Transformations Musings

It’s been a week since Transformations landed out of the blue, and we thought now was a good opportunity to have a look at the impact it’s had on the game and the community, discuss a couple of issues that have come up, and also a brief Q&A for some rules interactions that seem to be causing headaches.

First up, we are loving this new content: it’s a bold step by FFG, and it’s what the game and the community needed, not only to enliven the game and lockdown, but also restore people’s faith in FFG and it’s attitude to Destiny post-cancellation. Giving people cards for free is pretty incredible, and regardless of people’s opinion of the new cards, you’ve got to give it to them for this move.

The new mechanics introduced by this set, especially cards that flip, has opened up a world of possibilities for deck building and in-game decisions, and has made for some highly epic games.

Do you gamble by starting the game with a farm boy Luke and hope to flip him to Jedi Luke before the opponent kills him? Or do you start with Jedi Luke and get maximum value out of what is probably the most powerful blue hero character ever printed, right from the get-go?

Do you build your deck around Rescuing Han possibly at the detriment of your early game, or do you start with the what is essentially a free plot if you run a pairing of Luke, Leia, Lando or Chewie and hope for the best?

When do you flip Obi-Wan? Do you wait to maximise his ability and health to remove multiple dice, or do you defeat and flip him early to get the most out of the immense Obi-Wan’s Spirit die?

When you claim Mortis, do you flip or leave it as is, being aware that your decision now affects not only what happens in the upkeep phase, but also the available action on the claim in the next round?

There are many more game-within-a-game decisions that this set has created (Closing In and Captured being another notable one), and I love that just 12 cards has created so much interest.

Now on to a more contentious issue:

Fateful Companions

There’s been chatter on Facebook about this card a lot recently, and it’s down to the fact that we have a few new characters with amazing after abilities, most noteably Fives and Anakin.

The power of combining these characters with this plot were immediately apparent, and certainly would not have been overlooked by the designers. Fateful has featured in all our Transformations articles so far, as well as playing a key role in both our deck reviews (Fateful Fives and Anakin Han).

It has been clear from some pretty vocal opinions regarding these interactions that a number of players think these combinations are overpowered to the point of creating a negative play experience for the opponent. Fateful Fives decks were winner and runner-up in the Entourage weekly event last week, and while there is no doubt that representation of this combination was very high, this sort of immediate success two days after release is pretty staggering.

I have never before been in favour of a ban list for Destiny, where erratas and points adjustments seem to have done a good job so far. However, despite the limited playtesting, I am currently in favour of outright banning Fateful Companions.

I think it’s detracting from what should be a 100% positive turn-up for the community, and it removes the potential for future unofficial cards to experiment with after abilities. It also adds complex queue issues, especially when you bring Viper Probe Droid into the mix. I think the complexity is higher than Fateful/C-3PO issues, which were cited as part of the reason for restricting these two cards in the first place. Let’s remove the card from the game, and move on.

This weekend’s UK TTS Event has already preemptively banned Fateful Companions, and it’ll be interesting to see what effect this has on deck choices for this event, and whether other events follow suit.

I should add, I would not like Anakin and Fives to get added to the restricted list, as I think this will unfairly hurt these characters. However, if this is what needs to be done, it would certainly solve the problem.

The Power of the Re-roll – Arc Trooper Fives

One of my favourite characters in the new set is Fives. I think his appearance has been overshadowed by the aforementioned Fateful issues, but even without the plot I think he may be the best value support character ever printed.

When you activate him, you roll in 2 Clone Trooper dice, and you get to re-roll them twice if you control the battlefield. I’ve had a few discussions with people about how amazing I think this is, and to illustrate my point I’ve created some imaginary and slightly odd looking dice references based on various rerolling strategies.

On the left I’ve got a standard Clone Trooper dice reference. To the right, I’ve scaled the dice references to match the probability of hitting that side. These references are based on the following strategies:

  1. Max damage: re-roll blanks, 1 ranged, and resources on the roll-out, and re-roll non-damage sides on the second re-roll;
  2. Max value: re-roll 1 ranged and blanks on both re-rolls;
  3. Go for broke: re-roll anything but 2 ranged or resources;
  4. No blanks: only re-roll blanks

Not only do multiple re-rolls turn lowly Clone Trooper dice into some of the best looking dice in the game (I like the look of scenario 2), but they offer wonderful flexibility and consistency. Pair Fives up with an actual Clone Trooper, and you can pick up a third re-roll of a dice.

swdestinydb Errors is amazing. However, at the moment, you may have noticed that some decks don’t seem to work properly on the db. This is because the db calculates points based on how many dice you’ve added to unique characters, how many copies you have of non-unique characters, and how many points your plot is worth.

This schema is great for most cards, but fails to account for diceless elite characters and elite plots (as well as non-unique elite characters). Paco, (the legend) who maintains the database, is still uploading new cards when they get released, but a fundamental overhaul to the way points are calculated is something he is unlikely to have time for in the near future. If you’re a coder and want to propose and code a solution, check out the GitHub repository. If not, be patient. He is aware of the problem and said he will try to fix it at some point.

Also, if you click on a card from Transformations you go to a broken link. Paco is also aware of this problem and hopefully will fix it at some point.

TableTop Simulator

For now, the swdb card IDs have not been linked to Transformations cards. For this to happen the cards need to be added to the mod on TTS and the IDs added to the swdb database.

This means that if you want to play a Transformations deck on TTS, for now you’ll need to create a deck on the swdb without Transformations cards, and manually add them in on TTS.

New Rules and Interactions

Transformations has added a lot of new mechanics, not least of all the ability to flip cards. This has spawned some confusion about various interactions. To help out, we have some Q&A’s about Transformations cards that either aren’t 100% spelled out in the new Rules Reference, or which we know have caused confusion for others.

