Shattergrounds

Infinity

Hello and welcome back to our last Mission Briefing article of the Shattergrounds Campaign. I hope you’ve enjoyed these articles and that you’ve found them informative and useful in your games.

It’s been a long road but we’re finally at our last battleground, Location 6: Beltway 594 around the city of Edda.


Beltway 594 is a ring road that encircles what is known as the Core, the urban area of Edda that concentrates all of Concilium Prima’s major public administrative buildings and corporate headquarters. In fact, in the political jargon of this planet, the phrase “inside the Beltway” refers to matters that are of the highest importance in O-12 politics. Whoever controls the Beltway has the power to cut off the most important area of the city, and ultimately to besiege it and turn it into a political hostage.

Faction Goals and Starting Influence  

O-12 want to protect and retain control of the administrative heart of their planet’s capital city.

The Combined Army could gain major leverage over the O-12 government by isolating the heart of said capital city.

O-12 start with the advantage in this location with Combined Army 2nd and all other factions 3rd.

Mission Overview

The mission for this location is “Battleground” a simple Direct Action mission found on Page 19 of the Phase 2 PDF 

A straightforward mission with the goal of advancing to claim Sectors of the board with the most valuable being the one closest to the opponent. 

Because it is a Direct Action mission there are no HVT’s in this mission and the Classified Deck is not used.

Scoring in this mission is all based on Dominating Zones at the End of the Game and status of the Key Ops unit.

  • 1 Objective Point for dominating the nearest Sector to your Deployment Zone at the end of the game.
  • 3 Objective Points for dominating the central Sector at the end of the game.
  • 4 Objective Points for dominating the farthest Sector from your Deployment Zone at the end of the game.
  • 2 Objective Points for killing the opponents Key Ops Unit.
    • Alternatively, at the end of the game, Threaten the enemy Key Ops for 1 Objective Point

To Score maximum Objective points you’ll have to.

  • Dominate all three Sectors at the end of the game 
  • Kill the Opponents Key Ops Unit

The three Sectors to be controlled consist of 8 inch bands across the table in the area between the two Deployment Zones. 

  • These Sectors cannot be measured before the end of the game.
  • To Dominate a Sector you must have more Victory Points than the opponent inside the area. 
  • Only Troopers represented by Models or Markers (Camouflaged, Shasvastii-Embryo,Seed-Embryo…) count for scoring, as well as Proxies and Peripheral Troops.
  • Troops in a Null State, like Unconscious or Disconnected  do not count.
  • Units with the Baggage Skill give an extra 20 points on top of their normal points cost when Dominating a Sector. 
  • Troopers possessing the Shasvastii Special Skill that are inside a Sector count for their points while they are in the Shasvastii-Embryo State or any non-Null State.

Each player will designate a Key Ops unit who gets the free bonus skill Dodge (+3) and a Tactical Awareness Order. 

  • Players choose their Key Ops unit after both players have fully deployed and the player with the Initiative chooses first. 
  • The Key Ops unit can’t be an Irregular troop, a Remote or a unit that goes into any kind of marker state. They must also always be on the table so cannot be a Hidden Deployment Unit or one with any Airborne Deployment skill  

A Key Ops is Threatened by a player if they have at least one Trooper (as a Model, not a Marker) in a non-Null state inside the Key Ops’ Zone of Control.

General Mission Tips

Since scoring is at the end of the game it pays to go second in this mission, however going first does mean you have the opportunity to take out the opponents Key Ops unit and move the maximum number of your units up the table since you’ll have your entire order pool available

While it would be tempting to choose an aggressive Key Ops to make use of the Tactical Awareness Order and +3 Dodge you are better served in keeping them back and safe for as long as possible.

