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Welcome once again servants of the Star Gods!
This week we'll be discussing the Necron Warrior's loveable little insectoid sidekicks, the scarabs.
There are several armies that get swarm units, for the most part they all have the same statistics and abilities (granted upgrades). For the most part, all swarms are tarpitting and cannonfodder squads. Scarabs outstrip the others in their major distinguishing factor (no, not that they're machines) jetbike movement. This takes the little metallic bugs from trodding front line shield, to potentially annoying assault unit with multiple tactical applications.
Against most light-medium infantry, scarabs actually pose a threat, as their number of attacks, wounds and comparable statline/armor save may overwhelm some squads, making them a reasonable assault option against these forces. Against most heavy infantry, they become less effective, as their wave of attacks breaks against a wall of high toughness, armorsaves and strong attacks, however against smaller specialist squads (i.e. Devastators/Dark reapers) or any squad that is generally more prone to shooting than assault (tactical squads) they can create a rather hindering speedbump, to the point that characters may be required to dig them out. Assault specialists, characters, Monstrous creatures, superheavy infantry and the like, however are not good targets for scarabs, as their heavy attacks and durability will simply turn even a charge form the scarabs in their own favor. Vehicles are a different story. With the d-field option (which I often condemn for points purposes) a medium sized squad of charing scarabs can take down, or even kill tanks, pure weight of glancing hits can be a scary thing to face. However if the scarabs fail to kill their target, which is completely possible, the enemy will very likely make short work of the frail bugs.
Nowadays in 5ed the scarabs' lives have taken some changes. Losing combat will now force them to suffer even greater losses, making a squad of them even less efficient for tarpitting many opponents out there. However the new cover save+ turboboost rules have made them exceptionally tough for moving around the board at high speeds (just watch out for flamers!) And they can even act as a barrier for our own forces, providing cover saves against that dreaded heavy firepower that can hurt our warriors.
Personally I've generally had great success with scarabs. They've killed of squads of firewarriors and inquisitorial stormtroopers, swept through IG tank lines, tied up space marines in combat (took a dreadnought and a chaplain to save them ), distracted enemy heavy fire, and generally made themself a nuisance. I learned to never, ever, charge Grey Knights with them, it is a silly and bad plan. Thought the time they held up a Chaos sorcerer for 4 turns was a good riot. Generally I use them away from my main force, deployed in front of my warriors for the first round to take some extra missile pot-shots, but then they zoom up the board, usually on a flanking edge to find a soft shooty squad to harrass so I can keep them from picking apart my warriors. They used to be great for taking on more CC oriented squads, but I don't think it'd work out so hot anymore (stupider things have happened though).
There are quite a few other tactics that I haven't mentioned for scarabs, that i know several of you swear by in certain games. So go ahead, share your thoughts, experiences, wisdom and opinions! (but not their points cost)
As you already pointed out, don't bother using scarrabs to charge grey knight, maybe even using at all. Some monstrous creatures however I will target with the scarrabs, such as a shooty carnifex, Lord of change (or the special character version) or lascannon-missle dreaghtnought. They will take the MC out of combat long enough, because they have a few attacks. But the problem would be that there are many beter combat units within reach to save the MC.
And of course you could always run a bugzapper lord with them, so even when they die, they will be usefull. I once have used them to kill a bunch of genestealer who all burned to death because of it.
In summary of what you said, three words come to mind with scarabs:
PICK... YOUR... BATTLES
This can't be stressed enough. In 4th edition this wasn't as much of an issue. You could attack ANYTHING with these little buggies and cause trouble. Heck, I took a bunch of them in my first Necron game and snarled up a fully tricked-out crisis suit commander for the ENTIRE GAME. I've also used them with great results to sandbag, in one game, two Dark Angels combat squads with one scarab squad... at the SAME TIME.
Course, in my first 5th edition game (which was a monumental disaster due to a LOT of stupid boneheaded moves I made that I won't go into here) I learned a nasty lesson about fearless squads in cc when my opponent's command squad with character + some other HQ + retinue took those bugs to school! Man, I was shocked how few combat rounds they lasted!
Bottom line: I've learned if you use them at all, do NOT take the D-Fields, and do NOT use them to go after special characters, cc-tooled units of any kind, or power weapons. They ARE useful, however, against pretty much anything else, and especially any non-cc unit you want to "hold still," like those pesky crisis suits. See how far JSJ gets them when the scarabs snag them!
One more thing: when they say "vulnerable to blasts/templates," they mean it. Those hurt. Avoid them at all costs.
So... if I gave some daemons a matte paint-job, would they be "Matte Daemons?"
