Space Russia has learned from the mistakes of contemporary Russia and has started recruiting Werewolves and leaning into tropes like Call of Duty and Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade and is all the better for it. Though, the Space Russian Ratnik is just as bad as the old one.
TAK are a great Ariadnan sectorial that has a variety of playstyles that are all viable and interesting to play.
Camo and Shell Games: You can run a 100% camo TAK list if you want. You can even run a 100% camo TAK list that doesn’t suck. Wild, right? Between Streloks, Scouts, Spetsnaz, and Tank Hunters you’ve got a wide variety of Decoys, Mines and genuine threats that you can park under a Camo token in TAK. It’s nice and refreshing to play a faction that actually brings a good Camo Shell game. In order to play good Shell Games you need two key factors: 1. The ability to introduce uncertainty regarding the composition of your Camo tokens; and 2. The ability to project genuine threat from under your camo tokens. USARF fails this test because while it can hide the identity of what’s under the camo token, a savvy opponent won’t care because there’s nothing that’s a real threat under there. TAK addresses this by bringing Mines, Berserking melee combatants, boarding shotguns and a variety of other excellent weapons. Be afraid.
Melee-Missiles: TAK has a lot of models that can either sneak or rush into the enemy lines and start a melee rampage. Spetsnaz, Beast Hunters, Pavel, and Antipode Packs can all do it the sneaky way while Carmen, Dog-Warriors and even Irmandinhos can do it the loud and messy way.
Button Pressing: TAK has a surprising level of access to models that can get into the mid-field safely and push buttons: Dynamos, Strelok FOs, Scouts and even Pavel himself is a specialist. On top of that, you’ve got Irmandinhos bringing their own Smoke as well as Impetuous Orders to toss them. You want a button pressed, friend? TAK’s got your back.
Unpredictable Attack Vectors: TAK has the ability to deliver its punches in a variety of ways, ranging from decent ranged shooters, attackers hiding under camo markers and even Parachutists walking onto the table. Your opponent isn’t going to have an easy time defending against every possible attack you’re capable of delivering.
Literally No TAGs: Sure, a Ratnik is like a TAG built by the contemporary Russian military industry but that’s still not going to cut it if you come up against a faction capable of bringing real Gear (of the Tactical and Armoured variety).
Hacking: Being an Ariadnan faction, hacking just isn’t your thing. Sure, you can run a Wardriver and a Katyusha Traktor Mul to pretend that you’re as cool as Nomad Guided Missile Spam but with no Pitchers and your only Repeaters coming from the Move 4-4 Traktor Muls that start in your DZ your hacking Network footprint suuuucccckkkkkss.
All Smoke and no MSV to go with it: Well, that’s a partial lie. There’s a single Frontovik profile with an MSV 1. Otherwise, it’s a real shame to have so many excellent sources of Smoke and very limited opportunity to shoot through it.
Streloks are pretty good, they’re well priced skirmishers. Their big contribution to the team is the way they shake up the Camo shell game. They all have Decoy and one profile brings minelayer. Your opponent won’t know which markers are empty, which explode on proximity and which ones are hiding Boarding Shotguns until they commit to a play.
Spetsnaz are the darlings of TAK, with a variety of skills and equipment that let them mix it up at range and close up. They are also your only access to off-the-table deployment, which is something your opponent might overlook while unpacking your field of Camo Markers. Nothing says ‘Я тебя люблю‘ like Stealth followed by CC Attack: D-Charge.
Veteran Kazaks are your elite troops. Pseudo-HI that only get NWI but get a variety of other skills and some lovely guns in exchange.
Dynamos are fast, have decent weapon loadouts, Mine-Dispensers, Specialist options and Dogged for a little bit of failure-tolerance. They’re also priced to move. Dynamo Stocks are Stronk, unlike some other science-fiction-adjacent bikers we can think of.
