Infinity HSN3: Caledonian Review
I was one of the fortunate ones that made it to Adepticon and got my hands on the Human Sphere N3 book. As you can imagine, I immediately delved deeply into it's contents, giving extra attention to the armies I play, USAriadna, Caledonian and The Combined. Since not everyone has the book available to them, I've decided to share my thoughts for my particular factions, so at least some players can get an idea of what to expect.
Caledonian Highlander Army
I'm not going to give an in-depth review of every unit in the army, as most only had minor changes, so there's no need for me to tell you what a Volunteer or SAS does. What I will be going into though are how their link teams have changed, new unit synergies, and some of the new profiles.
3rd Highlander Grey Rifles
One of the biggest changes I've found to links in CHA can be attributed to the 3rd Grey. They are still able to form a Core Fireteam as before, but their new trick is being able to be added to a unit of Volunteers, or a Haris team of Mormaers. This change alone is incredibly significant, being able to take a model that is BS13 with an AP HMG, then beef out a full 5-man link for them for as cheap as 24 points is amazing. I used to run 5-man links of Volunteers with 2 HMGs, but now I have a new core volunteer link:
- 3rd Grey Rifle: AP HMG, Smoke Grenades
- Volunteer: Light Grenade Launcher
- Volunteer: Paramedic
- Volunteer: Rifle
- Volunteer: Chain Rifle
- Total: 58/2.0
Just take a second to take that in, for a mere 58 points, you're firing a burst 5 AP HMG, hitting on 19's in optimal range. Defensively, if you start to take fire that puts you at the disadvantage (like TO camo in cover) you can do a Burst 2 smoke dodge on 19's as well. It will be really hard to justify any other core link in the CHA for me to take over this.
The Scots Guard
One of my favorite looking units in the army, though were always hampered by their lack of a specialist. While the 2nd Battalion units seem unchanged (still have their Camo), the 1st Battalion can now take two different Forward Observer profiles: dual SMG + DEP, or the Marksman Rifle. Interestingly, these profiles now always have the FO profile, except with the Marksman Rifle when he is your Lieutenant. In addition to gaining a specialist profile, all of the 1st Battalion now have Fireteam: Duo! It's pretty easy now to add a Scot armed with Molotok and pair him with a dual SMG Forward Observer, and have them be an effective unit, moving up the board and only causing a single ARO, which your opponent will have to pick between the Molotok and the specialist inevitably on his way to an objective.
As I mentioned before, the Mormaers are now able to form Haris teams, and that team can also include a Grey. The major significant change though is V:Dogged. While they had the rule before, V:Dogged no longer kicks you out of a link team, meaning a Mormaer link is going to be a huge pain to deal with, continuing to dish out AP HMG firepower until you manage to deal 2 wounds to that Arm 5 model, likely in cover. Their only Haris profile is the AP HMG, meaning you'll pay at minimum 76/2.5 for a team of 2, plus another 25 for the T2 Boarding Shotgun Grey for the cheapest possible 101/2.5 points for the Haris team. That's not a cheap team to throw around for Caledonia, but with how cheap the rest of the units are in the Sectorial, it's not a huge deal.
For me anyhow, the Wulvers always occupied a weird spot. They were always Linkable, but only AVA4, and the only unit in the army that feels like a proper heavy infantry with their Arm 3 and W 2. Without any specialist options, the thought of investing nearly half of your army never sat well with me. Now that HSN3 is out though, that has all changed. Like the Mormaers, the Wulvers are now able to form Haris teams, with the Haris model being the T2 Rifle variant, you are going to pay an extra point and SWC, but when combined with two Heavy Shotguns, you're sitting pretty at 98/1 for a really hard hitting crew to put some hurt on the enemy. Where before they were always fighting for the Fireteam with the much more versatile Volunteer link, you can now take a reasonable amount of Wulvers in a link, in addition.
Other Minor Changes
Across the board I didn't notice any massive point changes, though there were plenty of small ones. The T2 Mormaer went up a point, the Scot FO profiles have an extra point added to them as well, perhaps the biggest point change is with the Cateran, who went up 3 points for the T2 variant, and 1 point for the standard sniper rifle. Overall I think that's fine, the point values were never an issue for CHA in my experience.
Putting it Together
The biggest changes to the army were clearly in how they form Fireteams, and that's great if you ask me! When you think about all these Core, Haris and Duo options, you can quickly come up with lists that include 2-3 links. Taking a Core Fireteam of Volunteers with a Grey, adding on a Haris of Wulvers and a Duo of Scots, you're just at 201 points and 4.5 SWC, leaving room for plenty of SAS, Uxia and Caterans, and you're already at 10 orders! These new options open up army list combinations that don't rely on Wallace to be good, you can now play your combined arms force of different Highlander Regiments to take down the enemy. Nothing that worked before has been removed, this is just pure buff sauce to the Caledonian Highlander Army, I can't wait to get my kilts on the board.