Some of the best airborne deployment troops in the game. Great specialsts. It doesn't matter where it is and how broken or hurt it is, a Tomcat can fix it. They can also kill some other stuff that's in the way.
BS12 is respectable. Their weapon loadouts combined with AD and climbing plus makes them good at taking out cheerleaders, weak specialists, data trackers, and line trooper lieutenants hiding in the back.
Combi rifle: standard weapon; with AD you should always be in good range
Light flamethrower: come around the corner and light a fireteam on fire
E/Mitter: I don't recommend firing this weapon unless you're shooting someone in the back burst 1 makes it a really dicey face-to-face roll. It is great if you can hit a tag or nasty heavy infantry with it though, 2 BTS saves at half BTS. If they fail they're isolated and immobilized-2. If they're a hacker their hacking equipment is disabled. Good to target TAGS with.
DEP: Some of the same considerations apply here as with the E/Mitter, it's also disposable(1).
Climbing plus: the combination of climbing plus with the combi/light flamethrower makes this an excellent LT hunter.
Zero-G: ignores difficult terrain in rescue. The Tomcat needs to choose between this or AD during deployment, it does not get both
Anti-personnel mine: allows this troop to block an enemy's approach in the midfield. They can be used aggressively to force an enemy to dodge or take a free hit against the Tomcat's combi on the next order
ARM 1, BTS 0, and PH11 is very basic and does not provide much survivability.
AD keeps Tomcats in hidden deployment until you choose to deploy them. This is their main defense ensuring they get a change to act.
Light flamethrower is the main defense preventing the opponent from attacking the Tomcat at close range without taking a free hit, defending the Tomcat by making the attack too dangerous. The Tomcat with AP mines loses the LFT but can place the mines in ARO instead.
Suppression fire can increase survivability but is not significant without any equipment to aid the Tomcat.
Climbing plus can be used to put the Tomcat is a safe position, such as prone on a difficult to access roof. If you need to keep this Tomcat alive this is realistically the best way to do it.
Deployable repeater: Allows you to extend your hacking range; this may be useful to get white noise up the field (if you have access to it) or to drop a repeater near a heavy infantry fireteam or cluster of remotes.
Anti-personnel mines: When this profile is about to lose a gunfight (you can tell when the mods are not in your favor) drop a mine and taunt your opponent from beyond the grave. The combination of a burst weapon with a template weapon can force your opponent into making some poor decisions, if they dodge, fire the combi, if they shoot, lay down the template. Given that they can show up in unexpected places you might even get to catch a trooper in a marker state under the template while targeting someone else.
Zondcats: The doctor and engineer profiles have the option of taking a Zondcat. This is particularly useful if you have a recoverable troop and objective in two locations. Remember that the Zondcat doesn't have climbing plus!
The engineer profile + zondcat is one of the best profiles in hunting party! Hold it back until turn 3 and unglue all of your LT's/specialists.
Airborne infiltration only allows them to walk on the side of the board. Have AROs watching the side of the board, especially close to your deployment zone. If this is impossible due to terrain, deploy troops >8.25" away from the corner that the AD troop will walk around and set up AROs on that corner. Do not bunch your troops together.
Use Mines and perimeter weapons like crazy koalas. Low PH forces the Tomcat to sacrifice a Zondcat (if available) to get past and prevents them from deploying in the trigger range without taking free hits.
The doctor and engineer profiles are really good in specialist focused missions. Less is more: when taking more than 2 it gets a little tricky to get your mileage out of them. Similar profiles give them an overlap, making additional Tomcats only helpful after the first has been exhausted. An exception could be a doctor and engineer in case you want both to recover troops. You'll start to spend a decent amount of points on things that start off the table and don't provide an order to begin with.
As they tend to require quite a bit of orders to accomplish what you want to do there is a risk of draining orders away from the rest of your army. Make sure they're in an order group where they have enough resources to accomplish their objectives.
Do not walk them in while taking ARO's, the only potential acceptable risk may be a flash pulse, but even that will render them mostly useless for that turn.
Timing is critical depending on what you want to accomplish:
Turn 1: for alphastrike purposes or to capture objectives in missions like supplies or rescue when your opponent has turtled up a little too hard (no ARO presence)
Turn 2: The advantage is that they'll provide an order in turn 3 if they survive. Typically by now, your opponent has advanced some pieces and there might be gaps in their ARO coverage of the side of the board which allows you to come in. Sometimes they'll have advanced some troops up the board which allows you to shoot someone in the back if they're facing forward.
Turn 3: recommended use is to bring them in to take back objectives from your opponent, they might win you the game! The downside: Usually by now some of your own troops will have died potentially depriving your AD troop of orders.
Active Turn Role
The primary role to take Tomcats in is as an AD doctor or engineer. AD allows you to recover troops that are normally too inefficient to reach. Remember that a Zondcat allows you to recover troops while approaching a secondary target with the Tomcat. AD and doctor/engineer also allows the Tomcat to easily complete multiple classified objectives that are normally difficult.
Tomcats also have the ability to hunt down and, at great risk to themselves, kill very important targets.
- The LFT allows you to bypass the face to face against fireteams giving you a chance (or multiple chances) to knock a member unconscious and break that important 5th member bonus.
- If the fireteam dodges the Tomcat has a good gun and BS unlike most warbands.
- Climbing+ allows you to reach targets that were meant to never be approached, such a links on roofs, hackers, lieutenants, or engineers/doctors making use of servants.
The non-specialist Tomcats can be taken if you are not making use of the specialist options. Mines in the enemy deployment zone and e/mitter threatening their heavy armor can effectively cripple your opponent on the next turns as they recover. A repeater can do the same. The DEP can, unlike the e/mitter, permanently deal with a tough target if you can manage a hit.
The light flamethrower is a great ARO option. At the end of your active turn leave the Tomcat so all LOF is short to force your opponent to take that risk. If you have an order left, put the it in suppressive fire. Even in suppressive fire the LFT may be the better option if the face to face is not looking good. You will usually be using the LFT, dropping suppressive fire, because most opponents will not risk a close face to face. It will still force your opponent to spend more effort either getting the Tomcat out of suppressive fire or using a unit that can get better BS mods.
If you have the profile with the mines and the Tomcat is in a situation where you're likely to lose the shootout, drop a mine (if the location is at all strategic). If you make your armor save(s) watch your opponent cry.