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ElectricPaladin

Teach Me How to Spider

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I'm posting for a friend - MssrKittens, who may show up later. Just this evening, we achieved the dreaded NGE - Negative Game Experience - with his Relthoza vs. my Aquans. Frankly, my fishmen mopped the floor with his spidertaurs. By the time he conceded, he was left with his battleship, who had taken four hits. I, on the other hand, had two unharmed frigates, one unharmed cruiser (and two near-crippled backups), and a completely unharmed battleship.

 

At start, our lists were basically patrol fleets - each of us had a battleship, a full squadron of cruisers, a full squadron of frigates, and spare points spent on various upgrades and wings. It was a tiny game - 500 points. We still don't have access to TACs, and so are ignoring the Battle Counter and morale rules for now, though we plan to incorporate them as soon as we can.

 

Here is a list - in no particular order - of MssrKittens's complaints:

  • The various Relthoza stealth technology did not provide the defense he was hoping for. My ships were within 20'' - the point at which the Stealth System half of the equation fails - by my second turn. Unlike most other fleets, that's my second range band - my sweet spot. As a result, I was able to start pounding him much quickly than he'd anticipated. I was even able to score a crit at one point! MssrKittens' quote at the end: "I feel like cloaking systems just aren't as good as Spartan thinks they are."
  • Relthoza were not as good at boarding as MssrKittens had been led to believe they were. My Aquans were able to repel their attacks in all but one case (when they boarded a frigate). MssrKittens had expected that using the cloaks to get up close and personal, followed by boarding attacks on the ships that had been softened up by a little long-ranged firepower.
  • MssrKittens ended up feeling like my ships - especially my battleship - outgunned his. My cruisers and frigates felt categorically superior, and while our battleships were roughly equivalent, my superior mobility and firing arc flexibility decided the matter in my favor. He also felt that two shields and +1 DR were categorically superior to the defenses he was forced to rely on (Cloaking System + Stealth).

 

Now, a few things I acknowledge:

  • I made better use of gravity wells to whip my battleship around the board, making it seem like I could get it everywhere at once.
  • MssrKittens made the mistake of splitting his fleet so that the matchup was my cruisers + my battleship vs. his frigates + his battleship, while my frigates kept his cruisers distracted on the other side of the board for some time.
  • Looking at my list, it looks like I was accidentally playing a few points up (I screwed up my list - sorry man!). However, it wasn't by that many points and shouldn't have resulted in such a frustrating NGE.

 

So, let's have a real conversation here. No rose-colored glasses "ohmagerd, Relthoza are the best!" nonsense. My buddy is floundering a bit here and I would like for him to kick my ass once in a while! What are the principles of Relthoza list construction and tactics that MssrKittens is missing?

 

Because I've got to tell you spidertaur-loving folks... I'm beginning to wonder if you guys aren't paper tigers (spiders, whatever)  B)

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So I have to caveat this like all of my posts with 'this is theorycraft'. My theorycraft is pretty good but as with all theorycraft it can be wrong :) Also, most of the points Im about to make are based on posts on this forum about Relthozans and a few PM conversations, which is not exactly a large sampling of Relthozan players to draw conclusions from.

 

 

The thing is, cloaks cost a lot. By that, I mean that Relthozan ships have poor guns all round (although they often throw slightly better dice than some races in RB2, they have the most pathetic RB3/4 of all races) and they generally suffer from average at best DR/CR/HP. The conclusion I draw from this, is that the cloak is not just a tool for closing. If you close with your enemy and decloak once you're "in position", you're still going to potentially lose, because the likelihood is that despite your superior positioning (unless it is incredibly superior, like you're in a line behind a fleet of Dindrenzi) you are still out matched in guns and survivability on the field. This seems to be how the majority of players that I've spoken to play Relthozans; use cloak to gain superior positioning and then decloak in an activation order that is to your own advantage. If this were a naval game, with wind direction, tacking, and turning circles the size of a small country, this would be really good. Unfortunately spaceships are quite maneuverable, and though you can be outmaneuvered it is rarely as bad for most races as you may think it is. I think at this point, you've just turned the game into a dice game - of course you can win from this position, but you havent used cloaks to their full potential.

