A band new tournament venue! The St Albans Smackdown organised by Toby “tyrannosaurus69” and Laina had something that no other tournament had in the southeast! Brownies and Rocky Road – with this out and out bribery, who could stay away.
Despite a couple of last minute drop outs we still had 16 people with 8 great tables of scenery! The venue was excellent and could have easily fitted in more which is great to know for the future! There were also lots on new faces who I hadn’t seen at the Kentish tournaments, great to know there are lots more plays out there in the South East! We also had visitors from Leeds and even Australia!
- The Grid
- Power Pack
- Highly Classified
Iron Clad/Reduced Combat Groups
Ever since Infinity began there has been the question of “How many units should I have in an Army and how many Combat Groups?”
With ITS season 9 two new rules have come into effect which have caused a real shift in the meta! It was very rare outside of Military Orders, Combined Army and PanOceanea to have people playing lists of 1 combat group with only 10 troopers.
With the new Reduced Combat Group rule, 10 order lists are protected from having any orders removed for their order pool by the use of a Command Token if they go first. This gives a new tactical advantage for armies with 10 orders as if you take the first turn you get to spend the full 10 orders (plus a lieutenant order) on troopers in a single combat group, whereas before you would be limited to only 8. This gives the player who goes first much more ability to move up the table and deal damage in that alpha strike.
This change has now made the 10 order list a lot more viable. In 1 combat group lists you can have more of those high point units like Heavy Infantry (and HI Link Teams), and of course TAG’s. With the new Iron Clad rule all TAG’s get an additional +1 damage on all attacks that involved a Ballistic Skill roll (not all BS Attacks though). This means it effects all traditional BS Weapons that require a roll e.g HMG’s, Spitfire’s etc, but not template weapons e.g. Flamethrowers, or technical weapons e.g. Flash Pulse, or thrown weapons that use PH. It also doesn’t affect close combat attacks (which is a shame for a Yoroi!).
The debate about one combat group lists vs a two combat group lists has been going in since the start of Infinity. In a 14-20 order, two combat group list (or order spam), it of course gives you more orders – not only to attack, but to complete objectives. Fail a few rolls, you still have plenty of orders to try again! These units will usually cost 10-20 points with maybe one higher cost unit, with often low attributes BS 10-12 and WP of 12-14 (with the exception of the WP 15 Ghulam!). Often order spam is supplemented by the ever present 8-point Flash Pulse or Minesweeper Remote. There are also some factions, e.g. HaqqIslam and ISS/Yu Jing who have access to very cheap units which can run interference like the Ghazi Muttawiah or Kuang Shi. These cheap units usually have only a single wound and 0-1 ARM meaning the majority of attacks are usually lethal.
On the other hand, the 1 combat group has access to veteran/elite troopers with high skills e.g. BS13-15 like the Tiger Solider, and the tough Heavy Infantry with ARM values of between 3 (Domaru/Haramaki) up to 5 (Hac Tao, Al Fasid, Swiss Guards), with 2 wounds and high BTS values. High cost units also come with special equipment such as MSV2 (Hesin, Nisse), ODD (Shakimi), and Sensor (Crane Rank). Then there are the character units like Shinobu and Tariq Mansuri, who are a force unto themselves. The ultimate combat units are of course the TAG’s with BS skills of 13-15, 2-3 wounds, and 5+ armour/BTS. Against weapons like Combi Rifles and even HMG’s the odds of tanking a shot are high, especially when you add cover to that.
There is also an advantage with the 1 combat group list that there are less moving parts to keep track off. These speeds up game play, helping ensure that you get through all three turns without the need to rush so you have slightly more thinking time on each order. Any mistakes you make and not as costly – as those HI or TAGs can take a hit and still keep going.
The two lists I chose where both 1 Combat Group 10 Order lists. Both with a TAG, on in one list two! These high cost units are back up by a cheap specialist heavy Light Infantry Keisotsu Fire Team: Core, and the cheap 8-point minesweeper Pangguling. I put together list A with a wider variety of specialist with Highly Classified in mind.
- Opponent – Ed “Edchopp”
- Faction – Steel Palanx
- Mission – The Grid
- List – B
With is EXP CCW the Yoroi TAG seemed the ideal choice for the grid. Not nly can it chop down those Antenna in a single blow, the sexy pilot can pop out and Forward Observe them.
