Author's Notes: I've played Infinity for a long time. I've played across three editions, and played PanOceania competitively across two of them. But throughout the history for this game, no release has excited me more than the Varuna Immediate Reaction Division. This Sectorial breaks the rules of PanOceania. Somehow, it manages to be completely unlike everything that has come before, while at the same time feeling more true to PanO than any other Sectorial available. Specific thanks to the members of the PanOceania forum, California Infinity, and Australia Infinity for the many discussions we've had about VIRD in recent months (many of you know who you are.) I hope that this article will help new players and veterans alike orient themselves to this great release, and help them find fun and success on the tabletop. -Michael/Barakiel Varuna Immediate Reaction Division VIRD, also known as the Snake Eaters, are PanOceania's Special Forces elite. Like any PanOceania Sectorial, their ability to project ranged firepower is supreme. Their main asset, however, is that they're deeply innovative; they possess a range of equipment, weaponry and special rules that cannot be found elsewhere in PanOceania. This innovative flexibility allows Varuna to adapt to any ITS scenario, any opponent. When building a VIRD list, Varuna's specialty is in their elite operators, the true Snake Eaters: 1-Wound infantry in the 25-36 cost, all of which can be plugged into your roster to bring a different array of support and combat capabilities. While a skilled VIRD player will certainly use both cheaper and pricier troops to build out their lists, it's these mid-cost elite combatants that will form the combat backbone of any Snake Eater list. Use the powerful stats and equipment of these troops to execute your gameplan and win your scenarios, supported by inexpensive line troops, REMs and helots, or spearheaded by a powerful TAG. In a game that's centered around Special Forces operations, Varuna fully distinguishes itself as the Special Forces Sectorial. Welcome to the jungle. Spoiler: Light Infantry Fusiliers Fusiliers are a familiar troop type for most PanOceania players, and are the functional backbone of a Varuna list. At 10 points per Order, with a 0 SWC Lieutenant, they’re going to be fill out your Order pools, provide link bonuses, and provide crucial support. In many ways, the best part of Fusiliers is not the Fusiliers themselves, but rather their linkability with both Kamau and ORC troopers. More on that to come, but Fusiliers in some form are going to be a universal sight in Varuna lists. Assuming that your Kamau and ORCs are carrying heavy weapons, the most common role for a Fusilier is to field the standard Combi loadout and let them contribute those link bonuses to support your more elite troops, and helping them clear short range threats via BS12-BS15 Combi shots. Makes no mistake, Fusiliers can get work done as necessary. Their firepower is more than respectable, and they’re the cheapest standard hacking device available if you want supportware. If the points are available, upgrade to Forward Observers to not only gives you a Specialist to help with button pushing, but a highly valuable Flash Pulse ARO that can stop even a TAG in its tracks. 3-4 Fusiliers supporting an ORC Fuerbach and/or Kamau Sniper is a very formidable defensive bulwark. The Forward Observer profile also comes with Deployable Repeaters; while this piece of equipment isn’t incredibly useful on a standard line infantry trooper, sometimes it can be critically helpful to lay down that Repeater and gives your Hackers room to operate. Expecting an enemy REM, TAG or HI to storm into your Deployment Zone? Or perhaps you’ve moved your link team up the field to defend a critical center objective? Use that Repeater to help project an additional threat in a very order-efficient fashion. Fusiliers also come with a Paramedic option. While I generally prefer the Forward Observer due to the triple utility of Flash Pulse, Forward Observing targets and Deployable Repeater, the Paramedic always represents a potentially useful (albeit desperate, low-probability) chance to pick up an Unconscious trooper. This chance gets a lot better if you plan to field an ORC in your mixed links; PH14 means ORCs stand a much better chance of coming back to life with a Paramedic’s help. If you add in a Fusilier Hacker, you gain cheap access to Supportware, as well as the most inexpensive way to Authorize REMs and bring them in your army list. If you decide to go Hacking heavy as well, the Fusilier Hacker in a link team is the easiest way to get a Sixth Sense Level 2-capable Hacker. The advantage here is simple: Sixth Sense Level 2 simply allows you to ignore the Stealth rule, which means that Stealthy hackable targets such as Camo or Martial Arts equipped Heavy Infantry cannot simply walk past your Repeater network. Use the Fusilier Hacker to “break the ice”, working past an opponent’s Stealth and letting your more formidable Hackers follow up as necessary. In addition to these obvious support applications, Fusiliers can still contribute useful firepower. Fusilier heavy weapons are all significantly cheaper than their elite mixed-link counterparts. For example, you could certainly reach for a Kamau Heavy Rocket Launcher and gain a very flexible, versatile gunfighting threat. But for 8 points less though, the Fusilier missile launcher provides a tried-and-true EXP ARO that’s quite a bit more disposable than a Kamau, and costs a mere 5 points more than a standard Fusilier. The missile is really worth remembering: while it lacks the raw Ballistic Skill, Burst and staying power of an ORC Fuerbach, it’s just as potent in ARO for roughly ⅓ of the point cost. If you find yourself with SWC to spare, the Fusilier missile is always a safe bet. The Fusilier Heavy Machine Gun is also tried-and-true, certainly able to lay down high-Burst firepower for 10 points less than its Kamau counterpart. If you need a backup gunfighter, this is also a great bargain choice. The Fusilier MULTI Sniper Rifle represents the hybrid choice of defense and attack. Double Action provides great stopping power if you manage to squeeze through a hit, and Burst 3 when linked is solid enough to win plenty of firefights. Some players love the flexibility of hybrid choices, and some players dislike them extremely. The MULTI Sniper is a decent and stable choice, though the Kamau MULTI Sniper brings so many advantages, it would always be my first choice when adding one to my list. The last SWC choice is the light grenade launcher. Depending on your frequent matchups, or if you choose to use your mixed link aggressively, this can be a highly valuable unit. It’s perfect for knocking down light opposition that tries to stage near your Deployment Zone, making it great in missions that focus on defending your half of the table, such as Frostbyte, Supremacy or Frontline. If you face an opponent that makes frequent use of Inferior or Superior Infiltration, it can be a helpful tool for dislodging them from rooftops and other hard-to-reach hiding places. If you’re fighting over an objective room or midfield objective where a lot of enemy units will congregate in a packed area, lobbing in some grenades is a typically a strong, safe way to break up their defensive formations, shift enemies out of Suppressive Fire, annihilate some link bonuses, and maybe catch some perimeter weapons or mines in the blast as well. The Fusilier LGL is rarely expected (they were an uncommon sight in NeoTerra, where that hard limit of AVA5 Fusiliers meant that players tended to purchase other loadouts instead.) The last Fusilier profile, and perhaps the most valuable, is the simple Lieutenant profile. While WIP12 isn’t particularly impressive, it’s certainly easy to hide your LT in a field of identically-equipped Fusiliers, making it difficult for an