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Landlubber

Need help--RSN vs Terrans

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Would like to get a little feedback from the RSN players out there on how to handle the Terrans. If this has been covered in another post, I apologize--I looked through the forums and couldn't find anything about it.

 

My basic problem is that I just can't hit the Terran ships hard enough to do anything to them. Tonight, in an 800-point escalating engagement scenario, I struck the colors at the end of turn three after my opponent had completely eliminated my Spook squadron, and left one half-damaged Phoenix in my destroyer squadron. Yes, I had a healthy battleship on the board, but I had only taken three hull points off his shield cruiser and one hullpoint off his battleship, so I was staring those ships down PLUS a fully healthy frigate squadron and fully healthy battlecruiser with escorts, and a fully healthy cruiser squadron--all of which were within 25 inches of my battleship (except the cruisers). My frigates--my last squadron--had not yet made it onto the table, but they would not have swung the odds.

 

I feel that the RSN's signature weapons--long range weaponry and spook torpedoes--are negated by the fact that Terrans have shields on almost everything, plus sector shielding, plus upgraded shields in some cases (cancelling hits on 3's), and then PD after that. Even with spook torpedoes, I still have to get through both shields AND PD, which usually drops the number of hits low enough to sink beneath the target's DR. And, to be honest, 10 torpedoes isn't all that hard of a strike, and that's really all the Spook cruisers are good for at long range if you want to take advantage of the cloak ability (which they need, since they have no other protection).

 

When I DO get my Spook cruisers in close enough to use beams, the only way to effectively use them is to decloak, and then I get hammered by everything else in range--which I pretty much just have to sit back and take, since I have no shields.

 

Tonight, I tried concentrating fire on one target--the shield cruiser--as it was covering all his frigates and his battlecruiser. But with the shield cruiser canceling hits on 3's, I just couldn't kill it. And while I was trying, I was getting torn up by everything else that I WASN'T shooting at.

 

To be honest, I jumped into Firestorm Armada with the RSN because I am first and foremost an aesthetic player--I love the look of the RSN ships. But I just cannot win with them. The only time they do well for me is if I'm running as a support fleet to another player. On their own, I just can't seem to get them to work.

 

I'm open to ideas and suggestions.

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Don't get discouraged; I have a long string of losses before I had my first tie. There are a lot of things you have to do to create a win. Maneuver, activation order, target priority, and weapon use are all things you have to do well to win.

Start with the spook cruisers. In general, their main job is to hide in a corner and lob torpedoes at medium and small targets. If they are de-cloaking before turn three, something has gone wrong. It sounds like you're playing them too aggressively.

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I don't play RSN, but one of my most frequent opponents (I have more games against him than all of my other opponents combined) does. I will just start with my probably very controversial opinion:

 

The Spectre/Spirit is trash, the Argus/Garuda is a trap, and RSN shouldn't be played at patrol fleets by themselves.

 

That being said, get to battle fleet point levels, get a Banshee/Revenant with Siren/Harpy escorts, get a squadron of Cerberus/Hellhounds and go murder your opponent.  A Banshee w/Sirens sitting in a gas cloud is a threatening entity. Elite Crew means you'll probably never get disordered by the cloud, Target Resolution means 3+ to hit most of the time, DR 8!!! with gas cloud -1 to hit you means you rarely get hurt by anything that isn't at least 15+ AD.  17 PD means torps are a joke, and you can also carry 4 interceptors to raise this value to 25 PD. With that kind of setup you'll be effectively immune to the Terran torpedoes, and until the get close enough to get big enough numbers to really start damaging you, you get to hammer them with your own amazing attacks. If they send everything after this big nasty Banshee, then the rest of your fleet gets a free pass to murder indiscriminately. Cerberus heavy cruisers, for only 10 points more than Phoenix destroyers bring a nice amount of extra numbers, and a 24" 18 AD kinetic attack is generally going to punch through whatever 3+ SH ratings it aims at.

 

Ryjak and Stingray give good advice on how to use the Spooks and Bulwarks.

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What makes the Spectre and Argus such rubbish then?

 

The Argus looks on par with everything else, can get 12wings, deck crews or quick launch all are great carrier MAR, then elite crew is very handy to prevent a forced return to base by disorder. Yes it lacks long range weaponry, but few carriers carry that.

 

The Spectre is a tricky one to be sure. I use it as a Cruiser Bully for the most part, take speed and turn limit and have it hunt teir2. I feel the precision shot is a worthwhile investment for it, 12AD isn't too likely to crit BBs, but is good dice for a targeted strike.

 

One to note, the RSN lose little at RB1 across many of their ships, and the terrans have almost no mines. Once you pelt them at range, get into knife fighting range fast and you'll be at an advantage. This has the added benefit of making it harder for them to accurately predict the direction for sector shield.

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The Spectre suffers from attempting to do everything, and not being great at anything.  Everything about is "okay", as opposed to possessing a few real strengths and a couple of things it is not good at and should never attempt. It's only strength is it can attempt everything, its biggest weakness is it isn't great at anything. I have seen too many Spectre activations where nothing happened to my models, and not just because dice hated it.

