After Action ReportInfinity

State Secrets

After my game against James with my Steel Phalanx, I wasn’t satisfied with the character of that win. It wasn’t decisive enough and really came down to James’s dice denying him a kill on my Designated Target and a Decoy rather than anything he or I did. That’s a bit reductionist, you can read the battle report for more context and a more nuanced discussion, but I did want to try again.

Frank (fwashburn) was looking for a game of Mindwipe to prepare for a tournament so he challenged me to a game. He and I are both of the opinion that TTS maps are too dense, and WhyRockNoDie is of the same opinion–at least we assume so given the name of this map:


  • Mission: ITS14 Mindwipe
  • Forces: Steel Phalanx versus Yu Jing
  • Deploy First: Steel Phalanx
  • First Turn: Steel Phalanx

I took the same list as I had from the last game with James, figuring I would try Teucer out again and not be so boneheaded this time.

Teucer Test

HECTOR (Lieutenant [+1 Order]) Plasma Rifle, Nanopulser, Grenades ( | TinBot: Firewall [-3]) / Heavy Pistol, EXP CC Weapon. (0 | 69)
DACTYL (Doctor) Combi Rifle, Adhesive Launcher ( | MediKit) / Breaker Pistol(+1B), CC Weapon. (0 | 20)
ACMON Combi Rifle, Panzerfaust, D-Charges / Breaker Pistol(+1B), CC Weapon. (0 | 31)
THORAKITES Feuerbach, Nanopulser / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 23)

TEUCER Feuerbach, Nanopulser / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 39)
MAKHE Missile Launcher, Zapper / Breaker Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 32)
PANDORA (Hacker) Pitcher, Pulzar, Flash Pulse(+1B) ( | MediKit [+1B]) / Viral Pistol(+1B), CC Weapon. (0.5 | 26)

THYREOS (Minelayer) Submachine Gun, D-Charges, Shock Mines / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon. (0.5 | 24)
PENTHESILEA Submachine Gun, Nanopulser(+1B), Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon. (0 | 29)
LAMEDH Rebot Flash Pulse / PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 7)

10 1 1 | 5.5 SWC | 300 Points | Open in Army | Copy Code

Frank, after much hemming and hawing, is trying out the Hac Tao Hacker. I’d like to claim a little credit for this, as I’ve been talking it up in our discord over the past few months. Unlike myself, he’s tuned this list for Mindwipe. Steel is just one of those factions that can just _do_ Mindwipe with most of its lists, so I didn’t feel the need to try to do the same.

Frank (fwashburn)
GROUP 1 7 1 5

DÀOFĚI (Lieutenant, Hacker, Hacking Device) MULTI Rifle, D-Charges ( ) / Pistol, Shock CC Weapon. (0.5 | 56)
CELESTIAL GUARD Monitor Combi Rifle, Smoke Grenade Launcher / CC Weapon, Pistol. (0.5 | 13)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 5)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 5)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 5)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 5)
KRAKOT RENEGADE Chain Rifle(+1B), Grenades / DA CC Weapon, Heavy Pistol. (0 | 14)
LIBERTO (Minelayer) Light Shotgun, Shock Mines / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1 | 8)

GROUP 2 5 2 1

HAC TAO (Hacker, Hacking Device) MULTI Rifle, Nanopulser ( ) / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0.5 | 62)
HÙNDÙN (X Visor) Heavy Rocket Launcher ( ) / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 27)
MAJOR LUNAH VIRAL Sniper Rifle / Pistol, CC Weapon. (1.5 | 29)
Zhanshi YĪSHĒNG Combi Rifle / Pistol, CC Weapon. (0 | 15)
YÁOZĂO PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 3)
YÁOZĂO PARA CC Weapon(-3). (0 | 3)
PHEASANT IMPERIAL AGENT (Minelayer) Boarding Shotgun, E/Mitter, Madtraps / Breaker Pistol, PARA CC Weapon(-6). (0 | 27)
BEASTHUNTERS (Surprise Attack [-3], Camouflage, Forward Deployment [+8″]) Heavy Flamethrower, Panzerfaust, AP Mines / EXP CC Weapon(+1B), Pistol. (0 | 17)
SHAOLIN Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Shock CC Weapon. (0 | 5)

5.5 SWC | 299 Points | Open in Army | Copy Code

In any case, plan was to use the Daofei as the Uberhacker and clear the way with Lunah, a Hundun, and a Beasthunter. He’s got a Krakot and a Liberto to round out the mercenary powerhouses, and a Pheasant minelayer to help protect his backfield.


