Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Infinity Weekender II - Spring Challenge

The second part of my Infinity Weekender was the Spring Challenge tournament in Exeter. I travelled down with Stuart (Fathi Amirmoez), Robin (i0003) and John - who were all also at my event yesterday!

I've got to admit, I almost didn't go to this event. We'd stayed up fairly late playing the X-Com board game and One Night Ultimate Werewolf, which meant I was somewhat lacking in sleep and feeling rough in the morning. But I dragged myself out of bed and piled into the car (cheers Robin for driving us!) - although I sleepily forgot my templates, army lists and rulebook. Oops!

Much to my surprise, this thirteen man tournament - my first ITS event of the year - actually went pretty well!

New Aquila Guard renders released this weekend - with what looks like a shoulder-mounted Panzerfaust?!

This was my list for the event. I'm only writing up this one because my second list was never used - for those curious you can find that list here (Army V link).

 Aleph - Steel Phalanx | 12 models

Combat Group #1
 Machaon Lt (38|0.5)
 Eudoros (40|0)
 Phoenix (35|2)
 Myrmidon Chain (16|0)
 Myrmidon Chain (16|0)
 Myrmidon Spitfire (31|1)
 Myrmidon Hacker (31|0.5)
 Myrmidon Officer BS CC (37|1)
 Thorakites FO (13|0)
 Thorakites FO (13|0)
Combat Group #2
 Zayin Rebot (26|1)
 Warcor (3|0)

299/300 points | 6/6 swc

I have to admit that I wasn't well prepared. I hadn't read the missions properly and my lists were submitted almost last minute as I was far too caught up with planning my own event for that same weekend! Rather than try to come up with something creative I decided to go with a very traditional and familiar army.

Interesting to note is that this list is 26 points (and half an SWC) cheaper than it would have been in N2, allowing exactly for the addition of the Total Reaction remote.

I had planned for Machaon, Eudaros, the Hacker and a Chain Rifle going in one link and Phoenix, the Officer, the Spitfire and the second Chain Rifle going in a second. This makes it almost impossible to put the army into Loss of Lieutenant, gives both links some decent guns and gives each an NWI specialist too. There are all kinds of interesting configurations you could have with these models though, which means that the army has a surprising amount of flexibility.

Phoenix and Eudaros were of course my main troubleshooters and if there was anything they couldn't deal with then I was likely going to be in trouble. The Zayin and Warcor were entirely expendable and the plan was to force my opponent to spend as many orders as possible dealing with them as their loss would not affect the rest of my forces.

The two Thorakitai act as corner-guards and tend to shut down Airborne Deployment pretty handily. The Zayin is normally set up to cover the mid-table rather than the opponent's DZ in order to avoid it being out-ranged by snipers.

Game 1 - Transmission Matrix against Rich K using Ariadna

Classified Objectives: HVT: Innoculation, Telemetry

Transmission Areas in red, my HVT in dark blue, Rich's HVT in light blue.

Rich won Initiative and chose to take the first turn, I chose the nearest table edge as it provided long horizontal firelanes (good against Airborne Deployment and Dog Soldiers) and allowed me to distribute link team members to make template weapons less powerful against me.

TankHunters (well, I guess they could have been Spetsnaz) were set up on the hill on the left and on the boxes in the centre as Camo Markers, and a Para-Commando HMG was on the hills to the right. There were Moblot Engineers on each of the far side objectives and three camo markers in the centre - on the tower, behind the middle objective and behind the rusted cans on the left.

I had a Thorakitai on each flank, My Eudaros/Machaon/Chain/Chain link in the centre behind the trio/pair of cans and Hacker/Officer/Phoenix/Spitfire from left to right behind the hills/box/can on the left hand side. My Zayin was behind the car on the right, out of sight of the TankHunters but staring down the Para-Commando.

I spent a Command Token to reduce Rich's Order Pool by two.

