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Aunshi

Lluvia de Peces

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A Rain of Fish

 

With the Unique ability to deploy their aircraft directly onto the battlefield from orbital carriers (sky drop) the Aquans are able to position deadly firepower into for devastating, yet risky attacks directly into the rear of the opposition. 

 

Aquan aircraft are some of the most powerful, but also most expensive, assets available to us; bringing high AD terror weapons, high AD scatter weapons and (unusually) deadly CQB to the battlefield in our favour. However, at 950 points and 16TV for a full helix the Ground Attack Helix has to be considered carefully. The Aerial Interceptor helix is a cheaper, 690 points and 9TV for the full unit, and still brings a respectable amount of firepower to the table.

 

The following strategy is high risk, high reward. If it goes well it could break the back of the land dwellers. If it fails, you loose a lot of points lost for nothing. 

 

The basic idea here is to drop your gunship squadrons behind the advancing enemy forces and shoot them in the back on the first turn, destroying the key units in his force before moving on to eliminate the survivors with devastating terror causing attacks.

 

Force composition;

I have used Rain of Fish at a 5k level of game, however it would probably work at 4k and the larger games too.

 

The strategy revolves around the Ground attack helix, so take a full one of those. Also of importance is (at least) 2 support tanks. I'd also recommend a heavy support tank, which provides another nexus designator and a significant anti-air punch for keeping the skies clear of enemy interceptors. I also like to take a leviathan, because its high powered terror weapons work well here. An interceptor gunship always performs well and can move to counter the enemy anti-air such as interceptors. A crystal or two, and some stingray missile pods will also come in useful. Finally take some logic points, 3 or 4 of them. 

Objective;

There are two three possible objectives in for this strategy - 

1) Heavy tank squadron.

Cut off the head of the snake and the body dies... or becomes a lot more susceptible to command tests. This is the most dangerous option since the dangers of the sky drop scattering onto the heavy tank squadron would mean a powerful CQB attack possibly leading to the loss of a gunship. Happily, the ground attack helix are among the few Aquan forces capable of hitting back in CQB. However, if the gunships land within effective range of the rear of the Heavy tanks, they have a good chance of destroying one of the heavy tanks. If both gunship squadrons land correctly, you have a good chance of eliminating the full unit in a single turn. The great benefit here, other than the destruction of a devastatingly powerful squadron, is the wave of disorder tests running throughout the Core Helix, but also the fact you now have a 24 AD terror weapon running amok behind the enemy lines, and he has no command unit.... command tests are now going to devastate his army (just watch the leviathan tear into those medium tank squadrons now).

2) Heavy Support Helix. 

The safer option, mostly because landing ontop a squadron of tank destroyers in much more likely to hurt them more than you. Most tank destroyers have 2 CQB each, while the heavy support tanks of the world tend to have 3CQB, compared to your 12 or 14 dice. Because heavy support Helices rarely move forwards, your unlikely to get behind these guys, so settling for the side shots will have to do.

 

3)Leviathan

THis was something of an after thought for me, but it could very well work for you. You're unlikely to get the rear shot on a Leviathan since at this stage in the meta game a Leviathan is unlikely to move forwards. Realistically, the gunship squadrons are likely to score a single point of damage each even when they get the side shot. If you're going to do this, try to get a few damage points on the target before bringing in air support, using the Heavy Skimmers, Heavy Support Skimmers or your own Leviathan.

 

Method;

Place the sky drop markers just infront of, or to the side of the target units. Since you have 4, spread these around a bit to keep the enemy guessing where you will land. If he has a leviathan, feel free to put a marker next to that since its a pretty obvious target.  In reality it's a quite hard target, and since its unlikely to move forward to allow you to get the rear shot, has a high cqb and high DR, making it a challenge if you scatter onto it. But if you focus fire on it before hand, a legitimate target none the less.

