Episode 11: Weird Games Are In Fact Weird (Tohaa vs. Tartary Army Corps | 300 Points | Unmasking)

Yay I got to play on a Monday for once! Monday is the big day for my local meta and I badly wanted a test game for my upcoming tournament this weekend. Both Unmasking and Hunting Party will be in use (as a Thanksgiving theme?) and I have no experience with either of those Missions. Deadly Dance will also be played but I'm writing this more off as a loss because I do not own my TAG and won't have it in time for the event. I may make a list with K1 Combi and Missile Launcher as a counter though.....

This time I'm against Bill, legitimately one of the nicest guys I've ever met playing any wargame, and his TAC Sectorial. This is a great double-up for me, new Scenario and new Faction to play against! However Bill wanted to do something a bit different and decided to make use of a random army creator to build his list. The thought behind this was that it would force him to take units that he might not ordinarily and work within the confines of a non-polished army list. I wanted to test my normal build for the tournament so we figured the game might be a bit lop-sided but worst comes to worst it's good fun and we'd both learn some things. Onto the lists!


Group 1

Gao-Rael w/ Spitfire
Sukeul (Forward Observer) w/ K1 Combi Rifle, D-Charges
Makaul w/ Heavy Flamethrower, Eclipse Grenades

Gao-Rael w/ Sniper Rifle
Kaeltar (Chain of Command) w/ Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse, 2 SymbioMates
Kamael (Paramedic) w/ Combi Rifle

Sakiel w/ Combi Rifle, Nimbus Plus Grenades
Kaeltar (Chain of Command) w/ Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse, 2 SymbioMates 
Makaul w/ Heavy Flamethrower, Eclipse Grenades

 Chaksa Auxiliar (Baggage, Sensor) w/ Heavy Flamethrower

Group 2

Rasail Lieutenant w/ Spitfire
Chaksa Peripheral w/ Heavy Flamethrower

Kerail Preceptor w/ Submachine Gun, Smoke Grenades
Surda Beast w/ Pulzar

Diplomatic Delegate w/ Nanopulser, Flash Pulse

 Chaksa Auxiliar (Baggage, Sensor) w/ Heavy Flamethrower
 Chaksa Auxiliar (Baggage, Sensor) w/ Heavy Flamethrower
 Chaksa Auxiliar (Baggage, Sensor) w/ Heavy Flamethrower

This is largely the same list I ran for my last game with the exception of dropping an FO Kamael and FO Sakiel for a normal Sakiel, a Makaul, and upgrading the other FO Kamael to a Paramedic. I'm down Specialists but in a Mission that's all about them I can just change the Makaul to an FO Kamael, or go back to the old version. I think four Specialists if okay for most Missions, 5-6 is the sweet spot, but because Tohaa can move them around so efficiently we might be able to scrape by.

Tartary Army Corps

Group 1

Tankhunter Lieutenant w/ AP Rifle, Adhesive Launcher, D-Charges
Tankhunter w/ AP Rifle, Adhesive Launcher, D-Charges
Tankhunter w/ Portable Autocannon, D-Charges

Irmandinho w/ Boarding Shotgun, D-Charges, Smoke Grenades

Dynamo w/ Molotok

Line Kazak w/ AP HMG

Veteran Kazak Paramedic w/ AP Rifle, Light Flamethrower
Veteran Kazak (X-Visor) w/ T2 Rifle, Light Flamethrower
Frontovik w/ T2 Rifle
Frontovik w/ Molotok
Group 2

Irmandinho w/ Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades

Warcor (Aerocam) w/ Flash Pulse

So....the list is really bad. There's a four model Fireteam: Core, the HMG is by itself, there's not that many Specialists, and a weird second Combat Group. That being said there are some things to worry about with the Tankhunters, the HMG, and the Dynamo. I really don't have too much to say about a random list, I believe Bill resolved to make minor adjustments if he repeats this experiment in the future. I also think that's for the best as you're still playing outside of comfort zone but you also wouldn't be as handicapped.

