Welcome to the Hyperpower, recruit! This thread was created as a primer for new players in Panoceania, a unit review for the units (currently) unique to Vanilla PanO, and a place to discuss tactics, lists, and playstyles. I’m purposefully not including any lists in this post aside from the “Icestorm Special” meant to get new players off the ground. I’ll be posting my favorite Vanilla lists in the thread to spur some conversation and make it more of a community resource. Why Play Vanilla?PanO has three awesome sectorials, soon to be four. All of those sectorials have the advantages of higher AVA on cool units, options for Core and Haris fireteams that add value to lowly line troopers and push the best units up to mega-value, and some of our sectorials even add ALEPH units to provide interesting options that we don't have in the main faction! So why would you choose to play Vanilla? 1) Vanilla-only units! As of the writing of this tactica, several of our units don't have their associated sectorial available to play. Things like the Cutter, Croc Man and Kamau, or the Jotum and Nisse are only playable in Vanilla. All of the units mentioned above are absolutely amazing at what they do, so if you want to plop down the TO Camo TAG, Vanilla PanO is the only show in town. In addition, Vanilla gain access to the mercenary units that all vanilla factions have access to, most prominently the Krakot Renegade. 2) Access to ALL the toys! Everyone loves the Swiss Guard in Neoterran armies, but Neoterra has a distinct lack of forward objective-grabbers. Guess what? Vanilla has a lot of options for infiltration, fast-moving specialists, and other support that Neoterra lacks. Deploy a Sensor/Minelayer Regular to guard your Swiss's back and sweep out camo threats in the midfield, then use your hidden Croc Man FO to push some buttons and lay some mines. In Vanilla, you really can have your cake and eat it too. At the same time, there are a couple drawbacks to playing Vanilla PanO, which certainly bear mentioning. First off, you lose access to fireteams. Losing burst 2 ARO capability, losing order efficiency, losing burst and accuracy buffs, really hurts. The order efficiency is possibly the biggest killer. Simply being able to move troops up the field into relevant positions, shoot with increased burst and BS, and moving a specialist or two up the field, all with only ONE ORDER, is big. Defensive line trooper fireteams are a game-defining feature and running into the teeth of a linked Missile Launcher and MULTI Sniper is never fun. So what can you do to combat this feature loss? Coordinated Orders are one solution. Since you don't need to save command tokens to reform links and most of your troopers are eligible targets, coordinated orders suddenly become viable. Coordinated orders take a little more finesse to use than just using a fireteam to pour HMG shots into something until it dies, but coordinated orders are also more versatile. Coordinated Suppressive Fire? That's almost better than a B2 fireteam. Coordinated Move-Move can grab soldiers all over the battlefield and move up ARO pieces while having your TAG retreat behind cover. Coordinated shooting can overwhelm a target with ARO choices - while each soldier only contributes a single shot, 3 of them will be normal rolls. Second, and much more of a meta problem, is that Vanilla PanO is hard to build lists for! Analysis paralysis is real and having so many choices and options that are broadly similar but different on small levels can be frustrating when building a list. What do you want as your gunner platform? Kamau HMG, Bagh-Mari HMG or Nisse HMG? There's 3 units that are all Mimetism HMGs, with an 8-point spread. Do you want MSV1? Is it worth it to upgrade to MSV2? How valuable is BS13 compared to BS12? When you are buying models and building your collection, is it worth it to own all three models? Vanilla can handle building lists for literally everything, but with that capability it's harder to pick out exactly what you need. A lot of it comes down to personal preference. For example, I like the Nisse sculpt and I like how I painted mine (he's named Pierre). Therefore I will field him more often than Ryan the Kamau and Mahendra the Bagh-Mari. Unit ReviewVanilla PanO has 57 unit types. It would have taken me a couple of months to write up a detailed analysis of each one, including comments on the profiles and loadouts. And the tome of information that would have resulted would be like reading through War and Peace. So, what I’ve done is made a little more in-depth review of the units unique to Vanilla. People much smarter than I have written endless reviews of the sectorial units, so if you want to know what a Swiss Guard does go read Barakiel’s excellent NCA tactica. I've tried to give an overall breakdown of the uses of each unit type below, as well as give some information on each profile. While the overall role of a unit is mostly defined by stats and skills, PanO has a significant amount of units that have widely varied uses depending on primary weapon, as befits our faction focus. Therefore I've broken down each unit by profile as well, sorting them by general usefulness and uniqueness. Generally this de-emphasizes "basic" profiles and gives more attention to the "fun" ones, so take everything with a grain of salt. Spoiler: Kamau Kamau Having recently (summer 2017) received a small profile overhaul, the new Kamau are now costed appropriately for their stats. A stand-out BS13 with Mimetism makes any Kamau profile a quality gunfighter for cheap. Kamau are primarily useful in PanO as the "seasoning" in a list. They aren't a big bad TAG, they aren't a Swiss