Episode 3.2: Continuing to Adjust to Infinity - What I've Learned and What I Want to Test

Hello hello, I haven't had an Infinity game that I felt like I should do a Battle Report for in a bit so I thought I would continue to chronicle my journey into Infinity without a game to back it up. I have played quite a few games since my last Battle Report but they have been extremely one-sided. When the games are one-sided against me this has largely been due to mistakes in Deployment that gobbled up a lot of my models in Round 1, while disappointing I've made adjustments and should do better there. Sadly the game I wanted to report on 9/24 was lost due to extremely poor dice with my opponent winning all but two Face to Face Rolls over the course of two entire Rounds even when things were heavily in my favor. Very poor dice are the one thing that really tilts me and I chose to concede the game in favor of just playing another and wiping the slate clean.

Anyways, so what have I learned? Much of this is framed within the confines of my Slow Grow League because that is where a lot of my games are being played. As of 9/24 we are at 250 Points and have just added all games rules, so Fireteams are finally on the table. This has been very helpful already because my Faction, Tohaa, are incredibly reliant on Fireteams to actually play as intended. Prior to this I'd been using fairly common tactics of cheap Orders pumped into 2-3 better models but I found that boring and didn't feel it worked well with the army I'm playing.



Deployment, Deployment, Deployment

As I touched on during my last post, I quickly came to the conclusion that Deployment reigns supreme in Infinity. I was able to use this to my advantage at a very low level by abusing Prone but as I assumed that strategy would quickly become non-viable as the size of my games increased.

From a Tohaa perspective I've been trying to find the right combination of hiding Triad participants besides the main gunner while also getting use out of them. Tohaa Fireteams are very hard to break when taken head on, because we have a lot of Wounds as a Faction there's not much danger in taking 1-2 ARO fights per team. However removing just one member from the Triad will remove the Burst bonus which is a substantial blow and almost all popular Triad fillers are very light on defensive profiles.

Initially I thought to just hide the weaker Triad members until I start breaking out but there are a lot of strategies to pick off even resilient models that don't have immediate support. Marker states are obviously great at that role but Combat Jump is also a real threat thanks to the buff in ITS Season X. Fortunately Triad fillers are often well-armed for a defensive role with Makauls and Kaeltars being my two favorites by far. Makauls pack a Heavy Flamethrower which can setup trades at worst but with clever positioning their excellent Close Combat ability can shut down a lot of close range by using Engage or blocking the path of approach. Most Combat Specialists need at least two swings to remove a Triad leader and that can become harder if i-Kohl and Martial Arts are in the mix.

Kaeltars are more adept at a variety of ranges than the Makaul but don't have the specialty of being great up close. A Light Shotgun is a very strong equalizer when it comes to covering against close range pieces, shutting down models that are hoping to get one swing and one kill unless they're in possession of strong defensive skills. On the other side a Flash Pulse on WIP14 is a solid deterrent to models just trying to run across the table.

So farm my struggle has been deploying all these pieces correctly. I've been heavily favoring Deployment Order when winning the Lieutenant roll because most players spread their army out when they don't know what you have. When that happens I'm able to overload one side or one firing lane while trying to stay very defensive against the other side. If an opponent challenges me where I'm strong I can try to win some firefights just through weight of dice, if they try to get around it can be Order intensive and may leave them out of position. The counter-play that I've thought of and seen for that is to just focus on Objectives that I can't see and/or setup one's own defensive position for my turn. The Mission is very important for that strategy as some you can ignore until later but some you can't.

The reason I think that overloading one area works for Tohaa is that when I don't do this I often lose my Symbiomates for nothing. An opponent will get Line of Fire on me with a powerful model in theri Active Turn, I'll lose the Face to Face that I'm disadvantaged at, spend the mate, lose another Face to Face and often fail Guts to go Prone or hide. This effectively removes an advantage that I pay for both in my lists and in my design space as a Faction. On the other hand if I have 3+ AROs for one model it's very hard for them to feel good about their odds.

