Monday, 30 March 2015

Now That's How You Command People's Attention!

Now here's a commander who knew how to grab attention
We were teased with words before Christmas. We were teased even harder when the models were displayed, but with very little information. We and were even teased as to when the rules were going to be released (Hawk you said today, but not at lunch time? That's just mean).

But they are finally here! The brand spanky new rules for the brand spanky new commanders! This post will be a little different for us, in that you will have an opinion from most, if not all of us on each new unit. Before you start reading what we think though, have a perusal of the rules yourself by clicking the Link to Sudden Happiness below:

So, in strictly alphabetical order:

The Gharial

Zombiestate: Truth be told, I don't like it. There's something in my gut which is telling me this unit is all wrong. The problem for me perhaps isn't the unit itself, but more what it reflects for the rest of the army; Shaltari can now do whatever they want. There have been certain limits for the Spikeys previously which have not held them back which they now have access too. For instance: flame weapons. In one swoop they get it on a card (which in fairness is minor) and on a command vehicle, and the weapon itself is just excellent. Six E5 shots will annihilate a base of troops A3 or less, and have a real good go at anything harder. It makes the infantry game even easier for them. Also, if there happens to be a mid-table building that the Shaltari don't want there, they can just bring it down when they choose. Two E10 Demolisher 3 weapons, backed by everything else in a Shaltari army will fell a 30 point building in about turn. Granted the range is low, but it's irrelevant because the skimmer can be gated on turn 1 and be mid-table turn 2. It's also insanely good at killing tanks, but that's fair as it can only target one.

It just opens up even more avenues that the race didn't need The Coyote is equal in points, so focal point grabbing is not a problem. Also it may be more survivable if positioned near a Dreamsnare than a Coyote, but Mike will have to do the maths for that one. People who think that the Dreamsnare's pace is an issue probably forget that it still moves 4”, meaning if they both moved in a straight line it would take three turns for the Gharial to move out of bouncy shield range.

Mike will probably disagree with me completely. That happens a lot. Ed hates all things Shaltari, so will probably agree with me. Joe? Well, I'm not even sure if he will have an opinion!

My Initial Verdict: I'm not disappointed, just frustrated I guess. On the plus side though the kit is lurvely.

MegaMike: The Gharial is a very interesting unit. I'm in a little bit of agreement with Zombie, in that I don't think it should be a flame weapon, I don't think Shaltari need it. It also happens to be the best flamer in the game at E5! I think if it was going to be a flame weapon then it should be more shots and weaker, maybe 12 shots E3 or what I'd prefer would be a heavier version of the dragon cannon with lots of shots and E5, but not flame.

I really like the more focused gun. 2 E12 shots is superb. I like the 1 shot demo guns too and I'm really glad that their uncountered range is only 12". The Caimen chassis is a great platform for the commander too also perfectly costed at 100 points

The Nemesis

Zombiestate: Did anyone really think this commander would be any different from when they first saw the model? PHR are like Ronseal; they do exactly what they say on the tin (very English commercial reference that one). It has two little guns and one enormous gun! It's pretty awesome, and kind of takes away the need for Hyperions. I wouldn't bother running any with a Nemesis, as they do the same thing. Not that I would run them with a Zeus either, but that's another story.

Do I like it? Yes. There's nothing bad about it. It's more survivable than a Zeus and Odin, can target more units, and has an big psychological presence wherever it roams. It's not better than a Hades, but that is to be expected. For reference, a Coyote is not better than a Jaguar. True, a Zeus and a Odin share a weird kind of bromance synergy and tend not to die (a bit like Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh) but the Nemesis just simply offers a different angle. You could worry about OGS (One Gun Syndrome), but the Zeus only has one shot too...

Do I think people were hoping for a commander to change the fortunes of the army? Possibly. But it was never going to be that unit. I think the army issues are something that will get ironed out over the year when more models are released. Well, I hope so at least.

Oh, and as a side note, pleasepleaseplease don't take a Posseidon with one! Forget about that focal point on the other side of the board, you are PHR, you are not getting there, DEAL WITH IT. That one in the middle though? With more than 250+ points in one walking fortress, that is most likely going to be yours Sir.

My Initial Verdict: I like it. Adds nothing particularly new, but gives more options to an army which is in worry of becoming stale.

