Stepping away from “snowflakes” for a bit, this week Marc “Ilor” Renouf takes a broader look at one of the main factions in Infinity: the perfidious forces of Haqqislam!
Have you ever wanted to be super-sneaky with your army composition, or spring a clever trap on your opponent? Have you ever wanted to take out your opponent’s key piece with the precision of a laser-guided scalpel? Have you ever wanted to hand someone a courtesy list that’s just a sheet full of bald-faced lies? If you have answered “Yes, of course, who hasn’t?” to any of these questions, it might just be that vanilla Haqqislam is the Infinity faction for you.
Faction Background in a Nutshell
Based on the single desert world of Bourak, the forces of Haqqislam (the “New Islam”) dedicate themselves to the pursuit of knowledge and the betterment of mankind. Through their advanced biomedical engineering and control of the production of Silk (a material that is key in creating the cortical stacks that make Cubes function, and which in turn convey virtual immortality on those who possess them a la the Altered Carbon novels) Haqqislam wields an influence on interstellar trade that outweighs their humble homeworld’s own natural resources. In the morally gray universe of Infinity, they are possibly the closest thing the setting has to “good guys,” though the mysterious Hassassin orders take a more murderously direct approach to the “betterment of mankind” by eliminating those who they feel are a threat to human progress.
What Makes Haqqislam Different in Play?
There are a few things that stand out, but let’s talk first about the faction-wide stat-bonus: Willpower 14. True, you don’t have the Ballistic Skill bonus that makes PanO so deliciously shooty, but lots of skills and more than a few pieces of equipment use a model’s WIP stat. This includes a lot of the special Short Skills that are used in mission scenarios to accomplish objectives (including Classified Objectives if the mission includes them). Models from this faction are just that little bit better at performing these technical tasks successfully.
Next, the faction’s focus on medical technology means they have hands-down the best doctors in the game, usually getting a +3 MOD to their roll to heal a downed squad-mate. And as you may have guessed, the governing stat for the “Doctor” skill is WIP. That means your garden-variety 15-point Ghulam line-infantry Doctor has an 85% chance of getting an unconscious trooper back into the fray. And as if that weren’t cool enough, the faction is replete with troops that have either Shock Immunity, Dogged, No Wound Incapacitation, or – my personal favorite – Regeneration. This kind of stuff may not seem super important in the grand scheme of things, but troops resuscitated in one turn often mean an increase in precious Regular Orders the next. Additionally, it can be incredibly frustrating for your opponent to be unable to put your troopers down for good – one of my regular opponents plays Caledonia and has taken to packing his lists full of expensive T2 weapons because he’s so sick of my bullshit doctoring shenanigans.
Also, the faction has a ton of camouflaged infiltrators, almost all of which provide specialist profiles. Unless the mission has an exclusion zone, you can start with pretty much your entire force outside your deployment zone before the first turn even starts should you so choose. This is incredibly useful for those missions that have mid-field objectives that require specialists to push buttons, or where getting into forward positions is key to scoring.
Finally, the faction is just chock-full of dirty tricks. Chief among these is Impersonation, and Haqqislam is the only vanilla human faction that has access to it. Added to Holomask and Holoprojecter (as well as ordinary camouflage) it means you can basically start with most of your force in some kind of marker state if you want to. In particular the ability to use Holomask to make cheap troops seem expensive allows you to “fill holes” in your opponent’s mental math of your list to disguise the absence of undeployed troopers with skills like Parachutist, Combat Drop, or Hidden Deployment. See above under “courtesy list full of lies.”
A Note on Lieutenants
Unless you’re playing something like the Morat Aggression Force (where basically everyone is a Veteran who ignores Loss of Lieutenant), being able to disguise the identity of your Lieutenant is a key component to being successful in Infinity. As a vanilla faction, Haqqislam provides 12 troop types and 3 characters with Lieutenant profiles. While this is fewer than PanO (15 and 5) or Yu Jing (14 and 4), Haqqislam has something the others do not: the Hafza unit, which has a Lieutenant profile and comes standard with a Holomask. That means that literally any Silhouette 2 model you place on the table could be your Lieutenant. To players whose strategy relies heavily on decapitation strikes the typical Haqqislam response is: “LOL, LMAO”
Since we’re talking about a basic “vanilla” faction list (as opposed to a sectorial), let’s address the elephant in the room: no fireteams (apart from the occasional Fireteam: Duo). This frees us up from having to discuss various synergies and wildcards and benefit thresholds and all the stuff that is super important when it comes to faction balance in a sectorial. None of that matters here. Because you cannot make use of fireteams, you’ll take a hit to your order efficiency in terms of moving your troops around the table. Similarly, the lack of that delicious +1 Burst in ARO is lost to you, so you’ll need to look for better ways to generate overlapping fields of fire. And finally, look for opportunities to make Coordinated Orders to do some of the offensive work that fireteams would tackle in a sectorial list.
The upside of playing the vanilla list, of course, is that you have access to the entire toy-box full of goodies, and can tailor your list(s) to do all sorts of janky and obnoxious stuff to make your opponent cry.
While there’s not enough room here to dive into detail on all of the available profiles in the complete faction list (40 troops and/or characters and hundreds of individual profiles), we’ll try to hit the high points.
