Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tactics: Armand "Le Muet"

Everybody’s super secret alien-outcast, supreme sniper, and special operative for somebody… Armand “Le Muet” is arguably one of the coolest characters in the whole of the Human Sphere (seriously, go read his fluff).


And while Le Muet works for all vanilla factions and has been with us for a while, he is surprisingly under-rated and chronically underplayed. Something not helped by the fact that he was an ITS exclusive for his first year, and only just received a full release sculpt for general use, last year.


But in true Lazarus fashion, it’s time to turn this ship around. No bounty hunter this awesome deserves to sit gathering dust on anybody’s shelves...


Let’s take a look, shall we?




Profile


























Stat-wise, Le Muet is pretty average for a medium infantry trooper. He’s got nice BS of 13 which is pretty decent, but probably about what you would expect for a model of his cost. The most noticeable feature on his statline though is Symbiont Armor, which essentially gives him 2 “wounds” and shock immunity, both something that is nice to have for sniper duels and getting into hefty firefights. Of course as with many Tohaa models, Symbiont Armor is not without its downsides, which in his case means losing ODD and his ARM (both representing a significant drop in durability) but curiously bumping his speed (gaining 4-4 MOV) and of course being better than the usual alternative for most long range big guns – typically being dead.

Equipment is where it’s at though for Le Muet, and first of all we have to cover that fantastic ODD. Aside from giving him an allergy to flamers (not good anyway for a multi-wound model with poor armor) ODD is a wonderful tool to help him stack mods effectively, usually stacking -9 with cover on most opponents before factoring in their range. As long as you pick targets with the same selective process as most snipers should (ideally attacking models in their bad range and your good) many models may have no hope of hitting you at all by shooting back, and will likely still lose a fight if they choose to dodge. Not too bad.

Stacking the mods still further, one of the Le Muet’s profiles comes with MSV1, which is my preferred loadout for him. Mimetism, Camo, ODD and TO camo are way too commonplace, and the likelihood of encountering those elements in most games is pretty high. When you consider that most of those models don’t have MSV of their own (barring things like Guilangs, Nisse, Bagh Mari…) and Le Muet can rob them of their own defensive advantage while simultaneously presenting a difficult obstacle of his own.

The other loadout for Le Muet is a touch cheaper, and certainly supports the “up front Le Muet” playstyle well (see below), trading in the MSV1 for Minelayer (and Mines). By itself this would be fairly unremarkable, but as Le Muet has Forward Deployment, that usually means getting a mine within the trigger area of your homefield objectives in many scenarios. This profile also has a lot more opportunities to be aggressive on the attack by pushing up the field and laying mines, or defending yourself from dangerous models like Oniwaban, Bran do Castro, Uxia and so on. Sometimes, having that mine just in front of your army is exactly where you need it. And depending on your favored playstyle of Le Muet, it might be the way to go – not least of which because it’s also 3 points cheaper!    




























And while we’re on the subject of weaponry, Le Muet has a pretty fantastic package for his cost. His Multi-Sniper Rifle (MSR) gives him great long range potential, and is a particularly desirable option among factions like Ariadna or Haqqislam who otherwise lack many sources of a MSR. Combined with ODD and potential MSV1, Le Muet is clearly foremost designed to be a model that stacks those crucial mods as much as possible, ideally needing 13’s to hit himself while enemies struggle with -9 or even -12 mods in turn.

Unlike most Snipers though, Le Muet also has a pair of nasty backup weapons – 2 breaker pistols. This means that as well as being a long range fiend, Le Muet can handle himself just fine on the active turn up close. Breaker ammo is a good tool to have up close to tear apart weaker targets and still stack mods just as well vs. long range models who might find it difficult to retaliate. Finally, to complete the package, Le Muet also has a Nanopulser, which is a rarity among some factions. This is an amazing template weapon if all else fails, giving you great options for close range AROs where the pistols only get 1 shot vs. 3 shots on the active, and course opening up Intuitive attack in case the need arises.

Finally, I’ve never had it come up, but Le Muet is no slouch in melee. I mean, I wouldn’t dedicate him into combat vs. anybody who has Martial Arts or particularly excels at it, but his CC stat isn’t bad, and having 2 wounds himself plus ODD to help him approach (even if it won’t help the combat itself) means it’s an option if you absolutely need it. Perhaps more usefully, it’s at least in the level of “might deter” somebody from trying to CC him on their turn, as he has decent odds of beating many single wound models in a firefight, and both the Knife and CC weapon have Shock so whatever he hits has good odds of being killed outright. 


Mobile Sniper


Looking at his kit it’s easy to see Le Muet as a straightforward rooftop Sniper built for stacking mods, and while that might be the place that people start to use him, I also see it as being the place where his usage quickly ends. This only applies doubly when you leave him standing out as an ARO piece.


























The sad fact is that while you can happily -12 people and stack the mods so in your favor that they won’t be able to retaliate, most opponents just aren’t going to let you do that. Counter deployment and hiding is a thing, and most opponents will try to circumvent Le Muet as much as possible by avoiding leaving stuff out in the open for him to easily pick off, or simply lay into him with an HMG on their turn and likely kill him with the weight of dice. Fair enough, you might say, and note (sensibly) that this is why most snipers avoid covering the whole board in favor of locking down a single lane – a place where they will have a useful impact, but not be easily shredded in their opponent’s turn. 


