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  #31  
Old 03-29-2018, 09:19 PM
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This is off to a great start! Lots of fun to see some of the ways you approach situations differently.

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Originally Posted by Kalir View Post


Unfortunately, this situation is a bit too much for me to handle. The Meteor Mech cannot fire directly adjacent to itself, but if it could, I could stop that entire problem by shoving the Leaper into the Hornet or vice versa.
Couldn't the Meteor Mech have moved to B5 and shot at E5 while blocking the Firefly's shot?
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  #32  
Old 03-29-2018, 10:36 PM
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Yep, that would've done it! I might've been a bit too worried about taking more mech damage given the objective, but that would've still been a safe tradeoff there.
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  #33  
Old 03-29-2018, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Kalir View Post


The rest of the map isn't a threat at all, but there is only one scenario in which Peter here doesn't die, and that's if he hits the city in front of him with fire. This damages the grid from the fire damage, but pushes the Leaper into his mech, killing it with the chip damage. But are you seriously expecting me to weigh Peter's life over approximately 150 others?
PSST. This would have been perfectly safe. Fire does't cause grid damage, and the Vulcan Artillery does 0 damage out of the box, so you can fire it at buildings to your heart's content with no penalty (until you give it the +2 damage upgrade, at which point all bets are off). I've done it lots of times! Apparently the folks around here just don't mind being on fire? It's awfully nice of them!
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  #34  
Old 03-29-2018, 10:56 PM
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I will dedicate at least one point of grid to testing this theory next island.
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  #35  
Old 03-29-2018, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
PSST. This would have been perfectly safe. Fire does't cause grid damage, and the Vulcan Artillery does 0 damage out of the box, so you can fire it at buildings to your heart's content with no penalty (until you give it the +2 damage upgrade, at which point all bets are off). I've done it lots of times! Apparently the folks around here just don't mind being on fire? It's awfully nice of them!
If they survived an environmental catastrophe that nearly wiped out humanity then I'm sure a little fire doesn't bother them too much. "This is fine."
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  #36  
Old 03-30-2018, 12:13 PM
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Huh, that's a new critter at the end of that Vek list at Pinnacle!

Every island you clear will make the other islands harder. The game locks you into doing them in a left-to-right order when you start, but that's mostly to get you acclimated to the more intuitive environments and missions. The actual difficulty is from the enemy selections below: we still have the Hornets we know and hate, but we have a lot of new enemies, including a second-tier enemy! The first two times you clear islands, the other islands get a new enemy that has better stats and capabilities. We'll go over the new addition for sure when we get to the island, but once more: a spoilerpop for the heavy meta decisions here.

So Archive's boss was already making it unattractive, but the addition of the Burrower made it pretty much a death sentence for the fresh downsized crew of the Flame Behemoths. That brought it down to a choice between R.S.T. with the Centipede and Pinnacle with the Spider. Even without Camila on my team, the Spider is still generally less of a problem than the Centipede, because the Flame Behemoths can't benefit from the A.C.I.D. it leaves and the constant fire and Swap Mech can make short work of the Spiderlings. Plus, Pinnacle is a strong overall island for Flame Behemoths.




Anyway, this is Pinnacle Robotics! Zenith, the AI CEO, has to deal with the malfunctioning machinery on her island, much to her sorrow. Many missions around here will deal with hostile, or at least inconvenient, robots, and some of those will require you to check your fire around them.



Right, here's the island. As you saw last time, you will only get 4 regular missions before the leader's attack on the HQ, which means there is no path we take that doesn't hit A.I. Training. Plus, I want to get to that three objective mission beyond it with the reactor core reward.



So, let's get right into it!



So let's break down the new enemy types. First, we have the Scarab. It uses an artillery attack, making it one of the primary ranged attackers like the Firefly, but it trades a bit of health for a bit of mobility. As such, it's very good at aiming at targets you really don't want hit, but it's far easier to disrupt.



Alpha Spiders only have 2 extra health compared to their basic variant, but any Spider is highly detrimental to your team. They can fire Spiderling eggs like artillery, webbing everything adjacent to it. This egg will then hatch into a Spiderling, a fragile 1 health enemy that has a webless 1 damage melee attack. The webs are the big threat here; as long as a Spider is on the field, your mobility will be sharply limited.



But that's on a team that doesn't have Camila and a Swap Mech.



The Mine-Bots here are our objective to protect; they are allied units that move automatically, placing a cryo-mine where they start. Effectively, we can consider them mobile structures we can push, but not light on fire. They're not very hard to defend.



We'll break in our fancy new Rocket Artillery on the Scarab.



The other Scarab's attack is going to miss, and the Spider is a threat for as long as it lives, so it's time to once again employ Shenanigans.



New pilots will always join with at least a little experience, and occasionally a level or two under their belt, so this is all Isaac needs to get his level.



The spawns for next turn bring out two new enemies, one of these being the Alpha Scorpion. This is the more straightforward melee fighter compared to the Leaper: less mobility and damage, and no jumping, but they have considerably more health, which is honestly enough to make them contenders. As expected, the Alpha variant has +2 health and damage. We also got the Blood Psion, which grants all Vek regeneration, and it had the gall to go and freeze itself immediately on a cryo-mine, immobilizing it but rendering it impervious to a single attack.



Don't forget that the Rocket Artillery can deploy smoke behind the mech when it fires! Clever usage of this can negate one attack even as you kill off another enemy.



THE SWAP MECH IS REALLY GOOD



Anyway, the Blood Psion, or any Psion really, being frozen is bad because it still provides its passive bonus. However, one reason the Flame Behemoths excel on Pinnacle is that any fire attack whatsoever will destroy any ice, thawing out enemies instantly and converting ice tiles to water, regardless of anything standing on top of it. Between the fire damage and the spawn block, we take care of this guy quickly, which is important because the Flame Behemoths are so dependent on fire damage to succeed, and that stops working if everything regenerates.



Like, the Meteor Mech here could dunk that frozen Alpha Scarab no problem. One hit and it's gone. Buuuut I forgot that it was there because it instantly froze itself.



Curiously, Spiderlings remain the same regardless of whether they were spawned by a normal or Alpha Spider. Weird! But again, the mobility-cancellation of webs is the real threat from Spiders; 2 health is enough to make them plenty deadlier, because that's two damage you're spending on an enemy that isn't actively attacking.



Seriously though. Swap Mech.



One thing the Flame Behemoths might consider doing is, rather than killing existing enemies, lighting spawn points on fire. After all, every enemy that is alive, on fire, and not doing any damage is good for you, because the more enemies that are active, the fewer Vek that spawn.



Hi, two Alpha Hornets! Thank you for joining us on the last turn, where I am going to completely negate your only attacks.



Not gonna kill them, this is funnier.



So yeah, that's an average Pinnacle mission for you.



Be careful about the robots, and you're good. And that mission had the Mine-Bots play nice.



