YueFei23 (Pete) here again. I just got back from Adepticon where I played in the Saturday 300 point ITS tournament. My choice of faction was pretty much made for me – Adepticon has a full painting requirement that means all models must have at least 3 colors applied to them. Imperial Secret Service was the only faction I had anywhere close to enough painted models to get ready in time for the event. This meant switching back from the vanilla Yu Jing I’d been playing most of the year, trade my tiger soldiers for Garudas and remember how to transform my Su Jian.
Lists and Mission analysis
Breaking down the missions, supplies was clearly a problem for me. It’s a mission where an opponent can run away with all the objectives on the first turn. This is a bit of a problem for ISS, who have only 2 options for midfield skirmishers and no minelayers at all. Normally midfield control is obtained by either killing everything with a Rui Shi or moving up a few Kuang Shi, but both of those solutions need a turn to take effect. If this goes wrong, a smart opponent will have whacked all the tech coffin pinatas and run away with all the candy. Because of this, I went against my normal list choices and added a TR bot and Kanren with Madtraps. If I went first, my Ninja could hand some supplies to the kanren and let him run off with them, then follow with a second set. If I went second maybe the enemy would glue themselves or waste enough time dealing with AROs and holoechoes to only grab one supply token. Then I’d need something to go fetch it back… sounds like Garuda time!
Most of the same tools would work well in Powerpack. Getting the second turn and hiding a ninja by one of the antennas should let me dominate the antenna grabbing game and either a Garuda or Weibing should be able to run for the enemy console. The TR bot would also let me protect against AD troops sneaking in around the goofy corner deployment zones.
My second list was a straight forward bruiser list, with a Su Jian to go out and kill designated targets and Sun Tze to think hard about everything and avoid dying at all costs. Strategos Level 3 is incredibly useful for kill missions. If I win the initiative roll I choose deployment. If my opponent wins the initiative roll they seem to want first turn, which is fine… because I want deployment anyway. At that point, revealing that they have no reserves and need to set everything up before I do leaves them in the position of spreading their forces out as they don’t know where I’ll go. Sun Tze can then castle up on the flank of his choice, and use fast moving Rui Shi, Su Jian and Garuda to deal body blows to the enemy force after making them come to him.
All opponent lists have been recreated by our forensics experts based on available first hand witness accounts. They may be slightly wrong…
Game 1 – Powerpack vs Vanilla Haqqislam (Todd)
Todd chose first turn to attempt a Fiday infiltration and kill my lieutenant, but failed the infiltration roll placing the Fiday back in his DZ and left me going second, which is ideal for powerpack. I chose sides and deployed Lunah and my Zhanying high on a roof, with a TR bot and warcor guarding with 360 visors against flanking and AD attempts. My kanren set up with madtraps to guard my console and my ninja hid to pounce on the central console late game.
Turn 1 – Both of us managed to place our xenotech’s datascanners, but spent 4-5 orders failing two or three WIP checks doing it, so that was a big chunk of the turn for each of us. Todd advanced a couple of Muttawiyah and capped an antenna on the left flank with Leila Sharif. I shot the Mutts coming at me and knocked down a Djanbazan with my Rui Shi and the Sekban with Lunah, then spent a few futile orders trying but failing to discover the Al Hawwa sniper.
Turn 2 – Todd applied a cunning disguise and brought his Fiday forwards on its way to grab my console. He also brought the last two mutts into play and healed his Djanbazan. He set Leila up in suppressive fire guarding the antenna she had bagged.
I managed to get a lot of work done this turn and used most of my remaining command tokens on coordinated orders, bringing my garuda in behind Leila and shooting her, pulling my Kuang Shi link into the middle of the table to suppress the Djanbazan if it decided to get up, then popping my Ninja out to grab the central console and put some scoring pressure on. To flush the Al Hawwa out I used the orders in my second pool to run my sophotect forward and flip the Antenna he had already scored… this worked and I took a wound on the Sophotect from a Mutt’s chain rifle and managed to bounce the sniper round off her armor as I hit the button. The Al Hawwa died to a shot from Lunah and then the sophotect attempted to get a classified objective by healing herself out of NWI, but executed herself instead. Oops. Somehow I managed to clean up the last mutts and also knock down his fanous flash pulse bot.
