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The Winners and Losers of Rotation

With rotation, many changes will come about. Many cards will leave the pool, and this will indirectly nerf or buff other cards. In this article, I am going to go over some cards I think will see more play (winners), and some cards/decks will see much less play if any (Losers).


Losers

First let’s begin with the losers. These are cards I believe will see significantly less play or cards that will be made weaker by the rotation.

Mother Talzin:

Out of all the losers I believe this one will see the most play. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Talzin is getting a serious indirect nerf. Talzin is losing 3 sets rife with great 1 cost cards; notably: DH-17, Deflect and Overconfidence, to name a few. Talzin will still see a lot of play and is a great character for her cost, but there is no doubt she is weakened for the time being.

Quick Draw:

This card sees a lot of play in decks that aim to burst you out in one shot before you can react by utilizing ambush + another action cheat. However, those decks will be all but gone after rotation. Quick Draw decks are losing: Holdout Blaster, DL-44, X-8 Nightsniper and LL-30. Without good ambush weapons it is hard to see quickdraw getting much play. When you add the fact that its partner in crime Hit and Run is also rotating out its easy to conclude that Quick Draw is done. Which kinda bums me out because the Alt Art with Plo Kloon is sweet.

Yoda/Leia3:

I have a lot of good memories with this deck. Stay up late building it the night before the Atlanta regional and then crushing the regional the next day. This deck will always have a place in my heart but unfortunately, it will not have a place in the meta post rotation. It will be losing: Force Speed, Ancient Lightsaber, Hyperspace jump, and Salvage stand. These and a few others are what made this deck run. Without them, this deck is no longer competitive.

Vehicles Decks (especially hero):

I was a bit weary adding this one to the loser side. It’s more of a neutral but as I was piling up what they were losing I had to include it here. Tech Team, Chance Cube, Pinned Down and even Weapons Factory Alpha are all leaving us. This affects vehicles on both sides, but Hero has it much worse than that. They also lose: Rally Aid, C-3PO, T-47 Airspeeder, and Y-Wing. I’m predicting some decks will still run vehicles but to a much lesser extent and in a more hybrid fashion. Maybe some Shadowcaster decks too but that is an archetype of its own.


Winners:

These are the cards I think will see an increase in play either because they are now better than other options or they have some new toys to use and abuse.

Snoke:

Snoke is hard to put on this list because he is already everywhere. But with the prevalence of Vader, Snoke has seen a bit less play in recent times. Snoke has become a lot better and has some new characters he can use his amazing power action on, such as Wat Tambor and Watto. With Chance Cube rotating you need a new way to generate a grip of resources and as well all know all too well Snoke is great at doing just that. Also, he hs the Leader subtype which synergizes with a bunch of new cards.

Entangle:

Entangle is a great card when you are able to remove a 3 and a blank/special with one card it feels great. This card sees some play in more resource heavy decks but I think it’s going to be a breakout card in the upcoming meta. With many of the good removal options leaving, and this card already on the fence of making most yellow lists it is poised perfectly to become a staple, at least until we get more options.

Theed – Royal Palace:

This card just came out In the last set and I’m already sick of seeing it. It’s in nearly every deck especially if that deck is running a neutral character. I don’t see this card going anywhere. It is still going to be the strongest battlefield and with Weapons Factory Alpha and Emperor’s Throne Room leaving there’s almost no reason to run anything else. This card is also buffed whenever new neutral characters are released. Unless another battlefield comes out that’s also absurdly powerful or this card gets nerfed we will be seeing a lot of it.

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Allies Of Necessity Kit Review

I don’t like reviewing spoilers before I can take a look at an entire set in it’s entirety, but I am still human and get super excited by new cards. While we all eagerly await a full Convergence spoiler list I figure I can split the difference and talk about the new draft kit.

I… kinda hate draft. Just not a fan of it in Destiny, but I can totally understand why some people are. A big portion of my distaste for it was its previously binary nature. I always felt that if you weren’t going for a weird mill deck, the card to pick out of any given pile was obvious to the point of being boring. I’m holding out hope that some of the things in the new draft kit change my views on that, but this will primarily be a review of the set as it applies to competitive Standard play. Let’s begin.