As a preface to this missing – we all made a mistake. In the mission briefing before the game it was stated that you could only destroy Antenna in the opponent’s half of the table – a mistake which is completely understandable as it used to be like that in Wotan and there were misprints in the first few ITS 9 packs. I only realised half way through the mission, and so it was decided for everyone at the tournament to continue to play as it was stated at the start.
I lost the WP roll and Ed decided to choose deployment side and deploy second, so I chose to go first and get the advantage from the Reduced Combat Group rule.
Turn 1 JSA
I had deployed with one TAG on each side. Ed had turtled up leaving no ARO pieces out. Even Atlanta was prone high in a tower on the NW corner. This left me the ability to really push forward. Yo Jimbo lead the charge, moving his full 8-6 with no ARO’s. I then used a co-ordinated order moving up the two Yoroi and the Lu Duan (disguised as a Pangguling Minesweeper). Next I activated my LT Yoroi, spending the LT order! Why? Well, by showing that my Yoroi was my Lieutenant I was hoping to bait my opponent is spending orders and resources trying to hunt it down – and even if it did go down (which would take some doing) my Kempei with Chain of Command would take over! The LT Yoroi set off, valuing a high wall (below S7 – another advantage of TAGs) and getting a LoF on the Forward Deployed Andromeda. She dodged the first burst of HMG fire and fell back, but then got cooked by the Yoroi’s flamethrower.
The LT Yoroi push up further to get LoF on a Thorakitai Forward observer, part of a four man fire team Enonotachos. The Yoroi opened up, but the Thorakitai tanked his ARM saves, then in the next exchange the Thorakitai landed a hit with his Flash Pulse and stunned the Yoroi! Time for plan B.
Switching to the other side of the table, the other Yoroi set off. It moved up and took down an Agema. It then moved up, placing the two Koala’s right at the base of Atalanta’s tower and moved to next to the Designated Target, taking a shot at Thamyris with hacker device but missing. Now with only one order left – I think I made a mistake here. Rather than just turning around with my Yoroi and cleaving the Designated Target in two, I spend a command token to place my two Yoroi and the Lu Dian to place them in suppression fire. The LT Yoroi took a hit from an uncontested combi rifle shot from the Thorakitai but shrugged it off.
Turn 1 Steel Phalanx
Ed led off by moving his Dactyl Doctor and Yudbot (in Atalanta’s tower) which set off the two Koala’s and he dodged successfully with both! Next up the doctor pops out and shoots at the Supressing Yoroi with his Adhesive Launcher and gets a CRIT! Game changer! The TAG is now Immobalised-2, and my only Engineer (Yuriko) is on the other side of the table.
Next up he moves a Daleth Rebot with repeater up towards my LT Yoroi but on the other side of the wall. He then activates his Hacker who had narrowly survived last turn and hacks my Yoroi. It’s so close that we need to remove the wall and call the TO but it is exactly 8” to a hairs width! Thamyris hacks the Yoroi on the first roll using Overlord. He then activates the Yoroi, setting off the two Koala’s, and attacks my Lu Dian with the Yoroi’s flame thrower. As an ARO my Keisotsu Hacker uses Exercise (the first time ever that I’d used this program!) through the Lu Dian’s repeater. One of the Koala’s lands a hit on the Yoroi. The Lu Dian tanks the ARM roll and the Exercise works and I get control of the Yoroi back! The only disadvantage is now the Yoroi has moved and is no longer covering the Thorakitai link.
Atalanta pops up and takes a long-range shot taking out my Lu Dian. She then tries to put some rounds into the Immobilised Yoroi but its saves. He then moves his Zanyin Rebot TR HMG REM out to cover the centre axis of the table.
With the last couple of orders the Thorakitai start designating antenna (at burst 3) and manage to get 4!
Turn 2 JSA
Yo Jimbo’s closest enemy was the Dactyl Doctor so move down the right side managing to take a hit from Atalanta’s Sniper Rifle, but then got into cover from her.
