Too Many Secrets

Highly Classified
We are all blind until we actually draw the cards, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do some planning.

Done at last.  Here is the final Twinfinity mission breakdown, Highly Classified

Mission Introduction

The mission everybody loves to hate is a great exercise in list building.  How many contingencies can you cover and still be effective?  There are 10 classified objectives and you’ll be trying to achieve 5 of them, drawn at random.  This means you’ll need a good array of Specialists.

Scoring

After shuffling, each player draws two Classifieds from the Classified deck.  After redrawing any repeated cards, these 4 missions are open information and become the Main Objectives.  A player gets 1 point for each Main Objective completed and gets 4 points for accomplishing more Mains than their opponent or 2 points for getting the same (provided your opponent has at least 1).  There is 1 secondary Classified Objective worth 2 points (this one is private information).  It is entirely possible to have an 8-8 tie on this mission.

Other Rules

Deployment is the 12 inch standard, with no exclusion zones.  Neither Baggage nor Intelcom are used, but Retreat is in play.  So don’t get caught up in killing and neglect pushing buttons because you might lose a turn.

Going First or Second

There is something to be said about both here.  Going first can let you grab the Main Classified points and concentrate on playing defensive.  Going second lets you go into the last turn, if you get one, knowing exactly what you have to do to win.

Need to Know

Of the 10 classifieds only one, Extreme Prejudice, can be done by any Troop.  One more, Sabotage, can be done by any Troop with D-charges.  The rest all require someone specific.  A Hacker or Assault Hacker can accomplish 4 (Data Scan, Telemetry, HVT: Espionage, & HVT: Designation), the other types of Hacker can accomplish 2 (Data Scan & HVT: Espionage), a Forward Observer can accomplish 2 (Telemetry & HVT: Designation), an Engineer can accomplish 2 (Test Run & HVT: Retroengineering), and a Doctor/Paramedic can accomplish 2 (Experimental Drug and HVT: Inoculation).  Your classified can be swapped out for Secure HVT (which you’ll probably need to get to anyway), but none of the primary objectives can.  So it is best to cover as many bases as possible.

Your Special Person

It’s worth noting that for 3 classifieds your Specialist need to either have the enemy HVT within their Zone of Control (not hacking area) or be in base contact.  Since the Secondary Classified  can be swapped with Secure HVT as well, the HVT is more important in this mission than any other.  If one or more of those three classifieds are Main Objectives, where you place your HVT is going have a big impact on the game.  You’ll want to place the your HVT where it won’t be easy to get to.  You’ll also want to put ARO pieces covering the approaches as best you can.

Last Picked for Kickball

Something to remember when making your list is that not all specialists are created equal. Obviously a Hacker/Assault Hacker is the most useful Specialist here, and all factions have access to at least one now, because of the Alive Crew.  A Forward Observer can be skipped if you’ve taken the hacking option, but they are pretty numerous and usually cheap, so it doesn’t hurt to take one anyway.  Engineers often have D-charges, meaning they can accomplish 3 objectives.  However, the Engineer needs units with Structure to be in your list (and your opponent has to cooperate by taking them down) so they can accomplish Test Run.  Killer/Defensive Hackers and Doctors are both pretty bare bones as Specialists go, with each being able to accomplish 2.  Paramedics should have no problem with HVT: Inoculation, but need a bit of luck to get Experimental Drug. This means they are the least useful of the group.  Taking anything less than the ability to accomplish all 10 objectives is risky.  Since each Specialist type covers at least two, a bad draw would reduce your max score to 8, and make those 4 points for having more Mains very difficult to get.  If 2 of the Main objectives are unattainable for you, then you’ll need to score yours and limit your opponent to one.  That’s definitely playing on hard mode.

Strategery

Since the Main Objectives are open information, there are some simple things you can do to make things difficult for your opponent.  Is Test Run one of the Mains?  Then you might rethink putting rounds into that 8 point Sniffer bot.  Are they going for Experimental Drug? Then double tap Unconscious Troops or use Shock ammo.  On the other hand, be aware that you are vulnerable to these same tactics.  When selecting a unit with Structure for your list, pick one that will be difficult to ignore.  Try to keep units in places where they will be behind cover if they fall unconscious.  Try to avoid letting models fall unconscious in your opponent’s lap.  3 of the Classifieds (Data Scan, Telemetry, and Extreme Prejudice) can be performed on Unconscious enemy models.  If you Rambo a unit up to their Deployment Zone and it falls you might have given them a gift.

The Power of Positive Tactics

Be careful not to prioritize denying your opponent over trying to accomplish your own objectives.  This type of negative play does not make for a particularly enjoyable game for either player and leaves little margin for error.  It is best (and more enjoyable) to try to score your own points and play defensively within that context.  Remember that you only get points for a tie on the Main Objectives if each player has at least one.  It is also worth remembering that killing is not necessary to win this mission.  So keep your priorities straight.

  1. Accomplish Classifieds
  2. Deny Classifieds to your opponent.

 

Bootylicious

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“Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Mamma Gump

Okay, we’re in the home stretch now.  The fourth  Twinfinity mission breakdown is Firefight.  Let the bodies hit the floor…

Mission introduction

Seven of the Objective Points on Firefight are for killing things.  So it’s pretty obvious what your focus should be.  Those points can only be awarded to one player, so every point for you is a loss for them.  There’s not much need for restraint here, as long as you kill more points than your opponent and keep your LT safe, victory should be yours.

Firefight

Scoring

Scoring in Firefight is at the end of the game, with 4 points going to the player who killed more Army Points, 2 Points going to the player that killed more lieutenants, and 1 Point going to the player that kills more Specialists.  Nothing is said about ties here, so a tie means neither player gets points.  These points are all or nothing and achieving these objectives also denies them to your opponent.  There is 1 point available to whoever acquired more items from the panoplies.  There are 2 Classified objectives worth 1 point each.

Other Rules

Deployment Area is larger than normal at 16 inches.  There is no Retreat, Baggage, or Intelcom in this mission.  Not only is there no exclusion zone, the entire game board is a Designated Landing Area, which means “Any trooper with the Airborne Deployment Special Skill can apply a +3 MOD to his deployment PH Roll. This MOD is cumulative with any other MOD provided by any other rule.”  It also means that the enemy Deployment Zone is no longer off limits.  For this mission, AD troops can come on the board from any table edge.  Specialists don’t get any direct bonuses related to scoring, but do get a slight buff on acquiring things from the Panoplies.  There are 3 Panoplies on the center line, 12 inches apart from each other.

