Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Humble Bounty Hunter (with Sniper Rifle)

Welcome to another article in the 'Humble' series. This time I'll be fan-boying all over the my main squeeze at the moment - the Bounty Hunter with Sniper Rifle.

First up, a quick disclaimer. This article is specifically aimed at PanOcenia, Aleph, Nomads and Yu Jing - i.e. armies that don't typically get access to non-MULTI Sniper Rifles. Haqqislam and Ariadna already get access to cheap Sniper Rifles and therefore don't benefit as much.

So, why do I like her so much? Read on.



Raw Stats

She's nothing much to write home about, being only marginally more competent than a standard Line Infantry, but she has respectable numbers across the board. 

Ballistic Skill 12 is a key selling point, but the WIP of 13 is also reasonable and having a little bit of defence with ARM 1 and BTS 3 can be handy, although not generally enough to rely on.

Your low PH of 10 means you won't be dodging many attacks but that's not what you are there for as 95% of the time your ARO should be Shoot!


Training

The biggest downside for Authorised Bounty Hunters is that they are Irregular. Having said that, it'll be a rare turn where there isn't something for a trooper with a Sniper Rifle to take a pot-shot at or make a Discover check against so that order is rarely going to go to waste. The sniper does fine in a smaller second group acting as backup for a Total Reaction Remote or similar.

She's also a lock for Joan lists with her Inspiring Leadership skill changing the Bounty Hunter's training to Regular.

So, we've got low-middling stats on an irregular trooper so far. I promise things get better soon!


Weaponry

For 19 points, you get a Sniper Rifle. There are other weapon options too but frankly paying 1 SWC for a Spitfire on a fairly weak platform or 14/13pts for an Irregular Combi Rifle/Shotgun leaves me feeling cold.

Sniper Rifles (of all varieties) are great because, as the only weapons to get a +3 hit bonus between 40-48", they out-range everything else. Even between 32-40" they only have Missile Launchers as direct competition but those are putting out just half the Burst value.

It's also worth noting that due to their extreme range bands you don't have to move very far, if at all, to be able to take potshots at opposing troops. This is great for our Bounty Hunter because she can be dropped in a small, secondary combat group and still contribute effectively without having orders sunk into her.

Sniper Rifles can feel pretty mandatory to include in a list as otherwise you risk being outranged and pinned down, although clever use of Infiltrators, Airborne Deployment and Smoke can of course help. They are also great at picking off HMGs if you can pull range on them, even giving you a ~40% chance of killing a fully-linked Fusilier HMG!

Shock ammo is great to have access to, especially given that MULTI Sniper rifles don't get an option for it, as a way of clearing out pesky Dogged or No Wound Incapacitation troops. In particular, they are a great counter to Dogged warbands such as Ghazi and Highlanders. Feel free to place this plucky sniper directly opposing any Impetuous troops.

She's also armed with a brace of Breaker Pistols as a backup. Not a bad weapon to use at 0-8" by any means as Burst 3 is perfectly serviceable and the Breaker ammo (halves BTS) generally makes up for the low initial Damage value.


Booty

Speaking of weaponry, she also has Booty Level 2 which means that you'll be rolling on the Booty L2 Table. Don't argue about this one, it's just better than the L1 table.



Pretty much everything on here is gold except for the +1 ARM and maybe the Flash Pulse. 

Even +2 ARM isn't bad as that puts you up to a respectable ARM 6 in cover which can actually be annoyingly resilient. It even still leaves you at ARM 5 vs AP ammo, which is pretty tidy.

Probably about half the things on the list are amazing and most of the remainder are just great. Rolling up Mimetism/ODD, a MULTI (Sniper) Rifle, HMG or an AutoMediKit can give ridiculous value but even just having a template weapon, like a Chain Rifle or Nanopulser, or a good ARO option in the Panzerfaust or ADHL can be sweet.

Motorcycle might actually be one of the more annoying things to roll up because you just can't make good use of it and you are denied cover while riding it. Odds are you'll dismount on the first turn,

Booty Level 2 is an intrinsic part of the value of this troop, it's just a shame that you don't get to know their equipment before deploying the trooper.


Stealth

Incredibly niche for a unit that is going to be hiding at the back, but every now and then it'll let you sneak up on someone before unloading your Breaker Pistols into their back and it'll feel so sweet.