Mission & Deployment

With the Lieutenant Roll going to me I chose First Turn. I think Unmasking is slightly favorable for the second player just on the Mission itself but not so much that First Turn becomes unattractive. Because there is so much button pushing the First Player can either just go for advantaged firefights as normal or bum-rush the Consoles and try to find the Designated Target. I also didn't feel one side of the table was so overpowering that I had to have it. This is something I've talked about a bit in the past but I feel like tables should be built with an advantage to one side in most situations. In any case Bill had me deploy first and took the side he was already on.

My goal for Deployment was to set myself up to grab at least two Consoles if Bill didn't throw up much opposition or be able to barrel down any of the corridors should he challenge me on the Mission. The Gao-Rael Sniper Triad went in a back building which gave me a lane down the center and also covered approaches to my side of the table. My other Gao-Rael Triad stayed central, able to get into cover and go left or right, I also put the Sakiel Triad there for the same reason and to give me something to pursue the leftmost Console with. My Rasail went center-right, with the Chaksa hiding, and all my solo Chaksa just hid out behind buildings. Since TAC only has AD:Parachutist and one Infiltrator with Camo I felt fairly secure about my backlines but I can still get into Sensor range of mid-field with two Orders. Lastly I put the Diplomatic Delegate to cover my right side approach and held back the Kerail Preceptor.

Unfortunately I had nowhere solid to hide my HVTs so instead I put them in places where they could either deny Templates, block a Console, or deny a model peeking around a corner at me. Putting an HVT near a corner you expect to fight over has proven to be a useful tactic so far as it just disallows some weapons or may waste an Order for precise positioning.

Bill deployed extremely defensively, giving me no real targets of value. The Fireteam hid out in the far back-right with the Dynamo and Line Kazak only a few inches forward comparatively. Also on the right were both Irmandinhos and two of the Camo Tokens. Finally the Warcor poked up from a central building and the last Camo Token went more in the center, also on a building. Bill put his HVTs in much the same position as mine but of course on his side of the table.

I deployed my Kerail in the middle of most of my stuff, setting up for Smoke Grenades. Bill declined to hold a reserve model, for whatever reason some people in my meta just forget to do this. With that my Group 1 Pool was reduced by two Orders as expected and away we went.

Tohaa Turn 1

Right off the bat I have to make a decision between going after the TAC army or just playing for Mission. Looking at the table I can pickup the Warcor easily but everything else would either require Discover Rolls or pushing very deep into enemy territory. With a reduced pool of Orders I didn't think that was viable so pushing buttons is the thing to do.

Starting with the Sukeul Triad I started moving up the board, giving an ARO or two to a Camo Token which it declined. The Sukeul whiffed the Console but then managed to press it and I guessed the far-left HVT but was wrong. However this will allow the Sakiel to go for the left Console and shoot that HVT for some easy points. I also managed to remove the Warcor on my approach with the Spitfire, worst case I got Blinded and either give up or try with another model.

WarCor has nothing to report this game.

Not having anything to do for the moment in Group 1 I started walking the Rasail forward. Sadly he won't be able to use a Console but I can put him in a strong defensive position. To that end the Chaksa hugged a corner to protect the Console while the Rasail poked out to try and see the Extremely Impetuous Irmandinhos, going into Suppressive Fire.

The rest of my Group 2 Orders were spent moving the Kerail up, Bill had stayed heavily on the right side and a bit in the middle but totally abandoned the left side so I have a flanking maneuver in the future if I want it. I decided not to go as far as I could so I preserve the option for Smoke Grenades  and not leave myself unsupported.

Moving back to Group 1 I wanted to setup a strong, defensive, position so I covered the left alley where my Kerail was with the Sukeul and the right alley with my Gao-Rael Spitfire. This would provide at least two AROs no matter which way Bill came except for the extreme right, however I felt reasonably confident that the Rasail could hold its own.

