Episode 5: The Cycle of Life and Death Continues... (Tohaa vs. Steel Phalanx | 300 Points | Acquisition)

My weekly game of Infinity marks a few milestones. I'm finalizing the production stuff to start doing videos as well as written but I still need to tweak a few things. I'm also hoping to get my painting stepped up so that there's not so many swap arounds and proxies but for right now it is what it is.

I also finished my Slow Grow League this week with a solid 10-0 win, sneaking the game in just before Arizona Armageddon, one of the biggest Infinity Tournaments in the country swept over my local store. Sadly I won't be able to participate because the event has been sold out since before I even started playing the game but I'll likely go and watch. Shout out to anyone who is coming for the event, we'll be happy to have you.

My game this week is with Tim, a newcomer to the game like myself that I have played several times. To this point I've still played less than ten, 300 Point games and my list has continued to evolve as I've learned new things. For this Mission I decided to stick with my "Normal" ITS List because there's nothing about the Mission that invalidates it.



Tohaa

Combat Group 1

Makaul w/ Heavy Flamethrower, Viral CCW
Kaeltar (Chain of Command) w/ Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse, +2 SymbioMates
Sakiel w/ Viral Combi Rifle, Nimbus Plus Grenades

Makaul w/ Heavy Flamethrower, Viral CCW
Kamael Hacker (White Hacking Device) w/ Combi Rifle
Sukeul (Forward Observer) w/ K1 Combi Rifle, D-Charges

Makaul w/ Heavy Flamethrower, Viral CCW

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

Chaksa Auxiliar (Baggage, Sensor) w/ Heavy Flamethrower
Chaksa Auxiliar (Baggage, Sensor) w/ Heavy Flamethrower


Combat Group 2

Kamael w/ Combi Rifle
Kaeltar (Chain of Command) w/ Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse, +2 SymbioMates
Gao-Rael w/ Sniper Rifle

Rasail Lieutenant w/ Viral Combi Rifle
Chaksa Peripheral w/ Heavy Flamethrower

Clipsos (Forward Observer) w/ Combi Rifle





I had not played this list before but it's fairly consistent with what I've been taking in other 300 Point games. Group 1 is focused on allowing the Sakiel and/or Sukeul Triad to get involved with the game. I also have the Kerail there because sometimes he can go on long runs in someone's flank or backfield, the Kerail also enables smoke tricks with the Gao-Rael but I don't want them stealing Orders from the other and with only PH11 the smokes are not guaranteed. The spare Makaul is to back-fill Triads and to save an Order on smoke as I move up while the Chaksa guard against Combat Jump and Camo. I did take an HMG on the Sukeul previously but I wanted more short range, powerful, shooting because it's often easier to close the gap than to create one.

The second group either dumps Orders into the Gao-Rael or the Rasail. Rarely have I had games where I needed both to do a lot in the same turn and the Rasail is often happy with one Order to Move, Move and then using the Lieutenant Order to enter Suppressive Fire. The Gao-Rael's Kaeltar is usually tapped as the final Chain of Command and the Kamael just hides so the Orders don't often dry up. My main indecision is to keep the Clipsos in this Group or not.




Steel Phalanx

Combat Group 1

Alke w/ Spitfire, Nanopulser
Thorakites w/ HMG, Nanopulser
Thorakites (Forward Observer, 360 Visor) w/ Submachine Gun, Chain Rifle
Chandra Dergeant Thrasymedes w/ Submachine Gun, Light Rocket Launcher, Nanopulser

Myrmidon Officer (Chain of Command) w/ Boarding Shotgun, Nanopulser, Eclipse Grenades
Myrmidon Hacker (Assault Hacking Device) w/ Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades
Myrmidon w/ Spitfire, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades
Hector w/ Plasma Rifle, Nanopulser, Stun Grenades +1 TinBot A

Andromeda w/ Boarding Shotgun, Flash Pulse

 Netrod

 Note: Looking over Tim's list it looks as though he was playing quite a lot of Points down. I've reached out to him about this as I may have missed some extra Characters in the Fireteams or some guns.


  Mission and Deployment

For this game we rolled up Acquisition in the ITS Season X Packet, I quite like this Mission because it's not too busy but it still has enough to do to stop you from just having an all out firefight. It also meshes well with my list because it rewards having a Hacker and can lead to some shorter ranged firefights.

I won the Lieutenant Roll and chose to take Turn Order, going second. While going second is very advantaged for the Mission as you get last say on holding/activating the Antennas and Tech-Coffin I'm also intentionally giving Tim the "Go first, deploy last" combo. When I say intentionally I did that because I wanted to put myself in a disadvantaged state, this is part of how I improve at games. By being put into a very poor position I can see how my army recovers in a situation where a win or loss doesn't really mean much to me.