Panoplies, How Do They Work?

When in contact with a Panoply, a trooper can make a WIP roll.  Pass and you can make a roll on the Booty Chart of your choice.  Each Trooper cannot use a specific Panoply more than once.  If the Trooper has the special skill Scavenger or Booty, they auto pass the WIP roll.  If the Trooper is a Specialist, they can roll twice and keep the result they like the best.  This means that The Unknown Ranger, Bandits, and Irmandinhos have profiles that get to take advantage of both of these rules, which can be fun (shopping spree!).  Panonplies also allow troopers in base contact to reload any spent ammo (Mines, Panzerfausts, Crazy Koalas), by using a short skill.

Going First or Second

Whether you go first or second on this mission is down to personal preference.  There isn’t much of a strategic advantage in doing either.

All You Need Is Kill

So, there’s these goodies in the middle of the table and there is definitely the temptation to run up and grab them.  What’s more, there is an incentive to go up with a specialist.  They can roll twice!  You have two rolls to get something game breaking!  Two things to keep in mind here.

1. With a couple of possible exceptions, the stuff on the booty table isn’t generally game breaking.

Most of this stuff is useful, but it isn’t really going to fundamentally change the game.  Particularly considering the skill set of the type of unit that is going to get to the center of the board.  There is the chance that you could grab something really good, like smoke, a motorcycle, or +4 ARM, but most of the stuff is just a nice little bonus.

2. Getting stuff out the Panoplies is not going to win you the game.  Having more loot is worth exactly 1 point.  However, if that specialist you sent up to grab stuff gets capped, you could lose the point you stood to gain, and remember, you get nothing for a tie on any of the kill related points.  If you lose a bunch of guys trying to get more stuff from the Panoplies, you could end up gaining 1 and losing 4.

That being said, the Panoplies are fun!  Imagine McMurrough on a Motorcycle, or with ARM 8, or with ODD!  So have fun, but remember that the little vending machines in the middle of the table probably won’t win you the game.

Headhunting

This is a tactic that I generally stay away from, but in this mission the LT has a price on his head.  So if your opponent is running one of the Sectorials that isn’t too bothered about being decapitated (Morats), you might get lucky and get a an easy shot on his LT.   If they are running an obvious LT, like any of the Strategos or Inspiring Leadership profiles they’ll likely be expecting you to come after them anyway.  Assassinating Specialists and Lieutenants get you (or your opponent) points, so things like Fidays and TO Camo infiltrators can be well worth taking in this mission..  I would be wary about putting too much effort into this with the rest of your list, though.  Kill points are still worth more.

Watch Your Back, Jack

AD Troops can walk on from any board edge and have a considerably better chance of making a combat jump with the +3 modifier from Designated Landing Area.  Make sure to keep your models positioned in ways that will give them AROs to any troops dropping in behind them.  Since coming in is a full order, any AD troop will have to survive an unopposed shot if a model can react.  That’s something most players will decide is not worth the risk.  Give your opponent an opening though, and you could be in for a short, unpleasant game.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Special

It might be tempting to try to deny your opponent the single point for killing Specialists by not taking any Specialists.  I think this is a mistake.  There are 2 classifieds for the taking, so even if you secure the HVT, you’ll likely have given up a point to deny your opponent a point.   It’s also worth noting that Specialists are useful.  A doctor or engineer can bring your unconscious models back, denying those kill points to your opponent.  So while I wouldn’t take them just to loot the panoplies, I wouldn’t be afraid to take them if they fit your list.

Guerilla Radio

Antenna

Here is the third Twinfinity mission breakdown, Antenna Field.  I’ll have to admit that I am less familiar with this mission than the others, but the basic elements are similar to other missions, so Antenna Field is less difficult to sort out than the likes of Deadly Dance or Biotechvore.

Mission Introduction

Antenna Field is not going to give up 10 objective points easily.  Controlling an Antenna is difficult and the exclusion area means that Infiltrators and AD troops will be of limited use.  This mission is about maneuver and patience.  It’s worth noting that 5 of the 10 points available are in play on the last turn (possibly 6 with the classified).  That can lead to a lot of regrets.

Antenna Field

Scoring

Scoring in Antenna Field is per round, with 2 points given for having more Antennas controlled and 1 point for having the same number as your opponent (provided you have at least 1).  To control an Antenna you must be the only player with an active Troop in base contact with that Antenna.  Also, that Troop in contact has to be a Specialist (although a non-specialist Troop can deny control).  Trooper’s cannot be in a marker state when controlling an Antenna.  At the end of the game, controlling the center Antenna is worth an additional 2 points and controlling the Antenna on your opponent’s side of the table is worth an additional point.  There is 1 Classified Objective worth 1 point.

Other Rules

Deployment is the standard 12 inches.  There is an 8 inch Exclusion Zone on each side of the centerline and Troops cannot be deployed touching an Antenna.  Retreat is in play.  However, there are no specialist bonuses, no Baggage bonus, and no Intelcom.

First or Second

Going second is a serious advantage in Antenna Field.  I have a hard time, given the mission and the exclusion zones, imagining why you would ever want to go first.

Touching Base

There are five antennas and you can control them by touching one with a Specialist.  Because of the Exclusion Zone and the deployment rules, you will have to move up to the Antennas to control them.  The points available for controlling more is only 1 point more than controlling the same, so be careful about pushing so hard for the single point that you lose valuable specialists to a counterattack on the next turn.  Markers cannot control an Antenna.  Be aware though, that a Marker has 360 degree Line of Fire.  If your opponent has a Marker touching the Antenna in the bottom half of a round and you give them an ARO, they can reveal.  This will let them control the Antenna.