 

So the thing that got me interested, was I was looking at Relthozans and wondering, why people decloaked with them at all. I mean, they have the best consistent torpedo values across all races, they have access to wings on all of their larges, some of their mediums and even some of their smalls. They have access to corrosive, which is a really good coherence effect to use as attrition whilst cloaked. They also have decent PD values and are one of the few races able to buy more without compromising their hardpoints, since you're not losing the chance to buy shields and so on like other races if they choose to take PD.

 

The conclusion this leads me to, is that potentially the correct way to play Relthozans is to sit in cloak for as long as you can, fighting a war of attrition, because you're better at it than everybody else. You decloak when you have a large advantage and want to go in for a killing blow.

 

Just remember the maths and the realities of the somewhat crappy numbers on your ships. The average number of successes on an exploding die is 0-75-0.8 approximately, so I err on the side of my opponent rolling 0.8 per dice and me rolling 0.75 per dice. If enemy battleships are shooting 15 dice at you, they *will* still crit you through your cloak. If they can get 10 dice on you, they will still deal a point of damage. FSA cloaks are not an invulnerability device as most scifi drums into our heads, and I think that's half the problem; we're all used to Romulans and Klingons with their completely OP cloaking devices. Make sure you factor this in and plan accordingly. And whilst you're at half dice too, outside of RB2, even cloaked you're still going to lose a gunfight because your weapons suck and torps arent THAT good. This is where Stealth Systems come in; outside of your RB2, your guns are crappy, but your stealth systems will reduce even their superior guns to being crappy too. Do you see where this leads? Relthozan stealth and cloak technology essentially makes *everyone* suck at shooting eachother, and you have to make sure you use it correctly. If your stealth systems are inactive (ie under 20" or you lose your systems network) then if you arent inside your RB2, you're going to lose a gunfight. Try to make sure this never happens. In the meantime, smash them with SRS and get on top of that attrition war.

 

Just a side mention - Shunt Matrices. This is the other thing that is awesome about Relthoza, and that I'm also looking forward to exploring. You dont *only* have cloaks to keep you safe; you also have a freaking spaceship teleporter. As well as raw movement if you need to do so, the main two uses I see for this are being able to shunt behind people, using your omnidirectional weapon systems to keep fire arcs whilst getting out of theirs, and being able to sit behind terrain and shunt through it to gain advantageous positioning. Seems most people use it to move up the board really fast, which is a bit of a waste.

 

Obviously this is just one plan, and no plan survives contact with the enemy. Firewalls Breached taking down your cloak, enemies randomly blowing up your carrier with lucky crits, whatever. But I do think it's a good plan, and making it work is up to the player, I'm just here to type a wall of text :)

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Interesting.

 

So, basically, what you're saying is: don't consider cloak as a way to get from Point A to Point B. Think of it as a defensive measure to be kept on except for when there is a clear reason to turn if off and look for ways to harass the enemy from a distance until you are ready to close (because you've used those biohazard/corrosive markers to whittle your opponent down). You should take wings of fighters instead of bombers, because their 18'' range lets you stay further back.

 

In other words, MssrKittens' mistake was in letting me get my battleship within 20'' of his battleship, at which point I was able to bloody his nose and scare him into dropping cloak to retaliate.

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Interesting.

 

So, basically, what you're saying is: don't consider cloak as a way to get from Point A to Point B. Think of it as a defensive measure to be kept on except for when there is a clear reason to turn if off and look for ways to harass the enemy from a distance until you are ready to close (because you've used those biohazard/corrosive markers to whittle your opponent down). You should take wings of fighters instead of bombers, because their 18'' range lets you stay further back.

 

In other words, MssrKittens' mistake was in letting me get my battleship within 20'' of his battleship, at which point I was able to bloody his nose and scare him into dropping cloak to retaliate.

 

Yep.

 

I think its easy to forget just how high the number of successes per dice in this game is. The average battleship gets hit easily by 8 dice. Crit easily by 12.