I like this guy. Right off the top of my head he’s the new obvious partner for Kylo Ren, and performs better on paper than both Anakin Skywalker and Arihanda Pryce. And since Holocron is out of the picture I’d wager he’s better than even Snoke as a partner, Bitter Rivalry notwithstanding.

The value of the power action cannot be overstated here. Even aside from the biggest damage dice at the time of release, a huge portion of AWK Darth Vader’s power came from the fact that he reduced opponent options every round. Dooku does the same, but doesn’t require a tempo advantage to make use of it.

Nine HP is on the low side, but I doubt any non-rainbow deck can really afford to allow Kylo to keep taking activation triggers against them, meaning Dooku gets you to the late game hopefully with a couple redeploy weapons. No paid sides and a nice focus rounds this guy out in a pretty sweet package.

Competitively Viable? Unfortunately, probably not. 9HP without Force Illusion is a hard sell against Shadowcaster and Vader dice, and his non-elite cost pushes him two points above the line.

Crossguard by another name… But different. It’s really cool to see some very simple things that we’ve seen previously remixed into something totally distinct from what has come before. Damage from hand is always nice, and this certainly passes the “Is it as good as Shoto?” test. While the damage doesn’t proc off of Kylo, expect to see two of these with every ATG Vader, Legacies Dooku, and possibly even Legacies Palpatine.

But the real backbreaker here is using it on Draft-Dooku himself with the power action, ripping 40% of an opponents hand prior to even rolling out. It is also nice to see the double discard sides here, giving people drafting mill a solid include where they didn’t have one before aside from BWG.

Competitively Viable? Absolutely. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no Ancient Saber, but villains like what they get here far more than Treasured Lightsaber… Though perhaps not quite as much as Grappling Boa at the same cost.

This is everything you want in a core draft kit, I’ll say that. What this is going to come down to is deck space, pure and simple. It’s good, but I can’t help but feel like it will be card numbers 31/32 in many decks that otherwise would love it simply because it shreds your tempo.

Competitively Viable? Yes, for decks that don’t need to roll first. The Trooper subtype most likely opens up additional room to maneuver as well, and the 2-cost side is neither here nor there when evaluating the card. That three ranged side is quite nice, especially for Snoke decks that want roughly the same effectiveness as a Hand Cannon without tying it down to a character, with solid upside when you’re flush with cards and/or cash.

Okay I don’t even know if this is worthwhile even in a dedicated mill draft deck. It’s not unreasonable to assume you can get three cards out of this plot, but two points is a very hefty price tag.

Competitively Viable? Absolutely not. I just can’t see this ever being a better option than Taking Ground to prevent Theed, or Stolen Intel to smooth out your first round. Especially now that Force Speeds and Force Illusions are gone.

Every set has filler cards, here’s one. Take Cover plus Jedi tribal enabling. Sure. It’s never going to be the worst thing in the world to get an HP for free but this puppy reads “Discard this card to reroll any number of your dice” to me.

Competitively Viable? Lol.

A pilot AND a Trooper. Value. He’s every bit as playable as Dooku in draft, and the power action is actually really good insofar as there are playable red cards. Never turn down free damage right?

Competitively Viable? No. Vehicle decks want Wedge and gun decks want Rex at this cost, and both Rose and Cody come in under Fenn’s point value, leaving this guy strictly in your draft box. Even if Hero troopers become a big deal, Clone Trooper carries the banner at a three-point discount.

Woah. Incredibly versatile no matter how you look at it. Almost always better than your pick of Recon, Emulate, or Targeting Computer. Don’t get distracted by Trooper/Sith/Jedi typing, and pay more attention to the things that say Upgrade – Weapon.

Competitively Viable? Really difficult to say without peering into the future, but red decks of any stripe are always looking to either press an advantage or dig themselves out of a hole, so until proven otherwise I think the sheer utility of this earns at least one slot in most red decks.

Hmm. I do love drawing cards, but support-based decks usually run right up to the 30 point mark to get more health.