Next up I tried to move my link team out. Yuriko popped round the corner to Panzerfaust the Zanyin but with only B1 due to the saturation zone, she got put down! Then I realised my mistake, I should have used Yo Jimbo’s smoke to block that fire lane, so Yo Jimbo moved out to fire a smoke grenade and missed, getting cut down by long range ARO’s from the Thorakitai link!
Time to bring in the TAG. The Lt Yoroi moved around the corner and took out first one Thorakitai and then a second with its HMG. He then stepped out and managed to put Atalanta down! With the last few order, the pilot dismounted and split her FO roll on two antenna at a time, and then proceeded to fail all but one FO rolls, flipping one of Ed’s antenna back to me.
Turn 2 Steel Phalanx
Beginning to run low on orders now, Ed kicked off with the Thorakitai with 2 left and moved around a building to FO another antenna flipping it from me back to him. He then decided to remove the immobilised TAG and started to light it up with the Zanyin’s HMG and managed to eventually put it down.
Turn 3 JSA
Down to 6 orders. Time for the Yoroi the shine. First action was to clear out the Thorakitai with spitfire, leaving only the FO, who was out of sight.
Then I spent 5 orders on the Yoroi Pilot making a total of 10 WP 13 rolls, and made 3…… *&^ you probability! With one order left and winning 4-3 on the Antenna, my only hope was to put the Yoroi in the centre of the action. It moved up, exchanging fire with the Zanyin HMG and put it down. It now had an ARO view on all the antenna!
Turn 3 Steel Phalanx
It all hinged on the Yoroi standing. It was on two wounds, out in the open with armour 7. The final Thorakitai went for it and managed with a Combi Rifle to take the Yoroi down! The dice gods had abandoned me! That just left him to re-designate the antenna using his FO REM (and of course he made his rolls!). He then repaired the Zanyin HMG and sent it to hunt down my Designated Target.
Ed “Edchopp” – 3 TP, 5 OP (More designated Antenna 3 OP, Killed Designated Target 2 OP), 133 VP
Stuart – 0 TP, 0 OP, 88 VP
- Opponent – Aaron “Littlespoon”
- Faction – Aleph
- Mission – PowerPack
- List: A
PowerPack is always a strange mission with the split 16”x12” deployment zones. It allows for some odd tricks. First of all you can deploy your HVT right on the back line as it is still 4” outside a deployment zone. 2nd, you can walk on drop troopers even on the back edge in the 24” middle strip that is outside the DZ. And finally, the one I was using, you can place infiltrators right up on the back line next to their DZ! This was definitely a Shinobu mission.
I won deployment and chose to go first. I deployed my Keisotsu link to the SW with a Keistosu ML on a roof for ARO’s. My Shakimi and my Sensor bot deployed quite forward in the 16” in cover. On the otherside I placed my Yoroi and the Lu Duan pretending to be a Panguling.
Aaron deployed his force, of also only 10 units, and tried to risk infiltrating his Naga past the 24” line but failed the roll and ended back on the back line in his DZ.
After Aaron deployed, I put Shinobu in Hidden Deployment and nailed the roll.
I chose my Yoroi to be the Data Tracker, and he chose his Dactyl Engineer.
Turn 1 JSA
Again, I got to take a full 10 orders in the first turn. Straight way Shinobu led off. She darted across from her starting point towards more cover, and Aaron made a common mistake. He has an ARO from his Naga on the back line and a long range Myrimydon, and he chose to discover with both – never a good idea! So Shinobu unloaded her Combi rifle into the nearby Naga and gunned him down! Next Shinobu popped a smoke grenade over another Myrmidon and then, not wanted to take any chances, spent an entire order to return to a marker state. She then moved through the smoke and Surprise Attacked the Myrmidon, against an opponent with CC21 and Martial Arts that extra -6 to the opponent is really important. Shinobu gets a CRIT! Instant death.
All this has taken about 5 orders… but now the big fight was on, HECTAAAAAAAR!!!!!! She pops another smoke grenade. Spends 2 more orders moving to next to him. Re-camo’s and the Surprise Attacks him. That saved her life! We both used MA3, effectively cancelling each other out, but that extra -6 to hit meant Hectar missed. I hit, but no crit, and he saved the ARM 12 roll!
