Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Skaven Allegiences, Part 2: Clan Skryre

Last time, I discussed the Skaven Pestilens allegiance abilities in the 2017 General's Handbook, and laid out my plans for my own Pestilens force. I've done a little work on the models– The first Plagueclaw is assembled and ready to be primed. I added a cauldron of filth on one arm using one of the spare pieces and a simple press mold of the glop on the catapult arm. Up the opposite side, I attached some strips of card, scored with a wood grain pattern and pressed with rivets. The Catapult, wheels, and crew will all be painted in separate parts.




I also converted five Plague Censor Bearers. They are assembled from the Plague Monk kit, with the censor weapon arm and staves rearranged and pinned together to create a two-handed weapon. I'm hoping to work in a few of the "smoking" censors from the Plague Furnace chassis to bring a little more life and color to the models.



Now let's take a look at the Skaven Skryre Allegiance:

Battle Traits

When taking battleshock tests, Skaven Skryre units add +2 to their bravery rather than +1. Unlike the Clans Pestilens, the Skryre Clan only has Skryre Acolytes (formerly known as Poisoned Wind Globadiers) as a large unit. The trait won't affect allied units like Clanrats or Stormvermin. But having this ability on the Acolytes isn't a complete write-off; a maximum sized unit of 30 Skryre Acolytes will get +6 to its bravery for battleshock tests, and it also gets a "Massive Regiment" discount, and counts as a Battleline unit for the Skryre allegiance.

30 Acolytes can dish out a fair amount of firepower as well– The unit's poisoned wind globe attacks have a 9-inch range, and they don't need line of sight to their target. They can line up behind a fighting unit like Clanrats or Plague Monks, and the whole unit will be able to lob their globes into the fray. The globes hit on 4+, but that becomes 3+ if the target has at least 10 models. The globes wound on a 4+ and have -2 rend. Any attacks that get through dish out D3 wounds.

I've used this tactic in two games, and in one case, the poisoned wind globes wiped out the enemy before my unit in front could even fight in the combat phase! A horde of Skryre Acolytes can provide close-range support to a fighting unit, and the Strength in Numbers bonus will help them shrug off battleshock tests from shooting casualties.



The other trait the Skaven Skryre allegiance has is the ability to use warpstone sparks to augment their casting rolls and damage. The army gets D3+3 warpstone sparks, and it's important to not that these are for the army, and not assigned to any specific character. The sparks are a finite resource and you can spend one per phase to re-roll a casting roll or unbinding roll for a Skryre Wizard, or to re-roll a failed hit or wound roll made by a Skryre Hero, or to double the damage characteristic of a single, successful attack.

After using a warpstone spark, you need to roll a D6, and on a 1 the unit using the spark suffers D6 mortal wounds, as it shreds their insides worse than a Jagged Metal Krusty-O. That's a hefty gamble for a character or weapon team that might only have 3 or 6 wounds to start with. There's a command trait that can help the general mitigate the damage, but a Stormfiend unit could weather it fairly well. A successful attack with a Stormfiend Grinderfist can punch through enemy armor with -2 rend, and the damage will double from 3 to 6! I think that's where these warpstone sparks really shine.



Command Traits

There are six command traits that can be used by the general, which would be an Arch Warlock or Warlock Engineer.

  • Malevolent: Re-roll wound rolls of 1 for the general. This might be worth it on an Arch Warlock, since they can dish out some damage in combat, but I wouldn't take it on a lesser Engineer.

  • Cunning Creature: This allows you to retreat from combat instead of fighting when you select the model to attack. That's useful if you find yourself stuck in combat, but it's the sort of thing that can be avoided by careful placement of your general and the models around him.

  • Deranged Inventor: You can re-roll failed hit rolls for Skryre War Machines within 6" of the general. The only model in the army that qualifies for this is the Doom Wheel, and I doubt you'll have your general out tooling around in range of the Doom Wheel. This might be more worthwhile if the Warp Lightning Cannon rolled to hit, or if the weapon teams were classified as War Machines, but as it stands, this seems a good way to put your your general in range of getting killed.

  • Masterful Scavenger: The army starts the game with an additional D3 warpstone sparks. This one seems great, but in the two games I've played, I haven't ever run out of my basic allotment of sparks, so I don't know if this might be one of those things that looks appealing, but ends up being nothing more than an overcompensation.

  • Verminous Valor: A sort of "look out sir" roll for your general. On a 4+ he can ignore any wound or mortal wound and transfer it to a friendly Skryre unit within 3 inches. This would be great for shedding mortal wounds from warpstone sparks. Unfortunately, the wounds need to be passed on to a Skryre unit, and most of them are single models like the weapon teams, or very expensive like the Jezzails or Stormfiends. Keep a team of Acolytes nearby if you plan on using this.

  • Overseer of Destruction: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for weapon teams within 6 inches. Of all the command traits, this sticks out as the most reliably useful. A wise Skaven general will stay back from the front, and this puts you in a prime position to allow Poisoned Wind Mortars the ability to re-roll their hits.

Artifacts of Power

The artifacts, in true Skaven fashion, are a balance of risk versus reward. They can have spectacular effects, or backfire horribly.

  • Assassins-bane Rigging: This item inflicts a mortal wound on each enemy unit that attacked the hero in the combat phase on a 3+ if the hero wasn't slain. I keep saying that I like to keep my Skaven characters out of harm's way, but this one might be useful on an Arch Warlock. The Warlock has a 3+ save, and if you combine this item with the Verminous Valor command trait, you'll have a fairly survivable little combat rat who can rebound mortal wounds back at his attackers.

