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Subject: Kill 'em All, Echo vs Order, Railyard, 4 November 2015 rss

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Order of the Echolight
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Session Report 28

Factions: Echo vs Order
Scenario: Kill them All
Skirmish Points: 70 points
Gamescape: Railyard
Players: Paul (echo) vs Clarence’s brother Samuel (order)

Echo: 1 Elite Psi-blade, 1 Veteran Pyro, 2 Veteran Mindbenders, 2 recruit Psion

Order: 3 Elite Fallen, 1 Veteran Nethermancer, 1 recruit Carnage

Purpose of Playtest
Hi everyone, Its been a really long time since ive posted a playtest report, more than 1.5 years even! I finally got the time to play some boardgames with a few friends so this is one of the games that we played! Samuel has been playing quite a few times with Clarence so he’s a veteran in STA.

This was honestly just to get myself familiar with the game again cos it has been a really long time since I’ve played. I also wanted to playtest Pyro, Mindbenders and Psion more because I was unsure of how useful they were in combat. The particular abilities I wanted to test were Psychic blast, domination, psychic healing and fire wall.

By the way sorry for some blur images, i didn't focus properly so I'm sorry if the quality isn't optimal.

Overview of Game
We chose railyard because the amount of elevated terrain would give a little more cover for echo to use their psychic powers more.


Round 1: Everyone moves forward but order’s nethermancer summoned a thrall, and that thrall moved next to the echo’s psiblade. One of the mindbenders dominated psiblade and the domination succeeded so it attacked the thrall dealing two damage and bringing it to a recruit.



Round 2: The Psiblade spent its next turn destroying the thrall and while the psiblade was distracted, the middle fallen charged at the psiblade dealing 2 damage, one of which the psion healed. The mindbender on the ground tried to dominate the psiblade again but it failed. The mindbender on top dominated the pyro who moved next to the middle fallen and used fire wall (represented by tremor because I didn’t bring the template haha) The fallen suffered two damage from the fiery furnace. Meanwhile, the other order characters moved up , the three fallen all far apart from each other so mindbender’s domination on them would be useless and pyro couldn’t flame more than one. The other psion tried to heal the psiblade but in vain.



Round 3: A new round began and the firewall dealt 1 damage to the injured center fallen. Undetered he used absorb life and knocked pyro down to a recruit, destroying the fire wall in the process. As a last stand, the pyro flamed the fallen on the left injuring it only slightly. Both the side fallen charged at pyro and the psiblade, ending her life and injuring psiblade. The psiblade tried to finish off the middle fallen, but he still hung on with 1 health left. The bottom mindbender tried to dominate the psiblade but it failed again, while the top mindbender tried to finish off the dying fallen but the psychic powers couldn’t penetrate the train. Things looking really grim for echo.



Round 4: The mindbender finally destroyed the fallen but the other fallen charged and killed the psion on the train. The carnage moved up too but a domination-cc combo plus the cc of the mindbender managed to destroy the recruit carnage. The other fallen continued to charge the psiblade weakening him to a 3 health veteran.



Round 5: The psiblade injured the fallen in front of him, bringing him to a recruit but the two fallens make quick work of the mindbender and the thralls spawned left psiblade with minimal health



Round 6: The fallen and thralls finished off psiblade and one of the fallens got destroyed by mindbender. With that, the three thralls and the fallen charged the final mindbender and surrounded him, finishing him off easily in the next few rounds.





Thus, order totally destroyed echo with still 33 skirmish points worth of characters left in a 70 point game.

Thoughts
From this playtest, it showed the annoyance of the psychic abilities that failed about half of the time and really limited the effectiveness of echo. The chances of failure is really high especially for recruit and it really weakens the abilities a lot more.

Pyro’s firewall evidently was not useful in an offensive attack like hellebore and the other area attack characters, so that would really make firewall useless against RC characters and only able to be used defensively. It is really sad to see that a veteran pyro that costs 15 skirmish points is easily overcome by an elite fallen that costs 16 skirmish points. The pyro fell in 2 attacks while the 2 fire wall effects on the central fallen only did 1 damage when the fallen used absorb life.