Line and Garrison Infantry
Haqqislam boasts one of the best basic infantry units in the game in the venerable Ghulam. At just 11 points for a basic line trooper, they are cheap enough to fill holes as needed. At 12 points the Ghulam Forward Observer profile gives you a cheap specialist that can be used to accomplish ITS mission objectives, and the aforementioned 15 point Ghulam Doctor (+3) is sure to frustrate your opponent (especially when paired with a 3-point Nasmat Remote helper). Like most faction’s line troops they can take heavy weapons like HMGs and Missile Launchers, but the thing that really makes Ghulam nasty is the fact that the basic troops are armed with a Rifle+Light Shotgun. While you lose Burst relative to a CombiRifle at close range, you gain an additional +3 MOD to hit in the 0-8″ range band (+6 instead of the CombiRifle’s +3). And if you don’t want to bother with rolling, you can fire the Light Shotgun as a Direct Template Weapon. In ARO, this makes basic Ghulam infantry formidable. Special mention goes out to the NCO Ghulam with the Rifle+Light Grenade Launcher+Smoke Grenade Launcher combo. Being able to use your Lieutenant order to drop smoke somewhere can be clutch – and if you have no other use for that LT order, go ahead and try your hand at some Speculative Fire, as you never know when someone’s going to chunder a Dodge roll.
One last note: We’re talking about vanilla lists here so there are no Fireteams, but just know that in Haqqislam-based sectorials that get access to them, linked Ghulam can be brutal, especially at close quarters.
These guys are a lot like Ghulam except they lack all of the specialist and heavy weapons profiles. But they all pack a Rifle and either a Light or Heavy Flamethrower, all for just 12 or 13 points. Woof. They make great flank or rear guards and have a Lieutenant profile to boot. I almost always have a couple in my list, as they make great cheerleaders for a key order-hungry trooper in a second combat group.
Irregular troopers, the best use for these nutters is as a super-annoying mid-field speed-bump. For just 9 points and 0 SWC you can have an infiltrating 1-use camo token hiding a trooper with a Light Shotgun and a Panzerfaust! They don’t have Surprise Attack so are less useful as attack pieces than some of your other camouflaged troopers, but can make for a great first-turn ARO threat. And hilariously, they are AVA Total, meaning you can field as many of them as you have the points for. The other, non-infiltrating profiles have less utility, however, as Irregular Orders are less attractive with the 15-order cap in N4. Given the quality of the Warband troopers in Haqqislam, it’s hard to justify spending points on basic Daylami.
For a mere 15 points, you can disguise your Lieutenant as any Silhouette 2 trooper. This is ridiculously good in pretty much any ITS mission where the identity of your LT is not open information (i.e. all of them but Decapitation). But more than this, Holomask is a great way to play mind-games with your opponent. We’ve already talked about filling holes (e.g. disguising a 15-point Hafza trooper as a 41-point Janissary Heavy Infantry with HMG to hide the 26-point Hassassin Ragik waiting to drop in from off-table), and hiding something like a Parachuting 15-point Bashi Bazouk is even easier. But Holomask can be even more insidious when you use it to disguise troopers as something nastier than what they are. As a first turn ARO threat, it can be menacing to be facing down a field full of what appear to be Janissaries with Missile Launchers and/or Hassassin Muyibs with Heavy Rocket Launchers. Salted in with some camouflaged Daylami with Panzerfausts, you are daring your opponent to take a shot knowing that half of what they’re seeing is bullshit. They either have to split their burst (reducing their odds of a successful attack) or hope they pick right and don’t shoot the Hafza with a Rifle while the real Missile Launcher Janissary gets an unopposed ARO. If your opponent looks at you quizzically after doing some quick mental math and says, “How is it that you have like 8 SWC of heavy weapons showing?” just smile your best Cheshire Cat grin.
Similarly, against enemies that rely heavily on smoke, Holomasking your cheap Hafza troopers as more expensive Djanbazan troopers (who come standard with MSV2) can make your opponent think twice about how they deploy or move before the “MSV2” trooper is revealed to be fake. Your ARO position can appear to be much stronger than it actually is. And while a savvy player will use the sequence of order and ARO declaration to suss this out fairly quickly, anything that causes your opponent to be even a little bit more cautious or waste even a single order on a disguised trooper is a fantastic buy for the 4 points these guys cost over your basic Ghulam infantry.
Then there’s the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” approach, where your opponent thinks they’re making a run at one of your Ghulam Doctors only to find out it’s a Hafza with a Spitfire. Surprise!
Hunzakuts suffer from all the drawbacks of being Irregular, but are a great option for giving you disposable mid-field specialists. For just 18 points you can put a Forward Observer with deployable mines and repeaters and the utilitarian Rifle+Light Shotgun on the table as an infiltrating camouflage token. They are super-squishy, and know that you will likely lose them early, but I’ve lost count of the number of times that a sacrificially-placed mine or repeater from a dying Hunzakut has really stymied my opponent. The Rifle+Light Grenade Launcher option is nice too if the mission doesn’t require a lot of specialists. I occasionally field the sniper if I feel like playing a defensive game (which admittedly is not my usual play-style).
Tuaregs are like Hunzakuts on steroids. Mimetism (-6), Infiltration, and Hidden Deployment give these guys fantastic survivability, and The Hacker and Doctor (+3) profiles are both aces for flipping a crucial objective late in the game. The Minelayer is a nice touch because it can effectively serve as a decoy to help hide the points/model hole in your list that a trooper in Hidden Deployment would otherwise entail (and littering the mid-field with mines during deployment is always good clean fun). But for my money, the profile that probably gets used the most is the humble Boarding Shotgun.
