The Machine Stops: Dealing with Convergence, Part VI

autojack80We Are BIGGER Legion: The Heavy Infantry

Welcome back once again my loyal members of the B.P.R.D.! Let’s get ready to take on the golden army!

This time we discuss perhaps some of the most fearsome troops in their class across Warmachine and Hordes thus far. Do they reach the fearsome heights of Exemplar Bastions, Warpborn Skinwalkers, Cataphract Cetrati or Gatormen Posse? We’ll have to see as time rolls on! But every one of the Convergence heavy infantry units is fearsome in their own right and worthy of respect.

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The heavy infantry come in three flavours, each of which has a different take on offense and defense. Their natural gifts, however, lie in the latter category. Considering the listed examples of heavy infantry in the games, these troops, Reciprocators, Perforators, and Eradicators, clock in at an average to high SPD, but on the slightly lower side of ARM, with mostly 15. Their DEF 12 is respectable, and their 8 wounds are very impressive indeed, augmented by their ability to be repaired and even resurrected, they are quite justly regarded as some of the most durable of heavy infantry. They are also the only troops in the game to possess variable protean weaponry. Selecting the kit they would prefer at the beginning of each activation and lasting for the round, not to mention a more impressive MAT 7, they ensure they are as equipped as they need to be from turn to turn.

On the all-defensive front, the most commonly seen unit so far in Convergence armies, and with good reason, are the Reciprocators. Big brothers to the Obstructors, these pole arm-toting shield-walling troops appropriately sport a higher base ARM stat of 16, from which they reach the height of an impressive 20 in shield wall formation. They come armed with a weapon that is either a spear at POW 12 reach with set defense, making them DEF 14, ARM 20 against charge attacks – formidable indeed! after absorbing a charge under these conditions, they can then turn their pole arm into a halberd, trading their set defense for +2 POW, becoming a fearsome POW 14. Taken together with their ability to be repaired and have casualties returned to them by their attendant enigma foundries, these troops are set to absorb attacks from and retaliate against all but the most dedicated of heavy assault troops.

It is not uncommon to see these very affordable troops taken in two beefy full units, each clocking in at 9 points. Considering their ability to fit synergistically into the resilient machine of a Convergence army, their ubiquity is not surprising compared to the more specialized options provided by the alternative heavy infantry selections. A concentrated assault by offense heavy troops will remove them with respectable grace – a unit of Bane Thralls, Doom Reavers, an enraged Bronzeback under the influence of its own animus – these kinds of heavy offensive options will successfully remove the threat these infantry represent. They look harder than they are!

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At the end of the day, however, they are designed to absorb an assault and force the opponent into a piece trade that is unfavourable. Even a Bronzeback is more expensive than a whole unit of Reciprocators, and frequently they are fielded in such a way that they present a frontage of only three, with two behind to keep them shield walled. This also ensures that the front three can absorb the heaviest charges while two Enigma Foundries restore two of the casualties back to life, resulting in their counterattack, and a net gain for the Convergence player. Consider finding a way to stall what lies behind the Reciprocators. If it is a heavy vector, use a telekinesis spell or some other place effect so as it is out of position for a counterattack, or use a speed debuff to prevent its ability to counterattack. If possible, either use the soul collection rules (i.e. the closest capable model) to ensure that only one of the Foundries is eligible for any soul collection on the turn you attack, thus ensuring only one Reciprocator will return to haunt you. Remember, a model saved by a tough roll or returned to play pays off in the piece trade twice–once in wasting their attack, and twice when they counterattack successfully. To that end, if you have some reliable way to remove the Foundries from play, either by concentrated dragon fire, spell elimination, Defender shells, bombards, or any other way, it may prove advantageous to prevent their later use in restoring these hard-as-nails troops to functionality. They are like ticks to remove and are one of Convergence’s greatest assets–waste no effort in dismantling them!

Another of the towering menaces of the Convergence army heavy infantry division is the Perforator. While I have no hesitation in saying that the Reciprocators will be among those who appear most frequently in Convergence lists, Perforators are among my personal favourites. A first for a unit of infantry, they come equipped with an armour piercing ranged attack in their protean javelins. Still more of an assault unit than a ranged unit, the Perforators pack a MAT 7 P+S 12 melee attack, and RAT 5 for the javelins, which sit at RNG 6, POW 6. They also have the assault rule, making these heavy troops the most offensive of the three options.

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Like the other heavy infantry choices, they have a variable weapon in the protean javelin, and it therefore has the option to become more aerodynamic and gain the snipe rule or spring a forked serrated tip and gain +2 POW on the attack–a significant boost for an armour piercing attack! It also is preferable against small based infantry in that instance, as it will bring the attack to a more respectable POW 10, where otherwise POW 8s may glance harmlessly off of even low ARM stats. They are also conversely the weakest defensively. While this unit may require some assistance while on the approach, either from Father Lucant’s deceleration spell or from Axis’ razor wall spell, they will frequently crumple under a concentrated assault with only ARM 15. Remember, however, they can continue to return to play with the assistance of Enigma Foundries! Target them with middlesome powered ranged attacks not occupied slaying solos and support pieces. POW 12s, boosted POW 10s–these will frequently inflict greater harm than one might expect on such hulking models. As usual, do not spread out the damage–focus on one at a time to prevent their repair!

