Why Play the Elite and Few In Infinity and How

Elite

Infinity is a game about using the best of the best to accomplish some crazy awesome missions, but why is it that you rarely see the best of the best on the table? Why do players not use TAGs? Why do players love spamming cheap crap? What will I have for dinner tomorrow?

These are all questions that haunt me every night before I go to bed, so I decided it was time that the Pride of Rodina investigates these questions and provides the community with some solutions. Get your exosuits and heavy weapons out, it’s time to play some elite lists!

First, let’s start by doing a little bit of personal reflection;

  • How many orders to you typically use in a standard list (do not count impetuous orders)?
  • What’s the cost of the cheapest and most expensive models you use?
  • How many cheap, order generators do you use (ten points or less = cheap)?

If your answers were…

  • 18+
  • Cheapest = 10 or less and most expensive = 40 or less
  • 8+

…then you very well might be part of the problem. Let’s try to break form that mold and do something a little ‘spicy’ and different, eh?

*Ariadna players, you might find yourself falling into this category due to Ariadna’s inherent ability to build these kinds of lists. You can definitely play Ariadna and not fall into the group of “cheap spam” and still be competitive. If you struggle conceptualizing this, then this article will show you how to break from that mold and how to effectively implement an ‘Elite and Few’ Ariadna list. If you still struggle to effectively play elite Ariadna, then you need to get in touch with me pronto, comrade! Of course, some of you might be content with the way you play and if you are, then don’t you dare change for anyone else you beautiful butterfly, you!

 

Why Play the Elite and the Few

Infinity is a game about efficiency and resource management, at it’s root. This game doesn’t favor wasting resources (orders) nor does it favor inefficiency. You need to find the best way to get something done and do it in as few orders as possible.

Efficiency

For some folks, this means that you want more resources to spend in order to help you fail and then try again. They’re on the “resource” side of the great “efficiency vs. resource” debate (that I totally didn’t just make up). Others believe in taking more efficient choices and increasing their odds to start with, but end up with fewer resources. If you’re playing the ‘elite and the few’, you’re playing a list dependent on efficiency. What takes some troops multiple orders to accomplish, will only take yours a few. Not only that, but in many cases the more elite choices are also able to excel at multiple different roles, a ‘Swiss army knife’ of sorts. You now have a specialist that can also act as a front-line aggressor. You have an ARO piece who can also achieve a Classified Objective, etc. In many cases, you will be able to send forward one troop to perform a myriad of roles, all in the name of efficiency.

Veterans

Specialists, front-line aggressors, camo hunters, and tanks, Veteran Kazaks are the elite Ariadna Swiss army knife and all for 39/38 points

Redundancy of Threats

Why play the ‘elite and the few’? Because you want to have the most efficient troops you can. You want to have the best killers, best objective grabbers, the best whatever. Sure, the list that spams cheap chaff has more orders and still has a few elite choices, but once those few die from crits and those orders are forced to be used on the cheap and inefficient troops, what are you going to do then? This is a problem the elite and few don’t have to worry about. Your Spetsnaz’s going to town, killing troops left and right, when all of a sudden, he dies from a lucky critical. Your opponent lets out a sigh of relief, they’re safe now, they think. Joke’s on them, little did they realize you actually had two in your list! The second one waiting to pick up where the first left offand now it’s Spetnaz #2’s time to bring some carnage.

Spetsnaz

Double Spetsnaz, double trouble

Drawbacks

However, there are a few issues with the Elite and the Few. You might have the better and more efficient troops, but they’re all still weak in the reactive turn and they’re all still susceptible to crits. Not only that, but you start with fewer orders, so every order is valuable and every crit even more crippling.

 

How to Play the Elite and the Few

Build a list with as few “order monkies” as possible and use 13 or less orders (13 is still a lot, but for some factions that’s ‘elite’, if you want a truly elite army do 10 or 11). Try to avoid taking troops that are less than 12 points, but if you can’t, don’t take more than two. Unless you have a -very- good reason for to take multiples of some cheap troop, don’t.

