The recent Escalation League at my local gaming club ended this past weekend, and as a grand finale we all took part in a three-game tournament to show off our newly honed skills and lists. The potential thirty points earned from these three games would be added to the scores achieved in the first five games to give the overall victory of the Escalation League.
I attended with the Jurisdictional Command of Corregidor whom I had played with for the initial five games of the Escalation League, and this would be both their third tournament and second Escalation League. Their ranks had swelled since the beginning some seven weeks previous, and now felt more like a small army than a crack team of special operatives.
After the initial five games I sat pretty in fourth position with twenty eight points, behind two Yu Jing players (including one very experienced tournament player, though this was his first try with Yu Jing) and, in first place ahead of me by fourteen points, a player with the Jurisdictional Command of Bakunin. A rival Nomad ship! His lists looked impressive and I had the impression he was a damn good player.
|Equipped with Multi-Spectral Visor L2, the Intruder can see through the columns of smoke laid by Lupe's Smoke Grenades, perfect for ambushes and surprise attacks|
Following the League and some painting progress (detailed in some previous posts) I had some new troops to try out and put through their paces; most notably the Spec-Ops character Lupe Balboa, who would bring some Smoke Grenades to the table and hopefully become a real force multiplier for the Link Team and the Intruder.
I also intended to run two Zondbots in one of my lists, one for the Wildcat Engineer and the other with my Tomcat Doctor, who would be able to extend their effective range across the board. They would not be useful for the scenarios, but the thought of potentially bringing back my expensive Intruder or Reaktion Zond when they get taken out was just too tempting.
A smattering of Specialists and heavy firepower was strewn throughout the list, the staple Hellcat with HMG and Reaktion Zond, the Wildcat Link Team, Stempler Zond and Tomcat would all feature, as well as the Intruder with HMG who had not really proven himself hugely useful, but was a consummate deterrent.
The list featured five Specialists, which many players would consider to be far too few. It did however, include three HMGs and a Link Team with Spitfire, so I was confident I could make up for any shortcomings with sheer firepower. This *flawless* tactic has won me as many games as it has lost... would it work out this time?
The tournament allowed two lists, but I only really planned to use this one and in the end ran the same list three times.
JURISDICTIONAL COMMAND OF CORREGIDOR
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 High Rollers" assembled|
The first scenario was Quadrant Control against the current leader of the Escalation League - a guy named Chris running the Jurisdictional Command of Bakunin. His force was packed with Bakunin weirdness - a Sin-Eater Observant watching over the table, a Link Team of Riot Grrls (fast heavy infantry with some serious firepower), Uberfallkommandos and some Infiltrating, Minelaying Zeros. A Reverend Custodier hid at the back, and I had a sneaking suspicion that this was his Lieutenant.
This was a tough game, to be sure! Chris was a very good player, but as I had deployed second and gone second he was forced to march into my guns, and played very cautiously. To open, the Uberfallkommandos littered the field with Smoke Grenades and the Riot Grrl Link Team worked their way forward to secure the left flank, cutting down the leader of my Wildcat Link Team. In turn, my Hellcat jumped in and cut down his Lieutenant, while the Remotes secured the right flank. The Tomcat appeared behind his Sin-Eater, and the Zondbot healed the Unconscious Wildcat, much to Chris' chagrin. At the end of turn one, we both held two quarters each.
In turn two, Chris was forced to elect a new Lieutenant, allowing me to take some of the initiative and try to dominate his quarters. but the Sin-Eater and the Riot Grrls slowed things down. The Intruder took down a Zero while the Salyut Zond cleared some Mines with his Minesweeper. At the end of turn two, we still held two quarters each.
In the last turn, the Uberfallkommandos ripped apart the Tomcat and then jumped down to attack the Link Team, covering their advance with Smoke Grenades but still getting shot to bits by the brutal firepower of the Wildcats. The Riot Grrls then tried their luck, but with some amazing rolls the Wildcats managed to cut down two of the Riot Grrls to no losses! The Bakunin advance had been stalled once more.
Attempting to earn some points in the last turn of the game. Lupe Balboa threw down some Smoke and the Stempler Zond ran around the side, marking the Unconscious body of the Reverend Custodier to achieve one of my Classified Objectives. In order to take control of Chris' half of the table, the Intruder tried to take down the Sin-Eater but was unsuccessful and took a bullet to the head. The Hellcat then tried the same trick and was similarly cut down. Stymied, the Wildcats attacked the Riot Grrls and, though they wounded one, could not shift them from their position. The game ended with both of us holding two quarters - again, one point each!
We had a draw in terms of table quarters held, with both of us scoring one point for each turn of the game, but I had also managed to achieve my Classified Objective and the game ended FOUR-THREE to me. A victory against the best player in the League! A low-scoring game, but a nice start!
