Wednesday, July 20, 2016

USARF Tactica part 2: Heavy Dose of Freedom with a Slight Hint of Irregular

Psst! Looking for part one of my USARF tactica? Boom

Heavy Infantry


These are your bread and butter heavy infantry. If you need to get a job done, you'll want to call in the Minuteman. They lack courage, but they have a high BS and PH of 13, so they make great shots and are superb at dodging (especially when they have kinematika), but the lack of Courage can see these troops easily dislodged, especially with a WIP of 12. If the need arises, they can also do some pretty subpar close combat with their CC 17 close combat weapons (especially with a full fireteam). Very niche, but it might come in handy as a counter-charge option in an attempt to save a more valuable troop.

If you're looking for some cheap bruisers to reliably push the front lines from range or torch enemies with their twin flamethrowers, these are definitely the troops for you. They also pack some heavier weapons that are unavailable to the rest of your troops, making them incredible nice for packing even more heat into your lists.

Something else to note is that you can form a core fireteam of Minutemen to really cause your opponents a whole lot of grief. A Minutemen core fireteam can pack a punch equivalent to a fireteam in a much higher point bracket. I'd suggest taking 2x FOs, 1x Marksmanship, 1x AP HMG, 1x Shotgunner or Missile launcher, depending on what range bands you're hoping to engage. Along with any range capabilities that fireteam would have, it also has a literal torrent of flame coming out it in ARO (8/6 if you take a ML or shotgunner), talk about a BBQ!

Standard (22, 0): Nothing special here, just your standard rifle and 2x light flamethrowers. Really great for roasting multiple targets or just make sure whatever you want burnt to a crisp IS burnt to a crisp.
AP HMG (34, 1.5): One of only two sources of a HMG in USARF and it's by far the more mobile and cheaper of the two. If you're looking for some aggressive, medium-long range "umph" then this is the package for you. It's relatively vulnerable though, so don't expect it to take on the world, but it can make short work of enemy HI, TAGs, and other heavily armored targets.
Shotgunner (24, 0): You strip everything off of the standard one, give it a boarding shotgun and grenades, with an increased to cost by two points. Honestly, the only time I'd ever take this option is to add some weapon variety and close-range protection to a fireteam, other than that it's not that spectacular. If you're itching for a shotgun, I'd take the Hardcase, Desperado, or even better the Maverick.
Missile Launcher (29, 1.5): The only missile launcher in all of USARF and it makes for a great option in a fireteam. Not the best as a solo piece, but watch it wreak havoc in a fireteam, like nobody's business! If you plan on running up against a lot of heavy enemy armor or heavier, hostile fireteams, then take a Minuteman fireteam and toss in a missile launcher, and you're golden. Don't forget it also has a light flamethrower for close-range protection and damage.
FO (23, 0): If you have the point to spare on top of the standard troop, this is by far a superior option. The exact same as the standard, except it can target people, flashpulse them, and perform objectives. It's wonderful on its own and even better when supported by a fireteam.
Marksmanship (29, 0): Swap out the rusty ol' rifle for an AP one, equip them with a X-visor and train them on how to continuously get those headshots (Marksmanship Lv. 1), still retaining the twin flamethrowers. If you need some extra firepower, but don't want to spend SWC on it (or can't), then you might want to consider this option. Making a wreck in the close-medium range brackets, this option excels at hunting armor, camo, light infantry, and, well, everything. Toss this option into a fireteam to help provide some more damage potential or even keep them solo, they're terrific for both roles. The X-visor really helps this troop make an excellent suppression fire turret too, so use them on the defensive and offensive with ease.
Standard Lt. (22, 0): It's not a bad idea if you're looking fill up your Minuteman team, but if you just want a lieutenant that doesn't cost SWC, then I'd recommend the Marauder lieutenant instead. If you're running the Chain of Command Unknown Ranger and want a cheap as dirt and extremely offensive Lt. optioin, then I'd suggest you try this one out, but the AP HMG version might be better.
AP HMG Lt. (34, 1): You take the AP HMG Minuteman, give it a 0.5 SWC cut and can pump your lieutenant order into it, sounds awfully mean to me! If you want an extremely offensive Lt. option and are packing the Chain of Command Unknown Ranger, then look no further. Pump as many orders as you want into them, watch them knockout droves of your opponent's force (until you get critted), and then don't fuss over it when your Lt. dies, because you have backup. Really, this is the best option  to be paired with the CoC Unknown Ranger and it's a ruthless combo, plus providing a SWC cut in a faction that's pretty starved, SWC-wise.


