Battle Report: Kendall

December 4, 3135. Kendall, Independent World between the Former Free Worlds League and the Marian Hegemony.


Principes Cora Salud Katsaros eased her Icarus II up to the edge of the abandoned urban center in which she was soon to engage with the Marik Militia. The Caesar had been looking to Kendall since the League lost control of it, but both forces had been rebuilding since the Word of Blake Jihad. Upon learning that the League was attempting to reassert itself, Quinta Cohort, I Legio, was dispatched to snatch Kendall from the League’s hands before they could fully reassert their control. Katsaros’ Maniple was assigned scouting and harassment duties while the Legio attempted to assess the size of the Marik forces.

She turned her ‘Mech’s comms to the full ManipleSecurtda Centuria! Start moving North. Sensors show their heading bringing them into weapons range in the North-East. Centurion Suero, you come with me heading straight at them. The rest of Prima Centuria, move East. Everyone keep your visibility low, and move fast. When they get close, we pick one target at a time and concentrate fire from all sides. Vaditote!” Katsaros fired her jump jets on her own final command, with Suero’s Jenner following. In unison derived of long practice, the Maniple all turned on their exterior loud speakers and began the barritus.


The Icarus hit the roof with a boom, Katsaros cycled her LB-10X to cluster rounds and opened fire on the lighter of the two targets she had in her sights, but the evasive maneuvers of the FWL Vedette carried it clear of the shot, the pavement behind it erupting into dust. She cursed, realizing she had made the call too soon, and Suero’s Jenner wasn’t even in effective weapons range. They fired their jets again to rejoin the Centuria, with little to show for their efforts.

While the tanks rumbled away northward, the BattleMechs skirted East. Katsaros jumped her Icarus in view of the enemy, while the rest of her Centuria came out from behind buildings to open fire from the side. They had already lost their Locust to catastrophic engine failure, but the Centuria formed a semi-circle around the enemy units that had advanced the most. Katsaros used her Icarus’ mobility to minimize her own exposure while drawing the enemy into range of the deadly plasma rifle and suite of lasers on Roger Lewerentz’ Eisenfaust. Meanwhile, Suero and Themistoklis Torres used their mobility to keep their Jenner and Wolfhound behind the enemy.

For a brief moment, the two forces seemed locked in a stalemate. The tide turned when Torres suddenly rushed into close range, declaring “I see an opening! Wish me luck!” He weaved between the walls of a block of crumbling buildings which the Militia’s Juliano had taken cover in, and was able to aim all his main weaponry right into the Juliano’s back. Seeing a Regulator swoop in behind him on his sensors, Torres fired everything, allowing heat to flood into his cockpit. Ignoring the warnings from his Wolfhound’s computer, he continued to give everything he had, but the Juliano’s heavy armor was able to weather it all, and the Wolfhound soon succumbed to both heat and enemy fire, collapsing into the twisted rebar of the abandoned buildings and shutting down.


The battle raged on, and Katsaros saw victory slipping further away. The Marik Militia’s armor lance included two wicked fast Regulators, which had effectively tied up her own tanks, slowing her pincer attack. Her ‘Mechs were still fast enough to flank the enemy, but with half her firepower unable to concentrate fire, the heavier Marik forces were successfully drawing the combat out longer, a situation favourable to their durability.

Katsaros was starting to despair as she looked at her Centuria’s ‘Mechs, barely any of their I Legio colours were still visible with their armor bearing so many ragged holes baring vulnerable internal structures. Just then, Centurion Eudora Abd al-Rahman Wolter’s voice came over the Maniple comms “Sorry for the delay, Principes, I hope you left some for us.” Relief washed over Katsaros as Wolter’s Myrmidon charged into view, and its PPC released a stream of particles that ripped through the air and slammed into the side of the Leaguers’ Juliano, finally felling the giant.

It was too little, too late, though. The combined firepower of the remainder of the Maniple was enough to destroy the FWL BattleMech lance, but not before Prima Centuria reached the same fate. Katsaros crawled out of the smoking cockpit of her Icarus in time to see fire erupt from numerous holes in the Myrmidon’s armor. She retreated from the battlefield on foot, darting through cover positions and doing her best to remain undetected. The fighting at the end was fast paced and fierce. Victory seemed always just barely out of their grasp as Securtda Centuria’s tanks traded fire with the Milita’s, claiming kills, but always one step behind. As the sounds of autocannon and gauss rifle fire slowed, Katsaros’ suit comms crackled, and she heard Miles Probatus Yuhanna Fiero’s voice; “Permission to surrender, Principes? Only my Vedette is still moving, and they just took out my autocannon.” Katsaros stopped in her retreat, sagging against the nearest wall. “Sic, Miles Probatus. I will petition the Legatus to negotiate for your release.”

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Primer: Deployment & AROs

This is somewhat targeted at Haqqislam players, but I hope it will be helpful to anyone who is struggling with weathering their Reactive turns.