Hear me out – Fireteams are weakest in their Active Turn, and if you can put a DTW-armed trooper in Hidden Deployment in the likely path-of-advance of an enemy Fireteam, chances are good that you can pop off a surprise ARO that catches most or all of the team under the template as they move. This forces your opponent make some tough decisions about the second half of their Order. Sure, you lose the Surprise Attack bonus by firing in ARO, but so often it’s completely worth it. And even if you don’t manage to down any of your opponent’s key strikers or specialists, you are forcing them to burn precious orders dealing with a new and unexpected threat. This is doubly true if you can manage to do it in a place where one of your other troopers (i.e. the Fireteam’s original target) is also getting an ARO. I have wrecked sectorial opponents this way on more than one occasion.
I don’t field these guys very often, but every time I do I always end up thinking to myself, “Why don’t I field these guys more often?” With a freaking laundry list of skills (most notably Super-Jump, BS Attack (+1 Damage), Shock Immunity, Bioimmunity, and Natural Born Warrior to go with their CC 22), Khawarij also offer a bunch of specialist profiles and even a Lieutenant option. I really like the NCO with MSV2 and a Mk12, but honestly there’s so much good stuff here. They’re also one of the very few troop types in the faction that offer a profile with Chain of Command, so if you’re doing something with an obvious LT it might be worth it.
And no mention of Khawarij and “obvious LT” is complete with talking about Tarik Mansuri, the Khawarij special character. This guy is Khawarij but even better. He’s just ridiculously good, and as if his stats and skills weren’t eye-wateringly attractive, his Lieutenant profiles armed with an AP Rifle+Light Shotgun all offer +1 SWC to your list. And if you want to shell out the extra 4 points, you can get a profile that adds a second Lieutenant Order to your pool on top of everything else. This dude is such a boss that Silhouette 2 is not enough to contain his raging manliness, so he clocks in at a beefy Silhouette 5. Woof. Between Super-Jump and his base move of 6-4, he’s going to get up the field in a hurry and will likely tear some fools up once he gets there. He’s great for the offensive missions that turn the mid-field into a bloodbath (especially with the Spitfire+Nanopulser profile). If you want to throw caution to the wind an do the un-Haqqislam thing of fielding a striker Lieutenant, Tarik’s your man.
What’s not to love about infiltrating camouflaged specialists with D-Charges? Every time I field one of these dudes they end up doing work. They are ideal candidates for the “Überhacker” in the Mind Wipe mission, and their Terrain (Total) skill means that all of the ITS shenanigans that place regions of blizzard or zero-G or whatever don’t phase them in the slightest. The Minelayer sniper is interesting because it’s always nice for a sniper to not need a dedicated babysitter, but honestly the typical tables in my meta are so hostile to snipers that I think I’ve only fielded that profile a handful of times.
This is such a “LOL” unit that it at least deserves a mention. Like many profiles in the faction they are Shock Immune and have No Wound Incapacitation, but their real gimmick is their CC Attack (-9) ability. Under N3 this was called “I-Kohl” and the idea is that they are all beautiful women who exude bio-engineered pheromones so powerfully distracting that you are unable to fight effectively in their proximity. “Corvus Belli: Spaniards gotta horny,” I guess. These are very much a niche troop type, stacked for those missions like Armory and Panic Room and Biotechvore that channel both sides aggressively to the middle of the table. Unfortunately, the lack of Martial Arts or Natural Born Warrior skills of their own really hampers them, as even after the -9 MOD to the opponent’s Close Combat skill, a good fighter with CC23 and MA3 is still looking for 17 to the Odalisque’s CC 18 (likely modified down by the opponent’s MA to a mere 15). So they’ll clown on chumps all day long but are unlikely to have much success against dedicated melee troops. And while the option of Sixth Sense or a 360-Degree Visor makes them interesting as flank or rear guards, that’s a tough sell at a minimum of 22 points – especially when you can get a Naffatun with a Rifle+Heavy Flamethrower for 9 points less. If you’re going to take an Odalisque with an eye to clowning on chumps, however, go with one of the Sixth Sense profiles as this will allow you to Dodge shooting attacks from outside melee even if you’re engaged in close combat. It also makes you better at dancing through minefields, as you don’t eat the -3 MOD for dodging an attack from a Deployable.
Veteran and Elite Troops
Djanbazan are the unit type in Haqqislam that comes standard with MSV2. If you plan to do any kind of Smoke+attack combo (or suspect your enemy might), these troops are your go-to. I quite often find that a Djanbazan HMG has worked its way into my list somehow. One of the best bits about these troops is that they come stock with Shock Immunity and Regeneration (and with a bonus that treats their PH stat as a 13 for the purposes of that skill). That means that unless you do them multiple wounds in a single order, there’s a 65% chance they’re going to stand back up at the end of the turn without any outside intervention. When it works, this is both awesome and hilarious. Having your Djanbazan sniper get sniped only to regenerate and snipe his would-be sniper the following turn is something that makes me cackle with glee every time it happens. They are pricey but almost always worth the cost.
Oh, and did I mention that they offer a Lieutenant profile? And that the Regeneration roll happens in the “States Phase” at the end of the turn, before the next player’s Tactical Phase where Orders get counted? Yeah, having a 65% of avoiding going into Loss of Lieutenant can be a great ace-in-the-hole in a pinch.
