Friday, 24 October 2014

The Scourge Sweet Spot

How many Prowlers does it take to destroy a Mining Drill? Ten apparently!
Dropzone sometimes giveth, and sometimes it taketh away(eth). As it has been well documented on this very blog in the past, I have always wanted to play a Scourge army with a vast horde of Prowlers. The idea of two dozen little crabs running amok through the streets of Eden Prime filled my heart with joy, and made me giggle in delight. The army I had in mind was never built to be ultra competitive, but to at least be moderately challenging to play against and with and be as fun as a bouncy castle. However...

It doesn't work.

It's incredibly frustrating, but it is sadly a fact. Having twenty four prowlers in your army limits the amount of AA and AT you can fit in, and also if you don't drop the crabs in the right place to begin with you have big troubles. Possibly the biggest thing I am most upset about is the fact that it just isn't fun to play. If the drop doesn't work out, all your Prowlers just die as there are no other targets for the opposition to shoot at. So there you go, I magnetised twenty four Prowlers for nothing in the end. That's forty eight pieces of metal which taunt me with every North/South attraction they make.

Those of you out there thinking, 'Well, obviously it didn't work. You even made a log thread regarding it!' aren't wrong. The posts can be found here, here and here and make the distinct point that DzC is a balanced game, and must be played as such to get the most out of it. So the error is my fault really, but there you go. You live and you learn. And you magnetise. And then you cry in a corner.

Prowler-off! Sounds like a Russian
Scourge commander...
The road to figuring all this out hasn't been a particularly pleasant or fun one I will add. The first game in which I deployed the Circus of Legs Was against Hawk Simon when he popped down the club before his expedition to convention land, and I was hammered 7-0. I have literally never lost a game that badly before. I made a couple of errors, as is to be expected after transferring from an almost polar opposite army (the Shaltari), but him having Corsairs turn up on turn 1 and never fail to turn up doesn't hurt. The game came down to him knowing his army much better than mine, and ruthlessly exploiting the fact. I've done exactly the same thing to opponents as hapless as I was, so I hold absolutely no ill feelings towards the tosser. I mean gentleman. Hmm, no I mean tosser.

Next up was Skullsword, against his shiny new Resistance (well, that of which has arrived...). This game fared better, as we were both new to our armies and this gave us a little leeway to make mistakes. I had fiddled with the list a little and gone down to 20 Prowlers and some Ravagers for a decent AA bubble. It was as bulky and flabby as the first list I used, but due getting into the right buildings at the right time I managed to scrape a win. It worked a little better against the Resistance, but still I didn't really find it fun.

I had left my spider spray at home
Mega Mikes new Shaltari brick was up next, and this was another game to forget. It turns out that running into 3 Jaguars, a Dreamsnare and a Coyote is a terrible bloody idea. I was using the same army again, as it had worked to an effect against Skullsword, but this time due to my lack of AT I was unable to deal with the sheer hardyness of his walkers (also, rolling 3 ones to hit with my three Hunters didn't help). After one disappointing turn of using most of the crabs, they were all whittled away and I became impotent in attack. Because of the lack of Hunters, Stalkers or Reapers I was unable to damage his army in any significant way. I 'strategically' destroyed a building containing an objective, and the game ended 6-2 to MM.

It was another unenjoyable game, and as with the others not because of the gamer but because of the list. There is nothing fun to removing your models from the table and doing little to nothing to your adversary. It was after this game that I had a sit down a real think about the list. I needed to identify what I was lacking, and come up with a way of fixing it. The main problem had been that once the Prowlers were gone there was no AT left (bar Intruders and the Desolator, neither of which can't be counted on alone). I reduced the quantity of Prowlers in the list again to 16, and came up with this!

It is a little short on AA, but if I use the units I have correctly it shouldn't be too much of an issue. Having two
squads of Destroyers is always nice (they are almost an auto-pick really), and the Despoiler was a dropship I had never considered before so thought it worth trying. There are a couple of glaring issues, in that I only have one Warrior squad in two separate  battlegroups, so if they extract an objective I am down to five our four battle groups. But hey, this list is about fun rather than competition right! (It is only now on reflection that I realise I was well under pointed...)

My last game was against Sgt Slaughter and his PHR. He is a gamer who has always made hardy lists, and as the game went I didn't really destroy much. The Prowlers were largely ineffectual, due to four exploding in the air when their intruder was shot down (that has happened in all four games so far...) and then his army hammering the remaining twelve, but they were a dsitraction that he was forced to deal with, and this gave me time to manoeuvre my army about. As a whole the list felt easier to use, and importantly more fun. I was actually hugely impressed with the Despoiler, which was quick and powerful, destroying a Helios whilst it zoomed about. I won the game 5-4 due to a couple of lucky objective rolls, but that wasn't so much the point. I like the fit of this army better, it feels different bet yet usable.

So I have tweaked it again; it's down to five battlegroups now (I know, an OB cardinal sin) but I do have three units of Destroyers, which is tasty... I feel that one step closer to finding my list,and hitting that Scourge sweet spot!


  1. Destroyers seem way to good on paper. But I suppose you can easily tie them up with expandable infantery in CQB since they dont throw so many dice.

    1. That's true, but at the moment only the resistance have the troops to spare to do this, and they tend to be too slow to do it effectively. It in fact tends to be the other way around; destroyers are so quick in Intruders they can tie up opponents units on their side of the board!

      I also miss Braves, my Warriors keep getting squished by falling massonry...

    2. Hmm... I dont really see a clean answer to destroyers then. Maybe Fire Waggons a worth a try. You can still sacrifice 2 bases of warriors when the destroyers come into the building and let the other bases flee from it. Than burn them.

    3. They are awkward, but really no more awkward than other elites. I would rather fight Destroyers over Firstborns, as they are superior in cqb. You have to deal with them as normal elites to be honest!

  2. well 24 Prowlers on 1500 is actually hard to o.. 16 is just as finee as it gets in my experience (my regular opponent loves the little buggers as much as you do it seems) he actually owns 32 i think but only fields that much in really large games (read 2000+) and then they are a real "P in the A" 16 are just tolerable but as you pointed out: you either have to deal with them or you are deep into trouble... ever thought aabout the AA Walkers? Themewise pure win and quite sturdy... so maybe worth a try?

    1. I own 32 as well, due to a Hawk 'apology package' for miscasts (I'm not complaining though!). MegaMike is adament that 32 can work in 1500pts, but I'm not so sure.

      I gave the Ravagers a try at 20 Prowlers but I couldn't really get used to them. I really like the unit, but it doesn't fit so well in my newest list. Maybe I'll try to squeeze them in at some point!

  3. Can Tarantula hang off walls like in the photo?!? Oh hell I read the rules to mean they had to be on the ground or roof? Can anyone confirm they can do this?

    If so they got a hell of a lot cooler for frustrating my opponents!

    1. They can indeed! Officially (Hawk Simon has confirmed this), a model can go anywhere it can be placed, as long as it follows the rules.

      It's another sneaky Shaltari trick!