Saturday, April 20, 2024

Mission 004 Update: Tip of the Spear

Just to catch everyone up, here’s the latest mission description!

Mission 004: Limited Insertion, Maximum Entendre

A quick reminder that we’re accepting submissions from all factions, and we’re partnering with Haqqislam High Command to bring any Haqq submissions some blister goodness!

Please write in with your thoughts to [email protected] by the end of November. No need to write up a complete battle report–we’re just looking for your thoughts and any pictures you might want to send our way.

In that spirit, we’re going to look at two games in this article, a Haqq Limited Insertion list and a Nomad one from two recent tournaments.

Game 1 – EVO Phone Home

Our first battle report, EVO Phone Home, covers a vanilla Haqqislam versus Tartary Army Corps game, where I was playing a randomly generated Haqq list. The randomness isn’t all that relevant to our discussion, but it’s worth mentioning. It’ll be helpful for the discussion below to read the report for context. Spoiler: I lost the game, so we’re going to unpack some of my mistakes and use them as learning exercises for how to play limited insertion lists better!

First off, the list and a quick discussion of the list components in the framework we introduced in the mission statement:

[img][/img][b] Random List A[/b]

[img][/img] [b]TARIK MANSURI Lieutenant[/b] Spitfire, Nanopulser, Grenades / Pistol, DA CCW. (1.5 | [b]55[/b])
[img][/img] [b]DRUZE Hacker (Assault Hacking Device)[/b] Combi Rifle + Pitcher, D-Charges / Viral Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | [b]28[/b])
[img][/img] [b]HAKIM[/b] Submachine Gun, Chain-colt + 1 Nasmat A2 / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | [b]27[/b])
[img][/img] [img][/img] [b]NASMAT A2[/b] Electric Pulse. (0 | [b]4[/b])
[img][/img] [b]ÁYYĀR (Surprise Shot L2)[/b] Rifle + E/Mitter, D.E.P. / 2 Viral Pistols, CCW, Knife. (0 | [b]37[/b])
[img][/img] [b]HAWWA’ Hacker (Assault Hacking Device)[/b] Boarding Shotgun, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | [b]26[/b])
[img][/img] [b]KAMEEL Hacker (EVO Hacking Device)[/b] Electric Pulse. (0.5 | [b]25[/b])
[img][/img] [b]TUAREG[/b] Sniper Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | [b]33[/b])
[img][/img] [b]MUYIB[/b] Rifle + Light Shotgun, Panzerfaust, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | [b]24[/b])
[img][/img] [b]ASAWIRA[/b] Boarding Shotgun, Nanopulser / Pistol, Shock CCW. (0 | [b]35[/b])
[img][/img] [b]KUM[/b] Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, AP CCW. (0 | [b]10[/b])

[img][/img]9 It’ll be helpful for the discussion below to read the report for context. Let’s look at Game 1.[img][/img]1 [img][/img]1 [b]| 4 SWC | 300 Points |[/b] Open in Infinity Army

  • Passive Board Control – We have some in this list, but most everything requires orders to set up, so it’s not truly passive. We can threaten chain rifles with the Kum, hack with either the Druze or the Al’Hawwa (albeit not really against Ariadna, which was my opponent in this game), and plant mines with the Tuareg. In an ideal world, we’d want to end our first turn with the Kum watching a corner and a pitcher landed somewhere useful, with maybe a few mines somewhere. That costs orders though.
  • Face Punching – Tarik does a great job of this. I think I got a little scared of the AP Rifles and wasn’t aggressive enough with him. The Ayyar ordinarily would fill this role with Surprise Shot L2, but this is sadly negated by the Vet Kazak’s SSL2. In  a pinch, even the Druze can do this. The Asawira is also a reasonable profile for this, but just don’t expect it to punch its way out through a linked missile launcher or something like that.
  • Spot Removal – I used the Tuareg for this, although a more passive usage of him would probably have been better. The Ayyar works for this task as well, but the Taureg is slightly more efficient.
  • Flexible Specialists – The Ayyar and Druze are the best two examples in this list. Even though I had a bad matchup against a Vet Kazak link, rifles, viral pistols, and D.E.P.s can kill all sorts of stuff on the way to an objective. The Hakim is also a great work horse unit as well, able to push buttons and do some light fighting on the way to an objective.

The linked battle report above does a decent job of discussing the details of how I used each unit, and where my mistakes were, so I won’t expound too much further on that. What I would like to focus on in this article is trading, prioritization/planning, and positioning.

Let’s talk about trading first. We can basically trade two main types of things: models and orders.

Aside: Haqq is often regarded as the “king” of asymmetric trading. Whether or not they’re the best, they’re quite good at it in a non-limited insertion format. You can look here for a guide:

Asymmetrical Trading: The Haqqislam Way

We’re going to look specifically at my turn 2, where I make a seemingly favorable trade. I bring in a Hakim in my opponent’s backfield, manage to sneak by the Vet Kazak link, and then land a money chain colt.