enemy to hunt your LT with any kind of reliability. The overwhelming majority of my own VIRD lists feature a simple Fusilier LT. Kamau Without a doubt, Kamau are the iconic unit of Varuna. Among the most elite Light Infantry in the game, Kamau are distinguished by the incredible combination of BS13 and Mimetism. The result is that Kamau are a top-tier gunfighter, whether they’re operating alone or in tandem with a link team. The other thing to note is that Kamau retain the excellent 4-4 MOV bonus of light infantry. Most units with their range of skills and gear end up being classified as Medium Infantry, usually receiving the slower 4-2 MOV value that goes along with that. But Kamau are relatively quick, making them very good at punishing targets at long range, before accelerating forward to take objectives or attack aggressively in the midfield. Kamau also come with a multitude of support rules and stats. First, Stealth is both a thematic and effective addition for them. Stealth can allow you to maneuver close to the enemy, denying them any Change Facing AROs, and potentially allowing Kamau sneaky shots to the back arc. Against specialized opponents like Jammers, or if you have a Kamau Hacker in train, being able to stealth past any Jammer or Hacking AROs can be huge. Additionally, there’s a debated rules interaction involving mixed link teams of stealth and non-stealth units. Some groups believe that if a link team contains members with both Stealth and non-Stealth, and they maneuver near a unit like an enemy Hacker or Jammer, the non-Stealth units will trigger an ARO, and the Stealth units become a legal target. If your meta plays this way, having a Core or Haris team of mixed ORCs + Kamau, all with Stealth, will help you avoid this debate and maneuver your link team safely past these kinds of threats. Kamau also come with Shock Immunity. It’s not thematically clear if this represents elite durability or some kind of enhanced protection, but in any case, this is a phenomenal rule for a unit that spends a lot of time exchanging fire with the enemy. Knowing that your Kamau Sniper or HMG won’t die outright to a Supportware-boosted HMG, or a lucky Sniper Crit, is hugely valuable. Including a Doctor to support your Kamau heavy weapons The last notable support stat is BTS6. While this rule doesn’t come into play terribly often, it certainly is very nice to remember on those occasions where it does matter. Getting Jammed? You have great protection. Getting shot with Breaker? Not too shabby to have effective ARM3. Playing a home-baked narrative scenario where a flesh eating virus is eating all your troops? Sweet, your Kamau are very well protected there. When you combine the Kamau’s superior stat line with its support skills, and then add in the flexibility WIldcard (being able to join any link in VIRD,) the Kamau’s a universal sight in any VIRD list. When linked with inexpensive Fusiliers, you gain a top-tier gunfighter that few opponents can withstand. Even as a solo choice, operating apart from a link, a Kamau heavy weapon is a flexible, mobile gunfighter perfectly capable of working a flank on its own. The major distinguishing feature, of course, is that elite BS13 combined with Mimetism. This highly elite starting Ballistic Skill, as well as the inherent advantage of reducing your opponent’s Ballistic Skill via Mimetism, is a dominant pairing. The Heavy Machine Gun is incredible. As a solo piece, you basically buy a cheaper Nisse who trades MSV2 for a faster 4-4 MOV value. When linked with Fusiliers, you get a high-Burst gunfighter who will outperform most 5-man Heavy Infantry teams. This is truly an elite piece. Because of the inexpensive 1 SWC discount, this is also a very efficient choice from a list-building perspective. A list that relies on Kamau HMGs is going to find itself with plenty of spare SWC to spend on support choices, letting you easily include those .5 SWC choices like standard Hacking Devices, Helot, or Echo Bravo Special Weapons very comfortably. A pair of Kamau can work with one another very effectively. Deploy one with your Fusilier link, which will have dominant link bonuses but will be easy for an opponent to spot, and then keep a second Kamau HMG in reserve. Deploy the second Kamau solo, in a different segment of the board. If your opponent squares off against your Core link, deploying in reaction to it, you will often find that your solo Kamau will have better angles and lanes to maneuver through. In addition to the HMG, the Kamau MULTI Sniper Rifle is going to be a universal sight in VIRD lists. For one, it’s the only source of Multispectral Visor in the entire Sectorial. Paired with link bonuses and hard-hitting Double Action rounds, this will be the profile of choice for engaging smoke-tossing warbands and hard-to-hit threats like the Myrmidons and ThermOptic Camo threats. It also has the hitting power to take on elite TO Heavy Infantry or light TAGs. In the active turn, the uses for this profile are fairly self-explanatory: Burst 3 is perfectly adequate for gunfighting, and you should use range modifiers wherever possible to leverage an advantage over short-ranged opposition. Obviously, use good judgement when choosing whether to apply the MULTI Sniper or the HMG against a given target; the margins are actually very close against Mimetism/Camo targets, but quite distinctly different from one another. The real appeal of the MULTI Sniper, of course, is as an ARO tool. Sit back at maximum range, and you can stand a good chance against even elite HMGs as long as you outrange them. Note, of course, that specialized ARO tools get more valuable the longer you can avoid throwing them away. A Kamau Sniper in Turn 3 is going to be very deadly compared to a Kamau Sniper in Turn 1, because your opponent will have fewer Orders, fewer active turn pieces, and greater pressure on his Order pool to finish the mission and perform other tasks. The final heavy weapon choice for Kamau is the Heavy Rocket Launcher + Submachine Gun combination, and this is a notable choice for several reasons. First, it’s both a blast template and a source of Fire Ammunition, both of which are dominant rules to have in your weapon arsenal. Rocket Launchers are great active and reactive turn weapons, and while they lack the long-range safety net of the MULTI Sniper, they’re still very hard-hitting. The low cost of this profile is also very appealing… At 9 points cheaper than the MULTI Sniper, it’s a bargain choice that still brings dominant performance. The presence of the SMG is an amazing bonus. Not only do you get a dominant mid-and-long range weapon in the form of the Rocket Launcher, but the SMG brings specialty ammy types and can tear holes in any close-range opponent. This combination of long and short-range dominance makes this Kamau a very good choice for a last-turn “sweeper” role, carrying your Core link up the table to claim a crucial objective or eradicate a key enemy piece. The ability to choose between lethal Suppressive Fire and a long-range blast template also makes it excellent in defense. The three aforementioned profiles received special attention in this tactica, because they’re ideal choices for any mixed link team. Whereas any Fusilier Specialist can push a button adequately, or a Fusilier Hacker can dispense Supportware as needed, a Fusilier team cannot duplicate the effects of a Kamau heavy weapon. Kamau are trigger pullers, and while they are capable of performing other roles, they are very, very optimized for combat roles. That being said, the other Kamau profiles are all solid and helpful. The Combi Rifle is a solid, elite platform. At twice the cost of a standard Fusilier, it certainly should a better unit! You’re not likely to use a plain Combi profile much, unless you’re using a pure Core Kamau link. Since the Combi Rifle is the default weapon for the Haris and Specialist