If you mostly play against normal armies going up against a force heavy on the camouflage can be a bizarre nightmare where nothing makes sense and you get hit with missiles out of nowhere every time you try to do anything. That’s the worst part though – camouflage’s deadliest power is the ability to put an opponent off their game, if you’re approaching it in a methodical way it is much easier to deal with.
This article is written in two parts: The first details how you, as a strong, honourable PanO player can deal with a camouflaged scumbag, and the second details how you, as a fierce, underdog Ariadnan player can get the most out of your asymmetric options. Let’s get into it.
Part One: Oh God It Could Be Anything
In Starcraft, there are deceptive builds – stratagems that rely on fooling your opponent to steal a win. The catch with any stratagem that relies on deception is that it is inferior to normal play without the deception. It’s a simple point, but it’s important. You really have to invest to sell a deception and the more you invest the weaker your fundamentals will be. A Libertos in a sniper’s nest will sure fool your opponent but you’ve placed that model where it can’t do anything more than that.
When your opponent puts down 10 markers then it can feel like you’re playing blind – but that’s not the end of the world. That’s a massive investment in deception from your opponent and therefore the models underneath those tokens are just straight not going to be as good as their weight in comparative models. Moreover, the opponent has already invested a huge amount of resources in the subterfuge, now they have to consider carefully if they’re going to double down on that investment by positioning things sub-optimally for additional effect. If they’ve invested too much in deception, it actually doesn’t matter if you don’t know what they’re doing – you can just play a normal game and break it.
So, generally, things will be positioned in such a way that you can get a pretty good idea of what they are just by location. Anything centre of the table is a close range fighter, anything sitting back on a sniper overlook is likely a sniper, anything tucked away somewhere impossible to access likely has a hacking device or jammer. Often most camouflage models are telegraphed pretty hard because there just aren’t that many amazing spots to put that key piece.
There is a lot of factional variation in this space, though. Here’s a quick run through of what various factions threaten with their camouflage tokens:
You see a mimetism -0 (mimetism is public information, even if the model is under a camouflage token) and mimetism -3 camo token within 8 inches of each other? It’s a Libertos, the Best Ten Points You Can Spend. Major Lunah is also a broadly available camo sniper, giving most vanilla factions that capability.
Mimetism -0 tokens are Helots – powerful reactive gunfighter pieces, likely with light rocket launchers. Watch out for the templates. Inaccessibly placed mimetism -3 tokens are likely Zulu Cobras – they have jammers, sensors, and can be lieutenants. That’s really it, if PanO wants to make someone invisible they’ll do it properly with Hidden Deployment.
Midfield objective-ranged skirmishers are likely Guilang – General purpose specialist counterskirmishers, often seen in their minelayer configuration. There’s an outside chance you’re actually dealing with a heavy infantryman instead but it’s very uncommon. A silhouette 3 camo token is a Long Ya – a minelayer remote with panzerfausts and flammenspears, so watch out for those templates.
A single tucked away camo token in the opponent’s DZ is 100% a Daoying – basically, it’s their lieutenant, and it has one wound and a shotgun, if you can kill it take the shot.
Takes a deep breath
Ariadna is the Camo faction and they, more than anyone else, are playing to win the deception game, especially in vanilla Aridana. A camo token here can be anything from a missile launcher to a martial arts expert to ‘haha nothing’. You’ll see HMGs with Marksman, you’ll see flamethrowers, you’ll see a girl and her pack of werewolves, there’s no end to it. Going through Aridna camo tokens is like going through Yu Jing Heavy Infantry – it’d double the article’s length, just assume they can do anything that anyone else does with camo but better.
I’ll give a special nod to SAS Forward Observers amongst a field of greats, though – they’re the perfect package. Not only do they have D-Charges letting them threaten 12 inches with a suicide bomb vest charge (move-move under camo, regardless of if you get discovered, then move-CC attack to finish the job), but they have chain rifles for close-in defense, shotguns for models you think might try to Dodge, and when paired with a katyusha a long range Forward Observation ARO can render a foe Targeted and make it easy prey for a missile barrage next turn.
The Al Hawwa covers all the bases – a minelayer sniper lets it place a decoy sight lane, or it could just be a cheap specialist or hacker near the objective. Farzans are similar – either a specialist, a minelayer, or – interestingly – a chain of command model. If your opponent is running an action lieutenant like Tarik then consider flushing out suspicious camo tokens to confirm a LT kill. Hunzakuts are the same range of capabilities but with a discount for being irregular. Basically in all cases you’re looking at a BS11 shotgun or sniper rifle being under any given Haqqislam camo token.
But really, you’re worried about the Dalyami. They’re dirt cheap, have panzerfausts, and are there to fish for lucky hits. Engage them with high burst weapons if you can, you don’t want any variance when these rockets come at you.
