Today we got an analysis from a guest writer: Skyler Galle – (Tirion FFG forum)
Jyn Erso Analysis
First things first, while I stand by any opinions below my biggest opinion is that most things in this game are viable, and at the end of the day they are just that my opinions. Don’t take this as me saying that this unit is better than that unit (although some of these opinions are just factual based on math). I come from Armada (a very well-balanced game) and what I think is most true in that game is still mostly true in this game: play what you like and what you know. Practice is equally if not more important than the nuts and bolts of a list.
Most often in wargames I see netlisting or group think (extremely prevalent in the competitive Legion community) and the term “competitive” or “good” is used for a piece that in general is just an easily min/maxed unit that doesn’t require a lot of tactics compared to other units or options within whatever game it happens to be, in a term “point and click”. Again, I’m not saying that these units aren’t good or even the most efficient in their respective games or lists. Though I don’t think the groupthink that is all or nothing on these units is worth anything. Also, spoiler alert I love Rogue One. It gave me so many things on screen that I had wanted to see as a child so admittedly I’m probably biased.
Now for the reason we’re here, the polarizing Jyn Erso. For this analysis I am comparing her to her faction. The rate at which this game adds new units and characters I think it will become increasingly futile to compare cross faction for balance reasons. Also, comparisons will be made against non-force heroes unless noted.
Offense – Ranged
A180 Pistol: Range 1-2, Keywords: Pierce 1, Reconfigure
I must backpedal here as I have said recently that the A180 pistol is a trap and not to use it. I’ve changed my mind since looking at the math again. I was very wrong. Jyn with this weapon is the highest rated offensive hero ranged attack the Rebels have. Period. She is ranked 2nd at average hits and wounds into no cover, 1st into light cover and 2nd into heavy cover.
I have heard from several people, some of them high profile, that are on the record as claiming Jyn is poor or average at best offensively, or that she “hits like a wet noodle”. This just isn’t factually true compared to the rest of the rebel heroes. She is at the very top of rebel ranged 2 heroes offensively.
A180 Rifle: Range 1-3, Keywords: Pierce 1, Reconfigure
Obviously, there is a drop off here with her rifle config, the biggest thing though is it can fire at range 3. The list of commanders in the game not just the Rebels that can fire at range 3 currently sits at 2 (this will be changing soon with Cassian and Iden). So, this is a big deal. The weapon isn’t trash though to put it in perspective it does 0.125 or about 11% average hits/damage less than Han but at range 3.
When I hear opinions that Jyn is lackluster offensively I let my pal Marcel the Shell take it, “Compared to what?” (shout out to the 3 of you that got that reference). They math just doesn’t support that view.
Offense – Melee
Collapsible Tonfa: Keywords: Suppressive
I think a lot of us early on with Jyn thought that maybe she should be a melee character or at least was good at it. While she does rate out number one in melee compared to her coworkers, I don’t think that is a great place for her to be. Plenty of lists have melee focused pieces and they will eat her alive. Even if she gets stuck in melee against death troopers she is going to struggle. Non force user Rebel heroes, not counting Darksaber Sabin, don’t want to be in close combat. To me its that simple.
Defense: White Die Surge, Keywords: Danger Sense 4, Nimble
There has been a lot of discussion about Jyn’s survivability. Mostly with anecdotal arguments of “My Jyn just gets blasted in 2 shots,” or “My Jyn tanked their whole army for 3 turns!”. So as is generally my go to, lets look at the math!
I want to set aside keywords for a minute and just look at the defensive die, while also reminding you my readers that we are comparing apples to apples here that is non force using Rebel heroes. It’s the same as Han, Leia, and the Rebel Officer. They average 0.333 blocks per die. Obviously, keywords matter significantly but let’s just remember that little bit of information.
I want to start with the less controversial keyword first. As a Jyn player if I’m being honest unless she is paired with Leia (and even then they don’t spend a ton of time within range 1 of each other) I’m usually only getting 1 or 2 uses a game on her at most plenty of games its zero. So, while nimble can be good, especially when she has a box and is running for it, it can be avoided by your opponent. And as many have pointed out there is so much critical in the game now a dodge token just can’t be relied on for much.
Probably what 75% or more of the debate over Jyn is about. Before I get to deep into it lets just be honest and admit that Duck and Cover is an auto-include on her. I hate auto includes but here we are. This is where a lot of the anecdotal evidence has come in. Lets just face it white dice can be streaky its true. Having played exclusively Rebels since the day the game came out until clones dropped; I completely understand the variance of white defense dice. Instead of comparing stories of “she tanked it all game,” and “she was one-shot,” lets see what the math says on this keyword. Well its pretty simple each die added increases your average blocks by 0.333. With a full danger sense that is (checking the calculatron) 1.333 extra blocks per attack. To me, that is a huge boost.
I read and hear how difficult some perceive ratcheting up Danger Sense is. Lets look at an example.
First attack your Jyn is out in the open: you duck and cover gaining a suppression (and at least some of the time removing a hit right there), now with danger sense you roll what hit dice are left plus one. Mathematically you aren’t doing a whole lot for yourself there but hey its better than nothing, though on average less than what uncanny luck has going for it at this point. You probably take some damage but hey now you have 2 suppression tokens.
Second attack hopefully you have moved Jyn at this point but maybe not: You duck and cover again gaining another suppression token (again in some cases removing a hit), but now your danger sense is in a way better place as you roll and additional 3 defense dice that average an extra block. And you end the attack with a full danger sense (absolutely no downside to 4 suppression tokens right?).
