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JSA sneaky sneak sneaks in n4

Discussion in 'Japanese Secessionist Army' started by carey, Nov 12, 2020.

  1. carey

    carey New Member

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    JSA infiltrators.jpg
    So N4 has seen some changes in the way that JSA sneaks across the board and.. well, still mostly stabs you. Not all of these have infiltration but all of them have Mimetism (-6), and I just posted some representative profiles since I didn't want pages of gear.

    I'm far from an expert. I'm back playing again in n4 and trying to figure out the best roles for each of these models in the new landscape, as in.. which do you choose when building a list and why. Wondering about other's thoughts and experiences with how the models have changed in n4.

    I've only tried Shinobu and I'm still not good at using her - she still manages to perform despite my ham-handed efforts. I feel like she'd be great with a boarding shotgun, and for that reason I am tempted to reach for the cheaper MA4 Oniwaban, but that profile lacks the smoke grenades that making getting around that much easier and are one of the reasons I take her.

    Saito was my favourite for smoke in n3 but the straight infiltration (assuming it's not a typo) means I am less inclined unless I have no desire to pass the midfield. The straight EXP CCW also discourages me due to the new crit rules.

    The Shikami has it's own thread and I really see it as a fast specialist HI.. for my style I really wonder why not take a cheaper ninja to be an infiltrating specialist who doesn't need four orders to get there.. Phys 14, super jump and climbing plus are all really nice though, and I keep looking at the Shikami model and just wanting to put it on the board.

    The Ryuken I haven't tried yet as she is on the painting table. The killer hacker profile seems nice but even more order intensive to move around than the Shikami. A nice speed bump that can be in token state or suppressive with a mine down is versatile.

    I never really took ninja unless it was a killer hacker for a nasty suprise in the midfield or a quick objective grabber late game. With the changes in impetuous I am now leaning towards using Aragoto killer hacker for the objective grabbing instead.

    What have other people's experiences been like? What are favourite profiles or new tricks for the sneaky ones in n4?
     
  2. QuietusEmissary

    QuietusEmissary Active Member

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    Here's how I use our sneaky units:

    Shinobu Kitsune - In my lists, she's a centerpiece model whose job is to kill as many things as possible, with occasional smoke cover for the rest of the list. At this point, I never roll for Superior Infiltration, because I always manage to fail and that sucks. I usually find a fairly secluded spot to deploy her where she can appear and start making her way to do violence. If I'm bringing her, she's usually my reserve model. Alternatively, because I play her so much, sometimes I make a big show of taking time to deploy hidden models even if I didn't bring her, just to keep my opponent paranoid. If I'm the second player, I sometimes reveal her on my Turn 1 if my opponent gives me a good target of opportunity. Otherwise, she hides until Turn 2 for maximum carnage. Gaining Climbing Plus opens up some incredible avenues of approach for her; it's a lot easier to get at targets inside/on top of buildings now with fewer AROs.

    Shikami - As you can tell from my avatar, I love this unit. It's actually what got me into JSA originally. I think this was touched on in the other thread, but the key to the Shikami, in my opinion, isn't that it's an objective piece or a killing machine, but that it's a toolbox that can do either and pivot from one task to another very quickly, all while being extremely mobile. People fixate on how much longer it takes to get a Shikami up the board than a Ninja or Oniwaban, while ignoring the fact that once it's up there, it can move to another part of the board much faster; the others tend to get stuck in one place fairly easily, in my experience. It's not our best gunfighter (and that's saying something), but it can hold its own with Mimetism -6. It has the mobility to get into CC, and is plenty effective at that. And it can do objectives. The key is to figure out what its most important role is at the start of each turn and lean into that. It's almost the same cost as Kitsune, and I've found that a lot of my lists that run her can swap in a Shikami if I need more objective support. I've mostly used the Combi Rifle profile, which I understand is the less popular of the two; the addition of D-Charges in N4 is huge for its scenario potential. The removal of falling hurts the Shikami a lot, but I think it still has a place in lists.

