Send in the Frowns

After RCR, Adam really wanted to get a game of Infinity in. Nothing like watching 32 people play Infinity for two days to get you excited about playing yourself! Adam’s also bought into vanilla Ariadna for the 3rd or 4th time now and wanted to put them on the table. Speaking of which, we were trying out the mat he got for all the Brutal Cities terrain that came in recently as part of their support of Late Night Wargames!

It’s perhaps a bit bright, but the road layout was exactly what Adam was looking for. We decided to make a list that would cover Acquisition and Decapitation, then roll for the mission when I arrived at his place. You can also blame Adam for the batrep title. He certainly was frowning…

Overview

  • Mission: Decapitation
  • Forces: Steel Phalanx versus Ariadna (300)
  • Deploy First: Ariadna
  • First Turn: Ariadna

I’m only playing out of print armies for the near term, just to provide some focus to my Infinity play. I could’ve played more Merovingia, which I love, but I have yet to put Steel Phallus Phalanx on the table. I just had a game with Hector in a link and I wanted to ease my transition into Steel with some familiar pieces.

I wanted to try Steel with a lot of Forward Deploy and Infiltration, so I took Andromeda, Ajax, and Thrasymedes with their deployment options. To make room for them in the list I took Thorakites instead of Myrmidons in Hector’s link. I also wanted to try Atalanta, because she’s super fun, which meant my last order was a Netrod. The Ekdromoi hacker was my concession to Acquisition–I figured I could drop him on an objective if I needed to at the end of the game.

Frown Town

HECTOR (Lieutenant [+1 Order]) Plasma Rifle, Nanopulser, Grenades ( | TinBot: Firewall [-3]) / Heavy Pistol, EXP CC Weapon. (0 | 69)
THORAKITES (Paramedic, 360º Visor) Submachine Gun, Chain Rifle ( | MediKit) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 14)
THORAKITES (Forward Observer, 360 º Visor) Submachine Gun, Chain Rifle, Flash Pulse ( ) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 13)
THORAKITES Feuerbach, Nanopulser / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 23)

ANDROMEDA (Infiltration [+6]) Submachine Gun, Zapper, Flash Pulse, D-Charges / Breaker Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0 | 33)
THRASYMEDES (Infiltration) Submachine Gun, Zapper / Pistol, Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 29)
AJAX (Forward Deployment [+8″]) Combi Rifle, Nanopulser / AP Heavy Pistol, EXP CC Weapon. (0 | 46)
ATALANTA (Total Reaction) MULTI Sniper Rifle ( | TinBot: Discover [+3]) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 44)
EKDROMOS (Hacker, Hacking Device) Chain Rifle(+1B) ( ) / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0.5 | 25)
NETROD . (0 | 4)


10 1 | 3.5 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

Adam took a USARF-heavy Vanilla Ariadna list. Not surprising given his favorite Ariadna sectorial. My Vanilla skews towards FRRM for similar reasons. A camo state lieutenant is great for Decapitation, and he’s got tons of midfield presence with Foxtrots, Grunts, Rokots, Streloks, and Uxia.

Ariadna
GROUP 1 7 1

VASSILY (Lieutenant, Forward Observer) T2 Sniper Rifle, D-Charges / Heavy Pistol, CC Weapon. (1 | 36)
GRUNT (Infiltration) Heavy Flamethrower, Light Shotgun / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0.5 | 11)
GRUNT (Infiltration) Heavy Flamethrower, Light Shotgun / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0.5 | 11)
UNKNOWN RANGER AP Spitfire, Chain-colt / Heavy Pistol, T2 CC Weapon. (1 | 47)
FOXTROT (Forward Observer) Rifle, Flash Pulse, Shock Mines / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 18)
FOXTROT (Forward Observer) Rifle, Flash Pulse, Shock Mines / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 18)
STRELOK (Forward Observer) Boarding Shotgun, Flash Pulse / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 20)