War of Attrition

Remember that there are 5 points available on the last turn, so you need to keep enough specialists alive to control more antennas than your opponent.  That also means that targeting opposing specialists should be a priority.  It’s fair to assume that you’ll lose at least a couple of your specialists over the course of the game, but you should try to limit the damage.  The center Antenna is worth an additional 2 points at the end of the game, so positioning yourself to take advantage of that is a good idea.  The single point for the Antenna on the edge of your opponents deployment zone should be weighed carefully, particularly if you go first.  In most cases it probably isn’t worth the trouble, but a point is a point.  You should also remember that your opponent will be eyeing the Antenna on your side as well.  Watch out for Hidden Deployed Troops and possibly AD on the last turn.

Safe and Sound

pilot
The new pilot rules make one of the more TAG friendly missions even friendlier.

Let’s do this again.  Twinfinity mission breakdown number two is Safe Area.  This mission is really straight forward, but with a little twist at the end.

Mission introduction

Nine of the ten Objective Points available here cannot be secured until the end of the game.  With Retreat in play, the strategy of trying to decimate your opponent can have a serious drawback for the over-zealous.  Slow and steady is best way to approach this, and moving up in good order without taking too many hits is the goal.

Safe Area

Scoring

Scoring in Safe Area is at the end of the game, with 5 points given for having more Sections Dominated and 3 points for having the same number as your opponent (provided you have at least 1).  To Dominate you must have more Army Points within the Section.  Trooper miniatures or markers both count toward your point totals.  1 point is also gained for each of the 4 Consoles that you control.  To control a Console you must be the only player with an active Troop in base contact with that Console.  Also, that Troop in contact has to be a Specialist (although a non-specialist Troop can deny control).  Trooper’s cannot be in a marker state when controlling a Console.  There is 1 Classified Objective worth 1 point.

Other Rules

Deployment is the standard 12 inches.  There are no specialist bonuses and no exclusion zones.  Retreat, Intelcom, and Baggage are all in play and can have a big impact on your game.

Retreat is triggered when a player has less than a quarter of his original forces (75 points without Baggage).  If a player starts his turn in Retreat the game ends at the end of his turn.  This means that a player going second, for example, might lose a turn altogether.  So if you are really tearing your opponent up, maybe you should move Specialists onto those Consoles and get your Classified.

Intelcom has an even larger effect on the game. Interference Mode doesn’t do much, as cancelling a model’s Specialist status will only take 1 point away from them.  Support and Control Mode though can easily change the outcome of the game and should be considered.  In exchange for giving up 1 Objective Point a player can “add the value of the INTELCOM Card to the total Army Points he has in the Zone of Operations (ZO) of his choosing, but only if he has at least one trooper in anon-Null state inside that ZO.”  Since going from a tie on Dominated Sections to Dominating more is a 5 point net swing in points, that can be a big deal.  This has to be declared from the start of the game, so it can’t be done at the last moment and it shouldn’t catch you by surprise.  Just make sure you don’t forget.

First or Second

Going second has an obvious advantage here as whoever goes first will likely have a hard time keeping specialists on a Console throughout their opponents entire last turn.  Going second also means you get to make the final moves before the game is scored.

Playing TAG

TAGs and Heavy Infantry are more useful for this mission than a number of others.  The rules for how Sections are Dominated mean that Immobilizing a TAG or HI with EM weaponry or hacking does not stop their points from counting.  You have to take them down to unconscious, which might be difficult if you lack actual anti-armor weapons (looking at you, Mutts).  The addition of Specialists profiles to the TAG Pilots (Remote or otherwise), means that these are great last turn objective grabbers.  The high points cost of the TAG will probably secure the Section that it’s in, and the pilot can easily grab the objective.  In fact, due to the way Mount/Dismount works, “By declaring Move, a trooper may Mount or Dismount a Motorcycle, TAG, Vehicle, etc. at the start of his Movement at no cost, the new troop profile will be applied during the whole sequence of the Order,” a pilot can actually use their TAG as cover while they dismount.  This is only really useful for the player going second, but with Specialist profiles at a premium at the end of the game, it’s a valid option.

I Like the Way You Move

Mobility is always useful, but in this particular mission it can be downright devastating.  Dog Warriors, Remotes, TAGs, Motorcycles, and any other particularly fast Troop can have a really big impact.  So can AD Troops, which can drop into a Section at the last second and turn the tide.  Remember that 5 point swing from a tie on Sections to having more?  Being able to sprint up the table at the end can leave your opponent helpless, but only if you’ve kept those speedy troops alive till the last turn.

Guessing Game

There’s a lot of guessing involved in this mission.  “Is this model in this quadrant or that one?”  “How many points is that model worth?”  “Do they have room for AD troops?”  This mission really rewards the ability to judge distances and a basic knowledge of what models your opponent has on the table.  Take a second when deploying to look for landmarks at the center line and in the middle of your Deployment Area.  You cannot measure for these during the game, so pick a couple out and maybe even write them down.  As for the knowledge of your opponent’s models, I would make sure to ask your opponents after practice games what different models cost.  Perhaps even browse Army when you have the time.  Knowing a Overdron is most likely about 60-75 points or that Asuka Kisaragi can move her 27 points 14 inches with one order is going to be a big help in closer games.

Stayin’ Alive

In every game of Infinity it is important to try to keep your models alive.  They are your order generators and they give you tactical options.  In this mission you also need to keep them alive so you can score.  The 4 points available from the Consoles are just icing.  To win you need to control Sections, at least as many as your opponent.  Although you could theoretically get a tie if you lose the Sections and win everything else, doing this means being able to place a couple of Specialists on your opponent’s half of the table.  That’s going to be difficult at best.  Don’t get too caught up on the Consoles.  Other than being aware of them, they shouldn’t get much in the way of consideration until the last turn.

Beating the Matrix

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“You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.  You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” – Morpheus

With Twinfinity looming, I am going to break down the missions that Sean has given us to chew on one by one.  Why?  Because writing things down helps me think them through and I might as well share.  Here is my take on Transmission Matrix.

Mission introduction

With the arguable exception of  Biotechvore, no other mission is working against you as much as this one.  Each of your objectives counts as a friendly repeater to both sides, so to score, you have to expose your units to enemy Hackers.  Of the roughly 2,304 square inches on the board 1,004 of them are going to be your opponent’s hacking area (in addition to whatever their hackers would normally have).  That’s a lot to deal with.

