Drop-verse Faction Intro: The Scourge
Have you ever wondered what the headcrabs from Half-Life could do if they were given a full army? The Scourge answer that question with a definitive “holy CRAP!”
Welcome to the Scourge, the primary* villains of the Dropzone universe. They are parasitic space squids that are either attached to a living host, or end up trapped in a vehicle if they are unable to find a host before they get too old. Their existence outside of a living host is one of constant pain, so the ones in machines are not happy. Once inside a living host, they effectively stop the aging process of the host. Oh, and the host is in constant pain. Like, all the time. It doesn’t stop. When the Scourge parasite nears the end of its life, which is somewhere around 200 years, the host does start to re-emerge...completely insane. And then die. The point is, the Scourge really really suck. You really don’t want to be captured.
*Ok, maybe it's the space hedgehogs
The Scourge invaded Earth and the Cradle Worlds over 160 years ago at the current point in the Drop-verse timeline. There was no communication and no warning (besides that silly White Sphere that some humans listened to, but that’s for later). The Scourge victory was so swift and so overwhelming that they captured most human infrastructure effectively intact. They’ve been using that infrastructure, supplemented by Scourge technology to make...things. No one is quite sure what exactly the Scourge have been doing. They also made no effort to wipe out human resistance outside the main cities. After all, if you need a constant supply of hosts, why would you kill the whole herd? Humanity is cattle to the Scourge, and treats them with about the same level of contempt. At the height of the Reconquest, they did reach out to offer a ceasefire to the UCM, claiming the Shaltari had led the Scourge to humanity and were doing everything they could to prolong the Reconquest to bleed both humanity and the Scourge dry. That offer went over about as well as you’d expect. The Scourge promptly appeared over some UCM colonies, expanding the war.
From a design perspective the Scourge are an interesting mix between space zombies, space bugs, and organo-tech all in one. They rely heavily on speed, moving around the board at absolutely lightning speed, often preferring to engage at close range. Tactically, they want to dominate the tempo of the game, clear space to seize objectives, and force their opponents to react rather than act. It is a faction that rewards aggression. If that sounds like you, Scourge are a ton of fun to play. To quote my fellow BIG crew member, Snipafist, “at the end of the game, if everything goes according to plan, your opponent’s half of the table will be littered with burning debris and dead men. Hopefully some of them will even be theirs.”
In space, Scourge have some of the highest thrust values, but they also have some of the highest sig values and lowest armor. Oh and they have guns. Big guns, small guns, stupid guns, you name it, they have it. Scourge weapons are downright terrifying. The defining feature of their weaponry is the Scald keyword, which reduces armor values when within scan range. You’ll find it all over the place, be it close action, burnthrough weapons, or their nasty Oculus weapons. The Scourge have a tendency to favor firepower over survivability, which is most readily on display with their light cruisers. The light cruisers punch just like regular cruisers; the weaponry is identical to their regular cruiser counterparts. However, this comes at the expense of worse armor value, lower hull, and much worse point defense giving them a pronounced glass jaw feel. Their larger ships get really interesting. While their battleships are fairly conventional, Scourge battlecruisers and dreadnoughts have full cloak and stealth to make up overall lower armor values than other faction counterparts.
The Scourge do a couple things exceptionally well. Courtesy of the Scald rule, they excel up close and personal. In addition to the Scald bonus, they generally have higher point defense values and have some very nasty close action weapon values. If you want to play a fleet that just YOLOs right at your opponent and eats them at close range, Scourge can absolutely do that. Scourge also have some of the best bombers around. They completely outclass UCM, Shaltari, and Resistance bombers, either by virtue of speed, the Scald special rule, or both. PHR bombers are the only bombers that could be considered better, and that is quite debatable. The Scourge Hydra is also quite possibly the best carrier in the game for value. Every Scourge list I make seems to have two of them right off the bat. Finally, there is an emerging “Oculus Sniper” play style possible through the new Umbra battlecruiser, which extends the Scald range and potency of certain weapons. I haven’t seen it on the table yet, but it is not something that sounds pleasant.
On the ground, Scourge bring that same lightning fast play style with generally short range weaponry. Frankly, it’s hard to find a weakness in the Scourge roster. Their Hunter tanks are fast, hard to hit courtesy of being skimmers, decently armored, and hit like a truck. They can press the attack very hard. Not to be outdone, they also have walkers with high armor values, though at the expense of speed. Their monstrous walkers, such as the Oppressor Command Arthropod or the Eradicator Chamleopod are very hard to bring down. Their infantry are equally vicious. Eviscerator Assault Troopers are basically a squad of hulks smashing their way through everything. Demolishers are essentially the same thing, but with giant guns. Their basic Warriors, while every bit as vulnerable as UCM infantry, are still fairly good with their focus weaponry. Even their transports, something that traditionally doesn’t contribute much firepower in DZC, are terrifying gunships with their focus weapons. The major Scourge weakness has traditionally been fire support. Their indirect weaponry tends to be lacking and their weaponry tends to be short ranged. Their walkers, while plenty tough, are really more for holding a small area than supporting an advance because of that range limitation. However, new units such as the Slaughterer Ordnance Barge and the Annihilator Mobile Ordnance look like they could challenge even that old assumption. The point is, you can largely make a Scourge DZC army any way you like, though the emphasis remains on attack and speed.
I hope this helped you get acquainted with the Drop-verse’s resident body snatchers. If you have questions, feel free to jump into the Blissfully Ignorant Gaming Discord at https://discord.gg/77EQzSF. We’ll do our best to answer your questions there. Thanks for stopping by!