Thirty-seven new cards and four re-imagined characters have hit the streets very close to Empire at War’s release date. The question is, are they worth it?
If you look at it under a certain light, this just makes EaW an oversized set assuming none of the new cards are…. Reprints? Or would the EaW printing be a reprint? Who knows. All I know is that many of these cards are good enough for competitive play, and the new deck possibilities will tide us all over for a couple of weeks. Let’s jump in.
Author Note: My scanner decided not to work this evening so many of the card images are not the highest quality. As properly scanned images become available, they will be replaced.
Flagship Cards: The Reason You Should Buy This Set
Hey there Kylo! Three damage sides, plus a direct damage ability that also gives hand information? Sign me up. He comes in at the same elite cost as Anakin, but has one additional HP, no pesky ranged side to get deflected, and most importantly has a resource side. This does of course come at the price of raw rolled damage.
His ability will be very rewarding to players who do their meta homework, assuming that rainbow lists don’t continue to dominate the top tables.
I’ll go out on a pretty sturdy limb and say that this guy is better in general than Anakin, although there is (currently) no competitively viable mono-blue deck you can put him in. Pairing him with eFN is definitely worth exploring however, and a Kylo rolling out with a Riot Baton is a Kylo who is going to get some work done.
Wow. If FN wasn’t already pushing the boundaries of what you can get out of 13 points, Phasma surely is. If you only want one die, you still get more HP than you put in with points. With one less HP than before, and no guardian to back her up she is much more vulnerable now but with action cheats everywhere it might not be a major loss.
Her focus sides carry over from the previous iteration, but the oftentimes awkward discard side has been traded up for a very thematic executioner style special. No randomness or hard to meet conditions on the special either, just cold-blooded and efficient brutality, just what I like to see dressed in Imperial Red.
Possible decks are almost endless in variation, but ePhasma/Bala seems like a great starting place, and allows enough points for a Nightsister, Enforcer, or Stormtrooper with room to spare. And if that doesn’t suit your fancy, nine points is a perfect fit for our good friend Darth Vader.
The only direct comparison we have for Droid Commandos is Slave 1, which has a higher top end. What the Commandos give decks that would run Slave 1 is immunity from Rocket Launchers and whatever other vehicle disruption will be available, an oppressive discard side, and a wholly adequate way to put out some damage on 3/4 char lists.
That being said there is no resource side to Bait and Switch from, and these Droids gain no benefit from your own vehicle affecting cards or effects.
My gut tells me that this will see play in dedicated support lists so long as three and four character decklists remain popular, but will get replaced by Slave 1 in a heartbeat should the meta shift.
I promised myself I would keep the #HelpOurHeroes talk to a minimum this article, but Phasma’s Blaster is making it really really difficult. Poor A180 is all I’m going to say.
This card completely obsoletes the IQA-11 in Villain though. Villain ranged decks will be packing two of these for the foreseeable future for sure, and FN players around the world are foaming at the mouth to get this card in a sleeve.
With single serving Redeploy if you bring the gun’s namesake along for the ride and an always suspect resource side, this gun is absolutely bonkers.
Paetorian Guard is interesting for sure, and gives a weird look at what Mikashi Training in villain red can do.
Considering that it is an ability, FN decks are disinterested in it almost entirely. It does upgrade nicely into a Riot Baton however, meaning that should a cheap melee partner for General Grievous ever become available this card could gain some traction.
Until then, this one is sitting in the binder… Except for the decklist at the end of the article.
It’s a very weird spot to be in when you’re the same cost as a vibroknife, fulfill the same “I hate shields” function of a vibroknife, but are not clearly better or worse than vibroknife. That’s the signature of some very elegant card design, and this has me quite excited to experiment.
Obviously in Kylo Ren decks, getting “free” damage out of hand will be the tipping point in making the call to include this alongside or even in replacement of the neutral gray format staple, but that isn’t the only thing worth considering.
No Mercy loves having this in hand, but Armor Plating and Force Illusion are still online when this is played. And from another perspective the more consistent damage sides are difficult to weigh against the often-used control functions of Mikashi Training.
This may be a holdover feeling from my MTG days, but this feels like a misprint to me. Direct die manipulation seems to be something much more fitting in Blue, especially when there is no weighted condition behind it like battlefield control or color conditions by spotting chars or specific dice. Recon, pictured below looks much more fitting overall but isn’t quite as playable
That being said, it can force damage through on otherwise unreliable ranged dice or even function as a slower third and fourth copy of Force Strike so it will probably see some limited play even if Imperial Discipline is likely to be more valuable overall.
At some point, someone somewhere is going to flip a table after a hero player plays Swiftness into I Have You Now, into It’s a Trap. It isn’t a very reliable combo, but it will sure as hell be unexpected.
Welp. This is what fifteen points in Hero will get you, even when you can’t be played with Awakenings Rey or abused with elite Maz “Focus to Special” Kanata. With no good partner to pair with her at one or two dice, I don’t expect to see much play out of her.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit too unfair. Her die is clearly better now than before, and that ability is worth considering building a deck around. The extra health is a good cherry on top, and if you need action cheating force speed is still widely available.
I would love to see a death by a thousand cuts type of deck where Willpower, an upcoming upgrade, cheap and easy shields, Synchronicity, and the new version of Rey all combine to just bleed your opponent to death. eQGJ is the obvious (though impossible) pairing for that, but maybe eKanan can get the job done.
I’m trying to find something great about new Poe, I really am.
What I do like is the introduction of a mixed die side. Shield and Focus on one die resolution is cool to have, especially when you look for a limitation of modifying your opponents dice and find that it doesn’t exist.
