Objective: Payload

Hello and welcome back fellow Legion commanders. Today we’re mulling over the Payload objective card.

This objective makes me want to go back and play Overwatch and smash faces with Reinhardt. During the handful of matches I’ve now played fighting over payloads, I’ve found Overwatch characters speaking in my mind. Shout out to my fellow Reinhardt mains.

This objective is my favorite in the game now. So without further chatter, lets get into it. If you already understand how to play the card, skip past the understanding the card and get right into all the random information bits.

Understanding the Card: Set Up

Vital Assets and you - A modest guide - The Fifth Trooper

This card is pretty quick to set up as it only has two steps at set up.

  1. Starting with blue player, place your bomb cart in your deployment zone. Then red player does the same.
  2. Starting with Blue player, mark a piece of terrain with a red objective token. Then, Red player marks a piece of terrain with a blue objective token.
    This objective token represents the destination of the bomb carts. The blue player is deciding where the red player’s destination is, and vice versa.

    Interestingly, the piece of terrain marked can be partially in a player’s deployment zone, just not completely within. More on this later.

Understanding the Card: Scoring

  • For this objective, there is a range of possible scores being 0-3.
  • Scoring is only calculated at the end of the match.
  • Scoring is determined by how close your bomb cart got to the designated terrain piece
    • 1 point if your bomb cart is at range 2
    • 2 points if your cart is at range 1
    • 3 points if your cart is touching the terrain piece
    • 0 points if your cart is derping in the middle of the map, beyond range 2 of the terrain piece

Understanding the Card: The Bomb Cart Rules

The cart can make a pivot and a speed 2 move at the end of each turn. As long as the player who controls the cart has more unit leaders at range 1 of the cart, than opposing unit leaders.

There is a section in the rules reference guide for Bomb Cart. The rules are simple enough. The bomb cart basically does not interact with anything while in moves, it only cares where it lands. It can move through all units, is not slowed by difficult terrain and can move through the opponent’s bomb cart.

The cart stopping on a unit does displace the unit and units that cannot be displaced can impede a cart from moving to that space.

The cart provides heavy cover.

The cart is on a medium base. A full speed 2 move plus base is 6.96 inches.

Things to Consider: Distance

The maximum range of movement for the cart is 41.76 inches. That is six full speed two moves in a straight line.

If on battle lines, your opponent marks a barricade with just a tip barely out of their deployment zone, and you have your bomb cart directly across from it, the total space to travel will be just under 24 inches. On Long March, if your targeted terrain is .1 out of opponent’s deployment zone and you have a straight line path to it, then your cart has 36 inches to move into contact. It’s highly unlikely your opponent ever places the destination directly across from your cart but this is to help you imagine how far the cart can actually travel. Its pretty far.

Turn 0

From the outset, you should be looking at the board in relation to the deployment zone. You should be considering what pieces of terrain are mostly in a deployment zone but barely jutting out.

Imagine if you’re blue player and choosing a table edge. You know payload is in your battle deck. You also know what deployment cards are in your deck. One of your checks should be is there any combination of deployment and payload that is going to crazily favor one side of the table or the other.

Maybe you spot a barricade that will will stick just a little bit out of your deployment on major offensive and on long march. So you choose the side that will give you this ideal payload destination on two of the four deployments you have in your deck. This is something that could give you a turn 0 win.

Armor Tactics

The payloads move but the destinations are static. This means after set up, you can measure the distance your payload needs to move, choose a optimal route and plan out your payloads movements. Knowing how many moves you need to reach your destination is important. A great tactic for this objective (and one I’ve fallen victim to) is to block your opponents payload with armor.

While the payload can move through enemy vehicles, it cannot displace vehicles and therefore cannot end its movement on the vehicles. This means a well places ATRT, ATST, tank, etc. can slow or halt the progress of the payload. The AAT Trade Federation Battle tank and clone Saber tank are great for this because their bases are as large as they come. Slowing your opponent’s cart down for a turn or two could be the turns you create an advantage by pushing yours unimpeded.

If your the player with the vehicles, look for choke points the payload will or may travel through. Combining the size of your vehicle with the terrain to block the payload off could net you a win.

Factions and Payload

If I had to list the factions from best to worst on payload, I’d say its –

  • CIS
  • Rebels
  • Empire
  • Republic

Again this section is very opinionated.

CIS

CIS at the time of writing this have to take one of two commanders that are melee power houses. Grevious is a explosive missile that can dive onto a payload and challenge it hard. And Dooku exerts an insane control over an area with force push and his command cards. You know where your opponent must push their payload to and you know your opponent has to push out to it. This is great for Dooku who may struggle diving into your opponent’s forces on other objectives.

The commanders are just a start. Just as amazing for payload, is the CIS immunity to being suppressed. The payload will be moving each turn and the droids have no problems getting their two actions every turn. B1’s don’t rely on aims or dodges as much as some other corps and aren’t sacrificing as much by moving and shooting every turn. A cherry on top is that the cart provides heavy cover, which the droids desperately want at all times.

Challenges to the droid’s dominance on payload would be armored units (especially flame ATRTs), Taun Tauns, and lists heavy with melee/range 1-2 units.

Rebels

Rebels are an easy second for factions that love payload. Disclaimer, I see mentioned in discord chats lists consisting of snipers, cassian and FD cannons to push for a long range game. This is the not a list that wants payload obviously despite being rebels.

