Hey all, So I’d like to start this somewhat obligatory write up by apologizing the somewhat pretentious title, but I like the movie so deal with it ;) On a serious not however I do feel that the title of this post is somewhat appropriate to the story of my infinity game over the last year or so and is therefore relevant so please bear with me while I relate to you a little bit of back story that I hope will put the rest of this post in context. So as you may or may not know, in 2017 I stopped playing my PanOceania for a time and was instead running a Caledonia Horde army. This army was brutal, of the 8 Non-Cancon tournaments I played with them over the course of that year I only lost 1 (You can check the old posts on IA to find some of the non-ITS results). I'm not saying this to gloat, I’m just putting it into perspective that when I say I went to Cancon i was not only expecting to do well, but to win it in 2018. Well…..as you can see on the OTM, which really really didn’t happen haha. And I was very disappointed with the results I got, and spent a long time thinking about what I was doing wrong, how I could change my playstyle and how to improve as a player. This lead me to playing a total of 5 different sectorials at competitive events over the year, playing USARF for 1 tournament, NCA for 3, SAA for one (or two?), CHA again for another 2 and finally VIRD for 1 and then Cancon. And while my results weren’t as “outstanding” as when I was running CHA all the time, ultimately I think I came to a number of conclusions about my list, the game and about changing how I play. I won’t go into much detail as I am saving the processes I am currently using to build and play competitively for another of my “primers” which I will be posting at a later date but the key points are as follows · Write lists to play the mission rather than working out how to play the mission with your lists · Plan for losing the Lt roll not winning it · Choose the option and tactic that has the least terrible “bad” outcome rather than just the one with the most likely “good” outcome But suffice to say, the end result was that I went into Cancon this year with a pair of lists built for the missions as I interpreted them and a written priority list for what I needed to do each game with what troops. But I also went into it hoping to do well than last year, but not expecting to win or even particularly highly placed and so I think I was able to stay very calm and focused throughout which had a huge impact with how I played relative to last year. So thanks for allowing that pre-amble, let’s get into the lists, the plans, and the matches, cause we all know that’s what you are waiting for ;) List 1: VIRD1 ────────────────────────────────────────────────── GROUP 1 8 / 2 CUTTER MULTI HMG / . (2.5 | 115) CRABBOT Flash Pulse / Knife. () CLIPPER DRONBOT (Varuna Div.) (Aquatic Terrain) Missile Launcher / Electric Pulse. (1.5 | 18) FUSILIER Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 18) FUSILIER Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10) FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10) FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10) ZULU-COBRA (Sensor) Combi Rifle, Jammer / Assault Pistol, Knife. (0 | 29) MACHINIST (Varuna Div.) (CH: Mimetism, Stealth, Aquatic Terrain) Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 17) PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3) PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3) TECH-BEE (Remote Assistant Level 1, Specialist Operative) Flash Pulse / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5) HELOT MILITIAMAN Submachine Gun, Light Rocket Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 9) GROUP 21 ZULU-COBRA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Breaker Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 28) FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8) FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8) HELOT MILITIAMAN Submachine Gun, Light Rocket Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 9) 5.5 SWC | 300 Points I wrote this with the idea of taking it to Supremacy and Frontline. The core idea being that the Cutter ensures that I can 100% guarantee that I will dominate a zone, and giving the scoring for those missions being sure you can dominate a zone unquestioningly (the Xenotech for supremacy and the middle for Frontline) is important. I then went with the Zulu Jammer Sensor to reveal the opponents Camo markers and hunt them down out of their own zones and the Zulu KHD as a form of aggressive Hacking defense and to cap buttons in the zone my Cutter was not holding down. I used my Tech Bee as my Xenotech holder, the irregular order and relatively low value of the Tech Bee means that the opponent is unlikely to try and hunt it down, and additionally reduces the order tax impact of the Multiscanner placement, it’s also a specialist and as such able to score a console in the zone it advances into in supremacy (the cutter zone) and in frontline it’s an assurance that I have points within my own home zone. At this point the rest of the list becomes Support for the Cutter and Zulus. I erred on the side of running the Clipper ML in this link over the Kamau MSV MSR as I was gambling that I would have first turn, based on either winning and choosing it, or losing and being given it as zones favor going second. Additionally having the Clipper meant that I