Hey all! It’s Wyatt (aka KyloSpren from the Dice of Failure), and I’m here to share some thoughts on the new spoilers from FFG’s livestream. I was picking the brains of some content creators and other folks I got to hang out with at the recent Seattle Galactic Qualifier for reflections on the new Balance of the Force when the conversation turned to spoilers. Loopee from L8 Night Gaming shared his excitement about the new Hoth Trooper, and Agent of Zion from Artificery suggested we put our ideas down in an article. Thanks to the Cloud City Rollers for being so generally awesome and hosting this fun exchange.
A quick note: Most contributors are linked to their team/stream/or site. An exception to this is the honorable Gandork, a rules editor and frequent judge at events. You can find him in the Artificery Discord answering rules questions.
Loopee: I’m in love with this new spoiled card. I think the ability to splash Red for 5 points will open up a lot in hero deckbuilding. Plus, you get bonus jank potential for doing things like Plo Koon pairings. This card is very significant and consumed a lot of my thoughts today.
Agent of Zion: Meh. @#$% this guy. If you have 5-pointers with no dice, then you have at least three characters. This means you end up running into an issue where your Hoth Trooper gets a damage in on their second or third most valuable character, which may as well just be an indirect. You have the option of playing Seizing Territory post-Claim, but why bother? Vehicle decks don’t want him because he can’t make money, upgrade decks want more dice to match up modifiers, mill sure as $#%! wants no part of him. The only possible use I see is a dedicated Garbage Chute or Blaze of Glory target, but even then it is probably in a weird Shadow Caster or Marauder/Firespray shell which currently does not have a need for one extra point in the lineup.
Bloody9: This is Fear and Dead men fodder. If you are playing this character to play Support of the Tribe you are doing it wrong. This is not 5 points well spent in any deck—I would rather save those points and play Armored Reinforcement for literally anything. Hell, a Crait Speeder seems better than this guy, at least it gives you a resource. As I type this, I’m thinking of Respite food for 5—it still seems like a horrible life decision.
Sinomi: As a hero vehicle swarmer, I love that we can access Red for just five points now. I mean, let’s be real, that 6 point Gungan Warrior was usually just fodder for Into the Garbage Chute, Blaze of Glory, Respite, or something similar most of the time anyway. These diceless characters can also still take Redeploy upgrades in a pinch, which might actually give them some utility in the long run. 25 points to split into Blue and Yellow opens up a lot of wiggle room, especially with cheap two-die, high-health heroes like Lor San Tekka and Satine around. You could even go with this guy and a plot if you wanted. I’ll be messing around with this for sure, although we won’t really know how well 5 points fits until we see the rest of the new characters.
Mcbober: I think Hoth Trooper can fill some excellent gaps. I’ve already experimented playing a few of them with Plo, and it’s pretty fun, but probably not very good in certain matchups. In the end he probably won’t be a whole lot more than a fun card, assuming we don’t see any more toys for him, but he just might be the Red point filler that pops up in a few decks every now and then.
TheGandork: Anyone else think the card art looks like Jeremy? Buying access to Red for 5 points with a decent ability means you might see this guy show up in some wide decks. The Plo Koon/Hoth Trooper x 4 deck is an interesting beast that starts to run into issues when it needs to kill the opponent’s last character. Squad Tactics and Diplomatic Protection are also interesting cards with these cheap diceless characters. Technically he puts out more average damage per turn than FOST, but he can only put out damage. Hard to gauge, these new diceless characters are. Four lightsabers out of ten.
XeroHour: Ehhh, it’s fine I guess? 5 HP for 5 points is ok, and the ability isn’t terrible. I think we’ll really only see it in vehicle decks as filler, and even then I think it’s more likely that the Gungan will show up as opposed to this one. I fully expect to see decks with Plo Koon and 4 of these floating around, just trying to knock ready characters off the board quick. While that sounds like a fun “Told You I Could Do It” deck, I think that’s where it stops.
Dass: On first look I was very interested, then after thinking about it a second time, I am struggling to see where this card finds play. Spending 5 points on 5 health with absolutely no utility does not excite me one bit. I would rather spend a few more points to get a useful die. The only chance I see this card actually getting play is in some sort of Plo Koon deck, and even then I don’t know how great it will be.
