Both profiles boast high burst weaponry in the HMG and submachine gun respectively. These weapons, combined with a respectable BS value of 13, make the Al Fasid a competent active turn gunfighter.
In terms of range, the submachine gun option seems somewhat weaker than the HMG profile given that it really excels at the 0-8" rangeband whilst the HMG is comfortable at a much more forgiving 16-32".
In terms of ammunition, damage, and burst the HMG profile seems more appealing in most cases, boasting 4 shots at damage 15, versus 3 at 13 for the submachine gun. However, it is worth remembering that the submachine gun features an option for AP rounds, whereas the HMG uses only normal rounds. This means the submachine gun may be more successful against the most heavily armoured targets because it halves their ARM value. For example, a target with ARM 8 that is in cover versus an HMG, requires a roll of a 5 (total ARM 11 versus damage 15). In the case of the submachine gun that target becomes ARM 4 due to the AP rounds and requires a roll of a 7 (total ARM 7 versus damage 13).
Both the light grenade launcher and heavy rocket launcher add interesting template options to their featured profiles but being burst 1 and 2 respectively can make them a little riskier. An additional upside is that they address range bands that the other weapons are not favoured at. The grenade launcher excels at 8-16", where the HMG can struggle, whilst the heavy rocket launcher is comfortable at 16-32", where the submachine gun can struggle.
Of final consideration is full range band coverage. Many units in the faction excel at specific range bands. The Al Fasid with HMG has a positive range band from 0-32 (Heavy Pistol 0-8, Grenade Launcher 8-16, HMG 16-32), meaning it is difficult to get caught in a bad range band. The HRL profile trades full range band coverage for extra ammo types (Heavy Pistol 0-8, SMG 0-8, HRL 16-32).
As you would expect from an expensive, toolbox heavy infantry both profiles feature some very solid ARO tricks.
In terms of attributes, the Al Fasid has a high WIP value (14), and high PH value (14) so it's comfortable dodging and resetting. It also has an impressive ARM value of 5, BTS of 6, and 2 wounds, which means that once hit it has a pretty good chance of saving any incoming shot. Of course with 2 wounds it is able to shrug off some damage even if it is hit, but do watch out for ammunition that forces you to make multiple saves!
As for weaponry, the obvious ARO options are the light grenade launcher, the heavy rocket launcher, mines, and the heavy pistol.
The light grenade launcher not only threatens bunched-up troops with its impact template, but also features an exceedingly useful smoke option which can be used to obscure the Al Fasid and protect it from further incoming attacks. This makes it a very effective defensive option to be considered when you want to completely end any incoming aggression (barring the opponent using MSV to see through the smoke). On the other hand, the fire ammunition and the higher damage boasted by the heavy rocket launcher makes it a more potent ARO weapon in terms of removing enemy models.
Mines can be deployed as an ARO to discourage any troops that might want close in for close combat, along with the heavy pistol which has an impressive damage value of 14. Remember that with sixth sense L1, you have the ability to respond to attacks outside of your line of fire but in your zone of control. You can't be shot in the back within 8" and have no chance of an ARO, you will get to fire that heavy pistol back!
Both profiles feature a weapon capable of suppression fire (HMG, and SMG). This allows the unit to be a solid mobile sentry. In cover and Suppressive Fire, the Al Fasid is -6 to hit and Arm 8!
- The smoke ammunition that the light grenade launcher has can be used to set up safer shots for your troops with MSV2.
- Remember that template weapons can be used to hit opposing troops around corners if there's another visible troop poking out that's a viable main target.
- Template weapons can be used to hit troops with camouflage or ODD without targeting them - just shoot the unit next to them! In addition, the fire ammunition from the heavy rocket launcher will burn away that troops camouflage or ODD rendering them much more manageable (if they survive!).
- Suppressive fire on the submachine gun has almost identical range modifiers to its normal profile. The only difference is the +3 modifier from 0-8" becomes a 0 modifier. This means suppressive fire is exceedingly strong on this profile, if you're in a sensible position to make use of it, of course.
- Speculative fire on the grenade launcher can hit targets over walls, which saves you facing potentially dangerous AROs
The Al Fasid can be reasonably scary to play against because it does so much and has such varied armaments, however it is very beatable.
Probably the most effective and safest answer to the Al Fasid is hacking. Despite its BTS value of 6 it's still very vulnerable to powerful programs such as carbonite, and if the attack is used out of its line of sight then the only ARO it can declare is to reset. Using this method you can potentially immobilise an Al Fasid without it being able to do anything significant about it.
