Code Name: Valence
Faction: Peace River / NuCoal
Height: 4.4 meters
Weight: 6,235 kg
Baconradar’s Summary: An ultra-cheap engineering gear with an insanely good variant
Has one of the best variants in the game, bar none
At 3 TV it is joint cheapest gear in the game and one of the cheapest units
The HG weapon largely ignores the weaknesses of the gear
Varied arsenal of weapons make it a close range threat to virtually everything in the game
Damage control with the recovery trait is occasionally useful, especially against sandriders
As non-infantry with PI:5+, AR:3, and a 1.5 silhouette it’s incredibly vulnerable
Rather restrictive UA
Has 6” sensor range, which often means you’ll have to go active to throw your HG
At W:4 movement it’s the slowest gear in the game
Groups of Valence will evaporate to commonly available secondary weapons like *RP
- Deterrent: While the Valence is both fragile and slow, it carries a potent offensive payload for its price. In fact, it’s the cheapest way to field the LAC, APGL, and LSE, and joint cheapest way to get the LVB and LHG. The fact that the Valence gets all these toys is frankly pretty nuts, especially when you consider the sheer variety of coverage they offer you. Enemy has infantry overwhelming your position? The Valence is just fine at hitting them with an APGL or even a crush attack. Light recon or EW gears giving you trouble with their ECM defence and agility? Treat them to a volley of LHGs which ignore all their strengths and will often cripple them if they hit. Tanks rolling in? You have two AP:1 weapons and an AP:2 weapon (though you’ll likely only use the LSE if you can melee-flank them). The Valence is even capable of tussling with trooper gears at LAC range, since you’re about half their cost. Now at first the enemy might relish the opportunity to blast the Valences with their superior weapons and stats, but this really isn’t very cost effective for them. Even a crippled Valence can hurl a grenade just as accurately and you’re happy for your plucky engineering gears to absorb any fire powerful enough to outright overkill them. What the Valence does is forces your opponent to be wary with their more expensive toys and limit what they can actually do with them – it makes assault units slow their rush, tanks stay further back than they’d like, airdrop and special forces gears reconsider their aggressive deployment. Any time they have to actually engage with Valences they’re likely to come out behind on the points cost, especially if you’re able to offer your Valences some cover. There is nothing more frustrating than being forced to shoot an annoying Valence only to miss with a weapon that would have splattered it. The crucial thing to remember here is that the Valence may not actually get to do much beyond being a deterrent, simply because it lacks the range, accuracy and speed to get after a foe which is avoiding it. That doesn’t matter provided it sufficiently impacts the cost effectiveness of enemy models.
- Assault: Wait a minute, how can this possibly be an assault option? It’s way too fragile surely? Isn’t one of the central requirements of an assault unit durability? Well yes, and a Valence certainly isn’t durable. But it can be used to form combat groups that are pretty durable for their cost, depending on the enemy you’re up against. I wouldn’t suggest using truly large masses of Valences in this role because at a certain point the commonly available *RP or *GL simply becomes too devastating – Valences may be cheap, but you can’t afford to lose entire combat groups of them to one or two enemy activations. Rather I would suggest having a decent number mixed in with other assault models with good AR, reducing the effectiveness of moderate PEN AE weapons and seriously boosting your offensive potency. In this role the key weapon is the LHG which is a uniquely simple and effective tool for splattering gears – you don’t care about primary or secondary targets, posture, your skill rating, or optimal range – you’re always guaranteed that 1d6. The only consideration is how many models are within the blast radius and whether they have cover from that point. The other tools in your arsenal are of lesser import, but good for assaults nonetheless – your LAC is perfectly fine against other cheap or trooper gears and allows you to fire or snap fire at targets of opportunity as you advance, and the LSE and APGL are both useful specialised weapons for chasing off infantry or defenceless vehicles.
- Drone: What do I mean by drone? Well basically what I mean is that you can treat a Valence a bit like you would a hunter killer or anti-missile drone – something you buy as an upgrade for an expensive or particularly important model to defend it against certain attacks. The Valence is an excellent choice to protect tanks against airdropped anti-tank gears, or fast moving melee aggressors like the Street Viper. It has such a well-rounded arsenal that it can give the tank options against pretty much any enemy in fact, and in this role it gets to use the rare Recovery trait. Now generally damage control is not worth doing in Heavy Gear, but for an expensive unit having the Valence nearby offers some extra protection against Fire and Corrosion, both of which completely ignore armour. Of these two Corrosion is the much more frightening, if rare, and it’s nice that the Valence is generally a good counter against Sand Riders.
