This week will focus on Jyn Erso, commander for the Rebellion in Star Wars: Legion.
Jyn is a….strange character. A commander who plays a lot like an operative, she doesn’t see nearly as much play as a character with a much more straightforward role would. Her unorthodox nature is a strength though: many players aren’t sure how to contend with a character who sneaks across the field and underestimate her until they get thumped upside the head with her baton.
Ultimately I think she’s a good character in a faction of great characters which is why she’s overlooked. Rebels get access to so many top tier characters its easier for a “decent” character to be overlooked. She can really mix up your games if you bring her though, so let’s take a look.
- Excellent board control with Infiltrate
- Decent melee profile for a non-force user
- Quick thinking is one of the more powerful abilities in the game
- One of the cheapest Commanders available to you
- Delicate like most Rebels (though she has some protection)
- Extremely vulnerable if not supported or used tactically
- So-so command cards
100 points: One of the more significant price drops in the game from launch, Jyn is priced well and works in tandem with another commander very well. Only the generic commander, Leia and Cassian are cheaper (and after all the upgrades you’re probably bringing on Cassian he can cost a lot more).
Defense: White, with surge like most rebels. She has Danger Sense which can be…unreliable. So keep her out of sight, she’s a rogue.
Offense: Collapsible Tonfa – Melee, 4B, Suppressive. A decent weapon, 4 Black is fine but without pierce it’s not going to do a ton of damage consistently. Suppressive is a nice boon. It’s worth noting that these are not her only weapons, she has 2 equipment options which we will discuss in the Equip section.
Courage 3 – This is Jedi levels. You almost never see above Courage 2 on a non-Force user, so not only does she help keep your troops motivated, it plays well with Danger Sense.
Slots: 1 Command, 1 Training, 1 Equipment, 1 Weapon. Smattering of everything, plays well into Jyn’s role as a flexible operative and allows you to kit her out in a lot of interesting ways.
Quick Thinking: Gain an Aim and Dodge token. Basically Calculate Odds but only on Jyn and without the suppression. Like any Rebel character she needs to be fed dodge tokens and an aim token helps when its time to strike as well.
Danger Sense 4: Danger Sense is a bit of a wild card; when it works you’ll be glad you had it, but it’s still white dice so it may not do anything for you. It’s still in your favor, and Jyn’s high Courage means she can more willingly keep a suppression or two for protection, unlike Cassian or Pathfinders.
Infiltrate: Deploy on the field anywhere beyond Range 3 of enemy units. This usually comes in the form of Covert Ops which changes the Commander to an Operative, but with Jyn it doesn’t. Generally an advantage, but don’t get too cocky and drop yourself too far up.
Nimble: A rebellion staple, pairs well with Quick Thinking to keep dodge tokens on her.
Sharpshooter 1: Doesn’t do anything on its own but once we add her guns there’s something there.
An extremely useful card, though there are challenges to setting it up. Jyn’s lack of charge really makes her struggle as a melee combatant but timed with this card she can ping-pong between multiple targets in close proximity dealing a bit of damage, suppression and tying the unit up into combat.
Functionally, the card is like a stand by action, but you’re not held back by being unable to attack in the same activation. You can do a lot with this and the ideal choice is going to vary depending on range and the targets available to you. You can get in close to shoot with your pistol, then wait for a unit to activate and charge in or run some place safe. One of my favorites is if a bunch of units are together you can charge in, attack, wait for that unit to activate and attack again. Or if you’re reasonably sure they might withdraw, let them do so and then wait for another unit nearby to activate.
This card has a lot of potential pitfalls, so here are a couple caveats you should be aware of:
- Jyn isn’t great in melee, merely good. Lack of pierce and only 4 black dice mean she won’t stand up well to a dedicated melee combatant. Use her to charge troopers, not Jedi.
- You can’t do a move action to get out of melee, so if you charge a unit that hasn’t activated yet you’re rolling the dice if it will withdraw or not, because you’ll need to wait for a second unit to activate to move her into another unit. A smart player will see this coming and plan around it. Don’t let her get shot at by a bunch of units Range 3 away because the unit she was just fighting pulled back.
- If you do charge a unit that has activated, try and do it while its near another enemy unit, so she can get her extra attack in.
