I've been waging a personal crusade to get some recognition for what I feel is an underused unit (although this may just be because their sculpts are seriously dated) and finally have gotten round to jotting down my thoughts.
So let's take a look at what they can do.
The stand-put profile is certainly the Chain Rifle variant so it is the one that I'll be discussing in this article. It hardly seems worth paying an extra 6 or 8 points for a Rifle or Boarding Shotgun on a BS10 trooper who is moderately likely to pick up a ranged weapon using the Booty skill anyway.
So what do you get for your whopping 8 points?
Training and Fury
Let's address the elephant in the room first. These guys are Irregular and Extremely Impetuous. They don't play nice with your other troops, will never gain cover bonuses and have an unhealthy obsession with running into Mines, Snipers. Dog Soldiers and other miscellaneous causes of death.
The onus is very much on the player to deploy them well and keep them alive for as long as possible. The real trick is to be able to make good use of their Impetuous order as 95%+ of the time you won't want to use a Regular one to cancel it. The other 5% of the time they are already sitting on an objective that you need them to take and it's worth spending the order to stop them from doing a runner. Otherwise 'Expendable' is their middle name (they had rather cruel parents) and wasting Regular orders to restrain them is pointless.
Their whole existence revolves around using at least two orders a turn to either attack enemies or take objectives. Missions that benefit from sheer number of specialists (Supremacy), holding table areas (Antennae Field) or simply swarming the field (Tic Tac Toe) are great uses for them.
Irmandinhos actually have pretty decent stats for their cost, comparing favourably with most line infantry:
- CC 20 - Solid. Capable of giving non-combat oriented troops a hard time.
- BS 10 - Doesn't matter. You've got a Chain Rifle.
- PH 14 - Equivalent to most HI, which makes them great! Reliable Dodgers, great Grenade throwers and they hit pretty hard in combat too.
- WIP 13 - Average.
- ARM 1 - Actually surprisingly generous. It's about 1 point higher than you'd expect!
- BTS 0 - Ariadna. Moving on...
- W 1 - Duh.
- AVA 3 - If only this was higher!
You get a Chain Rifle, which is everything you need as an Impetuous BS 10 model, a Pistol and an AP CCW to ramp up the damage further from you PH 14 combat attacks. No complaints here. Chain Rifles let them trade up and control table areas fairly handily.
Smoke Grenades are also hugely important. Don't forget that you get a +3 bonus when tossing them within 8" which means you are succeeding on a very reliable 17 or less most of the time. They are one of the best Smoke-throwers in the game, although Dog units are even better, and they can use this ability to dodge most attacks on 17s.
Engineer isn't the most useful skill in Ariadna as they have a dearth of REMs and their only TAG belongs to a sectorial that cannot make use of the Irmandinho's services. Not only that but you'll already have an Engineer anyway if you want access their Remotes at all! Needless to say then that they likely won't be doing an awful lot of fixing things over the course of a game.
Having said that, this has changed somewhat with Season 8 of the ITS as Ariadna now have access to Scarface! I really like the idea of Impetuous Engineers backing up a cheap, frenzied TAG and I think it could be a potent combo on the battlefield.
They also make for competent button-pushers with their WIP 13 and they are capable of completing a couple of the classified objectives (Test Run, HVT: Retroengineering) that may otherwise be difficult for Ariadna to accomplish. Although remember that, among other things, you can't complete objectives as part of an Impetuous order.
These explosive charges are good for the Sabotage classified objective, allow you to destroy certain objectives due to their anti-material properties (see Supremacy) and can be applied in close combat with an effective CC of 17. Not too bad. They won't come up too often, but you'll be glad to have them when they do.
Booty and Scavenger
Scavenger doesn't get used too often, but Booty is a really handy skill to have on any troop that doesn't come with much equipment as standard. These skills provide benefits when searching Panoplies in The Armoury and Firefight missions, which is worth remembering.
You can find a copy of the Booty table below:
The majority of the items (75%) on this table are good, with the exception of the +1 or +2 ARM rolls. Even the X-Visor is handy as it means you can chuck Smoke Grenades up to 16" away without penalty! Any ranged weapon is of course welcome and the Irmandinho can make good use of Grenades and CC Weapons due to their decent CC and PH scores.
Speculative shots using (E/M) Grenades on 11s seems like a solid play if you can catch clumped up enemies or even some camo markers in the blast.
Naturally you are going to end up comparing them to the 45th Highlander 'Galwegians'. These crazed Scotsmen (or are they just normal Scotsmen?) are the budget warband of choice in Ariadna and frequently show up to provide Smoke support. I'm going to try and convince you that you should be maxing out your AVA (3!) of Irmandinhos first though.
Compared to Galwegians they lose:
- -1 CC
- -1 WIP
They are easier to mop up due to not being Dogged, which makes them far worse at guarding your DZ and they don't hit nearly as hard in Combat, although CC20 and PH 14 with AP ammo is still respectable. Dogged plus Berserk is a cool combo, all but guaranteeing that you'll get two hits in before expiring if you can make it into combat intact. But how often are you getting your Galwegians into combat anyway?
The loss of WIP isn't too important as it's not like the Galwegians were frequently making WIP rolls anyway.
So what do they gain?
- +Booty L1
Of course there are going to be times when it isn't worth taking these unsung heroes though. If you are playing a mission where you simply don't need specialists (Annihilation, Quadrant Control, Frontline etc.) then you can save the points as you can't make use of their major benefit anyway.
You could also compare them to Dozers where they are substantially cheaper (5 pts), gain a ton of CC (+7), PH (+3) and Scavenger/Booty/Smoke in exchange for the Rifle (and 1 BS), Courage and being Irregular/Extremely Impetuous.
Irmandinhos get to objectives more quickly, are marginally better at completing them on average (due to Scavenger) and support your army with Smoke. The alternative is another BS 11 guy with a Rifle. Yawn.
If you aren't taking Traktor Muls (and you should be) then I'd definitely pick Irmandinhos first, and even if you are then I'd take three Irmandinhos before the second Dozer.
|'Better dead than slaves'. Motto of the Irmandinho Boarding and Rapid Disembarkation Group.|
Do you want Smoke, Specialists and annoying Chain Rifles? If so then take these plucky little Engineers for your army. I genuinely think they are one of the best unit sin vanilla Ariadna.
It's especially worth noting that they are one of only three Smoke using specialists in Ariadna - the others being the AVA 1 Uxia who is excellent in her own right but costs 27/28 points and the Maverick Forward Observer which is also great, but hard to hide, can't claim cover and costs valuable SWC.
Having a specialist which can cover their own advance is really neat and the fact that you can move them up without too much care about their survival and without draining the rest of your order pool means they are more likely to be in position to repair Isolated/Immobilised troops if necessary.
Best case scenario they'll run forwards, snag some objectives and trade off against a more valuable unit.
Worst case scenario they run forwards, get killed by the first ARO and you wasted 8 pts. Deploy them better next time!
If only they were available in USAriadna... *sigh*