So I’ve been dancing around playing Combined for awhile. I finally got a push over the edge when an old friend of mine mailed me all of her N2-era Combined models. For various reasons her local meta petered out and she wanted her models to go to a home where they’d see table time. This is the first time that I had the opportunity to legitimately put them on the table thanks to COVID. So, a huge thank you to Stacia, and I intend to play many more games with your incredibly generous gift!
Since Adam and I have managed to figure out a way to play games in person that we feel is relatively safe, we broke out my awesome double-tiered Warsen.al objective room for a game of The Armory.
I’ve watched lots of people play games using it, and even had a game or two myself using the building as a building and not as an objective room. It was nice to finally be able to try it out as intended! I even have those angled ramps from Warsen.al to let stuff access the second story!
- Mission: The Armory
- Forces: Combined Army versus Morat Aggression Force (300)
- Deploy First: MAF
- First Turn: MAF
We chose The Armory for no particular reason. It just sounded fun and different than what we had been thinking about and playing recently. Adam volunteered to play Morats so I could play vanilla Combined. He just requested that I not make an Avatar list, which was fine by me. I went through quite a few iterations of the list, but eventually settled on the following:
I took the Skaivoros as my Lieutenant, because Reuben (Polynikes) thinks it’s good. If the #1 Combined player in the world thinks something is good I should pay attention, so I figured I’d at least try it out. As good as it is, it’s not particularly survivable, even with its effective two wounds, so I wanted to have some sort of backup that I could rely on to take the objective room by itself. The Anathematic seemed like a reasonable choice to do that–really I wanted something with a plasma rifle and template weapon. The Anathematic also comes with a BRAIN HMG, haha! Trinity, WIP 19, burst four is just BONKERS.
The rest of the list is mostly just good stuff Combined. Daturazi and Taigha are gross, and I wanted tons of access to plasma, so Kerr-Nau had to be there. The Kurgat is there to open the door the Morat way: with a giant bullet. I figured I’d have the Speculo either go into the Armory or attack stuff in Adam’s deployment zone, whichever felt better. I figured the Oznat with Preta buddy would be fun to try too, so they made it in.
Adam’s Morat list wasn’t what I expected, to be honest. I fully expected a Preta + Raktorak link, but instead I got a mixed Vanguard/Suryat/Kornak link with Anyat thrown in for fun. The rest of his list is goodstuff Morats, like A Zerat KHD to punch open the door, E- and Q-drones for the normal Combined bullshit, and Dr. Worm.
To round things out, Adam brought a Rasyat for maximum diplomacy.
Adam won the roll off and decided to go first in order to Rasyat me. He clustered up his link on the left with the HRL and ML out to ARO, then littered the right half of his deployment zone with chain rifles.
I expected a Rasyat, so I put down 7 chain rifles in my backfield, covering as many angles as I could. Kerr Nau went on a catwalk by himself, as I figured that to be the safest place for him. I held the Skiavoros and my Speculo in reserve, secretly noting that I put the Anathematic just next to to the Oznat.
We both have access to Strategos, so Adam plunked down the Zerat near the Armory and the Q-Drone to back up his link team. I put down my Speculo watching the Q-Drone and the Skiavoros in a spot that I hoped was safe from Rasyat schenanigans.
Top of 1 – MAF
After spending his impetuous orders, Adam starts things off by whiffing a D-Charge CC attack on the door. He manages to stick a D-charge on the next order, but I pass all three ARM saves.
Frustrated, Adam turns to Plan Rasyat–Maximum Diplomacy. He walks it on in a spot that I hadn’t quite covered with a chain rifle. Drat! There’s always a spot!
He splits burst between a Daturazi and a Taigha, killing both. I had judged the range to be out of chain rifle range and thrown a grenade instead, but we were actually in! More sadness.
The Rasyat scoots around the corner to see my Ozant, easily dropping her too. Sigh.
Adam needs to get some points on the board, so after wasting another order on the Zerat trying to open the door, he activates his Morat link and missiles the door open.
With the door open, he scoots the Zerat and a Preta inside.
Bottom of 1 – Combined Army
I take advantage of all of my impetuous orders (that S1 is pretty relevant on the Taigha), and manage to get a Taigha in LoF of the Rasyat. Adam successfully dodges the chain colt. Sigh.
I take out my frustrations on the Q-Drone by double-shotgun templating it with the Speculo.
I then Berserk the Rasyat with the Taigha. The Rasyat successfully D-charges the Taigha in the face and passes ARM. SIGH.
I take out more frustration on the door of the Armory. Thankfully my Kurgat comes through and I blow the door right off its hinges in one order, revealing a hostile Preta on the other side.
