Recently, I’ve been playing my Resistance exclusively. I have been running a list composed of units regularly rejected by common thought, putting them through the paces to see if their reputation is rightly deserved. When reading this list, keep in mind that I didn’t expect anything from it. It is just putting a bunch of “sub par” units that I wanted to try on the table, and seeing how they perform.
First, I am not going to cover units already viewed as being good. These being Gun Wagons, Flame Wagons, Krakens, Fighters, Jacksons, Lifthawks, and Free Riders. What I will be touching on are double Alexanders, Hannibals, low infantry count Resistance, Berserkers, and Hellhog with Cobra Missiles. So first the command sans Thunderstorm.
It’s not so much that the Alexander is viewed as bad, it just has to live in the shadow of the Thunderstorm. The Thunderstorm spits out 4 E12 Demo2 shots, compared to 1 E12 Demo3 shot. E12 means the shots stand a fair chance of getting double damage, and with the weight of fire the Thunderstorm has, the Alexander’s Dev2 isn’t as sparkly as it otherwise would appear to be. So what does the Alexander have over the Thunderstorm? It can extend it’s range which is really useful, and it doesn’t lose the Devastator rule, so in some situations it performs better than the Thunderstorm. It also has a smaller footprint and a Lifthawk. With the AA upgrade on the Lifthawk, these two units together have quite the diverse kit being able to offer something to whatever the threat may be. Being able to fly is also a huge boon, as the Alexander is capable of jumping buildings and dusting off if things get too hot. I’ve really enjoyed having the second who is found speeding down a flank for a mid table drop turn 2 which puts pressure on the opponent, as if it’s allowed to clear into their side it has a great view of all those units hiding behind the central buildings. There’s even a chance of a turn 3 drop in the enemy’s half. The perfect accompaniment to this are the Hannibals.
The Hannibals were not seen so much due to their point cost, but recently that has come down and they are seen a bit more. Their cannons don’t always do so much being typically too slow to hunt the softer units, but they are an amazing soak. With A10, 2 DP, and low damage output, no one wants to shoot them unless they have no other choice. Giving your opponent hard choices helps wins games, and that is why my Hannibals have been accompanying that aggressive Alexander. They create the perfect bunker for it, meaning your opponent can either shoot at the Hannibals, or go for hull down shots against the Alexander. Either way, the return fire from these 3 tanks plus their Lifthawks is strong, and only the heaviest enemy armor will want to tangle with it. Make sure you don’t run into this scenario with careful first turn activation order and positioning. Though I am enjoying the Hannibals, being a soak is not necessarily good enough at 1500, as every point counts and I need to either do damage, or win missions, neither of which are accomplished by a soak. I see myself possibly cannibalizing them for more infantry.
The low infantry count is a product of shoving the other units in, and not by design, but after writing the list decided it would be worth checking out. My prediction was it wouldn’t be enough, and that was correct. With the way the Resistance battlegroups are set up it is easy to see that quantity of infantry is one of their strengths. Most of the lists I have been writing recently have 2 infantry BGs. Fighters are great, and the Feral deck makes them better. I really want to squeeze Occupation Veterans in, but not sure if they will fit. Between points and the fact I would not turn them into Berserkers with Unleash the Beast (this turns targeted infantry squad into Berserkers) I’m not sure if they fit. I am thinking I need to try 4 Fighter squads and 2 Berserker squads.
The Berserkers are solid. They are an excellent piece to trade for with enemy exotics, as they are cheaper than them. It can be a bummer when you need to search, but that is more to do with my small numbers of infantry than it is with the Berserkers. I don’t see forgoing them and relying on drawing the Unleash the Beast card as viable, as it’s not a guarantee where as putting the Berserkers in the list from the start is. Berserkers are an excellent threat that no one wants to find their exotics tangling with.
Lastly, the Hellhog with Cobra Missiles is always viewed as terribad (spell check didn’t flag this!). It’s not so much the Missiles, though some don’t like one shot weapons, as much as it is limited 2, and the Chaingun remains limited 2 without dropping the missiles for extra ammo. The fear is that in 2 turns you will expend all your ammo and then this 140 point bird will do nothing more. Firstly, you control when you shoot your limited supply of ammo, so perhaps blowing through it as fast as possible isn’t the wisest decision. By keeping the missiles you also diversify its threat potential meaning your opponent won’t be as free with his light dropships as he would have been if you took the extra ammo. The missile itself has a range of 24” which is amazing for air to air in this game. E8 and Ac 2+ often translates to a 2+/2+ (2+/3+ vs A6) for 1DP with a good chance of doubling; it doesn’t get much more guaranteed than that! Also, the Hellhog gets angles that only Gun Technicals in a Drill could get, but their AA is only E5. Lastly, it’s fire arc is F/S, so if given the opportunity to assassinate a backfield ground asset it can still often get the missile off if needed. I know it may seem I contradicted myself there, but different scenarios give rise to different situations, and with the missiles you’ll always have a response.
Having said all that, I’m not sure if the Hellhog itself is worth it. Even with the extra ammo, it is still 140 points! That is pricey at the 1500 point Clash level. The question I ask myself is, what can the Hellhog do that more Cyclones could not? I’ve been running 3 Cyclones, and dropping the drill and 1 AA turret would give me the 4th. If I drop the Hellhog I could get another 2 Cyclones and have around 30 points left over for the AA turret and who knows what else. Cyclones are just one example, there are plenty of good units in the Resistance roster that can easily be fit in place of the Hellhog. A lot of the Hellhog’s points are towards that sturdy frame, and any PHR player will inform you that paying too much for durability only results in more toys to pick up after the loss.
Before wrapping this up, some stories from the table top. I’ve had a few games where the Cobra missiles connect and cause my opponent to play for a draw for the 2nd half of the game, as half their infantry lost their light dropships and the few bases that survived were stuck in a building. I’ve also had them fail, but more often they come through at least partially. I’ve had the Maelstrom launchers on the Alexanders both miss; very frustrating when those limited weapons miss. Same story with the Alexander’s Equalizer cannon, it’s a big psychological threat due to it’s potential. For the most part it does what I need it to do, but there has been at least one game where neither wanted to hit and/or damage. Sometimes it seems like nothing lures the ones out better than those one shot weapons.
Moving forward, my first aim is to finish up more infantry so I can start play testing legitimate lists, not just sandbox lists. The other 2 bases of freeriders, or I need to up the CV as the small SoI can hurt sometimes. I haven’t missed higher CV though. I started dropping it with my Shaltari because I didn’t feel like it helped me enough for the points put in. Going low CV isn’t that much of a detriment, especially if you have access to good scouts. I have a 2nd Hellhog awaiting my brush’s attention too, and will need to try double Hellhog, as my current thinking on fast movers is take two or don’t take any. I’ll be trying Cobra Missiles on both before Extra Ammo on both. With their 140 point price tag I’m not too optimistic about either option. I also have a pair of Zhukovs and a Leviathan (that will be truly custom to allow all builds, including the Thunderstorm) waiting as well.