Journey Towards the Dark Side

I’ve always wanted to play with Bolts, and ForCo gave me that opportunity without playing PanO, so I bought all the stuff I needed to field Bolts, which included the NCA starter. I had a few other random PanO things lying around from trades and castoffs, but never bothered to build any of it. Then came the day I was idly messing around in Army and wondered how far I was from actually being able to field an NCA army in terms of models owned.

Thanks to buying a bunch of PanO remotes for Druze, I had all but the Bulleteer… and in terms of S2 models it was really just Auxilia, ORCs, Locusts, Fusiliers, and the Black Friar that I was missing. I already had a Deva thanks to the Daikini box I bought for my ISS, and I’ve got an Aida already, so… I guess I’m a PanO player now.

I wanted to hide my shame for as long as possible, so I asked Erik if he would help me train for the next tournament and impart some of his hard-earned NCA wisdom–NCA being his starting faction. I’ve yet to update my home testing table, so here it is again…

Overview

  • Mission: Rescue
  • Forces: Neoterran Capitaline Army versus Haqqislam (300)
  • Deploy First: Haqqislam
  • First Turn: Haqqislam
Rescue

BOLT Lieutenant Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 20)
BOLT (Multispectral Visor L1) MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 27)
BOLT Missile Launcher, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 26)
BOLT (Killer Hacking Device) Boarding Shotgun, E/Mauler / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 21)
BIPANDRA Combi Rifle, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 23)

MACHINIST (NCA) (Bioimmunity, Veteran L1) Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 16)
PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
AÏDA SWANSON 2 Submachine Gun, Viral Mines / Viral Pistol, Shock CC Weapon, Knife. (0 | 24)
UHLAN HMG, Feuerbach / . (2 | 99)
CRABBOT Flash Pulse / Knife. ()
SIERRA DRONBOT HMG / Electric Pulse. (1 | 25)
PATHFINDER DRONBOT Combi Rifle, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 16)


10 | 6 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

I’m getting on the Bolt bandwagon after they got cool, so I’m a poser, I suppose. That said, I’m a huge fan of the models and I’ve always wanted to try them out on the table outside of the horrendously restrictive ForCo environment. One thing the new NCA has going for it is the delicious variety of link teams, so I stuck in Bipandra and a Machinist. I’m also on a bit of a TAG kick, so I brought the Uhlan out to play. Aida and some bots made an appearance to round out the list too.

Haqqislam
GROUP 1 | 10

ZHAYEDAN Lieutenant (Marksmanship L2) Breaker Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 31)
GHULAM Doctor Plus (MediKit) Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 16)
NASMAT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
NASMAT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
NAMURR Spitfire, E/Marat, D-Charges / Heavy Pistol, E/M CC Weapon, Knife. (1 | 44)
DJANBAZAN HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 35)
FIDAY Rifle + Light Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, AP CCW, Knife. (0 | 31)
BARID Hacker (Killer Hacking Device UPGRADE: Lightning) Rifle + Pitcher / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 16)
KNAUF MULTI Sniper / Heavy Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 32)
FARZAN (Minelayer) Boarding Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 23)
RAFIQ REMOTE FTO (Fireteam: Duo) Red Fury, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0.5 | 22)
FANOUS REMOTE Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)

GROUP 2 | 6 4

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)
MUTTAWI’AH Chain Rifle, E/Marat, Jammer, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)
DAYLAMI (CH: Limited Camouflage, Inferior Infiltration) Light Shotgun, Panzerfaust / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 8)
DAYLAMI (CH: Limited Camouflage, Inferior Infiltration) Light Shotgun, Panzerfaust / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 8)


5.5 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

Erik’s been tuning his vanilla Haqq lists, so I got to face the latest iteration, this time with a Namurr spitfire leading the charge.

Deployment

Erik had a few Daylami to deploy. One failed and ended up on his back table edge watching a long firelane with its Panzerfaust, and the other ended up on top of Mt. Doom. He took good advantage of the new MI FD1 rules to put his Djanbazan HMG on top of Mt. Doom as well, and then scattered a bunch of utility in his backfield.

