Kept you waiting, huh?
Today we’re going to take a look at Ramah Task Force (RTF), Haqqislam’s most recently released sectorial. Somewhat unlike QK and HB, Ramah is meant to represent an elite albeit conventional military force (as conventional as genetically/medically enhanced super soldiers can be considered conventional, I suppose), imagine an entire squad of Captain Americas…but with PhDs in the Humanities and an unhealthy enthusiasm for wearing BMX gear.
To Defend Those With No Means of Defense
For the longest time Haqqislam only had two sectorials, Hassassin Bahram and Qapu Kalphi, while some of the other factions got three. Such an injustice could not go unpunished and the Old Man of the Mountain finally saw fit to give us, those who seek knowledge, another sectorial. Ramah Task Force is Haqqislam’s Emergency Response/Counter Terrorist unit and you can see it in their use of small elite teams of highly specialised units.
As with our previous Faction Focus articles, we’ll look at RTF from a few different angles, exploring Fireteam options, Lieutenants, Strengths and Weakness before finally describing a few sample lists to help get you started on the path to victory.
You’ve got a few options for your Fireteam: Core in Ramah. The common archetypes are:
- Ghulam-Naffatun Hybrid: As per the name, mix-n-match Ghulam (Ghulams? What’s the plural here?*) and Naffatun and then sprinkle in Wildcards to taste. Being cheerleaders, this isn’t a frontline fireteam. So, you’re likely limit this team to a support/overwatch role. I like to run the NCO Smoke/Grenade Launcher Ghulam, Yara Haddad as a Secondary shooter, potentially a Ghulam Doctor (Yara is Shock Immune), then a few Naffatun (who are better as corner guards than Ghulam and can hide a Lt), and finally you can add a ‘sixth’ member of the Fireteam as a disposable ARO piece (Sniper, Missile Launcher or even the Panzerfaust #2 Ghulam depending on your budget). There’s the potential to slot in a Khawarij here, the HRL and Mk12 (with MSV 2) feel like decent options to stand back to do work but if they’re babysitting a team of Ghulam cheerleaders you’re not really leveraging their strengths (such as mobility, close combat potential), so I try to avoid this.
- Zhayedan: Generally I dislike expensive single-wound infantry, especially in Fireteam: Cores but there’s potentially some meat to a Zhayedan HMG with Marksman, BS Attack: Shock and a decent BS stat supported by a few of the cheaper Wildcard options in RTF. Though, note that you still clock in about 125 points and, as you’ll read below, a Jannissary HMG in a fireteam goes for barely 25 more points.
- Janissaries are your obligatory HI-pain-train option. Even though individual Janissaries are well priced, this fireteam gives you access to cheap Wildcards, as well as Hortlak Janissaries and even Wild Bill to discount the total team cost. You could take a Janissary HMG backed up by a Hortlak SMG, a Hortlak AP Sniper, Wild Bill and the WIP 18 Doctor, Rouhani for just under 150 points. Something to consider with Janissaries: Lack of a Cube on regular Jannys, no re-rolls to Doctor your HMG if they go down. This is why I prefer Rouhani to a Janissary Doctor in the fireteam, the Janny Doc grants 2 Wounds but does it on WIP 14 (ie. 30% to flatline your patient) while Rouhani only has a 10% chance to lose his medical license. Religious sounds like a disadvantage (apparently, it’s costed as a discount to a model) but Haqq models have great WIP so it’s pretty hard for Religious to negatively impact you. Finally, consider a Janissary with Missile Launcher (in my sample Fireteam I’ve got a Hortlak AP Sniper (for the Cube) but an Core-linked ML is a game defining piece if deployed well.
