10 Mar 2016

Infinity ideas: Miyamoto Mushashi – Table Top

This is my first tactical review of an Infinity Miniature – if this works and my ideas are not full of shit, I’ll do another - Dozer

Miyamoto Musashi, or as the folks at Infinity scribe his name Mushashi, was a real person. His origin is a wee bit murky and full of speculation outside of his recorded duels. Eiji Tokugawa wrote the most common interpretation of Musashi’s history and it’s the history most of us know. Sadly it’s heavy on the fiction but it hits the basics pretty well.

Musashi was brilliant swordsman which he demonstrated through duelling with his unique kenjitstu (sword style). He called his style Niten Ichi (sometimes Nito Ichi). Musashi (the novel) is a recommended read for many who think about fighting since the crux of Musashi’s ideas is about shifting the paradigm of a style within the traditional, or shifting the traditional around a style. He writes it all down in two books Go Rin No Sho (aka the Book of Five Rings) and in the week leading to his death, Dokkodo (aka the Way of Walking Alone). Both are real world good reads – I highly recommend them both.

When I was first looking at Infinity at the start in the year 2010, two things caught my eye; Aragoto Senkenbutai and Miyamoto Mushashi.

So 175 years in the future, the Miyamoto Mushashi of Infinity has a different past:

The Project Duellist was initiated by the AI at the request of the VissioRama Maya channel for its Aristeia! program. The idea was to recreate a contemporary equivalent of Musha-Shugyo, the wandering pilgrimage that Miyamoto made between 1605 and 1612. In the series, viewers could enjoy his trips around the Human Sphere and the duels in which he participated along the road against other Aristos.

In the beginning, the series was a success, with reviews, fans and followers admiring him as a legendary being. Amazing and passionate, Miyamoto possesses the deftness of a master, the heart of a lion and the vivacity of a tiger (CloseCombat magazine, Maya). However, little by little, audience rates started to fall. Miyamoto, a severe and sober person, lacked the frivolity necessary to enjoy his Aristeia! star status, and his series, even though it could be very exciting, was not funny. For a warrior like him, with all the experience in combat of his original, to fight following aesthetic considerations was absurd. For Maya, his duels were not flashy enough; on the contrary, they were fast and effective, too fast for the producer and spectators of VissioRama. The channel, after seeing Mushashi would not change his fighting style, requested the deletion and reprogramming of his personality to obtain a duellist as effective but more theatrical and spectacular. Nevertheless, a hacker fan of Miyamoto intercepted the internal communications of VissioRama and alerted his idol, who disappeared into the night.

Currently, Miyamoto is accused of blood crimes and economic felonies against VissioRama, for participating in illegal duels, for murder of several Aspects of the AI and rebellion against ALEPH, which he seems to hate deeply. With such charges and such powerful enemies, he has been obliged to carry on the adventurous life he has always enjoyed. Now he leads a real duellist’s life, a fugitive mercenary always alert to continuous risk and constant flight, wandering aimlessly without a home. Forgotten and missing for months, he suddenly reappears in faraway scenarios and in illegal arenas. Danger and the underground circuits of Aristeia! have helped him polish his martial style the hard way. Specialized in his own kenjutsu technique called nitenichi or nitoichi (Two Heavens or Two Swords As One) Miyamoto Mushashi has revalidated his status as a saint of the sword but a turbulent saint, dangerous and lethal.” – Infinity Core Rulebook, Second Edition (trans from Spanish - poorly)

Miyamoto Mushashi
by Corvus Beli
The N3 write up on Mushashi is an improvement - like everything else in N3.

History lesson over – let’s get into the game.

You’ll find Mushashi on page 176 of the Unit Profile PDF (when I worte this post) or page 240 of the N3 Core Rulebook. You can find the N3 Unit Profiles and the N3 Rules free from the Infinity Website.

First off Mushashi is a Mercenary. That means unless you see him in a Sectorial Army List you will not be allowed to play him at any ITS events. Lucky for the JSA (Japanese Sectorial Army) he is listed. and he costs a cheap 24 points and no SWC.
When building a single battle group on 10 troops at 300 point you`re average cost per mini is 30 points. Mushashi is a fucking bargain. I always try to find a place for him in my JSA lists. I’ve used him on the flank with his high MOV. I’ve used him to keep the defense in depth when facing against an aggressive opponent or someone who can put things on my side of the table. A few times, I’ve just launched him like some human missle, letting him get close with a few orders before he rampages and kills everything he can get close to. It's been the rare game where Mushashi has not killed his points worth in enemy units.