I won the rolloff and elected to go first. It was a pretty open board so I wanted to try and get Teucer into the fight. I held Teucer and the Makhe in reserve and placed Pandora all by her lonesome on the right, with Penny nearby. Hector’s link went on the left, and I used the Thyreos to guard one of the consoles with its mine. The Lamedh threatened the other console with its flash pulse.

Frank put Lunah down in a way to counter Penny, scattered Kuang Shi across his backfield, and then put the Krakot and Beasthunter in the midfield, ready to do some damage. The Libertos and Hundun hid in the middle of his deployment zone to keep things spicy, and the Hac Tao went on the left.

I deployed the Makhe and Teucer on the right to suddenly create a right flank threat where there wasn’t really one before, and then Frank put the Daofei on the roof in a totally safe spot in the midfield.

Turn 1

Top of 1 – Steel Phalanx

After the customary docking of two orders, I activate Penny with her impetuous order and dare Lunah to break camo. Frank hems and haws for a good minute. He’s afraid I’ll normal roll on smoke and then he’ll have worse odds on the followup shot. I surprise him by dodging, but it ends up not mattering as Lunah wins the face to face and does a wound. Thankfully Penny is a full two wounds so she survives and fails guts out of LoF.

I’m sort of stuck now, and not really sure what to do. I want to get Teucer involved, that’s what I brought him for, but it’s just so inefficient and puts the Makhe at risk while I shuffle stuff around. I decide to just take the shot with the Makhe. It turns out that we’re outside 48″, putting Lunah on -6 and me also on -6. Two dice wins out though, and all it takes is one missile to erase Lunah.

The way clear, Penny rockets across the midfield and flips the left console, leaving the console that’s covered by the Thyreos’s mine for Frank to flip later. I reveal the leftmost server, which is right in front of Acmon and Hector, so I’m feeling pretty okay about my chances of taking it out.

I decide that I’m going to trade Penny for the Krakot, and that will be good enough for me at this point. I don’t have enough movement to get there in one order, so I try to take out a Yaozao on the way and fail to do so.

Penny rolls around the corner and I ask for AROs. Frank chain rifles, and I double nanopulsar, fully expecting to trade. The Krakot dissolves under the swarm of nanites, but Penny shrugs off the chain rifle hit like a champ.

I’ve got a few more orders with which to cause mayhem, especially with Penny’s speed, so I just roll her into view of two Kuang Shi and the Yisheng doctor (which is like saying “naan bread” but I do it for clarity). The Libertos reveals to take a shot and the Kuang Shi both chain rifle. I cover the Kuang Shi and the Yisheng with Nanopulsars and put both of the Kuang Shi dogged while Penny and the Yisheng emerge unscathed!

I roll my way into the Libertos, figuring I might as well tie up this asset. Frank templates, and I dodge successfully.

Acmon’s order is all I have left, so I try to develop the link a little… and walk right into a heavy rocket from a Hundun which takes out Acmon and the Thorakitai. Hector and the Dactyl are safe at least!

Bottom of 1 – Yu Jing

Frank is understandably flustered, although my last order definitely went his way.

Frank starts off by throwing smoke for the Daofei with his Shaolin.

The Hundun challenges Hector at range. With both of us having X-Visor and the Hundun out of cover, this actually isn’t very good odds for anyone.

12.90 51.18 35.91

It’s just enough to for me to keep Hector up and draining orders from Frank, so it’s worth it.

The Daofei makes its move off the roof, and I manage to discover it with the Thyreos, revealing all of Yu Jing’s state secrets!

The Daofei climbs down a ladder and grants Hector a shot. We push on the exchange of fire, but I do clip the Liberto’s mine, taking it out.

The Daofei challenges Penny next, trying to unstick the Libertos, but I successfully dodge. The Daofei technically “hits” so the Libertos is fine, but my roll beats the shots so nothing happens.

The Daofei returns to camo and then it’s back to me.

Turn 2

Top of 2 – Steel Phalanx

Well, I need to get rid of the Hundun so I can make some things happen. Penny turns the Libertos into sashimi, and then I’m free to make my move.

She rolls up on the Hundun and double templates it, eating a MadTrap on the way in. Somehow the Hundun passes both BTS saves and Penny is burned off the table. Ah well.

