Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tactics: Why Play the Elite and Few In Infinity and How

Elite

*copied from the other blog I write for*

Infinity is a game about using the best of the best to accomplish some crazy awesome missions, but why is it that you rarely see the best of the best on the table? Why do players not use TAGs? Why do players love spamming cheap crap? What will I have for dinner tomorrow?

These are all questions that haunt me every night before I go to bed, so I decided it was time that the Pride of Rodina investigates these questions and provides the community with some solutions. Get your exosuits and heavy weapons out, it's time to play some elite lists!


First, let's start by doing a little bit of personal reflection;
  • How many orders to you typically use in a standard list (do not count impetuous orders)?
  • What's the cost of the cheapest and most expensive models you use?
  • How many cheap, order generators do you use (ten points or less = cheap)?
If your answers were...

  • 18+
  • Cheapest = 10 or less and most expensive = 40 or less
  • 8+

...then you very well might be part of the problem. Let's try to break form that mold and do something a little 'spicy' and different, eh?

*Ariadna players, you might find yourself falling into this category due to Ariadna's inherent ability to build these kinds of lists. You can definitely play Ariadna and not fall into the group of "cheap spam" and still be competitive. If you struggle conceptualizing this, then this article will show you how to break from that mold and how to effectively implement an 'Elite and Few' Ariadna list. If you still struggle to effectively play elite Ariadna, then you need to get in touch with me pronto, comrade! Of course, some of you might be content with the way you play and if you are, then don't you dare change for anyone else you beautiful butterfly, you!


Why Play the Elite and the Few


Infinity is a game about efficiency and resource management, at it's root. This game doesn't favor wasting resources (orders) nor does it favor inefficiency. You need to find the best way to get something done and do it in as few orders as possible.


Efficiency


For some folks, this means that you want more resources to spend in order to help you fail and then try again. They're on the "resource" side of the great "efficiency vs. resource" debate (that I totally didn't just make up). Others believe in taking more efficient choices and increasing their odds to start with, but end up with fewer resources. If you're playing the 'elite and the few', you're playing a list dependent on efficiency. What takes some troops multiple orders to accomplish, will only take yours a few. Not only that, but in many cases the more elite choices are also able to excel at multiple different roles, a 'Swiss army knife' of sorts. You now have a specialist that can also act as a front-line aggressor. You have an ARO piece who can also achieve a Classified Objective, etc. In many cases, you will be able to send forward one troop to perform a myriad of roles, all in the name of efficiency.

Veterans
Specialists, front-line aggressors, camo hunters, and tanks, Veteran Kazaks are the elite Ariadna Swiss army knife and all for 39/38 points

Redundancy of Threats


Why play the 'elite and the few'? Because you want to have the most efficient troops you can. You want to have the best killers, best objective grabbers, the best whatever. Sure, the list that spams cheap chaff has more orders and still has a few elite choices, but once those few die from crits and those orders are forced to be used on the cheap and inefficient troops, what are you going to do then? This is a problem the elite and few don't have to worry about. Your Spetsnaz's going to town, killing troops left and right, when all of a sudden, he dies from a lucky critical. Your opponent lets out a sigh of relief, they're safe now, they think. Joke's on them, little did they realize you actually had two in your list! The second one waiting to pick up where the first left offand now it's Spetnaz #2's time to bring some carnage.

Spetsnaz
Double Spetsnaz, double trouble

Drawbacks


However, there are a few issues with the Elite and the Few. You might have the better and more efficient troops, but they're all still weak in the reactive turn and they're all still susceptible to crits. Not only that, but you start with fewer orders, so every order is valuable and every crit even more crippling.



How to Play the Elite and the Few


Build a list with as few "order monkies" as possible and use 13 or less orders (13 is still a lot, but for some factions that's 'elite', if you want a truly elite army do 10 or 11). Try to avoid taking troops that are less than 12 points, but if you can't, don't take more than two. Unless you have a -very- good reason for to take multiples of some cheap troop, don't.


