Sunday, May 26, 2024

Mission 006: Hack the Planet!

First off, Happy New Year from the Bromad Academy! Let’s talk about some 1337 h4xx to start the year off. The Nomad faction is widely regarded as the best hacking faction in Infinity, although there are other factions that also have excellent hackers.

What differentiates the  Nomad nation from other factions that makes them truly great is that we bring two key things to the table: 1) we have amazing access to high quality hackers with interesting gear and 2) we have capability to get some truly excellent repeater coverage on the table. This month’s mission will be all about spreading the 1337 h4x around the table with repeater coverage!

The Mission

Get some games in with Fast Pandas, Deployable Repeaters, and Pitchers this month! Write in about how it all went to [email protected] and be entered into a drawing to win a blister and some hacking tokens!

Again, no need to write in with a full battle report, just your thoughts, tips, tricks, strategies, etc.

To save you the trouble, here’s a list of stuff with the appropriate gear:

  • Deployable Repeaters
    • Alguaciles
    • Bandits
    • Hellcats
    • Spektrs
    • Tomcats
    • Wildcats
    • Zeros
  • Fast Pandas
    • Hecklers
    • Interventors
  • Pitchers
    • Hollow Men
    • Mary Problems
    • Moderators
    • Reverend Custodiers
    • Tsyklon Sputniks
    • Uhahu

The Gear

Alright, let’s talk tech. All three of the things we’re looking for you to try this months behave exactly the same once they’re deployed. They’re S1 repeaters. The FastPandas are cuter than the more traditional deployable repeaters, but they don’t do anything different once they’ve been put on the table.

All three generate a hacking area within their Zone of Control and all three are STR 1 with no ARM or BTS, so they’re easily shot off the table by just about anything. Deploying any of them can be done as a short skill or in ARO, assuming you have LoF to the active model in ARO. Deploying them is considered an attack though, so if you’ve been Stunned you’re out of luck. What’s super different is their modes of deployment, so let’s break that down:

  • Deployable Repeaters – A troop that carries Deployable Repeaters can place them in base to base with a short skill or in ARO. No Nomad troops have this combination of skills and equipment, but if you’ve got the Minelayer skill, you can deploy a Deployable Repeater during the deployment phase.
  • Pitchers – You can shoot a deployable repeater at range to a spot you can see, as a BS attack. This means link bonuses apply, and the Pitcher weapon profile has Rifle range bands, e.g. 0 out to 8″, +3 to 16″, -3 to 24″ and -6 out to 48″. If you want to have good odds of landing a pitcher, a link is a good way to get there with +3 to BS and +1 Burst. Sadly, they’re Disposable (2) so you get two shots and then you’re done.
  • FastPandas – FastPandas start in base to base with the deploying trooper, then can move up to 8″ as a normal move. This means that you can’t climb a wall, jump off something, etc. and that terrain rules that slow or stop movement will affect it. The deploying trooper does not need LoF to the final destination of the FastPanda, which can open up some interesting options.

Deployable Repeater and FastPandas are more reliable than Pitchers, since neither requires a roll. They’re both shorter range in terms of deployability though, so there’s a distinct tradeoff here. If you want to get a repeater far away in an order efficient manner, be prepared to risk the roll with the pitcher. If you’re willing to walk a Deployable Repeater or FastPanda into position, you’ll guarantee the repeater, but it will have cost you some orders. Of course, you can flub the pitcher roll twice and then you’re just sad too. The Tsyklon is probably our best Pitcher platform out of Nomads, and it’s accessible to all of our factions. Due to its X-Visor you can place a pitcher out to 24″ on 12s and out to 48 ” on 9s.

A few cautionary thoughts:

  • Oftentimes, you’ll be using these pieces of equipment in the midfield, where all your camo tokens are. They are legal targets for direct and impact template weapons, and if your camo token just happens to be under the template, that’s too bad for you! This is also an issue for troops with ODD or TO–you don’t want to give a shotgun the full +6 to BS and still be able to hit your Reverend Moira link with the template, for example.
  • Like everything in Infinity, they’re not hard stops. Don’t expect a repeater to do more than just delay your enemy’s advance, especially if you don’t have strong hacking AROs.
  • They’re areas of vulnerability too–you don’t want to be in the middle of a coordinated order with some hackers in it and then have a Ninja KHD pop out of hidden deployment to Redrum a hacker you were just getting free movement with while you were shooting at something else with other models.

