My Yān Huǒ love started just after Christmas when a good friend got me both Yān Huǒ Invincibles (woop!). This was timely as something my Yu Jing were lacking was board control and substantial firepower – the Yān Huǒ fixed both of these issues. I have yet to assemble the dual missile launcher version but I’ve had great fun with the Hyper-Rapid Magnetic Cannon!
Hyper what? Hyper.Rapid.Magnetic.Cannon.
Yep you read it right, oh boy what a gun…but before we get into that here are some pictures of the Yān Huǒ HRMC. I went for my usual colour scheme but with a twist of doing black and white patterning, somehow it just worked! I really had fun painting this guy and did a couple of WIP posts about him, check it out in the painting section if you are interested.
So who are the Yān Huǒ Invincibles?
“Any who have seen the Yān Huǒ Regiment in action, unloading their terrifying firepower, know just how fitting their nickname is. The regiment’s name means “fireworks” in Chinese, written with the characters for “smoke” and “fire” (烟火), although the latter also means “rage, anger”. The incredible pyrotechnics unleashed by the members of this unit are as spectacular as they are fearsome. The firepower of a single Yān Huǒ could be used to raze a small country to the ground. The operational maxim of the regiment is the overabundance of ordnance, and in that spirit they have a close relationship with Yungang, the primary arms contractor of Yu Jing, who always make sure to supply the Yān Huǒ with the bigger guns in their catalog.
Generally speaking, when a Yān Huǒ decides to empty his magazines and spray the battlefield with his powerful artillery, that’s when things end. Their armour suits are not built to withstand enemy fire, but to carry their armament and attack, with the goal of keeping the enemy busy. When the Yān Huǒ jump into action, their opponents are overwhelmed by the onslaught, and are unable to develop an operational strategy while their life expectancy quickly wanes. The exchange of fire is no longer counted in the seconds, but is accelerated into painful milliseconds. Round by round, strike by strike, their enemies fall one by one, unable to believe what rains down upon them: thunder and lightning, the flashy, deadly fireworks of the Yān Huǒ Regiment.”
Want to watch an impressive fireworks display? Look no further, the Yān Huǒ are packing military grade fireworks and then some. One thing I love about the Yu Jing fluff in general as well is that there is always a slight hint at what the unit is good at and this usually translates onto the tabletop too. In this case attacking and ‘keeping the enemy busy’ is one great way to use the Yān Huǒ.
‘Heavy Fire Support regiment’
In Army 5 the Yān Huǒ are listed as a Heavy Fire Support regiment and that is exactly what they bring to the table. They have no special skills but that doesn’t matter when you have mounted weaponry usually found on TAGs! Let’s have a look at the profile and then move onto the weapon loadouts.
At first glance the Yān Huǒ looks rather simple, a club simply to be swung. But he can be used very tactically. A browse over the stats reveals some interesting things about the Yān Huǒ, most notably the MOV, BS, ARM and S stats. These affect how you play the Yān Huǒ since they rely on their stats and guns.
The Yān Huǒ break the trend when it comes to mobility, other heavy infantry in Yu Jing apart from the Su Jian in combat form have a MOV of 4-4 while the Yān Huǒ is 4-2. It’s not a major thing but it does mean the Yān Huǒ are slightly slower and need to be deployed carefully with future turns and positioning in mind. With careful deployment you should hopefully just be moving and shooting or maybe not even moving at all and just shooting. What you don’t want is having to spend multiple orders moving slowly half way up the board because of poor positioning. Their long range weaponary already suggests that it’s better for the Yān Huǒ to be setup in a nice spot anyway with good visibility to fire lanes and rooftops. Ideally you never really want to be using the second 2″ move at all unless you have to or to get into a better position because of order consumption. They are vulnerable to flank attacks and dense terrain however so make sure the Yān Huǒ has someone to watch his flanks. With this in mind the Yān Huǒ works great as slowly advancing menace that adds pressure to the enemy, even at closer range the Yān Huǒ is still lethal because of their destructive weaponry.
