Horror stories - Pyrrhic victories?

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Peace Weaver

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It was a long time ago, but I have a distinct memory of a battle in an alpine map where it came down to my last surviving mech locked in melee with the last enemy mech in the bottom of a ravine after all of our ammunition had been spent. It really came down to the wire - I had lost 3 pilots at that point and my mech was one bad hit away from exploding itself, but after a long and tense brawl I was able to take out the enemy mech first. I believe I finished it with only one arm remaining, and all remaining systems in critical.
 
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MeiSooHaityu

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This just happened tonight. :/

The mission was supposed to be a milk run. My Commander was in his Marauder 3R with some goodies (UA/C2, 2 +10 Damage PPCs, and 2 ERSLasers). He was training the B-Team (the trainee scrubs in their Commando, Panther, and Urbanmech).

It was a simple 1 skull base capture mission, all negotiations shifted to cash.

It was a cake walk as one would think. Easy money. Problem is, I didn't see that little red dot under my Marauder that said...hey, don't stand here. As soon as the mission completed, Sumire DFA'd my Commander's Marauder completely annihilating it. :O.

No more Marauder 3R (I play CT destruction with Ironman), no more ERLasers, I don't have any good PPCs either. Luckily my Commander had plot armor so he lived.

Ugh....I am normally so careful about that. I don't know how I missed it. All I know is my heart sank when the Leopard crashed down on his head.
 

Kereminde

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Stahlherzog

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This one made me so mad it caused a near fight with my wife.....
So it's been a while so the details aren't crystal anymore (BT-PTSD). I recall it was ambush the convoy on a lunar map. Maybe a 2 Skull mission as I recall. I had recently lost one of these because one vehicle made its' escape while I was fighting so I wasn't going to let that happen. I had 1 light mech, two mediums and a heavy. I know the light was a tricked out Firestarter that I dropped flamers for ER Small lasers. I had a Catapult, and I think an Enforcer and a Black Jack. So right off the bat I know I've got to get my FS over the mountain to cut off these fleeing vehicles to prevent a repeat loss. My other mechs all have good Long Range capabilities and are pelting everything as I advance. An opposing Panther is the first thing I hammer. I blow off his right arm killing the threat of his PPC, and the next round I blast into his CT internals and destroy his SRMs leaving him neutered. I'm wasting vehicles as I advance and take out a Firestarter, and a medium mech (Shadow Hawk maybe). The Panther has no weapons but tries to melee with my mechs, but I give him a blast of Large Lasers from the Black Jack and blow a leg off putting him to the ground. Now at this point I'm killing the mission. I've got my FS in position and have intercepted the fast lead vehicle and using him to spot I'm able to use the Catapult's LRMs to reach the last escaping vehicles. Reinforcements come but I'm not worried about them just making sure the last two vehicles don't escape. The only thing left from the initial opposing Lance is the crippled Panther which is following me on one leg with no arms and no weapons. With my medium mechs forward to engage the reinforcements I ignore the Panther and put my LRM salvo down range to kill the last vehicle after my FS had stomped the other. At this point I had to kill a Javelin and a Locust the two from the reinforcements and spit on the Panther that literally had no armor left except for his head. Then, it happened. The Panther had caught up with my Catapult and kicks me in the head, boom kills my best pilot drops my brand new Catapult. No arms, no weapons and one leg the "search for the holy grail black knight" leaps with his one leg and kicks me in the head with this same leg. I was so mad that I blew up into a profanity filled tirade. My wife hears me and comes in to scold me. "I'ts just a game....." I responded before I had adequately calmed down and that didn't help. So my two skull mission ends with me minus a pilot and sleeping on the couch.
 
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Kereminde

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So my two skull mission ends with me minus a pilot and sleeping on the couch.

But at least the couch is on the right side of the airlock.
 
