22 January 2014

Named Pilots- Jan Ors

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.

Jan Ors (25)
Card Text: When another friendly ship at Range 1-3 is attacking, if you have no stress tokens, you may receive one stress token to allow that ship to roll 1 additional attack die.

Usage in game: The rich man's Expose? Well, kinda.
Breakdown: Ok, much like Jendon grabbed a lot of Yorr's rightful headlines when the Wave 3 stuff leaked, everybody's favorite late-bloomer Jedi Kyle Katarn stole a lot of Jan's thunder. Now, I'm not saying Katarn's bad, I'm saying Jan is a little more subtle, but much scarier in the hands of a solid opponent.

Taking apart her special rule, you've more or less got a portable Expose with the downside of Jan having to get a Stress token when she uses this ability. This isn't totally inconsequential as the lame-ass HWK-290 dial only has four green maneuvers, but looking closely, it's pretty small price to pay all the same.

First, note that this triggers on the other ship attacking, so as long as that attacking ship is within a stick of Jan, you can use her ability assuming she's not already stressed out. No futzing about with Actions means you don't have to worry about her bonking into anything and losing the ability or having to pre-plan a bunch because of Pilot Skill shenanigans. Nope- so long as she is Stress free, you're good to go.

Second, unlike Expose, Jan's ability gives that special someone an extra Attack die regardless of whether they're using a Primary or a Secondary. So long as they're attacking, they get another red die. Dig on that business for a second, right? HLC on a B-Wing? Yup, 5 dice. Advanced torpedoes shot out of that Y-Wing your opponent made fun of you for dropping on the table? Yeah- 6 dice, sucka. Wedge? You get the idea.

That kind of force multiplication isn't going to go unnoticed for long.

So whaddaya do to keep this benefit on the table for as long as possible?

The first crew member I tried with Jan was Nien Nunb. If Jan's doing her job, she's going to be Stressed out all the time. Now, admittedly, Nien Nunb only nets you two more additional green maneuvers (a straight 3 and a straight 4), but for only 1 point, I think you can make a case for it. I think a case could be made for Chewbacca as well, but at four points, he's a little rich for my tastes, though you might get some mileage out of him. I think where you can really get some good mileage is Flight Instructor. He's not exactly what you'd call cheap, but Jan's got that PS8, so it's not out of the question she'll be rerolling an eyeball or a blank for free more than just once in awhile. I wouldn't lean on it too hard and expect to live through it, but if you know your opponent is going to go after her like crazy, I think it's the best Crew Member option you can give her.

This isn't to say that Recon Specialist or Navigator or whatever other Crew Member can't be used with Jan, but I think people are either going to key on her like crazy right off the bat or pretty much ignore most of the match, so as is the case with most support ships, I'd try to either maker her more survivable or keep her cheap to make her a lower target priority for your opponent.

As y'all probably already know, the HWK only has a single Attack die which is good for pretty much nothing. Oh sure, everybody's got that story about that one time you killed Vader or Fett or whoever with your HWK, but it isn't something you should be banking on as part of your game strategy and I kinda don't think it's even worth trying to overcome with upgrades, Elite Pilot Skills, or turrets. Her ability doesn't affect herself, and I just don't think it's worth the points trying to overcome it. Now, usual caveat of your mileage may vary applies, but I think you're better off just trying to keep her on the table using that awesome card text rather than bringing her knife to a gunfight.

With that line of thinking coupled up with the idea of keeping her cheap, there's not a ton of viable Elite Pilot Skills to talk about here. I think Determination is a good idea as HWK's only have that single point of Shields, so you've got a good chance to actually make Determination pay off and in an emergency (and because there are so few EPS to really choose from for Jan) I think you could even make a case for Adrenaline Rush. Sure, it's not going to do you any good if she's already Stressed, but it does allow you to pull some wacky stunts if you've got somebody all over her like a wet blanket and you need her for another round or two. Can a case be made for a combination of Veteran Instincts along with something like Navigator or Intelligence Agent? Sure- with Jan's already high PS, you might just be able to avoid getting fired upon at all, which of course is the best defense ever. That will probably depend on your local meta- if you fly against a lot of Swarms or your opponent is good at setting up overlapping fire fields, I wouldn't even bother, but in some cases and some locales, I could see that working. Old staples like Push The Limit or Elusiveness ought to be avoided like the plague here just like any other EPS or upgrades that have earning a Stress Token as the detriment. I'll say though- if at some point in Wave 4 they introduce some Modification or Crew Member that can make a Stress Token disappear, I'll really need to update this article.

Speaking of Modifications, if you've gone cheap on the Crew Member and Elite Pilot Skills, you might have the points left for a Mod. The Moldy Crow title isn't nearly as cool on Jan as it is on Katarn of course, and for three points it isn't exactly an auto-include, but look- with that 1 Attack, Target Locking is totally pointless, so you'll probably be Focusing whenever you have the opportunity anyway, right? Might as well pile them up. The old standbys Shield Upgrade and Stealth Device are possibilities as usual, but unusually, I honestly don't know which one I'd pick. Normally, looking at the 2 Agility, I'd say take Shield Upgrade, but as HWKs only have 1 shield point anyway, it kinda seems pointless to pay four points just to get to 2 Shields. Your ability to keep Jan away from the action but close enough to be a boon to her pals should probably be the criteria you weigh here more than anything, but you can always choose to punt instead and take Engine Upgrade. If you're decent at Boosting, it's not a terrible idea if you've got the points. Jan's going to be Performing Actions after a lot of the opponent's ships have already moved, so you could try and use it to Boost out of somebody's Range 1 or Boost out of their firing arc entirely. It's not helping to lose Stress, but there again- if the choice comes down to giving somebody an extra die or living to fight another round, the latter might be worth it depending on the situation.

As I'm kind of late wrapping up these Wave 3 named pilots I'm sure this has already occured to y'all if you've not already flown it or flown against it, but back when Wave 3 first came out, Sean rolled Jan alongside a Chewie Falcon and gave me fits the entire match. Talk about your rocks and hard places, man. Sheesh. Me being me, I decided to ignore her and just pour fire into Chewie hoping I'd down him quick then clean up whatever else was flying around. Totally didn't work. I don't know if anything would have ultimately turned out different had I gone after Jan right off the bat and left Chewie alone for the round or two or three it took me to get her off the table, but that's a pretty vicious combination- Chewie's tough to kill coupled up with an extra die most every turn from Jan? Hooo boy. It was ugly, y'all. Ugly like Nick Nolte the morning after a bender. That's some rough stuff, yo.

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