My Dropzone Commader Blog
(Originally this blog was for documenting how I was preparing my Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Space Marines and Daemons armies to attend Blue Table Painting's Valhalla event in October, 2013, but now it is dedicated to all of my tabletop wargaming hobby exploits, but especially - Dropzone Commander!)
Friday, October 21, 2016
Tournament Battle Report – UCM vs PHR – Careful Advance
mentioned in my previous post, we had a tournament this past Saturday, 15
October, 2016, at Imperial Outpost Games in Glendale, AZ. I only got to
play in Round 2, unfortunately, but it was a fun game of Careful Advance,
pitting my unconventional UCM forces against Andrew Burke’s PHR army that
contained a few surprises.
Not a Ferrum in sight...
Apollo-B's? An Athena? What shenanigans are these???
(Sorry for the lack of pictures, folks, but we were kinda busy... :)
As you can see, we both featured some Flame weapons in our
lists, mine being the squad of Fireblades in a Condor, while Andrew had four
Apollo-B’s attached to his Immortals. Both of these squads would play a
decisive role in our game!
And, we both had Fast Movers, which is something Andrew runs regularly, but it's been a while for your's truly...
Also, I had to proxy a few things in my army, specifically I
used a PHR Poseidon to stand in for the Albatross, an Athena to take the place
of the Retaliator, and two squads of Hazard Suits to represent the Flak
Teams. This game would help me determine whether or not I’d invest in an
Albatross and a Retaliator; I believe I have a blister of Flak Teams, but need
to double check my stash of unbuilt UCM.
In this mission we were using the Ecosystems: Sub-Zero
Environmental Rule from Reconquest: Phase 2, so vehicles could not use
exceptional ground and treated all roads as “normal”; all Units are +1 to find
objectives, to a maximum of 6, which meant our Infantry would succeed on only a
6 in both their first and second turns of searching; and all Units count their
armor as 1 higher than normal in CQB, up to a maximum of 4, taking into account
their heavy cold weather gear. It was my intention to avoid CQB as much
as possible, but that was to be determined…
As both of us had Fast Movers, we rolled for them at the
beginning of the turn. Andrew’s Athena was busy refueling, as was my
Retaliator, but my Archangel was on point and ready to turn up at the start of
I dumped all of my Infantry into my home objective building, as
did Andrew. He deployed one squad of Phobos from their Neptune to the
right of his home objective building, and the other to the left. This
gave them a commanding view of the entire board, and significantly restricted
how and where I could move my Condors and Albatross.
I moved my Albatross with the Sabre brick and Rapiers down my
left flank towards the Critical Location on that side of the board, taking care
to go To The Deck behind a small structure to keep out of sight of Andrew’s
Phobos that were on the right of his home objective building. I sent my
Gladii in their Condor towards the right CL and sent them To The Deck behind a
rectangular normal building there.
The placement of my Fireblades was a
bit more of a challenge – I wanted to threaten his home objective building if I
could, but didn’t think I could get that far in the Condor with the two squads
of Phobos stationed on either side of it. With Andrew’s Hera squad on my
right flank ready to pummel any light armor that was foolish enough to
disembark right in front of them, I decided to position the Fireblades so that
I could threaten the central objective building as soon as possible, with the
hopes of moving towards and possibly shooting at his home objective building
the turn after, if his Infantry was still searching for his objective by
then. To do this, I maneuvered the Fireblades’ Condor around the left side of my large
home objective building and then around in front of it towards the central objective building, hugging the cover provided by Andrew’s home objective
building from his Phobos, which were just barely unable to see the Condor at
this point. I would have to activate these guys first next turn, unless I
wanted them shot out of the sky.
Andrew moved his Apollo-B’s and his Hera squad up on his
left, towards my right flank. I booked my Phoenix along my home board
edge towards the CL to the right to help the Gladii control that CL from
Andrew’s approaching Type-3 walkers. It was close, but it looked like my
Phoenix was out of range of the Phobos on my right, but I couldn’t be sure of
that. He brought his Apollo-A squad on along his board edge to his right,
wary of my Flak Teams that were ready to take up a position on the walls of my
home objective building in Turn 2.
My Archangel graced me with its presence, and I made a
successful attack run on the Neptune that had brought on the Phobos to my left
of Andrew’s home objective building. I was hoping to deny his Phobos the
ability to redeploy to the CL on my left in a later turn. In perfect
20/20 hindsight the next turn, I realized I should’ve targeted the Neptune that
had brought on his Immortals’ Junos – D’oh! But the Archangel lived up to
its reputation, and handily put two DPs on the Phobos’ Neptune before cruising
off the table in complete safety.
