In this guide, I breakdown each of the 8 Shakarn Hero Skills, and analyse how well each of the races synergize with the secret tech.
The Hero Skills
Zardas Instructors – costs 4 skill points – gives +10% evasions, and universal camouflage to this unit, and disables the Domok Instructors hero skill.
Domok Instructors – costs 4 skill points – gives +10% crit chance and +2 status effect resistance to non-hero units in this stack, and disables the Zardas Instructors hero skill.
Call Insider – costs 4 skill points – requires lvl 5 – spawns a sleep agent unit next to this unit.
Deadly Sight – costs 2 skill points – gives +15% accuracy, and critical chance when using overwatch.
Quaking Shields – costs 4 skill points – requires lvl 4 – can apply concussion to units that attack within 5 hexes of this unit.
Zardas Army Training – costs 4 skill points – requires lvl 8 – gives +2 status effect resistance and universal camouflage to non-hero units under the command of this unit.
Domok Army Training – costs 4 skill points – requires lvl 8 – gives +10% critical chance and +5 hp to non-hero units under the command of this unit.
Insider Insight – costs 4 skill points – requires lvl 12 – reveals a sleeper agent next to an enemy t1 or t2 unit
Now before we jump into all of the synergies between each of the Secret Tech and the Shakarn, I did want to talk about a background I really like using with them as well as the differences between special shakarn secret tech units, like their purifiers and the lightbringers.
The Omni Cannon pairs incredibly well with Ruthless Killer, as it only requires one action point to fire, does a lot of damage, and has a range of 7.
Stubborn vice will boost status effect resistance, compensating for the Shakarn’s inherent -2 status effect resistance.
From what I can tell, all 6 secret techs have valid strategies for the Sharkarn class, but some are better than others.
Promethean: Purifier – Gets a repeating primary melee attack, and a bit more movement (40, not 32)
Celesitan: Lightbringer – Secondary attack can cause disorientation, which increases the fumble chance on the target unit by 30%.
Celesitan: Star Guide – Comes with nothing unique in the Shakarn variation.
Synthesis: Hacker – Replaces haywire daemon (which only impacts cyborgs and mechanical units) with an ability that can apply analyzed (reducing all damage resistance by 2) to all unit types.
Voidtech: Echo walker – Primary attack can apply the reverb debuff, which causes an explosion at 3 charges.
Psynumbra: Initiates – Comes with nothing unique in the Shakarn variation.
Psynumbra: Malictors – Comes with nothing unique in the Shakarn variation.
Secret Tech Synergies
(1) Voidtech Shakarn – is very powerful, potentially the strongest synergy currently in the game. The t1 mod, phasewalk Modulator, allows raiders to walk through obstacles, allowing them to easily close the distance between them and enemy units. Raider’s do best when they can run up on an enemy and concuss them with their secondary ability, which can hit 3 units in a row, and is easier to set up with the extra mobility that mod provides. Echo walkers with Impairing Grenades is one of the devs favorite builds of the echo walkers. You can put two grenades on an echo walker for lots of staggering. Phasewalk + Xenodefense + Holodisplacement Fields is a strong combo. Phase Manipulators are great at saving/ healing raiders and other close-range units. Their echo walkers can also use the Sonic Weapon mods. The ability to teleport firebrands and deadeyes to the most advantageous place for voidtech is incredibly powerful. Voidtech can double teleport with Phase Drive and Shakarn Orbital Recall and also capitalize on kinetic damage with Dimensional Instability, plus all your Secret Tech units can keep up with the army in water.
(2) Celestian Shakarn – This secret tech provides a lot of healing, and defensive bonuses (like the early stagger resistance mod), which will allow your raiders and other close-ranged units, to take less damage while closing the distance between them and your enemies. The Shakarn doctrine, Dwelling Intimidation, pairs really well with the Celestian doctrine, Karmic Amplifaction, allowing you to befriend NPC factions really quickly. The Light bringers secondary attack can apply the disoriented debuff, causing the target to have a +30% fumble chance . The early game ‘shield of remorse’ mod can turn a battle by reducing enemy crits or even causing them to wiff shots, the midgame ‘tenets of healing’ mod can give any infantry/mounted a long range area heal, the late ‘tenets of pacifism’ completely negates overwatch as an issue and its active ability can shut down several attackers, the latest acquired mod ‘shield of reckoning’ is just perfect for front liners like Raiders and Firebrands. Evil Overlord (steam).
