So next up in my theory-machining madness is talking about the Talion Charter Warjacks. Now, I mean specifically the pirate themed jacks. While technically you can take any of the mercenary jacks barring the Rhulic ones (as there is no Rhulic Jack Marshall for the Pirates) I want to focus both my list building and my theory on the 3 pirate jacks: The Buccaneer, the Freebooter, and the Mariner. For those who are curious I am going to have two more posts about the Talion charter, one about the Units and one about the Solos, and I possibly might have one after that about putting it together based on the information I have posted, ie putting together my plan to start Talion Charter.
Well enough of that! Let’s get to the jacks!
The light jack of the three, the Buccaneer is an oddball, and in truth I have little idea how to use him properly. With DEf 13 / ARM 15 and low damage boxes (although on par for a light it seems) he is pretty easy to take down. He has two weapons: A Gaff which has reach and is PS 10, and a Net Gun. The Net Gun is the main reason, at least in my opinion, to take the little guy. With a RNG of 8 and the jack having Assault, you can charge in and fire this bad boy and on a hit knock the target down. This will let you set up attacks with other people on the knocked down target. The only issue of course is a RAT of 5, which means things with a High Def are gonna be hard to hit unless you boost, and frankly I would prefer spending focus on other things.
Finally the Buccaneer is 3 points. You would think maybe “Wow he is a cheap light!” That’s true, he is. However, with Pirates and the Talion charter there are other things you should be spending your 3 points on. Another solo for instance, which is 2 points, and can buff a variety of your units. A Deck Gun, which actually hits harder and has better range then the Buccaneer. Maybe you haven’t gotten the UA for the Sea Dogs. Its 3 points, might as well. There are many more options that you can spend your 3 points on.
In fact, the only time I would consider taking one of these would be a 15 point Mangled Metal game, and that’s only because its one of my only options.
Overall I find the Buccaneer a one trick pony, rather lackluster overall. Its best use is a knockdown machine, but you better have a way to deal with the knocked down target otherwise the little jack is gonna suffer. Now I will admit that I used the fact that it had reach in my last Mangled Metal Game against Penguin to tie up both his Hydra, and combined with Bart’s feat meant they couldn’t move or shoot, but that was something that required BOTH the feat AND the fact that it had reach, and it still couldn’t scratch their paint.
Here is another point of view from Gdaybloke of Lost Hemisphere:
Considering the synergy between the Buccaneer and Freebooter, I’m surprised you’re dissing it.
Freebooter by itself: 1 FOC to charge, leaving 2. Use one to boost an attack roll, one to boost a damage roll (risking missing one), you’re doing on average of 6 damage per hit against ARM18, then your Grab & Smash (no real damage, you use it for the effect). You’ve done a total of 12 damage + your chain attack effect.
Freebooter w/ Buccaneer providing the knockdown: Ignoring damage from the Buccaneer. 1 FOC for charge, 2 remaining. Knocked down target means auto hit, no need to boost attack roll. First attack does average 10 damage after ARM18, second attack boost the damage roll for the same, then one left to buy a third attack for another 6 damage. You’ve done a total of 26 damage + your chain attack effect. Oh, and you’ll potentially get an extra damage dice on the chain attack too, so it might do 3 or 4 more.
The thing I have to say to this is basically that the Buccaneer really only helps the Freebooters. If I had to choose between a single Jack to help my Freebooters or a Solo that could synergize with my infantry I would take the Solo first. Granted, if I have taken everything I could have and still had 3 points I would take a Buccaneer.
I could also take a Buccaneer in place of a third heavy and save 3 points, which could open more possibilities. I would only do this however if I was going to have at least 1 if not 2 Freebooters. Something like Shae, 2 Freebooters, and a Buccaneer. That would be 9 points of Jacks after the Jack points are counted, give me 2 heavies and a light, and leave me plenty of points to work with. So there is a place for the Buccaneer but in general I don’t see a great use for it. If you are not running Freebooters I would hesitate to take the Buccaneer at all.
To quote Gday, in regards to a Freebooter and Buccaneer – “They make a helluva Tag team”, but that’s about the only time I would take a Buccaneer.
