Monday, 4 October 2010

Skaven Magic. Ruin, Plague and The Dreaded 13th.

So at request from my last thread, I'm starting on magic. However, I'm doing the Skaven lores as I can do them quickly, because I know them pretty well. Skaven magic is pretty point and click, the most difficult part being knowing what lore to take versus most opponents. So, a nice quick overview of the lores is in order I think

We'll start with ruin. A quick overview, from the name people would expect this to be the more destructive lore of the two, but I honestly find it does less damage than plague, with the only real big hitter being Scorch. Crack's call is quite situational but has the potential to be absolutely brutal (Slann, Hydras, Stegadons, anything I2 or lower like Dwarfs, War Machines etc). So, the spells.

*note: When I say how many dice to use for each spell, I'm referring to the grey seer having his +4.

THE LORE OF RUIN - Fear, Hatred, Power. This is the art of Ruin.

#1 Skitterleap**
This spell has been with Skaven for a while now. What it does is teleports one infantry model to someplace on the board. It doesn't work on weapon teams, cause that'd be batshit crazy. As is, the only person who can swap for this spell is the Grey Seer and even then, he should be swapping for The Dreaded 13th. As such this spell gets very little use. I don't really find this spell useful, and if you roll it, I'd swap it. Exceptions being if you're bringing things like the Brass Orb or some shenanigans, but I don't. So I don't use this. If you have a character you need to get close to use something then feel free to utilise it though. If it's not important you get it off (then why are you wasting dice on it?) then use one dice. If it is then use two.

#2 Warp Lightning****
Another skaven classic. It has quite the reputation from the last army book. However it's been toned down considerably. It's a good spell for your warlock engineer(s) to have, and I quite like it with the Warp Energy Condenser. Simple spell, point and click damage. Cast it on two dice. Three if you have one spare.

#3 Howling Warpgale*
Ugh. This spell is pretty god damn bad. It's one and only use (in my opinion) is to stop flyers. You should swap this if you can, unless you roll this and skitterleap on your seer and your opponent has a big flyer like a dragon. (Don't) Cast it on 2 dice.

#4 Death Frenzy***
Ok, here we have a spell that's not that bad, it just really doesn't fit with my army, as the casualties will most often cause a panic in most of my units. However in a list with some nice big blocks it can be pretty potent. On 50 slaves in a 10 ranks of 5 formation for example, it can turn them in to a unit that can actually throw a punch. However otherwise the casualties from this spell tend to be too severe, seeing as you can't cancel it. Good for last ditch attempts at killing things, if you're unit is gonna die anyway. Cast this on 2 dice. As ever, +1 if it's important. In fact, I'm going to state this now, depending on how important a spell is to get off, add extra dice at your discretion. I'm sure you all knew that though.

#5 Scorch*****
Ah, now we're talking. This spell gets 20 hits on a unit of twenty 20mm models. It's S4 (which is good) and automatically causes a panic test. Awesome! Isn't this just that fire spell from the BRB? What? In MY army book? NO! This is cast much easier and doesn't scatter. Admittedly there's no big blast option. However this spell is still fantastic against ranked infantry, and not bad against skirmishers. If your seer rolls this I'd almost always take it. Cast this spell on 3 dice to get it off reliably.

#6 Crack's Call****
Hurm. Situational spell is situational. Against some armies this spell is amazing. Lizardmen and Dwarfs. I'd take this spell against armies with low initiative models you would otherwise struggle to kill. Honestly, I contemplate it and seriously consider it against dark elves, just to get rid of hydras. Your mileage may vary on this one, if you're fighting stuff with low initiative and high cost models it's one to consider. Cast this on 3 dice to get it off reliably.

Ok there we go. Now, on to the second (and in my opinion, better) lore.

THE LORE OF PLAGUE - Rotting Organs, Ripping, Grinding.

#1 Pestilient Breath**
Huh. If this worked using the teardrop in combat it'd be awesome. If it used the normal Breath Weapon in combat rules, it'd be ok. As is, in combat, this sucks unless you're fighting withered knights or something. However, this spell kicks serious arse on a Verminlord, who can get some sweet shots with it due to M8. Cast this spell on 1 dice if you have it spare, 2-3 dice if you have a good shot lined up.

#2 Bless With Filth***
Why oh why don't you work on ranged attacks? Oh well, anyway. Pretty much anything in my army I want in combat already has poison. However, on some units like big units of giant rats, or death frenzy'd slaves this can be an alright spell. The big hubba hubba is of course plague monks. This cast on a unit of those bad boys is just frightening. It's also very cheap and easy to cast for what it does (as are all Army Book lores, except beasts). Great spell for throwing a dice or two at, but don't hesitate to get rid of it if your army looks like mine. Cast on 1 dice if you have it spare, otherwise use 2.

