Blood Bowl PlayBook :: Skaven :: Skaven Tactics

Skaven Tactics

by Coach Blacknife, Dr Pestilance, Coach Bubonic Plaguers, with help from Nigel Buckle (Blood Bowl Home of @rnholm)

Skaven

Skaven are an uneasy blend of low armour and very fast players. The Wood Elves have an advantage in that all of their players are more agile – which balances the low armour; the Skaven have to rely on their low cost to keep them supplied with plentiful replacements.(Which seems appropriate for rodents really.)

The Skaven are fast, but they break easily. Actually it’s remarkable as to just how fast these rats can run – this can infuriate your opponent if they’re not used to it. A good thing too, as it can throw them off their gameplay!

Skaven are an uneasy blend of low armour and very fast players. The Wood Elves have an advantage in that all of their players are more agile – which balances the low armour; the Skaven have to rely on their low cost to keep them supplied with plentiful replacements.(Which seems appropriate for rodents really.)

The Skaven are fast, but they break easily. Actually it’s remarkable as to just how fast these rats can run – this can infuriate your opponent if they’re not used to it. A good thing too, as it can throw them off their gameplay!

Starting Teams

You can go two ways here: ‘all out’ for skills and edge-of-your seat dice rolls; or ‘strength’ giving a means of retaliation against power teams like Orcs or Chaos. I started with an ‘all out’ option as I like to live with the doubt that any of my players will be on the pitch by the end of the game. That’s not quite true, but fact is you may not have any players left standing by the time the final whistle blows!

7 Linerats 350,000
1 Thrower 70,000
2 Gutter Runners 160,000
2 Stormvermin 180,000
2 Rerolls 120,000
7 Fan Factor 70,000
Apothecary 50,000
Total Cost 1,000,000

If you’d like more Gutter Runners I would recommend that you hold off for a while as you risk reducing the overall strength of your starting team by introducing them too quickly (giving up critical Fan Factor or Rerolls for a ST2 player – of which you already have two). Starting with only one means that there is only one target for your opponent to worry about, two targets can keep them off balance longer.

What about the rest of the team? A Rat Ogre would be nice, but this is balaned by starting with fewer Rerolls, a lower Fan Factor or even only 11 players. The latter is a mistake – especially if you can’t buy an Apothecary after game 1. (Freebooting 2 Linemen instead of buying 1 is a gamble you may want to try – just hope to pull money cards.)

Never underestimate the Linemen if you can capitalise on their speed. That extra square or two makes such a difference. Try at least 1 go-for-it and you’ll soon see how far these little guys go. And they’re cheap too!

Palying a skaven Team

Card selection:
Althogh less reliant on money than an Elven team, Random Events are probably still your best bet. If two cards are drawn then I would tend toward two Random Events, but be tempted by a Magic Item. Three cards guarantees a Magic Item and two Random Events.

Offence:
Start with just 1 or 2 gutter runners, with the plan to try to run deep and interfere with the guy receiving the kick off. If I have rat ogres I put them on the line, otherwise just stick expendable linerats up front. The storm vermin setup with the runners giving deep field protection.
Don’t forget that Gutter Runners can throw the ball only marginally worse than your Thrower can – a completion and a lucky MVP means a skill!

Defence:
Use a thrower deep and throw in as many runners as you have near the widezones, ready to run deep.

Damage limitation:
It would be nice to rely on your high AG to dodge out of TZs once all other important moves have been completed – but you can’t. Instead players with Guard are worth the doubles it takes to get one (on Linerats at least). The alternative is to throw some 1-Dice blocks – you are fragile but can take some punishment. After all, a 1-Dice block with no skills on either side is in your favour. However, try and keep the GR’s away from too much danger as that ST2/AV7 combo can be punishing.

Playing an Advanced Skaven Team:
Skills that increase you power in blocking are VERY useful – if you block you want the opponent to go down and preferably out. Therefore, including a frenzy, block combo to get players off the pitch. Emptying the pitch has two benifits, 1) Fewer possible blocks against your players and 2) more space for you GR’s to roam in.

