Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eldar Codex Review - Part 12: Striking Scorpions


The last of the 'combat' Elites - the Striking Scorpions. A personal favorite of mine, along with Karandras, which first got me into the hobby, I've always had a soft-spot for them and they see plenty of use in friendly games...

The Review -

Scorpions are the 'GEQ killer' Aspect. Rather than running around with Power Weapons and masquerading as the Marine killers of the universe, Scorpions take a bunch of attacks and throw them at you. Always useful as a bunch of attacks generally means a bunch of saves. Scorpions have the usual line-up of Eldar statistics - crappy strength and toughness bolstered by good WS/BS/Ld and an above average initiative. What's nice about them though is they come with a 3+ save so they can actually shrug off a fair amount of wounds (which they will take a lot of being T3). The downside, and it's massive, is they lose Fleet of Foot and without an assault transport, this really makes Scorpions hard to get into combat readily. Even the tactic of area denial from a Wave Serpent is less effective as you don't have those couple extra inches to rely upon.

However, if they get into combat, Scorpions are quite good at putting wounds into opponents and whilst there is minimal scope for power ignoring attacks (Exarch), even Marines and Terminators fail saves if you make them roll enough. The important part for Scorpions here is they have wargear which provides them with strength four and an extra attack. This means four attacks on the charge and you're wounding T4 infantry on a 4+ - both of these are very important to actually causing wounds and forcing saves and with their higher than average initiative, they can cause damage before other opponent's swing and limit the return damage.

The Exarch brings some nice abilities to the table - infiltrate and move through cover. Unfortunately they cannot get Stealth except through Karandras (who is expensive) which would have been a nice addition. Infiltrate can try and account for the lack of a good assault transport or fleet but it really doesn't - you still have 18" to get to your opponent (12" if you're really lucky) assuming they just stand still and let you. However, this does provide the unit, and any dedicated transport, with the ability to outflank which does have its uses in disruption. It's an expensive option and Eldar aren't exactly lacking in the ability to move up or down flanks thanks to 24" move vehicles but it is an option. The Exarch also brings the options for a powerfist to the squad - very handy for helping deal with tanks/MCs/Dreads and ensuring at least a couple of wounds are put on opponents. What's great is these attacks are also WS5 so are more likely to hit those plebs.

Unfortunately, this is all Scorpions really are - a torrent assault unit and they do very little outside of this. Assault Marines see very little use outside of Blood Angels where they can take meltaguns and are scoring for a reason - middling strength close combat attacks aren't that scary unless you bring something else to the table (i.e. scoring and/or meltaguns). The fact that Scorpions find it hard to get into assault without Fleet of Foot or an assault transport is just added insult to injury.

Potential Uses -

Outflanking Serpents or Scorpions for disruption/side shots is one that jumps to find but otherwise Scorpions are a torrenting machine in close combat which can't get to combat very well. Infiltrate helps but lack of fleet or an assault transport hinders this and really relegates them to a counter-assault sort option or a unit which looks to take advantage of any large LoS blocking terrain pieces and infiltrate further up the board.

They will chew through weakly armored units and put a dent into tougher units but that's all they are capable of doing unfortuantely and without Fleet, their threat range from inside a stationary Serpent is just that little bit smaller. Still certainly usable but less so than units with Fleet.

Potential Changes -

S4 assault units are cute but not scary. Ask Assault Marines not part of Blood Angels. There needs to be some points reduction here to make Scorpions more viable whilst also allowing them to get into assault. The USR's available to the unit are fine, though perhaps at a reduced price, but the ability to get to combat (Fleet and assault based transport) are really going to be important to seeing their use increase.

Even with that though, well they're a S4 assault unit so unless assault changes drastically, it's nothing the Eldar cannot do at range already with Shuriken fire. They need to have something set them apart from other S4 based torrent units such as WS5. Moving Scorpions to Troops through Karandras would help them see more use with improved/cheaper Wave Serpents (much like today's ASM based Blood Angels lists) but the lack of ranged anti-tank weapons here means this unit combination would have less options. Giving them a ranged anti-tank option is a bit silly however, particularly when they do have some duality with grenade options + Claw in combat. Perhaps going back to allowing Warlocks into Aspect units could give them that extra bump needed to see more regular use (i.e. S9 shooting attack + Enhance). 

Conclusion -

When many people discuss the differences between Scorpions and Banshees people point out that Scorpions are the better GEQ killer and Banshees are better at nabbing Marines but the issue is, they both are worse off compared to Harlequins and detract from using maximum Fire Dragons. I don't care if I can kill your guys in assault if I cannot get access to the guys inside the transports first and Fire Dragons are Eldar's best solution here (and Harlequins at least have AP1 pistol options).

Changing Scorpions so they are more able to get into assault (Fleet + transport), are more effective in assault (WS5?), cheaper overall and have scoring potential could see these guys used more - particularly if they could get into combat themselves and be effective against a wide range of targets whilst buying dedicated transports whilst having Scout + Infiltrate + Outflanking options.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...