Thursday, September 29, 2016

PHR vs Shaltari – 1,500 Pts – Careful Advance – Part 2

And, as promised, here is Part 2 of the epic saga of the battle of my beloved PHR against the wily shenanigans of the shady Shaltari of the even wilier Major Awesome!

One thing that I forgot to mention in Part 1 is that after he found the objective in his home building in Turn 2, Andrew had one squad of Braves dematerialize through a Haven gate, which he prudently kept in the shadow of his home objective building, and had the other squad of Braves move to the central objective building via an Underground Monorail, despite that structure being severely damaged, and likely to take even more of a pounding.  I had considered jumping one of my squads of Valkyries into that building after searching for my home objective Turn 3, and then moving my Immortals there as well (after one of my Infantry squads eventually found my home objective, of course), but with Andrew's Firstborns still in orbit and me without any Sirens, I opted to avoid that structure and stick with my original plan to bring it down as quickly as possible.  There was an outside chance that I could've ultimately won the CQB that would've gone down there if I'd done this, but I didn't like my chances, and liked the idea of just flat out denying Andrew any more easy VPs from an objective he definitely could have found even better.

Score Recap - After Turn 2:
JDW - 0 VPs
Andrew - 2 VPs


After the devastation of my Helios by the dreaded Panther, and my inability to score a VP on a Critical Location at the end of Turn 2, I reasoned that I had to at least try to play for a Draw, and at best try to dislodge Andrew's command battlegroup from the CL on my left, as well as keeping him from scoring on the CL on my right, for the slim possibility of a 1 VP Win.  It sucks to plan to play to a Draw, but such are the vagaries of the dice gods, and I try to put myself in a mind of what I would do in a tournament situation when I play.  There was a (very) outside chance that I could pull off a Win, by the narrowest of margins, but it was looking like I would have to settle for a Draw and try to win this friendly game on Kill Points, for at least a moral victory for myself.  My challenge was set...

Despite having a CV3 commander to Andrew's CV5, I won the Initiative roll with a natural 6 (after an initial tie) and set about finishing off the Pungari that had so cheekily grabbed a VP off of that CL on my right.  I had an Espionage card in my hand at this point, which was a good thing.  I activated my large Battle Pantheon first, if I'm remembering correctly, so that the Menchit A2's could unleash literal Hell upon the sniggering Pungari with their RX-666 flamethrowers.  (I wonder what roasted Pungari smells like?  Ewww...)  There was still one base of them left after that, so the Njord pounded the building with its Heavy Stealth Missiles (and pew-pew regular Stealth Missile), while the Phobos pair added insult to injury and shot down the Spirit gate that had brought the Pungari there.   I got the structure down to 3 DPs, and I think only one or two Pungari survived after all the falling masonry that came down on their heads, but they were still in there.  On his activation, Andrew had the surviving Pungari simply move into the Small building that was connected to the Normal building that was falling around them, but on my next activation I believe I activated my Valkyries, which meant one of my Angelos squads could punish the Small building the little blighters were now in, while the other squad of jetskimmers continued to maul over the central objective building.  The falling masonry that ensued finished off the subservient little bastards, leaving the little building with just 2 DPs, and the central objective building was also on its last legs.  Ha!

Meanwhile, both squads of Valks searched for the objective in my home building, and I rolled boxcars.  (The Valkyries just looked at the Immortals that were fruitlessly searching for the objective with them, and thought, "Men!").  So one squad of Girls jumped back into the building they entered when they came on the board Turn 1, and the other jumped into the other Normal sized building nearby to it, with an eye to make it over to the CL on my left to help with the fight over there.

My Hera blob then pounded the central structure, finally dropping it, with the squad of Braves still inside.  It was now time to move my Hera and her Retinue, but operational intel let them know that the Panther still had a clear Line of Sight along the space they had to cross.  So, in a display of brilliant tactical acumen, they simply walked around the Normal building that was blocking their way, instead of jumping over it.  In the process they ended up in the shadow of that building, as far as the Panther was concerned, and Nasty Mr. P was denied another opportunity to get lucky and take out a hopping Apollo (and let's face it, he wouldn't have to get very lucky to do that...).

Major Awesome did not think that that was very awesome of me, and was sorely disappointed by this maneuver.

Whatever.  I'd had it with that bloody Panther, it wasn't getting another easy shot at one of my Units...

However, this put the Hera and her squad one more turn away from being able to try to win control of the CL on my left, which made my chances of pulling off a Win even slimmer, but I was still thinking I could pull off a Draw.  Having 24" railguns meant that the Type-3's could get in some shots at Andrew's command battlegroup, and I had my eye on his Coyote.  I figured I'd lose some of the Apollos in the ensuing fight over that CL, so my best chances were to take out his boss and deny him all those juicy points.  I still had to deal with Andrew's Tarantulas and Birdeaters, which were coming around from their hidey-holes and gearing up to work over my Apollos and Heras.

