Following the success of my article regarding Scouts over on The Midnight Carnival, Pride of Rodina dropped me a line on the forums to ask if I'd consider being writer for his blog. I'd be honored, said I, being a big fan of Kazaks and all things Cheeki Breeki. Of course not all factions can be so full of slav-power as our (un)fair Kazaks, and with a definite demand for more pieces on other factions, I figured where better to start than with my other main faction in Infinity - PanO. More specifically, Neoterra.
"Make it big, something that'll make an impact" he said, and I smiled at the thought of my first article idea. After all, what could make a bigger impact than one of the big terrors over on the PanO side of the hyperpower... the incredibly destructive Swiss Guard.
- Maybe 2 Swiss Guard, does that count? In Neoterra, it sure does!
Starting off, its statline is pretty top of its game as far as Heavy Infantry choices go.
1 (2 in NCA)
The MOV isn't anything special, and CC of 15 is better than most line troops but definitely nothing to write home about vs. premium melee choices. BS 15 is flat out insane though, beating any of its Combined Army or Yu Jing counterparts and tied with Achilles for top in the game. PH 14 is also similarly high, giving him the option to dodge on a decent roll, which comes in handy when facing flamers and the like. WIP 13 is on the decidedly "average" side for a HI, but can largely be considered "decent" in PanO when most models pay a clear -1 WIP/+1 BS exchange vs. other faction counterparts. Durability wise, ARM 5 and BTS 6 are definitely "high" for a HI, but probably about average for an elite heavy infantry choice when compared to other factions. Wounds 2 and Silhouette 2 are standard, as is the AVA you'd expect for such a pricey model**.
**Though you can bring 2 of them in NCA, which is really cool...
Of course all of this comes at a price, as your average Swiss Guard profile clocks in at a massive 70 points. Each of these deadly profiles also come with TO Camo (which we'll discuss in a section of it's own below), an AP close combat weapon and a pistol. But what we're really interested in are their primary weapons, and all of them are exceptional, as they should be for such a costly model. So speaking of primary weapons, let us turn to…
Using your Swiss Guard effectively is always a bit tricky, because it depends largely on the type of weapon you've picked and how they're supporting the rest of the list. So what we're really interested in is a quick overview of each of the main weapons they can carry, which are as follows:
Section 1 - Multi Rifle (64 points/0 SWC)
The Multi Rifle is perhaps the easiest of the 4 choices to discuss, as while it is a damn good weapon in its own right, there are really only 2 reasons to bring this profile over the Hacker profile. First you could be trying to cut down on cost, which I think for such a pricey model is a bit counter-intuitive. This isn't so much a point about "in for a penny, in for a pound" as they say, but more that the amount you give up by not being a hacker is hardly worth the mere 6 points/0.5 SWC you save, not when you're giving up all of the utility that being a hacker brings.
Which brings us nicely to the second point, the double-edged sword nature of hacking. If you're finding in your games/meta that being a hacker is more of a liability than an upside (perhaps too many killer hackers, vastly superior opponent hacking etc) then I could maybe see a case for reaching for this profile. However, personally I think that being an Assault Hacker brings you FAR too much overall to just give up these capabilities, and I think proper play is the better solution to the problem of opposing hackers rather than just giving up powerful options of your own. We'll go over this in a bit more detail in the ‘Hacker’ discussion section below.
Section 2 - Missile Launcher+Light Shotgun (69 points/2 SWC)
Arguably the "middle of the road" Swiss profile, the Missile Launcher/Light Shotgun (MLLS) profile gives you some incredible firepower for just a few more points off the base profile. Dropping out of TO camo to ARO some link team standing in the open is just about every Pano player's Swiss Guard related wet dream, making perhaps one of the best ARO's in faction and potentially devastating to your opponent's plans if you catch them unawares. That's right people, we're talking a big blast, DMG 14 EXP, and it can even be AP if you choose to forgo the blast in favor of cracking the armor of some big TAG standing in the open or something. The important thing of course is timing, because sometimes it's better to wait for the Active turn where you can stack Surprise Shot in your favor as well (remember, you are only rolling one dice), but by this token, waiting around too long for the perfect shot can be equally wasteful.
