Catching Snowflakes: Kosmoflot Tactics

An article by    Competitive Play Gaming Infinity        0

Welcome to what may become a series of articles discussing the less popular or prolific factions of Infinity. 

Are you, like me, a special snowflake that needs to run a unique faction in your community? Do you need to be defined by your refusal to play ‘easy-mode’ factions? Are you looking for an army you can blame for your losses instead of staring at the ceiling at night and asking uncomfortable, introspective questions about your proficiency as a wargamer? If so, these factions – and this series of articles – may be for you!

In this first article we’ll be reviewing Kosmoflot, the practical implementation of the meme: Ariadna can into space.

Ariadna Can Into Space

Ariadna Can Into Space

The Basics

To begin we’ll discuss Kosmoflot’s approaches to three key components of Infinity: Defence, Attack, and Objective Scoring. Then we’ll discuss Lieutenant choices, which is a matter worth discussing in the context of writing Kosmoflot lists, before rounding out the article with a few sample lists, each accompanied by a short discussion/rationale.

Defence 

Sometimes you go second, that’s how Lt rolls work. Like every faction, Kosmoflot needs to have the ability to weather an alpha-strike. Defence is the harder (and arguably, more important) side of any game of Infinity. It’s easier to plot an attack on your opponent’s DZ than it is to read the table, anticipate your opponent’s attack vectors and deploy accordingly. The Active player has a lot more flexibility in repositioning their forces after deployment, as well as having the choice of where and when to start Face-2-Face rolls while the Reactive player can only provide limited responses to the Active player. 

As such, your faction’s key defensive pieces (and your ability to position them effectively) is a much greater influence on your ability to win games than you might initially think. Kosmoflot has a relatively solid stable of defensive pieces for us to discuss. 

It’s useful to break Defence down into several roles:

ARO Pieces 

Some good options here but in the current meta, I’m not sure you really want/need a strong ARO presence, as every ARO piece you put up is an order you risk losing later on. However, as we’ll read later, Kosmoflot doesn’t have many other options so we’re probably stuck with using an ARO piece or two to contest the table and survive an alpha strike. ARO pieces worth looking at include:

  • Cateran. Cheap camo marker, BS 12 with deadly ammo. Most viable in a Wallace list.
  • Frontovik MSV 1, AP Sniper. Mimetism and an option to join a Fireteam: Core or Haris makes him a baby-Kamau, but I’m not sure even the Kamau gets a lot of play in the current meta, so I’m unsure about this option.
  • Scots Guard: I don’t hate the idea of a camo Missile Launcher as a potential threat to your opponent’s active pieces, particularly any fireteams that don’t respect you. Take them frequently until your regular opponents start respecting all of your DZ camo markers, then you can scale them back (but keep them guessing).
  • Zenit AP Sniper: A smidge lacklustre for the cost, except that the Ambush Camo marker will help you hide your model and point count and with access to Scots Guards, a savvy opponent has to respect any Camo markers in your DZ.
  • Traktor Mul Urugan: This? This is my secret sauce. Only 16” for the +3 rangeband but in N4 remotes go prone when disabled and are one of the few models in Ariadna that you can spend a Command Token to get re-rolls on repairs for. If you can sit them behind cover so that they drop prone when going unconscious you’ve got a good chance of either repairing it later ot forcing your opponent to commit more orders to wrapping around cover to finish it off. Additionally, they’re the only Arm 2 Total Reaction remote in the game. Asking your opponent to punch through Burst 3 in Reaction and  effective Arm 5 is huge. I think these might secretly be excellent ARO pieces (caveat…for their cost), especially when we look at other factors, such as the cost of other Regular Orders within-faction, as well as unlocking access to Guided and Speculative Fire…

Kosmoflot Mid-field pieces 

Pretty weak options here, honestly. There are no mine-layer options in faction, so there’s no shell game to speak of. Almost every camo marker is a Regular order your opponent can take away from you (often a piece that is far more valuable in Attack than Defence) or just outright ignore. Bad times. However, there is one mild exception to this:

  • Rokots: I like the idea of cheap regular orders that hide under camo tokens. 10 points for the SMG is OK but I much prefer the 12 point Light Shotgun. They become a pretend mine, that can throw out a template as needed. Downside? Every Rokot you take in camo is one less you can take in a fireteam or as a potential Lt option (we’ll read about this later). These are useful but they shouldn’t be used as your first line of defence.