Guard, and that's OK. We already have those units. Kamau are useful because they are still dangerous, but they aren't crazy expensive. You can sprinkle some Kamau in a list that already has something that's big, stompy and scary, and when it inevitably attracts a missile launcher you still have a backup gunner to remove scary threats. Obviously the HMG profile is what I'm talking about here but the MULTI Sniper or the HRL profiles also work really well. B2 can be mitigated by leveraging rangebands and Mimetism and the varied ammo types (Fire, AP, DA) can be a serious advantage over the HMG. We tend to think that "burst is king" in Infinity and to an extent that is true, but given the F2F modifying effects that the Kamau has - BS13, Mimetism, range - the ability to use the different ammo types can be well worth the drop in burst. All-Star profiles: MSV2 MULTI Sniper – The smoking hot new profile, clocking in at 2 points less than the comparable Nisse, is going to be bonkers in Varuna. It still has a place in Vanilla, as well – offering the same offensive equipment and stats as the Nisse MSR at 2 points less. She exchanges ARM for BTS and loses some PHY, but for a 2 point discount I’m certainly happy with the trade-off. HMG – An absurdly cheap and still very dangerous gunfighter, at 28/1 the Kamau is easy to fit into nearly any list as a backup to your TAG or HI. The strength of this profile is in its redundancy – if your TAG goes down or is on the wrong side of the board, this lil guy steps up to the plate and can cover your ass if you need it. That being said, it’s tempting to spend the 6 points and 0.5SWC to upgrade to the Nisse HMG. HRL/SMG – Woah, PanO got something cool! The great combo of rangebands on this guy is really something. The SMG is a cheap suppression-capable weapon and the HRL covers templates and long range. PanO doesn’t have many HRLs in faction and you can’t ask for a better statline to put one on. Meh profiles: Hacker – Hey she’s a WIP13 BTS6 hacker. Decently survivable thanks to BTS6, but there are cheaper ways of providing supportware and she’s not a particularly mobile specialist. Forward Observer – A much-needed specialist option for Varuna, but doesn’t serve much of a purpose in Vanilla. Paramedic – Repeat the above description again in your head because I’m too lazy to type it out again. Basic Combi – I mean there are worse combinations of skills to have on a trooper, but this profile really exists to fill out the link in Varuna. Spoiler: Nisses Nisses Often regarded as the reason to play Vanilla PanO, the Nisse is everything the faction exemplifies. Fantastic BS13, rare combination of MSV2 and visual mod (Mimetism), Multiterrain to mitigate the MOV4-2, weapon choices of HMG and MSR. Nisses are often a focal point of a list, as they meet several criteria for a primary "gunner" model. High BS, visual mod (Mimetism), MSV, and a strong primary weapon mean that the Nisse's purpose is to deal pain. At a reasonable price-point, it may be your primary gunner in a list with 15+ orders, or in a smaller single combat group "elite" list it may be a secondary threat. In this kind of list, a Nisse is fantastic at covering the "weak side" of the board, opposite a TAG. As a long range MSV2 model it's also a great problem solver, capable of dealing with smoke-throwing warbands that throw smoke in ARO. It can also deal well with enemy camo/ODD, although often with a Nisse on the table those camo troops will take total cover instead of being in the open. Regardless of how they are used, Nisse stack up well against almost every single model in the game. In their preferred rangebands, it's very hard to have a Nisse shoot poorly. However, being a single wound model Nisse are quite susceptible to being critted at an inopportune time. If you have a doctor in the list it can be valuable to deploy a Palbot within easy distance of your Nisse, just in case. All-Star profiles: HMG – the last word in F2F stacking firepower. MSV to take away your opponent’s Camo/ODD, Mimetism to give them a -3 right back. You should rarely be shooting on less than 13’s, your opponent should be at some heavier penalties. The HMG Nisse is a pure active turn killer and should be safety hidden or in Suppressive Fire at the end of your turn. MULTI Sniper – If the HMG Nisse is the active turn star, the MSR Nisse is the king of the reactive turn. MSV on a defensive sniper is key to making sure smoke chuckers can’t run the board, and Mimetism makes you harder to dislodge. The key to running a defensive sniper is to work your rangebands and lanes – you don’t want HMGs engaging you at their +3 within 32”. A defensive post at the back of your deployment zone, or finding a way to cover a diagonal lane, are the key to stacking the F2F roll. Meh profiles: Paramedic – Specialist option. If you feel like paying the Combi + Light Shotgun tax, and having your specialist be MOV4-2, then all power to you. Thumbs-down profiles: Hacker – BTS0, MOV4-2, 4 more points than the HMG. Nuff said. LT – It’s certainly an unexpected option but it costs 1 precious SWC and due to the short rangebands and slow MOV it will be difficult to get mileage out of the LT order. Spoiler: Cutter Cutter There may not be a more dominant piece in the game. This is why you are here. BS15 MULTI HMG. TO Camo. ARM8 BTS6. 