2 Mar 2017

Infinity: Szalamandra

As of now, Infinity is my favorite table top miniature war game in the world. It has a strong and loyal community of players who seem to have the best ratio of jackass:human. The minis are fantastic, the rules are deep but rewarding, and the third party support is brilliant.

Games Workshop is still around, the sheer bulk of the player base is too hard to dislodge. Privateer Press is doing well and their game is tight and well-crafted but has more of competitive game vibe. I’ve stepped away from the war game and have dug even deeper with the role playing game. Knight Miniatures, Spartan, Hawk, and Mantic seem to have a great set of games but the local play groups is lacking and the support from the company is not yet stable.

Now Infinity is not perfect but it strives to get better all the time and give its best before leaving the mothership at the Corvus Beli.

I still have some wants and the first of those wants is getting a new sculpt for my favorite TAG of the game, the Szalamandra. Let me explain why it's so awesome.

I’ve wanted this TAG to be updated since Campaign: Paradiso. Since then I’ve seen the updates for the Guijia and Su-Jian, the Maghariba Guard, and Squalos. We also finally got sculpts for the Seraph, the Stingray, Jotums, and Iguana.

Mechanically the Szalamandra it is my favorite TAG. I sports my all time favorite of the range weapons: the HMC or Hyper-Rapid Magnetic Rail Cannon.

Few weapons can compare that that thing. The MULTI Heavy Machine-Gun, is the closest thing you can find to compare to the HMC. It has three fire modes, similar range bands, damage 15, and a high Burst value.

It has better range bands. At 8 inches or less the HMC sports the normal -3. The HMC is either a 0 modifier to range shots or +3 to range shots until you get to 48 inches. The cousins (HMG and MULTI HMG) go down to -3 after 32 inches until 48. This means the HMC is effective at all ranges and has a sweet spot for being very effective, between 16 and 32 inches. Few weapons in the game have such forgiving range bands.
The HMC has three firing modes: Burst Mode, Anti-Material, and Stun Mode.

Most folks use the Burst Mode. Shooting (and rolling for) 5 shots is fantastic. It takes at least a 3 person link team to get off that many shots in a single action. When you're taking face to face rolls, the more dice you're rolling the better it is for you. Also being able to pick between Shock for those pesky 1W units, or Armour Piercing (AP) for those targets with high ARM makes this the go to firing mode on the active turn.

The Anti-Material Mode is the go to ARO firing mode. You're reduced to one shot - which is the limit with AROs, but your round will cause 2 wounds with the Double Action ammo. That forces your target to make two ARM rolls on the reactive turn against a damage 15 weapon.

The odd duck is the Stun Mode. A tool box option is handy for when you need to shut something down. Stun ammo causes players to roll 2 BTS rolls. Failing one of the BTS rolls means the target enters the Stunned State and they auto fail the normal Guts Roll for having survived an Attack unless they have V:Courgae or equivalent which still apply.

So the Szalamandra is weak within 8 inches and it lacks a CC weapon but it does have a Heavy Flamethrower. The Heavy FT is a Burst 1 weapon, that does 14 Fire Damage with a large teardrop. That means it's hard to dodge, affected targets enter the Burnt state, and until the target dies or succeeds an ARM roll they must keep rolling ARM rolls to avoid damage.

Fire and the Burnt state is a problem for anyone with the any of the Camouflage and Hiding (CH) skills, all levels of Impersonation, ODD, and Holoprjector. Even if you make your initial ARM roll anyone who kisses the flame is considered Burnt. Dodging template weapons is harder without LOF to the attacker and causes a -3.

It is also an Intuitive Weapon meaning that the Szalamandra can shoot against an enemy in a state that would normally make him ineligible as target of Attack without previous Discovery, such as Camouflaged, TO Camouflaged, etc... It also a WIP roll instead of a BS and the Szalamandra sports a WIP 13.

Lastly with an ARM 8 and a BTS 9 makes it the toughest TAG the Nomads can kick out the door. That means ARM 11 when behind cover. BTS 9 is as high as it gets with BTS making those pesky viral, plasma, and stun ammo types a wee bit less effective. It also helps when a hacker is trying to kill you putting the odds of shaking off whatever infliction they send your way.

With ITS season 8 v1.4 we’ve also seen a change in the pilots. In the case of the Szalamandra pilot jumps out with a Contender and a Killer Hacking Device. With a WIP 13 that’s not bad at all. I wonder if this change will be permanent. I honestly hope the current TAG and Pilot changes do stay once ITS Season 8 ends.

A Contender is a great weapon. It can shoot all the way to 48 inches and only starts to suffer range wise at targets farther than 16 inches away. It can still make shots past 32 inches but you may want to pick another option. Now the Contender has one major flaw, it is only Burst 1. That means active turn is still only one shot. The payment to such a shitty rate of fire is the Double Action ammo. Not bad when you're using your pilot to shot on the ARO and hack on their active turns.

Last but not least, the KHD or Killer Hacking Device. WIP 13 is Nomad standard and above most other factions when it comes to WIP. I hear Ontos reminding me "Not Haqq" every time I mention how good that is. Now the Killer Hacking Device has only 5 basic programs: Brain Blast, Redrum, Skullbuster, Trinity, and Cybermask.

For those of you still not familiar with the listed programs all of them are the best programs to kill hackers. The Cybermask allows a user to enter the Impersonation-2 state. Also the KHD ignores all Firewall defences. That means a Hacker with a KHD can attack another hacker through their repeaters without penalty.

So this is the Szalamandra. It is as tough as a TAG gets (ignoring the exception that is the Jotum) with one of the best weapons of the game. It has a fantastic Pilot with plenty of play once outside of the TAG and that's only a new reason to like this beast. It already had me at hello.

Now all I need is a new sculpt.

- Cheers