Monday, April 10, 2017

Guest Writer: Ghazi Muttawi'ah, A Beginner's Guide

This article was written for us by Scott from the blog The Sword of Haqqislam, as part of our 'Blog Comarde' program. Go check out his blog for all kinds of articles and info about Haqqislam (including an article written by the Pride of Rodina about the Ayyar) and follow the Haqqislam High Command Facebook page to stay up to date with Scott's blog and any info regarding Haqqislam coming out of Wotan. Without further ado....

Ah, the Ghazi Muttawi'ah, the bane of many opponents and one that sows discord across the battlefield - but only if you know how to use them. This is why I am here writing this beginner's guide. Muttawi'ah (from here on known as Mutts) are another finesse tool that come from the finesse Sectorial - Hassassin Bahram. Vanilla Haqqislam can also use them, and I highly suggest that you do. They won't be expert killers or complete many objectives but what they will do is strike at your opponent's order pool to reduce the amount of regular orders they have during their turn, break up pesky fireteams to reduce the bonuses they get and immobilize + isolate any hackable units that are HI, remotes or TAGs. This is why you will hear many lament about seeing Mutts on the board and they may even target them first to get them off the board. Much as a regular PanOceania opponent of mine has done after I immobilized his Knight of Montessa and Tikbalang; he now has sworn vengeance on my Mutts, which is fine, because he is spending orders his first turn to eliminate 5 point models. That is the true insidious nature of the Mutt: If left alone, they will wreck havoc but if you go to take care of them, you are spending orders to eliminate units that don't have much effect on the rest of the army. This is why many Haqqislam players are so glad that they got smoke with HSN3, it makes them well worth their points. Without further delay, let us delve deep into the dreaded Ghazi Muttawi'ah!




The Story behind the Muttawi'ah

Unfortunately, there isn't much lore behind Mutts. They don't have an entry in either books so the only thing that we really know about them in the context of Infinity lore is that these guys are support troops that keep a relative low profile. Their main job is actually surveillance which makes sense since Hassassin Bahram is the intelligence branch of the Haqqislamite military. The surprise comes when they spring into action as a sudden ambush, and these lowly support troops become the worst nightmare of any troop that relies on technology to be lethal. An image of Matt the Radar Technician comes to mind (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaOSCASqLsE). Other than this, though, Corvus Belli hasn't gone much into the lore of the Mutt, they just let the profile and use stand for itself as to why the Mutt should be feared.


Where Do Mutts Store All This Stuff?!

Mutts don't have some spectacular awesome stat line that wows people, their strength lies in the amount of equipment they bring and how you use it to force your opponent to make a decision between two bad options. Regardless, we will go over the stat line. Mutts are Extremely Impetuous and Irregular so every turn, they have two orders to spend just on themselves. They are 4-4 MOV; CC 13; BS 11; PH 12; WIP 15 (The most important stat on the Mutt); ARM 0; BTS 0; W 1; S 2; AVA 4 in both vanilla and Hassassin Bahram. They are V: Dogged and are a Religious Troop. Every Mutt is equipped with E/Marat, Jammer, Smoke Grenades, Pistol and a Knife. They have two load outs in addition to this: One with the Chain Rifle and one with a Boarding Shotgun. I am just going to get this out now: I have never taken the Boarding Shotgun, and I mean that. I have never even tried it out for the heck of it. For me, it kind of eliminates the point of the Mutts to be expendable troops because it doubles the point value of the Mutt and if I am spending 10 points, especially in vanilla, I am taking a Kum Biker. The Mutt is such a high threat target that more than likely, it won't last the game. It is a rare occasion that I have had a Mutt survive a battle. It's the 5 point price tag of the Chain Rifle profile that make Mutts worth so much. If they survive long enough to do their job, great. If they don't, it's not a large chunk of your army points so the blow is easily weathered. The Kum Bikers are worth it at 10 points because of their movement speed, at 8-6 move a Kum Biker can get in there and make those 10 points count (That's for another article) but a Mutt can't do that for the same amount of points. It's there if you want to try it but I caution you in the use of the Boarding Shotgun Mutt. The chain rifle is more than enough to take on your opponent. Besides, killing things aren't what Mutts are used for.


