Greetings Goons, it might not be MECHAHAMMER week anymore but it just wouldn’t have been MECHAHAMMER last week if we didn’t spend some time (after the fact) talking about the giant fightin’ robots featured in Infinity (arguably related to MECHA). They call ‘em TAGs, though. Tactical Armoured Gear. Blatantly stolen…inspired by the Landmates from Appleseed, these baby-carriers are the apex predators of Infinity. Every faction has at least one, some are good, most are fine, and some are bad. How could you possibly know which is which? Reading their profiles and coming to your own all-to-human and inevitably flawed conclusions? No no, we don’t do that here. Gentle Goon, allow me to illuminate you with Goonhammer’s very own TAG Tier List to save you from having to spend hours of your precious time in research and analysis just to get it wrong (we’ll get you to the wrong conclusion so much faster).
S – is for Super Good* Essentially a Faction or List-defining piece. The best a TAG can be. You put one of these on the table and the game is transformed into a round of ‘Kill the TAG or lose the game’.
A – is for Above Average, a good choice of TAG. Above the curve and honestly quite strong.
B – is for Balanced, most TAGs should sit here because they are a perfectly valid choice for their respective faction but by no means are an auto-include.
C – is for kinda Crap. A little below par but still a viable choice.
D – is for Don’t Even Bother. Honestly, this is a bad TAG.
E – is for Embarassing, excruciatingly so. Literally, the worst item in this Tier list.
F – is for Failed to meet minimum requirements. This is for the category of models that are literally not TAGs.
We’ll be ranking our TAGs in order that they are displayed in the Army Builder, because I work smarter, not harder (Ed: He’s trying to say that he’s lazy).
For the sake of shared reference points, allow me to clarify some terminology: MBT means ‘Main Battle TAG’, a play on the phrase ‘Main Battle Tank’. An MBT is a TAG that usually has an good Arm stat (7+), a solid but not outstanding primary weapon (most commonly a Multi-HMG but any high burst weapon with an AP-profile counts) and the usual mobility (Move 6-4, and few/limited Movement skills). Essentially, performs relatively well on the three scales of Resilience, Mobility, and Firepower.
A Diet-TAG is generally an Arm 6 TAG that is often cheaper than average and sometimes has some special rules that offset its relative lack of resilience.
Uhlans: Wow. We’re, ugh…we’re not starting out strong here are we? At first glance the Uhlan looks good. It’s got Remote Presence (re-rolls to repair STR is always a good thing), a Marker state with baked in Visual Mod (Mimetism -3) and a Burst 3 Feurbach. Surely that’s a good TAG, right? Alas, there are a few problems with the Uhlan that stop it from truly shining: At a high level the problem is that it’s not a Cutter. The Cutter gets Hidden Deployment, Mimetism -6, has a Burst 4 AP-weapon (Uhlan can be Burst 4 or Burst 3 DA+AP and is Arm 8 instead of 6. All for…*checks notes*…an extra 9 points. The argument that if you replaced the vanilla HMG with an SMG and gave the Ulhan an appropriate points discount it’d be a viable piece rings true to me. It’s just a smidge too expensive for what you get compared to other options within the faction to be the first TAG you reach for. Now, you might counter with: “Ahh, but friend, there are no Cutters in the Neoterran Capitaline Army sectorial, surely the Ulhan is viable there? Perhaps, perhaps. I’d personally struggle to pay 88 points for a vanilla HMG on an Arm 6 chassis when the Squalo NCO is right there for 10 points cheaper. Heck, take the Grenade Launcher if you want to Spec Fire on 9’s.
Rating: C+ for Carl von Clausewitz is spinning in his grave. It’s not crap crap but it does sit at least half a step behind other TAG choices in PanO.
Cutters: Here we go. Here’s the good stuff. Things that TAGs hate: Being Hacked, Getting tarpitted in melee, Losing F2F rolls in Reactive. Things that the Cutter can easily avoid by being a Mimetism -6 model with a Marker State: All of the above. The Cutter is an absolute Apex Predator in Infinity. BS 15 with a Multi-HMG and Mimetism -6 means it will win a lot of F2F rolls. Even models with MSV2 will be contending with its BS 15, Arm 8 and multiple STR. You might get lucky and punch through one F2F roll but can you do it another two times before the Cutter just dices you off the table? The Cutter has obvious shortfalls though. It used to have a Heavy Flamethrower in earlier editions of the game and doesn’t even have a Pistol like some other TAGs do. So, it’s clearly not optimised for taking nasty corners in your opponent’s DZ (that said, BS 15, Mimetism -6 and Burst 4 will still do work even at -3 range bands). However, fundamentally, when you take a Cutter you’ve warped the game from one of delicately balancing scoring scenario and inflicting attrition losses on your opponent into one where your opponent must absolutely react to your Cutter. The game becomes ‘Cap the Cutter’ and while you could well lose the game if your Cutter goes down, your opponent is far more likely to lose if they don’t deal with your Cutter.
