Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Imperial commander review: Moff Jerjerrod

I've been flirting with this article for a while but its time has finally come: the Moff Jerjerrod (Jerry to his friends, and we're all friends here, right?) review!

Slow your roll Vader, some of us haven't had an article yet!
Instruction to the artist: use Michael Pennington's character from Return of the Jedi, but give him a facial expression that communicates extreme dismay bordering on sadness from having smelled a particularly bad fart.
Some notes about Moff Jerry's ability:
  • When a ship suffers damage but the effect doesn't stipulate to where, the owner of that ship decides. That means you should usually choose to do the damage to a hull zone with shields that isn't getting shot. The short version is: Moff Jerry's ability doesn't automatically deal you hull damage, which is a common misconception. It's usually best to deal the damage to a shielded hull zone instead.
  • The ability only affects the first yaw joint of the ship's current speed (whenever you use it, so do so after changing its speed if you're going to do that). So if your ship is speed 3 and uses Jerry's ability the first speed segment of speed 3 on that ship changes to yaw 2 until the end of its activation. This can matter with Engine Techs:
    • Suppose an Interdictor with Engine Techs is going speed 2 and uses Jerry's ability while also resolving a navigate command dial. It can use Jerry to make its first joint at speed 2 yaw 2 and then apply the nav dial's extra yaw to the second joint for a speed 2 maneuver with 2 clicks of yaw on each segment. It then uses Engine Techs and because that is a speed 1 maneuver and Jerry did nothing for that specific segment (he changed the first yaw value on the speed 2 section of the chart), the yaw for that extra maneuver is 1.
    • If the Interdictor had been going speed 1 and resolved a navigate command token and used Jerry for the extra yaw on its first joint, it would get a speed 1 2-click move followed by another speed 1 2-click move, as Jerry's change to that specific yaw segment lasts for the entire activation. Hopefully that made sense.
Moff Jerjerrod is very affordable at a light 23 points (one of the cheapest Imperial commanders) and his ability is, for lack of a better term, amazing. Maneuvering in Armada is extremely important, especially as it relates to ships' positions relative to one another. In general you're trying to do your best to bring your strongest arcs to bear while avoiding your opponent's best arcs and to do so in coordination with your other ships at the best time. This obviously isn't always achieved in reality, but that's the goal. Jerjerrod in short helps you with that, in some cases quite substantially.

Imperial ships tend to have a specific arc (usually their front) that is where the most pain is coming from and they want more than anything to be able to consistently bring it to bear. Unfortunately, Imperial ships overall are slightly less agile than their Rebel counterparts and so doing this can be challenging at times and frequently leans on the navigate command for extra yaw and speed corrections. This problem is most apparent with the maligned Victory-class Star Destroyer (which has by default one click of yaw regardless of speed and turns like a pregnant cow unless it's given some help) and the awkward nav chart on the Arquitens Light Cruiser. So think of all the times one of your ships went somewhere you were kind of hoping it didn't have to and what you'd give for an extra click or two of yaw early on (which is the biggest possible end change to the final position of the ship). Would you give a shield point? Of course you would, I think any of us would. That's what Moff Jerry offers you.

One big important thing to note about Moff Jerjerrod is his ability works whenever you want to use it. There's no commands you need to pair him up with for his ability to work (like with his Rebel counterpart Madine), it just works whenever you need it to work. This gives it substantial flexibility and can free you up to assign non-navigate commands knowing that Jerry can come through for you if you would normally issue a nav command for the yaw benefits.

I've covered Moff Jerry's uses in several of the Imperial ship reviews, but he's got a lot of fun tricks he can do. These include but are certainly not limited to:

1) Improving a speed 2 VSD's total clicks of yaw to 3 (4 with a navigate dial!), which is a huge improvement on the normally-sluggish VSD.

This is possible in one maneuver with a nav dial and that is INSANE. That's quadruple the clicks of an unaided VSD, allowing it to turn like a Raider.
2) Giving a speed 3 ISD the ability to get 4 clicks of yaw without any extra help and the ability to do a sweet inside turn.


Tight inside turning ISDs are amazing.
You can also pull off some fun shenanigans with a nav dial added into that for an extra yaw for some strong repositioning on the ISD:

People sometimes think you won't fit. You will. 2 clicks, 2 clicks, and 1 click in the other direction and it's a thing of beauty. Print this out, frame it, and put it on your nightstand.

