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Can PanO even Vanilla?

Discussion in 'PanOceania' started by Teslarod, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Teslarod

    Teslarod Trebuchet Enthusiast

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    If there every was a time to play Vanilla armies it is right now.
    With pretty much every faction at maximum expansion before the big culling and spring cleaning that N4 (hopefully) brings.

    Nomads, CA and Aleph are arguably the strongest they ever where, with new additions from their latest Sectorials turning into staple choices or offering flexible alternatives for existing ones.
    With PanO not just getting a new Secotrials, but pretty nice updates for MO, NCA and SAA on top, we should be able to observe the same trend.
    But are we looking at a Faction with top tier potential here or did the new stuff just not fit in?

    The answer to that is it worked out great, but requires starting the approach from scratch, avoiding some traps and forget about what we learned from our Sectorials.
    First things first - Vanilla PanO can do everything, but not all of it fits in the same list.
    You can have all the toys from BS15s TAG over Smoke to toolkit Profiles, Close Combat and Warbands.
    For the most part the usual PanO Sectorial plays different from the rest of Infinity. The focus is solving problems with BS Attacks first and the tools are often keys for a specific lock, rather than lockpick set. To offset that, PanO guners are usually above average and PanO keys do the gun thing better than a lockpick would.

    Vanilla PanO however has access to all the few cases where we actually do get a lockpick and can mix and match them with the best keys.
    This leads to a few interesting balance shifts.
    • Vanilla is excellent at DZ defense. A mix of Fugazi, Regular Sensor Minelayer, Auxilia FO, Krakots, Helot, Warcor and Techbee can slow down any assault, while providing Specialists, a solid Order pool and utility.
      MO in particular is very shorthanded here, NCA lacks access to Mines, CC and the potential Impersonation hard counter that is a single Helot, Varuna has to supplement their basic REM+Fusilier+Helots backline with Snake Eaters.

    • The point above leads to room and support for PanO's solot of synergy with solo troops. The already good ones like a Tik or Swiss are obvious candidates here. However the diversity of Vanilla also opens up troops that struggle a bit to keep up in their respective Sectorials. TAGs and HI want to be screened from various close range threats, including E/M Grenades, CC troop using Marker State and Smoke etc. If they end up Engaged anyway, you'll want a bailout by either using your own CC troops or a Sensor with Triangulated Fire.

    • Asymetric trading. Pretty much anything that's cheap has good chances and a good ARO/active turn options. Warcor, Techbee, Flashpulsebots are PanO staples. Helot, Regular Sensor Minelary and Auxilia are Sectorial contributions. Vanilla adds Krakots and the Monstrucker to the mix. As you can see it's the same baseline cheap troops again. All of them can punch (or stun) above their weight.

    • Camo/Lt shell game. In between TO troops downgrading to Camo (mostly Hexas to contribute their Orders), Zulu Cobra (KHD/Jammer), Helots and Mines any Camo Marker can be dangerous to approach, hide the Lt (with 1 SWC unaccounted for) or otherwise undesireable to walk into ZOC/LOF of. Really helps with keeping anything close to DZ bound Camo Markers alive and discourages Lt hunting - both not the strongest point of the Sectorials.

    • Choice. Again the linetroopers for obvious reasons. But also your Hacker to unlock Rems, now often a ZC, possible Santiago or even DeFeresen instead of the tried and tested Hexa KHD. Your Specialist picks for classifieds opening up options like the Hospitaler Doc, Montesa or Echo Bravo Paramedic.

    • Flat out upgrades. A lot of stuff gut better. Maybe just a little bit, maybe a lot. TAGs receiving a free Order is obviously good for PanO. Hospitaler Doc and Santiago getting cheaper is neat stuff. Echo Bravo providing a cheaper and better optimized alternative to Akali and Crusader, finally bringing an unhackable Specialist Option. ZC providing a Marker State Lt, Combat Sensor, more combat oriented and order efficient Hacker/Spitfire than the Hexa. Seraph gaining a HMG Profile. And ofc the AVA1 Helot doing Helot things.
    Kumulating this into an example list we can end up with something like this.