The important pieces, as always, were Mutts. This time though, Knauf made an appearance, prone but ready to contest the big firelane at the base of Mt. Doom. Erik put a Farzan Minelayer down to cover my civilians right on the edge of the dead zone and then tucked the rest of his important into various bits of cover.

I deployed very conservatively. I didn’t want to put too much up on the mountain–it’s very open if you go second, so I elected to castle up on the right with my Bolt link team joined by Bipandra. I put the Bolt ML on top of the roof, just standing out of cover, looking at a bunch of the Mutts. I had some trouble deploying the Sierra and the Pathfinder, and elected to put the Sierra watching the final approach to the civilians mostly to avoid getting shot by Knauf.

Aida came down on the catwalk on the right, as I felt that was had the biggest chance of success in terms of getting her up the field quickly. I held the Uhlan in reserve, and then Erik dropped a Fiday on the roof next to my Bolt ML, which I totally expected. I put the Uhlan down on the left, in cover of the Comache Octagon and hoping to just vault the stairs if necessary.

One important note is that I put the Machinist’s Palbot all the way on the left to shape Mutt movement and to set up for the Uhlan making it all the way up the mountain on my turn.

Turn 1

Top of 1 – Haqqislam

I purposely left the Bolt ML out to ARO Mutts, so that’s exactly what happened. The first Mutt disappeared in a ball of shrapnel…

the second was just out of LoF and set up smoke for the third, but the smoke wasn’t far enough up and the third exited the smoke to die in another shrapnel cloud.

Adam and I have been discussing ways to deal with lots of impetuous troops, and our plan was to leave something (preferably with MSV2 and a big gun) out to ARO and then dodge prone on the last troop’s movement.

This is exactly what I did, so as the Mutt on the mountain started moving with its impetuous order, I dodged the Bolt prone and faced it backwards towards the Fiday.

Erik tried to take out the Bolt MSR with a Panzerfaust from the infiltrated Daylami on the mountain. It did not end well for the Daylami.

The second Daylami managed to make it safely to the cover of some boxes, trading fire with the Bolt MSR, and then it was time to attack the Bolt with the Fiday.

As it turns out, even with a shotgun this isn’t the best idea against a linked Bolt with shotgun. I’ve got a pretty good chance of outright winning the face to face.

53.10 28.46 18.45

As it turns out, we both crit on our rolls so nothing happened. Erik moved on to solving other problems, like the TR bot. The Mutt on the mountain threw some smoke for the Djanbazan, who then started shooting at the Sierra. I dodged instead of being zeroed out, but still took a hit, KOing the ‘bot.

Erik really wanted the Bolt ML down, so he ran the Fiday in for the kill in hand to hand combat. This is actually pretty close to even odds…

29.56 31.10 39.34

which meant Erik crit me.

Erik got a little greedy and wanted to take out my Bolt MSR with the Fiday, but he had to stand up to do this, nabbing Extreme Prejudice on the way. My Bolt MSR survived, but I chose this moment to reveal the Uhlan to paste the Fiday with a EXP Feuerbach shot.

After fixing the positioning of his two Mutts Erik passed turn.

Bottom of 1 – NCA

I fix the Sierra with the nearby Machinist–it takes a little bit of maneuvering to do, so I get the Palbot up the side of the mountain preemptively while doing it.

I then climb the Uhlan up the mountain and start blasting away at the Mutt and Djanbazan up there. There isn’t really a good way of not having to split burst, thanks to the sheer size of the Uhlan, but I manage to take out the Mutt. The Djanbazan does a wound to the Uhlan though, which is disappointing.

A full burst of HMG into the Djanbazan later, the mountain is clear.

I retreat the Uhlan into cover and then throw it back into camo, a little discouraged.

Turn 2

Top of 2 – Haqqislam

Erik makes a play for one of the civilians, setting up smoke for the Namurr with one of the Mutts.

This lets the Namurr rocket up the field to grab the civilian and retreat.

I didn’t leave enough stuff out to ARO on that side, basically, so this is horrible news for me. Erik spends the rest of his turn setting stuff up to ARO against me and then passes turn.

Bottom of 2 – NCA

I get it in my head that I need to make a play with Aida this turn, similar to how Erik went for it with the Namurr. I don’t have smoke so I have to make a hole the NCA way. The Bolt MSR starts cleaning house, dragging Bipandra and the Bolt KHD with her. First down is the remaining Daylami.

