Tuesday, 18 February 2014

INVASION 2014 the UCM are ready to mobilise

The dust has settled on an absolutely fantastic weekend and firstly I want to say a massive thank you to Hawk Wargames for putting on a hugely enjoyable tournament and open weekend. 
I play a lot of tournaments (40k mainly) and by far this was the most fun. I think the whole Dropzone community are on average just nicer gamers to play!

I took my beloved UCM. I really like the diversity in the units and how versatile the army is. Every unit has their job, they may not be spectacular but they get the job done. Below is my list – I have practised a lot with it and practised the missions – which helped design the list.

Kodiak – Lieutenant (CV3)

Sabres x3 with Condor (missile upgrade)
Rapiers x3 with Condor (missile upgrade)

Legionnaires x2 with Raven
Legionnaires x2 with Raven

Legionnaires x2 with Raven

Wolverine A’s x4
Praetorians with Raven

Gladius x4 with Condor x2 (missile upgrades)
Longbow x2 with Ravens x2 (missile upgrades)

My UCM complete with rubble and objective markers

Day 1 - Game 1 

Opponent: Chris Whittaker (Shaltari)
Targets of Opportunity

Chris’ list (from what I remember):
Coyote (LV 2)
2 Jaguars
3 units of Braves
2x3 Tomahawks
2x3 Kukuri
4 Edens, 1 or 2 Spirits and 2 Havens

I have played against Shaltari a lot, so I know in missions like this, that taking out the troop gates is essential. Without them the Shaltari cannot extract objectives and their troops become stranded.
Chris had not played against UCM much/if at all so he didn't know what Longbows did or how useful the Ferrum was.
The game started a cagey affair – no warspear on 1st or 2nd turn = good news. I put 2 units of troops in a building in my half and I rushed the other unit and praetorians for the middle. This gave me options to go for left, right or middle on turn 2. Chris put Braves in his building ready to search and brought units on steadily. The 2 Jags ran with the dreamsnare, this tactic works very well. I was peppering the Braves buiding from 30pts down to 11, and killed 1 base of Braves so Chris rolls a 6 for his first objective search, finds it and extracts it, so I’m already on the backfoot. I failed to find my objective. My troops went for the middle buildings so I could potentially get some objectives on turn 3.
I introduced a squad of Tomahawks to the Longbows, which were sat on top of a building. E8 medium blasts don’t mix well with the light skimmers and the squad went kaput! My Ferrum was largely ineffective with Chris having so much AA, but they still kept him busy. So turn 3 I still didn’t find my home objective, I moved 1 squad out to the middle buildings, once they were in all 3 squads in the middle were left stranded as the Ravens were taken out. I found an objective and needed to hold it, hoping for a call for extraction. CQB ensued and my Praetorians dished out a lot of hurt on Braves and killed a squad, the other Braves went into a my building on the left, 10 Legionnaires vs 6 Braves. I was not overly happy about my chances of survival.
Turn 4 I find my objective and fight the braves, I kill 3!!! They wipe out 9 – I have 1 man left with the objective, I play a card that lets me escape into my Raven (the only one left). Slowly my legionnaires are getting peppered by falling masonry and are then joined by the single squad of Braves after I find the objective. I have 4 Legionnaires left against 3 Braves. Turn 5 I extract my objective, I also find another objective with praetorians, but can’t get them out. The Braves beat up my legionnaires, I have 1 left who fails his fortitude, and abandons the building. There is a lot of death being dished out around the buildings Jaguars, Sabres Rapiers and Kukuri are exploding everywhere. The Gladius are doing a lot of pummelling, a lot of shots and tough to kill means they were all still there.
Sixth turn I held on to mu objectives meaning I had 4 vps, Chris had 3 vps, then he repositions his Edens, and has 1 haven left. The last base of Braves picks up the objective stolen from the Legionnaires, dematerialises through the haven, the haven goes through an Eden out another and off the board AAAAARRGH!!! That makes it 4vps eacha and a draw. I was so disappointed, as I had battered the shaltari in kill-points and found 4 out of the 5 objectives.
In this tournament you only get a kill-point bonus if you win the game. So it’s lunch break after that and I’m chatting to my team about the game, and got told that a haven cannot dematerialise through an Eden with an objective. I had a chat with Chris about it and he was ever so apologetic. We updated the score to reflect the true outcome so a narrow 4-3 victory to me and a +3 kill-point bonus. This is why I gave my best sport nomination to Chris, he made a genuine mistake which dramatically altered the game and was really good about it.
14-6 in tournament points

