Thursday, June 23, 2016

USARF Tactica part. 1: Light on the Specialists and Medium on the Armor



When freedom comes a knockin' USARF is there to answer the call. Prepare to learn about the USAriadna Ranger Force's Light and Medium Infantry (characters will be in part 2, which is here), because that's what this is all about!

Light Infantry


112


Run of the mill doctor, except this bugger's carrying a fire ax, shotgun and some field experience! Extremely cheap doctor comparatively, but don't honestly expect too much out of 'em. They've got a similar stat line to grunts without the armor and all they have to protect themselves is a shotgun or dodging, so be careful when you run these brave volunteers across the field. The one plus side is they have V:Courage, so they won't run unless you tell them too, otherwise they're standing their ground and holding whatever position you want them to. Sadly they're also the only doctor choice for USARF, so hold them dearly, but at least you can take two of them.

Standard (12, 0): Described above, but they're the workhorse of your team for anything doctor related and really great at close range encounters with their shotguns!


Airborne Rangers


These ferocious troops can really ruin your opponent's day! Close combat terrors ready to tear your opponent a new one. They're your standard Ariadna parachuters, so you have to gamble on where you want them to come in and hope that it was a good choice later on as the game progresses.

They're cheap, good shots, mean at hand-to-hand, can carry some nice weapon options and one of them can be a Forward Observer. These troops make for fantastic flankers, late run objective grabbers, and vanguard assaults. I will say that they are relatively fragile, so don't expect them to take on the world, but if you play your cards right they should get a good amount of work done.

Make sure you deploy them close to the enemy, but out of their line of sight. Sometimes it's worth it to spend the orders to walk into a good position rather than gamble on trying to survive the deployment. From there either use someone with smoke to help them advance or dodge/shoot your way into a good position. If it comes to the worse case scenario, don't forget they do have stealth thanks to Martial Arts Lv. 2, so they can try to sneak up their targets or to where you want them to be. Another interesting point about deployment is that fact that Parachutist IS optional. If you don't want to gamble on picking the right table edge, than don't! Sure you might have just wasted a few points thanks to Parachutist, but it's a worthy investment to keep the troop alive and allow them to do what they need to without risking their lives.

Lastly, I usually find it rather hard to motivate myself to take AD troops due to their cost, usually little returns and lack of providing their orders when they aren't on the table, but the Airborne Rangers are one of the AD options in the game I actually like using. In a faction that can easily make lists with 20 orders with very few tricks, this troop really gets to shine!

Standard (20, 0): The perfect option for some surprise close quarters support. Packing a submachine gun and good close combat potential, this will be a deadly surprise for any sucker who stands too close to the table edge where this troop walks in on.
Molotok (32, 1.5): An absolutely mean choice when paired with another Airborne Ranger. Bring this one to support the FO and watch as you dominate any midfield objectives and hold them with suppressive fire! Granted there might be better options than the Airborne Ranger for this weapon or better options for 1.5 SWC, but seriously, walking one of those on in surprise is never nice for your opponent!
Boarding Shotgun (24, 0): Probably the least exciting of all options for this troop. I do love me some shotguns, but this will be a hard one to land correctly and hard to get where it needs to be. Still, walking a boarding shotgun on from the edge can really ruin any fireteam's day when coming through. Clear objectives or ruin an order pool by eliminating the cheap, backfiled order generators and watch as you wreck your opponent's whole list with a mere 24 points. Don't expect this troop to come home alive though.
Rifle/Assault Pistol (25, 0): Aw man, let me tell you about this one: rifle for long range support, suppression fire for defense, and the assault pistol to eat up any targets that get too close or that you don't want to try to cut up. This option is absolutely brutal and probably worth it over the regular one almost every time! Good medium to short range threat, compared to every other loadout (besides the Molotok) without costing SWC (unlike the Molotok).
Forward Observer (21, 0): Hands down always better than the standard choice. This Ranger can now do objectives and flash pulse people on top of what the standard option could do and all for one point. It'd be silly NOT to take this choice over the standard one! Only time you shouldn't take this option over the regular is if you're playing a mission where killing specialists is the name of the game.
Lieutenant (20, 1): I always try to be positive about every loadout I see, but I honestly have no clue why you'd want to take this option. Maybe instead of using Parachutist you can deploy them regularly and then use Van Zant with Executive Order? That's about all I've got. Point in case, there are far better Lt. options and uses of 1 SWC.



