Infinity: Stars of the Human Sphere File #003 – The Meteor Zond

Chris H is back, looking at the stand-out star characters of the Infinity miniatures game! This time we’re looking at the Meteor Zond – technically it’s a machine, not a character, but it’s so good you won’t mind! Let’s take a look:

File #003 – The Meteor Zond

Infinity is full of aggressive front-line troops geared up to charge straight into enemy lines. Heavy Infantry, specialist weapons and various devices such as holo-echoes and camouflage provide players with a range of options for laying siege to the enemy deployment zone. However, sometimes you need to be more subtle. If the enemy has a heavily armoured link team guarding an objective, or a hulking TAG (Tactical Armoured Gear, the ‘dreadnoughts’ of the Infinity universe), running straight at them with guns blazing may not be the best plan!

From the Skies

Fortunately, there are other approaches. The game also features AD Troops (Airborne Deployment) who can drop down onto the table, catching enemies unawares. Usually, these units will be infantry, equipped with small arms or special weapons. Sometimes they will have hacking devices or deployable repeaters that allow allied hackers greater coverage.

The Meteor Zond is one of the most tactically versatile Aerial Deployment Troops in the game. Unlike most AD Troops, it’s a REM – a Remote-Controlled Machine – but it is still able to enter the table from any edge (except the enemy deployment zone) or drop onto any part of the table with a successful PH (Physical) roll. As a REM, it has a larger base, so it’s harder to maintain total cover from enemy weapons. However, its equipment load-out is where it really impresses.

Let’s look at the profile.

zond statsWith its PH score of 11, players only have a 55% chance of dropping the unit onto the table successfully. However, armies that include hackers can sometimes buff their AD Troops with a +3 PH bonus. Armies with an EVO Repeater (an advanced REM with hacking capabilities) get this boost automatically. So this is something to bear in mind. Unless you can find a safe spot along the table edge to walk the unit on, you’re going to need a little bit of luck to get it where you want it to be. But with 6-4 movement, the Meteor can zip about quite easily.

We also see that the Meteor has an ARM (Armour) score of 0, and 1 STR (Structure) point. So it’s not going to withstand much punishment. Weapons-wise, it’s only carrying a Combi-rifle and has a fairly low BS (Ballistic Skill) of 11. Going toe-to-toe with the enemy is absolutely not what this machine should be doing.

So Many Toys

The Meteor may not be built for firefights but it has some very useful tools. Let’s look at its extensive array of Equipment. First of all, it’s a Repeater, which as we noted earlier, provides allied hackers with greater coverage of the table. Now, there are several AD Troops with Deployable Repeaters, but these require the model to spend time placing the repeater down, and once the repeater has been deployed, it can’t be moved. The Meteor doesn’t have this problem; the Meteor itself is the Repeater! Wherever it goes, an 8” hacking area opens up around it, giving allied hackers a better chance of being able to target enemy TAGs, REMs and Heavy Infantry.

Also, the Meteor has the Forward Observer skill. This allows it to effectively ‘shoot’ at an enemy using its WIP (Willpower) instead of its BS (Ballistic Skill), with successful hits placing the enemy in the Targeted state. This is useful because enemies that have been targeted are +3 to attack with ranged weapons and hacking programs. Also, you can fire guided missiles at them from across the table, without being able to see them. Which is both horrifying and fun!

But given that the Meteor is hardly the most durable unit, even with the Remote Presence skill which provides a second level of unconsciousness, you won’t really want to give your enemy a chance to shoot back. So why not use Sat-Lock instead? This allows units with a Sensor to make a WIP -6 roll against an enemy within 8”, not requiring line of sight. The enemy can still declare a Reset in order to try and avoid the attack, but if the Meteor wins, the enemy is placed in the ‘targeted’ state. Stick an EVO Repeater REM into your army and that -6 penalty is negated, making Sat-Lock potentially devastating.

The Sensor itself is a wonderful piece of kit. Not only can the Meteor use it to scan for hidden enemies within 8” using a WIP +6 roll (a 95% chance of success) and adds the same buff to Discover rolls when encountering camouflaged enemies, but it also allows the Meteor to use Triangulated Fire. This gives the Meteor the ability to shoot at -3 BS but ignores all other penalties for range, cover, Mimetism and equipment such as ODD (Optical Disruption Devices), amongst other things. This can be useful for shooting at enemies at long range, although the Meteor will be rolling on BS 8 which is not that great… and most enemies may well be shooting back with better odds. But where Triangulated Fire really shines is when shooting into combat.

Say an enemy with Thermo-Optic Camouflage is in combat with a friendly model. Simply activate Triangulated Fire, and you not only ignore the -6 for the target’s camouflage, you also ignore the penalty for shooting into combat and the chance of hitting your own model. Also, if you’re outside 8”, the enemy model can’t respond. So you can keep shooting until you take them down! This isn’t something you’ll need to do often, but every now and then you’ll be thankful for it.

Part of the Plan

Clearly the Meteor has its limitations. It’s not very killy or well-armoured, and small arms fire is enough to knock it out. But if you want to get Repeaters close to hackable enemy targets, or make the best use of Speculative Fire weapons such as Grenade Launchers or Guided Ammunition, the Meteor could be the solution to all of your problems. You just need to use it cleverly, and not expect too much if the enemy gets a bead on it.zond

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