Ariadna Turn 1
Duroc(!) dropped in on the right flank out of sight of the TR remote but where he could be shot at by Eudaros, the Spitfire Myrmidon and a Thorakitai. 5 shots in ARO later and I had hit him exactly 0 times. Good work team. Duroc Smoked his way into cover, tried to (unsuccessfully) chuck a grenade at the Zayin and then chose to just bite the bullet (very literally) and run into the open to double Chain Rifle the vulnerable Remote. Needless to say neither of them survived the experience.

Margot dropped onto the same flank, but further back, and my Thorakitai was unable to hit her with his free ARO.

Apart from that the turn was quite uneventful. Rich's Scout, who had been hidden behind the rusted cans, sabotaged the grey building on the left, scoring him a Classified, and his LT who was camouflaged on the central tower took a pot-shot at my left Thorakitai, but failed to kill it.

Steel Phalanx Turn 1
My first action had to be to kill the revealed Lieutenant. Eudaros popped his head around the corner to take a peek and the central TankHunter revealed himself as having an Autocannon. Eek! Eudaros gunned down the LT pretty efficiently but took an Autocannon shot to the face - fortunately I passed two of the three saves, auto-failed my Guts roll and fell back into cover.

My second link, on the left, was almost completely pinned down by the two TankHunters. Phoenix tried to discover one of them but failed, leaving me short on options as repositioning the entire link would mean eating unopposed AROs. In the end, I broke the Spitfire out from the link, ran him round the back of the grey building and had a several order long shoot-out with the central TankHunter before finally killing him, running back and rejoining the link.

Lastly my Thorakitai took a pot-shot at Margot but got critted. Derp.

Transmission Areas Controlled: Steel Phalanx - 1, Ariadna - 3

Armand "Le Muet" - The new Bounty Hunter we were all fighting over

Ariadna Turn 2
The remaining TankHunter, with an AP HMG, effortlessly guns down Phoenix (he hit on 2, 2 and 3 - I rolled a 1 and a 20...) and broke the link. His sabotaging Scout dropped a mine and was given a Regular Order using a Command Token to re-camo. The rest of the army just repositioned slightly.

Steel Phalanx Turn 2
The Myrmidon Spitfire, now Impetuous, ran out in front of the last TankHunter and shot him down too (what a hero!). My remaining Thorakitai observed the now unconscious TankHunter to score my first Classified Objective.

With the two big threats gone, Eudaros' link moved up from behind the trio of cans in the middle that they were lurking behind. A Chain Rifle is killed by the Scout before I can get the link back into cover, but once I do Eudaros is able to out-shoot the Scout and the Chasseur who was hiding as a Camo Marker by the central Transmission Area.

Transmission Areas Controlled: Steel Phalanx - 1, Ariadna - 2

Ariadna Turn 3
With very few orders left to spend, Margot moved up table and tried to Grenade the Eudaros/Machaon link who were sheltering behind the green crate. Her shot was off target though and I used my Dodges to move into Line of Sight to stop more Speculative Fire.

Margot decides to press the attack and knocks the last wound off of Eudaros, but she couldn't withstand the unopposed shots from Machaon.

Steel Phalanx Turn 3
My Myrmidon Spitfire impetuously moved up the left to try and clear out that Transmission Area, but the Moblot guarding it passed a lot of saves and moved into total cover.

With little left to do but complete objectives, Machaon ran up the table, hugging cover carefully, and murderised the Moblot and then the Para-Commando. Finally he inoculated the HVT and stopped his rampage on top of the far right Transmission Area. Job done.

Transmission Areas Controlled: Steel Phalanx - 2, Ariadna - 1

Final Result: 6-6

Game 2 - Lifeblood against Adam (AdaptUK0) using Qapu Khalqi

Classified Objectives: Extreme Prejudice, HVT: Designation

Supply Boxes in red, my HVT in dark blue, Adam's HVT in light blue.

The new rules for scattering objectives in Lifeblood are weird. Fortunately it was all set up for us by the time we got to our tables. I won Initiative and chose the near table edge where most of the objectives were. Adam elected to take the first turn.

He had a Haris of Sekban with HRL prone on the grey building on the far left, a full link of Kaplan at ground level just in front of that and a Camo Marker behind the rightmost bunker. In a second combat group there were a Janissary HMG, Janissary AP Rifle and some random guy who was probably a Hafza in and around the low grey building on the right.

