Grand Alliance: Skaven
Admittidly this is less a proper Grand Alliance style army option (like Legions of Nagash or Beasts of Chaos)
and more the use of the greater GA: Chaos but schemantics are for lesser beings. Beings whose bones are perfect
for gnawing your teeth down with when your not scheming to gain power, bring down the fall of the other races
and generally stabbing someone in the back with something that is probably made of warp stone and prone to
Basically until GW gets around to giving us a proper book in a life time from now (or a couple of years or so
if you're not measuring this in the lifetime of the average Skaven) this is the way you'll be able to around to
playing a proper Skaven army...without skaven relics, command traits, battalions or spells that aren't locked
into unit rules.
Guess everyone else needed a leg up to make the game more fair for them so we'll have to wait to get those
tasty tasty extras. That's enough about the things we don't have though, what do we have?
Just a single rule here, but not a bad one. Friendly CHAOS models in 12" of your general or in 3" of a
friendly HERO can get +1 to hit if you roll a 6+ on a die when you pick that unit to fight. It's nothing
game breaking, just a nice bonus that most people (us included) will forget about. Consider having a reminder
somewhere on the table so you remember to roll for it now any then.
For when you don't want to make a special character your general you have options!
Dark Avenger: Basically only consider this if your general is intended to be stabbing things in the back
while playing against ORDER armies since this doesn't work for anything else.
Spiteful Duelist: A way to save a command point on re-rolling wounds, this still encourages you to be
throwing your general into the fray, so keep that in mind if you're running more support based generals.
Cunning Deceiver: The best choice for a support general (who benefits from hiding from enemy models for
best effect and most appropiate lorewise) as our army definitely CP hungry as a means to assist with our
notorious low bravery scores (and lack for a GA: Skaven army to get the same bravery buff you see in a couple
of our clan specific army options). You will need to roll a 5+ to get the CP, but that means on average 1-2 CP
on average every game and that never hurts to have!
Lord of War: Another support general option, but more likely to be seen on a Warlord due to the desire
to be within 3" of a unit that's in combat. At least it works until your next hero phase so even if your
general dies (now how'd you go and do that instead of sacrificing the unit instead?) first.
Terryfing Presence: Frankly not a fan. Basically bravery bombs only really work if you can go all in and
then stack mortal wounds on top of the debuff. Basically it's not something we do well so I don't plan on using
this for basically anything.
Malicious Conqueror: Buffing the Unbridled Malice dice rolls so they go off on a 5+ if you're within 12"
of your general? Sign me up! Seriously, if you're looking to buff your combat options in a wider range this is
better than Lord of War since it works on your general and everyone else who is in 12" of you. Basically if
you're not trying to get extra CP, then take this since it means you'll get extra attacks more often.
Artefacts of Chaos
This is a strangely empty section with only the Crown of Conquest existing. I mean, I'd like more options but
strangely there is only that one. Thankfully it's a dang good options that basically every army should
consider. May our eventual battletome keeps something as handy in it. Maybe with a range of 13" and some kind
of name that gives homage to the Great Horned Rat....
Like a crown of horns or something.
Every swarm needs a leader, and these guys are our options. I'm lumping all the available options together in
the order they're found in the Chaos book for simplicity (and it scratches an itch of mine to make referencing
this sort of thing easier).
Grey Seer: Once a beast of a wizard now just a wizard who is a beast. For a hundred points he brings you
5 wounds, a chance of getting to re-roll your casting attempts (no rerolling your unbinding attempts though)
which will help him get off his single spell be it a realm spell, an Endless spell or one of the ones he knows
normally. Vermintide is a nice horde muncher with a 1 in 6 chance of doing a mortal wound to every model in the
target unit. His command ability has nice range and can keep around half of the Skaven from running away, but
it costs CP so consider free, always on options like the Crown of Command first.
