Back to smudge the credibility of the Rolling Hot team some more, I’ll now get into the nitty gritty of those dust collects you probably don’t have. If you didn’t catch the previous flame post, you can read it here:
Some interesting responses came from the last post, which I will address briefly first. I stated that Flame units trump other infantry, and some were skeptic. To clarify, flame units are not going to single handedly win your infantry fights. However, they will set up a CQB in your favor. Against troops this isn’t a big issue, but against exotics it is. Every DP off an exotic base is at least 3 attacks not swinging at you when they’re engaged. Also, there is no dodge save, and against A4 you typically need 5’s to damage rather than 6’s. Without flame units, the only other answers are bring more exotics or demo the building.
Exotics are costly and if they are stuck mopping up an enemy exotic unit, they are not deterring your opponent. If they brought more exotics, these will then be free to kick your troops butts. If they didn’t bring more exotics, they are getting more searching in, or providing more supporting fire.
Demo will scare off the enemy as the building becomes a deathtrap, but it is an indiscriminate death trap. When you cripple a building, it is denying it to both your opponent and yourself. While you shoot the building, the opponent can be making gains against you, and if successful will take the buildings you’ve claimed away.
This leads to another point, which isn’t particular to any one unit. Your force must advance as a cohesive unit. Some find their flame units, when fielded, die too easily to the opponent. First this proves they are deadly, as if they weren’t that fire would go elsewhere. Secondly, if you dangle any unit by itself on point, it will most likely fall. Even the mighty Hades will go down if it is too exposed. Flame units are no where near as resilient as that, and must be part of your line. Also, as mentioned, the flame units aren’t going to wipe enemy infantry completely. That infantry can then return fire against the flame unit, unless engaged. Again, the flame unit is one part of a bigger machine, your army. So let us now look at how to fit these units into your army.
- 6 E4 Ac3+ shots with 6” range
- 6 x ⅔ = 4 hits
- A1: 4 x ⅚ = 3.33
- A2: 4 x ⅔ = 2.67
- A3: 4 x ½ = 2
- A4: 4 x ⅓ = 1.33
The UCM Fireblade, not the strongest, or fastest, nor does it boasts the most shots. On the plus side it is in the support slot allowing it to pair with troops, which are what need the flame support the most. They also come in squads of three, which means they can spread their hurt out more than most flame units. There are two options for pairing the Fireblades with infantry, they are with Legionnaires or with Praetorians in the Command BG.
Pairing with the Praetorians will give you a nice charge if your opponent allows you to get it. Since the Fireblades have to be on the ground at the beginning of the turn not many are going to put their infantry in front of your fireblades to begin with, especially if your Praetorians are around. You could try baiting enemy exotics with the Praetorians, as they are a tasty target.
I would want to run Fireblades with the Legionnaires. My preference would be Legionnaires in Bears and Condor for the numbers allowing you the chance of putting up a fight. One squad can run as bait, searching in the building. If the enemy commits their own infantry you back out, flame, and commit the other squad. They aren’t likely to win, but you have the initial Legionnaire squad to return to the fray. At the least this will stall your opponent, but with some help from the cards you could turn the CQB on them. If you prefer Ravens, you could put both squads in the building to search making your opponent choose to enter and allow you to back out and flame, or to continue searching.
Lastly, UCM infantry are not known for being particularly hardy. Praetorians are good being exotics, but are certainly at the bottom of the exotic totem pole. Legionnaires are good due to being cheap, but having more doesn’t necessarily gain you anything other than a higher body count. The Fireblades are a good way to protect your infantry investment.
