Intel File: Shinobu Kitsune – The Constant Gardener
…is Shinobu Kitsune real, or is she just a myth? Only the very best of the Ninja clans are selected to become the feared Oniwanibans. Oniwaniban means “the one in the garden’ and was given during the Tukugawa shogunate to the shogun’s personal gardener at his service that belonged to the elite class of a ninja clan. In the Yu Jing Empire no record exists of the Oniwaniban – save for a military intelligence report from O-12. This report details how a special operative acting behind enemy lines on Paridiso aquired critilal military intelligence and then cross the enemy battle lines, passing through an entire Morat regiment to return the data. A single reference to the operatives name was made…’Kitsune S.’
This is the first in hopefully a series of articles examining units within JSA and Yu Jung and the tactics and strategies to use them. I’ve chose to start with Shinobu – my favourite unit in Infinity!
Without doubt Shinobu is the most dangerous close combat expert in the game! She is AVA 1 in both JSA and Yu Jing – which is rare as many characters are not available in both standard and sectorial armies. With an amazing Close Combat of 25 she ranks joint top sharing only with Miyamoto Mushashi. Alongside this she has Martial Arts Level 5 and of course not forgetting the deadly Monofilament CC Weapon! Her other stats are fare to middling. BS 11 is typical for the Ninja’s/Oniwaniban’s but isn’t anything special. PH 13 is a good score although not as good as the 14 of the Domaru/Haramaki or the second best CC experts Yo Jimbo and Saito Togan. ARM 1 offers little protection while BTS 3 give her good resistance vs Viral and EM attacks. Although not a specialist her WP 14 is useful when she in a lieutenant or for Intuitive Attacks. Her skills and equipment are an incredibly useful tool kit for murder and assassination. Superior Infiltration allows her to deploy right up to the opponents DZ on a roll of 16 (and why wouldn’t you!). Her TO: Camo allows her to deploy in the Hidden Deployment state, starting off the table. Her smoke grenades offer great cover to deliver the killing blows. Finally her weapon loadout includes a standard Combi Rifle, Nanopulsar direct template weapon (probably the least useful item she has), and the devastating monofilament blade. She also has an LT optional, although in most games she will start in Hidden Deployment so this isn’t that useful as you would start in Loss of Lieutenant! At a cost of 47 points she is expensive but worth every penny – but the 0.5 SWC for the Molofilament can bite into your SWC allocation!
Tactics and Strategies
Shonibu’s singular talent is killing! Deadly and efficient, few units can hope to survive and encounter with her blade.
The ideal way to use Shibobu is to keep her as your hold back trooper. Once your opponent has deployed select the area you want to target. TAG’s are easy pickings for Shinobu and if you can deploy her near a TAG it will not live to see the next turn…. Shibobu is also highly useful for Lt hunting, especially in the mission Decapitation! Finally in specialist missions, she can hunt down and eliminate those units.
When deploying her try to place her inside or behind a building. If this isn’t possible don’t worry as in her first order she can move 8” without threat as a marker to acquire full cover. The only thing the enemy can do is to discover you, but as you’ll be out of line of fire at the end of the order that’s no issue.
Once she is established in cover – it’s time to put down some smoke. Move around a corner so that you can see the area next to your victim but so you do not move into LoF. Shinobu throws smoke on 16’s when within 8” so is deadly accurate. One tip – do not throw the smoke over the target, instead make sure the smoke template is within a base width (25mm) or the target. This was the target can’t dodge, and Shinobu can still move into B2B contact while her base is still touching the smoke template. Once in smoke she can move through with no ARO’s (e.g. Change Face) due to her Stealth. She can also perform Speculative Fire while within the smoke to put down more smoke in 8” on PH 10 (13+3-6) as an entire order.
Now the smoke’s down – she can get to work. Moving into CC and attacking with her monofilament blade. For most targets (e.g. line troops, HI, REMS, TAGs etc) the best option is to use Martial Arts level 4. While this gives no bonuses it does allow you to roll 2 dice (B2). This still allows Shinobu to CRIT on a dice roll of 15 (as she gets +5 to the dice roll with her CC of 25), and a CRIT means…. INSTANT DEATH… yes you read right – straight to dead. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 Yen, do not go to unconscious, dogged, NWI etc… DEAD. Even if you are a 2 wound HI or a 3 wound TAG. Even if you don’t crit the opponent needs to roll over 12 with no ARM, so that’s a 60% kill rate! When facing two low CC targets it’s even worth going into base to base with both and splitting the B2 attack 1 dice on each!
When Shinobu has to face opponents with Martial Arts and high CC values, the options become more tricky. Vs MA 1 or MA 3 where she would get -3 CC her best option is to downgrade to MA3 and take the +3CC/-3 opponents CC mods which effectively cancel out leaving her with the superior CC or 25. Sometimes it’s worth though considering the extra burst of MA4. E.g. Against an Aleph Myrmidon with MA 3 and CC 22, she could use MA 3 and role 1 dice (25) vs 1 dice (22), or take the 2 dice (25-3=22), vs 1 dice (22+3=25). Although at a 3 skill disadvantaged the extra chance from the bonus die is well worth it!
