On 24th of March 2022, Corvus Belli have released an update to the rules for composing Fireteams of Infinity models, giving us new Fireteam rules and profiles. In this article our Goonhammer Infinity authors are running through the changes and what they mean for you.
How do Fireteams work now?
The rules for how you compose fireteams on the table, move them, activate them for Orders and AROs etc, are almost completely unchanged. There was a very minor fix in that you can ARO separate hacking programs (e.g. Trinity with one fireteam member and Oblivion with another) without breaking the team.
Each faction has its own chart which outlines what groups of models can compose Core, Haris, and Duo fireteams.
These charts describe how many fireteams that faction can have on the table at once. Most factions are still restricted to 1 Core team, 1 Haris team and unlimited Duo teams, but some can field 2 Haris teams alongside the Cores and Duos.
Vanilla factions can now include some Duo teams.
- Models in a Fireteam receive cumulative bonuses as before:
- 3-model Fireteams receive +1 Burst in the active and reactive turns
- 4-model Fireteams receive the Sixth Sense skill
- 5-model Fireteams receive +1 BS
- Yes, that’s right, the bonus for a full 5-model (and therefore Core) team has been reduced. But . . .
- Models in a Fireteam composed entirely of 1 model type (e.g. 5x Fusiliers) receive additional cumulative bonuses, ‘fireteam composition’ bonuses in the new parlance.
- 3-model fireteams receive +3 to Discover rolls (meh)
- 4-model fireteams receive +1 BS
- 5-model fireteams receive +1 BS
Yes, dear reader, you read that correctly. If your 5-model fireteam is all the same type, they get the exact same bonuses you will recognise from the previous rules.
Certain thematically connected unit types still ‘count as’ a base type, or share a common keyword, so you can mix them in fireteams and still claim the fireteam composition bonuses. This is separate from Wildcards, which still exist (most sectorials have an expanded list of them) and can join any fireteam, but which do usually break the bonuses.
Some models are Wildcards and have keywords for fireteam composition.
EG a Yaogat sniper can still join 4 Morat Vanguard models and claim the full suite of bonuses, because they share the right keywords.
A Grenzer sniper can still join 4 Securitate models in a Core team, but it does not qualify for compositional bonuses. Every model in the team would benefit from +1B, Sixth Sense, and +1 BS only.
So the detail of all this is that a hell of a lot of new options for mixed fireteams exist; some options for mixed fireteams have been removed; more frequently those options have remained in the game, but won’t attract the full bonuses.
Changes to Fireteam Bonuses
Ilor: As a mostly vanilla player, I am largely ambivalent to the changes as they don’t really apply to my own game play. But speaking as someone who regularly faces off against fireteams, I actually kind of like the change. Yes, breaking the +3/-3 standard is a little bit of a downer from an “ease of use perspective” and the math is a little harder, but I’m OK with that if it makes tossing Wild Bill into a Grunt/Minuteman fireteam a little less awesome from a “rock hard group that can do basically anything at any range band” perspective.
I am more concerned that they took the fireteam notes out of the Army app the day before our regular game night. Jerks. I assume they’ll be back in at some point (perhaps even by the time this article gets posted), but that doesn’t help me RIGHT NOW and as far as I am concerned my immediate satisfaction is all that matters.
Thanqol: Oh, I hate this. I hate this to bits.
See, one of the best parts of Infinity math is that everything is +3/-3. It makes it so easy to eyeball the math – I’m shooting a guy in cover with a good rangeband and a full fireteam, that’s 2 good things and one bad thing, so +3 total. Everything’s in these snappy little increments and now I’ve gotta roll that back and use my dumb brain to caculate two thirds of a fireteam bonus or whatever the fuck. And for what? The magnetic narrative potential of having five fusiliers in a fireteam? Slapping the wrist of the Varuna Immediate Reaction Division, a faction that was already hard countered with the release of the Libertos? Get outta here.
But it’s all so minor it feels like nothing, but it feels like a really petty and unnecessary nothing that’s just gonna lower the quality of life when playing Infinity.
One upshot, though, is that the optimal mixed fireteam size might actually be four rather than five.
