Friday, 22 January 2016

Lone Drone's gonna get ya! Star-sprites forever

Sunday, bloody Sunday........

First tournament of the year has been done. I awoke on Sunday morning with a mouth tasting like a badgers arse and a splitting headache. A concoction of Tiger beer, warm Sake and rum based cocktails were just fond memories.
I dragged my sluggish behind out of bed knowing I needed more of that sweet embrace known as "duvet" and to my horror, discovered snow......everywhere.

Joe met me at mine (including a bit of Tokyo drifting) and we set off to round up the OB team from the frozen wastelands that are Chessington and Ewell. TechBoy (Ed) and Epitude Rusk (Alex) aboard we headed off down the motorway to darkest Crawley for Tilgate Tactical.

This will be my hazy re-cap of the day, which was very well run and organised by Michel Russell and Dave Clark. A special shout out goes to Dave's better half for some terrific food (and she is over 6 months pregnant btw)

The first round was devised by the wonders of Microsoft Excel and it's random number generator. It paired me with Alex. Much to his disappointment

He may be smiling here, but this was pre-game!
Game 1
Surging Strike

Alex Randall - Scourge

Oppressor (CV5) Harbinger MAC
3 Hunters Marauder, 3 Reavers
2 Warriors Intruder
2 Warriors Intruder, 3 Reapers Marauder
4 Minders Intruder, 2 Destroyers Intruder, 2 Destroyers Intruder
4 Minders Intruder

Oh Alex. Unfortunately it didn't even start well for him. He kept his Reapers on board his Marauder on turn 1, I then obliged by removing the Marauder with my drones on turn 2. They escaped unharmed, but out of position. Not good for Reapers.
I then worked on removing the AA threat and as many ground units as I could. My Phoenix, drones and Hazard Suits were doing a number on the poor Scourge - picking them off unit by unit.
Alex was over cautious with his Oppressor, Hunters, and Reavers. They were all held back for too long, letting me pick them off when I wanted to. Scourge are an aggressive army and need to be played that way. There was a point where I was actually pretty worried. I had ignored the Reavers, as they did not score and Alex was being cautious with them. But he moved them right into my lines, then they stopped, which gave me a chance to gun them down. Had Alex pressed on, he would have certainly destroyed one of the Ferrums, and then had a chance at the other. That could have been game winning for him. I need to remember the potential threat of 3 Reavers!
Alex did pull a beautiful maneuver with his Harbinger to blow up a squad of Hazard Suits in their Raven. I didn't even spot the potential. In the end it was all for nothing, I held all the Focal Points with Alex contesting 4 for a 12-4 win
I also had a huge kill point advantage taking out 1243 points of the Scourge. This gave me a 20-0 victory.

Game 2
Military Complex

TechBoy2000 - PHR

Zeus (CV5) Odin Neptune
Phobos, 2 Helios Neptune
Phobos, 2 Helios Neptune
2 Immortals Triton
2 Valkyries Triton, Medusa Triton X, Medusa Triton X
2 Valkyries Triton, 2 Sirens Triton

Ed also won his first game 20-0. So I had to face his nasty-ass list with my nasty-ass list. The board was a normal Military Complex set-up except that we both had a medium building as our back-board objective. Ed has no building demo at all, so it is relatively risk free to bundle in my home building. I did so with my Legionnaires and 3 squads of Hazard Suits. The Mortars in their Bear couldn't get there and the Praetorians rushed forward and hid behind the large central building.
I went first which meant I had to start destroying Ed's home objective earlier than I wanted to. The Katanas did a really solid job of 8 damage (that was 3 6's in my damage dice!). Ed put Immortals in, I did another damage with a missile, then my Phoenix rocked up and dealt 10 damage to the building; leaving it with 1dp left.

