Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tactics: Getting the Most Out of Your JSA Specialists

You like robo-samurai, ninjas, and gangster bikers, eh? Yeah, I can't blame you. Only problem is, how do you do objectives? You've got only a few specialists and so many options for kicking in doors or destroying the opposition, but stealing intel. from a console in the middle of no where? Not exactly what a faction dedicated to robo-samurai excels at. In other words, eliminating the enemy can be pretty easy to figure out for JSA, but doing objectives can be a wee bit complicated.

Let me help you figure out the right specialists for the job and cover ways to help them achieve their mission.


Let's break down our options first (not counting the O-Yoroi pilot):

Aragoto Hacker

Do you like to make 'vroom-vroom' sounds with your models and do you like for them to be specialists too? The Aragoto Hacker is the perfect mix of mobility, resilience, and hacker fun (especially as an Assault hacker), that you could ever want. Also, it gives you the perfect excuse for some 'totally radical' sound effects (as the kids these days say), while playing.

This specialist is the perfect option for late game objective grabs, holding objectives, or for harassing your opponent.


They're cheap as chips and you can definitely tell. As the saying goes, 'you get what you pay for'. Luckily, Keisotsu are able to form a Fireteam with two other (much cooler) specialists. We'll cover them later.

Hacker, for all of your basic hacker needs. Great for buffing your remotes or defending your HI, but definitely not the ideal troop for running forward and snatching objectives. Killer Hackers will have a lot of fun melting this trooper's brain. They're also a bit too expensive to risk taking objectives, when you have the humble FO and Paramedic. This is definitely the option you want to take and hide in a defensive Fireteam or somewhere in a corner by themselves.

FO, great for marking targets or flashing them with their flashpulse. They're are an excellent ARO piece, thanks to that flashpulse and cheap enough to sacrifice for a last-ditch objective run, if need be. Also a pretty good option for holding objectives too, if the need arises. They really shine in a Fireteam where their flashpulses become the bane of most peoples' lives. Start them in a Fireteam and then break them off when it's objective time, or just have the Fireteam help deliver this lone trooper.

Paramedic, your backup doctor. They're great for supporting your other troopers, but not really all that great on their own. Use them to support a Fireteam or run solo if you don't want to spend the points on a real doctor (which you probably should, for only 3 more points).

Kempeitai Chain of Command

While they don't always count as specialists, sometimes they do and those are the best times. They're a pretty cheap option as well, but they have the added perk of being able to join a Keisotsu Fireteam. If taking the Keisotsu Fireteam, you'll definitely want to hide your Kempeitai in the team, for ensured protect, extra specialist power, and the ability to take command when the initial lieutenant bites it.

Yuriko Oda

Good ol' Yuriko. She's got a sweet toolkit to help her face whatever threat comes her way and she's an engineer. The best part is she counts as a Keisotsu, for the purposes of Fireteam composition, so you can hide her in a Keisotsu Fireteam and make her weapons even more powerful. She also has mines to protect herself, an objective or the Fireteam. She's absolutely superb as a lone piece or within the Fireteam and I would almost always suggest taking her over the standard Tokusetsu Engineer.


They're the doctor and engineer versions of Keisotsu, but with one extra pip of WIP. I don't really think there's a need to go into the semantics of why the two loadouts are different (just a swap of abilities), but the most important thing to note is the use of G:Servants to help them out. Why risk somebody you know and love to do a mission when you can send in the tiny little robot man instead? Yaozao save lives, remember that.


They've got a toolkit's worth of weapons, they're all Forward Observers (to add Flashpulses into the mix) and they're extremely resilient thanks to Total Immunity, 2 STR, V:Dogged, 3 ARM, 6 BTS, and two levels of unconsciousness (thanks to G: Remote Presence). They definitely pay the price for their resilience, though, as they are one of the most expensive options in JSA.

Combi rifle, mid-range harass who can use Suppressive Fire to hold objectives, as well as take them, but lacks the punch the other two options have. Quite honestly, it's almost always worth taking the Mk12 version over the combi rifle.

Mk12, the option with the best range and the ability to also use Suppressive Fire, it's also the most expensive one. It's almost always worth the 5 extra points over the combi rifle.

Heavy Shotgun, is your close range combatant. I'm not usually a fan of taking shotguns on regular troops without camo or infiltration, but thanks to the Karakuri's other weapon options, it's not a bad choice, actually. It can use the flashpulse from the Forward Observer skill to defend itself at range. Still probably worth spending 5 more points for the Mk12 though, since JSA already has a lot of close range combatants.

Haris, you pack three Karakui into a Fireteam, giving them all +1 burst. It does cost 0.5 and one point more than the standard combi version that it's based off of, but it can be exceptionally powerful. A burst 4 Mk12, 3 burst 2 chain rifles, 3 burst 2 flashpulses? Good luck engaging that firebase or taking an objective from them!