Rating: S is for Submarine. This baby is waterproof up to 300m.
Dragao: What’s to say? It’s a classic MBT. The Dragao, being a BS 15 Hyper-Magnetic-Rail-Cannon (HRMC) with Remote Presence, gets a cheeky jump in ranking compared to similar pieces.
Rating: A for Armageddon, at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localised entirely within your opponent’s Deployment Zone.
Jotum: Arm 10 is pretty OK. It’s ever so slightly more OK when you’re in Cover and can’t possibly lose a wound to a Combi-rifle. At Arm 10, a Jotum does not die. At BTS 9 (and an EVO bot providing Fairy Dust) it cannot be hacked. If you stand before a Jotum you will fall. The only reason it doesn’t get an S-tier ranking is because there are still better TAGs than the Jotum. Think on that and know fear.
Rating: A+ is for Alvaldi the All-powerful jötunn
Seraph: The Seraph is an odd one. It doesn’t have an AP-ammo type to work with but it does have a cute tricks like Super-Jump, a passingly fair Close Combat ability and the option to bring an Auxbot with Flamethrower. While ARO forking your opponent between the Auxbot’s template weapon and your Spitfire shots is super cute, I think the Seraph takes a bit hit in the absence of a reliable damage type that doesn’t involve ‘driving closer so you can hit them with your sword’, which is a terrible plan for something so Hackable and so unstealthy.
Rating: C is for Chop-Chop.
Squalos: The mould from which all MBTs are cast from. The humble Squalos is the Suburban SUV of TAGs. A smidge expensive for decent performance with premium fittings and other modern conveniences. It’s got a few differentiating features, such as a high BS Grenade Launcher for playing out your science-fiction artillery fantasies as well as an NCO option if your Fusilier Lt isn’t hardcore enough to spend their Lt order killing alien scum.
Rating: B+ is for Beyond Visual Range Bombardment.
Tikbalang: This TAG? This TAG is an absolute beast for the price. Like every PanO TAG she’s got BS 15 and Remote Presence. Great start. Toss in a visual mod (-3) and a mobility trick (Climbing Plus) for novel attack vectors and you’re cooking with gas. The only downside to this TAG is that lack of AP-ammo on that main gun (…Wait for it). Also, you have to respect a TAG named after such a fearsome beast (Credit: Rodsan18, 2007, CC BY 2.5). Just look at those pecs, Horse-bro lifts). Respect.
Rating: B+ is for BAMF. However, if you happen to be a Tikbalang of Montesa take your A for AP-HMG and leave me be.
Guija: For a faction with only two real TAGs, YJ is doing pretty OK. The Guija used to be an incredibly vanilla MBT but they’ve given it a bit of a glow up over the last few years. Super-Jump and CC 22 with Martial Arts 2 means that while it’s certainly no Close Combat Monster it can at least hold it’s own against some models, such as tarpit Warbands. I can’t quite give it an A-rank, all things considered but it’s a solid B.
Rating: B for Bring It On (Note: Minus 300,000 Social Credit for besmirching the good name of the best TAG produced by YuJing)
Blue Wolf: Burst 5 AP-Spitfire is enough. It’s a mini-HRMC and that’s just dandy. Blue Wolf is a very flexible piece, with Berserk, good Dodge bonuses, Terrain (Total) and a healthy disregard for people’s feelings. I’ll confess I am personally disappointed he wasn’t a counter-part to the Jotum, taking something like Visual Mods or a Marker state but what we have is still very nice.
Rating: B+ for Blew (Blue) you away.
Yan Huo: Not a TAG but you’re getting a BS 14 HRMC on a solid chassis for less than 50 points. Sometimes, in a YuJing list that’s exactly what you need if you also want nice things like Su Jian. Also, reviewing only two TAGs for YJ felt unfair, so we’ll give them a ring-in.
Rating: F on a technicality but we’ll give them a B for Brrrrrttttt.
Ratnik: Isn’t a TAG. Wants to be a Diet-TAG. Would be terrible even if it was a TAG. Compare this to the Triphammer (a real, actual TAG) and tell me this isn’t a junk profile. Go straight to the bin, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
Rating: F (because it’s not a TAG) quickly followed by E, because it is also literally the worst thing in this Tier list.
