Friday, 15 July 2016

Infinity - Dealing with Impersonation

The use of Impersonators in Infinity can be quite a divisive subject. Complaints of unfairness are frequently levelled against them because their unique rules seem to break so many fundamental aspects of the game and they bypass many conventional defences.

At first they may come across as unstoppable monsters who can go where they please with impunity, picking off valuable targets (such as an all-important Lieutenant) with complete disregard for their own safety, much like human-shaped guided missiles. However, in practice they are far from unreasonable - they might even be fair!

Learning how to deal with them effectively only comes with practice and experience, some of which I hope to share with you in this article.

Have a nice day!

What are Impersonators?


First up, we have to understand what Impersonators are. Currently there are three ITS legal Impersonators in the game (Fidays, Al-Djabel and Speculo Killers) and they all share some qualities.
  • They are squishy (1 Wound, 1 ARM), Regular, S2 models with respectable PH.
  • They cost 30+ points. 
  • They aren't specialists and don't have any defensive skills to help them survive once revealed except for Smoke Grenades.
  • They have BS 11/12, Smoke Grenades, (Combi) Rifles and/or Shotguns and good-to-great close combat ability. They can also carry some other cool gear such as Mines or Monofilament CCWs.
The benefit of an Impersonator over something like a TO Camouflaged Infiltrator is that they have more flexible deployment options, are more resistant to Discover attempts and don't trigger Deployable equipment. This makes them the kings of manoeuvrability and they tend to have all the time in the world (order supply permitting) to get into the perfect position before striking.

Their downside is that they don't impose BS MODs to attack them once revealed making them comparatively easy to deal with after their initial attack unless they can escape and re-Impersonate.

So far, not so scary. Barring some lucky rolling on your part they should go down to a burst or two of rifle fire from even a bog-standard cheerleader if you can draw a bead on them. The hard part is getting to that point before they do significant damage!


What do they do?


Impersonators comes with a lot of rules baggage and I highly recommend doing a bit of background reading if you expect to face them. Exhaustively going through their rules is outside the scope of this article, but I've summarised some of the key points below.

Deployment: 
Impersonators can deploy anywhere outside their opponent's deployment zone without having to make any kind of roll.

They can also deploy within their opponent's deployment zone by passing a normal WIP roll. If this roll is failed then they will disperse and must deploy as a figure and not a marker.

Skills:
Impersonators automatically have the Surprise Attack, Surprise Shot L1 and Stealth Special Skills.

While in an Impersonation state (see below) the only Skills they can declare without cancelling their state are Cautious Movement and Short Movement Skills that do not require a roll (except Alert). Note that this means they cannot Jump or Climb without cancelling their Impersonation State.

States: 
Impersonators may deployed in the Impersonation-1 state in which they are replaced by an Impersonation-1 Marker. This state imposes a -6 MOD to Discover checks and is not negated by Multispectal Visors.

Once Discovered they enter the Impersonation-2 state instead, which is represented by an Impersonation-2 Marker. This state no longer imposes a MOD to Discover checks.

While in either of these states, the Impersonator is considered to be Friendly to both players and so cannot be attacked and will not trigger any deployable equipment.

The cancellation of an Impersonation state is applied to the entirety of the trooper's order. So if they Move+BS Attack or Move into base to base contact with an enemy model then they are considered to be visible for the entirety of their movement.

Troops with Basic Impersonation (such as those from Haqqislam) can only ever adopt the Impersonation-2 State against factions which are alien to do them, e.g. Tohaa or Combined Army and their sectorials.

Note that some Hackers - those with a Killer Hacking Device or Hacking Device Plus - can also enter the Impersonation-2 State using the Cybermask Hacking Program.

Discovering:
Impersonators effectively need to be Discovered twice before being placed as a figure and becoming attack-able. They will only move by one state at a time regardless of the amount of successful Discover checks made against them in a given Order or ARO.

For example, four ARO Discovers (or Move+Discover coordinated orders) can only move an Impersonator from Imp-1 to Imp-2, but not directly to being revealed, regardless of the number of successes.

If a Discover attempt is failed then that Trooper may not attempt to Discover the same Impersonator until the next player turn.

It is possible to declare Discover+BS Attack against an Impersonation-2 Marker, although the attack is conditional on the Discover succeeding. Note that Discover+Discover is a useless combination of skills against an Impersonator however, as either the first is successful and the second wasted, or the first fails and the second cannot take place.



Speculo Killer - Image property of Corvus Belli

Dealing with Impersonators


When threatened by the possibility (or actuality) of facing an Impersonator it is important to consider every aspect of your game-play carefully - from the beginning of deployment until the moment that it is dead.

