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Author Topic: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)  (Read 2330 times)

Geg

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Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« on: 25 October 2022, 09:18:10 »
What is the best way to deal with formations that deal high damage at medium range.   

For example the Turkina E can deal 10 and if its paired with a Nova Cat or a MCMKII (doing 7), the two of them can fairly reliably remove any unit from the board, while tanking return fire.   Our little group, is currently in the middle of an arms race to max out damage capacity, and since we are newish to the game, we are still trying to figure out how to effectively counter this type of list.

Edit:  This is for Alpha Strike...  and it was supposed to in the Alpha Strike Channel (sorry).
« Last Edit: 25 October 2022, 12:14:55 by Hammer »

pokefan548

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units.
« Reply #1 on: 25 October 2022, 09:31:32 »
There are a few different ways.

- Cheap swarms of strikers, ideally glass cannons but with just enough armor that they may survive if everything doesn't connect, can work. As they say, "they can't kill all of us at once".
- Conventional infantry completely change the game and flip the script in terms of what deals high damage and low damage; taking a few platoons/points and using them effectively should force your opponents to spend some BV bringing anti-infantry kit.
- Pairing well with either of the above, indirect fire is a great option. Have a few spotters in cover watch the enemy from a distance (infantry are great at this), then just pepper them from behind hills with LRM boats until they're soft enough to go in for the kill.
- The big brother of indirect fire also works: artillery. Great way to force groups of 'Mechs that like to bunch up and support each other to spread out while dealing moderate damage.
- Utility concealment like smoke and chaff can be good at giving yourself a forward firing position in an unusual spot, or doubling-down on woods cover.
« Last Edit: 25 October 2022, 11:52:24 by pokefan548 »
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units.
« Reply #2 on: 25 October 2022, 09:38:15 »
+1 to all of pokefan's suggestions. Smoke and artillery are super handy in almost all circumstances. You can also use Aerospace fighters to drop bombs on them or just attrite them with fast tanks either heavily armed with shot range weapons (Saladin) or weak super long range weapons (Mithras).

Geg

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units.
« Reply #3 on: 25 October 2022, 09:46:50 »
- Conventional infantry completely change the game and flip the script in terms of what deals high damage and low damage; taking a few platoons/points and using them effectively should force your opponents to spend some BV bringing anti-infantry kit.

Thanks

For the infantry, can you provide some specific examples.

pokefan548

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units.
« Reply #4 on: 25 October 2022, 11:50:21 »
Thanks

For the infantry, can you provide some specific examples.
Well, I notice now you edited the title to specify that you're looking at Alpha Strike. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, infantry don't get the same treatment in AS that makes them pretty badass in Classic. As far as I can tell, they take damage as normal, so in AS they're basically just another option for swarming the enemy with cheap units that the enemy has to whittle down one at a time- which admittedly is its own advantage, particularly in built-up and urban environments.
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Elmoth

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #5 on: 25 October 2022, 12:12:36 »
Swarming. You need to deal 15 points of damage to them.
Assuming they go for skill 3, you have 77 points to counter them on a point for point basis.

That is, for example 7 Scorpion tanks at skill 4. That is 28 points of damage and 7 enemies to remove vs 1 target. So let's look at the stats:
We assume the turkina hits all the time and a pair of Scorpions fail their attack.

- Turn 1. 7 Scorpions 5 damage, Turkina 1 full tank
- Turn 2. 6 Scorpions 9 (5+4) damage , Turkina 2 full tanks
- Turn 3. 5 Scorpions 12 (5+4+3) structure, Turkina 3 full tanks
- Turn 4. 4 Scorpions 15 (5+4+3+3) structure, Turkina 4 full tanks

Obviously the scorpions want to get as fast as they can to medium range. By turn 4 they can be at SHORT range. That should not be very problematic as they are faster than the Turkina and she might not see the danger to start with. 1 point damage tanks? I hear the clanner laugh... until they start scoring at difficulty 7 (4+1+2).

So, the turkina lasts 3-5 turns and the Scorpions lose 3-5 tanks. Basically the turkina overkills by 6 each turn. In the end there are 2-4 surviving Scorpions and no Turkina. Death by a thousand cuts. it is not pretty but it can be done.