Kosmoflot Close-In-Defence 

I define Close-In-Defence (CID) as sitting around a corner and forcing your opponent to take an ugly fight in order to push past. Mixed feelings here, there are decent CID pieces on offer but they all have other roles to play in your game, so I hate to lose them in reactive.

  • Varangian: I’d prefer they were left intact and used as the components for a Fireteam but they’re cheap, dogged and have template weapons to piece-trade with.
  • Bear-Podes: 2.5 wounds of Total Immunity  at Arm 5 (potentially 8 in Cover with Regular-Bear). Your opponent will sink a lot of orders into killing Regular Bear (less so for Irregular Bear but he’s still tough) and that alone could save a flank from collapsing.

As you can see, when it comes to Defence Kosmoflot is strongest in the ranged ARO game, suffers some opportunity loss in Close-In-Defence (nobody wants to piece-trade Attack Pieces in ARO) and arguably terrible in the mid-field.

Fundamentally, I think a Kosmoflot deployment (when you’re getting second turn) would look like a null-defence (most of the list bunkered down and hidden) with a few camo markers overlooking key approaches to your DZ that are conceivably Scots Guard with Missile Launchers and, if you’re feeling really cagey, you leave some CID pieces waiting around any bottlenecks for the enemy to contend with if/when they suppress your ranged ARO pieces.

 

Attack Pieces

It’s your time to shine. Where Kosmoflot’s defensive game feels pretty lacklustre, your ability to dish out the hurt from multiple unexpected angles is quite impressive. There are few ways to Bring the Pain with Kosmoflot: AD Troops, Generic Gunfighters (which is a funny way to spell The Unknown Ranger), Long Range Shooting, and Close Combat.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

AD Troops

Para-Commandos: I quite like Para-commandos. Mimetism and BS 12 makes them decent gun-fighters that can pick and choose their angle of attack after the enemy has fully deployed. This is huge, never underestimate the power of AD. As a single model that costs 20-31 points they’re a lot easier to hide than the full Mirage-5 combo. 21 points for the SMG Paramedic is a good balance of attack power, objective securing, and cost. The BSG Forward Observer is also quite nice if you have the points spare, as WIP 14 Forward Observers synergise nicely with Urugans (see above).

Mirage 5: Mixed feelings. On one hand, they’re a powerhouse team that defines Kosmoflot simply by being an option available to the faction. On the other hand, they’re a very expensive option that is telegraphed to your opponent (the absence of 70 points and 2 models is very telling, especially when your shell game is limited to Zenit Ambush camo markers).

Duroc is cute, he’s got a solid CC threat, has smoke grenades to help dig into the enemy list and can even spec-fire grenades within 8” on an impressive 13 to hit. You can pull off some clutch plays with Spec-fire on 13’s. However, he’s not allowed to use his Impetuous Order to drop, and loses it when he walks onto the table, so he loses a huge portion of his order efficiency.

Margot is only OK, she’s a single wound HI (not hackable but she does get Immobilised by E/M weapons) with a BS 14 AP Rifle but no visual mods or MSV. The LGL is cute but with no +3 range band in this edition, you don’t get any accuracy advantage air-dropping her in close to the enemy.

My overall impression is that Mirage-5 is a trap but I could be wrong. I want to be wrong.

Generic Gunfighters 

These are your 24-32” range shooters with high burst weapons. They’ll sweep the parapets for you, letting your Close Combat Monsters close in and work their dark magic. Here are you key contenders for general gunfighting in Kosmoflot:

Unknown Ranger: If you’re playing Kosmoflot, you’re taking a 5-man link with the UKR (You’re taking the AP Spitfire, right?). Otherwise, you may as well be playing Vanilla Ariadna. He’s expensive but he’s also the best gunfighter Kosmoflot has access to, especially when he’s fully linked.Taking UKR in a Haris is fine but then one must wonder what your lead gunfighter in your Fireteam Core would be, better to play to your strengths and run UKR in your Core.

Kosmosoldat: AP HMG with +1 Damage backed up by Arm 6 (9 in cover) is like the Baby-TAG Ariadna never had. A bit expensive and potentially vulnerable in the reactive turn but not a terrible choice. That said, he’s not the UKR by any stretch and they both cost about the same amount of points.

Long Range Shooters

Anyone who can bring their A-game past 32”, generally useful for engaging any pieces with HMGs, like TAGs and Total Reaction remotes that would put up a fair fight against any of your Generic Gunfighters. Key pieces include:

Cateran: Cheap and solid for the price.I like him best in a Wallace list, where the Irregular disadvantage isn’t a factor.

