Infinity HSN3: Onyx Contact Force Review
By now many of you are getting your hands on the HSN3 book, reading through it, and checking out all the new toys in the army. Of any sectorial in the book, the Onyx is perhaps the one that had the most anticipation before it's release. As a totally new sectorial, it has brought with it a slough of amazing new sculpts, and it was those sculpts that got me into The Combined Army to begin with.
Onyx Contact Force
First up, lets take a look at the units available to the Onyx Contact Force, fortunately, it's been put together for me in this nice graphic:
Off the bat, it is drastically different than the other Combined Sectorials in that it pulls for the various species in the army, not just one. An Onyx force will be made from the best of the best among the Shasvastii, Morats, Sygmaa, Umbra, and the EI remote constructs. As with my Caledonia review, I wont be going over every unit in the army, but I will talk about the Fire Teams and combos that I find the most interesting.
Of Lieutenants Hackers, and Smoke
Every army needs a Lieutenant, and nearly every army will need a Hacker, and I compiled a list of all the options, and their cost, in the graphic below. The Lieutenant choice is probably the most difficult choice you'll have to make. It's not that they don't have many options, it's just that they are almost all aggressive choices, and/or have a steep SWC tax associated with them, and actually, with the exception of the Umbra Samaritan, and Nexus Operatives, they all are paying extra points for the liberty of leading your force. Only having these tax-free options means your lieutenant choice will often be fairly obvious. The Onyx army also has no source of Chain of Command or Mnemonica, so if you do take an aggressive Lieutenant, you will have to be very careful.
Since the army has access to so many remotes, you'll want to consider your options. There are a few standard hacking devices, plus the EVO hacker, you'll likely want 2 sources of support ware to get the most out of all the remotes in the army. There are a lot of appealing hacker platforms equipped with Assault Hacking Devices, but there is no Killer Hacking device (yet). The Nexus again plays an important role, as not only are they your least expensive hacker, but it can be both a Hacker and Lieutenant.
Finally, a small note, but an important one to remember, the Onyx Contact Force has no source of smoke, so you'll have to move up the board the old fashioned way.
Probably the most iconic link of this sectorial, Unidron Batroids are the first linkable remotes in the game. Their basic gear is pretty awesome, with a plasma carbine that becomes B3 in a link, plus potentially +3 BS, it's a very deadly weapon to have on a basic troop, with B2 in ARO, you're effectively firing at full effectiveness in ARO. Their SWC options also become incredibly deadly when used in a link, they have access to Missile Launchers, Spitfire, K1 Combi Rifle (with TinBot A), and perhaps most terrifying, a Plasma Sniper Rifle.
An interesting aspect of the Unidron link is that it can contain a Nexus Operative, Umbra Legate, or both. The Umbra Legate is a fantastic unit, but I think that you wont get the most out of it in a Batroid link, which will likely be used defensively. Alternatively, the Nexus Operative adds some very interesting options. It allows you to add the cheapest standard hacking device in the army to the link, who may also be the army lieutenant. With the hacking device, you can do something fun like giving the Plasma Sniper the Marksmanship skill, making the weapon even more deadly.
My first instinct when running a Unidron link is to use this set up:
- Nexus Operative Hacker: 24/0.5
- Unidron Batroid K1 Combi Rifle + TinBot A: 17/0.5
- Unidron Batroid Plasma Sniper Rifle: 24/1.5
- Unidron Batroid Plasma Carbine: 14
- Unidron Batroid Plasma Carbine: 14
For a total of 93 points and 2.5 SWC, you have a unit that will devastate the enemy at long range with the Plasma Sniper Rifle, at medium range with the K1 Combi Rifle or Plasma Carbines, with strong defense from hacking with the Tinbot. There isn't much this link can't do, though it does consume a fair amount of your SWC allowance.