Mindbender’s domination was not of particular significance either. It wasnt useful to dominate any enemy character at all because they were all far apart and they couldnt be dominated to cc each other. Making enemies move somewhere else would just be a waste of time too and there’s always that chance of failure. The only thing i could do with domination was to move the psiblade and give him the extra attack. However it really wasnt much use most of the time because dominating the psiblade had a 51% success rate and i would only get 4 cc which given the low probability of success would effectively make it just 2 cc on average. And 2 cc is almost as good as using psychic blast instead.

The inability to heal some times was also quite a pain because echo’s troops were already taking quite a bit of damage and they needed health quickly.

CONCLUSION
Its quite sad to see that echo’s mindbender and pyro were unable to stand the assault of order and they got wrecked so badly in this game. I will be posting a review soon about mindbender, pyro and psion so do look out for that and read that too. The above thoughts are just brief comments from the game.

Playtest written by: Paul Low
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trebor akim
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Great report!

I a shame Echo did so poorly. I realy hoped (before I read the report) that Echo will be more then a match for Order.
I think the main problem is the fallen's charge ability. Being able to move and cc makes chracters who rely on templates (for example: hellebore - like I found out in one of my games) and short distance abilities obsolete(in my opinion of course). Like I pointed out once the price of fallen is quite low for such a great ability (charge).
Since my friend is unavaible I done 2 solo games Marauders vs Erthen. Both of those games ended badly for erthen and the reason for that were 3 veteran scouts (or I should say their Ambush ability) who stayed out of the reach of any cc atempt, took all scavenge tokens and done a ton of damage. Even the Ion + Hellebore combination proved to be useless against them. On top of that they cost only 10 points (veteran level). Maybe they don't look scary with 2 RC, but being able to move and shoot makes them extremly potent. During the weekend I'll do 2 or 3 marauders vs erthen (or combine) games with my friend and then I'll be able to judge them corretly.

At this moment (I know I have very little experience with STA) I think abilities like charge and ambush (or trample - which I haven't tested yet, but from what I can imagine is even better then charge) take the game out of balance. For me STA is a game about positioning and thinking one step ahead (if I assault that character and in the next round I won't win the initiative, I get attacked first - that type of stuff).
I'm sure many of you who played the game for years know how to overcome those abilities and will disagree, but from a beginners point of view that abilities look flawed.
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I agree that charge and ambush are really powerful abilities cos it's essentially another action for them and scout can shoot and run back from cover. And charge can catch people off guard and do extra damage before the other characters come in. But honestly if u think that's strong, seriously check out the waste dragon and beast master combination and dragons trample. That's what I call really powerful!!

While these characters seem really strong they do have some weaknesses. Death vines constrict will prevent fallen from charging and magnetic forcing scouts near your erthen troops would eliminate these pesky scouts. Alternatively, pure firepower and range from hellfire could eliminate scouts when they aren't careful because there are times when u just can't run. Do try them out. Against fallen the best way is only to keep shooting it and sooner or later they will die out.

In this case the reason why echo lost is definitely not because of fallen because I've defeated them with other factions. It's really just because echo is a weak faction, and I purposely didn't choose nether tech and psi blades which would do a way better job. Please read the review that should be coming out soon. But thanks for the comments on charge! Maybe we could address it if you all really find it too powerful. But do check SoL first because the abilities there are way more deadly than a charge.
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trebor akim
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I understand that every chracter have weaknesses. Maybe if the fallen wasn't so quick or did a smaller punch (max 3CC) it would be diffrent.

I agree Death V's constict would do the trick, but to use it you need to get close. In my games erthen vs order that proved deadly for Death V.
The same with magnetic force - it's a very usefull ability, but the scouts can easily outrun Ion and stay out of his reach.

Ok Paul, will try SoL against at least 3 factions and then we'll see
Just to make that clear, I still think STA is a amazing game.
Shame that echo is so weak I realy like them (I'm still going to play them )
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This isn't a good set for echo...
I know sometimes placing the tiles we put it to look nice and end overlooking the strategic value.