Probably the greatest stat about the Yān Huǒ are their high BS of 14. For a unit primarily focused on destroying opponents through sheer firepower this is awesome, usually only elite units like the Hac Tao and Hsien have BS this high! Needless to say this makes the Yān Huǒ very effective combined with their high burst weaponary and low burst AROs. At long range even against cover and regular camo mods the Yān Huǒ is still hitting on 11s! Always try to maximise the Yān Huǒ’s BS by staying at range but even if you can’t their high BS helps to offset some negative modifiers. To get the most out of their high BS it is important to be mindful of the range bands of whatever loadout you choose for the Yān Huǒ. Staying at long range and in cover usually means the Yān Huǒ will win most face to face rolls through high burst and high BS. Their high BS also makes suppressive fire just disgusting.
Out of all the Invincibles the Yān Huǒ are the most heavily armoured with ARM 5. Since they will be engaged in some serious firefights this a great high stat to have. In cover they become a whopping ARM 8 allowing them to shrug off a lot of small arms fire and even stand a good chance against more high damage weaponry like HMGs. This makes the Yān Huǒ incredibly durable when setup in cover and a real challenge for your opponent to dislodge, especially if they are on suppressive fire. If the opponent wants to take him out they are going to have bring their heavy weaponry to bear which means ignoring your specialists. Having 2 wounds and ARM 5 is going to mean the opponent needs to concentrate fire and potentially waste orders to get rid of him. Every order used against the the Yān Huǒ is one less against your specialists or the objective.
The Yān Huǒ does have a silhouette value of 5 so he is larger than standard infantry. This is something to bear in mind when it comes to deployment and cover. A great advantage to this is that the Yān Huǒ can see over most crates and terrain pieces that S2 infantry can’t and still claim cover, but on the flip side enemies can also draw LoF to see you. Make note of large cover that the Yān Huǒ can use for total cover and also where you might be able to exploit S5 by overlooking crates that your enemy thought would be safe passage.
Other things that can be mentioned is that the Yān Huǒ does have a basic hacking defense of BTS 3 which is not bad and can help against enemy hacking attacks. Combined with Fairy dust, against hacking attacks this can make the Yān Huǒ BTS 6 and -3 to enemy hackers which is pretty durable! If the situation and negative mods are absolutely dire they still have a decent chance of dodging with PH 13, WIP 13 is average for when it comes to guts rolls and discover checks. If you fancy just razing a table there is nothing more fun than AVA 2 Yān Huǒ too. There isn’t really any stats that make you go “ugh” which is a credit to the Yān Huǒ.
Lighting the Fuse
So what does all this mean when it comes to actually playing the Yān Huǒ? Tactically speaking we have a heavy ranged powerhouse that can dominate the area in which he is deployed and provide excellent board control and damage. If you have a lot of trouble with enemy snipers/long range units, stubborn heavy infantry packing HMGs or TAGs then seriously, take a Yān Huǒ. Yu Jing deals with these threats not through fancy trickery but through the overwhelming firepower of the Yān Huǒ Invincibles. I can guarantee in your active turn that if your opponent has left anything visible to the Yān Huǒ it’s as good as dead. A smart opponent will hide his snipers and ranged units when your active turn comes around before they are turned into red mist. In the active turn nothing is safe from the Yān Huǒ, even if they are in cover.
This is great as simply having the Yān Huǒ down on the board accomplishes two important things in Infinity – board control and safety for your specialists. His presence also has a psychological effect on the opponent in that they are so dangerous that they can’t be ignored. If they are ignored they will add more and more pressure to the opponent and prevent them from accessing certain parts of the board safely and stopping your specialists, but at the same time engaging them in firefights is just scary and usually fatal. This is ‘keeping the enemy busy’ and can potentially result in the opponent wasting orders to try and eliminate this threat. Deploying the Yān Huǒ can be a great way to pave the way for your specialists too since your opponent will hide from him, leaving your specialists able to move up to get towards the objectives and in better positions. No one wants 5 D20’s chucked at them or 2 explosive templates in the active turn!
