Skorpius Disintegrator Review/Analysis – Mechanicus Mathematical Musings Part 2

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Hey! Ellarr here following up after last week’s look at the Dunerider. This week it’s time to take a look at the Disintegrator and see how it stacks up against the competition within the faction. To recap my approach when assessing the new tank: I’m going to start by looking at the weaponry and how efficient it is on a per-target basis, and then compare that to similar options within the Adeptus Mechanicus faction to see if it comes out on top. In addition to that, the special rules and other factors will be considered (including battlefield role, mobility, toughness). Finally, I’ll provide some thoughts about using the Skorpius on the tabletop.

Let’s start things off with a look at the datasheet:

The first thing that stands out is the sheer amount of Dakka on this thing. Three Cognis heavy stubbers and the Disruptor missile launcher put out what amounts to almost an entire 5-man squad’s worth of rangers’ (with a couple of upgraded Arc rifles) output by itself. Add on the choice of the Ferrumite cannon and Belleros energy cannon and the Disintegrator appears to have a lot of punch for its points cost at first glance. Unfortunately like many Imperial vehicles this beast lacks an Invulnerable save, which is potentially devastating as high-powered Anti Tank weapons will hone in on these as a target from the get go and potentially take them out before they have a chance to bring that firepower to bear. Following the Castellan points increase in April, there’s been more of a place for vehicles like the Disintegrator and the Predator, but their place in the 40k metagame is still uncertain.

So the Skorpius Disintegrator is mobile and well-armed but lacks any real defence against high-powered weapons. Before we discuss using them on the table, let’s put its guns through their paces.

 

Doing the Maths On the Disintegrator Weapons

Let’s start off with the weapons common to both builds of the Disintegrator:

Weapon

Weapon TypeStrengthArmour Piercing (AP)Damage

Cognis Heavy Stubber

Heavy 3401

Disruptor Missile Launcher

Heavy D67-2D3

I won’t spend a great amount of time discussing the Stubbers today, but with three of them we can expect to see this sort of output against it’s common targets:

Average Damage Inflicted, by Target (Three Cognis Heavy Stubbers)

Termagant

GuardsmanFire WarriorOrk MarineTerminator
3.32.72.02.50.7

0.5

If you want a more detailed breakdown, take a look at my previous analysis of the Dunerider here and multiply the numbers by 0.75 to get accurate readings. What is worth noting here is that this is purely added value – we’re certainly not taking the Disintegrator for its Stubbers, but it’s quite nice to know that on average they will do some respectable damage to typical chaff units we can expect to go up against on the table. Don’t forget about these guns!

Now we’re on to the bread and butter of what we want this tank for: Its effectiveness against armoured targets. For the purposes of this review I’ll use these targets for our testing:

PredatorLeman RussArmiger Knight (with 4+ Invulnerable)Crimson Hunter Exarch
Toughness78786
Wounds1112122412
Armor Save3+3+3+3+3+
Invulnerable SaveNoneNone54+None
(-1 to be Hit)

These targets were primarily chosen for their spread of stat lines and their prevalence in the overall metagame. There may be other targets you would point the Missile Launcher or the main gun at, but this gives us a good baseline to assess from. If we throw all D6 rockets into these things, on average they will do the following:

Average Damage Inflicted, by Target (Disruptor Missile Launcher)

PredatorLeman RussArmigerKnight with 4++ InvulnerableCrimson Hunter Exarch
1.61.01.60.81.6

While these aren’t numbers to write home about, they are still remarkable simply because it’s added value – I will be adding the above figures onto the unsaved wounds inflicted by the main weapon when comparing them to similar Mechanicus options. Is this strictly correct? No, you may find yourselves in game situations where splitting fire is advantageous, particularly when using the Belleros energy cannon to fire indirectly. But our simple mathematical analysis can’t account for every possible game state, so let this serve as a disclaimer and we’ll move on to the main guns:

Weapon

Weapon TypeStrengthArmour Piercing (AP)Damage
Ferrumite Cannon

Heavy 38-33

Belerros Energy Cannon

Heavy 3D3 (Indirect Fire)6-12

Let’s get to it!

