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Author Topic: Tactics Tuesday: Electronic Warfare (part 1)  (Read 46 times)

CGReynolds

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Tactics Tuesday: Electronic Warfare (part 1)
« on: May 21, 2019, 09:26:32 pm »
Tactics Tuesday: Electronic Warfare

One of the most unique things about AD as a wargame is its wholehearted embrace of the programming side of drone warfare. At times, it may be more effective to crash an enemy CPU rather than shoot them. It may be simpler to invasively reprogram a drone than destroy it. It may be more straightforward to attack your opponent’s mind and systems than their combat drones.

In this article, we’re going to depart a little from talking mostly about units. This time, we’re going to talk more about the orders cards that you can use to effect electronic warfare upon your enemies. However, we do need to mention a couple of things about units and commanders first.

In order to send electronic warfare orders, you will need to have comms range on your target. In most cases this will have to come from your command unit, but the Meerkat Electronic Warfare vehicle (funnily enough) is a near-indispensable asset for this. With comms 5 and the Jamming trait, it’s useful to have one of these in your force even if your command unit is more than capable. And what does a capable command unit look like? A Centaur or a Vampire with comms hardpoint is your minimum requirement. A Centaur with comms is your best bet, giving you a massive 24” of comms coverage across the battlefield.

Your choice of commander is important as well. Some Electronic Warfare orders require a Surprise stat for contest rolls, while many other ones will rely upon your Research stat. When you want to hit some strong EW, consider what sort of cards you’re thinking of including in your deck when choosing that commander. The Skald Berzerker is the best pick from the core box, with 4 in both Surprise and Research. A Bastion Fellow will give you 4 in Research but leave you out in the cold if you need a Surprise roll done well. The Bushi Samurai is a quick thinker with Surprise 4, but as most contest EW rolls happen on research this is of limited usefulness. The exclusive commanders are also useful to look at, with Lenna Marsin not only packing Research 4, but also adding +1 to the comms stat of her command unit. You could reach 28” with comms, or 36” if you drop a Signal Boost on it! The Thief is also a contender with Surprise 4 and their Infiltration trait.

So, on to the cards. In the core deck you have a selection of EW cards to choose from:
•   Signal Boost
•   System Crash
•   Hard Reboot
•   Core Wipe
•   Capture
•   Buffer


Then you have some more in the exclusive cards and in the cards that come with units:
•   Flexible Programming
•   Tactical Analysis
•   Jamming
•   Disrupt


There are other cards that are planned for the future, but you’ll see those when they arrive!

I’ll talk about these cards in their natural groups. Let’s start with System Crash and Hard Reboot. System Crash is a great way to frustrate your opponent no end by making their prize units suddenly useless. It’s also dead simple to use: just send it straight to any enemy unit within comms range of one of yours. But what’s the best way to play this one? Here are a few suggestions.

Firstly, if your enemy drives out into your formation ready to throw Rapid Fire at your backfield units, shut them down right after they drive in. You’ll have them Sensor Locked six ways from Sunday, and you can pour fire into their raiding unit before it can reboot and hit you. An even better spot is if the enemy has used an order like Assault. Then, you’ll have them shut down after having fired and not yet moved 8” or more, so it’ll be easy to shoot them down. You can also hit a unit that’s yet to make its move, meaning that you opponent will have to re-think everything they were planning to do this turn, but this is a rare case.

A couple of ways that you might not have thought to use System Crash:
•   Use it to cancel a persistent order. Orders like Jamming and Evasive Manoeuvres are great examples of things that last until the unit receives another order. System Crash counts as having received an order, after all!
•   Use it to draw out a Hard Reboot order by playing one, waiting for the reboot, and then dropping another one (It’s highly unlikely they will have a second Hard Reboot ready to go!)
•   If you have a Jamming order in play, use them on more remote units so that if there’s a Hard Reboot played, there’s less likelihood that it will remove that System Crash.

And then there’s the absolute bastard’s way to play it: play them heavily (at least two a turn) for the first couple of turns, then don’t take any for the next couple before adding one or two for the last couple of turns. Your opponent will waste an order by taking Hard Reboot as they expect you to play more System Crash!

As for Hard Reboot itself, this is a card you want to think about and take deliberately. Take it when you know there is a particular unit that you will need to operate for your plan to work. Take it if you’re on a low model count, too, as it only takes a couple of System Crash to make your whole force inoperative. Also, with fewer units to play cards on, you will have more cards available per unit, so you can afford to take more ‘contingency’ cards.

That’s all the space we have for this one this week. Tune in next week for more on Electronic Warfare!

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