Thankfully even if the Yān Huǒ does attract a lot of attention his high ARM, BS and weaponry will make it very difficult for the opponent to take him down. I would highly recommend always having a Doctor/YÁOZĂO or paramedic nearby to try and revive the Yān Huǒ if he goes down early in the game.
If you are using the MULTI HMG or HRMC then it is important to set up in suppressive fire before you run out of orders in your turn. With suppessive fire on and in cover the Yān Huǒ can just dominate an area, excellent for defending objectives and fire lanes that lead to them. Be aware however that the Yān Huǒ does have some weaknesses which you need to be aware of and provide support for. If the enemy has any smoke or zero visibility grenades then that is going to negate the Yān Huǒ’s firepower completely. They are also vulnerable to CC units and flank attacks so plan accordingly. Enemy TO Camo can also be problematic if they are in marker state. I like to back up my Yān Huǒ with 1 or 2 light infantry like a Zhànshì FO and paramedic to cover his flanks, then maybe an MSV2 unit nearby like the Bào Troop for any potential camo or smoke.
Destruction comes in many flavours. The weaponry that the Yān Huǒ carry are normally only found on TAGs, Yu Jing may only have 2 TAGs but we do have a 50 odd point unit carrying TAG weaponry! This is something almost unseen in other factions, another testament to Yu Jing’s awesome heavy infantry manufacturing. So what kind of fireworks do you want to see?
Hyper-Rapid Magnetic Cannon – 54pts 2 SWC (Lieutenant option available)
This weapon is just disgustingly good. Not only is it damage 15 burst 5, but it also has the option of AP or Shock in burst mode and burst 1 DA ammunition for anti-material mode. Combined with the Yān Huǒ’s BS 14 I have yet to see anything survive a volley from this in the active turn. It is a brilliant weapon for killing all enemy types and the idea behind it is to just overwhelm the enemy in face to face rolls with high burst! If shooting at light infantry or 1 wound models go for shock to just wipe them off the board dead, if you are shooting at heavy infantry or TAGs employ AP to negate some armour. Since it has such high burst crits can happen quite frequently which is awesome for face to face rolls.
This weapon is an active turn monster but it can also be lethal in the reactive turn. When set up in suppressive fire the Yān Huǒ can still threaten an area with Burst 3 and still has the option of choose AP or shock in suppressive fire. If for some reason you are unable to get into suppressive fire due to lack of orders then the HRMC does still have the DA ammo option which is still punishing. This profile also has the Lieutenant option available, this is viable if you want to use the Yān Huǒ aggressively but I would advise against it since he is a fire magnet. One way if running the Lieutenant option more safely is either by having chain of command like the Pheasant or running it alongside a Hac Tao with the Executive Order skill.
2 Missile Launchers – 52pts 2 SWC
Kaboom! Having 2 Missile Launchers means this Yān Huǒ variant benefits from the Twin Weapons special rule in the active turn. Having burst 2 may seem undesirable at first but if you look closer it can potentially force even more armour saves than the burst 5 HRMC! The missile launchers also have blast mode and anti tank mode for even more explosive death. In blast mode a template is placed for each successful hit and uses explosive ammunition, this ammo type causes 3 armour saves per hit! Blast mode also negates the enemies +3 ARM cover bonus since it is a template and has the potential to reach enemies out of the Yān Huǒ’s LoF behind cover. If the opponent has a bunch of models hiding behind a building and one is peeking out then the template can hit them too if touched by it after it hits the main target, causing them 3 armour saves too!
Anti tank mode is best reserved for extremely tough nuts to crack like heavily armoured TAGs (Jotums) or any unfortunate soul caught out in the open on his own. Anti tank missiles are AP + EXP meanings they halve the enemies armour AND also cause 3 armour saves per hit. As well as all of this both missile launcher fire modes have the anti-material trait because of explosive ammunition, which is very useful for exploding objectives in ITS missions like Lifeblood.