Genghis Cohen: See I don’t hate it for the +1 modifier increments, I don’t mind that at all. I dislike it because it’s such a non-change to the way the game works. This will shake up what combo of units form the optimum fireteams, dictated by the keywords which still allow unit mixing, e.g. Suryat HI and Vanguard line infantry are allowed to mix while still gaining full fireteam bonuses, because both have the Morat fireteam classification. It won’t at all change the tactical role fireteams play in the game. We will be looking for the same combinations of firepower/ARO pieces, specialists for more mobile teams, hackers to gain Sixth Sense, and cheap cheerleaders to bunker safely in our Deployment Zones.
I don’t think it will actually reduce use of mixed teams at all. We’ll simply see a shift to the units which are (for theme or game-balance reasons) still allowed to mix. CB doesn’t seem to have the appetite to actually move back to mono-unit teams, and who’s to say it would actually be any more interesting if they did?
Side note, I don’t like fireteams. I think they make deployment and play more constrained. I’m actually an anti-fireteam extremist, I think the game would be better without them, and Sectorials should be differentiated from vanilla with far wider use of unique profiles and entirely unique units, including named characters. But I appreciate that’s an unusual view which would be a fundamental shift for the game.
As it is, I’m a little disappointed that the same firepower buffs and especially Sixth Sense will be so prevalent.
Musterkrux: Watch out for that agitator, Genghis Cohen, friends. He’s a vanilla-sympathiser looking to undermine Sectorials as part of his evil agenda. Just remember why we invented Fireteams in the first place: Line Infantry alone weak. Line Infantry together strong.
Like my comrades above I’m a little confused by the increased granularity and complexity they added to calculating Fireteam benefits but we will find a new normal and everything will settle down in a few weeks/months.
I’m surprised they left 6th Sense in the mixed-teams and that the brave souls who commit to homogenous Fireteams are rewarded with…+3 to Discover. Should have been the other way around if you ask me.
I feel like these changes bring down the absolute high-watermark for shooting in the game (ie. PanO HI leading Fusilier Fireteams hitting on 20-21’s, potentially even 24 with a BSG at the right range); as well as bring the most likely ‘pure’ fireteams (all LI) to a level that is comparable to elite single model attack pieces (ie. a Fusilier HMG in a 5x Fusilier Fireteam probably shoots just as well as an ORC HMG for a comparable cost), as well as overall pulling sectorial firepower down a little closer to the firepower that Vanilla lists can bring.
I wish I could say something witty like: “If everyone got nerfed, no-one was…” but Vanilla lists haven’t taken a hit as far as I can tell.
Any Changes to Fireteam Effects
Thanqol: This I’m more encouraged for – it’s a cool mechanical space that CB can use to encourage certain playstyles or incentivise some inherently bad sectorials. There is a lot that can be done with this kind of thing that might make a sectorial really interesting – imagine a heavy infantry sectorial where a fireteam all gets Firewall even if the models themselves lack a Tinbot, say. Naturally they lead with the coolest bonus, the jungle terrain skill.
Musterkrux: I am super excited for within-sectorial Fireteam bonuses. There’s so much CB can do to refresh and tweak existing Sectorials with this idea. It’s another lever/dial that they adjust to help make Sectorials feel unique and interesting to play. Bravo.
So far it looks like only Morats get a boon for specific Fireteams, there are a few ‘Well, of course’ moments when you skim the other factions (ie. A Kuang Shi Fireteam falls apart as soon as the Celestial Guard die) but as yet no-one else gets any special treats. It’s coming, though…
Genghis Cohen: Yeah, the devil will be in the detail here. Special terrain types? Great. As they said in the promotional videos, it gives them the chance to alter this on the fly, to balance the game, or even to introduce ITS season themes, like how bikes have Mimetism-3 in ITS Season 13.
But we will all live in fear of the day Tohaa Triad fireteams are suddenly allocated the BS Attack (T2) trait.
Ilor: I agree that there’s some really cool design space here. If it brings back hot-dropping 4x Yuan Yuan onto the table in Qapu Khalqi, it will have been worth it.
Do we like the Fireteam Changes?
Genghis Cohen: Hmm, I might have tipped my hand on this one. I love the re-organisation. It provides clearer instructions (if still pretty damn complex to explain to new players) on what can be in a fireteam and what allocates bonuses. It gives them a good structure to build on.
