Making TR Bots (and other ARO pieces) Go Boom

Do you ever have trouble with those pesky Total Reaction bots, sitting up high in their perches, tearing your team to shreds? Don’t worry, Pride of Rodina has a few tricks for you to keep your troops kicking and to make that TR bot go boom!

 

Know Thy Enemy

First thing’s first, to really beat your enemy, you must know them. Most TR bots will have a 360 Visor, which means they see in every direction. Most of them don’t have a BS higher than 12 though. Some have Mimetism (dirty CA), others might have Neurokinetics (Tohaa, Nomads, and Yu Jing). Some are S2, others are S3, some at S5, and even one at S8. The key part is to know what you’re up against and to quickly realize what tactic you’ll need to implement to seize the day.

Another thing to keep in mind, is the hacking buffs a TR bot can receive. On their own these ARO pieces are a real headache, but once they are buffed by a hacker’s supportware, these models become a piercing migraine. Nothing hurts more than a Total Reaction HMG with Marksmanship Lv. 2 (ignores the -3 to BS from cover and it’s shots are all shock now) on it.

Here’s a down-and-dirty of some common ARO threats (besides the standard TR bots):

sin-eaters

Nomad, Sin-Eaters:

One of the more terrifying ARO pieces, in my opinion, these troops  back Mimetism and Neurokinetics to really help them deliver that mean punch in the Reactive Turn. They’re also Religious, so they won’t be dislodged from Guts quickly at all. They also come packing a wide variety of weapons (HMG, MULTI Sniper, Mk12, and Spitfire), so take that into consideration before you attempt to engage them. This is also an excellent troop you can simply try to ignore, they won’t be moving much with that Neurokinetics.

 

q-drone

Combined Army, Q-Drone:

It’s your standard TR bot, but it also comes with Mimetism and the choice of a plasma rifle instead of the HMG. Simply be cautious and use MSV troops to counter the Mimetism, otherwise you’ll be at a -6 to hit them (assuming they have cover).

yan-huo

Yu Jing, Yan Huo Invincible with two Missile Launchers and Neurokinetics:

Nothing’s meaner than being blasted by two Missile Launchers in your active turn. It can really make a dent in your plans. You can either try to hack it from afar (has a BTS of 3) or you can attempt to outgun it. It is only shooting two shots, but at BS 14. Definitely use troops who can stack up modifiers exceptionally well and who have some high burst weapons.

maggie

Haqqislam, Maghariba Guard with 360 Visor:

This thing is massive, it’s packing a MULTI HMG with BS 14, and it can see a good chunk of the table no matter where it is. Do not let it get to the center of the table and enter suppressive fire, you will regret it. It’s fairly weak to hacking (BTS 6), so use that to your advantage and take it out using repeaters, etc.

chaksa

Tohaa, Chaksa Auxiliar with HMG, 360 Visor, and Neurokinetics:

You may notice this little fella (the one on the furthest right side) is actually a regular troop. It can go prone, it can dodge without the REM penalties, and it also has V:Courage. It’s also smaller and easier to out maneuver. Don’t expect it to be moving too much since it has Neurokinetics, like the Sin-Eater.

 

Stack Those Mods

Probably the easiest tactic to understand and implement is to simply stack up modifiers to the point where the TR Bot can’t shoot back. A perfect example of this would be a TO/camo sniper: You’ve got camo/TO, cover, surprise shot, and are positioned far enough that the opposing bot will be in its -3 range band. Most, if not all, Total Reaction and Neurokinetic models only have a BS of 11 or 12, so with all of that, they’ll be at -12 to shoot you! Good luck hitting when you can’t even shoot!

Of course, there are other ways you can stack mods in your favor without needing a camo’ed sniper in your list .  For example, infiltrator  shotguns are a fantastic tool that can get up close and blast them away. Another option is MSV2+ and smoke. This combination works fantastically well because your MSV2+ model can shoot through the smoke at no penalty while the TR bot will be shooting back at a -6 (potentially more if cover, range bands and camo are also factored). Do be aware that they can always crit and if they’re rolling more dice, they have a higher chance to crit. This is why you always want to try and stack the mods so they seriously can’t shoot back.

