Monday, June 27, 2011

Game Theory; Psychology

When you play a game of Warmachine, you simultaneously engage in another game, though many do not realize it. This game is called psychology, and it will make or break a game in seconds. Playing Psychology is also a dangerous game, and you can suffer some real life consequences if you mess it up.
  • A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.
    - The Art of War
Alright so quoting Sun Tzu is about as unoriginal as it get's, but the man had a lot of things going for him. I've been an active wargamer for fifteen years, so though I'm still new(ish) to Warmachine, I'm a veteran at miniature wargames. This means, that when I face players with years of experience, they tend to underestimate me. These are players with years of Warmachine experience, but when they assume they're in for an easy fight, they loose a game they should have won.
  • For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
    - The Art of War
When playing Psychology it's vitally important that you do not lie. When someone asks me about my Scavengers, I truthfully tell them, that I think they're amazing, but most people on the forums disagree. If someone asks me why I think they're amazing, I will explain it, but they either don't ask. or stop listening after the words melee light jack. Then I lean back, and watch his assumptions cost him a game.
  • If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him.
    - The Art of War
As I explained in my article about Water Theory, it will cost you the game to loose your temper. This also means, that making your opponent loose his, is a great way to gain an advantage. In order to do this, you must make very certain that you annoy him on the table. Annoying people away from the table makes you an complete twat, but annoying them on the table is perfectly acceptable. There are thousands of ways this can be achieved, and since the optimal course of action is unique for every opponent, I'll leave that up to you.
  • Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.
    - The Art of War
 It has won me several games. If you have a close game, then attempt to dictate your opponent actions, by supplying an opportunity that is not quite as golden as it looks. You could give him a way to retreat, and then win on scenario, or give him a poor shot at your caster, which will leave him open if it fails. A miniature wargame is about tactics, armies, dice, and psychology. Your opponent is a mind encased in flesh, and that is the source of his tactics. If you can play with his mind, you can win against any opponent.

Finally... don't be a Twat... It's a game, so keep that in mind. Having friends left, should be considered more important than winning, so keep this game in reserve for important tournaments.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Game theory

The original announcement can be found: Here


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mortenebra musings...

Every time I look at those Blood Witches in my list, I doubt my decision to include them. Then I think a little bit about it, and decide they'll stay. The thing is, that bringing them dilutes what the army does, and I really should just bring my secondary army to handle a bad case of "the Tough". In order to convince myself, I began thinking about ways of using the Blood Witches, to support the way Mortenebra plays.

I've not exactly thought this through yet, so I really doubt this will be any kind of comprehensive list. The first thing that came to mind, was to go through the special abilities/weapons, and think up at least one way of using them for each.

Blood Razor: It's a magical weapon, and Mortenebra could really use a few of those. In addition they get some very useful attack options, though they only function during their activation. This will free up the Warwitch Sirens to power boost, and remove that hard decision between boosting and clearing out models.
  • Blood Mist; Detonating victims to create 3" clouds, seems like a useful option. This ability is enhanced, by not being limited to enemy living models, which means that the witches can stab each other. Stabbing each other creates clouds, and gives Mortenebra a place to hide. If things aren't going well, this might very well save her.
  • Death Strike; Very useful ability, though quite weak. This allows Blood Witches to detonate living models, and cause damage rolls on nearby enemies. During Recalibration, this ability will devastate light infantry, and take it's toll on medium infantry as well. In addition it has synergy with "Blood Shadow".
  • Dispel [Hag only]; Dispelling upkeep spells is fun. Don't be afraid to hit your own models, as getting rid of a debuff is often worth a bit of damage/loss. No need to think up a way of using it here, as it's a great tool to have available.
Blood Shadow [Hag]; So we go incorporeal for a round, and everyone knows that makes them harder to get rid of. It also makes it possible to charge through them... Assuming we're having a hard time getting through a layered defense, we can use Blood Shadow, charge in, clear the first layer, and poke a bit at the second layer with death strikes. Then our Harrower can charge through the opening, straight through the incorporeal witches, and do it's Thresher/Overrun on the diminished second line.

