Friday, 27 March 2015

OB Podcast Episode 5.5: Robotnik Vs Sonic

It may be a little late, but it is finally here! We finally get to see Mike and Ed duel it out in a fight to the death, clothed only in chainmail and armed with nowt but sharpened spoons!

Wait, what? That didn't happen? Balls. Guess you'll have to make do with our latest podcast instead.

Edchopp, Mega Mike and myself tackle two of the hottest subjects knocking about on the tournament scene at the moment; why are PHR suffering, and why are Shaltari doing so well?

We'll go through what we think the potential problems are, and possible tactics and changes in how to combat the issues. Enjoy!

All sounds effects used in the Orbital Bombardment Podcast are from


  1. Mark my words: Reconquest: Phase 2 will be a very important update for PHR. They will get those much much needed Infantry to compete on the objective game. ;)
    Because as you said: Sirens are very good, but predictable and easy to coutner.

    1. It's less the infantry and more the way they get into and out of battle. Sirens are predictable because Tritons are slow. Maybe a new infantry type would fix things, all we can do is hope!

  2. PHR is the one faction I feel MUST use a FM. It's the only way you can hit the enemy objective carriers in their back field. People still look surprised when I bring one and they look even more surprised when it downs a couple of critical units late-game.
    Also, dropping 20 point buildings in 2 turns or less is a must have ability for PHR. That’s why I feel you must bring both a Hades and a pair of Taranis. Plus, the Athena cruise missiles really help with this.
    Things I'd like to see (Warning: Wishlisting!) to make PHR a bit easier to play:
    1 - Make the light dropships 2DP or maybe give them an Evasion of 2. Or both? By the time they get to the second forward objective, the enemy AA bubble is typically already there.
    2 - Increase Mercury move to 8" so they can keep up with the Tritons better. Currently, you must take the Triton carriers to keep up with your troops. Frankly, they are a just a waste of points. Giving Mercury’s evasion and cutting their squad size to 2 Mercury’s would be great, as well.
    3 - Make the Erebos bubble jam Shaltari Gates 50% of the time. This could limit the last turn move of Shaltari a bit. Or at least make them react.
    4 - Give PHR a 4 space dropship for Sphere sake! Or allow the Poseidon to cart around up to 3 different squads/battlegroups.
    5 - Make the Janus… better. Or drop its points. There’s no good reason to take them over Mercury’s or Helios.

    BTW, forcing all Shaltari to gate on turn one and making them roll to come in from reserves are BRILLIANT ideas!

    1. Athenas are very useful, and I would say that 40%-50% of the lists I see have one. It may be tellng though that the top 10 lists I play in tourneys don't have one... In regards to AA bubbles, perhaps it is possible to deploy aggresively against them? PHR are survivable, and only the foolhardy would leave a unit of AA exposed in front of 2-4 Odins.

      I think the Mercury's Tritons are pretty good with the missile upgrade! It's the closest thing they may have to a gunship for a while. As for the Erebos, that change would be crazy! It's making me smile to imagine the faces of all the terrified Shaltari players.

    2. I think Athena's get played wrong a lot. I look at them more as AA/Demo early game and Objective stoppers turns 4-6. Most folks just waste them on dumb attack runs as soon as they can. They cost way too much to waste like that. FMs are scalpels, not hammers.

    3. I feel like FM get played wrong in general, not just the Athena specifically. The threat they offer outweighs their actual damage output. They are the corner backs (AMERICAN football) defending the pass to win games. Not that that makes them reliable, but a chance is better than no chance.


    4. Exactly! FMs are a psych unit that forces folks to take it into account, even if it never fires a shot.

  3. Best to date! Thank you for doing it.

    Regarding the Shaltari I have basically the same opinions. I expected some changes to the rules themselves as some things are a bit strange but;
    1. Dave wanted apparently to keep Shaltari to be able to chose to walk on or gate on. Force them to gate on would have solved all I think.
    2. Infantry getting into reserve if not out on the same turn is amazingly smart. A really good idea. Again, Hawk went with point changes.
    3. I think that Shaltari are really good in both focal points and objectives. They are more sensitive now, though.
    Overall I agree with the Shaltari discussion. I think it is enough but we'll see. Damn, I have to change my army to focus on other things than Shaltari now.

    Regarding PHR. (Warning for nerd-bloggin rage). I think people have played them really really strange. Walk on units are really really bad. PHR have some of the best survivable units. They can take lots of punishment. But people walk on or stay far behind "to use the range"! W...T...F? They actually place their models out of range of the opponent so they can hide from the PHR units. The ratio is very simple, for each walk on point you spend, the enemy have that much more points to kill the units that are aggressive and can win you the game. Simple and truth.

    I fully agree that PHR need the shooting lines. But also targets. If being aggressive they can have both. They have the neptune with 16" movement so a pair of Odins can be on the opponent side of the table turn 2 and start shooting turn 3 or draw up to 20 shots of E10 or a lot of drones. With 3 aggressive neptunes in the opponent's midst LOS and fire lines are pretty easy to find.

