Reach for the sky!
So last night, after much anticipation, I finally got my first game with Parker Barrows in using the list I mentioned earlier.
With Corner Deployment the strategy was Guard the Stash. Convict Labor was on the table as always, along with Search the Ruins, Headhunter, Mark for Death and something else.
I had a blast, and actually found the list to be very viable - something I did not expect. I did, however, learn quite a few things about how Parker and the list operates on the table, including some mistakes I've made in both interpreting his abilities and seeing their effects.
Travis used his new Asami crew, including a Henchman who locks down my defensive triggers and summons like the Jorogumo that cause heart palpitations.
So I'll list everything I've discovered after this game:
- As anticipated this crew is very resource intensive. Masks, especially high ones, are like gold for them and need to be carefully planned out on which models receive this precious suit. In opening hands where I had at least two moderate masks I saw my crew operating better throughout the turn, but when I had crap cards for two turns I saw how bad things can swing.
- Although Parker has the potential to regain several resources like cards and stones the actual mileage will be less than ideal. Certain requirements need to be met to sustain his resources, and game plans being changed will definitely affect his ability to recall those resources. He draws cards easily enough as long as he stays in the thick of things, but regaining soul stones is much tougher and you only reliably gain one from discarding an upgrade.
- His scheme marker manipulation isn't as prevalent as you would think, especially with his end of turn pulse to turn enemy markers into friendly ones. The pulse range is too short at 4", so unless you're really close to your target you won't want to use Drop It triggers as you'll only be helping the enemy.
- His upgrade cycle should be very limited, maybe dropping one at most a turn to be immediately replaced.
- He actually prefers to be around 4 inches away from targets. Being out of melee gives him options on targets. Being within 6 gives the option to use Drop It triggers and fuel your upgrade cycle. The space between your target is wide enough for your Hail of Bullets markers as well.
- His (0) to give a friendly model an attack is priceless, and I made sure to exploit it every turn. Mad Dog was a great target for this and stacked on a ton of damage out of his activation. Because Mad Dog was constantly being engaged he'd get his out of turn attack to either push enemies back or stack on lots of burning/damage. Because opponents will anticipate the fact that it's the master's activation they'll hold on to resources during this out of place attack, leaving Mad Dog to pile on damage. And he piles it on fast.
- I don't like discarding upgrades for damage with Parker. Sure, I used it once to wipe Mr. Graves off the board in one attack, but it left me extremely vulnerable for the remainder of the game. Several instances would come up where because I dumped my upgrades all at once I was not able to get him back up to par.
- Highwayman is the upgrade that worked best, simply for the (0) that gives another attack. Coordinated Heist worked as well, the Scout move was still very effective even in Corner deployment. I used it to shoot into combats as well, but I didn't realize you have to discard the upgrade to do so, so its effectiveness will be somewhat less useful for me in the future. He was definitely viable without any generic upgrades, and now the only one I consider is Oathkeeper to make him really work for a turn.
- Mad Dog put 6 burning on someone in one turn and did the most damage all game, he's actually super dangerous in melee since he's essentially getting 4 attacks from 2 AP.
- Crate of Dynamite was not used at all. I'm definitely taking that one off now and replacing it with Oathkeeper, or maybe even Scramble for Mad Dog. Its use, already known to me as limited, was never needed over another AP use. I'd have rather shot for 3 damage and a push than put the damage in the opponent's hands. And this wouldn't have been improved by giving the upgrade to Parker, he's already pretty starved for AP in terms of his options. If I take it off I still have the option of putting it on Parker mid game. Mad Dog with 4 shots from Oathkeeper seems much better than explosions.
- Bandidos are AMAZING. I love them. Now I'm really hard pressed to ever use Dead Bandits over them. Had it not been for his Henchman shutting down my defensive triggers they would have done even better. Their keep away game is incredible. Moving out of activation saved them numerous times, and had the unexpected bonus of setting my schemes up by freeing their AP. So many games I've wished my model could move one more time to place a scheme in their activation, now I get that flexibility for the cost of a mask. They were also damaging very well throughout the game. Most of the time I was using their Run and Gun, and with a focused shot and no loss of movement I was able to wither down most models, but more importantly eliminate key flank models with a severe card. Bulletproof has its place at times and saved them from Katanaka Snipers. Truly incredible models, I may be keeping 6 of them in my list.
- Doc Mitchell needs to be better protected. I lost him in turn three and he could have been a lot of use. He is definitely a key piece for me, and now - when I used to be on the fence for him - I'm sure he's needed.
The Freikorpsmann was a proxy, I need to build more Bandidos!
Overall it was a great learning experience. I definitely like the crew, and Parker near Mad Dog can be a brutal combination. Until next time keep 'Fauxing it up!