Army Review: Ratkin Slaves

While I am a big fan of the traditional army review format, they usually only show the opinion of one person playing in one particular meta. In reality even within the same gaming group there is often a lot of disagreement over which units are top tier and which leave a lot to be desired. So I decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

A massive thank you to Mark, Mike, Robert and Travis for all their help with this army review.

The Rating System

Each unit in the army is given a rating /10 using the scale below.

Note that the score given is how the unit compares to all other units in the game, not just compared to other units in the army. However, each unit should be considered in the context of this particular army e.g. a Phoenix in Salamanders may be rated differently to a Phoenix in the Forces of Basilea.

The ‘Expert’ Panel

Mark Cunningham
Wargammed for a while back in the 80s and 90s, then got married and had kids and sort of grown up and respectable. Then rejected the pretence of respectability and emerged myself back into Wargaming.

I co host Shroud of the Reaper tournaments in the South East of England, am part of the Herts community and the South East rep on the Masters Committee. I also on occasion accidently blow myself up on a live podcast. I chose to play Ratkin Slaves as it seemed no other bugger was, and I wanted to find out if there was a “winning list”.

Mike Smith
I’ve been playing tabletop wargames for nearly 20 years now. I consider myself and my Skaven hordes to be Old World refugees and KoW has now become my most frequently played game in the last couple of years. Having played large 6000 point plus battles against my brothers throughout all of second edition I decided that with the inception of third edition I would try the tournament scene. Fast forward to one competition two weeks before lockdown started. However since then I have managed to find other local players in addition to playing in as many Universal Battle tournaments as possible. 

Having noticed that Ratkin Slaves were pretty much completely unplayed I decided that I’d give them a try as I like a challenge. If I lose a game I can blame the army list being arguably the weakest in the game, but if I win it just makes that victory all the more sweeter. I had always liked evil dwarfs so jumped the perfect opportunity to pick up some of the amazing new Mantic sculpts and now am the proud owner of three hordes of Abyssal Dwarf Decimators. Blamo! 

Robert Alexander
I first got into Kings of War and Warpath back when the basic rules lists were being posted on warseer. Before discovering Universal Battle a few years ago, I probably only had about 20 games of KoW in (not including solo games) as I could never find opponents.

Since then, I’ve been getting more and more games in online, and some of the Call To Arms regulars might recognise me as the only Irish stat in Elliot’s stat corner.

I came into Kings of War with an Undead Knights themed army, and a Ratkin army already in my collection. The first has become Empire of Dust, while the latter almost became a Ratkin Slave army… until I saw how absolutely terrible I am at playing Ratkin Slaves. This is important information to keep in mind while you read this review.

Travis Timm
I am the US Masters co-chair for the Mountain region. I have been playing Kings of War since the exit from Warhammer Fantasy days. I have played in 4 years of the US Masters. I play all armies in Kings of War but Goblins are my main competitive tournament go to. I played Ratkin Slaves for about a year now.

Slave Wretches

Photo credit: Page Neo

Mark – 7/10
Available in Hordes and Legions only, these are flimsy chaff, at defence 2 they are excellent at absorbing Crushing Strength and Thunderous Charge, as they just don’t care.

With Last Breath they can become a good risk/reward unit, as opponents will pause on hitting them in melee. Being irregular they need unlocking and do not provide unlocks, also they have lower Unit Strength. Last Breath is OK but not great, it could do with a minor tweek so it has a tiny bit more punch.

Photo credit: Alex Kus

Mike – 8/10
This is why you take Ratkin Slaves, for access to the Last Breath upgrade. Hordes of super cheap Slaves. Charge them in, maybe do a couple of damage, do a couple more when your unit is destroyed and then follow up with your hammer units. Sixty percent of the time it works every time. 

Sadly defence 2 means you’ll have a bad time against any army with more than a handful of shooting units, but if you come across that Brock Rider army you’re in the money. I have never used the Legion before as it just seems that little bit too expensive for my taste. Maybe the extra nerve might help you live an extra turn but in my experience Ratkin life is cheap. 