Deployment:

Impersonators are only fielded by Haqqislam (plus Hassassin) and the Combined Army (plus Shasvastii) which makes their appearance somewhat predictable. Not only that but most of the ways you defend against Impersonators is just good practice against every other faction anyway.

If you suspect an Impersonator is coming then deploy your Lieutenant as your reserve model so that they can be hidden far from danger. Better yet, have multiple models that could be your LT so your opponent can't pick him out. Don't place expensive, but squishy, models such as snipers on rooftops without support as they will be prime targets.

You want to make sure your troops aren't too bunched up (no lining up your models in a neat row behind a building), that they mutually support each other with lines of fire (so can't be easily picked off one at a time) and that they cover most of your deployment zone in Lines of Fire (to make re-Impersonating difficult). These are all things you should be doing anyway.

Lastly, don't have all your troops facing forwards so that someone can appear behind you as their Stealth will stop any of your troops being able to turn around to face until it is too late. This is useful against Airborne Deployment units too.

Reactive turn:

To some extent, you have to just accept the fact that they will probably kill something with their surprise shot. For Fidays this will probably be a Light or Medium infantry as with BS 11/12 and only a rifle or shotgun they aren't great against anything heavier, although Speculo Killers/Al-Djabel can do some unpleasant things in combat even to TAGs. Your main objective is to stop them at that point and make sure they can't do any more damage.

Use direct template weapons, found on the cheapest of troops normally, to cover your Deployment Zone as they are unaffected by surprise shot. Fire ammunition also disables the Impersonation skill even if it doesn't cause a wound. Muttawi'ah, Kuang-Shi, Thorakitai, Ikadrons, Auxilia, Morlocks, Volunteers and Chaska are all prime examples of suitable units.

Fireteams are great defensively with Sixth Sense L2 negating the Surprise Shot, and Burst 2 in reaction. They also get +3 to Discover when there are five of them.

Remember that if an Impersonator enters base-to-base with one of your troops or shoots then it becomes revealed for its entire movement. Anybody who could see them during that order can shoot without any modifiers unless they are in a face-to-face roll.

When going second, be sure to deprive your opponent of two regular orders using a command token. Starting two orders down and then ploughing a bunch into an Impersonator is a good way of not accomplishing much in the first turn. Deploy defensively and let your opponent burn through orders trying to break you.

Active Turn:

Remember that once they are revealed they are just overpriced infantry. Discovering an Impersonation marker does indeed need a WIP-6 roll, but this can still be modified by being within 8" (+3) which can help.

Depending on your faction you may be able to use G:Synchronised troops to get multiple Discovers in one order. All factions have access to Coordinated Orders as well, but it is generally quite difficult to get into a position where you can leverage one effectively against an Impersonator.

While Impersonators have some unique rules you can normally deal with them just like you would a camouflage marker. Walk up to them and threaten to discover at point-blank range then shoot them if you are successful or if your opponent's nerve breaks and they choose to react.

Try and deal with them in your first Active turn if you can as the risk is that if you wait until later then you're army may start being depleted to the point at which its elements can't effectively support one another. This might allow an Impersonator which has survived into the mid-game easy access to vulnerable troops. Just like anything else in Infinity though, be careful not to get tunnel-vision and spend too many orders on rooting one out.

Other Notes:

To some extent MSVs do help against Impersonators as it means they can't defend themselves using their Smoke Grenades! If you can force one to hide in Smoke then you can  bring in in an MSV2+ troop to get an easy kill.

Be aware that the Sensor skill does NOT give a bonus to Discovering Impersonators, nor does it stop them from regaining the Impersonation state.

Some factions can bring Biometric Visors if they are feeling particularly paranoid. These are available to Yu Jing, PanOcenaia and Tohaa only at the moment and they cancel out, or give bonuses to, a variety of MODs that Impersonators and Holoprojectors otherwise inflict.

Lastly, remember that the Shasvastii Speculo Killers have AutoMediKits and that Haqqislam have very competent Infiltrating/Mech Deployment Doctors so make sure that they are properly dead otherwise an unconscious Impersonator can come back to haunt you.


Good luck out there!

5 comments:

  1. Great article !!

    Could you go one on Holoprojectors ? Along with Impersonators they seem to be the models I find really hard to deal with.

    Thanks

    Rathstar

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    Replies
    1. I'll see what I can do! There are a lot of tricks with Impersonators that I still haven't worked out myself, but I'll try and put something together. :)

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  2. Replies
    1. Got to make sure they are dead! I'm quite partial to running over unconscious Speculo Killers using my baggage bots...

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    2. Got to make sure they are dead! I'm quite partial to running over unconscious Speculo Killers using my baggage bots...

      Delete