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16 October 2012

The Scarab Farm in 6th - Wave List!

Nick speaking,

Well, from what I have seen and read, the Scarab farm has pretty much been written off in 6th Edition. I am not talking about a few Scarabs and Spyders here and there in a list, I am talking about using three maxed out Scarab units backed up by as many Spyders as you can get! I was reading an excellent article over on 3++ by Kirby a while back about the Metatransition of the Scarab Farm. The article was discussing how 6th Edition has effected Scarabs and the best way to use them now, which got me thinking about my old 5th Edition Scarab Farm list and how I could possible find a way to use my 60+ Scarabs now in 6th!

Kirby wrote...

"Right so let's look at what changes we have specifically for Scarab Farm...
  • vehicles are hit on a 3+ at worst. Scarabs chew through vehicles now. Think the Mummy series and imagine those human beings are tanks and those scarabs are...soulless scarabs. Ya, vehicles hate combat now and Scarabs are one of the best at it.
  • Fearless rocks - Fearless sucked before for Scarabs as they would often lose combat and then lose several more bases for their efforts. Anything which could ID them would wipe out entire farms in a matter of seconds but now, well now they are a great tarpit. They aren't going to kill infantry still but they can at least stick around and annoy the crap out of them.
  • movement & charge changes make Scarabs faster over a period of turns thanks to a 12" move plus RCL (Random Charge Length) but in a given turn, RCL reliability can bite Scarabs on the bottom. They generally aren't engaging infantry units though so Overwatch isn't that scary despite their poor statline.
  • Cover changes hurt Scarabs a lot - they used to be cheap with an annoying durability but now getting such a good cover save is harder. Still possible but harder. 
  • And Night Fight is no longer what it was. Although most armies generally had a counter to Night Fight through things like Searchlights, it's a lot easier to completely IGNORE Night Fight on some very specific units. You know, like a building Scarab farm which coupled with the above change, makes growing the farm a lot harder to do.
  • Spyders are scarier with RCL however since they got potential movement gains though cover reduction hurts them as well - they were pretty easy to get a 4+ for before base on 50%.
And then of course you have all the awesome changes for Necrons in general with Gauss & Tesla loving Hull Points, fake AV13, Jink saves, etc. So what's this mean for Scarab farm?
So if you were really looking to add something like this to your army, I'd be looking at keeping it as simple as possible. Scarabs have some pretty nice upsides in 6th edition and make a nice tarpit unit for your normal Necrons but if you go for a full farm you're losing a lot of extra firepower by not taking the Barges. Rather than consider this an army template, I'd more think of it as a plug-in for a basic Necron army. Hell, it could even be used as an Ally plug-in though you'd obviously only have one Fast Attack unit.

2x8x Scarabs

3x Spyders, 1 w/Gloom Prism

Totals: 395 points

You don't want Imotekh as he stops your own shooting. You don't want mass Spyders as that takes away from Annihilation Barges. You want two Scarabs so you have a 3rd Fast Attack slot for Wraiths if you want and you have a second layer of Scarabs. One works as well though, particularly if you're running it as an Ally plug-in. You're not fiddling around with all the extra goodies Necrons can get like a Writhing Worldscape C'Tan + Tremorteks (Crypteks with Tremor staves) because that takes points away from things which actually drop crap dead in the Necron codex. It's a simple mini-farm which can plug into lists if you're looking for a screening option and back-up MCs all for less than 400 points. Hell, the Spyders aren't even needed - I'd still rather another Annihilation Barge and let the Scarabs do their thing - pop some vehicles, delay the opponent." 

Most of what Kirby said what pretty much spot on, but even so, it doesn't mean I can make a full farm list work, does it? Well lets have a look at what I can come up with. First up, I am going to ignore my previous list, which rightly so, included Imotekh. As Kirby said the Stormlord list concept isn't going to work like it used to. So, with that said a new army build template is required, and I think a Wave template fits in perfectly for a Scarab Farm army and that it the direction I am going to go...

My list is going to be for 1750 points as that is the main level I play at, I have found that six Spyders is about the maximum that I can fit into the Farm at this points level and still have enough points left over for everything else needed, plus I only own six Spyders anyway! So the front Core of my army will be three groups of ten Scarabs, backed up by three groups of two Spyders. Back to the Scarabs themselves and the biggest benefit they now have is being Fearless, no more Fearless wounds means these guys will be around much longer, so Scarabs in numbers is what we are after...

Turn one and two will be used to bolster two units of Scarabs as the full Phalanx moves forward. These two large Scarabs units will be the first wave in the list and will probably end up out of range of the Spyders, so the Spyders will start to boost the numbers of the third group from turn three ready to send them out as the next wave. All three groups of Spyders will make the next wave behind them, spawning as many bases as robotically possible. So that's the Farm section of the list out of the way, and obviously I don't expect any of it to still be around at the end of the game, it's job is to push forward to kill and hold up as much of my opponents army as it can for as long as it can!

Running behind the Farm will be the next wave, sixteen Warriors and a Jacked up Overlord. I have had a huge success with this unit so far, with the Overlord being amazing in Challenges with Mindshackle and Labyrinth doing what they need to do very well, whilst his Resurrection Orb helps to keep the Warriors alive for longer. I have also added a Stormtek to the unit to help with any challenge issues. I don't want the Overlord attacks wasted due to being tied up in a challenge with a nobody! Following up at the rear, is the last Wave of three groups of ten Warriors. There main job it to offer some mid range fire support and to take any mission objectives at the end of the game...

