Friday, 11 December 2015

Resistance Sappers and Scout ATV's - The Lowdown

Well, we can all breathe now, stick a fork in me, I'm done!

The Dropfleet Kickstarter was an outrageous success. I would doubt very much if there was anyone out there who will be disappointed with their deals. I, for one, am over the moon. I'm also siding more and more with the Shaltari ships. The Scourge are still the best looking, but the Shaltari are really brutal looking. I like it.
Oh, and don't forget - there will be teleporting nonsense too.

Down at Hawk HQ it seems that there is still someone beavering away to give some new Dropzone goodies just in time for Christmas........ and they don't disappoint.

The Resistance players may have been a bit starved this summer while all the other races caught up with their infantry shenanigans. Now the Resistance add to their ranks with a couple of dedicated squads. The Sappers and the Scout ATVs

Where to start..... Let's look at the basic stats A2 3dp CQB 0.5 and 35 points per base (2 only to a squad). If I'm honest, it's pretty appalling. Falling Masonry and any type of combat will annihilate them. In fact a stiff breeze will knock them for 6 (that's a cricket metaphor for those not of these shores).
That is not what they are for.
If we cast our eyes down a fraction, to the weapon profiles you might feel a little short changed. They can only have 3 shots all game, plus only 1 of each type, but the possibilities are endless. Maybe not endless, but you know what I mean.

The AT and Cluster IED's are excellent.
E11 infinite range shot hitting on a 3+ will cause problems. Superb for picking off rogue AA vehicles, Rapiers, Phobos also things like APC's.
The E9 Large blast is potent too. Great for a crowded Focal Point or that 1st turn hit on a recently disembarked skimmer squad (hunters, reapers, kukri - I'm looking at you), or freeriders, medusa any infantry in the open really. They will be having a bad day. Don't forget, blasts can also act as some handy building demo too as the demolisher value doubles.
This brings me nicely onto the Demo IED. I love the fluff and imagery behind this. I don't like the application. Demo D3 for a rigged structure (it can ONLY be fired at a structure) is nonsensical. These battlefield Engineers are veterans at setting these IED's and the damage output firstly is too random and secondly has a huge chance of doing nothing.

I think it should be more like the Barrel Bomber in application. Roll to hit (as there is still a chance of the remote detonator not working, or the enemy have found the explosives), then if it hits it deals 3+D3 damage to the structure. No roll to damage.

I can see a lot of use from a Sapper squad. They can hitch a ride in a Battlebus and drive on for some turn 1 shenanigans, long range building demo or sniping units. They will add to the search rolls that the Resistance get and can be used to ferry objectives off the board too.

Overall I like them, I would use them too. But I don't think they are going to be popular in the tournament scene, mainly down to the limited shots and vulnerableness (I know, it's not even a word, but I like it).

Scout ATVs
Now we get to the meat and potato's of the release. I will make a bold prediction. I think you will see a lot of these in Resistance lists. They are cheap, easy to fit in to several different battle-groups and will annoy the living fuck out of your opponents.
The stats are the same as the Assault ATV's and they can be a bitch to get rid of. Machine guns normally have low E and high Ac so it's normally 5's followed by 5's and 6's to damage them, otherwise you have to start using your AT weapons, and sometimes that can seem like a waste.
They have great synergy with Storm Wagons and Cyclones. Giving a -1 to Ac for them is such a massive benefit, especially against skimmer heavy armies.
Unlike the Assault ATV's I don't think you will need to get a Kraken. They are quick on their own and have no need to get in the thick of the action. They have seriously long range, coupled with their Mf is most of the board.

With the Scout ATV, it will need to be used a turn in advance....bear with me.
Normally when you are into a game of DzC, your first activation is normally something you NEED to do, either destroy something that you have set up, or move/search so you don't get destroyed. What you don't want to be doing is activating the Scout ATV's to disrupt the enemy, this should be done the turn before. this takes some planning and also a bit of foresight.
Let me give you an example: You have a lifthawk wanting to get it's troops into a building which is covered by a squad of Helios. They can't get there this turn, so you hide them behind a building. The Scout ATV's disrupt the Helios. Even 1 hit per Helios is fine. Next turn whether you win or lose activation, you can pretty much safely drop off your Jacksons. The Helios will be reaction firing on a 6+ 
The massive advantage of the disruption array, is that the effect does not just last till the end of the turn, but until the Scout ATV's next activate. Which could be almost 2 turns of lock-down.

