Monday, 8 October 2018

On the Impact of a New Infinity Classified Deck

Corvus Belli, who make Infinity, run an Elo rated tournament season from September to August each year. We've just hit Season 10, and with the new Season has come an updated Classified Deck. These are secondary missions you secretly select for many of the game's missions, scoring you assorted points. It was introduced with the 3rd edition of the game, and with the lessons they've learned since the start of the new season, it's undergone a pretty significant overhaul.

The first obvious change is that it's now two decks of twenty cards, with twenty different missions. Before, it was one deck of forty with four sets of ten missions. You can read a summary of the misssions in the Season 10 ITS pack, available from the downloads page of the Infinity website, but it doesn't contain enough information to fully use the deck.

The second deck, in red, is a new "extreme" deck where the missions are harder to complete. This is simply a different option, but it will change the decision making process about whether your chase the points for the classifieds or the main mission.

When going through the new ITS missions, we saw a couple of comments like those above - which relate to symbols on the card.

There is some level of theming to these - the one that looks like a medic's cross are usually doctor's missions, for example. I've not worked out all of the themes, though, so I've not yet worked out if there's a particular reason for the extra rules. I suspect it's intended to be a flavour thing over a competitive thing - encouraging the taking of cards that suit the theme of the mission.

I was never hugely sure about "Intelcom" - which were used for a variety of things including cancelling a model's effect on scoring or scoring some points towards control zones. The former hasn't really changed, but the latter sort of has.

With the reduction to 20 cards from 40, the numbers on the cards, used as a points substitute, have a much smaller effect. A card in the mid 30s or even the 40 could hugely sway a game as you had to be really strongly winning to have a chance of holding off a card. Now, a maximum swing of 20 points rather than 40 leaves it still potentially strong, but not quite as overpowering based on a lucky card.

Finally, the number of classified missions have risen from 10 to 20. While some still rely on specialists, others require on troop types, troop classifications, certain equipment or even close combat kills. This means that if you want to be comfortable achieving any classified you draw, you will need to think a lot more about list composition and, in theory, take a more balanced list.

All in all, I'm in favour of the new Classified Deck. Some people don't like the randomness when both players get missions that are of varying difficulty for them to achieve, but it's not a huge number of points, and Securing the HVT on the field remains a viable option for builds that are bad at Classified Missions. The greater variety also means that you can build towards those cards that don't require specialists if that's not your army's strength, and still have a chance of getting missions that suit your build.

I'm not sure of the viability of or buy to of the "Extreme" classifieds. Outside of the Highly Classified mission, where all points scored go from the deck, most missions only have one or two points coming from the deck. I suppose it actually favours those who aren't in favour of Classifieds, as by making them all significantly harder, you're reducing the chance of people spending the time completing them, meaning more emphasis is given to the main parts of the mission.

At the time of writing, I've only played one game using the new Classified missions, so can't really advise on completing them - but I hope my first thoughts on how they may impact the game are of interest to people.

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