As a Scourge player I have always maxed out the level on my commander. The chance to go last and then first next turn can be highly lethal. You stop by setting a trap and then activate a large battlegroup that is designed to kill as much as possible on the next turn’s activation. This is often very effective but a bit risky when you don’t go first. That sucks, of course.
But for those times it goes well…Well then it is good to have a major battlegroup to activate.
Now, this is intended as some kind of “high level army building” but frankly most people who face me on the battlefield tend to consider me pretty lousy. So my suggestions will most likely be very basic.
The first to note is that you need to maximize your commander. A Lvl 5 is thus standard but you can also bring a low level commander and instead take a “Survival battle group” that can take punishment and still give out some. Some armies have some very good such examples, Hades comes to mind. Just activate it last and put it so the enemy can attack but must either commit or run away next turn.
But this is for those that want a first activation attack.
Also, I’m only considering 1500pts. You get of course better and more options at 2000+ pts.
This is my army and of course I have a more intimate idea with these guys.
- 6 Hunters, 3 reapers in a despoiler with Plasma cannon. 429pts. Together with the Overseer this battlegroup is insane. With 8 Demolish AT shots and 6 AA E shots it will do a good job in taking down any medium dropship with the reapers as well make a heavy dent on the opponent’s stronger units. It will also average 23DP in one activation against a armour 6 building (20 against armour 8 buildings).The downside is being the weak target if you do not get the first turn.
- 2×8 Prowlers and a Squad of destroyers in a Intruder. 380pts. Now these guys are even more sensitive but is a really nice activation to go last in the turn before as they can swarm the opponent’s units. I put in a squad of destroyers as they are a must in any Scourge army but you could take a squad of Reapers instead.
- As a third idea I could go HQ with the Scourge. Desolator Lvl 5, Oppressor in a transport with AA and 8 Prowlers in Intruders. 590pts. The reason I don’t go 2 Oppressors which would be a better activation is because you need to play the rest of the game as well. The intent is not to just take a big bad squad. They are intended to win you games. And the Desolator can give much needed support and if you have a jink and weave card you can absolutely go ahead and let lightning and thunder strike. But the Oppressor and the Prowlers will do a nice job attacking. The Oppressor can also dras some AA fire the turn before, removing some hear off the Prowlers who sits in a glass-transport.
Of the armies that can do a killy battlegroup I find UCM to be the hardest. The classic Kodiak+Ferrum is not actually a very good Killy battlegroup. It is not bad but the drones tend to die some of reaction fire and the boss’ pin point attack is unreliable. I would then add a squad of Hazard suits as well to get some more punch into the battlegroup.
- UCM have a nice demo army with the 6 Katanas and a Eagle. It is still a good base for a armyand for only 332points you do 20 DP on a building. And the Katanas kan drive fast into the center of the table and be effective from turn 4 and forward. Against a armour 8 building you go down to 11DP per turn and that is kind of “meh” and against bunkers the squad can feel utterly useless. It is a good beginner’s battlegroup but not one of the best for experienced tournament players. But if you want a building-destroyer this is the best battlegroup in my opinion.
- 4 Gladius, Condors with missiles and a Ferrum for 483points. This is a battlegroup you can make great use of though the Ferrum is more of a fire-soaker for the enemy AA. Also, the Gladius’ are a bit on the low side with only E10 on their shots.
Overall I feel the UCM have a pretty weak killing base. They do have effective killing machines but they tend to be spread out more even in their army due that most effective weapons are in the support-slot. What can be done is more of a combo; first activation attack a few targets and then soak AA fire. The next BG activating have 4 Falcons and suddenly you have some real kick-ass opportunity. Also, I would suggest a completely full infantry Battlegroup as the basic infantry are the most cost effective in the game.
PHR have it a bit easier in this. They have both the ability to survive as well as hitting hard when needed. They also have some of the game’s best cards to make it even more dangerous.
