Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

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Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby dave866 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:55 pm

OK, credit to Keypunch for the topic concept. It got me poking around, and I wanted to present this to see what I'm missing.

These are two Machine Infantry selections.


Artwork:
Skeletor I: a terminator-type droid extending an arm, a tank and some rubble in the background. Competent.
Spider: A robot spider, and a little baby robot spider, in what appears to be a hangar. Cute! Or perhaps terrifying, depending on your phobias - be they robot or spider (or hangar, though I'm not entirely sure it's a hangar).

This is a tough call. The Skeletor has the better background. And I'm not sure why the little baby spider and his baby-spider momma are sitting in a hangar. But I'll give the nod to the spider just because I know there's a guy on this forum that's obsessed with them (and because the spider needs a sympathy vote, but that's getting ahead of myself).

Cost: Skeletor I and Spider Construct both cost 2M, 1T, same AP. Tie.

Stats:
Skeletor Mk I: 4 attack, 4 defense, 3 resistance, 2 movement, 4 hit points, 1 range.
Spider Construct: 2 attack, 2 defense, 2 resistance, 3 movement, 4 hit points, 1 range.
The Skeletor clearly has the edge in attack, defense and resistance. Spider is faster - which can only be capitalized on by keeping out of slower armies. Round to Skeletor.

Fitting with the deck:
Definitely a tie. Both Robot, both 2 points.

Special abilities:
Skeletor: None! The only unit with no talents whatsoever. Poor guy. Kids, this is what happens when you don't eat your robo-wheaties.
Spider: Flank Attack +3. Aha! So he's not such a non-hacker after all! Well, two things to consider. First, if there's anybody in the enemy back rank, he gets no bonus. Like others have said, there often isn't, but it's still a consideration over just putting the points in the attack column. Second, this special does nothing for defense. And if you pit a 4/4 Skeletor versus a 5/2 Flanking Spider, my money's on the Skeletor. 4 Att vs 2 Def will do 1.13 pts./turn average; 5 Att vs 4 Def, only .87 pts/turn. That's a 30% edge to the Skeletor, giving it the round.

With 2 ties, 2 wins, and a round won purely on aesthetic grounds, my judgement is final: The Skeletor flounces the Spider Construct, unless you really really love move 3 Spiders, but don't get so attached to them that you can't watch them be ground into dust by nearly any opponent.

So I pondered the possible remedy. If Spiders had range 2, they could stay out of the way of a lot of the danger, and it might better represent their fast, flanking attack. I think it'd even be worth another point of point cost. But, of course, they don't. So why pick them over Skeletor Mk I?
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Re: Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby Tetujin » Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:15 pm

Honestly, my worldview does not have adequate space for comprehension of individuals that do not, in fact, love spider robots. :D

OT, I have primarily played with the machines, and have an inherent affinity to 'alternative strengths.' I have used both units on a variety of occasions and in a variety of combinations. I agree with your conclusion.

However, it's not quite as bad as it seems. The mechanics of fate, tactics, genetics and tech make the gap between these two relatively small. But early game is really when low-end units have to make their mark, and 2 defense is a huge handicap. Honestly, even the spiderbots (recce) have 3 defense.

I've tried to puzzle through it, and the only thing I can determine is that the machines _really_ have to pay for fast movers. I'd really like to see 3 def for these guys. And possibly 3 base atk with dropping to 3 hp. Still considerably weaker than Skeletor Is in big combat, but can do real damage in skirmishes.

The Hydra is similarly fragile.
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Re: Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby Midknight » Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:55 am

One alternative might be to use both in an army, and add a Harpy to allow keep movement high. Support the spiders, and in a flanking situation they're 7/4, fairly respectable. Granted, the skeletors could be boosted instead to 6/6... but it does allow for a 3 MOV stack - another skeletor would slow the army down.
Last edited by Midknight on Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby dave866 » Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:19 pm

Q: the harpy supports all infantry? I thought it only supported cyborgs and thralls. The others are Robots. I haven't tried it, obviously.
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Re: Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby Keypunch » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:52 pm

A: Yes.
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Re: Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby dave866 » Sat Apr 12, 2008 4:07 pm

That's good news. I just played a quick test game, and sure enough, even elite infantry robots can benefit .That's going to help a lot. Harpies are pretty good single-hex recon, since they can get away from most of the stuff they stumble on (as long as they stay out of cities). I went to town on a Vengeance with stack that had 3 harpies back, by double-pumping a Spider Construct up to 9 and single-pumping a Scourge. And they don't drive up the AP to activate the stack!

This must have changed in a patch. When I first got this game only infantry could use the harpy - cyborgs and thralls. I think my games are going to go a lot better now.
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Re: Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby Midknight » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:09 pm

Harpies, I daresay, are the greatest asset in the entire machine arsenal - I regularly take 4+ in most of my decks since they're so cheap.

EDIT: Spider Constructs are one of the more synergistic units in the Machine arsenal - they're practically begging to be deployed alongside a harpy and a tough infantry unit. The best use I think would be to deploy alongside a beefy unit that generally doesn't require the harpy support - the Skeletor Mk III, with assault 6, seems custom-made for the role. Striking in the first round at strength 10 then following up with a strength 7 flank is pretty devastating to most independent groups.
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Re: Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby Hannibal » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:50 am

Tetujin wrote:I've tried to puzzle through it, and the only thing I can determine is that the machines _really_ have to pay for fast movers.


I don't know. The cyclops (if I get the name wrong, pardon me as I am still kind of new), 6 atk, 6 def, with a double attack is a 3 movement, medium priced unit. I like it a lot. That pair up with any infantry with harpy support works great as a fast response, disruption, flanking, unit.

What I get is while the imperial relies on jump happy marines, machines relies on harpy. :D
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Re: Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby Robovski » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:38 pm

It's range 2 as well, so you can park it in the back row if you need to.

(I think)
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Re: Card Comparison: Spider Constructs versus Skeletors Mk I

Postby Vide » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:27 pm

Nope. The only "Robot"-class unit with a range over 1 is Revenant... which is range 3. :shock: However, Revs aren't really strong enough to make that extra range all that attractive. I suppose if you stuck a Flamer on one it'd work as a passable arty killer tho'...
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