The Taqeul has raised a lot of eyebrows with Tohaa players. It has a few fans, but overall, it is regarded as a sub-par unit. On the whole, I wouldn’t disagree with the assessment that it is a sub-par choice, but I still want to share my thoughts―since it looks like Corvus Belli has Tohaa models at the very bottom of all its priorities. Taqeuls in May?
I’ll spare the ranty bit for below. The main positive I would say on the Taqeul is that―for a premium price, yes―he lets us do something that no other Tohaa troop can do on its own: Zone of Control. Yes, Symbiobombs are great, but I think we have all experienced the many duds that are WIP13 rolls. Symbiobombs are also a one-off and non-replenishable. An option for these biological “CrazyKoalas” is welcome, even if it is not an optimized option.
Tohaa is specifically vulnerable to flankers and infiltrators with our general lack of MSV and Sixth Sense, but a pair of Symbiobugs on our side of the table are fantastic protection. In my experience, the threat of Symbiobugs halts troops without Dogged or No Wound Incapacitation. In fact, I think Symbiobugs are superior to CrazyKoalas in most cases. This is because most infiltrators who venture into our deployment zone both (1) have BTS0 and (2) are as good as dead if they go Unconscious. And against heavy units, the Symbiobugs are clearly better than CrazyKoalas, because even though heavy units tend to have high BTS, they do not want to be targeted during their sprees. This makes our bug second only to MadTraps as a radial showstopper.
BS13 is a great shooting stat, but not on a slow troop with short-range guns, and not remarkable in a faction with linkable 2+ wound linkable BS13 HI and linkable Mimetism BS13 LI. Using the Taqeul requires more intentional planning at the point of list creation.
How I tend to use the Taqeul is a first-round deployment zone centurion, and a third-round mop-up. If I plan to play the Taqeul aggressively (which I don’t generally), I exclusively take the Spitfire, to make sure I get the most of my 4-2 movement. The Taqeul, almost moreso than the Rasail, needs a Nanoscreen to get his Viral Combi into action on textbook tables. The Combi profile, while more affordable, is a waste of rare BS13. So I really use only either the Viral or Spitfire. And I’ve been using both Chain of Command and Advanced Command.
CHAIN OF COMMAND
For the Chain of Command Taqeul loadouts in general, my initial spins were as a replacement of the Chain of Command Kaeltar, so that I could run 4x bombs. This isn’t a bad terrible play, but I think it’s better to bring both a Chain of Command Kaeltar and Taqeul. The Taqeul strongly benefits from Symbiomates with his high initial ARM and BTS, and so it’s a good pairing. Redundancy in Chain of Command is always good, and so the Taqeul ultimatley plays as a keynote specialist.
For the Advanced Command Taqeul, I plan his lists with ample Coordinated Order fodder. The Taqeul himself is great for Coordinated Orders, especially with a Spitfire; and he is a good choice on the (admittedly rare) cases when Neema Saatar doesn’t quite fit in. Being such a good Coordinated Order trooper himself, a Flammenspeer or Panzerfaust would have been an excellent mitigation for his limited movement.
If Corvus Belli meant the Taqeul to synergize with Neema, then the Advanced Command skill explicitly needed the a Private Information trait. Otherwise, only a very ignorant player would not be able to tell whether Neema or the Taqeul was the lieutenant. On the whole, I very much like that we have the Taqeul as an option, but I have no illusions about him being a “great” option.
Do we have any Taqeul art?
No. We have no indication of how the Taqeul officer nor his Laaga symbiobugs appear. The fluff on the Taqeul himself looks like it was written almost as an afterthought. I did draw a gag image for the Spanish forum that looked like this:
Yes, haha, very funny. Really though, I do think the Symbiobugs would look good as actual “bug” things. So here’s a more serious drawing. Something that gets across the Tohaa’s tentacle-ventricle-leaflet pherocom stuff, while also clearly being a “bug”, and its own stylized creature. Wings to represent the 6-4 speed and Super-jump would also be groovy:
Pragmatically, though, I expect some chubby, chibi tinbot-like creatures.
