We’ve got some news on the Dropzone front today, with the experimental rules hitting for the gorgeous new commander models.
The existing commander model for each faction is generally more suited to keeping their distance from the fight. While the Scourge Desolator is a notable exception to this idea, the commanders usually want to keep their distance and stay away from the fight.
Until now, that is. We’ve covered the new models for “linebacker” style commanders, but Hawk Wargames released their trial rules on Friday, a day before the new models are slated to release in stores. You can find the commanders and a link to each of their experimental rules here, courtesy of Hawk Wargames.
The introduction of these new models is a breath of fresh air for the game. Aggressive commanders will be rewarded with weapons that are generally short-ranged, but incredibly powerful. From the Demolisher-3 Neutron Launchers on the Shaltari Gharial to the UCM Phoenix’s Missile Battery, there is a wide variety of short-ranged but lethal weapons to choose from. In general these command vehicles are also incredibly resilient; the Oppressor is Armor 10 with 5 Damage Points!
While I think each of these models brings a distinct edge to the table for its patron faction, I think the pecking order falls out below in terms of raw power added. Keep in mind that I think they are all very close to one another; this is just what I think they bring.
It’s also worth noting that I didn’t include the Resistance command model in this list, as the unit’s rules have been out for a while now. This is purely an initial judgment call based on first impressions.
4th Place – Shaltari Gharial
While I love the concept of this model, I don’t think it brings as much for its faction as the other commanders. It requires a very close range to engage, and nothing else in the Shaltari arsenal wants to be this close, except for the heavier walkers. Maybe the best option for this commander is to run it with Tarantula walkers in a Swordpoint formation, or perhaps to add it to a Jaguar/Dreamsnare group that attacks the center of the table. Its points cost is low enough to allow you to use it as a secondary command vehicle with a lower level commander. It simply doesn’t mesh well with much of what the Shaltari seek to accomplish on the table.
That said, the offensive firepower it brings to the table is worth the hassle of finding a way to alter the game plan to accommodate it! The Shaltari’s only Flame weapon (other than Eldritch Energies) resides on this beast’s hull, and the Neutron Cannons make it absolute suicide to be in a small building nearby. Add in E12, something the Shaltari generally don’t possess, and you’re looking at an excellent zone denial tool.
3rd Place – UCM Phoenix
Even though I’ve given this thing a rank of 3rd place, I absolutely love it. It is a beast of an Aircraft, and it will take a significant amount of AA to bring it down. Add in the ridiculously powerful missile batteries, and Shaltari/Scourge players will be crying at the hammer it brings down. The heavy chain guns only add to the madness, as they will cut through even the heaviest opposition with no problem whatsoever.
Aggressive UCM players will love this thing, as it provides frontline command radius AND excellent fire support to turn the tide for their MBTs. Just be careful as you move it in; while the thing is difficult to destroy, a battery of focused AA will still bring the hurt.
2nd Place – PHR Nemesis
This walker absolutely rocks! It brings all the survivability of the Hades super walker, with the added benefit of a seriously dangerous laser battery on the tail. Folks only thought that the traditional Hades caused zone denial; if you don’t have a decent Passive, standing in the open against this thing is tantamount to suicide. Elements such as the Kodiak and the Ferrum will have to be especially careful, as the potential to be instantaneously destroyed by this behemoth is significant.
As a PHR player, you will have to be very careful and particular with this critter. He is slow (nothing new to PHR players), and he has a very finite number of shots with that tail gun. Initial placement is everything, and you can’t be afraid to sacrifice one more turn of shooting to move forward in your Poseidon, causing the enemy’s backfield to shift and grant you more battlefield initiative. He also lost several of the benefits of the standard Hades; while this isn’t a killer, it is the reason that the PHR came in 2nd place.
Winner – Scourge Oppressor
Finally, a commander that fits my approach to the Scourge! I already have visions of this thing plowing up the center of the table, its Harbinger dropship shrugging fire while a swarm of Prowlers fly up alongside it in their Intruders. I’ll definitely have to invest in more Ravagers and Stalkers to follow them in…
What’s not to love about this beast? He’s inexpensive, insanely resilient, and his weapons are DEATH to anything with 18”. As he closes the devastation only grows against non-Building targets, with the carbines bringing in more shots at half-range. We’re talking about a rapid-firing tank killer here, folks!
The biggest reason I put this guy at the top is because of the power addition to the faction. It was just so blasted hard to keep the Desolator in the fight before. If you got in range to make good use of his Ion Storm, it frequently meant swift death from enemy AA. Now, however, there is an alternative to those slightly-less-crazy Scourge leaders.
There you have it folks, my initial reactions to the new commanders. Leave your own thoughts in the comments; which commander is bringing the best bang for the buck?
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