Polaris Bearpode: Barges into TAG Tier-list discussion. Suplexes every TAG. Refuses to elaborate. Leaves.
Rating: Also an F but also actually rated A, Rage Bear is not a TAG but Rage Bear will kill any TAG dumb enough to make prolonged eye contact with Rage Bear.
Chernobog: Finally, some good fucking Ariadnan TAGs. In many ways it’s just an MBT that trades the third point of STR for a degraded Battle-Ravaged state and at 65 points for the package, screw it, that’s good enough for me. It’s got Move 6-4, Arm 6-8, and a BS 13+ AP-HMG, this is as good as Ariadna is going to get in the ‘Is actually a TAG’ category.
Rating: B for ‘Bout Time Ariadna got a real TAG.
Maghariba Guard: Remember when it had the ‘Hand-Rails’ rule, which let infantry bum a ride off the Maggy while it cruised up the table? No? Good, it was a terrible rule. Maggy has Arm 8, Move 6-4, and a Multi-HMG and is clearly a text-book MBT. There’s some cute extra stuff in there like a 360 visor, Mine Dispenders and even +1B Heavy Pistols for when your Spider Tank needs to John Wick some Warbands. If you’ve ever seen the classic Ghost in the Shell movie by Mamaru Oshii you understand why the Maghariba Guard is an awe inspiring model, if you haven’t seen that film I’m giving you a rating of D for ‘Son, I am Disappoint’. Educate yourself. Rating: B for Biggest Chungus.
Shakush: Shockwave is the coolest Decepticon and the Shakush carries his legacy forward admirably. Anyone who painted their Shakush Purple should send it into Goonhammer for Praise. So much praise. The Shakush is a perfectly serviceable Diet-TAG that suffers from being halfway between an Asawira (arguably the best HI in the game, point for point) and the Maghariba, a true MBT. It’d be a rare situation in vanilla Haqq where you want something bigger and meaner than an Asawira but can’t afford a Maghariba. Thank goodness there are no Asawira in RTF, maybe the Shakush will get some love there? Note to self: Purple Shakush sounds like a saucy euphemism.
Rating: C is for Chungus (Smol).
Gator: Remember the time when the Nomad faction identity was somewhat defined by a lack of Chain of Command and NCO models, making the Lt choice in Nomads a contested space? Well, the future is now, old man. Your new friend, NCO-TAG is here to solve all your problems. The Gator is an MBT with Close Combat defences, a Mine Dispenser for solving your problems without having to peek around corners and a perfectly viable platform for spending your Moderator’s Lieutenant Order.
Rating: A for Alligator. What? What were you expecting?
Gecko: The definition of a Diet-TAG. Cheap, Arm-6 and Cheerful. As a Damage 15, Burst 4 Multi-marksman Rifle you’ve got a pretend AP/Multi-HMG, 3 full Structure (unlike certain other Nomad TAGs that we are currently not speaking to…) and an enthusiasm for using it. I don’t rate the Mk12, as while Damage 17 is super cute (and Blitzen has its uses), I’ll take the AP-ammo type every day.
Rating: B is for Brumation. It’s a thing Geckos (and other reptiles) do. The more you know.
Iguana: Literally the only models in this Tier list worse than the Iguana are either categorically not TAGs or don’t have rules in the game. How do you feel about paying 65 points for a 2 STR TAG that can’t be repaired once it gives birth to its ugly, ugly HI baby? Still feeling fine with your life choices? Well, have a HMG to go with it because AP ammo is a crutch for noobs. Oh, it has a Repeater you say? A unique and interesting function that no other TAG has? No, just no. Rating: E for Eww-guana.
Lizard: The OG Nomad MBT. It has a Grenade launcher option. Cool. It’s not bad, just unremarkable in the company that it keeps (at least, in Vanilla Nomads).
Rating: B is for ‘a bit Boring but Bakunin used to think I was cool…’
Stigmata: It’s a Hacker, but also a STR 3 TAG. It’s got Remote Presence but also a Burst 3 HRL as it’s primary weapon loadout. There’s a robust discussion to be had as to whether the Stigmata is a good TAG or not. It’s not an MBT, to be sure, but is there value to be had in a TAG that can punch on with Hackers, usually their natural predator? Maybe. However, because the Stigmata was not named after a reptile like every other Nomad TAG I must award it zero points. I would have accepted Skink-mata or Sinraptor (if you wanted to lean into the Observance plus Reptiles bit).