Ok the first of the heavies available, and the cheaper of the two. The Freebooter costs 6 points, same as a Nomad, and has less PS on its weapons and no reach. However, the Freebooter has 2 Open Fists at PS 14, and has a chain attack where the Nomad has 1 attack as PS 17 with reach. Why am I comparing the two? Well they are both 6 point jacks, and both serve a similar purpose. Now, I don’t know the defensive stats of the Nomad offhand, but the Freebooter is DEF 12 / ARM 17, which is not bad. The heavy jacks I have run into with Retribution are DEF 12 / ARM 18. With buffs of course the Freebooter can reach higher levels (Like Broadside, which makes em DEF 10 / ARM 20). So why take a Freebooter? 2 attacks, the chain attack, and Trash.
The Freebooter has an ability called Trash, which gives it an additional damage die against knocked down targets. Note that this is NOT BOOSTED but is additional, meaning you can boost to get 4 dice against a knocked down target. That’s kind of situational you say? Well, that’s where the chain attack comes in. The Freebooter has Grab and Smash, meaning if it hits with both its initial attacks you can do the full range of power attacks (Save for Slam or Trample) on the target. Guess what? Head butt the target. You head butt, it’s knocked down at your feet. At this point you can buy more attacks or if you have a second Freebooter, charge in and get your Trash die and whatnot.
Also the Freebooter ignores water features (its Amphibious) and also has Lash, meaning it and any warrior models in B2B are immune to knockdown. For 6 points I would take a Freebooter instantly, and in most cases I will take 2. Use 1 to get the knockdown, and use the second to tear it apart. Or if you are doing Mangled Metal and have a Buccaneer, use its gun to get the knockdown and have both Trash the target.
There is one final thing to note about the Freebooter, and that’s its special ability Jury Rig. For 1 Focus point and a Movement box, you can give the Freebooter +2 SPD for one turn. Now this is important! It’s an actual SPEED boost not additional movement, meaning things like running would actually double the SPD bonus. Granted, you have to sacrifice one of the Freebooters Movement Boxes but for 1 focus giving it +2 SPD can be handy. If you gave it +2 SPD and then had it run you could get it 14in across the board, which can surprise the enemy.
The 3rd and final of the pirate jacks, the Mariner is our ranged option, and it’s a doozy of one. The Mariner has both Melee and Ranged functionality though, and it’s silly to think it only serves one purpose. On one hand you have its gun, which is RNG 15 POW 14 AOE 3 ROF 1. On the other hand it has its Anchor, which is PS 17 with Thresher. It’s DEF 12 / ARM 17 which is the standard it seems for the Pirate heavies, and it has a good amount of damage boxes. It’s also an 8 Point heavy, so it’s 2 more then a Freebooter.
Now, there are a few things to remember with the Mariner. Firstly, its gun does NOT have arcing fire, which means it’s gonna need LOS unlike a Mule. However it outranges the Mule so that’s the trade off. Also, it needs to be in B2B contact with a Warrior Model to even FIRE its cannon. On the plus side, much like the Freebooter, it has Lash, so whatever is in B2B isn’t gonna get knocked down. Also, it’s Anchor, while it has Thresher, does NOT have reach. So you gotta get him up in the face of whatever it is you want to smack.
The Mariner serves the niche of being a heavy gun. Granted, you can use a Deck Gun and get almost the same effect (and the Deck Gun is only 2 points) but depending on your needs you may want a Mariner. The thing that I have discovered with the Mariner is that it’s a combined arms jack. It has a ranged option it can use as long as it has someone with it, and then when it needs to it can charge in and dish out the hurt.
If you need the option to have both Ranged and Melee on a Jack, take a Mariner. In fact, in most cases I would take 1 Mariner and then a Freebooter or two with my Pirate casters. For example, with Bart you have Broadside, which lets you get 2 shots off with the Mariner a turn, and with Fiona you can grant the Mariner the ability ignore intervening Models, thus giving it free reign to fire up to 15in away (And with her CTRL area of 14 you can easily tell how far away you are).
Shae probably has the least “synergy” with the Mariner, but if you gave the Mariner Storm Rager it would become DEF 12 / ARM 19, PS 19 on its Anchor, and MAT 8. That’s nothing to sneeze at and can easily crack most heavy jacks it runs into it (and let’s not forget about Godspeed and Coup de Main, which can help the jack get into position)
So those are the three Pirate jacks. Like I said, technically you can take ANY of the Merc jacks with a Talion Charter, but where is the fun in that? Stick with the theme and go from there.