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Skitarii in Pratice: How good are they?

Hey everyone, Reecius here to talk about Sktiarii! Be sure to check out the Tactics Corner for more great articles.

Skitarii have flown under the radar a bit, lately, due to the huge splash that Eldar made. Also, it has taken a little bit of time for everyone to catch up on them as no one had Skitarii models lying around to play with as they are brand new! Over at Frontline Gaming, we hustled to assemble a Skitarii army and have been getting in some games with them. This is not a full blown review, which you can read here if interested, but an overview of how they play, their strengths and weaknesses.


Skitarii appeared at first to be pretty underwhelming on paper but we had a feeling this was one of those “you have to play it to know,” type of scenarios. And that hunch was right. Skitarii are actually REALLY good. All of the units in my experience, baring Rangers, have been outstanding. The thing that really jumps out at you is the synergy of the army. The units work together really well. A lot of folks have focused on Vanguard as the all-star unit (who are fantastic, no doubt), or Dunecrawlers (which I wrote a review of, here) and have dismissed some of the other units such as the Dragoons, Infiltrators and Ruststalkers. After trying them all out, I have to say I disagree.


Dragoons have been surprisingly good! They are crazy fast, actually fairly resilient with their 5+ cover save, and if you have some hot dice: my goodness! The other Tuesday on one of our twice a week live 40k games (which you can watch on our Twitch Channel, if interested), I charged 3 into a unit of Nurgle Spawn with 2 psychicly buffed Sorcerers and the Dragoons obliterated the unit, it was crazy. They have exploding 6’s to hit, like Necron Tesla weapons, which result in not 1 but 3 hits for each 6. I ended up doing 18 strength 8 hits at I6. Needless to say, the unit evaporated. Now, this isn’t always the case, of course, the first outing with them I charged them into a grounded Flyrant and whiffed, didn’t do a single wound. Doh! But, in our games so far, the Dragoons have been a really fun unit that I wouldn’t have normally considered using. They’ve been outstanding for flying up the field and attacking units they are good at fighting, such as vehicles, Knights, non-dedicated assault units and for killing high toughness models such as monstrous creatures, so long as they can swing first. Plus, they’re cheap as chips for a unit of 3.


Infiltrators and Ruststalkers also get a bad rap on ye ole interwebs, but I think it is unfounded. When you actually play the units and not just theoryhammer them, they are quite good. Both units are super fast! That speed is something that is hard to quantify without playing. It makes them threats to huge chunks of the board.


Ruststalkers are pricey and can be fragile, but if you send them into the right targets, they shred things in melee. So long as the target isn’t strength 6, they are actually pretty resilient with 4+/6++/FnP and 2 wounds. I have had them wade into units of infantry and just plow through them, not taking much damage in return.


Infiltrators also, have been really good. I thought they would under-perform based on their stats but I was so wrong. In all of our test games so far, they’ve been better than the Ruststalkers. I run them with the Taser Goads and the Uzis (my name of them, lol) and their ability to Infiltrate+Scout in the Maniple Detachment, their debuff (6”, -1 to WS, BS, I, LD) and high volume of high strength attacks has proven this to be a surprisingly good unit. Apart from the first time I used them where I just threw them away, they’ve walked through multiple light units and force multiplied the rest of my army by reducing the efficacy of key enemy units. I really dig them and wouldn’t play Skitarii without them, now.


Both Infiltrators and Ruststalkers though, must be very weary of morale (as with all Skitarii). They can get run down easily if they lose a combat, and as such, if you field them, ALWAYS take the Omniscient Mask on whichever unit you value more. It gives them Zealot which not only improves their offense, but—more importantly—makes them Fearless.

The real key with Skitarii, IME, is to play the units in harmony with one another. Don’t send Ruststalkers, Infiltrators or Dragoons into things they can’t handle, you’ll just be disappointed. Have your Vanguard and Dunecrawlers focus on killing the really nasty stuff, let the other units sweep up the chaff. If you can pull this off, you will have a lot of success with your army. If not, it will crumble, quickly. I have lost 1/3 of my Skitarii army in assault when my opponents have been able to catch a few units into one melee and they subsequently get run down, on multiple occasions. You have to be able to mitigate this when playing Skitarii which can be hard to do as most of your heavy hitters want to get really close to the enemy.