With a few decent Wildcard options, as well as some solid shooters, it’s not hard to make an interesting, well-priced and effective Haris in Ramah Task Force. Here are a few options for you to consider:
Janissary Harissary: Well, the image above might have given up the surprise but a Janissary HMG teaming up with Wild Bill and the Doctor Rouhani is a very well priced, resilient Haris. The Janny is your main shooter, with all the right stats. Wild Bill can cover any short-range firefights with his effective Burst 4 Multi-Pistols and Rouhani can heal either of them up with WIP 18 Doctor rolls, which are critically important to the Cube-less Janissary.
Mukh-Tarik: A Mukhtar Doctor, with Wild Bill and Tarik Mansuri is a fast moving (everyone is 6-2 at least), relatively resilient team that punches hard all the way up and down the table. Take your Face-to-Face rolls against weak AROs with Wildbill or the Mukhtar (ie. any fight where you can’t lose more than one wound) as your Doc can heal any wounds those two take straight away while Tarik can only ever be healed back up to 1W.
Zheyedan HMG Party: Take a Zhayedan HMG and then throw in whichever cheap Wildcards you can (Leila Shariff and then your pick of Rouhani, Wild Bill or Yara Haddad) and you’ve got a Burst 5 HMG that ignores Cover for a reasonable price (let’s not pretend it’s a bargain, though).
There are many other Haris options in RTF but the ones listed above tick off some of the key boxes.
Ramah’s Lt options are quite comfortable, as a nice change of pace for Sectorials. Almost all of them are WIP 14, so it’s relatively easy to hide your Lt and Tarik, the only WIP 15, is an aggressive Lt backed up by multiple Chain of Command options (as well as Veterans).
I’m going to group Ghulam and Naffatun together because their profiles and uses are very similar (and they both hang out in the same Fireteam). WIP 14, cheap single wound troopers. You know what you’re signing up for here. The +1 Command Token Ghulam is an interesting prospect, it’s a telegraphed Lt but if you’re willing to engage with the risk and need that Command Token, it can be worth it.
I really don’t like expensive single-wound Lieutenants. The more you spend on a Lt, the more you are forced to either forfeit their value by keeping them safe and away from potentially fatal face-to-face rolls or you try to get value out of your Lt and increase the risk of a random crit dropping you into Loss of Lieutenant. Khawarij are the perfect example of an expensive single wound Lieutenant who spends big on skills and equipment that don’t significantly improve their ability to win (or rather, survive) fights. Access to CoC might make the Khawarij look feasible as an active Lt but there are better options for this within this Sectorial (see below). Friends don’t let friends take Khawarij Lieutenants.
Completely out of character, I’m going to go ahead and give the Zhayedan a pass as a moderately expensive single wound Lt option. Normally, I don’t rate single wound Lts who have bloated costs but just about everything the Zheyedan has is actually useful and it exists in a Sectorial with access to CoC and NCO, so the risks you might take ‘going loud’ with your single wound Lt are mitigated. Let’s not forget that a Veteran Lieutenant has the added advantage of ignoring Isolated, so E/M weapons aren’t nearly as scary to you. It’s something.
Captain Haqqislam himself, Tarik Mansuri, is an excellent active Lieutenant. He’s got the mobility to be order efficient (at both advancing and retreating), he’s got a decent amount of resilience and slaps hard in both melee and shooting. WIP 15 and the option for +1 Lt order (for NCO) purposes means he brings great, albeit telegraphed, support to his army. Tarik Mansuri is the Lieutenant you take when you want your opponent to know who your Lt is and you don’t even care that they do.The next question is whether you take the Spitfire or the AP Rifle. I strongly recommend going with the AP Rifle now that Fatality no longer increases your Crit range as well as having better damage output against the heavier armed targets you’ll encounter in the current edition of the game. The Rifle also comes with a Light Shotgun, which expands your attack options with a Direct Template Weapon. You might even get some value out of that +1 SWC he brings to the party. Finally, being a telegraphed Lt, you may as well take the +1 Order version any time you’re not really hurting for points. It’s 4 points, champ. What are you missing out on? A War Cor? Get out of here.
