When the playwright William Congreve wrote about the fury of a woman scorned, he may have had Calico Cat in mind. While the legendary Cat has been around the Spanish Main, she finally got “her” ship in South China Seas. The Lady’s Scorn has since appeared twice more in both Rise of the Fiends and Fire and Steel. Calico Cat, it seems, runs into some bad luck because as time goes on, her ship keeps getting smaller. It is the second ship, the Rise of the Fiends version, that I review here. Not only is it clearly the best of Cat’s signature ships, but it’s abilities and link puts it right up there with one of the best fighting Pirate ships in the game, and one Congreve’s own English ships have a right to fear.
Uses and Strategies:
While it’s four cargo is commendable, there is nothing that lets you think this ship will serve you well as a gold ship, especially given the breath of the Pirate’s cheap gold runners. At 15 points, it is too expensive to be anything but your main gunship in a standard game. While its reroll ability might help you board, there are much better ways of using this ship, and those involve Calico Cat, blazing into battle, and shooting a whole lot of guns. With built in Eternal, an Admiral controlling her can be much more daring than normal.
Combos with other miniatures:
Since her role is clearly a gunship, I will focus on how to best outfit her to cause destruction. Just a simple captain will make her a capable ship to attack your foes, but she can do so much more.
Besides the obligatory captain, the reroll ability screams to be matched to a double action crew. Oh, and look, three of the four versions of Calico Cat are double action! Pirates tries so hard sometimes to make synergy not work, but here it works beautifully. The Scorn is linked to Calico and the abilities mesh. If you simply add the SAT Spanish Main or the (slightly more attractive) Return of the Fiends version, the Scorn comes in at a rather hefty 21 points with a captain. Add a helmsman to make her blazing fast, and you have an S+S+S reroll SAT eternal beast at your command. Yet, she still isn’t too fearsome with average guns.
The SCS Calico doesn’t match too well here – she too gives a reroll – but the last version is definitely a match made in heaven. The OE version of Calico is one of the best crew cards in the game – vastly cheap for the abilities, and from the most available and distributed expansion in the game. For a mere six points you get 9 points of value – an extra action and a world hater. Add this OE Calico along with a Captain and Helmsman (or someone like Hammersmith to save a cargo space), and you have a 26 point behemoth that moves S+S+S with an extra action with reroll, all 2 guns, and Eternal.
This is my favorite build for this ship, and it still leaves you with 19 points (with a +5 crew) to compliment her and bring home gold. One great combination is the escort Royal James with OE Crimson Angel and a Captain (16 pts) and the (broken) Banshee’s Cry. The use of all of these great cards will not win you any friends on the high seas, however.
You can go further of course, as you still have 4 points left to max out her value. Adding a shipwright is always beneficial, especially with an extra action. Or, you can go with the afore mentioned OE Crimson Angel (1 less point than OE Calico) and add the Pirate canceller Tia Dalma to counteract anything the enemy may throw out you. There is not much worse than the safety net of your eternal ability being cancelled as your ship sinks to the locker.
The Highest Scorn: The case to convince you this is the best version of the Lady’s Scorn is not a hard one. The Fire and Steel version of the Scorn costs the same, but has one less mast and cargo, moves slower, has all short cannons and a less than desirable broadsides ability with a 4S cannon. The 5 Masted SCS version also has a broadsides ability and 4 rank guns, and is one point more. She has one more cargo, but moves slower. (Not to mention she looks like she has Cursed sails). While the broadsides ability certainly alludes to the idea of being “scorned,” it is overpriced and near useless with 4 rank guns.
The Best Eternal: Eternal is a rather rare ability. Only 3 crew in the game have the ability, and two are American. Only nine total non-sea monster ships have it in the game, and one of those is the probably never-played Delusion. The Pirates do seem to have the second most eternal ships to the Cursed, but to me none stack up to the Lady’s Scorn. Sure, there are a couple of 5 Masted behemoths, but they are very expensive and slow. In fact almost all other Eternal ships are slower. Only the Sea Monster Ophidious is faster – and well, it is a Sea Monster and we know what faults they have. Besides Ophidious (which I admit is one of the best Sea Monsters), only the French Tepant and English Ark Royal are cheaper than the Scorn, but both have equal speed or are slower, and are equal in guns and subpar in other abilities.
The Best 4-Masted Pirate Ship?: You can’t compete with the awesomesauce that is Darkhawk II. The Sea Nymph, Black Pearl, and Black Heart also hold special places in my heart. Given the breath of Pirate ships released, I won’t even try to argue a place for the Lady’s Scorn. However, I would rank her in the top five, just for unique combination of link, speed, reroll, and eternal.
Ways to counteract it:
As mentioned, Eternal may cause the Lady’s Scorn’s Admiral to be a little reckless, and if so cancelling the Eternal keyword is one of the nastiest things you can do to this ship. Crew killing is also very effective, as Calico Cat (or Crimson Angel if you prefer) gives her a much scarier bite. Otherwise, the usual tactics used to stop a large gunship also apply: teaming up, getting the first shot, and of course mermaids.
- Great Abilities
- Great Link
- Good Speed
Artwork and aesthetics:
- Slightly Pricey
- Average Guns
The Lady’s Scorn flavor text refers to her colorful blue sails, and according to my 4 year old daughter, the Scorn is the “prettiest” Pirate ship she has “ever seen.” Both this version and the Fire and Steel have this paint job, a vast improvement in my eyes over the SCS version with the “Cursed-like” sails. In a fleet of black sailed Pirate ships, the Scorn certainly stands out.
Calico Cat’s fury is well represented in this ship, and it is a tribute to the name. The unique mix of abilities and an excellent link make this ship a realistic choice for your flagship in a standard game. However, if you lack Calico Cat or the other cheap Pirate crew to outfit her, she may not match your needs, especially given the breath of the Pirate armada out there. Overall, I give her a 8 out of 10, just because her true awesomeness doesn’t come out unless you have other pieces to match with her, and 3 rank guns just don’t cut it without some help.