Transmission Matrix

Scoring

Scoring in Transmission Matrix is per round, with 2 points given for having more Antennas Dominated and 1 point for having the same number as your opponent (provided you have at least 1).  To Dominate you must have more Army Points within 4 inches of the Antenna.  Trooper miniatures or markers both count toward your point totals.  There are 2 Classified Objectives worth 2 points each.

Other Rules

Deployment is the standard 12 inches.  There are no specialist bonuses, no Retreat, no Intelcom, and no Exclusion zones.  Baggage is in play, however.  As I mentioned above, the Antennas count as friendly repeaters for both sides.  I realize that it can be hard to wrap your head around exactly what that means, so check out this article and read about the Frenemy repeaters to help you with that. (The rest of the article is good too, and frankly, unless you’ve played this mission a lot, you could probably use all the help you can get).

First or Second

Going first is not ideal for this mission, but it’s not as bad as it is for some.  If you do go first you have to decide if you really need to gain that middle antenna.  It’s a bit of a trap.  Letting it go will probably cost you 2 points, but may set you up better for the rest of the game.  It will be very difficult to hold, as your opponent will have his entire turn (and his full order pool) to push you off.  Playing it cool and getting your classifieds on that first turn might be a better option.  Regardless, if you’ve gone hacker heavy you’ll want to take out as many visible hackers as you can on this turn and if possible, bait any marker state hackers into revealing.

Going second has its dangers as well.  Commit too much to gain those 2 first round points and you could face a devastating counterattack at the top of the  second turn.  Going second does put you in the enviable position of knowing exactly how much you need to do to gain the 2 points each round, or in the last round, to win the game.  Whether it’s worth it to choose to go second depends on the table, your opponent, and your strategy.  Giving your opponent deployment and first turn can be a risky move, as he will get to set up on his favored table edge with almost all of your models on the table.

Blue Pill or Red Pill

There are generally two approaches to this mission.  Go all in on Hacking ability (Red) or limit hacking targets (Blue).  This used to be determined largely by faction, but the Alive crew gives everybody the ability to go hacking heavy.  The benefits and drawbacks to both vary by faction.  I do think that the middle ground needs to be avoided.  Limiting hacking targets is pretty straightforward.  Make sure your hackable targets are in a marker state, hidden in the corner, or left at home.  Bringing a couple of Killer Hackers isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but someone who has gone all in will probably be able to overpower you.

Down the Rabbit-Hole

So you’ve decided to try to win the Hacking war.  How exactly, do you do this?  Well, it starts by taking some hackers.  You need to be able to do two things here.  One, beat another hacking heavy list, and two, use your hacking ability effectively against someone who has limited hackable targets.  Let’s look at how each Hacker type can help.

  • EVO Hackers (EVO):  An EVO hacker provides great buffs for your other hackable units and it can fend for itself in cyber combat.  I’m not going to go into all the ways they can be helpful. I will point out though that one of the more obscure uses for an EVO is bait.  With BTS 3, two levels of unconscious, immunity to Shock, and a decent ARO program in Brain Blast, this is the target I’m hoping you’ll try to take out.  Particularly in the active turn, it has the best chance to survive a nasty hacking ARO and still be functional with the help of an Engineer.  You need some way to draw out your opponents Killler Hackers anyway.  As a bonus for this mission, it has Baggage to help it hold down an antenna all on its own.
  • Hackers (HD and HD+):  Jack of all trade hackers are a good choice in case your opponent brings a list without much to hack.  They can buff AD troops, run Supportware, and Spotlight opponents even if they decided to go with the blue pill.  If they did go with hackers, these guys can still ARO Brain Blast and can stop Remotes and HI with Gotcha.  Hackers and EVO hackers do get U-turn which can help against Guided Munitions.  This is important because Smart Missile Launchers can be very effective in Transmission Matrix.
  • Killer Hackers (KHD):  The bogeyman (or woman) that everyone who goes hacking heavy is worried about.  The KHD programs are so lethal that even a lower WIP hacker is a threat.  It’s probably best to be cagey with them.  There’s a good chance your opponent might be trying to lure them out.  Even if they don’t find enemy hackers to kill they can still be useful.  A Cybermasked KHD is a great way to hold an Antenna
  • Assault Hackers (AD):  Somewhere in between the HD and the KHD is the Assault Hacker.  They can’t buff friendly models in any way and can only use Spotlight against models that aren’t Hackable.  However, they are a real pain to any model that is Hackable.  They can’t kill an enemy Hacker with any of their programs either.
  • White/Defensive Hackers:  To be honest I don’t know much about these.  I do know that Defensive Hackers can bounce a hacking attack back at the source, but they can only do this if they can hold their ARO.  White Hackers though, can hold their ARO against models in their Hacking Area, making Breakwater and Counterstrike a lot more useful.  Both of these types of Hacking Devices have built in Firewalls (Hacking cover), but KHDs ignore Firewalls anyway.

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Using a Smart Missile Remote

originalAt first glance, a Smart Missile Launcher Remote (SMLR) looks amazing.  The ability to hit a target without line of sight is something that any player can appreciate.  It seems almost broken.  As attractive as raining death down on opponents is though, these guys don’t end up in every list.  That’s because, while SMLRs are good, they aren’t necessarily good in the way people expect them to be.

The Expectation:

A Damage 14, Armor Piercing (AP), Double Action (DA), Impact Template that ignores your opponent’s Mimetism, ODD or discovered camo mods and cover while giving them no way to shoot back seems like an easy button.  Target your opponents key units and boom.  With a little set-up, you can just chuck BS18 (BS12+6 for Guided) missiles at them, ignoring negative hit mods, until they finally fail their PH-3 Dodge.  Even being limited to 5 uses per turn doesn’t matter much, as whatever you’re shooting at will almost always die before you hit that limit.