One of the most overlooked things about danger sense I see is that outside of Immune: Pierce, it is one of only 2 keywords in the game that grants you any kind of protection against pierce. By being able to roll more defense dice than your opponent rolled hits you can roll enough blocks to cancel out the pierce. Were it so easy (hopefully more of you got that reference).
Danger sense thrives against small dice pools and conversely is less effective against larger ones. Though that isn’t to say she isn’t better off than pretty much all her comparisons. Even comparing danger sense to impervious mathematically shows the power of this keyword. 3 suppression alone against an average sniper shot is equal in blocks rolled as red defense with impervious.
Wow you have all the answers thanks for the maths! Is what I’m sure everyone is saying at this point right? Well even I will say sanger sense is not fool proof. You can suppress or even panic yourself real fast if you aren’t careful. It’s a fine line that comes with practice is what I have found. Though more to come on this topic in the next section. As I said before it is white dice, so you know what they might blank out but I don’t see how that is an argument against the keyword. Yeah, white dice can be fickle but guess what all the comparative commanders also have white dice but without the bonus (Han does get uncanny luck which is also a good keyword but not the point of this article).
Rebellious – If I’m being honest, I’ve used the charge gained by this card maybe twice and both times were to stop someone from running away. As I stated before most of the time I don’t want Jyn in melee combat so that doesn’t help with a lot of situations. It’s the rest of the card that is wonderful. As we talked about before Jyn has one of the best available ranged hero attacks in the game so being able to do that twice in a round is huge. Don’t discount the ability to move though as well. Many times, I have played this card in a pivotal turn as Jyn needs to run away with a box or move to an objective. If all you use this card is for another speed 2 move, possibly even if you lost initiative, before your opponent can often win a game (there is anecdotal evidence again).
Trust Goes Both Ways – I think one of the most often overlooked aspects of Jyn is how well she combats suppression lists. She is 1 of 2 Rebel commanders that have courage 3 (no idea why Leia doesn’t have 3). This card just double downs on that ability to combat suppression. I like this card a lot when I run her with Sabin as I want to get a quick thinking in on this turn as they both have nimble and double the aim tokens is nice too. The inspire 2 can really help with managing your pathfinder’s suppression.
Complete the Mission – I see this card put down constantly and I suppose if you didn’t play pathfinders I understand it to a point. For me this is Jyn’s best card and what makes a list with her and pathfinders work. First, lets acknowledge the fact that this card doesn’t restrict you by having to give Jyn one of the orders, though it is limited to troops and not all units. Not a huge downside but something to consider. Next, she gains low profile this allows you to be out in the open with heavy cover, they way Han can for the whole game. Again, clutch for objectives. Next it you may assign a suppression which can be used the turn you know you and your pathfinders are about to be blasted and you need to get that danger sense going immediately. On the other hand (and this is where I use this card the most) if its in the back half of the game you and your pathfinders have more than enough suppression tokens and are heading toward panic territory, or you just really need two actions with Jyn or another trooper. Giving 3 troopers the ability to ignore the negative effects of suppression tokens plus remove one when they are finished is huge. This card is one of the best counters to shoretrooper gunlines, which last I checked are everywhere.
Goodness 2000 words later and I haven’t even mentioned infiltrate. I don’t have anything revelatory on this keyword. With Jyn I generally prefer to wait to place her to see how my opponent has deployed all or most of his units. This limits the areas of the board she can deploy so as many have said it’s a glorified scout 3 maybe at best a scout 4. But its nice to be able to start on objectives or be a threat to your opponents. The only real piece of advice on this one that everyone should take to heart is DO NOT overextend her with this. It would be better to just deploy her normally than to get her wrecked by an entire list in a turn or two because you thought it would be great to have to deploy on a flank at range 3. Take it from someone who has been there and lost her turn 1.
There are a lot of ways to successfully play Jyn but the two I land on most of the time is just as an offensive piece that hardly moves or as an objective grabber that hardly attacks. I bounce back and forth between those depending on the objective mostly. Recover the supplies is one that I’m generally trying to steal the middle objective turn 1 and then get out of dodge. While something like key positions or intercept the transmission I’m picking a spot that will have a big impact on the board and just doing quick thinking and attacking most of the game.
As far as builds you have duck and covered stapled to her and her armament is free though I generally have it set to the rifle side. Outside of that I sometimes run improvised orders and recon intel depending on how points fall in the list. Here is a variant of a list I have played with success.
Jyn Erso (Duck and Cover, A-180 Rifle Config)
Sabine Wren (Endurance, Electro Grappling Line, Personal Combat Shield)
Rebel Troopers (2-1B Medical Droid)
Rebel Pathfinders (Bistan, Duck and Cover, Recon Intel, A-300 Long Range Config)
Rebel Pathfinders (Pao, Duck and Cover, Recon Intel, A-300 Long Range Config)
AT-RT (AT-RT Rotary Blaster)
1.4 FD Laser Cannon Team (Linked Targeting Array, Barrage Generator)
Commands: Rebellious (1), Explosions! (1), Trust Goes Both Ways (2), Symbol of Rebellion (2), Complete the Mission (3), Legacy of Mandalore (3), Standing Orders (4)
Deployments: Advanced Positions, Battle Lines, The Long March, Major Offensive
Objectives: Sabotage the Moisture Vaporators, Recover the Supplies, Intercept the Transmissions, Breakthrough
Conditions: Hostile Environment, Clear Conditions, Limited Visibility, Minefield
Check back soon for analysis and tips for the next highest debated unit in the Rebel unit pathfinders!