profiles though, it’s certainly possible you'll end up using a Kamau Combi on one form or another. In such a case, the Kamau is certainly quite dangerous. Even out to 32 inches, a full linked Kamau Combi Rifle is quite a dangerous threat in the active turn. Combi Rifles are lethal weapons, especially in the hands of a useful Specialist: The Forward Observer is a very strong platform for Flash Pulse, benefitting from solid WIP13, Mimetism, and rangebands that are considerably more flexible than a Combi shot. The Paramedic is also a fine choice, though Paramedics tend to be unreliable due to PanO’s generally low PH stat. If your Kamau are working closely with ORCs, the Paramedic can be a nice choice when applied to that strong ORC PH14, but you’re still gambling compared to using a standard Trauma Doc and her useful re-rolls on failed attempts. The Kamau Hacker deserves special mention. This is an iconic profile from a previous edition of Infinity, and will have earned a special place in the hearts of many veterans. At BTS6, she has some durability, though whether you feel like trying that luck against Damage 16 Killer Hacker programs is up to you. If you do, the combination of high BTS and Shock Immunity gives her a better survival chance against them than your typical computer nerd with a Standard Hacking Device. She doesn’t bring any particular benefit over the much cheaper Fusilier standard Hacker, though she retains her elite trigger-pulling profile. She’s a decent choice for a full Kamau Core or Haris link. Note too that if theme is important to you, the Kamau Lieutenant option is available for the taking. I don't consider it optimized for any particular role, but that doesn't stop it from being a superior combatant. With all of this in mind, Kamau are a good choice for a Haris Team. By purchasing the Haris option, you can field 2-3 Kamau and a VIRD Division Machinist as a mobile, elite, aggressive 3-man Haris team. While VIRD has a very strong Core link, you won't always want to maneuver those 5 bodies into the midfield, where they'll be vulnerable and exposed to danger. The Kamau Haris can help with this. Kamau Haris versus Patsy Haris: Note that while you can buy the Kamau Haris leader, Patsy can also form a Haris that includes Kamau, and she doesn't cost any SWC either. Use the Kamau team if you're worried about enemy Hacking, or desperately need to save points. That being said, Patsy is a phenomenal crux for a Haris team, but she's still comes with significant drawbacks (limited weapon range and Hackability being the two obvious ones.) Letting Kamau form their own Fireteam is a valuable option if you're worried about either of those components, or if you also want to include the VIRD Division Machinist. The FAQ tells us that the Machinist can only link with Kamau Core, or if a Kamau Haris leader forms the team, so the Kamau Haris gains the versatility of having the Machinist present too. Zulu Cobra Wow, what a unit. PanOceania waited a long time to get a Camouflage unit to call their own, but once they received it, it did not disappoint at all. The first distinguishing feature of the Cobra is, in fact, their Camo. It provides all the advantages of marker state, stealth, Surprise Shot, without the steep price tag of the ThermOptic Camo that PanOceania units ordinarily rely on. The Forward Deployment Level 1 does not provide the freedom of full Infiltration, but still provides a nice up-table advantage, and also means the Cobra doesn’t overpay when playing missions that do not allow Infiltration or have Exclusion Zones. The Cobra has a few unorthodoxies compared to its Camo counterparts in other Factions. For one, it’s significantly more skilled in a firefight. Most Camo skirmishers are BS11, with BS12 being regarded as fairly elite. BS13 is nearly unheard of, being reserved for ultra-rare centerpiece units like the Yu Jing’s Dao Fei. This means that the Cobra is, first and foremost, a shooting-based combat unit. It will not be leveraging mines or other template weapons for its combat effect. Instead, in true PanOceania fashion, it’s using massive modifiers and amazingly Ballistic Skill to punish targets. The Cobra does come with a number of useful support and utility roles, but each profile is very much intended to be a Trigger Puller before anything else. The first and perhaps most anticipated profile is the Sensor + Jammer, Combi Rifle, Assault Pistol loadout. This profile is undisputed star of midfield hunting, support-oriented combat. First, if you fight Camo in any meaningful quantity, this unit will be your saviour. Not only can you Sensor Sweep, or benefit from +6 to Discover, but you can also Intuitive Attack enemy Camo with Jammer for the double-threat of revealing and Isolating them all in one. Coordinate with Fugazi to lay Sniffers, revealing critical portions of the table and denying enemy the ability to Recamo there. Feeling pressure in your backline, or on a critical objective? Get that Cobra onto a rooftop or some other secure location, and Jam everything that comes close. Remember that Jammer is not a very effective active turn weapon… Spending Orders to Jam is almost always a low-probability outcome, so do your best to use Jammer as a defensive area-denial tool. When I go first in a game, I almost always use this turn to advance my Jammers into defensible positions (rooftops, dense terrain, etc.) where it's difficult for the enemy to reach them, and they can force as many Jammer attempts as possible. Position the Cobra in a place where enemies will have to spend multiple turns trying to bypass you, and remember that Stealth units or models in a Marker state cannot be targeted by Jamming. Remember as well that the threat of Jammer can be just as potent as actually having one on the table. If your opponent thinks a Camo token is hiding a Jammer, they may not want to risk getting close enough to Discover and find out. If you can train your opponents into thinking every list might have a Jammer hiding in wait, you can project a very strong psychological threat over anyone you play, helping to keep your backfield safe. A note too: This profile is, without exception, the greatest platform for Triangulated Fire in the game. Most units struggle to use Triangulated Fire in a face-to-face roll, because Triangulated Fire is a long skill. If you move into position to set up the Triangulated Fire, you’re offering your opponent a shot that may be wildly in their favor. However, with the Camo state, you are guaranteed to be able to move safely into LoF of any enemy that you wish to target. They cannot shoot you, only attempt to Discover, which means you can safely initiate a Triangulated Fire Order from the position of your choosing. In addition, most Triangulated Fire units are only BS11 or BS12… Perfectly fine, but this means their BS -3 shots when using Triangulated Fire usually aren’t that accurate. The BS13 of the Cobra is phenomenal here. Use this tool to wildly outrange targets with ludicrous cross-table shots. Use this to fire into Close Combat, safely scraping opponents off your troops with no risk of Friendly Fire. Pair this with Nimbus Plus to keep your Ballistic Skill stable, while forcing the opponent into terrible odds. Because you can still use all the Cobra’s considerable modifiers (Camo, Cover, Surprise Shot) even long-range ARO Specialists will probably struggle to hit you with any return fire. Using Tech and Skill to engage a TO Camo Sniper with your basic Combi Rifle is so distinctly PanO, and also hilarious. Note too that this profile comes with an Assault Pistol. In most circumstances, this will be redundant with the Combi. However, if you’re engaging within 8 inches, or you’re able to Triangulated Fire at anything within the Assault Pistol’s maximum range of 24 inches, you can leverage that nice Burst bonus. So while the Combi does provide a decent staple weapon, look