One of the most common issues new Haqqislam players have is stopping strong gunfighters. Shooting is definitely not Haqqislam’s strong point, and if you try to just go toe-to-toe with a shootier faction, it often doesn’t work out in your favour. What this turns in to frequently on forums and social media is “My opponent had X Fireteam and I had Y and I can’t think of a better ARO piece and I still couldn’t stop them.” The same advice is given, but it can be a complex idea to digest in a single social media comment, so I hope I can clarify some of the common advice I see given and give a more complete answer to this question.

IMG_0014.jpg

My Deployment Zone. Red circle is Tuareg in Hidden Deployment.

For the sake of a visual, here is my deployment in my last game. I was playing Vanilla Haqqislam, my opponent was playing Steel Phalanx, the mission was Highly Classified, and I was deploying first.

IMG_0015.jpg

Rest of the table. Red circle is the section my Bashi Bazouk will be coming in on. Left Camo is a Al Hawwa’ Assault Hacker, so I have some sort of area defense next to my HVT (tucked next to that blue crate.) Right Camo is a Farzan Forward Observer, so I have a mission-relevant specialist Infiltrated on the other side of the table, should his HVT go in that area.

What I look for when I’m deploying is not lanes that go back to my opponent’s troops, but lanes which my opponent might use to approach the objectives. I’m more interested in controlling portions of the table than I am in locking down particular units, or in limiting their deployment options. I will also choose lanes which give me the best chance of achieving a range band advantage.

I generally prefer not to deploy troops on rooftops, since it limits their options later in the game, but if you look at where I put my Lasiq Viral Sniper you’ll see that by placing it where I did I was able to cover multiple long, wide sections of the board, so my opponent had very little option but to neutralize the Lasiq before proceeding with the Mission, and also very limited options for dealing with it outside of its good range. The Lasiq did not survive the game, and I was frankly surprised it lasted as long as it did. The point of putting it there, though, was not to decimate his forces with Viral rounds. That would be nice, but what I wanted and what I achieved was to drive my opponent to spend orders doing something that was not the Mission. What the placement of the Lasiq accomplished was my opponent moved his Enomotarchos around the long way to try to get into more favorable range bands before engaging, which took up a lot of his Orders, and steered him into a trap.

sniperlanes

Fire lanes from both snipers are indicated above. I didn’t mark them, but you can see that there is intersecting LoF in most directions from other troops as well.

 

I cannot emphasize enough how powerful Hidden Deployment is. Now, as far as Haqqislam goes, only Vanilla has access to it, so I won’t linger on this particular too long, but any time you can deny your opponent the knowledge of when, where, and how part of your army will engage with his, that unknown threat is tremendously powerful. Even if they expect it, they’ll be spending Orders to move more carefully. If they don’t expect it, you’re getting shots off that they weren’t anticipating, and are probably very favorable to you. AD can function similarly, and was also a big part of my victory in this game. To continue the recounting of events, my opponent moved his Enomotarchos to try to achieve more favorable range bands before exchanging fire with my Lasiq. (I should say I removed Teucer and Phoenix in my first turn, and the rest of his army was limited to rifle ranges at best.) He went the way I wanted him to and was caught unawares by my Taureg Sniper. If you refer back to the deployment photo, you’ll notice that I didn’t use the Taureg’s Infiltration. I had wanted to Infiltrate onto a side of the board somewhere to cover a horizontal lane, but I set up terrain diagonally like that specifically to help break those up more and there wasn’t a place I liked as well as this one spot in my DZ. That was, again, because it gave me good coverage of a path I expected him to use to approach the objective. I knew he’d have to go after my HVT, so I had both the Tuareg and the Lasiq overlooking it, and my opponents primary lanes of approach to it. With his MSV gone, and no way to touch the Tuareg with a template without weathering a lot of fire to get close enough, my opponent went down the middle approach, still in bad range bands against the Lasiq, but without the Tuareg to worry about. At that point he ran out of orders, Enomotarchos extended almost to the midpoint of the table, with very little watching their back.

I mentioned that AD is another source of a mysterious threat vector. Even veteran players can be caught by AD, not because they don’t think you have it in your list, they know how to count points, but because you just can’t cover every angle all the time. Which is why my Bashi Bazouk didn’t come in until turn 2, behind Hector. It wasn’t the perfect place, I had to be in view of the Myrmidon Officer in order to be out of a Charybdis bot’s Flamethrower range, but thankfully she picked the wrong Holoecho. I then proceeded to pump Hector’s back full of AP rounds (I took a gamble here by lining up for a Chain colt shot instead of taking cover, and it paid off. He Dodged with both troops until Hector was dead, and I was able to finish off the Officer with the chain colt next.) Now this doesn’t have anything to do with AROs, but it is still a deployment issue. The Bashi Bazouk is a parachutist, so I needed to pick which edge I would come in on at the beginning, and I picked the one that I foresaw being unguarded after he started to advance. Again, I’m not lining up shots at the moment of deployment, I’m deploying to control portions of the board. The more influence you can assert on the table, the better you can anticipate what you may need to face during your Reactive turn.

