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 Paging Matthew Ward - Scarab Edition

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PostSubject: Paging Matthew Ward - Scarab Edition   Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:49 pm

via BoLS

Paging Matthew Ward - Scarab Edition


There is trouble brewing in the Necron Codex - you can almost hear the excited chittering if you put your ear to its glossy cover...



Today we are here to talk about some very specific exploits that are doing the rounds in the player community. We are not talking about anything wrong with Scarabs themselves, and in fact their unit entry on page 45 is fine. What we DO have issues with is a nasty set of tactics uncovered within the rules for Canoptek Spyders and Entropic Strike. Let's dive right in.


Entropic Strike Timing
Now Entropic Strike is nasty, no one is disputing that. The real question comes down to exactly HOW NASTY did Matthew Ward intend for it to be. Here is the key rule quote in question:


"For each hit a vehicle or model suffers with this special rule, roll a D6. For each result of 4+, it immediately loses 1 point of armor value from all facings. If a vehicle is reduced to Armour 0 on any facing, it is immediately destroyed"

So the million dollar question is: Exactly when does the reduced armour values go into effect - before, or after you roll for penetrations on the initial set of hits inflicted in assault?

Here is an example. An innocent Land Raider is sleeping peacefully in a meadow when 4 bases of Scarabs slam into it. They inflict 20 automatic hits (it was sleeping peacefully remember), ten of which activate the Entropic Strike ability on a 4+. Do you:
a) Resolve the 20 hits at S:3+ D6 vs AV:14 (the Land Raider will live), then it's AV is immediately lowered to 4/4/4
b) Resolve the 20 hits at S:3+D6 vs AV:4 (the Land Raider is toast)

Either of these is possible based on whether Ward intends Entropic Strike to either a) weaken units so they will be crippled and easily picked off by later units, or b) be bloodcurdling to all vehicles in the game. Luckily this is an easy black and white decision, that needs to be FAQed one way or the other.

Scarab Conga Lines
This next one is more about a unit special rule intersecting with some interesting player behavior. The rule in question comes from the Canoptek Spyder's Scarab Hive rule:


At the start of each Necron Movement phase...

Nominate a Canoptek Scarab unit within 6" and roll a D6. On a roll of 2-6, add one base to the Canoptex Scarab unit - the base can move and act normally this turn.

So, the issue here is that Spyders come in units of up to 3, and their Scarab Hive rule activates at the "start of the Movement phase". So we are seeing players with maxed units of these, conga-lining the free scarabs (up to 9 a turn) at 2" intervals in lines stretching up to 32" (18" of gaps plus 14" of bases) from the edge of existing Scarab units to give them all kinds of first turn charge abilities, and other ways of reaching otherwise inaccessible targets and areas of the board. This gives such a unit the ability to charge ANYWHERE on a 4x6 table that is not physically surrounded by other friendly models. This will often happen before the opposing player has even taken his first turn.




Combined with the open Entropic Strike Timing question and the ability to multi-charge into several units, you can see how this can get out of hand quickly. So once again, a bit of FAQ retweaking may be needed here. Did Ward intend for this conga-lining to be the result? Did he perhaps mean that the new Scarab bases had to be placed within coherency with existing scarab bases that were present at the start of the turn? Matt?

How Many Scarabs?
This brings us to the final piece of the puzzle. Matt, what is the maximum size of a unit of Scarabs that is being added to via the Spyder's Scarab Hive rule? The Scarab Hive rule states:


"this can take the unit above its starting size"

So is the maximum unit size: a) Infinite, or b) The maximum unit size you can purchase in the army list (10)?

Help Us Matthew Ward, You're Our only Hope...
My issue with all of these rules questions is that we have been here before. It smells like Lash shenanigans. It has all the hallmarks of an unforseen bit of combinations that make CODEX X all about using UNIT Y well with every exploit mastered. I've found that anytime that occurs, it means that UNIT Y gets FAQed fast to keep things in check or CODEX X becomes stale and one dimensional.

I like Scarabs, I want Necrons to be viable and feared like all armies should. But I don't want to see their entire playerbase and tactics yoked to the humble chittering Scarab. Scarabs as a cool, characterful harassment and anti-vehicle unit is one thing. Scarabs as something that even mighty Grey Knight Terminators break a sweat over is something else. There is so much more in the Necron book that deserves our love and attention.

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PostSubject: Re: Paging Matthew Ward - Scarab Edition   Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:42 pm

via MVB in response to BoLS

Hey all,

Just a quick PSA that the probability is nearly 100% that any major FAQ and tournament out there is going to confirm all scarab swarms spawned in a given turn are spawned at the same time, and thus cannot be placed more than 2" from any scarab swarm base that was there at the beginning of the turn.

So, while some of you out there are laughing and playtesting away with the ability to create the Scarab conga line of doom ... it's not actually going to be something you can do at tournaments unless GW specifically FAQs that you CAN. That's to say - even if GW doesn't FAQ that question in its Necron FAQ, it will still be played per the above in any major GT you attend (INAT, NOVA FAQ, whatever) once all is said and done.

