With delight I present to you the next pilot in my series of pilot spotlights. It has been far too long. Today's limelight will be literally green as we discuss the Nautolan Eaden Vrill. When I highlighted Eaden in my last Battle Report I promised that I would have an article dedicated just to him. So without the delay of a more glittery introduction, lets get right in to learning about this pilot.
Eaden lived and loved the life as a smuggler. He was partner and best friend to Dash Rendar and as such was a native to the Outrider. However, what really sets Eaden apart from the rest of the 'respectable merchants' was his non-occupational hobbies. He was part of a hidden organization that trained heavily in hand-to-hand combat, specially to be used in close-quarter combat against force users. Eaden became an expert and was even slightly force-sensitive himself.
For those who played the Shadow of the Empire game you may be wondering why Dash appears alone with Leebo aboard the Outrider. Sadly, Eaden died before Episode 4 even began. He and Dash were hired to protect and escort a client who had gotten herself on the wrong end of several underworld syndicates. Things went well until an assassin was sent to kill the client and Eaden went head to head with him. Even though he was killed, Eaden's fight allowed the others to escape and the mission was successful.But there is no need to despair because there is a silver lining. Just like with Biggs and Nera, when you are put into the X-wing Miniatures World you get to live again. Its time for Eaden's legacy to be celebrated and we will start by learning how to use him in the X-wing game.
The first and biggest difference between Eaden and the other Outrider pilots is that he can't use the Title card effectively. His pilot ability uses the primary attack and so is lost if you use the Title. And if you do equip it then you have just paid 2 points to gain 1 PS above the Wild Space Fringer, which is a terrible purchase. I think most people see this and are turned off from using him. But Eaden is not a useless pilot! Else he would not have made it into the Outrider expansion nor into my pilot spotlight.
The main, major cost of any ship in X-wing Miniatures comes in the form of its attack value. To illustrate this I give you the cross examination of the X-wing vs Y-wing. You could say that the Y-wing is cheaper than the X because it has lower agility. But this is not true because the lower agility is balanced out by the increased HP, just like the B-wing. And it is definitely not the upgrades because the Y has better upgrade slots than the X! The reason why the Y-wing has better upgrade slots and is still 3 points cheaper is because it is has one less attack dice. Red dice are very powerful and grow exponentially in power when you add more to your attack pool. To put the statistics in colloquial terms: 1 attack die is pathetic, 2 is great, 3 is amazing, and 4 is ridiculously insane! As such, attack dice are very cost heavy when determining the point cost of a ship.
And the cost is even more expensive when it comes to upgrade cards! The Opportunist talent costs a heavy 4 points, gives yourself a stress, and even then still requires that the enemy doesn't have an action token. Another clear example is the new Mangler Cannon. You can get criticals in much cheaper ways, like with the Marksmanship upgrade. But the Mangler Cannon is more expensive because it adds an extra attack dice to the Outrider, coming in at a total of 9 points. And finally, I refer to the new Punishing One in Wave 8. If Dengar wants to raise the attack value of his ship with his Title card he has to pay a whopping 12 points!
So the question is this: how much does Eaden have to pay to get his extra attack dice? The answer is zero points. Do I have your attention? Eaden is the exception to Outrider builds and powerful attack builds because all he needs to get that extra, expensive die is for the enemy to be stressed. Now it is going to require a lot of work to make sure those stress tokens are there, much more work than just slapping on an HLC. But if a player can create a good, stressful environment then they can capitalize off of a ridiculously cheap and powerful 3 attack turret. Moreover, Eaden's stress shots are much more powerful than a Mangler or HLC turret because they receives yet another attack dice at range 1!
Let's start applying how to have good stress. First off, you want squad synergy. It is inefficient to put a Flechette Cannon on Eaden and have him go solo. He will stress the enemy but then he has already attacked that round. So you wait till next round but the enemy does a green move and clears the stress. So you shoot again and the dance goes on and on. However, the FC only shoots forward and that leaves Eaden wide opened to get outmaneuvered. It is the same with low PS support ships. 1 and 2 skill pilots that give stress will not help because they fire last and the enemy now has a whole other turn before worrying about Eaden's ability. The exception to this, of course, is if your whole squad gives stress and you can overwhelm an enemy ship. So consider pairing Eaden with Tactician B-wings and/or R3-A2.
Next, we need to utilize Eaden's pilot skill. A PS of 3 may look like a disadvantage but it really is a better fit. It means that there are far more pilots who can be used as stress support in your squad. It also means that the high and mighty ships that Eaden hunts will have more likely used their action tokens. And most importantly, a PS 3 is not threatening to the enemy. You can play great mind games with your opponent by using Eaden as bait while the rest of your squad hits hard. If the enemy ignores Eaden then you can start utilizing his ability and hit hard as well with him. Now your opponent has a hard choice and is torn in what to do.
The third and final thing that one needs to learn about Eaden is his ability to crowd control. This one is, in my opinion, the most important. By just being on the board Eaden restricts your enemy. You can do lots of things for your squad to have synergy but it is so much easier and more fun when you let your enemy do the work for you! Any time an enemy ship uses a self-stressing ability they become a target. Any time the enemy K-turns, S-loops, or T-rolls they then become a target. And since debris is now legal to bring to tournaments, all you need to do is place 3 debris field and force your opponent to ride the lanes or take a stress and become a target. The possibilities are only limited by the number of ways a ship can get stress in the game!
So get going. There's tons to explore with Eaden and I can say that he is one of the most gratifying pilots I have utilized in a squad. If used right he can hit as hard as a Falcon, even without any upgrades attached to him. And he doesn't have the same weaknesses as other Outrider builds in the meta. Though he does require more work, he gives far more reward. Get to know Eaden and add him to your list of under-estimated pilots. Have fun! Let me know in the comments how things goes for you.
Here is a squad that offers amazing synergy and allows you to be very flexible.
Sword & Dagger Squad - 100 Points
Hawk w/ Jan - 36 Points
Twin Laser Turret
B-wing w/ Dagger - 29 Points
Outrider w/ Eaden - 35 Points
The build is centered around creating powerful combos. Jan can give an extra attack die to either Eaden or the Dagger, depending on who is receiving the aggro from the enemy. Jan's build uses her high PS and EU to prevent other aces from hitting her blindspot. She also can use a target lock to measure to see if an enemy is at range 3. If they aren't in range then the target lock fails and she can then boost into range. The Dagger is the wild card here. For just one point more I've turned my AIS B-wing into a stressing ship with 2 more PS. I call this version the RAS - Red Advanced Strafe - for the red of the stress token. (As you can guess, I couldn't call it the Advanced Stress Strafe! lol.) The RAS Dagger can switch between stressing targets for Eaden and hitting hard with its own 3 attack dice. Either way, if you set things up correctly you can hit with a hard 5 dice attack from the Dagger or Eaden at range 1. Hence the name of the squad. It's a great combo and is just right on points. If you want you can take out the RS and put Kyle Katarn on the Hawk. That allows Jan to have a focus for defense even if she boosts or locks.