This Hakim chain colt against an Antipode controller and Vassily looks great on paper. 27 points and 1 order for 49 points, a Lt kill (had already killed Voronin), an Antipode pack in retreat, and 2 regular orders.

What does this actually do, though? My opponent still has a 4-man Vet Kazak link on the table (including the Frontovik), so he’s got 4 regular orders for his link thanks to Veteran L1 & L2, and he doesn’t need to spend a ton of orders on his other units. The biggest gain here is that I’ve now freed up my Druze to go get a box on the right, as Vassily is no longer watching him, which I did in the game.

The antipode pack is a bit out of position too, so they’re not a huge threat yet. The trade was great in isolation, but games aren’t won by actions in isolation. A better expenditure of my orders would’ve been to slowly and carefully go after the Vet Kazak link with the Asawira and Tarik. This brings us to the next point, which is prioritization/planning.

I got myself a great trade, but that didn’t set me up for success in the long run (planning). My opponent had an advanced link that was unsupported and mostly out of cover, has one of the objectives, and is dangerously close to one of my objectives (held by the Al’Hawwa). Spending the orders to attack the link would have been appropriate, as taking out link members also does damage to the order pool (which affects the Antipode pack), more directly defends my Al’Hawwa, removes a big threat on my left flank, and even possibly nets me another objective.

The Scout on my right was already dead thanks to the “passive” board control of the Kum Biker’s chain rifle, so I could then at my leisure secured the objective on the right with either the Druze or the Ayyar. The Druze is in a spot where it literally cannot be touched by the Antipodes, so it’s safe, and the Ayyar has viral pistols and marker states to help himself out. So my positioning on the right is actually pretty ok! This brings us to positioning, our third point for this discussion.

The Vet Kazak link isn’t covered from behind, as evidenced by my ability to hop in there with a Hakim. I have an Asawira BSG nearby, and Tarik. After taking out the Scout as in the picture, I can spend some orders and take out the Paramedic with Tarik super jumping, and then I can get the Asawira in there to cover the Vet Kazak AP HMG (in the center of the image) and the Kazak in the back with a BSG template. Then I can mop up the Frontvik with the Hakim, or just save it for the Lt snipe later in the game.

Furthermore, my Al’Hawwa is in the building just at the bottom of the picture, which means it is super NOT safe from the Vet Kazak link. Also, Tarik is great, but he’s not invincible, and leaving the link intact means I’m going to lose Tarik. I think I just got super scared of the Vet Kazaks (which is a whole other article about managing fear and cognitive load in Infinity) and opted for the “safer” target. I’m in a good position on the right, so really I needed to focus my attention on the Kazak link.

So, in summary, I misprioritized Vassily and the Antipode Controller over tackling the Vet Kazak link. I was in a good position to exploit the link’s poor positioning (stuff out of cover, facing the wrong way, nothing watching their back), and I had 2-3 good tools there to deal with them in Tarik, the Hakim, and the Asawira. Even just coordinating chain colt and two nanopulsars would’ve been reasonable. My right side was weak but not impossible to hold, and I got tunnel vision and didn’t think too far ahead to establish a clear set of priorities for my turn. That cost me the game.

Game 2 – The Ballad of Tom Arnold

We can repeat the exercise for a Nomad game — The Ballad of Tom Arnold, this time at the Emerald City Incursion Mk II, in which I played non-random Nomad Limited Insertion lists (it was an LI tournament).

[img][/img][b] List B[/b]

[img][/img] [b]INTRUDER Lieutenant[/b] Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower, Grenades / Pistol, CCW. (0 | [b]35[/b])
[img][/img] [b]INTERVENTOR Hacker (Hacking Device Plus)[/b] Combi Rifle, 1 FastPanda / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | [b]27[/b])
[img][/img] [b]ZOE & PI-WELL[/b] . (0 | [b]47[/b])
[img][/img] [img][/img] [b]ZOE (Hacking Device. UPGRADE: Stop!)[/b] Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | [b]28[/b])
[img][/img] [img][/img] [b]PI-WELL[/b] Combi Rifle / Electric Pulse. (0 | [b]19[/b])
[img][/img] [b]MORAN (Forward Observer)[/b] Combi Rifle, CrazyKoalas (2) / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | [b]22[/b])
[img][/img] [b]MORAN (Forward Observer)[/b] Combi Rifle, CrazyKoalas (2) / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | [b]22[/b])
[img][/img] [b]HOLLOW MEN[/b] Spitfire, Chain-colt / Breaker Pistol, Knife. (2 | [b]36[/b])
[img][/img] [b]INTRUDER[/b] HMG, Grenades / Pistol, CCW. (1.5 | [b]42[/b])
[img][/img] [b]SPEKTR (Deployable Repeater)[/b] Combi Rifle, E/Mauler / Pistol, Knife. (0 | [b]32[/b])
[img][/img] [b]BRAN DO CASTRO (Specialist Operative)[/b] Combi Rifle + E/Mitter / Pistol, DA CCW. (0 | [b]37[/b])