Next is Knauf (hey, that MSV1 is relevant!).

65.43 16.78 17.79

It goes as expected and Knauf needs to make 6 ARM saves. He doesn’t.

I then make a weird play with Aida and roll her all the way up the field, too far, and then realize I’m out of orders. I had intended to try and kill the Rafiq and maybe Erik’s Zhayedan Lt, but I’m forced to drop a mine to protect Aida from the Zhayedan getting cute and then retreat her to “safety.”

At this point the 3-man Bolt link with Bipandra is broken, mostly because I’m attempting to get Bipandra advanced and into cover.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – Haqqislam

The remaining Mutt manages to survive the Sierra’s fire.

55.21 11.19 33.60

Erik then attempts to remove the Bolt MSR with his Barid. It doesn’t go well for the Barid.

The Rafiq tries to take out the Bolt KHD, but Bioimmunity is relevant here, making me effectively ARM 9 in cover against the Red Fury.

6.67 50.70 42.73

The bullets bounce off and I elect to fail guts to preserve the order, which is way more important at this stage than anything else.

In retrospect, I should’ve dodged, giving me much higher odds of survival, and stayed out to ARO for later, because then Erik throws a bunch of stuff into suppression including the Rafiq.

Bottom of 3 – NCA

I’m in big trouble now. I don’t have the orders to do anything other than make a play with the Uhlan, and Aida is way out of position as my DataTracker, and there’s definitely a mine, a Farzan, and a bunch of stuff in suppression watching the civilians she could grab. There’s a chance I can gun everything down with the Uhlan, tank the mine, and then pick something up with Aida and hope for the best.

It all starts with the Ghulam doctor in suppression. Shockingly, it hits twice against my shots and then I fail both saves. Erik and I stare at the dice, dumbfounded, until we realize that we forgot to account for the Uhlan’s camo, meaning one of the shots was a miss, so I only take one wound. Phew.

Another order is needed to take out the Ghulam, which means I have to abandon the Aida plan entirely, so I just grab Candy Double and hightail it out of there.

We both have a civilian in our deployment zones, but Erik’s is hanging out with his DataTracker. We both have our classifieds (Aida is securing his HVT), making it a

3-1 Haqqislam Victory!

Post Game Analysis

Well, I’ve officially joined the dark side now–I struck Erik down with an Uhlan and can be called a PanO player.

In all seriousness though, NCA is pretty fun! I enjoyed the game immensely, mostly due to Erik being a great opponent, but also because the high BS of PanO feels very empowering.

I didn’t do a very good job of orchestrating my positioning, left a few open firelanes for Erik to wander around in, and generally just didn’t get the tempo of the game right. Not bad for a first outing with a new faction, I’d say. Bolts HAAAATE terrain too. You’d think it wouldn’t matter, but all my 6-4 MOV guys were stuck moving at 4-4, which is not as problematic as having to stop at the boundary.

One other thing that we missed was that the exclusion zone is also a saturation zone in addition to being difficult terrain. We don’t often play Rescue, so I’m glad to have had the opportunity before the August tournament that’s coming up. It would’ve changed the odds on a fair number of the shooting situations, especially the splitting burst with the Uhlan. We also forgot about the DataTracker order… sigh.

Need to think about the implications of the DataTracker order and saturation zone for list building as I iterate on lists for the tournament. Planning on playing NCA! Should be a great time.

Anyway, in summary, I think I lost this game due to bad positioning of my TR bot and Pathfinder, as well as not properly budgeting orders for moving Aida around. That and I didn’t do a particularly good job of maneuvering in the exclusion zone. I could’ve also sacrificed camo state and just used the Uhlan as the Datatracker as well. That might’ve been appropriate.

Rescue is quite difficult, especially for NCA which only has Locusts with multiterrain. NCA’s typical issue with lack of infiltrators isn’t as big of an issue in an exclusion zone mission, so they should be able to make up for that with careful play. I don’t own much in the way of Fusiliers, so I’m playing a Bolt heavy list. That and I got into NCA/ForCo because of Bolts.

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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