Monday, 6 April 2015

First You Stalk, And Then You Slay. It's Scourge 101.

The true 'Other Guys'. Mark Whalberg may even be driving a Slayer, they are as average as he is
With the Tormentors tested, used in hope, sworn at vigerously, done, dusted, and thrown forcefully back into the bag, it is time for me to move onto the next couple of lesser used units in the Scourge army. Well, lesser used in Tolworth at any rate.

My next test; The Stalker and the Slayer. These are a couple of units that I have had my reservations about for a while, but the more I look at the rules, the more potential I see. Let's start with the Stalker.

Scourge are an army based on speed , alpha strikes and double tapping. The Stalker isn't really a unit set up to do any of that. It's not fast at 4” (though admittedly still twice as Fast as most PHR walkers), because of it's speed and limited range it is hard to alpha strike with, and double tapping has much of the same issue. You see, with a Hunter I can whiz around a corner in my last activation for a turn and lay down some plasma death on a few units. Being Scourge I will have a decent CV, meaning the chance of gaining first activation is high, and before the opponent knows it I have mopped up any survivors and darted 9” around the nearest corner into safety. The Stalkers are too slow and short ranged to even dream about pulling that kind of manoeuvre! On top of this they bring nil demo to the list as their Super-Tazers-Of-Madness can't damage buildings. It's for these reasons Stalkers have never featured in my army.

They're kinda like rams. Angry, electronic rams.
I wonder what their memory is like? (super nerd joke alert)
But, looking closer at the stats, could they fill a gap the Scourge struggle with in some games? By their very nature the jellys are a very mobile and fluid army, always winding about and around the opponent like a Razorworm stalking a Resistance Fighter. Once a part of the fluidity is disrupted though, they can lose shape and lose form. The Stalkers with their A10 could form a solid base for the rest of your army to circulate around though. Also, if you position them correctly and can force your opponent to come within 11”, you can lay down some powerful hurt (their effective range is 13”, but sometimes it's best to play on the safe side)! They pack an E12 gun each, and if you ever get into contact have an extra E10 combat attack too. Their transport is pretty bad ass also. The Harbinger is survivable at A6 with 4 DP and quick at MF18”, but also has a cheeky little AA gun which is adapt at sniping light drop ships. Well worth the 15 points if you can spare them.

You guys are probably thinking that I have neglected their ability to hold focal points. The thing is, I don't think this is something they are better at than a Hunter. Hunters are quicker, and more importantly are worth more points. If the Stalker had been 45 points, with 2 DP and 2 shots I think we would see a lot more of them, but as it stands a unit worth 27 points is not good for claiming focal points. Put it this way, a squad of Sirens is worth more points than a squad of three Stalkers...

All in all, I'm looking forward to using them, but it is going to be a hell of a culture shock!

Next up is the Slayers. Hmm. Slayers. I'll start with the good bits. The model is gorgeous; the same is true for the Stalker while we are mentioning looks. I did the classic Dropzone 'stare at the model loads before and after I made it', doubling construction time. Anyway, it looks great. And it has a fantastic gun; two E11 shots, what's not to like? And it is now a mere fifty points, hurrah!

Hmm though. Still hmm... when you look at all the other features, just... hmm...

It has a line of stats you wouldn't think are bad, and I guess aren't necessarily bad on their own, but just don't add up to a good unit altogether, with the main catalyst for this problem being the armour of 8. For a heavy tank it just isn't hard enough to take a beating, and isn't quick enough to move out of the way of anything gunning for it. To explain, let's use the rating system from earlier. Let's judge it on speed, double tapping, and alpha strike ability.

Speed first. It is 6”, so is okay. Not great for an army as quick as the jellys, but just okay (I can hear all you PHR and UCM players moaning at me, but speed is the whole point of the Scourge!). Because of this average score it only averagely lends itself to double tapping. Whereas six hunters can round that corner and then fly away before the opponent has blinked, you will find the Slayer leaving it's arse swinging in the wind every now and then, a big fat target for the whole enemy army to see. This wouldn't be so bad normally, as a hull down skimmer will be sixes to hit for basically everything, but the time that person rolls a six with their E10 weapon, you just know they will follow it up with a five and destroy the model!

