Great fluff, great models, great units on the tabletop. Everyone loves Gŭilángs, they are a real workhorse and staple in any Yu Jing force and are a great reason to play standard Yu Jing over the Imperial Service or Japanese Sectorial Army. Did I mention they are great models? I have noticed most Yu Jing players have said it was because of the Gŭiláng models that they started Yu Jing in the first place and I don’t blame them! They definitely have an iconic look about them.
My first purchase after the Yu Jing starter box was the Gŭiláng sniper, the classic sniper pose and winter coat was just too awesome to pass up on. Not too long after that I also picked up the combi rifle version who just has an amazingly sculpted coat with plenty of crevices for layering and washes. Painting both of these was a real blast and I did a 2 part series on painting the combi rifle Gŭiláng, check it out in the painting section if you are interested in the painting process of him.
In this post we are going to look at these winter warriors, so who are the Gŭiláng Skirmishers?
“Gŭiláng (Ghost Wolf) Skirmishers are the special arctic branch of the Yu Jing State Army. They receive their training alongside Zhànshì Qízhì (Troops of the Banner), but must finish an additional eight-month program in a remote location in the Huangdi Peninsula (or, as PanOceanians call it, Niflheim), where climate conditions are extreme. Their comprehensive training is adjusted to the operational profile of the corps, that is, infiltration and camouflage techniques. The Gŭiláng can carry out missions that include waterborne and/or airborne operations, infiltration, mimetization, artillery spotting, relocation through mountainous and snowy terrain, etc. Their usual routine takes place inside the infamous Fimbul storms that sweep Svalarheima with winds capable of tearing meat from bone. These troops are used to being parachuted onto a hunk of ice, or deployed via submarine, and then marching twenty miles through no man’s land or, even worse, through enemy territory, hauling a rucksack full of materiel, weapons and explosives. Honestly, no one but the Gŭiláng can call that hell just another day’s work.”
As indicated in the fluff the Gŭiláng are used to harsh conditions and hostile environments, they certainly play like that on the tabletop and often find themselves in nail-biting situations and do a great job of securing objectives and harassing the enemy in the midfield.
The Eight Month Program
Gŭilángs have similar stats to Zhànshì except that they have been through an 8 month rigorous training program that transforms them into deadly midfield camouflaged infiltrators.
Let’s have a look at the profile:
Notable stats about the Gŭiláng are the improved WIP and PH. WIP 14 is a great stat which is useful in ITS for capping objectives and makes him a strong offensive hacker, it also gives him a slight edge when it comes to guts rolls. He does have BTS 0 though so he can be vulnerable to enemy hackers.
But no one takes a Gŭiláng for the stats…it’s all about the equipment, skills and capability! And the Gŭilángs bring truck loads of it, a real toolbox of a unit. Let’s look at the equipment and skills these skirmishers bring to the table.
Multispectoral Visor L1
MSV1 tools the Gŭiláng up to be great against other camo infiltrators and skirmishers that he will encounter in the midfield, most other factions skirmishers don’t even carry MSV1. This enables him to engage in firefights against enemy camouflage and ignore the -3 penalty to hit giving him the edge at close range. Most of the time he will be in his positive range band too so the only modifier will normally be cover making him pretty capable in a firefight. MSV1 combined with WIP 14 also helps with discovering enemy camo, he can also engage units with mimetism like enemy snipers. Against some camo heavy factions like Ariadna or Shasvastii the MSV1 is incredibly handy.
MSV1 is best against standard camo but it still negates some of the negative modifiers from ODD, TO Camo and poor visibility zones bringing them down from -6 to -3, nice! MSV1 also completely ignores the -3 from low visibility zones. If you play on tables with these kind of terrain features the MSV1 gives the Gŭiláng a real edge over his opponents.
Camouflage alone is worth a whole post on it’s own in terms of tactics and uses, but for this article I’ll keep it simple. Camouflage offers a layer of protection to the Gŭiláng so that he doesn’t just get shot on sight. By deploying as a camo token the opponent won’t fully know who the Gŭiláng is until he either reveals himself or is discovered through other means. If you use the minelayer profile and also have other camo troops then it can be a real mindgame for your opponent! Camo also brings a -3 modifier to anyone who doesn’t have a multispectoral visor meaning in cover the Gŭiláng imposes a -6 penalty straight off the bat for any BS attacks or discover checks against him.