Pavel Aleksei McMannus Spetsgruppa G… Dumitru Margareta Corneliu Leopold…
Someone gave this man an Ojotnik and he’s literally too angry to use it. For 32 points he does it all: Stabs, Shoots and Presses Buttons. What more could you ask for? Berserk is a bit of a coinflip for me. On one hand, he can use his marker state to set it up and then jump 8″ forwards to land an uncontested D-charge hit on someone, that could well be a piece-trade for you if he dies. So, if you’ve got the orders to spare you can also just walk into melee and go for a CC 26 Face-to-Face roll where your opponent is looking at something like a -6 penalty and Natural Born Warrior cancelling out their own skills.
Carmen Johns has been covered before but it’s worth going over the highlights: She’s fast, order efficient, brings Smoke as well as a friend.
Irmandhinos are cheap specialists who bring smoke grenades to use with their Impetuous Orders. They’re a Sometime Food. If you take Total Reaction Uragans as a defensive piece (Kuryer or otherwise), taking a cheap Engineer to babysit them is a wise investment.
Antipodes: I’m putting these here as noteworthy for a few reasons. First, they are a squad of camouflaged murder-wolves. Second, they have Tactical Awareness which is a great boon for order efficiency in N4 and particularly the very limited combat group slots you’ll have in games playing Reinforcements. And, finally, it’s worth noting how Peripheral interacts with Camouflage and other orders (Sir, may I be so bold as to offer a portmanteau? Peripher-wolves?).
I need you to understand that speed 6-6 with Super-Jump is fast. We’re talking, got all 7 Chaos Emeralds as well as 50 Rings levels of Gotta-Go-Fast here. If your opponent doesn’t contest the mid-field with some sort of Discover-ARO you’ll be elbow-deep in some poor sucker’s chest cavity within 3 orders (and the Antipode Handler is bringing two of those orders to the party). That’s pretty OK if you ask me.
However, the problem with camouflaged Peripherals is that as soon as you ask the Handler to do anything that involves rolling dice (ie. Dodging or even, heaven forbid, firing their Smoke Grenade Launcher…) the Peripherals are obliged to drop their marker state. This is because even if the Peripher-Wolves can’t perform the action that the Handler is doing and instead Idle (which is an order that has the No-Roll tag), the rules for Idle specify that you drop out of Camo when you do it. So, your opponent can spend a single order trying a long-bomb spec-fire on the Handler and fork you into either not dodging or dropping marker state on the Antipodes. Rough.
That said, in a meta-game of null deployments and limited overwatch, you have a very real chance of delivering the Peripher-Wolves to their target and trading up nicely if your opponent doesn’t contest the mid-field. And if they do? Shoot them with your Cool HMG Daddy. Which leads me to my next point…
Who’s your Cool HMG Daddy?
TAK has a few viable options for your HMG-range band rampart sweeping duties. Each have their own Pros and Cons while sitting within the 35-46 point ranges, with no clear winner. It’s worth briefly outlining the virtues of each core option to help educate your decisions with respect to the noble art of dropping fools at range. It’s also important to rate each of these options on the amount of raw drip they bring to the party, hence the Cool Factor rating.
- Spetsnaz with HMG: Mimetism, Surprise Attack, and Marksmanship means the Spetsnaz has a really good chance of wining F2F rolls. The downside is that toting around a regular HMG means you’re not as likely to break armour on heavily armoured targets even if you do win. Having both a marker-state and a Decoy means the Spetsnaz has better chance of surviving your opponent’s Alpha Strike if they get the first turn. Cool Factor: 9/10, you will never be a bad enough dude to save the president while wearing both NVGs and a Beret. Die mad about it.
- Tankhunter with AP-HMG: Sort of like the Spetsnaz but you trade Decoy, Marksmanship and a Close Combat threat for slightly more armour and AP-ammo. You might not win as many F2F rolls but you’re more likely to convert those wins into wounds. Cool Factor: 7/10, both the classic and contemporary Tankhunter HMG sculpts just ooze style. It’s worth noting that there are no Tanks in Infinity because the these guys Hunted them into extinction. Everybody loves a successful predator. Nobody likes Dodos.