Turn 3 – It was make or break time for Todd, but he didn’t have many orders to get anything done. Scared of the TR bot, he brought his Ragik on in a safe spot to get the points on the table. His Asawira set up in suppressive fire to guard his console. His Tuareg popped up to flip the antenna on the right flank, but died to a Kuang Shi chain rifle. The Djanbazan popped up and died to a chain rifle and viral rifle salvo in a shoot out with Lunah.
Right up against the clock, I just had time to run my Weibing remote onto a point on his console that wasn’t covered by the Asawira and make sure my Ninja was controlling his HVT.
Result – 10-0 Major victory to ISS. (verify)
Notes… there was definitely some luck involved here. If Todd had managed to infiltrate his Fiday, this might have gone badly wrong for me, with a shootout between the Fiday and Zhanying at the start of the game. At least Zhanying have 6th sense, but who knows how this would have turned out.
Game 2 – Decapitation vs Vanilla Nomads (Brian Schwebach)
Deployment – This is where Sun Tze’s strategery comes into play. Brian chose first turn and I picked deployment, which meant I could have him set up without reserves and then counter deploy refusing one of his flanks and castling up around my lieutenant. Unfortunately 16” deployment zones forced our designated target models 20” out onto the table, which left relatively limited places to hide them and stop the opponent from reaching them. Brian put a moran on each side of the table with crazy koalas and split his morlocks up the same way, his Tsyklon and Reaktion Zond went down fairly centrally then most of his stuff including his Intruder, Bandit and Securitate lieutenant and hollow man datatracker on his right flank, surrounding his designated target. A warcor perched on a tall building in the left corner of the field, covering most of the table.
All my stuff went on this right flank, leaving a few of Brian’s models out in the cold way over on his left flank. Sun Tze was surrounded by the Kuang Shi link, with my Rui Shi tucked well back out of harms way and Lunah, my Su Jian datatracker and a linked Kuang Shi covering my own designated target, which was deployed on the right hand side of the board.
A full half the points in Decapitation are for scoring a kill with your datatracker on the designated target, so that was how the action would kick off for both of us.
Turn 1 – I docked one order from Brian’s main group regardless of counterintelligence – when you have five command tokens with advanced command spending one to dock a turn one order is still a great deal. Brian advanced a Morlock down a thin corridor on the right flank closest to my designated target and threw some smoke blocking most of my AROs before sending his hollow man datatracker out to get work done. Unfortunately for him, my designated target was extremely tough, crit dodging the first salvo to go prone, then passing armor saves on two more salvos and failing guts to run around a corner into a stairwell. Brian attempted to throw some more smoke with his Morlock to cover a further advance, but Lunah lined up a shot and dropped it dead instead. With three orders left, Brian had to bring his hollow man forward and take multiple AROS… it took a single wound from Lunah, made a couple of armor saves and then finally managed to kill the designated target before setting up prone in suppressive fire on the stairwell.
I sent a couple of impetuous Kuang Shi forward to clear crazy koalas and try and finish off the hollow man with chain rifle and death explosions, but unluckily they didn’t manage to get the job done and died in the process. Losing interest in the hollow man, I set about killing the designated target another way. Lunah lined up a shot all the way across the table on the Warcor, who crit her on a 2. Damn, that was my only really long range weapon, and I couldn’t have the warcor stunning my Su Jian before it killed the designated target. Regrouping from that plan, I set out to blow smoke around the place, shoot out the TR bot with my Rui Shi through the smoke then weave my Su Jian into the middle of the table through various repeater areas where he could see the designated target. This mostly worked, though my Rui Shi went down to a crit and had to be healed by the Sophotect. Cautious moves got me where I needed to go, and despite a Bandit popping out of a camo token in front of me I put four spitfire shots into the target and murdered it. The Su Jian then had just enough orders to gun down the bandit and run back out of table center through the smoke to hide back in my DZ on top of a building.
