Since I’m still using my Necrons on a regular basis right now due to this campaign I’m involved in, it seems only appropriate that this week’s Tabletop Tuesday takes a look at the smallest Necron unit there is – the innocuous Scarab.
Necron Scarabs have been there since the Chapter Approved beginnings of the force, and I still fondly remember when they were single models rather than swarms! Today their primary function hasn’t changed much, but they’ve become more of a versatile unit that isn’t necessarily locked into an anti-tank role.
Of course, tank hunting is where Scarab Swarms excel. Their Entropic Strike ability is interesting in that it lets them weaken tanks, bringing the armour value down enough so that lighter weaponary can penetrate it. I’ve found this to be a very effective way of bringing down heavier tanks, where even a few bases of Scarabs can chew the armour down to 9 or 8, allowing a squad of Necron Warriors or Destroyers to easily inflict multiple penetrating hits the next turn.
Against infantry, their Entropic Strike special rule makes them a surprisingly helpful unit in some cases. They’re not amazing (far from it!), but they can pose a threat to heavily-armoured units that Necrons can otherwise struggle with. Terminators are an ideal choice, since the Scarab’s low initiative of 2 isn’t a problem when their opponents are striking last with power fists, and even a single unsaved wound on a character will strip them of their 2+/5++ save. I should emphasize that I don’t see this as a ‘primary function’ of Scarab Swarms, but it’s certainly an option if there’s no tanks left around for them to demolish.
My only real problem with Scarabs is their location on the Force Organization chart. Unfortunately the Fast Attack slot for Necrons is pretty well-populated with other strong units, especially Destroyers and Wraiths in my case. Of course, nowadays this isn’t such a big issue what with Unbound lists, but I personally prefer sticking to the force org. chart, which makes Scarab swarms a bit more of a contentious choice. They’re cheap, and can certainly match up to the other units in terms of effectiveness – my Scarabs have eaten through battle tanks and Terminator armour with equal ease in the past – but at the end of the day, for myself at least, it boils down to priorities when I’m writing a list.
As ever, I’d love to hear your take on Scarab Swarms – are they still worth it, or is their tank-hunting nature superfluous next to the multitude of gauss weapons Necrons inevitably have? Leave a comment, it’s always great to hear from you :)