UK Masters 2019 Part 1 – Mastering The Masters

Mastering the Masters

With only 2 weeks to go before the UK Infinity Masters 2018, I finally made the decision to go!  It wasn’t the best time for a weekend away, as I’d just started a new Job, but I kept thinking of the great time I’d had at the 2016 Masters.  I hadn’t made it to 2017, so I was determined to make the trip.

I decided to make the 3 hour 15 minute drive rather than take the train, as that would allow me to take down my NeoTokyo table and to get a hotel a little further out of Birmingham.  The cost of places near the venue where £80-100 per night, but I got mine for about £45 at a Travel Lodge on the M5 about 15 minutes drive away.

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I set off at 5 am, and made a stop for second breakfast and much needed coffee at the services on the M25 just before Heathrow, and made great time to the place arriving at 9am.  Time to get another coffee before the venue opened at 9:30 and I needed to get my table set up.

It was a great venue.  We had access to tea/coffee throughout the day, and a bar for some of the afternoon.  Plenty of room for the 14 tables.

We started with 26 people after a couple of on the day drops, although we did drop another 2 at the end of day 1 (due to family reasons). There was a great representation from lots of areas.  There was a large crowd from the Leeds/York region (Northern Open) including Greg “ThePlasticCrack” from the video blog.  We had of course the Birmingham local scene including “WarCor Chris” from SevernCriticals.  From London HATE we had Tim “The ResponsibleOne”  (I think the other HATE players were hung over from their recent trip to Finland’s Infinity Open!, and Laina “LainaH” and James “Murkage” from Infinity Smackdown.

The venue was is Selly Oak, on the outskirts of Birmingham, but with plenty of places to eat for lunch/dinner, and plenty of supermarkets to grab in game munchies!

Adam “DeathBird” did a great job organising the tournament.  I especially liked the whiteboard that he wrote up the pairings on, very dramatic!  Although Adam was also playing to avoid a bye, with a whole room of experience players there were no real issues getting rules queries sorted.

As for organisation on the day, I decided to unpack both my armies onto my trusty neon green tournament tray (from Art of War Studios), and even added a couple of units onto the tray just in case my opponent tried to guess what I had held back or in Hidden Deployment.

I had made sure to make up a fresh batch of tokens using 25mm epoxy dome stickers on printed card.  I wanted to make sure I had enough prone tokens (sometimes you need 15!) and enough Stunned tokens (because WarCors rock!).

UK Masters 2018 - 1

Setting up NeoTokyo

The last thing that needed to be done was to set up my NeoTokyo table.  When setting up it was important to remeasure the places that the objectives would be,  I also popped back to the table at the end of each mission to ensure that the objectives were put into the correct place and tidy up the table a bit – although I have to say everyone who plays on the table left it in good shape! (I get a little anxious if players take it on themselves to reorganise my table!)

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Planning for the Missions

I thought I’d go into some more details about the lists and the missions, and how I built lists for them.  There are two schools of thought about 2-day 5/6 round tournaments:

The first, is to divide the missions into two blocks, and then plan two lists, one for each block of missions.  This is what I’d decided to do.

The second, is to make two lists which are designed to face off against different types of factions or tables.  Short range up close or open long range.  MSV vs non MSV.

There is of course the iron man approach of just taking 1 list for 5 games – which I know some people did!

The Missions

The missions for the two day even were:

  • Round 1: Supplies
  • Round 2: Acquisition
  • Round 3: Frostbyte
  • Round 4: Capture and protect
  • Round 5: Power Pack
  • Round 6: Firefight

I decided to group these into: Specialist Heavy, and Kill missions.

In the Specialist Heavy category I put: Supplies, Acquisition and PowerPack.  Supplies required specialists to break open the boxes.  Acquisition required specialists for the activating the two Antenna (2 OP) but not for controlling the antenna or the tech coffin. PowerPack required specialists for the three central consoles (but not for controlling the enemy DZ console).

In the Kill category I put: Fire Fight, FrostByte and Capture and Protect.  Firefight needed no specialists (although they got an advantaged for the panoplies). FrostByte required either a specialist OR your data tracker to activate a heating unit, but this was worth only 1OP. Capture and protect didn’t require any specialists to get the beacon.

It turned out, due to the type of lists I designed I would end up swapping the groups that Capture and Protect and Acquisition were in.

So here are the two lists I took, and some detail of the tactics I had in mind to use with them for each mission.

