Saturday, 22 August 2015

Interplanetary AAR

Wow, what a weekend that was. I'll do a proper post about the trip, rumours/info and some pictures of the new Corvus Belli HQ in the next couple of days. For the time being you'll have to make do with some battle reports!

You can read about the lists I took here.

Warning, lots of words ahead!

Robin, Stuart and Ian outside the new Corvus Belli HQ.

The tournament itself was well run and the 1 hour 50 minute time limit on the rounds was never an issue except in game 3 where there was some confusion about the layout of objectives. The tables mostly seemed fine with only a handful at the extremes of open or dense.

However, due to the strict time limit I didn't have the time to make as detailed notes/pictures as I'd have liked so some things may be out of sequence or omitted. I've provided some approximated army lists from my opponents but they shouldn't be assumed to be 100% accurate. If you are able to correct me or provide more detailed/complete lists then please let me know!

I highly recommend watching all the very entertaining videos that were created by CB for the missions as a prelude to each mission and as an introduction to the event. They'll make things much more entertaining, trust me.

Game 1

Lovely Micro Arts Studio table. My DZ is on the left hand side.

Mission: Highly Classified
Primary Objectives: Test Run, Extreme Prejudice, HVT: Espionage, Sabotage
Secondary Objective: Telemetry
Opponent: Hassassin Bahram - Lord_Cabaleiro (overall 68th)
Approximate Army List: Not sure what I'm missing, a Ghulam or two maybe?

Given the wide variety of classifieds in this mission, I opted to use my Smart Missile list with its full range of specialists and a good amount of orders.

I won the initiative roll and chose to go first. I placed my Myrmidons and Dactyl on the right, Thorakitai and Zayin behind/in the building in the middle front of my DZ and Scylla guarding the left. Lord_Cabaleiro deployed quite conservatively with a Lasiq Sniper peaking down the left flank and a Muyib HRL (as part of a 5-man link with the Spec Ops) guarding the right. He also deployed a Fiday in the building with the Zayin, my Chandra and a Yudbot neatly lined up. Uh-oh!

Turn One
The Myrmidons swept down the right flank, dismantling the Muyib link and a Daylami who failed to infiltrate as they went. The linked Hacker completed HVT: Espionage but was eventually shot up by a Farzan who I chose to ignore rather than try and Discover. Orders were at a premium and I couldn't afford to waste them dealing with Camouflage.

After a couple of failed Discover rolls against the Fiday with the Daleth and Yudbot, I tried with the Chandra who was too tempting a target. The Fiday fired, missed and was perforated.

LC spent his turn breaking up my Myrmidon link. His Farzan shot up one of my Chain Rifle 'Dons and coup-de-graced my Hacker for a classified. He also wounded Phoenix but couldn't finish him off before I smoked up.

Thorakitai and Dactyl move up to complete Telemetry and Sabotage.

Turn Two
Now that I felt I had done enough damage, I spent the turn picking up objectives. My remaining Myrmidon cut up the Farzan in combat and scored Extreme Prejudice, the Dactyl ran up the table and Sabotaged my target building and the Thorakitai moved up and Forward Observed a second Farzan who revealed himself to ARO shoot.

In return, my opponent's Lasiq did two wounds to Scylla's Devabot but failed to destroy it outright. However his Ghulam FO managed to kill my last Myrmidon and finish off Phoenix - completely wiping out the threat on that flank. Light Shotguns are scary weapons.

Turn Three
The Dactyl used her Yudbot to fix up the Devabot for my final Classified and the Thorakitiai cleaned up their side of the battlefield.

Now in Retreat, Lord Cabaleiro was unable to do any further damage - other than put the Devabot back into unconscious.

This was a very solid first game and was probably the most straight forward match for my army. There weren't any unachievable objectives and all my units performed admirably. Phoenix did everything he needed to do and the Myrmidons soaked up so many orders from my opponent even after they stopped actually being useful to me.

One thing I really don't understand is why the Fiday was put in a room with my Zayin, Chandra and Yudbot. While it took a few orders to clear up it never really had a chance to do any actual damage.

Lord_Cabaleiro's second list included a four-man Asawira Fireteam and I'd love to know how his other games went!

