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Sebenko

Covenant Tactical Theorycrafting

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I just finished painting my Hippasus, and it got me thinking- how do we really use Covenant units? A lot of unit evaluations suggest that some models are good in conjunction with others, but I've never seen an in-depth discussion of how to use our models. To that end, I decided to write enough words about one little resin boat to have me committed (probably to a university humanities department). In writing this, I also found that giving the model some thought led me to notice some subtleties that I had missed before.

 

I'm posting the 'essay' itself as a second post, just to keep it contained, and because this thread is also for anyone else wishing to spew far too many words about individual models.

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Using the Hippasus Battlecruiser Effectively

 

The Hippasus battlecruiser is our most expensive Naval Medium, and most expensive Medium model overall after upgrades. Despite this, it does not bring a massive volume of direct threat to the board, though any competent Covenant commodore should know that this is not unusual for the fleet. As with many CoA models, the Hippasus is a support model of significant value, bringing multiple synergy options on a reasonably durable and destructive platform.

 

Using models designed in such a way requires some investment during list building. Unlike, for example, a pair of Fresnel gunships, the Hippasus will not achieve nearly its full potential if added to a list alone. The inclusion of models designed to make use of its support abilities is a must. The Hippasus possesses two notable support abilities- Combat Coordinator (SAS, Acrobatic Pilots, 8”), and a Teleport Generator (Small, 24”). First, we will discuss Combat Coordinator. With the CoA's drones being fairly slow, they lend themselves to defensive operations, as does the Hippasus. By keeping the Hippasus near to bomber-vulnerable units, the effectiveness of CAP and defensive fighter squadrons can be increased. In an offensive context, this ability will increase the effectiveness of any CAP assigned to the Hippasus (which it may have due to the Combat Patol MAR), and allows it to increase the survivability of drone bomber squadrons. By advance deploying a Hippasus, it is possible to create a 'pool' of relative safety for drones as they advance, allowing them to advance their full movement and have some protection from being wiped out before hopefully striking next turn.

 

The second support ability, the Teleport Generator is highly situational and can be used two ways. The first, and more immediately useful way is to use the portals to impede line of sight to vulnerable units. As any shooting through the portals counts as partially blocked, this can be a highly effective defense for a model that finds itself in a risky position. In this case, as with Combat Coordinator, keeping the Hippasus near an expensive but vulnerable target would be beneficial, or can be used when advance deployed to defend itself from inevitable enemy shooting.

The other use of the Teleport Generator is to- who guessed? Teleport models. The teleporter can only handle small models, but can still be a terrifying surprise for your opponent. The 'safe' way to do this is to hold the Hippasus back along with a selection of models chosen for the teleport assault, then use the 'near' portal as the outgoing wormhole, then place the 'far' portal somewhere near (prefferably behind) a juicy target. This means that the teleporting models will be mostly safe until the time comes to strike. Another, more risky way is to use advance deployment. With the Hippasus in advance, and the teleport cadre near the front of the main deployment zone, between 8”-12” from the Hippasus, the Hippasus will have a far wider selection of places to place the teleport portal. The near portal can be placed the minimum 4” from the teleport cadre, and the far portal can hopefuly be dropped as close as possible to the opposing fleet's weakest point. The increased risk of this tactic should be obvious- the Hippasus is in a far more vulnerable position, as are the teleport elements. A note on the Callimachus Alpha- although capable of teleporting medium models, I find this ability to not be particularly useful. With medium models being larger and slower, they require more space at the exit portal, will be able to clear less space for other squadron members, and may have difficulty recovering from a poor portal roll. I have found success in using the Plutarch Destroyer as a teleport model- reasonably tough for a small model, generous arcs and AD on shooting, and not dependent on perfect portal rolls, as they do not need perfect positioning or AP remaining to be effective.

 

Being able to place obstructing templates, go wave lurking and use Inventive Scientist Shields, the Hippasus can be surprsingly durable. However, it is extremely vulnerably to being boarded. Any Hippasus planning to deploy in advance or move forward should have a CAP attached (which in turn benefits from Combat Coordinator). Offensively, the Hippasus has two turrets, a set of fairly good torpedoes and an almost incidental broadside. For the cost, the Hippasus should not be included for fire support. With that in mind, it is quite possible for the Hippasus to cause a point of damage or two, or kill several small models without too much difficulty. The Hippasus may take E-turrets for a hefty +15 Points, which may be useful if you have points to spare and are keeping it back from the fight. One notable advantage of the E-turrets is that a linked shot only loses 1AD while wave lurked, which may be useful if things get messy.

 

As a final note, the Hippasus model itself looks like it could do with going on a diet. Love handles are unbecoming of a Covenant warship.

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One model that wouldn't hurt to just be kept wave lurking.

It's biggest problem is competition from other mediums.... There's so many other juicy options. The Hippasus as you've outlined has great utility, but I think it requires a 1500pt game to justify a place, where you can fit in the SAS from expensive carriers and still of ford the fire support etc that we need to fend off those boarding parties etc b4 they get too close.

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In 1k points, I've found the Hippasus to be very useful. It does however become central to the list, which is how I tend to use it anyway- I like it as the catalyst for a teleporter list, using two or three pairs of destroyers. It still has a place, simply because it's so different from the other mediums.

