Mann's Model Moments lent his expertise. You guys may also know him as Spartan Alex. Lets delve into the Faction that has become near and dear to my heart. The Relthoza.
We will be back tracking a bit and going over the Planetfall armies soon. I am going to go in a reverse order so to speak and start going over the Relth in Planetfall before I dive into the ships of the fleet. This is mostly because I am waiting for the Planetary invasion ships to be released. The rules have been put up on the Spartan website though so you can check them out. I am very excited though especially with the new Frigates. Cloaking shields and Systems Network on a small....yes please. The Relthoza are going to be the best at landing troops. The "System Wars" rules will be included with the Planetary Invasion ships and I can't wait to get my hands on them. The models look fantastic. Lets get into it and take a look at the Relthoza ground forces as they stand now.
We are first going to cover the elements of the Core Helix. The Core Helix is the literal core of your army. This is what you build your force around. You have a minimum number of units to take. In the case of the Relthoza you must take
1 Visith Walker Squadron
1-2 Salamas Medium Walker Squadrons
1-2 Namisc Light Walker Squadrons
You can then add up to 2 Varic Walkers to your heavy or medium walker squadrons and then have up to 4 Yayiss Spires with Jabri Infantry Drone Swarms in them that you can deploy via sky drop. The minimum number of models in this Core Helix is 7. The minimum squadron size for the Visith is 1 and the minimum size for a Namisc Squadron is 4 models. I personally like to take a full size Core Helix with maximum sized squadrons. This is not always needed though. I always run 2 Visith Heavy Walkers in a squadron because this is the command element for the Helix. Its bad to loose your command element, especially if it is the only source of Drone Nexus you have on the table. Taking the command check on two dice with your drones is not fun when you lose the command element. In the Absence of a Drone Nexus being in command range it the only way to give your drone units a fighting chance when making disorder and command checks.
Two schools of thought have been emerging from our local meta. One involves taking a fully loaded core helix. The other is to take a minimum sized core in order to take the most number of helixs you can. The later school of thought has developed because of how you activate units in Planetfall. Taking as many helixs as you can and keeping them trimmed down allows you to activate units within the helix and move on to the next one more quickly. If you have a full Core Helix and start activating units within it, you must activate all the units in the helix before moving on to activate units in another helix. In many cases this means units get eliminated before they can activate. If I am taking a full Core Helix I usually activate my smaller Helixs first and then move to the Core. There are pros and cons to both methods, but I am pretty sure my local meta is the first using the small helix method. Let us now take a look at the units of the Core Helix.
As a note, the army does have a couple MAR's that many of the unit share. Many of the larger units, medium and up, have the Cloaked MAR and many of the small units have the Drone MAR. The Cloaked MAR means no bonus dice from exploding 6's. This increases the resiliency of the large units by quite a bit. The Drone MAR is a detriment, a major one at the moment in my opinion, to units that have it. This is very obvious when they are not in command range of a command element or within range of a Drone Nexus.
The Visith Heavy walker is well armed and has a pretty good DR. It is Cloaked. They are your command element for the Core helix. Range is not as long as compared to some armies. You have a long range of 32 and an effective rage of 16. The Relthoza generally are not a long range army. You have ok AD out, on average, to about 30 inches and your effective range AD shoots up dramatically making them punch very hard close up. The Visith when taken in pairs throws 20 dice and 18 dice in effective range with its two weapon systems and 16 and 14 dice at long. Pretty good bump. It is also equipped with a nexus designator for dialing down sky drop sites. It has Independent Targeting as well, which I use quite a bit. It allows you to effectively engage a couple units. The one thing that can cause issues, especially if you dont give it the proper amount of room, is the fact it is a lumber unit. if you pack your units in around the Visith it can cause some mobility issues. The same goes for proximity to some terrain features. I like to keep these guys semi central in my army. I will put them in front of my medium walkers to screen them . The mediums are not lumbering so can pop out and move around the Visith.
