I Believe Command Cards Should Affect Your Army List! – Part 2

Posted: 21 September, 2014 by nimthar in Article series, Discussion, Dropzone commander, Jens
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The general cards are the 20 cards which every deck of the four first factions (PHR, Shaltari, Scourge and UCM) have.

Activation tampering
Central HQ Directive (1)
T1: 2,5%, T2: 10,3%, T3: 11,4%, T4: 12,9%, T5: 14,8%, T6: 17,4%
Requirements: None
Characteristics: Die modifier
Game impact: High

Reasoning:
The Central HQ Directive command card affects the initiative roll and thus have the possibility to achieve both double-taps (to be able and activate last and first) and act first in a critical moment. Since there is only one of this card in a deck, it could be worth saving it until the “perfect” moment, but remember if you have not used it at the end of the game you probably should have used it inefficiently rather than not at all. I am of the opinion that winning the initiative in Dropzone Commander could be truly essential to achieve victory in all of the different scenarios. Battlegroups with a big number of units can gain especially from being able to act first, either to get out of harms way or to destroy either a building or to devastate one of your opponent’s essential squads.

Quick Thinking (1)
T1: 2,5%, T2: 10,3%, T3: 11,4%, T4: 12,9%, T5: 14,8%, T6: 17,4%
Requirements: Sphere of Influence, Enemy activation
Characteristics: Rule-breaking
Game impact: High

Reasoning:
The Quick thinking command card is a sure way to have the opportunity to stop or interrupt your opponent’s plan. Since it is still based upon die rolls or decision-making and since you need Sphere of Influence its effects could be minor. It is probably best used to snipe off an important unit like an unit carrying an objective or a loaded transport. If the card is used too little effect it could probably do more harm then use, therefore I recommend to use it when it is almost certain it will achieve the effect desired. I find this card to be especially good with anti-air units since it become an improved version of reactive fire. I also believe this card to prefer larger squads.

Airborne transport enhancing
Crazy Pilot (2)
T1: 5%, T2: 19,7%, T3: 21,8%, T4:24,5%, T5: 27,9%, T6: 32,4%
Requirements: Sphere of Influence, Aircraft & Transport
Characteristics: Rule-breaking
Game impact: High

Reasoning:
The Crazy Pilot command cards can be used to great effect since it circumvent a blockade set by an opponent and thereby offer an opportunity to whisk away on objective or get to a piece of intel or to deploy infantry into a critical position. This card could unfortunately be stopped by having a good amount of AA ready to do reaction fire when an aerial transport closes in to an expected LZ (landing zone). Therefore I consider it hard to use this card early in the game when the presence of anti-air is plentiful and it is best used to get a couple of units in range of contesting a focal point. The command card also favours flamer units because of their short range and the rather short movement allowance of ground units. Another unit to gain a great deal of this card is a Scourge Prowler, almost guaranteeing it to be in range the next turn. The Crazy Pilot! command card can also be used to enable the use of a Tactical Withdrawal command card.

Aircraft and Vehicle enhancing
Field Repair (3)
T1: 7,5%, T2: 28,4%, T3: 31,3%, T4: 34,9%, T5: 39,5%, T6: 45,3%
Requirements: Sphere of Influence, DP 2 or higher
Characteristics: Survivability
Game impact: Low

Reasoning:
The Field Repair command cards have the possibility to band aid a multiple DP (damage points) unit which decreases its use to mostly transports, heavy or specialised vehicles. Since it is only usable in the start of your own activation it is probably not as useful as one might think, unless it is a unit with a great number of DP like a Ferrum or a Hades or a Jaguar. I see no need to save it for a good moment, it should be used rather sooner than later.

Infantry enhancing
Secret Entrance (1)
T1: 2,5%, T2: 10,3%, T3: 11,4%, T4: 12,9%, T5: 14,8%, T6: 17,4%
Requirements: Sphere of Influence, Infantry
Characteristics: Rule-breaking
Game impact: Low

Reasoning:
The Secret Entrance command card I find is rather useful, especially on a one or two entrance only building, a squad of infantry could easily secure two entrances, even if that means opening up to machine gun fire and a soft target weapons reprisal. Certain units like the Praetorian and Destroyer have this ability without the card which makes them a bit more reliant. Perhaps this card will truly come in to its own right when playing with bunkers or the Orbital Laser.