Chris had a solid list and tactics, but was unlucky with his Riot Grrls and restricted by a board where I held the advantage. If I had not managed to take down his Lieutenant on the second turn I imagine it would have been a very different game.
|Wildcat Link Team|
Supplies was game two, an Objective based mission where Specialists would need to open boxes and secure the prizes until the end of the game. This was always a fun mission, but I worried a faster opponent than me would be able to take the Objectives and hide them where my slow Wildcats would never reach them. Against me for this mission, David and his Yu Jing hit the table - a Specialist-heavy force with three Shaolin Monks packing Smoke Grenades, a Hsien with Multi-Spectral Visor and an HMG, Rui Shi Remote with Multi-Spectral Visor and Spitfire, a Remote carrying an EVO Repeater (great for Hacking) and roughly a dozen troopers of various designations and skills - I think he boasted four Hackers, two Paramedics, two Engineers and a Forward Observer, but I may be underestimating!
It was an intimidating list, but given I had nothing worth Hacking, the only real threats were the Hsien and the Rui Shi. Once they were dealt with and the Shaolin Monks shot down, the rest of the force would collapse under my superior infantry. This was the plan, at least.
The game opened badly as the Hsien, under the cover of Smoke, managed to bring down the Reaktion Remote. My Intruder retaliated and wounded the Heavy Infantry, but his Paramedic healed him and the Intruder was promptly shot down too. The Shaolin Monks covered half the table with Smoke Grenades and his Specialists managed to get in and recover two of the Objectives - at this point, I was feeling mighty sick.
To try and get back in the game, the mighty Hellcat jumped in and gunned down the Rui Shi before ducking around and bringing down the Hsien! He then went crazy amid the scattered Specialists, cutting down two or three more of the Hackers and Engineers David had hidden in his deployment zone. The Wildcats then secured one of the Objectives and worked with the Stempler Zond to bring down the Shaolin Monks and a Specialist carrying the second Objective, leaving it abandoned in the centre of the board - the Stempler would promptly pick it up and carry it away.
At this point, David's force had collapsed and though he tried to recover, the overlapping fields of fire from the Wildcats, Stempler Zond and Hellcat left him with very few options. As a final pair of insults, the Stempler Zond marked an Unconscious Monk and achieved my Classified Objective, before the Tomcat came on from the flank and shot apart his Baggage Remote to secure the third Objective.
This was textbook Corregidor working at full steam. Even with the blows of losing the Reaktion Zond and the Intruder in the opening moves, the rest of the team worked perfectly to pull their opponents apart and secure all three Objectives. The game ended NINE-ONE to me, as David had also achieved one Classified Objective. A thoroughly brutal, yet entirely satisfying game.
In David's defence, he had a list that was a bit too heavy on the Specialists, and only really had teeth in the Hsien and the Rui Shi - once they were dealt with, it was a turkey shoot. Four Hackers with an EVO Repeater is a lot of fun, but not against a team like mine where there are very few juicy targets to Hack and Possess.
|Remotes - for security, scouting and carrying supplies|
The final match was against a Nomad player named Alex, whose team for the Frontline mission featured five Alguaciles (one with an HMG), four Morlocks (cheap, Impetuous troops with Smoke Grenades), a Lunokhod Sputnik, two Salyut Zonds with Total Reaction and Combi-Rifles, a Tomcat Engineer, Prowler with Spitfire, Hellcat with HMG and a Reaktion Zond. A potent force of mixed strengths, that would come at me from all directions.
The Morlocks immediately put me on the back foot, advancing across half the board while the Prowler appeared out of cover and shot down my Reaktion Zond. His Hellcat then came out of the flank, taking down the Stempler Zond and Lupe Balboa. The Alguacil with HMG, Lunokhod Sputnik and Salyut Zonds moved to cover my advance and stall me in my deployment zone, a good tactic for a mission like this, and though the Lunokhod was destroyed in the process, the Crazy Koalas were deployed very close to my Wildcats.
My own turn was ineffectual, with the Wildcats taking down the enemy Reaktion Zond and forcing the Alguacil with HMG to go Prone, but the rest of the team utterly failed to deal with the rival Nomads. My own Hellcat came on the flank to cut down one of the Salyut Zonds, but was too close and got shot down! The Tomcat Doctor was forced to follow and revive him, wasting precious Orders.
Alex kept the pressure on, and though it cost him dearly, both the Hellcat and Tomcat were killed and a Wildcat taken down. He lost all but one of his Morlocks in the process, and also his own Hellcat and the Prowler were killed trying to attack the Link Team. Once again, the Wildcats proved themselves better in the Reactive than the Active Turn.
With the clock ticking and knowing this would be my final turn, I used the Intruder to bring down the Alguacil with HMG and then advanced the remaining Wildcats and the Salyut Zond to try and secure some of the Objective Zones. They were too slow, and I had taken too many casualties - in the end, I could only secure the closest Zone (worth the least points), while Alex held the centre. The game ended ONE-THREE, another low-scoring game and my first loss of the tournament.
