Thursday 13 July 2017

List Building for the Interplanetary 2017

Another year, another Interplanetary tournament!

This is going to be my third excursion to Vigo and, whilst I pulled out a good result last year, my goal, as always, is to end up somewhere in the top third. Remarkably I've actually had much less practice this year than last - and I thought I was under-prepared then!

Once again I was really hoping to take some USAriadna with me, but when the missions were announced I knew I had to be taking my Steel Phalanx once more. This army is the Sledgehammer of Infinity and I had a feeling there would be some tough nuts to crack!

The Missions

The missions at the tournament are the most Direct Action of probably all the Direct Action scenarios, so let's take a look at what will be played:

  • Firefight - Kill Specialists/LTs/Army points, search some panoplies and 2 classifieds. All scored at end of game. (Extended DZ, AD3 buff, no Retreat)
  • Show of Force - Kill Army points, search some panoplies, sit on objectives (with a TAG) and 1 classified. All scored at end of game. (TAG needed for max OP)
  • Frontline - Dominate sectors and 1 classified. All scored at end of game. (INTELCOM, Retreat doesn't end the game.)
  • Decapitation - Kill LTs/Army points and 2 classifieds. All scored at end of game. (Extended DZ, no LoL, no Retreat, public LT)
  • Annihilation - Kill Army points and 1 classified. All scored at end of game. (no Retreat)

All five missions are scored entirely at the end of the game, so there is no per-round scoring. You are strongly encouraged to alpha strike your opponent off the table in every scenario especially as there is no Retreat in three of the five scenarios at all and Frontline isn't ended due to Retreat.

Specialists are not required (or even helpful) for completing anything except classified objectives, and even then you can just do Secure HVT in all but two. Two missions have extended deployment zones making Infiltration and its Inferior equivalent slightly worse and Forward Deployment a bit better. A whopping four missions involve killing Army Points and the fifth basically requires it as you are just trying to out-point your opponent.

I'm expecting a lot of PanOceania (TAGs, good BS), Assault/Killer Hackers and probably a decent amount of Combined Army/Onyx for Avatar/Sphinx/Xeodron shenanigans. I think there will be less Ariadna than last year purely because of Show of Force being in the selection.

List One

My starting point is the list I took last year, with some minor adjustments. It performed admirably and I still think it remains a strong contender. It was originally designed to tackle Frontline and Firefight, both of which are returning this year.

 Steel Phalanx - Myrmidon Super-Friends v2 | 10 models

Combat Group #1
 Machaon (38|0.5)
 Phoenix (40|2)
 Eudaros (40|0)
 Myrmidon Officer BS CC (35|1)
 Myrmidon Officer Combi Lt (31|0.5)
 Myrmidon Combi (25|0)
 Myrmidon Chain (16|0)
 Myrmidon Chain (16|0)
 Agema MULTI Sniper (30|1.5)
 Agema Mk 12 (29|0.5)

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

The only change is trading out the Assault Hacker for a second Officer to act as my Lieutenant. I'm expecting Hackers to be out in force - either to counter TAGs, or to counter the Hackers which are hunting the TAGs - and so I want a list where I don't need to concern myself with that part of the meta. I like Myrmidon Hackers a lot, and this will somewhat inhibit my ability to score classifieds, but I think the trade-off is worthwhile this time.

I lose a bit of flexibility/efficiency with my Command Tokens as the Officer's LT order is not as useful as Machaon's so it generally won't be worth breaking links for. On the other hand, it puts an extra NWI troop into my force for just that little bit of extra toughness. It's rocking 15 effective wounds in a meagre 10 orders.

The list is still all about pushing overwhelming amounts of Smoke/ODD/MSV2 with the expectation that most opponents simply won't be prepared to deal with it. It kills stuff super efficiently, doesn't give up army points easily and can handle a wide variety of threats at all ranges. Just what Machaon ordered!

List Two

Now we come to the big guns. I took Achilles to the Interplanetary in 2015, but ended up not using him in any of the five games. I intend to make up for it this year.

 Aleph - Steel Phalanx | 10 models

 Achilles MULTI Rifle (73|0)
 Machaon Lieutenant (38|0.5)
 Phoenix (40|2)
 Myrmidon Combi Rifle (25|0)
 Myrmidon Chain (16|0)
 Thrasymedes LRL (30|0.5)
 Thorakites HMG (22|1.5)
 Thorakites FO (13|0)
 Thorakites FO (13|0)
 Agema MULTI Sniper Rifle (30|1.5)

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

Achilles utterly destroys TAGs (he's killed three in my two test games), especially in close combat and a BS15 MULTI Rifle with ODD is pretty tasty in suppressive fire. I've picked the original instead of v2 as terrain rules come up fairly frequently at the tournament (~20-25% of tables, I think) and ODD is sweet. Yes, v2 is more resilient against flamethrowers and forward deployment is nice but If I'm going second then I don't want Achilles to be near the front where he'll attract every Hacker in my opponent's list!

I have reservations about the suitability of Achilles in a format where I expect there to be lots of Hackers and also because I don't have any Engineers to fix Immobilised or Isolated states. On the other hand, he's a big threat and at 0 SWC I can afford to back him up with a Sniper, HMG and a Heavy Rocket Launcher. If I use him with finesse then I should be fine...

There's no space for Chain of Command in this list so Machaon is remaining the LT but is hopefully safe behind the considerably bigger threats of Achilles, Phoenix and even the Thorakitai link.

The plan is to use this list in Decapitation and Show of Force as it should be pretty decent at hunting LTs and TAGs respectively (or in some cases both at once!)


Let's address the elephants in the room.

  • I'm playing Show of Force and I'm not bringing a TAG. My chance of scoring a 3TP win entirely hinges on controlling the Antenna at the end of the game, acquiring more goodies form the panoplies and killing more army points all in the same game. That's a lot to ask of a 10 order list. I definitely think it is doable though. I don't think watering down a Steel Phalanx list by taking Scarface is the right answer and I would doubt Scarface's ability to actually survive until the end of Show of Force anyway.
  • I've got two 10 order lists which are fairly similar in overall composition and don't give me much leeway for completing classified objectives. I probably have a worrying weakness to heavy camo or spam armies and I'll need to be on my game to make the best use of my orders each turn.
  • Whereas last year I had the plan of taking the second turn a lot to try and scoop objectives at the end of the game, this is less important this year and I'll have to more carefully weigh up whether I'd want the first or second turn. I think with Achilles I'd probably try and go first and with the two Myrmidon links I'd be happy going second still.

So, that's me done. Wish me luck!


  1. Great article, obviously Eudaros is 0 SWC not 2, in case a man gets confused.

  2. Whoops, I fat-fingered that one, cheers!

  3. Would love to play my JSA or Yu Jing vs this list!

  4. How did you manage to get the unit logos incorporated into your army lists - would love to do this for my blog.

    1. I export the lists to the forums, pasting them into a post temporarily, then copy the lists pictures and all into my blog. I then use the HTML editer to replace the default image URLs with those from my Google Photos account where I have copies of the logos saved.

      You could do away with that last step, but then run the risk of the image links breaking in later Army updates.