I’ve got to get rid of the Hundun, so I send Teucer in. First, I need to get rid of whatever’s under the camo token in the midfield. The Makhe discover-shoots it and obliterates the Beasthunter. Frank is understandably annoyed by my, in his words, “never failing a discover roll, ever!”

Teucer goes to work, taking out the Celestial Guard controller…

then the Shaolin…

and I’ve actually got a shot on the Daofei after discovering it, but I’m afraid Frank will be in retreat so I exercise restraint and let the Daofei dodge around the corner.

I can’t take on the Hundun, but Teucer is in the right place to do that next turn. I lock down that section of the board with the Makhe and Teucer, pick up Acmon and the Thorakitai with the Dactyl, and pass turn.

Bottom of 2 – Yu Jing

Obviously, I needn’t have worried, given the Hac Tao still “on the table.”

The Hundun tries to take out Hector again, but I finally make the roll I need and plasma does the rest.

Frank reveals the Hac Tao and starts pushing on Teucer with it instead of going for the console.

I remind him about the Zapper, so Frank keeps the Hac Tao outside of 8″ and takes a shot on the Makhe. Unfortunately, I missile crit him, and the Hac Tao disappears.

The Daofei has to do everything now, and Teucer just says no.

With that, it’s back to me.

Turn 3

Top of 3 – Steel Phalanx

There’s a Kuang Shi in the way of Hector’s link, and Hector has 11 orders. I’m definitely getting to that server and having my way with it. I have some very easy to get objective as well (I think it was Net Undermine, which I can grab with Hector).

We call it here, as it’s quite late in the night for both of us now.

10-0, 271-58 Steel Phalanx Victory!

Post Game Analysis

I want to talk about Penny for a bit here. I’m really impressed with what she did for me this game, and it’s not that she passed all those ARM and BTS saves, it’s more what I forced Frank to do with her. I didn’t hold her in reserve, so Frank, rightfully, set up Lunah to cover her path of advance. This had several knock on effects.

  • It encouraged Frank to cover Penny with Lunah…
  • allowing me to respond to Lunah’s deployment with the Makhe and Teucer.
  • This also meant Frank wasn’t covering Hector’s link with Lunah (although he had the Hundun as a backup for that)

There wasn’t really safe place for Penny so I took a calculated risk. I basically said to Frank “you’d better have some way of stalling her or she’s going hunting in your deployment zone and pushing some buttons.” He responded appropriately, but all of the outcomes of the scenario between Lunah and Penny are arguably what I want, to varying degrees:

  1. Lunah reveals, Penny dies — my objective here is to get rid of Frank’s ARO presence and active turn guns. Lunah pulls double duty, covering both roles, so this gives me an opportunity to take her out on my terms, albeit at a cost of Penny. Reasonably fair trade in my mind.
  2. Lunah does not reveal, Penny survives — I break LoF and now I’m in Frank’s deployment zone, but this time much closer and attacking his order pool. It’s the same as outcome #1 above, just delayed, and you give me the opportunity to take out some of your order pool. Solve the problem now, not later.
  3. Lunah reveals, Penny survives – the best possible outcome. I get to take on Lunah on my terms, and then continue into Frank’s deployment zone. Fortunately this is what happened.

I admittedly got a little lucky with the Makhe taking Lunah out at past 48″, but not really that lucky:

45.45 40.74 13.80

At that point, I was just happy to use her to efficiently push a button to identify the server, kill the Krakot, and then use the rest of my orders developing the rest of my forces. What ended up happening is she just wouldn’t die, so I just kept attacking with her. This is why I think it’s important to deploy links as if you won’t move them on your first two. Too often you get tunnel vision and you have your link blobbed up on the deployment zone edge like you’re playing Warmachine or 40k and they get templated and you lose. Don’t let that happen to you!

So yeah. Even with the free Hundun HRL hit at the end of my turn, I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better turn 1, especially with Penny still alive! At that point, it was just careful pacing on my part and taking out targets of opportunity when they presented themselves. I felt confident in my order pool, especially after picking up the Thorakites and Acmon with the Dactyl that I would be able to get the job done on Turn 3.

I think Frank’s major mistake was not revealing Lunah but rather not aggressively trying to collapse a flank on Turn 1. The Hundun going after Hector seems good, especially because he’s my Lieutenant and 3 orders, but you really want a higher burst gun and to be in the right rangebands, neither of which was the case. So by sinking all the orders into developing the midfield and “rescuing” the Daofei, there just wasn’t enough done in that turn to shift my momentum.

