Best of the Pacific Northwest 2019 – Day 1

For those of you that are unaware, the Warcors and Tournament Organizers in the North American Pacific Northwest banded together to run quarterly, meta-spanning tournaments. So far, we’ve got the following planned:

  1. Quarter 1 – Seattle, WA – Best of the Pacific Northwest – March 2-3, 2019
  2. Quarter 2 – Portland, OR – Rose City Raid – June 22-23, 2019
  3. Quarter 3 – Eureka, CA – TBD (August?)
  4. Quarter 4 – Vancouver, BC – TBD (November?)

The end of Q1 is rapidly approaching, and we’ve just had the Best of the Pacific Northwest, run by the lovely Tony (Zhukov2), in Washington state. We had attendees from across the North American West Coast, and even Shane from Colorado came to represent his state!

Unfortunately, our original venue had… a scheduling issue, so we were forced to scramble and find a new venue. Thankfully, Chris and Justin of Critical Strike Games bailed us out and opened their game store.

They had dismantled the game store to take their stock to a local gaming convention and had been planning on closing the store during the tournament weekend to attend the convention. Instead, one of them opened the store while the other attended the conference  on the weekend, they cleaned it up enough to provide space for 11 tables, set up their Infinity stock so we could buy our toys, and even set the store back up late Saturday night to open it again on Sunday for day two of gaming. I have a pretty high bar for the “Friendly Local Game Store,” thanks to the Enchanted Badger in Ithaca, NY (rest in peace, Badger!), but the guys at Critical Strike are really doing a great job. If you’re in the area, definitely go visit them.

Adam and I also scrambled to get a full table painted up by the tournament. It’s definitely still a work in progress, but everything has paint on it! The idea I had for the table is that it’s a Merovingian mountain base on Dawn. An Ektroplan, damaged during the events following the De Hell event crashed near the base attempting to land safely. Survivors have been evacuated and have been given medical attention, but they are still gathering and salvaging supplies from the Ektroplan.

We’ve got more ambitious plans, bot for right now, it’s a 12 foot long table, comprising three linked tables. A plane crash table, a base perimeter table, and the actual entrance to the mountain base itself on the last table. We’re thinking of expanding the base to perhaps a fourth table and also running a narrative event on the table. And of course there’s a ton more work to be done on weathering and painting.

In any case, after the usual fussing about, logistics issues with the venue change, and table setup, we were ready to begin the tournament. Definitely want to thank Critical Strike and Tony again for putting on such a great event! I’d also like to apologize for the 30 Rock references in advance. Sometimes my brain does weird things.

Game 1 – Miscounted the Men

The first game of the day was against Tully (JuJitsuGiraffe), who was playing USARF. I had never met him before, and was looking forward to a nice, low-key game to start the day.

Overview

  • Mission: Show of Force
  • Forces: Japanese Secessionist Army versus USAriadna Ranger Force (300)
  • Deploy First: USARF
  • First Turn: USARF
Decap/Show of Force

SHINOBU Lieutenant Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Monofilament CCW. (1 | 47)
O-YOROI AP HMG + Heavy Flamethrower, CrazyKoalas / EXP CCW. (2 | 86)

KEMPEI (Multispectral Visor L2) Shock Marksman Rifle / Pistol, CCW, Electric Pulse. (1 | 25)
KEMPEI (Chain of Command) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, CCW, Electric Pulse. (0 | 21)
YURIKO ODA Combi Rifle + E/Mitter, D-Charges, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, CCW. (0 | 23)
KEISOTSU (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
KEISOTSU Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 11)

RYŪKEN (Forward Deployment L2, ODD) Submachine Gun, Antipersonnel Mines, D-Charges / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0.5 | 24)
RYŪKEN (Forward Deployment L2, ODD) Submachine Gun, Antipersonnel Mines, D-Charges / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0.5 | 24)
ARAGOTO Hacker (Assault Hacking Device) Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 28)


10 1 | 5.5 SWC | 299 Points | Open in Infinity Army

I’ve started the habit of discussing my lists now, which I guess I will continue. Basically in this list, Shinobu is there to kill the enemy TAG (and to be my Lt hiding a roof in Decap if necessary). The O-Yoroi is there because it’s effectively a mission requirement to have a TAG if you want all the points, and then two Ryuken because for my current JSA playstyle they are mandatory.

I took an Aragoto AHD for a fast specialist, and having an AHD isn’t a bad plan if there’s a high likelihood that I’m going to run across hostile TAGs in other people’s lists. As always, the link is an afterthought and points filler. I want the Kempetai chain of command because if Shinobu doesn’t die I’m doing it wrong. I like the MSV2 lady… by the time you add them and Yuriko you might as well add two more Keisotsu for points/orders… oh hey look a legal core. Meh.

