Special character number 5 please. A quick point before getting started though. After the 3rd Pheonix Lord I'm going to shuffle things up a bit and do the Avatar. This is because I realise that the Pheonix Lords aren't exactly the most interesting Special Characters in the game. I like them because I really like their back story (especially Maugan Ra, that guy is a boss), but they're not seen too often on the tabletop and so I'll sneak the Avatar in mid-way through. But on to Jain Zar.
In the last edition Jain Zar was the Pheonix Lord that I ran the most. Often I would struggle for HQ slots because I liked the Eldrad/Avatar combo but she was cheap and boy did she pack a punch. (Picture incoming).
In the new edition, she's gone up in points a little to make a nice round 200. She keeps the Pheonix Lord statline, identical to the one that Asurmen has, and so all that there really is to seperate her is Wargear and Special Rules. Oh is that all.
Special Rules first, as that really is where the least action is happening. As with Asurmen, she gets the Eldar special rules of Battle Focus and Ancient Doom, and the Pheonix Lord rules of Eternal Warrior, Fleet and Fearless. Of course she's also an Independent Character.
So what makes Jain Zar special. Well, first off she has an addition special rule entitled Acrobatic. It only works when she's by herself or in a unit of Banshees, however what it does is increase her and her unit's run move by 3", not bad. This can then be tied in with her Warlord Trait. It's not the best Warlord Trait in the book, however on Jain Zar it's not bad, as it increases her and her unit's (non exclusive) run move by a further inch. This means that in a unit consisting solely of Banshees she can run between 5 and 10", pretty quick, making for an 11"-16" movement per turn, add in their fleet and you're looking more to the 16" end.
Finally, she has her wargear. All of it is geared towards making her a close combat beast. First off you have her, 'Silent Death', which is both a Ranged Weapon and a close combat weapon. At range it's a S-user (4) AP2 Assault 4 Weapon fired at the BS of a Pheonix Lord. It's only 12" but it's still pretty deadly. In melee, you're probably never going to be using it as it's just a normal Strength AP2 close combat weapon (just!). This is because there's a better weapon on the table.
This is her Blade of Destruction, unfortunately it's no longer S7 (aw), and it follows the exact same profile as the Silent Death in close combat, however, it comes with the Shred special rule, somewhat negating that S4 a little bit more. Plus, because you have 2 close combat weapons you're basically getting 5 attacks base.
In addition, Jain Zar comes with a Mask. What this does is effectively what Fiends do in the Daemons Codex. On the turn that she charges all enemy models in the combat have their WS and I reduced by 5. Ouch. Again, this couples nicely with one of her Exarch powers, Disarming strike.
Disarming Strike somewhat negates her lack of an Invulnerable save. Power Fist? No problem. What it essentially is is a roll off, and if you draw that roll off or better you turn an opposing weapon into a regular close combat weapon for the phase. There is also a modifier for having higher weapon skill. Now as if Jain Zar wasn't going to be getting that modifier anyway with her enormous WS, she definitely is now if she charged.
We aren't quite at the bottom of the bag of tricks just yet however, as she also causes Fear.
So, is Jain Zar worth it? Again I think she's pointed pretty well. She definitely fulfills the role of close combat character better than Asurmen and for less points, although Asurmen may be better for monstrous creatures and multi wound models. Overall however I think she's going to struggle. Banshees still suffer from the lack of an assault vehicle, as they still have no real way to get into close combat.
They are much quicker, but still a little susceptible to being shot down. With Jain Zar in the squad, maybe you can change that by taking some of the wounds on her 2+ save. I think that if you're desperate to take Banshees then she's really worth a look, as she also provides some much needed AP2 power to the squad. However, it's still not, 'competitive' and unfortunately I'm not sure she'll be seen too often I'm afraid.
On a quick note to finish, it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to make a post for tomorrow, however there may be one up in the evening so be sure to check out for that. This is because I'm attending the Cry of the Wind tournament at the Sheffield Outpost.