The Janissary Lt is a good pick for any scenario in which you think your opponent might be headhunting you. Dropping them into a full Janny Fireteam is a great way to juice up your Lt survivability. I’d probably only take the Janny Lt when survivability is absolutely the primary concern, though.
Ramah, at the very least, can boast about having access to both Chain of Command and NCO. You want to go Hambo (portmanteau of Ham and Rambo, English is a beautiful language) with Tarik and his two Lieutenant orders? Go for it, fam. CoC Hortlak Jannissary has got your back. Running a cheeky backline Lt? That Ghulam NCO with Grenade Launcher could be dropping bombs or smoke with that Lt order. This is swish and I love it.
Mobility? Mobility!? MOBILITY!. You’ve got Super Jump (Khawarij) and Climbing-Plus (Namurr, and Fiddler), in spades. On top of that you’ve got a relatively competitive selection of Parachutists/Infiltrators in the Nahab Aeromobile Team and the HAKIMS Special Medical Assistance Team. Many of your attack pieces are very fragile but your ability to circumvent traditional/conventional defences means you should be able to engineer attack runs that have a markedly reduced risk profile for you. If you try to play RTF like vanilla PanO, just throwing big numbers and dice at people without thinking about your approach and positioning, you’re going to have a bad time.
Excellent solo attack pieces
The Mukhtar is a glorious attack piece with so many options. 6-2 Move, Mimetism, Shock Immune NWI is the core ability set most other units in the game wish they had. The Hacker can score an insane number of classifieds between the Veteran classification, Hacking Device and D-charges. That rifle might look weedy but remember that anything that isn’t scared of a rifle can probably be hacked. The Doctor has a great weapon and the ability to heal themselves out of NWI-status when they muck up, while the Red Fury MSV2 drinks PanO tears and doesn’t care about your feelings. Anytime you’re feeling down, run your Mukhtars in a Duo (Doc and Red Fury/Hacker) to brighten up your day.
Not to be mistaken with Marvel’s Sub-Mariner, the Namurr Experimental Operative Group are a really interesting ‘technical piece’. On first glance they don’t look great for their price but as you dig deeper into their toolkit you might see a few really interesting use-cases for them. As a baseline, look at that mobility: 6-2, Climbing Plus, and Terrain Total. Then survivability, NWI with Total Immunity, Bio-Immunity as well as Dodging 3” on 15’s is crazy. Namurr tap-dance on enemy mines while laughing. Now, their offensive output is a little lacking in as much as they’re BS 12 with no visual mods, CC 20 with no skills. However, they’re solid and carry a plethora of weapons…
Plethora. I love that word. Just say it to yourself now, take a break from reading this article. Whisper it like sweet nothings in your true-love’s ear: Plethoraaaaa.
…Ahem, in particular, check out that E/Marat. Who likes an E/M Chain Rifle? Namurr can use this (and their NWI with Total Immunity) to take corners and ask TAGs, Remotes, Hackers, and HI some really hard questions about what they want their AROs to be: “You want to shoot me? Sure, I’ll soak it with Total Immunity and now you need to take 2x BTS saves or get bricked. Dodging? Maybe enjoy a Spitfire (or, fudge it, E/M for everyone!).” Using Namurr is basically playing Infinity on Expert-mode, if you’re not leveraging their entire tool box, Namur can come across as very expensive LI but, man, when you get them to work for you…Final note: Don’t forget that they Move-Dodge further than they Move-Move, so anytime that you desperately need an extra inch (…tell me about it) and are willing to roll that 75%’er, go for it.
It’s worth noting that RTF is the only Haqqislam sectorial that actually gets access to the Maghariba Guard (we don’t talk about Uncle Dashat anymore. Not since the unpleasantness). In a faction of low armour, single wound infantry sometimes you need to brute force a F2F roll with someone who doesn’t care about rifles and other Damage 13 peasant weapons.