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I agree with Sebenko! In my 1K lists a Hippasus often appears. I use it the same as Sebenko with 1-2 sections of destroyers. They are quiet a nasty combination and they help disruption your opponents tactics and mass damaging large and mediums (up until now my best record held for my Destroyers is one shoting a FSA Annapolis Battlecruiser.....man my opponents tactics and fleet broke down after that). Also IMO we have one of the best Destroyers, (4DR, 5CR, 3 HP and Shield 1 is pretty hard for a 45 point small model) but they are short ranged comnpared to others so we need the portals in order to bring them in on full effect.

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I love the Hippasus. I have teleported two units of corvettes and two units of destroyers into and behind the enemy fleet in one game (not in one turn). It takes a lot of planning and you need some cover from an island, but you can realy unleash you smalls to great effect.

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I decided to try out my theory about advance deployment teleporting. Sadly, I rolled awfully for terrain, and then my Hippasus took a teleport crit on the first activation of the game, getting hurled back into my own deployment zone. All was well, however, as I went for the panic teleport, the four Plutarches survived the jump and arrived at point-blank range of a Borodinosaur. They somehow survived all the way through turn three, and helped in reducing the Borodino to irrelevance and cleaning up some gunships that were littering the board.

 

Technically a successful use of the Hippasus teleport strategy.

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especially because Pack Tactics is a "coherency" MAR, meaning that linking in other weapons that don't have it (such as the broadsides) means you'll lose it anyway

 

Joking aside, before we confuse someone (especially as DW rules cause enough confusion as it is)- full linking should still gain the benefit. Coherency only requires that all models involved have the MAR, not all weapons.

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I was extremely gutted today. 1st time using Teleport, sent 3 Plutarchs thru to throw their 20 dice pool (10AD) into a Yurei terror ship. My dice were poor, but even still I had 2 rounds uninterrupted firing on that git and failed to take even one hull point off it!

I may manage greater success with actual 20 dice, but it WAS fun throwing smalls through to port.

Having said that, that was my 1st loss vs that fleet despite the almost untouchable Yurei.

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My advice is to ignore the Yurei and keep some distance.

Use those 20 dice to cripple the rest of his fleet.

If and when he offensively boards with his Yurei you can easily counter-board it after.
At first the ship seems overpowered but with practice it's not all that bad. It just requires a tailor-fit tactic.

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If I'm not mistaking you would get 13 AD instead of 10 AD. As the Phase generator makes all attacks Partially blocked, and the Partially Blocked penatlies applies on the initial AD not the Linked pool. Meaning that 3 Plutarchs linking all their Weapon systems in RB1 would have 13 AD (3 from leading weapons, 8 from linked pool (3x5=15, 15/2 =8 rounded up) and 2 from Pack Tactics). So those additional 3 AD would maybe help some more :P

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If I'm not mistaking you would get 13 AD instead of 10 AD. As the Phase generator makes all attacks Partially blocked, and the Partially Blocked penatlies applies on the initial AD not the Linked pool. Meaning that 3 Plutarchs linking all their Weapon systems in RB1 would have 13 AD (3 from leading weapons, 8 from linked pool (3x5=15, 15/2 =8 rounded up) and 2 from Pack Tactics). So those additional 3 AD would maybe help some more :P

 

Whu? That's some creative maths you're applying. The initial dice is the lead pool plus link pool, i.e., what you throw initially. The Pack tactics is added to the lead weapon pool, so with a three plutarch squadron firing both 5AD weapons, you'd have 2+5 = 7 (lead pool, gun plus pack tactics) and ((5*5)/2) = 13 (link pool). That halves to 10.

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How many of you folks use the Battle Orb (Callimachus Beta) on a regular basis? Personally, I love the model, and it fits my template-laying playstyle perfectly. I am rightly feared by our local Italian player for my ruthless use of particle accelerators and the Battle Orb. But I find that other Covenant players prefer to field the Time Orb, if they field an orb at all.

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How many of you folks use the Battle Orb (Callimachus Beta) on a regular basis? Personally, I love the model, and it fits my template-laying playstyle perfectly. I am rightly feared by our local Italian player for my ruthless use of particle accelerators and the Battle Orb. But I find that other Covenant players prefer to field the Time Orb, if they field an orb at all.

I own a battle orb, but it has yet to be used, as I find the TDO more versatile due to being able to use portal templates as cover.

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I don't own a battle orb (not that my opponents would mind, or even notice, if I proxied the time orb drop on). Not used it, not sure I like how unpredictable a weapon with Xd6 AD could be. I've used the normal time orb, but I prefer the Hippasus- teleporting mediums is nice, but the space needed, between 4" from models and far enough from terrain, combined with medium models more sluggish movement compared to the small options, means I find that teleporting is less effective for the points invested.

 

Another issue is that despite being a cheap large, it's non-core, so a naval fleet still needs a naval large, and it eats into the points available for all those wonderful mediums.

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Varnos, you are incorrect.

 

Partially Blocked affects each weapons dice, not the total pool.  Pg 55

 

H-uh. You learn something new every day! Then it would be 13 dice wouldn't it? 5*3/2 + 3 + 2.

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Quick question for someone new, is the wormhole two way? If the enemy contacts it does it teleport to the portal at your end?

And do enemy ships also get teleported from the friendly end, for instance if you drop the outgoing wormhole in front of an approaching close range warship, then shunt it across the table into a favourable range band for yourself

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Yes, the enemy can use the portal, and if they touch the portal, have no choice about it. So yes, if you can position one portal on impassible terrain and one in front of some models that can't avoid it, you can teleport the poor saps into impassible terrain and destroy them.

 

Both portals function as an entrance and exit, too.

 

One portal has to be placed within 8" of the placing model, so be careful with that in regards to getting things into optimum range, because chances are it will be boarding range of the generator model.

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