for opportunities to rock and roll with that Burst 4 against light opposition, either up close with conventional shots, or pulling cheeky tricks for Burst 4 Triangulated Fire. When you combined the Burst 4 of the Assault Pistol with advantage of Surprise Shot, you help offset the Ballistic Skill penalty of Triangulated Fire and allow for a very high-probability exchange with most opponents. Remember too that Sensor can also be used in Discover + Shoot maneuvers. Line up your Cobra on a Camo enemy, then spend a fresh Order to Discover + Shoot. Even at medium and long ranges, your opponent will be wary about the fact that Cobra is Discovering on WIP19 thanks to Sensor. If the opponent doesn’t reveal to contest you, a successful Discover lets you hammer home an unopposed shot, or immediately follow up with Triangulated Fire. This loadout is truly the bane of Camo opponents. Note too that VIRD can use the Sensor + Jammer profile as a Lieutenant without having to pay an added cost. This is a tremendous asset. If you’re playing any mission that emphasizes keeping your Lieutenant alive, or you’re playing a mission format where you may not be able to hide your Lieutenant’s identify (such as Limited Insertion) then having access to a Camouflage LT is very powerful. Not only can you hide safely from determined LT hunters, even using the Forward Deployment L1 to reach rooftop or other safe points outside of your DZ, but you can also Jam or Discover any threats that get too close and try to make a dedicated assault. This is truly one of the most defensible LTs in the game. In addition, for general combat practices, it gives us something to do with that extra LT Order. As a PanO player, in 95% of my games, I never use the LT Order at any point. This may be because my LT is linked and I don’t want to reveal her, or possibly because I don’t want to give away her identity too early in the game. With the Cobra though, you can use that LT Order for a variety of purposes: using Sensor through Sniffers, making Jamming attempts at nearby enemies, entering Suppressive Fire in a critical defense, recamoing for protection… On such a capable platform, the LT Order becomes useful again. Note of course that you should still be cautious when using your Lieutenant. Any time you spend the Lieutenant Order, you’re making a bold announcement to your enemy. In many circumstances, Patsy Garnett and her NCO ability will be a safer outlet for using that Lieutenant Order. Note that the Sensor + Jammer profile is just scratching the surface of all the potent uses of the Zulu Cobra though. Let’s look at both the Killer Hacker and Forward Observer loadouts. Both are quite similar. Any dedicated ITS player knows that both the KHD and FO roles are staple Specialist choices, and the Cobra is no exception here. Both of these units are excellent choices for button-pushing missions, being cheaper than the Croc Man while also padding out the table with Camo tokens, to help give the illusion of there being many possible Jammer Defenders hiding under each Token. The Killer Hacker gives us that valuable anti-infowar piece, which is very important if you plan to run many ORCs, REMs, or TAGs. With a marker state, Surprise Shot and respectable WIP13, it’s quite a decent choice. In addition, it’s a fairly cheap and efficient way to authorize REMs for your list, costing no SWC while still providing a very useful combat-capable Specialist. The Forward Observer is solid and straightforward, easily able to act as a mobile Specialist, and also providing that helpful Flash Pulse or the ability to mark targets. If you do plan to do a lot of marking, perhaps to support a Squalo Heavy Grenade Launcher or Clipper, consider using the Croc Man Forward Observer instead; the full Infiltration and added -3 from full ThermOptic Camouflage are very useful in that role. For general combat and button pushing though, the Forward Observer can do the job well. Both the KHD and FO come with an added benefit in the form of the Breaker Combi Rifle. This really helps to distinguish their roles; not only can they fulfill their roles as Specialists and Classified Objective fillers, but they can also crack extreme hardened targets, or prey very easily on units with no BTS value. This is a really helpful secondary skirmisher to keep up your sleeve in case of emergency, because it really has the potential to threaten anything if it can get close enough to it. Even TAGs will be wary of a BS13 Camo unit with breaker, and this unit will tear through Medium Infantry and other up-Armored, low-BTS opponents. These will be a common sight in many VIRD lists. Both the Spitfire and Shock Marksman Rifle + X-Visor loadouts deserve special mention, because they are geared entirely for attack and gunfighting. While the previous 3 Cobra loadouts combine attack and utility, both the Spitfire and SMMR are all about leveraging that Camo and high BS to punish enemy targets. Note that both loadouts are actually fairly similar: they’re acceptable from 0-8, and dominant from 8-24. The Spitfire is a tried-and-true weapon, and very dangerous in the hands of a BS13 Camo user. The major downside here, of course, is the steep SWC cost associated with the weapon: 1.5 SWC is pretty significant. The Shock Marksman Rifle lacks the Burst and hitting power of the Spitfire, but is quite a bit cheaper in points, costs no SWC, and is also incredibly lethal all the way out to 40 inches. Because the Marksman Rifle’s rangebands have very far-reaching -3 band, it pairs perfectly with the X-Visor. Suddenly your Shock Marksman Rifle suffers no negative modifiers from 24-40 inches, letting you outrange a whole host of weapons, and turning the Cobra into a precision rifle user who can hit a target in cover 40 inches away on 10s. As you can see, the Cobra is a true game-changer for PanOceania, and having access to AVA3 Cobras is truly a fantastic reason to play VIRD. Each profile offers a very point-efficient and lethal package. While we may miss having some solid staples like antipersonnel mines, PanO has always been about putting rounds on target, and the Zulu Cobra is now one of the game’s foremost practitioners of that philosophy. Echo Bravo The Echo Bravo is one of the most innovative unit designs that PanOceania has ever seen: an Airborne Infiltrating unit with multiple well-designed loadouts, optimized for the role of walking onto a table edge and applying its specialty tools to an opponent’s weak points. Each profile is very different, changing the role of the Echo Bravo significantly depending on what you choose. The EB possess elite Ballistic Skill, but lacks any additional Visual Modifiers such as Mimetism, so you care has to be used that you don’t commit the Echo Bravo against tough defensive targets like elite link teams, hard Suppressive Fire targets, Total Reaction opponents, etc. As a result, the EB is always going to be happiest when it can sneak on behind an opponent for rear-arc shots, or leverage its template weapons against weak primary targets (such as Unconscious opponents, revealed Mines, unarmed REMs, etc.) to potentially splash and hurt more dangerous opponents. Therefore, the EB will be at its best when a player keeps their eye open for easy opportunities. Smashing your EB against a tough defense runs the risk of throwing it away carelessly; holding an EB until your opponent is most vulnerable can win you a game. The Paramedic, combi rifle + light shotgun, Wild Parrot profile is perhaps the most well-rounded of the various loadouts. As a Paramedic, you get an inexpensive Specialist loadout that can also make desperate attempts to revive Unconscious midfield units. Most importantly though, this unit is loaded for Bear against broad spectrum of targets. Having both a Combi Rifle and light shotgun is fantastic in the context of an Airborne Infiltration unit; use the Combi for longer-range