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The Warlords - Nico's Battle Reports


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Theory behind my army - Archaon's Furry Friends
3 days before the event, I received the dreaded news that my Celestial Hurricanum conversion was borderline but not quite acceptable at The Warlords. Fortunately I had spent some time rebasing my Skaven, so I had a plan B all worked out. I've wanted to use this combo for months, so this was a good opportunity (original plan was to use it at Blood & Glory).
The army relied on Chaos's best Warscroll and biggest advantage - the ability to stack command abilities using Archaon - or more specifically little/old Archaon - 320 points. New Archaon is sitting in a box - as his lack of rend or a shooting attack makes him pretty meh in my opinion. 
Chaos Command Abilities are surprisingly bad with the exception of the Skaven Moulder and Verminus ones. I'm an alpha striker by nature and the Battleplans favoured bodies on the table and heroes, so I settled on the following Verminus army.

1 x Archaon, the Everchosen (1)


1 x Tretch Craventail (1)


1 x Skaven Warlord (1)


1 x Skaven Warlord (1)


1 x Sayl the Faithless (1)


1 x Verminlord Warbringer (Crown of Conquest)


3 x Stormvermin (30)


4 x Clanrats (40)


3 x Clanrats (30)


1 x Clanrats (10)




I cranked the maths on the combo I was planning and it was up in the horrific category. The basic idea was to have a block of 30+ rats moving at 18 inches, flying, with +2 attacks each, an extra point of rend (to open up Temple Guard with the Stormvermin), rerolling ones to hit and wound and 6s to wound doing double damage.
Tretch was the bargain in this list - supplying both the -1 rend and the double damage on 6s to wound. Given that Clanrats get +1 to wound in units of 20 (so double damage on a 5+ to wound) and +1 to hit as 30 or more, a block of 30 Clanrats could do as much damage to a 4+ save unit as the 30 Stormvermin - namely 60+ wounds to a 4+ save. 
In practice some people didn't realise that the Clanrats were any more than a chaff unit.
The final component was the Verminlord Warbringer (who gets a lot of disrespect compared to his Deceiver buddy). Not only did he supply the rerolls - but also Death Frenzy, which turned the rats into Blood Warriors - able to pile in and attack on death in the combat phase - complete with all the buffs! The proper response to the Clanrats bomb was to retreat and shoot. If you had to attack them, then you would shred them, but they would then get another round of fully buffed attacks in. Horrific! Only downside to the Warbringer is his Command Ability was an aura not a fire and forget - so he had to run forward and often died.
On the plus side he often took bullets for Tretch and Co..
I adopted the Tomb King strategy Dan Ford taught me of everything sitting back and a single buffed unit going in like a cannonball each turn - meant I would only have one activation to do. 180 points of Clanrats would hopefully kill a multiple of their value and then next wave would be 40 Clanrats or the Stormvermin to go through the hole they made.
The retreat charge mechanic could also help with this - the no longer buffed unit could disengage and leave space while taking on something softer.
I had 10 drops so would usually end up being made to go first and so I lined up the 30 expendable Clanrats on the 12 inch line to go in first.
My weakness was enemies sniping my heroes - but this never really happened. Archaon in cover is on a 2+ with 8 wounds, Tretch on a 3+ rerollable, Warlords on a 2+ vs damage 1 attacks. People did snipe Sayl often but too late. Archaon can be anywhere on the table for my purposes so I could have dropped him in a corner.
I had negligible shooting.
Obviously against any other alpha strike I would bunker 30 Clanrats with 2 inch range Stormvermin behind, then 40 Clanrats and 10 to protect heroes.
After seeing the Hellcannon shred me in the last tournament I took the Balewind to snipe artillery crew with Archaon's Arcane Bolt - 36 inch range.
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Friday - Practice Game - Ben Curry - Legion of Azgorth.
Following a few train fails, I was very fortunate to get a practice game at all, let alone one against the legendary Ben Curry.
Ben's list was more or less:
2 Daemonsmiths
Iron Daemon
2 Magma Cannons
40 Ironsworn
20 Fireglaives 
Apparently Ben wasn't able to use his other Fireglaives models as they were not GW - post game he sorted out some more as they are way better than Ironsworn.
Battleplan and Deployment
We rolled Blood & Glory from memory.
I deployed my dudes in the middle facing Ben's objectives in parallel lines. Heroes were in cover where possible.
Ben wisely kept the Ironglaives back and walled off the Magma Cannons.

