Real life has kept me busy of late, as such I wasn't able to enjoy the drop of Season 9 as soon as it occurred. I have finally been able to find the time to sit down and digest the new ITS packet for Season 9: Treason.
The first change that we encounter (page 7 of the ITS Season 9 PDF) is a new Classified Objective, HVT: Kidnapping. Kidnapping is to replace the HVT: Retroengineering cards in your deck. Until official cards are available, it is easiest to keep the Retroengineering cards in and treat them as Kidnapping cards. The Kidnapping Classified can be obtained by any Veteran or Elite trooper, or a trooper with the Chain of Command Special Skill. In order to score points for this objective, one of these models must be in the CivEvac state with the enemy HVT at the end of the game. To be clear, the Veteran and Elite troops are the Troop Classification and not a profile with the Veteran skill.
I have never been involved in a game where the CivEvac rules were used, so I had to go look them up in Human Sphere. To get into the CivEvac state, a model must declare use of the short movement skill Synchronize Civilian. In order to declare this order, a model must be in base contact with a civilian, not already in CivEvac with two other civilian models, not Impetuous or Extremely Impetuous, not part of a coordinated order or fire team, not a remote, and not a G:Synchronized or G:Servant model.
To enter the CivEvac state, the model must pass a WIP roll. If the model is considered Hostile, it is a WIP-3 roll. If failed, the civilian model will scatter 2" in a random direction. The direction is determined in the same manner as a Dispersion roll, using the Circular Template. There are more rules regarding the Synchronize Civilian Order and CivEvac state in the Human Sphere book on pages 94 and 95, some of which will be discussed below.
There is an additional change for HVTs, in some scenarios the enemy HVT is considered an enemy combatant and no longer a Neutral Civilian. This rule is called Designated Target. During these scenarios, the enemy HVT will react with an ARO to any order spent within LoF or ZoC. Page 7 of the PDF contains a profile that includes a Stun Pistol. Scenarios where the Designated Target rule is used include Decapitation, Transmission Matrix, The Grid, and Comms Center. Be prepared for your opponent's HVT to respond back with a BS/CC attack or a PH 11 dodge if you attempt to Kidnap or kill the Designated Target in any of those scenarios.
There are additional effects to having a Designated Target. Normally if a Neutral Civilian is harmed the game ends immediately and the opponent gains 2 extra Objective Points for pain and suffering (maximum of 10 still). The Designated Target rule will not trigger the end of the game or these additional OPs. In fact, in the scenarios where the Designated Target rule is in effect, you will gain Objective Points for killing an opponent's HVT. The standard classified objective deck is in use during most of these scenarios, which means that you will need to make certain to complete any Classified Objectives prior to taking out the Designated Target.
A new twist to this season is crowning a player with the title of Winter's Winner. This title will go to the player that is ranked first in the World ITS Rankings at mid-season. Along with this title, the Winter's Winner will be picking a faction to benefit from an Improved Designated HVT profile. This profile has increased PH, ARM, and BTS values. What role this improved profile will play in ITS events will depend on the number of events that use the above mentioned scenarios.
A new designation of "Datatracker" will be used in certain scenarios. Datatrackers are chosen at the end of the Deployment Phase and represent troops that are highly reliable and specialize in missions where recovery and delivery of sensitive data is necessary. A Datatracker can be chosen from nearly any model on the table except irregular and REM models. It must be a model that is always on the table, which means no models arriving by Advanced Deployment or those that can enter a marker state, such as those with any level of Camouflage or Holoprojector Level 2. Note that a model with Holoprojector Level 1 can be chosen, as they are always represented by a model on the table. The Datatracker is identified with a new marker called Data Pack.
The role of the Datatracker will vary based on the scenario. In some, you will gain Objective Points for killing the enemy Data Tracker (Annihilation, Show of Force, Firefight, Deadly Dance). In others, you will gain OP when your Datatracker is within a quadrant or sector that you control (Quadrant Control, Frontline, Safe Area). Another use of the Datatracker is gaining Points for controlling, and in some cases destroying, an objective with the Datatracker (Looting and Sabotage, Power Pack, Capture and Protect, Acquisition). My favorite usage is that where the Datatracker and Designated Target rules are both used and Objective Points are earned for killing the Designated Target with your Datatracker (Decapitation, Transmission Matrix, The Grid, Comms Center). There is one scenario, Rescue, where OP are earned for a Datatracker having a civilian in CivEvac at the end of the game. The number of OP earned depends on the Zone they finish in. The addition of the Datatracker adds a new depth to the choices that one is making during list building. Depending on the scenarios for the ITS event, you will need to include models that can be Datatracker choices that can kill opponents easily, some that can survive, and others that are highly mobile.
The Ironclad rule grants every TAG the Fatality L1 rule. We first saw the Fatality rule with the release of the Beyond Red Veil as a new rule given to Tarik Mansuri. Fatality L1 applies a MOD of +1 to the Damage of a BS weapon when the BS Attribute is used. The FAQ for Season 8: Tagline, that the strategic usage of Command Tokens cannot be used during Limited Insertion games. Under the Reduced Combat Groups rule, Season 9 takes this a step further and applies this ruling to any Army List that contains only one Combat Group. The combination of these two rules will undoubtedly lead to different list construction than seen in the prior seasons that I have in prior seasons. Ironclad should encourage more TAGs and the Reduced Combat Groups should push more players into a greater amounts of Heavy Infantry as they aim for a single combat group. I am excited to try these new list configurations out as I have yet to field a TAG or a HI fireteam.
There are so many changes in this Season, that it is too much to squeeze into one post. So I will stop typing here, and I will pick it up in a Part 2.