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The Fringe Meta Strikes Back

With the Legacies meta coming to a close, I thought it was time to reflect on some decks that made the game fun during the time period. I’m not talking about the top tier decks that everyone knows. I’m talking about the fringe decks that hang around and toe the line between getting beat down by the top tier and coming out and dominating a tournament. Let’s show some love for the Tier 1.5 and Tier 2 decks for Legacies.

 

eKanan/eZeb

Ghost Protocol

Figured I would get this party started with my personal favorite fringe deck of the Legacies meta. If you’ve read some of my other articles, you’ve seen how much I gush about Kanan. I think his versatility is incredible and his ability just makes him downright dangerous. Combine Kanan’s ability with Zeb’s and you have a recipe for destruction. Zeb’s ability allows him to synergize with Kanan as well as being able to add cards in the deck that both characters can utilize like Jetpack. Being able to drop Second Chance on Zeb is really nice as well. The biggest weakness this deck faces are generally from within. When existing within the realm of Hero cards, removal can be difficult sometimes. Two of the best Blue removal cards, Guard and Force Misdirection, don’t work at all with Zeb’s character dice. Force Misdirection works well with Kanan’s diverse die, but Guard is usually lacking with him since he only has one Melee side. Another issue is the paid side for Zeb’s big damage. This doesn’t tend to be a huge issue in the mid to late game since Maz’s Vault helps out a lot in those stages of the game.

 

eTarkin/eSeventh Sister

TarkinSis

This is a very interesting deck and one I struggled to put on here. This combination saw a ton of play early on in the Legacies meta and won a good deal, but seemed to really fall off the map as the meta progressed. Tarkin’s Power Action is just brutal and really makes your opponent be scared of blanks. This combos well with cards like Anger so that you can get the most out of the dice at your disposal. Seventh Sister is probably the best 14 point character in the game since she gives you 3 dice for that cost. The biggest weakness of this deck is really any deck that can deny you resources since Tarkin decks really require you to have dice out on the table to utilize his Power Action well. Anything with Hondo is usually solid against Tarkin since he can deny your upgrades from hitting the table.

Battle Droid Army

Roger-Roger

Who doesn’t love Battle Droids? These pesky guys can gang-up on you very quickly with their ability to activate quickly and push out a ton of damage. The really nasty variation of this deck includes the LR1K Sonic Cannon and Imperial Backing. These two cards combo for some massive damage if you get them out early. Being able to field five characters is always intimidating, especially if you include a few Redeploy weapons that continue to bounce around. The big weakness for this deck is definitely Sabine. Against her, you’d usually down two Droids by the time turn 2 is in progress and needless to say, the effectiveness of the Droid declines rapidly when you start losing them. This deck has a few variations that include both Endless Ranks and Separatist Landing Craft that I have seen. At the end of the day, this deck is super fun to play, if a bit squishy and inconsistent.

 

eVader/Nute

Nader

This is a deck that is way more fun than it has any right to be. This is almost a fun call-back to the old Vader/Raider deck with a few notable exceptions. The biggest difference between this deck and Vader/Raider is Nute’s die. While is die is very weak in this deck, he makes up for it with a really brutal ability against certain decks. Losing two cards or a resource every turn is a massive nuisance. You also get a huge boost by being able to play Leadership on him to give Vader a second activation. You can also combo that with The Price of Failure if you have a particularly good opportunity and give Vader a third activation in one turn what can be really brutal. The biggest weakness for this deck is really a lack of removal combined with a very weak Nute die. Vader/Raider could survive long enough and push through extra damage with the Raider’s die at the end of a game. Nute can’t really do that unfortunately. While this deck is pretty fun, it lacks the explosiveness and options to be really threatening at the top of the meta.

 

eObi-Wan2/eRose

Hello There

In my never-ending quest to find wacky combos with characters, I somehow ended up here. I had a lot of fun with this deck. Hero Red has some great defensive cards like Field Medic and Honor Guard. The added bonus of having Leadership available can really be big when wanting to push through damage. Electrostaff is also a great include in Obi-Wan decks since it takes some pressure off that paid side that he has. The main problem with this deck is that it is way more inconsistent than it’s more productive counterpart in Obi2/Maz. Resource generation here is slower and damage is far less consistent since you don’t get the Maz ability. While this deck can be extremely defensive, it has trouble pushing out enough consistent damage to really be a threat against the more popular decks out there.

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5/27 Omaha Store Championship Report

Decisions, decisions, decisions …

Leading up to the store championship event I had not been able to get as much practice in as I wanted to because of other obligations. When SOR was fully spoiled however, I did manage to get a lot of SOR games in and really loved FN Anakin.

However, after more testing in the week leading up to the event, FN Anakin could not measure up to Poe and I knew that was going to be a problem. Me and my buddy Rusty had discussed decks at length as the above deck was his favorite too, but his tests also fell short.