#3 Wither*****
Holy mother. This spell is amazing. Seriously, this spell and plague are the main reasons I roll on this lore. This spell it just. It just. Man. It wouldn't be a bad cast even if it only lasted a turn. But it doesn't. It's freaking permanent. Cast this on units you will have a hard time downing, or units you're about to cast plague on/shoot with catapults. It's not a complicated spell, just a damn good one. I wouldn't cast it on anything that you don't expect to be around for a while, so you get the most mileage out of it. Cast this on 2 dice. I usually go with 3 however, because people love to dispel this.

#4 Vermintide***
Oh so you want to play MSU do you? Say hi to this spell. Honestly, this spell is amazing against MSU. Easy to cast for what it does and what it can do. Someone once made the mistake of leaving their wizards out of units while I had rolled this. Haha, good times. It tends to only do about 3 wounds or so though, so you really do need to maximise what you're hitting. 10 Man missile units, fast cavalry, skirmishers, single characters. That kind of thing is what you should be aiming for. Good spell, I like it. Cast this on 2 or 3 dice. Most don't bother to dispel it. Oh and bear in mind the template is 5" in diameter, so add that to your 4D6.

#5 Cloud of Corruption**
In traditional bigblockhammer skaven this spell can kick some serious arse. In an all pestilens army this spell would probably kick major arse. In MSU, this spell blows mighty chunks because you end up hurting yourself more than your enemy. In short however, I don't like this spell. It spells death for weapon teams and small units. I do however like it on my Verminlord when I'm playing that army. Very much a YMMV spell, but I'd recommend against it if you have any weapon teams in your army. Cast it on 3 dice to get it off reliably.

#6 Plague*****
The namesake of the lore, and this thing damn well lives up to it. It destroys most big block units. Well by destroy I mean halves. And thirds some others. But when you combine this spell with wither it gets sick. What's really nasty though is how easy it is to cast. You can happily 3 dice this with a Seer/Verminlord but I'd always use 4. Wither leading in to this works wonders. Not much to say about this spell, it's fairly point and click. Go for big units, or good armour saves. It has a c-c-combo with wither, and NEVER forget the bounce!

THE DREADED 13TH - O Fortuna. Delut Luna.*************
The spell. You have around a 50% (slightly higher) chance of casting this on 6 dice with a level 4. What to say about this spell? Well tell you what, here's some good targets it can reliably destroy on a single casting. Temple Guard with Slann. Black Guard. Any small unit with a character. Any unit with a stupidly good save (chosen deathstar). Why? Because this ignores all saves and kills around 14 models. It's a great way to destroy an opposing enemy wizard. The tactical nuke of WHFB. Another point and click spell. Go for the biggest and most expensive thing you can, or go for something that'll win you the game (troops in the watchtower in watchtower). Don't be afraid to power scroll this, as you will most likely make your points back if you're going for a unit with a character. Also, vampire counts HATE this spell. Hur hur hur. Cast it on 6 dice to even have a shot at casting it. If you want to see it every game, bring a power scroll.

There we are folks. Hopefully this will give you a nice overview of Skaven Magic. I had to leave out some things, as it ended up being pretty long, but hey what you gonna do? The next lore I'm going to do will probably be life.

Hope you guys enjoyed the article!


  1. Skaven magic rocks. Good stuff.

  2. The funny thing about this is that I almost always go with Ruin, not Plague for a spell list. Ruin has better distance, whereas Plague is a much closer range lore.

    Skitterleap makes your doomrocket more dangerous. No one wants a S5 blast shooting down their lines T1 or T2. That means your opponent will have to throw dice to dispel something you do not really need, giving you a better chance to get off scorch or 13th.

    I always look at the 2 lores and see 4 spells I can use in Ruin (Skitterleap, Warp Lightning, Death Frenzy, and Scorch) and only 2 or 3 that I can use in Plague (Whither, Cloud of Corruption, and Plague). The other spells in Plague are good, but only in close quarters.

  3. Strange that. Maybe I like plague so much cause there's so much elf in my area.

    See when I look at ruin I see Scorch and Crack's Call (and crack's call only sometimes). Warp Lightning is for my Engineer. When I look at Plague I see Bless with Filth, Plague, Wither and Vermintide. ^^

    Also, most of what I want to Doomrocket comes towards me (big blocks of troops) so it's in range turn one or two anyway.

  4. I like using the Doomrocket to fire down the line, so that I am sure to hit something. I have had too many rolls where it goes long, or goes short and misses altogether, so I like Skitterleaping my Engineer and taking the shot down the line.

    In my 2400/2500 point list, I am running 2 Seers, so I will see how Plague goes on my general.

  5. I haven't played 2500 yet, but if/when I do I will be running 2 seers as well. I feel at 2500 though I've used up pretty much all my units, I don't have much I can add to the army in good conscience, which is why I like 2k.

  6. Death Frenzy....your unit wont're frenzy!!