Thanquol and Boneripper: Priced just cheap enough to ally into a 2k list, this single based duo is a
beastly option to bring to the table with 13 wounds and a decent 4+ save. He also heals a single wound every
turn which is never a bad thing, but don't count on it to win you games on its own. Warpfire projectors are
nice with their ability to do 2d6 mortal wounds but their limited range of 8" means that if you're using it
then you're likely looking at combat if you don't screen him properly to protect him from charges. Screening is
important though since he's not a MONSTER meaning he benefits from Look Out Sir! as well. I'd consider
the Braizers instead of the projectors if they could at least do Mortal Wounds on 6s but since they can't, I'd
say to take the projectors since they can fire into combat while your screening unit fights something else. His
spell is less good at hitting hordes, but with a consistent 1d3 mortal wounds it's good for hitting enemy
heroes right in the face. His command ability does allow for a 6+ save after a save though, which is good for
just about anything you can buff with it, especially if it's a big unit as that roll gets a +1 if the unit has
13 or more models. Basically stick him in a unit and keep them alive while he shoots into combat and you'll do
Lord Skreech Verminking: The price of only 3 Grey Seers means this big boy is surprisingly cheaper than
Thanquol so that's a neat surprise. With a neat gimmick of swapping clan abilities every turn to make him have
a lot of flexibility on the table. He's always the only source of our classic Dreaded Thirteenth spell which
still turns our enemy into Clanrats. His command ability is rather short ranged and only buffs combat which
isn't as useful for dealing with our glass cannon style army. It's not bad but we lack more in durability than
we do stabbing people in the face back.
Screaming Bell: A classic is back! Okay, so it never left, but it's an iconic option that only runs the
price of 2 Grey Seers and while the large base looks like a good way to run the Crown of Conquest, but against
shooty armies he'll probably die turn 1 to cut off our protection against battleshock, even if you take
advantage his ability to benefit from Look Out Sir!. The Peals are always good, as is surrounding him with a
horde of rats. His spell only really works well against slower units since it's 2d6 minus the target's movement
characteristic in mortal wounds. His command ability is pretty darn good though as it just requires SKAVEN
units to have line of sight to get a buff to their bravery and movement by 1". Take him for his peals and
his buff ability, take someone else for the crown to spread your targets around, or just run multiple bells
just to bring a carol of bells to the table that can give you (potentially, if you roll a 12 on the peals) free
Verminlords and spread out your targets.
Verminlord Warpseer: Sixty points more than the Screaming Bell but forty less than Skreech. Comes
standard with re-rollable saves unless you chuck his Scry-Orb (13" range, once per game) to do d6 mortal wounds
(if the target has movement of 5 or less it just does 6). His personal spell is Howling Warpgale which gives
you the ability to hit an enemy unit within 26" for d3 mortal wounds (3 mortal wounds instead if they have
FLY so the bedsheets can fold faster to them) and then muck with their movement by preventing their ability
to run or fly and halving their charge ranges. Oh, and the icing on top? He trades a command point for a unit
of 3d6 Giant Rats. Need a charge screen, or something to go cap an objective for points? This guy has your
Verminlord Warbringer: The first of the Clan Verminus heroes, he's the most choppy of the Verminlord
with his two melee weapons (three if you count his tails), re-rolls to hits when he charges, he also brings the
Death Frenzy spell (which only works on VERMINUS units) allowing dead models to pile in and fight when
they die. The best news that under Grand Alliance: Chaos the only battleline unit you have access to is the
Clanrat who has the VERMINUS, and is the most likely to be stuck in combat as you'll be bravely
sacrificing them to screen the rest of your army. Solid synergy for the Grand Alliance but not the top of my
list for Verminlord choices.
Skaven Warlord: Costing the same as a Grey Seer, he swaps spell casting for other a combat ability.