- A good standard is to have 5 Ares and a Menchit in a Poseidon and then 4 Apollos. Some prefer Phobos as the second squad but I like to have double squads of AA in a battlegroup. A menchit is cheap and really handy to activate first in a turn to burn some before the opponent can attack.I like this Battlegroup as it is a Standard choice. 477 points. In contrast to the Odin-star you might succeed having the opponent commit to this battlegroup. Neither the Ares or the Apollos are extremely hard to kill. So the opponent might try.
- The command squad in a Njord is nice. A zeus and 3 Odins can take care of most things in the game. And takes some time to feed through if the opponent commit. I would not recommend a full Poseidon as a Command squad because it is to much points and the opponent might move away to much. Sure you will get that Focal point but it will not help if you have nothing else in your army.
- 3 Phobos, 1 Menchit in a Njord and 2 Helios in a Neptune. 496pts. The reason for the Menchit is to get the BG under 500 points as well as a nice first activation if needing to flame. This Battlegroup will take down absolutely most aircrafts pretty fast. It will for instance kill a UCM flying commander in one go. The PHR are the only ones I think can get away with a full AA battlegroup like this.
Shaltari is a bit more tricky. They have Killing stuff but it is not really needed to go all out with them. Instead they use a little here and there to cut the opponent away. Still they still have some nice Killy stuff. But usually I have seen people play with lower level commanders which makes it more important with survival units.
- Gharial, 2 Leopards and 6 Ronins for 544points. It is aggressive and will make a lot of damage when activated – if they are at the front. The problem is that we would more likely prefer to have it more spread out so we can have the Gharial a bit more alone or together with some Firstborns.
- 2 Leopards and a Dreamsnare will take most things on a high note. It can survive a punching as well. For only 255 points (with no gates included) it is rather cheap but to deploy the Leopards and Dreamsnare at one time you need many gates. It can be a bit tricky.
- 2 Caimans and a Panther is, I think, a better choice. The Caimans keep driving sniping off as much as possible and then you can in the last turn’s last activation move the Panther into position for a first turn activation and in a angle snipe of a light dropship. It can really win you games. And you only need a single Gate for this maneuver. This is where the Panther shine.
But I tend to think that Shaltari need to spread them a bit more when it comes to offensive power. The Jaguar-star with Jaguards and a Dreamsnare is good for those low level commanders but it have lost a bit of use as the gates needed to get them onto the table more efficiently is a bit awkward the second you have more than one Heavy walker in a Battlegroup or squad.
The Resistance have some very nice options.
- Thunderstorm, 3 typhoons and 2 Scout ATV’s. 635points. A heavy demo BG that will make a very nice first activation many times. The punishment can be against buildings or enemy units. The main downside is that you can loose some flexibility fast. The HQ can and will die if being focused on. Also the BG have a problem the first turns. Neither the Scout ATV’s nor the Thunderstorm can attack enemy unit until usually turn 3. But then the Scout ATV’s can protect the Thunderstom so it actually survive a bit more.
- 2 Mehmeds and 2 Zhukovs. Both in Lifthawks with AA. This doesn’t sound as much and the main idea is to get the Zhukovs into position for some really fearsome killing AA and the Mehmeds are there because, well the Hannibals are that much worse. People tend to use the Zhukovs defensive but if willing to be sacrificed they can really be part of an aggressive BG.
- The Resistance can also have a AA battlegroup with two squads of Gun wagons in Krakens. For only 226points (that is really cheap). Move them full speed ahead 2 turns and they will in turn 3 be passed the center-line buildings and shoot from 31″ in. That can really devastate enemy infantry transports.
That was a fast written idea of specific battlegroups. In basically all cases other than Scourge you can have a lower level commander as you can have squads surviving more. But there are still situations where you might want to have the first activation. I have many times seen people taking BG that are bigger or smaller but still play it the same as I suggest as a first activation but many have to much and thus the points being under used. Or to little and then opponent can react differently.