- Veteran Kazak with AP-HMG: BS 13 is nice, and you’ve got a good mix of survivability (armour, No Wound Incap and Mimetism) with the downside being that without a marker state the Vet Kazak will have a harder time staying safe if your opponent decides they need to die. Also, they’re bloody expensive at 46 points. Cool factor: 8/10, always issue your AP-HMGs to the people with the foresight to bring their own Stahlhelm and glowing-red-goggles to the war. That’s how you know they’re Veterans, they’ve got all the cool custom skins and Battle-Pass cosmetic equipment.
- Line Kazak Fireteam with AP-HMG: By themselves, Line Kazaks with AP-HMGs are pretty cheap but if you toss in a few buddies to make them a Haris (Because Burst 5 is a quality all of its own) or even pure-Fireteam Core (Burst 5, BS 14 is TAG levels of firepower) they suddenly start to look a little more competitive. Pro: Burst 5 and potentially even BS 14. Con: Trying to move 3-5 models around the table to leverage your Mini-HRMC will suck. Pro: This module will generate 3-5 orders for a comparable cost to your other options, orders that you’ll still have access to even if the HMG gets dropped. Con: Those ‘orders’ all have Arm 1 and a single wound each. Cool Factor: 4/10, these Line Kazaks put the ‘Line’ into borderline boring.
Line Kazaks: I’m disappointed that the Fireteam rules have changed to make a Vet Kazak leading a squad of Line Kazaks less viable than it used to be but considering that everyone else’s degenerate fireteams got screwed over I’ll call it a net win for TAK. You can still drop in a Vet Kazak for the +1 Burst and potentially even +1 BS if you want but you’re basically locking the Vet Kazak down to aggressively patrolling your DZ as taking those Line Kazaks out into the mid-field has all the appearances of an Impending Bad Time. So, I’d probably limit Line Kazak Fireteams to being static ARO squads with either Missile Launchers or Sniper Rifles but I will point out that they seem to be one of the few Light Infantry units that gets an AP-HMG and that’s definitely a thing. A Frontovik Sniper with Mimetism and MSV1 can be a Poor-Mans’s Kamau Sniper if you want to compromise between a full Vet Kazak or a Line Kazak ARO piece. I wouldn’t worry about any of the other units you can plug into this fireteam.
Veterans: This is quite an interesting Fireteam. Giving Frontoviks the same keyword as Vet Kazaks means you can build a ‘pure’ HI fireteam a little cheaper than some other factions. Still probably too expensive to worry about but at least the option is there. The alternative is trying to do something involving the Frontovik MSV 1 Sniper (see above for scathing critique of Not-Kamau snipers).
Dynamos: I don’t quite know why someone would take a 112 FTO into a Dynamo fireteam when you could just take more Dynamos but I’d prefer to retain the choice to make bad decisions rather than have bad decisions taken away from memaybe. Fast moving, well priced models with decent combat stats, useful equipment and the option to be Dogged Specialists? Dynamos are great! Dynamo Duos and Haris Fireteams are even greater. I’d suggest you don’t wildcard anyone in, though.
Ratnik: I could be convinced to test out a Ratnik Haris that includes a Frontovik Engineer but also, there are other factions that can do the full 5-dice Diet Hyper Magnetic Rail Gun experience cheaper and better. Still, it’s something. I can’t recommend it but I wouldn’t mock you for trying it out yourself.
Colonel Voronin: The big man himself. Strategos level 1 in Ariadna, baby! He telegraphs himself badly as a WIP 14 Lieutenant that brings an extra command token but he’s great for the price and between Guard and MA2, this monster will throw his dog at you if you come within 8” of him, that is if he can’t be bothered firing his T2-Boarding Shotgun. Voronin is an excellent Lieutenant and I’d argue that he should be your default pick for most TAK lists unless you have a reason to take someone else.
Cheap Lieutenants: Basically Line Kazaks. However, this is fine. They’re WIP 13, well priced and useful enough as cheerleaders that you can have 1-2 decoy Lieutenants in your list if need be.