Day 1 - Game 2 

Opponent: Xavier Lindsey (PHR)

Xavier’s list:
Zeus (CV5) and Odin
2 Janus
2 squads of Immortals in Tritons
2 Erebos in Neptune
4 Apollos in 2 Neptunes
2 squads of 2 Phobos

Unfortunately for Xavier this was completely the wrong mission for him to face me – had it been a focal point mission I would have really struggled.
I knew I would be able to get an easy win if I rolled 2+ on the intel as I had 4 squads of infantry to Xavier's 2. 1st turn we put all our troops in buildings ready for turn 2. Xavier steams his Apollo's down the middle, and deploys. I manage to destroy a base of Immortals with falling masonry.
2nd turn Xavier opts to use his troops first they both find intel. They get out, one squad goes for his back middle building and the other guns it for the centre. I knew I had to do something about the Apollos so my drones had a pop and killed 1, then the Kodiak fires his super sky laser and only does 1 wound, so 3 Apollos rather annoyingly have a lovely shot on my Ferrum, 3 shots and 5 damage points later I have no Ferrum – sad face. My Gladius finished the job as I couldn't have them hanging around anymore. I claimed 4 pieces of intel, and 1 turned into an objective which I extracted, so at the end of turn 2 I was 6-2 up. I won the roll for turn 3 and moved my Rapiers to shoot down his Triton – then removed the Immortals who survived. I got 3 more pieces of intel to go 9-2 up. Xavier's half squad of Immortals entered a building. Xavier knew he couldn't win so concentrated on killing as many points as possible; the Hades took out my boss on turn 4 with a sneaky shot from the tail. Once all the Immortals were dead, I gave up looking for any more intel as I already had the largest winning margin in vps, I didn't want a piece of intel to blow up in my face and possibly kill my own troops giving away more kill-points. The game ended 9-3 to me and no kill-point bonus as Xavier got about 900 and I got in the high 700’s.
16-4 in tournament points

Day 1 - Game 3 

Opponent: Jason Grimwood (UCM)
Surging Strike

Jason’s list:
Kodiak (CV5) and Ferrum
2 squads of Legionnaires in Ravens with Ferrum
1 squad of Legionnaires in Raven with Rapiers in Condor
3 Sabres and 3 rapiers both with condors
2 Scimitars

Ok, game 3, after a long day and……… it’s a double Ferrum list. I’ve read enough on this forum about some people thinking it’s an auto-win if you have 2 Ferrums. I personally am not a fan of spamming anything, especially in DzC. I think it’s a finely balanced game and you need a well balanced list.
The mission was focal points with the 2 focal points in your opponent’s half offering 4 bonus points if you have the most points within 6” at the end of the game. Surveying the board, the centre building was large; we both had a large in our halves diagonally opposite each other and a small building in the opposite diagonal. I knew those 2 small buildings would be smoked, so we would be fighting over the 3 large ones. I had a plan, I don’t do this often – and especially when the opponent has so much AA, but I stayed in my dropships with my Gladius and Sabres. Jason sensibly split his Ferrums up and deployed them on opposite corners. His Kodiak joined the Ferrum on my right. This was my target, if all goes to plan I could get the Ferrum and the CV5 Kodiak. Jason deploys his drones down each flank. I send all my army bar the ravens up my right flank. I disembark my rapiers and my drones as support, I'm gonna need the reaction fire from my rapiers against his drones. Turn 2, Jason wins the initiative (which I assumed he would). What I didn't see was a squad of Rapiers hiding in some trees – I was so transfixed on getting my units in position I totally missed them. They moved round and fired at a Condor fully loaded with Gladius. The Condor crash landed but luckily the Gladius survived, the Scimitars had a bead on my Rapiers and killed 1. I opted to activate my Armoured Formation; the Sabres went another 9” forward and disembarked from their Condor, lining up on the Ferrum. I moved my Rapiers and killed 4 drones but still a Sabre dropped from the remaining 4, his Kodiak dropped a sky laser on another sabre. I think my drones went after the rapiers as they had fired, don’t remember them doing much. My Gladius disembarked and I was ready for turn 3.
My last Sabre was destroyed, but in return my Gladius annihilated the Ferrum, so good-bye to 8 drones and in turn 4, I went after his Kodiak. My 4 Gladii managed 12 wounds on the poor General. We both took out each other’s 10 point building with a Focal Point inside, so that left 3. By the end of the game I had control of all 3 and Jason was near 1 (I think) giving me an 11-1 (or 2) victory, I also had a 1 point kill-point bonus – we both killed a lot of each other’s army!

