Part 24: Operation True Roman Fire
Operation True Roman Fire
I have no words for this mission. My words have failed me.
We saw the arrival and sudden unexpected death of the final Alien Ruler, the Archon King. The Archon King is notable for a few reasons and largely considered a bit too much on the heaping of alien ruler BS that the DLC serves up. On the defensive side of things the King starts well armored, meaning the first thing that is needed is to shred his armor so you can even begin to start chipping away at his mountain of of 120 HP. Explosions are your friend as usual and more so in the case of the King as he sports a pretty nasty innate defense bonus. Simply dealing enough damage to the Archon King to kill it is usually a three mission task. On the offensive side of things the Archon King has 4 methods of attack. Two standard attacks just like the regular Archons, melee and a ranged shot. Those are fairly easy to deal with and not at all the problem with the King. The first special attack the King has is a two part attack. He will grab and lift a soldier into the air where you have one action to deal damage tot he King to make him drop the soldier, which is somehow a harmless drop from like 30ft up. If you do not injure the King he will choke slam the soldier to the ground for significant damage and the high chances of inflicting Stun or Unconscious on the soldier. The second special attack is similar to the regular archons, the King will fly up and designate 4 targets with red beams of light. After one action missiles will rain from the sky on those targets causing minor damage per individual missile, but all missiles have high odds of inflicting Stun or Unconscious. The real threat of the Archon King isn't super lethality in a single attack but rather the multiple ways the King can disrupt your team and disable several of them while continuing to fight while you are short handed. On a second or third confrontation the King is usually flanked by 2 regular archons, adding to your problems and the potental for incoming damage every turn. Combined with his huge defenses this can easily make him the hardest thing to fight in the whole game.
By now I think we were all familiar with the sudden break in normal turn order that Rulers brought with them. It goes from turn based to 'I go, you go' where they react for ever single action you take. What people might not know is that Rulers will still react to you if you end your turn with unspent actions. Now this is safe to do when they are frozen as I did so in the video, but do it again when they aren't frozen and suddenly they will take your entire turns worth of unused actions and act on them at once. For example what I did was end my turn after the first missed shot leaving 5 soldiers with full action points left doing nothing. The Archon King sees that and then takes 5 actions of its own. Which is devastating. Don't do that. Sadly you can't end your turn early just to cut down on the number of wasted actions you take.
Ciaphus Cain, Hero of the Imperium, and repeaters. I covered weapon mods way early in the LP but let's take an extra moment to talk about them after what just happened. Cain has been using a basic repeater since about as early as I could mount weapon mods. Repeaters come in three tiers like everything else and give a 5/10/15% chance of instantly killing a target on a hit. When the trigger and murder something it's great, but they can be unreliable. When then go off is a mystery and unpredictable meaning it could be wasted. As an example, imagine you're shooting at a weakened alien, some sectoid that already took a hit from someone else is sitting at 4hp. You shoot at it and the repeater activates killing it instantly. Hurray you might think for a moment, before realizing that a hit from your gun would have done 4 or more damage anyway. In that case the repeaters effect is wasted. There is of course the exact opposite situation too. As example, imagine setting up a overwatch trap to ambush the first pod of the map or anything else that hasn't been engaged yet. Something big and scary like a sectopod or Archon comes into view and then suddenly Bam! The big scary thing is instantly killed. Your repeater just saved you maybe 3+ actions trying to kill an alien. It's super useful in that case! However if you look at these two examples you can see the wide disparity between circumstances when a repeater might choose to activate. It might be a huge plus to kill a big bad right away, or it might be completely inconsequential as the shot was destined to kill its target anyway with out help from the repeated. It comes down to a players choice how they want to prioritize repeaters. The risk and reward of repeaters can be high, but the reliability of other mods like stocks or free reloads is a certainty you can count on every time.