+2 mech HP isn't bad, but I'd rather have reactor power or move. I'll take it, though, largely because I have no alternatives for some reason.
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  #37  
Old 03-30-2018, 12:15 PM
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Rather than going right for the reactor mission, I'm going to ease into it and flesh out my grid a bit more.



Oh haaaaay



This one should be easier to get, since it's so close to my mechs and they're only going to perform two easily-disrupted attacks this turn.



Hell, I can even toast the Psion AND block a spawn and still have two Mechs to work with.



There we go. We're now in excellent shape for this mission.



A Spider spawns in next turn, restricing the one mech that can't really do anything about it, which is a shame. Eh, I can work with it.



Let's have the Scarab deal with that egg (although hitting the Spider might've been better)...



And the Meteor Mech can light the one spawn on fire while Camila keeps her mech in check.



BLAP.



Yeah Camila's considered one of the high-tier pilots for a reason. That egg wasn't just wasted, it restricted the Alpha Hornet from doing anything this turn.



THIS IS YOUR REWARD, YOU HAVE BEEN REWARDED



I finally get around to dunking this Scarab.



So, one thing that can make your turns much easier, but which is hard to get a feel for, is placing your mechs such that they are more attractive targets for the Vek than the structures. Remember, Vek can't cross water or pass your mechs unless they're flying, and many Vek have pretty low mobility, especially compared to your mechs.



Swap Mech is really gooooood



I did this in the wrong order and I don't care. Mech damage is largely inconsequential.



Really getting into my stride here.



The more scientifically-minded characters, like Isaac, have a lot of their own theories about why the Vek are locked into easily-telegraphed attacks. I like Isaac's theory here, reminds me of that bit about Quick Man constantly running into walls because his visual sensors can't keep up with his speed.



So, another time pod. Let's hope we get another pilot this time.



Noice. Harold Schmidt is one of the fiddlier characters due to his Frenzied Repair, which adds a push effect to all adjacent tiles when he repairs. It's a very strong effect, not least because it's a nondamaging push, which can be really helpful in defending allies. Plus: reactor core skill AND the reactor core from the pod!



Given a second opinion on that whole "fire doesn't hurt structures" thing, I'm going to go right ahead and give the Meteor Mech its Backburn feature. It's rare that this is more attractive than the smoke from the Rocket Artillery, but hey, couldn't hurt.



The other core goes to Camila's Flame Mech, where we boost the range of the Flamethrower.



Okay, let's hit the new mission. This one features hostile bots!



Since we'll need to mitigate the robots without actually hurting them, I'll want Harold up closer than usual so as to use Frenzied Repair.



Like Isaac, Harold is a scientist, but his focus is more on mechanical engineering. He's kind of a "miss the forest for the trees" guy, I'm sure you know what I mean.



This is a frankly phenomenal first turn. That one bot parked itself right in front of the Robotics Lab, making it a perfect defense against anything except a Scarab.
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  #38  
Old 03-30-2018, 12:17 PM
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For this mission, we get an allied Freeze Tank, armed with a simple but highly effective Freeze Cannon. The pilot, Fenrir, is one of the possible default pilots you can get, obviously representing Pinnacle. I will try not to get them killed.



Anyway, we start by freezing that bot right there. Once its partner is frozen, we just have to protect both of them.



We can also flatten the Blood Psion on the first turn, before anything appears that threatens us...



And hey, fire damage!



Since the Swap Mech's enjoying Isaac's pilot skill for extra HP, I'm going to put it to use by letting him take the hit while Camila blocks the spawn.



There's a bunch of different bot types, and they can upgrade to mechs much like the Vek have Alpha forms, and they all have very interesting, deadly, and high tech weapons. Very little of this matters because each of them has 1 HP and they are rarely going to be allowed to attack for more than one turn.



Like, this right here. I don't even have to care about the web, I can legit just freeze them from the word go.



The Alpha Hornet is trickier to handle. I want to incapacitate them, but I also want to light the Alpha Spider on fire and keep blocking spawns if at all possible.



The Flame Mech can just, y'know, murder it instantly.



But that doesn't really sit with me.



Yeah, yeah. Okay, let's try this again.



MUCH better. Swap Mech is one of the best mechs in the game, I'm telling you!



And the Alpha Hornet died on top of that, AND Isaac says we can reset again if we need to! (We shouldn't need to.)



That's a little hairy. Those two Hornets by Harold will be tough to handle.



At least we can dispense with the Scorpion easily, adding it to the blockade.



That smoke is a bit awkward there! Would be really nice to hit the Alpha with a rocket.



Here's my solution. Remember, the Flamethrower only does damage if the target is on fire, which the Flame Shielding prevents any of our mechs doing, so this lets us push allies harmlessly at range!



This lets Harold get down here for a nice rocket shot, and Isaac can then displace the other Hornet.



And then the Hornet is the only actual threat next round, too.



Robot-freezing missions are at their most dangerous on the first turn, when you have two hostile targets you can't kill. Some squads will want to avoid these missions outright if they don't have ways to harmlessly displace them. But for squads that can handle them, the Freeze Tank makes them really easy.



Anyway, let's test that theory about the fire damage on structures.



Huh, what do you know? Fire doesn't hurt structures at all! This is very, very good news.



The Reactor core from the mission goes right to the Swap Mech.



This should be a nice easy way to round out the mission set.



We've seen these already from the Mine-Bot mission we first encountered, and this mission just has a ton of the suckers lying around.
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  #39  
Old 03-30-2018, 12:19 PM
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These missions are also incredibly easy, for the following reason:



The Vek are idiots, and will happily fly into cryo-mines without regard for their own safety. Harold now has an impenetrable defense against melee attacks, and he can handle anything dumb enough to try to artillery him.



Do note that attacking a cryo-mine or setting it on fire will destroy it, but hey, fire is just as good for us.



Yo, be a pal and block that spawn for us, will ya?



Very good.



Another reason Swap Mech is so good: excellent for baiting Scorpions. They can stall them forever.



I mean, unless a better alternative comes up.



Another nice thing about giving the Flamethrower range boosts is that it only pushes the furthest tile, so if you extend past your target, you can hit it without pushing it.



Sometimes this is very handy.



I told you I'm good at this game!



Here's the completely unnecessary effect of Frenzied Repair at work.



I guess I just wanted the kill via fire damage.



I never get tired of seeing that tiny box going "Perfect victory!" amidst a sea of roaring flames.



Literally no grid lost this island!



Let's see if we can take that home.



Not quite as handy terrain-wise as the Detritus HQ, but I'll take it.



The Scorpion Leader is the only non-Beetle that can push its targets. Combined with its 2 damage attack all around it and its area webs, and it's incredibly dangerous for any mech to get too close.



We also have an Alpha Scorpion flanking it and a bland-ass Spider.



