Faction Unit & Strategy Guide - The Scourge

2021-09-02 Scourge / Faction-Guide /

I've got more game time playing as Scourge than any other faction, with every unit used at least once now. Opponents have predominately been Resistance and PHR, with some UCM and just the once for Shaltari, though that looks to be changing soon.

The common theme across all Scourge armies is distance; you always want to close to attack. Rather than the combined arms approach of specialists in other armies, many Scourge units are perfectly capable of fighting on their own, fulfilling multiple roles as needed.

Command Units

Desolator Command Barge

Destroyer on a multi-shot weapon with decent energy means it has a high likelihood of damaging Armor 15 targets and more likely than not to deal multiple points of damage. The wide area attack's lower Accuracy and Energy and inability to damage Garrisoned infantry mean it's too unlikely to be effective to bother firing, unless you have a very odd duck of an opponent running a light vehicle and infantry-in-the-open heavy (read: more than half of the points) army on a sparse table. The problem is that no one does that.

Probability wise, if it can fire at its base Accuracy of 3+, it will average 3.33 DP to Armor 13, 3DP to Armor 14, 2.66DP to Armor 15, 2DP if it fires with an Accuracy of 5+ due to Evasion or ECM vs Armor-doesn't-matter and I'm not going to check the math of lower Armor values because you've already made a mistake with your target selection or the board is so barren it doesn't matter.

The threat of firing the wide area Ion Storm is more effective than the actual resolution of the attack, and a few rounds of concentrated fire once you've cleared a path of AA coverage can put down even a Type-4 PHR walker like the Hades given a turn or 2. Beware interceptors like the Falcon or Corsair.

Oppressor Command Heavy Walker

A walking firebase, able to absorb or shrug off concentrated fire, mobile on its own with 8" of movement and the ability to clamber over almost anything shorter than a Garrison. Strafe and alt-fire modes on its Plasma Carbines allow it to adapt to just about any ground unit it wants to eliminate, able to dispatch entire squads of Technicals or hammer away at heavy armor as needed.

It cannot be ignored if correctly positioned early in a game, and only becomes more powerful as it closes with the enemy. Use it to drive back or overrun armor sections.

Despot Suppression Walker

The Despot has a mission, to deny enemy units the ability to Search a building and not be cornered and killed in the process. It has weapons enough to fight off a regular tank that gets into an alley with it, but should not be confused for a frontline fighter. It rolls enough dice to average a couple DP of damage at very short range, but still has a good chance to whiff and then its most certainly going to get focus fired off the board. Hide, suppress, lather rinse repeat.

Standard Armor Units

Hunter Main Grav-Tank

A straight forward brawler, it wants to close and engage with similar front line armor units. Dev-2(buildings) doesn't seem like much, but you're likely to have a gaggle of these and then those numbers start to add up.

Stalker Walker

The minimum cost for an Armor BG Standard squad of Hunters is 145 else they won't even reach the fight until Turn 3 at the earliest. A squad of Stalkers can enter the board via Infiltrate-8", M&F 4" Range 9" with an Electroweb Caster for an effective engagement distance of 21" turn 1 or 27" by turn 2. All for a total cost of 75pts.

And they're no slouch in combat either, though they lack the versatility of the Hunter.

Infantry

Warriors

Basic infantry have little role in the game beyond searching for and then carrying objectives off the board. Which is a core element of the game. But they fair poorly at any other task. Attempting to fire on a tank or aircraft from a building edge is a desperate move, and likely to see the unit slaughtered by secondary weapon fire, or a single unit with LoS and an average weapon. Similarly, they will can't hold a building against an elite infantry unit nor are they likely to wipe out said opposition if they attack, which means they just get murdered shortly thereafter.

Razorworms

Another single role unit, Razorworms can't Search which severely hampers their utility, and they can't produce enough damage to really drive out enemy infantry, though they can chew their way through heavy infantry given time. Take note that they can't ever re-enter a transport, so where you deploy them, they're pretty much stuck there for the rest of the game. You can fill an Infantry requirement by taking one base of them in an Intruder for 45pts, but that means you just have 45 fewer points because you still need to bring units capable of Searching and extracting.