  • The exception to this would be if you have an exceptionally tough unit  who would benefit from the extra order and Dodge bonus to act aggressively, or a sniper unit who can hang back and pick off targets at range, ideally with a nearby medic to keep them alive at the end of the game. 
    • Someone like Hippolyta makes an excellent Key-Ops as she is very mobile with Super Jump and 6-2 MOV, is hard to hit due to her Mimetism -6 and will Dodge 3 Inches on 17’s hopefully where she can Beserk into Close Combat with her Explosive Close Combat weapon. 
    • A Key-Ops Bolt Sniper in a 5 man team can pick off targets at a base BS 19 when in optimal range with their MSV 1 and Marksmanship, while the extra Tactical Awareness order just means one more shot to take. 
    • If you can find someone in your army who is a certified badass you can make them the Key-Ops to increase their effectiveness but at the risk of handing your opponent 2 Objective points if they go down,

An interesting tactic in this mission might  be to make an expensive unit the Key Ops and keep them back until your last turn. 

  • Then use the Tactical Awareness order and Dodge bonus to get them safely up into a Sector to take it from the opponent, probably the one closest to your Deployment zone to score you 1 Objective Point and deny your opponent 4 Objective Points.

Taking multiple cheap Baggage units and using them to secure the Sector closest to your deployment is a good tactic since it can help secure this most valuable sector for you.  

Infiltrating Specialists, Combat Jump Units and Parachutists can all be used to claim Sectors both early and late game and there are no restrictions on their deployment in this mission. 

An expensive unit in Hidden Deployment can also do a last turn reveal to take a Sector back from an opponent.

  • To counter this consider taking one or more units with Sensor to reveal those Hidden Deployment units early and then eliminate them. 

This mission is interesting with the Reinforcements addon as dropping 100 points of units into the middle sector of the table late game is likely to swing that sector in your favor.

  • However this applies to both you and your opponent so some thought will have to go into when and where you bring your units onto the table. 
The humble baggage bot can be a major scoring unit in this mission.

Special Campaign Rules

The two Special Campaign  Rules for this location are FAST LANE & OPEN RANGE.

FAST LANE  means all Troopers possessing Motorbike or AI Motorbike get a +1 inch Bonus to their first MOV value.

  • I AM SPEED.
  • Bikes are already fast, usually 8-6 MOV but sometimes 8-4 MOV and upping that first MOV to 9 inches means that they can move from Deployment zone to Central Sector in one order and from Central Sector to Far Sector in one move.  
  • An expensive Bike unit or several held in reserve can be a great last minute scoring piece in this mission, examples include; 
    • Penthesilea at 29 Points. 
    • A Knight Of Montesa is up to 32 Points. 
    • The Kuroshi Rider is 27 Points.
    • Even the humble Motorised Bounty Hunter is up to 16 points
  • You could make your Key Ops a Bike unit and really surprise your opponent on the last turn. 

OPEN RANGE means that  the -6 Range MOD of any BS Weapon, piece of Equipment or Special Skill automatically becomes a -3 Range MOD.

  • The average Combi Rifle just became a lot more deadly! In fact all weapons that use the same base Combi Rifle ranges are now more effective, that includes Plasma Rifles for Combined army and Viral Rifles for Haqqislam.
  • Assault Pistols are now a force to be reckoned with especially for anyone with +1B on them. 
  • LIght Rocket Launchers, Adhesive Launchers, Mine Dispensers, Grenade Launchers and Spitfires also gain a little boost from this rule.
  • The big winner however are Pitchers who’s huge -6 rangeband now becomes a -3 band all the way from 16 inches to 48 inches. Nomad Players and anyone with access to multiple pitchers will make the most of their ability to threaten a huge area now as long as it’s in Line of Sight. 

Faction Focus 

Let’s look at the O-12 and Combined Army units who can be the most useful in this mission.

Combined Army

Unfortunately the Combined Army don’t have any native bike units in their faction, my dreams of a Morat Biker gang called “The Screaming Apes” remain unfulfilled, so your only access to bike units comes through the Motorized Bounty Hunters.

  • Motorized Bounty Hunters are decent units who are usually AVA 1 in most of the vanilla faction lists. 
  • They have the usual 8-6 MOV, boosted to 9-4 in this mission,  Dodge + 2 Inches and Mimetism -3 of most bike units and can choose to be Impetuous and get the extra order that comes with that skill or forgo Impetuous and be able to claim partial cover bonuses.
  • Unfortunately they don’t get Smoke Grenades in the profiles or mounted on their bikes which is a shame.
  • However they do get the Booty (Re-Roll) skill which can lead to them having some pretty useful extra equipment and weapons for free. 
  • Their profiles are all under 16 points with the cheapest profile armed with a Submachine Gun, Chain-colt(+1B), Pistol and  PARA CC Weapon(-6) being a bargain
  • Only really useful for Combined Army in this mission for the novelty or the possibility of getting something like a HMG or MULTI Sniper Rifle from the booty chart. 

