Year in Review Pt2: The Invasion of the Scarecrows

Part one

2020 was a shit year for gaming, wasn’t it?

I was really geared up for the tournament season. I couldn’t wait to unleash the Scarecrows and I wanted tons of photos of my opponents looking dejected at the force arrayed in front.

I managed two singles tournaments with the Scarecrows list before, y’know, *gestures wildly at everything*; Winter Wonderland and Erit Bellum achieving a total of 6 wins and 1 loss. I was also due to go to the first Scottish GT with the list the weekend that the first UK lockdown was announced.

I somehow managed to get Best Army at Winter Wonderland. That didn’t feel right. While the army is impressive as a whole, the individual miniatures are not. In my opinion there were far better and more deserving armies at the event.

I wish I did a Kanye on myself.

Notable Games

Winter Wonderland Game 1 – Ryan Callaghan – Varangur

His army list vs My army list

I was a bit annoyed going into this one. Not all players submitted lists by the deadline and the lists that had been received were published anyway, including mine. My first round opponent was one of those who didn’t submit by the deadline and when the list was finally submitted – after being able to see my list – it was pretty much as hard a counter as we were aware of at the time. It certainly looked like it was tailored against me.

Now this luckily wasn’t the case. Ryan was a newer player and wasn’t aware that there was a list submission deadline. However, I hope that in future this situation won’t happen and that lists won’t be published until they have all been submitted.

He was running Varangur with Huscarls, Mounted Sons of Korgaan, Snow Trolls and support pieces.

He did precisely what many opponents do when facing the endless Scarecrow list of doom. He hesitated. It cost him the win.

When he finally did engage after delaying for 3 turns, it was too late. He churned through my units and even though I did plenty of damage in response, it was ultimately too late for him to chew through enough. He didn’t have enough turns to get through my units and jump on the objectives. My Mindscreeches did, giving me a narrow win.

Erit Bellum 2 Game 1 – Jorge Cuerva – Nightstalkers

His army list vs My army list

This was a hard fought game. Jorge had a solid army and was simply able to grind through me. The lack of Inspiring, given we were both Nightstalkers, meant that lucky nerve tests hurt both players.

I had the pendant of retribution go off on a whole load of Jorge’s units but unfortunately I wasn’t able to capitalise and finish off the damaged units. It ultimately came down to a turn 7 where Jorge got a high nerve roll on an objective-capturing horde, giving him the win. My only loss.

The main issue I had here was the lack of the critical mass needed. Without the number of hordes I get in a 2000+ point game and the real estate they take up, Jorge was able to get around me easily, especially with the Void Lurker.

This game demonstrated to me that I really need that critical mass and board coverage, which I didn’t have in 1650 points on a 6×4 board. With a smaller board I would have been much better off.

EB2 Game 3 – Louis Cox-Brusseau – Northern Alliance

His army list vs My army list

I was overjoyed to play against Louis’s amazing Northern Alliance army. It is truly a beautiful army and easily the best KoW army I’ve ever seen. He recorded an episode of Counter Charge recently discussing it. I highly recommend it.

It was an absolute delight to play against it and Louis.

Louis’s army was a strong counter to mine. High defence and high volume of attacks makes for a bad time for me. However, Louis lost the game for himself by doing the common thing of hesitating.

I had sent the Crystal Pendant horde right down the centre and in his face where he couldn’t avoid it. Rather than just charge in, take it off, tank the damage and then deal with the rest of my army, he backed off and tried to shoot it off.

By the time he eventually did kill it, it was too late in the game. He finally charged during his last turn, and then to make it worse failed every single nerve test by 1.

We killed very little of each other than game, but he timed himself out (game turn wise). If he had aggressively engaged, tanking the Crystal Pendant damage, I have no doubt that he would have won.

EB2 Game 4 – Steve Hildrew – Ratkin

His army list vs My army list

Steve actually took photos and recounted his experience on YouTube:

This game can be summarised by this image sequence:

Like Louis and Ryan, Steve psyched himself out. He both overestimated and underestimated my army.

He overestimated the army as whole and was reluctant to engage but then when it came to the individual units, he underestimated how much damage they can do. In the video breakdown he makes a few key mathhammer mistakes, greatly underestimating how much damage Scarecrows can do (only Me5, right?) and losing main units because of it.

I’m going to go through how the Scarecrow army functions and why people underestimate how much the army kills in the next article.

On the subject of sportsmanship, Steve has apologised a few times for this game and how he felt his attitude was. I reject those apologies because they are not needed. Everyone flags a little in the last game of a long weekend. Steve’s not unique at all in that way. While he was a little defeatest, it wasn’t a negative experience. Steve is generally very chipper, so Steve being a little down is about the same as a slightly overjoyed regular person.

Thoughts After a “Year” of Tournaments

Two tournaments doesn’t feel like a year of tournaments, but sadly it is.

Sadly, for me, the Scarecrow list turned out to be not quite as good as our initial playtesting and theoryhammering had suggested. It’s good, but it has several key weaknesses.

Its strength lies in the surprising amount that it kills and the psychological effect it has on opponents. This was exemplified in the game against Louis where if he had done anything except run away then he would have won, but he fell into the psychological trap. You see this all the time whenever pictures of the army are posted – people being quick to attack the army as dickhead/unfun spam. Everyone who has played it (except for Steve with the reasons given above) has said they enjoyed it.

It is definitely beatable. There have been a couple of games where the dice just went my way for a couple of key rolls (notably vs Ross Diggle and Andy Marshall) but equally my one tournament loss was where the dice went against me for a couple of key rolls.

I would have loved to continue playing with this army for the rest of the year (depending on scoring system used) but it wasn’t to be. One thing that has come about is giving me the backbone of a massive Nightstalker army that scales fantastically up to 6000 points. A more balanced Nightstalker army is stronger and is likely what I’ll be using when the tournament scene starts up again, but it’s nice to have the option for big games or if I just feel like running it out again.

One thing that it is, is an absolute hard counter to artillery spam lists.

Fucking destroys them.

For the next article I’m going to look at what makes the army actually tick. Then I’m moving onto the frustration of my Undead army, followed by a look at my Ork constructions and finally finishing off with some personal thoughts.

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