"But, Pride of Rodina, Infinity's a game about shooting stuff, how is close combat a viable option?" Hear me out, I promise you'll understand by the time I'm done here! Yes, Infinity's focus is on shooting, but don't let that steer you away from close combat. If used properly, close combat can be a real game changer. As pointed out earlier, since Infinity is a ranged-based game, not many troops are capable in close combat. Those that are can easily make short work of any opposition.
Copied over from my sister blog, which you can find here.
Different Approaches, for Different Folks
Very roughly, there are a few different 'classes' of melee specialists in Infinity:
Brick: These are the kind of specialists who might be a little slow to getting into CC, but when they finally do, it's going to hurt! They're your tanky CC-specialists, who rely on their armor or ranged weapons to help them reach close quarters. Sometimes, the Brick will come with some kind of ability that will help them reach base-to-base, like Airborne Deployment, or Super-Jump, but they're main focus is still on resilience or ranged weapons to help. Examples include the Unknown Ranger, Father Knights, Tarik Mansuri, Rasyats, Taskmasters, and Miyamoto.
Berserker: These frothing loons rely on higher mobility (better dodge, longer dodge, Assault, or higher MOV), Impetuous Orders (or Frenzey) and sometimes smoke grenades to get them where they need to be. They're typically less armored than the Brick and are easier targets than the Assassins, with fewer ranged weapons than both, but they're mobility definitely allows them to be major players on most parts of the table. Examples include Domaru, Yojimbo, Galwegians, Makauls, Magister Knights, Chimera, and Daturazi.
Assassin: Implementing some kind of marker state (Impersonation, Camo, etc.) and some way to deploy further up the table, these troops capitalize on this advantage to eliminate a primary target. However, typically once they reveal, they'll have a hard time eliminating any other targets. These CC specialists will spend most of their time on your opponent’s side of the table, very rarely playing on your half and very rarely acting with support from the rest of your list. Examples include Fidays, Ninjas, Igao, Speculo Killers, Bran do Castro, and Kitsune.
Delivering the Payload
The real key to any close combat specialist is making sure they actually get into base to base, to use all of those sweet close combat skills. It kind of depends on what type of CC specialist you take, but there are some general rules that will definitely help any CC specialist:
- Smoke: The easiest approach imaginable. Use smoke from either your CC specialist or a friendly troop and block line of sight. This will allow your CC specialists the opportunity to do exactly what they need to do (unless you're playing against MSV2+, so try to eliminate them first). Your opponent can't kill what they can't see coming, so this strategy works surprisingly well.
- Distraction: Not the easiest thing to pull off, but it definitely helps. Bring along something else big and nasty to force your opponent into hiding or force them to focus on this target. This will allow your CC specialist to advance with few issues. Have them advance up a flank, behind the bigger threat or have them wait, ambush style, until the distraction is in place.
- Run for it: The easiest strategy I'll suggest here, it requires very little planning or tactical skills to pull off. Take your CC specialist and just keep pushing them forward. This works with CC specialists that are fairly resilient, mobile, or have good ranged capabilities
- Patient Hunter: Sometimes it's best to let your prey come to you. Why spend orders on hunting down a target for you super awesome close combat weapon, when you can just wait for them to fall on your blade? Hidden Deployment is great for this. Even simply assigning your CC specialist a different goal (for example, to accomplish an objective or secure an area) and then start moving in for the kill, when your opponent foolishly decides to get close. Sometimes, you can wait for your opponent to get close and attempt an Engage, too. It works like a Dodge ARO, except you dodge into close combat (your opponent gets to decide where you 'land', in base to base).
- Fireteams: A simple, easy, and effective way to get any CC specialists into close quarters, is by using a Fireteam. It's true, there's safety in numbers, especially when those numbers are packing some mean ranged pieces, buffed by Fireteam bonuses (extra burst and damage, per troop also in base to base).
Knowing Your Modifiers/Skills
Time to breakdown probably the hardest part about close combat; all of the skills.
Actual CC Skills
Allows the user to move up to both of their move values, as long as you end up in base to base with a target, and then allows a close combat attack. However, it does impose a -3 to your CC attack. Exceptionally handy for getting in CC and cutting a target to pieces.
