Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ratty Reflections

Cash Johnson with another 8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy blog. Well, the 'Ard Boyz didn't happen at the store, mainly because of (from what I'm told) the GW Rep screwing up royal and not signing us up to host it - we made a Blood Bowl day out of it instead, but still... we wanted to play! In any case, the Island of Blood starter box went on sale this weekend, and I happened to get free minis out of a friend's purchase. I only wanted the Rat Ogre, who became #13 of Clan Xymox, but he offered me the rest of the rats as well, which brought about a single notion in my mind - I had already sold off 5,000+ points in Skaven to begin with, so do I really want more of them again?

The answer was a resounding "hell yes!"

So I now bring your attention to my original Skaven plan, which has eluded me for some time, and can now be done from scratch. I've always loved Clan Skryre, simply because in a medieval styled world, they brought about the most advanced steampunk technology, powered by magical cocaine. Chemical weapons, flamethrowers, machineguns, sniper rifles, magic-laser cannons... who WOULDN'T want to play an army like that? The problem with the previous edition of the Skaven rules was an all-Skryre list relied solely on casters and Warp Lightning Cannons to do the most damage, with Jezzails sniping cavalry and monsters and solo characters. Okay, so the all-Skryre list STILL has that as a core, but the difference NOW is new spells, better shooting rules, and awesome new support weapons (I'm looking at you, Mortar Team). To add to the fun, more named characters to throw into a list - specifically speaking, Ikit Claw. A level three caster with a 3+ Armour save is BEAUTIFUL, not to mention Strength 6 with Ignores Armour in combat, plus a one-shot Warpfire Thrower for free, AND a Bound spell that can cause 10 Strength 5 hits?! Sure, he costs 395 points, but that's a fair price to pay for a cyborg-wizard-rat that exists solely to cause damage and destruction.

So what's in the rest of my 2250 list on paper? Well, I based it on purchasing an Island of Blood for myself and repaying my friend the favor by giving him all the High Elves from it, so two starter boxes are factored in. As far as concept after that, I decided character-heavy would be the cheapest, and most powerful route for Skryre - lots of fancy gear and Magic items...

1. Ikit Claw - see above. 395 points.

2. Warlord (General) - Cleaver of Swift Slaying, Warpstone Armour, Talisman of Protection, Shield. 168 points.

3. Warlock Engineer (Lv 1) - Warplock Pistol, 2 Warpstone Tokens. 103 points.

4. Warlock Engineer - Warpmusket, Warlock Optics, Pipes of Piebald. Attached to Jezzail unit. 75 points.

5. Chieftain (BSB) - Hand Weapon, Heavy Armour, Shield, Banner of the Under-Empire. 97 points.

6. Chieftain - Ogre Blade, Seed of Rebirth, Heavy Armour, Shield. 97 points.

7. 2 Units of 30 Clanrats - Full Command, Hand Weapons, Light Armour, Shields, Poisoned Wind Mortar. 220 points each.

8. 1 Unit of 40 Clanrats - Full Command, Hand Weapons, Spears, Light Armour, Shields, Warpfire Thrower. 290 points.

9. 1 Unit of 25 Stormvermin - Full Command, Hand Weapons, Halberds, Heavy Armour, Shields, Warpfire Thrower. 295 points.

10. 1 Unit of 5 Jezzails - Sharpshooter. 110 points.

11. 2 Warp Lightning Cannons - 90 points each.

The plan is simple: shoot the living hell out of anything and everything I can. Lots of templates, maximum of five spells per turn, plus six rifles firing a turn (two at BS 4, one ignoring cover penalties) to take out larger targets quickly. The downside to a list like this is the lack of numbers. At only 111 models, plus Cannon crew, it needs to hit hard and hit fast in the first two turns to make any real difference - against swarm armies, this is INCREDIBLY vital. It will also require special dice to play - green dice for sure, with either marble or glitter finish, or else I risk insulting the Horned Rat. You may be asking why I don't take a Doomwheel at this point, and that answer is simple too: it is an uncontrollable chariot that would need to be doubled up to prevent being wasted early on, and the actual kit is a pain in the ass to build - the 'shiny toy' of the Skaven army book (as every new book has its shiny toy units).

Which brings us to the color scheme of the proposed army. When I think of any kind of magic, I think 'blue.' Perhaps it is a throwback memory to Magic: The Gathering, or maybe just the fact that I like blue, but that's how it is. At the same time, Skaven magic is 'green' because of their love of Chaos cocaine, so I went for a compromise - the cloth and uniforms will be Hawk Turquoise, but instead of using a blue wash, I plan to dirty the robes and such with Gryphonne Sepia (my ink of choice at the moment). Fur will be, for the most part, Dheneb Stone with Sepia wash over that as well (as evidenced by Clan Xymox). A lot of Dwarf Bronze will be used, with some Chainmail for accents, but primarily the Bronze color, which suits their style of mass-production better. Anything warpstone will, naturally, be Dark Angels Green with Scorpion Green drybrushing and edging. I also mixed a custom pink I call 'Rat-tail' which is perfect for Skaven, again washed in Sepia to muddy it up. I am thinking of using a yellow for the eyes with Rotting Flesh to highlight, but not sure yet - the Warlord and Engineers will definitely be using Scorpion Green for the eyes with another accent color.

Finally, what do I think of the Island of Blood models? Amazingly done (as you can see from Jonathan above in the picture). I appreciate the Warlock Engineer being all gunslinger, what with the halberd and giant backpack he's got on. The Rat Ogres are VERY nice, and the one with the blade arm would make a perfect Master-bred. I am thankful for both weapon teams, but none more than the Poisoned Wind Mortar - I love the WWI gas masks, and the fact they are plastic is even better, as much of my previous Skaven force was fragile pewter (and must always be handled with care else they break). The Warlord, however, is the best model of the Skaven half of the box (the Griffon being top prize) - the detail and pose of the Warlord is quite dynamic, and worthy of being my general. Now I just need to come up with moneys to get more rats. Probably sell my Empire. Silly man-things, thinking they can win.

- Cash

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