EDIT: the above gets MORE ridiculous if you use Warrior H-7A attack helicopters (AC5 verison). Yes, 7A is more effective in Alpha Strike than the vanilla H-7 (it is the opposite in classic BT, I am told; I never played that). The overkill becomes 8, not 6, but with a TMM 3 on the Warriors, the Turkina MIGHT FAIL to connect more often than the Warriors. And the Warriors deal the same damage as the Scorpions. Also, the warriors start the first turn totally concealed, so they will be first strikers there, asn they can start behind a hill and move to medium range right away (if not short range) to ensure maximum effectiveness of their shots. with a 20"v flight the turkina cannot hide at all. They can even surround the turkina easily and get for rear shots easily. Death by a thousand propeller cuts. Only 6 of them, not 7, but effectiveness is maxed out in this escenario.

With indirect fire it is the same. Just use ferrets for spotters and lots of LRM boats (LRM carriers and the like) behind hills. The turkina removes ferrets all the same, but at 5 points a piece you cn bring a COMPANY of them and have spotters to spare [and carry very cheap (Cargo 1) infantry to drop on top of the Turkina] and pepper it from afar.

I have no personal experience with artillery, but it should work the same.

Cheers,
Xavi
« Last Edit: 25 October 2022, 14:29:15 by Elmoth »

nckestrel

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #6 on: 25 October 2022, 12:18:33 »
Having a couple high damage units can also be susceptible to HT attacks.    Though many of those are short range, and you need some plan to get them close enough (infantry in fast transports for example, or just fast units with HT).
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MarauderD

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #7 on: 25 October 2022, 12:26:06 »
I haven't faced this--but I would always say if the opponent goes extreme high value, low numbers forces, you could counter with the opposite.  I'd use many low cost, efficient units to swarm them.  Especially with that cost on the Turkina. 

Elmoth

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #8 on: 25 October 2022, 16:23:40 »
Another minmax option should be the usual swarm tactic.

Load up on Swift winds, cargo version. It has CT3 and moves 16W, so TMM3. Drop the quality of the Swift Wind pilot to abysmal levels (8) as he will not be making any rolls in the game and will decrease the cost of the unit to just 3 points.

In 2 turns you should be in contact with the turkina and unloading light foot infantry (CAR3, AM) of 4 points. So you can load up on 11 of these swift winds + infantry. DO that with 10 units (grand total of swift wind + infantry.

You can also do that with ferrets with Assault commandos (CAR1, AM) or cargo ferrets with moutaineers (CAR2, AM)

Or you can use a VTOL that can shoot and duplicate your firepower.


All in all is the swarm tactics of 40k tyranids/orks vs marines. They are better, sure, but there is more of you.

OatsAndHall

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #9 on: 26 October 2022, 10:59:56 »
1. As has been pointed out, swarm them with fast movers
2. Stay out of the short and medium range brackets. Hit them at long range, directly or indirectly.

A combination of these two tactics will serve you well. Pounce on them with jumpy backstabbers while posting up with ranged weapons. You can preoccupy them with the fast movers while doing a fair amount of uncontested damage at long range.

Fear Factory

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #10 on: 26 October 2022, 12:29:31 »
Variable damage may help a bit more.
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Cat

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #11 on: 26 October 2022, 15:10:13 »
Variable damage may help a bit more.

Yup. 
 
Also for a more strategic response — play 3025, before the arms and tech race spiraled out of control.
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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #12 on: 28 October 2022, 19:50:58 »
Yup. 
 
Also for a more strategic response — play 3025, before the arms and tech race spiraled out of control.
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This^^
I find AS + Clan/SLDF tech can get crazy large damage values but I don't see much of that with Intro Tech units.
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Geg

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #13 on: 30 October 2022, 14:10:30 »
Thanks for the suggestion.  I am going to try a more mobile back stabber approach

This^^
I find AS + Clan/SLDF tech can get crazy large damage values but I don't see much of that with Intro Tech units.

We are all of the Invasion Era or later crew.   Nobody would really be satisfied with running a 3025 game for anything other than the occasional oddity.