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All that said, this is, of course, a dice game. I had some really clutch crits in the beginning of the game, that made a huge difference for me. I only needed one order to take out Teucer, and we were on fairly even odds for that. Phoenix I knocked out by shooting through smoke with my Djanbazan, another thing which not all of Haqqislam can do, and I happened to double crit on that roll. Phoenix and Teucer both could have won those rolls, but they didn’t, and it dramatically limited my opponents options for answering the questions my snipers asked.

murabid-tuaregs-hacker2

Starting NCA: The End?

I’m going to start with some sad news. Since my last article, I have played a grand total of two games. That’s it, just I wish I got to play more often.

I went ahead and played the same list in the last two games, figuring I’ll get extra time with it for this article. The first game was a narrow-ish (I’ll elaborate below) defeat, the second was a resounding victory – my first 10-0 in quite some time.

This list was meant to let me play with the Uhlan some, which is one of the reasons I wanted to use it twice, I didn’t keep the Uhlan around as long as I wanted to in the first game.

I’ll start with the list:
──────────────────────────────────────────────────

GROUP 1 10
UHLAN HMG, Feuerbach / . (2 | 99)
CRABBOT Flash Pulse / Knife. ()
FUSILIER Missile Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 15)
FUSILIER Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 12)
FUSILIER (Forward Observer, Deployable Repeater) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 12)
FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
FUSILIER Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
HEXA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (0 | 27)
AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
BLACK FRIAR (Albedo, Biometric Visor L1) MULTI Rifle, Nanopulser, Drop Bears / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 28)

GROUP 2 2
HEXA MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (1.5 | 32)
SIERRA DRONBOT HMG / Electric Pulse. (1 | 25)

6 SWC | 300 Points

Open in Infinity Army

The first game was Decapitation, and my opponent was playing Shock Army of Acontecimento. He brought a Dragao, so, naturally, the game opened with hot TAG-on-TAG action. It was an exciting back and forth too, with the Dragao going Unconscious and then being brought back up, and going Unconscious again in the same order that it finally took out my Uhlan with its Heavy Flamethrower. All the way to Dead. That’s how many armor rolls I failed. It’s been over a month so details beyond that are actually getting a little fuzzy to me. I kept trying to kill his Machinist and failing, and it kept bringing his Dragao back. It felt like I was slipping downhill after the Uhlan was destroyed, but when we counted points in the end it was surprisingly close. I want to say 4-5. I had both classifieds, he had one, and had succeeded at one of the actual objectives, IIRC. And then an onlooker asked “Are you Securing the HVT?” and suddenly I was losing 4-7, less close. We were playing the old version of the mission because I happened to have the Wotan packet with me, and I am paying more attention to my HVT this season, but last season I would pretty frequently not really pay that much attention beyond trying to keep specialists away and would be caught by surprise that my opponent had managed Secure the HVT. I was just starting to recognize it as a problem when this Season dropped so I’m glad it’s designed to make me play better.

My second game with this list was The Grid, and my opponent brought Steel Phalanx. He won initiative and had planned on opening with Teucer to take out some of my ARO threats before moving up his Enomotarchos, but I had presented too many AROs for him to be comfortable with the risk. Instead, he moved the Enomotarchos up. My first response was a shot from my Sniper, coming out of Hidden Deployment. In retrospect, I maybe should have waited so I could get a shot unopposed, but at the time I didn’t know where he was heading exactly. It worked out wonderfully, though, he proceeded to spend 6 orders and lose an Ekdromoi trying to dislodge the Hexa. Well worth it in my book. Probably thanks in part to sucking up all those orders, his Enomotarchos was left over extended and fairly open. I was able to run an Auxilia & Auxbot up to hit two of them with the Flamethrower, and cripple the Fireteam. My opponent had a lot tied up in that team, and that was really a game changer. I’m a little unsure what happened next, but the game details aren’t the important part for this. The actual objectives interacted with were close, but I felt like I had good control of the game most of the time, and it wasn’t a challenge to Designate an Destroy more of them for me. I had also managed to whittle down his forces to the point that he was no longer capable of scoring more by the end.

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Now, for how I feel about this list. I was really having fun using Bolts, and I would enjoy to use them more and probably will, but this list is not only fun, but it works for me. And that was my goal, to get to a point where I know how to make the sectorial work for me. The Auxilia finally clicked now, and that’s big. I’m also starting to think about how I present AROs to my opponent differently and that in conjunction with the strength of Hidden Deployment has really maximized my enjoyment and utility of the Hexa MULTI Sniper. Having your threat vectors hidden from your opponent is so powerful, even a canny opponent who can predict what’s missing will have a harder time predicting where it is and an even harder time predicting when you’ll use it.