I do worry about the major disadvantages that 1 unit squads will face, such as the Oppressor, Nemesis, Hades, Caimen, Jaguar, Gharial, Coyote, even things like Phobos, Zeus, Odin, all walkers really.
Is the amount of disruption too much?.....maybe. When I first saw the rules I thought it should be 1 shot per base rather than 3, also that the range was maybe too far. I guess we'll see how it all plays out over the next few months.
One thing to add though - they don't stop the building demolition game. As it is a modification to your Ac, buildings are hit on a 2+ regardless of Ac

What do you make of the Resistances new super friends?


  1. Agree with Sappers. They're too random and too limited to be of constant use in tournament games. ATV's I'm going to have a play around with, can see 2 bases appearing in most Resistance lists

  2. I can see your point with Sappers. I have the same.
    In real life they are always teamed up with other infantry. So to me it would make sense to have them with atleast 1 base of infantry.
    But I think Hawk want us to use them differtly.

    Cheers, Thunder

    1. Interesting idea. Have them as an upgrade squad for the Resistance Fighters.

  3. This release highlights this odd mechanics paradigm that exists within the Resistance faction. On the one hand, resources are limited and thus you see lots of limited weapons. This is all fine and well, but it seems nearly every Resistance unit that isn't hampered by this is that much better and desirable. I think the Cyclone is the only unit in the roster that has some limited weapons that still gets lauded as great. All the other popular Resistance units that I can think of don't have limited. I wish Hawk would either discount most units that have this Limited handicap, or turn up the power on them to the point of stoopid. Either way, the opponent should be thinking, "thank god that is their one shot all game."

    For these particular units, I wish the sappers were a bit different, as everyone wants them from that fluffy perspective. Besides what you mentioned, having them as Rare Exotics really hampers them. Again, with what I just mentioned above, w/ all the restrictions on these guys I wish their shots were ridiculous. Or perhaps they should just be upgrades to Fighters and not really be their own unit per say. You pay some points, lose guns, RPG, DP, and CQB, in trade for some these explosives.

    The Scout ATVs are good, I don't necessarily think they are OP b/c lists these days are packing for the E+3 units, so those same weapons should put the hurt on these guys quicker since they are only E+1. I think there will be backlash from the community as the trend in this game has been getting big units w/ more DP as their output is static until they're dead. I like the idea of having some units like this that give that mantra fits. I want lots of 1DP standard units, hordes, to be more viable across the factions. We'll have to see if this is too much, but I think they're just another priority target.

  4. Sappers suck and will be left at home. 70pts for 2, I'll take 2 bases a free riders instead thank you.
    Scout ATVs lick and will get nerfed. Basically you get to shut down 1 ground unit per turn per pair. 6 shots for 3's = 4 hits = 6+ for a unit to hit you. At least they made the range 36" vs the original infinite. Cheaper than a eberus and better.

    Just my $0.02 worth.


    1. I agree on the ATVs. The ease with which you can shut down your opponents centerpiece (with little to no risk to the ATVs if done right) is just too big. If there is a chance of running into a Resistance player in a tournament, a Hades won't be making it into my tourney lists as long as these exist in their current incarnation. A Hades is most of my AT allotment, the fact that it can be easily neutered by a 70pt unit is too big a risk for me.

      They will probably get nerfed, kinda worried it might take a while though as the resultant meta shift away from 'big units' due to these guys might take longer to get noticed than it would if they were overpowered damage dealer units (like Freeriders).
      We'll see.

