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alphz

Winning with First Turn

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Long has it been favoured, in games where players take turns, where initiative is to be had, where one can dictate the flow of battle. That taking the first strike, the first move has been the mantra.*

But now it seems, infinity has turned this on its head, with its objective focus, mix of end of game scoring and end of turn scoring. Lest not forget the tactical use of command tokens. Second turn has become a fan favourite. But before you start furiously typing up a response to my vast swathe of generalised conclusions, lets focus on just 3 missions as they're what I was chewing on when these thoughts struck me like a geriatric pigeon on a Tuesday afternoon. 

Capture and protect

Cold Sleep

and to a less extent comms centre. 

 

Capture and Protect

Capture and protect is a simple mission. You connect a console (and cannot prevent your opponent from connecting theres... besides bullets. theres always bullets) for 1 point and maybe get the classified for 1 point, but this isn't going to win you the game very often. You must capture the beacon. 

Now the beacon is a little tough to get to, being in the middle of your opponents line, right near their DZ. But with hidden deployment, bikes and smoke etc etc. its a hard ask for your opponent to actually stop you, all of that is very order intensive which means you probably wouldn't get far once you did. Which actually works greatly in the 2nd turn players favour. 

They only need to get to the beacon on turn 3 to score the 4 points. A first turn player has to get to it, and away to not get gunned down. 

Cold Sleep

Cold sleep has a button pushing plus controlling consoles, but ultimately with how intelcom factors in you will be mainly winning on pressing buttons. Now 3rd turn is slightly less easy than with C&P above as at least your opponent needs to pass WIP rolls, but much the same dynamic emerges. 

As 3rd turn rolls round, the 2nd player has a number of options to seal the victory, either by parking on consoles or just flicking the requisite one more button than player 1. This is further enhanced by the fact that player 2 could be spending the first 2 turns just sniping specialists and skirmishing with the luxury of not needing to spend many orders on objectives just yet. Player 1 starts with less orders, and must be taking objectives in an attempt to create too large an obstacle for a third turn push, but the maths are not in your favour, you need to do more with less than your opponent. 

You need to do more with less than your opponent. 

The problems start right at the beginning of the game. 

Going first often means deploying first. Your opponent has the luxury of counter deploying to your potential opening moves. 

Then to rub salt, via tactical use of command tokens, they limit your orders by 2. 

Now starting your turn, against a better positioned enemy. You know that all they need to do is have enough orders by the 3rd turn to win. The primary means for you to win is to cripple them enough that they can't, but the above points have severely limited your ability to do so. 

Now, above isn't an detailed analysis of the starting positions, nor am I asserting that you can't win with first turn. But I do think that, in many missions, not just these three, I find myself feeling like the underdog before the gates have even opened. 

Fundamentally, I think a strong factor as to why I struggle as first turn player is that the second turn player can flick objectives/buttons as they need without a care for any progress the first player has made (controlled objectives are switched just as easily as uncontrolled objectives), therefore there is little benefit to switching objectives earlier in the game, when an opponent can flip them back with no malice. 

 

Do you guys have any brilliant strategies on how to win as first turn player? How do you prepare for it? 

What are your thoughts on the missions? Which do you think have less of a 2nd turn slant?

 

 

 

 

 

*Yes, I know this isn't always true. But its controversial! Gets people going man. 

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We'll talk more about this after our event tomorrow. Comms centre is not as bad for the first turn player but still desirable to take second.

My main issue with cap and control is that it's hard to get the beacon, so draws happen a lot. But, if you go second, and the classifieds aren't easy to get, you have a much better chance of securing HVT. My recent solution to this as the player with first turn is to try casevac my own HVT away so it's harder to secure at the end of the game.

Anyway, we should play more Tactical Window ;)

Custom infinity missions FTW.

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YAMS 1.1 FTW.

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I still often choose to go first, even on "hold" missions like Armoury and Frontline.  It can be easier to go first in those missions if you have good attack and ARO units, and have a confident read of your opponent.  Going first even when you don't have to, teaches good habits for when you go first but don't want to.

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gut em,

If I go first with my CHA the first turn is primarily about maximum lethality.

Taking your opponent from 18 to 11 orders or 15 to 5 losing key pieces and units before they even get a turn is a good way to get the leg up on em.

 

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51 minutes ago, Vaulsc said:

 

That was a really good discussion about first vs second generally yeah. I was hoping this topic might look further into how the missions compound the benefits given to the 2nd turn player. 

The thing mentioned by phylkk (and others probably) that really stuck was spending orders pressing buttons early on is basically a waste of time. And that really is entirely down to the missions. What if in some of the missions, once a console was hacked, you couldn't hack it, or better yet there were decent penalties like -6 to do so. Immediately this disincentivises a holding strategy and pushes you into conflict. 

