Preparing for the Best of the Pacific North West
Recently, Warcors from all around the Cascadia region (a.k.a. the Pacific North West) have come together to create and promote the Cascadia Infinity Meta. Part of our initiative includes running quarterly ITS tournaments in the four major hubs of the meta: Vancouver BC, Seattle, Portland, and Humboldt. The first event is coming up soon, held in Seattle, and named The Best of the Pacific North West.
First up, lets talk about the scenarios that will be at play. This is important for understanding what strengths my different armies will have, and help me decide which I’ll practice for the event.
Show of Force
First up we have a TAG mission. Show of Force and Acquisition are very similar, and focus around controlling a central objective, in Show of Force though. On the flip side, there are no classifieds or Xenotech in this mission, with the point split between killing stuff (army points and DataTracker) and holding the central objective. Note that to score all the points you need to Control, not Dominate the objective, so the enemy cannot have any models touching them, regardless of points.
This is a mission that I like quite a bit, but can be tricky. Since you don’t know which HVT is the real one, it’s entirely possible that you may need to reveal all three. To do this, you need specialists which can get into place on a console, and ideally a DataTracker who can kill an HVT which can be anywhere on the board. There is an exclusion zone which means your specialists won’t be starting on top of objectives, and it keeps AD troops from getting primo positions.
No point for killing, all the points in Acquisition are centered on Controlling the central Tech-Coffin, ideally with both your Xenotech (easy) and DataTracker (more difficult). Extra-deep deployment zones means medium infantry are starting 20” up the board, very close to the objectives they’re fighting for, and there is not an exclusion zone. You do have to deal with the Xenotech though, as well as a classified objective, though that is less important since that puts you up to 11 OPs. Note that to score all the points you need to Control, not Dominate the objectives, so the enemy cannot have any models touching them, regardless of points.
Killing stuff with 16” deployment zones, no retreat, and taking out a designated target. This scenario is pretty straight forward, but you really want to make sure your DataTracker can kill the Designated target ASAP to score 5 points.
While this scenario is about scoring zones, it’s just as much about killing… the fewer points your opponent has, the fewer points they have to score with. You also have to move as much of your army out of your deployment zone as possible, making Medium Infantry, AD, Forward Deployment, and Infiltration all great skills to look for.
Overall it looks like the lists don’t need many specialists, since they’re only really used in Unmasking and Acquisition. A TAG would be nice in Show of Force, but if you can kill the enemy DataTracker, and keep yours alive, you can still get a major victory without it. A DataTracker with grenade launcher, or grenades is going to be very powerful, able to more easily kill the enemy Designated Target in Unmasking and Decapitation (and keeping theirs from killing yours), but also to kill the enemy DataTracker in Show of Force, and deny the enemy points in Acquisition.
So, now that we’ve talked about the scenarios, let’s look at my main armies and see how I feel about them in these scenarios.
The Combined have a lot of amazing tools, but also tend to be fairly expensive to get all the toys I like. They don’t really have access to Grenade Launchers, though a Smart Sniper Rifle Haiduk can be effective if I can forward observe the Designated Target and DataTrackers I talked about above. MAF may be a solid choice really, plenty of grenades to spec. fire targets, and since the scenarios don’t take a ton of specialists, they can focus on what they do best, punching faces.
Plenty of infiltrators, mid-field control, grenades and grenade launchers, infiltrators and forward deployment makes Ariadna seem pretty well suited to the job! Their biggest downside is the total lack of a TAG, and anti-TAG hacking (though they have plenty of anti-TAG guns). I suspect we will see a lot of Ariadna on the table at the event. As far as DataTrackers go, especially if wanting a LGL, the Zouave or Margot are going to be your best options.
NA2 (Ikari Company or Druze Bayram)
Of my armies, Ikari Company seems to have a lot of the right tools for the job. They can take a Druze link to forward deploy 20” up the board in two missions, and start out of the deployment zone for Frontline. Al’Fasid with HMG+LGL is great at being the DataTracker, but the downside of Ikari is their lack of midfield specialists. Druze Bayram has the advantage of strong mid-field control with Hunzakuts being amazing specialists, able to litter the table with deployable repeaters and mines, Peacemakers, and of coarse, Saito who is a beast, but no grenades to be found.
With those choices, I think it really boils down to Druze and Ikari. Ikari lets me get a good DataTracker for the mission, an inexpensive TAG for Show of Force. Druze on the other-hand has an even better version of the same TAG, and great mid-field control since all but one mission lacks an exclusion zone, but not a single LGL in the whole army. Between them I need to weigh between amazing mid-field control and a superior TAG, or a LGL which can make the DataTracker’s work a bit easier (or waste a ton of orders).
MAF was a very close contender, 3 infiltrating Zerats lets me put grenades anywhere I need them, and in-range of an HVT. If I go second, Zerats can be very fragile and hunted down (especially if the table lacks tall buildings to hide on), and despite having a great TAG for Show of Force, I’ve really been in a NA2 mood lately.
When I’m making a list for tournaments, I’m basically focusing on scoring conditions for maximum points, presence of exclusion zones, and how many specialists I’ll need.
Unmasking and Acquisition both have consoles to interact with, meaning I do need some specialists, but really, not that many.
Show of Force and Acquisition both have end-of-game conditions which requires a specific model (TAG and DataTracker) to be alive at the end to score.
Only 2 missions have Classified Objectives, and those only have one each.
Only Unmasking has an Exclusion Zone.
Overall, that’s really light on the requirement for specialists, but in particular, having a Doctor/Engineer to bring back the DataTracker/TAG is important if I want to score all the points. A Doctor would also be helpful in Decapitation for denying points for killing the DataTracker, Specialists, and Lieutenants (since they need to be dead/null at the end of the game). So no matter which faction I play, I’ll probably have both a Doctor and an Engineer.
With all this in mind, let’s assume I’ll move forward with Druze. I should definitely make my lists with Acquisition and Show of Force in mind. Acquisition because of the Exclusion Zone, so one of my lists may not want to max out the Infiltrators, and Show of Force because I definitely want a TAG (Scarface).
While neither list is final, it does help to get my ideas on paper. Both lists have a high number of infiltrators, which is a bummer in Unmasking, but really good in the rest of the scenarios. Either list has a Druze core link with a high amount of redundancy, so I can keep them at 5-orders for quite a while. Having an Assault Hacker in the core (gaining Sixth Sense L2) with the repeater coverage that the list brings, really lets me keep enemy HI and TAGs from advancing up the board. Gromoz is especially fun in Show of Force, since she comes with the Expel upgrade, which could see a pilot ejected from their TAG.
Fortunately, I have plenty of time to test before the event, that will let me get back in practice since I’ve taken quite a break from playing Druze Bayram.
If I get my butt kicked during the event, I think I have a good shot at the Best Table award with my current project, a crashed plane table. I’ll show it off in its completed state after the event.