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Greenskin Battle Tactics

Snotling Units

by Avian

Snotlings have been radically altered from fifth to sixth edition of Warhammer and again from sixth to seventh. I personally feel that their rules are now more fitting than in sixth edition, yet not as fun as in fifth edition (though the fifth edition rules did not work very well). It must be understood that Snotlings are the weakest of all the greenskin races, and so their rules reflect that. You cannot expect great things from them, as that simply is not something they are capable of. Every now and then there are exceptions, though, such as when a large mob of Snotlings managed to break a unit of Dark Riders, or when they tied up a Chaos Sorcerer so that he could not cast any magic missiles.







Figuring out what Snotlings are good for relies a lot on understanding what their attributes really mean in game terms.


Swarm (more or less)

People often assume a lot about Snotlings, and most of it is wrong. It seems that people think that there is a section of the rulebook called "Swarms", which lists a selection of common rules that apply to all swarms. This is not true and there is in fact no rule that is common to all swarms. One of the first things people assume is that since Snotlings are a swarm, they follow the rules for Unbreakable swarms (i.e. taking extra Wounds if they lose combat). Obviously, since they are not Unbreakable, this is not true. Secondly, since they are not very big, people often assume that you can see over them. Again, they have no rule saying that this can be done (the "Small" rule), so you can't. Snotlings block line of sight just as the slightly larger Goblins do. Thirdly, Snotlings do not Skirmish, since they do not have the Skirmish rule.

What Snotlings and other swarms have in common is that they are based together as a single creature, with multiple Wounds and Attacks. In the case of Snotlings, this number is quite low, and makes Snots excessively wimpy in combat and very easy to kill. Pity the little buggers. However, since they ge the same Unit Strength as other swarms, a unit of only two bases can hold or contest table quarters. At only 40 points, you won't find any other Core unit in the Orcs & Goblins army able to do that job as cheaply as Snots will.


No Animosity

Along with Black Orcs, Snotlings are the only greenskins that don't have to test for Animosity (it is not said if this is for the same reason). As you don't want your Snots to either stand around and do nothing for a turn or heroically charge something inappropriate - this is a good thing. Another good thing about this, is that you can place a Shaman in the unit and never have to worry about not being able to cast spells due to squabbling. Of course, you will have to include quite a few Snotling bases (5) before the Shaman in protected from missile fire, and he might be in serious trouble if the Snots get charged, but I feel that it is worth considering.


Immune to Psychology

Along with not taking Animosity tests, Snotlings don't take Fear, Terror or Panic tests either. Especially the lack of Panic tests is handy, considering how easy it is to kill Snotlings and how low their Leadership is (woo-hoo, Troll-level!). Combined this makes the Snots completely reliable, as long as they don't get into combat (more on that below). Being so reliable makes Snots good at standing in the way of war machines and blocking their line of sight to more important greenskin units (i.e. everybody else). Similarly, they will never fail in a mission to redirect something big and nasty due to a failed Fear test.



Many people seem to think that Stubborn on a Leadership of 4 is an advantage, though a very small one. It isn't, it's a disadvantage. Without Stubborn, you could get the Snots into a combat which they would most likely lose and you could feel confident that they would run, which would let you set up the enemy unit for a nice counter charge. Now, with Stubborn, you cannot be certain of that and instead of breaking and running they might hang around in combat and be a liability if you throw in another unit. When you flank charge a unit of Chosen Knights of Khorne with Orc Boyz you want to make sure you only get one knight into base contact, so that you can hopefully kill him, leaving no-one to fight back. You do not want all the other knights in the unit to be able to rack up their Combat Result by killing loads and loads of weedy Snots. Stubborn for Snotlings is a disadvantage and meant to make them less reliable.

In this regard it is important to know that if the Snots can use the Leadership of a character and that character's modified Leadership is better than 4, they will use that instead of their own Ld. A lot of people think that if the Snots lose combat by 1, they will make the Break test on their Ld of 4, even with an Orc Warboss within 12". This is wrong.


Size Matters

Snotlings do not cause Panic in anything, should they die or run away. Since Snots don't run all that much this is not a terribly great advantage, but it is always handy to have a sacreficial unit that nobody cares about. There is nothing you can push in the way of an oncoming Steam Tank with less worry that its demise will cause other units to run away.