The other cool bit of kit the MLLS has is its backup light shotgun, which considering the generally difficult range bands of the Missile Launcher (+3 isn't until 24-40!) is a really useful bit of kit to have. The Light Shotgun isn't exactly swimming in power (though at least you ignore the ARM bonus from cover), but shooting at BS 21 (!!!) in close range can utterly wreck most models, especially when you're stacking your own modifiers like cover, TO camo and Surprise Shot. This also has the wonderful upside of making the MLLS Swiss far less vulnerable to be removed by melee or other close range options compared to other typical overwatch pieces like most snipers.
Really the MLLS is very solid, but is balanced out by a couple of downsides. The first of these is the finicky low burst. Having all the modifiers in the world and splatting people in the open on an 18+ doesn't really do much for you when you roll that "1" on your ARO shot and opponents dodge neatly out of the way. Even on your active turn the Shotgun is still only burst 2, so while both weapons have the potential to hit lots of foes, you also need a bit of luck to avoid those low numbers in face-to-face rolls with multiple opponents. The second main issue is its range bands. As noted, the Missile Launcher has a tricky 24-40" +3 range band, which makes it difficult to utilize on tables that don't have good fire lanes and even harder to ambush that juicy link team in the open if they don't happen to line up perfectly in that right spot. The light shotgun is similarly problematic, giving you an option in close range, but equally leaving you with a big blind spot (no +3 benefit from 8-24, a whole Spitfire's worth of good range!) and vulnerable to things like flamers, mines, hacking and so on when you get close enough to use it. The final problem is that it is the only loadout that cannot go on suppressing fire, so while the Missile gives him an excellent ARO shooting option, losing the ability to stack that extra mod or situationally throwing more dice at your opponent does make something of a trade-off.
In general the MLLS Swiss is the easiest to use in terms of positioning, as it generally wants to find a spot with a great firelane and stay there as an overwatch machine until either it dies or the enemy does. Repositioning him is something that often tends to be quite difficult, mostly because there will only be a couple of select spaces on the table that offer good fire lanes for its weapon without exposing him to vulnerable rangebands from higher burst opponents.
In the right circumstances then, the MLLS is absolute gold, and few things are more thrilling than whacking a big expensive fireteam out in the open with the blast and rolling a ridiculous 16 for your hit. On the other hand, the situations where it is tricky to use are far more plentiful, and the combination of potential low numbers of dice and tricky range bands see many Pano players reaching for another layout.
Section 3 - HMG (68 points/2 SWC)
The big game hunter of the group, if the MLLS profile is king of the ARO, the HMG profile is a pure active-turn killing machine. Spraying Burst 4, DMG 15 rounds is bad enough, but when you remember that we're also talking about a model that can Surprise Shot, use TO camo, be in cover, and has BS 15, we're talking about some of the most stacked mods in the game. In this sense, often you'll find that the odds are so far in your favor that opponents will often opt to Dodge, and that in fact even in bad range bands for the HMG this model can still happily win most face-to-face rolls, with 4 dice on 12's (0 range vs cover) or 9's (-3 range in cover) perfectly acceptable odds vs. just about anything you could face. Overall then, there are few things that the HMG profile cannot destroy, as even high ARM tags won't want to take volley after volley of fire from this little lady, especially when their odds of dodging are so low.
The cool part though is that even on the reactive turn the fun doesn't have to end, as like the Multi Rifle Swiss, it can always switch over to Suppressing Fire if it isn't planning on reactivating camo. Suppressing fire sticks you with a flat 0 (or -3 range band) but again, as a BS 15 mode, you're still doing pretty decently in a standard fight. 3 DMG 15 rounds to the face is not a thing most opponents want to face on their reactive turn, and less so when they're talking -12 mods of their own (TO Camo, Cover, Suppressing) it's quite an annoying roadblock. As always, with Suppressing fire, be mindful of opponents trying to catch you out of 24", using templates (especially flamers!) and both TO camo or MSV of their own, as you don't want opponents giving you a fair fight.
