AoS Shorts: Your Essential Guide to Age of Sigmar

Skaven Battletome Review: Part 1

Hey all, Games Workshop have hit us with two Warhammer Age of Sigmar battletomes at once! and I’m here with the AoS Shorts Skaven Battletome Review: Part 1. Now this is an initial run through all the warscroll changes. Part 2 of the review is also now up and has a more detailed analysis of the allegiance abilities and some early list possibilities. Also, you can check out all the preview coverage.

Now this part of the review could not have been possible without the help of local New Zealand Skaven expert, Aiden (@PestilentPest). Aiden spent his Sunday going through all the changes and feeding me all the details. Aiden has a great Pestilens blog over on TGA and I highly recommend you check it out if that is your flavour of rat.

And, as always, check out Dark Fantastic Mills for great 3D printed terrain perfect for wargaming.  Its super versatile and light so worldwide shipping is inexpensive.  Use the “aos shorts” discount code for a further 10% off the already decent prices.

Age of Sigmar

New Skaven Warscrolls – Every Change!

Now thanks to Aiden, he is going to run us through each of the Skaven warscrolls in this Skaven Battletome Review. There have been massive changes so it is worth working through them all.

Masterclan

There are some significant changes to the head honchos of the Skaven, and most if not all of them good. Let’s get stuck in with the rulers of the Rat-Race.

Grey Seer

  • Increased 20 points
  • Unique spell replaced with Wither, a powerful short range debuff.
  • Warpstone mechanic reworked to be more risk/reward.
  • Can cast 2 spells now.
  • Command ability has been removed.

Finally the Grey Seer actually behaves like the erratic uber-caster he is meant to be. The ability to cast two spells is a great buff considering the Lore specifically for Grey Seers and the Warpstone mechanic is neat and thematic.

Screaming Bell

  • Points unchanged
  • Confers battleshock immunity to nearby units.
  • Can’t move without being pushed now
  • Same 2 spell buff as the Grey Seer on foot
  • Peal of Doom reworked slightly
  • Cracks Call range shortened
  • Now has a 5+ ward save

I was sold from the first point and this thing just gets better as you go down. Everything about the bell is neat and it’s thematic and most importantly, powerful.

Verminlord Warpseer

  • Points unchanged
  • Doom Glaive damage is d3 instead of 3 but attacks 6 times instead of 4.
  • Now has a 5+ ward save.
  • Has the ability to accrue extra Command Points.
  • Command Ability now confers Battleshock Immunity.
  • Unique spell does d6 damage to target, rather than d3 or 3 to a flyer.
  • Received the new Verminlord bravery debuff effect.

Another big winner, the Warpseer will find himself in a similar position to the Fungoid Cave Shaman, a powerful utility character that can farm command points and therefore get allied to everything that can take him ideally.

Lord Skreech Vermining

  • Points unchanged
  • Same Doom Glaive change as Warpseer.
  • Thirteen Headed One mechanic reworked so all options are viable.
  • Now can cast 2 spells instead of one.
  • Verminlord bravery debuff effect added.
  • Thirteenth Dreaded Spell unchanged.

My favorite Skaven character, Verminking received only a handful of changes specific to himself but they’re highly impactful. His access to 2 spells instead of 1 works well with his Knowledge of the Arcane rule to let him really lay the magical pain. Otherwise Skreech remains a reasonable option for Mixed Skaven, and a bit outclassed by the Warpseer for ally potential.

Thanquol and Boneripper

  • Points unchanged
  • Warpflame mechanic changed to anti-horde focus. Massive mortal wound output.
  • Can mix and match whichever weapon options he wants per arm.
  • Command ability changed.
  • Received the Monster keyword.
  • Unique spell changed to anti-hero spell.
  • Arkhan the Black level casting buff from Staff of the Horned Rat.

