How to play Skirmishers

From The Battle for Wesnoth Wiki


This guide covers the use of skirmishers. Skirmishers are fighters, that are good in some situations, but they are not the frontline unita. Skirmishers are fast, can ignore Zone of Control (ZOC) and they are requied for specific tasks. Only a few of them are alive at the end of the scenario, mostly for their low health.

Typical skirmishers are Fencers, Saurian Skirmishers, Dune Skirmishers and experienced thieves from the Knalgan Alliance.

Skirmishers have good defenses. They are simply good on flat lands, swamps, mountains etc, because they are very agile and can dodge a lot of attacks. Enemy fighters knows that and can use marksman and magic attacks against them.

Skirmisher in attack

There are two main ways how to use skirmishers. We can call them attacker and defender. In reality, it is most of the time somewhere between these too extremes.

We can start with the aggresive use. Lets say that enemy is playing rebels and you are playing with the loyalists. What can you do? One of the smart decision is to scout, find out what exactly is your enemy doing and what is the best target for your units. Use cavalry, infantry, bowmen... And you can also use Fencer, your skirmisher.

His best use is to target important specialists. Do not attack. Elvish archers or woses on full health, but focus on:

  • Support units, like shamans and mages
  • Wounded units, like elvish archers with 4hp remaining
  • Retreating units on their way to the villages
  • Units with limited or no melee damage

Skirmishers are agile and fast and they can be the sixth attacker for high priority target.

Use them last. Everyone is on high health? Send mages first, fighters after them and fill gaps with skirmishers. Attack retreating units or steal villages close to enemy wounded and/or poisoned units. Good skirmisher on good terrains can take village after village and because they have low health and high defense, they can many times fully heal in single turn in village.

Sometimes it is good to sacrifice a skirmisher when you really need to kill an important mage, who is killinh your units.

Best use: kill enemy healer, when there is a lot of poisoned and low health units. Healers are often well surrounded, so there is only one way that can find the gap and execute them - a skirmisher.

Skirmisher in defense

How to use skirmishers in defense? Easy. You need only to understand and use the Zone of Control (ZOC). Skirmisher ignores enemy ZOC, but can use their to ZOC to block enemy from reaching your villages, wounded units or to protect units like mages in a fight. Use terrain with high defense if possible. Important thing is, that losing a skirmisher is much better than losing a level 2 mage.

How to stop enemy? Use the show best moves from the enemy feature. Also you can make sure, that your skirmisher will block the terrain, where your enemy moves fastest, like block flat lands near enemy cavalry.

Sometimes, the best defense is offense. Skirmisher cannot fight against multiple enemies, so you can get behind them and get as many villages as possible. Enemy might use forces to stop them, so his main attack force will be weaker (diversion) - or can ignore your skirmisher (or fast cavalry, bat, drake glider...) And attack. With a bit of luck, you can improve your gold reserves, while income of your enemy can drop to the point, where he will be not able to recruit new units.

Skirmisher trap: attack a powerful enemy unit with your strong unit - and send skirmisher to the opposite side of the enemy unit. Fast enemies, like Gryphon Riders, cannot flee. You can use for example drake burners to do the main damage to the gryphon rider - and saurian skirmisher to do another ranged damage with his weak ranged attack. Enemy might try to kill your skirmisher to get out. If skirmisher survives and you kill gryphon rider next turn, you have an advantage of 24 gold. In the opposite scenario, you have the advantage of 24-15=9 gold.

Skirmisher in campaigns

Generally, level 1 skirmishers are weak in campaigns and do not have much use in most scenarios. Level 2 units can kill them easily. However, when you get a level 2 or even 3 skirmisher, you can use them a lot, because thisu nit can survive a few hits and can do much more damage. They can be really good in caves, but some of them are lawful, what is not exactly what you want in a cave.

See also

How to play Loyalists article

How to play... series

This page was last edited on 19 April 2021, at 05:47.