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Harmon Ward

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This one made me so mad it caused a near fight with my wife.....
So it's been a while so the details aren't crystal anymore (BT-PTSD). I recall it was ambush the convoy on a lunar map. Maybe a 2 Skull mission as I recall. I had recently lost one of these because one vehicle made its' escape while I was fighting so I wasn't going to let that happen. I had 1 light mech, two mediums and a heavy. I know the light was a tricked out Firestarter that I dropped flamers for ER Small lasers. I had a Catapult, and I think an Enforcer and a Black Jack. So right off the bat I know I've got to get my FS over the mountain to cut off these fleeing vehicles to prevent a repeat loss. My other mechs all have good Long Range capabilities and are pelting everything as I advance. An opposing Panther is the first thing I hammer. I blow off his right arm killing the threat of his PPC, and the next round I blast into his CT internals and destroy his SRMs leaving him neutered. I'm wasting vehicles as I advance and take out a Firestarter, and a medium mech (Shadow Hawk maybe). The Panther has no weapons but tries to melee with my mechs, but I give him a blast of Large Lasers from the Black Jack and blow a leg off putting him to the ground. Now at this point I'm killing the mission. I've got my FS in position and have intercepted the fast lead vehicle and using him to spot I'm able to use the Catapult's LRMs to reach the last escaping vehicles. Reinforcements come but I'm not worried about them just making sure the last two vehicles don't escape. The only thing left from the initial opposing Lance is the crippled Panther which is following me on one leg with no arms and no weapons. With my medium mechs forward to engage the reinforcements I ignore the Panther and put my LRM salvo down range to kill the last vehicle after my FS had stomped the other. At this point I had to kill a Javelin and a Locust the two from the reinforcements and spit on the Panther that literally had no armor left except for his head. Then, it happened. The Panther had caught up with my Catapult and kicks me in the head, boom kills my best pilot drops my brand new Catapult. No arms, no weapons and one leg the "search for the holy grail black knight" leaps with his one leg and kicks me in the head with this same leg. I was so mad that I blew up into a profanity filled tirade. My wife hears me and comes in to scold me. "I'ts just a game....." I responded before I had adequately calmed down and that didn't help. So my two skull mission ends with me minus a pilot and sleeping on the couch.
Ouch. That hurts.
 

Flaige

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Hello! After playing the tabletop and older MW games a while, I finally ponied up and bought this game this week, and can't believe I hadn't sooner...

As for the thread subject, I've got a fairly related story. The first mission before there's even proper missions, doing the royal guard escort, I got one-shot crit-killed to the head by one of the final laser turrets. I had already finished off the mech and vehicles, there were two turrets remaining as the only enemy combatants. My protagonist definitely didn't have any plot armour.... Though honestly it did cement for me that this game doesn't put on training wheels, and it's made everything else so far feel appreciably tense and real.
 
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Kereminde

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My protagonist definitely didn't have any plot armour....

They do in the sense they don't DIE... but they can be taken out of action for up to three months of infirmary time. (At the highest level of medical rating, no less. I had my commander spend 96 days out of action if I recall correctly... alongside Dekker because of course.)
 
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Flaige

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They do in the sense they don't DIE... but they can be taken out of action for up to three months of infirmary time. (At the highest level of medical rating, no less. I had my commander spend 96 days out of action if I recall correctly... alongside Dekker because of course.)
Good to know, in my current playthrough I haven't had my commander take full pilot damage yet.

In this scenario, I got a game over and had to load my save from the mission start point. Despite me knowing how rare the headshot crit probably was, I still played that first mission with the utmost care and caution.

Also, more recently, I've had a mission where I was taking a captured artist from a base and then evacuating. Dekker took his Spider running and jumping to the base and back, only to find that the evac LZ got declared in an entirely different place to the start point of my mechs. I was woefully underprepared for the mechs and vehicles that the enemy was using, so the team rushed to the LZ using sprint, evasion, and occasional pot shots to key enemies to keep safe.

Unbeknownst to me, critting the enemy hunchback's AC20 was not the same as destroying it. I tried to shuffle a shadow hawk past it, assuming it had some token lasers and nothing else to throw at me. Anyway, the shadow hawk will never overheat again, its reactor is now in pieces all over the frozen mountain...
 
