Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Retirement of the Sword

Hello seekers of knowledge, I hope today finds you well. I don't think it needs to be said that I have been away for quite awhile. I was going to make a post announcing that I was taking a hiatus but I never got around to it. My life at the time had become quite chaotic at the time and now it has come to this, my hiatus will unfortunately become permanent. 

I have had quite a few changes that happened in quick succession and although I am finally in a career that I truly enjoy, it is a career that not only demands more of my time but it also has me traveling a lot more. This combined with my other obligations means I have little time to enjoy this hobby. This is why I am leaving table top war gaming completely. I tried to fit in Infinity games along with painting my models but the stress that it took to fit this all in took away from the enjoyment of the hobby, and this wasn't even considering trying to maintain a blog about the hobby. Also, my free time is now taken up by making sure that I can see the friends and family I miss because of my job taking me away from home. 

This is a decision that didn't come lightly either. It came after a realization that my life style no longer provided me with the time to give to a demanding hobby like Infinity or any table top for that matter. I really did love this hobby, and the community which made this decision hard. I met a lot of great people during my time playing and I liked helping the community with this blog. It also sucks leaving with so many exciting things happening to Infinity. 

The hobby will always be here so I may find some time in the future to return but for now, the hiatus is becoming a retirement. I have enjoyed being the Sword of Haqqislam and I wish you all well. I know there are others in this community, especially those that play Haqqislam, who will more than fill in for my absence. As always, continue to seek knowledge, Mashallah. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Morats of Haqqislam

Welcome fellow seekers of knowledge!  Now that I have some other articles ushering in ITS Season 9 out of the way, I can focus on tactics and strategy for Hassassin Bahram since that will be my main faction for this season (I want to say that I would exclusively be playing HB this season but with the TAGline missions still a part of the ITS missions, I might take Vanilla or QK so I can take a TAG to that event… unless it has the Soldier of Fortune add on as well, allowing me to take a Merc TAG). As I said in the previous article, I am quite excited to start Hassassin Bahram, some of my favorite units are in this Sectorial. One of those units I feel needs a little more attention, especially since they are essentially the Morats of Haqqislam.

It seems like an odd title but the combination of traits given to this unit are the same contained within the Morat rule so I thought it made a good title for them. It’s part of the reason why they are so good but I will get into that later during the tactics and strategy portion of the article. What really endears me to this unit is the fact that they have awesome looking models but also their background is some of the coolest in Infinity. Every time I read about them in the N3 Guide Book, I always feel like I need to find a way to put them on the table despite how the community feels about them. I don’t think it’s because people feel that they are a bad unit but because Hassassin Muyibs are such a great unit in HB that the Govads get overlooked. To start let’s get into the lore of this unit, and delve into the beginnings of the Hassassin Govad.

The Old Man of the Mountain’s Divine Spirits

The Hassassin Govads are actually one of the oldest units in the Hassassin Society, going back to the first days of the formation of the group, before Fidays were even an idea. The word Govad means “wind” in Persian and in ancient times it was used to refer to divine spirits, usually Islamic/Christian angels. This is what they function as and is their intended function when the Old Man of the Mountain created them in the beginning of the Hassassin Society. Back then, they were a covert ops group dedicated to sniffing out any potential threats that could try and disrupt the then young Haqqislamite nation. They were completely off the books and hidden from all intelligence groups, who only recently even learned of their existence, even other members of the Hassassin Society. They were the ones that went in and did what no one else could, and made sure that it wouldn’t be tracked back to Haqqislam. They did what was needed for the Hachib acting through the Old Man of the Mountain. Unfortunately, the first iteration of the Govads wouldn’t survive to modern times.

This was because the rise of a scientific terrorist group named Equinox. It didn’t take very long for the Govads to catch onto Equinox when they started ramping up their activities across the Human Sphere. The goal of Equinox was simple, they wanted to cause a scientific and technological revolution that they were going to spear head and they chose violence as their means of starting this revolution. It was clear to the Hassassin Govads that Equinox presented a clear and present danger to humanity and the Search for Knowledge, and luckily, they weren’t hampered by the need to have official sanctions to take down the terrorist organization. The Govads kicked into action, working alone to hunt and destroy Equinox cells. Their actions didn’t go unnoticed and they certainly didn’t go unanswered. Equinox had unlimited funds thanks to their connections to MagnaObra. Meanwhile, the Govads, being as clandestine as they were, did not have government support and only had limited funds to deal with the threat. The number of casualties the Govads started to accrue was not sustainable and eventually Equinox was able to fight back the Govads until they only had one member left.

The sacrifice was not in vain, though, the Hassassin Govads were successful in delaying Equinox and were able to uncover what Equinox had planned. Luckily, these plans were not immediate. Equinox was playing a long game, and with the addition of the delays the Govads had caused, they were able to re-organize and attempt another strike at Equinox, hoping this time for a killing blow. Several members had their cubes recovered for resurrection and the Old Man of the Mountain went to actively recruit new members, members that could handle themselves in the fight and who were willing to do what it takes to complete the mission. Once these new Govads were ready, they went back on the hunt for Equinox, and this time not only for justice, but vengeance as well. They struck Equinox hard, eliminating key cells and dealing major blows to Equinox despite the resources being funded to the terrorist group. Equinox was caught off guard and couldn’t withstand the bloody retribution enacted by the Govads. Equinox fell and the Govads were successful in eliminating the group for now. When the dust settled, the Govads came back to join the Hassassin Society, now with a more known existence to the rest of the members, but their job remains the same, to track threats to the Search of Knowledge and eliminate them. Even though they are more known now, the essence of the group is still the same and they are ever vigilant in protecting Haqqislam and the Search for Knowledge. The unfortunate truth is that as long as MagnaObra still exists, Equinox can come back. The Govads, however, will be ready to protect the Human Sphere from this threat once more, and when that happens, we will be glad to have the Hassassin Govads.

Art Done by Estrada over on DeviantArt: https://estrada.deviantart.com/ Go on over and see the other awesome art he has done for Infinity

(Would you like to know more? The lore of the Hassassin Govads is contained within the N3 Guide Book, along with a bunch of other Haqqislam units and is the source of this article’s lore.)

The Hassassin Govads have probably my favorite background lore in all of Infinity, as you can see going into that description. They really are a bunch of badasses protecting not only Haqqislam but the whole of the Human Sphere. They sacrificed themselves to bring down a terrorist organization that could have destroyed the Human Sphere in the pursuit of their radical beliefs, and that is awesome. Every time I go into the N3 Guide Book and read about them, I start wanting to put them on the table. I am hoping that after reading all that, it too inspires you to want to get them on the table, but you may be wondering, what is the best way to get the most out of the Hassassin Govad? First, let’s unpack everything the Hassassin Govads bring to the table.

When Haqqislam Units Have Morat Traits

When it comes to the stat line for the Hassassin Govad, they have a little more defense than your average Light Infantry. They are actually right on the cusp of having ARM and BTS that would put them in the Medium Infantry category. They have the standard 4-4 move, an alright CC of 14, a decent BS for Haqqislam at 12, average 11 PH, average 14 WIP (for Haqqislam), they have 2 ARM and 3 BTS (BTS in Haqqislam! It’s great!), 1 wound, they are S2 of course and finally they AVA 3 in Vanilla but AVA 5 in Hassassin Bahram. The AVA 5 helps because it gives them the flexibility of taking a full Core link but they also have a Haris option.

