Sunday, 22 February 2015

Infinity - SCTS 2015 I Tournament Report

The first tournament of the year (for me anyway), SCTS would feature fifteen players across seven boards, running three scenarios from the N3 Rulebook - overall, it looked to be a good mid-sized Infinity tournament, with a wide variety of factions and sectorials, and players from across the south coast of England. I had been looking forward to this since the last event in November, and prepared accordingly!

This would be my fifth tournament since my return to Infinity, and by now I was getting a good handle on what was required. The new Edition had changed a few things, so it would be interesting to see how some of the regular faces had adapted, or if they were using different factions entirely. As usual, I was fielding the Jurisdictional Command of Corregidor, with a lot of the usual suspects and a few new units - the new Edition had allowed me to field more, and had also forced me to change tactics.

I had played six games with the new Edition, and won five of them quite decisively, but I doubted this would translate into Tournament-winning greatness. My local gaming group is still relatively new, and most of them do not attend as many tournaments as myself, so it would be difficult to make the transition. Nonetheless, the team had some experience, and I had a number of new models ready to try out.

The majority of the month leading up to the tournament was spent painting terrain - I had pledged three tables for the tournament, and though I would only need to supply two on the day, I wanted to paint up a lot of new terrain pieces I had acquired. By the end it felt like every waking moment not working, eating or sleeping was spent painting and spraying buildings, especially when I booked off some time from Work™ to do more painting. By the end, it was at a stage I was happy with, and though there is still lots to be done, it looked good on the table. The next tournament will be in two months, and hopefully I will be able to add a great deal more detail to the buildings by then.

To round out my preparation, I decided to meet an old friend, watch action movies and drink wine until the early hours the night before the tournament. This kind of preparation is strangely common before big events...

Corregidor Jurisdictional Command Operational Insertion and Aggression Detachment - Alpha
"The High Rollers" featuring Special Consultant and Journalist Go-Go Marlene
List One
The first list was my dedicated Kill List, with a horrific amount of firepower at its disposal, and a few clever tricks up its sleeve. The Command Groups were split after the second Jaguar, so the Specialists and Remotes were all in the second Group, while the paired Intruders and Jaguars worked with the Wildcat Link Team. 

I had used this list twice before the tournament, and it had been frankly unpleasant how quickly it had demolished my opponents. The Intruders and Reaktion Zond would give covering fire while the Wildcats advanced, and the rest of the team sat tight until it was their time to shine. These early successes may not have been against the toughest opponents, so perhaps the tournament would show me the depths of my hubris.
Corregidor Jurisdictional Command Operational Intervention and Reaction Detachment - Beta
List Two
The second list was a little less aggressive, and was made with the Supremacy mission in mind. Based around grabbing territory and Hacking four Consoles, the mission needed troops that could cover distance quickly and also required several Specialists. The Salyut Remotes were ideal for grabbing territory as their Baggage special rule meant they were worth more points when working out who had the advantage in each table quarter. The Hellcat, Tomcat and Bandit were good for coming in from unexpected angles to achieve Objectives and grab table quarters. The Wildcats would form a mobile firebase, while the Intruder and Reaktion Zond would be the more static, though I would try to position somewhere they could advance if needed.

Only featuring one Intruder, this was a weaker list that I worried would be outgunned quickly if the Intruder and Reaktion Zond were taken down early. Using this list would be influenced by what faction my opponent was using, terrain and gut feeling at the time.

As with the last tournament, I supplied two tables for gaming - one a built-up urban area and the other a busy loading deck. The past few weeks had seen some furious painting for both of these tables, so regular readers might spot some new pieces in the display. Future posts will detail some of the new buildings and scatter terrain made for this tournament.

Neon City - now with a great deal more colour, this table follows the design of the Microart Studio mat, and features buildings and scatter terrain from a wide variety of sources
Listening to feedback from players using this table, I have decided to work on more vehicles to cover the long fire-lanes. I look forward to adding graffiti to everything and really dirtying the city up
The Loading Bay - utilising the Warehouse mat from Microart Studio. This table features big piles of crates and a few dirty, run-down buildings for the workers to use
Feedback from this table was positive, and though it appears dense, there are lots of opportunities for long shots and sniping
What follows is a brief recall of the three games, my opponents and the results. The pictures featured are of the tables, but not actual in-game shots. The first draw was random, and then it was done on a rankings system that matched people of similar scores.

