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Skavenslaves is a Skaven melee infantry unit in Total War: Warhammer II. In this lawless, miserable world the weak, or the merely out-manoeuvred, are either killed or put to back-breaking toil by the strong.


The Under-Empire is run by slave labour. Skavenslaves perform all menial tasks, including mining, tunnelling, and food production. In lean times, they themselves become the food. The majority of slaves are Skaven born into bondage, the lowest class of a hierarchical society. Their ranks swell as rival clans are captured during internecine wars. At times even non-Skaven become slaves, although few other races last long under the whips of the ratmen overseers. In warfare Skavenslaves are used en masse to absorb missile fire and to overwhelm the foe with numbers. A common Warlord tactic is to whip Skavenslaves to the fore of an assault. Many are butchered, but the loss is acceptable if the slaves bear the brunt of incoming or tire the foe for the next attack wave. The best Skavenslaves will even pull down and tear to pieces a few of the adversaries, although this is considered a bonus.


  • Expendable: This unit is comparably cheap to recruit, maintain and replenish.
  • Meat Shield: While unimpressive at causing damage, this unit is useful as a 'meat shield', absorbing damage that would otherwise hurt a more useful or precious target.
  • Poor Leadership: This unit suffers from poor leadership and will easily rout. Keep its flanks secure and your Lord or other encouraging units nearby.


Skavenslaves are dirt cheap and can be mass produced in any Skaven settlement without the need for recruitment buildings. They are among the weakest units of all, but their large numbers allow them to act as a "tar pit" to bog down the enemy while more valuable units get into position. They are also quite fast, able to catch up to nearly any other infantry. If used properly, they will take the brunt of the battle's casualties. In the campaign, a good strategy is to have an army consisting solely of Skavenslaves that initiates battles, while an army of higher-tier units follows behind. The enemy will be drowned in rats before they can fight back.

Do not hesitate to fire on (with weapons teams or artillery) or cast spells on masses of enemy units that you have tarpitted with skaven slaves. Sacrificing a unit of slave to kill-rout virtually any other unit is a good trade. Later in campaign games, the supply line mechanic makes more expensive to maintain many cannon-fodder armies of slave compared to fewer armies with clan rats for your front lines.