Monday, 13 July 2015

Operation Firestorm

Apologies for the rubbish quality pictures in this post, I stupidly left the SD card for my camera in my computer so was stuck with just my phone for the day.

This Saturday I braved the rail strikes in order to attend Operation: Firestorm held at Firestorm Games in Cardiff. The format for even was 300 points and the missions were Transmission Matrix, Seize the Antennas and Frontline.

The event was organised by Callum Wright (Flipswitch) and the venue could not have been better. If you haven't been down to Firestorm Games before then I highly recommend it, they have a great selection of stock and a fantastic gaming space. I can't believe that I hadn't been to visit before.

Is this what heaven looks like?

As this was my last tournament before I attend Vigo in August I really wanted to gain some further experience with my Steel Phalanx in N3.

My first list was a small variation on the one I ran for the Spring Challenge with a second Hacker instead of the Spitfire. The reasoning being that Hackers are good for a range of Classified Objectives and Stealth/Sixth Sense L2 is an amazing combo on a Hacker when playing Transmission Matrix. Also, the Spitfire should be redundant in most games as it is generally outclassed by Eudaros/Phoenix.

Again, the Zayin and Warcor are included to provide an expendable buffer for when I go second.

 2Myrmidon2Hacker | 12 models
________________________________________________________

Combat Group #1
 Machaon Lt (39|0.5)
 Eudoros (40|0)
 Phoenix (35|2)
 Myrmidon Officer BS CC (37|1)
 Myrmidon Hacker (31|0.5)
 Myrmidon Hacker (31|0.5)
 Myrmidon Chain (16|0)
 Myrmidon Chain (16|0)
 Thorakites FO (13|0)
 Thorakites FO (13|0)
Combat Group #2
 Zayin Rebot (26|1)
 Warcor (3|0)
________________________________________________________

300/300 points | 5.5/6 swc


My second list was an attempt to work Achilles into an army. The 2.5 SWC tax on the Spitfire has made me want to try out the MULTI Rifle profile, especially with the buffs it received this edition.

Achilles was accompanied by all the usual suspects as well as an Agema Marksman to help soften up tough targets or Fireteams who could threaten him.

 Achilles & Friends | 10 models
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 Achilles Lieutenant (73|0)
 Agema MULTI Sniper (30|1.5)
 Phoenix (35|2)
 Machaon (39|0.5)
 Myrmidon Officer BS CC (37|1)
 Myrmidon Chain (16|0)
 Thrasymedes LRL (30|0.5)
 Thorakites Param (14|0)
 Thorakites FO (13|0)
 Thorakites FO (1330)
________________________________________________________

300/300 points | 6/6 swc


I'm pretty happy with both these lists, the Myrmidon-spam one is tried, tested and consistently efficient and the Achilles one looks to be a solid rush build that can easily deal with the TAGs that could cause the first list fits.

My real concern was coming up against mass-Camo Ariadna which would severely stretch my order pool, but fortunately the tournament was just full of Nomads instead!


Game One

Vs. Gareth playing Nomads in Transmission Matrix
Classified Objectives: Telemetry & Data Scan


Game one table - Beautiful!

I took the Myrmidon list for this mission because it had the necessary Hackers for Data Scan and I really wanted to make use of all those Repeaters. 

I won the initiative roll and really couldn't decide on what option to take. The nearside deployment was clearly better, but first turn was also important because of the rushy nature of the list. In the end I chose deployment and Gareth obliged me by opting to go second in order to have last crack at the objectives each turn.

I deployed a Thorakitai prone next to each of the objectives by my DZ in order to guarantee that I would hold them. Phoenix/Machaon/Officer/Chain went on the left and Eudaros/Hacker/Hacker/Chain on the right outside of Repeater range. Zayin went centre back and the Warcor was deployed on the bridge with great line of sight.

Gareth had a mix of Alguaciles scattered around his deployment zone, a TR Remote, HMG Sin Eater, Interventor, Reverend Moira and a Doc/Engi. There were also a couple of camo markers hanging around the half way mark. Overall, suspiciously low on points!

Steel Phalanx Turn One
The game went pretty much as planned with Phoenix sweeping round the left flank and successfully engaging the Sin Eater (catching a Zondcat and Alguacil in the blast) and then the Total Reaction Remote (this time snagging the Interventor Lt by accident). He took a wound in the process but was healed up by Machaon.

My Warcor successfully discovered a Zero, but Eudaros failed to killed it, so the Zero dodged into total cover.

