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Tourney hydrans
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject: Tourney hydrans Reply with quote

I've recently been playing the tourney format with a regular opponent.

The games have been quite interesting and far better than 1 vs 1 duels. As expected, the usual 1 vs 1 tactics often do not always apply. Multi ships, fixed map and limited time make for an intersting situation. We haven't been sticking to 3 hours yet, but to what ever time we can fit in on an evening, which is between 3-4 hours. We've each been choosing what we want to play prior to the match, so we don't know what we will be facing.

The games played so far have been:

Kzinti vs Tholian - I was wanting to see how massed drones worked, and came up against the ultimate drone stopper!
Hydran (hellbores) vs LDR - My massed hellbores up against anti hellbore ESG and even more PhGs than I had!
Seltorian vs Fed - Can the the ultimate 'death by 1000 cuts' weapon get in 1000 cuts before the ultimate 'bang your dead' weapon fires!
Gorn vs Rom - classic plasma ballet
Hydran (Fusions/stingers) vs Orion - "How many stingers are still left", "This is hard, no this is really hard".



The last one is the one that has intrigued me, I was playing the hydrans (My preferred race), but up until this game I've not used fusions much, nor more than a couple of stingers. But like my opponent I am using our new regular games to try out stuff that I don't normally go for.

I had 2 mohawks with 8 stingers each and a Gendarme with 2 stingers (446 pts). Thats 24 Phgs and 46 Fusions (though only 28 fusions at once). Given that mass stingers are pretty brutal out to range 8, and still decent at 9-10, I had decided that my general tactic would be to charge at 24+ for 6 impulses and (unless the enemy had managed to keep the range really open) I would then drop stingers who would get 2 moves at 16 and be able to fire on 8 (after the 1 impulse wait), whilst the ships would do what ever seemed appropriate (probably carry on in). In the event that the enemy has managed to get past me at range, then retain the stingers until you can close the range, the fusion armed hydrans have the useful feature that they have nothing to arm or hold until firing, which means all power to moving is not a huge issue. It is not easy to keep range againt someone doing 24+ on a fixed map (even more so if you actually want to shoot back).


My oppont had a BC, DW, and 2 Double raiders. The +1 stealth really knackers stinger long range fire, but I decided to stick with the plan. The orions went speed 16 and conceded at the end of turn 1 with his BC and DW effectvely dead for the cost of a crippled Gendarme.

As we had just had our quickest ever game, my opponent was keen for a rematch so we played the same setup again. This time he had realised that I could close to hose on turn 1, and went 24+ as well whilst hoping to draw out the stingers and start picking them off whilst not getting to close. However, in order to do that he doubbled engines as he woud have struggled to go fast and shoot stingers, that of course meant losing the +1 stealth. The stingers lost 3 and a cripple on launch, and the Gendarme was gutted (3 boxes left!) but the stingers still got to range 8/9 where, along with the cruisers, they blasted the BC to its last few boxes. Impulse 1 of turn 2 saw the Orions pinned on the map edge, with the remaining 3 ships risking 2 HETs in 2 impulses to try and get out of the way, at the end of impulse 2 a DBR went pop, though I also lost a Mohawk. At that point the remainng DBR having failed the Emergency HET was a sitting duck and the DW had no way of avoiding 15 stingers closing to ranges 0-2 so the Orion conceded again.

We talked about this a bit, and I have to say it appears to be a truly brutal fleet (more so than I was thinking when I took it). I can think of a couple of opponents who might be tricky to close with straight away, but I'm not sure that even they can last long given the fixed map.

Does anyone else have any thoughts/opinions on what may be a good tourney fleet and tactics to handle a hydran with 18 odd stingers. Whilst bearing in mind that, in theory, it should be decent against any other squadron it comes up against.



NB: It did occur to me this morning that there may be an issue with the tourney setup rules as described. It has 1 side based around hex 0202 and the other at 2530. The one at 2530 has a large edge over the other, as he has some 17 hexes to move away from the other guy, where as the guy in the corner can not move away from an enemy that is coming at him. As it happens I had the 2530 position. I wonder whether the setup position should be shifted to something like 0902 and 3330 so the start position is a bit more neutral in terms of proximity to map edges.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ps I would add that the Tholians are the obvious fly in the ointment for the hydrans, but then the Tholians tend to be like that for anyone.
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DaveP.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been playing Tournament games an average of twice a week for a month now, and here's some of the things I've seen.
Things I've noticed:
1- When someone brings in a dreadnought, the other side's tactics for the first few turns tend to center around killing that DN. This makes sense: most DN's are just too nasty to leave wandering around, and if you're going to tackle them you need to do so with fresh ships.
2- The fixed board makes 'big crunch' direct-fire races very powerful, as 'slash and run' races have a lot less room to run.
3- Races I've been successful with: Feds, Hydran fusion, Hydran hellbore, Tholian, and Kzinti.
4- Races I've had problems with or have beaten more than once: Romulans and Seltorians.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting, my opponent has taken a large ship and 2 smaller ships a couple of times, and lost as I've concentrated on the smaller ships. They are easy points and a quick reduction in enemy firepower, and whilst having a big nasty vessel hanging around is not good, the games have been ending before that really becomes an issue.

