Rules Updates

Another guest post from Kyle Bonderud, this time holding forth on the recent rules updates! – Stinger Six (Mike)

Kyle again (yoink101) and I hope you are prepared to be provoked, informed of things you probably already know, and maybe a little bit entertained along the way. As you know, the errata for Dropzone was released on March 6th, and even though there has already been a lot of commentary, I figured I should write my thoughts down in one place instead of scattering them and repeating myself across the forum. Take a look:

Original Rulebook

Rulebook 1.1

Reconquest

Overall I am very happy with all of the changes. The new rules allow flame weapons to ignore evasion countermeasures, which means that flame throwers will wreck Freeriders and Praetorian Snipers, if they are ever able to get in range. A few clarifications have been made about units walking on from the edge of the table and unloading from hovercrafts. These are both nice because now we don’t have to get into yelling matches about how far onto the table the Hades and Ferrum can make it.

Now, the real change only applies to the Scourge so far, but with the upcoming Commanders, the UCM will get in on the action: Commanders in an Aircraft (and their aircrafts) can contribute to focal points. Sweet. The Scourge may actually be able to win tournaments, and now the Oppressor will not make the Desolator completely obsolete.

While that is pretty awesome, I found that most of the excitement for me was really in the alterations made to different units. I’ll start with the…

UCM

The UCM did very well with the update, gaining some flexibility and a reasonable amount of power. The Falcon is at the forefront of this change with a points reduction of 8 points and the addition of evasion countermeasures at +2. This change had been hinted at by HawkDave since invasion (or maybe before, it’s hard to tell from all the way over in the Bay Area) and I am excited to see it. Falcons will actually have a reasonable chance to survive AA fire. Most reaction shots against it will only hit on a 6+ meaning that they may not explode in a stiff breeze but Falcons will now be able to avoid those breezes long enough to at least get a shot in first.

The Seraphim now hits a little harder with the Bunker Buster at E11 and Demolisher D3+3 giving it a solid boost when attacking buildings. One of the guys at Endgame loves taking air wings for the UCM, and I expect to get annoyed trying to shoot down the incredibly sturdy Bomber. (EARF! – ed)

The Scimitar and Kodiak, two of the UCMs most potent weapons have gotten a solid buff as well. The Kodiak has received a Small Area template, which means it may still hit when it scatters, and that it will do a little more damage to buildings. Nice. The Scimitar no longer has to sit in a lane of fire like a wet rag in order to get a shot off, it can move! Thank goodness the trigger mechanism was placed back onto the steering wheel.

The Praetorian Snipers have simply had their Digital Ghillies changed to E+2, so there was no actual change, the extraneous rule has simply been removed.

The UCM got some solid and thoughtful changes overall, so now let’s take a look at the…

Scourge

The Scourge have gotten the simplest changes, although they are not entirely insubstantial.

The Corsair is cheaper, by a full 8 points. I think the thought is well placed, but the 4+ to hit will likely still be too much of an inconsistency for most players. One the other hand, Scourge players tend to drive by the seat of their pants and a couple of inaccurate albeit high powered shots may be just the thing that those crazy space bugs are looking for and the extra 8 points might convince those reluctant commanders to take the little buggers.

The Slayer and Tormentor have both been reduced by 4 points down to 50, which is nice. I don’t know that most players will switch because A8 is still vulnerable to taking double damage from most anti-tank fire. There is a player at Endgame who is planning on loading two Despoilers with Hunters, and I doubt this will sway him away from that. It would be nice, well, horrific and terrifying actually, to see some of the heavy tanks loaded with Razor Worms actually make it onto some tables though.

Destroyers cost 5 points more per base. It makes sense. They are super tough and have some pretty sweet guns. All of these are good and balanced, but it’s really about the aerial commanders for the Scourge. On the other hand, the…

PHR

The PHR got a solid haul with the update. All of their dropships and transports have been reduced in cost to much more closely match the other factions. The Poseidon is down 11 points, the Neptune 5, Tritons 3, the Junos 4, and the Angelos 8. The Stealth Missile batteries on the Tritons are also are additional 5 points cheaper. In a list that goes dropship heavy, PHR players will find themselves with 20 or more points left over, giving room for some of those cheaper Missiles, or an upgrade from Immortals to Sirens. In a faction that is lacking in mobility in a game about nobility, the new prices will be welcome for most PHR players. I know you might be thinking, “but Kyle, PHR dropships are way more durable than most other factions’ dropships” (did you notice how I was psychic there and inserted myself into your thoughts? Freud much?). To which I would say, “but they’re super slow, so deal with it.”

