Friday, 8 May 2015

Critical Engagement - A one day Drop Zone Commander tournament

I had had a number of practice games prior to the Drop Zone Commander tournament (Critical Engagement) at my local club. An outing against Joe's Resistance did not go well. Lesson learnt - Sirens do not last long against the new flame weapon stat line (Dodge this!). As Mike says "they must use some brand of knock-off flammable hair product". By turn five I only had one Immortals stand remaining - Not good.

In a civil war engagement against Pete's PHR, I suffered a narrow loss, mainly because of my failure to use my Mercury Drones properly and therefore, not get to a focal point late game. However, prior to the match I had changed my normal list, and went with Menchit's and pulled the same 'burnt hair' trick against Pete's Sirens.

My most recent practice game was against Mike which highlighted to me the importance of target selection and being able to estimate how much shooting is required to cause a model to be removed from the table (there is no point in having losts of wounded models in your opponents army, you must concentrate on one model until it is removed). So with Mike's help my final list for the tournament was composed as follows:

Commanders: Battle Vizier (PHR Standard Roster) 1499 Points

Hand of the Sphere - 276 points
Command Squad: Zeus(Battle Vizier), Odin, Neptune

Battle Pantheon - 166 points
Battle Squad: Phobos x2, Neptune

Battle Pantheon - 300 points
Battle Squad: Menchit x2, Neptune
Angelos Squad: Angelous x2, Immortals x2, Nepture

Immortals - 261 points
Immortals: 2x Immortals, Triton A1 Helios Squad: 2x Helios, Neptune

Immortals - 261 points
Immortals: 2x Immortals, Triton A1 Helios Squad: 2x Helios, Neptune

Pegasus Group - 235 points
Mercury Drones: 4x Mercury, Triton A2(+Stealth Missiles,
+RN-5 Skyhammer), Triton A2(+RN-5 Skyhammer) Sirens: 2x Sirens, Triton A1

Above: My PHR army arrayed for battle.

(what must be better than two Helios, but four Helios). The two Menchits are there to stand next to an unoccupied building and say to the opposition "come and enter it if you think your flame retardant enough!" The Angelous are included as a wild card option, as it is not regularly seen on the table top and allows you have take more infantry but not in an Immortal Battle Group.

Above: The competitors ready themselves for game one.

Game One - Mission - Recon - Opponent - Adrian - Shaltari

I still struggle to understand how Shaltari Gates work. However, I do know how scary the Caiman is (3 energy 10s and 2 energy 7s). I managed to kill a Eden which hampered the Shaltari movement. I decided to be very aggressive with my Helios and manged to kill some infantry by collapsing a building. Near the games end Adrian had to risk infantry in a 10 point building. My shooting wasn't enough and I left the building with 2 damage points and a piece of Intel ripe for the taking. However, when Adrian activated his Caiman I was able to play the Weapon Hack card and the building was reduced to its foundations.

Above: The remains of the 10 point building in the foreground next to the guilt ridden Caiman.

Near the end the game my concentration was begining to wane and I was making mistakes that could have cost me. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we were only able to get to the end of turn five before time was called on the round. Totting up the scores gave me a small win on victory points and also a win on kill points. That meant a maximum of five tournament points and a trip to table two in my next game!

Game Two - Mission - Table Quarters - Opponent - David - Shaltari

More Shaltari, and this time four Caman? And also the new HQ choice on the Caman chassis. I knew that David had done very well at the last Hawk tournament in Croydon, coming second overall, so I was especially nervous before we begun. I had heard from David's previous opponent, also PHR, that David's army brought down buildings for fun and the 36 inch range on the guns meant that no vehicle was safe. So I hatched a plan that may have given me chance to score some points, and I decided to turn down the opportunity to come onto the table with any of my army until turn 4. David said after the game that perhaps turn 3 would have worked out better for me. In any event it was all very bloody and I was trounced. That will teach me to visit table 2 - I only have myself to blame.

Above: The Caiman mega-death formation!

Game Three - Mission - Secure the Flanks - Opponent - Tom - PHR

The table we played on was very terrain heavy and it made it very difficult for my Neptunes to re-deploy their charges (ah, so that's what the Crazy Pilot card is for!) Tom's army had more hard hitters, and I had more skimmer variants, so that I had a little more mobility, but I didn't want to go toe to toe with him. Tom played the game very well and I got very lucky to bring off a draw on objective points and a very narrow kill point win.

Above: A rarely heard phrase, 'if only I could draw the Crazy Pilot card!'

Firstly, to stop me contesting a Focal point Tom expertly surrounded it with his Type 2 Walkers, until I remembered you could land on a building, and my Phobos contested the Focal point from their lofty perch at games end.

Secondly, the middle building contained an objective and Tom's timely use of a card meant that his Sirens swayed the balance of the combat in his favour in turn six. His Immortals picked up the objective and just had to retain it to score the winning point. However, they were down to one stand and I then decided to activate my last remaining Menchit. Now so far during the day I had struggled to get the flame weapons in the best place to be their most effective. However on this occasion they achieved their party piece and the Immortals were no more. The objective was dropped and I achieved the narrowest of wins. What a jammy git! I must apologise to Tom for being a little too happy at this point, but two wins out of three is very unusual for me.

So, due to the scoring system I had finished sixth out of 14, easily my best result in a DZC tourney.

Conclusion -

1. You need to be on your game for all six turns, otherwise you can make silly mistakes which could ruin all your hard work.

2. In game three, the Angelos Immortals found an objective and perfectly displayed why they are not a unit to take in a PHR army. They then had to leave the table taking their firepower with them. They will probably not feature in my army again, but at least I gave them a go.

3. You need all your patience with the Menchits. Don't get adventurous because they will be destroyed before they can influence the game, but I will say that the potential devastation they can bring to the lesser armoured infantry units inside buildings makes them a big threat to infantry.

4. The Helios were brilliant. 4 give out 24 energy 7 shots. Armour 6 buildings beware!

This will be a tough act to follow at my next DZC tournament which takes place in Birmingham at the end of May. Happy gaming.


  1. Thank you for writing this up! I was very curious how the Menchits fared.

    1. My pleasure. Thank you for visiting the site.