Battleround One

I got off to an amazing start by fluffing Sayl's spell on my turn one (failed to roll a 6 on 3 dice! My luck was above average for the tournament as a whole until game 6.... So no grounds to complain.

Archaon popped up on the Balewind and sniped off 2 Ironglaives. As an aside we realised that his Eye of Ed Sheeran is mandatory, so if you roll a one, then your opponent can reroll his misses.

I put a mystic shield on and sat back.

Ben moved forward with Drazhoath and his Ironsworn and killed some Clanrats with the Magma Cannons. I think Drazhoath may have shot a few wounds off the Verminlord.

Battleround 2

This time I got all the spells off. I think I sent in the Stormvermin I buffed but sped up and buffed the Clanrats without extra speed as I could make the charge.

The Verminlord stomped Drazhoath pretty hard.


The Stormvermin finished off Drazhoath and clobbered at least 12 of the Ironglaives. The 40 Clanrats killed one of the Magma Cannons and all or most of the Ironsworn.


Ben had lost much of his centre, but still had his objectives - he moved up his Iron Daemon and Skullcracker and fired away - killing the Verminlord and taking out a fair number of Stormvermin and Clanrats. He unleashed all his D3 mortal wound once per game weapons, which are neat against other armies. However his Ironglaives were melted in the combat phase.

Battleround 3

I think Ben won the initiative and continued to shoot away. I suffered tolerable losses.

In my turn I buffed up the Stormvermin. Archaon moved into the Skullcracker. The wave of rats advanced.

The Stormvermin did a retreat charge and attacked his other block of 20 Ironsworn. I killed about 10. Archaon fluffed his rolls. However the Clanrats mopped up all over the right flank.

Ben conceded shortly afterwards. He vowed to improve his list - needed more Ironglaives, which he did overnight. He ended up one spot ahead of me by the end of the Event. A thoroughly enjoyable game and a great start to the weekend. Ben was a real gent - his army is a hard counter to many other armies, but this was a bad match up for him.

Next up - the event itself - my first game was against James with an unusual Stormcast force.

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Saturday - Game 1 -James (Stormcast) - Gifts from the Heavens
James had something I'd never seen before - the entire Harbinger Chamber - so multiple Vanguard Wings! Tonnes of winged Prosecutors. The resulting game was incredibly cinematic.
Battleplan and Deployment
I knew James could deepstrike in and shoot and possibly charge too.
I deployed as much as I could on a hill including most of the heroes. The Verminlord Warbringer cannot get a cover save anyway. This became Rat Hill.
James had everything off the table.
Battleround 1
James gave me turn one, I buffed 30 Clanrats and made them immune to battleshock with the Crown of Conquest.
James came down in a big ring and let fly with his Javelins and the rest. He nearly killed the Verminlord and took out some Clanrats. With hindsight a better approach might have been to focus fire on the block of 40 Clanrats who lacked battleshock immunity. He chose not to charge anything.
Battleround 2
Luckily for me the comet came down near the hill. I won the initiative and out came the Stormvermin, given his lack of melee punch and focus on shooting I saw little harm in committing them immediately. Had Sayl died they would have been stuck on the hill. They formed a long line and chopped through about 4 Units of his army including his Relictor, who nearly died.
The Verminlord also went in, as did the 40 Clanrats. All told he suffered big losses. 
His comet landed in the middle. In response, his Azyros detonated his lantern which killed the Verminlord and helped wipe out a unit of 10 Clanrats. He retreated where he could, but suffered further losses.
Battleround 3
He held back and shot up the Stormvermin.
In my turn, I buffed the 40 Clanrats and tossed them towards his comet and the Gryph Hound and Relictor guarding them.
The remnants of the Stormvermin chopped into a unit of Prosecutors. The Clanrats took out the Dog and the Relictor to take his objective. His right flank also crumbled as Archaon waded in. It was all over.
An interesting army to face. All told, it was a favourable match up for me. I know James was still in the top tables later on. I got a major but only 1,200 kill points as so much was tied up in formations that I didn't wipe out. 
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Saturday - Game 2 - Lee (Destruction)

Lee had another Gunline - this time with Fanatics. Thankfully I've used fanatics myself as part of a monster mash list, so knew what to expect. Lee also had some Orruks and 4 War Machines.