My Lists

List A (Acquisition, Frostbyte, FireFight)

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Masters List A
──────────────────────────────────────────────────

[IMG]10 [IMG]3
DOMARU Spitfire / Pistol, E/M CCW, Shock CC Weapon. (2 | 39)
OYAMA Lieutenant Chain Rifle, E/M Grenades / Breaker Pistol, AP CCW, EXP CCW. (0 | 28)
TANKŌ Missile Launcher / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon, Shock CC Weapon. (1.5 | 32)
TANKŌ Flammenspeer, Contender / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon, Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 23)
TANKŌ Blitzen, Submachine Gun / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon, Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 23)
KARAKURI Heavy Shotgun, Chain Rifle, D.E.P. / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 35)
KARAKURI Mk12, Chain Rifle, D.E.P. / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 40)
DOMARU (Fireteam: Haris) Chain Rifle, E/M Grenades / Pistol, E/M CCW, Shock CC Weapon. (0.5 | 27)
TOKUSETSU EISEI Doctor (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
SAITO TOGAN Combi Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, EXP CCW, Knife. (0 | 39)

4 SWC | 300 Points

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A single combat group Heavy Infantry list.  The forces for this list were split into the following groups:

Domaru/Tanko Fire Team: Core

This classic JSA core fire team has a good deal of punch in different range bands, but no specialists.

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Domaru with Spitfire. The main Active Turn killer.  At 8”-24” he’s hitting on 18’s, 15 in cover with the Spitfire on B5.  This profile lacks the Chain Rifle and E/M grenades of other Domaru.

Domaru “Neko” Oyama. Lieutenant.  His weapon loadout is all up close and at medium to long range he doesn’t have much to offer.  His twin Break Pistol is his only BS Attack, but his real ace in the hole is his E/M Grenades.  With PH 14, while in a 5 man team in 8” he’s hitting with B2 on 20’s.  Damage 13 and at ½ BTS for E/M ammo, these grenades can take out a TAG or Heavy Infantry in one hit, placing them in IMM-2.  He can also Speculative Fire one of these at 14’s in 0-8”.  He is also very survivable, with ARM 3 BTS 6 and 2 Wounds, he is a tough Lieutenant to kill. By having him as my LT and having no Chain of Command, it does place me in the situation of not wanting to use him and a primary attack piece.  His B2 Chain Rifle can in the right situation cause real pain!  Up close in CC he is a monster with CC23 MA3 and a dual Wield AP/EXP CCW.  All of that and he’s only 2 points more than the basic 26 point Domaru.

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Tanko with Missile Launcher. A solid ARO piece.  Hitting on 19’s/16’s in cover with a B2 EXP or AP missile at +3 from 24”-40”.  This is a scary prospect for anyone attacking him.  Ignoring Surprise shot due to Sixth Sense Level 2 (form the Fire Team bonus) his real Achilles heal is ODD and Camo.

Tanko with Blitzen/SMG. This guy is a TAG killer.  At +3 from 16” to 32” and B2 (Disposable) the Blitzen can be a devastating ARO or active turn attack.  E/M2 Ammo is two rolls at ½ BTS and will send them to IMM-2. He also serves as a great close range active turn killer with his B4 SMG with Shock ammo.

Tanko with Flammenspear/Contender. Fire scares people.  At +3 from 16” to 32” and B2 (Disposable) it’s identical to the Blitzen, but that Fire can leave people going straight to dead with several failed rolls.  This guy is also great vs HI/TAGs with ODD/Camo, burning it away.  Fire is also a useful weapon vs Tohaa (although I think the rules are a bit nerfed on this.  It’s really useful with a Symbiont armour that has 2W in its profile (Like the Gorgos) as one fire hit takes off the armour.  The Contender also makes a good ARO piece at B2 from 8”-16” doing DA. It also is a good ranges AM weapon.

The entire fire team all have 2 wounds and MA which gives them stealth.  Stealth is great for HI, allowing them to walk past repeaters in the active turn and get up to hackers.  It also allows for some interesting trickery where you can drop stealth with one trooper to force an out of LoF ARO, and on the second short skill throw out the other troopers into position.  If within 8” the Domaru and Neko can also both Assault.

