Clover362 to review the ultimate space ninja, Jain Zar. Jain Zar is the Phoenix Lord for the Howling Banshee Aspect Warririors. You would expect this ultimate epitome of the Eldar’s theory of close combat to be an absolute bad ass in assault, but in typical Games Workshop fashion they only got it half right with Jain Zar.
Jain Zar has some cool special rules and a very nice stat line but she is pretty fragile for what she is designed to do and she has a sizable price tag of 200 points. If you are a clever general and can take advantage of Jain Zar’s special rules she will put in work for your Army. For more reviews and tactics articles make sure to check out Frontline Gaming’s Tactics Corner.
Who is this Chick?
Jain Zar is the Phoenix Lord of the Howling Banshees. According to the fluff, her soul has merged with all the previous Phoenix Lords that came before her giving her the benefit of thousands of years of their skill, knowledge, and experience. Thus, you would expect her to boast an impressive stat line for close combat and she does. This ultimate Howling Banshee rocks a WS/BS of 7, S/T 4, 3 W, I 7, 4 A, LD 10, and a 2+ save. This is a good stat line to do work in close combat.
What Makes Her So Special?
Jain Zar rocks 11 special rules when you include her preset Warlord trait. That’s a lot to remember, but she needs all of them to be able to accomplish her task of being the ultimate combat ninja. Jain Zar has the following special rules:
- Fearless: Even though Jan Zair’s high initiative would make would make it very difficult to successfully cut her down, she will never flee from a fight
- Fear: Plenty of things ignore it but when it comes into play it’s pretty sweet.
- Independent Character: She can join units for a nice escort into close combat.
- Eternal Warrior: A must for a close combat orientated T4 model.
- Fleet: Nothing is worse than failing a charge when you absolutely need to get there. With fleet and her other rules Jain Zar and her unit should not have this problem.
- War Shout: Enemy units locked in combat with a unit containing this special rule suffer a -2 modifier to their leadership.
- Acrobatic: So long as she is in a unit with models that all contain this special rule (howling banshees) Jan Zair adds 3″ to her run and charge distances and does not suffer an initiative penelty for charging through terrain. This makes er really fast on foot.
- Disarming Strikes: While in a challenge before rolls to hit are made, Jan Zair can nominate one of her opponents weapons and her opponent counts as not being equiped with this weapon until the end of the phase. If she Jan Zair does this she has 1 less attack. This is a really big deal as most close combat characters only have 1 AP2 weapon and likely will lose their bonus attack as well. Doesn’t help against monstrous creatures though.
- Battle Focus: She can run then shoot and shoot then run, which is nice.
- Ancient Doom: She hates Slaanesh and because she is fearless this has no ill effect.
- Falcon’s Swiftness (Warlord Trait): If she is your warlord Jain Zar and her unit add and extra 3″ to their d6 run roll. This stacks with Acrobatic so in a unit of howling banshees she could run up to 12″ a turn. That’s a turn 2 charge in most games.
What Are All Those Fancy Things?
Jain Zar has some really solid Wargear but her lack of an invulnerable save hurts a close combat specialist a lot.
- Phoenix Armour: This gives he a very nice 2+ save which you will get to use more often as she can usually challenge out the characters carrying a AP 2 weapon and disarm them.
- Silent Death: This is a souped up triskele. It’s 12″ range S user AP2 Assault 4. By my reading, because it is also a triskele, it will give her a 1+ attack as carrying two close combat weapons.
- Blade of Destruction: This is a S user AP 2 melee weapon with the Shred special rule. With the Shred special rule, this weapon wounds more often against a T4 model than wounding on a 3+ would. It is also not a specialist weapon so Jain Zar get’s that plus 1 attack.
- Mask of Jain Zar: This is an amazing Banshee mask. First your opponent cannot fire Overwatch against Jain Zar or her unit (sorry not sorry Tau), and all enemy model’s within 6″ of Jain Zar subtract 5 from their initiative and weapon skill (to a minimum of 1). This is a huge rule. What this means is that all non WS 9 or better models will only hit Jain Zar on a 5+. If she is running in a unit of howling banshees in an Aspect Host almost all but elite characters will be hitting your banshees on a 5+. That helps make Jain Zar and her unit much more survivable in close combat.
So Is She Good or Bad?
Jain Zar is what I would call situationally good. That is to say, Jain Zar is great if she hits the right target but kind of poor if she hits the wrong target. IMO a 200 point ultimate space ninja should be able to go toe to toe with all comers, but her lack of an invulnerable save means there are certain targets she just can’t compete against.
So what is the right target? Jain Zar will murder basic infantry (and almost certainly sweep them with her initiative de-buff) and she is great against any non-monstrous creature she can single out through the challenge system, think Chapter Masters, Destroyer Lords, Nobs, Warbosses, ect. With her WS de-buff a Chapter Master will hit her on fives and will likely be swinging last with just his bolt pistol. Against the standard Chapter Master with the Shield Eternal on a bike Jain Zar will do .37 wounds per assault phase to the chapter masters .111. Those numbers get even better against a T4 model. Also a nice little trick to remember is that Hit and Run tests against initiative. Those White Scars grav Centurions will only escape her clutches 1/6th of the time instead of 2/3rds. That is a big deal as sometimes tying something up even if it will slowly grind you down is a winning strategy. So what targets do you have to watch out for? Mainly monstrous creatures, any thing with multiple AP2 weapons, or models with lots of attacks and rending. These targets will chew through her even if they are hitting on her 5’s.
If you are going to run Jain Zar, I think it makes sense to run her in a Living Legend Detachment as part of an Eldar War Host. This will let her automatically run 6″ (before her bonus inches) and makes her fast enough on foot to pretty much grantee a turn 2 charge. I also think it is mandatory to run her in a unit of Howling Banshees to give her a bit of a meat shield against incoming AP2 shooting attacks, not to mention the Howling Banshees get much better when the opponent is only hitting them on 5’s.
Overall Jain Zar might not be the most competitive choice but she is not terrible either. She would make a great edition to any type of Banshee themed list, or give you a decent close combat option in a infantry heavy War Host army.