Game 1 – Tully
GROUP 1 | 10 1

MINUTEMAN Lieutenant Rifle, 2 Light Flamethrowers / Pistol, CCW. (0 | 22)
MINUTEMAN (Marksmanship L1, X-Visor) AP Rifle, 2 Light Flamethrowers / Pistol, CCW. (0 | 29)
MINUTEMAN Rifle, 2 Light Flamethrowers / Pistol, CCW. (0 | 22)
MINUTEMAN Boarding Shotgun, Grenades / Pistol, CCW. (0 | 24)
MINUTEMAN Missile Launcher, Light Flamethrower / Pistol, CCW. (1.5 | 29)

FOXTROT (Forward Observer) Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 18)
FOXTROT Boarding Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 19)
FOXTROT (Forward Observer) Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 18)
MAVERICK (Forward Observer) Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 19)
112 (Motorized) Light Shotgun / Pistol, CCW. (1 | 20)

GROUP 2 | 6 1

MAVERICK (Forward Observer) Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 19)
DOZER (Traktor Mul Control Device) Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
TRAKTOR MUL (Total Reaction) Uragan MRL / Electric Pulse. (1 | 18)
TRAKTOR MUL (Minesweeper) Electric Pulse. (0 | 5)
GRUNT (Inferior Infiltration) Heavy Flamethrower, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 11)
GRUNT (Inferior Infiltration) Heavy Flamethrower, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 11)


5.5 SWC | 298 Points | Open in Infinity Army

I think I’m also going to start talking about my opponent’s list. No TAG, because USARF. Fine. Anti-TAG stuff looks like the Foxtrot BSG, the Uragan, and the Minuteman AP Rifle and Missile Launcher. No Devil Dog, which was a little surprising, but that’s probably meta-dependent. This list seems really all-in on the missile launcher and spec-firing with the Uragan, given the sheer number of Forward Observers.

I like the inclusion of the Mavericks and the infiltrating Grunts. All are great choices. I haven’t seen the 112 in action yet, so I was pretty excited to see how it would slot into my opponent’s gameplan. USARF and FRRM are great places for him, even with the SWC tax.

Deployment

My opponent wanted to go first. He set up his link team behind a building, clearly intending to move them up as they were all on the ground floor and not in cover. The two Mavericks went on the right amidst some food stalls, presumably because they were hungry.

Three camo tokens came down in the midfield, none of which smelled like Hardcases to me, which meant I was probably staring down the barrel of an all-in FO and spec fire game plan. I fully expected a bunch of Foxtrot FOs and was not disappointed. Seemed like what I could expect was the pair of Mavericks rolling in with smoke to cover the Foxtrots, which would then get LoF to my TAG and the missiles would come flying in.

Tully added some more stuff to the board, mainly a 112 on a bike and the Traktor Muls, with the Dozer and the Mul with guns (the Uragan) on Tully’s left. Tully managed to land a Grunt on a roof near my deployment zone, but the other failed and ended up in his backfield.

It was my turn to deploy, so I counter-deployed Tully as best I could. I assumed I’d see pretty aggressive play out of his Foxtrots, perhaps even an Uragan run, so I covered both main approaches to my midfield with Koalas and mines, thanks to the O-Yoroi and Ryuken-9. The O-Yoroi went in the center behind the largest building, with both sides of the building guarded by equipment. The mines and Koalas also boxed in the infiltrated grunt, which was fine by me.

The right side of the board was pretty open, so I didn’t really think I had any business going over there, what with the Minuteman ML on the table. It didn’t have a great LoF to the center of the table (and the all important objective), so I conceded control of it and stacked my stuff on the left. I left my Aragoto on the right though–that thing is fast enough that it can be wherever it needs to be.

My link ended up in the left, with Yuriko literally watching the TAG’s backside and the Kempetai MSV2 watching the likely approach of the two Mavericks. I forget what Tully had in reserve–I think it was a Foxtrot? I don’t remember. Maybe it was the 112. Who knows. In any case, my reserve was Shinobu, who hung out right next to the central objective, just in case. Foolishly, I forgot about Yuriko’s mine, which I think cost me later (amongst other mistakes). I choose the Keisotsu FO who is really hard to get to as my DataTracker, and Tully picks his infiltrating Grunt that failed his roll. A good plan.

Turn 1

Top of 1 – USARF

The Mavericks are only regular impetuous, not extreme, so you can cancel their orders. I was a little surprised when Tully decided to activate them anyway. I guess he was really all in on that FO and spec fire plan. In any case, the first Maverick comes racing in, and I knock it out with my Kempetai’s shock marksman rifle against its normal rifle.

The second one comes in right after the first, with similar results.

So far, so good. One of the Foxtrots starts walking forward, grabbing ODD out of one of the panoplies. How obnoxious. That will be quite annoying to remove–I’ll probably have to send in my Kempetai MSV2 to deal with it. In any case, this is a Foxtrot with boarding shotgun, not an FO, so I can see what’s coming next.

Thankfully, I drain some orders by forcing a Koala dodge…

and an ineffectual firefight with Yuriko. Those link bonuses really help against visual mods.

The Foxtrot finally makes it into view of the O-Yoroi, who takes a wound from the shotgun but burns the Foxtrot to a crisp with its flamethrower. Ignore the facing of the TAG, it’s supposed to be facing forwards towards the building, but its giant gun is preventing that.

With his main vectors of attack shut down, Tully wisely decides to set up for the next turn. He advances the Minuteman link into the midfield, setting up shop near the central objective in an attempt to delay me getting my TAG there. The Missile Launcher is what’s left out to ARO, mostly, but it’s definitely not going to be in good range. Still, I’m going to want to do some damage to the link before I risk my TAG.

