It's been a while comrades! I've received a lot of requests to do a piece about different weapons in Infinity and when/why to bring them, so we're going to take a trip down to the shooting range and try out a few of these rascals:
There are a few different classes of weapons: ARO, Active Turn, Counters, Long Range, Short Range, and Mid-range.
ARO are typically low burst weapons that like to shoot the enemy during your reactive turn. Things like Missile Launchers, Sniper rifles (especially those that pack a real punch, like T2), Heavy Rocket Launchers, Contenders, Flashpulse, Total Reaction, Neurocinetics, etc. Suppressive Fire can act as an ARO choice too, but usually only as backup.
It is worth noting that most "ARO" pieces will not make it to your next turn, so pick wisely. Make sure you pick pieces that will be able to resist a few hits and waste a few orders, and make sure you put them in a good place. The art of ARO'ing is a difficult one, so practice and possibly read up on some material! Here's another article I wrote that might be of help.
Now, some folks swear that you can't win a game if you don't bring any ARO pieces. Others swear you'll lose if you bring even one. To be honest, I've done just about every situation you can think of when it comes to ARO pieces, so this is more of a personal preference kind of thing, than an actual formula. It also depends on the faction/army you're playing too. Some factions/armies have excellent ARO pieces and can play with half their list dedicated to ARO'ing, others don't have any really strong ARO pieces, so they might be better played without any at all.
Active Turn are those that are higher burst and really want to take full advantage of that weight of dice and shots to be effective. HMG’s, spitfires, dual-wielding whatever, SMG’s, etc. Pretty self-explanatory, but these beauts like to shoot lots of bullets. Primarily, they shoot lots of bullets on YOUR turn, unlike ARO pieces, who can shoot lots of bullets on your opponent's turn. You need to have these weapons in your lists, no matter what. No excuse.
Counters serve as weapon counters (or "soft counters") to things you don’t have the equipment/skills to counter. Things like Camo, ODD, high ARM/BTS, Fireteams, etc. Direct template weapons serve well as counters to things that stack up a whole lot of MODs (Chain rifle that ODD), Fire works great against Camo (Flame that TO), E/M works great against heavy ARM HI and TAGs (E/Mauler that TAG) and so does AP (AP rifle that HI), and templates of all sorts work great against Fireteams (ML that Fireteam).
You should almost always try to bring a hard or soft counter for just about every pesky opponent, so do your best to bring as many as you can. It's honestly pretty easy to bring soft counters for just about every pesky rascal you'll come across, so don't fret over this.
Long Range weapons excel at shooting over the 24 mark, so things like ML’s and Snipers are your choices here. HMG’s and HRL’s do well, but they’re not exactly the ideal. These weapons are able to easily out-range every other type of weapon out there and can easily stack those mods up because of that.
You don't actually NEED to have dedicated long range fire support, but it is really nice. Snipers are usually a nice addition to any list, especially if you have access to regular ones that cost 0.5 SWC. However, snipers don't actually win games, as they're easy to out-maneuver. They are extremely nice for taking out TR bots though and the same goes for other heavy weapon options (like HRL's, HMG's, etc.).
Short range weapons are those that excel anywhere from 0-8. Combi rifles, SMG’s, pistols, shotguns, direct template weapons, etc. are your choices here. Even close combat works for this category.
I never leave home without some good close quarters weapons. Just about everyone has a pistol, yes, but assault pistols, chain rifles, and shotguns are superb tools for dealing with most problems in Infinity. They're great on Infiltrators or for defending your Deployment Zone.
Mid-range weapons excel in between 8-24, so this will be your all of your rifles, Contenders, spitfires, Red Furies, etc, Marksman rifles, etc. HMG’s and HRL’s kind of fit in here too. They’re in the weird stage of being in between Mid and Long ranged weapons, so they can pull both duties, if needed.
Every list has the mid-range covered pretty well (thanks to rifles and combirifles), but things like spitfires and marksman rifles really help push the middle of the table into your favor, which is extremely important. A lot of the game will take place in the mid-field, so being able to wrestle and bully your way around the mid-field is crucial. If there are any weapons you take, they need to be mid-range. All of the others are nice, but mid-range, active turn weapons are some of the nicest to have.
There are a whole lot of different weapons in Infinity, but if you lump them into the above categories, it helps make things a bit easier to understand. It's important to try to cover all of your bases, if possible, and not leave a category out when building your lists, but sometimes you don't have that luxury. Just do your best and cover your bases as much as you can. As long as you have a mid-range, active turn piece in your list, you should be just fine!
Don't forget that some weapons will fall into multiple categories, so you can easily fill multiple roles with just one weapon option. For example, HRL's are mid-range weapons, long range, ARO pieces, counter to Camo and ODD, and can be alright active turn weapons, especially if in a Fireteam. Holy cow, that's a lot of bases being covered with just one weapon option!