The Menchit also got some goodies with 2 extra shots and 3 extra inches on their flamethrowers, they have just enough range to attack Freeriders if those daring bikers think to attack a Menchit (and it survives). This is a cool change, but I doubt that anyone will be waiting in line to get those Menchit models that are still sitting on the shelves, although I must admit, I would like to try them out when the new waves of infantry start hitting the tables.

The Taranis got an energy boost from 3 to 4, which means that it will do a little more damage to infantry and has a sliver of a chance at taking out prowlers. Not much to write home about, but not unappreciated.

Finally, Barros has only one shot from each mandible. Cool. I still miss the nanomachines of both colors. Now let’s see…

Shaltari

The Shaltari definitely lost out this round, although they did walk away with a few buffs.

The Warspear has a second damage point. This is cool, and I’m not sure why the 108 point fighter didn’t have this to begin with. Well done Hawk.

The Thunderbird got the same treatment as the Falcon, so refer back to that paragraph if you want to know my thoughts. Well, I hope you care what my thoughts are if you made it this far into the article, I guess you could just be entertained by my ramblings.

The Ocelot, much like the Scimitar, can now shoot and move! I was expecting (hoping, praying?) to see the devastator rule applied to “quite simply the most powerful directed energy battlefield weapon yet witnessed by humankind.” I’m not complaining, who am I kidding, I’m totally complaining. The new rule is well balanced though, and I do expect to see an occasional Shaltari army knocking down buildings now.

The Jaguar, Dreamsnare, Braves, and Havens all received a points increase (10, 15, 3, and 5 respectively) as all of these units are very effective and some degree undercosted.

What these will do for the Shaltari players is make list building a little tougher. Likely, most players will see their typical lists increase by 30 to 50 points, depending in the number of infantry and Dreamsnare bricks brought to the table. This will mean dropping a squad or lowering the command value. I suspect that Shaltari players will have a tough time deciding between keeping that extra Eden or Spirit or dropping the third AA squad. This will likely mean that the leaderboards will be less filled with Shaltari. I do wonder if the Haven and Jaguar points increases were necessary with the aerial commander buff and the reduced cost of the PHR dropships. Time will tell.
Now, I have argued that the Jaguar does not necessarily need the points increase. Yes it is the most versatile unit this game has to offer, yes it very sturdy with A9, 4DP, and a passive save, and yes it can gate it around to put its firepower and points to good use all over the board. It was also a nice even 100 points which I am very upset about seeing disappear from lists. In some seriousness though, with aerial commanders (I’m looking at you Desolator) contributing to focal points, and hopefully more PHR players making their armies mobile, was it also necessary to make the Jaguar even more expensive than it’s already hefty price tag? HawkDave clearly thinks so, and I’m more than happy to give it a shot.
The Haven now 20 points will be a little less common on the battlefield, maybe. There has been some discussion on the forum about how survivable the Haven is. I’ll spell it out. it’s survivability relies on a passive save and a skimmer bonus. When a Haven is doing its job, it doesn’t get the skimmer bonus because it is moving half speed and magicing troops around. The way they work means that for the Haven to be anything special, you actually need two of them. One to dematerialize and one to materialize. 40 points to move a squad of braves around seems about right (110 points if you count the squad itself) especially because they are very flexible. Overall, well done Hawk.
Braves needed the increase. Even though they only have three DP per base, they’re pretty awesome and they don’t have to leave the table to grab objectives, they can jump right back into the fight, often the next turn, through any open gate. (Grumble)

Braves needed the increase though. Even though they only have three DP per base, they’re pretty awesome and they don’t have to leave the table to grab objectives, they can jump right back into the fight, often the next turn, through any open gate. (Grumble)

Dreamsnares are a potent unit for the passive bonus and that it happens to be the most effective anti infantry unit on the table currently (unless those infantry are smart enough to stay hidden). Once I witnessed the owner of a Dreamsnare bubble with joy as 30 Legionnaires moved to man the walls. They died.