Also: the Scorpion Leader has 7 base HP, the highest in the game.



So my plan here is pretty simple: I'm going to pin that Spider down by letting the leader kill it off, and use the push effect to damage the Scorpion (which was unable to attack) in the process.



As fun as it would be to get Camila instantly killed by flamethrowering it, I'll just have her light that spawn on fire.



Oh, I never actually mentioned those forests, did I? Those are a terrain element seen here and on Archive, and they're another reason Flame Behemoths do so well here. Any time a forest gets dealt damage, it becomes a forest fire, which means the leader also gave us another fire tile.



This also means that if Harold was so inclined, he could rocket the leader to light that forest on fire, but the rocket would also push the leader out of the fire (unless Camila stays there to bodyblock the push).



Anyway, first things first, kill the Blood Psion keeping everything alive.



After all, I still have to deal with the spiderling.
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  #40  
Old 03-30-2018, 12:35 PM
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And the regen would keep the leader afloat through that missile combo unless Camila also attacked it, which I'd rather not do.



Besides, I can finish it off this turn no problem.



I like that Isaac is just wordlessly tanking half the Vek spawning in via teleport shenanigans.



Anyway, leader down.



This gets the Hornet out of the way, so that turn's clear.



Never gonna get tired of this, ever.



I WONDER WHAT MY RESPONSE TO THIS DILEMMA WILL BE.



Yeah that looks about right.



Okay good work bye.



MUCH better than our Detritus campaign. Seriously, literally no casualties. That's not easy to do!



And once again, we've completed all of our objectives.



Which means a choice between weapon, pilot, and grid power. I forgot to show the list, but the weapon was Targeted Strike, which grants a once per mission 1 damage attack that pushes adjacent spaces. This sounds underwhelming until you see that it costs nothing and can target literally any space on the map, because you just call in a jet to missile that square. It's a very nice get-out-of-jail-free card. However, given that I find Isaac's pilot ability a bit underwhelming...



I instead chose to add Abe Isamu to our ranks. This strong, silent type grants any mech he pilots the Armored trait, reducing all damage from direct attacks by 1. Handy for continued Swap-tanking shenanigans! Plus, he comes with +1 reactor power as one of his pilot skills.



Abe's defining trait is his confidence. He's not a boastful or optimistic sort, but he absolutely believes in his own ability to take on anything the world throws at him.



As for Isaac, we'll assign him to Pinnacle, granting us 2 reputation. Functionally it's the same as "selling" them, but the framing of how it handles is perfect for ensuring the player doesn't feel like they're being horrible for removing excess pilots from their roster. And let's be real, Isaac would probably be thrilled to never have to fight the Vek head-on again.



We have four weapons to choose from here, none of which I particularly want.

The weapon on-sale is the Science class A.C.I.D. Projector, a projectile that pushes the target and applies A.C.I.D. to them. But as we all know, the Flame Behemoths rely so little on direct damage that this would be a waste of an equipment slot.

Next is the Heavy Rocket, a Brute class weapon that fires a 3 damage projectile which pushes things around the target. It's plenty beefy for sure, but the big problem is that it's once per mission AND we'd have to use an extra reactor core to power it due to the cross-class penalty. If I didn't have both of those problems, I'd consider it for the Swap Mech, but we do.

The Smoke Generator is a Science-class weapon that applies Smoke to the tile the pilot is in and the tiles around it once per mission. While it would be funny to put Camila in the Swap Mech, equip this, and then teleport Vek into it each turn, we also have to consider that smoke extinguishes fire (consider it like a giant dust storm that robs the fire of the oxygen it needs) and vice versa.

And finally, there's the Grav Well, a cheap Science-class artillery shot that pulls the target. Nice on most Science mechs, but not the Swap Mech.

In the end, while the Heavy Rocket and Smoke Generator were considerable, I just went and spent all my rep on reactor and grid power.



At first, I give Harold a bit of extra move.



Camila gets that for certain.



However, Abe's already running at basically the peak of his mech's capabilities. So Harold gets a second core, since the Meteor Mech is currently the hungriest of our mechs, putting the Rocket Artillery at a respectable 3 damage.



Anyway, we COULD go beat the game now. The Volcanic Hive is the final mission of the game, and the textbox there says all we need to know about it. It pulls from almost the entire pool of potential Vek, and it scales up just like the other islands do as we complete them.

But as mentioned, this is going to be a 4 island run. Usually, you only complete more islands if you want a higher score or if you feel like you need to shore up your resources further. Most players finish the game at 3 islands, but 2 and 4 island victories are also perfectly legitimate.
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  #41  
Old 03-31-2018, 05:06 PM
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We'll move right on to the desert island of R.S.T. At this point, even tackling this island won't change Archive's enemy selection any. So while I could make another heavy meta island decision spoilerpop... nah.



Jessica Kern is literally just Central from Invisible, Inc. but older. This is still a great character, though, so I'm not complaining. She doesn't put any stock in everyone's stories of time travel, but she does put stock in results, which the Flame Behemoths have gotten.



Anyway, here we go. That three-objective mission is a little bit scary for now, since one of the objectives is destroying two mountains, so we'll instead go...



Here. Should be a nice intro to R.S.T. and pave a path towards that other high-rep site.



The psion for this island is still a defensive booster, but in an offensive way. They're kinda hairy for the Flame Behemoths to handle since you can't always control where enemies are when they die, but we've already handled worse with the Blood Psion.



Anyway, let's get to it. That Beetle enemy down there is the run of the mill version of the leader we faced earlier: still has its charge with push and a pretty respectable 4 health, but only does 1 damage and doesn't leave fire behind.



Hey, all right. Shouldn't be anything over there anyway.



The Firefly parks itself on a Sand tile. These disperse into smoke when hit by an attack, like how forests can catch fire.



Also like forests, any Vek in that space need to stay there for the smoke to disrupt their attack. Course, the Rocket Artillery just flattens the thing in one shot, so who cares?



Look at he go.



So there's two elite enemies this time around. The first is the Beetle, which I consider one of the weakest elite enemies. That purple one over there is an Alpha Centipede, which fires a projectile that hits its space and the two adjacent spaces, applying A.C.I.D. after the attack. They're basically souped up Fireflies, so if you find them to be a threat, you are not in any state to handle Centipedes.



This also makes them incredibly hard to stop collateral damage from, since their attack will always affect such a wide area.



That said, even the alphas do low base damage, making bodyblocking a handy tool for any clever pilots.



I have a better plan, though, one that required a reset to make it all work. See, this shot LOOKS safe, right? Only, the beetle is going to charge at where Camila is now, and where she sure as hell won't be this turn, which will throw off its aim and leave the Hornet undamaged.



So instead, she moves over and shifts the Alpha Hornet over a space. Now, the Beetle will reposition the Centipede in such a way that it'll hit the Hornet and nothing else! (Also I'm going to get the Blast Psion bodyslammed because why not.)



