The Counter Attack wave strikes and when I zoomed in at first I thought there was a Golem present! It was just a trick of ship stacking though. 562 ships, among them a Beam Starship, Chameleons, Mirrors, Polarizers, Bombards, Viral Shredders, Beam Frigates and Autobombs. They come in from the top right corner and the battle is fierce.
I considered littering my home system with Gravity Turrets to slow them down. But it turns out that it doesn't matter. They are all Mark III and they are 562 to my 833 mixed Mark I and II. Really, I didn't stand much chance. The Beam Frigates are just devastating and the Bombards equally so. I lost almost two hundred ships in the opening exchange. My Riot Starship cripples the Bombards enough that they can't reach my Home Command Station, but the 60 Polarizers that do get there hammer it hard. I only have two Force Fields...big mistake. I had intended to build more before the wave hit and just forgot. I had even been planning to unlock Mark II Force Fields, but all the micro in Youdon and Aosbul distracted me.
My ships hammered them as best they could, but it was like they were doing no damage at all. I just flat out pull back to around my Command Station hoping just to kill the 60 Polarizers and even though I outnumbered them 4-to-1 I just couldn't stop them. And then the Viral Shredders hit. At this point they are replicating enough that the few ships I have left can't possibly reduce their numbers faster than they'd be replaced. For some insane reason the Viral Shredders ignore my Home Command Station and attack the Manufactories, but then I realize the Home Command Station is immune to Fusion Cutters. Small comfort at this point.
To further compound my error, I left all 140 of my reclaimed ships in their transport until it was too late. When they come out they put up an excellent fight, but there are still 200 enemies and although a decent number of my reclaimed ships are Mark III, I just don't have the numbers or the time. Given their performance I'm certain I could have stopped this wave if I had brought them out ahead of time. If I'd unlocked Force Field II and dropped a few of those and the remaining six of my Heavy Beam Cannons I'd have survived.
Sadly autosave triggers in the last seconds, leaving me with only a save a half-hour in game time back, before I even took Aosbul and prior to the Exo warning popping up. Even if I felt like replaying that much the Counterattack wave would likely hit someplace other than Shunu which really wouldn't be fair. I think I'd like to suggest a "Keep last X autosaves" as an settings option. That would be really nice. I don't need them all (which is the only available option besides just one currently) but the last two or three would be really helpful when you want to try something different. (It's already on Mantis
, please support with your vote!) Final Game Time: 3 hours, 21 minutes
I'm really trying to play out each expansion so I'm torn between starting a new Zenith Remnant game, or going up to Children of Neinzul. Also, I've been writing all this up here so I feel like I have a lot more invested in this game than normal.
Really, I lost this to a stupid mistake. The Counterattack on Shunu wasn't that powerful, but I just underestimated it for two reasons. First, I knew it would contain Mark III ships when I triggered it, but I completely let that slip my mind when I evaluated the defenses I needed. Second, 562 ships is a pretty hefty chunk. I guess after watching 1k+ waves get wrecked on Ropije it just didn't hit my attention as anything significant. But they wouldn't be coming at Ropije and they wouldn't be Mark I.
As fate would happen, I'm stuck at home watching over a sick kid so I've decided to back things up and continue. So it's time to REWIND
I've jumped back 30 minutes to my last manual save. This is moments after the Chameleon wave warning appeared. I've also patched to 5.022 which wouldn't affect anything except there is a bug causing all Tractor Beams to paralyze targets they hold. I use tractors in a few places, but only in very small numbers so this bug isn't going to affect me too much for the replay. Youdon will benefit the most from this, but again it is just small amounts of threat ships that my turrets would have killed anyway, and as you'll see I beef up Youdon this time around not knowing about this bug.Wave Warning: 1143 Zenith Chameleons + 2 Starships @ Ropije (Leech)
I still have to clear Aosbul which will trigger the Warp Counterattack Guard Post, but I've already removed the Ion Cannons and cleared the MLRS Guard Post that was right next to the Warp Point leading to Vegiodi. I still have the Spire Shield Guard Post under a Force Field there though. I also still have the Warp Gate on Yoleaet to remove. I'm trying to play this just the same as before, so I'm keeping the same tech unlocks (i.e., Flagships and Heavy Beam Cannons).