New Red Toys
Agent of Zion: Given that depending on how you looked at it, Aphra either has a new lease on life or never went away, Our Situation Is Desperate may be a good silver bullet. Even under the most useful circumstances though I can’t ever see it being included as more than a one-of. The Aftermath reprint is what it is, and will find a home in whatever deck can leverage diceless characters the best. Probably villain, because of course it would be villain.
Sinomi: This is not the Aftermath we all remember … sneaky change there.
TheGandork: Our Situation Is Desperate is a card I’d only use if my situation was desperate—like if I only had 28 legal cards in my deck and needed to find 2 more before Worlds started and the only thing anybody could offer me was Our Situation Is Desperate. It’s really hard to include these kinds of cards that basically start out dead and then you hope you can align the stars to make them decent at some point in the game. I need all my cards to be ready to do stuff when I draw them. The new Aftermath—yeah, it’s not as good as the old Aftermath, but it’s still really good. Decks that try to put a bunch of diceless Hoth Troopers or Ewoks will probably like to have this.
KyloSpren: My only real question is, will reprints like the new Aftermath double as an errata? If so, that could get hard to keep track of. Both seem niche, but maybe the rest of the set will elevate them.
Dass: Small little change in there on Aftermath to make it slightly worse. Either way, this card is still going to be an auto-include in 4+ wide decks. Our Situation is Desperate is probably never going to see play in constructed. It is a dead card until you have at least one character under 4 health. Not a fan of removal with this much restriction—there are too many better options.
Mcbober: Honestly, I’m not really feeling Wicket right now. The traps don’t sell me, unless we get some more support for them. Chirpa’s not bad, as he’s basically an 11 health character. Wicket being 7 health without a good die though just makes me question why you wouldn’t play Satine or Anakin instead.
Agent of Zion: Cheap is cheap, but time-to-kill is remaining constant or decreasing as the meta moves forward—and that is against characters who have 9 HP on the very low end, and up to ever-increasing HP in Palpatine. I just can’t afford to lock up a third of my decks points in such a low health dude except maybe in some mill decks, and these guys don’t have discard sides. I wouldn’t be giving them a cold shoulder if they were even one point cheaper, as then you could slot at least Wicket into a vehicle shell and use him to recur traps to play with your ample cash.
TheGandork: Look at those eyes. Those dark, beady eyes. These MFers are ready to lay down some murder and then eat the bodies. I actually like Wicket more than Chirpa since recycling cards, even of questionable quality, is such a strong ability. Still though, I think both are going to get played with Ewok lists, most likely elite since you need those dice. Chirpa/Wicket/Ewok x 2 + 1 = 5 character start. Gang Up please. Sure Vader, Fear and Dead Men, yada yada—but who plays that Vader chump?
Dass: I am super excited to be able to sleeve up some Ewoks. Quite possibly it will be the first deck I play at locals. That scene on Endor was one of my favorites growing up, and this is giving me all the nostalgia. As for these characters, Chief Chirpa is the one you want when building your Ewok army. 10 or 12 points for 11 essential health is pretty decent on the health/point arc. That additional Ewok helps in the count to bump up his special. Wicket, on the other hand, is the one that will be hard to slot in. His health for his cost feels terrible, and at this point I may be underselling traps, but I don’t think his ability is good enough to make up for that.
KyloSpren: If this set returns to us some of the death prevention cards à la Second Chance or Riot Shield for Yellow, than Wicket might have legs (er, paws). The ability seems cool. And if I can use it to get these traps out for 3 turns I am interested. I do like that you can pitch a trap from hand for a reroll, then play it out of discard for cost. Any character with a pseudo card draw or reroll often gets surprising deckbuilding value. And I am with Dass on the nostalgia. I love Episode 6 and the ewoks will always be great to me.
Agent of Zion: If Fight Dirty/Pulverize/Scorched Earth are the standard to compare Support Of The Tribe to, then the Ewoks get the $#%! end of the stick once again. Those guys are pretty weak sauce, but until you can somehow deal 4+ and not immediately lose the game, your value for your money is really poor. Ewok Ambush and Encircle have synergy, but they both stay in the binders forever … Unless, once again, villain can use Encircle better than the faction it seems to be intended for. In the right deck, it is theoretically possible for villain to have 6 copies of Execute Order 66 and two copies of Encircle (as an EO66-lite). Glider Attack, however, is pretty good. The Y-Wing-like effect from hand strikes me as the sort of thing I am more than happy to have two of, if for no other reason than to screw with people playing fast and loose with their cash.
