The humble Keisotsu Butai. One of the cheapest line infantry in the game, and for good reason, their profile leaves a lot to be desired! That said, they’re not a totally worthless contribution to Ikari Company or JSA, but instead often form the backbone of the army with a solid defensive link.
Stats and Special Rules
As I previously mentioned, there is nothing impressive to see here. They have among the worst BS in the game, and back that up with a paltry WIP12. Fortunately they do have V:Courage however so that if you do manage to survive an attack, you will not be forced to ground, instead you can stay up giving ARO coverage. The biggest thing Keisotsu have going for them is their bargain basement prices, only a point more than flash pulse or baggage bots, and often able to be taken in large numbers.
It is worth noting that in either faction able to take them, they’re Fireteam: Core, and can be mixed with other units. In Ikari Company, you can add in a Tankō and a Brawler, which gives them a tremendous amount of flexibility. In JSA armies they can mix in Kempeitai and/or a Domaru, plus Yuriko Oda. I’ll go over some of these combinations a bit later.
Combi Rifle. The basic profile, dirt cheap, and able to be the Lieutenant. Generally these aren’t a bad choice and can leave your opponent guessing which of the 3 Combi Rifles you’ve got lying around are the correct Lieutenant. Usually though, I’d rather spring for a Forward Observer.
HMG. Lots of bullets, low BS. On their own probably not worthwhile, but in a link they can still pack a punch, using the fireteam bonuses to make up for their otherwise middling stats.
Missile Launcher. This is my jam, a pair of missile launchers in a cheap 5-man link can create a devastating ARO presence that your enemy must address to move forward. Even if you lose a face to face roll, should you pass your armor, you can stay standing thanks to Courage. Really, these are a huge pain.
Hacking Device. Dirt cheap supportware, nothing else needs to be said really. If you need supportware, and you don’t want to pay a premium, this is the way to go. Their WIP 12 can make them vulnerable when encountering enemy hackers, but as a supplemental choice, they’re not bad.
Forward Observer. To me, this is the “standard” profile, for a point more than the regular combi, they are now a specialist, and thanks to the flash pulse, have a more effective ARO weapon than the combi rifle. Sure, it may not kill things, but it does use the Keisotsu’s WIP12, instead of BS10, and a 24″ effective range.
Paramedic. If you absolutely need a paramedic for scenario purposes, the keisotsu can work, but with their poor PH10, it’s risky to use a medikit bringing any of them back, with only a 35% chance to succeed.
On the Table
Dirt cheap and diversity, that is what Keisotsu contribute to the battle line. In either army, it’s well worth considering taking a core of 5, with either two missile launchers, or a missile launcher an HMG, mostly to sit in the backfield and be a pain in the butt.
If you’re playing JSA, you can easily swap one out for a Kempetai with Chain of Command, allowing for a more offensive Lieutenant choice elsewhere. Alternatively, you could theoretically make an effective offensive link, by taking a Kempetai with Spitfire or MSV2 and Shock Marksman Rifle, as well as a Domaru (perhaps with Spitfire instead), or even Neko Oyama. This lets you add the full fireteam bonuses onto more effective pieces, but without spending points on a full link of Domaru. Don’t forget to add Yuriko Oda in either of these options, a linked Panzerfaust is plenty of fun, plus she can play with mines.
Ikari Company can do some similar tricks with the Brawler and Tankō. First off, if you do go the mixed route, the fireteam composition rules are EXACTLY 3 Keisotsu, 1 Tankō, and 1 Brawler. Should one of these models die, you may not be able to reform the link, as all elements must be present at the time of fireteam creation. That said, the Brawler and Tanko add a TON of flexibility.
The Brawler HRL is a dirt cheap option, much like the Missile Launcher, but can be a little better on the active turn, and with higher BS. The Brawler MULTI Sniper is interesting, since Ikari can get plentiful smoke coverage, now you’re sporting a B3 BS15 MULTI Sniper, shooting through smoke. As far as specialists go, by taking a Brawler Doctor, you can help ensure survival of your link, and maintain your link bonuses, but by far my favorite Brawler for the Keisotsu link is the Assault Hacker. Adding the AHD to the link means I’ve got an Sixth Sense L2 AHD, so no stealth enemies can sneak through my hacking zones. If an enemy does reset thanks to your SSL2 Hacker, they have then opened themselves up to being hacked by all of your other hackers. It’s amazing.
Tankō options are a bit less diverse than Brawlers, but still handy. A flammenspeer or blitzen at the right time can really be a helpful tool, but most likely, you’re going to go with the missile launcher. Taking a missile launcher or HMG Keisotsu, backed up by the Tankō missile launcher, gives you an amazing defensive link. The Tankō does the same job as the Keisotsu missile launcher, but is far tougher (ARM3 W2), and a much better shot (BS13), making the whole link much better at their job.
So don’t disregard the humble Keisotsu, they may not be impressive on their own, but in large numbers, or backed up by some powerful friends, they can be quite effective.