Infinity Unit Review: Traktor Muls
How I got this far without reviewing one of my favorite power units in USAriadna is beyond me! The Traktor Mul is USAriadna's, and all of Ariadna's only remote, and it brings some damn good weaponry.
Looking at the profile, as far as remotes go, the Traktor Mul is pretty underwhelming. Slower than most remotes at MOV 4-4, it is appropriately abysmal in close combat with CC8 and PH9, if you're in melee you'll be using your Electric Pulse, and dodging is really a last resort. Baggage is nice to help reload mines and panzerfaust, plus it makes them worth a good number of points for some missions, like Quadrant Control. When it comes to shooting, the Traktor Mul is working with BS10, among the lowest in the game. It's easy with these stats, to ask yourself, "why would I take this thing?"
My favorite reason to take the Traktor Mul is to blow stuff up, so lets take a look at the two ranged weapon choices:
|Katyusha MRL (Blast Mode)||0-8" 0||8-16" +3||16-40" -3||40-48" -6||14||1||DA||Anti-materiel, Impact Template (Circular), Non-Lootable, Speculative Fire|
|Katyusha MRL (Guided Mode)||--||--||--||--||14||1||DA||Anti-materiel, Guided, Impact Template (Circular), Non-Lootable|
|Uragan MRL (Blast Mode)||0-8" 0||8-16" +3||16-40" -3||40-48" -6||14||3||AP + Shock||Burst: Single Target, Impact Template (Circular), Non-Lootable, Speculative Fire|
|Uragan MRL (Guided Mode)||--||--||--||--||14||1||AP + Shock||Guided, Impact Template (Circular), Non-Lootable|
|Uragan MRL (Hit Mode)||0-8" 0||8-16" +3||16-40" -3||40-48" -6||15||3||AP + Shock||Burst: Single Target, Non-Lootable|
Both weapons have the same range bands, most effective from 8-16", though with BS10 that means at best you're hitting on BS13, though more importantly, both weapons have the ability to fire as Speculative Fire, or with Guided ammunition. When combined with easy access to tons of Forward Observers, you can deliver a devastating alpha strike to your opponent, while risking very little yourself. It's worth remembering that you have both of these methods to fire with, if your opponent is bunched up where you can hit multiple with a guided shot, then that is always worth doing, but if the enemy models are a little more spread out, you can still fire a speculative shot and catch multiple enemies in the blast. Since you'll be out of line of fire (or you should be), the enemy will be dodging at -3, making it just that much more devastating. To fire effective in either mode, the enemy is going to have to be Targeted first, which will allow your guided shots to hit on 16's, while Speculative Fire will still manage to hit on 10's from 16-40".
When it comes to picking between the Uragan and the Katyusha, I personally only take the Katyusha. The total reaction B3 blast of the Uragan is incredibly tempting, and if you do manage to catch a moving link team it can be mind blowing, but in my experience the odds of that happening are slim to none. Additionally, it means your Traktor Mul is in a place where the enemy can draw LOF to it, should they shoot you from outside of 16", you end up being BS7. Personally, I'm far happier with the cheaper Katyusha, sitting back and blasting the enemy with DA blasts.
Now, lets not forget about the third choice, the Minesweeper. If you're taking a Dozer anyhow, it is almost foolish to not take the maximum number of Traktor Muls that you can, since each one is a regular order for as cheap as 5 points. Even if you aren't using the Traktor Mul for it's weapons, a Dozer and two Traktor Mul Minesweeper's is only 24 points for 3 regular orders. The minesweeper equipment itself is is pretty situational, but can be hilarious when used properly. Taking control of enemy AI Beacons, mines, CrazyKoala, MadTraps, repeaters, sniffers, etc. can be incredibly entertaining, and also help clear a path without risking your more important troops.
Despite having a very poor stat-line, the Traktor Mul brings some amazing firepower for it's points. Don't get them caught in a direct firefight though, you probably won't be happy with the outcome, but instead rain down a bombardment of speculative and guided shots. I've had games where I obliterated my opponent quickly due to some well placed surprise shot forward observer rolls from Foxtrots, backed up by spending 10 orders entirely on guided and speculative fire from a Katyusha.