TheGandork: I don’t think Support Of The Tribe gets played in Ewoks—it seems ok, but I’m worried opponents are just going to start mowing down the tiny teddy bears, leaving me with not enough to get healing on the bigger ones where I really need it. The other 3 events are definitely 2x staples in Ewok decks.
Dass: Support of the Tribe probably doesn’t see play at all. You need at least 4 Ewoks alive for this card to have the value of Field Medic (2 health for 1 cost), and with the low health totals of Ewoks you won’t have 4+ alive for very long. Glider Attack is by far the best card of the bunch here, and will see play in more than Ewok decks. You are happy to take the damage or resources, especially with the card coming from your hand. Ewok Ambush and Encircle aren’t exciting at all, but should see some play in Ewok decks with their synergy.
Ewok Traps and Bow
Agent of Zion: The Ewok Bow is fine for what it is. Notably it is the first appearance of a resource side on a ranged weapon (Vambraces kinda-sorta count, I guess). I’m not entirely sure who would want to use it, but it’s there. As for the traps, I’m only really on board with Net Trap in a vacuum. Someone somewhere will win a game from Ensnare setting up a lose-lose situation with their opponent, but I see this only being particularly good against Palpatine/Jango/Mace. Rolling Logs is trash.
Sinomi: If you’re being brave and going with some seven-wide Ewok madness or something, the bow seems like an auto-include. Unlike most other 1-drops it lacks a pay side or a modifier, but it also lacks anything higher than a 1. It joins Hunting Rifle and Energy Bow as another coveted 1-cost ranged damage upgrade that can provide a resource side though! I’ll be curious to see if we get a way to play downgrades at a discount, à la Tech Team, Streetwise, It Binds All Things, etc. Pseudo-Suppressive Fire for Yellow seems alright, but I’m also wondering if villains will have some of their own traps too.
KyloSpren: I am curious if traps will stay hero-only. If so, it will be fun to have some hero-only mechanics. They give an extra discard to reroll before Wicket plays them out of the discard, which is good value.
TheGandork: The bow is auto-include in Ewok decks, particularly with its resource side. Maybe it even sees play in non-Ewok decks, since I think it is safely better than Hunting Rifle since it has no pay sides AND it gets you those two base ranged sides to help you resolve all those pesky modifiers that ranged seems to love. Ewok Bow plus Overkill makes me giggle. As I mentioned above with Wicket, I think having the ability to keep getting these traps in play is great. Net Trap and Ensnare are both solid and I expect they’ll be 2 ofs. Net Trap is repeatable removal, and Ensnare is actually a solid damage card that can get real scary for your opponents in late game. Ewoks spread around that indirect, the Ensnare drops down on a character that’s fully loaded with damage upgrades, and now they might just kill themselves by activating.
XeroHour: YOU’VE ACTIVATED MY TRAP CARD! Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I think Net Trap is really good. If you’re playing a Red/Yellow deck, you can really neutralize an entire character turn with it and Suppressive Fire. The only real downside when facing stuff like Padme or heavy vehicle decks where the character dice either don’t matter as much, don’t play many upgrades, or don’t have natural damage sides. Ewok Bow is really solid if you’re going for that Ewok deck, but I’m not 100% sold on that deck yet since Vader is still lurking around. More downgrades in general isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re going for a heavy control deck, since these allow you to affect your opponent on their turn.
James (DoF): These traps are great because they’re all reactions. Even Rolling Logs is great because you can reroll them off of big sides and still have a chance to react if they hit the nuts again. In that respect, it’s almost a better Sound the Alarm against big characters like Vader. Speaking of Vader, it’s cards like these that make me believe Ewoks can survive against a Vader Fear and Dead Men. Little Suppressive Fires and damage. Maybe it’s not an instant lose? … It probably still is.
Dass: The bow looks quite nice for an Ewok deck. 1 cost, Redeploy, 2 damage sides, and a resource side. Great value for its cost and will be in any Ewok deck. The Net Trap is by far the best card in this grouping. 1 cost no restriction besides damage removal is great. This thing is passive removal as well, so it allows you to essentially play double removal in one action if your opponent rolls hot. Most importantly, it gets around Vader’s PA, à la Suppressive Fire. Rolling Logs and Ensnare are very meh cards for me. Ensnare has the chance to be good, but in a very situational way.