The Uhlan is, of course, the cornerstone of this list. And I love it. The durability, the mobility, Camo, great weapon combo, it has everything. I think I would actually rather have the HMG + Feuerbach combo than a MULTI HMG. Would a Flamethrower be nice? Sure, but I’m only using EXP in ARO anyway and the Feuerbach has a better long range. As I mentioned my first run ended a little early, but it was fun. The second time the Uhlan was scary enough to keep my opponent at bay, and when shots were actually fired it delivered. It’s mobility and the Feuerbach are how I destroyed nearly all the objectives I had Designated. I was a little worried that the list wasn’t optimized for the mission, but it certainly got the job done. The Camo state is, of course, a fantastic defensive tool for a TAG as well by negating a lot of the indirect ways you can engage with them, namely Hacking. I also had the Hexa Killer Hacker deployed near it so I could have a KHD handy to take care of any Hacking attempts, but that hasn’t actually come up yet. I never even took it out of Hidden Deployment in the second game. That was certainly a mistake, but it didn’t make a difference. That is one thing that nags me about this project not being complete, though. Having the KHD out there to protect the TAG is sound in theory, but I haven’t actually done it yet. I’ll return to nagging things after a brief interlude.

96d-uhlan-dossier-2015-gris

I think the weak link for me right now is the Black Friar. The model is cool, Albedo is cool, Biometric Visor would be cool if I weren’t the only one regularly running Impersonators in the area, but it just sits there in every game. Sometimes the Albedo is enough of a threat that my opponent prioritizes killing it, and that’s alright, those are orders they aren’t doing the mission with, but it’s slow and I’m always running the MULTI Rifle. Maybe I’d prefer the Sniper, but I don’t generally have the SWC left for it and the Rifle is theoretically more flexible and Drop Bears are great, but it’s just never the model I want to spend points on. It’s primarily there so I have a source of MSV. I don’t know where I want to go with that. Should I switch to a Deva? Not worry about MSV? Leave it alone? I also don’t know if the fact that I haven’t been spending orders on it is purely situational, or if I’m missing something I could/should be doing.

While I’ve hit the primary goal of start a new sectorial and get to a point where I think I know what I’m doing, there are a few things that are still nagging me. I mentioned that Hexa KHD. The Spitfire, I think, also has a lot of potential and I haven’t done much with it. There are a few things I’ve only played one game with that I just know could be amazing, namely the various incarnations of the Swiss Guard, and maybe that’s good enough, but I don’t have the success story with them yet like I do with the models I described earlier. I have not picked up more Dronbots, so I haven’t played with max Fugazi AVA. I haven’t picked up a Bulleteer or a Peacemaker. I haven’t used a Peacemaker to put Supportware on a Garuda I walk in on the far side. There are just a lot of things that have occurred to me to try, but I need to decide where to draw the line at some point. The biggest thing, though, and the reason I will come back to this even if I’m tying it up for now, is the Aquila Guard. I’ve ran the MULTI Rifle several times. I have since used a number of units that are fantastic and I had a ton of fun playing with, and might be just better than the Aquila. MSV3 is a little niche, I can’t deny that. But the Aquila Guard HMG was the first thing that made me think about doing this. The model is great. The killing potential is certainly there. I do play against a lot of ODD and Camo. And theres the name, it always tugs at my Classicist heart strings.

I think it’s time, though, that I call this project completed, and return home to Haqqislam. The tiny metal soldiers of NeoTerra will once again grace MDF rooftops and neoprene roads, though, whenever I grow bored again because I’m flighty like that, and when they do, the Aquila Guard will be there.

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Starting NCA: New Toys

I have this time managed to get in two games since my last post. In both games I used some new models I hadn’t tried yet.

Game one was a quick somewhat unexpected pick-up game. I printed off three lists I had tinkered with and picked one after I found out what mission we were playing. My opponent picked Firefight, and I decided to go with the Squalo LT one.

Here is the list:

squalo
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10
BOLT Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun, Drop Bears / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)
BOLT MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 26)
BOLT Missile Launcher, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 27)
BOLT Hacker (Hacking Device) Boarding Shotgun, E/M Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 27)
BOLT Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 24)
SQUALO (Armored Cav.) Lieutenant MULTI HMG / AP Heavy Pistol. (2 | 93)
CRABBOT Flash Pulse / Knife. ()
AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
BLACK FRIAR (Albedo, Biometric Visor L1) MULTI Rifle, Nanopulser, Drop Bears / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 28)
HEXA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (0 | 27)
FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)

5.5 SWC | 300 Points

[url=http://army.infinitythegame.com/index.html?l=IwBgLAPgzCIQzgRwK4EMA2B7aBSUUcowAOHAQgP0IFYRzKQCprh69GaCL2nqxyA7OyFQAbAE5yrUKyjNyAJlE4B4kSGKky/UPxhghZYDuOFi/AAJWgA=]Open in Infinity Army

Now, everybody and their mother said they never take the LT because they want to use the Heavy Grenade Launcher. My third list was an alternate version of this where I used the other Squalo, but I decided I wanted to try this one first for two reasons. 1) The HGL feels a little mean and I just wanted to roll dice and have fun, and 2) I wanted to try to take more advantage of Veteran by aggressively using my LT.