The inclusion of the smoke grenades does make Mutts a little more survivable. MSV 2 and 3 are actually pretty rare even in factions that are known for them especially after White Noise has become a thing, a lot of people don't usually want to put all their eggs into one basket, and MSV is expensive. This helps a lot with Mutts staying survivable because they don't need to rely on their dodge with a PH of 12 and can get that +3 added to that to make sure they avoid getting hit. They don't have any armor or BTS so they die quite easily to a stiff breeze if they get hit. Also, it makes it so the unit trying to gun them down can't take any more shots at them. A big bonus when you are wanting your Mutt to put in work. If they do have MSV 2 or 3, roll on that PH 12 and hope for the best.

This brings us to the next important item in the Mutt stat line, V: Dogged. V: Dogged is quite useful especially on expendable troops like Mutts. Where you might hesitate on using it for, say, a Muyib or a Ragik, because you have a doctor nearby that might help them stand back up, the Mutts aren't like that. Have them go Dogged and continue to make your opponent uncomfortable. Nothing is more satisfying than having your opponent think they have killed the Mutt to have them go Dogged and then take that unit with them before the Mutt bites the dust. It really helps make those 5 points count. Don't forget that nested in V: Dogged is V: Courage either. On the off chance that you actually make your ARM/BTS rolls and the Mutt survived, if you have full cover in 2 inches, use V: Courage to have them choose to fail their Guts roll without the roll Religious would normally require, and move into full cover so they don't take any more fire. A move that will surely vex your opponent. Dogged is an important factor to making the Mutts work for you. I have forgotten it many times when it was crucial that I remembered it, where it could have turned the battle in my favor. If there is one thing to never forget about when using Mutts, it's this skill.

The last aspect we are going to talk about when it comes to the stats of Mutts is their WIP of 15. I am sure many there are many new players that have wondered why a unit like the Mutt has such a high WIP, I know I did. It has to do with making the Intuitive Attack of the Mutt quite terrifying and also makes it so that the Mutt isn't crippled by its own smoke. WIP is the primary stat you will be using to make the Mutt sow chaos and discord throughout your opponent's army. The Chain Rifle, E/Marat and especially that lovely Jammer all make use of that wonderful WIP 15. It's the that WIP 15 that actually helps with the Mutts deal with Camo as well. With all the talk of how the Mutts are anti-technology, it may seem like they are useless against an army like Ariadna. NOPE! Quite the opposite because you can either use that WIP 15 to discover Camo units or if you get close to them, flush them out with an Intuitive Attack so even the techless wonders of Ariadna have reason to fear the Mutt.




Intuitive Attack: The Bread and Butter of the Mutt

This is a beginner's guide to the Mutt which is why I am throwing this section going over Intuitive Attack because of how essential it is to the Mutt. It will also serve as a refresher to more veteran players who may not make use of this rule as often. In order to make use of Intuitive Attack, the weapon must have it as one of their traits. Generally, it is on direct template weapons like the Chain Rifle or Flamethrower but there are others like the Jammer where you will find it as well but the Jammer does make special use of it. More on that later. It allows the user of the weapon to make a single BS Attack on a unit that they would not normally be able to without it being Discovered first. It also allows the user to make an attack through a Zero Visibility Zone when it normally would need to have Line of Fire as long as the unit is not in Full Cover from the unit. To make the attack, the user must make an unmodified WIP roll which means that MODs that come from things like Camo, ODD, Partial Cover and other things that modify rolls do not apply to the roll. If the target of the attack reacts with an Attack or Dodge, the roll becomes a Face to Face Roll. If the user fails their WIP roll then they cannot attempt another Intuitive Attack on the same target until the start of their next Active Turn. This does not mean that if the target wins the Face to Face Roll, the user cannot perform another Intuitive Attack, failing means they roll over their WIP. If the WIP roll is a Critical, the rules of Critical are applied as you would to a BS attack - bypassing any ARM or BTS roll normally allowed to the target. If there are multiple targets being affected, the shooter must designate the main target of the attack. If a Critical is rolled against multiple targets, that primary target is the only one who’s ARM or BTS is bypassed, all others roll their ARM or BTS like normal.

It is important to note here that the Mutts have a special weapon known as the Jammer. It has both No Line of Fire traits and Intuitive Attack which somewhat conflict with each other. Jammers work similarly to Hacking in that in order to use them, you just need an enemy in the Zone of Control to use them so a Jammer can jam something that is blocked by full cover. This means that Jammers are only ever making use of Intuitive Attack when they are attempting to jam a target that is in Camo or TO within its Zone of Control.

