The new Tiger Soldier models were undoubtedly the single most coolest models that drew me to Yu Jing (next to the Hac Tao of course). After my starter box purchase I was already eyeing up the Tiger Solder Spitfire for some AD combat jump shenanigans.
Needless to say he is a beautiful sculpt and looks awesome. I painted him with my usual red and white colour scheme but also did the freehand patterning to give him that tiger style face and appearance which gives him his name. In this post I’m going to look at the Tiger Soldier and his uses.
So who are the Tiger Soldiers?
“Tiger Soldiers are the elite airborne unit of the State Empire, which means they are accustomed to being tossed into the worst of any battle. They are known for their audacious, breakneck attacks, the ferocity of which has earned them their name. In the Chinese tradition, the tiger is the most powerful animal, second only to the Dragon, a symbol of the Emperor. The Tiger Soldiers honor their totemic icon with striped patterns on their armors. The official record sheet of this unit is not quite as impressive as the real, unexpunged one, since they are often used for black ops and secret rescue missions in enemy territory. For obvious security reasons, none of these operations have been publicized or even acknowledged by High Command.
The quintessential Tiger Soldier mission is the Direct Action. More specifically, these commandos are the first airborne attack and invasion unit of the State Empire Army. Their operational tasks include enemy approach and hostile contact, ambush, reconnaissance, aerial and airborne assaults, capture and control of emplacements and mounting hurried defenses. As a Special and Covert Operations force, their training is among the toughest in the army, and takes place in one of the several secret mobile camps inside the Yu Jing system.”
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Combat Jump
Tiger Solders are definitely one of highlights of playing Yu Jing , they are also the only airborne deployment option available to the faction but they make up for it with a really good profile. If you have been on the receiving end of one of these jump troopers you will have cursed them bitterly! As indicated in the fluff Tiger Soldiers really do excel at responding to where you need them most in the operation. They make great shock troops and can change a game upon arrival.
These guys come with AD Combat Jump which is the 4th level out of the AD options. This special skill is great as it also gives you all of the previous AD levels for deploying on the board. Choosing not to deploy the Tiger Soldier on the board at the beginning of the game also means that your opponent is not aware of him since it is private information, giving you a chance to deploy him at the most opportune moment to surprise your opponent. The main two ways people usually deploy the Tiger is either by level 2 Airborne Infiltration or Level 4 Combat Jump.
Lets look at the advantages and disadvantages of each:
AD Level 2 – Airborne Infiltration
- Generally the safer option to deploy as no roll required
- Able to choose any of the board edges except the opponents deployment zone
- Great for flanking and catching the enemy out of cover.
- Hidden from the enemy
- Can be difficult to choose a useful board edge if the enemy is seasoned and prepared for ambushes
- Usually requires spending a couple of orders to get into a good firing position.
There is a lot to be said for airborne infiltration and it is usually the option most people choose to ensure the Tiger does his job. Looking at the picture above the Tiger Soldier is able to deploy anywhere along the board edge except sections 6 and 7, and half of sections 5 and 8. It has a few drawbacks but most of the time it works well, being able to choose any board edge except your opponents deployment zone is powerful. The midfield is always the most hotly contested area but the Tiger can also be pedalled back near to your deployment zone if you need a rapid defensive response or deployed far forward for aggression. The main thing to watch out for is lines of fire and other troops guarding the flanks such as warbands and template weapons. Since the Tiger Soldier has a flamethrower and also access to a spitfire flank attacks via airborne infiltration are brutal.
AD Level 4 – Combat Jump
- Able to deploy almost anywhere on the board, including your opponents deployment zone
- Useful if you need to get to a certain spot urgently in one order
- Able to deploy in ‘hot zones’
- Can be buffed by a hacker to increase successful jump chance
- Hidden from the enemy
- Limited jump spots on dense boards
- Risk of dispersion ending in death by AROs
- Can be hack ARO’d causing dispersion
Combat jump is one of those skills that, when successful, is incredibly satisfying and bad news for your opponent. It’s a risky maneuver, but then you would expect that if you were dropping out of zero orbit or a spacecraft like the Tiger Soldier does. Combat jump requires a physical roll to succeed and the Tiger comes with a respectable PH 12, however this can be buffed to 15 using hacker supportware (+3 PH). I would almost always recommend using this supportware before making a jump unless you have no choice as this increases your jump success from 60% to 75%.
Making a jump can be tricky as the drop zone template needs to be unobscured by scenery so dense tables limit your options. The main risk with combat jump is if you fail the roll. If you fail the Tiger suffers dispersion and will scatter 16″ in a random direction. Wherever he lands will still generate AROs, meaning he could be shot to pieces before he even gets started. If he goes off the table you have deploy on one of the board edges in your deployment zone. There is also the added risk of having the combat jump hacked by an enemy hacker ARO which can cause dispersion, though the chances are low.
So jumping is a risk…but this is Infinity. It’s meant to be risky and risk comes with reward! When the jump is successful and you are in the position you want to be it is nasty. Using combat jump can bring out the Tigers most destructive potential, especially when using the flamethrower, boarding shotgun or hacking. Combat jumping is also efficient in that it gets you to the place you want to be in just one order, this is important since the Tiger can only move 4-2 like most Medium Infantry.
Which do I choose?
This is highly dependent on the situation you have on your hands and the mission you are playing. The best thing to do is weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of both and apply them to your situation and also what loadout you are using. If you really cannot afford the risk of dispersion and have a crucial mission for the Tiger Soldier to get done, I would recommend airborne infiltration. But if you need to take out an enemy key model or get to a key objective quickly, no matter the cost, go for combat jump. So what options do these predators give us?
