Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Building an Infinity army (plus how not to do it)

This article is an expansion on an article I sent into the HoP Idol contest, there I went over the 250 word limit for describing my 'Achilles Paradiso Aggression Force' army list, but I felt it was an important opportunity to give their readership a heads up on how to build an Infinity Army. I felt it was also too good an opportunity to pass up for promoting a different game to what many are used to, i.e. Infinity as opposed to 40k and HoMacine. Lets be honest creating your first Infinity army list can be quite a daunting prospect for new Infinity players, hell many veterans I know still struggle at times. The guys over at the Official Infinity Forums will almost certainly offer invaluable friendly advice as they always do, but it can't hurt to have a few quick pointers and general rules to follow when building a force:

  1. Firstly Infinity isn't like other games insofar that there aren't auto includes or units that are no brainers. Its not about what you bring to the table, but more about how you use it. That being said your lists can be uncompetitive if you don't balance things out.
  2. Orders. Yep these are important, every miniature generates a single order (for now I'll leave out discussing irregular / regular troops), apart from your Lieutenant who generates a special order just for themselves to use. Without orders to spend you can't do anything in Infinity. Having a healthy order pool is more important than having that extra shiny toy. I'd say its best to keep to an absolute minimum of 6 to 7 orders per combat group, speaking of which...
  3. Combat groups are often over looked by new comers to the game. In Infinity there is a limit of 10 orders in each combat group, but you can have multiple combat groups. The 10 orders limit is there to stop you purchasing loads of cheap orders and one or two super hard guys and 'Ramboing' your way to victory without any thought. So you need to be very careful of how you organise your force. You might think putting 10 orders in one group and 4 in the other is a good idea, but it's really not. Balance your combat groups with a good mix of grunts and specialists and remember what I said about combat groups needing at least 6 or 7 orders? Well if you have 11 orders in a force or maybe even 12 or 13, it might be wise to actually lose some orders (and troops) to bring it down to 10 orders and take that extra nice toy after all and stick with just the one combat group.
  4. Grunts or 'Cheerleaders' are soldiers too. These guys aren't just there to generate orders for the powerful guys... well they are, but you should make sure to use them and that the grunts you choose will actually back up your main guys suitably. For instance if you have a lot of specialist long ranged snipers it might be worth taking either some close quarters grunts to protect them if things get all cramped up or take even more long ranged grunts to accentuate the effect. Just have a plan for your grunts rather than sit them behind a wall pumping out orders.
  5. Choosing a Lieutenant is really important. You don't want to necessarily pick the hard guy that you're planning on putting in harms way, but conversely you don't want to pick a cheap grunt who'll sit at the back either because 1) your opponent will almost certainly expect it and thus will have planned for it, also 2) you normally end up wasting vital and valuable Support Weapon Cost (SWC) points on a grunt Lieutenant. Those points might be better used buying a hacking device or a missile launcher for your Hac Tao!!! Pick a middling guy who is likely to be a support fighter for your main attack, so that special order they get to use might be of some benefit and if you have any troops with 'Chain of Command' skill consider taking them.
  6. Spend those SWC points as well!!! For every standard 50 points you get 1 SWC point. If you can, spend them. They'll allow you access to more exotic weaponry and equipment, all those useful tools and the biggest guns. I've been surprised how many opponents under utilize this valuable resource, only spending a fraction of what they have available to them... use them or lose them!!!
  7. Skills, skills and more skills. I think if you have expensive toys that can be hacked and disabled in any way (trust me you more than likely will have) you need to bring a hacker and engineer with you. There is nothing more devastating and painful as watching your 80 point super hero frozen on the spot like some God awful public art installation by a lucky plasma shot or E/M blast. You really need those hackers and engineers to get everything up and running again. Medics can be useful but I don't think they're vital. However troopers like the Sophotect that are both medics and engineers really are worth their weight in gold. Also on skills I'd say familiarise yourself will all the equipment and skills your troops have so you know how to use them best.
  8. Shooting, I don't know how many times it has to be said but shooting is the most important thing in Infinity. Yeah sure I love my Oniwaban for pure shock value and the brutality of their close combat attacks, but remember shooting should always be the core of any army you choose.
  9. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. The Combined Army Avatar might look all sorts of awesome, and trust me it is, but its expensive and if it's your only serious weapon then your army is going to be predictable and your opponent will deal with it and then you'll be stuffed.