In terms of deployment and positioning, the HMG profile wants to be a bit more mobile than the MLLS Swiss. It still wants a solid overwatch position where it can get good visibility to opposing targets and fight at long range, but as opponents start ducking and hiding, the important thing is to be able to reposition quickly and attack another angle. So long as you can position in such a way as to keep the enemy at arm's reach, keep this Swiss in places where it can threaten multiple areas of the table at once, so things like flanks and long fire lanes will be desireable for it to start gunning down opposing overwatch. As noted in the discussion of this profile, the HMG has option to drop into suppressing fire as well, so if no good targets present themselves once your HMG has swept the table, pushing it up further is a very viable option if you want to hold ground on the reactive turn. This is particularly desirable in any scenario that involves holding zones with expensive models, and becomes increasingly necessary as opponents become wary of sticking their necks out to be blasted apart at long range, so while you should primarily focus on long range killing, don't be afraid to get stuck in there if no easy targets present themselves.
Really there is nothing wrong with the HMG Swiss, as aside from the small weakness of close up range-bands (which even then, is no problem) there's few problems it can't blast apart However, there is a good reason why this model is only second best among the Swiss, and that's because while it's an incredible active turn killer, there's another loadout that is almost as deadly and brings a boatload of utility to boot. Of course we're talking about the...
Section 4 - Hacker with Assault Hacking Device (70 points/0.5 SWC)
- My Swiss Hacker, gracing a coffee table near you!
Arguably the best of the Swiss Guard loadouts, the Swiss Guard Hacker is both loved and feared all across the Human Sphere. Weapon-wise, it's sporting a deadly Multi Rifle, which probably is edged out slightly by the HMG in terms of raw firepower, but it makes up for it with enormous flexibility vs. a wide variety of targets. Shock ammo absolutely tears apart light infantry, as well as completely bypassing rules like Dogged, NWI and so on. AP Ammo meanwhile gives him quite some punch against armored targets, putting out equal damage to the HMG against ARM 4 and actually performing better vs. anything higher. Finally, DA ammo is only Burst 1, but if you find yourself shooting on the reactive turn outside of Suppression, it's a fantastic tool to put down opponents with a deadly ARO.
The comparison to the HMG is actually closer than most people think. The range bands are a wash (both having advantages and disadvantages) and as we've already noted, the Multi rifle has equal/better damage performance vs high ARM targets when using AP ammo. A single DA shot at DMG 13 can usually hit harder than a DMG 15 shot with normal ammo as an ARO, and of course when Suppressing, both models have identical burst and range bands. Finally, Shock ammo is a godsend when you need it, as it shuts down a lot of dirty opposing tricks and can make the difference between a model being safely unconscious prone behind cover and being "straight to dead" ;)
At long range of course is where the Multi Rifle suffers, but just as the HMG can fight decently up close (given your superior BS), so too can the Multi Rifle fight okay at range. The main difference here though is that the HMG is far more likely to be encountering dangerous weapons in opponent's favor when fighting up close, as most models have at least a rifle or a shotgun, whereas the Multi Rifle Swiss is only going to pause when trying to beat things like TR bots and Snipers at long range. In such cases, you're almost always better off using the "ablative shielding" of TO camo (it takes at least 2 AROs to shoot you, as they'll need one to discover then another to shoot to close the gap and take them out up close). Again, like the HMG, don't be foolish and you'll be fine.
None of this of course even touches upon the real strengths of this model, which as we already noted in the Multi Rifle profile, is the fact that for just a couple of points more, you can turn your Swiss into an Assault Hacker. We'll of course need a whole separate section just to discuss the implications of Hacking as a Swiss, but for now, there are 3 important things to note:
- First, it makes you a specialist, which means this 70 point monster can go around scoring most objectives. WIP 13 isn't incredible, but in Pano it'll do, and being able to clear out objectives and cap them single-handed is nothing to be sniffed at.
