This week I shall be musing on the benefits of large order pools and many models. Over the past year I have started playing Ariadna, and after spending the best part of the year before that only using Pan O it took a little getting used to. Not having A Swiss Guard, Croc sniper, total reaction HMG bot and Nisses with HMG in my list, it was an odd concept to begin with, but as I got my head around the rules and started to think my turns out before they happened I found it was more beneficial to have a buttload of orders on a bunch of mediocre units.
I have found that the beauty of Ariadna is in their heavy hitting stuff - it's really cheap for what it does. OK, your Tank Hunter with HMG is not nearly as good as, let's say, a Hac Tao or the mighty Charontid, but Camo - an alright stat line and AP HMG for 35pts - I will take any day. As long as you play conservative (when I say conservative I mean hide like a little girl) you should always be able to put yourself in a better position and blast your enemy away. So with this in mind, when I make a list with Ariadna I try and flesh out my order pools to about nine orders each if I can, and always remember to:
- Have one big badass in each order pool;
- Make the order pools similar (but not identical as that's just lame) so you have lots of leeway if units get unexpectedly taken down;
- Always have AT LEAST ONE sneaky sneaky unit like a commando, Van Sant or Spetsnaz;
- Take two snipers. In Ariadna you can afford for them to die as they are pretty cheap across the army, but still scare enemy's from popping their heads out;
- Take two cheap baggage bots. With the dozer that's 24pts for 3 orders a specialist and baggage. Absolute bargain;
- Have loads of bonk line troops to confuse your enemy if he goes hunting for the LT and lets you cover the rear if anyone else decides to walk on the board or drop down.
So with those things in mind, let's look at the order pools.
This was the first time I used le Muet and I gotta be honest, I was not enthralled with him. He got a few kills and is a nice model but i think for 45pts I could have gotten way more effective things. Those points could have bought me two chasseurs or another tank hunter with auto cannon and some basic bods to get even more orders in. However, he is worth having for the MSV so I shall try him out a few more times and see how it goes.
As I mentioned before, I always always take the engineer and two baggage bots. 24 pts for three orders, a specialist, being able to restock mines and Panzer Faust shots AND count as having 40 extra points on the board - they are awesome. During a tournament that's an extra 120 army points you have over people who were silly enough not to take them. That could easily put you into a win if there was a draw for first. It also makes missions like Frontline and Quadrant control a lot easier. Just spend a few orders in your first turn to move them a few inches forward then focus on your camo markers being a pain in the butt half way up the table. Most vanilla games I take the USA grunt, largely he does naff all but when you keep him a reserve and he makes that roll, people's faces just drop. I remember one game I went first and put him literally an inch away from an Avatar and just burnt his ODD away. So what I lost a 10pt line troop but now my tank hunter can blast the crap out of your ridiculous 137pt TAG with ease!
Second order pool not much to say. Tank hunter is a monster and well worth his points. The Vet Kazak I have never used before so though I would give him a go and it was totally worth it. T2 rifle may only be str13 but its a bugger, especially when you go on suppression and you don't suffer any minuses to range for the x visor. I will 100% be taking this unit more often. The only downside to Ariadna is they have completely useless hackers, if you can call them that. Even if you move to space France the best you can get is an Alguacil hacker WAAAAOW! I only bother to take the Wardriver as I might need him for an objective. I think defensive hacking devices are completely rubbish so spent the full 1swc on a normal device and didn't think it was worth it either by the end of the game so might re evaluate that decision in the future.
As you can see pretty similar pools. each has one 45th giving smoke, irregular and impetuous. Each has a few cheap line troops. The tank hunter and the SAS are in different pools so each has one camo marker in each. One has Le Muet in and the other has the Tank hunter giving two hard-hitters with lots of orders to spend on each. Enough specialists to get any objectives done. And with the commando off the board the order pools look equally large to your opponent, This usually means they cant even be bothered to deny you two orders in the first turn as it would not make a huge dent at all and if they stop you using command tokens who cares you shouldn't need to be using them in the first turn anyway. Especially with no Link teams and considering that no one even has a cube when your doctor fails his roll its not going to matter the unit is just dead anyway... go 112!
With my style of play I usually spend the first turn smashing the enemy into bits and ignoring objectives. I find denying them orders gives you ample time in the next two turns to claim objectives and hunker down. With that many orders you can afford for units to move about get jobs done then re camo, drop all the mines they can or go into suppression.