Photo credit: Steve Hildrew

Robert – 8/10
Along with Slave Warriors, this is basically why you’re here right? Between the two units you’re going to take some of them. The question is which of the two units, and how many? They work well, but you always need to be prepared for a waver out of them. I started out taking Last Breath every time, but it isn’t completely necessary. When considering Last Breath I think as much about the psychological impact, as the damage impact. If you know that a single tough unit is likely to take this unit on alone (say Earth Elementals), then Last Breath is only there for psychology, don’t expect damage.

The legion is too unwieldy for anything I’d want to do with this unit though.

Travis – 8/10
Second chaff unit for sure in the list. Last Breath is cool but kind of pricey for the damage output in my mind. I like to keep things cheap. But 115 points for 18/21 nerve is great to hold down objectives. Legion isn’t bad for points either with better nerve but only 5 more attacks is kind of rough for what you pay.

Slave Warriors

Photo credit: Alex Kus

Mark – 8/10
Available in Regiments and Hordes only, at Defence 4, they are sturdier units than the Wretches. With Last Breath they can become a good risk/reward unit, as opponents will pause on hitting them in melee.

Being irregular they need unlocking and do not provide unlocks, also they have lower Unit Strength. If going to try and capitalise on Last Breath, then Slave Warrior Regiments are the cheapest way to maximise the units with Last Breath at 100pts a pop, compared to Wretches Horde at 130pts.

Photo credit: Eddie Bar

Mike – 7/10
These so called ‘Warriors’ have the same damage output as their Slave counterparts but have slightly higher defence. Again if you’re taking warriors you’ll always want to be taking the Last Breath upgrade. 

The Regiment is useful if you don’t quite have the points to fit in a horde of Slave Wretches, or if you just need a unit with a smaller footprint to cover a flank. I think if you were to take a Horde you’d be better off with a Horde of Slave Wretches though.

Photo credit: David Beal

Robert – 8/10
Wretches versus Warriors is really about your play style, and what other units you are taking. I think both are great, with a slight edge to Warriors, as they have very usable unit sizes. They also have the benefit of multiple smaller exploding units, which can put other MSU armies on edge.

I tend not to mix the two unit types, as I would rather one Def stat across the board for these units. I don’t want my opponent to have a chance to pick and choose between the two defence ratings in my slaves.

Travis – 8/10
Third unit of chaff. Last Breath is cool but kind of pricey for the damage output in my mind. I like to keep things cheap. Like this unit in both regiments and Hordes for the price. Better defence means they take more to kill compared to slaves but you pay a bit more for it. 


Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 8/10
The basic Abyssal Dwarf, cracking for unlocks, esp the hordes that will unlock 4 Last Breath units. Benefits from toys like Brew of Strength, Blessing of the Gods, Hammer of Measured force.

Mike – 6/10
The Regiment is your cheapest dwarf unlocking unit and that’s the only reason I would ever take one. Dwarfs are so slow at speed 4, and after a lifetime of playing with Skaven I cannot deal with short stubby legs. If you’re taking loads of Dwarf combat infantry why are you not just taking a regular Abyssal Dwarf list?

For me, the hordes are too slow and unwieldy to get good results from. Maybe there could be a good build with MSU of troops with Mastiff upgrades but it’s not for me as at Troop level I’d rather take some Vermintide and have 10 points left over. Give them Crush, or keep them Defence 5 I can see merits for both depending on your list.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Robert – 7/10
Hordes and regiments are some of our cheapest unlocking units, and are a useful all comers unit. You’ll find most players go for the horde options to increase unlocks, and to put some real hitting power behind their masses of slaves.

For hordes the Crushing Strength version works best in this list, especially if items are involved. If you are going to park them behind a slave unit, take the Throwing Mastiffs.

Def 5 version could take Hammer of Measured force. I know some players consider it a useless/controversial choice, but most Ratkin Slave lists have a serious lack of Crushing/Piercing damage. This item is well worth the risk. Crushing 1 version can take anything you feel you need to increase damage or endurance.