Tully finishes off his turn by advancing the Uragan, the Dozer, and a Foxtrot, which my Ryuken manages to discover on the way in on its second move. The Dozer ends the turn in suppression, watching the Uragan’s back. Smart

Bottom of 1  – JSA

I cancel the Aragoto’s impetuous order–no sense in driving it out in front of a TR bot and a Dozer in suppression, even if it’s likely outside 24″. Instead, I stand up my left Ryuken-9, which can see the Minuteman ML out of cover and through a tree (low-vis and saturation). This really stacks the mods on the Minuteman, but Ryuken-9 really hate burst mods and I waste two orders getting absolutely nothing done except frustrating myself.

I cheer myself back up by taking out the revealed Foxtrot with the Ryuken-9 on the right, and this only takes one order. Hooray!

With that Foxtrot gone, I’m safe to take out the infiltrated Grunt from outside flamethrower range with my O-Yoroi, rolling a double crit and taking it off the board.

Now that I’m pretty sure I know what his gameplan is–to FO and then spec-fire me with the Uragan, I know I probably don’t need Kitsune to survive. I’ve killed three FOs at this point, and there’s only one more Foxtrot on the table, and it’s on a really tall building. I’m feeling pretty okay about the safety of my TAG at this point, so I think I can take some risks.

I sent Kitsune in after the Minuteman link. She moves into cover just outside of CC (not entirely my choice, she didn’t have enough movement) and then Nanopulsar three Minutemen, who all dodge–the ML dodges prone so he’s not body blocking anymore. Smart. I spend another order and manage to drop 2/3 Minutemen, including the all important missile guy. Sadly, the return fire kills Kitsune.

This lets me use a nice keyhole for my TAG to apply an AP HMG through, which I do, taking out the Minuteman that survived Shinobu’s nanopulsar.

I follow my own advice and retreat my TAG basically to its starting point, and throw it and the two Ryuken into suppression.

Turn 2

Top of 2 – USARF

This lets me get three shots on the 112 as it rolls in to save the Minutemen. Rather than take a smoke shot to cover the Minutemen from out of LoF, Tully elects to move more aggressively (presumably because he was running low on orders) and shoot smoke in a face to face versus my Ryuken-9 in suppression. It doesn’t go well, and the 112 dies.

With his remaining orders, Tully retreats the two surviving Minutemen and sends the one with the boarding shotgun forward and his Lieutenant back, presumably to keep his Lt safe and to threaten my TAG on the next turn.

Bottom of 2 – JSA

My order pool is full again, which lets me engage the Dozer in suppression. Tully estimates that it’s within 24″, and it’s within an inch or two, but it’s solidly outside 24″, giving me normal rolls against the Dozer, pasting it.

I could keep pushing with the TAG and go after the Uragan, but there’s a shot on it with the Ryuken which is safer, at least from a objective points perspective, so I take that instead. It takes an order or two, but she gets it done for me.

With the Uragan dead, I attempt to go after the Minuteman shotgun but fail after two attempts to take it out. It was through a saturation zone, which I’m convinced dramatically lowers the overall lethality of the Ryuken-9 SMG.

It’s at this point that I decide to get the TAG on the objective. I miscount the men Tully has alive, and decide that he’s likely in retreat. Of course, I forgot about the 25 points of baggage bot behind a building in the far left corner from me, which mean he’s decidedly not in retreat.

I didn’t budget enough orders, sadly, which means I’m unable to throw the TAG into suppression before passing the turn. At least I had the presence of mind to take the objective, I suppose. Silver lining and all.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – USARF

The worst happens and the Minuteman comes rolling in, tanking the O-Yoroi’s flamethrower and the Ryuken’s shot in ARO.

The Minuteman keeps coming. I finally put it down thanks to Yuriko’s itchy trigger finger, but my TAG is now unconscious.

Bottom of 3 – JSA

Not that it’s terribly important at this point, but I kill the Minuteman Lt with my Ryuken on the right to set up a run with the Aragoto if I have the orders.

I then walk Yuriko, the Keisotsu paramedic, and the Kempetai SMR up to the TAG to repair it (leaving the other two behind, they were on the other side of a building and I didn’t want to waste orders). I fail my WIP roll to repair the TAG and then cheat by flipping a command token to try again. This is illegal on manned TAGs, but it doesn’t matter because I fail the second time anyway. Karma, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I have the orders, and thanks to the Minuteman being dead, there’s a window for me to drive my Aragoto unreasonably fast from table edge to table edge. This lets me get LoF to Tully’s DataTracker, which was all the way on his back table edge. Of course, I get crit in the face. Sigh.

Thankfully, Yuriko, ashamed at her failure, is sitting on the central objective. I’ve got the antenna and more kills, making it a

4-0 Japanese Secessionist Army Victory!

Thanks to Tully for giving me a great game. It was fun and pretty low key, which is exactly what I wanted after a pretty restless night tossing and turning.

Post Game Analysis

Well, I need to be much better about calculating retreat, especially given that Tully had already spent a bunch of command tokens shoveling stuff into combat group one to replace his losses from the first turn. Other than that, I think I had a pretty decent game plan and execution.

I’m noticing that Ryuken-9 really don’t like burst mods. Low-vis and Saturation Zones keep them pretty safe on the attack, but it also helps keep the enemy safe. In a limited insertion list, every order counts, so you don’t want to be faffing about on burst two if you can get burst three. Definitely need to spend more time dialing my internal odds estimator in on this.

Shinobu did alright in this game. Nanopulsar on the attack is always risky, but it paid off this time. I wonder if it would’ve been better throwing smoke and going all Ninja on them in close combat, but I can’t argue with the results.

