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Mightydonk

Clearly doing something wrong...

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Righty, I am a huge fan of the Covenant.

I rate factions by three criteria.

Background, and I love the whole "screw you guys, I'm going to start my own nation, with science, and blackjack, and hookers!  In fact, Forget the Blackjack!" thing they have going.  Their fluff is awesome.

Models, and I think the CoA has some of the most attractive models going.  I wasn't sure about the flying office fans of doom at first, or the curves and lines of their ships, but they've grown on me and I've become fond of them.

Table top, and here is where I keep falling down...

 

So far I've played over half a dozen games with them (intro games not included), and the best I've managed in a real game is one dice roll short of a draw.

I try to keep my distance, but I find that without shocking good fortune, I'm simply over whelmed by incoming fire or boarding actions before my own guns and drones can whittle the other guy down.

If I deploy spread out I'm wrecked in detail, but if I clump together I struggle to get broadside on without sailing into my own ships.

 

So, in my fleet I have:

Aristotle.  The closest thing I have to a tank, best ship I have, closest to reliable.

Pericles.  I got her to bring and relaunch as many drones as I can, but if I keep her back for protection, then it takes two turns or longer for her new drones to get somewhere useful, but if I send her forward she gets hammered and my drones start falling out of the sky...

3 Plato Light cruisers.  I can't make up my mind.  Last game they sank a Suvorov Cruiser in one turn.  But by and large they've performed poorly against anything bigger than themselves, just not throwing enough dice...

8 Diogenes. Mixed results again, but they usually end up at the bottom of the sea as soon as they're in range band 2.

2 Ptolemy Bombers.  Utter fails... the mines have accomplished little, as the other guy just sails close and then CCs them, or just goes round, meanwhile the office fans fail to reach stratospheric altitude and get shot out of the sky before they can drop bombs.

6 Galen escorts attached to the battleship and carrier.  Used twice, had little opportunity to accomplish anything.

 

So far, looking at the forums and asking round my gamer friends, the best answer I have is to buy different ships. 

Thing is, they are looking like a very tricky fleet to be used cleverly and precisely.  But that's never been my gaming style.  I've always preferred blunt objects, just get stuck in.  Is there a way of using the CoA like that?

 

P.S. Please do not mention Inventive Scientists, their track record is 2 saved hits against 5 fires started...

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Hi Mightydonk

 

Imho the CoA is neither a brickstone to throw at your opponent nor an especially tricky fleet, but the CoA takes a few games to get the (very strong) synergies between the different models to work. I'll try and give some general hints about units, general tactics and force composition, for more specific advice and possibly tactics it would be good to have point levels and most common opponent fleets.

 

So for now just my few cents of advice on your CoA problem:

 

- Basically you diagnosed the main weak spot yourself. The fleet has nothing that can tank some damage. So if you want to play more "brickstone" with CoA you will likely have to get some models. Diophantus, Battle Orb, Zeno, Cleomedes, Thales, (the Dread is a pretty brutal tank too) come to my mind.

- On the other hand and just so there is no misunderstanding: The CoA imho barely has any "weak" units, so the models you have all are fine ships.

- That being said, the old fleet box + carrier group maybe is not the perfect fleet composition for 2.0 games as the Platos were repurposed to be light cruisers, the mediums are rather fragile and the Ptolemy are one model short. Besides that Corvettes tend to be the better "backbone" smalls than frigates in most matchups (and will likely fit your preferred playstyle better).

- I'd strongly suggest to drop the Galens for the time being. I personally think Escorts are rather situational and especially in small games (<1250) I'd use the points for other models.

- Try not to stay too far back with the Pericles. It is tempting to use energy turrets and snipe, but the main strenght for that ship is relaunching 9! drones a turn. So if you can manage it, keep the Pericles safe, but as close to the battle as you can (use the Aristotle/terrain) as a cover.

- Start the game with torpedodrones and maybe some fighterdrones. Move in full speed and get at least 9 of them to ditch early turn two before you activate your Pericles.

- For the drone configuration: Think about what you want to use your drones for: 2x5 torpedodrones can be an early threat for enemy mediums. Using 3/3/4 drones would allow to hunt down some smalls early on.

- The Diogenes are pretty good snipers. Use their RBIV faster torpedoes to snipe smalls from enemy squadrons to lower their damage output or boarding potential.

 

R

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I agree with Rufus.

Usually when I make a fleet I'll split my points into 2 "half fleets". The first one is my "keep at the back" section, and the other is the "up close and personal" section (in big games, I use 3 groups "anchor" "distraction" and "sledgehammer")

Depending on your own tactics, setting out "roles" for parts of your fleet will help you a lot

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Thanks for the hints guys.  With Christmas on the way, I'm going to see what, if anything, comes through.  Hoping to see Cleomedes and maybe Hippassus make a show.

 

Fresnels are definitely on the shopping list, though the fact they come in a bundle of two but deploy in three is an odd one...

Euclid is a very tempting, if pricy, alternative to the Pericles too.

I'm thinking the Capek interceptors for shooting down incoming enemy airships too.  Good idea?

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I would second a lot of the above advice, with the added note that I rarely field a CoA fleet without a squad of Diogenes (In fact, I don't think I have ever left port without a squad), think the Pericles is one of the best fleet carriers in the game (Cheap, drones, good sniping abilities with faster torps and e-turrets) and think the Aristotle is hands down the best normal battleship (both in terms of its tabletop performance and in aesthetics. Come on, this ship is seriously cool!)