Example:

 

Ariadna

──────────────────────────────────────────────────

GROUP 1 10

SPETSNAZ (CH: Ambush Camouflage) HMG / Pistol, CCW, Knife. (1.5 | 38)

TANKHUNTER AP HMG, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 35)

SCOUT (Forward Observer) Ojotnik, D-Charges, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 30)

SCOUT (Forward Observer) Ojotnik, D-Charges, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 30)

TANKHUNTER Lieutenant AP Rifle, Adhesive Launcher, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 25)

UXÍA McNEILL (Covert Action) (CH: Limited Camouflage, Superior Infiltration, Specialist Operative) Boarding Shotgun, D-Charges, Smoke Grenades / 2 Assault Pistols, AP CCW, Knife. (0 | 27)

MARAUDER (Multispectral Visor L1) Heavy Rocket Launcher / Assault Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 26)

CHASSEUR Rifle, Light Flamethrower, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 19)

DOZER Rifle, Akrylat-Kanone / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)

VETERAN KAZAK (X Visor) T2 Rifle, Light Flamethrower / Heavy Pistol, Knife. (0 | 38)

GROUP 21

GRUNT (Marksmanship LX) Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 18)

6 SWC | 300 Points

 

Actually How to Play the Elite and the Few

The really tricky part now is how do you -actually- play these kinds of lists. Let’s get to cooking!

You will almost always want to have first turn, if possible. You more than likely will have a lieutenant with a higher WIP, so you should have the higher chance of picking. If you do, go first.

From here, I’ll go ahead and break down the specifics into four categories:

 

Going First

As briefly touched on above, when you go first, you need to eliminate your opponent’s biggest threat pieces and attempt to cripple their force. If you can spend all of your orders to maximum effect on taking out their big guns and resilient specialists, then you open the door for your next turn to start cleaning off your opponent’s models from the table. Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll remove every important threat in the first turn so, you will need to assess what troops will be the biggest threats and easiest to kill.

Once you accomplish enough killing to feel secure, start setting up your defenses: suppression fire, mines, repeaters, better positions, cover, etc. Prepare for the counterattack.

Aquila

The Aquila Guard HMG: Go first, hit hard and fast. Induce crying.

 

Going Second

You will need to deploy defensively and get ready. Make sure you deploy your troops overlooking one another in order to assist each other when possible. Deploy your ARO pieces aggressively, but not too aggressively. Don’t have them looking over the entire table, but a small lane of fire or a quarter of the table will suffice. Don’t be afraid to have them fail their Guts checks and go Prone either; an alive soldier is always better than a dead one. Setup in a manner that forces your opponent down choke points if they want to eliminate your troops and cripple your order pool— minelayers are especially effective at this.

All in all, you’ll want to hide, stay in cover and have troops watching each other. Sure, it’ll give your opponent the ability to do what they want with the rest of the table, but more than likely your troops are far superior than theirs to start with, so you already started with the statistical high ground…now it’s just a fair fight.

Once you’ve survived the first round (does this sound like the tutorial to a zombie shooter to anyone else?), you’ll want to follow what’s described in the “Going First” section.

 

Vanilla

Variety is your perk, so use it. You will have a whole arsenal of elite choices at your disposal, so make sure you take whatever you need to get the job done. You lack the order efficiency of the sectorials, but you have the sweet, sweet variety of good ol’ Vanilla. Don’t be afraid to leave behind a few types of specialists though, because you won’t always need the full arsenal and you probably won’t have the points either. Make sure you take a good mix of forward deploying troops (for efficiency of not having to spend orders moving forward), sturdy specialists, SWC weapons, heavier weapons with no SWC (T2 rifles, Multi-weapons, Mk12), and ARO pieces. You should have no problem with this, if you’re playing Vanilla.

Remember those Command Token things you have? Use them for coordinated orders! Coordinated suppressive fire, coordinated move-move, coordinated whatever you need to do. You don’t have the innate efficiency of the Sectorials nor do you have the orders to waste like less elite forces, so you will need to make good use of your Coordinate orders. It’s also a great way of giving your opponent only one ARO.