- 10 E4 Ac3+ shots with 6” range
- 10 x ⅔ = 6.67 hits
- A1: 6.67 x ⅚ = 5.56
- A2: 6.67 x ⅔ = 4.44
- A3: 6.67 x ½ = 3.33
- A4: 6.67 x ⅓ = 2.22
Wow, look at those numbers! A pair of these will kill most of any Shaltari infantry squad on average, meaning they will devastate other infantry as well, but it gets better. Firstly, they carry their own infantry. Razorworms are just icing on the cake after the Tormentors fire. Whatever may be left is lunch, and afterwards that the building is clear for your Warriors to come in and claim any objective. Furthermore, the Razorworms can be dumped in a separate building early while the Tormentors camp a separate building, meaning twice as much denial. If the enemy wants to fight through the worms, your tormentors can bath the survivors before being mopped up by your own infantry.
Also, the Tormentor sits in the heavy slot, and a pair with worms and transport cost 191pts. This means they can be easily shoehorned in to lists without dramatically affecting the rest. This is a great BG to burn activations with in the early game, and once in position there is nothing else in the BG that would tempt you to activate earlier. It’s also another threat for the Scourge player to overwhelm their opponent with. With high E demo weapons on fast skimmers moving in, it gives your opponent a choice. Try to save the infantry by targeting the Tormentors while risking the return from hunters, or fight the hunters and kiss their infantry goodbye. This is assuming they’ve committed their infantry, as they may be on their back foot from the Scourge advance. A good way to get them to commit earlier in the game is to lurk. Just stay behind cover within striking range and allow your opponent to make fateful choices. Once they have surge forth as your skimmers push their forces back, hopefully stranding some infantry.
If there was one downside it would be there is no bait inside the BG itself. This is seriously minor and only mentioned due to the bait and switch tactic mentioned in the previous article. It does mean if the Tormentors are going to be on protection duty of your infantry not to commit your infantry in a way that allows your opponent to immediately lock them in CQB. Though playing defensive really isn’t in a Scourge players best interest generally speaking.
- 8 E4 Ac3+ shots with 9” range
- 8 x ⅔ = 5.33 hits
- A1: 5.33 x ⅚ = 4.44
- A2: 5.33 x ⅔ = 3.56
- A3: 5.33 x ½ = 2.67
- A4: 5.33 x ⅓ = 1.78
The unit people love to hate. I won’t sugar coat this, the Menchit suffers, but not from it’s own hand. Unfortunately it is in a faction full of expensive necessities leaving little to no wiggle room during list building. The best thing the Menchit has going for it is it is part of a mixed unit that takes up the standard slot. Instead of buying a whole unit like most of the other factions, you can take just one. With the exception of the Tormentor, it also boasts more shots per unit than the rest of the flame units.
114pts for a pair with transport is decent when comparing against the other flame units. This is the easiest way to get some flame into a PHR list. Their task will be to baby sit a building. Either deterring the enemy from engaging the Immortals in CQB, or just blocking an empty building while the other buildings are searched, saving this one for last. Pairing Sirens with this latter case will hopefully allow them to wrap up a CQB even faster than before.
Another, more costly way, is to run Angelos in the support slot with the Menchits. This gets some infantry in the same Battlegroup and adds a pair of E10 guns with demo on a 6” skimmer platform. 6” is really fast for PHR ground, and being demo they can help play into your plan. If the Menchits with Angelos are covering one building, the rest of you infantry is converging on a second, this means the rest of your force, with Angelos, can work on knocking down a third. Having Immortals in the Angelos will allow you to search this building early. If the enemy engages, you can step out and flame, and maybe even get some Sirens in there to clean up. If the enemy starts to demo the building, you step out, and neither of you have it. If you are demoing a different vital building, this means the last building intact is the one with the rest of your infantry. No plan survives contact with the enemy, but luckily the Angelos is good enough to adapt. With its speed and armament it can engage targets hiding just out of view of the rest of the PHR force. For this reason I want a Neptune for the Angelos as well so they can contest the center quickly. Another option may be driving the Angelos on and going for a late game infantry attack, but I am not convinced this would work. The Menchits, Angelos with Immortals, and Neptunes for both comes in at 300 for the BG. That is a hefty chunk of your force, but can be fit in a PHR force without compromising it’s AA or AT.