Even though it does not have suppressive fire this Yān Huǒ variant still makes a great ARO piece, facing an explosive round from a high BS enemy is still a scary prospect and can make opponents hesitate. If they fail the face to face and get hit it means almost certain death.
MULTI HMG – 53pts 2 SWC (Lieutenant option available)
The MULTI HMG Yān Huǒ variant is a sort of middle of the road option between the 2 missile launchers and HRMC. It is still incredibly powerful in the active turn like the HRMC as it has burst 4 and the AP or Shock ammo types and can still go into suppressive fire with those same ammo types. What sets it apart however is that it is a Heavy MULTI weapon which means it has explosive ammunition in anti-material mode. In the reactive turn the MULTI HMG can either be used in suppression with the AP/Shock modes or it can use the EXP ammunition at burst 1. Even though it is burst 1 it will still benefit from range bands at long range unlike suppression. Having these options gives the Yān Huǒ the choice between suppression and explosive ammunition while still retaining high burst in the active turn. If you are undecided about whether to go for the HRMC or 2 missile launchers, maybe the MULTI HMG is for you. This profile also has the Lieutenant option available and similar to the HRMC, is best used in tandem with Chain of command or a Hac Tao with Executive order.
Watching the Fireworks
The Yān Huǒ are a good choice in almost any list. If your list is lacking board control or a strong offensive piece then the Yān Huǒ are a great choice, they also don’t cost the world being in the 50 points range. They can also do the things that other heavy infantry can do like benefitting from Fairy dust and going prone. The key to using the Yān Huǒ is surveying the battlefield and choosing the best position for him to use his weaponry and to support your specialists and game plan. Once you have ticked all these boxes, sit back and enjoy the fireworks!
The Yān Huǒ Invincible got one of the most destructive profiles I’ve ever seen with the release of Human Sphere N3. Check it out:
Yes, dual missile launchers with Neurocinetics!
KABOOMBOOMBOOM – 56pts / 2 SWC
This new profile is similar to the regular dual missile launcher variant except that it reverses the role. Instead of it been an active turn nuker he becomes a reactive nuker instead. And this is a great thing to have, why?
Well one thing Yu Jing needs more of is long range board control and this Yān Huǒ is perfect at it, making him possibly Yu Jing’s best ‘sniper’ almost. Burst 2 BS14 missile launchers is no joke and is super risky for an enemy to take on, even in their active turn! Even an enemy with a HMG is not that scary as all it takes is a flubbed roll and they will likely be in pieces if they are hit by one of these missiles since they can ignore the +3 ARM bonus. The Yān Huǒ is already a very durable unit being ARM 8 in cover, it will take something very powerful and possibly with a lot of orders to shift this Yān Huǒ out of cover, if they haven’t already been blown up in the process.
This profile makes a great overwatch unit for looking over important firelanes and objectives and also doesn’t really require spending orders on if positioned well. First turn alpha striking is not as scary with this guy around and even impetuous troops might struggle to get smoke down in face to face rolls. Use this Yān Huǒ to lock down sections of the board and make it a hindrance for the opponent to manuever. For some real fun buddy him up with the HRMC Yān Huǒ for an active and reactive turn monster who can work together and cover one another.
The main weakness of this profile is of course against TO Camo/camo surprise shotting units but his BS and ARM is so high it’s always worth shooting back with burst 2 on 5s, it only takes a crit or a flubbed roll from the enemy and boom, dead enemy. There is a way to offset the active turn burst 1 weakness and that is to use him as part of co-ordinated orders in shooting where you won’t feel the drop in burst reduction. Now go blow stuff up!
So what do you like about the Yān Huǒ Invincibles? What are your experiences with them? Please leave a comment below and we can all share in the knowledge.