Monday, 17 February 2014

Quick and dirty 'new' unit review

New releases are imminent

As Hawk were so kind as to gift us some new units, it would be rude not to have a stab at a review. Obviously this is only a review based on the new experimental rules (which can all be found here), no play-testing yet as no models have been released.......soon though!

As the UCM are my favourite faction I will start with them;

UCM Eagle Heavy Gunship

  • Excellent shot out-put
  • Energy 11, just what the UCM needed
  • 3 Damage Points, could do with 4
  • 1 per squad, should be 1-2
I think it is an excellent addition to the UCM and will help players really change up their play-style based on what units they choose, but I think that the points for it are a little high. If the Eagle had 4 damage points it would be a fair price. 
Also worth mentioning that it is another support choice, which now includes Rapiers, Longbows, Ferrums, Falcons and the Eagle. I think the Eagle could have been put in the Heavy slot, which would then mean you could run an Eagle with some Falcon support - that would look spectacular on the tabletop and be frightening for the opponent.

Scourge Stalkers

  • Tough armour
  • Energy 12 shot, plus an Energy 10 CC attack
  • Cheap standard choice
  • 1 Damage Point
  • Incredibly short range
This was unexpected, Armour 10 on the Stalker with 1 damage point. I think I would have liked armour 9 and 2 damage, but then it would be very similar to PHR type 1 walkers. These babies will be very difficult to use against Shaltari and other Scourge players as they are slow moving and short ranged, although when you do get in range things are going to get fried. The Stalkers offer a different way to play Scourge and they will be great as a front-line defensive unit. I see them as great Focal Point deterrents - who's gonna want to get close?

Scourge Harbinger 

  • AA on a drop-ship
  • Armour 6 and 4 damage points
  • AA on a drop-ship
  • Did I mention AA on a freakin' drop-ship that hits on a 2+!
  • Um........maybe the almost pointless bomb
Not only is this the most beautiful model, but it's going to be deadly. The one thing Scourge lack is the ability to go after enemy light drop-ships which are extracting objectives or carrying infantry. Of course there is the corsairs, but with poor accuracy and the random coming on they can be discounted. For 2 points more you can have a Harbinger (the 15 point Arc caster may as well have been in the cost automatically) that can go hunting the Ravens, Spirit Gates and Tritons.
When playing against Scourge there are already enough aircraft targets; Intruders carrying Prowlers, Warriors and Destroyers, the Desolater, the Marauders, the Annihilator, corsairs and Reavers. Add into this the Harbinger and you better have enough AA otherwise something nasty is getting through.
I'm not too sure on the Plasma Bombs, they seem a bit of an after thought 5+ Ac, 3" range and rear arc of fire. I think they would be improved if they were Area-S and could be launched against any unit that the Harbinger passes over in it's movement (up to the Mf). Still it's very nice, and I will definitely be adding it to my growing collection.

PHR Mercury Scout Drones 

  • Scanning for objectives
  • 4 in a squad, no more no less
  • no guns, not even a spud gun!
This is a strange unit, no offensive capabilities at all (I bet they are jealous of the UCM drones!) It will help PHR win the game though and that is what they need. PHR are very good at killing things, also at staying alive but they are not good at getting objectives....until now. For a very low amount of points you can have them fly on and help get those back field objectives early, whilst the rest of your army destroys the enemies backfield objective building. This puts you in the driving seat for claiming and extracting. I like the seeking missiles on the Triton and also that they are a free upgrade, but whether I would buy the Tritons in the first place is the real question. For the cost of a squad of 4 Mercury Drones and 2 Tritons you could have another unit of infantry in a Triton, so is it better to have the extra troops or to have the ability to search more easily?

Shaltari Caiman Heavy Grav-Tank 

  • Loooong range
  • 4 Damage points
  • Up to 3 in a squad
  • Standard Shaltari paper armour
  • Energy 10 main gun
I'll start with the fact that I don't like the look of this model; it's not a tank with a gun, it's a gun with a tank! If the turret was about 80% of the size it would look so much better. The rules however are great, it is a beast on the field. As a UCM player I will really have to watch where I put my Kodiak and Ferrum. Normally Shaltari couldn't dream of touching them, now they are in range turn 2 from just driving on the board! 
I doubt that we will see squads of 3 Caimens even with their wide formation as they are too many points in 1 squad, I think 1 or 2 will be the most popular. But can it rival the Jaguar - probably the best Heavy choice in the game. I think yes - it gives the discerning Shaltari player options. You can now go 'all skimmer' for an army but don't forget to support the Caimens with enough Kukuri as without Jags the AA might be on the light side.

All in all a really good set of releases from Hawk - with each new release there is added variety to each army and it gives commanders loads of options for play-style


  1. Overall your pretty spot on with it all, a couple of points in my opinion though would be:

    Eagle - I'm pretty sure people will rate it's point cost after a few plays, the manoeuvrability of it is incredible and it can be where you need it to be immediately, ready to fire next turn.

    Stalkers - Very good, but very specific. Not sure it will replace the Hunter.

    Harbinger - Excellent, I'll leave it at that.

    Mercury Scout Drone - people seem to be complaining that they have no guns, and that they come out a little expensive for a non-lethal unit. I think what people are forgetting is just how GOOD these things can be; increasing the chance of a first turn objective from 1/6 to 1/3 is simply incredible. In fact, I'm a little worried these things could unbalance things towards PHR.

    Caimen - As a Shaltari player who is fed up with the ineffectiveness of Tomahawks, and sometimes Jag's against UCM and PHR unfortunately I don't see this tank as an answer. Yes it has 3 shots, and yes you should kill a UCM tank / PHR light walker in one go, but that's it. One tank. Being able to split fire can be key and I think being limited to one average enemy kill per turn isn't enough.

  2. Nice review, I also agree on most counts especially the harbinger which is reallllly good.

    As a shaltari player I like the Caimen model and its epic size gun but really wish it was E11 not E10. As Zombiestate says the shaltari have an abundance of E10 and the gun size and fact that it competes against the excellent Jaguar should justify the small boost in power.... but I'll still use it so the points must be pretty accurate.

  3. If the Caimen had an E11 gun then possibly the range should be reduced to 24", and I think the points are more or less spot on for it - it will definitely see play.

  4. I honestly can't see myself using one, as the Jag is just so good! Having 2 eliminates the need for an additional AA squad, and they bring guns and hold the line too. It was always going to be hard for the Caimen to be as good as the Jag (which is, utility wise, the best heavy in the game) but I think Mike's idea of reduced range at E11 will see it given more use. Realisticly when are you going to one shot something worth while at 36" anyways?

  5. Unlike zombie I will be using the caiman I love it and love the model