I think a better play would have been to send the Beasthunter in after Penny, as that would have been on burst 3 versus my one. In spite of my -6 CC, that’s still quite good. Also I’m a little uncertain as to why the Shaolin didn’t just smoke out Hector, allowing free movement there. I think I just had a huge threat in the form of an alive Penny and a juicy target in the form of Hector unlinked and in view of an HRL. Both distracted Frank enough to basically stall out his first turn, giving me the game at the top of 2. At that point I was just so far ahead that even the Hac Tao’s run at the bottom of 2 wasn’t enough. That missile crit was just uncouth–I had no control over it, of course, but it was just rude.

In any case, I think for a practice game it was more than reasonable to call it there, and take away the lessons learned. I think revealing Lunah was the correct call, but the wrong tools and units were developed at the bottom of 1, bleeding further momentum away from Frank and allowing me to snowball.

Regarding Teucer, I like him. I’d like to respond to this comment on my previous report after now having had a relatively successful game with him.

I agree that Haris links feel bad in Steel, and of course sixth sense would be great. I don’t think his job is fighting models through smoke, although it is tempting. Fighting a full core bonus sniper is also fraught with danger, but I think you can say that about any unit. I’d argue that the rangebands are a little more favorable than an HMG or HRL, but it’s still not good (but again, is anything?). I think the statement about him being best off shooting scrubs is actually the right interpretation, and kind of what I want do be doing with him now that I’ve messed around with him a little.

Here’s why–the way I’m playing Steel right now is pretty tight on orders. I want whatever I do to stick. I really don’t have the orders to be spending shooting a Fusilier again. Teucer gives me that option. If I hit something, it’s most likely dead. I do think that he’s a good option for tackling TAGs though, which is a nice bonus. Steel has other tools for handling big links–Ekdromoi, Penny, maybe even the Thyreos? Who knows.

Teucer is feeling a little more consistent for me than Phoenix for me, especially in light of my last few games with Steel. Honestly, that’s what I’m looking for in units in this game–consistency. I think there’s room for other playstyles and unit choices, of course… but as my local meta starts shifting to more open tables, being able to consistently drop what I’m shooting at in 1 order sounds pretty appealing. I’d be very happy advancing Teucer up a flank and dealing with midfield camo by firing AP+DA ammo at it from outside 16″.

Of course if it’s a MSV2 sniper in a tower with full core link bonuses, I’m just looking to throw dice at the problem with maybe something like a Hoplite HMG. There’s room to consider both in a list as well, I think that would be a good mix of capability. Still, I’d rather just ignore the sniper and go about my business by throwing some eclipse smoke, which Steel does have access to. I dunno.

Bottom line, I’m liking what Teucer is giving me in terms of capability. Is he the best unit? No, but he seems to be doing what I’m asking of him at an affordable price. I do want to thank TMcG for taking the time to comment, it’s always nice to read other people’s thoughts about the game, especially if they’re different–that’s how I learn!

As always, thanks for reading.


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

2 thoughts on “State Secrets

  • Over the weekend my local group ran some demos. They were 75pts/1.5SWC games, so grain of salt an all that. One match up (that I made) had a USARF player with a HMG Blackjack and four grunts going up against a Steel Phalanx player with five Thorakatai w/ one LRL and one feuerbach. The SP player’s rolls were AWFUL, so it was very one-side, but one think I noticed was that the USARF player very quickly caught on to the idea of deleting line troops to remove orders. He moved the Blackjack up carefully and took out the LRL and then one more Thora’ before ducking back (and moving up a grunt or two to threaten). This left the SP player with very only three orders (of five, to be fair) to respond with and the result was pretty much just shuffling around. The USARF player then moved the Blackjack out again and deleted another Thora’ line troop before taking out the feuerbach (the SP player’s one chance to make some progress).

    The takeaway I took from this was methodical way the USARF player went for orders and not necessarily the “big guns” with his Blackjack (until the time was right) and then ducking back before he overextended (which is a mistake I make a lot). I could see the same tactic working with Teucer where you “go for the orders” in the first/second turn and then “risk it” against big targets in the third. So often I get afraid of my opponent’s “big guns” and try everything to take them out early so I don’t have to fight them all game. But even if I’m lucky and actually succeed I’ve thrown so many orders (and probably lost a bunch) to take out one of theirs (two if it’s Tac Aware maybe) that I have no gas left for the rest of the game… trying to change that.

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