The Briefing Room: Evaan Verlaine
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.
Okay, I'm going to be honest. Evaan Verlaine has not been in very many of my lists. Evaan had a brief moment in the sun as a cost-effective Y-Wing pilot after the February 2022 points and rules change and many people seemed to be unfamiliar with the character. Still, Evaan has a neat story and is worth a look in squadbuilding so she will be the subject of this week's briefing!
Who is Evaan Verlaine?
Like known blog favorites Shara Bey and L'ulo L'ampar, Evaan's story originated in a comic and we have since learned in other media that she was present for many of the most important events of the Galactic Civil War.
Born on Alderaan, Evaan Verlaine was part of a group of Alderaanian youths who were mentored by Queen Breha Organa, wife of Bail and mother of Leia. Evaan joined the Rebel Alliance after leaving her homeworld. Flying a Y-Wing as Gold Three, Evaan fought the Empire above the shield gate at Scarif with Gold Leader Jon "Dutch" Vander and the rest of the Rebel fleet. Days later, after the destruction of her homeworld, Evaan participated in the Battle of Yavin and was the only member of Gold Squadron to survive the attack on the Death Star.
Verlaine then accompanied Princess Leia Organa on a series of missions to connect with cells of Alderaanian refugees across the galaxy. Evaan's skill as a pilot, composure under fire, and dedication to the throne of Alderaan led to her becoming Leia's close confidante and friend. The two even recruited our good buddy Nien Nunb on one of these trips!
After the Battle of Hoth Evaan was recruited into Starlight Squadron as part of Operation Starlight, the effort to reunite the scattered parts of the Rebel fleet. Verlaine's squadron mates were almost all X-Wing favorites including Shara Bey, Wedge Antilles, and L'ulo L'ampar. Evaan's fighter up to this point had been a BTL-A4 Y-Wing but as a member of Starlight Squadon she switched to a T-65 X-Wing. X-Wing Evaan would be a welcome addition to the game!
Evaan Verlaine in X-Wing
You all know that if there's one thing I love almost as much as a cool EU backstory it's a thematic pilot ability!
In her card art, Gold Three appears to be departing Massassi Base on Yavin IV for the attack on the Death Star. Her ability, however, is a reference to her role after the Battle of Yavin as Princess Leia's pilot and self-appointed bodyguard. Evaan's deep respect for the throne of Alderaan made her a loyal companion for Leia and in the comics she helped Leia through quite a few dangerous situations. A nice thing about the ability is that you don't have to spend the Focus token until the start of the Engagement Phase so you can wait to see if the extra die will be needed or if Evaan can keep the token.
Evaan does well in a squad where she can be passed an extra Focus token by a teammate so she can spend it to protect a high-value friendly but still keep a token or lock for her own use. Kyle Katarn, Hera Syndulla, Lando Calrissian, Garven Dreis, Jake Farrell, Benthic Two Tubes, or a Sheathipede or U-Wing to coordinate are all good wingmates for Evaan. I'd fly her near an important piece like Luke or Wedge or, more reasonably, another Y-Wing or B-Wing that is easier for her to keep up with. She generally has enough Loadout Value to carry a torpedo of some kind but her initiative 3 may limit her ability to effectively target lock, so a companion like "Dutch" Vander may be a thematic and useful buddy for her. She can protect "Dutch" while he passes her locks and, while "Dutch" is probably the priority target your opponent will probably need to push through Evaan to get a better shot at him.
At time of writing Evaan Verlaine is currently 4 points and unfortunately at that price point I would probably not include her in my squad. When she was 3 points she was a compelling option but she now competes with Gold Leader and Gray Leader at 4. She currently compensates, however, by having the highest LV of the 4-point BTL-A4s with her ordnance delivery capabilities tempered by her lower initiative. As mentioned above I would fly Evaan in a pair with another heavy hitter like "Dutch," a U-Wing, or Hera Syndulla in the B-Wing to keep that more useful piece alive a bit longer and capitalize on the other pilot's support abilities. Points and LV will change but I think the basic tactic will remain largely the same for me.
This is a typical pair that I'd use, with "Dutch" taking a lock so that Evaan can lock the same target. Then "Dutch" fires his Plasma Torpedo and hopefully strips a shield for Evaan's Proton Torpedo to follow up. Evaan's ability, Selfless, and Elusive all work together to keep "Dutch" on the board longer. Is it really good? Probably not. Is it fun and maybe viable? Sure!
Again, probably not especially good but probably pretty fun, here's a squad of pilots who survived Yavin plus poor "Dutch." RIP. There is a more competitive version of this list that trades Evaan out for a coordinating shuttle but this squad should still hit like a ton of bricks in casual play.
Are you using Evaan Verlaine in your squads? What's your favorite way to fly her?