Written by Catherine "Drakona" Darrow
Jediluke is the Darth Vader of the Descent world. He has been at the top for so long that pilots of all generations recognize his name and fear his power. Everyone wants to beat him, and those who have accomplished it treasure those victories, whether they were in 1997 or 2016. Even mere kills on him are treasured accomplishments! He is the big bad that everyone wants to see lose, and he remains so year after year.
The most distinctive thing about Jediluke is that he hates to lose even more than you do. He likes to win about as much as anyone, but losses are something special to him, causing him horrible pain which manifests as hot rage in the moment, and dying down to a burning ache of loathing for the game, himself, and everything else as the days go by. Outside the game, this manifests as an unparalleled drive for excellence, as Jediluke shows up to play any pilot, take on any challenge, learn anything he needs to in order to succeed, day in and day out, year after year. In the mines, this makes him one of the grittiest, toughest opponents you'll ever meet who begrudges you every single point of damage as a personal matter. Jediluke never accepts defeat. He is one of the few pilots who can be down 14-19 against the likes of DJCJR, and will do what is necessary to WIN.
Jediluke practices an economy of style. Instead of learning everything in the hope that it will prove useful someday, somewhere, he focuses on honing a single style: a fast and highly mental hit and run that he feels is the strongest game. He looks to win through free damage or superior exchanges, and emphasizes survivability and escape. Where damage is concerned, Jediluke believes in a Take Less philosophy, where Drakona leans more toward Do More. Jediluke is always in the process of staying safe and leaving fights, and dodges like a maniac. If you catch him in the fan in logic, unload every smart missile you have. I personally have planted THREE in there with him, only to watch him burst out exulting, "That was a hell of a dodge!"
Offensively, Jediluke plants smart missiles like Robin Hood. He opens doors for them. He reliably shoots them through grates. They're always on the right PART of the right wall. This is scary in combination with what has to be the most potent misdirection game out there. Often two smarts will explode simultaneously on opposite sides of the room you're in, and while you're contemplating where he could have possibly shot them from to make THAT happen, he himself will emerge from a third direction in what can only be clear evidence of sorcery.
He has historically been regarded as a strong vulcan pilot, back before everyone was a strong vulcan pilot. And his vulcan is still quite dangerous. But with the advent of the x4 game, I think these days he regards primaries as secondaries, smarts as his favored weapon, and x4 as the true, full game where everything else is like duking out with laser 1's.
The hardest thing about beating Jediluke is that you must defeat his mind game somehow, or you simply will not get the opportunity to take good shots. This leads many pilots to fall back on exclusively using fast weapons like vulcan and spreadfire against him because he doesn't stick around long enough for anything else to do ANY damage. He pops up and is gone before fusion covers half the distance. You won't get free damage. You won't catch him taking a bad risk when he doesn't know where you are. If you want to land real damage with quads, you must actively outsmart his game and figure out what he's doing and get there first. And you better hope you've guessed correctly how many levels of deception are in play, because if he's merely PRETENDING to be pretending to let you outsmart him, and you fall for it, it will be you that gets shot.
He has a huge library of moves in the tunnels, and makes stupid moves only by calculated intent exactly often enough to catch you by surprise. The rest of the time, he's not merely making smart moves . . . he's making ALL of the smart moves and inventing new ones and never repeating anything. He is furiously creative, and constantly inventing tactics specifically to ruin you, personally. You can play 500 games with him and continue to see novel things. He has an astonishingly good memory and very rapid and effective adaptation cycle, and a surprising level of tactical discipline. If you discover something that works on him twice, it won't work a third time. Ever. Not if you wait two years to make the attempt. His stellar memory, analysis, and adaptation are why he is so dangerous so to MANY pilots, and why you may beat him to 5, but you'll run out of tricks long before 20. And then the rematch. Oh lord, the rematch.
Avoiding X4 levels will take away his strongest weapons, though it will also eliminate your best source of luck kills, which could go your way if you play him enough times, which is quite frankly probably the best chance you have. He does show weakness in levels he considers unworthy challenges, such as disorientation and hardcore ratting levels, and if you are astonishingly quick on the move and on the draw, you can leverage a speed advantage somewhere like ascend or RIP. But while eliminating the missiles will mean you face fewer homer tornadoes, you still need to handle that mind game somehow, and it's not particularly less deadly with quads and vulcan than it is with smarts. You can take it one of two ways. You can try to take it head on and outsmart him, as LoNi and DKH do, with limited success, or you can try to Not Play and force straight engagements, as Bahamut, SoulJah and Cyrus do, also with . . . limited . . . success. Drakona's strategy involves advanced mathematics and the sacrifice of small furry animals to questionable powers. If anyone figures out how Mark does it, please let the rest of us know.
Jediluke is also a great teacher, which adds to his credibility as a great champion. Rather than hiding his tactics in secrecy, he uploads demos constantly, will analyze and explain them to anyone who will listen, and will to tell everything he knows to anyone who will hold still long enough. He creates opponents for himself, and will invest in training anyone who can endure the repeated savage beatings his method of teaching entails. Which so far has been like, two people, but still! Many more have tried, and he'll teach anyone. All that, and he remains at the top! He has done a tremendous amount in the modern era to elevate the level of gameplay in the community at large, and in so doing has left a mark on the game itself.
Is he the best? Well . . . there's Mark, and that's the question. Jediluke is there every day, teaching, dominating, explaining, and still dominating. Marks comes in, levels everything, puts up silly margins on the best pilots, trashes Jediluke in his home, gets trashed by him somewhere else, and then moves on to explore new opportunities to leave exciting new smoking craters. Given that, which if them is better? It's a debate for the ages, but one thing is for sure. Both of them are on a completely different level than the rest of us.