The Reality:

That “little set-up” turns out to be quite troublesome.  There are three options for Targeting a model (the prerequisite for using Guided munitions). The first, Forward Observing, is a Burst 2, Non-Lethal, Technical Weapon attack.  This attack requires Line of Sight and uses your WIP, but it has no positive range bands and turns negative at 24 inches.  It cannot be used in ARO.  Targets still get to use Camo and Cover mods as well as shoot back at you.  In short, it is nowhere near a sure thing and it puts a specialist that may be important to you (depending on the scenario and classifieds) at risk.  Against a hard target with a -9 modifier (ODD + Cover or Suppressive Fire, Cover, & Mimitism), most Forward Observers (FOs) will be hitting on 5s or less.  The second option is to use the Spotlight hacking program.  Although this method ignores negative hit Mods and doesn’t require Line of Sight, this has drawbacks too.  Spotlight is burst 1 and always has a -3 Mod to your WIP.  An average WIP 13 hacker only has a 50% chance  of pulling this off unopposed, but it gets worse.  This is still a face to face attack and your target can Reset (hacking dodge) using their (probably unmodified) WIP.  The last option is Sat-Lock, which allows a Forward Observer/Sensor Remote to attempt a WIP -6 roll to put any model or camo token in their Sensor Area (Zone of Control plus Zone of Control of any deployed Sniffers) in the Targeted state.  Unfortunately, the negative mod makes this difficult as well.  These factors mean that actually getting a model into the Targeted state can be like throwing orders into a very deep hole.  The U-Turn program is another possible problem which allows each hacker that uses it to ARO against a Guided shot to subtract 3 from your BS.  This is stackable for each Hacker that AROs it and requires no roll on their part, so it takes only 2 hackers to put you back to base BS.  Also, a TAG would seem to be exactly the kind of unit that makes an ideal target for a SMLR.  Unfortunately all (I think) TAGs come with a ECM device that cancels the +6 conferred by using Guided ammunition. Once you factor in all these limitations, many players find this process to be more trouble than it is worth and decide to leave the SMLR out of their lists.

The Redemption:

The SMLR is flawed in the role of “killer of my opponent’s difficult models,” but there is another use for them to consider.  It turns out, with BS12, no negative rangebands, and the ability to use supportware, that SMLRs are pretty good ARO pieces.  Let’s compare the Nomad Vertigo Zond with the Nomad Alguacil Missile Launcher:

At 15 points and 1.5 SWC, the Alguacil gives you a BS11 Missile Launcher that can choose between a Burst 1 Damage 14 Explosive (EXP) Impact Template Blast Mode or an AP+ EXP Hit mode.  The Missile Launcher’s range bands are -3 from 0-8 and 40-96 inches, flat from 8-24 inches, and positive from 24-40 inches.  A Vertigo SMLR comes in at 18 points and 1.5 SWC and gives you a BS12 Burst 1 Damage 14 AP + DA Impact Template.  Aside from the slight differences in BS and firing modes,  two big advantages are that the SMLR has no negative range bands and more importantly, the SMLR can use Supportware to be burst 2 in ARO.  That makes the SMLR a pretty potent ARO piece.  Perhaps the biggest advantage though, is that the SMLR still does have ability to kill some of your opponents difficult models in the active turn if you give it some help.  After all, it isn’t the Remote’s fault you are having a hard time Targeting your opponent’s models.  As with many things in Infinity, it’s important to support the SMLR properly.

The Support:

FOs in a full link can add +3 to their WIP and are Burst 3.  This makes the odds of targeting your opponent’s models much better.  Camo token FOs can use surprise shot to give targets (without Sixth Sense Level 2 or MSV3)  a -3 Mod, which can also help.  Another possibility is to use multiple FOs in a Coordinated Order.  Only one of the “shots” will be face to face, which should give you a good shot at success.

Perhaps the best assistance an SMLR can get is from an EVO Hacker.  An EVO Hacker allows your Hacker to re-roll a face to face roll using a Command Token, allows for Coordinated Hacking attacks, can be an easy source of Supportware, and removes the -6 penalty for Sat-Lock.  Although still potentially an order sink, the offensive ability added to the ARO abilities can make the SMLR a bargain.

The Summary:

An SMLR is a powerful tool that can be a little difficult to use.  They aren’t a “win button,” but they are potent ARO pieces with considerable offensive punch IF you have planned ahead and supported them properly.  In a mission like Transmission Matrix, where there is extensive repeater coverage, an SMLR can be absolutely frightening.  While the SMLR isn’t necessarily going to smite your opponents like the hand of a malevolent god, it can still be an effective option..  Whether or not the SMLR is good fit in your list will likely depend on what else you are planning on taking.  Are you running a lot of hackers with EVO support?  Do you have Sniffers and an FO/Sensor Bot in your list?  Do you have a lot of FO options?  Yes to these questions might mean an SMLR is a good fit.  On the other hand, if you are short of orders, already have good ARO coverage, and have units with the ability to remove your opponents difficult models, the SMLR is probably not the best use of your points.

Using Smoke Effectively

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Using a Warband link effectively requires it to be used efficiently.  Sometimes that means thinking in ways that are counterintuitive, like not moving directly between two points (shortest distance be damned).  The example I am going to use is a Jaguar/Massacre Haris Link, but the principles should be good for any linked smoke throwers with a good close combat ability and short-range weapons.

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So, you’ve decided on a target (this is a skill in and of itself, but that’s a different article).  Now, on the surface of things, the best way to get there would appear to be the direct approach using your smoke to cover the advance.

Let see how this would play out:

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ORDER ONE
ORDER 1: First things first, deploy smoke.  Try to practice eyeballing 8 inches.  The better you get at this, the more effective you will be with these troops.  If you can get both within 8 inches you’ll be landing the smoke on 16 or less with Jaguars or Massacre.  IMPORTANT:  Everything in an order happens simultaneously, so if you move out and expect the smoke you throw to cover you that turn, you are going to be looking at a face to face roll.  It is safer to throw the smoke from out of the enemy’s Line of Fire and forgo the movement with your first order.

 

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ORDER TWO
ORDER 2: Now you can move-move out using the smoke as cover.  However, we have a problem.  There is no line of sight for throwing more smoke.

 

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ORDER THREE
ORDER 3: In order to continue the advance safely we’ll have to use Speculative Fire.  Since this is a whole order skill, there will be no movement and the burst is reduced to one.  Also, the negative MOD for Speculative Fire is -6.  That means that within 8 inches the smoke will land on a 10 or less.  Assuming success, which is 50-50, the problem continues.