Echo would benefic grom the containers to get some protection, and place a firewall in one of the access to it. The digger should be near, and you should use the phasing to get in/out fight in this two tiles.

Psion behind the containers, even with only 50% chance of healing, it's a gamble.

This defensive posture will have some player 'problems', more than once the other guy didn't like to have to come after me, and to be honest, I won because we didn't had tokens, because when you only defend, it's quite easy to gather the tokens and win by points (I suppose, never really did it)
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Sojar wrote:
I understand that every chracter have weaknesses. Maybe if the fallen wasn't so quick or did a smaller punch (max 3CC) it would be diffrent.

I agree Death V's constict would do the trick, but to use it you need to get close. In my games erthen vs order that proved deadly for Death V.
The same with magnetic force - it's a very usefull ability, but the scouts can easily outrun Ion and stay out of his reach.

Ok Paul, will try SoL against at least 3 factions and then we'll see
Just to make that clear, I still think STA is a amazing game.
Shame that echo is so weak I realy like them (I'm still going to play them )
Yeah that's true Robert!! You'll have to be really cunning in order to use death vine and ion core well. But if you time your movements, like you move your troops after they move theirs, and you win initiative the next round, you can constrict or magnetic force them.

Yup that would be really great! Looking forward to seeing the battles! Yes i know that and i definitely think that STA is awesome too Hahaha echo has really cool abilities but if they are buffed a little they should be fine.
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baalrukh wrote:
This isn't a good set for echo...
I know sometimes placing the tiles we put it to look nice and end overlooking the strategic value.

Echo would benefic grom the containers to get some protection, and place a firewall in one of the access to it. The digger should be near, and you should use the phasing to get in/out fight in this two tiles.

Psion behind the containers, even with only 50% chance of healing, it's a gamble.

This defensive posture will have some player 'problems', more than once the other guy didn't like to have to come after me, and to be honest, I won because we didn't had tokens, because when you only defend, it's quite easy to gather the tokens and win by points (I suppose, never really did it)

Yes i guess i probably didn't place the tiles that well. I wasn't aiming to make the tiles look nice at all. Just wanted as much elevated terrain to hide from order. I would have chosen another side if i won that roll but i lost so my side wasn't optimal for me at all.

But if you place one of the firewalls in the access to it, the fallen can easily go around the firewall, up the containers or around it and the fire wall wouldn't do anything.

I would have used phasing to get out of the fight from the fallens but if i did, i would just have been charged yet again, and I would have wasted a movement and the order player would get another free attack.

50% chance of healing is really low. Given two psions if both are hiding, thats an average of 1 healing per round. And given there are 3 elite fallen attacking, thats 12 cc per round, excluding the thralls and excluding the carnage. In this type of battle when the fallen are doing a lot of damage to psiblade and pyro, its really important that psion is able to heal more often and not just 50%.

I would love it if i could just defend but the thing is that echo doesn't really have the stats nor the abilities to put up some serious defence. For every pyro you can have on the board, SoL can have a beast master and a waste dragon of the same level. That amount of cc, which at elite is actually 10 cc is 2.5 times pyro's rc. Pyro's fire wall can be routed by enemies, domination doesn't work all the time and is only useful for moving allies, psychic blast isn't effective, reliable or does enough damage at rec and vet. Yeah, its a bit harder to defend well with these weaknesses.
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David Thompson
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I read through this initially but forgot to respond. Thanks for putting together such a great report (as always), Paul.

For future visitors to this thread, it's worth noting that we have discussed some of the issues with Echo in this thread.
 
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Comarauthen wrote:

Yes i guess i probably didn't place the tiles that well. I wasn't aiming to make the tiles look nice at all. Just wanted as much elevated terrain to hide from order. I would have chosen another side if i won that roll but i lost so my side wasn't optimal for me at all.
My mistake, just realized you played the railroad scenario. I usually play the Creating the Gamescape option, in each player place tiles (one at the time, don’t like the 1,2,2,2,2 approach).
 
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