Strike and Scurry Away allows him a 50% chance of running away after he attacks giving him the ability to move
as it is the movement phase. A nice way to get some extra movement by tagging a unit via the charge phase and
then running away past them to cap an objective behind them. Warpforged Blade bites harder than than the
Halberd, but the Halberd allows him to hit from behind a screen of other models (which is the best way to fight
with him), and the Barbed Blades come in a pair that reroll failed hits of 1. All of these weapons allow you to
take a shield which buffs you to a 3+ against 1 damage weapons. Gnaw Your Bones is the name of his command
trait, and with it he can give extra attacks to VERMINUS units which allows for some nice buffing for
Clan Rats (which you need anyways so always a valid choice) but applies to other VERMINUS units like
Arch-Warlock: Forty points over the cost of a Warlord or a Grey Seer you get a wizard with an auto-
hitting shooting attack with an 8" range and does d3 mortal wounds. Unlike the Grey Seer though he comes with a
good armour save, and even casts two spells a turn instead of one (also his spell can kill-smite up to three
units for d3 mortal wounds). He also comes with a a halberd and piston claw to give him the same number of
attacks as a Warlord, though one hits slightly orse but mashes for 3 damage. Basically he's a blend of the Grey
Seer and the Warlord but his only fault is a lack of a command ability. Not a bad choice to stick the Crown of
Conquest on as he's not a high priority target due to his lack of command ability to toss about, is pretty
durable, and can toss around mortal wounds on anything that gets too close. Potentially good for sticking a
command trait onto by making him the General since he doesn't have to give up his normal role and allows you to
spread things around so you don't put too many eggs in one basket. If running the Crown of Conquest on him
while also making him the General my opinion is to go with the Malicious Conqueror since both auras overlap and
he'll potentially give out more attacks to units in range on a 5+. Otherwise run Cunning Deceiver since that
means more command abilities to throw around for the rest of your army.
Warlock Engineer: A varient spell caster with a gun who runs of the same price of as a Grey Seer and a
magic spell that tosses out D3 mortal wounds on a 5+ to cast, but if you supercharge it (and manage to cast it)
that jumps to d6 mortal wounds while failing to cast zaps the Warlock Engineer instead. A nice choice, but not
high on my list for a Grand Alliance army. He definitely shines more in a Skyre army over his roll in a Grand
Alliance one. Especially since he also doesn't have a command ability of his own.
Packmaster: The lone MOULDER hero, he serves to buff MOULDER units (namely the Giant Rats,
Rat Swarms, Rat Ogors,and the Hell Pit Abomination units) by giving them an additional +1" to run/charge and
to-hit in the combat phase and double the bravery of those units. Basically if you take any of those units,
look at taking at least one of these guys to support that unit. If you're summoning Giant Rats as well it can
still be worth it to take one, but since his buffs are keyword specific based, leave him at home if you're not
running any MOULDER units.
Skaven Assassin: Another hundred point hero with no command ability, instead he brings the ability to be
deployed off the table to pop out of any SKAVEN unit that has at least 5 models. And, no, he doesn't
have to be deployed outside of the enemy but he does have to be within 1" of the unit he's from. Make sure
he pops out by the last combat phase (your's or your opponent's) on turn 3 so he doesn't die. Taking the
claws will allow you to re-roll 1s to hit, but taking the blades will let you re-roll all hits against HERO
models. Basically always take the throwing stars as they don't replace either of the other two weapons and
allow you a pair of shooting attacks for free.
Verminlord Deceiver: AKA the great big ninja rat. Three Grey Seers worth of points for a big rat that is
harder to shoot, comes with a decent shooting attack and a good support ability for ESHIN models, his
greatest contribution is access to Skitterleap, which allows him, or another SKAVEN HERO to teleport
anywhere more than 6" from enemy models at the cost of regular movement for the teleported model in their next
movement phase. Great for capping objectives or escaping combat or setting up some clever ambushing. I wouldn't
use it to kick any hero forward at the enemy without a good plan, but you could throw something at the enemy if
you can put that to good use.
Verminlord Corruptor: 220 points of poxy goodness gives us the first hero from the Pastilens book.With
built in re-rolls to hit, a chance to give a mortal wound to anything that he wounds without killing and a
command ability that hands out extra attacks to himself or another SKAVEN unit within 18" he definitely
feels like the most choppy of the Verminlords. His spell, Plague, allows you to potentially sweep through
castled up units, and the risk of that happening could cause opponents to break their castles apart just to
limit how much damage you might be able to do.