Cost

Paying 19 points for a BS 12 Sniper Rifle is inherently pretty good as she gives the chance to reach out and touch someone from 48" away at an affordable price. Some factions can get MULTI Sniper Rifles at an even cheaper cost (such as Keisotsu for a meagre 17!) but they normally suffer in the Ballistic Skill department.

The real benefit comes from the 0.5 SWC cost. All MULTI Sniper Rifles come with a whopping 1.5 SWC price tag, even those Keisotsu, and this can take substantial chunks out of your budget. It also feels pretty awkward putting a quarter of your SWC budget into an ARO position where it is likely to get killed. 

This is where the real value of the profile shines through. The Bounty Hunter Sniper can act as a competent deterrent that demands to be dealt with, but her loss doesn't do much harm to the rest of your forces and she requires little to no investment of orders. 


Conclusion

So, the pros of this troop are:

  • Cheap in terms of SWC, giving high-tech factions a lower cost alternative to the MULTI Sniper Rifle.
  • Doesn't require order expenditure to function well.
  • Can make good use of its Irregular order every single turn.
  • Fits into a smaller, secondary combat group where it can be part of an inexpensive, expendable defence.
  • Potentially gets additional equipment that vastly increases damage output or survivability.
  • BS12 Sniper Rifles cannot be ignored!

I've been using this profile fairly extensively as part of my vanilla Aleph forces and she's frequently been the very first trooper in the list. 

She forms a cornerstone of my ARO ability and board control, often supported by a Total Reaction Remote (or two!) and an equally humble War Correspondent. Here's an example list:

ALEPH
──────────────────────────────────────────────────

GROUP 1
ASURA Lieutenant Hacker (Hacking Device Plus UPGRADE: Redrum) Combi Rifle. (0.5 | 72)
NAGA (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 28)
NAGA (Minelayer) Boarding Shotgun, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 27)
PROXY Mk.1 Engineer Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
YUDBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
PROXY Mk.5 (Forward Observer) 2 Submachine Guns, Nanopulser, E/M Grenades (0 | 10)
DAKINI Tacbot HMG / Electric Pulse. (1 | 21)
DAKINI Tacbot MULTI Sniper Rifle / Electric Pulse. (1.5 | 21)
ZAYIN Rebot HMG / Electric Pulse. (1 | 26)
THORAKITES (Forward Observer, 360º Visor) Submachine gun, Chain Rifle (0 | 13)
THORAKITES (Forward Observer, 360º Visor) Submachine gun, Chain Rifle (0 | 13)
NETROD . (0 | 4)

GROUP 2
ZAYIN Rebot HMG / Electric Pulse. (1 | 26)
BOUNTY HUNTER Sniper Rifle / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (0.5 | 19)
WARCOR (Aerocam) Flash Pulse / Stun Pistol, Knife. (0 | 3)
NETROD . (0 | 4)

6 SWC | 300 Points



It's a really ARO heavy force where the Bounty Hunter helps to thicken the fire. She's teamed up with a Total Reaction remote and a Warcor in a small second combat group which can ARO freely. If my opponent deals with them then it's no major loss to my main force.

It's also worth quickly talking about why the other weapon options just don't stack up in comparison:

Rifle/Shotgun: Both options are more expensive than a typical, Regular line infantry. You really have to get good rolls on the Booty chart, which certainly can happen, to make the most of them but there is the potential for them just being thoroughly mediocre. In a Joan list it might be worth taking a punt on them though.

Spitfire: SWC is normally hard enough to come by that you can rarely spare a full point on a fairly basic trooper like this. The Spitfire really needs order expenditure to get the most out of it - it isn't much good in ARO, you can't coordinate it into suppressive fire and you want to get fairly close. Most factions have got some kind of equivalent easily available anyway.

Do you use the Bounty Hunter sniper, or any of the other load-outs? Let me know what you think!

4 comments:

  1. Great article thanks for sharing!! You've given me a lot to think about!

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    1. Cheers, I really think they are criminally underused!

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  2. I run her allot in my ISS and often set her up with Sun Tzu in his MI markmen profile. It's a nasty ARO nest or a Bao with MSR and his MSV 2 so you can't just smoke/white noise my ARO piece's out.

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    1. That's a really nice idea to make life difficult for your opponent, I like it!

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