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.
- 1 How they play
- 2 Background
- 3 In Battle
- 4 In the Campaign
- 4.1 Playable subfactions
- 4.2 Vortex Rituals
- 4.3 Skaven Under-Empire
- 4.4 Food
- 4.5 Skaven Corruption
- 4.6 Loyalty
- 4.7 Plagues
- 4.8 Rites
- 4.9 Buildings
- 4.10 Technology
- 4.11 Inventory
- 4.12 Stances
- 4.13 Post-battle options
- 4.14 Settlement options
- 4.15 Commandments
- 4.16 Climate preferences
- 4.17 Followers
- 4.18 Events
- 5 Minor factions
- 6 Development history
- 7 Videos
- 8 Strategy
How they play[edit | edit source]
A summary of Skaven gameplay:
- Units: Masses of cheap expendable units, backed up by horrifying monsters, and devastating war machines. No cavalry or flying units, though Rat Ogres are utilized much like cavalry due to their high charge bonus.
- Skaven Under-Empire: Skaven settlements appear as ruins to other factions, until discovered. Additionally, Skaven can establish secret Under-Cities beneath enemy settlements.
- 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 or increasing corruption increases the number of uses.
- Skaven Corruption: In campaign, particularly higher difficulties, Skaven must manage 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 while moving. 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]
|“||All decent folk find the common rat repulsive. Harbinger of disease, it scavenges on our waste-heaps and frightens our children. How immeasurably worse then is the foul Skaven - standing on its hindlegs in foul parody of a human. Rats as tall as man, and blessed with the most vile intellect and cunning. They are the dark side of our souls, come to destroy us for our sins.||„|
|~ Albrecht of Nuln. Burned at the stake, IC 1301 for pernicious declamation|
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 civilization, 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 are not so foolish, as they have fought bitter wars against the ratmen for control of the underground realms. The Lizardmen also 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 Verminus are warriors producing the elite (for skaven) stormvermin. 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]
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 – 180 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/ such as the Plagueclaw Catapult are devastating. They also have weapon teams such as Warplock Jezzails (snipers), Ratling Guns (machine guns), Warpfire Throwers and Globadiers (poison gas lobbers).
- No cavalry units
- No flying units
- Poor leadership
Strength in Numbers and Scurry Away![edit | edit source]
Most units within the Skaven roster have access to the Strength in Numbers and Scurry Away! abilities. Strength in Numbers provides Skaven units with benefits to melee defence and leadership but reduce movement speed (-12%) while the unit is at 50% base health or higher. Scurry Away! gives a buff to movement speed (+12%) while the units leadership is low. This causes Skaven units to essentially trade melee combat effectiveness for movement speed as a battle progresses. As a result units that have routed and regrouped are able to quickly rejoin the fray, offsetting the low leadership most Skaven units tend to have.
Magic[edit | edit source]
Skaven spellcasters have access to three unique lores of magic: Skaven Spells of Ruin, Skaven Spells of Plague and Skaven Spells of Stealth. Grey Seers have access to a unique spell called the Dreaded Thirteenth Spell.
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 degrading 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 or having more Skaven Corruption in the province.
In the Campaign[edit | edit source]
Playable subfactions[edit | edit source]
In campaign there are five playable Skaven factions, each with its own starting position, and led by separate Legendary Lords. See individual pages for faction-specific info.
|Clan Mors, led by Queek Headtaker|
|Clan Pestilens, led by Lord Skrolk|
|Clan Rictus, led by Tretch Craventail - Added as free content on January 24, 2018. Download here.|
|Clan Skryre, led by Ikit Claw - Requires The Prophet and the Warlock paid DLC.|
|Clan Eshin, led by Deathmaster Snikch - Requires The Shadow and the Blade paid DLC.|
Vortex Rituals[edit | edit source]
Skaven Under-Empire[edit | edit source]
Skaven Underworld refers to how Skaven settlements appear as ruins to other factions (including other Skaven factions), until discovered. This represents 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, you will be asked whether or not you wish to attack the settlement/declare war.
Additionally, Skaven factions can establish secret settlements called Under-Cities beneath the settlements of other races. These settlements have a chance to be discovered and destroyed, though.
Food[edit | edit source]
Food is a unique resource for the Skaven in campaign that they must manage, alongside money. Food is consumed by each army and settlement and produced each turn faction-wide. Low levels cause major problems, while high levels provide significant bonuses. Food can be spent on increasing the limit for the Menace Below, or it can be spent to Colonize new settlements at a higher level than usual. Minor and major settlements can be colonized up to maximum, if food allows.
Skaven Corruption[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Corruption
Skaven Corruption is a type of corruption unique to Skaven factions. High levels of corruption allow extra uses of The Menace Below during battles, can cause Public Order issues in owned and adjacent provinces (owned or enemy, cap of -5 at 100% corruption), and generate a crippling negative trait in non-Skaven lords (Skaven Denial, +1 public order in local province, -15 leadership for self when fighting Skaven). However , high levels of skaven corruption do not cause attrition like other types of corruption. Skaven are unique in that they must manage corruption on higher difficulties (where a difficulty based penalty to public order is significant as well), rather than just blindly spreading it everywhere. Many Skaven buildings either increase or reduce corruption in the local area or adjacent provinces. Lord Skrolk can spread significant corruption, and public order penalties without the need for buildings in enemy provinces via skills, legendary items, traits, and raiding. It is not enough to cause issue to the AI on higher difficulties however, due to their bonuses to public order.
Loyalty[edit | edit source]
Loyalty 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. Loyalty can be increased through victories, completed quests, recruiting more units and loyalty dilemmas. Loyalty can decrease from defeats, failed quests, disbanding units, loyalty dilemmas and randomly on its own.
Plagues[edit | edit source]
The Pestilent Scheme Priest can spread plague to an enemy city, reducing growth (-30) and income generation (-50%) for 6 turns. It costs the enemy significantly more income than it costs itself, if applied to a suitable money making city (gold mine, etc). The cooldown on the rite is short enough to continually apply the effect to an enemies economic center. On higher difficulties it is not very effective, because the AI gains significant bonuses.
Rites[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Skaven rites
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:
- Stalking – replaces default stance and gives chance to ambush the enemy.
- Ambush stance
- Use Underway – allows them to access the underway and bypass enemies/terrain.
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: Do nothing / Loot and occupy / Sack / Raze
Commandments[edit | edit source]
See Skaven commandments for a detailed list.
Climate preferences[edit | edit source]
Skaven climate preferences change depending on the faction (eg: Clan Rictus has different preferences from Clan Pestilens). However in general, Skaven have a wide range of climates suitable to them, reflecting their ability to swarm and infest any place.
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.
- Clan Gnaw
- Clan Mordkin
- Clan Moulder
- Clan Septik
- Clan Spittel
- Grey Seer Clan
- Unknown Skaven Clan
- Clan Volkn
- Rictus Clan-Nest
- Clan Ferrik
Chaos Invasion[edit | edit source]
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]
How to play the Skaven in Campaign[edit | edit source]
How to play the Skaven in Battle[edit | edit source]
How to play the Skaven Lords & Heroes[edit | edit source]
Strategy[edit | edit source]
- 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.