Turn 2 – All that shenanigans with dodging invulnerable designated targets and sneaking around the place in smoke had taken a huge bite out of our time, so we only got to play through turn 2. Brian brought his Tsyklon forward and managed to gun down Lunah but couldn’t get close enough to kill anything else.
I tried three things, pretty fast. First I put up controlled jump, then tried to AD my garuda in a spot by his Garuda lt where it would get hit by one crazy koala boost, but no other ARO. If I could spike the landing and survive *one* koala hug I could pull off a major win by dumping a boarding shotgun into the face of his lieutenant. I landed on target, but the helpful koala squeezed me to death.
Next I used my Rui Shi to kill his Tsyklon and attempt to kill his TR bot, but the range was a little long and my Rui Shi lost the shoot out. No matter, I could heal it, but putting assisted fire back on and re-engaging the TR bot seemed like a bad idea.
Almost out of time I elected to quickly make an attempt on the wounded hollow man with my Su Jian. It ran & climbed down from the building it was in, crossing the fire path of the TR bot on the way and managing to knock it down with a spitfire salvo. It then transformed and peered over the wall into the face of the hollow man – datatracker to datatracker duel. Unsportingly, I flamed him, judging that a burst 3 salvo of multirifle fire couldn’t actually kill a Su Jian. All the armor saves were passed and we ended the game with a hard stare.
Result – minor victory to Brian, as quickly went over our lists and added up the points of killed stuff it looked like he was 7 points ahead, giving him a 7-5 victory.
Notes – make a kill pile! At this point, Brian’s brother walked over and we all a little amused at how close the game was. In good humor, it was suggested we do a recount to make sure we didn’t screw things up. We lined up both sides dead minis in the center of the table… and it turned out Brian had forgotten the Bandit that my Su Jian torched … and a Morlock!
Real result – this meant I’d lost 60 points for killing 91 points, giving a 7- 5 minor victory to me! I think I’ll always do a visual kill pile like this from now on, as it makes sure nothing is missed.
Game 3 – Supplies vs Tartary Army Corps (Jerry Poore)
This game of supplies was played on a very dense table, with some sealed buildings and corridors with playable interiors. Because the central tech coffin would end up three stories high and extremely hard to reach we elected to place it inside the central building, which had fully sealed doors. I won the initiative roll and chose deployment, which foolishly put Jerry on a table side with a sealed corridor leading back from the sealed room – he took first turn and deployed a Strelok close to the tech coffin. This messed with my plan to glue enemy infiltrators in place, as my Kanren’s Madtraps couldn’t make it into the sealed complex. A pack of antipodes and a dog soldier deployed on my right flank and another pack on the left flank with the Kazak fireteam.
I put my Kanren and Ninja relatively close to the table centre where they could hold things up and deployed a selection of ARO pieces covering as much of the table as I could. Dog-soldiers and Antipodes need a lot of love to keep them from chewing up the furniture, so Jerry would have to get through a TR bot, Lunah, some Madtraps and three sets of flash pulses before he could do any damage with them. This would also give me a lot of chances to discover Antipodes out of camo state before my turn.
Turn 1 – The dog soldier and antipodes bounded forwards behind buildings, safe from ARO. On the right flank, the antipode pack pushed their luck, moving out to surround the tech coffin there. One of them was discovered by my TR bot, but none were shot.
Predictably, the Strelok opened the tech coffin and ran away with one of the prizes, thumbing her nose at the madtraps on the way. It spent several orders opening doors and running back down the corridor towards the friendly table edge, ending facing down the corridor in case anything followed it.