The Hydan vs LDR was a good example of that, at the point we finished (over 3 hours) I was not in a good position, the nasty LDR BCH was untouched and my ships were starting the arming cycle on the hellbores, but the points I scored for concentraing on the smaller ships gave me a points win. I would also add that I ignored the BCH as it had 4 ESG to counter hellbores whilst the other 2 ships had 1 and 2 respectively, that further exagerated the effect of the small ships being easy points compared to the big ship.

As much as possible I try to keep my ships about the same size, and I think my opponent has come to same conclusion for the time being. The tiny gendarme I had in the last game was simply due to not being able to come up with another mass stinger squadron. And it was the first target my opponent went for as it was the one that be taken out even at the longer turn 1 shooting opportunities.

Any thoughts on how to handle a fusion/mass stinger force?
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DaveP.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of my experience is from the other end: running the Hydrans. That having been said...


The two central facts of a fusion/fighter squadron are that fusion ships can only do a reasonable amount of damage inside range 4 (and preferably at range 2 or less), and that Stings max out at Speed 16.

With that in mind, Hydran fusion/swarm tactics are basically going to boil down to cranking the speed up to 32, closing to point-blank range (hopefully tractoring the target), taking the enemy's best shot and letting the fighters do the heavy lifting. This is exactly how I won my last game with them (although I DID use about half the fighters' Ph-G's to degrade my Romulan enemy's plasma strike).

IMHO time: Beating those tactics means staying out of fusion range and especially means to deny the enemy any chance of tractoring you, even if it means trading weapons energy for maneuver energy. Drone races have it harder than plasma races, as Hydran ships have very good defensive suites (Ph-G's plus lots of tractors), but that speed-32 means that even seeking plasma will have a hard time generating a hit (might want to stick to bolts/carronades). Use whatever direct fire you can muster, directed-targeting on energy, in order to slow Mr. Hydran down; once he can no longer maintain high speed you can start bringing more of your weapons to bear. The real nightmare for fusion/fighter squadrons is going to be Orions, who can crank up the speed AND deliver damage.


I've not used Lyrans much or LDR ships at all, but in the races I've used DN-centric squadrons for (Feds, Hydrans, Romulans, Tholians ) the center of the battle has been the big ship. I'd much rather gun for the DN than try to whittle down its screen: if the enemy keeps good formation I can't engage the side ships without taking a pounding from the heavy, and if I'm going to get my squadron worked over like that I want to only have to face two (Fed example) war destroyers when it's over- instead of taking the same beating and then having to deal with the dread. Maybe the difference in your experience is dictated by ESG tactics.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The two central facts of a fusion/fighter squadron are that fusion ships can only do a reasonable amount of damage inside range 4 (and preferably at range 2 or less),


I was initially relying on my opponent mistakingly thinking in those terms. Whether he did or didn't I don't know.

Whilst it may hold true for the ships, who with poor phaser suites and a 2 turn arming can't afford to take long range shots without a very good reason, it doesn't hold so true of the stingers. They can fire every turn with fusions (either 2-4 times depending on double charging) and every turn with the gatling.

Useful Maths for the 18 stingers I had, ignoring modifiers:

range 10 average damage = 45
range 8 average damage = 57

Also bear in mind that is 18 seperate volleys, so once you are firing on a down shield then you are scoring all your hits on the important first 3 columns of the DAC. Conversely of course, if the target has the power he could battery a good portion of it away (In 1 of our games the Orion BC went through about 20 power in order to save as much shield as possible).

At range 10 the FedDN (assuming centerline) averages about 9 damage without photons, or 25 with. A photon ship may not be the best comparison, but 3 D5Ws (18 ph1 and 12 disr) average 42 damage at range 10. To put it another way, even at range 10 the mass stingers average more damage than a full 450 pt ship squadron, and their damage distribution is far more effective once they are rolling on the DAC. That still leaves the 3 hydran vessels with another 10 fusions and phasers and gatlinsg possibly closing on you.

