The Machine Stops: Dealing with Convergence, Part V

autojack80We Are Legion: The Light Infantry

Good Evening once more, my fellow pagans! Let us again dismantle the plans of the Mechanists and Father Karras in the name of the Trickster!

In this instalment of our series on combating the forces of the Convergence of Cyriss, we have moved on from vectors and army support elements, and are now fully prepared to look into the marching machines of madness themselves – Convergence infantry. We waited this long because it was critical to be aware of the intricacies of their support capacity before fully grasping how their bricks fit into the mix, and bricks they are! No, the great work sees no place for sustained ranged firepower, preferring to focus on concentrated focused ranged firepower, instead relying on bricks of high-ARM, low-DEF infantry, that (as we have seen in prior chapters) have a nasty tendency to get back up and keep coming, and stitch themselves up as they go along to boot!

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So what characterizes Convergence infantry? Well, like the style suggests, they’re pretty uniform. They come in two flavours – light and heavy. Light infantry is all on small bases, have a single wound, and are not particularly dodgy. They’re SPD 5, DEF 12, but pack a respectable STR 7, and thus their melee P+S sits on the slightly high side. Of importance to note is their really quite lacklustre  CMD of 7–these machines may not frequently require command checks, but they are bound to a rather tight formation! Helps when they can be surrounded and outmanoeuvered quite easily. In fact, the same can be said for all regular Convergence infantry. Even the heavy infantry has CMD 7 and SPD 5. It is their modus operandi to advance slowly and in tight formations, which is why the first among them to be favoured are the shield walling Obstructors and Reciprocators. Light infantry clocks in at an ARM stat of 14, and the heavy variety usually at 15. With their heavy shields, Reciprocators have 16.

So first let’s take a look at the light infantry. There are two versions of light infantry – Obstructors and Reductors. Obstructors are the more straightforward melee troops, armed with reach pole arms with my favourite name in the game – Teleflails. These weapons also come equipped with the chain weapon advantage – ideal for slugging it out with Iron Fang Pikemen or Temple Flameguard. Combined with their ability to be brought back to life at a rate of 3 per turn from a single Enigma Foundry, these 4-6 point infantry blocks can easily outlast even more elite troops. With a second Foundry, they will be returning at prodigious rates, and must be respected for this advantage. They will also outlast, as they come with impressive interlocking shields that give them the shield wall order, thus compensating for low CMD and augmenting their ARM advantage. These troops are ideal for taking the brunt of enemy charges and absorbing casualties that can be resurrected.

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In my opinion, some of the best pawn troops in the game, the Obstructors’ modest stat lines bely their incredible effectiveness at holding zones and locking down enemy troops. Limit their effectiveness considerably by targeting their accompanying Enigma Foundries quickly, before they can either collect souls from fallen Obstructors or use them to fabricate more. If possible, remove them entirely with saturation of high powered ranged attacks, or lock them down and stall them. I have had success using the occasional quake shot from an Avenger or earthquake from Stryker1 to put them down. Two-man CRAs from aiming long gunners can also put a tremendous number of them into shallow graves with a good number of rolled 7’s as well. Covering Fire templates, Scather templates, Caustic Mists, Breath of Corruption – deal with them at range to both strip the screen from the heavier operators that hide behind them and remove their capacity to hold control zones effectively. It is critical to deal with them without committing to them – they will likely outlast you, and be cheaper than what you have to use to dislodge them, and they will facilitate the counterattack from something too lacking in effective threat range to challenge you without them.

A fine example of this type of 1-2 punch is found in the Reductors. This unit of light infantry lacks the signature shield and pole arm combo, but comes instead with a swarm projector – nanomachine swarms that disassemble whatever enemy they contact – emphasis on enemy. The swarm projector – a SP 6 ranged attack clocking in at a whopping POW 13 – comes equipped with the Clear! special rule. This makes Reductors ideal for use with the Obstructors, who take the charge from enemy troops, have their souls absorbed by the enigma foundries, and during the Convergence player’s turn, they have their Reductor’s fire through their own screen, doing no harm to friendly troops, but hammering the enemy with POW 13 sprays. The Foundries activate and replenish the numbers on the Obstructors, who are now able to launch a counterattack, cleaning up what troops survived the sprays. The Reductors frequently do not need any hit buffs either, as their close proximity in such a scenario means they can aim for a formidable RAT 7. Not good, even for shield walled troops that will die on 6s. Fortunately, without a troop screen, the Reductors do not survive long–their DEF 12/ARM 14 stats do not enjoy even the most conservatively powered ranged attacks. Remember to eliminate all of them, however! The foundries will still bring them back in droves if your vigilance slackens! It only takes one carefully placed spray to turn the tables, and it is in this capacity to trade blows favourably that Convergence players will start to become terrifying to behold.

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The last of the light infantry units (aside from the Optifex directive, already discussed) is what could only be called the exception that proves the rule. Unlike all other Convergence infantry units, the Clockwork Angels are not heavily armoured, they pack an impressive defense stat, and are indeed quite mobile. They are an impressive SPD 7, and have flight to negotiate all kinds of terrain. They also can be deployed where they are most needed, and in an advance position thanks to advance deployment. They are well protected against ranged attacks thanks to reform and blade shield to give them 2 more points of DEF against them. They appear in units of 3, with a respectable FA of 3 and for a reasonable 3 points as well. As for their offensive options, they come equipped with both ranged and melee attacks, each of which clocks in at POW and P+S 10, RNG 10 in the case of the binomial beam.

5-3Their fragility, low numbers, reform, and overall mobility lend themselves to use as a ranged harassment unit, diving in to deliver a few beams before reforming just beyond the range of counterattack. This is augmented by their possessing combined ranged attack capacity, where they can deliver accurate and comparably more powerful beams against better defended light targets. Considering the rest of the army is an armoured tank trundling forward at a slow and steady pace with critical pieces of support requiring immediate attention in order to stop it, taking a turn out to eliminate the clockwork angels becomes a very costly affair. To do so adds to the emerging theme of Convergence: the advantageous points trade. They will force you to spend more resources to eliminate smaller fragments of their army and lead in the attrition game all game long. Be judicious about how to remove the Angels – use your army at peak efficiency, and spare only what you can to eliminate them while protecting your most vulnerable assets from their assault – the last thing you want is to lose a Skarlock Thrall or Journeyman Warcaster to a concentrated assault from their blades and beams!

So that does it for light infantry! Stick with us as in the next instalment, we tackle the towering heavy infantry of the clockwork army!

Note: I just want to take a second to give a SECOND enthusiastic shout-out to Dan Roman, who does incredible art nouveau-style digital images of stuff from the Warmachine and Hordes universe like the one at the top of this article. (NOT the Danny Roman from The Negotiator, he is clearly outclassed by Kevin Spacey.) Dan’s done some brilliant work, and I highly recommend checking out his tumblr, Mare Imbrium, here: http://mareimbrium.tumblr.com/ Why yes I did copy/paste this, and that’s mainly because I think my Negotiator reference was hilarious. Or at least my Mom does. Or not. She’s shaking her head no–that’s a no.