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:
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…
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…
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…
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…
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.
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…
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.