Entropic Force [Hag]; No real reason to invent new ways of using this. It's why I'm bringing them in the first place. Do make sure, that you get her in range before Threshering a unit of Kriels.

So what can they do...
  • Defend Mortenebra
  • Remove Upkeep spells
  • Remove Tough
  • Open lanes
  • Tie down shooting units
  • Remove key models from play
 I feel better about them already.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Epic Madrak

Today I faced a Gunnbjorn list, and he was beaked to a bloody pulp during round two. This was less than satisfying for my opponent, who also happened to get himself beaked last Monday with Dr. Arkadius. To make up for it, I agreed to let him test out an Epic Madrak list, with a full compliment of take-backs, and a rules advisor on the side.

The sad fact is, that Epic Madrak seems to be immune to Scavengers. The Scavenger can put four incredibly potent attacks on a caster, but it takes closer to fifteen of those attacks to clear out the screens and take down Epic Madrak. It didn't help much that I brought a list of things I needed to test, since even though the Pistol Wraiths did surprisingly well, I was fighting an up-hill battle. (Edit: Turns out my opponent was playing it wrong, so it should have been just 4-5 extra hits, instead of 15... might have made a difference)

Finally the game helped me realize, that I need some way to remove Tough from the equation. It's a poor players last refuge to blame the dice, but it's annoying to account for it when planning a round (not to mention that it can really screw you over on assassination runs). So while I was cursing the avalanche of successful tough-rolls today (since they weren't mine), my mind wandered to my shelves at home.

Next time I'm facing a tough infantry horde I will be prepared. General Slaughterborn with Recalibrate & Puppet master, will be my backup plan when the Blood Hag removes their tough, and Admonia takes care of defensive upkeeps. I had to remove a Warwitch Siren to fit them in, but the free upkeep from Admonia should balance the focus issues quite nicely.

Master Necrotech Mortenebra
- Helldiver
- Helldiver
- Scavenger
- Scavenger
- Stalker
- Harrower
- Harrower
Satyxis Blood Witches (Leader and five Grunts)
- Satyxis Blood Hag
The Withershadow Combine
General Gerlak Slaughterborn
Warwitch Siren

At least it's different from all the other Mortenebra armies out there...

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Wildlife Preserve

It has been brought to my attention, that Scavengers are going extinct across the Iron Kingdoms. In spite of my public relations work on the Privateer Press forums, the Scavenger remains a sadly misunderstood release, so in a last ditch attempt at redemption, I'm founding a preserve.
The Scavenger:  Current score
Scavengers lost: 3
Casters beaked: Grim Angus, Dr. Arkadius, Grim Angus, Gunnbjorn, Gunnbjorn, The Harbinger.
The Scavenger:  A summary
The Scavenger is rated well below average, and this is almost understandable when you look at it. The problem is, that these ratings never seem to take into account, that some pieces are either designed with a specific caster in mind, or to simply exploit a feature or spell available only to a select few casters. There are several pieces in Warmachine, which the general population accept as great additions to certain lists, while considering them poor choices with most other casters. I aim to achieve the critical mass needed, for the Scavenger to take it's rightful place amongst these pieces.

The final obstacle I need to overcome, is the deeply rooted idea, that everything in Warmachine is about raw power and survivability. Whenever the Scavenger is mentioned, the arguments invariably veer toward the point-cost issues, and then without question, the five point Slayer is brought up. Mortenebra is the only caster able to push a Scavenger to it's true potential, and as such it makes perfect sense to include the tier discount when discussing cost efficiency. The main issue with this comparison is, that they're comparing apples and oranges, and they never seem to notice. Thus begins the long and arduous task, of redeeming the Scavenger:

Articles regarding the Scavenger:
Battlefield performance:
Things that concerns the Scavenger:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Croe's Cutthroats: the embodiment of failure

I had my first game with Scaverous, and that did not end well. I was allowed to proxy him, as Maelstrom still keeps my pre-order on hold for some reason (I think they hate me for canceling an order, "just" because it was six weeks late). I faced Kaya the Wildborne, and I was thoroughly pleased to finally get my first match against Circle. As it turns out, having Occultation & Tracker made Kaya pretty much immune to my assassination attempts, and Scaverous had to acknowledge, that ending his days a dog-food is a wee bit embarrassing.

