Thursday, 28 August 2014

Are Scourge the hardest army to win with?

Hello fellow zoners. Today I will be talking about the difficulties of winning with the Scourge. 
I am normally found around a DzC board using my UCM, but decided a while back that I wanted a 2nd army, the Scourge. I have slowly been building my army based on the models I like and how I think the Scourge play. I probably now have around 2000+ points!

Don't give me problems. Give me Solutions!!

Now as the title suggests, I am finding the Scourge a difficult army to win with (don't worry - I'm still winning games, it's just a lot harder to do).  
The Scourge problems hinge around the low armour and ridiculously short range weaponry, but I knew all that when I bought into the army. So what's my problem? 

Essentially it's to do with how forgiving the Scourge are. 

Because the Scourge have short range and limited shots they are a very precise race. What I mean by this, is you need to position yourself well, to make the most of your limited shots. 
The Scourge have very high energy shots for anti-tank and anti-air but you don't get many of them. Meaning bad rolls and/or bad positioning affects them more than other races.
Also, if you make a mistake with positioning or suffer a bad roll, the Scourge can't really take what is thrown back at them (which is normally a lot). 
The short range of the weaponry means that you have to get close (well duh), when you are close you expose yourself to a lot of enemy fire-power, which has far superior range (meaning more of it can hurt you). 

Another problem is finding and extracting objectives. Most Scourge armies have 2 units of Destroyers, which normally accounts for half your troops. Let's be honest, you don't want to be searching for and extracting objectives with Destroyers. It's a waste of their deadliness. This leaves you your 2 units of Warriors and/or Aged Ones. In reality, I do search for objectives with Destroyers, but I never extract with them. I can't afford for them to be off the board for 2+ turns. This means I need to support them with a unit that can extract for me. 

Finally Scourge do BADLY at Focal point missions due to lack of effective ground units coupled with a command unit that is an aircraft. 

The new units such as Ravagers and Stalkers can aid some of the problems with being A10. Ravagers having tons of shots and decent range, Stalkers are still very short ranged but can take some fire and come out the other side. They are best used as a "double tap" unit; turn 2/3 use them as a last activation and drop them in the enemies faces, next turn shoot and razor claw. Obviously you need to win first activation, or have multiple plans; which leads me seamlessly on to how I combat the lack of forgiveness.

It starts with army list creation, you already need to have a plan of how you want to play. With my UCM I would play most units reactively and a few pro-actively. With Scourge I like to play hyper-aggressively and always pro-actively, make the enemy react to what you are doing. The Scourge are fast enough to do this. This means you need to pick some of the fastest units available, which for Scourge are the light dropships. I have 8 in my 1500 point army. 2 for Prowlers, 2 for Minders and 4 for Warriors and Destroyers. When I deploy them I try to get them as far forward as I can (safely of course) based on what I think the opponent will want to do. This then makes your opponent rethink his plan for the game. 
As an example, my last game against SkullSword's (SS) PHR was one of the new ones. It had a Focal Point in the middle and 4 objectives (one in each quarter). I knew he would put 2 units of troops in each objective building, so I bombed one unit of Destroyers 30" up the right flank and went low (2") to be out of any possible enemy fire. This meant SS had a hard choice to make with his troops. He placed them in the objective building anyway, but in turn 2 after I shot the building a bit and blasted my way in with Destroyers he bugged out, meaning he had no chance of getting one of his home objectives. 
But you can't rely on 1 plan of action. You need to have multiple distractions going on, this means the opponent cannot focus on one area of your army otherwise they are doomed elsewhere. 
Get the opponent to make a hard choice between which of his units he want's to lose. If you get first activation you get to decide, or even better you might get to choose 2 out of 3 situations you have set up. 

The best way to win a game is to stick to the mission. If there is a chance to take out a light dropship or 2, but it means that your Reapers will be shot to pieces DO IT. If an opponent cannot extract objectives they can't win. Be ruthless with your squads and take no prisoners. 

It might just be me, but I don't think you can play Scourge defensively. Scourge are not versatile, they do one job and that is kill, and kill quickly. You will lose a lot of your models but in doing that you should be able to win the game. 

Let me know in the comments how you have been getting on with Scourge, or if you have any tactics you want to share 

P.S. Final thought - don't let players of other factions know that Destroyers are only 45pts a base. 45pts!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha so awesome!


  1. I tend to play my scourge very aggressively. For myself, they are easier to win with than the UCM, and several regular opponents that I play against are often relieved when I am not playing my scourge and instead going with my ucm. Why?