Combined Army have access to lots of Plasma Rifles and Plasma Carbines even on their cheap Unidrons who will benefit from the OPEN RANGE rule. Bit & Kiss have access to Pitchers to extend the range of your scary hacking units like the Charontid or Anathematic.

You have a few excellent units who can be used to score sectors late game in this mission.

  • An Anathematic or a Sphinx TAG could potentially remain in Hidden Deployment right until the last turn of the game before making a dash for the most lucrative sector in order to claim it. 
    • The Sphinx with its 93 Points, 6-6 Movement and Climbing Plus can  probably use that mobility to get to any point on the table and claim the Sector by itself.
    • The Anathematic Hacker for 76 Points isn’t as fast as the Sphinx but can effectively take out many of the opponents units with the weapons and hacking abilities it has on the way to securing a Sector. 
    • The disadvantage of using one of these units this way is that it leaves a very obvious points hole in your list so your opponent might see them coming. 
  • Shasvasti Malignos and Noctifers both have Hidden Deployment and Infiltration so they can stay hidden in an advantageous position to score zones late game.
    • Two Malignos hackers at 39 points each are more than enough to tip a sector into your favor and their Regeneration means that there’s a 60% chance they can be back into a scoring state  after going unconscious. 
    • The Noctifer with Missile Launcher is not only a great scoring unit for 32 Points but there’s a decent chance it can fire off a Surprise Attack Missile to take out a bunch of the opponents units when it reveals itself. 
  • Dropping a late game Combat Jump unit into a vital Sector or walking on an expensive Parachutist  is also something Combined Army can do well.
    • A Rasyat with Spitfire costs 37 Points and 1.5 SWC and can either Combat Jump into a Sector on a PH roll of 13 or walk on from the inner edge of the opponents Deployment Zone and take your most valuable Sector in one order.
      • They can also drop an Eclipse Smoke grenade template which would allow other Parachuting units to enter the table with impunity. 
    • A Fraacta with Spitfire for 33 Points or their Hacker profile at 32 points is a pseudo 2 would drop unit due their Transmutation skill who actually becomes tougher once they enter their Survival form. 
      • You can reliably walk them on with Parachutist in the expectation they can survive at least one hit.
    • Parachuting in the lethal Ko Dali for 39 Points will go along way towards securing a sector as will her plethora of skills she can use to take out the opponents units. 
    • Lastly nothing says “I want this sector” quite like Combat Jumping a 64 Point Caskuda into it who will explode anything it lands on before clearing the general area with two large chain rifle templates. 
      • It’s worth taking the EVO Hacker E-Drone in this mission to use its Controlled Jump program to give a +3 MOD to any Combat Jump troops.

Options for a Key Ops unit depend on whether you want to keep your Key Ops safe and hidden for the duration of the game or go for an aggressive Key Ops to make the most of the bonus skills they get. 

