Friday, January 6, 2017

Tactics: Using the Harbinger of Death (Spetsnaz)

The Harbinger himself: Ivan, the Spetsnaz HMG
The Spetsnaz is an efficient killing machine. Everything about it is geared towards eliminating your opponent's models and orders. It's a harbinger of death, that continuously reaps souls until it, too, has its own soul taken from it. The Spetsnaz isn't afraid of any target and they're quite capable of eliminating any target, with relative ease. Silent, deadly, efficient, and precise, those are the marks of a Spetsnaz. Be wary, for when you stare out into the void, the Spetsnaz stares back. However, even the best of tools require some practice before they can be allowed to perform up to their own potential; the Spetsnaz is no different.

There are two types of Spetsnaz, with two options per type:
  • Ambush Camo
    • HMG
    • Sniper rifle
  • Parachutist
    • Rifle
    • Boarding shotgun


In general, the Spetsnaz is an excellent marksman and a horrifying monster in close quarters. Marksmanship Lv. 2 allows them to properly land their shots and make sure whatever they shoot, stays down. Martial Arts. Lv. 2, a CC of 20 and PH of 12, allows them to deliver nasty blows in close combat. Or, rather than using brute force, it also allows them to assassinate targets with their knives (a silent weapon, so it won't allow enemy troops within Zone of Control a Change Facing, when the target is killed). MA also provides the Spetsnaz with V:Courage, which helps them hold their positions whenever they need to. Stealth helps the Spetsnaz approach their targets unseen and unheard, while giving you the upper-hand (except for Sixth Sense).

A very important thing to consider is that no matter how well the odds are in your favor, your poor Spetsnaz can always be critted and they'll be eliminated. Spetsnaz are excellent killers, but they are extremely susceptible to criticals. That's the Spetsnaz's greatest weakness, so do your best to make sure your opponents don'g get to roll dice against your Spetsnaz at all. Stack modifiers, sneak behind the target, charge targets through smoke clouds, whatever you need to do. Just remember, Spetsnaz are not invincible and even a lone bullet can eliminate them, so have a backup plan. Best back up plans are to have a doctor or paramedic nearby or to have a second Spetsnaz.

Ambush Camo

These are your main killers. They carry the biggest guns and they come with camo, for added protection; however, it's not just any regular ol' camo! They come with ambush camo, which can lead to some interesting scenarios. You get to deploy two camo markers when deploying your Spetsnaz, but only one is the -real- Spetsnaz and the other one has nothing under it. This is where the fun begins. Try to deploy the decoy where you'd normally deploy an aggressive or ARO piece and have the Spetsnaz hiding nearby. For example, you place one of the camo markers on the roof of a building and the Spetsnaz HMG, within ZoC of the decoy, on the ground, in cover or behind the building. Or, deploy both of them aggressively and fool your opponent into thinking you have more firepower or troops on that flank. There's a lot you can do with the decoy, experiment and see what works best for you.

"What do you see with your Spetsnaz eyes, Igor?"

The real perk of the camo, though, is the access to Surprise Shot Lv. 1 (-3 to your target/s to react after shooting them while revealing from camo) and Surprise Attack Lv. 1 (-6 to your target to react after hitting them in close combat while revealing from camo). Infinity is a game about stacking modifiers and these help to do precisely that. Sometimes, if you play your 'cards' right, you can easily stack up to -12 on enemy troops while you're at 12 or 15.

HMG (38, 1.5)

Use this load-out as a scalpel to surgically remove any threats to your list. Any problem you have, the Spetsnaz HMG can eliminate it with relative ease. Aquila causing you problems? Spetsnaz HMG. TR bot causing you problems? Spetsnaz HMG. Someone took your kompot and you want revenge? Spetsnaz HMG. Really, the only thing the Spetsnaz HMG isn't great/good against is a TAG, then it might be wise to bring out the Tankhunters.

The best way to use your HMG is to, no surprise, stack the modifiers. Use the modifiers for surprise shot, camo, rangebands, and cover, to get the most out of your Spets HMG. There are, of course, times when you won't need to worry about modifiers to attack your opponent, so don't always waste orders in stacking modifiers, when they're irrelevant (i.e. no need to recamo just to shoot one Keisotsu in the back). More than likely, you'll always be shooting at 15's with four dice and your opponent will be suffering some heavy penalties (depending on how you play your cards, it could be from -3 to -12). The easier the target to kill and the more penalties you tack on, the likelihood of your Spetsnaz surviving increases.

The gang's all back together again!

However, the Spetsnaz HMG is mostly a reactive piece, which can cause some headaches when in the Reative turn. Use camo to give them some extra resilience and hide them. Or, you could use Suppression Fire to stack even more mods against your opponents and let the Spetsnaz HMG scare enemy troops away or take them out. Really, it depends on how much work you got done on your active turn. If there really aren't any big threats to him and he's already halfway up the board in cover, then spending an Order on Suppression Fire can be well worth it. If, however, there are some pretty nasty threats (i.e. heavy TAGs or an Aquila Guard). The worst thing you can do is leave your Spetsnaz HMG in the open without Suppression Fire or camo. That's a death sentence for them. Make sure you keep at least one order left to hide them, camo up, or put them into suppressive.