Full disclosure, I actually am at heart a hero player. I piloted many Rey Han’s and was one of the guys who made Poe Rey very popular after doing well in big events with it. I actually refused to play Vader Raider for the longest time because I was annoyed at how OP it was (I one time gave my Vader Raider deck to a guy who played only 2 games of destiny and he beat me with me

I feel about Poe Maz as I felt about Vader Raider in the past. Everyone and their cat plays it, it’s too easy and consistent to do very well with it. (In fact it’s worse than Vader Raider ever was). Looking at every other hero deck, they all fell short in my tests. With pain in my heart I had to decide to leave hero and go for villain once again. After testing, Palpatine seemed to fit nicely in my playstyle.

 



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The Kansas Story

So Friday sitting at my desk I was thinking, I wonder if there are any Star Wars Destiny Store Championships in Kansas? So I decided to join their Facebook group and was promptly accepted. To my surprise, there was a store championship the VERY SAME DAY! In my head I was wishing I knew about this before, this could have made great prep for my store championship the next day.

Three hours later and some phone calls later I was in the car with my buddy Donovan Sparks and my wife on route to Kansas, a three hour drive 😉 He was bringing his favored eKylo eVader deck and I had my Palpatine list in hand.

This was my list:

There was a big turnout, about 26 players showed up, and a big variety of decks. Immediately I was able to see many players who tried to counter Poe decks. I spotted at least 4 Prized Possession decks (some included it in Vader Raider) and some carbon freezing chambers. I knew this could hurt me too, and I felt a knot In my stomach already before the event even began.

Since this report is not about Kansas, I will not go too much into detail, but I ended the day 4-1 with one loss to Moe. The Moe player had Magical Christmas land draws and rolls, accumulating to 16 damage, fast hands 2 hit and runs and two defensive positions in his first ten hands. He apologized after the game. The guy had already won a store championship and wound up claiming his second.

I faced another Poe Maz who didn’t have that same luck and the games was a lot better, I also faced a mill deck with two imperial inspections turn 1 and a Kylo Vader deck. They were all good matches, but none were too difficult for my deck.

At the end of the day the 4-1 unfortunately gave me fifth place, losing out on the top cut in extended SOS by 0.03. After driving three hours, I felt let down that some god draws and rolls eliminated me, but it was time to move on. The Kansas meta looked great, and I was grateful we got to travel there to test. (I will be back!)

Lessons learned and time for SC #2 in Omaha

After the tournament and on the way back I was thinking about what I had learned. Lesson one was that every game I managed to get Rise again off, I did it without the help of Premonition. Against other blue decks I was hesitant to play it, against other opponents I simply did not want to chance throwing my Rise again under it and then not drawing my premonition when I wanted to use it. As a result, that was the first card to go.

I also looked at Force Throw again, which I normally don’t like, but since 60% of the meta seems to play Throne room, I felt I needed to go back to two copies (I normally prefer the 4 usable sides of Push over the 2 usable sides on throw). I also looked at Enrage and High ground.

I decided to include enrage because my first game I was heavily choked out of resources. Seeing two inspections turn one against me convinced me I needed an out for such ugly scenario, and enrage could help me there. Enrage also could help me get that Rise again a turn earlier, so I figured, let’s go for it.

Finally, deflect was cut. This felt really hard, but in 5 games in KS I was not able to use it a lot to good effect. Most decks didn’t run ranged, and when they did, it was usually fast handed. One Poe player I played against refused to resolve his double 3 gun against me in hopes of getting special, and it did came in handy there. This was not enough for me to keep it, as I felt that was a play mistake on his end.

This was the final list:

This list is virtually the same as Justin, who won the Vegas Store Championship, except I cut all in for overconfidence. It’s no surprise our lists are similar as we are test buddies, and our minds often think alike when it comes to deckbuilding 😉

I encourage everyone to read his write-up here: http://tcgtoptier.com/index.php?/starwars_destiny/articles/bring-him-before-me-vegas-store-championship-winner-r70/

 

Game 1 vs Poe Snaps 1-0

So I saw a shiny Carbon Chamber against me and I was hoping to out roll him and say NOT TUH-DAYEH! Unfortunately, I rolled  a 1 and he rolled a 7. Great, Palpatine at one dice, this aught to be a fun game I thought! I managed to see holocron early and got a lightning in play. His rolls were lukewarm, and I kept resolving for everything I rolled, no matter how small.

By round 3 I managed to capture the battlefield and get out of his grip due to force speed. I stole his Snaps die, rolled out 3 2 and 2 guns and force speed special. He did not have an answer and I won the game with a no mercy one shotting Poe.

While it was a decisive win, I felt given better rolls this could have been a tough game for me. Fortunately, I was able to find what I need to not suffer no dice Palp all game.

