Sunday, 11 September 2016

Interplanetary 2016 After Action Report

Wow, what a weekend that was. So as you may have noticed, I recently attended the third Infinity Interplanetary tournament held in Vigo, Spain.

This is a hundred-player event featuring five missions over two days. It's a great opportunity to play against some of the best, or at least craziest/most dedicated players from around the world. Last year I took my Steel Phalanx and placed a respectable 33rd, this year my plan was to try and not do worse. You can read about the lists I took here and my exploits from last year here.

So how did I do? Read on!

Warning, lots (and lots) of words ahead!

Some of the prize support being given away on the day!

Game 1


Mission: Frontline
Table: 3
Secondary Objective: Data Scan
Opponent: Yu Jing - Erebus 2.0 (overall 99th)
My Army List: Myrmidon Super-Friends
Opponent's Army List:

Yu Jing | 13 models
________________________________________________________

Combat Group #1
Hac Tao HMG (68|2)
Dao Fei Spitfire (55|2)
Rui Shi Spitfire (20|1)
Guilang Forward Observer (27|0)
Guilang Forward Observer (27|0)
Celestial Guard Lieutenant (13|0)
Celestial Guard Kuang Shi Control Device (13|0.5)
Kuang Shi Chain Rifle (5|0)
Kuang Shi Chain Rifle (5|0)
Kuang Shi Chain Rifle (5|0)

Combat Group #1
Ninja Killer Hacking Device (29|0)
Tokusetsu Eisei Doctor (14|0)
Yaozao (3|0)
Mech-Engineer Engineer (15|0)
________________________________________________________

299/300 points | 5.5/6 swc
open with Army VI

Deployment
Okay, first game of the tournament and I had to choose between Data Scan and Sabotage. I could complete Data Scan with either list and it had an INTELCOM value of 32 so I went with that. As expected I took the Myrmidon-heavy list for this fight-y mission.

I won the initiative roll and chose the deployment zone with high ground. My opponent decided to take the first turn which was pretty perfect for me! The best deployment zone and second turn is pretty ideal for Frontline.

My opponent deployed worryingly few models, mostly just light infantry spread across his DZ, a Rui Shi on the right and a few camouflage markers in the mid-table. Nothing too scary, which was scary in and of itself...

I deployed an Agema Sniper on top of the left building with LoS to the three Kuang Shi and the Mk 12 Agema prone on the right one ready to pop up as needed.

Eudaros and a Combi deployed among the barrels in the left-centre of my DZ and the Officer and 
Hacker deployed on the steps at the back of my DZ. Machaon, Phoenix and two Chain Rifles deployed behind the red and white buildings in an unfortunately straight line.

I tried to set up a fair few short range AROs to stop a shotgun or HFT from getting near to my lined-up troops and I spent a Command Token to reduce Erebus' order pool by two.

Table 3 - My deployment zone on the near edge.

Turn One
The Agema Sniper picked off two of the Kuang Shi but the third made its dodge. A camouflage marker moved up the table, skipping between cover but was discovered - revealing itself to be a Dao Fei with Spitfire(!). Things went predictably badly for the Agema.

Another camouflage marker moved up and dropped a mine around the corner of the small red and white building before re-camoing.

I spent my first turn very slowly moving up with Machaon's link. The Guilang had clear LoS to the area I wanted to move through and I planned to Discover the mine and then blow both away using Phoenix's Heavy Rocket Launcher but some failed Discover rolls and some good Flash Pulses meant that I spent basically my entire turn putting the Guilang to unconscious. I didn't even deal with the mine!

Turn Two
The Rui Shi spent several orders duelling with Phoenix and eventually caused a wound so Phoenix fell back into cover. Out of targets, the Rui Shi moved into better cover to limit long-ranged reprisals on my turn. The Dao Fei's attacks repeatedly bounced off of Eudaros until he eventually critted and Eudaros went down. That was a lot of orders spent for not much damage though

The Combi Myrmidon on the left took revenge on the Dao Fei for the death of Eudaros and shot up the last Kuang Shi as well. ODD and a Combi Rifle is good enough to solve a LOT of problems.

Machaon's fireteam moved up the centre to try and take down the Rui Shi before it became a problem and Phoenix was healed up while on the move (at the cost of a Command Token). A Hac Tao HMG appeared in Erebus' DZ behind the red-roofed building to ARO Machaon just as he attacked the Rui Shi though, which complicated matters! Machaon split his burst, wounding the Rui Shi and hitting the Hac tao who failed his Guts roll.

