Foreign Footed

Finally got another chance to play Erik (Zelaponeepus), who has been killing it with his Hassassins lately, taking the first place medal at our most recent local tournament. In contrast, I’m still floundering around with Foreign Company. After my last game against Isaac (xammy), I figured I’d try the same list again, just to force myself to learn from my mistakes. Let’s see how I did!

Overview

  • Mission: Looting and Sabotaging
  • Forces: Foreign Company versus Hassassin Bahram (300)
  • Deploy First: Hassassin Bahram
  • First Turn: Hassassin Bahram
Foreign Company

KRIZA BORAC Lieutenant HMG / Heavy Pistol, CC Weapon. (2 | 54)

VALKYRIE Heavy Shotgun, Grenades / Heavy Pistol, EXP CC Weapon. (0 | 35)
ORC HMG / Pistol, Knife. (2 | 44)
AVICENNA Combi Rifle, Flash Pulse / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 27)

BOLT (Fireteam: Haris) Boarding Shotgun, Drop Bears / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 19)
BOLT (Killer Hacking Device) Boarding Shotgun, E/Mauler / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 21)
BOLT Spitfire / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 23)

PEACEMAKER Heavy Shotgun + AUXBOT_3 / Electric Pulse. (0 | 21)
AUXBOT_3 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
BAKUNIN ÜBERFALLKOMMANDO . (0 | 24)
CHIMERA Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Eclipse Grenades / Viral CCW. (0 | 21)
x3 PUPNIK DA CCW. (0 | 3)
CROC MAN (Minelayer) Combi Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 31)


9 1 1 | 6 SWC | 299 Points | Open in Infinity Army

The Avicenna/Orc/Valkyrie 3-man core is a must for Looting and Sabotaging, as are the Uberfall, I think. I don’t particularly like the Uberfall in a limited insertion list, they’re really order hungry and they require another order hungry unit to make a hole for them. So you’ve got double order pressure on a single combat group… it’s not great.

I think the list is trying to do a bit too much. There’s too many things asking for orders and not enough things that just sit there and generate threat. I think I needed to prove that to myself by playing it again though, before I change up the list.

Hassassin Bahram
GROUP 1 | 10

MUYIB Lieutenant Rifle + Light Grenade Launcher (Normal and Smoke Ammo.) / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 23)
MUYIB (X Visor) Heavy Rocket Launcher, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 22)
MUYIB (X Visor) Spitfire, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 28)
MUYIB Doctor Plus (MediKit) Rifle + Light Shotgun, D.E.P. / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 27)
MUYIB (Forward Observer) Rifle + Light Shotgun, D.E.P. / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 24)

GOVAD HMG / Breaker Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 29)
FARZAN (Marksmanship L1, Forward Observer) Rifle + Light Shotgun, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 24)
FARZAN (Minelayer) Boarding Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 23)
FIDAY Rifle + Light Shotgun, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, DA CCW, Knife. (0 | 31)
FIDAY Rifle + Light Shotgun, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, DA CCW, Knife. (0 | 31)

GROUP 2 | 1 3 3

FARZAN (Minelayer) Boarding Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 23)
MUTTAWI’AH Chain Rifle, E/Marat, Jammer, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)
MUTTAWI’AH Chain Rifle, E/Marat, Jammer, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)
MUTTAWI’AH Chain Rifle, E/Marat, Jammer, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)


5 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

Not much to say about Erik’s list. I would probably have gone even more all in and taken three Farzan minelayers, four Mutts, and some Daylami before taking the required Fidays for this mission. I think Erik is responding to the terrain rules he’s seen recently by taking the lone Govad too, which I do appreciate.

Deployment

We’re playing on Than’s (zagdag) beautiful desert/Haqq table that he scratch built. Erik won the roll off and decided to go first. I’m discovering that my ForCo list really wants to go first, so I was not pleased with this development. I’m still in data gathering mode, so I elected to go for an elevated deployment with my Bolts and chose the side with the catwalk system.

Erik set up his Muyibs in the center, screening the approach to the AC2 with a bunch of Farzans. The Govad went on the left, and a Fiday sat just outside my deployment zone threatening my AC2. The usual unkindness of Mutts lurked in Erik’s backfield.

