Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

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Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby Jarrik_Harleys » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:46 am

I'm going to try and do a three-way comparison here, among all three Machine elite infantry selections:

Revenant Platoons
Lich Platoons
Scourge Platoons


Artwork:
Eh... I'm going to skip this section because a) my descriptions are liable to be pretty bad, b) I'll use an ugly and effective card over a useless pretty one, and c) these three look pretty much the same anyway. The Revenants are airborne with rocket packs, the Lich Platoons have claws and there are mountains in the background, and the Scourge Platoons have a gun arm and flaming wreckage in the background. *shrug*

I suppose if I had to pick one, the Revenants in midair look marginally cooler. Scourge for second place due to the gun arm.


Cost: Revenants 6AP, 5R, 4T; Liches 5AP, 4R, 4T; Scourges 4AP, 4R, 3T. Advantage: Scourge.

Stats:
Revenant: 6 attack, 5 defense, 3 resistance, 2 movement, 6 hit points, 2 range.
Liches: 6 attack, 4 defense, 3 resistance, 2 movement, 5 hit points, 1 range.
Scourges: 7 attack, 5 defense, 3 resistance, 2 movement, 7 hit points, 1 range.

Scourges have the best attack and HP, tie for best defense, and are beat only in range by Revenants. Liches take third on lower defense, HP and not standing out in any particular category.


Fitting with the deck:
All Robots. Revenants are your only choice for air assault, but cost an extra point in your deck (5 instead of 4 for Liches and Scourges). Scourges should be a basic building block of any Machine deck (but I'm getting ahead of myself).

Special abilities:
Revenants: Air Assault 4 and Commando. Admittedly, I generally don't air assault, but being able to air assault and not have to worry about being in supply is a good thing.
Liches: Recon at S5 R1, only one point better than a Ghost Probe Bot, and Stealth 4.
Scourges: Shock attack combining with the high attack FTW.

I have to award the round to Scourges again. Liches might be semi-useful as a recon unit within a large army, or you could just use a Ghost Probe Bot in a separate army for less AP and resources. Revenants have questionable staying power by themselves against anything but recon or small raiding armies, and pairing them up with reinforcing units nullifies the air assault (and somewhat the commando) abilities. Shock Attack is the most broadly useful and effective ability in this group.

I honestly don't think I've ever put Revenants or Liches into any of my Machine decks. Scourges are stronger, tougher, cheaper and you get Shock Attack. Unless you love air assaults to death, there's no reason to use either of the other two choices, I think. If you just can't live without a combat unit that also has recon for your big armies... play the Empire of Man, I guess, or use Hydras . You can give the same stealth rating as a Lich to just about any unit you own through technology research. Plus, I tend to use Harpies to support my infantry a lot, and while this works with any of the three, Harpies have neither stealth nor air assault, so if you want to do that, you give up the special abilities of Revenants or Liches that might make them worth paying for in the first place.

Scourge Platoon sweeps the categories where there is a decision, except for artwork. Do you want pretty cards, or do you want smoking ruins of your enemy? You decide! :D
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Second Machine Assault Group
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Re: Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby Midknight » Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:47 am

I find that scourges are definitely the best for straight up fights, but the other machine elite infantry, i believe, are best pressed into use as supply cutters. Both have "sneakier" abilities - stealth and mobility (air assault) - which tends to be lacking on the Machine side.

I don't think a straight-up comparison between all three has a clear winner, although I have to say Revenants are kinda underwhelming. The machines only get one Jumpmaster general and Revenants, despite the commando ability, are only sorta average. I tend to skip them over, as they're pricey points-wise - and I'd rather have a Lich/Scourge and a point, but I could see them useful in a garrison role, and able to air assault over an incoming enemy super-stack to cut their supply line. What really hurts them, I think, is the inability to jump in with the Harpy to make up for their average combat stats, which leaves them stuck in the supply-cutter role. They're solid enough at least not to be easily destroyed or driven off by single units.