Game 2 vs Unkar Fn Sister 2-0

Game 2 I got the chance to test my palp against one of the best players in our local meta, Elliot. The thing with Elliot is that he always pilots unconventional decks and often hate playing against it because you never know what he has up his sleeve (I like predictability lawl).

The game turned out to be very easy. Pivotal to the game was him not rolling a disrupt on turn 1 with imperial inspection and me getting my holocron off. I did not try to be smart and reroll too much, just went for discards and whatever else I could find. He couldn’t find a 2 cost weapon turn one and so damage output from Fn was minimal as he did not pierce my shields.

Since I won the battlefield, I resolved my damage and claimed/healed for one. A no mercy turn 3 killed fn and I just walked the game out after.

Game 3 vs  eKylo eVader 3-0

So Game 3 I face off against another guy who I know can win any tournament in our local meta, Donovan Sparks. Knowing how fast his deck goes and his playstyle, there were only two things I cared about, resolving quickly before he could take the throne room and keeping an eye always for when he had two resources.

Once again I never went fancy and just did attrition damage. I got an early force throw out which helped tremendously. As soon as he spread out his damage enough, I hit him with a no mercy for 7 on Anakin and the resulting Palp splash damage set me up for a next strike kill. He was also sitting with a no mercy. I did have a Rise again in hand, but just wanted to end it right then and there.

Overconfidence was the winner in this game as I managed to break up his two 3 damage sides twice.

I know this match could go either way, but I was happy I was able to close it out within reasonable time.

Game 4 slipped my mind, I just remember that it was fast. 4-0

Game 5 vs Poe Maz 5-0

I faced off against one of the two undefeated Poe Maz in the event. He won the battlefield and so I got two comfortable shields. Round one was uneventful with him dealing 4 damage, two absorbed by shields, and other die mitigated. I took two shields again and my other die was mitigated as well, he spread the damage around.

The game was very slow, I kept taking shields and force illusions, kept removing his dice and he did the same to me so we were just attritioning slowly. He put out cunning and as a result I just pitched my force throws.

As soon as I saw an opening I no mercied Poe for 6 and ended him, punishing the spread out damage. At that point I thought I had won. I was sitting on 9 resources, but my rise again were at the bottom of the deck. He started taking resources and put a launch bay down. This got scary again between planetary uprising and launch bay he was a legitimate thread. Two launch bays later I made a good roll special on speed and a 2 and 3 gun. He had just redeployed second chance at the start of that turn. When he saw my roll he was like Defensive position, only realizing he didn’t have the resources.

I resolved my 3 damage dice, killing Maz and let the tick damage from palp together with the second gun dice end him. I did have two Rise again the very next draw and 12 resources, so I doubt I would have lost, but it came closer than I wanted either way and was happy I was able to end it.

Final 4 against Palpatine 6-0

So the top 4 was kind of funny in that it was Palp against Palp on one table (seed 1 and 4) and Moe vs Moe on the other. I was extremely happy about that, as it meant I had to face one less Moe.

I won the battlefield roll and took shields. I knew my version of the deck was better suited for the mirror match as I had tested several games before against his version. We both couldn’t roll damage for the life of us and it was a very funny game. Two illusions, a rise again on both side. I ended the game with only one damage showing on my Palp, as in the last round I found two gun sides and a no mercy.

Final vs Poe Maz 8-0

The final Poe Maz was the one I wanted to play against because his version did not include second chance and I knew my odds were a lot higher at beating him as a result. Game one was very interesting. He lead with launch bay discarding my entire hand and I lost my holocron and force illusion and isolation. This felt really painful and I didn’t know to be happy because I did’t eat 4 damage or sad because several good cards were gone.

I played very defensive rising again finding my other illusion and discarding where I could. He spread out the damage as all Poe players do. When I saw the chance I No Mercy’d Poe from 6 hp to death and the splash damage was enough to kill Maz too.

Game two was just hard against hard. I rolled discard, and discarded two weapons, but he still had two in hand and hit me for 8. Force illusion saved the day for me there. I applied the same simple strategy, just keep splashing damage and wait for the No Mercy time. He rolled in really well with double 3s on Poe but refused to resolve it as he knew with a Maz special and next turn claim he could deal 10 damage and end me.  No Mercy hit the floor however, and his plans were foiled.

Final thoughts

I was really happy to win my first store championship of Destiny. That being said, I feel uneasy about the meta. Villain seems to have a plethora of good deck choices to go by, hero very few. The few they do have rely on the biggest cheese possible (ammo belt second chance, Poe Maz Planetary).

Between the two store championships I played several games including some of my own ended in like 8 minutes. It literary feels like you have to cram every possible card in your deck to stretch the game out (force illusions, rise again, rejuvenate) and a bunch of control in order to survive the onslaught.