I was quite pleased with my setup of the Kempetai MSV2. Yuriko finally failed me this game, both in me forgetting to place her mine, which would’ve killed either the Foxtrot or the Minuteman one order earlier on both attack runs and saved me a single wound, bringing the minor to a major victory. Theoretically, anyway. I was really happy with just leaving them there till basically the last turn, and letting my TAG and the Ryuken do all the heavy lifting.

Speaking of, a centrally located O-Yoroi with Koalas and mines to screen approaches is really quite strong. I think that really blunted Tully’s first turn attack and helped me to victory. I’m still a little gun-shy when using the TAG against anything that could kill it outright, like a linked ML. I think that’s a good habit to have–use other, expendable tools to take out the threats, especially with TAGs making up such a big chunk of points in this scenario.

Game 2 – Into the Crevasse

Critical Strike has a pretty okay dumpling/soup noodle place next to the store which we visited for lunch. It read as more northern Chinese cuisine to me, and it was definitely serviceable as a lunch destination. I tucked into some wonton soup, which was definitely not the Cantonese style I was expecting, but it was hot on a cold day and was just what I wanted. It was also filling, which meant I was ready for a nap by the time we got back the store.

Of course, I drew Matt (Grimalkin) as my opponent. I’ve never played him before, or even really had a chance to talk to him, but his reputation as a solid player preceded him. I knew I had my work cut out for me in this game

Overview

  • Mission: Unmasking
  • Forces: Japanese Secessionist Army versus Neoterra Capitaline Army (300)
  • Deploy First: JSA
  • First Turn: JSA
Unmasking
GROUP 1 | 9 1 1

KUROSHI RIDER Lieutenant Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower / Breaker Pistol, AP + Shock CCW. (0 | 33)

KEMPEI Spitfire / Pistol, CCW, Electric Pulse. (1 | 23)
KEMPEI (Chain of Command) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, CCW, Electric Pulse. (0 | 21)
YURIKO ODA Combi Rifle + E/Mitter, D-Charges, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, CCW. (0 | 23)
KEISOTSU (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
KEISOTSU Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 9)

RYŪKEN (Forward Deployment L2, ODD) Submachine Gun, Antipersonnel Mines, D-Charges / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0.5 | 24)
RYŪKEN (Forward Deployment L2, ODD) Submachine Gun, Antipersonnel Mines, D-Charges / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0.5 | 24)
TOKUSETSU EISEI Doctor (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
YÁOZĂO Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
WARCOR (Aerocam) Flash Pulse / Stun Pistol, Knife. (0 | 3)

GROUP 2 | 3 1 3

MIYAMOTO MUSHASHI (Regular, Fireteam: Haris) Chain Rifle, Flash Pulse / Pistol, AP CCW, EXP CCW. (0.5 | 28)
TANKŌ Missile Launcher / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon, Shock CC Weapon. (1.5 | 32)
TANKŌ Missile Launcher / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon, Shock CC Weapon. (1.5 | 32)

YOJIMBO Contender, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades, CrazyKoalas (2) / Pistol, DA CCW. (0 | 21)


5.5 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

I brought a different list to this game, which has a little more in the way of board control thanks to a pair of Tanko MLs in a Haris. It’s similar to the one I brought against Adam in our practice game, but I downgraded the Kempetai MSV2 to a Spitfire to get points for a ‘bot for the doctor. I quite like it, aside from my usual whinging about links.

Game 2 – Matt
GROUP 1 | 10

FUSILIER Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
FUSILIER Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 12)
FUSILIER Missile Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 15)
FUSILIER HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 18)

AQUILA HMG / Pistol, Shock CCW. (2 | 62)
SWISS GUARD Hacker (Assault Hacking Device) MULTI Rifle / Pistol, AP CCW. (0.5 | 70)
AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
MACHINIST Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)

GROUP 2 | 4

SIERRA DRONBOT HMG / Electric Pulse. (1 | 25)
FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
CSU (Specialist Operative) Rifle + Light Shotgun, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 12)
CSU (Specialist Operative) Rifle + Light Shotgun, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 12)


6 SWC | 299 Points | Open in Infinity Army

Matt brought a pretty fun NCA list. I generally don’t see this kind of list out of NCA in my local meta, so it was nice to get exposed to what other people run. I particularly like the choice of the Aquila HMG and Swiss AHD. This list has all the hallmarks of being well tuned to someone’s playstyle, right down to the combat group selection. In typical NCA fashion, it’s got loads of guns, but also has a good deal of really obnoxious specialists.

I think my meta also undervalues Auxilia, which I’m quite pleased about because I loathe facing them. They are PanO’s warband though, and are just so effective, cheap, and flexible. I’ve faced them before, so I knew what to expect, and I knew it was going to be bad for me.

Deployment

I lost the roll, and Matt correctly decided to take deployment on this table. Adam literally got the mountain put together the night before we left and I was still spray painting buildings the morning of. As a result, we hadn’t set up the painted table until we walked in the door at Critical Strike games. When I finally got to the table and started thinking about deployment seriously, it was clear that there was a stronger side, and that it was a very open table.

I knew I’d have to rely on Yojimbo’s smoke to get me up the table, and I committed to getting the link up to the top of the mountain, figuring that I would hit the other two objectives with a drive by button pushing with Kuroshi Rider. This meant Kuroshi went on the right and the link went on the left, with Yojimbo nearby to support them with smoke.