Camouflage is particularly useful on the Gŭiláng as he usually needs to be able to move around the midfield to accomplish objectives and set up mines or repeaters, a discover check would be required to reveal him which means the Gŭiláng can usually at least be able to move across a gap safely even if he gets discovered on the way. Camo also brings with it the stealth, surprise shot and surprise attack skills – meaning in the active turn the Gŭiláng is pretty nasty when he gets the jump on someone. Combined with infiltration and his other equipment like antipersonnel mines, camouflage gives the Gŭiláng a strong midfield presence who can be difficult to shift.
Infiltration and Multiterrain
Infiltration is a superb skill for the Gŭiláng as it allows him to deploy anywhere in the Yu Jing player’s half of the table. There is also the option of trying to infiltrate the enemy half on a PH-3 roll but I wouldn’t recommend this as it’s risky on a 9 and failure really hurts the Gŭiláng’s ability to get in the game. Infiltrating is great in ITS since the Gŭiláng can be a specialist, this means he can deploy right up close to objectives ready for you to secure on turn 1. If you are going second then you can use infiltration deploy in a defensive position or safe spot near the objective. If you are using the Gŭiláng sniper infiltration allows you to find a nice nest or corridor anywhere in your half the table which is useful, especially if you deploy him last to counter your opponent.
Multiterrain is of course handy for those tables that have different terrain types, if you go to an ITS event and the board has alot of jungle or even water areas it would be wise to choose the corresponding terrain type for Gŭiláng so he can move freely through them.
The Gŭiláng’s best friend and companion, antipersonnel mines can be used both offensively and defensively depending on the situation. Offensively they can be dropped around corners so that when the Gŭiláng pops out the enemy has to eat a mine AND deal with the Gŭiláng. They can also just be dropped near enemy troops so that the Gŭiláng can move away to do something else with the comfort of knowing that that enemy will eat a mine if they activate. Defensively mines are great for protecting captured objectives and hampering enemy movement down certain corridors, deploy them in awkward spots where it is difficult to gain LoF so that the opponent cannot discover and neutralise them easily. Lock down areas of the board by deploying multiple mines. Mines also help against enemy skirmishers and infiltrators as mines go off even if they are in camo status. Mines can also be used as a roadblock to fast moving impetuous units and warbands. You only get 3 mines however so use them wisely.
In the middle of the Storm
So used together what do all these skills and equipment mean for the Gŭiláng? It means we have a midfield camo infiltrator who is incredibly flexible. He can be used in offensive or defensive actions whether it is taking or defending objectives, denying corridors or providing utility through his visor. With the midfield always being the hotzone in Infinity the Gŭiláng is a great anchor in the middle of the storm that is happening in the middle of the board. Sure, he is not heavily armoured but he is incredibly resourceful. The Gŭiláng gets even better though…!
Combi rifle profiles
Default / Lieutenant – 25pts / 2 SWC
The default profile gives the Gŭiláng a combi rifle, a perfect midfield weapon since the Gŭiláng will be in his +3 range band pretty much straight away. Used in conjunction with surprise shot and MSV1 the humble combi rifle in the hands of the Gŭiláng becomes lethal. This profile is best used as a simple harassment and deterrent unit since it isn’t a specialist. There is also the Lieutenant option but I wouldn’t recommend this for 2 reasons, first is that it costs 2 SWC! The second being that the Gŭiláng will always find himself in danger so loss of lieutenant is likely to happen, there are better Lieutenant options out there.
Assault Hacker – 31 pts / 0.5 SWC
The assault hacking device makes an already good unit amazingly good…this is a superb option to choose that also makes the Gŭiláng a specialist for ITS and can accomplish classifieds. The Gŭiláng’s WIP 14 makes him well suited to this role and since many ITS missions have objectives that can be hacked or get bonuses for being a hacker, the Gŭiláng hacker is a good choice. Because of infiltration, the Gŭiláng can deploy near objectives ready to capture them and threaten anyone that comes near right at the start of the game.