GROUP 2 6 2 2

SPETSNAZ (Surprise Attack [-3], Camouflage, Mimetism [-3], Decoy [1]) Heavy Machine Gun / Pistol, AP CC Weapon. (1.5 | 38)
UXÍA McNEILL (Specialist Operative) Boarding Shotgun, D-Charges, Smoke Grenades / Assault Pistol(+1B), AP CC Weapon. (0 | 27)
CALEDONIAN MORMAER (NCO, X Visor) T2 Rifle, Chain-colt ( ) / Heavy Pistol, AP CC Weapon. (0 | 36)
ROKOT (Infiltration, Camouflage [1 Use]) Submachine Gun, Grenades, D-Charges / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 10)
ROKOT (Infiltration, Camouflage [1 Use]) Rifle, Light Shotgun / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 12)
VOLUNTEER Chain Rifle, Light Shotgun / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 6)
HIGHLANDER Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, AP CC Weapon. (0 | 5)
HIGHLANDER Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, AP CC Weapon. (0 | 5)


4.5 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Infinity Army

For his heavy hitters he’s got a Spetznaz HMG, the UKR, and the new Mormaer T2 rifle hotness. I’m vehemently opposed to putting the Spetznaz HMG on the table, not because it’s bad, but because it’s boring. It’s a fantastic tool, but I just stubbornly refuse to use it because it’s just so… uninspired and brutish. I own the model, will paint it eventually, but my plan is to never put it on the table. Ever. That might change if I start playing TAK a lot, but I’ll stick to my (lack of) guns for now. With that gentle admonishment of Adam over, we can get on to deployment.

Deployment

Adam won the rolloff and elected to go first. Good plan. He covered each board edge with a direct template, either a Rokot Shotgun or the Strelok, to discourage me from walking on a Ekdromoi. His Designated Targets were on either side of the table, protected by Grunts on the approach. His Galwegians stood ready to provide smoke to either side of the table, and he further protected his backfield near Vasilly with the Mormaer and a Volunteer chain rifle.

The Spetznaz went on a roof in the middle of his deployment zone and the UKR balanced out things by being on the left. The rest of his camo tokens just sat in the midfield, ready to be annoying and to feint being a Foxtrot Lt. We’re both still a bit brain dead from running RCR and all the stuff that comes with clean up (returning borrowed chairs/folding tables, carting terrain home, etc.) so we just autopiloted into Lieutenants being hidden info as usual (which is not the case in Decapitation).

I didn’t like my side of the table at all, which is annoying given that I had selected it, but I made do. Netrod went into a back corner, and then I piled the Thorakties and Hector onto a building in my deployment zone with Hector watching the entire back table edge for Margot/Duroc/VanZant. The Feuerbach was up to die ARO.

I attempted to over-infiltrate Andromeda to threaten the Spetznaz but failed the roll and so she ended up on my left. Thrasymedes hid on a rooftop prone near one of Adam’s Designated Target, and Ajax ended up in suppression covering the midfield like the boss he is.

Zwei Sequels zu Mad Max: Fury Road & ein Furiosa-Spin-off kommen

With that over, Adam placed Uxia on my right to go after my Designated Target on that side, and then I put down Atalanta covering the Spetznaz. I didn’t do a great job of placing everything and wished I had more carefully thought about how best to leverage Atalanta in this instance. Placing the Designated Targets where she could cover both would have been better. I’ve got a lot to learn about how best to use her, so I just settled for covering the Spetznaz and the UKR’s advance.

Turn 1

Decapitation is actually a mission where you can win without caring about the enemy Lieutenant. If you can get both Designated Targets and then kill more Army Points, you’ll win. If you can get the Lt, great, but no need to overcommit.

Top of 1 – Ariadna

Adam starts things off by throwing smoke for Uxia with a Galwegian…

and then D-Charging my poor Designated Target into oblivion from inside the smoke.