We are now, finally, ready to move onto exploring the tactics of how to use Mutts to get the most out of their cheap investment.


Deployment Tactics

It all begins here, deploying your Mutts can actually make or break them. There are two main things to contend here: Line of Fire and anticipating the Impetuous phase. Being Extremely Impetuous means that Mutts will never benefit from Partial cover so you don't need to have them take up precious spots that other units can actually make use of. This doesn't mean put them out in the open so that your opponent has an easy time picking them off. The best way to achieve this is to put them in full cover and out of the line of fire from your opponent. Your opponent might still try and hunt your Mutts but make them work for it. The more orders they waste trying to dig out your Mutts, the better. That is the ultimate job of Mutts: to cost your opponent orders. Also, it will allow you to build traps for anyone trying to dig them out. It would allow you to have your opponent take multiple AROs if they truly want to kill your Mutts. The tricky part comes when you don't want to have them be so far back that they can't get anywhere the first turn. It becomes a balancing act of placing them close enough that they can be in range for their many weapons, but out of harm's way so that your opponent can't just shoot them easily.

Another part of this is the Impetuous Phase of the turn which will also affect how you deploy your Mutts. Mutts are Extremely Impetuous which is the main hurdle involved in dealing with them, probably their biggest downfall, and what usually screws up new players the most. With them being Extremely Impetuous, they must make a movement towards the closest enemy unit as a part of their Impetuous Order which can cause them to get into some rather sticky situations that you hadn't necessarily planned on. This order must include a movement, and it must be the maximum movement, which for Mutts is 4 inches. The only exception is when the Mutt is in, or reaches, base to base contact with an enemy model, or an area of Special Terrain that impairs its movement. Full orders to climb and jump do count towards this. Also, you can use the second half of your order for the movement so you can do something like Attack, then move. You can cancel their Impetuous Order but you have to expend a Regular Order to do so since they are Extremely Impetuous and not just Impetuous. This is something I have never done. Mutts really aren't worth taking out a regular order to prevent them from going into harm's way, they are just 5 points after all.

Now there isn't much you can do about this during the game but you can control this at the start of the game to help your Mutts be able to survive the first turn and actually do something. This may be spoiled if you go second and your opponent moves in a way you didn't intend or if they reveal something out of hidden deployment but understanding that the Impetuous movement must take the shortest route can help you plan the movement of your Mutts so that can do something like Move + Throw Smoke out of line of sight. This can be done by placing them 4 inches down a wall or building where it the shortest route would be to go those 4 inches and then throw the smoke allowing you to make further movements in a Zero Visibility Zone. This goes into the balancing act of trying to make it so that your Mutts are back enough to not be easy prey but forward enough to get the most out of their orders.

   

Proper deployment is a huge factor in the effectiveness of Mutts. When I first began to use them, I had games where I deployed them badly and my opponent wiped them out during their first turn and they never had time to do anything. If this does happen, take it as a lesson, see how your opponent was able to go after them and counter that in the next game. Even the best laid plans are disrupted. I have had games where I did deploy my Mutts well but then when it came time to move them out to do something, they were shot down because my rolls were bad. You have to remember that Mutts can change the flow of a game when they work well but they are not something to hinge your entire strategy on with how fragile they are.


Force Them To Make Bad Decisions

This post has certainly turned out a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be but Mutts are a complicated unit despite only being 5 points. Now, finally, we have come to the point of it all. You have deployed well and it has kept your opponent from eliminating your Mutts and they are moving in on their unsuspecting prey. Now they are close...so what do you do? There are several ways that you may use your Mutts to harass and disrupt your enemy's units.

