Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Tale of Two Power Armors

With Wotan over, I finally have time to finish this article, so we take a break from stories and lore for us to once again return to discussing tactics and strategy. So, gather ‘round as I spin you a tale - a tale of two power armors.

In light of a previous post where I went over the differences between Vanilla and Sectorials (Which can be found here: The Struggle Between Vanilla and Sectorials
) I discussed how some units can overshadow others when two units occupy the same niche within an vanilla army, causing one to only see play time in their respective Sectorial. The example I used for a major overshadow was from Ariadna, knowing that I would want to later write about a supposed major overshadow in Haqqislam, one that comes up more and more as people start to play Haqqislam because they picked up Red Veil. What is this supposed overshadow you ask? Well, it is between the two S5 power armored units in Haqqislam - the Al Fasid and the Azra'il. 

At first glance they seem to occupy the same job within a list - S5 power armored badass to straight up wreck fools. I understand this because they do appear to be similar units like the Mormaer and Veteran Kazak I used as an example in my last post. I can see why people ask the question: "What is the point of the Azra'il when the Al Fasid exists?" Unlike the Mormaer and the Veteran Kazak though, the Al Fasid and Azra'il occupy two different niches within a list but these two niches are nuanced to the point that people often miss the difference when they are first starting out and taking in all the profiles of Haqqislam.

Before we get into the difference, let's go over the unit profiles. First up, the Azra'il, the Angel of Death from Qapu Khalqi!

The Angel of Death, the Azra'il

Calling the Azra'il the Angel of Death isn't something I came up with to make it sound more awesome. It's actually the meaning of the name in Turkish, since the Azra'il is from the Turkish themed Sectorial of Qapu Khalqi. The ranks of the Azra'il are filled when a new Sultan comes to power within Qapu Khalqi. The former Sultan's guard is disbanded to prevent any conflict of interest, and because these operatives can not return to their former units as they may have seen and heard things while in the service of the Sultan, they are sent to where they can be watched carefully - the Azra'il Special Deterrence Group. It is the job of the Azra'il to protect the transportation of Silk. The big heavy armor isn't a mistake, or is the fact that it's outdated tech, the armor of the Azra'il is designed to look intimidating to dissuade any attempts to illegally obtain Silk. They are there to hunt down any enemy of Haqqislam, as their name implies, and they wouldn't have it any other way. They are often deployed to finish off a mission, hunting down the rest of the enemy as the Angel of Death. 

Right there gives you the Azra'il's role in a list. It is a hunter. The Azra'il is not a static unit meant to be an ARO piece. It is meant to hunt things down and it certainly has the weaponry and stat line to achieve this goal. The Azra'il has a BS of 13 which is standard for HI in Haqqislam, but it is still high for Haqqislam units in general. This is the main stat we actually care about, because it's the main one we will be using. The Azra'il has a PH of 13, which is nice, because despite being S5 HI, it allows the Azra'il to dodge shots when conditions aren't favorable for the Azra'il to fire. With 4-2 movement, the Azra'il is slow, but both loadouts the Azra'il has have positive range bands out to 32", so you won't be moving much to get into favorable fire conditions. The CC isn't anything special at 12 and the Azra'il has a standard Haqqislam WIP of 14, which will come into play mostly with Guts! checks and hacking attempts. Reset at 14 is awesome and will help to keep the Azra'il from being Immobilized. With ARM 5 and BTS 3, the Azra'il is pretty survivable, especially after you have mastered the skill of keeping an S5 model in cover. Lastly, the Azra'il has 2 wounds like all HI outside of Ariadna. 

It has a pretty solid stat line, but that is all it has. There is nothing else special about the Azra'il. No extra special skills, which is why a lot of people don't like it. Even the Janissary at least gets Religious Troop while the Azra'il has nothing. The thing that people mostly overlook about this, though is that the Azra'il is cheap as dirt when compared to other HI. You will pay either 39 or 41 points to take one which is a steal when it comes to 2 wound HI, especially considering the heavy ordinance that the Azra'il carries - which is why you are taking them. Big weapons that will make things dead. 

Azra'il with AP HMG:

I am going to just say this now, this is my preferred profile of the two Azra’il options. It is a problem solver. Have a tough target to crack? The AP part of that AP HMG shreds their armor at damage 15 making sure that you get wounds on those tough targets. Hunting lighter targets? Well, it's still an HMG so it's good at taking out those targets as well. No matter what the AP HMG can take care of the target which is why I like it so much. Plus, the burst 4 gives you more dice to defeat any ARO your opponent tries to throw. I also like the AP HMG because you have the ability to put it into suppression fire allowing you to lock down a fire lane after the Azra'il cleared it out, establishing better board presence and control of the board. The AP HMG definitely is a dominating presence on the board and defines the Azra'il as the hunter that it is. 

Azra'il with Feuerbach:

Now don't get me wrong, I still like the Feuerbach. It’s main advantage over the AP HMG is a more forgiving range band. Instead of going to -3 mod if you shoot over 32 inches, the Feuerbach is a straight 0 which is a lot more forgiving if you misjudged your distances.The Feuerbach is only burst 2 at damage 14, but it adds DA ammunition to the AP, so you get less dice, but when you do hit, it hurts more. The Feuerbach has an explosive mode at burst 1 as well that is usually done in ARO, making your opponent think twice about what kind of moves they want to make in front of the Azra'il, so the Feuerbach gives a little more of an ARO edge than the AP HMG. It's not a bad weapon, I am just the kind of person that prefers more dice. The Feuerback is 2 points and .5 SWC less than the AP HMG, though, giving you more room in a list while still giving you a scary hunter. The Anti-Material characteristic also can't be ignored, because this allows you to destroy scenery, which is useful in missions like Nimbus Zone where destroying objectives is a tactic you may want to employ to deny points to your opponent. 