So ... I strongly encourage the pointless arguing to stop, and the playtesting and playing to occur at a more normal pace. It's just silliness.


Re: Entropic Strike timing ... I play it as it is written, which is to say the armor reduction is applied immediately following the hit (and therefore prior to the armor penetration roll, which is separate from the roll to hit). This makes Scarabs even more exceptional against vehicles of all sorts ... but freaking out over this isn't probably a necessary thing.

Necron actively struggle with ranged anti-tank, and Scarabs oddly enough ARE ranged anti-tank (in that they can rapidly and effectively disable or damage multiple tanks in the early phases of the game, in a way that does not expose critical units to counter-punches, and in a way that doesn't take until Turn 5 to be applied, a la Tyranid Monstrous Creatures). If you significantly reduce the effectiveness of Scarabs with overreactive FAQs or "homebrew" "this must be what they meant" playstyles, you'll quickly find Necron struggling against top tier "parking lot" armies. A handful of single shot Eldritch Lances walking around ... a couple of over-priced over-fragile Triarch Stalker shots and some AP- Annihilation Barge fire is going to kill a tank or three, but it's not going to level the playing field against 9-Chimera/3-Vendetta melta-spamming IG lists ... or Razorback and Long Fang spamming wolf lists. Necron need Scarabs to better build them for all comers win-loss tournament play. Blame the odd design choices in the rest of the Codex if you wish ... or lament the more mandatory nature of the unit ... but take care not to try and eliminate the only super-reliable option they have by over-home-FAQ'ing or over-complaining ... b/c you'll wind up with a lot of unhappy Necron players excoriated for "just taking scarabs like everyone else" or nerfed into Tyranid/Demon levels of Codex struggle against the broad field of an all-comers tournament.

Just my $.02

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PostSubject: Re: Paging Matthew Ward - Scarab Edition   Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:47 pm

via Duke's Inferno response to BoLS

Whats this with scarabs?

Recently the internets have been set ablaze with discussions on the Necrons Evidence. Well, today I wanted to talk about Scarabs and how they aren't everything.

Point 1: Scarabs can spawn units across the board-

While I agree that this is in fact the case, simply because the rules aren't clear enough, you would have to be an absolute douche to try and pull this sort of shenanigans. If you pull this don't be surprised if your opponent kicks you in the shins under the table. Also, it isn't as powerful as people are thinking. Sure you go through all of this and then comes the assault phase. As the image on the previously referenced link shows, at most you might be getting 5-6 bases in combat. Most likely you will multi charge and now that means you're now only getting 2-3 per tank. So, if you get 3 bases you have 9 attacks with auto hit (enemy hasn't had a turn yet) then half (4.5) reduce armor. Then it is your opponents turn because your assaults just ended. There is one important thing to realize as well, you didn't shoot the tanks you were charging. Why? Because any competent player doesn't want to destroy the tank they are about to charge. So, your shooting went to 'less valuable targets,' if you could even see through the night fight anyhow. Long story short, it is a gimmick and it isn't that good. Not to mention it will be FAQ'd. Not to mention, that if you set up to do this little trick ill likely deny flank or reserve the juicy targets. This move is like a queens gambit in Chess.

Point 2: Entropic strike ruins guard/ mech -

This is one of the two things that scarab swarms were meant to deal with. Send a few squads of swarms into your opponents ranks and have a good time! While you swarms won't be the end of the tanks by themselves, they will open windows later in the game. However, remember that they armies you want to use these units against have plenty of S6+ (Blood angels, Space wolves razorspam, GK, IG) So, don't think that you're 3 10 scarab swarms are going to be anywhere near full strength when they arrive, not to mention that a smart opponent will move >6" before you assault. Really the only place that entropic strike will truly hit home is Landraiders. Throw 10 of these guys at a LR and watch it go away. This is why I am considering dropping my GK Landraider.

Point 3 Scarabs are a combat unit -

Yes, It may seem like Im joking on this one, but Im not. People have been out there saying that Scarabs are their combat unit and that they are going to throw a 30 strong unit at "anything in the game," First off this is ridiculous, scarabs are WS 2 and have the strength of a hampster. If you throw these guys into combat it is as a speedbump unit or possibly a tarpit unit, not a dedicated combat monster. Any dedicated combat machine will eat this squad without thinking about it. Not to mention you will lose combat and take additional Fearless saves.

Conclusion:

Scarabs are very good at what they are designed for: Killing single tanks. Yes, you can multi-charge, but your risking more than you may be getting with that tactic. They are a decent speed-bump unit that can tarpit with the best of them if you're doing it right (Spiders). They are not the be all of the Necron codex, sure some people will try 3 squads of 10 with 9 spiders but it is a very uni-dimensional list that will work when you know you will be playing your buddy from the local store, but the second you run into a list you aren't expecting its going to be hurt-ville.


That is all for now, what do you all think of Scarab-bombs?

Duke

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