The cockroach of the Skaven clans, no amount of stepping on this little monster will ever keep him down. Thanquol emerges in the new book as one of the strongest named characters in the game with a swathe of devastating abilities that keep him strong in all phases of the game. Looking good, Prophet of the Horned One.

Masterclan Verdict

The Masterclan are looking fantastic after their changes. I’m definitely convinced these guys are the undisputed masters of Blight City.


The Clans Verminus

The soldiery of the rat clans, Verminus bring cheap chaff infantry and heavy hitting elites supported by small affordable leaders and the dread Verminlord Warbringer. Let’s dig in.

Verminlord Warbringer

  • Down 20 points.
  • Standard Doom Glaive change.
  • Verminlord bravery debuff added.
  • 5+ ward save added.
  • Punch Dagger has the chance to massively increase damage on a 6 to wound.
  • Receives combat bonuses for nearby rats rather than for charging.
  • Command ability is now wholly within.
  • Can now cast 2 spells.
  • Death Frenzy spell upgraded to target d3 units instead of just one.

This guy saunters in and single-handedly makes Verminus Allegiance viable. We don’t even have the full picture and I can safely, SAFELY say this is a thing and this guy will lead it. Fantastic changes across the board that turn this lad from a brutal close combat sledgehammer to a powerful leader and support character… and a brutal close combat sledgehammer.

Clawlord

  • Points unchanged – the old Skaven Warlord.
  • Scurry Away mechanic replaces original retreat after fighting ability.
  • May only take the Warpforged weapon option now.
  • Command ability unchanged.

Losing the other weapon options isn’t exactly a big deal as no one ran them anyway. Scurry Away isn’t as good as the old ability where he would fight then have a chance to run immediately after, but at least Scurry Away isn’t on a dice roll. In Verminus armies this guy can take a command trait along with every other Clawlord, so that should be quite interesting.

Clanrats

  • Points unchanged.
  • No longer receives combat buffs for being a large unit.
  • Shields now work against any damage rather than turning off against damage higher than 1.

Changes to these guys are more in the Allegiance Abilities for the army than on their scroll. They still retreat and charge which is all anyone ever wanted from them anyway. Stay golden pony boy.

Stormvermin

  • Points unchanged.
  • Exact same shield change as Clanrats.
  • No longer get buffs for outnumbering their opponents.

The changes to these are more in line with the fact that they are receiving so much else from the rest of the army with battleshock immunity, buffs to hit and wound and rerolls being thrown around hard and fast.

Stormvermin are an expensive unit that require support to be good, but when they are supported there won’t be much this deadly utility unit can’t do.

Clan Verminus Verdict

A solid, well rounded series of warscrolls that are now believable as their own real, tactical force.


The Clans Pestilens

My once and future army. My hard-cover Pestilens battletome was bought a week after their release, and it’s no secret my desire to play and win the army borders on the fanatical and unhealthy. I’ve annoyed many a person with constant deranged rants about why its fair the Plague Monk warscroll has more words than the Old Testament and I feel not just qualified but entitled to review and break down this section of the clans.

Verminlord Corruptor

  • Increased 40 points
  • Unique Spell changed so that it does more damage, but no longer spreads.
  • Plaguereapers don’t reroll all their hits anymore but inflict mortal wounds on unmodified 6s to hit.
  • Plaguemaster now does Area of Effect mortals around the Verminlord rather than tick off creatures that have already been hurt by it.
  • Received a 5+ ward save.
  • Received a passive bravery debuff to nearby enemies.
  • Command ability now grants rerolls rather than additional attacks.

Big Cheese himself came out looking pretty good. Can’t help but feel that Plaguereaper change will have an FAQ saying he can’t take the Sword of Judgement on top of that ability so goodbye to that. His prior weaknesses (no rend, terrible survivability) have been fixed, and his strengths (two casts, high attack volume) made it through unscathed. Good changes, though I will miss his old unique spell even if it wasn’t exactly good.