Druze Shock Teams
A lot of people hate on the Druze, but I kind of like them. When I’m feeling frisky I’ll occasionally mix things up and field a Druze Bayram Security (NA2 sectorial) list and go crazy with a Fireteam: Core of Druze – where I really like them. They’re all Veterans, which is handy if you’re doing something crazy like fielding Tarik Mansuri or Saladin, and as someone who often faces off against Grunt-heavy USARF lists I know how annoying ARM 3 models in cover can be to one’s opponent. Further, the standard-issue X-Visor really pays dividends with the HMG and Panzerfaust profiles – especially against snipers who think they’re going to get you into a net 6 difference in range mods outside 32″.
The Hacker profiles are decent and Pitchers rock, but they generally don’t see much play in my lists outside sectorials because Hassassin Barids are right there.
Mukhtar Active Response Unit
A relatively new unit (appearing when Ramah Task Force dropped right at the end of N3), I am starting to really like these guys. Shock Immunity, Mimetism(-3), and No Wound Incapacitation give them decent survivability, and Forward Deployment +4″ gets them just that little bit farther into the action – as does a 6-2 MOV attribute. They have a bevy of good specialist profiles, as well as one with MSV2 who’s toting a Red Fury (and a comedy +1 Burst Nanopulser) that I really like. In the 30 point range they’re a little pricey, but they bring a nice toolbox to the table.
Nahab Aeromobile Team
My first introduction to a Nahab trooper was actually on the receiving end, and I was not a fan. These dudes are vicious. Immune to both Shock and Criticals (!), possessing NWI, and Berserk (+3), these guys are also that rare model that has both Martial Arts and Natural Born Warrior (to complement their solid CC 23). In most cases that means, “I get to use MA, but you don’t.” And with Frenzy they can quickly end up generating extra orders with which to smash peoples’ faces in. With a Viral CCW. To cap it off, you get to choose between Parachutist or Infiltration, though without the ability to enter a marker state. That’s a lot for a trooper that only costs 32-37 points. Oh, and did I mention that there are Specialist Operative and Killer Hacker profiles? If you have a mission where area control is key, the Parachutist profiles are great, and for any mission or table where close combat is likely, consider adding a Nahab to your list.
Namurr Experimental Operative Group
I look at these troopers all the time and they always almost make it into my lists. They are the only troop type in the faction with Total Immunity (and no associated Vulnerability!). They are integrally Specialist Operatives, so ostensibly good at accomplishing ITS objectives. And while a 6-2 MOV, Climbing Plus, Dodge(+1″), Dodge(+3), and No Wound Incapacitation make them both fast and somewhat more survivable, their inability to enter a marker state means you’re rolling the dice (literally) in the long slog to get them to their objective. Worse, their CC 20 and lack of any melee-based skills means once they get where they’re going, they’re not super killy. You’re paying heavy infantry prices for something that in my opinion is significantly more fragile. But speaking of heavy infantry, these guys are kitted out with E/M weapons (both DTW and melee), so if you’re facing an opponent who rolls heavy with a lot of HI or REM troopers, these guys might be just the ticket.
Sekban Naval Special Unit
Sekban used to be an extremely niche unit, but they’ve been given new life in N4 because they now have NCO by default. With Specialist Operative and Doctor (+3) profiles, the ability to heal someone or accomplish an objective using a Lieutenant Order that might otherwise be wasted is pretty cool. The integral 360-degree visor is cool too I guess, but rarely a game changer – especially on a model that at 20-30 points is awfully expensive to be watching your flanks/rear. Of the non-specialist profiles I like the Heavy Rocket Launcher the most, as using an LT Order to light someone on fire is pretty rad.
Zhayedan Intervention Troops
I’m not gonna lie, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve fielded Zhayedans. They sit in this weird place where what they offer doesn’t quite justify their points cost for me. They’re all Regenerating Veterans (which are both great), but don’t bring much else to the table. The BS Attack: Shock profiles are interesting (especially on an HMG), and integral Marksmanship deprives opponents of cover, but contrasted with the Djanbazan and their integral MSV2 the Zhayedans are a bit of a tough sell to me. They do offer another regenerating LT profile but only at PH 11, which is also far less attractive than the Djanbazan (or the mighty Asawira).
Speaking of Asawira, gods DAMN these guys are good in N4. BS 14, PH 14, 2W heavy infantry with CC23, Martial Arts 2, and Berserk(+3). And in the highly likely event that they manage to put a wound on someone, Frenzy gives them a free Impetuous order. Wow. Oh, yeah, and they Regenerate.
They’re only AVA 1, but I increasingly find myself putting one into my lists because they are such a great toolbox. The AP Spitfire+Nanopulser profile is sheer joy, although the Doctor(+3) profile is pretty clutch as well. Can’t hate a specialist that is not only hard to put down himself but who is also really good at picking up the troopers around him. Pair this guy with a Nasmat and go nuts! With BTS 9 the Asawira makes a great offensive piece that at least has a chance to stand up to most garden-variety hacking attacks, especially given that they Reset on the faction’s delicious WIP 14.
And just in case you’re not sold yet, this is yet another troop type that offers a Regenerating Lieutenant, this time with a 70% chance of getting up.