GAME ONE - Nimbus Zone
This table featured a mixture of different scenery, with two taller buildings in one deployment zone
The first opponent for the day was a guy I had not played before named Alex, with a NeoTerran force hastily assembled on the way to the tournament. His team, featured four Camo Markers (which I guessed with Hexas or Swiss Guard of some sort), three Auxilia with Auxbots, a Deva Functionary with Devabot, Deva Funtionary with Spitfire, Pathfinder DronBot and a Corporate Security Unit.

Nimbus Zone is a funny mission, with a large area in the centre of the board that counts as a Saturation Zone and restricts infiltration, shooting and accuracy. The Objectives in the centre were four Antennae that generated the Nimbus Zone and needed to be destroyed or disconnected, and three Consoles that needed to be accessed by Specialists.

The Nomads took to the high towers and prepared themselves as the Capitaline Army advanced, exchanging fire with the pair of Hexa snipers who revealed themselves to attack the Nomad firebase. The Reaktion Zond was quickly disabled, but the Intruders killed both of the Hexa snipers and then a third Hexa with Spitfire who had worked her way forward. The Swiss Guard Hacker moved up and accessed two of the Consoles before stepping back, laying Suppression Fire alongside several other members of the team.

Unconcerned with the wall of fire the PanOceania forces were laying down, the Intruders took down one of the Auxilia and the Pathfinder to allow the Stempler Zond to advance and disconnect two of the Nimbus Antennae. The Remote then accessed a Console to download one of the Data Packets, and the Wildcats began to advance.

The Neoterrans were wavering at this point, unable to shift the pair of Intruders covering the entire area, but held their position and managed to dissuade the Wildcats from advancing to secure the last Objectives. They killed one in the process - luckily not the Engineer! Needing to deal with these threats before the Link Team could finish their mission, the Intruder with MULTI Sniper Rifle moved up and in concert with the Wildcats brought down the Deva with Spitfire, an Auxilia and (after several shots) the Swiss Guard Hacker. The way was clear and they disconnected a third Antenna, but the unrestrained violence of the Nomad assault had put the PanOceania forces into Retreat! The mission ended there.

A solid game for me, though I feel Alex might not have enjoyed having his force butchered so quickly. He pointed out that my proliferation of Multi-Spectral Visors and my good position with the two towers was the "Hard Counter" to his Camouflage troopers, and combined with the Nimbus Zone left them ineffective. Luckily for him, the game ended before I had taken out so many of his troopers, and the score was a DRAW 4-4. Had there been a Turn Three, I would have secured all the Objectives and raised it to a 9-4 or something like that, but I got a little greedy and (as usual) trigger-happy. Such is Infinity! Concentrate on the mission, and shoot when you need to.

GAME TWO - Supremacy
This table featured lots of scatter terrain

Drawing a gentleman named Jake for the second mission, I decided to run my first team (despite the scenario) as I suspected he would be running lots of Myrmidons and other ODD-wielding nightmares (I had played him once many months ago, when he was using Steel Phalanx), and I wanted both my Intruders present. To my surprise, Jake was fielding a Vedic-themed ALEPH force, with an Asura, two Dakini Tactbots (one Paramedic, one HMG), Sophotect with Yudbot, Zayin Total Reaction Rebot, Daleth Forward Observer Rebot, Deva Functionary with Devabot, Deva with Spitfire, Authorised Bounty Hunter Miranda Ashcroft, a Netrod and two Posthuman Proxies - an Engineer and a Hacker was my understanding.

Taking the high ground, the Nomad forces were caught off guard as the ALEPH Special Situations Section advanced quickly. bringing down the Reaktion Zond and the Intruder with HMG with their opening salvo. The left flank crippled, the second Intruder on the right flank dove for cover as his position was riddled with fire. The Daleth Rebot secured one of the Consoles while the Sophotect secured a second, and the Posthuman Hacker revealed herself to Hack into a third.

