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Thursday, 6 August 2015

System Wars Review Part 1 - Relthoza Ships

The final Zenian force in the System Wars Invasion ship release is the Relthoza, who I think got some amazing designs for their models - how do their stats stack up?


Now the Relthoza were a particular design challenge for invasion ships, because their cloaks give them a hellish advantage in trying to get to a position unmolested. So making tougher ships would be difficult, since it's already difficult to kill a cloaked Relthoza carrier. It's no surprise, therefore, that the ootheca is VERY similar to the stock Hive/Theridion - in fact she only differs in having double the AP in terms of headline stats. She also only has 2 WC compared to 8, so you'll probably be fielding interceptors or maybe support shuttles, and her weapons are much less prevalent being in just a single arc - Fore, where she's heading!

So, why would you take this ship? Well, MARs for one start to show the differences. The Ootheca has the Planetfall and Durable MARs, of course (the latter making her that bit less vulnerable to SRS which ignore cloaks). She comes stock with Self Repair, highlighting the durability aspect of the ship, even if she's few reasons to decloak normally. Also looking to Hardpoints, Stealth Systems is free rather than +10 points, again emphasising the defensive nature of the ship. That's fine for Planetfall, but what if we want a non-PF build?

The option here gives +4WC and also Quick Launch - that's a pretty massive reason right there. As the Relthoza have a huge 8" command distance, you're now talking about a 20" threat radius from embarked SRS...Ouch! You can also give her Second Assault, so now we've a permanently cloaked 20" SRS monster with 2 x 8AP boarding (and take a couple of Stinger/Wolf escorts and you can make it 10AP a time)...now if you also take a Theridion with Shunt Matrix (4), you're really going to mess with your enemy in terms of their assessment of how to defend against you. So, alone the Ootheca is a dark horse, but combined with other ships she suddenly becomes very interesting indeed.


The Cotesia is not a particularly rugged ship - again having the same base stats as a Gila or Assassin, but with +1 HP, twice the AP and more PD. Her weapons are close ranged and rather weak, and she has the standard Invasion ship MARs. As an invasion ship she will probably take +1 HP and make for the planet, but non-Planetfall? Well, the Relthoza have approached the Asasault cruiser from a slightly different angle, and her option is to take +3WC, but with a restriction on only taking Assault craft).

Now, for those of you who don't know what Cotesia means, they are a species of parasitic wasp - and that's really what this ship is. It skulks around the edges of the battlefield or shunts in, and performs boarding strikes while cloaked - it really has little reason to uncloak, since both its SRS and boarding assaults can be launched from the shadows. It preys on targets of opportunity, it's not meant to try to tough it out against other ships 1-2-1...that's not the way the Relthoza play. Is it going to be everyone's cup of tea? Most likely not, since the Relthoza can be a tricky force to get right, but used carefully this squadron could snatch a large ship late game and seal victory.


The Ichneumon (another parasitic wasp) is another tough little invasion ship, also with 3 Hull Points, making it difficult to remove with crits. It additionally has the Relthoza Systems Network MAR, granting it Stealth Systems from other Cloaked vessels, meaning you need to get in close to really have a chance of taking it down. It can take an additional PD, giving it almost invulnerability to long-range torpedo snipes when combined with SS granted from SN.

For the non-Planetfall version, it can take a cloaking field. This was dismissed by a lot of people (including me, when I first saw the proposal, I thought "What's the point?"), but read those MARs again. The ship has Systems Network, which grants Stealth Systems to other Systems Network ships in Command Distance. This has traditionally meant Relthoza smalls have to cluster around capital ships (since no prior smalls had SN). The Ichneumon breaks that tradition - for 75 points you gain a 16" x 48" band of Stealth Systems granting cover to your fleet on a 4/5 Cloaked Difficult Target with no reason to ever decloak - that's an ability I'd really like, and will be, taking advantage of in my Relthoza fleets of the future - Terran nukes? Who cares???