Just knowing that I was going against Steel Phalanx I figured there was a chance that a Myrmidon train runs up the table at me thanks to the 16" Deployment Zones. Tim doesn't really stick to the same list yet so that's all the suspicions I had and adopted a very reserved position. My goal was to slow down the advance enough that Tim wouldn't be able to easily take an Antenna and get into melee range by layering AROs.

To that end my "Purple" Triad with the Gao-Rael deployed in the best sniper spot I could get, this overlooked the entire right side of the table but also gave me vision underneath a bridge on the left. While Steel Phalanx have a few good Snipers they're fairly even with an MSV2 Sniper in a 3man link so even if the Gao-Rael gets challenged I have more staying power and the Face to Face is close enough that it's a gamble. I also put the Chaksa near there to keep them safe and fend off any Combat Jump, doing the same with my spare Makaul.

Moving up slightly on the right is my Sukeul Triad with the man himself poking out just enough to cover the Antenna, his Makaul is up on a building, Prone, as we agreed that the ramp below him was just normal ground and I didn't want to stack my models too much in case of templates.




The middle featured my Rasail, guarding the Tech-Coffin and the right lane while the Chaksa watches his back. I deployed the XenoTech early (I thought he deployed with the army) and my HVT in the best spot I could get. Lastly the right had my Sakiel Triad as a token force on that flank. The Sakiel is positioned so he can move away if he needs to from a Guts Roll while the other members hide. Lastly I put my Clipsos in Hidden Deployment 1mm from the right Antenna, that was the side I had more power on so I figured it would be best to overload it.


 

Moving to Tim his Thorakite Fireteam was on my left flank and hidden behind a building but fairly forward. The Netrod went for a somewhat risky drop in Tim's backfield but made the roll, landing somewhere I'd likely never be able to get to it. The remaining Myrmidon Fireteam was placed on my right but a bit back.




With Tim going first we had a fairly uneven table, my Sakiel Triad was badly outclassed but due to how the terrain was setup it would be difficult to completely overrun them and stay safe for my Active Turn. On the right the Thorakites will have to break out a bit with their HMG but again would be able to at best grab the Antenna and then move back.

I put my Kerail Preceptor near the back of my Deployment Zone as I felt like Tim still might have a one-off Combat Jump model who functions as a "backfill" for Group 1, also with their speed and Super-Jump they can move where they want pretty quickly. Tim replied with Andromeda, putting her on the left flank and behind a crate thanks to her Forward Deployment 1. Tim's Xenotech went with Andromeda and his HVT was very near the right Antenna. Finally, my Classified Objective was Mapping.






Steel Phalanx Active Turn 1

After some Line of Fire clarification the Thorakite Team moved out, led by Chandra. I responded with an AROs from the Gao-Rael and Sukeul, both shooting. Alke fired back at the Gao-Rael with her Spitfire, winning the Face to Face which my Gao-Rael put on the SymbioMate. My Sukeul did manage to land a hit despite being -6 overall, putting Chandra Unconscious and breaking the Fireteam.




Tim then switched to the Myrmidon Fireteam, throwing some Eclipse Smoke and moving out. Hector got into a Face to Face with my Sukeul as they moved around, I was at -6 while Hector was at -3 so I decided to Dodge but failed, losing my SymbioMate. Hector then ran it back but I made my Dodge, scooting around the corner by failing Guts.



Tim was able to cover the Antenna on the left with smoke and then successfully took control of it. He then got the Myrmidon Officer positioned behind some clutter and threw a Face to Face Eclipse Smoke into the alley, which he won against the Sakiel. With the last few Orders Andromeda moved up and stabbed the Sakiel, who tried to Dodge, removing the SymbioMate and pinning me in melee. Because Andromeda was still in the smoke and has Stealth I was unable to Engage with my Makaul to setup some favored melee in my turn.






Tohaa Active Turn 1

To start the turn I found myself in a bit of a puzzle with Andromeda. If I move the Makaul into melee I will eat several AROs from the Myrmidon Fireteam which would mean I have to kill Andromeda in one swing. I would have two attacks at -3 for Guard while I put her on -6 for Martial Arts and i-Kohl, I'm favored but it's very risky. I started with my spare Makaul who just moved forward and threw a smoke somewhere that wouldn't matter.

