Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Q:Falcons or Scimitars? A:Falcons and Scimitars

With the new errata being devoured by hungry wargamers, Dropzone Commander feels like a new game. I don't say this lightly! 
It's an amazing feeling. I wasn't getting bored of the old game (pre-errata) and it wasn't stale, but the errata breathes new life into units that I thought I'd never use, or never use again, and in turn - it changes the game. 

With just a few simple tweaks and points increase here a decrease there the budding UCM general can happily go to his units and legitimately choose ANY of them to play with. 
Players will still have their favourites, their likes and dislikes, but seriously - go look at all the UCM units, try and find one that doesn't have a place, because I can't!

Since the new errata has dropped, I have played 3 or 4 games with my UCM. I've been trying out different units, just trying to get back in the swing of things. Moving from or to Shaltari is a difficult transition from any army. I'm having to re-learn about dedicated transports and the weakest troops known to man, but like Bravestarr the UCM have the strength of a bear (not that I use the Bears - like ever!).  

So what have I been trying out? 
Well, take a look at the list below, this is quite typical of my lists recently. 

There's a few things to note, firstly I have a fast mover. I know it's only 1 and yes I would much prefer to run them in pairs (separate squads obviously). The second thing is 5 units of infantry. I have normally run 4 at 1500 points but in a quick comparison if worked out that the UCM spend a lot less points on their infantry than the other races.

Typically across our gaming group this is what you'd find:
Scourge - 2 squads of Warriors and 2 squads of Destroyers all in Intruders (468 points)
PHR - 3 squads of Immortals 1 squad of Sirens all in Tritons (432 points)
Shaltari - 3 squads of Braves, 1 squad of Firstborns, 2 Spirits, 3 Haven and an Eden (491 points)
Resistance difficult to define "typical" as there are sooo many option but normally north of 500 points
UCM - 3 squads of Legionnaires and 1 squad of Praetorians in Ravens (364 points)

As you can see, maybe the UCM's strength is in it's troops. They have the same utility for a lot less points. This is why I have added an extra squad of Legionnaires, and it works. It gives me that extra bit of redundancy, if a unit is off the board from extracting I don't feel I suffer as much, they can now out number the enemy in CQB and with the Ravens I can pick my battles too. 

The third thing about my list is the mobile commander. The Kodiak is a large points sink especially with a CV4 captain inside. This means I really need him to add his worth on a Focal Point mission. 

Yes that is my Kodiak, going on last turn manoeuvres to seal the Focal Point in the middle of the board 

The final difference of this list against all of my other lists is that there are no E10 guns! zero, nada, zip, none at all! This is where the Falcons and Scimitars swoop in. They give me an abundance of E11 to balance with the E9 of the Katanas. It's all about positioning and choosing the right targets. 
The Falcons used to be the epitome of glass-hammer. At 54 points and 1 dp A5 a strong gust of wind would knock them out the sky. Then there was a very expensive hole in your army where they used to be! The points have been reduced once already, down to 46, but that still left them as slightly cheaper glass-hammers. I was not convinced. So a further reduction to 40 points and the added protection of E+2. To be honest the Falcons could have been 46 points still, it's the added survivability that I craved. Now the Falcon can go places it only dreamed of before. They can descend upon a squad of Phobos with a thin veil of safety and teach them that it is not nice to pick Ravens! 
Falcons are not invulnerable though, they still get shot down. Just a lot less often, you can't be completely gun-ho with them. The Resistance have taught me that.....god damn gun wagons! 
Used correctly they are a potent weapon.

For those of you that have been reading the blog for a while, will know that I don't like Scimitars. I did a UCM getting started post just over a year ago and here is what I said about it.........

"Scimitar - I'll try to remain positive with this....nope sorry I can't. I just don't see the point. It has Mf 0". In a game based around clever deployment and re-deployment, moving and firing, tanks that cannot move and fire have no place. Scratch that, the Shaltari Ocelot has a place, as it has Demolisher, and E13 and pierces through passive saves. The Scimitar has E10!! that's it. 
Give it E11 and Mf 1" boost it to the same cost as a Gladius and then we are talking, or keep it E10, make it Mf 1" and let it pierce through passive saves."

I think I had it pretty spot on. Now the changes are here it looks like Hawk have been reading the blog. It's exactly what I asked for and probably slightly better as it remains at it's cheaper cost. 
I now find it hard to write a list without the Scimitar. I find it really useful now. I always tend to buy a Condor for them as I need the ground forces in the right places, whether it's a focal point game or just being able to re-deploy if I have no shot.
The Scimitar is a great area denial unit, it has the power to be scary. PHR heavy walkers now need to avoid them, War-striders need to be careful - Caimens too. In fact all heavy tanks will not want to see Scimitars facing off against them. 