Jyn is a scalpel, not a beat stick. Use her to pick out troopers your opponent left out in the periphery, not to charge the front line.
Trust Goes Both Ways
This puts Jyn in a strong supporting role for a turn, particularly with another Commander or Operative. Inspire is nice if you need it in the moment, after taking a particularly high level of suppression but naturally the real star of the show here is Teamwork. Jyn’s Quick Thinking only benefits her but now you can turn it into a huge boon! Hand out an order to a strong special forces unit, or hand it to another character with Teamwork like Han Solo or Cassian and daisy chain free Aims and Dodges all around. Timed right this can allow you to make a strong push with another character. Don’t forget that Jyn’s teamwork target will get free dodges when her Nimble procs.
Complete the Mission
As you might expect this is a great card near the middle or end of the game when things are tight and you need to press up and don’t have time to dawdle. Low Profile lets Jyn upgrade light cover to heavy, regardless if you issue her an order or not. The free suppression is basically like handing out mobile cover to 3 units, especially Jyn if she currently doesn’t have any suppression (and if she does you’re helping Danger Sense) and you don’t need to worry about being suppressed for a turn which is super important for Rebels and their generally low Courage. The best units to use this on are going to vary but it’s particularly useful for Pathfinders or any units who are (or are at risk of) being suppressed. Just don’t be too rash, cover alone won’t save you so don’t just charge your units out.
Jyn is a utility knife. What she does is going to depend a lot on what other Commanders and Operatives she’s working with, your army composition, and your opponent’s. This sounds like vague advice but she’s a difficult one to pin down which really works for her. Jay had an excellent article about the roles Jyn can occupy on the field and his advice still stands true. As a recap here’s the types of things she can be effective at:
Rogue – Jyn is great at skulking about to get close to the enemy and put a few holes in them and getting out, or tying them down. Her Tonfa giving suppression can potentially let you tie an enemy down for a turn, keeping them locked in combat while also suppressing them. She won’t last long in a straight up slug fest but against basic corps unit she can do the job well and keep them from firing on you for a turn.
You just really need to be careful to time it. Go after units that have gone so they can’t just back up, and be ready to jump back out of the fight next turn when they withdraw. Pick your battles, don’t try and be a Hero.
Leader – As the bearer of one of the best Courage stats in the game Jyn makes a decent contender for the Hero who holds your army together, particularly at such a cheap cost. She can be equipped to hand out tokens with Electrobinoculars or Portable Scanners, and with Quick Thinking when you give a real solid boost for a turn using Trust Goes Both Ways.
If you go this route her damage output is much less vital as it is in other roles so you can skim some points off on the offensive front to focus on buffs.
Forward Operative – Finally, we can use Covert Ops to its fullest advantage to push Jyn up early. With some clever use of terrain to block line of sight you can keep Jyn protected while she secures objectives early, giving you an early edge. This is the most risky use for her and may even necessitate her being sacrificed it means completing the mission (fitting, huh?). Don’t be eager to die but remember games aren’t won by who killed the most, but by who got the objectives. Don’t put yourself in unnecessary danger and use Standbys a lot.
This role plays well with other Covert Ops like Lando or Cassian as well. She can support them, giving you a decent force pushed far up the field on turn 1, and if possible keep your Troopers nearby so they can catch up. Her Courage is still too good to waste.
Jyn gets a smattering of everything which works well with her jack of all trades nature. Her loadout is going to vary widely depending on what role she’s playing. Since she is so flexible she can put on just about anything and make it work, but here are some top contenders to consider.
Jyn gets access to two guns, one comes with her and one is the Cassian Andor expansion (As K2 can also equip it). Both have their uses, though the pistol that comes with her is probably what you’ll lean on.
The A-180 is like Jyn, nice and versatile. It doesn’t cost anything, so unless you really want her SE-14 it’s an auto-take and it allows her to adapt to multiple roles. If she’s in the back line with your troops start in rifle config, switching to pistol when you get close. If she’s deep striking you can open up with the pistol and do some solid damage, 2 red dice with Pierce 1 and Sharpshooter doesn’t joke around!
Comes with the Cassian Andor expansion (As it is the gun she hands K2) it’s only 5 points if Jyn is around, no matter who is using it. I don’t think the gun is great on Jyn because 5 whites is basically a slot machine even with surge to crit, you need to feed the user Aim tokens and while K2 can get those in spades between Calculate Odds and Teamwork with Cassian, Jyn struggles more. If you have a way of handing out a lot of aims this isn’t an awful purchase, it still pierces and it suppresses as well!