I deployed Eudaros/Machaon/Chain Rifle/Chain Rifle prone behind the blue/black barricade just left of centre. Phoenix/Officer/Spitfire neatly lined up to the right of the bunker in my DZ with the Hacker behind the crate next to it.

Again there was a Thorakitai on each flank, and my Zayin was on the left covering the middle of the table with the WarCor perched as high up as I could put her.

I spent a Command Token to reduce Adam's primary Order Pool by two.

Qapu Khalqi Turn 1
Most of Adam's orders were spent on moving his Al'Hawwa into position to hose my Phoenix link with a Boarding Shotgun. I deployed incredibly badly in this regard because line of sight was blocked for the Officer and Spitfire. Many orders later the Spitfire and Al'Hawwa were dead and Phoenix and the Officer were wounded.

In the second combat group the Janissary HMG moved up and into cover, filling the Warcor and Zayin with lots of small holes as he went.

Steel Phalanx Turn 1
Phoenix popped round the corner and sliced the Sekban link, taking out one of the Rifle armed models. He also had a protracted HRL shoot-out with no result.

Eudaros ran forward, behind the tower with a Supply Box on it, to engage the Janissary HMG while the rest of his link crawled forward to maintain coherency and avoid AROs from the Sekban HRL. Eudaros successfully took both wounds off the Janissary.

Supply Boxes Searched: Steel Phalanx - 0, Qapu Khalqi - 0
Supply Boxes Destroyed: Steel Phalanx - 0, Qapu Khalqi - 0

Adam's Sekban - back in action from the previous day!

Qapu Khalqi Turn 2
The Kaplan link moved up to engage Eudaros, but the Spitfire lost the shoot out and the rest of Eudaros' link Smoked up.

The Kaplan Doctor inoculated my HVT but is also killed by Eudaros. Adam reformed the link and chucked a Combi Kaplan against Eudaros as well, but to no avail. With the rest of his orders he searched the far left Supply Box and the Sekban climb down from the rooftop in search of better firing positions.

Steel Phalanx Turn 2
Eudaros popped a fourth Kaplan then broke cover to coup de grĂ¢ce one of them and score a Classified. Phoenix and his link start hoovering up objectives points, with the Officer searching and then Phoenix stabbing the Supply Boxes to death. Definitely time consuming, but it had to be done. It didn't help that I entirely forgot to use the Martial Arts bonuses to hit and damage!

During this process, Phoenix was blinded by the 'AP Rifle Janissary' who turned out to be a Hafza FO. Fortunately ODD and range penalties meant I was able to move through the open without too much worry.

Supply Boxes Searched: Steel Phalanx - 2, Qapu Khalqi - 1
Supply Boxes Destroyed: Steel Phalanx - 2, Qapu Khalqi - 0

Qapu Khalqi Turn 3
With very few orders left, Adam tried to D-Charge the Supply Box he searched using his last Kaplan, but it passed two of the three saves and was left damaged but not destroyed!

The Kaplan then moved round the building on the left to try and restrict Phoenix's movement through the mid-table.

Steel Phalanx Turn 3
Euadros quickly cleaned up the last Kaplan and Phoenix kept doing the rounds on the Supply Boxes, searching and blowing up another. Unfortunately, the Hafza FO at the back finally managed to score a long range ARO, critting and killing the Hacker.

Last up, my Thorakitai ran down the right flank and secured the HVT.

Supply Boxes Searched: Steel Phalanx - 3, Qapu Khalqi - 1
Supply Boxes Destroyed: Steel Phalanx - 3, Qapu Khalqi - 0

Final Result: 7-2

Game 3 - Cold Sleep against Robin (i0003) using Combined Army

Classified Objectives: HVT: Designation

Tech Coffins in red, Consoles in Orage, my HVT in dark blue, Robin's HVT in light blue.

Well I was definitely not expecting to be in the finals with my score, but there we go!

Robin won the Initiative roll and chose to go first. I forced him to deploy among all the buildings at the far end, my reasoning being that I didn't want to be stuck moving down those narrow streets and I didn't want my links to be clumped up in buildings if I was going second.