3STR. Hidden Deployment. LT option. The Cutter does only one thing, and that is murder. It’s worth devoting a whole section to talking about the LT profile. There are a lot of arguments against taking it, but that extra order every turn is really tempting. I can boil down the argument to the following: If you can protect your Cutter during your first turn, either by keeping it in Hidden Deployment and springing it out late in the turn, or by deploying as a Marker and keeping it protected, the Cutter LT can work. Remember that Warning! and Alert! can help you reveal your Cutter with an Idle or Change Face so you can pop out of Hidden Deployment even without a direct ARO. The other thing to consider is that losing your Cutter will put you in Loss of Lieutenant, and the Cutter already has a huge bulls-eye on his head. That being said, if you lose the Cutter you are likely in deep shit anyways. It's probably not worth taking our only Chain of Command option, Kirpal Singh, as he is very expensive for what you get, has to be on the table to use CoC, and it doesn't really save you from that much. Next up, with such an important piece you need to bring support to cover it's few weaknesses. As with all TO Camo pieces, its first weakness is MSV2+. The Cutter's sheer horror comes from the TO Camo, and having that stripped away is bad news. Now, during the active turn when you are still BS15 and B4 with your MHMG, you can engage a single MSV2 piece. It's doable. You probably won't die. But as always, you should be in cover and in your +3 rangeband, and if possible they should be in a 0 or -3 rangeband. But the real danger comes in the reactive turn, when you no longer have the burst advantage and you may be facing a fearsome MULTI Sniper or HMG. The first tool you can use is Suppressive Fire, especially if you have moved up the board and are in cover from multiple angles. This can certainly help by giving you an additional -3 to be shot at, and giving you some added burst. However, this has to be part of a layered defense against some of the other weaknesses. Next is a weakness to Fire. TO Camo is Flammable and if you are hit by a flamethrower or rocket launcher your TO Camo goes away until your Machinist gets his butt up the field to fix you. The primary danger is of course PanO's most hated foe, Warbands. A lot of warbands and CQB troops pack Heavy Flamethrowers, and often have Smoke Grenades (or are supported by models that have them) to create a way to get in close. A lot of models that start in the midfield also have Direct Template Weapons (DTW's) that can cause serious problems for your Cutter. I will also cover a general weakness to CQB and CC in this section, as the remedy is similar. You need proactive coverage of the avenues of approach to your Cutter. This can mean an MSV MULTI Sniper covering a long lane to help against Warbands, it can mean Mines deployed around your Cutter, or it can mean a couple Auxilia and their Auxbots hanging out covering corners. These are all great support pieces to keep your considerable investment safe. Finally the Cutter has some problems with Hacking. Although it has a decent BTS6, if it has to make a save against Hacking you have already lost it. The foremost defense against Hacking is the TO Camo marker state. Simply put, while it's a marker (and not a model) it cannot be targeted by hacking. At the end of your turn, it may be wise to re-camo against a hacking heavy opponent. This will force them to discover and dig the Cutter out before hacking it. Next, hacking is by requirement a close-range affair. Either the hacker, or his repeater, needs to be very close to your TAG. So utilize your corner guards, as above. Don't let that repeater get close - torch it with an Auxbot or force them to clear out Mines before they hack. Finally, you will need some Infowar capability of your own. An EVO bot can help extend hacking coverage and can use Reboot to give your Reset a little extra bite, or Kaleidoscope to help your hackers get their hackers first. A Hexa Killer Hacker is very useful for eliminating any troublesome Assault Hackers in the midfield, and is a Specialist to boot! Finally, keeping a Palbot in B2B with your Cutter during the reactive turn can help guard against Possession, Immobilization or Isolation. If the Cutter is possessed, it is immediately engaged in melee with the Palbot which can Electric Pulse it, saving your TAG from damage while preventing your opponent from rampaging with it. Plus, you are already B2B for your repair attempts next turn, and you can cancel Possession with a command token before your turn starts. Similarly with IMM-1 and Isolated, your Engineer is already in place to repair. As far as Cutter tactica goes, it plays much the same as an oversized Swiss Guard. Keep it away from MSV2+, leverage your rangebands and Surprise Shot, don’t be afraid to re-camo to cross gaps or avoid hacking. Keep it hidden or in Suppressive Fire during the reactive turn. Save a few orders to return to a safe place and don’t over-extend yourself. The large silhouette value (S7) allows you to see over the tops of some buildings which may provide unexpected attack vectors. Your list is going to be literally all about the Cutter. At 115 points and 2.5 SWC there isn't a lot of room for other offensive pieces. The Cutter needs orders, it needs Specialist support in ITS missions, and it needs models that cover its weaknesses. An Engineer is almost mandatory for playing a TAG, as it can save you from Isolation, Immobilization, having your TO Camo burned off, or simply put you back together after you take significant damage. Now that your repair capability is settled, you need some support. A Nisse or Kamau MULTI Sniper can help guard you against Warbands seeking to chop you up in CC or torch you with a flamethrower, and besides that they are an excellent roadblock for if you don't get first turn. Auxilia (especially the FO variety) are SOLID GOLD in Cutter lists. They are cheap orders, provide excellent defense for your Cutter