If there’s one thing you’ll learn early with regards to the Skaven, it’s that they’re extremely fun-great to play. Heck, the last lord we featured, Ikit Claw, let you nuke entire cities into rubble. Deathmaster Snikch — added via Total War: Warhammer 2‘s The Shadow & The Blade DLC — also has some tricks up his furry sleeves. With your contracts from the Great Clans of the Skaven and the Shadowy Dealings mechanic, you’ll ruin your opponent’s day and then some. There’s even one ability called “Plunge Into Anarchy” that people already consider overpowered. This guide lets you know how to manage these mechanics while playing Total War: Warhammer 2‘s campaign.
Deathmaster Snikch – Shadowy Dealings
All characters in Deathmaster Snikch’s faction (Clan Eshin) can undertake various actions on Total War: Warhammer 2‘s world map, that’s true. But, they can also enact Shadowy Dealings via a panel. Just select an action, a target, and any Eshin lord or hero, and watch the results.
All of these actions will not cost movement points. If you see an army or settlement on a map, then you can target it easily. Even better, these actions have a 100% success rate. The cost will come from either food (a Skaven-specific resource) or schemes (available only for Snikch and Clan Eshin). You start the campaign with only one scheme that you can use for a Shadowy Dealing, but you’ll gain more as you complete the Nightlord’s Say-So objectives. More on these later.
Here’s an example fairly early on in Total War: Warhammer 2‘s campaign:
I stole an ancillary using a Shadowy Dealings scheme, and I got my just rewards immediately:
This next one is a scheme I activated a few turns later. I was besieging Tiktaq’to. Everyone knows that Skaven are often at a disadvantage against the hardy Lizardmen, so I took a chunk out of ol’ Tetris blockhead’s army using a scheme that damages the health pool of units.
Tier 1 schemes (each will cost 1 scheme unless stated otherwise; 10-turn cooldown; no level requirement):
- Stash Rations (20 food) – resets all used schemes; can be used to re-cast schemes that are on cooldown
- Small Heist – steal up to 1,000 gold from a settlement and reduce its income for 5 turns
- Food-Raid – steal 5 food from a settlement
- Burglarize – steal an ancillary from a settlement
- Sneaky-Scouting – reveal a province, including under-cities for 5 turns
- Troublemake – leadership penalty to a targeted army
- Steal Skaven Technology – increases research rate by 20% for 5 turns; increase duration when you use this scheme multiple times; Skaven settlement only
Tier 2 schemes (each will cost 2 schemes unless stated otherwise; acting lord or hero will require a few turns to recover; requires level 5 character):
- Incite Riot – causes rebellion in settlement and lowers public order for 5 turns
- Double Agents – same effect as Sneaky-Scouting but lasts 20 turns
- Midnight Raid – damage an enemy army for 10% of its current health
- Sabotage – instantly destroy the most expensive building in a settlement
Tier 3 schemes (each will cost 3 schemes; acting lord or hero will require a few turns to recover; requires level 15 character):
- Big Heist – steal up to 4,000 gold and reduce settlement income by 10%
- Overthrow Lair – gain ownership of any Skaven-controlled settlement except for Under-cities
- Overthrow Under-city – gain ownership of any Skaven-controlled Under-city
- Incite Skaven Mutiny – gain ownership of any Skaven army; legendary lords commanding this army do not join your faction
- Stealthy Stabbing – instantly wound lord in an enemy army
Tier 4 schemes (each will cost 4 schemes; can only be enacted by Deathmaster Snikch):
- Bomb-Scuttle Fleet – destroys any army at sea, including Black Ark fleets
- Great Fire – destroys all buildings in a settlement except for the main building
- Sewer Pestilence – province-wide contagion that stops recruitment, reduces growth and causes attrition to armies
- Plunge Into Anarchy – assassinates a faction leader causing said faction to collapse and be overthrown by rebels; hilarious, crazy, and downright fun; 100 turn cooldown
Here’s a video from YouTuber LegendofTotalWar talking about Deathmaster Snikch’s powerful endgame scheme:
Skaven Great Clan Contracts
The Eshin are the knives and blades in the dark, and they’re regularly employed by the other Great Clans of the Skaven. Clan Mors, Pestilens, Moulder, and Skryre will, at times, avail of your services. Sorry, but Tretch Craventail and Clan Rictus don’t count.