The other key point to focus on is movement. Skitarii all get some cool abilities in their Maniple such as Scout and Crusader to help with their slower speed. But, if your opponent counter-deploys you well, you can find yourself way out of position. Consider allying in some transports such as Drop Pods, Rhinos, Taurox, etc. Skitarii greatly benefit from these. Also, Coteaz is a major benefit to Skitarii as they really want to go first in order to Alpha strike. Getting seized on if they are all exposed can be game ending. Coteaz makes this 6 times less likely to occur in addition to all of the other benefits he provides.

Despite not having a ton of units in their army, Sktiarii are really fun to play and pack a wallop. They are balanced by having a lack of mobility on some of their key units and suffering from morale vulnerabilities. But, this can all be mitigated through smart play and the application of some allies. Played well, Skitarii can hang with any other book out there.


What do you all think of Skitarii, so far?

Post a Comment

58 Comments

  1. Love them. And with Cult, they'll be even more fun to run solo. Have had very good success competitively with drop pods from Flesh Tearers detachment as well, though reserved for competitive games. GWs recent "not giving a s***" about balance has kind of put me off to 40K tho, and sadly right when one of my favorite factions arrived. I was so happy when orks, SWs, BA, Tyranids, DE, etc. All seemed to be balancing out, but then GW was like F-it...

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    1. A friend of mine plays Skitarii with Dragoons and Vanguards, Infiltrators from time to time, it is great fun. They are a pretty decent army. But on the other hand we don't play competitively, so no drop pod detachment or scouting fortifications.

      I agree though with Grey, the recent trend makes me focus more on paintaing than playing.

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    2. Yeah, it's kind of sad. Too bad. Even though there were power houses in older editions, aka Biker Nobs, but I feel like the gap wasn't that massive. Now I rarely pull my Orks/DE out (woah is me), because certain armies just delete them off the table (Eldar, Tau, Necrons).

      As far as fun play goes, the new Admech stuff is awesome though. A lot of glass cannons in the Skitarri book, but when they hit, man it's fun. I'm glad I have a fun gaming group to play with, so we tone down the competitiveness, usually doing things like highlander, or 2v2s, but I used to love going to tournaments, even ones I lost horribly. Now too many armies can table others by turn 3 or 4, and it's just not enjoyable to feed your army into a meat grinder :/ ...

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    3. The recent trend seems to of only just started though, I think all the other forces will be bumped up to Necrons and onwards levels...

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    4. There are a few silly options out there now but they're still the vast minority and are easily restricted, the game is nowhere near as over the edge as the internet likes to say, current trend isn't great but so far it hasn't been as bad as all that.

      What we do in our group (which is a casual one so this maybe won't work for more competitive groups) is have it that if your army is based off of a decurian style detachment or any formation that is comprised of multiple formations or FOC detachments then you can't include any other formation or detachment of any kind until you've maxed that first detachment out. Seems to help, you get a powerful one faction army at the expense of flexibility and allies shenanigans.

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    5. You say that, until they get halfway through, and suddenly the new Tyranid codex has twin-linked D-weapons on everything. and then the cycle starts over. I just wish they would balance them all out first, THEN power-jump.

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    6. @ytook my issue is that I don't want to have an extensive house rules and FAQ in order to have fun games. I don't need everything to be completely balanced, as that usually causes factions to lose some of their uniqueness, I just don't want to have to tell our Eldar player to limit SL bikes to 1 in 3, and only take one wraithknight. It'd be nice to just let people build what they want, even if one army will win 80% of the time, but it still takes til turn 5. Right now I see too many armies just get obliterated by turn 2 or 3, to the point where throwing in the towel and playing something other than 40K is preferable to finishing the game, just kind of sad.

      I like that formation idea though, I'll pitch it.