Fightin’ Lieutenants: I’m mildly down on Frontoviks but that’s not to say they’re terrible, just never my first pick for Lt. You’re paying 13 points more than a Line Kazak to give your Lt just enough equipment that they might feel obliged to pick a fight that they don’t have the chops to reliably win. Veteran Kazaks are a much nicer (albeit far more expensive) proposition. Higher armour, NWI, 6th Sense and Veteran make them the sort of Lt you’re going to have to fight honestly rather than assassinate through tricks or technical play. You could also be forgiven for going active with them and you at least have the NWI-state to fall back on if a F2F roll goes pear-shaped. Expensive but worth it.
Camo Lieutenants: Scout Lts are OK but I feel like I’d rather go for the Tankhunter, having both higher Armour, some interesting equipment and being slightly cheaper than the Scout. Plushenko is a weird piece for me. He’s priced at a rate that demands some sort of Active play (a T2 Sniper Rifle is a terrifying and unique weapon) but I’d be worried about the failure tolerances you’d have for a 36 point Lt who’s only got Dogged to keep him going. He’s fine, I guess, just make sure he only fights people in their worst range bands and accept that 1 out of every 10 games he’s going to get slapped in the mouth by a Crit and risk sinking your game plan.
Command Options: No NCO in TAK, which is a minor shame. However, Plushenko (again) is a Chain of Command option, offering everything I mentioned above but at least this time it’s not necessarily true that every time he dies you’re going into LoL. He’s viable but also very, very expensive. 33 points for the Tank Hunter CoC isn’t much better but if you’re absolutely terrified of your opponents sniping Voronin, I guess you have to decide if you’re going to splash out for CoC or wallow in your own misery if he gets sniped.
FRRM sending Reinforcements to TAK? Curious, I think the last time the French and Russians worked together in a military context was in 2015 when they were both bombing ISIS (and sending each other puppies). There are a few tropes/standard reinforcement builds that you can plug in TAK during your Reinforcements games…
Mo’blot Mo’Problems This reinforcement module is about packing a Haris Fireteam that includes a 112 Paramedic as well as a Moblot Paramedic as well as packing in as many orders as you can into as few models as possible. This is good for lists where you might be taking High-PH models like Dog Warriors, so that if they fall in the mid-field you can use your Burst 2 Medikit to try and bring them back with a reasonable chance of success. Failing that, you’ve got a few decent shooters to do work with.
Beast-Mode7 orders split between 4 models is a great way to get the most out of your Reinforcements. There’s a mix of capabilities here that will help you solve a multitude of problems.
The following lists should be taken as conceptual starting points for the lists that you’ll later refine and adapt to your own personal style or scenario pack for an upcoming event. Goonhammer takes no responsibility for any tournament outcomes that result from ingesting these sample Army Lists (unless you win). If Gopnik Bass last for more than 3 hours please consult Dr Livesey.
All Camo All Buttons:
This list is pretty simple, you’re hiding most of your button pushers and attack pieces under camouflage markers. You’ve got a few defensive elements: Beasthunter, Mines, and Decoy Markers to delay your opponent. Your attack pieces are generally hidden under camo markers or are fast-movers who can choose their battles. You’ve also got a little smoke to play with between your Irmandinho and your bikers.
This list is a little bit of TAK-Goodstuff, with a few independent elements with different capabilities scattered across both combat groups. You’ve got a 3-man Core and a Haris of Line Kazaks with a Vet Kazak AP-HMG doing the heavy lifting for each team, you can pivot into Forward Observe followed by Guided Fire with the Uragan Traktor Mul or even fallback into CQB with Pavel or the Dog Warrior. You’ve also got a decent spread of Specialists to push buttons with.
Are Veteran Kazaks actually just the Kerberos Panzer Cops from Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade?
I don’t rate TAK as a Dark Horse Faction that sometimes wins tournaments off the back of shell games but I do think they’re a fun and effective mid-tier faction that you can play in a lot of different ways. You wanna put a tonne of Space Werewolves into your list and howl your way to victory? Sure thing. Does deploying 20 Camo Markers and handing your opponent a blank courtesy sheet to rustle their jimmies please you in ways that no significant other ever could? TAK got yo’ back, fam. TAK can do just about anything Russian-adjacent that you want it to, except that weird blank-face robotic ballerina thing…and honestly? I’m pretty OK with that.
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