Kinsano has been dominating the competitive multiplayer scene as of late, but when it comes to Terminus Firefight’s matchmaking playlist, she’s rarely seen and I’m not sure why. She’s become one of my favorite UNSC leaders to use in this mode, and I’ll go over her traits and what makes her so awesome.
Let’s start with her Leader Powers. She has some standard fare such as Restoration Drones and Turret Drop, but here’s a couple of her unique Leader Powers that enable her to stand out from the crowd.
- The Heat of Battle passive is absolutely amazing, giving your units a temporary Attack buff with each kill they make, and it’s available at the start of the match. This is very similar to Decimus’s Killing Frenzy passive, but Heat of Battle not only provides an Attack increase, but it also buffs Armor as well. This is crucial for units like Marines at the start of the game when they’re outnumbered and outgunned by Light Vehicle waves, and Wolverines benefit from this when going up against Heavy Air. Her Kodiaks also progressively get more OP with each kill thanks to this passive.
- Hellcharge is probably one of, if not the best Leader Powers for Kinsano in this mode. Affected units are given an Attack and Speed buff, and when they die, they explode. A unique feature about this Leader power that I think is vastly overlooked is that unlike Colony’s Vehicle Symbiotes and Decimus’s Siphon and Fury, Hellcharge can be used on allied units. If your teammates are struggling against opposition and you won’t be able to make it to them on time, drop a Hellcharge on them. If their situation is dire, you can also combo Hellcharge with Restoration Drones and/or Turret Drop.
- The Redline passive is also pretty amazing. When you spawn any units, they’ll have a temporary Speed and Damage buff, and this buff lasts a long time and can make a huge difference in battle, especially in the earlier stages of the game when you’re setting everything up. Once upgraded, Redline II permanently increases the speed of your vehicles and aircraft. This is excellent for getting your troops onto the battlefield as quick as possible. You’ll find that Wolverines and Jackrabbits are faster than Sonic the Hedgehog when you spawn one in.
- Napalm Missiles and Inferno both provide residual fire damage moments after they’re used. Napalm Missiles is probably her weakest Leader Power excluding the unit drops, but Inferno covers a wide area and lasts a decent amount of time, and is notably good against Infantry, especially against Flood waves. Note that these aren’t the best tools against Air units.
Now I’d like to go over Kinsano herself. Her Hero Unit is crazy good. Her matchup against heavy Infantry units like Hunters and Cyclops is phenomenal. She can solo entire lanes with her Firewall Y ability, and when fully upgraded and at Veterancy 3, her damage output is insane, even melting heavy vehicles that get in her way. Her High Torque Joint upgrade also makes her quite fast on her feet, making her among the UNSC’s fastest Hero units, especially after she respawns and gets the effects of Heat of Battle. Her biggest issue is that she’s the only UNSC Hero unit that can’t touch Air units, so pair her up with a healthy amount of anti-air units to compensate.
I start the game with Supply Pad > Supply Pad > Generator and then purchase Heat of Battle. I then upgrade the first Supply Pad and then purchase another Supply Pad when I have the resources. Once i have 500 supplies, I purchase a Second Generator and upgrade the first Generator when I reach 300 energy. I then call in a few more Marines as the waves progress to prepare for Light Air/Direct Air/Condor/ etc. The first mini-base is where I build my Armory and then I call Kinsano in and immediately upgrade to Firewall. If there’s veterancy cores available, I send Kinsano to them immediately so she can be ready to handle a potential Scarab or Hive Commander.
This is about where I upgrade to Tech 2 and spawn a third Generator and a Garage at my base. I upgrade the third Generator, Kinsano to High Torque Joint, and upgrade to Logistics I. I then spawn a few Wolverines and Kodiaks when I have the money. If I’m on the Crystal Sands side, I like to have 9 Marines be garrisoned in Bunker Barricades to slowly chip away at Heavy Air units, so when I move up to get my second mini-base, I spawn 3 Fences near one of the outer mini-bases, and have them together in a half circle position, upgrade them to Bunker Barricades, and place the Marines in there. I block off the other side with Barricades so I don’t have to fight on two sides at the same time. I then proceed to upgrade the Marines all the way to Combat Mechanic, and on my second mini-base I call in an Air Pad for Nightingales and a Barracks to upgrade the Infantry Level. Once the Infantry Level is maxed out, I destroy the Barracks and replace it with a fourth Supply Pad. If I’m not on Crystal Sands, I just replace the population with extra Wolverines and Kodiaks. I upgrade the supply pads that I left alone before and proceed to Tech 3.
I upgrade Kinsano to Dragon Tanks and then proceed to get the rest of my army of Wolverines and Kodiaks up and running while upgrading Logistics, Reinforcements, and Fortify along the way. I throw in a Jackrabbit w/ Support Drone for extra range for the Kodiaks. Lastly, I build a bunch of Siege Turrets to help my Kodiaks in the artillery department.
The build with 120 pop ends up being:
- 9 Marines
- 1 Nightingale
- 1 Jackrabbit
- 11 Wolverines
- 7 Kodiaks
With each new mini-base after that, I spawn an extra Kodiak and Wolverine.
What are the negatives of using Kinsano?
- She is probably the weakest UNSC Leader when it comes to battling Air Units. Her Hero unit can’t touch them while her offensive Leader Powers don’t do anything to them, either, with her best option being the Turret Drop (lmao). This requires the majority of your army to be dedicated to Anti-Air such as Wolverines and Marines in the Bunker Barricades. This is also why I recommend using her in 2vE or 3vE rather than 1vE.
- She has a whopping 3 Leader Powers dedicated to unit drops, and none of them are useful outside of wave 30 and below, and even then you’re better off purchasing her better powers.
- Her Napalm Missiles and Inferno aren’t all that phenomenal by themselves and I recommend that you combo them with Leader Powers from other Leaders, although any residual damage is better than no damage at all.
Who pairs well with Kinsano?
- Serina and Anders are excellent partners for their Ice/Sentinel abilities and modified Siege Turrets and Kodiaks slowing the enemy down in their own way so that Kinsano can get the most usage out of the residual damage from Napalm Missiles and Inferno. You also have a cute “Fire and Ice” duo with Serina, and if you run a team of Anders, Kinsano, and Serina, you get a team that I call “The Powerpuff Girls”.
- Johnson has EMP Mac Blast to provide phenomenal anti-air support for Kinsano, which she desperately needs.
- Decimus can also provide similar anti-air support with his Vortex Lightning ability.
- Voridus can use his Infusion, whether it’s from his Blisterbacks or from his various Leader Powers, alongside Kinsano’s Napalm Missiles and Inferno abilities to rack up residual damage.
- Jerome has Inspiration qualities that can stack with Kinsano’s passive powers and Hellcharge ability to give her units an unprecedented amount of damage output.