One of the most recent additions to Jung, there’s a reason Tora is the leader of the new Starter Set. Her skill set is simple and easy to grasp without sacrificing depth. Drawing inspiration from both Hibiki and Mari, she provides a great introduction to a variety of playstyles.
She can be the glass cannon you launch into the middle of the table. She can be the impossible to pin down pest. She can be a Ranged threat, or a melee master. Her playstyle is going to vary from list to list, game to game.
Like, Mari, she grants Leadership, but in a smaller range. It’s a great cheaper way to defend against fear. Kaizoku models within the Leadership range also gain Bravery and Bodyguard. Bravery is a fair trade-off for Mari’s Rally even with the shorter range. Bodyguard with all kaizoku is fantastic and makes her hard to lock in melee. A 2 inch range means she needs to keep allies close, but after swapping, she’s also in perfect range for a Short distance Ranged attack.
Range with Tora is either going to make a big impact, or it’s going to fizzle. Against high armor, it’s going to be hard to do damage. Her best targets are large, close-range models so she can hit those low target numbers and utilize her Combo Attack(1). With 3 Ranged dice, and a 3ki boost, she can usually afford to pay the cost and get an extra damage roll or two in.
In melee she’s got access to Counterstrike Defense(0) and Dodge(1) thanks to her ki feat. At 2 cost you are able to cast it every turn, but it’s an Active feat so it won’t save her on your opponents turn. It makes her an excellent Activation eater, as she can get in melee, protect herself and still deliver some damage, sometimes even 2 sets of damage. Combo Attack(0) is there for when you’re at the advantage in combat and Sidestep Attack(0) helps her disengage. I wish it was Sidestep Defense, to play into Black Sails theme with her Kancho/Uncle Hibiki, but it fits her flavor of being a reckless youth.
Her most interesting special effect is that when she is removed by an enemy effect, all opposing enemies gain a Death Sentence marker. This is either going to cripple (even Ro-kan or Cult lists) ki generation if they remove the markers, or you get a +1 dice boost to all your models. All those Special Attacks Kaizoku struggled to afford are suddenly cost-effective. At 17 points, she’s too expensive to leave completely unprotected, but it makes your opponent think twice before going all-in on attacks against her.
Compared to the other Juhin, Tora certainly feels like the young, inexperienced fighter who’s familial ties has played a role in her ascension through the ranks. She’s skilled and can pull off what she sets out to do, but lacks Yui’s tactical prowess, or Ran’s combat finesse. In the Starter Set, she suffers from being a big target. She’s best with a Kancho or equivalent threat to draw your opponent’s attention. If you can get them to forget about your -1 dagger thrower, you’ll see her start to shine.
If anyone’s getting a promotion soon, it’s Yuji. While Minato beats back enemies with his anchor, Yuji and Sames run the crew. At home with any of the Kancho, Yuji’s second layer of tactical control give range to your Kaizoku’s threat range. Despite working with Minato, Yuji functions best as a Mini-Mari.
The core of Yuji’s abilities comes from Command and the ability to Gain Order. Command(2/6) puts him directly behind Mari, and allows the Kaizoku to swarm and overwhelm easily. Order(3/8) pairs really well with Mari’s Command(3/6) as you don’t have to worry about over exhausting your models as they dive into the fray.
Inspiration is hard not to use every turn. There’s no model cheaper than Yuji that couldn’t use an extra dice. Cheap 8 rice Kohanin love rolling 4 dice to get those bleed tokens on the board. A 4 dice ranged attack from Duri is going to obliterate a close-range opponent. Add in an extra dice from Death Sentence markers (either from Bounty or Tora) and suddenly every model in Jung becomes an elite.
Mini-Mari Yuji likes to stand back and control from behind the front line. This makes it easy for him to see things coming when things start to go wrong. When your crew finds themselves getting their back-arc exposed, Sames’ Warning prevents them from getting Surprised, which means they don’t have to sacrifice the Special Attacks/Defenses they rely on.
When he gets in combat, Yuji will surprise your opponent. Holding him back as a support model means its easy for your opponent to underestimate his prowess. Counterstrike Defense(1) is a bit costly with only 3 dice, but at cost (0) he becomes a 20+ model, so it’s an understandable trade-off. If your going to be rolling 2 defense/1 attack against a model with dice to spare, its usually worth rolling Counterstrike to try and bypass their defenses.
Range with Yuji suffers from reload(2), it is just too must time spent to get more than one shot off in most games. Luckily for Yuji, he’s got a trick up his sleeve. With his special rule that allows him to make a ranged attack before or after any action, he can make his one shot count. Whether you fire the pistol before charging into combat, or (my personal favorite) shoot the enemy that just sidestepped out of combat, with Aware there is nowhere for your enemy to hide.
Yuji’s biggest struggle is Ki management. He never has enough. Battle Stations means 2 turns of not using Inspiration, and using his Ki feats means you don’t get to boost your attacks. Going in with a plan and sticking to it will get the most out of Yuji.
Unlike the other Juhin that can float between Kancho’s, or lead a team of their own, Ran really wants to be with Mari. She’s an excellent model independently but lacks the teamwork benefits or her peers. Her primary function is to keep Mari alive, and she does that beautifully.
Bodyguard lets her intercept any attack on her captain, and she is better in combat than Mari by a mile. 4 dice, Parry(1), and access to Pierce(1) and Combo Attack (0) means she’s strong offensively or defensively. With Sidestep Defense (0) she is hard to lock into engagements, leaving her open to protect Mari. With the proper dice rolls, she can protect Mari from 2 attacks a turn, meaning your opponent is going to have to spend resources to exhaust Ran before they focus on the head Kancho.
I really wish she was Bodyguard(Kancho) and would even pay the extra rice to do it, as she’s the cheapest of the Juhin. She’s more loyal to Mari than to the Jung, which makes sense on the flavor side of things, it just means you’re only likely to run her 33% of the time.
Scout is handy, but with her desire to be close to Mari, she’s not going to go far. If you’re using her as a solo assassin to take out a Bounty threat, however, she will make good use of that head start. Being cheaper than the other Juhin means she can be targeted by Yuji’s inspiration, turning her into a 5 dice model for only 15 rice.
Ranged is a hidden talent for Ran. With no stock ranged weapon, it’s easy to overlook. But Jung has access to the Hand Cannon for 2 rice, bringing her up to the cost of the other Juhin. Paired with Combo Attack(0) and her 3 dice pool, she has the potential to leave people hurting. Enemy activates, tries to attack Mari, Ran bodyguards in, Sidestep Defenses out, activates and Combo shoots the enemy in the back.
Ran is probably one of my least used models in Jung, simply because she has a very specific role and if you don’t need it, there’s not as much use for her. She’s 2 rice cheaper than her Juhin peers but feels more like 4 or 5 behind. She needs something that is missing from her stock profile. Whether that’s Bodyguard (Kancho), melee boost 2 instead of 3, or a stock ranged weapon (something akin to Tora’s daggers), she could use that extra 2 rice of abilities.
For those looking to run the sharks, the new Triangle Knife ronin card is a great use of that 2 rice. Gaining Bleed, innate Pierce(1) (saving you the ki for Combo(0)), and Combo (1) for when you run out of ki means she will spit out bleed tokens that will last beyond the turn, negating Arata’s impetuous flaw.
When she’s on the table, Ran always performs and is a great addition, but it’s hard to fit her in any list that doesn’t include Mari as there are cheaper more versatile options, unless you are looking for pure martial skills. With Mari, she is virtually essential.