 

A lot of the strategy rides on you out activating your opponent. You want as little firepower hitting your gunships as possible at least until they've had a chance to get 2 rounds of shooting in with them. This can mean making "delaying activations" such as dropping crystals even when there is no advantage to doing so (no TV lost there) and potentially risky stingray missile drops. It is vastly preferable to lose a stingray battery or a crystal than to lose a single gunship.

 

When the time comes to drop the gunships, pick a target and go all out. Make sure that the drop makers are far away enough from the edge of the table so you won't scatter off (or at least unlikely to) and weigh your options carefully. How risky is that drop behind the Heavy tanks? would you be better off getting the safe side shot?

 

 Because the EF of the M. Gunships is only 10 inches, you may want to drop them first and see where they land before picking targets. The Heavy Gunships can land second and have a bit more leeway with the. Nothing would be more irritating than failing to destroy a target by a few hits because you landed outside of EF.

 

 There isn't much point in landing your aircraft in disparate groups across the battle field, rather focus fire on a single target and annihilation it before moving on. Our gunships have an excellent threat range, so don't be afraid to hit isolated targets such as Heavy Support helices.

 

Quite possibly the greatest danger to this entire plan would be for your enemy to simply NOT move forward and to bunch up, surrounding the drop markers with high CQB units. It would be all too possible for you to scatter onto one unit, move over it onto a second and even third, and have an apocalyptic number of CQB destroy your expensive gunships before you got off a single shot. Because of this, always have one of your drop markers in a safer location, such as the middle of the board. As least this way, you can always bring your aircraft onto the board safely, firing their weapons into the front arc on the enemy. On the bright side, Aquans never want the enemy to move towards them. Ever. So this works out well for us.

Once the first turn is over, throw every logistic point you have (hopefully 4) into the initiative role, because you really want this. With it, you can use your gunships again immediately, without it they will have to endure a round the worst CQB and Ordinance your enemy can bring to bear before first. Try making much of an impact with only 1 gunship in a squadron.

Positioning is now important. ideally you want to get your Gunships into position withere they can do one of a number of things;

1) finish off the initial target (if its just a matter of 1 more damage point, consider doing this with CQB)

2) Eliminating the biggest threat to them (such as AA ground units, interceptors etc.) either with CQB, ordinance or both. if you can position to engage a single interceptor in CQB you should take it down easily, and if they failed to move flat out last turn, 21/24 AD should bring down another one or even two.

3) Elimination of battle squadrons. By this I mean things like medium tank squadrons, Tank Destroyers, Recon Tanks, troop transports etc. Here we come to the great advantage of destroying the enemy Heavy Tanks. With your Heavy Gunships, you now have 24AD terror weapon, prepared to fire into the rear of the advancing enemy army. If you were to target a Medium Tank Squadron, you could reasonably expect to deal 3 points of damage. If the target is of regular quality (Terran, Directorate, Soryilain, Rethoza) they now have to pass a command test of 3 on two dice. This gives you a good chance of causing the entire unit to become forlorn. This is the equivalent of wiping out a 300-400 point squadron in a single shot. Just think about that. Yes, things can go wrong. Yes you might fluff the dice roll, Rethoza are unlikely to take 3 points of damage, Terran shields spoil peoples day all the time etc. etc. BUT the possibility is there. Really, deep down, the best result here would be for the unit to fail its command test but not become forlorn, as this would prevent them from turning around and CQBing you with placed shots. 

 

Also, if you have a Leviathan in your army, it's effectiveness has now increased for the exact same reason (lasers inflicting 2 damage with pinpoint, missiles inflicting 1 damage with terror, no command element nearby).

 

And all this isn't even counting the Medium gunships. They don't have terror, but they do have scatter and pinpoint 1, making them a threat to small targets and medium tanks alike.

 

Transports are a good target at this point to disrupt the enemy's take and hold strategy, and preventing an infantry attack on your gunships. Worth noting at this point that both the H. Gunships and M.Gunships alike are very effective against infantry.