    Ninja - I'm super excited about the standard Hacker, now that it has an SMG instead of the pricier Combi Rifle. Doubly so with the increased popularity of TAGs and Heavy Infantry to lock down. It feels much harder to justify the Killer Hacker now, both because of the change in targets and because the Tac Bow is such a weak weapon in comparison to the SMG. Additionally, the SMG allows you to go into Suppressive Fire after flipping a console, which is pretty annoying. Although I don't use it a ton, I'm glad we apparently got to keep the MULTI Sniper Ninja, simply because having a sniper option in the faction has value to me. One thing to remember about the Ninja Hackers, especially the Killer Hacker, is that they aren't all that great at fighting. I've found they often work best ignoring the enemy as much as possible, at least until they've done an objective. If you want a sneaky Infiltrator who kills things, bring Kitsune or an Oniwaban; if you want a killy model that can also do objectives, you're probably better off with a Shikami than a Ninja, assuming you can find the points. I usually try to keep my Ninja hidden until Turn 2, so they have a better chance to catch enemies unaware. That said, I haven't used Ninja much lately. One trick I picked up is that if you can spare the points, having two of them, or a Ninja and an Oniwaban, often comes as a brutal surprise for your opponent, especially if you reveal one on Turn 2 and hold the other for Turn 3.

    Ryūken - I'll cover the two Ryūken weapon loadouts separately because I think they almost play like completely different units.
    • Ryūken SMG - The SMG is largely unchanged from N3, though the Killer Hacker option is intriguing. One thing that I haven't seen people mention about it as much as I'd like is that if it does end up surviving until the late game, it can pack up and go do an objective, which is handy. I'd say my Ryūken SMG only survives the midfield fight somewhere between one quarter and one third of the time, so that's not something to rely on, but it's a nice trick to have in your back pocket if you can spare the points. The standard SMG profile is a pretty fire-and-forget tarpit, at least for me. You put them in Suppressive Fire and hope that it takes your opponent an uncomfortable number of orders (and hopefully casualties) to kill it. They operate almost entirely in the Reactive Turn. I use their Minelayer mine to cover an additional angle that the Ryūken can't easily, or keep it tucked in somewhere safe so that after they clear the Ryūken, they still can't enter that area as freely as they'd like. Also one quick thing to note is that the SMG Ryūken cannot start as a marker (I assume that's what you meant by "token state"); only the Heavy Rocket Launcher profile gets (one-use) Camouflage.
    • Ryūken Heavy Rocket Launcher - I love these guys, possibly more than I should. They're the most competent "snipers" JSA has*. The fact that they got Mimetism -6 in N4 is mostly amazing, though it does remove the option to play shell games with their mines, which I quite liked. When terrain allowed for it, I used to try to deploy both my Ryūken HRL and his mine in Yuriko's Zone of Control for maximum confusion. But those days are gone. What do we get in return? A shockingly competent long-range gunfighter (by JSA's low standards, anyway)! The Ryūken is much less likely to die immediately after using Surprise Attack now, which is great. I'm still not convinced he's a great ARO piece, though. Where the SMG is all about the Reactive Turn, I think the HRL performs much better in the Active Turn, even once you've expended your Surprise Attack. Also, where I use the SMG Ryūken's Minelayer to add an extra roadblock for my opponent to deal with on the way to an objective/the rest of my list, I prefer to have the Rocket Launcher's free mine cover a back approach to his "sniper" perch, either for Airborn Deployment troops or mobile flankers. It sucks having your "sniper" need to turn around for self-defense, and the mine can (sometimes) make that unnecessary. One important thing to remember is that the Ryūken Heavy Rocket Launcher is our only Camouflage model that doesn't have Hidden Deployment and Infiltration, so it's going to be obvious to an experienced opponent exactly what that Mimetism -6 marker in your deployment zone is hiding.
    *Side note: I'm still a little salty that we didn't get a MULTI Sniper Ryūken to replace the Raiden Sniper. I was quite fond of them, and if it had inherited the Mimetism of the SMG profile as well...damn, that would have been something. Alas.

    Kuroshi Rider - You didn't list her, but if the Shikami counts as sneaky, I feel like Kuroshi Rider should, and damn does she have a lot going for her. I love playing her as an aggressive LT to grab objectives Turn 1 (and ideally Turn 2, if she survives). Obviously, if you're using her as an aggro LT, you want at least one Chain of Command Kempeitai hiding in the back (I prefer two). The addition of a Smoke Grenade Launcher gives her a lot of new options for protecting herself while she works toward an objective, and being a Forward Observer instead of a generic Specialist Operative opens up some Classified Objectives that she couldn't do in N3. I usually like to deploy Kuroshi Rider on a flank; a good turn with her can really slant your opponent's response to that side of that table, leaving them vulnerable to attacks and/or objective-taking on the other side, likely with a Shikami in my lists. She is also often my reserve model.