Yoda + Saber
KyloSpren: I am certainly excited. As the team Blue enthusiast, and as someone who has failed to make Blue hero what I hoped it could be, this should be fun. I am thrilled that Yoda isn’t a legendary yet still retains so much potential. I was just thinking the other night that Blue hero needs more shield slots to meaningfully use the sides they get. I can’t help but wonder if he can support and sustain a new mill deck with Leia 2. I think he could be a better partner than Lando, but with similar upsides. The Lightsaber is great. It’s cheap, good for combos, and has no dead sides. I love that hero is getting some good, cheap weapons. We went into this conversation a couple episodes back. I also really like that we are seeing hero exclusive things, not just more neutral for villan to also use.
Mcbober: Yoda’s Lightsaber is amazing! One of the best 1 cost upgrades ever, and unique for Built To Last. It’s like the hero ID10. Sweet. Yoda himself looks pretty nifty, and I definitely plan to try some stuff with him. I wish there was a Yellow Apprentice, or a way to give characters the Apprentice tag, though. As much as these new Blue hero cards are cool, I don’t think we have enough for mono Blue to work yet.
Agent of Zion: I really like Yoda’s Lightsaber. If there are any Blue hero decks to be found in the near future, it will include two of these almost guaranteed, as it allows them to advance their board state and still keep a dollar back for all of the not-free mitigation hero needs to use. Yoda himself? I’m unsure of. He has no blanks, and is beefy, but how often are you going to look at his 1-shield and 1-melee sides as anything but blanks? Double focus means his partner is probably Yellow for the Impulsive plays, but can he do that better than Mace/Satine? I think the answer lies in how many ways his shields can be gained or put to alternative use in the same vein as his lightsaber.
Sinomi: Rare Yoda makes him more accessible for everyone than his legendary version, which is nice. I like that he’s got a shot in the Fighting Pit. There are only a handful of Apprentice subtype characters out there, and most are too expensive at two dice to get a four dice start with him, which makes that second ability a little awkward. The saber is rad and feels way more legendary than Mace’s.
TheGandork: I think this Yoda currently rates “very good,” but he is outclassed by his cheaper counterpart in Standard for the time being, so Yoda2 probably won’t see much play. It doesn’t help Yoda2’s chances of seeing the table either that Yoda’s Lightsaber works just as well, if not better, on Yoda1. Yoda’s Lightsaber only feels great with Yoda and probably is a 1-of, and simply “good,” in non-Yoda builds. I imagine this will be a chase legendary regardless.
XeroHour: Yoda’s Saber is super cool. A 1-cost drop with no blank sides is pretty spicy. As for Yoda himself, I think he’s solid. 18 points for elite might make him a little difficult to pair, but his whole deal is protecting Apprentices and most of them fall into that point range. I think we’ll see a bit of a rebirth of big-little decks revolving around him.
New Blue Toys
Agent of Zion: Jedi Lightsaber is baller. Simple as that. Assuming two shields are roughly equivalent to removing a single die under most conditions, you won’t feel bad about running this out onto the field. Niman Mastery is … A thing. I’m putting it in the same file folder as all the other Blue 2-cost abilities that are more speed bumps for your opponent to deal with rather than actually game winning. We’ve come a long way since Force Choke/Immobilize. Force Connection is trash.
Vika: I think Force Connection is a really interesting card. Yoda is the first 18 point character with a 3 damage (non-pay) side, and we desperately want to get to that side. Barriss has obvious synergy with this card, too. Yoda’s 4 for 1 shield side being dead vs mill, plus his extra shields ability being dead vs mill, makes him hard to ever seriously consider (unless we get Riposte back), but perhaps Force Connection can provide enough focus to make him work vs mill. If it weren’t for Fighting Pit, I don’t think you could ever even consider playing him, again, because of mill. Yoda with Fighting Pit will probably force Leia/Yoda mill to do what it should have always been doing and go back to Taking Ground instead of getting cute with Astrogation or LSM.
Sinomi: Niman Mastery looks really cool for the new Reylo team, as well as any other characters with specials. Imagine this thing before the Force Storm nerf! Jedi Lightsaber is great for 2 resources, and slots in nicely in the void that is Blue hero, but has me wondering if we’ll get a (better) villain “equivalent,” too. Force Connection seems cute at best. Maybe if dice turning starts to provide some other secondary effects on cards (after you turn die, x happens) this could see some use? If only Barriss were more useful! T_T
TheGandork: Jedi Lightsaber got that BDE. The die isn’t great, but I think you use this as a stepping stone towards bigger and better upgrades. Mace2’s ability to nab this off his PA and SHIELD UP will have you feeling like he’s Nick Fury. Niman Mastery is a hard card to judge—I’ve seen people go “OOO put it with Yoda1,” but what are you doing if none of your dice actually deal damage? Niman Mastery doesn’t feel particularly great in mill, either. I’m not sure how much play Niman Mastery will actually see and I suspect it will be on the bottom half of legendaries for this set. Force Connection is trash unless you have a hand fetish (I’m sure a lot of you do).