Zenit: Somewhat expensive for a BS 12, Camo sniper with AP sniper rifle but has all the fundamentals sorted.

Scots Guard ML: Bit expensive for a Burst 1 weapon but sometimes they’ll solve a big problem for you. Not even a TAG likes to roll dice against a model at -12 (Bad Range, Cover, Mimetism, Surprise Attack). Honestly, I’d still pass, as Burst 1 will fail you at the worst time.

Note: If you take Wallace as your Lieutenant, you’ve got the option of using any permutation of the Long Range Shooters above to participate in a particularly lethal Coordinated Order at least once per turn. Think about it.

CC Monsters

There are many, many better ways to die than a Werebear beating you to death with a claymore-on-a-stick – Credit: Corvus Belli

Oh. My. God. Yes. This is where Kosmoflot really shines. We don’t have the best shooters in the game, nor the resilience to fail and keep coming back for more (ie. High Arm HI or TAGs) but what we do have is the ability to strap a D-charge to a TAG’s chest and turn it into three tonnes of shrapnel-confetti. As a faction strength, it makes sense to be closing into CC rather than trying to play someone else’s game and make face to face rolls at a distance. There are a great deal of CC Monsters in Kosmoflot so I’ll try to limit discussion to the most effective or unique options:

SAS: The SAS FO with D-charges is a TAG’s worst nightmare. Why solve your problems with shooting when you can lock someone into melee and then strap D-charges to their face? I think Kosmoflot players need to seriously consider using SAS to solve problems in melee more often than they use guns.

Uxia: She’s like the SAS FO with a minor upgrade. Previously, I thought it was a toss-up between the MSV1+BSG profile and the Specialist with a Burst-5 Assault pistols attack but now that (+1 Burst) on a Assault Pistols also counts in melee, I think the Specialist Uxia wins almost every time. Burst 2 with CC 22 and MA2 gives her the ability to win fights against other CC monsters reliably. That said, there’s great value in the MSV1 profile, which can drop smoke and then use the Shotgun to royally fork people with the template mode. However, I think the +1 Burst in melee change makes the Specialist Uxia better.

Polaris Bearpode: Impetuous gives you the order efficiency to get up the table and then 2.5 wounds at Arm 5 with Total Immunity lets you Bear-serk people unto death with Damage 18 AP CCWs. Fast, Climbing Plus and access to Smoke Grenades on 19’s makes this angry ursine attack piece an excellent addition to your list.

Varangians: Berserk +3 on a CC 23 model that is packing a Damage 13 AP CCW with Dogged for only 9 points is a cost effective way to piece-trade with people. It shouldn’t be your Plan A, but it’s a damned good Plan B. Though, there’s a chance these fellows are escorting your Unknown Ranger around, so opportunities to Rip-and-Tear with Varanagians may be more limited than you may hope.

Wolfgang: CC 22, MA 3, Para-CCW -6 means Wolfgang will win a lot of F2F rolls. That said, using the Para-CCW won’t cause damage, just IMM-B people. However, once they’re frozen in place, then you can Berserk them with your Damage 16 DA CCW. Yum. However, he’s only Move 4-4, starts in your DZ and has no in-built delivery mechanism, so I’m not sold on him being a strong contender for this role. However, you can potentially plug him into a fireteam that’s going to end up in the mid-field anyway and then slingshot him off into something that needs to die.

 

Objective Scoring

Uxia has trouble with priorities. Will she score points or kill her foes?

Which would you choose?

Killing people is all well and good but at the end of the day you’re usually chasing scenario points and not kills. Kosmoflot has a few good Specialists that we’ll discuss quickly:

112 Emergency Service, Motorised: Cheap, fast and generates a Regular order, worth taking if you have the points and if you end up actually making a successful Medikit/Doctor roll during the game, that’s gravy.

Para-Commandos: There’s a few good options here. They’re relatively well priced, can walk onto the table when and where they’re needed and can hold their own in a fight. Very good specialists.

Pavel: Forward Deployment +8”, Camo state, Stealth and a Specialist that can fight makes him an expensive but well rounded objective scorer. Again, I prefer the SAS FO but there’s nothing wrong with Pavel.

SAS FO: Yes. Just yes. Cheap, marker-state with stealth, and has some good combat potential. The perfect specialist.  

Uxia Specialist Operative: As above, slightly more expensive than an SAS FO but has a better toolbox. Take her first, then start filling up on SAS-FOs.

There are other specialists available to Kosmoflot but between the mobility/deployment options of those listed above and their respective survival mechanisms, I’d start here and then explore the other options later when building a list.