 

Round up the Posse

Get a group of friends together, force them into a coordinated order, move forward, TR bot shoots one of them, then unleash with all four of them onto the bot! While not always the most effective way to deal with problems, this tactic definitely works in a bind! Missile launchers and  heavy rocket launchers like being a support weapon in these kind of actions (this is because they’re already low burst and high damage, so they won’t be hindered by the “reduced to burst 1” part as bad as weapons with lower damage and higher burst). It definitely leaves your troops vulnerable though, since it greatly reduces their burst, so don’t expect everyone to make it out alive. On the plus side, if you coordinate three missile launchers and an AP HMG (as the spearhead), that TR bot will definitely be dead!

 

Alley-Oop, there Goes a ‘Nade

When you’ve got more orders and grenades than you do anything else, speculative firing will be your friend. It’s a -6 to your BS or PH right off the bat with a burst of one and you still have to count range modifiers too, but you can bombard your target until you run out of orders or until you get bored. Sometimes it’s just better to dislodge something without exposing your own models to enemy fire. However, do realize that this can be an extremely order-intensive operation. The best way to go about this is to use speculative firing to render your target unconscious, then shoot it straight to dead. The nice thing about this tactic though is that remotes can’t go prone and they suffer a -3 to dodge, so sometimes it can be easier to just spend a few orders than to sacrifice your precious troops.

Another strategy would be to Forward Observe them first and then use speculative firing or guided attacks. This is a really risky action for whoever is marking the target, but if you stack those mods to where they can’t shoot you back, you’re golden. Mark them and then let it rain explosions!

 

Watch for Backup

The most infuriating thing that can happen is when you finally get that stupid bot to stop shooting at you and then your opponent fixes it! Keep an eye out for any Engineers or G:servants nearby. You can either make sure you REALLY make the TR bot go boom, or you can hunt down that pesky engineer/G:servant.

There are a few strategies if you want to do some hunting:

  • Use AD troops to get to any engineers who are hiding because once they die any G:servants they are directing become useless.
  • Templates. Use them! This won’t always work, but it’s worth a try if you think the engineer or G:servant are close enough.
    • Especially useful if you already plan on doing speculative and guided shots.

 

Out of Sight, Out of Being a Pain

Really, to keep things simple, the easiest way to deal with a TR bot is to simply avoid. I can already hear people saying, “But PoR, how do you expect me to avoid these things?! They shoot 50,000 bullets per second and many see everything with 360 visors!”  I didn’t say it was easy, but sometimes you’d simply be better off not dealing with the bot. Quite honestly, what makes an ARO piece a “good” ARO piece is its ability to force you to waste orders. Shooting at a TR bot when you don’t follow the above guidelines will result in you either losing orders or wasting them. Instead, you could be spending those precious orders doing something productive, like running towards an objective or eliminating greater threats.

Not every table with have a good spot for a TR bot, so keep this in mind when you’re picking deployment edges. Some tables with have an excellent TR bot “nest” too, so prepare yourself. Sometimes the bot will only be able to see 1/16th of the table and if that’s the case, don’t tangle with it. Other times, it might be able to see half of the table, this is when you really need to take it out.

Something else to keep in mind is you can easily use smoke to cover your advance and protect against TR bots. Even if you don’t have any MSV2+ models, remember to throw smoke,block line of sight to the bot, wait, then move.

 

Practice

*note, this section is primarily for the competitive player who wants to learn counters quickly, not for the folks who just want to play*

If you’re really having troubles against TR bots and really want to hone your skills before a big tournament, here’s a really simple way you can practice against them:

Have your opponent (more than likely a Warcor) make a list using 3 TR bots at 200 points. I don’t care what the AVA limit is, just let it happen. Bring a list of equal points. Your mission is to claim three objectives in the middle line of the table (one right in the middle, then two others 12 inches from either table edge on the center line). Your opponent’s objective is simply to eliminate you. You get an objective point for each objective you secure and hold, your opponent gets an objective point for every third of your force they destroy.

This focused practice will really force you to implement the above tactics in effective ways, learn the best counters and figure out what works best for you.

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