My first ITS Tournament – UK Games Expo 05/06/16

On Sunday 5th just gone I went along to the UK Games Expo ITS tournament, this was my first time going to a proper ITS tournament outside of just playing ITS missions with friends! I took my trusty vanilla Yu Jing with me to brave this competitive scene.

The venue was huge and I was privileged to meet a lot of cool people and shake hands with a lot of players whose names I had seen on the Facebook UK Infinity group. I only took a few photos for the whole day as I was so focused and absorbed into the games, with the time pressure too the last thing I was really thinking about was taking photos but the few I took were enough.

Alot of the details are hazy so I’ll try to summarise key moments from each game. I took two lists but I used only one list for all 3 games which is this one below:

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Game 1 Antenna Field – Yu Jing vs Caledonians

My first game was against Peter from Straight Outta Caledonia, I was feeling pretty nervous and had no idea what to expect as I had never played against Caledonia before. I had only seen what they could do in battle reports. The table was super dense on one side, I won the roll off and opted to take the second turn. Pete chose deployment and picked the less dense side with the digger near the corner. My forces hid behind all the advertisements and trees with the Guilang sniper and Husong covering the middle lanes.

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To sum up the game I was in loss of Lieutenant turn 1 from Uxia McNeill infiltrating and taking out my Celestial Guard Lieutenant. The rest of turn 1 Pete lost his Grey rifle link leader and his Cateran sniper from Husong crits and I lost my Husong, the Guilang sniper was knocked unconscious. I doctored my Guilang and put a few people in suppressive fire with my irregular orders in my turn 1 to try and hold my position. Pete held more antennas turn 1. Turn 2 mainly involved Pete trying to push for the middle antenna but me pushing him back with my Zu Yong HMG, Guilang sniper and Zhanshi. Pete successfully locked down the antenna and the room on the flank with my Guilang FO, Monks and Zhanshi unable to crack it and getting taken down. I took the antenna in my deployment and the opposite flank so that we drew on 2 antennas each. Turn 3 saw Pete’s forces pretty depleted and only able to reposition to secure 2 antennas and killing my Zhanshi on an antenna, I tried to drop my Tiger in but failed and got blasted unconscious by a traktor mul. I made a final push and took the middle antenna with my Zhanshi hacker and used my Zu Yong HMG to take out Pete’s Scot’s Guard holding the antenna in his deployment giving me 2 antenna’s to Pete’s 1 at the end of the game including the middle one.

Overall it was a tense game with some back and forth moments and was very close, Pete’s tactics were sound but got messed up by a few crits from the Husong. My MVP’s were definitely the Zu Yong HMG who shot up a lot of guys at the end. My Monks also tied up Uxia McNeill and kept Pete busy with smoke. My Weibing saved me from lots of death from a dogged Highlander by flash pulsing him. The Zhanshi did a great job in supporting and taking out a few volunteers and holding the line and grabbing antennas in turn 2 and 3.

Pete was a great opponent and a really cool and friendly guy who also taught me that the second move skill on impetuous models has to be the full MOV value, something I didn’t realise before. Thanks Pete!

Yu Jing 6 – Caledonia 4

Game 2 Supplies – Yu Jing vs Ariadna

My second game was against James’ Ariadna from Gribbley gaming, this was probably the most demanding and difficult game of the day and was full of twists and turns. James was really fun to play against and we had a really great game that was down to every order on the last turn. Funnily enough it was a table I setup with someone and turned out to be a nice balanced table with all sorts of fire lanes and approaches. I was deployed on the side with the big green crate.

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The only way I can describe this game was camo…camo everywhere! 12 camo tokens were plonked down on the table with 3 of them being fake ambush tokens. I won the roll off and took the first turn to James’ surprise. James really had me sweating when he tried to infiltrate Uxia McNeill who I had the pleasure of seeing last game but the infiltration roll failed. I was sweating even more when a Grunt with a heavy flamethrower was put next to my Zu Yong and doctor on a building, thankfully the roll failed! Another grunt also failed his roll meaning I was relatively safe.

In turn 1 my Monks moved up and smoked a supply box on the left flank and generally tried to be a nuisance to provoke James’ camo markers. Apart from that my Guilang FO took a supply box under the cover of smoke and retreated to a nearby building. My Husong moved up into position in the centre but was knocked unconscious by…something. Can’t remember what. I ended up spending 2 command tokens on engineer rerolls and still killed it! Anyway the rest of turn 1 and turn 2 were pretty much cat and mouse games with James really trying to mess me up with camo token shenanigans using Hardcases, Chasseur’s and a Spetsnaz HMG. My Monks continued to be a nuisance knocking out some key midfield pieces like a Chassuer and a Irmandinho. The turning point came when I managed to take out James’ cateran sniper with my Guilang sniper and managed to secure another supply box in the middle with a Zhanshi FO. My Guilang FO had gone down leaving a supply box but my Tiger Soldier came swooping in from the side to pick it up and set up in suppression fire in my back corner. James tried to kill the Zhanshi FO with the middle supply box using his Spetsnaz but was outrolled by the Zhanshi’s combi rifle and went down! With the Spetsnaz and Cateran down I started to put my Zu Yong HMG and Guilang Sniper to use shooting whatever I could see while my Zhanshi and Tiger hid in difficult positions on suppression. Before this the Zu Yong had a few firefights with the Spetsnaz and a Loup Garou and even went unconscious, but my doctor got him back up and I took out the Loup Garou.