    PanOceania
    ──────────────────────────────────────────────────

    GROUP 1[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]10 [​IMG]1
    JOAN OF ARC Spitfire, Nanopulser / Pistol, EXP CCW. (2 | 53)
    ZULU-COBRA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Breaker Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 28)
    AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
    [​IMG] AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
    REGULAR (Minelayer, Sensor) Combi Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 14)
    KRAKOT RENEGADE 2 Chain Rifles, Grenades / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0 | 14)
    REGULAR (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 11)
    FUSILIER Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
    FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
    FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
    MULEBOT (Minesweeper, Repeater) Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)

    GROUP 2[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]5 [​IMG]3 [​IMG]1
    AQUILA HMG / Pistol, Shock CCW. (2 | 62)
    KRAKOT RENEGADE 2 Chain Rifles, Grenades / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0 | 14)
    TRAUMA-DOC Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
    PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
    HELOT MILITIAMAN Submachine Gun, Light Rocket Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 9)
    FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
    FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
    TECH-BEE (Remote Assistant Level 1, Specialist Operative) Flash Pulse / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)
    WARCOR (360º Visor) Flash Pulse / Stun Pistol, Knife. (0 | 3)

    5.5 SWC | 299 Points

    Open in Infinity Army


    Joan Lt is great and just got better with the Monstrucker and Helot joining in. However making all those cheap mooks into Regular Orders also means they're not going to be available as warm bodies to slow down the enemy. And more importantly it locks you out of running PanO's take on the formula that makes Sheskin, Tarik and Achilles great troops. She doesn't have the raw power of either of them, but we're PanO and she's only the 2nd biggest guy in the list.
    Which brings us to something I would have not expected to show up in my Vanilla lists - the Aquila HMG. There's less active MSV2+ around these days. The< often get cut in favor of the newer or newly improved additions like Kriza Borac taking the place of Intruders, Draal replacing the Gao Rael, Sheskin and Avatar instead of Charontids. There just appear to be less of them around, except for that one Sectorial with Kamau Snipers doing the opposite. Putting the Aquila down as Reserve Piece is brutal against opponent's forgetting he exists. Honestly wouldn't run one in NCA over the protection TO offers to a Swiss or the FTO gets from his Fireteam.
    For Vanilla however, he can be an immobile turret turn 1 and stay on his rooftop clearing AROs for Joan, the ZC and Krakots while staying safe for a later turn. Joan is faster, better at dealing with close proximity threats and more durable for a first turn Alphastrike. Running her not as the LT also gives you one of the few things in the game able to handily win a firefight but still deadly in CC. Having her and 2 Krakots with DA CCWs in the list for Antimaterial access covers a few otherwise tricky ITS missions as an afterthought. The ZC provides another angle to poke at things with respectable BS, MODs and a fairly hard hitting Breaker Rifle. It's a lot more of an Active Piece than the Hexa KHD (and scares people with the threat of a Jammer/Mine).

    It's no secret Krakots are my favourite thing in Vanilla. Standard Impetuous is free Orders when you can use them. Double Chainrifles in an army usually low on DTWs. Berserk with DA CCW in an army often not running CC troops. Grenades and possibly Superjump/C+/PH16 through Metachem to clear threats PanO usually has to address head on. And ofc Veteran to walk laughing through E/Marats, Maulers, Parrots, Zappers and Jammers - while also providing a bit of a cushion against LoL.

    The other guys really just tick boxes. Want one of almost every type of Specialist? Sure. Sensor sweep? Check.
    Here comes the really nice part - ITS and List number two.
    We can run a very similar list concept in Nomads or Aleph. But no one else is this flexible about changing the big guys running the show or has anywhere close as many competitive options.
    Here in PanO we can just cut the 3 most expensive troops and retool the list completely. And not just cutting the Aquila for another HMG. On the contrary, we can play almost the same list just with a Swiss ML, turning it into a very different experience for the Sectorial player running his Core link up the board. We can make room for a Squalo HGL Datatracker + AD, fit a good mix of medium pieces out of Hexa/EB/ZC/Croc/Hospitaler/etc or have a Tik + Joan Lt run havoc on a sparse table that really should not have had a building this tall next to the DZ.
    Right now PanO can play ITS up there with the best and I'm really pleasantly surprised how comfortable it has gotten.
     
    #1 Teslarod, Feb 13, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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  2. AdmiralJCJF

    AdmiralJCJF Heart of the Hyperpower
    Warcor

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    I broadly agree with your conclusions.

    But I don't feel like we need to lean into Joan.

    I've had a lot of success with lists like:

    PanOceania
    ──────────────────────────────────────────────────
    GROUP 1[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]10 [​IMG]2
    AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
    [​IMG] AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
    AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
    [​IMG] AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4)
    REGULAR (Minelayer, Sensor) Combi Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 14)
    REGULAR (Minelayer, Sensor) Combi Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 14)
    KRAKOT RENEGADE Submachine Gun, Chest Mine / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0 | 15)
    KRAKOT RENEGADE 2 Chain Rifles, Grenades / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0 | 14)
    MACHINIST Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15)
    PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
    TRAUMA-DOC Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
    NISSE HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 34)
    ZULU-COBRA Lieutenant (Sensor) Combi Rifle, Jammer / Assault Pistol, Knife. (1 | 29)
    GROUP 2[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]7 [​IMG]1
    FUSILIER Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 18)
    FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
    FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
    HELOT MILITIAMAN Submachine Gun, Light Rocket Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 9)
    HEXA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (0 | 27)
    KAMAU HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 28)
    FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
    FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
    5.5 SWC | 300 Points
    Open in Infinity Army
     
  3. Nomadimp

    Nomadimp Well-Known Member

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    In short, yup. I’ve played similar lists a few times and they are quite good.

