Our resident devotee of the horned rat takes an indepth view and speculates on the upcoming Skaven expansion box
It didn’t take me long at all to get excited about an upcoming skaven warband when they were first teased in this article back in September. Imagine my joy, then, when Spiteclaw’s Swarm was finally unveiled this Friday!
Skaven has been a focus of my hobby in various guises for nearly my entire hobby life! I first started with the army back when the Lustria Campaign was released in 2005
As soon as I caught glimpses of our furry friends in the new video, I decided to take a deeper look and see what we might expect from this new warband.
Spiteclaw’s Swarm is a warband consisting of five models. Right from the get-go we can see these skaven are vicious and dynamic, modeled in poses that characterise swiftness and brutality. We have four Clanrats uniquely armed and posed to suit their chosen style of fighting, and of course the leader of our warband.
Our first clearly seen clanrat is equipped with a crude looking flail and a shield. Given he is the only shield-equipped skaven in our party, we can likely expect more defensive play from this warrior compared to the others. Visually, this clanrat is leaping into the fray, swinging his weapon in a vicious arc to give some man-thing a good thrashing!
Our second clanrat is modelled in a similarly dynamic pose that characterises speed. While I would love to talk about the most important feature of this model – the rat on his head – we’ll keep to what will likely impact the game. Our past experience with a notable spear-armed warrior means we can expect a ranged attack from him, something which will no doubt come in handy when trying to avoid being clouted with a Grandhammer.
The big man himself, Spiteclaw. Where to start?
I’d first like to point out the disparity between him and the leaders of the other Shadespire warbands. We have a Liberator Prime, an ‘Ardboy Boss, a Blood Reaver Chieftain and a Skeleton Champion.
This fellow is well beyond the ranks of his peers, positioned upon a fallen piece of masonry not unlike many of our previous skaven generals. At the lowest point I would argue that this fellow is an up-jumped Stormvermin, but looking at the similarities with another Skaven hero, I believe we have a powerful and prestigious Warlord on our hands. Equipped with a mighty halberd, we may expect some smashing on par with Steelheart and the range of the Sepulchral Warden. In terms of Age of Sigmar Warscrolls, this may be our first warband that features the Leader role. A skavenslave can hope…
The last two skaven to give some mention two are similarly unique next to their packmates. On the left we see a dual-wielding, claw-armed clanrat leaping into the fray, and to the right of Spiteclaw himself we see a skulking dagger-wielding clanrat. From the first we can expect much more aggressive play, perhaps taking the role of Blooded Saek (albeit not quite as smashy) in the skaven warband, while the latter may be a much sneakier, stabbier character.
One topic of discussion among my friends and I is how these skaven will operate on the table. It doesn’t take much to figure out these guys will be based on speed, using their superior movement to outmanoeuvre their opponents so that they can get a proper lunge at the softer bits. Another thought was how these rats will inspire. As far as this rat is concerned, the skaven warband will need to rely on teamwork and overwhelming a single opponent to bring them down. To that end, I wouldn’t be surprised if these warriors inspire by successfully attacking or defending using either of the support results on the dice. This opens up a lot of tactical play and careful positioning to get the most out of your warriors, hacking down isolated Ironjawz and eating Blood Reavers by the score.
I hope this article has given you something to think about. What do you expect from our newest warband? What conversions do you have in mind? How do you think they’ll fare against the current roster?
Let us know, and remember – the Horned Rat is always watching!