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Web Casters

 
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Patrick Doyle
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Joined: 18 Aug 2007
Posts: 200
Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:07 am    Post subject: Web Casters Reply with quote

This is a tricky system to use and I am looking for any advice that I can get. I have played against web casters but have not actually played using a web caster. I do know that you must place the web very carefully. One misplaced hex of web can have disasterous consequences for the Tholians.

The best advice I have heard to date for learning about the web caster is to spend a couple days with map and counters and try out as many combinations as possible. I haven't done this yet, but I'll post what I learn.

Webcasters have several uses as far as I can tell.

1. You can try to trap ships with them. This seems like the most tempting from what I have seen and always the least effective. It is difficult to trap a ship that does not cooperate.

2. The near relative to the above is to use it to influence enemy movement. The enemy must either be trapped or move where you want him to move. (or do an HET)

3. Use it as a web fist. This makes for a long range punch and hurts when it hits.

4. Use it as cover to fire phasers at the enemy.


So does anyone have any specific thoughts on the Webcaster or anything to add?
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Sneaky Scot
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost never try to trap ships with the caster. I think the best use is deployable terrain. You can try to affect the opposition's movement options, you can hide behind the web (always good at annoying Klingons and Kzintis as you dive through your own web and their drone swarms don't) or as a palisade you can hide behind for phaser sniping.
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TJolley
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the approach:

I like to use web to break up fleets so as to gain local superiority against some portion of the opponents fleet, or to use web as a way to throw up a wall to fire at the enemy under protective cover.

Once the battle is joined:

One you get close to the enemy, I tend to use web fist a lot. It's pretty expensive, but it can tip a game.

With the one impulse delay before it solidifies. it is very difficult to use cast web to capture ships under most circumstances. It's better employed to influence movement of opposing fleets, or intercept seeking weapons
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not a big Tholian user, but this is what I have seen over the years:

1. Doesn't work. And with no breakdown threat, it doesn't even really buy you anything. Never even think this.

2. Still hard to do. Unless you have multiple web strands you can use in combination, you are going to trap the enemy, and the movement influence is fairly minor. You will never force them to HET unless they want to. (With the power that an HET costs, you can decelerate enough to turn safely.) You can temporarily split the opposing forces, but only if they are widely dispersed. Overall, a decent idea, but hard to make use of.

3. Good use, but remember this is the secondary use of a web caster. If you go in thinking "web fist" you are not fully using its capabilities.

4. This is the main use. It is a firebreak that allows you to control when the fire exchange takes place. With FC's limited firing opportunities, even brief moments of exposure don't even have to be a difficult thing.

From everything I have ever read from tournament writeups, #4 is the primary use of web casters. If you can use it this way effectively, you can really alter the damage balance and give yourself a significant advantage.

The other thing to remember (when comparing them with SFB webs) is that FC webs are not nearly as scary as SFB webs. They don't cause breakdowns. They have a lower maximum strength. It is harder to get stuck in a web, and harder to stay stuck.

But, they also don't cause damage reduction to Tholian phasers firing through them, either. Cast web should be very useful to break up enemy fire.

Oh, there is one more thing you didn't mention:
5. Stop seeking weapons. Cast web is one of the few things that allows you to easily deal with seeking weapons coming in head-on. You have to time it right (for the one impulse delay in "solidifying"), but web can definitely stop, or at least slow down, a seeking weapon wave very effectively.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Oh, there is one more thing you didn't mention:
5. Stop seeking weapons. Cast web is one of the few things that allows you to easily deal with seeking weapons coming in head-on. You have to time it right (for the one impulse delay in "solidifying"), but web can definitely stop, or at least slow down, a seeking weapon wave very effectively.


Ah yes, I knew I was forgetting something. And that brings me to my next question. Webs can be used to stop seeking weapons, and usd properly I imagine its a lifesaver.