Ed had to rethink his plans. His Valkyries and Medusa's came up the opposite flank. With the other Valks and Sirens going central. My drones were ready for turn 2.
Ed positioned his Helios and Phobos very very well. Covering the board with overlapping fields of fire. Initially I wanted to completely dominate one set of Helios with all 16 Drones, then move on to the next set of Helios, but the Valkyries in their Triton were too tempting. If I can stop the troops searching I can get the upper hand. I set myself up with a few options for turn 2. I suspected Ed would win activation as he has a CV5, so he would determine the sequence.
TechBoy did win the activation, I drew and played Fighter Escort. Ed elected to activate his Immortals, they had a search and bugged out of the doomed building without finding an objective. They went into the central right-hand building. I activated my Phoenix and Ferrum. The Phoenix was masterful, dealing 11 dp to the building the Immortal went into and finishing off the last of them. That was 21 building damage in 2 turns (out of 24 max!).
The drones made a bee line to the Valkyries Triton on the left-side. They went through a torrent of fire from 2 Helios and a Phobos - 4 remained. 2 hits and 0 damage later the Valkyries lived. Ed then moved the other Valkyries and Sirens into the middle building. A good move, as it stopped me being the occupier. I activated my Longbow and Mortar team, the Bear rolled forward and the Mortars entered my back building. The Longbow had a pop at a Medusa and missed. The Longbow's Raven (with Fighter Escort) had a shot at the Valkyries (that the Drones missed) 1 hit and I rolled a 3 to damage. This Triton is indestructible!!

Ed put his 2 Medusa's and Valkyries into the left central building, he was now occupier in 2 of the 3 central buildings. My Legionnaires found my home objective, they handed off to the Mortar team, but were out of position (silly me put their Raven on the wrong side of the building). I moved them along the back ready for turn 3. All 3 of my Hazard Suit teams entered the central building to try and hold up the Sirens and Valkyries as long as possible. The Praetorians wanted to enter the same building, but had to go to the uncontested central building on the right.
Turn 3 my Mortars hand-off to the Bear. The Medusa's and Valks fail to find the objective and the Medusas bug out so they can led a hand to the CQB. I shoot one Medusa down to 5dp remaining (mainly machine gun fire - longbow misses again).
My drones are ineffectual, doing 1 dp on a solitary Helios, and getting trimmed down a lot. The CQB is messy; 5 squads vying for supremacy. I lose a lot of Hazard suits, and 1 squad fails it's fortitude. I did kill a lot of the Valkyries but didn't touch the 2+ dodging Sirens. The Legionnaires join the fray too. The Praetorians fail to find their objective.
Turn 4 rolls around, Ed activates his Valks and Medusa. The wounded one jumps back into the building, the other comes after my Ferrum, she is slightly out of range. I really need to do something about her. The Valkyries find the objective in the left centre building and get back into their Triton, I send 4 drones after it. 1 survives an unbelievable amount of reaction fire from Helios and Phobos. The little Drone hits, then damages and then blows the lot to smithereens! No more Valkyries, no more objective!
Ed's face sank, and even worse when my Praetorians found an objective. They lost their Raven earlier in the turn, so I had to be cunning. I placed the Wolverines in a nice little chain from the central building awaiting a turn 5 hand-off. I also managed to start killing off some Helios.
I spent all turn chipping away at the Medusa threatening my back-board and eventually I got her.
Turn 5 I hand-off to the Wolverines, they then move their full 9" and are close to the board edge. My longbow smokes them for some extra security.
The Sirens find an objective and wipe out the Legionnaires who entered the previous turn. The 2 bases of Hazard Suits remaining had 3 dp left between them, but both passed their fortitude, I was holding the sirens till turn 6, which is exactly what I wanted.
Turn 6 and I extract my second objective, the Sirens destroy the remaining Hazards and hold on to their objective.
What a game. Epic!
I manage to win 4-1 but Ed had killed 699 to my 560(ish) so no kill point bonus. A 13-7 win for me.