Still, It was an expected loss, and I learned a lot from the game. It's a sad thing to admit, but Internet wisdom proved me wrong for once, and Scaverous does indeed seem to be an attrition caster. He has access to a spectacular assassination run, but if it fails he's a quadrillion miles behind in attrition, and has next to no way of catching up. Next time I'll try the attrition route, while attempting to dictate play with his assassination potential instead.

Croe's Cutthroats failed me spectacularly, and missed every attack that actually mattered, but I'm determined to make them work. They fit my theme, they look awesome, and they're Ninja Assassins for christ's sake. I don't care if I loose every match because they suck, I'm bringing them. This is something entirely new for me, and I hope it heralds a new level of maturity in gaming (heaven knows I need it).

So come Monday I'll be trying an attrition list, and maybe finding myself an easier opponent to mend my broken ego. I did win my second game today, but the amount of mistakes I made was heartbreaking, and only the even greater mistakes of my opponent, saved the day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Scaverous model...

Since I've already pre-ordered the guy, I might as well do something to make looking at him tolerable. I think he'll mesh well with the Talos from Games Workshops Dark Eldar line.

This is a lot closer to what I felt Scaverous should look like, so I'll see if I can't use the parts to make a legal Scaverous that doesn't suck. I know a lot of people like the new model, but it seriously looks as if a Slayer impregnated the Cankerworm, and the offspring robbed a warehouse labeled "Weapons even Games Workshop thought was lame". It does require me to buy a GW product, but as my spine closely resembles a wet noodle, it should come to no surprise that I already placed the order.

The Talos kit should also give me all sorts of nifty stuff, I can use to enhance a lot of the other models I feel are lacking. Maybe my Terminus should feature some yummy tentacles as well, if I ever use him again. Scaverous can out-tank him, is on a medium base, and has so many crazy abilities. He also has more WJ points, so getting an Ogrun Bokur to block Eyriss should be a minor investment. Scaverous is crazy tough, so I'll just have to work around his silly spells and model.
  • Step 2: Make a nice model.
  • Step 3: Explain to everyone that Librarians are bad motherfuckers.
  • Step 4: Punch them in the face if they disagree, then shout "I told you so".
This probably only works, if people know I actually am a Librarian. That just leaves step one, which is figuring out how to bend the conversion rules as much as possible; A converted model must contain a majority of parts from the WARMACHINE or HORDES model for which the rules were written. The end result of any conversion must be something that is clearly identifiable as the intended miniature and accurately represents its weapons and equipment as listed in its rules.

I could technically melt him, recast the metal as a Talos, add a Scythe, write Scaverous on it, photo document it, and call it a day. Realistically though, I'll need to think up some way of retaining a parts majority, leave it clearly identifiable as Scaverous, while avoiding the whole "your mother was humped by a Slayer" feel. A challenge... I like it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Croe's Cutthroats received...

I've received my Croe's Cutthroats. It's a unit I've been wanting to pick up since I got in to the game, but it's just such a poorly thought out unit. They have such poor range, and their best ability requires something a ranged unit will rarely have, which is back strike bonus. They also have pathetic stats, need help hitting the broad side of a barn, and run away if someone so much as looks at them.

Now it's no secret that I loathe Scaverous, but he does bring one thing to the table, and that's the opportunity to field these guys and do well with them. I've decided that this will be my reason not to hate him, which I need since he should be in the mail shortly. I don't know if I'll ever actually field Scaverous, but it was a nice excuse to begin the Witch Coven project I've been playing around with.

The Witch Coven has Occultation, which would make Cephalyx Overlords actually playable. Curse of Shadow & Stalkers should prove interesting, and Croe's can be included to fit the stealth theme. Bane Thralls with unit attachment and Tartarus can provide a great blockade, and a couple of Arc Nodes sprinkled on, would make the list playable

The Witch Coven of Garlghast
- Deathripper
- Deathripper
- Deathripper
- Stalker
- Stalker
Skarlock Thrall
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
- Bane Thrall Officer & Standard
Cephalyx Overlords
Croe's Cutthroats (Croe and 9 Grunts)
The Withershadow Combine
Bane Lord Tartarus
Everything painted as dark and brooding as I can manage. Should be fun, but will probably destroy my win-statistics.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat!