I think for a beginner that's all you really need to know about piecing together armies for Infinity. In terms of playing the game there are some quick tips that I always like to tell people:

  • The game in your active phase is all about resource management of those orders, use them wisely and carefully...
  • The same is not true in your reactive phase. You can ARO as many times as you like baby and don't forget to do so either. Many of the best players do their best work in the reactive phase using their active phase to set up well planned ARO ambushes.
  • Take a walk around the board, get down for models eye views of all possible areas, understand the battlefield from your opponents viewpoint as well, because knowing what they know is half of the job done.
  • You don't always have to use all your orders every turn. Sometimes it can be best to leave some unspent and not give your opponent the chance to ARO.
  • Have a plan, don't just expect your opponent to oblige you by falling on their own swords or running into an ARO wall of death. Pick your targets carefully and aim to remove and eliminate them.

I'm sure there are way more things that I've forgotten to tell you about playing the game, but I think its best I leave it their for now. Remember though its supposed to be fun, so don't go throwing a temper tantrum when a lowly Keisotsu Butai scores a critical hit against your Avatar two times in a row... its only a game man!!!

Aleph - Achilles Paradiso Aggression Force

OK having said all that I'm going to blissfully ignore most of my advice and go for a fluffy army designed around the kick ass Aleph poster boy Achilles. You see in the background to Infinity the Human Sphere (the area of known space under the control of various human governments) is under attack from a foul alien force known as the Combined Army and they've made 'first contact' on a planet called Paradiso. It has been brutal, as their 'diplomatic' core, the Rasyats, seem to like starting negotiations with a good old fashioned burst of gunfire. Aleph's response to this new threat was to create a super hard kick ass fighting force of extreme brutality and tip top technical gubbins, led by the über hard and undeniably cool Achilles... and some back up from his Myrmidons. They are quite frankly designed to rip aliens apart and ask questions later!!! So my fluffy (for fluffy read influenced by the back story) list is designed around the idea of Achilles and his Myrmidons turning up to the co-ordinates supplied by an Aleph covert operative (Naga) to raise merry hell and scare the living daylights out of those alien interlopers and cause some havoc and disruption to their invasion plans.

As I've said however, I have broken many of my own rules, I find that's the best thing about giving sage advice you see, you can always ignore it yourself! The clearest rule I've broken is rule 5, I have in fact chosen the really super hard kick ass guy who my entire battle plan revolves around and who almost certainly will be in harms way as my Lieutenant, Achilles. But I think if anyone is up to the task of leading his men into battle by example its this badass. Plus I did kind of listen to my own advice sort of, I have a Myrmidon Officer with Chain of Command so it should be alright... except they're so going to be put in harms way as well!!! However its all OK, and I assure you its all part of a masterful plan.

I've kind of reneged on rule 8 as well, having my army based on mainly shooty stuff. I have two Spitfires one with Achilles and one with a Myrmidon and although they pump out a fair few shots they're hardly precision long ranged ballistic weaponry. It gets worse though, oh yeah it does, my Myrmidon Officer has a sodding Boarding Shotgun, but she's not there to lay down a withering hail of bullets. Hell no! She's there to use those zero visibility Smoke Grenades, she is, to put it rather bluntly an Achilles delivery service. Oh boy it doesn't end there though with rule 8, oh no one of my Myrmidons also has a Chain Rifle, a more limited range weapon you'd struggle to find. In a sort of nod towards the need for gun fire I have included two Combi-Rifle wielding Myrmidons and both the Naga and Sophotect have Combi-Rifles also.