Dozer




Almost a quintessential part to every USARF list. You can only take one and they are your only source for d-charges. If you want to have an engineer, d-charges or Traktor Muls you are going to need this troop no matter what.

They're nothing special besides a line trooper who went to engineering school, so protect them as well as you can. Those classifieds are going to hurt if you lose your Dozer, but then again there's always Secure the HVT which is pretty much a USARF staple after all.

It's also important to note that when the Blackjack (or other troops) suffers from the plethora of silly things that can happen to them from being hacked or other various game-state inducing tricks, the Dozer is the -only- way to fix those issues.

Standard (13, 0): Good ol' fashioned Dozer. Nothing more than what I've said above.
Akrylat-Kanone (14, 0): Alright, so you trade one point and d-charges for an Akrylat-Kanone (aka, glue-'zooka, and adhesive panzerfaust, essentially). Sadly not that great of an option in USARF where this is your only source for d-charges. Stick with the standard one or the control device, if playing when d-charges count. Normally I love taking this option in Ariadna or Kazaks, but it hurts not having those d-charges in USARF, so I rarely use it.
Control Device (14, 0): If you want artillery support or cheap orders, this is the one for you. Same as the standard Dozer, but this one packs a Mul control device which allows you to take Muls, and will be detailed in part 2



Warcor



It was brought to my attention that I was a little biased and uninformative on my take of the Warcor, so I'll do a better job expanding on this section:

For 3 points you get to add an irregular body to your list that excels at flashpulsing people. Now, you might ask yourself, "Pride of Rodina, first why are you writing about USARF and second why would I want to do that?". To the first question, it's a secret, and for the second one, because every body counts in this game! Sure the Warcor can't fight and sure he just stands there awkwardly, running/dashing in place, but you makes for a great cheap and disposable DZ defense unit.

Give him a perch overlooking your lieutenants hiding hole, your Blackjack's rear/flank, or behind your fireteam/s so he can stun any jerks trying to wreck them. But not only that, the Warcor also excels as using the "Alert" ARO or allowing "Warning" AROs from your troops. With that in mind, he can really save your bacon from any surprises and all for 3 measly points. Don't knock 'em until you try 'em! Just remember though, no one likes a tattletale!

Standard (3, 0): Flashpulse, yeah!
Aerocam (3, 0): Currently there are no rules for the Aerocam, so this isn't exactly a usable loadout. I suggest using the regular one instead.




Wardriver


Not exactly a 'Wardriver' but that's what I'm using until we get an official model

The folks you call in when you need something wrecked cyberly or when you need to defend your hackable troops (Blackjacks and Traktor Muls).

Keep them secret and keep them safe. Wardrivers are not very resilient and won't be able to do many face-to-face rolls with ranged attacks with that shotgun, other than dodging (which they also kind of suck at). They come with boarding shotguns for those close encounters and Sixth Sense Lv. 1, so they are an excellent close quarters unit. Not only that, but their hacking range (since we don't have any repeaters, except for a few ITS missions) is also 8", so anything these guys will want to do, will be up close.

Since they are the only hackers available to the USARF they can accomplish a few different objectives much than any other specialist we have (and a few more effectively), so they might be worth considering. Also, as I said above, they are beasts up close which will help them survive any close-quarter engagements while they are on the job doing any objectives you order them to do, for the right price of course.

In all honesty, it's not a bad idea to take one if you plan on doing ITS missions with Classifieds. All-in-all, it's a nice option to consider for classifieds, occasionally hacking heavier targets, isolating smaller threats, or defending that sweet, sweet Blackjack (especially after it takes a wound) and your Muls. I'd really only suggest taking Wardrivers for two main reasons: if you're worried about protecting your Blackjacks and if you're going to be playing a Classified heavy mission. Other than that, might just be best to save the points and SWC for some actual freedom fighters.