True fact: pictures of the Janissary box set are what initially sold me on Haqqislam as a faction. I absolutely loved their aesthetic and they’re still some of my favorite models. While they really shine in a Ramah Task Force sectorial as a Fireteam, they have their uses in vanilla lists as well. In particular the Janissary Missile Launcher makes a great ARO piece, being both Shock Immune and generally resilient enough to shake off one bad exchange. Being Silhouette 2 lets them deploy and move into tighter spots than Azra’il and Al’Fasid (both a chunky Silhouette 5), which is surprisingly important in our local table meta. And no mention of Janissaries is complete without mentioning the “Ackbar Doctor” (in N3 parlance), whose successful doctoring roll restores 2 Wounds in one go. This is really only useful on other heavy infantry (see above under Janissary Fireteams in Ramah), but paired with an Asawira this can be crushing to your opponent’s morale. Also, the Doctor(2W) skill still works through a Nasmat – just sayin’.
These dudes are weird, but also kind of good? Not true 2 Wound heavy infantry, they make up for it a little by having No Wound Incapacitation. MSV1 is kind of cool if your opponent likes to toss smoke around. But with Mimetism(-3) and Stealth they’re also a little bit sneaky. This is handy, because the Chain of Command profile with the SMG and Blitzen is the one I run most frequently. The Blitzen is one of those weapons that often comes as a surprise to people, as E/M weapons can be devastating against the right opposing troops (mainly REMs and HI).
Al’Fasid Regiment and Azra’il
If you want to jam offensive firepower down someone’s throat, you can’t go far wrong with either of these troops. The Al-Fasid’s Minelayer and Sixth Sense abilities mean that you can stick him somewhere your opponent will find inconvenient and be relatively certain that no one’s going to sneak close and get the drop on him. The HMG profile is wicked in Suppressive Fire mode and the +1 Burst Heavy Rocket Launcher profile is comedy gold. The even more violently-minded Azra’il comes standard with BS Attack: Continuous Damage for all his weapons. Yes, that means his AP HMG lights you on fire. Or melts you with acid, whatever. The Feuerbach is already a strong ARO weapon, but adding Continuous Damage to a weapon that’s Explosive is brutal, effectively tripling the chances that it will set you ablaze. And with it being +1 Burst in the Active Turn, you can fire it three times in Burst mode (AP+DA), which has the potential to make someone make a whopping 6 saves against half Armor, all of which inflict Continuous Damage. Either way, it’s just rude. Against hardened enemy units like TAGs or HI these units are fantastic, often leaving nothing but smoking craters that deprive enemy medics or engineers of unconscious models to fix. The only downside with Azra’il is that the models for them are now out-of-production – fingers-crossed that means a resculpt is coming.
No discussion of Haqqislam would be complete without a mention of all the various types of Hassassin unit. Pretty much all of them are Religious Troops, which means they are fearless fanatics who automatically pass Guts checks (and actually have to make a WIP test to voluntarily fail one). These are scattered among the different troop types (with most of them falling under Specialist Troops), but I’ve consolidated them here for convenience. Some of these (like Govads and Lasiqs) are sort of niche troops, useful in certain situations (Govads are all Veterans with MSV1, and Lasiqs all tote Viral weapons). Others, like Muyibs or Nadhir are more broadly useful (Muyibs are Dogged and roll heavy, with most profiles having a Panzerfaust or worse, and Nadhir are Hidden Deployment and Mimetism -6). But a few deserve individual mention:
This is the grand-daddy of assassin variants, and the one that is most likely to give your opponent fits. Impersonation is such a strong skill, especially with WIP 14 giving you a 70% chance of succeeding on your roll to deploy in your opponent’s deployment zone. Even if you choose not to field one (which I do occasionally just to subvert expectations), the fact that you could field one will change how your opponent deploys; they’ll be a lot more cognizant of rear approaches and have more troops facing backwards. This is great, because that’s often less AROs you’re facing in the first turn should you go first.
Further, nothing says you have to deploy in the enemy deployment zone. You can forego the roll entirely and deploy anywhere on the board outside their zone, which means on their side of the table. I’ll often do this, putting a Fiday in a place that is maximally inconvenient to my opponent’s forward progress. And in terms of profiles, the 27-point profile with Shock Mines is my go-to, as being able to salt the opposing DZ or approaches with bombs is hilarious fun. This is especially true if your opponent is playing a sectorial and has a juicy fireteam all bunched up somewhere in their deployment zone. Special mention also goes to Hussein Al-Djabel, the Hassassin Fiday character. He doesn’t have mines, but his BS Attack: Continuous Damage and Viral CCW are a serious kick in the nuts.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these dudes are relatively killy but are extremely fragile. I can’t remember the last time I had one survive a game, but that’s not the point. The point is to force your opponent to burn Orders, first on Discovering them, then on Discovering them again (Impersonation has two levels, and piercing the first just drops the Impersonator to the second – which is still a marker state), then on digging them out of whatever inconvenient position you’ve put them in. And even though they’re pretty mean in close combat, I often find that if I can get them into melee with an opposing model, I don’t bother spending orders to go for the kill – it’s usually sufficient to just tie someone up. This is especially true of snipers and missile launchers and feuerbachs, which are great ARO pieces but which are useless once melee removes their ability to see anything outside of base-contact. They are also great for tying up or eliminating key enemy specialists (looking at you, Dr. Worm).
