Heavy Gear Blitz features a wide spread of unit types ranging from hyper specialized to wide generalists. Amid the tangle of profiles and upgrades there are some different styles of equipment that show up again and again. Understanding them will help you figure out a new faction. In this article we will discuss some of these unit archetypes.
While we use some game terms for unit Role in this article, archetypes is not an actual game term, more of a broad concept. They somewhat map over the Role stat, but not all units that fit the archetype will share the same roles. We’re also going to use the term Gear to describe all units here, but this applies equally well to other unit types as well.
Troopers are basic unit for each faction. The Hunter, Jager, Warrior, and Chasseur for the big four Terra Novan factions, F6-16, Acco, APE, and Man at Arms for the invaders. In the fluff these units form garrisons, basic details, or support units. This is not to say that they are always poorly armed or armored. Other units with less frills can fall into this category as well such as the Tiger for the North or Copperhead for NuCoal. The important part for a trooper is about what they don’t bring. They only rarely have EW equipment, heavier weapons (even on variants), or complicated traits. This lack of equipment means that even the basic variants tend to come cheap. Troopers also tend to have GP+ availability.
Troopers are designed to fill ranks at a low price. Generally they have wide enough availability of role that they can slide into most squads and provide extra bodies. Heavy Gear is a game of attrition and sometimes just having a few more bodies on your team will be the key to victory. This is not to say that troopers are just to fill slots. Most tend to be generalists and can do almost any task, but not as well as a specialized gear.
These tend towards fast moving, high Piloting, and often high EW skill. Recon gears are there to do a specific thing such as target designate or perform objectives. They almost always have light armor, using speed and Agile or ECM defense to stay alive. Examples are the Cheetah or Harrier. While variants exist with heavy weapons (such as the Striking Iguana or Strike Cheetah) they usually tend towards lighter weapons and usually have poor gunnery.
Recon Gears are similar to Support Gears, but are more deadly, capable, or can be found at low points costs with less frills. The general commonality is specialized design: A recon gear is made to do one thing well, and usually that thing has to do with EW or battlefield position.
Fire Support Gears
These are the big guns, fairly self explanatory, but Fire Support Gears have some other shared commonalities. Most tend towards lower piloting, higher armor, and often bonus Brawl dice to represent their increased size. A rare number also have increased GU stats. Fire support gears might bring long range artillery, heavy direct fire weapons, advanced weapons, or all of the above.
Generally the role of fire support gears is to shoot things. They lack mobility and can be very expensive but that comes with a commensurate ability to kill. These gears will usually be gated by the FS unit role, meaning they will often be secondary roles rather than primary. There is wide debate in the community about the FS role objective (wipe them out) which can be difficult to achieve and requires you to target an enemy FS unit to get full points. This, and their cost means it is rare to see large numbers of FS units because it can leave the player vulnerable. Still, these units are worth taking because if applied correctly they can do horrendous damage.
Special Case: Artillery
These Fire Support units will sometimes have heavy long range guns but lack too much for close combat. For example the Stormhammer or Ostregoth or Ammon mount. You are essentially buying a big gun on a tank and no extra frills. They will be more vulnerable than most Fire Support, they make up for it by being a deadly unit to use in coordination with a spotter. Some might even be fine in a direct fire fight too, such as with the Ammon. The uniting principle is one or two big guns and no variety.
Strike Gears combine above average speed and weaponry. They may have short range or long range weapons but higher gunnery and higher damage tends to be the norm. Strike Gears do not always have higher armor, can usually are a little over the norm. All of this kit comes at an expense though, and strike gears are usually too costly to spam. Examples would be the Commando Armiger or the Black Mamba.
A Strike Gear’s job is usually to hunt. While Fire Support gears can kill whatever is put in front of them, a Strike Gear will usually be optimized for a roll such as tank hunting or taking high accuracy shots. In the same way the Recon Gears have a mission in mind, Strike Gears have a target in mind (they are too expensive to be used as generalists) and are best used against it.
Special Case: Melee Gears
This niche is not found in every army. Units like the Gladiator or Arena upgraded gears for the South apply here. These units will usually have fine enough guns as well, but also gain bonus Brawl dice, a decent melee weapon, and often a shield. These units often fill the same role as Strike Gears but tend to want to hunt targets advantaged by their melee weapons (IE they want to fight units instead of gears).
This category is fairly broad but consists of gears that will not be used for their own merits but are force multipliers. They can be EW units like Greyhound that can bring ECM plus, comms, and good sensors but are not necessarily meant for target designating. Or they can include repair or medical units like the EMT N-Kidu or Bricklayer/Stonemason that exist to keep other units moving. They might also have a hyper specialized role that supports other units such as the Bobcat, Dart Jager, or upgraded units that add ECCM but not any other EW gear.
Support gears are there to make other gears better. It can be argued that some recon gears also fall into this category, and the Silverscale might be a good example of that. The Water Viper SR is a particular example of what a support gear does. It brings along smoke and ECM on a units with a special movement type. It has elements of a fire support gear (linked rockets and high hull) and a recon gear (ECM/ECCM) but poor electronics and lower class weapons. Yet, it brings a lot of utility.
Special Case: Command Gears
These Support gears are often variants of the other types seen above, but a few dedicated command profiles exist bringing bonus SP (for orders) and great EW. Command gears improve the effectiveness of a commander and allow them to get their orders out, which in turn boost other gears. Some might be a deadly unit in their own right, but they pay extra for this force multiplier effect.
Why Bother with Archetypes
Not all players will agree with the concept of Archetypes. Some might place different units in different categories. Additionally, some upgrades or load outs can completely change what profile can do, or units might straddle multiple archetypes. But when you have a good example of what a unit is capable of, it helps in understanding a new faction or one you are unfamiliar playing against. Archetypes also reveal some of the hidden design concepts behind Blitz.
For example, understanding a unit is functioning as a support piece helps to determine the priority of attacking it. Knowing which profiles function like troopers can help you accurately assess their threat. Spending a little time with a new unit to think of what archetype(s) it fits best is a good way to grow in Heavy Gear and process what is often an information heavy game.