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 Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.

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Lord 0
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PostSubject: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Fri 4 Sep 2015 - 17:10

I am putting this in a new thread to make it easy to link to in the future and avoid derailing future threads.

I am by no stretch of the imagination any kind of tactician and this isn't going to be an exhausive way to counter Skaven sling-spam. I am sure others can think of extra ways to counter it and I hope they will be kind enough to add them here so that others may learn the wisdom or something.

Skaven in general are a strong warband, and their strengths are obvious (6 starting heros, slings, high move, etc.) and their weaknesses are subtle (Low ld, low armour, lack of access to hired swords and certain equipment) so starting players will often find all the strengths and employ them, but opposing starting players will have a hard time identifying and taking maximum advantage of their weaknesses.

Defining the problem:
First of all, slings - in and of themselves - aren't the problem. They are only S3, their range is mediocre, and they cannot benefit from Quickshot, Hunter, Knife-Fighter, or Pistoleer. I have been playing for over a decade and in all that time nobody *ever* took Weapons Expert for the superior abilities of the sling*.

The main strength of slings is that they are cheap, so Skaven players can afford to equip *everyone* in their warband with a ranged weapon for little cost, and, yes, that is a powerful ability - I am not going to disagree with that, but I don't think it is an overpowering ability. Certainly not one that needs to be nerfed.

Solving the problem:
You need to use different tactics depending on whether the terrain is dense or sparse. Urban scenarios such as Mordheim will be dense, wilderness scenarios such as Empire in Flames or Relics of the Crusade could be anything from dense to sparse.

Dense Terrain:
When setting up an urban terrain it is natural to set up streets orthagonal to the table. TRY TO AVOID THIS. It tends to be more fun if you make the streets *diagonal* as this will often lead to fewer fire corridors and charge routes. This is important for reducing sling spam because it means that it will be harder for them to bring all of their models to bear at once. When advancing your warband, advance and hide the melee fighters in front of the shooters so that if the enemy slings move into range of your shooters, your melee fighters can charge them. Ideally you should get 1 turn where you can shoot them, but they can't shoot you, then 1 turn where you are at short range, but they are at long, and then melee. Chances are you will only get one of the above, so make it count.

If you can, put a few snipers up, even only 1 level is enough as this will allow you to pick your targets instead of the closest. If your opponent is careless you might get a hero, or even the leader, but at the very least it will mean you have another turn of shooting before they can climb and charge.

The dense terrain will probably force them to cluster, so get blunderbuses and firebombs as soon as possible. Even though blunderbuses can only be used once per game, often just the very threat of them can be used to good advantage. If you are using the optional withdraw rules for running away from combat, this can be good for setting up clusters of enemies. Take the charge, flee in their turn, then either firebomb or blunderbus them. Holy relics and armour on your designated recievers are your friend here.

Open Terrain:
This one is simple, but also less flexible, and not as many warbands can do it. Stand at maximum range with your crossbows and/or longbows with hunting arrows and shoot the crap out of them. If you have enough of them you should be able to take enough of them out that they will rout before you do. As per the above, shoot from an elevated position where possible. Also, weather effects can help, e.g. rules for darkness, fog, etc.

General tactics:
Kill as many henchmen as you can, all the time, every chance you get. If you have 12 models and they have 20, then when you both get off the ground and earning properly then they will be earning significantly less than you. Make them spend all their money replacing henchmen, and not new kit. Each death of theirs will cost proportionally more to replace.

Scenarios:
Whether you are rolling for scenarios or deciding for them try to steer away from scenarios that eliminate the rout test. One of the Skaven weaknesses is low Ld, so by removing the need for a rout test they become that much stronger. If you are rolling then items such as Mordheim Maps can help you here. If you are deciding, then use whatever wiles you have to convice people to play scenarios with rout tests.

Equipment:
Use Tarot Cards. Skaven cannot use these *nearly* as well as pretty much all other warbands. Thus, allowing Tarot cards is a nerf to Skaven dominance. The use of them also helps equip your warband faster, reducing the advantage of the early maxing of slings and plateauing the Skaven earlier.