Between using antipersonnel mines and the assault hacking device the Gŭiláng can create a defensive/offensive perimeter around himself that makes it very difficult for anyone to get near without receiving some form of attack. Another great thing about hacking is that it can be done out of LoF so hiding prone on a rooftop somewhere in the midfield is a good way of controlling that area through hacking with little risk of being attacked back. Camouflage also gives 2 other awesome perks when it comes to hacking, the first is that while in camo marker state you cannot be targeted by hacking programs! So even though the Gŭiláng is BTS 0 he can essentially hide from hacking. The second is that surprise shot works with hacking attacks applying a -3 to the enemy ARO!
Once the Gŭiláng assault hacker has accomplished taking an objective they become a real thorn in the side for the opponent as suddenly they have a camo infiltrating assault hacker with mines right up in their midfield, threatening all units types alike. This makes them a good deterrant for TAGs stomping down the board too. It is common for the Gŭiláng hacker to run into heavy infantry in the midfield where the action happens so a nice dirty trick against enemy HI is to drop a mine around a corner while keeping the Gŭiláng out of sight, then spending another order to hack that HI. This forces the HI to either reset and eat the mine or do nothing and be hacked unopposed! Another great trick is if you have an enemy HI suppressing an area, you can try and hack him out of LoF, if he resets he breaks suppression and if he doesn’t gets hacked unopposed! Of course having camo also means that if you haven’t revealed the Gŭiláng yet you can approach an enemy HI without them knowing he is a hacker, and since they don’t know he is a hacker they probably won’t declare reset as an ARO. Bam! Eat basilisk. There are good hacking combos like this that the Gŭiláng pulls off really well thanks to his mines, camo and infiltration while at the same time being useful for the mission and objectives.
Forward Observer / Deployable repeater – 27 pts / 0.5 SWC
This is the cheaper specialist option but is still just as useful and works well in a supporting role to fellow hackers. If you have an assault hacker/regular hacker elsewhere in your list like the Shàng Jí or Hac Tao then this Gŭiláng variant can extend their hacking presence into the midfield using deployable repeaters. Deployable repeaters are nice in that the Gŭiláng can take objectives and then drop a repeater to ward off any HI/TAGs/REMs/hackers that might attempt a counter offensive. Like mines they are best placed in awkward spots out of LoF to prevent the opponent from neutralising them. The Gŭiláng gets 3 repeaters so you can setup a nice hacking bubble in the critical parts of the table.
As an FO the Gŭiláng can still push buttons and accomplish classifieds in ITS which is nice and defensively he comes with a WIP 14 flash pulse! Infiltration can be useful for the Forward Observer profile if you need to forward observe the enemy HVT for a classified, allowing you to get into a position that makes it easier to accomplish.
Minelayer – 26pts / 0.5 SWC
Time for some mine games, I mean mind games! The minelayer option is good for messing with your opponent psychologically, this is amplified even more if you have more than 1 Gŭiláng or other camo infiltrators like the Daofei. Since he is not a specialist a minelaying Gŭiláng needs to be played patiently to try and lure the opponent into walking near the mine. If you have the first turn try to resist revealing the Gŭiláng so that the opponent does not know that he is a minelayer, when going second deploying the mine out of line of sight but near a crucial pathway is important. The minelayer option is also good for putting down an early mine near an objective to ward off enemy skirmishers from capping them straight away. It also works very well against opponents that have extremely impetuous troops as they will move towards your Gŭiláng’s camo marker first, you can take advantage of this so that they will hit the mine first. If you struggle a lot against impetuous troops, I would recommend giving the Gŭiláng minelayer a try for some extra board control.
The key to using the minelayer profile is deploying the mine in a similar fashion to a trooper…but not totally similar. In cover, but still with some visibility in cramped environments. It’s about bluffing the opponent.