The last wave is going to be nine deep striking Deathmarks. They will be wave two, three or four, depending on when they arrive from reserve, and they will be aiming to come down near or in my enemies deployment zone offering a wave from a different direction!

So what about Flyers? Well, I am not seeing many Flyers in my gaming group at the moment so I am not too concerned with them, if one turns up I will have to hang on and hope that the Warriors will throw down a lot of sixes! If I do find it becomes an issue, I can always group the Spyders into two sets of three and then drop some Warriors for an Annihilation Barge, or maybe even take an Aegis Defence Line with a Quad Gun.

Here is my final Scarab Farm Wave list and army deployment strategy. Of course it all depending on circumstances, but at least I will be going to the table with a plan of some sort...

1 x Overlord/Scythe/MSS/Weave/Labyrinth/Orb (180)
Royal Court:
1x Stormtek/Lightning Field (35)

10 x Warriors (130)
10 x Warriors (130)
10 x Warriors (130)
16 x Warriors (208)

9 x Deathmarks (171)

10 x Scarabs (150)
10 x Scarabs (150)
10 x Scarabs (150)

2 x Spyders/Gloom Prism (115)
2 x Spyders (100)
2 x Spyders (100)

1749 points 

WAVE 1 (turn 1 and 2)
10 x Scarabs (16x after Spawning!)
10 x Scarabs (16x after Spawning!)

WAVE 2 (turn 2, 3 or 4)
9 x Deathmarks

WAVE 3 (turn 3)
10 x Scarabs (16x after Spawning!)

WAVE 4 (turn 3 or 4) 
2 x Spyders 
2 x Spyders  
2 x Spyders 

WAVE 5 (turn 5) 
1 x Overlord 
16 x Warriors

WAVE 6 (turn 6+)
10 x Warriors
10 x Warriors
10 x Warriors


  1. Interesting post.

    While what Kirby said is correct. Scarabs themselves have got better in 6th because of damage on vehicles, fearless and the way wounds are allocated - just shift around wounded bases to the back.

    While I wouldn't never take Imoktek (because of night fighting), at least it is not so bad and all you're doing now is giving a cover save. If you position your units correctly, then you can get passed that cover save sometimes. I know you can only fire up to 36" now, which isn't a problem for Necrons as all most of their guns are 24" range. Much better than before and of course so easy to get a cover save for Scarabs. Speaking of Scarabs, Spyders, as you mentioned, get easier cover saves too.

    But, Kirby's main point and one which I agree on, is that Spyders and Scarabs take away slots for much better units i.e Canoptek Wraiths and Annihilation Barges. Like him, I would also rather take those units than Spyders or Scarabs. Plus, with Scarabs moving so quickly, you'll find they will be out of range while your Spyders linger behind.

    As you said about your list, it lacks anti flyer, but if you do not see many flyers, then it shouldn't be a issue.

    What is a issue is attacking in waves. If you come at the opponent in waves then it makes your army easier to deal with. Of course the opponent just needs the right tools for the right job. Really you will want to spawn as many Scarabs as you can and set them lose; they will act as a distraction and a first wave. Then you want everything else to be hitting after. By this time the Spyders should have caught up, and if Scarabs remain, then they can respawn.

  2. Glad you liked the post :) I totally agree with you regarding both heavy and fast slots having much better options, and Kirby is spot on from the 'mini farm' point of view. The idea behind my list of course, is more of a themed list of maxing out the farm, so no choice there. It is hard to find the right units to support the farm, and Kirby has suggested using Ghost Arks to me for more movement for the Warriors, which although is valid, for some reason I like to play the Farm as a foot list, it just seems the right way to go for the Scarabs, cinematic wise anyway.

    The main reason for the Wave concept! The Scarbs and Spyders have to work like that anyway, generating and advancing as they go, once in CC, the block behind can't shoot much anyway, so they are there to rapid fire the leftovers. Interesting though that Kirby also didn't like the Wave concept, so I will take another look at this ;)

    Got a battle report coming very soon with this list

  3. Well, there's no point spending points on Scarabs when you can get them for free. Why not be a little more reserved with your Scarabs and hold them back with the Spyders and keep bumping up the swarm. By this time your swarm and the opponent would have drawn closer. Then, unleash! My previous Necron list had Scarabs. As you know I use Ghost Arks. I ditched the Scarabs in favour of the Wraiths, which are significantly better. But, anyway, Ghost Arks, don't you have large Warrior units? I would consider 2-3 Ghost Arks with Warriors inside, maybe Lanceteks. Then a max size unit of Wraiths and add a Destroyer Lord. Of course, a D-Lord means no Royal Court. I would then take a single unit of max Scarabs and a unit of two Spyders; this breed into the Scarabs. Fill the heavy support with Annihilation Barges and sprinkle with your Deathmarks - tada! Yes, you're right about the wave concept. As I mentioned, Scarabs cannot help this. They are beasts and you really want them up front. You will live the Spyders behind because they move a lot slower. As mentioned, you could just send the Scarabs up (providing you use two units) as the distraction (works brilliantly with my Beastmasters and Wraiths) and have everything else come behind, however doing this is has little use for Spyders. Basically, the Spyders hold the Scarabs back and without Spyders you do not spawn Scarabs; it is catch 22. Looking forward to a bat rep.

    Subject: [idicbeer] Re: The Scarab Farm in 6th - Wave List!

  4. Lots of things to work on for this, so plenty of Scarab fun for me then :D


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