Introduction to the Infinity Tournament System
Whether you’re competitive or casual, you should be comfortable with the Infinity Tournament System. ITS is not just a tournament system—the scenarios are a different way to play the game, and even vary in playstyle from mission to mission.
In one scenario you will need to hold on to strategic communication relays in the midst of battle. In another, you will search supply crates for important supplies before sabotaging them so your opponent can’t do the same. Or you can play a traditional deathmatch-style game with some structure and extra objectives. There’s even one that plays like Powerball from American Gladiators circa 1990!
The scenarios are part of a progression from simple firefights where striking the enemy first is the most important thing to something a little more thought provoking and tactically diverse. For competitive players, an official ITS tournament provides prize support, ELO ranking (like the kind used in chess or Halo multiplayer), and a formal system that is shared internationally and updated each year.
What sets ITS apart from other Infinity systems is its requirement for using a variety of Specialists to complete mission objectives. Specialists include Engineers, Hackers, Forward Observers, models with the Chainof Command and Specialist skills, and for all but one scenario, Doctors and Paramedics. Though any type of Specialist can complete the main objectives, the Classified Objectives each player randomly receives at the beginning of each scenario requires a specific type of specialist. A Forward Observer gaining a point for a successful FO action, for instance. This compels players to bring several types of Specialists even in game types that don’t require one for main objectives.
Another thing about ITS scenarios is that aside from the kill ‘em all Annihilation scenario, the focus is not on wiping your opponent off the board. It’s not even rewarded. And if you aren’t completing the objectives at the same time, it can even punish you since pushing your opponent into retreat gives them the last turn which they can use to capture objectives.
Basics of an ITS Tournament
An ITS tournament takes planning for both organizer and players. Aside from just showing up on time to play, there are a few things you should be prepared for.
Your tournament organizer will need you to register an ITS PIN through the Infinity website for reporting, which means you’ll need to be registered on the forum if you aren’t already. He’ll pick the scenarios depending on how many rounds the tournament will last, the point limit and also the tournament type. Players are informed in advance to give them the opportunity to tailor their lists and sharpen up on the scenario rules.
You’ll need to bring two copies of each list you will be using. One of the nice features of ITS is the ability to bring two separate lists to a tournament and to choose which list you’ll use after you know your mission and even after you find out who your opponent is. Putting aside the “it’s not your list” mantra, your list does in fact matter considerably, and the better prepared for are for the individual scenarios, the easier time you will have racking up Objective Points. So take some time figuring out what you want to bring. And don’t forget your lists at home!
The number of rounds will depend upon the number of participants. Less than four players will be using the Mini Tournament format for two or more rounds, or the Showdowns format, which is a single round tournament. Four to eight players make a three round tournament, nine to 16 makes four rounds, and more than 16 turns into a grueling five round tournament. Your TO should account for lunch and dinner breaks, but it’s always a good idea to pack a sandwich just in case one extra person shows up and you end up crunched for time.
After the first round, players get paired up based on their current Objective Points in a Swiss Pairing system, theoretically keeping each round evenly matched. If the is an odd number of players, the player who shows up last will take the first bye, and for each round after that, the player in last will get a bye, though never more than once. Players taking a bye receive their average number of Objective Points throughout the tournament.
Painting restrictions are a rare thing, unheard of even. Proxied models are supposed to be limited to those that don’t have official sculpts, and all models used must be from Infinity. In practice, this is rarely strictly enforced. It’s a good idea to minimize the proxy and keep everything clear for your opponents. Using models outside of the Infinity range or proxying in order to spam a certain kind of troop will put you on your fellow players’ and your TO’s bad side, and will probably keep you out of the tournament. Talk to your TO about what’s acceptable and what’s not, but all-in-all your typical Infinity culture is lax to these kinds of standards. We’d rather have more people playing the game.
New Players in ITS Tournaments
While a tournament isn’t the place to start with Infinity, a moderately experienced player shouldn’t be scared diving in. If your TO has invited you, that’s a pretty good sign you’re ready. The overwhelming majority of the community wants people to participate even if they have to answer a question or two during a game. Just be aware that your questions will come out of your time. An ITS is not the place for take-backs, however, and making newbie mistakes is just tough luck. At the end of the game, shake hands, be a sport, and start plotting your revenge.
Tiers: An ITS tournament can run at different point levels. The Low-Tier is 200 points, Mid-Tier is 300 and Top-Tier is 400 points. Which tier you’re using affects how much ELO score you can win or lose. But despite it’s title, Top-Tier is unusual for most tournaments with Mid-Tier considered standard.
Standard or Spec Ops: Campaign: Paradiso introduced rules for players to custom-build their own Spec Ops troop profile using an XP system to pay for stats, abilities and equipment. In a Spec Ops tournament, you can do just that with a 12XP spending limit and you can even have separate profiles for each of your two lists (see Campaign: Paradiso or Infinity Army for Spec Op details). But most tournaments are Standard, which bans the use of these custom troops.
Joint Ops: Is a team tournament with two players per team. Each player keeps control of their own troops and order pools, but shares scenario and Classified Objectives. There are two different versions to play. One where each team member takes their full turns separately, and one where team members are playing the same turn, spending their orders in any way they want.
Campaign Tournament: Similar to a Spec Ops tournament except Spec Ops troops gain spendable XP according to the rules set out in the Campaign: Paradiso rulebook. But despite being called a campaign tournament, you don’t use any campaign scenarios—just the regular ITS scenarios.
Showdowns: A one round tournament for two or more players, great if you want your weekly games to count towards your ELO score, or for Joint Ops teams with byes.
If you’re thinking about hosting your own ITS tournament in the future or just wondering about how much it actually costs to run one, Corvus Belli offers several different tournament packs to fit your group size and your level of prize support.
The top of the line, full of goodies box is the Classic Tournament Pack. This is the only place you can find the exclusive Authorized Bounty Hunter miniature and limited edition pin, but also patches, two blisters, a weapons pack, faction and unit pins, art cards, posters, and your tournament code to report to the website. This is good for four or more players. (€39,95 or about $55 USD)
The next step down is the Low-Cost Tournament Pack. Still good for four people, but with less prize support—most notably the lack of exclusive Authorized Bounty Hunter miniature, limited edition pins and MAS scenic base. (€24,94 or about $34 USD)
The cheapest pack you can use for more than four players is the Virtual Tournament Pack. This is only a tournament code sent via email. (€14,95 or about $20 USD)
The Mini Tournament Pack is an email code for a two to four player tournament. (€5,95 or about $8 USD)
You may say to yourself “this is pricey,” but you’re still wondering how you can make it even more expensive. Ordering directly from Corvus Belli outside of Spain means international shipping on a weighty package which can double the cost of the ITS pack in some countries. Shipping easily exceeds the 30 percent discount for Warcors even. Contrary to usual gaming economics, the best way to cut the cost of these packs are to go through brick and mortar stores that have access to an Infinity distributor.
Now, let’s talk scenarios!