As usual, this really comes down to preference when it comes to choosing which load out you want for your Azra'il. I am a person who tends to favor more dice in the active turn, but that is my preference. I have used the Feuerbach and it is a fine weapon.

By now, it's clear that the Azra'il is meant to ruin people's day in offensive maneuvers, it truly is the hammer used to smash your opponent's forces… “But wait,” you say, “isn't that what the Al Fasid is for?” NOPE! If the Azra'il is the hammer, the Al Fasid is the anvil.

The Corrupted, the Al Fasid:

The updated lore for the Al Fasid right now is contained in the Red Veil booklet, so unless you have acquired Red Veil, you might not be familiar with the background behind the Al Fasid. In Arabic, Al Fasid means "The Corrupted," and relates to the Islamic religious concept of corruption. The reason for this is the Al Fasid are only chosen for their ability to do the job, no questions asked about their past. Because there is no need for them to share their past, it is generally assumed to be bad. The only concern they have when applicants sign up to be Al Fasid is that they can survive the grueling process and admission tests associated with it and that they have a solid operational record. Al Fasid are known for their willingness to do absolutely anything in order to get the job done because these soldiers don't care about glory. Some just enjoy it, others just want the paycheck and for some, it's all they know how to do.

Just as with the Azra'il, the lore gives us a hint as to what it's job is suppose to be. The Al Fasid is a little more of a utility piece than the purely offensive Azra'il. It's the rock that you anchor the rest of your forces to. That's not saying that an Al Fasid can't be used offensively, but both profiles of the Al Fasid really lend it to be a utility or defensive piece to help cover your flanks. Haqqislam lore often talks about how the Sword of Allah likes to use Hammer and Anvil tactics, and the Al Fasid most certainly fits the role of the Anvil as a solid backfield piece.

Just like the Azra'il, the movement of the Al Fasid is 4-2 but just like the Azra'il, you won't be moving them as much, especially as the anvil of your army. The Al Fasid also has a bit better stats than the Azra'il. The Al Fasid has 3 better CC bringing it to 15 instead of a 12, while you don’t want either of these units in CC, the little bump can make the difference against CC units trying to assassinate your HI. The Al Fasid also has a PH 14 which gives it a slightly better Dodge. Finally, the Al Fasid has a BTS of 6 instead of the Haqqislam standard of 3. Combine this with the fact that the Al Fasid has ARM 5 and it's a pretty tough target to take down. Your opponent will have to work to dislodge the Al Fasid from its position. The Al Fasid also has the typical Haqqislam HI BS of 13 so its shooting is in line with all the other HI. The rest of the stat line is as you expect as well, 2 wounds and S5.

Where the Al Fasid really shines, though, is the skills it gets. All Al Fasid are Minelayers, carrying antipersonnel mines, so you can place a mine out during deployment to better protect your backfield and your LT from things like infiltrators, impersonators or the occasional Van Zant. They also have Sixth Sense Level 1 so there is no sneaking up on them within 8 inches and no surprise shot/surprise attack allowing them to fire that heavy pistol that they all have. The final special status that the Al Fasid comes with is Veteran level 1 so the Al Fasid can't be isolated by any means, and the Al Fasid stays regular should you lose your LT or go into Retreat!. All this makes the Al Fasid an awesome unit. It is also the most expensive HI available to Haqqislam, but the Al Fasid most certainly earns its points, and it only gets better when you consider the loadouts that it gets. 

Al Fasid with HMG + (Smoke and Normal) Light Grenade Launcher

I really like this profile despite it being one of the most expensive unit in Haqqislam (Only Tarik and the Maghariba Guard cost more than this unit) because of the amount of things you can do with it. It is a jack-of-all-trades utility piece that can fill many roles in a list. It can be an offensive piece with the HMG and grenade launcher utilizing that BS 13 to eliminate things. It actually makes speculative firing worth it, you don't have to risk the Al Fasid when facing mimetism or ODD. You can also just choose to mow things down with the HMG as well. You get utility out of the Al Fasid because of the access to the smoke grenades, allowing you to put smoke cover to move units through or use a Djanbazan to fire through the smoke. By being a lot tougher than the other smoke delivery units in Haqqislam, the Al Fasid helps you keep access to smoke longer. The defensive nature comes from the fact that you can put the HMG into suppression to cover lanes while the Sixth Sense Lvl 1, Minelayer and Mines let the Al Fasid act defensively. I always find myself spending orders on this unit for some reason or another. This is what makes Red Veil worth buying, this unit is not only a great sculpt, but so useful. From what I have seen, people tend to use this profile a lot because of how much it can do. It's a tool box that likes to wear power armor. 

Al Fasid with Heavy Rocket Launcher and Submachine Gun

This profile I think doesn't get enough credit, mostly because people see the light grenade launcher that fires both smoke and normal grenades, get tunnel vision, and miss what this unit brings to the table. It's one of my favorite sculpts in Infinity too, shouldering the heavy rocket launcher while wielding that beautifully rendered SMG (Best looking gun in all of Infinity, hands down.) I also really like the profile. It's not a tool box like the other profile, but it is a solid defensive piece and it is 8 points cheaper than the HMG, making it easier to throw in a list. The heavy rocket launcher does only have burst 2, but I still like firing it offensively, especially at fireteams. That blast template forces your opponent to make some tough choices concerning their link. It is also a great ARO piece for the same reasons since it has a relatively forgiving range band. The Submachine gun not only helps to cover up close encounters, using AP or Shock depending on the target, but it also allows for the Al Fasid to close down lanes with Suppression. Might not be as good as an HMG, but it does give more options to this profile when it comes to the reactive turn. The other defensive capabilities are the same as with the HMG. I find this profile, though, to be an ideal body guard for obvious Lieutenants like Saladin. The defensive nature of this unit make it ideal for sitting in the backfield and protecting such things.

