A question newcomers to the game often ask is how to tackle the Ghar. On the face of it, and in early games, it seems impossible. After all, the huge Ghar suits are armoured with a high Res of 12, have a combat strength of 10 and their weapons, at close range, can be deadly, the disruptor weapons they use causing havoc in a hi-tech force.
It is a steep learning curve against Ghar, but they are able to be beaten after the basics of the game have been learnt and by following a few guidelines.
Strengths of The Ghar ARmy
First off, it’s worth knowing that the more upsetting problems with Ghar battlesuits and Rebel forces (now Battle Group Nine Veterans) have been removed in A2. There is no more order dice spamming whereby a Rebel player almost guarantees a win. The Ghar suits are still tough at Res 12, but they no longer get a Res reroll on a leader’s failed Res test, which means that one in 100 roll is not needed – the Ghar player has to upgrade a squad with a command figure to do so. They can still be MOD2 but are Erratic 5 when testing to activate their amp dice, so it only comes off half the times (nearby grabbers can boost this to Erratic 7) – and this extends the lifetime of their plasma amplifiers (it’s not all bad for Ghar!). Of course, this means the run-of-the-mill battlesuit sqauad is a little cheaper.
It’s worth bearing in mind that assault suits are now very nasty up close with disruptor dischargers on the way in, SV5 plasma claws in hand-to-hand, and the chance of forcing a target Down the move before they attack. The only real response is to just stay away from them and pin them down!
The extended Army Options also bring in a useful option to Ghar. They get a Distort Resistance for free, and can buy more, and can twist the spatial distortion of their weapons against you with QG Interference. The former allows them to return their order dice to the bag if drawn immediately after a Distort event die is drawn; the latter can force opponents to activate a unit at the start of turn and potentially make it go Down. Both are low-cost but the latter is tricky to force – if it comes off, though, it can cause a severe glitch in an opponent’s priorities.
In general, the Ghar’s need for a V1 ‘distort dump’ unit is less, though the Ghar still have to consider it (a ‘distort dump’ is a unit that is cheap and vulnerable in order to take the Distort Dice, should they be forced to take it).
Whilst deadly at short ranges, Ghar tend to rely on overhead fire for long-distance shooting – though Battle Goup 9 Veteran’s scavenged mag gun and mag light support can help. This means they are very reliant on their tectorists for greater accuracy through Acc rerolls, whether for OH fire or for long-ranged direct fire.
This means that opponents should try and take out tectorists wherever they have a spare shot. A wily Ghar player will try and put their tectorists out of sight or into cover, where their small size and orneriness (Tough) can make them difficult targets. Despite this, it is worth tracking the tectorists to see how much the Ghar player is relying on them – here, Hound probes can help, too.
A major weakness of the New Ghar Empire is still that of awkward terrain and the battlesuits low Agility (Ag 3), but opponents have to realise this starts right from deployment. Whatever the scenario, Ghar opponents should make sure they deploy as much terrain as possible in order to hinder the Ghar, not just so their own units can take advantage of relevant Res bonuses whilst shooting at the exposed Ghar. This tends to force Ghar suits into the open, making them easy targets.
But don’t overdo terrain. Too much, and Ghar suits might acccept the Ag risks and hide in area terrain or behind protective obstacles: a major difference from V1 is that they will gain a cover bonus from that terrain, boosting their Res even further. From here, they will use disruptor weapons, confident of inflicting extra pins on their targets.
Placing pins on a unit of Ghar suits can make them struggle, though the shooters really need to have plasma weapons, support weapons or a micro X with overload (or x-sling with implosion grenades). This constant application of pins is really a truism against any unit. The problem with battlesuits is that whilst they can Rally and recover like any other unit, they sometimes have the extra dice to do so. So, it might be better to target a weaker, nearby wrecker/grabber unit to prevent any boosts to the battlesuits and then turning your attention to the suits.
Removing the Ghar’s distort dump squad early can be useful as it forces the Ghar to make their suits go Down or use their Army Options before they want to do so. Really focusing on the scenario objectives can be very helpful, such as focusing attention on those few Ghar units that can achieve the scenario objective; whilst such tactics are generally sound advice, it is emphasised when facing Ghar.
Of course, it helps if you have weapons that can hurt Ghar. Some C3 players like the C3D1 with plasma light support, and against most armies they are lethal. Against the Ghar, though, the D1’s SV3 only just gets through the armour so it is worth using a C3D2 with a plasma cannon or a support team with plasma or mag cannon (for non-IMTel forces). An x-launcher with special munitions can also be useful: Grip ammo can frustrate Ghar suit squads, Scoot can force them to move rather than shoot, and Suspensor Net can be really annoying early on, perhaps forcing them to go Down.
However, less obvious than sheer rate of fire is the more direct approach. With heavy or support weapons, an opponent can force the Ghar battlesuits to make important saves at much less than Res 10. What’s more, such weapons can cause real problems to something like the Ghar crawlers. Such saves are not what the Ghar army is used to, and adverse Damage Chart results can be forced quite quickly.
In short, Ghar hate mag cannon and plasma cannon, simply due to the low numbers in their units.
It is tempting to keep away, but an Assault can be useful against pinned battlesuits. Sure, Ghar Assault Squads are very dangerous at close combat but if you can get a few pins on them, their point-blank disruptor shooting will start to suffer. Furthermore, there are units who can face a pinned suit squad in hand-to-hand: Algoryn assault squads with their D-spinner; C3 drop and Krasz troops with fractal charges; Boromite Work Gangs with compactor mauls and whatever grenades they carry (with, perhaps, an extra lavamite).
what about Outcasts?
The lesser Ghar infantry in the form of Battle Group 9 Veterans can be treated like most other faction’s infantry: with respect, but knowing they can be vulnerable. The main issues is to watch out for the presence of a Ghar prophet like NRRK-27 and the boost they bring to Co.
Outcasts, though, are a different kettle of, well, Ghar-who-just-avoided-being-recycled. Their lugger guns are fairly short range and the models themselves often block their own unit’s line of sight due to numbers. Their Co and Res is low and they fall easily to the lightest of shooting and melee attacks.
If you allow Outcasts to catch you unawares they can lay down a great deal of short-ranged firepower. Their numbers are solid, and Ghar player will use them as ‘speed bumps’ – cheap, expendable units that slow down an opponent.
One way of dealing with Outcasts is to use Reactions and to hit them before they can hit back – it is rare to see an Outcast squad last long when faced with sustained fire. Of course, such tactics detract you from dealing with the battlesuits (which is the point, of course), so it becomes a careful balance…
There is more, but these hints and tips will do for starters: choose your ground, choose your forces, stick to the objective and focus your fire and point of attack. Sure, they are all old lessons that military theorists have been banging on about for years but all are magnified with Ghar: forget any one and you give yourself a brick wall to climb over; remember them all and the Ghar player is on the back foot, even likely to lose.