Here comes the lame brigade
So what are they good for then? Well, they are very good at the last item on the list; Alpha Striking. Rounding a corner with four E11 shots and laying the hammer down on someone could be regarded as bad news. If you are like me and have four of these suckers, eight is catastrophic news. They should kill two to three Gladius / Hannibals, or four standard tanks. That's pretty terrifying stuff! However, when they fail, and it will happen (a lot probably), you will take them off the table quickly. 4+ / 5+ from most E10 weapons is just awful odds to risk. If you use them in tandem with Jink and Weave, or maybe even a relentless advance to use the double tap they can be efficient, but you should never play hoping for a certain card. Cards should be used to boost your game plan, and not to be structured around.

Oh yeh, they can also carry Razorworms. Don't bother. If Slayers are disgorging these slithery Scourge conga eels they are almost certainly not doing what they should be, which is alpha striking. Leave that to the Tormentors (yeh, it means we will never see Razorworms until Hawk bring out a better delivery system. Remember though, the more we don't use a unit, the more they want to see it – think the Falcon. I'm winking at you all right now, but this blog is far to high and mighty for emoticons).

Needless to say I am not too enthused about using the Slayer but I have to give it a go. As mentioned earlier I do have four, so they should do something before they blow up in big balls of plasmeryness! I will be using the following list to begin with, to incorporate all my new toys.

It should read 'Scourge 1500 points Slayer/Stalker' at the top, but FFOR disagreed

I plan to switch out the units with others over the next month or so to give different builds a decent try. What works for the Stalker may not for the Slayer, but I guess we'll see.

As a final thought, I hope that both units surprise me. I have high hopes for the Stalker, and less so for the Slayer.

If any of you lovely lovelies out there have tips or tricks on these two units, or opinions of your own, I'd love to hear them!


  1. Best of luck with those "stellar" units.


  2. Slayers are great. They can leap on the enemy line very quickly with cards and hit hard. They wreck buildings. And this whole thing about being fragile is bollocks. A 4+ followed by a 5+ is one in six KIA. Don't think of them as equivalents to a Gladius. They work differently.

  3. I agree with Sword, and want to also point out that these (Stalkers & Slayers) are different tools in your toolkit. Don't look to use them in the same way you use something else, like Hunters. Come up with a completely different strategy for your list building. Think outside the box! (Cliche, I know, but it's true.). Don't just tweak an existing list, build a list around Stalkers backed up by Slayers. A single squad of Stalkers can be avoided or ignored, but 9 of them in Harbingers is a fearsome block of walking death! Think more like a PHR player when you use them, and go for a Turn 2 drop to start shooting Turn 3, up close and personal. You will really screw up someone who has castles up's day... :-P

    As for Slayers... >>*Shudders at the memory*<< My friend Darryl routinely runs 4 of them, and they are a royal pain in the patootie! He usuall doesn't bring Marauders for them, and lets them follow up behind a screen of Hunters (in this case, don't try to run your two "experiments" together, but build specific lists for them that take advantage of their strengths). The Hunters he knows will mostly die, but they'll wreak havoc in the process, dropping buildings and Alpha Striking up a storm. Then the Slayers come rolling in to clean up whatever is left and go snuggle up to a focal point, while what's left of the Hunters giggle off to terrorize something else.

    Yeah, I think Slayers are underrated, and I think you're a little too hung up on them being A8 and MathHammering it too much.

    Also, let your hair down and break the 1,500 point ceiling once in a while! That's where you can take big blocks of Stalkers and 4 tank units of Slayers without worrying about not having your "scalpels", too. Commit to playing 4 games with 2,000 point lists (or higher) and enjoy some larger scale carnage!!!