Demolisher Valence: For +1 TV you swap your LAC for a LSC. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this variant. The increase in price is obviously huge, a one third jump, and for that increase you really need the Demolisher Valence to be able to do something new. Losing the LAC takes away any offensive output beyond 18” as well as the Valence’s only accurate weapon, and what you gain is a weapon which competes with the LHG and your melee weapons. That said, an AP:2 ranged weapon on a 4 TV model is still pretty tasty. The Demolisher has a very specific role as a tank hunter – you want to get into range to fire your LSC into their flank, no ifs ands or buts. Along the way you’ll be moving top speed every round and throwing LHGs at targets of opportunity – there should be plenty because in all likelihood that tank is going to start backing away from you, provided you’re fielding a decent number of these bad boys. My feeling is that overall the stock Valence is better, but if you know for a fact you’ll need to kill an Aller or Visigoth, this variant gives you a much more reliable way to do so.
Sweeper Valence: For +0 TV you swap your LAC for a LFC and your LHG for a HHG. Yes, you read that right, you get a HHG. But let’s start with the less dramatic swap, the LAC for the LFC. Another weapon that is cheapest to get via the Valence, the LFC gives you AP:1 at better range than your grenade and melee weapons, but more importantly it gives you a vicious ranged weapon against infantry, even elite infantry. While the APGL simply isn’t powerful enough to reliably hurt GREL and FLAILs, the LFC will typically be rolling 3d6 against them at PEN:5 which, even against 3d6 at their 3+ skill, gives you a 44% chance to hit and a 27% chance of MoS:1 or greater. It’s even nastier against regular infantry and remember they’re usually no cheaper than your Valence. This introduces a whole new role for the Valence as a serious infantry buster. If all this variant involved was swapping the LAC for a LFC I’d still consider it a good pick – you lose your range and accuracy but you specialise, which is generally preferable, and the LFC synergises better with all your other close range weapons.
Now that’s out the way, here’s the headline. Getting access to the HHG, a PEN:10 weapon, on a 3 TV model, is B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Everything I’ve said about the LHG still applies – you go top speed and you ignore everything except getting the target point in place to hit multiple things with no cover. Let’s consider what happens if you actually land a hit with the HHG at MoS:0. Virtually every gear in the game takes 2+ damage, with many becoming crippled (even the sturdy Jager and Hunter). This includes models that cost more than three times as much as the Valence. How likely are you to hit? Well with your 1d6 against the average of piloting 4+ and 2d6 (remember ECM and agile aren’t applicable and cover is unlikely), you have a 38% chance. Get two targets in your AE of 3” and your odds of landing at least one hit are about 62%. Have 2 valences throwing grenades at those 2 targets and your chance of at least one hit is 85%. This isn’t pie in the sky thinking, this is something that is very likely to happen if you invest points in Sweepers. The bottom line is that the Sweeper Valence is hands down one of the best models in the game. It keeps virtually everything that’s good about the Valence, specialises, and ramps it up. Consider this – for 3 TV you get a unit that works effectively against infantry, ECM, agile, good armour, heavy armour, cover, melee units, drones, single expensive enemies, massed cheap enemies, high tech fancy pants gears, sand riders, and the HHT-90 Overlord.
Foreman Valence: For +1 TV you improve your EW to 5+ and swap your LVB for a HCW (reach:1). This is a command variant only available to engineering units, which is pretty restrictive but you may well be running EN units to get access to the heavier engineering gears or simply to field more Valences. Well the cost increase is definitely a big deal, as I’ve pointed out before, so the changes need to be quite a big deal too. The HCW isn’t particularly – you get +2 PEN over your LVB which is certainly nice and makes you quite a lot more threatening to gears, but losing AP is kind of aggravating, even if you do still have your LSE. Reach 1” just isn’t relevant that often on a unit that isn’t desperate to get to melee because it still has its LAC and LHG. EW 5+, well that’s a bit more interesting because it moves you from a 31% chance of a comms success to a 56% chance. So if you were going to use your Valence to make a comms roll, it’s probably worth the +1 TV. I’m not overall impressed with this compared to the other 3 variants, but it’s still a decent model and if you know you’ll get the chance to melee with enemy gears it can be worthwhile.
Note: A user on the DP9 forum has pointed out that you technically aren’t allowed to have EN units as primary units because an EN unit cannot be a Commander. I am considering this to be a clear case of a typo, since the Foreman Valence exists.