In Total War: Warhammer 2, this is depicted by way of the Clan Contracts system wherein you’ll get an assignment every 10 turns. Various Clan Contracts provide rewards such as extra food and gold at the cost of removing a lord or hero from play for a few turns. What’s more important, though, are the reputation boosts that you earn for each clan. Take a look at this mission from Clan Moulder asking me to spy on Clan Mors:
By going ahead with that Clan Contract, I increased by standing with Clan Moulder. However, that also meant lowering my reputation with Clan Mors:
Various bonuses are dependent on your reputation level for each clan. You can also gain higher tier contracts when you level-up your rep. Likewise, you’ll gain diplomatic boons or penalties depending on your reputation level. Keep that in mind if you’re planning on confederating with the major Skaven factions.
Clan reputation also affects the recruitment costs of certain unit types. As mentioned in the faction overview, Deathmaster Snikch, by default, has recruitment cost penalties for non-Eshin units. You’ll want to focus on the Skaven Great Clan that’ll complement your playstyle.
- recruitment cost reduction for Clanrats and Stormvermin at positive reputation levels
- +15% weapon strength for lords and embedded heroes and +2 public order (all provinces) at the highest level (Exalted)
- -2 to -4 public order (all provinces) if you reach negative reputation levels
- recruitment cost reduction for Rat Ogres and Hell Pit Abominations at positive reputation levels
- +10% physical resistance for lords and embedded heroes; -2% construction cost for all buildings at Exalted level
- +2% to +4% construction costs for all buildings if you reach negative reputation levels
- recruitment cost reduction for Doom-Flayers, Warp-Lightning Cannons, Doomwheels, and various Skaven Weapon Team units at positive reputation levels
- +20 armor for lords and embedded heroes; +5% research rate for your faction at Exalted level
- -5% to -10% research rate if you reach negative reputation levels
- recruitment cost reduction for Plague Monks and Plagueclaw Catapult Units at positive reputation levels
- +5 melee defense for lords and embedded heroes; +1 food generated for all armies at Exalted level
- -1 to -2 food generated for all armies if you reach negative reputation levels
Based on the above, you can take some construction hits if you want to earn the ire of Clan Moulder. Pissing off Clan Skryre will slow you down. But, if you go against Clan Mors or Clan Pestilens, it can hamper your entire playthrough. You don’t want to lose a lot of food each turn if you tick off Clan Pestilens, and you might as well get on Clan Mors’ good side for the Stormvermin and Clanrats recruitment perks.
Deathmaster Snikch and the Nightlord’s Say-So orders
Last but not least, we’ll also have to discuss Deathmaster Snikch’s main campaign objective: completing the Nightlord’s Say-So missions. You can access the commandments of Nightlord Sneek via the Shadowy Dealings panel.
The first Nightlord’s Say-So mission requires Deathmaster Snikch to be level 5 and also a bit of food as an offering. If you enact this scheme, Snikch will be taken out of commission for a couple of turns.
But, that’s not all. The main goal here is to defeat the hostile army that has spawned near your territory. In my case, it was just some random Norscan barbarian.
Since Snikch was out of action, I had to replace him with another Master Assassin lord. Again, you’ve got “Stalking” as an active stance, and you have a chance of ambushing hostile armies that you attack. I simply eviscerated the invading force to complete the objective. You’ve now got two schemes that you can use.
Keep in mind that this is only the first Nightlord’s Say-So mission. You’ll be able to start others once Snikch is level 15, 20, and so on. You’ll only need to complete three of these to cross this campaign objective off your Total War: Warhammer 2 Vortex campaign bucket list. After that, it’s as simple as eliminating Malus Darkblade and Hag Graef and then beating the Rise of Darkness final battle.