Even with this, you could still face 16 damage without being able to cast a single removal card (and I had 4 in hand). There are so many beautiful decks out there which might never see play unless the meta sees a way to stem the crushing tide of Poe Maz.

I am not an advocate of fast errata-ing however.  (Despite 5 of the 8 top 4 decks this weekend were Poe Maz). It would simply mean that hero would have 0 fighting chance left against Villain. That being said I understand how frustrating Poe Maz can be and am definitely not on the camp that says lawl just learn to play and you will beat them.

I recognize my win this store championship was due to me playing better sure, but also due to me not facing the Kansas scenario where I had no chance.  I hope over time, the game will become less luck dependent and more skill based. Awakenings had a pretty good balance, SOR atm feels all over the place.

Finally, I hope that future sets make it possible for hero to go beyond the 4 cheese cards to create a winning deck (Rey, Maz, It’s a trap, Second Chance).

To anyone wanting to play Palp I can only give these simple tips:

  • Roll as fast you can
  • Resolve as fast you can (even if it is not what you want)
  • Don’t gamble with Rise Again (don’t be greedy, calculate when you could die)
  • Removal >>> Upgrades
  • Remove as soon as you can (Poe, Vader, etc)
  • Maintain control of the battlefield where possible (prefer winning battlefield over losing 2 damage, but not getting a defensive position in your face next turn)
  • Be patient with No Mercy. Most players will spread their damage over both characters. If you wait, you will always find a lethal spot. I have closed nearly every game out with this.

Hope you enjoyed the read and I welcome your thoughts!

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The Good, the Sad, and the Ugly – Characters of Spirit of Rebellion

— written by Lasci

Spirit of Rebellion might not be out on shelves yet but that doesn’t mean the world hasn’t gotten their grubby hands on enough scans to get a full impression of the set, and boy is there a lot to look at. Today we’ll be going through each of the new characters in the new set and evaluate them on a scale of Good, Sad, or Ugly. These evaluations are entirely based on initial impressions and testing. Things might change and, more likely than not, I might be wrong about a few of these cards! Understand that this is meant to stimulate discussion and it’s very likely that other people will have a different perspective on things.

So what do good, sad, and ugly mean?

A good card is one that is just that — good! These cards are useful and will likely have a place in the meta game or have a niche that they’ll fit into nicely. At their best, good cards completely change their meta. At their worst, they’re good enough on their own and have enough pairings to be useful in the current meta. Good cards may even have the potential to get better in the future. These cards aren’t always top-tier, but they’re useful enough to see a good amount of play in the right decks.

A sad card isn’t necessarily BAD, but it probably has a bit of a frowny face and might feel left out of the cool kid’s club. These cards might be fun to play with or interesting to use, but fall short of being very impactful to the meta game or are waiting to find their niche. Sad cards might just need a friend to give them a pat on the back and take them out for ice cream — they’re just waiting for that companion to be found in the current meta game or in future sets.

An ugly card is actually bad. This is the kind of card that gets rejected if it tries to sit at Regina George’s table. These cards really struggle to be relevant when compared to other cards in the set or just have too many shortcomings to be useful enough to be included in your deck. Whatever the case may be, you’re probably going to want to channel your inner mean girl and stay away from these guys.

 The Good        

AsajjVentress

Asajj Ventress

Ventress has such an incredibly interesting ability that represents something we haven’t really seen out of Destiny yet, and I’m incredibly excited to play her. I’ve heard complaints that Ventress is an iffy character because of her low health and lack of Dooku’s defensive options, but there are so many control elements in Blue Villains that I’m not as worried as other people are. She fits very well into a hybrid role of melee damage and control, and her dice are really good, but her ability is just bananas. I can’t overstate how impressive her ability is. Ventress either discourages your opponent from rerolling or punishes them for rerolling by just being present on the field. She has numerous potential uses in a handful of different suites, including having interesting interactions with Unkar Plutt and Dooku. I’m going to hate being across the table from her because she completely changes the way the game is played. I’m keeping my eye out for a good deck including her.

Chewbacca

Chewbacca

I really fought with myself over whether Chewie was good or sad. He’s reasonably priced at 12/16 and has four (!) unmodified damage sides with a huge health pool for his cost. Unfortunately, three of his damage sides are awkward; the 2R for 1 feels prohibitive for only 2 damage, the 2M requires another action, and his Special doesn’t feel great to use unless he’s finishing someone off. But 12 Health for 12/16 points is really good, especially with both Second Chance and Lone Operative on the table. I was going to put him in sad because I’m not ecstatic with the characters he can pair with who cost 14 and the options below that can pair with Han, but Mon Mothma has some potential with her Focus and Resource generation. Ultimately, however, I put him here because Rey’s ability to cheat actions and use force powers (as well as her desperate need for a partner that can occasionally activate her +2 melee side) make Chewie a more aggressive alternative to Han that isn’t just objectively worse. Can you imagine resolving specials to make Chewie flip a Vader die to 3 damage and then Force Throw it into his face? Even ignoring the most ideal situation, Chewie’s special can occasionally be a source of mitigation at the end of a round if an opponent has no resources to use a costed damage side or no base damage to activate a modifier. He’s not stellar, but he’s good enough with Rey to see some play.

