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.


  1. OK forget the part where I asked why they were so good with Mortenebra. Understood ^^
    Still, even when you're not an assassination fan you can use a Scavenger to do so many other useful things.

  2. Totally fair :D ... I've had people write me about the potential with pSkarre as well, but I'd never thought about pGoreshade. I don't play either caster, so if you would like to write something about using it with Goreshade, I'd be happy to link to it.

  3. Updated: complete overhaul (05.11.2011)

  4. Other interesting casters you could add:
    eSkarre : She does basically the same as Mortenebra (Perdition = Overrun, Feat = Improved immunity to free strikes - that is to say immunity to all sort of attacks, triggering Finisher easily) and adds a few interesting things. First, Feat + Perdition + Charge (+ Sprint if you also get a solo in your melee range) + admonition means it will be hard as hell for the enemy caster to be safe from a second turn of scavenger biting.
    Any caster with ARM debuff / STR/damage buffs (Asphys, Goreshades, Coven...) : On a damaged debuffed jack, a Scavenger can finish the job impressively well before flying back to its nest.

    Also, on the Coven, Curse of Shadows deserves being mentioned as an alternative to Ghost Walk and/or as a damage output increase.