Phoenix finished off the Rui Shi so it couldn't be Engineered and then I re-positioned to better cover.

Myrmidons secure the HVT but a camouflaged Guilang lurks behind the barrels on the right...

Turn Three
A TO Camouflage marker appeared on my left flank and I chose to discover with the fireteam as I no longer has Sixth Sense 2 anyway and it was stuck in the open. The newly discovered Ninja hacker double moved into cover, re-camouflaged and then crept closer to the fireteam again, waiting near the unconscious Guilang and his Mine, hoping to limit my movement on that flank.

The Hac Tao crept round the back of the red-roofed building, killing the Chain Rifle Myrmidon, but taking a wound in return. This left enough room for the Guilang to drop a mine around the side of the barrels to stop my Myrmidons from getting to the wounded heavy infantry.

My Agema with Mk12 finally made an appearance now, easily killing the Guilang and forcing the Hac Tao back into full cover. Finally, Phoenix moved laterally across the table, shot the unconscious Guilang which was next to the Ninja and killed everything in that area.

With only some scattered light infantry in Erebus' DZ left, I redeployed slightly and INTELCOM'd the zone with the wounded Hac Tao in it to ensure the win.

Job done.

Review
That all went pretty smoothly all things considered.

One thing I definitely missed was that I should have put a Myrmidon (probably with Chain Rifle) next to the Agema Sniper to throw smoke onto the Agema when one of the Kuang Shi moved. This would have given him smoke cover, protecting him from the Dao Fei, and he'd have easily out-ranged the Rui Shi at the far corner of the table.

Otherwise, things went pretty well really despite my complete inefficiency on the first turn. We both had a lot of optical trickery, but in the end I had more of it and more ways of dealing with it.

Tournament Points: 3-0
Objective Points: 9-0
Victory Points: 214-136


Game 2


Mission: Highly Classified
Table: 35
Primary Objectives: HV: Retroengineering, HVT: Espionage, HVT: Innoculation, Data Scan
Secondary Objective: Sabotage
Opponent: PanOceania - Logan (overall 23rd)
My Army List: Squad-based Gaming
Opponent's Approximate Army List:Combat groups are definitely wrong...

PanOceania | 15 models
________________________________________________________

Combat Group #1

Nisse HMG (34|1.5)
Nisse MULTI Sniper (34|1.5)
Akal Commando Boarding Shotgun (21|0)
Bulleteer Spitfire (23|1)
Croc Man Forward Observer (32|0)
Croc Man Assault Hacking Device (36|0.5)
Trauma Doc 'Doctor' (14|0.5)
Yaozao (3|0)
Machinist Engineer (15|0)
Palbot (3|0)
Fugazi Dronbot Flash Pulse (8|0)
Fugazi Dronbot Flash Pulse (8|0)

Combat Group #2
Fusilier Lieutenant (10|0)
Fusilier (10|0)
Auxilia Auxbot_1 (14|0)
Hexa MULTI Sniper (32|1.5)
Warcor Aerocam (3|0)
________________________________________________________

300/300 points | 6/6 swc
open with Army VI

Deployment
Without a doubt I had to take the list with the Dactyls for this mission based on the classified objectives drawn.

I lost the WIP roll and was forced to go second. Knowing that I had a fairly large model count, all of which was in my DZ, I chose the side of the table that offered better total cover but gave Logan the more aggressive side. That landing pad looked like a trap!

The Dactyls went in the hanger on the right, the Thorakitai on the left with the HMG on the roof of the card building and the Myrmidon link in the centre behind the other card building and the trapezoid one. Logan had a sniper in the tower at the back right with a prone Trauma Doc beneath and the Bulleteer nearby. The rest of his REMs and infantry were scattered through his DZ with the Nisse HMG in the middle.

I reduced the orders in Logan's main combat group by two.

Table 35 - My deployment zone on the near edge.

Turn One
First order of the game, the Nisse sniper pops Phoenix who I stupidly had left in line of fire. I simply got too caught up in checking other firelanes that I missed one. An Akali drops on my right flank and cleans up the Dactyls before eating a pistol ARO from a Myrmidon. A croc man moved up into the middle of the table but I failed my discover checks and my Warcor got sniped.

So far, fairly salvageable - in theory. Machaon could go heal up the Dactyls, most of my losses were from the second combat group and I could consolidate everyone into a full 10 order group using Command Tokens. Unfortunately I was pinned down by the Nisse, couldn't do anything with my Thorakitai in an order-efficient way and needed to deal with the Croc Man. Hmm...