with their combi and HFT Auxbot, and they are also Specialists! Regular Minelayers are fantastic as well, if you can stomach the 0.5 SWC cost. Minelayer lets them secure the DZ against Infiltrators and AD troops, they can lay more mines in support of the Cutter, and Sensor lets them sweep out Camo troops in the midfield that your Cutter might have a rough time dealing with. Hacking support can be provided by an EVO Remote and a Hexa Killer Hacker. Unfortunately the Hexa is the only KHD option in PanO at this time, so your choices are limited in this category. Spoiler: Croc Men Croc Men Croc Men are another interesting unit only available to Vanilla (for now). As a TO Camo Infiltrator with multiple good specialist profiles, they are an essential part of ITS missions. All Crocs come with an X-Visor and Mines, allowing them to be deadly in Suppressive Fire and clog up the middle of the board quite well. They are, however, quite expensive, so you will be limited to 1 or 2. Using Croc Men is pretty simple - start them in the mid field in Hidden Deployment, when it's safe to do so pop them out, use them to complete objectives, then retreat them to a safe place and either re-camo or put them in Suppressive Fire. The X-Visor means they suffer no range penalties from Suppressive Fire, maintaining their deadliness out to 24". Re-camo makes them safe until they are Discovered, and helps protect them from template weapons that may otherwise ruin their day (watch out for Intuitive Attacks, however!) Since all Croc profiles have Mines, it may be worth it to drop a Mine before going into Suppressive Fire or re-camo-ing. It just adds another layer of safety for your expensive specialist. In addition, Hidden Deployment grants them the ability to ARO at unexpected times. A model in HD has 360 degree Line of Fire, so anyone that presses past your deployment can get shot in the back at any time. It's best to hold your HD ARO's until late in the turn, when your opponent may not have enough orders to deal with your suddenly-deployed model. If you can time it where the model you are ARO-ing is also shooting at another model, they will have a difficult choice to make. Do they split burst and shoot at your Croc AND your Nisse? Do they risk taking the unopposed Combi from your Croc? If you are AROing with Hacking from the AHD Croc, your opponent's big expensive centerpiece TAG, REM or HI may suddenly be as useful as a brick. All-Star profiles: Assault Hacker – Midfield specialist. Hacking AROs out of Hidden Deployment will stop HI, REMs and TAGs in their tracks. FO/DepRep – Another midfield specialist, this time the cheaper FO option. The Deployable Repeaters will help extend your hacking coverage. Minelayer – Nothing better than getting those mines out right away. Meh profiles: Combi Rifle – Why aren’t you paying 2 points to upgrade to the FO or 1 point to upgrade to the Minelayer? Boarding Shotgun – great for close-in gunfighting but Vanilla does that well enough anyway. Start looking towards those specialist profiles. MSR – If you want a TO MSR the Hexa is your bet. Infiltration is often wasted on this profile unless you can be clever and find a horizontal lane across the board. Thumbs-down Profiles: Lieutenant – Why? He costs 2 SWC and in return you get a more vulnerable LT that has to deploy as a marker so you don’t start in Loss of Lieutenant. Spoiler: Jotum Jotums El Jefe is here, baby. The biggest, baddest TAG in the game with an astounding ARM10 BTS9, along with all the other PanO TAG stats. BS15, MULTI HMG, Heavy Flamethrower, D.E.P., and a Terrain skill to top it off. The Jotum is the ultimate in durable TAGs – he’s totally immune to Combi rifle fire while in cover (aside from crits of course!). The Jotum should be used as a huge bully on the board – you can safely put him in line of fire of multiple models and just ignore the ones with weaponry that can’t hurt you. Link team on ARO duty? Put all your burst into the Missile Launcher and let the combi fire bounce off your impressive ARM. The Lieutenant option is great if you can stomach the extra SWC cost. He’s durable, makes great use of the LT order, and doesn’t lose equipment on that profile like the Squalo. The Jotum is an absolute centerpiece of a model and will generate a lot of attention on the board. Using the Jotum is all about picking the priority targets. As with any TAG, he will need support to stay alive the whole game, but ARM10 BTS9 is a great starting point. Any game should start by removing the pieces that threaten the Jotum with guns. Your backup gunner (Kamau, Nisse, etc) is great at doing this, as often the kind of weaponry that hurts a Jotum is less effective against a light infantry. Things like Blitzens (E/M), linked Missile Launchers or Panzerfausts(AP+EXP ammo) and AP HMGs (high burst AP ammo) are the Jotum's enemies. Next, focus on removing hacking threats. A Killer Hacker like the Hexa and fast repeaters like a Peacemaker or Fugazi are very useful for this. Finally, warbands and CQB/CC threats need to be dealt with. Oftentimes, these are difficult to deal with proactively, so going into the reactive turn bunkered up will be enough. Mines, Auxbots, Suppressive Fire, Hidden Deployment AROs, and distance all play a factor in a successful defense. Spoiler: Authorized Bounty Hunters Authorized Bounty Hunters Beloved by ISS players the world over, Bounty Hunters are a little less welcomed in PanO. Their defining function is being cheap gunners that might get some weirdness by rolling on the Booty charts. This feature is hardly unique in PanO, home of some of the best gunfighting platforms in the game. The cheapness of the ABH is their defining