engagements, able to hit flanked enemies out to 32 inches on 10s, or end your turn in Suppressive Fire for modest defense. The shotgun’s application should be self-evident; flank those backline cheerleaders and blow them away. The real innovation in this profile though comes from the Wild Parrot. This is a unique piece of kit, available (at the time of writing) only to the Echo Bravo. This ordinance functions like an E/Mauler: once deployed, it detonates at enemy units that perform an action or ARO in its trigger area, hitting them with the small E/M teardrop template. However, it’s the mechanism for deploying the Wild Parrot that makes it unique. It deploys in the same manner as a Fast Panda: the owner declares a Short Skill or ARO to use it, and then the device makes an 8-inch MOV from the owner and deploys in the final location of your choosing. Note that, unlike a Crazy Koala, the MOV of the Parrot provokes no AROs from the enemy. This allows the EB to hide behind a corner, and maneuver the Parrot to where it will inflict the most damage, either covering multiple enemies with its template, or using the 8 inch movement plus 8.5 inch template to hit a target at a distance. When you follow up the Parrot with an attack, you force the enemy to make a difficult decision: react with a Shoot, but eat the Parrot hit? Or Dodge the Parrot hit, but risk suffering the EB’s shooting attacks? The biggest disadvantage of the Parrots is that they’re only Disposable (1). However, I’ve gotten around this point by carefully maneuvering Baggage Bots in order to Reload an Echo Bravo. In Objective Room scenarios, I’ve even walked the EB on inside my own Deployment Zone, with a Baggage Bot already deployed and waiting, and then sent volleys of 2-3 Parrots up into the Objective Room, reloading the EB with a Parrot after each use, to really help ensure E/M hits against Heavy Infantry link teams or other threats that are difficult to dislodge in any conventional fashion. In addition to the Paramedic, we also have the boarding shotgun + light rocket launcher profile. First and foremost, this is the first light rocket launcher ever fielding on a unit that walks in from a table edge, already making it a unique and unexpected option. As if that wasn’t enough, the boarding shotgun provides a lethal cheerleader-killing or Armor-cracking secondary weapon, making this profile quite lethal at a variety of ranges. In terms of simple firepower and template mayhem, this profile is ideal. If your opponent has a lot of clustered units or weak backline troops, this profile can be a game-ender. Be cautious though, because Burst 2 on all weapons means this profile will struggle to reliably win face-to-face rolls against dedicated ARO opponents. As with all things in the world of the Echo Bravo, look to score rear-arc shots, or trying to splash templates onto weak, unopposed targets in order to catch more dangerous enemy units in the ensuing blast. Perhaps the most direct and outright dangerous profile for the Echo Bravo is the red fury. It’s impressively inexpensive for a Burst 4 squad automatic weapon, especially one with particularly excellent long range bands that can allow for some great cross-table shots if you can flank an enemy and negate their cover. The role for this weapon is simple: walk the Echo Bravo on, and then leverage that high Burst and good rangeband to devastating effect. With inbuilt Shock Ammunition, you don’t have to worry about tidying up your mess either… Most targets will simply be knocked out of play, avoiding the need to double-tap Unconscious miniatures so that they’re not Doctored back into play. The 4-4 MOV of the EB makes this unit very good at running-and-gunning as well, engaging multiple targets in sequence or even splitting Burst between multiple targets, allowing for maximum destruction in the course of a round. The last profile is possibly the most specialized. The Assault Hacker brings some infowar to VIRD lists. The advantage of an Assault Hacker that walks onto the table is twofold: you can get it close to the enemy quickly to lock down a critical area of the table, and you remain safe and untargetable by enemy Killer Hackers until you enter play. The potential for this loadout is certainly there… An unexpected Assault Hacker vs a high-tech enemy can be very potent. Ordinarily, I don’t think the low WIP of a unit is necessarily a debilitating feature… Low WIP simply isn’t that big a deal, as long as you can afford to throw an extra or two at trying to pass a roll. With Hackers though, that often isn’t the case: they may only get one or two attempts to try and bestow a crucial effect on an enemy, and every point of WIP really helps in these scenarios. A mere 60% chance of passing the WIP roll to disable key Comms equipment, or Isolating an important target, isn’t particurlarly high (and that doesn’t include the chance that the target will pass their BTS save either.) To sweeten the deal though, this loadout still remains fairly cheap compared to most AD Hackers, and also comes with a nice one-use DEP for some explosive mayhem. If you’re playing a heavy infowar game, the Echo Bravo represents a decent additional tool that can be held off-table until it’s needed. For most players though, the excellent competing roles offered by the other Echo Bravo profiles are probably going to serve you better. Helot Militia It’s a brave new world, with PanOceania finally including their iconic alien race in a playable force at last. Helot Militia are a very specialized unit, blending a combination of skills and abilities that were classically “not PanO” until CB (in truly excellent fashion) decided to offer them to us. Helots are primarily distinguished by two rules: Neurocinetics, and then the choice of either Decoy or Limited Camouflage. Neurocinetics basically takes the active and ARO rules, and inverts them: instead of firing full Burst in the Active Turn, you fire at Burst 1. But in ARO, you can fire your full Burst. This application is obvious: the Helot is a defensive specialist, designed to contest the enemy in ARO, threatening their movement and helping to lock down lanes. Neurocinetics combines with either Decoy or Limited Camouflage to further enhance this defensive role. Decoy, in layman’s terms, functions like a cheaper, simpler Holoprojector L2. When you deploy the Helot with Decoy, you deploy 2 Decoy tokens and 1 “real” Helot. Note down in secret which of these 3 tokens is the true miniature, and the other two have no effect other than to convince your opponent to waste orders shooting them, or bypassing them while sweating nervously that they may reveal and shoot them with a rocket launcher. What I like about the Decoy profile is the huge amount of table coverage they provide, which your opponent can’t afford to ignore. Two Helots, costing minimum 18 points, can deploy 6 “clones” all packing hard-hitting weapons that resolve their full Burst. That’s excellent. In one scenario, your opponent is afraid of all of them, and spends Orders laying Smoke, blasting each Decoy down, or otherwise wasting Orders to avoid having the Helots lay some pain. In the other scenario, your opponent ignores them, and you potentially reveal when an opponent’s at their most vulnerable (for example, and entire enemy link team maneuvering around in the open) and blast them all to hell with the Helot’s weaponry. The Limited Camo option allows for a different type of mind game. While you cannot benefit from Surprise Shot when firing in ARO, you can keep your opponent guessing about what the Camo Token might be concealing. With Decoy, the weaponry and loadout of the Helot in question is public information: if you’re packing a MULTI Sniper, the opponent will know it as soon as you deploy. While Limited Camo doesn’t have the multi-token coverage of Decoy, it does create a blank threat that your opponent has to evaluate. If you’re