A similar principal applies to Triads which are shorter range, such as the classic Sakiel+Makaul+Other. If I can lock down one angle of approach with both a Makaul and a Sakiel then I have lots of options. I can Smoke Dodge to protect the Makaul or the Sakiel on future turns as he tries to fight off the Face to Face, I can Engage, I can put down a Template and threaten a trade. A successful Makaul smoke ends the threat unless they want to continue in melee, which isn't common, and if the model continues on then I've lost nothing and have strong positioning.

In future Battle Reports I'm going to devote a lot of time to Deployment because I see it hugely glossed over by most other content creators and I find it to be the most interesting phase. I feel like a good Deployment can really swing the game right away and so far I've had no games where I wished I could have gone First or Second in specific but I always wish I could have seen what my opponent had and where right off the bat.



Triads Are Overrated

This probably seems like a weird conclusion for someone who plays a Faction that by and large relies on Triads but I think the devotion to them overshadows other options. My 300 working list for play with most ITS Missions had four Triads in it, two with Sakiels, one Sukeul, and one Gao-Rael. What I noticed was that in my games I was almost always leaving one of the Triads in the dust because it's more effective to put Orders into 1-2 Triads. I also had no obvious back-fill for my Triads so if I really needed to fill one it had to steal from another.

I've since moved to 3 Triads, which I think the Tohaa gods would approve of, and added models who can join as needed. This also makes it much easier to put models that contribute into the Fire Teams as every one of them has a Makaul, a shooter, and a Specialist. While each Triad has some weakness (usually either close or far shooting) they can all interact with the Mission, cover their approach with smoke, and put out damage in close combat and some range band.

Lessening reliance on Triads also opens up some of the very powerful solo models that Tohaa has. Both the Kerail Preceptor and Rasail have been favorites of mine as the Rasail makes for a great Suppressive Fire model that can hangout in annoying places and the Kerail provides regular Smoke Grenades and can go hunt pesky backfield models with the best of them.

Adding some other Makauls, waiting to step into a Triad, also helps with some of the lost Order efficiency by letting the Makaul move up and smoke so the Triads don't have to. That does demand careful placement of the model so he doesn't run into the open and get gunned down but it's a worthwhile risk.



Firefights Are Not As Simple As They Appear

This is a bad habit that I wish I had not developed from playing small games but firefights are much more complex above 200 Points. In smaller games most of the time the Active Turn player is going to win, it's fairly simple to make sure you're at good range, have Partial Cover, etc. At higher points players can access more diverse models though and start putting forth things like TAGs, TO: Camo, defensive Fire Teams, and so on. The Active Player also may have to sink Orders into more careful positioning so as to avoid unrelated AROs or too much exposure in the subsequent turns.

In my larger games I've been taking a large number of marginally advantaged firefights and as one would expect, winning them a marginal percentage of the time. What instead seems to be better is use the Orders to get 1-2 chances at a very highly advantaged firefight and trusting in how deadly Infinity is to do the rest. A good example is me using a Sukeul with HMG and picking fights with something like a Sniper straight up. I have Cover, good range, and Mimetism where they will have Cover, good range, and often something similar defensively/offensively to my rule. This creates a situation where we are hitting on very similar numbers but I have more dice, a marginal advantage. Instead I would be better off foregoing shots to put my opponent at a bad range or deny them Cover and swing the numbers and amount of dice in my favor.

One of the reasons I felt comfortable just holding down the trigger is because most Tohaa shooters can lose 1-2 Face to Face Rolls without going down while other models often can't. By playing that way I'm risking what makes my Faction so strong, tossing away Wounds for no reason. Tohaa are also great at applying the right Triad to the right problem which is pushing me to favor more specialized guns. Normal teams, such a Core, often have to have every role filled out because they're a large points investment and a focal part of a list. For example a Triad "led" by a Gao-Rael with Sniper Rifle is going to have a hard time finding advantaged fights but will be great at preventing disadvantage. If you can layer something on top of that, like Smoke Grenades, then the model is much more capable of winning fights than it could be by itself.

At lot of this ties into my previous paragraph about Triads being overrated because the Skills and Equipment that synergize with Triads often cannot be in a Triad. I think of most one off models in Tohaa like the enablers and the Triads themselves as the follow-up, they don't work as well alone.