The objective room splits the table into two major firing lanes, so the Tanko ML each got a lane to themselves with Mushashi in the middle to glue the Haris together. I figured that between the link and the Tanko, the left side was mostly handled, so I put my Warcor on the right to protect the real Designated Target and a Decoy on that side. I threw the remaining Decoy on the left, as exactly that, a Decoy

I figured I’d spread the Ryuken out as best I could. I like using them as the DataTracker in this mission–they’re deployed up front and have the right tools to tear up the midfield. I wasn’t sure where Matt would put his stuff, so I just put one on each side and guarded my HVTs with mines.

Matt castled up his Fusilier link in the Comanche barracks, with the ML left out to ARO. Each side got an Auxilia and a CSU, and Matt locked down his right with the TR Bot, a nearby Machinist, and an Aquila HMG. It was pretty clear that he wanted control of that side too, because of the overwhelming advantage that being up on the mountain would give you in terms of firing lanes.

I forget what I held in reserve, and I think Matt used his Swiss as his reserve. He basically put all of his HVTs on the left, using the Fusiliers as a deterrent. The Swiss went in the middle, which I think is pretty smart. If you don’t know how things are going to go, staying in the middle is pretty good. I choose the Ryuken nearest Matt’s HVTs as my DataTracker, and he chooses the Aquila.

Turn 1

Top of 1 – JSA

I stuck to my plan of wanting the high ground. I counted SWC and determined that a Swiss ML wasn’t possible, which meant Hexa or some low-SWC Swiss to me. Seemed fine. I wasn’t particularly concerned that Matt would reveal it on my turn anyway. I cancel Yojimbo’s order, because he’ll run out in front of a TR bot, and then start throwing smoke.

Thanks to the smoke from Yojimbo, I was able to get up the mountain. It took entirely too many orders, which was really irritating. Eventually, we determine that due to the smoke I can pie slice and see the Fusilier HMG before the Fusilier ML, so my Kempetai Spitfire takes it out easily. The same is not true for my attempt to remove the ML, and I lose the Kempetai in a firy explosion.

This is really bad. I didn’t have much in the way of high burst guns to fight my way out of a situation, and now I’ve lost my only one. I take a calculated risk and send the Kempetai BSG after the CSU and the Auxila. This exposes the Kempetai to the Fusilier ML, a Fugazi, and the TR bot. I have no illusions about it surviving, but I really want the CSU and Auxila dead. If I can accomplish that, I’ve stripped Matt of his only two specialists on that side and will force the Machinist to make the long trek up Matt’s side of the mountain.

The Kempetai walks into the crevasse, and I hope he emerges on the other side a victor. Of course, I only manage to kill the CSU, and the rest of Matt’s forces paste the Kempetai. Not good. I’ve lost my safety net for Kuroshi and I’m hemorrhaging orders for very little gain. Definitely risky moves, but I was prepared to pay the cost for success. I didn’t really plan on failure though. Mistake.

What’s worse is that the wrong thing is dead. The CSU is manageable, but the Auxbot is not. I keep descending into the crevasse and send the Keisotsu FO to his death against the ML, hoping to pass a WIP roll on the objective atop the mountain and fail.

Yuriko and the remaining Keisotsu lay out their rifle magazines in front of them and prepare for their last stand. I cross my fingers and hope for some luck from the dice gods.

Bottom of 1 – NCA

Matt starts things off by revealing his Swiss, who walks into base to base with the central objective unopposed. Of course, Matt guesses correctly and reveals my Designated Target. Drat. Matt’s not pleased either though, because he has to walk his Aquila all the way over there to get after my Designated Target.

With his momentum building, Matt decides to use the Swiss to mod stack against my left Tanko ML within 24″, which is a great idea and will free up his right flank. Unfortunately, things begin to go a bit pear shaped for Matt. First, my mine catches the Swiss, doing a wound…

and then one of Yojimbo’s Koalas finishes the job, knocking out the Swiss Guard.

Matt takes a moment to problem solve elsewhere, and sends the Auxbot to the top of the mountain. I lose both the Keisotsu and Yuriko, who bravely drops a mine as the Keisotsu’s bullets bounce off the Armbot.

After scooting the CSU on my right towards my right objective, prone crawling to avoid my Tanko’s watchful gaze, Matt’s down to his few orders. He elects to spend them trying to revive the Swiss Guard with his Fusilier Paramedic, attempting a cross-table shot.

Unfortunately for Matt, he forgets to break the link beforehand, forgetting about my Tanko on the right, which can’t see the Paramedic but can see the Fusilier ML.

Shockingly (it’s PanO after all), the Paramedic manages to revive the Swiss Guard, just in time to get immolated in a ball of fire and shrapnel along with the Fusilier ML that was in LoF of my Tanko when the link activated. Matt of course regrets this immediately, but gamely passes turn.

Turn 2

Top of 2 – JSA

I cancel Yojimbo’s order again–that TR bot is still there, and then throw smoke on top of the newly revived Swiss Guard. Yojimbo’s doom blade does its work, and the Swiss is finally off the table.