As you can see, there isn’t anything that makes them too special in their stats, but the rest of what they bring is what makes them special. They all have a Multispectral Visor L1, which is useful. It’s not as good as MSV2 but it does help take on Camo spam armies and does take the edge off of ODD and TO Camo. In addition to that, they are a Religious Troop, and Veteran L1 which is why I say they are Haqqislam’s Morats; the Morat rule means the trooper has both of those abilities. The Religious Troop rule isn’t surprising to see on a Hassassin unit, it’s on all Hassassin units. With it, you automatically pass your Guts Roll (in fact, you need to pass a WIP roll to fail your Guts Roll,) are unaffected by Retreat, and can never voluntarily leave the game table. This is one edge of Hassassin Bahram, even if your Opponent forces you into Retreat, you can still have enough regular orders to possibly steal the mission from them since the game ends after your turn. Veteran L1 also lets the trooper ignore Retreat, but it also allows the trooper to remain regular during Loss of Lieutenant, and ignore all Isolated state effects. Govads don’t care about Retreat, they don’t care if the LT goes down, they are going to complete the mission. Their hackers can’t be Isolated with Oblivion, and they don’t fear enemy Jammers or E/M weapons, Govads do their job and don’t let anything get in their way. In Hassassin Bahram, all Hassassin Govads also have Fireteam Core so any of the profiles in HB can form a Fireteam Core.

What Hassassin Govads Bring to the Hunt

Before we dive into where the Hassassin Govad fits into both Vanilla Haqqislam and Hassassin Bahram, we need to look at what profiles they have to find out what they can fully do. The profiles differ slightly between the two armies in relation to the Fireteams that can be taken with Govads in Hassassin Bahram. One thing that all Govads have in common is that they have a Breaker Pistol and knife. There isn’t much to say about the knife as I would hope that you aren’t getting into CC but, the Breaker Pistol provides another option if the opponent is more susceptible to BTS damage, which could give the Govad a chance to turn the tables in a pinch. A lot of the Govads have some sort of shotgun which competes for use with the Breaker Pistol, so which you use is situational because the +6 0-8 range of the shotgun is a huge boon, but if the Breaker Pistol may be more likely to cause a wound if it does hit. For example, if the target has high armor or halving the target’s BTS will be more of a benefit than taking away cover with the shotgun, go with the Breaker Pistol.  

  • Govad with Rifle + Light Shotgun: There isn’t much to say about this profile because it is pretty much the standard profile of a Haqqislam troop. It comes in decently priced at 21 points. You would probably rarely take this profile on its own, this profile will be mostly used to fill out Fireteams in HB and won’t ever see much time in Vanilla. Not a bad unit, just not anything special to take on its own.
  • Govad with HMG: This profile actually sees a lot of action for me in both Vanilla and HB. For 29 points and 1.5 SWC, you get an HMG with MSV1 and that can’t get Isolated which means you can be a little more cavalier with it than you could with other HMG options in both Vanilla and HB. It’s also one of the few Govads that you would use her Breaker Pistol since she does not have shotgun which is perfect illustrated because the model for this unit has both the Breaker Pistol and HMG out in full display. This really fits to what the Govads do, go out and hunt targets to make sure they go down in full burst. Although, it doesn’t help with smoke, it does help to make Camo spam toast at a really good price too. 29 points isn’t bad for what you are getting.
  • Govad with Boarding Shotgun: For 20 points, you get a Govad with a Boarding Shotgun. Again, it’s not bad or too many points for what you get, you just wouldn’t be taking this in Vanilla. This profile as with the Rifle + light shotgun helps to fill out links in HB. It’s a point cheaper than that profile so you can take this when you are trying to get other things in your list and you need that point freed up to do that.
  • Govad with Sniper Rifle: This is another profile that sees a lot of action in both Vanilla and HB, and also another profile where you would use the Breaker Pistol because she doesn’t come with a shotgun but if your sniper is using her pistol…there is a problem. Anyway, for 25 points and 0.5 SWC you get a decently armored, ARM 2 and BTS 3 makes it difficult to dislodge (If you can make armor saves) that also has MSV1. She is a great ARO piece to snipe anyone with visual modifiers. Not exactly a hunter like her HMG counterpart, unless she is in a link, but definitely a great ARO piece in Vanilla and a great addition to both a Core and Haris to cover your range bands.
  • Govad with Missile Launcher, Light Shotgun: Alright, so I love this profile. I have recently gotten into the habit of putting Missile Launchers in links and it has worked out really well for me. A Missile Launcher with MSV1 is even better. It is the most expensive profile for the Govads at 30 points and 1.5 SWC but you get a lot of bang for your buck (Pun intended). This guy solves a lot of problems thanks to him coupling MSV1 with a Missile Launcher so you might not be able to fully negate ODD or TO but you reduce it and hopefully you have range on it too so that missile lands and takes out that high ARM prick with ODD or TO. He makes a great ARO piece in Vanilla and your opponent probably won’t like that you took a missile launcher with MSV1. In a link, these guys are straight deadly especially in a 5-man link. They can take out whatever you need gone. Plus, the sweetest thing is that he brings a light shotgun with him so if you thought you were gonna be clever and try to hit him in close quarters, he’s got a shotgun with your name on it. A Missile Launcher who brings his own close combat protection, I absolutely love it. Definitely worth a look at.
  • Govad with Hacking Device, Boarding Shotgun: This is a profile that isn’t bad but the problem is that there are better options if you aren’t taking it in a link so you won’t see this profile in Vanilla really but it’s not a bad profile for a Hacker. He is 28 points for 0.5 SWC so pretty standard and he is immune to Oblivion and with BTS 3, he is a pretty good defensive/supportive hacker. There are just better Hackers in Haqqislam is all. This profile is definitely the one you take to have a specialist in whatever link you are taking in HB. Those defensive measures are just good if you have an opponent trying to exploit your hackable trait in order to dismantle your link.
  • Govad Lieutenant with Rifle + Light Shotgun: Nothing really special here honestly. For 21 points, you get a standard Govad LT. You could take this in Vanilla if you fear that your opponent might try to just Isolate your LT instead of killing it and the same goes for HB, it’s a decent way to make your opponent have to come kill your LT if they want to put you in Loss of LT. This profile is also good to take if you want to protect your LT in a link and have more eyes watching her back. Not too much else to say about this.
  • Govad with Number 2, Rifle + Light Shotgun: This is a Hassassin Bahram profile because it only relates to link teams. Simply put, you put this in your link so that even if the link leader is killed for whatever reason, the link doesn’t break which saves on Command Tokens. This is another profile that I use quite often in HB because it is only 22 points to protect your Core link, definitely a worth investment.
  • Govad with Killer Hacker Device (KHD), Boarding Shotgun: Not the best KHD in Haqqislam (the Barid and Leila just simply bring more to the table) so you won’t be taking it individually in Vanilla or HB but it makes perfect addition to a link team to protect your other hacker or just go hunter other hackers in the safety of a link team and should the link be totally destroyed, he can go on his own and still be lethal by Cybermasking his way up to the board and using surprise hack on unsuspecting hackers or surprise shot with his boarding shotgun. You can do this for 23 points and 0.5 SWC, one of the rare KHD units with an SWC cost but again, you have to pay for the Veteran L1.
  • Govad Haris Leader with Rifle + Light Shotgun: This is another Hassassin Bahram only profile because you have to take this profile in order to take a Govad Haris Fireteam. For 22 points and 0.5 SWC you are able to take a Haris Fireteam with your Govads and that isn’t bad especially considering the options you have to put in that Haris. Again, another profile I use a lot because the Govad Haris is really good which we will get into as we explore what roles the Govads fill in both Vanilla and HB.

