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Skittershank’s Clawpack

Nethermaze has arrived and in this article we are taking a look at Skittershank’s Clawpack! This article is part of a bunch of articles going live on the website today including the reviews of Nethermaze (including the universals included), The Exiled Dead, and The Shadeborn.

It’s been a hectic week for content! Zach and I have recorded 5 podcast episodes this week and I’ve written 4 articles (including this one).

In today’s article I’ll be covering everything you need to know about Skittershank’s Clawpack. This includes the lore, fighter cards, 32 faction specific cards, and the miniatures themselves. I know a lot of people are excited for this warband as Skaven have a bit of a cult following and these miniatures are insanely beautiful!

A special thank you to Games Workshop for providing me with this review copy ahead of time for free.

Sneaky stab-stab here we come!

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Fighters: 

Slynk Skittershank is a young, and upcoming master assassin, who has been tasked to the Nethermaze in hopes of securing additional shadow magic and tools. These are believed aid in his clan’s never-ending quest of being the greatest assassins in the Mortal Realms. He leads a pack of 5 skaven who are all attempting to make a name for themselves, as well as dispose of any (not so) friendly competition. He also aptly has the assassin keyword.

Slynk himself seems to be in a good spot to go about business with his 4 wounds, 2 dodge, and 5 move. The latter seems to be a skaven specific trait which is neat to see come back. He’s rocking a range 1 attack that hits on 3 fury and deals 2 damage. This damage can spike to three via the grievous rule.

Marked for Death is a neat ability which reinforces what this warband is all about – brutally assassinating the enemy commander. This ability allows Slynk to re-roll one attack dice when targeting an enemy leader. Keep in mind, this is a blanket rule for him as a fighter and is not restricted to a specific attack action.

The inspire condition is a nuanced one. Killing an enemy fighter, or severely damaging a bigger fighter is tough. Its’s pretty thematic but again, can be difficult to pull off in certain matchups. Generally leaders are the most powerful fighters in their warband. Opponents will also do a decent job of keeping them protected and alive.

The good thing is, he doesn’t need to inspire. The only thing is that his attack goes from 3 fury to 4 fury. While that accuracy bonus is nice, it’s not required. If you need Slynk to go around a murder other enemy fighters, he’s perfectly capable un-inspired.

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Synp Padpaw is the second command of the warband despite being much older and potentially wiser. He’s actually quite annoyed Slynk got promoted before him (corporate America anyone?) but is willing to deal with it…for now. Like his leader, he sports a solid 5 move and 2 dodge stat with a reduced wound characteristic of 3. He melee attack is the exact same as Sylnk’s, 3 fury and 2 damage. He also has the Marked for Death special rule which allows him a tasty re-roll against enemy leaders. He’s also the only other fighter in your warband that starts as an assassin.

What makes him a bit different, aside from the wounds is that he has a Smoke Bombs reaction. I don’t think the reaction is something you’re going to want to use every time because he’s not too survivable given his 3 wounds. The ideal scenario would be to charge multiple fighters and stagger potentially 2-3 of them. However again, he can’t take much of a hit.

I do think this warband likes ganging up on fighters, especially because most of them hit on fury. Gaining that half support while crit fishing helps a bunch. Even more so on a stagger. The dream is perhaps staggering an enemy leader so Slynk, or Padpaw himself, can re-roll 2 dice when striking. Essentially, the idea is to help the other fighters hit things.

When inspired (same requirement Slynk), his melee attack gains grievous and cleave. While those things are nice, they are not necessary. This means Padpaw doesn’t really need to inspire. I like him, he’s a mini-Slynk and should be utilized a such.

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Kreep Kinwhisper is an assassin in training and is trying to make a name for himself in the annals of Clan Eshin. With 5 move, 2 dodge, and 3 wounds he’s quite similar to Padpaw. Unlike his compatriot, his attack action is a range 3, 2 smash, 1 damage attack with the barbs special rule. This reaction essentially gives an enemy fighter a net counter when Kreep successfully hits them. When an enemy fighter has a net counter, they take a damage if they make a move action.