 

And yes to what you said about keeping cloaks on. Relthoza from the outset are weaker than most enemies. Your first turn of attrition, if you win it, only puts you on an equal footing (obviously this is very fuzzy as there are a lot of variables to what an equal footing it) in my opinion, so it takes a good few turns of attrition and coming out ahead in that attrition before it's safe to drop cloaks and go for the kill. That's my take on it anyway. With no cloak, you're essentially weaker than everyone else. With cloaks and/or stealth systems, everyone is so weak - both you and them - that you're on an equal footing-ish. So your superior Torps and Wings put you ahead.

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Calmdown has the gist of it. Spiders have some of the weakest stats in the game, and they don't play the short game with them, either.

 

I tend to run my spiders in a tight formation so I can concentrate my long range torp fire in the early game and deny my opponent the opportunity to cut parts of my force out. I also run under cloak longer than my opponents expect, and have spent games where I never lift them. I don't see taking damage as a reason to drop cloak; if anything, that's a sign you need to stay defensive and jockey your position some. 

 

Wings are a big deal for spiders. It's a way to produce damage without making yourself more vulnerable. Always a plus. 

 

Now, in MK's defense, what could he have realistically done to keep your battleship further than 20 inches away? In the absence of helpful terrain, there's nothing he can do to prevent you from going where you want to go. The trick is going to be anticipating where you'll maneuver and strike, and set himself up for the best counterstrike he can manage. It's hard to get the first alpha in on the fish. 

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Hey folks, I was Paladin's opponent last night.  Thing is, I was experimenting with keeping my cloaks on already: I'd wondered about the advantage of having cloaks and attacking through alternative means already, and was experimenting with how effective it would be.  Unless my experience last night belies a greater strength than truly exists, it isn't.

 

My list was a battleship with Stealth Systems, Corrosive, extra PD, and six Bombers.  I took three light cruisers, and four drones.  I figured I'd stay cloaked, harass folks with the battleship's bombers, board folks with the cruisers' nine AP, and decloak for a finisher when needed.  My opponent, as a skilled player, was not polite enough to wander in to my RB 2 for pot shots; he had his cruisers turning donuts outside of 16" to make sure I couldn't shoot, and I had to virtually ram him to attack with bombers.  When they finally launched, they all got shot to hell, leaving me with a conundrum: wings only seem effective as a finishing move, since you need to hammer down your opponent's PD with guns first.  When boarding, my battleship's sad little four AP couldn't get through his cruisers' AP and PD (why are the Relthoza considered a boarding faction?  The Aquans are actually better at it, with faster cruisers, larger cruiser squads, and more numerous ships).  I barely ever got a firing solution with my battleship's torps, and when I did, they scored exactly zero damage across the game. 

 

Leaving cloaks on and attacking through alternative means is actually what I figured was the Relthozan strength.  As far as I can tell, those various mechanics don't actually work.  From my admittedly limited expierience, the game comes down to durability and gunpower.  These are areas in which the Relthoza fail.  Is this a defective faction I've bought? 

 

My fingers remain crossed that the TACs will somehow swoop in and save my faction.

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A defective faction? That's quite the conclusion to leap to after just one negative game isn't it? The Relthoza definitely have the capability to be a boarding faction. The base AP may start off the same as the Aquans in a few ships, but in general they can be upgraded a good deal from that. Add the widespread presence of biohazard weaponry and you can see how that supports that. I personally prefer this to corrosive, since if your opponent repairs the marker right off, you get exactly zero benefit from it.

 

Cloaks can be a wonderful way to get carriers in close, or a battleship with a full compliment of wings. I've never seen a full squadron of bombers get completely shot to hell more than once in several games using the 2.0 system. Furthermore, you do have access to self repair, something that no other faction does, and can be a very nice bonus if you activate the ship last in one turn and early in the next and get two lucky rolls. Boom, 2 HP back and the AD with it.

 

In general, smaller point games like this are always troublesome for me, just because you can't fit in really optimized squadrons or a support element. This can make the Relthoza low DR/CR more painful for sure. I definitely encourage you to give the Relthoza another go. They're not a straightforward faction to play, but a lot of fun I think.

