Active Duty Roster: 2

This Sunday I participated in a four round “SR 2015 masters format” tournament, which for many of us was the first time we really got to test drive the new Active Duty Roster. I might write up the games later, but for now I want to talk about ADR, and how incredibly spectacularly bloody amazoballs an idea it really is.

This should be in all games, not just Masters!

Like most people I’m still learning the basics of ADR, and my experiments with ADR skew lists didn’t really give me the edge I was looking for against non ADR lists, so this time I tried building two lists that could be tweaked instead.

Asphyxious the Hellbringer
– Helldiver
– Helldiver
– Vociferon
Bane Thralls (Leader & 9 Grunts)
– Bane Thrall Officer & Standard
Satyxis Raiders  (Leader & 9 Grunts)
– Satyxis Raider Sea Witch
The Withershadow Combine
Soulhunters (Leader & 4 Grunts)
Darragh Wrathe
Gorman di Wulfe
Ogrun Bokur [Asphyxious]
Satyxis Raider Captain
Saxon Orrik

Objective:
Arcane Wonder

Vanguard:
Bile Thralls (Leader & 5 Grunts)
Blood Witches (Leader & 9 Grunts)
– Blood Hag
Deathripper [Asphyxious]
Machine Wraith
Machine Wraith
Machine Wraith

A huge thanks to Arilys and Spindle for suggesting that I try out Soulhunters with Asphyxious3, because the combination of Satyxis Raiders and Ashen Veil Soulhunters really put some pressure on the accurate enemy guns. In games where my opponent overextended I threw Ashen Veil on the Satyxis and used them to lock down all the enemy guns instead, which allowed the Soulhunters to get some real work done, but I digress.

Active Duty Roster

I was fairly happy with my setup, and in two out of three games I ended up using my Vanguard extensively. In my second game I ended up against Harbinger in which I traded my Bokur and the WSC in order to bring in the Blood Witches + Hag, allowing me to annoy the hell out of her with Entropic Force.

Game 2: I don’t think I’ve ever actually demolished a Harbinger player before, but having first turn meant that I could comfortably take the zone and keep it during his feat turn, while Ashen Veil Soulhunters and Satyxis Raiders messed his shooting game up by simply not getting hit.

In the third game I faced up against Ossrum without any real access to magic weapons, so I switched in Blood Witch package + two Machine Wraiths and ditched Saxon since the terrain setup meant I didn’t really need him. The list basically went from 0 Incorporeal models to thirteen, which was a huge problem for my opponent, and I think I might experiment with an Incorporeal Vanguard in the future.

Game 3: I was pushed hard by Ossrum as his guns took a heavy toll on my forces, but late game one Helldiver slammed Jonne into him, simultaneously creating a hole so I could run in a Bane Thrall to debuff him, and the second Helldiver came in with full Focus and Scything Touch *CHOMP*

In the fourth game I needed my list just as it was, but it really does make a significant difference that you can switch out models that are useless in a specific match-up, and instead bring in models that are much better suited to that specific opponent. It’s a right headache trying to predict what the opponent will exchange in the case of two ADR players, but that’s all part of the fun.

Game 4: My opponent was list-locked into Skarre2, making it a complete steamroll. His Kraken was on Aiakos so it had to stay way the fuck back to avoid the Raiders, and his Satyxis Raiders were rolling 8s and 10s to hit against mine because of Ashen Veil, while mine were rolling 6+ to hit because of Carnage.

I did learn a few things about ADR, or at least I think I did, and it occurs to me that I probably should have thought more about the specific points costs of my Vanguard, because in some cases getting the models I wanted into the list simply wasn’t possible because the points didn’t add up.

The three Machine Wraiths helped enormously when I compare it to my old Vanguard setup, but since they were all in my Vanguard I had trouble utilizing them properly, and moving Saxon to the Vanguard (and two Machine Wraiths to the main list) seems like the winning strategy, allowing me to swap him in if needed while giving me more flexibility when moving around options.

  • Tip: 1 point models in both the main and Vanguard list is gold.

I never really considered using the Deathripper during the Vanguard phase (how long are we supposed to spend doing those swaps?), so I think I might switch him to a Stalker, or simply accept that I’ll always have at least one Helldiver in the list (and if so I’d also be playing a point down). I still haven’t wrapped my head completely around it, but it really does matter how you design the points packages in your lists.