The Myrmidon hit squad spread out to cover all approaches.

Nomad Turn One
Now in Loss of Lieutenant, Gareth tries to make the best of a bad situation. The Reverend used Controlled Jump (and got Basilisked by my Hackers) to safely bring a Hellcat down on the left side of my Deployment Zone and he burnt a bunch of Command Tokens to shoot up my TR remote and put a wound on Machaon. Unfortunately the Hellcat ended up getting taken down by a long range Combi shot from my Myrmidon Hackers at the far side of the table.

A Spektr came round the side of the building that Phoenix's link was hiding behind and dropped a mine next to them to try and limit their movement, but ate a pair of Boarding Shotgun rounds to the from my Officer for his trouble. 

Steel Phalanx Turn Two
My left Thorakitai ran up and Dodged to clear the mine dropped by the Spektr, allowing my Myrmidons to move off safely. Unfortunately I stupidly left the back-left objective unclaimed as I didn't think to run him back afterwards!

Phoenix continued his rampage, netting a another two kills against Alguaciles, and then consolidated onto the centre objective while Machaon patched himself up with the help of a Command Token.

With nothing left to do this turn, I decided to take the opportunity to pick up my Classifieds and spent a good chunk of orders Data Scanning and then Forward Observing the unconscious Hellcat. A model has literally never been more spotted/observed/identified!

Nomad Turn Two
Gareth then revealed a second Spektr right near the centre objective, this time with Boarding shotgun, who was able to hit Phoenix, Machaon and a Myrmidon in one template! The Myrmidon goes unconscious and Phoenix takes a wound when I try to have everyone shoot back against the first attack. I smoked up heavily against the second one, not wanting to risk more shooting against TO in cover.

With smoke up the Spektr does a hail Mary run into combat with Phoenix and is quickly dispatched.

Turn Three
With the game basically over at this point, I further secure my position over the objectives, heal the downed Myrmidon and the Nomads go into Retreat.

Results: 10-0. 274 VP Retained. 


Game Two

Vs. Darren playing Aleph in Seize the Antennas
Classified Objective: Experimental Drug


My next table, with some scary wooded areas.

Note that we had special rules in place for forests where they were considered to be Zero-Vis Smoke when shooting through them and had standard rules when shooting into or out of. This meant that the table was slightly less open than it appeared.

I lost the initiative roll and was given the near-side deployment area. I decided to take the first turn as I felt that I couldn't safely deploy my Fireteams on this side and protect them for a whole turn, especially against the MSV2+ that vanilla Aleph tends to bring.

The Thorakitai went in the centre to pick up the closest objective, Achilles and the Myrmidons were on the right, ready to run down that flank and the Agema was in the woods behind the boxes on the left.

Darren deployed a Proxy 1, Myrmidon Officer (no Chain of Command), Sophotect and Asura among the blue containers in his DZ. There was a Proxy 2 on top of the building, a Dakini HMG and Deva Hacker at the back centre among the small crates and a Naga near the middle objective.

After Darren had deployed, I'd identified his Myrmidon Officer as being the only possible LT in the army, so made it my plan to target it with Achilles straight away.

Steel Phalanx One:
Achilles happened. He swept up the right flank, taking a wound on the way in from a Proxy 2 Sniper. He then picked off a Sophotect with his gun and cut up the Asura and Myrmidon Officer Lt in combat. H ended the turn in Suppressive Fire behind a container which I thought would leave him safe but in hindsight that was foolish as it opened him up to reprisal from Hackers. I should have just ran him into low cover where he could see any enemies approaching.

I also secured the closest objective using the Thorakitai.

Aleph Turn One
Darren used a Naga Hacker to immobile Achilles using Basilisk and then a couple of orders of shooting from the Dakini HMG was enough to finish him off. He then used the Proxy 1 to pick up his closest objective.

Steel Phalanx Two:
With Achilles down, it was time to bring in the backup! Phoenix went up the right hand side as well, taking down the Naga with his Assault Pistol and then the Dakini HMG (catching the Deva Hacker in the blast). Unfortunately the Proxy 1 survived my attack against it and ducked back behind a container.

I secured the objective by the tower in the centre (after three attempts!) and spread the link out to stay safe.

Aleph Turn Two
Darren dropped Diomedes down and took some shots at the Myrmidon link with him and the Proxy 1, but I managed to smoke up. Phoenix took a wound at some point but I failed to note who caused it!

