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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:53 am
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I´d thought I´d also open up a few threads to discuss some of the strengths of the DL units - and I´d like to start with one of the more controversial units: Stalkers.

Basics:
Their stats are nothing out of the ordinary. In comparison to the good troop choice of Necromutants they are a bit slower, a bit stronger, have a higher Con, lower LD and WP, but more Armour. And of course, 2 Wounds. So overall, with the reduced movement and lower Willpower (important vs. Psy) but higher Armour, I´d rate them equal, stat-wise. Of course, having 2 wounds is way better. I still dont understand how everyone gets impenetrable saves but 80-point stalkers dont.

Their primary weapon is solid: ST 15 with RoF 2 at 24", AVV 1 again allows a comparison to the Necromutants who have the same weapon with only minus 2 strength. Sure, they can potentially cause 2 wounds, but again, this is random and you shouldn’t count on it.
Close-Combat wise they are even worse than Necromutants: Same Strength, same RoA, no AVV (though a higher CCRW).

Now if you look at the points: Necromutant (21) vs. Stalker (80), the first conclustion obviously is: Do not just use these guys as you would use Necromutants because you get 4 Necromutants who are only slightly worse for the price of one Stalker. Again, just to make my point clear: do not ever just place them in your deployment zone and advance with them like any other troop. The WILL be a big let-down because they cannot ever make up for their points.

Now, fortunately, Stalkers have some skills that are worth looking at:
1) Infiltrate: I´m not a big fan of infiltrate as you must place them in heavy terrain and they are vulnerable and can be shot at starting with turn 1, forcing you to perhaps activate them first. This could be good in conjunction with the Carcass launcher (see below) - that way, you would force the opponent to turn around and face them.
2) Rapid Deployment: SUPER GOOD! Unfortunately, their LD of 15 means they will scatter in 1/4 of the times you Rapid Deploy them. Again: Without weapon upgrades, this is not a good idea because their regular firepower is mediocre at best (for 80 points). But with the right weapons this can be super deadly. Not being able to "fumble" on a natural 20 seems good - but most Rapid Deployment troops have a similar power.
3) Bonded in Birth: Well... I dont think too much of this skill. In most cases (we play 1000 points) you will not field more than 2-3 stalkers, so thats a bonus of +1 (5% chance to hit more). Nice to have, but not too powerful. In a 4000 point battle with 6 Stalkers (480 points + weapon upgrades) that would be a 15% increase. Also not THAT powerful.
4) Flesh in the shell: Stalkers got this skill after beta where they were super-bad and overpriced and I really must say, Prodos thought of something cool here. Not being vulnerable to Critical Force means your opponent cannot ever one-shot them.

Weapon upgrades:
1) Reaper of Semai: Close Combat Upgrade, you trade any ranged weapons for 1 CC axe that also gives you impenetrable armour (10). The weapon itself is not that amazing. With it the Stalkers have St 14, RoA 2 and AVV 6, so obviously they want to hit vehicles with it. Natural rolls of 1,2,3 give critical Force (2) and critical damage (2), again, nice bonus - but you just cant count on it because it only happens in 15% of the attacks. The big thing here is obviously the Armour upgrade, that enables a troop to survive if you are in close range and your opponent must shoot at the nearest target.
2) Carcass Launcher: 18“ is not that much Range, Strength of 13 is mediocre and the small Template is not big. But:it is blast (reducing armor again for most troops) – and for turn to burn 1 you can also give a stun effect to the models situated under the blast template. Given which unit you have targeted, this could be very good (Inquisitors / Sacred Warriors) to non-relevant (Legionnaires)
3) Hindenburg Incinerator: Strength 8 yells “primary use is not infantry units” – but AVV 12 kindly and softly shows you where it´s uses lie. Also, Critical Damage 2. Also, RoF 2. Meaning: Each vehicle under the template suffers 2 hits with AVV12 which each cause 2 SP damage. Now imagine 2 Stalkers shooting at that vehicle. Chance is, it is destroyed after this attack with 8 probable SP damage.
As this is a flamer, you obviously need to be near the target. Rapid deployment should work very well here.

Synergies:
Golgotha can buff the Stalkers with an additional +1 Armour (making that 17, which is really good) and +1 Movement (giving them the slightly above average 6). To use her abilities though you NEED to deploy them in your deployment area – and I already told you not to.

Cards:
Apart from the obvious cards that affect everyone (+2RS etc.), there are some specific cards that Stalkers profit from in peticular:

“An eye for an eye” would be the most prominent card. Being able to increase Armour for your own guys is fantastic – being able to decrease opponents armour saves against flamers is super-fantastic. Sure, the low strength of 8 increases this to an Armour of 2 again, but who are we to complain? In short, this card gives you the flexibility to use the rapid deploying Stalkers where they are needed. I know some people find this card horrendously unfair – but please consider that Stalkers in general are 1) super costly and 2) fragile. So after having shot, the Stalkers most likely get killed, so even with the use of this card they only did a good job if they managed to kill as many points as they cost themselves.

“Blood-Lust”: Often played on enemy troops, this can benefit you as well: Take a Reaper of Semai-equipped squad of 3, play this card and turn to burn to gain 1 extra attack – that’s 12 attacks. Good!

“The Harvest”: is being able to increase the Engage bonus +1 and the CC value by 2. I don’t find this incredibly useful as it only increases chance to hit by 10% and reduces the opponents armor save by addition 5% (if any).

“Arcane Regurgitation” – this is again a fantastic card. Being able to remove them and redeploy them is super-good! This could be either done to redeploy them if you use infiltrate and the opponent just turned around to face you or if you jumped right in, did some damage and then want to get out of there as fast as you can.

All in all:
Stalkers look solid on paper – the most prominent problem is the high price you´re paying for them. Sure, they can be super deadly if used correct but can be a big waste of points if your opponent acts clever or you just cant use their surprise attack well enough. And once they are on the table and start shooting with their regular guns, they basically are pricey versions of Necromutants.
But why again do I like them so much? I guess because they, more than any other unit, are a total wild card and can be great or bad – and my guess is that this unit more than others depends on the skill of the player.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:38 am
Posts: 128
It's great that someone picked up the subjecy :D . I'm looking forward to reading about other units ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:44 pm
Posts: 90
Just a few minor points to add since Dunnagh has done a good job covering the majority:

Choose specific targets in mind for the Stalkers to go after that will help another unit in the army. They can deal with a wide range of threats but figure out what enemy units might give your best units fits and tailor accordingly.

Their standard guns are ideal against multi-wound units with average or low Con...which is quite a few so even lone Warlords are possible targets. As mentioned Incinerators are ideal against vehicles but especially low SP vehicles you can finish off quickly or heavier vehicles already damaged. If you happen to get bad location rolls and the vehicle survives the Stalkers will be in trouble.

Infiltrate is very terrain dependent so factor in how much terrain and what types you typically play on. If you use a fair amount of LOS blocking heavy terrain then your golden.
Also it might be worth infiltrating CC Stalkers if you take a custom CC Warlord with the same skill to provide a decent bodyguard.

Rapid Deployment is also terrain dependent so really look around the deployment spot just in case you fail the test and happen to scatter. If your gaming board is more open or the deployment spot is surrounded by lots of empty space then CC Stalkers are worth a look otherwise pick the standard Stalkers first.


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