Introduction It seems like there's been a big up-tick in new players over the past couple of weeks. I've counted probably 8-10 new accounts posting on this subforum, and we have several threads in the past month from people who are either new to the game or new to Spiral Corps. With that in mind, I feel like a single thread to talk about the new player experience in Spiral Corps is in order. If you are an experienced player, please contribute feedback, I know I'm very opinionated and many of us are playing the army in very different ways (especially now!). If you are brand new, some specific examples in this post may go over your head right now – that’s okay! Instead treat this post as an outline, and once you have a bit more familiarity with the game, you’ll be more ready to assess the many strengths and weaknesses of the faction. What is Spiral Corps? Spiral Corps is a mercenary army that combines the common themes of most mercenary armies with the uniqueness of Tohaa, one of the two alien factions in Infinity. This means it inherits many of Tohaa's strengths and weaknesses, but also puts a unique spin on many of them. The fluff in a nutshell: Spiral Corps is the merc wing of essentially the Tohaa Illuminati. When the Daedalus Gate (the space gate that connected the Tohaa worlds to the Human Sphere) was destroyed in the events of Daedalus Falls (the final rulebook of the last edition), the Spiral Corps was left stranded in the Human Sphere, with no way to go home. Why Play Spiral Corps? (If you answer yes to all or most of these, Spiral Corps is likely a good army for you!) Do you like the aesthetics of Spiral Corps models? You will be fielding stuff from the Spiral Corps Army Pack pretty frequently, so if you don’t like how those models look, you may want to consider something else! Do you want to have weird mechanics that makes your army unlike any others? Spiral Corps has more unique mechanics than maybe any other army in the game (this is debatable, but Spiral Corps will show up towards the top of the debate). We have weird armor, weird pokemon, weird ammo that makes you stinky, weird devices that make people feel like they have two more of them, and all sorts of other weird stuff. Do you want to control large spaces on the table and make your opponent squirm? Pheroware Tactics (if you’re new, this is basically hacking but instead of targeting things that are hackable, it targets things with wounds – think biohacking) like Eraser and Endgame are hacking-like threats that can't be dealt with using normal hacking responses such as Killer Hacking Devices, pieces like Helot Militia provide very cheap and effective threats, and battlefield-warping Dazers can be used to generate Difficult Terrain to slow your opponent down. Add in our great access to units that deploy forward up the table out of our deployment zone or even up to the enemy's deployment zone, and you'll see why Spiral Corps is such a minefield. Do you want your opponent to feel like they're playing into a brick wall on their turn because everywhere they look there's someone all up in their stuff from their first move? Jumping off the first point, Spiral Corps can create a lot of indirect pressure on the opponent right way. Impersonators like the Kiuutan and Greif Operator can start right up against the opponent's deployment zone (a very uncommon skill in the game), and Helot Militia are cheap but effective ways of slowing an opponent's advance up the table. Do you want to feel like an army that employs a lot of tricks and deception? Spiral Corps tends to have more Private Information (information that cannot be known by your opponent until you or they take specific actions in the game that reveal it) than many other armies, and employs tricks that conceal what a unit is (Camouflage), disguise one unit as another (Holomask), make a unit be treated like an enemy model for the purposes of some rules (Impersonation), or hide units from the game table altogether (Hidden Deployment). Spiral Corps also uses a lot of close-range "mix-ups" that give enemy troops the choice of a bad option and a worse option in reaction. The mechanics of this are a bit too complex for this post, but suffice it to say Spiral Corps is an army that will constantly keep your opponent questioning what is what and where the real threats are. If you already play the game, do you like not needing to worry a lot about lieutenant choices and decoy lieutenants for your list? The Taagma Lt with Holomask existing and the Chain of Command Kaeltar staying an exceptionally good choice in N4 means that you will almost never be in Loss of Lieutenant. (And if you are, it will usually be because of more general mistakes you've made than lieutenant-specific mistakes, though some might disagree with me there. I will say the only time I've ever been in LoL as Spiral Corps, it was because I was getting wildly outplayed and would definitely have lost