Multiplayer:
This one works on *anyone* that is pulling ahead in a campaign. Gang up on them. Give them a beat-down, kill off their henchmen and then, when they are no longer a threat, the Skaven and the other lower warbands can gang up on the *next* person with the highest warband and the circle of fun continues Razz.

Rules:
WYSIWYG. My group enforces this pretty strictly and an unexpected result is that we have found it eliminates all *kinds* of unsavoury shenannigans. Anyway, if someone wants 20 slings, fine. Make them model them on. If they are trying to max slings as early as possible then they will need 15 henchmen with nothing but slings and clubs, then 15 henchmen with slings and clubs and another weapon, then 15 henchmen with slings and clubs and another weapon, and armour. That is 45 models just for their henchmen and a lot of WAAC players will not put up with that much modelling and painting.

All Alone. THIS IS AN ACTUAL RULE! IT IS IN THE RULEBOOK! IT IS THERE FOR A REASON! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND RIGHT, USE IT! I THINK MY CAPS IS StUcK on... no, there it goes. Anyway, this is an often overlooked rule that many new players forget to enforce, and it does help keep Skaven under control.

Escaping from Combat. This is an optional rule that you need good Ld to take advantage of. Enabling this rule is effectively a subtle nerf to Skaven and allowing it means more options in melee and therefore more fun.

That is about all I can think of and explain with any sort of clarity. I am sure others will have their advice to add to this.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Sat 5 Sep 2015 - 11:43

Thank you for starting this thread. I hope this thread is helpful to the anti-sling crowd.

~We don't play with anything like WYSIWYG unless a player decides he must.
~We generally roll random scenarios.
~I hadn't thought of this as anti-sling spam, but I do avoid scenarios without rout tests in general. Occupy is one of my least favorite scenarios.
~Since 2009 we have used darkness from Relics of the Crusades as a campaign rule in every campaign. We use weather in every campaign as well. We started using weather whenever such rules became available.
~We don't have any 'I play Skaven only' players. Of our core group of 5 only one player has never played Skaven. We usually have 6-8 players so there is a variety of warbands and we rarely play the same opponent every game. This may affect how I view any powerful warband, because I have played most of them often and played against them often (I never run Eshin skaven though, I prefer Pestilens).
~We often campaign in Khemri and Araby so our choice of warbands includes several human bands that can use slings.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Sat 5 Sep 2015 - 23:54

I think you can play Mortheim in a broken way when you go to the extremes with a lot of warbands

A Reiklander warband barricading on first floor of a building and shooting with 10 and more Crossbows/ Bows is also no fun.

I love well rounded warbands who can do both range and close combat. I also love scenarios where people are forced to move and even separate their warband.

Back to topic, Skaven are strong, but I think they are in the beginning the strongest with their high maneuverability and the possibility to choose the first battles and to attack with multiple warriors single opponents. I fear this first strike ability nearly most. But they cannot stand losses of own warriors ergo rout tests very well, because of the low leadership.

They hate fear causing enemies, but there are not so many warbands like the Undead who have lots of them.

The strict wysiwyg interpretation I do not like, because I also do not like to have several minis for my warbands in background. I have several warbands with minis around max warband size and thats it. But this is my own choice of gaming and need not to be everyone elses choice.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Thu 10 Sep 2015 - 2:23

Lord O I commend you for taking the time to write a guide / post. I always enjoy reading peoples thoughts on tactics and strategies.

I do however feel that most of your points are very generic and apply to all warbands and situations (I.e. tarrot cards, lots of terrain, wysiwyg) and some completely moot - in multiplayer games teaming up against skaven, well what if its a 3 way game and you are against 2 skaven opponents? I mean surely if you have to team up with someone against them then there must be an issue with balance?

I fondly remember first picking up my Mordeheim box set back in 2001 and finely crafting my faithful band of witch hunters before introducing the game to my local group. All of that passion and love quickly dwindled when 3 of my group (of 5) all picked skaven and proceeded to rain tiny little stones down upon me.

I was wondering what your advice would be for a starting warband for thr first 5-10 games would be against an equally skilled skaven player on your average table (70% cover or 8-12 buildings on a 4x4 table)? Our group eventually adopted a common etiquette of no more than 50% of your models could have missile weapons (give or take a few exceptions) which brought a much welcomed balance to each phase of the game.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Fri 11 Sep 2015 - 4:17

Thanks for the nice tips. Here are some of my thought regarding Skaven warband.

