Druze Bayram Security Analysis
Today we have a special guest article by my friend Michael, or as he is better known in the community, Barakiel.
I did a quick overview of the units and interesting profiles for Infinity's latest force. I created a separate thread from the main discussion, just to help share my initial impressions of these units rather than combing through a multi-page thread. I'll dress this up a bit later today, maybe with some thoughts on lists.
If you see errors or have additional input, I encourage you to call them out. My goal here is for all of us to learn new things about this Sectorial together, and I'm far from infallible where this stuff is concerned.
The Druze Bayram Security Sectorial, as you can probably imagine, brings in a highly diverse range of units to create some combinations that are entirely unique to the world of Infinity. Both thematically and in terms of core game mechanics, the Druze are centered around (surprise!) the Druze fireteam, with many other units in the list providing some kind of fireteam interaction with the Druze unit.
Additionally, many classic Merc units (including Mercenary TAGs, Merc staples like the Authorized Bounty Hunter, and stand-alone Mercenary personalities) all have a very comfortable home within this Sectorial. For players who have always wanted a Merc faction, your wish is granted.
In terms of play, Druze have a strong light and medium fireteam presence that can anchor your play with respectable long-range firepower options. However, throughout the army, versatility is present in virtually every unit. So while Druze can hammer away at long range with Marksman Rifles, HMGs and Sniper Rifles, most of the profiles come with a Chain Colt/Viral Pistol as standard for close range fighting. While the Anaconda tends to be described in terms of its primary armament (either Spitfire or HMG), this TAG still comes loaded with secondary weapon systems and still spits out an Operator to cause mayhem once the TAG has been removed from play. Even though Valerya Gromoz is a fairly standard Hacker who provides a very crucial supportware role to this Sectorial, she still lobs Pitchers and can fill a critical fireteam niche in literally any Fireteam in this Sectorial. This is especially reflected in their Fireteams; while Druze are the only unit with Fireteam:Core, the ability to mix and match Duo, Haris, Core, etc. in this force is virtually unparalleled (more on that to come later.) The concept here is to clearly create versatile, diverse links that can be adapted to a broad spectrum of different battlefield roles.
So while those who like their units lean, mean and Specialized can definitely find units adapted to specific roles (just wait until you read about the Clipper REM) you still have to recognize that this Sectorial is versatile. Versatility, with a broad toolbox of options, is built into pretty much every unit that exists here. As a result, this Sectorial will reward players who like to reach into the toolbox to find broad options for any battlefield role. It's entirely possible to have midfield infiltrators, a dominant link team, a whole slough of REMs, brutal infowar capability, and terrifying lane-locking overwatch all in the same list. 10 Order devotees may find themselves slightly disappointed; there are TAGs and Medium Infantry to let you play a Limited Insertion or dedicated 10 Order force, but this army very much relies on cheaper Order generators to help fill key roles and synergies (some of whom are Irregular, or whom function best with a secondary support pool to help them operate.) This is not a force for stand-alone rambo units, though it does have some of those aspects present.
Please note that this is not intended to be a comprehensive review, or even an in-depth guide. These are initial reactions, and may develop into a more detailed guide in the future.
The new Druze get some great elements. They're paying quite a bit for their ARM and BTS, but these stats can have a useful place depending on your meta and typical opponents. I actually like a bit of ARM on my Medium Infantry, just because it helps them shrug off the occasional template hit that manages to sneak past your defense. With a staggering 11 loadouts though, plus AVA Total, there's truly a Druze loadout for every occasion. Most of the profiles share the combination of Viral pistol and Chain Colt, boosting the cost of each loadout a bit but making even a basic Druze pretty terrifying at short range. The Chain Colt is a great way of knocking down most close-range threats that would could walk through a Medium Infantry link team easily, so it's a nice tool to have to stop your link from bleeding bodies if they get caught in a bad spot. The Viral Pistol is a big deal as well; not only can you contest close-range threats with a truly lethal ARO that will knock down Dogged and No Wound Incap assailants easily, but the combination of template or Viral Pistol means every Druze is going to be wickedly lethal at close range in the active turn. This is doubly true with the presence of Fatality L1. And while that extra Damage won't extend to Chain Colts, it does mean that your ranged attacks will be brutally hard-hitting.
