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Old January 28th, 2021, 01:44 PM
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Re: [Pod 0] Velnesh Alphas (Leyline Phantoms) - Playtesting

Here's the other game that I had run with these guys back on 1/7/2021:

CUSTOM MAP:
Spoiler Alert!

~400 Points
Glyphs: Knowledge, Recall, Healing
Astro: Velnesh Alphas, Masha Shingai, Tagawa Samurai Archers x3 (395)
Dawn: 4x Marro Stingers, Major Q10 (390)

GAME SUMMARY:
I kind of derped out a bit in building these armies--my original intention was to give Dawn something worse than Major Q10 to round out her army and myself Raelin since TSA + Raelin + Masha isn't unplayable. Unfortunately, after a series of mistakes, neither of those were true and one army was clearly superior to the other.

That said, the game ended up being surprisingly close. I led with Masha and the TSA, setting up a pod on the nearby height. Dawn anticipated this of course, leading with Major Q10 who was unhindered by Masha. Unfortunately, the Velnesh Alphas couldn't quite bridge the water in front of my starting zone to get within range of Q10 on a second OM, so I circled around with the TSA, taking potshots at Q10 (getting lucky and dealing 1 wound) and then shooting down on her starting zone. The next round saw an initiative switch, and Q10 moved even closer, killing two of the Velnesh Alphas with his Machine Pistol Special Attack (the other one blocked the initial attack, then Blinked a little closer to get within reach for my next OM). Dawn directed the final attack at Masha, dealing 2 damage to bring him up to a total of 3 wounds.

I then revealed my OM1 on the Velnesh, having expected more of them to not whiff. Left with little other choice, I ran the Velnesh Alpha up, Shifted across the water to get to Q10, and attacked up at him with reckless abandon. I rolled 3 skulls, and Dawn rolled 0 shields on six dice, killing Q10 nearly instantly. The stingers finished off that Velnesh the next turn, but the damage was done.

I then claimed the Glyph of Healing with a TSA, giving Masha a pitiful +1 life while Dawn got to bring back another Stinger (at this point, she still had a full 3 squads). They finished off Masha anyway the next turn, and then started annihilating the TSA. Eventually, it got down to one TSA in my starting zone against 8 stingers. He made a valiant effort, abusing his 6 range as much as possible by forcing the Stingers to get into water and give him height to get close enough to attack, but he was only able to take down 3 Stingers before being outnumbered.

SURVIVING UNITS:
5 Marro Stingers
~100 Points Left

POWER USAGE:
Blink and Shift were each used exactly once this game. In theory, the Velnesh were my answer to Q10, but two of them whiffing against his pistols resulted in them getting crippled very early on. Still, by dumb luck the last one managed to deal 3 wounds to Q10 from a height disadvantage, earning back their points and then some. This was critical because otherwise Q10 would've wrecked the rest of my army, too.

Total Damage Dealt: 3 wounds to Q10, ~120 Points

THOUGHTS:
The Velnesh both underperformed and overperformed in this game--in theory, they should've done much better if they had survived the initial barrage, but the last one also had a pretty lucky strike up at Q10 that was instrumental in closing the gap between our armies. They're somewhat high variance against ranged figures; they're really reliant on their 4 defense to hold out, but it it does, they can deal a lot of damage. It reminds me of the Ninjas of the Northern Wind, albeit the Ninja's D20 and 3 defense is generally better at the cost of being more expensive and having less control over changes in elevation/crossing water for 20 more points. I think that the comparison to them is fair, and even if this unit underperforms in some games, it's in a pretty good place overall.

If we want to run more tests with these guys (after re-reviewing the tests linked in the OP, I think that a couple of more tests wouldn't hurt), I think that they should be against primarily melee units. The Velnesh are considerably better when they can get the first strike, and we've more or less established that they're a bit higher variance against range where some might die to the initial volley. Seeing them in their ideal environment (against B-tier melee armies) would paint a more complete picture of their effectiveness at 90 points.
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