This attack is perhaps one of the most unique actions in the game. If you use it early, it can put your opponent in an awkward position, especially if they need that fighter move/charge. In many cases, this is a 2 damage attack, technically. I can see you charging with him via a cover hex. That’ll force your opponent to risk an extra damage if you hit a key fighter. Starting the game with 8 threat range is great.

Unlike Skittershank and Padpaw, Kreep’s inspire condition is a bit different. While he will still inspire when the opposing leader bites the dust, he can accelerate his inspiration by simply making an attack action that targets the enemy leader. It doesn’t even need to be successful. When he does inspire, he gains grievous on his attack. He also finally gets promoted to an assassin (gains keyword) and also gets the Marked for Death ability.

Again, he is not a fighter that needs to be inspired but you can, should the opportunity present itself. Aside from grievous, it’s not that necessary if you aren’t attacking the enemy leader.

Kreep is a utility piece and should be used as such. Early game, he can be quite annoying. Late game you can use an attack action upgrade, or even [whu card type image iconGloryseeker]Gloryseeker card image - hover to make him a mobile, 2 damage turret chilling in a cover hex.

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Krowch’t isn’t a very prominent fighter, but he’s got dreams and believes he can achieve them as long as Skulck dies along the way. He’s got 5 move, 1 doge, and 2 wounds. His attack profile has a melee attack that hits on 2 fury for 2 damage. He’s a minion as well.

He’s got the same inspire as Kreep which boosts him to 2 dodge and he hits on smash instead of fury. This makes him probably the worst fighter in your warband. There are great minion cards available if you want to take them but I’m not sure how much utility he has. You probably give him a weapon and say go.

Otherwise you’re either using him to camp a feature token in a safe area of using him as bait. That being said, if things become dire – you pile up a bunch of upgrades on him and hope he hits something.

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Skulck has decided to pursue the ranged philosophy of assassination. He’s a minion and hates Krowch’t. Again, we see 5 move, 1 dodge, and 2 wounds. I do like his attack action though – 3 range, 2 smash, 1 damage.

He’s got the same inspire as Krowch’t and Kreep. If and when he does inspire, which I think should be more often than Krowch’t given the range, his ranged attack becomes more “accurate.” It bumps up to 3 fury and gains stagger. He also jumps up to 2 dodge.

I like Skulck for the same reasons I like Kreep (these names are hilariously awesome). You can turn him into a mini-ranged turret should Kreep go down. I see him being quite the nuisance to your opponent. He can just chill in a cover hex and spam 1, or more, damage at range with stagger. For either minion, I think [whu card type image iconEphemeral Fortitude]Ephemeral Fortitude card image - hover could be a good option. It might keep them around for a while. [whu card type image iconTerrifying Shadow]Terrifying Shadow card image - hover is another good one. That being said, I don’t think you want to overdo it with the minion cards.

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Objectives:

Armed to the Fangs: I don’t think it’s a bad card, but it’s not particularly good or exciting. It’s doable but hard to do in the beginning. It being 1 glory also turns me off from it.

Rating: C

Collateral Damage: First things first, I love seeing older warbands on new faction art. Nethermaze is the first season to do that and I hope they continue this trend. There are a lot of “older” fighters dying in a plethora of ways. Going back to this card, the 3 glory is quite nice. It reminds me of [whu card type image iconPure Carnage]Pure Carnage card image - hover but harder because the enemy leader has to be dead. Your opponent also knows you warband revolves around killing their leader which makes this harder. I guess this can help you offset for you losing some fighters as well because you can count your own. I don’t hate it, but I don’t know if it’s reliable. It’s also quite meta dependent.

Rating: C

Daggers in the Dark: I think this is okay, especially since you have access to a lot of innate stagger in the warband. Though I think the only time you can access it without cards is via Padpaw’s smoke bombs. But keep in mind, Skulck and Kreep can inspire fairly quickly. A canny opponent can also go on guard to remove the stagger in a best of 2/3. On top of that, you need a kill. I think you could take it though, especially with power card support which this warband has quite a bit of.