For basic link filler profiles, you can run standard combi mooks of course, and many of their most valuable loadouts (Killer Hacker, 0 SWC Lieutenant) are going to bring Combi Rifles to your links. I particularly like the Heavy Machine Gun and Marksman Rifles though. The HMG is obviously a great weapon, and while the Druze HMG profile isn't exceptionally useful, the Chain Colt does make sure that any close-range assailants are going to have to risk your sidearm or template.
Because the Druze come equipped with great short-range options by default, Combi Rifles are less necessary for that 0-8 inch dominance. I think this makes the Shock Marksman Rifle something pretty special. When you link that thing, it becomes a 0 SWC Red Fury that hits like a Spitfire... Combining the best of both weapons. With the X-Visor and a 5-man link, you can hit targets out to 40 inches(!) in Partial Cover on 12s. That's a seriously good long-range option, and gives you a nice alternative to contesting those linked missiles or snipers that like to lurk just outside of 32 inches.
The light grenade profile is an interesting option. Nimbus is highly circumstantial, but can have its place if you're already stacking modifiers and want to make sure something nasty like a hostile linked missile or MULTI Sniper has very little chance of connecting with a shot. The E/M option is a big deal though. When you're firing Speculative Shots, you want your weapon to be as hard-hitting as possible since you're only forcing a single save at a time, and E/M is a great ammunition option for bypassing ARM, halving BTS, and sticking your opponent with a lasting game effect. Combined with Fatality L1, you're basically firing one of the hardest-punching Speculative Shots in the game. Since TAGs and REMS are naturally bad at Dodging to begin with, you're going to see a lot of failed Dodges against the E/M LGL's natural prey.
The Sniper gets a little Mimetism to make him more of an active/reactive turn threat, helping him to compete with the other solid profiles out there. His cost is heavy, and the Druze link does already get a very amazing ARO piece (more on that later.)
The Specialist options here are nice as well, though not quite as critical for this link since you can work other Specialists in also. But still, the Killer Hacker will be a list staple because of its cheap, 0 SWC cost and the abundance of REMs and Repeaters in this force. The Paramedic is always a good fallback if you don't want your Specialists to be Hackable.
Lastly, the 0 SWC Lieutenant for cheap is always an asset, though if you plan to fill your links primarily with marksman rifles and heavy weapons like I do, he/she will be a pretty obvious LT. However, this is counterbalanced by the presence of Veteran L1. Since Druze Lieutenants will be obvious in any list, with only minor options for redundancy to mask your LT choice, having a few Orders that stay Regular if your Lieutenant goes down is a nice stabilizing element for your lists.
More to come with the Druze's amazing mixed link options. Clearly though, Druze are meant to be the focal point of the Sectorial, with many other units/characters able to plug into this link and contribute/utilize the link bonuses available.
Security Chief Arslan
A character who some will remember from the Outrage Manga, Arslan's tough and brings some specialized options to a Druze link. MSV1, link bonuses, Fatality and a MULTI Rifle/light shotgun combo will make him a fearsome gunfighter against any target at short to medium range. This guy costs as much as some Heavy Infantry, but he's going to be your go-to if you need to outshoot a TAG or elite Heavy Infantry who is causing you problems in the midfield. He'll fear Shock and Viral ammunition like crazy, but he's going to reap a big bodycount if you manage to get him into an advantageous gunfight. As mentioned with the Druze above, I do like longer-ranged weapons for my Medium Infantry since they tend to be slower, and Medium Infantry are a very vulnerable unit type in the midfield where they're vulnerable to templates and Close Combat. But this guy's not a bad choice by any means if you think is armament will play a useful role. Duo isn't bad on him either, opening up some interesting link options, but his 4-2 MOV means he's going to be slower than pretty much anything he'd want to buddy up with outside of another Druze.
Authorized Bounty Hunters
Regular! And while these guys won't have the amazing linkability or plethora of character support that they get in ISS, they're still a cheap way to max out your SWC. I do think they're overshadowed a bit in this Sectorial, where there are a lot of amazing units in their price range who are bringing linkability or other strong traits to the table. But the Sniper or Spitfire ABH are never a bad choice, as well as that new Red Fury loadout which offers the great rangeband and high burst of a Spitfire for .5 SWC cheaper. Fans of Bounty Hunters will find a place for them.
