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Campaign 12.png
General data
TypeMajor playable race
RulerDepends on subfaction
Starting territory
Starting territory
  • Depends on subfaction
Faction capital
Climate preference
  • Depends on subfaction
Distinct features
Bullet skv underworld.pngSkaven Underworld:Settlements appear to be ruins and must be scouted to reveal any Skaven presence.
Bullet skv food.pngFood:Maintain food supplies to gain growth and other bonuses, and to avoid starvation penalties.
Icon corruption skv.pngSkaven Corruption:Skaven corruption is a detriment to local public order, but allows extra uses of the Menace Below ability.
Icon loyalty.pngLoyalty:Lords have different loyalty levels, and may rebel against you
 Rites:Skaven have access to many rites which affect the campaign

Skaven are a major race in Total War: Warhammer II, playable in multiplayer and custom battles. In the campaign, they have three playable subfactions: Clan Mors, Clan Pestilens and Clan Rictus.

The Skaven are a race of vicious mutant rat-men who lurk in a vast Under-Empire below the world. They seek to bring pestilence and ruin to the surface-dwellers, and kill or enslave all who would oppose them. Skaven forces attack with overwhelming numbers of weak troops, backed up by arcane artillery and horrifying mutant monsters.

How they play[edit | edit source]

A summary of Skaven gameplay:

  • Units: Masses of cheap expendable units, backed up horrifying monsters, and devastating war machines. No cavalry or flying units.
  • Skaven Underworld: Skaven settlements appear as ruins to other factions, until discovered.
  • Food: Food is a special resource that Skaven must manage alongside money. It can increase usage of army abilities or help upgrade settlements.
  • The Menace Below: In campaign battles, Skaven have a unique army ability called The Menace Below which summons Clanrats. Spending food increases the amount of times this can be used.
  • Skaven Corruption: In campaign, Skaven must manage Skaven Corruption which both benefits and harms them.
  • Loyalty: Lords have different loyalty levels, which can cause them to take their army and rebel against you.
  • Stances: Stalking replaces default stance and gives a chance to ambush. Skaven also have access to the Underway, like Dwarfs and Greenskins.
  • Rites: Skaven have access to various rites which grant bonuses in campaign.

Background[edit | edit source]

Brother-under-the-fur. Ha! Now you are brother-true. Reject false-words of seers and embrace true face of the Horned One! Bring Skrolk to the Wormstone, and you will be Plague Priest. Betray, and you become pus-bag.

The Skaven are vile, malevolent ratmen that swarm beneath the surface of the world. Hidden in their sprawling underground lairs, they gnaw at the roots of civilisation, plotting and scheming for the day they will burst from their dark tunnels and drown the world above in a tide of mangy fur, rusty blades and plague-ridden filth. They desire world domination with every fibre of their twisted beings - from their quivering whiskers to the tips of their segmented tails.

The Skaven present a massive danger to civilization. Huge numbers of them dwell in the Under-Empire which stretches beneath most of the world (except the island-continent of Ulthuan), and the center of this empire is the terrible city of Skavenblight. Despite the threat, most of The Empire denies that Skaven even exist! Dwarfs and are not so foolish, as they have fought bitter wars against the ratmen for control of the underground realms. Likewise the Lizardmen have a special hatred for the Skaven.

Most skaven are male. The few females are bloated, drugged, barely conscious creatures which are jealously guarded by clans and forced to birth hordes of young. As a result the ratmen are perhaps the most numerous intelligent race in the world, even outstripping the Greenskins. Because of this, food is a constant concern for them. Apart from food, the Skaven also crave warpstone – they are one the few races reckless enough to work with this dangerous Chaos-tainted substance. The lowest rung of Skaven society are slaves, who also double as food when times are tough. These are mostly Skaven, though Skaven also take slaves of other races.

Skaven society is divided into Clans which rule over slaves and compete for power and influence. Clan Eshin are highly secretive masters of stealth and their Assassins are feared in the Under-Empire and beyond. Clan Skryre are engineers, combining magic and technology to create devastating weapons and war-machines. Clan Pestilens are a cult of religious fanatics who worship the Horned Rat in his aspect as the bringer of plague and disease. Clan Moulder hail from Hell Pit, and create horrifying mutated monsters. Aside from these, there are several "Warlord Clans" such as Clan Mors and Clan Rictus.

The Skaven worship the Great Horned Rat, a malevolent diety who embodies all the treachery, destruction, disease and malintent of the Skaven. The Horned Rat is served by the Grey Seers, a priesthood of white-furred, horned rats with great spellcasting powers. This caste of sorcerer-priests stands apart from and above the clans. Above the slaves, clans and seers are the Council of Thirteen, the shadowy governing body of Skaven society. This council contains representatives from all the major clans, as well as the leader of the Grey Seers. The thirteenth seat on the council is traditionally reserved for the Horned Rat himself.

In Battle[edit | edit source]

Artwork of Skaven units.

Unit Roster[edit | edit source]

Main article: Skaven unit roster

The Skaven rely on vast numbers of cheap, expendable troops with low-leadership. Skavenslaves have the highest troop number in the game – 200 on ultra unit sizes. In campaign mode, the Menace Below ability can be used to summon extra Clanrats into the battle. Most Skaven units have low leadership, so they will quickly rout only to rally shortly after. However these meat-shield units must be backed up with stronger damage-dealing units. Stormvermin and their variants are solid infantry (though will still lose to elite troops). Monsters such as Rat Ogres and artillery/war machines such as the Plagueclaw Catapult are devastating.