What actually happened is the Squalo survived the whole game and all the Bolts were picked off one-by-one. What was cool is while the Bolts were exchanging fire, that extra BS and the shotguns really came in handy.

I also, unfortunately, don’t feel like I really came away with much of a sense of how I feel about the Squalo. We forgot about Fatality L1 the whole game. Halfway through I even said “Oh you know what we’ve been forgetting about? Fatality.” and then we proceeded to forget about it for the rest of the game too. I feel like to give it a fair assessment I’ll need to use it again, but I wasn’t enamored enough to prioritize it. The HGL list will go back into my to-do stack for another day.

One thing I did learn from this game is that it now feels difficult to me to cover a table with only 10 orders. I could have done it a little bit better, but I had a clear stronger side and weaker side and I felt a bit stretched thin to deploy to cover all the possible lanes of approach. In the future I’ll keep in mind the “size of threat” presented by the models I’m putting down and consider that in how I’m trying to cover my deployment zone.

squalo

The second game was our usual game night, and we picked Looting and Sabotaging. The Locust seems to be pretty much the only really good option for destroying the enemy AC2, and without any way to provide cover to the Locust in its approach, I figured I would need to be able to punch a hole in my opponent’s defenses and then run the Locust up through it.  Here is the list I used:

Fusis
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GROUP 1 10
AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
MULEBOT (Minesweeper, Repeater) Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
SWISS GUARD HMG / Pistol, AP CCW. (2 | 68)
FUSILIER Missile Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 15)
FUSILIER Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 18)
FUSILIER (Forward Observer, Deployable Repeater) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 12)
BIPANDRA Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 24)
FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)

GROUP 25 / 1
HEXA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (0 | 27)
MULEBOT (Minesweeper, Repeater) Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
HEXA MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (1.5 | 32)
WARCOR (Aerocam) Flash Pulse / Stun Pistol, Knife. (0 | 3)
LOCUST Breaker Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, DA CCW, Knife. (0 | 33)
FUSILIER Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)

6 SWC | 299 Points

[url=http://army.infinitythegame.com/index.html?l=IwBgLAPgzCIQYgVwM4EtkWAUlNqUBWLAQmDBzKygA5zTzhKa7hqK2oBObYgNhxD8ovOgCYB4qGB7jQksFBKyQ8sdmCi8nfsWWSaWAAINwVcAHYSrdlW4kT5Qm12KNisCBnlz5kFlHUIJxKElRg/IaGQA]Open in Infinity Army

My plan was to open aggressively with the Swiss Guard and after wearing down my opponent’s forces, bring the Locust in later in the game.

What actually happened is I lost the Swiss Guard in round 1, and finished it off with Bipandra in round 2. I also lost the Locust in round 1, so seeing my chances of doing any serious point scoring evaporate in the very beginning, I shifted to denying my opponent points. That plan worked well enough to tie the game 0-0 after we each had taken 2 things out of panoplies and done nothing to each other’s AC2s.

Bipandra actually ended up being my MVP. After the Fusilier link was whittled down, I ran her out from hiding, brought one Fusilier back up, (murdered a Swiss Guard,) and was able to kill an Igao and a Kumotail with her. Taking out those orders, and the Kumotail in particular, is what let me tie up the game in the end.

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With the lack of redundancy I’m feeling like I need to start running a Trauma Doc and/or a Machinist and Palbots. Having a Palbot would give me a lot more ability to bring the heavy hitters I’m leaning on back up.

What I have found in these last two games is I feel like things are starting to “click” for me. I’m feeling more confident and comfortable with my deployment and activation choices. I feel like I can focus more now on finding out what my play style is with NCA, and see where I need to fill holes in my collection to achieve it.

Something I’m identified that hasn’t clicked for me yet is Auxilia. In theory I see the strength, but I just haven’t figured out how to use them right yet. In every instance I lose the Auxilia and the Auxbot sits there disconnected. I have yet to manage to get an Auxbot in Heavy Flamethrower range at all. I’ve been treating them somewhat as back/sideline defense and maybe I need to re-think that. I can see them perhaps being more useful if I can manage to roll them up to cover objectives.

I’m not really sure where I want to go next right now, though. I still want to give the Uhlan a try, but after that I’m not really sure. I’m trying to keep it to small list changes so I’m actually able to give the unit a try instead of needing to divide my attention a lot.

The Uhlan is the only thing left on the list of models I said I’m excited to try out in my very first post in this series. As I expected I have added to that list as I’ve gone on, and it now includes ORC Haris, Bulletteers, and Peacemakers. I may or may not get through all of those before I settle on a couple lists I want to try multiple times to better focus on learning how I can use those tools to solve different problems.

Starting NCA: Getting to Know Bolts.

I played my first full game with NCA.

I actually played a single Deployment Exercise, as detailed in my last post, followed by a normal 300 point game. The Exercise I did first was on the same table, but with a different opponent, so I had something of an edge in Deployment that way, but that didn’t stop my opponent from sealing a 7-0 victory. We played Acquisition with no special options. My opponent was playing Onyx Contact Force, and I went first. I opened by picking off members of his Unidron link, and his Maakrep. I then moved a Pathfinder up to push a button, put my Black Friar in Suppression overlooking the Tech Coffin and the path the Unidrons would come down, and ended with attempting to knock down another Unidron with my other Pathfinder and succeeded in losing a Pathfinder.