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I wonder if you played wings right. Attacking with a token with 6 wings, you need 6 hits/destroyed results to drive it off. You need 18pd on average to do that. Most fresh ships will only kill 1 wing and not drive off the bombers on average, which leaves 15AD getting through. Even if they kill 2 wings, driving off a fresh token is still unlikely, so 12ad should be getting through - easily enough to crit an aquan BS.

Since wings are your main advantage whilst cloaked, if you did this wrong there was a major advantage you missed.

FYi, I have Relthozans on order because I feel theyre going to be amazing for tournament play, and yes, they get amazing TACs.

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Another pretty usefull ability is self repair. Dreadought, battleships, battle station, heavy cruiser, so all the bigs ships have access to this one.

I mean, throwing your big ships first, in the middle of the fight while cloak, then decloak  & attack & self repair, then cloak again and decloak & attack & self repair has the chance to slow the process of being destroyed first. Which give the relthoza another advantage over the other races.

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One thing to realize is that not every race's strengths will be represented well in their patrol fleet ships. Particularly for the relthoza and directorate, the first ships you buy outside of a patrol fleet will often be force multipliers for the ships you already have. Dont get frustrated to early. Here are some general tips:

Apples vs. Oranges, not apples to apples - FA is a game of all or nothing with damage. If enemy DR is 6, and you score 5 hits, you do nothing. This can mean if you fight ship to ship (battleship vs battleship for example) you either drop cloak to be able to hurt him, and he hurts you back, or you keep cloak up, and neither of you do anything. However, the same is not true for cruisers. Even your halved broadside (7 dice) will damage if not crit a cruiser (plus possible corrosion) and even a linked cruiser broadside may struggle to harm you through the cloak. Use this and engage targets you can kill, and win through selectively getting certain battle log points and denying points to your opponent.

Wings - relthoza live and die by them, so learn the rules well. This is a part of the force multiplier thing i mentioned above. 6 wings off a battleship is one thing, but 6 from a battleship, more from a carrier, more from a frigate squadron, more from shunt cruisers...starts to get scary. Think a lot about fighters. They have the longest range, and have both pd and AP to help defend against things that can get past your cloaks (like enemy SRS and torpedoes)

Boarding - in my opinion, the sorylians are the only natural boarding faction (lots of ships and lots of AP). Directorate and relthoza can be very effective at boarding with correct list design and smart gameplay. if you want to board, you need to think about it in list design. In v2.0, boarding is a game played by squadrons, not single ships. Even an AP boosted battleship will struggle in boarding against a cruiser. (1) Give that AP boosted battleship three escorts (ap 8 + AP 6) and you are now prizing cruisers and criting battleships. (2) select biohazard ammo over corrosive to lower the cp of your target. (3) when you do board, carefully pic which areas you target, reducing PD and shields are very advantageous for relthoza, as they defend against the weapons you use while cloaked.

Also, don't be afraid to just think of boarding as a way to deal damage. I have seen a friend be very successful by taking his 3 cruisers and engaging enemy smalls. Torps kill 1, broadsides a second, and the 9AP of boarding destroys the third. A whole tier 3 squadron gone in 1 activation is nothing to sneeze at.

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The thing that worries me regarding the "keep your cloaks up" approach is that, while cloaked, my opponent was still hammering me with his guns, whereas I wasn't hitting anything with mine.  I couldn't chip away at his HP to bring his PD numbers down, so I'm not sure how to get them low enough for a wing of three from the Banes to do anything, and if the attrition rates for my Drone frigates is any indication, I have no idea how to keep enough Nidus frigates alive to keep their Wing of four going.  Is the only viable way to get wings to do anything while cloaked to take a carrier, have two Banes escorting it, and throw ten Wings at someone?  Because that doesn't even function at the 500 point level (maybe take the station...?).  I suppose the game was designed to be played at higher point values?  It sincerely worries me if my opponent has (somewhat less) viable guns, and I have to respond with wings that mostly just die against healthy ships. 

 

What would be a force multiplier for the Relthoza, then?  Their ships all seem to be about closing, and a few focus on using wings; I don't see any support ships, outside of the Escorts. 