The Centipede also poses an additional threat for the Flame Behemoths specifically, since we lack much in the way of direct damage. The A.C.I.D. piles they leave around are more dangerous for us than the enemies most of the time.



Anyway, next turn and an ample demonstration of why Beetles are among the weakest second-tier enemies.



Unlike most CEOs in the game, Kern is loath to give compliments until you damn well earn them.



Abe's much the same way. According to the wiki, he's actually something like a black ops agent for R.S.T. in his original timeline.



The last spawn is a single normal Scorpion, which is just flat pitiful.



GOTTA CLEAR OBJECTIVES AS OPTIMALLY AS POSSIBLE



O P T I M A L



Okay done showboating now.



So, because we cleared a mission that awards grid power when we're already at our cap, we instead get a permanent boost to our Grid Defense. This is a nice consolation prize, but not really something to shoot for, since the bonus from this only ever caps out at +25% and scales down as you get more Grid Defense.
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  #42  
Old 03-31-2018, 05:09 PM
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Hey, not bad. Like Targeted Strike, this power is handy because it can hit any space on the map regardless of the pilot's positioning.



Doop doop incremental boosts until we can afford that other range boost. Like FTL, you can redistribute reactor power freely between any of your mech's systems.



Right, now it's time for a mission that gives many players and squads pause, but which the Flame Behemoths will be pretty good at taking on.



That bright yellow buddy innately has the explosive effect the Blast Psion grants, and if they die, then the objective is lost. Aside from that and +1 base health, they are functionally a normal Scorpion, so they're not too difficult to handle.

But hey, that mountain is not only pre-damaged, but a little on the glimmery side. Interesting.



Thanks for making Abe's job easier, punk.



Rather than bother with avoiding the attack, he just drops a smoke cloud on the dudes near the buildings to keep their attacks in check. Go, doofy looking bomber plane!



This lets Harold and Camila work together to not just break open the mountain...



And grab the shiny inside, but also to kill off that beetle in one turn.



Oooh, time pod again!



Except this time, it's flagged as a strange pod, and its entry made a very familiar sound that no other time pod makes. See also: Abe's innate armor protecting his mech from the volatile Vek.



Anyway, back to the mission.



Swap Mech alone makes the volatile Vek missions a cakewalk for the Flame Behemoths, but many other squads have either methods of nonlethal incapacitation (Frozen Titans for sure) or nonlethal pushes. Still, it's not hard to understand why some players dislike these missions.



THANKS FOR THE EXPLOSIVE DECAY DUMBASS



Here is Exhibit A for always checking where a Centipede's attack will go. Many structures along the map edges that would otherwise be totally safe can be chipped away by these guys.



Hey volatile Vek, go stab your teammate for me. Thanks.



Harold rockets the Scorpion, turning the sands under it into a smoke cloud to negate its attack.



And Camila's going to give the Firefly the business in much the same way.



Except instead of smoke, it's fire and stone and death. Basically the same thing, just scaled up.



The Vek make a pretty solid showing for their last turn, complete with a very dangerous Alpha Centipede.



Smoke OP.



Abe warps the other Centipede to the middle of nowhere while Harold scatters the Scorpions.



Okay thats cool and all but what's in the strange pod?



Strange pod, though!



Huh, where have I seen that gray and orange scheme before?



Ah, that's where.

To get a shot at one of the three secret pilots from FTL, you have to encounter one of their beacons, hidden away either under cracked ice or within a damaged mountain. If you know what to look for, it's not hard to do, especially since very few missions start off with those terrain features damaged anyway. It's still pretty unintuitive.

Anyway, the dread pirate Kazaaakpleth handles much like a Mantis does in FTL. Instead of being able to repair their mech, Kazaaakpleth can perform the Mantis Slash, which deals 2 damage and pushes at melee range. (It also breaks them out of ice, because that one's kind of necessary to be able to fix.) They're not a bad choice for the Flame Behemoths, particularly the Swap Mech, and many mechs that lack solid close-range attacks are excellent for Kazaaakpleth to pilot, but starting with +3 Grid Defense isn't doing much to endear him to me. If it wasn't for that, I'd probably swap out Abe for them.
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  #43  
Old 03-31-2018, 05:10 PM
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Anyway, let's keep at it.



The Flamethrower gets its final range upgrade, letting it ignite up to 3 spaces.



Also we're going to play the best mission in the game.



The R.S.T. Terraformer does two things: turn terrain into sand, and MURDER. While it can't move, it can hit up to six spaces in a turn, making this a great ally for any squad, but especially squads with good repositioning like ours.



ALLOW ME TO DEMONSTRATE.



We'll just park this Scorpion over here...



BAM.

The catch to these missions is that in order to get the secondary objective, you have to aim the terraformer once in each direction. If you're good about repositioning enemies, this is hardly a restriction at all, but low-mobility squads like Zenith Guard will find it more troublesome.



Anyway screw this Hornet in particular.



Good work, Harold!



If by "us" you mean the terraformer, yes.



K GOOD TURN



Do you need further examples of how good the Swap Mech is?



I can't block most of these spawns, so I'll set them on fire instead.



Terraformer missions are just flat unfair.



Like, I think they ratchet up the spawns to compensate for it, but even so, man.



EVERYTHING DIES.



How do I get one of these on my mechs, anyway?



Again, it's hard to actively think of a squad that doesn't want to take terraformer missions. Zenith Guard and Frozen Titans both lack the enemy movement to really line up combos the way we did and they still like it.



Sure whatever.



I decide to go let my confidence stretch its legs and finally go tackle this mountain-busting mission. Some of the mountains on this mission start pre-damaged, so you don't have to dedicate a full mission's worth of one mech's actions to damaging mountains, but it's still one of the harder types. And with the Flame Behemoths, you need to find another weapon capable of direct damage to even hit them, which means Harold is on mountain-busting duty.



ALSO THE SPAWNS FOR THIS MISSION ARE AWFUL.



Abe does not care. He'll take them all on anyway.



So here's the mission following the one freebie I get with Swap Mech. Oddly, neither Firefly elected to attack, perhaps because the Centipedes took up their good shooting positions.



Fine by me. Camila's going to bodyblock this shot so the Blast Psion dies early.



And Harold gets to work on the objective.
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  #44  
Old 03-31-2018, 05:12 PM
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THIS IS FINE.



I never pointed this out before, but any critically injured pilots have slightly different portraits. Warning lights on in their mechs, more tense expressions, and the camera quality stuttering and clipping a bit. It's neat!



Thanks for walking into the A.C.I.D., loser.



Yeah yeah I'll get to it!



See we're fiiiiine.



This won't kill the Firefly, but it will shut down its attack and the Beetle's completely.



And then I do it again next turn while a Scorpion spawns in and realizes it literally cannot reach a thing to threaten. Whoops.