Average Damage Inflicted, by Target (Ferrumite Cannon)

PredatorLeman RussArmigerKnight with 4++ InvulnerableCrimson Hunter Exarch
3.32.52.71.52.5

That’s not too shabby! What’s good about these numbers is also their consistency, as a lot of high-powered anti tank weaponry suffer from that most infuriating of attributes – randomness. The Ferrumite Cannon has neither a random number of shots (D3, 1D6, 2D3 etc…), nor random damage (D6 that always finds a way to roll a 1 when it counts), which means it’s likely to deliver consistent results when you are shooting with it. Consistency is very important when assessing where and how to use your larger, more powerful weaponry as it becomes more meaningful to get an accurate idea of how much damage your choice is going to count for – variance is the enemy in these situations. The downside is that putting 1.5 Wounds on a Knight isn’t particularly enticing, until you remember that it’s about twice as effective as a single lascannon shot, but with more consistent results.

Average Damage Inflicted, by Target (Belleros Energy Cannon)

PredatorLeman RussArmigerKnight with 4++ InvulnerableCrimson Hunter Exarch
1.31.31.31.31.5

Again, we have a gun that is certainly consistent! This is largely because as the weapon is only S6 and AP -1, its effectively requiring the same to Wound rolls and the same save rolls for each of these targets (with the exception of the Crimson Hunter Exarch). Overall, these are somewhat disappointing numbers. What this tells me is that we might want to consider using the Belleros against infantry models, so let’s see how it fairs against the unit spread used in last week’s Dunerider analysis:

Average Unsaved Wounds, by Target (Belleros Energy Cannon) – Remix edition!

Termagant

GuardsmanFire WarriorOrkMarineTerminator
3.32.82.22.71.3

1.8

Okay so this is more like it. In fact, this gun seems perfect for taking out Mortar teams, as the 2 damage gun means we’re very likely to kill 3 mortars in a single volley. It would appear that the Belleros is quite predictably, best used to fire at smaller troops with objective secured hiding out of line of sight and trying to play the tactical game. If you recall from last week, I had discussed that one of the bigger weaknesses of Adeptus Mechanicus armies was the lack of indirect fire, so this slides in quite nicely as a cheap (111 points with the Belleros) artillery piece to fulfil a need. Will we be happy to use this against bigger tanks? Not really, but the numbers are respectable enough that you might use it to finish off weakened vehicles in a pinch.

So having acknowledged that the Belleros Disintegrator isn’t really worth it against tanks, let’s proceed with our review by comparing the Ferrumite Disintegrator’s anti-tank capabilities to some of our other notable options for the task. In order to make fair comparisons, I will composite the average unsaved wounds from the rockets and the cannon together into one handy table, like so:

Average Unsaved Wounds Inflicted, by Target (Ferrumite Cannon & Disruptor Missile Launcher)

PredatorLeman RussArmigerKnight with 4++ InvulnerableCrimson Hunter Exarch
4.93.54.32.34.1

Comparison to Similar Options

Much like last time, I’ll be comparing the above numbers with units of roughly similar costs to our Ferrumite Disintegrator (116 points) in order to draw some conclusions about the overall efficiency within the context of the faction. This week, I chose Kataphron Destroyers (3 with overcharged Plasma, 144 points), an Onager Dunecrawler (Neutron laser, 117 points), and the Ironstrider Balistarii (2 with Lascannons, 160 points). I realise that these points don’t compare directly, but we’ll try to draw some points per wound conclusions afterwards – patience!

 

PredatorLeman RussArmigerKnight with 4++ InvulnerableCrimson Hunter Exarch

Skorpius Disintegrator (Ferrumite Cannon)

4.9

3.5

4.3

2.3

4.1

Kataphron Destroyers (Plasma Culverins, overcharged)

5.8

4.4

4.7

2.6

3.9*

Onager Dunecrawler (Neutron Laser)

3.6

3.6

2.4

1.8

2.7

Ironstrider Balistarii (Twin cognis Lascannon)

5.25.24.13.1

3.9

*One thing to note here: It is a terrible idea to fire overcharged Kataphron Destroyers at any plane with -1 or more to hit for the simple fact that you are likely to kill at least one Destroyer from your squad of three if not more in the attempt, though this will be mitigated if you are using the Noospheric Mindlock Stratagem in a Servitor Maniple Specialist Detachment.

