Sunday, 30 August 2015

Fighting The Resistance Part II

LOOKING AT SOME OF THE MISSIONS AND OPPONENTS THE RESISTANCE FACE IN DROPZONE COMMANDER

THE MISSIONS

OBJECTIVES
Objectives are important in a large number of Missions and require fast troops that can get into the buildings quickly, find the Objective and leg it off the board as soon as possible. I have not had the best luck with Objective missions, and though I can comfortably secure one or two, it is incredibly important to deny the enemy the chance to outscore with their faster, smaller contingents of infantry.

AT-77 Lifthawks and MT-90 Jacksons offer fair transport for this job, and I have come to favour working in conjunction with a Battle Bus in the back field to get to the home Objective. Sending the Lifthawk forward to the middle (or the enemy Objective) while the Bus-mounted troops get the nearer home Objective has worked well, but beware enemy demolition units - losing your home Objective early in the game is pretty crap.

Resistance lack the fast, small transports that the other factions enjoy, such as the Raven Light Dropship or Triton, and this denies them a fast route to the far-away Objectives and an easy escape route for the infantry to carry them off. Allied Marine Force Recon can answer this, as their Ravens can be very fast, but for Feral games, I would like to try out the Barrel Bomber as a Denial unit, blowing the building out from under them! The Breaching Drill has been an unusual saviour (when in the correct position). Having lost their transport, the option to escape down the Drill with the Objective has proven too good an opportunity to miss.

The Resistance enjoy easy access to some very good troops, and with certain Feral cards and squads of Berserkers they can hold themselves well in CQB, but I still find myself outmatched by Shaltari and UCM Praetorians. Occupation Veterans may be better than Fighters for CQB, but I prefer to use their awesome plasma rifles for tank hunting. Marine Force Recon offer something in this regard, but I have not tried them out yet! I try not to use the Freeriders for Objectives except in dire circumstances, as they work better tank hunting and generally being a nuisance for the enemy formations.


FOCAL POINTS
I have found the Resistance to be very capable in Focal Point missions, as their dominance in the late game comes to the fore and they can cause serious problems for the opposing player. The M3 AlexanderM9 Hannibals and other heavy tanks have proven their worth, dropped near the Objectives and worth a lot of points, while NT-1 Kraken Hovercraft have been a secret game-changer - avoiding enemy fire once the transported unit has been delivered, the Kraken has the speed to quickly jump close to the Focal Point later in the game.

AH-16 Cyclones and J-9 Hellhogs prevent the enemy from bunching up around Focal Points, while Freeriders have the speed to contest enemy Focal Points early - drawing a great deal of fire. I have found jumping the Freeriders into buildings near Focal Points has quickly caused problems for the enemy, and a Breaching Drill near an enemy Focal Point is also very annoying, (especially if you have some technicals in reserve). Ultimately, it pays to keep your transports alive in a Focal Point mission, and destroying the enemy AA will allow you to do a mass redeployment later in the game that will secure the enemy Focal Points and earn maximum Victory Points.

I do not have any experience with the NT-5 Thunderstorm Custom, which I imagine would cause a lot of trouble in a mission like this!

INTEL
I do not have the greatest history with Intel missions, but building demolition and fast moving infantry seems to be the order of the day. This is a mission where Freeriders would do well to cross the board quickly, while Lifthawks spread the Jacksons across the board and Battle Buses run down the flanks. Ultimately, my last game of Intel was lost to poor dice and some insane building demolition from my Shaltari opponent, so I will need some more experience with this.

ENEMIES OF THE RESISTANCE


UNITED COLONIES OF MANKIND
The unwanted "Liberators" of the Cradle Worlds, the UCM bring their mass-produced military to the battlefield with little subtlety. They are tough, with lots of high armour values. They have powerful weaponry, with high Energy values, and a few tricks up their sleeves with units like the Ferrum Drone Base.

The big problem facing the UCM is their numbers, and their ability to strike without warning or Line-of-Sight - the Drones are fast and powerful, and units like the Longbow Howitzers and Kodiak Command Vehicle bring headaches for the Resistance forces that like to hide out of sight. Large squadrons of Sabres, Rapiers and Katanas can be difficult to deal with, so commit the right amount of firepower to deal with them - risking one shot and becoming exposed is not worth it!

I have had good success against the UCM with Freeriders overwhelming the tanks and using their speed to get into the backline, where they can rip apart the Ferrum Drone Base or Kodiak. Obliterating the plentiful Rapier squadrons is a must, as this will free up the Cyclones and Hellhogs to do some proper tank hunting. Concentrating on wiping out squadrons had benefits, as this will limit activations in later turns, but chipping away at several different squadrons also removes some of the teeth and prevents massive concentrations of fire.

