Las Vegas Open, A Druze Recap
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of playing in the Las Vegas Open Infinity ITS, hosted by the spectacularly talented Joel Traveller, or RattlerNxt on the Infinity forums. This was my first major outing with the Druze Bayram Security, and I was going to be playing in the 4-round ITS.
Crafting My Lists
Since this was my first event with them, I set out to crafting my lists for the event immediately after the rules for the sectorial were revealed. The Scenarios for the event I was playing in were Power Pack, Capture and Protect, Tic-Tac-Toe, and Comms Center. I decided it would probably be easiest to make my lists scenario-specific, rather than table or opponent-based. Since Tic-Tac-Toe and Comms Center both required a hefty amount of Specialists, I decided that I'd pair them up for one list, and make my second list to work for the other two scenarios.
Tic-Tac-Toe & Comms Center
For my first list, I knew I needed a lot of specialists, so I started off with Saito Togan, two Hunzakut, and two Pathfinders. This would give me a solid core of infiltrating and mobile specialists.
After getting the mission objectives covered, I went on to work on the murdering part of the army. The Druze + Clipper + Brawler core has been my go-to link since the sectorial came out. For my Druze Profiles, I picked the ubiquitous HMG, for it's amazing active-turn firepower. The Light Grenade Launcher to team up with my Hunzakuts, giving me the ability to send grenades anywhere on the table, isolating swathes of my opponent's army. The last Druze Profile was the Kuller Hacker, who brings my only D-Charges, but can break out of the link to advance across the field under Cybermask, if needed. For my Brawlers I needed a Lieutenant, so that was an obvious pick, and I decided that I really wanted some extra warband protection, and took the MSV2 Sniper. Lastly Gromoz is an amazing utility unit to plug holes in the link when they open up, but also to give supportware to that Clipper, making it incredibly deadly.
Rounding out the list I had a few extra points so decided to take a Peacemaker to provide some mid-field table control, and a Fugazi, just because they're so amazing, providing another regular order, and a deceptively effective ARO piece.
Power Pack & Capture and Protect
These scenarios were quite different, Capture and Protect requires no specialists, while Power Pack doesn't really need all that many. Since neither scenario had an Exclusion Zone, I decided to go strong with a pair of Peacemakers holding down the mid-field.
I took the opportunity to maximize my selection of Brawlers, keeping all the Druze/Brawlers that I used in my other list, but also adding on a Doctor and Assault Hacker. Adding the Assault Hacker to the link with Killer Hacker meant that nothing could safely sneak by my link or any of the many repeaters I put down on the table. Next, a pair of Bashi would prove to be instrumental, walking on from the table edge with both a Chain Colt and a SMG, makes these inexpensive troops very versatile.
Rounding out the list I grabbed a couple Fugazi for ARO support, and a Hunzakut to help with Power Pack objectives.
Let's Play Ball
Round 1 — Power Pack
My first game was against Francisco, an often-mentioned character on the MayaCast podcast, with the ITS name of Anubis. We were playing Power Pack, so our deployments were a bit on the awkward side. I took advantage of this and deployed crossing long-range ARO pieces. This ultimately gave me a range advantage, since the ARO pieces he dedicated I was able to out range, first with my Sniper out-ranging his Missile Launcher, and then with my own Missile Launcher out-ranging his Heavy Rocket Launcher. In the first turn I was able to isolate his Hsien HMG Lieutenant, by hacking through a repeater dropped by the Hunzakut, then sacrificed an Auxbot to take out his Pheasant Chain of Command. The rest of the game went as expected from that kind of a beginning, I was able to clear out his Ninjas, while a Bashi killed the Hsien, and by the bottom of 3 all he had remaining was Shinobu standing on my console.
Result: 7-2 Victory
Round 2 — Tic-Tac-Toe
Up next I was facing down Steel Phalanx, commanded by RocketYeti. At first, I was delighted to have the opportunity to lay down a good repeater net to catch Achilles, but was disappointed when he didn't deploy. This game had a lot of crazy dice rolls, with the most memorable moment being when Saito Togan surprise attacked a Myrmidon, only to roll a 4 and 5, after modifiers, against the Myrmidon's roll of a 6... My strategy was to hold off going for objectives until I could clear his mid-field threats, and it paid off, letting me score 5 objectives on my last turn. In the end, it would have been much closer, if it wasn't for my Hunzakut defending the objective in his territory from an advancing Thorakitai bent on taking it back.