There are two modes here: Berserk which allows you to attack with a +6 to your CC, but the roll is unopposed. The other mode is Assault, which is already mentioned above. This skill is superb for when you REALLY want to deal some damage and don't care about your troop. It can significantly increase your crit chance to make sure you wound. However, since the rolls will be unopposed, even if you crit, you still suffer any attacks the enemy lands on you.
It simply allows you to combine the effects of two close combat weapons. For example, if you have an AP CCW and an EXP CCW, then, when you hit a target, they suffer from both EXP and AP.
Kind of like Martial Arts, Guard has its own spiffy little chart:
|Guard Level 1||0||-3||+1||0||--||--|
|Guard Level 2||+3||0||+1||0||--||--|
|Guard Level 3||0||-3||+2||0||--||--|
|Guard Level 4||0||0||+3||0||--||--|
You can't take advantage of multiple levels at once, so you have to pick which one you want to use.
Each level of i-Kohl adds a -3 to your opponent to hit you in CC. It's great for making mean and nasty CC specialists turn into lovebirds who can't hit you, no matter how hard they try. STR-based troops are immune (beautiful scents don't really affect robots so much), but definitely a great way to keep yourself safe against organic targets.
Fancy-dancy chart, just like Guard:
|MA Level 1||0||-3||+1||0||--||--|
|MA Level 2||0||0||+3||0||--||--|
|MA Level 3||+3||-3||0||0||--||--|
|MA Level 4||0||0||0||+1||--||--|
|MA Level 5||0||-6||0||0||--||*|
Same as Guard, you have to pick your level beforehand and you can really deliver that final blow or keep your opponent from hitting you. One thing to note is that MA 5 allows you to hit every single model in base to base with you and it allows you to have the same burst during close combat, in the reactive turn, as whoever's punching you.
Something else to note is that Martial Arts also gives your troop V:Courage (allows you to choose to fail or succeed at your Guts check) and Stealth (further down the list).
Natural Born Warrior
Provides two close combat modes: Mode A, that cancels CC skills of your opponent (except otherwise specified, like Assault or Natural Born Warrior Mode A) and Mode B, which gives you a +3 to attack and +1 damage.
Allows your troop to hit their opposition with an extra BTS hit for every successful hit. The damage is determined by the PH attribute of the troop and the type of weapon being used.
You may notice that every level has some kind of “special”. This is because Protheion allows you to 'take' wounds from the enemy and add them to your own, up to 2 additional wounds. Of course, this only works against organic targets and even during a Coup de Grace. Do note that Portheion causes BTS wounds, but the damage is equivalent to the users PH. It also provides any troop with this skill V:Courage and Stealth.
It allows the user to kill an unconscious enemy trooper (they have to be unconscious before you can declare 'Scavenger') and take a single piece of equipment off of them. It can be a weapon of any kind or an actual piece of equipment
Allowing your troops to perform Cautious Moves while within the Zone of Control of an opponent, this skill helps turn any trooper into a ninja! If your troop ends within base to base, then it forces the enemy to CC, Dodge, Reset, or other AROs that can be declared while in the Engaged state. In other words, it allows you to sneak up on a target and force them to fight your troop on your own terms.
It requires the use of a Marker state. While your troop is in a Marker state (not revealed), they can move into base to base with an enemy target. Once this is done, your troop is revealed, but the enemy will suffer a -6 to their reaction.
Honorary CC Skills/Traits
This skill adds an extra 1" to your Dodge and Engage skills. This helps your CC specialists Dodge further and give them a longer threat range, thanks to increased range for Engage.
When used in conjunction with CC, it allows your troops to attack and eliminate targets, without giving enemy troops, who don’t have LOS but are within Zone of Control a change-facing ARO. This is great for when you sneak behind models because you can backstab for days. One of the most common CC weapons, the knife, has the silent attribute.
Camouflage (of all types) and ODD
I put these here to remind people that these two have absolutely ZERO affect in close combat, except (in the case of camouflage) providing Surprise Attack.