In Skaven warband a basic Verminkin henchman with club and sling is 25 gc and has one point better than avarage M and I, two points worse than avarage LD. I think that it is quite good when most other warbands only get an avarage warrior with no weapons etc. for 25 gc. In most situations M and I are much more beneficial than LD (especially M).

I think that in first few games Skaven warband really only has one notable weakness low LD and for most warbands it is really difficult to take advantage of that weakness as high number of skaven warriors makes it really difficult to take advantage of all alone against them and fear causing warriors are rare.

Also as Skaven warband can/will start with six heroes if it comes across an enemy it knows it cannot win it can just try to kill as many heroes from the enemy warband as it can with its henchmen until the Skaven warband starts to rout and then it will voluntarily rout in many cases getting more wyrdstone and possible more gc than the opponent who won.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Fri 11 Sep 2015 - 17:24

Way, way back when I first played Mordheim, my Witch Hunters encountered a lot of sling-wielding Skaven and Sisters of Sigmar. Advancing into a hail of stones to bring my pistols to bear (I was playing as WYSIWIG as I could and only had one mini with a crossbow!) led to many routs and an impressive injury list.

When I started playing again a couple of years ago, I'd grown smarter. When facing rock-flinging ratmen, unleash the hounds! (or your expendable henchman unit of choice). For your first few encounters, your heroes should focus on running away to fight another day. If you do, it won't be long before you've got the equipment to level the playing field. If your warband can get them, go for missile weapons with greater range. Shields, Light Armour and Helmets will increase your survivability, as will Lucky Charms. If you've got access to Speed skills, then Dodge and Jump Up will also be a boon, and Sprint increases your threat range from charges. Learn how the hiding rules work and use sneaking against the Skaven!
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Sun 13 Sep 2015 - 8:42

Good idea for a thread for "reference", Lord O, as this topic comes up a lot. Good suggestions too.

When there is a skaven player about, I start collecting blunderbusses. Skaven hate 'em. They want nice clusters of ratsies so they can fling their rain of stones, and that makes them very vulnerable to the "ratsweepers", as they are often referred to in my neighborhood.



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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Mon 14 Sep 2015 - 3:38

mweaver wrote:
that makes them very vulnerable to the "ratsweepers", as they are often referred to in my neighborhood.

thumbsup
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Mon 14 Sep 2015 - 22:01

How I deal with skaven....
Our eshin skaven player often splits his clan rats into 3 groups of 5 henchmen with one hero to back each and the rest of the heroes and rat ogre(s) in another group. the henchmen groups would each take a flank with the board edge open.
If you attacked from the slide 5-10 stones 3 throwing knifes.
If you attacked head on 15-30 stones 9 throwing knifes.

So we would send close combat Warriors in to deal with the henchmen, not to wipe them out but to cause enough pain to make them roll rout tests.
Advance your close combat Warriors behind cover at all times,
Make them walk not run, so you may hide.
This is where fast units like dogs come in handy.

Once someone is in combat with their shooters this will often stop more than one warrior from shooting for a turn (especially with dogs because of their cavalry base) because they cannot shoot through combat providing the opportunity to freely advance.

Wardogs are a good choice because they have better strength and weapon skill then starting verminkin; and have a decent enough movement to advance and hide.

Or

If you can out range them ie- with crossbows and long bows etc that works fine,
try to make the table as sparse as possible,
I find it best to ignore heroes and focus on henchmen because their leaders leadership is usually the lowest on the table and even if i can force them to start taking rout tests at the same time as me i will usually outlast them.

also invest in fire bombs, powder kegs and blunderbuss's to force them to scatter, they are much easier to deal with when you are the one outnumbering them.

its common ratmen tactics to have at least one hero with infiltrate and a hockland longrifle, snipers are best fought against with other snipers there are many hired swords who make great snipers use them to fight the sniper don't waste a heroes time to try and deal with them unless you have a dedicated snipers

and lastly

This tactic is if the first two have failed.
Buy a wagon from empire in flames, (two if possible)
fill it with all your heroes.
Have your henchmen/ hired swords use the cart as cover and advance. when you are close enough try to run them down and the next turn. all but the driver jumps out your henchmen charge.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Wed 16 Sep 2015 - 18:43

Lord Lucius wrote:
I ... feel that most of your points are very generic and apply to all warbands and situations[.]
Yep, many of them do because they *do* work for most warbands in most situations. Because this was a guide for beginners I thought I would include everthing that worked, just in case they weren't aware of it - being new and all Smile.

