Card Text: At the start of the combat phase, choose 1 other friendly ship at Range 1-3. Until the end of the phase, treat that ship's pilot skill value as 12.
Usage in game: Hmmm... Let's see. I want you to shoot first. Really resisting the urge to make a "Pikachu- I choose you!", joke here. It's a good thing there's no named Rebel pilots with a name that rhymes with Pika- oh wait... TYCHO CELCHU- I CHOOSE YOU!
Breakdown: Let's say for a moment that you're still fairly new to X-Wing Miniatures. You're not like brand spankin', still lookin' up rules every turn new, but you're still fairly new. You read about lists on the internet, they feature a lot of snazzy Named Pilots with synergtastic awesomeness, but stuff like Pilot Skill still kind of trips you up a bit and you have a little trouble making those lists work for you.
So you decide to try to get back to basics: learn to fly, learn to manage your PS better, stuff like that. You start taking no-name pilots to clear the waters while you focus on learning the fundamentals of the game.
Sounds great, but your buddy who has a little bit more of a hang on the game than you do keeps rolling those Named Pilots and keeps on shooting your ships out of the firmament before they even get a chance to return fire.
Well, pop quiz hotshot. What do you do?
You head for Fantasy Island. Er, Mr. Roark. Er, Garnet Roark.
Mr. Roark is a great stepping stone ship for the newer player looking to take his new found game to the next level. He's not super expensive, his card text is pretty easy to get off, and he allows you to address mistakes or the unexpected from the opponent.
Tearing apart his card text is pretty simple- if you've got a ship within Range 3 of Roark, that ship is eligible to fire at PS12 (probably first, in other words) for that round.
No Action required, so it doesn't matter if you bonked into an asteroid or your own wingmen. Works out to Range 3, which surely isn't too hard to hit, and it just always happens at the start of the Combat Phase automatically.
Unfortunately, I don't have the free time that I used to have for keeping up with the messageboards and stuff. I'm sure there are folks out there, maybe veteran type folks even, who roll this guy in a list with a bunch of generic pilots in a loose ring around Roark, naming a different ship each round to fire first. You ask me, that's a great idea. Imagine a couple of low PS X-Wings with some Proton Torpedoes, maybe a Y-Wing or an A-Wing just for fun, and Mr. Roark. I don't know about you, but firing off torpedoes at PS12 isn't something that happens a lot around my neck of the woods and is sure to catch some people off guard.
If nothing else, dig on the fact that you can focus on getting one low PS ship, which will move very early in the movement round of course, have the potential to turn around and get to fire first because of Mr. Roark. That's pretty awesome, really because it just upsets the way the game was made to be played. You move early, you don't have to worry nearly as much about running into another ship and all that business, and you get to turn around and fire first? Cool. If you've got several ships in range when the combat round starts, that's gotta get into your opponent's head, no?
Speaking of running into other ships... what about teaming up Mr. Roark with a certain A-Wing pilot who just loooooves to crash into stuff? Hmmm... Seems fun to me.
Of course, if you really want to have some fun, pair Mr. Roark up with a Green Squadron A-Wing sporting Swarm Tactics for his Elite Pilot Skill. Combat Phase starts and Roark makes Greenie PS 12. Greenie kicks on his Swarm Tactics and now a ship within Range 1 of him is now PS12, right? Whoa. Not impressed? What about a Chewie Falcon instead of Greenie? It could happen.
I've talked a lot on here about not making these support ships too juicy of a target- that's what I probably love the most about Mr. Roark: he's just some tough piece of meat. He's only 19 points, so he really doesn't get you very close to the magical 33 even if your opponent does down him. Secondly, having one ship fire at PS 12 doesn't seem like that big of a deal when you're reading his card text. It's more subtle than a card text like Wedge or Han or even somebody like Jan Ors, for example. Lastly, he's flying what's gotta be the least scary ship in the Rebel fleet. He's perfect for this kind of work.
As for kitting him out, it's more or less the same feelings I've had about the other HWK pilots- the Attack value is terrible on that ship and the maneuver dial makes it hard to legitimately dogfight the already more maneuverable Imperials, so while you have the room points-wise to get a little offensive, keep it under control, huh? Add in an Ion Cannon Turret if you're feelin' frisky, or maybe a Blaster Turret, the Moldy Crow title, and a Recon Specialist in the passenger seat.
Y'all know I tend to lean more towards not getting my stuff killed rather than how much stuff they can kill, so I'm going more for stuff to keep Mr. Roark on the board, personally. I'd leave those turrets at home and throw on a Stealth Device. Looking at Crew Members, stuff like Chewbacca stands out as always- the reigning MVP of keeping stuff in the air, Nien Nunb is a cheap crowd pleaser, and just for the LOLs, I'd consider sticking a Saboteur in with Roark every once in awhile too. I figure eventually, your buddy is going to realize he does need to key on Roark early despite whatever else you've got zooming around, and when he does, if you've managed to stick him with a card or two, then when he closes to fire on you, give him the ol' Champ Kind Whammy!