 

My main point here is; if you have successfully destroyed the enemy Heavy Tanks, then his entire Core is vulnerable. As Elite Aquans, we don't really fear the command test, but your opponent sure does. Unless he's Dindrenzi. But if he's Dindrenzi, he's a ****. He's probably doing the exact same thing to you, but with Nyx and a Leviathan. I'm looking at you Zeph.  

 

4) Move to a safe location. This option should defiantly be considered if your Gunships have found themselves threatened by multiple enemy squadrons, or heavily damaged by a bad scatter into CQB, or just if the enemy managed to out active you and took a shovel to them. A flat out move which still placing some enemy in their front arc for the rushed shot would almost certainly help keep these guys alive since they become hard target -2. Even if all you do is a basic move to the flanks shooting as you go,  if the enemy has to chase you this works in the Aquan favour since the enemy is diverting forces away from the main battle. Finally, if by turn three your gunships are so badly mauled you only have a single gunship remaining in a squadron, do not be afraid to withdraw. The firepower of a single Gunship isn't going to be worth the full 7 or 9 TV the enemy can claim for finishing you off. Alternatively, if you can get to a space on the board no one can threaten you, even better.  

 

Cards.

If you are playing with them, a few cards come to mind for this game. First of all, +D3 shields. This is great, so great you really have to think hard how to use it. Because you will be moving one, two or even three designator units closer to the enemy , these guys are expected to take some fire. I've used this card on Medium Skimmers to great success, but lost the Heavy support Skimmer which could have benefited from the extra shields. Really this is all up to you, do you value your medium skimmers, or your Heavy Support Skimmer? to be honest, I would choose the Heavy Support Skimmer next time, just becasue he's not such a huge screw up as the Medium Skimmers, and he is a big red bullet magnet. Alternatively, safe this card for turn two and apply it to the gunships which just dropped into the most dangerous place on the battle field and ruined your opponents day.

The second card that comes to mind would be the increase in Pinpoint Card . Honestly I have no idea what the rules say about applying a cards effects to a model which isn't even on the board at the beginning of the turn, but you can certainly play this card on those medium Gunships on turn two. moving these guys up from 21AD pinpoint 1 to 21AD pinpoint 3 is certainly worth the TV you pay for the card, and makes finishing off Heavy tanks, Leviathans, or just plain old sticking it to the mediums tanks squadrons that much more deadly. If you didn't play the shield card in turn 1, you might want to carefully consider your options here and decide on what you want to achieve. Our M.Gunships are not pure tank hunters, they also have the ability to hunt down and destroy take and hold units very effectively, with 12 CQB, 21 AD in the rear arc and ignoring hard target, they have a good chance of eliminating a full squadron of infantry, recon tanks or anything else with hard target.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I just wanted to share some experiences with the strategy.

One key success of this was dropping a M.Gunship squadron on a Sorylian heavy Support Tank. Between the CQB and the ordinance, they destroyed it in a single activation. The squadron was then attacked by light infantry, losing a single Gunship, but killing all but one infantry base in response. In their next activation, the squadron moved into the side arc of a squad of light recon walkers and destroyed (forlorn) the unit. By this point, my opponent gave up. 

 

In another game, I dropped my heavy gunships too soon, they dropped on target behind a Directorate heavy tank squadron but were cqb's by some patriot infantry. they actually wiped out the infantry, only taking a single point of damage in the process. The ordinance round was unusually ineffective (as can happen) only inflicting a single point of damage on the Heavy Tanks. However, my opponent still have a squadron of Works Raptor interceptors to activate, which were able to get behind the  Heavy Gunships and destroyed one of them in the process. The surviving Heavy Gunship was finished off early in the second turn. My mistake here was missing the activations of a Heavy Support tank and Interceptor Gunship, and forgot to bring down a crystal. Because of this mistake, I lost the unit and 9 TV. 

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