TAC Turn 1

Bill quickly realized that while he'd made it through the turn without any real losses he was also badly pinned down. Starting with the Impetuous Orders both Irmandinhos both moved out and tosses Smoke Grenades to cover the advance. Sadly my Rasail was just about half an inch from being able to see them, I'd slightly misjudged the Impetuous pathing and also kept the Rasail a bit too close to cover in case she needed to Guts out of there. I would have been four dice on 12's against one dice on 14's so the odds are quite good that I put both models down, I just didn't go out far enough.

After some Line of Fire checking from the AP HMG Bill started with the Dynamo, racing up through the smoke and throwing a Mine past my Rasail after a failed attempt. I didn't mind the Mine too much as it's going to go off in a Face to Face Roll between the Rasail and something unless multiple models pull back so I can burn the SymbioMate and also be protected from losing the roll unless a crit happens. The Dynamo is also out of Mines because of the failed throw so there's no risk of it zipping into a very annoying place and laying one.

Deciding to have a go with the AP HMG it comes out and I shoot back with both Gao-Raels. Bill puts all his shots into the Spitfire but is just at +0 Range, meaning he's -3 overall. I crit the Line Kazak and put it Unconscious but the Sniper whiffs both his shots.

Getting towards the end of the main group's Orders the Boarding Shotgun Irmandinho sweeps through an alley and starts shooting my Gao-Rael. This goes on for awhile as we each crit and bounce while Bill makes his ARM in another Face to Face. Eventually the Boarding Shotgun gets through the SymbioMate and does a Wound, I fail Guts to safety.

One of the Camo Tokens then moves, to which I Delay, and reveals a Tankhunter with Portable Autocannon. My Gao-Rael Sniper shoots back but gets crit and goes Unconscious from the Explosive Ammunition.

Tohaa Turn 2

I certainly took some hits during the last turn but I'm only down one actual model and I've kept Bill off the Consoles for now. Being content with my Order Pools I have a look at the table and decide the Tankhunter has to go, his Line of Fire is too commanding. I want an MSV model for that job but one is down and other other is on his last Wound so it's a bit risky either way.

Having some Orders to play with I crawled the Kamael Paramedic towards my Gao-Rael but missed throwing the MediKit. Another Order got her base to base but the PH Roll failed and the Gao-Rael died. At that point the other Gao-Rael is my safest bet for winning a Face to Face. The Tankhunter was on 9's to my 12's, one dice to five, but I'd neglected to notice the Irmandinho still with Line of Fire in the alley. Both shot me back and I decided to put three dice on the Irmandinho and two on the Tankhunter, a much riskier proposition. Fortunately I won both Face to Face Rolls and both models went Unconscious.

Having repelled an incursion in the middle I moved to the Rasail, hoping to remove the Dynamo. After two Face to Face Rolls I did so with Bill Smoke Dodging each time but passing an ARM on the first Order. I then went around the corner a bit and put the other Irmandinho Unconscious, leaving Bill on one Specialist and no Smoke Grenades.

Feeling pretty safe I moved the Sukeul over and activated the other Console after a few attempts, guessing the center HVT but I was wrong again. However this allowed me to clearly move the Sakiel Triad towards the last Console, press it with the Kaeltar to reveal the Designated Target on the right, and then kill one of the decoys with another few Orders.

The remainder of the turn was just repositioning models to get AROs, putting the Rasail into Suppressive Fire again, and then moving the Kerail forward further. I knew Bill would have to come at me now as I have a massive lead in the Mission so anything I can do to slow him down was worthwhile.

TAC Turn 2

After combining the Groups Bill had 6 Orders to play with, his Fireteam and two Camo Tokens. The Fireteam started hoofing it, using two Orders just to get up into the action.

At this point there is a lot of Line of Fire checking because my HVT is preventing the Fireteam from being able to see my Rasail while also having cover. Eventually caution is ignored and the T2 X-Visor comes out but we bounce off each other and my Diplomatic Delegate lands a Flash Pulse, Blinding the Veteran.