I had a little talk with a club member a few weeks back, but I forgot about it until tonight. We were discussing hiding models, and how far you could really take that in a tournament setting. Now I'm not talking about cheating, but about using terrain and models to make your models disappear from your opponents mind.

The topic came up, when one of my opponents lost a game, because he missed a Bile Thrall hiding behind Terminus. It's not the first time it's happened either, so it got us talking. Now I'd like it to be very clear, that I never try to conceal the fact that he's there, and I even point out to my opponent that I'm putting him back there, but during a round there's so much going on, that eventually someone will miss it. I'd like to take the time here to note, that anyone actually hiding their models (putting dice cups over them, camouflage, whatever) should be hunted down and beaten with hammers.

In last nights game it happened with my Scavenger, as I placed it behind a solid structure that completely blocked my opponents view of the model. When my turn came around again, and I was spending a lot of time staring at that particular farmhouse, my opponent eventually asked me what I was doing. Now he survived the assassination attempt due to a mistake on my part, but he completely missed both the Scavenger and Stalker hidden behind the house.

How much of an impact this can have is determined almost exclusively by the terrain on the table, as hiding models behind linear obstacles is hard, while hiding them behind solid structures is easy. It also takes skill to hide models, since your opponent is moving around and checking the table from a lot of angles. The thing is, that while this is perfectly legal in every way, it feels exceptionally dirty, and not in the good way.

It feels like robbing your opponent of the information he needs to formulate a plan of action. I know many games are won and lost on the information available, and how well a player is able to exploit that information, but usually the blame is on your opponent, because he's a lazy bugger that couldn't be bothered to read up on your faction.

In this case you're making a legal move, but with the intent of placing a model in a position where it will remain unnoticed by your opponent, and thus keeping a vital piece of information from him. It works incredibly well, but it feels like taking the game of the board and out in the real world. So, leave me a comment and tell me what you think.... part of the game, or bad etiquette?

Facing Legion...

Tonight I had my first game against Legion. When I read his cards I got more than a little nervous, and as it turns out I was right to be. I brought my Satyxis Raiders Mortenebra list, and had to acknowledge that I had zero chance at going attrition.

Absylonia, Terror of Everblight
- Harrier
- Nephilim Bolt Trower
- Shredder
- Shredder
- Carnivean
- Scythean
- Seraph
- Typhon
Blighted Nyss Shepherd
The Forsaken
The Forsaken
The Forsaken

Woo boy this was a close game. I messed up badly on my assassination run, and triggered Overrun by killing a Shredder, which of course gave Absylonia two more Fury to transfer (DOH!). Stupid stupid stupid, and she survived my feat + Scavenger missile. I piled as many models as I could in to defend Mortenebra, and then he messed up as well, and activated in the wrong sequence, so his Scythean came at Mortenebra damaged.

It had to take a free strike from a Scavenger, and a free strike with finisher saw to it, that a very impotent Scythean arrived at Mortenebra. After swinging a couple of times to no avail, the Scythean also kindly agreed to plug up the one way he could get at Mortenebra with any other model.

My turn came around, and some heavy thinking had to be done. He had made sure neither the Harrowers, my Stalker, or my Scavenger could be assigned Focus, but Terminal Velocity and a couple of power boosts from the two Sirens allowed me some breathing room.

Mortenebra activates, casts Terminal Velocity and Overrun on a Harrower. Deryliss activates and puts Spectral Steel on the Stalker. Then my remaining Scavenger flies over a couple of models and slams the Carnivean out of the way, allowing the Harrower to charge and trigger Overrun on a forsaken. The slam also opened up a lane for my Stalker, and Overrun got him in a position to charge. One of the Sirens comes up and power boosts the Stalker, and Absylonia is taken down.

Had he not made an activation sequence error, I would have lost. Had the Scavenger only slammed the Carnivean a single inch I would have lost. Had the Stalker not survived a few swings from the Carnivean the previous round I would have lost, but a win is a win, and now I'm not totally lost if I face Legion in a tournament.