Objective Points: 10-1
Victory Points: 195-31

Game 2

More Micro Arts Studio scenery. Again, my deployment on the left.

Mission: Supremacy
Secondary Objective: Test Run
Opponent: Yu Jing - Alex (overall 5th)
Approximate Army List: Missing line infantry and maybe an Engineer?

Knowing that Yu Jing can have a lot of Heavy Infantry and Remotes, I chose my first list again so I'd have plenty of Hacking power. Again I won the initiative roll and went first, hoping to do crippling damage on turn one.

The Myrmidons were deployed on the right with the Chandra's Yudbot and Scylla. The Thorakitai guarded the left and the the Remotes were in the middle with the Dactyl.

Alex deployed two(!) Hsiens at ground level, a Bao Sniper and Monk on the blue building looking directly into my DZ (with a Yaozao to heal it back up). There were also a variety of Camo markers deployed, five in all, one on the rooftop of the large centre building, one in the green building on the midline, one among the pipes at the back and two mines on the ground to restrict my manoeuvrability.

Turn One
This game was silly. Phoenix popped out to shoot the Bao but was wounded, patched back up then did the exact same thing again. On a third attempt he finally hit but failed to cause a wound so the Bao dropped prone. I then spent a chunk of orders discovering and blowing up the mine in the middle of the battlefield with my Daleth. My Thorakitai tried to discover the Guilang on the left but failed. Repeatedly. Without enough orders to really make a push and without having neutralised any threats I just turtled up in my DZ and decided to concede any early points in favour of preserving my army.

Alex's luck wasn't much better. The Monk dropped smoke for the Bao who stood up and shot at my Zayin (TR Remote). The Zayin critted and knocked the Bao down. The Yaozao healed the Bao but was shot in the process. The Bao attacked the Zayin again, hit, but I passed both my saves. He tried again and we both crit, he tried a third time but missed and the Zayin rolls triple 1's to hit - finally killing the pesky Sniper outright!

His Hsien tried to move up but took two wounds from the Zayin (after Move-Moving) and needed to be healed by the doctor's second Yaozao - at the cost of two Command Tokens - before finally taking the TR remote out of action for good.

Thorakitai moving up the table.

Turn Two
Now that I was free to move my Myrmidons I pushed them up the right flank to try and find some damage. Phoenix tanked a mine and rocketed the wounded Hsien, the Doctor and Yuriko Oda before consolidating into a defensive position split across the two right hand quadrants. The Fireteam also hacked both Consoles on that flank. The Thorakitai finally spotted and cleared up the Guilang so they safely controlled their area and could hack their console too.

A Monk tried to Chain Rifle one of my Myrmidons, but it was dodged. The second Guilang was used to kill off my Netrods and his, highly suspicious, rooftop Camo troop moved into the near right quadrant. His second Hsien revealed itself as a Chain of Command Spec Ops and hacked the far left console.

The Camo marker turned out to be a Daofei, which outpointed my two Myrmidons in that area, so we were tied on quadrants.

Turn Three
I had no good way of engaging the Daofei directly, so transferred the Daleth to my main combat group leaving the Samekh with just two orders. The Daleth moved up and successfully Sat-Locked the Daofei, who ate a Smart Missile and exploded. Messily.

The (hero) Daleth then moved further up the middle of the table, shot up the last Guilang and got into position to secure the HVT.

Deep into retreat now, Alex was unable to contest any further objectives.

A very scrappy game at the beginning, it really turned around on the second turn. If I could have dealt with the Bao more efficiently I could have conceivably scored an extra point or two, but a solid result overall against a good player.

Alex was a great opponent and we had a good laugh over our respective ridiculous dice rolls.

Objective Points: 7-4
Victory Points (approx): ~260->75

Game 3

A beautiful and terrifying table as seen from my deployment zone.

Mission: Nimbus Zone
Secondary Objectives: Test Run, HVT: Designation
Opponent: JSA - Lawni (overall 2nd)
Army Lists: This is the actual list used.

Again, I won initiative and took the list with the most orders (and the best chance of completing the classified objectives). My plan was to switch off three of the Antennae on turn 1 thereby guaranteeing some points. The Thorakitai went on the right and the Myrmidons on the left. The Zayin and Dactyl were on top of the large white building and the rest were scattered about my deployment zone.