The weakness of this team is the lack of HMG for high burst long range attacks.  Also against hackers in the reactive turn (in the active Stealth stops hackers targeting them until they take a non-move action)

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Karakuri/Domaru Haris

A new edition to HS3N, the Karakuri x2, Domaru (Haris) fire team option allows you to drop 8 points from the cost.  Both of the Karakuri are Forward Observers, which makes them not only specialists, but also gives access to Flash Pulse which at B2 on 16’s in 8-24” can be a great ARO weapon.

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Karakuri HMG.  The main active turn killer.  In the Haris the Mk12 has B4 and Damage 15, hitting on +3 at 8”-24”.  Meaner than a spitfire without with high SWC cost.

Karakuri HSG.  For getting up-close and personal, the +6 to his in 0-8” is great.  At B3 and Damage 15, with either AP or a small rear drop blast template, this piece is a great room clearer.  If you’re luck, someone will have left you a nice Fire Team all lined up in a row!

Domaru (Haris).  Like Oyama above, this guy is limited in his ranged armament, but the EM grenades and Chain rifle are great up close.  The Spec Fire option with the EM grenades is also there, but only on 11’s at 0-8”.  He also has stealth, which he can use in the Haris even though the Karakuri don’t. His EM/Shock Dual Wield CCW is also a nice option vs HI and TAGs – combined with Berserk, you can attack a TAG at CC32 criting on an 8+.  Crits with EM CCW’s cause the EM to be the crit!  Bricked TAG!

This Haris is a great in the mid-field, or up close. It can employ the same tactic above, of causing an ARO Change Face out of LoF and then sending the Domaru out to within 8” of the target.  The Domaru can then Assault at 8”.

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Saito Togan, Ninja for Hire

A category to himself – Saito is second only to Shinobu as a CC Infiltrator.  While his BS 11 means his not a great shot and ARM 1/BTS 0 make him a glass hammer, his ability to get into the enemies back lines and kill everything is amazing.

MA4 allows him to make a B2 CC attack on CC24, while MA3 can take that to B1 on CC27.  Most of the time vs targets without any MA the MA4 attack is better.  His EXP CCW is just devastating.  Getting 2 hits leaves the opponent with 6 PH14 ARM saves, and that’s without any crits.  Unlike Shinobu, he has standard Infiltration so will either start at the 24” line, or could make a PH-3 roll on 11’s to go up to 36” but the risk is rarely worth it. His CCW is also antimaterial with is ideal for taking out those heating units.

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Support

Tokusetsu Eisei Doctor.  She will usually sit prone about 4” away (to avoid templates) from the Tanko ML. For a while I considered taking the Engineer, but in play testing the Karakuri just got too far away from him to be effective, and there was no spare points to get a YaoZao G:Servant.

The Strategy

In deployment the Domaru/Tanko Core Fire team will take a defensive position.  Ideally the Tanko ML will be high on a building near the Tokusetsu Doctor.  If possible, the Flammenspear and Blitzen Tanko will also take up ARO positions – if it’s necessary.  Ideally, it’s great to stack vertically the Tanko ARO’s.  Neko and the Damoaru Spitfire usually would start in cover to avoid attack (although the Domaru can cover the rear).

The Karakuri Haris takes point, getting in cover and as close to the edge of the DZ as possible ready to strike out into the mid field.

Saito is the alpha strike piece.  He is the Hold Back and will always be placed in the 24” line, usually on a flank, in Hidden Deployment.

In turn 1 Saito will take on all 10 orders and deep strike into the enemy DZ.  His TO Marker state allows him to move without fear across 8” gaps.  Even if discovered, he will make it into cover before the end of that order.  Once in 8” of a target, he will pop smoke over them and go for the kill.  If I got second turn, he can wait for the enemy to move up into the mid field and be one step closer to them!

In turn 2 the Karakuri/Domaru Haris would move up into the mid field.  Attacking good targets in 24” with the MK12 and then planting themselves in cover as a midfield screen.

The Domaru/Tanko Fireteam: Core would usually only move into action in late turn 2/turn 3.  Leading with the Spitfire Domaru, and using the Tanko SMG for up-close work.

Acquision.  This would follow the standard game plan. Saito would Alpha strike in turn 1. The Karakuri/Domaru Haris would move up (activating Antenna on the way) and cover the Tech Coffin.  In turn 3 the Domaru/Tanko team would move to secure the Tech Coffin, with Neko (Data Tracker) taking cover behind it, while the others created a tight ARO field.  The Doctor would start Sync’d with the XenoTech.