 

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ORDER FOUR
ORDER 4: To reach the target in the safety of the smoke cloud will require another 50-50 speculative shot.  The alternative is to charge out of the smoke receiving AROs from the target as well as any models with line of sight behind it.  There is also the problem of receiving another ARO because even after you successfully take down the target, any activation afterwards will start in the line of  fire of your opponents models.

 

Now let’s look at a more roundabout approach, moving parallel to your smoke line:

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ORDER ONE
ORDER 1: It is important here to leave that small gap.  The idea here is to move parallel to your smoke line, allowing you to use full PH and full burst.

 

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ORDER TWO
ORDER 2: Be careful not leave gaps.  Loosing an inch of overall movement is far less painful than unexpectedly losing your link leader to a keyhole ARO.  Since the Smoke Template is 4.7 inches, landing two of them within 8 inches should give you some overlap.

 

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ORDER THREE
ORDER 3:  Move-move again.  It isn’t necessary for your smoke thrower to be outside the smoke cloud (which just means that no part of their base is under the template).  Yu can move into your ideal throwing position at the beginning of your next order.

 

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ORDER FOUR
ORDER 4: At some point, you will catch up with your smoke if you are crossing an open area.  Use obstacles as much as possible to get the most out of your smoke, but beware of those keyhole AROs.  When you do catch up to the end of your smoke line, take the opportunity to shuffle your link team and remember that your thrower needs to completely out of the smoke to have line of sight to anything.  However, only the thrower needs to be outside the smoke.  Also remember that you need only be outside the smoke and able to draw Line of Fire at some point during your movement. I messed up a bit here and didn’t show this on the diagrams, but it is important to remember.

 

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ORDER FIVE
ORDER 5: It is possible that with some clever maneuvering with order 4 you were able to make it into position with just the first part of this order.  However, I’m going to assume that it will require one final move-move.

 

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END RESULT
END RESULT: So wait a minute, it took an extra order to get here.  How is that more efficient?  Well leaving aside the possibility that you were able to either shoot from model from its rear arc or engage it in Close Combat CC with the fourth order, there are a couple of factors that make this better.  First, you didn’t have to use 50-50 speculative fire order.  Every smoke template thrown with line of sight have a 60% greater chance of landing (16s instead of 10s).  You also never exposed your models to enemy fire.  In fact, in the example I gave, you are still in smoke cover after you take down your target in Close Combat.  That means you start your next order inside the safety of the smoke cloud.  So pick your next target and smoke it up again.

 

Your Mileage May Vary:

Moving parallel to your smoke line will not always be the best option.  On denser tables or tables with big LoF blockers in the middle, the more straitforward approach might be bettter.  Generally, I have found that tournament tables tend to have much larger firelanes to cross.  In that case you will almost certainly find this method useful.  Order effieciency is paramount for a Warband link. They will be very vulnerable in the reactive turn, so it is very important to get the most out of them when you can.  Most likely your opponent WILL try to take them out as soon as he can. (if he doesn’t, then you proabably aren’t using them right).

Notes:

  1. The Massacre/Jag link has Stealth (through Marial Arts/Natural Born Warrior) most other Warband units have it as well.  Beware of 4+ model links and units with Sixth Sense which will ignore Stealth.
  2.  Any Intruder or any MSV2 user loves to see a board that looks like that end result diagram.  Do your hunting first and your sniping second to take advantage of all that wonderful smoke.
  3. (For CJC) McMurrough can use this same method trading -1 Burst for +3 PH and an extra 2 inches of movement.

 

Deployment – Interlocking Fields of Fire and Avenues of Approach

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Deploying on top of the hill (or building) is almost never the best option.

Being able to successfully pull off going second gives you a number advantages in Infinity.  Done right it gives the advantage of knowing exactly what you need to do to win in the last turn, it lets you use your full order pool (ie, no Command Token shenanigans), and it gives your opponent an opportunity to make errors you can exploit.  Done wrong it can allow your opponent to cripple you with an alpha strike, cause you to concede the initiative, and make the game an uphill slog at best.  This is the first in a series of articles on deploying well.  Because you can’t win a game in deployment, but you can darn near lose one.

OK, so you are deploying to go second.  If this is because you chose deployment or because your opponent chose to go first, then you have the advantage of being able to see the positions of the opposing models.  This is a major advantage that you want to capitalize on.  The first step to doing this, is to analyze the terrain relative to model’s positions and identify avenues of approach.

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So the question is:  How will my opponent move from his deployment zone towards my forces,  Particularly on the first turn?  The edges of the table are open, so it is possible for an AD troop or mobile unit to move up the flanks.  Flanking maneuvers like this can be risky and order intensive though.   Also, if you’re deploying second, there should be signs that this is your opponents intention.  Bikes or other fast (often Impetuous) units deployed on the flanks signal that this might be a primary avenue of approach.  For this example (Safe Area),  my opponent will most likely move up the middle of the board to secure objectives.  picture1Here I’ve marked the primary avenues of approach in red and the secondary avenues in yellow.  To slow or deflect my opponents advance I want to concentrate my fields of fire or otherwise shut down the red arrows, while keeping an eye on the yellow ones.  I also want to keep my troops alive so I have orders to use in my counter attack.picture2

Because I want to keep my models alive, the firing positions on the roof tops are not where I want to put ARO pieces.  The rooftops are fine for something offensive, like an Intruder, or for something like a Hacker or LT that can serve its purpose prone.  Either way, the models should not be exposed during this first turn.  Yes, they get good fields of fire, but they are also easily picked off by models firing from my opponents deployment zone.  Models on top of a building also tend to get stranded there.  They are difficult to heal/repair, and they cannot support the rest of your forces moving forward.  By placing models with good ARO capacities (DA and EXP ammo or multiple burst) in the green YES areas I can cover the primary (red) avenues of approach.  The yellow ??? indicate good places for models with less of an ARO capacity (like a non-linked Combi).  These might not be necessary though, if I can find a way to shut those secondary (yellow) avenues of approach.picture3Using my infiltrating units (Bandit) and/or area denial units (prone Morans w/ Crazy Koalas) I can effectively shut down the flanks and add an additional roadblock to one of the primary lanes.  I still need to keep the possibly of AD troops in mind, but the table edge available for walking on can easily be covered by facing non-ARO units those directions.  The presence of Koalas (or minelayers) is a major deterrent for AD troops, which have to use their whole order to come on the board and therefore cannot Dodge.   With the flanks secured by my Moran/Koalas, I can focus my attention on the center of the table.  The camo infiltrating Bandit is well placed for a counter strike and at the very least will force my opponent to spend his precious orders digging it out.  Most likely though, the presence of the camo marker will push my opponent to the avenues of approach to the Bandit’s left or the right.

