Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Adventures in Svalarheima

With the conclusion of my Steel Phalanx army, I decided to start a second force for Infinity.  I've been rolling around the idea of a Haqqislam biker list for quite some time as I think it would look awesome on the table, but the thought of all that effort and expense is quite daunting and I'm not sure I can gather the motivation to overcome that particular energy barrier.

Enter the new Closed Battle Lists for ITS9, something new to try out... featuring a TAG. I like it! I like this because it's relatively quick and tidy. As I can't imagine having fewer than ten Orders, I'm going to stick with the first list Svalarheima Blizzard Force-6 (A).

I bought the PanO starter box to get three Fusiliers, the Dire Foes Mission Pack to get Fusilier Angus (to use as HVT) and Fusilier Bipandra (to use as the fourth Fusilier).  The starter box also got me one of the three Nisse, with the other two available in blisters along with the Hospitaller Knight, which left the CSU and the Jotum. Annoyingly my Beyond Red Veil box was missing the Limited Edition CSU, so I had to do through the mispack process. Fortunately Corvus Belli sent the replacement really quick.

With my freshly assembled team I headed out for my first game. I was playing Dan, our local Warcor who is well known in the UK tournament scene who was trying out a list for the tournament at Firestorm Games. We settled on Supplies as it's a good solid missin with things to do but not too complicated.

The Game
I was facing a swathe of Nomad Remotes, I think in total eight Crazy Koalas were on the table and 2 remotes had Feuerbachs.  There was a five-man Link Team of Algualciles with an HMG guy and Missile Launcher on a roof.  I was going first, so Dan used his Salyut Zond EVO Hacker to run Overclock giving his billions of Remotes B2 in ARO. I was quite worried for my Jotum... I know from reading around that newbie TAG players tend to over extend their TAGs. Opening moves were all about carefully moving the Jotum up the right hand flank to first engage a Tsyklon Sputnik Feuerbach, then a Transductor Zond. I had to burn Orders putting those things to dead dead as I know what Dan is like for engineering them back to health and there was an Engineer helper bot close by.  I stuck the Jotum into Suppressing Fire to cover the right hand Objective.

Then it was time to get busy on the left hand flank, where my Nisse Link Team were in a building.  Between the sniper and HMG I managed to clear the opposing roof of the Algualcile HMG, Missile Launcher and the other Tsyklon Sputnik with Feuerbach. Phew, that was a hard hitting First Turn, I'd really hurt Dan's army (with the help of quite a few crits) but done nothing to get the Objectives.

In a classic Dan-shaped maneuver, he sent a Lunokhod Sputnik racing down my left flank to hurt my Nisse Link. I got lucky and sent it to Unconscious, mostly because Dan missed a Line-of-Fire from the sniper Nisse forcing him to split the burst of his Heavy Shotgun. There was some general shuffling of Crazy Koalas, but nothing eventful and a second Lunokhod Sputnik got into base contact with the middle tech coffin. Hooray for me I survived first round with an intact force.

Second Round
I moved the CSU up to about half way to support the Jotum and cover the right hand tech-coffin.  Annoyingly I was using the list from the book I bought and I said to Dan "weird, I could have sworn he had the Specialist rule."  Later on I discovered that it has been added to the 1.1 version and there's an errata to download.

Now I make a mistake, much like Dan missing a Line-of-Fire from my Nisse, I miss a Line-of-Fire from the Lunokhod Sputnik as I move the Fusilier team forward. The blast caught both of the Forward Observers and as Dan was running Assisted Fire they went straight to dead. As far as I knew I only had one Specialist left, the Hospitaller Knight, who was hiding behind a crate.

I then spent a frustrating amount of Orders on my Nisse, trying to take that Lunokhod Sputnik down.  I think in the end it was Disabled, but that was my turn over.

Dan now raced his remaining Engineer Zondbot down to the original Lunokhod Sputnik and repaired it, which also got him a Classified Objective. It was in prime position to hurt my Nisse Link Team and that's exactly what happened. Bye bye Combi-rifle, bye bye HMG.  The sniper managed to escape and took the Lunokhod Sputnik down for a second time.

Third Round 
If I'd known the CSU definitely was a Specialist then I could have taken this, but as it was I had to sacrifice a Fusilier to clear some Crazy Koalas whilst using Co-ordinated Orders to get the Hospitaller Knight to a position to grab the righthand tech coffin.  All that remained was for me to cover the middle coffin as best I could in AROs.