Defensive Hacking Device (17, 0.5): A terrific pair up if you tag this choice along with the Muls! With the Wardriver's ability to aid REMs, you give the Muls Marksmanship Lv. 2. It takes a whole order to do it, but once you pull it off it can be a gloriously beautiful thing. This option is also a cheap way to provide some hacking defence to that oh so sweet Blackjack to keep them from being wrecked by some surprise hacking attack (AD and Hidden Deployment are notorious for this), but it can be a bit order inefficient. Other than that, and the fact you have a hacker for missions/scenarios, not much for them to do really.
Regular Hacking Device (19, 1): Same as above, but if a nice, juicy hackable target gets close you can hack the actual crap out of them! You probably don't want to get them that close, but if it happens you'll be happy you were packing an actual hacking device rather than that DHD one. This option comes in real handy when you plan on playing in an ITS mission that has repeaters in it (wink wink, nudge nudge) or when you decide to march them up to the objective and your opponent sends in a big nasty HI/T.A.G. unit. Seriously, these guys are a fairly excellent hacker option and many other sectorials/factions would love to have one. Debatably worth if over the DHD choice though.




Medium Infantry


Grunts


The absolute staple of any USARF list. Durable, cheap and efficient, that pretty much sums up the Grunts right there. You'll almost always use them in every list and they'll never do wrong by you, that's for sure!

Their base stats are kind of subpar when compared to other factions line troops, but other line troops don't have 3 ARM or shock immunity now, do they? Since they are USARF's line troops, they can link too! Total AVA Medium Infantry who are dirt cheap and can link? Oh yeah, that smells like freedom to me. The Grunts are probably one of the -best- defensive links in the entire game for how cheap and efficient they are. Offensive links are a bit awkward with them, but once you setup a 5-man team of them somewhere, watch as your opponent gets shredded by these cheap and deadly troops.

Typically, if I take a Grunt link team, it looks something like this: 2x Paramedics, 2x Snipers, and the GL Lt. This creates a highly effective, defensive link team that can deal out some punishment and keep kicking. Other times I might do this: 1x FO, 1x Paramedic, 1x HMG, 1x Sniper, 1x GL Lt. to add some variety and deal with any targets that I might come across.

However, if you do plan on doing on some offensive marching and tanking with your Grunts, you might want to try this out: 1x FO, 1x Paramedic, 1/2x HMG, and 1/2x Heavy Flamethrowers. Keep marching them up and roasting or blasting anything you come up against. You'll surely lock down what ever area this team besides to hold up in.

Standard (10, 0): It's a Grunt. Great for standing around, getting shot, shooting back and generating an order. Not much other for them other than that, besides filling out a Grunt link team if on a budget.
Heavy Flamer (10, 0): Not to mention it also comes with a light shotgun, so this option is a nasty little template surprise! It's a good option to add into link team if you're expecting some close range trouble or to stand around and protect corners, close quarters and your deployment zone. This is the ultimate close range, defensive package; however, if you're looking for some punch go with the infiltrating version.
HMG (21, 1): A great and cheap way to add in some effective, offensive punch to your list or link team.
Grenade Launcher (14, 1): Now that speculative firing doesn't break troopers from the link, this option is a great way for your link team to fight targets they can't see! I would recommend using the Lt. version, though.
Sniper Rifle (18, 0.5): The Grunt sniper is by far one of my favorite snipers in the whole game. With shock immunity, they can go toe-to-toe with other snipers and still be revived and for as cheap as they are, they sure can pack a wallop, especially in a link! I personally hate using duplicate models, but this is the only time I've made an exception to this rule, because I love my Grunt snipers so much.
Infiltrating Flamethrower (11, 0.5): This is a mean and deadly option, if you can actually get it to work. It will only land on point when you roll a 8 or less, but if you get it where it needs to be, you can make quick work of your opponent on the active and reactive with that huge flamethrower! If the roll fails, no worries, you can still deploy him on the edge of your deployment zone where he can deter enemy AD troops with his flamer and light shotgun! The epitome of USARF's offensive and defensive strategies.
Forward Observer (11, 0): This isn't exactly a faction lacking in FO options, but if you need some more or want to turn your Grunt into a specialist, this is the choice for you! Can be really fun to use the flashpulse in ARO, especially when matched with the bonuses of a fireteam.
Paramedic (12, 0): An excellent choice to place in a fireteam to make sure any of your downed Grunts have at least the opportunity to keep on fighting! This troop is only one of three sources of medikits and 'doctor' skills in USARF, so they can be great for doing any classifieds you don't
Standard Lieutenant (10, 1): Survivable and easy to keep safe this troop will make for a great armchair LT for you army. Only issue here is that it costs 1 SWC which in USARF can definitely be a deal breaker.
Grenade Launcher Lieutenant (14, 1): If you're going to take a Grunt as your LT. why might just use this option and get a grenade launcher for almost free? Great for hiding and Speculative firing grenades on top of your enemies!