Note: HVTs should be placed where they can easily be covered by your primary ARO pieces.  picture4

Summary:

  1. Identify primary avenues of approach.
  2. Place ARO units covering the primary avenues while keeping them hidden from your opponents deployment zone.  Make your opponent spend his orders coming to you.
  3. Cover the secondary avenues of approach
  4. Use infiltrators and area denial units to channel your opponent into ARO lanes.

I realize that this does not come close to covering the topic in full, but I hope it helps a little.  Look out for more deployment articles in the future.  Feel free to comment or ask questions, and good luck.

Cancelling Your Impetuous Orders

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“Stay frosty and alert” – Corporal Hicks

No, I’m not talking about rules here.  I’m talking about fighting the instincts that cost you games or at the very least, put you in a bad position.  Infinity is a game based on combat, and it’s understandable to get caught up in the excitement while going for the “kill.”   However, in the games I lose, over-extending is my most common mistake.  This might not be a problem for some people, but I find I need to remind myself of a basic Infinity truth if I am going to keep myself in check.

Keeping your own units alive is usually more important than killing your opponent.  I frequently take units that I fully expect to lose, often in the first turn (usually McMurrough).  That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to keep them alive.  Orders are the precious resource in Infinity.  Keeping your models alive is a priority because it gives you more orders (Yes, even irregular orders matter.  You have Command Tokens, don’t you?).  It is also important to try not to lose your models in ARO.  Make your opponent spend his precious resource (orders) to do the killing.  Think about what other options you have besides combat. Asking yourself some questions can help a lot.

  1. Does “X” really need to be dealt with, or will it just make things a little easier?  It’s easy to get fixated on a model in Suppressive Fire or on a TR bot covering an important part of the board.  I sometimes find myself fixating on that one model and will give up too much to try to take it out.  There’s often a way to work around the situation if you take the time to give it some thought.
  2. Do I have to deal with this now?  Needing to get a camper off an objective might be necessary for you to win, but it probably isn’t necessary in turn one.  Rather than pushing a bad position, it is usually better to back off and try a different tack.  Sure, it might mean leaving that camper there until turn three, but it will be fine as long as you deal with it eventually.  On the other hand, sometimes you do have to deal with a threat immediately.
  3. Am I taking the bait?  So you’ve decided that yes, that model must be dealt with directly.  Take some time to do a quick risk assessment.  Are there unidentified camo markers lurking?  Does my opponent have access to TO camo?  Will this action leave me vulnerable to AD troops coming in from the board edge?  Is the unit I’m committing holding my opponent back in some way?  The answers to these questions might not change your mind, but it is important that they be considered.
  4. What’s the mission? In a recent game, I foolishly lost my only Hacker before accomplishing a secondary objective.  Sure, that model was in the best position and best equipped to force one of my opponents models out of Suppressive Fire.  Unfortunately, getting that model out of Suppressive Fire did not get me points.  The mission always needs to come first.

Losses are to be expected in Infinity, but it is important not to sell your models cheaply.  The person who wins the game usually is the person who made the least mistakes.  So don’t get your blood up.  Stay frosty and make your opponent beat you instead of doing the job for him.

Corregidor Unit Breakdowns – Heavy Infantry, Skirmishers, and Warbands

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Corregidor Jurisdictional Command 

Here is the second part of my Corregidor unit breakdowns.  I’ll cover the TAGs at a later date after I get some more experience using them.  I’ll also do a post specifically on the Fireteam options and combined unit tactics at some point in the near future.

Heavy Infantry:

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Brigadas are the Corregidor unit that I want to love.  I think the models are some of the best looking ones in the game, and I like the idea of just brute forcing my way across the board.  Unfortunately, Infinity doesn’t work that way.  I’ll admit that I’ ve struggled with these guys.  There’s a fine line between maximizing your armor and being suicidal, and since Brigadas don’t have any other special skills to fall back on other than their toughness, getting on that line is the only way to make them work.  Brigadas are disappointing compared to other factions HI, but let’s not focus on what we aren’t getting and instead look at what we have.  The three profiles that I think are worth taking outside the ridiculously expensive Full Link are the Hacker, the HMG, and the Boarding Shotgun (BSG).  Let’s start with the Hacker.  At 43 points she’s quite expensive, but she gives you a tough(ish), mobile specialist.  Her WIP isn’t great, but 2 wounds and the ability to boost her defenses make her very tough nut to crack through hacking.  The problem is that ARM 4 won’t hold up that well against heavy weapons or even a lot of Combi shots.  I might try her in a mini HQ style Link with a Tinbot and a HMG with a lot of repeater coverage at some point. That will keep her out of the line of fire and minimize her weaknesses.  The HMG is a HI HMG.  Nothing more really needs to be said.  Keep him in cover and probably in Suppressive Fire as well and it will require some effort for your opponent to take him out.  That leaves us with the BSG.  Buddy this guy up with a Jaguar or even Massacre and Rambo him around the board for a jolly good time.  He’ll die, as almost all Rambo units do, but at 33 points the orders your opponent has to use to get rid of him will almost certainly be worth the cost.  Just make sure that you don’t lose him to an ARO.  For maximum carnage get him in the Armory.  I have to point out that none of these seem to be really efficient options, but if you want to play these awesome models some sacrifices have to be made.

