Thoughts on USAriadna Ranger Force
So fresh out from the oven we have the USARF or USAriadna Ranger Force. I hope that everyone got their boxes from wherever they ordered them – it seems that Corvus Belli has learned the logistics lesson that came with Icestorm and have managed to get them to everyone in a timely fashion.
With this article, I’d like to explore the tactical possibilities that the new units present both in terms of the Vanilla army, as well as the sectorial itself. Mind you, that these thoughts come from someone who intended to play the sectorial but decided against it at the last minute.
Definitely the staple unit for the sectorial and a very strong choice overall. ARM 3 and access to many medium/long distance weapons, plus the chance to link makes them a very good choice. The fact that they only cost 10 points for a basic trooper means that they will definitely see a lot of play, even if hanging out in the back-field to provide orders to the rest of the force. Being cheap means it’s only 10 points to get each of the Support Link Team bonuses. A bargain, in fact! A good pick for the Lieutenant of the force, even though costing 1 SWC – that is because you will probably field more than 1 of the regular, bare-bones Grunt guy, so it will be easy to hide your true Commanding Officer. The marksmanship Sniper is sadly nothing to write home about, as Level X does not contain the lower levels within itself. Good choice for a defensive link, however, as 2 Snipers and 3 bodies will run you around 70 points. Their high ARM makes them survivable in such a scenario as well – in cover, they’re looking at HI levels of protection. Good choice overall in Vanilla, very good in USARF. You probably won’t be moving too much with them anyway, so their 4-2 movement won’t hurt.
The load-out that will see the most use will be definitely the Inferior Infiltration/Heavy Flamer one – most of the Ariadna players already incorporated that Grunt version into their lists very eagerly, in a similar vein to what happened when the Spetznaz was introduced last year. The infiltrating Grunt is not only a speed-bump for the enemy. By simply placing him somewhere overlooking a good deployment position in the enemy’s Deployment Zone, he can do what only a handful of units in this game can – he can deny the enemy parts of his deployment. Imagine you see a tall building, ideal platform for your defensive link/sniper to be set up. The enemy places his infiltrating Grunt in such a way as to see the best places where your sniper could go. Will you put down your sniper anyway, risking that the Grunt can ARO with a H.Flamer? What if the enemy has the Initiative and will use the Grunt as a suicide unit – that is, he will move him first, hoping to do as much damage as he can before the unit dies? The only time I would consider it to maybe not be worth it to field these guys is in Highly Classified, as a bad pick of Data Scan, Extreme Prejudice and Telemetry might mean that if your Grunt goes down, the enemy has a huge advantage because he can achieve 3 Objectives relatively without too many problems. The fact that they cost 0.5 SWC each limits their spam possibility somewhat but I’d always take 2 in any Ariadna list, and around 4 in a USARF list.
A unit worth considering, if only because they have a Haris possibility and the Advanced Deployment skill. They also bring much needed quipment to the Sectorial, having access to the MultiSpectral Visor Level 1. This means that they look like an interesting Alpha Strike unit, especially given their load-outs – Molotok for an aggressive Haris, Sniper or HRL for a Defensive Haris. While playing with them, you have to remember to set up the table right, so that the Advanced Deployment skill does not go to waste – an error that many, even experienced players, commit. If you face Aleph or Camo based armies on a regular basis, these guys will be very useful. In Vanilla, they have a lot of competition from other units, and are an average pick. In USARF, they definitely have their role of a supporting link carved out for them. A specialist option in the form of a Paramedic makes the Paramedic, Molotok, Haris Marauder an interesting choice for an offensive Haris objective grabbing team. If you just want to ARO with the HRL, a paramedic and a Haris guy would make a good home objective capping unit in a mission such as Transmission Matrix.
Like most Ariadna Heavy Infantry, the Minutemen are nothing exciting. Their ARM value of 3 puts them at the same level as the Grunts(!), Mavericks or Marauders. The only difference in the stat-line between them and the aforementioned units is Shock Immunity, but that alone does not make them compare to something like a Jannisairy with an ARM of 4 and 2 wounds. They have interesting load-outs, though, as the cheap 2 Light Flamers might mean that they can hold their line if trouble comes close to your deployment zone. Their Marksmanship also gives them Shock ammunition on those two flamers. They also have access to a Missile Launcher. They are linkable, but too expensive, in my opinion, to be a valuable link. Favored Lieutenant choice for 3 profiles- the HMG one looks interesting, if USARF will be getting a Chain of Command unit as that could mean that you will actually be using your LT order most of the time. A specialist option in the form of a Forward Observer. Solid pick.