The only bad thing about these guys is that they often get skipped over for Yuan Yuan. But since Yuan Yuan aren't an option here, this is a chance for Bashi Bazouks to impress players with how amazing they truly are. Irregular on an AD troop is not a problem at all. Some players' knee jerk reaction is to avoid Irregular, but it's fantastic on a trooper who starts off the table and isn't likely to survive more than one or two turns anyway. Holo2 is an amazing support piece also, letting you take risks with maneuvering that you couldn't do with a lone AD unit. Surprise Shot is also a huge asset, plus the ability to effortlessly sweep away mines/koalas, or bait out Hidden Deployment units safeguarding a DZ. Their weaponry can punch hugely above its weight as well, able to shoot models in the back, blast clumped models with buckshot, or even open up TAGs and Heavy Infantry with AP/EM ammo. There's even a template loadout. These are truly a great choice, and even have a nice range of miniatures too.
Also... A Specialist profile? Whoa! It's unique to this force, and adds a whole new level of depth to what Bash Bazouks can do for you on the table.
If you've always liked the Anaconda but never really felt compelled to use it, now's your chance. The classic profile with Spitfire is still around, but now we have an HMG loadout for a very solid fire superiority piece. Remember that Fatality makes this more than just an ultra-vulnerable Heavy Infantry, and also remember that pilots with Operators are not affected by Expel since Expel specifically only works on Pilots. The result here is that you can run the Anaconda like a fire superiority Heavy Infantry, stomping around to bully your opponent with very hard-hitting firepower and decent durability, and still be confident you'll have an Operator to play with if/when your Anaconda gets killed. While I don't think the Anaconda has a place in every list out there, it's definitely become a very solid option.
Oh man... The icing on the cake for this Sectorial. One of the game's best Camo Infiltrators is here, bringing not only the infamous Haq rifle/light shotgun combination, as well as mines, but can also throw down Deployable Repeaters so that your plethora of solid Hackers can melt some brains. These gals give this force an infowar Reach that's top tier. You may noticed they're Irregular... So what? You're going to be spending Orders on them as long as they're alive, especially if you're bringing that Forward Observer to push buttons. And while I might not reach for the Sniper loadout on first instinct, it does have the advantage of being a very, very cheap Camo Sniper Rifle for cheap. I'll probably max AVO on the Forward Observers in every list.
PanOceania players love their Peacemakers, but they tend to be overshadowed by Bulleteers. That's not an issue here, and the Peacemaker is a great choice for getting a Repeater and a little more midfield presence out on the table. The Peacemaker can do a nice job supporting troops like your Hunzakuts, using that Auxbot to clear mines and provide some point defense. It's also a great DZ attack piece, especially if your long-range Druze can knock down enemy overwatch pieces and create a hole for this bot to run through. If you're a big fan of attack robots, this Sectorial is shaping up to be quite good with them.
When rumors of this Sectorial leaked, I had a funny epiphany that they would be using PanOceania Remotes, and that Pathfinders would get AVA3. Sure enough, here they are. For most players, the uses of the Sensor/FO bot are self evident and deeply loved. I always take at least one of these in any army I play, so naturally I love that they have the option of taking 3 of them. I won't always use 3 of them, but these are a great rapid Objective grabber. If you're projecting long-range firepower from your DZ, these guys have the Movement to speedily grab objectives, hunt light opponents, and reveal Camo opponents. Use your Killer Hacker to melt the brain of anything that tries to contest them, and they'll form a nice midfield objective tag-team with Hunzakuts.
A solid Total Reaction Bot... You either love them or you don't. Not a bad cheap mobile platform for an HMG, especially since most of the other HMGs are either slow (Druze) or expensive (Anaconda.) This is a nice way to get a mobile firepower element into your list, especially since you'll probably be bringing a Standard Hacker and engineer already.
Whoa. This is something special. I've never been excited about the Clipper before. The Clipper can join Druze links, can receive their link bonuses, and can combined them with supportware to get an effective BS18 Burst 2 missile launcher... For less than 20 points for the Clipper itself. I expect to see this in every list, to be honest. As someone who already loves linked missiles, the idea of having one with god-like Ballistic Skill and all the repairability of a remote presence REM is amazing. If you're a guided missile guy, you can spring for the guided missile option just to have the flexibility of either guided hits or straight-shooting. But I myself favor the regular missile, just for the full goodness of Explosive ammunition.