Their plan in tatters, the Intruder with MULTI Sniper Rifle recovered his composure and, under the cover of smoke from the Jaguar next to him, brought down the Zayin Rebot and the Asura with three quick shots. The Stempler Zond shot apart the Daleth Remote, marked the Disabled wreck to secure his Classified Objective and then accessed the fourth Console,

The response from the ALEPH team was fast, a Yudbot repairing the damaged Zayin Rebot and allowing it to open fire on the Intruder, bringing him down as well. The team advanced, covering more ground and getting into a firefight with the Wildcats that left the Spitfire-armed trooper Unconscious. On the left flank, the Stempler Zond exchanged shots with the Deva Functionary, but they could not root out the Zond.

In the closing moments, the Paramedic rushed forward and patched up the Intruder, who arose to bring down the Posthuman Hacker, HMG-armed Dakini Tactbot, Zayin Rebot and Miranda Ashcroft with pinpoint accuracy. Mad with bloodlust, he opened fire on the Sophotect as well, but she ducked behind cover. The Stempler Zond fired again at the Deva Funtionary and tried to access a second Console, but was destroyed by the Devabot. The area cleared by the Intruder, the scattered Wildcats tried to advance, but time was up.

Jake and I agreed with this was a great game, and would like to have seen where Turn Three went, but unfortunately time got away from us and we only managed two turns. By this point, Jake had scored more points - with the result a 4-5 LOSS. I had scored a great deal more Victory Points, but he had the Objectives. Jake was a really good player, and used Command Tokens well to organise advances across the table. His first turn was a nightmare for me, but then I imagine he felt the same whenever my Intruder was shooting.

GAME THREE - Annihilation
Playing on my own board was a pleasure! I do not often get the opportunity to do so
For this last game I was drawn against Joel, a new regular to the club who I had played two weeks previously. His PanOceania force featured a raft of Fusilier Specialists, Aquila Guard with HMG, a Father-Knight, Bulleteer Remote and Total Reaction Sierra DronBot, as well as a few hidden troops. He won the roll-off and forced me to deploy in the lower side of the board amongst the crates, limiting my deployment with the snipers and Link Team.

This meant I got to go first though, and opened proceedings with a smoke-wreathed Intruder sniper destroying the Sierra DronBot, and the Reaktion Zond zooming through the stacked crates to shoot down the Bulleteer. This lured out his Swiss Guard with HMG, who shot down the Reaktion Zond. The Intruder with HMG then targeted the Swiss Guard and wounded him, forcing him to duck back behind cover and out of sight. With their path clear, the Wildcats advanced through the centre and rounded on the Aquila Guard, bringing him down with a hail of bullets from the Spitfire. Their job done, the Wildcats moved out of sight.

The PanOceania forces reacted slowly, their Fusiliers edging out of cover to try and revive the Unconscious Aquila Guard (they failed) while the Swiss Guard stood back up and opened fire, bringing down the Intruder with HMG. The Father-Knight advanced and an Akalis Sikh Commando Hacker appeared on the board edge. The Nomad response was characteristically brutal, the Wildcats emerging from cover to cut down two Fusiliers before turning on the Swiss Guard and killing him too. The Paramedic revived the Intruder, before the Hacker moved and ran a Data Scan on the Akalis, securing her Classified Objective.

In a last ditch attack, the scattered Fusiliers, Father-Knight and Akalis tried to attack the Wildcats, but as they struggled with a firefight against a full Link Team, the Intruder with MULTI Sniper Rifle caught the Knight in his sights and put him down. It cost them their Engineer, but the Wildcats dealt with the Akalis and the Fusiliers in short order, and the Stempler Zond moved up to mark the High Value Target, securing the second Classified Objective.

The PanOceania forces had been wiped out, and with the Nomad forces securing both of their Classified Objectives it was a 10-0 WIN for the Jurisidictional Command of Corregidor.

Joel was on the back foot from Turn One, his forces ambushed one by one through the labyrinth of crates. Losing so much in the early stages meant his counter-attack was ineffectual, and with a full Wildcat Link Team in the middle of his deployment zone, there was little he could do.

A variety of other good tables were present for the tournament - the guys from Warmill had generously supplied a great deal of new terrain, in various stages of painting, while a lot of more basic terrain filled out the rest.

