As Destiny under FFG winds up, the players’ continuing committee, known as SWD: A Renewed Hope, have just released the first spoilers for their new 93 card set: Faltering Allegiances. They did this on the Dice Commando Youtube channel, and you can check out the full video in the link below.
Before we get in to our thoughts on the new cards, we thought it might be worth a bit of background.
Right after FFG announced they were ceasing support for the game, this group got together under the steer of some major players in the community, announced a plan to continue to produce new sets for Destiny, and made an open call for applications for card designers and play-testers. We wrote about this at the time (March) here and also wrote a review of their first press release and mission statement back in June.
So who put these guys in charge of Destiny?
The rules of any game are always in the hands of the players. Official bodies which manage games only do so because players say they can. There’s nothing special about FIFA (the international governing body for football/soccer) or USA Football (who govern American Football). These organisations make the rules for their games because fans and players of those games let them.
While Destiny was created by and is owned by FFG, the rules we play by are in the hands of those who play it. The power of the community to alter the rules of engagement was clearly demonstrated by the broad acceptance of The Gandork’s Holocron earlier in the year.
As long as the community supports A Renewed Hope, they can make content and dictate rules which the community will abide by. We won’t all agree with everything they do (wouldn’t it be strange if we did?), but so long as they continue to listen to the community, and work with those on the outside, they will continue to have our support.
It’s worth remembering that the Legacies block (Two Player Game, Legacies, Rivals, Way of the Force and Across the Galaxy) was due to rotate out of standard play with the arrival of the next set. The Continuing Committee have stated that Faltering Allegiances will trigger rotation and will contain zero reprints. This means we can wave goodbye to Easy Pickings and Hidden Motive.
Previously the committee had been very cagey about a release date. In the Dice Commandos video however, they mentioned a release date of around mid-October. Soon!
Anyway, on to the cards. Here they are along with our thoughts:
Jyn. Hero Red finally get a big bad character. Big sides, big health, but an expensive 15/19. Where she gets really interesting is in her ability: Detect. We’ve talked about this before, but here’s the info from the committee about this new keyword:
This means that when you activate Jyn, a card gets revealed from the opponent’s hand, and stays revealed (Detected). It’s treated as part of their hand, but thanks to Jyn‘s ability they cannot play it (though they can ditch it to reroll). At the end of the round, it becomes hidden again (we’re assuming that by Activation Phase they meant Action Phase).
Thanks to Jyn’s Power Action this functions pretty similarly to a character who discards a random card from your hand upon activation, which is strong. She will be much stronger if there are multiple ways to Detect cards in the opponent’s hand.
She’s also a leader so Admiral jumps to mind, allowing you to not only get two uses out of her formidable dice, but also get two uses out of her Detect ability. I also think we finally have a valid target for Unfetter.
She’s too pricey to pair elite with eBail for the Admiral discount, but I like the idea of a mono-red pairing with a Kashyyyk Warrior and Valorous Tribe to keep her alive as long as possible.
Sadly we can’t pair her with Cassian in standard, so I’m hoping for a new Cass to pair her up with.
EchoFives: What a good strong character to lead out with from Renewed Hope. Gives us a new subtype, showcases the new mechanic and who doesn’t like Jyn? Gives us a big strong Hero Red that fits Jyn’s disruptive character, I’m looking at R2-D2 as maybe a starting pairing to try. With Spy now in the set I’m going out on a limb to say the Hero non-unique is going to be Bothan Spy.
Master of Disguise
Talking of Bail, here’s a red Title. When you play this card you permanently copy the sub-types of any character. The special side allows you to resolve any character die that shares a subtype with the attached character. If you can get the jump on the opponent, you can use their die against them (so long as you roll well or set up some form of special chaining, with Niman Mastery for instance).
If your opponent is playing characters that share a subtype, you can resolve any one of their character dice as if they’re in your pool. If they’re playing a character without a subtype (so Ahsoka Tano EaW, Rebel Traitor, Jedha Partisan and Force Sensitive Outcast), you get nothing.
You can only play this on a Spy, but being a title you can play it on anyone with You Are In Command Now. This looks like it could be very powerful, but I think is restrictive enough with just 2 special sides and those being pay sides that it feels fair. I can see this being great in a Bail Admiral deck, not least of all since you could play Master of Disguise to copy Bail‘s Leader subtype allowing you to play Admiral on the character later if they’re not a leader already (so long as you don’t overwrite).
EchoFives: Absolutely love this card, right up my street. It feels balanced but the more I think about it, the more I can see ways it can be abused being able to play it down on anyone with You Are in Command Now. I think if it didn’t have the Title Subtype I’d feel better about.
The first (I’m sure) of many cards which utilise the Detect keyword. 0 cost removal is always nice, but it is pretty conditional. If you reveal a 0 cost card from the opponent’s hand, this is useless. However, most decks have at least 50% 1+ cost cards, so this is likely to be able to remove a blank or special most rounds. If I’m playing a character with the Detect keyword (and I’ve got yellow) I could see this being an auto-include, at least as a one-of.
One final thing: the artwork
When these cards were spoiled on the Renewed Hope discord channel and on the SWDestiny Facebook page, the vast majority of the comments were on the appearance of the cards rather than the card functionality. I feel this needs to be addressed or it’s just going to be the elephant in the room.
There are two ways of looking at the issue:
Artwork doesn’t actually matter. It doesn’t affect the game-play, and there’s plenty of artists out there who have produced alt-arts in the past. If you don’t like the Renewed Hope art, get yourself an alt art.
Artwork demonstrably does matter. The ratio of comments on artwork to comments on the actual content has been absurdly high in various channels. Of course that may be due to a silent majority who don’t care much what the cards look like, or who like the art and style.
Let’s be honest: the artwork on the cards does look a little strange and Photoshop Filter-esque, and the formatting and alignment does look a bit off.
In response to some of the criticism, here’s some comments from the team themselves which I hope should help alleviate some concerns people might have:
“for a few different reasons we went with the more obscure filter [on the artwork]. Lesson learned and I am happy for the feedback now rather than after the entire set is finalized”Lanza
“In our desire to give the community some content after months of drought … there was a bias to release things to the community over waiting until things were “100% right”. There is a team committed however to investing more into the templating and cleaning up the little things which matter to a lot of people”elrathion
“There’s a lot of legal considerations for something like this … we’re going to correct things like the formatting and sizing of the art etc, we just wanted to get some spoilers out there for you. It’s our first go at this, so go easy on us 😉
We’ve brought in a couple extra people to help with both formatting and art … the formatting will 100% be vastly improved by final launch”Brian Hourigan
Also, let’s remember that some artwork choices by FFG have in the past been met with… mixed reactions:
Our thanks to the committee for all the work they’ve done so far. We’re really excited about the future of Destiny under this team, and can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
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