Example:

Ariadna

──────────────────────────────────────────────────

GROUP 1 10

SPETSNAZ (CH: Ambush Camouflage) HMG / Pistol, CCW, Knife. (1.5 | 38)

TANKHUNTER AP HMG, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 35)

SCOUT (Forward Observer) Ojotnik, D-Charges, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 30)

SCOUT (Forward Observer) Ojotnik, D-Charges, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 30)

TANKHUNTER Lieutenant AP Rifle, Adhesive Launcher, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 25)

UXÍA McNEILL (Covert Action) (CH: Limited Camouflage, Superior Infiltration, Specialist Operative) Boarding Shotgun, D-Charges, Smoke Grenades / 2 Assault Pistols, AP CCW, Knife. (0 | 27)

MARAUDER (Multispectral Visor L1) Heavy Rocket Launcher / Assault Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 26)

CHASSEUR Rifle, Light Flamethrower, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 19)

DOZER Rifle, Akrylat-Kanone / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)

VETERAN KAZAK (X Visor) T2 Rifle, Light Flamethrower / Heavy Pistol, Knife. (0 | 38)

GROUP 21

GRUNT (Marksmanship LX) Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 18)

6 SWC | 300 Points

Actually How to Play the Elite and the Few


The really tricky part now is how do you -actually- play these kinds of lists. Let's get to cooking!

You will almost always want to have first turn, if possible. You more than likely will have a lieutenant with a higher WIP, so you should have the higher chance of picking. If you do, go first.

From here, I'll go ahead and break down the specifics into four categories:

Going First

As briefly touched on above, when you go first, you need to eliminate your opponent's biggest threat pieces and attempt to cripple their force. If you can spend all of your orders to maximum effect on taking out their big guns and resilient specialists, then you open the door for your next turn to start cleaning off your opponent's models from the table. Of course, it's unlikely that you’ll remove every important threat in the first turn so, you will need to assess what troops will be the biggest threats and easiest to kill.

Once you accomplish enough killing to feel secure, start setting up your defenses: suppression fire, mines, repeaters, better positions, cover, etc. Prepare for the counterattack.

Aquila
The Aquila Guard HMG: Go first, hit hard and fast. Induce crying.

Going Second


You will need to deploy defensively and get ready. Make sure you deploy your troops overlooking one another in order to assist each other when possible. Deploy your ARO pieces aggressively, but not too aggressively. Don't have them looking over the entire table, but a small lane of fire or a quarter of the table will suffice. Don't be afraid to have them fail their Guts checks and go Prone either; an alive soldier is always better than a dead one. Setup in a manner that forces your opponent down choke points if they want to eliminate your troops and cripple your order pool— minelayers are especially effective at this.

All in all, you'll want to hide, stay in cover and have troops watching each other. Sure, it'll give your opponent the ability to do what they want with the rest of the table, but more than likely your troops are far superior than theirs to start with, so you already started with the statistical high ground...now it's just a fair fight.

Once you've survived the first round (does this sound like the tutorial to a zombie shooter to anyone else?), you'll want to follow what's described in the "Going First" section.

Vanilla


Variety is your perk, so use it. You will have a whole arsenal of elite choices at your disposal, so make sure you take whatever you need to get the job done. You lack the order efficiency of the sectorials, but you have the sweet, sweet variety of good ol' Vanilla. Don't be afraid to leave behind a few types of specialists though, because you won't always need the full arsenal and you probably won't have the points either. Make sure you take a good mix of forward deploying troops (for efficiency of not having to spend orders moving forward), sturdy specialists, SWC weapons, heavier weapons with no SWC (T2 rifles, Multi-weapons, Mk12), and ARO pieces. You should have no problem with this, if you're playing Vanilla.

Remember those Command Token things you have? Use them for coordinated orders! Coordinated suppressive fire, coordinated move-move, coordinated whatever you need to do. You don't have the innate efficiency of the Sectorials nor do you have the orders to waste like less elite forces, so you will need to make good use of your Coordinate orders. It's also a great way of giving your opponent only one ARO.

Besides those points, just follow the above guides for whatever turn you end up with, whether first or second.

Sectorials


Fireteams are crucial for elite lists when playing sectorials, . No, you won't need to fill them up all the way, but do try to take as many as you can. Elite lists suffer the most from their lack of orders compared to non-elite builds, but fireteams address this issue quite nicely. Usually the best way to go about this is by building a Core fireteam with 4-5 members of an elite LI, MI or basic HI choice, a Haris (if your sectorial has them) of a MI or HI, and then a Duo (if your sectorial has them) of a HI or elite HI.

SP
Anyone call for an elite sectorial?
You will be needing to take multiples of your elite choices, obviously, so don't fret if you do. Just like with Vanilla, don't stress if you had to leave a specific type of specialist at home, but do try to take as many types as you can and try to fit them into your Fireteams when possible.

Your benefit comes from Fireteam efficiency and buffs, so use them. Nothing's more painful than a Burst 2, BS14 Missile Launcher in ARO that's powered by a two wound HI. Or, nothing's more satisfying than marching up the board with your decked out Core fireteam filled to the brim with excellent stats, sweet weapons, and specialists.

Besides those points, just follow the above guides for whatever turn you end up with, whether first or second.

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