The Japanese Secessionist Army or JSA for short are what got me into Infinity. The release of their brand new Army Pack in 2018 as the JSA threw off the reigns of their Yu Jing masters and made them playable as their own faction, offered me exactly what I wanted in an army. Ninjas, samurai, anime-inspired warriors, mechs, and bots. I would throw myself into Infinity and never look back.
I arranged an introductory game of Infinity at the Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts club in East London, home of many Infinity players and our regular Infinity guest expert, Andy 'Riker' Roo and I was completely unprepared for the Infinity learning curve, and how non-new player-friendly the JSA are. But now, many games later and after much advice from Andy, I know a thing or two about playing Infinity, and the JSA and the rerelease of their starter set in the Action Pack format seemed a great time to write an Infinity JSA Guide. In this article, we'll introduce the JSA, go through their starter Set and talk about the different products you can pick up after the action pack.
What Is Infinity?
Infinity is Corvus Belli's anime/cyberpunk wargame. If you're brand new to Infinity, the best place to start is with Infinity CodeOne and you can read our guide on getting started here. If you've played Infinity before or are looking to upgrade from CodeOne then Infinity N4 is the latest edition of the Infinity rules. Infinity has two core mechanics that make it a tactical and unique wargame, the order pool and Automatic Reaction Orders (ARO).
Each turn, every unit still standing in your force provides an order token. Order tokens are spent to activate your units during your turn and can be allocated to units as you choose. For example, if you have ten orders, they can all be spent to activate a single unit ten times, or split between different units. This gives a lot of flexibility each turn and you can prioritize a goal, and spending orders until it’s achieved.
Automatic Reaction Orders
Automatic Reaction Orders are actions you take during your opponent's turn. They allow units to react to actions made by the enemy, like dodging an attack or shooting in response to an enemy attack or movement. This makes turns very dynamic, and you have to be aware of your opponent’s possible reactions to your actions. If your units move out of cover, which enemy units will be able to fire at them? If you fire at an enemy, will they be able to return effective fire?
Infinity Skill Tests
Skill tests are taken on twenty-sided dice known as D20s, and require rolling under the attribute being tested. If the enemy reacts to your action, it changes the roll to a face-to-face roll, which means you have to roll under your attribute, but above the enemy's roll to succeed.
What's The Difference Between A Vanilla And Sectorial Army List and Non-Aligned Armies (NA2)?
When choosing an Infinity faction to play, players will refer to two different types of army. Vanilla and Sectorial.
Vanilla armies are the core forces of Infinity. There are eight of them including the Yu Jing that the JSA was originally part of. Playing a vanilla force gives you access to the full range of that faction's units.
Sectorial forces are themed forces, like the Invincible Army under Yu Jing. They have limited troops choices, and generally include some interesting choices from outside the standard faction options. They also have access to Fireteams, which allow you to link up units and move them with a single activation, along with giving them bonuses to attacks.
Non-Aligned Armies (NA2)
Non-Aligned Armies, known as NA2, are smaller factions that fall outside the major forces and are usually made up of mixed mercenary companies that can make use of units from a mix of Vanilla forces. The JSA are an NA2 but are made up of purely JSA units.
Who Are The JSA?
The JSA were previously part of Yu Jing, and their units formed part of the Yu Jing army. After their breakaway from the empire, they rebuilt their country and army under their own ideals and image. Constantly under pressure from Yu Jing, they are prepared to defend their territory at any cost, having already paid a high price for their independence.
Why Play The JSA?
Playing the JSA is like playing Infinity on hard mode. Infinity is geared towards shooting, with punishing AROs taking out troops who advance out of cover and without protection. As you would expect from a faction of ninjas and samurai, the JSA has a high focus on close combat, which means their a period of the game where you will have to advance through the enemy guns. This isn't impossible, but with limited access to smoke, you will have to get creative. Sneaky infiltrators are available to remove key enemy ARO pieces. and there are some fire team options for your own AROs.