So it was pretty clear what our intentions were when it came to
the CLs – I was moving my Gladii and Phoenix over to the one on my right, while
Andrew was indicating that his Hera squad and Apollo-B’s would be making the challenge
over there; and my brick of 6 MBTs and 3 AATs were making their way to the CL on my left,
with Andrew’s Apollo-A’s making a move to counter them. The question in
my mind was: Who will score on which one in Turn 2, if at all?
My Retaliator decided not to show up Turn 2, but fortunately for
me so did Andrew’s Athena. Andrew Field Repaired his damaged Neptune, and
after quite a bit of contemplation I put an Underground Monorail between my
home objective building and the central objective building. With
Valkyries in Andrew’s home objective building having an easy jump to the
central structure, this was quite a gamble, but I was hoping it would pay off.
I won Initiative, and after a moment’s thought of getting right
to searching for my objective with my Flak Teams, I realized that I needed to
get my Fireblades on the ground and out of their Condor before Andrew could
activate his Phobos that were just out of sight of the medium dropship!
This meant I had to activate my Gladii, too, which I did first. I flew
their Condor towards the CL and disembarked the two big tanks so that they were
within 3” of it, but hidden behind a large, rectangular building that would
block line of sight to them from Andrew’s Hera squad, completely for one of
them and at least partially for the other. I then activated my
Fireblades, and although he had a sliver of a line to their Condor from
at least one of his Phobos, Andrew opted not to reaction fire. I put the
Fireblades down in a conga line right up against the tall, large building in
the center of the table, on my side of the building. From there they were
a definite threat to the central building, and it looked to me like at least
two of them would be able to move out and shoot at Andrew’s home objective building
the next turn, if his Infantry were still there – the Fireblades were
definitely at risk of being in line of sight to his Hera and her Apollo-A’s
this turn, and I was hoping that the conga line would save them.
Andrew searched for his home objective with his two Immortal
squads, and managed to roll a 6. Drat. That’s when I realized that
my Archangel should have shot at the Immortal’s Neptune, but it didn’t matter,
as I didn’t manage to kill the other Neptune in Turn 1, and Andrew just took the
objective, Immortal squad and all, off the board. His other Immortals
squad boarded their Juno, eager to put some distance between them and the
Fireblades that were lurking at the center of the table.
Before they had a chance to go to the windows to spot for my FMs,
Andrew jumped his Apollo-B’s out and almost completely destroyed my squad of
Legionnaires who were acting as my Forward Air Controllers! He put 4 DPs
on one base and 2 DPs on the other with those nasty Manslayer guns.
Wow! I’ve never been a fan of the B variant of Type-3 walkers, but when
you take four of them, they can really put the hurt on a squad!
My Legionnaires failed to find the objective, but declined to go
to the walls for fear of more shooting by Andrew’s army – without FACs to spot
for them, my FMs would just have to find their own way to the fight.
My Flak Teams were more successful searching, finding my home
objective this turn, but decided to hand it off to the severly damaged
Legionnaires squad that had already activated. Rather than man the walls
here, I opted to have the Flak Teams embark onto their Bears and Condor and
head towards the tall, large building that was within scoring distance of the
CL to my left. With any luck, they’d get there in time to make some sort
of contribution to controlling that CL, and might even get to take a shot in
anger at something airborne, but I wasn’t holding my breath.
Andrew moved his Apollo-A’s along his board edge towards the CL
to my left, but without a dropship and having walked onto the board in Turn 1,
they were not going to make it there to try to control it th is turn.
They did, however, shoot at my home objective building, and managed to put
another 2 DPs on my FAC squad, finishing off the one base and leaving me with
one base with 2 DPs on it, limping along with the found objective.
Hopefully I could extract these guys at the start of Turn 3, but my backup plan
to that was the other, full-strength Legionnaires squad that was in the same
battlegroup that were still in that building.
Andrew’s Hera squad moved up towards the CL on my right, but had
the same problem as his 4-man Apollo-A squad, and
couldn’t get within scoring range. They tried to shoot at the hull down
Gladius, but failed to damage it.
Meanwhile, I disembarked the Sabres and Rapiers from the Albatross, but due to the heavy dropship’s ponderous movement, they
were not going to score on the CL on my left that turn. Andrew moved his
Phobos forward, extending their air dominance of the board, while I moved my
Phoenix its full distance to the safety of the shadow of the large building
that the Gladii were hiding behind. The Phoenix’s flight path was clever,
but not clever enough, and Andrew’s Phobos on that side managed to take two DPs
off of it with reaction fire. No worries, I had a Field Repairs in my
hand – hopefully Andrew wouldn’t get an Espionage before I wanted to use it at
the start of Turn 3!
My Archangel flew on and avoided the reaction fire of the other
two Phobos, but failed to finish off the Neptune it had targeted in Turn 1,
taking off the DP that Andrew had repaired at the start of this turn.