That’s when the Sphinx showed up. The score sat at 1-0 (my favor) for the rest of Round 1, with most focus being on the Sphinx. In round 2 focus continued to be on the Sphinx, but the score shifted to 0-1 (opponent’s favor.) In round 3 the focus was still on the Sphinx, but the game ended at 0-7 after he Controlled the Tech Coffin with his DataTracker and Controlled the Antenna he had previously Activated.

I decided to try out a Bolts Core this time, for the reasons also detailed in my last post. I enjoyed using them, but I feel like I still need a few more games to get used to using them. I brought this core link:

BOLT MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 26)
BOLT Missile Launcher, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 27)
BOLT Hacker (Hacking Device) Boarding Shotgun, E/M Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 27)
BOLT Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 24)
BOLT Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun, Drop Bears / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)

The Sniper and the Hacker got the most done during the game. Most of the orders I spent on them were to remove a Unidron core which was across the table from them. I lost the sniper to Plasma AROs, but succeeded at getting rid of all the Unidrons which were a threat. After that I moved them up to the middle of the table to attempt to deal with his Sphinx. I probably should have used the Hacker’s E/M grenades, but I had never Possessed a TAG before, so that’s what I did. It did work, and he was out of Command Tokens, but he still had a Nexus Hacker and easily took it back.

I like that there are so many options there, but I felt the lack of a high burst weapon in the link. A good option might be to swap out the MULTI Sniper for a Spitfire and leave the long range to the Missile Launcher. I have access to other Snipers, and have usually been bringing a Hexa, so I can probably shift that role out of the link. The Combis can get to Burst 4, which is good, but there’s not a lot they can out-range so if I’m using them I’m probably not using the best modifiers I could be.

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This will just come with time, but I need to be more aware of what tools I have in the list in general. I spent a lot of orders trying to deal with that Sphinx via strong firepower and coordinated orders, but I never attempted to bring an Auxilia over. The Auxilia + Auxbot will achieve the same goal of the coordinated orders I used, but with much less investment. I had basically relegated them to sideline defenders and wasn’t thinking about them in my active turn.

I found myself leaning on my Pathfinders more than I probably should have, because they were my most mobile units. I really like the Pathfinder for a lot of reasons, but I shouldn’t have been using them as primary attackers like I did just because it was more order efficient than walking further with a slower model.

My limited mobility I think also made it so I didn’t feel the order bump vs my last list. The Bolts were powered by the main group of 10, and were limited more by needing to free themselves of AROs than by orders. Group 2 was mostly powering the Black Friar, who is slow, and died early. I spent two Command Tokens on the coordinated orders I mentioned earlier, and one on reforming my Bolts Fireteam after the Sniper was killed by an ARO, so I ended up with not enough to merge my groups.

I was able to keep the second group useful by spending orders on the Hexa MULTI Sniper after the Black Friar died, but by the end of the game I had just my Fusilier Lt alone, unable to do anything, and not contributing its order to anyone else.

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While I enjoyed the Bolts, I missed some of the solo units I had been using. After the game I changed my Bolts list to drop the two Pathfinders into Fugazis and replace the CSU with a Hexa KHD. I don’t like the cost of the Locust, but I think I should try one out. The AHD is able to perform a lot of Classified objectives, and as I haven’t really been thinking too much about missions since I’ve been focused on learning unit profiles, I realized when I got to the table that my list couldn’t perform a lot of the classifieds.

I feel like my list of things to try is growing as I get to try more things rather than shrinking. Not that that’s surprising, really. I want to give Bolts another try with a Spitfire in the link. I want to make a point of considering how my Auxilia can help in the active turn. I want to work in a Hexa KHD and/or a Locust AHD. 15 orders is a pretty comfortable number for me, but I think I need more experience with the sectorial to distribute models in the groups effectively.

My lists waiting for the right mission stack includes a single order group one with a Squalo, and one with an Uhlan. I have my eye on picking up the double ORC blister so I can try out the ORC Haris, but I want to feel like I’ve gotten a complete sense of what Bolts can do first. I also have the shipping notification for my Beyond Ice Storm set, and that Swiss Guard is going right to the top of my get-it-on-the-table list when it arrives.

