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Building a Skaven Army: Clan Pestilens

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AIdenNicol444

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Building a Skaven List

Clan Pestilens

 

The only Skaven clan with a “battletome” (it doesn’t feature any of the stuff modern tomes do, only warscrolls and a small handful of battalions, you need the General’s Handbook for the rest), Clan Pestilens were one of the first armies in the game to receive a book and their line repackaged into the new boxes with round bases and so on. Pestilens takes the existing theme of Skaven being mostly high damage, low durability and escalates it severely. Everything in the book is a melee powerhouse but lacks any form of self-defence.

 

What Makes the Perfect Virus

Plague Monks. Everything about this army hinges on and builds around it’s most numerous battleline option. The army features a whole SEVEN warscrolls (people with other armies will think this is a joke, but only Clan Skryre has more options than Pestilens), and all of these bar one are either Plague Monks, or something that makes Plague Monks more useful. It’s unsurprising that the exception, the Plagueclaw, is awful and almost never sees use. Plague Furnace and Plague Priests have access to prayers that buff Pestilens units, or debuff the enemy to make your army more effective at harming them. These prayers are also integrated into the army’s allegiance abilities in a key way.

 

Allegiance to the Great Corruptor

Pestilens have 2 allegiance abilities, one is extraordinarily simple and the other is somewhat more complex. Strength in Numbers gives 2 bravery for every 10 models in a unit instead of 1, which makes I far more viable to take 40 stacks of Plague Monks. Echoes of the Great Plagues is where the thinking comes in. Every natural roll of a 6 when praying allows a once per turn use of one of a selection of super plagues. Bar one, all of the Great Plagues hit the nearest target within 13 inches and have devastating effects like body blows of mortal wounds or even making enemies pile into each other. As your army will usually feature a stack of priests who will all be praying their maximum amount every turn, the odds of receiving these are good.

 

MC Corruptor, Straight outta Ulgu

Malign Sorcery gave us new artefact tables to draw from, and these come in handy as only 2 of the Pestilens artefacts (Liber Bubonicus and Vexler’s Shroud) are useful. My personal favourite is the Sword of Judgement from Ulgu, which causes d6 mortal wounds on every hit roll of a 6 or more, which single-handedly makes the Verminlord Corruptor the best Hero/Behemoth hunter in the game. Play around with these tables and find what suits you best. Ghur and Ghyran have some gems as well.

 

Unfurling the Plague Scroll

Given I’ve actually played well over 100 games with Clan Pestilens and started playing AoS with them, I feel somewhat confident in writing an example list. Over the course of my time in the NZ scene, I meant from 5 Major Defeats with this army to maintaining a win-rate of 3/5 games or better. While most wouldn’t consider this an impressive brag by any stretch, I feel it’s pretty good in a meta that mostly only features the battletome armies.

 

Allegiance: Pestilens
Mortal Realm: Ulgu

Leaders
Verminlord Corruptor (220)
-
General
- Trait: Master of Rot and Ruin
- Artefact: Sword of Judgement
Plaguesmog Furnace (180)
Plague Furnace
- Artefact: Liber Bubonicus
Congregation Furnace (180)
Plague Furnace
- Artefact: Doppelganger Cloak
Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80)
Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80)

Battleline
5 x Plague Censer Bearers (60)
5 x Plague Censer Bearers (60)
40 x Plague Monks (240)
-
Foetid Blades
10 x Plague Monks (70)
-
Foetid Blades
10 x Plague Monks (70)
-
Foetid Blades
10 x Plague Monks (70)
-
Foetid Blades
10 x Plague Monks (70)
-
Foetid Blades
10 x Plague Monks (70)
-
Foetid Blades

Units
10 x Gutter Runners (120)
-
Allies
10 x Gutter Runners (120)
-
Allies

Battalions
Congregation of Filth (170)
Plaguesmog Congregation (140)

Total: 2000 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 2
Allies: 240 / 400
Wounds: 166


Plan here is simple. Charge the enemy with the 40-man unit of Plague Monks with both the Bless with Filth and Rabid Fever buffs active. This unit will likely die to counter charges, but the active buffs will ensure it takes well over its own point cost with it. This is followed up in the next turn by both Furnaces hitting the enemy. Both will get full chance to fight as the one activated second has Doppelganger’s Cloak and so can’t be fought till it’s activated. The small units of Plague Monks and the Censer Bearers are there to follow up aggression and take objectives, and the Gutter Runners coming on behind the enemy force them to split their deployment, so they can’t present 100% of their defence against the front charge.