He has a cube, which means getting turned by a Sepsitor (the Combined Army’s mind control gun) is a danger. It also means that players can use one Command Token to re-roll a Medical roll if the first one fails. Handy since the man likes to get in close and sometimes that is dangerous work. Cubes are also handy in campaigns allowing him to survive post match, by not screwing up a cube-vac roll. In Infinity Campaigns, when a miniature dies, you roll to see if the back up – the cube, is salvageable. Success means you can continue to use the model, failure means your copy of the character is gone and they are no longer accessible for the rest of the campaign.

Mushashi is also Irregular, meaning he does not contribute to a battlegroup’s order pool. He can still access the orders in the pool but he keeps the order he generates for himself.

Mushashi has a great stat line with a few bumps.

MOV 6-4 makes him fast, very fast for a non-TAG. Only bikes are faster, and the only ones who can match his speed are all much larger than him and some cases can’t event take cover. The 6” first move is brilliant at making jumping, falling, cautious moves, and getting into close combat. Be warned that there are many close combat focused units that are more agile and can ignore terrain.

Mushahi also sports the highest CC in the game with 25.

PanO has Joan of Arc with a CC 23.
Shinobu Kitsune ties in CC but she's also on the same team.
Van Zant and William Wallace are CC 22 for Ariadna.
Kasym Beg, Tarik Mansuri, and Hussein al-Djabel are CC 23 as the top from Haqqislam.
Nomads has Bran do Castro with a CC 22.
The forces of the Combined Army have Cadmus-Naish Agent Sheskin with a CC 24.
ALEPH has Achilles at CC 24.
The Tohaa a troop choice, the Markaul with a CC 22.
Alongside the rest of the MERCs on Saito Togan comes close with a CC 24 and he plays for the JSA.

You get a +1 for each number about 20 on a skill roll. That means he gets a +5 to his d20 roll. Any roll that is 20 or above (rolling a 15+ in Mushashi's case) means getting a critical. Getting a critical on a hit means no armour save on the side of your opponent for the first wound applicable wound.

Without applying any extra rules, he will hit on any roll of the d20 and get a critical on a 15 or higher (30% chance). If you are unlucky to roll under your opponent in the face to face roll, don’t forget that +5, it can shift your roll from being a failed roll to a winning roll.

Mushashi has a BS of 9 which is not good… it’s very bad. Luky for him his a Chain Rifle for groups of enemies that are just out of sword range. A Chain Rifle is Mushashi’s most commonly used backup weapon. Dropping a Template down to ruin camo markers (Intuative Attack), and drop larger groups that he cannot get into melee with is a common sight when folks keep avoiding Mushashi. Most players who are not used to playing with Mushashi will err on the side of the Chain Rifle.

A PH of 14 means he’s got a 70% to dodge and climb while also doing damage 14 with his close combat weapons. Which is good, almost very good – not the best but better than most. WIP 15 is brilliant and his ARM 1, BTS 3, W 1 are all basic and nothing special.

With his high WIP his Flashpulse becomes a great weapon. The Flash Pulseand a surprise for opponents. When getting shot at from 8” to 24” the Flash Pulse has a +3. Big deal unless you remember that Technical Weapons use a miniature’s WIP instead of BS. Mushashi sports a WIP of 15, shooting at an 18 at a target within 8”-24”. That’s 90% success and a possible win in many exchanges. Instead of killing an enemy it instead puts them in the Blind State. Shutting them down for the rest of that Player’s turn.

Example: I had Mushashi get close to a Sniper who had great coverage of my whole advance. Deciding to take advantage of the 20” range, he fired at Mushashi hoping to drop the jerk before he got deeper into his lines. My ARO was a Flash Pulse.

My opponent was rolling BS 13: +3 (Range) -3 (Mushashi in Cover) = 13, against my WIP: 15 +3 (Range) -3 (Shooter in Cover) = 15. I won the exchange and his sniper sat down for the rest of my opponents turn. He suddenly had to re-plan his turn. No longer able to clear a way or open a gap in my defences, and bring more of his guys up faster without cover fire in order to shoot at my troops. Mushashi was fine with that; he died my next turn but he kill three on the way down.

Mushahsi has four special skills: Dual Wield, Kinematika L2, Martial Arts L5, and V: NWI.