We played Front line as we need to practice for the Northern Open next week put on by the the Northern Alliance guys up in Leeds. For those not familiar here is a quick break down of the mission. Simples.
So without going into a full bat rep I'm just going to break down a few moments from the game. I choose to go first. If anyone knows me I basically never ever go first in Infinity especially not in missions that scores points in the last round, but I was feeling generous and Oli also won the roll so he chose sides and made me deploy first so I felt as if I couldn't let him have everything he wanted as he normally chooses first turn.
This was my table side. Not many high buildings but that didn't bother me too much as I play quite aggressive anyway so would rather get up in his face with templates than sit back. Still enough buildings to hide in though so that's a plus.
My opponents side, lots of hiding places, lots of high spots, but it does have a few high up areas just outside deployment for me to hide in but Oliver definitely chose the right side me thinks.
The centre of the board was a sort of Borderlands theme. Some ancient ruins found on some back water planet that have been tested on to no avail. I only got these rocks a few days ago for my Frost Grave table but was looking for an excuse to use them sooner.
Making use of Le Muets forward deployment I set him up as far as I could to save on movement later on in the game.
Very important that the HVT botanist scan these most precious plants. Let's just pretend this is an episode of Star Trek and everyone went down on a completely innocent away mission and as standard got into a fight some how. . . Keiko is hot though.
I had the Vet Kazak cover the left hand side of the table. Don't know why nothing was coming up the board but I had so much happening on the right I felt obligated to.
Not even sure what this unit was but it was on a very tall roof and had a massive cannon so I hid like a pansy from it for ages.
I managed to pass my Grunt roll and plonked him on top of a gas tower prone. He is only worth a few points but I knew he would not be able to spare the orders climbing up to get rid of him. This instantly put my opponent on edge having me just outside his deployment right away.
These ancient ruins felt right at home in all the run down processing plant.
Le Muet ran up the board, killed a line troop then hunkered down on a building to score the points. As I said he didn't do much but he was worth a lot in that respect.
Managed to sneak this volunteer up nice and close. The idea was to provide a cheap ARO threat to his link team with the chain rifle and if he died then so what its only 6pts. However he just got blasted from afar by a MK12. Lesson learned.
Moved my amazing hacker four inches forward then he just got locked down by that meanie in the background. Spent the entire game cowering behind that rock but did still count for objective points though so its all good.
This guy was a beast! Moved him right up into the enemies zone and put him on suppression. I did get out shot but only just so decided to fail guts and move back. my opponent Oli came at him with an SMG wielding bod. I went to check the stats to see if it was worth dodging into combat and realised he also comes with a flamer so took him down that way instead. Nice.
Every game. Every goddamn game I have to fight this bloody link with ODD. . . Wish I had a link ODD :(
In the last turn managed to move the Vet Kazak right into the far deployment zone. At 38pts it really helped.
In Oli's last turn he threw down lots of Zero V smoke and just ran for it. Unfortunately for him I had brought on my commando, moved my Vet Kazak and got my baggage bot up the board giving me more points than he had left. He did shoot my Baggage bot up but I managed to pass three armour saves. The dice gods truly smiled upon me this day.
In a last brave attempt to scrape some points this guy tried to drop down in the last order and secure the HVT. Bad luck as he wildly failed and had to walk on like a pleb. Even worse luck though as he was now in an order pool of one so literally walked on in the last second of the game and just stood there.
After all the hype this guy was a complete waste of time. Popped out of camo and took an SMG crit to the face at long range. Doctor was already dead so that was all she wrote.
Man of the match goes to this guy. He blasted a big baddie from afar who was wielding a rocket launcher, and then killed a guy with a MK12. After that he proceeded to run up the board and sit in the enemy's deployment and score a lot of points. I give him two thumbs up.
Wooden spoon award. After all my big talk about how good he is he just got critted in his first order. I had such big plans to run about and mop up everything with him. Poor guy was never even given the chance.
Honourable mentions go to these three. Not a single one got a proper kill. The grunt didn't move for the entire game but he did sneak up nice and close and counted for 10pts. The commando walked on in the last turn and added her points. The SAS did creep forward to coupe de grace a fallen enemy getting me my secret objective. He then moved forward a few more inches and also added his points. If it was not for these guys I would not have gotten a score of 10 - 0.