PanO trash is Nomad Treasure! This month, Bromad Academy asked you to write in with your thoughts, experiences, and opinions about TAGs. natetehagressar was featured in our Mid-Month Mission Update with a battle report that focused on the positioning of TAGs and support pieces for TAGs, and we’ve actually received a few responses from non-Nomad players this month!
Given enough time, I’ve started to ask some questions of our respondents to dive deeper into their decision making, playstyle, and meta. It’s important to reiterate that everything that I write here on this site is heavily influenced by my own play experience and that of my meta, and it may differ quite substantially from yours! All the more reason to really dive in and get to the bottom of things.
This month, we got some feedback covering the Szalamandra, the Lizard, and Scarface and Cordelia. In general, playing very carefully with the TAG, throwing it into suppression when necessary, and retreating the TAG seemed too be the thing to do! Keep on using those TAGs, Bromads!
As if to prove that Bromad Academy is not just for Nomads, this month random.org chose Erik (Zelaponeepus) as our blister winner! Congratulations to Erik, and thank you to everyone for writing in!
Go go Nomads!
Here is another report for you. I should have taken more pictures but it was such an intensive game it was great.
What killed the Intruder? Was it the Dog Warrior? Is the MSR something you usually leave out? How does that usually go for you?
What killed the TAG? It sounded like it was pretty easy for Keiran to kill the TAG? You mentioned that you wish you had a flamethrower. How would that have changed that interaction?
So it was the first time I have used the msr intruder and I put him out to watch the long Lane. I placed the two morlocks next to him so they would aro smoke and he would be able to shoot through it knowing they don’t have any msv 2 to shoot him with. He died to the dog warrior rampaging at him and failed his save against a chain rifle.
The tag lost a would to an unlucky exchange in the first or 2nd turn I forget. Then died in my 2nd or third to constant AP HMG fire from the link. It did tank a bit of damage and survived an emauler bts save.
And I found the tags aro options when Kiran got models up close were pretty pathetic. Vs the scout with emauler I had 2 or 3 hmg shot at him that all failed because of the neg6 I was getting for range and camo. Whilst having the heavy flame thrower in that situation would have taken care of it. That scout survived all the way through the game.
Yeah, the TAG needs a bit of babysitting. I usually use Koalas, mines, or Morlocks/Jaguars. Sounds like it did plenty of damage though. Good work!
Congratulations on putting the Intruder on the board for the first time! I generally never leave an Intruder out to ARO, it’s just not safe, I find. For similar points/SWC you can take 3 Jaguar Panzerfausts, which can still stall someone out pretty hard. I tend to use the Intruder more as an active turn piece, but there’s nothing wrong about leaving it out if you have to. It’s just expensive and risky, but what isn’t in this game, right?
Our last tournament at glimpses of wonder and warfare provided quite a few firsts for me. This was my first game playing with Hassassins, my first game playing with a non-PanO TAG, and my first game playing against a (no wait, TWO) PanO TAGs while playing a faction other than PanO. Were lessons learned? Maybe.
First of all, it was rather scary being on the opposite side of the table from a double Seraph list with first turn. That’s a whole lot of potential firepower bearing down on me. It’s also potentially more fragile than it would initially seem, and watching this list come apart in several key places helped to reinforce lessons that I’ve already begun trying to internalize in my own use of TAG lists, namely, that you either need to finish the job, or you need to be ready for an all out counter punch from your opponent.
Being ready for that counter punch mostly just means making sure that your TAG is either safe, or safe enough that you get to feel relatively comfortable in its chance to withstand a whole turn of retaliation. Suppressive fire can do the trick, but in my experience switching the TAG into reverse and getting the hell out of the hot spot is usually the best option. My opponent did neither of these; which meant that I got to spent a whole turn of hacking and jamming.
Unfortunately for Seraph number one, it didn’t take a whole turn before my own TAG (Scarface) was ready to start blasting chunks of armor off of the giant robo-knight.
Seraph number two took a lot more work, and ultimately never really fell; which brings me to a major consideration: if you don’t HAVE to kill the TAG to win, then sometimes it’s not worth it to kill the TAG.
My opponent put SO much energy into neutralizing Scarface and I ultimately just repaired him over and over again. That means that all of the active turn orders that went into him only just kept him contained. On my turn I was free to press the button, switch quadrants (we were playing deadly dance) and go about creating a defensive perimeter. His Tag didn’t need to be dead, it just needed to be stuck.
My final thought on TAGs is a reminder that flash pulse is the best skill in all of infinity. It doesn’t matter how stompy and murdery you are. A flash pulse is non discriminatory. I have a history of buying every flash pulse I can, and it continues to be a good decision. In this game I brought three warcors. My thinking was that if I already paid the 1 swc for mercs, I might as well spend another 6 points to get two more flash pulses. Ultimately this choice meant that my opponent had the ever frustrating decision of spending his first turn killing warcors, or ignoring them and risking a Rambo piece showing up to a fight he can’t see.
How did you support Scarface, especially with all the attention your opponent was giving him? You mention a defensive perimeter, what do you mean by that? Did you retreat Scarface on your own turn?
Scarface barely left the box he was hiding behind during deployment. When he did, it was to move up to another box that he hid behind. At all times on my opponents turn there was at least one Barid AHD and at least one Mutt within his area of control. Ultimately, Scarface DID push up a bit, to fight the Seraph that was pushing my right flank on turn one. Here, I think that the terrain really helped me a lot. There was a long line segregating the table so he could safely move up the length of the board which let me engage the Seraph in ideal range bands without exposing Scarface to any unwanted attention. After engaging any targets, I moved Scarface as far back as I could, hiding him behind terrain and putting him in suppressive fire.