I do think the barely-changed bonuses (+1B, Sixth Sense, and now incremental BS bonuses) are a missed opportunity. I have to admit how difficult it would be to work radical changes without stripping current mixing options away. People don’t like that level of change when it feels like losing options.
It will come out later on whether the changes have made Sectorial lists more variable in competitive play, which for me will be the big determinant of new thing good/bad.
Ilor: I think time will tell. I want to play some games and get a feel for it first, but overall I don’t hate the changes. I do agree that the Sixth Sense and +3 Discover bonuses should have been swapped – Sixth Sense is just such a ball-buster to crack. But overall I don’t hate it and I feel like the unique fireteams offer a ton of interesting possibilities.
Thanqol: Yeah nah. But I’m gonna get over it. If you’re thinking about how to design the game you’re not thinking about how to win the game; right now my thinking is about discount pop-up turn two and three snipers, vanilla factions, and OSS who would run pure dakini fireteams before the change.
Musterkrux: From my comfortable armchair I have composed an extensive list of things CB should have done to fix Fireteams and they have implemented absolutely none of it. My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined.
Not quite true. Honestly, I’m going to be really milquetoast and sit on the fence here and reserve judgment until I’ve had some time to muck around with lists and see how they play on the table. However, if you’re asking me to pick a side right here and now I’m going to go with: ‘Cautiously optimistic’. CB doesn’t screw up often and I have faith that they’ve put a lot of thought and testing into this. Additionally, their willingness to respond to the player-base post-launch represents a charming humility that I love but am also terrified is going to be exploited by the squeaky wheels in the community.
How will Fireteam Changes Affect Competitive List Building & Play?
Thanqol: I think the impact on PanO will be particularly large. As Gun Faction, the play for PanO has been for a while to get Biggest Gun, and as Dumb Faction they really appreciated that +3 to discover. Now the best overwatch piece they have is definitively the Swiss Guard, followed by auxilia, so the defensive logic for the faction is very different. Depending on the sectorials, and with the presence of so many cheap irregulars these days, that meme vanilla list creeps ever closer.
Meanwhile, I think competitive Yu Jing is done with sectorials entirely. They already weren’t good and now putting a CC expert in an Invincibles link costs you two points of BS.
Musterkrux: I’m guilty of starting almost every list with 4 cheerleaders and a Counts-As/Wildcard big shooter, so this might be a huge change for me. I’m hoping this will shake up the meta some, encourage a bit more creativity in list design. Some people might even get jack of Sectorials and go vanilla. Probably not in significant numbers but we’ll see. People playing Ariadna Sectorials are probably really mad right now and I’m not sure I can blame them for it.
Genghis Cohen: I am keen to try out some kind of ‘pure’ (including wildcards and other such classification fireteams) at 4 models. I don’t think 2BS is too high a price to pay for the greater flexibility. As stated above, I’m not sure the default way I build a sectorial list (5 model defensive Core team, 3 man offensive Haris team) is going to change. But then again I was already playing with the occasional 2×3 model team in Military Orders, and finding it very fun, if perhaps less competitive.
I would be very keen to experiment with 3x 3 model fireteams in the factions that are allowed them. I think factions which have decent Haris options, and can now field 2 Haris teams simultaneously (Morats and ISS spring to mind), are big winners here. This is a shameful thing to admit, but as much as I despise the Tohaa (death to artichokes) the Triad-centric playstyle is super appealing.
Ilor: Musterkrux isn’t alone in the “4 cheerleaders and one gunslinger” list core, I see that a lot. That fact that it’s so ubiquitous probably means it’s too good right now. And frankly it’s just a drag to play against. If nothing else, maybe I’ll take Impersonators less often because I’ll no longer have to scream “Allah hu akbar!” and sacrifice my Fiday to take out whatever core-linked Kamau/Wild Bill/etc bullshit is locking down the entire board.
Morat Aggression Force
Genghis Cohen: I almost agree with a recent review of the Dartok hacker, by an obviously very experienced and knowledgeable player down in Australia – “it’s like Jazz but better”. Basically the same concept, not a HD+, and 1WIP lower, but Dogged is a huge skill for a hacker in both active and reactive, as is Veteran (for Immunity to Oblivon/Isolated). This guy is a game-changer for their sectorial.