I send in my Ryuken-9 on the left, first taking out the Auxbot left guarding the mountaintop, and then take a cross-table shot on the CSU lurking near my right objective, shocking it off the table. I do some fancy footwork and appear in cover against the TR bot. Since I can basically see its entire base, I’m on 12’s and it’s on 2’s. I pick up my dice cup and hope for the best.

Of course, that’s not to be. The TR bot crits the Ryuken, and I’m out of orders.

Bottom of 2 – NCA

With the Swiss gone and his options limited, Matt has to use the Aquila to take out the Tanko ML boxing him in. Both of us tense up and roll our dice. He’s likely to win this one, but if I sneak a single missile through it’s going to be tough to recover for Matt.

Of course, he need not have worried, and dices down the Tanko. The Auxilia climbs past his Auxbot and discover-shoots Yuriko’s mine, then pushes the button, revealing the Decoy on my left.

Matt knows he doesn’t need to push now, and moves the Aquila towards the middle, settles him in cover, and throws him into suppression.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – JSA

I cancel Yojimbo’s order again, although I’m not entirely sure why. I have some fanciful idea that I might use his smoke later. Anyway, much to his chagrin, Matt has left a Kuroshi-sized hole in his defenses, so she manages to make to the objective on my right and after one failed attempt pushes the button. I guess correctly and reveal Matt’s Designated Target.

My Ryuken-9 DataTracker blows the rest of my order pool on getting a single attempt to take out the Designated Target. Of course, Matt crit-dodges

I make a half-hearted attempt to take out the Aquila with a burst one missile from the Tanko. Sadly, to see it I have to cross that all important 24″ line, and the suppression beats out my missile. Fortunately, I don’t lose the Tanko. I leave Kuroshi watching the midfield, hoping that I can delay or maybe even (gasp) prevent the inevitable.

Bottom of 3 – NCA

I lose the Ryuken-9 to the Auxilia’s Auxbot on the right, but I think my Tanko finishes it off or something. Kuroshi shrugs off the flamethrower hit like the champ she is.

The Aquila begins its attack run, trying to take out the revealed Decoy on the left and failing. I fail guts and go prone, which means it’s time for the Aquila to go after my Designated Target. Kuroshi gamely manages to crit the Aquila…

but even with Yojimbo and Mushashi’s help they can’t prevent it from getting into LoF of the Designated Target on Matt’s last order. I lose the HVT and Matt loses the Aquila, but it’s definitely mission accomplished for NCA.

8-0 Neoterra Capitaline Army Victory!

Post Game Analysis

Well, that didn’t go very well. I drastically over-committed the link on the left and robbed myself of orders. I wasted a ton of orders getting them up to the top, only to basically lose them all for little to no material cost to Matt.

In terms of good things, I was happy with my Tanko ML placement, as well as how I used my mines to protect my HVTs. I think I could’ve done a better job with Yojimbo’s Koalas near the end of the game. I think I moved Yojimbo and the TR bot got a Koala or something. Kuroshi, aside from failing a WIP roll, did her job, and my Ryuken-9 was fine as well, sans the crit dodge from the HVT.

I think really everything that went wrong is tied to my sacrificing the link. That trade of the whole link for the Fusilier HMG and the CSU was really bad. What would definitely have been better is to have thrown someone in suppression at the top of the mountain, well out of range of an Auxbot’s flamethrower. Sadly, I don’t think that’s possible, given their movement speed and the range of that template. So really I’d be forced to split them up so that no more than one of them could be covered by a template.

Perhaps I’m thinking about it the wrong way, and should’ve just ceded control of the high ground entirely and went all in on the central and right objectives and tried to control the catwalk system. I think had I done that Matt would’ve gotten stuff up to the top, like his Fusilier ML, and controlled the board pretty effectively. I didn’t want to over-concentrate things on the right and give him the mountain, and there wasn’t really a great place to put stuff on the right that wouldn’t have suffered from some really bad clumping.

I think rushing the link up might’ve been a turn 2 thing, but that’s dangerous too. I felt very exposed on my side of the table. Maybe it’s time to think about taking the Keisotsu HMG and the Kempetai MSV2. That’s quite expensive, but it might be enough to get me out of a tight spot. In any case, I can point to the losing the link losing me the game. Bah! Links suck! You heard it here first, folks!! More seriously, though, I asked them to do something that was definitely well out on the tails of the bell curve. Dragging the whole link up the mountain was also bad…

Ordinarily this is the type of problem that I would ask an Aragoto to solve for me, or Yojimbo, but the TR bot prevented that, and also the mountain is very unfriendly to bikes. Aha! A use for the Shikami! Time to try it out. This was the first time we’ve set up the mountain table and the first time I’ve played on it, so there are a lot of learnings for sure to unpack and tweak the table setup.

I just wanted to call attention to Matt’s deployment as well. Here it is again so you don’t have to scroll that far.

He was definitely worried about an Oniwaban or Shinobu, and told me as such after our game. I didn’t really think about that at all when deploying my own guys or planning my turn, because I didn’t have one, but it’s worth unpacking now. He did a great job of prepping for a TO attack run. The Aquila is guarding all of his important stuff on the right, and there’s a TR bot and a heavy flamer there too, if I want to go after his specialists. It’s likely that I can get one of them, but not all of them for sure.