could rely on the Machinist as my only healer rather than having to also fork out for a trauma Doc. Then I slipped in the Hacker fusilier to buff the ML and helots/Flashpulse bots for light ARO duty, orders and Sniffer support. As a side note, the Helots were used as Lmted Camo so that I could use their irregular orders to push them into the close zones without revealing them. As to the group Breakdown, the primary goal of this list is to hold zones, push buttons and destroy those buttons, killing the opponents troops was secondary to that and as such I felt the limited orders for the cutter by putting the Tech bee and Helot SMG in group 1 was worth the trade off to putting the KHD zulu in group 2 with the orders to get forwards, push a button and re camo. List 2: VIRD2 ────────────────────────────────────────────────── GROUP 1 10 KAMAU (Multispectral Visor L2) MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 32) KAMAU HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 28) FUSILIER Combi Rifle + Light Grenade Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 14) FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10) FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10) FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10) KAMAU Heavy Rocket Launcher, Submachine Gun / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 23) PATSY GARNETT Submachine Gun, Nimbus Plus Grenades, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 37) MACHINIST (Varuna Div.) (CH: Mimetism, Stealth, Aquatic Terrain) Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 17) ZULU-COBRA (Sensor) Combi Rifle, Jammer / Assault Pistol, Knife. (0 | 29) GROUP 23 / 2 ZULU-COBRA Lieutenant (Sensor) Combi Rifle, Jammer / Assault Pistol, Knife. (0 | 29) TRAUMA-DOC Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14) HELOT MILITIAMAN Shock Marksman Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13) HELOT MILITIAMAN Submachine Gun, Light Rocket Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 9) ECHO-BRAVO Boarding Shotgun, Light Rocket Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 25) 6 SWC | 300 Points So this list was built for Decapitation, Supplies and Firefight. And I was trying to do my best based on losing the Lt roll in decapitation which is always a very, very hard ask. The core Idea here is a very strong reactive list with the Kamau MSV MSR in a fusilier Core and a pair of Helots. Then I wanted a Data tracker option for both if I won’t the Lt roll in decap and elected to go first (the fusilier LgL) and if the more likely outcome of me losing the roll and going second (patsy) who is a tough option that is hard to assassinate and also able to advance and kill the HVT as required. I then supplemented the list with a machinist and a Kamau HRL and HMG. The idea being to form a haris with Patsy and having the option of either running an aggressive haris with the HMG while the HRL acted as a back-up option for the core in case the MSR Kamau died, OR to run the HRL in the haris as a light ARO option and use the HMG to form an aggressive core when the MSR died. The flexibility offered here was a real draw card to this list and was key in my 4th game where a mistake on my part was readily rectified with my mate by being able to form a Core fireteam of the Kamau HMG, HRL and machinist after patsy had died. Finally for Decap, Supplies and Firefight having an AD troop as a reserve model that is able to strike the opponent in a painful position, go for Lt kills or assassinate a crate holder the Echo Bravo BS/LRL was added to the list. I would have much preferred the red fury but I did not have the SWC and as such had to compromise and use this guy. So those where the lists, the thinking behind them and the general game plan going into day one, want to read how it all went together? Well let’s not keep you waiting J NOTE: If any of my opponents have an issue with anything they feel I’m discussing unfairly/unfavorably please feel free to PM me and I am happy to adjust this discussion accordingly Round 1: Getting into the swing of things! I drew a player from Sydney and part of the SITH/Silvania meta. He was running NCA and unfortunately hasn’t had an opportunity to play much since October last year. That being said he made a real game of it and was able to keep his head throughout the game and play well. So the game started with my opponent winning the Lt roll and elected to take second turn given it was supremacy, as such I asked my opponent to deploy first and chose the side of the table that I thought would be most advantageous for my clipper. (seen in photo) In terms of game plan it went all really according to plan, I was able to move my Tech bee up into the close right zone, push its button and place the multi scanner relatively easily. I then pushed the cutter as TO camo into the same zone and advance a fugazi also into the Cutter zone., with the Zulus both holding down the other zone, I also made a point of advancing the helots as camo markers to act as a screen for the Cutter and Zulus. Then in reactive I was able to kill the AHD Locust holding the Xenotech with the KHD and Fusilier HD before they both died to a Hexa KHD of Lukes. Unfortunately for my opponent he was never able to get his XT back into sync and after I scored 3 buttons in turn 3 and destroyed them while also clearing out some fusiliers and advancing the tech bee into his far zone (leaving