After writing an apparently inflammatory post about waiting to drop my Hades, I got to thinking about mobility and its usefulness in this game of fast moving, mobile, space-dropped, tank buckets, called dropships.
Also, reading these articles:
A little background. The two armies I play most are Shaltari and PHR.
Yup. The slowest, heaviest, biggest gunned, most straightforward cyborgs ever seen, and the tricky, good-for-nothing-except-pissing-my-opponent-off space hedgehogs.
To be fair though, I have spent more than one game with a Zeus hiding up in his dropship (thankfully, few people take fastmovers) from some sort of anti-tank swarm, be it Hunters, Freeriders, or Prowlers. In short, my PHR commander has spent time in the Shaltari school of battle.
Anyway, back to my original point. Some forumites were talking about taking a Hades in a dropship or just walking it on. I thought this was odd, because the one time I walked my Hades on, it spent the entire game doing nothing except shooting at a building. It is pretty good at shooting at a building, but not great for 205 points. Ever since then I’ve always taken the Hades in a Poseidon, especially after the cost was dropped to a mere 70 points. The only time I regretted it was when I tried to relocate my Hades and my opponent had two Athenas. In a 1500 point game, my opponent took two Athenas. Even then, the Hades survived the near fireball in the sky.
Typically I drop the Hades pretty early. It’s got a 36” tail gun range, which is nothing to scoff at on the standard 4’x4’ table. This means that a turn one drop will allow the Hades to threaten nearly the entire depth of the board (line of sight not prohibiting). A turn 2 drop will allow the Hades to threaten almost to each corner of the board. Dropping the Hades on turn 3 means that, if it can see something on the table, the tail gun will be able to shoot it.
Now, what if I have flown the Hades on, and either convinced my opponent to relocate or he (I say he because we don’t have a non-gendered pronoun, and let’s face it, you’re probably a dude it you’re reading this. If you’re not, welcome to the game you rare female gamer!) has successfully baited me into sending my Hades up the wrong flank? This means that if I drop my Hades on turn two, I am going to have a whole lot of nothing to shoot at in turn 3.
What I suggest is this: while many players want that enormous conglomeration of tail guns to be spewing forth hot chunks of metal every turn, it seems counterproductive to insist on dropping the behemoth when there is nothing to shoot at.
Mobility versus Bang!
We often spend time looking at the stats of a unit, well at least I do. The stats on the page can tell us a lot, and often, we stop there.
“Wow, the Hades can kill a squad of main battle tanks each turn, still drop a template on somebody, and hit scouts with those chainguns!”
If only that were true. Yes, the Hades can do all of that. If it does, your opponent is an idiot, or you are playing some kind of gauntlet/tower defense dropzone scenario. With the PHR, playing against anyone means that the other player is going to dictate where and when the engagement takes place. It doesn’t matter if the Hades can pump out eighteen E12 shots in a game if none of those eighteen shots go to the right targets.
When I use a Hades, my favorite place to drop it, is right next to a focal point. This forces my opponent to do one of a few things:
- Ignore the Hades and move on to an easier target, preferably one occupied by my Zeus or a Nemesis (when I finally get around to shelling out the cash for one).
- Sending a sneaky unit to contest the focal point while remaining out of sight of my Hades.
- Sending every gun possible to try to destroy the monstrosity before the end of turn 6.
The first option is my favorite, because I took my Hades in a dropship (remember) and I can move it and leave something smaller behind to hold the focal point and get those 205 points of Hades to another focal point.
The second option is my least favorite to deal with, because it means I actually have to do something about it. I don’t have many fast units in my PHR list, mostly because I don’t have enough points to fit a squad of Apollos in a dropship, and yes, I think that the Apollos really need a Neptune to shine. So it’s usually down to my (Januses?Jani?)…Janus scout walkers, or a run from my Athena, which probably has better things to do that don’t involve making a run at what probably is an AA capable scout unit.
The third option is lots of fun as well. Blowing things up is awesome, even if the Hades gets destroyed, this is what it was meant to do.
The fourth option involves setting up lots of AA to keep gates out. Helios jetskimmers the best squad at this because of their high volume of shots and a 6 inch move. Their E6 attack isn’t really a hindrance against the paper thin armor found on Shaltari gates. It is worth noting that most any dedicated AA squad can do this effectively, although Phobos walkers may have a tough time getting their sights on the gates.
In all four of these scenarios, I have given my opponent a problem that he needs deal with. Also worthy of note, is that only in option three does the Hades get to shoot at things in large quantities, and in all four options, the Hades has done what it needs to do, which is: forcing the opponent to react and change their plan.
Hold on a minute…
So, in short, sometimes it is worth it to wait a few turns before dropping a unit onto the table, even something as big and intimidating as a Hades. Killiness is not always the best measurement for how much a unit can contribute to your victory.