Sunday, 5 April 2015

Infinity - SCTS 2015 II Tournament Report

THE SECOND SCTS EVENT OF THE YEAR TOOK PLACE THIS WEEKEND



THE TOURNAMENT
The Jurisdictional Command of Corregidor prepare for another mission
The third tournament of the year, SCTS II would feature sixteen players over eight tables running three 300pt ITS missions, with a great mixture of different skill levels and factions. This would be my seventh tournament since my return to Infinity and starting my Nomad force - I was getting to be a seasoned veteran!

PREPARATION AND THE TEAMS
Alguaciles with their fashionable hairstyles
Preparation for this tournament was somewhat less than previous events, as I had not had the time to prepare anything extra terrain-wise, and my team was pretty well established. My first team would be the same as I had run in the previous event, as it had served me well and was a nightmare for my opponents to deal with, even if they knew what I was fielding.

The second team was similar, but with a Link Team of Alguaciles and an Iguana instead of the Wildcats and Intruder with HMG (plus some other changes)The Iguana was the big new addition to the team, but depending on my opponents I was not sure if I would even use it. Two practise games with the TAG had seen it destroyed twice, which had not improved my opinion of it. I prefer to play with a team of troopers who can cover one another and get the job done if one should fall - having a force dominated by one model like an Iguana is not something I am comfortable with yet. More practise is needed!

The "High Rollers" are reinforced with Tactical Armoured Gear and a mercenary Hacker - Valerya Gromoz
Team One - the second Command Group begins with the Alguacil Hacker
Team Two - the second Command Group begins with the Stempler Zond
THE TABLES
Table One

Table Two
Table Three - crates and recreational buildings
Table Four, featuring Warmill's new C.A.S.H.stak buildings
Table Five
Table Six
Table Seven - my own Loading Dock donated for the day
Dense, but featuring plenty of lanes for snipers and heavy weaponry
Table Eight - my second table, Neon City (still work-in-progress)
Deceptively open, with long lanes of fire available down the streets
GAME ONE - Supplies
In the hellish warzone of Paradiso, the Nomad strike team launches a recovery mission in a ruined urban zone, looking to retrieve several supply boxes. An alien patrol stumbles upon them, and an intense firefight develops. The "High Rollers" are unilaterally successful, despatching the Shasvastii infiltrators and foul constructs of the EI with brutal efficiency. 
Battle amid the overgrown ruins
The first game was against a relatively inexperienced player named Graham, who had not attended an Infinity tournament before, but had a good grasp of the rules and what his units could do. His Combined Army consisted of a Charontid with HMG (a big monster with great statistics and armour), three Unidron Batroids with Plasma Carbines, Maakrep Tracker with MULTI Sniper Rifle, two Shrouded Infiltrators, Fraacta Trihedron Drop Unit with Spitfire, an Aswuang Infiltrator and something else I've forgotten (it did not come out of hiding, I know that!).

Graham made his initial mistake before the game had even begun, allowing me to choose deployment, deploy second and then take the first turn. This allowed me to start shooting immediately, and I spent my first turn gunning down as many things as I could see - the Charontid suffered two wounds, the Maakrep Tracker was killed and two Unidrons bit the dust before he could move. He revealed his infiltrators next to the Objectives, but was forced to waste several orders trying to open the boxes, and though the Fraacta Drop Unit caused some trouble appearing on my flank, she was gunned down too and the Alguacil Specialists achieved their Classified Objectives by running a Data Scan and Telemetry on the Unconscious body.

The Wildcats moved up and spent the rest of the game gunning down the Shasvastii infiltrators and securing the three Objectives. The Charontid was finally gunned down, (though it cost my both the Intruders) and the Combined Army were shattered.

A brutal game, especially for Graham. My initial shooting cost him so dearly that any meaningful counter-attack would have been difficult, and though his infiltrators had a good chance to grab the Objectives and run, some bad rolls on his part stifled those plans and allowed my Wildcats to move up and secure them. Final result was a 10 - 0 VICTORY.

GAME TWO - Supremacy
The mission continues, and the strike team moves to secure several communication consoles to arrange extraction. They are ambushed by the enigmatic Tohaa, supposed allies who quickly overwhelm the team, surround them and cut them down. The scattered survivors manage to secure three consoles however, alerting their commanders in the Nomad fleet and the O-12 of this treachery. 
The dense Neon City
Game Two saw me face the best player at our local club, a gentleman named Chris. He had won several events in the past, and though we had only played once before (I had won 4-3), I knew he was a bloody good player. Tohaa were also an unknown to me - I had never faced them with the Nomads, though I had played with them in the distant past when they were first released.