ITS Vanilla List

While it's a reality that your lists revolve around the Mission at hand Infinity uses a two-list system for a reason. From what I've seen in the ITS Packet most Missions are very similar in that you need to be able to make WIP Checks with Specialists and take/hold territory. This makes it pretty easy to have a "catch-all" list to get comfortable with and make very small changes to for events as necessary. The other list can then be freed up for more off the wall Missions like Biotechvore. This is what I hope to test (for now) as my catch all.

Tohaa - 300 Points

Group 1

Makaul w/ Heavy Flamethrower, Viral CCW
Kaeltar w/ Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse, 2 SymbioMates
Sakiel w/ Viral Combi Rifle, Nimbus Plus Grenades

Makaul w/ Heavy Flamethrower, Viral CCW
Kaeltar w/ Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse, 2 SymbioMates
Sukeul (Forward Observer) w/ K1 Combi Rifle

Rasail (Lieutenant) w/ Spitfire
Chaksa Peripheral w/ Heavy Flamethrower

Kerail Preceptor w/ Submachine Gun, Smoke Grenades
Surda Symbiobeast w/ Pulzar, Viral CCW

Makaul w/ Heavy Flamethrower, Viral CCW
 
Chaksa Auxiliar (Baggage, Sensor) w/ Heavy Flamethrower
Chaksa Auxiliar (Baggage, Sensor) w/ Heavy Flamethrower


Group 2

Makaul w/ Heavy Flamethrower, Viral CCW
Kamael (Paramedic) w/ Combi Rifle
Gao-Rael w/ Sniper Rifle

Rasail (Lieutenant) w/ Spitfire
Chaksa Peripheral w/ Heavy Flamethrower

Clipsos (Forward Observer) w/ Combi Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines

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There's a few things I like about this list as it sits. For one it has a lot of Specialists, every Triad has at least one and the Clipsos can run free to do her thing. 2/5 are on WIP14, 3/5 are on WIP13, which gives me good odds. I had played with the idea of a Kamael Hacker but they're pricey and do nothing for my army other than push buttons better. In a Mission that's literally all about the Consoles I might take her but otherwise the cost is too much.

Offensively I think the list plays a lot more how Tohaa are geared to work, they want short range firefights. I swapped my HMG Sukeul for a K1 Combi, this should give me better firepower against TAGs and Heavy Infantry than I previously had. While the HMG is overall a better gun in my eyes I didn't like the range bands as getting 16" away from the target of your choice can be very hard. Now the Makaul can deliver the Suekeul which makes it easier to pick fights and I'm getting up the table for board control.

While my only long ranged pieces are the Gao-Rael and debatably Rasail I think they form a good ARO tagteam if the Rasail can go into Suppressive Fire. The goal with the other models is to get in, do what they need to do, and pull back. With all the Triads having access to Smoke Dodge and the forward ones having strong, short ranged, shooters with a template weapon as backup running at them with anything but cheap trading pieces can backfire.

My second Group will either pump Orders to the Rasail or the Gao-Rael depending on need as both are going to be on the Move + Shoot gameplan in most situations whereas the Triads will be doing more with Missions. I also keep the Paramedic back because if there's nothing else to do she can shoot some Medikits at people and more easily respond to Unconscious models while the Kaeltars get to use their WIP.

The first Group is where most of the action is but has some cheerleaders in the Chaksa. I really like having access to Sensor for when Camo players try to get too cute but they're mostly 10pt Orders who will deploy to defend the backfield and function as a sacrificial trade. I also grabbed a Kerail to either enable the Gao-Rael to win firefights or go up a flank and cause trouble. I really wanted that combo because many other Factions bring Total Reaction or Flash Pulse REMs to pin you down via AROs and I only had the Clipsos to counter that which isn't always desirable. I also put the spare Makaul in that group because they're the most likely to take losses whereas the Gao-Rael is at the most risk and if he dies I don't really care about the Triad remnants.

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That's all I've got for now, I hope to put up some more Infinity content sometime this week. Thanks for reading!

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