    I think people are jumping out to soon from their dropships. And keep to a max 1 squad that walk on. Max. I really liked the part with mixed phobos and Ares. A really good idea. you can then have two such squads and disembark turn 1 to cover with reactive fire and AT. After turn 1 you start out being aggressive again.

    Also the Hades in a poseidon that only shoots turn 2, 4 and 6 will be able to move 47" about... And then soak up fire as well.

    Soaking up fire, being aggressive and present targets are the most important things after being able to move about.

    When it comes to PHR maneuverability they are actually pretty fast when you consider the turns. They will enter the center buildings turn 2 just as Scourge does. They get to the neutral focal points from their edge in two turns. They should be able to move about. BUT NOT IF PEOPLE KEEP INSISTING TO NOT TAKE DROPSHIPS AND PRESENT TARGETS!

    Again, really good podcast this time around.


    1. Hey, Egge, good points! I always walk my Phobos squad on because I keep getting my Tritons picked off thanks to turn 1 FMs from my opponent. That happens to me A LOT.

      I also see no reason to put the Hades in a Poseidon. The Hades should be on a focal point by turn 5 anyway and I think it's far more valuable to have those 6 extra tail gun shots (one turn lost to fly into position and another turn lost to disembark) than to be closer earlier, but that's just me. If it's not able to shoot, it's not a threat. I also think the Hades is a must have because of it's mobility (MF:4") and IF nanomachines.

      It also doesn't make any sense to me to fly my Taranis on. Concentrating on building demo has really helped me lately. The sooner they shoot, the better.

      The only other unit I'd like to put in a Neptune are my Helios, but then I'm 3 points (!) over. Three points!

      I'll be happy when I don't have to take an 83pt Zeus and a 63pt Odin all the time... Gaaaaah! When will the Nemesis rules drop?!! NOW! NOW! NOW! PLEASE!

    2. New rules dropped as I was writing the above reply.

  4. Thx as always for the great pod cast.

  5. OMG! It's me! It's me Ed is talking about, when he talks about mixed Type 1 PHR walker squads. Woo-hoo, a quasi-shoutout on the O.b podcast! 8^P

    And ive caught a lot of flack from Orlanth on the forums for advocating mixed Type 1 squads, so, Edchopps, please chime in and back me up!

    Ah, where to begin?... First off, it's 3:00 AM, and I just finished listening to this episode, and there's so much I want to give you feedback about, np but I've been indulging in some fine 12 year old Scotch whiskey since 12:30 AM, so please excuse me if I go off on a ramble, misspell stuff, or don't catch it if my bloody iPad autocorrects something that I don't catch, cuz blogspot has such a damn small window to view and you can't scroll up and review what's gone past...


    I think mixed Type 1 squads, taken in multiples, is the way to go. It gives you a lot of flexibility to spread out and take up positions, as Dan mentioned. However... In the list I've been running lately, which you can find on the forum easily enough, I've opted to drop the 4th squad of Ares/Phobos/Neptune in favor of a 4th squad of Infantry and a squad of 2 Apollos. I'm not totally convinced that this is the right way to go, but I'm liking having 3 squads of Immortals and 1 squad of Sirens a lot! I've been mostly playing vs Shaltari lately, with the goal being if I play the hardest faction to win against, I'll do better against the other factions with the same all-comers list. That philosophy has worked well for me in the past, but I digress...

    I've only used the Apollos in a few games so far, so I'm not entirely sold on them, but im also not entirely sure they're rubbish, either. They are an excellent flanking squad, but to y'all's point that you should take them in a Neptune, I say, plug the numbers into FFoR, and tell me who's Neptune I take away to give to the Apollos? The Helios? Well, no, then they can't get aggressive and jet up to midfield and start hunting, can they? Do I take a Neptune away from an Ares/Phobos mixed squad??? What, are you kidding? So, the best thing to do in my current list incarnation is to walk on the Apollos, then Turn 2 jump them towards where I want them to start harassing.

    I'm seriously thinking of going back to 4 Ares/Phobos/Neptune squads (in 2 battle groups, obviously) to give me a 4th Phobos AND a 4th Ares, but I'll have to drop the 3rd squad of Immortals, then, and that will leave me with only 3 squads of Infantry (2Immortals squads and 1 Sirens squad, although I can squeeze out a list with 1 Immortals squad and 2 Sirens squads, and keep a Battle Vizier as a commander)...

    It's a tough choice...

    FYI, in this list I bring 5 Neptunes total, and I bring the Mercury Drones, because they give you a huge edge in finding objectives, AND they score in focal point missions. And, I generally take their Triton A2 rides, and can squeeze in the twin stealth missile systems, which makes the Tritons soooo much more useful after theyve spent they're Skyhammer Missiles, which are, IMHO, fantastic. You get to move the Drones that much further afield, and then the Tritons go forward, hide behind a building, and try to take out an important forward enemy asset with E11 IF shots. I know some people don't like to spend the points for the Triton A2s, but the Mercury Drones are just too damn slow on their own, and it often happens that you don't have enough points for anything else that's more useful than the A2s and their Skyhammer Missiles, like a pair of Apollos, so why not?

    (Knowing that I have a word limitation on each Comment, I'm going to end here and continue in a Reply to this Comment...)...

