Infinity Unit Review: Zerat Special Missions Regiment
Since I’m jumping feet-first back into Morats, I thought I’d talk about the unit which I feel is the most misunderstood, the Zerat. As one of my favorite units in the Morat army, I figure I’m in a good position to talk about what works for me and why with them.
Stats and Special Rules
Their raw profile isn’t anything terribly exciting, an average BS and WIP, backed up by a slightly impressive PH12 . That’s not all that bad though, it’s pretty typical for skirmishers to have unimpressive stat-lines. The Morat rule is an obvious given, but is particularly helpful for Zerats, having guaranteed orders to spend on a mid-field specialist can win you a game. Furthermore, Religious is a great tool for making sure your suppressive fire piece stays in place, instead of ducking for cover. Infiltration delivers you to the midfield, and is probably the most important component of the Zerat profile. Finally Mimetism, the extremely contentious rule is there in all it’s glory. By having Mimetism instead of Camouflage, the role of the Zerat changes drastically. No longer content to hide until late game and push a button, instead the Zerat just carries the visibility mod to make it a better gunfighter.
Combi rifle + light flamethrower, antipersonnel mines. As far as basic profiles go, the Zerat comes heavily loaded. Combi rifle is a fantastic weapon on the Zerat, allowing it to leverage both burst and mods in it’s favor. Furthermore, in suppressive fire, the Zerat is sitting pretty at -9 to be shot at with cover. Antipersonnel mines are fantastic for area denial, and when planted around a corner before shooting, can become really deadly. Perhaps the most interesting part of the profile though is the addition of the light flamethrower. A direct template weapon, especially with fire ammo, is just a damn good choice on an infiltrator. If your enemy decides to face-tank the mine, you can also force them to eat a flamethrower, or if you can sneakily move up the enemy flank, you can deliver a direct template to some tender bits.
Combi rifle + e/mitter, antipersonnel mines. A lot of what I said about the previous profile can be said here, though obviously you lose the direct template for an E/M weapon. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of e/mitters, though lately, one of my local opponents has been using them to great effect. It’s certainly more niche, but damn, if you get an e/mitter shot in a bad place on a TAG or HI, it can leave you really sad.
Boarding shotgun, grenades, antipersonnel mines. This shorter range profile packs a lot of template options. Infiltrating with PH12 grenades has scored me many points assassinating Designated Targets, this profile is ideal for an HVT killing DataTracker. The low burst of the shotgun is offset a bit by mimetism, pushing the F2F rolls further into your favor.
MULTI sniper rifle, antipersonnel mines. Certainly the least-used profile, but it’s here, so lets figure it out. I generally am not a fan of infiltrating snipers, since getting closer to the enemy is not normally ideal. As an active turn piece, it’s as effective as any camouflage sniper, minus surprise shot. It could be used as an active-turn long range hunter, though it’s low BS means that you’ll want to be sure to out-range your opponent. As an ARO piece, you don’t have camouflage, but are just as hard to hit as a camouflage sniper, though again, due to it's low BS, you probably won’t be infiltrating very far into the table to maintain range band superiority.
EI assault hacking device, combi rifle, D-charges. Not only does this profile bring an assault hacking device, but it also D-charges, letting it accomplish quite a few classified objectives. If you’re playing Highly Classified with Morats, this is a very solid choice. As an assault hacker, it’s probably best used for hacking AROs from a safe location, though many people may just not bother getting close to it with something hackable.
Forward observer, boarding shotgun, grenades, antipersonnel mines. Hands down my favorite profile of the Zerats, the Forward Observer does everything the boarding shotgun profile does, but also is a specialist, and carries a Flash Pulse. I love all Forward Observers with boarding shotguns for that matter, the flash pulse helps offset the range limitations of the shotgun, it’s a match made in heaven. If you’re feeling extra sassy, you can even forward observe someone before lobbing grenades onto their head, though it’s probably more orders than it’s worth.
Recently, two new profiles have been added to the Zerat, the much requested Killer Hacking Device, and a Red Fury for extra shooting goodness!
Red Fury, antipersonnel mines. First up, a new gun which makes the Zerat into a respectable firing platform. While Zerats only have a mediocre BS 11, this can quickly be offset by high burst and good range bands, both things the Red Fury delivers on. Despite not having the ability to perform a Surprise Shot, you can still stick someone with -9 to be firing back with the combination of mimetism, cover, and poor range bands. Don’t get stuck thinking it’s a good gun on a bad platform, the modifiers alone are brutal, and as my good friend Nate says, +1B is about the same as +3BS (at least on the active turn), so would you complain if she was a BS14 Shock Marksman? Probably not. With the new shiny gun, it’s easy to overlook the antipersonnel mines, but they’re still there, helping you lock down the midfield.
EI Killer Hacking Device, Combi Rifle, D-Charges. Probably the most requested profile for Zerats is the KHD. Armed the same as the Assault hacker, but at a much more economical price. You are still an infiltrating hacker for accomplishing objectives, though can only attack enemy hackers. The KHD provides the Zerat a lovely marker state with Cybermask, though you might not want to bother spending orders on that, unless you can get a sweet surprise hack off afterwords… failing a WIP 13 Cybermask roll and losing an order can be rough unless you have a deep pool to draw from. The most important part of the Zerat KHD though is that it’s an EI KHD, meaning it gets the Maestro program, easily the most powerful KHD program in the game. If you’re investing in Zerats, this is certainly a strong profile to consider.
On The Table
At first glance, the Zerat may seem like an ineffective version of other factions infiltrating camo specialists, but really, it has a different role entirely. Combining an array of templates, either from mines, flamethrowers, grenades, or shotguns, with mimetism, makes this more of an active-turn skirmisher, than a cowardly button pusher. If you don’t think you’re getting mileage out of them to push buttons, instead spend a few orders attacking vulnerable units, dropping mines, and going into suppressive fire for area denial.
Generally, I’m against comparing units across factions, and the Zerat is precisely why. They’re often compared to the Shrouded (and other factions skirmishers),, both are infiltrators, and often specialists, but for me, that’s where the comparison ends. The Zerat is not the Morat’s version of a camouflaged infiltrating specialist, it lacks camouflage, so expecting it to perform the same duty is only going to lead to disappointment. If you must compare the Zerat to anything, think of it as a budget Locust. Both are infiltrators which lack camouflage, but still have visibility mods to help out in their gun fighting.
The two additional Zerat profiles are a game changer for me. I loved Zerats as it was, but now they have far more utility. The Red Fury option is incredible for how inexpensive it is, able to start mid-field with a gun that will have +3 BS deep into the enemy deployment zone, while the KHD gives MAF a much needed tool to handle enemy hackers who would threaten your more powerful attack pieces. I pretty much always took 1-2 Zerats before, but now it’s looking like I’m going to want max AVA whenever I can.