One of the biggest draws of Infinity is arguably the inclusion of TAGs - tactical armour gear. Who doesn’t like giant, ass-kicking future Mecha, working their way through a cyberpunk dystopia, unloading whole barrels of ammunition at the enemy? Ariadna, that’s who. But I digress. TAGs are absolutely cool, from the mere idea of them, to the frankly stunning miniatures that Corvus Belli have produced for them. They are, without a doubt, some of the greatest centre-piece models on the tables, and I honestly want to run them in every single list I play.
However, I rarely see them in competitive games. Current metas often revolve around order-rich lists with lots of utility, allowing generals to apply whatever tool is needed for the job at hand, which often doesn’t leave much room for the destruction-focused TAG. Add the ease at which infantry models can stack mods, from fireteam bonuses, to a wide range of affordable skills (relative to the higher costs of TAGs), it’s very difficult to choose a point and SWC-heavy TAG in favour of a handful of models with a wider utility and a heavier bonus to your order pool.
It’s a shame, because, as stipulated above, TAGs are damn cool. Such awesome models should be used more regularly, particularly on competitive tables, where the time spent building and painting these beasts can be proudly paraded as they wade into the enemy and cause a ruckus. Instead, on the rare occasion they are taken, they tend to hide out of sight of missile-launcher toting fireteams, purely because of the BS mods that make that face-to-face roll a little one-sided. And let’s not mention the painfully poor reactive nature of TAGs in such a match-up.
So how do we fix it?
Not easily. First we have to decide what we actually want TAGs to do in game, and what can actually stop them from doing it. As cool as an unstoppable giant Mecha is, it’s pretty lame when you’re on the receiving end of one and there’s nothing you can do. Plus, you can’t really add a blanket rule to everything as that might inadvertently weaken some TAGs. Adding MSV1 to all TAGs would be kind of a nerf for the Maruts, in a way. The only way to do that would be to assess each individual TAG and give it some rules-buffs beyond what it already has to bring them all up a little and make them all a little more desirable in competitive play. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I did, however, have an idea. I wanted to keep TAGs in the role they currently occupy - aggressive pieces that specialise in neutralising the enemy - and not dip into utility too much. I also didn’t want them to have a universal rule added, as that might throw out their balance. I also wanted something that added to the agency of the game, and gave players more choice, and more tactical obstacles to overcome. As such, I give you my fix:
Make Supportware affect TAGs.
Not the EVO-Gadget stuff; just the basics. Assisted fire stacks some nasty mods onto the TAGs in the active turn, while Enhanced Reaction gives them some much-needed reactive turn power. Both require the investment of a hacker capable of putting up supportware, and both require a hacker or repeater to be within range of the TAG to pull it off. It makes the TAG that much more dangerous, at the cost of something precious to them - orders.
If you think that’s too powerful, then let me direct you towards the Tsyklon link team. 1 Spitfire Tsyklon and 4 alguaciles comes in a at 71 points and 1 SWC, and is perfectly legal in a Corregidor list. Against a 5 man Druze fireteam with a HMG, the Tsyklon will cause a wound 50% of the time, with both combatants at optimum range, and in cover. With assisted fire, that goes up to 70%. The same match up with a Szalamandra instead of the Tsyklon fireteam produces the same results - and the Szalamandra is 90 points and 2 SWC. Yeah, it has better armour, but it lacks the 5 wounds/structure of the link, and the 4 other potential ARO pieces, and the Sixth Sense. Giving it Assisted Fire doesn’t make the Szally OP, but it does level the field a little more, considering what else is out there these days.
This also opens up the design space; maybe a future expansion could come with a TAG support REM that opens up more potential TAG Supportware - such as adding MSV, or X-Visors, or Sixth-sense to the TAG. Again, not really unbalancing it in the face of some of the disgusting fire team options out there (I’m looking at you, Dashat - 4 bounty hunters and a Rui-Shi is just gross), but it does give them a little more utility on the table - and gives the players more agency in how to play the game.
What do you think? Do you like this idea? Will you try it in your games? Let us know in the comments below and the one we like the most will receive a free segmented blast template!
Update your HUD, soldier! Upgrade to tokens that pop like crazy!