Dan went for the middle tech coffin with the remains of his Alguacile Link Team, which had his Lieutenant and and an Engineer.  The Lieutenant outshot my Nisse sniper (kudos), but then our Lieutenants had a combi-off.  I think we were both at -6s. Somehow, my leader lucked out and took the Nomad down. Nonetheless, the Engineer ran forward, skirted around an Unconscious Lunokhod Sputnik and managed to WIP the tech coffin. With his remaining Orders Dan tried to kill my Knight Hospitaller with a Moran Massai Manhunter who had been prone on a roof the whole time.  All I can say is thank goodness Hospitallers have two wounds.

It turned out Dan's Engineer was a nats-whisker away from being inside ZOC of my HVT and I had his HVT, so the result was a DRAW.  Even though I'd been sure to put the Remotes from Unconscious to dead in our opening round, I should have kept the philosophy alive and seen it through in Round Two. Not knowing the CSU was a Specialist really hurt as he was in spitting distance of a tech coffin, which meant the Hospitaller could have grabbed the middle one.  I can't complain though as this game I definetely out-crit the crit master.

Playing with unpainted minis without arc markings is two sins I'd rather not repeat.  I even had to proxy for the CSUUrrgh it sends shivers down my spine. However I knew I would always give any benefit of doubt about facing to my opponent as that's on me... and unfortunately it seems to be true that unpainted armies are luckier. Also, I need a Crabbot.

My Lady Fusiliers - One will be by Lieutenant
Two weeks after my initial venture (thanks to a carol concert), I headed back to the local store to try again. I had arranged to play Dan again and had chosen Safe Area as the mission, however plans changed and I ended up playing Pete. Pete was running Ariadna, an army he's very familiar with and has been using for years. We stuck with Safe Area for the mission, as everyone else had turned up late I set up the board, I paid too much attention to blocking long fire lanes and created a board that would suit close action and maneuverability.

Pete won the WIP off, and chose First Turn... gutted.

Round One
Pete had held back a Camo token (Uxia McNeil) as his reserve model, which he then deployed close to my Nisse fireteam. I had counter-deployed with my CSU (now with NWI), to keep Uxia just within Nanopulser range. This turned out to be my best move of the game, as Pete wasted some Orders moving his Camo token around looking for the right time to pop Uxia out. As it turns out the Nisse's Multi-Spectral Visors and Mimetism proved too much and they pistolled Uxia down. Pete switched to burning Command Tokens, moving up to take up Suppressing Fire positions at corners; about half way up the table.

My plan was to move the Jotum forward to take out the righthand flank Cateran Sniper and Veteran Kazak before doubling back for long-range shots at the lefthand flanks' Veteran KazakAfter two or three rounds of shooting, the Jotum had lost two Structure points thanks to a Critical Hit and T2 ammo, whilst the Kazak was perfectly at home at his corner. I decided to switch sides to see if my Nisse Haris fireteam could nail the lefthand side Kazak.  I lost count of how many ARM saves that trooper passed, but by the end of my eighth order I'd lost my Nisse HMG trooper. I took the Kazak out with a Light Shotgun blast with my ninth order, and attempted a final shot with the Jotum, but failed.

Yep... I was feeling a little salty at this point.

Round Two
With only 1 str point left and no engineer to fix him, Pete's set about nailing the Jotum.  It took two Orders for a Kazak Spetznaz to pop his camo and HMG the Jotum down. This also provided Pete with a Coup de Grace opportunity which he took. Meanwhile on the left,  a Chasseur started giving my remain Nisse a hard time. I think the Combi-Rifle Nisse failed to engage and burned because of it, whilst the CSU shot and missed and the Nisse Sniper managed a Dodge. Pete then rightly left the Chasseur to be an ARO menace.

In my turn my personal morale was broken and I started being bloody-minded. I lost the CSU due to a flamethrower ARO, whilst he shotgunned the Chasseur down. I got lucky with the Nisse Sniper passing his arm save after also getting hit by the flamethrower... this was a dumb mistake, but he then Coup de Grace'd the remains of Uxia.

Round Three
With his final turn, Pete ensured he had control of his closest quadrants and Specialists in base contact with the Antennae. There was a plethora of Mines knocking around and that pesky Veteran Kazak still in Suppressing Fire. I had a Camo'd Foxtrot hanging about in one of my quadrants.

I couldn't see a way to win, so I threw my Hospitaller, then the Fusilier team at the Veteran Kazak that had given me such a headache all game. He continued to sit there and gun down everything I sent at it, critting the Hospitaller and outshooting the Fusiliers.

