I’ve finished painting my Combined Army Starter force, and now it’s time to examine their function on the table.
It’s been almost a year exactly since these models were first released. I wanted to write an article about them then, but I kept putting off getting them painted. Well now they’re finished and I say better late than never.
Every starter set comes with three cheaper models that, while useful, often end up being used primarily for the orders they provide. That’s what these Unidron Batroids are. At first glance, they don’t look too different from similar “cheerleaders” (the catch all term for models like these) in the Combined Army or other factions for that matter. MOV 4-4, BS 11, PH 10, WIP 12… most of their stats are about where you’d expect. They do have a very high BTS value, but that’s hardly the only thing that makes them unusual.
First off, they’re robots. OK so from a narrative standpoint they do have organic components, but in game terms they’re Remotes rather than some form of infantry. There are several cool things about this. First, it means they have V:Courage. While ignoring the Retreat! state isn’t particularly useful (once it gets to that point I can pretty much guarantee I’ve already lost) I do love to choose the outcome of Guts rolls. Second, these models have to be damaged a total of three times to be removed from the table. Since they’re harder to completely eliminate, you’re more likely to be able to heal them and bring them back; and along with them, their orders. Third, Remotes can be given beneficial effects from friendly hackers. These inlclude an extra burst in ARO and the Marksmanship L2 ability. Finally, these guys are a very unusual type of Remote having the G:Autotool ability rather than G:Remote Presence. This means a model with G:Mnemonica can “possess” them to keep you from going into loss of Lieutenant. This last part is really a consolation prize though, since it only opens these models up to an option living troops get automatically. Of course to field the Unidrons you have to take a Hacker, TAG, or G:Mnemonica model. Once you expand this set, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll want a G:Mnemonica model though, so its not too much of a deterrent.
The Batroids also carry an unusual weapon. Instead of the standard issue Combi Rifle that so many Cheerleaders carry, each of Unidron wields a Plasma Carbine. Like most things in Infinity, this weapon has its ups and downs. Most things seem to be going really well for it. Plasma ammunition is dangerous since it can cause two wounds per shot. Also it can choose between a template or hitting with a little more punch. The downside is that the weapon has a lower burst so it’s a little more risky to use. Against harder to kill targets, I think I’d prefer the Carbine. Against cheaper models I think a Combi Rifle is better.
One thing that the Unidrons do have in common with most cheerleaders is that you can pay an extra point to field them as a Forward Observer option. I will spend that extra point whenever possible since this will make them specialists and crucial to getting VPs. If you do choose to upgrade them, you’ll be much more likely to use their Dogged ability. Normally this ability seems silly on a Remote, since if you use it, the models just die and never get to take advantage of the fact that they have those two states of unconsciousness. But if it makes the difference between getting a VP or not, Dogged is always worth using.
The downside? At 14 points (15 for the FO option) the Unidrons are almost costly enough to strip them of their Cheerleader status. Also, Remotes can’t go prone, which is annoying for more reasons than I feel like going into. There’s also no LT option on the Batroids, but that won’t matter since once you expand beyond this box, you should always be taking a Lieutenant with G:Mnemonica. Then of course there’s the fact that they can be hacked. Their exceptionally high BTS means that nine times out of ten it will probably be a bullet that kills them. But it’s still worth noting that Hackers can operate without line of sight. Be wary of one getting too close, and have your own Hacker ready to Hack Transport. Hackers love to drop in in your backfield.
As far as I’m concerned the Umbra Legate is the star of the Combined Army starter. Not because of his rules per se. I just love that model. Fortunately his rules are pretty good. He has Mimetism and V:No Wound Incapacitation and Kinematika L:1 which all help make him tougher to take down. He also has Martial Arts L:4 which is high enough that he can choose to take that all-important extra burst when in CC. Forward Deployment is also great. He’ll have to spend fewer orders to get to grips with your enemy, as well as having more options to find that perfect deployment spot.
