June 11, 2014 by crew
Ian from the Wargaming Trader here. Welcome to the first in a new series of Infinity articles for Beasts of War!
To kick things off we have a unit spotlight – the Nomad Interventors of Tunguska and their oh-so-cute FastPandas.
For the non-Infinity players amongst you, the Nomad faction is made up of outcasts and nonconformists who live on three large spaceships. The Tunguska ship specialises in infowar, being a huge data-haven and private banking system. A bit like a future version of Switzerland crossed with the Cayman Islands, but weirder. Much weirder. Oh, and partially run by the descendants of Russian Mafiosos…
Anyway, Interventors are Tunguska’s team of crack combat Hackers, able to paralyse enemy robots and powered armour, and even take control of enemy mechs (Tactical Armoured Gears in Infinity-speak).
In game terms, the Interventor has been around pretty much since the start of the game in the same form. This changed very recently as resculpted models are being released with a new gun option and the addition of a totally new piece of equipment – the FastPanda!
Hacking for Newbies
Hackers in Infinity have some very specific limitations – Hacking doesn’t require line of sight to the target but it only has a range of 8″. In a game where a basic rifle can shoot up to 48″ this means that ways to extend your Hacking coverage are vital. This is where Repeaters come in.
Repeaters are basically wireless extenders/base stations, allowing your Hacker to attack targets within 8″ of the Repeater. Repeaters are usually found in Remotes (semi-autonomous telepresence drones), in the hands of some models that can place a ‘Deployable Repeater’ in base-contact and left there and in Markers, which are two-use guns that can fire Deployable Repeaters across the battlefield
FastPandas are a new kind of Deployable Repeater which is placed in base contact with the user but then immediately runs up to 8″ away, leaving a cute cyber-Panda model to show the final position.
The Nitty Gritty (Cute Pandas for Infinity Experts)
Right, on to rules. You can find the full rules here but to summarise, placing a FastPanda takes an ARO or a short skill of an Order. The FastPanda immediately moves up to 8″ as if it were an infantry model but (and it’s a big but!) the moving FP doesn’t generate any reactions for enemy models. At the end of the move the FastPanda stops moving permanently and stays there as a Repeater for the rest of the game or until destroyed or disabled.
This means that without your Interventor leaving cover, it can send a Repeater out round a corner into range of a hackable enemy model and unless that model can react to the Interventor itself it won’t get any ARO at all. With a subsequent Order any of your Hackers can now hack through the Repeater. Again, the Repeater isn’t the active model so reactions are only triggered by the Hacker themselves.
So how does the FastPanda stack up against Markers, Deployable Repeaters and models with the Repeater skill?
Con – it’s only single-use unlike the two Repeaters carried in a Marker gun or the three Repeaters carried by a model with Deployable Repeaters.
Con – it’s very short range compared to the 16″ sweet spot for firing a Marker and the potential to fire a Marker 48″.
Con – Deployable Repeaters are often carried by Infiltrators or AD troops who can get upfield quickly to get Repeaters close to enemy troops.
Pro – deploying the FastPanda doesn’t need Line of Fire at all.
Pro – the FastPanda itself doesn’t generate AROs. This is huge. Placing a Deployable Repeater is a short skill so the model placing it can be very vulnerable to enemy fire. A model with the Repeater skill has to move in range of the target, as this model is often a hackable Remote this puts the Remote at risk of being hacked itself! Markers can fire indirectly but not very accurately – ideally the firer needs Line of Fire to the target spot you want the Repeater to land on, which can be suicidal if there are enemy troops watching the approaches.
Pro – it’s got a cute model. Yeah, that’s not really a valid game advantage, but still…
So that looks like a pretty big list of cons, but to my mind the pros of no LoF and no AROs easily make up for them.
I see FastPandas being most useful in the mid-game when the forces have started advancing already. So let’s take the (biased) example of an Interventor who is about 16″ from a hackable enemy model but who also wants to interact with some objectives in a different direction.
Order 1. Advance a couple of inches while behind a building or within a smoke cloud and then head back toward the objective, then with the second half of the Order release the FastPanda from the ‘best’ point during the move.
Order 2. Move towards the objective, hack the target.
Order 3. Move to the objective and interact with it.
With only three Orders your Interventor has moved 10″ across the table, left a Repeater in a vital spot ready for ARO hacking, hacked an enemy model and interacted with an objective. Or at least has attempted to hack and interact, but on WIP 15 it’s not normally a problem…
Last but not least, the new weapon option (full profiles here). Until now the Interventor has only had the option of a Combi Rifle as their main gun. The recent update (PDF format or Army Infinity Flash app) added a Boarding Shotgun. Reaction to this online has been very mixed – in the active turn the greater Burst and range of the Combi is better and in ARO the increased Damage of the Boarding Shotgun is minimal. The biggest downside to the Boarding Shotgun loadout is that it can’t be the Lieutenant, making hiding your LT that little harder.
Personally I’m betting on the changes to Shotguns (see the BoW video from the Ficzone seminar) being the rumoured increased BS bonus in short range – which makes it a great ARO weapon if you can position the Interventor well. Plus a situational tactic (one I’ve used with a different mix of units) is to immobilise a nearby target from out of sight, then walk up behind it while still out of sight of the hacked model’s mates and unload both barrels into the hapless victim – incidentally catching the mates in the teardrop blasts that extend out from the victim…
‘Tee hee hee.’
So, FastPandas – cute but useless or another feared Hacking tool?
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"Pro - it's got a cute model. Yeah, that's not really a valid game advantage, but still..."