Infinity Unit Review: Liu Xing Jump Infantry
YueFei23 back again, starting to break down the new units that landed with the third offensive. First up is the Liu Xing - the shooting star of the new Invincible Army. This shock and awe unit adds an AD threat unlike any other in Infinity - a heavy infantry model that explodes when it drops onto the table.
STATS AND SPECIAL RULES
First of all, the Liu Xing is obviously an AD: Combat Jump trooper. Combat Jump lets him walk on from a table side with a lower level of AD, but unlike most other AD troops the Liu Xing will more often choose to combine his drop with the Explode LX, which lets him center a damage 12 template on himself after he successfully drops onto the table. To get the benefit from this, you will almost always want to help his PH 12 drop out with a hacker that can use Controlled Jump supportware or an EVO hacker pangguling, at which point he lands in the right place on a 15. He can smash right into the enemy lines doing damage as he lands, forcing them to decide between dodging and trying to put wounds or hacking onto the Liu Xing.
Being heavy infantry brings the Liu Xing some pros and cons that most AD troops don’t get. They have two wounds, great durability with ARM 3 and move 4-4 - most AD troops are MI with a relatively slow 4-2 movement. The downside is that they’re hackable - if you’re not careful avoiding enemy hackers or repeaters you may end up immobilised as soon as you come onto the table. In fact, the best plan may be to drop right on top of an enemy hacker and try and assassinate them with your drop or a shot immediately afterwards. An enemy hacker with a device that can use Hack Transport Aircraft has to do it or yield its ARO, which forces a face to face roll against the Liu Xing that gives it much more chance of taking damage than a flat dodge would do.
A Liu Xing’s stat line is almost identical to a Zuyong heavy infantry, so very standard for the Invincible Army. The only real difference is that it has one wound and No Wound Incapacitation rather than a full two wounds, but the drawback that comes with this is offset by the Bioimmunity special rule. Bioimmunity is really useful - it stops shock or viral ammo sending the Liu Xing straight to dead, so a Liu Xing will almost always get the benefit of his NWI. Like a Zuyong he also has kinematika L1, which gives him a little extra movement when dodging.
NWI means that the Liu Xing has no unconscious state and fights until he dies, so you can only doctor this guy back from NWI to one wound with a risk of killing him. Once he’s taken his second wound he’s off the table, but this is actually pretty good for a troop that operates behind enemy lines - if he does die he won’t give up datascan, coup de grace or other classified objectives that are easy to score if you serve your opponent a corpse in their deployment zone.
Boarding Shotgun: this is the cheapest choice at an economical 32 points and probably the best for wreaking havoc in the enemy deployment zone. The boarding shotgun seems like an ideal weapon for a unit that drops right next to an enemy. Up close, neither the Liu Xing or his opponent is likely to get the benefit of cover, so if your enemy lives then you have a great +6 range band for a face to face shootout outside cover. Also, the boarding shotgun’s template is great for trying to murder enemy link teams and wreak havoc in an enemy deployment zone.
Spitfire: if you have 2 SWC and 39 points to spare, you can go big with a spitfire. This brings a really strong weapon onto a flank or behind enemies in cover and has potential to cripple an overextended enemy. In vanilla Yu Jing this unit has some competition from the cheaper 1.5 SWC & 32 point tiger soldier, which also brings Mimetism to the gunfight. Importanntly though, the Liu Xing has something the tiger soldier doesn’t - two wounds. Having a second wound in case they get hit during deployment or losing a face to face roll makes them more reliable. The only thing that makes me think twice about this profile is that the short range band of the gun isn’t that great - this is a Liu Xing that wants to walk safely on from the table edge and start shooting. I think it’ll be a couple of months before I’m over the novelty of Explode LX and ready to try that out. An advantage over the cheaper shotgun profiles is the ability to set up in suppressive fire, locking up enemy movement without breaking the Liu Xing’s overwatch.
Multi rifle, D-Charges (Specialist Operative): This is a really interesting profile for 38 points and the a great way to add an AD specialist to Imperial Army. While less of a gunfighter than the spitfire and less of a close in specialist than a boarding shotgun the multi rifle has potential to damage heavier targets and set up in suppressive fire, with AP ammunition for dealing with heavier infantry and TAGs and shock ammo to ruin the day of anything with NWI or dogged. D-charges help you get the sabotage classified objective and bring a great strategy to destroy the AC2 in looting and sabotage mission.
Hacker (Assault Hacking Device) and Boarding Shotgun: this brings everything the cheap boarding shotgun brings in addition to a scoring and hacking capability. Assault hacking can be used to immobilise heavy infantry before engaging them, possessing tags and isolating all kinds of troops. Isolating an enemy lieutenant or tag could win a game for you. The assault hacking device can also spotlight things for guided missiles and score a variety of classified objectives. All this comes for a price though, at 0.5 SWC and 38 points. The unfortunate downside of this is that as well as worrying about hacking devices immobilising your heavy armor you also now have to worry about Killer Hacking Devices cooking your brains.
ON THE TABLE
Liu Xing are expensive and not an auto include by any means, one of the best Liu Xing advantages comes for 0 points. Even if you don’t put a Liu Xing in your Yu-Jing or Imperial Army list, your opponent will always have to plan to counter one during deployment. This means avoiding bunching up light infantry, carefully spacing out infantry on roof tops and may even change the metagame to mean that cheap combi rifle lieutenants without chain of command are much more of a risk.
While they won’t make it into every list, working them into your lists fairly regularly will pay off by terrorising your opponents. They make excellent assassins, capable of dropping on a variety of targets to break enemy backlines, isolate or kill lieutenants or score those hard to reach objectives. For some missions the ability to drop right next to critical targets is a game winner. Liu Xing are elite troops, so pick up an adhesive launcher for Hunting Party. They’re reasonably expensive and resilient, so dropping them on top of buildings and hiding them could score well in sector control missions. In missions where killing an enemy lieutenant is key, they’re great shock troops that can drop right on top of the enemy in what many generals consider “safe” locations - deep in the backfield or prone on top of buildings. Liu Xing are amazing in Firefight, where the mission provides a +3 bonus for dropping in with AD - along with the controlled jump bonus that means you can drop in to hit enemies on an 18 and score by killing a lieutenant
The single Liu Xing Yu Jing can bring along is terrifying and versatile and combos well with a tiger soldier - a Liu Xing can secure a landing zone then a spitfire tiger can walk on an start shooting away. In Imperial Army Liu Xing have an AV of 4, which would be pretty shocking to see in action - watch out when dropping them too close together though, as templates that hit a friendly Liu Xing will be cancelled. Taking two of the cheapest boarding shotgun Liu Xing seems like a very strong option, as they will often be able to drop on two sides of enemy troops and leave them no safe turn and face options to prevent being shot from behind.