No, I put rebels second as they have Tauns, Luke Skywalker, R2D2, Sabine and ATRTs. Tauns could easily play coy in early turns taking safe shots and hiding. All while R2D2 beep boops on other side of the table pressuring for a victory point. Then at the ideal turn, the Tauns can come crashing down on the opponent’s payload, challenging control over it. Luke of course can crash in also and has force push to push unit leaders out of range of the payload. Maybe the ATRTs take some early poke damage, no biggies, R2D2 can repair it off then beep boop across the map.

ATRTs can block the path as discussed before which is good. If the ATRTs are equipped with flamers, they don’t have to charge in necessarily. And instead could wait for opponent to move out with the payload then move in to roast. The payload can be moved by vehicle leaders as well, so three ATRTs could be a armored pushing force to get the objective moving along.

To move the payload unit leaders have to be at range 1 of it. This means units could be clumping up which makes a ripe target for a Sabine explosions turn. All while R2D2 beep boops across the map.

R2D2 sure comes up a lot. The droid is good on payload for sure. The most points you can score are 3, which in my experiences, I can’t recall happening. So the R2 secret mission point can mean a lot. On top of that, if you do send units away to try and catch R2, those are units you won’t be able to count towards controlling your payload to move it. Pretty good in all.

Empire

The common empire lists really don’t want payload as far as I can tell. Imagine a 3 shore 3 mortar list and how it wants to play. Its all too happy to set up a firing line and shoot it out with the opponent. You know those mortars don’t want to chug along with the payload. Shores moving along with it makes them more vulnerable to being focused down. And even if it wasn’t shores but rather Stormtroopers. Storms really want to be taking an aim and shooting to maximize their offense. An Empire gun line’s best bet is likely to shoot opposing forces to bits on early turns and take control of the board by attrition.

There are Empire strengths that could shine on Payload. Vader and Palpatine come to mind. Both exerting great control over an area. Both could murder everything pushing your opponent’s payload. IRG and snows might come along with these two commanders and would also thrive challenging the payload. The ATST and Occupier tank are great armor units that could slow the payload down with their size and shoot units attempting to push the payload off the table. But even then these armored units are likely running along side a shore/mortar heavy list.

The Clones

I really think Clone players do not want to see payload and here’s why. The top clone lists at time of this post seem to be the corp heavy (Phase IIs) death ball lists led by Rex. Luke Cook made a Youtube video detailing the list he called Rexstar, if you haven’t seen it, find it here.

The clone death ball excels at sitting on an area, generating tokens, and taking big shots or spending stand by’s. Somewhat opposite of CIS who excels at moving and shooting. Clones want to generate tokens, and shoot. OR, generate two tokens and shoot later. What payload can do, is force the clones to move more than they want to, to keep up with pushing their payload. Doesn’t taking on a clone army sound much better when they are only generating half the aims/stand by/dodge tokens they would have normally generated. Yea it should and that’s not all!

Again you should watch Luke Cook’s Rexstar video if you haven’t. But clones love turn 1. They are stupid broken on turn 1. Why? well they have Rex, Arc strike teams and possibly Phase II’s equipped with offensive push generating free aim tokens off of their scout moves. It’s very likely a clone player is entering turn 1 with 3-6 aim tokens already down. And it gets scarier. The arc troopers and Rex will again generate another free aim when they move. Rex will likely not shoot turn 1 and the ARCs have a very good chance of spending only one aim to add pierce or maybe they don’t spend any aims, and instead move for another free aim and take a dodge, to allow any units in the army to defend better against attacks. So what am I getting at it here and why talk about all this with regards to payload?

Well, with the payload objective, it is very easy and safe to avoid a turn one engagement with clones altogether. Assuming you didn’t bring any big units/vehicles that can’t be hid. And assuming there’s enough terrain cover, I’d recommend completely hiding turn one. Moving up only to positions that are also out of line of sight of attacks. By doing this, you allow turn 1 to pass and the clones lose all the free tokens. Going into turn 2, you still do not need to engage the clones directly, as your units should still be able to move the cart from a very safe position. Then in three carts are likely meeting and the armies may have to clash to push past one another.

Now this isn’t a instant win against clones but it will for sure take the clone player out of their comfort zone. The clone player will have to push their gun line out and will lose out on token generation. The arc troopers will likely get left behind and maybe their free aims don’t get shared around to all. Or the arc’s push forward and you can pick them off.

The clones do have their Tank which is amazing for blocking the path of the payload. They have ATRT’s. And they have R2D2 who can safely beep boop on the far side of the map.

Hemmed In + Payload

Hemmed in gets its own mention. This deployment is sick, giving the blue player a huge advantage on payload. Because carts are placed first, before the destination. The red player will have placed their payload in their left or right side deployment. The blue player of course can place their cart about range 1 from the very center of the table.

After payloads are placed, blue player can choose a terrain piece opposite of where the red player placed their payload. This can create a situation where the red player has an insane distance to traverse AND the red player’s direct path goes right through the blue deployment zone. Ooof.

Blue can go either way. Blue can also choose some far out piece of terrain opposite of red payload placement.

Wrap Up

Seems like a good place to wrap up a discussion about the Payload objective. As I mentioned at the start, this is my favorite objective to play now just because of the dynamic interaction it brings to the match. It gets players moving out and forces players to make decisions through out the match, rather than being a rush for objectives or a waiting game till the final turn.

Thanks for reading!

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