Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Third Offensive: The Invincible Army

Pete (ITS: YueFei23) here. As The Dice Abide’s resident Yu Jing player, I get the chance to share my first impressions of the brand new Invincible Army sectorial that dropped with the Third Offensive book last week. As exhaustive research I’ve made half a dozen lists and played one game against Obadiah’s Tohaa, where he crushed me decisively to make the point that trying something new is always a terrible idea. It will be three to four months before I’ve figured out how this sectorial really works on the table, but let’s not stop that from forming some hasty opinions about what’s exciting to try out!


First impressions

Invincible Army is an elite military force with heavy infantry statlines for all but a few command and support troops and all kinds of flavors of top tier firepower. It’s also a sectorial army, so getting mileage out of your fireteams will be key to maximising the potential of the force.

Corvus Belli have obviously thought very hard about what makes a Yu Jing heavy infantry force work on the table and have a flavor of its own. Yu Jing don’t give their heavy infantry tabards and swords and have them run at the enemy shouting prayers like Military Orders do, instead discipline and strong leadership let Yu Jing’s heavy infantry coordinate and position themselves well to apply long range firepower then quickly push shock troops and infiltrators into action to score and exploit enemy weaknesses.

A few key mechanics work to do this. First of all the Invincible Army has the best lieutenant option in Infinity, bar none. A Daoying starting at 21 points and 0 SWC for a camo token lieutenant is incredible, and it has the Lieutenant Level 2 skill to bring 2 special orders. Lieutenant orders can be used by NCO troops as regular orders, which mean a Mowang or the new character Tai Sheng can immediately take those two orders and start using them without your Daoying breaking out of a safe token state. As if this wasn’t great, several choices accessible for Shang Ji and Zuyong links bring the new skill Tactical Awareness, which grants them an irregular order only they can use, but they can treat it as a regular order to fuel their fireteam as long as they’re the link leader.

Because of the high cost of heavy infantry a lot of builds for Invincible Army seem to max out at 9-10 orders in a single group. This means that most lists will bring some kind of strong Zuyong, Zhanshi or Yan Huo link with wildcards mixed in and have 3-4 slots left to fill with support troops, specialists and shock troops. You’re spoilt for choice between Mowang, Hulang, Zhencha and Liu Xing as well as Yu Jing’s excellent attack remotes.

One worry a lot of people have had about Invincible Army is that it’s shut down completely by hackers. To help this not be a huge problem the invincible army has invested in lots of Tinbot B deflector profiles, which can be paired with linked Killer Hacking Devices. With fairy dust on the table, enemy hackers could be facing up against Redrum with a -12 mod, which has potential to make even a Tunguska Interventor think twice about dropping a repeater near a Zuyong team.


New troops

Booting the disobedient JSA out of Yu Jing has made plenty of space for new profiles. See… sometimes a half empty glass is a good thing! Here is a quick run through of some of the cool new stuff.

Daoying: in addition to the great lieutenant 2 & camo base package discussed above, you can also take a hacker for putting up fairy dust, buffing your remotes and AD troops or takiinga sniper & minelayer to set a decoy lieutenant up. The sniper might be useful for dealing with those opponents who just bring a warcor or flash pulse bot for ARO duty as you can use your LT order to shoot those away without worrying about one of your main attacking pieces getting blinded.

Mowang: this guy is a huge, 3 wound, S5, Arm 5, Heavy Infantry beefcake with mimetism. He has the NCO skill so your Daoying can boss him around with free orders. His guns seem to operate best at the 16-24” range, so this guy is a close quarters beatstick who needs some long range support before he can move up and get in the enemies face. Seems like a natural datatracker choice.

Hulang: Shaolin who couldn’t do enough press ups to make it to PH 13 drop out and enlist in the Imperial Army, where they become this pretty great little forward deployment monofilament sword swinger. They bring e/m grenades and d-charges, so have potential to immobilize and chop a tag in half and start half way up the table so won’t need to spend that many orders to get somewhere useful.

Zhencha: part Guilang with better BS, part baby Su-Jian, all awesome. I’m really excited about running these guys – they’re not too expensive, they can climb everywhere to score points and murder things. A camo token state and stealth helps protect them from hacking.

Liu Xing: it’s raining men! Hallelujah! This is the new heavy infantry troop that explodes on it’s way in. There’s a lot of fun to be had with one or two of these guys in a list. They can do damage as they drop in, so I think perhaps the hardest skill to master in Invincible Army will be resisting the urge to do the superhero landing every time you bring one of these guys on the table as sometimes walking on the table edge will be a better option. Even if you don’t have one of these in your list they will put the fear of god into LI links and lone rooftop lieutenants, so simply having them in the game changes it!

Haidao: Yu Jing’s navy adds a first troop to the game. These guys are super useful wildcard units, able to mix key skills into all the links in the game. They bring a killer hacking device that will pair well with a tinbot, a cheap chain of command option, an engineer for keeping your remotes ticking and a linkable MSV2 multi sniper rifle. They’re nice and cheap, but pay for that by having NWI and shock immunity instead of a full 2 W profile and by having BTS 0… an odd quirk for a unit that can operate in a vacuum with Zero-G terrain. They also have Free Agent, which might be useful if you ever find yourself running two combat groups.


On the table

It looks like there are a lot of strong ways to build this sectorial, but one of the most obvious is to take a Zuyong link with Tai Sheng and a couple of Tactical Awareness Zuyong. It seems sensible to protect this investment in invincibility by bringing a Tinbot B, Haidao Killer Hacker and a doctor, just in case some of your invincibility wears off for a second. After that, I’ve gone for two Liu Xing, which will enable me to use the Daoying’s controlled jump buff and drop somewhere on the table and make my opponent cry – especially in a mission with an AD bonus like firefight. Two Liu Xing are definitely better than one – smart opponents will try to protect the soft underparts of their army with perimeter weapons and by turning to face when these guys drop… so bringing a second shooting star in can exploit a good gap even if you fail a roll or the first one reveals a nasty surprise.

A Yan Huo link also has plenty of appeal, getting a burst 5 Multi-HMG onto the table is going to be pretty intimidating. It can throw out 5 damage 15 AP or shock rounds in the active turn and two EXP rounds in ARO. There’s also a 2 x missile launcher Yan Huo variant worth trying out, which is the first burst 3 missile salvo in the game. Mixing in a couple of flash pulses should make this a strong reactive army, with some real long range firepower in the active turn.

Not every IA army has to max out at a single order group. If you stretch to two groups you can still pack some very strong ARO pieces into a Zhanshi link with Shang Ji and Haidao wildcard choices and even make use of the two Chaiyi Yaokong flash pulse bots the army can bring.


Also available in Vanilla

This is really a whole new article, but the other thing that’s got my head buzzing this week is what all these new units bring to Yu Jing when taken outside their sectorial. Since Uprising things have been feeling a little stale there, but now all kinds of incredible new builds are possible. The Daoying is just as good a lieutenant for Yu Jing as it is for the Invincible army and NCO troops like the Mowang and Tai Sheng work well. I haven’t even started to scratch the surface of new Yu Jing, but here’s a build that jumped right out at me and shows how radically things have changed.