I'm having my doubts about the Satyxis Raiders, but they cause so much ruckus that I'll be keeping them in the list for now. This time they swamped his objective in one of the radial deployment scenarios, and kept quite a bit of his army busy for a couple of rounds.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Suddenly the pieces fell into place regarding Scaverous

I had a little nerd-rage session at my club tonight, but suddenly the pieces fell into place. I've hated Scaverous from the second he was spoiled, and it's been hard explaining why, but when the words were on the table they rang true, and it's nothing more than simple disappointment. This is what I expected...

The way he was described had me thinking he was an archivist of hidden lore, and the Scavengers would fit well with the theme. He could have an ability that allowed Scavengers to collect corpse tokens for him, which would allow him to "purchase" some extra abilities from nearby Cephalyx units.

They could have included a few additional Cephalyx units/solos, or even a Cephalyx Lesser Warlock which could be really creepy, and the whole archivist feel he had going in the fluff would have made him my favorite warcaster, even if he did make me take Cephalyx.

He could have abilities like eHaley that allowed him to copy spells cast near him, and maybe Madrak Ironhide's Scroll to make him a bit survivable. There are so many exceptionally cool abilities out there, and with his theme as an archivist he could easily pick and choose spells/abilities from every caster out there, to make him a true archivist at heart.

Instead we received this.

I heard a lot of exceptional things about Scaverous; his name alone made me think of a creepy old geezer picking through remains on the battlefield, but instead of an archivist he's a Helljack with a chainsaw, that can out-tank Terminus.

Lastspartacus says it so well over at the forums: "Its like hearing fluff about the Coolest Dude caster, then he comes out and has an amazing ruleset...that has nothing to do with what made him sound cool to you". I was expecting an archivist, not the bastard child of a Slayer and something that escaped from a dungeon at Games Workshop.

That's why I hate him... nothing else.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


An epiphany is the sudden realization of the essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture," or has new information or experience. Usually an epiphany is followed by the equally sudden realization of ones own stupidity, when one realizes how long it took to spot such an obvious solution to a problem.

I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what I could add to my Mortenebra list, to help me clear a drop zone for the Scavengers. So far my opponents have all opened up their caster at some point, but relying on the opposition making mistakes is a sure way to loose the important games, so I've been building lists, crunching numbers on mercenaries, and until now the solution eluded me.

The wall of Warjacks/Warbeasts isn't really a problem, as so many points tied up in one place means I can pick the rest of the army apart, or simply slam them out of the way if I need a drop zone. The issue I've been having is clearing out massed infantry, shielded by a wall of heavies, in a castle formation. I've thought about Bloat Thralls with Arcing fire, Mercenaries, Warwitch Sirens, Cephalyx Overlords, and pretty much every unit/model I could imagine, and of course I've had the answer in my list the whole time: The frigging Mortifier.

It's on the Harrower, and I've got two of them in every Mortenebra list. I've been so focused on the Harrowers as melee monsters, that I've totally ignored the ability to clear out a drop zone for the Scavengers. Mortenebras Recalibration feat is not restricted to melee attacks, so landing at least one of the blasts should be quite easy against most targets, and I've got the points available to add a couple of Warwitch Sirens to ensure available Focus for a boost.

So now I'm left with solving the issue with true brick casters, surrounded by highly armored multiple-wound models, but I guess the answer will come to me at some point. Either way, another piece of the puzzle is in place, and Mortenebra is one step closer to world domination.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pirate Queen Mortenebra; Part 2

I got my game in, against a Farrow army led by Arkadius. I know I read the card, and I even noticed the Crippling Grasp, but somehow that information leaked out of my brain, before I ran in the Satyxis Raiders to tie down a pile of ranged units. The result was the near annihilation of my squad, and one lesson learned. I can't really draw any sort of conclusions from this game, so I guess I'll have to try again next Monday.

In the end it didn't matter much, as he left an opening for a Scavenger, and Arkadius without Fury. I know he read the card, but he missed what flight actually does, and so Arkadius got beaked to death around thirty seconds after my turn two began. I know this game is supposed to be about knowing more than your opponent, and blocking his every angle of attack, but it still feels cheap, and I've been hit by Molik Karn enough times to know how wasted a game feels when you get taken down like that.

