Monday, July 1, 2013

An Elemental question.

That being: WTF are they good for?

lol, seriously.  In the fluff they're awesome! On paper, they look pretty good, and on the table...well in our experiences, they've always sucked! Inner Sphere Battle armor too, never has it come even close to making up their points (nor conventional infantry, but they're dirt cheap so who cares?).

This past Saturday I fielded an all 3025 era Combined-Arms demi-company, to which Rob brought a star of clan scout omni-mechs with a star of Elementals riding shotgun. Given the combination of ridiculously high speeds, sheer numbers, and advanced weaponry far in excess of what I had, I approached the game with much trepidation.

Yet after a half a dozen rounds or so, he raised the white flag as one omni was down (with the rest sporting several holes in them), at least a half dozen toads (slang for elementals) were dead, with at least as many (though probably more like twice that number) were in need of serious medical attention. Whereas I had a Scorpion light tank  that was crawling around whilst shedding track links, the left arm torn off from my Centurion, the Cicada was gimping around on a bum leg, and the left arm of the dragon was about to start taking internals.  So I wasn't in the best of shape, yet I was fielding an obsolete army. This result wins for me (I think) my prior arguments with other opponents that you can run what you want as newer doesn't equal an automatic win.

Fortune favored the painted (and, apparently obsolete!).

If Elementals/Battle Armor can get into physical contact with the enemy's units, they can swarm them and tear em' apart, the problem is getting there. Sure the omni's were stupid fast, but on the turn the toads disembark, they can't do anything else, nor do they get all of the to hit modifiers of the unit that transported them (the same as with conventional infantry pouring out of an APC). Thus, not only can they be kept at arm's length, but they get eaten alive on the turn they disembark. The 'swayback' version of the Hunchback became the hero of the game for me, especially when backed up by the all laser fitted tanks!

As such Rob's toads never got to swarm any of my units, and while their SRMs did some damage, it was not enough to justify their use. Again. As usual. In years past I tried some Fa Shih battle armor, with similar results, and not too long back, proxied a squad of Standard Inner Sphere BA, and they managed to die in exchange for inflicting a half dozen points of damage or so. So what gives? There are enough varieties of Battle Armor/Elementals out there to theoretically mean that they're viable, but they never have been for any of us. What is it that we're doing wrong?


Here's the full picture of the elemental. This is an original of both the sketch and finished work that is printed (somewhere) in a Battletech publication. When Earl Geier retired from working on CBT, he sold off all of his works on ebay and I was lucky enough to get this one (though I lost many a bid on his pictures of tanks). Sadly, it seems the Elemental is best left in pictures rather than in actual use...

Sorry for the bad photo.


Screech said...

As I pointed out that night, BAs would be more effective against Heavy and Assault 'Mechs as they generally lack the speed to run away. Were he to go up against my heavier formation the results would be drastically different as you now have a "swarm" of Light and Medium 'Mechs attacking a much smaller number of heavier chassis from every direction plus the threat of BAs ripping open the cockpit and pulling the pilot out.

Da Masta Cheef said...

True. I guess its all the better that I've moved away from the assault units. My Capellans have a heavy lance, but the catapults can jump & knock the toads off, whereas its doubtful they'd ever catch up to the Jinggau. Still, the elementals/BA ought to be protomechs!

Screech said...

Screw you and your protomechs. I hope you both die in a fire.

Kushial said...

So do you all do it by tonnage or battle value when making lists?

Da Masta Cheef said...

Battle value, usually 8k BV. I can email you a copy of the BV modifier chart if you want. Standard pilots are Piloting 5, gunnery 4, or 4/3 if they're clans.

No worries Screech. I know that no one will play with me if I ever field protos again, lol!

Kushial said...

Yeah, that chart might come in handy.

Screech said...

Unless you're using 3025 and earlier, tonnage-based lists can get VERY imbalanced, especially when you add in Clan tech which is usually double that (or more) of Inner Sphere.