Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Unloved Army

Praetorian Snipers new combat gear?

A while back, Edchop did an article on unloved UCM units. These are units that have fallen out of favour or perhaps never really in favour (Scimitars, I'm looking at you!).
I decided to put together an army of "unloved" as I was playing against a newbie. The newbie in question is a long time wargamer called Alex. He has had a couple of games of Dropzone and this was to be his first proper 1500 point game.

My list is not easy on the eyes. It is made up from units I haven't used in a while (Sabres, Snipers, Falcons and even Rapiers) and units I have never used before (Scimitars):

Kodiak (Lieutenant)

6 Sabres in 2 Condors (missiles) 
2 Falcon

2 Legionnaires in Raven
3 Fireblades in Condor

2 Legionnaires in Raven 

2 Scimitars
3 Rapiers in Condor (missiles)

3 Praetorian Snipers in Raven
2 Praetorians in Raven

I have still managed to get 6 battle-groups and 4 units of infantry. It's quite a mobile force and before anyone mentions it, I know it is extremely light on AA, but has quite a bit of anti-tank punch. Scouting for the boss is an issue though.

Alex's PHR list (from memory - I think I'm missing something as it's about 90 points light, but for the life of me I can't remember)

Zeus (Battle Vizier) Odin in Neptune
2 Janus in Triton (missiles)

2 Phobos in Neptune

2 Immortals in Triton (missiles) 
2 Immortals in Triton (missiles) 

2 Immortals in Triton (missiles) 
2 Immortals in Triton (missiles) 

2 Odin in Neptune
2 Taranis


So looking at Alex's list, I am seriously light on AA. That Athena is gonna hurt!

We rolled a mission from the book and played Encroachment. Not a great mission for PHR with their lack of mobility. The object of the game is to get as many units in the opposition half as possible, troops in buildings in the enemies half give you 3x their worth.

I let Alex direct deploy first after winning the roll-off. This meant I could see where he put his Taranis. I put my Scimitars opposite facing down a long and empty road. I also deployed my Eagle and Falcons and obviously my boss. 
We rolled for the initiative and as my boss was on the table I won, letting Alex go first. He duly rolled a 6 for his Athena to come on from reserves, used it first - made his attack run and obliterated my Eagle. There may have been some colourful expletives used at this point! After that I knew I had to get out of my dropships. I would normally have left my Sabres and Fireblades in the Condors and moved on for a turn 2 drop, unfortunately I made the mistake of leaving my troops in Ravens and bombing them forward. My Scimitars had a bead on 1 of the Taranis and rolled double 6 - who says Scimitars are useless!!! We love Marksmen Lasers. My boss tried to knobble a Phobos and did 1 wound. My Rapiers deployed just behind 3 Ravens who hid behind a large central building (after realising my mistake of leaving them fully loaded). Unfortunately I left my Snipers stranded on the far left - they wanted to go into a tower in Alex's half. Good for spotting and good for taking out dropships. Alex mostly hid, his troops all went up the middle on the other side of the building to my 3 Ravens - well out of AA fire! My sabres and Falcons went up the left and Fireblades up the right (perfect for some burny fun on turn 2).

Luckily I won the Initiative for turn 2 otherwise my Snipers would have been toast. They quickly jetted into the tower they were after - this also meant my Praetorians had to activate so they went into the big building they were hiding behind. Alex unloaded 2 squads of Immortals into the same building and 2 squads of Immortals into a large tower in my half. I responded by helping out my praetorians with 2 squads of Legionnaires and moved my Fireblades up to burn some Immortals! This worked extremely well and with the 18 flame shots I managed to kill 1 Immortal <sarcastic face>. My Sabres couldn't get round the corner to take out Alex's Phobos so shot a building, oh yeah - Alex used field repair on the wounded Phobos. My boss did nothing....which if you've read any of my tournament write ups or battle reports before - you'll know is pretty standard! My Falcons bombed forward and hid just around  the corner of Alex's boss squad. The Athena came in and had a pop at my Kodiak but managed to roll a 1 for wounding, phew. My Rapiers decided to go for the Tritons of his troops and Janus, 3 targets, 3 shots each. I did nothing - not just a good turn so far a great turn! Almost forgot, an Odin popped his head into the corridor of death, so my Scimitars had a pop, double 6....again. No saves and a dead Odin - turn saved! yay

