Tuesday, 12 April 2016

I hear there are new units?

We have new units - not only that but we have rules now too, aren't we lucky gamers?
Good gamers, you have been good boys and girls, come here and get a belly rub

A new unit for each faction as wave 1 hits us like the proverbial tsunami. Below I will talk about each one and give my (not asked for in any way) opinion on them within the current game.

Also you lucky lucky readers will have the privilege or reading Dan's comments too. Maybe lucky is the wrong word........

So onwards to the quick and dirty review
I'm going to do this in (proper) alphabetical order, not the Dan-a-bet

The Angelos is a great addition to the PHR family and Dropzone as a whole. The idea of a flamer on an APC is not new (we here at OB publicised it a long time ago). Possibly PHR weren't the faction that really needed it, but then who does really? I know it would be really useful on Bears, also Invaders too. 6 E4 flame shots is nothing to be sniffed at and will really soften most bases of infantry (not those pesky A4 exotics though!). The only thing I'm not overly happy with is the price. 35 points seems too much to me. The Angelos is 30, I think this should probably be there or there abouts, maybe 32?

I think it will see some play, competitively too. It won't be in all the lists but useful none-the-less.

Flaming Michalos (by Dan)
Until the apparent typo of leaving Valkyries from the units who can select this vehicle as their transport is sorted, it's about as useful as a chocolate condom due to its slow move and high cost in a Neptune. If, and when, Valkyries can take the Flamgelos however it will become suddenly useful for troop biased missions. PHR are less efficient, but also less reliant, on demo than they ever have been, and instead they now equal Resistance for Infantry; what better to compound their troop game than a flamer! They carry the same burden as most APCs, in that they are slow and predictable, and once destroyed leave a unit stranded, but as we all know Valkyries care not one iota about their transport once deployed.  

When I first saw the rules for this, I thought "absolutely fine, good slot (heavy), tough and well priced." Really, that is the wrong mentality right now. Weapon energy creep is a thing. The Leopard sports 3 E12 shots. 3!! for only 85 points. I like very much that it is short ranged, but the top gun did not need 2 E12 shots. 1 would have sufficed. It can also do anti-infantry very easily. The dragon cannons can cut through infantry like a hot knife through butter. Could you imagine a heavy battle-group of 2 Leopards and a Dreamsnare, deployed out of a Gaia. That is brutal. It will certainly see competitive play in this incarnation.

Leo Pard (by Dan)
Yep, exactly what the game needs, more E12 weaponry! As facetious as this comment is, it holds some truth. More high powered weaponry isn't what DzC needs right now, but que sera sera. 

Ignoring the meta issues, I like the walker. It's Heavy battle-group doesn't restrict it as much as you would think (it can slot in command, for instance) so can be a nasty surprise for an unsuspecting victim. At 85 points it may seem cheap, but this walker screams gate tax, as you *have* to have an Eden, Firedrake or Gaia for it. It also has the added bonus of being able to turn its guns into an anti-infantry weapon, an incredibly efficient and dangerous one; beware all Medusa, Freeriders or Hazard Suits!

The Monitors are as cute as a button, and they will kill what they are intended to kill, but with a bit more difficulty than I think they should. They are armed with a pair of bigger badder shard cannons normally carried by destroyers, but the only upgrade to the cannon is (as far as I remember) a range boost to the free range. They even lose the 1-shot E10 splurge which would have been ideal on this unit. The added self destruct option is as essential to the unit as it is excellent. It doesn't need to hit which means (high) potential death for skimmers and infantry in the open.

The 2 main things that bug me (pun intended) are firstly; that they should hit on 2+. The reason this unit was even considered is because Scourge are way behind in dealing with the E+3 infantry and infantry lining the windows. Having 3+ to hit makes shooting these enemies will normally need 6's. 4 shots doesn't seem so hot then.

My second problem is the cost. You might think I'm nit-picking here, but 8 points is the same as a minder, who are AA. AA is supposed to be a premium in this game. I think 6 or 7 points would have been better. These will be in a lot of lists, purely because they need to be.