DON'T MIND ME GUYS



Right, boss time it is.



We'll handle that right after the reactor core is put to use.



I'll give it to Harold for the moment, as my primary goal for him is to get the Vulcan Artillery its final upgrade. Doing that should remove his reliance on the Rocket Artillery.



Spider, round two!



Oddly, the Spider Leader is somewhat easier than its lesser variants, because rather than one large webby egg, it spawns multiple non-webby ones near it. They're kind of hairy for teams without good area attacks, but with how fragile and slow the eggs are to do anything, it's easier to disrupt this thing than you'd expect.



It starts with a handful of small fry already in play, which isn't a big problem.



Swap Mech



Frequently, the eggs and spiders will be useful as bodyblock material, either for intercepting attacks (like so) or chip damage with pushes.



May as well get this thing on fire.



It is a mystery.



Here, stand on this flaming spawn point, thaaaaanks.



Depicted: me being dumb. Not only would this injure Abe, it would remove the egg blocking the Beetle's charge (that spawned right in front of it because the Vek are good at teamwork). I believe I instead fire at D3, which does much of the same but better.



Seriously, the Spider Leader is nothing.



This mission is already over. Vek, pack it up, there's always the next season.



I DON'T NEED A REASON FOR THIS.



Okay good.



That would be a SECOND literally flawless island. On Hard.
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Old 03-31-2018, 05:12 PM
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Baaaah.



Okay, what you got for me? Maybe a better pilot to replace Abe with?



Nope.

The equipment is Medical Supplies, a passive that prevents pilots from dying should their mechs take lethal damage in a mission. This is one of the things that can make Self-Destruct less of an outright bad idea, but on its own? Nah.

The pilot is Ralph Karlsson, the first pilot players have access to. His unique skill grants him bonus XP on every kill he gets, which means he's great for replacing dead pilots lategame or if you just want to start out new and get your skills quickly, but he is absolutely on the low tier of pilots. Not even considering him.

So yeah uh give me that grid defense I guess.



Even with Abe's disappointing +3 grid defense skill, his Mech Reactor and unique skill make him a fine pilot for the Swap Mech, so I assign Kazaaakpleth to R.S.T. where they will absolutely not be a Vek spy.



Those are some cool guns.

The on-sale weapon is the Unstable Cannon, signature weapon of the Hazardous Mechs' Unstable Mech. It's a Brute-class weapon that starts out dealing a hefty 2 damage and push with its projectile, but the intense backlash of the weapon also pushes the user back and deals them 1 damage. Abe's trait lets him ignore the self-damage, but that's still factoring in that it's a cross-class weapon. Considerable, but not by that much.

Next is the Heavy Artillery, a once per mission Ranged-class weapon that hits a + shape of tiles for 2 damage apiece. That will be a VERY nice replacement for the Rocket Artillery now that the Vulcan Artillery can get its damage boost, so it is bought.

The Burst Beam next to it is a Prime-class weapon, used by the Laser Mech of Zenith Guard. It fires in a straight line, dealing more damage the closer the user is to the target, but the beam does not stop until it hits terrain. Great for killing Vek and structures alike! It's a good weapon, but not what I'm interested in.

And finally, there's Auto-Shields, a passive that applies a shield to a structure after it takes damage. Hell. No.



HEY HAROLD HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HEAVY WEAPONS



I had enough reactor cores to do this, too. The Meteor Mech is kind of terrifying now.



Right, that does it for most of the islands. We'll wrap up our tour with Archive, and those of you who have played the game can see why I saved this one for last.
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  #46  
Old 04-02-2018, 12:35 PM
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All right, time to tackle the last island in the set. Dewey Alms here comes off as something of an absent-minded professor: like Singh, he's concerned about the safety of his island's inhabitants, but he also cares a lot about the museum-like qualities of the island, and sometimes misses which of the two is the bigger priority.



Anyway, our route for this island looks pretty straightforward. We'll want to hit that three-objective spot, and while we could shortcut across the one-objective easymode map, that sort of undercuts the point.



Plus, this way lets me showcase some of the more interesting terrain hazards we've yet to really see this LP!



Anyway, two new enemy types this island, both second tier. Diggers attack all spaces around them, but if there isn't a legal target there when they queue up their attack, they place boulders around them. This makes them very hard to actually reach and disrupt for most squads. Flame Behemoths aren't one of them, due to the Swap Mech.

We can also see the effect of this island's Shell Psion in play, granting Vek the same armor effect as Abe's innate ability. (For what it's worth, A.C.I.D. would remove this armor.) Not too bad, seeing as we have very few direct attacks. Were it not for the other enemy type and the boss, I'd have gone to Archive much sooner.



So, for this mission, a random area on the map will be targeted for a bombing run by Alms' pilots. This mission is extremely dangerous against enemies who can trap your pilots (or if you're running Frozen Titans) but it's otherwise one of the easier ones.



Because of the attack order involved here, the literal only enemy we have to be concerned with is the Firefly.



Gottem.



Seriously, how do we get these weapons on our mechs?



The next round brings out two of the entire reason I avoided Archive since the first update. Burrowers are similar to Leapers with their movement capabilities, but instead of webbing one target, they attack three tiles at once. Their habits of burrowing underground as soon as they take any damage (canceling their attack but extinguishing fire) and being immune to any movement effects whatsoever make them one of the harshest enemies for the Flame Behemoths to fight. If you want to kill a Burrower, bring high damage. Disrupting them, obviously, isn't hard, but that still only puts off the problem.



I instead use the Smoke Drop we have to cancel the attack of one of them, letting the bombing run handle the other.



Earlier in the run, without our assurances of single-target damage, this would've been a much harder island. But even so, this area's a bit easier with the jets.



While we can't reliably kill Burrowers, especially Alphas, in one turn, fire damage does at least scare them underground, which is often all that's necessary.



I like Swap Mech



They'll be back and not on fire, but still, that'll keep them from attacking at least.



Teamkilling!



Oh, that's a bit awkward. That's quite a few more webs than I wanted.



Thankfully, Harold's Frenzied Repair comes to the rescue! This lets him free both Abe and himself.



Camila can go down and toast the major threats there (the Burrower would attack before the Leaper, so the teamkill would be too costly).



And Abe can go save Camila from the dangerous spot she was in.



Not too bad.



Dewey Alms has been responsible for at least one of my pilots' deaths.



Time for a simpler mission. The layout here could easily have been a Pinnacle mission, honestly.



Anyway there is water, so Swap Mech will go to it.



And a Time Pod shows up, not that it should be a problem.
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  #47  
Old 04-02-2018, 12:36 PM
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Nothing to see here, business as usual.



The Backburn of the Meteor Mech lets us keep the Burrower in check with ease.



NO ARMOR ALLOWED.



You can already see what my plan for Abe is, so let's skip to the rest.