Here are some pictures (finally!) of how things looked a few activations before the end of Turn 3:

View from the CL on my right.  Andrew loves his fire-and-smoke markers when a building gets below half its DPs!

The view from just left of my DZ...

...And a little more to the left.  Note that the Panther in the far corner is now blocked by Andrew's home objective building from being able to target my Type-3's when they jump next turn.

Andrew managed to get his Coyote onto the CL on my left, and his Haven gate zoomed off the table with his objective, but I had sole control of the CL on my right and my Valkyries with the objective were ready to leap to safety next turn.  My Immortals boarded their Tritons and headed after the other Valkyrie squad, just barely making it to the safety of the being out of LoS to any of Andrew's AA (or so I thought...), taking up station behind the building those Girls had jumped into.  They were headed towards the CL on my left, as well, hoping to add their numbers to the fight that was going to go down there.

In the meantime, Andrew's Jaguars took up positions in the trees close to the edge of the board behind the CL on my left, preparing for the firefight that I'm sure he knew would ensue when my Hera and her Trusty Bodyguards made their move towards that table quarter...

JDW - 2
Andrew - 4

TURNS 4 & 5

I'm pretty sure I won the Initiative roll at least 3 times in this game, plus the start of the game, but I'm not sure whether it was on Turn 4 or 5, one or the other.  Maybe it was just a total of 3 times, including the starting roll, but that's a testament to the wisdom of Lorn's Guide to PHR or German Space Magic, which literally changed my life!  (OK, it was a small change, more of an affirmation of how I'd been playing my PHR up to that point, and where I was going with them, but it's a really important read for any PHR general, veteran or newb.)

The bulk of the action in these turns involved my Hera squad jumping towards the CL on my left, losing just one Apollo to lucky reaction fire by Andrew's Jaguars.  Not everything had a clean shot on Andrew's boss, but I did manage to put three DPs onto it, one of which he healed with a timely Field Repairs (of which, I got none).  I did, however, manage to draw two Espionage cards during the game, both of which came in handy, and one of which stopped Scout Drone Shenanigans when Andrew tried to put his Firstborns into the extremely damaged Normal building next to the CL on my right in a late-activation attempt to steal another VP from me.  I only had a CV3 commander, but the card gods smiled on me this game!  But would it be enough?...

So, back to the Hera's and the Apollos making their way up my left flank...

Oh, My Gosh!  I completely forgot about the Erebos hugging that building next to the CL on my left!  How could I forget about those guys?!  Well, it's late, and I'm trying to finish up this battle report and get it posted before bed time (you're welcome, Mike!), but suffice to say, having two Erebos B's in cover, right next to all of your heavy firepower, is not fun.  Fun for me, but not for Major Awesome!

I highly recommend Erebos now that their ability stacks!  They survived for most of the game, and frankly, were my Men of the Match.  I only wish that I could've taken the A variants, but as you can see from my army list in Part 1, I was maxed out at 1,500 points, without any points to spare.  However, even though they never got to fire a shot in anger, they were awesome!!!, causing much dice shenanigans for Andrew's To Hit rolls for pretty much everything in that table quarter.

So, to make a long story short (too late!), between my Type-3 squad and my Angelos making their way up the field, I managed to take out both of Andrew's Tarantulas and eventually killed his Coyote -- or at least, his warstrider chassis, as he successfully popped his Escape Pod off, but instead of scampering away the 18" or so that Andrew rolled for him, he just plopped down right on top of the CL.  Curses!  Foiled again!  (Or was I...)

The Valkyries with the objective made it off the table safely, and the other squad managed to end up in the Small building next to the CL on my left.  My Apollos and Hera's that survived crowded around the CL, but so did Andrew's two Jaguars, and I came up just short of the points I needed to score on that CL the one time I was hoping I could in this game.

A look at things at the end of Turn 5, from the CL on my right.

My Menchit A2's never got to fire off even one of their Awesome Missiles, but the Phobos pair that rode in with them on the Njord easily took out the Eden gate that Andrew tried to slide up my right flank.  I was having none of that, and managed to hold that CL for the remainder of the game.

And a view of the other CL...

That Gaia gate just would not die!

As you can see, Andrew deposited the Panther on top of that Normal building on the left during Turn 4, and in Turn 5 it did manage to kill an Apollo that was not jumping, just sitting there, minding its own business (well, OK, it was shooting at his boss!), but by that time I was done jumping with the Type-3's as walking was all they needed to do.

You can also see that my amazing Erebos are no longer there, nestled as they were between the small building that my Valkyries made it into and the trees just behind my Apollos and Hera's.  Without them there to disrupt Andrew's shooting, it didn't take long for him to whittle down my Apollos...