- Second of all, it gives you massive flexibility, as while the Multi Rifle can feel a bit "weak" vs truly heavy targets, the possibility of immobilizing, isolating or even possessing them with Hacking can give you a lot more punch vs. HI, REMs, other Hackers and of course, TAGs. Factor in that we're talking about a Hacker that can come out of TO (Surprise Shot bonus) and therefore has Stealth (allowing him to creep past many potential other ARO's) and we've got one mean bit of kit for taking out just about any target, even behind solid walls.
- Finally, the Hacking device presents you with more options. When you come around the corner you always have the choice of either hacking or shooting depending on what's going to give you the better rolls. Even reactively you have choices, as your Swiss can either recamo or Suppress for safety, and then choose to spray them with bullets, hack them into Oblivion (heh) or simply stay hidden and chuckle at their feeble attempts to Discover.
It's easy to see why the Hacker Swiss is widely considered the best and most popular choice, as the weaknesses are few. It's of course more vulnerable to opposing hacking (but equally, more capable of fighting them off in turn instead of just being forced to Reset) and it lacks long range fighting potential, so you'll definitely want to creep him closer than the other "big gun" Swiss to make the most of its abilities. Arguably the most annoying feature of the Hacker Swiss actually is that it lacks a model (!), hence why I decided to convert my own…
In terms of deployment, the Hacker profile (and by extension, the Multi Rifle) wants to be a lot more mobile than the other loadouts, and is the most flexible of all the Swiss Guard in terms of positioning due to its multiple overlapping roles. Really there isn't nearly so much value in deploying this model with good fire lanes early on, as this Swiss is much more effective up close and won't want to be hanging back in your DZ for very long. Because the Hacker Swiss can score, it will want to be mindful of objectives it might be interested in reaching throughout the game, and is a good candidate for both those that are hotly contested (given its strong capability of fighting through them) and those on the other side of the table (because killing power, durability and camo can help it get there!) as well.
Really then, this Swiss Guard profile wants to avoid long range engagements where possible and start gunning down people up close, ideally using its strong BS and stacked odds (active turn burst, TO camo, cover, surprise shots) to win engagements. Because it also has the option to hack valuable targets, it's worth making a note of key "chokepoints", where valuable models might wish to go and your Swiss could conceivably hack them, ideally from out of LOS.
Furthermore, the Hacker Swiss especially wants to be mindful of key opposing threats. Because it is forced to close in with the enemy, it is by its very nature more vulnerable to things like mines and template weapons (especially flamers) as well as things like opposing hackers. One of the most dangerous threats of course are other hackers (especially killer hackers), and this applies doubly so for those hiding out in hidden deployment, more so still if they have infiltration. As a result, you want to be particularly wary when facing certain factions and sectorials, and don't forget that you can always have other key models eliminate the threat or even sweep for them first with Sensor (Pathfinder + Fugazi if need be) to ensure they are hunted down and killed.
However, being a Hacker yourself also means that you are a real terror to certain opposing models as well, so positioning your Swiss so that you're in a place to shut them down is crucial. Remember that Hacking isn't just an option for the active turn, as a well placed hack in ARO (especially via Repeater) when your Swiss is tucked safely out of LOS or even emerging from hidden deployment is a great way to utterly cripple an opponent with a threat they couldn't even respond to. This makes the Hacker Swiss dangerous even if it can't see the target, and is particularly annoying for opponents when they are also taking ARO's from shooting, trying to dodge mines and so on, essentially letting you stack up different types of desirable reactions and forcing them to pick their poison.
Well in terms of advice for gunfighting, it's actually pretty straightforward for all of these profiles. Put the blasty end into the other guy and pull the trigger. You'll outfight most things out there so long as you're careful, so just stack the mods in your favor and shoot them to pieces. The only real advice to bear in mind is to run the numbers and not get carried away - don't spend all your time killing, don't go fighting something that you really shouldn't, know when to drop back into camo/suppress for the end of your turn, and know when to reveal if an ARO or break Suppression. The rest is just down to positioning, which leads us nicely to our next section. One of the biggest considerations for effective positioning of the Swiss comes down to TO camo, and that's what we should look at now...