Plague Furnace

  • Points unchanged
  • Altar of the Horned Rat now just makes anything wholly within 13 inches ignore Battleshock.
  • The wrecking ball does far more damage but is a single target instead of Area of Effect now.
  • The Plague Monk crew actually have attacks now.
  • It has the same ward save as the Verminlord Corruptor.
  • It has keywords that prevent it from receiving Look Out Sir now.

Good lord GW the Plague Furnace didn’t actually need to be stronger. Yeah it can’t benefit from look out sir anymore, but they give it mini Crown of Conquest and a ward save? Like what? This thing only got better. Thank the Horned Rat I have 4.

Plague Priest (Both Variants)

  • Points unchanged
  • Tumbled into one warscroll.
  • Gained the attack profiles of both original priests.
  • The Plague Tome once per game activation is gone.
  • Pestilent Prayers are all reworked (addressed at the bottom of the post)

This was always going to happen. Plague Tome + Wither was one of the strongest combos in the Chaos grand alliance, and people were starting to wake up to it. A shame that they had to change him, but it makes sense why they did. A small price to pay for the rest of the changes, as Iskandar Khayon said in Black Legion, a sacrifice is only a sacrifice if it diminishes the giver.

Plague Monks

  • Points unchanged.
  • All once per game effects removed from command options.
  • Improved Rend on 6s and rats doing damage when they die left untouched.
  • Banner now causes 6s to wound to do double damage.
  • Doom Gong now boosts running and charge rolls.
  • Rerolls for two swords is still here, as is +1 attack for charging.

The meat and bones of the army. This one was always going to get changed due to it being a troop unit with more rules than Kairos Fateweaver. But the changes are for the good… or so it seems. All the changes are really strong and benefit the unit. HOWEVER the warscroll specifies 1 in 20 for it’s command options, which likely means the minimum unit size has been upped to 20. Squashes a few of my tactics and will mean some changes. I will however roll with these changes and no doubt actually be better off with them (ideally).

Plague Censer Bearers

  • Points unchanged.
  • Aura of damage effect is slightly better.
  • They receive bonuses for being near monks at a slightly larger range now.

I expected nothing and wasn’t disappointed. I was terrified these guys would be the recipient of random buffing that meant I would need to convert another 20 ****** Stormvermin into these, thanks for actually having my back there GW.

Plagueclaw Catapult

  • Points unchanged
  • Receives artillery bonuses if there is 10 or more models in the unit, instead of more than 10.
  • Does a bravery debuff to victims.

I was afraid this thing would get worse not because I use it (I have 3 fully painted to a high standard and they sit in a drawer somewhere) but because I’ve already ragged on it so hard, I wasn’t sure how I would somehow step that up. Pleased to say… that won’t be necessary. It’s slightly better.

Changes to Pestilent Prayers and Noxious Prayers

The original prayers on the warscrolls of the Plague Priest and Plague Furnace are now gone. They’ve been replaced with new effects that are fundamentally different.

  • Disease-Disease! (Formerly Wither): So instead of making it easier to wound the victim ala Wither, this is ow the Gaunt Summoner unique spell on a 6. Boo hiss.
  • Pestilence-Pestilence! (Formerly Plague Breath): It’s the same as before but the bubble is 3” not 2”. It also doesn’t affect Pestilens units, rather than Nurgle units. Neat.
  • Filth-Filth (Formerly Bless with Filth): Thanks it’s still the same. No changes here, and what a boon that is.
  • Rabid-Rabid! (Formerly Rabid Fever): Add 1 to the attacks of something nearby. So this is where they shoved the Verminlord command ability. I’ll forever miss the old one of this, my monks fighting after death is a MASSIVE part of my army’s reputation in NZ due to me taking 2 Furnaces and making sure it was always active. Pouring one out for you my lad.

Clan Pestilens Verdict

With widespread buffs to everything in the army and very few points increases, none of which could be called unjustified, Clan Pestilens is shaping up as the big winner of the clans so far. Saddle up lads, I will be your captain for this journey and the destination is, indeed, the podium.