The first and most obvious is just to station your Mutts outside the of Line of Fire but within Zone of Control of an enemy unit to Jam them with the Mutt's Jammer. If successful, it will isolate the target. Isolation will turn their Regular Order into an Irregular Order as well as disallow them from receiving any Regular Orders which means that this unit will only ever have one order unless your Opponent has an Engineer to fix them. This is how you cripple your opponent by taking away from their order pool. Yeah, it's not the same as killing them, but it can help disrupt how your opponent is going to complete missions, especially if you do it on one of their key units. You can also do this to help break up fireteams, which is quite useful, especially if you are playing vanilla Haqqislam. Breaking up your opponents fireteams by isolating the Team Leader can help to even the playing field. Even if you can't get the Team Leader, it's a good way to reduce the numbers of the Fireteam and take away those pesky bonuses. I resort to this limited tactic for a couple of reasons: My Mutt has an enemy enter it's Zone of Control (ZoC) after the end of its first movement and I would have to perform another move to employ a tactic I will get into down below, so I end my Movement then I will perform a Jam after asking for any AROs and then spend a second order to do what I really want to do, again, more on that down below. The other tactic that this is good for is to just put your Mutt in position to harass passing enemy units by placing them in a position where they can't get shot at but enemy units will move into the Mutt's ZoC and allow you to ARO Jam. This can really mess with how your opponent spends his orders, because they either have to eat the Jam to continue with what they wanted to do, or spend more orders trying to avoid the Mutt all together. If they risk the unit getting Isolated they have to spend at least the second short skill of that Order on Reset, and potentially more orders to remove Isolation. Either way, the Mutt is draining their order pool. This is what makes Jammers so difficult to deal with, unless they have line of sight on the Mutt, there isn't much they can do to counter it besides resetting. Typically, though, you don't want to waste your orders on constant Jam attempts because they can just reset even though you don't risk the Mutt, it's an inefficient use of your order so other than these two situations, I highly suggest you risk your Mutts and here is why.

Mutts have the unique ability to exploit your opponent to have to make a decision and have that decision be a bad one no matter what they do. That is because the Mutt has two direct template weapons along with the Jammer and if your opponent wishes to avoid the template weapons, they have to dodge but if they want to avoid the Jammer they have to reset. They can only declare one ARO when your Mutt rounds the corner. If your Mutt is in range to fire off the Chain Rifle or E/Marat, there is a good chance that they are in range for the Jammer. This presents an uncomfortable situation for your opponent because you used your first short skill to come out in front of their unit and they have to declare their ARO before you declare your second short skill. That is quite important here, do not tell them what you are going to do with your second short skill, force them to make a decision on what their ARO will be and then base your second short skill off of their ARO. Now, they might just choose to shoot your Mutt, that's fine. Let them. Your Mutts are expendable 5 point units. If they take a wound, go Dogged and continue the fun. If they declare that they are shooting or Resetting, then you use one of the Direct Templates: Use the E/Marat on things like Heavy Infantry, Remotes and TAGs because the E/Marat is E/M damage but you can use it to guarantee an Isolation roll on regular units. Use the Chain Rifle on anything else especially light infantry. If they decide to Dodge, then hit them with the Jammer. This is how you prevent your opponent from having a Face to Face roll and prevent your Mutt from being shut down if they decide to roll well. This is the tactic that makes everyone hate and dread Mutts. Getting Mutts to deliver this tactic does take practice and a certain amount of finesse but when you do get this tactic off, the effect is so satisfying especially when you shut down a pesky Tikbalang that thinks it can just climb everywhere.

Ghazi Muttawi'ah are the definition of a high risk unit that has a high pay off. A pay off that you won't get to always reap every single game, but with practice, you can definitely get it to happen a lot more often. Just remember the main job of the Mutt: To cost your opponent orders, whether by spending tons of orders in trying to kill them like a paranoid PanOceania Commander worried about his HI and TAGs, or by letting them get close enough to make use of that lovely tactic that will cost your opponent army points or orders. If they die, they die. They are just 5 points, and it's nothing to sweat over. Well, that brings this article to a close. I hope it's helped you learn about how to get the most out of your Mutts. As always, this is Commander Envihon, the Sword of Haqqislam, until next time, my friend, continue to seek knowledge!



4 comments:

  1. Great article- many thanks for posting. Just started Haqq and I will definitely be taking Mutts after reading this.

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    Replies
    1. Glad you're digging the article, fellow knowledge seeker :) Don't forget to check out our Blog Comrades list, we've got two dedicated Haqqislam blogs on the list (one of which wrote this article for us).

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  2. Hi, I do not understand the main tactic described in the last paragraph. There is no rule that obliges the reactive player to declare his ARO after the first short skill of the active player. The reactive player can easily wait to know what the active player does with his second short skill and AROs accordingly. But I am just a beginner and I ask you for more details about. Thanks and compliment for the article.
    Best!
    Giacomo

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    Replies
    1. Hi Giacomo!

      The reactive player is required to declare their ARO after the active player's first half and before the second half. It's the regular sequence of Order declaration, which you can find in the N3 Rulebook (with a fancy dancy chart/table showing the whole sequence). There are a few skills that avoid this rule though, like Stealth, Sixth Sense, etc.

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