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Descartes - I sink, therefore I am.

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Page 68 of the downloadable rulebook will have the answers you seek gang.

It is above the water line and is an indiscriminate attack. ;) 

It really is a devious ship. But risky in it must commit its fragile shell to make the best use of its awesome power!

-Mike

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5 minutes ago, Spartan Mike said:

Page 68 of the downloadable rulebook will have the answers you seek gang.

-Mike

I forgot that weapon was in there, all I remembered was the Particle Accelerators. My mistake.

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25 minutes ago, pothoc said:

 

Sebenko on page 141 it says that they ignore "All To-Hit Modifiers". How can you tell if the weapon is indiscriminate because I don't see where it is a template or noted as indiscriminate?

The weapon has its own rules, on page 68 (admiral edition). It states right there that it is indiscriminate and uses the "Energy Blast Template"

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I have to admit I like the look of these ships, both physically and rules wise.  Both look effective without having to add a cruiser to.  Both are also something the CoA have been needing. 

The Mark 1 is just a warship, it is a tricky warship, to use and for the opponents to counter.  It's speed, time flow gen., and hit and run will make pinning it down hard and should allow it to choose it's engagements, but you will have to play smart or you will lose it.  It is just a warship, it is a warship that will provide excellent reward for dangerous risk, and that fits the play style of the CoA.  It will be fun to add to the fleet, and is something we have been needing.

The Mark 2, truthfully I can't stop snickering at the concept.  It is not a ship the CoA needed, probably was even looking for.  It kind of feels like a group of physicists, roboticists, and college students had a kegger and woke up with the completed design, little knowledge as to where it came from, and were unwilling to admit to anything.  It is designed to run forward screaming firing a deathray and lobbing killer robots at people while laughing manically and screaming "For Science!".  This image won't leave my head.  If I like the 2.5 rules I will definitely get one.. or two, my Prinnies* need a new launching platform.

*A Prinny is a penguin that dual wield knives :)

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I demand independently verified trials to ascertain which colour of tube-launched knife-wielding penguins is the most effective in a combat situation! Before then, all notions that colour enhances performance are merely supposition.

 

 

On the subject of indiscriminate weapons and partially blocked... as far as I can tell there is nothing that says all indiscriminate weapons are unaffected by partially blocked. It is just that very few sources of indiscriminate attacks can have the status of partially blocked applied. Partially blocked occurs through 3 effects; line of sight, dilation field generators and wavelurking. Most indiscriminate weapons (mines, ramming, certain types of bombing, ships exploding, particle accelerators, area bombardment) will not have line of sight as an issue, they all will ignore generators (like dilation) and the only one (until now) that has been a wavelurker has been the particle accelerator, which has its own special rules and interactions with wavelurking (and also doesn't draw line of sight).

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Theorycrafting time!

On the Descartes MkII as an assault & synergy platform:

First, it's a fairly cheap large that comes with a huge (for the coA) number of AP, extended boarding range and a ludicrous speed for a large model. On the downside, it's not as tough as a line battleship like the Aristotle, and being a boarding unit means it will lose AP and be reliant on AA for boarding defence- which even with specialised defences, will struggle against an organised counter boarding attempt.

What really swings this as an interesting choice to think about is how the Descartes II affects nearby allies- Sustained Assault and Shield(1) granted to everything CoA in 8". Everything from the Plutarch upwards has at least that much shielding already, and Sustained Assault is more effective with more models boarding. These abilities, therefore, are more effective on smaller, cheaper models- corvettes, frigates and escorts.

The obvious combination is to bring along a squadron of corvettes and keep them within 8" of the Descartes. Diogenes Frigates may also be useful, but it may be better to hold them back and piggy-back off the Descartes' torpedo Target Painter. The most interesting option though, is the humble escort. By escorting the Descartes, the Descartes gains more Sustained Assault benefits within its own squadron, forces defensive AA and AP allocations to be less effective. In addition, they provide additional AA to support against counter-boarding efforts, which will be a concern to the Descartes.

Survivability will be a priority to the Descartes, and she brings the advantage of wave lurking to the table. As wave lurking reduces size for LoS purposes to small, a Descartes wave lurking can hide behind its own escorts. Another advantage is that the only weapon reduced by wave lurking is the Descartes broadsides- all her other weapons can operate at peak efficiency, meaning that the disadvantage of wave lurking is lessened compared to other models. The only consideration will be positioning escorts and other assault elements correctly to both avoid enemy fire, while still allowing correct line of sight for the Descartes' Energy Blast weapon.

Although potentially unreliable, a weapon that always hits on 4+ with an area of effect and is likely to have significant AD has its uses. First, opposing boarding threats are an issue, and corvettes are a regular part of that threat- but the Energy Blast should be able to clear out multiple squadron members with a single strike, more often than not from RB3. And of course, once the Descartes gets up close, a weapon that can potentially fire a 30AD template that always hits on 4+ and ignores all armour and generator abilities needs no explanation- though 30AD will be extremely rare, 18+AD will occur more often than not, and is nothing to sniff at. Of course, there is a non-zero chance that you'll end up with 5AD instead, so I wouldn't hinge my entire battle plan on that ability.