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    7. I wish my Tyranid codex gets Ds on everything; we currently have access to *none*. lol

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    8. Even against more cheesey 'designed purely to win' lists I haven't ever seen tableing that quickly, I'm not even sure how that'd happen apart from in very small games. Not doubting you or anything, every local meta is different, I'm just genuinely trying to figure out how that happens.

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    9. Me too Mauler... Me too...

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    10. @ytook when I say tabled I don't necessarily mean to a man. I mean that by the end of turn 2/3 there is no possible way army A can win, IE army A is assaulty and their vehicles have all been wraithknighted to death. Sure you could play the final two turns and watch them slowly get mulched to death, but the gunline of B is sitting on 3 objectives, and you only have 2 in your backfield.

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    11. They are fun and unique to play. Local guy has been murdering the new Eldar with them.

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    12. I still say a pack of thunder cav with ss and claws with a hammer and fist mixed in joined by a priest with cyberwolves and a wgbl with his pups can not only soak up any D but will obliterate anything they run into plus have the mobility to take obj anywhere on the table.. SW/GK list ftw FTDS(fack the dum shyt) curious to see what admech can do though as i haven't seen them in action yet

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    13. lmao @ tyranids having like one invulnerable save, no eternal warrior, etc. when their most "survivable" units will be annihilated by any SD weapon.

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    14. Nightfury you better hope that D doesn't roll any 6s on the to wound and you really better hope that the Eldar player doesn't take the ridiculously cheap, incredibly powerful bikes with all special weapons. Volleys of S6 shots couldn't give a rats ass about your invuls.

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    15. The fenrisian wolves and cyberwolves eat all those shots up.. the d weapons might do d6+6 wounds but that's per model per hit.. the wounds don't carry over.. oh yeah that 12 wound hit just killed my 8pt wolf.. oh well that's what they're for.. after one round of shooting my cavalry are stuck in and it don't matter ;) cause 50+ str 6 or 7 shredding and rending hits will take out just about anything any army can put on the table save a Titan

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    16. Nightfury is on the money, Wolf Cav are fast, resillient and hit hard. D pies will bring the pain but then that will punish anything lol

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    17. Fenrisian wolves are one of my favourite additions to the game of recent years. Now that the new eldar codex is around, I may revisit my old idea of having an army of wolves and jetbikes.

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    18. Mauler, are you expecting to see the 7e books up until Necrons get a second 7e codex?

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  2. And how fun is it to say I now am hitting you with my Taser Goad!

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    1. "I just blew your commander's head off with a transuranium sniper round!"

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  3. While I'll vouch for the Infiltrators any day, I'm really underwhelmed by the Ruststalkers. The fact that they need a turn to get their motor running is really not doing them any favors. I've run a squad in every game I had with skitarii so far, and they always seem lacking. In contrast, Infiltrators deploy closer to the enemy, can just pour out the dice both at range and in melee and offer a powerful debuff.
    At least the Ruststalkers get a really nice set of grenades and the princeps can be surprisingly nasty in a challenge, due to the interaction of chordclaw and dataspike. But, in all honesty, of all the skitarii they are the least useful.

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    1. Infiltrators, all day every day. Although the last game I played, a regular space marine captain with power sword managed to hold them up for 3 turns. It was epic fun though, one of those games when every roll results in lots of screaming, haha.

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    3. I loved my single infiltrator that was left after my knight blew up and turned the rest of them and a squad of ork boys to ash, but then he managed to kill 2 ork Meganobz, and a full grot squad by himself. They are great countercharges. Hide them out of site or in cover, and a know what your going to charge into and they will not disappoint. Taser is definitely the way to go with them

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    4. Infiltrators are great vs blobs and walkers up to AV12, but when it comes to hitting units in cover or AV13+ targets then you want Ruststalkers and a Princeps with a Conversion Field. I never leave home without a CF on any Princeps that I want in assault; the benefit of dropping an opponent to I1 (Orks, Nurgle, Necrons...any I2/3 unit is fairly vulnerable) is mostly lost on Infiltrators as tragically Blind doesn't stack with their aura but anything that gives Ruststalkers & Vanguard an advantage in assault is great. They're excellent vs heavy vehicles like Knights thanks to each model getting a Haywire attack, and from the 2nd round onwards brutal vs MCs without invulns...if they survive getting hit themselves.