    1. OK, continued...

      So, to clarify, so far I haven't tried a Hades, and I've eschewed Odins because I face so many skimmers in my meta that the Ares always hitting on 3s, paired with a Phobos in a mixed Type 1 squad in a Neptune is just so flexible.

      I could take two Ares/Ares/Phobos squads in a Poseidon, plus a pair of Phobos in a Neptune for gpfewer points, but that greatly reduces my maneuverability over the 3 or 4 Ares/Phobos/Neptun squads considerably, and here's why:

      An Ares/Phobos/Neptune team CAN rapidly redeploy, if necessary, as long as the Neptune is still alive. The trick is that on the Turn that you deploy the Type 1s, you generally want to deploy them forward of their Neptune. Then, in the next Turn, you shoot with the Type 1s, if they have a target, and move the Neptune ahead of them, but as close to 3" away from them as possible, so that you can do a 1 Turn "leapfrog" redeploy if you need to/want to in the next Turn; and unless there is something close by for the Neptune to take a potshot at (because I have had lucky rolls with Neptune stealth missiles and taken out choice targets) you simply have their Neptune shoot at a building that some enemy Infantry are in and hope that the ground crew remembered to arm the missiles with explosives for once so you actually do damage that building. (LOL!). Then, in subsequent Turns, you leapfrog redeploy the Type 1s if you need to...

      OK, tutorial over. Point being, you CAN maneuver Type 1s if you need to, it's just that you can't get too far from where you started. But if you did it right, and the Neptune was only/just 3" ahead of the farthest Type 1, then you can leapfrog that squad 14" (possibly 15", if a road is involved) into another position. And, if you take the mixed Tyoe 1 squads in pairs (or an Ares/Phobos pair with a pair of Apollos), you can concentrate on a single target in the same battle group's activation (just as if you had a pair of Ares and a pair of Phobos, both in .neptunes), BUT, you have the flexibility to address different targets with each Ares or Phobos, if the two mixed squads are close enough to each other, and at the same time spaced out from each other to handle a variety of threats.


      Maybe what I need to do is write this up and post it on my own blog, which you guys have the link to...

      Anyway... Some more range with PHR dropships would be very welcome... If you don't want them to be "the same" as UCM's dropships, extend the range of both factions' dropships by 2" each, each dropship and each faction. That still makes UCM slower than the other factions, and PHR slower than UCM, but would be a big boost to both.

      Then, as far as the hedgehogs go, Yes, please, make it so that their Infantry can't come right back onto the table in another building in the same Turn that that squad de materializes thru a gate with an objective (actually, Ed, that ability is a force multiplier of 3 for Shaltari, not 2), but, Yes, I recognize that Dave does have rose-colored glasses when it comes to Shaltari. On the other hand, we don't know how the upcoming, rumored PHR jump infantry will work, so who knows?...

      And finally (for now), I believe a Juno/Juno/Neptune transport option for 2 squads of Immortals is only 12 points more than two Triton A1s, but I'm not positive, and having had ALL of my Tritons shot down by an ace Warspear pilot Friday night (that's 4 A1s), I'm seriously considering trying to uri,use a Juno/Juno/Neptune load out... Early tinkering a in FFoR with a Nemesis HQ are promising, but I'm not quite there yet... And Ocelots should scare the shit out of your Zeuses!...

      And, finally (really, this time), the podcast was great, but too short, and there was too much Sonic banter bullshit (JK, but really, not), so I think you owe us all another podcast in a week instead of making us wait for another fortnight! (LOL! 8^D)

      Good stuff, up guys, TTYL...

    2. JD, as I can use a Nemesis in my list now, I'm running 3x Ares and 1x Menchit (in two Neptunes)! I need to be able to kill skimmers and I really want to try to seize the midfield, try to deny some those objectives!

  6. First, thanks for the cast.
    Second, I was happy w/ how balanced the discussion was. I read the comments days ago and they had me worried it wouldn't be.

    Since I'm late to this, I'll keep it brief and only respond to one thing. Shaltari infantry are able to move to another building the same turn they find an objective. Why do the other factions not do this? I understand they will be holding the objective, but if they have something to protect and/or disuade attacks on it, they can utilize that infantry before sending it off the board. Once units go off the table, they immediately diminish their use for the rest of the game. I also see a lot of players forgetting that if they outnumber the opponent they can repel the attack and slip out with others, which could help.

    Thanks for the cast again

    1. Hey, Chris! I've tried this and it is not such a sure-fire tactic. You zip out, grab three objectives (best case), on turn 6 your transport gets shot down, killing everyone, and you get nothing and you've lost your troops.

      It's a very all-or-nothing tactic because non-Shaltari factions can't split the troops off from their specific transports. As long as Shaltari can split (use any troop thru any transport) those two units they'll have an advantage because you can find an objective, pass it to a gate, and then move on to the next building through other gates safe in the knowledge that even if you lose that gate with the objective, your troops can zip in and out of other gates and still get the job done.

      Plus, in a tourney setting, better to score some points than none so get that objective off ASAP.

    2. It is quite risky, but repeating the same things and expecting different results seems daft.