Rating: B for στίγμα
Szalamandra: Arguably the platonic ideal for an MBT. Does exactly what she says on the box: Is a TAG, has a Hyper-Magnetic Rail Cannon. What else do you need to know? BTS 9 is super cute on a TAG, that’s a type of resilience that many other TAGs can’t match and sometimes…sometimes…your stupid pilot will jump outside of the safety of their Armoured Killing Machine and try to use their KHD on an enemy hacker and, inevitably, get their own brain fried in turn. Never do this, except when it’ll be hilarious. You are also morally obligated to make terrible puns about ‘Mustang Szally’ when using this model. It’s the law. Space law. Rating: B+ It’s not quite a Gator but it’s a near best-in-breed vanilla MBT.
Avatar: Have you ever played a game of Infinity with an Avatar on the table? Have you played at an event where someone was playing a Avatar in the same room as you? It killed your entire army despite being on a different table 8 feet away, didn’t it? Yes, you now understand why the Avatar is the best TAG.
Rating: S for Someone needs to be a convincing and competent villain and here the fuck he is.
Bultrak: NCO is a super weird rule to have in a Combined Army TAG but everything else is swish. That is all.
Rating: B+ for ‘But you could still just take an Avatar in Vanilla’
Overdron: About 90% of the quality of a true MBT about also about 90% of the price, so it all balances out. Great for those days that you decide you want to downgrade your Charontid or Anathematic to the EI equivalent of a blind, mewling kitten. Or hang out with an Umbra Samaritan in a super cute Haris in Onyx Contact Force. Whatever works for you, really.
Rating: B for Budget TAG. Great for the price but it’s still a budget TAG in a faction with access to the Avatar. Opps.
Sphinx: We rated the Cutter as S-tier but we’re not rating the Sphinx as highly, sadly. While it is superficially similar to the Cutter it suffers in a few key areas: The Spitfire doesn’t have AP ammo, so the Sphinx runs a real risk of just not converting F2F wins into damage against HI and TAGs, and the shorter range bands means it’s more likely for the opponent to have an effective ARO option against the Sphinx. That minor drop in BS and -2 Arm in comparison to the Cutter makes the Sphinx just a little less effective in a firefight. That said, unlike the Cutter it has a Flamethrower for taking nasty corners and Climbing Plus for finding novel attack vectors. It’s a good TAG, Brent. It’s just not an S-tier one.
Rating: A is for the Anathematic is 20 points cheaper, just saying.
Xeodron: You’re getting STR 3, Tactical Awareness and Remote Presence on a BS 13 chassis for 50 points and change. The Xeodron is the Hyundai of TAGs and that’s perfectly fine.
Rating: B for Bayon.
Megalodron: The final boss from Defiance (#spoilers. #notsorry). It would be the best TAG if it had real rules and was allowed in play but it’s not and for good reason.
Rating: F because it’s not a real TAG followed by S because I like Shark puns (also it really would be the best TAG).
Caskuda: How could we forget this cheeky Bug-Boy? The OG Combat Drop (Explosion) delivery vector. Removed from the game a while back. Probably due to poor sales or even just a design-space dead-end but ostensibly because the Exrah were caught selling state secrets to humans. Rumour has it we’ll see the Exrah return in an upcoming fleet battle game but until then we’ll have to cry into our collective pillows at night as we grieve for Caskuda, who was taken from us too soon. Imagine the sheer terror of playing into a Combat Drop TAG that crushes everyone it lands on before rampaging through your backlines. Chef Kiss.
Rating: Press F to pay your respects.
Agamemnon the Atreides: Before you ask, Atreides here refers to the children of Atreus, of which Agamemnon was one**. Agamemnon does not understand that the spice must flow and his name is not a killing word. Agamemnon is a pretty standard Diet-TAG. He’s got some cute anti-hacking and close combat tech but the absence of Stealth on his profile is a bit of a boner-killer. The problem is that you have to ask yourself why you’d take in Vanilla when you have access to the Marut (see below) and taking him in Steel Phalanx begs the question of why him and not one of the man-sized-monstrocities the Sectorial has access to, like Ajax, Hector or Achilles (see belower).
Rating: C for Clytemnestra. Treacherous, treacherous Clytemnestra.
Marut: The Marut is a pretty good TAG. I think it’s meant to be framed as a counter to the Avatar, being another Strategos L2 Lieutenant TAG with MSV2 to cancel out the Avatar’s Mimetism -6. My problem is that MSV2 solves problems while Mimetism presents them. At nearly 100 points a ticket, you’re going to need something more than a problem solver.
