Friday, June 17, 2011

[FCC] Liaison - is he EVER worth taking?

Is it ever worth including the Liaison in the FCC line-up? My initial thoughts are: "No, unless he is an integral part of a specific strategy you have in mind - and a definite no for a 3v3" but I'll examine it a bit more deeply.
I'll start by looking at each element of the unit, and deciding on whether or not it's a pro or a con.

Basic Stats
2MP - Fairly standard speed for a lightly armoured unit
Reaction 4 - Slower-than-average Reaction Value
AV1 - a minimal Armour Value, if hit then any weapon can deal Blood
AF7 - a high chance that his armour will fail
Courage 7 - a high chance to fail courage checks, making him prone to suppression
Repair 2 - a surprisingly good chance to repair

Machine Pistol
FN7 - standard FN for a trooper
WS2 - standard WS, and will draw blood on most units
2 attacks against 1 target - standard for troopers
Only Short-Range - this is the deal-breaker for this unit. 1 card length? Ew.

LDHF Barrier
+2FN to all ranged attacks, stacks with cover, not affected by AF - this is awesome, and counters the low AV and AF of the basic stats - you can't Blood what you can't hit.

Personal Abilities
This would be the driving reason behind taking the Liaison - granting Corporate Abilities to your Black Ops Agents.
There is a lot of potential for this ability to be a game-changer. Get a few of the enemy in your House Master's Sweep for example, then sending a second spray of fire into them, or maybe using it to finishing off a near dead enemy unit with another round of fire.

There's more blue than red up there, but the one deal breaker for this unit is that it's only weapon is short range. This has a massive impact on the unit, which I'll look at from an offensive and defensive perspective.

Offensively, the fact that he's only a threat at short range means that to do damage he's got to work his way to the enemy without being gunned down - which is possible due to his LDHF Barrier making him much harder to hit. If he is hit though, he'll definitely take Blood, and will likely Armour Fail too. If you've brought him along to grant Corporate Abilities to Black Ops agents, then you probably wouldn't want to put him in high risk situations though - I certainly don't like the idea of getting this unit up close and personal with the enemy. Getting him within one card of the enemy makes him prone to melee attacks too - which his LDHF Barrier does not protect against.

Defensively, this unit is solid. Get him behind cover away from the enemy, keep the rest of your squad in between him and the enemy advance, and he's sitting pretty with a modifier of at least +3FN (LDHF Barrier + Half Cover). Chances are he isn't shooting at anything anyway though, unless someone comes within short range - which means you'd keep him behind full-cover.

"Can you guys hurry up? Jersey Shore is on in 15 minutes..."

You're taking him either to grant Corporate Abilities, with  the bonus of providing his Communicator support. Both are good benefits to your other squad members, but I don't think it's worth taking him in the end. It comes down to whether or not the Corporate Abilities and Communicator are worth playing with one man down.
On the board he's either a very sub-par offensive unit, or will spend the game hiding out of LOS just to grant the buffs and not really contribute to the rest of the squad - you'll be playing a 5v5 with only 4 units on your combat front while your opponent has the full use of their 5 units.

He really just seems like dead weight to me, especially when the other FCC troop choices are solid.

A Response from Brian Shotton!
Not long after posting this entry on the MERCS forums, Brian Shotton (the lead on the MERCS rules and writer on the rulebook) responded with this:

I love him. I think he is possibly the most underrated MERCS in the entire line-up.

I also think his Machine Pistol owns. FN7 but only short range, means multiple shots in short range or melee. Typical FN for the Liaison are FN3/4/5. I will take two shots at these FN any day of the week. the trump-being able to take multiple shots in melee. This is very rare in MERCS.

Add to the the LDHF barrier (which is better protections than KemVar AC), and Communicator . . .  you got one bad ass perpetrator who's here to stay.

Oh, and his repair is 2+. Sign me up.

This highlights the fact that my playstyle is very conservative - maybe too conservative for the FCC Liaison. I have clearly underestimated his LDHF Barrier, and his potential in close combat for dishing out pain. In either case, more play-testing will be required, and I'll definitely have a good go at playing the Liaison much more aggressively.

Sync out.

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