Which left Andrew’s Valkyries to activate. They no longer
needed to be in their home objective building, and could easily jump to the
central objective building. However, with 3 Fireblades hugging the base
of that structure, the Girls were more than a little reluctant to try to occupy
that juicy target. They opted to split up, heading to either flank,
presumably with the intention of trying to score on the CLs in a future turn.
My Gladii ended up controlling the CL on my right, and no one
controlled the CL on my left at the end of this turn. Andrew had gotten
his home objective off the board, and my badly injured Legionnaires still
held onto my home objective in their building.
Andrew: 2 VPs
J.D.: 2 VPs
Both of our late FMs decided to turn up this turn, which was
both very good and very bad for me. Andrew had left a huge group of two
squads of Type-3 walkers and one of his squads of Phobos very nicely clustered
up together on my right, which was going to make for a very juicy target for
the Retaliator’s Barrage weapon if I could get to it fast enough.
I believe I won Initiative again this turn, despite having a
lower CV commander, but at any rate I was able to get my severely depeted
Legionnaires squad with my home objective off the board before Andrew’s Athena
could snipe out their Raven A. The other squad of Troops boldly crossed
the Underground Monorail and entered the central building in a bid for the
objective that was just sitting there, asking to be found. With Andrew’s
Valkyries at least two turns away from jumping back into that building, I had a
chance to find that objective and possibly keep it one step ahead of the Deadly
In the meantime, Andrew surprised me and sent his Athena on an
attack run against the Flak Teams’ fully-loaded Condor. The gall!
And of course, he shot it down. In the process I lost one Bear, and
subsequently one base of Flak troops, which took shelter behind a small
structure right where the Condor dropped, intending to get into that building
next turn; the other bear was placed back towards my home objective building,
figuring they’d weather the inevitable onslaught by Andrew’s Apollo-B’s for the
chance to pitch in and help the Legionnaires search for the central
objective. In the meantime, as Andrew flew right past my Rapier squad, I reaction fired with them one at a time, but none of them managed to even so much as put a scratch on the dastardly
FM. Quite a successful activation for Andrew, and I remembered how potent
an Athena can be, much to my chagrin.
However, it was now my turn to exact some FM revenge, and my
Retaliator obliged by turning up for an attack run. Since all of Andrew’s
Phobos were facing towards me, I brought the lumbering beast on from his side
of the table to try and drop a large template right onto the big cluster of
walkers that was just begging to be blasted. The attack run was a huge
success, and I managed to take out three Apollo-B’s, plus one Apollo-A from the
Hera’s squad. However, the dodgy Phobos that was caught under the
template merely laughed off the shot, taking no damage, while the other Phobos
team dispatched the noble Retaliator with precision reaction fire. So
ended my experiment with a Retaliator, but it was enough for me to know that I
want to pick one up the next time I order some Dropzone Commander models!
Andrew jumped his Apollo-A’s over towards the CL on my left, and
I moved my MBT blob forwards onto it, as well. We exchanged shots, each
losing a Unit, me a Sabre and him an Apollo, but in the end I had 3 Sabres on
the CL to his one Apollo, so I would control that CL this turn, as his
Valkyries were too far away to score on it, at least for now.
Meanwhile my Gladii poked their heads around the corner from
their hiding spot and fired at one of the Phobos standing within range, taking off one damage point, but not able to kill it. The two tanks were just in front of the
CL on my right, still scoring on it, so I cheekily moved their Condor forward
and landed it in front of them, thereby blocking off the remains of Andrew’s
Hera’s squad from landing in that area. Unless he had a Crazy Pilot card,
he was not likely to get anywhere near that CL this turn, and probably not the
next, at least with enough points’ worth of models to offset what I had over
there, and planned to have there by the end of this turn.
With this battlegroup’s activation I then needed to decide what
to do with the remaining Fireblades. I had lost one of them to a lucky
shot by the Phobos’ Neptune – not the Hera or the Apollos that could see them,
oh, no, a Neptune’s Stealth Missile. Andrew continued to extend his
history of lucky shots with his Neptunes!
With the Valkyries on that flank poised to jump into the large
building that my Gladii and Phoenix had hidden behind, which was in scoring
distance to that CL, I decided to bunny-hop the two remaining Fireblades over
towards that CL to keep the Girls from getting near it. Andrew was
holding his remaining Phobos’ shots for when my Phoenix was going to stick its
neck out, so the Fireblades’ Condor went unmolested and deposited its charges
within scoring distance to the CL, and also, within range of shooting at that
large building next turn, if necessary.
With no other choice, really, the Valkyries from my right flank
jumped back into their home objective building, with the clear intention of
heading towards the central building the next turn to try to foil my plans to
find and remove that objective.