Necron Tactica: Flying Circus
I absolutely love scarabs, they, alongside my wraithwing have become the MVP's of many battles for me. I avoid the str6 enemies as they break a base per wound, but they are great for stripping tanks and tying up/whittling down crisis or stealth suits, hunting pathfinders, getting rid of devasator sqauds.
I have to argue with those who say don't take D. fields. They're not necesarry, so perhaps if you know you'll be tying up units with them opposed to tank hunting, then don't take them, but absolutely take them if you want to strip tanks to the bone in one or two turns. These little guys will strip a tank to nothing in one turn of assault, so long as the tank didn't move last turn. That's why I like to send my scarabs turbo boosting in the direction of a tank i've only managed to stun or immobilise on my turn, that way next turn all of their attacks hit and you start to see a lot of 6's.
Another note, if you use a lord who veils in and then uses shroud of darkness to make enemy units run, scarabs are a great way to keep that unit running by being within 6" so they cannot regroup. The scarabs are fast enough generally to catch up to the lord and his squad with a turbo boost.
I usually just tuck in a squad of 7 bases equipped with D. fields into my lists as an after thought, and they perferm amazingly every time saving my arse from the heavy Tau arsenal, or blocking smurf transports from hitting my lines. Avoid blasts, avoid str 6 or up, avoid termi's as they pop bases extremely fast, do tie up good shooting units who are bad in CC, do tie up smaller non-elite type units, do run down vehicles if you're equipped with D. fields.
Another Scarab fan here. I regularly use a squad of between 7-10 bases that deploy in front of my Warriors to provide that all important cover save. In the first turn, they turbo boost towards any threatening units that I want to hold down for a few turns. Ideal targets are Devastators, IG Command Squads, Dark Reapers and other such fragile-but-useful squads.
They are used to such good effect that my regular opponents often spend the first turn or two of shooting trying to take the whole Scarab unit out because they pose a threat to his tactics. Whilst inevitably the Scarabs these days are usually gone by turn two, I'm not bothered because for every time Scarabs get shot, one of my more valuable units doesn't.
Even if the scarabs make no kills or even assault anything, if they force the opponent's hand and disrupt their plans, they've made their points back.
I always field a squad of scarabs in my 1500 point plus armies. Disruption field is a must have against tank heavy armies IMO. Ive killed 1 landraider, 4 rhinos, a wave serpent and a couple of other tanks in my exploits.
Cannon fodder as said above ive lost a whole squad to one vindicator cannon shot.
Last edited by SergeantTelion; February 6th, 2010 at 18:37.
Space marines 6 dread army Wins: 4 ties:2 Loses:7 Modified Standard nilla marines Wins:37 Ties:8 Loses 42 Daemonhunters Wins:3 Ties:0 Loses:1 Full assualt concept army wins: 6 Ties: none Loses: 2
First of all, i am a major scarab supporter-they are brilliant!
I deploy them on the flank or behind cover so they can survive the first turn, then rely on a turbo boost to send them into enemy area with thier 2+ cover save, surrond a shooty unit and charge.
Why do you put your scarabs in front? they are swarms so dont provide cover saves to the warriors.
I am totally in support with D. Fields, i always equip my scarabs with D. fields in 1500 points or more, and i almost always include a sqaud of 10 scarabs in my games. My most memorable moment with d. fields was when versing my elder friend. he had put his striking scorpions AND his banshees in a transport, then i scarab charged him, surronding the back and when the transport got wrecked all the models inside died because they could'nt get out!
They are more of a distraction than a threat, which is fine. Turbo bosting around the board getting into an opponents back lines can be unnerving. Then they have that +2 cover save when they get shot at. That means that the opponent is NOT shooting at my warriors. I take mine with D-Fields in case I get a tank in the back where they can do some damage. Unfortunatly they take up a fast slot which is usually occupied by my destroyers.
NECRON Army List Builder a Free excel capable list generator for 5th and 6th ed. 11/2011
Necrons - 6000 points, Tau - 6000, Daemons - 5250, Eldar - 4500, Blood Angels - 5000
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Well not to rain on the parade. But I for one find scarabs underwhelming. Yes, you have to pick your battles big time....most of the time i've used them to tarpit a unit (even basic marines), they end up getting wasted quickly at that. Escpecially since my turn and my opponents turn usually is enough to wipe em now. I find for the points they're kinda over priced to be so disposable. Also, putting D fields on them may seem nice but hitting stuff that moves all out on 6's is painful! I invest in other things now, my scarabs haven't been used for a 'long' time.
"There is only do, or do not. There is no try." - Yoda