Lawni deployed a LOT of prone Keisotsu spread around the buildings in his DZ, a Chaiyi Yaokong on one flank and a Pangguling (which he later told me was a holoprojection) on the other. A Husong Yaokong had pride of place on a tall building and was, along with his Warcor, one of his only ARO units on turn one. Note that his Keisotsu were all unlinked on turn one.

Turn One
Thrasymedes took a crack at the Husong (Total Reaction Remote) on the right flank but got critted. The Chandra took a shot too, hoping to get closer in order to revive Thrasymedes - but she was critted as well. I have to admit that this put me on tilt and severely set back my plans. I was however able to get my Daleth onto the Antennae and survive the normal rolls from the Husong in order to disconnect it successfully.

The Myrmidons went round the left side, safely disconnected a second Antennae but didn't have enough orders to press onto the third one. Smoke was potentially unreliable and order intensive within the Nimbus Zone as well, which didn't help.

Lawni formed up his Fireteams, captured the other two Antennaes under smoke cover from Yojimbo and dealt with the Suppressing Daleth. A Rui Shi tried to shoot up Phoenix but failed to score the kill, getting immobilised by the Myrmidon Hacker in return. The Hacker was then Brain Blasted. Ouch.

Blood bath. Things were not looking good for our plucky Thorakitai!

Turn Two
Phoenix and the Zayin started picking apart Keisotsu and the Rui Shi, but there was just so much stuff that I couldn't make a significant dent and move on the objectives at the same time, especially with no linked up specialists. The Zayin became damaged at some point but was fixed by the attendant Dactyl.

Lawni consolidated his position and spent a significant chunk of orders downloading data from two of the three consoles. He made a further attempt at Phoenix but still couldn't make the kill. Good for me given that I no longer had Chain of Command!

Turn Three
With desperation setting in, I knew I needed at least one Console. My Zayin out-shot his Husong in a stroke of luck and discovered and destroyed a mine that his Spec Ops had placed, although it took two orders to do so. One of my Thorakitai Forward Observers made a move on the rightmost Console, killing one Keisotsu, but the other tanked four(!) SMG hits and gunned down the Thorakitai when I tried to (unsuccessfully) take the objective with my last order.

Without my Thorakitai in place to defend the final console, Lawni proceeded to access the last of the data and he called the game there.

Well, that was bad. To be honest though my luck wasn't too unreasonable overall, just swingy. At the time I was feeling a bit salty about the game, but in hindsight I definitely should have just kept calm and played differently. There was definitely a point or two that I could have picked up if I had remained focused. Lesson learnt.

We made some rules errors as well, forgetting about the Nimbus Zone for the first few orders, which was frustrating as Thrasymedes would have lived otherwise. and Lawni accidentally deployed Shinobu in the middle of the battlefield forgetting about the exclusion zone.

Objective Points: 1-7
Victory Points (approx): 150-180

Game 4

Showing what you can do with three packs of Icestorm scenery. My DZ is on the left.

Mission: Annihilation
Secondary Objectives: Telemetry, Test Run
Opponent: Bakunin - Manda (overall 40th)
Approximate Army List: Groupings are definitely wrong as it was close to an 8-8 split.

Again I had my Myrmidons on the right and Thorakitai on the left. I don't know why it almost always ends up this way, but it does! The Daleth also went on the left along with the Dactyl while Scylla held the far right flank.

Manda deployed his Moderators clustered prone on a centre rooftop with only his 'super-sniper' visible. There was also a Reverend Custodier on each flank and the remaining troops huddled behind total cover with only the Vertigo Zond peaking out for a cheeky ARO. He also placed a string of five Camo markers along the centre line - proudly declaring that he was playing 'Ariadna-style'.

Turn One
The Daleth moved up the left of the table, Sat-Locked the Zero Hacker which was prone on a rooftop, then climbed up onto the building to fill it full of Combi rounds and Telemetry the body.

Phoenix then lead his Myrmidons into battle on the right, taking down Manda's Vertigo Zond and Spec Ops 'super-sniper'. One of the Myrmidons climbed a building with another Camo marker on it, discovered the Zero and shot it before climbing back down while dodging the mine that was placed in ARO.

