Silent but Deadly

I’ve been present for all of Erik (Zelaponeepus)’s recent Tabletop Simulator games, but have only really played him once or twice in the past few months. That had to change! The Tabletop Throwdown show actually started life as a way for Erik and I to play each other regularly then sort of spiraled out of control.

In any case, we settled down to play a nice, relaxed game on a Sunday evening. My better half was on a Zoom call with her friends catching up before the holidays, I had a nice warm beverage and a snoring dog keeping me company. Perfect!

Erik and I had a hard time settling on a map, but ended up with the very PanO map above. It reminded us of my Mount Doom Ariadna table a bit.

Overview

  • Mission: Unmasking
  • Forces: Tohaa versus Svalarheima Winter Force (300)
  • Deploy First: Tohaa
  • First Turn: Tohaa

Erik’s been challenged by Gregg to play Unmasking in the new year on Tabletop Throwdown, so we turned this relaxed hangout into a bit of a practice game. Based on their performance from last game, I decided to take a Clipsos and Gao Tarsos again.

I took a Taqeul this time, which would let me ignore AROs when trying to take out the Designated Target by doing it from out of LoF. I wanted another competent gunfighter, so that meant a Draal with AP Marksman, and then I took a Kriigel Reex special triad to try it out. The rest of the list is just standard good stuff Tohaa for orders. I did add in a Kaauri Sniper just in case. I didn’t know what I’d be facing so I wanted to be ready.

Erik’s been on a Svalarheima kick lately, so he kept the ball rolling with the following list:

He’s got all my favorite SWF stuff in there! A Varg HRL/FO, a Nisse 3-man with Karhu Feuerbach. What’s not to like? It’s even got a Kunai MSR and a Nokk FO in there powered by some cheap PanO orders! If you want to follow along with the game, you can watch the entire stream here:

Deployment

Erik won the rolloff and decided to choose deployment, so I took first turn. I decided to put the real Designated Target on the high ground with the other two hidden behind some stuff on the low ground. I defended the one on the right with the Draal. I deployed as if intending to move that Triad around, with most of them out of cover. I defended the middle of my DZ with two Chaksa, and then piled the rest of my forces onto the high ground. I figured two Spitfires and a Taquel up there would do some work. The Reex BSG and Kriigel were on the ground.

Erik set up to defend the center objective with his Karhu and Nisse HMG. He found a shot on my Makaul in the Draal’s Triad with the Karhu that I hadn’t seen, which was a bit annoying, but oh well. The Varg link defended against a push from the Draal if I somehow managed to push Erik’s left flank, and then he put a Nokk in the way of my Taquel.

I put my Kaauri on the back table edge watching the Nokk, presumably out of 32″, and Erik responded by doubling down on the high ground with his Kunai sniper. My Clipsos was on the high ground as well, for what it’s worth. I figured it would be useful as an emergency button.

Turn 1

Top of 1 – Tohaa

Erik docked me two orders from Group 2. I decided I wanted to set up the Diplomat in the center of the table and then figure out some sort of way to deal with the Nokken. I thought about trying to bring in the Gao Tarsos on the first turn but decided that was probably a bad idea, especially since I didn’t have the boarding shotgun version to template the Nokken. Erik informed that the Karhu and Nisse could both see the center objective, so I walked the Kriigel and Reex forward. The Reex spitfire could see the Nokken, and I judged it to be just inside 24″ so I took the shot. It turned out to be just out of 24″, meaning I couldn’t take any shots, and I lost the Reex spitfire to a Panzerfaust hit. Ah well. The point of the exercise was to advance the Kriigel, so that’s what I did next.

I set up Mirrorball on the central objective and got the Diplomat there to flip the objective and reveal a Decoy. I pushed a Chaksa forward and settled the Reex and Kriigel into safe spots with a coordinated order and then decided to tackle the problem of the Nokken. I got the Sakiel and Taqeul into position to defend the console on the high ground, then started flamethrowering stuff. I’m just out of range to hit the Kunai, but the template covers the Fugazi and Nokken. The Fugazi burns up but the Nokken dodges successfully. Thankfuly, the Kunai whiffs its sniper shot so I’m all set there as well.

I have one order left–it took some doing to set this up, so I spend it walking a hair forward and then back to clip the Kunai and the Nokken.

This time, I roast the Nokken and the Kunai dodges down the other side of the box thanks to climbing plus. I foolishly retreated backwards instead of staying in flamethrower range too, which is something I’ll come to regret in a moment. I’m out of orders though, so Erik starts his turn.

Bottom of 1 – Svalarheima

Erik starts by shooting at my Makaul with his Karhu. I crit smoke and that’s that. This does free up the Varg team to move forward and try to get to a console now that the Makaul isn’t guarding it anymore.

Ever since Erik’s last game against Tohaa, he’s got it in for the Diplomat, so he guns her down with Gunnar, who parkours up a wall to se eher.

