Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Case For the Khawarij

So before I get into the proper post, just some information on where I want to take this blog. In addition to doing tactics and strategy as well as the occasional battle report, I am going to include some historical background on Haqqislam, where the units get their names from and the history behind that as well as how Corvus Belli has incorporated them into Infinity. The historical inspiration for the behind Haqqislam is why I have stayed in love with this faction and haven't started another one. I came for the Dune references and stayed for the history, it's inspired me to do a lot of reading into actual history so I thought I would share my scholarly research with everyone. It's something to say when a table top inspires you to do real world research to enjoy it better. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do but without further delay, to the actual post!




The Case for the Khawarij


The Khawarij is sort of an enigma within vanilla Haqqislam. It's not a bad unit but it's hard to find where they belong within a vanilla Haqqislam list. They are the definition of elite light infantry but unlike Tohaa, don't get extra wounds so you have to make sure that you get the most out of the unit despite having an expensive point cost, the cheapest Khawarij is 27 points which a lot people can't justify paying for a light infantry unit despite everything that a Khawarij can do, they are super soldiers after all. 

It's quite clear that the Khawarij will be a big unit once the Ramah Taskforce goes live either when the new book drops or maybe...hopefully will do an USAriadna and be released before the book. I mean, they just came out with it's starter so it's possibility right? One can hope, anyway, the Khawarij are definitely lined up to be one of the possible links in RTF (Ramah Taskforce) which would take away a lot of the head scratching people do when they look at the Khawarij especially when/if they allow them to be linked with Tarik, super jumping scholar warriors of death fireteam with Captain Haqqislam leading them...oh yeah, I can't wait. We are also still waiting on a new profile to be released. Based on the dossier for the Khawarij, they are suppose to get a heavy rocket launcher because we know how much Haqqislam love their heavy rocket launchers so it's only fitting the Khawarij get one too, right? I think the Khawarij will become more attractive once the rocket launcher profile is released as well, the chance to surprise people with super jump and rockets is way too appealing. 




That doesn't solve how they fit in vanilla right now so let's unpack what the Khawarij bring to the table:

Khawarij Stats

They have standard 4-4 movement; CC 20 which is quite interesting but no Martial Arts (Except for Tarik); BS 13 quite good for an army who mainly dwells in BS 11 or 12 except for elite units especially a light infantry unit; PH 13 so if they hit you, it is going to hurt a bit especially with that CC stat; WIP 14, standard Haqqislam so nothing special there; ARM 1 is to be expected on a light infantry unit; BTS 3 which is something uncommon to see on Haqqislam unit adding to it's ability to survive but still only one wound with a Silhouette of 2. That's the base stat line, additional perks are Bioimmunity, so Shock and Viral become normal ammo as well as being able to use that BTS to tank both of them; Super-jump which I will get into later; Religious Troop so they stay regular during Retreat and always pass their Guts Roll; and finally Poison which means that a unit with wounds needs to take an extra BTS roll in addition to the ARM roll for every successful CC hit.

With this quick run down, the Khawarij can do a lot especially since every single one brings an AP CCW with their pistol. Without even going through the different load outs available to the Khawarij, the job that it does is quite clear: The Khawarij is a hunter. With responsible uses of super jump, you have a mobile unit that can get to what he needs to kill and efficiently dispatch their target either through shooting it or if you want, through close combat since the Khawarij can't fail it's CC roll, although, you might have a harder time with units that actually have CC skills like Martial Arts or Berserk since they can negatively affect the Khawarij's CC but they can't do anything back. Besides that, a Khawarij is equipped to dispatch a lot since it has an array of weaponry to kill things, the Khawarij has a tool of box of death. To use one effectively, it will need to be an active unit using super jump effectively to get your opponent caught at vulnerable angles to shoot at or perhaps engaging a sniper in their nest. Heck, one way to deal with mimetism, camo or ODD is to use the Khawarij to get up close and personal in order to make those modifiers useless in CC...as long as the Camo unit isn't a Ninja/Oniwaban, those I would still engage with a Djanbazan HMG for reasons detailed above. 