Asphyxious the Hellbringer

This guy is a total boss. He has a lot of kinks to work out, but it’s sort of like playing a somewhat weaker Skarre1, with a feat that works every turn. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the option to play around with the “new” things (thanks a lot WTC), so getting stuck in with Asphyxious3 has been spectacular.

  • Helldivers

These guys are part of the second wave, arriving with the Bane Thralls and causing all kinds of trouble. I originally included them so I would have something to spend the feat focus on, but during Sundays tournament I really grew to love them with Asphyxious3 in general.

Their threat range from the burrow marker is quite long, and with mobility you only really have to worry about lanes and free strikes. The grid on a Helldiver is damn solid as well, and during Sundays games I took several free strikes that simply couldn’t land enough damage to wreck a system.

Carnage means that they’re very likely to hit, and with Scything Touch they’re PS 15 which can threaten all but the tankiest casters, and even other jacks/beasts if you can get Dark Shroud in there somehow. Fueling all their shenanigans requires quite a bit of Focus, but if you can’t spare it that turn you can just burrow and see if the next turn offers an opportunity.

  • Vociferon

This guy is a kink I still haven’t worked out. If the terrain allows him cover near the front lines he’s a huge asset, potentially being DEF 17 / ARM 19 when loaded on souls, but without that cover he just eats some random bullets and dies.

If the cover is there I’ve used him to force my opponent into spending a lot of resources dealing with him, but without that cover he’s really just a squishy model I don’t know what to do with. In those games he mostly runs around down back and plays Arc Node.

  • Bane Thralls

Being able to play these guys without Tartarus has been lovely. Carnage makes up for the lack of MAT, and Scything Touch turns them up to eleven. I didn’t really find the lack of threat range to be an issue, as the Raiders and Soulhunters allowed them to get in close, but Tartarus in the Vanguard might be useful.

  • Satyxis Raiders

Ashen Veil on these girls… I mean I can’t remember ever seeing so many tears across the table. Informing someone that his accurate and aiming models still need to roll nines or tens to hit is simply delicious, and if you can find a hill they become all but unhittable for most things in the game.

The real bonus with Ashen Veil is the added defense in melee though, as enemy sweepers tend to remove the defense fourteen raiders and free up the guns. With Ashen Veil up the enemy sweepers need to roll incredibly well to open up the lines.

I did have trouble keeping the Sea Witch alive when jamming, which I guess is something I need to work on. Even with the Sea Witch eating it early the Ashen Veil Raiders kept the enemy busy while the Bane Thralls moved up, but keeping her alive would mean keeping that lovely power swell for the middle game.

  • The Withershadow Combine

I actually moved these guys out of the list in two out of three games, but having access to them is to good to pass up, and in the last game they killed quite a number of enemy models with Dark Fire, and removed Black Spot twice while adding to the pressure on Skarres health.

  • Soulhunters

Depending on the enemy setup I either flanked with them, or put Ashen Veil on them and ran them with the Raiders. Defense fourteen cavalry is dead meat, but defense sixteen is an entirely different story, where even boosted guns miss about half the time, and in one game they had a hill as well.

Soulhunters with Carnage and Scything Touch also absolutely murder everything that isn’t a heavy, which means that the enemy has to deal with them, and alongside the Raiders the long threat range makes for a brutal alpha strike. Just like the Raiders these guys also make excellent melee jammers with Ashen Veil up.

  • Bile Thralls [V]

I didn’t actually put them on the table with Asphyxious3, but simply having the option is lovely. I have considered switching them to Tartarus as he would up the Bane Thralls to MAT 10, which should take care of all but the truly absurd defense scores.

  • Blood Witches + Hag [V]

I swapped these girls in several times, but having the option of not using them is fantastic. Without Vanguard you often end up in games where they’re simply cannon-fodder, but with Vanguard they simply toddle off and sacrifice some babies instead.

Lord Exhumator Scaverous

So I lost the first game with Scaverous, thus keeping my statistics with him intact (never having won a timed game with him) though I came damn close this time. I got absolutely murderized by the Iron Mother, losing 15+ models every turn, but I managed to very nearly take the game on scenario.