He then maneuvers the Spetznaz away from Ajax and Atalanta and takes down the Thorakiti Feuerbach.

9.96 25.66 64.37

With the Thorakites down, that lets a Strelok roll in and take out my leftmost Designated Target. I discover it with Atalanta on the way in so no Surprise Shot. This lets me dodge on better odds and drain a few orders of Adam shooting at me.

Uxia retreats and recamos along with the Spetznaz, and then a Grunt throws itself under the Ajax bus to get a flamethower hit off. Ajax fails one save but pastes the Grunt. Adam tries to lure me into thinking that the Mormaer is his Lt by spending an NCO order to move the Mormaer a bit, but we determine that NCO is public info (again I should’ve just known that Vasily was his Lt, but oh well.

Bottom of 1 – Steel Phalanx

I start things off by clearing the Strelok with Thrasymedes, splitting burst against it and the nearby Galwegian who provides smoke. Sadly for me, the Galwegian makes its ARM roll but thankfully the Strelok does not.

Ajax manmodes his way up to the one of Adam’s Foxtrots, reveals it, and pastes it with a burst of combi-fire. I thought it might be one the Foxtrot Lt, so I had to check (given that we forgot Lt’s are public).

Ajax climbs up onto the Spetznaz’s level and dares the Spetznaz to pop camo. Adam declines, so I settle for shooting the Designated Target in the back, killing it.

I do a coordinated order with Ajax as the spearhead, again daring the Spetznaz to pop camo as I advance Ajax closer. Again, Adam declines so as part of that order I shoot the remaining Designated Target in the back with a single die from Thrasymedes.

Ajax is now super close, so rather than bother discovering I just Intuitive Attack. We both roll 10s and nothing else happens. Sigh.

I had the option of doing another coordinated order here, which I probably should’ve done. I could’ve fixed Atalanta’s positioning as well as dropping Thrasymedes prone, but I wanted to play king of the hill with Ajax instead… Ah well.

Turn 2

Turn two starts with a 4-4 tie, as both of us pretty efficiently took out each other’s Designated Targets. At this point, I’m pretty convinced that I know which of the camo tokens is Adam’s Lieutenant, and I plan to eventually go after him with Thrasymedes. Again, we forgot that it’s open info, so I’m playing at a bit of a disadvantage here.

Top of 2 – Ariadna

I’ve put Adam in a bit of a pickle with Ajax, but I’ve got a lot of stuff that’s out of position that he can shoot at. Rather that solve the Ajax problem immediately, he goes after the low-hanging fruit. Thrasymedes is standing, so Adam tries to take him on with the Mormaer. Thankfully the Mimetism helps a lot, I tank the crit that comes through and go prone.

Adam struggles to find a solution for Ajax and eventually discovers that Ajax is too big and the UKR can see him from the ground level. I lose Ajax to some unlucky rolls. I needed a 16 to dodge and rolled–you guessed it–a 17. That one wound the Grunt did was enough to let the UKR finish him off! BAH! I hadn’t anticipated that Ajax would be visible otherwise I totally would’ve spent my last command token to fix everything.

Speaking of which, Atalanta was out in the open, so she died to Uxia without really putting up much of a fight.

Andromeda was in an awkward position too, but I guarded the Grunt that came after me and gave him a face full of D-Charge to think about. Sadly the Flamethrower put her into NWI.

This is definitely how Adam should’ve handled his second turn, pushing things forward to set up for an attack run on Hector turn 3 as well as trying to remove my advanced pieces that are troublesome. He doesn’t really need to pressure Hector now, and Ajax, Andromeda, and Atalanta are really expensive on their own and will help with killing more army points.

Bottom of 2 – Steel Phalanx

In contrast, I need to get some serious work done this turn. I need to push back and deplete his order pool as well as going after Uxia–she can’t be allowed to challenge Hector on her terms. I send in Hector. After this game, Adam and I have decided that all the named Steel Phalanx characters are just tired veterans getting weighted down by all the n00bs that they have to carry, just like that scene from Max Max: Fury Road.