The Govads have a wide range of profiles as you can see to do the job they need to do for Haqqislam but they often fall into the perception that they get overshadowed by other units in Haqqislam in both Vanilla and Hassassin Bahram (See my article on Vanilla vs. Sectorials on unit overshadow) or I have also heard that they aren’t like in HB because they don’t have a Doctor profile. It would seem that we have Haqqislam players who are a huge fan of having a reliable way to get their troopers to stand back up which is a valid concern in the only faction that has Doctor Plus. Fear not, seekers of knowledge, there are plenty of ways to integrate the Hassassin Govad into your Haqqislamite forces be it Vanilla or HB. I know going without a Doctor in a link is a bit unnerving, but trust me, it’s not as needful as one might think.

When the Govads Hunt for the Sword of Allah

I feel that it’s in Vanilla Haqqislam (aka the Sword of Allah) that people feel that Govads struggle to find a place. They aren’t a go-to Hacker profile because Vanilla Haqqislam has a lot of great profiles already. As far as support Hacking goes, a Ghulam Hacker is a lot cheaper by 8 points, but for one point over the Ghulam, you get the Hassassin Barid who also gets BTS 3 and is still 7 points cheaper than the Govad Hacker. When it comes to a KHD, as I said before, the Barid and Leila are all around better than the Govad - cheaper with better profiles. Honestly, this is a fair assessment and I have yet to find much of a reason to take the Govad Hacker profiles in Vanilla. The hacker profiles are definitely something that gets use in Hassassin Bahram, which is something that happens to some units.

The profiles I use the most in Vanilla are the heavy weapons the Hassassin Govads have. The lore says, the Govads are there to seek out and eliminate the enemies of Haqqislam, after all. This is the best place to get full use out of their stats and profile when playing Vanilla. There is a problem, though, because this is another place that people feel that other units overshadow the Govad. The main criticism that comes up is why to take a Govad when you can take a Djanbazan in Vanilla Haqqislam? The Djanbazan is more expensive but has MSV2 over MSV1, so ODD and TO Camo are negated, and the Djanbazan can shoot through Smoke. All fair assessments, but, as it was pointed out, Djanbazan are also more expensive. Govads being cheaper is most certainly a benefit in their favor. The Govad HMG and Sniper rifle are 6 points cheaper than their Djanbazan counter-parts, which, in Haqqislam, is quite a difference. You can do a lot with those 6 points and it could be a matter of fitting another order into the pool so you can out maneuver your opponent by having a larger order pool than them. Also, being Veteran L1, the Govad can’t be isolated so your opponent (like if this a Haqqislam vs Haqqislam match up) can’t isolate your attack piece like they could to a Djanbazan in order to shut it down. Another thing the Govads have over the Djanbazan is that the Djanbazan don’t have a Missile Launcher profile while the Govads do, which makes for a better ARO piece than a Sniper when you are facing heavier units that have visual modifiers like Heavy Infantry or TAGs.

The Djanbazan are only AVA 2 in Vanilla Haqqislam. If you are going against an army that can bring a lot of units with visual modifiers, that might not be enough to counter them (Looking at you Steel Phalanx!). Only taking one or two Djanbazan gives your opponent easy targets to cripple your counter measures to them, there have been many times that I have had an opponent go first and they immediately went to take my Djanbazan out to hamper my efforts. While Haqqislam has plenty of different ways to further counter these like tons of templates (We strap shotguns to everything, use them!), losing a unit like a Djanbazan most certainly hurts. The two profiles of Djanbazan I like to use the most in Vanilla are the HMG and the Shock Marksman Rifle. (Seriously, if you haven’t used the Shock Marksman Rifle on the Djanbazan, I suggest you change that. It’s a great way to take down one wound units that have visual modifiers especially those in ALEPH who have NWI.) Those two usually take up my AVA 2 on the Djanbazan. I will supplement this with throwing in one or two Govads to back up the Djanbazan and help not put my eggs all in one basket. The Govad Sniper is a great way to have a long range ARO that can take advantage of the MSV1 and range bands to help keep favorable odds. The same can also be said about the Govad that rocks the Missile Launcher. This allows you to have ARO pieces to take down Camo and ODD but allows your Djanbazan to be more active. If you want another active piece with MSV, the Govad HMG is there as well, allowing you to hunt with the Djanbazan HMG while you put the Govad HMG in a key fire lane and put her in Suppressive Fire.

There are many ways to use the Govads in Vanilla Haqqislam. If you are trying to have a large order list but want some MSV just in case you experience some Camo along the way, Govads fit that bill a lot more comfortably than the Djanbazan on account of their lower point cost. The Govads are also resistant to Isolation, unlike the Djanbazan. The best use, though, is just taking the Djanbazan and Govads together. Everyone feels that they compete with each other but, honestly, they complement each other a lot, and that Steel Phalanx player won’t expect that much MSV in a Haqqislam army. Using both Govads and Djanbazan, you can have 5 troopers with MSV and make it quite difficult for your friend who loves Camo or ODD. Haqqislam has plenty of cheap troops to help offset the cost of those 5 troopers, too, so don’t be scared to show some MSV force.

Under the Old Man of the Mountain’s Command

When the Hassassin Govads are under the command of the Old Man of the Mountain is when you will truly use the full range of their profiles… if you choose to take them, that is. Although they are a fine link team in Hassassin Bahram, they have to compete with Hassassin Muyibs, which, when you get down to it, are just a great link team (They will be getting an article to themselves after this one) and people get caught up in how good they are. I don’t blame them, I am a huge fan of units that cover multiple roles, and the Muyibs do that, which makes the Govads get sidelined. It’s not because the Govads are bad or aren’t worth their points, it’s just that the Muyibs bring so much to the table for their points, especially when competing for that Core Fireteam spot. With two kinds of specialists, one of those being a doctor, the Muyibs definitely attract more attention than the Govads do. Quite often, the Govads get relegated to Defensive Haris Fireteam duty while they get to watch their Muyib colleagues go have the fun midfield. The Defensive Haris isn’t a bad use for them, they do that job quite well, I have used them for the same purpose, but, as I said in my previous post, there is a lot of flexibility in Hassassin Bahram now. Enough flexibility to take a Govad Core Fireteam.

