Thursday, April 18, 2024
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After Action Report: Druze at the Best of the PNW

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I recently had the amazing opportunity to head up to Seattle for a two-day event, run by their Warcor, Tony, at Critical Strike Games. For the event, I decided it was time to dust off my Druze and give them some time in the sun. Despite trying to focus on Morats, I’ve really been on a strong NA2 kick that just won’t die, so I figured I should exorcise that demon.

In my previous article about the event, I talked in depth about the individual missions and how my various armies would theoretically stack up in them. I decided to go with Druze, and went to whip up a couple army lists.

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The first list was obviously my choice for Show of Force, and I ended up using my second list in every other game. These were my first games running a Hunzakut with LGL in Druze, and both lists were lacking my usual Brawler AHD (greatest AHD for 17/0.5 in the game). Generally, the core of both lists are pretty similar though, built around a solid Druze link team, and backed up with some great mid-field control units.

 

The Games

Any of you who have followed me for a while know I don’t like writing battle reports, but I have a lot of thought about my army performance after those 5 games! I came in 5th, out of 22 players with 3 major victories (7-0, 10-0, 9-0), and 2 losses (3-4 and 0-8). I was fortunate enough to play against some people who I had really been wanting to play against for quite a while, Ryan from Vancouver BC, Burl and Leif from Seattle, so I was just happy to be there.

In the first round I played against a Tohaa army (BigTal), on a table with a lot of terrain around the edges, but a super exposed central objective, surrounded by water. Much of the game was spent fighting off his brutal ARO team, a Sukiel Missile and Gao Rael sniper. After holding back his forces with my own ARO presence though, I was able to take out his Gorgos, and move Scarface in for the 7-0 victory.

Hot on the heels of my first major victory, I was pit against Ryan (HalfJackz) with his OSS, a very skilled player and all around amazing guy. We had a BRUTAL game. I felt pretty good about the pace though, I had dominated the mid-field, preventing him from activating any consoles, until the third turn. I unfortunately fell for the placement of his decoy HVTs, putting myself in a bad position where I couldn’t kill the actual one. His final turn looked dire, I had all the objectives and killed both of his decoys. His only hope was to have one of his models with a combi (I forget which) beat Saito, tank multiple unopposed hits from a Fugazi, and then pass his WIP roll on the objective. If any of that failed, he wouldn’t have had the orders to flip more consoles than me and win the game. Well, unfortunately for me, he did just that! It was an incredibly entertaining game in the end though, and him winning was a far more interesting outcome than me continuing to dominate for the entire game. He ended up winning 4-3, and actually won the whole tournament!

The last game for the day was against Leif (norsecompass), another player who I had really been wanting to get a game in with. Unfortunately though, I wasn’t able to give him much of a challenge. His first turn was devastating, but I had an ace up my sleeve to get back at him and secure the center. Spec firing my Hunzakut at his link team, as well as sacrificing Druze to using their Chain Colts and hit a majority of the link, should clear enough for Saito to finish the deed. Despite dodging at -6 from the Hunzakut’s grenades, and -3 from the Chain Colt, his Unidrons not only dodged many attacks, but passed 13 out of 13 armor saves I inflicted on the ones who didn’t get out of the way. All of my attempts to inflict any damage at all were thwarted by his insurmountable dice rolling skills. In the end, he squashed me 8-0, leaving only 16 of my points on the board… ouch! Next time Leif, next time!

As day 2 began, I was paired up against a local Portland player, Sgt. Rock, and his Corregidor. This day I decided that I’d just spec fire the hell out of people and clean up the rest after… and it worked. My Hunzakut with LGL made short work of his HVT, and spent almost every order possible shelling anything that got near the center of the board. Meanwhile, my Druze held the back line, contributing with their own E/M grenades. Dismantling his Massacre link and isolating everything in sight led me to a 10-0 victory.

The final game was also my chance to play against Burl, ITS name Burl. He was also playing OSS, but this time as a limited insertion list without a link. The table we were set up on made it incredibly difficult to advance up the board, and also had very restricted LOF. In a reprise of my previous game, I probably spent 20 orders this game using Spec Fire. I didn’t particularly want to, but since it was hard to advance, it seemed more efficient than pondering up the board. There were few face-to-face firefights this game, and Saito had a bit of luck not getting pasted by a triangulated firing Deva. In the end, I isolated or killed almost everything on the table, and was able to get a few things up the board for a 9-0 win.

 

The plane crash site made it’s tournament debut, and did not disappoint

The plane crash site made it’s tournament debut, and did not disappoint

Aftermath

Overall, I love how the Druze play, a rock solid midfield presence, highly flexible link, and great specialists. My biggest complaint from the event is that my hacking was incredibly anemic, lacking the AHD meant that enemy KHD simply got to kill my KHD on their active turn, before killing Gromoz. If I had the AHD in these lists, then the enemy KHD would be forced to split burst, or receive an unopposed Oblivion. The Hunzakut LGL was a fantastic surprise, I think she will show up in all of my lists. Within 16” she’s hitting on 8’s, which is only slightly worse than the 9’s that Druze are often shooting with, furthermore it’s ammo that can actually kill. In every game she was responsible for killing multiple times her points (except my game with Burl, where he just passed all his saves, haha). I’ll be including her, or similar units (Foxtrot LGL) in many of my lists in the future.

Both of my losses were games that I think I could have won just as easily. In my game against Ryan, we both took pleasure and figuring out what last ditch, Hail Mary, attempt could possibly squeak out a win, and he pulled it off, though at any time a single failed dice roll would have meant disaster. My game against Leif, who was undeniably dominating me after the first turn could have turned into a very close fight had he even failed half of the armor saves I caused (and failing half would still be solidly below average). My biggest tactical mistake in either game I think was falling for Ryans trickery in Unmasking. Otherwise, I think the Druze performed damn well, the dice just weren’t with me.

Druze are definitely an army which can win games, and tournaments.

The whole scene, a plane crash, base, and mountain stronghold.

The whole scene, a plane crash, base, and mountain stronghold.