It’s also important to note that Fidays have no specialist profiles, so while they may be frustrating to your opponent they are rarely accomplishing objectives. The exception to this is in ITS missions like Mind Wipe, where profiles with a DA CCW (which has the necessary “Anti-Materiel” trait) can destroy enemy servers, or in Rescue where their ability to nab a friendly Civilian more or less immediately can be huge.
With the upgrade to the Trinity hacking program that gives a -3 MOD to the opponent’s roll, the Barid Killer Hacker is one of the best in the game. I have used them to reliably take down Tunguska Interventors, which is saying something. Haqqislam doesn’t have as strong an electronic warfare game as the Nomads, but if you’re cagey you can come close. In particular, these troopers all have Pitchers – even the non-Hacker profiles. And unlike the other Grenade Launcher variants that got nerfed in N4, Pitchers still have a +3 range band from 8-16″, making Speculative Fire a less risky possibility. Using Pitchers speculatively can drastically increase your e-war coverage by allowing you to launch Repeaters into places your opponent may find hard to access (meaning they’re less likely to blast your Repeater into its component parts). Also consider pairing them with a Kameel Baggage bot to replenish their Pitchers’ ammo.
Further, every single profile is a specialist of some kind, and if I have someone with Chain of Command in my list I am increasingly likely to take a Hassassin Barid Hacker as my Lieutenant. Being able to burn an otherwise wasted LT order on a comms-attack is fantastic, even if it’s just to Spotlight someone to accomplish a Classified Objective. And at 13-17 points, they are almost criminally under-priced. I rarely field a list that doesn’t have at least one of these in it.
Yet another infiltrating camo unit with useful specialist profiles, Hassassin Farzans are another of the units with a Chain of Command profile. These guys make great stealth back-up leaders. Leave them as inconspicuous markers that your enemy might mistake as a mine and laugh as you never worry about Loss of Lieutenant. But if I feel safe in my LT being hidden and the mission doesn’t require CoC, I’m more likely to take the Minelayer profile to shit up the mid-field, mostly because I’m an asshole.
Like most troops with Parachutist and/or Combat Drop in N4, Ragiks have a gimmick to help keep them alive on the Order in which they enter the board. It’s not as eye-wateringly awesome as the Liu Xing’s Shock Immunity, NWI, and Explosion template, but it’s decent: Ragiks are Shock Immune and Dogged. Thus, so long as you are dropping into a position where only one trooper can get in an ARO (and that ARO isn’t B2 or Continuous Damage), you are pretty much guaranteed to live until your next Order, even if you are likely to die at the end of the turn. The only specialist these troopers have is a Hacker profile, so take care not to come onto the board in your enemy’s repeater coverage or hacking area if you choose to use a Ragik hacker.
This is a unit that is very odd. They’re full-up heavy infantry with 2 Wounds, but they also have Stealth, Holomask, and Holoprojector. This allows them to deploy in a marker state, which makes their Surprise Attack(-6) pretty juicy. The Holoecho state lets them clear out mines and Perimeter weapons well, but without any kind of forward deployment skill they’re stuck walking to get somewhere useful. Their primary weapons are generally longer ranged, but having a +1 Burst Viral Pistol makes them decently zesty in melee now that the FAQ has clarified that this extra Burst for pistols also works in close combat. They’re only CC 17 so I wouldn’t go tangling with Yojimbo just yet, but it’s still a curious mixture of skills and equipment. Unfortunately, at 37-41 points they’re pretty pricey for something that doesn’t have a well-defined role. I’ve fielded them occasionally, but they’ve never been my MVP.
This is another new unit in N4, and one that does not yet have a model. With Forward Deployment (+8″), Mimetism (-6), Dodge (+3), Stealth, Terrain (Total), Religious Troop, and Specialist Operative as base skills, these guys have one job: fearlessly cartwheel their way through any kind of terrain to a central objective and push its buttons. Don’t bother stopping to shoot someone, just laser-focus on the objectives. The absence of the ability to be in a marker state hurts though, and honestly I look at this troop type and often end up picking a Hunzakut specialist that, yes, is Irregular but who is also a camo token and is on average 10 points cheaper.
If you played the previous edition of Infinity against a Haqqislam player, chances are roughly 100% that your opponent fielded at least one (if not the full AVA of 4) of these guys. Under N3 they were almost an auto-take because they packed so much good stuff in so cheap a package. Everyone who didn’t play Haqqislam was super-salty about them. Fortunately for everyone else, these troops have been heavily re-balanced under N4, and with the 15-Order cap on army lists they are much less of an automatic selection. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still very good, just not as awesome as they were before.
Like most warbands, they’re dirt cheap, at somewhere between 5 and 10 points. Like most warbands, they’re Impetuous, toting some kind of template weapon, and can be kitted out with smoke. So what distinguishes Ghazis from other factions’ warbands? Well, they’re Dogged, which means they’re likely to be up the field in a heartbeat and more likely to survive to do something your opponent doesn’t want them to do. But the true magic of the Ghazi lies in their ability to field a Jammer. Though it’s now Disposable(2) in N4, it’s still a Zone-of-Control Intuitive Attack weapon that does not require Line-of-Fire to use. Intuitive attack can be used on models in marker state, so it’s a great way to deal with troublesome camo tokens from a position of safety, as even if they make their BTS save and don’t suffer Isolation they are still revealed (as they were forced to make a save). And it’s a technical weapon, so it uses the trooper’s delicious WIP of 15 for its attacks. This is great, because even if the targeted marker doesn’t attempt to Reset (or can’t because it’s a mine), you have a 75% chance of revealing it anyway. It’s like Discover, only you can do it through walls! Though it doesn’t benefit from the E/M ammo type, it’s still a great way to put important enemy troopers into the Isolated state.