I am just going to get the obvious reason out of the way right now, if you are facing a lot Camo and ODD, a Core Fireteam of Govads is a good solution for you. It’s the only MSV found in HB, like Djanbazans in QK, sometimes instead of finding the crafty tricks to deal with visual modifiers, you just want to hit it hard using a hard counter like MSV. In a link team, ODD and TO Camo basically becomes null and void with regular Camo and Mimetism running for the hills as your heavy weapons tear through them. You can take Hackers along with you as well to help shut down Hackable units or kill enemy Hackers using the KHD. The Hackers do let you take care of a wider range of enemies than the Muyibs, but Govads lack the breadth of utility that Muyibs have in other areas. The other reason you might want a Govads Core is because you are going against someone who can Isolate you easily (another Haqq player) or if you are taking a risky LT (although you can easily protect this with a Farzan). Being resistant to Isolation is one reason why these guys are good for the ITS mission Hunting Party, it limits the ways your opponent can score and forces your opponent to have to deal with them in another way. Also, if you are going against a force with a faction known for hitting on a units BTS (like Tohaa with their Viral Ammo), Govads can be a better choice thanks to their BTS 3 giving you a better defense against those types of weapons.

As always, though, my best answer is to use things in tandem because they are a way of keeping up variety, and variety is the spice of life. Before HSN3, I feel like there was more competition between these two units because Hassassin Bahram only had the Core Fireteam, but now they have Haris, and, as I said before, a lot of people use the Govad Haris. The thing is, though, Muyibs have a Haris as well. This allows them to work together really well. This allows you to take the Core of Govads to take on those with visual modifiers while also benefitting from the utility of the Muyibs as a Haris. A Muyib Haris helps to complement the Govads as well because they have something that can really help that Core take it to your opponent and their ODD or TO: A Heavy Rocket Launcher. Since the Rocket Launcher uses Fire Ammunition, it would burn all the TO and ODD to Mimetism and give the Govads free reign to eliminate them with no negative modifiers. Now you can do the reverse of this, of course, with a Muyib Core and a Govad Haris. That is the more common arrangement of those Fireteams, with less emphasis on the Govads as the killing team, but it will also get the job done.

Muyibs carry with them the air of always being the right choice because of the amount of utility they bring but honestly this is a trap. Evaluating which missions you will be playing, and what armies you are about to face, is important in deciding if you take Govads as a Core, or a Haris, or not at all. I don’t want to paint either as THE unit in Hassassin Bahram because with anything in any army and list building, you want to make sure you have enough to complete the mission, but also prepare for any curve balls that your opponent may throw at you. Over reliance on one unit ends in tunnel vision and a rigid strategy, which is why I am writing this article in the first place, to elevate the Govad to the same point of the Muyib so it becomes a tactical choice about which better serves the current needs. Imagine the units available to you as a toolbox; you wouldn’t take a hammer to put in a screw just because the hammer is so good at hammering in nails.

Follow the Wind and Search for Knowledge

I hope that I have given you enough cause to consider bringing Govads in some capacity in both Vanilla Haqqislam and Hassassin Bahram. I am hoping that the lore, or the tactics, or both inspire you to include them. They are a great unit for the points that they cost. Having both Religious Troop and Veteran L1 along with MSV1 is a huge advantage that sometimes gets forgotten about until you need it. The Hassassin Govads are the original protectors of the Search for Knowledge, take them out in the field and I promise you they won’t disappoint. You just have to give them a chance. They have some of my favorite models in the game too. Corvus Belli really hit the mark with elite light infantry when they designed them so get out there, faithful followers, and put the Old Man of the Mountain’s first operatives to work. As always, my friends, continue to seek knowledge, mashallah. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ITS Season 9: Hassassin's Creed

As I have mentioned throughout this blog from time to time, I am on a journey to master all of the armies that belong to Haqqislam. In fact, when I first started playing Infinity, I vowed to only play my chosen faction of Haqqislam. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you talk to), I broke this vow when I started Caledonia. I have since renewed my commitment to Haqqislam and Caledonia has been consigned to sit on a shelf in my hobby room (Sorry Ariadna but Bourak and the Search for Knowledge comes first). I truly want to master Haqqislam and know the ins and outs of every unit in the faction. To do this, I had to re-focus on Haqqislam.

In the pursuit of this, I choose an army of Haqqislam for an ITS season and only play that the entire season. I began Infinity by making the terrible decision to buy everything in Haqqislam. I wanted to do everything, use all the cool units and I was quite scatter-brained. Using Vanilla one day and then going Hassassin the next, but then wanting to try out QK  I noticed I wasn’t really going anywhere or getting any better. This is when I made the decision to settle down and choose one aspect of Haqqislam on which to focus at time. I chose Qapu Khalqi because it was the one that came to me the quickest and that’s where I spent my first year really digging into Infinity. After playing casually for so long, I finally made the dive into ITS and my first ITS event was a farewell to QK as I moved onto Vanilla Haqqislam which is where I spent last year’s ITS season. I do want to give QK an ITS season eventually, but it depends on when Ramah Task Force is released.

What I want to do in this article is go over my closing thoughts on playing Vanilla Haqqislam during this past ITS season, and go over some of my expectations for Hassassin Bahram in this new season. I haven’t had a lot of time to play lately so this is the bridge between my experiences last year and my expectations for this year. I want to get some more games in with Hassassin Bahram, maybe a ITS event or two before really digging into tactics and strategy for the Sectorial.

 The Best Vanilla Army: Reflections on Playing Vanilla Haqqislam in ITS Season 8

It’s a bold claim but the past year of gameplay has really shown how strong Vanilla Haqqislam is. It’s no wonder when you look at CB’s numbers (ITS Season 8 Stats) for armies played in ITS Season 8 that Vanilla Haqqislam has such a strong showing compared to other Vanilla armies, and is vastly more popular than its own Sectorials. Compare this with a faction like PanOceania, where you see that PanOceania Sectorials are played more than Vanilla PanOceania. This isn’t to say that Haqqislam Sectorials are bad, on the contrary, Haqqislam Sectorials are really good (which I will get into later with my Hassassin expectations) but the synergy found in Vanilla is quite strong in Haqqislam. There are a lot of combinations of units that are hard to give up when going to the Sectorials, even with the prospect of fireteam bonuses and order efficiency. Vanilla Haqqislam is the strongest case, in my opinion (Ariadna might have some claim but that’s only because the Russians don’t have a Sectorial yet,) which may or may not be biased, as to why you would play Vanilla over a Sectorial.

Within Vanilla Haqqislam, there is an array of choices for creating a toolbox to face almost anything that another faction might throw at you. That’s not to say that Haqqislam doesn’t have any weaknesses, but Haqqislam can most certainly stand toe to toe with any faction. The asymmetrical stance of Haqqislam does provide a bit of a learning curve, one that I think is heightened when you go to the Sectorials, but does provide a lot of satisfaction once it all clicks. I had a lot of fun playing Vanilla Haqqislam. List building was definitely the highlight because no matter the mission or the faction, I felt that I had an answer to every challenge I faced. It was refreshing coming off of Qapu Khalqi and have all the options in Haqqislam at my disposal, which is a source of some hesitancy now that I face the prospect of going back to a Sectorial, albeit a different one.

