Spotlight: Stinger

The original Spotlight articles were never really meant to be read, but instead served as a way for me to organize what I knew about a model/unit. The first of them were short, not very good, and written without a lot of experience with the actual models… you get where I’m going with this, right?

This time around I’ve got the experience I need with the system, but I would like to encourage you all to write this Spotlight with me. If I’m making mistakes, assumptions that don’t hold true, or you feel like something is missing from the article, then throw in a comment and I’ll add it to the article if it makes sense.

The Stinger caught my attention almost immediately when I picked up Legion, and in the short while I’ve known it I’ve developed an unhealthy love for it. It doesn’t really get the same amount of attention the Shredder does, but that’s understandable because the Shredder is more obviously powerful. The Stinger on the other hand, brings so many tricks to the table that skipping it seems like a grave mistake.

Lesser Toolbox of Awesome

The first thing you need to understand about the Stinger is, that unless you’re playing a tier list or something weird is going on, it won’t be featured in your list, but enter the game from the sizzling pot of goodness we know as the Spawning Vessel. You  can of course bring the Stinger ‘naturally’, but the lack of movement in the first round is a problem.

The Spawning Vessel is an important part of getting your points worth out of the Stinger, allowing it to move up farther than it could have run if deployed normally, and still Dig In on the first turn. The obvious thing to do is to include a unit of willing sacrifices you can put in the pot… and they tend to look like this.

These guys are the exact same price as a Stinger, you have a chance at gaining a lot in the process of converting their corpses (the Bone Grinder leader and 10″ pseudo advanced deployment on the Stinger), and it goes like this.

  • Deploy the Bone Grinder grunts in front of a heavy.
  • Trample the grunts to put them in the pot.
  • Take a morale check with the Bone Grinder leader.

If you have a Forsaken you need filled up you can boost all the attack rolls with the heavy, and if you deploy the grunts correctly you can have back strike bonus against two of them without losing any additional range.  You can also go for BSB against all three grunts but that requires some elaborate setup, and should one of them survive it’s easy enough to kill it with something else anyway (like the Shredder you’re keeping down behind the lines).

The pot is now full, and of course you brought a full unit of Acolytes, because bringing a minimum unit makes no sense. This means that you can advance six inches and pop a Stinger. The Stinger has to deploy within three inches, and since it’s not ‘completely within’ we get to add the base size as well, so let’s take a look at what pops out.

Gargl-Blaaargh-Raaargh! The Stinger

The Stinger is a Lesser Warbeast, which means that it cannot perform power attacks. This is not a huge issue but the ability to slam would have been nice, and the small base means that it can be trampled.

This is NOT always a bad thing, despite what you may think, because careless or stressed opponents might trample it to death in order to get to your caster, and if it has two Fury on it that assassination attempt becomes a lot more likely to fail. This leads me to believe that the Stinger has great applications on defense, but more on that later.

  • Stats

The Stinger is as fast as most heavies, but in Legion terms it’s fairly slow. It’s not winning any STR contests either, and the pitiful MAT means boosting to hit every time. The MAT shines when compared to the RAT though, and hitting anything but heavies will require boosting. The Stingers DEF won’t save it from any dedicated effort, but is just high enough to be worth something if you apply Tenacity.

The Stingers ARM is pathetic, but since it has thirteen boxes is takes a bit of effort to kill it. Don’t let the Stinger get charged by weapon masters, but expect it to survive some light shooting or a single hit from non-weapon master infantry. With Tenacity the Stinger could luck out, but will most likely still die to two or three melee infantry swinging at it, and most turns it won’t have Tenacity so kiss it goodbye if an opponent wants it dead.

Like all Lesser Warbeasts it has two Fury and a Threshold of seven, meaning that it will most likely Frenzy after a turn of action. This isn’t always a bad thing, because the Stinger is pretty dangerous with the one attack, and boosted attack and damage is great for it.

  • Weapons (Flame Spitter, Ranged)

The Stinger has two types of attack, making it very versatile when compared to the other lessers. The first of these is a six inch spray with POW 10 dealing fire damage (not continuously). Combined with a SPD of six the Stinger threatens twelve inches with the spray, and that’s just enough to clear the threshold of SPD 6 models with Reach. The spray is tricky to use because of the Stingers reach, but remember that you can measure your melee range at all times, so place the melee gauge in front of your Stinger and move it around with it to avoid engaging by accident.