 

How does one use torpedoes effectively?  Their low numbers mean one isn't going to overwhelm one's opponent with barrages of seven or eight from the cruisers or battleship; that doesn't even reliably put a single damage on one of his frigates, after a full dose of PD.  The Relthoza seem to only function, based on what people are mentioning here, when their opponents' PDs are down, but can only do so by shooting.  But, once decloaked to shoot well, my force dissolved like salt in warm water; this feels very cross purpose and clunky when I compare it to my opponent's force, all of which fits together seamlessly to accomplish its job.  When comparing a fleet that has to suffer to function, versus a fleet that just functions, how do Relthoza actually pull off the stuff people are talking about?

 

Lastly, if the Relthoza function on staying cloaked, what the heck does one do with Venoms?  They're all about shooting, but don't seem to have any real advantage to it. 

 

Edit, final thought:  I'm conversant with a few different wargames, and have played them for a while.  I'm familiar with the concept of "jump through hoops" armies, ones with a gimmick or a schtick that impedes them in one or two very visible ways, but they make up for it in another; usually more than they give up, to make up for the deficiency, and how easy it is to pigeon hole an army that just doesn't do a thing.  What I'm seeing, however, is that the Relthoza suffer in a few game-critical areas (durability, firepower), but don't seem to pull particularly far ahead in others.  I don't mind jumping through hoops.  I just don't want a spike pit on the other side, and if my opponent isn't jumping through hoops, it's frustrating to see him get to walk around said metaphorical hoop, shooting me all the while.

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So, here is something I figured out. This is the Relthoza list I would play at 500 points:

 

Tier One

 • Battleship w/+2 AP, Stealth Systems, +3 Wings, 6 Fighters

 

Tier Two

 • 3 Cruisers w/Corrosive Torpedoes

 

Tier 4

 • 3 Frigates

 

And here is how I would play it:

  • All cloaks up as long as possible.
  • Cruisers hang back and try to tag enemy ships with Corrosion markers, reducing their HP.
  • Battleship hangs back and takes opportunistic shots with torpedos.
  • Battleship exploits 18'' range on fighters to bomb enemy ships that attempt to in (unless it's the Aquans or Dindrenzi, they'll need to be within 16'' to really do any harm). If anyone gets within 20'' to alpha strike me with their beams/torpedos, I close on my turn and even the odds with an 18'' bombing run.
  • Once Corrosion markers have taken their toll (ie. most ships are at least slightly damaged, closing the gap between our ships), close in for the kill.

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The thing that worries me regarding the "keep your cloaks up" approach is that, while cloaked, my opponent was still hammering me with his guns, whereas I wasn't hitting anything with mine.

 

 

Could some of that just have been bad luck?  If you have cloak only both of you are at half AD on direct weapons, and full AD on indirect.  With cloak and stealth you would have to be suffering terrible luck if his guns were still outshooting you (you're still at half AD on direct and full indirect, he's at the same but has to reroll every success with both).

 

Some of it is definitely matchup related at 500 points.  Aquans typically have the bonus DR (hurting your normal cloak advantage), and difficult target on the cruisers is hard to deal with (especially in smaller games).  Rather than close yourself I would go broadside firing torps as long as you can--it's not going to do a lot more damage but every point counts.  This also does two things:  when he approaches he's in your bigger P/S arcs, while (outside of the cruisers) his fore arcs are smaller.  Don't worry about him closing--he will to get inside the stealth systems.

 

Don't let the cruisers get ahead of your BB until YOU'RE ready to start the main battle.  If they're hugging your deployment edge with the BB only a few inches closer to the enemy you're good.  Consider shunting/flanking with the Drones--they are actually your best bet against the Aquan cruisers because they ignore DT.  If he's having fun running them in circles around you he'll have less fun when you shunt them into his aft arc and get rude.  And this is true of the vast majority of smalls in all factions actually--with very few exceptions (like the Pilgrim) they die quickly if thrown into the main battle line.  You need to really pick and choose where to use them.