Putting that aside for the moment I noticed that the Gao-Rael had a shot on one of the Myrmidons with a Chainrifle but Hector will also get an ARO if I take the shot. I decide to, assigning two to Hector and one to the Myrmidon who shoot back and Dodge respectively. Hector is at a -3 because of my cover whereas I'm +3 against him for range, same for the Myrmidon thanks to MSV2. The Myrmidon dies to Shock and Hector takes a wound, failing Guts back to cover.



Switching gears I see a very Order intensive option to move the Sukeul Triad and smoke Andromeda so that I can get the Makaul involved. This would shut down the AROs and give me another Makaul to melee with in case I eat a Critical or some bad dice happen. I do just that, spending 3 Orders to move across the field and get the smoke in place. The Makaul belonging to the Sukeul then walks up and stabs Andromeda, killing her outright thanks to the Viral CCW.




Moving back to the Gao-Rael I have another few Face to Face rolls with Hector, him on two shots needing 10's and me on three shots needing 12's. We crit each other in one exchange but I then win the next two rolls with my last Orders, putting him Unconscious. Figuring I'm playing with house money the Makaul on the right moves into the smoke, more and then pops out to Heavy Flamethrower the Myrmidon Fireteam. Tim shoots back with everyone, obliterating the Makaul, but losing all the Myrmidons and Hector to the flames.

With my last Order I move the Sakiel and Kaeltar a bit and use my Lieutenant Order to throw the Rasail into Suppressive Fire. Sadly at that point Tim concedes the game as he only has 4 Orders and a few meaningful models left, with no access to smoke, while I've only lost a Makaul and some spare wounds.



Post-Game Thoughts

It's unfortunate that the game was completely one-sided but I think there's still a lot to learn. I'll detail some thoughts about both Tim's mistakes and my own because I think a lot could have been done to change the outcome for both of us. Tim in particular made some positional mistakes that newer players like ourselves can learn from.

Tim's Deployment and Active Turn

 With Tim having the rare combination of first turn and deploying second he had near perfect information on where to place his models. With that I think the position of the Thorakites was a mistake, having such an elite army means that it's hard to go tit for tat with your opponent. I would have put one Fireteam in the center and one on a flank, that way the Myrmidons can support with smoke. A lack of smoke on the right flank meant that Tim had to shoot his way out but was also squaring off against my strong flank, as it happened he suffered a big loss right off the bat.

I also feel like the left flank got a bit too aggressive. It's very hard to rush down Tohaa unless you can get to the Triad fillers but Tim didn't have the models or Orders to do that. For example Andromeda is good in a fight but a Makaul is better and half the cost. She seems like a piece who you want to use for Suppressive Fire as she's pretty good at shooting and then get some Specialist work done with her later.

The biggest mistake was leaving the Myrmidon Fireteam exposed. Steel Phalanx can't ever just give up a model and that's exactly what happened to the Chainrifle Myrmidon. With the smoke placement and the Orders remaining those models could have easily pressed their backs to the building and also angled behind the crate to support each other but protect against templates. That's something I really notice with the newer players, they tend to conga line or cluster the Fireteam which is extremely dangerous.

Finally I was very surprised to see a lack of Dodge when I pushed the Makaul up to template the Fireteam. I really only did that because the game felt over and I was playing with house money, I would have have one more Order but if both models went Prone I don't think the LoF would have been there. At that point a smoke makes a breakout possible on the next turn from one of the Myrmidons.


My Deployment and Active Turn

Despite winning I made plenty of mistakes myself. In hindsight I do not like my Deployment for the same criticism I put on Tim, I spread myself too thin. If the Sakiel Triad had been placed in the center then I have two very strong sections of the table, with overlapping AROs, and that's been what I want to do. Combat Jump is very strong right now and is great against Fireteams because it's hard to cover all those angles. Stacking my army together into two strong areas will make it harder to exploit that while also helping me fend off vanilla rushes.

I also noticed a very bad habit of mine this game which is that I make the "best" model in the Triad the Fireteam Leader during Deployment. There's no reason to do this, especially going second, because if that model dies the Triad breaks but there's not advantage in being the Leader when I'm in my Reactive Turn. From now on I need to make sure the safest model is the Leader.

Lastly I badly deployed my Kerail Preceptor and did not use him during the game. A more central location was fairly safe because he was my Reserve model but I also needed to throw a smoke and help the Gao-Rael against Hector. Tacking a -6 onto his shots would have made for a completely one-sided exchange, allowing me to definitely pick up the Myrmidon with three shots and then focus on Hector. Again, even though the dice went my way I could have forced that much more.



That's all I have this time, thanks for reading!

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