Incidentally one of the big things that tells me mixed fireteams are far from dead, is as far as I can tell you can still gain full coherent fireteam bonuses for 3 Vanguards, one Dartok Hacker, and one Yaogat sniper with his additional +1 Burst? I mean that’s a classic defensive/ARO-sweeping fireteam there.
The Kaitok shock HI and the Kyosot killing platoon also both look like useful aggressive troops. Time will tell their fireteam options and how they slot into sectorial, but even as solo pieces or in vanilla, the Kaitok especially seems to have potential. 22 pts for a 5ARM, 2W close-in attacker seems quite handy.
Finally, on the Kyosot, I will say that while it doesn’t seem overwhelming or unbalanced as a lone unit, the very concept of BS Attack (T2) on a profile strikes a chill to my bones. That is some meaty damage.
Ilor: Dartok hackers – I want one! Holy shit, they’re good!
Also, it’s goofy as shit, but I am also 100% here for the Tyrok Hunter. With +8” Forward Deployment, both the minelayer and Skurgot profiles are going to make for some great mid-field roadblocks. And this is one of the few profiles outside Ariadna that’s bringing a T2 weapon to the fray. Juicy!
No one has yet mentioned them, but I think the Zubaks are an interesting unit, if a little niche. I think they’d be more interesting if their CC were higher than a mere 18, but a +1B Adhesive Launcher has some serious comedy gold potential. I’d love to see more missions that involve non-lethal or capture objectives, and these troops would be exceedingly well-suited to that kind of a mission.
Musterkrux: I’m not the first person to sing the praises of Dartok AKA Baby-Jazz and I won’t be the last. A little pricey compared to other min-maxed Hacker profiles but there’s a lot in there that just straight up slaps.
I have a great fondness for the budget-model Kaitoks but would probably leave the Feurbach and Breaker Combi profiles at home.
I am incredibly disappointed that Rindaks look to be, unironically, very capable paramedics. I feel like CB could have leaned into the Rasyat meme that ‘Diplomacy’ means something very different to Morats than it does everyone else by making the Rindak Emergency Brigade a bit more ‘saw-bones’, as enthusiastic battlefield doctors with ‘medical’ equipment that doubles as melee weapons (give them Berserk and a DA CCW, you cowards).
The Bultrak looks rad. I’m not convinced it’s outright better than the Raicho (NCO is very tempting, though) but I’d have to think about what their respective role-types are and the overlap between them.
Ilor: I couldn’t get past the Chernobog, TBH. It rocks and I can’t wait to pitch a repeater next to one, possess it, and rampage it through my opponent’s ranks. Seriously, Ariadna’s lack of good EWar capability makes something like the Chernobog a serious liability. I’m 100% here for it, but I wonder how often we’ll see one on the table.
Musterkrux: If the sculpt for the Strannik doesn’t have the same ‘Angry Old Man’ big energy of the concept art I’m going to be incredibly disappointed. Not sure how I feel about a 19-20 point foot-slogging specialist in Ariadna (or even Kosmoflot) with no marker-state. The T2 BSG might be cute but the question will always come back: Why is this not just an SAS FO? As a Wildcard option for other Fireteams, I’m not super sold on them, either.
Finally. Patchers let me live the Starcraft Terran Marine fantasy and I will not let anyone take this away from me. I’m starting to wonder if CB should just suck it up and give Ariadna true HI with 2W instead of throwing around all of these Battle-Ravaged profiles. I’m quite fond of the Patchers, actually. Both profiles have something to recommend them (one has a Burst 3 Vulkan Shotgun, the other is 22 points) and while it might be a typo/mistake…Patchers have Cubes. Did you want re-rollable Doctor checks on unconscious Battle-Ravaged-state Patchers? I do.
Ahh, the Chernobog. Now Ariadna truly can into TAG. It looks like we can pay 65 points for 2.5 Structure worth of Arm 8 Main Battle Tag with an AP-HMG. That’s…that’s pretty good. If you thought the Ratnik 50 point profile wasn’t already dead in the water for Vanilla Ariadna, it is now. Is the Chernobog the best TAG in the game point-for-point? I mean, hell, maybe?