Super-Jump

The signature move of a Khawarij and it's what makes the Khawarij a reason to be feared. A lot of people have looked down upon this skill because if done in the open it will be a shooting gallery for your opponent and most likely a dead Khawarij but the key here is to not super-jump in the open.  Effective uses of super-jump can turn a situation in your favor and actually make your opponent hate the skill. So what can you do in order to make the best uses of super jump? 

One way of creating ideal situations to use super jump is by applying smoke in the right place and vanilla Haqqislam has tons of access to smoke from cheap sources to expensive sources, there are tons of places to get it. I won't go into every unit that can partner up with the Khawarij but there are a few preferred sources. The most common source of it for most people at the current moment are the Muttawi'ah aka Mutts since they are an auto-include in most vanilla and HB players since they are 5 points a piece. The only problem is that they are quite squishy so the smoke might not be there by the end of the match plus they are smoke grenades so you are taking more of a risk if you need to extend beyond 8 inches. This is why I like using a smoke grenade launcher to help the Khawarij out. Allows more to help cover the Khawarij better as the Khawarij moves forward. Cheapest source would be the Kum Bikers who actually do double duty providing both smoke grenades and smoke grenade launchers but just like the Mutts, they are still squishy and still impetuous so still a bit erratic depending on how the game goes on. My favorite partner for the Khawarij when it comes to smoke? That lovable power armored badass that comes with him in the Red Veil, the Al Fasid with HMG and light smoke grenade launcher. A durable unit that can do a lot. I know, I know, it's expensive too but that investment will go far. The Al Fasid is the Anvil that your Khawarij hammer strikes against. If you want a cheaper unit to do it, there is the Muyib with light grenade launcher but it can't do as much as the Al Fasid can. 




Laying down smoke on the Khawarij's path will let it super-jump to it's heart content without drawing AROs which is good if there is a place you want to take your Khawarij that your opponent has heavily defended. It's a good way to get a Khawarij on a roof top and into suppression so that you can lock down a midfield position. 

The other way to use super jump takes mostly practice in getting the Khawarij into proper placement for super jump. Making super jump work without smoke requires making sure that you are limiting your AROs because you won't always get the ideal shot set up to shoot someone in the back but with enough practice and experience it comes. Unfortunately, to detail this part of super-jump is harder to put it into text than setting up on the table top and showing someone the ideal times to super-jump. Taking advantage of height is important aspect because you can put your opponent's units off guard, as long as you slice the pie and avoid being caught with your pants down. The Khawarij isn't a unit that you bum rush your opponent like you do Scarface but with careful movement, the Khawarij can have the same effect. 





The Khawarij is an expensive unit so deciding which profiled to take is important. This will be different once the Khawarij get their Heavy Rocket Launcher profile but for now we have these to work with:

Rifle + Light shotgun, grenades:
This is the base profile for the Khawarij, their standard load out and the only one available to purchase model wise. There isn't much to say about this one because it is standard Haqqislam except for the grenades and at a PH 13, it is something that the Khawarij can effectively take advantage of even when using speculative fire to lob grenades where the Khawarij can't see and do it within 8 inches, you will only be taking a -3 mod so you need to make 10s or below, which isn't bad especially if you have a cluster of enemy troops that throwing the grenade would really mess with like pesky fireteams or a sneaky camo marker trying to get in close. Honestly, I think the grenades make this profile worth taking because it gives more options despite having just a Rifle + light shotgun. Given the Khawarij's mobility, you can also bet that it will get the most out of that light shotgun too. Also, you can get on a roof top midfield and lock down certain parts of the board using suppression fire. It is certainly not a bad choice especially if you don't have the SWC or trying to squeeze something else in to take this profile at 27 points.  