I myself have ran this list several times and can confirm it will have no trouble taking down combat armies, but has trouble against heavy magic lists. To counteract this, utilize Gutter Runners to harass backfield mages and split the enemy’s focus. Don’t forget to remember the Plague Monk’s once per game activations and the radiant mortal wounds on the censers and furnaces. Go forth, and embrace the 3/2 glory that only an army getting absolutely murdered by Tzeentch can know.

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All your posts could not have come at a better time since I am getting started with my skaven, so thsnk you!

But I have some questions, what are your thoughts on Plaguemonks with dual blades vs blade and staff? I have read the pros and cons but just cant judge or decide what is better since I have played 2 intro games of AoS and thats it.

Secondly is the plagueclaw just hot garbage or should I still assemble them so I can flip them between a plagueclaw and a warp lightning cannon?

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My point of view, is that Blades and Staff are better because the Verminlord Corruptor grants +1 attack for each melee weapon. Which makes +2  Attack per Rat, and if they charged the same turn already went from 2 attacks with the blade to 3. 

Makes a lot of attacks for gooey-rats in togas! 

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2 hours ago, Ninelives said:

My point of view, is that Blades and Staff are better because the Verminlord Corruptor grants +1 attack for each melee weapon. Which makes +2  Attack per Rat, and if they charged the same turn already went from 2 attacks with the blade to 3. 

Makes a lot of attacks for gooey-rats in togas! 

Well, that might be so but having 4attacks with the blades and rerolling every missed hit role will mostly mean not taking the staffs.

I’m not saying, that plague monks with the staff are bad.  But rather beeing just better with their blades.

 

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Statistically seen you would put out about 60 hits with the blades when a unit of 20monks are buffed with the corruptor commmandabilitie.

if you exchange one of your blades with a wow stave you would do around 50hits.

 

Edited by Skreech Verminking

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So the consensus is that rerolling failed attacks with 3 attacks per is betting than just doing 4 attacks without rerolling?

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Seems like in any forum where Pestilens lists are discussed, the discussion becomes completely focused on whether to use two blades or blade+stave on the Monks haha

Fellow rat men of unusual size, it really doesn't matter. The mathematical difference is slight and its so unpredictable whether or not you'll get the buff on that specific unit, whether the Verminlord gets sniped early, how many Monks are still alive in that unit, etc that just really go with what you want. Those Monks are nasty either way

If you're looking for someone to tell you "Consensus is definitely bring paired blades" or vise versa, then it's not going to happen like that 

Edited by Lord_Skrolk

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16 minutes ago, Lord_Skrolk said:

Seems like in any forum where Pestilens lists are discussed, the discussion becomes completely focused on whether to use two blades or blade+stave on the Monks haha

Fellow rat men of unusual size, it really doesn't matter. The mathematical difference is slight and its so unpredictable whether or not you'll get the buff on that specific unit, whether the Verminlord gets sniped early, how many Monks are still alive in that unit, etc that just really go with what you want. Those Monks are nasty either way

If you're looking for someone to tell you "Consensus is definitely bring paired blades" or vise versa, then it's not going to happen like that 

Wow! Thanks for the easy to understand clear answer. Read a lot about this discussion and it seemed to favor dual blades but it always seemed like 60/40% split on opinion but in the end does not seem to matter haha. Wont ask again and thanks for the clear response :)

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2 minutes ago, Stur said:

Wow! Thanks for the easy to understand clear answer. Read a lot about this discussion and it seemed to favor dual blades but it always seemed like 60/40% split on opinion but in the end does not seem to matter haha. Wont ask again and thanks for the clear response :)

No problem, I was worried people would read my comment as mean when honestly we should be happy we have a battleline unit that is crazy good offensively either way haha.