But if you need E/M weapons, Ghazi have you covered there too. The E/Marat is a large-template DTW that will make heavy infantry fireteams cry bitter, bitter tears, as you paralyze enemy troopers with a 5-point throw-away fanatic.
Though I field fewer of them and less often than I used to, they still find their way into a lot of my lists, especially if I have 5 points or so that I can’t decide what to do with. Honestly now my biggest challenge is deciding if I want smoke or Jammers, which while not as good as under N3 (where they always had both) is still an embarrassment of riches.
Kum Motorized Troops
For the last time, it’s pronounced “koom,” okay? Sheesh.
Anyway, bikers are getting some love in this season of ITS, being given the option to give up Impetuous in order to be able to take cover – as well as gaining Mimetism(-3) for free (ostensibly for churning up clouds of snow as they race across the frozen tundra). With a MOV of 8-6, I usually feel like giving up Impetuous is a foolish waste of a potential for 14″ of movement (or an extra shot at dumping smoke somewhere useful). Lightly-armed and Dogged, these guys are perfect for getting into the mid-field in a hurry and shitting up your opponent’s approach lanes, or throwing down enough of a smokescreen to let your other troops advance unopposed. And if you take the Light Shotgun profile (with the DA CCW), you can accomplish those mission objectives that require you to destroy consoles or servers. Finally, though it’s debatable how many of these dudes you’d want to take with N4’s penalty to Irregular troopers (and in a faction that completely lacks Inspiring Leadership), for the comedy option these jokers are AVA Total.
There are a handful of cases in which giving up Impetuous might make sense for one of these yahoos: in ITS Season 13, the High-Value Targets (HVTs) of both sides are considered Neutral Civilians to both players – which means you can CivEvac them. With the standard Haqqislam WIP of 14, you can race out to your own HVT and have an 85% chance of sync’ing them. With a clear movement lane, one more Regular Order lets you pull that HVT well back into your own Deployment Zone, making it tough for your opponent to accomplish any Classified Objectives that require HVT interaction. It’s also potentially useful in a mission like Rescue.
When talking about bikers I’d be remiss in not mentioning the Nazarova Twins, Zamira and Zuleyka. As biker special characters, these two add a little somethin’-somethin’ to the regular Kum trooper. Both add Shock Immunity to the mix, which means a better chance to get the opportunity to actually use Dogged. In N4 Zuleyka is the clear winner, two-fisting a pair of Light Flamethrowers (i.e. +1 Burst) and also +1 Burst in melee. With an Explosive CCW. For 11 points.
OK, these aren’t technically warbands, but they play like warbands. They are Irregular and obnoxious and largely disposable. As Parachutists, they’re going to come on from a flank, and their survivability gimmick during deployment is the Holoprojector (that also grants them Surprise Attack (-3), which doesn’t suck). This means that unless you come on in range of a template ARO, your opponent only has a 1-in-3 chance of shooting at the correct marker. These troopers are great for a late-game surprise, and bringing on a model with a Boarding Shotgun or SMG and rampaging in from a flank when your opponent is already committed can be huge. And in those missions where “points-in-zones” are important (Quadrant Control, Supremacy, Frontline, etc), being able to dump just a few extra points into the zone of your choice in the last game turn can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Bashi Bazouks also have a Specialist Operative profile for those missions where you want to be able to approach an objective from an unexpected direction (or like Rescue where the Exclusion Zone makes it extremely order-intensive to get to the Civilians).
This is the one area where Haqqislam’s offerings are somewhat lackluster compared to other factions. All of the basic remote capabilities are there – Total Reaction HMG, Guided Missile Launcher, Repeater bot, Sensor/Triangulated Fire bot, EVO hacker and Baggage – but they are decidedly no-frills. Apart from the 360-degree visor on the TR HMG (which most factions offer), it’s basic, basic, basic. Aggressively mediocre. They’re almost bad enough that it’s worth shelling out for a REM Racer to buff them, but this a little too niche for regular use (though the idea of siccing a 6-6, PH 14, CC 22 Repeater bot on someone does have a certain fiendish appeal).
In any event, I will confess to looking at some of the Nomad, Yu Jing, and PanO remotes and just drooling with envy. Remotes with Mimetism, Climbing Plus, Forward Deployment, AuxBot buddies, Krazy Koalas, there’s so much good stuff there. Alas.
The only unit in the game with Silhouette 8, the Maghariba Guard is one of Haqqislam’s most iconic units. Looking like something straight out of Ghost in the Shell, this scorpion-themed tank-like TAG is hard to hide but big enough to bully its way over a surprising number of terrain pieces. The 360-Degree Visor that comes standard on all its profiles is also useful for preventing your enemy’s stealthy close-combat monsters from making a run at it. The ECM: Hacking(-3) is also nice on top of its BTS of 6. At ARM 8 it’s going to soak some damage, and the ability to field a profile with a Heavy Rocket Launcher can make it a good ARO piece even if you don’t have the spare Order get into Suppressive Fire with your Multi-HMG.