On the other side of the table, he’s split-leveled his Fusilier deployment and given me an obvious Lieutenant with two possible models. The approach to both is guarded by an Auxbot. I think I could’ve gotten in there, that was easier than the right side, but the sheer movement that it would’ve required to get to all the important parts of the link make it quite difficult to do so efficiently. So kudos to Matt for smart deployment! I had a much harder time on my side of the table, which was the feedback I got from a lot of guys that played on the table. Definitely need to tweak the table some more.

Game 3 – I want to go to there

Game three rolled around, and I was still mulling over the results of game two versus Matt. I had to shake it off and get my head in the game though. My opponent was Joel (BigTal), who has been playing for a long time but had a significant hiatus from play recently. As a result, he’s a bit rusty on the rules, which I was happy to provide some help with.

He was playing Tohaa, and I strongly suspected that I would see a Gorgos out of him, since both Show of Force and Acquisition were in the same tournament. No matter. I brought Shinobu.

Overview

  • Mission: Acquisition
  • Forces: Japanese Secessionist Army versus Tohaa (300)
  • Deploy First: JSA
  • First Turn: JSA
Decap/Show of Force

SHINOBU Lieutenant Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Monofilament CCW. (1 | 47)
O-YOROI AP HMG + Heavy Flamethrower, CrazyKoalas / EXP CCW. (2 | 86)

KEMPEI (Multispectral Visor L2) Shock Marksman Rifle / Pistol, CCW, Electric Pulse. (1 | 25)
KEMPEI (Chain of Command) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, CCW, Electric Pulse. (0 | 21)
YURIKO ODA Combi Rifle + E/Mitter, D-Charges, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, CCW. (0 | 23)
KEISOTSU (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
KEISOTSU Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 11)

RYŪKEN (Forward Deployment L2, ODD) Submachine Gun, Antipersonnel Mines, D-Charges / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0.5 | 24)
RYŪKEN (Forward Deployment L2, ODD) Submachine Gun, Antipersonnel Mines, D-Charges / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0.5 | 24)
ARAGOTO Hacker (Assault Hacking Device) Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 28)


10 1 | 5.5 SWC | 299 Points | Open in Infinity Army

I took my Show of Force list, and elected to make my O-Yoroi the DataTracker. It’s basically the same plan as before. Kill the other guy’s TAG with Shinobu, the Ryuken kill some more stuff, and the link farts around and maybe does something good.

Game 3 – Joel

NEEMA Lieutenant (Advanced Command) Breaker Combi Rifle, Panzerfaust, Nanopulser / Viral Pistol, Shock CCW. (+1 | 46)
KAMAEL Hacker (White Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 16)
MAKAUL Heavy Flamethrower, Eclipse Grenades / Pistol, Viral CCW. (0 | 13)

GAO-RAEL Sniper Rifle / Pistol, CCW. (1 | 31)
SUKEUL Missile Launcher, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Breaker Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 36)
KAELTAR (Chain of Command) Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse + 2 SymbioMates / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (0.5 | 21)

KAELTAR (Chain of Command) Light Shotgun, Flash Pulse + 2 SymbioMates / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (0.5 | 21)
CHAKSA AUXILIAR (Neurocinetics, 360º Visor) HMG / Pistol, CCW. (1 | 25)
GORGOS Squad Chaksa Peripheral A . (2 | 86)
GORGOS AP Spitfire, Flammenspeer, Pulzar +1 Chaksa Peripheral A / Viral CCW. (2 | 86)
CHAKSA PERIPHERAL A Light Shotgun, Stun Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (7)
DIPLOMATIC DELEGATE (iKohl L1, Specialist Operative) Nanopulser, Flash Pulse / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)


9 1 1 | 7 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

Joel’s list looks fun. I’m a little sad to see so many SymbioMates, but I think all non-Tohaa players are. I do really like SymbioBombs as an alternative. It’s a pretty standard Tohaa list, I think, geared for longer range combat and relying heavily on the TAG to push forward against things in the enemy deployment zone.

Deployment

Joel won and chose deployment. I decided to go first. I’ll talk more about that later. In any case, now that I was committed, I basically null-deployed everything as best I could. I figured I was going to burn my entire order pool on Shinobu, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t need to fix anything in my deployment zone. Ryuken on either side, Xenotech sync’ed to my TAG hiding behind the biggest part of the plane, and the Aragoto behind it. The link was tucked in around the plane wing, prone and hiding

Joel deployed in a denied flank. He covered the main approach through the central axis of the plane with a Sukeul ML, and then tucked his other artichokes into various parts of the forest. It wasn’t terribly relevant what went where, with the exception of the Chaksa HMG, which was watching my right table edge, making it hard for me to get anything up that side without dealing with it first.

What’s interesting that I didn’t understand at the time, is that Tohaa doesn’t want to hold the Gorgos in reserve, otherwise it can’t get a SymbioMate. I think this is a pretty big concession to the SymbioMate mechanic, and I generally think it’s a bad idea, especially when playing against JSA. Anyway, I plop Shinobu down as a camo token right outside Joel’s deployment zone, and he puts… something… not relevant down in response. We choose our TAGs as DataTrackers, and off we go.

Turn 1

Top of 1 – JSA

The Aragoto has a clear path, so she just uses up her movement. Then the obvious happens. Shinobu flubs some smoke rolls but eventually gets it done, covering the Gorgos and the Sukeul ML with smoke. I recamo and then go after the Gorgos. For some reason I don’t have a picture, but she doesn’t crit and it takes two orders of poking the Gorgos with a lightsaber to take it off the table thanks to the stupid SymbioMate.