The Clans Skryre

Blegh, really wanted to not do this one because of the sheer amount of reading and writing involved. I’ll save you some reading if you’re just here for Stormfiends: Yes, they got changed.

Arch Warlock

  • Increased 20 points.
  • Warpflame Gauntlet hits on a 2+ rather than being auto hit.
  • Can increase the damage of his melee weapon and spell at a risk.

This could have gone a lot worse for Skryre players given the popularity of this lad. He’s still an excellent caster and his ability to take risk death to churn more damage is purely optional so really he plays the same as he did before. Also Skryre have their own whole table of spells for this guy to reap. 20pts isn’t much of an increase considering that.

Warlock Engineer

  • Points unchanged
  • Slight rework to risk/reward spell mechanic.

Almost entirely the same guy. As ever the devil is in the details and the devil here is Skryre’s new warp lore table. It will be interesting to see if other clans take him purely for that given his affordability.

Stormfiends

  • Decreased 30 points
  • Can now only take squads of mixed weapons, what the box provides (look out Arkanauts and others with similar rules different from the box options)
  • Warpflame reworked, see Thanquol and Boneripper.
  • 6+ triggers are now Unmodified 6 triggers.

I’m hoping this leads to greater variety and interaction with Clan Skryre, but it will be a shame if people hang up their fiends for other options.

Dan: I can still see a use for Stormfiends – although they are more of a toolkit option. Its harder to fill a defined role. I’ll cover them in more detail later in the week.

Skryre Acolytes

  • Points unchanged.
  • Can run and shoot now.
  • Can’t shoot things they can’t see anymore.

You were worthless cheap Skryre battleline before Acolytes and that is EXACTLY where you will remain unless the Skryre Battalion brings you fresh spice. No one would take these in mixed Skaven over Gutter Runners, and no one would play Skryre just to have these as battleline. Hopefully you catch this hard pass better than you throw globes.

The Weapon Teams

  • All overload mechanics guarantee the death of the unit after its attacks are resolved now.
  • The drill comes up whenever you want but can inflict mortal wounds on the units tunnelling up.
  • Warpflamer changed to be in line with other warpflame weapons.

The only one of these that will see any use outside of being mandatory for battalions is the drill, which now is a lot better given the risk of my 500pt unit of Stormvermin simply never surfacing isn’t a thing anymore.

Warp Lightning Cannon

  • Points unchanged.
  • Can double the dice for shooting at the risk of blowing the weapon up.
  • Now has 8 wounds instead of 6.

Being able to choose to double the dice to fire the cannon is pretty awesome, even with the risk it entails. Just remember you have to choose to do it before rolling the power dice… pray you don’t roll a 6.

Doomwheel

  • Increased 40 points
  • Can double it’s shooting attack at a risk.
  • Hurts every unit it roams over rather than just one.
  • Still a chance the enemy can move it instead of you.

I was sold till I saw it can still run over and kill my own things on a bad dice roll and no matter how Skaven that may be, it gets a pass.

Warplock Jezzails

  • Points unchanged
  • 6+ is now Unmodified 6 to hit.

No real changes. Convert some up and drop them out a Gnawhole into shooting range. Not much else to say, they’re still good and they will see use.

Clans Skryre Verdict

All I see here is a faction better suited to being allied than ran by itself. A lot will turn on the allegiance abilities and spell lore.


The Clans Moulder

Ah Moulder, I’ve been looking forward to this. Every Skaven player (and every Skaven player reading this knows this to be true) wants Moulder to be good. And with an Allegiance ability of their own and a new Battalion, this may not be far from the truth. Let’s see how they fare.

Master Moulder – 100pts (New Warscroll)

  • Whole new unit.
  • Has the Packmaster whip ability.
  • Has a command ability that summons destroyed Moulder units to the table.
  • Powerful range of attacks.

