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MONTHLY DISCUSSION [FEB. '16]: MODEL SPOTLIGHT: St. Isaac
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    MONTHLY DISCUSSION [FEB. '16]: MODEL SPOTLIGHT: St. Isaac

    MONTHLY DISCUSSION [Feb. '16]: MODEL SPOTLIGHT: ST. ISAAC

    Another year, more new models. Every release sparks a debate in every Dark Age player: do I want to buy the new stuff? Last year's Gencon release added a slew of Forsaken models as well as two new Saints. This article takes a look at one of them.

    St. Isaac!

    (Model Painted by Tony Xiao)


    There is a high likelihood I myself will end up adding this Saint and his subfaction, but not for St. Isaac himself. Personally, the Centipede and their “Program” mechanic (and ST weapons) are very intriguing to me. So why focus on St. Isaac and why not talk about the Centipedes instead?



    (Note, this is an article for the "Technological Mastermind." Like Ajax? Too bad, maybe a different month.)



    Bad News First
    "Saint Isaac appeals to my love of power armor and robots... Now if only I had managed to win a game" - Michael Anthony Del Rio, Gencon Tournaments, 2015

    4 AP, but only 2 Attacks
    No other model at his point level or higher only has a single RF 2 attack, making him the most expensive points-per-attack model in the game. Now, this is not a good thing but something to consider is that often I use my “commander” model – Mutros, Curwen, Nexus – cautiously, stationed in the middle and overseeing the battle moreso than actually fighting it.

    Ultimately this is fine so long as we all understand that using a model like Isaac is spending 150 points on a model that is unlikely to cause a lot of wounds. This also means he should be evaluated more on his ability to do other things.

    "Disruption"... (almost) Never Use
    One of the 3 separate attack modes Isaac has is “Disruption.” This weapon ability is new and seems kind of cool but to put it shortly – don't use it. Some keys to this is that it only works against “attacks that have a MAL Value," Mal'ed attacks can still hit their targets, -2 is only a 10% increase chance to Mal and it has a lot of counters like S.M. (Superior Maintenance) and opponent's choice.

    Core's Rend is a good way to emphasize this. At AR 16, PW 5x2 there is a 63% chance the Rend will take a wound on a Mal. Sounds pretty good right? But since each Counter only adds a 10% chance of this happening, that's ultimately only a +6% chance Disruption will do anything. Which means even if the Rend attacks all 6 times, there's still a 68% chance the Rend won't suffer a single wound due to disruption.

    There are a couple of one-offs Disruption will work on, being a hard-counter to models like Nightmare Juggernaut comes to mind. But there is also one general exception to the “don't use” rule and that is against SP/ST template weapons. On a Mal these weapons go haywire and scatter to hit everything in a random direction. Now, often a player using SP/ST will have S.M. but since these models are gaining popularity in the meta, Disruption seems a good, additional tool in dealing with them.

    No Melee or “Point Blank”
    Or "Break away for free" or range greater than 8. Since everything but a Pud has a movement of at least 8,” what this means is that it's easy to move into base contact with Isaac and prevent him from firing unless he's freed by one of his buddies or spends 2 AP to break away. That can make his placement in a formation problematic.



    Good News:Mad, Max Fun
    "Join forces with your fellow Salt Nomads as you attack a Salvage Convoy led by Saint Issac, returning from wastes with unknown treasures... CMON staff will be playing the forces of Saint Isaac. Come join us for a great team event and see if you can beat us at our own game!" - 'Assault on the Convoy' CMON Expo event, Apr. 2, 2016

    A Step-Up in Modeling
    St. Isaac forces look amazing and he's the only Saint out as of this writing that has 100% new sculpts. Isaac himself is no slouch and though there are jokes to be made about him standing on one leg or that he looks a little too much like an Infinity model I personally like this new take on a Saint and how his overall theme is carried through his forces.

    A Complete Fit
    However, Dark Age always goes a step beyond this. There is an enjoyable fiction to read now, there is some crossover product promotion with games like Xenoshift, and there is the back story of factions like the Core. Without spoiling too much of the fun that can be had reading into this faction, Isaac's forces fit perfectly into the middle of all of this.



    How Best to Utilize
    "I'm going with the non ascended Isaac because I want the extra control points for Prometheus use to both of his programs along with the 2 centipedes running stealth until melee. Then they'll run conduction." -Mike Watkins, 2015

    The Forsaken Superior Maintenance “Tax”
    The age old Forsaken problem is that, other than Skarrd perhaps, Forsaken have some of the most and highest Malfunctioning weapons in the game. This means a Forsaken player usually had to ask this question: Do I just accept the Malfunctions or do I spend X points for a Weaponsmith?

    Now personally, I have never, ever seen a Weaponsmith do anything useful in a fight, although I'm told that it is theoretically possible. The model has been point sink and, for me, the “right' answer often was to try and build Forsaken with minimal Mal and just take (and heal) the ones that come. When I saw that St. Isaac had “Superior Maintenance (3)” I became very intrigued. Here is a good way to get those tokens as well as model that has some additional utility as well.

    Control, Control, Control
    Not only does Isaac have S.M. (3), he is also the only one on his force that has Controller (3). Now, I only recently realized controller has this text “During the Preparation Phase, this model gains (x) Control Counters." So that means Isaac alone can add three "Program" effects every round. That's 3 of the following: +2 power, -4 DF against range, +1 move AP, x2 weapon multiplier... every round.

    Centipedes may be awesome, but Centipedes + Isaac means ignoring Mal and never worrying about having enough Control points to use.


    Corresponding Facebook Post: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sama...9560476626269/
    Last edited by Never Knows Best; 02-01-2016 at 04:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    "On foot" Isaac is neat as he's almost entirely a support piece: Commander, 3 Controller tokens, 3 Superior Maintenance tokens, and a gun that's probably most useful as a denial piece rather than as something that kills everything. In this way, he's like a more defensive Mark.

    As for his army, he's neat in that he doesn't play like a "normal" Saint. You're apt to want to take either mostly Isaac forces or just a smattering of his forces then self-sufficient genetic Forsaken and Bounty Hunters.

    For me, Centipedes are his best option at 500 (though 750 makes Ajax and Prometheus more attractive). Centipedes really like having 3 things: Control tokens, Superior Maintenance tokens, and any buffs to accuracy they can get. Here's a list I've had fun with at 500:

    Saint Isaac
    Centipede x 2
    Lucky
    Firestorm
    Firestorm Leader
    Militia

    It's a shooting list; if you're enemy can stick to you, you'll have a hard time. That said, you have good objective control, have Panic and Inspiring to help the Centipedes hit, have enough SM to support the high MAL rate of your troops, and don't have a healer (as it doesn't help your offensive output).

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    It's scary how alike we think sometime. This is a proof-of-concept list I made for 500, not really intended to be competitive.

    1 St. Isaac 150
    1 Firestorm Leader 50
    2 Firestorms 100
    2 Centipede 150
    1 Field Medic 50

    Blocking and tackling has to be done by Isaac and sacrifice-exploding Firestorms. Centipedes do have to do most of the objective work. Any Assassinate or Ambush makes it a really long day for this list.

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    It's why I prefer Lucky and the Militia. I found the Field Medic was cute, but without Guard I was often being asked to trade my offensive output for her life. Given that Centipedes can't be healed, I went to the Lucky/Milita route. Lucky has melee reaction strike, which is nice. Blind is another denial tool. And another body with Militia never hurts (plus it lets you herd people to bad board positions when you can reasonably guess they drew Bully).

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