However, If my drones fly into web, can I use the enemy web to mass my drones. IE, the first wave gets caught in the web (launched on the previous turn), and I launch a second wave later that also gets caught, now all my drones are massed together and will come out of the web at the same time. Then early next turn I launch more drones if control ratings allow. I think I have seen this effect when used against drones. On fixed map, the Tholians may find themselves dealing with a larger mass of drones, albeit delayed a bit. Any thoughts?
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TJolley
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Joined: 25 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:
I3. Good use, but remember this is the secondary use of a web caster. If you go in thinking "web fist" you are not fully using its capabilities.


I have to disagee with this. If you aren't using web fist you aren't using a WC to its fullest capabilities. You must be willing and able to employ both cast web and web fist, and know which mode to employ, to get the most out of the Web Caster.

The killer with cast web is the 1-impulse delay before solidifying. Remember it doesn't solidify until after all other direct fire has occurred on the impulse after it is cast. That means there are effectivly 2 impulses of movement from the time Web is cast and the time it starts to provide a fire break for you against direct fire. That's a whole lot of time when you are at close range and both parties are moving at a base speed of 16 or 24.

When you are in knife-fighting range in a fur-ball, on a non-terrain map (ie no anchor points), cast web is very difficult to use effectively as your opponant will be no where near where the web solidifies that will provide you with a fire advantage.

Plus, if you try to cast a 5-hex web to increase your changes of creating a fire-break and your opponant is moving at 16 or 24 base, they will just plow into the web (thereby negating it as a fire-break), getting to point blank range (or close to it) and still hit you with a massive volley, while only being stopped for 2.5-3.33 impluses (Assume they accelerate every impulse).

On the other hand, a web fist, hitting a downed shield succesfully targeted on weapons or power can make the difference between victory or defeat. Knocking out an additonal 5 power or 2 phasers, torpedo, drone, and a power per fist that hits is huge, especially at Fleet Scale - the scale the FC Tournaments occur in.


Seekers:
Unless you are going really slowly, that delay caused by being trapped in web will put the drones so far out of the game that they will run out of juice, prompt your opponant to drop tracking, give you enough time to cast another web to stop them, or allow you to get to all those nice rear-firing P-3's the Neos love so much in arc.

If cast properly and if you maneuver properly, you can cast a 2-hex web and stop drones for a full turn, or a 1-hex web and stop plasmas for a full turn. That should be pretty much it for those weapons unless you hang around waiting for them to come free.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't say don't use the web fist. I simply said don't go in planning on that as the primary use. Sure, if you have a good shot, take it. But don't forget the other uses of it.

As for the firebreak use, I see it being used in three cases:
1) The approach: Use this to close range and avoid fire in the intermediary ranges. This is very nice when you use photon Tholians. (Skip that nasty 5-15 or at least 5-8 hex range on the way in.)
2) The escape: Use this to block enemy fire on the retreat/reload.
3) Knife fight: As Todd mentions, the enemy can blow through a five hex web. That's fine. It will still take the enemy time to get through the web, but no time for you. When the web is in a jagged line (not a straight line), there are lots of little nooks and crannies for you to hide in to avoid his fire.

Again, in the third case, you don't care if he comes through the web, because you will just go on the other side. If he is next to the web, and you are away from it, the web won't work as a firebreak.

Also, by using the web in the knife fight, like this, it allows you to slow down without instantly dying. This is important, because Tholians use some of the most power-hungry weapons in the game.
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TJolley
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just don't forget that they can plow into and fire through the web if they are willing to accept being temporarily stopped by the web.

There have been a number of times I have seen Tholians throw up a web and sigh in relief when it solidifies between them and Feds with OL Photons..only to see the angst on thier face as the Feds plow on into the web to fire Photons and Phasers-1's at range one or two and vaporize the Tholians because they thought they were totally safe behind thier fire break.

(I do admit..I have been those Tholians before..and those Feds)
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, the key to using web in a knife fight is that you have to be ready for them to plow into the web. This means you have to be in (or at) the web strand, too.

So, when that Fed plows into the web, you need to be able to slip through it to the other side. Or into it with another web hex between the two of you.

That is also why the zig-zag is important. If you are in one of the "notches", then it doesn't matter whether the enemy is in the web or just short of it. He still can't hit you.