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  4. im going to try to run them solo but its going to be a while before i have all the stuff in the list, but im looking forward to it since theyre such a unique army

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  5. Wait, who was saying Skitarii were an underwhelming army? I remember looking at the leaked rules and thinking "DAMN, these guys are fantastic!"

    Their infantry is more tactically flexible than pretty much anything else out there with reliable options for anti GEQ, MEQ, TEQ and vehicles, their vehicles are fast and, though seemingly flimsy, hit like a ton of bricks and they have one of the best AA platforms around!

    Anyone who thought Skitarii were underwhelming, even on paper, was a silly-billy.

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    1. I think the Eldar release caused the "underwhelming" rumors, because next to our new Craftword Overlords, everything is underwhelming.

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    2. @ClassicCarraway pretty much this. I look at all my beautifully fast foot-slogging/clunking walkers, and then look at S6 scatter laser spam and am like damn, gg...

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    3. Funny because at least locally, Skitarii in drop pods have be ruining the day of every Eldar player around.

      In fact, they seem to play a lot like the Eldar of old - where units had to work in synergy with each other or else they'd get destroyed.

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    4. If you mean the synergy between a drop pod and being inside of it, then sure. :P Other than that I haven't noticed an excessive need for synergy with them.

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    5. Despite the eldar's ridiculous power levels, they don't have relentless/move through cover troops that can cause multiple wounds per shot. Sometimes rules beat stats.

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    6. No, they have T6 fearless elites that can either take a single St D shot that does.multiple wounds AND hull points and can potentially erase a super heavy in one shot, OR take a template that is AP2, ignores cover, and does d3 wounds or hull points on 3+.....and can take a fast and durable transport without an allies tax...and they cost fewer points. Try again

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    7. Man this comment section isn't a competition. I don't need to try again, because as we've been saying, Eldar can, do, and have been losing to Skitarii. If you've been losing to them, so what? It's a dice-based game, and Skitarii are also very powerful. I'm well aware that the Eldar have SD nowadays. I think we all are, so what's your point?

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  6. Who cares how they play? They look great, the detail is great, the assembly is great, and that's what GW cares about. They don't care about rules or tournaments or actually playing the game. Sorry y'all...

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    1. Who cares? Games Workshop doesn't give a **** about assembly- they only care about money. Otherwise the company wouldn't charge such exorbitant prices for the rule books that are now on two year cycles.

      GW Apologists...

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    2. Nope - they charge that kind of coin for rulebooks because they know the gaming-oriented fanatics in the hobby just HAVE to have the new rules (or they'll, like, die or something), and they can then use that cash to make the "hobby" side of the game better. And they DO care about assembly, m8. Just take any of the last 8-10 releases as an example. the joins on the models are exquisite and hide seams. but I agree with you the gamers couldn't care less about any of this. I walked into my local GW yesterday to buy a couple boxes of Mechanicus, and some douche was playing an entire (newly purchased) army of mechanicus that had just been spray-painted red. just red. guy dropped prolly 4 bills on gorgeous plastic and then proceeded to ruin it. GW must look at these people and just shake their heads.

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    3. Although they do care, otherwise they wouldn't be upping the power level of every codex since Necrons...lol

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    4. I agree. The more codices GW releases, diverse it gets!

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    5. For myself, the modeling painting and conversion wkrk is the true fun.. having a lovely work of art that I've spent hours painstakingly hunched over with magnifying glasses to get it just perfect is the real reward so when i hear of "spray painted" armies i. just cringe. its sad really.. please... be kind to your plastic and if you have zero artistic talent they are many of us who would be happy to bring your models to liffe.. for a nominal fee of course ;-)

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    6. My favorite part of the army is seeing how each individual crafts their own army into being theirs. It's why I always try to take event photos like a freaking insano person. I just love it...i love seeing all those awesome models and armies on the table! It's the absolute best!