  • Esoteric Warp Resonator: This grants the model a free warpstone spark each turn. That's playing with fire, if you ask me. In order to get the full use out of this item, you need to use it as often as possible, and sooner or later you're going to roll that one...

  • Skryre's Breath Bellows: In your hero phase it inflicts D3 mortal wounds on each unit (friend or foe) within 3 inches on a roll of 5 or more. Those aren't good odds, and you can rest assured you'll be rolling more 5s for your own units than for the enemy! I'll pass on this one.

  • Vial of the Fulminator: Doubles the move of a Skryre War Machine that starts its move within 3" of the hero. This can be useful to get your Warp Lightning cannon from a 3" move to a 6" move, better allowing it to get in range for its initial shot. It could also allow a Doom Wheel to haul-ass across the table and roll over several enemy units, inflicting D3 mortal wounds to each. The trade off is that the moving unit will suffer a mortal wound (not too bad for Cannons and Doom Wheels, which have 6 and 8 wounds respectively). But it's a one-and-done item; the Doom Wheel will certainly be out of range to use it again, and the Warp Lightning cannons will have range after that, and can't really spare further wounds.

  • Vigordust Injector: A Skryre unit within 6" gains +1 to its charge rolls and hit rolls until your next hero phase. Then it suffers D3 mortal wounds. This is great for boosting Stormfiends, or for buffing the hit rolls of a unit of Acolytes' poisoned wind globes. You don't want to use it on a weapon team, since the resulting mortal wounds will probably kill it. Although, since the mortal wounds don't occur until your next hero phase, you could get double duty out of it if used over the enemy's double turn; you'll have two combat rounds with +1 to hit before your hero phase comes around and the effects wear off. This has been my go-to item in my current Skryre list, but it's also situational; I've only had the opportunity to use it once.

  • Brass Orb: An old favorite, the Brass Orb is a one-use item. In the shooting phase, the closest enemy model within 6" is SLAIN on the roll of a 6. Very cool if you can bean Archaeon and take him off the table in one shot with no save of any kind, but the odds are that it will only work one out of every six games. Make sure you have the Price Is Right Sad Trombone queued up on your phone before you roll!



Skryre Lord Skreekits' Lightning Engineer Cult

Clan Skryre was the focus of my Skaven army when I began collecting ages ago, so I have plenty of units to fill out a Skryre Allegiance. Here's the list I've been running recently, and it's done pretty well: 

  • Skryre Allegiance Units:

  • Skrylock, the Arch Warlock, General, with Overseer of Destruction and Vigordust Injector

  • Skektik's Bombardiers, x30 Skryre Acolytes (Battleline)

  • x3 Stormfiends, 2 with Doom-Flayer Gauntlets, 1 with Grinderfists (Battleline)

  • x3 Stormfiends, 2 with Doom-Flayer Gauntlets, 1 with Grinderfists (Battleline)

  • Poison Mortar Weapon Team

  • 2 Doom-Flayer Weapon Teams

  • 2 Warp Lightning Cannons

  • Allied Units:

  • Snagglecyst, the Plague Priest

  • The Order of Gangrenous Gashing, x40 Plague Monks with paired Foetid Blades

My strategy is to run the Plague Monks up front with the Acolytes and the priest right behind them. The Priest supports the Monks with prayers and the Acolytes throw poisoned wind globes over their heads.

The two Stormfiend units are equipped with melee options, and the Grinderfists allow me to deploy them underground if I want. (Grinderfists are also one of the better melee options, hitting on 4+, wounding on 3+ with -2 rend and 3 damage.) The Stormfiends can dish out the damage and are pretty resilient, having a 3+ save if I can get Mystic Shield on them. Warpstone sparks are useful for increasing their damage.

The two Doom-flayer teams support the fighting units. I find these "mini Doom Wheels" more survivable and more devastating than actual Doom Wheels. If you overcharge them, they dish out D6 attacks, hit on 3+ (2+ if they charge), wound on 3+ with -2 rend and D3 damage. (A regular Doom Wheel's D6 melee attacks only have -1 rend and 1 damage, and don't even get +1 to hit when they charge!)

The rest of the army is artillery support: Two Warp Lightning Cannons to dish out long-range mortal wounds, and a Poisoned Wind Mortar to thin out large units. I keep the Arch Warlock close to the mortar so it can re-roll 1s to hit. If the general is close enough to the Stormfiends, I can use the Vigordust Injector to boost their charge and hit rolls.

Clans Moulder

One thing I want to finish on is Clan Moulder. There are no allegiance abilities for Clan Moulder, but you can still build a Moulder allegiance "monster" army. Since Stormfiends have the Moulder keyword, they can also be included. At 2000 points, you can fit a unit of 8 Rat Ogors, two Hell Pit Abominations, Two 3-man units of Stormfiends, two 10-man units of Giant Rats to finish filling out the Battleline requirements, and four Packmasters. The list could be played as a pure melee beat-stick, or the Rat Ogres and Stormfiends can be equipped with ranged options to add a little shooting firepower.  I'm looking forward to trying this out!


'Til next time!


  1. They look awesome! I like the extra steps you've taken on the war machine - not having any way to climb up or reload just didn't make sense to me. I may have to pinch the idea when I eventually build mine.

  2. That all looks brilliant!

    I am lucky that 8th still has a strong following in my gaming circles so I do not have to learn a whole new way of using my armies.


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