MegaMike: Is this the end of heavy tanks in the game? I hope not, but if we see too many units arriving with the devastator rule it will be. Currently there is the Alexander and now the Nemesis. The Devestator rule means that if you wound, it will be at least 2dp against the target. Why would you want to spend more points on a heavy tank that would die as easily as a single dp MBT. 
As for the model it is nice, very nice really. There are a few grumbles about "another type 4 walker" and "we want something different" but only from PHR players. Shaltari are the same, it's Caimen based, but no-one is complaining about that - why?
Continuing on from Zombies comparison a Zeus and Odin in a Neptune is 186, the Nemesis is 190 it's a fair swap. It's different enough to make you have to consider which commander you want, and build your list accordingly. I'm glad it has no special abilities, I don't think generic commanders need special abilities, same with the Phoenix which I will get to later.

Edchopp: The Nemesis is the most unsubtle of the new commanders really, mainly in design terms. Take a type 4 give a big gun and two smaller guns and remove the hives. Walk him on and watch as he marches up the table blapping anything that pokes its silly head out... Except they won't.

Anyone in their right mind will basically ignore this big boy and stay out of his line of sight. So set him on a path to the central focal point wind up his clockwork and watch him march up the quietest path in the game.

Now this all sounds negative but this would be wrong. The Nemesis model is awesome the Type 4 walker is what attracted me to PHR so having another generic variant is fantastic. Plus bring him on as the last activation in your first turn and he has a very good chance of ambushing someone's big important death unit, (Ahem! Ferrum Ahem!) Pair him up with a couple of Enyos who do the heavy demo lifting and you can have a really nasty surprise for your opponent as suddenly his important units become exposed then possibly one shotted from the infinite range, can cause 4pts on a minimum of 5+, gun of doom.

ALSO for all you insane nutters out there that miss the silly old days of three type 4 walkers in 1500pts? Well they are back! With the Rare squad limitation applying to the Hades only, you can have two Hades and one Nemesis in 1500pts. Although, really. Why would you do that?

The Oppressor

Zombiestate: It's not a secret that I hate the Desolater, so the fact that the Oppressor is excellent has made me breath a huge sigh of relief. It's hard to say anything bad about this unit. It is good normally, but when combined with cards like Relentless advance it becomes a juggernaut of power.
It's just so good, and fits the Scourge stereotype to a tee! It is fast (maybe too fast for a walker actually) and hits hard. It hits so hard. Oh my god does it hit hard. But on the other hand (or pincer) it is vulnerable if left exposed.

Maybe one thing worth noting is its need for a Harbinger, which could potentially leave it exposed to FM or forward AA fire. You can't run it on the board, as you will only be a maximum of 20” on the board come turn three, and now with Ocelots, Nemesis and Scimitars knocking about like old chewing gum on a street, you can't risk the run. With this said, the two units combined are a whopping 200 points (215 with AA) without a CV which is enough to have people running back to the wibbly tentacles of the Dessolator. But not this guy. You see you need to bear in mind the reliability in shots it has in comparison to it's airborne cousin. The Desolater might hit loads of stuff, whereas the Oppressor will hit loads of stuff. Backed up with six hunters they will one turn anything. That may seem like a bit of an exaggeration of list type, but not really, I ran six Hunters with my Desolater...

My Initial Verdict: Excellent unit, excels at more or less everything. Worth the points.

MegaMike: Love it, love it, love it. It's gonna die, probably a lot, but it will go down in a blaze of glory. It's going to ruin so many things, it's perfect for the Scourge, really in your face offensive. It is an expensive choice with the added Harbinger but so worth it for its output. 
I have a real need to run the oppressor with 16 Prowlers (in the same battle group) that will shit a few people up. 
It has some impressive stats with A10 and 5 dp and can target 3 separate units with high powered shot, oh and watch out for the claws!! 

The Phoenix

Zombiestate: I've noticed that a lot of people are disappointed with the way the Phoenix has turned out. I'm a little unsure why though.

True, it is a bit of a shame that the big spinny disk thing (that by the way, puts the Zeus' spinny disk thing to shame!) has no in-game effect, I'll give you that. But once you are past that you are left with a mobile beast of a commander/gunship that no other race can boast!

Firstly it's quick, and will get to where it wants to be with no trouble. It is also survivable as long as you are smart with it- remember, LoS is measured to the central stick on aircraft which makes this floating behemoth the same size as a minder technically. Moving onto the guns, I don't see how people can have complaints. The MF distances are short compared to its full distance, but I'm not convinced that having two 16” MF E12 guns would be a balanced mechanic! This unit will force players to think a turn or two in advance to get the most out of it. If you can predict, or even better, force your opponent to drop forces within 15” of you they will be having a bad day, especially if your Falcons or Rapiers have already nailed their AA. Oh, and for those large Scourge skimmer units, they can have a pie plate or two dropped on them. I think perhaps on first look the guns seem a little underwhelming, but in practise I think it is going to be stellar.