39 minutes ago, Daboarder said:

gut em,

If I go first with my CHA the first turn is primarily about maximum lethality.

Taking your opponent from 18 to 11 orders or 15 to 5 losing key pieces and units before they even get a turn is a good way to get the leg up on em.

 

Well yeah, that is one strategy I know, but it tends to be pretty dicey and not something thats very reliable. You're putting a lot of your best stuff right into your opponents guts, and if they defend it well enough, will often make you pay. Not only that, but with 2 orders down, and having deployed first to somewhat show your hand, its just that little bit harder. 

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4 minutes ago, alphz said:

What if in some of the missions, once a console was hacked, you couldn't hack it, or better yet there were decent penalties like -6 to do so. Immediately this disincentivises a holding strategy and pushes you into conflict.

Yeah, a penalty would be cool. I might write that into my next custom mission.

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I definitely think first turn advantage is about being aggressive and getting ahead of the problem. If you can even take 3 orders from your opponents main group, and leave the piece that did it to be a slight (2-3 orders) pain to remove, that puts them behind the eight ball playing catch up with their first turn - letting you keep the initiative to get on top of them going into 2. Similarly if you have pieces that can cap more efficiently than them and defend the objective that means they still have last go at it, but with less efficiency. If they also have less orders to do that than you did, it might not be enough. Plus, it doesn't really matter if your pieces die defending the objective T3 in a pure button pushing mission. That's an advantage too.

I tend to try to write lists that are counter to my meta. So when everyone was going first, I started making heavily reactive lists, and when everyone starts going second I make lists that are good at going first. That way even when you lose the Lt roll you more often get what you are tailored for anyhow, and you're well set up for it. Of course, you still have to bear in mind what to do if you don't get the turn order you want, it just happens less often this way.

Also, a camo infiltrator with a shotgun (for example) can make a pretty big mess of an opposing order pool in surprisingly few orders.

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4 hours ago, alphz said:

That was a really good discussion about first vs second generally yeah. I was hoping this topic might look further into how the missions compound the benefits given to the 2nd turn player. 

The thing mentioned by phylkk (and others probably) that really stuck was spending orders pressing buttons early on is basically a waste of time. And that really is entirely down to the missions. What if in some of the missions, once a console was hacked, you couldn't hack it, or better yet there were decent penalties like -6 to do so. Immediately this disincentivises a holding strategy and pushes you into conflict. 

Well yeah, that is one strategy I know, but it tends to be pretty dicey and not something thats very reliable. You're putting a lot of your best stuff right into your opponents guts, and if they defend it well enough, will often make you pay. Not only that, but with 2 orders down, and having deployed first to somewhat show your hand, its just that little bit harder. 

hahaha not reliable. Alphz, thats a regular occurence in all but a few games with the very heaviest of turtling in my games lately.

Gutting your opponent, reading their list and pulling apart the threats and bonuses before they can do a damned thing about it is part of the strength of turn 1.

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Hm going first or second feels rather different. You can actually build a list that excels at either one or can do both.

The mission is obviously a part of it. A list with a defensive LI Link, without AD or Infiltrators will have to spend a significant amount of Orders to cross the gap when going first. They might be better suited to deploy defensive, sacrifice a few pieces and let the other guy close the gap for them.

A list with an HI Link will probably be able to gut a list that isn't well suited to go second before it gets a turn.

For PanO I much prefer a balanced list that can do both. Vannila Ariadna with loads of Orders and Camo would probably be suited better to go second. ISS often has strong active turn pieces but lackluster ARO so presumably is better when going first.

TL:DR balancing first turn seems to be in a good place and is a very important tactical decision.

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Something I never see mentioned but is definitely a reality is that time will often be called in the middle of a round. Whoever went first has a huge advantage in that scenario since they both go first and go last and get more total orders over the course of the game.

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I've rarely encountered mid round time calls. More frequently i find that player1 plays their round 2 expecting a third whilst player 2 drags feet and grabs objectives.

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if your games are ending mid round then your TO is doing it wrong.

its unfair to everyone involved, furthermore, games that dont go to 3 rounds are going to skew towards order count spam and highly aggressive playing rather than resilience.

Look for a call at "20 mins" to end time, and if you and your opponent dont think you will finish get a TO to make a call on round end time then, not at the actual end when its too late for both players to play fairly
 

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I have no problems about being disadvantaged by going first.

There are two drawbacks :

I lose two orders – better make the rest count then, and punish my opponent by taking out at least the same in the first round.

I need to kill off my opponents specialists, so he won't be able to steal victory by turn 3.