Section 5 - TO Camo
TO Camo, when properly used, is one of the most powerful rules in the game. Strap it to an ARM 5 BS 15 heavy infantry model though, and all hell starts to break lose.
The first major consideration of TO camo is hidden deployment, as the Swiss Guard doesn't even have to start on the table. Most of the time this is highly desirable, as the Swiss Guard is functionally invincible until it chooses to reveal (unless they manage to sweep him with a Sensor, so kill those if they're getting close!). Furthermore, just like camo, the opponent doesn't know what your hidden model is, but the advantage of hidden deployment of course is that the opponent doesn't even know where it is either. In fact, so long as you don't have obvious gaps in your list (which could always be an AD model) and are subtle about taking photos or double bluff frequently (taking pictures of models deployed in TO that aren't in your list, so your opponent thinks you have a TO when you don't) they don't even know that there is a Swiss there at all.
Of course there are some limitations to hidden deployment. All Swiss Guard lack infiltration, so they start within your usual deployment. This means that if your opponent is paying attention, they might be able to make educated guesses as to where a Swiss Guard might appear from. Of course the big gun Swiss models, like the MLLS or HMG swiss, really couldn't care less about being in your deployment zone, as long range firepower is where they plan on fighting from anyway, but the Swiss Hacker will want to be a bit more cautious about how it is planning on getting further up the table via a good approach.
The next step is to figure out when and why you're choosing to reveal. As with all things, the Swiss can choose to reveal as an ARO (usually only worth it to splat something really juicy, such as the MLLS swiss picking up a link team, or the Assault Hacker Swiss plunging an enemy rambo Lt into Isolation) or on your active turn, but remember that once you've got him on the table, it can't exactly disappear again, so choose your moment carefully.
Remember that while in hidden deployment, the Swiss Guard won't generate an order (and uses its own order to reveal) so if you want that order for the pool, revealing him early or even starting deployed as a marker (especially when going first and you'd be revealing anyway) is pretty beneficial. The Swiss has to reveal before it can be part of a coordinated order, so that also has to be factored into timing. Finally, bear in the mind that a lot of people also forget that just because you emerge from hidden deployment doesn't mean you can't choose to stay as a marker, which is very useful for when you reveal him on the active turn and want the protection being a marker provides.
-Swiss Guard camouflage has evolved a bit more recently…
Once you're on the field, this is where the fun begins. All the central tenets of my original article on camo in Ariadna still apply (see here if you haven't had the chance to read it https://midnightcarnivalwmh.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/guerilla-warfare-an-ariadna-guidebook-to-camo-orders-and-psychology-part-1/) so remember things like the two-edged sword nature of camo, concepts like ablative shielding, rules like Stealth and 360 vision that being a marker provides and so on. In terms of the basics, all the lessons of using camo models apply equally to the Swiss Guard, so you want to review those central principles in order to get the most out of this model.
However, the Swiss Guard has one or two extra considerations compared to normal camo models. First of all is the added twist is that TO Camo makes you even harder to hit, providing a sweet -6 mod for anything not sporting some kind of MSV. In terms of gunfighting, that makes a BS 15 model even harder to defeat, but you still want to be very cautious around anything that bypasses the modifier entirely (Mines, Templates, Melee) as well as Flamers reducing its effectiveness (disabling recamo and turning it so simple Mimetism). Because the -6 is that much more obnoxious for discovering, this also makes the Swiss Guard re-camoing a serious option, as most models will be at -9 to discover him in cover (needing a 3-5 on average, depending on the WIP, which is bad!) and of course requiring another model to have a go should they fail. Once your opponent runs out of models that even CAN discover the Swiss they’re in real trouble, because failed attempts drag other models out of place to deal with him, and of course not dealing with him at all can be even worse, as it allows your 70 point monster to go off and rampage again next turn.
