Chasing Snowflakes: Starco, Company of the Free Star

An article by    Competitive Play Infinity        0

Welcome back to Catching Snowflakes, our series of tactics articles covering the less popular or prolific factions of Infinity. In this week’s article we’re talking about Starco.

Well, it’s been a few weeks since my Kosmoflot article, so it’s about the right time to talk about the other faction we’re expecting to be released in Operation Crimson Stone: Corregidor. Corregidor is an excellent faction, filled with strong pieces, good synergy and it competes well in basically every stage/aspect of the game. Man, writing about Corregidor would be the easiest, most chill article I could possibly write.

That’s why today I’m going to talk about StarCo. The faction you play when you like Corregidor but simply can’t be seen as jumping on the faction bandwagon. Also, Thanqol already wrote about Corregidor. So welcome, gentle souls, to the Starco experience…

 

General Playstyle, or: ‘Why not just play Corregidor’?

A good way to outline how Starco plays is to demonstrate the differences it has with Corregidor, a superficially similar sectorial that is much, much better…

A meme indicating that Starco is a poor version of Corregidor

Proof that your mother doesn’t play Infinity competitively

 

Fireteams:

Corregidor is crazy flexible in how it composes Fireteams. Starco is inspired by this but doesn’t quite take it to the same level. It’s also worth noting that Starco doesn’t have access to any Wildcard Str 2 Remotes with Mimetism -6 (just sayin’ is all).

There’s a few options here for Starco when it comes to Fireteam: Core

  • Mobile Brigada and Friends fireteam: Something like HMG Mobile Brigada, Tinbot -6 BSG-Brigada, Uhahu, Daktari, and Senor Massacre. Alternatively, Take both the Brigada and then throw in three Alguaciles. This is relatively similar to Corregidor, so it’s not a unique value proposition for Starco but still worth noting as a strong option. 
  • Emily Handelman and her four Alguaciles: She’s arguably faction-defining with that linkable BS 13 X-visor EM-Grenade launcher. It shouldn’t be your Plan A but she can lead that team of cheerleaders while your other attack pieces do work and if you just happen to hit a roadblock? Isolate and-or Imm-B it. Probably just give her an escort of 4 Alguaciles and let that incredibly fragile Fireteam: Core sit in the closest thing to a bunker on your side of the table. Boring but effective.

When it comes to the humble Haris, I think Starco really differentiates itself with the Riot Grrl Spitfire backed up by Avicenna and Uhahu as a ‘Solve all Problems’ package. The Riot Grrl is an amazing shooter, Avicenna gives the entire Haris (including herself) great survivability and Uhahu is not only the cheapest way to cap off the team but also brings a great toolbox.

Starco can also take a Brawler MSV 2 Sniper Haris using the CSU (if you have points spare, trade one up to be a Brawler Doctor), which is only 7 points more expensive than an Intruder for Corregidor (trading BS and Camo for +1 Burst in both Active and Passive). Which, while cute, also demonstrates why the Intruder isn’t favored in the current meta.

 

Emily Handelman and some Alguaciles

Handelman and her Cheerleaders (photocredit: Musterkrux)

 

Lieutenant Options: 

Corregidor has a similar limitation in Lt options to Starco, though at least it can bring a Wildcat Lt as a cheap 0 SWC option. However, in discussing Starco’s options…the meme continues…another NA2 list with limited Lt options…

  • Alguacile: Would be perfect except for the 1 SWC hit. You can certainly build a 5 SWC list and then run this Lt and not be ashamed.
  • Mobile Brigada: I like the BSG option at 32 points, though the fact that the Tinbot -6 BSG isn’t a Lt can be problematic if you want to have your Cake and Lieutenant too.
  • Brawler: 15 points and 0 SWC but also straight up telegraphs themselves on the WIP roll. Actually a viable choice in this faction despite this.
  • Emily: Worth mentioning that this faction has access to a solid Chain of Command piece. Leveraging this ability does mean taking a more aggressive Lt, while also noting ( in contrast) that taking an Alugacile Lt in the same Fireteam as Emily doesn’t really let you leverage CoC but that’s a price you’ll have to pay to keep critical elements of your list alive.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Mid-field play

Starco has quite an interesting selection of mid-field pieces that seems to allow them to lean into an offensive/aggressive posture that can also press buttons. However, let’s not pretend that Corregidor’s access to Morans isn’t a huge difference between the two factions. They both get Bandits but Morans present a mid-field defensive piece par excellence for Corregidor. Starco’s limited ability to replicate this function educates our perspective on how Starco’s mid-field game plays (see above: punch first, ask questions later).

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Snipers

Both Starco and Corregidor have A-class snipers available to them. I believe there is virtue in presenting the comparison between them in the form of a visual aid instead of yet another wall of text:

A comparison between Knauf, an Intruder Sniper and your Girlfriend (or Boyfriend)

A table comparing the various pros and cons of Knauf, an Intruder Sniper and your Girlfriend

We here at Goonhammer do not endorse the normalisation of blonde, white people as the ‘prototypical life partner’. However, we chose this stereotypical representation in order to reach the greater audience with our terrible, terrible humour. TLDR: Love as thou wilt, goons.

