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CoreDave

The Vanguard, Can It Be Made To Work?

159 posts in this topic

So our unique unit the Vanguard, It looks amazing, its got a great characterful MAR with its hull ripper but its hard to see how it can be made to work. At 7" it seems too slow to catch any juicy targets and with a decidedly average forward facing torpedo attack and a difficult to use broadside its far from the best choice for adding firepower to your force. Its also got a low compliment of AP so its not a boarding platform (which would of made sense considering its meant to get in close and ram),

It can dive so it can be hard to hit but its not exactly tough and at 55 points its only 5 points less than a cruiser that can offer considerably more firepower, more AP is faster and can take a shield for extra protection.

The best use I can think of for it would be to try and scare off your opponent from getting too close but I don;t think this could be relied upon and even if it worked every time I'm not sure its really worth the point cost.

So does anyone have any practical experiences of good tactics using the Vanguard or any suggestions as to what might make it more desirable a choice. Personally I'd like to see +2" move when surfaced, 5 or 6 AP and possibly a max unit size of 4. Or perhaps buff the forward torps to be the same as the gunship.

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Iron ram is what it needs, I don't want anything else realy, Iron ram. One inch more would be nice so would an extra RR or two...but Iron ram is what matters.

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+1

If we had an iron ram on this beast it would work better. It should also move quicker - at least as fast as the Tribal I think. The model, with the ferocious looking chain blade head looks like it's designed to smash through other vessels, but I have been hoisted by my own petard ramming ships to find the Vanguard takes hits back too! Iron Ram would rectify this as make the model more effective without breaking the game I feel.

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All the RoF players are praising their Ecuyer support cruiser but that is particularly slow. The Vanguard would seem to be perfect for taking an Ecuyer out.

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Lets see, the Vanguard is 55 pts, has a pair of broadsides, and fore torps and a Ram Rating of 6.

It's got a bunch of special rules, it's independant, Hull Breaker and Hull Ripper, It's also got Panic Dive and Experienced Engineers

Compared to a Cruiser, yes you've got a bit more Fire power in guns alone, and you could get a shield with a hit to your firepower.

Honestly, I'd love for it to be faster a 'Sturginium Boost' MAR would be excellent.

And Iron Ram would be great, but then more people would try to use them against large models, which is really only a last resort target.

Now lets look at it's benefits:

It's hard to hit, from Diver/Submerged.

It's intimidating, I've yet to see someone not try and take it out by shooting at it.

When it closes with a target, that target gets hurt a fair bit of the time.

It's got decent firepower for a Submarine, and the P/S Boradsides are secondaries.

I've seen a lot of people using them wrong too.

Here's the suggestions I've made:

You don't bunch them together, nor do you send them out on thier own, group them with another unit of frigates/cruisers. They are Independant and you can link them from across the board if you want to. The important part is that they ignore Command Distance.

If you're approaching while submerged, use your torps.

The Ram of 6 without Iron Ram means you're primary target isn't Large+ Capitals, you want to go after Medium and Small surface vessels, as you crush a small with 3 hits (On a 4+) and most mediums on 4-5 hits. If you make CR on a medium, it's usually done, as you're rolling an additional +1d3 HP damage. Also if you keep your vanguard with your frigates/cruisers, then they usually get a goodly number of targets heading towards them.

They aren't really meant for boarding, though they can when they have to, better to have one ram a ship and board inconjunction with another. The hull damage will stop most of the CC and the Ram means the defenders are fighting at half strength, note the best outcome will usually be a Sabotage to finish off the ship.

The broadsides are perfect for dealing with smaller ships at close range, usually after you've broken another of thier number in half. I've seen a Vanguard wipe out a group of 3 Arminus Frigates in one Activation, it used Hull Ripper to move through the dead Arminus before it was removed and then was lined up perfectly between the other two.

They are good for nailing Ika, as you can fire torps at it while you close and you're Ram isn't slowed by Rugged Construction.

There is one awesome instance where a Large target is a great target for Ramming, is when one has suffered a Fusion Leak, then you only need to roll DR to initialize Hull Breakers extra damage.

Mr Evil, varnos and IceCumbers like this

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Well, previously it had only 6' movement. Now it's a little bit faster, but clearly it's still not enought.

Without giving it more MARs, just giving him a bit more speed (8' or 9') will make it an excellent small/medium vessel hunter. Right now, it's still too easy to evade.