Skirmishers:

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Leaving everything else aside the important thing is Bandits are fun.  Scavenger rarely ends up being useful, but when it does it feels so satisfying.  Camo infiltrating specialists are quite good, and my primary use for Bandits is to grab objectives early in the game.  At WIP 12, they aren’t amazing at this, but being able to deploy right next to the objective makes up for it. Even if it requires a couple of attempts to secure the objective, you still saved all the orders required to move there.   I primarily use the Killer Hacker (KHD) and Forward Observer (FO) profiles, but a case can be made for the Boarding Shotgun, Deployable Repeater, and Assault Hacker profiles as well.  The KHD is my favorite.  Surprise shot and the bonuses given by many KHD programs help mitigate the Bandit’s lower WIP although at the cost of not being able to accomplish the objective requiring Spotlight.  Bandits should be used aggressively, making use of Camo and Stealth.  Most opponents will hold their ARO because they (rightly) fear taking an unopposed shot.  You can use this to your advantage though.  Move-move until you are within the shotgun’s 8″ sweet spot or close in for a CC kill.  Against a non-MSV opponent, a Surprise shot from cover will put them at a  -9 MOD.  Bandits are also good for baiting someone out of Suppressive Fire.  Bandits give you a measure of board control and combined with a Moran can help give you the defensive barrier that so many CJC units need to shine.

Note: Here are some interesting suggestions from the forums on how to use Bandits

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I resisted using Morans for a long time because I didn’t like the sculpts.  That was a mistake, for a couple of reasons.  One, Spektrs make great proxies, and two, Corregidor units, with a couple of exceptions, are pretty crunchy and want to engage the enemy at range.  Morans and their Crazy Koalas give you a way to keep your opponent out of your face or even to protect yourself from AD troops coming in from the edge.  They also give you the opportunity to place a repeater anywhere in your half of the board.  This is a really big deal.  There are a couple of catches here though.  Those Koalas will only work if they’ve been placed on Standby or if the controller is still conscious.  This means that you’ll likely need to deploy your Morans prone, preferably somewhere difficult to reach (like a rooftop).  A couple of things to remember, you can place your Koalas on standby using a Coordinated Order (particularly useful if you have brought a Lunokhod as well), and you can place them on Standby in ARO.  Placing Koalas deserves a larger discussion then I will give it here, but if placed properly your opponent will either have to sacrifice something to set it off or will have to spend extra orders unpicking lock that you’ve made in the middle of the board.  Either way you’ve made good use of the measly 20-22pts the Moran cost you.  As for the repeaters, that can be huge too.  A well placed repeater can cover an objective or provide support to a Gecko that you want to move into the middle of the board.  I rarely leave a Moran out of my lists anymore.

Warbands:

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How can you not love these guys.  In a sectorial that can make such good use of smoke these guys are a steal at 10-13pts.  Smoke, Martial Arts, some nice CC options, and Dogged make these guys quite useful on their own, but they pair really well with Intruders.  They can also be used to cover AD troops coming in from the table edge, or to help get an ARO piece into position.  The Panzerfaust/Adhesive Launcher doesn’t have smoke and isn’t great outside of a link.  The Light Shotgun doesn’t usually add to much either, but I’ve had the E/M Close Combat Weapon take out a Raicho before.  The range is useful in a link and  you have 3 points to spare you might as well throw it in.  The Chain Rifle profile is my go to guy.  Jags generally aren’t there to kill things unless something has gone wrong, and there are times where you just need the auto hit the template provides.

Warband Characters:

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McMurder either wrecks absolute havoc or dies very quickly.  Either way he’s worth taking.  I’ve talked a couple of times now about how Corregidor can be vulnerable to a lot of direct pressure.  Well, it turns out that the best defense really can be a good offense.  McMurrough gives your opponent a threat he has to deal with.  He’ll likely spend several orders on his first turn trying to kill this guy, and that means that he won’t be using those orders to shred your Alguaciles or Wildcats.  With two wounds, a Dodge that succeeds on a 16, and the ability to through smoke at his feet on a 19, he’s fairly difficult to kill.  If your opponent makes the mistake of ignoring him, then run him into his backfield and use the dual Chain Rifles, Grenades, and beastly CC ability to take models out.  Don’t sweat it if you run into camo tokens, it turns out McMurder is pretty good at intuitive attacks.  Also, don’t be afraid to throw smoke and follow it up with a speculative grenade.  Inside 8″ he’ll be hitting on a 13.  Remember that he can’t use cover and try to make sure that he ends up nice and close to an enemy model so he can use his 4″ engage range.  My favorite thing by far to do with McMurrough is to run him up a flank.  Once my opponent successfully brings him down, I drop in a Tomcat doc to bring him back on a 13 with a Medikit.  I’ve even brought him back with an Alguacile Paramedic before to get an objective.

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This is the new hotness.  Almost as if they timed it to coincide with the movie, HSN3 has elevated “totally not Deadpool” to full on Infinity rockstar.  On his own Mr. Massacre is overshadowed a bit by McMurrough.  He lacks the impetuous order and only has 4-4 movement and one wound.  His Eclipse grenades are nice, but his more reasonable PH makes them a little less of a lock.  In a link however, he really shines.  I generally feel that the Boarding Shotgun is the superior choice, but against opponents with low BTS the Breaker Combi is a decent option.  It also allows you to place the good señor in Suppressive Fire.  Regardless of what weapon or whether you use him with or without a link, deployment is key.  Killing Massacre is going to be a priority for your opponent, so you want to get the most out of him as soon as possible.  He also eats orders like they are chimichangas, so in order to make sure he has enough orders to kill his targets try to keep him closer to the center of the board.  If you put him on a flank and your opponent drops a reserve model that absolutely must die, your going to have a hard time.  Remember that he only has one wound, so don’t get reckless with him.  Regeneration is a nice gimmick, but it shouldn’t be counted on (although it does gives him shock immunity).  His Eclipse grenades and E/M weaponry make him a great TAG counter as well as a headhunter.  I talk more about the Jaguar link later, but it’s so cheap and so good that  a little repetition is acceptable.  He has a nice synergy with the Jaguars and together they make a dangerous stealthy smokefest.  This is your kill team and it can take out the most dangerous pieces your opponent has provided you give it enough orders.   It does take some finesse to use the smoke mechanic effectively, and your targets have to be chosen carefully when you have to get that close.  However, when used properly it will make you feel sorry for your opponent as he helplessly removes models from the table.  The link is also remarkably resilient, if only for one turn, as the Jags get effectively two wounds due to Dogged.  This makes it difficult to pick apart the link team to strip the bonuses.  It also means that you can take some risks in the active turn knowing your link won’t come apart from one wound.  This is my favorite thing to run at the moment.  It’s so good, so cheap, and so deadly that it’s hard to pass up.