Monday, 17 August 2015

Being Oppressed Isn't So Bad Realy

Ever since I first laid eyes on her I have been firmly under the cosh. She doesn't always treat me fairly, and time to time kicks up a right fuss and refuses to cooperate, even though I may be in the right. But boy is she a looker, and when she is in the mood she always puts out...

I speak of course of the Oppressor, every hosts favourite mecha-crustacean! As a man tired and fed up with the Desolator, the Death Crab was a blessing from Hawk's nest; I finally had a commander which I could get along with! She can be a handful, but when used correctly will dominate games. Since the release I have never gone back to the Desolator, and have exclusively used the Oppressor in all of my Scourge lists. Along the way I have picked up a few pointers as how to get the most of the commander, and thought this would be a delightful time to share them with you!

Always Take A Harbinger
You want her to be right in the enemies lines, and if you decide to cheap out and not pick up a Harbinger you will lose more or less all of the units effectiveness. This dropship is hardy enough to get you into many dangerous places without too much fear of losing the vessel, although be wary of Rapiers, Phobos and Zhukovs (this is a good rule for aircraft in general...). You will also always want to be taking the Mini-Arc caster as well. For 15 points you upgrade the ship from being an average demo / poor AT unit to being a light dropship sniper! Once the Oppressor has been dropped you won't often have to pick it up again due to its speed, so your Harbinger can go on its merry way, pinging light aircraft out of the sky and dumping its poo bombs on unsuspecting victims.

Invest In A Decent CV
The Oppressor is a predatory unit, possibly the most aggressive tank in the game, and in order to get those magic 'double taps' and control your use of the beast you'll need a decent CV. I run with CV5, and this allows me to dictate the pace of the turn through activations, which means I can strike exactly when I want to. Taking a high level CV has its other benefits of course, like an expanded SoI and fist-fulls of cards to play with!

She Is Your Main AT Unit
Unlike many other commanders who sit back and support their army, the Oppressor will function as the backbone of the anti-tank in your army. You will be wanting her in the thick of it, and targeting some of the most dangerous of the enemies vehicles. Why? Because when up against a foe, she gets seven attacks which will rip through metal like a hot knife through butter. I would have no qualms about chucking mine into a modest Shaltari brick. She should kill a Jaguar a turn, which is no mean feat! Her seven shots can also be split between four units, so she is also fairly handy against lighter tank squads too. All of this agro can lead to a fairly certain end however, and you should...

Expect To Lose Her
Sadly being in the thick of it all the time and pairing off against the hardest units your adversary's have to offer means that you will lose her every now and then. At A10 and 5DP she is no push over, but is by no means indestructible. A single Ares can strip 2 DP if lucky, and as for Ocelots... well, we all know the outcome of that. I have lost mine to two lucky shaped charged Neptune shots before! As long as you are clever though, and think about deployment for the next turn or two, it shouldn't happen too often. When it does occur though, make sure she has made an impact!

Be So Close You Can Fondle Them
You heard me, get close. Real close. Within smelling distance. Closer than that. Restraining order close. The mecha-crab has two shots between 9" and 18", but its true abilities are when you are within 9" and the shot count goes up to five. If you get even closer than that you can give your target a big, pincery hug when touching models, and this is when she gets really potent adding another two shots. As mentioned previously the Oppressor can target four units within 9" when you are base to base with a model, and a lot of getting the most out of this model is by highlighting every target possible. If you are only allowing yourself to destroy one Sabre a turn you are wasting this war machine! You want to be unloading all your weapons on full squads, or possibly into one larger target. The Oppressor can literally destroy any unit in the game in one round of shooting. Even a Hades. You do the maths, you'll be pleasantly surprised (or unpleasantly surprised if you're a PHR player). This point leads us nicely to...

Pick Your Point Of Impact In Turn One
You want to get the Oppressor down on turn 2 to be inflicting maximum havoc on turn 3, so you need to identify quickly where on the battlefield you want to drop, or which units you wish to hunt. This is the tricky part of using the Oppressor, and is why I still recommend the Desolator to beginners; this choice can be hard. I typically use her as a flanking unit, and either dominate one quarter of the board with her very presence or hunt out a lone squad of heavies. The key to a good deployment is knowing what you will be doing the following turn, which is why a high CV value is worth investing in.

Play To The Mission
This is a general piece of advice which you are bound to have heard elsewhere, but killing tanks won't always win you games. Reaping carnage among the enemy lines must always be second to playing to the mission parameters. This isn't to say that you always have to hold this beast back; typically you will want her within the enemy lines causing carnage! Every so often though, it is worth attaching a leash to your desires and deploying her late, sometimes not even until the 5th or 6th turn. As an example: At a tournament on the weekend, in Bunker Assault, I had the option of deploying my Oppressor next to a PHR gun line or holding her back until turn 6 and grabbing a focal point on the last turn. I took the later option, as it would have been too bigger risk to my game plan to deploy the Oppressor anywhere near a Nemesis! Playing smart will win you games.

Other Drops Of Wisdom

  • As beast like as an Oppressor is, try to avoid hard to kill units which have a high damage output, unless you can weaken them first. A few examples would be the Nemesis and Hades, the Thunderstorm and Occupation Veterans (seriously, I always underestimate these guys. I lost her to 3 squads of these chaps the other day!).
  • Try and back her up with a nuisance unit, like Reavers and Prowlers. She can work as a loan hunter but depending where you drop back up is always useful to take the heat of you. Prowlers are especially good, as they just can't be ignored, and you can take them in a command battlegroup.
  • Use your cards wisely, and don't rashly discard. A few saved field repairs have kept my boss alive on numerous occasions.

And that's that! The Oppressor is my favourite unit for both the good and the bad units, and I have had a lot of success using her. As unbalanced as she seems on paper, it really balances out in the warzone, and if you play Scourge you definitely have one in your collection (even if you don't use it- it's a gorgeous model)!


  1. Great write up. I too love the OP, especially paired with the old octa hag Desolator. Glad to see someone else believes that Scourge should ALWAYS take CV5 in clash.


    1. Well interestingly I only started since I began using the Oppressor, and found CV4 worked fine with the Desolator. Never less than 4 though!

  2. Would your take a 2nd commander at clash? Knowing the Oppressor is likely to die, what level would you take the 2nd commander at?

    1. Probably not, due to my dislike of the Desolator and the cost of the Oppressor. I think it would still be worth a go though; maybe I'll make a duel commander list at some point and report on it!

  3. Nice review as always. I like to pair my crab up with a couple units of minders, the perfect area-denial system.

    Just out of curiosity, do you think that a CV6 commander is ever worth it, even above 2500 points?

    1. Minders are actually very good offensive units. If you can wait until your opponent has moved their infantry/gunships, you can deploy a unit around it and force them into a decision; waste AA shooting them down, or risk losing the air unit.

      I've not played games that big before, but I don't see why it wouldn't be worth taking. In games that size you'll want all the cards you can get hold off!

    2. I've played games that size, and one time took a CV6 commander, for the reason Zombiestate mentions. However, I found that the cost of going from CV5 to CV6 is such a big jump up in points, that it really wasn't worth it. The points are better spent on all the fun stuff you can take in the extra battle group and squads you are afforded in a Battle sized game...

      But, try it out for yourself. Maybe for Scourge it is worth it, but I found for PHR, which have an awesome deck, that the big jump in points didn't pay off...