29 January 2014

Named Pilots: Kir Kanos

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.





Kir Kanos (24)
Card Text: When attacking at Range 2-3, you may spend one evade token to add one <filled explosion symbol> to your roll.

Usage in game: Very contextual smackdown when necessary.
Breakdown: Kir Kanos is another mid-PS Royal Guard Interceptor pilot like yesterday's article subject, Lieutenant Lorrir (damned lot of alliteration going on in these Named Pilot Guardsmen so far, huh?). They're relatively similar in cost with Kanos being a single point more for one more point of Pilot Skill and very different card text.

Digging into that card text, it's almost like FFG was listening to all those MathWing folks talk about why Evading was almost always a bad choice compared to Focus. If you ever had trouble choosing between Evading and Focusing, your decision is about to get even tougher with Kir Kanos in your squadron.

You kinda want to skim over the way this rule really works seeing that it's Range 2-3 only and adds a hit, y'know? It's almost like, "Oh, ok- so he burns an Evade and he's effectively Range 1 at all times." Right? No? Just me? Aiight then, fair enough. That's how my brain broke it down the first time I read it. Upon closer inspection though, it's a little different than that.

Note first you're not adding an Attack die like you would at Range 1, you're actually adding a hit result to your roll. That's actually pretty interesting, huh? Not a ton of auto-hits in this game. Spending an Evade is always going to net your Attack roll at least one hit in your Attack. Of course, it also means you could register up to four hits (or three crits and a hit I guess) total at Range 2 or Range 3 which is pretty awesome considering it's pretty repeatable so long as you've got an Evade Token handy.

That's what's so awesome about this guy though- how many times have you Focused and not needed it at all because either you didn't roll any eyeballs or nobody shot at you and you hit with all your Attack dice? I'm not saying it happens all the time, but I've turned in a pretty fair share of Focus Tokens during the End Phase and I'm guessing you lot likely have as well. Kanos though? No reason to ever take an Evade Token into the End Phase unless your only target was destroyed. You're not looking for a particular die result to trigger his card text- you're just automatically adding a hit result to your roll. Adding. Not modifying or rerolling, adding. That's huge. Especially on a pilot this cheap in an Interceptor.

So realizing this card text is pretty awesome, maybe the question becomes, how likely are you to still have your Evade token?

Well, Kanos is PS6, so there's a good chance a ship or two has already fired on him before it gets to be his turn in the Combat Phase. You might still have it, you might not, but that's kind of the beauty of the way his card text is written- it's always going to be up to you. If you've got some beefy enemy ship you just gotta, gotta, gotta get some hits in on, maybe you hang on to that Evade token instead of spending it earlier in the round, y'know? Take a hit or two for the team to make a big play later on. Or heck, maybe you just play every Combat Phase by ear and burn the token on defense if you need to and if you don't, you burn it to shoot up somebody. It's not like Kanos is like massively overcosted to the point where you don't feel like you're getting your money's worth if you don't use his card text every single time.

Also like Lorrir, Kanos has an empty upgrade bar, so no Elite Pilot Skills for him- just Mods. As is the case with other Interceptors, Stealth Device is a good idea, and you've always got the possibility of picking a second mod with the addition of a Royal Guard Title to Kanos' ship. Is it worth it? As usual, it all depends. Like Lorrir, it makes him pretty expensive for such a middle-of-the-road PS Named Pilot, but the longer he's alive, the more damage he's going to do, so there's a line of thought that supports it. Me personally, I think always taking that Evade and just kind of going with the notion that if I use it on defense before it gets to be my turn to shoot isn't the end of the world, I'd probably keep him cheaper and just go with a Stealth Device alone. He's hard to hit as is just being in an Interceptor. Add on the extra die while SD still functions and an Evade Token and I think you've got what you need to keep him flying around for a good long while.

Pairing up Kanos with Colonel Jendon doesn't sound like a terrible idea, but as his Target Lock passing ability only works out to Range 1, I wouldn't expect to get a ton of mileage out of it. Really though, do you need it with this guy? Me personally, I'd dust off that Vader with Squad Leader combo we all rolled at least once back in the day and just have them fly around together knockin' heads and fill in the rest of the squadron with anything else that piqued my interest that day. Let Vader burn off their shields and maybe Kanos can finish the job, y'know? Another more subtle combo would be to team him up with Yorr so even when Kanos pulls the odd K-Turn, he can still Perform Action Evade.

In a weird way, I think Kanos sort of justifies the use of Arvel Crynyd in more Rebel squadrons as he's kind of the natural counter to Kanos. Admittedly, getting an Interceptor to bonk into your A-Wing isn't exactly child's play, but doing so negates Kanos' Perform Action step and while somebody with Squad Leader can still throw him an Action, it does disrupt the plans. Of course, a YT-1300 would be a good candidate for this kind of work too with its huge base, but I would rather have Crynyd Action-less than a YT. Really though, you're probably just going to have to pour a ton of shots into him or use Ten Numb with the en vogue Elite Pilot Skills and upgrades, or some Solo + Gunner combo to ding Kanos reliably.