Monday, 17 February 2014

The Unloved - UCM

Ugly Sisters... geddit?
Sometimes units sit in their little boxes on the page of a rule book but, like most of us gamers they just don't get picked for the football team. Left behind in the hangars their well trained drivers and gunners sit about and get fat and lazy. Meanwhile their more popular comrades become veterans on the battlefield before coming back and getting all the bunk-buddies they could want.

So here's a couple of questions for you.

What units, in the armies you play with, do you just never use and why?
Is there any way you think could improve them/use them better?

Now I should say right from the start here that I will be looking at this from a competitive point of view, so if thats not your bag, just remember I still think these units are cool and would really like to see them more.

Now I play UCM so the following is a list from my personal experience I will leave other armies up to more experienced players of those armies:

Poor Sad Wolverine.


I have 8 of the little blighters, and I used to use them all the time. But since the Ferrum came out the drones do the same job but much, MUCH better and can be all over the map quicker than a rat out of a drainpipe. The Ferrum can also recycle dead drones at a rate of four a turn, so that just beats the Wolverine out of their little slot way too hard for them to come back any time soon, because if you aren't including a Ferrum in your list while playing UCM you just aren't doing it right. I'm trying not to be too prescriptive, but seriously Ferrums are bad-ass and make the UCM army click so well.

So what can we do to help these little guys out?

Well remember this, Ferrum drones can't hold focal points because they are aircraft, sure the Fridge itself can but the drones can't. So maybe use Wolverines as that last gasp grab for a victory point in the final stages of the game.

AA Wolverines can reaction fire, Drones CAN'T, remember this, so use them to cover those Battle tanks people!

Rules wise, maybe the wolverines could get an additional set of rules to help out their scouting role, maybe some kind of bonus to IF rolls in their line of sight, or a bonus to reserve rolls while on the board. Just something to give them an extra tool for their kit.

Unfortunately much as we try these little dudes are probably gonna stay in the hangar for a good long while I think. That awesome suspension better get tightened up a bit cause those drivers will have put on quite a bit of weight before they get in the field again!

Its Ok little buddy, maybe next game eh?

The Scimitar:

Now this one might be controversial but I almost never see this unit used in any game I've played with/against UCM. Why? On paper this guys great! He's got a cool rule that means 1/6 times you can bypass rolling to damage and cause 2 DP, which is great.

Plus his range is unlimited even against countermeasures so he's got the reach to hit anyone on the board. To top it all off this big gun is mounted on the same Heavy tanks chassis used by his much more popular jock brother the Gladius with Arm 10 and 2 DP he's tough as old boots.

So why don't we see him more often?

The problems mount up when you compare him to other units in UCM and other armies.

First off his MF value for the big gun is 0" thats right its move OR fire with this bad boy, which at first you think, "Yeah fair enough" because to have a gun that big with a MF value would be deadly. With the movement system allowing you to shoot then move in Dropzone, you could shoot then hide which would be harsh on anyone trying to shoot back.

But what this means is that the Scimitar has no manoeuvrability at all, in a game that is all about manoeuvrability and objective grabbing. So the Scimitar has to castle up in one area of the board and hope to use his gun on anyone who wanders across his line of fire before the end of the game. If he tries to go for Focal points with his slow-as-a-valium-riddled-snail Move of 3" its gonna be three turns before he gets the minimum 9"across the board he needs to before he can claim which coincidentally is three turns he's not using his unlimited range gun on peeps (Don't say you can put him in a condor because why would you? Silly waste of 31 points for a unit that should stay still).

Secondly his gun, ignoring the Marksman rule for a second, is Energy 10 which in an army filled with Energy 10 weapons is really not that special. Yes it has unlimited range but with the extra manoeuvrability of the Sabres and the extra shot of the Gladius, both at 24" thats half the board in most cases thats enough, I'm just gonna go with the extra shots personally.

Thirdly the other units with unlimited range guns have much bigger guns, the Hyperion with its same ARM/DP stats as the Scimitar, PLUS a Passive save, AND its Gun is an Energy 11 Marksman gun. And the Ocelot which has lighter armour but does have a Passive save and Energy 13 IGNORING ALL SAVES gun. So in a straight out sniper duel the poor Scimitar has no chance.

So what can we do to help him out?

Look out for those big long firelanes and park his little butt right on them leave him there to exchange fire with those smaller units in the game that he completely outranges.

Maybe give them a Condor. I know I said not to, but it would allow them to get redeployed quite quickly into a better sniping position. Just remember though thats another turn of not firing so you'd better be prepared to get them into a good position!

From a rules update point of view (pick and choose I wouldn't do all of this to the guy wouldn't want him going Uber on us any time soon).Maybe give him a MF value that takes advantage of the manoeuvrability inherent in the UCM army. OR drop his points. OR up the energy of his gun to 11 so he can at least do 2DP on armour 10.

Ah well, poor guys may just have to wait behind the lines for a while I think, maybe those drivers should cross-train into Gladius piloting, those bad-boys get all the chicks.

Bet he drives a Gladius.

I'm gonna wrap up this article here because I'm gonna leave the last two that I would add here (The Archangel, and The Seraphim) to another article on Fast Movers which I shall write soon. Plus in the meantime I think I shall write some other articles that are more positive!

If you have any comments on this please let us know below, feel free to tell me I'm wrong I'd love to hear some tactics you guys use that allow the above units to get used more effectively. I really like both these units models and background, unfortunately I just can't get them to kick butt!


  1. I kind of half agree with the Wolverines. Wolverine B's are now pretty redundant, the drones take their scouting duties and the condors with missile upgrades take their pot shot duties. Wolverine A's on the other hand are great - I try to get them in to most of my lists - Having them drive on as an AA backfield bubble is great, they can also go light dropship hunting with their 9" movement.
    I have never used a Scimitar - initially I like the idea of them, but as you said "it's a game of manoeuvrability" and they are not mobile. The Hyperion got a Mf value, I think the Scimitar should too

  2. I'll Weight in with my throughts on the Shaltari ugly ducklings.

    I find the Firstborns just unnecessary, the Braves are great in close combat and have useful firepower to boot and all for a cheaper cost IIRC. Perhaps I'm missing something :-/

    Thunderbirds, these are great models but are pretty useless on the tabletop. They have little offensive output with a low number of short ranged (for shaltari) shots, add to this their flimsy armour and high cost and you have a recipe for staying on the shelf.

    Most of the other Shaltari units are very usable other than perhaps the Tomahawks but they are the only standard choice until my tarantulas arrive in the post :-)