Rating: C

Dazed and Confused: As you will see, this warband has a lot of stagger support. But, to stagger more than half of the surviving enemy fighters seems like a tall order. It’s also extremely counter-able once they are wise to your game plan, especially in a best 2/3. I also think you need too much gambit support to get this off reliably.

Rating: D

Impressive Students: With Skulck, this could be a thing as 2 smash is much better than Krowcht’s 2 fury attacks. There is a part of me that wants to stay away from this card, especially because there is a risk of drawing this in the late game. However if you are building towards a ranged, turret build with Kreep and Skulck then I think this could work. At least, I can see it potentially happening. I just don’t think it’s consistent enough despite that 2 glory being so tempting.

Rating: C

Infiltrate Their Lair: This is a 1 glory [whu card type image iconConquest]Conquest card image - hover that can be scored in any phase. It’s decent but I think it’s a lot of work for just a single glory. I don’t think it’s worth it.

Rating: D

Killer Supreme: I think this is a pretty good card, in fact I love cards like these. Shoutout [whu card type image iconHeadshot]Headshot card image - hover! I know it’s slightly more restrictive because you need an attack action that has the grievous keyword. But, Slynk starts with it. Padpaw and Kreep inspire and get it. Not to mention you have attack action upgrades as well. It’s good.

Rating: B

Rattled: I don’t like the stagger cards in this objective deck. I think it requires too much work and effort for not enough reward.

Rating: D

Unsurprising Fate: I like this card. You’re probably going to lose one of your 2 wound, 1 dodge fighters over the course of the game. If you opponent ignores your minions in an effort to stop you form scoring it, then your minions have free reign. That might not say much but if you invest in them, they can be quite good. It’s essentially an end phase version of [whu card type image iconMartyred]Martyred card image - hover. It’s also excellent when trying to use Krowch’t as bait. Plus there is a power card in the faction gambits that help make this a lot more consistent.

Rating: A

Way of the Hidden Paw: 2 glory surges always tempt me. I want to play for it and I do think it can be fairly consistent if you are planning for it. Sure, it means putting Slynk in harms way, but I imagine people are charging him in an attempt to kill him anyways so they’ll be close. You could invest in pushes too (which you should be doing). Either way however you set it up, I think it’s worth the setup for 2 glory. Especially when there are a lot of surges that reward you for making attacks with supporting fighters.

Rating: B

Way of the Lashing Tail: A little bit harder than the last card, but could be worth it if you plan for it. If you want to play this warband similarly to a swarm warband, you can gang up, and then gank enemy fighters. Especially with pushes like [whu card type image iconCentre of Attention]Centre of Attention card image - hover, [whu card type image iconHypnotic Buzz]Hypnotic Buzz card image - hover, and/or [whu card type image iconCountercharge]Countercharge card image - hover. The downside to this card is that if you lose fighters early, this can be hard. I think the power spike of scoring this early can be very good. I think it’s worth scoring it but it requires some setup. I kind of equate this to a Jagathra throw. If it works in the early game, great. If it doesn’t, you toss it. It’s worth the 2 glory surge spike, I think.

Rating: B

Way of the Striking Fang: I think my understanding of the way I want to play these guys is to not chase the main inspire condition – by attempting to kill the enemy leader. If it happens, great but you don’t need to force it. It’s also just 1 glory and not worth investing in as it’s not very interesting.

Rating: D

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Gambits:

Closing for the Kill: The first option is niche but quite powerful. The second option is ubiquitous and very powerful. 2 [whu card type image iconSidestep]Sidestep card image - hovers is great.

Rating: A

Misplaced Optimism: This card is pretty powerful. There is no range limit on this card and it can lead to some big plays. Whether it’s setting up for a kill (surrounding them especially) or pushing them off a feature hex to deny a score, it’s nice. I think it’s a bit meta dependent, depending on how aggressive enemy warbands, including their leaders, are trying to be. That being said, the utility here is pretty nice. Pushing them into charge range or pushing them out of their own charge range is quite nice. I think it’s worth it. Though I might be misplacing my optimism here…

Rating: A

Poisoned Traps: The first warband specific domain card! Domain cards a new type of card in Underworlds introduced in Nethermaze. Essentially, the effect persists until the end of the round or until another domain card is played. It’s a neat reaction, but not very reliable and quite random. Again, not a fan of the stagger style they’re pushing for this warband. This can punish Kainan’s and Kunnin’ Krew players.