James tried some hail Mary medikits but they ended up killing his Spetsnaz, with little left James threw everything he had at me but just couldn’t dislodge the Tiger on suppression or make it past the Zu Yong HMG up on the building. It was too little too late and I finished the game holding 2 supply boxes and having a classified.

James made me really sweat all game and I had to think hard about what I was doing with every order. He was a top man and really fun to play against and I think we both really enjoyed the game even though it went over into lunch. This was my first time playing against standard Ariadna and it was intense! I can see why they are so successful at tournament play as they have quite a commanding control of the midfield. What I found though was trying to not fall for James’ camo bait and not necessarily making the ARO decisions he expected, I delayed/dodged/discovered with the right units I believe making it not as easy for James. All in all it was fantastic game against an awesome player.

Yu Jing 7 – Ariadna 0

Game 3 Highly Classified – Yu Jing vs USAriadna

My final game was against Luke Taylor and his USAriadna (ugh more Ariadna!). It was a fairly dense table setup in a military style US army base. The classifieds were hacking the HVT on -3 WIP, Spotlight/FO the HVT twice, Spotlight/FO an enemy and engineer the HVT. My own classified was doctor/medic someone. I deployed on the side with the big tank and bunker.

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The game was fairly fast and we actually managed to finish early. Luke came at me with some desperadoes and took out my Guilang sniper, but my Monks and Husong managed to stop them from getting into my lines any further. Thankfully 2 Grunt’s failed infiltration rolls but a 3rd made it, he was killed by a Monk though. My Monks put pressure on Luke and managed to kill a Foxtrot and a Marauder too. My Guilang secured the right flank with mines with the Husong covering the lanes. In the centre my Zu Yong pushed forward HMGing stuff as he went and setting up in suppression in the centre. My hacker moved up near the HVT and got me the classified of hacking the HVT. My Zhanshi did the FO classified. I was unable to doctor anyone and ended up killing my Monks with him!

Luke managed to take out my Husong and engineer eventually from repeated guided missiles from his traktor muls, this came at the cost of many orders though!

Luke was forced to play defensively since I had pushed up with the Zu Yong and Monks. The Grunt fireteam did some spec firing grenades against my Zu Yong and Monks but was unable to take out the Zu Yong, costing many orders. The game breaking part was when my Tiger came in from the side and just started mowing down Luke’s Grunt fireteam with the spitfire. At this point he was rather boxed in with his own hacker a long way from my HVT. The Tiger continued through turn 2 and 3 to shoot up Luke’s back lines. Luke had managed to complete his classified though but I can’t remember what it was.

It was a pretty brutal game but Luke took it well and was really friendly all the way to the end, he was a good player but fell fowl of quite a lot of bad dice rolls. Particularly on his traktor mul and Grunt fireteam. It was a fun game though and Luke played hard all the way to the end. Fighting for Freedom!

Yu Jing 7 – USAriadna 1

The Results

To my own surprise and everyone else’s I actually managed to do really well even though it was my first tournament! I was expecting to get absolutely stomped and learn lots of lessons on the way and walked into the tournament expecting to get schooled by more experienced players. It was definitely an uphill battle and I learnt a lot about Ariadna that day. By the end of it I had had enough of Ariadna haha. I played Caledonians, Ariadna and USAriadna and had a real taste of the faction as a whole.

When the results came in I came out in 3rd place, wow! Winning a Guijia TAG for my faction and a few other goodies!

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To top it off I also (somehow) ended up winning the painting competition! Again I don’t know how as I saw some beautiful armies that day. I won a signed artbook one from Corvus Belli with a load of cool high quality prints and a nice little trophy.

Lessons Learnt

I learnt some very important lessons through the day from my opponents:

  • Obvious Lt. is obvious – I need make my Lt. less obvious as it seems ITS players will go for the assassination, no poker face is going to stop it from being obvious if it’s just one guy sitting in the back.
  • Deployment is key – I had to try and keep my cool when deploying even though the clock was ticking. I found that my deployment was a key factor to how the first turns played out in each game
  • Play the mission – Playing the mission at hand was something I had to keep reminding myself and working towards, everything stopping that is an obstacle to be removed or worked around
  • Play till the end – In my first game against Caledonia it was almost looking like a draw, but I played it through to the end. Always play to the last order.
  • Camo is scary – But only at the start of the game, once you know what is under those markers it’s not so bad.
  • Take risks – There were times where maybe dodging would have been more logical. Like a Spetsnaz HMGing my Zhanshi or trying to hit a Loup Garou at long range in cover on 7s with my Zu Yong HMG. Logically they seem bad, but I took the risks and reaped the reward in the face to face rolls. Don’t be afraid to take risks, sometimes shooting is better over dodging not because of the numbers but because shooting can end the threat permanently. Dodging only delays the threat.
  • Water – Drink lots of it. I took 2 bottles with me and it still wasn’t enough, next time I’ll be sure to take more!
  • Be a Gentleman – I had a great day not because I won, but because my opponents were all awesome guys who were super friendly, helpful and respectful which made the games enjoyable regardless of what was happening in them. Being a gent is the most important thing I think when playing in ITS as the whole atmosphere and gameplay stems from that.

What next?

I’m heading up to the Justplay Liverpool ITS tournament next at the weekend and I know that Pete and James will be there! It will be direct operations so lot’s of killy killy, this time I am still expecting to get absolutely stomped and possibly even a bounty on my head after what happens at the UK Games Expo. Especially if Ariadna are involved! It’s certainly gonna be fun!

EDIT: Unfortunately the Justplay ITS Tournament in Liverpool was cancelled so looks like it will be July instead now.

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