Yak 1 Rookie

Unit Card:


Set - Number

Angels 20 - 31/31


The Yaroslav Yak-1 was a Soviet fighter first produced in early 1940. It was fast, maneuverable, easy to maintain and reliable. Some 37,000 fighters of the Yak variety (including the later Yak-3, Yak-7, and Yak-9 varieties) were produced during WWII, making it the most produced fighter in history. Losses were also extremely high. The Soviets lost 3336 Yak-1 from 1941-1945, including 1301 in 1942 alone. The Yak-1 represents the Soviet air force at the beginning of the war.


Poor pilots tend to carry negative SAs, and lower all or nearly all maneuver values by one. That’s exactly the case with the Yak-1. Turn remains a strong point, but at only a four, while the remaining scores dip to the less reliable threes. Raw Flier appears to be a complicated SA, but it is actually quite simple. If you’re at altitude 1, you’d better not gamble on a turn or roll maneuver. If you’re above altitude 1, you simply need to beat a score of 7. This means a dice value of 4 on turns, and 5 on rolls. The penalty for failure is that you cannot attack and must end in diving status. If you use the Yak-1 Rookie, you’ll want to carefully consider when you roll or turn. Altitude is simply important enough in the game that you don’t want to lose it needless. Of course, if you cannot attack otherwise and your opponent has no more chances to target your Yak-1 Rookie, then by all means attempt the turn or roll. A cost of 22 for this poor pilot seems in line with its abilities and with what we see elsewhere for poor pilots.

Tactics and Flight considerations: First of all, I can understand completely the feeling that many have to avoid poor pilots. They usually come with negative SAs, and they are vulnerable to all other pilots except Rookies. On the other hand, that bonus is only +1. If your opponent brings an Ace, the bonus is still +1. Many builds have an Ace at the core of them, but against that Rookie, that Ace gets no more of a bonus than an average pilot. Once you’ve settled on the fact that your poor pilot is vulnerable to everyone, you can start looking at the fact that you’ve put another plane in the field, which can help considerably with placement of your later planes. It can also help when figuring up what your opponent needs to achieve victory, depending upon how many points you’ve set your build to, your opponent might very well have to kill your Guards Yak-1 in order to win after he’s already killed your Rookies, which means more chances for that Guards Yak to do damage and potentially win the game for you. Once you know for a fact that you’ve got a vulnerable plane, you can start looking at ways to move those planes so that they avoid contact with the enemy and minimize damage. Simply set evading status, climb when possible, or just plain move where they cannot get you. Sometimes, you’ll even find that you have a potential shot with your Rookies. While you don’t get any dice bonuses against any other plane, you also don’t get any dice bonuses in an Ace versus Ace contest. In that case, a Rookie firing the shot is just as good as an Ace. Good shots are good shots, and often do damage regardless of pilot skill. Rookies are also excellent in filling in points when you’ve got a couple of other planes that you definitely want to take, but would otherwise leave a few points on the table. In conclusion, I think the Yak-1 Rookie is a legitimate candidate for inclusion in your flights. Granted, you probably don’t want to create a build that only has Yak-1 Rookies, but you can certainly mix Yak-1 Rookies into flights with other planes and expect them to operate meaningfully toward your overall strategy.

Plastic Figure Notes:

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