However there is no denying it my entire battle plan relies on judicious use of Smoke Grenades of varying types and those Optical Disruptors providing their -6 to BS to get in close and personal with the enemy. Hell I even spent the extra 2 points on those two Combi-Rifle wielding Myrmidons to get them Explosive Close Combat weapons... ranged support my arse!!! This leads me onto my breaking of rule 9, I think its pretty fair to say that although my various Myrmidons are super awesome soldiers in their own right, I have pretty much loaded all of my eggs onto Achilles' admittedly broad shoulders. Its not the wisest move I've ever made it has to be said and considering the next hardest thing in my list the Myrmidon Officer will be close behind, it's a brave and bold move... or stupid and foolhardy depending on your perspective.

I have however done pretty darn good on rules 6 and 7, in my Naga I have a pretty damn good hacker and in the Sophotect I have arguably one of the best support troopers in the game, giving me exceptional engineering skills and medic abilities. I've not done too badly on SWC either spending 75% of them. I'm also going to say I've not done too badly on rule number 4 either as my grunts and cheerleaders are perfect for backing Achilles up... except you can't really call Myrmidons grunts!!! However on rules 2 and 3 the boys done good. I have 9 regular orders and pretty close knit combat group that should be quite easy to move around and I should have more than enough orders to pump through the hard stuff to deal the damage.

Lets not forget rule 1 though, it is about what you do with it not what you bring to the table. It's still a functioning force, its just a difficult one to use!!! This army is simply about getting across the table and getting up close and personal with Achilles and those Myrmidons. With the Optical Disruptors and Smoke Grenades they have the required tools to do that with careful planning and movement. The Yudbots should allow the sophotect to perform her support duties from a safe distance. The Naga is there for counter hacking and to provide annoyance factor, however you might want to consider switching out the Naga Hacker for a minelayer to protect your flanks, or sniper to give you some ranged supporting covering fire you are clearly missing. Just remember to watch out for Multi-Spectoral Visors and use cover to your advantage and pop those smoke grenades as often as you can... you'll need them. Peace out!


  1. A great read mate. I agree on most parts of the article but being somewhat of a noob at this game I try to stay away from multible combat groups. Still it is something I should try soon.

    I stumbled onto one little mistake. You mention The reactive phase twice. The first time you mention it I think you mean the active phase.

  2. Oops I'll have a quick read through it. Sadly being dyslexic means more often than not I read only for spelling mistakes as I'm paranoid about making them and totally ignore grammatical and syntax errors. Could you tell me roughly which paragraph so I don't have rto read through it all again and miss it again? Cheers.

  3. Found it all by myself... my mom would be proud. Thanks for the heads up I'd never have noticed!!! Glad you enjoyed the read and also glad you're starting the game and enjoying it.

  4. Hey Frontline if you get a chance and you're ever stuck for content, I'd really like to see a background primer for Infinity. All the rules are free and the CB website has fluff for each model, but it would be nice to know more than a few lines about the Infinity universe.

    Of course I don't mean plagiarize the fluff section of the physical rulebook (I'll buy it one day, I swear!), but maybe just a post in your own words introducing the recent history of the world(s) and where the factions currently stand in terms of conflict with one another?

    1. Heya James. Believe it or not I'm planning on doing an 'Infinity week' at some point, where I'll cover faction fluff, basic tactics and characteristics of the factions as well as some mission ideas. It's all in hand right now, but it's all no where near being complete, which is frustrating me now. I need to set some time aside and find a slot on the calendar for it all. As it's you that have asked I'll try and get round to it sooner rather than continually putting it off!!! Cheers. :)

    2. I know you are more than busy at the moment, but I hope 'Infinity week' will still happen in the future :)

      I recently bought both books after reading your christmas list and I haven't regretted it for a second! Really gorgeous books.

    3. It will happen I promise... but right now I am swamped and finding the time to finish those articles off has been a real ball ache.

  5. I noticed that Infinity has a set of 300pt lists for new starters (apparently created in collaboration with the community):


    Seems like a good idea if, like me, you have no idea where to start and at least want the feeling that you haven't purchased a completely unbalanced army!