Hitting the Al Fasid head on is probably a mistake. With an ARM value of 8 in cover, it will save HMG shots with a roll of an 8, which means you're reasonably likely to be left frustrated. Here the emphasis should be on outflanking and attacking from the sides or back. It's true that the Al Fasid has some defensive coverage here due to mines and sixth sense L1, but it still can't do anything against attackers that are out of line of fire and more than 8" away.
Consider a faster moving troop - a TAG, bike, infiltrator, or any other manoeuvrable troop to approach from the side and try to remove its cover. With an ARM value of 5 it will only save against HMGs half the time (requiring a roll of 11 to save against damage 15), likewise a boarding shotgun with AP rounds brings its armour to 3 (again requiring a roll of 11 to save against damage 13).
Despite its cost and abilities it's probably not wise to depend on the Al Fasid as your only aggressive troop or ARO piece. As painful as it might be to have to dish out more points, it's always worth having a backup plan. The Al Fasid is not invincible, after all.
In terms of specific support for the Al Fasid, a good hacking network is always helpful in protecting heavy infantry. Haqqislam has access to the fantastic Al Hawwa and Hunzakut which can begin setting up a mid-board hacking presence, ready to protect your Al Fasid as it advances forward. Both Al Fasid profiles have weapons that are best at 16-32" so you do want to try to secure a mid-board spot for it. The Hunzakut and Al Hawwa can do this easily due to their infiltration.
Most Haqqislam lists make use of the doctor plus skill given that it's one of the faction's main perks, and there are few better doctor targets than a 53 point heavy infantry. If you're really feeling extravagant then the Janissary akbar doctor can heal 2 wounds with one order, but that unit will cost you another 41 points (ouch!). If you do go for a strategy utilising an Al Fasid and a Janissary doctor then you can pair the two as your main active-turn pieces. The Janissary has an AP rifle and light shotgun with BS13 so is also a capable mid-board presence.
It's also worth bearing in mind that enemy hackers will probably try to immobilise your Al Fasid. An engineer can be very useful in fixing any immobilised heavy infantry, but the investment is arguably too high if that's going to be the engineers only use in your list. You could consider taking Haqqislam's total reaction remote, the Shihab, in order to give your engineer more to repair!
Deploying the Al Fasid isn't the most tricky endeavour simply because it's a troop that's quite comfortable being in the line of fire. The best solution would be somewhere nearby to a cluttered area and a medium-ranged firelane at the same time. The minelayer skill will allow you to deploy a mine within the close-quarters terrain in order to protect your deployment zone from approachers, whilst the medium-ranged firelane would be perfect for the Al Fasid to take advantage of with its HMG or heavy rocket launcher.
Do be aware that if you're going second the Al Fasid will likely be a priority for your opponent in their first turn. Bear this in mind when deploying by giving it a reasonable field of fire, but not one that leaves it too exposed.
Active Turn Role
The Al Fasid has a reduced movement value of 4-2, which means that you want to be using the move + shoot combination wherever possible in order to get around the downside of a 2" second movement. Due to this it's tempting to throw your Al Fasid right into the line of fire of many opposing troops but this probably isn't wise. You still need to be careful about attacking targets one by one wherever possible so that you're not forced to split your burst, or face unopposed rolls from your opponent.
In terms of picking targets, it's important to note the limitations of the profile. With no source of MSV it's possible you may struggle against troops with camouflage or ODD. Furthermore, as mentioned above, your mid-range options, the HMG and heavy rocket launcher, lack AP ammunition. The submachine gun does include AP ammunition but is a very short range weapon which combines poorly with the Al Fasid's 4-2 MOV. Given these facts your first-pick targets would ideally be more lightly armoured opponents. Medium and heavy infantry can also be reliably taken on as well, but it may be best to avoid the heaviest TAGs unless you can catch them out with the submachine gun at close range.
Relevant information about positioning, weapons, tricks, and ideal targets has been covered already.
The only facet of the Al Fasid's profile worth bearing in mind for the ARO turn that hasn't been mentioned already is that it has a higher PH value than BS value. This makes dodging an arguably better ARO choice than shooting in most situations. If the opposing troop seems unlikely to be able to harm the Al Fasid then taking a shot is a reasonable response, but if you really need to win the face-to-face roll then dodging is going to be the correct choice most of the time.