View Full Version : How big is the Skaven playstyle compared to VC?

23-01-2007, 18:58
I know its a loose and hard question to really answer, but I am asking anyway. I am interested in getting back to warhammer and those 2 are the biggest interests. I formally played Dwarfs and Beasts of Chaos (some others too, but these two the most heaviest) so I have NO clue how to play a horde of models rushing/slumbering forth.

My question is, how are their playstyles and the differences in them? Also if you could please compare them to other armies. I used to play: HE, Bretts, Empire, Chaos, BoC, Dwarfs, and LM. As you can see I've played some different types of armies so if Skaven or VC compare to another please let me know.


23-01-2007, 19:04
you should already know the answer!! Like you said they are horde armies. Numbers are your best friend... except in VC were Magic is more important. I suggest you read their pages on GW's website, or get to books to find out about the armies.

23-01-2007, 19:18
The Skaven army book actually has a 2-page spread of advice on how to play them, so that might be a good place to start... Have a look at a store copy and see if anything catches your eye.

In general, Skaven require massive formations of troops as their main 'line' troops, thanks to their ability to add their rank bonus to their leadership and their extremely, horrifyingly bad base leadership score. Aside from their line units, they have a lot of nasty tricks with their special and rare choices and their characters, and the fact that you can fire into close combat.

Jezzails hit extremely hard and hardly ever blow up.

Gutter Runners can be a nightmare for war machine crews thanks to their poisoned attacks (really, who takes them WITHOUT that?), and three methods of getting behind your lines (tunneling, Scouts, and the Skitterleap spell).

Rat Ogres are your standard big mean gribblies meant to take a lot of damage and dish out even more.

The Warp Lightning Cannon is the ultimate in "hey, let's see what happens THIS turn", for those who actually like that factor. Random range, random strength, ignores terrain, and has a chance of spinning around completely at random and searing a massive hole through your own lines.

23-01-2007, 19:29
Good replies! Could use a little more explanation from the VC part though.

And what you said about Skaven is what got me interested. Large units of ratmen running forward while Jezzails and Warp Lightning cannons eat away at them just sounds cool.

25-01-2007, 05:04
I just can't play VC. They are one of my favorite races, but I am compelled to have an army made entirely of zombies with a lone necromancer or vampire. I have a huge army, but am out manouvered, out magiked, and out fought. Not really much room for tactics with the whole army just advancing slowly, and then dying rapidly.

26-01-2007, 23:34
Here are the Big differences.
Army Composition
Skaven have no cavalry, no real chariots, no flyers, no large monsters. Skaven do have an abundance of cheap throwaway troops, light infantry, shock infantry, skirmishers, and scary missile troops. Skaven characters also are sorta mid range power wise.

Vampire Counts have light infantry, skirmishers, fast cav, heavy cav, flyers, a non-standard chariot, and NO missile troops/war-machines. Vampire Counts armies have rock hard vampire characters, and some other more average characters as well.

Play style (all based on well rounded armies, not themed armies)
A well rounded skaven army is going to have a LOT of infantry, in large blocks, usually with some very quick skirmishing units to run down flanks or try and pop up in the enemy deployment zone to take out war machines. Missile troops and war machines will be deployed to try and whittle down large blocks of enemy infantry, so as to decrease their static combat res, or to take out flanking threats such as cav. The skaven infantry blocks are going to want to try and fight the enemy with more then one unit at a time, to maximize their static combat resolution. This can be done by sacrificing units of throw away troops so the enemy is pulled out of their battle line, or by coming around flanks which are hard to cover with so many troops on the board. Redundant units are a must with skaven armies, because at the first sign of failure, panic is likely, and you will still want someone around to finish the job.

A well balanced vampire count army tends to have a core of not terribly skilled or hard hitting infantry with rock solid characters, slogging across the board in a tightly placed formation (so as to maintain marching distance from the general), while bolstering/replenishing its ranks with magic. Units of flyers will try and disrupt enemy war machines, or sometimes swarms will be used as a skirmish screen. Usually one or both flanks will have some form of cavalry attempting to get around to the enemies flank, but this can be a difficult proposition without magical aid, as that marching is impossible once more then a short distance from the general. The real strengths of the Vampire counts army lie in the reliable nature of undead troops, the power of their characters, and that you only need to win a combat once with fear causing troops to break them, so long as you outnumber (which you will eventually a long as you keep bolstering your ranks with magic). Undead do not tend to outnumber the enemy in the way that a horde army would, and tend to be fairly easily maneuvered thanks to the inability to march, although they can make up with this if the correct spells/magic items are used.

Vladimir Deathblade
28-01-2007, 22:52
You also forgot the biggest difference:

with skaven, half your army is almost certainly going to run away at some point. With undead, this NEVER happens. Even if you sometimes want it to. If you want to keep an enimy unit locked in place with undead, no matter how killy it is, using the right tools (say a nice big unit of 40 zobies...) they will stay. Then you hit 'em in the flanks with the hard stuff. Or leave them out of the game as you chose.

29-01-2007, 03:37
Vampire Counts is an extremely tough army to play effectively. If you just look at their stats you will be horrified. Tactics for this army need to be looked at very differently. It was mentioned earlier by another reply that vc does nothing but lurch forward and die rapidly. While what was said is very true, the do however do a lot more than that. Zombies for example will ALWAYS strike last (with the exception of you feeling the need to cast hellish vigour on them...which would be very rarely), so they will usually not even get to attack back. Even if you are fortunate enough to attack chances of you hitting with their horrid stats are not likely. This is OK, because you can just keep raising them and keep a unit tied up pretty much the entire battle till you can manuveure a flank attack with some heavy hitters (ei. Black Knights, Black Couch).
Rather than go into all the tactics I will generalize the way I play them. My tactics are all based on combat resolution and fear. The key rule to remember is that if an enemy loses to you in hth and fears you they are booting (with 7th ed. they can still save themselves by rolling snake eyes, but chances are not in their favor on that one). Zombies in huge blocks are key, spirit hosts are awesome (4 wo, 4 attacks for each base and can only be harmed my magic and CR loses, oh yeah, and they travel though almost ANYTHING). Dire wolves are great cheap flankers with a huge move to add that extra CR to make sure a unit breaks. Black Couch can be terrible. You also have (arguably) the best magic in the game. Raise more troops to a unit, or create a new one withing 18". Heal your characters. Plague units with the curse of years. Be able to kill anything with a single blow, strike first and re-roll missed to hits. Oh yeah...MOVE IN THE MAGIC PHASE (even charge). Sickening magic.
You also have access to some of the most powerful characters in the game. But I will say, this army is not for the weak of heart. It takes a lot of time and practice to find the power of this army as it is not very apparent by looking at your units in the book. My first impression was overpriced underpowered, but I proved myself wrong. Combat resolution my friend, and don't forget those fear tests.
Skaven on the other hand can be summed up best by saying you will either destroy and humiliate your opponent, or blow yourself up. There is rarely an inbetween outcome. You have to have a sense of humor, and realize that a lot of the way this army plays depends on how the dice rolls are going for you (even more so than any other army). I hope I have given you some insight, let me know if you choose VC and I will share with you some of the secrets I've unlocked over the years and you will be feared in no time. Malicus@gmail.com