    Being able to combine Varuna and acontecimento units actually gives us a full roster of toolbox units to support our above average beat stick units. I find when playing with a sectorial you only have half the toolbox units you wish you had, but in exchange you get other things. But imo in the hands of an experienced player there’s nothing in infinity stronger than a bunch of toolboxy units with enough orders to back them up.
     
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  4. Teslarod

    Teslarod Trebuchet Enthusiast

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    Really not a fan of treating the Joan Lt as a staple for the reasons mentioned. I believe there is merit in having the expendable 3 (Warcor, Techbee, Helot) and would rather use her EXP Profile for the damage potential in Vanilla.
    She can be good and probably is necessary for Biotechvore.
    As pointed out I mostly think the Linetroopers and their interchangeability (pretty mucha all of them are 14-15 points) builds the foundation. Joan, Aquila and ZC can be replaced by completely different things.
    Your sample list however looks like it took a left turn when it shouldn't have.

    Slightly more Orders but a lot lower quality troopers to spend them on. ZC Jammer, Kamau HMG, Nisse HMG Hexa KHD, Fusilier HD and Machinist? The midrange troops pack a lor of punch for their price, but generally speaking you'll want to spend your Orders on something closer to the top end.
    You have the points - neither the Fusilier HD nor Machinist is doing anything more than classified coverage. No combat REMs, TAGs or HI to buff or repair whatsoever.
    For midrange with a lot of Orders I'd really miss a gunner with deployment option, either Echo Bravo BSG/Red Fury or Croc BSG carrying the list from another angle instead of the mostly redundant Kamau HMG.

    One thing I forgot to mention about the Zulu Cobra and Krakots is their Forward Deployment L1. Doesn't look much, but since we're going spammy the DZ is going to be very crowded and it helps a lot. Mostly for the additional deployment positions in Total Cover.
     
  5. Sungwon

    Sungwon Member

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    Thank you for the good writing. I'm playing MO and trying to expand into Vanilla, so this helps me planning my army.

    I understand your reasons why not to use Lt. Joan, but I have some different idea on this point. I think the cheap irregulars should be used in the same way whether Joan is Lt. or not. It's hard to explain for me but if the list are the same except the Lt., losing the irregulars who making regular orders are not that important. Of course, Joan being Lt. will make a lot change to situations (more aggro on her and losing her will be painful), but that is a different story.
     
  6. Death

    Death Well-Known Member

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    Lets not for get that Pano now has the Bolt CoC for a decently priced CoC for obvious LTs. It makes it easier to take LT TAGs for example. While a pricey option, remember that CoC often counts as a specialist for missions. The Bolt CoC even comes with drop bears which is nice.
     
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  7. Teslarod

    Teslarod Trebuchet Enthusiast

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    Joan is always 50 points, a

    Unfortunately we don't have any "Special" Lts other than Joan. Cutter and Jotum are about the only agressive Lts worth running CoC for and the Cutter is problematic since you'll have to deal with the Hidden Deployment LoL interaction. The usual TAG list however benefits from the 3 stooges (Fusiliers) increasing the overall Order Pool
     
  8. Domino25

    Domino25 Member

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    I had some success with LI Tag lists running Joan and the Knight of the Sepulchre CoC. I feel one of the weaknesses of 10 order lists is that any AROs you put up are going to die and cost you orders. The KotS disguised as a Decoy Helot plus an actual Decoy Helot let me put up a lot of ARO threat with minimal risk to my order pool. I did learn the key to burning orders was to not to let them get LOS on all three holos/decoy in one order. Joan dying was still a threat because irregular orders, but against factions with good LT assassination I could have 4 Joans on the board instead. Finally, Joan's coordinated order helped put the Tag, Joan KotS and into Suppressive. I felt it was a decent combo, and would attribute my losses playing it to lack of skill before the list.
     
  9. Knauf

    Knauf Transhumanist

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    LT Joan also brings "free" coordinated orders that only use her LT order. I found this to be incredibly helpful to reposition/advance units efficiently and my lists with LT Joan tend to play out much different as a result. So much so, that I almost consider her a must take in my Vanilla lists.
     
  10. Teslarod

    Teslarod Trebuchet Enthusiast

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    Sorry I'm not gonna go into a discussion why most people think single combat group lists are at a significant disadvantage in an unrestricted format.

    This thread is mostly talking about Vanilla PanO in the context of unrestricted 300 points ITS. If that holds up for Vanilla PanO in Limited Insertion won't be possible to cover here.
    I'll just put down it's possible to bring a knife (Limited Insertion List) to a gunfight (unrestricted 300 points ITS) and still win. But in doing so you're mostly in it for the heck of it, rather than it being optimal for reasons that have been and still are debated elsewhere.
     