I start off by challenging the Spetznaz with Hector at 32″ and melting the Kazak.

I flank a Galwegian and melt it too.

Hector gets all the way up to Uxia and discovers then melts her with some plasma.

Adam’s got one more Galewegian, so I set up to defend against it with Hector and the link then try to kill it with an Ekdromoi. I sneak up on a Rokot, figuring it was a Foxtrot, and get shotgunned in the face. I roll a 20 on my ARM save and double-chain rifle the Rokot.

I force the Galwegian to throw smoke against my pistols, and then I’m out of orders and have to pass turn.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – Ariadna

Adam needs to make a play for Hector now to win the game, but I’ve forced his Galwegian to go after my Ekdromoi by being in ZoC. Adam cancels impetuous and then Berserks the Ekdromoi.

Edit: I’m informed by Clint (pseudonymmster) that we got the rules wrong:

  • Impetuous requires you to move to base to base if you can do it in one move, so if you’re 4-4 and I’m 5″ away you don’t have to try to gank me in CC.
  • Berserk is legal as an impetuous order. Of course, this isn’t denoted in the core Impetuous rules and only as a sub bullet in Berserk. Sigh.

Thanks to Clint for being our resident TDA Live Rules Guru!

I make my ARM saves and between the Ekdromoi, Hector, and one of the Thorakites, the Galwegian dies.

The Unknown Ranger takes out my Thorakites Paramedic and Ekdromoi then forces Andromeda out of line of fire. Adam tries to take her out with a Rokot, but I Guard again and D-Charge the Rokot.

Hector is visible to Vasily though and eats two T2 shots! This is a big deal! I roll my dice and save both, failing guts out of LoF.

Adam spends two orders retreating Vasily all the way to the back of his deployment zone, trying to protect his points and his Lieutenant. He figures that the chain rifle Volunteer in the way will prevent Thrasymedes from getting back there and ruining things, but I’ve got other plans.

Bottom of 3 – Steel Phalanx

I roll Hector and his Thorakties escort up. One burst of SMG fire takes down the Unknown Ranger. I keep advancing, with the Thorakites in the lead.

Hector’s real close to rounding the corner to see the Mormaer and Vasily, but he doesn’t need to. A single chain rifle puts Vasily dogged, which means I’ve got the game in the bag. Rather than try to take out the Mormaer and risk getting T2 crit or something, I call the game here with a few orders left in my pool.

The match ends with me at 148 and Adam at 60 points remaining, making it a

10-4 Steel Phalanx Victory!

Post Game Analysis

I really enjoyed playing Steel Phalanx. Plasma rifles feel like cheating, especially when they’re attached to the beefcake that is Hector. I definitely had some pretty lucky rolls go my way, which is all you really need in a game of Decapitation. I’m looking forward to exploring them more. I think both of us correctly prioritized targets and executed well on sound game plans, it just really was left to dice on this one. Passing both T2 saves on Hector won me the game, basically.

I think I made the first turn too easy on Adam by offering up the Thorakites Feuerbach, and I had truly terrible placement on Atalanta. I think I’ll probably take this same list to my next game with perhaps some minor profile tweaks her and there so I learn to play the list better.

I will say that Hector with +1 Lt order is amazing. Having an extra 2 orders for all three turns really offset the horrible losses I had on the first two turns. He’s very much a lynchpin of the list though, so if I lose him to something crazy early on I’m in for a world of hurt. I’m sure I’ll play other lists without him, but I can see why Nate (natet3hagressar) loves him so much.

I’m very happy with Ajax, Andromeda, and Thrasymedes as midfield presence. I think I could’ve have supported each of them much better with other elements of the list watching their backs and all that, but I’m still figuring Steel out and will go easy on myself for once.

WiseKensai

I primarily play Infinity and Heavy Gear nowadays, but I dabble in plenty of other game systems.

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