This is going to be hard to accept but please listen and try to understand: ‘Carmen Johns is cooler than both you and your mother…combined’. She rides a Space-Chopper, uses Kung Fu to hit people with a wrench and her best friend is a dog whose name translates from French to ‘Bastard’. Who can compete with that? I know I can’t. Carmen is an amazing piece to add to RTF, she’s got high mobility, top-tier close combat capability, brings Smoke to the party as well as some cute tricks with her Synchronised friend, Batard. Don’t forget that in the current ITS season she can trade Impetuous for the ability to benefit from Cover and Mimetism. You won’t do it every game (sometimes that Impetuous move is golden) but don’t forget that she can do it. At 17 points for the dynamic duo, she’s almost an auto-include, just don’t tell your mum.
I’m going to wrap up this section on solo attack pieces and mention the Rafiq remote (mostly because I can’t slide it into any other section). The Rafiq with Red Fury is an excellent Multi-role piece. It’s incredibly well-costed for a mobile Red Fury, comes with Triangulated Fire for solving weird problems and is a specialist to boot. If you need both another Attack Piece and a Specialist (particularly for those late-game objective sprints) but can’t afford to just take both, take a good look at the Red Fury Rafiq.
OK, so here’s my problem with Ramah Task Force. You might be WIP 14 (maybe even 15), but you’re still going to lose 40-45% of your Start of Game Lieutenant rolls and a canny opponent might take first turn in the hopes that they can curb stomp all of your excellent attack pieces before they can get a chance to earn their paychecks. How does RTF deal with taking second turn?
The answer is: Not as badly as you might think but also not nearly well enough for your comfort.
Your mid-field presence on deployment is pretty lacklustre. You’ve got Nahab Aeromobile Team, who have the option to Infiltrate but no marker state to protect them (except the KHD, which can’t start the game in Impersonation, so that’s a bust) and Tuaregs (albeit with one Minelayer option but it telegraphs your Hidden Deployment as there are no other markers RTF can drop into the mid-field). Not great.
As far as ARO pieces are concerned, you can front up a model from a Fireteam to act as a tarpit (Ghulam Missile Launcher with Panzerfaust, or Sniper; Khawarij with HRL or Janissary Missile Launcher), gamble with a TAG in cover (Maghariba at Arm 11 in Cover is pretty scary but also runs out of range at 32”+), or leverage the AVA 2 of the Total Reaction HMG remotes (Shihab). A recent addition to the line up, you could even use Fiddler’s two Jackbots to guard some corners without risking your precious orders.
That said, if you’re feeling cheeky, you could try tossing in a Tuareg (Hacker or Sniper) in a position to force an opponent into making some unpleasant choices when it comes to rounding a corner and shooting at your ‘bait’ ARO piece (ie. Missile Launcher/Panzerfaust, it needs to be a semi-threatening ARO). Put the Hacker within 8” of a corner (preferably on a hard to access roof) that your opponent will likely use to start a firefight with your bait-ARO and then reveal them as they Move into position. Now your opponent is forked between either an unopposed Reset against the Hacker or an unopposed Burst 2 AP+EXP shot. Nasty. Downside is that this puts your 30+ point, Arm 1 hacker on table, likely in the mid-field, ready to be torn to shreds by the next chain rifle or light shotgun that wanders past. So, your timing and judgement has to be spot on here. Alternatively, the sniper can set up in your DZ in an overwatch position and force your opponent to split burst between it (with Mimetism -6, as well as Cover) and your bait-ARO. Greater risk of both of your pieces dying but your Taureg is also packing an immediately lethal solution to your problems, unlike the Hacker.
It’s also worth noting that the recent addition of the Beasthunter from TAG Raid gives RTF a cheap camo piece that can defend your DZ (or potentially mid-field). It’s a cheap Irregulal order, so you’ll have to decide if you have enough flexibility to carry that in your list.