As a bonus unit in Slayers or delivered via Corruptor they make more sense, a spoiler to tie up enemy squads. It should just be listed like Ferrum Starsprites, being deployable on their own is pointless.

Demolisher Heavy Infantry (née Destroyers)

An absolute beast in close combat no matter on what side, they are the primary solution to any contested building. Again don't be fooled into trying to assault tanks with them, the plasma charge is weapon of last resort, they should spend the game eating up enemy infantry and perhaps Searching or Objective extraction if they run out of targets. A must-have unit.

Prowler Drones

Prowlers do what Warriors can't. They can reliably counter squads of armor, outfight their comparable points of Warriors and still Search and Carry (there's tiny manipulator arms under the hull that fold out but are too small to model). A squad of 4 in an Intruder is 60pts and an excellent reactionary element. What they can't do is hold a position. Even with Armor 9, they're likely to crumple under any kind of coordinated attack.

Heavy Units

Slayer Heavy Grav-Tank

A more efficient in terms of DP and damage output version of the Hunter, losing only a bit of speed, and with the ability to poison Garrisons with Razorworms. Getting the worms where they can do the most good is the key to using this unit well. Otherwise, use a squad of 2 of them the exact way you use a squad of 3 Hunters.

Tormentor (AKA Slayer w/ Acid Streamer)

Min squad size of 2 plus coherency and weapon range means you're going to be hitting the same target most of the time, and 16 dice of E4 Acc 3+ Flame is enough to cook even elite infantry, and you still have Razorworms to follow up with. Flame is invaluable for dealing with units with good Dodge saves like Sirens or Praetorians.

Subjugator Suppression Walker

A grownup Despot, whose extra range means it can often suppress Search actions in multiple Garrisons. But whereas the Despot hides, the Subjugator tanks thanks to 4 times the DP. Weaponry is a bit of a wash, but again this is not a frontline combat unit. Force an opponent to deal with it while you burgle the other objectives.

Obliterator Mobile Ordnance

A terrible unit. Aesthetics aside, it has a single shot weapon that it has to wait a whole turn to fire, standing out in the open, just hoping it can absorb enough hits to survive but without the armor do so. And as with all single shot weapons, any Accuracy penalty is painful, further increasing the odds that it just does nothing whatsoever. At least its sister unit the Annihilator can fire indirectly. The Obli has to have LoS which being reciprocal and it Large, means it will always fire second.

Savager Laser Barge

Once you work out the math (it has some weird probability curves, I talked about them in a previous post), it averages 1.9DP at Acc 3+ vs anything with Armor 12 or higher (and there's absolutely nothing worth firing it at with lower armor) and 1.3DP with Accuracy penalties. So it trades range for damage, but otherwise fulfills the same Anti-Heavy Armor role as the Desolator, which is a perfectly reasonable tradeoff.

Slaughterer

One of only two options the Scourge have for anti-vehicle/armor area attacks and the better choice by far. Good Accuracy and Energy means it's unlikely to be a dud attack, and even though it has to pause to fire due to M&F 0", it can remain airborne and do so. 18" also puts it out of range of a sizeable portion of AA weapons, and it has the Armor and DP to weather a few rounds of fire of longer range AA.

Elite & Specialist Units

Eviscerator Assault Troops

Like the Demolisher but trading versatility for simply being even more effective at attacking all kinds of infantry from inside a building, from large numbers of normal infantry to the most elite. Bloodthirsty mostly means they should have a backup infantry squad to come in and do the Searching, as they're wasted on anything other than carnage, though they can manage in a pinch, or as a heavy carrier for running an Objective off the board.

Raptor Light Walkers

There's a correct way to use Raptors. An Intruder uses a Free Disembark to place them within 6" of a Garrison they want to clear and then enter. They are placed on the table, activate and shoot. If you wipe out or severly damage the occupiers, move in. If not, sigh and write this whole squad and transport off.