Games Workshop you magnificent ******. This with the Packmaster change is exactly what Moulder needed. A powerful support hero that can hold his own with a command ability tailored the clan he belongs to. 10/10, great work.

Packmasters

  • Points unchanged.
  • Can now be taken in groups of up to 3.
  • Same whip effect as the Master Moulder.
  • Lost a few weapon options.

Packmasters now come in… packs? Neat and fun, I like it. A neat and expendable option to roam the table following Ogors and Abominations while the Master Moulder does Master Moulder things.

Rat Ogors

  • Points unchanged.
  • 6+ changed to unmodified 6 to hit.
  • Attacks generate additional hits rather than additional attacks.

Nothing significant changed, just rules tweaks for consistency. Hopefully see more use with buffs and their own allegiance rules. If I catch anyone taking these because they have a shooting attack their house is getting shot with a Plagueclaw.

Giant Rats

  • Points unchanged
  • Horde bonus now increases weapon range rather than attack bonus.

This change makes sense and it’s thematic, and I suppose it’s a good thing that we won’t be seeing Moulder armies with nothing but Giant Rats. That being said, they were always a quiet favourite of mine though I rarely if ever ran them. I see them still seeing a lot of use as an annoying battleshock immune objective camper.

Rat Swarms

  • Decreased 50 points!
  • Rules updated to be similar to restoring dead models to a unit.

Was cutting the cost of this unit so dramatically potentially a disaster that will see Moulder players catapulting to the top tables as they drown us in 40mm bases covered in plastic rats they bought from their local Pestilens player? God I hope so.

Hell-Pit Abomination

  • Points unchanged
  • Avalanche of Flesh attack similar to Slaanesh Chariots impact but has a 3” range over their 1”
  • Warpstone Spikes enable the model to have a chance to straight up ignore magic.

Solid changes to a severely underutilized unit. A powerful centrepiece of any Moulder army, I will be shocked if there isn’t at least one in all the Moulder lists to come.

Clans Moudler Verdict

Damn Moudler, they tweak a few of your scrolls and give you one character and suddenly you’re a real army that poses a real threat. We haven’t even seen their allegiance abilities yet. We will watch your career with great interest, Moulder players.


The Clans Eshin

The sneakiest come last as ever, but no one will call them the least of the lot once they’ve read these changes.

Verminlord Deceiver

  • Points unchanged
  • 5+ ward save added.
  • Verminlord bravery debuff added.
  • Can cast 2 spells instead of 1.
  • Skitterleap is no longer a global teleport and can’t target models with more than 12 wounds.

Necessary changes. Deceiver enthusiasts should just be grateful they came out without a point increase. Further increased survivability ensures that this master assassin continues to do what he does best, assassinate.

Deathmaster

  • Points unchanged – renamed from Skaven Assassin
  • Throwing stars pop into multiple hits on 6s.
  • Has a LOT more attacks with Fighting Claws.

Largely the same old boy by a different name. He does his job a little better now and with so many attacks with his Fighting Claws, the smart Eshin player will close this guide and start digging through the Realm Artefacts. I recommend starting with Ulgu…

Gutter Runners

  • Points unchanged.
  • Throwing stars pop into multiple hits on 6s.

They remain the once and future premium ally choice as far as Skaven units go. No changes made, no changes necessary. Stay awesome.

Night Runners

  • Decreased 20 points and get a max size unit bonus
  • Throwing stars pop into multiple hits on 6s.
  • They make a 2d6 move now after deployment rather than just a free move.

Same as Gutter Runners, the only change necessary was to stop them moving 20+ inches turn one. Otherwise they’re still what they were before, a niche option but a good one.

Clans Eshin Verdict

Without knowing the Allegiance Abilities of Clan Eshin I’d call these the least stand-alone army with no specific spell lore. They’re niche, but I may yet be proven wrong when the rules are shown.


Check out Part 2 of my Skaven Battletome Review for a full break down of all the allegiance abilities, artefacts, spells, and army builds!

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