Here's the Heavy Artillery in use. In the right situations, it can definitely clean house, and it's doing a pretty solid job here.



So instead of teamkilling, Abe can just dump the Firefly in the water like normally.



OKAY COOL



This just keeps happening. At this point I'm sure you can guess exactly how this turn rolls, which is good because I forgot to screenshot it. Abe swaps with the Firefly, Camila scorches the Burrowers, Harold does whatever.



Next round brings out an Alpha Scarab, who will not get a chance to act between Harold and Abe.



I could've just shot their space with the Vulcan Artillery to instasink them, but I forgot.



Things are going all right so far.



Oooh, neat. That seems more interesting than the Smoke Drop to me, so I'll give it to Abe.



One important catch about the Shield Array: it will target anything that could possibly be shielded. This includes Vek. Vek that are already on fire will still take fire damage, but Vek that aren't can walk into fire tiles harmlessly.



Not that we'll use the Shield Array much on this mission, and you will see why.



The Tides here will destroy a column of the map each turn, rendering it water. Mechs with good mobility or repositioning can find themselves in a pretty nice spot on this map. Just be careful about Hornets if they can spawn.



And we start the mission with column G sinking instantly.



NO PSIONS ALLOWED.



Due to how little action was necessary to keep everything in check, I'll have Abe put his new toy to use to blanket much of the structures in a comfy layer of shielding.



Nice.



This is going well.



No, buddy, I'm pretty sure that was exactly the end you intended for it.



Camila keeps doing her thing down there.



So, due to the increasingly close quarters, the Firefly and the one Burrower will not get turns. So while I could push this Leaper like so to smash this mountain, I'm not actually at risk if I leave Camila where she is to do so. In fact, due to the objective we have, having her block the spawn is actively a bad idea, since it lowers how many enemies we could potentially kill.



That's what Reset Turn is for.



It's this far into a Tidal Wave mission and Abe hasn't dumped anyone into the ocean yet. I think we're doing well, guys.
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  #48  
Old 04-02-2018, 12:38 PM
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BURROW THAT



The close quarters and lack of flyers are SERIOUSLY working in our favor on this map. Abe hasn't actually needed to do literally anything.



The entire bulk of his contribution is letting us actually kill this Burrower by protecting the objective from collateral damage. That's it.



I am actively just showboating here.



FLAME BEHEMOTHS, YO



Seriously, something's gotta give here. We've been doing too well.



Oooh, satellite mission! This is like Archive's greatest hits over here!



So, there's two Satellites on this map. They activate on the 2nd and 4th turns respectively, queueing up their launches for after the Vek attack. You can tell which satellite will launch first via attack order if you're concerned about it.



Also, due to the constraints of the mission, we will need to manually acquire that pod rather than just leaving it there.



Anyway, to the mission.



Web or no, that Leaper's in a bit of an awkward spot. Still, that's the least of our concerns this map.



We'll start with the obvious move.



Harold can throw off the Burrower.



And Abe puts the Scarab in a downright mean spot.



Only problem is that now I've split up my mechs from most of the Vek.



We definitely need to protect the satellite, too. Fortunately, it's just the one Burrower thats a problem for it. Unfortunately, we have to dedicate either Camila or Harold solely to attacking it.



What's more, there's enough attacks down there, and few enough methods to stop them, that we have to bust out the shield array, making the other Burrower a lot harder to deal with.



That still leaves the Firefly up top, though, but there's not much we can do about that considering everything else we have to deal with.



Guess we can't flawless this island too.



Harold raises a good point, even as he misses another entirely. It's established that the Vek don't eat the civilians in the buildings.



One of the satellites takes off, taking a considerable burder off of our shoulders.



Not done yet, though.



Oof, that shield is already biting me in the ass. It'd take a direct hit from the Vulcan Artillery to stop that Burrower, which flat isn't gonna happen.



On the other hand, this frees me up to Heavy Artillery the rest of the field.



Grid Defense saves us from the less costly of the two hits.
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  #49  
Old 04-02-2018, 12:40 PM
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I doubt there are any survivors, but the gesture is appreciated.



With the Burrower's shield gone and the structures' other shields holding, we're out of the worst of it here.



This Digger literally just spawned in because I guess they all missed the memo that they're supposed to be in missions here. We will introduce it to the concept of rocket science.



And that should do it.



Not a great mission, but considering we've had no casualties since the first island, I'll take it.



And hey, we handled the mission flawlessly against the odds.



No new gear, but honestly we're doing just fine with what we have.



Time for one last big guy!



Camila gets the last reactor core she will ever need.



While Abe gets a second dose of shield nonsense.



Let's do this.



The Psion Abomination applies the Psion effects of everything we've seen save the Shell Psion. It's arguably one of the two most dangerous bosses for the Flame Behemoths to face (the other one is a much rarer Pinnacle-exclusive leader).



We saved it for last for a reason.



The secret defense of the Psion Abomination is that it doesn't attack. You still have to mitigate every other attack out there, and from extra-deadly Vek, but with the Abomination not personally doing anything to threaten you, it's easy to write it off as a lower priority.



Camila immediately puts her new +2 HP to use to solve that problem before it escalates.



I am SO GLAD I learned that structures are immune to fire.



Still standing, jerk!



Harold baits out two attacks and prepares to kill the boss and a second enemy with the Heavy Artillery. GOOD TURN



Camila gets revenge.



Right, this mission should be in the bag at this point.



Given the low health of the Leaper, we can focus more on the Burrower and on spawn-blocking.



MAXIMIZE FIRE AREA



I did not know that shielded units that are on fire still take fire damage, so I wished to employ science to find out.



Worst case scenario, I waste maybe one of the shields.



No yeah I was right and we're fine.
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  #50  
Old 04-02-2018, 12:42 PM
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Also I don't even have to do anything about most of the Vek this turn. SHIELD ARRAY IS PRETTY GOOD YOU GUYS.



Right, that should do it.



I don't need to do this, but I want to.



BYE NERD



Please do, half the map is on fire and the other half is shielded. It'll be a blast.



There's a reason I saved this island for last, but damn did it ever pay off.



Right, what you got for me?



Meh.

Networked Armor is gear that gives all mechs +1 HP (or +2 if you upgrade it). There are some squads who could use it, ours is not one of them.

The pilot is Chen Rong, who brings his innate skill of a free 1 space move after acting and a leveled skill of +2 mech HP to the table. Sure, why not.



Have fun at the museum!



Lots of neat toys here, none of which we will want.

The on-sale A.C.I.D. Tank is one of the deployable tank units you can get. This is a once per mission action that launches a fourth, weaker unit onto the field, which is enough on its own to be handy most of the time. In the case of the A.C.I.D. Tank, it shoots A.C.I.D. at targets! That's about it! We will not need this.

Next up is the Push Beam, a once per mission Science-class weapon that pushes everything in a straight line. I would like to try it sometime, but that's not going to be this run.