Result: 5-1 Victory
Round 3 — Comms Center
I was excited to get a chance to meet my next opponent, SgtHulka. I'd heard much about him from Joel, and he was an incredibly fun guy to play against. SgtHulka is a very calculating which I enjoyed, I love it when the game feels like chess. His list was very surprising, I'd never faced anything like it, essentially a Yu Jing camo spam, only exposing a couple Shaolin and Kuang Shi (and their controller). Neither of us were able to kill many of our opponent's models early in the game, but both took the opportunity to slowly move up the board to claim ground. I was able to kill his Designated Target by breaking off my HMG from the Druze link (who was my DataTracker), while he had to advance up the board with Shinobu, who failed her infiltration roll and was instead used as his DataTracker (which was a really good option considering his list).
We only got through two rounds of this game, but we both knew that was going to happen after the first round, so we played to it and both felt good about the results. In the end I was able to connect more antennas, the Designated Target, and do my classified, while he killed more Specialists, also killed my Designated Target, and accomplished his classified. It was a well fought game, and I look forward to running into him again in the future.
Result: 8-6 Victory
Round 4 — Capture and Protect
My last game I knew was going to be a rough one, especially when I found out that I was going against my long-time friend, Obadiah, or Nehemiah in ITS. I haven't won a game against him in over a year, he's a very cunning and resourceful player, so I knew that I'd have to have a bit of luck and try to exploit every tool I had available to win it. He took first turn, making the early game into a good old-fashioned shoot out. I deployed my Peacemakers poorly, which he took full advantage of, neutralizing them both in short order, not off to a good start. Following up, he got a SymbioBeast up in my grill, which I was quite lucky against, neutralizing it with a Viral Pistol as it moved in, though it took out my E/M LGL. I was already on my back foot and the game had just begun. The game ultimately came down to my Hunzakut, making a daring attempt on the objective, clearing out the Kaauri defending it, before running off. His last turn ended up with that Hunzakut dead (no surprise there) and Saito holding my beacon.
When the dust settled, I was able to take Saito out, while retrieving the beacon which my Hunzakut dropped. Despite the score, it was an incredibly close game.
Result: 8-0 Victory
Final Score 4-0, 3rd Place Overall
This was a totally unexpected result from my first event with Druze, but I'm satisfied with the results. This definitely goes to show that Druze can, and probably will be, a strong competitive force in ITS. I got in several practice games in the more difficult scenarios, and didn't change my lists much over the last month, which let me get more familiar with the army.
Here are the key things I learned that helped me during the event:
- Leverage Your Gear - A key component to winning my games was making use of the variety of gear I had at my disposal. The Hunzakuts were dropping repeaters as well as mines in nearly every game, helping me against both Yu Jing players, and the Steel Phalanx. In my game against Tohaa, it was the viral pistols and chain colts that let me trade pieces to defend the Beacon after absconding with it.
- Surprise Shot - This is a fantastic way to have your WIP 14 Hunzakut Forward Observe the enemy, while getting shot back at -9. After you've done that, your E/M LGL can fire indiscriminately across the board. I may even swap the standard missile launcher for a guided one on the Clipper.
- The Best Defense is a Good Offense - Druze have the ability to put the opponent on the back foot, forcing them to react to your every move. Use your impressive firepower to keep the enemy head down while you advance to take objectives.
- Control the Fight - By using Hunzakut, Peacemakers, and Bashi, I was able to be all over the board, there was no safe direction for the enemy to advance. This saved my butt against warbands, or at the very least consumed orders, slowing them down and minimizing damage.
- Hack Attack - Liberal application of repeaters is amazing to shot down powerful attack pieces like the Hsien, but also provide you with a ton of potential ARO opportunities as enemies advance up the board. Keeping a standard Hacking Device, or an Assault Hacker in the link is huge. Sixth Sense L2 means that if a stealth enemy HI moves through a repeater, your Assault Hacker will get to attack, and if they reset, then Gromoz will also get to hack. The combination of having 3 hackers at my disposal (AHD, KHD, HD), really makes life difficult for the enemy.
Overall, I had a spectacular time, Joel did an amazing job putting on the event. All my opponents were great sportsmen and skilled adversaries, I hope to run across all of them again in future events. If you're on the fence about going to the LVO next year, I think it's really a must. I only played one day, but Las Vegas has a ton of fun attractions to offer. It was also fun to hang out a bit with Carlos and learn all kinds of classified intel about the future, and while I'm sworn to secrecy, I can say that this year is going to be INCREDIBLE!
Sorry for the lack of in-game pictures, with so much going on, I didn't even think about it until I was done with the first two rounds. To make up for it, here are some shots of Michael (Barakiel), Pete (YueFei23), my wife and I firing some guns and visiting the Hoover Dam.