  • If going for the safe hidden option then consider units like; 
    • The Skiávoros, who can hang back in a Suppressive Fire state with its Plasma Rifle, Nanopulser and No Wound Incapacitation and if they are the Lieutenant give you Lieutenant(+1 Command Token) and Strategos L1.
      • They’re also an ideal last turn scoring Key Ops as the profiles cost from 50 to 60 Points depending on the loadout.
    • Bit from the Bit & Kiss duo makes a good Key Ops since she can stay back and fire pitchers with Speculative Fire, reloading from a nearby Baggage bot with her Tactical Awareness order for free. 
      • She also has Kiss! nearby ready to glue attackers in place with their Adhesive Launcher and directly intercept any units who get too close.  
  • For an aggressive Key Ops consider the following units;
    • An Umbra Legates can add Dodge +3 and tactical Awareness to its already formidable set of skills as the Key Ops. 
      • Already having Martial Arts L4, Forward Deployment(+8″), Dodge(+1″), Mimetism(-3), No Wound Incapacitation and NCO means the two additional free skills make it both more order efficient and harder to hit.
      • With profiles that have the likes of K1 Combi Rifles, Spitfires and a Hacker profile with a Boarding Shotgun and a Hacking Device Plus the Umbra Legates can really bring the hurt as an aggressive Key Ops. 
    • The Charontids have rock solid stats and skills to begin with and only get more effective if they are chosen to be Key Ops units.
      • BS 14, WIP 16, ARM 5, BTS 6 with 2 Wounds and No Wound Incapacitation make them very tough units and their profiles are ideal for hunting the opponents’ expensive units.
      • They have two profiles with the rare and effective MSV 3 which allows them to automatically pass discover rolls and avoid the effects of any Surprise Attacks acn come armed with either a Plasma Rifle and Nanopulsser for 69 Points or Heavy Machine Gun and Nanopulser for 70 Points and 1.5 SWC.
      • They have a profile with a Plasma Rifle, TinBot: Firewall(-3) and  the terrifying Sepsitor Plus which gives you unlimited opportunities to steal opponents units for 64 Points and 0.5 SWC.
      • Their Hacker profile for 63 Points and 0.5 SWC with base WIP 16 and Hacking Device Plus are a terror in this mission as all their programs have +1 Damage as standard. 
        • Being unable to enter an Impersonation state with Cybermask due to the Key Ops restrictions is a slight mark against them, but having DAM 17 Oblivion or DAM 17 Total Control as well as being able to drop MSV blocking Mirrorball areas more than makes up for it.
      • All these profiles have Lieutenant options as well in case you want to benefit from WIP 16 in the initial deployment roll as well. 
    • Either version of Sheskiin would make a great Key Ops given her impressive statline and ability to regain wounds from units she engages in Close Combat with the Protheion skill.
      • With 6-4 MOV, CC 24, BS 15, PH 15 and 2 Wounds in all her profiles along with Martial Arts L4, BS Attack(+2 Dam) and Dodge(+2″) she can only benefit from the Dodge +3 and Tactical Awareness bonuses.
      • At 63 Points for her ARM 4 Boarding Action version or 51-54 points for her regular version she also makes a great scoring piece in this mission too.   
Anathematics are Charontids with the brakes off and head whips attached.

O-12

O-12 have access to one native Bike unit, the Lawkeeper and one pseudo bike unit the Roadbot.

  • Lawkeepers have the usual 8-6 MOV, boosted to 9-4 in this mission,  Dodge + 2 Inches and Mimetism -3 of most bike units and can choose to be Impetuous and get the extra order that comes with that skill or forgo Impetuous and be able to claim partial cover bonuses.
    • They have no Smoke Grenades in the profiles or mounted on their bikes.
    • However they do get some powerful additional skills and profiles that make them useful in this mission.
    • All profiles get BS Attack (+1 Dam) and they are natively ARM 2 with BS 12 and CC 18.
    • They have access to several Specialist Operative profiles which give you a fast moving objective grabbing unit in those missions where early objective scoring is crucial. 
    • Their weapons loadouts are a mix of medium range direct fire and close range direct templates.
      • They can take either a DAM 15  Boarding Shotgun to fire templates or AP rounds, a DAM 14 Combi Rifle or a nasty DAM 14 Red Fury which is like a Spitfire with shock ammo. Both of the latter options also bring a DAM 14 Chain Rifle for large template area clearance. 
      • All profiles have MULTI Pistols and Para CCW (-3) which give them options in Close Combat. 
      • Some profiles can bring one or two Sidebots, 8-6 Moving Peripheral remotes armed with Heavy Riotstoppers to immobilize targets ahad of the advancing Lawkeeper. 
    • Their Specialist Operative profile with Red Fury, Chain Rifle and 2 Sidebots costs 33 Points and 1.5 SWC and makes an excellent fast moving Sector scoring unit in this mission. 
  • Roadbots are transforming motorbike remotes who unfortunately don’t qualify for the FAST LANE bonus in this mission. However they are worth mentioning as they are pretty amazing units. 
    • They have all the same skills as a motorbike unit in their Mobility Form with 8-6 MOV,  Dodge + 2 Inches and Mimetism -3 with the addition of Dodge (+2 inches) No Wound Incapacitation, Remote Presence, Terrain (Total) and Climbing Plus.
    • This makes them incredibly mobile, able to literally drive up the side of buildings and engage units that thought they were safe. 
    • They can transform at any stage into their Combat Form where they lose several of their skills such as Climbing Plus and the Dodge bonuses and drop to 6-4 MOV for a doubling of their CC from 9 to 18  and a slight bump in BS for 11 to 12.  
      • Situationally, this can be useful but in general you’ll want to keep the Roadbot in its Mobility form for the extra skills.
    • They have some interesting profiles worth mentioning.
      • A profile with Marksman Rifle and Light Shotgun (+1B) is effective at all ranges less than 24 inches and can really bring the hurt when they get within their +6 bonus range for the Light Shotguns. 
      • A profile with Red Fury and a  Sidebot costs 33 points and makes an effective scoring unit. 
      • The real standouts are their specialist Paramedic profiles armed with a Submachine Gun, Panzerfaust and either Dropbears or a  Heavy Riotstopper. 
        • They are brutally effective at taking out the opponents heavy hitters with the Panzerfaust and the AP ammo of the SMG at close range.
        • Being a Specialist Paramedic as well is useful both for missions with Objectives and for reviving some of O-12’s high PH units if they go down. 