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #14 on: 30 October 2022, 16:19:23 »
Nobody would really be satisfied with running a 3025 game for anything other than the occasional oddity.
Must be a fluff issue I guess, because I find AS removes a LOT of the feel of SLDF or Clan Tech in terms of "abilities" and just makes them look like an Intro Tech unit but w/ bigger #s on it, which is what your asking about..... How to deal w/ big #s.

There is no "Clan Pulse" issue w/ AS.
No Headcapping ERPPCs.
No c-ERMLs are just broken compared to MLs issues.

AS is honestly, one of the biggest tech equalizers there is since it just converts all to generic # & then point values are based on that total of the #s.
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Charistoph

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #15 on: 30 October 2022, 22:16:38 »
AS is honestly, one of the biggest tech equalizers there is since it just converts all to generic # & then point values are based on that total of the #s.

Especially considering what XL Engines (even Clan ones) do to Structure.
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Geg

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #16 on: 30 October 2022, 22:49:41 »
Must be a fluff issue I guess, because I find AS removes a LOT of the feel of SLDF or Clan Tech in terms of "abilities" and just makes them look like an Intro Tech unit but w/ bigger #s on it, which is what your asking about..... How to deal w/ big #s.

There is no "Clan Pulse" issue w/ AS.
No Headcapping ERPPCs.
No c-ERMLs are just broken compared to MLs issues.

AS is honestly, one of the biggest tech equalizers there is since it just converts all to generic # & then point values are based on that total of the #s.

Our classic setup is solid.  We don't experience the same challenges between the tech bases that you are describing.

I don't feel like anyone wants to scope out high damage units from the game.  I was more asking for alternative tactics for dealing with them, other than trying to find a bigger gun.

Elmoth

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #17 on: 31 October 2022, 04:13:05 »
Alpha strike takes into account things differently. It does NOT play like "classic lithe", it is its own beast. Not taking into account these details is one of the features of the game, not a problem. I do not like the jump in firepower in and afte the clan invasion myself, but I do not like that in classic either. that is not a feature specific to alpha strike.

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #18 on: 31 October 2022, 12:39:29 »
Having a couple high damage units can also be susceptible to HT attacks.    Though many of those are short range, and you need some plan to get them close enough (infantry in fast transports for example, or just fast units with HT).

I'm seconding this answer. Find something with HT2, or several somethings with HT1, and make the high medium range damage mech have to take some turns off. Depending on when exactly your game is set and what factions/tech are in bounds, the choices can vary, but in the ilClan era basically every faction has access to at least one or two Clan Omni with a config that goes hard on Plasma Rifles, which by a happy coincidence tend to be among the cheaper variants. The gold standard for this in my eyes is the Grendel F, which packs in TMM3 and HT2/2/2, but it has spotty availability outside of the Clans. Other notables are the Shadow Hawk IIC 5 (available to IS General on the MUL, which is a big plus), the Linebacker T, the Nova L, the Battle Cobra G, and the new Pouncer F, all of which can dish out 2 heat at medium range and have enough mobility to dictate their range pretty well. As NCKestrel says, the other option is cheap HT1 infantry in a transport, which can be more one shot and fragile but often a bit cheaper.

Tactically, you want your HT harasser to be flanking around and following the biggest enemy threat that you *aren't* trying to kill this turn, degrading it's effectiveness and generally making its life *really annoying*. Most of these Plasma Rifle beauties have relatively low actual damage output, so they won't be meaningfully threatening to destroy the big medium range monster on their own, but they will put it into terrible positions where it either needs to take a turn off, rush for water, or risk shutting down. If things go well, your harasser should more than make back it's PV by nullifying a much more expensive threat, even if it never outright kills anything. You do need to be careful, though, because over committing to HT harassers in your list can leave you with relatively little firepower to actually kill the enemy. I'd advise not bringing more than one mech dedicated to this role in games at or below 350 PV, and not more than two in games from 400-600 PV. If used correctly, a small PV investment can go a long way here, but more is not always more.

Crackerb0x

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #19 on: 01 November 2022, 07:13:37 »
Unfortunately, the vast number of optional rules, or rules that are discarded by gaming groups often, makes it hard to fully understand what kind of situations are really the most problematic.