Once close enough, the JSA has some of the best close combat fighters in the game, so if you love closing the distance and smashing your enemy up close, then they are for you. Just be aware that their awesome cosmetic appeal means you will have a steep learning curve in order to use them effectively.
Where Should I Start With The JSA?
Corvus Belli makes it incredibly easy to start with any faction in Infinity. Factions are usually available first in Operation two-player starter packs and then released in Army Packs which combine the forces from the Operation and Beyond packs. The rest are released in their own Action Packs, like the JSA Action Pack, which contains ten miniatures to build the core of your army.
The JSA Action Pack contains:
- Three Keisotsu - These are cheap line troopers. They're good a loading up in a fire team for ARO cover for the rest of your force and boosting orders for your other units to make use of.
- Oniwaban - The Oniwaben is devastating in close combat. Able to infiltrate the battlefield, and run riot taking out your opponent's key pieces. Will be by themselves until the rest of your army catches up to them on the table, but will offer an incredible distraction in allowing them to move forward.
- Kempeitai - These are great at leading fire teams, and can also take over as your Lieutenant if your Lieutenant is taken out
- Two Ryūken - The Ryuken have two very different profiles available. The Heavy Rocket Launcher can come out of camouflage to take out an enemy threat at range, but will certainly be a target afterward, and the Forward Deployment profile can also take a hacking device, and lay a D-charge to hamper the enemy's advance.
- Daiyōkai - An armored powerhouse of a warrior. Able to take shots and hold their own in close combat and at range. Run them upfield under the cover of a fireteam or an Oniwaben's attack and let them open up.
- Kuroshi Rider - This rider is very fast but impetuous can make them unreliable. Great at hammering down the field and drawing fire, solid in combat when there, but pricey and not very durable.
- Kuge Delegate (High-Value Target) - HVT's are objective miniatures and have no profile for use in-game. This one came as part of the original JSA army set for use in the missions there.
What Products Are Available For The JSA And Where Should I Go Next?
The JSA don't have a huge range of miniatures, like the larger more established vanilla forces, but they do have plenty of options for picking up.
- Keisotsu Butai - This pack expands your basic line troops with two heavy weapons, a hacker and a Kempeitai with the shock marksmanship rifle, filling out all the Keisotsu profile options from the Action Pack.
- Tankō Zensenbutai - This pack comes with the three profile options for the Tanko. They're solid in close combat and have some great ranged options, but their impetuousness means that they'll always rush forward, which is great but takes away some control and doesn't allow you to make best use of their heavy ranged options. Luckily, we can put them in a fireteam to stop that, so team them up, position them and rain accurate fire on anyone popping their head out.
- Domaru Butai - If the Keisotsu are the line troopers, the Domaru are the samurai leading the way. A high close combat ability, Martial Arts L3, along with armor 3, stealth, and dodge +2" to let them close the distance. They can also team up with Tanko for some very effective fireteams.
- Karakuri Special Project - As well as being awesome miniatures, the Karakuri are extremely durable, and all come with a Gizmokit to heal each other. They are armed with medium-ranged weaponry but have the protection to get them in range to use them, so run them gleefully forward laughing in their animated face masks.
- O-Yoroi Kidobutai - The JSA's TAG and is a very good weapons platform. BS14 and an AP heavy machine gun means you can accurately lay burst 4 rounds on your enemies. ARM 7 makes them durable, but not indestructible, so choose your targets carefully in your favor.
- Oniwaban Shinobu Kitsune - Along with just having a brand new sculpt released, is a named character and an upgrade on the already powerful Oniwaben. CC 25 and Martial Arts L5 mean that they will almost certainly decimate anything they get close to.
- Miyamoto Mushashi - Miyamoto is an Infinity version of the famous duelist and is just as deadly as you would expect. CC 25 and Martial Arts L5 and a 6-4 move to get them up the field. They will need some protection on the way up, but an Oniwaben decimating their back line, and an O-Yoroi and Karakuri's drawing fire should do the trick. The JSA have limited options for smoke, but they are there and will certainly help any advance forward.
The copy of the Infinity Products used to produce this guide were provided by Corvus Belli.