The Intruder is the classic piece: a camo token placed in the DZ like an assault piece – protected, with a good range of movement. It’s got a MSV2 so if it surprise shoots through smoke it can -12 its target, which is the ultimate rampart sweeper number. It’s only one wound and is like forty points, though, so if you can clip it with a speculative grenade or something it’s the best kill you can get. Very likely you’ll see a couple of Zeros – unremarkable cheap camo tokens, do normal camo token things, except that they can drop E/M mines or Repeaters which are both things you have to take incredibly seriously coming from Nomads. Morans are likewise unremarkable except for carrying Krazykoalas. Bandits trade irregularity for good martial arts stats and, importantly, they have booty which could turn them into extremely different kinds of threats. Finally, Bran do Castro merits special inclusion as an Infiltration+6 camo token with good kung fu. If a Nomad infiltrates a marker at Phys16 try to reserve drop something to cover any troops who are too close.
There’s one more trick you can pull with Nomads especially. The Mimetism-0 camo token within 8 inches of the Mimetism -3 camo token is the traditional ‘obviously a Libertos’ setup, but if that Mimetism -3 token is actually a Heckler then the threat profile it presents is entirely different – a sweeper HI might laugh off an antipersonnel mine in a way that they can’t laugh off an E/Marat.
The Shasvastii in particular have a lot of really weird camo token options. You can expect a tonne of weird stuff to come out from under there.
- Caliban are probably the scariest CA camo token. They’ve got Protheon, which means they can steal wounds from things they kill in CC – and they’re armed with demo charges, meaning they’ll potentially blow one of your models away and get two wounds back for their trouble. Do not leave anything within striking range of a Caliban. You might also see them with Engineer or Chain of Command – the Engineer loadout is very common in Avatar lists as a combination secondary attack piece that can support the Avatar.
Seed Soldiers are weird. They’re like strange mines that can shapeshift into troopers either as an ARO or for free at a turn start – don’t stress about it too much, just note that they can turn into paramedics.
Mentors are counterintelligence, backfield LT picks, and come with a decoy. You won’t see them too often because Combined has such unstoppably great LT picks they’ll rarely reach for this one.
Shrouded have Regeneration as their gimmick, but are really remarkable for their Dazer – a piece of equipment that can create a massive rough terrain zone. Movement controls are very limited in Infinity, and occasionally you’ll end up on the wrong end of one of these guys in Biotechvore or the Armory or something.
Refreshingly vanilla after all that, about the worst you have to worry about from Aleph’s camo game is the Naga, who are dogged and have access to Monofiliament Mines. Also be wary of Dart who has E/M grenades – and E/M grenades are no joke. Having Dart roll up and spend six orders speculatively tossing E/M grenades at your TAG LT is a bad time, so make sure to deploy so that you’re as safe from that as you can be.
If you ask someone if they’re a cop they have to tell you.
Part Two: Under The Mask
Beyond the deception, Camouflage’s real strength is that it’s an extremely powerful defensive shield. It lets the opponent control the when of the engagement, but not what is doing the engaging.
So that camo token up on the building staring you down? Odds are that it’s going to be a BS11 1W sniper or something comparable. And more than that, you know it’s probably going to shoot at you as soon as you poke your head up. It’s a predictable factor, and those numbers aren’t that scary.
And so you can just call their bluff.
Infinity players get hung up on being in cover all the time, and for good reason – being out of cover sucks! But if you’ve got a BS14 HMG girl in power amour consider that she so decisively outmatches that sniper that she doesn’t need cover to win that fight*. Sometimes the right move against a sniper is just to walk out into the open and dare them to shoot at you. Impetuous troops are also good at this – blowing a sniper’s position for a coinflip dodge roll can be a way to trade 5 points and 0 orders for a 20 point piece.
* With the caveat that she’s inside 32 inches. Being out of cover is nowhere near as bad as being outside of 32.
In general I find this is the best way to deal with overwatch Snipers in camo. Trying to discover them at extreme ranges is awful, it’s a mugs game, so just let them take their shot if they think they’re hard enough and crush them with Number. The only time I’d throw a long range Discover is if I’ve got a Sensor, MSV3, or am making it with a warband who I’m trying to use as bait to begin with. This brute force strategy also has the advantage of rendering you immune to fakeout camo tokens.
The only time I really advise caution is when it comes to taking multiple AROs at the same time. A single sniper hitting your HI attack piece is usually a free pickup, but engaging two at once is often real bad. If you’re looking at going into the sights of multiple camo tokens at once be sure you are at least in cover for that maneuver.
