21 January 2014

Named Pilots: Colonel Jendon

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.

Colonel Jendon (26)
Card Text: At the start of the combat phase, you may assign 1 of your blue target lock tokens to a friendly ship at range 1 if it does not have a blue target lock token.

Usage in game: The Lock man. Lockmaster General. The Ayatollah of Lock n' Lolla. Lock-o-rama.
Breakdown: So while Yorr is probably the guy that is really the most easy to use Shuttle pilot with the most awesomest card text, Colonel Jendon was the guy I think most folks were like, "Oooooh!" about when the Wave 3 pilots started leaking out.

If memory serves, Advanced Proton Torpedoes were one of the first cards to leak, along with the fact that we all knew there were going to be TIE Bombers, so when Jendon came on the scene, it was love at first leak.

Wow, that sounds horribly dirty.

Anyhizzle, it is a good match. Jendon's card text isn't all that tough to trigger (totally resisting the urge to use the phrase, "get off" rather than "trigger" there- steady aficionados, steady now) and as we talked about on the APT article, you gotta, gotta, gotta have a Focus and a Target Lock before you touch them off (or have similar functionality wrapped up in Elite Pilot Skills, other pilot card text, etc.). Assuming you don't mind maneuvering next to the flying brick, of course.

Taking apart the rule as is the norm around the bar, notice first that this ability actually triggers at the start of the Combat Phase. Your natural inclination is probably to pass off that Lock as soon as you get it, but there's a little more to it than that. It's not so bad really, and assuming you can set this move up by doing a little forethought, in some ways it actually works better triggering then than immediately.

Being a PS 6 pilot, Jendon is fairly middle of the road and since his rule states that you pass the blue lock at the start of the Combat Phase (as opposed to when it's actually Jendon's turn to throw the red dice), you're free to dish to whomever you want at a time they can actually benefit from it, so long as they're within Range 1 of that big base and don't already have a blue Target Lock on them.

As mentioned in the other Shuttle articles, I've not had a lot of success personally with them, but Jendon's ability is intriguing to me simply because several popular Imperial ships don't have the ability to Target Lock stuff normally. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but on paper at least, it seems like it has the potential to be a real game changer. I think the tough part about this particular gambit, that is passing the TL to an Interceptor or TIE Fighter, is the rubber meets the road reality of one of those extremely fast and maneuverable ships being at Range 1 to Jendon at the right time without completely compromising their own situation. Or maybe it's just me and my lack of ability to pull that kind of stuff off reliably.

There is one particular combination I think works fairly well and that's Jendon and The Hard Rhymer. Rhymer's Bomber is a stiffer chassis than a TIE Fighter, so you can fly it in a little closer to the action and not worry quite so much about getting shot out of the sky, and with his card text, one could have Rhymer Focus, then Jendon could throw him a Target Lock for an unexpected APT salvo. Oughta work at least once until your buddies start looking for it. And while it doesn't link up so well with Jonus, it would work decently well with the common Bomber pilots, or if you're really feeling frisky, dust off those Advanceds you've not touched in nearly a year and let Jendon push them TLs while they Focus their missiles.

If there weren't so many ways to generate Attack rerolls already, I think Jendon would be a bigger deal, but remembering the bit about not being able to re-roll a reroll, I think takes a little of the usefulness and uniqueness away from Jendon. Sure, everybody can benefit from a free Target Lock now and again, but I don't think it's as big a deal as you might think. I certainly don't think it's as big a deal as Yorr's ability to eat Stress, for example. The problem lies too with Target Locks themselves- they're not always that useful to have compared to other Actions, or in this case, other Shuttle pilot's card texts.

That said, if you're really attached to the notion of using the guy, I strongly suggest you take an Anti-Pursuit Laser and make a big deal about it. Jendon's gotta have that Target Lock to pass it along, which means he needs to have his Perform Action step in his Activation Phase or you get rooked out of his ability. Reminding your opponent that you autoshoot people who bonk into you might convince him to stay away from you with those wounded ships he's got no other use for than kamikaze duty. You need to watch out for people trying to ram Jendon and especially watch out for Obstacles with your terrible handling and big base. Past that, ST-321 is a total, no-brainer upgrade for Jendon as is Weapons Engineer. Not because you can suddenly and magically pass along two Target Locks (you can't), but simply because if you've got two TLs, you can pass along the contextually better choice. Well, that and you can bonk into something and not completely waste your card text or if you need to pull a red (remember- you're flying a Shuttle here, it's bound to happen sooner or later) and still want to be able to use the text. To a lesser degree, I can see making a case for Fire Control System to enable Jendon to get a Target Lock without having to use his Perform Action step in emergencies, but again, I can't help but wonder is all this hee hawing around worth it for a lousy Target Lock?

You tell me- am I missing something here? Kinda feels like I am. I've been at this article almost two hours now and I've gone from rating Jendon fair to middlin' to not being able to talk myself into taking him. Maybe it's just me.

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