That being said, you have incorrectly identified Tarot Cards as being one of them. Including Tarot cards in your game specifically a nerf to Skaven because Skaven get the least use out of them, especially at the start where they are strongest; an early purchase of them for at least the leader of the non-Skaven warbands significantly increases the warband's income from the exploration tables, particularly boosting doubles to triples and particularly things like (444) Fletcher.

Lord Lucius wrote:
[W]hat if its a 3 way game and you are against 2 skaven opponents? I mean surely if you have to team up with someone against them then there must be an issue with balance?
Yes and no. In this case, on the whole, no. The warbands in the orginal setting are pretty balanced, but they are not all equally balanced at the same time in the campaign. Some warbands start strong and then slack off. Some start slow and become power-houses. Some are more or less even the whole way along. Add to that the difference of skill levels of players and the fickle finger of the RNG Gods and you can see why sometimes you will need a multiplayer game or two to knock the uppermost warband down a bit.

In the specific case above, gang up with the weakest Skaven against the strongest Skaven and share the loot. They have a long and honourable history of stabbing their own kind in the back, after all.

Lord Lucius wrote:
I was wondering what your advice would be for a starting warband for the first 5-10 games would be against an equally skilled skaven player on your average table (70% cover or 8-12 buildings on a 4x4 table)?
First of all, for the first 3-4 games I would not try to win. The strength of the Skaven is that they start strong and can snowball if you let them. So don't let them. Simple, see? Razz Seriously though, in order to do that you will need to hurt them as much as you can while not letting them hurt you at all.

Numbers are generally a bad idea if you want to keep increasing your warband effectiveness as fast as everyone else. If they have 20 members and you only have 9 or 12 you won't have to do much at all to drag them off. By game 5-7 you should be pulling along-side them and by game 8-10 you should be pulling ahead (Unless you are undead and are not extremely lucky. Undead plateau even harder than Skaven).

Before Game 1:
Start with as much ranged as you can, without having your melee being excessively weak. Different warbands have a different sweet-spot for this. You will have to find not only what the sweetspot of your warband is, but *your* sweetspot for your warband, if you see what I mean. The best I can suggest here is good old trial and error.

Start with 8 members. You will need 3 good ones to get your TLGT hero as soon as possible if you are feeling lucky or you could get 1-2 Mr Expendables depending on how un/lucky you feel.
During game 1:
OOA as many of his heroes as possible and flee
After Game 1:
Get more ranged. If they can use them, there is no reason *at least* all your heroes should not have shooting weapons. Even melee focused heroes. Even Youngbloods. 6's to hit is still better than no chance to hit and every little bit of xp counts.
Get ropes and hooks for everyone. Mobility is key.

After game 2-4:
Finish getting ranged. Get a Tarot card for your leader, but leave it in the stash until he either gets LD9 or a/n Un/Holy relic (depending on how your group plays the Tarot Card/Relic interaction).
Get Rabbit's Feet for everyone. Rabbit's Feet lead to more fun games because you can afford to take more climbing/running/jumping/swinging etc. risks, which generate cool cinematic moments. And if you don't use them, you can use them to try and get more loot, so their purchase order is pretty up there.

After game 4-6
By now you should hopefully have 1 Tarot card online. Start working on the second.
You should have all the 'everyone' purchases (rope and hook, rabbit's foot, helmets, etc).
Now you can start getting some of the luxuries such as longbow and hunting arrows for your sniper, perhaps some heavy armour picked up either in a scenario or in the Exploration table (rabbit's feet can help here).

By now the Skaven player is probably putting his head over the parapet good and proper, and everyone else is well online. Feel free to arrange a multi-player ambush or something.

