20 January 2014

Named Pilots- Captain Yorr

This post regarding Named Pilots is part of a larger article regarding Wave 3 listbuilding- the rest of the posts in this series will be available in the coming weeks. For more info, click the "List Building Resources" tab at the top of the page or simply click here.

Captain Yorr (24)
Card Text: When another friendly ship at Range 1-2 would receive a stress token, if you have 2 or fewer stress tokens, you may receive that one instead.

Usage in game: Hype man for the real MCs in your squadron.
Breakdown: As y'all know, even though I'm old I still enjoy music quite a lot. Like most old people, I'm not into a lot of the new stuff, and spend a lot time telling younger people their music isn't as good as mine, and blah, blah, blah.

I especially don't know much about rap these days. One thing you saw in a lot of 80's and early 90's rap was the hype man. I don't think they're around much anymore, but at one time, they were a staple like a rhythm guitarist in a rock band.

The hype man played an important and pretty necessary role back in the day when rap acts got big just like rock acts- touring. Now it seems like everybody just sits around and stares at their phone to learn about new music (me included), but back then, touring was a super necessary part of getting your band promoted. You just had to get out there in front of the crowds, y'know? How important and necessary was a hype man? When Rick Rubin wanted to sign The Great Chuck D as a solo act, Chuck refused and insisted that Flav come along as well. If the godfather of rap thinks the guy is important, I'm not going to go against that.

Basically, the hype man was there not only to amp up the crowds and stuff, but also to help fill-in dead space before the MC would start flowin'. Those of y'all who have used (or flown against) Captain Yorr will know where I'm going with all this...

Twenty-four points for a Shuttle isn't bad- as I've said before, they have a lot of hull and shields, a good Primary Attack value, and lots of options you can stick on them. Why are they so cheap? Well, as I've also said on here, if Charles Barkley played X-Wing and you asked him what he thought of the Shuttle's dial, he'd say, "That's turrible."

So as with the Captain Kagi article, Captain Yorr may not be for you. Again- don't feel bad, I'm turrible with these support ships too, but of the three, you might give Captain Yorr a shot as he's probably the most accessible of the named Shuttle pilots. By himself he's nothing to get excited about, but again- I think you gotta look at these Shuttles regardless of which pilot you stick in the cockpit as support ships. Captain Yorr is very unlikely to get in behind Wedge and win the game for you, just like Flav was unlikely to make an indelible mark on rap music by himself. But pair him up with Chuck? Well...

Taking a look at his special rule, take note of a couple of things- first, it doesn't require an Action, and second, it doesn't require any particular trigger from Yorr himself aside from being in range of a friendly ship and not having two Stress Tokens at the moment you want to eat the friendly ship's Stress Token, so much like iOS devices before iOS 7, it just works. Don't underestimate the usefulness of that. While pilots with higher PS values might be less likely to hand off their Stress because you've used it on lower PS ships or something, with even a modicum of forethought and/ or pre-planning gives you a huge degree of contextual decision-making ability here and also fundamentally alters (reaping the movement benefit of incurring Stress without the downside) the way you can play your game.

There are times when taking a Stress Token really isn't a big deal- say some crowd favorite like Turd Ferguson is closing in on a Y-Wing facing 90 degrees out with a single hull point left is kind of on the edge of the table. You decide to K-Turn right by him to ensure he doesn't turn out of your arc, giving you a Stress Token. Maybe you just keep it in this instance hoping three or four Attack dice will get by the 1 defend dice without the need for a Focus. Most of the time though, it sucks and is fairly limiting having to not only give up your Action for the turn, but also paint yourself into a somewhat more predictable corner needing to at least consider pulling a green maneuver to rid yourself of it next movement phase.

Yorr can take a lot of that stress away. Is that a pun? Note I said "stress" and not "Stress" before you answer.