Rating: D

Probing Attack: I’m not sure on how much you want to invest in the minion specific cards in this warband. I like the idea of it but I think it might be quite limited in application. I think I much rather prefer other pushes.

Rating: C

Redirected Attack: This card is incredible. Incredible! Similarly to [whu card type image iconShared Pain]Shared Pain card image - hover, this allows you to sacrifice a weaker fighter in order to prolong the life of anther fighter. In this case, an assassin specifically. There’s good synergy with Unsurprising Fate and can save your leader in a pinch. It could honestly just win you the game in some cases. These kind of “gotcha” cards really mess with your opponent’s mental fortitude. This also denies them surges that require a kill because the combat sequence just ends. That means their attack fails. This also can deny primacy. Lot’s a great denial here.

Rating: A

Skittering Blur: This card is insane! This can completely shut down your opponent, especially when you know they’re about to target a key fighter via the power step. It’s amazing and another “gotcha” card that’s going to mess with your opponent’s mental. This also opens up some aggressive plays with Padpaw’s smoke bombs or a risky Slynk charge because you just play this right after the activation. I love it and hate it (for when I eventually play against it)!

Rating: A

Spitting Cobra Technique: This forces us to use the magic dice, it’s a starter box so makes sense. While I’m not a big fan of stagger objectives, I do like the idea of giving your warband a pseudo [whu card type image iconAwakened Weapon]Awakened Weapon card image - hover effect. Your opponent can stop it but them spending an activation to stop it seems like a win for me. The random chance to deal a damage is neat but not something you should count on. I think there is stiff competition for the gambit slots in this warband, so I ultimately I think it’s viable but not great.

Rating: C

Sweep the Leg: Same thoughts as the previous card. The setup might be challenging though as you will probably need pushes. I think the range limitation hurts it a bit though. You’ll probably take it if you’re going for the “stagger package.” Love the ‘Karate Kid’ reference. Interestingly, if you do want a stagger card, I think you pick between this one or the one above, not both.

Rating: C

Way of the Iron Paw: Another “gotcha” card that allows this warband to be a lot more survivable than they would originally appear. These cards are amazing in other warbands, think [whu card type image iconDaemonic Resilience]Daemonic Resilience card image - hover and [whu card type image iconDuardin Resilience]Duardin Resilience card image - hover. We all know how annoying those cards are to deal with and for these guys, it’s awesome for staying alive. And again, the mental anguish this can cause an opponent is incredible.

Rating: A

Way of the Slinking Rat: This is a very thematic card and I like the idea of jumping in, confirming the assassination, and then teleporting back out. You need to get the kill though so it’s hard to make this a reliable play. I think you’re going to want a specific plan for this to be included as your gambit deck slots are going to be very competitive.

Rating: C

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Upgrades:

Deathmaster: I really like this card for Slynk. Bumping up his threat range to 6 is nice and opens up [whu card type image iconWinged Death]Winged Death card image - hover, especially with the ranged attacks from Kreep and Skulck. The accuracy is nice as well; it is what you want with your most powerful fighter.

Rating: B

Eshin Throwing Stars: Range 3, 3 fury, 1 damage with stagger is cool. It’s actually great for Krowch’t as then you can have 3 fighters than can fight “safely” from range. That being said, I think Skulck and Kreep have got you covered. Plus you kind of want Krowch’t to die for Unsurprising End.

Rating: C

Gas Mask: This is an incredible card in terms of what it offers. It’s slightly unfortunate that is is just for Padpaw, but it’s why it is balanced. I don’t think this is going to make your championship deck, but I look forward to playing this in Rivals/Rivals+.

Rating: C

Merciless: I find cards like these interesting because almost always [whu card type image iconGreat Strength]Great Strength card image - hover is just better. If you also take [whu card type image iconGloryseeker]Gloryseeker card image - hover and/or [whu card type image iconWeapons Master]Weapons Master card image - hover then you don’t really need this. Well, unless you’re going with the stagger package.