Liches, I find, work well to set up a stealth focused stack for the mid to late game, and work best if you can salvage some gear for them - FT-X Flamers come to mind - they won't be dishing out as much damage as a neuro-equipped Scourge, but their stealth capability is what you need to use. The Machines get a few heroes with stealth, although the best for leading an army is Reconicus (who, judging by the card art, also uses a Lich body).
Add a Harpy with a research-built stealth field addon and you have a really versatile heavy recon force that can take on most Indep stacks, lighter enemy faction stacks, creep up on and hunt lone traveling heroes, feint at an enemy base then stealth away, or act as a flanker/supply-cutter for your main army. Regardless of whether or not you add the stealth field harpy, this also synergizes really well with a Hunter-Killer team - beefs up the hero-hunting ability, and the sniper option might give the stack a chance against well-led enemy stacks.
Alternately, for a bit of a twist you can use the Lich + stealth Harpy as an escort for Vindictus or Diaboliqua - assassinate an enemy leader, then pop out of stealth and attack the demoralized stack immediately. A good "scalpel" unit - not one for pitched battles, but careful usage of stealth will allow you to pick your fights well.
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Re: Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby potatoedoughnut » Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:55 pm

I think the key thing to keep in mind when looking at cards (especially mid & late game cards) is not just who would be better in a pitched battle in an uber stack, but how can I use this card in a larger sense.

Example here would be that yes, Scourge Platoons are by far the best unit to stick in your uber stack. However, that doesn't mean the other cards are useless. Revenants are one of the machines few "fast" units, and the only one with Commando. Using them to cut supply, or drop on a lone enemy unit/hero quickly are excellent uses. They can even be used for deep recon in low-risk areas, just to see if there are any specials or good independent bases in an unexplored corner of the board.

The suggestion of using Liches as part of a stealth bounty hunting force is an excellent onces. Many opponents leave their super stacks on the front lines or near their HQ. A stack like this could effectively operate in the area many players would consider "safe", and possibly even draw out the super stack in an attempt to bring them to battle, which would open the door for your conventional army to exploit that opening, or even have a 2nd stealth army take the base when the big stack leaves.

When looking at the 2-3 point cost units a comparison of just stat lines is marginally useful; they don't usually have a whole lot going on and there is usually a clear "best" choice for recce units or collector defenders. However, once you start getting into 3+ point units just approaching units by looking at their stats is short sighted.

I think that rather than just posts comparing costs/stats/specials posts discussing strategy would be much more informative. Sure a Scourge Platoon would beat up a Liche Platoon 1on1, but if that Scourge has to waste 3-4 turns trying to find it while the Liche destroys collectors, or kills some heroes, or just keeps the unit busy for a couple turns the advantage obviously goes to the Liche, even if it doesn't win at brute force.
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Re: Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby dave866 » Sat Apr 12, 2008 4:13 pm

Good points, oh toroidal one. Sometimes the best way to find out what to do with a unit is to leave your go-to unit out of the deck. This is how I learned skeletors are useful early game units, etc.
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Re: Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby Midknight » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:29 pm

potatoedoughnut wrote: Revenants are one of the machines few "fast" units, and the only one with Commando. Using them to cut supply, or drop on a lone enemy unit/hero quickly are excellent uses. They can even be used for deep recon in low-risk areas, just to see if there are any specials or good independent bases in an unexplored corner of the board.


Yeah, I think they are best off as scouts really. The temptation might be to play aggressively and air assault into a fight, but Revenants are nowhere near as tough as certain human air assaulters (which are probably the most insane infantry ever, but i digress...) so you need to play a little sneaky - don't actually try to get into a fight unless you can help it. If you're set on using them, bring a few extra Terminus nodes and reconnaissance - as soon as you find an enemy base, drop down a Terminus 4 hexes away, drop the Revenants in, and lure out the army with bait. The Revenants can air assault the base and usually cut the army's supply, and you can jump a tough stack on them.
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Re: Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby Firescion » Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:26 pm

See ive been experimenting with the machines lately and I fidn the revenants a quite worthwhile addition to my decks. Perhaps its due to my current affair with air assault but you add the jump general to a squad of revenants and you then have a 5 hex strike capability which, in the machine army, is a huge deal. Granted they are not nearly as uber as the Imperial Marine (dear GOD those things are crazy) but then again what is? They have decent defense (which you can improve with defensive nanites) and pretty good attack and are one of the few commando units in the machine army. Early game I tend to use them as a very mobile garrison for whatever properties I have taken or use them to pop indie bases. Once I have a geneticist/technologist up and running they get a bit better (though not nearly as good as Imp Marines but again, those are pretty much the gold standard for heavy infantry).