interested in holding back some of your Cobras or Crocmen mines, deploying them in your standard Deployment Zone, you can push this illusion even further by making your opponent wonder how many Helots you have. Is that Camo Token a Jammer? A Killer Hacker? Or a Burst 4 Red Fury? Limited Camo is a very good tool for masking the identity of your threats. A Zulu Cobra will be a lot more effective if the opponent can’t spot it at deployment, and Helots can help with that. Limited Camo also has the advantage of providing 360 degree Line of Fire, making for a very effective all-round defensive turret. Decoys still have facings that they need to adhere to. Similarly, Limited Camo doesn’t break or go away when you spend orders on the Helot. Decoy is very much a one-trick advantage… As soon as you spend the Helot’s Irregular Order, the Decoys vanish. Limited Camo is a lasting benefit, so reach for Limited Camo if you want to move your Helots forward into more aggressive positions. Fitting Helots into the rest of your force: The Irregular status of Helots is key; they aren't contributing Orders to your force unless you spend Command Tokens on them. As such, they don't really hurt your Order pools if they die. With that in mind, you should absolutely look to kill your Helots off in the most advantageous way imaginable. They're meant to be risked, meant to be expose to harm, and fully intended to get in the opponent's way and sabotage their game plan. Helots are designed as a disposable ARO resource. Using Helots to support a Jammer Zulu Cobra is a natural defensive pairing. If the Cobra is dug into terrain, either up on a rooftop or around a corner, cover that trooper with a Helot. If the enemy attempts to gunfight the Helot down, you get unopposed Jamming attempts. If the opponent Resets vs the Jam, you get unopposed Helot shots. While Neurocinetics is good, but Helots themselves are not great gunfighters. BS11 with no modifiers is not exactly top tier. So a Helot either needs to project a greater threat than it actually is, or it needs to count on an opponent underestimating them and committing to a bad maneuver (such as accidentally ending their second short skill in LoF of a Decoy, or wandering a link team past a Helot without targeting it.) I think Decoy is much more likely to yield favorable results here. As far as the profiles themselves, their main expense is in SWC. As an Irregular unit, each Helot is quite inexpensive in terms of points, primarily paying a tax in SWC in order to put them on the table. In this instance, the fact that units like Kamau and Cobra are so cheap in SWC really benefits us when purchasing Helots to support our force. Only paying 1 SWC for a Kamau HMG pays dividends when we’re adding 2 or 3 Helots to our army. But which Helots to use? The MULTI Sniper Rifle costs a bundle of SWC, but hits very hard with Double Action ammo. It also has the advantage of having the longest range. Since Helots are using PanO milita profile (BS11, WIP12, etc.) they’re definitely the least skilled of our various ranged combatants, on par with NeoTerra’s Auxilia. As a result, the MULTI Sniper’s ability to challenge opponents at extreme range is basically the best protection they can get as far as winning a face-to-face roll. However, many players probably won’t have the SWC cost to afford the MULTI Sniper. The Red Fury is a bit more on track as far as both point and SWC cost. That Burst 4, plus the excellent flexible rangebands of the Red Fury, give it better odds of actually challenging and beating a dedicated attacker in face-to-face. Once again though, there is some associated SWC and point cost here. The Shock Marksman Rifle is a fair tradeoff for the Red Fury. It’s 1 point cheaper in cost, and 1 SWC cheaper, but loses out on a point of Burst. The role is similar though: use respectable Burst and good rangebands to make the enemy worry, and Shock certainly means that a Crit or lucky Hit will end the conversation with most targets. If you have the SWC to spare, the Red Fury upgrade is a no-brainer. Otherwise, this is a nice choice for aggressive contesting longer lanes. The Light Rocket + submachine gun profile is likely to be the most popular, primarily because of its double weapon systems and very cheap cost. Note that, of the 4 profiles, it’s the least equipped to actually contest long ranges. The mere Burst 2 and 24 inch range of the Light Rocket Launcher, while great, is a very big efficiency reduction compared to the extreme range of the MULTI Sniper, or the high Burst of the Red Fury or Marksman Rifle. What the Light Rocket does bring though, is a big blast template and excellent stopping power against tough targets. If an enemy is careless in manuevering either with a link team, or in coming around corners where multiple targets are grouped, the Helot can very easily score some devastating multiple-target hits. Similarly, if you score a hit or Crit against a valuable opponent, being able to Burn down multiple Wounds, or Burn off ThermOptical Camo or Optical Disruption Devices, is worth its weight in gold. The same philosophy is roughly true for the submachine gun. Though many players view the SMG as the overpowered, underpriced darling of CB’s design ethos, the truth is that the submachine gun is a very limited weapon with its rangebands. However, in the context of keeping an enemy out of your Deployment Zone, it’s fulfilling the exact role it needs to fulfill. Use it to stand at a corner and light up anyone bold enough to come around it. Contest their hits, fish for crits, and put them down with Shock Ammo. The high Burst is really nice if a Dogged Galwegian is foolish enough to wander into LoF, or if an Airborne Deployment trooper misrolls on their drop and thumps down in front of you. Regardless of which profile you select, the Helot is there to give their life to protect your valuable Regular troopers. Since they’re Irregular and not really contributing to your Order pools to begin with, don’t be afraid to sell them in ARO so that your more skilled troops might live. If your Helots do survive until an active Turn, put that Irregular Order to use; use it to shove them around into a more aggressive position, attempt an unlikely Discover attempt, or even spend a Command Token and make them Regular so that your Snake Eaters can do their job. In a critical turn, being able to apply even 2 or 3 Command Tokens to give your Order Pool a surge can be helpful for inflicting a devastating turn. Trauma Doc Some players believe that using Doctors is a waste of points and Orders. I am not one of those players. I believe Doctoring has incredibly valuable applications, especially for PanOceania. The reason for this is simple too: PanOceania solves virtually all of its problems with firepower, which means you need to keep your gunfighters supported and active. If other armies lose a key gunfighter or two, they often have a recourse they can fall back one: throwing smoke, rushing with warbands, etc. PanOceania cannot do this. We win games by putting our gunfighters in harm's way, to knock the other guy down. When we suffer a crit, or get beaten by a hostile gunfighter, we need to get our pieces back in play. The Trauma Doc helps with that. Generally, her role is always going to be a simple one: hide in the Deployment Zone, avoid standing too close to a hostile corner, and too close to a gunfighter who might get splashed with a template, and wait until someone falls Unconscious. Once that happens, hopefully she will only be one or two Orders away from making a WIP roll and getting your trooper back on his feet. Note, of course, that proper deployment here is very important. You want your Doctor close enough to your active gunfighters, but not so close that she gets in their way or risks harm herself. You also don't want her location to telegraph to your opponent where you're deploying your best