whether or not I was in LoL.) Why Not Play Spiral Corps? (Not an invitation, I just need to address our weaknesses -- if you answer yes to all or most of these, Spiral Corps may not be right for you.) Do you want to play Hacking/Infowar games? Spiral Corps is remarkably bad at offensive and defensive hacking, with just one Killer Hacking Device, two normal Hacking Devices, and not a single repeater available to the army, and generally navigates around the issue by avoiding fielding Hackable units or counting on the innate defenses of those units to take care of themselves (Neema Saatar has the highest BTS (=armor against hacking) of any character in the game for a reason.) We don't even have an EVO Hacker. We are literally so bad at hacking we have the Taagma Hacker, who literally only knows the hacking program that prevents him from getting hacked if it succeeds. It's very not good. Do you dislike reading rulebooks? Spiral Corps has a lot of unique rules as an army, and you will need to be very familiar with a set of rules that your opponent may not have ever played against, or maybe even read. Rules like Symbiomates, Symbiobombs, Tricore, Pheromone ammo, Impersonation (IMP-2), Decoy, Transmutation (W), and Dazers are all rules that are either completely exclusive to Spiral Corps (the first 4) or very rare outside of Spiral Corps (the rest of them). It will be up to you to know them, know how to explain them, or at very least know where they are in the rules to reference them. Do you want the aesthetics of a consistent and regimented army? Being the intersection of both mercenary armies and alien armies, the average Spiral Corps list is going to be fielding a wild and weird mix of units. If you take a Kerail, a Helot, a Brawler, a Chaksa, a Reex, and the Anaconda, you could have like 6 different species and a robot in your list. Aesthetically you may actually feel more like the Combined Army than the Combined Army does. Do you dislike the aesthetics of the stuff in the Spiral Corps box? The introductory box to the faction is very well put-together, and you will be fielding probably at least 7 of those models in every list (the third Reex, the second Draal, and the Kiel-Saan model are probably the most likely to get benched of what's in the box, in that order). Infinity is a game where most armies do most things, so if you are just learning the game, don't feel like you should choose an army that you don't like the looks of! Do you want combat jump troops, remotes, lots of close combat specialists, widespread MSV, or tons of regular smoke? Spiral Corps doesn't have any of that. (To call out one point specifically, the Chaksa Auxiliars serve many of the same functions that basic remotes do in each faction, but they are not remotes and therefore cannot benefit from Supportware, and they have unique loadouts that differentiate them significantly from normal utility remotes, such as the Guided Heavy Rocket Launcher.) Do you like lots of options for long range heavy weapons to shoot in your active turn? Spiral Corps has a very decided lack of Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) (a total of one HMG in the army that can be used in the active turn, and it’s on our TAG, the Anaconda), few Spitfire/Red Fury options (just Neema, Reex, Rasail, and the Anaconda for Spitfires, and the only active turn Red Fury on the Kiel-Saan), and our heavy weapons tend to be on weak platforms (Reex Spitfire, Chaksa HMG, Chaksa Longarms Portable Autocannon, Brawler HRL). It is not uncommon for the heaviest weapons in a Spiral Corps list to be an AP Marksman Rifle and a Viral Sniper Rifle. While these weapons are strong in their own right, the approach you’ll see in many armies of a Fireteam Core with a Heavy Infantry with an HMG and 4 Line Troops to fill out the team is definitely not up Spiral Corps’ alley. The best shooter in Spiral Corps is far and away the Draal with an AP Marksman Rifle, who is going to count on Tricore bonuses and Mimetism(-6) to win gunfights with his low Burst (3-4) and low damage (AP, but only DAM13). This is probably the most up-for-debate of any of these points, but do you like having an army that has roughly consistent power levels throughout the game? Spiral Corps, in my opinion, has a very lopsided power curve, leaning heavily towards the first two player turns. In my opinion (and only my opinion), Spiral Corps can basically feel like a rush to dominate as much of the table as possible on turn one, and hold onto it as much as possible for turns two and three. The removal of the Stratuscloud mechanic (players new to the game: don't ask, it will only make you yearn for times you never lived in, and players who know the game but are new to Spiral Corps: we're sorry, we knew it was broken all along) has evened out the curve a bit, but our general reliance on pieces that offer strong lateral support to each other that can fall apart drastically as the pieces are removed is unchanged. What Makes Spiral Corps Unique? 