Competitively Viable? No. The second a character can come in at the usefulness level L3 currently has but for two points cheaper is the second vehicle decks upgrade their third character from Gungan Warrior to Rebel Engineer. And even then, I’d rather just shave one additional point and take Armored Reinforcement.

This guy. This guy is so awkward. Paid sides on char dice are my bane, and if you want me to spend a third of my points on an 8HP character, naming it Maz Kanata is a better way to convince me. On the villain side of things, Val and Mando Commando strike me as better choices. This guy is really nice on ambush events though. Take Flight and In The Crosshairs are the only two things thus far that meet the standard though.

Competitively Viable? Nope. Better options by far for both hero and villain, and re-rolling is nowhere near as good as removing or focusing.

Dooku got you down? Shadow that guy, make him pay. Fenn? Low rent version of BT-1 now. I can see why this card was made, and it makes yellow a pretty attractive color to be in.

Competitively Viable? Ask me later. If there’s downgrade synergy to be had then I love anything free (not to mention making Snoke’s PA cost two HP). In a vacuum though, I don’t think this one card makes the cut.

How many downgrades are going to get printed? Again, two points is a huge barrier to entry.

Competitively Viable? Even with downgrade synergy, this seems like a stretch. Mando Commandos don’t get played currently, and they have direct damage every round pegged to an easier condition.

Now this is a beat-stick and a half. For the cost of resolving Force Storm ONCE, this die gets resolved THREE times. Sure it doesn’t ramp itself, but does it need to? It has it’s issues, and opponents can disrupt you out of resolvability, but that doesn’t spook me any.

The format-warping thing it does is require all Yellow decks to run 2x Vandalize, which was already probably a decent idea anyway but is now an unavoidable fact. The effectiveness of this card probably makes every deck want to run yellow just to run it AND vandalize to be honest.

Competitively Viable? I think so, absolutely. Even if all you do is look at it just as a two-cost weapon with redeploy that shreds your tempo I think you still end up pretty pleased with the flexibility it provides. And at it’s absolute worst where it gets immediately vandalized, it disrupts, discards, and removes an opposing char die and acts as a psuedo shield generator for whatever else you had going on. It’s no Vader’s Fist, but it can do a REALLY good imitation of one for a fraction of the cost.

Ah, so this is why all the plots cost 2. 6+11+11+2=30. It is nice that you can get an even 30 points out of just the kit, even if two of those points are somewhat feel-bad expenditures. Tribal enabler all around and no paid sides, I like it more than Jawa.

Competitively Viable? Well, it’s not red so Gungan still probably keeps his seat in Hero decks. Anyone who was running Vader/Jawa is now rolling this creepy looking thing out though, with a slight, but measurable efficiency increase.

Tribal stuff! None of these modes is very good, though, and to turn any one of them on with just the shapeshifter you need to see the future. Draft filler.

Competitively Viable? God I hope we don’t sink this low.

Flank is Flank is Flank. It’s good!

Competitively Viable? Yup. Was before, is now. And it’s a good sign to me that it seems like one money for one die with a reasonably easy to meet and easy to anticipate condition will be a perennial card. Happy to see the lifespan on Flank extended by yet another year.

It’s the name on the box! They said it and we all clapped! Two extra points is a LOT of extra points, and it’s pretty easy to see why the drawback and conditions are so major. For what really comes down to rolling back every Balance of the Force to date, it would have to be hard to prevent people from going nuts. It also opens up a few more options in draft where the loss of starting resources isn’t quite the backbreaker it is in Standard.

Competitively Viable? Thankfully it seems like the playtesters and FFG really didn’t want this to be playable. Or they just didn’t want to spend the time mathing out every other possible starting lineup. That being said, Vader/Talzin is now in the mix, and the first test point for this plot. Coming in hot on their heels though, is Dryden/Bib, who could very well not care about resource loss at all.

Draft games do tend to extend out for a lot of rounds, but do they go long enough to make this worth it? Even assuming you can play it round 1, the special needs to be resolved at least once before the die can even start to pull the weight of it’s cost.