Turn Three
The Officer with Boarding Shotgun breaks from the link and rushes the Proxy 1, killing her and tanking an attack from Diomedes. Phoenix then picks off Diomedes, is healed up by Machaon and I safely collect the final objective.

Results: 10-0. 227 VP Retained. 


Game Three

Vs. Phil playing Tohaa in Frontline
Classified Objectives: Data Scan & Extreme Prejudice




Again, I lost the initiative roll, was given the nearside DZ and decided to take the first turn. It may not be easily visible from the picture, but there was a long row of walls in the middle of the far deployment zone and my biggest concern was that the entire Tohaa would be deployed prone behind those walls and interspersed with Heavy Flamethrowers. This would have made my first turn very awkward.

I deployed Phoenix/Officer/Hacker/Chain on the left among the rocks and Eudaros/Machaon/Hacker/Chain on the right hand side behind the red building.. Again there was a 'Kite on each flank, the Warcor on top of the red building and the TR remote on the right supporting Eudaros.

Fortunately Phil decided to play super aggressively, with a triad of 2 Kamael and Sakiel standing up in cover on the left, 3 Makaul and Ectros out of cover in the middle and a couple of Gao Rael, two HFT and one HMG Auxiliar on the right behind some rocks. He also had a hidden HRL Auxiliar in the centre and a TO Camo marker on the gantry on the far side of the big grey container.

His army was one that was particularly scary with lots of Fire, Viral and MSV2. Fortunately, he tried to out-aggro me and nobody does raw aggression better than Steel Phalanx! 

Steel Phalanx Turn One
Phoenix shoots at the Kamael/Sakiel triad that was deployed opposite him in his Line of Fire. That was unsurprisingly messy and only one Kamael survived the attack.

The next thing to deal with was the Gao Rael Sniper behind the low walls. My Zayin opened up on it and took off one wound and I converted the Warcors Irregular order using a Command Token to allow the Zayin to fire again and finish it off.

With free reign to advance, Eudaros brought his Fireteam forwards and picked off the two Makauls that were guarding the Ectros.

Tohaa Turn One
Little did I know, but it turned out that the Sakiel I killed was the Tohaa Lt, so for the third game that day my opponent started turn one in Loss of Lieutenant! Again, a lot of Command Tokens were used up this turn.

The Clipsos on the gantry tried to Target my Myrmidon Officer, but failed. A Gao Rael with Spitfire tried to kill Eudaros but I smoked up. The rest of his troops just shuffled around a bit, including moving the HMG Auxiliar to a position where it can also see Eudaros and the HRL one into position to stop the advance of my Fireteams. Despite my suggestion, Phil doesn't put he Gao Rael into Suppressive Fire.

Steel Phalanx Turn Two
The Myrmidon Officer picks off the Clipsos using her Boarding Shotgun without any problem. The Warcor tried to blind the HRL Auxiliar but got blown up. Eudaros managed to take out the HMG Auxiliar and then the Gao Rael in short order though. 

Eudaros then decided it's time to assault the Ectros, knocked a wound off with shooting then broke from the link and engaged it in hand-to-hand, fearing a Critical Hit which would have seen him get instantly killed. But after a couple of unexciting orders, Eudoros got critted in combat instead and I decided not to keep spending orders pressing to attack.

The rest of my army moved into better positions to claim table areas.

Tohaa Turn Two
The Ectros finished off Eudaros in combat(!) and then effortlessly gunned down the Chain Rifle Myrmidon using his Viral Rifle. 

The two HFT Auxiliar tried to move into a better position to threaten my 'Dons, but they don't survive the AROs while on the move.

Turn Three
The Zayin and Machaon picked off the Ectros, the Hacker ran off and Data Scanned, then coup-de-graced, the unconscious Gao Rael and Phoenix exploded the last surviving Kamael who was hiding at the far corner of the table.


Results: 10-0. 241 VP Retained. 


Conclusion


Overall, I had three very strong games, although I have to admit I would't have taken lists this focused if I had known how many newer players there were going to be at the event. A fair amount of the more experienced participants had to pull out on the day!

All three games began with me killing off Lieutenants, although only in the Aleph game was it deliberate. In the other two it was just fallout from Phoenix, so it definitely goes to show how important it is to keep the LT safe and away from other models that are likely to be targeted. Having effectively two turns to attack with my full army meant that the games were definitely in my favour.

With first place safely secured I picked up an Armand who I will hopefully have on the battlefield soon.

I'd just like to thank Callum for organising the event and to Gareth, Darren and Phil for three enjoyable games. See you at the next one. :)

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