I did a bunch of math on various opponents and buffs with the Monks and both of their loadouts when I first started AoS, if I remember I'll upload it when I get home tonight or tomorrow 

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Alright my friends, this is a debate had many times and I'm happy to satisfy it. The concensus is that stave and blade is better is TECHNICALLY correct, however that is only in a vaccum where the conditions for such (Verminlord has buffed them, unit has Bless with Filth) are met and in effect. HOWEVER, the situation where this occurs is actually very rare. Consider also that yes, with the stick they can strike over the first row of monks. This is good for units like Stormvermin and Clanrats, who indeed are sustained fighters that drag fights out. Plague Monks aren't, and are almost always best taken in multiple small groups of 10 and 20 with only a single large unit of 40 to heap buffs on.

With this considered, I would say that while sword and stave is better on paper, double sword is much better for flexibility and utility, and responds much better to being buffed overall. I am confident enough in my reasoning here to have built all 160 of my Plague Monks with double swords, and would encourage you to do the same.

The only situation where I would take sword and stave would be if it was a single group of 40 Monks, and it was in a Maggotkin army, not a Pestilens army.

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8 hours ago, Fecistius said:

I would love to hear more about pestilens via maggotkin build. 

That's currently how I play them. I have a list where my heroes are named character so the Verminlord came in as a great General (two spells, daemon, not named, quite cheap) to put my Command Trait and Artefact.  I intend it to run as my competitive list, but I'm not expecting to finish top 10 in a big tournament any time soon haha. 

 

19 hours ago, Skreech Verminking said:

Statistically seen you would put out about 60 hits with the blades when a unit of 20monks are buffed with the corruptor commmandabilitie.

if you exchange one of your blades with a wow stave you would do around 50hits.

 

Argh. That makes me regret a bit my choice then, went with my gut feel instead of proper maths.  Stupid question, does the maths remain constant when you stack the same type of Command Ability (+1 Attack per melee weapon) ? 

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6 minutes ago, Ninelives said:

That's currently how I play them. I have a list where my heroes are named character so the Verminlord came in as a great General (two spells, daemon, not named, quite cheap) to put my Command Trait and Artefact.  I intend it to run as my competitive list, but I'm not expecting to finish top 10 in a big tournament any time soon haha. 

 

Argh. That makes me regret a bit my choice then, went with my gut feel instead of proper maths.  Stupid question, does the maths remain constant when you stack the same type of Command Ability (+1 Attack per melee weapon) ? 

Let’s say you could stack the corruptors commandability.

then  mathematically seen  the woe stave would be a better option when a unit gets buffed three times with the ability 

Edited by Skreech Verminking

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HA! I haven't lost everything then :p 
Nothing prevents from Stacking 1 Glottkin and 1 Verminlord Corruptor  command ability :) 

EDIT: Hadn't seen "Three times" that's too much! Haha. 

I also saw the errata saying you can have one banner / musician for every ten. which means you benefit from both MW on wound rolls of 6 making other 6, and additional Rend -1 . I just went for most chances to do MW to be fair. 

Edited by Ninelives

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On 8/14/2018 at 8:16 AM, Ninelives said:

HA! I haven't lost everything then :p 
Nothing prevents from Stacking 1 Glottkin and 1 Verminlord Corruptor  command ability :) 

EDIT: Hadn't seen "Three times" that's too much! Haha. 

I also saw the errata saying you can have one banner / musician for every ten. which means you benefit from both MW on wound rolls of 6 making other 6, and additional Rend -1 . I just went for most chances to do MW to be fair. 

The errata saying what now??

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10 minutes ago, Naflem said:

The errata saying what now??

Technically it's in the designers commentary.

 

image.png.ea19aca7d42645ab253f78e114545229.png

 

EDIT.  It actually does not specify every ten, I inferred that from warscrolls such as Namarti Thralls / Reavers. 

Edited by Ninelives

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7 minutes ago, Ninelives said:

Technically it's in the designers commentary.

 

image.png.ea19aca7d42645ab253f78e114545229.png

 

EDIT.  It actually does not specify every ten, I inferred that from warscrolls such as Namarti Thralls / Reavers. 

Oh yes, that's thing on the Namari warscrolls is from an errata to that is specific to the Namari stuff because they made their banner and champion one and the same and did not initially put any restrictions on them, so people were able to play with a full unit of champions, until they errata'd it. 

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