1) Aliens! I know this may go without saying, but Spiral Corps is an alien army! The look and feel of the army is very different from most human armies in general, and this is compounded by the unique mechanics. 2) Fireteam: Triad. The Fireteam rules in Infinity allow you to move several troop of the same type together with just one order, with bonuses granted depending on the number of living members in the team. Fireteam:Triad extends this rule in two ways: 1) Normally you can only have one Fireteam: Core (with up to five members) and one Fireteam: Haris (with up to three members). Fireteam Triad allows an unlimited number of three-member fireteams. And 2) Fireteam: Triad allows you to mix and match any units with the Fireteam Triad skill. (Okay, this isn't completely true, we have a couple of units with special restrictions, but in general, think LOTS OF FREEDOM in Fireteam construction.) 3) Tricore. The Tricore skill allows us to give a 3-member Triad the skills normally granted to 4-member and 5-member Fireteam. This is as hilariously strong as it sounds, since you get all of the benefits of having 5 members with none of the weaknesses. Tricore is (somewhat) balanced out by the fact it is limited to one per list -- not even just one active Tricore, just one single trooper with the Tricore skill. 4) Transmutation (W). Symbiont Armor (now Transmutation (W)) is essentially Spiral Corps' version of having more than one wound (if you take a quick stroll through our army list, you'll notice all of our 2 Wound models also have Transmutation (W)!), but with a slight penalty, in that our second wound has reduced stats and often reduced skills. For example, the Draal Saboteur has Mimetism(-6), making him very hard to hit, but when he takes a wound, he Transmutes to his second profile, and loses Mim(-6), making him much easier to hit the next time. In exchange for the reduced stats, Transmutation(W) tends to cost fewer points than two full wounds. 5) Symbiomates and Symbiobombs. Units with the Transmutation(W) skill can be assigned Symbiomates and Symbiobombs, which come as part of the Kaeltar Specialists profile (but again, can be assigned to any model with Transmutation (W).) Symbiomates are kind of like a "get out of jail free" card that grant a unit equipped with them a one-time bonus to defense, but they go away after being used. Symbiobombs allow the use of Pheroware Tactics, which is the next bullet, but also grant an additional -3 penalty to an opponent trying to avoid getting hit by the tactic! 6) Pheroware Tactics. In short, Pheroware is like Hacking, but against any model that has Wounds and not Structure. There are only three Pheroware Tactics in the game right now, but they all have very powerful effects. Endgame does Wounds to things it hits (so essentially a Killer Hacking Program to use against living things), Eraser puts things it hits in the Isolated State, preventing them from using Regular Orders from their Order Pool, and Mirrorball creates a Zero Visibility Zone, essentially a Smoke Grenade that even units equipped with Multispectral Visors (MSV) can't see through. It's worth mentioning here that a number of Spiral Corps units have access to the Eraser and/or Mirrorball Pheroware Tactics without the need for Symbiobombs, such as the Kriigel (who has both), and the Igao (who has Mirrorball on one profile). No Spiral Corps units have access to Endgame without a Symbiobomb, which should be indicative of its strength. 7) Exotic Weaponry. Spiral Corps has several flavors of strange and exotic weapons, like the Pherobooster, which puts models that get hit by it into the Targeted State (essentially making them easier to hit, or making them a target for units with the Guided skill). We also have high access to Viral Ammunition (which is very powerful), with Viral Pistols on our Draal, Kiuutan, Kriigel and Neema, Viral Combis on Rasails, and Viral Snipers on Taagma, as well as reasonable amounts of K1 (on Aelis Keesan, Reex, and Kosuils), which shreds high armor targets. What Do I Buy First? Buy the Spiral Corps Army Pack. (That's a link to the CB store, but consider supporting the local store where you play the game, if that's an option for you.) With few exceptions, Corvus Belli knows how to put together starters and big boxes. As I said above, you will be fielding about 7 of the models in the box (Draal, Kriigel, Two Reex, Taagma, Clipso, Kiuutan) very regularly. Of the remaining models, the Kiel-Saan is very popular, the second Draal is sometimes a choice, and the third Reex you are very unlikely to field (I tend to field the Boarding Shotgun and K1 Marksman Rifle a lot, but the Spitfire less). How Do I Play What's In the Box? Out of the box, you have 10 models that add up to about 260 army points if you match the weapon profiles exactly and take the cheapest option in each case. You can see that