Another, niche use, of the HMG is since he's already running through the midfield and tackling skirmishers and the likes, you could use him to run up and CC targets. Using camo and Martial Arts, you can impose a -9 for your opponent to strike back during that first Order of CC. In many cases, it would probably be best to simply shoot them with the HMG, but sometimes it might be best to assassinate a target instead.

Sniper Rifle (34, 1.5)

A man with simpler tastes. By far the easiest Spetsnaz loadout that can stack modifiers up, it excels at taking out targets who can't even shoot them back. The sniper excels at taking out weaker targets, such as TR bots, anything in Suppression Fire, weaker specialists, or targets with bigger guns. If you need to clean house with relative ease, bring in the Spetsnaz sniper!

The biggest drawback is the 1.5 SWC and being four points less than the HMG. In many scenarios, the HMG is going to be a better choice for you anyway, so it will mostly be better for you to make that investment. Even two Spetsnaz HMG will be superior than a HMG and sniper, in many situations.

However, as I already said, the sniper is superb at forcing -12 on your opponent and eliminating targets without much Order investment (do note that being able to easily stack up to -12 on your opponent will allow you to shoot most targets without them shooting you back. Sure, the Spetsnaz HMG can easily take out TR bots, but it still risks the chance they crit the HMG Spets. With the sniper, TR bots won't even be able to shoot back!). They work for active and reactive duty too. One of my favorite things to do with the sniper, is to park him on a roof in cover and when spending a Regular Order on him, you make him go prone for the first part, let your opponent react, then shoot them. Afterwards, recamo, stand up and shoot again. From there, you can choose whether you want to recamo or keep the sniper out in the open for ARO duty.

However, your sniper can run a dual purpose. Whenever a pesky AD troop decides to harass your backfield, you can have the sniper Spets eliminate the target with his pistol or you can even run into CC and take them out that way (as mentioned in the HMG Spet's last paragraph). While the HMG Spets is living up life on the front lines and the midfield, the sniper Spets is helping protect your Deployment Zone and taking out pesky threats from afar.


Planning is key, when trying to make the most of your Parachutists. Being just AD:1 means you have to plan where you want the Spetsnaz to land during your deployment phase and this can be extremely tricky. Depending on the mission and what faction you're up against, you might want to deploy on the opponent's side of the table or your side. As many Ariadna players will say, Parachutsits are Ariadna's version of Hidden Deployment, so even deploying on your own side of the table can be a big boon, without all the risk. However, the safest way to land a Spetsnaz parachuter, is to use them in conjunction with smoke. Have a source of smoke lay it down where you want the Spetsnaz to land and then watch as they do what they're best at. It's also possible to deploy the Spets on the table, like a normal trooper, and go from there.

"Hmmmm. What should I bring home to babushka today? I know she likes MULTIsnipers"
Something else to realize is that the Parachutists don't have camo, but they have Mimetism, an AP CCW, and grenades. This means that the Parachutist options are even more effective at close combat and can give Fireteams, snipers, and troops with lots of modifiers (i.e. ODD), a real headache by tossing 'nades everywhere. Their main weakness will be long range ARO troops, and especially those with MSV. Clear out a landing zone by eliminating those threats, using whatever your choice is (I recommend the Spetsnaz HMG) and then use a smoke-chucker (I recommend the Maverick) to protect the Spetsnaz's landing zone, and then the Spetsnaz parachutist will be able to do its lethal job from there.

Rifle (31, 0)

The rifle is the safest and probably most annoying option of the two. Being able to drop the Spets in, walk where he needs to be and then use Suppression Fire, is a really mean way to cause a roadblock. Even a regular ol' rifle that ignores the -3 to hit from cover, that is also optionally shock, can wreak some very sweet havoc. The rifle also allows the Spets to defend themselves a bit more from long range, unlike the shotgun, solidifying them as the safer, solo option. I like to consider this the 'thorn in the side' choice, compared to the deadlier, and more expensive, shotgun option.

Boarding shotgun (33, 0)

If you really want something taken off the table and want to surprise your opponent, use the Spetsnaz shotgunner. With the ability to completely ignore cover when firing the template mode, this Spetsnaz will hit and make it hurt. Not only that, but the template its self is shock too, really punishing your opponent for clustering up. Or you can use the AP mode to blast away heavily armored targets. This option is by far the deadliest out of the parachutist options, but it can be the hardest to use. Lacking in any real long-range ARO options, besides Dodge, you'll need to carefully plan where you want this Spets to land and what you want them to do. Definitely make sure you bring a smoke option to help this Spets land and move forward. Once they get within 24", this Spetsnaz can handle themselves and can make a real mess of things.

Pavlov and  Sobakaa, Dogfaces and friends of Spetsnaz Parachutists
They don't appreciate dog jokes, though.

Also, since the shotgunner Spetsnaz will already be up close and dirty, close combat is a pretty feasible option for them. You can engage (even using the actual Engage skill) any targets you want in CC to keep yourself safe or to help crack any heavily armored targets wide open, that can't swing their fists (or roboclaws, not to leave out Maggie) to save their lives. Even better, use the shotgun Spetsnaz with a Dog-Warrior, Antipodes, other quick CC-options, get them both into CC with a target, and then watch the carnage.

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