This is the the Wartrader, ‘casting throughout the independent Arachne news web. Tohaa – Humanity’s new allies or another alien threat in disguise? Nobody but the Tohaa themselves seems to know, although the Wartrader has been hearing some odd rumours coming from the planet Paradiso…
Tohaa for Newbies
The Tohaa are an alien race of humanoids who have recently contacted Humanity with promises of aid against the threat of the alien Combined Army of the Evolved Intelligence. Normally communicating via pheromones, the Tohaa are a close-knit race who often fight in triads of models that move as one on the battlefield. Masters of biotechnology they are lacking the hard tech of the more advanced human factions, usually using equivalent units created from manipulation of races they are uplifting to sentience. While most of the Human Sphere welcomes these new allies, there are some dark rumours starting to surface about the actions of the Tohaa before they officially approached the Human Sphere…
The Tohaa are the newest faction on the tabletop, only introduced in the Campaign: Paradiso book. This means that so far they have a small pool of units to choose from, lacking a certain degree of flexibility in list-building.
Apparently the third edition rulebook won’t add any new units to the Tohaa faction but they are getting extra units via PDF releases in advance of the next big Human Sphere-style expansion book.
The first of these bonus units is the Nikoul Ambush Unit, a sapper sniper. This is a pretty rules-heavy unit, so here goes…
Sapper for Newbies
The Sapper skill represents troops with special training in creating defensive positions. While in their Sapper foxhole, the unit counts as being in partial cover (-3 BS to be shot,+3 ARM bonus) and gains Mimetism for another -3 BS to be shot.
This makes for a good defensive unit that can gain cover no matter where it’s deployed, allowing you to put them down in the middle of a thoroughfare and still gain cover. The downside is that they lose the cover and Mimetism if they move and it costs a whole Order to dig a new foxhole. Mind you, at that speed it must involve explosives to dig the hole!
Viral Ammo for Newbies
Yuck. Just yuck. Viral ammo is one of the most feared ammo types in the game. First, it goes against the model’s BTS (bio-tech shield, or their NBC protection) instead of ARM (conventional armour) which is generally lower. Next, it’s two BTS saves per hit instead of one, with each failed save inflicting a wound. Even worse than that, as a ‘one shot one kill’ ammo, a one wound model that takes a wound goes straight to Dead, do not pass Unconsciousness!
Symbiont Armour for Newbies
Some Tohaa wear living armour, a symbiont organism that combines with the wearer. In game terms the model has two profiles and once the wounds on the first profile have gone the model uses the second profile. In the Nikoul’s case this effectively gives the model an extra wound. The downside to Symbiont Armour is that the model dies immediately if it takes damage from Fire ammo.
Nikoul on the Battlefield – the Nitty Gritty
One glaring ability that’s missing from the Nikoul is Fireteam: Tohaa – you can’t join it with other models to move them all at once or get a burst bonus. This means the Nikoul is a lone trooper rather than a team player. However as a long-range defensive trooper this isn’t necessarily a problem as it’s not a model you’d want to reposition all that often and points-wise it’s as cheap as chips.
Personally I see the Nikoul as a unit that you set up toward the back of your deployment zone covering objectives in the middle of the table and any unfortunate enemy Specialists who have set up badly. Although you might spend Orders on the Nikoul in the active turn, it’s mainly there to kill models in reaction, but you’ll need to protect it from enemy models that get up close – either by taking the Minelayer version or keeping a Makaul or two around to protect the approaches.
Like a lot of defensive troops (especially for Tohaa), the Nikoul still suffers against Combat Camo attacks from enemy models, however it’s still a better bet than a Chaksa HMG or similar because Sapper means that you can’t manoeuvre to get it out of cover, Mimetism makes the Combat Camo less likely to hit and finally the Symbiont Armour means that you need to inflict two wounds to take it down. Where the Chaksa could easily be taken down by a Combat Camo attack with a basic Rifle, the same attack against a Nikoul is likely to do a single Wound, leading to a very irate Nikoul losing it’s Symbiont Armour and shooting back unopposed with a Viral Sniper Rifle…
Two obvious comparisons to existing units are the Clipsos Sniper and Gao Rael Sniper.
Clipsos – the Clipsos Sniper costs about the same (29pt/1SWC compared to 30pt/1.5SWC, see the previous article). Also a loner without Fireteam: Tohaa, the Clipsos is depending on TO Camo so is generally more suited to active turn hunting via Combat Camo although if you can position it well basic troops won’t be able to hit it. Having only a basic Sniper Rifle means it packs a lot less punch in reaction and of course not having Symbiont Armour means it’s a lot more vulnerable to a lucky crit by your opponent.
Gao-Rael – the Gao-Rael is substantially more expensive (37pt/1SWC) but has two major advantages – Multispectral Visor level 2 lets it ignore all Camo, TO Camo and ODD modifiers and see through enemy smoke while Fireteam: Tohaa lets it link to get Burst 2 in reaction. However it’s still ‘just’ a basic Sniper Rifle and the MSV level 1 of the Nikoul only ignores Camo modifiers, although that’s rumoured to change in third edition.
So the Nikoul – a new tool in the Tohaa arsenal?
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