Saturday, 20 December 2014

Edchopps Moving Castle

As you may know if you listen to our podcast I have been starting a PHR army, because they are super techy cool. It helps that they are awesome cool looking. But what I'd like to talk about today is the evolution so far of my PHR experiment i.e. my lists what I intended, and what has occurred.

The problem I have is that the typical play-style of PHR is BOOOORING! Type II Walkers out the wazoo, Demo units castle up at the back and drop buildings left, right and centre (Even if the UCM Demo squad is better at it and more mobile). The main issue is that Type I and II walkers are very, very slow, as are their transports. The Aeries has a 3” movement and the Neptune has a 16” movement, in comparison the UCMs Sabre has 4" Move and the Condor has an 18" move. So they have the slowest of the main battle units, now obviously they have long range and strong weaponry on their side as well as an extra DP, but this game is about objectives and projection of power, so being quick on your feet is a great advantage.

So my concept was the following; Can I make the PHR Castle move? Or, Can I make a mobile PHR army work?

My reasoning and ideas are basically sound, as the PHR through recent experimental (now official) units they have gained some speed and much needed agility. Chiefly through three units:

The Apollo:
This 6”-12” movement, 24” range gun, speedster is a godsend for the PHR giving them the ability to react to a fluid situation quickly in order to lay down firepower where needed and fast. They sacrifice a point of armour for their troubles and are shockingly vulnerable while jumping (still learning that lesson myself). The sheer versatility of this unit is just brilliant for focal missions or just when needed to flank an opponent not expecting an aggressive flank movement.

The Hades:
This absolute beast is a wonderful centrepiece model and fittingly is a roaring monster of a combat vehicle. That 36” range, energy 12, 3 shot tail gun is just sooo good.

But this is ignoring its other more subtle advantages.

Its a brilliant support unit, with its healing white nano-machines able to repair one damage a turn up to 18” away that's a 36” bubble in which you can help out your smaller buddies especially those vulnerable and valuable AA units. Also include that it has a 4” movement which doesn't sound much but in an army of 2” walking units that's a huge difference trust me. I could (and probably will) write a whole article on how to run this Brute but we don't have space to do that here.

The Mercury Drone:
Cruelly overlooked in my opinion by my local fellow PHR players. The humble, peaceful, possibly bashful, Mercury Scout Drone is one of THE best force multipliers in the game. Being able to assist objective finding is the most obvious bonus to these little dudes but also if you look at it they help out in many other ways too.

Them being scouts is fantastic, extending your commander (who is slow as balls) sphere of influence. Which at later stages of the game can be critical especially using the PHR's very powerful card deck. Also spotting for IF guns including the very powerful missiles their own transports carry, and being able to grab and hold Focal points which aircraft normally can't.

All these little bonuses mean that in a unit worth about the same as a unit of immortals in a Triton it can't really be considered a sacrifice of infantry to take these instead of an extra unit of infantry (the logic my fellow local PHR players use to drop them from lists). It is absolutely worth fitting them in somehow into a list. Again I could (and most likely will) write a whole article on how to run these guys but we shall move on for the sake of brevity.

The Lists:

Make a mobile PHR army that works hard to punch forward quickly and grab objectives while going nose to nose with the opponent knocking them off balance and unable to recover. Aggression and speed.

(By the way I would ignore the names in the jpgs my list name convention is all over the place!)

Take 1:

So my first(ish) list looked like this.

The Idea:
  • All the basics are there hard hitting mobile units to the fore that are able to take the fight to the enemy very, very quickly especially using their transports. 
  • The Apollos being able to jetpack out of the transports can use to be half way across the board turn 1, turning the flanks to my advantage almost immediately.
  • Meanwhile the Hades would be dropped off 18” on to the board turn 2 and be firing on everything turn 3 healing and basically being the centre of attention while the infantry grabbed objectives.

The Reality: (3 Games played)
This army really sucked at what it was supposed to do.
The infantry worked hard to grab those objectives and the Mercurys did their damnedest to help out but the real let downs were the big guns in this list.

The Hades wasn't firing early enough, he just kept being dropped in and wallowed around so for a third of the game he wasn't doing anything useful. The Apollos did get forward quickly and punched as hard as they could but they just couldn't make enough of an impact all at once to really make that difference. I just didn't have enough oomph on the board to get going. It didn't help that the Poseidon is TOO slow and hasn't got a gun worth a damn (oooh Stealth missiles, so scary) and it's 87pts!