In addition to all this, the Descartes brings a 16" torpedo target painter and some fairly strong torpedoes. Though TP gens can be difficult to use due to movement and range restrictions, RB2 is where they start to become actually usable to some degree. CoA torpedoes are never going to set the world on fire, but they're useful incidental weapons that due to a wider angle of fire than most torps and no drop-off at range, can often conveniently plink a target. Although I'd never take a Descartes MkII just for the target painter, if there's a target of opportunity, I'll paint them up and focus whatever torps I have on it- probably all the torps in the fleet, since range won't be much of a concern. In addition, using torps at their maximum arc of fire and at either RB1 or RB3/4 will frustrate both Britannian and Blazing Sun players respectively.

The overall strategy when using a Descartes MkII may resemble the following: Deploy with an easy route to a high-value boarding target, paired with a set of escorts and at least one corvette squadron, perhaps a squadron of Zenos or Cleomedes for muscle. Advance, wave lurked the whole time, using Corvettes and Escorts to screen the Descartes from the worst threats. Use the Descartes Energy Blast to clear out boarding threats and squishier targets of opportunity. Once in range, surface and board the tasty target, dumping fire on any counter-boarding threats, and preferentially painting up a target that the rest of your torp-armed models can see.

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Just getting caught up with the thread.

 

Can't wait to get mine to add to my fleet..I have always avoided boarding mainly due to mostly playing against either Prussians or Americans.....I think it will be a good way to at least try until opponents figure out how to counter it

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The Descartes MkI, its role and probable usage:

While the MkII is fairly straightforward in potential role, with high AP, boarding bonuses and the like, the Descartes MkI is more understated. Packed to the gills with movement modifying abilities, the MkI's only obvious claim to fame is that the PLC apparently infiltrated the design board. With 8" move, Advanced Engines (+2") and a Time Flow Generator, a well planned and lucky turn can allow the MkI to move 14" in a single turn, leaving even some corvettes in the dust.

One notable statistic is the MkI's points cost, coming in at 170 points, 15 less than a basic Aristotle, and 35 less than the E-turret equipped version that backs up so many Covenant fleets. Access to a lower cost non-carrier large choice has been on my wishlist for some time now, as the Aristotle is a significant outlay in 1000 point games, and the cheaper Main Turret version is fair-to-middling at best. This point is somewhat independent of the Descartes, but it does open up some interesting choices in terms of Medium and Small focused lists, and allows the use of Fresnels in smaller games, where they might overlap with the E-turret Aristotle, resulting in an over-investment in RB4 lasers.

Sporting three 6AD E-turrets, 8AD torpedoes and a strong broadside, the MkI is actually lightly armed for a battleship, with her highest possible dice pool being 12AD. This should make it clear that the MkI is not a brawler, and is not going to duel opposing battleships and come out ahead. The weapons loadout does seem sufficient for eliminating Small and Medium models, however. Combined with enough speed to match many of those small threats, the MkI is a ship that can pick and choose her battles. Terrain is a must for using the MkI, allowing evasion and outmaneuvering of opposing ships. As she is significantly faster than most Large models, the MkI should be able to keep the distance, and not worry about her own engagement range.

A list including the Descartes MkI as its primary Large model may rely on Zenos, Plutarches, Keplers or Fresnels with Hyperbius support to engage enemy Larges, while the Descartes and light cruisers or frigates run interference versus smaller threats. Depending on local opposition, it may even be possible to run a high-mobility list using the Descartes, faster Medium models and Aerial assets such as Capeks and Ptolemy mine-layers to run rings around your opponent as they try to catch you through minefields. I imagine it would really irritate Russian players, even if it would take forever to crack their armour with the lower AD you'd bring. The Covenant have always had a interesting relationship with mobility, from Dolphin Dipper to 360-move flyers, and the Descartes MkI is the first Large naval model to be included in that relationship.

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In a fleet of specialists,the Zeno is our boarding specialist. Cleos might do okay, but I wouldn't rely on them for an assault list.

Also the Zeno is very flexible, with 1-3 squadron size and the Zeno + escorts specialist squadron. I'd get some just because they're so useful and easy to include in a list, if I were you.

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Cleos can do the boarding job quite well. 4 elite crew each is a strong argument! However the Zenos are superior not only because of more crew, but because they are more likely to survive into boarding range without compromising their firepower up until that point.

I am interested to try the escorted Descartes. I ordinarily don't consider escorts at all unless there is a few spare points at the end of my list, but Sebenko's rundowns of the mk1 and 2 Descartes offer some very interesting thoughts!

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I thought about doing that, but since the outline of the wavelurked version doesn't seem to match the surfaced version, I thought it would be better to pick up a couple. And of course, if I get desperate, I can run four with that method- which I think will come up rarely enough that I could handle the mismatch.

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