feature. The Sniper Rifle can be used as a "deploy and forget" ARO piece. It means nothing to you if it dies, and it will cause your opponent to waste orders. A cheap BSG is a deployment guard that can exploit an opening if there is one. And of course, if you roll something hilarious on the Booty chart you can go Rambo knowing that you only lost a cheap Irregular model at the end of the day. All-Star profiles: Sniper Rifle – PanO’s only source of a regular ol’ Sniper Rifle (not that fancy MULTI Sniper tech), the Sniper ABH is dirt-frakkin-cheap at 19 points and half an SWC. They are a cheap ARO solution that can easily stack with Total Reaction bots, other snipers, or Flash Pulses, forcing your opponent to split their burst or waste orders dealing with each one individually. Sadly they are only AVA1 because I’d love to run a pair of them for 38 points and 1 SWC. Meh profiles: Everything else. The Spitfire is a cheap BS12 gunner, but PanO doesn’t have a shortage of Spitfires or a shortage of BS12. The Combi Rifle and BSG profiles are cheap DZ guards, but you can get other DZ guards that are just as cheap, still BS12 and are Regular instead (so someone else can use their order). Spoiler: Armand le Muet Armand le Muet Le Muet exists for other factions. Take a Hexa MSR instead if you want the -6 visual mod, or a Nisse/Kamau MSR if you want the MSV. Armand is incredibly expensive for what you get, and there are superior options in-faction. Spoiler: Krakot Renegades Krakot Renegades Krakots are a really interesting merc unit. I say “really interesting” of course as it relates to PanO, as no one else really thinks Krakots are anything special. But PanO has a distinctive lack of cheap, Impetuous Chain Rifle-wielding warbands, so of course anything that’s ~14 points and has template weaponry is interesting. Forward Deployment L1 and Metachemistry make them into interesting DZ guards, or can help them in a direct assault role if your Metachemistry rolls give you something fun. It’s also worth noting that CC21 with Berserk is a fantastic CC stat in PanO, and pointing the DACCW version at something scary and hacking it to bits is pretty effective. Using the Krakot successfully is all about deployment. Forward Deploy gives you an additional 4" to make use of corners, defensive cover and pockets. Your priority is as follows: picking a place where you are shrouded from AROs during your Impetuous movement, where your sight-lanes are short to make the most of your template weaponry, and where you can get into the meat of your opponent's list. Remember that if your Impetuous order takes you to a place you don't want to go, it's free to cancel thanks to not being Extremely Impetuous. All-Star profiles: 2ChainZ – 2 Chain Rifles, Grenades, Impetuous (not Extreme Impetuous!) for the budget price of 14 points. And he’s regular, too! A standout DZ guard, great at applying Chain Rifle death to things in the midfield too. Meh profiles: Everything else. Given the relative price of the BSG and Red Fury options and the Krakot’s mediocre BS11, there comes a place when throwing points at it won’t help very much. Spend your points elsewhere. That’s not to say that these profiles aren’t serviceable, just that they don’t offer the budget-consciousness of the chain rifle version. Spoiler: Knauf Knauf Same story here as with Armand – Knauf exists for other factions. Take a Kamau for exactly the same points, same BS, same Mimetism, better MSV2. Sorry buddy. Spoiler: Cube Jager Cube Jager Actually an interesting choice among the merc options, the Cube Jager is an AD Specialist that carries some interesting weaponry. He’s Irregular, but this isn’t an issue as he’s going to be spending orders anyways and it helps make him a bit cheaper. Don’t be fooled by the Monofilament CCW, CC14 isn’t going to set the world on fire. The SMG+E/Mitter is interesting for shutting down a TAG that thought it was safe. The SMG being Suppressive Fire capable is also pretty handy, given that you are starting in the midfield. Either profile is workable in a list, an 18-21 point AD specialist will always have a home in ITS. New PlayersSince Vanilla PanO is the starting point for most new players in the faction, thanks to Operation Icestorm, I’m going to devote a significant amount of the tactica to going over the units in Operation Icestorm and its expansion, Beyond Icestorm. This section is mostly geared towards players new to the game of Infinity, although I hope there are some valuable insights if you are an Infinity veteran but new to the faction. Operation Icestorm is a wonderful starting point for new PanO players. It’s got a lot of the core units of the faction – humble Fusilier line troops, the deadly Nisse sniper, the rugged ORC Trooper, and the towering Father-Knight. Beyond Icestorm adds in some serious hitting power with the Swiss Guard HMG and the Kamau HMG. Fusiliers – The basic line troop of the faction, Fusiliers are nothing special. For the rock-bottom price of 10 points, you get a Combi rifle-toting soldier with an above-average BS12 and a below-average WIP12. Icestorm comes with 3 of them, all armed with Combi rifles. This is fantastic, as the models can be used as Paramedics or Forward Observers, your Lieutenant, or just as basic mooks. Fusiliers are a popular Lieutenant choice, as they only cost 10 points, no SWC, and can be taken in multiples to disguise which Fusilier is actually your LT. WIP12 won’t win any awards but it gets the job done, and the security of multiple cheap orders and 3 choices for playing “guess which Fusilier is my LT?” is worth it. Buying the box of Fusiliers adds 3 heavy weapons and a specialist into your model pool. The HMG