list here. This means you are just 40 points short of what you need for a standard 300 point game of Infinity. If you are not a new player, but new to Spiral, the box can be played with two full Triad Fireteams out of the box, one of Kriigel + 2 Reex, and one of either Two Draal and a Kiel-Saan (Special Triad) or Two Draal and a Taagma (Tricore Recommended). If you are brand new to Infinity, remember that Infinity is a game where good decision-making is far, far more important than good list-building, and it is best to tailor your selection of units to the mission. The other recommendation is that you start with much smaller games for your first several games and gradually work up the number of rules you know -- and this is even more important in Spiral Corps because you will have a lot more unusual rules to learn. An example of working up to a full game of N4 might look like: just three infantry with Quick Start rules, 15 points of Code One, 20 points of Code One, 30 points of Code One, 150 points of N4, 200 points of N4, 300 points of N4. Spiral Corps does not have C1 rules, so if you are very interested in Spiral, try borrowing miniatures to test out Code One rules, or alternatively you can use the fan-made Code One project, which you can find here. (Please, please talk to the other person you are playing with before using the fan rules, should you choose to do so. The fan rules are all homebrew, and you will obviously ruffle some feathers if you show up with some homebrew without warning.) If you are playing at 150 points out of the box, my recommendation is to toss the Kiel-Saan, Reex, one Draal, and play something like this. (If you are brand new, and you’ve already played a couple times with just the quick start rules, this might be a good way to try playing with the Spiral Corps box. Just ignore the following rules the first time: Fireteam Triad, Holomask, Hidden Deployment, Camouflage, Surprise Attack.) If you are playing at 200 points out of the box, my recommendation is to toss the Kiel-Saan and one Reex. With that said, if you are just playing Seize the Antennas or Annhilation for your first 300 point game, and you have the additional Hatail model as a Taagma, and just two extra models (borrow from a friend or pick up the Chaksa Auxiliars box), you can try something like this list, which is perfectly reasonable, avoids any unit proxying aside from the ones listed here, and makes only a single weapon proxy, the Draal with the AP Marksman Rifle being played as the Draal with a Submachine Gun. (The Kiuutan is listed as "Combi Rifle" on the box for some reason, but he's holding a Viral Pistol, and all Kiuutan loadouts include a Viral Pistol.) What Do I Get After the Spiral Corps Box? First, it's worth mentioning that Corvus Belli has very player-friendly proxy rules. If you are brand new, a "proxy" means using one model in place of another (usually because you don't own the other), and in Infinity, the only strict rule is that the miniature being used as the proxy must have the same-sized base as the unit it is representing. So don't be afraid to proxy a few things! If you found the original version of the Army Pack with the preorder model, you'll have an extra Hatail Spec-Ops that you can use to proxy for anything (because rules for spec-ops aren't due out until later this year). With that said, here are things most players would agree on to purchase down the line: Tier 1: These are things you should highly consider making your next purchases. 1) Taagma MSV2 Viral Sniper (Blister). This is one of model that almost everyone here seems to agree is really strong. The Taagma has Holomask, meaning it can disguise itself as another model, and it can form a special triad with two Chaksa Auxiliars, meaning if it Holomasks as one of them, your opponent will be looking at three of the same model, any one of which could pop out as an MSV2 Viral Sniper (=very scary). 2) Chaksa Auxiliars (Box). The 10 point Chaksa Auxiliar tend to be the "cheerleader" piece of Spiral Corps. 10 points for Sensor, Heavy Flamethrower (with extra damage!), and Baggage is a very good deal. The special Triad option with the Taagma is both an excellent way to hide a Taagma Lt and can lead to clever Holomask games with the MSV2 Sniper. Tier 2: These are things you should consider, but may want to proxy in the meantime 1) Kaeltar Specialists (Box). This is a box of 6 models, two Kaeltar specialist, and two each of Symbiomates and Symbiobombs (lovingly referred to as "Pokemon" in some areas). The reason why I wouldn't put this higher is because Kaeltar are limited to AVA1, and Symbiomates and Symbiobombs are technically markers in the game, so you can actually field the content of this box by proxying a single Kaeltar and printing the relevant tokens to use as mates/bombs. You can see discussion further down this page for further argument on if they should be ranked higher. 