    It's because of the their quick strikes. I generally play with one large squad of hunters (6), two squads of reapers, one desolator, 4 minders, 4 prowlers, (2 tormentors if they fit into my list with razor worms), 2 squads of destroyers, and 4 squads of warriors. From there it varies and may include interceptors.

    The speed at which I can manipulate the game from the first round is incredible. Light transports able to move 30" round 1 is a little insane. When I do lose its often because I mis-timed my armies, or the opponent was able to catch me or force me off-balanced.

    With the speed of the scourge, you can stop someone from going somewhere very fast. Focal point games means that you are forcing your opponent to play the game where you choose, and punishing them if they go where you do not want them to (desolator, hunters, etc). You are correct in that Scourge do need to stick to the mission at hand, and are ultra aggressive.

    I dont think the Scourge are necessarily harder to play, but do take a little time to get used to.

    My suggestions. Take a large single squad of hunters, this way one command card is the most efficient. I have been using 6, but am moving to a squad of 9. Have the highest level commander you can!!!!!. While this may not be as important for most armies, going first to win the initiative is important for scourge, and it gives you the most command cards (scourge have the strongest deck of the factions.)

    Not much can handle or go up against a squad of hunters with the right cards in their hands. You have about three rounds to get them, and for some reason (there are enough of them in there), you often get them. Simply saying that if you need 6's to hit them, or they suddenly get that extra +3 mf, you are golden.

    1. I like your ideas. I will give the 6 hunters in one squad a go for my next game.
      Did you start off playing with the Scourge? I started with UCM and found them very versatile and a tough nut for opponents to crack. Then going to Scourge is a bit of a culture shock. I love the speed though, and I love prowlers too, maybe too much!

      I don't find the Scourge hard to play, in fact they are probably one of the easiest races to play - the speed can get out of many sticky situations, but to win games it takes more brain effort than the UCM. You need the right units in the right locations.

      I always go for a big boss, min. CV4 - Scourge cards are excellent, although I believe that PHR cards are probably the best set, with cards like weapon hack, drive hack and countermeasures hack....grrrr

  2. Hey Mega Mike!

    I don't play scourge my self but I have been facing them alot. (Egge ) and he has about a year head start on me in the game and alot of experience with miniature gaming. (Tournament style to win)

    I like your playstyle and thinking of what you whant to do. Also there are a couple of factors (again Egges Idée) that I think is valid and extra needed when playing scourge.

    1. high cv value (you already coverd that)
    2. Maximum amount of battle squads
    3. 4 groups of troops
    4. 2 squads of anti air.

    With this in the background and as you say playing to force your oponent to react insteed of acting... this is mostly repeating what you have said, but there is a point that I whant to reinforge!

    I have never won so far against him but I am getting there and I am starting to give him a challenge. (I play PHR btw) why am I giving him a hard time (and not to brag but I think the hardest time) well I have been starting to play very and very much so agressive lists my self.. this is what I have found the only effektiv deffence agains a really good scourge player.

    He (aka you) whants to put pressure on your opponent by flanking and playing posisioning on multible fronts and not really give away where you are headed. Giving the opponent as you say hard choises to make on again multiple fronts.

    The only counter I have found (draging out on this point =P) is as I said to play agressivly your self and to bring my much harder units very close up on you befour you can act. And to bring the battle to your fightinggrounds.

    So I have sins your last really meen list with 3 groups of destroyers (thanks for that by the way) been testing out a list of 3 groups of sirens and one group of immortals. But as you said the problem is that you cant really extract obj. I tought of a sollution of that. Bring in a battlegroup with one scouad of a (not useless) low cost durable walking in unit and dump the obj to that unit inseed. Careful planing is needed tho not to loose this unit... my final ponit and maby a sollution for your list.

    Egge can probably give you alot more sins I'm kind a new to the game.


  3. Great article and comments by others. Thanks, Mega Mike. I think I've been lucky so far with the Scourge opponents I've faced one on one not putting me under pressure like that with strong flank attacks. Reading this confirms my current thinking that I need at least 2 and maybe three AA units in my 1500 point PHR force. I need to be able to shut down aggressive flight paths and still not get isolated.

    Scourge are so dangerous really, and have such a strong airpower with dropships that are well armed, an awesome gunship and insanely fast dropships to get their short ranged stuff right into your lines. I haven't played as them yet but I'd agree with MegaMike's thoughts that you have to make a clear plan and that they can be unforgiving. Thinking about this blog article, yeah I'd say timing would be so important. Dropping enough stuff in the right places in the right quantities to cause the enemy grief.

    I love how the factions are so different in DZC. That's how it should be for a fun and interesting wargame.