- 6 E5 Ac3+ shots with 6” range
- 6 x ⅔ = 4 hits
- A1: 4 x ⅚ = 3.33
- A2: 4 x ⅚ = 3.33
- A3: 4 x ⅔ = 2.67
- A4: 4 x ½ = 2
Second best numbers due to being the strongest flame weapon in the game, the Gharial is a swiss army knife of utility for the Shaltari. Besides the flame, it brings E12 which was incredibly rare once upon a time, and still is comparing with other factions. It also has one shot sponsons, so 2 shots, that are Demo-3, giving it more anti-infantry. This gives the Shaltari good demo when there is an Ocelot in the list.
Sitting in it’s BG are Firstborn, which is nice as now they should be able to finish off those enemy exotics faster, and get them to the next CQB. You could also put an Ocelot here to really coordinate that demo, though I have put Yari in the Court BG for SoI reasons so far.
The downside is in Clash, the Gharial fills your only command slot. With it’s short range weapons, your Gharial wants to get in close to help use it’s weapons. I’ve got around this by putting my highest commander in a different unit, typically a walker like a Jaguar or Ocelot, and putting a Shaman in the Gharial. It allows the Gharial to wait off the table to be dematerialized into the thick of it without worry of losing your CV. It is also the reason I’ve put the Yari in the Court, as this will cut your SoI in half, meaning you really need those Scouts. This is not necessarily the only way to run it, I still want to test running one commander in the Gharial, letting it lurk until late game where it can help clean up. I have apprehension about this strategy as the game could be decided, and the Gharial is too little too late.
Resistance Fire Wagon
- 4 E4 Ac3+ shots with 6” range
- 4 x ⅔ = 2.67 hits
- A1: 2.67 x ⅚ = 2.22
- A2: 2.67 x ⅔ = 1.78
- A3: 2.67 x ½ = 1.33
- A4: 2.67 x ⅓ = 0.89
The fastest and most maneuverable flame unit in the game, the Fire Wagon is what most players want their flame units to be. With the hovercraft rules, 3 Fire Wagons in a Kraken can cover 11” and then shoot 6”, giving them a 17” threat range for 92 points. Beyond this, the Resistance have an amazing Troop BG to sit them in. The Resistance Band BG allows them to be run along side up to 3 units of infantry, 2 of which can be exotic. As the author of these flame unit articles, it is my wet dream.
My flame units can sit further back and/or cover multiple buildings. Here I can easily run the bait and switch completely. I will be starting Resistance next and already have my Fire Wagons purchased. I will be going feral and look to run a set of Fire Wagons with 2 squads of Berserkers sharing Jacksons/Lifthawk with 1 squad of Fighters. This BG is 379 total, and allows me to threaten multiple buildings. Depending on how my opponent plays it, I have the option of putting 2 or 4 bases of Berserkers after a gout of flame in a building with their infantry. As of writing this, I am already thinking of getting another set of Fire Wagons, bumping that squad to 6. Why not? They will pump out more shots than the Tormentors for only 43 points more, but with the maneuverability already mentioned. Even if you are not going Feral, or don’t want Berserkers, these can be combined with other infantry, whether you use the Jacksons and Lifthawk or a pair of buses in Kraken.
The downsides are they have the least number of shots per unit and with no CM will be sitting ducks if exposed after leaving the Kraken. The Kraken itself can also be taken out, depending on the opponent’s list, which will take away the maneuverability that gives this flame unit the edge needed to burninate.
There we have it. Some flame units are better than others when compared directly, but this is not the best way to look at them. Regardless of what shape your flame unit takes, it can dissuade your opponent, controlling them. Flame units can also set up that win condition your infantry needs, as without them buildings are decided by who brings the most exotics. Hopefully I have convinced you to reevaluate these underappreciated and unexpected tools.