Thraymedes moved up to draw a bead on the Croc Man, taking a shot at a Fugazi on the landing pad, but it passed its armour roll. Thrasymedes made the discover check against the croc man, but unfortunately he lost the face-to-face shoot-out and was wounded.

Machaon then tried to go round the left side of building he was hiding behind, but was crit-stunned by the Fugazi on the way so never had a chance to fire. A Myrmidon with Chain Rifle tried the same thing and double-templated the Croc Man - but he passed both his saves and dropped a mine and then the Fugazi stunned him too!

In a last ditch attempt, and running out of orders, the Myrmidon Hacker pied the corner on the Croc Man, hit, but failed to penetrate his armour.

Palbot ready to heal up the Nisse Sniper, not that I could cause any wounds this game... 

Turn Two
This entire turn is in my notes is just a massive frowny face picture.

The Croc Man dropped another Mine, the Nisse HMG started mopping up Myrmidons and Thorakitai  before going into suppressive fire and Logan spent time picking up classifieds.

I failed to do any damage, again. I pulled my Thorakitai back a bit and got my HMG off the roof. They all went into suppressive fire too to try and limit Logan's advance on the right turn and maybe deny some Classifieds.

In a last ditch attempt do do some damage I ran Machaon into combat with the Croc Man, losing my Hacker to a Mine in the process.

Turn Three
Logan wrecked the troublesome Thorakitai, picked up the rest of his classified objectives with sacrificial palbots, then shot into the combat between the Croc Man and Machaon and took them both out.

With very few orders in my turn and in loss of Lieutenant, we called the game.

Logan's army was as beautifully painted as it was deadly!

Review
Bad, bad, bad. My deployment was sub-par and I was fairly punished for it. The list couldn't deal with all the hit-mods/camo and snipers and eventually just fell apart. I did get a bit tilted after my first turn fell apart, but in the end we just found my army's incompetence kind of funny and had a good joke at their expense.

My Thorakitai team was also badly placed and I just didn't have a plan for them. The HMG couldn't even get off the roof easily without the Nisse seeing. Just bad planning on my part.

Annoyingly, I think my other list would have handled the match-up far better, having a smaller deployment footprint, good anti-camo and a proper sniper of its own. Unfortunately it couldn't complete most of the classifieds so using it would have been too much of a risk.

Logan did comment that he thinks I took the wrong table side, but I still think I'd have had a hell of a time deploying into the side he was on with all my links. If I'd covered my flanks better and deployed Phoenix more sensibly the game could have gone differently.

Tournament Points: 0-10
Objective Points: 0-3
Victory Points: 49-265


Game 3


Mission: Supplies
Table: 11
Secondary Objective: Experimental Drug, Telemetry
Opponent: Caledonian Highlander Army - Fari (overall 75th)
My Army List: Myrmidon Super-Friends
Opponent's Approximate Army List: I haven't even tried to get the combat groups right with this one...

Caledonian Highlander Army | 17 models
________________________________________________________

Combat Group #1

Highlander Grey AP HMG (34|1.5)
Volunteer HMG (19|0.5)
Volunteer Rifle (8|1.5)
Volunteer Rifle (8|1.5)
Volunteer Chain Rifle (6|1.5)
Uxia McNeill Covert Action (27|0)
SAS Forward Observer (24|0)
SAS Forward Observer (24|0)
McMurrough 2 Chain Rifles (31|0)
Highlander Chain Rifle (6|0)

Combat Group #2
Cateran T2 Sniper Rifle (24|1)
Cateran T2 Sniper Rifle (24|1)
Volunteer Lieutenant Rifle (8|0)
Wardriver Hacking Device (19|1)
112 Doctor (12|0)
Dozer Traktor Mul Control Device (14|0)
Traktor Mul Katyusha (11|1)
________________________________________________________

300/300 points | 6/6 swc
open with Army VI


Deployment
I went back to the Myrmidons for this mission. Sitting at 1-1 I knew I needed a big win to get myself back into contention so took the most polarising list I had. The fact that I expected the Caledonians to not have good answers for massed ODD/Smoke/MSV2 was a bonus.

Note that all the mountainous areas and the river were considered difficult terrain, so that's basically the entire table.

Again I lost the WIP roll and was going second. As I didn't have any infiltrators to contest the objectives on the first turn, I set up in possibly the worse DZ (needing to cross the river and having low ground) because it gave me LoS to all three supply crates for AROs.