The spray is very short, and with reach it’s hard to get more than two models in the spray unless your opponent really decides on giving you a treat. That’s fine though, because the Stinger can only boost two times anyway, and it’s not hitting anything it can reliably kill without boosting. I’ve thought a lot about the Stinger with Dragon Fire on it, at the ability to light things on fire with a two point lesser and a 1 Fury Animus should never be underestimated.

The spray is a very nice addition to a list, since it ignores cover which is one of the only defenses that actually work against Legion, and with Dragon Fire up you can send it to deal with problematic solo characters if they ran up on their first turn.

  • Weapon (Barbed Stinger, Melee)

This baby is what makes the Stinger such an enormous threat. In the games I’ve had with Stingers I’ve found myself using the spray a lot, but the Barbed Stinger can inflict massive damage on living targets and one-shot several squishy Warcasters. The BS has Reach making the Stinger threaten eleven inches on the charge, and with the help of the Spawning Vessel this increases to more than twenty inches, making it a serious threat to several casters in the game.

The BS also allows the Stinger to play defense very effectively, which is something the other lessers struggle with. A living Warbeast does not want to charge past a fully operational Stinger, and even with a disabled body aspect the Stinger still draws blood on most living things with a free strike. The Stingers low MAT hurts when making free strikes, but this also makes for some interesting choices for an opponent: does he spend resources on killing the Stinger, or does he provoke the free strikes and trust the law of averages?

When the Stinger damages a model with the BS, you mark every box in the body aspect, after the attack has been resolved. This can kill the Stinger if body is all it has left, but this probably requires a target that is automatically hit, because the stinger isn’t hitting a barn door if it’s mind is already gone. The Barbed Stinger is a fantastic weapon, and with some buffs from a Warlock this baby can seriously damage even enemy heavies.

The Stinger makes for a great wall if you run it hot on Fury, and place it where an opponent will have to kill it to get at your caster. We’ve already established that free strikes from the Stinger really bloody hurts, so many opponents will have to kill it, and especially late game where beasts are heavily damaged. This becomes really interesting because of the Stingers next ability, which allows it to be almost impossible to kill at range.

  • Abilities (Dig In)

The list of abilities is short, and besides Blood Creation and Eyeless Sight it only has one. Dig In is a special action and grants the Stinger Cover and immunity to blast damage. This is HUGE and something that has been mostly ignored in every other article I’ve read about Stingers.

If Dig In is combined with Tenacity the Stinger becomes almost immune to ranged and magical attacks unless it becomes knocked down or stationary, and if an enemy caster is spending resources like that on a Stinger he’s probably going for an assassination, and then he really doesn’t want to kill the Stinger and give you two extra Fury to transfer with.

Dig In on the first round is silly when fielding in ‘naturally’, but if you’re spawning the Stinger on the first round it can Dig In half way across the board on the first turn. Dig In also makes it a great little beast for camping zones, as ranged attacks is often the enemies answer to models camping the extreme edges of zones. This is another thing the other Lesser Warbeasts cannot do, and it makes the Stinger that much more attractive as a toolbox.

  • Animus (Lurker)

Bushwhack is fun. It’s not something I expect to use every game, but having the ability to attack and move afterwards makes a lot of scenario losses avoidable. It’s not something I have great deal of experience using, but it’s another little tool to add to the big box we call the Stinger. Now what do we do with all these interesting attacks and abilities?

Tactics

Shredders do one thing but they do it extremely well. Stingers on the other hand, requires effort, resources, and time, but like all multi-purpose models they’re worth it when you end up in a complex situation where ‘run at caster, bite’ wont cut it.

  • Defensive Stinger (Tactic)

If you’re the first player there’s nothing in range, even if you spawn a Stinger from the Spawning Vessel, but the Stinger makes for a very interesting ‘Pusher‘ tool. If you throw a Tenacity on it, walk up, and Dig In it will be DEF 18 against most ranged and magic attacks, which is ‘forget about it’ levels of defense for most models/units.

Your opponent might shoot it, but if he does his ranged models aren’t running into good positions and it’s pretty darn hard to hit. If your opponent has some KD effects it’s worth reconsidering this tactic, but most casters don’t have the spare Focus/Fury on their first turn.