Dual Wield is the first up to bat and it’s quite the start. Mushashi has both an AP and EXP close combat weapon. Due to Dual Wield, he gets to apply both ammo types when he hits someone. Mushashi does the same type and level of damage as a; D-Charge, D.E.P., Missile Launcher in Antitank Mode, and a Panzerfaust. Only the Portable Auto Cannon does a point more damage with a AP+EXP attack. If he scores a critical, the opponent automtically takes a wound and then may save against the two other wounds (at half armor).

Kinematika L2, means that Mushashi engages at 4” inches rather than 2”. He also Dodges 4” instead of 2”. If you’re shooting at him, he’ll get closer. If he’s 4” away he’ll engage instead meaning he’s in close combat – never a good thing. Don’t shoot at Mushashi unless you’re higher than a 10 otherwise, you’re prone to miss and allow him to move up 4” on your turn.

Martial Arts L5 is the breaking point into Godhood for Mushashi. Referencing the table below, you’ll see the five options of modifiers that Mushashi can apply when he gets into close combat.

- Level 1 drops the enemy ARO by 3 and Mushashi is now doing Damage 15, AP+EXP – fuck you portable Auto Cannon.
-Level 2 turns Mushashi into a can opener, Damage 17 AP+EXP. Taking on the Jotum and its ARM 10, means the Pan-O player will be trying for a 13 (40% chance to make it) or higher three times to avoid damage on a single CC hit.
-Level 3 lets Mushashi take on high CC model with a Martial Arts L1/L2. It drops their CC by 3 and increases Mushashi's CC by 3. He is now making CC criticals that’s one auto damage ignoring armor on a 12 (that’s 40% of the time) while pushing his opponents down with a -3 to their ARO. For some of the miniatures with a CC higher than 20 this is enough to get rid of their bonus critical range and force those to live with unmodified dice rolls.
-Level 4 gives Mushashi an extra attack – yep he’ll hit twice at Damage 14 AP+EXP. ‘nuff said.
-Level 5 is the best you can get. Only a few other miniatures have a Martial Arts at Level 5. This lets him make one CC roll against all who are engaged with him. In the reactive turn it gives him the same Burst, number of attacks (or dice rolled), as his opponent. So going up to Mushashi with a high burst weapon in CC will not give you the dice advantage you’re looking for. Also, almost as a side note, Level 5 imparts a -6 to Mushahi’s opponent.

None of these are easy choices – but Mushashi has the odds in his favor the whole fight. If Mushahi takes on a miniature with Natural Born Warrior which throws out Martial Arts out the window, you’re still in good shape with the CC of 25. If you’re sporting i-Khol forcing him with a -3 CC with each level, you’re in good shape but Mushashi can still use Martial Arts, adjusting things back in his favor.

Last but not least is Valor Level 3: No Wound Incapacitation. This means he has access to Level 1 and Level 2 of Valor. Mushashi will choose the outcome of any Guts roll and ignores the Retreat! state. Loss of Lieutenant will still affect Mushashi. Instead of falling unconscious, Mushahsi can instead enter the NWI State, which allows him to keep going. If he takes another hit he skips unconscious and go right to Dead. If he is healed, he’s back to normal.

When playing with Mushahi know that he’s going to eat up orders to get close and earn some kills. If you play him in the back that’s fine a WIP 15 to spot those impersonators and camo markers is pretty good. Pick off targets that are on their own if you can, or clear a line of approach to really get him into the fight. Engaging an enemy is a great way to protect Mushashi. As long as he stays engaged, it’s a -6 to shoot at him and most players will not want to waste an order to have you execute their model.

When playing against Mushashi here are three tips:

Tip 1 – Is NEVER let Mushahsi get into close combat with your miniature, odds are not in your favor. It will die unless the dice gods yield and abandon Mushashi.

Tip 2 – Kill him; don’t hurt Mushashi, KILL Mushashi. If you don’t he will keep coming at you, if a doc can heal Mushashi it’s going to stay bad. Spend the extra order and make sure he never rises again – until the Cubevac.

Tip 3 – You are going to see him coming, don’t give him targets of opportunity. If he can get within 4” of a model, Mushashi can decide to engage causing face to face rolls against your various AROs. Once he’s engaged, he might stay there and keep that -6 to folks shooting in the melee – don’t waste an order trying to finish the melee, let the other player do so on their turn. Just have some shooters ready to fire once Mushashi is finished with his prey.

Well that's looking at Miyamoto Mushashi, if you get a chance to play with him, try him out. If you end up facing him, ruin his day.

- Cheers