I can’t let Adam keep Rasyat, so I stand Kerr Nau up and start blasting it with plasma fire.
It eventually takes a coordinated order from the Kurgat and Kerr Nau together to bring down the Rasyat.
I’ve got a few orders left in my second pool, so try to Berserk down the Preta in the Armory, letting Adam’s other Preta get some dodge movement. I fail again. Bah!
My Skiavoros makes short work of Adam’s dodging Preta at least, so after I settle everyone into their positions I re-impersonate the Speculo and pass turn.
Top of 2 – MAF
Adam picks the Q-Drone back up with Dr. Worm, undoing all my hard work. At least I was able to advance Kerr Nau.
Adam then spends the entirety of the rest of his turn getting his link into the Armory and grabbing a ton of stuff out of the Panoplies to deny me those points. He even scoots the Q-Drone over to guard the door.
Because he’s Adam, he throws everything in the armory that can be in suppression into suppression before passing the turn.
Bottom of 2 – Combined Army
I send in another Taigha and chain colt everything on the right side of the objective room. They all dodge, and the Preta in there enters base to base contact to prevent me from doing it again.
It’s time to see what the fuss is all about, so I activate the Skiavoros and cautious move into position. I poke it out to see Anyat, the Suryat HRL, and Kornak, and politely inform Adam that I took the profile with Sepsitor. “Oh shit.” was his response. I force the dodge on everyone but Anyat who returns suppressive fire. I shoot the dodging Suryat to avoid the suppression fire penalty and still hit Anyat, and the blast hitting Kornak also covers the Zerat.
In one order I vaporize Anyat and the Zerat and KO the Suryat. Kornak survives with a wound and even manages to put a wound on the Skiavoros. Kornak’s being alive is a problem, which I quickly remedy with another burst of plasma fire.
Top of 3 – MAF
Adam’s Preta tries to slice up my Taigha. I decide to not use Berserk, which pays off. I beat Adam’s roll and shock the Preta off the table.
Adam tries to get rid of my Speculo by discovering with Dr. Worm, but my impersonation state holds. I manage to dodge my remaining Daturazi closer, but Adam guns it own with Dr. Worm.
Adam throws the Q-Drone into suppression, as he didn’t do that on his last turn. It’s his last order to I attempt a long-range shotgun shot with the Speculo and miss.
Bottom of 3 – Combined Army
My Taigha is still alive, so I send it in to chain rifle Adam’s Daturazi, which he had snuck into the Armory on his last turn, and the Q-Drone. I drop the Q-Drone and but the Taigha and Daturazi both survive.
I’ve got quite a few orders left, so I just walk the Skiavoros into the Armory and gun down the remaining two Morat Vanguards to dominate the Armory at the end of the game.
I’m also securing Adam’s HVT, so it ends up being a
6-4 Combined Army Victory!
Post Game Analysis
I gotta say, the first turn felt really bad. I had a decent amount of coverage on the back table edge, but I missed a spot and that was all the Rasyat needed. The EI aspects, however, are INCREDIBLE, and I managed to recover without too much difficulty. I actually left the Anathematic in hidden deployment the entire game–it just wasn’t necessary to use.
Circular template plasma is the absolute king of objective room missions, as you can’t really hide from getting templated. That’s a really big change that will have big impacts for any meta with regular Combined Army players (or ALEPH/O-12/Starmada, I suppose). Being able to force dodge with Sepsitor is also very strong, and really is what won me the game.
Combined definitely fits well with my preferred playstyle, and Taigha are ridiculously strong. They’re not broken, but they have a 12″ assault, which is just SILLY. I have a decent amount of experience abusing 8-4 MOV Morlocks, so having that be a “guaranteed” roll on Taigha just made sense to me. Funnily enough, I don’t think I would appreciate the power and high skill ceiling of Combined if I hadn’t meandered through basically all the other factions first. I think all the time I put into playing Limited Insertion really benefited me here, because I was able to correctly prioritize things and pace my turns.
I think also that having a clear plan of attack and priorities helped a lot. The threat of the Anathematic also helped a lot because it let me take some risks with the Skiavoros that I ordinarily might not have, or at least feel more comfortable with taking those risks. Being almost immune to loss of lieutenant is also quite liberating and is a strong encouragement to just go and get stuff done with your most powerful pieces.
I’m really looking forward to exploring the faction more. It offers a different experience than vanilla Nomads in a pleasant and intellectually stimulating way that I can’t quite articulate yet. All I can say with certainty is that if this is what life under the watchful gaze of the EI is like, sign me up!