Predator and the Prey
Lets have have a look at the profile:
Tiger Soldiers have a great stat line so you can feel confident dropping them in. They boast a high BS of 13 and WIP 14 which is perfect for firefights and hacking. Their ARM is also a respectable 2 which brings it up to 5 in partial cover. Their greatest asset is definitely their mimetism, causing a -3 BS mod to enemies in firefights regardless of range. Straight away out of cover the enemy is applying a -6 BS mod. The Tigers only weakness is his BTS 0 which can make him vulnerable to certain types of ammunition and weaponary but this is not too much of a big deal since he is Medium Infantry and not really vulnerable to hacking.
Lets run through the loadouts:
The Standard Loadout – 27pts
By default the Tiger comes with a combi rifle and light flamethrower. This is great as it gives you different options and with the Tiger’s BS 13 even the humble combi rifle can be lethal.
For the Tiger his most tactical usefulness comes from his flamethrower which can be used to threaten link teams, ignore +3 cover ARM, burn enemy camo/TO camo/ODD, cause burning rolls, intuitive attack camo markers or through smoke, AROing with an automatic hit…the list goes on. The flamethrower makes the Tiger a scary prospect on the offence in the midfield/backfield or on objectives, combined with airborne deployment the Tiger can get into a great position to use the flamethrower. The flamethrower is useful on all profiles.
The Shottie – 24pts
Being even cheaper this guy is a real bargain. Airborne deployment can help to get the Tiger into the +6 range band making him a whopping BS 19! The trade off is losing the flamethrower and high burst of the combi rifle but you can still shoot the shotgun as a template. It is also effective against highly armoured targets using AP mode as you can catch them out of cover and halve their armour, inflicting damage 14 half armour goodness. Since the boarding shotgun is his only weapon a Tiger with this loadout would be best used aggressively to get the most out of the shotgun.
The AD…Sniper? – 34pts / 1.5 SWC
An unusual option considering the Tiger’s emphasis on close quarters combat, however his BS 13 and mimetism does make him one of the best sniper shots in Yu Jing. I have not used this profile before myself personally but I would not write it off. Airborne deployment could be used to get into an advantageous position keeping 16″ away from the enemy and utilising his high BS, mimetism and cover to be a thorn in the enemies side. At 34pts and 1.5 SWC cost however this is probably not the most efficient way to use the Tiger Soldier.
The Spitfire Predator – 32pts / 1.5 SWC
My personal favourite which is why I bought the spitfire version, this guy never fails to disappoint! Toting a burst 4, damage 14 BS 13 spitfire the Tiger Soldier destroys the chosen prey. The great advantage of the spitfire is it becomes +3 BS after just 8″ meaning you can deploy the Tiger Soldier up close with combat jump and still get good modifiers. This range band is 8″ – 24″ meaning if you come in from the flank via airborne infiltration you can still pretty much guarantee you will be getting that +3 BS. The other advantage of burst 4 is that it allows you reliably destroy one target or have a go at 2 targets with 2 shots on each. More could be stretching it though.
If you need to kill someone, this guy can get it done and makes a good rambo piece. Setting up the Tiger in cover with a spitfire in suppression fire in your opponents backfield can also be nasty tactic before the enemy’s turn comes around.
The Hacker – 33pts / 0.5 SWC
Bringing all the tricks of the standard Tiger but with the whole hacking dimension added, the Tiger hacker brings an assault hacking device which makes him great for deploying near enemy heavy infantry out of line of fire and hacking them to death or disabling them. With a WIP of 14 the Tiger soldier is an extremely effective hacker but must be used carefully, especially if hacking other hackers as he has no BTS protection. The other advantage of the Tiger hacker is that he is a specialist which makes him even more useful in ITS for capturing objectives. Airborne deployment + specialist makes him incredibly flexible for getting him to objectives. This profile provides a high threat level to everything around him and can adapt to aggressive or defensive roles really well.
The Airborne Medic – 29pts
This profile is a useful upgrade to make the Tiger into a viable ITS specialist that can drop in on objectives. But apart from that he is similar to the standard Tiger soldier. One interesting thing to note however is that his medikit could be used to revive a high cost points trooper in difficult to reach area on the board. This could be useful in missions that require some form of objective or quadrant control.
The Absent Lieutenant – 27pts / 1 SWC
A strange profile and one I can never see being used efficiently, if you keep the Tiger off the board at the start of the game you will suffer loss of Lieutenant on your first turn! A way to stop that is to deploy like any other trooper in your deployment but then you are giving up your airborne deployment option for the sake of a Lieutenant order. The ONLY other viable way I can see this being used is in tandem with the Pheasant who has Chain of Command? But even then I’m not sure if the wording of the ruling can prevent loss of Lieutenant. I would love to hear your comments about this option.
The Tiger Soldier is one of Yu Jing’s most versatile and useful troopers and he is well worth the points, for what you get the points cost is definitely worth it. It takes time to learn how to deploy with combat jump and airborne infiltration but once you have played a few games with him you will be able to assess the battlefield and use the best deployment method for the task at hand. Used wisely the Tiger Soldiers are devastating but be sure not to overstretch them too much, they are only 1 wound ARM 2 after all, mimetism helps but can be negated. Play to their strengths and they usually never disappoint unless the dice say so.
So what do you like about the Tiger Soldiers? What are your experiences with them? Please leave a comment below and we can all share in the knowledge.