YueFei23 (Pete) returning again, to give my opinions on the mysterious Tai Sheng. Not much is known about this currently gender-ambiguous Invincible Army character. All the fluff in 3rd Offensive describes Tai as a self sacrificing and heroic officer of the Invincible Army, but doesn’t really give us any clues if he or she will be rocking size S or size XXL power armor. No problem though, that won’t stop us figuring out how to use Tai Sheng on the table!
STATS AND SPECIAL RULES
In terms of stats, Tai is an elite Zúyŏng Invincible, gaining a point of BS and two points of CC ability, as well as a point of WIP and +3 BTS. BS 14 is really nice though, making Mr/Ms Sheng a pretty solid close and medium range gunfighter.
Tai is one of two profiles in Yu Jing and Invincible Army with access to the NCO rule, which allows use of the lieutenant order. Paired with a Daoying’s two lieutenant orders this effectively gives you an additional two orders to use on your NCO model, which is a 20% boost to the order group. Tai counts as a Zúyŏng for fireteam composition, which means you can use NCO orders to activate your fireteam as long as Tai is the link team leader.
All load-outs have Forward Observer, granting a WIP 14 Flash Pulse as well as target designation and specialist scoring capabilities. This means all profiles will have very solid ARO options out to 24” and even 48”.
Tai rounds out her rule set with two classic “I wish I’d remembered they have this” skills: V: Courage, to make her stay put under fire unless she really wants to move and Kinematika L2, to make her move 4 inches when she successfully dodges or engages.
Breaker Combi Rifle, Chain-colt + 1 TinBot B (Deflector L2): For 45 points, this is a pretty great profile. Breaker rifles are situationally super useful against some factions, most notably Ariadnans, who tend to have great armour but 0 BTS. Against a few tags high armour and middling BTS like a Jotums, a Breaker Rifle can also do some serious surprise damage. If you need Mr/Ms Sheng to do the close quarters work for your link this profile will give you the best close range Mods along with a +3 range Mod overlapping with your Chain-colt template. Chain-colts are always useful, as templates can auto-hit camo or TO camo troops that surprise attack you and open up possibilities for Intuitive Attack into smoke and doubling your options for digging out token state enemies.
The Tinbot B is a really nice bit of equipment and very useful with a -6 Mod to hacking against Tai Sheng and any linked fireteam members, but this option is also ubiquitous on the very useful Tactical Awareness Combi Rifle Zuyong, so not a unique selling point for this profile. You should aim to bring one Tinbot in a Zuyong link, but more than one isn’t really necessary.
Mk12, Chain-colt, Stun Grenades: Also 45 points, the Mk12 profile is the gun that gets my vote most of the time. My vision of an Invincible link is one that engages at long to medium range and often backs off to set up for ARO and this gun can do some serious damage at 24”. When comparing to the breaker rifle, Dam 15 is better than Dam 13 breaker apart from in a few edge cases with very highly armoured enemies or enemies with 0 BTS. Against an enemy with BTS 3 and Arm 3 the Mk12 is solidly better, especially once you factor in catching enemy in a -3 range band with your +3 band.
This profile doesn’t bring the TinBot, so if you’re running alone in a Yu Jing list or don’t already have a TinBot in your Zúyŏng fireteam it may be worth giving up the bigger gun.
Stun Grenades also give you a couple of options for using speculative fire to break suppressive fire, throwing out a close quarters ARO that can catch multiple link team members or as a way to try and lower the odds before breaching a packed objective room.
(Chain of Command): For 49 points, both profiles above are available with Chain of Command in addition to the above.
This is easily the cheapest Chain of Command option for Invincible Army and a solid improvement for Yu Jing, as it adds the skill on top of an already useful and resilient profile instead of forcing you to take a pheasant for 30+ points. A Dāoyīng lieutenant isn’t easy to kill, but since they bring two orders to the table the incentive for your opponent to track them down is much higher than it would be for a traditional lieutenant. Running CoC Tai Sheng is also a great chunk of insurance if you want to play the multi-sniper Dāoyīng aggressively or leave it out for ARO.
ON THE TABLE
In Invincible Army lists, almost all lists containing a Zúyŏng Invincible fireteam will end up featuring Tai Sheng. Adding a BS 14 gunfighter to your link that can make use of two lieutenant orders is almost too good to pass up and you cram a specialist into the link at the same time. Even if you’re not using the NCO as your primary gunfighter, these additional orders will let you maneuver your team around the table, giving an Invincible Army fireteam with Tai Sheng a huge advantage over one without. The combination of NCO and lieutenant 2 is one of the primary mechanisms designed into Invincible Army to make it function well at small order counts, so don’t leave home without it. Cheap chain of Command on an already useful model is definitely nice to have, though with a token state lieutenant it may be overkill.
As one of the two available NCO options Tai Sheng will also pop up in lots of vanilla Yu Jing lists as an aggressive scoring specialist fueled by lieutenant orders. Whatever gender the model turns out to be on release, it’s going to fly off the shelves.