Sunday, 9 November 2014

SCTS Infinity Escalation League - Round Five


Following two weeks of absence, this week saw the return of the Jurisdictional Command of Corregidor to the SCTS Infinity Escalation League, and the first foray (at least for this League) into proper tournament-style play, with a mock ITS mission and 300pts to play with. The other players in the League had spent the past weeks completing their third and fourth games, learning some valuable lessons and earning a lot of points for their final score, while I had sat on a Florida beach not giving much thought to life back in England. 

I fully expected to return and find myself at the bottom of the League, but (to my embarrassment) the League Organiser had counted missed games as the average score of those games played - in my case, a very healthy seven points. This put me in second place despite only playing two games, something that was at once very cool, but also somewhat undeserved. Perhaps I would have scored equal or more points had I actually played? Not something I wanted to dwell upon... onto Game Five! 

In developing a list, I was very much intending to run my very successful "Remote List," a list first developed during my first Escalation League against Winner Dave. That particular list had served me well and won three of the five games it had featured in, only losing (twice) to a local player named Joe and his dastardly ALEPH. In both cases, the list had slaughtered his troops too quickly and the games had ended before I could secure the Objectives, as ITS Missions end if one player is in Retreat. 

It was brutally effective at killing the opposition and holding territory, but somewhat slow when all the Orders are being spent on shooting.
The original Remote List, unfortunately missing the Hellcat as he was being repainted when this picture was taken
The day before the game, however, I had finished painting a new model for the team - my Vortex Lupe Balboa proxy converted from an ALEPH Dactyl. Happy with the way she turned out and eager to try out the Smoke Grenades in combination with my Intruder and his Multi-Spectral Visor, I dropped the Lunokhod Sputnik and added her in, alongside a pair of Zondbots to help the Engineer and Doctor with their tasks.
The latest addition to the team, my Lupe Balboa proxy using a converted ALEPH Dactyl, representing a captured and reprogrammed Aspect of ALEPH

 GROUP 1 (Regular: 10/Irregular: 0):

 WILDCAT Lieutenant Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife (19)
 WILDCAT (Number 2) Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife (20)
 WILDCAT Engineer Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife (23)
 WILDCAT Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife (0.5 | 31)
 WILDCAT Spitfire / Pistol, Knife (1.5 | 25)
 TOMCAT Doctor Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower / Pistol, Knife (22)
 HELLCAT HMG / Pistol, Knife (1.5 | 29)
 LUPE BALBOA Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Panzerfaust,  Smoke Grenades / Pistol, CCW (23)
 INTRUDER HMG, Grenades / Pistol, CCW (1.5 | 44)
 STEMPLER ZOND Combi Rifle / Electric Pulse (22)
 ZONDBOT Electric Pulse (3)
 ZONDBOT Electric Pulse (3)

 GROUP 2 (Regular: 2/Irregular: 0):

 REAKTION ZOND HMG, Antipersonnel Mines / Electric Pulse (1 | 28)
 SALYUT (Minesweeper) Electric Pulse (8)

 6 SWC | 300 Points

The new team, which also features two Zondbot G:Servants for the Specialists to use. These are not pictured as they are still being painted
The list looked tight and lethal, with a brutal amount of firepower and a new tricks - Aerial Deployment, Smoke Grenades, the fearsome Link Team. The draw came up, and against me once again was Joe, this time using his new faction, Yu Jing. I had only played against Yu Jing once before, losing a Beacon Race against a very experienced player in a previous tournament.  

Joe's list featured a Sensor Remote like my own and two Remotes with HMGs and Total Reaction - just like his ALEPH force. Oh dear. This was backed up with a Zuyong Invincible with HMG, a Su-Jian Immediate Action Unit and a Shang Ji Heavy Infantry. A smattering of Light Infantry Specialists hid behind this wall of armour and firepower, while a Guilang Minelayer infiltrated forward to make my life difficult. 

It was an impressive list, and in his first turn Joe secured two Objectives and destroyed my Reaktion Remote, though his Invincible did suffer a wound in the process. His team had moved forward and covered my potential advance with Total Reaction Remotes and Anti-personnel Mines. Difficult! I opened proceedings by bringing on the Hellcat behind his Su-Jian Immediate Action Unit, destroying the poor-man's Transformer with two concentrated rounds of shooting. Lupe Balboa then threw down some smoke and the Intruder finished the wounded Invincible, before the Hellcat moved around the back of a large church, bypassing the Remotes and getting into a prime position to gun down two Specialists and the Shang Ji simultaneously. 

What followed was an excessive show of force that cost me the game. I got greedy, and poured all of my Orders into destroying these three models with the Hellcat, gunning them down but costing me so many Orders I did not have time to secure any Objectives for myself. Joe had lost his Lieutenant, and totalling up the Victory Points, was in a state of Retreat by ONE POINT

The game was over, and I had scored no points - while Joe had six! I'd done it again, and for the third game in a row I had done such a good job of murdering Joe's models I had completely failed the mission. 

Unbelievable! I guess I am a slow to grasp the importance of scoring the Objectives in a tournament system like the ITS. This was fast becoming a joke and had really scuppered my chances in the League. Was it time to go back to the drawing board? Or was Joe an exception and forced me to play so aggressively because of his lists and play-style? Two Remotes with HMGs and Total Reaction do force a particular brand of aggression to deal with. 

Lessons Learned? At this point, I am not sure if I would have played differently... though obviously the Hellcat should only have targeted two Specialists instead of getting greedy and going for the MULTI KILL. This would have allowed a Turn Two and with Joe in Loss-of-Lieutenant, he would struggle to stop me achieving the Objectives. I guess the lesson here is to pay attention to the cost of the models you are taking out, especially if you think you're going to end the game too early! 

It is certainly something I will be considering before going into the Tournament next weekend. 

Thanks for reading, 


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