Logan had a Volunteer/Grey fireteam in the centre around the small pile of rocks, a Cateran on each area of highest ground on a pillar on the left and hill on the right, the warbands on the right in full cover and three camouflage markers distributed around the mid-line.

I deployed very carefully (unlike last time) so nothing had LoS to the Caterans. Eudaros/Officer/Combi/Chain were on the left with the Agema Sniper. Both the Sniper and Chain Rifle were deployed with LoS to one of the Volunteers in the link. Phoenix/Machaon/Hacker/Chain accompanied the Agema Mk12 on the right.  As everything was basically half cover and Fari has a lot more ranged stuff than me a lot of my troops were deployed prone.

I reduced the orders in Fari's main combat group by two.

Table 11 - My deployment zone on the near side. Supply crates are marked in blue.

Turn One
The Volunteer/Grey fireteam moved up and the Myrmidon/Sniper combo got to work - Smoke was dropped and one of the Volunteers took a wound. The 112 came to heal him, succeeded, but is killed outright by the same Sniper. At least it gave him a chance to reform for the bonuses.

One of the Caterans tried to draw LoS to Machaon's link but was foiled by yet more Smoke.

After impetuously moving up, McMurrough pressed the attack like the furry guided missile he is. He ineffectually lobbed some grenades at the Myrmidoms then dropped Smoke on the Agema, ran in and hit him over the head in combat.

Who loves Smoke? Agema loves Smoke! Is it true? Mmmhmmm! I do, I do, I do-ooo!

I carefully dropped more Smoke to block the Cateran who could draw LoS to Machaon's link and then moved Phoenix up to blow apart the Volunteer/Grey link. Net result - the Grey, Volunteer HMG and one Rifle Volunteer were dead or unconscious with no medic in sight. 

Machaon shot into combat with McMurrough and the unconscious Agema, putting two wounds directly onto McMurrough. He healed the Agema using his LT order and two Command Tokens (one re-roll and one to reform link) and the Hacker Spotlighted the unconscious McMurrough to score me both my Classified Objectives! 

The recovered Agema Mk12 moved into the smoke and gunned down the opposing Cateran before going into Suppressive Fire.

Turn Two
The Highlander suicided into the Agema Mk12 with his Impetuous order to start.

Uxia McNeill revealed as being the left-most camo marker, D-charged a piece of scenery for the Classified and then tried to attack the Agema Sniper who was being bodyguarded by Eudaros' link.

This was actually a really cool trick. Fari dropped Smoke onto the Agema, blocking LoS to the Myrmidons. When Uxia moved into the Smoke I ARO shot with the Agema which allowed him to shoot back with a -6 penalty although he wouldn't normally be able to see. Sneaky! With cover on his side and Burst 5 it was a pretty safe bet. If I didn't shoot then he'd be able to make it into close combat with CC21 and MA2 instead, which wasn't any better for me!

Unfortunately the dice didn't reward his ingenuity and I crit Uxia out with a pistol...

The Agema gets lucky.

Fari then tries Plan B. After a couple of orders the SAS FO on the right manages to Forward Observe the Agema Mk12, although he dies to Phoenix in the process.

The Katyusha then started chucking missiles, catching Phoenix and Machaon in the blast, but Sixth Sense 2 and high PH/ARM kept me safe. The Agema took a single wound, Phoenix tanked the hits on his armour and Machaon crit-dodged out of the way.

At this point the writing was on the wall and I started cleaning up. Eudaros' link moved up, dropping smoke for the Agema who killed the second Cateran. They got to the left objective and the officer looted the supply crate so I at least had something in case Fari was in Retreat!

The rest of my turn was spent on moving up Machaon's link and healing the Agema Mk12 (again). All the difficult terrain proved, well, difficult and I largely ended the turn in the open but by this point there was nothing that could really engage me.

Turn Three
Fari's Wardriver Spotlighted Eudaros but took five order to do so! The Katyusha then only deals a single wound, but the Wardriver mops him up with her Boarding Shotgun. Probably should have just done that in the first place.

In my turn I swept away the last of Fari's troops in the middle of the table and picked up the two remaining Supply Boxes with orders to spare.

Review
Well, that was definitely a game. In the end, each of my three specialists was carrying a supply crate and casualties were minimal, so I can only say that the list performed exactly as expected.

Fari's Katyusha was definitely disappointing and would have done far better had it been an Urugan instead (Shock ammo!). In general it seemed like an order-sink, especially with the need to target an enemy first, but I guess it was a good use of spare orders in a second combat group.

Smoke shenanigans were pivotal in this game, for both sides, and I'm really happy with my template placement during the game.