Robin had a Haiduk Sniper on top of the right building, two Pretas and a Daturazi at the extreme edge of his DZ, Sheskiin on the far right hugging the edge of the building (with a HVT blocking my line of fire to her, very smart!) and Camo markers everywhere else! His hold-back was a Maakrep Sniper in partial cover on the left of the battlefield.

I deployed my Phoenix/Officer/Spitfire/Chain Rifle link beside and on the buildings on the right - with the Spitfire covering the firelane along the edge of the table and Phoenix nosing out to cover the far right Tech Coffin. The Machaon and the Hacker hid in the ruins on the right and Eudaros and a Chain Rifle took cover behind the nearby ad-blocks. The Zayin was positioned behidn the window of the ruins and, again, there was a Thorakitai on each flank and the WarCor sat on the very top of the ruined building.

I completely forgot to limit Robin's Order Pool this game. Oops!

Combined Army Turn 1
The Pretas and Daturazi ran forward but don't make it past Eudaros/Phoenix/the Zayin. One Preta got a Chain Rifle shot off at the Zayin but it was dodged (on a 7 or less!).

Using up all four Command Tokens on Coordinated Orders, Robin moved his army into position. Sheskiin killed the Myrmidon with Spitfire, a Malignos Sniper (who was hidden behind the ad-block on the rooftop on the right) killed my Thorakitai FO on that side, and a Malignos with Combi took out my Zayin after a couple of rounds of shooting.

The Low Vis/Saturation Zone of trees meant I had no chance of hitting back in this situation. It's possible that I should have taken cover after the Remote was first hit and passed it's save, but I really wanted Robin to spend as many orders as possible dealing with a model that wasn't in my main combat group.

Also, the Maakrep shot at Eudaros from clear across the table but couldn't beat the Zero-V Smoke rolls.

With all of my ARO units dead or Smoked, Robin grabbed the back left Tech Coffin (with a Combi Malignos) and the right Console (with a Combi Shrouded), then finished by putting all his eligible units into Suppressive Fire.

Steel Phalanx Turn 1
Eudaros moved into Total Cover, having an ineffectual shoot-out with the Maakrep in the process.

Phoenix and his link shuffled around behind the crates on the rooftops to allow Phoenix to kill the Haiduk with his HRL and Sheskiin using his Assault Pistol. With the Haiduk dead, my Officer ventured out to try and capture the Tech Coffin on the roof but failed. Twice.

Tech Coffins Activated: Steel Phalanx - 0, Combined Army - 1
Consoles Activated: Steel Phalanx - 0, Combined Army - 1
Consoles Controlled: Steel Phalanx - 0, Combined Army - 1

All the action happening on the right flank. Haidjuk and Malignos Snipers are just out of shot.

Combined Army Turn 2
Unfortunately I did something completely stupid and left my Chain Rifle Myrmidon facing the wrong way in a position where he could be seen between the containers by the Malignos Sniper. The Malignos took the shot, but the plucky Myrmidon survived, turned around and Smoked up against the second attempt.

The Malignos then climbed up onto the higher roof behind him, shot the Warcor and re-camouflaged. Finally, a Shrouded emerged from one of the buildings at the back left and started moving towards the middle of the table.

Steel Phalanx Turn 2
The Officer Smoked up the rooftop Tech Coffin before stepping out and finally taking it. The entire link moved down the ladder on the right of the building with Phoenix as Link Leader. The Malignos Sniper revealed himself again to shoot at the Myrmidon Officer, wounding her, but took a
Rocket to the face for his trouble.

I moved the link further up the flank to try and take the right Console objective. Phoenix effortlessly cleared out the Shrouded who was guarding it and moved into position to cover the right back Tech Coffin, but the Officer failed several attempts to activate the Console in the building.

At this point I should have secured the HVT, but completely forgot!

