imagesSo as promised I have put together my thoughts so on the Vanilla Combined Army. Just to be clear, this is just my opinion based on around 6 months of playing with the Combined Army. I won’t go into any description of each unit, as the Infinity Forums already cover this. Instead this guide is intended as an introduction for other Combined Army players, who have such a wide variety of models that it can be hard to know where to start! I should also note that an Infinity tactical review is completely different to other games, because there are no auto includes or auto exclusions. Ultimately, a lot comes down to which models you like and then what tactics you want to build on.

So what are the Strengths?

Diversity – The Combined Army can make use of three alien races plus the EI constructs. As a result it has a very wide range of models that can fulfil almost all battlefield roles seen in Infinity. In particular the combined army has access to all levels of camo and Multispectral Visor (level 2 and 3). This may not seem like a massive advantage, but as soon as you start playing sectorials you appreciate the luxury of options!

Tough to Crack – The Combined Army can combine the best of the EI, Morat and Shasvastii to create an army that is incredibly resilient to both retreat and loss of lieutenant (LOL). The Morat and Shasvastii rules go particularly well together as your threshold for retreat will be higher, whilst your chance of counting unconscious models towards it goes down. Again this may not seem like a massive advantage, but is another benefit over sectorials!

What are the Drawbacks?

Cost – One of the Combined Amy advantages is also a disadvantage, as you defiantly pay for any special rule your model has. This is most keenly felt on the line-troops. In general the special rules help on the offense, rather than defence.

No fire-teams – As a vanilla army, for better or worse, there are no fire-teams.

Repeaters – There are no deployable repeaters or EVO repeaters. This limits the hacking threat and range of the army, even if it includes some very powerful hacker models.

Play Style:

Elite: The Combined Army is defiantly an elite force. The combination of special rules and the associated price increase make the Combined Army a small but deadly force. In addition the Combined Army basic troops are just not cost effective to use in large numbers, so you will start to look at the mid to higher priced models quickly. As such the Combined Army will rarely go above 10 models (unless you use Hungries anyway).
Aggressive: As an elite army the Combined Army need to be used aggressively to make the best use of their special rules.

EI Constructs

This includes the Charontid, Anathematic and Skiavoros (ok the Ikadron could be included, but it’s nothing like the others!). All these models are powerful fighters in their own rights, but more than this they provide a way of making LOL almost impossible. This is a massive advantage for the Combined Army, so if I play vanilla I really like to include an EI as the LT. It’s also worth noting that the SWC for the EI models is very low, especially if you take one as the LT.

All the EI constructs are expensive, so generally I build a list around the one I want to take. On the offense both the Charontid and Anathematic are true powerhouses, however they are often restricted to the relatively short ranged of the plasma rifle. This combines badly with their move of 4-2, so they are very order intensive. It’s worth noting that the Charontid with HMG can get round this issue. However the Charontid with HMG  won’t be able to be your LT, to me this is a massive sacrifice. The Skiavoros is not as deadly as either the Charontid or Anathematic, but this is to be expected for a cheaper model. However the Skiavoros is the only model with Strategos, so does make a very good LT.

It’s also worth mentioning that the EI constructs have Sepsitors. This weapon is feared by many, especially when on the TO equipped Anathematic where, with the use of combat camo, he can use the Sepsitors with a normal roll rather than a face-to-face roll. However I feel that the Skiavoros is the true gem as he is the only EI construct that can be the LT and have a Sepsitor.

Exrah

This includes the Void and Vector a operator as well as the Iskaller. All of these bugs have great mobility for medium infantry; however it’s the Vector Operator that grabs people’s attention.  In my opinion, when equipped with a HMG, this guy is one of the best medium infantry in the game. The vectors main strength is his (it’s?) mobility combined with a HMG, Multispectral Visor LV2 and mimetism. All this equipment add up together to keeps fire fights firmly in the Vector Operators favour. As the Vector Operator has a Multispectral Visor LV2 he also combines well with smoke. The only downside is you can only take one!

In comparison the Void Operator is less appealing, but still decent medium infantry. If I use the Void Operator, I normally opt for just a combi-rifle as this combines well with the x-visor (HMG and sniper rifle have long long ranges, you would rarely use the x-visor!).