Tournament Points: 3-0
Objective Points: 10-1
Victory Points: 260-65


Game 4


Mission: Firefight
Table: 15
Secondary Objective: Data Scan, HVT: Espionage
Opponent: Ariadna - Sylvannas (overall 26th)
My Army List: Myrmidon Super-Friends
Opponent's Army List:

Ariadna | 20 models
________________________________________________________

Combat Group #1

Blackjack AP HMG (36|2)
Uxia McNeill Covert Action (27|0)
Chasseur Minelayer (20|0.5)
Foxtrot Forward Observer (18|0)
Grunt Inferior Infiltration Heavy Flamethrower (11|0.5)
Irmandinho Chain Rifle (8|0)
Assault Pack Handler (14|0.5)
Assault Pack Antipode x3 (3|0)
112 Doctor (12|0)
Line Kazak Lieutenant (9|0)

Combat Group #2
Spetsnaz AP HMG (38|1.5)
Chasseur Minelayer (20|0.5)
Foxtrot Forward Observer (18|0)
Grunt Inferior Infiltration Heavy Flamethrower (11|0.5)
Irmandinho Chain Rifle (8|0)
Dozer Traktor Mul Control Device (14|0)
Traktor Mul Minesweeper (5|0)
Traktor Mul Minesweeper (5|0)
Line Kazak (9|0)
Volunteer Chain Rifle (6|0)
________________________________________________________

300/300 points | 5.5/6 swc
open with Army VI

Deployment
More Ariadna meant I was practically obliged to make use of my ODD/Smoke/MSV2 nonsense once more. Again, I lost the WIP roll and was forced to go second and I chose the more varied cover on the near side to help against the template weapons that I suspected would be coming and because I didn't want to mess about with the big building on the far side.

Sylvannas deployed worryingly few miniatures as there were 12 camo markers (including the 3 Antipodes) instead! Both Grunts and one of the Chasseurs passed their infiltration rolls to deploy up close quickly with their Flamethrowers and the Spetsnaz had a commanding position from the rooftop of the building int he middle of his DZ. The Blackjack was on the right and the Irmandinhos were mid and right to provide Smoke cover.

I deployed Machaon's link and the Mk12 around the tower and crates opposite the Blackjack on the right. Eudaros' link was in and around the wall with the Chain Rifle and Sniper adjacent to each other and on the walkway. I was hoping to try something similar to last time with them, given a chance.

The walls with walkways were really interesting, because there was lots of ways to use them as cover despite them appearing very linear. They were also easy to move through whilst still providing full cover if needed.

Stupidly, I forgot to reduce Sylvannas' order pool. Not that It would've made much of a difference anyway!

Table 15 - My deployment zone on the near edge.

Turn One
Sylvannas' Irmandinhos moved up in full cover and one of the Foxtrots scored an easy HVT: Designation.

The first Grunt tried to Heavy Flamethrower the Agema hiding around the side of the tower, but I passed my save and Phoenix got the easy kill. Uxia revealed on the far left and moved into cover in the building with the adjacent tower. She took a shot at the Chain Rifle Myrmidon guarding the Agema, but I successfully smoked up both of them.

The Blackjack then tried rambo'ing up and started duelling it out with Phoenix. After a failed initial attack Sylvannas tried to ratched up the pressure by moving up a Foxtrot and dropping a mine which could catch Phoenix if I tried to ARO further. Unfortunately for him I dodged the next attack successfully and eventually took down the Blackjack, albeit taking a wound in the process.

That was far less painful than expected!

I smoked up the Foxtrot, broke the link and then killed it in melee (although he almost knifed Phoenix). Machaon healed the Agema and Phoenix using up my LT order and then I re-formed the link.

The Agema discovered the Spetsnaz's Ambush Camo marker (note that if you discover through Smoke then it doesn't trigger AROs from the target) and I Data Scanned the Foxtrot whilst re-positioning. On the other side, Uxia was picked off easily.


Turn Two
At this point we were running a bit low on time, so my notes are a bit sketchy as we both tried to play faster.

The Irmandinho on the right as picked off in ARO, but not before he searched a Panoply. The central Irmandinho picked up some equipment too, although nothing notable. His second Grunt traded with the Chain Rifle Myrmidon form Machaon's link which I considered reasonable for me.

One of the Chasseurs tried to make a mess of Machaon and Phoenix via Mines and Light Flamethrowers, burning them both but failing to cause any wounds. I dodged away from the templates but inadvertently left Phoenix in a place where he could be picked off by the Spetsnaz. Oops!