The other option for your core link team are the Rodoks. An incredibly popular choice for the Morat Aggression Force, you will definitely see them get plenty of play time in the Onyx. They are highly maneuverable, moderately priced, and decently survivable, add that to dual light shotguns in a 5-man link, meaning you're firing B4 at BS 21 within 8", they can really put out some devastating attacks. In the Onyx, they have the added benefit of being allowed to tack on an Umbra (of either variety) or a Nexus Operative. While I think the Nexus will get left behind, adding an Umbra Legate or Samaritan is ugly! Since Rodoks want to close the gap to deliver their short ranged weapons anyhow, you will be getting in range for your Umbra to do some work.
The first new unit in the book, the Umbra Samaritan is a truely terrifying foe. Highly maneuverable with 6-2 and Super Jump, it is absolutely deadly in melee, swinging with CC24, a monofilament weapon, *OR* Protheion L4 (as Tom points reminds us, you can't use both at the same time). They have 3 main equipment options, all of which are quite deadly: Breaker Combi Rifle, Red Fury, or a EI Assault Hacking Device with Plasma Carbine, and each comes with a Flash Pulse and Vorpal Close Combat Weapon. Their speed and maneuverability makes them ideal companions for Rodoks, and when they're in a 5-man link, the Vorpal CC Weapon can be thrown twice and hit enemies on 18's within 8" – that's enough to make any TAG crap in it's aluminum britches.
The Onyx are a force capable of bringing plenty of super jumping models, so what better than a TAG who can follow along? For less than 60 points, the Xeodron brings a profile very similar to the Nomad Gecko, complete with Arm 5 and Str 3, but significantly more maneuverable. All 3 variants bring a heavy pistol to deal with the enemy up close, a blitzen to give a nasty long-distance ARO, plus either a Red Fury, K1 Combi Rifle, or a Multi Rifle. Personally, I'm a huge fan of the MULTI Rifle personally, even more with the new Stun ammunition.
To make Xeodrons even more terrifying, you can match them up with an Umbra Samaritan in a Haris team... This will be very expensive for your typical 300 point game, coming in well over 150 points, but in 400 point games it may be worth considering. It is a bit unfortunate that this is the only Haris team in the detachment, and it appears that they cannot be run in a Haris of just two Xeodrons, oh well, even by itself, it's worth taking.
The second new tag, the Overdron is essentially a gigantic Overdron Batroid. Armor 6 Str 3 means it's plenty hard to kill, it also comes with ECM, TinBot A (Deflector L1), and the totally sexy new TinBot D (Albedo). This new little gadget means that the Overdron is affected by White Noise for the first turn of the game, giving you a really nasty tool to handle enemy ARO pieces should they be sporting any Multispectral Visors. Weapon-wise, they're pretty straight forward, you have the choice of a Hyper-Rapid Magnetic Cannon, 2 Plasma Sniper Rifles, or 2 Heavy Rocket Launchers. The first two options are particularly interesting to me. The HRMC is a weapon to be reckoned with, with the highest burst of anything in the game, and a wide variety of ammo options, while a pair of plasma sniper rifles has a good rate of fire with effectively a double action gun that ignores armor bonuses for cover, not to mention hitting anything behind them with the blast. They all come in at 2 SWC, but are fairly low points, only 59-74 points, depending on which guns you go for.
All Together Now
The Onyx Contact Force is above anything else, a wrecking ball. They hit hard and fast, just crushing the enemies that get in their way. The downside though is that everything they bring comes at a premium cost, like any other Combined Army. It is fortunate that they have access to the Ikadron and Imetron to pad their orders, but having those options also means it can be easy to feel comfortable with a list on paper, only to find it doesn't have enough effective models on the board. Thinking about the units that you will find nearly compulsory, like the Medchanoid, plus your invariably expensive Hacker choices and mandatory Lieutenant, I think you'll be running out of points fast! Fortunately, ITC events allow you to run multiple lists, so you could come up with a fast and hard hitting army built around Rodoks with a Samaritan, then a Remote list complete with Unidron link and some Drones. The possibilities of Onyx do have me pretty excited, though I am lamenting resilient lieutenant options, Mnemonica, smoke, and the overall versatility that drew me to the Combined Army.