I have played a fair amount of my Infinity, probably most of it, over the past two years via Tabletop Simulator (TTS). For anyone who’s not aware, this is a PC game available on Steam. It lets you play a wide variety of board games in a 3d simulator. There are plenty of free, high quality modules available for all manner of tabletop games, including Infinity.
Now, in January 2023, I am preparing to play in the next Infinity Global League satellite tournament on TTS, using a new faction for me – White Company.
What is the IGL Satellite?
The Infinity Global League is simply a series of Infinity Tournaments that began during the pandemic, which was really the trigger for an explosion of growth in the number of TTS games played. They are very competently run by a small crew of volunteers, from a number of countries across the world, who often are also involved in building TTS maps, inserting 3d painted models into the game, and helping mentor newer players into the game. The entire process is managed via a Discord server, where pairings are announced, and players have a set period (typically 1-2 weeks) to agree a time with their opponent, play a game, and report the results to the TOs. The IGL has sometimes been split into Americas & Europe/Middle East/Asia timezones, to make it easier to schedule games.
I’ve played in perhaps 6 of these tournaments by now (officially this is the 8th IGL), using a few different factions, and always had a blast (although never placed higher than 3rd – my performance in the last few has been very mediocre). This January 2023 iteration is a bit different, in that the IGL has been given Satellite tournament status. This is something handed out by Corvus Belli, traditionally to the biggest or best established tournaments in any given country. As well as cachet, it means the winner can claim a guaranteed space at the Interplanetario, which is an annual event in Spain, featuring the biggest, highest-profile Infinity tournament and the capstone of the Infinity Tournament Season.
Due to this cachet, or just because word spreads, the January 2023 tournament will be the IGL’s biggest ever, with 113 players, completing a full six rounds. Quite the experience! I also think that even with the more usual 40-60 people, the IGL has been a very competitive event for a long time. Some very, very strong players are always taking part, so it is worthwhile for anyone interested in the science of the game.
What is White Company?
White Company is one of a selection of Non-Aligned Armies (NA2), the Infinity term for Sectorial Armies that don’t fit into any broader Faction. In fact there are 8: Japanese Secessionist Army, which is sort of its own Faction in focussed, Sectorial form, Spiral Corps, which is a Tohaa variant with a few mercenary troops, and six mercenary forces, which are a blend of mercenary troops, characters, and typically a limited selection from several different main Factions. White Co, for instance, is primarily PanOceania and Yu Jing units, with a couple characters that don’t fit in either, and one unit each from Aleph and Ariada. This sort of eclectic mix is very attractive to experienced (not to say jaded) players like me who are familiar with our base factions and looking to branch out.
It’s quite uncommon for new players to start with an NA2 force, but they’re great for branching out and expanding your collection. For example, I have plenty of usable Yu Jing models, and a few PanO (my collection of those is primarily Military Orders, which don’t feature in White Co). In real life, I plan to use Nomad proxies for a lot of the PanO units. In TTS, availability of models is never an issue, all profiles in the game are available. NA2 Armies also tend to be more of a limited hobby project – they don’t have quite the number of profiles as the longer-established faction Sectorials, so it’s more achievable to collect basically all their options.
As an interesting aside, the White Company were a real historical force, albeit an ad hoc one. They operated as a mercenary company in Italy during the mid-late 14th century, the creation of an Englishman called Sir John Hawkwood. The provenance of the name isn’t completely certain, but may have been because, as professionals, they were more likely to wear full plate harness, and without covering it with heraldry and decoration – white harness, in the parlance of the time, for its highly polished sheen.
Why do I want to play them?
I was quite taken with the idea of playing them in this IGL, not just to try out something new, but to be a bit different – there are several Nomads and Corregidor players in this tournament, a lot of Military Orders, and even one other Imperial Service enthusiast, but White Co were not yet represented.
Resident fan of NA2 stuff, Thanqol, has previously done a faction focus on White Co for this site, but it is now a couple years old and the Fireteam rules have changed the Sectorial quite significantly since then. I think White Co are one of the better rounded NA2 options. They have access to a lot of the important problem-solving tools and secret information opportunities in the game: smoke & White Noise; MSV (inc MSV2) & Mimetism; Airborne Deployment & Hidden Deployment; hacking through a good Repeater network; Holomask. They aren’t entirely predictable for a lot of opponents. On the other hand, they don’t have that many truly heavy hitter options, and their midfield and Camouflage game, while fairly good, doesn’t have the depth of, say, vanilla Yu Jing or Nomads. Like Corregidor, my main choice, they have flexible, well rounded Fireteams built around middleweight options and featuring a lot of different specialist capabilities.
