Kaeltar, their Symbiomates and Symbiobombs. A release that has pleased, annoyed, excited and deflated many Tohaa players and their opponents. What’s the scoop?
It took less than 24 hours for the community to adoringly (or spitefully) call them “Tohaamon”. Indeed, with the approach of Symbiobugs, it seems “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” will be no stranger’s sentiment to the artichoke handlers.
Again, the above is the handiwork of Corvus Belli’s studio painter Angel Giraldez. Normally I daren’t criticize his work, but if I may, I do think Angel played the colors the Symbiomates and Symbiobombs too safely. Many players have taken to dart frog color schemes, which I think steps well with the bizarre appearance of the models. I went for a neon green and blue for mine:
What of the Kaeltars in gameplay? In truth, the two types of Kaeltars are different enough in their contribution to the Tohaa army that I believe it best to discuss them separately. Let’s start off with the Chain of Command Kaeltar:
CHAIN OF COMMAND KAELTAR
This might be the supportiest support unit in all of Infinity. And don’t let anyone tell you it’s too expensive—it’s the cheapest Chain of Command trooper in Infinity.
If you’re not aware, Chain of Command is basically a “backup lieutenant”. Should your mighty Lieutenant go down, the Chain of Command Kaeltar will automatically become Lieutenant, negating the disorganized turn that Loss of Lieutenant normally enforces. The Chain of Command Kaeltar pairs naturally with a Rasail or Taqeul or Neema Saatar, as those Lieutenants are played highly aggressively, with a big bullseye on their breast.
As a Chain of Command trooper, the Kaeltar can be a specialist for ITS missions. However, she may work best with her Light Shotgun, hiding in your backfield in a sniper triad. If you plan to use the Chain of Command Kaeltar as a proper specialist, I might recommend the Combi Rifle loadout of the Chain of Command Kaeltar. When this Kaeltar becomes useful, you’ll probably need to move him upfield, and a Shotgun often won’t do.
Added to that are its two Symbiomates, which are our bafflingly useful little damage gobblers. Symbiomate Kaeltars are pure insurance. I’ve played most factions in Infinity, ALEPH excepted, and I can’t think of a better support unit than the Kaeltar. He’s the ultimate Tohaa group hug.
Let’s be honest: the Symbiobombs are the only reason you’re selecting this profile.
Lacking a Specialist skill, Mimetism, Sixth Sense, a Visor, or another skill to directly integrate his value with our other combatants, this Kaeltar’s decent statline but high cost add together to nothing significant. However―outside of the Bombs he assigns―his greatest contribution is that he can complete a Triad.
What you have is essentially a Tohaa’s Celestial Guard with Fireteam: Haris. This being the case, if you are going to bring a Kaeltar for Symbiobombs, you might take the Light Shotgun loadout, as she is most optimized for backfield defense. Place her in a good alley or corner, and don’t worry about not spending orders on her. Her Burst 2 WIP14 Flash Pulse is significantly better than the Diplomatic Delegate‘s Burst 1 WIP13 Flash Pulse, but not nearly enough to make him a dedicated gunner.
Your orders should go to the guys with the Bombs. This is Tohaa’s version of Hacking, and unlike normal Hacking, we can target anyone with a Wound attribute. That means everyone except robots. Unlike other hackers, however, each Symbiobomb gets one shot, and then it’s toast. Use wisely.
ARO Cocktail — Simply having a Symbiobomb on a trooper expands his ability to respond to threats. The obvious use is to permit dynamic responses in your troops. Ectros, Rasails, and Neema Saatar may benefit directly by being able to respond to hackers. However, note that Nikoul can also effectively use a Symbiobomb to defend his blind spots, like that empty stairwell behind him.
Immobilization — The “Hellzone” and “Pandemonium” uses of the Symbiobomb are the most optimized for our baseline-intelligent soldiers. If you’re not using Neema, a Sakiel or Ectros is advised to used these programs, as the positive modifiers make success much others which rely solely on your modest Willpower. Follow up with a template or viral weapon for easy kills.
Neema Bomb — It is worth nothing that our capable lieutenant Neema Saatar is inherently valuable for Symbiobombs, as her WIP15 ensures a +10% chance to land her hit. When building a list with Neema, strongly consider bringing both types of Kaeltars.
Mirrorball — This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but astoundingly useful. Mirrorball lets us make a “White Noise” zone, which blocks Multispectral Visor Troopers line of fire. Govad team got the alley on lockdown? Mirrorball. Hsien itching to HMG you? Mirrorball. Intruder intruding? Mirrorrball. Note that you only get one roll, though, so use Neema or a Kosuil here, if you have them.
Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t — Moving a Symbiobomb trooper in view of a foe typically prompts one of three AROs—shoot, dodge, or reset. If they shoot, you can shoot too. But if they Dodge, you can Symbiobomb them without a Face-to-Face roll. And if they Reset, you can shoot them without a Face-to-Face roll.
Mario Star ― A Tohaa trooper with a high wound count, like the Ectros or Gorgos, can combine the Symbiobomb and Symbiomate with their Symbiont to achieve a mind-boggling invincibility. Pound through a cloud of attacks with your Symbiomate, and then recover a lost wound with the Symbiobomb.
When I first looked at the Kaeltars, I confess disappointment with the Symbiobomb profile. The Kaeltar proper didn’t have much to do, and the Symbiobombs being single-use (as opposed to Hackers, who may hack repeatedly), was a bummer. Yet after many games and our handsome Human Sphere update, I have little negative to say about them. Symbiobombs, while only one-offs, have a massive range of applications. For the utility, the Bomb Kaeltar is really not that expensive for what he brings.
As with many newer releases, the Kaeltar’s limb sockets are deep and squared, allowing for a strong, enduring fit with no pinning necessary. The arms of Symbiomates, however, have a very shallow fit, so you may decide that pinning those is necessary. Symbiobombs, graciously, are one complete piece.
Handling the Kaeltar team, it is apparent that they are designed to remind us, “Don’t take this game too seriously, because its creators don’t.”
I rate the Kaeltar Specialist box 4 out of 5 artichokes.
TL;DR Good buy for any Tohaa player. Use the Chain of Command Kaeltar with Light Shotgun for backfield support, and any flavor of Symbiobomb Kaeltar to supplement a Triad.
AD NAUSEUM I recommend watching the Pheroware rules reveal from Beasts of War, if you haven’t already.