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    7. My great company will be finished(completely ) by the end of this summer.. every piece has been individualized to the lowliest bloodclaw to the amazing thunderwolf lord that has been converted from no less than 12 different kits.. id be happy to share pictures with you greg when I'm finaly satisified they are done.. unfortunately putting myself out there like that means i have to limit my inside tidbits of info to vague or anonymous leaks :-/

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    8. Make a fake account, like daylightpeaceful, and post them to imgur, then here :)

      Haha will they ever be done? I have to force myself to work in a pattern, else I'll never finish in time for the events!

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    9. I'm a perfectionist and very ocd about the smallest details.. the facial tattoos on my wolf lord and guard came out superb but took forrrreverrr to get just right.. that and using a different SM head on just about every model.. what takes me the longest is the modeling and design.. once the paint starts flying the models are finished rather quickly.. i paint an average of 2hours a day at least but spend more like days modeling and gluing and watching youtube videos to learn new techniques like wet blending and freehand designs.. the last thing I'm working on now is the individual pack markings which I've yet to find a method i like that is both quick/efficient yet comes out satisfactory.. so far freehanding them is the only result I'm actually happy with.. i tried masking with tape but i did not like the results.. too industrial looking and not very tribal/barbarian as befitting a son of Russ

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    10. Nice work man, pics will flow I expect?

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    11. You and me both Nightfury. I can't even stand for a surface to be rough from filing. My ultra fine sanding film is always to hand. I paint bare Aspect Warrior faces with warpaint patterned after Jes Goodwin's original designs. I'm rarely completely satisfied with stock models. My work space is littered with conversions, head swaps, and wee little terrain bitz.

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    12. @j.mike: Your entire response is hyperbole- especially and including agreeing with a statement that I didn't make.Hobby is not the reason rules are being accelerated. There are at least two factors, in my opinion: Protecting their IP branding, a result of their loss to Chapterhouse in court, and, their diminished earnings.
      I've read a lot of complaints about WAAC players in 40K, but, not enough complaints about snooty hobbyists that look down their noses at anyone that criticizes Games Workshop. You're probably an employee...apologist.

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  7. My one complaint with the Ruststalkers and Infiltrators?

    ...

    THEIR PARTS ARE TOO DARN FLIMSY. Like seriously, I played one game and already two swords are bent and an Infiltrator lost an arm. I play very delicately, and I magnetized the bases of the models so they wouldn't move around in the case, and yet! I'm tempted not to use them at all just because I don't want to be so disheartened from using a bunch of half-broken models on the table!

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    1. Is it weird then that I sort of like broken stuff on my models? Not arms or legs and stuff, not really, but busted weapons and things like that feel like they add character. X)

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    2. I mean, I understand that can be pretty appealing, but when your weapon is supposed to be a razor-sharp tuning fork, and it's bent like a limp noodle, that's kind of a turn-off.

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    3. Are you using plastic glue, or super glue?

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    4. It's not the glue that's breaking, it's the regular solid plastic areas. The wrists on the Infiltrators, the blades of the Ruststalkers, the tiny fiddly claws and antennae, the legs, they're bending at the slightest pressure because there's just not much there to prevent them from doing so.

      I don't know if I got a bad kit, if the kit soaked in the sun for too long before I got it and the plastic I have is just super weak, but that's my experience.

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    5. that is a second reason i magnetized all the weapons on my skitarii (first is i like to try all the options).

      The antennae aren't too bad as you can just pack them carefully and antennae will be okay, but weapons are better off magnetized

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  8. Arc rifles + drop pods = Stronk.

    Doesn't matter what vehicle is on the board, 7 haywire shots at BS5+ means they're all gone turn one.

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  9. Great write up. I disagree with the author about the usefulness of rangers. I have found them to be pretty solid as MSU style harassment units. They are great objective holders and don't rely as much on proximity as some of the other units.

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    1. I love how Rangers can scare the pants off your opponent on turn one with hyper accurate, long range fire from galvanic rifles and transuranic arquebi. Enemy psykers are usually the first to eat the transuranium.

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  10. I had my first game with them at my gaming group. They did quite well. The radium carbines were deadly. The heroes for me (I had some excellent dice rolling), was the infiltrators. And the army was surprisingly quick.

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