2) Kauuri Sentinels (Box). This is now a box of 4, originally two blisters with two Kauuri each. While the change was probably better for CB, it's worse for us, since it's very rare to be fielding more than 2 of these guys in a list. I almost always take at least one, the 12 point guy, who recently got a brand new set of E/M Mines, a Discover bonus, and the game-wide upgrade to Biometric Visor. 3) Helot Militia (Box). A box of four (one for each weapon loadout), but you'll rarely be fielding more than 2 (and we have a hard cap of 3 per list). Since these will very likely be in Marker form (camouflage or decoy) until they reveal themselves and either do their job or are squarely removed from the table, you may not actually ever put their model on the table, even if they're in your list... Tier 3: These tend to show up frequently, but not as frequently as any of the units above: 1) Igao (Blister). The Igao is Spiral Corps’ main camouflage unit, and now can cast Mirrorball, which generates a Zero Visibility Zone (no units can see through it). This was probably a Tier 4 purchase before, but it’s definitely up here now. Depending on how people feel like Spiral Corps fits together over the next several months of tournaments, I could see this being a Tier 2 purchase. 2) Tohaa Diplomatic Delegate (Blister). She picked up Eraser which is very strong for five points. 3) Neema Saatar (Blister). Spiral Corps own super lieutenant, with WIP15, an extra lieutenant order (that you may not use since you'll probably want to use her in a Triad?) and an extra SWC (which Spiral can always use). Many players here will swear by her, though I will leave it to them to do the swearing. (If CB deems to grant her +1 Command Token like she had in N3, she will be finding her way into many, many of my lists.) 4) Kumotail Bioengineers ("Tohaa Support Pack" Box). She comes in a box with two Chaksa Servants, but you're more likely to toss her in a Triad, so you may want to just proxy her. 5) Kriigel Agent (Blister). Occasionally you'll want multiple Kriigel in a list, and this is for then. Tier 4: You may want to avoid these to start, more often because of the niche applications of the pieces than because of how good or bad they are: 1) Brawlers (Box). The idea of two fireteams with FT:Core bonuses sounds good, but this doesn't actually seem to be super popular among most of the playerbase? Brawlers are fine, but their applications are limited. 2) Kerail Preceptors (Box). Kerails are fantastic, but also expensive (in real world money) for the amount of your list they will be able to fill. I recall this box being a little more expensive than most boxes due to how big the Symbiobeasts are – they’re massive and beautiful! 3) Rasail Boarding Team (Box). Rasails are also fantastic, but I feel that their applications in Spiral Corps are a bit niche, and I would never field more than one Rasail (with one Chaksa Peripheral) in a list, so the second one will feel a little meh. 4) Aelis Keesan (Dire Foes Box). If you have someone to split this box with, it may be worth it, but otherwise you can proxy Aelis. The Hatail in the Spiral Corps box is great fox this, but literally pick anything. 5) Warcor (Blister). Warcors are great, but they're also the price of a blister for 3 points. Generally, when we’re considering a warcor in Spiral Corps, it is because we didn’t have room for the Diplomatic Delegate. Tier 5: Rarely, if ever taken in Spiral Corps 1) Cube Jager (Blister). 2) Wardrivers (IIRC this was only available as a Limited Edition preorder bonus?). If someone shows me a list for any ITS mission with a Wardriver that can't be improved by taking out the Wardriver, I will eat my own shoe. Tier ?: I'm refusing to make a judgement on: The Anaconda, Kosuil, Armand, Greif Operator, and Monstrucker. Of these, I have only ever seriously fielded the Kosuil, and I find them confusing, as you can see in another thread I have made. The Anaconda (our TAG) received some excellent buffs (13 points cheaper on the HMG and 10 points cheaper on the Spitfire, which also gained Armor Piercing rounds, and 6-2 Movement) but having never fielded it myself, I am cautiously optimistic. Chaksa Longarms do not have a model yet, so if you are playing them, it will be with proxies. Jaan Staar, the Kiuutan character, has so far only been released through the Infinity Defiance Kickstarter. You are safe to proxy him with a normal Kiuutan, since his profile is essentially a slightly upgraded Kiuutan with a different loadout. (He may eventually see a general release, but this is baseless speculation.) That’s it! I hope you have at least a slightly better understanding of the army now! If you are a Spiral vet, I would love your feedback on how to improve this, and if you’re new to the game/faction and there was something that was unclear for reasons other than you not knowing unit names/skill effects, please let me know and I will try my best to improve it! Thank you!