Following that is the Ice Generator, usable by any mech to freeze itself and all adjacent tiles. The Shield Array already does anything I would want the Ice Generator to do but better.

Lastly, there's the Storm Generator, normally found on the Rusting Hulks' Rocket Mech. Any Smoke tiles on the map gain the power to deal electric damage to Vek each turn! We have no ways of generating Smoke after we donated the Smoke Drop.

None of these are outright bad, but I also don't really need any of them. So instead we buy up reactor cores and grid power.



Chen's lack of experience means he loses Abe's +1 reactor power, so one goes there for sure. The others go to Harold and his array of deadly cannon's.



And that's it!

Given how well this run went, I may do another playthrough (4 island hard, of course) after this even if we clear the Volcanic Hive. Let me know if there's interest!
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  #51  
Old 04-03-2018, 10:17 AM
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Okay, anybody who can read this:

I'm here to check opinions on three things. First: apparently lots of people are having some trouble viewing the thread, so would you all be okay if I downsize most of the images in future updates? Should be easier on a lot of readers.

Second: do you want to see another run, and with which squad?

Third: Which of our three pilots are we going to keep on for next time: Camila, Harold, or Chen?
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  #52  
Old 04-03-2018, 11:05 AM
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1. Depends on the destination size. Too small would be harder to read for different reasons.

2. Yes. Do those Frost Giants you've been talking about.

3. We've barely seen Chen.
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  #53  
Old 04-03-2018, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
1. Depends on the destination size. Too small would be harder to read for different reasons.

2. Yes. Do those Frost Giants you've been talking about.

3. We've barely seen Chen.
co-sign
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  #54  
Old 04-03-2018, 12:22 PM
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I'm in for another run, too.

Images have been good for me.
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Old 04-03-2018, 03:22 PM
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Another one sounds good, images have been fine for me.

Whatever squad/ pilot is the most interesting!
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  #56  
Old 04-03-2018, 07:50 PM
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1. I've had issues with them but my internet kind of sucks. And I have been able to work around that.

2. Yes, I would like to see the Rusting Hulks since that was original choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
3. We've barely seen Chen.
If you're only looking at those three pilots then I agree with what Mogri et al have said..
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  #57  
Old 04-04-2018, 09:27 AM
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The Volcanic Hive is the very last mission in the game, and it's also uninhabited by humans. This means no structures, and thus no "points" to add to your total. Once you do this, this is saying "I'm prepared for the end of this run".



As mentioned, this mission scales like all the others to your progress, and since we've cleared all four islands, absolutely no punches are being pulled. The game starts us off with the Scorpion Leader, capable of attacking in all directions with pushes for extra fun.



Anyway, how are we supposed to power our mechs without a connection to the grid?



That's how. There's still stuff to defend, but you won't suffer casualties for doing so.



This final mission is EXTREMELY light on cheating compared to the final boss of FTL, largely due to the telegraphing of everything that could pose a threat to you. The volcano up top will be the dominating feature for this mission, starting with rivers of lava. Functionally, this is water except it lights anything that survives it on fire.



Our first set of attacks are a bit hairy, since we haven't got a really great way of dealing with the two scorpions.



I could always force everything out to different areas where they won't hit anything, but that won't get things killed, which I want. Seen also: Chen's signature Sidestep maneuver, granting them one space of movement after activating their weapons.



This isn't perfect, but it will do loads of damage to the leader and kill off the other two. We'll just take a bit of grid damage first, but we can afford that here.



That's from the push effect, of course.



Next turn brings out one of the enemies we haven't seen this run, the Crab. This second-tier enemy is effectively an upgrade to the Scarab, with improved health and more tiles that it targets.



No Crab.



The Digger is fine where it is due to the upcoming volcanic eruption.



Let's also deposit that Scorpion on such a tile for it.



And after doing that, Chen can get to the spawn point with ease.



WEAR A HELMET



The next round brings out the unique Psion for the Volcanic Hive. This one doesn't buff the Vek, instead favoring damage over time ignoring range to all of your pilots. That's bad, but by this point you likely have the resources needed to take that head-on.



Since it spawned into flames, we can just have Camila kill it.



Would rather leave the Firefly alive so as to block a spawn.



That frees Chen up to go do a bit of shielding.



Next round with more eruptions. Due to the high presence of flames and lava, this map is a bit easier for the Flame Behemoths than most squads.



Lava-fried crab, you say?



That would be terrible.



Kay, we did it, we survived long enough! Now for the Vek to retreat underground, right?



...Maybe?
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:29 AM
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Oh.



The island splits right open, dragging the fight below into the caverns.



So, uh... now what?



We're at THE Vek hive, by the way. If we can kill this, that should put a stop to their attack. But how do we do that?



That could work.



Here we go, then.

First: this area will also have alternating terrain threats, starting with cave-ins. Anything on those tiles will be dead by GM fiat.

Second: Chen's personality is kind of bland, near as I can tell. They're a clever tactician and considerate of their team, but that's about it. Oh well!



Two new enemies in this batch and a hell of a mess to clean up. The Hornet Leader attacks three tiles in a row, although still for just two damage. The bubbly squid thing is an Alpha Blobber, the last second-tier enemy. Like Spiders, they spawn in minions to attack for them; unlike Spiders, these minions just explode immediately rather than being eggs that web nearby things and hatch into weaklings.



As before, we'll want to abuse the deadly environment as much as possible.



Haha whoops LET ME JUST FIX THAT.



Okay, hit the blob first, THEN the Crab.



Like Spiderlings, Blobs have only a single hit point, but unlike Spiderlings, the Alpha versions actually do more damage.



Much better, this should make this far more workable. You REALLY want at least one mech blocking a spawn on turn 1 of this area.



BYE NERDS



The Psion Tyrant makes another appearance.



And we get next turn's environmental threat, as the hive itself tries attacking our mechs. This is especially bad news for Harold, as I'm sure you can tell.



Our first order of business is to get him freed up, although there are a few ways I could do this. This is the least efficient one, but it does let the Scorpion attack the Firefly, so I'll take it.



Long as we soften them up first, we should be able to keep things in check.



Camila handles the Blob, leaving the Psion and Blobber intact, which is annoying but also not immediately deadly.



Like so. Remember, mech health isn't as important as grid power!



And the tiles targeted by the hive are gone, which includes the spawn Chen blocked last round. That's why those are important.



At least that worked out okay.



Next round brings even more Fun with the Scorpion and a brand new Firefly focusing down one set of pylons far away from where I can do anything about it, and the Psion Tyrant continuing to just go to space.



Harold and Camila deal with the Blobber and Beetle, and Chen prepares another shield charge.



Whatever you say, buddy.



That didn't take long.
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  #59  
Old 04-04-2018, 09:30 AM
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At least the shield blocked one attack, so the Firefly's second attack didn't fly through and hit a second pair of pylons.



