Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Note on Scarab Freak-Outs

I have no affiliation with the Southern California Adventure Racing Buddies ... but the organization's name is funny.

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


  1. Is the plural of Necron Necron or Necrons?


  2. I keep sighing at the Scarab issue. People are making a mountain out of a mole hill, but that is how RAW'ers abuse the game.

    There is no conga line, everything in the past has always been deploy within 2" of the starting unit with most other things. Why would this be different?

    It says Hits, hits are applied before armor pen. rolls, simple enough really.

    I guess people have to see how much of a douche they can be in a game instead of just enjoying the game. Wonder why some people give up the game, just take a look around.

  3. Just to add, I think that the entropic strike taking place before armor pen rolls is further backed up by the Triarch Praetorian. Now, I realize that the Praetorian is pretty much a crap unit, but the decision to swap to Void Blades over your power weapon makes MUCH more sense if the Strength 5 model that a Praetorian is can first reduce your vehicles rear armor before he applies his hits. This means that Praetorians, who gain an extra attack from the swap to a Void blade, can actually pretty easily penetrate most tanks in the game on the charge, even if they need 6's to hit.

    Lastly, and probably more importantly, is that the wording for Entropic Strike changed since the leaked version of the Dex where it used to happen at the end of the phase. I realize of course that the leaked dex is not proof, but just more evidence.

  4. Yup, Entropic Strike isn't just on Scarabs. Praetorians are Jump Infantry with S5 and Rending if they take Voidblades, meaning they can jump over bubble-wrap, and execute multi-charges reasonably well.

    Then there are the options for Voidblades on Overlords in Command Barges, Lords, and even on C'tan Shards. There's the Harp of Dissonance, and a few others that escape me. The point being that Necrons really aren't as hard up for anti-tank as it seems: it's just that wasting points on Canoptek McGuffins means considerably fewer points to spend on anti-tank weapons (read: Gauss).

    Take the Monolith, for example. The Particle Whip sucks, right? It does. However, it has four independently targeting Gauss Flux Arcs, meaning that it can conceivably suppress four other vehicles in a turn.

    Or consider the effect of Entropic Strike on non-centre hits by the AP1 Doomday Ark: Suddenly S5 AP1 is penetrating Rhinos on a 5 and glancing on a 6.

  5. The catch is suppressing vehicles =! winning; you have to be able to actually kill mass transports, or you're going to wind up in trouble most games. Therein lies the rub ... and without things like Scarabs (which can apply enough entropic strike hits to actually kill vehicles rapidly in combat from early in the game, without exposing big expensive units) you're left with a lot of weapons that are either low R.O.F. at high cost (eldritch lances, triarch stalkers, death rays), or only good at suppression and not killing (tesla destructors, gauss weapons).

  6. Here's a rules question that I really need answered though. Curious how you guys are playing it.

    You fire a Tesla Destructor at a Chimera's front armor. There is a Chimera sitting next to it. The destructor "arcs" from the one you fired at into the other Chimera.

    Do you apply the d6 S5 hits against the side armor of the second chimera because that is the facing that is facing the direction the arc came from OR do you apply the hits to the front armor of the second chimera because that is the facing that the firer is in?

  7. Firer's arc. The chimera doesn't shoot at the other Chimera; your Tesla Destructor still is.

    As much as the Arc sounds like it would be directional, RAW you affect front armor (and that seems the sensible thing to do anyway, since you don't even have a "gun" from which it is firing on the arc'ed-from vehicle ... which of course would be dramatically important to determining that).

  8. Good. That's what I was leaning towards as well for the second reason you stated, not being able to define a direction the arc was originating from. This also applies to determining cover saves for units which are hit by the "arc".

    Two more while I've got your attention that are burning curiosity for me as to how others are playing this.

    1) Chronometron. Does 'start of turn' qualify as a phase? In other words, can you use the Chronometron to say... reroll the Night Fight determination on Imotekh... reroll the super duper transformation for Orikan... how about reroll the Ever Living roll for the Cryptek holding the Chronometron himself? (that's a funny one :) )

    2) Two necron players play each other. First one fires a Solar Pulse in his opponent's turn to make it night fighting. Opponent respond by firing his own solar pulse to cancel that night fight? How many times around do we/can we go?

  9. Mike:

    I think you're under-estimating what Gauss and Tesla can do to vehicles. On average they have some reason chances to wreck vehicles through cumulative damage effects, and with luck (and in the right situation) they'll outright wreck vehicles.

    Because the Necron army has access to plenty of Gauss weapon shots: Warriors, Tomb Blades, Monoliths, Ghost Arks, and Doomsday Arks all have plenty of Gauss shots.

    In addition the suppression effect of the Gauss weapons can be leveraged by units like Wraiths and Triarch Praetorians: Immobile and previously Stunned vehicles are going to be hit automatically.

    So yeah, I agree that suppression isn't winning, but it is tremendous leverage for winning.

  10. All I know is, I'll be sitting back with my fast vehicles, and having a Flamestorm ready for those scarabs. The one use they get better be worth it. I do 3 wounds, and pop 6 bases.

  11. @Neil

    1. Start of a turn is not a phase, so no on Imotekh. Not sure on the wording of Orikan, but I assume not. Definitely not on the everliving because the cryptek is dead and a token can't have a piece of wargear.

    2. Their is no limit to how many solar pulses you can use a turn, so the process could repeat until you run out of pulses.


    The problem is the chains have moved as far as whats effective against vehicles. Grey Knights Psychic Pilot, and to a lesser extent Necron Living Metal, have effectively made it so that relying on glancing things to death is no longer an option. Sure abundant AP - and glancing hits will eventually kill some vehicles, but you won't be able to do it fast enough before they have a chance to punish you for your effort.

  12. Scarab Conga line is fun, but stupid. Gee, you have a couple of Scarabs in contact, they outran their Spyder support, plus since vehicles cannot be locked up in CC, even with Night Fighting you just set them up to be shot down and all it takes is a bubble wrap unit to stop it.

    On the Entropic Strike issue, I haven't _needed_ the "immediately" to kill vehicles by Scarab penetration. It is arguable either way. I just slam my Scarabs into a two or three vehicle multiassault starting on turn two or three (depending on if the opponent moves forward or not), beat down the AV four to six points and the Relentless Gauss Immortals can start exploding Land Raiders. If Scarabs survive, go hunting more armor to beat up. Wheee. Amusing to watch when people start realizing that their tanks can now be destroyed by harsh language.

    IMO, even if GW (or INAT if GW tarries) rules for the "immediately", it is better to be training _now_ for them to rule against it.