Boarding shotgun, panzerfaust:
This is an interesting profile to say the least and this one I think would make more sense once the Khawarij is allowed to take a Fireteam in Ramah Taskforce. You get a panzerfaust instead of grenades which is a good ARO weapon if the Khawarij gets caught off guard but you can also use it actively to eliminate a heavy infantry unit. What I don't like about this profile is that it only gets a boarding shotgun. Don't get me wrong, I love boarding shotguns, when in good range they shred whatever you are shooting at but typically on units that either infiltrate or drop in because you don't have to spend as many orders to get them in but even on a unit like the Khawarij, you will have to spend more orders and put it in more risky situations to get the most out of it. Plus, unlike the base profile, you can't go into suppression to help take a more defensive posture. I would revisit this one though once the Khawarij get a link team because a panzerfaust as an ARO can make an opponent pay for trying to take a shot at them. The high dodge though gives the Khawarij some survivability to get into range with that shotgun though, still probably prefer the above profile to take though.

Spitfire:
Probably my favorite profile out of everything for vanilla Haqqislam. You don't get grenades but a spitfire in the hands of a Khawarij is just downright dangerous and I love using it. It has the best range out of all the profiles so finding fire solutions is a better than the others and with the BS 13, it is a good chance you will hit your target. This unit is what defines the Khawarij as a hunter and I am looking forward to finally getting the model for it. Leaping rooftops to rain bullets down on your enemy has not been as much fun and this is the profile I was mainly talking about when I talked about partnering the Al Fasid with the Khawarij. The Al Fasid protects the backfield as the Khawarij rushes forward to eliminate enemies. Once you get the handle on how to super jump, you will love this unit especially playing peek-a-boo spitfire with pesky roof top snipers. It's a good way to get into people's bad range bands and pop up taking shots at them.  

Doctor Plus with Boarding Shotgun, grenades:
Right now this is the only specialist available to the Khawarij and one that you will be definitely taking once the fireteam is available but what about vanilla? While I would prefer to have the rifle + light shotgun on this guy, it's not a bad investment. It's a highly mobile specialist able to get to the objectives more directly than other specialists. The grenades provide a different way to solve problems like getting an enemy specialist or fireteam off of an objective without needing line of sight and the boarding shotgun can shred things should you want a fire fight. It is 30 points though which is the downfall of it and the reason why you don't see this unit more. For three more points, you can get a Tuareg Doctor Plus which seems like the better investment but the Khawarij Doctor is far from bad. The other thing I like about this doctor though is it can get to hard to reach places should one of your snipers go down or one of your advanced units on a building. The durability of the Khawarij Doctor in place of others is also a plus among the other doctors when facing things that hit against BTS so you might consider it for missions like Biotechvore. The Khawarij Doctor is certainly useful in missions with an exclusion zone that would hamstring your infiltrators and AD troops. Unlike other of the boarding shotgun doctors in Haqqislam, this one can get where it's going without trouble and I like this better than the panzerfaust profile because grenades in the hands of the Khawarij aren't wasted unless you don't throw them.

I wish that I would be discussing the Khawarij Rocket Launcher here but it's not released (I want it so bad!) because as much fun as I like peek-a-boo spitfire, I will love the thought of peek-a-boo rockets even more. The Khawarij does have LT options that come in the Rifle + light shotgun and spitfire profiles but unless a Farzan is on the board and I want to fake out my opponent, I typically don't take a high risk LT like the Khawarij. A Khawarij needs to be used in order to make those points worth it and being an LT sitting in the backfield isn't where the Khawarij wants to be but it's not a bad option if you want to shake things up. If you are taking a LT Khawarij though, you might as well shell out the points to take Captain Haqqislam himself, Tarik "the man" Mansuri. I was going to include him here but he is getting his own spotlight because I love using him that much and this post has already gotten too long. 

Hopefully this inspires you to try the Khawarij out. The Khawarij may be a lot of points but when used right, those points are put to use in good ways. Also, if he doesn't pan out the first time, don't give up on him quite yet because there is definitely a learning curve to putting a Khawarij to work but once you get past that, they become totally worth it. Until next time, my friend, continue to seek knowledge.  

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