Currently no artwork or image is available for Blackjacks, so I leave you with this.

When things get messy, these are the troops you call in to clean up. Ariadnas only true HI and a massive heap of destructive metal on top of that, Blackjacks carry some of the largest weapons to ever bless the face of Dawn. With some of the highest armor and BS in all of Ariadna, this troop is a devastating turtle, especially with its 4-2 MOV. It's pretty self-sufficient and doesn't really require much in the way of support, except maybe a Wardriver, so just park it somewhere, in cover, and watch as you dominate the field.

Do note that the Blackjacs are hackable (so might want to keep a Wardriver nearby, but that's a very big 'might') and have two different 'phases' once they start taking wounds. The first phase is the stronger one and once it takes a wound its stats will drop (noticeably BTS, ARM, and BS, the PH drop is kind of insignificant), so get the most out of that BS 13 while you can!

AP HMG (36, 2): HMGs are better is an aggressive and mobile weapon, which the Blackjack isn't. It's large base and slightly slower movement makes it a bit of an awkward weapons platform for a HMG. I would personally probably prefer the Minuteman with AP HMG for the cut in SWC, better mobility and no reduction in BS, but if you need a resilient, tanky AP HMG, then the Blackjack is far superior!
T2 Sniper (36, 1): Oh man, a heavy infantry sniper is like a dream come true! The T2 sniper is excellent for making sure troops stay dead when they're shot and this loadout also comes with a submachine gun, heavy pistol, and chest mines to provide some protection at close range from anyone bold enough to attempt an assassination run. The damage potential is excellent on this troop for its points and the sniper is a perfect compliment for the relatively slow 4-2 MOV of the troop as well as utilizing the higher silhouette to see more of the field.


Traktor Muls

The finest Russi...I mean Freedom Artillery money can buy!

Every Mul comes with baggage which is extremely handy in a good amount of ITS missions or for when you need to reload some disposable/deployable equipment. Do keep in mind that the Muls are hackable and relatively subpar when compared to other factions' REMS; however the upside is that the good ol', trusty Muls are a whole lot cheaper! It might be wise, if you're already taking a Wardriver and Blackjack, to keep the Mul near your Wardriver for relative hacking defense (it won't be much, but every little bit counts).

One important thing to note is that Muls require a Traktor Mul control device which is a specific loadout for the Dozer. If you plan on taking Muls (which you should almost always count on doing), then you'll need to take the Dozer with the control device too (14 points).

Minesweeper (5, 0): Cheap orders and cheap baggage.; Also, minesweeper is a ranged attack now, so it's actually pretty useful, especially when you pair it up with stealing Imetrons and Netrods.
Katyusha (11, 1): A powerful artillery battery, if you can hit and stay alive. Range bands aren't that great, so you'll probably almost always use the guided version of it. One shot of DA ammo, but at least it's a circular template on whatever you hit. This is more of a siege unit rather than an actual assault unit. You need to blow a door open/crate/a door through something? BOOM! Little Katie's got your back! Another use for this option would be for eliminating any heavier targets you find standing around, especially a heavy infantry or dogged/NWI link team. Throw in the Wardriver to give it shock from supportware and you've got a massive headache for your opponent.
Uragan (18, 1): Again, a powerful artillery battery, if you manage to hit and stay alive. A terrific choice for destroying clustered groups and link teams of single wounded models or use the single hit mode to eliminate any heavily armored targets (loses the blast template, but gains another point of damage). Probably the better of the two artillery batteries with it's triple burst, shock/AP ammo and circular template, if you ask me. Only problem is hitting. If you plan on only using them for their guided options, than you might as well just stick with the Katyusha and find some points for the Wardriver, but if you don't plan on using the guided options (I honestly don't know why you wouldn't) then this is by far the better option for your tastes. Also, this version comes with Total Reaction, but with a BS10 I don’t see it being that much help. It does make for a good roadblock or deterrent. The Uragan can easily be the bane of your enemy's order pool as you strike from afar destroying any order generators they have standing around.