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Kereminde

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Unbeknownst to me, critting the enemy hunchback's AC20 was not the same as destroying it. I tried to shuffle a shadow hawk past it, assuming it had some token lasers and nothing else to throw at me. Anyway, the shadow hawk will never overheat again, its reactor is now in pieces all over the frozen mountain...
Critting a weapon does reduce the accuracy, if I recall, but yeah... two lessons to be learned from that.
- Never take chances playing tag with an AC/20.
- NEVER take chances playing tag with an AC/20.
(Stolen gleefully from Mel Brooks' "The Producers".)
 

Curtis Cook

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Then, it happened. The Panther had caught up with my Catapult and kicks me in the head, boom kills my best pilot drops my brand new Catapult. No arms, no weapons and one leg the "search for the holy grail black knight" leaps with his one leg and kicks me in the head with this same leg.

This happened to me in a late priority mission in the Career. The mission parameters limited me to no mechs over 50 tons, and after a fairly fierce fight I had reduced the enemy to one armless, one-legged mech that kicked my Centurion in the cockpit, killing the pilot. I thought for a long time before deciding to accept that result and not re-run the scenario.

As I found out, some missions are not giving you full information and the surprise can be deadly. Turns out the 2 Skull mission had a couple heavy mechs that turned out to be an Atlas and a Cataphract. WTF?

The skull rating are sometimes misleading. The experience earned at the end of the mission gives you a better idea of the 'real' hazard level, though sometimes that can be way off, too. Speaking roughly, about 1 time in 6 the actual mission is a half-skull more difficult than predicted, and 1 time in 6 it's a half-skull easier. When it's more difficult it's rarely (less than 1 time in 6, or less than 1 in 36 overall) a full skull more difficult than estimated. In the thousand+ missions I've run it's only been a full skull easier than estimated maybe 2 or 3 times.

Three words: "I lost Glitch."

This is the one I always remember, too. It's been more than a year and a half now, so details have become fuzzy, but…

To tell you that story I first have to tell you this one. I ran a Training Day-type mission that my XO recommended against, saying I didn't have the firepower. I ignored him and sent my personal pilot (all 10s) in a tricked-out Marauder to escort the newbies (Urbanmech/Commando/Panther). I should've listened. It was a temperate planet with a large rectangular walled fort on the left side of the map and a large irregularly-shaped lake to the right of it, with only a narrow strip of dry ground separating them. To make a long story short, the only trainee to survive was an out-of-ammo Urbanmech. Even the Marauder (maximized for defense) got badly shot up. I'd never seen that map before and loudly expressed the desire to never see it again.

Two missions later, I saw it again.

This time I had my standard 4-6-0 heavy lance (Marauder with 3 LL/WarhammerD/Archer/Archer variant with 4 SRM6). I was back in the Marauder and Glitch was piloting the close-to-stock Archer (extra armor, no ML).

The OpFor was 8 mechs in the 60-80 ton range, all appearing near-simultaneously. As soon as they spotted Glitch, anyone who could get a line of sight to her decided she was the only target on the board. It took two turns of that to knock her off her feet… for the first time. When she stood up, she started retreating, but she was in the lake (slow moving) and kept trying to turn her least-damaged side to the enemy, so she wasn't able to extend the range (which was never lower than 12 hexes and got as high as 20). When she fell for the second time I started thinking about having her punch out, but I kept thinking I could finish off the OpFor, and when she was upright she was contributing to the fight. So, I signed her death warrant.

By the end she was in that "Holy Grail" black knight situation, with only one limb, and no armor remaining anywhere, though with both LRM-20s still firing, when she fell for the fourth time (plus the head hit that stripped off all that armor) and died. And on that round I finished off the enemy — a truly Pyrrhic victory.

And then I sat and stared at the screen for about half an hour, trying to decide whether I should hit that oh-so-tempting Restart Mission button. But, in the end I decided that 1) it would cheapen Glitch's sacrifice, and 2) I really need to learn a lesson from this, and I was much more likely to learn it if I had to finish out the Career without Glitch.

And so she remained on Argo's Wall of Honor, a memorial to my own hubris.

Apex never let me live it down.
 
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