Rats. They’re great. Rats were the first army I really wanted to collect when I got into fantasy wargaming 30 odd years ago. Since then, I’ve collected a couple of armies, the most recent being my Fyrefur Clan, which I started when I got into Kings of War in 2019.
Over the last couple of years things have really changed for Ratkin with more lore, a revised list for third edition and now their very own Mantic range.
Whilst I’m a big fan of Kings of War as a game, and the community, my relationship with Mantic’s models is an evolving one. I’m a gamer first, enjoyer of fluff second and in a very distance last place comes painting, basing and prepping models.
Mantic’s older plastics (gargoyles, Basilean mounted paladins, etc.) made me think twice about building a full Mantic force, but the new plastic kits and resin have won me over. As the new Ratkin range will largely consist of these its game on.
The plan is simple, although somewhat dependent on Covid. I’ve come up with a list I quite like the idea of. Over the next 12 months I’m going to get it built and blog about it. So, if you’re planning on starting a Ratkin army it might give some insights into how the rats work (I’ll leave you to decide how interesting and/or helpful they are) and if you already have a Ratkin army it might make you shake your head and mutter, “No, that’s just wrong”.
I should probably add that I don’t have any crazy aims, like winning best painted trophies, tournaments or even games. This is just about having fun with Ratkin.
The (starting) List
As I’m hoping there will be some tournaments in 2021 I’m going for 1,995 points. I have no doubt this list will change over the course of the year, after all theory and the reality don’t always make for perfect partners. The list should also keep me focused so I don’t suddenly find myself working on that Salamander army I definitely have no interest in.
Warrior Horde with Plague Pot
Shock Troop Horde with Plague Pot and Brew of Sharpness
3 Hackpaw Regiments, 1 with Boots of Striding
2 Mutant Rat Fiends
War Chief on Fleabag
It’s fair to say this is quite an elite list. Traditionally, rats are a grindy swarm army, but I’m not one for tradition. I am, however, one for big beasties and hard-hitting stuff hard, which the rat list has some great options for. I’ll talk more about units and list choices in future instalments.
The first couple of weeks have been pretty productive, with a basing design decided on and the first models making their way to said bases. Fair to say, I’m pretty happy with the results.
I love scenic bases, but I’m new to building them and there’s so much to explore in terms of materials, concepts and my own limitations of both capability and patience. After more than a few failed experiments I’ve created something I’m happy with.
My first regiment/half a horde is one rat away from completion. Preferred model count is definitely the order of the day, leaving space for a cheeky Plague Pot. Warriors are one of my favourite blocking units in the army. Whilst they don’t dish out a lot of damage, I quite often think people underestimate just how hard they are to shift, especially with a well-timed plague pot and a bit of rally to up the nerve score. They are also the cheapest unlock. Yes, the unit strength isn’t as good as the spear warriors, but I’m not expecting them to make it to the end of the battle, so it doesn’t really matter. Finally, having rally themselves means they provide really useful support for more fragile units in the early turns.
Twitch would have been a perfect fit for my second edition army, so it will be interesting to see how he performs when we finally return to the tables. Whilst Hex isn’t the most exciting spell, I think Banechant and Eye of the Abyss special rule (allowing a Banechanted unit to re-roll their to hit and to wound dice) is a great fit for this list. For me elite builds are all about certainty of outcome, so whilst Banechant (3) means its highly likely extra strength will be available Eye of the Abyss gives you that second chance when you really need to take an enemy unit off the table, ground a flyer or knock thunderous off some knights. Yes, it’s not going to get used every turn, or even every game, but think it will impact the way I use Banechant.
That’s it for the first instalment. Back with more in a couple of weeks.