Pavel McMannus popped out and tried to take out the TR bot, which helpfully crit him for his trouble. Then the kazak link moved up and tried to do the same, receiving a crit on the Vet Kazak and putting him into NWI before the TR bot went down.
In my turn my Rui Shi killed the Dog Warrior through smoke and attempted to murder the antipodes, but only managed to kill one of them. It set up in suppressive fire to discourage them from advancing further. My sophotect’s yudbot repaired my TR bot and it sent a couple of volleys into the Vet Kazak using assisted fire, but didn’t get lucky and he managed to knock the TR bot out again. I settled for repairing it a second time and putting assisted fire back on it.
Turn 2 – Jerry knocked down the TR bot again, and noticed that my left flank was looking a little weak. He sent in a Spetsnaz parachutist and knocked out my Weibing Yaokong and Chaiyi Yaokong. His fireteam spent a lot of orders working his way through my Kanren’s holo echoes and mad traps before shrugging off a chaincolt hit and shooting it with his Vet Kazak. They then started climbing the building next to the leftmost tech coffin, preparing to open it.
The Antipodes on the right flank came around the corner and closed with the Rui Shi, but as they entered combat and knocked it down a second Antipode died to a hail of ARO from chain rifles and combi rifles, immobilizing the last one. This turn looked really good for Jerry, as he had two of the supply boxes sewn up and pretty good table control, with Spetsnaz and a strong fireteam holding half the table.
However… I still had an ace in the hand. My garuda dropped in by the back door of the corridor complex centrally and very garudely shot his Strelok in the back, before running to pick up the supplies and set up in suppressive fire facing towards the door it had come through. My ninja then revealed by the rightmost tech coffin, opened it and hid in a building pretty far from all the TAC troops.
Turn 3 – We quickly played through our last turn, with Jerry picking up the supplies closest to his fireteam then sending his 112 and an antipode controller to try and convince the Garuda to drop his supplies. The Garuda hung on to his supplies tightly in one hand and gunned them down with the other.
With two of the supply tokens in hand from my sneaky behind the lines operations in turn two I was already ahead in points. Jerry managed to secure HVT and score a classified and there wasn’t anything I could do to grab back his last supplies token or score my classified, but this gave me the win.
Result – 5-3 Minor victory for me
Game 4 – Firefight vs Varuna (David Scarborough)
Deployment – Despite bringing Sun Tze with his WIP 17, I managed to lose another initiative roll. Fortunately David chose first turn, which fell right into Sun Tze’s favourite strategery trap. I could force David to set up first with no reserve models, then choose where to go to make his attacking pieces travel to me.
David set up a 5 man fusilier link with two kamau in it – hmg and msv2 sniper, but deployed it pretty far over and back on the right flank. Two Zulu Cobra camo tokens hid in midfield, one in a building with a spiral staircase and the other on ground level behind a building just around the corner from a panoply. Patsy deployed pretty centrally in a haris with a kamau and a machinist. A set of helot decoys in a building on each flank overlooking the table. A fusilier datatracker hid in a building by the kamau link.
I castled up in a building on the far left flank, with Sun Tze in a central cutout and linked kuang shi covering all approaches and table edges behind him. On top of the building behind cover, my Su Jian looked out on the one main fire lane leading into the area and Lunah covered the same lane and a couple more approaches in camo state from a tower window. Building windows provided a saturation zone for adepticon, so this suited Lunah just fine. My Sophotect and Celestial Hacker deployed in the same building, so even if my Su Jian went unconscious in ARO it could be patched up for use in my active turn.
As a second layer of my defensive onion I deployed a couple more Kuang Shi and my Warcor and Chaiyi Yaokong, so the routes towards my castle would have to either ignore or remove the flash pulses. Finally, my Rui Shi was deployed behind Lunah’s building, very far back on the table and providing an additional ARO against anything coming down the back edge of my deployment zone.