As you can see, an Al Fasid isn't a purely offensive piece like the Azra'il is. I won't necessarily spend orders on an Al Fasid like I do the Azra'il because of the amount of things an Al Fasid can do, usually to help support other units. While your Azra'il goes crashing forward raining destruction on your enemies, the Al Fasid is hanging back making sure the home front is nice and secure. One of my favorite ways to use the Al Fasid with HMG and grenade launcher is in support of units like the Khawarij or Tarik. Launching smoke to cover their advance so they can super jump to their heart's content in order to get into their threat ranges; meanwhile the Al Fasid can also cover them with HMG fire. Laying mines to ensure pesky infiltrators and AD troops have a tough time getting to your backfield or playing bodyguard to valuable pieces are the main job of the Al Fasid, using them as a hunter like the Azra'il is wasting their potential. The price difference between the two units is the selling point. If you are investing this amount of points into a unit, you have to make sure to use it to its maximum potential. If you want a power armored badass to kill stuff, stick with the Azra'il, since it is cheaper and that rampage is a much riskier undertaking.

The Hammer and the Anvil: The Destruction Duo!

I hope by now I was able to illustrate the differences between the Azra'il and Al Fasid, which are so similar, yet so different, because now I want to tell you my favorite use for them - working together. I love bringing both of them in a list. If you are playing vanilla Haqqislam, I suggest you try them together because they are an awesome force to behold, and will give your opponent a problem that they might not be used to facing in Haqqislam: two tough heavy infantry that sow destruction wherever they go. These two really highlight the Hammer and Anvil tactics favored by Haqqislam that I mentioned earlier, and I absolutely love it.

The best way to take them, in my opinion, is if you take the HMG of the one profile, choose the non-HMG choice of the other. My favorite combination: Azra'il AP HMG partnered with the Al Fasid with Heavy Rocket Launcher. You have the hunter in the AP HMG taking out tough targets while the solid defensive piece that is the Heavy Rocket Launcher able to cover the flank of the Azra'il. The best thing is once the Azra'il is done clearing things out, both can be placed into suppressive fire, making them incredibly hard to dislodge. The Rocket Launcher is there when you need something burnt (Like Camo/ODD or pesky space vegetables like Tohaa), or when you see a nice grouping that is begging for the attention of a template.

The other combination, Azra'il with Feuerbach and Al Fasid with HMG isn't bad either, but the Al Fasid has to pick up a bit more of the slack in the active turn. The Al Fasid in this instance probably will get a little more orders than the Azra'il because they kind of switch roles with the Azra'il being more of a cheaper ARO piece while the Al Fasid has more of an offensive capability. The tool box the Al Fasid brings is definitely where you want to be spending your orders, though, with the Azra'il there to take down your tougher targets. That AP + DA will be able to take down higher armored targets than the Al Fasid's HMG. Still, not a bad combination, especially if you want smoke coverage, which is something the previous combination lacked.

Now, I can feel it, why not just take both Al Fasid profiles? That's because of the expense of the Al Fasid. You can do it but they take a hefty chunk. The two Al Fasid together cost 98 points and 4 SWC, a large chunk of your list right there, which might be nice for Limited Insertion, but maybe not so much for regular 300 point games. The Azra'il AP HMG and Al Fasid with HRL is 86 points and 4 SWC. A 12 point difference - that could be another order. The Azra'il with Feuerbach and Al Fasid with HMG is 92 points, but you do save 3.5 SWC. That is a reason I like taking the Azra'il with AP HMG and Al Fasid with HRL, you get a lot for those points.

Finally, if you are playing limited insertion or just don't mind low order counts, throw a Janissary Ackbar Doctor when taking them in tandem like this. They both have cubes which means you can re-roll failed Doctor rolls, really making the Ackbar Doctor worth it. There is nothing like your heavy infantry standing back up at full wounds after an opponent spent so much to take them down. Honestly, the Janissary Doctor makes a great partner for either of them when taken solo as well due to that ability.

Both units are great weapons platforms and I suggest using them both, whether solo, which is how I like to use the Al Fasid with HMG, or in the tandem roles I just pointed out. Both S5 power armors have a clear and present niche within Haqqislam, something you can't often say about some power armor laden factions, and neither overshadows the other. I hope this has inspired you to use both the Azra'il and the Al Fasid to their fullest potential. Until next time, my friends, continue seeking knowledge, mashallah! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Flamia Files: Part 3

Here we are once again for the third week to bring you another edition of the Flamia Files. With Wotan soon wrapping up, I will definitely be publishing my battle reports from those right after this. There are probably one or two more parts to the Flamia Files before heading into the Wotan storyline which will pick up after this. I was reading through these and realized that my friend and I were never able to conclude this story line which I will do here once the final battle report is finished. Without further delay, let's get into the third part of the Flamia Files!
For those who have missed the first to parts they can be found at the following links:
Flamia Files: Part 1
Flamia Files: Part 2 