Instead I get :

to see my opponent deploy first and punish him for it.

I get to call dibs on the best ARO positions, sniper nests. 

I get to advance my models into the midfield and place them into suppression fire, further complicating things for my opponent.

I get supportware up and running for my REMs. And suddenly it becomes a real hassle to take out those TR HMG's.

-

This doesn't mean, that I'll necessarily choose to go first. That choice is after all left to a couple of dice rolls, dependent on how many points I've paid for my lieutenant, which fits a game based on dice rolls.

 

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Whatever happens, picking to go second while also giving away deployment is usually a very bad idea. Think I've never lost a game where I was allowed to deploy 2nd and went first.

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16 hours ago, Teslarod said:

Whatever happens, picking to go second while also giving away deployment is usually a very bad idea. Think I've never lost a game where I was allowed to deploy 2nd and went first.

yeah, that's just cutting your own throat!

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Damn! That's exactly what I've done in more than two thirds of the hundred+ games I've had over the last 18 months!

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Really? I know some missions reward going second but rarely so much that it's worth taking first deployment to get it.

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On 7/15/2017 at 4:43 PM, Daboarder said:

hahaha not reliable. Alphz, thats a regular occurence in all but a few games with the very heaviest of turtling in my games lately.

Gutting your opponent, reading their list and pulling apart the threats and bonuses before they can do a damned thing about it is part of the strength of turn 1.

It's not reliable when you have a restricted order pool. Sure you can do it with your lists that pack over 20 orders and have multiple infiltrating Burst 4/5 camo markers as well as BS16 B5 APHMGs to punish any ARO pieces left out.

The reality is CHA is not standard, and when your first turn is 10 or less orders it can be shockingly difficult to dig out a bunch of models that are prone on rooftops or symbiomate'd to the gills, etc.

Not impossible by any means, but not nearly as trivial as your recent experiences suggest.

P.S: Mechanized BS14 LGLs aren't the standard either.

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5 minutes ago, Spleen said:

It's not reliable when you have a restricted order pool. Sure you can do it with your lists that pack over 20 orders and have multiple infiltrating Burst 4/5 camo markers as well as BS16 B5 APHMGs to punish any ARO pieces left out.

The reality is CHA is not standard, and when your first turn is 10 or less orders it can be shockingly difficult to dig out a bunch of models that are prone on rooftops or symbiomate'd to the gills, etc.

Not impossible by any means, but not nearly as trivial as your recent experiences suggest.

P.S: Mechanized BS14 LGLs aren't the standard either.

Hehe, fair enough I was being a little flippant, and I like the PS.

But all factions have access to tools that allow them to single out and kill at least the key models of an opponents list.

Either through spec fire, Guided, AD or infiltration at the very least. Pushing those models and doing it hard might be harder with 10 orders ill pay. but it can yield some pretty boss results and leave a real issue in the opponents side when they get their first go.

With CHA it is about killing as much of everything as I can and then relying on weight of orders. But with other lists, particularly 10-14 order lists it should still be about killing a few key pieces, like obvious LTs, single specialists, HMGs, MSV2+, Hackers ect.

Taking out whatever in your opponents list is an existential threat to the overall strengths of your list is very powerful. right? :D

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36 minutes ago, Spleen said:

It's not reliable when you have a restricted order pool. Sure you can do it with your lists that pack over 20 orders and have multiple infiltrating Burst 4/5 camo markers as well as BS16 B5 APHMGs to punish any ARO pieces left out.

The reality is CHA is not standard, and when your first turn is 10 or less orders it can be shockingly difficult to dig out a bunch of models that are prone on rooftops or symbiomate'd to the gills, etc.

Not impossible by any means, but not nearly as trivial as your recent experiences suggest.

P.S: Mechanized BS14 LGLs aren't the standard either.

But then you're talking about different styles of list being better at different things, which is as it should be.

If you've spent all your SWC on expensive TO snipers instead, it's not that surprising that a more reactive approach might be your happy place.

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On 7/15/2017 at 6:43 PM, Daboarder said:

hahaha not reliable. Alphz, thats a regular occurence in all but a few games with the very heaviest of turtling in my games lately.

Gutting your opponent, reading their list and pulling apart the threats and bonuses before they can do a damned thing about it is part of the strength of turn 1.

I mean sure, you can pull it off. But reliably? Against a variety of opponents? Maybe thats CHA's stick as I'm not familiar with them. But the advice doesn't really stick for many other factions/armies. 

and it fails the "is this risky test". Because you're spending a minimum of 3-4 orders getting across the table, realistically more to get rid of pesky AROs. After that, Unless you're then somehow nailing move-shoots on every order, stats are not in favour of you killing more than 1-2 minis. You could do this again with a second combat group, I guess? But then the counter attack is getting the chance to gut both your order pools in return. Where as ideally you should have specialists in one group. Maybe you need to give me a run down of a typical first turn for you?