Also backboard focal points have now opened up to you, which is something UCM couldn't dream of before. Longbows or Scimitars can be left on home points, whilst the Phoenix cruises about causing misery and picking up bitches. Not bitches, I mean focal points. And bitches.

My Initial Verdict: Good unit, and a great alternative to the Kodiak

MegaMike: Certainly my favourite model, it is one of the most impressive miniatures I've ever seen, not just from Hawk. I like it so much, that 1 day after receiving it I have put it together and painted it. Most of my Saturday was spent ignoring my children to finish it off. 
Rules wise it's a beast to. It is short ranged, but has quick movement. A 16" move first turn will get you in the thick of it, but is that necessarily where you want to be? Who knows, I need to play a few games to decide on its best play style, that starts in earnest this week. 
I've read that some people are a little disappointed about the giant disc of doom having no special function, but I believe that it was intended to allow it to add its value to focal points, but this has been preceded by allowing commanders in aircraft to score, otherwise you'd never take a Desolater.
Probably my second favourite of the new commanders just released. 

Edchopp: Wow, I mean really, Wow.
This is an absolute beast, the fluff really nails it when it says that the Phoenix is an 'up-gunned beast'. Just look at how multi role this monstrosity is, AA and absolutely dominating ground strike? Ummm yes please! Added to that the fact that this could very likely take at least one full round of Phobos fire straight dead on and keep on trucking to kill those very same Phobos is insane.

With this unit I think the UCM are really starting to go the way Dave originally planned them as. Air power horde supreme. Just look at what you can now do with this army. Ferrum Drones, Eagles, new-and-improved Falcons, Archangels.

This is the strike force the reconquest needed!


  1. Pretty much agree on all. One thing though, is it only me or has there been some serious power creep lately? Pretty much all commander have something that doesn't fit into the original idea of the army.

    The Phoenix have E 12 guns! That is extremely high. Soon I guess we will see armour 11 coming out... Inflation is very apparent here. E10 would feel much better suited to the army. I'm still not comfortable with the idea that flyers have better guns than the base tanks that basically only are a gun. Also, I was kind of expecting a lumbering Aircraft. Not a nibble "as fast as a condor". 8" feels about right in total movement for this monster.

    Oppressor; Longer range and more shots. Why? They could just remove the 18". And the 2 shots. And stuck with the 4". Then again we have it on MF...

    Gharial; E12 and flame weapons to Shaltari...And Demolisher (although L1).

    The Nemesis is the only one I think fits better into the army. But the other things feels a lot like "we need to make the new stuff better". Still I think the points are there for the things but I would have liked it a bit better if they would have sticked to the theme of the army regarding the guns.

    Then again - I am always the whiner. good and interesting post, boys!

    1. You might be right.
      But the aircraft having better E than tanks is totally logical imho. They hit ground units from the top, where their armour is not optimized (it is optimized on the front). That might be the reason.
      In reality an attack helicopter is way better at destroying tanks than a battle tank.

  2. Your points are valid for sure, and I see where you're coming from. Fluffwise, I think the Ghariel is the only one that doesn't work, whereas the others fit their bills pretty well. The Scourge copy what they find, hence the giant walker, the Phoenix is the ultimate strike craft, and the Nemesis just because PHR.

    I don't know if I would use the term power creep, but you're right that three of them feel a little harder hitting than other stuff out there but I think it fits. I can't imagine that new units in the future will be as powerful as these guys.

    1. It must be noted that the amount of special rules were just right. Almost none. That was extremely good decision from Hawk. The stat works wonders with variation anyhow.

    2. I'm not sure power creep is the term I'd use. I understand what you mean, but I don't think it's power creep, if it was no-one would use the original commanders. Regarding the Phoenix with E12 guns, on one hand it is the most powerful gunship (just look at the size of it, it should be!) but the Kodiak is E13! so it isn't the most powerful commander. That's just one example, as I said I don't think it's power creep, they are just different and new.
      I do however agree that special rules being kept to a minimum is great for a generic command choice. Makes them easier to pick up and play.