 

The Argus has no defensive abilities except the chance to buy 1 shield, which will most likely be either the deck crews or quick launch hard point instead. It goes away to quickly.  DR 6 / CR 9 is nice for a carrier, but not good enough without shields, a cloak, stealth systems or something. Plus, when the accompaniment are cloaked, the carrier is a better target, and not much harder to hurt. Plus, spending 65 points to have 12 wings can be detrimental. You can only really utilize 1 offensive SRS token, as you can only launch 1 SRS token per round. And you don't need to add 6 interceptors to the squadron. 6 bombers and 2 interceptors is fine. The Argus isn't bad, it's a trap for points that is too easy to fall into, it's hard to keep oneself frugal with one.

 

While the RSN range band 2 to 1 drop is not bad (or nonexistent) and knife fighting is fun with them, remember that Terran turrets on their heavy cruisers and larger have their highest dice pools at range 1. Terrans want you to get closer. That's where the slug it out the hardest. Also pelting them at range has less of an effect than desired due to weapon shielding. Also, knife fighting leads to clustering. Clustering leads to death by nukes. Just something to keep in mind.

 

To continue on anti-Terran tactics, hazard markers can kill crew, which bypasses weapon shielding. The Banshee can get high energy beams. It can get precision strike on its kinetics. I can use dirty secrets to cancel the +1 shield rating on a squadron for a turn. If it is your Admiral's vessel, it gives you an extra TAC.

 

Now, my opinion is my opinion, if you like the Argus, play it. Same goes for the Spectre. I do recommend getting Sirens at least, the +1 to hit can be invaluable, and +3 PD per escort is nice too. I've seen them help the Spectre achieve nice results, and they are annoying enough that I do target them, which is less attacks on the Spectre.

 

Anyway, I wish you luck in your battles against the Alliance.

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Hm. OK.

 

We rolled a die for the scenario, it just happened to come up on escalating engagment. I kept my Spectre and Bulwarks off the board, deploying only the destroyer and cruiser squadrons. I did put them a little closer than usual to his ships--my thought process was to squeeze a few more AD out of the beam weapons on the destroyers.

 

Unfortunately, the rest of his fleet came on the board in turn 2, and his battleship came on within 30 inches of my destroyers and cruisers. Not cool.

 

Some good nuggets of assistance, thank you all. I don't have a full squadron of heavy cruisers--I just have one Cerberus that I usually run supporting the Spectre in battle fleet-level engagements, since that adds to the hitting power of the torpedoes and kinetic weapons. Werewyvernx, I think what you said about not running the RSN at the patrol fleet-level makes sense, and I'll work on building list at battle fleet-level.

 

I've seen other posts in other threads about deploying the Bulwarks in a shunt manuever. Is this a standard tactic for RSN players? I've tried it once or twice, and if nothing else it scared the hell out of my opponent because they came in at RB2 in his rear arc. My experience with the Bulwarks is that they pop pretty easily if they start out already on the table...shunting them in seems to keep them alive longer and make them a viable force.

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The Argus seems perfect as a Shunt Carrier, when equipped with 6 Wings, Quick launch, deck crews, and decent firepower out to 20 inches.

If you want some flexibility, drop Deck Crews and plus up to 12 Wings, and bring:

1. Fighters/Interceptors (hunt SRS)

2. Bombers/Assault Craft (hunt Models)

If you want more direct firepower, bring the Spook Cruisers. Shunting in, you won't be using the Cloaking Fields. Instead, roll 9 to 15 dice in three directions simultaneously, and toss 10 Spook Torpedoes for fun... All after a 6-Wing Token makes its attack.

I suppose you could use the Argus on the table in a defensive roll, with Interceptors and Support Shuttles. In this case, +1 Shield might be handy.

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This is not a solution to your current issue but more of thoughts to the future.  

 

A fun question was posted on the FB page in the last two weeks.

From SG FB page - Just for fun. If you could upgrade one allied force to a core force (all games), which force would you pick?

 

For me the obvious choice would be the RSN as I think its the simplest as it has the most models for any sub faction.  Also the RSN is wildly popular and even more so then some of the main races.  By adding in the few remaining ship types it could create some better synergies within the fleet.  As most RSN players know they are jack of all trades but a master of none, making them challenging with a lack of focus.  

 

Personally I'm of the opinion that it is better to be a little underpowered vs the issue of something that is to good and disrupts the game for others.  The solution I see would be to complete the range with a few focused ships to allow for some more varied fleet construction.  

 

Also I'm going to address this forum topic on the next Firebase Delta podcast as we are going to be covering RSN as part of the episode.  

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I've seen other posts in other threads about deploying the Bulwarks in a shunt manuever. Is this a standard tactic for RSN players? I've tried it once or twice, and if nothing else it scared the hell out of my opponent because they came in at RB2 in his rear arc. My experience with the Bulwarks is that they pop pretty easily if they start out already on the table...shunting them in seems to keep them alive longer and make them a viable force.

 

It's a pretty common tactic for many players and their tier 3 options. Most tier 3's can't survive early game salvos well enough to be useful later in the game. Shunting them in, especially ones with multiple arcs of fire with decent dice pools, allows them to contribute to the overall fight more than if they die early on. Some tier 3's, like the Terran Pilgrim, can start deployed and lob torpedoes all game long from 48" away and contribute nicely. Others, like the Bulwark/Hellion, are better at shunting in and spreading the love before anyone can stop them.

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Alright, definitely some good nuggets here and some tactical decisions to think about.  Sounds like I need to slow down my play style a little bit and try to keep more range between me and my opponent.

 

Thanks all for the advice.

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