Infinity Unit Review: Bashi Bazouks
I think these guys are one of the coolest airborne deploy units in the game. They are inexpensive and can get to where they need on the table. Despite having a low version of Airborne Deployment, they have some extra shenanigans to help them get where they need. Available to Haqqislam and Druze Bayram Security, you can also take Bashi any time the Soldiers of Fortune ITS extra is in use.
Stats and Special Rules
As you could probably expect from their low points cost, their profile doesn't really bring anything terribly impressive. Bashi have low BS and WIP values, but do carry a bit of armor with them, which can be helpful. Being Irregular is actually less of a big deal for Bashi, as they're going to use their Irregular order to deploy anyhow, though it will matter in subsequent turns. The two stand out notes on their profile are Holoprojector L2, and AD: Parachutist.
Their Airborne Deployment means that they will have to pick which edge to deploy on at the beginning of the game, during deployment, and if you have multiple Bashi (or other Parachutist) they will also need to come on from the same spot. At first this can sound like a deal breaker, or at least a big hassle, but with a bit of experience and trial, it becomes much less of an issue.
The main reason you're looking at this guy though, other than their bargain price, is Holoprojector L2. As of Human Sphere, Holo2 has become a bit less powerful, since your opponent can now delay their ARO, but you can occasionally use this to your advantage, by moving a second time. Holo2 still has some massive uses though, they are great for clearing mines and Crazy Koalas, and still help quite a bit when it is your opponent's active turn. If they guess the wrong echo, you'll get a free shot at them in return.
Edit: Somehow I totally forgot to mention the awesomeness that Holo2 also allows Surprise Shot! Don't forget that, it can be brutal, especially when used in conjunction with a nasty AP weapon against a TAG. :)
Rifle + Light Shotgun or Specialist Operative. This is an incredibly versatile set of equipment, the rifle allowing you to go into suppressive fire, while the light shotgun helps at close range. For an extra point you can (and almost certainly should) upgrade to a Specialist Operative, giving you an up-field fighter who can rush to push a button, but with WIP 12, you might need an extra order or two to seal the deal.
Boarding Shotgun. Nearly as expensive as the Rifle + Light shotgun, it can be difficult to justify, but if you find yourself using the shotgun more than the rifle, it's well worth considering. Something I've discovered recently is how painful it is to take a Boarding Shotgun to the rear-arc of a TAG. Since failing their Change Face roll is likely, and it is doubtful that they'll be able to fail guts to move to cover, their best option is to take no ARO at all (so that they can then turn with Warning), as you slam B2 of AP shotgun slugs into them as a Normal Roll. Just something to consider, which Parachutist helps facilitate. Really, the only downside to the Boarding Shotgun is that it is the only profile which cannot go suppressive.
AP Rifle, 2 Breaker Pistols. Kind of the odd-duck profile, you're exchanging your light shotgun, for AP ammo, and a pair of breaker pistols for dealing with up-close threats. Nothing about the equipment is bad, though for the cost, I am more interested in the other profiles. This is the only profile without some kind of impact or direct template weapon, so you're far more reliant on your BS11 to do the dirty work. For the reasons I mentioned above about the Boarding Shotgun, I could see getting this unit into the rear arc of a TAG, would be very painful.
Combi Rifle, E/Mauler. Hands down my favorite profile, which I rarely see anyone else use. Having an AD:Parachutist troop with a deployable weapon is potentially devastating, make it an E/Mauler and you could stand to lose a few friends. Just like attacking with a mine-armed troop, spending an order to drop an E/Mauler, before peeking around the corner to fire the Combi Rifle, can wreak some havoc. The threat of potentially Isolating and Immobilizing enemy Heavy Infantry, TAGs, or Remotes almost guarantees that the opponent will be dodging, allowing you to shoot without any risk. Be sure to finish out of LOF of the enemy though so you can spend a couple orders and do it again!
Submachine Gun, Chain Colt. The cheapest profile, and my second favorite, this combination of gear is suited well for up-close fire-fights. The combination of a high burst AP or Shock weapon, with a direct template weapon means that your opponent will have to heavily consider their options when you move in to shoot. They are more effective in suppressive fire than any other profile, with the option to pick between AP and Shock ammo, and doing so does not affect the longer range bands of the SMG anyhow.
On the Table
Regardless of the profile you're using, all Bashi are well suited for close range engagements. Shotguns of any type help offset their poor BS, while E/Maulers and Chain Colts can force people to analyze their choices when declaring an ARO. The Specialist Operative profile can be very enticing, though I often find them to be expensive for a WIP12 specialist. If you do go this route however, they can be a great last-ditch effort to get to an objective, or force the opponent to respond to an objective earlier in the game.
If you get lucky with deployment and get them into a very vulnerable spot for your opponent, you can get away with spending tons of orders on them, causing as much damage as they can, before going down in a blaze of glory. Generally though, I try to kill what I can safely, before going into suppressive fire. Don't forget that since they are Irregular, you will not be able to coordinate them with non-irregular troops if you want to put multiple into suppressive fire.
For their cost, I love taking a Bashi just about whenever I can. If you catch the opponent off-guard, they can kill far more than their cost, it's a risk well worth taking, even if it means walking on the board directly to take a hit from ARO, after all, there is only a 1/3 chance that your opponent will guess the right one!