I responded with a mostly denied flank. There was a good deal of terrain blocking the right corner of my deployment zone from the threat of Erik’s Muyib link, and I was confident that I could keep the Govad at bay with a null deployment and very short-range AROs. I castled everything up on the right, with the Valkyrie core watching the AC2 from afar, and the Bolts up on a roof. I used the Croc Man to get a mine where I needed it, protecting the AC2, and then stuck it nearby to maybe help. I dunno.

I struggled again to deploy the Peacemaker. This time, I didn’t second-guess myself and just set up the ‘bots to protect the center objective. I could’ve been a little more aggressive with the Peacemaker’s LoF, but I was feeling pretty conservative.

Erik countered my Bolts on the roof with a second Fiday. I knew it was a possibility, I was just hoping that he would be more all in on the AC2 plan. Miscalculation on my part. Then it was my turn to put the Pupniks and Chimera on the table. I really detest deploying the Uberfall, it’s basically impossible to be completely satisfied in deploying them. I settled for hiding the Chimera on a roof with the Pupniks scattered below, protecting the approach to my Kriza.

Turn 1

Top of 1 – HB

I make the first mistake of the game and throw Drop Bears to counter the Fiday on the roof when I get a free ARO from a Mutt. I should’ve used this opportunity to throw more mines covering the AC2.

Erik sees this high density of targets on the roof and shuffles the Muyibs forward to spec fire the Bolts and Drop Bears on the roof.

It takes him two orders, one of which is his Lt order, but he gets two of the Bolts and one of the Drop Bears.

After retreating his Muyibs into a more defensible position and setting up his Mutts for Turn 2, Erik rolls his Govad HMG forward and throws it into suppression to delay my advance on the right flank.

Bottom of 1 – ForCo

We discuss LoF for a bit, and decide that the Govad can only see the first Pupnik if I give them their first impetuous move. I take the chance and dodge the suppression fire

There’s some tall terrain in the midfield obscuring one of Erik’s Mutts from view, so I forget it’s there and try to get behind the Govad in suppression with a Croc Man. Erik points out that there’s a Mutt there like the kind gentleman he is. I’m sure he would’ve let me roll things back but I’m out of hidden deployment anyway so there’s no point. I solve the problem the Kriza way, stack -9 mods on the Govad, and paste the Govad.

I know I’ll need orders late game, so I make use of Avicenna’s awesome 6-2 MOV and pick up a Bolt after climbing her up to the roof. I don’t want to get spec-fired again or totally wrecked by the Fiday so I blow the rest of my orders spreading everyone out.

This has the added benefit of moving the Uberfall and the Valkyrie delivery system (the core link) forward, which is what I want.

Turn 2

Top of 2 – HB

My new position lets me get a bunch of AROs on the Mutt on the right, and I take it off the table in a fusillade of shots.

The other Mutts are safe though. I could reveal the Croc Man, but it’s absolutely pointless. Much as well make Erik spend the orders. The middle Mutt intuitive attack Jammers the Croc Man out of camo…

and the left Mutt grabs +1 ARM out of the Panoply.

I figure I’m about to get chain rifled, but Erik throws the Muyib Spitfire at the Croc Man instead. Probably a better idea. I shoot back with the Croc Man, but Erik’s got decent odds against my shot:

12.53 33.50 53.96

I think this was the correct call here. Erik’s very careful and thoughtful. It’s fitting that Nate (natetehagressar) calls him his “padawan.” By spending orders on the Muyibs it lets Erik develop his link position while retaining the Mutts as a midfield threat. I can always just shoot the chain-rifling Mutt to deny Erik a Mutt later. An extremely costly trade for me, but Mutts are an all important source of impetuous smoke too, as we’ll see later.

From my vantage point, I had thought that the boxes on the roof made it all the way to the edge of the roof. I was wrong, which gave Erik a sliver of base to see with his Muyib HRL. Thankfully, the dice powers that be granted me clemency for my transgression and while I failed dodge, I passed ARM and failed guts back into cover.

Erik left the Muyib HRL behind, echoing our last game, and pushed the rest of the link behind to take some shots at Avicenna, who flash pulsed back. I lose the roll against the Spitfire, take a wound, and fail guts to safety.

Erik sets up the Fiday for an attack run, but doesn’t want to risk the mine and my weakened ARO net just yet.

He sets up for a last turn run on the AC2 by spending two orders to get rid of the Auxbot, which is also threatening his link.

He finishes out his turn by fixing up the positioning of his link and putting things out of LoF from the Peacemaker and Avicenna/the Bolts on the roof.