To conclude the ‘weaknesses’ section of this article: As an army full of expensive, relatively low Arm, single wound infantry (Janissaries and TAGs being a notable exception), RTF does not like taking Arm/BTS saves at all.
When you write an RTF list you need to have a plan for being Player 2.
So, you wanted to run two TAGs? Well, let’s make that happen. The Shakush is an excellent Featherweight TAG that is somewhat outshone by the Asawira in vanilla Haqq (which is arguably the best point-for-point HI in the game). Well, I don’t see any punk Asawira in RTF now, do I?
-Ghulam NCO with Smoke and Regular Grenades
-Ghulam Number 2 with Panzerfaust
-Naffatun x2 (one being your Lieutenant)
Shakush AP Spitfire
Monstrucker with SMG
Fanous Remote x3
Shakush with HMG
We’ll take one Shakush with a HMG to sweep the ramparts and then a second one with the AP Spitfire to get down and dirty in the mid-field. Toss in a Ghulam Fireteam: Core to provide a static firebase (and keep your Lieutenant safe), toss in Carmen Johns for a highly mobile toolbox (remember that in ITS 13 she can choose trade out Impetuous to gain Cover and Mimetism. Also remember that with a +1 Burst Heavy Pistol she’s Burst 2 in close combat with CC 22, Martial Arts L2, Natural Born Warrior…aaannnnddd she can bring in Batard to really mess someone up). Toss in a Mukhtar Doctor as a self-supporting attack piece and sprinkle with cheerleaders to taste an you’ve got yourself a cheeky list.
If you like Pina Coladas (wait for it…)
-Ghulam Lt with +1 CMD token
-Ghulam NCO with Smoke/Grenade Launcher
-Ghulam Missile Launcher
Shakush with AP Spitfire
Fanous Remote x2
This is a variant of the list above in case two TAGs is a little too spicy for you. Standard Fireteam composition, Missile Launcher Ghulam as your throwaway ARO piece with Yara Haddad stepping up to the plate once you go active. The Shakush can get out there and do some good work once the Janissary Haris has swept the ramparts and knocked down your opponent’s key ARO pieces.
Getting Caught in the Rain (wait for it…)
Namurr with Spitfire
Tarik Mansuri Lt with AP Rifle (not the Lt +2 variant, sadly)
Hortlak Janissary with Chain of Command
Shihab Remote (Total Reaction HMG remote)
Shihab Remote (Total Reaction HMG remote)
Fiddler with 2x Jackbots
Beast Hunter FTO (Minelayer)
Here’s a cute list that explores what RTF should be famous for, an elite team of enhanced super-soldiers running around and causing trouble with their kooky mobility skills. It’s Limited Insertion just for laughs. You’ll note the twin HMG remotes, mine-layer Beasthunter as well as Fiddler with 2x Jackbots. That’s a tonne of order-resilient defences for your weak and spongey attack pieces. Fiddler and her Nasmat can position themselves to repair the Shihabs if they drop while the Jackbots and Beasthunter’s Mine give you corner-guards. The Tuareg is a very cute gotcha that you can drop into a position where a Hacking ARO will absolutely bone your opponent’s active pieces with a fork between shooting your Total Reaction Remotes and brushing off your Oblivion/Carbonite. Or, you know, -12 your opponents own pieces with a Cover, -6 Mimetism, Surprise Attack slap to the sack.
If you like painting cool models, and getting caught out of range
If you’re not into Yaogats
If you play Haqqislam
If you like writin’ lists at midnight
In the dunes of Bourak
Then I’m the faction you’ve looked for
RTF and escape
[Stage note: Sung to the tune of Escape (The Piña Colada Song)]
Next time – in two weeks – we’re going to take a look at a sectorial that is a money laundering front for the Space-Mafia, a sectorial that solves its problems with money: To whit, paying brains in jars to play Fortnite but for realsies. Some people call it Tunguska but I prefer Funguska.
If you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.
*Ghilman is the plural of Ghulam, what did you learn today?