Eldar Review: HQ: Jain Zar


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.

Special Rules

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.

Jain Zar 2

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.

Jain Zar 3

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.



21 Responses to “Eldar Review: HQ: Jain Zar”

  1. Avatar
    fluger January 20, 2016 4:04 pm #

    I like the idea of running her with harlequins.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 20, 2016 4:58 pm #

      Not a bad idea! She hits really hard.

  2. Avatar
    Ibushi January 20, 2016 5:12 pm #

    There is a great batrep on youtube of a Footdar list versus battle company, where Jain Zar runs on foot with 10 Banshees and eventually cuts down the Marine warlord after trouncing through several squads. The girls get whittled right down until they are all dead, but the carnage speaks for itself.

    Fantastic Phoenix Lord for friendly or less competitive games, especially with the new Void Dreamer powers!

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 20, 2016 5:16 pm #

      Yeah, I could totally see that. She really does pack a punch and the increased speed is awesome.

  3. Avatar
    Styro-J January 20, 2016 6:41 pm #

    I have had great luck running her with Wraithblades. The extra run distance makes them a threat much faster, the Initiative drop helps mitigate Unwieldy, the WS drop boosts survival, and Disarm helps the entire team.

    Wraithstars are far from competitive, but Jain does give them a pretty substantial boost.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 20, 2016 7:03 pm #

      Hey, that sounds like a super fun combo, actually!

    • Avatar
      lessthanjeff January 21, 2016 3:11 am #

      Wraithblades don’t have acrobatic and the entire unit must have the rule to get that extra 3″ run/charge.

      • Reecius
        Reecius January 21, 2016 7:25 am #

        I think he’s referring to Falcon’s Swiftness, her warlord trait, which adds 3″ to her run.

        • Avatar
          lessthanjeff January 21, 2016 3:26 pm #

          Ah, good point. You’re probably correct about his intention.

    • Avatar
      asmodius January 21, 2016 6:50 am #

      Wraithstars can do really. A local player has done very well with them. Another combo I would do is put jain zhar with harles. Between veil of tears and her CC debuff it is like the unit has invis as a primaris for 1 WC. Everything will be hitting them on 5s and striking last.

  4. Avatar
    Colinsherlow January 20, 2016 6:57 pm #

    This ninja like most of the phoenix lords has the same problems as most of the others. It is hard to find a place for her due to her point cost and a reliable way to get her and her unit into assault.

    The phoenix lords are awesome, but really hard to find a proper place for in most lists. Which in unfortunate as nce they are all super cool and would be tons of fun to play with.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy January 20, 2016 7:03 pm #

      She also suffers from being 200pts with only three wounds and no invuln, although her Disarm ability goes a long ways towards mitigating that at least. But if she’s not in a challenge, or is fighting a character with natural AP2/paired weapons, she is in serious trouble.

  5. Avatar
    Vercingatorix January 21, 2016 9:16 am #

    I think she would probably be worth taking at 130/ possibly 150. Or if she was 200 with a 4+ invul. The problem (as usual with this codex) is how good is she with a banshee squad compared against a wraithknight?

    That being said, I think it could possibly work in a footdar list as your anti death star. Sorry giant unit of thunderwolves, she challenged out an iron priest and took his hammer away then reduced the whole thing to I1. It sounds like the ultimate tarpit. Is the initative penalty permanent or just the first phase?

    This is the only situation where I see her WAY outscoring her points.

    • Avatar
      Colinsherlow January 21, 2016 10:48 am #

      Yeah I think the rules for the phoenix lords are pretty good, but they need a solid points decrease for me to even really consider taking.

  6. Avatar
    happy_inquisitor January 21, 2016 1:11 pm #

    It always feels like the Ninja Lady would be pretty good with Striking Scorpions around. The exarch power of the Scorpions would switch up to getting +5 of those sweet S6 AP2 attacks per turn against almost any opposing character. Ouch.

    In any other codex that would be a strong contender for lists.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy January 21, 2016 4:49 pm #

      That’s actually a pretty cool idea, the only problem being finding a way to get her into the unit, since she lacks Infiltrate.

      I do love the idea of getting +5 attacks with that dude, though. Hmm.

      • Avatar
        MidnightSun January 22, 2016 9:11 am #

        Well, she just has to get into the same *combat*, or within 6″ of the combat, to give out the debuff yes? Still a pain in the ass to pull off, but not impossible.

  7. Avatar
    AngryPanda January 21, 2016 1:51 pm #

    At her price tag all her special rules shoudl transfer fully and not just work with Banshees. Plus she realy suffers from “Is in the Eldar Codex” syndrome hard. You could take so many Warp Spiders for those points…

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 22, 2016 10:50 am #

      Lol, exactly. But, you can use here and not suffer for it.

  8. Avatar
    AnEnemy January 22, 2016 12:25 am #

    I have some success dropping her down via webway portal attached to a Grotesquerie. She’s slowed down, but she gets T5(possibly T6 if you roll well), a lot of ablative wounds, and my 6+ save Grotesques avoid getting Overwatched. It depends on how well you whether the turn they arrive as you have no shooting worth mentioning.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 22, 2016 10:50 am #

      That sounds like fun!

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