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Friday, September 30, 2016

Playing the ETC Meta Nostradamus 2/2

So I already talked about what is new to Late War in terms of books/pdfs/digitals. Now it is time for some more guesses of what would be the popular builds for the upcoming ETC.

This one is not so easy I have to admit. I think I cannot nominate (although I might try later on) specific briefings, as there is probably over 200 to go through, but some groups can already be identified.

Always Defend Tanks - this one is easy. Since the introduction of Bridge @ Remagen, there was a discussion if Always Defend heavy tanks are the new black. Well, honestly - I am not 100% convinced they are, but now they are at least something you have to consider each time you build your list. For ETC purposes, my opinion is that they can fit in just perfectly. Being able to defend more often, yields a higher win probability as shown by this year's ETC top 4 teams results of defensive battles, where the defenders won 58% of such games.

Arty Park lists - I am not a huge fan of these, but I can see them as useful. Anybody that has a low number of high value targets (especially playing against US without proper anti-air cover) will suffer against arty overload. Time on target, Mike target, massed heavy mortars are able to make the difference. However, not everything is doom & gloom as Arty Parks have their weaknesses, like for instance being forced to defend against a night attack.

PakFronts - they are still in the game and a basis for a very simple tactic of outgunning your opponent completely. On the defence, this means a completely impenetrable gun line that is able to disable tanks as well as masses of assaulting infantry. On the attack, PakFronts are able to roll the guns forward and gradually eliminate platoons, until the enemy force breaks. For ETC purposes, these lists are mainly the all-comers that appear as champions (first picks, that get 2 opponents assigned to choose from).

Massed infantry forces - they make a good defensive force, and they are even better if they get the option to always attack as well. Especially the Brits excell at this with their tough infantry platoons backed up with Night Attack special rule. They are the most versatile selection, because they defend and attack equally well. However I could see some captains forfeit the flexibility in favour of going full offensive and building Always Attack infantry lists (e.g. Strelkovy).

Always Attack tank lists - the biggest challenge playing tanks at the dawn of v3 was to build an all-comer list that is able to attack in most of the games but is not defenseless when being attacked. This issue has been alleviated by so many books now containing tank companies which Always Attack, or what is even better - have the option to Always Attack! Selecting a list like this, the commander of the company is almost guaranteed to get the pairing he wants. This is especially valuable at the ETC as it is important to have lists that can be relied on to do their job correctly (without having to count on one die roll - on who gets to be the attacker).

These groups are going to be very heavily represented at the ETC. As you might have noticed, there are no Mechanized archetypes in there. And this is because I do not have a good concept on what Mech forces we will see in Salamanca. I guess the team that finds the key to them might as well call themselves the champion of ETC 2017! :)


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