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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

15 Responses to “Skitarii in Pratice: How good are they?”

  1. WestRider May 22, 2015 1:22 am
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    I’ve been trying to get a chance to play mine for the last couple of weeks, but haven’t been able to find the time to get a game in. Hopefully this weekend.

    I’m kind of not surprised that the RustStalkers and Infiltrators are better than a lot of people were thinking; that kind of speed is a very powerful ability, and one that I find a lot of people underestimate.

    The Dragoons and Ballistarii, my real concern is just the dollar cost. Waiting for a time when I’ve got a good chunk of cash free during one of y’all’s preorder deals to grab some at a more reasonable price.

    • fluger May 22, 2015 8:00 am
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      Yeah, the dragoons may be “cheap as chips” pointwise, but dollah-wise?? Eesh. It’s almost Mek Gun bad for money to points!

  2. Scrambles May 22, 2015 3:35 am
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    I’ve always been super interested in the fluff and now that there’s an awesome model range I’ll definitely be starting a new army. Just waiting for the Cult book to drop before I pull the trigger – it’ll be a combined Skitarii/Cult/Knight army for sure!

    Will you be building out your Adeptus Mechanicus army out to include the Cult forces? It’d be great to see a combined force on the live stream!

  3. Ghost Valley May 22, 2015 3:39 am
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    Using the Doctrina Imperatives at the right times can be devastating. Rerolls on shooting misses, especially gets hot on the plasma, is so valuable and if you can time it correctly the WS buffs can really help units in assault – just being hit on 4s rather than 3s can keep a unit alive and when combined with sapping your opponents WS and toughness a bad match up can turn into a won assault.

    I can’t agree more about the mask. It makes the Ruststalkers pricey but keeping them in combat until round 2, when the transonic blades begin to decimate is key. Fleshbane keeps your wounds high and the haywire on the mindscramble has killed knights for me.

    I’ve started running coteaz as well, he fits in really well.

    Ive been having so much fun with Skitarii I almost don’t want to sub any cult Mech units in and just play the dexes as separate

  4. D-ManA May 22, 2015 6:03 am
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    I’ve been using a 3 detachment army with skitarii and I have to say the besides the crusader knight the skitarii units have been all stars. Some friends and I have play testing for the Iron Halo GT and my skitarii have turn 1 killed a wraithknight for the past 3 games, I also went up against a decurion detachment that had a reclamation legion and destroyer cult, he had his destroyer lord and 5 necron warriors left on the board. The amount of firepower skitarii and the crusader knight can put out is very devastating.

  5. iNcontroL May 22, 2015 7:21 am
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    Yeah super pumped 🙂 Once I get mine on hand I will be repping them constantly!

    • WrentheFaceless May 22, 2015 11:27 am
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      Combined Admech/Nid army

      Ro-bugs?

  6. Commandant Blitz May 22, 2015 7:30 am
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    “All of the units in my experience, baring Rangers, have been outstanding.”

    What has been the issue with the Rangers? I like their rules by the look of them. Is it a problem of the rest of the army wants to get close and the Rangers prefer to stay further back?

  7. Requizen
    Requizen May 22, 2015 7:33 am
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    I played with one last night and was really impressed. He only had Vanguard and Rangers (allied with some IG), but the amount of firepower he was able to put out with the special weapons, Omnispex, and BS increase from Doctrinas was terrifying. Cancer guns are also really powerful against darn near everything, lots of shots that gets extra wounds is a nightmare.

    Ruststalkers I’ll agree are great for Assault but I’m still not sold on Infiltrators.

    They’re a really interesting force with good power levels, though with enough downsides to make them not broken. T3 can really get them hurt, and no serious armor saves means that they go down to small arms fire as well. A decent downside to their powerful damage output makes them actually a solid force to be reckoned with, even against the top-tier armies.

    Of course, I don’t know about running them solo. Putting them in drop pods is great, but I’m sure we’ll also see them with other allies as well. Grey Knights can give them some durable friends that they can support with heavy firepower, for example, or they can use their multiple special and heavy weapons to back up scary Assault things like SmashFether and TWC Star.

  8. fluger May 22, 2015 7:59 am
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    My only complaint with Skitari is that they cost lots of real money, especially the dragoons, which I love in concept and the models.

  9. WrentheFaceless May 22, 2015 8:48 am
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    Skitarii are looking like a sleeper strong army, and look to be getting better with allied Cult Mechanicus units.

  10. Woa May 28, 2015 8:13 am
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    Infiltrators are beasts. One thing I heard on your podcast was rad weapons due two wounds on a 6. Actually you need to read the codex. It’s two additional wounds. So 6s = 3 wounds.

    I have been running what I call the “The Red Tide”

    6 units of vanguard. 2 blobs of rads only, two of plasma and two of arcs.

    3 units of infiltrators with Uzi and tazers.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 28, 2015 8:34 am
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      “Rad Poisoning: …a To Wound roll of a 6 causes 2 wounds on the target unit…”

      How are you getting three wounds from that? Seems pretty clearly that a 6 does two wounds instead of 1. Compare that to the Taser rule which states a To Hit roll of a 6 6 causes two additional hits…

      Your list looks fun though, I dig it! And yeah, the Infiltrators are savage, so much better than they looked to be on paper.

      • Woa May 28, 2015 8:36 am
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        In my codex it says two Addional wounds. I have a ticket into battle scribe too, they have it wrong also.

        • Woa May 28, 2015 9:02 am
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          I’m a idiot disregard. And now I feel bad for my friend I played yesterday….