Lessons Learned:
  • The Poseidon is bunk and actually holds the Hades back from doing his job. 
  • The Hades can start projecting game influence on turn 1 either by making your opponent think about deploying too close onto the board, or he can start working on crumbling objective holding buildings. So he actually works better just walking on the board. And with a 4” move he actually has a chance of getting to critical focal points before turn 6 and being over 200pts he can hold them against large chunks of opponents.
  • More AA is needed! Having only 2 Phobos was not enough dakka to bring down AA units and they get taken out very easily with concentrated fire-power.

Take 2:

Having learnt some harsh lessons this was, after a few iterations, the next list I made.

The Idea:
  • More AA and now the HQ group isn't quite so barren. Plus also an Athena! I love the Athena its such an amazing model and its stats are the dogs nuts! (Very Very good in London slang terms). 
  • The Poseidon is gone in favour of a walking Hades. 
  • The Hades is now joined by the Apollo's which are all lumped into one squadron which should hopefully allow their EN10 weaponry to come into a much stronger punch. 
  • The Helios will add much to the ability for my AA to go hunting, and if needed their shaped charge shots will come in handy.

The Reality: (7 Games Played)

I still stand by this list I think it is really good it has some nice punch and real speed to it, the Hades/Apollos Battlegroup is a real star, they work so well together. The Hades punches up the middle soaking up damage and bringing the rain with style! Usually the Apollos flank jump to support and hunt lone tanks and squadrons. Unfortunately a run of incredible bad luck (Seriously not even kidding the worst luck I have ever had.) has stymied this list so I need to get some more stuff in that can take a beating and get into the fight earlier. 
The Athena is great but unfortunately I don't like how you're supposed to use the Forward Air Controllers rule it just doesn't make sense to expose your troops like that. So including the worst luck I have ever had the Athena hasn't turned up enough to justify its 135pts cost. 
The Commander on his own is just the most useless building shooting, slow as balls, idiot. He just gives his command and wanders forlornly towards a focal point. Not a good use of 136pts. 

Lessons Learned:
  • Be Harsher and more points efficient, drop the dead weight. If it ain't killing, get rid of it or bring in an assistant to help it out. 
  • Re-jig the battlegroups, spread out the AA so you can spread the danger out. 
  • The Helios is a predator not a point defence vehicle. Use it to hunt down or ambush air units don't be passive and expect the skimmer bonus to help you out.

Take 3:

The Idea:
  • More an evolution of the Take 2 list then a complete redo.
  • The AA being more spread out will help me react to situations as needed.
  • Heavy Squad wasn't broken so they stayed as they are. 
  • The Aries has been upgraded to a Phobos for more AA punch.
  • This list is much more points efficient than previous, the Athena was not pulling its weight. 
  • The Zeus now with Neptune and attendant Odin will be able to bring his fire-power toting buddy and toughness into the fire fight at last. This extra manoeuvrability effectively means that I have a whole extra tough squad ready to put into the front lines.
The Reality: 
Well the reality is that I have played only one game with this list and it served me well but I was very tired and only managed a draw (in normal game points, in tournie points I scraped a victory by 1pt). I am very much looking forward to playing more games but obviously the holiday season is upon us and I may not get much gaming in, amidst the eating and merry making.

Anyway thanks for Sticking with me all the way through this monster of a blog update, I hope it gave you an insight into how a list evolves over time. Please make sure to let me know what you think of my current list, or even give some thoughts on how your list has evolved over time. 
Merry Xmas to you all, may you drink and be merry this holiday season!


  1. I'm digging the 3rd list and your evolution. In a game today it came up about FAC. Does it have to be an INF type or from a INF battle group? Big difference, If it is type = SIRENS could be FAC w/ the falling masonary dodge save to keep them alive. If is INF battle group, then Immortals are only choice.

    Keep writing, I'm reading them.
    Cheers and Merry x-mass and have a happy new year.


    1. Thanks for the props much appreciated. :-)

      With regards FAC, only a Troops squad can be allocated this rule, so unfortunately an immortals unit is our only choice.

      However I disagree that Sirens would be a better choice, as remember they are not very tough outside of CQB if they can be seen by the enemy they can be shot by them too and dodge only works inside CQB so they are far and away squishier than Immortals. Add to that They have no weaponry that they could use to threaten things on the battlefield.

      That being said I am looking forward to whatever type of infantry the PHR get next, maybe some sort of battlesuit that can go toe to toe with Destroyers maybe. Or some kind of jump infantry with evasion like the Resistance bikers.