The Price Paid in War

+++The following account is taken from Lieutenant Fadi, the lone survivor of a biotech virus attack on Tianxian perpetrated by a rogue element within the Military Orders of PanOceania known as Xandis. This report has been submitted to Hassassin Bahram for review to determine the threat posed by this Xandis and what further action is to be taken. The account details of the final moments of a squad in the Guardian Falcons of Qapu Khalqi. The command of the Guardian Falcons belongs to one Envihon who was away in command of a different squad forewarned about the attack thanks to a Lieutenant Garret surrendering to his forces and warning Envihon. The account is as follows:+++

The attack happened fast and we weren’t prepared for it at all. We were on a routine security patrol safe guarding the portions of Tianxian that Haqqislam controlled when the sirens blasted about a coming blast but these weren’t the usually bomb sirens. These were the ones that indicated a biochemcial hazard release. I radioed my team to move into the safe zones quickly. I coordinated with the Ghulam Doctor I was with…I forget her name now, and it pains me to but as we were moving to position a sniper shot for a TO Camoed Order Sergeant range out and shot her unconcious…there was nothing I could do except take cover as best as I could.
I ordered the Azra’il to move into position to take out the sniper but he was having trouble locking down on the target and there was a Father Knight as well that was giving them trouble. A Yuan yuan dropped down in front of me but she was in the clear so I ordered her to hold. Her partner moved up to provide smoke coverage and allow the others to move out of the danger zones and then the Odalisques that were with us moved up in position. They were taking constant fire but they made it to the safe area fine. The fireteam with the Azra’il then took point and finally a lucky shot brought down the sniper allowing me to join the Yuan Yuan in cover and out of the safe zone. The Shihab, Kaplan Engineer and Ghulam along with the Yuan yuan moved up into an exposed position but they were out of the danger zones. The Azra’il and Hafzas took position along the wall waiting for the rest of the Military Order forces to advance on them and advanced they did. The only causality to die of the biotech virus was the Doctor since her body had to be left behind…

From there, it was a slaughter…the Shihab remote tried to get the Magisters as they left their backfield but it missed. A warrior woman advanced on the Odalisque position and they shot tried to shoot but it just didn’t work but the warrior woman found the Odalisques to be more of a match as their i-Khol took the mysterious woman by surprise. The Husam Spec Ops was able to hack one of the Magisters and stop them but it didn’t slow them down and they began to slaughter the Hafzas. Our forces were brought into temporary reprieve when the Military Orders Lieutenant died…I think maybe to the plague they released but I am not sure in all the chaos…but it unleashed the Magisters even more as they began advance. The chaos there was overwhelming that I don’t remember it…shotgun blasts rang out and the Azra’il tried but it too was brought down. The Kaplan tried to help but was taken down along with the remote. There was nothing we could do. The Yuan yuan I was with eventually left to go kill something but she was taken down by Fusilier gun fire.
The Odalisques held their own against the warrior woman, matching blow for blow with their pheromones disorientating their assailant. An Odalisque stepped out and wounded a Magister but she was soon gunned down as well. The woman took a wound but eventually landed a blow killing the Odalisque. That was when the last Odalisque opened fire with shotgun finally killing the warrior woman but she too died at the Magisters fury. At least they made them pay for it…
It was chaos…a massacre…there was nothing we could do…in the aftermath, I was able to gather everyone’s cube but that didn’t make up for the fact that we were utterly destroyed. This isn’t even counting all the civilians who died because of the attack, hundreds…needlessly dead for what? Do we even know?

+++That is the end of the report. Lieutenant Fadi will be entering a mental health program to treat him for his PTSD. Whether he returns to active duty or not, only time and treatment will tell. It is a shame when a good soldier like this is broken.+++
***Envihon’s personal notes after reviewing the battle. To be submitted to Hassassin Bahram along with mission report for further analysis***
The intelligence received about this attack shows that this now infamous Xandis was behind the attack. What drove him to perform such an act is still unclear. The medical supplies coup was one thing, but the biotech virus release is quite another. This is a dangerous individual. As I have stated before, his behavior doesn’t match that of a typical PanOceanian, they are bullies for sure and will throw their weight around but to release a biotech virus to complete his ends? To have one victory? I have looked into it and it would seem that this battle follows a string of losses at his command. He probably has been getting desperate for some recognition that he finally broke. He decided that if his tactics weren’t going to do it for him, might as well swing the odds in his favor by doing something like killing hundreds of innocents and one of my squads with a biotech virus. He’s now a mad dog without a leash and PanOceania will eventually regret doing that. I actually feel bad for PanOceania.
Even now, they try to say that we are the ones that released the virus to some how save face. Luckily, people aren’t buying it. The people know who protect them and won’t turn on Haqqislam, no matter how much libel PanOceania spews. He needs to be stopped, either by our hands or another.
***End of notes.***

