Category Archives: Starter box

The Way of the Samurai – Domaru Butai (HSN3)

In this final post of the starter box series we will be looking at the fearsome Domaru Butai, the Samurais of the 22nd century. The Domaru recently got new resculpts and some new profile options which is great. For me though I didn’t really like the new sculpts even after looking at them many times, the backwards spitfire pose looks awkward and the shotgun guy looks like he is falling over. I actually prefer the sleekness of the older Domaru Butai, they seem to combine the finesse of a Samuari with a modern Sci-Fi look about them where as the new sculpts look more berzerker style.

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But if you like the new sculpts don’t let that stop you from buying them!

I do not have experience with the other profiles as I usually run the Domaru Butai with the boarding shotgun when I do use her, where possible I like to try and play with what is actually represented on the model. She has been affectionately known as ‘the crazy lady’ by me and my opponent and has certainly caused some tense games!

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Sexy, sleek and very angry…

I kept my Domaru the same colour scheme as the rest of my force as I felt the red and white really worked well for her, I may one day go back and paint some patterns on the sword sheaths and maybe the shoulder pad.

So who are the Domaru Butai?

“The Domaru are members of Nipponese culture that, either through family inheritance or military career, have reached the rank of Bushi, generally known as Samurai. This is the lowest-ranking nobility title in Nipponese culture, equivalent to the western Knight, which means it has no official relevance in modern Yu Jing society. However, in the State Empire army, they are held in high esteem because of their military qualities. The temperate and traditionalist Bushi embody the ideal of the perfect Samurai. These Japanese aristocrats are natural born warriors, training from a very early age to uphold family traditions. Masters of the sword, the Domaru are experts in close quarters battle techniques.

The Bushi are inscrutable and respectful warriors that follow the strict Samurai code of honour to the letter, as the scars on their hands and forearms prove. The Yu Jing military salute consists of drawing and presenting weapons, but the Bushido code does not allow the blade of the katana to be sheathed without having tasted blood. To honour both traditions, the Domaru cut themselves before sheathing their weapons. This behaviour could be seen as shocking but for the Domaru, life is a continuous challenge and death is always preferable to an unworthy life – as the Way of the Samurai resides in death. All Domaru are prepared to die, considering themselves dead before a battle starts. All are capable of sacrificing their personal safety, and thus their lives, in order to ensure a perfect blow that will bring victory.”

The Way of the Samurai

So why is this unit included in the starter box? I believe it is to give players a taste of the Japanese Sectorial Army and also to show off Yu Jing’s close combat prowess. If there is one game Yu Jing can play well it’s the close combat game, and the Domaru Butai exemplifies that. The other units in the starter box have a degree of utility or support or can act as specialists for missions. The Domaru Butai however is just a straight up killer.

Just like it says in their background story, the Domaru already consider themselves dead before a battle starts – and so should you. The idea of the Domaru is to use them to cause maximum damage and havoc for your opponent.

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Let’s have a look at the profile:

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At Range

A Domaru brings a lot to the table in terms of close range firefights. Although range is not her specialty she can still deal some mean damage up close and is great on dense tables. The boarding shotgun profile synergises well with the Domaru’s close range aggression and is my favourite over the chain rifle as you can make face to face rolls instead of the hits you would take with a chain rifle. The boarding shotgun also gives the Domaru versatility in being able to still lay down a template at range or use AP ammo on much tougher targets. This profile in particular leans towards high armoured targets due to the AP CCW also.

Another great thing that the Domaru carry are E/M grenades. These should not be underestimated! They are only burst 1 but because of the Domaru’s high PH stat but she has a good chance of landing a grenade. Against heavy infantry, TAG’s and remotes they are absolutely brutal. Landing an E/M grenade:

  1. Causes the target to make a BTS roll at half value (crit bypasses the BTS roll).
  2. If the roll is failed the enemy trooper becomes Isolated and irregular.
  3. If the enemy was also either a HI, TAG or REM, they become immobilised-2 in addition to isolation.
  4. Isolation and immobilised-2 can only be cancelled by an engineer.
This.is.awesome. If you get a successful grenade you are effectively ‘switching off’ enemy models so that they no longer add to your opponents order pool, and if they are HI, TAG or REM they pretty much just become a statue. This means your opponent has to waste orders trying to get them back online with an engineer. Perfect for your Domaru to move around and unsheathe those katanas! Which leads us to…

Close combat

This is where the Domaru really shine. With a high CC stat of 23 the Domaru already have a high chance to hit or crit their opponent in close combat, but the berserk skill and Martial arts L3 raise this to crazy levels. There are two ways of using the Domaru’s CC special skills, you can either go all out and use Berserk and Martial Arts together or you can play it safe and use just Martial Arts.

