At the northern reaches of civilized land in Westeros lies The Wall. Manned by the Night’s Watch, The Wall is a towering edifice created to keep all the nightmare creatures beyond it at bay. Since it is primarily defensive in nature, the Night’s Watch’s Builders are able to create massive siege-style weapons. Giant catapults and ballistae help guard against all intruders. But when the Night’s Watch marches to war, the Builders have a smaller ballista that can be more easily moved around. It’s called the Scorpion, and it offers a very serious ranged threat. This month, Night’s Watch commanders in the A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game will be able to add the Builder Scorpion Crew to their forces. Let’s take a look at the potential behind this piece of small siege weaponry.
The Scorpion is the first unit in the game with the War Machine special ability. This represents it being more a weapon of war as opposed to a group of soldiers in formation. This characterization has both positive and negative aspects.
On the positive side, the Scorpion has six wounds, never makes Morale Tests, and never gains Condition tokens. With six wounds, it will take a bit of effort from the enemy to knock it out of the fight. However, it only has a 5+ Defensive Save, so commanders beware. Since the Scorpion never has to make Morale Tests, it means that only by dealing direct damage will it be harmed. Any sort of Tactics shenanigans your opponent might get up to won’t harm it. Finally, since it never gains Condition tokens, it never has to worry about rerolling dice due to an enemy utilizing those.
Being mostly a small ballista has its downsides, though. The Scorpion cannot Charge or Retreat. It also has no melee ability at all. So, if it gets caught in combat directly with the enemy, it’s a bit of a sitting duck. While the crews that man the Scorpions are trained Night’s Watch soldiers, they are there simply to move the Scorpion from place to place, as well as arm and fire it. As such, any Night’s Watch commander would be smart to keep the enemy as far away as possible. Thankfully, the Scorpion is able to reach out and deal damage at range.
The Scorpion offers two modes of fire: Volley Fire or Single Shot. Each is very potent when dealing with certain types of targets. For example, if it is targeting a unit of lightly-armored enemies, the best choice is to go with Volley Fire. This attack rolls three dice and deals 3 Hits with a successful roll, meaning it can potentially deal up to nine Hits with a single attack. Meanwhile, when targeting a more heavily-armored foe, it can be switched to Single Shot mode. This attack rolls only a single die, but it succeeds on a 2+. Then, it deals a single die of Wounds to the enemy. Since it goes straight to Wounds, it bypasses the enemy’s Defensive Saves. With these two modes of fire, the Scorpion is extremely versatile on the field. It can either whittle down mobs of lighter enemy troops, or punch holes in even the thickest of enemy armor.
The Builder Scorpion Crew is a very specialized piece of war equipment. It does one thing (deal damage to the enemy at range), and it does it extremely well. As long as it can remain out of direct harm’s way, it will be a very strong support piece on the battlefield, with concentrated fire from several being able to eliminate enemy formations with relative ease.
The Builder Scorpion Crew unit box will be available February 22.