Things seem reasonably balanced at first glance: The Onager Dunecrawler comes out dead last on this table, which is surprising considering the perception of it as an efficient platform by the player base at large. These numbers don’t tell the whole story though – we should work out how many points we’re paying for each unsaved wound when firing all equipped weapons at the same target. After taking an average of our two most common platforms, the Predator & Leman Russ, we get this:

Points per wound caused, by firing unit

Skorpius Disintegrator

Kataphron DestroyersOnager DunecrawlerIronstrider Balistarii
254131

31

I was expecting this – the Disintegrator with the Ferrumite Cannon is really quite something offensively. Whereas the Destroyers and Balistarii put up nice numbers, their expense for that firepower hurts them. The problem with the Disintegrator (and it is the elephant in the room) is its lack of resilience; if your opponent wants to take it off the table their really isn’t that much you can do to stop it outside of taking multiples. That said, within the Adeptus Mechanicus faction there simply isn’t a better option out there for long range punch than the Disintegrator, and it’s a pretty good punch.

Dunecrawler or Disintegrator?

This is an interesting question that I think will vary based on who you ask, but will ultimately come down to your own game philosophy. Do you value resiliency? You likely want the Dunecrawler, whereas if you like to roll dice and blow shit up, the Disintegrator is going to produce some memorable moments. And while the Dunecrawler moves 8″, it’s still significantly slower than the Disintegrator — that extra 4″ of movement can help move around terrain and keep the Disintegrator away from melee opponents, an important bonus since neither vehicle has the FLY keyword. Depending on your list, you’ll also consider the Icarus array for the Dunecrawler, as the Dunecrawler’s laser is only going to be noticeably better against targets without an invulnerable save.

So let’s say you’ve splashed out on two or three boxes of the new kit, how should we use them? There are really two different directions you can go:

  • You maximise their offensive potency by pairing them with Belisarius Cawl for his aura that gives rerolls to hit and castle up. Cawl makes the Disintegrators significantly more efficient (increasing their chances of hitting by about 25%), and using them in this way helps play to the strengths of the faction. This is the more traditional usage of tanks you would expect from Admech, which to be honest doesn’t really take advantage of the mobility of the Disintegrator, but it would allow you to just plug and play this unit with more traditional lists. Running it like this I would be more interested in the Ferrumite Cannon as the main armament, ending up with a castle that looks something like:
    – Cawl
    – 2 Neutron Laser Dunecrawlers
    – 1 Icarus Array Dunecrawler
    – 2-3 Belleros Disintegrators
    – Destroyers & Rangers to screen and add extra units to taste
  • Or you could opt for the popular Forge World Stygies VIII (which gives enemies firing at your units a -1 to hit if they are more than 12″ away), to help keep them alive longer. The intention here would be to spread them out and take advantage of their mobility to keep them at arms length and use terrain to help minimise their exposure to your opponent’s Anti Tank guns. The Belleros Cannon would shine here as we can always be sure to get some value from the tank each turn even when it’s tucked away in nooks and crannies. Running them this way you’re likely trading some amount of firepower in return for increased board control and tactical flexibility, as well as reducing your risk of getting boxed in and slaughtered in melee.

As for which is best, it’ll depend on play-style and your own miniatures collection. The safe choice is to integrate them with existing gunline lists and use Belisarius Cawl, with the caveat that you may be giving up some of the utility of the tank in return for using them almost like a pseudo-Dunecrawler. I intend to trial them in a more mobile list alongside a Dunerider or two, because I’m curious to see if this tank along with the transport give the faction a new lease on life tactically.
Naramyth’s Notes: People are sleeping on the Dunecrawlers with Cawl combo. If you’re running the Stygies VIII detachments then yeah, you either want to arm them with neutron lasers or drop them. But the Icarus array with full re-rolls creates a ton of very consistent and cheap shooting. Which is also exactly what the Skorpius is doing for you.

Go Forth, and Destroy

So there you have it! Once I’ve got a decent amount of games under my belt with our new friend the Skorpius I’ll revisit this topic and we’ll see how well they have worked out in practice, and I would be absolutely thrilled to hear how they’re working out for you. As for Mathematical Musings, I think it’s time to open up the scope of this series and explore the subject within the wider factions of the Imperium, Chaos and Xenos – watch this space! Have a suggestion, criticism or request for the direction of Mathematical Musings? Throw a comment below or shoot us an email at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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