Friday, June 2, 2017

Resisting the Resistance

by Novus

I've recently had a bad time against the Resistance.  Of all the Dropzone factions, the Resistance are the ones who tend to steamroll me somewhat consistently.  I can play around the Shaltari.  I'm golden vs PHR.  The UCM are not at their most powerful, right now, so dealing with them is not bad.  The Scourge can be dicey, but they aren't crazy powerful at the moment, either.  My problem on the tabletop is definitely the Resistance.

After getting pasted (really badly, like tabled if we didn't have to quit early) by Cameron Blume last weekend and his 2x Helhog, 3x Thunderwagon, and that (damned) Thunderstorm plus a few other things, I got to thinking.  After a short time it struck me: my entire problem for the game was going second.  And thinking farther back, that's been my problem vs Resistance from the beginning.

I used to take CV3 and CV4 Commanders pretty regularly, long before these human leftovers arrived on scene.  Sometimes I'd even take CV5!  That sorta fell away as I noticed most folks were going for more hardware over better commanders.  I followed the trend and it worked out, for a while.

The Resistance aren't very much more powerful than any other faction.  Similar guns to the PHR, not many special rules like the Shaltari, no true skimmers, not much special at all, really.  Nothing like an Odin or Ferrum or Desolator or Panther etc.  They really don't have much craziness about them.  They are very much a middle of the road faction.

But, what they do have over most other factions is a tremendous first strike capability.

Helhogs aside, 'cause they are a bit broken (mostly because Focus Fire is a bit broken), in losing every initiative roll I (CV2) rolled (I did eventually win one late game with an "HQ Directive," I think), Cameron (CV3) was able to destroy assets of mine reliably before I could use them.  The power of the guns and respectable MF of, for example, his Thunderstorm or the pair of Helhogs pretty much erased anything they touched.  If I got a shot back, I did pretty well.  But, I didn't get to muster much return fire.

And that's the thing.  The Helhog is essentially a flying tank that on average (say, 6 successes out of 8 shots) can generate two Focus Fire E10 or one E12+ hits on a single target anywhere on the board!  And they are typically reaction fired on 5+ so killing them before they fire can be problematic considering the hefty 3DP(!) they have.  You really need a good weight of fire to reliably down them.  They aren't invincible, but they do tend to kill what they are shooting at when they first arrive.  Catch them in a hover, and they are toast, of course.

What the Thunderstorm shoots at will likely end up dead, too.  With a MF of 6" and an 18" range on the E12 guns, you really have to make sure they don't get the drop on you.  I did get to shoot at this unit first using nearly my full range.  But, having a BS first attempt of only 1 damage didn't help.  It was the right tactic but my dice failed me.  I also got a second chance to fire at it before it activated due to Cameron having to concentrate on another part of the table.  I did 7 points with 2x Hera and 2x Apollos this second time, but the Thunderstorm wiped my command Hera and one Apollo off the map it's next activation.  Then I lost initiative and it killed the remaining Hera/Apollo on his first activation of the following turn.  Had I won the initiative I would have likely killed the T-storm with little effort.

I haven't faced any concerted Freerider attacks since the second (and totally unnecessary) Nerf.  But, when they were more viable, it was the first strike that everyone feared because they could ride up, ignoring all sorts of fire, and slap mines on a tank, more than likely killing that tank.

For me, I think the mystery of why I have such a hard time fighting the Resistance is starting to make more sense.  Could it be possible that Dave/Hawk designed the Resistance to encourage higher CV commanders?  Much like Critical Locations are meant to encourage the use of dropships?  It seems I might have to start using a higher CV again!

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