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.