Some general thoughts on best practices:

  • As we talked about in Mission 002: From Zero to Hero, using a deployable repeater and E/Mauler together can be a real pain in the butt for your opponent.
  • I’m a big proponent of hacking in ARO, as most hacking profiles are pretty low burst, and for many of the Immobilizing programs will stop units into your turn (with the exception of Carbonite), which is pretty great. Putting a repeater down near something hackable and just moving on with the rest of your turn is a strong move. This also goes hand in hand with the concept of Passive Board Control, which we discussed in Mission 004: Limited Insertion, Maximum Entendre.
  • It’s really important to hide the repeater, pitcher, or FastPanda. If the repeater is easily visible, or easily accessible to a non-hackable unit, then all you’re really doing is taxing your opponent one order. Philosophically, you’re trying to get order advantage, just like card advantage. If you can get your opponent to spend two orders dealing with your repeater for your one to place it, then that starts to be worth it. If you can get three or more, or actually land a successful hack, then you’re definitely getting order advantage.
  • Setting up multiple AROs can really help with the order advantage here. If you have a unit watching the repeater, then you can possibly kill whatever’s going after the repeater to unstick the hackable unit that you’re covered with the repeater. Many of my opponents will split burst, throwing one, even two dice against the repeater and the rest at whatever you’re AROing with, which has often been the difference between life and death for the participating troopers.
  • Deploying repeaters in ARO is an option as well. In most cases, you’ll do this with a Pitcher at range. If you’re deploying a FastPanda or Deployable Repeater in ARO, it’s likely a suicide option, and you’re only likely to get a single order of usage out of the repeater, so make it count!

Let’s talk hacking programs to use through repeaters, specifically the CLAW series. I’ll leave the SWORD programs out of the discussion, since Redrum is the correct answer 99% of the time.

  • Blackout – This is a surprisingly under-utilized program. It turns off all comms equipment carried by your target, meaning it can turn off enemy hacker’s hacking devices! If you were ever worried about a follow-on attack, you can just completely turn it off with this program.
  • Gotcha! and Basilisk – I often declare this in ARO, because unless my opponent resets out of it, their unit will be IMM-1 for two turns, i.e. into my next turn. It’s less reliable than Carbonite,  but I find it to be more generally useful. Natetehaggressar and I disagree here, as he thinks its more generally useful to have the +3 WIP from Carbonite as that’s more likely to be an effective order tax on your opponent.
  • Carbonite – The +3 WIP is quite relevant, and often used for face to face rolls. Against a KHD’s Redrum, the +3 is almost a must.  This is a great active turn program as well, due to its reliability. Just make sure you have something to follow up the IMM-1 with, like a SMG set to AP mode…
  • Spotlight – If only this could be used in ARO… Sometimes you need this, especially for classifieds. I generally don’t bother though, but if you have a TON of orders or want to set up a smart missile shot, then it’s useful. Don’t forget that the targeted state gives +3 to hacking attacks too!
  • Expel – More hilarious than anything else, I’ve never seen this used. It’s only damage 13 and burst 1, so it’s tough to pull this off. I’ve never declared this program, because…
  • Oblivion – Oblivion is the right answer to 90% of the “what program should I choose in ARO” questions. It doesn’t work against Morats (or stuff with Veteran L1 in general) so don’t forget that. It can stop a rampaging HI, TAG, or Remote, turns off a remote’s repeaters, disconnects G:Sync’ed and G:Servant models, depletes the enemy’s order pool, and my personal favorite–it locks a Combined Army aspect into its body, meaning they’re actually going to be in Loss of Lieutenant without the ability to use G:Mneumonica to get their Lt’s consciousness out. It doesn’t solve ALL your problems, but since Infinity is a game of managing cognitive load, it’s a good twitch response to something walking through your repeater. I’ve even declared it against non-hackable stuff due to habitual (ab)use of this program!
  • Overlord and Total Control – Well, if you want the other player’s TAG, then declare this. Surprisingly, they’re pretty similar in terms of effectiveness, due to the pervasive high BTS of most TAGs and the Breaker versus Double Trouble ammo. Total Control is generally slightly more effective by a few percentage points, so if you’re rocking an AHD, use Total Control.

Some of our models have cooler options, like Mary, Zoe, and the Custodiers:

  • Stop! (Zoe) – Use it if you want to IMM-1 something. It’s better than her other options.
  • Icebreaker (Mary and the Custodier) – This is the “monofilament” of hacking programs. It’s DMG 12 and sets their BTS to 0. Useful if you run up against something with BTS 9.
  • Lightning (Interventor and Mary) – Great for face to face rolls, due to the -6 to your opponent’s WIP. If you’re getting a normal roll though, Redrum all the way thanks to double trouble.

And now, the dirty little secret of playing Nomads: White Noise can be declared in ARO. If something generates an ARO for your Interventor, Custodier, or Uhahu, you can throw down White Noise through a repeater! Were they setting up smoke for an MSV2 unit and walked through a repeater? No more MSV2 + smoke for you! Is their Bagh Mari link wandering around? They’re all blind! Not always relevant, but it can really shut down your opponent’s  plans. Again, Infinity is a game of cognitive load, so if you make them backtrack on their plans and have to re-formulate something on the spot, you can often force a bad decision out of them. A good thing to have in your back pocket.

So, fellow Bromads, strap on your rollerblades and join Zero Cool, Acid Burn, Lord Nikon, and Cereal Killer to HACK THE PLANET!

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