Heavy Gear Spotlight – Scimitar

About Heavy Gear Spotlight

hgb-spotlight-lightning-scimitar

Code Name: Scimitar

Faction: The North

Manufacturer: Northco

Height: 9.2 meters

Weight: 49,450 kg


Baconradar’s Summary: A manoeuvrable gearstrider with unique and devastating weapons

Strengths

  • Uniquely powerful primary weapons

  • Climber is extremely useful for getting the elevated modifier and general manoeuvrability

  • AR 10 at 5/3 makes it virtually immune to many non-AP weapons

  • Brawler:1, a HVB with reach:2, a linked MSG, and climber make it one of the best melee units in the game

  • 3” silhouette and climber means you can see well over most cover

  • Some very useful variants and upgrades, including one that reduces cost, and one that carries a candidate for best gun in the game

Weaknesses

  • Secondary weapons fall short of the power of the primary weapon, making it harder to get the benefit of 2 actions

  • As an expensive single model it’s vulnerable to sensor jamming ECM attacks or haywire weapons

  • Lacks the versatility and board coverage of multiple cheaper models

  • Snub cannon (*SC) competes with melee and does not synergise with secondary weapons

  • 3” silhouette compares badly with other heavy armour and makes it much harder to find cover or avoid lock

Best Uses

  1. Tank Hunter: The most obvious use for the Scimitar right off the bat is clear from those sweet armour piercing weapons. It carries a custom snub cannon with extra PEN and AP which I will hereafter call the Very Heavy Snub Cannon (VHSC), a LATM, and the bizarre combination of both linked MSG and a reach:2 HVB. Wait, MSG and HVB? Why ever use the MSG? Well it’s actually a better weapon if you’re against AR:10+ and are unlikely to get a MoS over 4, because it does the same damage via AP and has slightly better rolls due to the skill bonus from linked. In fact using the MSG you can really hurt an Aller or Visigoth, even going at top speed to get to melee. With 2d6 you have a 65% chance of doing 1+ damage, 49% of doing 2+, 34% of doing 3+, 21% of doing 4. You have an OK chance to cripple the heaviest armour in the game with a single chance. Pretty great. Of course you can’t get the elevated modifier for melee, but climber is still extremely useful in getting to melee range and it’s superb for the ranged weapons. So what about the VHSC and LATM? Well the VHSC suffers from the same problems as a bazooka, being short range and inaccurate, only more-so. It’s devastatingly powerful when it hits (although the AP is useless against anything short of 12 AR) but for several turns it will be out of range, then when you get there it’s still pretty inaccurate. The saving grace for the Scimitar is the climber trait, which allows you to hang on the side of any bit of instance terrain within range of the target and get that vital extra d6. Remember that your chances of hitting against 3d6 PI:5+ (an average target you’ll be shooting at with this gun) go from 30% on 1d6 to 50% on 2d6 – a really significant jump. Because you’re so good in melee and tanks tend to suck there you’ll often skip right through VHSC range into melee, which is a bit of a downside, but there are definitely times you’ll be able to get a decent VHSC shot but not melee. Climber also matters quite a bit for the LATM, which is far less powerful than the VHSC but much more accurate and usable and still quite a nasty weapon (if a bit underwhelming for a gearstrider). Firing the LATM indirect in response to a Forward Observation (preferably with TD:1) doesn’t allow for the elevated modifier, but firing it direct on your own does, and it’s not hard to get 3d6 rolls relatively often. In this role the Scimitar’s plan is to move at top speed more or less every turn, firing from elevated positions along the way with the LATM and MAC at targets of opportunity, both of which are fairly accurate, but ultimately looking to get into VHSC and melee range of some heavy armour. The real problem is that a LATM and a MAC each turn, even from elevation, isn’t a great offensive output.
  2.  

    Assault: Another pretty clear role when you’re rocking very good melee, great armour, good speed and manoeuvrability for your size, and a devastating short range weapon. Just as in the Tank Hunter role the Scimitar wants to get into close range quickly so it’s likely to move at top speed, though once it gets where it’s going it’s much more likely to be able to switch to combat or even braced (no specific tank to chase). Having climber will allow you to reduce the amount of cover the enemy can use, but you still struggle against massed enemies and ECM protected targets because of a lack of AE weapons. This is an issue some other assault units also face, but they tend to be more specialised or have particularly accurate weapons to make up for the shortcoming. Ultimately the Scimitar, more than any other gearstrider and arguably more than the majority of models in the game, is situationally good at this role depending on the actual terrain layout, because it really does need that elevation modifier.