Plague Furnance: First thing is first: if you're taking this you need to take some NURGLE units
to push it as using other units will result in them eating mortal wounds every turn. Since we're talking
Skaven, that means bring Plague Monks or Plague Censer Bearers. That said, the furnance brings us a way to buff
the bravery for PESTILENS units within 5" of the furnance (basically the units pushing it are buffed by
it), it can drop its censer on a point within 3" to potentially do mortal wounds on enemy units (or your own),
and the priest on the furnance can pray. On a 3+ you can make a PESTILENS unit have its casualties pile
in and fight in the combat phase, or re-roll failed wound rolls with both prayers lasting until the start of
your next hero phase. Another clan unit that feels like it works better in a PESTILENS detachment over a
Grand Alliance army.
Plague Priest: There are two versions of this guy, one with a bok and censer and the other with a staff.
Both are the cheapest heroes you can bring at a pus-filled 80 points. Taking a staff carrying version lets you
cause wizards (excluding NURGLE WIZARDS) within 6" to suffer -1 to their casting arolls, while the
censer carrying one uses his book to re-roll wounds against an enemy unit until your next hero phase once per
game. Both get access to the same prayers to either do mortal wounds while the other adds 1 to all your wound
rolls against a unit in 13". Neither is bad, but I feel like the censer one is a bit better (and should have
gotten the Plague-filled Censer rule the staff one has since he also has a censer which could have allowed him
to run 100 points and generally worked well) since a turn of re-rolling wounds isn't really a bad thing,
especially since other heroes can buff attacks, but not as many buff wound rolls.
Warpgnaw Verminlord: One of two Forge World heroes, and the easier one to convert since he is a
Verminlord. He doesn't have his points on his warscroll or in the Chaos book so I can't toss that in, but he is
still the most popular of the Verminlords thanks to his protection against wounds/mortal wounds, ability to
bring himself and another friendly SKAVEN unit into a gnawhole allowing them to pop out outside of 9" of
enemy units (the unit that comes with the Verminlord has to be wholly within 6" of the Verminlord). He can also
slay a model with his spell by rolling equal to or greater than the target's wounds. So yeah, he has a 1/6
chance of killing Morathi which is hilarious in its own right. Basically an all round good choice with decent
melee as well (his glaive starts at 5 damage with four attacks meaning he can kill up to 20 models a turn in
melee if given the chance).
Skaven Warlord on Brood Horror: The second of the FW heroes and basically a VERMINUS hero who has
some healing, gives +1 bravery to VERMINUS models in 13" of him, and currently doesn't prevent you from
stacking his command ability on the same unit multiple times to give as many extra attacks to a unit as you
have command points. I'd play him like a regular Warlord in that regard though just to avoid the potential
future nerf. Basically pretty solid, though he loses the Halberd in this version so no dreams of Skaven calvary
to realize here. Also arguable a lost chance to have a hero that could work for Mouldar as well due to the
mount, but it seems at the time of the warscroll's writing the intent was to put certain heroes into certain
clans regardless of utility in other clans.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SKAVEN HEROES AND THEIR OPTIONS:
Save for heroes who key into the VERMINUS keyword (due to Clanrats being the only battleline option)
clan heroes who center around supporting specific clans aren't that strong in a Grand Alliance set up unless
you're running them to support those elements. That said, we do have a lot of good options and the two schools
of thought I see being the best for a Grand Alliance army is to either take a couple of big heroes (Thanquol,
the Screaming Bell, any of the Verminlords) and a cheaper support hero (like a Warlord or an Arch-warlock) to
be either your general, your Crown caddy or both. The other option is to go ham on the cheaper heroes and run
multiple cheap heroes and spreading them around as much as possible with the crown and your general being
seperate models and neither of those being wizards just to ensure your opponent can't cripple your army too
easilly with a single shooting phase.
Generally though I'd never recommend just running a single big model, especially if you play in an area
that loves to favor shooting, with 2-3 being more reasonable based on points. Don't get too caught up in
cramming points into the hero section though as we have a lot of other toys worth looking at as well, and
upwards to 360 points minimum needed to be set aside for Clanrats, but more on them later.
I know I missed the Silver Tower hero, but it's one of the ones I don't have the rules for so I had to leave it
out at the time of writing. Sorry.
I'm looking forward to hearing the input of others one the state of Skaven Heroes in a mixed list and if here
is anything I overlooked or forgot in this. Coming soon(?): everything else Skaven.