Competitively Viable? Not even with an Aphra discount.

Eyyy, it’s expensive Vibroknife! With a ranged side? Is someone… Throwing swords? Fine in draft if for no other reason than because it has redeploy and it enables modified sides.

Competitively Viable? IDK, look at Dagger of Mortis and Heirloom Lightsaber and you tell me how it stacks up with Force Illusions gone.

I like that type-agnostic Tribal stuff extends to the battlefield, and takes a little more sting off maybe being forced to run the Changeling.

Competitively Viable? Ehh. If it’s worth taking at all it’s probably only going to go great with Troopers, since red is usually the color needing to reroll the most. Everyone else probably just sticks with what they have, and what they have is a whole lotta Theed at the moment.

This battlefield is so cool, and very very well designed. There is an incredible amount of strategic depth to be found in just this one card absent anything else in the game.

Competitively Viable? Whoever actually sat down and designed this card, I want you to know that you are appreciated and I see the work you did. I’m sorry I can never run the risk of playing this while Theed still exists.

Overall Thoughts on Drafting

Discard sides, tribal options, and a guaranteed three-char team with an… Acceptable plot all go a long way to make me more amenable to drafting. There is still a very high priority on drafting 8/9 Point characters out of the packs you open, but I don’t think it will doom you to the losers bracket if you don’t get one like it could with the previous sets.

I do think that Hired Muscle takes the spot of Fang Fighter in the “I must have this color or else” category, and I don’t like seeing one die towering above all others in usefulness. Red especially seems to be the color of last resort in this kit, lacking the super-synergy found with both Dooku cards.

The battlefields are far more interesting than the last ones we got, and are a subtly powerful way to influence how games will feel in practice while the events themselves are more suited for a dynamic experience.

Should I Buy This?

Absolutely, you should buy two. FFG has some shrewd business sense here, and the least controversial claim I can make is that Count Dooku’s Lightsaber and Hired Muscle are going to be cards you want two of. If that isn’t enough, I’d be willing to wager that Test Of Character is good enough across the board competitively.

Please don’t make me draft, I’ll be good I promise.
Agent Of Zion

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Heroes of the Republic

Characters

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Ardent Avenger and Satine Kryze: Hope of Mandalore

Obi-Wan and Satine are both seemingly excellent characters.

At first glance, Obi-Wan might seem slightly worse than his Legacies counterpart, but on closer inspection, I think he might be a little better. What he loses in HP and the free shield every turn, he more than makes up for with his Power Action, excellent die, and being one point cheaper opens him up to more combinations. They’re definitely pushing more character subtypes with this new set, and since Obi-Wan has the Jedi subtype, he’ll be able to synergize with all the Jedi cards in the set.

Satine is a beast of a budget character. For 10 points, you get both of her dice at 9 HP and the Leader subtype. Her die sides are also nothing to scoff at, at that price. A 2 Indirect, 2 Focus sides and a 2 for one resource are all solid sides. The fact that she has more than one two side is also a bonus for roll-off potential. 

Both of these characters I think will see a decent amount of play. Satine probably more so because of her low-cost Elite and the fact that she fills a great support slot that Maz did previously.

Plot

Force Flow

I’m not a huge fan of this plot. It might be fine in Trilogy play, but there are so many better options for 2 points in Standard that I don’t see it being a big factor. Double Down, Taking Ground, and Stolen Intel are all better at that cost. 

New Upgrades


Punch Dagger, Republic Jedi Armor, Mandalorian Jetpack, Grievance Striker


I really dig the Punch Dagger. It’s the 1-cost melee upgrade that we’ve been missing. DH-17 and (to a less extent) Hunting Rifle were solid 1-cost drops for ranged decks, but melee centric decks never really had that option. The fact that it has two base damage sides and a resource side make it an ideal round 1 play that lets you keep a resource for mitigation.

The Republic Jedi Armor seems pretty solid as a replacement for the rotating out Jedi Robes. It has some decent sides to keep your shields up, and extra Focus sides are never a bad thing. At the very least, it’s an early defense that can be turned into a weapon later through an overwrite. 