During the lunch break, we were invited to put out our teams for the judging of the painting competition. One of my favourite parts of any tournament, it was good to see so many players putting out their teams - Infinity does not have a stellar reputation in this regard, unfortunately. Hopefully as the game gets more popular we will see more people start putting paint on their models, and I dream of a tournament that has a painting requirement!
My own team, with the Geckos making a guest appearance
Robin's Combined Army - lovely work as usual!
Alex's ALEPH, featuring the Mercenary McMurrough. These guys would claim first prize! Well done to Alex
First place went to Robin with his Combined Army, a regular winner at the SCTS Tournaments who makes it look effortless. Second went to an old opponent of mine and club regular Joe. Well done to Joe! His tournament performances have been really impressive this past year (getting a podium position in almost all of them). It was good to see him bring out the ALEPH once more.

Third place was held by three players, but on aggregate Victory Points I came out on top and finished in Third Place! I guess playing aggressively pays off in the end! Frankly, I am stunned by the result, and more than pleased with a podium position. A great result at the end of a great day.

  • Intruders (especially the MULTI Sniper variant in my case) are the best unit in the Corregidor arsenal, and combined with the Jaguars make for a powerful firebase that can be very difficult to root out. The second game saw them struggle as the ALEPH player got the jump on them and managed to take them out one by one, but when they can cover one another they are unstoppable. 
  • The Stempler Zond was the workhorse of the team, scoring almost all of my Objectives, downloading Data Packs and disconnecting Antennae. Again, the second game saw it stalled by Jake's careful positioning, but if I had remembered the Suppressive Fire rules I might have had a better time of it. 
  • The Wildcat Link Team were effective when they needed to be, chewing through Heavy Infantry and defending the Objectives where possible, though perhaps not as game-dominating as usual. The first game saw them slowed by Suppression Fire, but the Link Team bonus was a boon I needed to get through that. In the second game (again the toughest of the tournament), they were slightly out of position and the difficulties of the light terrain in the mid-table meant they could not advance properly, especially after losing the Spitfire to a lucky long-range Critical Hit, but in the third game they scored innumerable kills. 
  • The Reaktion Zond was a bit of a dud - it is amazing how this unit works so well in "club" games but is relatively useless in tournament gaming. I never managed to get the Assisted Fire with the Alguacil Hacker, and I can't recall any significant kills aside from the Bulleteer in the third game. I do not think it survived any of the games. Nonetheless, it was a thorn in my opponents' sides that they were forced to deal with. I will be considering the future of the Reaktion Zond carefully. 
  • The Alguacil Specialists were certainly present. It was nice to have the extra Orders, and the potential for assistance in Objective games, but my deployments tended to leave them out of position. The Hacker did nothing until the last game (scoring a Classified Objective), and only the Paramedic was really useful, reviving the Intruder with MULTI Sniper Rifle in the second and third games - okay, this was invaluable! 
  • Suppression Fire is something I need to try out more - especially in tandem with Combined Orders to give me an edge in ARO. There are virtually no downsides to Suppression Fire, save for the burning of Orders, and there were several occasions where being in Suppression Fire would have really helped me out! 
  • Command Tokens and Combined Orders - I found my opponents used them a great deal more than I did - perhaps as I rely on the Wildcat Link Team or the Intruders I don't need them as much, but they could be useful for saving Orders when throwing down Smoke Grenades and advancing in missions like Supremacy. Again like Suppression Fire, it is not that I don't respect the rule, I think it could be very useful, it is just something I keep forgetting about. 
  • MULTI Sniper Rifles - better than HMGs.
  • Another good success with the tournament for SCTS, their professionalism and organisation in timing, paperwork and support for any questions is as good as usual. This one was particularly good - even with packing away my two tables I was home by six thirty!
  • Painting competitions - always a good sign, and I am glad they supported it again (even if I did not win, ha!) I would dearly love to see a minimum painting requirement for the tournaments , but think the tournament organisers are scared they would put off too many players. It just hurts me to play against models not even undercoated (or built!)
  • Terrain - always a concern in an Infinity tournament where you need so much terrain - this one was no different, and it was a shame to see some of the tables were rather haphazard. Uniformity and narrative are important to me when building a table - but of course I understand the need for tables that are good to play on. Hopefully in the future we will be able to get some more paint on the terrain owned by the club. 
  • Overall though, another good experience and a great chance to play a couple of guys I had not played (properly) before. The new missions are great, and I look forward to the official release of the ITS 2015 soon! 
A big thank you to Simon for running the event, and for taking so many of the pictures I have stolen for this post.

Thanks for reading,