Mines and The Men Who Walk Like Mines
Mines aren’t actually particularly dangerous to your heavy assets, especially in isolation. What they’re great at killing is skirmishers – your own midfield assets, marker states, and light infantry types. You typically want to engage mines with either your heaviest troops or your most disposable troops and nothing in between – walk through, take the dodge, and rely on either pure luck or power armour to see you through.
Dealing with a Direct Template Weapon (DTW) model under a marker state is a bit of a different issue, though – even if you make the dodge the girl’s still standing there ready for another round. You either need to take the hit, find an angle on the model with a different model outside of DTW range or engage them in CC. An aggressive HI attack piece with CC skills is the ideal piece for sweeping a midfield of mines and miners – make your dodges directly into CC and then finish them off with a sword. Failing that you’ve either got to take the trade (ideally with a remote you can easily repair) or have a secondary attack piece who can engage the revealed model from outside of DTW range. Either way, sweeping a midfield camo piece without the right tools is rough and order inefficient and if your opponent has 3 of them then you should plan your first turn to be all about removing that clutter from the midfield rather than pushing a deep attack into the enemy’s DZ.
Attack Pieces That Happen To Be Camouflaged
These tend to be the most resilient pieces in all Infinity, and are almost always worth avoiding rather than engaging directly. Not only are they inherently tough they also tend to be in the centre of an opponent’s formation where there are multiple layers to get through before they can be engaged – and when you do engage them you’ll be at coinflip odds of failing the Discover and having the attack sequence end right there. If one’s exposed, go for it, but more likely you’re better served by bypassing it and going for a softer target.
In Soviet assault doctrine, the procedure for a tank advance is simple: Bypass any strong points with armour, maintaining forwards momentum. The same principle applies to camouflage – you don’t need to waste time cracking every potential marker state before you move forwards, you can maintain a strong forwards advance and rely on heavy armour and good numbers to get you through, sweeping up exposed pieces with reserve forces. If your enemy is controlling the timing you can take that from them by committing to a deep offensive. You can, in fact, deal with an ambush by driving a bulldozer through the ambush site.
You can instead dedicate an entire turn to sweeping the midfield, but be sure you have the right pieces to pull that off before you commit to it. Your list almost certainly has a tool for attacking your opponent conventionally, you might just not have the tool for dealing with an ugly midfield – in which case, bypass it.
Part Three: The Marker Defense
When in doubt: No ARO. Make them make the damn discover roll. Give them nothing for free.
If they have already taken a movement skill so far, hold 100% of the time unless you have a special reason not to – say their movement let you catch another model in a missile template if you take the shot now. Even if they succeed at the subsequent Discover the situation hasn’t changed from your perspective, only now they have to spend another order. If they declare Discover-Shoot, then you might want to consider taking a shot back, but even then you should be biased to declaring No ARO. A long range Discover roll is often on 25% odds or worse. You’re paying for the timing, paying for the delay, so leave those threats on the board as long as possible. If you get to see them on the second half of their skill – when it’s a free, unopposed ARO in other words – often that’s a great moment to take a shot, but not always. A single dice on 8’s against a mimetism HI in cover is poor odds even unopposed, and the subsequent loss of your sniper might open up the board for your opponent.
A Marker State is often worth as much defensively for its position as it is for its ARO potential. Say you put a camo token with a decent gun up on a building midfield – it can’t get down easily and it’s difficult to climb up to engage it. Even if its prone and not threatening a single ARO it can still constrict enemy movement. If your opponent bypasses that camo token entirely to engage your backfield they’ve just flanked themselves – the camo token can then decamp and move to take some shots in the enemy’s rear arc. The threat of that shuts down huge numbers of safe withdrawal points or midfield areas where troops can be forward deployed to. A player might forego an offensive operation entirely just because they can’t plan a good exit strategy due to the threat posed by your camo token.
Mine placement has some subtlety to it – a Mine is always standing and counts as S2 – right up until the point it is discovered, at which point it drops to S0. This means you can place a mine behind a chest high wall and it threatens like a trooper, then drops when Discovered rendering it safe from being shot out. Sometimes this is desirable, but other times it can render a mine ineffective, especially if you placed that mine to impersonate a sniper’s position. In general, it’s not worth faking a sniper if it costs you a real mine detonation. Additionally, do everything you can to stop a trooper from triggering multiple mines in the same activation – one Dodge will render several mines ineffective at a blow. Space them out where you can. Finally, try to keep multiple camo tokens within 8 inches of a Minelayer – if you’re a Yu Jing player hiding a Daoying, puting it within 8 inches of a Long Ya Minelayer renders your LT’s position effectively concealed.
Finally, while the deception posed by camo tokens is rarely a critical factor, what it’s really good at is hiding how many points you’ve got on the table. This makes it perfect for concealing a Hidden Deployment or Airborne model.
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