The second Chasseur tried to attack the other link, burning down the Combi Myrmidon with its Flamethrower but took 4 Nanopulser hits in return - needless to say it didn't survive! Another decent trade.

My Agema wounded his Spetsnaz using Smoke cover from his accompanying Myrmidon and Eudaros' link moved up towards the middle of the table ready to search panoplies and secure the HVT.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot about the Chasseur that was harassing Machaon earlier as it was right on my table edge and I'd partially obscured it with markers and paperwork!

Table 15 - Th view from the other side.

Turn Three
The forgotten Chasseur tried to rifle Machaon, who took a wound at last, but gets fried by a Nanopulser in return. The 112 picked up the Spetsnaz, but was shot by the Sniper. The Spetsnaz then got revenge for the medic.

The Antipode pack ran up under Smoke cover from a sacrificial Irmandinho (although the Smoke didn't hinder my Agema!) to engage my Myrmidon link which was moving up the left flank. One got plugged by the Agema, but two more made it into combat with the Myrmidon Officer who took a wound but cut one of them down before Sylvannas ran out of orders.

Without much to do on my turn as the Spetsnaz couldn't see Eudaros' link I tore up the last Antipode in combat, snagged a panoply (forgetting that Sylvannas had two already) and secured the HVT for a solid win.

Review
"That's pretty much my nightmare."

This was my comment when a very similar list was posted on the Infinity as a possible match-up concern, so I wasn't too happy with actually having to face it! When both the Grunts and a Chasseur passed their infiltration rolls I thought it was going to be game over right from the beginning.

Fortunately, Sylvannas ploughed orders (unsuccessfully) into the Blackjack rather than trying to hose me with flamethrowers and all my defensive tricks kept me in good shape. When he did start trading models at last it was all against expendable troops.

What I find amazing was that on turn three despite all the damage I'd done he still had more than 10 orders to spend! It really felt at times like I wasn't doing anything meaningful to his army at all. This meant that I didn't ever get a really good chance to search Panoplies as I barely left my DZ by the end of turn two.

Tournament Points: 3-0
Objective Points: 7-2
Victory Points: 189-120


Game 5


Mission: Rescue
Table: 13
Secondary Objective: Sabotage or Test Run (ha!)
Opponent: Steel Phalanx - Aquiles (overall 24th)
My Army List: Myrmidon Super-Friends
Opponent's Army List:

Steel Phalanx | 10 models
________________________________________________________

Combat Group #1
Achilles Spitfire Lieutenant (75|2.5)
Diomedes Mk12 (43|0)
Scylla Assault Hacking Device + 1 Devabot (30|0.5)
Agema Mk12 (29|0.5)
Acmon Engineer (27|0)
Dactyl Doctor (23|0)
Thrasymedes Light Rocket Launcher (30|0.5)
Thorakitai HMG (22|1.5)
Thorakitai Forward Observer (13|0)
Lamedh Rebot Flash Pulse (8|0)
________________________________________________________

299/300 points | 5.5/6 swc
open with Army VI

Deployment
Oh man, Steel Phalanx mirror-match. I had to go with list one here, even though I couldn't complete either of the classified options, because I needed MSV2 support. As was normal for my tournament so far, my opponent won the WIP roll and chose to go first. 

Aquiles deployed a small clump of Thorakitai on the left with the HMG poking out, the Dactyls and Lamedh on the right and the rest of his troops scattered around the cover in the centre. His hold-back was, naturally, his namesake and placed on the right-of-centre.

Phoenix, the Hacker and a Chain Rifle deployed among the shipping containers on the left with Machaon prone on a balcony. Phoenix was sticking out on the left staring down his Thorakitai HMG in a way that I could catch the other two members of the link in the blast if they activated.

The remaining Myrmidons were scatter behind the woodland (cover, saturation), crates and barricades on the right. The two Agemas held the centre, carefully placed so they couldn't be seen by their traitorous counterpart.

Table 13 - My deployment zone on the near edge.

Turn One
Unsurprisingly, Aquiles' first turn involved him trying to rambo up the table with Achilles. His route took him behind the crates and between the grey buildings on the right and he got into shoot-outs with my Agema Sniper and Combi Myrmidon. Achilles took both to unconscious but ate a crit in the process and was effectively contained for only two losses. Not too bad.

The Dactyls tried to move from their exposed position, but the Doctor took a wound form Eudaros' long-ranged ARO.