I don't know how it is in your group, but in my group we are all very competitive. Therefore, it is pretty much expected and never taken personally that the leader is ganged up on. It can be harsh, but such baptisms of fire are where legends are made and either they will be brought down to a more fun level to play with everyone else or their supremacy is assured and they go off to bigger and better things (the warband is retired and a new one started). For example, the best one of my warband successes is a Marienburger warband that went off into the Border Princes with magic tomes and relics and founded a magical university.

Games 5-7
You should have your feet well enough under you now that you can purchase up to 12 members to get that last hero if you don't already (you probably don't). You should also be able to be grinding them pretty decently i.e. OOAing 3-4 and then routing before he can OOA more than 2 of yours.

Games 8-10
The playing field should be pretty well levelled by now. Put the boot in as best you can and so on and so forth.

Get Hunch and Tactician as soon as possible for your leader. Being able to put your shooters and ambushers in key places is very handy. At the very least, Hunch is good for Infiltration-denial and Tactician will counter your enemy having tactician.

Lord Lucius wrote:
Our group eventually adopted a common etiquette of no more than 50% of your models could have missile weapons (give or take a few exceptions) which brought a much welcomed balance to each phase of the game.
I have seen groups adopt this from time to time. It works right up until their Possessed and Beastmen players learn to play properly Razz. Heck, sometimes it only lasts until they notice Healing Herbs are *not* one use only...
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Fri 18 Sep 2015 - 13:39

In both campaigns I've run, people have been surprised at how good Healing Herbs are, especially against shooty warbands. If you have a hero with more than one wound, start searching for these ASAP! I think they get overlooked because early on because they don't do anything for most heroes and/or people assume they're one use only and thus expensive.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Thu 24 Sep 2015 - 18:09

Lord 0 wrote:

After game 2-4:
Finish getting ranged. Get a Tarot card for your leader, but leave it in the stash until he either gets LD9 or a/n Un/Holy relic (depending on how your group plays the Tarot Card/Relic interaction)

I find this a strange tactic: investing 50gc and not using it to boost your game. I don't know about you but I think Tarot Cards is best look upon as a investment and you wish to have a return on investment as soon as possible. I get that Tarot Cards is especially good since your hero can be OoA and still infer the bonus.

In my reading Tarot Cards are used and rolled for before the game so can't be combined with the (un)Holy Relic.

But back on topic, since you will be replacing henchmen and buying long ranged weapons I don't see how you will have 50gc spare for Tarot Cards you're not yet willing to use.

My advice is not to wait until you have a Ld9 hero before using the Tarot Cards. With Ld8 you will have only 2,78% chance of your hero refusing to join the fray, a low enough risk to make your 50gc pay for it's investment.

I can't stress this enough 50gc can buy you so much, I do get it that you need to make the Rare roll, so trying for it sooner than later is a good plan.

Still here is my 2cents on items you should be buying for your hero's.
In this order, you can of course deviate according to the gc at your disposal.

1. Rare: Rabbit's Foot, at Rare 5 and 10gc this should be possible to obtain early as game 1-2

Non-Rare: Rope & Hook 5gc for ranged, Helmet 10gc for HtH
Rope & Hook RR is golden as positioning is key, as in most tactical games.
Helmet is a no brainer as we all know how devastating a stun can be.

2. Rare: Lucky Charm, at Rare 6 and 10gc I feel this is also a must-have for all heroes. Negating the first hit can be really important I consider it as the first Rare purchase for HtH heroes. Getting into HtH is important and the RR of Rabbit's Foot typically doesn't help here.

Non-Rare: Rope & Hook and Helmets for those who don't have any yet.

Buying proper ranged weapons and decent melee weapons does come in at a higher priority for me. Typically you try to cram as much bodies into the starting roster, so they do lack the right equipment.

But back on topic, to beat Skaven you should get a hero with access to shooting skills and not an impressive high BS "Weapons Expert" skill and start looking for a blunderbuss.

Like mentioned before, there is no weapon like a blunderbuss that disperses Skaven. Dad

I still find it strange that there is a thread dedicated to counter Skaven but they aren't considered as an unbalanced warband.

