Welcome back to another installment of Chasing Snowflakes, where we discuss the coolest factions that your friends aren’t Chad enough play. Factions that you should play (because they’re awesome, you’re awesome, and I want us to be friends so badly). This week we’re covering the
Space Pirate…Privateer faction*. Which is infinitely cooler than the Space Police faction (even though it gets Hector, Saladin, Parvati and everyone’s favorite character: ‘Girl named after a Star with Angry Robot Dog’): Qapu Khalpi.
It wouldn’t be an article about Qapu Khalpi without addressing the problematic orientialist elephant in the room: the humble Odalisque. It’s important to recognise the history behind this word, as it originally (in the Turkish for: Odalik) referred to the lowest caste of slave/concubine that served in the Sultan’s harem. Later, the word was appropriated by the Orientalism art movement to refer to women who were portrayed in submissive, often sexualised manners. It is curious that in our post-modern world, with the advent of art styles/movements such as what the kids now call “The Animes” (with all of the misogynistic baggage that brings to the table) that the Odalisque has, again, been co-opted by Corvus Belli as a nom-de-guerre for sexy, science-fiction warrior ladies. Next we will discuss the intersection of…Wait, this isn’t my ‘Representations of gender in modern wargaming’ class…
If you’re still reading this article, then you’re a better person than most. The TL;DR on Odalisques is: Don’t simp for them. They know your browser history and are not impressed.
QK has a few really interesting unique value propositions that differentiate it from other factions and sectorials. As home to the original Haris (Shout out to all my 2nd edition Campaign Paradiso homies) QK remains one of the most flexible and adaptable sectorials when it comes to Fireteam composition.
Additionally, QK is likely the best faction at playing Hide-the-Lieutenant in the game. A 15 point Hafza with Holomask and Wildcard means basically anyone in a QK list could be the Lt. Your opponents will strain muscles critical for pooping in their frustration with trying to identify your leader. With AVA 4 on these sneaky bois, there are a lot of games you can play, a lot of points you can hide, as well as fill out Fireteams of your premium shooters. It’s glorious. I want to say ‘The Shell Games are real’ but that’s not strictly true. Shell games are a cute trick but rarely a decisive one. The Venn Diagram of ‘People who know enough about the game to respect your ARO pieces’ and ‘People who don’t know the game well enough to see through your tricks’ has a disappointing small intersection. See Figure 1 below.
Finally, let’s not forget the veritable shitstorm that is an Azra’il winning a F2F roll. To describe it best, I would submit that while you don’t remember the night you first tried Vegan-Beetroot-Tacos after slamming Vodka Cruisers with the girls, you certainly remember what your bathroom looked like the next day. That? That red, chunky massacre is exactly what it looks like when an Azra’il asks another model to start making ARM rolls. Damage +1, AP-rounds with Continuous Damage absolutely wreck everything they touch. No-one is safe.
The survivability of a pair of Azra’il in Knee-high cover supported by a Janissary Doctor with Nasmats is pretty terrifying, even in ARO. While your opponent may be relatively confident that their favorite attack piece should win a Face to Face roll against an Azra’il in ARO, there’s always that risk of catastrophic failure, one crit that cascades into the sort of event that triggers PTSD in people who played too much Mortal Kombat when they were younger.
I want to say the ability to run a Dual TAG list is an advantage here but I’m not going to insult your intelligence and pretend the Iguana is a viable piece these days.
QK’s biggest weakness is probably winning F2F rolls, which is pretty important if you want to be cashing in on that sweet, sweet Ammo Type: Azra’il (see above). It doesn’t have many genuinely scary apex predators. You’ve got the Janissary HMG in a 5-person Fireteam but without any Mimetism or other bonuses, you’re not really reaching the true peaks of gunfighting in Infinity, which can be a struggle some days. The Djanbazan can solve some problems for you but they’re only single wound and smoke-shooting doesn’t work so good on 4+ person Fireteams.
Additionally, don’t ever forget that Janissaries don’t actually have Cubes. You might think it’s super cool to put a Doctor(2W) Heavy Infantry model in a Fireteam of 2-wound Heavy infantry but that WIP 14 is going to trip you up and PanO Med-School your Janissary Shooter 30% of the time. On the bright side, though? They give zero shits about Sepsitors.
Another weakness is that QK’s best (for a definition of best that includes ‘reliable’) attack plays all involve footslogging troops from your DZ into the mid-field (or further). Nothing QK has that Infiltrates, Parachutes or Drops…Combattily is terribly hardcore. They’re all single-wound light infantry that are liable to bounce off moderately well defended positions.