(3) Promethean Shakarn works well, due to easy access to the incinerator modules and having thermal damage on most of their units (allowing them to apply the promethean weapon mods on most of their units). Promethean helps with the Shakarn Xeno-debilitation and lack of reliable low-level healing: Purification Field gives you an early game free action heal and non-psionic status cure; Hazmat gives extra protection from BioChem; PyrX Absorption Panels gives extra damage, thermal protection, and healing by standing in thermal hazard; Thermal Targeting has nice synergy with the Deadeye unit. They hit hard and this helps their accuracy. Shakarn Purifiers are extremely useful, since the Shakarn lack a low-level melee unit. Also, unlike other races’ purifiers, they need to get close to their targets and combined Plasma Bombs and PyrX Absorption Panels means the enemy is gonna have a bad time. Hardlight + Laser Range is far more useful on Deadeyes, while survival is king for Raiders, Firebrands and Purifiers.
Promethean trait combo: Promethean hero ability Fallout Protocol also helps alleviate the Xeno-Debilitation problem a little.
(4) Xenoplague Sharkarn are awesome. Their first mod, Xenoplague Parasite, provides a decent HP boost and counteracts their status effect weakness, and the Xenoplague units, though technically not ‘free’ due to the energy/cosmite investment needed for Plague Pods and Parasitic Strike/Sleeper Xenomome operations, provide a good and nimble meat shield to take bullets for your main units. Xenoplague also has a lot of healing options which shakarn are a little light on early game. All xenoplague units are amphibious, so they don’t hinder Shakarn mobility at all. Shakarn lack a lot of access to common sources of stagger, like grenades, and only have 1 normal melee unit, Xenoplague help with both. (grenades can be bought with a mod) Shakarn low-tier units don’t extend very well into the endgame, but Xenoplague units can easily replace the cheap frontline components of a stack and still grow into something much more powerful. Xenoplague trait combo: Rapid Movement gives skitter; skitter pairs well with omnicannon. You can get lots of healing through hero skills, which the shakarn are lacking.
(5) Psynumbra Shakarn have a tough early game, as both the the secret tech and the race are a bit of glass cannons, in that they do lots of dps, but can die super easily. Consuming gaze provides some much needed healing to the shakarn units (their support comes with no heal, but can holoshift into a unit that does have a heal). Sharkarn mods are focused more on providing defensive bonuses, and the psynumbra can boost your unit’s offensive capabilities. Xenodefense + Holodisplacement on initiates is really really brutal.
(6) Heritor Shakarn seems like a very powerful combination. The Sharkarn Deadeye has a single-action “sniper” that pairs well with siphoners. Essence charges increase dps, which is good for the shakarn as they specialize in strong alpha strikes. You get 3 damage channels, making your units harder to counter. Refreshing the action points on a raider sounds really strong. The Heritor have a early healing tactical operation and an early healing strategic operation.
(7) Synthesis Shakarn – Synthesis provides some early-game clearing force vs machines. Non-modded T1 and 2 Shakarn are quite squishy and Infiltrator is of limited use vs mechanical; thus Hacker with Arc damage and AoE Stagger weakness can save your backside, especially if you have bad luck of spawning close to Reaper bunkers. I also like Synth for covert ops in general which the Shakarn are obviously encouraged to do. In the synthesis first doctrine set they get a cost reduction and ops power boost. Synthesis is also pretty good for the holy trinity of Targeting/Guardian Daemon Shell and Total Network Integration, as well as the operations that buff Integrated units (this combo boosts critical hit chance, as well as a lot of other things, but the shakarn have a lot of other ways to boost their critical hit chance, like the Domok Army training. The real value of Synthesis is giving units like Raiders and Firebrands stagger immunity, an ‘extra life’ and stacking crit upon crit on both those units and on Deadeyes. Not to mention giving easy access to Arc damage via two units that can keep up with the Shakarn in water (Avatar and Shakarn Hacker). The Sharkarn skitter mod pairs well with synthesis evasion mod.