Second of all is that each turn, because you can't do both, the Swiss is usually making the tricky decision between suppressing fire and re-camoing, unless you're the MLLS Swiss who re-camos everytime. Suppressing fire makes you incredibly tough to deal with (usually a -12 mod for Cover, Camo and Suppressing) and definitely more destructive on their turn because you're shooting back. However, Suppressing Fire has added vulnerabilities, because opponents can attack you right away (no need to discover first) so sometimes being a marker is definitely beneficial. If your opponent is unlikely to discover you trivially, you're not planning on reacting at all and want the camo for your next turn, or it's simply the best way to stay safe, then re-camo is the right call. But if you're in an obnoxious point of the board with great opportunities to shoot and win most gunfights without your opponent being able to find a way around, Suppressing might be the better call. Don't forget of course to coordinate your Swiss with whatever other models might be Suppressing/Re-camoing though for order-efficient results.
Remember that in either case, choosing to dodge (e.g. a template) or Hack breaks both states, so while you can force difficult choices out of your opponent, savvy enemies might force difficult choices out of you as well in forcing you to break the state in favor of the better ARO. The aim here then is to make the choice difficult for the opponent, hiding say, in camo with a Swiss Hacker on the other side of the wall for a powerful TAG or HI that they want to use. Do they activate the model, and risk you shutting them down for Isolation? Or do they battle through trying to walk around and Discover you, knowing that you're unlikely to reveal voluntarily otherwise and potentially needing multiple attempts via different models to do so?
The final consideration that the Swiss has over most standard camo models is that because camo markers are immune to hacking, this is great protection for him as an HI while moving about the field. This is especially important for the Swiss hacker, who has to be mindful of Killer Hackers out there who can't touch any of the other profiles, but in any case the extra layer of protection is excellent to ward away one of the best tools for shutting down your HI without engaging him directly. Combined with Stealth that makes your movement near a hacker's ZOC avoid hacking AROs, and smart play can definitely keep a Swiss Guard safe from being shut down, long before you have to resort to its decent BTS of 6 or a plucky Reset to keep him going.
Oh and speaking of Hacking...
Section 6 - Hacking
For the last part of this Swiss Guard article, the Hacker profile has an extra layer of depth that the big gun Swiss don't really care about, but this deadly capability I think is what arguably makes the Swiss Guard Hacker the best of the different profile options. Hacking adds not only offensive capability as a tool against nasty opposing models, but also defensive capability in allowing you options vs opposing hackers rather than just relying on Reset. As an Assault Hacker, the Swiss Guard has a few options we'll want to review, with program options being as follows:
As you can see, all the options are offensively minded, with only really Spotlight standing out as a utility option and cementing the Swiss Hacker's capabilities as a scoring model by allowing you to complete classified objectives. This won't really be a review of the Assault Device itself but more how the Swiss Guard uses it, with most of the options having some use or another. Lets work our way down the list of offensive options:
1.) Blackout, while normally a great option for a Hacker, I'd argue is utterly useless on the Swiss Guard, simply because being Isolated already disables Comms, so Oblivion is strictly better in every single way.
2.) Then there are the programs that only apply to Tags. Expel only applies to manned tags and is the hardest one to roll for, but the effects are also the most permanent and it's generally fairly trivial for the beastly Swiss Guard to go and hunt down the pilot. Possession in either of its forms is usually an okay option, but again Total Control completely overshadows the lesser program Overlord, as even vs BTS 9, 2 rolls with 2 higher damage still pulls ahead vs. a single roll at halved BTS. These programs are nice against TAGs as the effects are permanent, but remember that as opponents can always cancel them with a command token or the exorcism program, options 3+4 below might be the better call unless those options are neutralized or you have a specific game plan.