  2. Yeah, third list was the best. You haven't considered Erebos as well? If the Hades is in a poseidon I suggest always dropping turn 2. That means 12+6+3+2 = 23" into the table turn 2. Use it as a fire magnet. It will soak up lots of fire for the rest of the army. especially for the very sensitive Apollos.

    1. I did but they are realistaclly only useful against maybe 2 out of 5 factions, vs scourge or resistance then fantastic, mostly short range so they need to get within 12" to use it but otherwise its not great.
      Hades in a poseidon simply does. not. work. The poseidon is too slow and too expensive and the Hades from turn 1 can be affecting stuff on the board anyway (by activating him last you can walk on and start popping away at units deployed on the board). Honestly most of the time I've played him he works better behind the lines repairing DP and shooting units with his 36" range tail gun. He is put simply a support unit.

  3. Hi, Ed. Merry Christmas.

    What kind of list are you trying to build? A tournament list, an all-comers list, or just a generic 1,500 point list? Because it looks to me like you've got too much infantry and not enough firepower.

    POHR are my main army, but I've only recently acquired a Hades and 6 Apollos, and they are still in the blister, so I'm not an expert on running those units, although I have faced them.

    I just feel that the Hades is too many points for a 1,500 point list, but without the Poseidon, which I'd previously thought was mandatory, maybe not. I played a 4-way team game last night in which I learned just how far a Hades can reach out and touch pretty much anything it wants to as long as it has LOS, so I'll be working up some lists in FFoR to see what I can come up with to try it out once I get the chance to build it.

    But back to the question of Infantry: I don't know your meta, or which missions you usually play, but out of the 12 Standard Missions in the 2 DzC books, only 5 involve Objectives, and 1 has intel; however, of the 5 that include Objectives, only 2 of them are strictly Objective missions, while the others involve Focal points, and one other has just 4 Objectives, two of which are on your opponent's side of the board and likely to be discovered and possibly extracted before you can even get one or more of your squads of Infantry into one of those buildings to start fighting over who can claim it.

    Point being, that 9, maybe 8 missions out of 12 in which, IMHO, you've got too much Infantry for what you need to achieve.

    Like I said, I don't know your local meta, but maybe try running a list that only has 2 squads of Immortals, and use the other points for Ares in Neptunes to provide a bit more punch and survivability. I don't think that goes against your goals you're trying to achieve, and it gives your AA units some backup to help keep them alive.

    Also, not sure if you're taking a Neptunes for your Helios (I can't scroll up on this iPad to check, as if I do I won't be able to keep typing in this text box, such are the issues with Blogspot and iPads), but the Helios could drive on alongside the Hades to give it some air support, while you use the 45 points that I think you've got invested in a Neptune for them somewhere else.

    Otherwise, I agree that you need at least 2 Phobos and a squad of 2 Helios in any 1,500 point list, and I absolutely agree with you that Mercury Drones ROCK!



    1. Yup, you've got a Neptune with your Helios.

      So, if you drop a squad of Immortals (107) and the Sirens (yes, I know they rock in CQB, but do you really need them most of the time? (Thinking non-tournament, fun list here, mostly...)) (132) and take the miniguns off the other Immortals' Tritons (6) and drop the Neptune off the Helios (45), thats 290 points that you can use for other stuff, including upgrading your Commander to a Battle Vizier, which, I think, is the lowest level Commander you should have, but that's just me.

      Otherwise, 2 Ares in a Neptune is 129 points, which leaves you with 161 points to work with out of that theoretical 290. That's not enough for 2 Odins in a Neptune (175), but you could could run another Ares with another Phobos in a mixed Type 1 squad in a Neptune (150), or add back the Sirens and swap out one of the Ares I'm talking about for a 3rd Phobos (132 + 21 = 153), and then put the miniguns back on the remaining 2 squads of Immortals' Tritons, or whatever, you get my point... Or, with that 161 points, you could add in 2 Erebos in a Neptune (125) and upgrade your Commander to a BV (35), and be at 1,499 points total... Erebos can be really annoying to face, from my experience, which is why I recently bought 2 blisters of them. :-)

      I just think you can't underestimate the benefit of the Ares' ability to hit ~everything~ on no worse than a 3+. Skimmers abound in my meta, tho, and then there's also hull down targets... And you'll need something else back in the backfield or midfield for those missions where there are 5 Focal Points that need to be secured and/or defended...

      I just see a lot of lists where there's a ton of Infantry, including Sirens, and I feel that most missions you could choose or roll up in a friendly game, or be assigned in a tournament, don't require that much Infantry.

      Just MHO...