O-12 have a few units that can benefit from the OPEN RANGE special rule in this mission.

  • Cyberghosts can more reliably fire their Pitchers at longer ranges to extend their formidable hacking areas. 
  • Bluecoats and Sekudroids get a massive boost to their Adhesive Launchers which now only suffer a -3 modifier from 16 to 48 inches. 
  • The Plasma Carbine of the Lynx and Plasma Rifle of Hector get more effective.
  • The Light Rocket Launchers of the Crushers also get a slight boost. 

O-12 have a few excellent units who can be used to score sectors late game in this mission.

  • Razor Units have Hidden Deployment and Infiltration which will allow them to make last turn reveals to score between 31 to 36 points in a Sector depending on the profile. 
    • The Minelayer option for 32 Points and 0.5 SWC can also drop a camouflage mine in its Zone Of Control as a speedbump to the opponents units. 
  • The Lynx Killer Hacker profile can stay in Hidden Deployment within your Deployment Zone before revealing to score 30 Points in the crucial zone first next to your deployment. 
    • They are armed with an effective Breaker Combi Rifle as well which is effective out to 48 inches in this mission due to the OPEN RANGE rule.
    • Their Killer Hacking Device can also let them fry the brains of some of the opponents’ expensive hackers who are within rage as well.
  • Delta Units are very effective Combat Jump units who have a Doctor profile that can land or walk onto the board alongside its Yudbot to bring 39 Points into any Sector that needs it. 
  • Crushers also have a very tough Combat Jump and Parachutist profile who has Mimetism (-3), No Wound Incapacitation and is armed with a Boarding Shotgun, Panzerfaust and  D-Charges that is ideal for taking out an expensive midfield TAG and  gets you 36 Points into a Sector. 
  • Finally there’s O-12’s troubleshooter Cuervo Goldstein. 
    • With CC 23, BS 13, PH 13, ARM 3 and Martial Arts L4 with No Wound Incapacitation  he is a tough and survivable Combat Jump unit.
    • He is armed with either a Boarding Shotgun & D-Charges or a Submachine Gun, Akrylat-Kanone and D-Charges meaning he can be effective against both units with heavy armor like TAGs  or multiple lightly armored units as needed.
    • All his profiles also have Monofilament and Double Action Close Combat Weapons which when combined with his CC 23 and Martial Arts L4 mean he’ll be rolling criticals on 14’s or above with DAM 16 DA hits or a DAM 12 hit that ignores Armour and will put a unit into the Dead state regardless of the number of wounds it has left. 
    • He costs either 43 or 39 Points and is well worth taking for his ability to  take out expensive threats and score you a decent chunk of points in any sector.  

As with Combined Army your options for a Key Ops unit depend on whether you want to keep your Key Ops safe and hidden for the duration of the game or go for an aggressive Key Ops to make the most of the bonus skills they get.