So to quickly run through the replay portion, I kill the Chameleons but I received much heavier raiding from Aosbul and Yoleaet (in resposne to killing the Warp Gate) and so I'm slow getting my Fighters and Grenade Launchers into position. I don't get any Starships there in time, so I lose out on the 22 reclaimed Chameleons I got last time. My unit loses are roughly the same, but it wasn't nearly as pretty a battle as last time.
I do beef up Youdon with 5 more Sniper Turrets, 10 MLRS, and some anti-Vampire Claw defense in the form of a single Gravity Turret next to my Command Station and a single Lightning Turret. I really want less distraction from that front this time.
Aosbul is actually tougher this time around. I get two Regenerator Astro Trains while I'm killing off a ton of ships, so that means I'll have to deal with all those ships again later. They don't appear to regenerate as threat however, which I expected and which would probably be a more interesting design. But I think by this point it goes without saying that I think Astro Trains need some work. I save right before killing the Warp Counterattack Guard Post and I keep reloading until it is targeting Shunu. I want a rematch.Wave Warning: 1313 Fighters + 2 Starships @ Ropije (Light, Leech)
Counter Wave Warning: 569 Fleet Ships + 1 Starship (III) @ Shunu (Beam)
I divert my Missile Frigate and Grenade Launchers to deal with the wave while my Bombers clear the Spire Guard Post from next to the Fortress. The wave is annihilated. I didn't bother sending Leeches since they are just Fighters and losing a Leech isn't worth reclaiming a handful of Mark I Fighters.Wave Warning: 412 Beam Frigate + 1 Starship @ Ropije (Light)
I have a little under three minutes until this wave hits and a little over five until the counterattack hits Shunu. I send my Missile Frigates, Leeches and Antimatter Starships up to clean up the Beam Frigates. I carefully spread everything out to minimize the beam attacks of the Frigates. They still hammer my Missile Frigates horribly. But despite about 60 enemy Fighters joining in with the wave, the Beam Frigates die with minimal fuss. I do lose two Leech Starships which is unfortunate. Bombards may be nasty, but among the new Zenith Remnant ships I'm just not finding any good counter for Beam Frigates. They are so amazingly painful.
For Shunu's defense I drop 32 Sniper and 34 Missile Turrets, maxing my cap on both. I unlock Force Field II and drop the full cap around my Home Command Station. I stick a Gravity Turret by my Command Station to counter any Viral Shredders. I do one thing that makes me nervous and unlock Fighter III and get those cranking. I'm at 88 Knowledge after that unlock, although I've got about 2.6k incoming from Aosbul. I still hate being that low. I prefer to have 5k Knowledge around for emergencies. Then again, I guess this could be considered an emergency given this fight already lost me the game once. I don't have time to replace the Leeches I lost and I'm burning my economy as is so I pause the Starship Constructor for now. I pull out all my captured units and power them up. I also have a full cap of Riot Starships for disabling the incoming mass. The enemy counterattack arrives:
88 Autobombs 37 Beam Frigates
20 Bombards 85 Chameleons
15 Electric Bombers 71 Mirrors
76 Paralyzers 82 Polarizers
97 Viral Shredders 1 Leech Starship
They come in from the bottom left, nearly the closest possible spot to my Home Command Station. Last time they had to cross the whole system first. I send my forces in taking care to set preferred targets for most, holding back faster ships like Raid and Bomber Starships, and leaving my Teleport Battle Stations in reserve. Both sides clash and the Autobombs make it through to my Sniper Turrets but thankfully not enough survive to do more than damage them all severely. The Riot Control Starships wreck the progress of the counterattack and my TBSs appear right on top of the Bombards and wipe them out. I've set my one Leech on the Paralyzers figuring for each one I reclaim, it'll at least get one shot off and take a second ship out of the fight.
All told I take much lighter loses and I pause to assess the situation. Every one of my Force Fields is still at 100%. My loses are:
1 Light Starship 63 Fighters
117 Bombers 69 Missile Frigates
7 Teleport Battle Stations 65 Grenade Launchers
My reclaimed forces were hit fairly hard, losing a total of 48 marks worth of units and now stand at:
15 Beam Frigates 13 BombardsExogalatic Strikeforce Status: 74%
3 Chameleons 17 MLRS
3 Paralyzers 8 Polarizers
2 Bomber IIIs 4 Missile Frigate IIIs
Current AI Progress: 217Accumulated Knowledge: 2,750
Additional Resources: 2x Distribution, 1x Z.Reverse
Core Shield Generators Remaining: A, B, C, E
Current Game Time: 3:20:31