Infinity: Sectorial vs Vanilla
Since I've started Infinity, I've noticed a lot of chatter talking about sectorial compared to "vanilla" armies. When my friends and I started, I opted to play a Vanilla Combined Army, with access to everything available to the faction, while two of my friends started with Tohaa (always works like a sectorial) and Aleph Steel Phalanx (a Sectorial). Today I'm going to talk about playing sectorials, and why you might want to stick with Vanilla instead.
What is a Sectorial?
For those are new, or unfamiliar with the game, in Infinity, there are 8 main Factions: 5 human of various technology levels, 2 alien, and one cyborg/post-human. Within these factions, there are a multitude of sectorials. A Sectorial basically represents a faction within a faction, for example, the Combined Army consists of Morats, Shasvastii, as well as a number of other exotic creatures and bio-constructs. You can normally play with a full mix of any model available in your faction, though if you want to play a Sectorial, you will have less variety to pick from, so when playing a Morat Aggression Force, your army will be restricted entirely to Morats (and some remotes). To reward you for playing within those restrictions you get a few bonuses, first off is increased availability of some units, second is the ability to form fireteams.
When you play a Sectorial, the biggest benefit is the ability to play a single fireteams. In short, this allows you to combine 3-5 models, typically of the same unit type, into a single unit. When you spend an order on them, the whole unit will activate and be able to move, though only one of the 5 will be able to shoot. This allows you to be FAR more order efficient and maneuverable, and there are some significant bonuses for firing based on the squad size (3 gives you +1 Burst, 5 gives you +3 BS as well). This as a bonus might seem small on paper, or to new players, but since a lot of missions require moving your models into different parts of the board, being able to move 5 with a single order is pretty massive.
To many new players the idea of getting a big bonus for playing an army that is more fluffy is enough to send them directly into the arms of a Sectorial, and the internet would seem to agree. I keep reading how I shouldn't be winning games against sectorials, because of how much better they are due to their fireteams.
Why Play Vanilla?
Variety is the only answer to this question. When you play a standard army, you have full access to the entire army. In my Combined Army, I regularly play with models that are totally unavailable to any Sectorial, as well as a mixture of models that would otherwise be restricted. I can go to war with a Charontid, damn near a Tag in effectiveness, s/he's a brutal lieutenant boasting a rare MSV3 as well as an HMG for laying waste to the enemy, backed up by a Speculo Killer, Ko Dali, and Rasyat, all devastating units in their own right, but when I can get all of them on the board at the same time, suddenly I'm attacking from many angles at once.
I don't get fireteams to move my models up the board, instead I've had to compensate by using my Command Tokens to activate multiple models at once. While my opponents are often using their Command Tokens to re-establish fireteams, I'm able to use mine to move multiple models up the board, which goes a long way to keep me as order efficient as my opponent.
Fireteams are not unstoppable forces moving up the board, when they activate they have to nominate a Link Leader, and should that model die, the link immediately dissolves. Additionally, the whole team must perform the same ARO, so if one dodges, they must all dodge, or if one shoots, they must all shoot, which means if one wants to throw smoke to dodge, the others must shoot, so knowing what their ARO will be, if the rest of the unit is in a bad position to shoot, you can take advantage of that.
What is Right for Me?
Obviously, what is right for you comes down to your personal preferences. Since I'm so used to facing sectorials with my vanilla army, I don't buy the internet mumbo-jumbo of sectorials being better than vanilla, I've never felt like I was at some unfair disadvantage, instead I just learned to handle them. If you are going to play a Sectorial, it's very important that you maximize your benefits, always be sure to take a unit worth of linkable units, two if possible is advisable, and keep an eye on what units you have increased AVA on, taking two Speculo Killers in a Shasvastii army is possibly their biggest strength! If you are not going to take strong advantage of the Sectorial army, I think you're far better off taking a diverse array of units, maximizing the utility of your army and increasing the size of your toolbox.
What are your thoughts on Sectorials? Are they a must-have for you, or are you like me and prefer a bigger selection of models to use?