Let’s look at the missions featured in the IGL first, and then I’ll explain what drew me to White Co in that context.
The IGL Satellite Missions
All the missions for the Satellite, and everything else the players might need, has been collated by the TOs in their comprehensive handbook.
One of the most popular missions in the ITS, Firefight is an absolute barnstorming display of raw aggression. It heavily favors going first, and you need to be prepared for assault units like Bearpodes – with 16” deployment zones, it’s less advisable than ever to tuck your head down in a Null Deployment. Unusually, by giving OP for killing enemy Specialists, the mission actually incentivises building lists with fewer Specialists than normal, balancing this out by including 3 Classified Objectives, which could make them vital. My usual approach, which I see no reason to change with White Co, is to take those Specialists that actually support my force (eg Hackers) and just not try to cram in any extra. As with any mission that gives OP for killing points, there is also an incentive to include Doctors or Engineers who can revive Unconscious models and thus swing your own points back into play. Finally, Firefight removes the restriction on Parachutists entering the opposing Deployment Zone, and in ITS14 it now gives everyone a free Corsair Bashi Bazouk to take advantage of that, so all players must watch their backs. That doesn’t mean bringing a Parachutist of your own is at all a bad idea though!
No, I haven’t had a stroke and neither have you, that’s actually the mission! One of the TOs has kindly rewritten the ever-controversial Highly Classified mission to try and make it less random. In brief, both players straight up pick 2 Classified Objectives, making a pool of 4 (they still randomly generate their own secret Classified Objective as normal). If both players pick the same Objective, it goes up to the red version of the card and counts double points. This mechanic is fascinating to me and a really clever idea. I will probably regret not having actually played the mission. But there will be a lot of mileage in not just picking stuff that your list can achieve, but things which you don’t believe your opponent will have any good tools for. Anything that can throw a wrench in the more solved portions of list selection is a good thing in my book. As with its original version, this mission is basically all about locking in the objectives ASAP or removing your opponent’s critical specialists – so having those key players off the table, in Camouflage, or somehow protected within your DZ, can be as important as their being mobile in your Active turn.
Another highly aggressive mission and in my book something of a natural pairing with Firefight. But unlike that one, in my experience the Armory is very much a ‘go second to win’ mission. It is extremely hard to defend the room, especially in Rounds 1-2, it usually ends up being a deathtrap. What I really value here is a mix of close-range gunfighters, disposable units, and melee powerhouses. I’m very optimistic about White Co’s tools to attack the room. Far less so about holding it if I have to go first. My guiding principle in that scenario is to never put more than a token model into the room in the early game, just focus on smashing the enemy force and contesting their advance out of their DZ. In ITS14 this mission also features a strong EVO hacker bonus (a free Regular Order!) which I expect a lot of players to try and take advantage of.
Now this is an interesting and unique mission. Frostbyte was changed in a very meaningful way at the start of ITS14. Another mission I really, really should have found time to play even one practice game of! Button pushing is now much more important, and destroying the objectives (with anti-materiel CC weapons, or better yet D-Charges) can also be a clincher, although that will be Order-intensive. Heavy Infantry or Remotes, which are not so much a White Co strength, will be very important as well.
Now here is a blast from the past, in the distant days of ITS8! A very busy compound mission, with 5OP for buttons pushed at the end of the game, and 3OP for controlling the Objective Room, as well as 2 Classifieds. This is a good example of the older style of ITS missions. No exclusion zone, lots of buttons to push, meaning forward deploying or highly mobile Specialists are practically mandatory. I traditionally see this as another ‘go second to win’ Mission. But I have to admit that whether going first or second, there’s too much to do to simply disregard the mission until Round 3. Activating some objectives and getting at least near the room by the end of Round 2 is going to be important. I am really looking forward to playing this one again, and no, I haven’t practiced.
Officially the most popular ITS mission, according to CB’s statistics from ITS13! There’s a reason it’s so popular, with an engaging mix of aggression and needing to seize the objectives. Do you grab them and pull back, or just smash the enemy until you can end the game holding them? I always find Supplies lends itself to nail-biting last Order plays to try and pick off the enemy’s Objective holders.