Andrew got his Firstborns into the building with my Valkyries, and you can imagine how that CQB turned out.  His Birdeaters shot down one of my Immortals squads, blowing them up in the air, and his Jaguars reaction fired down the other one, just barely, just shy of the building the Valkyries were trying to hold.  One base of those Immortals survived the crash, but were left out in the open and were then mercilessly flamed down by the Samurai who had been hiding like little girls behind the ruins of the central objective building.  My lone walk-on Phobos was a champ, and almost took out the Gaia gate by himself, but I managed to get my Njord up onto the Normal building that the Panther was on, which inadvertently prevented the Gaia gate from picking it up.

J.D. - 5 VPs
Andrew - 6 VPs


In the end, between my Njord and my two remaining Hera's, I killed Andrew's command pod, but without the Valkyries and Apollos to add to my Hera's meager points I just could not ever score on that CL.  I kept Andrew from depositing anything on the CL to my right, which allowed me to avoid an even worse defeat, but, alas, the final score was:

JDW - 6 VPs
Andrew - 7 VPs

In 20/20 hindsight I should have bum-rushed a Triton A1 full of Immortals towards that CL to my right on Turn 1, and then waited until late in Turn 2 to activate them after I could've taken out some of the Pungari that got in there relatively early that turn with falling masonry.  One squad of Immortals is not enough points to offset one full squad of Pungari, such is the other edge of the double-edged sword that is "nerfing" a Unit by increasing its Kill Points.  But if I'd played it right I could've ended up winning by 1 VP instead of losing by 1 VP.  My standard practice is to dump all (or as much) of my Infantry into my home objective building as soon as possible, but now I've learned that, despite being the "faster" variety of PHR, I need to do everything I can to make sure I score as quickly as possible on at least one CL in games like this.

But that's what games like this are for, to learn from one's mistakes and apply that knowledge to your next encounter, until such time as you end up somewhere like the LVO, GenCon, or even, one day, Invasion, where you can use your accumulated wisdom and tactical skill in a Dropzone Commander major event...

...only to have your dice go cold on you...


Seriously, I can see it now.  I skimp and I save and I finally make to an Invasion, and I'll have shit dice for 3 games...

Ah, who knows?  Gotta get there first.  In the meantime, I've got the 2017 LVO to prepare for, to defend my crown!

It was a great game, and a lot of fun.  As I'm fond of saying, I love my job, but a bad day of gaming beats a good day of work every time, and actually, this was not a bad day of gaming, this was a great day of gaming, and I'm actually pleased that I only lost by 1 VP after losing my Helios to the Panther's reaction fire Turn 2.

I need to get more games in vs the Panther to form a more solid opinion of it, but my initial reaction to it seems justified -- it just has one too many great features, and as has been said on the Hawk Forum recently, it just seems to affect how I maneuver my army around the table a little too well for its points.

I hope you enjoyed this battle report, spread between two posts.  Thank for dealing with the "cliffhanger" I left  you with yesterday, and these loooong posts of mine, and I hope you feel justly rewarded for your patience!

Please leave a comment below, even if it's just a word or two!


  1. Another good write up JD. To be frank I'd be happy id be able to claw back such a points deficit! lol Well done mate! Onwards and upwards eh? :)

    1. Oh, it was a really fun game, Lee, and Andrew is a great opponent.

      And I really don't mind losing, in the end. What I mind is when I can't get a game in for a protracted period of time (read: two weeks or more). I learned a long time ago, when I was playing Magic competitively, to try to learn from every loss -- and I learned a lot!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. Good write up.
    With the building demo you have, I'm surprised that you didn't go all out on the opponents home objective. A Njord, Hera and friends plus 4 Angelos would have crippled the building, and downed it early turn 2 (possibly 1st activation)
    This would have left Major Awesome to go for the middle, where your Menchit A2's could have done some work.
    I know that the objectives are secondary in this mission but they can still come into play.

    Good write up, don't leave it so long next time ;)

    1. Look at the second picture in the post. See where the ruins of the central building are? It was set up in such a way that I couldn't get a shot at his home objective building on Turn 1, or most of my stuff couldn't. I could've gotten a shot at it with the Njord if I'd only gone 9" with it Turn 1, but then I might've been in LoS to the Panther, can't recall. Normally I would target the home building first, but last time I played Andrew he had 2 squads of Pungari in his home building vs my UCM, and I got it down to 3 DPs in Turn 1, but he won Initiative Turn 2, and with 4 dice at his disposal easily found the objective, and then moved the P's out of that building. I couldn't pull it off this game in one turn + first activation, so I conceded that he would get that objective, and I would get mine, and we'd have to fight over the CLs. It was a calculated risk, and in the end, I was proved right, he found the objective on his first activation of Turn 2. I just got lucky and won Initiative Turn 2, but the way that central building was set up, and others around my DZ, I couldn't get shots off on his home building with all of my Angelos, nor my Hera blob, until Turn 2.

      Thanks for the feedback, and taking the time to comment! I think I'll be writing more these days... 8^D