 

Lieutenant Options

Here’s where some problems come arise for Kosmoflot. It’s worth discussing your choice of Lieutenant, as it also influences how the rest of your list looks.

Frontovik: Haven’t tested it yet but he’s a curious choice. Not cheap enough to be a budget Lt, not capable enough to be a combat Lt, and has a very generic loadout, which might be suspicious to an opponent who might be wondering why you included him. Veteran is cute but it just stops you from going into LoL if he gets Isolated, but as an LI, that’s far less likely than for other unit types. Not a terrible choice but doesn’t feel optimal.

Rokot: 9 points for a WIP 13 budget Lt is great. I rate this option highly, except for one downside: As a budget Lt, they are relatively defenceless and you could easily get picked off, so you’d be tempted to hide multiple other vanilla SMG Rokots in your Deployment Zone to disguise an otherwise ‘obvious Lt’. The issue here is that every Rokot pretending to be a Lt, that’s one of your AVA 5 Rokots not hiding under a Limited Camo marker or, potentially, participating in a Fireteam: Core.

That said, the Rokot Lt is my preferred option for the time being despite all of these issues.

Kosmosoldat HMG: Everyone loves a good Active Lt. My only concern is that having dropped 45 points on him, you’ll need him to take risks if you want to get value out of that Lt Order. So, know you need a Chain of Command model to offset the risk of LoL. Now your 1.5 wound Active Lt. costs 77 points.Yikes.

Scots Guard: Same problem as the Frontovik, medium-quality Lt who will only prompt questions from your opponent and thereby telegraph himself.

William Wallace: Here’s an interesting fellow. He’s relatively well priced for peak performance but at WIP 15 he’s 100% telegraphed and, like the Kosmosoldat, isn’t as tough as one would hope, being a 1.5 wound Arm 3 fighter. However, you do have access to Zenit CoC, so that’s some risk mitigation (at a cost). The big upside is how many quality Irregular models are available to Kosmoflot that his Inspiring Leadership unlocks: Bear-Podes, Irmandhinos, Caterans, and even War Cors. That’s wild.

Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart, about to be executed

Just remember that Decapitation is Wallace’s least favorite scenario.

Implications of taking Wallace include: 

  • Option to spam Irmandhinos (up to 4).
  • Taking more Caterans and Bear-Podes without impacting your Regular order count.
  • You can drop Wallace into either a Fireteam: Core of Varangians (which likely includes the UKR, because remember why you’re playing a Sectorial and not vanilla) or a Haris, which at least gives Wallace (and the Varangians) Burst 2 in ARO, which helps his survivability somewhat (and gives him someone to drop smoke at his feet in an emergency).
  • You may want a Zenit CoC, which is a 32 point tax on Wallace, so you need to ensure you’re getting value out of both Wallace and the Zenit (as that’s 20% of your army), noting that if the Zenit starts a fight and then dies, it’s like you never had CoC in the first place.
  • Inspiring Leadership gives you a free Coordinated Order every turn, you might be able to do something with this.

So, my current thinking is that a Kosmoflot Lt is likely to be either a Rokot (surrounded by similar Rokots, but then you lose the Camo-Rokots) or Wallace (probably with a Zenit CoC, but surrounded by quality Irregular pieces).

The other options aren’t terrible but I don’t think they’re as valuable as the Rokot or Wallace options.

 

Building Lists

There’s an argument that a list should often be defined by the mission(s) it is expected to play (noting that this isn’t the One True List Building Paradigm), there’s value in composing a few test lists and demonstrating what some common ‘modules’ one might use to build a coherent list. We’ll discuss two broad types of missions: Zone Control/Button Pressing and Annihilation (because every scenario is Annihilation if you try hard enough). 

Zone Control/Button Pressing

These sorts of scenarios require Specialists that can reach into the mid-field (or even adjacent to enemy DZ) and interact with objectives. Additionally, you’ll also want pieces that can defend your objectives (by either killing enemy specialists on approach or by wasting their orders, Defenders). Finally, you will need pieces that help sweep away defences arrayed against your own specialists (Sweepers).

Specialists: Para-Commandos, SAS FO, Uxia-Specialist, 112 Emergency Service (Motorised), Pavel, Irmandhinos (Impetuous order for efficiency and Smoke for delivery)

Defenders: Camo Rokots, Cateran, Scots Guard, Urugan (Total Reaction) 

Sweepers: UKR in a fireteam, Kosmosoldat, Polaris Bearpode, and Polaris Team, Mirage-5, Cadin First Strike, Wolfgang, Urugan (Guided/Speculative Fire)

Sample Button Pressing List

Uxia-Specialist: Marker state pieces that start up the table and can easily engage and destroy heavy enemy elements in the mid-field.