An edge I felt I had was the unpredictability of Vanilla Haqqislam, which was helped by owning the entire range of Haqqislam models currently in production (Even some that are out of production like the Halqa I was able to track down…no…I don’t have a problem, I am just devoted to Haqqislam…). One thing that sometimes sucked when playing QK was after a while, people started to know what you would bring since you have such a limited selection of units in a Sectorial. By having a good grasp on what you bring, they more easily countered it. I turned this expectation on its head with Vanilla Haqqislam. There were several of times that someone told me that they thought I would bring something like a Fiday but forget about something like the Tuareg that would pop out of hidden deployment to cause havoc or dropping in a Bashi Bazouk from the board edge. I was able to keep people on edge about what I was bringing and that is more valuable than people give it credit for. Now, I was able to do this with the entire range of Haqqislam, but you don’t need to go hog wild like I did, owning a variety of units definitely achieves the same effect.

As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed playing Vanilla Haqqislam. It helped me remember why I love this faction so much. If you are a Sectorial player and haven’t branched into Vanilla Haqqislam, I highly suggest it. There are a lot of fun and interesting units only available to Vanilla currently like Saladin and the Maghariba Guard (Until Ramah Taskforce comes out :D) that help really define Haqqislam as a faction.

Now, it might seem like I don’t like Sectorials and that I am dreading going back to one but that really isn’t the case. In fact, I am really excited to dive into Hassassin Bahram for this season. I have dabbled in them since HSN3 which was enough to wet my appetite for the shadowy organization hidden in the Shahnate of Bourak.

Joining The Hassassin Society

I have been actually looking forward to coming back to Hassassin Bahram for quite some time now. When I first started, it was before Human Sphere N3 (HSN3) and Hassassin Bahram had a huge learning curve to it. When I first started playing, I did go kind of nuts and I bought everything in a short amount of time, which in turn meant that I wasn't sticking to a particular army. I would play Vanilla then QK, maybe do HB a couple of times and then back to Vanilla before I recognized this wasn't helping me learn the game and I settled on playing QK full time. The reason I chose QK was because coming from the Space Marines of 40k, it lent itself better to a play style I was used to. Since then, and after learning the game, this has significantly changed but this didn't change the fact that before the release of HSN3, Hassassin Bahram had a huge learning curve to it that I didn't quite grasp at first. This is definitely no longer the case for the Sectorial of the Shahnate.

If there is any Sectorial that won HSN3, it was definitely Hassassin Bahram. I knew this just from reading about the changes that it brought to the Sectorial from the new link teams, the addition of Haris to some units, to the badass new unit in the Hassassin Ayyar, HSN3 did a lot for HB and I was excited to play it back then. It didn't eliminate the learning curve, out of the three Haqqislam armies, it is still the hardest to learn, since it relies on deception and tricks to gain the upper hand, but those tactics and strategies have become fleshed out and easier to execute with the changes of HSN3. How best to combo your troops and how to create lethal synergies have made the Hassassins a formidable force but they are still the least popular choice in ITS Season 8 for Haqqislam armies, something I hope changes eventually because it is a really awesome force.

There is a lot that I really like about this Sectorial, and there is a surprising amount of flexibility in it. It isn't as much flexibility as Qapu Khalqi (Really, does any Sectorial have as much flexibility as QK?) but there is a lot that can be done with this Sectorial. As much as I hate how much they really seem to overshadow the Sectorial, I can't help but be excited for probably the best link team in Infinity, and you probably already know which unit I am talking about. The Hassassin Muyibs live in both fame and infamy because they are the ultimate tool box, able to do pretty much anything you need them to do. I will eventually do a full article on how good they are but they offer a lot: two specialists in a Doctor and Forward Observer, they have the only access to viral mines in the entire game, every single one of them has Number 2 which makes it almost impossible for their link to be broken (Only the Combined Army Q-Drone has the ability to do so with the Program Exile), both of their heavy weapons have X Visors, they have tons of equipment on each and on top of all this they are Religious and Dogged. The best thing? They can form both a Core and Haris Fireteam. You know what's even better? Leila and Yasbir make it so that you can have both of those in the same list. They have a lot and I can go on about them so I will stop here. Look out for an article on them soon.

Another Unit I am looking forward to is the Govad. I really think Govads are an underrated Core and Haris team. Most of the time I hear people taking them it is as the Haris, mostly because they lack a Doctor, but really the Core is a great way to deal with visual modifiers if you know you are going to go up against an opponent that has a lot of camo or ODD because they have something the Muyibs don't: MSV1. Yeah, it doesn't totally get rid of negative modifiers for ODD or TO Camo but it still reduces it and in a 5 man link, it's almost like that ODD/TO isn't there. Plus, they have some weapons that Muyibs don't have in the HMG, Missile Launcher, and the Sniper Rifle. Yeah, they only have two Specialists and both of them are Hackers, but honestly, these are good units and I am looking forward to using them. They have some of my favorite lore in all of Infinity, plus their models look really awesome. Not only that but there is a mission you will want these guys over Muyibs because of Veteran L1 and that's Hunting Party. Veteran L1 prevents them from being Isolated and thus limits the choices your opponent has to be able to score Objective Points. Again, there is definitely going to be an article dedicated to the Govads (Right after this one in fact, it's been in the works for awhile).

Even though I have been using her for a while in Vanilla, I can't wait to really get the most out of Leila in Hassassin Bahram. On top of her awesome profile, which I've discussed before, she finally lets HB have a full 5 man link of Ghulams, providing a cheap link to take some of the more expensive units in HB like the awesome Asawira Haris that came with HSN3. The greatest thing about that Haris is it can be full of Asawira or you can have up to two Muyibs instead making the link cheaper and with the Asawira Haris already coming with a Spitfire, it's certainly a great way to go. I have already tried that Haris and I love how the Asawira performs in it. I am hoping they get a re-sculpt soon because I am going to use them a lot in HB. If the Asawira isn't your style, you can use the HI that everyone wants to use that came out in HSN3, with great model options including one in the new HB starter. That is the Hassassin Ayyar, which, again, I have experience using in Vanilla and it really is a great unit with the ability to press buttons, and also take out enemy units with relative ease, as well as 3 different load outs which are all useful in some way.

One unit that I have underrated unfortunately, is the Daylami. I have played a few games after I got my HB starter, however, and I have been using them a lot more because their new models are so good when compared to the old ones. I will fully admit that my reluctance to use them is because the models were horrid and I didn't want to use them and I wish I would have used them sooner because they are a fine unit. They may be Irregular, but they are cheap and that inferior infiltration helps to make them into a wonderful tar pit for your opponent to have to deal with. Used in conjunction with Mutts, you can really make it hard for your opponent to be able to Alpha Strike efficiently because they have to deal with all these cheap troops that will cost them to ignore. I will be writing an article about these guys too, because I know some people hesitate to use them because it can be hard to land their infiltration roll, but trust me, they are a good unit to have, even if they just sit in the back protecting your flank.