In Pursuit of Justice

***Intelligence Communications Between a Hassassin Govad known as Cerathian and the Qapu Khalqi commander known as Envihon***
Cerathian (C): Commander Envihon, we have some new intelligence on the enigmatic individual within the Military Orders known as Xandis. With how your team has been affected by his actions, we thought you would personally like to look into the matter.
Envihon (E): Well, in that case, you have my attention. Who is this Xandis and why did the PanOceania Lieutenant say he was hunting me? I want to know if my actions did indeed lead to the horrors at Tianxian.
C: Good, I was hoping to peak your interests. Your actions in the field during the conflict of Flamia Island do seem to be connected to Xandis. Your unit has come in contact with him before. During one of your missions when they were protecting a medical transport that was delivering medical supplies to Camp Antela, Military Order forces that Xandis was in ambushed the convoy. It was during their offensive against Antela and they didn’t like the fact that the medical supplies were destined to help Ariadnan citizens not involved with conflict. PanOceania still took offense to this and saw it as aiding the enemy…
E: Those civilians didn’t ask for this war…
C: Envihon, we know how you feel about this. We know how arrogant the PanOceanians are. Any action that they don’t see as directly beneficial to themselves is an act against them. We can’t fix this attitude so regardless of the moral implications of the attack, the Military Order forces still attacked your forces who were guarding the medical transports to prevent the supplies from their intended destination. Fortunately, you used the PanOceanian arrogance against themselves and they underestimated how the Paradiso jungle can act like an enemy itself. You utterly annihilated them. Xandis was an Indigo Spec Ops during the mission and was brought down swiftly by a Djanbazan sniper. His cube was captured but then exchanged in a prisoner swap. This is how we have this information. We downloaded all the information before handing them back to the PanOceania forces. Apparently, he was then resurrected and suppose to be discharged for his gross failure but he made a deal with his command. Enter his radicalization and zealotry which spurned on a vendetta against your forces. His continued losses made him select a most extreme means to finally achieve victory…
E: The Incident at TianXian…
C: The incident at TianXian…yes, it was an attempt to remove you and the Guardian Falcons from delivering the medical supplies once and for all. The plan was to make it look like we have been smuggling weapons but the fail safe was if they failed to release the biotech virus to ensure that the Guardian Falcons were no more. Luckily that Lieutenant warned your forces but the Falcons still took casualties and of course, the price the civilian population paid. No cost was too high it would seem…the virus even killed PanOceania forces but they still authorized it which is odd for PanOceania. They want to win but they always had some honor in doing and if this was Yu Jing, I wouldn’t be surprised but PanO…it’s just weird. Which is why it’s the opinion of Hassassin Bahram that this Xandis is a rogue agent still under the protection of PanOceania. His vengeance has made him reckless and dangerous. He will stop at nothing until he makes amends for the loss at Antela. For this, he is now a target for Hassassin Bahram to be eliminated.
E: Okay, who are you sending in?
C: You, we are taking you out of sleeper status. We felt it was good for you to deal with this personally since you have been so passionate about facing the PanOceania forces and Xandis himself.
E: My unit will notice my absence.
C: Already taken care of. They are being sent to Zhurong. They already know of your leave of absence, it was unexpected but needed for the major offensive. They understood, quite a team of loyal men you have.
E: That is what happens when you are more than just a face or a name to them. Well, time to dust off the old viral rifle.
C: Good, a team is standing by for you in the field. We have Xandis’ location but access to the facility is difficult. The mission is to ambush PanOceania attacking Aranda. We have identified individuals who are connected to Xandis and who would have access to the facility. Eliminate one of those individuals and obtain their cube so that we may extract the information we need.
E: Isn’t PanOceania the main force that could take back Aranda from the Combined Army and place it back into the hands of Humanity? To attack them there would be in direct opposition of Haqqislam’s goal to help humanity…
C: Negative Commander. Our reports show that the biotech virus had a hand in eliminating the Nomad forces holding the city which allowed the Combined Army to take Aranda in the first place. Finding and eliminating Xandis is of the utmost importance before he does something else that helps the Combined Army to get another foothold in Human Sphere territory. This small infraction on PanOceania forces in Aranda is but a small price to pay for the eventual elimination of the dangerous criminal known as Xandis. Good luck brother.
***End of Intelligence Communications***

+++Top Secret Report from Hassassin Envihon+++
The operation to Aranda didn’t go as well as planned but the main objective was complete. For once, we were on the offensive. I attached myself to a contingent of specially trained Ghulam unit that was hand picked for this mission. Our early scouting showed that the PanOceania forces were heavily entrenched. It wasn’t because they had detected us though, the fighting for them had been hard against the Combined Army, in the distance you could always hear distance gun fire and explosions. The Combined Army had hit hard and PanOceania was doing everything they could do to make a dent in the Combined Army forces. They were ready too, with a heavy defensive line established. This defensive line would do a lot to stop our forces from doing anything besides completing our mission.

We had a Fiday who infiltrated their lines in order to get close to their Fusilier Lieutenant. They didn’t suspect a thing as he ran a distraction so we could get the rest of our forces set up to take the offensive. We were able to establish a Shihab remote to cover any forward advance. Our Muyib, Barid, Lasiq and Fiday operatives got into position as we coordinated our strike. The first offensive maneuver was for the infiltrating Fiday to eliminate their leadership at the start of the mission, which he pulled off flawlessly, the Fusilier did not have any time to react but unfortunately when his cover was revealed which resulted in the fate the awaits many Fidays, death and honor in sacrifice for Haqqislam.

The chaos that resulted from this allowed our Fiday on our lines to put out several mines in order to stop any advance from the PanOceanian forces while remaining secret. Our Muttawia’ah that we had also brought along were able to sneak forward as the defensive lines were distracted. It was then that our Muyib fired off several rockets at their defensive line to no avail, they were heavily protected from their vantage point. The Lasiq then advanced forward to get into an advantageous spot to lay down suppressive viral fire but it never got the chance after what happened next.

The PanOceania forces reacted quickly by dropping two Crusaders into out lines. The one from the right struck quickly to mow down the Barid operative with HMG fire while the other dropped behind the Lasiq and gunned him down. The Lasiq could do nothing to safe himself as the Crusader unloaded into the unsuspecting Lasiq’s back, the Lasiq did not survive the Crusader’s well timed attack. This allowed him to move further into our lines where the Shihab opened fire but was ineffective in it’s mission and was also gunned down by the wayward Crusader allowing him to take position to try and flank our Muyib that was raining rockets down onto the defensive team.