My best piece of advice for them is don't deploy too far forward. The Scimitar has infinite range - use it. This may sound like a bit of a contradiction with taking the Condor, but the Condor gives you options. With new units and errata there are quite a few long range weapons about, the Scimitar is one of the best, along with the Hyperion and the Ocelot being the master, but you can also add the Hades, the Caimen, Firedrake and Kodiak to that mix, and with the rumoured Nemesis laser on top of that, there will be a lot of long range death to be dealt. You gotta feel sorry for the Scourge at this point!

Well, that's my take on the UCM at the moment, 'till next time Zoners

Oh and next time anyone sees SkullSword, ask him how his Alexander faired against the Scimitars............yes I did roll a double 6 to hit!  


  1. Nice list

    Played a game with Scimitars = target priority #1 for my opponent. Dropped them off, then lost INT and Caiman x 3 = DOA Scimitars.

    1. If you are playing against Caimens and other 36" range guns, firstly try to out activate them, put down after they are on, then you can choose to face off against them or choose another target entirely.

      Second, if you have to place first don't be more than 3" on the board. The Scimitar has infinite range. The Caimen only has 36" range. The Caimen can move on 3" (39" effective range on turn 1) on turn 2 it can move 6" making a 45" effective range.
      If your Scimitars are just under 3" on, it won't be until turn 3 that he can shoot you - this gives you a choice based on your commander level, whether you want to shoot turn 2 and try to win activation on turn 3 and either re-deploy or shoot again. Or you can simply redeploy on turn 2 if your opponent faces off against them and you don't fancy your chances.

      Last point - he had to have had some lucky dice to kill both Scimitars with 3 Caimens! It's possible to kill a Scimitar with 2 Caimens with slightly above average dice, the remaining one Caimen must have been seriously lucky.

    2. Well my son tends to roll hot or cold, no middle ground. I did out activate him, but i miss judge LOS. T3 he popped them by winning iNT.

  2. Great army. Good ideas in this post.

  3. Very interresting!

  4. Mega Mike The Clairvoyant! Yes, you practically called it, but I, too, like the outcome (same points cost for the Scimitar) better.

    Very interesting list, indeed. I see your point about how affordable UCM Infantry is. Lately I've been taking 3 squads of .immortals and 1 squad of Sirens plus Drones at 1,500 points, and I'm glad I have (been playing vs a lot of Shaltari, lately). I will take this into consideration when I go to rework my UCM lists.

    One thing I find interesting and a little alarming about your list here, Mike, is the decided lack of AA. 1 squad of Rapiers in a Condor and an Archangel? OK, you're the current World Champ, so I'll take that under advisement, but makes my sphincter pucker a bit... Rapiers have a Wide coherency and with the Condor you can get them 14" to 16" onto the table Turn 1, then Turn 2 they can spread out and present a really nice AA bubble... Then the Archangel can be tasked with sniping light dropships/Spirit Gates when it chooses to show up... Just seems a bit light, but I'm not sure where I'd make room for even a squad of drive-on Wolverine As... The Kodiak being in a Condor makes a LOT of sense, now that you point out the FP squatting capability of it... Oh, wait... You've got a Ferrum, too... OK, that's a ton more AA than I initially though you had... *Whew!* O.k, sphincter relaxed now... 8^P

    I have 2 blister of Scimitars, 2 blisters of Katanas and a Seraphim inbound, but I need Falcons!, and they are hard to come by these days from my usual sources. As soon as I can scrounge up 2 blisters of Falcons and get them built, I'll take the "New" UCM for a 1,500 point test drive...

    Question: Why run the Falcons as a single squad of 4 and not two squads of 2? (Besides the obvious, that with 4 some can be sacrificed to AA and still dish lots of hurt... Or, I guess that is the answer, I've just gotten used to running two squads of 2 Cyclones in my Resistance list, but I guess it's a different function and survivability altogether...). Still, I'd like your thoughts, if you don't mind...

    You spent most of this article discussing the Scimitars, which is great, but how have the Falcons worked out for you? What else besides Phobos do you use them to go hunting for?

    I faced a squadron of 3 Thunderbirds a few days ago, and, man, are they a pain in the ass! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on 4 Falcons and taking them for a spin (or 2 or 3...)

    Also, what about the Phoenix, now that we have the rules and points for it? Can you please bang out a blog post with a Phoenix/Falcons list? How would you work it into the list above? Woukd you take a lesser commander? Drop an 80 point squad of Legionnaires in a Raven to work it in? Or just do something completely different, since the Phoenix packs so much punch?

    Thanks, Mike!!!