I took the easy attack on the Thorakitai HMG with Phoenix, getting the kill and burning Thrasymedes. The Mk12 Agema tried going after Achilles but succeeded only in forcing him deeper into cover. Whilst I was out in the midfied anyway I shot up the Lamedh to try and deny some orders before falling back into cover. Lastly Phoenix came out to take a pot-shot at Achilles, taking off both his remaining wounds! I was hoping just to burn, but I wasn't going to say no to a stroke of luck.

Turn Two
In Loss of Lieutnant and with only five orders available, Aquiles used all of his Command Tokens to give himself some breathing room. His only remaining irregular order was left with Acmon who patched up the Lamedh.

Most of his orders were spent dropping Diomedes down onto my left flank. I'd ducked my troops there into total cover so they wouldn't get hit by Thrasymedes, so he had free reign to pop up behind the crates with super jump and make attacks as needed. He cleaned up the Mk12 Agema, who was caught out of cover, fairly easily but then lost both wounds to the Hacker's Combi Rifle. Shooting at ODD and not having cover didn't work in his favour.

With his final order his Agema moved up a bit and went into suppressive fire.

On my turn, Eudaros, the Officer and a Chain Rifle Myrmidon swept up the right flank through all the difficult terrain and disposed of Acmon and the Lamedh (again). I didn't have a whole load of orders, and was slowed down by difficult terrain, so there wasn't much else I could do.

Table 13 - Another view showing the civvies.

Turn Three
Now with only four orders remaining, Scylla tries to clear up my Myrmidon link with her Devabot. My Chain Rifle Myrmidon makes his save and gets behind full cover and eventually my Officer trades with Scylla by Shotgunning the Devabot and catching her in the blast. A fine exchange at this point in the game. His Agema then re-positions to better cover the nearby civvies.

This is where things got a little awkward. As I was reading back through the mission objectives, wondering exactly what I needed to do to get a full win, I realised that we hadn't placed any HVTs! We called over a referee to decide what needed to be done and he stated that we each place the other person's HVT wherever we like. 

This definitely didn't sit well with Aquiles who'd already had his final turn, not that he was in a position to have secured the HVT anyway, but we compromised by him taking back any orders that were spent after the last dice for the turn had been rolled, so he moved Thrasymedes up to babysit my HVT rather than advancing the Agema.

Eudaros and the Myrmidon with Chain Rifle left cover to try and capture a civvie from under the nose of the Agema. Unfortunately Eudaros failed to make the kill on the way, so instead the Myrmidon synched up and just tried to weather the fire from the Mk12. Luckily both hits bounced off his armour (natural 20s!) and he escaped deep into my exclusion zone.

Phoenix then poked out from total cover to blow away the burnt Thrasymedes for the full win.


Review
I took a stupid risk at the end and I almost got severely punished, but I was on a bit of a high and didn't think through all my options. Without a doubt I should have had Eudaros throw Eclipse Smoke onto the civvie - which I probably could have done as a normal roll with careful positioning - and then had the Myrmidon run out. Fortunately I got away with it.

Overall it was a solid contain of Achilles and all my troops did their jobs pretty well. It was interesting playing against another elite army, and a very unconventional take on Steel Phalanx. 

Tournament Points: 3-0
Objective Points: 6-0
Victory Points: 181-42


Conclusion

Final Result - 4/100

Prizes for 4th place, not too shabby! That Maghariba Guard is a weighty piece of kit!


So there we have it, it all went far better than expected really and that final victory took me to a a very respectable 4th place! There were a few things that I think contributed to this result. 


Missions
I think part of the success was that the missions were quite favourable for Steel Phalanx on average.

Frontline and Firefight were the kinds of straight-forwards, face-punching scenarios that Phalanx excel in and Rescue's exclusion zone doesn't hinder me at all while the saturation zone just makes the Myrmidons even harder to kill.

Supplies was potentially troubling due to the lack of expendable ARO elements and any kind of deployment shenanigans, but the army had the potential to reach into opponent's Deployment Zones to recover the supply crates if needed. Highly Classified was just a really variable mission and hard to plan for - I don't think I'm a fan of it in tournaments in general - but in theory I had all the tools.

Three good and two average missions is pretty decent for a sectorial that lacks some of the 'trickier' elements available to other armies.

Going Second
Yeah, this is a weird one. When writing my lists I knew that I wanted the Myrmidon spam list to go second. This way I could deny two orders and most armies have trouble running across the entire table and dealing with a defensively-positioned Myrmidon link safely with their remaining order pool. The list has an incredible capacity to absorb damage and any if my opponent does advance then it makes it just that much easier for me to engage them.

