JStove’s back with a fresh review of the new Escher Gang box for Necromunda: Underhive to see if they are really worth it, out of the box.
Jstove here, and today I’m unboxing Escher gangers.
Yea they’re pretty, but can they fight?
As a veteran of GW skirmish games, I have a love-hate relationship with GW’s plastic range. When it comes to 40k, your box options are simple. You buy some marines, they come with your choice of special weapons, you pick the plasma gun, no big deal.
But, historically, GW has been hit-or-miss on skirmish games with plastic. Mordheim comes to mind as an example. On the Skaven sprue, there were 2 slings and no clubs, one set of fighting claws, and no weeping blades or warplock pistols. It was hard to make an out-of-the-box Skaven gang that really got the job done. (Especially since you just wanted everyone that could use fighting claws to take fighting claws.) The human mercenaries weren’t much better. They definitely had a stronger variety of good options, but again, lacked a robust assortment of the budget weapons that you need to fill out your gang roster. To me, it always felt like you needed 2 boxes of dudes to play Mordheim. One for your actual gang and another one to bulk it up over the campaign and provide the bonus gear to get your equipment straight.
So today, I’m going to look at the new boxed gangs for Necromunda, specifically the Eschers, and we’re gonna see how much mileage this kit really gets.
In the box.
The new kit style for both the Eschers and Goliaths, and presumably all the house gangs that will release after them, is that you get two copies of one frame that have all the options on it, with 5 models on the sprue. So, that’s 10 potential load outs per sprue, spread over 5 guys, multiplied by two. For the Eschers, that means there are 2 nightshade chem throwers (The fancy new bug sprayer that replaces the flamer), 2 plasma pistols, 2 shotguns, 2 autoguns, 2 whips, and a pile of swords, knives, pistols, and lasguns.
The first question for roster building a player would have is, “Do I have as much equipment as I can actually afford?”
You’re allowed to have a Leader, 2 Champions (heavies who have access to the big toys), and any number of Juves and Gangers as long as there’s a Ganger for every other model. That means that in a box of ten models, 1 can be Leader, 2 can be Champs, 2 can be Juves, and 5 are Gangers. You get 2 nightshades in the box, and they are your most expensive weapon since Eschers buy lasguns from the house at the bargain price of only 5 credits. You can actually write a 10 girl roster that fits both nightshades in a standard 1/2/2/5 gang member spread mentioned above. For only buying one box of models, that’s a win. I’m pretty pleased with that.
How about the rest?
However, given that the nightshade is expensive, (It’s the highest price item on the roster, it even costs more than your gang leader!) you might decide that you’d rather spread the money around a little and try to even out your arsenal. So the next question becomes, “Can this box get the job done without sinking a quarter of my gang into nightshades?”
Again, I would say the answer is yes. Eschers are absolutely BRUTAL in close range firepower, easily the equal of their Goliath nemeses. Every Escher in your gang except for a Juve can buy a plasma pistol, and plasma pistols do not mess around in the Underhive. Since you’ll be crawling around in filthy tunnels with limited engagement range and line of sight, I’m not totally worried about the relatively short range of pistols. You do get 2 in the box, and I’d want to put them on the champions. Would I like to have more? Possibly.
You also get 2 combi-bolters. Why the Eschers thought they needed to strap a needle gun to it, I’ll never know. The only positive thing I’ll say about the combi-needler is that if the bolter runs out of ammo, the needler doesn’t suck. You’d never use it while the bolter still works, but it isn’t bad. If I could buy the bolter at a lower price without the needler attachment, I would. However, it looks like this is the only way the Eschers get that gun, for now.
The bolter itself is the prince of the Underhive. Remember all that lore you read in Space Marine novels about bolts exploding people into puddles of tomato soup? In Necromunda, the bolter actually is that strong. Make one wound roll with that gun and you’ve got a practical guarantee that your target is gonna be a smear on the floor. Even a Goliath Gang Leader gets punched off his feet with no save from that thing and drops like a hot rock.
You have two of them on the sprue, and because they’re almost as expensive as the nightshade, that’s probably all you can afford. Especially if you also want to use both your plasma pistols. You’ll put them on your Leader or Champs for sure because of their superior ballistic skill. Theoretically, you can have a maximum of 4 in your starting roster, because one Ganger in the gang is allowed to take a fancy weapon. If you want to go down that road, you’ll need to grab a couple off your Space Marines.
However, if you want to go straight out of the box with no stops, I do believe that both firepower configurations available are competitive and can make a solid gang. You can easily fit both nightshades in a ten-man lineup, or you can pass on the nightshades and equip both bolters and both plasmas. If you’re willing to chop up marines, you can go hard on 4 bolters or mucho plasma with minimum effort on conversion work.
Final Verdict: Can it be done?
As a long time fan suspicious of GW’s traditionally lacking plastic kits from their skirmish games, I feel pretty comfortable saying yes. If you pinch and scrape the credits correctly and keep your Gangers and Juves cheap, you can get enough firepower out of the box and run a complete ten model starting gang that can carry itself through a campaign. I do think that the Eschers have turned that corner. I’m still trying to figure out if the Goliaths can do the same and I have high hopes for the Orlocks. So far, it’s looked like we’ve turned the corner and a complete gang in a box is the real deal.
I’m still trying to figure out if the Goliaths can do the same and I have high hopes for the Orlocks. So far, it’s looked like we’ve turned the corner and a complete gang in a box is the real deal.