Turn 1 Aleph
So now it was a fight! Hectar attacked Shinobu with MA4, getting burst 2, but that gave Shinobu using MA5 the same burst back and gave Hectar -6 to hit. She landed another hit, but he saved! They went again, same roll, but this time Shinobu took a CRIT and with the other rolls for the EXP CCW went straight to dead! Not good!
Then Hectar decided to head off on a little killing spree! He hefted his Spitfire (personally I’m far more scared about the Plasma Rifle version!) and started by gunning down my Keisotsu ML on the roof. He then continued to move up, but drew three ARO’s from my Kempei, Weibing Sensor Bot and Shakimi. He decided to place all three shots into the Sensor bot, which beat him in the roll and flash pulsed him. He also took a combi round from each of the others and failed all three rolls. Stunned and in NWI, Hectar was out of the fight for this turn. Aaron finished up by just shifting his Sophotect up the table keeping in cover hoping to support Hectar. Last off, he moved an Dactyl Engineer up to the East Antenna and flipped it.
Turn 2 JSA
I’ve never got much use from the Shakimi, but now he was going to show his worth. He moved in on Hectar, taking cover and ODD, and gunned him down with his Combi. He then set off up the table towards the objectives and managed to move up on the Sophotect and into CC and cut her down.
On the other side of the table, I loaded the Lu Duan with Assisted Fire and went for Atalanta who was covering the whole eastern board from aroof top. Atalanta won out and put down the Lu Duan. Plan B – I went for her with my Yoroi. We had a series of exchanges of fire where we both landed hits but we both saved our ARM rolls.
Turn 2 Aleph
In loss of Lieutenant from losing Hectar, Aaron had limited options. He moved some of his troops up, and then used some command tokens to feed orders to Atalanta to keep shooting the Yoroi using AP Mode, but it made every armour roll of 9+.
Turn 3 JSA
Again the Yoroi and Atalanta exchanged fire, and this time she went down! With limited orders and one console behind it was time for a TAG rampage! The Yoroi moved up on the Dactyl Engineer, ignoring his Combi fire he flamed him down. Using the TAG to shield her from ARO’s the pilot popped out the back and flipped the antenna to me. She then got back in and gunned down a Proxy Mark V with HMG. With only 2 orders left, the Yoroi made a dash across open ground and went into base contact with the enemy console, taking a point of damage from a Myrmidon’s combi. The Yoroi was now controlling the enemy console and in zone of control of his HVT.
Turn 3 Aleph
Aaron has 3 orders and a new LT order, I I had to hold the console! The Myrmidon popped out and I dodged, but got hit and took another damage, but the Yoroi managed to fall back into cover and still be in base contact with the objective. Now with ARM 10 is should be able to take on a combi rifle. The Myrmidon shoots again, and I ARO with the HMG but take two hits. Needing a 4+ to save I roll two 3’s!!!!!! Straight to dead! With his last couple of orders he couldn’t get any more objectives so that was it!
Stuart – Partial Victory 2 TP, 5 OP (More Antenna, Protected own console), 235 VP
Aaron – Loss 0 TP, 1 OP (Protected own console), 93 VP
- Opponent – Dan “Jerp”
- Mission – Highly Classified
- Faction – HaqqIslam
- List – B
It had go to the stage in the tournament where I wasn’t in serious contention for the top fer places so I decided to throw a bit of caution to the wind in this game.
- Data Scan
- HVT: Espionage
- HVT: Kidnapping
- Extreme Prejudice
And I drew Designate Target for my own classified. I decided to go with the twin Yoroi list again and won the WP roll, deciding to go first. He had Strategos 3 (which meant Saladin) so I deployed everything and once again deployed the TAGs on opposite sides of the table. He turtled up his army hiding out his forces behind buildings.
Turn 1 JSA
Looking at the table I just couldn’t resist! Everything was turtles up and Yo Jimbo was hungry for blood! He raced up the table with his 8-6 move, set his Koalas in the middle and kept going. In three actions he was on the other side and threw smoke into the backlines. He then dismounted and ran screaming into Saldin. To his credit, Saladin lasted 2 whole attacks before Yu Jimbo cut him down. Unfortunately with NWI he died so I couldn’t Coup de Grace him. Still hungry, Yo Jimbo jumps on his bike and runs straight into two Ghulams taking them both on. Because his base is 55 mm, he can be 1 mm in the smoke and reach 54 mm! One goes down, the other beats Yo Jimbo, but he ARM saves, With only one action Yo Jimbo finishes off the Doctor Ghulam and then uses the new rules from the FAQ to disengage from the other unconscious Ghulam.