In conclusion, I don’t think a 2 Ferrum list is overpowered. What you need to do is change your tactics to deal with the threat, and anyone who thinks that the UCM are slow needs to think again. Bombing forward in your condors is great, as you will see later…..
17-3 in tournament points

Day 2 - Game 4 

Opponent: Steve Hammond (Scourge)
Bunker Assault

Steve’s list
Desolator (CV5)
4 minders Intruder
3x Warriors in Invader
3x Warriors in Invader sharing Marauder
3xHunter with Marauder
3xReaper with Marauder
2x Slayer with Razor Worms with Marauder
2x Corsair
1 Reaver
2x Aged Ones in Intruder
2x Aged Ones in Intruder

Game 4 is Bunker Assault – this is a standard Focal Point mission but the focal points are 5 bunkers. The bunkers cannot be destroyed, there is no Falling Masonry and you can’t shoot out of them, also troops are worth double points inside a bunker. So the only way to get rid of troops from them is either flame weapons or CQB.
I was bricking it a bit, firstly I have never played as or against Scourge, although I have been collecting a scourge army since Xmas, so I know a little about them. The mission had direct deployment and it was in opposite corners. Steve deployed his desolator and I deployed my Kodiak, Ferrum and wolverines.
First turn I could see Steve wanted to get to as many bunkers as he could, he dropped a squad of Warriors at his bunker, and kept the other embarked in the marauder, the 2 squads of Aged Ones came for my bunkers, man those Intruders are fast! I deployed my Rapiers so that if I won the turn 2 initiative, I would get a shot at both the intruders – unfortunately for Steve, he was not aware I had pulled the Central HQ Directive command card. This lets me re-roll the initiative with a CV of 5, I also had Intel Report, and so I looked at Steve’s cards to check he didn’t have Espionage – he didn’t.
Knowing how limited the range of their AA is my drones went for the middle. I think Steve made a mistake with his turn 1, he should have held back his troops and wait for me to make a move. Turn 2 was utterly devastating; I won the initiative (using my card). My Rapiers took out the intruders, 1 crash landing (killing 1 base of aged ones) and 1 safe landing. My sabre took out the remaining base of Aged ones that were close. His Hunters returned fire on my Rapiers and shot 2 of them, again this was a mistake as he exposed himself – he could have activated these last to stop any return fire. My drones took out 1 Slayer, my boss the other. My Gladius took out the Razorworms that evacuated the destroyed Slayers and also got 2 Hunters. Steve played an underground monorail and moved his Warriors to the middle bunker, my Praetorians were happy to follow them in, Steve’s other Warriors entered the far left bunker using a secret entrance, again 3 squads of Legionnaires piled in after him – these are the odds I like.
If turn 2 was devastating, turn 3 was a massacre. The Praetorians wiped out the Warriors, and the Legionnaires left 1 Warrior alive, who bravely passed his fortitude test, I took out the last Hunter and 1 Reaper. We both knew the game was beyond salvage for Steve, but he fought on. My army had a distinct inability to reaction fire – I couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo! So the corsairs remained alive, although very ineffective. I took out the big boss Desolator and the Reaver, finished off the Warriors, his Desolator had some fun with my Sabres and Gladius, took out a few, but the game finished with me having 15 victory-points against Steve’s 1, I also had a 3 point kill-point bonus.
19-1 in tournament points

Day 2 - Game 5

So last game of the weekend, I have won 4 out of 4, and I’m playing my good friend and team mate – Mr Dan Cates (aka ZombieState). Dan has also won 4 out of 4, but had been racking up very high scores which put him 12 tournament points ahead of me. This meant I needed to win 17-3 or better to win the tournament…….