Travis – 7/10
I like this unit in troops and horde. I am not a fan of the points jump between troop and regiment for 2 attacks and 3 US. Hordes are main stay type units that if positioned right will be hard to kill. Troops I like as tougher to kill chaff that shooting and other chaff would have trouble killing alone. Not a fan of lowering defence for units but in some cases and how you use it I could warrant it. Throwing mastiffs are great in my opinion.

Abyssal Berserkers

Mark – 6/10
I want to love these guys, IF they get in on combat they rip the opponent a new one, IF they get in. Speed 5 with D3 Wild Charge stuntie, they have a good threat range, but lack a good defence so prone to being shot off the table.

Mike – 7/10
Now here’s a Dwarf infantry unit I can get behind. Speed 5 is good enough to nearly keep up with the ratty elements of the army and Wild Charge is a great asset. The regiment is so much more useful as it also unlocks.

Robert – 7/10
With all the Crushing zero units in your army, you might think Beserkers are not necessary. I think they are worthwhile, unless you already have plenty of consistent mid range damage from Blacksouls. The troops in particular can fit into gaps if you are taking a large block army, and can put pressure where you need it. I’m less keen on the regiments, but but they do unlock, which can be really important in this army.

Travis – 5/10
Not a fan of this unit as you can get Blacksouls for cheaper and close to same output. The speed generally isn’t a big factor as 5 is slow even with Wild Charge (D3). But the low defence is worry some even with decent nerve.

Immortal Guard

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Mark – 7/10
Troops – forget em, why even bother in this faction. These are not bad as reg, unlocks the irregular units, Def5 and regen, these guys can hang about.

Shove the Throwing Mastiff for on em, always, as that’s just fun and nasty. Brew of Strength or Hammer of measured force works well on these guys. The only unit apart from the War Engine in the whole army that can benefit from the Iron-caster’s Heal and Inspiring.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mike – 5/10
Not the unit for me. Again speed 4 is an instant turn off. Sure they are Fearless and hit on 3s but without any Crush I just don’t see the appeal. They are the only unit in the army that the one Dwarf spellcaster can Heal (other than himself).

Robert – 5/10
I must confess to never having taken Immortal Guard. My main issue with them is that if you are playing Ratkin Slaves, you probably already have lots of cheap low defence units that do low damage to act as anvils. If you take an expensive high defence Regen unit to act as an anvil, I feel like you are just giving your opponent options.

Travis – 6/10
Troops of Immortals aren’t bad to run as you get a decent number of attacks for the stats and points all in one. Regiment provide better survivability with the Ne but you pay a lot for it.


Mark – 9/10
Hordes are really the only real option for these guys, they are beasts, but are irregular. 25 attacks in Melee or Range, 16″ shooting threat. They can be avoided quite easily, but are one of the best area of denial units in the game.

The one shot Mobile Katsuchan, is not worth it especially with Reload.

Mark – 8/10
To me this is what the Ratkin Slave list needs. Run a line of Last Breath units at the enemy. Wait for them to explode. Blow anything that is left standing away with Decimators and Nightmares. The Horde is insane. 25 attacks with Steady Aim and Piercing is enough to make anything think twice about coming into range. Yes they are speed 4 like other Dwarfs but they have a 16 inch threat bubble with their movement and then a shooting attack.

Take whichever unit footprint you like. I’ve found that playing 3 hordes can be funny, but a little unwieldy. I’m now partial to 2 hordes and a regiment. The only reason these guys are not rated higher is because they are Irregular. 

Robert – 8/10
Whatever you think about these in an Abyssal Dwarf list, add a point to them for the Slaves list. I think that troops and hordes both have a place in this army. I think its important to think of these units from the get go, and whether you plan on building your list using them or not (whether it is 3 hordes, or just a small troop or two to help in flanks). I don’t think its useful to add these in to your list just because you have spare points and unlocks. You need a plan for what they will be doing in their attack wing.

