The Machine Stops: Dealing with Convergence, Part VII

autojack80Good morning once again, fellow Losties! Let’s pretend to be Iosans and be technologically intolerant.

When last we left off, we spoke at length about Convergence of Cyriss Infantry and it’s prodigious ability to act like voracious ticks and exhibit some fearsome recursion ability. This week, we will tackle the final and most dramatic of elements to the Convergence army, the huge bases! First up is arguably the most fearsome..

So you’re up against a Convergence force for the first time. You know by now that they’re slow–they tank up relatively close and will try to grind you beneath shiny treads. So you know they like taking the charge, but curiously, their access to core defense buffs like arcane shield and such are in kind of short supply. Warcasters like Father Lucant being the exception, the Cyriss way is usually to take it a little on the chin, repair up and keep coming, while (as discussed at length) screening with hordes of infantry that exemplify the recursion strategy through Enigma Foundries. So you’ve prepared for that. You’ve taken Tristan Durant’s loaded-up Redeemer to fire a fully boosted, Hymn-of-Battled rocket into the Foundry, got lucky with the second rocket, and put it into the dirt. You’ve then mini-feated with your Holy Zealots and carpet bombed the daylights out of the low-def Obstructors doing what their name implies. You’ve got charge lanes now with a fully loaded Avatar, who sidles in and starts smashing Inverters and Assimilators to rubble before they can be repaired. Good on you! You’ve bypassed their main defense.

498819_sm-

How, then, does the Convergence army overcome this situation? All armies have ways of compensating for weaknesses, and Cyriss has one biiiig trick up her sleeve: her colossal, the Prime Axiom. The Axiom is quite simply a monster. It’s also the closest thing to a crutch the army has, in that it is the primary way the army can get an alpha strike on the opposing army. It is competing for the top spot in the colossals stable with the Stormwall. This thing is a model to be feared.

Like all colossals, it’s packing both a formidable battleship-like profile in offense and defense. It’s got a dual grid with 58 hit boxes, arranged rather artfully in such a way that it’s always going to take some grinding through armour before you hit the soft system bits at the heart of the grid. It also has a serious ARM stat of 20, so bring the big guns if you want to start dishing it out to this one–particularly considering the repair options in faction. Considering its size and the relative safety of hanging out behind it, it is *very easily* repaired by a convenient model with repair. If it is merely damaged with systems out, expect that it will be fully functional long before it brings its loadout to bear. Speaking of which, on the offense, it stands out somewhat from the other colossals in that it doesn’t have as much ranged punch. It packs a superstructure Accelespiker (had to check the spelling on that one), which is Autofire 3, and ROF 2. For the uninitiated, that means that this little machine gun can nail 6 things to the wall for a measly 1 focus point and some decent rolling. It is the beast’s primary anti-infantry weapon, delivering power 11’s at range 13″. (Notice how most of the ranges and power of the guns in Cyriss are always prime numbers?) Of course it has the usual suite of Power Attacks available to the big ‘uns, so it can Reach-sweep with the best of them, Trample and Power Strike all over the place. Seeing as we’re talking about fighting it, however, keep this in mind: The Autofire rule works like strafe. He declares a primary target, and gets the extra two shots on secondary targets within 2″–so spread out your infantry! Keep them wide and don’t get too shot up!

While the big guy doesn’t have a lot of *power* in its guns, the main reason they’re taken so frequently is the pair of secondary guns. These are range 11″ harpoon guns with the signature puncture rule. This means they don’t hurt much, but they always hurt, and they have Drag. This is critical. It has two–one in each field of fire. With Puncture, it always damages its targets, and drags in its prey, where it gets a free melee attack. It can do this twice a turn. Coupling brilliantly with this ability is its melee capacity. It doesn’t appear too impressive at the outset, as they’re a pair of standard-issue colossal POW 20 fists. They do however have Sustained Attack. It’s when you take together this capacity to fire 11″ tow cables, automatically damage that Khadoran Devastator, reel it in and hammer it repeatedly to pieces. This gets scary. Scarier still when it does so to something like an Angelius with Tenacity, whereupon it boosts the melee attack and now doesn’t need to roll to hit, instead shredding the lightly armoured beast into tatters with bought attacks. This colossal can reliably get the alpha strike, smashing two heavies to pieces itself or dragging in the prey that the rest of the army mauls immediately thereafter. It can represent an enormous points swing in the piece trade. You can start to see how this model represents a substantial change to the threat range of the army, and makes its usual stance of sitting back and taking a charge almost a backup position! Expect to see an Axiom very frequently anchoring the Convergence battle line.

