Corvus Belli has released the Infinity Tournament System (ITS) rules for Season 13. Goonhammer’s crack team of Infinity Tactical Operators were directed to provide an expert opinion on what exactly this means for the state of play for Infinity in the 2021-22 season. However, they all contracted a nasty case of gastro after a team building exercise at a suspect Sushi place. However, we met a pair of enthusiastic masked men in spandex at the Emergency Department who insisted they could pinch-hit for the Goonhammer Infinity experts. We don’t know what they meant when they introduced themselves as Técnico and Rudos but we’ll trust them to deliver the Infinity ITS Season 13 hot take that you all deserve (but not the hot take you need right now)…
Musterkrux: Praise be, a new ITS season is upon us. Just look at that cover art. What’s cooler than Anathematics and Ko Dali? Nothing. This is going to be the best ITS season ever, mark my words.
There’s a bit of fluff at the start that outlines the context of this season, which appears to be Operation Barbarossa (but with Speculos on motorbikes, which is the coolest thing I never knew I needed until now).
I’m also thankful that CB saw fit to standardise the size of various tokens like Tech-Coffins and Supply Boxes. Excellent Quality of Life (QoL) addition.
Thanqol: Corvus Belli’s mass battle wargame is off to another strong start with the fiction about the massive planetary invasion of the Consilium system. The intense narrative focus on the forces of the United Colonies of Mankind waging battle against the invasive alien Scourge provides a well researched military science-fiction grounding, with particular attention to the logistical and doctrinal approaches of the nations as their conventional militaries engage in pitched battles across the arctic planes. Tank formations are the star of the show here, engaging in wide open areas. This is the start of a great new Dropfleet Commander supplement and will provide fiction to fuel countless future historical battles.
Wait, this is fiction for Infinity? The game where mafia banker security teams engage with private corporate mercenary armies for control of crates of medical technology? The game where 90% of all games will be human vs human? The game about covert operators operating covertly?
They keep doing this!
There is no Safe Area, because Frostbite is back
Musterkrux: Frostbyte’s baaaaacccckkkk, baby! I love the balance of scoring opportunities here, you’ve got area control, army points killed, as well as Classifieds for your specialists to work on. The down-side is that it looks like a very swingy scenario, if one player can kill more army points they are likely to be in a good position to Dominate the Exclusion Zone and that that locks them into a 6-4 win at worst. That said, having Army Points as a scoring mechanism potentially favors the first player but second player gets the last bite of the cherry with the end of game scoring check for the Exclusion Zone.
Don’t forget the Automated Defense System (ADS) on the heating units. Remember, sometimes punching hot things can hurt.
Thanqol: Frostbyte has the following special rules:
- Killer Cold (includes in depth rules for heating units)
- Free motorbike
- Datatracker with special order
- No retreat
- Blizzard zones
- Exclusion zone
That’s six gimmicks. More pertinently, that’s +2 orders over what people ordinarily bring to the table. That is, in fact, a starting combat group with 12 orders before lieutenant/LT2/tactical awareness orders come into play. Would you like to start the turn against a 14 order Avatar? I know I would!
Musterkrux: I would not like to start a turn against a 14 order Avatar. I have decided that this is not a thing I want.
Blizzards and Mountainous Zones
Musterkrux: I don’t love it but if some factions have models that pay points to have Terrain (Mountainous) then I feel like we’re obligated to play the ITS scenarios as written. ‘Tis only fair. This may result in a slight trend towards people taking more models with Terrain movement skills but I think this isn’t going to be a significant change either way.
I can see some really interesting plays involving the use of Blizzard zones in scenarios. They get dropped before Deployment, and the player who ‘kept Deployment’ (ie. alternatively, that’s the player did not get to choose turn order) must place both of their templates first.
The ability to lock down any obvious fire lanes/sniper towers with a Saturation zone will really hurt any players leaning heavily on static Fireteams to do work and I, for one, welcome this nuanced adjustment.
Thanqol: frantically goes through Infinity Army to check who has Terrain skills
Okay good news, the White Banner Army, the ones who train on Svalheima the ice planet, don’t have any Mountain Terrain troops. Good work guys, we did it.
But if having to look up the terrain rules before every game is the worst thing that happens to you, consider yourself lucky. If you’re unlucky your local opponents will realize how nasty a Swiss Guard/Hac Tao/Noctifier behind a saturation zone is.
Free Total Reaction Turrets
Musterkrux: I really appreciate little changes like this that encourage players to stretch their creative wings and cook up something really special and personalised to show off their skills.
As far as implications for the game, I think there are a few factions that will benefit for having access to a free/disposable Total Reaction combi-rifle in their DZ to act as a speedbump against an Alpha-Strike. This is a great little addition to the game that will help players reach the mid and late game with a more intact force, as well as ensure that conflict happens in the mid-field, around objectives. All of which is going to contribute to a better player experience and fewer Round 1 wins by annihilation. Everyone’s a winner when you get a free FS-13 Defensive Turret.
Thanqol: When I think about infinity, I think in terms of nightmares. I get visceral flashes of Achilles showing up in my deployment zone. I quaver at the thought of a Cutter finding some weird angle vaulting onto a building that gives it LOS to my entire core fireteam. I imagine myself drowning in a tide of werewolves who are astoundingly good at kung fu. I imagine a 14 order Avatar.