Turn 1 HaqqIslam
Dan was in a bit of a state of shock after Yo Jimbo’s rampage but went to work! His Mutts ran towards Yo Jimbo and popped smoke on him. Then his Djanbazan with MSV2 and HMG opened up on him cutting him down. The Janbazan took another command token to gun down one of Yo Jimbo’s Koalas. With his other actions he moved up Tariq Mansuri near to his HVT and set up on suppression fire. He also had an infiltrating Camo marked on a roof top which turned out to be a Farzan FO. He did a Surprise Shot Forward Observe and managed to FO my Yoroi to get his own classified. In return he took a long range HMG from the other Yoroi across the board who hit him on a 4! But he saved his ARM roll and went prone!
Tune 2 JSA
I needed to get near Dan’s HVT to get my classified so I decided to move up my TAG. First the TAG took on the Djanbazan, who made his ARM save and fell back into cover. It then moved on to take on Tariq. There wasn’t a good way to get cover and not get too close, so I moved up into his 16-24” range band and opened up with my HMG B4 on 11’s. He has 3 dice of 10’s on suppression. After 4 orders worth of exchanging fire my TAG was down 1 wound and Tariq was untouched! On the fifth exchange Tariq rolled 2 1’s and got a double Fatality Level 2 CRIT, putting the Yoroi down! So what was plan B…… I spend the rest of my orders moving my link team of specialists across from the right side of the table to the centre ground, ready next turn to go for Tariq and the HVT!
Turn 2 HaqqIslam
Dan started by running his Mutt down the west table edge and throwing smoke out to cover. He then did an AD: Walk on with his Rajik behind the smoke and next to my HVT and tried to kidnap her. She however was having none of it! When he failed, she move back and out of the smoke, so the Mutt had to throw some more. Finally after 3 attempts he CivEvac’d her and set off back up the table stopping to stamp on the Yoroi’s face and Coup de Grace for Extreme Prejudice. He then continued to escort my HVT to take her to a dark secluded corner. The Mutt hid out behind a JCB covering the south approach to the building.
Turn 3 JSA
I needed to get passed Tarik, get some classifieds and rescue my HVT, certainly achievable! The Keisotsu link set of, moving through the square building next to where his HVT, my HVT and Tariq was, still suppressing on the other side of it. The Kempei took the high ground going up a ladder onto the roof and gunned down the Farzan FO. My Keisotsu Hacker made the WP roll for HVT: Espionage. He then tried to Datascan Tariq on WP-3 (10’s). Tariq didn’t even reset, which I was hoping he would because it would break his suppression fire state. 5 attempts later and I had not made a single WP roll! Out of orders there was nothing left to do!
Turn 3 HaqqIslam
Things were simple now. Dan’s Mutt ran out and chain rifled my Kempei off the roof, but the Mutt went down to the ARO, His Rajik then escorted my HVT, out of the dark corner, towards his hacker (so his hacker didn’t have to go near mine) and managed to HVT: Espionage her on the first roll! He then moved his hacker up just enough to Datascan Yuriko. Job done, all classified’s scored!
Dan – Complete Victory 3 TP, 10 OP (4 Classifieds, More Classifieds and his personal Classified), 209 VP
Stuart – Loss 0 TP, 1 OP (1 Classified), 184 VP
Well it wasn’t the best result ever. I finished 14/16 with only 2 VP and 11 OP. Luck had certainly not gone my way, and with the limited order pool there really wasn’t the number of orders to absorb a few failed rolls or lost units… but on another day it could have all turned out very differently! Overall the TAG’s really did stomp things and even the pilot managed to get out a get work done. So are 10 Order lists a thing now? Maybe, but a little more luck would help! They aren’t as resilient when they lose units, but in 2 out of 3 games I managed to keep a lot of army points still on the table.
Even though I didn’t do too well, I really enjoyed the day and played some great new opponents! Thanks to Toby and Laina for an excellent tournament and organised a cracking day! The brownies and rocky road were scrummy! Looking forward to the next one!