"Ikari, and So Can You!" – Ikari First Impression
Last December, Corvus Belli released the Druze Bayram Security army, and I immediately hopped on it. Ever since I started, I've wanted a proper mercenary army, and Druze were it! Now that Uprising has come out it has made waves by introducing two more merc forces to the game, the Ikari Company, and StarCo.
For the Las Vegas Open, you may remember that I pounced on the opportunity to play with Druze, and didn't do bad either. But, when I got my hands on the Uprising book, I thought I should give JSA a shot... at least, that's what I thought initially. Upon reading the book a bit more, and noticing the amount of overlap between Druze and Ikari, I've decided that the Ikari Company is probably better suited to my play style, and it means I don't need to really build out a fourth army, haha.
So, I've decided that instead of going for JSA, I'm going to do the right thing and join the Ikari Company! This brigade of jerks-in-space is really appealing to me, they have a lot of the toys I like in Druze (though nowhere near the flexibility or objective scoring ability). What they lack in ITS skills though, they more than make up for in throat-punching heavy hitters.
Not only does Ikari let me play with my Druze toys, it gives me enough of the JSA and ISS toys I wanted to not feel bad about skipping those armies. I also get the added bonus of using all my ITS exclusive, and other rare minis in one place!
On The Table
Lets face it, you didn't come here to talk about why I'm collecting Ikari, you came here to find out what I'm going to do with them on the table. By breaking down the units by two basic tasks, killing things, and scoring objectives, it helps me start to wrap my head around how I can get them to the table and accomplish the missions.
As I mentioned before, Ikari excel at busting heads. There are obvious choices, like Wu Ming Links, Al Fasid, and Daiyokai for getting the job done, though with how much smoke the army gets, the Rui Shi is well worth looking at.
I've been drawn a lot to the Tanko + 2 Brawler Haris though, letting you get a B2 missile launcher, doctor, and haris together for a mini death-star, able to get the Tanko back in the fight should he go down. Similarly, adding a Tank Missile Launcher to 3 Keisotsu and a Brawler gets you a very inexpensive 5-man link bonus for a B2 BS16 missile launcher, potentially backed up by a MSV2 Brawler MULTI Sniper. Flipping the Tanko Haris on it's head, you could take the Tanko with Haris, plus the MSV2 Sniper and a Doctor or Hacker for support. The Tanko really adds a lot of flexibility to your link choices. Druze Shock Teams are still scary in Ikari, though they are considerably more expensive. The only way to get a 5-man link is to take a Tanko, which can be nice for the missile launcher, but generally I find them cost prohibitive in Ikari Company compared to Druze Bayram, you could be spending those points on Wu Ming!
Despite a 5-man Wu Ming link being very tempting, it is a lot of points, and is required to have all 4 Wu Ming and the Clipper alive to form a link, so it is surprisingly fragile in-game. Instead, consider that Wu Ming have a zero-tax haris option, which is just amazing. For not many points you can take the HMG, Haris, and a FO, giving you a mobile firebase that can also accomplish objectives.
Finally, if you're looking to kill the enemy without links, you can't go wrong with either of the Al Fasid, or the Daiyokai. Both are giving you a tough platform with some serious firepower, of the options though, the Daiyokai with MULTI Marksman Rifle is my favorite. It doesn't take up any SWC, gives you damage 14 AP or Shock to play with, and is tough as nails with ARM5 and NWI. The Daiyokai has the added bonus of carrying a Panzerfaust for longer range engagements, and great anti-materiel close combat for taking out objectives. He's really a stellar tool kit of a killing machine.
Favorites like the Bashi, ABH, Yuan Yuan, Krakot, and Desperadoes are great budget pieces for doing a bit of damage. I wouldn't say any of the cheaper choices are better than the other outright, a lot will have to do with the rest of the list and mission, but I think I'd always take at least a pair of Yuan Yuan.
Wow, so what can't Ikari do? Push buttons, that's what. When it comes to infiltrating specialists, the army is restricted to a single Ninja, so take it every time. Cube Jägers and Bashi can also help with objectives, though with Parachutist, it will get tricky if there are exclusion zones. The humble Pathfinder is your only fast moving specialist, so again, I'd rarely leave home without one when you're fighting over objectives.
With those being all the sneaky tricks to get specialists around, you're basically left with Karakuri, and link members. Generally, you shouldn't run any link without a specialist if possible, the order efficiency will be critical to get your specialists into place while you're beating the enemy back. Karakuri are not able to link, but are very, very resilient, forward observers and can move 4-4, which doesn't make them terribly slow, but not super fast either. I could see taking one or two in a mission with a lot of specialists, but I think they'll be tricky to run solo.
Lets Make a List!
Just toying around with Army to see what I come up with, I'd play this list in a scenario like Supremacy, or Supplies, which are the bench marks of an "average" ITS scenario.
So here's an idea. You've got a Ninja KHD, Pathfinder, Jäger, an Bashi to go for objectives. The Tanko + Brawler Sniper + Keisotsu Forward Observers make your Core fireteam, giving you a brutal firebase that can see through the smoke provided by the Yuan Yuan. Your second order group is powered by a Wu Ming Haris team, toting a B5 HMG, and bringing their own doctor along to push buttons and keep the Wu Ming in the fight. Finally a Krakot Renegade is an awesome piece which can provide some ugly combat options, and toss the occasional grenade.
Can't Hardly Wait
Needless to say, I'm thrilled for the Tanko to come out, as well as the Keisotsu box. Once those hit the shelves I'll have all the toys I need for any of the lists I am making. I'm continuing to make progress painting my USA, but it's looking like Druze and Ikari may be on the painting table right after them.