Maruaders



An excellent vanguard unit and a rather versatile set of loadouts really help these troops stand out from anything else in USARF as well as the ability to form Harris teams.

These troops are pretty much the epitome of shock troops; they have Forward Deployment, Stealth and Dogged, so they can get where they need to be to deliver that epic blow to cripple your opponent or take a decisive objective. You'll want to watch out for shock and viral weapons (or anything with a similar effect) as they kind of ruin the point of these troops and quickly.

As mentioned above, Marauders have an excellent variety in loadouts to help them succeed in almost any scenario you could think of and they can form a Haris team (a second fireteam, but only up to three models) or a full, standard fireteam. The question is which to go for, if you plan on going Marauder heavy? They have the kits to do almost anything you want, so they can be a supplement team to your main link and help grab objectives, or serve as a secondary fire base to aid your main link and the rest of your team from their forward position. Or, you could use them as your main link option and have an entire fireteam deploy up to 16 inches with a plethora of weapon choices and even a paramedic to accomplish missions. Also, as a fireteam, the 4-2 movement is slightly offset by the increased efficiency of forward deployment and the fireteam, hooray for jolly cooperation!

Here's a link I've had good success with: 2 x Paramedic, 1 x Shotgunner, 1 x Molotok, 1 x HRL. Once the Maruaders reach their destination, you can split off the specialists, do the mission at hand and keep the main fireteam defending objectives and obliterating! Yes, Marauders can form a Haris team, but they also make an excellent fireteam too, so don't neglect this option!

Standard (21, 0): Nothing too fancy here besides what's described above. Torch stuff and shoot 'em dead. Good for a cheap vanguard unit and midfield protection.
Molotok (28, 1.5): Hey, you like big guns and armor-piercing bullets? I bet you do and this is the option for you! A nice loadout to put into a link team or stash away into a Haris team to really see it shine. On its own it can be a monster, especially since Marauders have Forward Deployment. Watch as you bring heavily armored targets to their knees with your AP-shooting-LMG! Definitely not a long range option though, so watch out for longer range threats.
Shotgun and Mines (22, 0): Maybe not the best choice for a solo piece and especially one point more than the standard fella, but mines and a boarding shotgun can make for a welcome sight in a link team or an offensive Haris team. Pair it up with the Molotok and watch as you reap the close range bands as well as defending your turf. What says "Stay off my Freedom lawn!" more than some anti-personal mines and a shotgun to the face? A Blackjack, but that's in part 2.
Sniper Rifle + Visor (29, 0.5): Not too bad of a choice if you plan on needing some fire support or hunting camo. This kit does come with MSV1 and pairing that with a sniper can make some quick work of those pesky camo jerks. Maybe not the best for a Forward deploying vanguard kind of unit, but it's a pretty swell choice, especially when placed in a defensive Haris team and forward deployment allows it more options in sniper nest choices.
Heavy Rocker Launcher + Visor (26, 1.5): Probably by far my favorite option for this unit. You really want to go camo hunting, bring this troop along! Toting a MSV1 and the bane of Tohaa or camo (and ODD), this Marauder makes for a great solo or an excellent addition to either an offensive or defensive Haris. This is also the only Marauder who swaps out the heavy pistol for an assault pistol, but it's such a fantastic swap. Imagine the deadly force of a linked assault pistol up close, mwah ha ha!
Paramedic (23, 0): Definitely worth the two points extra over the standard fella, if you have the points to spend. Now you just made your Marauder a specialist and gave them the ability to heal your troops from afar, which you should never discount, especially with USARF's large order pools and decent PH's. I've gotten a good amount of work out of this troop as a solo and it makes for a great addition to a Haris team too.
Haris (22, 1): If you already have a link team in mind (Grunts or Minutemen) and still want to link your Marauders, take this option. You can only max out at three, but it can definitely be worth it to have a supporting link team and if you have the SWC to spare! 1 SWC can a whole lot to ask though, especially if you come packing another SWC option into your Haris team, but it's definitely worth it at times to have that increased order effecienty and potency that comes with a Haris.
Standard Lieutenant (21, 0): A survivable and cheap Lt. option which is kind of what USARF needs. Probably not my favorite choice, but it can definitely be a good one if you need to budget points or SWC. I just get uncomfortable when my Lt.'s on a super aggressive chasis like the Marauder when I probably won't be using all of the things I pay for (no way am I deploying my Lt. up to 16 inches without some CoC model!).