This is when I called in the Ragiks to provide counter relief to our forces. One with a spitfire landed behind the Crusader with the HMG where he gunned him down avenging the Barid’s death. The second, landed beyond the flanking Crusader but lost in a shotgun shootout. This is where the Muttawia’ah moved in to isolate the Crusader and then using their chain rifles finally bringing the Crusader down while sacrificing themselves for Haqqislam. The unconscious Crusader finally presented itself with the opportunity we were looking for to complete our mission. The surviving Fiday came under the second group’s authority and moved under my orders to engage the Crusader. He took back to his disguise to move with impunity. He stepped up to slit the Crusader’s throat ending his life and providing the opportunity we needed to extract his cube in order to gain the information we needed to get into the PanOceania facility.
We took heavy casualties but such is the way of the Hassassin Bahram, sacrifice is needed for victory. We ended in a stalemate with the opposing forces but we will win this war with Xandis as his days are now numbered. In the end, we may have not achieved total victory, this Crusader known as Angel is now under our control thanks to him giving us his cube on a silver platter.

We move to extract…be ready for our signal.

***Personal Remarks***
The PanOceania forces are getting better. We weren’t expecting such a heavily defended position and it definitely cost us some men. I did not know those that gave their lives today, that is sacrifice of being Hassassin Bahram but I know they died believing in what they fought for. People like Xandis must be brought to justice and PanOceania has left us no other choice by to act through Hassassin Bahram to achieve victory. Everyone answers for their crimes whether in this world or the next, no one escapes judgement. I will personally ensure that Xandis comes to terms with his crimes.
+++End Report+++

That is the end of Part 3, I hoped you enjoyed it. As always, my friend, until next time, continue to seek knowledge! Mashallah. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Flamia Files: Part 2

The Sword of Haqqislam is back once more with the second installment of the Flamia Files, a re-publishing of my old battle reports from Operation Flamestrike. I am only publishing two this time because my reports from here on out get a lot longer and reflect the detail that I continue to this day. They tell a more complete story.

You will really get to see how my reports evolved over time as I found the style that I liked and how I wanted to voice the stories that my friend and I were producing. I started to really getting into shaping the story around the game taking place and Corvus Belli did a great job in helping with this by having mechanics reflect how the story would be shaped. You can tell the heart of roleplay in Infinity.

With Wotan soon to wind down, I will continue to do these but that should mean that I will be getting back to actual blogging than taking this lazy way out but without further delay, onto the Flamia Files!

If you missed part one you can find it here: Flamia Files: Part 1

In Defense Against the Dragon
**Haqqislam Intelligence Communications. Participants: Unknown, labeled as Participant 1 and Participant 2**

Participant 1 (P1): We have a contingent of Yu Jing forces moving towards Tianxian Astroport city. It seems that it is a retaliation force in response to the Nomads taking Zhurong. It seems that the Nomads have awoken the dragon. They are being lead by a high profile Imperial Agent.
Participant 2 (P2): So why do we care? Yu Jing going after the Nomads is beneficial to us taking back the city.
P1: It gets more complicated than that. This particular Imperial Agent is wanted by Qapu Khalqi and Hassassin Bahram. It seems that he has committed several crimes against Haqqislam including the destruction of several Haqqislamite merchant ships, silk theft and the slaughter of innocents that get in his way. Yu Jing has given him the mission of sabotaging a key area of the Nomads to force a retreat back to Tianxian from Zhurong. With the amount of explosives the Imperial Agent, it would certainly work but many civilians will die in the attack, civilians that are still loyal to Haqqislam.
P2: You would think that if Yu Jing wanted the city back, they would refrain from killing the civilians they want to eventually govern.
P1: Do you really think that they would make it look like Yu Jing was responsible?
P2: That is true, okay, I can see why we are interested but from the information you just sent, we don’t have any assets that could engage them in time. The are headed into pure Nomad territory.
P1: We have one, the Guardian Falcons of Qapu Khalqi. They are returning from an escort mission in Antela.
P2: Isn’t that Envihon’s forces? Well, he has been successful in destroying PanOceania, Yu Jing shouldn’t be a problem. Send him in, make sure he has an Azra’il on hand, let’s see the dragon bleed for their crimes.
**End of Intelligence Briefing**
–Heavy opposition detected. Deploying Azra’il protocols. Eliminate with extreme prejudice–
+++Incoming Transmission from Envihon Location: Tianxian+++

Mission Report:
We were on our way back from Antela when we got the order to divert ourselves to head off a Yu Jing attack. At first, I questioned the decision to head off a Yu Jing attack on the Nomads but then I read the profile of the target we were suppose to eliminate. I wonder if command knew I wouldn’t mind taking an assignment like this. A man like this makes my blood boil to the point I made a decision that most in high command won’t like but I personally see to the ends of men like this. I gave Lt Braxa full command over the mission while I would be taking my place in the suit of Azra’il armor to be the spearhead of the mission.
We had enough time to set up fire points before the Yu Jing forces arrived. I set a Shihab Remote armed with a heavy machine gun and total reaction capabilities in a tower to lock down the field. He had a little Nasmat friend connected to a Kaplan Engineer to make sure he didn’t go down for very long. Across from the remote, we had a Sekban Fireteam and a Djanbazan sniper. These units were the safety to make sure that if the spearhead failed, the Yu Jing forces wouldn’t get any further.

Myself and 4 Hafzas along with the Kaplan set up point for offensive maneuvers. I actually leant one of the Hafzas my viral sniper rifle, I like to make sure that the enemies of Haqqislam knows what it means to cross us. I was packing an AP HMG, there is nothing better than filling scum with Teseum.
We barely had enough to get in place before Yu Jing started their attack. If there is one thing I have respect when it comes to Yu Jing, it’s their intelligence apparatus. They knew we were coming and wanted to get the jump on us.