The more interesting part of this command card is the mobility of an added six inch move for the unit which will embark the building increasing fast troop transports efficiency and allowing air transports to avoid a hot landing zone.

Tactical Withdrawal (2)
T1: 5%, T2: 19,7%, T3: 21,8%, T4:24,5%, T5: 27,9%, T6: 32,4%
Requirements: Sphere of Influence, Infantry
Characteristics: Rule-breaking
Game impact: High

Reasoning:
The Tactical Withdrawal card could be used to either save an infantry squad certain for destruction or whisking away an objective ready to fall into the enemy’s hands. This card will probably have the greatest impact on an objective based game but may be useful in a focal point scenario to relocate infantry locked in CQB or in an Encroachment scenario. It will also be enhanced with a Crazy Pilot! command card if your opponent have ground units present. Thus can an opponent decrease the use of this card by surrounding a building to be engaged in CQB.

Underground Monorail (2)
T1: 5%, T2: 19,7%, T3: 21,8%, T4:24,5%, T5: 27,9%, T6: 32,4%
Requirements: Buildings
Characteristics: Mobility increased
Game impact: Low/High

Reasoning:
The Underground Monorail command card may seem to have a big impact on a game where infantry plays a big role, which in my opinion is almost every game of Dropzone Commander. My objections towards it is when you draw it, if you find this card on your hand early I believe it could be used to force your opponent to respond to it or saved until a perfect moment. I also believe certain factions have a greater use than others of this card, especially the PHR which is considered to be rather slow and need the extra mobility. But it needs buildings to be on the battlefield and it only affects infantry, and it can be used by your opponent. It should in other words be used carefully and not without a thought out plan since it could backfire. Since the card only can be used with infantry it emphasis the role of the humble infantry(wo)man in Dropzone Commander.

Other
Assisted Targeting (2)
T1: 5%, T2: 19,7%, T3: 21,8%, T4:24,5%, T5: 27,9%, T6: 32,4%
Requirements: Sphere of Influence
Characteristics: Other, Die modifier
Game impact: Low

Reasoning:
The Assisted Targeting command card affect one to hit die roll which may seem really powerful when going for kill points but since the game of Dropzone Commander often has other considerations like objectives, intel or focal points its use is limited in my opinion and is probably best used on a focal point mission to eliminate some or all of an opponent’s presence. I do not believe a die modifier to be significant since you also have to get lucky with a to damage roll. Especially against units with passive saves I would say a to hit die modifier is weak. Sure it feels nice to have a roll with a greater chance of success but I do not believe it win or loses games. It could be really useful to use on a unit with a limited amount of shots or when targeting a unit you really want to hurt, like a command or a transport, especially if you are reactive firing. But since you roll dice and not that many really in Dropzone Commander its impact might be really minor. The Scourge Desolator with its Ion Storm ability should be considered when opting to use this card since it increases its long range chance of success. It could also be used to enhance either a Fast Mover with an Acc. of 3+, if within range when shooting, or gunships which also often have an Acc. of 3+. It also increases the chances of hitting a skimmer unit and may be more useful for UCM or PHR to counter the Skimmers of Scourge and Shaltari.

Call for Extraction (3)
T1: 7,5%, T2: 28,4%, T3: 31,3%, T4: 34,9%, T5: 39,5%, T6: 45,3%
Requirements: Lost transport
Characteristics: Rule-breaking
Game impact: High

Reasoning:
The Call for Extraction command card could certainly win a game by offering a way out for an objective carrying infantry squad or getting a unit to a focal point where it is needed. If used I believe it should be used in turn 5 at the latest, probably in turn 4, since it will be hard to use it in the sixth turn because of the limited movement allowance when embarking and disembarking. The card’s downside is its dependence on having a transport eliminated which is not guaranteed or wished for, it is a second chance which you do not hope to have to use. I guess it may be used to draw out a reactive fire before you plan to use a fast mover and then replacing it with a Call for Extraction.

This card is probably of less importance for Shaltari since gates are not bound to a certain battlegroup. The UCM, PHR and Scourge with their designated transports suffer a greater blow when loosing a transport, reducing the squad’s maneuverability. Since the replacement does not have to be the same model as lost a ground transport could be replaced with a fast air transport. Therefore you should have an extra Intruder, Raven, Spirit or Triton if it would be a better tactical decision.