General:
You have a major speed advantage over most opponents, use it to spread them out minimising the 2 & 3 dice blocks they can do.

Score as heavily as you can. I always recieve the first kick if I can and score in turn 1 or 2, thereafter your opponent is playing a catch-up game.

Advancing Skavens

Linerats, if you max out on all the position players then your full roster is going to include eight Linerats tops (even less if you start buying Rat Ogres). Out of these eight, five or six or so will be on-pitch at any time so they have to be good to get noticed. Specialisation of Linerats is similar to any other Lineman – that is, they’re limited by skill choice.
Skills: Block, Dirty Player, Tackle, Shadowing
Doubles: any mutations esp. Claw, RSC, Regen, Spikes. Guard and Dodge are also useful.
Kick is a handy skill as a well-placed ball can be capitalised more readily by a Skaven team than any other (with Wood Elf teams being the exception). Don’t take it too soon as a well kicked ball is of little use if you have no skilled players to take advantage of it!

Thrower, use heavily to get their first few skills quickly. One thrower can always get to the ball on a kickoff. Once you have a Thrower, use him on both Offense and Defense (he’s basically another Linerat, remember?) to gain him SPPs as quickly as possible. Once he collects two upgrades you can consider purchasing a second to use on Defense – your #1 Thrower will now be an Offensive player. Of course if you’ve rolled a couple of doubles thus far then you may well want to rethink this strategy…
Skills: Accurate, Strong Arm, Safe Pass (useful for lobbing the ball to GR’s in the back field ready to score), Block (protection for the running throw, and assistance for the line)
Doubles: Big Hand (2nd thrower with BH and Hail Mary is realy useful for converting loose balls into TD’s), Dodge.

Gutter Runner, major scoring machines. Useful to generate a 1-turn-TD-monster as these will always be a threat to the opposition. The development of Gutter Runners to use specifically on Offense (Sure Feet, Sprint, Very Long Legs and Side Step) or Defence (Dauntless, Block and Horns) is advisable – you don’t generally need all four on any given drive anyway!
Skills, Catch, Leap, Diving Catch (all useful), Block (extra protection), Pass Block (useful if you can combine it with AG upgrades or VLL
Doubles: Very long legs (+ sure feet + sprint), Regenerate (they will always be targets).

Stormvermin, good blitzers, but don’t forget to score with them to increase SPP they are quite capable though GR are the obvious targets.
Skills: Mighty Blow, Guard, Tackle (To hit other dodgy types). Its worth considering getting one with Frenzy as this helps remoe opponents off the field, which is essential for skaven.
Doubles, Claw + Razor Sharp anything (devastating combo), Dodge (gets them places)

General Commentary

#1 Vanilla (Blood Bowl & Death Zone)
Stay sharp and adjust your play to that of your league. That is if your opponents tend toward the violent then you will need to hire Headsplitter (and perhaps three of his cousins). On the other hand if you play fast action games then max out on the Gutter Runners early on and scare your opponent with their speed and ability to move and retrieve the ball – remember the specialisation.

#2 Jervis Johnson (Blood Bowl, Death Zone, No Stars, Big Guys and Allies)
Rat Ogre. Front line strength. Rat Ogre Rat Ogre is a good line vs most teams. Use their agility too, they are equivalent to Stormvermin and a lot harder to put down (and once they get Block…).
Skills: Mighty Blow, Guard, Stand Firm (good start off)
Doubles: BLOCK!!!! (They desperately need it dont waste the fisrt doubles on anything else!, Dodge, Claws (if you get 2 doubles before getting MB)

#3 Other
Allies (Chaos, Undead 6+) [Mail Order rules] There isn’t anything of real interest in the undead side except perhaps the Mummy (if you are into heavy immobile front lines). Chaos Beastmen are to me the obvious choice as they add to the only department the skaven have a shortage of – BLITZERS. They don’t slow the team down and they add ST 4 blitzes and are ideal candidates for Frenzy.