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My issue with the vanguard is that it has a reasonable chance of screwing itself up if it hits anything bigger than a frigate. Bump a gunship and you're going to take damage and because of the closeness of CR/DR on mediums maybe take a crit. If it's going to hurt itself/die it should have a high dice count. IF it should be relatively safe, Iron ram. Sturgenium boost wasn't a mark I had thought of though. But an inch or two of movement would still be much better.

Lets see, the Vanguard is 55 pts, has a pair of broadsides, and fore torps and a Ram Rating of 6.

It's got a bunch of special rules, it's independant, Hull Breaker and Hull Ripper, It's also got Panic Dive and Experienced Engineers

Compared to a Cruiser, yes you've got a bit more Fire power in guns alone, and you could get a shield with a hit to your firepower.

Honestly, I'd love for it to be faster a 'Sturginium Boost' MAR would be excellent.

And Iron Ram would be great, but then more people would try to use them against large models, which is really only a last resort target.

Now lets look at it's benefits:

It's hard to hit, from Diver/Submerged.

It's intimidating, I've yet to see someone not try and take it out by shooting at it.

When it closes with a target, that target gets hurt a fair bit of the time.

It's got decent firepower for a Submarine, and the P/S Boradsides are secondaries.

I've seen a lot of people using them wrong too.

Here's the suggestions I've made:

You don't bunch them together, nor do you send them out on thier own, group them with another unit of frigates/cruisers. They are Independant and you can link them from across the board if you want to. The important part is that they ignore Command Distance.

If you're approaching while submerged, use your torps.

The Ram of 6 without Iron Ram means you're primary target isn't Large+ Capitals, you want to go after Medium and Small surface vessels, as you crush a small with 3 hits (On a 4+) and most mediums on 4-5 hits. If you make CR on a medium, it's usually done, as you're rolling an additional +1d3 HP damage. Also if you keep your vanguard with your frigates/cruisers, then they usually get a goodly number of targets heading towards them.

They aren't really meant for boarding, though they can when they have to, better to have one ram a ship and board inconjunction with another. The hull damage will stop most of the CC and the Ram means the defenders are fighting at half strength, note the best outcome will usually be a Sabotage to finish off the ship.

The broadsides are perfect for dealing with smaller ships at close range, usually after you've broken another of thier number in half. I've seen a Vanguard wipe out a group of 3 Arminus Frigates in one Activation, it used Hull Ripper to move through the dead Arminus before it was removed and then was lined up perfectly between the other two.

They are good for nailing Ika, as you can fire torps at it while you close and you're Ram isn't slowed by Rugged Construction.

There is one awesome instance where a Large target is a great target for Ramming, is when one has suffered a Fusion Leak, then you only need to roll DR to initialize Hull Breakers extra damage.

I can't agree on the Ika ramming you will just die. It has too many hullpoints of it's own. I have taken one down with ramming before, but it took SIX vanguards against a 100 point squid that boarded two of them before it went down and annother two had died from collission damage because of it's higher starting HP and DR5 being tough to reach with 6 dice worth of RR then the buddy came by and started boarding and derelicting the ones that were left.

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Interesting points, I totally hadn't considered just how easily it can damage or even sink itself. That pretty much tips the balance against even getting them to try out. If they can only safely use their hull ripper on frigates then they need more speed so they have a good chance of catching them. If they are going to be slow and have limited weapons systems then iron ram and maybe a bit higher RR and/or more ap so they can be a specialist rammer/assaulter. Or they just need a bit more firepower, perhaps just an extra rb1 value for its torps.

As is I'm not sure I can justify buying them ahead of units that have much more to offer for their points. Which is a shame, Generally we have some nice units and are a perfectly competitive force but for our unique unit to be below par seems a bit of cockup.

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Interesting points, I totally hadn't considered just how easily it can damage or even sink itself. That pretty much tips the balance against even getting them to try out. If they can only safely use their hull ripper on frigates then they need more speed so they have a good chance of catching them. If they are going to be slow and have limited weapons systems then iron ram and maybe a bit higher RR and/or more ap so they can be a specialist rammer/assaulter. Or they just need a bit more firepower, perhaps just an extra rb1 value for its torps.

As is I'm not sure I can justify buying them ahead of units that have much more to offer for their points. Which is a shame, Generally we have some nice units and are a perfectly competitive force but for our unique unit to be below par seems a bit of cockup.

Don't get me wrong, they are great some times. COA battleships avoid them like the plague. As will, I think, french battleships and gunships.

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I can't agree on the Ika ramming you will just die. It has too many hullpoints of it's own. I have taken one down with ramming before, but it took SIX vanguards against a 100 point squid that boarded two of them before it went down and annother two had died from collission damage because of it's higher starting HP and DR5 being tough to reach with 6 dice worth of RR then the buddy came by and started boarding and derelicting the ones that were left.

