Part 24: Mission 19: Sea of Hope (or "Sensei (and Sami) vs. Adder: Round 2")
Mission 19: Sea of Hope (or "Sensei (and Sami) vs. Adder: Round 2")
Hmm. I think I said this was my favourite mission, but I'd already said that Tanks!!! was. Hmm. Oh what the hell, they can both be my favourite mission.
If my intel is accurate, they're working on a new type of tank in there. Calculating from Adder's skill and the speed of our advance... I estimate we have 18 days to capture the lab or rout our foe. If we can do that, we might be able to get our hands on the weapon specs.
I see... We've no time to tarry then. Hm? It looks like the battle's started without us.
What? Who in the world could it be?
It's Black Hole on one side, but who are they fighting?
My enemy's enemy is my ally... Or something like that.
Prepare to advance! We must not be late!
Right then, Sensei time.
And oh hey, we're joined by Sami for this one:
We have to get this information to Yellow Comet.
Those troops... They don't appear to be the enemy's. Combining our resources just may give us a chance.
Here's the map. I haven't drawn anything on it because after the first few turns the plan mostly consists of "Kill everything with B-Copters while Sami's battleships provide fire support". Early game, there's one main thing to worry about : those three bombers at the top of the map will trash Sami's navy if we aren't careful, so we're going to need some sort of air defence for that.
Now, you may recall that in the first two lab missions, I only won because the AI decided, on the final turn, to not damage the infantry capturing the lab because apparently it doesn't count labs as properties or something. The good news is, we won't be having to rely on cheap, unexpected victories like that this time. Adder may have a very large force between us and the lab, and we may only have 18 days, but rest assured this one's a piece of cake.
Let's get the ball rolling with the little navy that Yellow Comet's been provided with.
The sub and cruiser move up a bit as well. The cruiser's got to be careful to stay out of the range of those two rocket launchers, but because I've dived the sub it can't get hit by rockets.
Mech loads into APC, ready to go off and capture that airport on the island, and the tank moves across as well. And I build... nothing. Don't worry, I'm saving up for something.
Sami's turn. She gets three battleships and a cruiser to try and help us out here. I'm not sure why Nell sent Sami out here, to be honest, Andy would have been a better choice for this mission, but there y'go.
Anyway, we'd best use these battleships carefully to strike some priority targets.
For this turn, that means the AA because it might cause Sensei grief, the eastern rocket launcher because it poses a threat to Sami's ships and the southern tank because it's a threat to Sensei's eastern base.
Thanks to not buying anything on the first turn, we've got 20000G in the bank.
So let's buy a fighter so we've got some air cover against those three incoming bombers.
Sensei's battleship attacks one of the incoming tanks.
My own tank moves up towards my eastern base with a view to protecting it, while my APC arrives at the island airport and drops off its passenger.
Cruiser and sub trundle their way round to the other side of the island, ready to face down Adder's cruiser.
Those bombers are still a little way away, so no worries as of yet.
Battleship attacks tank. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a screeny of the end of the turn here, but I remember moving the left-hand battleship left a square, in order to put some pressure on Adder's rocket launcher.
Bombers and neotanks and cruisers, oh my.
Well, the cruiser's easily dealt with. Luckily it couldn't attack the sub as it had to spot it first. Attacking it with my battleship takes it out of the equation.
The fighter moves up from its airport.
Tank kills tank, and out of the bases come an infantry and the first Sensei B-Copter of the mission.
Sub finishes off cruiser (Subs only do about 25% damage to cruisers, but when they're on 2HP that 25% is enough), and my own cruiser goes and hides from the bombers like a cowardly cowardly custard. Cruisers need that first strike to be effective anti-air weapons.
Sami's turn, and we start off with a battleship attacking one of Adder's ridiculous neotank brigade. This is enough to charge up Double Time.
Okay, so there are no infantry around, but all CO Powers provide a 10% defence bonus to all units (well, unless they provide more than 10% defence) so it might just save me a couple of HP when those bombers attack.