Quote:
With that in mind, Hydran fusion/swarm tactics are basically going to boil down to cranking the speed up to 32, closing to point-blank range (hopefully tractoring the target), taking the enemy's best shot and letting the fighters do the heavy lifting.


Even against Orions, with that extremely useful +1 stealth, I had no need to tractor the enemy. Whilst I did carry on to close the range, tractoring just wasn't needed.

Quote:
Beating those tactics means staying out of fusion range and especially means to deny the enemy any chance of tractoring you,


Whilst that seems the proper tactic.....

The fixed map becomes the issue. If the start positions had been reversed then my opponent might have had a better turn 1, but would have then had the same problem on turn 2. But with the start position he had it is not physically possible to avoid a range 6-10 volley on impulse 8 of 1 from the stingers (and another at some point in turn 2) except by staying where he starts, in which case the hydrans can only close to 11 (i think) with the stingers on turn 1, but that leaves you seriously cornered on turn 2.

If you start at 0301 and go speed 32 along the edge of the map (to try and run round him) then the hydran can guarantee a range 6 stinger volley on impulse 8 (as well as a range 2 main ship volley).

In order to do that you have to give up any FA shooting at the hydrans at under range 9, so your fire is limited. Further going speed 32 restricts power to weapons, e.g. 3 D5Ws only have 11 power left on turn 1, so 3 of them firing at range 9-15 average 33 damage (whilst being reasonably assured of taking over 100 in return). Smaller ships will usually be worse, e.g. a fed DW will only have 1 power left after photon arming.

In fact even doing 32 and trying to slip round the Hydrans not only fails to avoid the Stinger shot, it simply transfers you from one corner to another (more or less) badly limiting your movement options on turn 2. Again the simple attempt to end run the hydrans leaves you taking another range 8 stinger volley on turn 2 and a point blank main ship volley at some point.

If you do try and at least get a good shot of yourself then the hydran just gets a better shot as well, as you give up distance and power in order to your shooting.

The only possible general tactic I can think of at the moment is to go evasive in the stingers 'can't shoot after launch' impulse. Fusion/PhG/Ph2 fire dies off against a +2 shift, so declare evasive and then spend as long as you have to to get to a point where you can drop out with the stingers out of range , shoot, and then get back evasive if needed. It could be a long tedious game with little happening, but better than dying horribly in the first 2 turns. However, even that may hard as +2 may not help much if you aren't going fast enough to avoid the point blank volley, and high speed + evasive is very expensive.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DaveP. wrote:
The real nightmare for fusion/fighter squadrons is going to be Orions, who can crank up the speed AND deliver damage.


And funnily enough, as you'll note from my first post, that is who I took on and slaughtered twice. My opponent really couldn't see how he could beat the hydrans I had with the ships/weapons he had. The +1 stealth hurt me, but if he wanted that power he gave up the +1, and Orion ships just raen't robust enough to withstand much punishment.
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dharras
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:

As much as possible I try to keep my ships about the same size, and I think my opponent has come to same conclusion for the time being. The tiny gendarme I had in the last game was simply due to not being able to come up with another mass stinger squadron.


If that number of stingers doesn't cause your opponent to sob, you may want to consider swapping the GEN+2xST2 for a CU. If they manage to evade the speed 16 flotilla of pain, they now have a hellbore to worry about.

storeylf wrote:

Any thoughts on how to handle a fusion/mass stinger force?

Have your own stinger/hellbore force to go against it? Wink
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What weapons was the Orion trying to use vs Stingers?

Plasma-D torpedoes should be effective; low power cost, high effectiveness. Probably take at least two torps per Stinger for a kill, due to the Ph-Gs. Also, carronaded F-Torps are pretty good against Stingers. Plasma torpedoes are also effective vs Fusion Beam armed ships, in spite of the Phaser-Gs. If you can hit a charging fusion ship with enough torps, you can overwhelm the defenses.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What weapons was the Orion trying to use vs Stingers?


The weapons he came with (mainly disrupters, with a few other bits thrown in). Remember each squadron was choosen without knowing what the other player would have, so there was no opportunity to tailor the ships and weapons.

Taking Plasma D may be good against some things, but using option mounts for D's is possibly poor against a lot of other opponents.

I'm not sure how effective they would be though. For the most part you would be looking at a 2 impulse impact, a PhG can effectively negate that. There are only 4 plasmas per rack after which you are looking at DC to reload.

If the Hydrans launch on impulse 6, which would be the ideal, and happens to fit in with most scenarios that they might face with an opponent starting at 0202, then a launch on 6 hits on 8 and is negated, a launch on 7 hits next turn, and is negated. Firing 2 together usually means centerlining, which means either you are attacking the stingers head on, or running back to the corner you just came from, neither of which is ideal.