Besides those points, just follow the above guides for whatever turn you end up with, whether first or second.

 

Sectorials

Fireteams are crucial for elite lists when playing sectorials, . No, you won’t need to fill them up all the way, but do try to take as many as you can. Elite lists suffer the most from their lack of orders compared to non-elite builds, but fireteams address this issue quite nicely. Usually the best way to go about this is by building a Core fireteam with 4-5 members of an elite LI, MI or basic HI choice, a Haris (if your sectorial has them) of a MI or HI, and then a Duo (if your sectorial has them) of a HI or elite HI.

SP

Anyone call for an elite sectorial?

You will be needing to take multiples of your elite choices, obviously, so don’t fret if you do. Just like with Vanilla, don’t stress if you had to leave a specific type of specialist at home, but do try to take as many types as you can and try to fit them into your Fireteams when possible.

Your benefit comes from Fireteam efficiency and buffs, so use them. Nothing’s more painful than a Burst 2, BS14 Missile Launcher in ARO that’s powered by a two wound HI. Or, nothing’s more satisfying than marching up the board with your decked out Core fireteam filled to the brim with excellent stats, sweet weapons, and specialists.

Besides those points, just follow the above guides for whatever turn you end up with, whether first or second.

 

Pride of Rodina

Kyle Randolph's the name and Infinity's the game! I've been playing wargames since 2006 and I've been playing Infinity since 2013. I started with Ariadna, only using Kazaks, but now I've expanded my collection to include more than 8 different armies. Find my complete bio in the "About the Authors" section as well as a link to my personal blog, all about Infinity, for a double whammy of awesome!

9 Responses

  1. Deathbird says:

    This is a great post and follows my own philosophy for MO. I tend to take an expensive link and TAGs fairly often and find they work really well and a hard to deal with.
    The one thing you didn’t mention in too much detail is using lots of HI ot TAGs even though this is what the thread leads to. It might be due to the ariadna focus but the advice works for all armies. Good job

    • Pride of Rodina says:

      Glad you enjoyed the article and that it wasn’t too foreign in it’s ideas 🙂
      True, I was trying to keep it vague so it could include all factions. That’s why I didn’t mention taking HI or TAGs much, but I figure folks could fill that in for themselves, or read the countless threads that are popping up on the forums. I can also see how the article was a little too focused on Ariadna. That’s my main faction and pretty much the one that leads the most to spam lists, so I probably focused on them too much.

  2. Reece Gordon says:

    This article inspired is to run a 300pt single combat group tourney. If you’re in the middle Tennessee area, come join us in October!

    https://www.facebook.com/events/1260521787323671/

    • Pride of Rodina says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article Reece and I’m honored it encouraged your local group to start an ‘elite’ tournament! That sounds pretty rad and I hope more people try doing interesting and fun tournaments like this, keep it up!

      I sadly will be heading to Iowa at the same time as your tournament (for another tournament), so I won’t be able to attend. Do keep me posted about any other tournaments you folks will be running! If there’s one thing the Pride of Rodina loves, it’s throwing down some dice 😉

  3. BazlordPrime says:

    Spasibo for this post, Pride!

    I flirted with Infinity about a year ago, but the “cheerleading” aspect really bugged me (especially after i got noob-stomped by a Yu Jing list running 8 Kuang Shi to fuel a Su Jian mini-TAG 🙁

    This post gives me hope that maybe i can play this pretty cool game without descending to the depths of “cheerleader-ploitation” myself, so I’m starting to get interested again.

    While I’m here, do you have any thoughts on whether any particular Faction might get me closest to a “one order per model” play-style? I’m not sure whether the variety of Elites is the best gauge of that, or whether other things like Tohaa triads etc would also help. Thanks!

    • Pride of Rodina says:

      Sorry for the late reply BazlordPrime. I sometimes miss things, so forgive me.