White Company Strengths
Gunfighting. White Co have a fairly good selection of SWC weapons with Mimetism and/or MSV capability. That’s hardly unique, but you have some nice options and you can put them all into flexible Fireteams, which I really enjoy.
Hacking and repeater network. White Co have access to a couple of good hackers in Valerya and the Danavas. Valerya can go into a Core Fireteam for Sixth Sense, both of them have Pitchers, there are several lesser but useful Hacker options in the Sectorial. What makes a big difference is that they can support them in a Fireteam with a Jujak with Tinbot, for Firewall -6, and deploy a nice midfield repeater network from Guilang minelayer/deployable repeaters and Peacemaker remotes. They even have AVA3 flash pulse bots for blanket DZ repeater coverage!
Close combat capability. I am excited to use the melee options open to them, from the hyper efficient Varangians, to the slightly more expensive but aggressive Liang Kai, and the prestige option of Shona Carano. She’s probably not as good as either, but she does hit at Damage 18 AP+EXP in close combat. It just looks fun.
Fireteams. I am really growing to be a fan of using mobile, aggressive Fireteams, typically of 3 models, but sometimes 4. White Co can piece together some lovely midfield gunfighters, HI, specialists and melee guards which look like a blast to use.
Karhu. These guys received a poor review in our previous faction focus. I disagree with that anyway, but after the 2022 Fireteam update, they can form Haris teams! I think the order efficiency of such mobile specialists with mines and NCO is damn good. A Burst 4 Feuerbach with gunfighting mods is just insane. Much like the Nisse, another option that can join Fireteams in this Sectorial, they are apex gunfighters but one unlucky roll or a direct template will see them out of the game. Nonetheless I think they are definitely worth gambling on. The definitive glass cannon firepower threat in the current meta.
Hawkwood. Again, Thanqol really does not like this guy. I like him because he’s a medieval English condottiere. But also because while BS13 and Mimetism-3 is about good enough for a gunfighter, a K1 Marksman rifle is exceptional. It should make a huge difference against any hard target. Dear lord, give me the strength to not make him my Lieutenant just because he’s cool.
Guilangs. They have often been described as the best skirmisher in the game. I’d give that to Morans, personally (maybe I should have stuck with Corregidor) but they add efficient specialists and minelayers to the Sectorial.
Varangians. I cannot overstate how good it is to have access to smoke throwing Impetuous warbands. Any faction which can access such a troop should do so. Additionally, Varangians are great for trading upwards. Dogged & Berserk (or B2 templates) are very efficient for that. I also like having Regular warbands over the cheaper Irregulars some factions get, I think it simplifies Order pool management.
Tiger Soldiers. Now when I started playing, in N2, these were maybe the best drop troops in the game. I think the modern game favors the 2W options more. Good players are pretty savvy about covering their DZ and vulnerable models with templates now, and simply a lot more competitive picks have direct templates. But it’s still some good firepower or a versatile specialist where and when you want it.
White Company Weaknesses
Fragility. A lot of their key models are 1W options which pay for skills and capability, not Wounds or even ARM. This probably suits my playstyle, or at least reflects what looks good to me at the list building stage, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. We are in an era of HI and TAGs these days and a Karhu is only good until you lose one roll, or the enemy gets a shotgun in range.
Lesser profiles. The units I mentioned above as standouts are undeniable, but there are relatively dead weight picks as well. I mentioned that your opponents can’t ignore the White Co capability to field Holomask or Hidden Deployment. But those are Tao Wu and the Kunai Ninja respectively – honestly not very competitive choices.
Fireteams. As I’ve banged on about in previous articles, they can be a double edged sword. 3 1W models can move up the table and do some great things. But I can be drawn in by the fact that they have all these brilliant skills and use cases in my arm list – when the enemy comes knocking in their own Active turn, expensive models clustered in the same area are a juicy target. I’m very aware that the right model on its own – a TAG, a good Camouflage unit, or a powerful HI with Mimetism – can deliver the same effect as a 3-model Fireteam, and is less rewarding for the opponent to counter-attack.
Ultimately, I’m looking forward to giving a new Sectorial a spin. All infinity armies share common tactics and strategy, but it’s super refreshing to have a new pool of units to work with, essentially similar skills and equipment in different combinations on different platforms. The IGL Satellite is an exciting place to do it, with a huge variety of players from every corner of the globe.
I will be chiming back in with the write-ups of the actual games, hopefully illustrated with loads of TTS screenshots.
I really, really should have practiced.
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