LOL, I'm trying to picture it in my mind. Looks like some film/anime where a suicide group of desperate people try to kill the overpowered final boss.

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Iron ram should be an auto mar on any ramming vessel short of a DN or BS. Vangaurds ramming BS is still pretty risky- 6 dice looking for 6 successes, if you fail you -die- and if you succeed, you likely die.

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LOL, I'm trying to picture it in my mind. Looks like some film/anime where a suicide group of desperate people try to kill the overpowered final boss.

I have a friend with 4 squids and I have 12 subs, as we had both intended to make 1000 point Jules Verne fleets with as near as 70% points in each sig as we could, until it was realized in that specific battle that the vanguard just isn't as worth it as the squid is.

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Really?

The Vanguards I've used and seen used have had been fairly hardy.

Yeah we hit a cruiser for 6 treating thier DR like CR, thier CR like insult and injury.

But they hit us back with 4 dice against our DR/CR as normal, bigger ships and such still only get 6-8 dice and I've never been crit back by anything smaller than a battleship, suffered plenty of damage though, and I expected that.

So yeah, not quite seeing where the compaint is that they are fragile, lucky hits may do some hurt, but that's it. I usually get 4-5 rams out of a Vanguard when used in an 'Quickening' game where we play until only one faction remains. But I usually only get 2 or so if lucky, which is why I try and nail enough ships to pay for thier points.

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prevosly ive used them as a screening unit against the EotBS for my dreads, while summgeged they can be shot over and when the dammed ikas get close they can serface and get in the way preventing a bourding action against my dread, then the next turn the dread can reep vengance on the ika.

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Really?

The Vanguards I've used and seen used have had been fairly hardy.

Yeah we hit a cruiser for 6 treating thier DR like CR, thier CR like insult and injury.

But they hit us back with 4 dice against our DR/CR as normal, bigger ships and such still only get 6-8 dice and I've never been crit back by anything smaller than a battleship, suffered plenty of damage though, and I expected that.

So yeah, not quite seeing where the compaint is that they are fragile, lucky hits may do some hurt, but that's it. I usually get 4-5 rams out of a Vanguard when used in an 'Quickening' game where we play until only one faction remains. But I usually only get 2 or so if lucky, which is why I try and nail enough ships to pay for thier points.

Everyone in my gaming group finds it easy to avoid them with cruisers and even when they don't they often take damage on the ram. Means many a ramming target are too large to ram. The squid has 7 dice which can easily ruin a vanguard while 6 dice isn't nearly so likely to ruin the squid.

Could give the vanguard retardant armor from the french...that would help a lot actually but I don't see it making sense and it would make it way too good against other things.

prevosly ive used them as a screening unit against the EotBS for my dreads, while summgeged they can be shot over and when the dammed ikas get close they can serface and get in the way preventing a bourding action against my dread, then the next turn the dread can reep vengance on the ika.

As a diving robot the Ika boards them wile submerged, it doesn't become vulnerable while boarding a submerged vessel.

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Everyone in my gaming group finds it easy to avoid them with cruisers and even when they don't they often take damage on the ram. Means many a ramming target are too large to ram. The squid has 7 dice which can easily ruin a vanguard while 6 dice isn't nearly so likely to ruin the squid.

Could give the vanguard retardant armor from the french...that would help a lot actually but I don't see it making sense and it would make it way too good against other things.

As a diving robot the Ika boards them wile submerged, it doesn't become vulnerable while boarding a submerged vessel.

Ok, the Ika has 6 HP, not 7. And yeah I take damage back, and I usually get on average 5 hits with ram, and take 1 HP damage back. I've only ever been able to use a pair, but I've crippled an Ika with them every game they've faced off, also the torpedoes are awesome against an Ika to help soften it up, especially since there's no stopping the LOS.

If the Ika latches onto a Vanguard that has rammed it, it would have had to not move, thus the Ika has been imobilzed a turn AND been made vulnerable to shooting in RB1, since there is no penalties, Primary weapons for the heavier ships can nail it te same as at distance and have more dice to do so.

Also, the Ika can't do a submerged boarding attack if the diving model has surfaced, as it's then considered a surface model.

As for helping to close with enemy forces, you really have to mix the Vanguards in with your other forces. I have an opponent that likes to take out Frigates with his Cruisers, so I stick a Vanguard with them and get him to close with me. If I make one ram attack with a Vanguard, it more often than not, pays off it's point cost right there, if he keeps his distance, my Frigates tend to live longer, and I get my points back in a different way.

