AL HAWWA' Unit

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AlHawwaCatalogue.png
The Al Hawwa is an inexpensive skirmisher that has multiple flexible loadouts. It's comfortable as both an objective-taker or a more aggressive piece.

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Offensive Tools

In terms of conventional weapons your choice is either between a sniper rifle, or a boarding shotgun. The shotgun covers the 0-8" range band with a +6BS modifier, and the sniper rifle covers a much wider 16-48" at +3BS.

Snipers utilise shock ammunition which can be exceedingly useful in taking out targets that might have Dogged or NWI, as it cancels those skills. It also has a high damage value of 15 which is well suited to threatening targets with moderate armour values. The boarding shotgun uses AP ammunition and hits with damage 14. Although initially appearing a little less powerful than the sniper, it actually ultimately does more damage against high armour targets due to the value of halving opposing armour values. In fact a successful hit against any opponent with ARM 4 or above with the shotgun actually has a greater chance of inflicting a wound than the sniper does because the AP ammunition removes at least 2 points from the opponent's armour value, whilst doing just 1 point less damage.

The boarding shotgun is an impact template weapon, meaning that a template extends backwards from the first target it hits. This can be very useful in hitting bunched up infantry that happen to be standing in a line, which most often occurs against link teams or when approaching units that have been hiding behind a piece of scenery from the side.

The profile with an assault hacking device also has the option of targeting heavy infantry, remotes, and TAGs with a variety of hacking programs. Most disable the opponent through immobilization or isolation. Two notable programs are Total Control and Carbonite. Total Control gives you a single dice that hits with damage 16, and results in you possessing the targeted TAG if successful. Carbonite gives you two dice at WIP+3 (that's 17 for an Al Hawwa!) that hit with damage 13 and double trouble ammunition (2 BTS saves required per success), and results in the targeted heavy infantry, TAG, or remote being put into the immobilized-1 state for the rest of the turn.

Finally, note that due to camouflage all Al Hawwa's are granted surprise shot which imposes a nasty -3 modifier to the opponent's ARO when the Al Hawwa shoots from a marker state. This is a fantastic way for an Al Hawwa to take on targets with much higher BS stats - and win! Camouflage also grants stealth which means you can move through opponsing troops zone of control without provoking an ARO, as long as you're not seen. Using stealth, surprise shot, and the boarding shotgun together you can pull off some lethal strikes!

Defensive Tools

Camouflage is the Al Hawwa's main defensive tool. Being in a marker state means the Al Hawwa cannot be shot. Therefore, forcing the opponent to spend orders discovering the Al Hawwa before they can shoot it is often enough for them to be a bit hesitant about taking it on.

The hacking profile can use hacking programs as an ARO without line of fire - the opposing troop merely has to be within the zone of control of the Al Hawwa, or a friendly repeater. This is a very strong defensive tool because it allows you to set up threatening AROs without having to put your Al Hawwa into an exposed position.

The sniper profile includes mines which can be a very useful piece of defensive equipment. Blocking an opponent's advance, or forcing them to take a dodge action instead of moving can help to slow down your opponent and can give you strong board control.

If the worst comes to the worst and the Al Hawwa is exposed and has to choose an ARO, the boarding shotgun may be enough to see it through, due to the strong +6 BS modifier it grants up to 8". However any range longer than that and the troop may well struggle.

The sniper profile is a bit more suited to defensive situations given that its weapon can outrange most others, meaning it can usually set up favourable AROs due to range and camouflage modifiers.

Special Tricks

  • Think about exploiting your opponent's ARO choices to force them into unfavourable situations. If your opponent chooses to dodge as an ARO then consider hacking, if possible. That way your roll will be unopposed. Likewise if your opponent chooses to reset then consider taking a shot with the shotgun for a free attack.
  • If you're very worried about an opposing enemy with a high BS value then the use of the spotlight hacking program may be worth thinking about. You can safely use this hacking program on an enemy unit without line of fire, in order to put them into the targeted state. Once you've done this re-enter camouflage, and then pop out with your shotgun using surprise shot to stack the modifiers. In a perfect situation you'll be receiving +9 due to range and their targeted state, whilst they'll be receiving -9 from surprise shot, camouflage, and cover. That's one way to guarantee a face to face!

