This post regarding Named Pilots is part of a larger article regarding Wave 2 listbuilding- the rest of the posts n this series will be available in the coming weeks as I'm revealing a post or two per day on the various topics in that larger article. For more info, click the "Ship List Articles" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.
Card Text: You may declare an enemy ship inside your firing arc that you are touching as the target of your attack.
Usage in game: Blocking, anti-blocking strategy & mitigation
Breakdown: I've been talking about Arvel Crynyd in real life for a good little while now and he was even mentioned in the post I did when FFG did their A-Wing preview pre-Wave 2 release. I'm not going to say it's necessarily the most useful, but I think Arvel has one of the most interesting special rules in the game in that you absolutely can't fake it with other Elite Pilot Skills or combinations thereof, which is pretty cool in my book.
As mentioned in the BBB on the Combat Phase, normally, if you collide with another ship in your movement phase (official rulebook term- overlap), and you're still touching that ship in the Combat Phase, you can't fire on him. You're perfectly free to fire upon another valid (within your arc, within range of your weapon) target, but not the guy you're actually touching, which if you're like me, and by like me I mean sometimes you have brain problems and boner up your movement phase, the guy you're touching is probably the guy you were really wanting to get in Range 1 of to begin with. Normally, my reaction to this little event is to recreate Liz Lemon's masterpiece eyeroll (also my go-to look of disapproval pretty much every day I'm at work), but when I pull this daft maneuver with Arvel Crynyd, I usually catch myself about the time I'm at 11:00 on the eyeroll and say, "Oh, wait."
So there's that. At 23 points, only 4 points more than a Green Squadron Pilot and at 3 more Pilot Skill (yes, Patrick- I know, he can't take Elite Pilot Skills, which is bad, etc., etc.; gimme a sec. :) ), you too can forget to include the base of your ship while trying to execute advanced spatial thinking while operating on around 25 hours of sleep a week and still get to shoot your guns! Huzzah!
I think players who are better and more well rested would find good use in Arvel's unique ability employing him not as a blocking ship, but as an anti-blocking ship, especially in 3-ship Falcon lists as they're a little more susceptible to the idea of the blocking. How's that work? Simple. Give Crynyd a move that'll take him to where you think your opponent thinks the Falcon's gonna be, then give the Falcon something completely different. He moves a TIE or two into the space he thinks you're going to fly your Falcon, and surprise! Arveled.
Now, understand, just because Arvel can bonk into people and still shoot doesn't mean he can suddenly free of all bad overlap consequences; i.e. he can shoot and also utilize his Perform Action step- he can't. You'd hope it wouldn't matter at Range 1, but folks with extremely bad dice karma like long-time Bikini Aficionado and apparent gypsy-curse victim heychadwick can attest, even the bonus Range 1 die might not save you if the dice gods are against you that day. The good news is, the crash victim can't shoot back as they're touching you and are not Arvel, but their buddies flying nearby very well might be able to and you probably don't have a Focus or Evade to burn unless you got it from a friend of your own who passes along Actions or tokens.
So what's the downside? Arvel is one of those named guys that can't take Elite Pilot Skills, which is a real bummer. It also makes him a bit unpopular with some folks because you can take the aforementioned Green Squadron Pilot for the aforementioned 4 points less and get those aforementioned Elite Pilot Skills. As there are several of these which dovetail nicely with the available A-Wing Actions, maneuver dials, missle loadouts, or all of the above, taking Crynyd isn't really something you should do lightly.
If you play in a place with a lot of TIE Swarms that close on you rapidly though, with the intention of blocking or not, you can likely find a place for Arvel and have him do some good. Providing other targets for the TIEs to shoot at works well as a mitigating factor to keep him from getting fired on when he's Actionless, as is driving him down a sideline and then having him cut in on the flank, hopefully denying firing arcs to the target's wingmen. As you might expect, he has some real potential for screwing up a Howlrunner-centric TIE Swarm and splitting them up a bit, or even against a small, specialized, Action-dependent build as A-Wings are just so darn maneuverable.
While he can't take Elite Pilot Skills, he is perfectly free to have his pick of the missiles all of which I've covered before in detail on here. You can find a reason to pack pretty much any missile and make it work depending on your playstyle and local meta as even an Assault Missile could soften up some of the targets Arvel wants to crash into (hell naw it ain't a Dave Matthews link, come on man)- just don't ding yourself in the process.
Additionally, if you really want to throw some points at a guy who is basically the Star Wars equivalent of Admiral Bensen, you can hook him up with a Modification. Obviously Engine Upgrade would be redundant, but you could make a case for either Shield Upgrade or Stealth Device. Me personally, I'd probably lean more towards Shield Upgrade as he's going to get up close and personal, but Stealth Device could work too as it provides a ton of protection on the way in.
As I'm known to say around here and on the FFG forums, everybody is viable in this game, but some pilots are more accessible than others. Contrary to what you might think at first glance, Arvel is definitely one of those "others." He's a little too expensive of a pilot to not have Elite Pilot Skills and his special text, while potentially hilarious for you and frustrating for your opponent, isn't the easiest thing in the world to trigger against competent players. Still though, there's some good potential lulz to be had and if you're a mainly Rebel player who is tired of getting rushed by TIEs every single game, you might throw Arvel in there once in awhile just to keep your opponent honest.