The staple of USARF, these troops are dirt cheap and exceptionally mean. With the ability to infiltrate and being a regular camo troop for little more than a line trooper is an absolute steal! Many factions and sectorials are jealous of the Foxtrots efficiency and lean profile (no point bloat). Only problem is they are -extremely- fragile and huge targets for your opponents (especially the Forward Observer ones), so don't expect to live much longer than to tap a few objectives, place a couple of mines, or take a couple of shots.

Use your bikes to drop smoke on the position of the Foxtrot in order to allow the Foxtrot some freedom of movement and the ability to do objectives without getting shot to pieces immediately and this is why Mavericks and Foxtrots make good friends. Also, pairing them up with Hardcases to play some shell games and protect your more valuable Foxtrots is a pretty good idea too.

Standard (17, 0): The epitome of a vanilla camo infiltrator. Same as already described above, but if you're interested in this loadout then you might want to consider the rifle Hardcase instead.
Shotgunner (19, 0): By far one of the best platforms for a boarding shotgun. You'll want to use this troop to really punish your opponent for getting too close to your camo markers or just for the sheer damage output.
Grenade Launcher (20, 1): With the abundance of Forward Observers in USARF and the ability to infiltrate to reach the sweet spot of the Grenade Launcher, this troop can actually make for a really mean way to deal with fireteams, clusters of troops or any enemies in marker states (besides Impersonation). Nothing terrifies your opponent more than dropping surprise grenades on their heads from the midfield! This Foxtrot comes with a rifle as well, but loses the mines, sadly, so you can also put them in suppressive fire when you're not raining death from above! In all honesty, a camo infiltrating GL is pretty freaking sweet and you can have a whole lot of fun with it, but it can be a bit SWC intensive. If you don't use much of you SWC in USARF in the first place though, then you need to try this out!
Sniper (24, 0.5): You pay for infiltration on a weapons platform that will almost never use it, but there's no problem in that at all! It allows you to reach those sweet sniper nests right outside of your deployment zone and wreak some havoc. While more expensive than the Grunt sniper and less resilient, this sniper excels at being aggressive and stacking modifiers against your targets. Grunts are an excellent defensive sniper, but Foxtrots are far superior in being aggressive snipers, moving into position and then eliminating their targets. They also have mines to watch their backs or cause a muck wherever they are.
FO (18, 0): This will be your go-to specialist option in USARF. You should almost always at least take one in every list. You take the standard Foxtrot and add the ability to flashpulse enemies and mark them. Pair this option up with the GL and watch the carnage unfold! Again, this is the best specialist in USARF, but watch out as your opponent will make sure they start taking these troops out as soon as possible.
Lt. (17, 2): It's a terrible idea. I'm sorry, but you should never spend 2 SWC just on an infiltrating Lt. in the first place. Only time you should ever use this is if you have some crazy, wack-o list you plan on using implementing this option.


If you have the desire to use some camo tricks on your opponent and want to have a dirt cheap road block to tie your opponent up with, then you'll want to consider the Hardcase. There's nothing really special to them besides being a wonderful harassment tool, having ambush camo and utilizing infiltration. One thing to note in particular though is since they are irregular, you don't have to worry about crippling your order pool if they bite the dust, so don't fret about cheaping them alive for too long. Just make sure they deal as much damage as possible and then let them retire to the great utopia of Coca-Cola Haven when their time comes.

Thanks to their ambush camo, they're able to deploy two camo markers when placed on the table: a decoy and their actual selves (but they have to be within the Zone of Control of each other). If you take the maximum AVA of Hardcases and Foxtrots, that allows you a total of 10 markers, with 7 actual troops and three decoys. Talk about a rough way to start a game! Although being irregular kind of gives the shtick up if you're going first and the ambush camo isn't really a first turn mechanic, because your opponent will learn very quickly, by watching you move, which is which. Still, being able to deploy a whole bunch of cheap camo is nothing to scoff at, first turn or not!