A few more Face to Face Rolls also either bounce or go in my favor with Bill making his ARM, leaving my Rasail unharmed and the Fireteam very close to my lines.

Tohaa Turn 3

At this point the game is well decided but I'm looking to maximize score. My preference is to put the TAC Army into Retreat but Bill told me two of his remaining models have Veteran 1 so they won't care. With that my new goal was to get all the points I can, give Bill as few Orders as possible, and keep the Rasail alive if possible.

I move one Chaksa into Group 1 and start moving the Sakiel Triad all the way across the board. After three Orders I'm in range but whiff the Nimbus Plus Grenade so I move a bit closer and land it. The Makaul then moves into the Nimbus Template and after I explain what it does Bill breaks his Fireteam, Dodging with the two back models and shooting with the forward ones.

When the dust clears I've killed the models that Dodged but the others survive, as does my Makaul despite being hit twice. This leaves 4 Orders on the table for TAC but no Specialists.

Another round of Heavy Flamethrowers killed the Makaul but also removed the two remaining models. I had a couple Orders in Group 1 and all of my Group 2 Orders so we talked out the rest of the game. My Rasail would need one Order to then get within Line of Fire on the Designated Target with only a Camo Token to stop me, however that's not enough to remove the Rasail. I could then extract her with Eclipse Smoke and body block her so there's no way for Bill to shoot her. With that we ended the game, a 10-0 win for Tohaa.

Post-Game Thoughts

Obviously with an almost intentionally bad list this game was a bit of a meme but it was a fun one none the less. My focus was on playing a very clean game and I think I managed to do that, only being caught off guard by the Irmandinho Boarding Shotgun in Turn 2. Frankly I just couldn't see the model and forgot it was there, I need to work on looking at the table from the side before I start dishing out Orders or just ask my opponent where all his models are.

As for mistakes I should have given the Gao-Rael a Smoke Grenade to work with on Turn 2, this would have kept him safe from one of the two AROs and of course made it unlikely Bill would shoot back on either -9 or -3. I did see the play but I felt like the Gao-Rael could handle the Tankhunter barring a critical, which can happen no matter what, and didn't see the other threat as I said. That was a bit of a lucky Face to Face for me but I was favored on both and had a Medikit nearby if needed.

Overall I was happy with most of my model placement, engagements, and playing to the Mission. The only other hiccup was with the Rasail not seeing the Impetuous models, there's no guarantee I kill them but I could have tried. That seems like a good use for a Rasail, they can go anywhere and retain cover which means you can bait Impetuous Orders. Certainly situational but something I'll keep in mind.

On Bill's side of things I think he did what he could with the exception of getting the Fireteam involved earlier. Sadly he wouldn't be able to slice the pie as I positioned my Gao-Raels well so Smoke was off the table, the only other option is to go after my Rasail but that would be hard to win completely with his Order Pool and guns.

I still don't think Unmasking is a good Mission but it's not as bad as I thought. The "Guessing" for the Designated Target just adds more RNG to the game but you can argue it adds some mind-games/skill, I would disagree though. I'm not sure what I'd change about it, maybe have the Designated Target be revealed after the second Console is activated by a Player. That way the third Console/HVT aren't useless because of how the Mission is scored but it removes the feel bads for getting two wrong guesses.

I'm also still happy with how this list plays and I've had several people comment that it's very strong. I think the main weakness is a lack of Specialists but as I mentioned I can move barely anything around and have six. In most Missions I think four is fine, you just focus on keeping some alive. I'm also loving the bare bones Sakiel Triad, it does so much for the list that most people miss at first blush. Having those Nimbus Plus Grenades is one of the best things in the game for dealing with Fireteams either via Templates or just eating the -6 on everyone but limiting their defensive Burst. Sometimes you have to eat multiple AROs to break a Fireteam and I'd rather have 4 Burst against 2 than 5 Burst against 4.

That's all I have this time, thanks for reading!

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