Finally, as a piloted TAG you have a Paramedic in the cockpit. Maggy is so big that you can drop her in front of a downed trooper or objective, then dismount from the rear to push a button or try to heal up a wounded trooper without provoking an ARO to the TAG itself (as it’s the dismounting pilot provoking the ARO, not the vehicle). It’s like bringing your own LOS-blocking terrain with you!
The model is also rad as hell. Fully assembled it’s an enormous lump of pewter that makes a satisfying “thump” when you put it on the table. The only thing that keeps me from fielding mine more often is that I still haven’t finished painting it. >sob<
Shakush Light Armored Unit
This is a new unit in N4, and also does not yet have a model. It’s a perfectly serviceable light TAG, and at under 60 points is reasonably costed. Unlike many other factions’ TAGs it’s not bringing anything exotic to the table in terms of primary weaponry (either a garden-variety HMG or an AP Spitfire), but in either case you’ve got a Heavy Flamethrower for back-up and close-in work. The pilot is also a Specialist Operative, but absent the sheer Silhouette mass of the Maghariba Guard it’s a lot harder to pull dismount-shenanigans. A 6-2 MOV attribute is decent for infantry but a little slow on a TAG, so it will likely make it harder to get into good positions. But if you’re looking for something that survives a little better than HI the Shakush might be a viable option.
We’ve already talked about a number of Haqqislam’s special characters under their related unit entries, but there are a few more that are worth highlighting.
At the top of the heap is Saladin, the ALEPH “reconstruction.” While you can field him without making him your Lieutenant, you’d be crazy not to – for an extra 2 points you get an extra Command Token and Strategos L2. Sure, he’s an obvious Lieutenant, but between Hafza and Hassassin Ayyar and Bashi Bazouks and Husam Yasbir (more on him in a second) you can put something ridiculous like 14 fake Saladin models on the field if you want to. Yes, you can hand your opponent a courtesy list that’s all Saladin if you’re willing to commit to the gag. He’s not exactly a gunslinger, so you’ll want to be careful with him. But he is equipped with a repeater, which often catches people out, especially if they are trying to get at him with Parachutists or Combat Drop troops.
Hassassin Husam Yasbir
In any mission that doesn’t have an exclusion zone I try to find a way to work this guy into my lists, as he has a 34-point profile that has both Infiltration and Holoprojector. Combined with Smoke Grenades, this makes for a powerful mid-field sweeper, as he can use his holo-echoes to clear a path through mines and perimeter weapons. He’s limited to the standard Haqq armament of a Rifle+Light Shotgun (which is still good!), but with his CC 23, Martial Arts 3, and Viral CCW he can hold his own with most dedicated melee troops. Finally, he’s a Specialist Operative, so he can accomplish objectives. He’s a total bargain.
A Killer Hacker, Leila Sharif is more expensive than a Hassassin Barid, doesn’t have the Barid’s Trinity upgrade, and doesn’t have a Pitcher. This makes her worse in most ways, but I still sometimes field her. Her E/M mines provide an occasional nasty surprise for people.
If you’re looking for a way to squeeze another MSV2 model into your list and don’t have the AVA or points to take a Djanbazan, consider Yara Haddad. Shock Immunity, Bioimmunity, and BTS 3 also make her a touch more survivable. Offensively, an AP Marksman Rifle doesn’t suck but you probably shouldn’t count on her to be a main-line striker. She has a Lieutenant profile, so if you’re looking to play shell games that’s another potential use.
A WIP 15 Doctor(+3) with NWI, he’s likely to be able to get into a tough spot to pick up a critical trooper. But at 21 points I’m not sure he’ll do that as flexibly as a 15-point Ghulam Doctor(+3) with a 3-point Nasmat helper.
There are a bunch of other units I didn’t touch on – Hakims (Parachutists Doctors), Kaplans (mercenaries with a decent toolbox), and Najjarun (garden-variety engineers). In addition, there are all the random merc troops that everyone has access to – Authorized Bounty Hunters, Krakot Renegades, Libertos, and characters like Knauf, Armand LeMuet, Oktavia Grimsdottir, and Aida Swanson. For the most part, I rarely field these as I find that they don’t usually bring anything I can’t get out of Haqq units. That said, in the last game I played Oktavia Grimsdottir was my MVP of the match, tagging a Wulver Fireteam:Core with her Missile Launcher. Sometimes you try something different and it works out.
I started playing Infinity right after N3 (the previous edition) came out, and for most of the time since I’ve played vanilla Haqqislam. I revel in the sheer skullduggery that the faction allows you to pull off and delight in bullshit courtesy lists. With list names like “Smoke and Mirrors” and “Deployment Zones are for Suckers,” and “One Lone Ghulam, I Promise,” you might get some sense as to my typical play style. Honestly, it’s amazing I have any friends left.
Of all of Infinity’s vanilla factions I feel like Haqqislam has the most diverse toolbox. You’re not the best at anything (well, aside from messing with peoples’ heads), but you’re decent at everything, and that gives you the ability to really tailor your force as needed. You have an overflowing cornucopia of cheap specialists and will almost never have trouble maxing out your 15 available Orders. In terms of list creation there’s often tension between prepping for the mission objectives, the opponent, or the terrain. But by having flexible units you can usually adapt to the unforeseen on the fly without needing to sell out on any one aspect of the game. The sheer utility available in even Haqqislam’s basic line infantry is tough for other factions to match, and its specialists are top notch.
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