Light shotgun (12, 0): A fine example of a "thorn in your side", this cheap little package gives you a box and a light shotgun to cause mayhem. Use the shotgun to eliminate clusters of targets or simply just to take out any close up targets and use the box to assassinate anyone who needs to die in the name of freedom. I personally would recommend the Rifle version though since the box and shotgun are an awkward pair together.
Rifle (14, 0): This troop is the epitome of a harassment tool. Infiltrate in, confuse your opponent, and then reveal at the right time to shoot your targets dead. When it's rearing the end of your turn, just drop them in suppressive fire and watch as you force your opponent to squirm around your nuisance of a troop. It also makes the Hardcase an excellent sentry for any point that needs to be defended or to help cover your Foxtrots while they're trying to do the mission. This option also comes with a the tactical bow which can be a whole lot of fun when you want to quietly eliminate targets or when you need some anti-material weapons.



These 'troops', if you can even call them that, specialize in being cheap, throw away assault pieces and they are darn good at it! Packing a mean close range kit compared to their Maverick counterparts, Desperadoes are absolutely terrifying for how cheap they are. They can quickly traverse the table safely thanks to their two options for smoke (light smoke grenade launcher and hand-held grenades) and then apply the heat with their close quarter weapons. The only problem will be the delivery and surviving, but once they get where they need to be, watch as their targets quickly widdle away. Good thing they have smoke (with a +3 from 0-16, mind you!) to help them survive and you can always use the smoke from Mavericks to pave a way for your Desperadoes too!

The really nice thing about Desperadoes is there Sixth Sense Lv. 2. This allows you to ignore any surprise shot/attack modifiers, allows you to always react and when you do those reactions, you ignore the penalty to react back (like being shot through smoke and reacting). It also allows you to delay your AROs against targets in your Zone of Control and means your opponent won't be using Stealth to sneak up on these rascals at all! With all of this in mind, they don't just make an excellent vanguard assault troop, they also make for some superb 'turrets' that can defend an area whenever they decide to run off into the sunset, but don't expect them to stay put for long, nor survive.

An important note to make is that they are Extremely Impetuous, meaning that they will drive off into the sunset at full speed towards the closet enemy -model- during the Impetuous phase. You can, of course, spend a regular order to prevent this, but sometimes it might just be better to let the cowboy eat it than spend an order on preserving them. They're also irregular, so you won't feel a dint in your order pools if they do meet with their inevitable demise, making them excellent throw-away attackers and harassment tools.

Standard (11, 0): Chain rifle, 2x heavy pistols, and the only loadout with an AP close combat, you get an excellent harassment tool to go "vroom vroom" with. If you need something cheap to run up and start blasting targets away, you better giddy up with this cowboy!
Assault pistols (13, 0): Trade out the heavy pistols for a pair of assault pistols (for burst 5) and lose the AP to your close combat weapon for two more points. Sometimes nothing gets the job done better than a flurry of bullets and that's the philosophy this Desperado uses. 
Shotgunner (18, 0): Trade out the chain rifle for boarding shotgun, but everything else stays the same. It's relatively expensive compared to the other options, but once you get up close, this troop will cause a whole lot of damage. To be honest, I don't really know if it's worth it over the Assault pistols that have the same effective range or the SMG with longer range, but if you're aching for a shotgun, it's not bad. I might suggest the Maverick or Airborne ranger instead.
Submachine gun (13, 0): You trade out chain rifle for a submachine gun, but everything else stays the same. You give yourself a little more range with the option to fire either AP or shock bullets and the ability to enter suppressive fire. It costs the same as the assault pistols for the same effective range bands (although only -3 out to 24 instead of -6), two less burst, but you give yourself some versatility. This profile really shines when you need to hunt down some heavier targets or if you need to lock down a zone. Park this Desperado overlooking an objective and put them into suppressive fire to watch your opponent's eyes leak tears of disappointment. The only problem is since they are extremely impetuous, they will break the suppression fire next turn in order to do their whole "riding off into the sunset" thing. You can spend an order to keep that from happening, don't forget!