is a budget choice for hosing people down, while the MULTI Sniper and Missile Launcher are great at providing hard-hitting long range AROs. Like all line infantry, Fusiliers get exponentially stronger in their fireteam, but this is only an option in Neoterra. Akalis, Sikh Commandos – Akalis are one of PanO’s many drop troops, and are well-equipped to surprise and lay waste to an unprepared opponent. The Akal in Icestorm is armed with a Combi rifle, and can be represented as one of three profiles – Combi, Combi+E/Mitter, or Assault Hacker. With a great BS13, Akalis can be deadly as they often can find angles to hit their opponents out of cover. Combi rifle fire can kill most enemies without the benefit of cover, and an E/Mitter against a heavy infantry or TAG out of cover can spell disaster, turning that expensive and deadly model into an immobilized brick. All drop troops may choose to either parachute onto the battlefield, landing anywhere that a circular template can fit, or they may choose to walk on from a side edge of the board. Of the two, most veteran Infinity players choose to walk on, as parachuting involves making a PHY roll to stick the landing. Walking on incurs no chance of failure, although you may not be able to get to the same dominating position as a paradrop landing. Nisses – The Nisse in Operation Icestorm is armed with a MULTI Sniper, and is equipped with Multi-Spectral Visors and Mimetism. The MSV allows the Nisse to ignore the BS penalties from Mimetism, Camouflage, TO Camo, and ODD, and his own Mimetism forces a -3 MOD on anyone shooting at him. This combination is absolutely incredible for a sniper – while on overwatch he will take no penalties to shoot and anyone trying to dislodge him is going to have a rough time. To make things even better, MSV2 allows him to see through Smoke clouds! Smoke is a common tactic of lesser, lower-tech armies to block line of sight from ARO models, and the Nisse doesn’t care. The MULTI Sniper the Nisse carries has an absolutely fearsome DAM15, can choose to fire Armor-Piercing or Double-Action rounds, and has a huge +3 rangeband allowing him to cover the whole board. Place the Nisse in a sniper nest covering the obvious lanes of approach to your force, and your opponent will have to fight through him first. While this often ends with your Nisse dead, rest assured that he will take a few enemy models with him! The key to getting value out of the Nisse is maximizing your rangeband – most weapons are only good out to 24” or 32”, but the MSR is good out to 48”! The Nisse’s natural predators are models armed with HMGs, so try to set up at the back edge of the board so the HMG has to fight you from outside 32”. That way you will still be in +3 range while your opponent is in -3 range. ORC Troopers – The ORC is our basic Heavy Infantry model. Statted with a solid ARM4 and outstanding BS14, the ORC shoots with the best of them and can take a hit in return. The ORC in Icestorm is armed with a versatile MULTI Rifle. Sharing the same range bands as a Combi rifle, the MULTI Rifle prefers to shoot targets at medium to short range, and has a type of ammo for every situation. Shock ammo takes targets straight to dead, bypassing unconscious entirely, which is great when your opponent has a doctor nearby. AP ammo is preferred for dealing with high-ARM targets like other Heavy Infantry and TAGs. And in the reactive turn, a single-shot Double Action round can make a lot of targets sweat. The ORC has a Lieutenant option as well, which is a good choice for Icestorm games. Having 2 wounds and good armor makes for a durable LT, and with the MULTI Rifle you always have a good way to spend your LT order. Father-Knight – The bonus Icestorm miniature, the Father-Knight is a brick shithouse of a man. Clad in stout ARM5 and incredible BTS9, the FK is incredibly hard to kill in cover. Add in that he’s BS14 when shooting his Combi rifle and CC23 when swinging his big-ass sword, and the FK is a serious combat specialist. He’s a Lieutenant option with above-average WIP13, and can make good use of that LT order every turn. The FK excels at working his way up the board and engaging at close-range combat, where his Combi rifle and BS14 outclass most of his targets, and if he can Assault his way into close-combat he will chop anything he touches with an auto-hitting sword. Just watch out for other CC specialists, as he is no match for anything with Martial Arts. Bolts – The first model in Beyond Icestorm, the Bolt is kitted out as a Paramedic. Again showcasing the PanO ballistic skill, the Bolt is BS13 with a Combi rifle and underslung Light Shotgun. She’s great at close range, and that’s where the Paramedic skill will shine brightest. She can attempt to heal your unconscious troopers with her Medikit – if the target makes a [PHY-3] roll, they heal from unconscious and are back in the fight! That being said, if they fail the PHY roll they die. And PanO’s lackluster PHY stats often lead to the Bolt mercy-killing her patients. Still, she’s able to fight her way in and provide some much-needed support to your wounded troops. Add in her Bioimmunity skill, making her much more resistant to Shock and Viral ammunition, and her Veteran skill that lets her keep working hard during Isolation and Loss of Lieutenant, and she can be a valuable specialist in your army. Kamau – Now we’re talking! Another heavy weapon choice in Beyond Icestorm, the Kamau excels at gunfighting. The fearsome Heavy Machine Gun hoses down targets with Burst 4, DAM15, and has a long effective range of 32”. The Kamau pumps it up by shooting with excellent BS13 and stacks in Mimetism, meaning anyone shooting back is going to have a rough time. The Kamau is a great choice to gun down pretty much anything, but in Icestorm he’s a bit overshadowed by… Swiss Guard – The crème de la crème of PanO military accomplishment. Let me break this guy down for you. BS15. ARM5. BTS6. 