The C3 Strike Squad is one of the most basic units in all of Antarean space. You’ll see these guys a lot, quite often 4 or 5 units of them making up the backbone of most C3 forces.
Weighing in at between 5 and 8 men with options for a plasma lance, spotter drone and some kit for the leader, they don’t have a wide variety of options. What they lack in options, they make up in dependability. They are vanilla, but the good kind of vanilla. I mean who doesn’t love ice cream? They have no stand out qualities but are a good, generalist, multi-purpose unit.
At Ag 5 and lacking any movement related special rules, these guys are the definition of average. They can be depended on to not be dependable. They’ll pass their difficult terrain half the time and will take a pin half the time if you chose to sprint. Don’t forget sprinting as a very viable option. Taking a pin is a coin toss and the ability to reposition 15″ to threaten another part of the battlefield or get out of a stick situation should never be underestimated.
The units standard issue armament is the Plasma Carbine, which in this scribes humble opinion is the best infantry standard weapon in the game. Either firing a single shot at SV2 or RF2 at SV0, it is capable of hitting harder or just putting out saturation fire. If Ghar are a common foe, then the value of SV2 cannot be under estimated. It also allows you to stand a reasonable chance of killing units that are benefiting from a Res Bonus due to cover. For units out of cover or with a naturally low res, the Dispersed mode of fire allows you to double your number of shots allowing you to adapt to the situation. Like most other infantry weapons in Antares, the Carbine has an effective range of 20″, meaning if other infantry is hitting you effectively, you can shoot back effectively as well. The ability to fire a single shot also means that long range fire is more accurate than units that are armed with Rapid Fire weapons like the Mag Repeater, so sometimes shooting at Long range can be a good idea. Mag Guns also don’t suffer from the rapid fire penalty, but they are only SV1 compared to SV2 o the Carbine.
The squad also has to option to take a Plasma Lance. I say option here, but its pretty much mandatory for the low cost. It can fire at a different target to the rest of the unit and so can be used to hit a high Res target while the rest of the unit concentrates on chaff, or can simply ping another target to put out 2 pins for the price of 1! It is inaccurate (-1 to hit) so it’s often a good to use your Spotter Drone reroll to make sure you get it to hit as it’s the most high value shot in the unit. Speaking of the Spotter Drone, it is also basically mandatory because of how essential it is for getting the most value out of your Plasma Lance.
One other option that is actually an Option is Sling Net Ammo for the Leader. It does add another pin on hit, but you are losing the actual killing shot from the Leader in exchange and as you’ll often be using your Spotter re-roll on the lance, and due to the X-Slings poor range bands, you’ll not hit as much as you like. It is a useful choice, but we don’t always see it taken.
Despite this terrifying firepower, your troopers are expensive, so you’ll normally be outnumbered but never outgunned.
The Strike Troopers enjoy the protection of Hyperlight Armour, one of the more highly advanced armours in Antarean space. It gives them a plat +1 to their res, taking them to 6. They then get another +1 (Taking them to 7) against all shots that originate from more than 10″ away. It also grants exceptional protection from blasts, giving them a Res of 8 (Before Strike Value is taken into account) against any hits with the blast special rule.
As you’ve probably realised by now, the way Hyperlight works means that you want to be fighting at more than 10″. Res 6 is OK, but it’s nothing to right home about once that mag rounds and plasma bolts start to fly. The Blast resistance means that you can be a little bit less scared of weapons that do blast damage but in general that is a bonus and something that will only come up occasionally. In general, avoid closing to within 15″ of the enemy so that they can’t advance to within 10″ to decrease your save. You know, unless you have to to seize the vital objective to win the game, but even then be aware that your Strike Troopers will be more vulnerable than normal.
The picture that we can see after discussing the various attributes of the Strike Squad is that they have average mobility, excellent firepower for an infantry unit and good durability, provided you are in a favourable position. The default unit seems to be a 5 man unit with a Plasma Lance and Spotter Drone, but adding a 6th member and Slingnet ammo are both good choices if you have a few points spare, but not enough for an entire unit.
In general you’ll want your strike troopers to take up good firing position and hammer the enemy with fire, switching firing modes depending on the situation to get the best chance to kill while using the Lance to either enhance your killing power against a single unit or to pin another unit.
One thing to watch out for is Assaults. Being within 15″ of the enemy can be a dangerous place for a Strike Squad. Not only can the enemy advance to make your hyperlight armour work less effectively, they can assault you! Point Blank shooting definitely takes place within 10″ so you’re armour save will be worse than a lot of comparative units. That said if there is a squad within assault range that is heavily pinned, your Strikes should take advantage of this situation and shoo the enemy from the field, just realise that this isn’t their prime environment.
The C3 Strike Squad is a very solid unit that can bring a lot of firepower to the table and can often put out more pins than other comparable units. They are pricey and vulnerable at close range, but they are very effective at what they do. Just as well you’re probably bringing a few units of them anyway!