Turn 3 was much better, the Praetorians and 2 squads of Legionnaires completely dicked on the Immortals causing 8 wounds on each. I lost 1 praetorian, 5 Legionnaires from Blue squad and 4 Legionnaires from yellow squad - Blue squad decided that they had left the cooker on so buggered off. There were reports of some screaming like little girls, but this is wholly unsubstantiated. My Fireblades got weapon hacked, but the remaining 2 wiped 1 base of Immortals and 3 from another base - much better chaps. My boss smoked a Phobos, I almost had to sit down at this point! My Sabres got the other one and my Falcons moved round to take out the remaining Taranis - and failed miserably (rolled a 1 and 2 for hitting) that's why I never use them, they never bloody hit! My Snipers had a shot at 2 Tritons, and failed to penetrate their thick armour. Alex decimated my Snipers in the building in his half, EVERYTHING shot that building. Taranis, Athena, Odins, Zeus, Neptunes and Tritons - there was 1 damage left on the building and 1 sniper left at the end. My Rapiers managed to down 2 Tritons and the Scimitars moved, as they had nothing to shoot at.

Turn 4 I won activation again - this really shouldn't happen as much! Alex played an underground monorail to save his Immortals from being fried. 
I got my lone Sniper into his Raven and stopped his Athena going for the Raven with a card. This meant I had to activate my Praetorians, they, and Yellow squad swiftly dealt with the remaining Immortals, but that left them a tad exposed. Alex put everything into destroying the building and got both squads down to 2 men in each. The Legionnaires who ran away tactically withdrew bombed forward in their Raven. The Fireblades wiped out the last Immortals. My boss did a wound on the Odin with the Zeus. The Scimitars failed to wound an Odin and the Rapiers wounded the Athena. My Sabres had nothing to do, so took out the building where my Snipers used to be, this gave me a shot to Alex's boss and Odin next turn.

Turn 5 Alex won, but I played Central HQ directive and went first. I took out the Taranis and the Odin and we called it as I had 6 Sabres, 3 Fireblades and 3 Rapiers all in his half, plus 2 bases of Legionnaires, 1 base of Praetorians and 1 base of Snipers in buildings. 

A very enjoyable game, and Alex did very well as a new player. Understanding activations and when to move key pieces is something you learn as you play more. He made some mistakes, but we talked them through and he learnt a lot


Sabres: Really liked using these again, good range and powerful guns

Falcons: The reason I stopped using them was because I would get into a good position with them and fail to hit, same happened here. They took out 1 Taranis all game! 

Scimitars: Had great turns (double 6 twice). Can see a use for them, but lack of a move and fire is a hindrance.

Rapiers: Not so much unloved as unused. I have been using Ferrum and Wolverine A's mostly. Rapiers are superb, you don't want to go near them if you are an aircraft!

Praetorian Snipers: Unfortunately these guys are going to remain unloved for a lot longer. Troops in this game need to move about and search for objectives. They also fight in combat. The Praetorian Snipers do neither. They are scouts so need to line windows to spot, which won't happen until turn 3 at the earliest. They have no way of avoiding falling masonry so they are annihilated quicker than Legionnaires for a lot more points. 

If I could suggest some changes for Snipers it would be for the dodge to be for falling masonry and not CQB, and that they could line the windows on the turn they enter a structure. That would make them useful at least. Currently they are not an option



  1. A fun read, perhaps I'll breakout my Warspears and Thunderbirds.

    Having common opponents or a small playgroup can really affect your opinions of units depending on their oft used units, getting a new opponent is a good chance for a re-evaluation.

    1. Yep, I agree with that. It's one of the good things about tournaments, being able to see and play against others with a different idea of the game to yours.

  2. Still, I consider it telling when you can play with Schimitars, Falcons and Snipers and still get a good fight out of it.

  3. Sounds like a lot of fun. Good to see some different units in action.

  4. Wow - even in a dedicated "unloved units" list, there's STILL no room for Fast Movers. Harsh.

    1. That's because secretly I love Arcangels. I love the model, the stats and the points cost is perfect. It's only for the inefficiency of reserves followed by the attack run roll that I don't use them regularly. I do use them every now and again to mix it up a little