Another neotank knocked down to 5HP, and the 2HP rocket launcher gets finished off. Meanwhile it's Sami's cruiser's turn to be a cowardly, cowardly custard (there is a reason for this: Adder charged up Sidewinder during the last turn, so he'll launch it at the start of the next one. So my cruisers have to be ten squares away from those bombers to be safe, not eight.
Two bombers attacked Sami's battleships, but the third went for my mech capturing the airport. In one sense it's annoying that it'll take longer to capture that airport, but at least Sami's navy is spared a little.
Sensei's fighter sees some action as it knocks a bomber down to 1HP.
Battleship finishes off neotank, B-Copter finishes off AA (sweet irony), tank finishes off tank, infantry gets capturing an airport and I build a second tank.
My sub heads west towards Adder's entirely random lander, giving my cruiser the room to finish off that 1HP bomber.
And the APC runs back so it can pick up a new passenger.
Sami's turn. Things're looking a little ugly around here.
Well, let's do what we can.
Ugh, arrows. Basically, 8HP battleship and western 3HP battleship attacked a neotank, and then the other 3HP battleship joined the western one. Meanwhile, my cruiser attacked a bomber with rather painful results: I took off 5HP, but lost 5HP in return. Made worse by Sami's direct-combat penalty and Adder's SCOP defence bonus, but still: cruisers .
Again one of Adder's bombers decides to go for Sensei rather than Sami. I'll deal with that in a minute, but first of all I've noticed my power bar's full.
Let's do some capturing first and then...
... have some good ol' assaulting from the air.
Now that Adder's not getting his power's defence boost, this fighter can one-shot bombers.
Gratuitous "Sensei B-Copter in action" shot. ISTR there was some discussion in the thread about how B-Copters fared against neotanks. The answer: none too shabby. Here I've reduced a 5HP neotank to 1HP, so I've knocked off 4HP. Granted this is Sensei, and Sensei using Airborne Assault to boot (under normal conditions, a chopper might expect to knock off 2 to 3HP), but B-Copters are reasonable against neos - mostly because they take little damage back. Artillery and rockets are still my favourite solution to neotanks, though.
B-Copter and tank take down one neo, while the other tank moves in to damage the second neo.
One of my newly-spawned mechs helps out with that.
Sub attacks the random lander. Cruiser follows to give the sub some cover.
As mechs move and join, I build my second B-Copter - this time over in the west, to support my navy.
Sami's turn, and the last of those bombers is still being pesky.
Attacking with the cruiser still can't finish it off, but it does charge Double Time again.
As before, may as well use it for the 10% defence boost.
6HP battleship attacks neotank, 4HP battleship joins it to give me a full health one.
Adder decides to join the party. All three COs have used either their Power or Super Power this turn.
Adder's medium tank on my doorstep.
My sub is low on fuel.
Sami's down to one 9HP battleship, and Adder's large navy'll be here soon.
Situation excellent! I shall attack.
B-Copter, mech and tank all attack Adder's middie, knocking it down to 3HP while also cutting off its escape route.
My fighter finishes off Adder's last bomber.
My sub retreats to shore, where it can be refuelled by APC.
I need to finish that lander off though. My B-Copter obliges.
Cruiser retreats, and I make another B-Copter.
General moving and capturing.
I move her battleship up to cut off the escape route of those rockets and stuff. Well, I say "cut off". They can try to escape. They'll just get shelled if they do. Over the next few turn's it'll be that battleship's job to push them into a corner.
Well, we know what happens to cruisers when Sensei's around...
... large amounts of damage.
That attack charged up my COP, so, after a spot of moving and capturing (including finally capturing that airport with my 3HP mech), let's rip.
Fear the awesome power of... Opter Command!
Battleship and B-Copter knock that neotank down to 2HP while a mech takes care of the medium tank.
Sub and cruiser move into position to welcome Adder's navy.
Another copter moves up to join them, and another copter gets built. Hmm. I almost have enough money for yet another copter. Maybe if I join these 9HP infantry together...
