Monday, 29 August 2016

Reconquest: Phase II - Resistance

LOOKING AT THE NEW TOYS AND TACTICS FOR THE RESISTANCE

I've had Reconquest: Phase II in my possession for a while now, and recently finished painting at least a representative of all the new units available to the Resistance (not counting the Famous Commanders, unfortunately). Obviously it was time for a quick breakdown and review! This book has been as eagerly awaited as the Dropfleet Commander Kickstarter for me, and now I have read it front to back, I am a happy man.

The background has taken some bold steps forward, continuing as I expected with the Reconquest itself, but then adding some extra flavour (and warzones!) at the very end of the book. This was a great direction to take the fluff in, and I am pleasantly surprised. It would have been so easy to keep the background in a fairly predictable course, but they've expanded it in a way that I like a lot - the next round of fighting will certainly be bloody!

Big kudos to the guys over at Orbital Bombardment. Their breakdown of how the different Factions have fared with the release of this book has been invaluable. I always intended to write a review of Reconquest: Phase II from a Resistance point-of-view, but these guys got there first! I've tried not to copy their work, and as ever my experience differs from theirs, but a lot of our points are the same and I am sorry for that (sorry they got their first! ;)). 

Onto the unit breakdowns!
Scout ATVs and a captured Wolverine look to interfere with the enemy plans
SCOUT ATVs
A nice little unit with some powerful possibilities, Scout ATVs once appeared in many of my lists. Now they are more expensive, and with the more limited range (a good choice, I must say!), they often hit the cutting room floor. Distinctly frustrating for my opponents, they are a lot of fun when presented with the right targets, but die a little too easily for me to rely on them.

The new addition of a Kraken transport for only two units is a bold choice, and makes them attractive once more, but I can't really find the points in my standard tournament lists.
Attack ATVs - a mixture of bikes and a stolen Wolverine are featured to add some variety
ATTACK ATVs
When these were initially released I had great fun with them, causing a huge amount of trouble for enemy infantry before flooding the buildings with massed Resistance Bands. The Chem Grenade mechanism is different and I like it a lot, but with their finalised stats they are short-ranged, die easily and so need a Kraken to get them where they are needed in one piece. This gets expensive - especially considering how they might not even be that useful in certain scenarios! Breaking the 150pt mark with a transport puts them out of my standard 1,500pt lists I'm afraid, but in a larger game I would love to run them for a laugh.

I did have a lot of fun running them in smaller games (750pts or less) as they would cause havoc for opponents running fewer infantry units.
Sappers - the large boxes represent stockpiled munitions and add some more detail to the base
SAPPERS
This is a unit I have not tried yet, and one that has received a lot of praise as versatile, cheap and game-changing (or influencing at least). I'm sure I could find the points somewhere, but for the past few games I have not made that sacrifice - do I want to drop some infantry in exchange for Sappers, or find the seventy points some other way?

Their three different bomb types are all useful, and though it is a shame they are all Limited it makes perfect sense. I particularly look forward to triggering a Cluster IED on some freshly deployed skimmers or bunched-up Apollo Walkers.

Thinking about the unit, would I get more use out of them than three Thunder Wagons? Or would they be destroyed all too quickly and buried under the rubble? Definitely worth trying - time to get painting the other bases!
Thunder Wagons take a rest
THUNDER WAGONS
On first seeing this unit, I was not impressed. Three shots per game (and only one per turn), no Countermeasures and no ability to move and fire? Ouch. The Medium template is not ideal for hitting multiple targets either. Now they are cheaper I bit the bullet, and with E11 they have served me well in a couple of games. It is nice to have something throwaway that may or may not cause some serious damage without impacting the effectiveness of the rest of the list.

As a building demolition unit they are fine, nothing incredible when you have Barrel Bombers, Thunderstorms, Mehmeds and Typhoons around, but sometimes you want that extra four (or more!) points of damage to really put your opponent under pressure, especially those home Objectives.

My best experiences have been against ground-based armies (funnily enough...), and in my last game they were particularly accurate, destroying an Erebos, Helios and Apollo with three good missile strikes. Not game-breaking, but bloody useful for a unit costing less than seventy points!
Mehmed Siege Tanks search for a target
MEHMED SIEGE TANK
Move aside Hannibal, you have been replaced. The short range monster that is the Mehmed Siege Tank is a great release for the Resistance, cementing their demolition power and bringing some serious high Energy on a survivable chassis. I've run these a couple of times, and though they have not managed to do much damage, they have scared my opponents enough to draw a LOT of firepower. That's a win, right?

The sheer power of their demolition is something to bring the Allied forces back in line with the Barrel Bomber-toting Feral Resistance. The finalised rules put them up a few points, which is fair.
Typhoons negotiate the narrow confines
TYPHOON ATTACK HELICOPTER
My new favourite unit, ever. Their initial rules were ridiculous, sitting at the same points as the Cyclone but with four shots per Gunship. Back then, I ran them three times and they slaughtered everything they could see. Now they are more expensive, and with less shots, but I would still drop the Cyclones for Typhoons in a heartbeat. A pair of games with their finalised rules sees them sitting pretty as my MVPs, though I realise a player with better AA will deal with them fairly quickly.