Battleplan and Deployment

The Battleplan was Blood & Glory so 4 objectives.

There was a beyond colossal piece of mystical terrain on my half of the table after I lost the roll, I resolved to go around it. I fronted with 10 Clanrats on the right flank, then put everything down on the right flank. Archaon was deployed opposite the two Catapults. Balewind time.




40 Grot Archers formed the front wall with Orruks behind. I'd played Lee before at SCGT and this army was much stronger than last time (Tzeentch Daemons - funny how few of those there were at Warlords...) He was very friendly.



Yes even the base was mystical!

Battleround 1

I knew I needed to flush out the Fanatics with the more expendable Clanrats and multiple charges from different directions (so one fanatic cannot pin 2 units). I also noticed that if I could go around the back of the tower on the left flank, then I could get to his artillery and general.

I think Lee went first and fired his artillery ineffectually.

I responded by slamming forward the 30 Clanrats. Unsurprisingly they got pinned in place. The other rats ran forward.




Archaon failed his cast roll for arcane bolt.

Battleround 2

I won the initiative. 

This time Archaon killed off the crew of one Rock Lobba.

The 40 Clanrats surged past their brethren around the tower. The Cerminlord readied himself for a longish charge into the Bow Grots as did the 30 Clanrats.

The 40 Clanrats made it in and started butchering - even with maybe 14 models in contact, with 3 attacks each they were deadly. I started to see my faith in the unpopular Warbringer pay off, his Death Frenzy meant that when Lee piled in and killed some Clanrats - my losses piled in and attacked before dying - killing his general and finishing off the Doomdivers.




In the centre - Lee elected not to launch any fanatics (perhaps he had none in that unit). The Verminlord failed his charge. The 30 Clanrats made it in and started beating up the Grot Archers.

Lee responded by retreating his Orruks and moving everything towards my weak right flank (giving up the left side of the table). He spat out a unit of 6 Fanatics which shredded my Verminlord Warbringer.

Battleround 3

Lee won the initiative and moved to grab my left objective - perhaps prompted by the carnage the others had done, Lee dumped out all his remaining Fanatics, who made swift work of the 10 Clanrats.



In my turn, I surged towards his right objective.

Archaon thought better of trying to kill the fanatics (as I would need to activate him second as I needed to clear the 6 fanatics in the middle this turn). He ran through the mystical terrain to safety. The Stormvermin positioned themselves for a final charge.

The Clanrats took out the fanatics. 

Battleround 4

Lee won the initiative again. He then unleashed foot of Gork - he rolled a 6, 4, 6 and kept rolling 4+s - killing some 25 Clanrats! He retreated generally and positioned to defend the objectives.

In true Skaven style the elite arrive after the chaff have been butchered, so the Stormvermin swarmed in with Sayl's assistance. They chopped through his Orruks and seized his right objective. Archaon zapped some fanatics with arcane bolt and tried to global the 20 Grots - he failed miserably. The Eye of Ed Sheeran was particularly poor this game.



This left one objective in Lee's hands - a minor victory to me with  the majority of the objectives and 1,540 kill points.

We had a good chat about Destruction during/after the game.

Major, Minor so far! My club mates were doing well also, so a great start to the tournament. Lunch was good - although not Rain of Stars good - pro tip - milkshakes are legendary at Bugman's.

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Saturday - Game 3 - Bryan Carmichael (Stormcast)

This was probably the game of the tournament for me as it was so close and exciting and because Bryan was a great opponent to play and learn from.

