Welcome to the third instalment in our Entry Level Fleets on a Budget series. This time round we’re looking at the Relthoza, the vigorous and intimidating arachnoid race that sided with the Zenian League.
Firstly, who are the Relthoza? To the outside they appear exceptionally intimidating, brutal creatures but the truth is far more complex; bound to a surprisingly complicated caste based structure they are nevertheless individual creatures with the capacity for self-will and expression; no extra-galactic, faceless hive minding going on here! The best way to describe a Relthozan would be as an arachnoid-like centaur; 4 limbs to move around on with a vertical thorax capped with a hunched over neck and head giving them a sinister aspect. They have a further 4 upper limbs ending in highly capable tendrils, allowing them a surprising amount of dexterity and agility for creatures of their size and imposing nature. They’re visage is one of human nightmares made manifest, ten eyes, six lidless orbs clustered at the front of the head with four larger ones for peripheral vision around the edge. They have a natural ability to magnify what they are looking at which, when combined with their dexterous appendages, allows them incredible skill at miniaturisation and nanotechnology. This horrific-looking creature is capped off with a set of imposing jaws, a mass of piercing and cutting implements capable of liquefying and consuming anything in it’s path. The great irony of this evolution into something which looks like the brain child of H R Giger and H P Lovecraft’s combined nightmares is that the Relthozan’s are vegetarians by choice unless absolutely necessary… yeah….
The Relthoza are one of the most original and interesting races in the FS:A universe and I highly recommend reading through their backstory in the Zenian League Fleet Guide, it’s well worth the time and I don’t want to spoil much more of the story. Suffice to say it consists of war, some “interesting” diplomatic customs and a greater explanation into their castes structure and way of life and fighting.
So, onto the list! I wanted to try and capture the essence of the Relthozan Fleet as an ambush force. Almost everything has either Stealth, Cloaking or System Network to take advantage of the Capital Ships protection. For those unfamiliar with these rules Stealth Systems means that any attack at 20″ or greater must re-roll all successful hit rolls BEFORE rolling for exploding dice, PD, shields etc. giving the ship great early game survivability, particularly against armies that need to pile on an Alpha Strike such as the Dindrenzi.
Cloaking Fields allow ships to mask their presence from the enemy, becoming difficult to find and therefore hit. During the Command Segment, a model with Cloaking must state if it is active or inactive. If it is active any Direct Weapon Attacks made against the model automatically count as Impeded unless it would otherwise be blocked. I.e. the attacker halves the attack dice in the pool to shoot at you. The downside to this is that in order to maintain the Cloaking Field the power draw is such that your attacks are also reduced to half dice. Finally, System Network, and I’ll quote the book here as it’s far easier: If a model with Systems Network is within the Command Distance of one or more friendly models which have active Cloaking Fields and also have Systems Network, this model automatically gains the Stealth Systems MAR. For reference, this means that if you have any of your ships within command distance of a T1 ship with it’s cloak active it gains the Stealth Systems MAR – even if that ship is another T1!!! Put a carrier and a battleship in command range of each other and activate both their cloaks and suddenly they both have Stealth… for free… pretty awesome right?!
I wanted the list to take maximum advantage of this little quirk of the Relthoza while giving a solid base from which to expand into higher points. A decent mix of tiers with some SRS support in both offensive and defensive capacities was a requirement and it shouldn’t break the bank.
Nexus Class Battleship
- +2 AP x2 (+4 total)
- +2 Command Distance
- Biohazard Primaries
- 3 Interceptor Wings
Theridion Class Carrier
- Shunt Matrix
- +1 Command Distance
- Self Repair
- 6 Bomber Wings
- 2 Interceptor Wings
Assassin Class Cruiser Group w/ 2 Ships plus Huntsman Class Heavy Cruiser
- Corrosive Primaries on all ships
Widow Class Frigate Squadron w/ 4 Ships
Widow Class Frigate Squadron w/ 4 Ships
During the early game the fleet acts as a single swarm, keeping in tight and making the most of the Systems Network to limit the amount of incoming damage on all ships. This frees up your deployment a little bit as you are less reliant on terrain to get that long range protection meaning you can be a bit more aggressive with your ship placement. This does mean that you won’t be putting out a huge number of dice in attack early on but your ships have their optimum band at the 8-16″ bracket so you want to be coming in close with as many ships in tact as possible to put the maximum number of dice you can on the table.