3) Arquitens in general - extra yaw early on helps you avoid big problems and you can do it on the fly. It's great.
Not today, Satan!
In the above example, a normal speed 3 Arquitens without help is doomed here. Its final 2-click wobble at the end of its maneuver is insufficient to prevent a collision with the LMC80 doom fish. With Jerjerrod, you get substantially more control over your maneuverability.

4) You can pull off a fun Demolisher super-turn with a nav dial. This is what a Gladiator can do when using Engine Techs with a nav dial:
Whee!
You basically get maximum clicks on every joint but number 2 or 3, in which case you decide which has to make do with only 1 click. It's 1 click shy of a complete 180 degree turn-around. It's swell.

There are certainly other fun tricks too (I like giving speed 3+ Raiders access to lots of clicks, which they tend to miss out on once they leave speed 2) but the short version is basically every ship you have, particularly those that are okay with hitting higher speeds, love having Jerry around. With enough imagination, he can do very fun things with ships that normally are not nearly so maneuverable.

The downside, of course, is he pings your ships to use his ability. This can be managed in a few ways, but mainly it means your ships will be doing repair commands a bit more instead of navigate commands, as Jerry himself helps with adding yaw on a dime. This doesn't mean you will never need to navigate (I still regularly take nav tokens on the first turn and navigate again at least once later on), it just means you'll need to do it less in most cases.

Archetypes
Jerry's benefit is most notable on larger ships where the added yaw is proportionally much larger than the base value (for example, you add 200% more clicks on VSDs using Jerry's ability). Larger ships also love Jerry because due to their higher Command values they're not always able to navigate for extra yaw on precisely the turn they would have wanted and he assists them there. Their high Engineering values make their repair commands to fix Jerry-pinged shields more effective as well. This is not to say that Jerjerrod isn't swell with smaller ships too, just that most Jerjerrod fleets will usually have at least one VSD and/or ISD that's looking to benefit from his ability. Otherwise, Jerjerrod can be used across a wide variety of archetypes, so basically anything goes here.

How do I beat Moff Jerjerrod?
This will depend on exactly what kind of archetype the Jerry fleet is built for, but in general I've found that Jerry fleets that lean hard on his ability have a hard time once he's removed as their maneuverability drops dramatically and they may not have set command dials appropriately (with more navigate dials) to account for that. So effectively when in doubt focus fire on the flagship. Otherwise, try to exploit weaknesses in shields on ships that have been hitting the Jerry button a bit more than they probably should have. Squadrons are very effective at this due to their ability to hit low-shield hull zones with minimal extra trouble, but sufficiently long-ranged and/or fast ships can do the same.

5 comments:

  1. I think a list of ships that like Jerry a lot or ships that don't benefit from Jerry would be appropriate for this article including speeds they like or dislike. I rarely play imperial but like to use Jerry when I do so so that would be helpful. Last time I used Jerry I ran 1 ISD and two VSD's and never had to use Jerry once so not much of a learning game. Sounds like there isn't really anything he doesn't like though right? :)

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    1. The problem is that just about everything can work fine with him. He prefers ships that have empty yaw segments early on (so VSDs at speed 2, ISDs at speed 3) but he's also happy to bump a 1 yaw segment up to a 2. He looks like he'd be bad with Raiders (as he does literally nothing for them at speeds 1 and 2) but at speed 3+, it works fine. So it really depends on your fleet and the intended usage. I'll also note that while he gets maximum benefit at certain speeds, you don't always want your ships going those speeds so advice about that can be constraining. It's very circumstantial.

      He won't do much for your if your opponent is intent on jousting straight at you. In those kinds of circumstances, Motti or Vader are better for a straight-up brawl. If your opponent is coming straight at the fronts of your star destroyers, though, I don't really consider that to be a bad thing. You can still make use of Jerry on the star destroyers on the flanks to keep your front on target as the opponent starts passing through.

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    2. He does sound very useful with smaller ships especially the Arquitens so next time I'll field a combination of them. :)

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    3. I even used him with Gozanti's from time to time. When an enemy ship gets close, it can be just the thing I need to keep myself in one arc at a time, or to avoid bumping.

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  2. I regularly use him in a multiple-Arquitens fleet. He lets you do the shimmy (2 clicks left/2 clicks right) to keep your broadside to the enemy while opening the distance.

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