Thoughts on Morats
By Micky Ward
With the recent release of the shiny new Morat box sets and the redesigned aesthetic of the range, the popularity of the crimson murder monkeys from beyond the stars has never been higher. The question now is – are they any good?
The answer is yes, but victory has to be earned. Here’s why.
Morats are entirely unsubtle. They’re a force that gets in your face, drives hard for objectives, and gives you a bloody nose – they are the blunt instrument of Infinity armies. On average, their units have superior physical conditioning and close combat ability, giving them the statistical edge in short-ranged engagements and close actions – which is exactly where they like to be. Don’t expect to find any dirty tricks here – they’re as straightforward as they are brutal.
This does not, however, mean rushing across the field at the enemy – that’s just a fast track to getting killed, and even Morats retreat eventually. Within their overwhelming brutality is a level of cunning and strategy that even a lowly Vanguard can appreciate, but which only the best commanders can exploit.
As a rule, Morat units are expensive. Like, really expensive. Nowhere is this true more than with the humble Vanguard – an 18 point brute armed with Combi rifle and with a basic statline that does nothing to justify his expense. A lot of this price inflation seems to come from the Morat rule, which confers both the benefits of Religion and an increase of the retreat threshold to 75%. Good perks, but hardly worth the extra points, surely?
This is generally true across the whole range. Make no mistake – this is an Elite army, but without some of the more obvious perks that you might expect for their cost.
Let’s take a closer look.
The humble Morat Vanguard, with his amazing new sculpts, is unfortunately the red-headed stepchild of the Aggression Forces – and it all comes down to his price. Having said that, he does have a wide range of weapon options – including MULTI Sniper, Missile Launcher, Grenade Launcher, Forward Observer (one of the few options for this we have) and Hacker (one of two).
These all come with standard SWC values, and may be a good option for getting heavy weapons into your list, especially in smaller games. They’re also a prime source of cheap specialists in the form of Forward Observers – virtually the only source, in fact.
Anyat is an excellent and extremely powerful specialist choice in any list. Her statline is nothing impressive, but her loadout of weapons, skills and equipment give her the ability to tackle virtually any situation – from taking on TAGs with K1 ammo to dropping Zero-V smoke at her feet. She also has the ability to climb walls – invaluable in objective missions when consoles or boxes might end up on rooftops.
Kurgat Assault Engineer
A solid specialist choice with some hard hitting weapons, also sporting D-Charges to help with your bonus objectives. He’s often best used as an offensive specialist, as giving him a Mk-12 is a powerful option for low points, but you can go one step further and give him an Autocannon. Be careful, this will make him enemy number 1 for most opponents, and his low BS and lack of defensive skills make him vulnerable in ARO.
Yaogat Strike Infantry
For every reason that Vanguards are poor options, Yaogats are the backbone of any Aggression Force list. They have solid statlines, decent armour, excellent weapon options, and MSV Level 2 as standard – the only visor in the list. And boy do they relish it.
Yaogat weapon profiles combine heavy hitting power with tactical flexibility, and offer the best sniper in the list, as well as the ability to take down TAGs with massed Panzerfausts. They’re also one of the only lieutenant options with no attached SWC.
A Yaogat link team is an extremely powerful option, especially if you can perch a sniper in a dominant position – there’s almost no defense.
Raktorak, Morat Sgt Major
Raktoraks are Morat Officers, inexplicably lacking a Chain of Command or Lieutenant option which to me seemed somewhat obvious . But they do come with one interesting feature – the ability to join Suryat link teams, for half the cost in points.
Their statline isn’t terribly impressive – the only thing that stands out being a -3 BTS and the Jungle Terrain skill, but they have very fire-themed weapon options, with the choice between a Heavy Flamethrower or Vulkan Shotgun. A small team of Raktoraks could make an interesting mobile fireteam if used well.
Kornak Gazarot, Superior Warrior Officer
Kornak is a named Raktorak, with a significantly superior statline and the ability to join Sogarats as well as Suryats. His weapon loadout is quite decent, combining a Mk12 and Lt Flamethrower, and he’s an excellent (albeit obvious) lieutenant option, having the Strategos L1 skill. Interestingly, his BTS is extremely high at -9, giving him the ability to shrug off troubling Viral and EM hits without much effort.
Rasyat Diplomatic Division
One of the most ‘in your face’ units in the list, Rasyat’s are a prime example of the Morat mentality. As an AD Combat Jump troop, they have the ability to drop in where it’s most needed, and tie up the most dangerous parts of the enemy force. Their weapon options are almost exclusively short-ranged, ranging from Boarding Shotgun to Spitfire (and also the option of an E/Mitter), and they also come packing Zero-V Smoke and excellent close combat capabilities – Martial Arts L3 with an Explosive weapon, or Natural Born Warrior with an AP weapon.
Suryat Assault Heavy Infantry
The “light” Heavy Infantry option from the Morat list. Their armour is comparatively weak, but in other respects they are a solid heavy infantry choice, sporting solid to heavy weaponry, good ballistic skill, and the standard two wounds.
They come with Jungle Terrain and V: Courage as well, which are nice bonuses – Jungle Terrain allows them to keep moving through forest cover without blocking off their movement.
Overall a solid choice for a link team, and a decent Lieutenant choice as well.