They are less than half the CQ fighters their Prowler counterparts are, and they cannot hang outside to wait for a second chance to fire their Flame attack because they will be deleted by any number of spare attacks. Infantry in the open, even with Armor 9, DO NOT SURVIVE. Keep in mind you can't exit a building fire your weapon then re-enter, so they're committed once you drop them, and they can't reboard the transport unless it's landed and Intruders on the ground are sitting ducks.

Screamer

A real oddball unit that's changed substantially in role and mechanics since it was introduced. There's a lot of problems with its mechanics that have only been partially addressed and it looks a mess with all the unique rules its amassed. It doesn't really excel at anything another unit doesn't already, and I just can't see a good reason to field one other than novelty.

Support Units

Reaper AA Grav-Tank

The Reaper is best thought of as an active hunter of aircraft, rushing towards targets and dropping specific ones. It lacks the wide bubble of a Ravager, but makes up for it by being fast. Energy 8 is fairly high for AA, so Reapers should prioritize the heaviest aircraft, leaving light dropships and gunships to the lower energy AA weapons you brought.

Ravager AA Walker

Much like the Stalker, Infiltrate allows them to cheaply enter the board which combined with their AA range and relatively mediocre speed makes them a reliable defensive anti-air unit. A back board squad well positioned with sight lines provides AA coverage against light dropships trying to steal objectives or fast movers trying to hit backboard targets.

Eradicator Chameleonic Heavy Walker w/ Plasma Fusillades

The classic Eradicator loadout of plasma AA is an incredibly durable unit. Drop it in the middle of the board, and don't move it, let the chameleon effect manifest, and from turn 2 onwards you have an Armor 15, 8DP, Evasion +2 brick that can threaten any unit in the sky. Don't be lured into moving to hit something with the claws, the loss of Evasion isn't usually worth it. Think of the claws and Electroweb as weapons of opportunity.

Eradicator Chameleonic Heavy Walker w/ Bio Mortar

The Bio Mortar is a weapon for a totally different game. Flames of War with infantry moving out in the open, or maybe just someone playing DZC totally different to how everyone I've ever played with or talked to fields armies. Energy 3, Cover(All), Dev-3(Inf). So yeah, it'll kill the shit out of regular infantry in the open or on a wall. Too bad that never happens, and even if it does, there's plenty of cheaper ways to accomplish the same end with more versatility. I am baffled as to why anyone would ever field this unit.

Annihilator Mobile Ordnance

The Annihilator wants to land templates on skimmers or clumped up armor, but there's a number of aspects to the unit that make that more difficult than its worth. Assuming it moves on the board turn 1 most of the 18" it can, it then needs to find a good hiding spot to land, but it's a Large very tall (and wobbly) model so even a glimpse of the unit is enough to fire on it. Then it has a limited firing cone thanks to M&F 0" which prevents it from rotating (probably, hasn't been clearly answered yet). What really kills it though is Acc 4+ on an Indirect weapon. If it has line of sight to the enemy, it has low-ish armor and no cover and is going to get taken out while it waits to fire on units, else it has to fire Indirectly at 5+ which means its more likely than not to Glance and resolve at E10 against one target, no template at all.

The Slaughterer accomplishes the same end with fewer restrictions, more long term viability, and more a more effective attack. I expect this gap to shrink eventually but the Slaughterer still has that New-Models-are-Better edge to it at the moment.

Reaver Gunship

A plain looking unit but a workhorse. I've never regretted fielding a squad of them. 12" aircraft move and 18" range on two excellent weapons make them fantastic ground attack vehicles. If your opponent doesn't take them down early, they will eventually scour the board clear of ground targets. I've had more than a few games where they have run out of targets by turn 5. Sometimes straightforward is more useufl than gimmicks. Also very easy to magnetize weapons to swap with the Corruptor.