Manda activated his third(!) Zero and used Forward Observer on my Netrod and HVT before shooting the Netrod. He then used his Reverend Custodier to successfully fire a marker towards my Daleth, but repeatedly failed to hack it. His Zero tried to re-camo but was still in Sensor range so failed.

Note: We queried the status of the Netrod rules with the TO for this game. I believed that they were equipment in all respects, whereas my opponent was of the understanding that they counted as Troopers. The TO came down in favour of my opponent. As this is contrary to recent FAQs, I played them as equipment in all other games.


Turn Two
My Zayin filled the last Zero with lots of small holes, allowing my Dactyl to try (and fail) to repair the Netrod using her Yudbot. The Daleth poked it's head round the building and shot at the Custodier, but failed to injure her. Phoenix kept storming up the flank, this time killing off a Sin Eater and the other Custodier.

Manda's Morlock impetuously moved up to my Daleth and both took a wound. Unfortunately for me the Morlock regenerated which would make it difficult for me to repair the damaged Remote.

He also revealed a Prowler with Spitfire that cut through my entire Thorakitai Fireteam before succumbing to the Nanopulser of my Chandra. That was quite a blow!

Turn Three
Phoenix carried on his rampage, this time dealing with a Doctor and Engineer. By now I was deep in my opponent's deployment zone and running out of things to shoot at that weren't prone on rooftops!

The Dactyl worked her way up the left, bringing her Yudbot along too. The Yudbot suicidally repaired the Daleth (it ate the Morclok's Chain Rifle ARO) and the Dactyl spent four or five orders shooting at the Custodier (I shuffled her into the main Combat Group) but failed to leave a mark.

On Manda's turn, the Morlock put a wound on the Dactyl while tanking the Combi hit and with that the game ended.

I was very close to getting an extra point from this game and it's possible that, if I had done the math, I should have gone hunting for rooftop Alguaciles using Phoenix instead. Overall I was pretty happy with how the game went though even if the Thorakitai went down a bit too easily.

Icestorm scenery must be weighed down - Seriously. This stuff moves around like nothing else, especially on the slightly shiny Icestorm maps. There were a lot of times where cover 'moved' and had to be adjusted. This puts both players in an uncomfortable situation and makes the status and placement of models a lot harder to keep track of.

Objective Points: 8-6
Victory Points: 176-80

Game 5

A lush green table, I don't know the manufacturer of the buildings. The view is from my deployment zone.

Mission: Transmission Matrix
Secondary Objectives: Telemetry, Extreme Prejudice
Opponent: Yu Jing - Daixomaku (overall 13th)
Approximate Army List

This one was pretty exciting really. I opted to go second on this mission as due to the vast repeater coverage there is a decent advantage if you have a lot of hackers. Also, having last crack at the objectives each turn is beneficial. I did get put on the far worse side of the table however.

I deployed the Thorakitai and Daleth on the left behind the adverts and fences, the Myrmidons and Scylla on the right among the crates and the Dactyl/remotes behind the building.

Daixomaku had Sun Tze v2 on top of the back right building, prone and within range of the nearby antennae. He then put a Minesweeper Pangguling on top of the other and a Camo marker by the central one. The rest of the list was bulked out by two Husong Yaokong, a Rui Shi, a HRMC Yan Huo, Shaolin, Hacker/CoC Spec Ops and a second Camouflage marker.

I jokingly reminded my opponent that he was somewhat obliged not to wipe me out in the first two turns.

Turn One
The Shaolin provided smoke cover for the Rui Shi who easily killed my Myrmidon Hacker. The Yan Huo took a shot at Thrasymedes but found itself out-matched so, now injured, backed off and tried a different approach. It took Scylla's Devabot out of action but the Myrmidons escaped further damage by smoking up. One of the Husong's took up a commanding position behind a tree near the middle of the far deployment zone. At some point one of my Netrods exploded as well.

Firstly, I aimed a couple of Brain Blasts from Scylla at Daixomaku's Spec Ops, but was unsuccessful. Celestial Guard make for great Hackers! I wanted to free my Chandra up for Doctor'ing duty, but couldn't while she was under threat of hacking AROs.