Monocle-itor (by Dan)
HmmmmmmmmMmmm. Big hmm. Big, big hmm. 
Now I have some very strong emotions on where Scourge are sitting in the meta right now, most of which well documented over the blog and podcast. In a nutshell, we're (we, because I'm Jelly through and through) behind every other race. Although our Infantry are the tits, they have a different impact to that of all the other races. Braves, Veterans and Hazard suits are all excellent at killing. The Freeriders and Scout ATVs are consistently irritating, and the Medusa... Well, lets not talk about that. So what we need is a unit to nullify these threats, who are ultimately making our better units (like the Oppressor for instance) almost redundant. Monitors are Hawks answer, at least for the moment anyway. 

Here's the thing though, I just don't think they are the answer at all at the moment. So 4 shots at E5 is okay for anti-infantry (and actually for Gun Technicals and Wagons too), but at 8 points a pop and another 24 for an Intruder (which you will need to deploy them anywhere useful) it comes up to a huge 56 points for 4! That's 16 E5 shots for 56 points. Run the maths. 2 wounds of a Medusa (that will just be healed back), 1 to a Freerider, and maybe 4 to a single base of infantry in a building. For 56 points that's an awful return. I thought the answer might be just to give them more shots or a better accuracy, but I'm beginning to think that perhaps the answer is to mitigate the need for an Intruder, and give them an infiltrate or forward deployment rule. This will allow another 2 to be purchased, making the odds much more preferable. So right now, I think they're pretty garbage, but with a small tweak they could be great. Oh, and the template is great. Shame it's E10, but moons on sticks and stuff.

Such a difficult unit. It really is not that much different from the Seraphim. It is certainly overpriced for what you get to do with it. 115 points for a maximum of 6 shots (more likely to be 3-4 though) in a game. If I could be given free reign with the rules for this I would change 3 things. 
  • Remove the (Narrow) from the Missile Cluster fire arc
  • Remove the Alt-1 from the Missile Cluster
  • Make it 90 points
Simple solutions that keep the unit as intended, but helping it be useful. 
I don't think a Barrage weapon should have a narrow front arc. The missiles are a mass of bombs going off in a small area does not sound like it needs a narrow arc!

You should also be able to fire those missiles whilst firing the Heavenfire. It make no sense to only shoot 1 per turn. I really can't see players using it. I will get one to add to my collection of UCM, but I am unlikely to play it.

Retardliator (by Dan)
Attempting to buck the trend of Fast Movers really only being any good at AA, Hawk have given us something a little different. A single E12 shot (yay, more high energy), an anti-infantry blast (actually kind of useful these days) and of all the crazy things an E10 barrage weapon, giving you a potential large E10 blast! I like the Retaliator more than the Seraphim. It has a more specific role, in that it is actually not bad at what it does. The problem it faces is that it still suffers the inherent unreliability of being a fast mover (although this is slightly mitigated by Legionnaires or Mortars acting as FAOs), and just by the simple fact that there are better units to spend the whopping 115 points on. Mortars for anti-Infantry, Hazard Suits and Starsprite Drones for E12 shots, and the Phoenix for a E10 template; it's a victim of the utility of its own army. Shame really.

Last but not least, did someone say over compensation?

Thunder thunder thunder Thunderwagon Ho!!! My sword of Omen has given me sight beyond sight. I see that these awesome models will not see the light of day at a tournament. 

I know that tournaments are not the be-all and end-all of miniature wargaming, but it is what is most written about and talked about on blogs and podcasts. 3 Shots in an entire game and for 75 points. Suddenly the Retaliator is looking great value for money! They really look great but they are the same cost as a gun wagon.......seriously Hawk?? Either the Gun Wagon is underpriced or these are overpriced (personally I think a little of both).

The weapon itself is actually great, and very useful, high demo, blast and decent energy. 
This is going to sound harsh, but I think the unit needs scrapping and a redesign is needed. The model lends itself to the rules, but that is not what is needed in the game. 

I would have a wagon with the missile on it (as it is now), and the wagon would have a trailer with another 2 missiles on. 
Rules would then be similar, but it would have 3 shots in a game, but has to spend a turn loading the next missile, so shoots on 2, 4 and 6. I would also have a drawback too. If the Thunderwagon is destroyed with 1 or more missile left to shoot then they blow up on the spot where destroyed. 