Carronades are nice, but that means getting to at least range 5 against what ever you are targeting, with fast moving hydran ships also coming at you that is risky, You still have map edge problems, and are still taking a lot of damage from the stingers (especially if you double engines losing the +1).

If you started in the corner with Fs and Ds what would be your tactic, woud you double engines and lose the +1? go speed 32? Carronade and HET back to the corner?

Like I said I've been thinking a lot about this, its not hard to think of anti-hydran/stinger tactics in the general sense. The problem is thinking of a 450 point fleet that works against all comers on the fixed map and start positions you have. I honestly belive at the moment that starting on 0202 against that hydran force is a death trap. 2530 is better but still probably an uphill struggle.

Once war and peace is out with the Vudar, I might change my mind - The IPG is easily the most efficient anti stinger weapon around. But as with ESG you have the issue of facing staggering firepower before you are close enough to actually use it. The IPG however not only has a better range, it actually gets better with more targets, whereas the ESG degrades as the damage is spread.

Although this post has made me think, for orions in a tourney would you expect to be able to choose weapons per fight, or, as we've assumed, as part of the initial submission and non-changeable afterwards?
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mojo jojo
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure unless I play it out, but how about a Gorn fleet of:

2 BC/CC/CS/CM
1 CL

This is 6 PL-S and 6 PL-F or 1 R, 4 S, and 6 F (assuming you can push off the real fight to turn 2).

The puzzle seems to involve trying not to face 18 stingers all at the same time.

If you launch 4 PL-S at 1 Mohawk timed to hit at range 10 or so, you force it to either break off, release stingers early, or suck up a tremendous amount of damage.

If it breaks off, then it's 3 good ships vs 1 Mohawk, 1 Gendarme, and 10 stingers which is a much better fight. If it launches stingers early, this allows you to pick a few off and turn away at 24 speed where they can't catch you. If the Mohawk sucks up the damage, you can probably kill it fairly easily which makes the rest of the battle easier.

If stingers get close (as long as it's not 18 of them), then each Pl-F can guarantee crippling 1 per turn if you get them at 4-5 hexes range. That's 6 cripples between your 3 ships. And since you probably are moving faster than the stingers, you should be able to control the range.
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mojo jojo
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another possibility would be a Fed fleet of:

2 NCL
2 DW

This is 14 photons and 20 PH-1 that can be brought to bear. Let's assume the engagement range is 6-8 against the Hydrans. The massed firepower of 18 stingers, 2 Mohawks, and 1 Gendarme would probably kill 1 NCL. There probably isn't enough firepower to make it worthwhile spreading fire against 2 ships.

The feds answer back by firing 14 photons at 14 separate stingers and 20 PH-1 at the remaining 4 stingers. The 14 photons on average kill or cripple (depending on whether the Fed has enough power to partially overload each photon) 7 stingers and the 20 PH1 kill or cripple 4 stingers. That leaves 7 good stingers left plus 2 Mohawks and 1 Gendarme vs 1 NCL and 2 DWs. This isn't a bad deal for the Fed at all. They can run away and reload and make another pass, but vs a much more manageable level of stingers.

Of course there is a very high variance in number of stingers getting hit by photons. The Hydrans can easily lose 10 stingers, or might lose only 4. This would have a very obvious impact on how the rest of the battle proceeds.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an aside on that Federation force, you probably only get to use 14 Ph-1s, not 20. The only way to get all 20 is to center-line the Hydran force. If you are planning on running away to reload, I seriously doubt you want to center-line the Hydrans ...

Still some good thoughts, though.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I had 2 mohawks with 8 stingers each and a Gendarme with 2 stingers (446 pts).


Mohawks only carry 6 stingers each, and two Admin shuttles. With a Gendarme, those are 160 + 160 + 64 = 424.

One thing most people don't realise is that if all your ships are destroyed, any shuttles, including stingers, are considered destroyed. So I'd seriously consider sacrificing two or three ships out of my squadron to annihilate the Hydran squadron. You'd surrender a bunch of points, but score more.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

terryoc wrote:
Quote:
I had 2 mohawks with 8 stingers each and a Gendarme with 2 stingers (446 pts).


Mohawks only carry 6 stingers each, and two Admin shuttles. With a Gendarme, those are 160 + 160 + 64 = 424.



I'll reply to other posts later, but unless I'm getting my ships mixed up, Mohawks are 111 + 80, that is 8 stingers and 2 shuttles. At least the ships i used were the 111 + 80 ships, could have sworn that was mohawks.
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