DarthVader

Darth Vader

Dark Apprentice, more colloquially known as Emo Vader, is a very aggressive card that has two really good 4-dice, melee-orientated pairings right off the bat with FN-2199 and Kylo. The lack of resources is going to potentially be a problem (especially if you want to pair him with a yellow character) and you’re probably not going to be happy if you see your opponent running a Cunning across the table. However, Emo Vader really makes up for his lack of utility and safety with really aggressive dice and enough health to keep himself standing. He represents a much more aggro-focused mono blue pairing with Kylo compared to Dooku. With FN-2199, he’s able to eschew some of the mono blue cards of eEmo/eKylo for a wider selection of cards. The FN pairing will also force your opponent to make the hard decision of which beat stick they want to kill first.

DirectorKrennic

Director Krennic

Krennic might actually have been just a bit sad if it wasn’t for Bala-Tik, because the 30-point pairing really feels good. The Red/Yellow Villains archetype is rife with powerful cards and the pairing with Bala affords Krennic FIVE character dice when you have the battlefield. It’s unfortunate that he only has the one Ranged side, but the rest of his sides are impressive as well with a grand total of three sides with a value of 2. That doesn’t mean that Krennic is useless without his scoundrel buddy, however; there are some legitimately scary 3-dice suites that can use that additional Death Trooper die, like one with Unkar Plutt. Krennic forces your opponent to consider claiming early to prevent you from getting a Death Trooper die out next turn.He does have an issue with consistency, though — none of his die sides share a symbol. It’ll be interesting to see how Krennic slots himself into the metagame and just how annoying he can be, particularly as a Red Villain character with a Disrupt side for Imperial Inspection.

FN-2199

FN-2199

FN-2199 has an incredible ability and he only costs 13 to be elite. He has tons of potential. In essence, FN-2199 allows every weapon upgrade you put on him to be resolved twice if you play the upgrade, resolve the die, and then roll out FN-2199. Being able to play a weapon-heavy deck and consistently overwrite upgrades on FN-2199 to roll them out onto the field for the round can make for such swingy turns. This is especially the case when you draw into more weapons than you have the resources to play. He’s cheap enough to be used consistently in 4-dice character suites and has a good number of team options because of it. I’ve been saying that Villains has the potential to be nasty with a good, cheap red melee character to pair with blue — and here he is. FN-2199 makes mediocre weapons feel good, and I definitely expect to see him played in the meta.

MazKanata

Maz Kanata

Maz is one of the most exciting cards in this set because she affords Heroes something that it really, really needs: A low cost, high impact character with good dice and a great ability. Maz’s 8 Health leaves a lot to be desired, but she represents the 11-cost elite niche for Heroes that Bala-Tik has been filling for Villains. Outside of her health, there’s very little to dislike about her. With two 1 Focus sides and the ability to resolve two dice upon activating, she has a very good chance (read: more than 50%) to activate, resolve one of her Focus sides to flip a die, and resolve that die before your opponent can do anything about it. Putting her into 4-dice character suites is so easy and she greatly helps any character she gets paired. She maintains a fast pace of dice resolution while frequently fixing bad rolls, and that’s phenomenal for heroes.

MonMothma

Mon Mothma

Mon Mothma is deceptively good. In fact, if her Shield side was a Discard or a Ranged instead, she might have been one of the most powerful cards in the set. As it stands, she’s pretty good and is heavily geared towards a mid-game strategy involving lots of upgrades and the consistency of her Focus sides. Her ability is sneakily good and basically acts as a free Unpredictable whenever you play an event. You want her at elite for the obscene consistency in rolling out Focus and chaining it into a big round, especially considering she pairs with a wide variety of 4-dice suites like eLeia, eChewie, and any combination of two 8-cost characters. Because she rolls Focus so often (especially when paired with Maz or Leia), Mon Mothma is going to be flipping your dice to whatever you please. She’s a touch fragile, but Field Medics, Defensive Positions, and Dug Ins will keep her healthy long enough for you to start flipping Overkills and DH17s to damage sides. Mon Mothma is just waiting for the right deck to shine in.