All the Season 9 changes create a new dynamic in a lot of ways too, so now I’m trying to adjust to both the new sectorial and the new ITS at once. I do know if anyone wants to try the new Soldier of Fortune option on my game night, I’m starting with 4 Yuan Yuans and an Aquila HMG…

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Here is the list I used:

Bolts
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GROUP 1 10
BOLT MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 26)
BOLT Missile Launcher, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 27)
BOLT Hacker (Hacking Device) Boarding Shotgun, E/M Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 27)
BOLT Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 24)
BOLT Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun, Drop Bears / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)
AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
PATHFINDER DRONBOT Combi Rifle, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 16)
PATHFINDER DRONBOT Combi Rifle, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 16)
CSU Boarding Shotgun, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 11)

GROUP 2 5
BLACK FRIAR (Albedo, Biometric Visor L1) MULTI Rifle, Nanopulser, Drop Bears / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 28)
FUSILIER Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 18)
FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
HEXA MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (1.5 | 32)
FUSILIER Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)

5.5 SWC | 300 Points

Open in Infinity Army

 

 

 

 

Starting NCA: First Impressions

I got my first game in with NCA. Sort of.

Sort of because what I actually did was deployment exercises with one of our USARF players. We rolled for initiative normally, deployed, played through the first round, then switched armies and repeated. I think looking at my list from both sides was a good exercise and I’d be interested in trying it again, but it also was a little awkward to try to act like there would be more rounds, and USARF had first turn both times. Next time we’ll trade first turn.

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The one photo I remembered to take. My Hexa MULTI Sniper’s view to the starting point of the Maverick she revealed and shot at in response to the Maverick’s Impetuous activation. I rolled a 20. That became a theme for both of my Hexas. Woo!

Having not played any mission to completion, I don’t feel like I have a complete feel for anything, but I have some impressions.

The first thought that came to me with the conclusion of the exercise, was that I was set up to lean heavily on three models – Swiss Guard Assault Hacker, Aquila Guard Multi Rifle Lieutenant, and Hexa Spitfire – but I didn’t provide enough orders to power them. All three were in my first combat group, which was 10 orders, and I had two orders in the second group. When I was running my own forces, in the face of fairly extreme odds, Van Zant put down the Aquila, and a Pathfinder before running out of orders while Dogged. An infiltrating flamethrower grunt knocked out both the Hexa Spitfire and the Fusilier Missile Launcher with one template. (This is going to be a later point as well.) A Combi Fusilier was targeted, and taken out by the Katyusha. Going in to my first turn with only four orders in the group, plus the still hidden Swiss Guard’s order, was very painful. I opted to convert three orders to regulars, and use the Paramedic’s irregular to try to medikit the Aquila up, and succeeded! But then he died again in his first exchange on the next order. I now didn’t have enough orders to do anything useful. I attempted to maneouvre the Swiss Guard to shoot a Foxtrot in the back, but fell short by an inch. My opponent’s first turn really pulled the rug out of under me, I never had a chance to build up any sort of momentum. It was a great opening on his part, but I think I could have weakened the blow on my part before I even got to the table if I had put more orders into the list.

Part of the reason I was so low on orders was that I wanted to include all the shiny new toys. The one I was really forcing in there is the Aquila, and that’s just because I like it a lot thematically.  I find it a little hard to justify when I could be putting in the Deva Spitfire and still getting effective camo hunting at a lower cost, though. This is a new challenge for me, as the limited access to high-tech toys in Haqqislam means I haven’t generally needed to choose between them. I’ll need to learn how to decide when a particular piece of equipment is going to be valuable when I’m making my lists. I like the Aquila enough that I’ll still try to put it in there often, but I might leave the Swiss Guard out in that case.

The Aquila poses another challenge for me. If I’m running the MULTI Rifle I want to be able to use the Lieutenant Order on it, but without Chain of Command I’m inviting, if not guaranteeing, Loss of Lieutenant at some point. In Haqqislam, in addition to having Chain of Command unless it’s QK, I tend to think about a lot of my troops, with a high order count and a lot of redundancy, as fairly disposable. With the lower order count I was working with, and the heavy reliance on a few of my models, I needed to be a lot more careful and calculated than I’m used to being. This will be beneficial across all factions, I’m sure.

Related to being more careful, I should Dodge more. When, for example, being hit by a template I will frequently shoot anyway just because I’m willing to risk the Armor roll to remove my opponent’s model. With a need to preserve what I have, I think Dodging is something I should consider more, especially with TO Camo, since choosing not to Dodge is immediately writing that off. That’s not something I’ve had to deal with before since the drop from Camo to Mimetism isn’t quite as painful. Additionally, to support that, I should try to maintain Line of Fire overlooking my other troops. That is, of course, a good idea anyway, but it feels more important if I’m planning on Dodging more.

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I’m now thinking about what I want to try next.

I might feel more comfortable if I can construct a list that feels more similar to something I’d use in Haqqislam and just incorporate a few of the new toys I’m excited about at a time. The Bolts toolbox might feel a bit like the Muyib toolbox. My next game I’ll try out a core of Bolts and see how I like them. It seems like people generally love them or hate them. I hope I’m in the former group, as I now have six.

The trouble with that is I’m still at a relatively low order count. This is partially just because I am trying to stick to mostly models I own and I only have one box of Dronbots at the moment. I’ll need to pick up another one and add in Fugazis. I have, however, ran plenty of 10-12 order Hassassin lists so I think it will still be a valid experiment.