Game 3
Ground Control+

Dave Clark - Resistance

Going into the last game, I have a 4 point lead over Mr Clark with Ed a further 2 behind and Joe 1 behind Ed.
As normal with Ground Control, taking out as many scoring units as you can is crucial, wiping whole battlegroups even more so. Flexibility with movement is key too - something I lack a bit of. 
My first 2.5 turns were really very good. Too good really. I got rid of all the Veterans in their busses, I had damaged the Thunderstorm down to 4 dp (to be destroyed in turn 3) and started churning through the gun wagons, I also removed the free riders and Scout ATV's. 
Being this dominant early on made me ease off, thinking I had already won the game and I started making some very silly mistakes. The first of which was on turn 4, where I won activation (Dave only being CV1 really helped with that!). My Phoenix was down to 5dp left after a volley from the Zhukovs. I opted to activate my drones and Katanas to try and kill 1 Zhukov. I failed (getting and E13 hit and rolling a 3 for only 1 damage). I should have activated the Phoenix and moved him well out of the Zhukovs way - this decision will haunt me! The Zhukovs then activated and took another 4dp off the Phoenix, their Lifthawk finished it off; we are both now CV1. 
I was still killing of a fair whack of Dave's Resistance; Praetorians and Hazard Suits saw to the Res Fighters. All the units with no active countermeasures were gone by turn 4. My Mortars had nothing to do. 
On turn 5 I started moving units to contest board quarters, Dave got his Cyclones to get a hit on all 3 of my Katanas and removed them all in 1 volley of fire!! 
I moved a Raven to a quarter, just to contest, forgetting about the Lifthawk lurking in plain sight. The lifthawk subsequently downed the little fella. 
I was moving a Ferrum and an empty Bear to my right to contest (own) a quarter, using the road for an extra 2" of movement. 
On turn 6 I was up on battlegroups, but all my expensive units were slow movers. I had miscalculated the distance for my Ferrum and could not move it into the quarter it needed to be in, it's centre could cross the line, but not the whole model. The Bear made it, but it should have taken the Mortars with it. If I had brought them, they could have disembarked and would have mad sure I owned the quarter, allowing me to move a solitary Raven into an unoccupied (by me) quarter allowing me to draw the game. 
I still had a chance at a draw, and that was to wipe out a Kraken (1 dp left) and a solitary Jackson with 7 drones. Dave cleverly moved them as far from each other as he could, meaning I only had 3 drones firing at each unit and one in the middle to maintain coherency. The first 3 got 2 hits on the Kraken and took an E10, and duly removed the offending model. The other 3 only got 1 hit, chances were looking bad, I'd need a 6 to draw the game. I rolled a 5....the dice gods gently mocking me. 
In the end I owned 2 quarters and contested 1, Dave owned 2 and contested 2. I had killed over 1000 points of the Resistance (losing 900+ of my own) so the game finished 11-9 to Dave. 

I take my hat off to Dave for not giving up. He was not a happy bunny after turn 2. His relentlessness coupled with me playing like an arse meant that I dropped to 2nd place in the rankings with Joe getting a massive 17-3 win over Ed and leapfrogging me by a single point! 

2nd place - Me!! 

1st place - Joe

The whole flaming lot of us: Grant took best painted, Alex best sport and Dave C took 3rd place

So my list: 
I really enjoyed playing it. I am a little rusty, I need to think a lot more about unit placement as this list is a lot slower than my Air Supremacy list. The double Ferrum is just nasty, useful AA and anti tank. 
The solitary Longbow was really useful too. With 3 different types of shot it is a very versatile piece. The Mortars were ok, quite situational. The Bear was useful for ferrying objectives.
I'm torn as to what to take to Invasion. 
I'll let you know after list submission; what I actually choose


  1. Great write up, please don't let me get paired against a double Ferrum list next week!

    1. Ha ha ha, nope I agree, you won't want that in your life!!
      I may not take it though.........

  2. I was amazed to pull it back I thought I was screwed after turn two I'm taking the same list to invasion I hope there's no double ferrum!! Thanks for ob for attending the event

