We Nomads aren’t fussy about where our tech comes from, just that it’s effective! This month is all about taking advantage of those PanO castoff lizard series TAGs that have been lovingly upgraded by Praxis for the Nomad Nation! Let’s show the rest of the Human Sphere that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure by beating face with Nomad heavy armor!
Put some heavy metal on the table! Take any of the Nomad TAGs (Anacondas count for you StarCo Bromads) and smash some face with them! Write in about how it all went by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by sharing a Google Docs battle report with that email address. Here’s the Bromad Academy Battle Report Template if you’d like to use it. It’s certainly not required, but it does make things easier if you want to include pictures with your battle reports.
Pictures aren’t required, and neither are battle reports. If you just have some general thoughts about how to use TAGs out of Nomads, we’d love to hear that too. You can use any of the following TAGs in your reports:
I’m also going to be trying to ask some more questions about your games and your reports, and publishing our conversations. I think that will expose some interesting lessons we can take away.
Let’s talk briefly about TAGs in general. We can start with a discussion about threat density. TAGs are as a rule, more expensive that most Infinity troopers. This cost generally buys you high ARM, multiple wounds, and big guns. TAGs though, are quite vulnerable, especially to things like E/M, hacking, and CC specialists, so generally you group them with some troops as bodyguards nearby. This creates a high threat density area–there’s a lot of power in one location on the board.
Since you have limited resources, this can create areas of low density in other parts of the game table–in other words, because you put your TAG and its bodyguards on the right side of the table (for example), there’s simply less stuff on the left side of the table. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does shape the flow of the game and can leave vulnerabilities in your deployment zone for an opponent to exploit.
Link teams are similar–as a rule, they have to maintain coherency, so they’re bunched up, and they represent a large investment in points and killing power in one section of the table. This can limit tactical flexibility, and like TAGs, links are quite vulnerable to certain tools like template weapons, etc.
This high threat density can be used as an advantage. You can dictate your opponent’s deployment, as they will want to negate or contain your TAG and will deploy forces accordingly. In fact, sometimes the presence of a TAG can be enough. Aside from shooting 1-2 targets of opportunity, it would not be unreasonable to spend almost no orders on a TAG during a game. The fact that it’s on the table and forcing certain decision trees on your opponent can “make up its points” so to speak. With the exception of the killing scenarios, Infinity is not a game of making up a unit’s points in kills.
Sometimes though, you do want to use the TAG aggressively. You brought a big stompy robot, so it’s only natural that you should go use it to stomp on your opponent’s list. That means the rest of your list needs to be able to create zones of high threat cheaply, both in points and orders. For example, let’s return to the TAG on the right side of the table scenario. You can put something with passive board control on the left side of the table to even out your threat on both sides of the table. Maybe it doesn’t have as much offensive punch as a TAG or 5-man core, but it will accomplish the goal of area denial and shaping your opponent’s deployment and advance.
Some examples of units that fit this criteria are Morans, Zero Minelayers, Hecklers, Lunokhods, Libertos, Taskmasters, Jaguars, etc. A single 10 point Jaguar can delay or discourage advances through certain avenues, and even exploit a weakness in your opponent’s position. I talked a bit about passive board control in Mission 004: Limited Insertion, Maximum Entendre, if you’re looking for more content.
I’ll freely admit that I have pretty limited experience running a TAG, but I know enough to hopefully dispel some common misconceptions.
- TAGs are Invincible – Nope. They die to all sorts of stuff, and in some cases, rather easily. They’re also very vulnerable to E/M, ADHL, and hacking.
- I need to use my TAG a lot – Sometimes your TAG is the wrong tool, or it’s in the wrong place. If something is better suited for the task at hand, use it. You can win a game effectively not using a TAG, or if you force yourself to use it you can overextend it and lose it.
- Retreat? It’s a TAG! – This goes hand in hand with the TAGs are Invincible misconception. TAGs are quite vulnerable to the right tools, so make sure to save few orders to back it up to safety, or at the very least to move elements up to protect it.
As a tool, TAGs can make a hole in your enemies position that other troopers can’t, and they can do it more reliably and safely. They can also anchor a position by going into suppression and have the staying power to drain a significant amount of resources from your opponent, both in orders and material. They require careful thought and planning to get the most out of them, so don’t go into a match without at least a sketch of a plan for your TAG. How will you position it? What are its avenues of advance? Supporting elements? How will you fall back to cover? What will you do if you lose the TAG, or worse, if your opponent possesses it?
Nomad TAGs also have the distinction of all being manned TAGs. With the exception of the Anaconda and the Iguana, which have operators, each of the pilots have at least the Specialist Operative designation, whereas the Szalamandra has a killer hacker lurking inside!
Before we move on to looking at each of the TAGs individually, I’ll just remind you to bring an engineer. Nomads have some of the best ones in the ‘Sphere! Zoe and Clockmakers have high WIP to repair your TAG, and Tomcat engineers can be anywhere you need them to be. I’ll cover a few key points about each TAG below.