Mandalorian Jetpack is a weird card. It’s not necessarily a bad card, and with Vader around it could be outright deadly to him. I don’t know if it’s worth the two resources to play a card that might do almost nothing for you in a lot of games. The fact that it also doesn’t have a resource side hurts it I think. I’m very interested to see where this card ends up falling because I don’t hate it, but I also don’t know where I’d include it.  

Grievance Striker is another weird one. On the one hand, I really like the Redeploy since we are losing Holdout Blaster to rotation. On the other hand, it makes Obi-Wan really slow if you play it on him. Three base damage sides are solid, but it doesn’t synergize at all with Obi-Wan except to get that free damage for playing it. The only reason I could see this make its way into an Ob-Wan deck is if you really want to land his Power Action for 3 Indirect. Which doesn’t feel terrible, but it also doesn’t feel great. I get the thematic reason for it, but it feels slightly weird. 

New Events

Channel the Force, Calculated Risk, A Friend Lost, Upper Hand, Unshackle, Electromagnetic Pulse

Channel the Force is both a better and worse version of Beguile. It’s solid enough in the starter and in a deck that has both a Jedi and a Leader. The fact that you can alter your own dice with it is pretty cool too, but this seems like it will really shine in a Mace deck since he has both Jedi and Leader subtypes.

Calculated Risk is a cool card for several upcoming characters. Obi-Wan gives you a 2/3 chance to get that resource. With 2+ shields, Qui-Gon Jin: Defiant Jedi Master absolutely loves this card. It’s basically free money as long as you don’t hit that dreaded blank side. 

A Friend Lost is an interesting card. It requires you to be on your back foot for it to be the most useful. The problem is that I’d say most of the time, your opponent is going to be gunning for your bigger character, so this card feels way less effective when you’d want to use it. Not only that, but it requires at least a small amount of hand knowledge so that you can play around mitigation.

Upper Hand seems like it will find a decent place in a few decks. I can see it being a staple in Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon decks. Mace also has a pretty good die that is capable of meeting its play restriction. With so many specials out there, this seems like a solid 0-cost removal for Blue Hero. I do wonder if it falls into similar pits that Blue Hero falls in that it requires you to have dice out in order to really use mitigation. 

Unshackle is another weird one. I don’t know if it will find a place in most decks except for maybe Vader and Palpatine. Most of the downgrades that we’ve seen aren’t super devastating except for Target Acquired. Mind Extraction is the other big target for Unshackle, but even that isn’t that terrifying except on Palpatine.

Electromagnetic Pulse is great. 0-cost gray removal that gets rid of a vehicle or droid die seems fantastic. With the rise of Shadowcaster/Firespray decks and (I assume) the rise of more droid decks, this card seems like a great include. Of course, it’s definitely a meta call because if no one around you is playing droids or vehicles, and they don’t take off for some reason, this card obviously won’t see play. I suspect we’ll see plenty of both of those decks though.  

It’s also important to note that there was one card in hand that we were unable to make out. It was a 1-cost Blue event, but we don’t know much beyond that.

Supports

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Interceptor, Seeking the Truth

Obi-Wan’s Interceptor seems pretty solid in his deck, not so much in others. The ability to spot him to fix a blank is pretty solid, and the sides work well with his Power Action. This seems like it might be in a similar spot as the Grievance Striker in here though since it slows you down with all the different damage sides. Still, 3-cost for potentially four damage a turn is pretty nice. 

Seeking the Truth doesn’t seem awful, but it doesn’t seem great either. We’ve all been on the bad end of using a card to effect to re-roll an opponent’s die, and it ends up on the same side, or a better one for them. A leader-heavy deck could make decent use of this since it could give you two potential re-rolls if your first doesn’t go the way you want.

Battlefield

Deathwatch Hideout: Concordia

I believe we’ll see a decent amount of this battlefield because I think we’ll see a decent amount of Satine. The battlefield synergizes very well with her to give some much needed anti-mill tech. 

Returning Cards

Lightsaber, Draw Attention, Use the Force, Unpredictable, Truce, Dodge, Defensive Stance