Rating: C

Prehensile Tail: I think this is an amazing card because I think you’re going to want to run a weapon, or two in the upgrade deck. Preferably a range 2 weapon like [whu card type image iconGuardian Glaive]Guardian Glaive card image - hover. Regardless, it doesn’t say you have to use the attack action upgrade. So essentially you can just throw this, and a weapon, on anyone and use whatever attack action you want because you get 2 re-rolls. If you are hitting a leader, you re-roll 3. Nuts!

Rating: A

Ricocheting Triskele: Kreep channels his inner Captain America as he starts bouncing his throwing stars off his opponents. It’s thematic. It’s cool.  Ultimately a bit too niche for a fighter restricted card. It’s a novel idea though and I can appreciate it for what it is.

Rating: C

Shadow Paw: As an action, it doesn’t really excite me. Do I want to use 1 of my 12 actions to teleport next to an enemy? Maybe. Though on second thought, I am not so sure given how fast this warband is. This could score you Way of the Lashing Tail though. It’s also great setup for the end of a round, if you win the roll off.

Rating: C

Spy Rats: You can’t really control when your opponent draws a card. For that reason, the efficacy of this card’s stock drops significantly. Couple that with it being restricted to Kreep, it doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Rating: D

Supernatural Agility: This card is fantastic. Anytime a dodge warband has had access to a card that improves their defense by 1, it’s essentially an auto-include. Couple that with cover hex placement and you’ve got a very survivable rat.

Rating: A

The Facegouger Fangs: Gaining the flying trait is neat. Again, I don’t think you need it given how everyone is range 5. I think there are better attack action upgrades out there as well. Cool name though!

Rating: D

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Final Thoughts:

There is a lot to unpack with this warband. At first glance, you don’t really see how powerful they really are. But like the ninja assassins they are in the lore, they have a lot of tricks, traps, and abilities that help that perform at a high level.

Speaking of their fighters, I think Slynk and Padpaw are great are dishing out some early damage. Kreep and Skulck also excite me with their ranged potential. I think range 2 weapons are going to be great for them. Not only does it increase their threat range, it helps them camp on feature tokens as they try to fight their foes.

Objective wise, I don’t think the deck is particularly strong. There are some goodies in there and I love the potential with the 2 glory surges as a whole. It’s also going to help offset some of the glory you will inevitably bleed as you lose your fighters, particularly your minions.

The gambits are where the strength and heart of this warband lie. They can help you with clever positioning and the defensive cards are excellent. Those “gotcha” cards are going to keep your opponents guessing on whether or not their attack actions will bear fruit. You’ll need to supplement the deck with pushes but the gambit deck kind of builds itself. You have 4 faction auto-includes and that’s part of the reason why I don’t really rate the stagger stuff.

Rounding it out with upgrades, I definitely think it’s a tough act to follow when compares to the gambits. That being said, there is an auto-include , or two, in there and that’s more than what you can ask for in any faction.

Overall, I think warband is very exciting! You’re going to need to spend some time playing them to understand when and how you want to position them. I think the synergies with the assassin keyword open up a ton of options as well. While they may seem weak at first glance, I think there’s a lot of power when you digest the faction’s capabilities as a hole.

I look forward to seeing how many leaders go down at the hands Clan Eshin.

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If you think this warband would make an excellent addition to your collection, be sure to head on down to your local Warhammer Store or FLGS to order yourself a copy of Nethermaze. If you prefer to shop online, check this out here this Saturday. 

As always, best of luck on YOUR [whu card type image iconPath to Glory]Path to Glory card image - hover!

Aman

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Aman

Blogger, Podcast Host

Competitive player who loves to attend events and theory craft. Always chasing the next piece of shade glass. 

Favorite Warband: The Farstriders

Jonathan

Blogger, Podcast Host

Loves to discuss all aspects of the game, especially events. Enjoys the data behind the game and is also competitively focused.

Favorite Warband: Spiteclaw's Swarm

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