Monday, 15 September 2014

South Coast Infinity Tournament

This month is a busy time for me with lots of work, gaming and a small holiday thrown in for good measure, I'm booked up throughout the entire month in fact and this has meant that I've had precious little time get stuff actually get stuff painted. I did however manage to attend the latest South Coast Infinity tournament held on the 13th at LVL UP Gaming.

I travelled down on the Friday night with Stuart, another local Bristol player, and we stayed the night in Bournemouth to avoid having to set off super early on the Saturday - it would have been a 3+ hour journey on the day otherwise!

I'm happy to report that everything went better than expected.

A beach holiday with our mascot, Snowdrop, who is hard at work building a sandcastle.

The format of the tournament was 300pts with no Spec Ops and the missions were Beacon Race, Frontline and Supplies. I wasn't sure I'd be able to make the tournament for certain so my lists weren't submitted until half an hour before the (midnight) deadline.

I'm not entirely satisfied with the lists I submitted as I don't think they were ideal for the missions being played, but they were certainly fun.

 List 1 - Steel Phalanx | 11 models

Combat Group #1
 Ajax (43|0.5)
 Machaon (39|0.5)
 Eudoros (40|0.5)
 Phoenix (44|2)
 Thorakites FO (16|0)
 Thorakites FO (16|0)
 Thrasymedes LRL (29|0.5)
 Alke Lt (27|1.5)
 Thamyris (29|0.5)
 Probot Minesweeper (8|0)
Combat Group #2
 Probot Minesweeper (8|0)

299/300 points | 6/6 swc
open with Aleph Toolbox  :

This first list is my 'Guardians of the Galaxy' list with 7 character models, four of them in just one fire team. I wanted to run around the battlefield with a high powered unit of problem solvers whilst my Lt cowers in the back lines before mopping up at the end.

The two minesweepers were there to grab table sections in Frontline, as the baggage skill effectively means they are worth 28pts each, and to clean up anti-personnel mines that can be devastating to my fire teams.

Thamyris is there to offer some resistance to early TAG rushes and give me another way of dealing with HI. Ideally he'll sit on a rooftop speculatively chucking markers around and then hack through them.

 List 2 - Steel Phalanx | 10 models

 Thorakites FO (16|0)
 Thorakites FO (16|0)
 Thrasymedes LRL (29|0.5)
 Alke Lt (27|1.5)
 Eudoros (40|0.5)
 Myrmidon Officer Combi CC (39|1)
 Machaon (39|0.5)
 Myrmidon Chain (16|0)
 Yudbot (3|0)
 Yudbot (3|0)
 Diomedes (44|0)
 Agema Mk12 (28|0.5)

300/300 points | 4.5/6 swc
open with Aleph Toolbox  :

My second list isn't entirely dissimilar, a Myrmidon link with a couple of specialists and a Thorakitai link with three more.The real linchpin of the deck is Diomedes who I was hoping with cause havoc on my opponent's back line. This is the slightly 'safer' list as I have a chain of command model and more diversified threats.

Game 1 - Beacon Race against Stuart using Tohaa

When this table was initially being set up I did raise some concerns about the lack of cover. There were huge open areas across the entire board with almost no way to advance. Whilst I appreciate that some tables need to be more sparse than others and that snipers ought to be useful I thought this was just too minimalist and raised my concerns with the organisers before the start of the event.

A Sniper's Paradise, nowhere to hide.

Fortunately that was taken on board and some more terrain was brought out to fill the board up a bit. It was still very open, but much more manageable. A good thing I did mention it as it was the table I ended up playing on in round 1!

We counted the clumps of trees as zero-viz zones that granted cover and couldn't be moved through.

My side of the table, not much to hide behind, but a lot better.

Naturally, my first game was again the person who I travelled down with. It's a long way to travel to play your regular opponent, but that's the way things go sometimes. Even worse, we'd practised just this very mission together only a few days previously!

I bought my second list and planned on using it to create some havoc in Stuart's DZ thereby distracting him from the mission. My overall strategy was to try and score a single beacon and stop him from getting any at all. The classified objectives I rolled up were Extreme Prejudice (yay) and Sabotage (boo).