Supremacy was always a difficult mission for me - I start slow and don't like to advance until I've removed a lot of threats, but this mission rewards fast advance and overwhelming numbers. The Triads of the Tohaa would give Chris an efficiency in his movement that would be a great advantage in this mission, and his AROs were well covered with a pair of snipers and a Chaksa Auxiliary with HMG and Neurocinetics.

Chris' force consisted of three Triads - one featuring a Sakiel with Viral Combi-Rifle, Kamael Forward Observer and Makaul, one with a Kamael sniper and two Kamael line infantry, and one with an Ectros armed with an HMG, Kumotail Bio-Engineer and another Makaul. The force was supplemented with one Chaksa Auxiliary with Heavy Flamethrower, one Chaksa with HMG, a Nikoul Ambusher with MULTI Sniper Rifle and a Diplomatic Delegate Specialist. Two Clipsos Infiltrators deployed in TO Camo.

The game opened badly as my Intruder with HMG suffered a critical hit attacking the Chaksa and was taken out. My Intruder with MULTI Sniper Rifle then tried to shoot his Nikoul sniper, but was killed. To round things out, the Reaktion Zond was destroyed as it tried to bring down the sniper. I had lost three of my four heavy hitters in MY first turn - my dice had deserted me, and it would be an uphill struggle from here.

Aghast at my losses, the Wildcats moved up and managed to bring down the Chaksa with HMG, hiding in the cover of a building as they secured one of the Consoles. The Stempler Zond secured a second under the cover of smoke from the Jaguars.

Chris' first turn saw his Triads move up to secure the Objective Zones and gun down several of the Wildcats, leaving me close to Retreat. In my second turn, I had the chance to sacrifice my team and get into a Retreat state and end the game early, denying Chris vital Objective Points, but this seemed petty and would earn me no points. Instead, the team secured a third Console and then tried to gun down as many of the Tohaa as I could. They succeeded in bringing down most of his Specialists, meaning he could not secure any more of the Consoles, though he could still earn points by dominating the Table Quarters.

The rest of the game continued in a similar manner, as Chris hunted down my troops. Several more Tohaa were taken down, but I was almost tabled in the final turn. The Tohaa had managed to dominate the Table Quarters, secure one Console and achieve their Classified Objective, but the Nomads had secured three Consoles, leaving the final score a 3 - 8 LOSS.

An interesting mess - obviously Chris is a great player, but I don't think things would have gone quite his way if my Intruders and Reaktion Zond had not messed up so badly in the first turn. I feel pleased with the result, and would like to have another game with Chris soon - this was some intense Infinity!

GAME THREE - Frontline
The extraction point is arranged and the "High Rollers" quickly move to the dockyards of the ruined city. Amid the stacked and mouldering crates, the team must fight through yet more alien filth, led by one of the most powerful Aspects of the EI - an Avatar! At great cost, the team manage to tear past the beast and escape the hellish warzone.
Breakthrough at the loading docks
The last game of the day was against the local Warcor, a gentleman named Andy. Once again, I was playing against aliens - this time the Combined Army led by the monstrous Avatar (biggest model in the range, I believe?). This 137pt monstrosity was worth more than my entire Link Team plus extras, carrying a MULTI HMG (on BS 15) behind Armour 9 and an Optical Disruptor.

The rest of his force was comparatively light - a Noctifer with Spitfire (okay, this guy would causing trouble!), two Datarazi Witch-Soldiers, an Obsidon Medchanoid with Slave Drone (Doctor-Engineer), one Imetron (Order generator, like a Netrod), one Ikadron, Unidron Batroid with K1-Rifle and two Shrouded Specialists.

Andy chose the first turn in an effort to smash me quickly with the Avatar, and strode forward with it after the two Witch-Soldiers were killed charging forward recklessly. The Wildcats and the Reaktion Zond were deployed in a central building, trying to cover as many angles as they could, and managed to hold back a simultaneous attack from the Noctifer and the Avatar for precious seconds before three of them were cut down and the Zond damaged. The Noctifer was killed by a lucky critical hit in the process, and the Avatar took cover behind a large building.

As the Avatar waited to attack again, the Nomad Nation prepared themselves - they moved forward to repair the Reaktion Zond, achieved my Classified Objective by Marking the Slave Drone with a Forward Observer and then revealed one of the Shrouded with the Stempler Zond's Sensor. The Alguacil Hacker advanced and ran a Data Scan on the Shrouded, achieving my second Classified Objective.