Interestingly, scarface went unconscious twice during the game, but the energy required to put him into that state meant that it was very hard for my opponent to finish him off, especially with the dynamic of the terrain on the table. This isn’t to diminish the effort my opponent put into bringing him down. The other Seraph and a Bulleteer pushed hard, but they entered into the jammer/AHD bubble and had a slog of it.
To support him, I had Cordelia serving as my data tracker, and so I was able to use her extra order every turn to keep her close and keep her repairing the TAG.
Once the right flank had been cleared of the first Seraph and his support, and the other Seraph had advanced on the left, I had a lot of freedom to advance my own TAG back up the center of the table. In this opening my Muyibs and assorted irregular troops were also able to advance, switch the console, and then move up to secure the zone that it got switched to. In some ways, I was fully comfortable losing the entire Muyib team at this point to a counter attack, so long as they were able to slow any counter attack. The left flank was also less of a threat at this point, because my jammer and AHD had successfully isolated and immobilized the Bulleteer and second Seraph.
There’s been a lot of discussion about how TAGs need an extra order via NCA or Tactical Awareness. Whether or not we agree that the extra order is necessary, Scarface has one, due to Frenzy. How did you leverage that? Did you?
Because my TAG seemed to enjoy beginning his turn unconscious, frenzy never really came into play.
What TAG-related lessons are you going to take home to VIRD and NCA when you eventually circle back to PanO? Is there anything specific to those factions that help you run a TAG? Your precious Fugazi, for instance?
I think the major lessons that I applied to my use of Scarface during this game were actually developed and gleaned during my time playing Panoceania. To boil it down: be cagey. Be so damn cagey. This principle is a lot easier when your opponent is barring down on you and you don’t have to spend nearly as many orders to retreat. It’s also a lot easier when the terrain suites you.
The major challenge in playing TAGs in PanO is having a support bubble that can shut down an advance quite as effectively. PanO doesn’t bring hackers that I feel nearly as confident in, and what hackers they DO bring are expensive, so I can’t bring as many of them. I often max out Fugazi anyways, and because TAGs are so expensive, I’m much more likely to max them out to build up a big order pool. As I said; this is because I love flashpulses, but it also gives you that repeater bubble; which can help keep the TAG safe.
One advantage that certain PanO TAGs have is a marker state, and that’s something that I would definitely lean on if it was available.
Hello Bromad Academy,
Here is my report on a game of capture and protect where my Anaconda Data tracker was almost great, but then it died.
It did provide a nice roadblock that distract Xammy from actually accomplishing the mission objectives, so that was worth it.
How did your deployment and list choices reflect your prioritization and goals for the scenario?
For list choice, I prioritized a strong proactive defense of my beacon, using template weapons, perimeter weapons, and a TAG used defensively. My primary plan for beacon retrieval was Spector, followed by my TAG or a Lunkhold if need be. I was hoping that if I didn’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about my defense I would be able to better deliver my capturing pieces.
StarCo has a tendency to skew towards high numbers of irregular orders, which puts a lot of pressure on your command tokens. Your list is a good example of this. What was your plan for recovering the objective and having enough orders to sculpt your defense and get the objective home?
The plan going in to capture the objective is to have Raul Spector use his irregular to land, set up some poor ARO choices and then snag the beacon and run it back. Defensively for turn one I was planning on using the Lunkhold Koalas to discourage an AD beacon grabber or any other fast turn one attempts. Subsequent turns would have two template bots and an HMG in suppressive fire to make any attempt to get close to the beacon costly, both in material and orders.
If everything went well, and you faced mostly a null deployment on the first turn, say just an ORC left out for ARO, how would you have retrieved the box?
Oddly, that’s exactly what I faced off against. The plan was to walk Spector in (though I am really bad at remembering you can’t walk into a deployment zone) and use Dropbears, Boarding Shotgun and Martial Arts to clear a path to the beacon. Ideally he breaks up the link team, picks off anything that could be a serious threat to him (MSV). With those clear he can snag the beacon and start to retreat back towards my side. His goal is to get to a spot watched by the Anaconda so that the Anaconda could get the beacon and then retreat back further.
It sounds like you advanced the Anaconda into the midfield to serve as a speedbump. PanO excels in direct attack, so I suppose you felt there wasn’t a need to protect the TAG’s flanks, but how would you have responded differently to say, CHA or Haqq?
The purpose of moving my TAG up was two fold. First, it was my first back up plan to get the box, so any place closer was good. Using suppressive fire was to discourage any direct attack. Against enemies with more indirect attack options (hacking, E/M, jammers) I would have kept the TAG further back, covered more by the defensive net for the beacon. I probably got greedy against PanO, but I felt good about the Anaconda’s spot against any combat.
Were you happy with your positioning? Did you consider advancing a Lunokhod into the center instead, and throwing enhanced reaction on it?
I wasn’t unhappy with my positioning. I could have made better choices to develop my position better. I had an extra order set that I could have moved on of my Lunkholds further up to better cover my right. I didn’t expect Xammy to use so many orders to consolidate and bring his link team that way. I had Enhanced Reaction on it, but the only ARO it got was well out of range of it’s guns. If I had brought one of each Lunkhold (Flame and Glue Gun) I would have had a better ARO net.