You know it, you love it. Every Rebel player loves to keep this card close at hand and Jyn can use it to great effect. If she’s supporting corps units she can keep dodge tokens on two, or Quick Thinking herself and keep a dodge token on her the whole game with the use of Nimble. No matter how she’s played this will be useful, so it often takes my top tier slot.
Jyn’s Courage 3 is extremely useful and if you separate her from the group you can keep morale up from further away. Since Jyn almost encourages you to have her skulk around this can be useful especially in Corps heavy lists where that courage 1 really hurts.
Similarly, Commanding Presence is useful due to the flexibility of Jyn’s cards. Often where you want to assign orders might be in far flung parts of the board, particularly for Complete the Mission where that free suppression breaking can really make a difference. Generally Range 3 is enough but if you think you willll be dividing your forces, consider this.
A default pick when you don’t have anything else to spend it on, it really shines when mixed with Infiltrate. Can’t get to a good spot because the enemy is too close? Drop in outside of range 3 and Speed-1 move into position. Don’t get cocky and leave her vulnerable, but if theres a golden spot, take it.
Interchangeable with Electrobinoculars for much the same reason though Rebels want that Take Cover more. Hand out a dodge token, use Vigilance to keep it on. If you’re using Jyn as a backline commander then its a solid combo, but if she’s in the front, stick to Recon.
A high value pick for Jyn. Between getting to keep suppresion on her for free cover and dodge tokens she’s pretty good at not getting hit. Crits can still get you, and with a white die you’re on pretty shaky ground. Situational Awareness lets you put that bounty of dodge tokens to good use and dodge the one thing you can’t absorb with cover.
A staple for many heroes, Jyn appreciates this because she lacks Charge (outside of Rebellious) so if you’re pushing her up this is essential. Also a good take if you’re bringing the SE-14 Pistol and want to build up the charges before pulling the trigger. It is versatile and Aims are always welcome.
Duck and Cover
Jyn benefits highly from Danger Sense and unlike many units who also have it, she has the Courage to handle a bit of extra suppression. This is an equally useful defensive measure for her but don’t bother using it if you have suppression already, Danger Sense isn’t so good you want to risk hitting 3.
Covert Ops Jyn excels at taking down weakened foes. If your intent is to push her up the field and snipe at enemies from the flank, bring this along. It’ll do work if you’re trying to take down a wounded trooper unit or a near dead Commander.
If you’re skulking Jyn behind enemy lines, she likes hiding behind walls and waiting for enemies to pop out. Overwatch will extend her range in the Rifle config so she can peg them from further away. The only reason I don’t recommend it so highly is that she is in her prime in the Range-2 sphere anyway, but sometimes you just can’t get that close yet.
As stated many times now Jyn fits into a lot of lists and you can have her accent just about anyone if you want. She supports a lot of the best Rebel heroes well
Rogue One lists are a popular gimmick and it’s easy to see why. They’re also potentially very effective. Since Pathfinders were improved substantially, Bistan Pathfinders are a great take. Between the Pathfinders, Jyn, Cassian and K2 you get a lot of Infiltrate to set up shop at the midway point of the board. Put everyone out of sight and on standby from behind cover and let the good times roll once they walk in.
When you play Trust Goes Both Ways you can even pass aims and tokens between all 3 when you use Quick Thinking and Calculate Odds making it a truly dangerous trio.
See what I did there? I’m remiss if I never include a Luke list, and this encourages Jyn to hold the back lines more. Luke can push up and be a harassment tool, hiding in the shadows before he jumps in, while Jyn and her troopers fire from the rear. With her extended range she can give him assistance with Complete the Mission if things look bad though Vigilance is still a strong contender for keeping Dodges on all the troopers.
Jyn Erso is an oft-overlooked Hero in Rebel forces. She occupies a very odd role that isn’t quite as immediately apparent as someone like Cassian or Luke is. As a result she doesn’t see nearly as much play as other characters from the faction and I’d love to see more use of her. Her obscurity can work to her advantage as many players are surprised at how hard she strikes when played right. Now get out there and finish the mission.