OuterRimSmuggler

Outer Rim Smuggler

Smuggler represents another pretty good non-unique Yellow Hero character alongside Hired Gun. He’s wet tissue paper with 7 Health for 8 points, but his die has good sides for both damage-focused suites and control-orientated ones, so he can easily get slotted into various teams. What really makes the Smuggler interesting, though, is his ability, which rewards you for using all of your cards by giving you a resource. Where things REALLY get interesting is when you can do this multiple times in each round by playing something like a Promotion as your final card or by simply having two Smugglers alive when you use your last card. This has some limitations, of course; the card has to be played, not discarded or used for a reroll. Overall, I think with the right list the Smuggler has the potential to do some neat things and can easily be slotted into certain lists to give them better resource generation in the early game. Experienced players might have a field day with this one.

RoyalGuard

Royal Guard

Royal Guard is a solid overall card with a lot to like. He’s the first non-unique Villain character with Guardian and he feels a lot more useful than Rebel Trooper. With three damage sides and a decent amount of health, he definitely has the capacity to keep your juicier targets safe while ramping up your damage capabilities, particularly if you’re building towards a melee-focused win condition. The inability to use Blue abilities on him is a bit irritating, but it just means that if you want to use Blue abilities, you’re going to have to invest in Holocroning them — which I don’t think is even especially necessary. He’s useful, and fits into a good enough selection of 4-dice suites to be featured in the meta, though perhaps not prominently.

Snap

Temmin “Snap” Wexley

For a guy that got all of two seconds of screen time in The Force Awakens, Snap’s a really good addition to Heroes. Like Maz, he fills a need that Heroes has had: A 12-point elite character that isn’t Rey. His dice don’t look especially good at first glance; 1 Disrupt, 2 Disrupt, 1 Discard does not an aggro deck make. However, he does make for a great control-orientated nuisance, especially with his ability. He’s not cost-prohibitive, so there are some really interesting 4-dice suites that you can feature his ability in and he has some potentially powerful applications with the growing power of Red Heroes in this set. Decks built to discard, disrupt, and annoy your opponent while eking out a lead are going to love having Snap zip around on the battlefield. Pair him with Padme, Ackbar, or a Rebel Commando with a Smuggler or Hired Gun and there are definitely some shenanigans to be had. C3P0 enforces the power of a discard strategy with Snap, and I think we’re going to see that archetype emerge in the meta in the near future.

TiePilot

Tie Pilot

Tie Pilot is a game changer for the Red/Yellow ranged Villains archetype because it keeps your ranged sides from being messed with until its die is removed from the field. All his damage sides being modifiers is really awkward, but he’s such a prevalent nuisance to your opponent’s control cards. Granted, your opponent can still remove your dice that aren’t on ranged sides. They can also get rid of the Pilot’s die and no longer be affected by his ability. Despite this, that extra character point over Trooper is worth the protection you’ll have to reroll your dice and resolve them until Pilot’s die is removed. I think there might be a really scary deck on the rise that utilizes something like Tie Pilot, eVeers, and either Bala-Tik or Guavian Enforcer to push out the ranged damage from the safety of Pilot’s cover fire. I could also see eBala/Pilot/DTrooper, and there’s the possibility for a 2xPilot/2xTrooper mono-red suite that just throws out ranged damage by the boat (Tie-Fighter?) load.

UnkarPlutt

Unkar Plutt

Have you ever felt like being a tyrannical despot and stealing from everyone you know for your own benefit? Have you ever wanted to have more money than you know what to do with? Unkar Plutt’s your guy!

Unkar is just rubbing his hands together and waiting for someone to come up with the perfect, most optimized character suite for him to fit into. His dice aren’t great, but his ability is ridiculous.  No matter what, you’re at least getting rid of an opponent’s card. When Unkar hits a 2-cost upgrade or, God forbid, a vehicle or a force power or something with a high cost, you’re practically in heaven. What’s crazy is that you can do this multiple times a round as long as you have enough dice with a high enough value to do it. Unkar gives you a way to fix bad rolls, claim the battlefield early, irritate your opponent, and gain resources all in one fell swoop. There are 4-dice suites that he can fit into, but at first glance I feel like one of his juiciest pairings is with Krennic. Three 2-value die sides on 2 dice for Unkar’s ability? Four dice with disrupt sides for Imperial Inspection? Yes please! Unkar’s stunning and I can’t wait to see what people do with him.

 The Sad        

AurraSing

Aurra Sing

People are calling Aurra Sing the Grievious of the set, and they’re right. Thankfully, she pairs efficiently with Bala-Tik for a ranged-focused, Fight Dirty deck, but that’s the only 4-character suite she can fit into and it’s mono yellow. Her dice are very consistent and her ability turns her into a beat stick. Unfortunately, I don’t think she’s going to find a suitable place in the meta outside a pairing with Bala-Tik until Villains gets over its fear of 12-cost elite characters. She’s simply not in the same realm as Vader when it comes to aggressive 3-dice suites and I don’t think the 18 Health of eBala/eAurra is going to last very long in a slug fest.