Blunder Wagons (by Dan)
Where in the name of Karl Foley did the Resistance find scud missiles?! As cool as the models are (and they are real gnarly) these wagons have high-fantasy edge which, personally, I don't like for Zone. As far as rules go, these Wagons could end up gathering dust in the same hanger as the Storm Wagon. A potential 8 dp to a building a turn is tempting, and an E10 template which can reach more or less the whole table also seems pretty nice. The drawback is however that you can only use one per turn, and in reality they are very expensive; 75 points for 3 E10 shots a game? I think I'd rather find the extra 45 points for another Cyclone.

Let us know your thoughts on the new units, we really do care (well maybe not Dan) 


  1. Harsh reviews. I can not argue though. Thankfully this is just the experimental rules.

  2. I would actually argue that the new units can be discussed in 2 different lights. The competetive scene and from a model and fluff point of view. So my 2 cents with this in mind.

    My experience with the PHR skimemrs are that they either need a Neptune (Helios) to get anywhere useful or they will just stand back and use the 6 inch move to skimm around and find long range angles. In my world this means that the flamgelos needs a Neptune. On top of that, when it is deployed it wont be able to shoot its weapon so any infantry will either deploy in another structure or sit still in a vulnerable transport waiting for the the burn and drop turn that will arrive "soon"(tm). Of course a double tap scenario with last/first activation is possible, but any sane commander will move infantry from the target building asap when faced with flamgelos + infantry (Sirens?) 8? inches away. I will try it out but it will probable be scrapped for my tournament lists (110 points = valkyrie + Juno). Compare this to the fire wagon + hovercraft combo which can deploy and shoot.

    From a fluff perspectiv. Cool as Hell (or hot..) Flaming transports supporting elite infantry. A+ I will definately include this in my casual games and campaigns as a part of the flame on list I am toying with.

    Well the inflation of energy 12 is a bit stupid. It devalues high armour units to the extreme. With an effective 13 inch range and 3 shots I would much rather either lower the energy or actually give it for example e10 2 shots focus-3. Which would enable 2 high energy shots or 1 extreme energy shot. The concetrated beam I would gve e11 instead, but that might not be possible due to fact the gun is already available on another chassi.

    Fluff perspective. The model looks fins and provides another tool for the walker brick. I do not like the fact that they have strayed very far from the shaltari e10 anti tank gun or weapon of doom! . This just feels like an improved concept. I would argue that the top gun should either be a mf 0 doomsday weapon or e10.

    Well it is an improvement. That doesnt say much though. My feeling is that its options are redundant and should be changed. Your suggestion looks good to me though the actual point change would need to be tested.

    Fluff perspective. I like the idea of UCM bombers flying in with angel escorts. The concept is still very close to the original model and fits perfectly with my idea of how the payload can change. The heavenfire option is a bit lackluster though. It really should shine through in a better way.


  3. Monitor
    Well 4 e5 shots at ac3 is good. They should of course have ac2, perhaps witrh R(c) 9. The selfdestruct option is good. The perfect touch is the lack of to hit roll which actually makes it an interesting choice. The issue though is the range. 4'' move and then explode means that they can easily be outmanouvered. I would give it a hyperboost for the self destruct turn. Blow all remaining fuel and fuses for a 12'' move and then selfdestruct. As an alternative I would let them explode up to 2 per squad per turn enabling a area denial for evasion troops and tight formations of medium and light vehicles, Imagine 2x2 monitors selfdestructing on a medusa or over 24 technicals in a tight formation. But all in all a new tool in an area where scourge lack.

    Fluff perspective. Freaking awesome. Insane minders getting guns and a self destruct button. It really gives a new insight into the scourge mentality. I really like the fact that they just didnt give them the hive mind mentality. I would field a list with 8 monitors 8 minders and 8 prowlers just for fun.

    Thunder wagons
    No, just no. Weapon is lacking in versatility and general reliability. A 1 shot weapon that can fizzle, or just deviate off. e10 is positive from a balance perspective for the game as a whole but in the end it means that the only real target for this is either a hunter blob or buildings. We do not need any more dedicated building destroyers in the resistance army if you ask me. Skip demolisher and give them a wagonload of missiles like you suggested and we would have an interesting unit which could act as a true long range heavy missile battery.

