Ezra Bridger is perfectly fine for his point cost. Most low-cost characters aren’t particularly inspiring, but Ezra fits into a position that makes him universally useful for crafting 3-character suites. His die leaves something to be desired with both a 1 and 1 side. The can be particularly useful in the first couple of rounds but a single side can consistently feel underwhelming without a way to enhance it. That said, his Power Action is quite good against damage focused match-ups, as it is easy to throw one upgrade on him and get an extra card every single round. 8 Health is quite fragile, though, even at his point cost; for 1 more point, you can get Rey1 or Aayla for 2 more. Still, he helps level out the possibilities of strong blue melee characters at cheap cost. He is best paired with a beefier elite blue character like Luke3 alongside a supportive character potentially in a second color like Anakin.
Non-uniques have to be really good to justify their inclusion because you can’t throw them in at elite. Jedi Sentinel‘s die unfortunately is not very exciting and while getting an extra shield at the start of the round is nice, it doesn’t compare to the sheer power of Aayla or utility of Yoda at the same cost. I hate having a cost on 2 sides without huge upside in a character and Sentinel’s doesn’t do anything to assuage my worries about her. I would rather have another base side to pair with modified sides on upgrade dice than worry about the small potential upside of her . This character just isn’t good enough to warrant a spot over either of her competitors.
Luke3 is insane. He has a significantly better die than Kylo2 despite costing 2 less points to build with and can be paired with a medley of characters to form formidable 2- and 3-character suites. The only major downside of Luke3 is that you sacrifice the ability to use several events in blue heroes, like Guard and Force Misdirection because they don’t interact well with his die showing . Fortunately, this also means that you can dodge a lot of removal that targets damage sides like Into the Garbage Chute or the Guardian keyword. Even Easy Pickings becomes less useful against Luke3 unless he rolls two 2 sides. His Power Action is a little lackluster in standard blue heroes because the archetype doesn’t rely on Force powers much, if at all. Legacies will probably exploit the ability to much larger effect with Force Wave, though.
Luke3 has a lot of different character suites he can fit into. Aayla, Rey2, and Poe2 all make great 2-character combinations with him. Ezra2 can also pair with him alongside Built to Last with a host of unique blue upgrades, though sitting at a fragile 20 Health can feel iffy with how fast things have become. Old Leia and Luke can pair up for a mill combination, but I feel like Yoda might pair better with Leia to give her blue in this case. There is a similarly expansive collection of 3-character suites, but I’ve already mentioned one of my favorite above: eLuke3/Ezra2/Annie. You can substitute Ezra2 for Temple Guard for Guardian shenanigans as well. My only apprehension about Luke3 is that the growing popularity of Kylo2/x might stifle mono blue lists, which is why I would recommend exploring partners that can add another color in these early weeks.
Plo Koon is everything Luminara wishes she was. His die is servicable, but his ability allows him to become monstrous with the right character pairings. The two big lists right now include Padawan and Jedha Partisan because, as far as the community is aware, Plo Koon gets two copies of an ability if he’s paired with two of the same non-unique characters. This means that ePlo/Pad/Pad can get 6 resources worth of upgrades down on round 1 and ePlo/Partisan/Partisan can yank four cards from the top of your deck with one resolution every round. These are the two most prominent pairings, but you can also try something with Clone Trooper or Temple Guard. There’s nothing in hero red for the former to excite me, but a free Fort Anaxes in mono blue heroes is extremely tempting.
My big apprehension with Plo Koon in testing is the fragility of his Padawan partners. 7 Health is not a lot to chew through and if you do not have the explosive start that functionally plays 6+ resources of upgrades in the first round, you are putting yourself in a position to fail. Losing a Padawan without a redeploy upgrade feels really, really bad, and it can snowball out of control uf you are not careful about where you are putting your upgrades. Still, Plo is just going to get better with time and he definitely has moments where he just explodes from the onset. It is really hard to deal with 7 dice round 1 and beyond.
Boss Nass – Bombastic Ruler
Boss Nass is… bad. I want to see more Gungan keyword cards before I’m willing to start playing with him, but the Gungan mechanic of benefiting from rolling blanks is really card to get behind. Yes, it helps mitigate the affect of missing on your dice, but I’d much rather be in a position to explode when I don’t roll like complete garbage. Under no circumstances is Nass’s die good, especially considering what you can get if you pay another 1 point for somebody like Yoda. Red heroes in general is still suffering from the It’s a Trap conundrum that has kept so many of its cards mild at best and Nass does nothing to mitigate some of those growing pains as we head into subsequent sets.
Gungan Warrior is actually more usable than his boss. His die isn’t phenomenal, but for 6 points and 6 health it does the job well enough and even has a base side. This is purely a character that is going to slot into 3-character suites to help splash into red without a lot of investment. Unfortunately, like I mentioned with Boss Nass, there still isn’t a lot of purpose in going into hero red right now. Most of the hot events are in yellow or blue and almost none of the upgrades in red are worthy of excitement. Maybe there’s some wild and wonky Grand Entrance deck that uses Gungan Warrior with Rey1 and Luke3 to play Ambush upgrades and Force Speed on Rey to get Luke going.
Leia2 adds to the list of really nice 15-cost characters in heroes right now. While I’ve mentioned extensively that red heroes doesn’t have a lot going for it, most of those observations have been about damage-based decks. For Leia, there’s a lot to like in red. Cards like Commando Raid and Scout have been left underused because they lacked good decks to slot into. Leia’s cost is great, her health ratio is perfectly fine, her die is incredibly efficient and isn’t bogged down by a high character cost or underwhelming and sides, and that Power Action does everything you want to ensure that you’re consistently hitting your opponent’s deck and speeding up the mill endgame. There is a lot to be excited about with Leia and I’m eager to see the sort of things she can pull off.