The first thing I heard was the Shihab’s HMG ringing out. The Yu Jing had brought Shaolin Monks in after us first but they were cut down as they tried to deploy smoke. Unfortunately, they had brought more than just one who eventually got a smoke grenade off with the lightening quick reflexes. Not all were so lucky as another met its end to the Shihab. This did not sit well with the Yu Jing as they sent their Raiden to destroy it but the reaction time of the Shihab was a little too quick as it also died to the Remotes heavy machine gun.
These were nothing but distractions unfortunately as a Tiger Soldier descended on Lt Braxa, Yu Jing’s intelligence was more complete than we ever could have thought. Something that we only realized as the Tiger Soldier gunned down Lt Braxa.

We scrambled to re-group. The Sekban leader took point as command but in the confusion a Bao Sniper had got into poisition to destroy both remotes and gun down the Djanbazan sniper. It was finally our turn to retaliate. A Yuan yuan defended on the Tiger Soldier that descended and gunned him down in a similar fashion that he killed Lt Braxa.
First order of buiness was the Sekban Doctor who moved in on the Djanbazan sniper. We had a new healing serum the Haqqislamite biotechnology companies wanted field tests for it and this was the perfect time to use it. The Sekban dispensed the syrum into the soldier and he was back to fighting shape. It would seem the serum synergized with the Djanbazan regeneration to get him back on his feet quickly so please forward those results to our research division.

We then moved in. I was the first to move into position when I gunned down the rest of the Shaolin monks. They never stood a chance. I then turned my attention to the Bao sniper that was giving us so much trouble putting the HMG on full blast. The sniper got a lucky shot and wounded me but different survive long to the continuous volleys of Teseum bullets.
All another distraction as yet another Tiger Soldier desceded down. Luckily, a Yuan yuan was in place to kill him with a chain rifle but the Tiger Soldier was able to get off two shotgun blasts that took out her and one of the Hafzas from my team.
The Yu Jing offensive was in shambles at this point as we tried to advance forward to bring the Imperial Agent to justice but they still had one more trick up their sleeve. A Su Jian came sprinting forward in its beast mode to stall our our advance. It was quickly in place and transformed into its heavy infantry challenging us. My Husam Spec Ops partner was quick with hacking skills to shut the robot heavy infantry down but it exposed him to an enemy hacker’s repeater. He immobilized the Su Jian but took a brain blast that knocked him unconscious. I ordered to the last Yuan yuan to take that last hacker out which he did gleefully as he was knocked out himself from the hacker’s gunfire.
It was enough time for the Su Jian to reset and move into suppressive mode locking down the spearhead from advancing forward. The Sekban Fireteam took iniative and advanced forward quickly to outflank the robot. They heavily damaged the Su Jian but never put it down. It was only after it deactivated did we realize that the forces of Yu Jing had fled, abadoning their attack on the city.
We failed to apprehend or kill the Imperial Agent but the more important thing is we stopped the needless destruction of the city at Yu Jing hands. The lengths we now have been going to secure victory on Flamia Island is starting to disturb me. Yu Jing thought the deaths of innocents was the right cost to deal a blow against the Nomads. We can not abide by this. It is our humanity to which we must preserve in such times and I will happily take it in my hands to ensure this, even if it means strapping into a suit of Azra’il armor and taking a bullet for them.
We are the Guardian Falcons. Our justice is swift. Our honor is eternal. We are the protectors of the innocent.
+++End Transmission+++

Securing the Future

***Intelligence Communications Between Envihon and Hassassin Bahram***
Hassassin Bahram (HB): Commander, we have an intelligence report that may be of some interest to you and your medical supply drops
Envihon (E): Let me guess, another PanOceania raid?
HB: Actually, that’s exactly what it is. This time they aren’t acting for disruption though. They have a more nefarious plan at work.
E: What do you mean? PanOceania may be a bully but they have never outright sabotaged things. They aren’t Yu Jing or Nomads.
HB: Well, it seems that they are angry at the fact you keep dropping medical supplies to the enemy. They are wanting O-12 to step in to stop it but they made it clear that we are not to stop bringing medical supplies to those civilians affected by the war, whether they are ally or enemy.
E: So how are they going to appeal to O-12 that we should stop sending medical supplies to those that need when they just try to blow up those medical supplies?
HB: They aren’t coming to destroy anything. They are coming to place weapons in the medical supplies to make it look like we are smuggling weapons to the enemy. Once in route, they plan to intercept the the shipments with an O-12 representative and then show them that there are weapons in the medical shipments thus giving them the leverage they need to have O-12 stop the shipments entirely which means all the innocent civilians caught in the middle of this stupid war will go without medical help.
E: So we have to intercept the shipments before PanOceania can get to them. I will personally see that it’s done.
HB: Envihon, do not take the field. We need you alive. We have intelligence about who has been behind these attacks the entire time but we need more time before we can intercept. Send your troops in, get the supplies and move out. Command them from the Haqqislam base in Tianxian. We need you for that mission.
E: I never ask the Guardian Falcons to do what I wouldn’t do myself. I am personally leading this mission. Envihon out.
***End of Intelligence Communications***

—Beginning Cube download. Cube download successful. Extracting Cube…extraction successful. Storing Cube in safe location. Good luck Commander—
+++Incoming Transmission From Envihon Location: Tianxian+++
Mission Report:
After receiving vital intelligence from HQ, I moved the Guardian Falcons to intercept PanOceania attempting to plant weapons in our medical shipments as a way of convincing O-12 that we were up to more than just providing medical relief to civilians in the ongoing Flamia conflict. I have grown tired of these many raids by PanOceania as they try to stop us from protecting those who never asked for this conflict. To this, I took the field in my old Janissary armor, the armor that helped me rise in the ranks of Qapu Khalqi. I extracted my cube and placed it in safe keeping for the mission. I wasn’t going to do this half asked but as a proper Janissary does, without a cube.

