Seven-year Skritch - Spiteclaw's Swarm Review

Thank you to Games Workshop for sending us an advance copy of Rivals of the Mirrored City for review!

In this blog, we give our standard Rivals Review of the new Spiteclaw's Swarm, released as part of the Rivals of the Mirrored City box.


Spiteclaw's Swarm

This 5-fighter warband caused quite a stir when released during the Shadespire era, and we hope that they'll prove as disruptive now as well. With revamped Raise mechanics and some tricky Leader-swapping shenanigans, Spiteclaw's Swarm will likely have teeth (pun 100% intended) for aggro, hold, and flex players. Each of the fighters Inspires when they are chosen as the target of a ploy (note not a Gambit, so spells don't count).

Skritch Spiteclaw

Skritch (often touted as the greatest, yes-yes) has a standard, if not slightly fast, Leader profile (4 Wounds, 2 Defense dice, 2 Smash attack. The Swarm ability lets him return a friendly minion to the battlefield, and Schemer gives him a chance to do extra damage if he's supported.

Krrk the Almost-trusted

Krrk is an excellent second-in-command, but like all Skaven, he is always searching for the opportunity for advancement (preferably through the untimely demise of a rival). He shares a similar profile to Skritch and even has Schemer. He also gets some boosts if Skritch is taken out of action: Krrk Rules Now! lets you draw two power cards, and Krrk Leads means he is a Leader.

The Festering, Hungering, and Lurking Skaven

These minions all have 2 wounds each, but at Move 5 can be kept relatively safe at the start of a game (if needed) and make excellent objective holders or "cruise missiles" (where you give the fighter a strong attack action and/or damage upgrade and send them in for one attack, not relying on them surviving any backlash). In general, Lurking is best to put forward early, Festering gives you the best potential for damage on a single fighter, and Hungering has a Scything attack.

Key Objectives

  1. Send in the Next Wave - This objective is especially useful if you draw Standing Out, but helps to offset the eventual glory bleed of losing your minions
  2. Standing Out - With as easy as it is to Inspire the minions and how accurate they get, this objective is a great one to have early
  3. Vermintide - One that you definitely want early as it gives you the best chances to have more surviving fighters and at least one in enemy territory

Key Gambits

  1. Musk of Fear - Inspire a fighter and make them more durable? Yes, please.
  2. Nervous Scrabbling - Swapping the positions of two fighters is good, but you really want this to Inspire two fighters
  3. Swiftskitter - The chance to Inspire and move a fighter in the power step, hopefully helping you score Vermintide is always good.

Key Gambits

  1. Chaos-tainted Blades - Arguably the best Attack action upgrade in the game, even with the damage (which is significantly less painful when you can return fighters to the battlefield).
  2. Completely Expendable - Preventing your opponent from earning Glory when you go out of action is great and even better if you can pair it with Send in the Next Wave
  3. Sewer-whisperer - This can turn out to be quite the accuracy boost, especially on a 2-Smash attack (where you have a good chance of getting at least one success).

Play Style

Selective aggro, meaning you have to be very careful about when you commit to the attack.

Board Selection

You want any board with at least two adjacent starting hexes (for Nervous Scrabbling). Beyond that, 5 Move across the board gives you a lot of flexibility. 

Playing Against

First and foremost, take down Krrk & Skritch (in that order, especially if Krrk is inspired). Otherwise, try to kill the minions before they inspire.

Nemesis Pairings

We like Fearsome Fortress for the Flex (Hold + Agrro) options and stagger potential and Breakneck Slaughter (for the pure aggro play).

New Player Rating

Silver - The warband is easy enough to play, but navigating the easy targets and balancing the Raise mechanics can be tough.