Opponent: Dan "ZombieStateCates (Shaltari)
Military Complex

Dan’s list
Coyote (CV4)
3 Yari
6x Tomahawk
3x Kukuri
2x Jaguars
3 squads of Braves
1 squad of Firstborns
Fire Drake
2 Edens, 2 Spirit and 4 Haven gates

The mission is exactly the same as mission 1 (Targets) but all the buildings on the battlefield are Hardened, therefore armour 8.
I knew I had to go all out offensive here, and had to hope Dan took a while finding his home objective (both home objectives were in large buildings, the 3 centre buildings went Normal – Large – Large). Dan won the initiative and made me go first. We both put 2 units of troops in our home building; I rushed my Praetorians and 1 squad of legionnaires to the centre. My Gladius stayed in their Condors and went 18” my Sabres deployed and Rapiers rushed up the right flank 18”. Dan made a tiny mistake in bring his 6 tomahawks on too early – he should have waited until I was already in a building to bring them on.
Turn 2 Dan rolls a 6 for his search and finds his objective, now I know I need to extract all the remaining objectives. Dan has 1 mission now, stop me! I managed to take 3 wounds off a Jaguar with 3 Sabres (and 1 missed!) my drones went to finish him off but failed, so my Kodiak kindly obliged. The Rapiers disembarked ready to take out gates on turn 3. My Gladius deployed in his half – lining up for Jaguar no.2 on turn 3. I found my home objective and extracted it; 1 down, 3 to go. Dan placed Braves in the middle centre building and first borns in the middle right. I sent my Praetorians and 1 squad of Legionnaires against the Braves and 1 squad of Legionnaires into the middle left building. With hindsight, I think this was a mistake; I should have had 2 squads in the middle left building to search and left the Praetorians to it.
Turn 3 Dan had been chipping away at the middle left building my Legionnaires were in, it was going down quick. My Legionnaires had to act quickly, they failed to find the objective on a 5+, 2 searches would have been good! I had to evacuate the building as it was left with 3 damage points remaining. Dan found the middle centre objective but was wiped out by the praetorians and legionnaires leaving it for them the following turn. The Gladius removed the last Jaguar and the Rapiers took out the spirits. For some reason it took forever and a day to hurt the Havens! Dan’s first borns failed to find the objective in the middle right tower. He moved in his remaining units of Braves inside the tower.
Turn 4 and Dan destroyed the objective in the middle left building, leaving me with 1 hope – which was to CQB 2 units of Braves and a unit of First Borns with the remnants of my troops plus get a massive kill-point bonus. Dan had played it well, he knew he was going to lose as soon as his Jaguars both went down and I took out the Braves, but it was only going to be a minor loss. Dan slowly removed units from the board or hid them out of line of sight.
The game ended as a 4-3 victory-point win for me and I had a 2 point kill-point bonus
13-7 in tournament points

Dave (from Hawk) kept a watchful eye over our table to see who would win, he was really happy that we were on the top table. He was a little worried that some of the power lists and people who spammed units were going to trounce the opposition, he said it was nice to see 2 really balanced lists at the top.

So I came second overall and won 5 out of 5. Huge congrats to Dan – he smashed up the opposition and had a healthy lead that I couldn't catch.

I walked away with a KR card case full of UCM foam, a Ruinscape and a blister of my choice (I got an Albatross).

Our team ‘Orbital Bombardment’ also won best team, so we all got to choose a blister of our choice (I got 3 more Katanas, making 9 – to go in my new Albatross), we got a resin building for our club and a ruinscape for the club!
In the end we had team members in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th and our average score of all 6 of us was higher than the 3rd place finisher!

My winnings - made when I got home on Day 2!

Conclusions on the army: It worked exactly how I wanted it to, I made very few mistakes and I capitalised on my opponents errors. I rolled pretty averagely over the weekend some good some bad. I learnt a couple of new tactics too. For instance staying in Condors turn 1 can really help push back the opponent.

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