If he doesn’t shoot it, or fails to kill it, you have a Stinger placed smack in the middle of the table, and there’s no way he can avoid coming within range of the thing. Depending on your caster and the specific setup, this Stinger could move up and spray, double boosting against good targets, or if it’s advancing out of control range it can get another Tenacity and Dig In somewhere really annoying, acting like a very aggressive ‘screen‘.

A small based DEF 14 model with Reach that probably can’t be removed by shooting can really mess up an advance. He will probably have to spend an activation from something worth two or three times the Stingers worth to remove it, and most likely end up getting in the way of something with his own models when doing it. This is a huge drain on resources caused by a tiny investment on your side, and that’s always a good thing.

  • Aggressive Stinger (Tactic)

If you have the second turn the Stinger can go on offense from turn one. The Spawning Vessel advances six inches, it spawns within three inches, adds one inch for base size, adds six inches for SPD, adds three inches for a charge, and adds two inches for Reach. That’s a 21 inch threat range with a charge, and 22 inch threat with the spray.

Depending on your caster this might be impossible due to Control Area issues, but it’s a nasty surprise for enemies that advance in a big pile if you can swing it. If you can’t swing it then running allows you to engage models from 24 inches away, and a lot of ranged units will be mightily unhappy about having a Stinger with Reach engaging half of them.

If you can swing it, a double boosted spray or a surprise 10+ damage to their favorite Warbeast makes for a nasty start to the game. You can also place the Stinger somewhere very annoying while doing this, but without Dig In it will most likely be wiped out by shooting. The aggressive Stinger can be made even faster with Slipstream on the Spawning Vessel before activation, and a first turn kill on a fast enemy caster should be possible (but very resource intensive and probably impractical).

  • Bodyguard (Tactic)

This is something for the second Stinger to spawn from the pot to consider. We’ve already established that the Stinger can be very hard to remove at range, that it can hit really hard on free strikes, and that killing it isn’t always an option for an enemy going for an assassination.

This means that you can place the Stinger in positions that makes assassinations incredibly unlikely, and daring someone to trample it to get at your caster. If he tramples and kills it, he will have lost his initial attacks, spent a Fury, and given you two Fury to transfer.

Warlocks

This is a list of how I see the Stinger fitting in. It’s not like bringing it with any of the other casters is a poor choice, but some of them really makes the Stinger shine.

  • Absylonia: Most of her spells and abilities are wasted on the Stinger.
  • Bethayne: Most of her spells and abilities are wasted on the Stinger.
  • Kallus: Dark Guidance helps it a lot, and Ignite pushes it’s damage up.
  • pLylyth: Field of Slaughter & Parasite makes for interesting plays. (Recommended)
  • eLylyth: Decimation & Shadow Pack makes for fun times. (Recommended)
  • Rhyas: Most of her spells and abilities are wasted on the Stinger.
  • Saeryn: Most of her spells and abilities are wasted on the Stinger.
  • pThagrosh: Most of his spells and abilities are wasted on the Stinger.
  • eThagrosh: Dragon Storm & Manifest Destiny, probably just one Stinger. (Recommended)
  • pVayl: Incite, Chiller, Cat & Mouse, Dark Sentinel, and even Leash. (Recommended)
  • eVayl: Icy Grip, and the general style of play makes a Stinger a good defensive piece.

Conclusion

The Stinger is the king of the Spawning Vessel, and spawning one on the first turn using Bone Grinders makes it a serious player in the early game. I find it to be just the kind of problem solver I love, and the ability to engage and destroy both infantry and living heavies is incredibly for two points.

The Stinger plays offense, defense, holds zones, defends your Warlock, and occasionally kills a caster from a mile away when spawning from the pot. It’s a source of Fury, it can be used as a transfer target, and it’s a defensive piece an opponent cannot always afford to kill.

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7 Responses »

  1. The biggest problem with the stinger is that it’s not really going to threaten anything that’s non-living. I’ve found that players will often just run a junk model to engage the Stinger and then I’m stuck dealing with a model that’s probably not worth killing. The Stinger loves going for high-priority targets like living warbeasts, and he’s good with pVayl because she does a lot to help him and already messes with Hordes, but if you’re going up against warmachine armies, they mostly won’t care about the stinger.

    As a side note, I find it interesting that you try to squeeze out a free bone grinder “solo” for a 2 point solo when you could get better benefits just by running theme lists (especially pVayl’s theme force).

    • Because it’s an entirely different list mate…

      No Forsaken, piles of Hex Hunters, and an entirely different style of play. I’m going to try it at some point, but it’s like saying ‘why are you running Thagrosh when you could be running Tier pVayl?