Zion already wrote a full quick hit about Leia2/Cassian‘s sweatshop, so I’m not going to go too in depth with that combination. Needless to say, yellow heroes has some of the best control cards in the game right now and Cassian almost always loves resolving 66% of his die sides with Leia. She also has the potential to fit in with blue characters, specifically Yoda and Luke3. While Luke is perfectly fine with Leia and has a high chance of having one of his dice resolved to get rid of two off the top of your opponent’s deck, Yoda has so much more solo utility and versatility that I’m much more excited about pairing him with Leia than I am Luke. My only apprehension here is that Leia is yearning for more survivability and might not be able to withstand the tide of aggro long enough to see the mill condition through; a lot of my games against mill have been very close, but still largely wins, and there is always anxiety about going to time in tournaments against slower players.
Rex is great. He is literally a better version of Clone Trooper with a side instead of a second blank. There is a lot to like about him. His health pool is great, his three damage sides are excellent, and his ability to give you permanent access to cards like Fort Anaxes, Dug In, Defensive Position, Superior Position, Hasty Exit, etc. is absolutely phenomenal and opens up the door for more diverse deck building. The consensus is to sit him with two Clone Troopers, but I feel like slotting in Hired Gun for the color diversity against Kylo2 and cards like Friends in Low Places and Easy Pickings is just way too hard to pass up. You can also fit him with Maz and push to use her ability to immediately resolve two dice with Rex’s Pistol after he activates.
All of this sounds like a lot of upside. What’s the problem, then? Red heroes still sucks compared to blue heroes in almost every way, which is further emphasized by the fact that ranged weapons are not as good as melee weapons. Seriously, compare something like Ancient Lightsaber or Dagger of Mortis to the kinds of 2- and 3-cost cards we see with ranged sides. Ranged upgrades upgrades are more expensive for more modified and paid sides with lower values. That is not to say that Rex is necessarily bad, but it feels rough when your best activation via two Rex’s Blaster Pistols and Hit and Run can still end up not doing a lot because of mixed and damage sides or a dearth of damage without a resource cost.
Anakin is an incredibly good, low-cost, resource generating character to help you splash yellow in any number of decks. Dropping 7 points for a 50% chance at hitting a side and the opportunity to flip droid or podracer dice to any side (R2-D2[card] to [special], anyone?) both give him an absolute ton of utility. I’ve said it numerous times, but yellow heroes has a lot of great control and utility events that really up the consistency of decks in a wide variety of areas. Anakin will see a lot of play in a lot of places and demand that he get targeted despite not being an offensive threat because your opponent will want to stop your resource generation, turn off your Spot Yellow cards, and dodge [card]Into the Garbage Chute. That’s a whole lot of value for a 7-cost character that isn’t your win condition.
Bo-Katan Kryze – Deathwatch Lieutenant
Bo-Katan comes in with twelve health, great die with three damage sides, huge deck building opportunities… but she comes at 20 points for elite and has to be played in 3-dice lists. People have talked about eKryze/Yoda lists that run Crime Lord, but relying almost entirely on two of your thirty cards to pull out a win with a 3-dice list is uninspiring to say the very least. Severely mixed damage sides don’t do Kryze any favors, either. Sabine wasn’t played because her dice were good; she was played because she could avoid mitigation, had great match-ups against mill, and could consistently make use of modified ranged sides to blow out a game. Kryze can’t really do any of these things with any consistency and she is brutally susceptible to mitigation that hits one or two of her character dice. I would much rather play Luke3 or Kylo2 and run melee upgrades and be happy about my investment than pay five more points for Kryze and pray that my opponent doesn’t have removal for a round.
Cassian is a really interesting character because unlike his partner Jyn Erso, he can fit into both mill and damage decks without breaking your point budget for characters. At his worst, all of his sides end up being 1, but at his best Cassian has a 2- and 3- damage side despite only costing 14 and you never feel bad about resolving his side. On the mill side of things, Cassian has easy pairings with Leia2 and Yoda, both of which are strong candidates with different colors to help Cassian succeed at dumping his opponent’s deck. The damage dealing side is a little bit less inspiring in terms of pairings. There is almost no support for ranged damage in blue, but Cassian can pair with Finn and Poe2. Both of these characters have their own struggles, but despite them, they have good match-ups against 2-character lists with Cassian.
Cassian’s mini Palpatine effect can be incredibly oppressive and will catch up to your opponent faster than they may expect. I’m especially on board with Poe2/Cassian considering the access to one of the best 2-cost ranged upgrades in the game through Poe’s Blaster, but my apprehension lies in the amount of good yellow cards that are dead if you can’t spot a yellow character, making Cassian a prime target at the beginning of the game. Still, Poe provides really nice All-In plays that are the closest thing we have to the former glory of It’s a Trap and Cassian gets a ton of value out of his dice every round he resolves them.
I want to like this card. 9:9 health to cost ratio is fine and his die isn’t terrible, but it’s so hard to find a spot for a 9-cost yellow character in a deck when someone like Annie exists and can provide more useful utility. His ability feels like a trap for new players; you should be sequencing your actions intelligently to avoid removal anyways and while the information is good, it feels as if it might come at too high a cost to be entirely reasonable. Still, Trusted Informant‘s damage sides are nice for vehicles and he has two resource sides despite the modified side being awkward with someone like Rose. You can probably pair him with eRose and Yoda for a 4-dice vehicles setup that boasts a not insubstantial 28 health and get some pretty good mileage if you feel the ability and extra health is worth losing out on a 5-dice or 4-wide alternative.