Nothing sends a chill down the spine of a Yu Jing citizen more than being singled out by the Imperial Secret Service and it’s agents. Brutal, lethal and uncompromising, the secret service will get the job done regardless of public opinion. Today we will be looking at another one of the starter box units – the infamous Celestial guard.
When painting the Celestial Guard I wanted to give him a darker more seedy look than the Zhànshì, I painted his leggings as a dark black leather colour instead of the usual dark brown.
Who are these steely looking troopers?
“The Celestial Guard are the units which guard the celestial emperor’s capital, especially Zǐjinchéng, the Forbidden City…the Celestial Guard are intervention troops, specialists in urban fighting. As the Forbidden City is a prioritized military objective, the Celestial Guard requires high levels of competence. To be able to serve in this regiment, candidates must be veterans with at least three years of service in another unit and with a recommendation from their commanding officer. All its members are men and women with proven loyalty to the Dragon.
The Celestial Guard is the centre of the Imperial Service. When participating in military action it receives orders directly from the Emperor, although these must be confirmed by the State’s Ministry of Defence. At the same time, the Celestial Guard is part of the Yu Jing Judicial Police Special Tactics Unit. In addition to their security function, they deal with police work in situation control operations such as surveillance, tracking and quick response.
They have a reputation for their violent and expeditious methods and are feared all over the Imperial State for their quasi-unlimited authority to carry out arrests, their efficient net of informants and their cruel interrogations. They are notorious for erupting into the houses of suspects in the middle of the night and taking them to their headquarters dungeon, from where they never return, disappearing without leaving a trace in any files or registers. Considered to be dirty and treacherous troops, the Celestial Guards make a public display of pride in their bad reputation, believing it makes their job much easier.”
The Dragon’s Servants
As indicated by their fluff, the Celestial Guard are not afraid to use dirty tactics and methods and this certainly comes through on the tabletop. Although I have no experience of using Celestial Guard link teams, in vanilla Yu Jing the Celestial Guard make great supporting troops in your list. You can only take up to 2 but they have access to some useful equipment and their slightly improved stats over the Zhànshì make them very competent in certain roles for a good points cost.
Synergy, synergy, synergy…
I believe one of the reasons the Celestial Guard is included in the starter box is because of the useful support he can lend to the other units, he also gives a taste of what it’s like to play the Imperial Secret Service. The Celestial Guard have a good range of profile options but I’m only going to look at the three that I find most useful in standard Yu Jing and that I use the most.
The Smoke lobber – 13pts / 0.5 SWC
For only 0.5 SWC extra the smoke grenade launcher brings alot of utility to the table and synergises well with the other units from the starter box. Using smoke in the right place and the right time can be difficult to get down but it can create some real headaches for your opponent. The smoke launcher can be used in 3 ways. You can either fire it in LoF at a point in a decent range band and get that smoke down on a 14, you can use the smoke special dodge trait and get it down on a 14 or 11 depending on range, or you can speculative fire without LoF and get it down on an 8 in good range (if you can get someone targeted using forward observe you can ignore the -6 mod on speculative fire and actually get +3! In a good range band +6!)
The uses of smoke are endless, at first it’s natural to think of smoke as a defensive tool that you can use if you want to safely advance across the table or a certain gap. But smoke becomes even more powerful when used offensively! For example with the other units from the starter box you could fire smoke onto enemy troops and then waltz towards them with your Domaru Butai and cut them to pieces in the smoke. Another option is to smoke the enemy and then move up the Shàng Jí and intuitive attack with the flamethrower, dirty! But clever.
The only thing you have to watch out for with smoke is if the enemy has Multispectoral Visors Level 2 or above (I’m looking at you PanO Nisses!). MSV2 sees through smoke and nullifies the tactic completely. The other interesting option this profile brings is the Kuang Shi control device allowing you to field Kuang Shi, but that is another post for another time.
The Hacker – 21pts / 0.5 SWC
Arguably one of the most cost efficient and effective hackers in the game, the Celestial Guard hacker is just nasty with his WIP 14 BTS 3. His WIP is the highest in the starter box and he can make good use of it when hacking and his BTS gives him some protection against enemy hackers.
Being a hacker also makes him a specialist and the Celestial hacker is great at lockpicking doors and pushing buttons in ITS if you can get him there. A dirty tactic to use is to get a repeater down field while the Celestial hacker sits back in a safe spot hacking away through the repeater. As a hacker he can protect himself quite well in his zone of control and play the usual mind games with the enemy possibly forcing them to either be shot or hacked. He can also use his hacking device to support the heavy infantry with fairy dust to give them extra protection against hacking.
This a good choice if you want your Celestial Guard to play a supportive role and be useful in ITS.
The witty Lieutenant – 13pts
The Celestial Guard Lieutenant is fragile but that isn’t the reason for choosing him, the main reason comes from his WIP 14 stat, he is also 0 SWC which is always a bonus. Maybe you really really want that first turn or that certain side of the table…though not guaranteed because of dice the Celestial Lieutenant gives you a decent chance of winning the initiative roll. This is really the only reason I would take him as a Lieutenant and to free up other units from having to act as the Lieutenant.
So what do you like about the Celestial Guard? What are your experiences with them? Please leave a comment below and we can all share in the knowledge.