2W. TO Camo. HMG. This guy has one purpose, and that is to Fuck. Shit. Up. There may not be a more deadly model in all of Infinity – the Swiss Guard has the best ballistic skill in the game, combined with an HMG for high burst long range firepower, and is equipped with Thermo-Optic Camouflage, forcing a -6 MOD on opponents trying to shoot him. All this combines into a trooper who is shooting on 15’s or 12’s most of the time, while opponents are shooting back on 2’s. The Swiss is pretty much a point-and-click weapon – spend orders and rack up the body count. TO Camo comes with a very valuable skill, Hidden Deployment. This feature is unique in Infinity – the Swiss will not appear in the list you hand to your opponent, you don’t deploy his model on the battlefield, and you don’t have to tell your opponent you have a Swiss Guard in your army. Instead, you choose a position in your deployment zone and either sneak a cell phone camera picture of it, or write it down somewhere for reference. Then, when you want to reveal your cunning plan, the Swiss can be deployed in your chosen position and can now rampage on the table. You can even reveal as a surprise ARO during your opponent’s turn! If he thought he was safe moving a model but your Swiss can see it, pop out of Hidden Deployment and hit him with a surprise HMG shot! Hidden Deployment creates a lot of value for the Swiss because you don’t have to worry about losing your awesome guy if you go second. Just deploy him hidden, and he’ll keep his order to himself to reveal and start the fun on your turn. The only thing that can forcibly reveal a Hidden Deployment model is a successful Sensor sweep, so keep models with Sniffers and Sensors away from your hidden Swiss. Let’s take a look at a sample Icestorm list: Icestorm ────────────────────────────────────────────────── 10 SWISS GUARD HMG / Pistol, AP CCW. (2 | 68) KAMAU HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 28) NISSE MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 34) FATHER-KNIGHT Combi Rifle / Breaker Pistol, DA CCW. (0 | 44) ORC Lieutenant MULTI Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 40) AKAL COMMANDO Combi Rifle + E/Mitter / Pistol, E/M CCW. (0 | 24) BOLT Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 24) 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) 5 SWC | 300 Points Open in Infinity Army At first glance, the list is well-representative of Vanilla PanO. We have 10 orders, the maximum that you can fit in a single combat group. It’s at the max of 300 points for a standard game, and carries 5 SWC (out of the 6 maximum). We have 3 special weapons in the list – 2 HMGs and 1 MSR. We also have a couple of specialists – troopers with the Doctor, Engineer, Forward Observer, Paramedic, Hacker or Specialist Operative rules. Specialists are the key to completing many of the missions in Infinity and having a good specialist count and variety is important for supporting your force and scoring the mission. For Icestorm missions, specialists are less important, but moving on and playing ITS missions encourages lists with multiple specialists. Our Lieutenant is fairly well hidden – the options for Lieutenant in this list can be the Father-Knight, the ORC, or either of the two basic Fusiliers. I’ve chosen the ORC as it’s the most survivable model (the Father-Knight is going to be moving up the board and getting all up in everyone’s business) and the ORC also can use the LT order effectively with his MULTI Rifle. We also have a drop troop with the Akal Commando, and our Swiss Guard is likely to be in Hidden Deployment. Deployment for the list is fairly standard. It’s a good idea to hold the Nisse as the reserve model so you can place it after seeing all of your opponent’s pieces. This also means that if you deploy first, your opponent cannot counter-deploy to keep away from the Nisse. Your Swiss Guard should probably be in Hidden Deployment even if you are going first – your opponent cannot counter-deploy against something he can’t see! Most of the rest of the models should be well-hidden. The Fusiliers don’t want to be poking out to get shot, the ORC really wants to stay well-protected, and the Bolt should be deployed to support and heal your Father-Knight or Swiss Guard should they be killed. Speaking of, the Father-Knight really wants to move forward. He should be deployed in a place where he won’t have to worry about dodging sniper fire on his way up – short sight lines are preferred, but he also needs a way to move forward. A board edge is usually great for him. Your first turn is going to be all about that Swiss. Unless you have a pressing concern like an MSV sniper that needs to be dealt with, the Swiss should reveal and go about murdering people. Go after heavy weapons and specialists, aim to cripple your opponent so they can’t deal with the Swiss Guard. After that, look towards accomplishing the mission. Excessive killing will not win you games in Infinity (unless the mission calls for it!) so know when to stop and when to start turning your order reserve to accomplishing the mission objectives. Turn 2 is a good time to bring in the Akal, if you have need of it. Flanking your opponent with a drop troop is often a great way to throw a wrench in their plans. The priorities for a drop troop are 1) arriving in a place where no one can see you, and 2) ending the turn safe and possibly in Suppressive Fire. If you opt