    Oniwaban - Since I got Kitsune, I've mostly run her instead of the Oniwaban because of what an upgrade she is for 6-10 points. Still, they have their uses, primarily doing Kitsune's thing (minus the smoke) more cheaply, if less capably. I feel more comfortable leaving an Oniwaban in hiding for longer, because it's less of an investment, and I also feel more comfortable firing them off as missiles to trade with a more valuable unit and then die.

    Saito Tōgan - Of the models on your sneaky list, he's the one I've used the least. Without Specialist Operative, he's left in a super weird place for me. If I want a smoke-throwing Infiltrator who kills things, I could pay 8 points more for Kitsune, who does the killing part a hell of a lot better. Or I could get an Oniwaban for around the same price (slightly higher or lower, depending on weapon), who doesn't have the smoke, but still kills and Infiltrates better (if I feel compelled to roll for it; options are options, after all). Or I could pay exactly half Saito's price for Yojimbo, who still has the smoke and also brings Crazykoalas, much better mobility, and (effectively) a second Wound. Oh, and all three of them have Direct Template Weapons for added options, which Saito does not. Non-specialist Saito is quite possibly JSA's biggest head-scratcher for me: Whenever I look at his profile, I end up not being able to figure out why I'd take him over one of the alternatives.

    Lù Duān - Also not one that you mentioned, but I think it's worth considering, even over the more-popular Rui Shi sometimes. Holomask isn't the same kind of sneaky as the other units listed here, but it's still sneaky! I'll go over my take on each of the options available to imitate, in rough order of how much I like them:
    • Pangguling Deactivator (the unarmed non-Hacker one) - No one fears an innocent little unarmed Baggage bot! They're generally ignored unless they're the only target in LOF, and I've had people walk right by them to shoot at someone else. That's when you drop your disguise and light 'em up! The other upside to this strategy is that people will learn to be overly cautious when killing your real Baggage bots.
    • Pangguling EVO Hacker - The main reason to go with this option instead of the Deactivator is to either entice your opponent to come try to kill your supposed hacker (they're much more likely to target an EVO hacker than a naked Baggage bot, and they'll still think it's unarmed, which might lead them to position poorly), or to trick your opponent into believing that you have the capabilities of an EVO hacker in your list (this is much more useful in Yu Jing, because Tiger Soldiers exist there).
    • Kuroshi Rider or Yojimbo - So, as I understand it, it will be obvious from the start of your first turn that this was a ruse, because Impetuous won't trigger on your fake biker, and I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to place an Impetuous token next to them during the Impetuous Phase if they don't actually have that ability. Why do it, then? If you're going second and already have Kuroshi Rider/Yojimbo, you can use the Lù Duān as a decoy to draw aggression away from the real one, and/or prevent your opponent from counter-deploying against them reliably. Sort of like a long-distance, single-image Holoprojector for the real Kuroshi Rider/Yojimbo. You can also make it look like you have both character bikers, to much the same effect. Your opponent will probably gravitate toward whichever one is more of a problem for their list, so it splits the threat less effectively, but they won't know there are shenanigans afoot until you start your turn.
    • Rui Shi - In most cases, at this point you'd be better off just bringing an actual Rui Shi. The only reason I can think of for this ruse is to mask Hidden Deployment SWC (so, Kitsune or a Ninja Sniper or Hacker). Could lead to some really next-level mind games against opponents who know JSA's SWC costs inside and out, I guess. I've certainly had experienced opponents state with great confidence exactly what they thought was in hiding, based on what they could see. Also, it's a hilarious power move to use a Lù Duān to imitate its more popular big brother drone.
    • Pangguling Light Shotgun or Combi Rifle - The only real reason I can think of to imitate one of these two is to trick your opponent into thinking they can outrange you, then springing the Mk12 on them. That doesn't seem great compared to the other options.
    • Aragoto - I honestly have nothing for this. If you want to do the SWC masking thing with a fake Spitfire, the Rui Shi is a better disguise (see under Kuroshi Rider or Yojimbo above for why). If you want to telegraph an Aragoto Hacker as a specialist/hacking threat during deployment, bring a real Aragoto Hacker who can actually make good on that threat.
    Important caveat: I'm not super plugged into what's considered "meta", so this is all based on my personal play experience, which is subject to the normal biases you'd expect from one person (I play against the same people/factions a lot, it's a casual crowd, etc.), and also reflects my personal playstyle and list preferences. So take all of it with a grain of salt, and don't hesitate to experiment for yourself!