    2. FM, it's worse. They "hit" on a 2+ so a pair can pretty much shut down 2 units.
      I agree with you both, they are not quite right

  5. The Scout ATV rules in particular confirm a trend I've never liked in the presentation of the Resistance. The concept of the resistance is great, but they seem to be playing a much 'higher fantasy' rules set than the other armies, where heroic truck drivers can absorb as much damage as main battle tanks, and in this case, where a few inventive rebels can create electronic warfare / countermeasures effects far more powerful than anything the advanced militaries of the other factions can come up with.

    I wish the Resistance relied more upon multiple units like the sappers - traps, misdirection, hit and run, captured weapons and guerilla tactics rather than on combinations of game rules that combine to give them superpowers that no one else has much access to.

    Same with the Freeriders. If a few guys on motorbikes with home made bombs were so effective, why would the UCM bother building tanks? Why wouldn't everyone be running round on bikes? Why wouldn't modern, 21st century armies do this? It just seems like something out of a cheesy Hollywood movie rather than a moderately serious science fiction setting that in many other ways feels realistic (if it's possible to say that about a space war game featuring aliens, etc.).

    1. I agree, I was thinking about Gun Wagons having 2dp the other day and how crazy it was. Mechanics has had to been made a priority over reality; there is no way a rag tag bunch of survivors could hold their own against a full army detachment of any of the races!

    2. I believe it is game mechanics too. I think it was because Hawk didn't want people to have to spend more money to get a hoard army. I completely agree with you though. They are too resilient. Too tough and too good at shooting.
      With Resistance it should be about weight of numbers and throwing lots of dice needing high numbers

    3. The other thing they could consider - although it would be hard - would be to give the resistance different victory conditions. Historical wargames habitually do this, although they're not generally trying to 'points match' but some modern, competitive games manage this too.

      I'm thinking 'assassinate the leader' or 'get double victory points for intel' type objectives - that allow weaker resistance armies to win games despite not being able to physically overpower their opponents.

      In my one game I played against the resistance (Joe), it felt like I was taking on an army more advanced than the Shaltari given how they were able to control the battlefield. Obviously Joe is a very good player (and obviously I'm not!) but I think something is thematically wrong if the resistance feel more of an elite army than do the space Hedgehogs...

  6. Agree with all these thoughts. Very good idea about the Sapper demo, Mike. D3+3 with no damage roll seems worthwhile to me. And it's in character. I expect Hawk to make rules for their units that fit what the unit is supposed to be, so when we play something it seems to "fit". Sappers placing charges that are really random and don't do much damage feels wrong.

    The Scout ATV will be bad for the game if it stays like it is.

    I've built a list using it and that list looks incredibly tough. If I had the models, I'd happily take it to a comp and try to prove the point. I'll certainly take that list when I buy my Resistance army.

    With Scout ATVs, you can shut down two enemy units per squad. How about shutting down those two Phobos over there at 36"? Then the Cyclones emerge without much risk. How about the walk on Hades? Well, it now needs sixes to hit. Not bad for a 70 point unit, huh? If you're concerned about return fire on the Scout ATVs (E+1 and DF), then next activation stick a Kraken in front to block enemy LOS. Do it in the same Battlegroup. Evil tactic.

    The Scout ATVs can hide in hovercraft to pop and shoot. The hovercraft shields them from fire as we all know. Or can come out of a drill. Or just drive one as they're fast enough with a massive range. Their uses will be huge. I personally think one of the best uses will be against enemy AA then hit them with Hellhogs, Barrel Bombers, etc.

    Last thing I'll say is this. Do you realise the way the Disruptor rule is written the whole squad has to be eliminated for the effect to cease? Or wait till their next activation. The Scout ATVs don't need to keep LOS.

    My plan is to activate them early on a juicy target, hide then activate them last next turn if feasible.

    1. I wish they would quit putting demo D3 on units. 33% of the time those weapons have no demo value at all. D3+something,sure, but straight up D3 just isn't reliable enough to be a dedicated demo weapon.

  7. And last thing I'll say is that you will no longer see Hades in tournaments. Honestly, that gives me the shits. I spent a lot of money on that centre piece model, let alone the time to assemble and paint it.

    Standard tanks are still in the game and extremely viable. Hawk don't need to do anything to penalise large single models.