Yeah, I have Fidays and Lasiqs, they are great and all but I feel like I used them roughly in the same capacity that I did in Vanilla because you may have increased AVA for both but I rarely ever need to have their AVA increased from what it is in Vanilla. One unit I do want to use more that I didn't use enough in Vanilla is the Hassassin Ragik. It really is a great AD troop that I always forget and I don't know why because they are really great. I hope to correct this oversight with the Hassassins.

What The Future Holds

This ITS season is definitely going to be a fun one and I hope to inspire more people to give Hassassin Bahram a try. I know a lot of us get caught up in just how good Vanilla Haqqislam is and it’s bitter sweet leaving it behind but I am definitely excited for Hassassin Bahram. It is going to be my honor to serve the Old Man on the Mountain in a full capacity as I use tricks and deception to confound my foes until they know it's too late and that is when the killing blow comes. I welcome you to this journey because it will prove beneficial to the both of us. As always, my friend, continue to seek knowledge, mashallah. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

What Happened to My Specialists?!

Hello, my loyal readers of the Sword of Haqqislam!

It has been well over a month since my last posting. Unfortunately, when things get busy, the blog is the one that suffers since I only do this in my spare time. With how popular the last post was, I was hoping to have had another article out way before this. It was supposed to be about another Haqqislam unit that I don’t think gets enough attention, the Hassassin Govad. A more pressing subject has come up, though, one I want to cover before doing another unit spotlight. Don’t worry, the article on Govads is definitely coming, but with the new season upon us, I thought that it was better to hit this topic first.

Some changes have come to the Infinity meta with the release of the new ITS Season 9: Treason and I am not just talking about the fact that I am moving on from playing vanilla Haqqislam to focusing on Hassassin Bahram. (For those new to the blog, I am on a quest to master all of Haqqislam so every season I play a different aspect of Haqqislam. I started out playing Qapu Khalqi, switched to vanilla Haqqislam for last season, and now Hassassin Bahram will be my main focus. It is my hope that the Ramah Taskforce will be released before next season so that season 10 can focus on that Sectorial.) Corvus Belli has outdone themselves in keeping this game fresh by overhauling the missions we have been playing these past two years by adding in several subtle changes that make you re-think how you view these old missions.

Now several outlets are going over the changes to all the missions, so I am not going to re-hash that here (MayaCast is spending the next couple of episodes going through all the changes in Season 9 so head on over  and give Tom and Kip a listen here). What I am going to do is tackle a glaring problem for Haqqislam in this new season. This season definitely has shifted the meta to go from favoring specialist laden lists to favoring more direct action lists, even in special operation missions and definitely in all joint op missions. On the surface this seems like a problem for Haqqislam since our primary edge on everyone is our spectacular specialists that press buttons and complete objectives like a boss. The importance of classified objectives has decreased while an emphasis on the new aspect that is the Data Tracker has risen. It has left a good amount of Haqqislam players wondering what to do with our specialists since that was our main advantage.

Well, that’s what I am going to answer in this article, what to do with our specialists in this season and why they are still one of Haqqislam’s main advantage. Sometimes we get tunnel vision with how we see specialists in this game. There are some who see them only as units that press buttons to complete objectives, or only to get the classified if that one happens to be drawn from the deck. Think of this as a refresher for the veteran Haqqislam commanders, and an introduction to specialists for the beginner Haqqislam players out there. Now let’s get into the meat of this article with our first specialist: the Forward Observer.

Forward Observer:

Forward Oberservers (FOs) usually are consigned to those cheap specialists that people often spam to get a high volume of specialists in their lists, especially in Ariadna where they are plentiful. While we may not have such a high volume like Ariadna, we do have a good amount of sources for FOs, from our line troop the Ghulam to things like the Hafza and the Muyib. They are easily accessed in every army available to Haqqislam and they usually only cost a point above the generic version of that troop, so they are super easy to fit in, which is why they are sometimes the most plentiful specialist found in lists. It gives you tons of troops that can run up and press buttons, but this is just the beginning of what a FO can bring to a list.

In addition to being a specialist, being a Forward Observer brings two abilities to the table. The first one is the ability to, of course, Forward Observe an enemy which puts the enemy unit in the Targeted state. When in the Targeted state, you get a +3 modifier when using either BS attacks or Hacking attacks against that target. Also, it allows you to use the Guided trait to fire on those in the Targeted state without needing Line of Fire to that unit.

You don’t hear of many people using the Forward Observe skill despite these benefits. To put it plainly, it’s order intensive because it adds an extra order onto whatever you are trying to do, and it also might draw what some view as unnecessary AROs so people tend not to do it unless you have the units and orders to spare, which I think Haqqislam most certainly can have, but I understand why people shy away from using this skill unless they need to so they can complete a Classified Objective. Most of the time you see this being used in conjunction with the Shaytaniyah Remote to use the Guided trait of its Smart Missile Launcher, but it definitely can help with Haqqislam’s typically low BS skill, or make Hacking attempts even better. If you have the orders to spare, it’s not bad to use the skill. 

The second ability that FOs have makes them useful to take even if you have no intention of using Forward Observe. Being an FO gives them access to Flash Pulse which may not seem like a big deal but it certainly can have a big effect on the way a game plays out especially for Haqqislam given that Flash Pulse is a BS weapon that utilizes WIP instead of BS. This allows Haqqislam units to use their naturally high WIP of 14 to ARO instead of a BS skill at 11 or 12. It also extends the range of their effectiveness since the +3 mod range band for a Flash Pulse goes out to 24 inches which helps since most of the troops that are FOs usually are carrying a Rifle + Light Shotgun, some might only have a Boarding Shotgun. Now, stunning a unit might not be as glamorous as knocking it unconscious or killing it outright but it still is an effective strategy to hinder your opponent because they have to either spend the orders to remove the unit or take the risk of getting stunned thus making that unit useless for the rest of the turn. This allows you to provide cheap orders to your list while also providing cheap ARO pieces that your opponent has to work around. Don’t underestimate the power of a Flash Pulse, I know I have had several times where a Flash Pulse has helped decide the course of some games and in the hands of WIP 14 Haqqislamite units, it’s hard to ignore them.

You might not be cramming your lists full of FOs just to get access to their abilities but if you are filling out lists to get more orders, choosing to fill those spots with FOs is certainly not a bad choice. I have been thankful multiple times to have a well-placed FO to stun my opponent’s units and turn things to my favor. So don’t overlook the lowly Forward Observer.


The definition of what it means to be a toolbox. Engineers usually find themselves in lists for two reasons: 1.) You have them along to repair anything that has STR or 2.) You need D-Charges to complete the Sabotage classified. Haqqislam doesn’t need engineers for the second reason because we have a lot of units that carry D-Charges which can complete the Classified more easily than a Najjarun, like the Al Hawwa’, for example. Still, it’s nice that the Engineers have them, and using them in CC is still fun and hilarious if you can pull it off. There are some missions that require blowing up scenery as well, but again, there are other units in Haqqislam that can deliver a D-Charge. One thing that you can do, though, is plant the D-charge with one unit while the Engineer hangs back out of sight and use the Engineer to detonate it if it was placed in a high risk area. (Side Note: The Kaplan Engineer with Blitzen is one of the only Engineers not to come with D-Charges, but it can still detonate D-Charges because the Engineer skill grants that ability.)

