Wednesday, April 26, 2017

KOW - Forgotten Units: #1 Ratkin Scurriers

Any army list will have both internal balance and external balance. External balance is the comparative efficiency between races while internal balance is the comparison between unit choices within the same race.

KOW has very very good external balance and in the main good internal balance. However, there are still the odd units you never see (or hear about on the tabletop. I thought I'd do an occasional series where I look at units I come across. What I'm interested in are why you don't see them - is it lack of an army role or is it because for points there are better options.

Ratkin: Scurriers

I don't think I have ever seen them in a list, either live or via the magic of the internet. They come in Troop sized units only. Their key points are:
  • Infantry
  • Move 6"
  • Me 5+
  • Ra 4+
  • De 3+
  • Attacks 8
  • Nerve 9/11
  • Throwing Weapons, Nimble Vicious
A Troop of Scurriers will cost you 110 points and you can pay an extra 20 points to give them Light Bows. Like all Ratkin they can benefit from Rallying improving Nerve by up to 2.


So that's their stats. As a unit choice, I hate them. Not only are they very fragile with a De of 3 and low Nerve but IMO they fulfil no discernible function within the Ratkin army.

They have no speed advantage over Tunnel Slaves who you can buy a Horde for 100 points getting resilience with base Nerve 19/21 - to be honest they compare unfavourably with a Slave Regiment at half the price.

Hacksaws have much greater speed, similar Nerve (1 pt less) but have similar attacks (TC(1)) and cost 15 points less. I used Hackpaws a lot initially but dropped them as overpriced for their usual stomping ground on the flank. To me they are still considerably better than Scurriers and cheaper.

But what about the Ranged Attack I hear you ask? Again you are better served by other choices in the list.

Weapons Teams with Storm of Lead are 30 points cheaper, have a smaller footprint and also have Nimble. Moreover, they also are more likely to be around Hordes that boost their Nerve. Yes, they are a War Engine but neither unit will be long for this world if they get in Melee.

Clawshots are also better value - both in terms of battlefield role and points. With their Piercing (2) and extra 12" range the clawshots have the ability to both inflict wounds on high De targets and on low Nerve targets operating outside Inspiring range. I'm not in love with them - I see them as an expensive luxury - but again I think they are better than Scurriers.

Even the lowly swarm, Vemintide Regiments and Hordes outshine the Scurriers. For 90 points I can get an 18 Attack higher Nerve unit that is still both Nimble and Vicious.

For me I'd have any of these options ahead of Scurriers, with a preference for Slaves, Weapon Teams and Vermintide in that order. I'm sure others have a different order of preference but I'd be very surprised if any Ratkin player placed Scurriers anywhere other than towards the bottom of those choices.

Overall I think that the Scurriers have been significantly mispointed. I don't think we are talking +/- 10 points here. By my assessment I'd struggle to include Scurriers in my Ratkin army at 70 points based on their internal comparisons. That is a whopping 40 points lower than their actual price. Such a divergence is very rare in KOW where it's unusual to be out by much at all.

Are the salvageable? For me, not without a drop in cost. I'm surprised they don't have Vanguard which I think would fit their possible role. But even with that, 80 points seems marginal.

It's interesting that in WHFB the Scurrier-equivalent Night Runners was also a rare beast. Both games seem to struggle with creating a light skirmisher unit at an appropriate price and where there is a meaningful game role. Maybe it is just one of those unsolvable puzzles in life, a conundrum that beats even the best minds!

So what am I missing?


  1. Interesting.

    Bows with nimble and move 6 gives an effective range of 30" hitting on 4s with vicious. That seems to compare favourably with missile troops in other armies.

    My flamebearers troops are 105 points, not nimble and with a range of 18 and a move of 5. So their threat range is 23" and at that they hit on 5s. They have piercing 1, but no vicious. They get regen 5, but no rallying.

    Compared to flamebearers, the cost of the rats seems reasonable, but obviously they fill different roles (or not, in your view).

    1. This obviously doesn't address the internal balance issue, in which I can't really comment.

    2. Bows cost an extra 20 points so 130 points.

      To me a 130 point unit with 9/11 Nerve and De3+ is free points for an opponent.

    3. That might just represent an argument against archer troops.

  2. 110 points is indeed too much for what they have. +1 Spe, nerve of 10/12, Vanguard and Pathfinder might make them worth taking.

    I think all light infantry/peltast type troops should have Pathfinder as a general rule. So if they only got that and nothing else, they would still need to be 20 points cheaper at least.

  3. Yep these sorts of dual use units really suffer across the board in my opinion. The exception possibly being Dwarf Rangers which have just enough special rules compared to their counterparts to make them useful