DeathTrooper

Death Trooper

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I really don’t like the Death Trooper. 10 Health for 10 points is great, but it limits most of his options to 3-dice suites and he doesn’t do anything to really justify it. He plays a lot like a beefier Stormtrooper because his Disrupt side is essentially a blank, which would be fine with Imperial Inspection if Villains didn’t have the aforementioned problem with a lack 12-cost elite characters. Right now, he slots nicely in an eBala/DTrooper/Pilot ranged suite, but outside of that (admittedly potent) team, I’m not convinced Death Trooper is great without more testing. A 3xDTrooper deck with Imperial Inspection and Training might have some potential, so might an attrition deck with eKrennic/DTrooper, but mono Red Villains still isn’t exciting me with how potent yellow is for Villains.

IG-88

IG-88

IG-88 might look like a ranged Vader at first, but the reality is that he falls staggeringly short of that expectation. He’s a yellow character without access to Bait and Switch because he has no Resource side. His Special might seem powerful at first glance, but it’s limited to yellow cards that are in your discard and requires you roll a Special on his dice when you really want to be hitting that 3 Ranged. The Special would be much better on an ancillary threat with decent health and die sides that weren’t as spectacular at doing damage as IG-88’s. He also doesn’t have the equivalent of a Force Strike to fix his dice, either. He pairs decently with Tie Pilot and Death Trooper but neither of those pairings represents the power and consistency that Vader/Raider puts out. He’ll ultimately be a fun deck to play and be a great introduction to the game for newbies, but I don’t see him operating competitively.

JynErso

Jyn Erso

Jyn has similar issues to IG-88 in that she costs too much to fit into a suite with more than 3 dice, but she also struggles with the fact that she has something of an identity crisis. Two sides with 2 Ranged is good but not great. She can’t pair with anyone good at supplementing her damage with Focus because she lacks a side with 3 Ranged for more oomph. Her best pairings are probably with Hired Gun for damage and Padme for mill, but neither of these are especially exciting and they’re both mono-yellow. Her ability is incredibly good, but she’s super overcosted at 15/20. If she was 14/19, we might be having a different conversation, but she presently doesn’t do enough damage to be impactful and mono yellow doesn’t have enough mill to make her discards worthwhile. It’s unfortunate, because that ability is just so good in the early game.

LuminaraUnduli

Luminara Unduli

Luminara is such a cool concept. I just don’t know if there’s a good team for her. She’s arguably an “or upgrade” from being insanely good. Unfortunately, she costs too much for a good 4-dice suite and doesn’t have stunning pairings despite the fact that her dice are actually really good. Rey doesn’t have enough good unmodified sides to make Luminara’s ability useful (QGJ is just better for Rey anyways) and Maz is great for a 3 Focus die but doesn’t have enough Health. Snap might represent an interesting control option, but he’s just as fragile as Maz. You could even ostensibly pull off a 3-dice rainbow with Luminara, Snap, and either Hired Gun or Smuggler. Alternatively, Luminara with two of the 8-cost yellow characters could certainly output some power through resource generation. Still, her Special is useless with poor rolls and she only has one Special side. I really want someone to prove me wrong, but I don’t see her being able to keep up with this set, especially considering she has such a huge target because of her good dice and access to blue-only cards.

Palpatine

Palpatine

I don’t know what to think of Palpatine. There was a time back when he was spoiled where he did pretty well in the limited Spirit of Rebellion ‘meta’. But as time has gone on and Spirit of Rebellion revealed itself as a ground-breaking new set that was going to shake things up, I’m not sure where Palpatine stands. My personal opinion is that ePalpatine will end up being good enough to really punish decks with around 20 or less health with little effort, but will struggle against anything with good control or enough health and damage to survive the onslaught. Certain cards have really upped the ante, both in Palpatine’s favor and against him. The concept of a 2-die suite is so fresh and new that I’m not sure how to deal with it… so I wouldn’t call him sad, but he’s probably a little bit mad that I’m not giving him enough credit.

RebelCommando

Rebel Commando

Rebel Commando isn’t bad, but he’s lacking oomph. I hate the fact that his Special side requires you to pay for it; I’d prefer if it was free or if you had to discard a card in order to activate it rather than pay a resource, because otherwise it ends up feeling like a bad and situational He Doesn’t Like You. That said, removal in red is rare and this is probably serviceable. He pairs really well with our emerging Red Heroes ace Snap, and you can set up a pretty good 4-dice suite with eSnap/Commando plus one of the 8-cost non-uniques from any of the colors. Commando isn’t outstanding on his own, but he has the potential to supplement the growing strength of Red Heroes if paired with the right characters. If he had two 2 Ranged sides or his Special side was better, he might be good with his high health pool. As is, he’s just not exciting.