Martial Arts

The beauty of Martial Arts is that you can choose either level 1, 2 or 3 depending on what you are facing and what you want to accomplish. Level 1 and 2 are mainly focused on dealing increased damage but level 3 adds to your CC stat and minuses your opponents which can lead to crits. Level 3 in particular is one of the best to choose when it comes face to face rolls. Using Martial Arts L3 means the Domaru is effectively CC 26, meaning she will get +6 to her CC dice roll and the enemy -3. If the Domaru rolls 20 or higher after these mods she crits!

Let’s not also forget that Martial Arts grants the Domaru stealth, and courage! If you are clever it really is possible to sneak up close to your opponent and burst out in a Samuari frenzy. Using only Martial Arts is safer than using it with berserk as it keeps the CC as a face to face roll.

Berserk

Berserk grants the Domaru the Assault special skill which is useful. Assault allows the Domaru to move 8″ and perform a CC attack in one order as long as she has LoF to the enemy to make the charge. This comes at a -3 mod but Martial Arts L3 offsets this with the +3. This can really catch your opponent off guard.

The other special skill is the berserk CC attack. This can be combined with Martial Arts mods and basically turns the close combat face to face roll into a normal roll for both opponents. This means the Domaru and opponent both do normal rolls putting the Domaru at slightly more risk, but that is what the 2 wounds are for! The bit where it gets crazy is that it grants +6 to the Domaru’s CC, add in +3 for Martial Arts L3 and the Domaru has a whopping +9 modifier and the opponent -3!

If you really really want to kill something and don’t care about the consequences, use berserk! A sneaky way to use berserk is to move into close combat and see what your opponents ARO is, if your opponent decides to dodge use berserk and go for the crit!

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Criting on an 9+….?!

‘The crazy lady’

And if all this wasn’t enough, the moment the Domaru takes a wound or structure point off an enemy she becomes frenzied making her impetuous. At the beginning of the game she is just regular which is great for moving her up tactically. Once the blood is shed she becomes impetuous granting you an extra free order if you choose to use it, you can go all out! And because it is not extremely impetuous you can still play tactically and choose not to use the impetuous order if you are trying to keep her alive.

The Domaru Butai truly are natural born killers and make a great shock trooper that will scare your opponent. Use them boldly and with confidence!

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If you are this close to a Domaru you are probably already dead

HSN3 UPDATE

With the release of Human Sphere N3 the Domaru Butai received a few changes that makes them even better. Most notably they upgraded the Domaru from Kinematika L1 to L2, meaning successful dodges and engages can move up to 4 inches! That’s like a free move! This makes the Domaru’s threat range even more deadly.

The second biggest change is that for standard Yu Jing the Domaru now get Fireteam: Duo provided you have an EVO hacker running Team Pro supportware. Not only can you mix and match the profiles but now you can send two of these deadly Samurai’s up the table for the price of one order. This can bring some fantastic combos such as spitfire/chain rifle duo, with the Spitfire providing long range firepower to the duo as they move forward and bringing out the chain rifle once they get close.

It also helps to prevent the Domaru’s possibly running to their deaths once a wound has been caused because of Frenzy and preserving that precious cover bonus, provided they stay together as a duo. Being in a duo also means the Domaru can assist one another in CC if they get into CC with the same enemy, having an ally in base to base with an enemy grants an additional burst to the CC attack and an extra point of damage, ouch!

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Twice the fun

Feedback

So what do you like about the Domaru Butai?  What are your experiences with them? Please leave a comment below and we can all share in the knowledge.

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Freeze Citizen! – The Celestial Guard

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.
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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.”

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Knock Knock!

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.

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“Smoke out!”

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.

 

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“Go go go!”

Feedback

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.