  3. Great review.
    I see all these new commanders as alternates, none better than what you can run now.


    1. I'd agree with you. It's going to make our battlefields that much more varied and flavourful, which is great!

  4. Thanks for the insight. In my opinion the Nemesis is way too boring. To be honest I think the only reason for Hawk to release it, was that they wanted people to play a Type 4 walker. Because it looks cool. And most people wont play the Hades, but as a commander it will be played...

    1. A lot of players are really down on the Nemesis. Personally I think it's a great command choice. I think it has one of the most potent weapons in the game and if used correctly will absolutely terrorize opponents.
      The Hades is very widely used and now I think we will see 2 type 4's on the battlefield - that's scary. I actually think the Nemesis will work better in game than it appears on paper

    2. I agree with Mike. What the Nemesis doesn't bring in fire power it makes up for with a psychological presence. I probably wouldn't bother shooting a Nemesis or Hades, but absolutely would take a pot shot at a Odin or Zeus. Once one the those walkers have gone the fire power of the unit is halved. This in it's own right makes it a good choice.

      As Mike said, on paper it looks a little underwhelming on paper but defo give it a try!

    3. Okay guys. You have much more experience than I have. :-)
      No one in my area is playing PHR anyway, so I will probably not find out.

    4. The other strength of the Nemesis is that it opens up points for other stuff. For a Hades user, like me, losing the IF weapon but gaining some extra points to spread around is a pretty good trade off.

    5. Well who's to say that you can't have a Hades as well? We had five type 4's in one game last games night... five! And it turns out, they work well together. In fact, one of the gamers lost their Nemesis in turn 2...

  5. My only beef with the phoenix is the triple gatlings that look like they pump out a million shots only getting a single one rules wise.
    I imagine anti tank gatlings punching through the armor bit by bit. Each bullet leaves a comparatively small impact, but if the gunner can keep them trained on the target eventually the armor will be a cratered, fractured mess and shots will go through.

    A single high energy shot doesn’t really convey that in my opinion, i’d like to see both the phoenix and the falcon have weapon profiles similar to the satan chaingun on the hellhog, even if it comes with a point cost increase. The Focus rule really seems like a perfect fit for this kind of weapon to me.

    I know the background for the falcon mentions a focused pattern but i don’t really find that compelling, as it is i’ll probably attempt conversions for both of them.

    1. That's a fair gripe, fluff wise. I think maybe Hawk wanted to keep the weapon profiles for the Phoenix simple, as it has a host of gun profiles aready, and Hawk are all about the streamlining!

      If the chainguns were to gain focus and strafe though, you would definitely be looking at a huge points increase. It would become so potent, and possibly unbalanced, as it could nail entire smaller squads (technicals, wolverines, prowlers, etc...) as well as larger targets.

  6. This is a great article, but if I may raise one minor quibble: someone might want to pop back and edit the first "two" paragraphs of ZombieState's analysis of the Oppressor. His enthusiasm over the new Commander is so great, he seems to have rearranged a few lines in his ecstatic fervor!

    1. Thanks for the heads up fella, Blogspot decided to play about with my formatting; all amended!

  7. Used the nemesis in 2 games against Shaltari yesterday. In the first game he caused no damage on anything with the tail gun in 6 shots, but quick thinking railgun polished off a jaguar in turn 5. He absorbed a huge amount of firepower and attention the whole game and let the rest of my army move around until turn 4. Lost that one 5 to 8 after he finally went down in turn 6.

    The second game was redemption time, where he killed a coyote outright in turn 1, then an ocelot in turn 2. Definitely worth the point tradeoff vs an Odin and Zeus in a Neptune.

  8. To me the Nemesis looks like a n00b-stomper. It's great if your opponent leaves units out in the open across the board, but I think most strong opponents will see this coming and not give it any targets. The Nemesis can make it to a central objective with its 22" over the length of the game, but doing this will require following a very strict and prescribed path, which may not align well with the firing lanes that it needs to do any damage... leaving the Nemesis as a very expensive points paperweight for holding focal points, which could easily be fulfilled by other, more versatile PHR units.

    On a non-focal point mission? It can control one firing lane. That's pretty much it. This is a very expensive way to control one firing lane.

    With no transport, its command radius will not be in the correct place. This will necessitate taking scouts, or keeping your army near the back board edge... which is a poor strategy for PHR.

    Taking a transport would make it unjustifiably expensive.

    I will test out the Nemesis soon, but for the moment mark me as "down"