the XT with the cutter) the game was largely over, Though a late game push by a Swiss AHD and the Hexa did steal all the zones but the cutter Zone off me that was too late given I had more zones for 2 turns, the XT for all 3 turns, the Multi scanner and secured the HVT. Round 2: The one where it went to shit So this games an interesting one, and really its where I should have lost the whole shebang straight up. I played another mate of mine from Sydney, my opponent who was running OSS and was sharp enough to bring his Marut to the fight. A matchup I wasn’t really looking forwards too as I felt my second list was potentially vulnerable to a TAG muscling its way past my AROs going into Cancon. Additionally this was the game where I somewhat disregarded my own game plan prep and I really almost paid for it dearly. To start with I lost the Lt roll and my opponent elected to go first, I knew I reasonably couldn’t prevent him killing the HVT without lucky dice but his Post human MK5 data tracker was in group 2 with 4 orders (I stripped this group). The part that almost came back to bite me was electing to make my Fusilier LGL the data tracker despite going second when the plan had been to use patsy. Anyway, the turn one was bloody for me, with the Marut double critting the Kamau the second order they fought (the Kamau won the first order but the Stun round bounced off the BTS9 Marut) my opponent them proceeded to kill my SMG Helot and then went for the HVT with his Mk5, while it died to the Shock Mkmn Helot it managed to murder my HVT. With that done deon syncd his HVT with the Marut, and ran it back to his own lines meaning I would have to come fight him, before sitting the Marut in SF and killing the helot Shock mkmn with a PH sniper. My first turn went really south, losing the Kamau HRL to the Marut’s explosive round. But I tried to keep my cool and found a position mid table where I could advance Patsy into LOF of the HVT without drawing LOF to other AROs, planning to FO the HVT and then take long range pot shots with the LGL data tracker. Unfortunately after spending the majority of my orders pushing the reformed haris of Patsy Machinist and HMG up to that position patsy failed her FO while the HVT dodged to its left and out of LOF of Patsy (she would have to fight the Marut to get LOF again). Patsy Haris was then hanging in the breeze and I forgot about her NCO rule, thinking the Haris was likely to be wiped out next turn and understanding the only way to stay in the game was to get a DT kill on the HVT I ran my Fusilier LGL DT as the link leader into LOF of the now visible HVT as well as the PH sniper and the marut, at terrible range…… While my DT then died in the obvious puff of red mist, I managed to roll a 1 and a critical 3 to kill the HVT that order. my opponent then spent his next turn playing it safe and wiped out both the Kamau HMG and patsy but could not reach the rest of my list without advancing to my deployment zone. I spent my second turn killing an 8 point flashbot and pushing my non Lt Zulu jammer across the table to cover the flank the Machinist was on, hoping to play for the T3 kills on his Dakini sniper link or to preserve my forces and hope Deon left the Marut in a position were it was exposed and I could make a play for it using my BS Echo Bravo. Then in his final turn my opponent went to try for the major Lt kill over the minor win Army points, rushed my DZ with his Marut and vaulted into LOF under 8 of my jammer LT as well as a pair of Fusiliers and a Trauma Doc. Expecting the HFT on the Marut to obliterate my LT I went for the Jammer and combi shots all round. my opponent opted for the MHMG F2F instead and split burst to each of my troops, but a jammer crit ;) a fusilier crit and a combi wound later the Marut was left isolated deep in my own DZ with a single wound and nothing else of my opponent's able to protect it. In my turn with 7 orders left I moved the trauma doc and EB into group 1, the Trauma doc took a potshot at the back of the Marut (its facing was to the fusiliers and Jammer lt) and killed it. The EB then came on and hunted down 4 of the Dakini to secure the Major. Round 3: We need artillery now! So I got to play another SITH player (that’s 3/3 for those counting at home)who had an epic Cancon from what I understand playing MRRF. But for me it was the archetype I was actually most concerned about playing going into Cancon, because I was expecting moderately expensive camo skirmishers prone on rooves. And the list that I was taking, while good at De-Camo’ing clusters of markers, lacked the speculative fire or disposable warbands it really needed to root those troops out of hiding. Additionally they had the flamers to seriously trouble the cutter by removing it’s TO and I suspected Margot and Duroc would be appearing to hammer my troops via their own spec fire (that’s what I’ve been telling my opponent to do ;)) Anyway, he won theLT roll I think and as I had expected I was going first, the first turn went according to plan and amounted to buffing my Clipper, pushing my Tech bee and scoring my XT in the middle zone and Scanner, moving up my helots and pushing my Zulu KHD onto my opponent HVT to go for my classified next turn. I also dropped some of his chasseur minelayers and FOs out of camo and set up for Duroc/Margot. Finally I took a risk on the Cutter, dropped it out of HD and killed a Zouave Sapper before Re-Camo’ing in the