Wednesday, January 12, 2011

... in which I discuss Bretonnian Tactica - Overcoming the Hordes of Skaven

The swarming Hordes of Skaven I find to be a rather challenging army to face. The strength of the Bretonnian Army is their speed and power. A few elite troops that can close the distnce and cause some real damage to an oppenent. Skaven, on the other hand, operate at the exact polar opposite of that tactic. They too, have exceptional speed, but their strength lies more in their numbers. Trust me, no matter how good your company of Knights my be, and even if they kill a clan rat every turn, overcoming the mass amounts of their numbers is extremely daunting.

I have had the most experience in WFB playing against Skaven armies, and typically, the battle goes to whoever can pull off the first sucessful charge. Their are more ways than charging to assure your success in overcoming a Skaven swarm.

First of all, Skaven's leadership is decptive. Yes, it is low, BUT they get a bonus for every rank they have in their unit. This makes it very hard to cause the unit to break, until mass casualties are inflicted on it. Your best choice here is to hold your knights back. Yep, you heard me. Hold them back. Don't get too eager like a young Knigh Errant to charge into battle. Use your knights wisely, and circle them around to the flanks of the rats, and make sure to stay out of their charge range. A pack of battle frenzied clan rats will give you a really bad day.

Skaven armies typically also come with artillery of some sort, whether it is warp fire throwers, warp lighting cannons, poison wind globadiers, doom wheels... you get the picture. They are gonna toss a lot of ranged weapons at you, so don't feel too bad about doing it back. I find it very usefull to have my peasant bowman target one weapon, and keep firing on it until it is destroyed. Especially warp fire throwers. Template weapons are not very friendly to knights.
On your key charging units, make sure to take the Banner of Chalons, so that opposing units may not use the "stand and shoot" reaction. This will help stave off some of the casualties from charging these type of units.
The Trebuchet is also your best friend here. Against skaven, I definately recommend taking one, but take two if you can afford it! Lobbing very large rocks into the scores of clan rats is extremely effective. If you can cause enough casualties from your trebuchet, the knights will have no problem mopping up the remainder.

Packs of Rat Ogres may look intimidating, but handled right, they go out way more quickly than the skaven player would like. Bretonnian Lords on a successful charge can wipe out an entire unit. Hit them in the flank, and land a lot of hits. I suggest taking a Hippogryph as a mount for this,  the extra attacks from the mount can really make a difference. If you can swing it, Grail Knights are also really effective against Rat Ogres.

Speaking of Grail Knights, the living saints rule is your best friend. Challenge any and all characters you can. Get them locked in combat and out of their unit. Keep challenging. Make them refuse and break, then ride them down with extreme predjudice.

The Grail Reliquae is the best "sandbox" in the game in my opinion. Sure, it's WS is low, and Battle Pilgrims are just about useless, but their fervor for battle (and the fact that because of the Reliquae they are nigh on impossible to kill), they are the absolute best at tying up an oppsing unit, and keeping it out of battle. I will charge my reliquae right up to the biggest thing on the board, like the Hellpit Abomination, and just let it weather the attacks. It keeps that monstrosity off my main force, nd it usually take 3-4 turns to get rid of the reliquae. My goal, however, is not to sacrifice the reliquae, but to tie up that unit until my knights can circle around and charge it in the rear. No matter how big and nasty something is, if you isolate it, and pinch it between the Reliquae and a rear charging unit of Grail Knights, it is going down.

Magic can also aid here. The lore of Life is usually what I opt for, and the Shield of thorns spell is really effective when cast on either the reliquae or a unit that is locked in close combat.

To sum it all up: Skaven are fast, perhaps faster than the Bretonnians. Charging them is still the best way of dealing with them, however, you can not get charged by them. Kiss the battle goodbye if that happens. Challenge their characters, and isolate them from their packs. Use Archers, and lots of them. Trebuchets as well. Men at Arms are just about useless, they will be horribly outnumbered.

The Skaven will outnumber you. You will have to break their ledership, and inflict mass casualties. Your ranged weapons are your first line for this, and try to hit them in the flanks, or the rear if possible.

Let's hear how you deal with those pesky rats! Leave a comment and describe your experience.


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