The Varg FO goes towards my Chaksa, but the Varg Sensor gets a little too close to the Draal and gets Endgame’d.

I lose the Chaksa though, which frees the Varg up to try and get the console.

It takes two orders, even with Gunnar’s backseat button pushing, and Erik reveals my Designated Target on the high ground!

Erik then pushes the Kunai MSR into view and crits down the Makaul. Sigh. I had to throw smoke instead of just blowing it up with fire.

Erik’s got a few more orders so he flips the center objective with his Pathfinder, revealing a Decoy. It’s a this point that he realizes he has a shot on the Designated Target from the ground level, so the Varg takes a shot and kills it. NOO! His last orders are spent putting the Pathfinder in suppression and putting Gunnar and the Varg in annoying spots.

Turn 2

Top of 2 – Tohaa

At least they would’ve been if I didn’t have a Gao-Tarsos waiting in the wings! The Varg goes down first…

then I do some vertical pie slicing since Gunnar’s prone and there’s a some scatter blocking LoF to him if I’m prone but not to the Pathfinder and drop the Pathfinder.

Finally I take Gunnar out.

I use the Sakiel who’s sitting next to the console on the high ground to activate it, then do the same with the remaining low-ground console, flipping it back to me and revealing all of Erik’s HVTs. The Gao Tarsos spilts burst on the two Decoys and whiffs on one of them, which the Draal then takes care of.

I’ve got one order left, and I use it to take out the Designated Target with the Gao Tarsos before tucking it away.

Bottom of 2 – Svalarheima

Erik finally takes out that Makaul he’d been shooting at with the Karhu, then starts doing some fancy climbing plus nonsense to try and take out the Gao Tarsos, I think. Nothing comes of it though.

Eventually he’s forced to break that link with some coordinated orders to get a Fusilier into view of the Gao Tarsos and pick the Pathfinder back up with his Machinist. The Fusilier does a wound to the Gao Tarsos, which fails guts to get away…

right into view of the Pathfinder, who also fails to kill him.

Erik feels pretty strongly that he needs to get rid of my Taqeul, so he sends in the Kunai to CC it. I’m pretty darn sure that I’m not going to lose it to a single CC attack while I have a ‘Mate up, so I nanopulsar the Kunai with the Taquel, shoot it with the Sakiel, and shoot it with the Kaauri. It’s the Kaauri that does it for me though, taking the ninja off the table. The Mate saves my Taqeul from any damage, as I had hoped.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – Tohaa

The Karhu is on the high ground now, so I start by Endgame-ing it with the Taqeul.

Another two orders and the Machinist and Nisse are down to Endgame as well.

I’ve got one more order in this pool so I attempt to take out the Trauma Doc but fail against its crit reset.

The Gao Tarsos takes out the Pathfinder…

and the Fusilier…

and I’m finally out of orders. Erik’s in retreat, so we call it here. We’ve both killed each other’s Designated Target, but I’ve got more of all the other things, making it a

8-3 Tohaa Victory!

Post Game Analysis

I had some minor misplays in this game:

  1. Losing the Reex immediately was unnecessary. I should’ve saved it, if for no other reason than the order.
  2. I should’ve been more careful with the Draal Triad deployment. It worked out because Erik was busy with other stuff, but I think a more aggressive player would’ve just killed them.
  3. I really needed to push the Makaul up and leave it there to pin the Kunai.

That said, I’m very very happy with the performance of the Gao Tarsos. A 2W AD troop is fantastic. I’m looking forward to using them more. I do think that there’s something to said about being patient and waiting for the right window, which is exactly what happened here. Erik and I discussed the game a little more over text the next day, so I’ll just reproduce that here to close out the analysis. What follows has been lightly edited for clarity and grammar:

WiseKensai
i think you should commentate, or just watch Tim (Chainsaw)’s process.

Zelaponeepus
Like theres something to be said for very “tight” efficient play. When i was playing against him I immediately saw it, i was like “ah, yeah, there’s a coherent plan and no excess flack on this”

WiseKensai
yeah. i think that’s the big thing for me. like i had a plan coming in:

secure the high ground console, secure the middle one with the diplomat, then wait for you to leave an opening for the gao tarsos any game where I go in and I have a coherent plan that encompasses the list and the mission, i tend to win

Zelaponeepus
It’s a classic plan, with tohaa contours, honestly

WiseKensai
any game i go in and i’m like: “well, i guess i have things. and some of the things do stuff. fuck it. how is Erik going to stop a 5-man Tanko ML link”

Zelaponeepus
Hahaha, yeah

WiseKensai
i think playing JSA really taught me to have a damn plan and stick to it, but then i tend to lose sight of that and lose.

what was your plan coming in?