I used Thrasymedes to try and remove the Husong threat at range, breaking the Chandra out of the Fireteam. I thought that he would then be in position to hunt down the Yan Huo, but he went down to a pair of critical hits from the Husong. While I was at a disadvantageous range I expected to be protected by Cover and ODD - or at least be in a doctor-able state!

Phoenix was then used to try and pick up the slack. He finished off the Yan Huo without much problem, but then took two back-to-back criticals from the same Husong! Out of orders, and with no Fireteams left, I ended my turn without any points.

Sun Tze leading from the rear.

Turn Two
The Rui Shi continued to be a thorn in my side, picking off Scylla and attempting to cause further damage by shooting at my (unlinked) Myrmidons and Dactyl. Fortunately it failed to do much more and eventually caught a bullet. A lot of orders were spent on the Spec Ops who Brain Blasted my Chandra, leaving me with no remaining Hackers, then ran up my left flank and Data Scanned my Daleth before falling back into cover.

Now in Loss of Lieutenant (oops!) I was put in quite a tricky situation and was in desperate need of points. I used two Command Tokens to create Regular orders for my Daleth (plus one from the remaining Netrod) so that I had some options. The Daleth climbed over the fence in front of it and gunned down the Spec Ops, meandered up the flank and did the same to the Pangguling before Forward Observing the wreck. This tied us on Antennaes for the turn. The rest of my army repositioned as best it could and went into suppressive fire or consolidated onto objectives where possible.

Turn Three
Much to my surprise, Daixomaku dropped in a Tiger Soldier on the left flank in the blind spot between my Daleth and Myrmidon near the objective. Unsurprisingly he killed both, but couldn't advance any further without being suppressed by my Thorakitai.

Facing, facing, facing - The Tiger Soldier was only able to do damage because I didn't fully think through the facing on my Daleth. Definitely a mistake on my part.

The Ru Shi was repaired and tries to cause a bit more havoc - but was broadly unsuccessful. Lastly the Camo markers shuffled about a bit, one of them coming down the table to contest my left hand objective. I passed a discover roll and found it to be a Guilang.

Feeling rather surrounded - A Rui Shi, Guilang and Tiger Soldier all in or near my DZ - and fast running out of options, I carefully considered my last turn. In the end, I elected to have my Dactyl shoot and disable the Rui Shi, while her Yudbot moved in for the coup-de-grace. With the last order from that combat group, the Samekh detonated the Tiger soldier.

In the other group, the two Thorakitai, Myrmidon and Zayin made a coordinated order against the Guilang, but failed to injure him! The Myrmidon, who had run into combat with the skirmisher, managed to finish the job though.

With a handful of orders left the Zayin moved to contest the middle objective and was Immobilised by a newly revealed Guilang Hacker. The Zayin Reset successfully and attempted, but failed, to kill the Guilang.

Once again a Husong was the bane of my Fireteams and as expected the list definitely did suffer once key elements were removed from it. However I think I held pretty well overall in a very difficult situation and was pretty pleased with five points from a game where I went into Loss of Lieutenant and took a lot of unfortunate critical hits.

I think my last turn was wrong though. I'm still not 100% sure how I should have gone about it, but I think that I could have squeezed out an extra point somehow. It's possible that I should have abandoned one of my objectives and aimed for a 2-2 split by overwhelming the centre area, but at this point in the tournament the lure of getting 2 objective points was too strong.

Daixomaku was a great opponent and it was a very entertaining and nail-biting game!

Objective Points: 5-9
Victory Points (approx): 90-150


Final Result - 33/98

Prizes and goody bag contents. Spetsnaz, USAriadna Grunt, templates, markers and patches.

I made a fair few mistakes in this tournament. This was partly due to my unfamiliarity with some of the new missions (Nimbus Zone in particular) and partly a loss of focus on the objectives. I definitely feel that all the games were winnable and others could have had better outcomes if I had made different decisions in game. I need to learn to take a step back more often to properly assess the state of the game.

I also don't think that my second list was optimal. I can't really comment on how effective it could have been because I never used it, but I felt that ten orders and the rather unvaried line-up of specialists was not going to do me much good in any of the missions I played. In hindsight, I wish that I'd taken something different. I still think it is viable, but only when the mission selection has fewer, and less valuable, classified objectives.