Devil Dogs

The 'tankiest' and most mobile pair in all of USARF, with a total combination of three wounds and the ability to rip a person's arms right out of the socket, Devil Dogs are nothing to sneeze at! they are definitely trickiest troops to master in USARF and one of the trickiest in the game, so it'll take a lot of practice to learn how to implement them correctly. Since this team is made up of two entirely different entities, so I'm going to discuss the two individually:

Devil Dog
Even tankier than Blackjacks (thanks to Total Immunity) Devil Dogs don't mess around. They have super-jump, MOV of 6-4, smoke grenades, AP close combat weapon, PH 16, and a CC of 21, these beasts love getting up close and causing some pain. I will caution you about using super-jump though and being careful where you deploy your Devil Dog teams. With their Extremely Impetuous orders, the team will jump over any terrain that they have to, to start heading to the closet target. This will leave the duo vulnerable to a crazy amount of AROs and possibly end up getting them killed. It is almost always advisable to cancel the impetuous order to keep this from happening. Also, the DD and their Antipodes don't always have the same skill and might not have access to the same AROs, so plan accordingly and don't fret over the Antipode. It's the DD you want to deliver, not so much the Antipode, especially when you consider if the DD dies, the Antipode will freeze up and be in active. It is nice to have the two arrive alive together sine the Antipode will provide a +1 Burst and +1 damage to the Devil Dogs attack, but there might be times where you have to let the Antipode bite it  in hopes of keeping the Marine (Devil Dog) alive.
Besides that, just run around, toss smoke (or dodge to help out the Antipode live too) and tank some hits. The DD is what you should use as your premier vanguard attack troop and shock trooper in hopes of getting him up close and eliminating any targets or locking them up in close combat. Rarely will the DD ever need support from anyone else in your team (except to take out Viral or monofilament targets, those will make a mess of your DD), so just let them go and crack some skulls! Something else to keep in mind though is the DD has a pretty crumby BS (10), so don't expect them to hit much whenever they decide to shoot. Rely on dodging and smoke to get where you need to be and don't be afraid to use your Mavericks or Desperadoes to smoke zones to allow the DD to super-jump too!
All-in-all, just point at something and the DD will destroy it. Don't get too crazy with your super-jumping though, also watch out for those Extremely Impetuous orders. If you manage those two things, then you'll be just fine.

You'll like to keep this little buddy alive for the extra bust and damage (making the DD attack twice at CC 21 with a damage 17 AP weapon!!!), but there will be times where the lil buddy just won't make it. Do your very best to keep the pair out of trouble as much as possible and dodge if you need to. Since the Antipode doesn't have smoke its self, you can't use the DD's smoke to protect the Antipode. You'll either have to dodge against any shots or use some other smoke dispensing troop to lay a path for the team. Something else to note is that the Antipode has no range weapons, so it won't ever get to shoot if the DD does and it has a MOV of 6-6 with super-jump. Luckily, they do have a PH of 15 and Kinematika Lv. 2 to help them dodge and then get the heck out of the way when they need to.
A final note about the Antipode, they have Sensor. This can be both a blessing and a curse though. Since the DD doesn't have sensor its self, you'll leave them vulnerable while their Antipode buddies sniff around for any tricky little pests, which isn't always a good thing! I wouldn't recommend using the Antipode's Sensor much, unless you really need to, but the real strength of it comes when you're trying to discover any camo markers (doesn't work on Impersonators). Whenever you roll for a simple discover check against camo markers you get a +6 to your rolls, which is stupidly good! If you get a chance to ARO discover or just want to reveal a camo marker, then let the team try to discover the target. The Antipode might get shot and die in the end, but at least you'll reveal that pesky camo marker for you DD to try to engage next turn or whatever else you can do.
Over all, think of your Antipode companion as either a damage buff or a discovering machine. Don't get too worked up if you lose them before you reach combat and whatever you do, don't risk the DD to save the Antipode, it's just not worth it.

Chain Rifle (30, 0): Already described above, but your DD comes packing a Chain Rifle and an AP Heavy Pistol. The Chain Rifle will be great for harassing your targets and forcing them to move, while the AP Heavy Pistol will be nice when you really just need to shoot something (which is pretty niche when you consider you're using a Devil Dog). Since they have crumby BS, you'll mostly use them for CC or harassment anyway, so this is the better loadout for you.
Heavy Shotgun (39, 0): You lose the pistol and Chain Rifle just to have a Heavy Shotgun for an additional 9 points. If you really want to hit something and make it stays down, then this is the option for you; however, it's kind of an awkward weapon to use with your Devil Dog teams (shooting leaves the Antipode there standing around awkwardly) and CC will be a better option around 90% of the time. If you plan on running your DD team on "gun patrol" then this is the one you'll want to take, but if you plan on using your DD team primarily for CC, then just take the Chain Rifle version instead.