[img][/img]10 [b]| 5 SWC | 300 Points |[/b] Open in Infinity Army

  • Passive Board Control – Can’t beat Morans for this. This is the primary reason I brought two Morans in both of my ECI Mk 2 lists.
  • Face Punching – I brought one of the kings of face punching: the Intruder HMG. To a lesser extent, the Spitfire Hollow Man can also do this.
  • Spot Removal – The Spitfire Hollow Man is speedy and maneuverable enough to go assassinate something important, and of course I brought one of the best Nomad tools for this: Bran.
  • Flexible Specialists – Pi Well is pretty much the poster child for this. He’s durable thanks to his multiple levels of unconsciousness and ODD, and while BS11 isn’t amazing you can buff him and support him with White Noise. He’s likely to get there, can fight off most mid-tier threats, and has a toolbox to solve most problems you might find. Also, between him and Zoe you have almost all of the classified deck covered. I’ve got a host of other helpful specialists in the list as well–the Morans can clear out mines with their Koalas and have Mimetism and BS12 if they get into a fight. Bran’s a specialist too, although I’ll be honest: I took that profile primarily for the E/Mitter and his beat stick.

This game was wildly skewed in terms of dice, particularly my ARM saves, but we can still learn from it. There aren’t as clear examples of trades in this game, but if you start to examine it in terms of trading for orders, a few examples pop out.

The first easy example is my opponent trying to clear out my Koalas. It should’ve only taken an order, but ended up taking two. This happens on occasion. Note that this basically didn’t cost me anything. I just had to take the Moran profile, and I was going to do that anyway to get a BS12 Mimetism FO profile in the center of the board. The fact that it comes with other stuff is just gravy. My opponent didn’t really have a choice, as the Koalas had to go, and the most efficient way to get rid of them (killing the Moran) wasn’t really available till later.

Another easy example is me trying to take out some of the Frontoviks with Pi Well. This was a horrible plan for me, and just drained half of my orders over two turns. It’s worthwhile discussing the positioning of this as well. My opponent had kept his link in a very defensive position, and there was no good way to approach them. Letting them pull forward, which happened later in the game, would’ve been a more appropriate timing and positioning for me to attack the members of the link.

Bran would’ve been a good option for attacking the link with his E/Mitter against the Vet Kazaks, but I deployed him quite conservatively on the roof of the building and didn’t leverage his deployment options. My opponent played a very conservative positioning game, keeping his link and most of his pieces back in his deployment zone where they could mutually support one another and leverage the long range of his sniper rifles.

The best example of this is where his Vet Kazak and Vassily pinned my Hollow Man against the board edge while my Moran failed to Vassily over many orders. This is a great order trade for my opponent as well–simply failing guts into cover with Vassily dramatically changes the durability of Vassily, especially with Dogged.

My greatest mistakes in the game I’d attribute to prioritization. My usage of the Intruder early was good, and I could’ve easily followed it up with the Hollow Man to further harass the link. Using Pi Well to directly attack the link wasn’t particularly helpful–a better use would have been push into the central room with Pi Well to continue to attack the Vet Kazak T2 rifle deployed on the bridge once my Intruder had forced it prone and repositioning Bran to attack the Vet Kazaks as they advanced.

The above was also a good example of a prioritization mistake. I was overly concerned with taking a flamethrower to the face, but getting Pi Well into the central room, or defending the right corner from Voronin, would’ve been helpful. Even choosing to go first was a prioritization mistake–I wanted to do early damage, but the camo token potential for TAK, even if it wasn’t a huge amount from my opponent, really blunts an alpha strike.

So, to close this one out — I did a decent job of using one of my Morans to trade Koalas for orders, as did my opponent with Vassily and my Moran. He did a much better job of positioning and timing his movement, i.e. prioritization, and I made a lot of bad calls, mostly getting tunnel vision about attacking his link without setting myself up properly to do so with the right tools.

If you’re looking for a discussion of what I think is a good prioritization of a first turn, leveraging the right tools in the right order, you can look at my ECI game 5 versus Ikari here:

It’s Hacking Time!

There’s certainly a lot more to unpack from these and other games, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from Infinity players in general about their limited insertion experiences!

I definitely encourage you to write in to [email protected] with your experiences. Doesn’t have to be a full battle report. An email gets you an entry into a raffle drawing for some blisters and other Infinity swag!

Thanks for reading, and Go Go Nomads!


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