shooters. Though her Willpower 12 is often ridiculed, don't forget that Command Tokens allow you to re-roll failed attempts for models with Cubes. If you're bringing your star Kamau Sniper back to life, it's often well-worth spending a Command Token to make that attempt. Lastly, remember that your Trauma Doc is a skilled combatant. She has a BS12 Combi Rifle, and a can bring a Palbot along to sweep mines and help clear a path for her. If the game gets desperate, don't be afraid to use her as an emergency Specialist for midfield button-pushing. Machinist PanOceania has seen its Machinists get revived with a whole list of Sectorial-specific Special Rules, and VIRD has one of the best. The standard Machinist is still around, and he's a decent choice if you want your Machinist to hunker in the backfield and help patch up broken units. The Varuna Division Machinist, however gets Mimetism (amazing) as well as Aquatic Terrain, Stealth, and the ability to join a Kamau Haris Team. Based on those rules, it seems he spent some serious time training as a Snake Eater, and he gets all the in-game perks that seem to come with it! If you have 2 points to spend, upgrading to a Varuna Division Machinist is an easy choice to make. Regardless of which loadout you take though, the support component of the Machinist remains the same. If a unit needs Structure Points repaired, needs Isolation or Immobilize-2 fixed, or wants to utilize tools like Deactivator or D-Charges, the Machinist provides all of that. This is your only option for restoring Structure Points to damaged REMs or TAGs, so it's well worth including a Machinist in any list that relies heavily on these units. Even if your list consists entirely of meatbag infantry, a Machinist is still valuable if you face a lot of E/M ammunition or similar ammunition, as well Hacking programs that Isolate. Like with a Trauma Doc, you can always leave your Machinist hiding safely until he's needed, using that Palbot for extra coverage. If you want your Machinist to get a bit more aggressive though, the Varuna Division Machinist can accommodate that. BS12 with Mimetism is fantastic, whether operating as a solo Specialist, or jumping into a link team. Note that the Varuna Division Machinist can join up with Kamau, either in their Core or Haris teams. Give that Haris team a Kamau heavy weapon like the HMG or Rocket Launcher, and they can escort the Machinist wherever he/she needs to go, with the Machinist providing some helpful mid-range Rifle Combat, Specialized Objective coverage, and added button pushing capability. Fusilier Indigo Bipandra What to say about Bipandra. For one, she counts as a Fusilier, so she can join a Fusilier Core team. Second, she comes with a Nanopulser, and she's a Doctor. That's about it. Bipandra's primary issue is that she's pays for a number of upgrades that raise her cost far above either a standard Fusilier or a Trauma Doc, without necessarily being better than either. Essentially, you're paying 9 points to be able to embed a Trauma Doc inside a Fusilier link, and she gets a Direct Template weapon in the bargain. She also gets some slight boosts to Survivability and Willpower as well. The Nanopulser itself is quite decent to have. PanOceania in general, and VIRD specifically, is very light on Direct Template Weapons. Many players will simply forget that Bipandra is available an option, allowing you to leverage the Nanopulser a bit more effectively as a gimmick/surprise tool. It's also quite a good weapon to use through Patsy's Nimbus Plus, since the enemy will be at -6 to Dodge or return fire. In fact, if Bipandra had the capability to join Patsy's Haris, I'd give her more serious consideration as a linkable option. As a gamer, it's my natural tendency to look for the silver lining or redeeming qualities in any unit. Bipandra is one of the few units though were I have to look pretty desperately to find something that encourages me to field her over other units. Tech Bee The Tech Bee never gets much credit, but she's never terrible to have in any list. Having an inexpensive Flash Pulse who is also a Specialist, and who also gifts a slight boost to your Machinist and Crabbots is not a bad thing for 5 points. In most PanOceania lists, she can hold a corner, watch your back, make a run for easy objectives, and her Irregular Order can be flipped to a Regular Order at need (if you're willing to spend a Command Token.) The defense role probably isn't as critical since VIRD has so many other defensive strengths, but having another Flash Pulse on the table isn't a bad thing. She can also save a game too if your primary Specialists suffer heavy attrition, and there are still buttons left to be pushed. While I would probably be more inclined to use 5 leftover points to upgrade Fusiliers to Forward Observers, or try to fit in another 8-point bot or Helot, the Tech Bee shouldn't be overlooked. Spoiler: Skirmisher Croc Men The Crocs come home to VIRD. A long-time staple of Vanilla, Croc Men are a very strong, elite addition to the Snake Eaters. First and foremost: Why use a Croc when there are also Zulu Cobras in the list? At first glance, the Zulu Cobra has a lot going for it: cheaper cost, more diverse loadouts, higher Ballistic Skill. There are a few answers here. First, Hidden Deployment is an incredibly powerful rule. It basically makes a unit untouchable until you opt to reveal, unless your opponent gets lucky with a Sensor sweep. Having this kind of precise control over when and how you reveal your Croc is powerful, and it also means your opponent will never be able to perfect counter-deploy against your Croc. They may guess where it is, but they won't know for sure, and this often means the Croc will have gaps that he can exploit in the enemy's deployment. Second, ThermOptic Camo is simply a strong rule. -6 to be shot and Discovered is always going to be strong. BS12 with TO is generally stronger than BS13 with Camo, against most targets. Third, Crocs have full Infiltration. Cobras can start a bit up the table with Forward Deployment Level 1, but this is a meager ability compared to Full Infiltration. If you need to push buttons and fight in the midfield, Crocs will start there. Fourth, X-Visor. If you get an opportunistic long-range shot, Crocs can turn their Combi Rifle into a decent-ranged weapon. You can snipe with a Combi Croc out to 32 inches with reasonable accuracy, and Suppress out to 24 without penalty. The Croc Boarding Shotgun really appreciates the X-Visor as well, helping to line up and land those critical template angles. It's the X-Visor that helps define a special role for the Croc Man. You can engage from outside an opponent's effective range, potentially accepting less accurate hits for the Croc, but almost certainly putting your opponent at near-impossible odds for success. This allows the Croc to gunfight with relative safety, allows it to a fulfill a similar long-range role as the Zulu Cobra's Triangulated Fire. This is a phenomenal asset for frustrating your enemies, maximizing the advantage of ThermOptic Camouflage, and attacking from unexpected quarters. Fifth, antipersonnel mines. VIRD is defensively a very strong Sectorial, but their main weakness is countering Camo opponents maneuvering in the active turn. Jammer, Sensor, Helots, etc. are all of limited effectiveness vs Camo Tokens. Croc Mines help address this issue, helping to deny area against sneaky maneuvering opponents. Mines are also a powerful offensive tool as well… Drop mines safely around corners to splash enemies as you engage them with a powerful gunfighter. I consider mines as one of the three strongest rules in the game, so having them in VIRD in any form is significantly important. So while Zulu Cobras might be the Camo unit that’s doing search and destroy, the Crocs are the unit that’s getting the mission done. Primarily, they’re going to be serving as your