On a few maps with rough terrain my jump squad was pretty much the only squad that saw action due to the normally slow machines beng slowed even further by being LOCATED IN THE DAMN ROCKIES! :evil:

Basically I say that both the revenant and the scourge have a place in the machine army, the revenant as a fast attacking raider force and the scourge as the more stand up drag out fight contender. The lich i never use :mrgreen:
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Re: Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby Jarrik_Harleys » Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:10 pm

*sigh* So it's just my analysis that gets picked on?

The main point I was trying to make in the above is that Scourge Platoons are, I believe, the most generally useful for the cost. Revenants require more of a specific combination of cards (multiple Revenants plus the Jumpmaster) and circumstances where air assault is useful. Any enhancements you can produce for Revenants can equally be applied to Scourges, which make them that much more effective. I find if I want a fast attack raiding force, I put together a Scourge Platoon, a Cyclops (double attack 6), a Proteus (breakthrough 5) and a Harpy with a decent general, to get movement 3 and a wide selection of capabilities.

I don't put cards into my deck (whether they're Cyborgs or Liches or what have you) whose main usefulness depends in significant part on salvaging particular equipment in the field. Yes, it's nice if you can find an FT-X Flamer to stick on a Lich. If you don't find one, though, then what? I'd rather use something like a Skeletor Mk III which has more general versatility, and if I can give it shock with an FT-X, so much the better. Instead of using a Lich Platoon and a stealth-equipped Harpy, why not a Ghost Probe Bot, the same stealth-equipped Harpy and a stealth-equipped Scourge?

I'm not saying there aren't circumstances that Revenants or Liches aren't useful. I do think for the relative costs and benefits, the Scourge Platoons are the most likely to be useful in a random game situation, unless you choose to build your deck around an air assault strategy or something similar.
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Re: Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby Robovski » Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:24 pm

I would say it was tenuous to plan of recovering nice bits of tech from the field. I've had plenty of games where I haven't even seen the flamer, let alone it being my side that controlled it in play. But I do work into my mid to late game any tech plans that I could do 'homegrown' with my techs. As such it isn't unreasonable to plan of nanites if you have at least one Knowledge node and a scientist or two.

That aside, I agree that the Scourge is the best stand-up unit from the trio. That said the Revenants do have roles to play for the machines. Air Assault is growing on me some, getting 4 revenants and the Jump General together makes for an inexpensive reaction force with a lot of capability - especially if I invest in some nanites. Even if I don't want to put that together, having a couple of these guys around can be very flexible in bringing doom to recon and heroes or to join a force by providing a pseudo arty by firing from the back row thanks to range 2 (or shooting the bak row from the front...).

I will say that I just don't find the time to use Liches though. IMO I'm better off investing in Spider Bots and having one tag along with my stack for army recon.
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Re: Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby Keypunch » Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:31 pm

What's up with the max of 5 spider bots, though?

I'm very much a player who wants to be aware of what's happening. Spider bots are ideal, but you'll get 5 max. Ghost spider bots, I dislike for various reasons (bland, unclear artwork, low stats), but then again, you need a unit for deep recon. With their stealth, they qualify for going deep.
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Re: Card Comparison: Machine Elite Infantry

Postby Midknight » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:25 am

Heh, sorry to jump on the analysis but it's always more interesting to offer a dissenting opinion. Despite my fondness for the Lich i still don't ever let them outnumber the Scourges in the deck. Recently I find I take them in equal number though...

I'm a bit in the same camp as Keypunch: I find Machines are a little weak on recon, and since they're on the slow side good recon is essential. Granted, the Hydra is another combat recon option, but I'm biased towards the Lich - it's a sneaky little card that can exploit a lot of different opportunities. The Ghost Probe is expensive, can't really fight, fragile, and espionage 4 is really not all that useful once an opponent has deployed a sniffer or two.

Obviously, you're not going to always find the flamers, or maybe easily find the resources or draw the cards to build stealth stacks, but I feel the risk is worth it - the Lich just works well with a lot of situations and can more effectively exploit a lot more different strategic opportunities than Scourges can; whether it's an opponent's lack of stealth detection, some nice salvaged gear, or unprotected out of the way outposts and collectors.
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