June 10, 2015 by crew
This is the Wartrader, running scared between Scylla and Charybdis…
Infinity’s ALEPH recently gained a new Hacker character called Scylla.
Although Scylla herself doesn’t have much in the way of special skills or equipment (apart from being one of the few hackers who can choose between a standard Hacking Device and Assault Hacking Device) she has something utterly unique in the game – synchronised Devabots that contain Repeaters.
G:Sync for Newbies
Synchronised models are helpers for their controller, activating whenever the controller (Scylla in this case) activates, and performing the same skills where possible.
They have to stay within the 8″ Zone of Control of the controller or become immobilised. Although they don’t generate orders, they’re very Order-efficient because you only need to spend Orders on the controller to activate them all.
Repeaters for Newbies
A Repeater is effectively a WIFI extender for all the Hackers in your force – letting them hack within 8″ of the Repeater rather than only within 8″ of themselves.
Hacker + Synched Repeaters
So why is this a big deal? Order efficiency and Hacking coverage.
There are multiple ways of increasing your Hacking Area in Infinity, but they all depend on spending Orders to get Repeaters into position or in having exactly the right trooper already in exactly the right position. A good example are the Nomad Interventors and their FastPandas. The FastPanda can be sent off 8″ before they turn into Repeaters but this uses up the Short Skill of that Order and the Fastpanda becomes a static Repeater that can never move.
In comparison, Scylla can move up (moving the Devabot ‘for free’) and then use the second half of her Order to hack through it’s Repeater. As the Devabot can be up to 8″ from her this effectively doubles her Hacking range without spending any additional Orders or depending on other troopers.
In an extreme case, Scylla could ‘sacrifice’ a Devabot to get a potential 23″ range on a Hacking attack, within a single Order…
- Start the Devabot at the edge of her 8″ Zone of Control.
- Move the Devabot it’s 6″ first move. This will move it out of her ZoC and Immobilise it, but Immobilisation doesn’t shut down it’s Repeater.
- For the second half of the Order, Hack through it’s Repeater, for another 8″ plus the 1″ base width of the Devabot.
- 8″ + 6″ + 1″ + 8″. Nothing else in the game can do that.
Then there’s the synergy with other Hackers – Steel Phalanx has relatively little Repeater coverage, so Scylla’s Devabots go a long way toward helping any other Hackers you have, for example Thamyris or a Myrmidon Hacker.
Boarding Shotgun + Two Devabots
Although Scylla has a ‘weak’ profile with no second pseudo-wound via No Wound Incapacitation or other special skills, she’s utterly terrifying in close quarters due to the combination of a Boarding Shotgun plus being able to take two Devabots with their Heavy Flamethrowers.
Case 1 – Facing an enemy round the corner with a Direct Template Weapon such as a flamethrower. As Scylla only has one Wound and little armour, she is vulnerable to template weapons. In this case send a ‘sacrificial’ Devabot round the corner, this will force the opponent to either Dodge and potentially still be hit by fire, or shoot back which will often result in mutual assured destruction.
Even if the Devabot goes down and the opponent doesn’t, Scylla is still alive and still generating Orders.
Case 2 – Facing an enemy round the corner with a normal weapon. You could send one or both Devabots round the corner and the opponent will presumably Dodge rather than shoot one and get hit by both, but you can also send Scylla to the corner and the Devabots round it.
If the opponent Dodges to avoid the fire, Scylla’s Boarding Shotgun will be on BS18 before cover and camo so it likely to win the roll-off. If the opponent shoots then Scylla still has a good chance of winning and with two auto-hitting Heavy Flamethrower hits the opponent is unlikely to get a second chance.
Case 2b – Now do the same against a Fireteam. They will have a choice of shooting back to try and kill Scylla and eat fire hits, Dodge and probably take fire hits and shotgun hits, or split the link so that some can Dodge and some can shoot back.
There are, literally, no good options for the Fireteam. If it’s a Heavy Infantry Fireteam it gets even worse as Scylla probably Hacked some of them on the approach.
Case 3 – A Camouflage or Thermo-Optic Camouflage marker round the corner. Send the two Devabots round. If the marker reveals, flame it twice with the second half of the Order. If the marker doesn’t reveal, get two attempts to Discover it instead. If both Discover attempts failed, with the next Order you get to do a double Intuitive Attack, one with each Devabot.
Even on WIP11 a pair of Devabots has a solid chance of making either one of the Discover rolls or one of the Intuitive Attack rolls.
So far, so wonderful, but what are Scylla’s weaknesses?
Fragility – She’s a single Wound model, so will go down easily to enemy fire. Dependant on terrain you can make this harder in the opponent’s turn by creating a defence in depth setup where enemy troopers will have to face burnination from the Devabots before getting Line of Fire to Scylla but this can be tricky, especially if faced by several cheap enemy Warbands who can afford to throw a few bodies on top of the Devabots and still have someone to hunt down Scylla.
Range – With a Boarding Shotgun as her primary ranged weapon, Scylla will struggle with open spaces unless given support by troops with smoke grenades etc.
Repeaters – Yes, the same Repeaters that give her such a big Hacking coverage and range are also a downside. Enemy Hackers within a Repeater’s 8″ Zone of Control can use that Repeater to get into your Hacking network, albeit with some stiff negative modifiers. This means that every Hacker that the Devabots’ Zones of Control pass over are going to get Hacking reactions against Scylla.
Normally she’s going to be able to avoid them or pick on one of them at a time, but if she’s forced to face a Shooting reaction and a Hacking reaction at the same time she’s stuffed. Similarly, if the Devabots get close to a camouflaged or hidden Hacker at the wrong moment, Scylla is going to be in deep trouble.
Who’s That Other Guy?
Drakios is effectively the non-Hacker assault troop equivalent of Scylla. He gives up being a Hacker and the Devabots’ Repeaters in return for gaining No Wound Incapacitation (pseudo second Wound), better close combat ability and a Heavy Flamethrower of his own. He also gets a Blitzen which is an EM ammo Panzerfaust; great at taking down TAGs and other high-tech units.
Although he’s a more survivable unit and he can do most of the assault tasks as well as Scylla can (even better when facing camo), I find him a less interesting unit because he doesn’t add so much in new tactics to the game – Deva Functionaries already have a single Devabot, NWI and a Nanopulser rather than a Heavy Flamethrower for only 27pt.
So, how will you use Scylla and Drakios?
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"...she has something utterly unique in the game - synchronised Devabots that contain Repeaters."
"Drakios is effectively the non-Hacker assault troop equivalent of Scylla..."