Bryan had another Stormcast army without a Paladin in sight (did Dan and Wayne commandeer all the Retributors at SCGT when they were all set up together?). His was Judicators as Battleline with almost everything else Prosecutors with Javelins (which are amazing as the Prime gets 2 shots and they are damage 2 (which takes a point of save off Skaven shields). Frankly they are a hard counter!

Battleplan and Deployment

The Battleplan was Escalation. This was awful for me as I relied upon having a bunch of heroes on the board - my models were junk without buffs.

I made a huge error by trying to be conservative - I put the 3 Clanrats units down (mandatory) then I put one of the 2 Warlords down as my optional unit thinking he was expendable (and likely to die to shooting). I should have put down the Warbringer with the Crown of Conquest instead, would have kept my 40 block of Clanrats from popping. As for where things were, I baited the Judicators with a throwaway unit of 10 Clanrats on my left (fully intending to do my usual feint left/go right strategy). This wasn't quite how it worked out. Everything else was deployed just out of Judicator range.

His 3 units of Judicators were indeed up against the 10 Rats.


Battleround 1

I made Bryan go first in the hope of a double turn. He shot off the 10 Clanrats as predicted and grabbed the left objective and the middle with his Fulminators.


In response, I sent the 40 Block of Clanrats to grab the right objective and retreated out of 29 inches of the Judicators in the centre.

Battleround 2

Bryan won the initiative - uh oh - and brought on what seemed like 4 units of Prosecutors and an Azyros.

The Fulminators grabbed the middle and the Prosecutors advanced on the 40 Clanrats - they let fly and charged - shredding perhaps 22 of them against 6+ saves as 2 damage. The unit popped.


In response, I deployed the Verminlord, Sayl, Archaon and Tretch and put the buffs on the Stormvermin on my left. The Verminlord followed them. Archaon popped up on a Balewind and sniped a Judicator off.

The Stormvermin flooded forward against the Judicators.


I went for the middle of 3 units, hoping to kill them all. I came close - killing 13 of them. This gave me the left objective.


Battleround 3

I won the initiative (or it was all over). It was time for the 30 Clanrats to shine. I piled all the buffs onto them and Sayl sped them up. I think I failed the cast for Death Frenzy. My Verminlord went for the last few Judicators. The Storm Vermin retreated then charged (Skaven special rule) the last unit of Judicators in the middle.


The 30 Clanrats were up against the pride of the Stormcast - 4 Fulminators. With 91 attacks, 3+,3+, 5s to wound doing double damage, -1 rend, the whole unit should have died. Bryan saved like a pro and one model clung on with 2 wounds. He passed his Battleshock test. The Judicators were wiped off. I held the left and the middle.


In response Bryan Swooped in with what felt like 15 Prosecutors - which annihilated the 30 Block of Clanrats (even with Battleshock immunity).

Battleround 4

The game came down to this initiative roll - my mistake of carelessly throwing away my 40 block was erased by the sheer power of my combo. Had I buffed the Stormvermin and Charged, everything reachable would have died.

I rolled a 6! Bryan responded in kind, then Bryan beat me 4-2. With that Bryan took off the Stormvermin almost as easily as the Clanrats (the Battleshock immunity was on the dead Clanrats sadly). He flooded the middle and held both objectives.




In response my crippled remnants tried to scramble for points. Archaon took one wound off a Judicator, Sayl did the same. Sayl used his once per game D3 mortal wounds. Archaon failed his charge. The Verminlord had to babysit an objective for a turn.

Battleround 5

I may have won the initiative in the Final round. 

The Verminlord came forward with some buffs and went for the Prosecutors. He rolled poorly and Bryan ended up with a load of half dead units. Archaon finally slew the Fulminator.

All in all a thrilling game. Bryan had a clever list and used it well. Bryan's army also looked terrific! He went on to do well. 1,280 kill points for me.

Major, Minor, Loss, so I needed to reverse that trend fast.



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Sunday - Game 4 - Lee (of GW) - Mixed Order

New day - new opponent - still Gunline!

Lee (apologies if I've messed up the names) had old school Empire - Hurricanum plus guns plus Stormcasts. It looked fantastic.