high-quality, order efficient button pushers. Use them to reach those consoles and tech coffins, flip them to your side, and drop mines along the way to deny area and create a persistent threat. With the obvious threats of a Core link, Helots and Zulu Cobras visible on the table, it’s very easy for a Croc to slip under your opponent’s radar, quietly getting the missions done and scoring those critical Objective Points. The Forward Observer + Deployable Repeater is the cheap baseline Specialist for this. 32 points is relatively expensive, but you get a lot for the cost. This profile is a cheap Specialist with no particular vulnerabilities, comes with a versatile Flash Pulse and the ability to designate targets, and has the added utility of Deployable Repeaters. If you plan to leverage Hacking/infowar to any significant degree, the ability to quickly place Repeaters in the midfield can be critical for success. It's rare for PanOceania to have this degree of flexibility with their infowar choices. The Assault Hacker, though even more expensive, can actually save you points overall. The increase of 32 points to 36 points is only a 4 point increase, assuming you’re okay spending the .5 SWC. This is significantly cheaper than the 8 points to upgrade a Fusilier Hacker, 25 points for an EVO, or 28 points for a Zulu Cobra KHD. If you need to authorize REMs for cheap, and you were planning to include a Croc Man in your list anyway, consider taking the Assault Hacker. Assault Hacking can be a vulnerability if you know you’re facing a lot of Killer Hackers, but it can also be an unexpected asset. Assault Hackers can be game-ending if your opponent is utilizing a lot of Hackable targets. If you pair an Assault Hacker with Jammers and good ARO coverage, you can grind an enemy advance to a complete standstill. This is a very useful tool in the arsenal of VIRD defense and area denial. The Boarding Shotgun Croc Man deserves special mention. While it is not a Specialist, and doesn’t bring any extra utility, it’s still a phenomenal aggressive combat profile. The x-visor pairs very well with the boarding shotgun for spectacular long range splash shots, capable of laying the template over enemies from outside their effective range. Hidden Deployment and marker state mean are powerful tools for launching an aggressive attack, and obviously the -6 to Hit and Surprise Shot make it a dominant gunfighter. If you don’t need your Croc pushing buttons, consider this profile for some added killing power. Another combat profile of note is the Croc Minelayer. The advantage of this profile is that it adds to the Camouflage mind games of VIRD. With Limited Camouflage Helots and Zulu Cobras in the mix, adding an antipersonnel mine to the table can cause endless problems for your opponent. Keeping them guessing about whether a Cam token will Hack them, Jam them, explode in their face, or light them up with Burst 3 Neurocinetics is a really potent tool for VIRD. Deploy the mine behind the Croc, either in your standard Deployment Zone or in the Forward Deployment Level 1 area, to help preserve the illusion. Just watch out though… The moment your opponent knows it’s a mine, they’ll have a pretty clear idea of where they should Sensor Sweep in order to reveal your Croc Man. Be prepared to support your Croc for this eventuality. Note too that the Croc Man can be your Lieutenant profile. If you are absolutely determined to have a Lieutenant who is difficult to attack, the Croc can assist with that. The difficulty here, of course, is that you can't use Hidden Deployment (you'll be in Loss of Lieutenant otherwise,) and the 2 SWC cost is very high. With the presence of the Zulu Cobra Lieutenant, you have a very cheap alternative to the Croc LT, so I don't see this profile being particularly useful in the current environment of the game. The last profile to mention is the MULTI Sniper Rifle. Make no mistakes, a Hidden Deployment MULTI Sniper is one of the best tools in the game... If you can stomach the cost. The Croc Sniper shoulders the burden of paying for Mines, Infiltration and X-Visor, none of which are necessarily critical to his role of surprise sniping from the Deployment Zone. Are they useless abilities? Not necessarily. Opponents rarely, if ever, expect Hidden Deployment sniper AROs to originate from the midfield. They expect most players to want to maximize the range of the Sniper Rifle, which means they won't expect a sniper to deploy closer than necessary. Similarly, mines on any platform are useful, and tossing down an antipersonnel mine or two around the Croc can really help secure his sniper nest and keep the area safe. Similarly, there's nothing wrong with getting aggressive with that mine placement. If you do need to gunfight at short range, taking risk with pistols or short-range sniper shots can still be worthwhile. As far as this units preferred role, I could write an entire article on how Hidden Deployment AROs should be utilized. To paraphrase from a recent discussion, I consider the following when I reveal a Hidden Deployment unit for ARO (note that this can be applied to the Cutter also:) What turn is it? How durable is the intended target? Is my target likely to outshoot my TO unit? Is the target likely to Dodge or Smoke my TO unit? How many Orders has my target already expended? How many Orders does my target have remaining? What other units are in my target's Combat Group? What other units are in my opponent's secondary Combat Groups? Do I want to reveal the TO unit to have its Order in my pool next turn? Do I need to save this ARO for a more important target? How many Orders does an opponent have to spend to see my TO unit with a dangerous gunfighter? Is my target linked? Is my target the link leader? In the intended target moving to engage another one of my units, letting me double up on AROs? Is there a Doctor / Engineer near my intended target? Can that Doctor / Engineer reach my intended target without me being able to fire another ARO? Do I have a Doctor or Engineer near my TO unit? Is my intended target using a weapon likely to overkill my Hexa, such as Viral, Shock, or EXP? Am I relying on my TO unit for a secondary, more important defensive role, like watching a table edge vs an opponent who is likely to have Airborn Deployment? If I lose my TO unit by revealing, am I missing out on a valuable active turn fire + maneuver role that makes my own turn more powerful or decisive? Am I maximizing the long range of the MULTI Sniper? (i.e. is my opponent returning fire at a -3 or -6 range band?) Am I maximizing the value of TO (i.e. does my opponent have MSV or crazy-high linked Ballistic Skill?) How likely is my TO unit to actually hit what he fires at? (i.e. is my opponent wearing TO or ODD, is it out of cover, does it have a nanoscreen, etc.) How likely is this to emotionally fluster or disrupt my opponent's concentration? If revealing really sabotages my opponent's game plan, how likely are they to create a backup gameplan? If I reveal the TO unit, will my opponent decide on a different strategy for the turn that's actually more dangerous? (i.e., if they were planning to push a console on Turn 1, but instead decide to bring in a drop trooper and it kills my backline, I may not have gained anything even if my TO unit prevents the console push.) Have I given up a valuable psychological tool by revealing the TO unit too early? By revealing at the right time, it's perfectly possible to score a critical kill, throw your opponent's plan into disarray, and completely protect your investment from counter-attack. But these circumstances require careful planning to arrange, and there is almost always a risk when revealing a high-cost unit to try and contest your opponent's turn. That being said, the value of the Croc Sniper is growing on me: noone expects it, and it's an ARO that can be almost impossible to challenge.