With that, it was time to put theory into practice at the Salem Shitshow 2023! Here are the tables:
Round one, I was paired against Shane (Locke), who was playing Steel Phalanx on the ice table.
- Mission: ITS14 Capture and Protect
- Forces: Nomads versus Steel Phalanx (300)
- Deploy First: Steel Phalanx
- First Turn: Steel Phalanx
I resolved to take my triple Hellcat list all 5 games, because I really like it and it’s actually fun to play. Just a reminder that all these lists are random.
Shit Show B
GROUP 1 10
GRENZER (Lieutenant, Discover [+3], Biometric Visor) Combi Rifle, Light Flamethrower(+1B) ( ) / Pistol, Breaker Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 28)GROUP 2 1
ZOE FTO-2 (Hacker) Boarding Shotgun, D-Charges / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0.5 | 25)
MODERATOR (Paramedic) Combi Rifle ( | MediKit) / Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-6). (0 | 11)
AÏDA SWANSON (Minelayer) Submachine Gun(+1B), Viral Mines / Viral Pistol, Shock CC Weapon. (0.5 | 23)
GRENZER (Marksmanship) MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Breaker Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 35)
HOLLOW MEN Combi Rifle, Chain-colt / Breaker Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 28)
MOBILE BRIGADA Missile Launcher / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 37)
HELLCAT Spitfire / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 30)
HELLCAT Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 24)
HELLCAT Combi Rifle, Adhesive Launcher / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0.5 | 25)
SPEKTR Combi Rifle, E/M Mines ( | Deployable Repeater) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 32)
6 SWC | 298 Points | Open in Army | Copy Code
Shane’s random list was absolutely brutal.
ACHILLES v2 (Lieutenant) AP Spitfire, Pulzar / Pistol, EXP CC Weapon. (1.5 | 66)
ATALANTA (Total Reaction) MULTI Sniper Rifle ( | TinBot: Discover [ReRoll]) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 44)
AGÊMA Marksman MULTI Sniper Rifle / Breaker Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 33)
THYREOS Submachine Gun, D-Charges, Shock Mines / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon. (0 | 23)
THYREOS Submachine Gun, D-Charges, Shock Mines / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon. (0 | 23)
DRAKIOS FTO Combi Rifle, Heavy Flamethrower, Panzerfaust / Heavy Pistol, E/M CC Weapon. (0 | 30)
MYRMIDON OFFICER (Chain of Command) Boarding Shotgun, Eclipse Grenades / Pistol, AP CC Weapon. (1 | 34)
PENTHESILEA Submachine Gun, Nanopulser(+1B), Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon. (0 | 29)
PROBOT (Hacker, EVO Hacking Device) ( ) / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0.5 | 15)
9 1 | 6 SWC | 297 Points | Open in Army | Copy Code
Now that you’ve read it, I probably don’t need to explain why it was so brutal. My understanding is that Shane only played this list against me all weekend, which I take as a compliment!
Shane won the rolloff and decided to go first. I made him deploy first, so he put Atalanta in an overwatch position on his left, backed up by the EVO and a Myrmidon Officer. The two Thyreos wisely watched the board edges. Penny went on the left, and Drakios was all the way on the right. Unbeknownst to me, the Agema was double-stacked with Atalanta, and Achilles was in reserve.
I figured I’d stack an ARO on Atalanta, so I put the Brigada watching her. Zoe and the Hollowman were the entirety of my left and middle board presence, with the Spektr stacked up to fight Atlanta. Aida put a mine in the way to deter Penny from directly attacking in. I should have put the mine covering the objective, like a clever person.
Achilles comes down, so I put the Grenzer watching his advance as well as Atalanta. I hope it’ll work out.
Top of 1 – Steel Phalanx
I take two orders, hoping for the best. Achilles is still Achilles, and even though he’s just outside of 24″ he has no trouble dropping the Grenzer. This opens up a shot from the hidden deployment Agema to put a wound on the Brigada. I don’t have the stomach to lose the order so I let the Brigada drop prone.
Shane surprises me by targeting the Hollowman with Penny. Penny has no trouble chopping it in half and doesn’t even take a wound from my chain colt.
Thankfully that’s the extent of the damage, and the turn goes to me.
Bottom of 1 – Nomads
I move the Spektr into group one. I think the right call is to drop the Hellcat BSG in to take out Atalanta and the Agema. The only trouble is Achilles is watching the ladder up to the two snipers. There’s a safe place to land, but I’m not convinced that I can get up the ladder and within template range of both models while Achilles is watching. I also feel like I have the orders to do whatever prone or dodge movement nonsense I need to do to get up the ladder.
Bottom line, I should have done these things–there’s nothing more important that getting rid of the two snipers. I should have spent the resources and that would have unquestionably been the right move. Even with just a 1″ dodge up the ladder I would have felt pretty reasonable. What I actually did was be a coward and drop the Hellcat in behind Atalanta, who dodged prone.
I decide to try and stand the Grenzer back up, but end up just killing him with the Moderator paramedic.
I decide to attempt to take out the EVO bot that’s right there so I can make the other Hellcats land easier on subsequent turns. Of course, the EVO bot rolls a critical dodge, and that’s that.
I play my last card and reveal the Grenzer and get a repeater down on Achilles. Zoe attempts to Oblivion and whiffs.
My cowardice cost me the game here.