  • His army was:
  • Celestial Hurricanum
  • Empire General
  • 20 odd Handgunners
  • 10 Liberators
  • 5 Pistoliers
  • 20 Great Swords
  • Hellblaster Volleygun
  • Cannon
  • Azyros
  • Questor
  • Liberators
  • Protectors

Battleplan and Deployment

I think it was Border War - 3 objectives along the middle.

I don't think he had played against Sayl before or he would have deployed better.

He put his artillery on the 12 inch line and didn't wall off his Hurricanum sufficiently with the Greatswords.


I did the usual parallel lines. 


Battleround 1

I believe I went first.

It was the usual 30 Clanratbomb - 91 attacks, 3+, 3+, 5s to wound doing double damage, -1 rend and Death Frenzy. I messed up by walking in my Verminlord, so I didn't have the rerolls. I fixed this for the next game.


This time they took out the crew of one artillery piece, the 20 Great Swords, 3 Protectors and a few wounds on the general and 7 on the Hurricanum. Death Frenzy was horrific - I felt sorry for him as he made an effort to pile in with the Protectors and their long reach - knowing it was a bad move. His centre and melee forces were smashed.


Archaon hid from the cannons behind a building. One of my Warlords snuck up on an objective and the rest of the army advanced.

He responded with shooting - doing modest damage.

His Liberators advanced on the objectives on both flanks. The Questor and Azyros on my left. He charged my 10 Clanrats (the Expendables) who popped.

In the middle, he finished off the 30 Clanrat-bomb only for Death Frenzy to kill off the last 2 Protectors.

Battleround 2

I think I won the initiative - compounding the pain and sent in the Stormvermin. They dealt with the General and artillery crew - they also made it into the Liberators on my right and killed them.


Archaon failed his charge. The Warlord made his and started chomping through Pistoliers.

On the left flank my unbuffed 40 Clanrats and made slow work of taking on the Questor and Liberators. The 3+ rerollable save on the Questor is immense.

Lee fought back, killing some Stormvermin with shooting and bringing up the Azyros against the Clanrats. He ultimately killed the Verminlord Warbringer using the aoe lantern bomb.

Battlerounds 3-5

I think Lee won the initiative. He retreated his Pistoliers. He kept chopping away with the Questor. He killed a Skaven Warlord.

In response I threw in the other Skaven Warlord and Tretch into the Questor. Archaon hunted down the Pistoliers.

The Stormvermin cleared out the centre.

I finally killed the Questor with the high rend of the Warlord.

Ultimately I killed everything except a unit of Handgunners - 1,880 kill points.


It was a tough match up for Lee. He lost it in deployment, which can be frustrating.

I was back on track - hoping to sneak into a top 10 finish. Major, Minor, Loss, Major.

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I've got 80-something Island of Blood clanrats coming in the mail, plus three weapon teams, a warlord and warlock. I'm pretty eager to get working on them and playing! I was thinking of trying some variation of this list, as it looks pretty fun.

Is there anything you might change, if there was a "next time?" 

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Sunday - Game 5 - Les Martin (Facehammer) - Stormcast

My good fortune continued as I got to play another big name and the winner of the Best Painted Army Award - Les Martin. It was a fun game to play and Les was a true gent.

Les decided not to play his deepstrike formation. To my amazement, I had played 4 armies including Stormcast and not a single Retributor or Vexillor - the times, they are a changin'. Nevertheless it was a fifth gunline!

Les had more or less:

  • Lord Celestant on Stardrake (looked wonderful).
  • Lord Castellant
  • Lord Relictor
  • 20 Judicators
  • 3 Prosecutors
  • 2 Fulminators

Battleplan and Deployment

It was 3 Places of Power, which suited my 6 heroes (the Skaven Warlords are surprisingly tough and Tretch can just keep on trolling) to Les's 3.

Given that he didn't have a chaff unit to block me, I wanted Les to give me the first turn and to stick his models on the 12 inch line. I stuck out the 30 block of Clanrats on my 12 inch line and put everything else outside the Judicators effective range (within 7 inches of my edge). Thankfully Les obliged.