Cyber-ninjas! Now, that's how you get a job done. The only problem is their lack of ranged weapons (which we'll discuss per loadout). They're surprisingly mobile thanks to Super-Jump, Climbing Plus, and Kinematika Lv. 2, plus resilient thanks to being a HI with ODD, so they'll get the mission done. They're also extremely lethal in close combat with a CC of 23, MA Lv. 3, and Dual Wield (for AP + DA attacks). They're also tied for most expensive option in JSA.

Contender, is the cheapest and more diversified option. Contender's are an interesting weapon and doubly so when you combine them with Nimbus Grenades. You've already got ODD, so if you also have cover, than it imposes -12 on your opponent to shoot at you and -1 burst. Essentially, you're defending yourself by stacking mods against your opponent. They also come with assault pistols, which are superb for taking out close range targets. It's a superb choice for taking objectives and killing enemy specialists.

Combi rifle, only packing a combi rifle makes this option a bit more mundane, but a bit easier to use. Shoot things with the combi and try to end in Suppressive Fire, in cover, when possible. This option is by far better for holding objectives than the contender version, but both have strengths and weaknesses for when it comes to taking them.

Duo, this option costs one point and 0.5 SWC more than the contender version it's based off of, but now it allows you take take two Shikami and have them jump around together. If you ever need to clear off an objective, take it, and then advance to the next one with relative ease, a pair of Shikami will do the trick. Even having the pair in CC together will make short work of most targets, but it's also extremely expensive, as it's almost a third of your points (for a 300 point, standard game).


Quiet, hard to detect, and extremely deadly, the Ninja is your go-to option for Infiltration or surprises.

Assault Hacker, it's a bit expensive compared to your other specialists (40 points and 0.5 SWC), but it does provide you with an indirect way to mess with your opponent's HI, TAGs, and REMs relatively efficiently (especially when combined with Hidden Deployment). Also, it comes with a combi rifle, so you can cyberneticly wreck whatever your opponent has near an objective, move in, and then secure it with Suppressive Fire.

Killer Hacker, is your bargain price specialist. For only 29 points, you get a Killer Hacker with TO and Infiltration. The only problem is their main weapon is a tactical bow. It doesn't allow the Ninja to really hold objectives well nor take them, but it does help the Ninja assassinate targets or encourages them to use their close combat skills. This is the option to use for clearing out objectives that have been left behind or that are guarded by weaker options.

Delivering the Specialist

Now that we know what we've got in our arsenal, the tricky part is how do we actually get the specialist to the objective safely, to do their job.


This is by far the simplest way to deliver your specialists. Toss them into a Fireteam with a few other troops, give them buffs and you're good to go! Already mentioned above, but the Karakuri Haris, Keisotsu Core, and Shikami Duo are all excellent Fireteams to deliver or keep your specialists safe. Sometimes the saying "safety in numbers" is pretty accurate. Increased Order efficiency, better active turn bursts, and stronger reactive turn burst, can make a Fireteam a force to be reckoned with, helping to ensure the safety of those within. Keep an eye out for template weapons, as a missile launcher or heavy rocket launcher can make a mess of your Keisotsu team and anything E/M with a template can really ruin your Shikami and Karakuri teams.

Can't Kill What you Can't See or Catch

I somewhat alluded to his already before, but JSA kind of has a unique situation with its specialists. Just about every option is extremely mobile (bikes, super-jump, G:Servants, or Fireteams) or can already start halfway up the board. Capitalize on this. Use this strength to your advantage. With the extra mobility and ability to Infiltrate, you can use your specialists for late game objective snatches, instead of having them wither away from the first couple of volleys. Use your bigger and meaner options to destroy the biggest threats to your specialists first and then send the mobile or hidden specialists in second. Sometimes you could even do both: have the specialist do some of the heavy lifting and then move in to secure the objective. There's no shame in hiding to fight another day, just don't flee from the battle. There's a whole lot of shame in that.

Walk Softly, Carry a Big Gun (or Sword)

This tactic is somewhat straight-forward, but can be a bit tricky to pull off correctly. Use your aggressive pieces to take out any primary threats to your specialists and attempt to secure areas for your weaker specialists to do their jobs, comfortably. Many times this can mean you assassinate targets with Oniwaban or Kitsune, have your Raidens shoot them, have a 5-troop Keisotsu Fireteam shoot them with a heavy weapon, etc. Use your strength and subterfuge to take these threats out, ensure the safe arrival of your specialists. On the plus side, JSA does have some pretty lethal and resilient specialist options too, so you could use them to go ahead and eliminate any targets necessary to secure the objective and then use themselves to secure it.

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