Friday, 7 August 2015

Summer releases: Wave 2

Forenote: Zombiestate here, letting you know that even though the article states Mike wrote this, it is all lies and was me! As such direct any praise and hate my way...

It's been what feels likes an age since the new units were released without rules. The cruel gods of time have been taunting us as the days roll by, and we stare longily at our new beautiful resin toys and just...sigh...

Well worry no more, we have rules to salivate over! Want to hear our opinion? Then read on! If not, well, you're probably in the wrong place. Maybe you took a wrong turn in google. Maybe knitting is more your thing. Try this blog instead

I suggest giving all the rules a download and a good read first before continuing. Done? Good! Let's get it on.

PHR Medusa and Triton-X
The most magnificent bee keeper in the galaxy, the Medusa and her mobile bee hives are the personification of Joe's wet dream. She is nimble, adaptable and survivable, and brings something completely different to the PHR's arsenal. With strafe and the outrageous ten shots she has, she can lay down the fire suppression that PHR lack with aplomb. Not only that, but she can heal your vehicle units too! On top of this she is quick at 9" and can simply ignore small buildings and units whilst whizzing about the board.

As is common with Hawk units though, she is not without her weaknesses. For starters, you might gawk at Evasion 3 and 10DP (I certainly did), but she is only A1 and has no active counter-measures. This means that unlike Free Riders (who are A3) any light weapons fire which does hit her is very likely to wound, and to compound this issue the more wounds she takes the less effective she is at shooting. In a nutshell, keep her well away from flamers and blast weapons! Also she's not bad in combat, but not the building clearer she was pegged to be. For me this isn't an issue as combat isn't her job, instead rather CQB support. She can increase the potency of friendly units in CQB when nearby, which could tip the odds in your favour.

I'm impressed with her, and believe this is a BIG unit for the PHR. I was skeptical when first told about the unit, and frankly for me she still doesn't fit the DzC genre, however... the rules are great. The Medusa feels nasty but balanced, powerful yet vulnerable, and fills a much needed whole for the Cyborgs.

The Triton-X(treme) is a nice little transport with a little more durability (2DP) than an average, non-extreme Triton, and sports a cheeky E10 indirect fire gun. Also the ability to provide more bees- I mean nanos for the queen is thematic. Is it useful though? I'm not sure. Come turn 3, when most of the violence begins to start, the Medssa can be 23" up the board on her tod (tod means own, to our non-english readers), which is really where she wants to be anyway. For 40 points I'm not sure it is worth it.

Scourge Screamer and Raider heavy dropship
We all thought we were getting an anti-Mercury, right? Who'd have thought instead we were getting a super-Prowler with only a sprinkling of Mercury. At A7 and 4DP it won't be around for long, but while it is you want to watch out! It's 2 E11 claw attacks will be sure to rip apart your pricy heavy units! 

This beast isn't just about killy death though. Whilst it's munching on the crew of your tanks, the Screamer will be giving it's best rendition of Kate Bush's Withering Heights, a high pitch whine sure to put your soldiers of their game (note: if you were to sing Withering Heights it would also put your competitor off their game too. More solid OB advice; you're welcome!). Enemy soldiers nearby find it harder to search for objectives, are literally 50% less effective in CQB and even more importantly it will strip half the points value of troops holding focal points. That's massive! And all for 40 points. There is a tax though...

That tax is the Raider. At 70 points for a dropship this boy is pricey, and you will need one to make use of the Screamer, making the squad a not-cheap 110 points. Having said that, it does pack 10 flame shots... You heard me right, 10! There isn't really too much not to like about the dropship. If I had to pick at something it would be it's cost, but it is a necessary one for a unit which has so much synergy with its cargo.

Together the pair ruin the infantry game for your opponent. If I ran a Screamer I would likely only take 1 unit of Destroyers, such is the effectiveness of it. Be wary though; against armies which have little Infantry, or in a mission in which troops count for nothing, the pair will do little to affect the game. At 110 points is that a risk worth taking? I guess we'll find out! 

Note: As a pair they will mess up a Medussa...

Shaltari Pungari Auxiliaries
Ahh the Spacehog slave race. Operation Shaltari shield. And really, that's all they are; a shield for your Braves and Firstborns. At 72 points for the four bases you require they are marginally more expensive than Braves, but they are worse in combat (even with 4 bases) and have no worthwhile guns. Also as all four bases are a single squad you only get to roll one die to search. Oh, and yes, they are terrified of everything unless a Shaltari is nearby to hold their hands. 

