Safe and Sound

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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.

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.

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:

mb

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:

ban

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

mor

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:

jag

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:

mcm(Not available in Vanilla)

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.

sm(Not available in Vanilla)

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.

Corregidor Unit Breakdowns – Light and Medium Infantry

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Corregidor Jurisdictional Command 

This is the first of a series of articles breaking down my opinions on the various units in Corregidor and eventually Nomads as a whole.  Each new section will appear as an article when I feel enough of the tactica is complete enough to warrant it.  The work in progress will always be available in the Nomad Tactica section at the top of the page.  Feedback is welcome.  I’ve only been playing for about 9 months so I am sure there are things I am missing.  These are my opinions based on my experiences.

Light Infantry:

algs

A basic line infantry profile with no special skills, it would be easy to dismiss the Algs as a less than competitive option. At 10 points base, they are not good for a cheap regular order as the likes of Kuang Shi.  They can’t shoot particularly well and they don’t have the high WIP or special skills that some other basic line units have.  They are just good enough, and being just good enough shouldn’t be underestimated.  WIP 13 makes them competent and cheap specialists, with a Hacker, Paramedic, and Forward Observer (FO) all represented.  Weapon options are also well covered as aside from the basic Combi, they can take a Missile Launcher, HMG, MULTI Sniper, or under slung Grenade Launcher .  A Core Fire Team option can maximize their firepower and all these choices let you really tailor the unit however you like.  Sadly, outside of a link, most of the profiles are eclipsed by other options.  The one exception to this is the FO.  All FOs are equipped with a Flash Pulse, a burst one Technical Weapon (meaning it uses WIP instead of Ballistic Skill (BS)) that causes the target to enter the Stunned state if they are hit and fail their BTS save.  The range band on a Flash Pulse is similar to a Combi, but the Algs WIP being two points higher than their  BS makes the Flash Pulse a nice ARO piece (where the base burst is always one anyway).  The other nice feature of this profile is that the Alg FO has a Deployable Repeater.  Although situational, this gives you a nice option on a model you probably won’t mind sacrificing.

 

toms

Tomcats are awesome, because it turns out that Airborne Deployed (AD) specialists with Light Flame Throwers (LFT) are pretty darn useful.  The Tomcats don’t have the best stats, but they are better than Alguaciles in most areas.  They still remain relatively cheap.  Doctors and Engineers, which are the go-to profiles, are only 22 points.  That’s only 10 points more than an Alg paramedic and those 10 points buy you +1 BS and PH, AD, and Climbing Plus.  Tomcats can also take AD helper bots called Zondcats for 4 points.  There are also some situationally useful profiles with Mines, a D.E.P., and a Deployable Repeater.  The Engineer and Docs are the stars though, as they can bring back a Ramboing McMurrough or Sputnik and can do classified objectives.  Climbing Plus means that they can even get up to that Intruder’s sniper nest with relative ease.  The LFT makes this unit more than just a support piece.  A Flamer coming in from the board edge can really ruin your opponents day.  Tomcats are very versatile troops that should get serious consideration in any list.  The disadvantages to AD are the only reason I wouldn’t run more than 2.

 

Light Infantry Characters:

carl

I’m not a huge fan of Carlota for the simple reason that she doesn’t bring much to the party that a Tomcat Engineer can’t do cheaper.  +1 BS, WIP, ARM and an Adhesive Launcher aren’t a bad deal for 8 more points (if you have points left over), but the WIP is really the only thing that I think matters that much.  Even then, most likely you will be using it on G: Remote Presence model that will allow you to use a command token for a re-roll.  She comes with her own special Zondcat named Moriarty for the same price that a regular Tomcat gets one.  Moriarty does have +3 BTS, so there is that.

 

lupe

Ah Lupe, how I love you.  Let me count the ways:  Mimetism, Nanopulser, Panzerfaust, Smoke, Dogged, Specialist, +1 pretty much everything except WIP and Wounds (+0, boo) and BTS (+3, yay).  Lupe is a 23 point toolbox that can also link with your Alguaciles for even more awesome.  Lupe never fails me, I just deploy her badly some times.  Outside a link, she can pair with an Intruder to provide smoke support, hunt down Camo markers with her Nanopulser, or capture objectives.  Inside a full link she provides a burst 2, BS 15 Panzerfaust ARO to keep your opponent honest or a burst 2, PH 14 Smoke Grenade ARO to keep the link safe.  If you can squeeze her in your list do it.  You’ll be glad you did.  Just remember that she’s still pretty fragile, and that it isn’t always in your best interest to go dogged when there is a Doc around.

 

val(Not available in Vanilla)

I confess that I have never really used Valerya.  She never quite makes it into my lists.  On paper though, she is solid.  She costs 3 more points than an Alguacile Hacker and gets +1 WIP, a Pitcher, and a rather useless Expel upgrade (that might get better depending on what “Tagline” means).  The Pitcher or WIP boost alone is worth the 3 points, so the combo makes her a bargain.  Like all the Light Infantry models, she’s really crunchy, but with the repeater coverage available in CJC you should be able to use her without risking her too much.

*The Nomad units (Clockmaker, Daktari, and Remotes) available in both sectorials will be covered  at a later date.