 

If I have 3 wings, I generally use them defensively (interceptors)--that will further neuter any torps he's throwing.  The Brood can upgrade to 6 wings, and at that level I like all the offensive options.  Fighters are great for reach and another good choice in this case because they also give you a way to deal with the difficult target cruisers.  Bombers will scare his BB, and assaulters will scare anyone.

 

One thing--I consider the Relthoza a boarding faction when they bring wings to do so!  Their internal AP values are average in most cases (exceptions do exist).  But their cloak allows them to get close with wings (compared to others), and with each wing bringing 2 AP they add up in a hurry in the fleet.  So one of your key fleet building decisions is whether to go full on assault, or more skirmish and dodge.  If the former, bring biohazard and assault wings.  The latter, fighters or bombers and corrosive.  In a smaller game like this I'd probably prefer the latter.

 

Really, really learn the wing rules solid.  If you launch on turn 1, your fighter range starting on turn 2 and for their first attack run is actually 26" (since on turn 1 you can move them after launch up to 8" away from the Brood due to your awesome command distance--which you can increase if you want).  Bombers thus get 20" and even assaulters a very respectable 16".  After the first attack run of course you hope to be launching and attacking in the same turn, but use that extra reach the command distance gives you early.

 

In my opinion the Relthoza are probably the trickiest faction to learn to play, so don't get too discouraged too fast.

 

Hope that helps,

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Well...just got my nukes set up under me by Relthoza in a 1k battle...I imagine a battlereport of some sort will follow. 1k of terrans vs 1k of relthoza, both sides had normal rolls most of time. I would've played it differently next time, but yeah, considering my enemy ended up at...+12 I think and I had -3 by the end of it, I'd say they're not defective at all.

 

Also goddamn corrosive, I failed every possible roll vs it.

 

And yes, I know one game does not statistically valid sample make.

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I'm confused; how is corrosive supposed to work for the Relthoza?  One will likely never get it on anything other than your battleship to a frigate while cloaks are up; you need to exceed your opponent's DR to apply it.  So, you have to have your cloaks down to put corrosive markers on their ships (unless you upgraded your cruisers' torpedoes, and the 8 dice consistently hit things, through un-damaged PD?).

 

But, everyone's saying that the Relthozan approach to fighting is keeping cloaks on.  I'm getting a lot of crossed signals here, folks.  We're looking at Schroedinger's cloaking device here, folks.

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No, we're looking at people playing the fleet differently and still getting results, which I guess means it's fairly well balanced. As for torps- you won't get them passing enemy PD consistently, but you don't need to get past them consistently..just enough to get the marker. After that you have a squadron with lower PD you can maul on. And never forget to keep a squadron of frigates in reserve to crack open something to help out even more. Getting a crit-hit on my Apollo from four suddnely-materializing drones that lowered it's PD to all of 3 was NOT fun.

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I'm still wondering what use Venoms are in our force.  It seems that when an opponent discovers them, they're not in the range band they want to be in.  And they're not exceedingly well suited to shooting, so if they're decloaking to do it, aren't they shot to bits as the easiest target?  They're not particularly durable for their points.  What are these things good for?

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Well the primary purpose of any ship with Ambush(2) or more (not that I've seen any with more than 2 yet), is to confuse your enemy about where you are, and reveal when you want to, not when they discover you.  Some of the comments above talked about trying to stay at range a bit longer (to take more advantage of stealth), and anything that slows your enemy down or has them divert to investigate something is helpful there.  Or they head straight for the Ambush marker and you are completely unhittable until they get close enough (or you choose to reveal and shoot at your preferred point).

Against Aquans, for example, if you know your opponent likes to circle around the edges of the board with sniping cruisers (very common tactic for DT and ET Chironex) you could put a token to one side and one in the middle and deploy your forces between the middle token and the side of the board that doesn't have a token.  Now he has to decide if he wants to send his cruisers towards the side token (which may be real or a fake) where they will be badly outgunned if real.  Or he goes to the other side, where you have a larger force.  Or you were bluffing and as he tries to close up the middle you reveal and shoot with a very respectable amount of dice, forcing him to deal with those ships (allowing the rest of your fleet to counter-attack).