Espionage (3)
T1: 7,5%, T2: 28,4%, T3: 31,3%, T4: 34,9%, T5: 39,5%, T6: 45,3%
Requirements: Enemy command card played
Characteristics: Influence
Game impact: Low/Medium/High

Reasoning: The Espionage command card is dependent on your opponent playing command cards and its game impact is also dependent on the cancelled card’s game impact. It is a card you most likely will have drawn one of during a six turn game and could be used to great effect. It cannot be considered a great card in its own right, but played at the right time it could win or lose a game. I rank it lower than other cards since it is reliant of a judgement call based upon what you might believe your opponent’s hand include. Therefore I believe it to be a great card in combination with the Intel Report-card making it better for UCM then other factions.

I hope you enjoyed this second part.  Please feel free to comment and discuss. Next time we will take a look at the PHR specific cards which will be published on Thursday.

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Comments
  1. Zombiestate says:

    It’s interesting that you find the crazy pilot card is high importance, whereas secret entrance is low. I have literally used crazy pilot once in about 40 games, and that was half by accident!

    Although as a Shaltari player I don’t need secret entrance that much, I have had points stripped away of tournaments through strategic use of this kind.

    • nimthar says:

      Thanks for your feedback! Sorry for taking a while to respond.

      I have found the crazy pilot really nice to be able and get away with an objective, where infantry may jump outside into a flying transport even if the building is almost surrounded. To elaborate, where Secret Entrance may gain access Crazy Pilot may allow you to get away with an objective or deploy units to control a focal point.

      Perhaps it may be my own experience of secret entrance that I have found it useful but not really that game changing.

      Would you rate Secret Entrance as better than Crazy Pilot or equally as good?

      • Zombiestate says:

        I’d regard Crazy Pilot as a throw away card, and Secret entrance as a medium use card. If someone is able to surround a building so that you can’t get a small template down, you are probably doing something wrong!

        • nimthar says:

          So I had a good night’s sleep and tried to imagine the Secret Entrance card’s more useful aspects. I found out that I totally disregarded its possibility to be able and get you into the mid table buildings in turn 1. I only really considered the disregard manned walls part. This was a bad oversight by me. This would indeed raise the game impact of the Secret Entrance card.

          What I had missed was how far Secret Entrance actually put the infantry up the table when using a medium dropship with APCs or a light dropship. I guess the effect for PHR and UCM may be lower depending on how big the buildings are and their positioning.

          UCM: Condor 9″ + 3″ + Bear 3″ + 6″ = 21″; Raven 12″ + 3″ + Infantry 1″ + 6″ = 22″
          Scourge: Maurauder 12″ + 3″ + Invader 3″ + 6″ = 24″; Intruder 15″ + 3″ + Infantry 1″ + 6″ = 25″
          PHR: Neptune 8″ + 3″ + Juno 3″ + 6″ = 20″; Triton 10″ + 3″ + Infantry 1″ + 6″ = 20″
          Shaltari: Eden 10″ + 3″ + Haven 4″ + 3″ + Infantry 1″ + 6″ = 27″; Spirit 15″ + 3″ + Infantry 1″ + 6″ = 25″

          With this in mind I believe it actually to be high in objective focused missions and medium in focal points missions.

          I will stick to my evaluation of Crazy Pilot though. Since it is not only the template but also the 3″ radius around it unless you could break line of sight.

          Thank you once again for your feedback.

          • egges says:

            Secret entrance is pretty good in combinations with APC’. Embark from a building into the APC and then move it 3″, disembark into a building some 6″ away. In total it is 10″. Not so shabby and a good move when the opponent does not realize what you can do. Many uses the light dropships instead though.

    • egges says:

      One of the reasons the Hot LZ is so rarely used is because we often play you are allowed to re-move your model if you can’t land. I’m not sure how you guys play it but we are generally very generous about it. But if you start playing it hard (moved is moved) and then you measure and move your model and find you can’t land because of Hot LZ – that card rocks. In truth – I think that you should not be able to test the HOT LZ unless you actually stop there and try to land. Right now it is not used however. I really thinkt he Hot LZ rule could be better. Not being allowed to drop units off within 3″ of another enemy model would make it a much better rule, in my opinion.

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