Travis – 8/10
Main stay for most people’s army. If you can get the targets you want these units can do a lot of damage. I like troops for the points and ability to have smaller foot print within the army. Regiments have better nerve but once again for the points and only 2 Atk increase seems hardly worth it to me. Hordes are where most like to go due to the high Atk and Ne. But with the bigger foot print you lose manoeuvrability and are more likely to be multicharged. 

Abyssal Halfbreeds

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 6/10
Sort of competing with the Tunnel Runners for fast attacks, without the benefits from Rally support. Not shit, but not wow either. Again why bother with Troops, you need those unlocks for either Last breath units or Decimators.

Photo credit: Mike Smith

Mike – 7/10
An acceptable alternative to Tunnel Runners. Lower defence but Regeneration has its pros and cons. Give a regiment Blessing of the Gods and they have a very similar damage output to a Tunnel Runner regiment with Sharpness and are both similarly priced in points. 

The Regiments have a role they can play although I have yet to field them in Troops but can see the appeal.

Photo credit: Ben Rantall

Robert – 8/10
The comparison to Tunnel Runners must be made. These are very much the grindy counterpart to the Tunnel Runners. Which you go for will depend on your play style, in part. If you can keep them alive, you’ll find the Melee 3 keeps them near par damage wise with the Tunnel Runners. I strongly recommend trying out the regiments at least once. I also recommend pretending the troops don’t exist.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Travis – 7/10
Not a fan with the other choices in the army. Low defence and average nerve is a tough sale. They have good speed and with CS1 and TC1 with decent number of attacks they could really hurt some things. But they will not survive the counter attack.

Slave Nightmares

Mark – 7/10
Direct copy of the Ratkin Nightmares, except hordes are 5pts cheaper and they lose the Rally 1 (which not sure Rally 1 would only cost 5pts), they also have the Slave keyword, so can benefit from some hero’s that affect Slave only.

Mike – 8/10
I used to think that Nightmares were terrible since the loss of Brutes from the Ratkin list between second and third edition. However after giving them a try I am now a convert. Defence 5, possible Rallying is great. Obviously they excel in combat far more than at range but combine that shooting attack with some Decimators and it all adds up. If you’ve got a few points spare I’d recommend giving these guys Fury as I’ve had mine Wavered too many times. 

Unlike their Ratkin counterparts Slave Nightmares do not gain access to Rally, and for a drop of only 5 points. I’d really expect these guys to be about 10 points cheaper than they currently are. Despite this I still think they are a great unit. Again, using Regiments I don’t think is viable in Ratkin Slaves as they don’t unlock and you need all the unlocking units you can get. 

Robert – 6/10
This unit is a large part of why I wanted to try Ratkin slaves. A short range shooting unit that can unlock, hit in combat and shoot over hordes of cheap chaff. It seems like a dream. Sadly, this unit is called Nightmares, and that is what usually happens when I try to make them the centre-piece of my army.

This unit needs synergies, and plonking them down behind Wretch or Warrior units is not it. That job is for Decimators. These are at their most useful when they get into combat because of CS1 and Vicious (Melee). This means that if your plan doesn’t involve getting some shots off with them AND getting them into more than one combat phase, they aren’t really worth their points. Keeping them near a Slavedriver helps, but I personally feel that the synergies they are missing are in the Ratkin list. In that list you have Rally 1 from their horde size; healing which allows you to reduce their chaff /protection needs; and powerful manoeuvrable/ranged shooting which can work in tandem with a unit like the Nightmares.

The reality is that if Nightmares didn’t unlock most people would take Decimators instead, no matter how cool your converted Nightmare unit looks. And the regiments don’t unlock so…

Travis – 6/10
Solid large infantry unit. Kind of pricey if used wrong and don’t rely on the Blight Cannons as they won’t do much. I would rather see CS2 and no Blight Cannons. Being wavered is an issue as well with the lower nerve.

Katsuchan Rocket Launcher

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Mark – 5/10
Abyssal Dwarfs have loads of War Engines, but they only trust those that command the Rats with one! One!