The problem is, Le Muet is just too expensive for such a marginal use, and while locking down a single approach that may (or may not) get used is a very worthwhile goal for a 20 odd point sniper, trying to do so with a 45 point model ends up often being either wasteful (because a cheaper model would have done the job) or unnecessary (because opponents find a way to go around). Now arguably that is a useful goal for Le Muet, as forcing enemies to take a different approach is a valuable ability, but that ability really has to pull its weight throughout the game to get the most out of your investment.

Instead, the way I see Le Muet working effectively is not unlike the way you use the Ariadna Scout – a mobile sniper. Unlike more static pieces (especially Sapper snipers), Le Muet wants to reposition and adjust so that he is always bringing his long range power to bear on some relevant part of the board. As most games of infinity have areas of the table that fluctuate enormously in their usage, Le Muet needs to adapt to an evolving battlefield. Or to put it another way, if he stays static and the area he is covering stays relevant for the whole game AND your opponent has no way to deal with him – lucky you. But most games of infinity upset either one of those conditions, and as your opponent adapts to him being in your list, you need to adapt yourself with his positioning and his role.


Gunslinger


“But he’s 4-2 Mov! Le Muet isn’t going anywhere…”. Well at least for the first wound, right? (Besides, plenty of MI end up going places heh!). Either way, this sudden change in movement value is as clear an indicator as you often need that Le Muet evolves as the heat is on. Cover something important early, duke it out, and get ready to reposition later. Because Le Muet is more than just a sniper… and the combination of his cost and flexibility means you should be taking advantage of his multiple capabilities.

This is why Le Muet is, more often than not, a model I deploy on ground level (or at the very least, close enough to ladders to get down quickly in a single move). Leaving him in on a high-up static rooftop not only leaves him as prey for any roaming HMGs, but it also makes it harder to leverage the toolbox that you are most certainly paying for. After all, Le Muet is a gunfighter first-and-foremost, with no specialist skills to speak of and a point cost that means he needs to be killing stuff to make him worth that significant expenditure. The main thing to note here though You may have noticed a weak point beginning to emerge in Le Muet’s kit – his middling coverage of the crucial 8-16” rangeband. Models at that distance are at 0 range for his primary gun, and likely out of reach for melee, templates or a mine (assuming they end up in that distance after you move).


























Finally a note of caution – avoid templates like crazy, especially those with fire. While fire isn’t quite as insanely dangerous as it was before HSN3, it still bypasses his ODD for the hit modifier and takes it out of the equation, so templates neatly bypass one of your best defensive advantages. This is only more apparent when you consider that most template models are rather cheap, and thus making sure you don’t lose your 40+ point bounty hunter to a <10 point template user is a definite must if you plan on Le Muet roaming around the field. In those cases, don’t be afraid to hang back a little and engage outside 8-10” – as many template users will be similarly hamstrung by the range bands if they are forced to use their pistol/shotgun compared to your twin breaker pistols, and ODD usually means you can still win the firefight.

This means that Le Muet wants to keep mobile so he can adjust his position relative to enemy models – all his power is contained in the short (0-8) and long (>16) range bands, but it won’t do you much good if enemies are tightly clustered up in his “blind spot”, highlighting a further need for that mobility. This lets you either pull back to engage at longer distances or find a way to approach up close and give-em hell! After all, opponents aren’t going to WANT to sit in your optimal range bands, so you need a way to force those kinds of engagements.


Threat


But finally, the last thing to note about Le Muet is that if you’re going to all that trouble paying for a big expensive dangerous piece, you may as well leverage that obvious value by forcing enemies to deal with him. His high point value and forward deployment usually means that even if he can’t score directly by pushing buttons, he’s still a high value piece for scoring crucial quadrants or contesting valuable objectives simply by being alive. If he wants to, Le Muet can be exceptionally hard to kill by hiding prone, having ODD, a decent suite of weapons and 2 wounds… so forcing opponents to really make an effort to dig him out is rarely a bad idea.

The other trick you can use here that demonstrates “threat” nicely involves holoprojector (especially with SpecOps) because Le Muet is an immensely high value target, and yet holoprojector level 1 is often comparatively cheap. Models like Hafza or Kanren can happily project a lot of force by pretending to be Le Muet in vanilla armies, and as many opponents know what he can do and will want to deal with him quickly, you can trick them into misallocating resources accordingly when they think he is covering some crucial piece of table. This works even better when you consider things like the “double bluff” – either by putting down multiple Le Muet’s on the table (they know at least some are fake, but any one…or none…might be real!) or even simply having the real Le Muet positioned suspiciously, to the point that your opponent might be fooled into thinking he’s a Holo.

The possibilities here are endless. Really the key point to remember is that Le Muet’s high cost and varied capabilities make him an excellent projection of power, whether real or imagined, and if you can control how your opponent reacts to deal with that threat, then even if they do manage to track him down and kill him, you’ve hopefully got something worthwhile in exchange.


Conclusion


Hopefully this article helps explain some of the subtle uses of one of the most expensive but coolest models this side of the Human Sphere. Le Muet is definitely a tricky piece to get the hang of, and for the investment you put in, it’s definitely worth examining how you use him closely to get the most out of his abilities without some other model doing a better job for less. If you take advantage of his full suite of gear though, he can prove to be a real monster on the table top, killing models both near and far and surviving through a surprising amount of trouble before opponents can put him down.






















-My paintjob of Le Muet :)


Until next time!   


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