But I want to admit that this is a very dangerous game. It means you are intentionally operating at virtually point blank range with an armed and angry enemy. One little screw up and you become vapor. But at the same time, play it right and he doesn't get to hit you until you get an unreplied phaser salvo off.

I also want to admit that if I tried to do this, I would probably die several times before I would start getting it right. But this is the tactic that the Tholian tournament winners use all the time to control firing opportunities. Done right, and you have a frustrated enemy. Done wrong, and it is probably time to start the next game.
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TJolley
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:
But this is the tactic that the Tholian tournament winners use all the time to control firing opportunities.


Dunno about that..I've only lost one tournament game playing as the Tholians (the dice gods were against me big-time in addition to just being flat out-played), and I've used the web-fist almost exclusively once in knife-fight range out to range 10. Outside range 10, yea, use it to influence movement and firing opportunities, or to break up fleets to achieve local superiority.

But once close-in..those extra up to 10-point heavy weapons that hit on 1-4 out to range 10 every turn was the game breaker almost every time.

At Fleet Scale, NeoDN has 2 WC's, 2 DISR and 4xP-1's..very very nasty against almost all races. I would hold a WC back against big Plasmas or against a drone swarm..but against Feds or Klingons, it was virtually assured that the WC's would be in fist mode all the time inside 10 hexes.

Add a Tholian Web Cruiser into the fleet too and you have 3 WC's available as one of the most accurate hardest-hitting heavy weapons in the game out to range 10. Outside range 10, I tend to use it as a cast web unless facing a downed shield and having a bunch of weapons to dump at or near the end of a turn.

viewing Damage to power consuption the fist is the equal to or exceeds disruptors at all ranges (2 points of damage per point of power put in) except range 1. It can generate more damage than disruptors at all ranges except 1 (where it equals the DISR), and it has as good or better to-hit than disruptors at all ranges except 1 or 0 (the WC can't fire at range 0).

The Web fist Equals the Photon in Damage to power consuption (2 points of damage per point of power put in) at all ranges to 10, and is vastly more accurate from ranges 5-10, and has the same to-hit at ranges 3-4. don't get closer than 3 from a Fed (unless it's Pat Doyle..who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn Very Happy )
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But this is the tactic that the Tholian tournament winners use all the time to control firing opportunities.


Actually I dug out an old "Victory at Origins" article by Paul Scott that coroberates Mike's statement. Obviously there are differences between SFB, but I think the idea is the same. Knifefighting with web is a dangerous game where one small screwup means you die. His big suggestion was that you have to spend a few days in front of a map moving counters around in some mock battles. I wish there there were a tactics article that clearly states (1) Do this, (2) do that. Using webs is an art that I would like to learn, if for no other reason than to make sure I don't get beat by Tholians next time at Origins.

Also, I just got my CL-36 today. Fed Com tournament rules are on page 53 and there it clearly states "Tholian forces can include no more than one web caster". Whew.

Also, I think the web fist is more significant in Fleet scale than in squadron scale. I know Todd only plays fleet scale, I play both and prefer squadron. There are some tactical differences between the two scales.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I would like to say, as the Fed who was on the recieving side of those long range web fists, I found it annoying to get hit by them. They didn't hit all the time, but as our game went 12 hours/ 13 turns even the 50% and 33% chance of hitting caused the damage to add up. And since the game came down to probe launchers and suicide shuttles, web fists may well have tipped the balance in this case, the photons certainly didn't.

Now if Todd's Dreadnought had simply had the decency to die on turn two like I had planned, they might not have made the difference, but alas, only 1 of 8 torpedoes (range 8 ) were destined to hit the DN...... ahhhh, if you recall, one misplaced web counter allowed me to get around your web and get that shot at your DN. If you had placed that web counter better, I might not have gotten that shot off, thus saving my torpedoes for a better shot... and then I might not have lost. I see now, you intentionally misplaced that web hex so I would miss with the torpedo shot...very clever, very clever indeed! Laughing
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