Of the War Engines the Abyssal Dwarfs have, this is the meh one, but as the only War Engine this faction can take…. The change to the ignore cover rules hurt this a lot, with Piercing 1 it is OK but not great, as with almost all war engines, singularly they are crap, but 2 or 3 and they average out.

With a suicide squad list, the war engines are used also for the final mop up on wounded units.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mike – 4/10
Not as good as the Heavy Mortar but still an O.K. war machine, and that’s all it ever will be. Indirect and only Piercing 1 don’t make it great.

Robert – 6/10
I’m not a huge fan of long range war machines. Out of the 6 warmachines between the Abyssal and Ratkin lists, I think this is one of the weakest. It has consistency but not greatness.

Travis – 5/10
Long range artillery for an army with minimal shooting options. Not a fan of artillery that hit on 5s with all the new rules to cover and Stealthy. Low piercing makes this unit worse than other similar artillery pieces across Mantica.


Mark – 3/10
Almost a direct copy from the Ratkin List, except only available in Regiments and Hordes, chaff unit competing for chaff spot, where a Reg of Slave Warriors can perform similar role, with a better threat.

Being Irregular, taking up a troop slot for me in this faction, a pass.

Mike – 7/10
Vermintide are your standard chaff piece. Nimble and Wild Charge D3 gives them an impressive threat range to get in the way of something coming towards your front lines. Vicious is also extremely useful for just putting that one pip of damage onto some Flyers or Cavalry to take away their Thunderous Charge. I always try and take a couple of Regiments of Vermintide and would rate them an 8/10 in a normal Ratkin list as they could benefit from Rally. I’d never ever take a Horde as exploding Warriors would be a better choice in my opinion. 

Normal Ratkin get access to a Legion of Vermintide. I am unsure why Ratkin Slaves do not, and whilst I would never use a Legion I am still extremely jealous of their ability to do so. 

Robert – 6/10
Despite appearances, Slaves might not be the only chaff you need in this army. Vermintide special rules and the price of a regiment mean they are serious contenders for your chaff slot. Put them in front of Decimators and you can shoot anything. Put them on far flanks to pull enemy out of position, then redeploy them in a way Slave units just can’t. Or if they don’t rise to the bait, bring them for a nimble flank charge. There is little benefit in a horde at all, as far as I can see.

Travis – 7/10
Love using regiments as chaff units. Being Nimble and decent speed lets them get around places and with Wild Charge (D3) they can charge out of the way and into your opponents’ way. Decent number of attacks and Vicious allow for some damage output on other chaff and low defence units. Hordes aren’t bad due to doubling attacks and for not much more in points.

Slave Tunnel Runners

Photo credit: Alex Kus

Mark – 7/10
Direct copy of the Ratkin Tunnel Runners, except have the Slave keyword, so can benefit from some hero’s that affect Slave only.

The fast cav of the faction. Although Troops are more nimble, they are using one of the Troops slots that are better used for Decimators/Last Breath units.

Photo credit: Si Brand

Mike – 8/10
Never. Leave. Home. Without. These.

Take a Regiment of Tunnel Runners and whack the Brew of Sharpness on them for the lower price of 35 points. 24 attacks on 3s with Crush 1 and Thunderous Charge 1 will put a dent in most things. However they rarely wipe out any substantial unit in one by themselves. They’ll need support or to hit enemy units that are already damaged (such as by a Last Breath attack). 

Defence 5 and the ability to be Rallied means that they can often survive a few pot shots coming their way and with Speed 8 they can usually hang back away from immediate threats until they need to charge in. If you’re taking more than one Regiments of these (and why wouldn’t you) they’d probably do well from having Potion of the Caterpillar or Sir Jesse’s Boots as 24 attacks on 5s with no Thunderous is naff. 

Stay away from Tunnel Runner troops. They do not unlock and in Ratkin Slaves you’re starved enough for unlocks as it is. 

Photo credit: Ben Bowers

Robert – 9/10
This is where I should mention that my ratings are based on this army, not its performance in the meta. I love this unit in regiments. They bring so much of what this list lacks to the table, including the ability to unlock.