Corruptor

Dump worms into contested buildings. Dump worms into buildings you can't contest. Dump worms everywhere. With no limit anymore on the number of times it can fire, you should be littering the board with worms which serves two purposes. It chews away at enemy infantry numbers, and it makes it easier to outnumber the enemy in squads which can force Morale checks to slow them down. Morale is unfortunately a little bloated at the moment, everyone could stand to lose a point, but when it works it drives infantry into the open where they can be easily shot to pieces and they drop Objectivs, which is the lifeblood of this game. It doesn't happen as often as I'd like (much like demo), but when it does it's a game changer. And the Corruptor is an excellent means of setting up that swing.

Overseer Ion Cradle Barge

Expensive, but if you're fielding, say, an entire Despoiler full of Slayers and Hunters, rerolling damage on all Plasma weapons adds up. The AA attack just means you don't have to wait around for slower AA to keep up. Strafe on an AA weapon is interesting, but a watchful opponent will never give you the opportunity to hit more than one unit since all Aircraft have a coherency of 6" and Strafe can only reach 3. But it can usually land 3 hits at E6 on a single target, which is enough take out light aircraft or scare off heavier ones.

Scouts

Minder AA Drones

Much like the Prowler, the cost to deploy is so very low, cheaper even than walking on a group of Ravagers. Being Aircraft, you can arrange a squad of 4 in a chain 6" apart and still in coherency creating an AA 'wall' stretching 30" and able to put two shots in anything crossing it. Energy 6 isn't life threatening, but it makes light drop think twice or anything that's been damaged. Did I mention how cheap it is?

Emeritus (née Monitor) Drones

It has an anti-infantry weapon but that's not why you field these. Their raison d'être is Self-Destruct. Since it doesn't have to target an enemy to explode, Skimmers or ECM generating PHR are more vulnerable to Emeritus' than any other unit. And being aircraft, you can clump them together and when one explodes the others don't get hit. Swarm Erebos and other annoying units and force them to disperse or die.

Auxiliary Transports

I'm only going to discuss the non-transport aspects of these units lest I repeat myself needlessly

Invader Grav-APC

Nothing special here, other than its slightly better at leaving the board without its dropship, though being airlifted off is usually a better plan.

Marauder Dropship

The plasma hose is a switch hitter weapon, equally capable of pouncing of unfortunate infantry units caught out in the open and a reasonable chance of throwing an E10 shot at vehicles. It's not uncommon to see a flock of them late game hunting down ground units.

Despoiler Heavy Dropship

70pts for the same carrying capacity as 120pts of Marauders is a hell of a bargain. The extra 30 for the twin plasma turret I'm less impressed by. You're likely dropping a whole swarm of plasma packing grav-tanks out of the Marauder, and two more shots with comparatively poor Accuracy isn't that appealing.

Intruder Light Troopship/Dropship

Harbinger Troopship/Dropship

Auxiliary Airstrike

Corsair Interceptor

Perhaps too Accurate after the last 'balance pass', Acc 2+ on a strikecraft with the damage output of Plasma Cannons combined with Fast Mover range means you can threaten anything on the board. Many aircraft without evasion rely on armor and DP, but the Plasma Cannon hits so much harder than almost anything else with AA, it tears them apart.

Corsair w/ Arc Caster (AKA Brigand)

An even more Accurate Reaper capable of hitting any evasive aircraft on the board, it fills the niche the Corsair with plasma leaves open. Both types of Corsair sadly suffer from Fast Mover rules designed not around gameplay or verisimilitude but to leave models on the table for pictures.

Vampires

The trick is to keep them on a Dropship, so it can fly towards the Fast Mover, drop Vamps, then the vamps can fly over and negate most of the FM's Evasion and tear into it. Their lack of Armor at 7 means a flock hunting on their own is easily dispatched. But held back for the right moment, they can more than earn their points back. And those points are easy to fit in at the end of building a list because you will almost always have spare room for them on the Marauder-type dropships you will always bring.