Last, but definitely not least, in my Ikari Company unit review series is the Ninja. Also available to Yu Jing, Imperial Service, and naturally, JSA, the Ninja is a feared and revered unit on the table top. Considered by many to be the gold standard of TO camouflaged infiltrators, they perform an essential role on the table.
Stats and Special Rules
With a name like “Ninja” it should come to no surprise that their primary attributes are those benefiting of close combat. A solid CC23 and MA3 makes them a deadly close combat threat, but their poor BS11 might make you look to other options for a gun fighter. They are TO Camo Infiltrators, with Multiterrain and Kinematika, all skills designed to get you where you want to go safely.
Tactical Bow, DA DACCW. The cheapest choice, but also carrying the optimal close combat weapon, this set up is what you go for when you’re on a very tight budget. It will do some of the things a Ninja wants to do, mostly killing enemies up close, but it won’t win any medals. Even though this is a close combat specialist, melee is always inherently risky, and it doesn’t bring a good ranged weapon to back it up.
Combi Rifle, and Shock/AP/DA CCW. Much more expensive than the tactical bow is the combi rifle. At first, it is easy to balk at the price tag, coming in 6 points more (if keeping the DA CCW), but this extra cost is for a good reason. With TO Camouflage, and surprise shot, you can easily put an enemy at -12 to shoot you, making your BS11 suddenly look not too shabby. Furthermore, you can enter suppressive fire, which while in cover, will also make you -12 to be hit. If you take this profile, always go for the DA CCW if possible, it’s a point more, brings anti-materiel, and is just much better in use than either of the others.
MULTI Sniper Rifle. Despite not having a high BS, this may well be worth considering. As I mentioned with the combi rifle, the MULTI sniper rifle makes it even easier to put the enemy at -12 to shooting back (thanks to range). Excellent for clearing pesky Total Reaction remotes, or poor combi-armed link team members. This is the most expensive option, which may be part of why it’s so rare on the table, but in certain circumstances, it could really save your butt.
Killer Hacking Device, Tactical Bow. For a mere 3 points more than the regular tactical bow option, you can tack on a Killer Hacking Device. This is an amazing choice, since it gives you an inexpensive specialist, and can annihilate enemy hackers with ease. For most armies that can take Ninjas, this is the go-to profile, though against armies like Ariadna, or that are just lacking many hackers, it may take a bit of extra effort to make it worthwhile.
Assault Hacking Device, Combi Rifle. Slowly becoming my favorite profile, the AHD is expensive, but a surprise Total Control should be! The AHD can perform more Classified Objectives than the KHD, and brings a combi rifle for suppressing or popping Total Reaction remotes. The only downside is that you lose the DA CCW… oh well, can’t win them all!
Forward Observer, Combi Rifle. If you’re looking for a better gunfighter than the Killer Hacker, but don’t want to fork out 40/0.5 for the AHD, then the Forward Observer may be a solid middle-ground. Don’t forget that you can surprise shot flash pulse! Stunning someone with a Ninja before you shoot them with a missile launcher can be a gaming winning maneuver.
On the Table
As infiltrators, their main job is to hold the mid-field, harass the enemy, and accomplish objectives, and these are all things that the Ninja does quite well. For Ikari Company, and ISS, they provide the only infiltrating specialist around, so odds are you’re going to want to go with the KHD, AHD, or Forward Observer. JSA with their much larger AVA3 can afford to take a MULTI Sniper, and would probably benefit doing so to handle Total Reaction bots, which can otherwise be a pain for the army.
Overall, the Ninja is very well costed for what it does, just don’t get so obsessed with close combat that you miss out a much better BS Attack for a single dice CC Attack.