Let's continue to put pressure on Adder's rockets and missiles and further trap them in this corner.
# Y'know, the nearer your destination, the more you're slip-sliding away... #
I say "welcome Adder's navy". He's actually starting to retreat now.
But not far enough.
The two B-Copters assault a submarine (well if you're not going to dive your subs, Adder, you can't expect me to not take advantage...) while my own (dived) sub heads into Battleship range. My cruiser sits back a bit, out of the way of those battleships.
Over in the east meanwhile, a B-Copter pursues that retreating 2HP neo.
Back at base, the APC picks up a passenger.
B-Copters advance, I create another B-Copter and a T-Copter, and load an infantry into the T.
Everyone else moves up along this bridge.
Sami's battleship continues to apply pressure.
So far, so good. Time to start work on these battleships.
Dive! Dive! Dive!
Sub and B-Copter assault Adder's battleships.
8HP copter finishes off 2HP cruiser, a fresh B-Copter rolls in and attacks Adder's undamaged sub, and my cruiser moves in to finish off Adder's 4HP sub (in hindsight, not a wonderful decision given that this places the cruiser in battleship range. Oh well).
Another chopper flies in to take out Adder's retreating neotank, while the APC drops off its passenger and I prepare to capture the island port.
General moving and building of B-Copters.
Moving the rest of my units, and constructing a second T-Copter.
For a change, Sami's battleship actually goes and attacks something. After all, we have to keep Adder honest here.
Nine days down, nine days left to complete the mission. This turn, we finish off Adder's navy.
B-Copter finishes off sub, sub and B-Copter finish off 5HP battleship.
And two B-Copters work together to destroy the 6HP battleship.
Wanna see a neat trick? Yep, I loaded a B-Copter onto a cruiser. Wasn't sure I'd have a chance to do that in this campaign run-through, but as I've got a silly number of B-Copters right now I guess I can spare one to demonstrate this oft-forgotten ability of cruisers (which also refuel and reload the copter while it's loaded).
General moving and attacking of stuff as I prepare to attack Adder's trapped indirects next turn.
And more moving.
Sami keeps on squeezing Adder into a corner.
Not sure how much that's going to help you, Adder old chap.
Time to begin the assault on these units.
First up, let's get the missile launcher out of the way. Attacking also manages to charge up my power bar.
All these Airborne Assaults are starting to get a bit routine, now.
Mechs mechs mechs. Combining these mechs gives me enough money to buy a bomber, which I'll do in a minute.
First let's keep up the assault on these rockets.
Probably could have been a bit more efficient here. But when you've got this many B-Copters, efficiency tends not to matter so much.
Hey there, Mr. Bomber.
Building the bomber as other units move up the field.
Dropping off an infantry into the remaining rocket's range shadow, while I decide my cruiser's had its fun and it can drop off the copter it was carrying now.
Sami chips in by damaging that rocket down to 4HP.
Looks like Adder's having a last stand down at his lab. We've still got 7 days to finish him off though.
First we need to clean up down here. My bomber sees its first bit of action as it takes out the APC down here.
Meanwhile B-Copters clear out this island here.
All the other choppers move to just outside the range of Adder's missile unit.
Build build build B-Copters.
I move Sami's battleship to here.
The reason being that it gives me the best attack range over that bridge to the lab island. If necessary, I'm going to use my air force to lure Adder's AAs down into battleship range.
Then again, I may not have to. All of Adder's direct units suddenly decided to charge forward, leaving his long range units exposed. Now, the question is, do I attack those long range units now and risk AA retribution next turn?
Well, I've only lost one unit so far. I can afford to lose some others and still keep a 100 technique score. And time is of the essence.
So let's wade in. First of all, we'll take down Adder's missile unit to give the rest of my copters some breathing space.
Then the long-range units and the lander come under assault.
I keep attacking the lander while the final chopper goes and damages Adder's medium tank.
Moving my fighter to here works as a distraction to Adder's AA. With any luck, one of them might attack the fighter instead.
