Infinity Unit Review: Karakuri Special Project
In the long list of Heavy Infantry available to both Ikari Company and JSA, the Karakuri stand out as something very unique. They don't look like HI, but they're tough as hell, carry a diverse array of weapons, and are all specialists. Interesting as a Haris for JSA, but also shockingly effective as a solo piece in either army. Despite having old models, they still look decent and creepy, but are perhaps easy to forget... let me tell you why overlooking them is a mistake.
Stats and Special Rules
The profile of the Karakuri is very purpose built. They're miserable in close combat with CC10 and PH10, but, they are quite effective at range with BS13. The combination of Remote Presence, Total Immunity, and Dogged means it could take inflicting 4 points of structure to take one off the table. Karakuri will rarely ever take more than 1 STR of damage per hit, thanks to ignoring things like AP, Fire, Plasma, EXP, and DA. To make things even better, every Karakuri is a Forward Observer, giving it a WIP13 flash pulse, and the ability to accomplish objectives.
Combi Rifle, Chain Rifle, D.E.P. This is the "standard" profile, if there could be one, longer range than the Heavy Shotgun, but better up close than the MK12, it really is the middle-of-the-road choice. The combi-rifle and D.E.P. both have an effective range up to 16", so you'll probably rely on the flash pulse from 16-24". Up close though, the chain rifle is just brutal. Overall, this is a solid toolbox to go with, if you can't get points for the MK12.
MK12, Chain Rifle, D.E.P. As a solo hunter or in a link, this is my favorite profile. the MK12 gives you a longer range to work with, not to mention a brutal Damage 15. Up close you still have your Chain Rifle as a solid choice, the only downside is the lack of a good +3 to hit weapon within 8", they're left relying on a pistol. If you take this profile, you'll want to keep the enemy at an arms reach, but don't be afraid to get up close and personal with that Chain Rifle if you're in a good position to use it.
Heavy Shotgun, Chain Rifle, D.E.P. The opposite of the MK12, the heavy shotgun profile is made to get up in the enemy face, with an incredibly robust unit. The sheer survivability of the Karakuri makes this a total terror if it can close the gap. Despite having a heavy shotgun as it's main weapon, the flash pulse helps it move up the board, able to shoot it effectively at 24". The biggest downside of this profile however, is the inability to go into suppressive fire.
Combi Rifle, Chain Rifle, D.E.P., Haris (JSA Only). In JSA armies, Karakuri have the added bonus of being able to form a haris, either as 3 Domaru, or as two, plus a Domaru. Unfortunately the Haris profile is on the Combi, which is probably the least interesting profile, but you can still take a MK12 or Heavy Shotgun, plus whatever the Domaru is carrying, so it's not all bad.
On The Table
The Karakuri perform excellently as a shock troop in either the Ikari Company, or JSA. I haven't had much experience running the Haris in JSA, but I have had them used against me, and it hurt! Karakuri are absurdly hard to kill, and will annoy many people as they chew up missiles and spit them out. Yes, the Karakuri are a bit expensive, but their sheer resilience, combined with being a specialist, can be exactly what wins you a game.
I really can't emphasize how much I enjoy them as a solo piece though. Being highly resilient specialists, they are able to move up the table, surviving damn near anything, and go pushing buttons. Their D.E.P. is situational, but can make for a deadly ARO within 16" that people may not be expecting. The MK12 is my preferred profile as a shock trooper, since the added burst at 24" (over the Flash Pulse), with a very deadly weapon, helps get her in position for her specialist duties.