Top of 2 – Steel Phalanx
Penny comes rolling in on Zoe to free up Achilles. I take a shot on her with Zoe’s shotgun and the Spektr, and shockingly get a crit on Penny with Zoe.
The Spektr can apparently be seen by the Agema, which was a missed ARO from before, and basically signs the Spektr’s death warrant.
The Hellcat gets cleaned up by the Myrmidon Officer, so there’s that.
Penny comes rolling in to take on Zoe, so I just template her, hoping to trade. Instead, Penny goes unconscious and Zoe passes all her saves against the SMG hits. Well that’s a bright spot, for sure.
With Zoe still up, Achilles is pinned, so Shane sends in one of the Thyreos to take it out.
The Thyreos sets up to pick up the Beacon, and then Shane passes turn.
Bottom of 2 – Nomads
I snag In Extremis Recovery with Zoe off of Penny.
I then attempt to land the Hellcat spitfire on the back table edge, but since the EVO’s still up, I fail the roll. I bring it on right near the Thyreos and get it out of cover… and immediately die to a crit.
At this point, I should go kill the Thyreos with Zoe, which also stacks her on top of the objective to deter Achilles. Instead, I decide to try and glue Achilles, which will do precisely nothing. I do manage to get the Hellcat on behind him, then I whiff with two orders.
Top of 3 – Steel Phalanx
The Thyreos has a bit of trouble downing Zoe, but after passing an ARM save it manages to drop her.
After retrieving the package, the Thyreos retreats to Shane’s deployment zone and the Myrmidon mops up the Hellcat.
Achilles grabs Net Undermine, and then it’s to me.
Bottom of 3 – Nomads
Well I’ve only got one play here, which is to drop the Thyreos. If I can do that, I’ll tie with both of us having a classified. Aida’s the only one who can make it, but she dies getting off the tower. That’s it!
1-5, 47-268 Steel Phalanx Victory!
Post Game Analysis
So, first time playing Shane, who has been doing this for awhile. He played a clean game and was very very friendly and a great opponent! I look forward to a rematch! As far as the game goes, I had the tools to win it, I just wasn’t taking the right risks and got tunnel vision on dealing with Achilles. Here’s what I should have done.
Okay, some pretty straight forward changes here. I’ve included a photo of the actual deployment.
Zoe was in a totally fine spot (the Grenzer Lt was behind a box all the way in the back on the right, that’s fine). The Hollowman should have been more centrally located to help defend Zoe. The Brigada could have been next to the Grezner Lt by my classified card there–that way he’s not interacting with Atalanta and the Agema (although I would have no way of knowing that second part). He’d still be covering the approach on the right with a long-ish diagonal range band.
The real mistake was Aida, not putting the objective. Rookie mistake. Lots of tournament nerves and I was facing a good player I had never played before, with a BONKERS list that I was terrified of, so I over-compensated. The Grenzer should have been right where the Hellcat spitfire died, on the corner watching the long firelane down the left of the table. That also helps defend Zoe and the Hollowman from Penny, who can’t just smoke her way to victory. It also challenges Achilles at outside of 24″, but that probably doesn’t help very much.
No notes on responding to Shane’s first turn–I did the best I could have there. As far as my first turn goes, I think I should have just channeled Tim (Chainsaw) and took the risk with the Hellcat BSG. If I do that, that potentially drops both snipers and potentially kills two orders, instead of literally doing nothing but get my stuff killed. Trying to pick up the Grenzer was fine.
I could also have just straight up killed the Agema with the Spetkr–I can get into 16″ and then it’s just 12s versus 10s because I’m in cover. That’s risky but the fact that the Agema has MSV2 isn’t a dealbreaker here. I was just cowed into not trying, and with the benefit of a clear head (and a mug of coffee as I write this) I can do a more realistic analysis now.
Going after Achilles with the repeater was fine, but I think I should have dropped it and then just re-camoed out of LoF of the repeater, which admittedly might have been hard. Zoe just not getting the Oblivion off was dice. It happens.
It was pretty clear what needed to happen here, now that I’ve “reviewed the tape”. Zoe needed to put on her big girl pants and go after the Thyreos. It’s not a great fight for her, and she probably goes down, but she can at least force that PH 10 dodge with the shotgun. Then it’s up to Achilles, and he will have to deal with her first. That also sets me up for a Turn 3 drop with the Hellcats, which is significantly better than what I did. I think I save both Hellcats for Turn 3. Honestly, if everything had gone my way in Turn 1, that would have been quite powerful.
Anyway, deployment problems aside, this game entirely hinges on my one decision to not drop the Hellcat BSG by the ladder and climb him up to take on both snipers. If I had done that, totally different game, and I think I would have had it. Pretty disappointed, mostly because my losses, at least as of late, are attributable to tunnel vision and/or improper risk assessment. You’d think I’d have learned. One wonders if it’s confirmation bias here in terms of diagnosing the issue with my gameplay, and there’s something else that I’m blind to, but that’s what I’ve got so far.
I’ve noticed that if I’m able to just stay above the emotional churn when playing the game I tend to do better. It’s not so much that I was on tilt or not having a good time. Shane, if you’re reading this, thanks for being such a fun opponent, your good humor and laughter kept me out of what could have been a pretty bad funk. It was more that I haven’t faced a lot of Achilles, so I focused a little hard–and I really just needed to treat him like the TAG he is and dismantle the rest of the list.
Anyway. Thanks for reading, dear reader!