      The Stinger has plenty of game against Warmachine, since they tend to run more infantry and the Stinger handles that well. I also mostly use the Grinder trick for the movement increase, and the free BG leader is just a perk if he doesn’t flee.

    • Yeah, but as long as gets the stinger from the pot, he’s free to spawn the warbeast he wants. He doesn’t need to spawn the stinger…

      And I wouldn’t restrict him to hordes games. If you manage to debuff the enemy caster (icy grip, chiller, knockdown) a spawned stinger can put a lot of hurt on a living warcaster.

      eVayl: feat, apply icy grip, cast obliteration and mop up the rest of the caster with a PoW 12+4d6 attack

      pVayl can bring him up to MAT9+POW14+4d6

      I managed to surprise my opponents more than once playing eVayl tier list, spawning a stinger mid-game and going for their caster.

      I also don’t get that love for the pVayl tier list. You can’t pick Typhon, you can’t bring forsaken, deathstalkers or Anyssa…You are forced to field two units of hex-hunters (10points minimum investment) and I don’t think pVayl has the fury to spare cycling chiller between those two. Not to mention that she is primarily a beast-centric warlock, due to her spell-list and while she gets some merit from having a unit, that can spread chiller out and tag multiple targets (compared to chiller on a heavy), I don’t think she needs more than one.

      Sure, it isn’t not a bad tier list, but I don’t see why it should be superior to playing her non-tiered. Esp. for someone new to the faction.

      Starting eVayl with her tier list is something else, because the tier is so powerful and it doesn’t forces you to buy multiples of stuff you most likely won’t use anywhere else (dual angels go into more lists than dual hex hunters). Not to mention that a lot of her tier requirements are models you want to play with her anyway.

      But going for pVayl tier as a new player? Spending money on another unit of hex hunters, instead of spending them on something else? I don’t think that’s good way to start going into legion…

      • Oh I’m not bashing on the Stinger, I just think it’s more limited in its usage against Warmachine armies. I know it looks like it can handle infantry, but it’s a bit of a waste of it’s abilities when it could be dealing far more damage against higher priority targets. Sure, a warjack can kill infantry too, but it’s put to much better use against other heavies most of the time.

        Also, I’m saying the list is bad, just that I find it interesting how people try to squeeze out “free” points when theme lists do that much better. Both Vayl theme forces can net you 3 points easily at the 35 point level, let alone 50 points, where this list might get you 1, depending on what you think the value of the bone grinder solo should be.

        Again, it’s not an indictment, just observation.

        • True, against infantry alone a shredder or a harrier does more. Shredder has up to two fully boosted attacks w/o hurting himself in melee, while the harrier can auto-hit high-def models. No doubt about that.

          What I don’t get is your math in regard to saving points by going for pVayls tier.

          eVayl? No problem…you want the vessel anyway, legios or hunters don’t hurt either and you get the point reduction on heavies. So with 3 heavies you get the vessel for free…

          With pVayl you get Bayal for free…but for that you need to play two units of Hunters… if you play two min sized ones, you “save” one point and gain two bodies compared to max size+UA. But you lose access to typhon, stalkers, anyssa and forsaken.

          Sure, if your planing for a SR event and typhon is already somewhere else, losing him doesn’t matter that much. But what about forsaken and the other solos, you can’t pick with the tier list. Is getting Bayal for free (and +2spd on turn one) really worth that?

          I’m not sure…at least it doesn’t tempts me in such a way, that I would consider buying another box of hex hunters just to play her tier. That’s the big difference between pVayl tier and eVayl tier. Everything you need for eVayls tier is stuff, most legion players already own or want in the long run. Double hex hunters isn’t, unless you love to play a skew B&B list build around maxing out her feat.

          • Good points Karnstein. I’m also of the opinion, that if I want to run Hex Hunters (and I do) it will be in a Bethayne list and not with pVayl.

            I have never found a Tier list that I liked better than the options granted by their non-tier version, but eVayl and Bethayne could be exceptions, but only time and testing will tell.

  2. You’re forgetting that Absylonia’s tier list forces you to take three lesser warbeasts, and that those lessers get advance deployment. That is another way to get your Stinger far up the board; and dug in at the start of the game to boot. Outside her tier list Absylonia has little to offer the stinger, I agree with you there, but they are fine beasties to take in it.

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