Infinity Unit Review: Tanko Zensenbutai
The newest addition to the family of Heavy Infantry in JSA, and making a cameo in Ikari Company as well, Tankō replace the Haramaki, who died during the Uprising. While they perform similar duties as their predecessors, they do have some important distinctions.
Stats and Special Rules
While clearly intended for close combat, with CC22 and MA2, Tankō aren't bad at a gun fight either, with BS13. They are on the light-side of Heavy Infantry, only sporting ARM/BTS 3, and the standard 2 wounds. Overall they're fairly lean, which helps keep their cost down, and efficiency up.
Blitzen, light shotgun or submachine gun. The standard variant, armed with a disposable long-ranged weapon, and a choice of point blank options. Either weapon is really going to come down to personal preference, with the submachine gun having higher burst and able to go into suppressive, or a light shotgun for close up accuracy, you can't really go wrong. In a link, I tend to prefer the light shotgun however, since you won't be going into suppressive, and B3 hitting on 19's, or even 22's does a damn fine job of clearing house. Both of the special fireteam options are the light shotgun variant, which may be a decision maker in itself.
Flammenspeer, contender. This is a very interesting set of gear. The contender is probably one of the worst active-turn weapons around, though the burst bonus from being in a link does help, but a well placed Flammenspeer can really ruin someone's day. Essentially a disposable heavy rocket launcher, but doesn't cost any SWC and is very low on points, in a link you'll likely only fire it once, so make it count.
Missile launcher. A linkable, BS13 missile launcher, what else could you need? This profile lacks short-ranged weapon options commonly associated with missile launchers, like a shotgun, but at the same time that keeps this a very inexpensive way to get some extremely deadly profile. Even in just a haris, the base BS of the Tankō makes this a very scary threat.
On the Table
Most likely, Tankō are going to end up in a link of some sorts. In JSA, this is either two with Mushashi, or up to 3 added to a Domaru link. While the idea of linking Mushashi sounds fun, I tend to think they do best in the Domaru link. They bring a different type of close combat weaponry, letting you either E/M something, or whack it with monofilament, but more importantly, giving the Domaru some longer-range punch thanks that missile launcher.
For Ikari, they're a bit more flexible, able to be run in a Haris on their own, or mix with Brawlers, Druze, or Keisotsu. In mixed links, they often serve as a way to get a high BS missile launcher, giving either the Druze or Keisotsu some really powerful long range attack or ARO options. Lately, I've been toying with running a haris on their own, with, or without the missile launcher. Often times a couple flammenspeer or blitzen is plenty enough firepower to cover their advance, so that they can take up position in the mid-field... but it is hard to say no to that missile launcher.
If you can deliver a Tankō into melee, it's just about certain death for whatever they face, the combination of MA2 and CC22, lets you put your enemy at -3, and you've got a 15% chance to crit with monofiliment, killing anything in the game. If you manage to get multiple members of the fireteam into combat, it's just that much worse thanks to the burst bonus. Note to self, don't get in combat with Tankō.