Tuesday, December 10, 2013

There are no D Weapons in Dropzone Commander!

I'm at once both amused and horrified at the upheaval caused by the Escalation update for 40k, amongst other things these last few weeks.

I'm having a hard time getting my head around the mad swinging of the ban/nerf bat that doesn't seem to address the core issues or balance problems that abound in the game.

Frankly, if folks nerf Daemons (if you haven't read, prominent vocal people are advocating banning the Grimoire), this will just make Eldar even more dominant. Dumb, reactionary, subjective, and really won't affect the core issue, that there is little to no competitive balance.

But, while I am amused and horrified, I'm also happily plugging along getting my head around Dropzone Commander!

My second starter box is ordered, but sadly appears to be on backorder at The Warstore...no worries, I've had lots of positive experiences with Warstore, and from those I expect to be getting it in a week or so instead of a few days.

Along with the second starter set (which, by the way, I'm hoping to get painted up ASAP so I can apply to be a Hawk Talon!) I've ordered the Command Vehicles for both the Scourge and the UCM. They're mandatory, so I figured why not!

And now the next exercise is trying to figure out what I want to take at 1500 points and start planning purchases there. I'm intending to do both UCM and Scourge, not only because I like them both but because I want to be able to have plenty of goodies for demo games to try to build up the community!

So, since my Hawk Games Forum account is not yet approved, I'm going to post my 1500 point list thoughts here, and maybe someone familiar with the game will give feedback! And if not, at least others will get some idea of cost of entry in to this fantastic game!

For both forces, I wanted to maximize the use of the forces from the Starter Sets. Fortunately it looks like the forces they chose to include are "staples" of both forces, so few parts will go to waste!

Here's the 1500 point UCM Force I want to try:

Bob UCM 1
Clash: 1500/1500 points
Standard Army
Standard Roster [1500/1500 pts]

Field Command [311 pts]
Kodiak: Kodiak(Lieutenant), Condor(+Missile Pods) [209 pts]
Wolverine Squad: 4x Wolverine A, 2x Raven B [102 pts]

Armored Formation [423 pts]
Sabre Squad: 6x Sabre, Albatross [288 pts]
^ Sharing ^ Rapier Squad: 3x Rapier [135 pts]

Legionnaire Corps [219 pts]
Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires, Condor, 2x Bear [141 pts]
^ Sharing ^ Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires [78 pts]

Legionnaire Corps [219 pts]
Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires, Condor, 2x Bear [141 pts]
^ Sharing ^ Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires [78 pts]

Special Ordinance [149 pts]
Gladius Squad: 2x Gladius, Condor [149 pts]

Air Wing [179 pts]
Archangel Squad: Archangel [67 pts]
Seraphim Squad: Seraphim [112 pts]

The Field Command Battlegroup is mandatory at this point level. It must contain a Command unit.

The Kodiak is the UCM Command Vehicle. The commander of a force has a Command Value rating that determines his bonus for the initiative roll for each turn, and determines  how many Command Cards (special cards drawn from a deck at random that let you do cool things) he can hold. This guy is only CV3 (the highest is a 6!) but is a reasonable 60 points (the highest guy clocking in at 220!). The vehicle itself is moderately tough, but has a "shooting attack" that is really not from the vehicle, but calling in an orbital strike. It's a pretty accurate very high power shot that does not require the Kodiak to see the target (someone else in my army must, and the Scouts excel at it!)

Also in the Command Battlegroup is a small Scout unit. They spot for the Indirect Fire from the Kodiak, extend the Commander's Sphere of Influence (the range at which he can use Command Cards on units), and these in particular have an AA gun that will probably be helpful in deterring enemy bombers from hitting the Kodiak.

A force of this size must include at least one (up to two) Armored Formations. In mine I've taken all six of the Sabres (Main Battle Tanks) from the two box sets, along with three of the Rapiers (Anti-Air Tanks), and have stuck them in one large dropship, the Albatross. I did this to save points, as having smaller dropships would take more points, and they'll be operating close together anyway. Also I think the Albatross looks really cool!

I also must include at least one (up to two) Legionnaire Corps. These include the staple Infantry (Legionnaires) that will go in to the buildings to secure objectives for me! From what I can tell, the UCM infantry borders on useless as far as killing things goes, but is absolutely vital for winning games. I don't have a good feel for how little infantry I can get away with, so would rather err towards the side of having too many...I figure if nothing else I can try to use them to deny objectives to the enemy. These guys are analogous to Troops in 40k...you can't win without them, but often skimp on them to fit in the sexy stuff!

I've got 4 Squads of infantry then, each 3 bases big, with an APC for each, and each pair of squads in it's own Dropship. My gut tells me this is too many points invested here, BUT, I really like the aesthetic of those APCs, so can't resist!

A Force of this size is allowed to have up to two "Special" Battlegroups, in which you can fit the super heavy tanks, or more support units, or even some of the more exotic troop types. I've chosen to take a small battlegroup that has two Gladius Heavy Tanks. They have two damage points (as opposed to the one the Sabres have) and their gun is identical to the Sabre gun except it has two shots. I'm a firm believer in having lots of heavy armor, and this seems to fit the bill!

And last, each Force is allowed some Air Support! The UCM has two Fast Mover Aircraft (they don't spend time on the table, instead making attack runs or intercepting enemy Fast Movers)...the Archangel Interceptor and the Seraphim Bomber.

The former looks to be a pretty good interceptor hopefully able to keep me safe from enemy bombers or tear up enemy dropships (ideally before they unload their cargo!). The Seraphim has a very powerful cannon, as well as a limited number of missile shots that should be able to do tremendous damage to buildings! And of course, they both look cool as hell!

Everything has a Dropship in this army. I'm not sure if that's really needed to make it work (things like the Kodiak could drive on the table and linger near the rear, which is where he's likely to be hiding anyway! But...I really like the visual of all these ships flying in dropping off the ground forces as they scurry forward!

And I already have half a plan on how I want to grow the other 500 points to 2k...I'd add a Ferrum Drone Base, a second Archangel, some Longbow Artillery, and probably some Praetorians in a Raven Dropship...I just think they're cool! I might use more Rapier AA Tanks, though...not sure how much AA I'll really need at that level!

So what does that mean I have to buy? Surprisingly very little, since most of this is coming from the Starter Set!

-The Kodiak ($14), which I've already ordered, of course;
-the Wolverines($10) and Ravens($13);
-the Albatross ($25);
-the Gladii ($14);
-the Archangel ($14);
-and the Seraphim ($14)

A total (from The Warstore) of $104. If I'd been splitting the two Starter Sets with someone else, I'd be in to a tournament-size and (I think) -caliber army for under $200. I'm only wasting 3 Rapiers from the starter sets, too!

So...if you know DZC, let me know what you think of the army! If not, I hope this gives you some idea of what kind of armies are on the tables, and what the cost of entry might be!

Tomorrow I'll post up the 1500 Scourge list I'm going to try to make!

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