Mavericks



If you want some speed, durability and punch, this is your battalion right here.

The Mavericks are a reliable way to bring some firepower and specialists to your list, if you're looking for some. Being as quick and durable as they are, they have no problem getting to their target and then wasting them. Every Maverick comes with a smoke grenade launcher and MSV1, so they make for excellent hunters of camo and any ilk of a similar nature.

Probably the biggest advantage of the Mavericks is that they're Regular and only normal Impetuous, meaning they can provide orders for the rest of your team and they can use their Impetuous orders IF they want to, they aren't forced to. I would strongly advise you to be careful though, don't get bold and decide to use your Impetuous order to run out in front of five enemy troops. Yes, you have smoke, but dice aren't always the best at rolling what you want. It can be a bit of an art to master the use of the Impetuous order, but once you do Mavericks will really start to shine for you!

Molotok (29, 2): A bit expensive on the SWC side of things and not the most durable for how big of a target it will become, but once this bike gets where it's needed, you can expect to say "hasta luego" to the target. This option is great for hunting down enemy TAGs or any Heavy Infantry with the excellent burst and AP rounds of the gun. If need be, you can drive this troop up to the center line and then enter suppressive fire near an objectve and watch as your opponent squirms trying to get past this light tank! Don't forget, it also comes with MSV1 (like all Maverick options) so it's great for hunting heavily armored troops with any visual distortion gear (ODD, camo, etc.).
Shotgun (21, 0): If you're looking for a shotgunner and really like bikes, I recommend you look into this choice rather than the Desperado. It's more durable and reliable for only 3 points more; however, I'd strongly suggest you make room for the Forward Observer or SMG/LRL loadouts instead. The real kicker is the delivery, which is exceptionally much harder with the rather short range and low burst of the shotgun, but if you can pull it off, you're golden! Go to town wiping targets out in clusters! This troop really shines as a counter-assault unit rather than a vanguard troop though, it's hard to deliver a shotgunner across the table, but at least you've got smoke to cover your trail.
SMG and Light Rocket Launcher (22, 0.5): A close range fighter that's not afraid to take on armored or light targets nor Tohaa and camo. This troop is the perfect hunter using the AP rounds from the SMG to kill off heavier targets, using shock to eliminate dogged/one-wound models and implementing the light rocket launcher to take out Tohaa, fireteams, clusters and (when paired up with the MSV1) camo troops and the like. This is by far my favorite offensive Maverick and it's extremely cheap for the deadly punch it houses, only problem can be safe deliver this deadly payload, since it is so close-ranged-focused. This is where the smoke comes in handy and if it push-comes-to-shove, use suppression fire to hold down your position.
Forward Observer (19, 0.5): You need a quick, durable and cheap specialist to run up, grab the objective and then defend it? I reckon you best be looking for the Maverick Forward Observer. You honestly can't go wrong with this wonderful specialist packed into your lists, but the real downside at times can be the SWC cost and the big bull's-eye on this trooper's chest. It makes for a great initial run to the objective and bait while the rest of your team and specialists move forward, because, trust me, your opponent will be more focused on this troop than just about anything else you can deliver (besides maybe a Devil Dog).

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