Sometimes you just need to kill five people at the same time.
Template Weapons are an extremely important part of Infinity, the eternal bane of link teams, skirmishers and invisible people. They’re the cornerstones of successful defenses and are as useful for restricting movement as they are for doing damage. And yet, if used in the wrong situation they can be either useless or actively detrimental. This article will discuss the use cases of both direct template weapons (DTW) and impact template weapons (ITW).
Direct Template Weapons
Chain rifles, nanopulsars, flamethrowers, the secondary fire mode on shotguns – direct template weapons are suicide guns. When you fire one it automatically hits your opponent if they’re under the template but the action is not a face to face roll. If they shoot you back they’re shooting unopposed, meaning odds are that both sides will take hits.
You will almost always be able to land a DTW hit if your opponent is in range. DTWs do not need to be angled flat across the table – they can be fired up and down from any point of your model, towards any point of their model. You can angle them into walls and floors if necessary. You can’t ever touch a friendly trooper with your own DTW but the aiming rules are so permissive you’ll always be able to find an angle that lets you hit only the target you want.
DTWs are primarily ARO weapons. In fact, they’re practically useless in active turn firing against a target who has declared dodge. A humble fusilier has a 50% chance of dodging a chain rifle outright and another 35% chance of absorbing the hit on her armour. It’s the least lethal attack in Infinity by a significant margin and even if you go through the trouble of maneuvering a flamethrower trooper to light up an entire 5-woman link team all at once don’t be surprised if you only get one kill.
Where DTWs kick in in active turn is that you can choose to fire them after your opponent has declared their ARO – and if they have decided to shoot at you then you can accept the trade and have both pieces get shot. This is especially valuable on high armour troops like TAGs who can laugh off your opponent’s attack while guaranteeing a hit in exchange. In fact, the threat of the template weapon is often better than actually firing it because it can fork your opponent’s ARO. If the opponent declares dodge, you shoot with your main gun – and a PanO TAG firing it’s HMG in a bad range band is still 4 dice on 12’s vs your opponent’s one dice. If the opponent declares shoot, you fire your DTW and take the hit on your armour. This technique also works if you have a high quality doctor or engineer linked with a fixable target. One of the nastiest point-blank punches in my Starmada List is a Betatrooper KHD rounding the corner – it can land three auto-hitting Nanopulsar hits on anything that doesn’t dodge and then be immediately repaired back to full capacity by Parvati.
But it’s in reactive that DTWs truly shine. High mimetism skirmishers like Croc Men are absolutely devastating pieces but they’re rendered extremely stoppable purely due to the role of DTWs as part of defensive setups as these weapons ignore their invisibility effects. They’re a way to triage a situation and cut your losses, accepting the loss of a disposable piece or taking a wound on a valuable one for a decent chance at ending your opponent’s attack outright. This act of mutual suicide is almost always the correct choice, especially if your opponent has 3+ orders still to spend on their attack. You’re not just trading out for the enemy piece, you’re rendering irrelevant every order they spent setting it up.
Be aware that, in active turn, some powerful close-combat threats being AROed by a DTW will declare dodge and use their dodge movement to close in to melee where they can then safely dispatch their opponents. If this is being done by a premium piece that also has a great gun then there’s honestly not a lot you can do about it – Achilles will take his due one way or another – so you may as well fire the DTW and hope for the 25% chance they fail the roll. If it’s someone without a good primary weapon coming at you, someone like Musashi or a Dog Warrior, consider firing your pistol instead – it’s not as guaranteed to hurt them but it can restrict their mobility by denying them dodge movement, which can cost them a critical order or two.
Impact Template Weapons
Missile launchers, rocket launchers, plasma rifles – Impact Template Weapons are absolutely fantastic to pack at least one of. There’s no better feeling than firing one at a Total Reaction remote and catching their incautiously placed engineer in the blast radius. The use case of an ITW is somewhat more straightforwards than a DTW. Firing it denies the armour benefit of cover, so you should always fire it at in cover targets and switch to Hit mode if they’re out of cover. Always fire it to maximize the number of targets you hit. If you can get a missile launcher with hidden deployment then do your best to fit it in your list because it’s a unique capability that can shut down some otherwise unstoppable attacks.
The main thing I’ll address here is how, exactly, impact template attacks work.
Take Fusilier Anne. She has line of sight on two Morats, who have line of sight on her. She fires a missile at one, putting them both under the template. Both morats fire their combi rifles in response.
How many players assume this works is: Anne has a face to face roll against the Morat she’s shooting. If she wins, she lands an automatic hit against the other one, while the other Morat is shooting at her unopposed. This is not how face to face rolls work with impact templates.
How it actually works is that Fusilier makes one roll which is face to face against both Morats. Say she rolls a 6, and Morat #1 rolls a 4 and Morat #2 rolls a 9. Fusilier Anne hits one Morat and misses the other. Anne makes an armour save against a combi rifle, the unlucky Morat 1 makes three armour rolls against the missile launcher.
If the situation was a Morat standing next to a Q-Drone, which has mimetism, and Anne shoots at the Morat it’s still a face to face roll against both the Morat and the Q-Drone, but the Q-Drone does not get the benefit of mimetism because it is not being directly targeted. If the situation is that the Q-Drone is standing and the Morat is Prone and out of line of sight but within template range, then the mimetism penalty is applied to Anne’s shot. The Morat then makes a Dodge ARO with a -3 penalty for not having LOS on her attacker.
One other important thing to keep in mind with ITWs. In active turn, an entire Link team can declare Dodge as their short skill – normally only the spearhead can act. So if you’ve been caught out with a surprise Noctifier you can salvage the situation by having your entire link Dodge rather than have several members just die without a fight.
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