Friday, September 24, 2010

A Healthy Respect for Rats

I was able to make it down to Redcap's Corner for their escalation league the other night, and played 1,250 points of High Elves against the store owner's Skaven. Here's what I brought:

  • A level 3 Archmage with High Magic and a level 2 Mage with the Lore of Life
  • 2 units of 10 Sea Guard with full command
  • 2 units of 10 Swordmasters with full command, one with the Banner of Socrery
  • 5 Ellyrian Reavers
Adam had:
  • Queek Headtaker and a BSB with some kind of crazy rat banner that does random str2 hits
  • a massive 500-point block of Stormvermin
  • 2 (or possibly 3) units of Skavenslaves
  • 2 Rat Ogres with packmaster
  • a warpfire thrower
  • 2 lightning cannons
We rolled scenario six, the one with the watchtower, with a unit of Adam's Skavenslaves holding the tower at the start of the game. Thinking back to past defeats, I deployed my units mostly together to keep them in range of the mages' augment spells. With my vanguard move, I moved the Reavers up my right flank to deal with one of the lightning cannons, which Adam had placed in opposite corners of the board.

I was in the position to make a first turn charge on the tower with my Swordmasters, so I did so. They ended up taking out half the Skavenslaves with no casualties, but because of the building the rats were stubborn and I wasn't able to shift them. I moved the other unit of Swordmasters forward to charge the Stormvermin next turn, and buffed them with Stone to Flesh and Shield of Saphery in the magic phase. The Reavers took a wound off of the lightning cannon with their bows. In Adam's turn, the bulk of the rats moved up and there was some inaccurate fire from the lightning cannons.

In the second turn I continued to clear the slaves out of the tower. Adam eschewed dispelling my augment spells in favor of throwing a massive handful of dice to counter Flames of the Phoenix (understandably). The Sea Guard killed the Rat Ogres' packmaster with a lucky shot, rendering them stupid and slowing their advance. The Reavers took another wound off the rightmost lightning cannon, although I stupidly forgot to charge the war machine (mostly because Adam was using a dreadnought as a proxy, and all of my instincts told me it was a bad idea to charge a dreadnought with light troops - duh). The Swordmasters charged Queek's huge unit of Stormvermin, their champion killing Queek with three lucky blows in the challenge! The rest of the unit chipped away at the rats, but lost half their members for their trouble.

From this point it was mostly downhill for me. I had some lucky breaks, such as the unit of Sea Guard receiving the Rat Ogre charge with minimal casualties, running them down, and claiming the tower. In the end, though, I couldn't put enough wounds on the Stormvermin to make much of a dent, and with the help of the Warpfire thrower they cleared the tower out easily.

This was one of those games that felt close until the last turn or so, and games like that are always a good time. The Skaven have some incredibly nasty units and items, the kind of scary stuff that I feel the High Elves lack (for the most part). I will definitely not be underestimating them as I retool my list for the rematch.


  1. Great batrep. Makes me want to play fantasy.

    Does this game change you idea of what you want to paint?

  2. You mean in terms of an army list? Sort of. I already knew I need to paint my core choices, and the Swordmasters have convinced me of their worth so thoroughly that I'll probably continue to run two units (to this point I've only been doing this to meet my points limits). I'm not thrilled with the light cavalry, though.