 

Medium Infantry:

hell

Hellcats sound awesome at first, being one of the few (I think only) units in the game with Superior Combat Jump, which lets you deploy anywhere your template will fit within your deployment zone if you disperse off to an area where you can’t deploy.  Unfortunately, Superior Combat Jump doesn’t mitigate the real risks of Dispersion.  The danger for Dispersion isn’t ending up off the board, it’s landing within LoF of enemy troops and taking unopposed AROs.   Hellcats suffer a bit due to the presence of the cheaper and often more useful Tomcats.  Hellcats add Superior to their Combat Jump along with +1 CC, PH, ARM, and +3 BTS at the expense of being 4-2 MOV instead of 4-4.  They also lose the LFT that almost all Tomacats have.  This makes a number of the Hellcat profiles lose out to their light infantry brethren.  Don’t even get me started on the LT option, which is one of the dumbest profiles in the game.  The Assault Hacker, Sptifire, and HMG models are the profiles I think are still worth taking, as the Tomcats don’t have these weapons available.  For some reason the HMG profile comes with E/Maulers, which could be useful, however in most situations I’d rather have the Spitfire’s sweet range band.  The ability to walk a Hacker in from the board edge can be extremely useful, particularly if you see a lot of Heavy Infantry or TAGs in your area.

EDIT: It was pointed out to me that I did not talk about the Hellcat Boarding Shotgun (BSG).  This is a decent choice at 21 points, but still has some issues.  The big one is the 4-2 MOV.  Since I normally walk my AD troops in from the board edge, the lower move rate ends up being a factor.  The Tomcat  gives me a template weapon as well the capacity to go into Suppressive Fire, has  a 4-4 MOV trait, and comes with a repeater or mines (for 19 pts/ .5 SWC or 20 pts/ 0 SWC respectively).  There are situations where the Hellcat BSG would be superior, but most of the time I’m content with using a Tomcat for the added flexibility.  In other words, the BSG is the best Hellcat profile out of the ones that I don’t take.

 

int

The Intruders are widely believed to be one of the best Medium Infantry in the game.  With a high (Outside Pan-O) BS (13), excellent profile choices, high WIP (14), and respectable armor (3), the Intruder would be already be “good.”   It is the combination of MSV2 and camouflage that makes the Intruder stand out, and it’s the easy availability of smoke in Corregidor that makes the Intruder strike fear into the hearts of your opponents.  Intruders aren’t a win button though, and take a little more finesse to use properly than it appears at first glance.  The profiles that will see the most use are the HMG and MULTI Sniper (MSR) and I’ll get to those in a second.  A strong case can be made for the Hacker and LT options.  An LT in a marker state is hard to kill and can actually make good use of it’s LT order, and a WIP 14 Hacker benefitting from Surprise Shot has a pretty good chance at winning face to face rolls.   What hurts both of these profiles is the 4-2 move which is punishing on a camo marker troop.  Getting back the HMG/MSR, which one of these you want depends on what you want your Intruder to do.  The HMG excels in the active turn (Burst 4, Grenades) and midfield control (Suppressive Fire), while the MSR excels in ARO (DA ammo) and can shut down fire lanes across the board.  Be wary of stranding your Intruders on top of buildings or anywhere that they will have trouble vacating.  It can also be a challenge to get medical attention to them if they go down.  Intruders also shine with Smoke support, and can easily get -12 MODs with the combination of Camo, Smoke, and Surprise Shot.  At 40+ points for the HMG/MSR it will take some practice to see how much to risk your Intruders.  Your opponent will be gunning for them and if he takes them out early you could be in real trouble.

 

wild

On paper Wildcats are really good.  I’ve not gotten them to work as well as I’d like on the table, but I think that has more to do with me than the unit.  Why are they good?  For a great price you get Flamethrowers and D-charges on most profiles, good BS (13) solid WIP (13), and good protection (ARM 2, BTS 6).   There are lots of profile options including the shooty Heavy Rocket Launcher (HRL) and Spitfire, the Engineer and Assault Hacker Specialists, and the useful Number 2 and Haris link.  Wildcats are also one of your better LT options coming in at 19 points with no SWC tax.  None of the Wildcat profiles cost more than 25 points, so you can field a full link with tons of options for under 120 points.  This leaves you plenty of room for support pieces.

Corregidor Heavy Infantry, Skirmisher, and Warband choices are up next

Dusting Off the Old Blog

dust-monitoringSo, It’s been almost a year since my last sporadic posts.  In that time a lot has happened.  First of all, I don’t watch much Anime anymore.  The weekly anime reviews will not be coming back.  It’s not that I no longer like Anime, it’s just that I don’t have the time to view it on a regular basis.  I will try to finish my Top Anime reviews, and if anything seems deserving of a shout out (like Re: Zero, for example), I will try to squeeze in a write up.  What this blog will largely be about going forward is the table top war game Infinity.

One of the big changes in my life over the last year is that I have started playing Infinity on a regular basis.  I enjoy the game immensely, both for the challenge it provides and the community that surrounds it.  There isn’t too much in the way of tactica out there for the game, so I thought I’d add some.  There are a few quality podcasts and a couple of really good blogs, but nothing that covers my preferred faction, the Nomads.  For the foreseeable future, I will be focusing on just this faction.  That’s it for now.  Here are the podcasts and blogs I recommend.

Podcasts:

http://www.rempresence.com/

https://mayacast.com/

http://personalflashpaper.com/

 

Blogs:

http://prideofrodina.blogspot.com/

http://myrmidonofficer.blogspot.com/

https://lonelyartichoke.wordpress.com/

http://www.thediceabide.com/category/infinity/