No frills here. It has a big gun, and in StarCo you can choose between either a Spitfire or HMG. The choice also is between a light flamethrower or chain colt, which can be the difference between knocking out that heavy infantry or not. With only a two point difference between the profiles, it can be hard to justify the Spitfire over the HMG, but it really depends on the typical engagement ranges on your tables and your desire to have a flamethrower or not. Both profiles have a Panzerfausts for AROs of opportunity.
The interesting part is that it comes with an Escape System, which means that instead of the TAG going unconscious after losing both structure, it spews out a smoke template and the Operator, who is toting a Spitfire, pops out. Not the best, not the worst, but definitely different than most other TAGs. Unlike pilots, Operators still generate an order, so this can make a big difference in a game!
In StarCo you can Duo with a Mobile Brigada. One strong contender is hte TinbotB profile, just to protect the TAG from hacking, but don’t let that dampen your creativity! If you want to take the Brigada Hacker to have a specialist in tow, that’s a reasonable choice as well. Check out TheDiceAbide’s review for some additional observations. Don’t forget that it’s 4-4, which is a bit of a bummer.
Geckos are interesting. They’re cheaper than most other TAGs, and they’re smaller. They also don’t carry an HMG or Spitfire like most other TAGs. They’re often compared to the Kriza or the Taskmaster, as they are similar in cost and capability. Those that favor raw killing power will tell you that the Kriza HMG is unrivaled, and sure, if all you care about is burst, that’s true. Like the Anaconda and the two S5 HI, it’s 4-4 MOV, which isn’t the worst for the price.
The Gecko has a wide ranging toolkit, beyond even that of the lauded Taskmaster Red Fury. Like the Taskmaster, it has a direct template weapon to deal with those pesky TO and ODD models, or to intuitive attack something. The Gecko can also choose between Panzerfausts and Blitzens, which makes it a great third or fourth member of a coordinated order to attack something.
It’s also more survivable than either the Kriza or the Taskmaster in straight wounds, but its real benefit is the guy inside. You can pop him out, using the S6 body of the Gecko to block LoF and push buttons. Yep, that’s right, the Gecko pilot is a specialist operative, and he comes with dual assault pistols to fight his way there if the going gets tough. The Gecko is a real toolbox of a unit. It’s not invincible, it’s tough to master, but if you spend the time I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. They’re also really light on SWC so you can have all the Nomad toys in one list!
The Iguana looks like a pretty boring TAG on the surface. It looks awesome, but it “just” has an HMG and heavy flamethrower. Most other main battle TAGs have a MULTI HMG, so what gives? Well, the Iguana is a Nomad TAG, which means it has Nomad tricks! We’re willing to share with QK too, if they pay enough.
The Iguana comes with a repeater, and with the quality and quantity of Nomad hackers you can bring, your opponent had better get their own repeater down by the TAG before they start hacking. You can set up all sorts of things–White Noise to fight MSV, immobilizing an HI then roasting it, or just defending the TAG with a bunch of killer hackers.
If that wasn’t enough, once the TAG loses two wounds, the operator (who still generates an order!) gets ejected, and he’s an HI with two wounds and an HMG! No smoke, unlike the Anaconda, but you’ve effectively got a poor man’s Mobile Brigada HMG popping out of your downed TAG. Do note that you have to resolve all the wounds on the Iguana, so if you take more than 2wounds on the TAG your operator will take the extra ones! Launching a dead operator out of a busted TAG is hilarious, but I hope it doesn’t happen to you!
Well, it’s no Squalo, but it’s close. Bakunin has cooler toys than Corregidor, which means you get a MULTI HMG. You get to choose between a heavy flamethrower or a heavy grenade launcher as your options. Let’s be honest though, you’re probably going to take the HGL for spec-fire out to 32″ on 8’s. Don’t forget that Fatality 1 applies, so that’s a DAM 15 template falling on people’s heads!
It is not a cheap TAG, and the sculpt is… older. Some love it though. You have plenty of access to pitchers and spotlight to get that all important bonus to spec fire, so you could be shooting all the way out to 48″ on 14’s. Pretty neat! It’s really order intensive though, so make sure you set up your order pools and TAG support appropriately. Don’t forget about the Stun option on the the MULTI HMG for those pesky total immunity models.
Ah, the Szalamandra. The newest sculpt of all of the Nomad TAGs, and it shows. If you thought Bakunin had all the cool toys, Tunguska has money for cooler toys. Sally’s sporting a Hyper-Rapid Magnetic Cannon, which is basically a better version of the MULTI HMG. It downgrades the single-shot EXP mode of the MULTI HMG to a single-shot DA mode, but that’s not really a big deal, because in the active turn you get a whopping 5 dice without the need for link bonuses.
This thing can overwhelm most ARO pieces with weight of dice, and has the ARM and BTS to tank whatever lucky shot makes it through (sans crits of course). It’s not going to crash through a bunch of simultaneous AROs, but if you play it carefully, it will happily mow down a flank, one trooper at a time. The pilot is also a killer hacker, which a decidedly boring contender as a gun. I wouldn’t recommend sending it after another KHD or even an HD, but using it to hunt an AHD wouldn’t be the worst idea. Definitely more of a button pusher than hacker killer though, unless you’re in a pinch.
And that’s it, Bromads! Hop in your big stompy robot and stomp your way to victory! Good hunting!