I recamo Shinobu to get her across the gap between smoke, and then go after the Sukeul. Same story here. Don’t crit and it takes two orders because of the SymbioMate. I’m down to my last order thanks to all this recamo-ing nonsense and smoke throwing, so I decide to try and kill the Kaeltar synced to the Xenotech to make Joel waste orders re-syncing. Of course, I flub my combi shots and Shinobu goes down to the Kaeltar’s shotgun. Should’ve nanopulsared. I feel like Shinobu wants two Nanopulsars, but now I’m just being a greedy piglet.

Anyway, at this point I’ve taken out the enemy TAG and I’ve managed to open up the central lane by taking out the Sukeul ML. Not the best turn but it’ll do.

Bottom of 1 – Tohaa

Joel shuffles stuff around, and I spend most of the turn talking him through rules interactions regarding terrain and the Xenotech and forget to take pictures. He gets the Xenotech multiscanner thing done, and then breaks the Xenotech away from his Kaeltar to add the Kaeltar to the dead Sukeul’s triad. Smart move! He does some other non-Xenotech stuff, which is I think to move up Neema’s Haris?

Turn 2

Top of 2 – JSA

I have that classified that makes you MSV WIP roll the HVT, whatever it’s called. Joel’s HVT is covered by his Chaksa, so I try to clear it with the Ryuken and get crit. Sigh. I don’t like this trend.

The Kempetai MSV2 takes care of it though, thanks to link bonuses, and then I move them forward to get the classified and push the button on the right

I retreat them, figuring that I’ll do other stuff next turn to sort out objectives and positioning, and leave the Kempetai MSV2 out to cover the central objective.

Bottom of 2 – Tohaa

Joel unfortunately spends what feels like his entire turn shooting at my Kempetai MSV2 with his Gao Rael, only to be crit twice over the course of what feels like too many orders. He makes the best of it and keeps shuffling Neema forward.

Turn 3

Bottom of 1 – JSA

I make ALL the wrong decisions here. I manage to get the Xenotech thing done, and then stomp my TAG forward. I for some stupid reason don’t think about throwing the TAG into suppression, and don’t try to put any more points on the board besides getting the TAG to the central objective. That’s all I gotta do, right? Right?

Instead, I roll the Aragoto up, attempt a Oblivion on Neema to strip a ‘mate but fail to do so. I settle for just rolling it around the corner and shotgunning the link. There’s some talk about template geometry, and it’s not super clear whether or not the Makaul’s flamer can thread the needle through other models, but I let Joel have it in the interest of time.

I lose my Aragoto to Neema’s nanopulsar and the flamer, but land a pair of good shotgun shots. Neema pops her ‘mate and but the other two go down.

Bottom of 3 – Tohaa

Joel’s in retreat, but has enough command tokens to flip her out of retreat and flip all his remaining orders to give her a four order pool including her Lt order. He manages to squeak his second Panzerfaust through, doing two wounds to my TAG, and then finishes it off with some breaker rifle fire as my Ryuken and TAG completely fail to do anything about this

I’ve got my classified, have activated an antenna, and dropped the Xenotech multiscanner, bringing it to a

2-0 Japanese Secessionist Army Victory!

Post Game Analysis

Man. I royally messed that up. I definitely had the orders to get the Aragoto to the left antenna, flip it, stay there, get someone from the link to the right antenna, and throw the TAG into suppression on the central objective. Whoops.

I’m happy with my execution on the other turns though. I probably could’ve saved myself an order on Shinobu’s attack run and not re-camoed before going after the Gorgos. Not sure that was super relevant though, because aside from standing a Ryuken up I don’t think I wanted to do anything else on that turn.

That’s actually an interesting point to make here. In 10-order JSA, if you’re going first, you really need to decide if you want the Ryuken standing or not. You simply do not have the orders to stand her up and throw her into suppression. I was too cautious, and I think that cost me.

In any case, this game feels like a loss to me. I was unfocused at the end of a long day and didn’t correctly prioritize objectives. Happens to everyone. Should’ve reminded myself that, like Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there,” there being the objectives.

As far as Joel’s side of the game as concerned, I think he could’ve been really aggressive at the bottom of one and slingshotted a Makaul into my link. That would’ve been the best play, in my opinion. That does enough damage for me to have to fight to come back, and does the best at setting him up for later turns. Given that he didn’t do that, his play of going after the Kempetai MSV2 was correct in context, I think. She was definitely blocking major approaches.

End of Day Thoughts

Tony and Critical Strike ran a great first tournament day! I had a lot of fun, and got to play three new people that I’ve never even met before, so that was a real bonus.

As far as the games went, I made some simple metagame mistakes. I should’ve easily had 2 majors and a loss on day 1. Tully and Joel played great games and exploited the mistakes I made in advancing my TAG too early versus Tully and not playing objectives versus Joel.

I don’t think that in the headspace I was in I could’ve taken a game from Matt. He had board advantage and I think he’s put more time in with his NCA versus JSA than I have with my JSA in general. He just outplayed me, period.

Thanks to all of my opponents for great games and for fighting it out right to the very end!

WiseKensai

WiseKensai

I primarily play Infinity these days, but I have PHR fleet for Dropfleet Commander and I will eventually get my CEF for Heavy Gear built...

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