I had an intriguing practice game at the South London Legion against the ever formidable @Leonardas
I had played Rob's HDuplicitous before and built lists using it. I knew that even if I could pick off a few casters, their remnants could still wreck me (especially the Gaunt Summoner against a 20 Block of Arkanauts).
My list isn't the classic clown car. Instead I fill the Ironclad with 20 Arkanauts and a Khemist and a Navigator (the General) and put it on the board. It then moves up in the hero phase using Zilfin, deploys the dudes and then acts as a shield. I found in a practice game that it's harder than I expected to get full value here. The movement penalty is brutal - going to movement 6" for just 2 extra models really hurts. I'm pondering running the unit as an 18 to prevent this. The ships moves 6", then the Skyhooks can stand 3" away (back edge of base) then the models can move 4" and shoot 24" or 12" for Pistols.
The Ironsky Command Battalion gives a 5++ to the heroes as they offload damage onto the Arks. This was a big deal as we were doing Duality of Death - the new Battleplan which resembles 3 Places of Power.
The real power in the list comes from the Frigate - packed with 10 Cannon Thunderers and a Khemist and 3 of each Balloonist.
The Ironclad ventures out and does some damage, then tries to bait the enemy, then in a later turn, the Frigate arrives as a brutal counterpunch.
In an earlier practice game I found that the Last Word plus the bombs from the Ironclad are horrific vs MSU charges (as you can use them each time an enemy unit charges it).
I bunkered with the Ironclad well out of the 36" range of a Balewind. Two lines of 10 Arks shielded me against a possible charge. Rob elected not to put the Changeling in my deployment zone. He did his normal square box bunker with heroes well back. He rolled like a boss for DD.
I also put my Khemist on the table so that I could buff one unit of Arks if Rob gave me first turn, which he duly did. Ultimately however the plan was to sit back and hope Rob overexposed himself or that I won initiative so I could give Rob the turn and then play for a double.
I shot off a pitiful 2 Pink Horrors with6 Skyhook shoots.... I gave Rob the turn. Rob buffed up and put the LoC onto the Balewind via swaps (this needs to be banned in the next FAQ). He killed 9 Arks with Battleshock. His Pinks shuffled toward a fair way as did the Changeling. Rob won the initiative and gave me the turn.
In response I buffed the other unit and shot off the Changeling. The lone Ark also derped. Rob advanced the Pinks again and deleted the 10 Arks.
Rob won the initiative again and made me go first. I did some ineffectual shooting.
However this time I won the initiative and gave it to Rob. Lock and load! Rob took 8 wounds off the Ironclad with spells. Rob still had zero points.
In response I moved the Ironclad up and dumped its lethal cargo. Inspiring presence went on. The shooting deleted both units of Pinks outright. Rob deployed the Blues at the end of the shooting, but kept them well back so I couldn't make charges (and didn't want to walk into zap range either).
On my left I brought on the Frigate and chipped 2 wounds off the General LoC with a Khemist buffed Drill Cannon (knowing that buffing the Aethercannons would be overkill) plus the Volley Gun. Typically the Thunderers derped and barely scratched the Pinks, but the other units cleared up. I left most of the Brims alive so the Riggers could charge, chainsaw and then reach the General if I won the double.
I scored one point as my Navigator edged onto the objective.
Rob's turn was complex. He knew my Navigator had a 3D6 unbind and that He needed to cast Infernal Flames on the full strength unit of Arks. This was a Mexican Standoff within a Mexican Standoff.
Rob used the Herald to chip wounds off the Navigator (which took the Arks down to 14 models). I then forgot which hero he was targeting and didn't even use the unbind before he died. What Rob could have done was zap the Navigator with the LoC on the Balewind and then use Infernal Flames. On the left flank, the LoC used the final DD to charge onto the objective - flying over the Riggers. He derped and only killed 2 of them. However the champion was suffering from Scintillating Simulacra. Nevertheless he lucked out and did 3 wounds.
Rob scored 2 points so 1-2 to him.
In my turn (bottom of the 4th) I shot up the LoC on the left objective after moving the Frigate onto it. By luck rather than design the killing blow came from the Frigate (so it immediately grabbed the objective). Had it not done so, then Plan B was to charge the Brims and use the back of the base to clip the objective on a move. The scoring always seems a bit fiddly on this Battleplan (e.g. Summoned heroes cannot score as they haven't moved).
On the right flank, I shot off the Gaunt Summoner and then charged the Ironclad into the blues to score.
This gave me an unassailable lead going into the final Battleround.
All in all a real pleasure of a game. My cagey strategy paid dividends this time.