Variants

Scimitar Feral: For -2 TV you swap your VHSC for a custom grenade launcher I shall call the Very Heavy Grenade Launcher (VHGL). This is an truly excellent deal. As discussed above I’m not terribly sold on the VHSC, which has advantages over the VHGL only in terms of AP against targets 12 AR, an extra point of PEN, and the useless anti-structure trait. The VHGL on the other hand gives you better range, the ability to fire indirect (though this is rarely relevant for the scimitar), and crucially both blast and AE:4, giving you a weapon against massed enemies, agile targets, and ECM defence – all common problems for an assault unit. I would prefer the VHGL over the VHSC even at equal cost, so that 2 TV saving makes this deal unmissable if you’re fielding the Scimitar in anything other than a strictly tank hunting role. It’s such a good weapon, in fact, that even with the rather anaemic LATM and MAC secondaries it transforms the Scimitar into a top-tier assault unit. Remember that it is usually trivial to get that elevated fire bonus, so at combat speed you will often be rolling 3d6 against your primary, who gets no cover save, agile trait, or ECM, and 2d6 on each secondary within 4”, who are likely to be in the same boat. Even outside of optimal range of 12” it’s still worth firing on clusters of gears, or single targets that lack the heaviest of armour. The improved range also reduces the pressure to get as close as possible which gives you the opportunity to take shots at combat speed, for which both the LATM and MAC will thank you.

Scimitar Assault: For +2 TV you upgrade your LATM to a MATM. This variant wins the award for least appropriate name, since it’s a worse choice for assault duty than the stock model (and certainly the Feral). Beefing up the underwhelming LATM is good and paying 2 TV isn’t unreasonable to do so, but this variant has the exact same problems as the stock model – it very clearly wants to get close and fire the VHSC or engage in melee, not to position itself to fire its ATM in either missile or indirect mode. Clearly the Scimitar Assault is a tank hunter and for that purpose the MATM is genuinely great, particularly when fired indirect in response to a FO with TD:1 (which are readily available for the north thanks to the super cheap Ferret), but that’s only one of your actions and slows you down on your way towards close range. Then there’s the fact the MATM has a minimum optimal range of 12” so there’s no overlap with the VHSC and if you get to melee you might as well be using the stock model. I’m not a big fan, though I think if you’re going pure tank hunter this variant is probably more cost effective than the stock, if only slightly.

Scimitar Lightning: For +1 TV you swap your VHSC for a HPL. Whenever I see a *PL of any kind I start to salivate, because that entire weapon type is utterly, utterly brutal. The sheer amount of PEN it is able to project accurately and at long range (thanks to advanced) is terrifying. Then you realise it has AE:2, so you can often get 2 models with one shot. Then you realise it has blast and so negates both cover and agile. This HPL, unique amongst all (released) models, is arguably the best single weapon in all of Heavy Gear Blitz. Yes, it’s that good. Let’s take a moment to compare it with the VHSC it replaces. The VHSC has a single advantage, which only applies against models with 12 AR. The HPL meanwhile has better range, accuracy, efficacy against ECM, efficacy against agile, efficacy against cover, and efficacy against multiple targets. I don’t often say this, but there is simply no reason to take the stock model while this exists. So what does having this uberweapon mean for the Scimitar? Well as an advanced weapon the HPL is effective from 48” all the way down to melee range, so while the important thing is to make sure you can fire it effectively each turn, there’s no harm in moving closer while doing so. That said, just getting elevated and firing the LATM and HPL every turn is, I would argue, worth the points. Does this make you a tank hunter, then, or an assault unit? Well the truth is with the HPL you can do both more effectively than the stock model or the Scimitar Assault and the excellent range of your weapons makes you a fine central anchor too – able to respond to any essentially any threat outside of elite infantry.

Rotary Laser Upgrade: For +1 TV you swap your *ATM for a MRL (FT, link). Obviously this should never be taken on a Scimitar Assault, so the comparison is really between this and the LATM. In general I would consider a MRL to be very slightly better than a LATM, even more so when it’s both Fast Turret and linked (which, because of the high accuracy of the MRL, is actually relevant). But context is important, and here the context very clearly favours the MRL, which synergises perfectly with the preferred roles of the Feral and Lightning. Since these two variants are clearly better than stock or Scimitar Assault, I’d pretty much always take this upgrade unless I could be sure of strong TD units with a good chance of flanking relevant targets, or knew I needed the Scimitar to be a tank hunter at range. With this upgrade the Scimitar Lightning becomes an absolute murderer of anything without the heaviest of armour and candidate for one of the single scariest units on the battlefield.

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