SAS FO x2: Marker state pieces that start up the table and can easily engage and destroy heavy enemy elements in the mid-field.

Para-Commando FO with BSG: Another button pusher, with the notable addition that they can approach their objectives from the table-edge once the opponent’s disposition has been made clear to you. This also lets you tip point-counts in zones as needed in Zone Control missions.

Dozer with 2x Urugan Traktor Mul: This serves two purposes. First of all, the Urugans become excellent ARO piece that can sit in partial cover along a 16” firelane and deny it to the enemy. Even if either ever get punked they’ll go prone and the Dozer can fix it. Additionally, with a few FOs in your list you’ve got the opportunity to drop Guided (or Speculative) AP rounds on the enemy.

Fireteam Core: Unknown Ranger and 4x Varangians with Chain Rifles. This module can advance into the mid-field and win firefights against key enemy pieces.

Polaris Bearpode: Angry Bear gives you another resilient, fast-moving threat. Also, smoke grenades.

2nd Battalion Scot with Missile Launcher: Earn the respect and admiration of your peers by lobbing AP-EXP pie-plates at their expensive fireteams or TAGS. Possibly even in ARO.

Rokot Lt with SMG: Well, someone had to be in charge of this mess, I suppose.

 

Annihilation

So, you need to kill the enemy (and maybe push some buttons along the way)? Let’s talk shop…

Uxia-Specialist: Marker state pieces that start up the table and can easily engage and destroy heavy enemy elements in the mid-field.

SAS FO x2: Marker state pieces that start up the table and can easily engage and destroy heavy enemy elements in the mid-field.

Fireteam Core:
Unknown Ranger and 4x Rokots with SMGs. This module can advance into the mid-field and win firefights against key enemy pieces. Does exactly what it says on the tin.

Fireteam Haris: William Wallace (Lieutenant) with 2x Varangian, one with chain rifle and the other with SMG and +1B Chaincolt. This becomes Burst three in a Haris, so you’ve got the option of sending this Varangian around a corner to deal with a ‘problem’ and the opponent has their ARO forked; if they shoot back you just drop 3 Chaincolt templates on them (Damage 13 is only OK, but three Damage 13 armour rolls is very nice) and take the hit on the chin with Dogged or, if they dodge in anticipation of the Chaincolt you hit them with Burst 4 AP SMG rounds (or a pair of cheeky smoke grenades that don’t touch their base, thereby reducing the roll to a Normal one instead of a F2F one for both parties. Sike.

Zenit Chain of Command: Did you just telegraph your Lt with Wallace? Yeah, you’re going to want that Zenit CoC in this list…

Polaris Bearpode: This cheeky monster represents another vector to deliver murder-smash-kill at close range. With a Regular order thanks to Wallacem smoke grenades to help move up the table and Total Immunity with multiple wounds to help them soak up any ‘accidents’ and keep going, The Bear is an excellent choice for this style of list.

Cateran Sniper with T2 Sniper: If Wallace is bringing his Inspiring Leadership game why not take a Cateran?

Irmandhino: So, you’ve got a smoke-chucking, Impetuous Specialist who costs 8 points and is also now Regular thanks to Wallace? Make it so, Mr Sulu.

The way this list would play would be to use the Unknown Ranger to clear any ARO pieces (or at least get them to duck), as well as leverage smoke to get your other attack pieces up the table.

You should be able to keep most of your list elements safe until they commit to an attack run (between camouflage, fireteam bonuses, as well as the age old classic: distance). Between the Cateran and the Zenit’s Ambush camo marker you’re threatening long-range AROs that should keep your opponent honest.

Almost every module in the list can do work, so you’ve got a relatively failure-tolerant army that can take a bad F2F roll without outright tanking your game.

 

Wrapping Up

We’ve discussed Kosmoflot’s strengths and weaknesses and explored some of the niche and nuanced approaches to both building Kosmoflot lists and putting them onto the table. However, there are many different ways to play Kosmoflot, so if you disagree with any of my (not so) spicy takes you’re a walking garbage fire and I hate youjust know that there is room enough in this beautiful game for both of us to be right.

This has been but a first taste of the Catching Snowflakes series of articles. If you desire further terrible advice about which factions to play in order to differentiate yourself from people who can win games of Infinity, I have such things to show you

Until next time.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com. 

 

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