One way to help them is to save 'Stoke the Engine' cards and 'Tally Ho!!' cards to help with manouvering. If you're not playing with cards, find other ways to close.

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Ok, the Ika has 6 HP, not 7. And yeah I take damage back, and I usually get on average 5 hits with ram, and take 1 HP damage back. I've only ever been able to use a pair, but I've crippled an Ika with them every game they've faced off, also the torpedoes are awesome against an Ika to help soften it up, especially since there's no stopping the LOS.

If the Ika latches onto a Vanguard that has rammed it, it would have had to not move, thus the Ika has been imobilzed a turn AND been made vulnerable to shooting in RB1, since there is no penalties, Primary weapons for the heavier ships can nail it te same as at distance and have more dice to do so.

Also, the Ika can't do a submerged boarding attack if the diving model has surfaced, as it's then considered a surface model.

As for helping to close with enemy forces, you really have to mix the Vanguards in with your other forces. I have an opponent that likes to take out Frigates with his Cruisers, so I stick a Vanguard with them and get him to close with me. If I make one ram attack with a Vanguard, it more often than not, pays off it's point cost right there, if he keeps his distance, my Frigates tend to live longer, and I get my points back in a different way.

One way to help them is to save 'Stoke the Engine' cards and 'Tally Ho!!' cards to help with manouvering. If you're not playing with cards, find other ways to close.

You are absolutely right to cite all of these tactics as viable with the Vanguard - and certainly, if people use them in a sensible way - to interdict with cruisers or bully frigates, that's a fine way to get some value out of them.

However, despite the fact they are only 55 pts, they are still too vulnerable when using their ram attack - which I think ought to be the signature attack of the vessel from the design. A little more speed (at least as fast as a Tribal Cruiser would do for starters) and an Iron Ram MAR would make them much more believable in this role, and scary to boot. An Ika is a scary proposition, even if it is double the points nearly of the humble Vanguard - and it has a specific close and board role that defines it - I feel that a vessel which should torpedo at range, then close, ram and broadside in close needs less of a glass jaw against medium or larger vessels. That ram should be rightly feared in the same way as other nations seem to get fearsome unique units in turn.

But I remain true to their use anyway - I love the model, and the aesthetic of playing with a diving model - even if I have to be careful where they're applied.

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Ok, the Ika has 6 HP, not 7. And yeah I take damage back, and I usually get on average 5 hits with ram, and take 1 HP damage back. I've only ever been able to use a pair, but I've crippled an Ika with them every game they've faced off, also the torpedoes are awesome against an Ika to help soften it up, especially since there's no stopping the LOS.

If the Ika latches onto a Vanguard that has rammed it, it would have had to not move, thus the Ika has been imobilzed a turn AND been made vulnerable to shooting in RB1, since there is no penalties, Primary weapons for the heavier ships can nail it te same as at distance and have more dice to do so.

Also, the Ika can't do a submerged boarding attack if the diving model has surfaced, as it's then considered a surface model.

As for helping to close with enemy forces, you really have to mix the Vanguards in with your other forces. I have an opponent that likes to take out Frigates with his Cruisers, so I stick a Vanguard with them and get him to close with me. If I make one ram attack with a Vanguard, it more often than not, pays off it's point cost right there, if he keeps his distance, my Frigates tend to live longer, and I get my points back in a different way.

One way to help them is to save 'Stoke the Engine' cards and 'Tally Ho!!' cards to help with manouvering. If you're not playing with cards, find other ways to close.

I fail to see you regularly softening the squid with your torpedoes when you'll only be getting the great chances of LOS to them while you're submerged and only hitting on 6's. Basically no one in my gaming group likes cruisers so all you do see is gunships and ACs. And with the lack of sharp turn and cards anything smaller should have no problem doing something like tucking past close to the turning radius of the vessel as they steem along.

And I'll check my book on that, but I believe robots are aloud to board while diving if they're boarding annother diver.

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We've got a naval tournament scenario with no large/massives allowed, and flyers will be hindered. I told the organizer that I think the Vanguard will excel in that environment, but she does not agree.

Should be interesting to see, if the KoB players field them.

Edit: That aside, if I had any say, I would add streamlined hull and iron ram, in exchange for removing all armament ( no change to AP or AA ratings though ).

Or I would still add the two mars and keep one weapon system (probably torps) but raise the cost to 70 points each. Because RR 6 with Iron Ram on a fast sub is pretty scary.

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I'm in that tourney as well ;) Destroyers with a certain Eagle rotor escort will make my day on Saturday. Plus a couple surprises for the other players.

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