Because the Relthoza are fragile when they decloak they are another faction that sometimes needs to think in terms of a chess-like pawn sacrifice (whoever de-cloaks first), and Venoms work well for that (because you can maneuver so your opponent has to go past them to close with your main fleet and they are unhittable until really close or you choose to reveal the Ambush; plus they are a cheaper option than some other choices you could make for first reveal, and finally 6HP--which is actually top end heavy cruiser level--means they'll absorb more firepower than other ships you put in that situation).

Another option recently posted on this forum had both tokens in the enemy deployment zone (the opponent had left a big gap between some units).  Even though it was quickly revealed which token was real, doing so (first to reveal and then to kill) meant diverting a portion of the opponent's fleet (therefore splitting it) to do so, and the advancing units exposed their vulnerable rear arc to the Venoms as they advanced on the rest of the Relthoza fleet.  Now since Electric Paladin is reading this he probably won't fall for exactly that :) but hopefully it will give you some other ideas.

Also, if you use allies note that the Ba'Kash also have an Ambush 2 destroyer with Scatter and RB 1 focus.  Combined, your opponent really doesn't know what he's approaching.  If he expects Venoms he might send frigates to investigate (faster and DT) and if instead he runs into Tashak's...

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I tried the Banes in a fight yesterday, since I'd been hearing folks talk them up for a bit.  I didn't have much success with them, and I'm confused about a few things:

 

How does one use battle shunting without losing coherence?  With all but one of my shunts, I lost coherence and couldn't do much of anything with them; thankfully, they stayed cloaked, so I didn't lose them too fast, but they still got pounded the whole time, and couldn't answer back.  I'd been trying to drop behind a hard target to add up their dice and apply corrosion, but never got a chance. 

 

What does one do with their Wing: 3?  A trio of bombers will only really threaten Frigates, and that doesn't seem like such a big deal for offense, so I'm guessing they're carrying your fleet's utility Wing.

 

How do people handle using the Nidus Frigate?  I lost one early to a shot on turn one (through the cloaks, stealth, and difficult target).  Losing the second one after they were forced to engage meant their Wing: 4 dropped to a 2 quickly, and obviated them for the fight.  The carrier was solid, since it didn't lose its ability to just re-launch Wings, but the Nidus' depreciating strength made me question how useful they were supposed to be.

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I've been fighting the good fight, but I am gradually becoming inclined to think that something is kind of wrong with the Relthoza. Here are my observations to date:

  • Cloaks just aren't strong enough. It seems like it should be incredibly unlikely, but not only have I been able to damage MssrKittens's battleship with cloaks up, but I've been able to crit it. Once each game. That doesn't make any sense.
  • Relthoza don't have wing superiority. Many nations - including the Aquans - have higher Wings scores. What they have is unusual vectors for SRSs, which is great... except that all of these vectors have painfully low Wing scores. Sure, it sounds great to have squadrons of niduses and banes shunting in and teleporting around and dropping bombers... but a squad of niduses can drop a 4-wing SRS token, while the banes are limited to a 3-wing token. 12 AD from the nidus-token stands a chance of wounding a cruiser and might hurt a battleship, but 9 AD from the bane-token needs to rely on luck to do more than scratch the paint. And that's assuming no point defence.
  • The strategy of "hang back and attrition with torpedoes" is fundamentally flawed because Relthoza can't accumulate high enough torpedo AD to use early torpedoes. Only one squadron can take corrosive torpedos - which would make that strategy more viable, because you can count on Corrosion tokens to do what the raw torpedoes couldn't - which makes it hard to count on.
  • Battle shunts are incredibly unreliable. Of the three times MssrKittens battle shunted, he only managed to remain in coherency once. The rest of the time, he ended up falling out of coherency. This made it impossible for him to effectively use the ships he had just teleported, which gave me the time I needed to redeploy so that he'd lost the advantage he teleported for in the first place!

 

Every time I think I've got a viable Relthoza strategy - hang back and even the odds with torpedos, play patiently until reserves shunt in and then push forward, use battle shunts to mess with the enemy - is hindered by the way the rules actually work. Nothing seems to operate quite as powerfully or reliably as it should.

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