At his point costs, the only remotely viable use I can think of with him at the moment is putting him together with two Rookie Pilots. With wingman to maintain BF control for Dug in and Defensive Position usage and some hard hitting It’s a Trap plays, the deck could win some games. Sadly the combo is too unreliable to be taken seriously.
I really like the theme of giving iconic characters an upgrade specific to them. Very flavorful overall.
Poe’s blaster fits in the same slot as Overkill currently. Even if it can be disarmed, it doesn’t get auto-removed with doubt.
The continued lack of Hero red redeploy hurts it but it isn’t a bad weapon by any measure, merely mediocre most of the time moving into slightly above average range when played on Poe himself.
YES. This card times two, every blue melee deck from now until the end of time.
Strictly better than Lightsaber, 99% of the time better than Luke’s Lightsaber, two GOOD base sides, a shield side to enable Synchronicity, “free” defenses for anyone, and the equivalent of turn 1 Jedi Robes at any time for Rey herself. And if you’re rich, another die that can My Ally for six damage.
It may not be quite as good as Riot Baton in a vacuum, but the synergy between this and everything else Hero does in blue is unmistakable.
No redeploy, special only works on a Char under fire, max of one damage per turn, and it costs 2? Bad right?
Pretty dang good in fact. Those two shields and repeatable willpower effect go a long long way to discourage your opponent from trying to kill the Char you play it out on, or if they remain resolute in their targeting it at least makes it pretty difficult. As long as the timing is correct when playing it out, it punishes your opponent no matter what course of action they take.
The subtle effect giving your opponent an incentive to resolve shields they otherwise would have re-rolled is not to be overlooked either.
Hero red needed removal.
Hero red now has removal. This is an automatic two-of in every hero red deck, and could make taking Docking Bay as your BF worthwhile entirely on it’s own. With Planetary Uprising and Honor Guard sitting on the table and Docking Bay as the BF, almost nothing your opponent does is going to feel great for them. Color me excited.
With the only condition that Honor Guard needs to be on the table before your action this is certainly one of the top cards in the starter box, and is tied with Isolation as the most powerful removal effect in the entire game.
To be completely honest with you, I have no idea exactly how good this card is. It is entirely impossible to get a sense for it without actually using it in the field.
I will say that it punishes your opponent equally for their very good, and very bad rolls. The hard part is the in between situations where there is one blank and one good die, when your opponent will of course make the choice that is good for them.
Of course removing even a blank Vader die is extremely useful, and while this backfires much less often than Overconfidence does, it also has an upper limit on how effective it can be. I’m certainly going to play with the card until it proves that it doesn’t deserve a spot in my decks.
The more powerful and flavorful of the two new battlefields, I can see very little reason to bring Echo Base out of storage.
Assuming that blue decks continue to include two vibroknives in their lists, it is also one of very few battlefields that when brought to the table can almost never be incredibly effective when used against you.
Battlefield balance is tricky to achieve, and this slots in as an effective tool just looking for the right deck to be used in.
Conditionally Interesting Stuff
In a format that is skewing more melee Clash can do some seriously decent work for you.
While it isn’t quite as versitale as I Have You Now, this functions as the Hero stand in for Force Strike, with upside if sticks are showing on the table across from you.
I won’t go so far as to say this will be a staple in melee decks and it depends heavily on your local meta, but this is just one more way to demonstrate why blue is the undisputed king of control cards
Hunker down in blue with it’s own pros and cons.
It slows down decks which typically try to maintain a tempo advantage, but gives them repeatable sustain that’s lacking in the mono-blue decks.
It hurts your draw potential, but doesn’t go away with melee damage and can be whisked away with Maz’s Castle.
Jury is still out on the card, but the foreman just told me that if Take Cover doesn’t get played now, Luke’s Protection doesn’t mean much.
Weird art, weird effect, weird card.
This enterprising Ewok occupies a small space in between Unpredictable, Scramble, and Disturbance in the Force.
I wouldn’t be necessarily surprised if it saw play because it is a cool panic button. That being said, with how many powerful specials are widely played and the fact that this can actually make things worse for you, I don’t think it ever makes the cut in any but the most questionable deck.
The first completely unconditional die removal card, and it is villain grey.
I’m having trouble picturing a villain deck where this is a better option than what is currently available as removal.
Even in mono-red decks where this seems to fit best, Cannon Fodder and The Best Defense are widely used alongside Flank. Perhaps if there is a two-character mono-red deck to be found this will be included but if not then it will probably collect dust.
Taking Up Space in Your Binder: “Meh” Options, Baddies, and Reprints
Every CCG needs “bad” cards and Destiny is no exception. They give us a baseline for effect costs, a challenge for enterprising deckbuilders, and a way to introduce certain concepts in a starter deck.
Some of the new cards pictured here may be decent in the future, but I’m not willing to bet on any of them in particular.
There was definitely a missed opportunity in naming Do Or Do Not, it should have been “Self-Doubt”
Bonus Section! Two Decklists to Take for a Spin
They probably aren’t Tier 1, but they both give a new experience for the seasoned Destiny player. Give them a try, come talk about the new starters on the Artificery Discord server, and check out our upcoming events!
eVader/PhasmaPhasma is Vader’s bodyguard here. If she does some damage that’s great, but using The Best Defense to wipe your opponents turn only to be followed up with a Leadership play will be brutal. Getting Praetorian Guard on her early leading into a Riot Baton just before death gives Vader a major damage boost while allowing you the space to stockpile resources for Rise Again. Maz’s Castle helps dig for anything you need.