Boarding shotgun profile – 24pts
Similar to the default combi rifle profile the boarding shotgun variant works well with infiltration for getting close to the enemy. The shotgun makes the Gŭiláng a great close range fighter combined with anti personnel mines and gives him the option of a blast mode template and AP. Surprise shot shotgunning hurts! Since he is not a specialist use him to cause maximum damage and harassment, pick on stragglers and clumped up troops and stick to dense terrain for maximum effectiveness.
MULTI Sniper rifle – 33pts / 1.5 SWC
When I first bought the Gŭiláng sniper I was super excited, he is a great looking model and I wanted to use him all the time. I had good success with him and decided to look online and see other peoples thoughts, as soon as I hit the Infinity forums I realised a lot of people poo pooed the Gŭiláng sniper and wrote him off as useless. This discouraged me from using him for awhile…but more recently I have been coming back to him and realised he is actually really good when used correctly. The only thing stopping me from taking him all the time are my addiction to HMG’s and Hyper rapid magnetic cannons!
The MULTI Sniper rifle is an interesting option, he is the most expensive Gŭiláng but is still a reasonable price compared to other MULTI snipers in Yu Jing. At first glance the Gŭiláng’s equipment and skills seem at odds with this kind of weapon but it actually synergises very well when used correctly. An MSV1 Camo sniper is nothing to look down your nose at and having infiltration and mines makes him a type of hit and run sniper. MSV1 makes his sniper rifle effective against other enemy snipers who often have camo/mimetism.
Traditionally snipers are always put at the back of board to maximise range band mods but this doesn’t always have to be so, the MULTI sniper rifle still gets +3 BS as long as it is over 16″ so the Gŭiláng can still make use of infiltration to find a nice spot. Most of the time it easy to think of range in terms of between your board edge and your opponents but in Infinity, shooting horizontally left and right is more common than you might think. Shooting from the left side of the board to the right is still 48″ and it’s not difficult to get that +3 BS. The key to using the Gŭiláng sniper is making use of the terrain, his camo, and his mines.
Infiltration can be used to find a nice spot looking down a corridor or in a nest but it can also be used to deploy on the fringes of the battlefield. Before deploying the Gŭiláng sniper think ahead of where you want him to be shooting and what fire angles and access the opponent has to him. Although he is only BS 11 the Gŭiláng’s camo allows him to use surprise shot with the MULTI Sniper inflicting a -3 penalty on the opponents ARO choice, this makes up for the low BS and between the cover mod, the camo mod and surprise shot mod most opponents will find themselves on a -9 modifier if attempting to shoot back. This means most of the time the Gŭiláng will be forcing a dodge and not having to worry about being shot back at in ARO.
A reason most people don’t want to deploy him near the midfield is because they are scared of the enemies positive range bands, but if you hide in total cover you don’t need to worry about that. Most snipers tend to stack mods, sit in a good position and wait for the enemy as an ARO piece but the Gŭiláng works better as guerilla warfare sniper. Deploying a mine or 2 around the Gŭiláng and then popping out, taking some shots, and then hiding in total cover again can be a real pain for the opponent. This means to dislodge him the opponent needs to spend orders to get to him and also deal with the mines and then spend orders to kill him. This can be order intensive if the Gŭiláng is well placed and defended with his mines. If this discourages the opponent to deal with him then it means he is constantly going to have a surprise shot sniper on his flank each turn. Even sending impetuous troops or warbands against him is risky as they might die to the mines.
I like to use the Gŭiláng sniper in this way, as a midfield harassment sniper who appears, takes shots, and then hides again behind a wall of mines. He can be difficult to use, but like any unit with practice and games you can get a good with him and find his strengths and weaknesses. What you need to understand is that it takes a different mindset to using the Gŭiláng sniper as a guerilla warfare kind of guy rather than a long range sniper. The Gŭiláng can still do long range sniping from board edge to board edge but his greatest strengths lie in utilising his mines and infiltration to get in a good defensable position where he can wage guerilla warfare.
I can foresee the Gŭiláng sniper getting more usage in the future when the White Banner Sectorial hits, but don’t wait till then to start using him give him a try now!
So what do you like about the Gŭiláng Skirmishers? What are your experiences with them? Please leave a comment below and we can all share in the knowledge.