Better players might say that you should run this unit without items to improve your skill, and that they are good enough already. You’re playing Ratkin Slaves. You’ve already shot yourself in the foot once. Give them all the items you ever dreamed of. Brew of Sharpness is at the top of my list, with Jesse’s boots and Potion of Caterpillar coming in as runner ups. Brew of Haste is situational, but can be very useful if you know you’re going to be facing a lot of speed 8, and need to be able to put pressure on. So many other items are worth trying on these.

I usually run two regiments alongside Golekh Skinflayer. The Rally 2 with Dread make this a fantastic attack wing. I would rather a Death Engine over Troops.

Travis – 8/10
Love this unit and you will learn why should you play me. This is my main stay for Ratkin Slave units. Regiments have a ton of attacks and with a few magic items you can stretch those attacks to there max potential. With CS1 and TC1 you can if utilized right break some high defence units on the charge with the faster speed 8. Nerve is roughly downside to the unit due to only 14/16 but paired with some Rally later on you can mitigate the nerve problems some. Love that these chariots are defence 5 which you will hear later on me complain about defence of some chariots.

Slave Death Engine Impaler

Mark – 4/10
Direct copy of the Ratkin Death Engine Impaler, except have the Slave keyword, so can benefit from some hero’s that affect Slave only. Each time I try and add this to my lists, there is always something better to use the points on.

Mike – 5/10
The only Monster in the list and it’s not a great one. Like Tunnel Runners and Nightmares defence 5 and Rally-able it’s solid at staying put when couple with Fearless. However I do not think it is points efficient as it has 7-13 attacks on 4s without Strider. I’ve run them a couple of times. They are okay. I’d much rather have the Death Engine Spewer in the lists I run. 

Robert – 6/10
By the time I’ve managed to get enough unlocking units to get the troops, irregular units and character units I want, there is rarely enough points left over for a Death Engine. However I think they synergise really well with a Tunnel Runner/Golekh attack wing. If I have spare unlocks, but am over in points, I could remove a Tunnel regiment and add this in. An important thing to keep in mind is that this unit does not suffer from taking a charge to the face, like Tunnel Runners do. With -/18 from Golekh, it can survive a lot and it might be worth using this as your bait in the Cavalry dance we often see in games.

Travis – 7/10
Like this unit its possibility of high damage output and speed. Fearless is great and with defence 5 and ability to Rally up to -/18 the unit could be around for a while.


Photo credit: Eddie Bar

Mark – 6/10
Too slow to keep up with the Slaves to have the Rally effective when needed. Cheap Inspiring source and Def5 cannot be sniffed at, but no punch either.

Bistög’ravy Guzzler – Photo credit: Mike Smith

Mike – 8/10
Your standard (get it) standard bearer. However he also gives Rally to all those Slave units you should be taking. That’s all the rats in the list with the exception of the Vermintide – apparently they don’t have any fear of a Slave Driver whipping them into a frenzy. Normally I’d take two of these so I could give a Slave unit maximum rally if I wanted to.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Robert – 7/10
The usual BSB with a bonus for Slave units.

Travis – 7/10
Cheap BSB who can put some rally out for slave units. Lute pairs well due to low points


Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 9/10
Only thing stopping this unit from being an auto include, is that the Infernal Advance only affects Infantry (not Large Inf).

But as the Rat Slave faction is Inf heavy, this is a diamond unit for this faction. Without the Infernal Advance, it is still a Def 6 mini beast. Love this unit for this faction.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mike – 5/10
Typical combat hero on foot. I’ve seen people giving him Wings of the Honeymaze and having him hunt down characters or war machines but I think that can be done better with a Halfbreed Champion. The Strider aura is a nice upgrade you can give him. Having him coupled with some Berserkers in some trees is super legit. 

Robert – 7/10
If you are going to rely on damage from blocks of infantry this lady is a top choice with Infernal Advance. She can even be thrown in to some combats, or act as a roadblock for enemy chaff. Outside of that army build she doesn’t bring enough for her points cost.