  • For a safely protected Key Ops consider the following;
    • The Alpha Unit is an ideal defensive unit who has the Guard skill to dissuade any units from getting to close.
      • With their Biometric Visor, Martial Arts L2, BS Attack (+1B) and armed with a Light Shotgun, Nanopulser and a DA Close Combat Weapon they are very hard nuts to crack, even more so with Dodge +3 from being a Key Ops.
      • Their Chain Of Command or Lieutenant options (who also brings +1 Command Token & Strategos L1) are also great for the resilience of your list.  
    • Bronzes make rock solid Key Ops with their ARM 4, BTS 6 and Total Immunity and 2 Wounds making them very resilient while still able to dish out damage if needed with BS 13 Heavy Machine Guns, Heavy Shotguns or +1 Dam Red Furys. 
      • They cost a decent chunk of points as well from 49 to 55 depending on the profile can make use of the Tactical Awareness Key Ops order to move into a Sector and tip it in your favor. 
    • Lastly there is the Bluecoat, the Train Conductors with attitude!
      • With Biometric Visor, CC Attack (+1 Dam), Courage, Discover (+3), Natural Born Warrior and Sixth Sense they are defensive powerhouses before you add in the Dodge +3 and Tactical Awareness skills from Key Ops.
      • They are armed with either close range weapons like a Boarding Shotgun,  SMG or Adhesive Launcher (+1B) or the longer range Red Fury or Shock Marksman Rifle and  all profiles have a Heavy Riotstopper to stop incoming threats in their tracks. 
      • Their main claim to fame is their Para Close Combat Weapons with a -6 Modifier which when combined with their Natural Born Warrior and CC 20 can shut down even the mightiest Close Combat specialists.
      • Take them as a Key Ops who your opponent will really struggle to deal with and who can advance on the last turn to bring between 16 and 25 points into a Sector.    
  • For aggressive Key Ops consider the following;
    • Epsilon Units have Multispectral Visor L2, Bioimmunity, Mimetism (-3), Immunity (Shock) and Climbing Plus which makes them both mobile, aggressive and robust .
      • Their Bioimmunity allows them to use their BTS 3 in place of their ARM 2.
      • They have profiles with either a Heavy Machine Gun or MULTI Sniper Rifle which combined with their BS 13 and MSV L2 mean they are a nightmare for the opponents Camouflaged and Mimetic units.
    • We mentioned her before, Hippolyta makes a great aggressive Key Ops unit in this mission.
      • Her 6-2 MOV, 2 Wounds, Mimetism (-6), Eclipse Grenades and Super Jump mean she is already super aggressive before you add Dodge +3 allowing her to Dodge 3 inches on 17’s with her base PH of 14 and native Dodge +1 Inch skills. 
      • She’s armed with a Breaker Combi Rifle and Nanopulser for ranged combat with the Breaker Combi Rifle getting a boost from the OPEN RANGE rule in this mission. 
      • She’s also a close combat monster with CC 24, Martial Arts L3, Berserk and armed with an EXP Close Combat weapon meaning she can dish out DAM 16 Explosive hits that are criticals on 13 or higher.
      • Costing a solid 40 Points she can use Eclipse Smoke grenades to  charge into a sector and eliminate big threats in Close Combat with Tactical Awareness making her extra order efficient.
The finger waggle of a Bluecoat is enough to deter even the deadliest enemy.  

That’s all for this Mission Briefing article, can you think of any units I’ve missed that would make ideal Kep Ops for this mission? If so feel free to mention them in the comments below.

That’s also  finally it for this series of Mission Briefings for the Shattergrounds campaign! When I suggested that I write an article for each of the 12 missions of the campaign I think I underestimated just how much work that would be! Even preparing some ahead of time I’m only getting this last article out on the day before the campaign ends.

If you’ve enjoyed these Mission Briefings and think that they’ve been a valuable addition to the campaign website then let us know in the comments and maybe we can make them a regular feature of the events. 

Until next time then, enjoy the closing hours of the conflict and we’ll see who comes out on top on Concilium Prima in the Infinity Shattergrounds Online Campaign

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