Infinity Unit Review: Blackjacks, 10th Heavy Rangers Battalion
That's right, it's time for the big boy! The Blackjack is the heaviest trooper in all of Ariadna, both in terms of armour, but also in sheer weight of pewter required to cast this behemoth. Operating as part of the USAriadna forces, that sectorial is allowed to boast an impressive 3 of them in an army (which I'm sorely tempted to do). So what does this beefcake offer? Lets find out.
Right away, we can see a few interesting things, the most obvious being that it has two stat-lines. When the Blackjack suffers a wound, it's Lo-Tech A rule means that it degrades in it's profile, much like Tohaa losing Symbiont, it doesn't degrade by a ton tough, mostly losing a point of BS, ARM, and it's BTS. The Blackjack is a HI unit, and is hackable, which is not surprising, but is something to keep in mind, hacking vulnerability is not something us Ariadna players often consider. He's slower than most HI, with a 4-2 move, but that shouldn't slow you down much, since you'll want to be leveraging his high BS13 as often as possible.
Other impressive stats include ARM5, BTS3, which is the among highest you'll find in Ariadna. Courage is a handy rule to have, because with it, you can suffer a wound, and not fall back while defending a firing lane. Remember that as a HI unit, this thing can (somehow) go prone, sitting on a roof that puts it at an incredible ARM8, so good luck removing it.
Weapons-wise, we have two profiles to consider: AP HMG and DEP, or T2 sniper and submachine gun, both profiles come with chest mines. The first profile creates an active turn powerhouse, the AP HMG will tear through nearly anything in the game, combining high burst, high strength and reducing enemy armour, while the DEP provides a single use ARO in case the enemy gets within your 8-16" range, where you otherwise lack a +3 BS range band.
The second profile is my favorite, and is a nightmare for your opponent if they don't have much smoke. A T2 sniper defending a firing lane on a BS13 ARM8 model creates a serious issue for the enemy to advance through, and on the active turn it can be used to punch some fist-sized holes through enemy units. It's SMG may not look nearly as harrowing, but it does give the Blackjack the ability to enter suppressive fire, great for defending shorter firing lanes, and making you even more difficult to deal with. Chest mines are handy bits of gear all around, providing a direct template weapon (that causes shock and is -3 to dodge), and even working great in close combat.
Both profiles of the Blackjack are amazing on the table, and at an incredibly economical cost. It's pretty easy to come up with 36 points and a SWC in USAriadna, the second SWC can be more difficult to come by though. Of the two, I would almost rather have two with T2 snipers, over one with an AP HMG for the SWC. I do think that there is a place for the AP HMG, but it will take more work building a list that supports it. Since you can be hacked, don't forget to bring a Dozer along-side these to fix enemy hacks, and you'll probably want a nearby 112 as well to heal them when KO'd. I do not think that the Blackjack's stats are so amazing that you should feel obligated to play them every time... I do however think that the model is that amazing, just look at it!