Rating: A+ for Almost There.
Achilles: Let’s look at the facts. Is Achilles Tactical? If you mean ‘is he as destructive as a Tactical Nuclear Weapon? Then, yes he is Tactical. Is he Armoured? Yes, absolutely. Is he on the Gear? Definitely, look at those gains. Achilles achieves a balance between the classic tensions of Armour, Firepower and Mobility. Ergo, Achilles is an S2 TAG. Thank you for listening to my Ted Talk, I will take no questions.
Rating: A is for Achilles. That is all.
Gorgos: The Gorgos would probably be fine in any other faction that didn’t have exclusive access to Symbio-mates.
Rating: C but rolled down to an E if you used greenstuff to sculpt poorly rendered human breasts onto yours. You know who you are. Why do Tohaa have breasts? Are Tohaa even mammals? Did Tohaa, as a species encounter unique evolutionary pressures to develop pronounced secondary sexual characteristics after evolving from a quadripedal to a bipedal stance? Many questions, few answers.
NA2 and Mercenaries
Scarface: After years and successive editions of being a borderline joke Scarface has finally gotten his shit together and now kinda rocks. A Burst 5 AP-Spitfire is like a mini-HRMC and that’s super rad. You can take the AP-HMG if you’d rather have the rangebands. Berserk on effective CC 25 means that you can force a Damage 16 DA CCW hit on any model dumb enough to be within 10″ and in LOF and there’s not a damned thing they can do about it. You’re paying 80+ points to put Scarface on the table but he comes with a free Cordelia. She’s effectively the same as a VIRD/SAA Machinist with Mimetism and we all know how much those factions love them. Scarface is a man who is literally too angry to die and probably also a Rock and Roll Clown. Did I mention he comes with a free Cordelia?
Rating: A for Ikari (Ikari means Anger).
O-Yoroi: A classic MBT with a few very cute tricks up its sleeve. CC 23, MA2 and an EXP-CCW means the O-Yoroi will mulch any TAG (or other target) that doesn’t know Kung Fu in melee. This also helps it defend itself for kamikaze Warbands looking to lock it into melee. However, the real draw to the O-Yoroi is Stealth. Stealth, baby. Yeah, Stealth. I don’t know how a giant white robot with no Mimetism or Marker-state can avoid being detected as it moves, maybe a giant cardboard box or soft-soled mecha-scale combat heels? Doesn’t matter, Hackers can’t Hack what Hackers can’t Hear, I guess.
Rating: B for Bushido.
Triphammer: Oh boy, here’s a lovely Diet-TAG. Well, half of one. I’m quite fond of the 52 point HSG profile. It’s cheap, semi-resilient and can take some nasty corners against a null-deployment that other options in the sectorials it’s available in simply cannot. the AP-Spitfire is…fine. Take the 63 point HSG and Mk12 option is you literally hate yourself and everyone around you.
Rating: B for ‘Barely Good enough for the price’.
Anaconda: Most Warbands can deliver smoke where you want it for 5-8 points but, to be perfectly fair they have to roll the dice to do it. The Anaconda, however, has the unique power to drop smoke exactly where you want it without having to roll a single die. In a game like Infinity where you must engage in risk management to succeed, anything that allows you to increase certainty/reduce variance should be highly prized. Using the Anaconda’s Escape System to not only deliver Smoke to the perfect location (for either setting up MSV2 shooters or protecting your Specialists as they approach an Objective) but also protect the Pilot after they jump out is probably the most uniquely amazing skill in the game. For this reason, I hereby award the Anaconda the highest possible accolades. Someone said I should compare its stats and cost to a Mobile Brigada with HMG but I’m busy right now so I’ll do that after publishing this Article. Rating: S++
Zeta: It’s a Dragao that trades +1 BS for Climbing Plus and potentially NCO. The Sorting Hat has strong feelings on this one…
Rating: A for Albus House.
Well, there you have it, folks. Objectively speaking, the top three TAGs in Infinity (in order of power level): Anaconda, Avatar and Cutter. With an honourable mention going out to the Gator, which subverts the established weaknesses of their faction while also remaining a high performing MBT.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Actually, it’s from the Japanese kanji: 秀 (Shuu) derived from a Han character first observed during the Warring States Period (which ran from about 475 BC through to 220 BC). The original interpretation of the character is sometihng akin to ‘the flowering of a rice plant’. How we went from that to ‘a person of exemplary performance/virtue’ I do not know but herein lies your Educational Moment for today.
**I educate and I entertain. I am an ‘edutainer’.