    Fluff perspective. I really like the idea of resistance fighters raiding old missile bunkers to get the missiles and then load them up on ramchackle trucks. The units look good and I would probably add them to my collection if I played resistance. I would then create special scenarios around them where one side needs to capture missiles which can then be used during the game.

    Well that is just my untested opinion

  4. I'll probably get a Retaliator, but mostly because i like the model and the new variant is a good excuse. :V That said, i always felt that the heavenfire doesn't really look like a weapon on the model, maybe i'll try to strap a big cannon underneath or something.

    Rules wise i pretty much share your opinions, though of course i lack practical experience so far.

    The one thing i would like to add is that ideally tournament and casual play shouldn't be separate considerations. A game should be balanced around the assumption that both players are actually trying their best to win. It's a big part of the fun for me, both me and my opponent are having a contest and we're giving it our best shot. If i need to choose between fun unit and actually trying to win something has gone wrong.

    1. An excellent point.
      I don't mind that some units are better in certain situations, as list designing for specific missions is still a part of casual gaming.
      Tournaments tend to need a take all comers list. This is where efficiency and versatility come in to it.

    2. Also a good point. I think it depends on how casual gaming is happening in your group. Locally it's mostly that people will make one or two lists in advance and then we decide on the scenario immediately before the game. This tends to encourage all comers lists too.

      Part of it is that the list building features a good bit of logistics and is harder to do on the fly than for example Warmachine or Pulp City. Even if you do have stat cards, instead of just making a pile and keeping track of the total it's often x times cost plus transport plus maybe an upgrade.

      And i forgot to mention, Thunder Sculpt 3 is a russian Proton rocket hit with a shrink ray.

  5. What a hard review... Hawk apply some cool packs to that burned area.
    You guys play more than I do. But this seems a bit hars.
    I hope you like the other waves better.
    Cheers, Thunder

  6. Dan, Mike, what about Salute? Weren't you going to tell the masses that we are going to be at the Hawk Stand on Saturday? You had one job to do!

    1. We've got a whole week before Salute, young Bethany, chill your boots!

  7. Pretty much agree with them all, I think... and I could be terribly wrong that Thunderwagons may have value rolling on mid game as a thunderstorms support choice.

    Monitors... will have to test to decide on. One squad seems a little pointless, two hard to fit.

  8. I will have to try the Minders to be absolutely sure, but there is only one thing I wish they had that they don't:

    Separate weapon profiles.
    I would love these things to be two shots for two weapons than four shots that is treated as one weapon. I feel like it would grant just a little bit more flexibility.

  9. Perhaps an idea for the Seraphim Retaliator is to make it an optional weapon load out decided before the start of the game for the regular Seraphim. The flexibility may just help its inclusion for tournament games.
    Lots of bunkers?, grab the standard armament. Ground control?, retaliate with the new profile.
    Still, the Seraphim would remain over costed tho...

  10. FLamgeloes and Kaminder are big weiners, the rest can mind the bench.

    Good thing I can use similar units as proxie instead of shelling out more $$$. Looking more and more like a a slippery slope another game that will not be named, cannot be named has gone down.

  11. My problem with the the Monitors is more the apparent game philosophy behind them then the actual unit. It feels like they are saying here is a unit to counter your opponents good stuff. You need this to stop them from winning. I feel loath to put in a unit that is dependant on my opponents list. I would rather have a unit that helps me win and requires my opponent to worry about my good units for a change. I also don't think the scourge need another low armoured aircraft unit. We need help in ground based presence/focal point side of things.

    1. I completely agree. If you look to what units are coming for Scourge, they are all aircraft. So it doesn't look like help is coming any time soon!!

    2. If only they could transition into prowlers!

    3. I agree too, but we have to bear in mind that these are 'customisations' of existing units. I think we can start moaning about more ground units for Scourge when brand spanking new sculpts are released!

      I'm not sure how good Monitors would be as walkers? They would be a lot more vulnerable.

    4. The Corrupter will actually help. It can fire Worms into nearby focal point buildings

    5. I was still thinking with the prowlers weapon profile :P

  12. Good writeup, guys. Good comments, too.

    Bring on the next wave!

  13. I think the Thunder Wagons are cool Focal Points!