 The Ugly        

BazeMalbus

Baze Malbus

Baze Malbus’ +2 Ranged side is so much better than Poe’s 1 Disrupt side. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make up for the fact that his Special side is a bit of a dud and Poe’s Special just makes him altogether better at the same cost. Baze is also lacking someone to pair with; Rey is objectively better with Poe and Snap doesn’t do anything for him. Maz is serviceable, but again likely pairs better with Poe because of his Special. It’s hard to like a dude that’s so out-classed by another character that fits the high-cost ranged damage Red Heroes niche so much better.

ChirrutImwe

Chirrut Îmwe

Chirrut suffers from being restricted from one of the best parts of playing blue, having an identity crisis with his dice, and having a largely underwhelming ability. There are no good melee-orientated characters to pair him with and putting him with someone that has ranged sides feels even more awkward because he’s lacking a way to activate his modified melee side. I’m actually genuinely not sure if I’d play Chirrut if his cost matched Rey’s. I probably wouldn’t. I don’t think there’s anything to like here, and that’s really unfortunate because I wanted the Rogue One husbands to shine in Destiny

GuavianEnforcer

Guavian Enforcer

The Enforcer is another curious case of “why not someone else?”. His only saving grace is the fact that his ranged sides are better than Bala-Tik’s, which might make him more suitable for the eVeers/Enforcer/Pilot list I mentioned above. His ability is woefully situational and he has a staggering three modified die sides. 9 Health is swaggy and everything, but it’s generally not worth ditching Bala-Tik’s blowout potential. There might be something consistent here with Bait and Switch, though…

JediAcolyte

Jedi Acolyte

In a meta where everything is getting significantly faster, a 7 Health character that costs 9 points absolutely doesn’t belong. Focus is always good and his ability is serviceable, but Focus is so slow now and it actually feels cumbersome on two of his die sides because he’s a non-unique character. There might be a way to fit him into a discard-orientated deck with Patience, but I’m just so apprehensive about the 7 Health. He’s interesting, but I just can’t see an exciting way to include him in a team at 9 cost. This would have made for an incredible 11/14  unique character with one or two more points of health, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

ObiWanKenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Old Ben’s another character that’s suffering from an identity crisis as an over costed character. He arguably has one of the strangest designs in Destiny. He has Guardian and a lot of health, but costs so much that it’s hard to figure out who we’re supposed to pair him with to guard. His dice are good but have a wide range of usefulness for the cost. His ability is absolutely insane but demands that your high-costed character with Guardian die first. He can only be included in 3-dice lists and doesn’t have anyone great to pair with. Do you take 2 dice for 20, ignore the fact that your opponent’s target is your high-cost Guardian character and bank on Ben’s ability giving your second character enough power to finish the match? Do you take 1 die for 16 and pair him with Rey, who has awful dice but is the only elite melee Hero, and hope Guardian delays the inevitable long enough for someone to get big? I vehemently hate his 1 Melee side, too. Old Ben’s just really, really awkward. He’d be okay at 15/19 for a pairing with Maz, but as it stands he just doesn’t feel like he has a good niche.

Conclusions

Despite the fact that we’ve essentially doubled the amount of characters we have access to, I’m not entirely sure that Spirit of Rebellion’s characters have shaken up what we saw in Awakenings too much. There are absolutely some interesting new additions to our cast like Unkar Plutt and Maz Kanata that are going to affect the meta, but are they going to affect things nearly as much as Spirit of Rebellion’s events? Here are some observations:

  • Heroes and Villains both have an awkward gap in unique characters when it comes to cost. Heroes is missing a 13-cost elite character and Villains is missing a 12-cost elite character. We might see a significant change in how we think about character suites if these show up in the next set.
  • We still don’t seem to have a character that trumps Vader as the king of 3-dice character suites. Heroes is severely lacking in event synergy for its high-cost characters. Villains got Krennic, but he requires testing to see if his consistency is a problem.
  • Heroes didn’t get a melee character outside of blue and that might be a big issue for exploring more character options outside of decks that include Rey and Poe for their powerful effects.
  • A lot of Awakenings decks got significantly better. I would argue that we’re going to see a Rey tier emerge in the meta with how much more powerful she’s become at cheating and chaining actions with stuff like Force Speed, Fast Hands, Vibroknife, etc. Poe has more cool stuff to throw at your opponents and Vader/Raider and eDooku/eJabba have also gotten fairly significant boosts in quality and power on the Villains side.
  • Most of the best new characters are low-cost characters that help supplement and enhance various strategies. Most of the bad characters are over costed, don’t have interesting effects, or both. I’m interested to see how Fantasy Flight Games R&D ends up tackling new sets knowing how little play high cost characters other than Vader are seeing

Did you agree with some of my sentiments? Did I make a big blunder in the way I ranked a certain character? Is Chirrut actually a god among men? Do you think Asajj is actually trash? I’d love to hear your perspective by comment, on Reddit, or on our Discord channel!