Really importantly, Erik moves the Fiday out of the trigger area of the mine before passing turn.

Bottom of 2 – ForCo

I let the Pupniks make their way towards the Fiday, as no one sees them. The ORC is a short move away from seeing the Muyib FO. I leverage some PanO shooting and blast the Muyib off the table.

The Spitfire quickly follows her mate to the dead pile out of the play area. The ORC is actually in cover, but the model didn’t want to stay put on the dirt pile near the building for a picture.

With the Muyib’s overwatch net gone, I try to discover the Fiday with a bunch of rolls from the Uberfall. And fail all the rolls. WIP 10 is pretty rubbish against a Fiday.

Since that avenue is closed to me, I buy myself an order for turn 3 with an order now by picking up the last Bolt with Avicenna.

Counting the camo tokens, there are three Farzans on the able, two of which are minelayers. I figure one of them is the Chain of Command profile, so killing Erik’s Lieutenant isn’t going to put him into loss of lieutenant. I am further convinced of this because Erik used his Lt order on the first turn. I also know that it’s the only legal Lt profile, and he knows I know that, and I know he knows I know that, so CLEARLY…

Really, I need to remove smoke sources, to force the Fiday to make rolls against my Pupnik’s dodge-engage. Of the three non-Fiday smoke sources left, I can only see the Muyib LGL and the middle Mutt, so the Peacemaker blasts the Muyib Doctor and LGL into unconsciousness…

and the ORC clears the middle Mutt.

I had debated throwing an additional drop bear with my last order, but I didn’t for several reasons: 1) I needed to fix the ORC’s positioning, 2) if I didn’t kill the middle Mutt it would’ve just cleared the mine for the Fiday, 3) I could’ve failed the Drop Bear roll on burst one. I needed to save my last command token to convert the Uberfall’s irregular order on Turn 3, or some other important thing.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – HB

As it turns out, Erik is in loss of lieutenant. He had taken the Farzan FO profile with D-Charges as a tertiary backup plan. It doesn’t matter though, because his remaining non-Fiday smoke source beats out my AROs with smoke, and then smokes the my AC2.

It takes all of Erik’s command tokens to convert irregular orders, but he kills the AC2. Sigh.

Bottom of 3 – ForCo

I cannot afford to cancel the Uberfall’s order, so I let them exact their revenge. Erik shotguns two of the Pupniks down, but the Chimera gets into base to base to give Erik’s Fiday the flu with her viral CCW.

I really can’t afford to be messing around now. I can’t win, because Erik grabbed two things out of the Panoply (I think the Govad grabbed something?) and I need to get to the AC2 and smash it. Well, PanO is supposed to just brute force its way through stuff, right? Time to prove it!

The ORC starts walking forward, forcing a reveal on a Farzan. I split burst between it and the last Mutt, mostly out of spite but also to protect the ORC from a random pistol ARM fail.

The Farzan makes two ARM saves and keeps on trucking. I keep pushing, and Erik reveals the Fiday on the roof, so I split burst again. The Fiday dies and I take a wound on the ORC.

PanO’s definitely a mistake! What is this nonsense! After throwing 10 dice at the Farzan, it finally goes unconscious. Of course, there are two more Farzans to go. I dodge around a little to avoid some fire…

then just ram the ORC forward and take out the last two Farzans. Valkyrie gets clipped by a shotgun and takes a wound in the process. It looks like I’ll get one round of safe shooting on the Muyib HRL with the ORC, then I’ll have to make a run for it with Valkyrie to even just get one swing in.

50.17 37.59 12.24

The odds to wound are good, but Muyibs are dogged and I’ve only got a 15.24% chance to take it out outright. Of course, Mr Muyib HRL passes all his ARM saves, just like last game. Sigh.


I’ve gotta take it on the chin now, so Valkyrie comes screaming in and whacks the AC2 with two dice on CC30 thanks to NBW and Berserk. I’ve got a 27% chance to do four wounds to the AC2, which is pretty reasonable. Two wounds is a very respectable 87.80%.

I do one wound, thanks to not critting and Erik making 5/6 ARM saves.

8-1 Hassassin Bahram Victory!