Speedy units of Legionnaires or Praetorians in Ravens cause headaches when they zip across the board to claim Objectives, but the Ravens are not hard to destroy - strand the men and they will start to struggle. I have not come across the newer infantry units like the Mortars and Heavy Hazard Suits, and we shall have to see what they bring to the table.

I have no experienced much in the way of the UCM Fleet assets - the Archangels and Seraphim have always been dealt with rather quickly when I have faced them, while I have yet to face a Phoenix. Gunships like the Eagle and Falcon could cause headaches, but they lack in armour compared to the tanks and do not seem to be too popular.
SHALTARI
The Shaltari are fast, well-armed and well-protected with their skimmers and Passive Counter-measures. They are fearsome in pretty much all of the missions, and should be respected.

The local Shaltari player is a very competent gentleman named Chris, who has an excellent record in many games (like Infinity) and has taken to the Shaltari quickly. He favours the Caiman Heavy Skimmers, and focuses on building demolition to deny his opponents' Objectives while Firstborn and Braves shred any surviving infantry. All of my games against Chris have seen five or more buildings destroyed, but he does not take a huge amount of AA and this has left him vulnerable to my massed airpower.

Against the skimmers of the Shaltari, I favour Barrage weapons like those carried by the AH-16 Cyclone Gunship. Hitting massed Kukri AA or Caimans is a lot of fun, and good rolls can cause a lot of trouble for the Shaltari. The Gates need to be destroyed as quickly as possible, but a canny player will be able to keep them out of sight so you need to be aggressive. This cautious use of Gates is one of the reasons I still take my J-9 Hellhog - being able to appear in his backline and start shooting gives the slower Resistance force time to move up. Enemy infantry must be crushed - drop the buildings on top of them, destroy their Gates - isolate and obliterate! Do not engage unless you've got Berserkers or a good hand of cards - though really what you want is a Barrel Bomber!

The M20 Zhukov has been a powerful source of AA for destroying skimmers and nasty flyers like the Firedrake. I would always want to field them instead of Hannibals when playing Shaltari, even if they are an extra 70pts. Unfortunately I would not want to use them as much against the UCM or PHR, so it would be difficult to make them an auto-include in my tournament list. We shall see!

I have not faced many of the War or Battle Striders, and though I can imagine a horde of Jaguars with a Dreamsnare would be a tough opponent, I cannot offer any advice - just keep shooting, and don't get disheartened by their superior weaponry, speed, Passive Saves and CQB capabilities. Shaltari are a tough match for any faction, but if you can destroy the Gates and take down their anti-tank or anti-air, you can take the advantage - deny them their strengths, rather than trying to match them.

POST-HUMAN REPUBLIC
The PHR are a great mystery for me, as though I have played them four times (and done well) my opponent has used very different lists in each game, trying out weird combinations and newly released units. This has meant my "combat experience" is somewhat stilted, though I do know to fear the Helios AA skimmers, and have learned that the Mk.4 Walkers are not as powerful as they may seem.

The PHR are tough, but generally slow. If they have invested in a lot of walkers, they will be lacking in infantry, allowing us to out-do them in the Objective-hunting. Bad deployment will cripple a PHR player more than anything, so play a cagey game during the first turn when your forces are moving on. Once they're on the board, pick your targets carefully! Disable the AA fast and the aerial forces can have a field day strafing the PHR formations.

Overall it pays to close the gap against the PHR, as they will tend to out-range the Resistance forces. That said, deal with the Sirens while they're still in the air, and pray they don't make it out of the wreckage!

The new Medusa intrigues me, but I have not found a quick way to deal with it without investing in some Flame Wagons. Should it become a staple of PHR lists I will certainly consider trying to find the points to deal with it!
THE SCOURGE
In my local gaming club, nobody plays the Scourge! Obviously my Resistance forces have been sucessful over the past 150 years and destroyed them all. I cannot comment on them, but they look powerful up close - my preferred area of operations, and their skimmers are a cause for concern. Nonetheless, I imagine a list built to face the Shaltari will do well against them - lots of AA, multiple shots rather than big powerful shooting, and try to avoid combat!

I will have another look at this section when I play against the Scourge in the future.
So there we are! A basic look at some of the things I have learned with the Resistance in Dropzone Commander. If you are tempted to pick them up as a second or third faction, I cannot recommend them enough, and for the newer players they are an expensive investment, but ultimately no harder to grasp than the other races. With some of the best units and models in the game, I think they are a brilliant addition to the Dropzone universe, and look forward to their expansions in the coming months.

Thanks for reading,

George

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