The Taqeul himself I think would look great with a chubby commander’s padded pot-belly, and some bio-tubes like the Kosuil. As far as his gear goes, a standard Tohaa neck-to-thigh Symbiont, a chest diamond, and a heather jumpsuit with ridged armor would do fine. I think the recent sculpts tried to move away from too much orange bod and mohawk echoing in the earlier sculpts, but now they have made their own echoed trend with lots of jean jackets and big knees. Put together into a more traditional look:
Regeneration’s special Symbiont bonus does give me wonderment to Tohaa’s future, however. The basic troops in PanOceania are Fusiliers and Regulars; in Nomads, Alguaciles and Moderators; in Ariadna, Line Kazaks and Grunts and Volunteers and Metros. I think our “basic troop” is ultimately supposed to be the Sakiel.
So much of the literature in Tohaa is Symbio-dependent, for one thing. For another, the Sakiel has half of the traditional “toolbox” of options―a launcher (LRL), a utility (Nimbus & Nullifier), Forward Observer and Paramedic and Lieutenants, etc. The Kamael has the other half with Sniper Rifles and LGLs and hacking.
If we ever get a biotech-heavy sectorial, such as an Exalted Army or Errant Explorers sectorial, I could imagine the “alternative” line troop to the Sakiel turning out like this:
DOMOEL Errant Marines
Regular, Frenzy, LI
MOV4-4 CC16 BS12 PH11 WIP13 ARM1 BTS3 W1 S2 AVA#
Equipment: Symbiont Armor
Special Skills: Fireteam: Triad • Regeneration • Zero G Terrain
MOV4-4 CC15 BS12 PH10 WIP13 ARM0 BTS0 W1 S2
Equipment: Symbiont Armor
Special Skills: Fireteam: Triad • Regeneration • Zero G Terrain
DOMOEL Combi Rifle, Stun Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 21)
DOMOEL Combi Rifle, E/M Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 22)
DOMOEL Breaker Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 24)
DOMOEL (Nanoscreen) Boarding Shotgun, Nanopulser / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)
DOMOEL (X-Visor) Sniper Rifle / 2 Breaker Pistols, Knife. (1 | 28)
DOMOEL Red Fury / Pistol, Knife. (1.5 | 25)
DOMOEL (X-Visor, Forward Observer) Breaker Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 27)
DOMOEL (X-Visor, Engineer) Combi Rifle, Stun Grenades, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 28)
DOMOEL Lieutenant Combi Rifle, Stun Grenades / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 21)
Now that Regeneration is in play in Tohaa, I expect to see it again. However, I think it is better suited on lighter Symbiont troops, for whom we are less incensed to risk the points on a coinflip Order spent to rez them, and whom we are more likely to risk to get to that Unconscious state to begin with.
So, the “sub-par” rant.
The dead-weight on the Taqeul is Regeneration. Regeneration is a very expensive skill at 5 points. On most Medium Infantry, Mimetism, Nanoscreen, X-Visors, V:NWI, and MSV2 cost same or cheaper than Regeneration. Who wouldn’t rather take an MSV2 Taqeul or Mimetism Taqeul for the same price?
But for that matter, who would be more interested in the Taqeul if it didn’t include Regeneration at all? Without Regeneration, the cost of the Taqeul would be 29 for the Combi, and 35 for the Viral and Spitfire versions. That’s more roomy. In a faction with the best Paramedics, and a very capable Doctor, putting Regeneration on a slow mid-range weapon is counterintuitive at best, nonsensical at worst. Furthermore, I suspect Regeneration here is getting at least 1-point tax, due to its PH+3 mod in Tohaa. So here we have a unit that’s priced near an Ectros, but can’t link, hit as hard, dodge as well, move as quick, or take as many hits.
I don’t think it necessarily needs to be cheaper. I’ve harped before that healing in general needs a body of rules to mitigate the order problem, and indeed on the Taqeul, it would help there. But I don’t want to get into that. The greater problem is that the skill is better on a model who wants to risk dropping Unconscious to begin with. The Taqeul does rez back to BS13/WIP14, but losing his pricey Armor and BTS hurts badly. Chances are that if he goes Unconscious, he also goes Dead. If any Tohaa Symbiont should retain ARM & BTS in Inactive state, it’s the Taqeul.
In totality, the combo of expensive skills, on low PH, with close-range guns, slow speed, and unlinkable profile, peddling redundant command abilities, make the Taqeul a confusing and contradictory unit. The Taqeul has his places, but they are a squeeze.
The Taqeul is just a tantrum of skills, and costly one at that, putting it in the bottom tier of Tohaa, for now. Like so many other factions with fresh new toys and sore new disappointments, I am sure that the Taqeul will be tweaked in time, or the context of our body of rules will make him a more accommodating choice.
No, this profile is shit. Regeneration is just prohibitively expensive.