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Friday, September 9, 2016

Playing the ETC Meta Nostradamus part 1/2

Ok, so now that we are through with Athens, I decided to do a quick check of how my guesses about the Mid War meta have turned out and then move on to the new, exciting stuff that is LW 1625 :)
For this second part of the article, I will concentrate on what books have been added and what are their rough contents, instead of doing a full review. Predictions will follow in a separate post!

So almost a year ago I did some investigations into the lists and came up with my own ideas of what would be the most common lists. Here is a summary by company type and how they performed at the ETC:

- I was totally right about Soviet tanks (especially Mixed Tankovy lists). There were only a few teams that did not have Soviet armor included in their structure.
- I completely missed the fact that Panther lists would also be so popular. At that time, companies like Tancuri, Czech Panzers or US Tank seemed more versatile and fitting for the role. And even though I have seen a few of each, Panthers were the dominating second choice among tank forces at the ETC 2016.

- My guesses about Panzerspah and Cossacks being the first choices of many teams were correct. I have also seen some US Armored Rifle companies but I was wrong about Esplorante. I have only seen one team use it.
- I was furious that nobody used Romanian Cavalry. I think that it was almost on par with the Italian version, which appeared in the Polish team and did so well during the tournament. To be honest, if I had the choice, I would play it any day.

- I predicted correctly that Fucilieri and British lists will be widely used.
- What I was not aware about was that Soviet infantry would be so common. Last year, although I could see at least some potential in Strelkovy, it seemed to me that the trained versions were simply too expensive and lacked the necessary anti-tank support, while the conscripts had the numbers but were impotent on the offensive. It turned out that a lot of the teams thought otherwise. I would love to see a summary of their performance and read some comments of their generals to learn more about how they did overall.

ETC 2016 is now finally over for me! :)

New, exciting stuff begins here :)

Additions to the Late War since 2014 (2nd ETC in Serbia).

Please mind that I am doing it from my memory, so if it fails, HELP ME! :)

Also, please note that the order of the books is completely random!

Nachtjager, including Digital - this briefing collection includes two main highlights. One is a new way to play German armor - with night attack now available to Reluctant Veteran units which can hit pretty hard with their Panthers, Panzer IVs, PakPumas and fully-fausted infantry. The other one is all kinds of regular lists upgraded with new toys like:
- Allied: SAS patrols, panzerfausts, Comets, multiple armor options
- German: railway guns, captured equipment, mixed armor platoons, infra-red equipped units
Overall, the Night Hunter offers a fairly good selection of solid lists, with one or two really shining (e.g. KG von Benningsen).

Berlin, including Digital - Soviets get access to new hero lists. They are bad, like most hero lists, with the notable exception of the Guards Hero Strelkovy, that can field a Fearless Veteran Storm Group with the Always Attack & Never Loose Quality of Quantity banner :) Still, I think the list mostly suits single tournaments where a few 7-0 results can win you the competition.
Maybe, but just maybe - the Hero Cossack F/V company could also be of some limited use.
Apart from this, the major changes are the introduction of panzerfaust-armed infantry, 160mm mortars (best heavy mortar in the game, hands down) and the exclusion of cheap lend-lease spam (booo :( ).
As far as the Germans go, there are no outstanding options I am afraid :(

Fortress Italy/Road to Rome compliation - not much has changed since Cassino and Dogs & Devils. For me, these lists contain pretty much the average of what each of the nations can field. One bunch to look out for is the Free French. These guys are almost like Americans, but cheaper (since they loose a few rules, like the semi-automatic rifles). In my opinion, this makes them even better than some standard US lists! Oh, almost missed the Italians - you should never underestimate them! :)

Bridge at Remagen - well this one changed a lot. It added a completely new level to the game with all the Always Defend German tank and infantry companies. Add to this cheap Volkssturm, King Tigers and Jagdtigers and I think you can clearly find something unusual here to complement your ETC team. The only bad thing about these builds is that all the infantry is again, fully fausted. Why did BF just not make it an option is beyond my comprehension...
American lists featured in this book are not too shabby either! Especially the Tank companies stand out as tough (veteran) and versatile units able to field all kinds of new toys, like the Pershing variants, Sherman Crocodiles with their Always Attack ability or Jumbos 76mm. From a competitive point of view - a must-have book :)

Pacific - Apart from some Japanese night assaulting lists, which work pretty much the same as in Early War (which is not too bad at all) there is nothing interesting here :(

Battle of the Bulge compilation - still a big question mark. With the changes already announced, I would think that this book will loose much of the appeal with competitive players. German generals would not use it anyway and US commanders now have better options in books like Bridge at Remagen.

Grey Wolf digital extensions - I still did not purchase all of them but I know for sure that Hermann Goering lists are something to consider in your plans for both a singles tournament and ETC play. The Assault Gun Battery I played at a 1420 pts tournament needs some tweaks but It would be a great versatile force when upgraded to 1625 points. Also, there are a few mech/infantry companies there that are worth looking into, since they all have very good support options and do not pay premium for all the panzerfausts. These are lists that definately are worth looking into!

So overall, there were quite a few tweaks and additions to Late War since 2014 ETC. If I was to sum up who got boosted and who tasted the nerfbat:

- Americans - stayed on the same level
- Germans - got a fair boost, mostly in B@R and HG on the Eastern Front
- British - roughly the same
- Soviet - slight boost due to the 160mm mortars and panzerfausts
- Polish - I do not even know where to begin this - they were kind of bad and stayed kind of bad :)
- French - no change - still strong
- Italians - see French :)

I am really looking forward to play around with some new ideas in Late War. It is going to be a good mental exercise! :)

But what are your thoughts on the new additions? Did I miss any particular strong options? :)



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