Turn 1 – I docked a couple of orders from David’s pool with the Kamau in it, which left him with 7 orders to try and do some damage to me. He spent four of them moving his link over from the left flank behind the building by the leftmost panoply and the zulu cobra camo token there. From there, the light grenade launcher had a 16” range onto Sun Tze and celestial guard controller, so David tried three spec fire attempts to knock Sun Tze out from outside LoF. Sun Tze took one wound and I lost a Kuang Shi to it, but three orders was not going to be enough to grind through Sun Tze’s three wounds with him dodging. This left his kamau link behind a building and very bunched up next to the Zulu Cobra’s token.
I started by sending my first impetuous Kuang Shi down the alley, which flushed out his Helot and burnt the Kuang Shi with a rocket. Never mind, I had another one, which didn’t stray into the Helot’s LoF. Lunah calmly shot the fishman, which opened up the alley for the impetuous kuang shi to run down it. Taking a quick breath outside 8” of the Zulu Cobra, the Kuang Shi then advanced to a nice spot touching the panoply with LoF to the camo token. I thought I’d probably have to trade the Kuang Shi for clearing the token, but David didn’t reveal, so instead I hit the panoply… and pulled out a bike! VROOM! This didn’t really matter much, as the targets to chain rifle was now 2” away… flipping an epic wheelie my Kuang Shi rounded the corner and went to work, then I sent my Kuang Shi link up to finish it up. By the end of this, I’d traded a total of three Kuang Shi for the full 5 man Kamau and Fusilier link, the Zulu Cobra and the Heavy Rocket Launcher Kamau from Patsy’s haris.
As a second swing, the Garuda in my second order group walked in and shot the datatracker fusilier hiding in the backfield, then popped out on the other side of Patsy’s haris and took a couple of shots at her, putting a wound on her and killing her other Kamau buddy. It then hid.
Turn 2 – After a pretty decisive first turn and with just a handful of orders left in his main pool, David brought his Echo-Bravo in close to Sun Tze, who had been deserted by his Kuang Shi bodyguards. There was one spot in the corner behind my Rui Shi where Sun Tze couldn’t see… though the Rui Shi made it’s turn and face roll to spin around and cover him. He tried to shoot Sun Tze from outside 8” with his boarding shotgun but was facing a flash pulse on a 20 from Sun Tze as well as shots from the Rui Shi. His first shot was blocked by a flash pulse and on his second attempt he was gunned down by the Rui Shi. Patsy managed to shoot the Garuda.
I was surprised I hadn’t managed to murder David’s lieutenant, but that made it pretty clear that it was the remaining Zulu-Cobra camo token. I sent my Su Jian out to hunt it, zooming up the stairwell by it and stopping outside 8”, before transforming and stepping into a spot where I could see the token. This also meant the remaining Helot could take a shot at me, so the Zulu Cobra stayed in camo, which let me shoot it. I then tried a discover on the camo token… and David elected again to stay in camo hoping I’d fail my roll. I passed, torching the Zulu Cobra with my light flamer.
Turn 3 – This game was over. Patsy scored Coup De Grace on my Garuda and I managed to pick up one classified and secure the HVT.
Result: 10-1 Major Victory for me.
I placed 2nd out of 49 players! Not bad… I bagged a silver medal from Adepticon. I think I had a little luck and managed to plot a route through the tables that didn’t run into some of the scariest players there, I also had reasonably good dice and didn’t make any really game losing mistakes. Some days a little luck and a little competency can take you a long way!
This also goes to prove that sectorials that haven’t had recent updates are still pretty solidly balanced against the newer sectorials – my ISS had all the tools to pretty much table a Varuna list and hold out against TAK.
For a bonus medal, I won the single game Biotechvore Challenge on Sunday with a mean little Wu Ming list and a lucky missile shot or two. That’s a story for another time, but meant my ISS headed home with this nice little prize haul!