Skaven spellcasters have access to two unique lores of magic: Skaven Spells of Ruin and Skaven Spells of Plague. Grey Seers have access to a unique spell called the Dreaded Thirteenth Spell.

  • No cavalry units
  • No flying units

The Menace Below[edit | edit source]

The Menace Below is an important army ability available to Skaven armies in battles during the campaign. It summons a free unit of Clanrats into the battle, but has a cooldown timer. It has a maximum number of times it can be used per battle – this limit can be increased by spending food before the battle.

In the Campaign[edit | edit source]

Skaven are a normal, non-horde race who occupy settlements and control provinces.

Playable subfactions[edit | edit source]

In campaign there are three playable Skaven factions, each with its own starting position, and led by separate Legendary Lords. See individual pages for faction-specific info.

Clan Mors.png Clan Mors, led by Queek Headtaker
Clan Pestilens.png Clan Pestilens, led by Lord Skrolk
Clan Rictus.png Clan Rictus, led by Tretch Craventail - Added as free content on January 24, 2018. Download here.

Vortex Rituals[edit | edit source]

In the Eye of the Vortex campaign, Skaven compete to control the Great Vortex by using Rituals.

Skaven Underworld[edit | edit source]

Bullet skv underworld.pngSkaven Underworld refers to how Skaven settlements appear as ruins to other factions (including other Skaven factions), until discovered. This reprsents the secretive Under-Empire of the Skaven, where Skaven burrows can lurk beneath the surface unnoticed. Ruins can be scouted with a hero or entered with a lord/army to see whether Skaven are there. If your lord enters the ruins, your will be asked whether or not you wish to attack the settlement/declare war.

Skaven factions also have access to the Underway, a mechanic they are with Dwarfs and Greenskins.

Food[edit | edit source]

Food resource.pngFood is a unique resource for the Skaven in campaign that they must manage, alongside money. Food is consumed and produced each turn faction-wide. Low levels cause major problems. Food can spent on increasing the limit for the Menace Below, or it can be spent to colonise new settlements at a higher level (up to level III) than usual.

Skaven Corruption[edit | edit source]

Main article: Corruption

Icon corruption skv.pngSkaven Corruption is a type of corruption unique to Skaven factions. High levels of Skaven Corruption allow extra uses of The Menace Below during battles, and provide a few other benefits. However it also decreases public order and food production, which can cause serious problems. Skaven are unique in that they must manage corruption, rather than just blindly spreading it everywhere. Many Skaven buildings either increase or reduce Skaven Corruption in the local area. Eventually however, Skaven Corruption always rises and the Skaven will be forced to expand.

Loyalty[edit | edit source]

Icon loyalty.pngLoyalty affects whether Skaven lords are likely to rebel against you in campaign mode. Many things can affect loyalty, for instance Queek Headtaker has an increased likelyhood of having Grey Seers rebel against him. This mechanic is shared with the Dark Elves.

Plagues[edit | edit source]

The Pestilent Scheme Priest can spread plague to enemy armies, causing them attrition for a number of turns.

Rites[edit | edit source]

Main article: Skaven rites

Skaven have access to 4 rites, which provide various bonuses. These are the only way they can recruit the Dooom! Engineer and Pestilent Scheme Priest.

Buildings[edit | edit source]

See Skaven buildings.

Technology[edit | edit source]

See Skaven tech tree.

Inventory[edit | edit source]

Stances[edit | edit source]

Skaven have access to the following stances:

Post-battle options[edit | edit source]

The post-battle options for Skaven are as follows:

  • Sell-Off: +Treasury, -army replenishment, diplomatic effects
  • Enslave: +Food, +army leadership
  • Eat captives: +army replenishment

Settlement options[edit | edit source]

Settlement options for Skaven factions are as follows:

  • Ruins: Treasure hunt / Colonize
  • Captured Settlement: Occupy / Loot and occupy / Sack / Raze

Commandments[edit | edit source]

See Skaven commandments for a detailed list.

Climate preferences[edit | edit source]

Climate preferences for Skaven factions differ depending on the subfaction.

Followers[edit | edit source]

See Skaven followers.

Events[edit | edit source]

See Skaven events.

Minor factions[edit | edit source]

The following minor Skaven factions are found in campaign mode. Not all minor factions are found in all campaigns.

Chaos Invasion[edit | edit source]

Skaven factions do not gain shield of civilization during a Chaos Invasion.

Development history[edit | edit source]

Before Total War: Warhammer released, Russian leakers found information saying that Skaven would come as DLC. This information was outdated.

Skaven were not initially announced for Total War: Warhammer II. Rather, the game was announced as having 4 races but only 3 (High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen) were revealed. Skaven were teased in the initial cinematic trailer, with appearance of a red-eyed rat at the end. Eventually Skaven were revealed to be the 4th race.

Videos[edit | edit source]

Trailer[edit | edit source]

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Click here to add a strategy!

Expendable army
  • Skavenslaves are extremely expendable and extremely fast to recruit and cheap. They can be recruited from any Skaven settlement, as they only require the main settlement chain building. A common tactic is to create a second army of just Skavenslaves and have it follow around your main army and initiate battles so that the Skavenslaves take all the damage and wear out the enemy, ready for your main army to get all the kills. If Skavenslaves die - no worries, there is plenty more where they came from. However, this must be balanced against the cost of faction-wide increase on upkeep when recruiting a whole new army.
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