I tooled up the Nexus to be a capable assault carrier as well as a ship of the line in order to give it a little bit of late game punch. Put some biohazard markers down on a ship to strip crew points and use precision shots and the bomber wings on the carrier to do some targeted damage to key systems then launch a 10 AD boarding assault. It is worth keeping in mind that a boarding assault can be launched from a Cloaked vessel without halving the AD too as it is not a direct weapon attack giving you some much needed protection, particularly against those nasty Sorylian broadsides with weapon shielding!
The Carrier is a second line support ship but she packs a hell of a punch. With cloaking and stealth in the early game to reduce incoming damage she should be making it into her best range without too many lost hull points and with a 9 dice broadside she can hold her own. In addition to that she carries 6 bombers and 2 interceptors meaning that she can put the hurt on large ships, outright destroy or cripple tier 2s and gains protection from boarding and torpedoes. The shunt matrix is there as a two fold item; firstly, it allows her to get the jump on the enemy, disappearing from one arc and appearing in another, the rear for example to further reduce incoming fire and give your own a boost. Secondly, it’s a decent get out of jail card in case something is getting too close and you need a quick escape! Also, because it is a secondary movement you can launch a bomber attack in your first phase then boost away once they’ve returned to base!
The cruisers are a solid and capable line filler and come with stealth systems and a cloaking field as standard meaning you can use them a bit more freely than the other ships. Deploy them on a flank or as a second wave without losing those MARs that help keep the other ships in the fleet alive. The corrosive weapons are fantastic, helping to strip away hull points even after you’ve brought them around to a new target. They work well in tandem with the battleship, reducing the PD of a vessel through hull points while the Nexus takes out crew points with the biohazard making an enemy ship an even more profitable boarding target! The Huntsman also has Self Repair to keep it in the fight, don’t forget this as it could be the difference between your opponent gaining 2 battlelog points for half a squadron and him gaining 4 and you losing 2 for the squadron being wiped out; in a Patrol Fleet game that 6 point swing can easily lose you the game.
The frigates are primarily in the list as Tier 1 protection. Keep them within command distance to get the advantages of Stealth as they don’t have cloaking fields of their own. This will admittedly only help in the early stages but every little helps with these guys and going into turns 3-4 with the majority of these squadrons in tact could mean that you can hold your opponents tier 3s at bay rather than them running rampant around the rear of your battleship or carrier. Anyone who has played against or with the Aquans know just how dangerous a 3 frigate squadron can be to a tier 1 if the dice are hot! And don’t even get me started on Sorylian corvettes…
As for cost, this fleet sits at an identical cost to the Dindrenzi at £66.60 if bought from Dark Sphere:
- Relthoza Patrol Fleet Box – £35.10
- Carrier Group Box – £18
- Frigate Group Box – £13.50
Plus P&P as usual or free if done by collection. The alternative is to buy from Spartan direct which would set you back £78.50 for the same ships but does give you the option of getting the Carrier as a single model instead of the squadron box for £18 but seeing as this is the same price as the box set from DS I don’t really see the point.
In terms of expansion from here the first and most obvious thing to do would be to add the escorts from the Carrier box to either the carrier or the battleship, the latter being my preference as they each have 2 AP for that late game assault as well as an additional 1 PD and don’t get left behind if you need to shunt your carrier. You also have the 4 Nidus Class Frigates left over; these ships are particularly interesting as they each come with 1 wing option meaning that for a round 100 points you can put down a 4 ship squadron of difficult targets with Systems Network and the ability to drop a 4 wing SRS token… pretty potent! Don’t forget to deploy near a tier 1 for the first couple turns to take advantage of stealth on them too!
Hopefully any budding Relthozan admirals have found this useful and if any established players have any C&Cs then please comment below! Come back soon for our look into the versatile and solid Terran Alliance!
Until next time!