Code Name: Jackal
Faction: Peace River
Height: 4.2 meters
Weight: 5,930 kg
Baconradar’s Summary: Cheap, offensively versatile, but fragile paratrooper gear
Note: The Jackal is currently unreleased, but you can see a preview of the model, which will be pewter, here: http://www.dp9.com/content/new-jackal-3d-model-preview
At 6 TV it’s the cheapest airdrop gear
5/7 movement is better than standard, especially given other versatile PRDF gears are a little slow
Versatile weapons loadout which extends to all its variants
Variants give cheap access to strong weapons
AR:5 with a silhouette of 1.5”, PIL: 4+, and no agile trait make it a very fragile gear
Restricted to the GP UA which contains no other airdrop units
Falls well short of competitors in any role other than light paratrooper
Bad EW skill (for a Peace River gear)
- Paratrooper: Let’s be clear here, this is the only role for the Jackal. With most gears there’s more than one clear use case, but not this guy. If you aren’t using the airdrop trait on the Jackal then you would almost certainly be better off using a Warrior, Pitbull, or any number of other solid trooper choices. The Jackal certainly has the armament to act as a trooper gear – accurate main weapon with good range, AE secondary weapon, anti-infantry ability, and a LVB. In this respect it’s only slightly worse than the benchmark Hunter or Jager. The problem is it’s simply too fragile. The typical trooper, including the Warrior, is 4/2 with AR:6. The Jackal, by dropping just a single point of hull and armour, really is much more likely to be crippled. Taking 2d6 fire from a LAC against 3d6 it will on average take 3 shots to cripple a Jackal, versus 7 to cripple a Warrior. That’s a huge difference. It’s true that the Jackal has a little extra speed (though not much) and that might be more attractive to PRDF because the Warrior is rather footslow, but as a light trooper the Jackal is blown out of the water by the Pitbull which is much less fragile, moves faster, and can pinch hit as a scout. The Jackal has one thing going for it and that is that it’s the cheapest paratrooper gear in the game. Deploying by airdrop is a significant tactical advantage and allows you to mitigate the shortcomings of the Jackal, keeping it away from gearkillers and ganging up on the typical trooper targets (other troopers, light gears, targets of opportunity) with added d6 from flanking, elevated, or simply denying them cover. Other factions get Paratrooper gears with more staying power, but in terms of offensive firepower for TV cost, the Jackal has them beaten – so long as it isn’t exposed to serious return fire. In terms of a Peace River force the Jackal has no direct competitor – all the other airdrop units are considerably more expensive – but in general I don’t think it’s a particularly good purchase and in most cases I’d rather just spend the points on fewer but superior units like the Warrior IV, Spartan (when it’s released), Skirmisher etc. Peace River has no real shortage of either airdrop units or light troopers, so I would only recommend the Jackal if you really need a conflux of the two roles and don’t want to pay the extra 33% premium for the more durable and elegant Skirmisher.
Vanguard Jackal: For +1TV you swap your LAC for a MAC. I am generally OK with the ‘gunner’ upgrade on trooper gears, because the autocannon is almost always their main weapon and the jump from PEN:6 to PEN:7 is pretty major when it comes to fighting other gears. It’s rarely mindblowing, but it’s generally a good idea if you intend to make extensive use of the *AC. For paratrooper gears, who usually come with a LAC/LGL, the upgrade tends to be bad because you lose the LGL. This isn’t the case with the Jackal and the Jackal of course has a LRP, so unlike gunner paratroops you aren’t sacrificing the ability to put out AoE attacks. I actually think because the Jackal relies on its offensive potency to offset how vulnerable it is (by killing its targets with concentrated alpha strikes) that this upgrade is a good idea and would generally take it over the stock model.
Kestros Jackal: For +0TV you swap your LRP for an underslung LGL. I’m a big fan of the LAC/LGL as a weapon and I generally prefer having the LGL over the LRP because it has blast, which allows you to negate cover, and because it gives access to AP:1 at range. So this is another variant I’d have a slight preference for over the stock – however when considering the shorter range of the LGL it’s important to remember that your Jackals are extremely fragile and you cannot put yourself in an extended firefight with similarly costed models.
Fusillade Jackal: For +2TV you swap your LAC and LRP for a LRL and swap your LVB for a MVB with reach 1″. First things first, +2TV is a pretty hefty price increase on a 6TV model – it’s an extra third of the cost to be precise. On top of that losing your only AE weapon, and often your best option to fire, in the form of the LRP is very painful. So the question is whether the LRL is good enough to make up for this. Well regular readers will know how highly I rate advanced weapons in general, and lasers specifically. The LRL is strictly better than a MAC pretty much anywhere in its range of 24″ (well, it’s exactly equivalent in the 13-18 bracket) and when you’re in optimal that extra point of gunnery combos quite nicely with the ability of paratroopers to get flank and elevated modifiers. Losing the 25-36″ range bracket does hurt a bit though, lessening the chance for opportunistic flank shots and forcing the fragile Jackals to work at a closer range. If this were +2TV for just the LRL, I don’t think it would be worth it. But getting the MVB with reach is more than just a cherry on top – it turns the Jackal into a legitimate threat to heavy armour due to that AP:2. This is the cheapest Peace River model with a medium melee weapon and one of the cheapest in the game. When I first looked at this variant I was wondering whether it would be clearly superior to the others, simply by virtue of its strong weapons, but in the end I think it’s probably only as good or slightly worse performance-for-cost wise than the Vanguard or Kestros. I know I’ll be using it though, because it is very much in fitting with Peace River (high tech, good melee) and it really leans into the concept of ‘offence is the best defence’, which I think is extremely important to keep in mind when using such a fragile gear.