Since there are only two Legate models, you can take this guy with a variety of options. The Spitfire profile is off limits since a separate version of that Legate build has been released, but other loadouts are fair game. While the K1 Combi Rifle version is tempting, I prefer to take this Legate with the Hacking Device Plus. With all the things he has going for him it will be easier for him to hack enemy models or to score any objectives that involve hacking. Additonally with a Hacking Device Plus, the Legate can use the Cybermask program to help make him even harder to kill. It will be even easier for him to get into CC and deal with things like Cutters or Swiss Guard that can be really hard to take out with shooting alone. Also I kinda like Boarding Shotguns anyway and the Hacker Legate gets one of these.
The downside is that he has a price tag to match his skill set. If you don’t use him well and get him killed you’ve wasted a lot of points.
If you are planning to get in some games using only the models in this box, you will probably want to take this Legate as your Lieutenant. In this case you’ll need to use him as the K1 Combi Rifle version after all.
Airborne Deployment troops like this Fraacta are always useful, and there are some things to like about the Fraacta specifically. While most of her stats are pretty average, she is Light Infantry rather than Medium making her a little faster than most of the Combined Army’s other AD choices. 4-4 doesn’t seem much better than 4-2, but any Infinity player will tell you that it is noticeable. Additionally she has Transmutation allowing her to take an extra hit. Then her armor stat will actually go up – putting her on par with Medium Infantry AD troops. Finally she has V:Courage just like those little robots from before.
You can field this Fraacta with a choice of weapons and gear. This version with a Combi Rifle also comes with a Nano Pulser. It’s not the best weapon but direct templates are handy to have if you ever want to make sure you hit. And the fact that she can afford to take a hit in ARO makes it a little more useful. You can field her with the same weapons loadout and also take an EI Assault Hacking Device. This is the nasty kind that can actually be used to possess TAGS. It also can use the Stop! program which, while easily cancelled can be great to ARO with. Or use it to set up a TAG to have some D-Charges planted on it. Her WIP isn’t great so she’s not the best hacker, but the tradeoff is that she can be deployed in the most useful position without having to spend too many orders. Since no appropriately armed model has been released, you can also field her with a Spitfire. AD troops are truly deadly with this Special Weapon since it’s easy to put them in the perfect range band to use it.
While the Fraacta has the edge on speed and survivability, she lacks some of the cool gear and tricks that come with the Rasyat; another popular AD choice for Combined army. If you can only fit one AD troop in your list, it will be a tough choice between the two models – especially since they cost almost exactly the same amount of points. Only the Fraacta can be taken as a Hacker however. If you should choose to bring her and the Rasyat, she can Immobilize a TAG while he plants the D-Charges on it. Of course the pair of them actually costs more than some TAGS…
The Maakrep brings a pretty essential piece of gear to your Combined Army force. She carries a Multi-Spectral Visor L2 which will help keep enemy Camo and ODD troops from running rampant on the table. She’s Medium Infantry with only ARM 2, so she’s not particularly hard to take out. To give her a little help in that department she has an AutoMedikit, so she can attempt to heal herself. Unfortunately Her PH isn’t great, and if you fail her roll to heal herself you can’t spend a Command Token to roll again and she’ll be dead. If you do end up needing to heal her, I think using an actual doctor is a better bet. Unless it looks like it will take too many orders to get them or their G:Servant over to her. I find Sixth Sense L1 to be her more exciting ability. I’ve had too many AD troops fall out of the sky to wreak havoc in my backfield, so it’s nice to know this model can turn around and pop anything that lands in her ZoC.
Since this is the only Maakrep sculpt, you can bring her to the table with your choice of her many weapon options – at least until they release another sculpt. In fact there’s even a little dispute over what she’s actually armed with. The box says she’s carrying an HMG but it appears to be a Multi Sniper Rifle. These are the only two loadouts I’d bother with for her anyway. If you’re going to pay the points for a Multi Spectral Visor, why not bring along a weapon that can make the most of it?
~Hope you enjoyed the article. I plan to follow it up with another explaining the additions I made to my list to reach 300 points.