PS: I will give my personal 'nerf' for slings. Special Rule: Breakable: this is a makeshift weapon that isn't know for it's durability. After each encounter roll a d6 on a 1 the weapon is destroyed.

This will not nerf any of the basics of the sling but will induce a type of upkeep cost. So it is no longer a no-brainer to equip each and every rat with it. eeexcellent!
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Sun 27 Sep 2015 - 7:16

If your leader is just something like a Mercenary leader early in the campaign then you can probably afford to risk Ld 8 roll for Tarot Cards. If your leader is a caster (e.g. Possessed or Sisters) and/or has both Hunch and Tactician then it is probably a bit much to risk it on the Ld 8 roll, by my personal taste anyway.

I tend not to purchase many lucky charms because they are one of the easier results to get during the exploration phase (22 - Shop; roll a 1). That being said I do buy them a bit more often when playing Empire in Flames.
El_Jairo wrote:
I still find it strange that there is a thread dedicated to counter Skaven but they aren't considered as an unbalanced warband.
I think it is because their strengths are all easy to find so new players find them easily, but their strengths are subtle so not many new players find them quickly. And some groups never find them at all. However, for those groups that *do* find and exploit their weakesses, they are not an unbalanced warband.

Oh, and also, almost all their strengths are at the start of the campaign and a lot of campaigns fizzle after only a few games so some groups may not often *see* Skaven at their weakest.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Tue 29 Sep 2015 - 6:55

Ok, so using a tarot cards imposed a risk of 8,33% of the hero not being present in the encounter. Which is indeed acceptable. I do agree that you don't want to do it with a hero who has skills that benefit other warband members: Leader, Battle Tongue, Tactician and Hunch.
Basically I find it an excellent item for those heroes who roll Ld increase.
And yes the point is correct that Skaven have limited use for it. But still it is a 50gc investment that will have no impact on the encounters. Yet still, one lucky fletcher might pay for it immediately.

I don't agree that obtaining a Lucky Charm for free (through exploration) is that easy, first you need to roll double 2, sure doubles are relatively easy but then you need to roll a 1, 17% chance of that happening. So to get one Lucky Charm you need to roll 6 times 'shop' double 2. I rather re-roll that 2 to obtain a higher combination in dice and a higher total of found shards of Warpstone.
I do not want to depend on luck to obtain Lucky Charms for my heroes, don't underestimate the power of ignoring the first hit (also if it is 'only' 50% chance).
Typically this means that the opposing model just has moved into range to be able shoot you, so they suffer from -1 because of moving. So next turn you can return fire without this modifier and thus have at least 17% more chance to hit.
Even if you are not a shooty warband, keeping your HtH heroes on their feet to close the gap with the enemy is vital.

Ok, back on topic: what are the weaknesses of Skaven?
1) Low leadership
2) No long range missile weapons
3) No access to heavy armour (not really a problem until late in a campaign.

1) can be exploited by forcing a routing test on them. This is rather hard as they tend to have a high number of warriors in their warband.
Another way is to force 'All alone test', again rather difficult with so many warriors in their warband and this mean going HtH with them. Typically this means you have to survive a round of stones pelted at your assaulters (slings).
Lastly models causing fear will prove hard for them to hurt in HtH. Yet again this involves getting into a HtH fight with them, which they should avoid as long as they can use their slings.

2) So you want to go for a long range shoot-out. Get into elevated positions with all warriors who can shoot further than 18" (the range of a sling). Because of the elevation (above 2") you get to chose your targets. Preferably an enemy Hero hiding behind a henchman, if you miss because of the cover,you still hit the henchman.
If you get into a position with nice firing lanes you might be able to force a routing test on the Skaven before they can start returning fire.

3) Like I said, this will only become relevant later in the campaign when you have money to burn on heavy armour and a shield, which gives you a decent chance of withstanding most of their stone pelting when you advance on them.

So make sure you pick a scenario that can be ended with a rout test and isn't won by speed.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Wed 4 Nov 2015 - 11:36

The perception of Skaven overpoweredness comes from the nature of how most games are played - with the basic rules only and without a firm understanding of the rules of Mordheim (as well as the 'broken' rules of Mordheim).