3.) The next 3 options are your go-to for immobilizing an enemy model, with Basilisk once again a strictly superior option to Gotcha in every way. The choice between that and Carbonite really comes down to individual situations, because Carbonite buffs your roll (often necessary with the measly WIP 13 of the Swiss) and has DT ammo for greater chance of success, but the extra burst of basilisk and the double turn duration can often make more of a difference. Remember than in ARO, you are B1 either way, so it all comes down to whether you need the duration more or would rather have the superior odds of succeeding in your F2F.
4.) Finally, Oblivion is my favorite program of the lot and worthy of a section of its own due to its sheer destructive power. The effects of Oblivion are downright catastrophic, disabling comms equipment (like Blackout) turning the targets order Irregular and unable to receive orders from the pool (he essentially functions like a model stuck by himself in its own combat group) AND if they are the Lt, turning the army into loss of lieutenant. Whoah. Oblivion is the final word in fighting big nasties, and the fact that it's only B1 means that it is just as effective as an ARO as in the active turn, so long as opponents are only trying to Reset. DMG 16 means that even a BTS 6 model has a 50:50 chance of failing, and so chucking a pile of orders into your opponent's rambo HI Lt option until they do can actually be a fairly worthwhile venture. Once failed, Oblivion is unique in that it generally screws that model for the rest of the game, with nothing but an engineer able to come and save the model from the critical effects and it has to reach them in B2B first.
But by far the most disgusting aspect of Oblivion on the Swiss is when you realize that you can shut down that big nasty and THEN re-camo as above, which means of course that the poor soul usually needs 2 orders to move around and discover you, but then of course as they only has 1 to spend, they have no more orders to shoot you even if they’re lucky enough to reveal you. If that model was their Lt, then every other model in their army is in a similar predicament, and in fact I've had a re-camo'd Swiss laugh for a whole LoL turn behind enemy lines as nobody actually had sufficient orders to both reach and stop him, allowing him to mop up all the cheerleaders the following turn.
So when should you be opting to hack that model, rather than simply shoot them or stay hidden? This is where using the Swiss hacker becomes something of an artform, because the choices open to you are pretty numerous and depend entirely on the battlefield around you. In general it takes a bit of math, but hacking will often be at a worse modifier on WIP 13 vs 15 (Carbonite aside) or worse burst than your rifle (Basilisk aside). However, the upside is that the effects can often do equal or greater damage than the rifle (especially as most models have worse BTS than armor), it ignores far more defensive modifiers as well (cover, camo etc) unless there are firewalls of some type, and the effects can be more permanent. Finally, Resetting tends to be less effective for most models and cannot harm you in turn, so Hacking is usually safe unless facing other hackers and this can swing things in its favor if you don't want as much risk.
My rule of thumb tends to be - If I have better odds of just straight up killing the model then I'll go for the rifle, as BS 15 and my own TO camo+cover tends to push the odds right in your favor. However Hacking is usually safer, because most opponents will be forced to Reset which means they can't hurt you in turn. So if the gunfight is going to be tricky to bring them down, or I have the chance to Oblivion a big nasty, it'll be my preferable choice. Don't forget my 2 edged sword above (stepping just out of cover to see them so you have the option to do either one unopposed depending on how they react) and the risks involved, run the math, and don't get carried away. You're a big nasty, but you aren't invincible, and a dead Swiss is no threat to anybody.
This has been a pretty extensive discussion on one of the most powerful Pano models out there, but I hope most of you enjoyed a more detailed piece that goes over some of the subtleties of this interesting predator on the battlefield. Usually the Swiss Guard is a model that never fails to do something useful (unless you really messed up) but ensuring that you've killed enough bodies, shut down the right model, or scored the right objectives to justify its inclusion in the list is another thing entirely. In the right hands though, the Swiss Guard (and particularly the Hacker option) really can do a little bit of everything, and I hope that after reading this piece you'll all feel like they are a true terror for your opponents to behold.
If you liked this article and want to see more of this kind of stuff in the future, please let PoR or myself know in the comments section below and I'll continue writing this sort of thing. Otherwise, keep your eyes out as I have a lot of bits and pieces in the pipeline for both Ariadna and Pano, so I'm sure there will be something to your taste no matter what.
Until next time :)