Did you notice the Mekhaniks with their Remontnikbots (ie. Ariadnan Palbots) in Army Builder? There’s an E/M Minelayer option there for 17 points. That’s a winner. The Palbots are 2 points each, which is one of the cheapest Mine-sweeper pieces in the game. Nice.
Genghis Cohen: I was mystified by the Strannik TBH. Perhaps intended as a wildcard for Kosmoflot, but I can’t see what it brings to the table for solo play. Not a gunfighter, not especially a close-in brawler, no mobility skills.
Genghis Cohen: Dear lord who favours the Nomad nation, we thank you for this Gator. Let us eat the bread of NCO, wetted with the salty tears of lesser factions’ adherents, in your name, Amen.
Ilor: What he said.
Musterkrux: I’m actually all about those D-Block Diablos. I love budget HI, especially ones that can serve as resilient corner guards. Also, imagine what happens when one of these cheeky felons hits combat: Berserk with CC23 as a Normal roll (so, you’re just trading hits) with an effective Damage 15 (13 on a bad day) Double Action Trench Hammer (Triple Action if you crit on a 17+). Even if you get pinged, you’ve got that extra wound to laugh it off and go grief someone else.
The Gator is gorgeous but isn’t a resculpted Lizard so I’m going to be the Dad who didn’t want a dog but then ends up spoiling it rotten (NCO on a viable combat platform in Nomads? Be still my heart).
Genghis Cohen: Corregidor has 3 TAG options (if we count the Iguana, which is debatable). Is that the most of any Sectorial in the game? I really think the Gator kicks the Iguana into the long grass. I know what I’m proxying as a Gator in my game this saturday!
I do like the Diablos and their fireteam options will be crucial. If they can fireteam with Jaguars, I’d consider one an auto-take for beasting through mines, using Berserk etc. As solo pieces, I find that kind of warband will every so often win you the game in a massive attack run; true 2 Wounds makes this more likely than the Jaguar’s Dogged rule. But in many games they will remain area denial point guards and cheerleaders. And in those situations, I’d often save my points and take Jaguars. It’s a sign of how versatile Corregidor is that I can look at this pretty swish new profile and think ‘eh, maybe I can find space to try it’.
Thanqol: Coming in strong on the waifu rankings, the new MO Engineer is a solid 2 point upgrade over a machinist – we’ve had her profile already but perhaps she’ll get the chance to fireteam with things she can actually repair. Hawkins, however, is a classic character profile – nothing to recommend him except some tepidly better CC stats and a gun for a rangeband you don’t need, for a point more than a Hospitalier Doctor.
Musterkrux: First of all: I also simp for the Curator. ‘Pledge to Protecc’ and all that jazz. That said, I’m seeing a lot of Deactivators in this current crop of releases and had to double check that they fixed the issue where they were limited to an effective range of 8” (ie. within the trigger zone of mines). I’m not sure what CB has planned for us in the future but my hot take will be: Prepare yourselves for IED-disposal.
I’m going to try to be more positive than Thanqol regarding Kyle Hawkins. Hawkins is probably the closest we’re going to get to a viable Character Knight whose name doesn’t start with Jo- and end with -an. The Multi-Marksman Rifle is a weapon I quite like, it has a solid range bands above 16” without an SWC cost and different ammo types to help you deal with different combat scenarios. He’s expensive-ish but he’s also a frontline specialist without any outrageous skills bloat (Mendoza, De Fersen, I’m looking at you). His sculpt will be the big decider for me.
Genghis Cohen: First of all, how dare you mock my precious Mendoza by rubbing in his lack of specialist status. He is my friend, and it’s not his fault he never learned to push buttons, or that in every single game he fails me immediately.
For the new stuff I broadly agree: The Curator is a pretty tame themed-version of the MO Machinist, the proof of the pudding will be in their Fireteam options, especially how it slots into coherent troop types for MO. Hawkins (Jim, me lad!) isn’t some sort of Sectorial-carrying Shang Ji-sus, but AP/Shock and the Berserk option IMO is a really nice addition to Hospitaller fireteam options.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re wondering how these affect existing factions, stay tuned in future weeks for our updates to our Infinity Faction Focus articles!