These guys. A very solid statline with MSV lvl. 1, Smoke Grenade Launcher, 12 BS and 3 ARM. The profile that stands out the most is the Forward Observer – for only 19 points and half an SWC point you get a durable and fast specialist- a very strong choice in ITS, both for Vanilla and for the sectorial. 8-4 move and WIP 13 makes him an amazing objective grabber. Remember that because he has regular Impetuous, you may want to ignore the Impetuous order, if it looks like the bike would face a lot of ARO. We will definitely be seeing a lot of thee guys. They actually compete with the Chasseurs!
An interesting choice of a skirmisher. The fact that just for 12 points you can deploy 2 camo markers will be of more use in Vanilla Ariadna, where you can take advantage of all the mine-layers available to the faction. A decent speed-bump unit. You want to take him in a separate, smaller Combat group – he won’t probably survive until your active turn anyway. He’s just there to make enemies miserable, if only for a while.
Every flavour of Ariadna needs its Werewolf. The Devil Dog, while criticised for having only 1 Chain Rifle instead of the 2 Chain Rifles the Cameronians have, is your only choice in USARF. We won’t be seeing many of them in Vanilla, but in USARF they fill a certain niche – a smoke grenade tossing Close-Combat specialist. Thanks to the G:Synchronized rules, the Devil Dog will, most of the time, have 2 dice in close combat because of the Antipode synchronized with him. Taking the Shotgun is probably a waste and useful only in events with an imposed limit of 1 Combat Group; maybe in Boarding Action scenarios – the Chain Rifle guy has a Pistol for when you really need to Face to Face anyway. If you only want a smoke throwing unit, then the Mavericks are probably a better choice.
Ariadna is most famous for its camouflaged units and the Foxtrots do not disappoint. A cheap, infiltrating specialist is a god-send for ITS. Although there’s no mine-layer option, the fact that they are so bargain-priced makes up for it. A competitive ITS USARF list will probably use at least 2 of those guys and 2 Mavericks. Not that shiny in Vanilla, as Chasseurs are definitely better because of their Sixth Sense and Flamers. They might be worth considering if you already have max AVA on the Frenchies, though.
Van Zant and Airborne Rangers
We don’t know the exact profile of the Rangers yet, but if they are similar to Van Zant, then they will make a nice addition to any list. An Airborne Deployment unit is a natural harrasser, so I’m expecting these guys to not disappoint. An interesting choice for a player that prefers the more aggressive play-style. Van Zant himself is an amazing alpha/beta-strike unit – many people forget that he can come from their Deployment edge and do not set up sentries to counter that. Exploiting the mistakes of the enemy is part of playing Infinity, so if you see an opening that Van Zant can exploit, be sure to go for it. It’s especially easy if you keep Van Zant until turn two or three, at that point you have probably thinned the enemy ranks so that there’s even less ARO threat to Van Zant. His Executive Order skill means that you can be more aggressive with your offensive Lietuenants, such as the aforementioned HMG Minuteman – if he dies on your active turn while Ramboing, you just enter the board with Van Zant on the same turn, in some safe spot and you avoid going into Loss of Lieutenant.
Dozer & Traktor Muls and 112
Decent engineer or doctor, cheap orders. Good specialists for ITS. Average. Not much more can be said.
Units planned but that we have no profile for:
Rumoured to be like Azra’il for Haqqislam. Interesting. If they get 2 wounds, I could see a use for them. It also depends on their stat-line, though.
Seems like the Kum /pronunce koom, not kam/ riders for USARF. We know that an SMG guy will be 13 points. If their Chain Rifle option will only cost 10 points like on the Kums then they will be a very coveted unit. Also have smoke grenades for that Impetuous move.
The Lone Ranger
We don’t know anything about this guy yet. Will he be a Captain America? His logo suggests so for some people. Will he be a Chuck Norris C&C bad-ass? Or maybe an infiltrating specialist? Only time will tell.
Anyway, this here are my thoughts on USAriadna Ranger Force. What are yours? Tell us in the comments below.