      Yeah, some people like doing that, but I’m not really one of those people. I wouldn’t say I’m the best Infinity player in the world (I’m obviously not 😉 ), but I do fairly well. Of course, you’ll almost always end up with a few “cheerleaders” here and there, but it’s up to you who they are. Will they be Kuang Shi sitting around in a Fireteam, or will they be powerful Ariadna Tankhunters, lying in ambush with adhesive launchers? I play a more moderate approach, where I have a few “cheerleaders” (about 2 -5 per list), but most of them have a purpose, besides providing orders. I don’t want to write a massive reply, so I’ll leave it there, but feel free to reach out to me again if you’d like some elaboration on this point 🙂

      Phew, that’s a tough question. I mean, in all honesty, EVERY faction can play exceptionally elite and that will be even more true when the next book comes out and we get the “elite” secotrials a lot of factions are currently missing. I play Ariadna, which is the typical swarm style of army, but I don’t play swarm style at all. I definitely play an elite style with them. I’d advise you to pick an aesthetic or general playstyle and then fine-tune what elite models you want to use. As mentioned, I am more of an elite player myself, but I also play almost every faction in the game, because they all have their own version of the elite playstyle. Feel free to ask for any further on picking a faction as well, I’d be more than happy to help!

      • BazlordPrime says:

        Thanks for the reply. Two days? I wouldn’t consider that late at all.

        After thinking about it a bit, and reading your reply, I realise now that you can take models that are intended to sit on ARO, and you can then use their orders on the more active troopers, so that’s fine.

        The issue i had really was with my opponent’s build, so what that means is I’d just need to have a list that can cope with that kind of gaminess when it happens. In that particular example – 8 Kuang Shi & Su Jian – i would’ve been better off having adhesive launchers, E/M weapons, K1, hackers, etc. at the ready to ARO the Su Jian once it started rampaging, so that really cane down to my inexperience, both in list building and in knowledge about this sort of thing being possible. And how horrible it could be!

        Anyway, the three factions I’m keenest on are Aleph, Combined Army & Tohaa. Is there any word on when the Shasvastii are going to be overhauled? I like them. Also like the EI Aspects – Anathematics, Charontids, etc. Are they going to be in a Sectorial of their own? Tohaa triads seem like good value. And Tom & Kip came up with a beautifully cheap (which, if I’m honest, really speaks to me 😉 10 order Aleph list, consisting of the Starter box, Sophotects Box, and Achilles (v1). I’m not keen on the Steel Phalanx Sectorial, but some of their characters are hilariously good!

        What are your thoughts?

        • Pride of Rodina says:

          Ha ha ha! Touche, well my apologies for this late reply, then :p

          Ah, okay. I got you now. Yeah, you’d need the ‘proper’ tools with deal with that kind of cheeky stuff, then. Hackers and anything AP would be excellent. Su Jian are nasty, but even nastier when being supplied orders from a bunch of Kuang Shi. Something else to consider is using troops who can get to the Kuang Shi (AD or Infiltrate) and wipe them out, crippling the Su Jian.

          I actually play Tohaa myself and I love them; however, I’m waiting for them to be expanded on some more in the next book (which answers your questions about Shas). This next book will be out some time next year and we should have more info, with a better release time frame, later this year (hopefully at GenCon, which I will be attending). The EI Aspects will have their own sectorial, at some point. No one knows when, though, because it’s kind of a ways off. I’m guessing at least two and a half years from this point in time. ALEPH is pretty good, but I can’t handle the characters myself. If I wanted deadly robots, I want them to be nameless and faceless, darn it! That’s why I’m more partial the the ‘Vedic’ side of ALEPH, with Nagas, Devas, Asuras, and the like. They should be getting an official sectorial in the next book, as well, I hope. Without knowing much else, besides wanting to play an elite force, I’d suggest Combined Army or ALEPH. However, I did make this little quiz for my own blog that might be of some help to you: http://www.prideofrodina.com/p/infinity-faction-quizzes.html
          Let me know what you get and think, and I can help you out some more from there 🙂

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