FrostByte.  This list doesn’t care about the cold.  Only the Doctor (14 points) and Saito (who will usually be dead by the end of the game) would die from the cold.  Either Neko or a Tanko would take the roll of Data tracker.  Saito would do his turn 1 Apha Strike (Hopefully taking out the enemy Data tracker and Heaters).  Turn 2 would have the Karakuri move up the field.  Turn 3 the Domaru/Tanko Fireteam: Core would move to insert the data tracker into the “Fro-zone”.

FireFight.  Just straight follow the standard plan, ensuring that the troopers watch out for AD Combat Jump and AD walking on the back.


List B (Supplies, PowerPack, Capture and Protect)

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Masters List B V1
──────────────────────────────────────────────────

GROUP 1[IMG] [IMG] [IMG]9 [IMG]1 [IMG]3
KUROSHI RIDER Lieutenant Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower / Breaker Pistol, AP + Shock CCW. (0 | 33)
ARAGOTO Spitfire / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 26)
ARAGOTO Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 19)
RYŪKEN (Forward Deployment L2, ODD) Submachine Gun, Antipersonnel Mines, D-Charges / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0.5 | 24)
RYŪKEN (Forward Deployment L2, ODD) Submachine Gun, Antipersonnel Mines, D-Charges / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0.5 | 24)
KEISOTSU (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
KEISOTSU (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
NINJA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Tactical Bow / Pistol, DA CCW, Knife. (0 | 29)
TOKUSETSU EISEI Doctor (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
WARCOR (Aerocam) Flash Pulse / Stun Pistol, Knife. (0 | 3)

GROUP 2[IMG] [IMG] [IMG]5 [IMG]1 [IMG]1
KEMPEI (Chain of Command) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, CCW, Electric Pulse. (0 | 21)
KEMPEI (Multispectral Visor L2) Shock Marksman Rifle / Pistol, CCW, Electric Pulse. (1 | 25)
KEISOTSU (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
KEISOTSU HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 17)
KEISOTSU Missile Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 14)
YOJIMBO Contender, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades, CrazyKoalas (2) / Pistol, DA CCW. (0 | 21)

5.5 SWC | 300 Points

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This list is more specialist focused, but also far more mobile with the Aragoto leading the fight.

Aragoto Senkenbutai

All of the Aragoto are extremely mobile, wit an 8-6 move value.  Although not able to take cover due to being Impetuous, they have Mimitism, effectively giving them cover anywhere (except against MSV).

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Aragoto with Spitfire. This a leading attack piece.  With his 8” move, it’s usually quite easy to end up within 24” of a target and be in good +3 range of the Spitfire.

Aragoto with Boarding Shotgun. A real suicide piece.  The Aragoto BSG will just close the gap into the 0-8 range band, and if possible, try and line up as many targets as possible in the small tear drop blast template of the BSG.

The Kuroshi Rider.Lieutenant. Such an excellent aggressive LT as well as a specialist operative allowing her to flip switches.  Her V: Dogged gives her a little more edge in combat, although shell die at the end of the turn.  She can battle in the midfield at 0-16”, or and threaten up-close with her flamethrower.  Although she has CC20, with no MA her CC attack is best used only in defense. With the backup of a Kempeitai CoC, she is free to make use of her LT order to get the job done!

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Midfield Skirmishers

Ryuken Unit 9 SMG/ODD. Arguably one of the best units in JSA. The Ryuken’s Forward Deployment Level 2 allows it to start on the 20” line, although in PowerPack that can be up to 24” (although only on the flanks, 8” outside the DZ, which includes covering the console).  With Minelayer this allows placement of mines to threaten the midfield, defend consoles, or just bog down the enemy’s advance.  With an X-Visor, the SMG is hitting on 12’s (9’s in cover) up to 24”. While that might not seem too good, coupled with the -6 mod from the ODD and that tips many midrange firefights towards the Ryuken.  In Suppression Fire this unit is outstanding!  Offering a -12 mod while in cover, many units may not be able to hit unless they are in their good range band.  With the X-Visor, the Ryuken will be on12’s in each range band.

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Support Units

Keisotsu FO. They may be basic line troops with a BS of only 10, but the flashpulse on a 15 in good range can make them dangerous.  These troopers guard the read and flanks from AD Combat Jump and walk-ons.  At a push, they can be moved into CG 2 to reinforce the Keisotsu Fireteam: Core.

Tokusetsu Eisei Doctor. Deployed near the Keisotsu Fireteam: Core to heal any.  Good for completing the Experimental Drug classified.