  3. Great report. FYI, the pictures are too small :(. Pre-invasion pod cast inbound?

    1. Yeah sorry about that. Google+ has resized them
      No prevasion this time, definitely a postvasion though, hopefully quite quick after too

  4. That bloody Lone Drone. He's gonna get double the AA allocation in future.

  5. Thank you for the kind write up of our game from round one. I has been a while since I faced drones, and facing sixteen of the little bleeders was scary especially because they move so blooming fast and have a 21 inch threat range. Not thinking to take on the ferrums with my Reavers was an error, and the caution at the beginning of the game didn't help. I think I was concerned about trying to have something left at the end to contest the focal points. Roll on Invasion.

  6. I just faced double Ferrum UCM list at CanCon. The double Ferrum with a good list of other units is a killer list in DZC. It's right up there with any of the killer lists from 40K.

    Sad that after all that online discussion, Hawk only bumped the points by 5 and made it rare, plus restricted drone replenishment at four per turn. It's nowhere near balanced. One Ferrum -> yes. Two -> definitely not. Rare does nothing to balance the Ferrum because two is the magic number.

    One is defeatable but two overwhelms the enemy because no one has enough AA in a balanced list. The drones have massive speed, a huge threat range, AA and AT as you like, scout, they come back for free, and reaction fire from one squad needing 5+ to hit will only kill a few normally. They go to the centre on launch, 18" from their Ferrum, and can then project left or right as needed. They project a zone that's absolute death to light dropships because you only need a few left alive to be able to kill a light dropship.

    I thought they were weaker if the fight is far away as the drones take time to reach the fight. But thinking about it, you deploy 18" from the Ferrum, then have a 21" threat zone from there; and that's a total of 39".

    Drones do it all.

    And the Ferrum is hard to kill at 5DP. Not even two lucky sweeps from a Fast Mover can get it, it takes three strong hits (without Devastator). It's a killer unit that's probably 30-40 points under costed minimum. My solution would be to tone down the drones. Maybe Focus 3 and a speed reduction, remove Scout also. Still death to light dropships and very capable.

    Drones would be worth it just for their AA capabilities to be honest, let alone their amazing AT. Don't forget, they have an AA weapon so no skimmer bonus for the enemy!

    1. I think the main problem with “Rare” special rule is that it allows players to take two in a crash battle. If the restriction was placed to 0 in a skirmish, 1 in a clash and 2 in a battle then the rule would work.

      Cheers, Adrian

    2. I agree and disagree with you Sword. I actually think it is very well priced. Also the actual Ferrum is rather weak. Yes it has 5dp but it is only A7.
      If you are coming up against double Ferrum then you need to adjust your tactics. Taking 1 or both out is necessary otherwise, as you said, you will get overwhelmed.
      Each faction has plenty of units able to go after a Ferrum for a turn 2 or 3 kill. It really ruins the UCM players day when they go down!!
      They are certainly at the top of the power curve, but I do not think they are over powered. They are very useful and very versatile. I agree that the focus could/should be 3 rather than 4. They could lose scout too, but I think it is fine really (I use Wolverines anyway).

      Invasion may change my mind but I have played enough to think that my list won't do so well. It may surprise a few - but any seasoned player knows how to deal with it.
      It is fun to play though! It's like having Scourge for the UCM!!

    3. I agree that each faction has units able to go after a Ferrum, but you are removing there effect on the game to get them in position while the drones are attacking. A smart player is going to react to these units or attack them first with the drones.

      Cheers, Adrian

  7. Thanks for the reply, Mike. You guys are great with your blog and podcasts.

    I would love to see someone beat double ferrum inside a tough demo list, in any objective or intel scenario. I think the list that won CanCon is a top tier killer list.

    Any chance of a battle report to show that happen in practical?

    To me, I just see that a Ferrum is the price of a Phobos squad. I know which one seems more powerful to me.