Tech Coffins Activated: Steel Phalanx - 1, Combined Army - 1
Consoles Activated: Steel Phalanx - 0, Combined Army - 1
Consoles Controlled: Steel Phalanx - 1, Combined Army - 0

Combined Army Turn 3
In an attempt to capture as many objectives as possible, a Seed Soldier moved out to take the far right Tech Coffin, survived a fusillade of fire from Phoenix and passed the activation roll first time. Bah.

Another Shrouded took the left Console and dropped prone behind it. My Chain Rifle Myrmidon tried a few pot-shots with his Pistol in ARO but was out of good range.

Finally the Malignos on that side walked into the edge of the wooded zone and dropped a mine to inhibit my ability to contest that area.

Steel Phalanx Turn 3
After three(!) more attempts the Officer finally captured the right Console. She then opened the side door, gunned down the Seed Soldier with her Boarding Shotgun, activated the Tech Coffin the Shasvastii was sitting on then ran back to control her Console. She definitely earned a promotion this game!

On the left side, my link team dashed across to get into the safety of the ruins. Eudaros killed the Malignos in the Saturation Zone on his way and shrugged off a direct hit from the Maakrep. With my last couple of orders, Eudaros cleared the Shrouded off of the left Console.

Tech Coffins Activated: Steel Phalanx - 2, Combined Army - 1
Consoles Activated: Steel Phalanx - 1, Combined Army - 1
Consoles Controlled: Steel Phalanx - 1, Combined Army - 0

Final Result: 7-1

Final Thoughts - 1st Place, 20 Objective Points, 597 Victory Points

First up, thank you very much to Ian, of Wargaming Trader fame, for putting on the event. It was smoothly run as ever.

I barely squeaked into 1st place as players were queued up behind me on 19, 18 and 17 points! It was a low scoring tournament overall with a lot of hard missions with very diverse objectives.

It was very interesting to note that all the games went the full three rounds which would have been almost unheard of in N2. Also, I went second in every single game and even when I did win the initiative I chose to control deployment. This is a complete turnaround from N2 when taking first turn (or at least choosing turn order) was generally considered advantageous,

I'm really happy to win this one as it means I've already picked up this season's limited edition mini and the pressure is off in future events. I don't think I'm going to match my UK no.2 ranking from last year as I plan on running events rather than playing in them, but we'll see how things go.

For those keeping track (hi Adam!), the final kill counts for my Myrmidon heroes were:
  • Eudaros: 11 kills
  • Phoenix: 6 kills
  • Machaon: 3 kills
Phoenix underpowered, please buff, etc. ;)

1st place Prizes plus a blister pack for 3rd place painting award - A good haul!

Thoughts on the List 

I found that the army had problems with spreading out to capture the very distributed objectives and in every game there were tough spots where I was pinned down by long ranged weapons that I couldn't match. I was also lucky not to come up against much MSV or cheap warbands, which meant that my ODD was very effective.

On the upside, my list was super resilient and retained a lot of Victory Points which could have been very useful in a tight event like this. I also had a decent amount of Orders to spend each turn right through to the end of every game.

In particular, I was happy that the list comfortably handled two fairly heavy Camouflage armies without too much issue. This was a great concern as I'd eschewed the use of any Multispectral Visors!

There is one change that I would probably have made in hindsight - swapping the Warcor for a Yudbot (servant remote). The Warcor did do admirably - mostly by forcing my opponents to spend  an order dealing with it, but I think I could have got better utility from the little bunny-bot.

I found that the army tended not to use the Command Tokens available to it. Coordinated Orders were not necessary, and there was nothing to put into Suppressive Fire apart from the Thorakitai. So in terms of order efficiency, I would have been far better off breaking Machaon's link, using his Lieutenants Orders to heal a model through the Yudbot, or indeed a member of his own link, and then use a Command Token to reform the link. In most of my games I ended up with two or three Command Tokens left over, which was far from optimal.

It's good to know that the traditional Steel Phalanx list is still effectual and this marked my first tournament win with the sectorial in over a year and a half!

The Summer Challenge is likely the next event that I'll play in and, with the promise of a 400 point Spec Ops tournament on the Saturday, I'm going to try and come up with something a bit weird...


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm looking forward to painting Le Muet and trying him out in a battle soon. :)