Post Game Analysis

A very frustrating loss. Certainly don’t want to diminish Erik’s victory in any way. He played very well, made good use of his board control options, and paced his attack patiently. I’m just frustrated because I felt like I was trying to do too many things with the list when I really just need to go back to basics. The most irritating thing is that in various moments of meta-cognition I knew this, even before going into this game… Starting a new faction and trying out all the new shiny has been a humbling experience.

I’ve been proselytizing the wonders of passive, order-less board control as the “correct” way to play limited insertion. I definitely think that I failed to do that in my list construction. I’m a big proponent of “it’s not your list, it’s you,” but in this case I think I definitely was missing some tools for the mission. Looting and Sabotaging puts some very unique demands on a list, and mine was lacking.

Foreign Company has access to Zeros, so a pair of cheap Zero Minelayers would be a good package to add to a future list. I also don’t think the Bolt Haris is necessary here. They can generate board control, but it costs a ton of orders to chuck Drop Bears and E/Maulers about—orders that I cannot afford.

I was going to make the comment that the Bolts can’t threaten the AC2 either, but I did my due-diligence… grabbing D-Charges out of the Panoply with a Bolt specialist and throwing all three at the AC2 puts you at odds pretty much equivalent to Valkyrie whacking the AC2 on two dice: 28% to do four wounds… They can only do it once unless you take two specialists and have two sets of D-Charges… Valkyrie can keep going with infinite EXP CCW ammo.

Limited Insertion is all about doing things the most efficient way too, so even though you could do it with a Bolt Haris, it’s probably better to spend the 1-2 orders pulling things out of the Panpolies moving Valkyrie up… but then again the Panoplies are one way to really shift the score that one point in your favor…

If anything, this has just underscored the importance of taking the right things to the party. Looting and Sabotaging is quite difficult. I think I lost this and the last game (okay it was a tie) because I ceded control of the midfield and overextended my Bolts. I lost the Bolts, and that cost me orders over subsequent turns that I could’ve spent on the objective.

I could have easily just not used the Bolts and advanced the Valkyrie core like a smart, competent person, but I didn’t do a great job of that. I managed to do it this game, but I was too far back and Erik and Isaac had too much in the midfield which was enough to delay me.

List composition and really careful play is just so important in Limited Insertion lists. The folks in my meta have been encouraging me to move back towards higher order count lists, but I’ve been quite recalcitrant. It’s been a really frustrating experience playing limited insertion recently, but I think I’m getting more out of each game in terms of learning–at least more than I would if I had played a more traditional ~14 order list. Perhaps I’m lying to myself… At the very least I do need to consider burnout…

In any case, I think my big takeaways from the last two games are as follows:

  • Start your limited insertion list with a passive, order-less board control package. Taking the Zero Minelayers is a good start.
  • Look for tool kits that offer really efficient movement analogues such as AD and infiltration. An AD troop would’ve helped me clear the way for Valkyrie, for example, very efficiently, by being exactly in the right place.
  • Always stay focused on the objective. I’ve written at length on the subject, but your own advice is the hardest to follow. A good example of failing to do this was amongst the first orders of the game. Had I littered the area around the AC2 with more mines, I might’ve tied this game up by killing the Fiday after one swing and doing more damage to Erik’s AC2 than he did to mine.

I’m hoping to get another game of Looting and Sabotaging in with a different ForCo list soon. We’ll see if any of these lessons have sunk in by then!

Further Discussion

After reading this report, Erik had a few comments he wanted to share with me which led to some fruitful discussion. I’ve reproduced a lightly edited version of it here, as I think it’s valuable. I did some light copy editing with an eye for clarity:

Zelaponeepus
Great write up. One thing though, I only grabbed one thing from the panoply… so maybe it would have been something to consider getting two things out?

WiseKensai
Really? That’s so poopy in limited insertion though.

I hate saying that “it’s my list.” I had a chance to win this one, but i was definitely fighting the list and you together, which sucked.

Zelaponeepus
No, I agree. I think you summarized it well when talking about the fact that bolts need orders to play area denial. Zeroes can just sit there and generate them.

WiseKensai
I just really detest attributing failure to not myself, when I’m in control of the situation. It’s difficult to decouple that tendency from observations about the game. I’m still struggling to really point to a significant mistake, other than losing the bolts and revealing the croc man that cost me the game.

I suspect that those two errors are enough to do it, especially given the razor-thin margin for error that limited insertion played against a capable opponent offers.