Travis – 5/10
Not bad lead character for the Defence and good nerve. Being Mighty he can lead inside the lines with other stout dwarf units or run with chaff to slow down the enemy. Offensively he is decent and can put out some wounds but he is slow so prepare to be charged. 


Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 2/10
I want to like this unit, but its horseshit.

Inspiring for Hellforged only, Heal for Hellforged only. The only Hellforged in the list are Immortal Guards and the Katsuchan Rocket Launcher. Too pricy just for the Fireball. Even more pricy if using for Bane Chant or Lightening bolts. If not using Immortal Guard, then the heal and inspiring is wasted points, unless you use it to inspire/heal/protect the war engines.

Hard pass.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Mike – 3/10
The only spellcaster Ratkin Slaves have access to. I sure do hope you don’t like magic because you’ll never be taking this guy in your lists.

Heal – can only heal himself and Immortal Guard.
Surge – cannot be used at all in the Ratkin Slave list.

Mindfog and Banechant 2 for over 130 points is too expensive, as is Lightning Bolt. Fireball is the only really useful spell here. Stick him with your Decimators and Nightmares to add an extra pip of damage or two. If he’s doing that I’d probably give him the Inspiring Talisman. Magic is just something Ratkin Slaves don’t do much of, which is fine and not a critique. I played in the Halpi’s Rift campaign and was forced back into using normal Ratkin for Lightning Bolt goodness.

Robert – 1/10
If the last season of Game of Thrones was a unit, it would be the Iron-caster. Out of place (Hellforged only), expensive and disappointing.

Travis – 5/10
Kind of a wasted unit in my mind but can run with the Immortals to Heal and Inspire or the Rocket Launcher haha. But with Fireball 10 and a decent defence he has some damage output. Bane Chant is about the only upgrade I would ever think to give him if taken and surge is useless in Ratkin Slave list.

Taskmaster on Chariot

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Mark – 6/10
Speedy Inspiring unit at 110 points, give it Rally at 125 and it can help the Slaves.

Works better with Tunnel Runners/Nightmares as can be screened, with infantry it is poking its head over to be shot off.

Mike – 6/10
An interesting hero option. Useful if you are running lots of chariots or cavalry so you can keep up with them. I’d recommend giving Pipes of Terror or Lute of Insatiable Darkness to these guys. Obviously you’ll be taking the Rally upgrade but then he starts to get pricey, and if he ever performs a hindered charge expect him to do nothing.

Robert – 6/10
Diet Gohlekh. You can take Rallying (1) and an item. Speed 8 and Nimble gives a lot of utility, but with 5 attacks hitting on 4, really think before you charge. Think of him as a fast Slavedriver that can score objectives.

Travis – 7/10
Solid unit to run around and give Rally where needed. Use as chaff or added cheap damage with TC2 and 5 Atks. Here comes the rant though. Why would a Dwarf on a Chariot only have De 4 where the Slaves on Chariots get De 5? This has to be an oversight or the Dwarf got his shit stolen by the slaves HAHA.

Abyssal Halfbreed Champion

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Mark – 8/10
This is a beast of a unit, but is fighting for the same hero slots. Fast self Inspiring hero/war engine hunter. Or run it with the Halfbreeds to give them an Inspiring source that can keep up.

Mike – 10/10
This guy is the first thing I add to any army list. Give him Blade of Slashing. Watch him do 6 damage to an enemy every turn. Laugh. This is your best anti flyer defence. Or stick him in the way of something else, Mighty is such a good rule.

Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Robert – 10/10
Imagine you are a Ratkin general. Do you want an assassin that is ok at his job, or an assassin that is great at his job, and is also a horse?

If your list is mostly Ratkin, and you aren’t taking this unit, just play Ratkin. I honestly feel that access to this unit is a bigger game changer to this list (coming from Ratkin) than the Last Braeth special rule.
I would say that this unit has clenched victory from the jaws of defeat numerous times for me, but its more like… it has clenched minor loss from the jaws of major loss.