Total Reaction remotes were defining pieces in many games and I'm certainly tempted to start taking them in pairs where possible. They really are excellent units and a fast HMG is still a reasonable active turn threat. They also have the benefit of often eating up an opponent's order even when damaged because their two levels of Unconscious and G: Remote Presence makes them easy to repair!

The Good

Daleth - This thing was a hero in almost every game I played. I managed to make use of its full suite of abilities over the course of the weekend and simply having a fast, Climbing Plus specialist with a Combi Rifle was great at times. There was no time where I couldn't think of something to do with it and I'll be taking one much more often from now on.

Phoenix - Do I really need to say more? Phoenix carries the only long range (>24") linkable weapon in Steel Phalanx and he does it in style. He was more than a match against most targets, with only a run of crits causing substantial inconvenience.

Dactyl - This was the biggest surprise for me. She was surprisingly consistent throughout the tournament and did fine at her intended role of picking up Classified Objectives and fixing the Zayin. She still isn't cheap though, partly due to carrying a lot of unnecessary equipment. What I wouldn't give for an in-faction Clockmaker!

The Bad

Scylla - Scylla was completely disappointing. Having discussed her with other people at the event it seems the consensus is that she doesn't seem to fit Steel Phalanx very well. There simply weren't many times when I wanted to spend orders on her instead of something else and her WIP is uninspiring. If Transmission Matrix wasn't in the mission pool then I would definitely have used the points for something else.

Thrasymedes - I don't think this series of games was really fair on the poor guy. He had a tendency to catch a hail of critical Total Reaction bullets whenever I needed him to do something important. We'll be having stern words once he's been re-cloned!

Chandra - It's possible that she should have had the Engineer skill instead of a Hacking Device. In Transmission Matrix I was left in a position where I couldn't activate her to attempt to Doctor for fear of getting hacked and my opponent was able to Brain Blast her to put me into Loss of Lieutenant.

Custom Command Tokens and S2 Silhouette.

So there we go. Tournament done and a solid top-half result which was pretty much what I hoped for. The players were pretty densely packed in terms of scores so an extra objective point or two could have made a big difference to ranking. I'll definitely be going back next year to try and do better!

Nothing more for me to say now other than a big thank you to Corvus Belli, the tournament organisers and my opponents for a fantastic weekend. Also a huge congratulations to my fellow English competitors i0003, IJW and Fathi Amirmoez who scored 3rd, 9th and 35th respectively.

Next year I'll have to remember the lessons I learnt, most importantly that I shouldn't try and out-drink Americans...


  1. Great reports Phlyk!
    Always very instructive. Thank you for sharing.
    Hope to be able to attend next year.

    1. Thank you. :)

      I'd definitely recommend going if you have the chance, I'm looking forward to next year already!

  2. Awesome reports! I am disspointed that you didn't like Scylla though. I just got her built/painted up and was thinking she would be pretty good in SP because she would have such a large footprint for hacking in an army with limited hacking capabilities. Do you think she would be more useful in vanilla where you can load up on some other hackers to make use of the repeaters?

    1. Yeah, I've got to say that I'm a bit disappointed too. I still think she was the right call for Transmission Matrix where I has two Sixth Sense 2 Hackers to back her up and Hacker density is super important, but I don't think she was appropriate for the other missions.

      I'll definitely be trying her out in vanilla as well though where our Hackers are substantially better. I'd especially be interested in trying her out with a HD+ Asura for White Noise placement!

  3. Hi Phlyk!

    Keeping the idea of smart missile list, if you had to quit a rebot from this list, who will be? Daleth or Zayin?

    The Daleth seems to be quite useful with sensor, discovering camo and satlocking, but the zaying provides long range support and ARO menace... A bit torn between both of them. The reasons is just own 2 rebots, and don't want to take another box for just one more fig.

    Thank you!

    1. Okay, I've had a think about this and realistically the Samekh is actually the least useful of the three! Both the Zayin and the Daleth perform really important roles in the army. Having said that, it's the Daleth I'd cut if it had to be one of the two.

      If we weren't playing Transmission Matrix, and so I could afford to cut back on the Hacker presence I'd also remove Scylla and reconfigure the Chandra. The list then gets bulked out with more Thorakitai, which would probably be various Remotes otherwise.

      This is a link to the modified version of the list in Army V