Again, dig on the fact this can happen anytime- it's not dependent on the Activation Phase or the Combat Phase or whatever. You could pull a K-Turn, earn your Stress, let Yorr eat it, then go on about your Activation Phase, happily choosing an Action like you haven't got a care in the world. How handy is that?

As previously mentioned, there are a couple of limiters- first, he can't have more than two Stress tokens. Ok, as you can only shed one Stress Token pulling a Green, that is kind of limiting, especially with all the relatively common maneuvers a Shuttle dial has that are red rather than green, or even white. It's not quite as bad as it seems though, as Lambda's have that big base and Yorr's ability works out to Range 2. That's actually pretty big when you lay it out on a table, so while technically it limits his ability, it's not really that big of a deal unless you just love spreading out all over the place while running a low ship count type of list. Even then though, let's get out the Falcon/ Pepsi-cat picture to illustrate-

Ok, so yeah, the stick is Range 3 and we're talking about Range 2, but it's still a pretty good-sized area when you take into account the big base.

So basically, pull as many Green maneuvers as possible to keep the Stress down to allow for constant use of his ability and keep him relatively close to the scrum, that more or less sums it up, right? This is why I say he's fairly accessible even to folks who have trouble with the idea of using a support ship in their lists- you really don't have to do a whole lot to get some mileage out of him, especially in lists that don't mind getting a little dirty which is my strange way of saying lists that are made to play well at short to medium range.

As for kitting him out, I think keeping him fairly lean is the key. The whole idea of a support ship is that it isn't quite worth going after as a primary target, but being annoying/ useful enough that you sort of force your opponent into doing just that. 

As mentioned on here in the past, 33 points is the magic number in tournaments, so keep him under that and you'll likely have TheMetalBikini.com's Seal of Approval. As usual, I'm more concerned with keeping him alive for a little bit longer than I am doing any real damage with this ship, so my personal preferences are going to skew that way- Shield Upgrade, Sensor Jammer, stuff like that. I could see people making a case for Advanced Sensors, but I don't know how often that would really help you out here. I mean, yeah, if he only has one Stress... I don't know. Me? I think I'd find some other way to spend 3 points, but it could work, yeah. I guess my approach here would just be to resign Yorr to the fact that he's never going to have an Action, Stress-out two of my other pilots every turn, and not worry about it. If that seems defeatist or too simplistic for your taste, give it a shot. To me, it seems like something that would work on paper, but you probably wouldn't get much mileage out of in real life. Could be wrong though.

Resist the temptation to upgrade his firepower- it's unlikely Yorr is going to really see the cost benefit from something expensive like a Heavy Laser Cannon over his stock Attack dice. An Ion Cannon you could probably talk me into, but an HLC I think is out of place here. I'm not saying Cannons are never a good idea on Shuttles, but I think here it kind of is for the points. If you just gotta, gotta, gotta put a gun on him, I'd say Anti-Pursuit Laser. I don't think I've played a game with a Shuttle yet that somebody hasn't run into it, and with Yorr's relatively low PS, there's a decent chance you could set that up without a ton of work.

Crew Members look a lot like what I said for Kagi- if you've got some points to spend, one of the best ways to keep a ship alive is to get it out of the other guy's firing arcs entirely if at all possible. Saying that should immediately point you at guys like Intelligence Agent and Navigator, but keep in mind Navigator has a much diminished effect here as you're going to need to pull Greens and the Shuttle dial doesn't have too many, regardless of bearing. I've seen people make a case for Recon Specialist on Yorr, but I'm not buying what they're selling personally. Again, maybe it's my own limited ability, and I do understand where they're coming from, but some folks get it a little twisted up in their head that Recon Specialist gets the reputation that it does from folks running it on the HWK with the Moldy Crow title. All Yorr is going to get from it is two Focus tokens that he'll lose at the end of the current turn- assuming he even got a Focus Action to begin with. Can it work? Yeah, I'm sure there's somebody out there making it work, but it ain't me.