Lord Exhumator Scaverous
– Deathripper
– Deathripper
Bane Thralls  (Leader & 9 Grunts)
– Bane Thrall Officer & Standard
Bile Thralls (Leader & 5 Grunts)
Croe’s Cutthroats (Leader & 9 Grunt)
Nyss Hunters (Leader & 9 Grunts)
Bane Lord Tartarus
Lord Rockbottom
Ogrun Bokur [Scaverous]
Skarlock Thrall

Objective    
Arcane Wonder

Vanguard
Bane Knights (Leader & 9 Grunts)
Blood Witches (Leader & 9 Grunts)
– Blood Hag
Warwitch Siren

I switched Bane Knights in instead of Croe’s, giving me what I felt was a solid melee core against a list with two heavies and a Colossal, but the sheer firepower wiped out the Bane Knights in no time, while the Bane Thralls almost won me the game (team Bane Thrall forevah!)

We were playing Incursion and I had to remove one Clockwork Angel from a flag in order to win, but sadly I only had one Bane Thrall to do it, and he missed his 8+ roll to hit. Retroactively we discovered that I had also unintentionally cheated and put a CRA into melee from the Nyss Hunters, but luckily that didn’t chance anything.

I really can’t break the code with Scaverous, and build a list that is both fast to play and effective with him, but I am considering trying the fully Incorporeal vanguard option with him. I’ll need some time to crunch the numbers on that though, but I’ll report back the second I come up with something I think is viable.

Dear Privateer Press

I think ADR is nothing short of amazing, but why oh why have you limited this godly idea to the masters format? We should be able to have the Vanguard benefit as long as all the casters we use in a game is from the ADR. In pickup games you need to field an ADR caster, in masters you need to field two, and if you field three lists they all need to be ADR.

I know you probably won’t change it now, but please consider this for Steamroller 2016, as I desperately need the sheer unadulterated joy of using the Active Duty Roster in every day games. I know we can just agree to play like that, but it’s difficult when playing pickup games in the local store.

I still haven’t forgiven Privateer Press for character restrictions, but whomever thought up the Active Duty Roster deserves a whole set of special medals!

/Lamoron

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14 Responses »

  1. I got the results from the tournament as well, and ended up on a 4th place due to strength of schedule :D

  2. I’m glad to see your experience with ADR was so positive. Most of the internet chatter was very doom-and-gloom when it was announced (what else is new, right?), but I think it’s a great way to shake up the format.

    The only thing that worries me a bit is the “New casters automatically go on the ADR list” clause. Privateer seems to be on a distinct S-Tier streak with new casters lately, and the thought this year’s Butcher3, Vayl2 or Morv2 with a vanguard is enough to freeze the blood.

  3. What are your feelings on using 3gaspy in a non adr setting?

  4. Glad to know the Soulhunters behaved. I’ve been meaning to get some games in with 3Gaspy but haven’t managed yet. Mostly because of this new ADR format, I really like the idea. Although it affects factions differently, like CoS having only 1 caster out of ADR.

    I’m still undecided on what pairing to take with 3Gaspy. What do you feel where (would be) his worst match ups?

    • Sigh, the system crashed my long reply. In short I don’t think I know him well enough to determine his worst nightmare just yet, except of course for Haley1 with Stormwall, Gun Mages, and Murder ponies, but that’s more or less every Cryx casters worst nightmare so I don’t think that counts :D

      • Yeah pretty much. Was thinking of pairing him with a version of that jack-heavy Shade1 list. Although the versions I saw of that list took up Darragh. But I guess I’ll need to start playtesting 3Gaspy to try and find out what other bases need to be covered by his pairing.

  5. 3Gaspy is really one of those casters aching for the Inflictor to bloody well come out. It solves his Eiryss problem nicely, and a high threat range jack that generates it’s own focus for the turns you’re running light on souls is really good otherwise.

    I do like the idea of ADR, and have always been an adovcate for Specialists cropping up more, but sadly the local meta is rather against it for whatever reason. Certain models really come into their own when you can tailor your matchup on the fly, and I’ve found games tend to be a little less “one-sided” in the process, which is also nice (I find close games the most fun).

    Of course selecting the right ADR pairing is a bit tricky, because Scaverous and 3Gaspy tend to both want similar character choices available and both Coven and pShade have some matchup issues (which the Vanguard helps with, but it’s still something to consider). I’ll be curious to see what you come up with in the end :)

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