My team had been crippled by poor rolls and some very good overlapping fields of fire from Alex, stalling my attempts to advance and score the Objectives. It was a tough game, no doubt, maybe the toughest of the tournament, and a real shock to the system to play a force with so many dirty tricks and backup plans. I was happy with the final score in this one, even if I was disappointed so many of my troops were unable to achieve anything. Next time!
|Tomcat Doctor - Extreme Situation Intervention and Reaction Unit|
Hellcat with HMG - Immediate Deployment and Interdiction Regiment
I had to leave the tournament early as I was scheduled to work that night (in what would turn out to be the busiest night of the year so far), but I was happily informed the next day that with my scores from the Escalation League, I had finished in Second Place! A fine result and the best placing for the Jurisdictional Command of Corregidor so far. Just a shame I couldn't be there to collect my massive trophy and prizes!
My opponent from game one finished first following some rather brutal wins in game two and three, while the rest of the top four were pretty much the same as before the tournament, just switched around by my submarine tactics. It seems some of the guys had some really, really unlucky games where they had scored zero points, showing Infinity is a game where anything can happen!
There was no painting competition, unfortunately.
|The Alguaciles, this time slightly less shiny!|
Area control scenarios like Quadrant Control and Frontline are always difficult for me as the team is slow and often reliant on staying still and shooting. I need to be more aggressive with the Link Team, and coordinate with the Remotes and the AD-troopers to secure areas. Baggage Remotes are a wise investment - I was especially impressed with Alex's Salyut Zonds in the third game.
In terms of my playstyle, I chose to go second in every game and ran the same list for all three games. I played a very reactionary game, and though it worked out in the end, I lacked control of the initiative and played tense. This hurt in the scenarios where control of the board was mandatory, and is something I will need to work on.
The Intruder continued to be a weight around the neck of the team, eating points and SWC but contributing very little. Only in game three did he manage to take out more than one enemy model, and yet I am loath to lose him - the Multi-Spectral Visor is almost a requirement in ITS due to the prevalence of Smoke Grenades, and he is the only source of Camouflage for the team. Perhaps next time I will run one with a Sniper Rifle, or a cheap and cheerful Combi-Rifle.
Lupe Balboa opened some tactical possibilities with her Smoke Grenades, allowing me to re-position my troops and advance under cover without worrying about ARO. She eats Orders though, which stifled my plans, so will need more practise. I will also need to learn to coordinate her with the Intruders a bit better!
The Zondbots were fun, and though they only really made a difference in the first game, what a difference they made! Having a Doctor able to help the Link Team makes them an incredible threat, and though I did have to bring on the Tomcat to activate the Zondbot, it was worth it and ultimately helped out by drawing the Pupniks away from my main force. The Engineer was not as helpful, but it was nice to have the potential to bring back the Reaktion Zond should the need have arisen.
The Remotes were overall fine - the Reaktion Zond managed to fire a total of three times, I think, but was a deterrent that controlled my opponent's moves in the early turns. The Stempler Zond was great in the Objective-based second game and helped in the first by clearing the Mines and Camouflage markers. He was taken out early in the third, but these things happen. The Salyut Zond, with his Baggage and Minesweeper, was a nice little backup in the first and third games, helping to secure the Objective zones.
The Hellcat and Tomcat worked together well, with the Hellcat being MVP for both the first and second games in terms of kills, while the Tomcat helped secure the Objectives in game two to give me the great final score. These guys are consistently worth every point!
Stars of the show, the Wildcat Link Team earned their points back in every game, murdering everything that came into their gun-sights and taking a huge number of my opponent's Orders to deal with. Combined with the Doctor-controlled Zondbot and the threat of the Intruder, Reaktion Zond and the Aerial Deployment troopers, the Link Team was the heart of my force and will continue to be for the future.
|The Intruder cohort, including a MULTI Sniper Rifle, Combi-Rifle and HMG loadout. The HMG-equipped Intruder has been painted since this picture was taken, and features in the team above|
The tournament organiser announced another tournament in mid-December, the last of the year and the last with the current edition of Infinity. Aiming for twenty players, they would need ten tables worth of terrain, and somewhat enthusiastically I volunteered to donate two tables worth. I can very comfortably cover one, but to have two fully painted and appropriately dense will be a bit of a stretch! Thus, all of my hobby efforts are currently being poured into building, spraying and painting terrain as fast as I can - I have a vision for two very different boards; one clean and glowing, a neon metropolis, while the other is a run-down slum built amid a loading dock, featuring a large number of crates, vehicles and graffiti-covered buildings.
With this in mind, any plans for new models for the list have been pushed aside. As much as I would love to get the Iguana painted, I doubt I will be able to make time for it, especially with Work being a pig as usual. I will certainly consider some different loadouts for the list, and may even think about running two different lists for the different scenarios. I make no promises!
Beyond the terrain plans, I think the Jurisidictional Command of Corregidor will need some new tricks if they are to keep up with the high-stakes Top Trumps that Infinity seems to be. A second Moran Maasai Manhunter, the Iguana and some more Hellcats are all on the painting table, and will see a lick of paint soon... if they have to wait for N3, so be it.
|Heavy Hitters - the Gecko and Moran Maasai Manhunter with Crazy Koalas|