Against these demons, a BS10 combi rifle is not much comfort. But I’ll take it.
Musterkrux: Who doesn’t like a free model? I’m a little surprised CB is trying this. It almost feels like a ‘Pay-2-Win’ sales pitch (“Buy this recently released model, get to add it to your official tournament games for free, and break the trooper cap while you’re at it!”), which doesn’t sit right with me. Bit weird, though, the ABH on bike is a gorgeous model so it doesn’t need much of a leg up to make sales. I suppose we’ll see.
I feel like most people will immediately gravitate to the Red Fury option when given a freebie Motorised ABH (gotta maximise those dividends, yo). Though, it might be worth considering the SMG option as she brings a template weapon (Burst 2 Chain Colts) and a pretty hateful AP weapon option, which has a much better chance to punch through a TAG in cover while the Red Fury would be struggling with Damage 13 (or they could try their luck with the Breaker pistols, I guess?). Think about it.
I’m curious to see if an effective 16 Trooper cap changes the way people compose their Combat Groups. Usually it’s 10-5 or 9-6. Will we see 8-8? Oh, the possibilities!
Thanqol: Shut up Musterkrux, do you not realize what is happening here? This is another cheap irregular model in vanilla PanOceania. Joan can now get another 8 point regular order, and in some scenarios she gets another one.
Step by step we are getting closer to meming the worst vanilla faction into the best entirely off the back of these irregular orders.
Musterkrux: This is really interesting. Did bikes need a buff? Probably not, but I gather that the argument for changes like these isn’t about balance but rather shaking up the game and keeping things fresh by encouraging new play styles and options for players to explore. If this is the case, please accept my polite golf clap, Koni.
Some bikes get more out of this buff than others (ie. anyone who already had Mimetism got low-key stiffed) but at the same time, a Montessa Knight that can take cover is a lot more scary than a Kum biker with Mimetism and Cover.
My pick for Most Improved Bike is the USAriadnan Maverick, as it benefits nicely from both Mimetism and Cover, was already well priced and has both attack and specialist options. Then the Dynamo (Dogged) and Montessa (native Arm 4 with 2 wounds) are my next two picks.
Also, good on CB for confirming ahead of time that even the Zond Nautica benefits from this rule as an AI-Motorcycle.
Thanqol: As a Yu Jing player, I understand that my people have a reputation for being salty. I understand that many of us will look at our motorbike-less faction and be mad. I can see you opening up the Infinity forums post windows with hate in your hearts, dear readers.
Before you do, I just want to advise you to remember in the Antarctic Territory scenarios Su Jians are 9/2. We can totally beat their dumb motorbikes on the right courses. Remember that while they’re better on the straight, your turning and handling is better; you can maintain heavier fire on the pursuit and endure much more damage in return. From there, learn the map so you figure out when you can cut across course barriers with climbing plus and your ability to vault. Fish for blue shells when you start falling behind. Play the whole race, don’t get discouraged at an early setback.
What factions are going to be strong going into this season?
Musterkrux: I’d be hesitant to go all-in on Bike stocks right now. USAriadna isn’t going to set the meta on fire just because you can run 13 bikes in a list. Mountainous Terrain won’t blow MRRF with its yodelling Briscards to the top of the heap but access to Terrain (All) will certainly ensure that a faction has the ability to navigate any ‘issues’ that emerge during deployment.
We’re still playing 4th Edition Infinity, so TAGs are still in vogue. I’d hazard a guess that your Terrain: Total and Terrain: Mountain TAGs (and the Climbing Plus ones) will be favored going into some missions, seeing as your opponent won’t be able to stall your TAG in your DZ with a well placed Blizzard template. So, Svalarheima (for the Jotum), the Blue Wolf, Sphinx and Marut might see more table-time. I also think you’ll see an uptick in Shasvastii players with Defiance Waves 1 and 2 finally being delivered (see also: Sphinx with Terrain: Total), so have a plan for them (and by extension, Impersonators, Hidden Deployment TAGs and even Calibans).
I imagine vanilla Pan O and SWF will do well simply by virtue of having the TAG with the heaviest armour and Terrain: Mountain.
They get decent bikes, have great access to Terrain: Total, have good melee combatants to ignore penalties like Saturation zones, and benefit from having additional models in their list (being the original horde faction).
Thanqol: Haqqislam. Haqqislam is coming to get you. Burst 4 mimetism breaker pistols from cover is a real gunfighter for 11 points; the Nazarova twins are the real danger case as the best bikers who do not already have mimetism.
What are you going to be playing in Season 13 of ITS?
Musterkrux: I’m quite tempted to try Varuna. They’ve already got the right tools, throwing in a Montessa that can take Cover helps overcome VIRD’s big issue of moving into the midfield and holding it. Shame it’s only AVA 1 but I suppose I’ll just go cry into my giant bag of Mimetism -6 Cutter shall I?
That, or maybe some flavour of Ariadna (TAK, USAriadna or even just Vanilla). 1-2 bikes, some lovely mid-field skirmishers with Terrain (All) and I’m a happy snowflake.
Thanqol: Vanilla Yu Jing. I am determined to inflict my horrible saturation zone Hac Tao nightmare on everyone. Perhaps even Vanilla PanO if this Joan Meme actually starts paying off.
Musterkrux: Joan memes? I think I’d like to change my answer now, sir…
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.