To make matters worse the Scavenger is even harder to stop, and most opponents have never even seen the model before, much less discovered the potential of the thing. Unfortunately I have to practice, so I can't just avoid playing with them. I promised my opponent that I'd go up against a Gunnbjorn list on Monday if possible, so he could rip me a new one. More diversity in matches means more experience, so I'll receive my lead enema and like it, if it means learning more about the game.

As always the Stalkers just never pull their weight, so I'll try cutting back to one of them. That means I free up some more points, and now I'll have to find out what I can bring. Maybe some Mercenaries could be fun, to add even more weirdness to the list.

Pirate Queen Mortenebra?

As you might have noticed, I've fallen in love with Bonejacks. This also means that our infamous Infernal Machines list, is less attractive, since I'll be bringing two Harrowers as my only heavies. After putting in two Helldivers, Scavengers, Stalkers, and Harrowers, I find myself with 12 points left over. I could add another 3-4 Bonejacks, but I got to thinking about units I could bring instead.

The Privateer Press forums had a few articles about this, but the ones I found all discussed Bane Thralls or The Withershadow Combine. I can see that Bane Thralls with recalibration would be devastating, and the WSC is always worth bringing, but neither of those choices really gave me synergy in a light jack assassination list. Suddenly I remembered I had quite a few Satyxis Raiders in my pile of random stuff, and sure enough I found a full raiders squad, with Sea Witch and Captain. Now why would I bring them?
  • Gaining ground; Mortenebra lists are actually rather slow when it comes to a general advance. Sure we can slingshot individual jacks across the table, but the rest of the army is doing a lot of walking. Satyxis Raiders may advance deploy, engage from ridiculous distances, and are Pathfinders. In a normal game this means, that if your opponent advances more than ten inches in the first round, he's within Raider range. This could prove valuable in zone control games, or simply to push back an enemy army to deny them control of the table.
  • Models.Actions.Focus; is the resource I work with on this blog, and a Mortenebra list is low on everything. It has low model count, low actions/round, and is strapped for Focus. This means that introducing a unit with a high amount of models (something like double the number of a tier list), a high number of actions (again due to numbers), that operates without spending Focus, is a great boon.
 There are also a host of minor benefits that Satyxis Raiders bring to a Mortenebra army.
  • Feedback; A point of damage on the Warcaster means Finisher on the Scavenger.
  • Knockdown; This will really mess up an opponent if triggered on a free strike.
  • Defense; Even more defense sixteen models, that care little about blast damage.
  • Damage; Power swell and Recalibration, makes for a lot of damage that round.
Satyxis Raiders engaging his lines, also require huge amounts of M.A.F to remove. He can't really shoot them when they're engaged, since they're at defense twenty, and with good placement he will mess up his own lines and activation sequences, in order to get rid of them. I'll be trying it out tonight if I can get a game, and I'll let you know if this actually works in real games, as well as the ones in my head. In any case it was a nice excuse to get my Satyxis Raiders stripped and based.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spotlight: The Scavenger.

The Scavenger received a lot of hate when it arrived. It's expensive, fragile, and requires a lot of resources to be effective, but a few casters can really make it shine.

