29 April 2011

Make Them Scatter

a guide to Scattergunner's by theummhmmguy

With the upcoming release of the Scattergunner Officer and Standard I have been asked by a handful of people how I run my Scattergunner to effectiveness. Since there are many loud voices on how bad they are it is time for me to set the record on the other point of view. That is the POV of those of us that not only like the Scattergunners but feel like they not only good, but an effective tournament worthy choice.

First of all they are quite possibly the best looking most character filled scuplts for a unit in the whole Trollblood army. Yes, this is quite a claim to make, but let's face it a unit full of grizzled Trolls smoking their stogies with their sawed off shotguns at hand ready to cut down their enemies is well... friggin fantastic.

On to their stats. I'll bet you can all guess what their DEF is and that they have tough, yeah I know everyone is suprised. Their ARM is a tad low for our Medium based dudes but it is the same as our beloved Fenn Blades. Average MAT and a P+S only slightly better than our Pygmy's doesn't really help them much. While they aren't as cheap as Burrowers they aren't overtly expensive either. Where they shine, and where much of the debate belongs is in their RAT and their 8" POW 12 spray attack.

Officer & Standard (Added 17 Aug 2011):
The Officer adds a few nice things to the Scattergunners while he is alive.  Combined Melee Attack and Quickwork.  Both these abilities help them immensely with one of their biggest failings, which is getting them tied up into melee.  With CMA they can now get out quite a bit easier and with quick work whomever led the CMA gets to take a shot with his gun so long as he is no longer tied up into melee.  Quick work even makes it tempting to hit them with the Fel Caller and charge first then spray later.

The best thing the officer adds that will stay even when he is gone is Clear.  Yup your sprays no longer hurt any of your own friendlies regardless of faction.  Now running them like a UA to another unit looks even better since you won't be taking your own guys out in the process.

The Standard is just that... a standard, and true to Troll form he has no weapon.

Lets talk about Spray attacks for just a minute. MKII made spray attacks VERY VERY GOOD!!!
Spray attacks target any legal target whether it is in range or not.  Targeting rules apply when you are choosing the primary attack target.
  • Every model that is under the spray template after choosing your target gets a separate attack roll
  • If the spray is boostable each attack must be boosted separately (unless you have something like Powerful Shot, ala the Gunbunnies from Searforge armies)
  • Spray attacks IGNORE; concealment, cover, Stealth, and intervening models.
  • Spray attacks do not suffer the 'target in melee penalty'
  • Spray attacks do NOT ignore elevation DEF bonus
  • Spray attacks CANNOT hit models they don't have Line of Sight (LOS) to.
  • Each model hit by a spray is directly hit and gets its own damage roll.
  • Spray attacks are considered simultaneous.
Thats right even though Scattergunners have a very average RAT, sprays ignore most of the ways models gain extra defense against ranged attacks.  This is good for a handful of reasons, so now that we have gone over a spray let me show you how I run my scattergunners.

It's no secret Scattergunners ARE less survivable than their medium based melee counterparts. Also, once they are engaged in melee they are hosed (The UA solves this issue nicely I might add). There are a couple of things to do to make those spray attacks really count, here are things I do to make the spray's count when I bring my gunners... which is often.

1) Bring a tarpit unit to hide your gunners behind.  There is much debate over which of our tarpit units are better Fen Blades or Kriel Warriors.  My opinion is bring them both.  Since I typically have a huge wave of tarpit infantry running up the field it is very easy to get my gunner's into position and relatively safe from melee.

2)A min unit is a good thing.  Sometimes, often in fact, a full unit of gunners takes up too much space.  Since I already have more than 20 tarpits in the way AND I'd like to keep the three extra points to make a max unit for a solo of some kind.

3)Set them up for success.  Bringing gunners and running them out front is a good way to watch them die horribly.  Bring things that help them and play to their strengths.  In case you hadn't noticed their strength is the SPRAY ATTACK.  I'll list some of the most effective ways to buff them below.

4)Don't worry about hitting your own tarpit models.  You brought the tarpit for a reason, if you can't spray past your own guys do not fret.  If the back of your own guy gives you the best primary target to hit the most enemies do not hesitate.  Shoot your own Kriels is the butt if you need to... they won't mind I promise.  Your tarpit is there to die, if you gotta kill one or two for a good shot that is not a bad thing since the Scattergunner often becomes backup tarpit model after he gets his shot off.