Provided the bomb remains intact through this turn, we win. 3 grid power isn't great with how many attacks are out there, but we'll figure this out.



We'll start with this to kill off one threat and severely injure another. The entire lower half of the map is inconsequential due to shields.



Camila can throw off that other Beetle.



And one last Shield Array takes us home.



Yaaaaay



Big talk. What are you gonna do, bomb them?



Also yeah an entire column gets eaten by Vek. Do note that if the bomb is destroyed, the victory timer resets as they deploy another one. Don't let that happen!



Right, time to peace out to a new timeline!



Each pilot you take into this mission gets a different line.



They all have their own outlooks on this, but at the end of the day, this is a successful mission.



Who knows about the nature of the various timelines, but at least this one is safe.



BEEP!



Yeah don't stick around for this!



If you thought the light show in there was impressive...



Wait until you see it...



From orbit.



And that does it!



We beat Into the Breach! Not a bad score for a 4 island Hard mission, although that start on Detritus rocked us a bit.



Anyway, while we've seen people wanting to see more of Chen, and he will carry over the skills and experience he gained this playthrough, we're not restricted to them. We can see any pilot we have unlocked, which is to say any pilot. I'll go with Chen unless people go NAH HE SUCKS GET US ANOTHER GUY.

As far as squads go, we've seen people wanting to check out Frozen Titans, Steel Judoka, and Rusting Hulks, so if you want to support one of those and haven't yet, GET ON THAT
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  #60  
Old 04-05-2018, 05:21 PM
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Since not many people chimed in by the time I did this run, we'll go with the Frozen Titans. Steel Judoka plays too similarly to the Flame Behemoths, and we've already seen one of the weapons from the Rusting Hulks during the last run.



It's kind of neat how many different possibilities each pilot can potentially comment on. Had Chen come from a failed timeline, they'd say something different, and if we selected them fresh, he could say something else!



Anyway, our mechs. Archive-affiliated Myra Perez uses the Aegis Mech, bearing the Spartan Shield. The damage might seem high compared to the Flame Behemoths, but 2 damage is very average for a Prime-class main weapon. The enemy flipping is frequently awkward and not as useful as a normal push, but the self-shielding upgrade is VERY handy, especially on this squad, and the Aegis Mech comes with a bit of extra movement as well.



Bigby Volkov drives the Mirror Mech, with the infamous Janus Cannon. Like many Brute class weapons, its shots work like Firefly shots, traveling in a straight line until it hits a target and then pushing it. The catch is that it fires in two opposite directions every time, which is a bit of a hassle given the entire game is about checking your fire and limiting collateral damage. This is another reason why the Spartan Shield is handy on this squad, but there's one more reason...



And that's the Ice Mech. The Cryo-Launcher is an incredibly powerful Ranged class weapon, capable of freezing anything solid with one shot. The catch is that it also freezes the Ice Mech when it fires. To refresh your memory: frozen targets cannot act or move, but are completely unharmed by the next single attack that strikes them, which breaks the ice instead. We'll be needing to rely on the Mirror Mech and clever play to get the most out of the Ice Mech. Also: this mech starts with no direct weaponry, so I'll have Chen pilot it even though his Sidestep is sort of wasted here. This gives the other pilots opportunities to gain XP.



Rather than screenshotting all of the islands, I instead just went right for R.S.T., but this time I can explain without a spoilerpop why I chose that!

Archive had Scorpions, Hornets, and Scarabs as their rank and file, with the Blast Psion and ending with a Goo leader. We haven't seen the Goo leader yet, but long story short: like hell am I going to fight one of those as my first boss with the Frozen Titans. That alone disqualified Archive.

R.S.T. has Leapers, Fireflies, Hornets, and a Blood Psion, with the boss being the Hornet Leader we barely saw at the Volcanic Hive. The Blood Psion is a negligible threat given how many enemies we're going to incapacitate by freezing, and the Hornet has little HP and is easy to disrupt with the Aegis Mech.

Pinnacle had Fireflies, Scarabs, Scorpions and the Soldier Psion, plus the Firefly Leader. The Firefly Leader is a problem for the exact reason the Hornet Leader isn't: the Aegis Mech cannot do anything to stop the Firefly Leader's attack. Ordinarily, Pinnacle is a solid choice for the first mission of the Frozen Titans given the prevalence of lots of weak enemies and the compatibility of the mechs with the mission selection, but the boss, again, ruins it.

Finally, Detritus had Leapers, Fireflies, and Scarabs, as well as the Shell Psion and the Spider Leader. This was the only real contender for island choice compared to R.S.T., since the Spider Leader is a pretty okay opponent for the Frozen Titans and the A.C.I.D. of the island can actually work in their favor quite often. It'll probably be our second island unless something seriously awful for us is added to the enemy lists (I'm thinking vanilla Spiders, ironically).



So the Frozen Titans have to be much more careful about the mission selection than most squads. Anything that sais "kill 7 enemies" is right out, which is going to force our mission selection for most of the island. (That stupid mountain breaking mission came up again.)



Anyway, let's get right into it.



Not too bad of a start, right?



Well, Myra can flatten the Hornet no problem.



The problem is the Alpha Leaper. See, Bigby's in the best position to disrupt it, but because they're using the Janus Cannon, they'd hit the structure in the other direction, which is to be avoided.



This means Chen has to use the Cryo-Launcher to insulate, so to speak, the structure from the attack.



With that done, we're free to go about our business.



Oh, and by the way: the Seismic Activity event here will split the map in two over several rounds with a chasm. Chasms are functionally identical to water, except they don't care about the Massive trait that our mechs have. We can't cross over them, and if they pop up under us, that mech's dead!



Anyway no more Blood Psion.



That indirect kill gives Chen the 1 XP he needs to attain his last level.



Anyway, a frozen mech can break itself out without much trouble, just has to use its repair. And because this is Chen doing it, he can move one space immediately afterwards, so being frozen when the map decides to place a hazard on your space isn't a death sentence for him.



One advantage the Aegis Mech has over other Prime mechs is that the Spartan Shield, since it doesn't push, can enjoy the benefits of Sand or Forest tiles without worrying about shoving the target off of the tile after attacking it. Also I positioned them poorly here: the correct space would be the spawn between the Mirror Mech and the Firefly.



And this is why. Now that the ground there is gone, there's a chokepoint here preventing either mech from getting where they need to be.



As such, the next round has a hit the Aegis Mech cannot mitigate, forcing me to spend Myra's turn repairing.



This maneuver still works, though!



Bah. I think I would've failed to stop that attack on C6 no matter what the state of the prior turns.



Oh by the way: Ice Mech has flight built in. Do note that frozen units lose their flight capabilities. Everyone has lost at least one Ice Mech learning this the hard way.



Honestly, this is just how early missions go for most squads, I'm not gonna lose that much sleep over it.
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