The Scavenger is based on the Stalker chassis, so it's almost impossible to hit, but that also means we're dealing with another jack that dies to blast damage.
The Scavenger: Abilities
As always the Battlecollege will take you through the abilities. Wait, no it won't, because no one loves the Scavenger enough to actually write anything about him, so I guess I'm doing this myself.
  • Flight: The Scavenger ignores terrain, though not when it comes to Line of Sight issues. It also ignores intervening models when declaring a charge, but not when declaring a slam. I'll dedicate an entire section to the things you can do with flight later, but for now this will do.
  • Finisher: An additional die of damage against wounded models. This is what makes the Scavenger an effective assassin, and with a bit of support it will take down most casters you manage to catch.
  • Sprint: It rarely comes into play, but the ability to leave your nest (I'll explain that one later) to take down a solo, and then return to safety can be pretty neat.
That's it, it has no more abilities. It has a single attack that barely clears double digit PS, is about as survivable as a tough solo, and will set you back four points. It's not exactly appealing, so why do I love them so much?
The Scavenger: Assassinations
The Scavenger needs two things in order to work: Immunity to free strikes, and more speed. These abilities are found on several of our casters, but two of them stand out.
  • The Witch Coven of Garlghast: Ghost Walk will clear up the free strikes, and Infernal Machine will handle the speed issues (and remove the need to boost attack rolls). 
This allows you to send in a Scavenger from more than twelve inches away, and several casters will go down to three attacks with Finisher. If you upkeep Infernal Machine on a Scavenger with Admonia, and apply Ghost Walk with your Skarlock, you can actually send in two fully loaded Scavengers, and just about anything will die.
Casting Infernal Machine on a Scavenger, this time not for the +2 MAT, but for the +2 SPD and Terror. Running the Scavenger 18" causing Terror checks to EVERYTHING that got within 1/2 inch of the Scavenger (found here).
I've never thought about this way of using them, but with sufficient non-fearless models on the other side of the table, this could win you a game. Eighteen inches is a LOT of movement, and many units have average command scores, and a single unit failing could win you the game.
  • Master Necrotech Mortenebra: Spectral Steel will handle the free strikes, and Terminal Velocity will turn the Scavenger into a GOD KILLING MACHINE OF UNHOLY TERROR. 
With three Focus, Recalibration, and Terminal Velocity, the Scavenger will put four attacks on that enemy caster (with re-rolls on everything), and with Overrun it will do it from more than nineteen inches away.
The Scavenger: Free kills for everyone 
Usually when an assassination attempt fails, you'll be in a horrible position, and probably lose an important model (or simply lose outright), but with the Scavenger missile you only really lose that one model. This is like getting a free assassination attempt, and even if his caster survives, he or she will be low on health, and in horrible danger.
The Scavenger: Nesting
When I field Scavengers, I like to find them a nest. Their nest should be located centrally on the table, and grant them cover, since defense twenty Scavengers are almost impossible to hit. With sprint you can leave the nest to feed, and then return to safety, and await the opening you need to take down your opponent.
The Scavenger: Slams
The Scavenger can perform some interesting slams.  I don't think there are any other flying slammers in Warmachine, and there aren't exactly a lot of them in Hordes either. While the Scavenger will need Line of Sight to slam, it has impressive range, and enough MAT to do it reliably. It can slam across enemy models, as long as it can ignore/survive the free strikes (and draw Line of Sight), and with Mortenebra it can do it for free (with additional range and boosted attack rolls against living models).
The Scavenger: Alternate casters
While the Scavenger really appreciates the previously mentioned casters, there are others that could have some fun with the Scavengers:
  • Warwitch Deneghra: Though limited in range, the debuff queen can send in a Scavenger with The Withering and Crippling Grasp up. This allows the Scavenger three attacks with MAT 11 and PS 15, which should kill several casters.
  • Goreshade the Bastard: Shadowmancer allows Goreshade to apply stealth and Dark Shroud to his Battlegroup, which turns Scavengers into light jack versions of Bane Thralls. While he lacks the ability to grant them immunity to free strikes, he has the ability to run them as attrition models.
  • Pirate Queen Skarre: Defense sixteen and armor eighteen can survive a free strike or two, and a PS 16 Scavenger with Dark Guidance up, can take down squishy casters. I would probably leave them at home with her, but several others have claimed success with this setup.
  • Lord Exhumator Scaverous: Telekinesis allows for fourteen inch threat, and Ghost Walk solves the free strike issues. I've placed Scaverous in alternate casters, because he doesn't have the available Focus to turn the Scavenger into an effective assassination piece.
As you can see the Scavenger is far from the useless piece of junk it's made out to be, but I wouldn't recommend it with anyone but Mortenebra or The Coven.
The Scavenger: Summary
The Scavengers are loathed in my meta, and I'm currently taking down two casters for every Scavenger I lose. They strike from miles away, and leave nothing but broken corpses in their wake, while remaining universally underestimated and ignored.