Familiarity
I've been playing Aleph, and Steel Phalanx, for quite a while now and I do think that being familiar and confident with an army is a huge factor.  The Myrmidon list especially was just full of simple, powerful units that I knew how to leverage well. I generally had a good idea of how to deploy defensively and where I could safely present AROs and where I just needed full cover .

Optical Disruption Devices
ODD is love, ODD is life.


The rest of the tournament prize support.


The Good


Agema Sniper - This guy consistently varied between good and great. He was one of the few disposable ARO elements available to me and as long as I didn't stick him out in front of an opposing sniper he was golden. Properly supported with smoke cover he was easily able to take care of any other targets that came up. The Agema Mk12 put in a solid showing too and was perfect for mopping up towards the middle and end of the game.

Phoenix - Phoenix is Phoenix. 10/10, 5 stars, would blow stuff up with him again. He spent the weekend duelling with Blackjacks, Ninjas, Achilles and entire Fireteams without even breaking a sweat. His only downfalls were in game 2 which was entirely down to my own awful deployment and game 4 which was again because of my own poor placement.

Myrmidon Hacker - Despite not actually doing any Hacking all game, she completed a few classifieds, picked up a supply box, kept Achilles at bay and did a bit of shooting. There's not much more I can ask for really. It's worth mentioning the Myrmidon with Combi Rifle as well here as an overall solid contributor - a BS12, linked rifle with ODD really is enough to solve a LOT of problems.

ITS Scoring - I think the new format of needing to score tournament points helps small lists a lot.

Compared to the previous season there is far less need to have lots of orders because you don't need to scrape together every last objective point. Instead you can just focus on beating up the opposing army and then getting just the objectives you need to have a 3-0 win. It definitely seems like this is a 'hidden' buff to smaller lists.

Suddenly you don't have to complete every classified, or grab every supply crate, or hold every antennae - you just need more than your opponent. Under the last system two of my major wins (7-2 and 6-0) wouldn't have been considered great, but under these rules they are certainly good enough. In fact, I only got one more OP this year than last but placed almost 30 positions higher!

It's worth mentioning also that Command Tokens are pretty helpful as they make Doctors and Engineers sufficiently reliable that it's not really a risk to spend orders on them. Again, this is important for lists with fewer orders.



The Bad


The entire second list - The list just didn't work for me. I took something similar to a recent tournament and I didn't have much luck with it there either so I think some tweaks are needed. I'm going to give up on the idea of Dactyl links for now as they seem a bit too hit and miss in firefights for their points and they probably benefit more from having Yudbots than from being linked overall. The idea of reloading their burst 2 disposable weapons is just a bit too 'cute'.

Me - I definitely could have played better and there were several moments where I simply did things wrong. There's definitely plenty of room for me to improve my game and I learnt a lot from the event.

As always, positioning, facing and remembering to use all my tools effectively are things that I have to work on. Even if I know what to do in theory (or in hindsight) it can all get a bit messy once the dice start rolling.


The Ugly


Eudaros - The poor guy just couldn't catch a break. The only game in which he actually survived, he couldn't actually be used to complete the objective due to his Impetuousness!

Whilst he didn't get to do a whole lot of shooting, he was definitely seen as a threat and was able to absorb a fair bit of punishment (and orders). I'm definitely still a fan of him and it's just a shame that so often he is third pick behind Phoenix and Machaon.

Deployment - While I think my deployment was generally good, there were definitely slip-ups - such as not having Smoke cover for the Agema in game 1 and everything in game 2.

My mascot, Snowdrop, ganging out with Pulpi.

That brings us to the end of the report. I couldn't be happier with my result which was much better than I had hoped for. As expected for an event this size with only five rounds the players were again densely packed in terms of scores and it shows that you really need to aim for at least three full wins in order to get into the top third.

Nothing more for me to say now other than a big thank you to Corvus Belli, the tournament organisers and my opponents for a fantastic weekend. Also congratulations to my fellow English competitors theradrussian, i0003, IJW, Gamma Ray and Isenblad who scored 20th, 21st, 32nd, 38th and 63rd respectively. A solid showing for team UK. I'm looking forward to next year now, although it's clear I'm going to have to brush up on my Spanish!

2 comments:

  1. Great write up thanks! I've been thinking a lot about this tournament lately and hope to go myself next year.

    Massive congrats on 4th place, great result!

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    Replies
    1. Cheers, you definitely should go if you can nab a ticket for it! I'll look forward to seeing you there. :)

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