Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tactics: The Chronicles of the 356th Independent TAG Company, Part 1

Everyone’s favorite Inner Hexahedron Officer here again, to give a rundown of the technological advance that makes PanOceania as the HYPERPOWER, despite what the Ateks out there might say:  TAGs.

TAGs are one of the main things that drew me into Infinity, so much so that I’ve gone well overboard with them, to the point that I may have gone overboard…  which the record will show shortly.  As noted in my introduction to the Pride of Rodina’s readers, the games I played in the olden times were stompy robot based, and my first foray back into gaming was stompy robot based.  And, seeing that PanO had the best looking giant stompy robots, I dove right it.  And now, we’ll break them down, going in order of how much I like them, rather than anything logical.

You can't see me...

To begin with, we’re going to start with 2nd Platoon of the 356th Independent TAG Company, and the (say it with me ladies and gents) UUUHHHLLLAAANNN!!!, better known as the Clausewitz Uhlans.  The Stingray-3s have been with us (both fluff and gamewise) for quite a while, N2HS to be precise.  The Uhlan gives a nice toolbox, with the standard TAG MOV of 6-4, PanO TAG BS15, as well as CC and PH on the same number.  However, if you’re close enough to CC with an Uhlan, you’ve done something wrong.  ARM and BTS both come in at 6, giving nice, Infinity round numbers against any Weapon or Hacking program.  His S6 is one of the nice things about him, letting him get into smaller spots than most other TAGs, meaning that a route your opponent THOUGHT was safe isn’t any more…

He’s got that beautiful HMG, and the (Marmite) Feuerbach.  Now, from my experience skulking (and pontificating) around the forums, FB, WGC Infinity, and various local groups, I’ve seen that most folks either love or hate the Feuerbach.  Put me firmly in the “love it” camp.  I will take the decreased B and DAM on the Feuerbach for it’s other benefits, namely the AP+DA Ammo, as well as that 0 MOD in the 32-48 Range Band.  The only weapon better across that band is the Sniper Rifle family, with Missile Launchers having +3 across the first 8 and 0 in the second, and the Ojotnik having similar, and the HRMC matching.  And, when we add on the -3 from CH: Camo and our Surprise Shot, we can be (it at range and in cover) putting most enemies at -12 (Range, Cover, Camo, Surprise Shot) and being, ourselves, at likely -3 (Cover).  Even against another TAG, we’re going to have the advantage, and while it’ll only be 2v1, the B advantage also.

Now, my own personal tics (no paint = no play, proxies are of the Devil) mean I’ve only rolled him out a few times, but he’s done yeoman’s work for me.  He’s taken out a Lancer (Squalo), he’s run through Proxies and Dasyus, as well as various types of HI.  He’s lovely, and begun moving up in my own personal rankings.  I readily admit, I love the sculpt and the loadout, and am looking at him through blue (this is PanO, we don’t do rose) tinted glasses, but I do believe he’s a solid option.  That, coupled with changes that have come to ITS with the TAGLine, mean that he’ll continue to receive more time on the table and in my lists.


The other portion of the 2nd Platoon are one of the most despised (and, before N3, THE most) units in the whole game, the Cutter.  Now, to get things out of the way at the beginning, I’m still annoyed that the Cutter lost his HFL to go with his MULTI HMG, without even getting back a Pistol or or or or…  well, ANYTHING.  However, I can see the reasons behind the change, especially with how CH: TO Camo strengthens Surprise Shot.

Good, good... let the hate flow through you!

He’s got the PanO TAG BS, and upped CC and PH over the Stingray-3 chassis.  His ARM and BTS are outstanding, obviously.  Those Squalo Series frames are so choice.  His Aquatic Terrain is handy, I think, theoretically…  it does require more boards to incorporate Terrain rules, so, there’s that…  However, he IS still a nasty surprise for folks, and can make things difficult.  His negative MODs are going to stack beautifully, and his MULTI HMG is going to lovely at cutting through large numbers of troops.  Even a Fireteam: Core, with it’s SS2, can be put at -9 before any positive MODs came back into the equation.  He’s only available in Vanilla, but with rumors swirling (yes, I know Bostria has said so, but sometimes he’s…  incorrect) that Varuna will be PanO’s next sectorial, he’ll have friends soon, which will be nice, and if one of those friends (as I HOPE it will be) turn out to be the Crocmen, well, that’ll be a LOT of TO about the board…

I had hoped to get to all four platoons of the 356th Independent TAG Company, but rather than wear out my welcome, I’ll touch on one more of the platoons, the other even numbered one, and leave the odds for next time, so, now, we turn to the 4th Platoon (Hammer and Anvil) and the first of the two types, the  Jotum.  First and foremost, let’s just note that ARM, 10.  Yes, ARM10!  So, as things stand, a Combi or Rifle armed trooper can only damage a Jotum on a Critical, and anything firing Normal Ammo outside of that will only do damage if (as she ALWAYS does) Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi abandons me and I roll a 1 or 2.  Beyond that, he’s impervious, and has the BTS as well to fight off most Hacking Programs.

Big, bad, and MAD!!!

His weapons always leave an impression, with the combination of the MULTI HMG, HFL and DEP.  I’ll confess, I’ve not had much chance to use the DEP, but as I look back over the weapon line, there’s a decent amount there to like, especially the range bands, that make it great for outside-HFL-and-inside-HMG-bad-band shots.  I, personally resolve to use it more, and to make it part of the repertoire.  Basically, the way I’ve used a Jotum has been as a rock the enemy can break against.  Get him in cover, get him faced the right the proper way, guard a flank, and he’s pretty set, with the ability to hold his own against most threats, or at the very least force the enemy to come to him to deal with things.

The second type of TAG is this platoon are the Seraphim.  They have the (in theory) weakest weapon of all PanO TAGs with their Spitfire, but have a few other tricks up their sleeves in order to counterbalance that.  First, they have their little rolling buddy, the Auxbot, to take care of their flank with it’s HFL and extra set of eyes.  Next, they are built for CC, and to close with the enemy.  For that, they’ve got Kinematika, and and EXP CCW.  Now, no, PanO normally doesn’t go in for CC, but this is a platform where it actually makes sense, especially against other TAGs.  The only TAG with a better CC value is the O-Yoroi, and the EXP CCW means you have the possibility of taking any TAG to Unconscious in a single order.  Not too shabby.

ANGELS OF DEA... oops, wrong game...

The Spitfire, while weaker than an HMG or MULTI HMG, is a better option because it doesn’t suffer from the same from the same -3 close in.  The Seraph also has a Nanopulser, for even more close in damage, or an good option against either clusters of enemies, or enemies with lower BTS than ARM.  I’ve left for last the most interesting thing about the Seraph, Super Jump.  It’s the only unit in all of PanO with access to it, and it’s pretty interesting, opening up entirely new areas of the board and entirely new ways to attack the enemy.  Yes, if you use it to take to a rooftop you’ll risk leaving behind your Auxbot, but (I’m thinking of Hexagon Mill’s roofs with parapets) suddenly putting an ARM7 BS15 STR3 model up with great sight lines and the ability to rain down death is very, very, very…  nice!

Hammer and Anvil

So, that’s it for this time out from your unfriendly neighborhood Inner Hexahedron Officer.  Until next time!

Capt. R. Foster-Johnson

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