Roger Van Zant (LI)

The meanest Ariadnan you can find. The most important distinction is that Van Zant has a special level of Airborne Deployment that allows him to walk onto the table from your opponent's deployment zone. Yeah, you read that right. Van Zant (from here on out, coined 'VZ') is the ultimate flanker and ambusher. You know where your opponent's hiding their lieutenant in the back corner or do you really just want to tie up that TAG that's hiding in the back and eating away at your troops? Send in VZ and watch as chaos ensues!

With his AP rifle, heavy pistol AP close combat weapon, CC22, Martial Arts Lv. 2, and a BS of 13, he sure does pack one wallop of a punch! The only downside is that VZ is extremely fragile. Sure, he has Dogged, but without Shock Immunity, and only have 2 ARM with no defensive traits, he won't last long out in the open. You'll need to strategically decide where VZ's first strike should be and evaluate if it's worth it or not. If worse case scenario, there's no shame in bringing VZ onto the table, shoot a couple of targets in the back, and then enter suppressive fire. Nothing's meaner than inhibit your opponent's ability to move on their own turn without take 3 AP rifle rounds from the back!

Standard (38, 0): Nothing different from above.
Executive Order (39, 0): Same as above, except now when VZ comes onto the table he automatically becomes your lieutenant. This can be really fun with the Chain of Command Unknown Ranger or when you need to hide your lt, but it's not the best idea to make one of the more aggressive USARF troops your lt.

Unknown Ranger (LI)

GenCon Exclusive version

The single most expensive option in USARF and a true hero of the people, the Unknown Ranger is absolutely lethal at range and close combat. The Unknown Ranger can make short work of any target in close combat, even Martial Arts masters and then make sure they stay down with his T2 close combat weapon. Besides being able to literally crack someone's skull open, the Unknown Ranger is also able to scrap up some extra equipment whenever he finds an unconscious troop (except friendly ones). Did you just shoot that hacker unconcious? Run over, allow them to meet their maker, and then take the hacking device right from their still warm hands. Did you just find a body that was previously toting around ODD? Good, take it. Found a body with an AP HMG or MULT HMG? It's yours now, Unknown Ranger doesn't care! The only problem is to keep in mind that almost every weapon that the Unknown Ranger has will easily kill a target (except his rifle and molotok), so you'll either have to shoot them or find bodies your compatriots left lying around for you.

Also, the UR is a pretty tanky lil fella too! With ARM 4, Mimetism and No Wound Incap, he's not going down without a fight! Do be extremely careful of viral or shock weapons though because they will end the NWI of the UR and then you'll lose a 40+ point model to one lucky shot. However, if the UR's in cover, anyone who tries to shoot at him will be at a -6 and then the UR will have ARM 7, talk about being a tank!

The Unknown Ranger, no matter what loadout you pick, is a specialist, so the UR is able to complete objectives too. Use your Desperadoes, Foxtrots, Hardcases, or Devil Dogs to take out any long range shock or viral weapons, and then march up the Unknown Ranger to wreak havoc and do those objectives! 

Chain of Command (41, 0): Toting around a rifle, heavy pistol, and T2 CCW, this is not someone you'll want to mess with, but the real beauty of this loadout comes from the Chain of Command option. You can pull off a whole lot of wacky lieutenant shennanigans with this loadout, but don't get yourself in a position where you lose your Lt. and then the CoC Unknown Ranger's out in the's bad business to have your Lt. surrounded by foes in every direction. You'll want to be extremely cautious with this option, if using an aggressive Lt. or go full steam ahead if you aren't afraid of losing your Lt. Even with CoC, this option still has the lethality and resilience you've come to expect from the Unknown Ranger, so make sure you get those 41 points out of him!
Specialist, Molotok (47, 1.5): Alright, so you give Captain Ariadna a Burst 4, AP weapon instead of a rifle and now he's a universal specialist (meaning he always counts as a specialist, while the CoC version may not, depending on the mission). This is by far the meanest specialist you can take in USARF and it's a darn good option too! Just watch out for viral and shock as they will be hunting down your Unknown Ranger if you take this option. Use your regular vanguard troops (mentioned above in paragraph 3 of the UR section) to take those targets out and then laugh as Captain Ariadna wipes the table clean while still doing objectives.

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