Salamas Medium Walker
The Salamas is the real work horse of the Core Helix in my opinion. Although you can only take a squadron of two, these guys really dish out the damage and they are very resilient. They have a really good DR, are cloaked and have independent targeting. Their weapons range is only about 24 inches max though. The ORBAT was recently updated and they now have the option of getting the Recon Specialist MAR for 15 points per model. This allows you to get them into range a lot more quickly. They really shine when in effective weapons range though. A pair of them throws 22 dice. I did two damage levels in one go to a Dindrenzi Leviathan that sky dropped into play next to these guys. Spellduckwrong was not happy when he lost his leviathan that turn. I sometimes throw in a Varic medium in with these guys to spread out my nexus designators and provide an ablative shield. You cannot take the Recon Specialist MAR add on though as the Varic does not have that option.
You want to try and close as quickly as possible with the Salamas. They hit hard and can deal with enemy mediums very quickly. They also punch above their weight class as I have found out. Flanking enemy positions with these guys is a great idea. Being able to apply their large dice pool to side armor lets you kill more units within a squadron. Flanking can be achieved using the Recon Specialist MAR and setting up your Core Helix as late as possible in the beginning of the game.
The Namisc is the last mandatory unit in the Core Helix. These light walkers are not a cloaked unit and are Drones. They are one of two Take And Hold units you have at your disposal. They do benefit from the Recon Specialist MAR, but that can be a gamble as their speed on a recon move usually takes them out of command range and Drone Nexus Range. If you have a leviathan in your list this can be mitigated as it has a command and Nexus range of 16 inches. The Namisc is a decent unit. the recent ORBATS update bumped its DR to 5 which has made it way more resilient. It does suffer from a lack of CQB dice though. even in drone nexus it only has 2. Granted this is a decent amount of dice when you have a full squadron of 6. One thing that has really been bugging me as of late is the way in which Drone Nexus and the drones interact. I am loosing more units to disorder than actual fire. You really have to make sure that any actions that take you out of command and or Nexus range are worth the possible loss of units. two casualties from fire have resulted in an equal loss of models from disorder far to often.
Yayiss Spires and Jabri Swarms
Jabri Swarms are your main infantry unit. They can only be deployed via Yayiss Spires that sky drop into play. You do not have to take them as part of your minimum requirements but can have up to 4 units in a Core Helix. Although you can take 8 bases of them, they are not impressive. Numbers is their only advantage and it is not a very good one. A full swarm in Nexus range nets you 16 CQB dice. Not to bad, but they have no other rules or bonuses. They also only have a DR of 3 per base so die in droves when hit by pretty much anything. I am not a fan of the Jabri. They are the worst Infantry in the game in my opinion. I lose more to disorder than anything else. Even when they are in Nexus range. In a CQB exchange I always lose an average of 3 bases and might kill one , maybe 2 bases of regular infantry from another race. If they were not a Take and Hold Unit and if the Spires did not provide a Drone Nexus that I can deploy ahead of my advance I would not take them at all. Dropping them into areas where they are really needed is basically suicide. Thank the maker the Heavy Infantry, which will be covered later, is finally here. Lets just say it is the complete opposite of the Jabri.
Varic Medium Walkers
Varic Medium Walkers are your specialist walkers. They have no weapons, but have a Nexus Designator and provide two Sky Drop sites. You can attach them to your Visith Squadron or your Salamas Squadrons. The later though prevents you from giving the Salamas Recon Specialist though. I like to load up on sky drop markers as you can play the denial game with your opponent, that is you can usually have way more sky drop markers than your opponent and you can place your to deny them good places. This can be really important if they are packing lots of artillery markers. The Varic also makes for a good ablative shield for the Salamas. Putting it out in front ensures fire hits it first.
Tthat is my two cents about the Core Helix. Next time I will cover the Heavy Helix. I would also like to remind everybody that there are still spots available for the Firestorm Events at the Michigan GT. We have two tournaments and a very fun Narrative event running. I am really looking forward to the Narrative Event. Players are divided into 3 groups. Kurak, Zenian and Marauders. Each has an over all commander. We have 6 tables surrounding the main play area. Commander hand out objectives to players to complete. The tables are staging areas and you can shunt units from the staging area tables to the main one in real time! it should be fun! Sign up and reserve your spot today. The Michigan GT is running September 25th-27th at the Causeway bay Hotel and convention center in Lansing Michigan. We have two Primer tournament running in July and August at B.C. Comix in Battle Creek Michigan as well. July 19th and August 16th. They are an 800 and 1200 point tournament respectively. Come on out and test out those GT fleet lists!
Until next time crush the Alliance and as always...