An Engineer is most certainly a support unit, usually there if you want to repair your TAGs and Remotes, something that Haqqislam actually doesn’t have a lot of. We have only 3 TAGs across the entire faction (the Maghariba Guard in vanilla and Ramah Taskforce as well as Scarface and the Iguana in Qapu Khalqi) and the only Remotes we have are the ones everyone (except Ariadna) has so the need to have an Engineer around may not be as attractive as it could be with other factions. Still, Engineers repair your stuff, and being able to get a Maghariba Guard back up is an awesome thing. Having some of the Total Reaction Remotes come back to shut down lanes is also quite useful.

In addition to repairing STR, Engineers can repair certain equipment and fix certain states. If one of your Camo troops is Burnt from Fire ammunition, you can use the Engineer to repair the state and allow the troop the ability to re-camo. Other states that the Engineer can repair are Immobilized, Isolated, and Disabled. It can be quite useful to have an Engineer around if you know you are going to face off against an opponent that can induce one or more of these states. The ITS mission Hunting Party really highlights this because it hinges on causing these states, so it can be very useful to bring an Engineer along to help your troopers out of the Isolated or Immobilized state and prevent your opponent from scoring points.

The Engineer really is straightforward as far as what it brings to the table, but I did want to go over one thing that gets overlooked quite a bit on an Engineer that might make you want to bring them past just supporting your Remotes and blowing up explosives. Just like the FO, the Engineer has a piece of equipment embedded in the Engineering skill, the Deactivator. It’s a nifty piece of equipment that allows you to deactivate deployable weapons (D-charges, mines, E/Maulers, etc) thus disarming them and allowing your troopers to avoid nasty surprises. The Deactivator is only modified by range and never visual modifiers and its range band is pretty good. From 0-8, it’s +6 so that means Haqqislam Engineers can’t fail from 0-8 so that face to face roll makes mines utterly useless against them. 8-16 is +3 and 16-24 is -6. If your opponent is going mine happy, you can run Engineers up on those mines to make them utterly useless.

Haqqislam is blessed to have Engineers outside of just the Narrajun Engineer… well, vanilla Haqqislam and Qapu Khalqi (QK) are blessed to have Engineers outside of the Narrajun. Hassassin Bahram is stuck with just the Narrajun. These are, of course, the Kaplan Engineers who bring more to the table than just the Engineer skill. Not only do all Kaplans have Mimetism, they have two Engineers with two different load outs. One comes with D-Charges, an Adhesive Launcher, and their standard Combi Rifle. The other just gets a Combi Rifle and a Blitzen. Now, there is plenty to say about using the Kaplans in QK since they are a Core Link so we know their advantages in that Sectorial, but I honestly love them in vanilla as well, just because I am a big fan of multi-purpose units, which the Kaplan Engineer most assuredly is. Not only do you get the specialist aspect of the unit, but both Kaplan Engineers comes with two weapons to help Haqqislam deal with problems like Heavy Infantry by Immobilizing them with the Adhesive Launcher or the Blitzen. The Adhesive Launcher has unlimited ammunition but a more limited range, while the Blitzen has way better range and the help of having E/M2 ammunition, the downside being that it is Disposable (2). This can be solved, though, with having a Baggage bot nearby, and if you are taking the Engineer to support the Remote anyway, it’s not bad to bring that Blitzen. Heavy Infantry having to take two rolls at half their BTS or get Immobilized and Isolated is a great way to level the playing field with other factions’ tech.

Chain of Command:

This is probably one of the more commonly seen Specialists and probably one that is usually taken not because they press buttons, but because you want to utilize the ability of Chain of Command. There is only one unit in Haqqislam currently that has Chain of Command, but it’s probably one of the best Chain of Command units in the game because it has both the Camouflage and Infiltrator skills. That unit is, of course, the Hassassin Farzan. Only vanilla Haqqislam and Hassassin Bahram have access to them, sorry Qapu Khalqi players.

The reason to take Chain of Command outside of having another Camouflaged Infiltrating specialist midfield to press buttons (BTW, another quick aside, vanilla Haqqislam is the only faction to have every kind of specialist to be a camouflaged infiltrators except for Engineer. We have doctors, hackers, FOs, specialist troop and thanks to the Farzan, a Chain of Command) is because you are taking a risky and/or obvious Lieutenant. The immediate example one can think of is if you are choosing to use Saladin, you can have a Farzan sitting out of reach if your opponent decides to go assassinate Saladin. Another is if you are using either a Hacker or FO Barid, you can use your LT order to do things with the Barid (One of my favorite things to do is use the LT Hacker Barid for support programs on my Remotes because you can use his LT order to get the support program and have the rest of your order pool to do things with) without as much risk. That’s pretty much all the tricks up the sleeves of the Farzen.

For the most part, Chain of Command is taken to actually make use of Chain of Command. They can work in a pinch if you are playing an objective based mission to press buttons and you are sure that your LT is safe from harm, but they are mainly there to confound your opponent when they spent orders to hunt your LT to put you in Loss of LT and that never happens because of the sneaky Farzan. Times when they are taken to press buttons is primarily if the mission happens to give a WIP bonus to Chain of Command.

Specialist Troop:

This will be a quick one because currently there are only two in all of Haqqislam, Yasbir and the Hassassin Ayyar. There isn’t much to say about them because all this does is allow them to press the buttons in objective based missions so they don’t have any extra abilities. That’s fine because the primary roles of both Yasbir and the Ayyar is not to be a specialist. You usually take them because you intend to use them for what they are actually good at which is killing enemy units, but if the mission also happens to include a couple of buttons that need to be pressed, well, the Ayyar and Yasbir can take a break from eliminating the enemies of Haqqislam and press a button or two. It allows for a versatility to them and I love multi-purpose units especially the Ayyar. They are great to have along, especially if you want killing power but don’t want to skimp on specialists.


Here is something that probably could be an entire article in itself, so this will be a rough overview of a much deeper topic of how Hackers are a great asset to Haqqislam. Hackers are probably my most utilized specialist in Haqqislam actually. I know Nomads get the praise of having the best Hackers in the game, but Haqqislam shouldn’t be counted out of the hacking game. Yes, Haqqislam doesn’t have the same kind of BTS that others do, and we don’t have the fancy hacking devices that Combined, Nomads and even ALEPH get, but that naturally high WIP 14 helps to win a lot of face to face rolls, let me tell you. Haqqislam has access to four types of Hacking Devices. The normal Hacking Device (HD), the EVO Hacking Device, the Assault Hacking Device (AHD) and the Killer Hacking Device(KHD). I will go into how I use each of them to give Haqqislam an edge. One thing to remember is that Haqqislam has access to Camouflaged Infiltrating units (Specifically the Al Hawwa’ and the Tuareg) that have AHDs. This means you can Surprise Hack someone from the Camo State, which is a great way to not only get to enemy hackable units but helps to make sure that the hack goes through.