The game continued with the Avatar hunting down the Alguacil Forward Observer and finishing the Reaktion Zond once more, while the rest of his force moved forward, Shooting what he could, the Intruder with MULTI Sniper Rifle finally revealed himself to bring down the Medchanoid and then narrowly avoided a shot from the second Shrouded, before turning on him and cutting him down. The Stempler Zond killed the Shrouded with Triangulated Fire, and the Hacker advanced, getting into a firefight with the Unidron Batroid that saw them both taken out.

In turn, the Ikadron launched forward to attack, but was killed by the Wildcat Engineer who had survived the destruction of the Link Team. Running out of Orders, all Andy could do was try to kill as many of the Nomads as possible before they secured the Objective Zones, but his fire was ineffective and they managed to slip past the Avatar under the cover of Smoke Grenades. The Intruder with HMG and two Jaguars secured the zones, and the game ended with a lone Avatar raging as the scattered Nomads evaded him.

A tense and bloody game, no doubt! Andy played cautiously with the Avatar, and though it caused a great deal of damage in the initial turn, hiding him behind a building allowed my force to hunt down the other members of the Combined Army, kill them and secure the breakthrough. Starved of Orders, the Avatar could not rampage effectively.

Both Andy and myself achieved our Classified Objectives, and Andy secured the one of the Objective Zones with the Avatar. In turn, I secured the other two, and the final score was a 9 - 6 VICTORY.

PAINTING COMPETITION
The Jurisdictional Command of Corregidor out in force
Andy's Combined Army
Alex's Nomads - heavy on the Remotes and TAGs!
John's Morat Aggression Force - the overall winners. Well done John! 
Painting was judged over lunch time, and there were a few good teams out on display this time. The winner was judged to be John's Morats, a nice neat force given the prize especially for their lovely Yaogat Link Team.

In the future, Simon says he will be encouraging the painting aspect a great deal more, and I look forward to seeing a bit more paint on my opponent's models!

RESULTS
The Final Results
SECOND PLACE! Holy £$&@! Good results in Game One and Three shot me up the table, and though my team suffered a huge amount of losses, they achieved the Objectives and won the prize! Very pleased with this result. Commiserations to Joe, who had some problems with his Shock Army of Acontecimento suffering so many Critical Hits. Well done to Chris, obviously, for being the clear winner of the tournament, and to Andy, my opponent in Game Three who came third overall.

CONCLUSIONS AND LEARNING POINTS
The counts-as Intruder with MULTI Sniper Rifle
GAMING THOUGHTS
  • I am getting the hang of Command Tokens - I think I used all of them in my second and third games, which is a first! Usually I have plenty spare. 
  • Suppression Fire - still a great mystery to me. Obviously it is situational, but in retrospect there were probably a few situations it would have helped. 
  • Hacking is another grand mystery - I only use mine to secure Objectives and give Supportware to the Remotes. More investment is required if I want to do more - things like a Bandit with Assault Hacking Device or a Hellcat might be useful.
TOURNAMENT THOUGHTS

  • As usual a pleasant and efficient tournament! Kudos to Simon for making it looks easy. The new display screen made organisation even easier, and I look forward to future events running this smoothly. 
  • Rules disputes were dealt with quickly, and the only big problem I overheard was an issue with the differences between the Human Sphere book, the FAQ and the (outdated) Infinity Wiki. The rules are not airtight, much as they need to be, and it is a shame that there are so many sources needed to play at the moment. Hopefully things will streamline soon. 
  • Good prizes - though of course I still love trophies, gift vouchers are more than acceptable!
  • Terrain still needs painting! Some more uniformity in the tables would make it look SO much better! It's a shame when they clearly have enough terrain that it still feels so haphazard. 

UNIT BREAKDOWN AND THE FUTURE
  • Once again, almost every member of the team proved usefulwith prizes going to the Stempler Zond and the Wildcat Link Team as usual, as well as the Alguacil Hacker for her work in the second and third games. The Intruders caused havoc in the first game, and though they did nothing in the second, their threat (albeit alongside the Reaktion Zond) in the third caused my opponent to be cautious and probably cost him a great deal. 
  • The Wildcat Link Team are tenacious, and take a great deal to bring down even if they do not succeed so well against more experienced players. They pack some surprises, too - the BTS6 was a nice bonus against Viral weaponry of the Tohaa!
  • This tournament saw a lot of play against aliens - not my usual fare and something different, no doubt! Unfortunately this also makes it difficult to learn much about my own team as I don't have many "equivalents" to their alien weirdness. 
  • My team is well established and undoubtedly efficient, but this is also the third tournament I have used my List One and it is becoming a bit of a recurring joke. Definitely need to try out and practise with new combinations of troops and Remotes.
  • Next on the painting table - more Alguaciles! 
Thanks to Simon once more for a great tournament, and thanks as usual for reading,

George


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