The Iskaller is an interesting jump troop. The PH of 12 makes using AD level 3 a bit risky, so using level 2 is worth considering. What really stand the Iskaller apart from other AD troops, is that once it has landed it can use the great mobility (shared by all Exrah) to get into great firing positions.

Shasvastii

The Shasvastii provide the camo and stealth to the Combined Army. In addition they have some truly interesting rules, including the ability to eat your opponent’s models! A lot of models are also blessed with auto medkits, which can add a lot of survivability to otherwise low armoured units. The Shasvastii also provide a good source of specialist to use in missions.

To start off, I think the Shrouded and malignos are among the best skirmishers around. I think they are well pointed considering they all have auto-med kit and even the shrouded has a BS of 12 (a lot of CH skirmishers just have a BS of 11). Other notable Shasvastii include the Noctifers and Aswuang. Both are great for their points. The Aswuang is the only way to get ADHL into the Combined Army whereas the Noctifers is also interesting as it is a cheap way to add TO to the army.

If playing missions where you need specialist, the Shasvastii are normally where I go. The Shrouded forward observer, Calibain engineers and Noctifers hacker all make regular appearances.

If you are looking for something different to use, the Speclo Killer is a great fun. It’s an amazing assassin that can potential kill even a TAG with one hit! In reality the opponent will go out of their way to either kill or avoid this model, so its real strength lies in the distraction it causes rather than the actual damage it does. I think it’s worth noting that although an impersonator is generally similar to having Camo, a massive difference is that suppressive fire can be used to hem in an impersonator. Also note that the Speclo Killer has smoke grenades, so can work well with other models with Multispectral Visor.

Lastly it’s worth talking about auto-medkits. To make the most of auto-medkits it’s best to place your models where if they go unconscious your opponent will find it difficult to attack them again. By doing this they won’t be able to “double tap” the model, removing the Shasvastii from the unconscious state. It’s also worth noting that fire can be a real pain against models with auto-medkits, but even more so against Shasvastii due to the Shasvastii spawn embryo special rule.

Morats

The Morats provide a cheap source of smoke (which will greatly assist any model with a Multispectral Visor) as well as heavy machine guns and other devastating weapons. If nothing else it’s worth taking at least one Morat, as it increases your retreat threshold. This can be very critical when being aggressive as you will undoubtedly suffer casualties.

Notable Morats are the Suryat, which provide the cheapest (for the Combines Army!) HI troop. The Rasyat are also solid AD troops, which have a decent PH that the lack of EVO repeaters won’t hamper them to badly. The Yaogats can also be a good additions to gain access to panzerfaust and more Multispectral Visors, which is never bad! However the Yaogats has tough competition from Vector Operator, who fills a very similar role.

The Zert is actually a far more interesting skirmisher than you may first think. Due to the comparison to the Shrouded it often gets overlooked. However after playing with the Zert, I would say that the discussion is not a no-brainer as I initially thought. The ability to have a model with a light flamer infiltrating is defiantly worth considering, especially with the rise in use of fire-teams (which tend to bunch up, so a single flamer in the right place can be devastating).

Order Generators

With an army with is often “odder starved” it’s worth taking a good look at Order Generators.

The Ikadron is the cheapest way to get an order from a model that can actually cause some harm. Because of this you will often see one or two in a list. Just beware that as they can’t dodge well, they are relatively easy to kill off at range.

The Morat Vanguard is a decent line-troop for the Combined Army, even if expensive compared to other line-troops. I often take one or two to increase my retreat threshold. I actually find them more worthwhile in vanilla list than in the actual Morat Aggression Force as the Morat special ability is more keenly felt.

Seed Solders are a more defensive option than the Vanguard. The Seed Solders are often cited as one of the worse line-troops in the game, which I find quite unfair. In my onion they complement many lists. Sure in an actual fire-fight they are nothing special and as dynamic and the models look, they don’t like dodging! I think there value lies in simply generating orders from the safely of a camo marker on the first turn. This can be a massive boon if facing a TAG or drop troops, who would like to mow down your order generators early on.

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