Sogarat Tempest Regiment
Very powerful heavy infantry option, for which you pay quite a premium in points. With superior BS and PH, excellent armour and some very heavy weapons, they make an excellent army keystone for those who can’t spring the extra points for a Raicho. Coming in short range and long range versions, each with a lieutenant option, you can more or less build your list around what the Sogarat is designed to do. If you go with HMG, let him hang back and monster one side of the table from range. If you go with Feurbach and Assault Pistol, start marching forwards and getting into optimum range.
In either case, the inclusion of an AutoMedkit with PH of 15 is a very nice bonus.
Zerat Special Missions Regiment
The one and only Infiltrator available to a Morat force, the Zerat is a reasonably decent option in some ways, especially in ITS play. As one of only two hackers available, she is the less expensive of the two, and more survivable with CH:Mimetism. Infiltration allows her to be positioned close to the objectives, and having D-Charges on the hacker profile is a nice bonus.
Her other profiles are less impressive, especially the Multi-Sniper option, a role she is ill suited to. On the other hand, many of her other profiles are cheap and pack weapons such as flamethrowers or grenades, giving her at least the prospect of being annoying. An interesting choice for your list, especially in ITS.
Oznat Hunting Regiment
The Oznat, one of the cooler models in the new Starter Set, has just one job to do: deliver a team of Hungries into the enemy’s face. She’s got the only Smoke Grenade Launcher in the Morat list, and can use this to great effect to cover the advance of her team. This can also be very useful in combination with a force of Yaogats and their Visors. Generally though, she should be kept out of trouble, and just used for forming and delivering a link team of crazed alien monsters.
There are two kinds – Gakis and Pretas. They share some common traits – they’re Dogged, and have Poison, and have high CC and 6-6 movement. Where the differ is equipment – Gakis are the more CC orientated, with AP+Shock CCWs and the ability to Explode when they die. Pretas come with Chain Rifles and a special kind of AP Mine – a mine with no IFF, so your own models can set it off just as easily as the enemy! Note: a recent FAQ update has removed Biomines, and changed them to standard AP Mines – all the benefits and none of the drawbacks!
Both are excellent for their extremely low cost, and worthwhile in any list if you have points to spare.
Daturazi Witch Soldiers
With a sexy new box set, these bad boys are making their way back onto the tabletops in a big way. They’ve always been excellent, but were sadly lacking when it came to models (personally, I’m putting my old sculpts out to pasture as soon as I get the new ones).
Their best profile by far is the basic one – Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades, and Shock CCW. With Martial Arts L4, they’re the bane of named characters, rushing in under smoke and chopping down anyone with No Wound Incap. I love fielding these guys against Aleph – even Achilles isn’t safe if you play it right.
One other profile worthy of mention comes with a Smoke Grenade Launcher – this can be decent if you run them in a link team, but with a base BS of only 10, I wouldn’t consider it viable otherwise, when standard grenades will work so much more reliably.
The Coma skill is worth mentioning here – being a Sepsitor Repeater is amazing, but just avoid the common mistake of trying to use it before causing wounds to the enemy.
Raicho Armoured Brigade
After a 5 year wait, we finally got our TAG a year ago, and it continues to be awesome.
There’s nothing spectacular about its profile – its merely a very solid choice for the points involved. One downside is the low WIP of 12 – being a piloted TAG, it’s not immune to having to make Guts rolls, so it’s not uncommon to have to seek cover after tanking a few hits.
The Heavy Grenade option is a pretty good one for speculative shot bombardment – most of the board can be hit on a 12, and this sort of suppression will make it easier for your short ranged units to get into position to attack.
Now we turn to the more standard Combined Army support units.
Med-Tech Obsidon Medchanoid
Doctor Worm is a very popular choice in ITS. With Engineer, Doctor, D-Charges and the ability to take Slave Drones, he’s covering a wide range of possible objectives while remaining useful for healing and repairing your other units. Expect virtually every ITS list to have one of these, and many other lists besides. True value for money, right here.
Very good choices if you can fit them in – unlike other remotes, they can be fielded if you have a Hacker or model with G:Mnemonica, and they’re worth their points for sure; 9 points gets you a cheap order, with 2 flamethrowerrs, a flash pulse, the baggage skill, and they can even be healed by doctors rather than engineers. Excellent in any list, if you have a hacker.
Now we move onto more standard remotes. Every army has these – starting with the TR Remote. The Q-Drone can take a HMG or a Plasma Rifle, and has the option for monofilament mines as well. Setting it apart from most TR remotes is CH:Mimetism – unfortunately, it lacks the Climbing Plus or Multiterrain found on some others. A decent choice for locking down part of the board. Be wary of choosing a Plasma Rifle variant – whilst powerful, the plasma rifle has the same range profile as a combi rifle, and only three shots, making it very easy for an opponent to outshoot.
The T-Drone is the guided missile launcher for the Combined Army. What more needs to be said?
This is the Forward Observer/Sensor drone for the Combined Army, and it has Multiterrain and a Combi Rifle. Again, pretty standard stuff here, for the cost of the Worm Doctor.
Finally there’s the Repeater drone. Cheap at 8 points if you need an extra order, it also has CH:Mimetism just to make it a tiny bit easier to survive, for whatever that’s worth.
With all these units, we have a toolbox capable of success in virtually any situation. Make no mistake – this army is not about subtlety or trickery – it’s a brutal precision instrument designed around aggressive play and forcing open any advantage you can find.