That is, it's easier to stumble upon 'give everybody slings' for a Skaven warband than the equivalent broken loadout for a mercenary warband, so you'll tend to see early dominance in Mordheim to a Skaven because people don't know how to deal with it.

Additionally, some 'basic' rules benefit the Skaven. Without a nerf on dual-wielding, an off-hand dagger has a chance to get a critical hit. A mass of rats swinging off-hand daggers causes problems because of critical hits. If you use the 'simple critical hit' system, these crap weapons will perform critical hits that take swords and two-handed weapons to achieve (weapons that cost 5x to 10x as much as give costly penalties like Always Strike Last).

If you want to beat Skaven, learn the rules. Then insist on using the advanced critical chart, else a single stone skittering across the ground and hitting your leg might decapitate a hero in the same way that would normally require a two-handed ax.

Furthermore, advance under cover and hide. Starting Skaven cannot move, shoot long range, and target a unit in cover without the shot simply being impossible. They're looking at 6s, 5s if they're lucky. They'll only get to abuse slings if you let them.

Don't fall for the Bait And Switch - when a skaven warband spreads out and you accept the bait and try to take either side on their own terms. They can send a henchman into cover around a corner and march block the entire flank while the scurrying, speedy critters all run to the opposite side and double-team your weaker flank. And the support is march-blocked by a single skaven ducking behind walls to squeak menacingly at you or, worse yet, gets into a stupid fight with five heroes and dies but locks them up while a ratpile gang up on your other side and start forcing leadership tests.

Realize their extreme weaknesses to Fear. If you have a Fear causer, abuse it. Two heroes, the Night Runners, start with LD4. That's a 1/6 chance of charging a fear causer, but if they fail, they stand around neither fighting nor throwing rocks.

Bunch up. Put stronger, tougher guys up front. A rock that knocks down or even stuns somebody is a wasted rock, as they still have to roll to hit again against a downed opponent. Just step in front of him to prevent more fire. Additionally, if you're bunched up, it's easier to get into spread out combats that block lines of fire to the rest of your warband and it reduces the number of skaven who can shoot past their own men because they block each other's line of sight (or give you cover).

Take your time! Make normal moves, hide, shimmy forward and hide again. If they wait for you or try to maneuver around, that's fine - you've just cancelled their speed advantage. Even if they get the alpha strike, accept that you're going into a battle and might take some losses in exchange for hitting them where it hurts.

Pertaining to the above: don't fall for the sacrificial rat. If a rat is running around your flank to try and 'see' all your hidden models (and thus expose them for shooting), it'll be obvious at least a turn or two in advance. Murder it. In the same way, if one rat starts to 'break from the pack' towards your lines, they're probably trying to get close enough to pop somebody valuable out of hiding and take him out. It's OK to drop back and hide further back. It's also OK to run to the flank or in retreat even if it drops you out of hiding if the final location is out of line of sight or in cover - long range sling shots at people in the open tend to hit on 6s.

Threaten their heroes. A lot of players get into the habit of exposing their henchmen and playing the safe game. Skaven heroes grow to be combat monsters, but combat monsters of the glass cannon variety. Early on, their henchmen are as good or even better than their heroes. Put them off balance and threaten their heroes.

Advance Under Cover! Armor is a waste in Mordheim, but a single piece of heavy armor with a shield, some extra rule for AC, high toughness, and a helmet means he can stand up front. Jump Up works even better with this (especially if you are hard-headed or not feeling pain). Put valuable people behind him but use him as cover. Shots are less likely to hit your squishy units while 'shots that miss by 1' will hit the guy who can shrug it off. Without elevation, you're forcing multiple shots onto somebody who might take a final wound and just stand right back up.

All Alone Tests. Usually, Skaven have more numbers, but sometimes they'll split up or send a hero/henchman combo to try and harass some of your archers. A line of three skaven spread out is really two skaven about to be all alone if you can knock down that middle guy.

Finally, as stated above, realize that slings and ranged shooting usually aren't the problem with skaven. Nobody takes Weapons Training and says, "YEAH! Now my vampire is going to throw rocks!" It's letting yourself be suckered into playing into the skaven's hands.
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PostSubject: Re: Some advice on how to beat Eshin Skaven warbands.   Today at 4:30

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