So, I haven’t seen anyone do this yet; I’ve now played quite a few games of Trashers, and I thought I’d share my overall thoughts on how they play, and give some ratings on some of the models in the range.
Obviously, your mileage may vary depending on how your local group plays – the kinds of scenarios you play, the kinds of tables you play on, and what armies feature locally. We’re fortunate enough to have people actively playing every faction (except Overlords), so the Trashers have faced down most things so far.
Alright, so to the profiles first:
Chopper – S
He’s pricy, but you get a lot of bang for your buck, including some unique elements. He has great stats, including 4 baseline shield dice and 4 close combat dice. He has a combat axe, which is, imo, the best weapon a trasher can have, and he brings with him the only source of Ground to Air missile in the faction. G2A missile is a ridiculously good ability, and one that helps trashers limit your opponent’s ability to snipe out your battery pieces and outmaneuvre you. He’s hard to kill, brings unique things to the faction, and can deal a lot of damage – he will often be the centrepiece of your force and you’ll rarely play without him (and usually only if you play the combiner).
Basher – S
Another absolute standout profile that’s very hard to leave home without. He has 3CA and a combat axe, which is already awesome, but he then brings 3 cubes (3 points/cube), repair (situational) and an above average damage point stat.
Crusher – F
Sadly, poor Crusher is a bot that isn’t going to see a lot of play. At 12 points he just doesn’t have a lot going for him – a decent health pool, but 1RA, 2 cubes and only 2CA. It seems to be a thing in trashers that if you have a combat mace, you lose a CA point – this is a bad trade, frankly. Having 3CA probably wouldn’t be enough to save him from being a bit poor, but he wouldn’t be such a hard sell. His other ability, Advanced Deployment, is a nice rarity in trashers, but there’s only two bots that logically pair up with that (the other one with AD, and Furie, who is quite quick). Well, someone had to be the worst one.
Dicer, Beatup, Smasher, Ruckus and Bruiser – A-
I’m dealing with these guys as a group as you’re generally not playing any of them by themselves (although you /could/ take some of them on their own because they’re still not bad).
The Trashasaur is probably the 2nd best combiner after Leviathan (but its a very very close race between them). Not because Combiners are great; they’re not, really – but the Trashasaur is an excellent trasher delivery system. Get him in the right position, and with his giant base, disassemble into combat with as many things as you can. These guys might not be the best of the trashers, but even the lowliest trasher is a very dangerous melee fighter (not you, Crusher) and they’ll eat basically anything you can do this to. In his combiner form, he provides some dangerous shooting that you otherwise don’t get access to – can be a helpful alternate way to shoot down flying units that want to get cheeky.
As an aside, I think Trashasaur is a particularly fun combiner to play, because you don’t really want to use him as 1 piece that is your army: you want to use him as a taxi.
(Also, note Smasher has the mace/shield combo, but doesn’t give up the 3rd point of CA…)
Crasher – C
The pigeon pair to Crusher, Crasher is not great… suffers from the 2CA/Mace pairing. But, he is cheap, and advanced deployment is an exotic skill in trashers – they’re not a mobility faction. He’s cheap enough that you can deploy him forward in cover with good LOS to push scout deployments back and not stress too much about losing him. I’ve played him before, will probably play him occasionally again – but he’s definitely one of the weaker options.
Dustup – B+
Again, 2CA/Mace – boo. But, Dustup has two things going for him that lift him up, IMO. He’s SR1, which means he goes early in the turn and can pin something down for your other bots, so he doesn’t need to roll dice to do his job, necessarily – but he has a shield. Shields are amazing, and add a tonne of durability to a unit: so, Dustup is likely to get where he needs to be, and stay there.
Faceoff – A+
7 points and has a decent ranged stat of 3 (which is a rarity in Trashers). Brings a shield too. This guy is great for walking up and standing on objectives; absolutely capable of supporting your other bots, whether through some random pot shots, or just lending a buddy dice with its low-ish SR. Fantastic card that you’ll take a lot.
Scraper – A
One point more than Faceoff and you get an axe as well, but move to SR6. Axe is the best weapon for a trasher – CA2 is a bit lame, but this guy is cheap, and since he’s going later in the turn, he can often benefit from some buddy dice and get some real damage in. I play this guy in most lists too.