An opponent with individuals or war engines must respond to this unit. Try to keep it hidden from shooting on the first turn, but be careful not to have it move through terrain, as it does not have pathfinder, and it needs its speed advantage to be most effective. Use this unit to counter your opponents support units.

Perhaps indulge yourself by taking two?

Travis – 6/10
Fast individuals are always good to run. Decent number of attacks and with CS2 can combo well with most fast-charging units in the army. But only Inspiring abominations limits some of what you want to run around with. Points wise its not in a bad spot though.

Overmaster on Abyssal Winged Halfbreed

Mark – 8/10
The only flying thing in the faction, it’s a dragon basically and can hit like a truck. With it being able to be wavered and the cost pulls it from an Auto include.

Mike – 7/10
Your big flying dragon unit. You know it. You love it. Now with Regeneration. Give it Aegis of the Elohi for laughs but then watch it get shot off the table in one go. A good pick if you want a big flying beastie in your list but not an auto include for me.

Robert – 8.5/10
Dragon with Regen. It rarely dies, but with just 9 attacks can get stuck if you don’t hit enough in the first round. This might be because I rarely hit with even half of those 9 attacks. I think a score of 8.5 is about right for it, but at the same time I wouldn’t take a 2300 list without one.

Travis – 7/10
Here is the army’s big dragon type unit that costs a ton. But could destroy a ton if used right. Flying with CS3 and 9 Atks he will demand some attention. Put into flanks and watch your enemies die.

Golekh Skinflayer

Mark – 8/10
A Taskmaster on steroids, the only fully unique unit in the list, Very Inspiring to Slaves only, Rally 2 to Slaves only, with Dread, pricy but awesome unit.

The trick is getting in into the zone where its flank are protected, but boosts the Slaves.

Mike – 9/10
Task Master but on steroids. He hits better, damages better, is Fearless, Inspires and Rallies Slaves along with Dread! Nimble and Dread on his large base size has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. Yes the chariot base takes some practice in using and making sure that he doesn’t get stuck somewhere but I consider Mr Skinflayer to be a top-tier unit that needs to be in every army. The only thing that I’m a little miffed that he doesn’t Rally non-slave units but the normal Taskmaster does.

Robert – 7/10
The one true unique unit for this list. He Rallies your slaves, while spreading Dread amongst your enemies. If you plan on taking multiple Tunnel Runners or Death Engines he is a worthwhile investment. Waiting till you can flank with him can help swing combats that last more than one turn, and with rally, your units are likely to last that long.

Probably don’t put him in a large block formation. For the points you’re better off getting a Taskmaster, a Slave driver and some magic items to hold your centre. I love this unit, but as with the list as a whole, he has a fantastic theme and fun design ideas, but ultimately struggles in a competitive environment.

Travis – 4/10
Solid special character for 200pts. With Dread, Very Inspiring to Slaves, and Rally (2) to Slaves this character is very good and fast at bolstering the lines. Does decent in adding a few wounds for combat and surviving counter attacks.

Elliot’s Beer Fund

If you’ve enjoyed the blog and you’re feeling generous, you can buy me a pint. Please dont feel any obligation to do so, I’ve started this blog because it’s fun, not to make any money. Any money received will go towards hosting costs. Or my beer fund… ok mainly my beer fund.



Overall average ratings /10: 6.6/10

Most agreed upon unit(s): Slave Wretches, Slave Warriors, Decimators, Taskmaster on Chariot (1 point of difference between the highest and lowest)

Least agreed upon unit(s): Golekh Skinflayer (5 points of difference between highest and lowest scores)

2 thoughts on “Army Review: Ratkin Slaves”

  1. These have become my favorite army reviews! Having different people give their opinion shows that some units may be hidden gems for different playstyles. Only thing I kinda wish these army reviews had is example lists.


    1. Dont worry that’s coming! I felt that they were already pretty long in their current format, so the plan once the reviews are done is to do a series of articles called “How I Play xxx”.

      I’m going to ask 3-4 players to submit a list and talk through how they play it, how to deploy it, its strengths and weaknesses etc

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: