Skryre Army of Doom) armies. Clan Skryre makes the Skaven shooting units, which are deadly but unpredictable, just like their magic. SAD players fill their army up with the best shooting and most deadly magic they can, and then have a game that is completely based on luck. Boooooooring.

Anyhoo, on to the good stuff. Skaven have awesome and funny flavour. The ability to shoot into combat, randomising hits between you and your enemy is awesome and funny. Lead from the back. Life is cheap. He who runs away lives to fight another day. Strength in numbers. All of them are Skaven special rules, and generally sum up their mentality (although I personally believe it should be 'He who runs away lives to run another day. Yay Discworld!).

Sure, they cost a lot ($50 AU for 100 points worth of clanrats hurts), but the games more than make up for it. You don't need all your models at once, in fact, it's better to get your guys slowly when you need to do all that painting. If you find painting boring, you can do pretty simple colour schemes and it still looks good. No-one looks at the fine details of a single model in an army of 200, as the whole 'horde' effect takes precedence over what an individual model looks like.

Skaven are a lot less unpredictable than most people think if you have a balanced mix of the four Greater Clans. The only really unpredictable one is Skryre, and if you plan on getting a SAD army, then shoot yourself for being a disgrace to the Skaven race. The low Leadership matter isn't really that bad unless you let yourself get charged in the flank, which won't happen unless you're losing anyway because the number of blocks you have will stop your enemy from fitting in the flanks. Clan Pestilens has tough, powerful units that can rip your enemy to shreds with either a ridiculous number of attacks of plague censers, which have +2 Strength on the first round of combat and also force your opponents to make Toughness tests every turn or take a wound with no armour saves allowed, which is great against knights and other high save, low toughness enemies. Clan Moulder has giant rats, which are quick flankers that are cheaper than clanrats, and rat ogres, which are too expensive for what they do, considering you could use the points and slot for a few jezzails instead. Clan Eshin has all the assassins and skirmishers, and, IMO, ties with Pestilens for the best clan. They are super fast and can pack a decent punch. They are very fragile, though, with T3 and no save, and assassins are horribly overpriced. The clanless units are all good. Stormvermin make for a nice meat shi - I mean, a nice retinue for your general, and can do a nice amount of damage. Clanrats are great, cheap and effective. Slaves are the ultimate meat shield (no need to call them anything else, they don't matter) at 2pts each. Don't bother upgrading them. Rat swarms are a bit so-so. I find them too expensive for a Skaven army, but other people see differently.

Hope-hope you get-get the best-best army for you-you!

vampires are cool!
27-12-2006, 11:11
Vamps were the first WFB i played with and they are still my favourit 12 years later, however skaven are one of the funnest armies to play without a dout. if you like the idea of your troops killing themselves in a mirriad of hilarious ways then skaven are for you, plus everythings characterful for them; playing dirty is built in.

Dark Apostle197
27-12-2006, 11:25
I have never really seen skaven kill themselves, they never take the risks that would do such a thing... So if you want an army of killy death with things meant to kill yourself eventually, but don't, skaven are the army for you.