    1. Sorry, that last sentence of the first paragraph should read "You will really screw up someone's day who has castled up." Or, something like that... Anyway, hopefully you get the point. And I'm talking about Shaltari Bricks, too, not just PHR castles. (Speaking of which, I'd like to point out, for the record, that I almost NEVER castle up my PHR...). :-)

    2. Sword, JD, I'm aware of the Slayers roll, I just think perhaps there are better, less vulnerable units for the same cost or cheaper. For instance, I would rather have 4 Reavers than 4 Slayers. It's not that I don't know how to use them, rather that I'm finding it hard to embrace them.

      Also they just are fragile, it's just how it is! It isn't even that they get doubled out easily, it's that everything has a good shout at hurting them!

      As for stalkers though, I am a fan. Although if I say why I would be robbing myself of a post!

      I'll be doing my best to play a 2k game soon, it'll be good to have more jellys wibbling about the table.

    3. Sorry, Bro, didn't mean to insult you. It's just that the Slayers have always been a thorn in my side. But it's not like they're Gladius, although they take up that slot, but you're right, they're too fragile for 1,500 points, probably; better things you can take for their points. But at -K and higher, there's no reason not to take them, really...

      Looking forward to your post on the Stalkers (you tease!)!

    4. Sorry, 2K or better... Freaking iPad... :-P

    5. You're gonna have to do a lot better than that to insult me! Text is always a pain to convey placid conversation. I'll be doing my best to fit a 2k game in soon, so I guess we will find out!

  4. Test drive this, let me know how it handles.
    [size=150]DESOLATING OPPRESSOR[/size]
    Clash: 1499/1500 points
    Standard Army
    [LIST][*][B]Standard Roster[/B] [1499/1500 pts]
    [LIST][*][color=#915591][B]Oppressors[/B][/color] [460 pts]
    [LIST][*]Desolator: Desolator(Overlord) [260 pts]
    [*]Oppressor: Oppressor, Harbinger [200 pts]
    [/LIST][*][color=#98741F][B]Vanguard[/B][/color] [429 pts]
    [LIST][*]Hunter Squad: 6x Hunter, Despoiler(+Twin Plasma Cannons) [312 pts]
    [*]^ Sharing ^ Reaper Squad: 3x Reaper [117 pts]
    [/LIST][*][color=#697641][B]Warriors[/B][/color] [188 pts]
    [LIST][*]Warrior Horde: 2x Warriors, Intruder Alpha [94 pts]
    [*]Warrior Horde: 2x Warriors, Intruder Alpha [94 pts]
    [/LIST][*][color=#A29B28][B]Invasion Host[/B][/color] [166 pts]
    [LIST][*]Slayer Squad: Slayer(+Razorworms), Slayer, Marauder [166 pts]
    [/LIST][*][color=#A29B28][B]Occupation Patrol[/B][/color] [196 pts]
    [LIST][*]Minders: 4x Minder, Intruder Beta [56 pts]
    [*]Destroyers: 2x Destroyers, Intruder Alpha [140 pts]
    [/LIST][*][color=#436BA3][B]Attack Swarm[/B][/color] [60 pts]
    [LIST][*]Corsairs: Corsair [60 pts]


    1. That's a full blooded list! It's not really in the vain of the tets though, so I won't be trialing on this subject I'm afraid. I will be doing a post regarding duel commanders some point soon though, so this is good for that!

  5. Very, very interesting. It is pretty clear I have never thought to double tap with hunters before. I have always done so with Stalkers or AA instead. Stalker's ability to take out harder units have always impressed me.

    Also the Stalkers have a pretty good dropship which for instance Shaltari will need 9 Kukris reactive fire when deploying the Stalkers to take out the dropship first.

    Now the Slayers have a point. But I have a tendency to stare me blind on their ability to die instead of attacking power.

    Also at GothCon I noticed one thing, you need 4 E10 shots that hits on 4+ on skimmers to take one out. That means that if the opponent start to spread their fire 2 and 2 the chance that one Slayer will survive is actually pretty good. Still not as good as a Gladius but still.

    Interesting read. /Egge

    1. I guess it is more the risk that we don't like Egge! The stats aren't too bad, but there is always that niggling doubt in the back of your mind...