The final horse in the heavy infantry stable is the option which rests comfortably between offense and defense, with their variable protean bucklers are the Eradicators. These machines mount large disc-shaped shields on both forearms, which divide and sprout twin blades in their variant form. The Eradicators have similar stats to the Perforators, with ARM 15, and MAT 7, but also represent a first for a unit of infantry in actually having the buckler rule rather than simply sport a higher ARM stat, as most shield-toting infantry do. Each of their protean bucklers provides this rule when in that form, giving them a healthy ARM 17 on the approach. When the time comes to attack, however, they may trade the buckler rule for turning the POW 12s the weapons normally provide into beefier POW 14s.

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The Eradicators are also deceptively maneuverable, making use of the side step rule on their attacks, thus cutting through ranks of heavily armoured infantry with ease. It should be noted that a POW 12 will happily kill most infantry anyway, but two POW 14s, one of which is a charge attack, make them well suited to countering other heavy infantry. Perforators do this equally well, as such infantry tend to have lower DEF stats, and therefore are more easily struck by their protean javelins. The Eradicators, however, are well suited to almost any task, including holding ground. Between the side step and buckler rules, however, it may be easy to forget that their back arcs are vulnerable to even small arms. Take advantage of this fact when the Convergence player attempts to sink too deeply into your ranks of spread tar pit troops! Likewise, the ARM 20 sported by the shield walled Reciprocators is difficult to negotiate at the best of times, but ARM 17 with the bucklers for the Eradicators is more of a stopgap. Do not hesitate to take advantage of their slow speed to charge them with POW 12 melee attacks, which with a boost will inflict considerable harm, and even a lethal dose with a dice spike.

The weaknesses of the heavy infantry, like most other elements of the Convergence army are the same–slow SPD, low DEF, CMD and accuracy issues. Remember this, because in my experience it is easy to forget: models will play mind games with you, and often you will not even realize. The giant musclebound might of the Skorne mammoth will appear insurmountable, but it cannot take the kind of punishment a similarly sized colossal can. Players tend to shirk from attempting to harm that which appears insurmountable and are more prepared to fight that which appears meeker. Convergence heavy infantry exemplifies this particular issue – the models are huge and intimidating. The units are lighter than they appear. Do not hesitate – take out their support, and remove them with extreme prejudice, and hope beyond hope that Convergence does not gain access to defender’s ward!!

Finally, the machines rarely turn to the specialist veteran of their particular brand of fighting style, the officer unit attachment. Instead, each unit of mindless automatons has access to a unit attachment that shares his expertise among all the troops–the Transverse Enumerator. A living officer attachment, he can attach to any small or medium-based infantry unit, and brings a suite of abilities to each of them when he does. He is an Optifex solo, and is therefore not a construct. He is small-based, and armed with a reach weapon at POW 10. He is fearless, an officer, and packs a CMD stat of 9, giving his host unit a far wider formation. He also comes armed with a small SP 6 blowtorch that deals POW 12 fire 6-5damage and continuous effect: fire. He also augments his modest DEF and ARM 13 with iron sentinel, benefitting from a close and personal relationship with a friendly nearby vector. He is FA: 3, meaning he can be in more places than one, and costs a reasonable 2 points. He has Tactics: Ranked Attacks as well, giving him a place with shield walled Obstructors and Reciprocators, allowing spells, ellipsaws and protean javelins the ability to shoot targets on the other side of such units in addition to the Reductors. He can repair with an impressive stat of 9, allowing him to tune up nearby models and adding to the broad pool of repair-equipped models in the faction.

The other signature ability he comes equipped with is a mini-feat: recalibration. This allows his host unit to re-roll failed attack rolls and skill checks. As mini-feats go, it appears a little lacklustre, but he can accompany any unit. There are many uses for him, but to get the most out of his mini-feat, it should be with a unit with some ranged capacity–like an assaulting unit of Perforators or a counter-spraying unit of Reductors. All spray rolls being re-rollable is a great advantage! Considering the RAT 5 across the board for convergence units, the inability to gain the aiming advantage during the Perforator’s assault makes their ranged attack much more likely to hit under recalibration. These officers add some advantage to an already impressive synergistic army, but seeing them across the board, I generally feel reassured that the points were not spent elsewhere. I would consider them largely low priority unless they accompany a ranged unit. Anywhere else, because their ranked attacks ability is a tactic, it will not disappear with their removal. Recalibration for skill checks from the Optifex directive is less concerning, largely because it is only in the instance that there are multiple vectors in need of immediate repair and there are no other available repair models nearby that recalibration will make an enormous difference. Any other time, and they will likely only have one or two vectors to repair, and then can dedicate more than one model to its repair. With skill 8, they will likely accomplish this goal anyway, and the re-rolls will be less necessary–his talents are better used elsewhere.

So that does it for our chapter on Convergence infantry units! Those more astute readers (or gawking Convergence players) may have noticed a conspicuous absence from the chapter on vectors, which we will be discussing next–the thundering huge bases of Cyriss–the Prime Axiom and the Transfinite Emergence Projector! Stay tuned and keep those monkey wrenches wound and ready.