We will start with normal Hacking Devices, and the EVO Hacking Device, because I don’t usually use them unless I am using them in a support role, either with buffing my Remotes or making sure my HI have Fairy Dust. I sometimes do wish I would include them more because of the ability to Hack Transport Aircraft to keep enemy AD troops from ruining my day but it’s never anything that I have seen as essential really. As I pointed out above, I love the Hassassin Barid Hacker LT for this job because of being able to use that LT order to put up the support programs. HDs aren’t bad by any means but I do find myself using AHDs and KHDs a lot more because I use hacking offensively  to level the playing field against factions like PanOceania and Yu Jing who are fond of their nice hackable toys. The EVO might be worth it if you can use all the benefits that it brings, but I find that it is a bit harder to do in Haqqislam than other factions that have more Duos, more AD troops, or more combat remotes. Losing the offensive ability that the HD brings isn’t worth the pure supportive EVO, so if I do take a support Hacker it usually is just a regular HD.

Now into the great way to use Hackers in Haqqislam, the Assault Hacking Device. Haqqislam has plenty of choices  to deploy these. Three of the AHD units have ways of starting up the board and close to enemy. The Al Hawwa’ and the Tuareg both are Camo Infiltrators (Don’t forget about the Surprise Hack from the marker state!) and the Ragik has AD: Combat Drop so you don’t have to spend many orders to get them where they can hack. Both the Tuareg and the Ragik also have the added bonus of being WIP 15, making their hacks that more potent. Pretty much there is always an AHD in my lists, sometimes I take 2 depending on the faction I am about to face.  AHDs really help to level the playing for Haqqislam because it helps to deal with hackable units that have superior BS skill to Haqqislam troops. I use them to Immobilize HI and possess TAGs. I make my opponent regret taking their high tech toys. Another mention has to be for the Barid AHD because it has the UPGRADE program Icebreaker. Icebreaker reduces the enemy BTS value to 0 and causes IMM-1. The Barid may not have the mobility of the other 3, but Icebreaker is more than worth it, plus the Barid has a Pitcher to throw a Repeater and extend its Hacking Area. There are also other repeaters available to the faction to help expand the Barid’s influence.

Next is the KHD, which is a Hacking Device I absolutely love. Again, there is always one KHD in my list, mostly because Leila Sharif has made herself indispensable within my lists. No matter if I am playing vanilla, QK or Hassassin, Leila is there. Many think that without any hackers to kill, or buttons to press, that KHD are kind of useless except they forget one thing: Cybermask. With a successful WIP, Cybermask allows the user to go into the Impersonation Level 2 Marker state, allowing access to Surprise Shot. This is where Leila becomes so useful. She carries a Shock Markmanship Rifle allowing her to assassinate unsuspecting victims. (Read more on Leila in the article I wrote about her here.) The other useful KHD is the Barid, because once again, he gets an UPGRADE program to his KHD known as Lightning which is utterly brutal. Not only does it put an enemy hacker at a -6 Mod, but it uses Breaker Special Ammo and is damage 15. The KHD Barid is the ultimate hacker hunter when you want to deprive your enemy of their Hackers. The other two KHD in Haqqislam, the Druze and Govad, are standard KHD, and while not bad (definitely would include in their prospective link teams), they don’t stand out like Leila and the Barid do. The key to using a KHD outside of its obvious uses, though is remembering that it has Cybermask. It adds an entire new layer to the KHD outside of its attack programs. 

I could go on about how to successfully use Hackers in Haqqislam, but this article is already long enough and we still have one last specialist to go. I saved the best for last, because the last specialist is what Haqqislam is known far and wide for.

Doctor Plus:

As the foremost Human Sphere nation when it comes to medicine and biotechnology, Haqqislam has the best Doctors of any faction. They are so good, they are Doctor Plus (Except for Kaplans for whatever reason…) and as a Haqqislam player…I don’t know what a Paramedic is because currently, there are only two in the entire faction: the Maghariba Pilot and she has yet to have left her TAG and the new unit the Cube J├Ąger, so yeah, I only know rolling 17s (or 18 in the case of the Tuareg and Avicenna) to get my troops back up because Doctor Plus gives a +3 mod to Doctor rolls making Haqqislam the best in the business at Healing folks. Only Bakunin gets a taste of what it means to have Doctor Plus because they get access to Avicenna as well, but other than that, Haqqislam is the only faction with Doctor Plus, and is the only faction with Akbar Doctor. Akbar Doctor allows you to instead of taking the +3 mod to your WIP for the Doctor Roll, you get to restore a model up to full Wounds, instead of being limited to 1 Wound. Akbar Doctor is only on one unit currently - the Janissary. I really only take the risk of using Akbar Doctor on units with a cube so that if I fail the roll, I can spend a command token to re-roll. The only cubed HI in Haqqislam are the Azra’il, the Asawira, and the Al Fasid. Still, it is so satisfying to see your opponent’s face as the Al Fasid they thought they took down gets back up with full Wounds again.

I think it goes without saying that if you are playing Haqqislam, you should have at least one, if not multiple, Doctor in your list, even in direct action missions. The ability to get our troopers back up with such reliability is a huge boon for Haqqislam, especially in missions where surviving army points counts toward the Objectives of the Mission. I have gone from losing a mission, to winning it because of the well placed resurrections of key units. Even more so, Doctors are found in many of the Core links available in Haqqislam Sectorials, which means that even if an opponent was able to take down some of your link, the Doctor can come along and get everyone back up, restoring you back to a full link once more so you can reap those link team bonuses. I have yet to make a list without a Doctor in it. They are an important asset in the Haqqislamite toolbox. Even if it is just squeezing in the tried and true Ghulam Doctor, I make sure that there is one supporting my troops.

Haqqislam has a lot of good options for Doctors. When I am playing vanilla, I honestly favor just the regular Ghulam Doctor. Even being just a line troop, she has done a lot and she is easy to fit in a list. I am a huge fan of the Tuareg Doctor as well. A TO Camo Infiltrator that can be up the field to help those who went on an alpha strike is something hard to ignore. In vanilla, Halqa aren’t bad either and the Halqa Doctor is just 3 points more than the Ghulam. The Janissary Akbar Doctor is also a fun unit, durable and a great support for the Azra’il and the Al Fasid with the Akbar ability. When I am playing a Sectorial, my Doctor is usually in the Core Link unless the link doesn’t have access to Doctors like the Hassassin Govads or Odalisques. When this occurs, I always fall back on the Ghulam Doctor.

Take This Knowledge and Go Forth to Do Great Things!

Well that was a lot longer than I thought it would be, but I hope you enjoyed it. I hope that it inspires you to use specialists in new and interesting ways in this new ITS season, despite the decrease in the importance of specialists when it comes to completing some of the missions in this new season. Haqqislam’s main advantage is still easy access to a variety of specialists that help us complete our missions. From the common Forward Observers stunning fools, to Hackers shutting down enemy Hackable units and our great Doctors helping troopers get back on their feet, Haqqislam has a lot of useful specialists when compared to the other factions. These specialists are what help us use asymmetrical tactics to level the playing field against our enemies. As always, my friends, continue to seek knowledge. Mashallah.