Welcome to the Dice and Cardboard Briefing Room, pilot! In this series I'll write about a pilot or upgrade that I've been experimenting with or enjoying.
C'ai Threnalli at the moment is a popular choice in Resistance listbuilding, costing 4 points at time of writing in the versatile T-70 X-Wing and 3 in the BTA-NR2 Y-Wing, both with healthy Loadout Values.
C'ai Threnalli, skilled fighter pilot and loyal wingman, is an Abednedo from the planet...Abednedo. According to Wookieepedia he prefers to fly the T-70 X-Wing (who wouldn't?) but is cross-trained in the Y-Wing and B-Wing. He flew for the New Republic Starfighter Corps before joining the Resistance with Poe Dameron. He was Poe's wingman after the battle of D'Qar and participated in the brief failed mutiny on the Raddus. C'ai fought for the Resistance in the battles of Crait and Exegol.
It has been disclosed that C'ai was not necessarily intended to be written into the sequel movies. As part of the shooting schedule for The Force Awakens, the costume for Ello Asty, another Abednedo, was used in a scene bidding Rey farewell after Ello was supposedly killed at Starkiller Base. An honest mistake that required that they create a new character and a great pilot for X-Wing!
Let's start with C'ai in the X-Wing. 4 points (at time of writing) for one of the best ships in the game at Initiative 4 is already great value regardless of pilot. With that in mind, we can afford to virtually ignore C'ai's mostly situational ability. I, personally, wouldn't chase after the ability because that way lies madness. One area where it can be used, however, is in the initial feints/charges at a center objective. I like to set C'ai up to threaten that range 2 (Chance Engagement) or range 1 (others) bubble of the center with a lower-initiative buddy like Merl Cobben, R1-J5 or Rose Tico nearby. I'll turn the other ship in front of C'ai (Rose in the Pod is great for this) and let C'ai 4-straight to leapfrog over and grab that evade for a possible round 1 engagement. C'ai can then use his action to boost closer, double-token, or barrel roll to put him in a good position to threaten enemy ships that want to go for that center objective on the first turn. If you want to take a scenario action, provided you've lined it up right, you can always Coordinate him a pre-activation Boost with Rose. Just practice this setup and opening so you can execute it reliably.
a 4-point T-70 is great already, but C'ai also, at time of writing, comes with 7 Loadout Value to build as you choose. I prefer to keep it relatively simple and give him M9-G8 Astromech to either give a buddy rerolls or to neuter the attack of the enemy's biggest threat (don't sleep on this M9-G8 function, can be fun) and then Predator to give himself the occasional double mod. If you think you can reliably pull off the Evade ability then Juke might be some silly fun, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Lucky us, we get 2 C'ai for the price of 1! C'ai was introduced in the Y-Wing with the release of the BTA-NR2 2-pack. He has the same ability which, in my opinion, is tougher to make use of with the Y-Wing's slower dial. Some would argue that it's easier to use the Initiative 2 to leapfrog a ship that ended up in front of him last turn but, personally, I prefer to be able to plan and move someone in front of him in the X-Wing with the faster maneuvers available. C'ai's value in the Y-Wing at the moment is that, at time of writing, he is one of the efficient cadre of 3-point Y-Wing pilots and has the most LV of the group. The real downside is that if you take Y-C'ai you can't also have X-C'ai.
Y-Threnalli brings 9 LV to the table at time of writing. This makes him able to take Wartime Loadout and either an actually useful missile like Homing Missiles or Mag-Pulse (maybe not so useful at I2, but it's something) or Ion Missiles and a Dorsal Turret. However, even with this much LV available I prefer to skip Wartime Loadout on the 3-point Ys and take advantage of the Intuitive Interface ability. with 9 LV C'ai can bring my default loadout of Targeting Computer and Ion Cannon Turret, allowing him to spray double-modded ion shots around every turn. Another fun option is to add Expert Handling, Engine Upgrade, and Proton Bombs, allowing C'ai a white reposition every turn with a free Calculate, putting him in position to drop bombs in unusual spots.
I'm guessing that if you play Resistance you're already pretty familiar with our buddy C'ai. How do you like to use him in your squads?