Until there is a semi-official Snotling army list (even weedier than the Gnoblar list, presumably), this section will neccessarily be rather brief.



Not your average swarm, the uses for Snotlings mainly revolve around how reliable they are, as long as they don't get into a fight, and how little anyone else cares if they die or run. The really obvious use is to hold or contest table quarters, a job they are now more suited for, since Goblins went up in cost. The second obvious use is to screen their biggers and betters from missile fire. Their third use is to redirect anything big and nasty by placing the Snots in between the enemy and another greenskin unit that doesn't want to get charged. Other minor uses includes placing them in front of a Night Goblin unit and sending Fanatics through them (it helps if there is a character with Madcap Mushrooms in the unit) and using them as a (more or less) safe place for Shamans. For the latter purpose, units of five or more (probably six or seven) bases is recommended, as this means that the shamans don't have a chance of getting hit by normal missile fire and get a Look Out, Sir! roll if hit by a template weapon. Unlike other greenskin units, Snotlings are immune to both Panic and Animosity, which means that you can keep your shamans casting all throughout the battle.
Some people wonder if Snotlings are useful for holding up big, nasty enemy units. They are not. Even though a Snotling unit with the Battle Standard nearby will pass a Break test almost a third of the time regardless of modifiers, they cannot be relied upon to not run away if they end up in combat with something nasty. If they get into combat with something less nasty, though, a mob of Snotlings have a decent chance of holding if the General and Battle Standard are nearby, but then so will most greenskin units. Similarly, a Snotling unit that somehow manages to flank charge something will often make the situation worse by giving the enemy something really easy to kill.
Ideal unit size depends on what you want to use them for, but if you want to get most out of their unique rules, then multiple units consisting of the minimum two bases is probably ideal. That keeps them cheap and as they are Immune to Psychology they will probably still be able to do their job. Going for units of twenty bases, just so that you can have a Snotling unit with full ranks and a Unit Strength of 60 is probably somewhat unwise (to put it mildly). If you want to stick shamans in the units then, as stated, units of about six bases is the best.
Being quite unimportant units, as well as being completely reliable (outside of combat), Snotlings can preferably be deployed very early. Far out on a flank, where they can sneak quietly up and contest a table quarter is a nice place for them.


Snotling Pump Wagons

The real weakness of Pump Wagons is that they usually have trouble beating the things they can catch, while usually having trouble catching the things they can beat. To put it bluntly: Pump Wagons are not very good. It might zoom around the battlefield, doing great amounts of damage to enemy units it crashes into (the first time I fielded one it destroyed a Dark Elf Cauldron of Blood), but it is much more likely to trundle erratically across the battlefield, never getting into combat and instead getting in the way of friendly units. Other times it gets into combat quickly, but does very little damage and breaks. Even more likely is it that the Pump Wagon itself gets charged by an enemy unit and destroyed. To get much performance out of one you need luck both for its movement and for its impact hits. At least it doesn't harm friendly units it bumps into anymore.
If you are lucky, the Pump Wagon will create a 12" zone around itself where the enemy is afraid to go for fear of getting run over. This naturally does not work against units that can charge more than 12", most of which will soundly defeat the Pump Wagon in combat. On a few occasions I have had Pump Wagons do okay in counter-charging against a unit that has overrun or pursued into another greeskin unit, but very often they get victimised by wimpy enemy units looking for a few easy Victory Points.
Thus most of the time you take a Pump Wagon because you think they are amusing or because you like the model and because the enemy has to hope that you are not lucky with both the movement and the impact hits. Taking two certainly helps and since they are now 1-2 per Rare choice this is again practical. Four Pump Wagons in an army is probably overdoing it.
Pump Wagons can, and probably should, be deployed some distance away from your important units, since they have a habit of getting in the way and ending up in places where they ought not to be. As they are also very cheap and should not be essential to your battleplan (if you know what's good for you), they can be deployed quite early, which is always useful. Some people have suggested that Pump Wagons could do well at protecting war machines, but the fact that most war machine hunters used by your opponent move faster than the Pump Wagon means that they will simply charge it, break it and get a free pursuit move closer to your war machines.


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