The problem you identify unfortunately does lie, at least in part, in your choice of ships. The CoA are an army of specialists, most ships have a purpose they excel at and lack the flexibility to take on other tasks. Your selection of ships only has one "hold the line" ship (hold the line ships being, in my opinion, durable and flexible ships that you can throw into most tasks with the knowledge that they can cope), this being the Aristotle battleship. You already identified its relative toughness compared to your other choices and called it one of your best, so I think a few more of the "Hold the line" ships might give you the flexibility and resilience to succeed in your playstyle.

Looking at your list of choices, there is one glaring weakness. Your medium section.

Platos can be geared towards good sniping at long range with e-turrets, excellent small hunting at close range with normal turrets and are slightly tougher than most light cruisers (only shield 1, but inventive scientists lets you reroll it so it is almost like shield 1.5 with the added danger of the scientist in question really liking Bunsen burners) the problem is it is still just a light cruiser. It can be double critted and killed in one shot very easily. This ship is very good at its tasks but it cannot hold the line.

Ptolemy can be a very useful tool, but like most of the CoA choices it is a specialist. A Mine layer with very little to offer outside of this. Excellent if you want a mine layer (Personally I think it is the best mine layer in the game, armed with the best mines and in a faction that can make amazingly good use of them) but offers no other value. As a medium it makes up for only 4hp by being able to fly stratospheric or obscured. Unfortunately it cannot hide and things with air hunter will rip them apart.  I said earlier I think it is the best at what it does, but generally I find what it does only situationally useful. Unless I have a definite plan for them or want to try out a certain trick, I rarely include them in my fleets.

So basically you have two excellent tools there, but lack the solid core to base them around. I know advice calling for different ships is not terribly good, but I would highly recommend another choice of medium ship. There are 3 to choose from (well... and a battlecruiser, so 4 I guess) and you can always ask your opponent if he minds you proxying your 3 platos as one of these options to try out.

Fresnel - the king of long range sniping, excellent resilience at long range, a favourite in a lot of CoA lists (especially mine) but falls apart as soon as an enemy gets within boarding range. A single squad of enemy corvettes can prize 2 Fresnels in a single activation if you are not careful. Whilst I really do love these ships, I do not recommend them for you to try out first.

Zeno - The CoA answer to all those people who think we suck at boarding. This armoured cruiser has a front mounted particle accelerator that can hurt smalls in RB2 and hurt mediums in RB1. It has very good broadsides that just love dishing out damage at close range. Each one packs 5 elite AP. A squadron of these stand a good chance of prizing anything in the game, especially if it has been softened up first with a bit of damage. If you want to play up close and brutally personal, definitely try these guys out. They are not terribly tough and are very expensive in points but either they are dead or they are a threat. There is no middle ground.

Cleomedes - The replacement for the Plato. One of the "Hold the line" ships. One of our few flexible units that you can throw wherever it is needed. Above average defences for a frigate, good firepower, a credible boarding threat and not overly specialised. I really like these ships and they are top of my recommendation list for you.

...

And just so I am complete...

Hippasus - A battlecruiser that breaks the mold. A utility piece. A support vessel. Very good at what it does but not what I think you need for your fleet. It facilitates a lot of tricks, is tougher than the average battlecruiser but needs a plan. The first time you use one to catapult a Thales squadron into your enemies face and steal his battleship on turn 1 is a moment of fun that no other fleet can even dream of replicating.

 

Your other sections seem solid to me, Diogenes are excellent at engaging other smalls or sniping the last HP off of a medium (I use them to snipe first and then engage enemy corvettes with their broadsides). Leave the Galens for large games (or... well, for never. I rarely field them even in massive games and never feel I am missing out. The choice to include them depends more on local metas and playstyles imo, but generally our drones can cover what these guys are meant to do).

 

So all in all, I recommend the newer naval starter battle box. A 2nd Aristotle is never too bad, a Diophantus is just lovely, another squad of diogenes is admittedly overkill but the Thales, Cleomedes and Hippasus are all excellent things to try out. I expect you will love the Diophantus, Cleomedes and Thales.

 

Last notes;

Fresnels deploy in squads of 2, which is the perfect size. Each one can cause a crit on a medium or they can link together to crit a large. They used to deploy in squads of 3, so a lot of people have one spare. There were rumours a while ago that spare ships would appear in specialist squadrons but no new news on that yet.

The Euclid is not the friendship ending beast it used to be, but it is still absolutely amazing. 9 drones! 9! On a very durable vessel that can clear whole squadrons off the board in a single shot. It is expensive and will lose you games if you let it be prized, but it is oh so much fun :D

Capeks are another example of excellent tools with no flexibility. Very good anti air, especially against small fliers (which are generally a bugger to deal with) but they need to link as a whole squadron to damage anything meaningful, and with fixed channel weapons this means they cannot target multiple enemies well at all. This hurts if you only need to fire one weapon to kill the target and therefore waste the second weapon. Take them if you need anti air and your drones have other roles to play, but be aware of their limits and the fact that they fall out of the sky if an enemy looks at them. 

I may have sounded a bit negative about some of these options. I do not mean to be... exactly.  CoA options are all good ships that all serve a purpose, like Rufus said. In fact I may have just rehashed most of what Rufus said just in more words...

erm...

Here endeth the ramble.

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