A forward deploy montesa just doesn't seem that amazing. Unless you can get 2-3 models in every shot you're looking at 13% to wound a celestial guard (PH10 -3 dodging) every order. This only increases to 30% once you're within 16". So Stastically, you're killing 2 (shitty) models in your first turn, because you need to move to get within 16". 

Maybe its a terrain thing, where Building rooftops, a little bit of interiors plus scatter means people aren't bunching more than 2 models behind 1 piece of cover unless they're packing 20+ orders. 

18 hours ago, Teslarod said:

Whatever happens, picking to go second while also giving away deployment is usually a very bad idea. Think I've never lost a game where I was allowed to deploy 2nd and went first.

The key here is definitely usually. Having thought about it more, particularly after losing a game that in hind sight would have been much better for me to go 2nd (my opponent chose deployment). You need to know your list, and mine was just not set up for successful enough first turn in a game where second turn player could just win even with low orders. 

On maths, the -2 orders for first turn makes sense. If we assume two equally sized combat groups (full 10, no replacements), and both players inflicting similar casualties (1-2), both players end up with similar total orders in the game if you nick 2 from player 1. 

Player 1 also gets to affect player 2's order pool for 3 of player 2's turns, where as player 2 only gets to affect 2. So there is that. 

This however, is less significant as combat groups get larger, and players can replace losses with command tokens. Player 1 can only have 8 orders, whereas, if they inflict 2 casualties on player 2, they could opt to use command tokens to restore that group to 10 orders for their first turn. Or more commonly, player 2 speed bumps with a mix of units from different groups, making it difficult to make major dents into 1 combat group. 

This is an interesting dynamic to be honest, and I don't think its actually very imbalanced.

However, once you compound that with many of the missions which favour going second either mildly to strongly, this turns the favour towards going second, and why I suspect many people lean towards preferring second now, but sometimes see merit in first turn. 

Another factor not often mentioned is to effectively use turn 1, you need to prepare your list to an extent. Whereas, I'd venture almost any list can do well with turn 2, mostly because of the variety of strategies available to win. 

First turn are left with 1 of 2 strategies;

1. Cripple the enemy in the opening rounds. Taking orders, specialists or both. 

2. Play more conservatively but secure a strong objective lead and then set up a good defense in turn 3. 

Part of my dislike for first turn is neither of these strategies are interesting (to me). A fully committed alpha strike is similar to bring an Avatar. It can dominate the game and you win, or you opponent counters it and you're at a huge disadvantage. Trying to play a reactive turn on the last is equally unforgiving and uninteresting, as you put obstacles down and just see if your opponent can solve them. 

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the montessa is just about one of the best alpha strike weapons in the game Alphz

1) its deploying as a reserve model and therefore your opponents dont even know its coming as units are hidden until they are deployed. This makes it very hard to effectively stop and even then you have to suspect its coming. This also means it deploys after the very units it wants to be killing are on the table

2) Its move-moving, probably prone on a roof with its first order, thats more than enough to get within 16 of your target models (see point 1)

3) Then its dropping BS11 Impacts on the opponent, ignoring hit mods and terrain, not caring where that model is, walls buildings ect, none of them are saving the models getting shot at. those models are then dodging at ph-3. this puts the montessa at 30-40% odds of a wound on its typical targets. so yeah, your killing something every 2-3 orders.

4) the units you are killing arent just "pointless mooks" they are Lt Options, Doctors, Hackers, MSV2, Smoke launchers. You look at your opponents units and evaluate what the dangers are. Kill the 2-3 models that can either actually hurt you or are critical in making the force multipliers of the opponents list work and you take out its Achilles heals before it gets a go.


That same philosophy above can be applied to a lot of units in the game, if you think about it and plan for it properly.

lets take a Yu Jing list as an example, this list has a hsien HMG and a Celestial guard smoke LGL.
The montessa is probably not killing the Hsien. but by killing the LGL its cut the Hsiens combat effectiveness in half.

Or lets say you are facing a Nomad force, with HI and there is an interventor hiding in the DZ. the montessa is killing that for sure, because 1) its a potential LT and 2) its hacking ability represents an hard counter to the HI that the pano player is running.

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Thats very reliant on reaching the 16 spot which is so-so with one movmov so if it takes you two orders to reach that likely leaves six to spec fire. With a 30÷ to wound a ph10 arm1 I wouldnt call it reliable. 

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