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A Flaming Hot Guide to Kinsano for Halo Wars 2

Pun intended. The first batch of DLC content for Halo Wars 2 has released. The new leader Kinsano brings along some scorching new units and abilities and is available to download for all season pass owners or can be brought separately from the Xbox Store. Having jumped online to test her out below is an overview of her units and abilities as well as some early strategies to adopt.

A Flaming Hot Guide to Kinsano for Halo Wars 2

The Leader

Once an insurrectionist opposed to the rule of the United Earth Government and the UNSC, Morgan Kinsano is a character that showcases the importance of survival over ideology as when the Covenant began attacking human colonies she joined the UNSC to fight back. Kinsano opens up new playstyles with a fiery focus on dealing damage to infantry and structures. 

New Units

Kinsano's Cyclops: Easily the most significant addition to this update is this brand new hero unit piloted by Kinsano herself. A heavily upgraded and unique variation of the Cyclops with dual flamethrowers, energy shield, massive health pool and flame wall ability. Kinsano's cyclops can be brought from the armoury just like all the other Hero units and can be upgraded there as well. Without upgrades, the unit is very effective in the first stages of a multiplayer match. To get the best use of it however upgrading is essential. The first upgrade unlocks the flame wall ability which creates a devastating wall of flame which is incredibly effective on clusters of enemy troops or bases. Furthur upgrades increase the unit speed as well as health and damage dealt. Naturally, the unit is most effective against infantry as well as buildings but is less powerful against vehicles and has no anti-air capabilities. 

Unlike other hero units, Kinsano's Cyclops has a very significant presence on the battlefield. Noticeably the size of the unit, as well as the visual spectacle of the dual flamethrowers, make it stand out more than the likes of the Spartans or Honor Guard who can often get lost in the carnage of massive battles. Due to the AOE of the unit's attacks, Kinsano's Cyclops feels far more useful and worthy of including in your army as it can be seen making a noticeable difference in both clashes against other units as well as attacks on enemy bases. Due to the large presence, it is also a very effective card to use in Blitz mode to deal with clustered units of infantry and effectively hold down one of the control points even without other units for support but does cost 240 energy to deploy.   

By itself, the unit can obviously be overwhelmed pretty easily by vehicles or air units. Therefore it is essential to back it up with some Cyclops to deal with vehicles and Marines and Wolverines to deal with air units. Combinations of units like that along with a fully upgraded Kinsano's Cyclops has proved to be an effective army to contend with in multiplayer.

A Flaming Hot Guide to Kinsano for Halo Wars 2 - Use the new hero unit to deal massive damage to bases

Flame Warthog: The Iconic Halo Warthog has seen many variations over the years and now with the introduction of Kinsano we have the awesome new Flame Warthog which replaces the chaingun with a flamethrowerThis new variation is tougher than that of the standard Warthog and just like Kinsano's Cyclops is effective at dealing AOE damage and is particularly devastating against infantry and structures. This again makes them more vulnerable to other vehicles and air units. It's worth noting that the flame turret itself can't attack air units but rather the passenger with a rocket launcher. An upgrade replaces the flame turret with an incendiary grenade launcher effectively boosting damage and range.

The new unit more or less serves the same purpose of the traditional Warthog. It makes a fine addition to any unit configuration or can be used individually to quickly move around the battlefield for various different roles. As with Kinsano's Cyclops, an easy strategy is to back up the Flame Warthogs with some anti-air units to easily counter air only attacks from opponents. As Kinsano is the new leader players have already figured out her weaknesses thus it's essential to devote time and resources to upgrading anti-air units as this is a strategy most players online have resorted to deal with her.

The Flame Warthog can also be used in Blitz mode as well as the Veteran Flame Warthog (Incendiary grenade launcher upgrade). In addition to this Veteran Hellbringers (More powerful variation of the traditional Hellbringers) are also now available to unlock and use in Blitz mode.

A Flaming Hot Guide to Kinsano for Halo Wars 2 - The new Warthogs are incredibly fun and versatile

New Active Abilities 

Slightly more impressive than her new units are a plethora of unique new abilities, spoiler alert they are all fire based.

Helldrop: Like the ODST drop but with veteran Hellbringers, one of the first abilities to unlock but only spawns one unit of Hellbringers unless upgraded.   

Flame Warthog Drop: Drops in three veteran Flame Warthogs. 

FireStorm Battle Group: An expensive, ultimate ability that calls down a squad of Hellbringers, a Scorpion Tank and two Hornets while also buffing the drop zone with max-level Hellcharge.

Being able to instantly spawn units anywhere with line of sight is always a bonus as they can finish off units and bases, reinforce existing troops or instantly protect your base or lend a helping hand to allies and so on. The fact that Kinsano has three abilities like this means that those tactics can be used frequently and are one of the best things about playing as her. Naturally, Flame Warthog drop and FireStorm Battle Group are expensive abilities to use but save up enough resources and using all three abilities at once is incredibly fun and devastating for the enemy team.

HellCharge: Increases speed and damage for a short period of time and causes the selected friendly units to explode upon death. Great for gaining an edge in combat as well as allowing friendly units to die in a blaze of glory should you spot them losing an engagement. 

Napalm Missiles: Behaves in the same way as Cutters missiles but leave a burning damage over time effect on the ground. Great for weakening up or finishing off units. 

Inferno: Behaves like the Mac Blast but again leaves a burning after effect on the ground. This is a truly devastating ability to use on large armies or to severely damage a base. The after effect means you gain an advantage in many engagements such as using it to force a retreat from your opponent.

A Flaming Hot Guide to Kinsano for Halo Wars 2 - Use the Inferno ability to devastate oppenents

New Passive Abilities

Redline: Provides a speed and damage boost to newly-spawned units for a limited time. A good ability to have when defending a base. 

Heat of Battle: Empowers friendly units with increased damage resistance and damage output whenever they gain a kill. Passive abilities like this give you an edge in combat without even haveing to do anything and so I recommend always unlocking this one as fast as possible.

A Turret Drop and Restoration Drones (available with other UNSC leaders) round out the ability wheel. 

Blitz Mode

Due to the burning after effect damage of Napalm misses and Inferno as well as the AOE effect of Kinsano's Cyclops and Flame Warthog this new leader is particularly well equipped for contesting and defending control points in Blitz mode. To get the best use of her in Blitz it is worth including all her new cards in a deck, fill in the gaps with at least one anti-air unit an air unit of your own and offensive powerful units such as a scorpion tank and Vulture to add some much-needed firepower for offensive pushes and large engagements. 

A Flaming Hot Guide to Kinsano for Halo Wars 2 - The new blitz cards add a new layer of stratagy

Final Thoughts

Upgrade the new hero unit and Flame Warthog, focus on infantry and vehicle upgrades make use of the awesome new abilities and prepare for the inevitable swarm of Banshees or Hornets players will inevitably send your way and you will be winning matches with Kinsano in no time. The first batch of DLC does not really change all that much but it adds new tactics to the playing field without drastically upsetting the balance of the game and provides more variety, even if it is just the visual variety of seeing fire everywhere.

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