Counterplay

Almost all of the Al Hawwa's flexibility revolves around its camouflage, and therefore direct template weapons or any troop with MSV should have an easy time dealing with it.

In reality, the Al Hawwa does not have a particularly high BS or PH, so it doesn't shoot that well, and it doesn't dodge that well either. If you have a troop with a particularly high BS you might be able to take it on without even having MSV. All of the profiles except the one with the sniper lose a lot of efficacy out of 8" due to their primary weapon being a shotgun. So really, any troop with a high burst, long-range weapon could take on an Al Hawwa reasonably easily even if they lack MSV. This is probably the safest option if the opponent has taken the Al Hawwa with an assault hacking device and you want to avoid nasty hacking AROs.

List Composition

In terms of specific unit support the Al Hawwa doesn't particularly need any, but it's always a good idea if you have a way to take out enemy troops that have MSV when you play camouflage units. You could consider something like a Djanbazan HMG or a Fiday to clear out opposing troops with MSV, so that your Al Hawwa can then move around more safely.

Deployment

It's crucial to remember that infiltration gives the Al Hawwa a lot of choices when deploying. Typically you should be looking for safe areas where you can grab objectives early and then approach enemy troops that are advancing at a range that favours your shotgun. Unless you're playing the sniper profile, of course. If this is the case then you'll likely want to look for areas where you can take an early objective but then cover a long range-band with the sniper.

Generally you will want to look for a more covered position, and the reason for this is that when left in the open an Al Hawwa can die remarkably quickly, even as a camouflage marker. MSV is very common and it's not too difficult to discover a troop anyway. It's also worth bearing in mind that plenty of weapons have intuitive attack and can therefore hit you even as a camouflage marker. Don't expose your Al Hawwa unnecessarily. There's no shame in just keeping your Al Hawwa tucked away in a corner until your active turn and then springing into action.

If you do want to use the Al Hawwa as an ARO piece then it's most likely going to be the sniper profile you're interested in. In this situation don't just ignore infiltration because you want a long firelane to take advantage of with the sniper. What about looking for a long firelane in the middle of the board, maybe one that spans from the left edge to the right edge, instead of the more traditional case of the bottom edge to the top edge. By doing this you might be able to deploy close to an objective, lay some mines to slow down enemy forces and still cover a useful position too! Whereas if you deploy in your own deployment zone then you might find the mines less useful.

Active Turn Role

You might want to include an Al Hawwa as an assault piece. In this role you'd be using the assault hacking device to take out TAGs and heavy infantry, as well as stealth and surprise shot to approach opposing troops from out of line of fire then the shotgun to blast them! Make good use of the Al Hawwa's manoeuvrability, and remember that due to camouflage you can cross an exposed area and take one set of AROs safely because all the opponent can do is discover - it's when you're not in a marker state you need to worry about AROs. Do remember that boarding shotguns can kill TAGs. AP ammunition combined with the ability to sneak into a position where you can shoot a target our of their line of fire is no joke.

You might also want to take advantage of the fact that the Al Hawwa has specialist options with infiltrate. This means you can deploy next to objectives and easily capture them on the first or second turn. In addition to this as a hacker with D-Charges it can fulfil a huge number of classified objectives. Sometimes the best role for an Al Hawwa is as a scoring piece.

ARO Options

The Al Hawwa is less often included as a dedicated ARO piece, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. Either the sniper profile with mines or the hacking profile can set up very hostile areas of the board and discourage your opponent from moving around freely.

If you do have to make ARO decisions with an Al Hawwa then think very carefully about when the right time to reveal yourself is. Sometimes it might be best to do nothing for one order just to see if the opposing troop can actually discover you. If they fail then you're safe. This can make ARO decisions very difficult because sometimes you might be tempted to take a hacking ARO targeting an enemy that can't see you, only for them to gain line of fire to you with their next order. You need to plan ahead a little bit and think about when to time your various AROs because revealing yourself is risky!