Post Game
Ultimately I let my HMGs get too close, the board was very tight and I felt I had little choice but to engage at close range. Pete told me afterwards that that was his plan, to close the range enough that my Sniper Rifles and HMGs became a hindrance.  It was a good plan and it worked.  I learned a weakness in my army, which I need to plan for in future games. I think the Nisse should be deployed centrally in order to be able to move either way, whilst the Jotum shores up a flank.

Since playing with silver models is not my thing, first job was to get some primer on them. I threw some grey blue wash over them just to bring out the details. Then to bring them a little bit to life I decided to bulk paint the skin and hair where applicable.  As these guys live on an ice planet I wanted the skintone pale. You can see the skin wash I used, is really orangey... not sure that was a good idea.  There's a significant difference in quality between the older models (Angus/Bipandra) and the newer models. For some reason I wanted to get the Fusiliers trousers done, so I cracked on with their winter camo.

Boy Fusiliers will be the Forward Observers

Feeling somewhat apprehensive given last game's failures, I headed back for the third game at least hoping I'd learned something. I played Josie who was running the Neoterran Capitaline Army. We chose Capture and Protect as it's a mission on the cards for the next tournament.

Josie won the WIP off and chose deployment, I took First Turn.

Round 1
On the left flank, I was facing a five-man Bolt fireteam on a roof, the only trooper stood up was the sniperIn the midfield were two Locusts, one on either side. I moved the Jotum out to attack the Locust imagining his high Burst would see him through. Josie rolled a critical hit and the Jotum lost its first wound. Oh no, please not a repeat of last game. With its second Order the Jotum managed to kill the LocustThen it was time to tackle the Bolt team - my goal was simply to clear the fire lane and have the Jotum sat in Suppressing Fire, then move stuff up the right hand flank. Eight orders later... my Jotum has taken another wound and the lone Bolt has finally gone Unconscious. Yep... looks like i'm in for a repeat of last game. I've had to turn to the awesome Infinity dice calculator as this little set up has been bugging the hell out of me. According to it, the Jotum had a 47.36% chance of inflicting one or more wounds, whilst the Bolt had a 14.08% chance of inflicting one or more wounds. When Josie missed with two dice, I missed with all four, when I did hit with the damage 16 AP rounds, Josie would tank the armour save... Until my last Order, when it went Unconscious, naturally a quick Doctor roll got the Bolt back up and finished off the Jotum - to add insult to injury I believe with a double crit.

From my point of view that was game over, I lost interest. I carried on playing and removed models as they died. There were some iffy Line-of-Fire claims, which is always my pet hate in wargaming in general, "as you move from here to here I can just see you antenna." Have elite troops really not learned to walk with their knees bent?  Blarrrgh, I was just salty after two games where I believe the odds were in my favour but massively went in my opponent's direction.

However it has brung to light a little quirk of my gaming style. Namely, that I don't claim I have Line-of-Sight unless it's really quite obvious and non-contentious, but I play a lot of people that will claim Line-of-Fire, which are frankly unrealistic or going against the obvious intention of how the model is placed. This gives me a handicap and I need to get back into the habit of using the silhouette marker to check each line of movement, which I think is a shame as it slows down gameplay and removes a degree of fun... but it's better than taking unexpected AROs.

In this game I experienced what I believe is a PanO phenomenon, at one point the Hospitaller ran forward to heal up a Nisse.  I had to use all four Command Tokens for re-rolls and the result, one dead Nisse. I really need a change up in luck soon.

I switched from bulk painting to focus on getting Fusilier Angus (my HVT) finished, ironic that this mission doesn't use an HVT... yep the writing was on the wall.

Such a different sculpt to the new Fusiliers - Good for HVT duties

Well, three games in and not a single win. Quick, find me a noob to bash! I feel this list is really lacking an Engineer to fix up the Jotum as it inevitably takes wounds and I've been playing with some vanilla lists to fit one in. I need to make better use of the Nisse as they are the real power in the list, backed up by the Hospitaller. I'm certainly missing the Smoke options that come with my usual Steel Phalanx lists and there has been many times I've questioned the wisdom of choosing this project, especially when CB revealed the Thorakitai renders - I certainly got more than a little excited.

Well, I shall continue painting and playing this list for a while, but one more game like the last two might just see me rage quitting altogether.


Winner Dave


  1. Never mind mate, welcome to the losers club where I've been living for around 2 years! Lol!

    What you lack in gaming so far you've more than made up fir in painting, these guys are really nice!

    1. Thanks mate, I've got platinum membership in that club ;)