Their weaponry is perfect for my playstyle, but to be honest I think I would have preferred something closer to the Hellhog's Focused Fire chainguns. Three Energy 10 shots is really, really great, but makes destroying ground targets almost too easy!
The Skulltaker and a horde of Berserkers
SKULLTAKER ASSAULT TRANSPORT
The exciting new transport making everyone else envious! This beast is fast, packed with weaponry and hauling Horrific Cargo, and I like it a lot. Flame on a transport is really useful, while the Berserkers are not a unit I have run often in the past, but will probably try now. The price point feels a little high, but it does come with a lot of toys. Not an auto-include (though I do tend to play Feral more often), but a great alternative to the standard outfit of Resistance infantry I usually run.
Krell
FAMOUS COMMANDERS
I'm not going to go too deeply into these until I have the models and the cards in hand, but they look really interesting. Two new Commanders with two new vehicle mounts bring more shiny toys for the Resistance! Krell and his giant clawed walker of doom is especially cool, and I cannot wait for that!
Thunder Wagons and pursuit vehicles charge through the old car park
RIVAL FACTIONS
At time of writing, I do not have a huge amount of experience against nearly half of the Factions in Dropzone - Scourge and Shaltari are rarely seen on the battlefield in my local gaming group (in fact I have only played Scourge at tournaments!). Nonetheless, from what I can tell both of these Factions have done very well out of this book, and really expanded both their damage potential and their options in Objective-based missions.

The Scourge Overseer and Corrupter stand out to me as game-changers, both as force multipliers (literally!) and killing power. The Oppressor, Eviscerators, Vampires and Screamer/Raider have been out for a while and should be surprising nobody, but they are no less potent.

Shaltari receive the awesome Pungari, Ghariel, cool Ronin and Samurai, which again have been present on the battlefield for awhile, as well as the interesting Firebird and Crocodile. I like both of these units. The Leopard and Panther, however, can both get stuffed.

The Panther offers three shots at 2+ Accuracy, Energy 8 and with unlimited range. Even with the Slow Traverse rule (making it less accurate when Reacting), this is still going to murder anything it wants to. Running more than one, or perhaps supported with other AA units, and most Commanders will have their entire aerial game ended. I'm pretty horrified by this unit, and am struggling to think how to deal with it given the Resistance tendency for short range - at the moment my plan is to feed it Typhoons and hope some of them make it through the fusillade. Not likely. Better pray for a lot of 6" tall buildings.

UCM have gained a few new units in addition to their older experimental units finally becoming official. The infantry and the Phoenix are looking as good as before, albeit with some cuts to the Hazard Suits and the Demolisher value on the Phoenix missile system. This is a shame as I feel we will see less Hazard Suits on the table, and as a concept I think they are fantastic - they alone almost made me collect UCM!

In terms of new units, I love the Seraphim Retaliator for its look more than the rules (though it is more attractive than the current Seraphim), while the Falcon-B is a fine addition. Aerial AA, without being over the top. I've played against them, and was impressed with how annoying they are! Great addition to the game but not something I can't handle. The Broadsword and the Crossbow are cool, but will they appear in many lists? I don't think so, not outside special Attacker/Defender missions (where they would both really shine!).

Lastly the PHR, my old foe. They finally secure the Valkyries (with a points hike), the Medusa and Triton (with some debuffs), Nemesis Command Walkers, Longreach Rifle Teams and Menchit A2s, all of which I think are fine and make solid additions to the PHR arsenal. The Valkyries are a standout - I would question anyone not taking at least one unit, while the rest are really nice choices.

In terms of new units, the PHR have done well. with a pair of new skimmers (the Angelos A2 and the Aether) that offer some different (flame or blast templates), a Barrage-heavy tank called the Thor which was initially unimpressive until the Energy 11 actually hit me, and the missile-toting transport the Njord, which seems to have divided opinion! Personally I like the ability to transport four walkers, like the missiles, but think the cost is a little high. Certainly not an auto-include.

Lastly the Hera has become a new HQ choice for the PHR - fantastic! I love the model, and think a gang of Apollos led by a Hera is a brilliant concept. I have played against a unit of three Apollos with two Heras leading them several times now, and have been consistently impressed. In my mind, it is a solid alternative to the Zeus, and if I was running PHR would be hard-pressed not to run one every time.

Overall, some great new units for the opponents of the Resistance! The Shaltari have cemented their positions at the top, while the Scourge are fast climbing with their pretty Corrupters and enhanced plasma. The UCM additions are cool but nothing to worry about, while the PHR choices have really expanded their game, and will keep you guessing until deployment!

For a better breakdown, I really recommend the series of articles over at Orbital Bombardment. Their breadth of experience and varying playstyles give a depth of analysis I am really unable to give here.
King Crow and his charge advance
NEW MISSIONS AND CRITICAL LOCATIONS
The handful of new missions look worthwhile - I'm especially happy with the changes to Intel and the Ground Control-style missions. I have to play aggressively, so these do more to reward me and punish those players who hang back off the board, or just shoot from a distance - great!

The other missions incorporate the new style of scoring points - Critical Locations. Once again, I am all in favour of these, as they reward armies that can move, and especially those that keep the pressure up all game. Resistance tend to play their best in the second half of the match, so Critical Locations have proven very useful for me to drag back some Objective Points and win games. Looking forward to playing more with these, especially in combination with Focal Points.

Fauna and environmental conditions are really cool. I hope they release a pack of models to represent all the different creatures in the future. I will snap that up!
Typhoons spread through the city
So there we are! A rather blunt, short and biased view of how the new book has affected me. Some powerful new units for me and my opponents, some great new scenarios, and a heap of good background. Well done Hawk!

Thanks for reading,

George

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