An ORC Haris is also something I’m now looking at trying, as I like Haris teams in general, but that will wait for another time. The next thing in my assembly queue is some more Bolts to fill out that Core link. After that I may pick up the new repacked ORC blister to get the full Haris and give it a try. In Hassassins I really enjoy the Asawira Haris with two Muyibs. A full ORC Haris will be much more expensive, for a much worse Haris option (that Spitfire Haris Asawira is just solid gold. Having to take a Boarding Shotgun for pretty much all the other ones always hurts after being used to the Spitfire) but has many more wounds and could be a pretty effective way to deliver a specialist through heavy resistance. I certainly wouldn’t scoff at a burst 5 HMG at BS 14.

Starting NCA: Expectations

I have mentioned Infinity in previous postings on this blog. My next several updates will be about Infinity. There are a lot of guides to starting new sectorials and to starting specific sectorials, and I won’t assume I know the answers to everything and provide that, instead I will be documenting my experiences delving into a new sectorial. I have not started yet, so this first article is about my expectations.

Starting in the next few weeks I will commit to playing the NeoTerran Capitaline Army at least until I’ve found my groove with them and feel like I understand the sectorial. It has been nearly two years since I last played PanOceania. I have only ever played Vanilla PanO before. I have decided after spending time on all the flavors of Haqqislam, to take a vacation to the lovely vistas and villas of NeoTerra.

As I’ve never played NCA and I’ve only played against NCA once, I don’t really know what I’m getting into. I do have expectations, though.

First, things I expect to enjoy about playing NCA, outside the table:

  1. I like the sectorial thematically as a Classicist.
  2. I like the Latin names, and especially the Aquila for ties to Rome.
  3. The NeoVatican relations are also fun.

These are the things I expect to enjoy on the table:

  1. TO Camo. Haqqislam only has one TO model in the Tuareg, and as I play more Sectorials than Vanilla, I’ve used the Tuareg… twice? I’m expecting to have a lot of fun with Hexas and Swiss Guard.
  2. MSV3. I’ve been running a lot of Djanbazan cores lately because I run in to a lot of camo/ODD in my meta. Auto discovering and ignoring surprise shot from all those camo tokens is going to be beautiful.
  3. MULTI weapons. Haqqislam has very limited access to MULTI Snipers, and no MULTI Rifles or HMGs. I do love my Shock Ammo, but I am going to enjoy shooting DA again.

Clausewitz-Uhlans-und-Acontecimento-Tikbalangs--2

While I am really looking forward to that sweet, sweet tech, there are things I know I’ll miss about Haqqislam, and I may find myself wishing I had them or needing to find an alternative method to solve the problems I’ve used them to solve.

I expect I will miss:

  1.  Viral Ammunition. It’s so good.
  2. Shotguns on everything.
  3. Shock Marksman Rifles.
  4. Smoke. NCA doesn’t even have PanO’s single access to Eclipse smoke (the Guarda de Assaulto) so no smoke tricks, and no cover for movement.

I expect the specific things I’ll miss, as well as just some of the differences in what Haqqislam is good at vs what PanO is good at, will give me some difficulties. Especially losing my Haqqislam crutches because not all of them translate directly to something NCA can give me. The most glaring crutch I don’t see a replacement for is Warbands. I love my Warbands. I lean very heavily on Muttawi’ahs and Yuan Yuans in Haqqislam. I’ll still have the DTWs from Auxbots, but those are not Warbands. Without anything to just unleash and cause general chaos more pressure will be put on my main forces to keep the pressure on my opponent. I think I’ll need to improve my ARO game overall and think harder about my deployment.

 

I said that I want to stick with NCA at least until I’ve found my groove. Everyone has their own play style, but I think that style can be different and sometimes needs to be different from faction to faction in Infinity since the sectorials can be so different from each other. I feel like NCA is well suited to both a very heavy assault approach and to a more delicate approach of powering a few TO units. I expect going in guns blazing will be fun and novel for me, but I’ll tend more to being sneakier and running multiple Hexas with a defensive Fusilier link and inexpensive remotes to power them. I am drawn to those expensive power pieces like the Aquila Guard and the Swiss Guard so I will probably split the difference and build my list around one powerhouse and then Hexas to push buttons and move around the table more freely, and then Fusiliers. I’ll have to give a Bolts Core a try at some point, but I suspect they’ll be more mission specific for me. I’ll probably always have an Albedo Black Friar.

I mentioned several specific units just now, and I’m excited to use all of those, along with a few others. The things I want to make sure I try and am excited to put on the table are:

  1. Aquila Guard
  2. Swiss Guard
  3. Black Friar
  4.  Hexa
  5.  Uhlan
  6.  CSU
  7.  Auxilia

BlackFriar-Multirifle2

So those are my expectations. I think this is going to be a fun experience for me, and I hope it’s useful and/or interesting to others to be able to read about my experiences delving into this new sectorial. I received a lot of positive commentary about my analysis videos during Wotan, so I intend to bring those back as part of this series.

My closing question for this post is: What would you like me to reflect on during this process?