If you chose to take issue with my gripes, please post below this so that I may delete your comments and I may continue to pretend that you don’t exist. Not really. Please feel free to disagree with me often. What is the internet if not a place for us to argue about things over long distances and wait impatiently to see if I won the argument or you have actually gone to sleep and forgotten about me stewing in front of a screen? Nothing, that’s what.

Now, for the piece de…

Resistance

The Resistance got some sweet discounts, and a solid restructuring of the Freeriders. They now hit with E9. Thank goodness. That first time that I saw my opponent bring on FOURTEEN BASES of Freeriders, I was a little nervous. When I actually hit them with a template, I laughed maniacally, then a bunch of my stuff got claymored to oblivion. At least now they kill less. I had heard some nonsense about a points increase, which I don’t think would have been a bad idea, but this seems to deal with them pretty well in my mind.

Occupation Veterans and Berserkers are cheaper now by 4 points each, except that Occupation Veterans are now cheaper and better (I think, my math is old and tired) than the Scourge Aged Ones. Maybe we’ll see some Jacksons with these guys now (yay?) more than just those pesky little Resistance Fighters. I haven’t played enough games against the Resistance to know if either of these units were underrepresented, but the change seems okay to me.

Storm Wagons and Rocket Technicals are 3 and 2 points cheaper. Again, they didn’t seem super expensive to me, although they are fun to make explode if your opponent is foolish enough to place them anywhere on the table, so maybe more of them are more fun to blow up? I can only hope.

Well, that’s it for me, thanks for reading this far and I’m sorry for you if you did. It is quite excellent to enjoy a game where the creator is actively watching what happens on the table and makes adjustment to make the game more fun and balanced. It’s a rare thing to see and would like to say thank you HawkDave!

I’ll have to tell him that sometime, because something tells me he won’t read this article.

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7 thoughts on “Rules Updates

  1. Nice write up, Kyle.

    But, uh, Havens aren’t always gating, and when they’re not gating, they’re always skimming (unless, of course, they’re being gated themselves, I guess), which means they’re only “easier” to kill about, oh, 1/3 of the game? Yeah, sounds about right… 8^P

    It’s not just the Havens, it’s that Shaltari also have access to Spirit Light Gates, so the Havens “anchor” a building in the Shaltari players half of the table, sheltering behind that building, while the Spirits race ahead to get into position to allow Infantry to go from the Shaltari players backfield to…, yeah, anywhere they feel like, and then maybe a Haven sticks its neck out and scoots over to behind another building?…

    Yeah, Havens needed a 5 point increase, Bro… 8^D

    And I’m sorry you were traumatized by 14 bases of Freeriders when you first faced Resistance. Yeah, that’s waaay too many to ever field, even at very high points levels. That’s a “That Guy” move… Give that guy a Spam & Cheese sandwich!… LOL!

    Keep the articles coming! We’re reading ’em!…

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    • Yeah, Havens really did need the bump. Mine rarely skim though. Turn 1 or 2 drop and unload. Turn 2 or 3 they might skim, or they might relocate a squad or two and start moving towards the board edge. The ones with out objectives then try to drop infantry into enemy buildings, maybe getting a second turn of skimming. Really, mine only skim when they are waiting for troops to finish cqb or find an objective.

      The 14 Freeriders was a one time thing.

      Thanks for the feedback!

      Like

  2. I haven’t the rulebook with me, but how many different weapons does the dreamsnare have? Because you can only target 1 base of infantry per weapon. So killing 30 (6 bases) should probably be imporrible. Same with flame weapons.

    PS: nice writepup. 😉

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    • ^^ Exactly what he said, I was going to say the same thing. You can only target 1 base per weapon.
      Good write up, I like reading other peoples opinions on units and the rules updates. Although it does seem that most of the community agree, they are all pretty damned excellent.

      Like

    • Snaps! That is a really really good point… I overlooked that rule. I have been playing it wrong as well then. I didn’t realized that you can’t “overkill” units in a squad.
      That changes a lot of things for the way that I will utilize FACs and going to the wall in the future! It also seriously devalues the Tormentor for me… since 2 of them can only kill 2 bases per turn… I think I might stick with my method of just dropping buildings instead.

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  3. Yeah. I’ve apparently been playing that wrong. It has only come up once or twice though. It does make flame weapons much less awesome than I thought they were. Menchits and Tormentors will probably never make the cut for me.

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