Ninja KHD. Probably the best specialist in JSA. The Ninja KHD will deploy right on top of one of the objectives in Hidden Deployment.  The KHD also allows the Ninja to assassinate key enemy Hackers, even through repeaters (with no firewall mods), and using a Surprise Hack attack to hack from a TO Camo Marker State.  The Ninja’s Stealth also allows it to avoid Hacking ARO’s in the active turn.

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WarCor. The best unit in the game – when you have 3 points to spare.  That Irregular order can be converted up to a Regular Order if needed with a Command Token.  The Flash Pulse with WP13 at +3 from 8″-24″ can ruin even the toughest units day when they fail their BTS.  Ignore him at your peril!

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Keisotsu Fireteam: Core

Primarily a defensive fireteam, although if necessary, can attack with a punch, especially vs TO/Camo/ODD

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Keisotsu HMG.  When there is a hard to shift ARO piece, applying B5 at BS 16 (13 in cover), is a good way to solve the problem.  Although their BS is lower than many, with so many dice a crit is far more likely.

Keisotsu Missile Launcher.A key ARO piece.  Best place in cover on a roof top with the Doctor nearby. At +3 from 24-40”, it can come unstuck vs close in Infiltrators or long range snipers.

Keisotsu FO.  A good specialist for moving up and taking objectives supported by the link.

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Kempeitai Shock Marksman Rifle. A Good mid field ARO piece, but also excellent for hunting midfield camo specialists.  With a superior base of BS12, she is hitting on 18’s (15’s in cover) with B4 SHOCK in the active turn.  Also coupled with Yo Jimbo she can pull off the firing trough smoke trick, although this is of limited use due to the  shorter range of the SMMR

Version 2

Kempeitai Chain of Command Boarding Shotgun. There to pick up the LT when the Kuroshi Rider goes down.  This guy keeps well out of the way, safe in a building.

Support

Yo Jimbo. Although often used as a strike piece, in this list he is more there to provide smoke cover for the Ninja and Aragoto to move up.  He is in CG2 to avoid competing with the Aragoto for orders.  He can also set his Koala’s to give additional defense to the Keisotsu Fireteam: Core.  Once he has supported in getting the objectives, he is then free to floor it and go on a killing spree (although this is limited by the small order pool available).

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The Strategy

In deployment the Keisotsu Fireteam: Core will take the high ground with the Keisotsu ML and Keisotsu HMG out on ARO. The Kempeitai SMMR would cover a shorter fire lane (to keep the 8-24” range bonus).

The Ryuken would deploy in the midfield as a screen.

The Aragoto would deploy as a group together – to later co-ordinate orders.

Yo Jimbo would be the hold back, so he can be placed in a way to enable him to take his Extremely Impetuous Order in turn 1.

In Turn 1, Yo Jimbo would use his Extremely Impetuous Order to move and then throw or launch smoke to cover the path of the Aragoto. The Aragoto would then use their Impetuous orders to move up as far as possible.  Using co-ordinated orders the Aragoto would continue to move until the Aragoto Spitfire can get into a strike position to take our ARO pieces.  The Aragoto BSG then would move in to raid the back lines at close range.  Ideally, the turn would end with the Aragoto Spitfire, the 2 Ryukens and a back line Keisotsu doing a Co-ordinated order to go into suppression fire,

Turn 2/3, would involve securing objectives with the Ninja.  The Aragoto will push up the field until they run out of order of die!  Yo Jimbo, once he has covered the objectives would move to assassinate key pieces.

MSV2 Snipers are a real issue for this list. In this case, the impetuous orders will be cancelled, and the Sniper engaged by one of the Ryuken, aiming to get in its flat or bad range, or by throwing the Aragoto Spitfire out.

Supplies.  The Ninja KHD would go in the first turn under cover of smoke to get a crate.  Then either Yo Jimbo or the Aragoto could move up to collect the create and take it back into the DZ, while the Ryuken move to cover the other crates.

PowerPack.  The Ninja KHD would hold back until late turn 2/turn 3 to activate the consoles, aiming to flip the consoles that he opponent has flipped.  The Aragoto have the speed to get to the enemy console to secure it.

Capture and Protect.  While not needing specialists, this mission is ideal for the Aragoto due to their mobility and speed, allowing them to get to the beacon and bring it back to the DZ, while Yo Jimbo lays down smoke.

Next up – a review of the tables at the Masters.

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