Today on echobase we are taking on a different point of view in assessing a few of the cards from the Transformations set. I’ll be looking at the set from alternative views such as non-competitive, being a Star Wars fan, deck building and comparative perspectives. Comparative will touch on the competitive side to Destiny.
Transformations as a whole seems to have divided the Destiny community as to whether or not it is, or is not, overpowered. There are some abusive combos with Fateful Companions (a broken card since inception, my initial reaction back in the Spark of Hope meta was that Fateful should have at least cost 4 squad points [echo7: if you think he’s just jumping on the ‘Fateful is broken’ bandwagon, I can personally attest that Oli did indeed say this very early on]) which may or may not have been overlooked by whoever designed this mini set, BUT, and this is a big but, I’m giving it a thumbs up for the thematic games achieved for the more casual Destiny player.
The best place to start my point here is that I, like most of you, am a huge Star Wars fan. So with that in mind I have not had as much fun playing Destiny as I have these past few weeks since the game’s inception. This is because of the theme that has garnered within the Transformations mini set. Here’s why: the first few decks that I put together were the following –
With Transformations I can have Yoda and Obi-Wan protect and train Luke to become a Jedi? Cool! I can have Luke, Chewbacca and R2-D2 attempt to rescue Han Solo? Awesome! It is important to know the perspective we are talking about here is from a non-competitive aspect, this set rewards the more casual player and long term Star Wars fan.
Back to those first few games; the games that Steph and I played with these line-ups went closer to an hour rather than the standard 35 minutes. The games were really, really fun. Steph managed to convert Luke into a Jedi while I concentrated on trying to rescue Han Solo and trying to transform Luke in the process. My point here is that to incorporate theme into a Star Wars game is a HUGE appeal for general Star Wars fans. For this reason alone as a huge Star Wars geek, I am very thankful for the thought process and design space that has gone into the Transformations set. Here’s a good place to remind everyone that Destiny is a game, and games should be fun.
Moving into the competitive aspect to the article we are now going to take a comparative approach to Han. Han with his points cost for 10/13 is way above curve, so let’s now take a look at him from a comparative perspective.
The counter argument lies somewhere between a negative defeat ability, Sabine Wren and Zeb Orrelios.
Zeb was reduced to 11/14 in the previous Holocron document and he as a character has a great passive ability which grants him flexibility in deck building, yet Zeb has not seen any competitive play. I’m comparing Han to Zeb for a few shared attributes; Yellow Hero, 12 Health, a 2 damage side and a 3 for 1 damage side. Han with the two resource sides can make bank better than Zeb, the 2 disrupt side is arguably Han’s best side but still I hope you can see the comparative perspective we are taking into account here.
In the design aspect to Destiny the ‘Piloting’ keyword adds value and is a considered attribute to a character’s overall points cost. This is where the likes of Sabine and Poe seem to have suffered an expensive costing. Comparatively to Han, there’s no chance you’re considering playing Sabine over Han when constructing your deck as they both currently sit at 10/13.
So far in the comparatives we have similar characters to Han that do not see competative play. So now let’s look at the first negative game effect upon defeating a character that this game has had.
“After this character is defeated, loose all of your resources. Each opponent gains that many resources.”
Giving your opponent all of your resources once Han is defeated is a huge game swing. This past weekend I faced Mark (echo7) in an online tournament in which I defeated his Han, he lost 3 resources and his loss is my gain. That is a huge game swing. So should this negative ability reduce his cost? Yes, It should. As the Han player can you play around this defeat ability? Yes, of course you can. So what value is taken into account with this negative effect towards a characters points cost?
There’s a fine balancing act here with costing Han and I believe with the comparatives mentioned above I can kinda see why he has been positioned at 10/13. (I can actually think of better characters that are 13pts Yoda & Snoke) I do believe he should be balanced to 11/14 and he will still be more than playable. So here’s an additional point: would you rather have a well known Star Wars character such as Han Solo in the meta or some minor character who you don’t know? (I’m looking at you Bala Tik – why a shitty character had to have one of the best abilities seen in Destiny escapes me.)
To summarize and conclude the comparatives, I’m OK with Han at 10/13 and can see why he has been positioned here, but realistically feel his balance should be raised to 11/14. Compared to Fives and the fateful Companions interaction, I really don’t think Han is breaking the game.
The Mono reward
We are looking at this plot from a creative perspective in how it has opened up mono deck building once again. For close to two years now the meta has been dominated by rainbow themed decks ranging from Drive-by Hero shooting (Yoda, Ezra1, Rookie Pilot), Snoke-Bazine-Fost, Jabba-Wat-Sentinel to the most recent oppression of the year long droid meta of R2, C-3PO & Chopper. There has been one mono deck that seems to have stood up to the challenge over the last year and that of course is Reylo.
Reylo is one of those decks that had been spoon fed to us by FFG. I don’t mind the spoon fed thematic decks as I alluded to earlier in this article, theme pairings are a huge draw to the more casual player and general Star Wars fan. The problem with the design space on Reylo has been the knock on effect to play anything else mono blue other than Rey and Kylo. There has been zero incentive to create any other mono blue pairing because it’s just not going to give you the best of both hero and villain cards. Reylo killed mono blue. Simple. That other version of Kylo might also have something to do with it…
Within Transformations we finally got that incentive to create a mono deck [echo7: plus Reylo can’t use it, as they’re already running a plot]. Running the plot for a cost of 0 will allow you to roll in a die that has just been removed, running the plot elite potential gives you a character reset if your opponent removes a character die.
The second side to this plot is really genuinely not to be underestimated. What this allows is for you to focus your character dice to threatening sides, your opponent then has the mind game of removing that character die but risk the potential of that character being reset, albeit at a cost of two cards from your hand and two resources. Can this be played around? Yes, it can. Your opponent may wait for you to spend resources on mitigation, they may disrupt you; either way a built in Admiral on your plot is pretty feckin’ strong.
This plot really does do a good job to incentivize us to actually start building those mono decks. The perspective we have here is that of opening up mono deck building once again, a middle middle archetype that has been missing from Destiny for quite a while.
Now, with all of the above said – Unfortunately the plot doesn’t actually have a ‘Then‘. Instead, the first sentence ends with the full stop and moves on. The key ruling in Destiny is do as much as you can, so with ‘We Stand’ the first time an opponent removes a character die, regardless of if you have the money, the plot will actually trigger and burn and you won’t get the character reset. I hope this is errata’d soon, so that the plot can be used as intended and keep us incentivized to create mono decks.
I’m going to keep this relatively short – The perspective here is that of a happy Destiny player. We finally have a playable ‘Big’ blue character for hero. Back in May I wrote an article on the history of Luke Skywalker throughout Destiny and finalized the article with an analysis on Luke Skywalker – Red Five. Within the article I said the following ;
“I feel this is the perfect moment to throw in that what I want and need in this game is a playable big blue hero character. I’m talking 20 +Pts, 15 Health, Vader-esque, Return Of The Jedi, I’m a f****** legit Jedi version of Luke.” – May 4th
Ask and you shall receive!
Of all the cards within Transformations I think that they got Luke Skywalker – Fulfilling His Destiny absolutely spot on. In all aspects. A fair points costing, big health, and a great power action.
Thanks for reading our ramblings, keep safe and keep rolling.
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