Part 11: Martys, defend thy motherlandThe AIs seems to be a bit annoyed. Including the existing threat and waves that are synchronising with the CPA they are sending more than 9,000 ships to battle just over a thousand of ours.
Let's talk strategy. We have only three points that we really need to defend. Zivu and Dageo are homeworlds, so if we lose those we lose the game. However they're reasonably well defended, both in terms of turrets on the planets themselves and by being surrounded by crunchy outer worlds to AI will have to destroy first. Sucje is a lesser priority, however it does contain facilities that we can't replace if they get destroyed. As such, to start we'll place the whole of the fleet on Sucje where it can dive back to the homeworlds as necessary.
The map above also shows the intelligence gathered from a first wave of scouts which have just gone out to try and find out where the majority of the threat is coming from. So far there's no obvious clustering point, but Yarzarmas and Yarzon look like likely candidates.
We haven't actually had a close-up look at our ships for a while, so let's do that now. We have a lot of missile frigates, thanks to the Mk V fabricator and the efforts of our leech starships. A good selection of fighters, bombers and assorted starships. And of course our lovely drone producing combat carriers and enclaves, along with the tackle drone launchers. Last but not least is the newest addition to our line-up, the teleport raider. While not massively useful on offence due to their minor electric attack (which most command grade structures are immune to), they do have nice bonuses vs. bombers and forcefields. More importantly though beachhead structures are not immune to minor electric ammo, so we now have a fleet of teleporting ships which can clean out that little problem for us long before our main fleet slowly wends it way there. The teleporting is slightly less useful when the beachhead is on the current planet, but still.
Those of you who have played AI war before might have spotted the strange looking asteroids floating around in the right-hand bar on several of our planets. These asteroids can be consumed to create special spirecraft, one-shot ships with a variety of tactical niches. The trump card we're looking for here are the spirecraft Martyrs, which can do an extreme amount of damage to in a wide area around them. Fly a couple of these bad boys into a horde of on-coming ships and you can rapidly decimate them. For the purposes of this CPA, I'm going to build five.
There are a number of other massively useful ships in the spirecraft lineup, but the nicest to have on defence are the translocators, shield bearers and attritioners. We have enough metal and energy to get a few of those as well. The higher quality asteroid we have the better the ships we can produce, but the better quality asteroids tend to be vanishingly rare and far away from home. Spirecraft ships can honestly be a bit cheesy at times, especially with the Martyrs essentially replacing the AIP increasing lightning warhead. So normally I'd play with them on hard, which would provide occasional exo-galactic strike forces to counterbalance them. But for the sake of this LP they're on easy, which gives the AI no benefit at all for me having them.
The first attacks have hit, and sadly I don't have any Martyrs at hand. 3,000 ships are piling in to Durxuha, while we can see 1,500 on Yarzon and another 1,000 on Yarzarmas.
I've changed my mind on fleet positioning and all mobile ships save the drone spawners are now headed to Miknei. This serves two purposes. First, moving the fleet further away from Sucje can be considered a feint to make the AI think they have a chance at taking the planet. Secondly, it means that if Durxuha does go down they're in a position to reinforce either homeworld should the threat continue onwards. There's also another little surprise hidden in this fleet movement...
Bombers are banging on the forcefields protecting the Durxuha command station, while the OMD and turrets are putting on a good show. Then the first brand spanking new Martyr from the production lines on Boomquonxu arrives.
In addition to tractoring away the bombers who are currently hitting the forcefields, the Martyr has a rather hefty explosive payload.
Boom. 1,300 ships are vaporised. We may well have saved the planet after all. For those wondering why some unit counts haven't updated, that's because this screenshot was taken just after the the Martyr was told to self-immolate and we haven't yet unpaused the game to let the counts update.
Almost 2,000 threat on Yarmas now. With the fleet having been relocated to Micknei, they must be getting tempted to attack.
The AI attacks Sucje just as its defences are finalised. A pair of shield bearers are reinforcing the forcefields over the command station and irreplaceables, while attritioners are in place to slowly whittle down the health of the attacking ships. Now that the AI has committed itself we can move the fleet back in Micknei and hammer them flat.
As the cowardly AI realise their mistake and start to run away, a cloaked martyr sidles up to the ships and blows them all away.
After the fleet arrives and the AI runs off with its tail betweens its legs it turns out that we've managed to wipe away 6,000 ships without breaking a sweat. And this gives us a very large collection of scrap metal that can be turned into ships and new toys. The remaining ~3,000 threat will mill about for a bit, waiting for a good time to strike unless we go clean it up first. But at this point in time I'm more worried about the incoming exo-galactic strike force which will be appearing at some indeterminate point in the future. I've never run into one of those before, they're essentially the counter for all the nice goodies the champion alternate progress has been giving us.
Now that the CPA has been and gone, all the ships on Yarzon have been cleared out in a fruitless attack on Sucje. This means that the dyson gatlings are now surviving long enough to start becoming a coherent force, and that it's probably time to take out the dire guardian lair. Especially seeing as we've got a warning stating that it's going to spawn one in a few minutes anyway.
The fleet blows away the dire guardian lair and waits for the dust to settle. Out of the ruins emerge a trio of deadly beasts. The dire laser and MRLS guardians absolutely destroy bombers and fighters respectively, but it's the spider guardian who's a real pain. That one cripples vast swathes of ships, meaning that the can only limp along until repaired by an engineer.
Anyway, in the end these guys wipe out about 600 of my ships and trigger a fairly hefty reprisal wave. That's a lot, but at the same time I have loads of salvage coming in at the moment so the losses are replaceable.
And, finally, the dyson sphere is free of AI influence.
Next time, on AI War: Rocks, but not as we know them