Secret Nomad Friends
Why does QK get Alguaciles in addition to Ghulam troopers? Mobile Brigada and Janissaries? Iguanas and Scarface? It’s a secret.
It’s noteworthy, though, as it means that we can (partially) put to rest the argument that you can’t compare models across factions because in QK, you literally are. The Alguaciles are an interesting addition, as they can sub-into Ghulam Fireteams (saving you an amazing 1-point apiece).
Yuan Yuan or Yawn Yawn?
Witty heading, huh? Nah, I didn’t think so, either…Maybe I should have gone with Yearning for Yuan Yuan**. Yuan Yuan aren’t as good as they used to be. With a 15 trooper cap, each YY you take is a good trooper you’re not, and now that you can’t use Impetuous Orders to Combat Drop or Parachutist onto the table, YY lose a significant fraction of their order-effiiciency. However, they’re still a smoke-tossing Warband in a faction with fully linkable MSV-2 Djanbazan HMGs, so let the haters hate, because your Yuan Yuans are gonna Yuan? Also, never forget Booty (which is rolled when the model is first placed on the table). Some days you get a Yuan Yuan with aspirations of Multi-Sniping at BS 10 and other days your 8 point Warband becomes hell on wheels with either a monofilament weapon or even just a dirt cheap HMG to muck around with.
This list is about putting down a Fireteam: Core lead by a Janissary HMG and a Fireteam: Haris fronted by a Kaplan Spitfure and then supporting them with a Djanbazan MSV-2 HMG and an Azra’il AP HMG. You’ve got a tonne of firepower to play with and hopefully your opponent fixates on your Pain Train (which is actually quite economical) and ignores basically everything else. You take Rouhani in the Janny link because he’s rolling 18’s to heal your HMG if it goes down (unlike the Janny doctor who costs almost twice as much to roll 14’s), and Wildbill is an incredibly cheap pretend-Janissary that sometimes accidentally rolls 19’s to hit enemy models in Cover with his Multi-pistols and just absolutely ruins their day. The Hafza have to bunker down and hope that John Matrix wasn’t lying when he said that he’d kill them last but that’s OK, we’re snowflaking hard here so nobody can judge us but
This list is all about asking your opponent whether they want the Azra’il with AP HMG shooting at them or the Azra’il with +1 Burst Feurbach. It doesn’t even matter because they’re both supported by your Doctor (2W) Janissary (who can also do work). With three Doctors on the table, covering all of your shooters, you’ve got a pretty decent resilience, a wide variety of weapons to leverage, and some cute plays with your MSV 2, Yuan Yuan and whatnot.
Fireteam Core: Ghulam Sniper, Ghulam Lt, Ghulam Doctor, Ghulam NCO with Smoke/LGL, Alguaciles x2 (That’s 6, as the sniper is ARO fodder)
Azra’il with AP HMG
Azra’il with Feurbach (+1 Burst)
Janissary Doctor (2W) with 2x Nasmat
Fireteam Haris: Djanbazan HMG, Rouhani (the Defiance Doctor), and a Hafza FO (pretending to be an Odalisque with Boarding Shotgun and 360 visor)
Fanous Remote (read: Flashy Boi)
Yuan Yuan with DA CCW x2
Worth noting that the Hafza is pretending to be a model that: 1. Is a terrifying piece to try and jump (360 DTW with NWI is a scary proposition; and 2. Helps hide at least one Yuan Yuan if you want to keep it off the table. You probably want one to deploy normally in support of the Djanbazan, so it all works out.
As demonstrated herein, QK is the sectorial for the average Fireteam: Haris Enjoyer, as opposed to the average TAG fan. If you want to show off your OG Infinity cred, don’t hesitate to pick up a few OOP Haqq and Nomad models, slap them together PIKOTARO-styles and gently inform your opponent that you were playing with Haris’ before they were cool.
Next week we’re going to explore another blended Sectorial, which takes the best elements of two factions and then somehow mashes them together into a hideous gestalt monstrocity that disproves the hypothesis that two good things, taken together, will always be more than the sum of their parts. Pro-tip: I’m not talking about White Company. However, it’s as Snowflake as hell so we’re going in, people.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*I’m acutely aware that QK is actually closer to Space-Naval-Police than Space Privateers but goddamnit, they gave me Yuan Yuans and I’m going to pretend I have a Letter of Marque from the Old Man and if you don’t like it you can Odalisque my balls.
**That’s not how alliteration works, you oaf.