Shinobu really shines when she is attacked by multiple CC opponents. In one example Shinobu was attacked by a link or 3 Haramaki. The link leader had CC23, MA3 and B3 (+2PH) due to the extra members of the link into base to base. Shinobu using MA5 can roll the same number of dice back! She would roll 3 dice and apply a -6 to the opponents CC. Overall putting the Haramaki on B3 CC 20 (23+3-6) and Snibobu on B3 CC 22 (25 -3). In the above case Shinobu put down the Haramaki!
However, although the less honourable thing to do, Shinobu is best off hunting low CC no MA units.
Although not her best tactic she is pretty effective a delivering close range combi rifle shots. When up against a Total Reaction HMG REM, if she attacks from cover and does a surprise shot while within 16” the TR REM will be rolling vs BS -1 (11-3-6-3) so can’t hit. Although if the REM is in cover Shinobu will only be rolling B3 at BS 11 (11+3-3).
Although a bit of a waste of points – Shinobu does allow you to lay down tactical smoke almost anywhere on the table. In front of the TR HMG REM, over the objectives, or in a fire lane. Combined with the Rui Shi Spitfire MSV2 or Hsein HMG MSV2 this can be very effective. In JSA there are only 3 smoke units so it can be useful, but in Yu Jing the availability of cheap smoke from Celestial Guards Smoke LGL or Shaolin Monks makes this a waste of points.
Few things make Shinobu scared…. But one is Scots in kilts with Claymores! Against any unit with Berserk she will die. The opponent will happily trade their 20 point trooper for your 47 point killing machine. The Krakot Renegade is particularly good at this with Berserk and Chest Mines.
Units with high CC and MA or natural born warrior like Achillies can also face up to Shinobu, and although she has the slight advantage it will come down to an almost straight up even F2F dice roll.
Mines also pose a problem for Shinobu – and will even target her through smoke or while she is a Marker. One tactic to avoid them is to just go for it and trigger them, rolling vs the PH 10 (13-3) dodge, but that’s not ideal. A better tactic is to try and move in a straight line keeping your target between you and the mine so it can’t go off, although when she kills the target and it’s no longer there she can now become stuck face to face with a mine!
Perhaps the most effective counter to Shinobu is the dreaded Crazy Koala (and the new Mad Trap). These perimeter weapons with go for her as soon as she is within ZoC ignoring smoke (although they can’t while she is a marker). Again the best options are to either dodge on the spot and let them go off rolling the PH 13 dodge, or to try and pick them off at over 8” with her combi rifle.
Flame units and other template weapons can be good vs Shinobu but in most cases Shinobu will had placed down smoke.
MSV2 can pose and issue, but the best way for her to deal with that is to avoid the side of the table with the MSV2 or to take out that unit first. MSV3 Units like the Aquilla guard are very deadly and will need to be taken out!
HaqqIslam Gazi Muttawi’ah (or Mutts) can be a real issue. As Shinobu moves in they can Jam and isolate her, stopping any more orders being spend on her
After Shinobu has been on her killing spree in her active turn she become a priority target. In the reactive turn she is particularly vulnerable to template weapons, but don’t get too close as she can always ARO Engage.
The key tactic when list building with Shinobu is to feed her orders. Try and place her in a combat group with 8-10 order and then spend all of them on Shinobu. Then use your 2nd combat group for setting up defensively.
Here is the 300 point list I used at the UK Masters.
Masters List B JSA
GROUP 1 8 / 1
RAIDEN (Minelayer, X Visor) Heavy Rocket Launcher, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 21)
TOKUSETSU KOHEI Engineer Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
KEISOTSU Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 9)
KEISOTSU (Forward Observer) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 10)
KEISOTSU Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 17)
RUI SHI Spitfire / Electric Pulse. (1 | 20)
HÙSÒNG Yaókòng HMG / Electric Pulse. (1 | 25)
SHINOBU Combi Rifle, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Monofilament CCW. (0.5 | 47)
WARCOR (Aerocam) Flash Pulse / Stun Pistol, Knife. (0 | 3)
YÁOZĂO Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
GROUP 25 / 4
HARAMAKI Blitzen, Contender / Pistol, AP CCW. (0 | 22)
HARAMAKI Blitzen, Contender / Pistol, AP CCW. (0 | 22)
HARAMAKI Blitzen, Combi Rifle / Pistol, DA CCW. (0 | 29)
HARAMAKI Missile Launcher / Pistol, DA CCW. (1.5 | 33)
DOMARU Lieutenant Chain Rifle, E/M Grenades / Pistol, E/M CCW. (0 | 25)
6 SWC | 300 Points
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