So what are they good for? Absorbing wounds from CQB and falling masonry. They have a lot of wounds to spread around, so are more likely to survive a building being smashed apart. This evens out in CQB as they are only A1, but deploy them next to a squad of Firstborns and you'll never get rid of the warsuits. 

Thematically I think they're great, and fit the universe very well. In the field of battle they feel unpractical though, and the only circumstance I could see myself taking them is if my list is a few points over budget. It may be worth having one squad for those odd occasions, but I'm not so sure.

UCM Heavy Hazard suits
Hazard suits, because there can never be too many rail guns. These guys are a little weird. They look to be designed in the thought of bridging a gap between troops and tanks, but I'm just not sure they do that. They have big guns capable of laying down hurt, but to succeed in producing a shot with a bit of punch all three must hit the target. This isn't much better than the odds for Scourge Warriors. The rail guns are pretty decent at taking out Resistance, but then again what isn't...

One point Hazard suits do have going for them though is survivability in buildings. They can only ever be hurt on a 6 from falling masonry which is great, and with dispersed formation can stand at the windows and take some firepower back.

In regards to carrying out 'normal' troop duties, they search for objectives like normal troops... as long as they don't shoot. This seems counter intuitive to me! Thematically it makes sense, but in game terms it stunts any kind of utility they could have. Also on top of this they are exotic, so will find it hard to share a Condor with, well, anything. Apart from maybe more suits...

For me these guys are a bit of a swing and a miss. The negatives seem to outweigh the positives, and sadly the bridge between vehicles and infantry remains...

EDIT: As a darling reader has pointed out, I misread the rules for focus fire and as such this changes my opinion a little. To explain, unlike Scourge Warriors or Resi Occupation Vets, the focus fire mechanic works by the entire squad rather than by the unit/base. As such this makes the suits far more potent, as they are likely to be causing an E13 hit on heavy armour, or a couple of E9 hits on lighter skimmers. This has caused my estimation of their effectiveness has risen up by a few notches!

I still have my doubts about practicality on the battlefield though. They remind of Praetorian Snipers, in that once they find a nest they can be very dangerous, but it is difficult to deliver them safely into it. The suits also suffer from not being able to search for objectives whilst shooting, which the snipers don't. 

I would like to see their army slot changed so they can pair up with units which you don't mind being in a bear, and also for them to be able to search for objectives whilst shooting. If these or similar changes were made Hawk may well have found the missing link between troops and vehicles!

You may notice that the rules for Valkyries, Vampires and the Legionnaire flak team have gone up; don't worry, we haven't missed them! You are just going to have to wait a little longer on our thoughts for these guys though!


  1. I think the PHR and Scourge players can be very happy with these rule sets, I disagree with you on the Hazard Suits. I think hitting 2+ with 3 shots per base, 6 shots per squad means they will get some decent high powered shots. It will only be 4 hits to have an E13 shot, at 24" range is pretty special.
    I'm looking forward to using them, also only 35 points per base is sweet.

    1. Yeah, it looks like many people misread the Focus Fire-rule when it comes to infantry. Focus Fire work at a squad basis not a unit basis. So Resistance Fighters can have all RPGs hits on one vehicle and use the Focus Fire-rule, just like six shots from a Hazard squad...

    2. I think people get confused because of scourge warriors and occ vets which are done 1 base at a time

    3. You lads are spot on, I had my focus fire rules incorrect. I'll do an edit tomorrow. I will note that Mike edited this, and didn't bother to mention that I had got the rule wrong before publishing...

  2. The Screamer seems to powerful I think... I think it can affect to much stuff! And the flamer attacks are too good I think on the Raider. Why not E3 or AC 4+?

    1. I think it's meant to be "too good" as it needs to be shot. It is only A7 and 4dp, with no active countermeasures. It will go down pretty easily. The raider is an unsubtle brute. It is a great choice so far, but situational. Will be great in some games useless in others

    2. Oh, missed that one with no counters!

  3. So, who wrote this article, MegaMike or Zombiestate? It says it was posted by MegaMike, but that first comment confuses me. I need to know who wrote it so I can use the appropriate voice in my head! ;-P

    1. It was me fella, Mike set up the post as I'm up North for the weekend, and hammered this out on my phone. I only realised that could be an issue when looking at the last group of comments... I'll make an edit for that too!

  4. I feel like it's pretty obvious that I loved the Medusa even before the stats came out. And the fact that the stats were everything I had expected (and hoped) is icing on the proverbial cake.

    The Screamer ought to bring some interesting options to the tabletop, and I'm looking forward to fielding it soon. And it definitely seems ideal for countering the Medusa.

    Great review as always, guys! I can't wait for your thoughts on the other 4.