We will rise again …. Evolution of the Necrons Matt Kirk Blog 5: “The Patent Pending Scarabulator Mark I”

25 Jan

Prewarning: This blog contains the assumption about scarab rules that you roll to melt armour and then roll to penetrate afterwards which is how I have been playing it. If the FAQ comes out and says differently I am prepared to eat all of these words and rewrite this whole section. That’s commitment! Until then … we have to play it somehow and this is what I’ve been going with. Enjoy….

So I am playing this game against my friend Paul right and he plays Orks with battlewagons and death-rollers and all sorts of horrible nastiness inside them. Against that I’ve got these 20 scarabs to get rid of as many vehicles as possible. It’s all good though, his greenskins of destruction in all their scary looking vehicles are surrounding his KFF in one big group and are about 19” in front of the scarabs (sweeet). There are 2 battlewagons, 2 truks and one looted wagon and they have all moved fast so it’s now or never with my scarabs. I have to accept that the scarabs are doomed if they attack but unless I immobilise this ork army there are gonna be a lot of orks with their proverbial hands in my veritable robot cookie jar of squishy warrior units. Attack it is … just one thing …. How many go on each vehicle? How many vehicles can I actually take out? Is 8 too many or too few to expect a wrecked result? Can I put some on the looted wagon or are they all going on the battle-wagons? How do I minimise the amount of orks that are going to be hurtling towards me next turn?

My indecision in this regard, and subsequent error of putting too many attacks on the looted wagon caused my warriors and immortals to be on the receiving end of a pretty nasty Waaaggggghhhh that game and by turn 3 we had to call the it due to a lack of Necrons on the table since I was trying out a warrior heavy build which now had no warriors left. Most disappointing.  At the time though I was pretty stuck not knowing if I had been very unlucky or whether it was just a silly vain hope that my scarabs could do that much damage.

I went home and tried to backtrack some scarab related numbers as follows:

Feel free to skip out the next bit if numbers don’t interest you very much I will include a line break and some *STARS* so that you can go straight to the conclusions of my ruminations.

I wanted to start with the landraider moving flat out because that was the worst possible scenario for the scarabs. I also wanted at least one wrecked result so I need to get 3 penetrating hits on average to achieve that. Then I worked out how many rolls I needed on average to achieve those hits so … scarabs penetrate on a … well it could be anything!! That’s the problem … it is difficult to predict how many penetration rolls you will need to make when the armour has gone down by an as yet undefined amount.

(cue several hours playing with spreadsheets)

So if I want to wreck a landraider moving 12″ I need to go through the following sort of logic when choosing how many scarabs to throw at it.

16 Scarabs = 80 attacks = 13.33 hits = Armour reduced by 7 (6.67 on average so rounded up) = 4.44 penetrating hits = 1.48 wrecked results. = On average you will wreck a landraider one and a half times.

15 Scarabs = 75 attacks = 12.5 hits = Armour reduced by 6 on average = 2.08 penetrating hits = 0.69 wrecked results = on average you will not wreck a landraider.

Therefore the “sweet spot” for me when charging scarabs at a fast moving landraider is 16 scarabs to get me in with a good chance. If all I want to do is immobilise it though the good news is 14 gives me the sweet spot there.

I went through this A LOT of this sort of thing on a spreadsheet in order to try and find the sweet spots for scarab charging where on average that number would be enough scarabs. The good thing about what I found is that the graph is exponential which means that when you go past that sweet spot the chances of getting a wrecked result go up pretty quickly. For example if I add 4 more scarabs to the earlier landraider that had moved 12″ to make it an even 20 then on average the landraider is wrecked 2.7 times. This means then that for a 25% increase in scarabs they become 50% more effective. All to the good.


This is very nice and makes the scarab sweet spot (SSS) an effective minimum for how many scarabs to throw at a vehicle to wreck it on average and you can then just add a few for luck to fairly significantly increase the odds. I thought the people reading this blog may find it useful to have an idea of the sort of numbers that give scarabs wrecked and immobilised (to work out the results against open topped you just need to use the immobilised results which equate to the same thing) whether you are a necron player or someone who doesn’t know whether to risk just moving a landraider 6″ this turn so you can fire more weapons. So here are the results:

The Patent Pending Scarabulator Mark I

Rear Armour

Moving 7+”

Moving 1-6″


AV10 – Wrecked




AV11 – Wrecked




AV12 – Wrecked




AV13 – Wrecked




AV14 – Wrecked




AV10 – Immobilised




AV11- Immobilised




AV12- Immobilised




AV13- Immobilised




AV14- Immobilised




What it shows very quickly is that it doesn’t matter what your armour is – if you sit still my scarabs are gonna do you. On average 3 scarabs will take down anything that stays still. If I have 19 scarabs and you have a large number of tanks as bubble wrap which you didn’t move last turn then your tanks are seriously in trouble. Also it’s worth remembering that with lots of rapid firing gauss on the table and AP- tesla guns there is a nice chance of the necrons immobilising things. This means that even if the vehicle moved last turn I can shoot at it with Onion Bargies and warriors (omg it’s catching) to immobilise and then I am only putting 3 or four scarabs on the vehicle to wreck it.

The other side of that which is great news for vehicle heavy armies is that if you are mobile and move 7+” every turn it is going to seriously minimise the damage the scarabs can do. In this regard it feels like Deldar A10 vehicles are actually harder to wreck than landraiders that only moved 6″.

Oh and one final piece of advice … don’t try and make up little rhymes to remember things from this chart. Please either ignore it completely or just get a sense of likelyhood from it that will help you get your head around these little blighters when playing your games. To do any more would be sad.

Here Endeth the Lesson


If vehicle Armour 13 you be,

and only six inches you went,

five little bases of scarabs you see,

is plenty to leave your wheels bent (so bent, yes plenty to leave your wheels bent!)


We’ll Be Back!


6 Responses to “We will rise again …. Evolution of the Necrons Matt Kirk Blog 5: “The Patent Pending Scarabulator Mark I””

  1. Mark Perry January 25, 2012 at 14:02 #

    I do think that Scarabs are seriously nasty. Only the difficulty in obtaining models is stopping more people from this kind of abuse. You need an awful lot of warrior boxes for 20 scarab bases!

  2. Icepick January 25, 2012 at 14:15 #

    Just thought I would point out, the FAQ HAS been updated, and Scarabs DO reduce armour first and then roll for penetration, as you’ve assumed.

    • 40KUK January 25, 2012 at 16:26 #

      They are awesome and aginst some builds, especially at this stage in 5th edition they can be simply game winners. Many builds just can’t deal with them.

      But I’m not not sure about the whole scarab farm thing, especially the one that is being touted in the states. It will be awesome in the certain battles and def has the ability to win big which you need in a tourney, but then there are some builds which it is not suited to.

      • Matt Kirk January 25, 2012 at 16:40 #

        I agree, I think the scarab farm as well as being a very rock,paper, scissors build would be pretty boring to play. Still though, even with one unit of scarabs and Spiders like I have it pays to know when to “release the hounds” as quite often (against many armies) the counter charge is horrendously bad for the scarabs. Everyone seems to have a least one template these days and S6 flamers such as incinerators or famestrikes ….. very very very bad.

      • Digital Unicorn January 31, 2012 at 12:48 #

        Not to mention, almost every weapon in a GK razor/dread spam army doubles them out and ignores their armour.

    • Matt Kirk January 25, 2012 at 16:37 #

      Good call, sorry about that. I wrote it a couple of days prior and forgot to remove the first bit. My bad. 🙂

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