middle of my DZ. In my opponent’s turn Duroc arrived and went for my lines but he had to spend orders on smoke and worrying about a Helot SMG so was only able to kill both the Helot and a flashbot before running out of orders (also getting locked in combat by a palbot and dropping the cutter out of marker state with a Chain rifle). my opponent’s Zouave LGL took some pot shots at some of my forwards troops as well but failed to really amount to much. My turn started with my Zulu Jammer murdering Duroc with triangulated fire assault pistols and then at that point I knew I had to make the hard decision about rooting out those Chassuers on stairs and rooves :(. So I decided to go for it, pushed the cutter up on the first chasseur, murdering it with the MHMG at close range as it burned off my Cutters TO (So Sad) then climbed onto the giant building that was mid table, blew away another chasseur at close range and ended on the roof. I can’t quite remember what else I did with my second pool this turn but that was mostly it. In my opponent's second turn he spent a few orders moving chasseur to get into the rear of the cutters LOF so he could FO before taking some speculative fire shots at it with a Katyusha which failed to achieve much. Then he stood up his Metro HMG in a 5 man link to have a go at the mimetic TAG, but it was blown away by both the cutter and the Clipper. With it being the final turn and wanting to go for the Major I blew away the 3rd chasseur who had FOd me, climbed again onto the tallest part of the building with the cutter, from which point I could massacre the Zouave lgl and then kill 3 of the 4 remaining Metros as well as a Dozer with traktor control device unopposed (they were facing the other way and I got LOF due to height) I pulled the Zulu KHD back into my close zone and pushed my remaining Camo helot into ZoC of my opponent's HVT for the late secure. In my opponent's turn he played for the gamble that Id pushed the cutter too far forward (I thought I might have as well and was worried), pulled Margo into the center zone and tried to get his Para commando into the centre zone as well but it died to the cutter. After measuring the zones it was another major for me with the cutter dominating the middle as planned initially. Round 4: things are getting tense Well at this stage I was on 3 Majors, and the only other player on the same score was my mate who I was sharing accommodation with J he was the top player with 3 Majors and a massive 30 OP to his name, using a list that he’d painted deliberately for Cancon and hadn’t played before the tournament (so crushing it). Meme’s about smothering each other in our sleep aside (thanks SITH ) this was going to be a tense match neither of us wanted to lose. As to the game, my mate and I both knew what each other were running and I was seriously tempted to switch the game plan up and take the Cutter as a counter to his Hollowmen ML link and I believe my mate was considering doing something similar to gain access to his Kriza HMG to counter my Kamau MSR. But in the end we both stuck to our initial game plans and aside from my Game in round 2 where I was losing and then dramatically wasn’t this game was the tightest, coming down to the 3rd last order at my estimation, and really being the result of a handful of significant rolls over the course of the game. I can’t remember who won the Lt roll, but I ended up going first and set up as best I could to cover the boxes while still being able to push my non-Lt jammer up into the midfield if I could. Additionally I had the Kamau in the best position I could and was aware that Raoul would likely be showing up at some point so attempted to try and counter him. I also decide that instead of running both helots as decoys to force information overload I would run 1 Helot as a Decoy and the other as an aggressively deployed piece which could advance into a position from which it could contest the advance to two of the boxes. The Game started with me deciding that I had to try and deal with the Hollowmen MLs even if I didn’t want to and moving the Kamau to gain LOF to one of the MLs. At B3 BS16 Vs B2 BS13 that wasn’t a fight I was happy taking but I think it was the option I needed to take to have a chance of controlling the flow of the game. Unfortunately for my mate not only did I win the F2F but he failed 4 saves to die outright with terrible rolls. Following up on this I tried to make a play for his second ML given it was now BS16 Vs BS10, but unfortunately this was unsuccessful and he guts out of LOF. I pushed with the Patsy Haris, and grabbed a box before setting up close to a second in the best position I could. In toms turn Raoul appeared and went for the link, killing one but dying to the second and eating a large number of orders to do so. my mate then killed Patsy breaking the haris. In my turn I used my Helot to clear out one of the drop bears Raoul had thrown and advanced my Kamau HRL into Zoc of the remains of the haris and reformed the link (in fairness I didnt catch that Patsy was dead and therefore I had no haris model, but my mate did and offered that I broke the Kamau MSR Core to allow me to make the HMG, HRL and Machinist a 3 man “Core” which I broke later in the turn and reformed the Kamau MSR+fusilier Core) I grabbed a second box while palming off the original to my Kamau HRL before trying for a 3rd which I failed the WIP roll on a number of