    Edited to add an underrated robot friend.
     
    #2 QuietusEmissary, Nov 13, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
  3. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Well-Known Member

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    I'am very hesitantly using infiltrating ninjas on the opponent table side. I dosen't fail very often, but when it does it's very bad. So a bonus on the infiltration roll is not a big deal for me.
    For me the main difference between Saito and the Oniwaban or Kitsune is the CCW. Exp is nice against infantry but tough TAGs could be a problem despite MA4. Therefore as long I expect that there might be a TAG on the opponet side, I would prefer a monofilament model. Auto kills may be gone, but potentially two hits against 12 that causes dead state immediately are still great.
    *edited wrong infiltration rule
     
    #3 Dragonclaw, Nov 13, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
  4. Mcgreag

    Mcgreag Well-Known Member

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    Normal Oniwaban (not Shinobu) have an EM CCW as well now making them almost as good vs light stuff as saito while still retaining the monofil for use against tags and similar.

    Shinobu compensates by having another dice in CC so there will be more saves due to more hits.

    Haven't run the numbers to see which is better against LIs but my gut feeling says it's not going to be a big difference.
     
  5. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Well-Known Member

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    Against LI they are all great with minor differences. For me, it's more the choice between Monofilament against TAGs and Smoke.
     
  6. Kumatake81

    Kumatake81 Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to play this

    g4cAEUZpcmVmaWdodCAyIGZpbmFsgSwBAQsBg+QBAQACg+QBAQADg+QBAgAEgIcBBwAFgIcBAQAGgwUBAQAHgKMBAgAIgOABguUACYP7AQIACoCHAQYAC4ChAQEA

    tonight against Hassassins in tje firefight mission.
    I will report the results...
    This is my first try of a heavy camo list, with the idea that every unit (exept Yuriko) has mimetism(-6).
    I hope it will be fun for both of us...
     
    infyrana likes this.
  7. Master Efialtes

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    You can use the Pistol (gun) in cc. Soooo damage 14 for IL for Sinobu and 2 attacks. Rly cool. Better than the monofilament weapon. It the IL have 2 or more of armor, the monofilament weapon is better.
     
  8. AkiPL

    AkiPL Active Member

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    I'm not sure if you can use MA skill to increase Pistol damage in CC.

    On wiki there is such description for MA: Damage MOD: A MOD to the PH Attribute of the user to determine the Damage of a successful CC Attack.
     
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  9. QuietusEmissary

    QuietusEmissary Active Member

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    Yeah, it's the same reason that (as far as I'm aware), you still can't use Martial Arts to increase monofilament damage, even though monofilament no longer explicitly says in its rules text that the damage can't be modified. You aren't using your PH to calculate damage, so damage bonuses based on PH won't apply. :'(
     
  10. Master Efialtes

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    Ups..., well monofilament and the pistol are not the same thing. Because, the pistol do not use speciall ammo, but the monofilament yes... Anyway, i am not sure of anything right now.

    Good point. @AkiPL @QuietusEmissary
     
  11. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    What @AkiPL wrote is entirely correct; Both a Monofilament CCW and any given pistol has a DAM value of a numerical. Martial Arts increases you PH for purposes of damage. Having 12 PH or 19 PH doesn't matter one iota if you're using a weapon with a fixed damage value.

    Note that this does not mean that their damage values can not be modified, because they certainly can. There are troopers with for example "CC Attack (+1 DAM)" such as Armand Le Muet. This type of MOD will apply to a Monofilament CCW or in Le Muet's case their Breaker Pistol.

    As far as Oniwaban vs Shinobu is concerned; Shinobu is deadlier in a large majority of cases. Two attacks once for 12 DAM is better than one attack twice for an expected effective 13 DAM, but this is also reflected in her price tag. The only case where you'd want to use something other than a Monofilament CCW would be against a target that's Totally Immune or where you'd want a body afterwards and in the latter case a pistol at DAM 11 is probably more than deadly enough since you're likely attacking a REM or basic trooper anyway and even there the risk of over-kill is significant due to how crits work.
     
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