Ranking: Scorpions

The Rankings are back!  After a long hiatus, they are back by popular demand.  You can see all of them here, and there is also a link to that page in the main menu.  Recently someone asked why there wasn’t a ranking for Scorpions.  Godmason took over the Rankings threads at Miniature Trading a few years ago, but we didn’t get to all of the ideas.  I may not be able to do this for long, but I hope to do one new Rankings post per week.

Ranking the Scorpions

The scorpion ship type is one of my least favorite in the game, seeming a bit unrealistic and bearing an uncanny resemblance to Scyther.  However, as someone (I believe at Miniature Trading) pointed out years ago, Wizkids may have based the design on Leonardo Da Vinci’s work.  So there is some kind of historical precedent!

It’s worth reviewing the Scorpion keyword, since it’s rather lengthy:

A ship with this keyword printed on its deckplate has a moveable blade that can slash its enemies.
After a scorpion ship has completed a move action or a shoot action, if it has not rammed an opposing ship this turn it may attack any (one) opposing ship that it can touch with its blade, as a free action.
The attack automatically succeeds and eliminates one mast from the target (no die roll is required, and no
ability can prevent it). The target is now pinned and can be boarded (sea creatures can be pinned but not boarded); the scorpion ship is not pinned.
The blade functions even if this ship is derelict.

Here are the scorpions, found by filtering the one-sheet Master Spreadsheet by the Scorpion ability.  You can see more reasons why I’m not a big fan of them, with mediocre speeds and high point costs for 3 masters.

Ranking Scorpions of Pirates CSG

The tough part about ranking this ship type is that they’re all very similar.  Which one you like best might come down to ability preference.  If you see a ship you like, feel free to click the affiliate link to see if it’s available on eBay.  Some of the pictures are linked to battle reports if you want to see what happened in the action shots.

1. Crusher

Coming in at just 12 points, 3 points cheaper than any of the others, I think Crusher just barely takes the cake in this contest.  She can add a Captain before becoming more expensive than the other scorpions, and combines good cargo with solid cannons.  It might be a more boring option, but simplicity is often better than expensive secondary abilities.  For 17 points (with captain and helmsman, or C+H) the Crusher can be moving an acceptable L+S with room for a couple coins (3 if you use F&S Hammersmith).  Though with 7 points remaining, you have plenty of room in the point cap to do more damage.  Especially since you can board after the blade attack, Diabolito could come aboard to try and Massacre an enemy ship’s crew.

Crusher from Wizkids Pirates

2. Bloody Blade

This is actually my personal favorite, between the artwork and how nasty the ship can be.  Defensive abilities are always a great thing to have, and this one also comes with generally the best cannon armament of the bunch.  This can be a fun little “denial” combo to hit something like the Acorazado with – since the blade attack ignores defensive abilities, it can slice through Joaquin Vega’s ability that the BB has built-in.

Bloody Blade from Pirates CSG

The next three is where it gets even tougher to rank these in my opinion.

3. Scythe

Tied with the next choice for the highest speed, the Scythe is boring in all other aspects – 3S cannons, cargo equal to masts, and +1 to boards.  The artwork makes her a little more fun to use, but this ship is likely to be doing some quick killing before getting quickly killed in return.  Another solid option for a Massacre crew, such as White Crew from DJC.

Pirates CSG Scythe crushes and splinters Typhoon

4. Chum MakerChum Maker

This one is quite rare, but nothing to write home about in gameplay.  I truly believe her ability to be one of the most overpriced in the entire game.  You’ll likely use the blade to board, at which point you’ve already eliminated a mast automatically and hopefully extra with cannons.  You would probably eliminate a crew and not take a coin anyway if you win the boarding (since this ship is somewhat likely to have all 3 spaces occupied), so you likely end up eliminating an extra mast after winning a boarding party with this ship.  That’s great, but really not much more than what would happen if you just won a normal boarding party without the ability.  Chum Maker is 2 points more than Scythe for slightly more range on the mainmast and only a slightly better ability.  I’ll take the cheaper option.

5. Scorpion

I actually like this one more than the two above that move S+S, but I have to do this objectively and realize that the speed difference is significant.  The Scorpion is a fun option having a trio of things I like – more cargo than masts, all L-range guns, and Eternal.  With captain/helmsman/oarsman and maybe a navigator somewhere placing trade currents, she can be pretty dangerous.

Pirates CSG Scorpion in action

6. Pestilence

This one is rather clearly the worst, having no real advantages over any of the other scorpions.  Fear strikes again – if Wizkids had priced it properly, I think 13 points would be fine.

Wizkids Pirates Pestilence ship from Rise of the Fiends

What do you think of my ranking of the scorpions?  Post your own list in the comments below!  😀

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