I believe this covers the key value differences between the three. Though, the girlfriend/boyfriend wins by default if they are real (get wrecked, losers).

 

Drop Troops


Well, both Starco and Corregidor get Hellcats, who are bad-asses. So, the point of differentiation is that Corregidor gets Tomcats (who are pretty cool) while Starco gets Raoul Spectre.

OK.

All is forgiven.

You might not know it yet but Spector is ya boi. Spector is the over-powered self-insert OC that Cuervo Goldstein wishes he was. Spector is the wingman who talks you up to your crush when you’re out of the room. Spector is the guy that always has a spare Twenty to cover drinks for anyone who forgot their wallet. Not only does Spector believe in you, Spectre is the guy who tells you to ‘believe in the you that believes in yourself’. Spector is goddamned Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and if those words are gibberish to you, well then you need to get educated, sucker.

This rant has been a rambling, stream of consciousness argument for explaining that Raoul Spector is a faction-defining piece for Starco. If you’re writing a list and don’t take Raoul, you need to have a relatively good answer for why.

 

Sample Lists

Several Starco personalities

Photo credit: Musterkrux

What’s a Brigada with you?

A list I recently piloted to success in my most recent game (I know, I’m scared, too) looks like this:


Fireteam Core:
Mobile Brigada HMG, Mobile Brigada BSG (with Tinbot), Alguacile x3 (one being Lt)

Fireteam Haris: Riot Grrl Spitfire, Avicenna, Uhahu

Irmandhino with Chain Rifle

Transductor Zond (flashy boi)

Al Hawwa Forward Observer with BSG

Knauf

Raoul Spector

Jaguar with E/M CCW

War Cor

 

Breaking the list down:

The Fireteam Core leverages the Mobile Brigada’s HMG to sweep the ramparts and engage any ARO pieces that might threaten the RiotGrrl and her Haris on approach. They shouldn’t stray into the mid-field until late game, as they’re dragging the Lt with them but when the time is right you can slingshot the BSG Brigada out into combat to do some work.

The RiotGrrl, supported by both Avicenna and Uhahu, can break into the mid-field and own it. They’re quite a tough little package.

Knauf is there to give you another angle for long-range shooting. Knauf is, strictly speaking, an Active piece only for Round 1 and potentially even Round 2. You want him prone on a building during the Reactive turn until your opponent runs out of pieces that are a genuine threat to him.

The Jaguar, Irmandhino, War Cor and Transductor Zond are all there as bubble-wrap for your attack pieces. The Jaguar and Irmandhino also pull double-duty as your smoke-pieces (for either getting up the table or giving Knauf and the Riot Grrl some trickshots. Uniquely, the Jaguar’s EM CCW gives you a great tool for managing high armour/visual mod HI or TAGs that you can’t reliably beat in a shooting F2F roll while the Irmandhino is an order efficient specialist on demand.

Finally, you’ve got Raoul Spector, who’s there to exploit any weaknesses in your opponent’s position. With Stealth you can sneak into melee with an enemy TAG and set it up for the old IMM-B boogie or you toss some Drop Bears around a corner to set people up for forked AROs (and not just from Spectre but the rest of your list can trigger those horrid ‘Dodge or eat mine’ scenarios. Even after all that is done, there aren’t many people who want to F2F a Mimetism -6 model holding a BSG.

 

Skirmishers for Starco

Photo credit: Musterkrux

You Can’t Handelman the Truth

Welp. We’re playing a faction with access to a linkable, BS 13, EM Grenade Launcher with X-visor. You know this list needs to happen, right?

 

Fireteam Core: Emily Handelman (CoC) and 4x Alguaciles

Fireteam Haris: Brawler MSV 2 Multi-Sniper and 2x CSU

Mobile Brigada with Multi-Rifle (Lieutenant)

Transductor Zond (FLashy Boi)

Anaconda TAG with HMG

Al’Hawwa Sniper with Minelayer

Jaguar with EM CCW

Uhahu

Hellcat with Spitfire

 

This list has a mix of tools to leverage to solve problems you wouldn’t necessarily be able to solve with a straight up F2F roll. The Brawler sniper can work with the Jaguar’s smoke to shoot people down, Emily can pull her Speculative Fire shenanigans (potentially leveraging Spotlight from Uhahu and her Pitchers). The Al’Hawwa can use Minelayer to hide the presence of the Hellcat (at least, through deployment). The Hellcat is here instead of Spector to demonstrate that an AD trooper can use a Burst 4 weapon that’s good out to 24” to solve problems instead of Spector’s more intimate manner.

The Mobile Brigada is a solid shooter who can have a cheeky Rambo, spend their Lt order, and not care if he gets laid on his back because Emily is ready to step in anytime. The Anaconda is also there to roll big dice at people as needed.

Downside to this list is a marked lack of specialists who can play ball in the mid-field, so make sure you don’t run something like this into a button-pushing scenario.

 

Wrapping Up

If, after all this, you still insist on playing Starco instead of Corregidor then know that this was a test and that you have passed. Nobody can call themselves a Snowflake Chaser if they bitch out and pick a good faction like Corregidor. Next week we’re really going to test the limits of our dedication to that special place in the Infinity meta and talk about Call of Duty: Modern Arm 3 – The faction. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

 

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