    2. While I agree that a good amount of the missions in the book aren't objective based. The actual games we play in the club are. We play mostly tournament style as we are quite competitive gamers in our club, but not douchey tournament gamer thats just not fun. So our missions tend to be the ones without an attacker/defender role. The missions that are as balanced as a scenario can be. Targets, military complex, Take and hold etc.

      I absolutely need the amount of infantry I have because if one finds the objective and leaves the table with it then that is an infantry sqd out of action for two turns not helping out finding the other objs. So with four on the board losing one won't be as much of an issue.

      Sirens are great at two things, fighting other exotics and frightening your opponents. They will go toe to toe with anything in the game and have a good chance of taking it down on fair terms. So a 1500 pt list without them in a tournament is going to struggle.

      Thanks for the comments, always good to hear from other players. :-)

    3. Ed:

      Just to be clear, I was referring to just the Standard Missions in both the v1.1 Core Rulebook and Reconquest, Phase I. Between those two books, there are 12 Standard missions, not counting the Attacker/Defender missions, which are really not suitable for tournament play.

      But, you know your meta better that I. We haven't evolved to the point of holding tournaments at our FLGS a yet, unfortunately, but I'm working on that (as the organizer, not as a player).

      (Sorry, just noticed above, it should say, "You know your meta better than I", not "that I". Damn iPad, I swear, it's convenient as hell, but the unwelcome autocorrections drive me batty, especially on Blogspot sites, where I can't go back and edit without Backspacing through too much stuff to re-type... >_< )

      Anyway, it looks like a good list, I'm not trying to argue with you. We've been playing so many missions other than Objective missions, like Surging Strike and Ground Control, that I'm out of the habit of having to think too much about getting objectives found and off the table. But even with Secure the Flanks, there's really only 2 objectives that you can really hope to get, the one in your quarter and the one in the center; don't you think?

      Anyway, gotta get my Hades and Apollos built and tried out before I can make any properly backed up comments about lists that contain them.., :-)

      Question for you: How many players do you usually have in your tournaments? How many sets of HWG card stock terrain do you find that you need to run a tournament? This is one of the limiting factors for me in getting tournaments organized, is that our FLGS a only really has one set of Cityscape terrain, which I and another chap donated, plus a 2-Player Starter set of terrain, which I donated to the store. I've got a personal copy of Cityscape, and I know one other guy who has one, and then I've got 2 copies of the 2-Player starter terrain in my personal collection. I'm not sure the other guy(s) who have their own copies of Cityscape would be willing to have them used in a tournament, but then, I haven't asked them. Just wondering how you handle it within your club...


    4. It sounds like you have enough for 3 tables, or 4 if your not bothered about road tiles for one, so you could run a small tourney for sure. We have a ton of city scape; when our club does something, it does it right! We can do at least 5 tables at the mo. Because we have a club, rather than a FLGS, we store one set there and then others bring thiers on the night.

      Our first tourney had 10 gamers, and our second a few less (because we ran a 40k tourney paralel, which in hindsight was a mistake). I think we'll get about 15 for the next go at it, as more starter sets are being bought.

      If you can get 10 bodies down, you'll have a good one day tourney!

  4. I like that third list the best, and I think it has some great synergies within it.

    With that many infantry plus Mercury Drones, I think you will clean up in objective missions.

    It's weakness is AA IMHO. Which is fine really as how can you get everything in 1500 points.

    As you note, the Helios is not a defensive unit. I believe it must be pushed up to hunt for enemy air units. I've calculated that a Helios is more survivable than a UCM Sabre given that it has the skimmer bonus. A8 with 2DP is roughly equal to A10 with 1DP, though the Helios is more vulnerable to lower strength weapons. It has a secondary AT capability with Shaped Charge and two weapons of three shots each. With the AA rule, it ignores the enemy skimmer penalty to hit.

    Anyway, I believe it is an excellent list to support a Hades. I would happily play it.

  5. jdwelch has it right: Ares.
    ACCURATE. Cheap. Durable.

    Poseidon-Not useless. It will hump 4 Ares and 2 Phobos durably and points efficiently.

    1. I agree with your point about the Poseidon in that regard, lugging around a lot of type II walkers would be a good use of it. However I don't like the strategy that would make me play. As I said in the post I wanted a quicker moving non-static PHR list, and having to redeploy every few turns would weaken my shooting.
      By using the quicker moving type III and IV walkers I sacrifice some of the famed PHR durability for the speed which in this game is very very important.

    2. Also I do really like the Ares but at the moment they just don't fit in with the list and I feel I have enough anti tank with the hades, apollos and the hq sqd.