Cheap Regular Orders. Great flash pulse platform. Added Repeater and Sniffer presence. What's not to like? As an Acontecimento and NeoTerra player, I'm used to maxxing the AVA on my Fugazis for all the aforementioned reasons. I'll do the same here. These are especially valuable because the AVA Total unit for Druze Bayram Security is not a spammable light infantry Order generator.
At the least, they're cheap Regular Orders. However, that EVO is a source of Supportware, which is highly valuable in a REM-heavy force like this one. It's not your only choice of Supportware, but it sure is good at buffing a lot of bots or making your Hackers tougher to challenge. This is a good investment to consider if you want to maximize your REM effectiveness, or simply want to add more Regular Orders to your list.
Very interesting. Starting with a good base statline with some focus on defensive stats, these guys bring some important tools to the mix. Note that their AVA maxes out at 4, and that they lack Fireteam:Core. They are very much intended to operate as solo, Duo, Haris, or mixed link members, supplementing the full Druze Core link team. They can churn out some firepower with the Heavy Rocket Launcher and interesting MSV2 Sniper profiles, forming a respectable (albeit not very focused) team alongside Druze. If you're a dedicated HRL or MSV2 Sniper fan, these are assets to utilize.
However, their biggest advantages are going to be in the specialist roles they provide. The Doctor and Engineer profiles are key, meaning you'll see these frequently running around with a palbot attached to them, or as a Duo, or in a Druze link to help keep hem (and their inevitable Clipper buddy) patched and operational. They also offer a decently cheap Lieutenant/Lieutenant clone.
Especially worth noting is how cheap their Assault Hacker is. Many players steer away from Assault Hackers, but if you manage to sweep away your opponent's Killer Hacker presence, this Assault Hacker can really make things tough for your opponent thanks to this army's great Repeater coverage.
If you're a link kind of guy too, the options for running both Duo and Haris here are nice. They can become a cheap objective grabbing or fire support link that way, depending on your mission needs.
How do you make valerya look awesome? Put her in a force full of awesome Remotes and amazing Repeater coverage, where she's the cheapest Standard Hacking Device. And Valerya is right at home in this force, giving your REMs crucial buffs and easily able to jump into any link team (including Duo teams) where you want her to be. She's very comfortable in a bigger Core team, where 6th Sense lets her ignore Stealth to mess with Hackable targets trying to maneuver past your Repeaters. Her Pitcher shouldn't be underestimated either, giving all your Infowar troops a bit more reach. She's a pretty bare-bones choice, but that's not a bad role for her in this force.
Someone at CB has a crush on Saito, because he's been popping up everywhere lately. Not only do you get an amazingly skilled CC combatant who can smoke toss, but now he can push buttons as well. He is quite a bit pricier than the other midfield Specialists, but has the tools to slice and dice all but incredibly skilled CC opponents, while also being a decent combi rifle gunfighter. Support him fully with Hunzakut or a Peacemaker, and can be a fearsome midfield combatant for you.
Scarface and Cordelia
These two are coming in from the cold to get their very own war criminal force to stomp around in. Scarface is celebrating with an upgrade to a Heavy Rocket Launcher, not only extending his +3 range band but giving him a nice punchy template blast for those nice targets of opportunity that are clustered up or don't want to be set on fire. His ability to Duo with Cordelia is sweet as well, not only letting him drag her around as a Specialist, but allowing her to support him on the table and keeping his Frenzy in check while they're both linked. Cordelia has a fairly versatile grab back of tricks, letting her help you with Classifieds.
At their point value, Scarface is priced a bit more like a particularly bulky and hacking susceptible Heavy Infantry, but he's cheap enough that he can probably make a mess and bully your opponents effectively before he goes down.
Le Muet adds a bit of tech to this force, bringing some ODD, MSV1 and 2-Wound capability to a force that's otherwise pretty light on all of those things. He remains as solid as ever, being a pretty good active or reactive turn gunfighter who is tough to dislodge and packs utility in the form of visor/mines. Minelayer is always a nice skill for a force whose DZ will be crowded with medium infantry and REMs (two troop types that really, really hate being attached with templates) so having Le Muet around to hold the fort until you can get your defense set up is very helpful. He's fairly pricey and shouldn't feature in every list, but out of all of CB's many, many (many) Sniper character offerings, he brings the most decisive bang for the points.