My Phoenix then did pop itself around the corner, parked right
on top of the CL, and managed to take out one of the two remaining Apollo-A’s
from the Hera squad with its massive chainguns, leaving just the Hera and a
lone Apollo-A to try to figure out how they were going to get onto that very
well-protected CL. Andrew’s Phobos managed to take 3 more DPs off of the
Phoenix with reaction fire, leaving my commander with 5 DPs to see me through to the next turn.
Andrew: 2 VPs
J.D.: 5 VPs
The tank battle on my left flank resulted in me finishing off 2
Apollo-A’s, leaving just one, while Andrew’s Phobos’ Neptune on that side, in
an obvious competition with the other Phobos’ Neptune pilot, managed to plink
off one of my Sabres. Shenanigans! In the end, the Valkyries could
get into a scoring position, but with 3 Rapiers and 3 Sabres left piled up
around that CL, it was mine, and we were running out of time in the Round.
Meanwhile my Archangel took out that pesky, damaged Neptune that
had sniped the Sabre, but was ruthlessly cut down with reaction fire by the
Phobos over there.
My Legionnaires failed to find that objective in the central
building, needing a 6, and the Valkyries on my right did jump into that
building, but with time running out, it didn’t look like there was going to be
a CQB there, and even if there was, my full Flak Team was making its way over, and
my Fireblades could still swing back around and flame that building should it
have been necessary.
On my right the Gladii’s Condor took flight, and the big tanks
managed to take out both of Andrew’s Phobos on the other side of his home
objective building, while the Legionnaires in the central building managed to
remove one of the two Phobos on my right side of his home objective building
with their Phoenix missiles (it had been damaged in a previous turn). I
still could’ve lost my Phoenix, but we ran out of time, and with so much armor
surrounding the CL on my right, and no Crazy Pilot in sight, there was no way
Andrew would be able to score on it, ever.
At this point, we had to call the game as we were out of time in
Andrew: 2 VPs
J.D.: 7 VPs
Being a 5 VP difference, this awarded me a 15-5 TPs tournament
score for the Round. Andrew had just a wee bit more Kill Points than I’d
managed to nick, so no KP bonus for me, and the score stood at 15-5 VPs.
I think Flame has really come of age with the kinds of missions
that were released in Reconquest: Phase 2. Clearly four Apollo-B’s are a
threat to almost any non-suited Infantry, and if it hadn’t been for the brave
sacrifice of my Seraphim Retaliator, they would have wreaked much more carnage
on my Troops than they managed to (which was quite enough, thank you!).
It’s also clear to me that APCs in a medium dropship still suck,
being too slow and too expensive vis-à-vis light dropships to get Infantry
where they need to go. A Juno A2 is fine for bringing Valyries a bit
further onto the table than they’d be able to walk on, but isn’t suited to
carrying Immortals to contribute much more than removing a home objective and
then basically doing nothing for the rest of the game, which is what happened
to Andrew’s Immortals squads.
It’s also pretty clear that, despite my distaste for it, if
you’re going to bring that many Apollos, some of them need to be in Neptunes
(or a Njord!) in order to get to the CLs in the cross-quarters and start to
score on them as quickly as possible. Type-3’s walking on just can’t get
where they need to get to in time to score before something bigger and badder
can drop in and camp on those crucial Critical Locations.
In the end it was the only game I would get to play in that
tournament, but it was a fun game, and I appreciate Andrew for being the
amazing opponent that he always is. The game was fun, and it was a great
experiment with my non-Ferrum, non-AirCav, non-CQB UCM. I really like the
Retaliator, and will pick one up as soon as I make another DzC order, and I’m
also going to be getting me an Albatross in that order, because, despite it
being slow as hell, the payload it can carry can make a helluva difference in a
It was great to play Sabres and Gladii again, too. I’d
like to see both of them come down a few points, and there have also been calls
for Condors to automatically get the missile pod upgrades for their existing
points, which would be helpful, but at the same time might make them a bit too
good. Not sure on that one, now that I think about it – I was going to
say, “Yeah, they need that!”, but at E8 and SC those missile pods are a bit
more of a threat than PHR Stealth Missiles. I’d hate to see the humble
Condor go up in points, so more thought (and playtesting) needs to be applied
to that idea.
I would like to see the missile pods for the Albatross come down
in price considerably, however. That bloated beast did absolutely nothing
after it dropped off the MBT brick. With cheaper missile pods it could at
least have taken pot shots at the Apollo-A’s that were taking up position on
the CL on my left and contributed a bit more to the game. (Still going to
get one, because MBT brick!)
I hope you enjoyed this battle report. Thanks for taking
the time to read it; I know I can be long-winded most of the time, so I
appreciate you seeing this post thru to the end. Please leave a comment
below (something, anything!), and check back later for more adventures on the
road to Valhalla!