Bomber moves up as a T-Copter drops off its passenger next to the fighter. More decoy targets for the AA.
Building yet another chopper.
Sami has nothing to do, so she does nothing.
Some choppers fell to Adder's AAs, but I still have plenty.
Fear the awesome power of... Pter Command?
Infantry joining for cash as usual.
One hit killing infantry, yaaay.
Less yay. But it has to be done. We've got to clear these AAs out somehow.
But with the combined efforts of three B-Copters, I take the first of those two AAs down.
Bomber arrives to finish off the lander, B-Copter attacks tank and I build a second bomber at my new airport.
Moving on up.
No AAs for Sami to destroy, but I can make Adder's medium tank suffer for coming into battleship range.
Blimey, another of 'em. Although again, I can't see how much he can achieve with it.
Adder's AAs continuing to make me pay, but it's too little, too late for him.
Bomber attacks AA (a much saner thing to do than B-Copter attacking AA), other bomber attacks Adder's new lander, and a B-Copter attacks a random sub that Adder happens to have up in this corner of the map.
B-Copters finish off Adder's AA and rocket. Not much left now.
Adding insult to injury with a third bomber.
I've taken some casualties in the last few turns, but nowhere near enough to worry me technique-wise.
Sami can only really do one thing, attack this 1HP tank. Ideally I'd like to attack the recon - it's damaged my infantry and might finish it off. But it's sitting in the battleship's range shadow, unfortunately.
... and yes, it did manage to kill the infantry .
Still three days before the deadline, but I can finish it this turn.
Avenging that poor infantry unit with B-Copters charges up my CO power yet again.
Fear the awesome power of... Mmand...
Goodness, so many infantry.
Bombers clear out Adder's units, leaving just one artillery standing.
All in all, the final scoreboard looks pretty good.
So let's finish this...
... Sensei style!
With these, we should be able to produce that new tank design!
You risked a lot to come to our aid. You have our gratitude.
No, thank YOU. You helped me out of a jam. It's time for me to return to Orange Star, but we'll meet again.
Left without offering a name... Is that what passes for manners these days?
Don't worry, I'm sure we'll be meeting again.
My thoughts exactly. We'll be meeting again.
Again, things looked a little awkward when those bombers were bearing down on us, but ultimately it led to another steamrollering. All in all, Yellow Comet's going pretty well so far, although I imagine things will get tougher here before the end.
Anyway, we've got the neotank plans, so it's that time again: choosing where we want to go next.
Option 1: Silo Scramble Kanbei vs. Flak. In case the name didn't give it away, there's a very large number of missile silos in this mission. But other than that it's a straightforward War-Room-esque fight. I'd quite like to do it next: we haven't played as Kanbei yet, and there's a chance we might get to see Kanbei neotanks in action here, although they'll be costly. Plus it's against Flak (and it's the last mission where you fight against Flak), so it'll make a nice change from fighting Adder.
Option 2: Duty & Honor Kanbei vs. Adder. In which Adder tries to lure Kanbei into a lasery, lasery trap. This mission is pre-deployed only, so it's a chance to see all of the awesome bits of fighting as Kanbei with none of the drawbacks. But equally, no chance to roadtest the Neos.
Option 3: A Mirror Darkly Sonja vs. Lash. The game's two smartest COs go head-to-head in what I guess could be called the inverse of Nature Walk: there you had to reach your HQ, here you have to stop Lash reaching yours. Pre-deployed only, so no neotanks.
Option 4: Foul Play Sensei vs. Adder. Round 3. In which Adder attempts to pull off a nasty trick but it all goes a bit pear-shaped for him. There's a lot of pipes in this mission that we have to blow up with bombers to save the day, and an interesting use of Airborne Assault. We've got bases, so there's a chance of Neotanks. It is of course a Sensei mission, so I'm keen to do it, but I'm happy to wait a bit before playing it: too much of a good thing, and all that.
So: vote for the order you'd like me to do these missions in, please.