5)Their soft okay.  Remember they die easier than our Kriels.  Yeah I know we all know this but it's hard to remember it.  They need to be kept safe... really they do.

6)Even though their RAT isn't great, they still hit things better than many models with a better RAT.  Remember they ignore Stealth, Cover, Concealment, and the target in melee penalty.

7) Shoot them in the back OR Knock them down.  Yeah we know their RAT isn't super, awesome, fantastic.

8)You're bringing the buff anyway.  Look you don't want to build you army around these guys, HOWEVER.  If you are bringing the buff anyway they are typically as good a target as any.

Okay Trolls directly buff MAT many ways and very well.  RAT on the other hand is not something we do directly very well at all.  So here is my shortlist of good Synergy with Scattergunners.

Calamity ~ by Grissel - Perhaps the best buff available to Scattergunners is this spell.  +2 to attack and damage rolls makes them FANTASTIC.  RAT 7 POW 14 kills stuff well.  After a failed assassination attempt I once had Four gunners take down 15 models thanks to this little beauty.

Hoof It ~ by Grissel - Having a hard time getting them into position OR do you need them to disengage to try and buy them another round of attacks on your next turn.  With their decent SPD Hoof it is pretty nice on these guys allowing them to gain a flank and possible back strikes.  Make your enemies choose between turning to face the gunners or take them in the back to fend off your tarpit.

Fortune ~ by Primal Doomshaper - While it can be time consuming re-rolling each missed attack roll once helps them a lot.  The chance to hit again when you miss helps them a lot since they do miss more than they hit.

Marked for Death ~ by Grim - Not quite as effective as Calamity it still helps them where they need it most.  Lowering the opponents DEF by two is great.

Cross-Country ~ by Grim - LOS sometimes can reduce the number of targets a Scattergunner can hit (stinking forests and clouds)  Good thing is pathfinder and Hunter help them a lot.  Also it stacks well with Marked for Death.

Return Fire ~ by Grim - it only costs one fury.  So casting it multiple times may not be worth it.  But when you do watch how many times your opponents avoid  attacking them from ranged to give you a free spray.  More often than not this helps them with survivability, which is help they need.

Feat: Spread The Net ~ by Grim - Yeap his feat is good we all know it.  -3DEF combined with reducing their SPD may give them another round of shooting.  It will allow them to lay waste to most units even the multi-wound or high DEF kind.

Rockwall ~ by Gunnbjorn - yeap give them cover without hurting their own ability to attack.  I think we all know how good rockwall is.

Feat: Fortification - Giving them all cover, letting them ignore blast damage and making them immune to knock down really helps these guys.  Too bad its only once per game.

Surefoot ~ by Primal Madrak - Surefoot is good and these guys are typically close enough if you run them between your tarpit and Madrak.

Iron Flesh ~ by Borka - since they don't mind the loss in SPD and they really could use more DEF (what Troll couldn't?)  Iron flesh is pretty awesome on them.

Star Crossed ~ by Calandra - like surefoot this really helps them in an area that ALL trolls need help.  Yeap we're talking DEF again.

Feat: Good Omens ~ by Calandra - rerolling ones and twos makes you really happy you've got a gunner or three mixed into your lines.  Its good on sprays... really good.

Kriel Warriors and Fenn Blades - heck, any model that can get in the way is a good thing.  yeah you might shoot them in the back, but if they keep the gunners alive by doing something they will already be doing anyway then we are happy.

Kriel Stone - If you don't know go read the Krielstone Card then go look at the gunners ARM again.  I know it seems like a no brainer... but we all need reminders.

Chronicler - Make them harder to hit from range and make them pay for taking your spray away.  Chronicler helps all our infantry the same way.  Usually after the tarpit unit dies the Chronicler starts his work on the gunners.

Runebearer -  He gets selected note for one reason.  Some of the caster spells we have that help the gunners require you to hit an enemy unit.  And if you caster is close enough to said unit to actually do that then they are in trouble.  Enter the Runebearer.

Janissa & Runeshapers - Yeap Janissa's rockwall is super fantastic.  So is her and the Runeshaper's ability to knock a whole bunch of crap down.

(Added 18 Oct 2011)
Quicken ~ by Jarl - +2 Def from ranged is sweet on these guys, trouble is it is likely going on the tarpit instead.