Zelaponeepus
I think i was much more oriented towards that at the height of my haqq engagement

My plan was to contest the midfield/protect my HVT with the karhu and ninja, push up with gunnar and friends, and have the nokken and parhfinder to push buttons if need be.

WiseKensai
i think liang kai is a much better use of points instead of the NINJA.

i think you asked the Nokken to do too many things like: “stop a spitfire at range” and “push buttons” and “kill a thing”

Zelaponeepus
I’ve been meaning to use them both and they sort of swapped spots a few times in the list. Tbh a part of it is “checking” units off in the faction i want to be able to use proficiently

WiseKensai
yeah i get that. that’s why the reex were in the list.

Zelaponeepus
But i also historically have less success with pano than haqq. And I’m like stubbornly sticking with them… partially because I’m also sort of struggling to stay as engaged as i used to be in between games.

WiseKensai
pano is harder to play than haqq versus your current normal set of opponents. Like, you’ll still surprise me with haqq. there are no tricks you can pull in PanO, really./p>

Zelaponeepus
And haqq feels like a lot more to grapple with. Yeah, and i think its just harder to play tbh

Because its all about over powering, it becomes a very positional force, when you have to put things exactly where they need to be. And i think that’s the piece that got me a bit over the “average” line for awhile

Haqq has tricks and surprises, and i think at my best, my brain problem solves with tricks and surprises better than positioning and brute force

WiseKensai
yeah you like playing a lateral game, like i do

Zelaponeepus
I still feel like i could roll into a local weekend tournament and do pretty well, but yeah—this has been very humbling. I think I’m also missing the tactile element of the game

WiseKensai
I also think that you might want to change up your aro plan a little. you tend to leave gunfighters out to ARO, because pano is generally ok with that in N3 but N4 is way more lethal

I’ve discovered in my last 3 games of Tohaa, even a 2 wound model in a triad with a mate dies, and that really makes the rest of the 3 man way less useful. I can recover much better in tohaa because of the mix and match but you have a much harder time in pano

Zelaponeepus
I usually try and cover specific spots somewhere along the midline, rather than just standing them up to fight all comers… its definitely one if the major questions though. Tohaa presents this major problem where if i don’t cover things then the board is just gonna get eclipsed and then the farts will start killing people

I’m actually sort of wondering if i need to include a few more minelayers in sval… that was my go to in hb, and sval can do it pretty well

WiseKensai
tohaa doesn’t super care with all the 2w models. but yeah

I dunno. I’m still struggling with aros myself. I don’t like leaving stuff out because my normal opponents have bs 14+ odd monsters

Zelaponeepus
I felt pretty good about my turn one coverage that game, finding a spot where i could keep the makaul on the otherside from moving forward because he’d catch a feuerbach felt like a small but important win.

WiseKensai
yeah that saved you some trouble for sure

Zelaponeepus
And the situation on my right with the ninja and nokk was definitely choppy, but i feel like it was an all in or all out moment and i didst want to leave that high ground in your hands

yeah for sure. that would’ve been disastrous. I had two spitfires up there.

And ultimately when i DID cede the high ground to you it was game over

I’m pretty annoyed with myself over that fumble with the ninja. Like always, im just like “i really need to play more to be any good at this” lol

Like you were talking last night about the consistent difference between a successful game and a bad one

For me, any time i find myself several orders deep and i don’t really know what I’m aiming to accomplish (specifically, WHERE ill be at the end of the expenditure and WHY I’m making the effort) then its a sure sign I’m losing

Its a tough one, i feel like i need some pre-built mid-game strategies that i can fall back on when I’m fumbling… but that comes to list, mission, and opposing faction familiarity that i feel like isn’t there like it used to be. Maybe that’s just the new edition still settling in my brain?

At my best, I was playing essentially the exact same list every week, and practicing the same set of scenarios. So i sort of had all of these pre-built models i could apply and evolve in unknown circumstances

WiseKensai
Zelaponeepus
For me, any time i find myself several orders deep and i don’t really know what I’m aiming to accomplish (specifically, WHERE ill be at the end of the expenditure and WHY I’m making the effort) then its a sure sign I’m losing
this is my every game struggle

Zelaponeepus
Yeah… i think its pretty universal

At my peak it was something i could practically see and hear in my opponents voice. And any time i’d recognize it id get a surge of confidence because id know that i knew exactly what i was doing on my next turn

WiseKensai
Yeah. I think that’s what watching Tim did for me. he vocalizes his plan

Zelaponeepus
Honestly, i dont doubt you guys are learning a TON by not playing lol

Like i bet its super useful to stay engaged with a game to that level without being the decision maker

WiseKensai
you should cast with me sometime

Zelaponeepus
I’d like to

And that’s it, thanks for reading! Stay safe out there!

WiseKensai

WiseKensai

I primarily play Infinity these days, but I have PHR fleet for Dropfleet Commander and I will eventually get my CEF for Heavy Gear built...

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