prime_axiom_1000_2

As if all of this wasn’t enough, again like the Stormwall, this model has a special ability as part of its superstructure system that allows it to place a model each time it activates: a Servitor of its choice. Keep in mind this comes with all of the annoyances of placing a storm pod. It means the Convergence player can lay down a Servitor that blocks a charge lane, or use it as a precision weapon to remove a particularly offensive model. On top of that, however, it has access to a quartet of individually useful Servitor models that can in fact activate in the same turn! This means where the army needs a DEF debuff, an Attunement Servitor is available. Where it needs some territory guarded, it places a Reflex Servitor. Where it needs a single model removed or a single system restored, there is a convenient Elimination or Accretion Servitor. The possibilities are frustratingly multifarious. Quite often, that the DEF debuffs and easy ranged boosts means that playing against Convergence conditions players to anticipate getting tagged by attacks that seem impossible or unlikely. Likewise, that a Vector will find itself fully functional is less than surprising, and a single ranged attack finding itself in a good position to spike a lone infantryman is equally unsurprising. The most frustrating use of this ability is to spawn a Reflex Servitor to either attack immediately, or fly to a frustrating point, dig in, and prepare for a Counter-charge. To stop this from being a problem, remember that being engaged pulls it out of cover, and also stops it from counter charging. Failing that, just move your models one at a time, and ensure it has no direct line of engagement with which to counter-charge.

So how do you fight it, when it so readily and terrifyingly changes the whole battlefield? Well, you have to know how Drag works, first of all. Drag is a push effect. This means that models that are immune can still get the drop on the Convergence army. If playing casters like E. Dominic Darius or Absylonia, Daughter of Everblight, you can use the Fortify spell to great effect. Models with Fortify and those in base contact cannot be pushed, so link arms and close the gap with gusto! Just keep in mind that Father Lucant almost never leaves home without one of these big guys, and he packs Purification–so no more Fortify. Models like Tiberion in Skorne are just too stubborn to be dragged, and naturally any colossal or gargantuan cannot either. Bring the pain with a big guy of your own, and you will not have to worry about being reeled in! There are a few other limitations, of course. For one, it is a ranged attack. While Convergence has a plethora of ways to boost their ranged capacity, Absylonia, Terror of Everblight or Kaya the Moonhunter can boost their beasts’ defense stats to very high levels.

While on the subject, in fact, the Moonhunter also comes equipped with Shadow Pack, meaning Stealth to the battlegroup, so no harpoon shots! Aside from the mighty mighty Monitor, stealth is an uphill battle for Convergence, so be sneaky! For those that are less inclined to be dodgy, or wrinkle their nose at their intractable Mountain Kings, like the trolls, remember that push effects are also stopped by terrain! Remember that drag is a *direct* push effect. Any terrain or models blocking the way will stop the drag dead. That won’t stop the Axiom from maneuvering into a better position, but Trollbloods conveniently have a mighty solo in Janissa Stonetide that can throw down a wall in front of her accompanying beasts that will stop them from being dragged any farther. Keep in mind the terrain anyway! What’s already on the board, whether a wall, house or even screening models will stall the drags dead in their tracks. Remember, though, that between ground-pounding Assimilators, shrapnel swarming Iron Mothers, and barbed net-launching Mitigators, dealing with infantry is often easier than it looks for Convergence. Choose your screen wisely!

The nice thing about going up against a colossal is that it comes with a few inherent weaknesses we are already aware of, but it has a few less obvious ones as well. For one, the Axiom in particular is one of the only things that Convergence players have at their disposal to ensure a solid first strike capacity, so it will actually show up in *most* lists, not unlike the Stormwall. As such, a list with a colossal has 20 some-odd points tied up in one place. Removing it can frequently take the teeth right out of the Convergence player’s army. This is the only front line operator I would recommend targeting above even the support elements. It’s ability to be repaired quickly however means it is vital that it be removed in one fell swoop or it becomes likely you will lose what it was you devoted to its demolition. As usual, two heavies, a large group of reach weapon masters, usually with damage buffs applied liberally are the only ways to effectively remove them in one go. Commit and remove it–the trade will very likely be worthwhile.

So that’s it for the biggest of the bigs! The Axiom is a dangerous foe, but commit and take it down. We are back next week to tackle the other huge based model in the faction, and my lord does it have a title worthy of British nobility–the Transfinite Emergence Projector and Permutation Servitors!

Until next time.


One Response to The Machine Stops: Dealing with Convergence, Part VII

  1. Why is there no obvious link to the previous entries in a multi-part series?