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Monday, April 9, 2012

Email in: Scarabswarm 'Crons - do they work?


"Hiya Kirby,

I know the general internet consensus is that Night Scythes and Aniihilation Barges is "teh shit", and that people who play Scarabswarms are noobs and only win by clubbing baby seals, and thus should be ridiculed and flamed.

I've been playing Scarabswarm since the new 'Cron dex came out, and I've had some very good results with it. The latest version I have been playing with (the list below) has beaten mech SW, BA, and IG (all of them solid, top tier Codices) very consistently, and its also come out on top against Chaos, Eldar, SM, Deldar (one game admittedly, will have to playtest that matchup more).

The games have all been played using ETC scenarios, so max points of 20, and my list has been winning in the margin of 17-3 to 20-0 consistently (as in, out of 20 games I lost one 16-4 to Deathwing w/ 6 squads of THSS, and drew one game against mech SW). GK is an autoloss for this list, but so is it for many other lists too :P

So, the list:

Imotekh 225
Cryptek, Lance, Solar Pulse 55
Cryptek, Aeonstave, Chronometron 40
Destroyer Lord, Warscythe, 2+ save, Mindshackle scarabs 160

(9) Warriors 117
(5) Immortals, tesla 85
(5) Immortals, tesla 85
(5) Immortals, tesla 85
(5) Immortals, tesla 85

(6) Wraiths, 2x Whip coil, 1x Particle caster 235
(5) Scarabs 75
(5) Scarabs 75

(3) Tomb Spyders, 1 Fabricator Claw, 1 Gloom prism 175
(3) Tomb Spyders, 1 Fabricator Claw, 1 Gloom prism 175
(3) Tomb Spyders, 1 Fabricator Claw, 1 Gloom prism 175

= 1847

Its pretty simple to play, really. The Spyders stick together, essentially functioning as one big ass unit. This way if one squad gets charged, the rest can help out. They'll eventually spread out as they move up and start getting charges. The Scarabs stay on both sides of the big Spyder blob, essentially as "tentacles", as in you keep one Scarab base right next to the Spyders, then spread out the rest to increase their footprint and threat range. With Scarabs on both flanks, this means you can reinforce 9 bases to whichever squad needs them, and no matter where your opponent goes there will be Scarabs opposite them. Wraiths and Destroyer Lord can give cover saves to the Spyders, and they function as your general maneuverable beater unit, they can also take on other Deathstars which are bearing down on your Spyders/Scarabs (THSS, TWC). They probably won't beat them by themselves, but if they tie them up for a turn the Spyders can wade in too and add some more MC attacks to the combat. Imotekh hangs with the Warrior squad w/ Chrono attached, for that nice reroll to keep Storm going (I'm usually able to keep it going till around turn 4). Immortals run around and take objectives, they can also add some random torrent fire, which is nice, though its not their primary function.

The basic idea is to deploy your "blob" centrally, then move and run forward till you reach your opponent. One squad of Scarabs is usually sent out to hit transports/tie up squads on t2 (so it will be 23 strong -possible casualties), then the other squad chills next to the Spyders until it too is sent out (t4 usually). The trick is to always have Scarabs nearby for your Spyders to poop into. If you're not able to poop with a Spyder, you're doing something wrong. The Scarabs primary function is to demech your opponent, and, if possible, tie up squads that are already on foot (till your Spyders can get there). Once you get your opponent on the ground, they will be easy prey for your Spyders (and Wraiths), as most basic infantry squads are completely helpless against them. Against bigger squads (large Grey Hunter squads w/ WG, large BA RAS) try to get more than one squad of Spyders into combat with them, Wraiths too if possible (keeping your Spyders near each other helps here too). Imotekh provides Night fight cover, while it is of random length, usually it should go until at least turn 3. Imperial armies do have searchlights, which will migitate Night fight to some degree, but the average sight distance is still 21", which means if your opponent is searchlighting you, odds are your Scarabs are gonna be charging him next turn. His Lightning strikes are fairly random, but the damage they do tends to add up over the course of a game.

So yeah, that's pretty much it. If you could possibly make a blog post with your opinions on the list (and Scarabswarms in general) it would be greatly appreciated, as I'd be interested to see what your thoughts are, and the thoughts of the community too.

Anyways, keep up the good work =)

- Jabbdo"

The main problem with Scarab Farm Necrons is the majority of their army is built around the Scarabs mauling the opponent. Outside of them and the Spyders there's barely any anti-tank in the army with the exception of Lightning from Imohtek, a Lance and the combat options of Spyders/Wraiths. Not exactly a lot and lightningt is really unreliable (even against MSU you're only averaging two targets struck unless everything jumps out of their transport).

The way this usually ends up working is the Scarabs destroy a couple tanks and then get shot off the board in turn because MSU armies are more than happy to trade a couple tanks to then shoot the little bastards to death. The trick for the mech army is to ensure their entire tank line isn't getting mauled here. Otherwise, the Scarabs are doing exactly what they should be doing and then allowing a mass of anti-infantry firepower from Immortals to come into play. Of all the games I've played and seen played against such lists, this is basically what it comes down to - opponent's who sacrifice a tank or two to the scarabs and then counter-shoot win, opponent's who do not and let the scarabs get off multi-assaults, etc. lose.

The spyders are probably one of the better parts of the army though due to their toughness in CC but without any tanks to absorb high strength firepower, anytime a spotlight goes off on them, every single high strength/low AP gun is going to pound into them and/or the Wraiths - there's not enough saturation for them to be the scary counter-assault/2nd wave unit they could be when you're massing foot units + Scarabs.

In the end the army comes down to one thing - how much vehicle damage the Scarabs can do. Against non-vehicle armies, well no one really cares about Scarabs despite their impressive attack numbers, they aren't great in combat against even medicore combat units. Making an army based on this therefore is going to limit your options against balanced lists with good generals. It is going to be more capable against some lists than others and because of its 'outlandish' style, many players may not be familiar in how to beat it but the singularity of the list is its major weakness as well as strength.

In terms of Scarab Farming in general - it's great, when used within a list with other methods of attacking the opponent it adds an excellent dimension (i.e. you have other methods of hurting opponent's armor such as Barges, Scythes, Stalkers, Lances, Heavy D's, etc.). But as the basis of a list? Not so much as it's basically a glorified Deathstar but at least spread out over multiple units and with less applicability.

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