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  11. Domino25

    Domino25 Member

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    My post was meant to be in the context of CoC options/ Joan and my experience with them in vanilla. I wasn't trying to start a debate on the the relative value of 1 or 2 combat groups, but on the other hand I will admit it might be hard to fit Joan & KotS into a higher order list unless you use one or both of those as your primary shooters, of which we have better options . To your point, I think 10 orders isn't enough to get things done. I use Joan's LT Coordinated & tac awareness to mitigate but it does not eliminate the problem.

    It was the choice to use a tag that put me on the lower order count. Care to discuss tag lists within the context of unrestricted 300 pt vanilla, or if you view them as too much of a compromise on order count? You mentioned the Tik, I wouldn't mind seeing your take on lists with that 80 point range tag and then if/how you would take the 100 point range of tag.
     
  12. Teslarod

    Teslarod Trebuchet Enthusiast

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    Sure thing, surprising enough it doesn't have to be low Order count.
    You can take the above list and cut Joan+Aquila for Tik+EB Red Fury/Nisse.
    Tik and Seraph are special because they're relatively cheap for a TAG as well as very mobile. Which makes it harder to support them with troops lacking forward deployment skills. While the Seraph HMG is pretty neat, Superjump works better with the Auxbot and Spitfire. A Tik can climb buildings too high to jump on which imho makes him more reliably, while the Seraph can't deal with either too small (S7 is tough to hide) or to big terrain. A semi high building with a billboard you can 'flip' over to gain extra height can spell annihilation for stuff in a deployment zone from a very unexpected angle.
    Using the vertical vector for movement the Tik can easily end up inaccessible for repairs but can also work his way around enemy Hacking areas, Jammers, DTWs etc.
    With a group 2 cleaning up and protecting vantage points on your half of the table or keeping the TAG alive through the turn 1 Alphastrike you get to spend your entire group.

    Theres a dedicated second list concept I tested a couple times for missions that require scoring Zones. Mostly because it's one mission types where your opponent will seldomly pick first turn. The list was similar to the list in the opening post, replacing Aquila and ZC with a Tik and a second Mulebot (TAGs unlock REMs after all).
    For TAG lists it's pretty mandatory to build a group 2 that can do extra work and I usually flip 2-3 Command Tokens to turn Irregular Orders Regualr turn 1. If I remember correctly that gets you 11 Orders with the Tik and 8 Orders on Joan V2 EXP +2 Impetuous Orders from the Krakots (-2 for the opposing Command token). Both Tik and Joan can do a lot of damage but also move a lot of points across the table, good for scoring in this case. If you go first you can contest and clear most AROs and exposed things with the Tik, then sweep in with Joan V2 and just cause maximum damage. A 21-2 Order Alphastrike is hard to recover from, especially if you haven't played against a Tik before and never saw PanO run at you with mini Achilles.
    For more expensive TAGs I don't see a way around getting rid of Joan, probably replacing her with a EB Red Fury. You're pretty much guaranteed to be able to bring him in where you want to in a list that has a MultiHMG available to clear a side to walk in from. AD also has a lot of value against stuff your TAG doesn't like, mostly ZOC/DTW threats including Hacking, Smoke, CC and E/M.
    Both Jotum and Cutter are pretty nice ARO pieces in their own right, although they should still not be placed right in front of a linked Vet Kazak AP HMG and require layers of protection.
    I just prefer the Tik's cheaper, smaller frame and increased mobility over something heavier. DAM16 is plenty most of the time. You're probably using the wrong tool for the job if you're trying to shoot up an Avatar in Cover with him (beating up TAGs is one of the things Joan V2 and Krakots do well). The max Order count Tik+V2 list really strains what I'm comfortable with. 2 Order pools are great, just 2 pieces that can really use them not so much.
    Which leads us to the Krakots one more time, who can use Orders to do a lot of things, but aren't necessarily efficient about it in doing so. Still if there is an autopick in Vanilla PanO, it's them.

    Really love having the second list for a specific opponent (Swiss Guard ML vs HI Link) or Mission available (Multiterrain pieces really help in missions with Difficult Terrain Zones in the middle).
    Most armies imho have a slight tendency towards Achilles Syndrome, or a "best pick" you always end up with as core piece.
    For Nomads you'll want a KB HMG in Vanilla, for YJ it's very likely to be a Hsien, Shasvastii are Sheshkiin, in NCA is the Swiss HMG.
    Vanilla PanO hits a nice equilibrium where the Cutter isn't the best thing you can go for, because the Jotum has that HFT and those 13 extra points really matter. Where the Aquila pairs better with Joan than a Swiss HMG etc.