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Defeating the zero-energy anchor
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
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Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:09 pm    Post subject: Defeating the zero-energy anchor Reply with quote

The zero-energy anchor is a published tactic where a plasma-armed ship can launch at range 1 with the supposed guarantee that the target will not have been able to move before the plasma torpedo does, thus guaranteeing a hit.

However, I beg to differ. Unless the torp is launched at range zero, a ship moving at speed 24+1 may possibly be able to run away from the torp - depending on the geometry of the approach.

Has anyone else noticed this?

If the torp is launched at range zero then yes, the torp will catch even a 24+1 target in the same sub-pulse that it moves out of the hex.

But if you can get to move at the same speed as the torp, then it will not catch you until you want it to. Ok, you may need a high-energy turn to get the angles right, but it doesn't look as foolproof as I once thought.

Or have I missed something?
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Bolo_MK_XL
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Joined: 16 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Or have I missed something?


Just off top of my head,

Unless the plasma was launched on impulse 8,
You then start a new turn (few weapons charged, no energy for anti-tractor etc),
Otherwise, I don't believe your very likely to have the energy to make it work ---

If you do, your gonna eat a tail full of phasers and bolted plasmas (if he has any not launched yet) --- Depending on his speed you may end up tractored (more than likely an attempt has already been made, further draining energy) ---

Plausible scenario, but lots of stars have to be aligned for it to come out in your favor ---
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't read the tactic (is it written somewhere) but is not the zero-energy part referring to the zero energy of the target, hence he can't do 24+1 as he can't afford the +1.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, it means that it costs you no power, instead of having to tractor him and have to use power.
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Bolo_MK_XL
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No, it means that it costs you no power, instead of having to tractor him and have to use power.


Which would put the target in a position without speed/power to escape, so no tractor is needed --- Otherwise a tractor would be needed ---

As Storey said, its been a bit since I read the tactic, but with most it assumes there is a mitigating issue that makes it possible ---
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Kang
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, does anyone please know where this original tactic was published?
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Kang
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I've found it. It was one of Pat Doyle's from Captain's Log #38. It's on page 31, in the second-to-last paragraph under 'Inflicting Damage'. Plus he doesn't call it the 'Zero-Energy Anchor'; I don't know where that name came from!

And I read it wrong. In his tactic, you launch at range zero; there is no escape then. I, however, used it in actual combat at range 1, but the target was doing Speed 16+1 so it had the same effect.

However the tactic and its counters are an interesting field of study; I have presented a refined version of the tactics below and I have also submitted it as a proper command note. Read on.

---

Thoughts on the 'Plasma Hack and Slash'

The 'Zero-Energy Anchor' is a tactic whereby plasma launched at one hex range, against a ship moving at 16 or 16+1, will automatically hit its target before it can move away, without the launching ship having to spend power on a tractor beam. Alternatively, even a target moving at speed 24 or 24+1 can not escape the plasma if you launch at Range 0. To take advantage of this, then, you need to end your movement so that a) your plasma has the target in arc, b) you are at one or zero hexes range, and c) preferably, you are facing the weakest shield you can get to.

As an attacker, therefore, you can use a 'plasma hack and slash' attack whereby you damage or drop the enemy's facing shield with direct fire weapons, then launch plasma at the end of that same impulse. The plasma will then impact the ship on that weakened shield because of the ‘zero-energy anchor’.

However, if you are the target ship for such an attack, you can still do something about that incoming fire: you can perform a high energy turn in order to turn a fresh shield to your attacker. It is important to make sure that you save the power for this; if you are about to receive direct fire from an enemy ship at one hex range that plasma he can launch this impulse, you should be careful to save some power for that high energy turn and not squander it all on reinforcement. Keeping only a single point of power in order to perform an Emergency Deceleration followed by a Tactical Maneuver is not an option in this case as the plasma will impact before you can execute the maneuver.

Also, and this is not often appreciated, if you can accelerate to speed 24+1, then you may be able to escape, depending on the geometry of the launching ship’s approach – unless he’s at Range 0 of course.
In this situation, a canny opponent can also threaten a tractor beam anchor if he has enough power; countering this beam could also eat into the power you are keeping for your high energy turn. In this case, the situation will have to dictate whether it is better to accept the tractor and still be able to perform the high energy turn, or avoid the tractor anchor. However, most of the time it would be better to keep the power for the high energy turn, because you will probably need it anyway if he anchors you.
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mjwest
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget one last point. If the target is moving speed 24 (and who isn't against a loaded plasma ship), using an acceleration can force the torpedo to hit a different shield. Granted, you have far fewer shields you can expose by accelerating instead of using an HET, but it costs one-fifth as much energy, too.

A correllary to this is NEVER slip into this hex. Do not slip into a hex if you are going to end up in the same hex as an armed plasma ship. That maximizes your options when you go speed 24+1 against range zero plasma.
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Democratus
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a little rusty on the FedCom seeking weapon rules.

Does a seeking weapon have to move directly forward after firing? Does it stay in the same hex if it performs an HET?

If either of these is answered with 'yes' then you can even escape a plasma at range zero with speed 24+1 and an HET.
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Bolo_MK_XL
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(4J3b) Function: Plasma torpedoes, once launched, function as seeking weapons ----

(4F3e) High Energy turns: Seeking weapons make a high energy turn (2D2) only if doing so would cause them to impact on their target in the current Movement Sub-Pulse --


(4G3) Movement: Last sentence Drones make HETs on one of the sub-pulses in which they are scheduled to move, and move one hex after turning to face the new direction

Found nothing in plasma rules to that say the same, but with FCs ease of play rules, believe plasma would operate in the same manner ---
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unlike SFB, in Fed Com seeking weapons can (and indeed, must) move in the same movement pulse as a high energy turn, so if he launches at range 0, the torp will impact.

As noted though, a high energy turn could change which shield the torpedo impacts, and you don't even need to leave the hex for that.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Democratus wrote:
Does a seeking weapon have to move directly forward after firing? Does it stay in the same hex if it performs an HET?

If either of these is answered with 'yes' then you can even escape a plasma at range zero with speed 24+1 and an HET.

This raises an interesting point. We know that a seeking weapon has to move one hex forwards immediately after launch.

However, can the weapon HET straight away - without having to move that one hex - if that would cause it to hit its target? We've always played it that it can, because we always saw the mandatory one hex of movement as that required to fulfil the weapon's turn and slip modes. The HET immediately after launch is therefore a logical ability if that is the reason why the weapon has to move one hex.

Have we been playing it right, then?
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Wolverin61
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have my rulebook in front of me, but iirc it says a drone has to HET if doing so will cause it to hit its target that move. So I'd say you're doing it right, Tony.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, this was one of my first rulings when I got the "Answer Guy" job. Smile

The third paragraph of rule (2C3b) specifically states that HETs are an exception to the requirement to move straight foward as the first move of a seeking weapon. (The current reading was a direct result of that ruling.)

And to the question before, unlike in SFB, a seeking weapon still moves in the same sub-pulse they perform the HET. The HET does NOT replace the movement.
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Democratus
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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for clarifying that! Very Happy
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