KyloSpren: Jedi Lightsaber seems nice, not thrilling, but nice. It is likely good with Mace and Qui-Gon and other Jedi, but I find only two melee sides to be a real let down. Especially when compared with Count Dooku’s Saber. 2 shields off the top is a better immediate payoff than Shoto Lightsaber, but sticks will need either more damage sides or more shield-to-damage tricks before I get excited about this style of dice. Force Connection seems just good. It is situational, and while I am sure it is built for Reylo, having a built-in focus each round is preferable to me than other single die turning cards. Niman mastery is awesome. I get that it feels underwhelming to some folks, but a double focus that can also special chain or blank enemy dice seems very good. It’s a better Force Jump in the moment (obviously rerolls would be nice). But this card can let you maximize damage on both a character and upgrade die, or so many other combinations that it’s insane.
Agent of Zion: Jedi Mind Trick is extremely versatile. I loved the first Mind Trick because it allowed me to just fire and forget a totally game-wrecking card and say, “Here. You figure this %$#@ out, hope you don’t #$%@ up!” This is more of the same, but with a bit of a caveat up front. I actually want to use this in a vehicle deck with the recently released-from-prison Aayla. Heroic Stand looks like a card in search of a character. If hero were to ever get an OG Palp-type thing to play with I think it works there, but hardly anywhere else.
Sinomi: Jedi Mind Trick seems wild and I love it. Losing Mind Trick for a set feels totally worth it if this is its spiritual successor. I am grateful that Lor San can’t sneak it into mill decks without some Jedi support too, both for flavor and for fairness. If we had more cards with Ambush that turn opponents’ dice to damage (like Inflame), it could be kinda cool to see some sort of combo with this Heroic Stand. If tanky heroes become a thing it might get some mileage?
TheGandork: Jedi Mind Trick is better than old Mind Trick—so that basically means it’s amazing. And it’s only Blue hero. I don’t think it will be pervasive enough to be a chase uncommon, because the hero/Blue/spot Jedi makes the decks you can put it in very niche, but this is a 2x staple in any hero Blue Jedi deck. Heroic Stand is kind of like Final Moment—a super powerful effect that just needs to find that home—and when it does it will be brutal. I have no idea where that home is right now, though.
Dass: Definitely excited to see Jedi Mind Trick. Mind Trick was one of my favorite cards of the first cycle and this update to it adds even more utility to the card. Love that it is restricted to hero, as they need all the boost they can get. Now I am just hoping for a sweet Jedi support character to get it in my decks, as sticks isn’t my preferred play style. Heroic Stand just needs Blue hero to get a Big Boy à la AtG Vader or SoR Palp and this thing can see some play. Otherwise it just too situational to see play.
James (DoF): Heroic Stand will probably never see play until there’s another solo character remotely viable. People will want to use this on a big fat character, but big fat characters are often the first person targeted down. And, even if you do have that character last, what are the odds that those three dice showing damage just kill your character? I also think that re-readying a character is probably the best against a mill deck, but mill will never have three dice showing damage. I would be shocked if this saw play.
KyloSpren: I have to fight James on this one. With Qui-Gon/Satine, I have often had an opponent roll out 3 damage dice and kill Satine, leaving Qui-Gon alive. I think people are overestimating how hard it will be to get value out of this card, and underestimating how often it is viable. Let’s say your opponent can’t kill you that turn. The second activation can likely let you even the odds or win, whereas in any other game you would be done for. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of a fat vehicle reset deck knows how big this can be, and at 2 cost it’s on par with other vehicle resets. A combo deck using Custom Bandolier can roll out so many more dice though.
Thanks again to everyone who joined us for the discussion. A lot of cool things have happened this week—with FFG listening to our wanted changes and Blue hero potentially seeing good new tools, I am feeling really excited about Destiny!
Be sure to let us know your own thoughts in the comments below, and, as we always say in the Dice of Failure, “hope you roll better than us!”