If we’ve missed any questions you want an answer to, you have a question/interaction and answer you think others may be interested about, or we’ve made a mistake, please let us know and we’ll add it in:

Can I put Captured or Obi-Wan’s Spirit in my deck?

No, the rules state that you can only start a card on its B-side if it has a points cost. Neither of these do, so they have to start on side A (Closing In/Obi-Wan Kenobi). One of the elgant things about this print-at-home set is not a single card ever goes in your deck or discard pile, so it doesn’t really matter what you print them on.

Can I resolve a blank as a 1 melee with Vader‘s Power Action?

Yes, you can. Blanks can never be resolved, but in this case you are treating the blank as a melee and increasing it from 0 to 1, no problems there.

Does Darksaber get a +2 or +1 when on a flipped Anakin?

Yes. It has been ruled by Jeremy (and relayed by The Gandork) that while Vader is not played when Anakin flips, the flip side is still to be considered a new character. So even though a character’s points cannot change during a game, a flipped elite Anakin is considered to be a 21 point elite Vader, so you get the full +2, which can also be combined with his Power Action, meaning that 1 shield side can be resolved as a 4 melee.

If I have Fateful Companions and Transformations Anakin on the table, and I trigger Anakin’s ability twice, what happens if I kill a character on the first after ability?

So long as you trigger Fateful before the first Anakin after ability, the second enters the queue before he flips, so it will get resolved even though Anakin is no longer on the table when you resolve it. As mentioned above, the flip side of a character is considered to be a new character. Therefore, you get the next 2 damage without damaging Vader, and you don’t have to flip him back again if you kill a second character.

Can Viper Probe Droid remove all dice that hit damage when rolled AND rerolled by Fives?

Not necessarily. So long as the person who controls Fives controls the battlefield. If you control Fives, and you roll out some Clone Trooper dice, this triggers Fives‘ after ability AND any that hit damage trigger Viper‘s after ability. If you’re on the ball and you control the battlefield, you ask the opponent to make the choice whether to trigger Viper now. Then, any dice they do not remove can be re-rolled by Fives (up to twice) creating a new Viper trigger for any which subsequently roll damage on either roll. This means if you roll out 2 ranged on one die, and a blank on the other, then re-roll the blank into a 2 ranged, they can only remove one die, not both.

If you didn’t do this, or your opponent controlled the battlefield, they could choose to have the Viper triggers wait in the queue until after you’ve done all your re-rolls. Any which hit damage on the roll-out or on the re-roll, even if they are no longer showing damage, will be fair game for the Viper. Get your sequencing right, and you might save yourself a headache.

If you add Fateful Companions to the mix, sequencing becomes nightmarish. For the full epic and head-spinning details on these interactions, check out the excellent Hyperloops article on the subject.

Can I flip Demolition Droid even if I have no non-event cards I can play?

You can, there are no Thens on that side. You would declare your intent to do the action, fail to play a non-event card, and you would not deal 1 indirect damage to the opponent. You could then, if you wanted, deal 4 indirect if you spot another bomb. If not, it flips. This might be a good call if you’re holding an event and want to play it plus get the free re-roll from the Sweeper Droid side. Or it might be a good way of triggering the 4 indirect damage.

Be aware though, if you have a non-event card that you can afford, you have to play it. In a tournament, you might have to call a judge over to validate your hand, in casual you’ll just have to trust each other.

It’s worth noting that if your opponent is also playing the Sweeper Droid Infiltration plot and has it on the Demolition Droid side, you can trigger the Demolition Droid on your plot to remove yours and your opponent’s plots!

If I claim Mortis (Day) and want to flip it to Night, what if none of my characters have taken damage? Do I have to heal the opponent’s character?

Yes, you do. If you want to have the option to flip the battlefield, you have to follow the as-much-as-possible rule, meaning if none of your characters are damaged, you have to heal the opponent’s character before flipping. If no-one is damaged, that’s fine, you can just flip it without healing.

Of course, if you didn’t want to flip the battlefield, you could choose not to use the Claim ability when you claim the battlefield, and that would avoid healing the opponent.

If Obi-Wan has been defeated, does he let Vader use both of his Power Actions, and does he count towards damage dealt in tie-breakers?

When Obi-Wan is defeated, he flips and becomes Obi-Wan’s Spirit. As the card has returned to play, he is no longer considered defeated. Therefore, Vader cannot use the fact that he’s become one with the force to utilise the double Power Action. He also does not count towards damage dealt in tie-breakers.

If I’ve got United or We Stand in play, do I have to use the card’s ability on the first die (or character die in the case of We Stand) that is removed by the opponent, or can I choose when it triggers?

As written, these cards trigger on the first die that is removed. Regardless of whether you use the roll back in, or discard two spend two ready the character ability, the card has triggered and it will be flipped (in the case of an elite United) or set aside (in the case of We Stand or a non-elite United). This of course a huge limitation, especially in the case of the We Stand side.

However, it has been stated by Nicolas Nelson that this was an error, and that there should have been a Then key word on both sides prior to the flip/set-aside step, meaning you could pick and choose when you want to trigger the ability.

This hasn’t been officially ruled this way yet, but if you play this in a tournament make sure you clarify that the organisers will be enforcing this interpretation of the card, rather than the card as written.

If I’m using the United plot, and multiple of my dice get removed by the opponent, can I roll them all back in?

Yes. Much like Viper Probe Droid, each die removed creates a trigger for United‘s after effect. You can resolve them all to roll any number of dice that were just removed back in, meaning it may be worth waiting for the opponent to play a card that removes multiple dice before triggering this card.

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