to drop in the Akal (instead of walking on a table edge), the Fusilier Hacker has a special program called Assisted Jump, that gives the Akal a MOD of +3 PHY during his jump roll. That allows you to stick the landing on 14’s, which are decent odds! However this does eat a whole order, so it’s not without cost. Turn 3, the last turn of the game, is usually a last-second mission completion bonanza. Grab the last few objectives, get in the zones, push the buttons, do whatever it takes to win the mission. Any and all troops are expendable in this turn, as you won’t get a chance for another turn. If your Swiss, Father-Knight or ORC are still alive, they are a great help at clearing out any remaining resistance before completing mission objectives. List DiscussionFirst up I have perhaps my favorite Vanilla list at the moment. I'm a huge fan personally of the Svalarheima models and I took it upon myself to build an ITS-capable list out of only Sval models. This is the result. It exemplifies a lot of things that PanO stands for and plays to the faction strengths. Totally Not Svalarheima ────────────────────────────────────────────────── 10 JOTUM Lieutenant MULTI HMG + Heavy Flamethrower, D.E.P. / . (3 | 103) CRABBOT Flash Pulse / Knife. () NISSE HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 34) NISSE MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 34) KNIGHT HOSPITALLER Doctor (MediKit) MULTI Rifle / Pistol, AP CCW. (0 | 41) FUSILIER (Forward Observer, Deployable Repeater) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 12) FUSILIER (Forward Observer, Deployable Repeater) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 12) FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10) BULLETEER Heavy Shotgun / Electric Pulse. (0 | 17) PATHFINDER DRONBOT Combi Rifle, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 16) MACHINIST Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15) PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3) PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3) 6 SWC | 300 Points Open in Infinity Army It's a centerpiece list, for sure. Single combat group, full-up on points and SWC. Featuring a Jotum LT on guitar and vocals, Nisse HMG on keyboard, Nisse MSR on bass and a Bulleteer shotgun on drums, the list hits like a runaway freight train. It's got backup firepower, it's got mobile specialists, it's got armor, it's got ARO potential. The list plays very straightforward - there are almost no tricks. Remove anything that pokes its head out, move up the specialists to push buttons, dig in and defend. The Pathfinder is a stand-out star of the non-combat models. It's a fast (6-4 MOV) specialist that can arrive at objectives and reliably push buttons. Sensor + Forward Observer gives it the ability to reveal camouflage in a sensor sweep on 19's, although the list lacks Sniffers to extend that net. The Hospitaller Doctor is an excellent durable forward specialist - if you choose to attach a Palbot to him he can leave it behind with the Nisse as he advances his useful MULTI Rifle up onto the objectives. Next up is my preferred Cutter list. I have the Cutter as an LT because I like the live dangerously. You can just as easily swap the LT to the Fusilier and save 0.5SWC if you like. Cutter ────────────────────────────────────────────────── 10 CUTTER Lieutenant MULTI HMG / . (3 | 115) CRABBOT Flash Pulse / Knife. () SIERRA DRONBOT HMG / Electric Pulse. (1 | 25) NISSE HMG / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 34) HEXA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Electric Pulse. (0 | 27) AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15) AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4) AUXILIA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle + AUXBOT_1 / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15) AUXBOT_1 Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (- | 4) MACHINIST Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 15) PALBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3) PATHFINDER DRONBOT Combi Rifle, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 16) MULEBOT Hacker (EVO Hacking Device) Electric Pulse. (0.5 | 25) FUSILIER Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10) 6 SWC | 300 Points Open in Infinity Army Like most Cutter lists, the whole list revolves around the Cutter. Auxilia for guarding your big boy's flanks and providing specialist options, a Hexa and EVO for hacking defense, Nisse HMG as a backup gunner, the Sierra is useful as a roadblock to your Cutter. The list is almost totally geared towards aggression and I can't recommend playing it in a Special Operations game, but in Annihilation you are going to have a good time. I like this list because it covers most of the Cutter's inherent weaknesses and the models that cover those weaknesses are dual purpose - they are all specialists and relatively cheap to fuel the Cutter with orders! I feel like the piece that really makes this list work is the Sierra, oddly enough. A Total Reaction bot is often just chucked in as a distraction and order-waster but this list likes to keep it semi-hidden instead of providing overwatch on the whole board. I usually lay it down as my reserve piece after I see what avenues of approach my opponent has to my Cutter, and I'll use it lock down the close approaches to where I want my Cutter to end up. It's not an aggressive deployment of the bot, which helps keep it alive into turns 2 and 3, where anything that approaches my Cutter often can't slice through the weight of fire. It's an additional layer of defense that keeps the Cutter humming and keeps my backline from being cut to pieces.