This time I managed to put down the Verminlord where he wasn't blocked by his own worthless pawns:


Archaon was positioned to start chipping wounds off the Relictor (I later realised that he would just heal them back, so I sniped a Judicator instead).

Battleround 1

I think Les gave me the first turn. I believe he assumed that I was going to do the combo on the Stormvermin, so not in turn one.

The buffs went on, including Death Frenzy. The 30 Clanrat-Bomb surged forward and rolled a 10 for the charge. i sucked in 3 Units of Judicators, the Relictor and the Stardrake.


The death toll, including the extra damage from the Death Frenzied dudes dying in droves to the Stardrake, was horrific. The Relictor died, together with virtually all of the Judicators. The Stardrake took a few wounds. Les took this quite well (I guess he is used to deleting the enemy's biggest toy early on with the Skyborne Slayers and then crushing their hopes with the Prime).

I also stuck a wall of 10 Clanrats in front of my characters who were hiding in cover on my right.

In response, Les shot up the Verminlord and sent the Fulminators forward, seeking vengeance. He should have retreated his battered remnants of the Judicators at this point. The Castellant grabbed the right objective.

Battleround 2  

Les won the initiative and moved the Fulminators forward again. They shot a few wounds off the Skaven Warlord. The Judicators shot off the Verminlord, while the Stardrake hung back.

The Fulminators managed a long bomb charge to get around my chaff wall. Tretch retreated out of the charge. The Fulminators rolled poorly such that my Warlord clung on and did a few wounds back. 

In response, I buffed up the Stormvermin and sent them flying towards the Castellant and 5 Judicators.

Archaon came down from the Balewind and headed towards the left objective. The Skaven Warlords retreated and ran towards the middle and right objectives. 

The 40 Clanrats moved right to engage the Fulminators. Sayl zapped them with his once per game ability for D3 mortal wounds.

The Stormvermin rolled an easy charge and deleted the Castellant and Judicators. This gave me the right objective. 


The Clanrats lost about 10 dudes but killed a Fulminator in response - a few more Clanrats fled.   

Battleround 3

Les thought about it for a while and then conceded the game with full kill points. It was a dreadful match up for him, as he wanted a low model count opponent that his shooting and Stardrake could really hurt. He also rolled unfortunately for Rain of Stars. He knew he had lost the game in deployment (and possibly in only having 3 heroes for this battleplan).



So the Sunday recovery after the loss against Bryan was looking solid. Going into the last game I had hopes of sneaking into a top 10 finish in true Skaven fashion - Major, Minor, Loss, Major, Major. The final battleplan suited me as I would surely outnumber my opponent and just send wave after wave of rats into their army, each time doing more far more damage than the cost of my wave. 

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I would probably put the Crown of Conquest on the Skaven Warlord instead of the Verminlord Warbringer, as the latter was always having to run into enemy guns and usually died. I also should have mystic shielded the Verminlord.

I think it's a really solid list as it can afford to take mortal wound spam like the Bloodletter bomb; can wall off against deep strikes; will obliterate Wrathmongers and MSU Khorne; and Death Frenzy is almost like a double pile in, so it can breach two layers of a bunker per turn. The body count makes it preferably in my eyes, to the other classic Skaven bomb list - i.e. Stormfiends with Shock Gauntlets or Stormfiends with Warpfire Throwers. The fact that the 30 block of Clanrats is so dangerous caught a few people off guard. 

Very few lists have the tools to take out Archaon in cover in the first turn (when he's walled off). In extremis he can literally sit in the corner as there's no range on his Command Ability.


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Yeah Archaon is pretty tough to contend with! I'd been wondering how to take more Commands in the Skaven army, and using Archaon (or anything else in the rest of Chaos) hadn't occurred to me. I guess I still think of Skaven as their own army. I'm loving this synergy that you've found.

Well done on the win!

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What you didn't say is that we where drawn against each other in this and the next round as well - I should have stayed with it for threeeasy majors ;)

I watched your game versus Les as mine lasted even less time and think you are spot on in your analysis that he completely underestimated what your list can do. He had the tools to deal with it but that aggressive deployment hurt him a lot.

Looking forward to your game 6 write up

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