Warhammer Fantasy Skaven Tactics

Warhammer Fantasy Skaven Tactics

In this section we will look at the Skaven Warhammer Fantasy army and the Skaven tactics.

The Skaven are the rat people of the underworld. What they loose in size, they more that make up in numbers, and formidable warpstone weapons.

To get the most out of these pages you will need to have, or have access to the Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition Rule Book, and the 2009 Skaven Army Book.

General Skaven Tactics

The Skaven tactics are about quantity over quality. When you face enemies like the high elves you will see that you will have many more models on the table, however you will also see that the stats lines of your opponents are greater than the Skaven ones. The fact that the Skaven army is a swarm army, you will expect that a number of your models will be lost during the game. This means that you will need to focus on the outcome of the game and not get too attached to individual models.

The usual Skaven tactics is to swarm your appoint with numbers. This does not mean that this is the only tactic open to you. The Skaven army has some big weapons available to them too. You will find that most of these weapons are short ranges, like the Screaming Bell. The trick here minimise the losses as far as you cans so that you get in to combat with a significant number of troops left.

Skaven Special Rules

The Skaven have a few army wide special rules that will help when you are playing the Skaven army. For this reason alone I would recommend that you get very familiar with them.

Skaven Scurry Away

The Scurry away special rule gives you just a little extra distance then it is time to run. This is not much of a bonus, so you can not rely on it, but at least is consistent. Remember that you cannot rally the unit if they are down to 25% or less (except with insane courage).

Skaven Strength In Numbers

The Skaven have a low leadership value. As Warhammer Fantasy is a leadership based game, this puts the Skaven at a disadvantage. there are several ways to improve this. The easiest of these is to have plenty of rats in your units or that this special rule kicks in.

The downside of this rule is that it does not encourage you to increase the width of your units. However having an extra column or two on the fount line can mean that you can have a few extra attacks during close combat.

Skaven Lord Tactics

As usual, the Lords section is where you will find the biggest & toughest Skaven to lead your army. And as usual I will warn that you over spending on the Army Generals and Heroes will leave you short of points to spend on the rank and file troops. This is even more true when you are playing an army that relies on the force of numbers.

Skaven Lords Special Characters

In this section we will look at the named Skaven Special Characters available to your army. These named characters have more special rules, but the have a higher points coast too. If you are planning to field one of these Special Characters, be sure that you are familiar with these special rules, or you will be point points for features that you do not use.

As you will need to make full use of these characters, I recommend that those who are still learning how to play the Skaven army wait until they have a basic competency with the army before looking to field named characters.

Lord Skrolk

Lord Skrolk is the most expensive of the Skaven Lords in terms of points. For this you get a level 3 Wizard, with respectable stats, and a number of special rules / equipment.

Monks as Core

If you have Lord Skrolk as your Lord then you can have Plauge Monks as core choices. This basically means that you can field a Plauge Monk Skaven army.

Thanquol & Boneripper

Ikit Claw

The Skaven lord Ikit Claw is part warrior and part magic user. The Skaven are not great warriors so you will need to rely on cunning and troop numbers. Ikit Claw has a number of special items that will help you out. The first gives Ikit Claw a decent armour and a half decent ward save too.

The second device is a one shot warp fire thrower. This a weapon that has a random range, but if it hits it will is quite nasty. The warp fire weapon uses a flamer template so is can cover a number of rank and file troops. Remember that this is a flaming attack so you want to aim for targets that are vulnerable to flaming attacks like trolls and skeletons.

The third special item that Ikit Claw comes with is a close combat weapon that gives Ikit Claw a +1S and ignores armour saves. In addition to this the halberd can also fire off a magic missile each turn. This can be a useful bonus as you approach the enemy.

Ikit Claw and magic

As well as having his toys Ikit Claw is a L3 magic user too. He uses the spells of ruin which tends to have destructive spells.

Throt the Unclean

Queek Headtaker

Skaven Vermin Lord Tactics

The Vermin Lord is a Daemon.

Skaven Warlord Tactics

The Skaven Warlord is the standard choice for the Skaven army General.

Skaven Grey Seer Tactics

The Grey Seer is the most powerful magic user in the Skaven army. he is a L4 wizard that has access to both books of Skaven magic.