Zelaponeepus
I think as a rule and a principle, it’s best not to attribute loss to external factors; simply because it gets in the way or self improvement and at worst can become an excuse. With that said, some scenarios demand a more precise list, and LI puts extra emphasis on that. It’s also a game of dice, so there’s that. My mutt living to throw smoke, and my farzan surviving round after round we’re not insignificant examples of how dice can really have an outsized impact on a LI list.

WiseKensai
True, but there’s also player skill there. If we look at the sequence of events, in 2/3 of the orders I spent trying to kill the Farzan, I split burst on -3 BS. First against the Mutt, and then again against the Fiday. The odds are still good for me, basically equivalent to a BS 11 combi rifle shooting at your Farzan out of cover in good range, but you still forced me to worsen my odds by splitting burst.

Zelaponeepus
lol, I mean, I think I played well… I won’t argue that

Also; it’s a new faction. I think it’s important to say “I will lose lots of games” when you start a new faction; simply because it’s hard to learn unless you’re in a state of play, and stress and frustration are the opposite of play.

Like, yes, you know the game very well and can apply those principles in the abstract, but there’s the whole question of mental load when trying something new

WiseKensai
Yeah, That’s what I was going to say. I’m no longer a Nomad player. I lose some top-end effectiveness by not having the same depth of understanding, but my fundamentals as a committed multi-faction vanilla player should be better due to my breadth of knowledge and experience.

Zelaponeepus
I totally agree.

I’m just saying, don’t be so hard on yourself because you’re outside of your comfort zone; which is something that you should be celebrating.

But I also think you ARE trading something for that breadth of knowledge.

You’re probably going to have a lot more depth of knowledge as well on the other side of the “this is frustrating” phase.

WiseKensai
There’s a lot of noise in the signal here: 1) you’re a much better player than you were a year ago 2) you’re playing a faction with really strong board control, which the local meta, myself included, doesn’t have a lot of experience facing 3) I’m increasing the difficulty by playing limited insertion 4) I’m playing a new faction.

Zelaponeepus
Agreed on all points.

WiseKensai
I think one of my issues is that I use the battle report as a framing device to answer the question: “In isolation, i.e. controlling for the variables of faction, players, scenario, lists, how could I and my opponent have done better?”

Lately, the feedback I’ve been getting is that it’s something outside of that limited context. in this case it was “bring better midfield control,” to be reductionist about it.

When I was playing JSA it was: “fundamentally alter the feedback loop you have when evaluating decisions in the game.” Arguably that could be isolated to the context of just one game, but I think it’s really more than that and pushes into a lot of metacognitive thing

Zelaponeepus
I think that just reinforces my point though. I’m just arguing that struggle is a part of the learning process, and that you seem to be applying all of the right principles in your reflection. My only argument really, is that the big obstacle is your frustration, because the rest of it is a natural part of leaving a comfort zone.

Like, for me, I feel that it HAS to be an acceptable circumstance that you play at a lower level sometimes for you to ever be comfortable enough to consistently play at the higher level you know you’re capable of.

WiseKensai
Fair point.

To reframe the frustration, perhaps the root cause is I can’t clearly define what I need to do to really improve as an Infinity player right now, and that’s really annoying to me.

Zelaponeepus
I may have no idea what I’m talking about; but my advice would be “work on having fun.”

WiseKensai
No, I think that’s the big takeaway here.

Zelaponeepus
Right now you’re fighting me, your list, your write up, AND your frustration.

That’s a lot of fighting, which is all extra mental strain. When I do well, it’s as intuitive as it is reflective

WiseKensai
It’s true. I had a very similar problem with Netrunner, which early on in its lifecycle was even more tied to player skill than infinity, I think.

Zelaponeepus
Like, get back to the initial excitement that brought you to the game.

Doesn’t mean you don’t bring your experience, but maybe you just look for sources of joy within the experience.

WiseKensai
Fortunately, Adam and I have a play through of the campaign planned, which we’re both approaching from a “what’s the fluffiest thing we could do right now?” perspective.

We kept talking after that, but I think what’s above sums up the sticking points I’ve been having as well as some potential solutions. March 2019 was pretty intense, Infinity-wise. Three tournaments, painting prep for Adepticon, and a total of 13 battle reports to write in a month, so I think to some extent I’m still recovering from that. I just want to say how appreciative I am of Erik’s feedback and wisdom here! Thanks for reading.

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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