November 12, 2014 by crew
This is the Wartrader, discussing the insidious and terrifying Hac Tao – the invisible Heavy Infantry of Yu Jing.
Be subtle until being invisible,
Be mysterious as silence,
And you will be able to be the owner of your enemy’s destiny.
Hac Tao are one of the ‘original’ Infinity units, already present in the 1st edition rulebook from 2006. At the Feast of Blades Con in the US we saw a preview of their N3 version, which contains some interesting changes…
There are two main changes in the profile itself – the movement rate and a bump to the Close Combat attribute.
Heavy Infantry in general are getting a speed boost to 4-4 instead of 4-2 – so they’re moving and shooting at the same speed but can reposition more efficiently when they don’t need to shoot or dodge on the way. So this change isn’t specific to the Hac Tao but as a relatively slow unit that has to start in the deployment zone it gains a good amount of manoeuvrability from the changes.
The bump to the CC attribute is more interesting – this isn’t something we’ve seen in similar units like the PanOceania Orc or the Nomad Mobile Brigada, so seems to be something more specifically Yu Jing – elite Heavy Infantry that you really don’t want to mess with in close combat.
The Hac Tao keeps it’s TO Camouflage (one of the defining aspects of the unit) and gains Kinematica Level 1, meaning that when it Dodges in reaction it gets to move 3″ instead of 2″. This is a fairly niche add-on but does fit with the idea that powered armour troopers are that tiny bit faster when leaping out of the way of attacks – and with PH14 to dodge the Hac Tao can make use of it reasonably well.
Now for some bigger changes. The Light Shotgun sidearm has been dropped from the non-heavy weapon loadouts and been replaced for all loadouts with a Nanopulser – a Direct Template Weapon which auto-hits. See the Arachne templates article for some of the changes to template weapons, for example ignoring the ARM/BTS bonus for being in cover!
The Double Action CCW (make two ARM rolls if you’re hit in close combat, rather than the usual single save) goes nicely with the bump in CC and the ability to Dodge longer distances in reaction – get too close to a Hac Tao in your own turn and they’re going to either template you with the Nanopulser, shoot you with a gun or simply dodge into combat, leaving you in combat with a trooper that drastically outclasses almost anything but an actual CC specialist!
Points costs – the basic MULTI Rifle loadout has dropped six points, even with the increased movement, better CC, additional skill and improvements to MULTI Rifles. Some of this may come from a potential for more Hackers being around because they’re becoming more widely useful in N3, some of it presumably comes from elite troops not being taken very much in official tournaments as they’re seen to be too costly for their effectiveness. Some it, however, definitely comes from the MULTI Rifle being substantially over-priced in second edition.
Also notable, the HMG option has gone up a point, reinforcing that the major price change for the base loadout comes from MULTI Rifle changes and swapping the Light Shotgun for a cheaper Nanopulser. The Missile Launcher loadout has dropped a full 9pt which makes sense given the very long 24″ before hitting the +3 range bracket and the low burst in the active turn.
Hacker cost – the assorted Infinity forums have seen a lot of posts about the Hacker option being only 6pt over the normal loadout, while Hackers in second edition are 12pt and using this to assume that all Hackers will go down to 6pt over an equivalent non-Hacker. The counter-argument is that we know from the Hacking video that there are four types of Hacking Device in N3 and the previewed Hac Tao profile didn’t mention which of those four devices it has – so I wouldn’t base any pricing assumptions on the Hac Tao Hacker…
The new option – Boarding Shotgun. With the increased movement rate and the vicious +6 bonus in short range, a Heavy Infantry trooper with a Boarding Shotgun becomes much more viable as a bargain-basement elite TO Camo Heavy Infantry. It doesn’t have anything like the ranged punch of even the MULTI Rifle version let alone the HMG, but up close and personal it’s going to excel – just imagine it on a boarding action table!
The missing option – notably missing is a Lieutenant option. However Bostria hinted when showing the preview that there were more options not being shown, which I assume is somehow related to an LT option, or maybe something new instead of an LT option? The mind boggles…
So what’s your favourite change that we’ve seen so far for the Hac Tao?