I won the dice roll and took first turn so was forced to set up opposite two very suspicious looking sniper towers. I spent almost the entire game being utterly convinced that I was going to get picked off at range by a hidden sniper that entirely failed to materialise. I opened up by dropping Diomedes on my left flank and successfully taking down a Makaul and a Sakiel before hiding him on a rooftop for safe keeping. My Myrmidons camped outside the beacon room. In return, Stuart spent a lot of orders gunning down Eudaros with his Ectros HMG.

On turn two Diomedes jumped off the roof to engage a second Ectros but took a vulkan shotgun round to the face and died outright. Hmm... That was the majority of my firepower gone so I used the remainder of my turn scoring a beacon with my myrmidon link. In hindsight I should have just had Machaon run off with it on his own as there was no reason to have the two surviving members of the link go with him - they'd have been far better off guarding the objective room. 

On his turn Stuart got into the beacon room and generated a beacon, but his Kamael FO was gunned down whilst in the room by AROs from my Thorakitai link. His Gao-Tarsos also dropped onto the battlefield and completed his Sabotage classified.

On the final turn I decided that I had to go all in. My Thorakitai link rushed the Beacon room, taking normal rolls on the way in which took down Alke. Once in there they Coup-de-grace'd the Kamael and stole his Beacon! 

Yes that Ectros is still alive and has a nanopulsar. Yes I had some very good armour rolls.

Stuart did everything he could to take the beacon back, but the Thorakitai hung on long enough to ensure that he didn't have enough orders to run it back to the extraction point. They didn't die in vain!

Final score 6-2.

Game 2 - Frontline against James using Steel Phalanx

This was a super scary match-up for me, I've never played the mirror match at a tournament before and wasn't sure about the best way to proceed. I saw that he had Achilles in at least one of his lists as he was using it in Round 1 and was concerned about being rushed early on.

I managed to roll up perfect classified objectives - extreme prejudice and telemetry - so I took my first list as I could use the Probots to hold table sections. James won the initiative roll and chose to control deployment so I took the first turn.

We ended up playing with very similar lists as we had a Thorakitai and a Myrmidon link each. I knew that I had to seize the advantage and deal a crippling blow outright otherwise he'd be able to do some serious damage.

Note that on the table the white wall sections and the grey skeletal buildings were considered to completely block line of sight.

My deployment zone looking rather bare.

After dealing with a pesky Agema with Missile Launcher (which had my heart pounding) I spent the remainder of my orders moving my Myrmidon dream team all the way across the table into James' DZ and nanopulsar'd his Myrmidon fire team. It only killed one of them sadly but pretty much took them out of the fight because if any of them moved then the whole lot would take two more nanopulsar hits. Foolishly I forgot to move the minesweeper in the second combat group up the field.

To try and break my link, James bought up Penthesilea, but she got gunned down just as she was about to reach combat with Ajax. He then bought up his Thorakitai fire team to cover my Myrmidons but didn't have enough orders to open fire. It did leave me in a very uncomfortable situation though for my turn, if I moved any of models then I'd be shot at by Alke, a Thorakitai LRL and nanopulsars from the Myrms, I felt really stuck.

Out of shot to the bottom right is James' Thorakitai link.

I have to admit, I tanked pretty hard at this point and was very aware that we didn't have a whole lot of time. Every action up until this point had taken huge amounts of thought from both of us.

In the end, I managed to break the deadlock by flash pulsing Alke using a Thorakitai, Eudaros then left the link and shot the LRL Thorakitai from relative safety. He then entered the building next to him, gunned down one Myrmidon with his Nanopulsar and managed to cut up James' Hacker and Machaon in combat which scored the coup-de-grace classified. Who says combat is bad in this edition?

I then made my second major mistake by not securing the central zone as I didn't realise that I had (quite obviously in hindsight) put James into Retreat. He managed to run a single Thorakitai (his last surviving model after his remaining troops were gunned down whilst retreating) into the central zone in order to claim it and with that the game was over.

Final score 6-3.

Game 3 - Supplies against Jake using Bakunin

I actually had to go to my App to find out what Bakunin actually do, as I genuinely didn't have a clue about what they were capable of. Turns out the answer to that was a Sin Eater HMG, Lizard TAG, Moderator link, Zoe and a Zero. Pretty solid stuff.