(Added 18 Oct 2011)
Weald Secrets ~ by Jarl -
Veer towards a forest and/or rough terrain and now you can't see them as good.  This is a great use of this spell on a unit that is otherwise ignored by Jarls upkeeps.  You guys do play with forests right?  If you aren't, you should be.

(Added 18 Oct 2011)
Tactical Supremecy ~ by Jarl -
Another great use of tactical supremecy.  This spell is made for units like Champions, Sluggers and Scattergunners helps them with after turn repositioning, in the gunner's case this can help them aim and still move.

(Added 18 Oct 2011)
Rolling Fog ~ by Jarl -
The big deal here is that with the Officer and a Fel Caller Mat buff, they can now charge through the tarpit at MAT 7 (yeah I know they are only PS 9, but that is 19 for damage on average) then quick work a spray deep into their squishy back row support.

List & GameplayHere are a couple typical lists I use that include my Gunners.
Standard Army PCs: 35 / 35 30 models

[00] Grissel Bloodsong, Fell Caller (0 / 5 WB)
[02]  > Trollkin Runebearer
[10]  > Earthborn Dire Troll
[04]  > Swamp Troll
[03] Janissa Stonetide
[02] Stone Scribe Chronicler
[03] Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (3 grunts)
[01]  > Stone Scribe Elder
[04] Kriel Warriors (5 grunts)
[02]  > Kriel Warrior Standard & Piper
[03]  > Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower (3 Caber Throwers)
[05] Scattergunners (5 grunts)
[01] Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew

Brick variation
Standard Army PCs: 50 / 50  50 models

[00] Madrak Ironhide, Thornwood Chieftain (0 / 6 WB)
[02]  > Trollkin Runebearer
[06]  > Slag Troll
[05]  > Troll Impaler
[03] Janissa Stonetide
[03] Fell Caller Hero
[02] Stone Scribe Chronicler
[03] Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (3 grunts)
[01]  > Stone Scribe Elder
[04] Kriel Warriors (5 grunts)
[02]  > Kriel Warrior Standard & Piper
[03]  > Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower (3 Caber Throwers)
[04] Kriel Warriors (5 grunts)
[03]  > Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower (3 Caber Throwers)
[05] Scattergunners (5 grunts)
[08] Trollkin Fennblades (9 grunts)
[02]  > Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer

(Added 18 Oct 2011)
Quick Striking Jarl

Standard Army PCs: 50 / 50  35 models
[00] Jarl Skuld, Devil of the Thornwood (0 / 6 WB)
[02]  > Trollkin Runebearer
[10]  > Dire Troll Bomber
[05]  > Troll Impaler
[03] Fell Caller Hero
[05] Horthol, Long Rider Hero
[08] Trollkin Fennblades (9 grunts)
[02]  > Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer
[11] Trollkin Longriders (4 grunts)
[08] Trollkin Scattergunners (9 grunts)
[02] > Trollkin Scattergunner Officer & Standard

Okay here is where it gets simple.  It really doesn't matter what you bring with them this is how I run them.  I mix them into the back of the tarpit unit, sometimes is hard to remember where they all are... that works to your benefit as long as you don't confuse them for Kriel Warriors.

After the front line connects to the opponent and starts to die your intermingled Scattergunners can now go to town.  In most cases none of them will be dead and some of the closer ones may even get an aiming bonus.  It may not work for you, but typically mine kill more than their own points and free up my front line for a second wave of tarpit action.  They have even been known to clear good lanes for the Caber Tossers to really mess up their guys giving them better charge lanes.

The big deal here is them being able to move through your own guys, fell call their mat and charge through your front line then quick work some sprays even deep into the enemy lines... they will die on the next turn but their job is done at that point.Yeap every single one of his upkeeps are good on the gunners.  This one helps them get out of the way or find better position after the dust settles a little. This is probably one of the better uses of the spell, send them off on a flank or trough the forest (you guys SHOULD be playing with forests on your tables) and now they have no problem at all getting into position.

1 comment:

  1. Great writeup - the main thing I see is that spray actually CAN hit things they don't have LOS too. Only LOS blocked by terrain stops it (so 3" of woods or an obstruction of the appropriate height). Even if you don't have LOS to a small based model behind a beast, for example, they are still hit :-)