Druze Link Composition
Having the entire unit roster focus around the Druze Core link is awesome, and makes a ton of thematic sense. From the perspective of playability, it does create some inherent limitations if you want to apply the list to ITS play:
Medium Infantry: Medium Infantry are fascinating. They gain exceptional rules and weapon options, with the notable downsides that they're almost always slow (4-2 MOV) and limited to 1 Wound. The result is that they need careful skill for use, especially if you're taking a full 5-man team. This team will be expensive, slow, and highly highly vulnerable to commonplace threats like Direct Templates Weapons, shotguns, Hidden Deployment Missile AROs, close combat specialists tossing smoke, etc.
And while rules like Veteran Level 1 and Fatality have a very helpful role on the battlefield, they also inflate the cost of Druze considerably.
As a result, it's critical that every Druze member perform a distinct and valuable role if you're trying to maximize your list for competitive play. Similarly, the limitations on Brawlers means that their loadouts also have to be carefully considered. My initial lists will experiment with the following configuration of troops:
Druze Bayram Security
DRUZE HMG, Chain-colt / Viral Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 29)
DRUZE HMG, Chain-colt / Viral Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 29)
DRUZE Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Combi Rifle + Pitcher, D-Charges / Viral Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)
BRAWLER Engineer Rifle + Light Shotgun, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 20)
BRAWLER Doctor (MediKit) Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 20)
BRAWLER Lieutenant Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 16)
VALERYA GROMOZ Hacker (Hacking Device UPGRADE: Expel) Combi Rifle + Pitcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 21)
CLIPPER DRONBOT Missile Launcher / Electric Pulse. (1.5 | 17)
5 SWC | 177 Points
Open in Infinity Army
The two HMGs are self explanatory. With little smoke in the force, controlling the long lanes will be key, and HMGs are the weapon to allow that.
The Killer Hacker is essentially a requirement, and highly desirable for a force that basically has the best Hacking Coverage of any force in the game. You want a Killer Hacker in the force, especially if you're going to be maneuvering Repeater-equipped troops around the table; you don't want to give enemy Killer Hackers easy access to zapping Valerya, and having a Killer Hacker around will aid that.
If you want a 4th Druze, there are plenty of great candidates: the Marksmen Rifle, Lieutenant profile and E/M Grenade Launcher all bring distinct and helpful loadouts to the table.
That being said, I'm excited to fill out the rest of the link with mixed choices. The Brawlers are truly the support glue for this link: the Doctor is a clear choice for picking up link members, especially heavy weapons, who take a hit. The Engineer is possibly even more critical for supporting that Clipper. And the Lieutenant is cheaper than the Druze equivalent in terms of points, but provides pretty comparable gunfighting capability (plus a shotgun for close-range defensive AROs if things get really ugly.)
Valerya's in the mix because she's a natural addition for this link; 6th Sense Level 2 lets her ignore Stealth targets trying to sneak past her Hacking Repeaters, as well as letting her ignore Surprises from Camo Hackers trying to attack her. She can also maintain your 5-man bonus once your Druze link members start taking casualties, and Burst 2 and +3 Ballistic Skill are very helpful for her to Pitch her Repeaters wherever necessary.
The Clipper is the last choice, but certainly not the least. This thing is pure murder, both as an active and reactive turn piece. If you're outranging your opponent, you're probably smashing it with missile blasts. Even if the enemy is contesting you with their own high-quality AROs, the Clipper is easily repaired if damaged thanks to that Brawler Engineer.
For the Brawler Doctor; it could be deployed near the link if you want another linkable body, but I actually plan to give this unit a g:servant bot and let the Doctor operate as a stand-alone unit. The presence of the bot will stop the Doctor from linking, but I like having Doctor support spread across the table.
The downside about this link configuration, of course, is that it concentrates a lot of your effective infantry units in one area. The result is that area defense and careful control of incoming threats is going to be really, really important to avoid a cheeky Airborne Deployment unit or Galwegian from fragging your whole backline in a few Orders. All the usual deployment tricks here are applicable; make use of prone so multiple models can get Line of Fire to an enemy coming around a corner, stagger your link across different levels, etc.
But you'll want to consider something like Le Muet, with Minelayer, some Turn 1 mine deployments from your Hunzakut, the MSV2 Sniper Brawler, etc. to help shore up your defense against those Turn 1 rushes. If you regularly play aggressive Turn 1 opponents, you may need to include link members like the Brawler Sniper to help provide added protection.