times. With only a handful of orders left I decided to hold the two boxes and rely on the Kamau, Camo helot Kamau HMG and Jammer to hold Tom at bay as his Hollow men came out to play while the HRL and Machinist ran back to my DZ and hid. In my mate's turn he made a push for the midfield with his link, killed my Kamau HMG with his TR HMG and then was making a play I didn’t notice at the time to try and put a pitcher down with his Hollowman MR. It would have been a great move and I was not expecting it at all, but unfortunately my Jammer crit the MR isolating it and breaking the link, tom them repositioned as best he could for a 3rd turn run at the game including killing my Jammer with the TR HMG after it had dropped from camo. Knowing the game was going down to the wire I tried to get my EB on to a place where it could go for my mate's Lt Interventor but unfortunately there wasn’t enough room and so I sent it after the Hollowmen instead, I killed one leaving them at two men if I recall correctly and then pushed my Jammer LT right up to a similar location the last jammer had died in, scored my classified before hoping I’d done enough to hold off the BS and Chaincolt that were coming my way. Unfortunately for my mate, the game ended with my massed AROs being enough to hold the models off though a highlight was my Kamau then Critting the TR HMG as it made a run to get LOF with the machinist (to kill its box so he could grab one of his own from the last tech coffin) and he was able to score just his classified to casevac one of his Hollowmen, leaving me with my 4th Major, albeit another game that felt like it was by the skin of my teeth. Round 5: I really can’t be this lucky, can I Going into round 5 with 4 majors, and I really needed the 5th Major to get the overall win at Cancon due to the player behind me and my opponent being on 3 Majors and a Minor while having more Objective points than me (Thanks round3 ;p ) The matchup for top table was my Varuna Vs a Steel Phalanx Limited insertion list (I used list 2 with the MSV sniper because of course!) on a table where the Kamau MSV MSR could dominate meaning that my opponent was in a position where he was unfortunately on the back foot from the start. The game as a whole was still however very intense. I went first and spent my initial turn killing my opponent's Agema MSR and putting 2 wounds on Hector Spitfire with the HMG Kamau while Patsy and the Machinist advanced up the table to the panoplies. I was able to grab my Sabotage classified and a Panoply as well as killing a thorakitai FO, and then set up the haris defensively but advanced with the MSV sniper on Overwatch of most of the table and nothing left to contest its dominance. In my opponent's turn he had to spend a lot of time and effort moving prone and throwing smoke to contest my AROs and while he succeeded in killing Patsy and the HMG kamau he was unable to advance out of his DZ. At this point I was able to walk on the Echo Bravo BS/LRL behind the data tracking Ajax out of LOF and ZOC of all my opponents troops. But the AD failed to significantly hurt Ajax who opted to turn and face the Echo Bravo. Not wanting to fight B2 16s with my own B2 16s I switched gears, took the opportunity to run my lone Machinist back to my dz (grabbing my second panopaly on the way) and then advanced with my HRL and a Camo Helot SMG LRL. Finally I spent my last order taking a shot an Ajax and clipping the Myrmidon Officer with the Impact template but she succeeded in her dodge (she crit) and Ajax took only 1 wound. my opponent broke Ajax’s link to let his Myrmidon Spitfire try and kill the EB but it died to an LRL crit. Ajax then killed the EB but took another wound in the processes and my opponent was still unable to advance out of his DZ due to the Kamau MSR though he did shift hector slightly which opened it up to a potential Kamau attack in my turn. In my final turn I managed to Kill Ajax with the HRL Kamau, then went hunting Hector but despite having 2 volleys of shots into Hector, who was being forced to dodge the Kamau was unable to put him down. Neither was a handful or orders I spent on the HRL attempting the same thing L. I then used my remaining orders to push the Camo SMG helot into Zoc of his HVT to get secure and dropped decoy on the Shock Mkmn Helot to add an extra layer of ARO to Hector. In his turn Jacob killed the Helot MKMN but that was the end as he could still not contest my long range AROs. Ultimately given the scoring I ended up with the Major by a mere 11 pts. And that guys and gals, is how I won Cancon. But seriously the big thing I took away from this is that playing with a level head and referring to the plan so that you keep calm and collected, while also not putting pressure on yourself to win makes a huge difference in your game. Especially as a way of cushioning games those aren’t going your way, as many of mine weren’t at various points, and lets you pull out Major wins in places when the opportunity arises. Im sure the reports will seem like I may have had an easy time of it, or maybe that key rolls and luck meant more than anything else in my run, but I really, really am very proud with how I played this weekend, how I kept my head in terrible situations and how I was able to work what I could into wins. Finally a massive thank you to all the guys I played, I haven’t had this great a set of games in a long time and it was a real fantastic weekend.