The Gao-Rael has been around since Tohaa began, and it hasn’t had too many fans. But it’s one of Tohaa’s main hunter units. What’s the deal with the Gao-Rael?
Yep, that’s my shoddy craftsmanship there. (Infinity is my first wargame, hey.)
The Gao-Rael is another special operations unit for the Tohaa army, filled from ranks of Tohaa persons who have passed trials on a monster-ridden planet called Luloah. How does this special operative fare on the board, however? And why isn’t it very popular?
IT’S NOT FAST
That’s the main reason. It can form Triads, which makes it more mobile. But “mobile” isn’t “fast”, precisely. Considering that all other Triad troopers move at 4-4, the Gao-Rael, being a 4-2 mover (or 10-5 mover, for you Europeans), can really slow down a Triad.
This is an army with Kotails. The Kotail can, for half an order, move the entire length that a Gao-Rael can move for its entire order.
IT’S NOT CRAZY
This is an army with Kotails… We have many units with bonkers abilities and combos. The Gao-Rael, on that other hand, is premium and simple, and is not eyepopping like the Sukeul or Kotail.
That said, not everything can be crazy. What the Gao-Rael is supposed to do well, it does well. And that is:
IT SHOOTS ANYTHING
If you’re on this blog, you probably already know what a Gao-Rael’s Multispectral Visor L2 can do. If not—summarily, the Gao-Rael’s MSV2 sees through smoke, through camo, through optical disruptor devices, and through any low-visibility zones the table may feature. It neutralizes the penalties of dreaded Thermo-Optical Camouflage and Optical Disruptor Devices, poster-boyed on factions like PanO and ALEPH.
You can use the new Kerail Preceptor to deliver smoke to create “no-scope” shots on your own terms. Considering the Kerail’s basic abilities, however, this should not be a designated strategy, but rather a tactic to remember when opportunity arises. Note that Zero V Smoke from Makauls is opaque even to the Gao-Rael’s MSV.
IT’S REASONABLY PRICED
I mean this of course in real-life dollars, and in game points.
Higher-level Multispectral Visors are on the rarer side in Infinity, and most factions must spend around 30 points for a trooper who has one. This is usually combined with traits like Multiterrain, which, although helpful, can weigh down it down in point cost. In the Gao-Rael, Tohaa also gets its primary Multispectral Visor trooper for mid-30s in points, but it sports a second wound. More rare than MSV2 is 2-wound MSV2. And we can tack this 2-wound MSV2 to any Triad we wish.
IT’S ACTUALLY GOOD
Personal experience bias says that the Gao-Rael is excellent. Throughout my games in Second Edition, the Gao-Rael was my consistent MVP. He scored more average kills than Makauls, Sakiels, and Kotails, three reputably very killy troops. In Third Edition, it’s fared fine thus far. But of course, that is personal experience, and your results may vary.
As for in-depth how-to-play with the Gao-Rael, there is great discussion about the unit from WarPanda, who won the 2015 Dire States Rumble tournament here in the United States. In short, the best way to use the Gao-Rael is to plan on using every order to:
Move → Shoot
If you’re having to do a lot of double-moving with the Gao-Rael in his Triads, you are probably doing it wrong—or you have a wise opponent. Since that MSV2 takes no visibility penalties, it’s course also great for discovering camo markers you can’t yet shoot.
As far as a model goes, the Gao-Rael of course is a very handsome model, and very easy to assemble. If you’re into pinning, you’ll probably pin him, but he should stay together fine, otherwise.
Maybe we as players have begun to demand too much from Infinity game pieces—enough Swiss Guards, Avatars, Dog-Warriors and Kotails types have emerged to make good normal units look bad.
TL;DR The Gao-Rael may not be “amazing”, but he’s certainly good. Good is good! Move-and-shoot the Gao-Rael’s path to victory.