I placed myself in a fireteam with an upcoming Janissary, Janissary Asli with 3 Hafzas and we took forward point to get to the left most supply box. I positioned an Al’Hawwa and Doctor to secure the right most supply box with a Yuan Yuan to provide smoke in order to guarantee their safe passage to the supply box. Then I established a defensive line of fire support with a Sekban, Djanbazan and Shihab remote placed on elevated positions. The Shihab even had an engineer to make sure that the Shihab locked it’s fire lane down with HMG fire. The intelligence let us prepare a lot better for this battle, the PanOceania forces never knew what hit them.
The first move they tried was they had a Hospitaler pop out from the corner of a building to try and take Asli down. They managed to wound her but the fire from her missile launcher proved too much so they fell back. They then tried to remove the Djanbazan sniper from his nest but his pin point precision was able to bring the remote down. What was unexpected was the Indigo Spec Ops that repaired the remote to bring it back to full functioning. The fireteam of Hospitalers advanced little as they continued to creep their way forward towards the middle supply box.

Our lone Yuan Yuan decided to go to work throwing down smoke that the Djanbazan decided to use to put the remote down for good. After a clear path was established, the Al’Hawwa ran forward to secure the medical supplies and ran back to position while my fireteam ran up for the second. We quickly recovered the medical supplies and ran back for cover as we heard our vigilant Sekban fire his rocket launcher as a palbot on a roof top. The palbot survived but you could here the screams of a burning Fusilier. The Yuan Yuan eager to see PanOceania blood to be spilled ran towards the advancing Hositalers.
When they moved into the open, the Shihab opened fired at full blast, the Yuan Yuan saw fit to lay down smoke and a Djabazan sniper round found it’s place in PanOceania flesh. The smoke prevented the Shihab from taking anymore action but the Djanbazan continued to harass the team forcing them to dodge or take wounds as the advanced on their target. Realizing that we had already taken one of the crates, a hacker of theirs with a spitfire ran at the team and opened fire killing the Hafza spec ops, and Hafza with a spitfire as well as taking down Janissary Asli but our Sekban guardian proved to be our savior as he launched a rocket launcher that met it’s target with a burned another PanOceania figure alive. They also managed to take down the Shihab that was quickly repaired by the KTS engineer that was sent to make sure the Shihab stayed in good working order. During this fire confrontation a would-be Fusilier with a missile launcher tried to fire at my forces but my Djanbazan showed him no quarter with a head shot before the Fusilier could get his shot off. The Yuan Yuan’s eagerness eventually got herself killed as she ran into the open and was gunned down by the Hospitalers. The space pirates rarely survive encounters it seems but they are too useful for me to stop having them from signing up with the Guardian Falcons. They don’t like the restrictions I put them on when they serve with my team but it would seem they never survive long to complain.

I took the iniative to grab the dropped supply box and revive the fallen Asli but she was beyond saving, she bled out of her wounds as I got up to her. She sacrificed herself so that others may live. I will honor her memory for taking the path of the Janissary just as I had. Without a cube, she made the greatest sacrifice. Something every Janissary faces in their time of service. After watching her pass, I ran for cover with the package in tow. As I took cover behind a building, I received this transmission from enemy Lieutenant:

Garret: “Hold fire! Hold fire! I am Fusilier-Lieutenant Garret, and I urge you to hold and listen to my petition!”
Envihon: “And why, Fusilier-Lieutenant Garret, should I ever do that? I know why you are here and what you are trying to do which is why I am disinclined to do so. You stand here in direct opposition trying to make it look like Haqqislam is smuggling weapons to the enemy when we are trying help innocent civilians affected by this war. You don’t show them mercy, why should I show you any?”

G: “Haqqislam is renowned for their value on life, their acceptance. I implore you to show us these traits. I promise my forces will leave empty handed, just let us gather our Cubes and leave. Let us stop the bloodshed.”
E: “Haven’t you heard? We lose our sense of humor when you threaten civilians. You have shown no quarter in our mission to provide medical support to those innocents that need it but now, after failing in your attempt yet again to stop those shipments, you want mercy”
G: “Please, what can I offer to have you relent if the lives of your soldiers aren’t enough?”
E: “The lives of my soldiers? I do believe I have you pinned down and you have no footing to make such demands.”
G: “What about the identity of the one hunting you?”

E: “So now I am being hunted? That bit of information would be valuable. How about who and why this is happening? I have had too many clashed against PanOceania is this conflict to think it’s all just coincidence.”
G: “His name is Xandis, now you must get out of here! He’s going to unleash a plague, you mu-”
With his warning my forces were extracted in time…but the forces else where in the city did not receive the retreat signal in time…

Personal Note: This Xandis is of interest to me. These attacks have gotten more frequent and savage as time has gone on. I will have to scour our intelligent reports for information on him. It is quite clear that he is a danger to not just Haqqislam but possibly the Human Sphere as a whole. I have been blaming PanOceania for much of this but perhaps, I was wrong. These attacks and strife might just be the work of a lone wolf in their ranks that has been given too much power that he can’t handle. A preliminary look up shows that Xandis is in the Military Orders. His zealotry is almost on par with someone that I used to know…