Wrecker – B
I like this guy a lot: 12 points, but you get some great stats: 7 damage points, 3 cubes, axe, shield and regenerate. He’s hard to kill, and hard to take down – and also very dangerous to other bots with his axe. He’s a bot that I’m generally pretty comfortable putting out in the open onto an objective: not many things will effectively shoot at him, and almost nothing will want to melee him either.
Furie – A
Furie is a unique bot that brings a /lot/ of toys. She’s uniquely mobile in Trashers, and is another SR1 option. She’s pricy, but you get a lot: two weapons (including an axe), 3 cubes, and some exotic abilities in Force Field and Jetpack (with an above average base movement stat). She also has repair, which with her mobility and low SR is absolutely something you can use – but repair is very unreliable at the best of times. The downside to her is her cost – its hard to play her with your other headline options in Trashasaur and Chopper, and its hard to leave those things at home. Still, I think this is your trickiest option in the list, and something that will give your opponent a lot of pause.
Generator 1 – A-
You’ll play this guy a lot because 6 points for 3 cubes in trashers is pretty good (and you don’t have great battery options). He’s also a relatively tanky battery; I’ve had a few games where my opponent has tried to snipe it off, but has fallen short and lost a bot for their trouble. You’ll find it hard to keep him alive against hyper mobile factions like Democracy, but he becomes tasty bait in that matchup. Uh, he doesn’t do anything else. Stick him somewhere safe, and get cubes.
Generator 2 – C
You will sometimes play this guy from necessity, but 7 points for 3 cubes is not great. If we had a 2nd 6 point generator option, I daresay this would be a common support for the Trashasaur… but we don’t, so uh…
And over to the upgrades:
All Banged Up – F
This is garbage, and you’ll never play it.
Found a Shield at the Dump – A+
I almost always take this and put it on Chopper or Furie. Shields are fantastic, especially when you have a lot of them.
My Blaster Still Works – F
No, it doesn’t. You will never take this.
In my experience, the Trashers are one of the best factions in the game, even if they’re a little limited in terms of options (more cards would be nice!!!). They aren’t mobile, don’t shoot, and don’t have a lot of exotic abilities to draw on – but what they do, they do well.
They’re super tanky and extremely choppy – most trashers can kill similarly pointed things one on one: and if two or more trashers get onto a target (especially with Rams), they’re going to kill it. Because everything is so threatening, it can be quite hard to play around for your opponent. In terms of tankiness, it isn’t uncommon for almost every piece in your force to have a shield – with some cover available, this can make your force essentially immune to the very common RA3 shooting; MDGs and RA4 units are more dangerous, but also have to respect getting into short range against bots that can ram and one-shot them in reply.
One weakness is the relative lack of battery units – the generator is fine, but you don’t really have many bots that you can starve of points to feed others. You really do need to move up your whole force so they can support each other – at least until a couple of guys can peel off to camp objectives and just sit there.
Very often your game plan is to walk up, occupy objectives, and bully your opponent back into their deployment zone. Its a simple plan, but it works.
Chopper + Found a Shield at the Dump
20 cubes, 8 bodies and a lot of shields and axes. This is probably the most straight forward and potent Trasher force you can field. It just works.
18 cubes, no generator – instead, you’ve got three support pieces that are all fairly effective in their own right, but, most importantly, they’re hard to hurt and generate a small surplus of cubes. I prefer this to supporting the Trashasaur with both generators and some of the chaff bots; but that reflects my view that the Trashasaur is a taxi and really doesn’t need much more than to move twice in a turn.
I feel like I should probably add why I think Leviathan is a better combiner – its only 45 points (!), generates +2 cubes more than it costs to upkeep (so it can sustain itself), its bonus abilities from GT (Galactic Transmission) are actually /very good/, and, just as important: its has a very scary taxi as well: 2 RA3 magnet guns, one with sharpshooter. You can also do the gang-up melee thing, but all of them only have CA2.
Now, the balancing factor there is that is isn’t that safe to bring them and actually combine. SR7 is a /lot/ later than SR5, and 3 of the bots only have 2 shields – this makes it much easier for your opponent to kill one on the first turn and prevent you combining.
So, if you can combine, I think Leviathan is a scary boy that’s just better than John Truckasaurus (Trashasaur)… but, you’re also much more exposed to counter play from your opponent on the first turn.