The Screaming Bell

Having a Grey Seer in your army is the only way to have a Screaming Bell. This means that the Screaming bell will cost at least 440 points to filed! This is a lot of points to spend on one model, specially with the warning about not over pending on your Lords and Heroes.

Skaven Hero Tactics

Skaven Heroes Special Characters

Just as you can have Skaven Lord Special Character, you have some hero choices that are Special Characters too. As these generally have a lower points cost than the Lord Special Character options, you will be able to have more of them, or have more points for the rest of the army, or be able to use them in smaller games.

Deathmaster Snikch

Tretch Craventail

Skaven Assassin Tactics

Sakven Warlock Engineer Tactics

Skaven Chieftain Tactics

Skaven Plague Priest Tactics

Skaven Core Unit Tactics

In the Skaven army you will want to stock up on core units. A large number of core units is the core of the usual Skaven tactic.


Clanrats are the standard warriors of the Skaven army. They are cheap as a standard model. Armed with a spear and shield, they are 1 point cheaper than a similarly equipped Empire spearman.

> Also Click to Buy: Clanrats


Stormvermin are armed with Halberds and wear heavy armour. This makes them a surprisingly hard hitting unit. Remember that S4 attacks reduce the enemy’s armour save by 1 as well as making it easier to wound.

Stormvermin can take a magic standard. There are 6 different banners available at different points costs. Most of these only affect the Stormvermin, but the most expensive banner at 50 points provides cover from missile attacks for the whole army. If you are facing a missile heavy army like Elves, then this will be well worth the


Cheap cannon fodder is a must for swarm armies, and the Skavenslaves are the cheapest units available to you. I recommend keeping these units as cheap as possible, so skip the shield and weapon options. These units are designed to soak up the cannon balls and allow your more expensive units get in to combat.

Games Workshop do not have models for Skaven slaves, so most players use Clanrats painted to portray Skavenslaves

> Also Click to Buy: Skavenslaves (Clanrats)

Night Runners

The Night Runners are the most junior of the assassin Skaven Clan. The inclusion of the army choice in the Core Troop section means that you can field a full Assassin Clan Eshin army!

Skaven Night Runners are very similar to basic Clanrats with a few bonuses. The first is they have one point higher initiative. They also have a pint higher leadership, and they get a couple of additional special rules.

Special Rule Slinking Advance

The Slinking advance gives the Night runners a extra move at the start of the game. You must remember to use it,
or the advantage is lost. This extra move can be very useful to give you a head start to capture an objective or position

Special Rule Dodge

Dodge gives the Night Runners a slim of surviving anything, missiles, close combat, or even magic. It is only a slim chance, but over the course of many saves, the dodge save does add up.

> Also Click to Buy: Skaven Night Runners

Giant Rats

Most armies have hounds or a similar fast cheap squad that can be used to harass the enemy. In the Skaven army to have the option to field Giant Rats. The only issue is that the Skaven slaves are even cheaper per model than the Giant Rats are! This leads me to think that you are better off with the Slaves.

You can not buy Giant Rats on their own, but they come in a box set with some a couple of Rat Ogres, and some Clan Moulder Packmasters.

> Also Click to Buy: Skaven Giant Rats

Skaven Rat Swarm

They are only Strength 2, but they can still take down a dragon with enough 6’s

Skaven Special Unit Tactics

Gutter Runners

Rat Ogres

Loads of smaller troops may be good for most things, but sometimes you need a unit with more stomp! This is where the Rat Ogres come in.

> Also Click to Buy: Skaven Rats Ogres

Skaven Plague Monk Tactics

Skaven Plague Censer Bearer Tactics

Skaven Warplock Jezzail Tactics

Skaven Poisoned Wind Globadiers Tactics

Skaven Rare Unit Tactics

Skaven Hell Pit Abomination Tactics

Skaven Doomwheel Tactics

Shaven Warp Lightning Cannon Tactics

Skaven Plagueclaw Catapult Tactics

For the most part the Skaven army needs to get up close to cause damage. So it is a great release when you come across an option where you can force the enemy to move instead. The Plagueclaw Catapult is a stone thrower so you get a good range with the usual random accuracy. The main difference between is that you are lobbing a large ball of toxic goo in stead of a rock.