In my experience, the fastest way to deal with high damage units is to play with Objectives that don't rely on destroying enemy units. The damage being a tool to remove enemies from the board can still a problem, but when you can't win a game through kills, it prevents ultra-high damage units from being front and center. Suddenly more emphasis is put onto units that can interact with objectives or spreading out your PV more so that your gameplay is more reliable.

Skill caps are a good way of keeping things manageable if those aren't in place. This keeps To-hit numbers more reasonable.

Faction-based force building constraints can help keep units out of hands of certain players, especially alongside requiring a certain number of units or formations or skill averages per formation/skill. This can help enforce soft skill-caps and also make players juggle where to put their PV. Having only one or two combat-capable units in the scheme of things is generally not helpful.

I wonder if your group plays with Multiple Attack Rolls optional rules. That rules set make high-damage units stronger by making their damage more reliable.

Without knowing what size games you are playing, having the PV of forces for a game around 300-400PV can also help this when combined with objectives. If your objectives require mobility and 20% of your PV is built into a single high-damage unit, a more flexible force will do better.

More terrain is another way of being able to deal with it. A guideline I heard a while back is somewhere between 25%-30% of a board should have terrain on it. It was in relation to another miniatures game, but being able to control engagement distances and line of sight can help make faster units benefit from their speed more.

MarauderD

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #20 on: 01 November 2022, 11:48:23 »
I wonder if your group plays with Multiple Attack Rolls optional rules. That rules set make high-damage units stronger by making their damage more reliable.

Agreed--one of the benefits of the normal damage rules (aside from them being very fast and easy to understand) is that it really hurts when your 7 damage Timber Wolf A whiffs the attack role.  If your opponent took 2 to 3 lower value units that can hit you back this turn, it might make you hedge your bets next time instead of spending the 70 points on a single unit.

Geg

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #21 on: 01 November 2022, 18:43:58 »
Agreed--one of the benefits of the normal damage rules (aside from them being very fast and easy to understand) is that it really hurts when your 7 damage Timber Wolf A whiffs the attack role.  If your opponent took 2 to 3 lower value units that can hit you back this turn, it might make you hedge your bets next time instead of spending the 70 points on a single unit.

We switched to pilot die & multiple attack roles.  We found the standard attack was making Battle Lances and Lucky too dominate.   We might switch back as our tactical bench gets a bit deeper.

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #22 on: 02 November 2022, 10:47:15 »
Battle Lances are great all-around formations, so I hear you there.  Sounds like you need an Alpha Strike game that is based on objectives so other formations bonuses are more appealing?  Can't bring a Turkina if you need to capture an outpost in 6 turns--might help with spicing up the unit choices.


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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #23 on: 16 November 2022, 07:51:01 »
Pretty simple tactics really

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #24 on: 03 December 2022, 17:19:51 »
We switched to pilot die & multiple attack roles.  We found the standard attack was making Battle Lances and Lucky too dominate.   We might switch back as our tactical bench gets a bit deeper.

Pilot die is an abomination against statistics.

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #25 on: 10 December 2022, 13:02:27 »
I think having enough terrain, and random missions are key to making tactics matter in alpha strike. It's tough to stop a high damage mech that has great firing lanes and doesn't have to worry about crossing the table.

I think it's easy to take for granted how much terrain is on the classic mats, and it's hard for catalyst to show what they have in mind as well. I think the new starter set is a step in the right direction on that front (two starter sets worth of terrain feels really good, though we're using a slightly smaller table).

For what it's worth my play group uses variable damage, and it does make the high damage mechs feel less consistent. We also changed the battle lance formation so that each mech gets lucky (1) instead of a pool of re-rolls for the formation. I would consider these more structural changes then tactics, but they have had a positive impact.   

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #26 on: 14 December 2022, 12:37:54 »
Pilot die is an abomination against statistics.

I mean... that is sort of the point.   Up the randomness for any given attack, while keeping the arrogate in line with the design of the game.   Without it, for both MAR and SAR while combined with lucky, it was to easy to inflict exactly the right amount of damage needed to kill a specific target.

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Re: Tactics for dealing with High Damage Units (Alpha Strike)
« Reply #27 on: 14 December 2022, 14:29:14 »
Pilot die is not part of Alpha Strike, if you want to discuss it, take it to Fan rules please.
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