Once again, I got ideal classified objectives so I took list 1. I knew I could trust Phoenix, Machaon, Eudaros and Ajax to take on almost anything and come out on top and I wanted an out against Zero minelayers. I lost the die roll and was forced to set up on the sparse side of the table. I decided to take the first turn and try and contain Jake in his own DZ so I could bring the Thorakitai up to claim objectives in safety.

At Jake's request, all the walls (including the mesh fences) were counted as being totally line of sight blocking.

Theme for the day - deploying on incredibly sparse table edges.

There's not an awful lot to say about this game as it was pretty brutally short. Jake is fairly new to the game and didn't deploy as well as he could have done, in particular the Lizard was out of cover and not in pi-well's ODF. Phoenix made fairly short work of the Iguana and most of the moderators - although he got burnt to a crisp in the process. Ajax positioned himself to make a mess next turn whilst Machaon grabbed a supply crate,

With quite heavy losses sustained in turn 1, Jake got tilted and didn't manage to get back into the game.

Big guns and a bad attitude - TAGs are the natural predators of Myrmidons.

I managed to pick up a second supply create and both my classifieds in the second turn quite comfortably but some failed FO rolls for telemetry meant I didn't have enough orders to collect the final crate.

Final score 9-0.

Final Thoughts

21 points was enough to bring me up to second place and earned me £20 in store credit and a Dasyu blister which I was really chuffed with. I made fairly serious misplays in both the first and second games and could have done better in each so I was very surprised with my overall ranking.

I think my first list was excellent and I'll definitely try and bring it along to a spec ops tournament at some point down the line as replacing one of the FOs with a chain of command Chandra would be even better. It would also be nice to find four more points to upgrade a minesweeper to an EVO, but I'm not sure I could squeeze that in.

An absolutely gorgeous table. 

The second list was a little disappointing in practice, Diomedes just didn't make up for the otherwise complete lack of long range firepower and meant I started an order down. I'd seriously consider dropping him for something else such as an Agema Sniper or Penthesilea.

I'm also just not sold on the Agema as a useful tool for Steel Phalanx, I like the idea of the model in principle, but in practice it's either slow with a medium range gun and a lot of set-up required (positioning, throwing smoke cover) if armed with the mk12 or it's an expensive model in an already expensive faction if armed with a sniper rifle or missile launcher. Perhaps with the new range bands in N3 and with an expected points cut the sniper variant will seem more useful. 

I found that I kept running just short of orders so I think I have to practice spending them more efficiently to really get the most out of my links. I also need to focus on the missions more and not lose sight of the overall objectives as I definitely missed out on easy points in this tournament. Lessons were definitely learnt for next time.

Another really pretty table with Warmill scenery on it.

New Purchases

Naturally, I couldn't step foot in a gaming shop without buying something and in this case Thamyris was on my shopping list. I like the over the top heroic pose but I'm not sold on the weird headgear he's got on. He may end up being a candidate for a head-swap if I can find a suitable alternative, possibly one of the spec ops heads if I can scavenge one from someone.

Thamyris - war correspondent and amateur photographer.

My second purchase was a 4'x4' gaming mat designed for use in Infinity and produced by Spectre Systems - whose website is due to go live later this week. I'll be attending Blast-Tastic in a few weeks time and really needed something to help my demo table 'pop' and this looks to be the ideal solution.

The mat rolls up really nicely for easy transport and seems pretty durable, I'm slightly concerned about the edges possibly fraying a bit but time will tell on that. I'm pretty certain that my concerns will be unfounded. The graphics are printed in a decent resolution and everything looks clear and detailed.

There is also a desert, grassland, snow and hex pattern mat in the collection and I could definitely see myself picking up another in the future.

Looks perfect for all my AT43 terrain, can't wait to try it out at the local club.

The next tournament will be Table Top Nation at the end of the month which will be a 200pt Spec Ops event. Not sure what to take at the moment but I'm leaning towards busting out my Qapu Khalqi for a change, we shall see!


  1. I have the spare helmeted head from the aleph spec-ops if you want it?

    1. Thank you for the offer, I think I have that head around somewhere as well. Ideally I'm looking for an uncovered head and preferably male as I think there may be scale problems otherwise. Really I just want Rao's head!