Faltering Allegiances – many more spoilers

Last week, I Rebel released their own spoilers for Faltering Allegiances, this week, the Hyperloops released theirs, and last night A Renewed Hope themselves released a bunch on their website, so we thought we’d have a look at them here on echobase.

Before we get into it though, we’d like to address something. When we’re looking at these cards, we’re looking at two things: how powerful the cards are, and how interesting they might be to play. If we look at a card and decide that we think it is pretty weak, that is not a criticism of the card design. In fact, if we thought every card in the set was powerful, that would mean that the Continuing Committee had done a bad job. It is not a good thing for cards to be on a par with or stronger than most previous cards, as this will inevitably lead to power creep and ultimately ruin the game.

Anyway, on with the reviews, sorted by affiliation and faction rather than release day. First up, villain red:

Nines is back! On first glance I thought: wow, 4 damage sides. But then I noticed that one of them is a 0 (which is odd) and one of them is a pay side (though it is a 3 at least). I’m cautiously hopeful that we may see other cards in the set to make the 0 side make more sense, outside of just being a base side for modifiers.

I love that the Continuing Committee have stuck to the concept behind the original FN-2199 in the function of his Power Action. Being able to roll in an upgrade die an additional time is great, though you’ll need to pick your weapon carefully as whatever you roll, you have to resolve. I think this ability is going to equate to 1 or 2 damage, a shield or a resource most of the time. And that’s a pretty good bonus. My favourite target for this off the bat is Sonic Detonators, especially as a round opener as then it effectively has 5 good sides. Weapons like Grievance Striker and Enfys Nest’s Electroripper would be solid 2-drop choices, as neither have modifier sides.

His after setup ability also makes it much more likely you’ll have a weapon to play round 1 to get maximum value. I am going out on a limb here and saying that we’ll see a weapon in this set specifically aimed at FN (perhaps FN-2199’s Riot Control Baton?) [I wrote this bit before this card got spoiled, so thought I’d leave it in]. If such a weapon does exist, and you hard mulligan for it, his ability increases the chance of you opening with it from 52% to 67%.

In fact, this ability kicked off quite a discussion on probabilities. For the full calculations on mulligan probabilities, check out our FN Statistics page. I’m not going to get into that all here, but feel free to message me/comment if you want more details.

Talking of FN-2199’s Riot (Control) Baton, here it is. For 3 resources, this is not a great die, but if it’s on a trooper and that trooper takes damage, you potentially get two uses out of it (and it is ‘takes damage’, meaning you have to actually be placing damage on him, not blocking it with shields). It’s certainly a good die to gamble on, with 4 or 5 live sides at any one time, but they’re quite small sides.

One thing to note is this ability gets triggered whenever the attached character takes damage. So if he takes damage when this die is already in your pool, you can exhaust the support to resolve it. Alternatively, you can choose to do nothing and just keep the die in your pool (as when you choose not exhaust the upgrade you are passing on the entire after-effect).

I was hoping it would cost 2 so you could open the game with it, but I’m just glad this card exists. I think we’ll see it as a weapon in FN builds, but I think its ability is too specific to be the weapon of choice.

Villain red hand control at its finest. A well crafted card with an interesting effect that fits perfectly with the title. To be honest, I’m probably going to be running Counterintelligence (if I’ve got a leader) or Probe before this card, but I just love the concept, and it is going to absolutely suck to have this played against you if it hits.

Those are big looking sides, but I’d say they’re on a par with 3 cost red vehicles we’ve seen in the past such as ARC-170 Starfighter, Umbaran Hover Tank and Elrik Vonreg’s TIE Interceptor, though it does boast 4 damage sides, instead of the usual 3 plus a resource side.

The action is where things get really interesting. Playing this for free is going to be great, but it costs you two cards from hand (including the TIE itself) and 4 cards from deck if you want to keep it. My mind immediately jumped to the idea of using a Cloud Car to gift the opponent a vehicle to trigger this ability, but I think in reality I’ll just be including this in my red villain support builds and crossing my fingers that I come up against another vehicle deck. Either way, I like the design space this represents [echo3ofclubs: Pretty much all decks are running Merchant Freighters for ramp and resource generation – on this basis you’ll be playing this for the cost of a card in most of your matches].

Note that since there is not an empty line between the Action and the ‘After the upkeep phase begins…’ bit, these are considered part of the same ability. Therefore if you pay for this support, you get to keep it without discarding cards from your deck.

Up next, blue villain finally gets some cards courtesy of the Hyperloops:

Continuing with the Fallen Order theme of the set, we get a villain from the game: Second Sister. 10/13 for 11 health is good, but those dice sides are not. Her after ability feels like it could be handy, especially if you roll a blank, but it could be problematic, as it’s non-optional.

The working of this ability has been clarified by The Gandork. Instead of having to look around for a side on one of your dice that matches a non-showing side on an opponent’s die (which is how I originally interpreted this), you instead pick one of your dice and a target die of the opponent’s, and try to turn their die symbol to match yours. If you can’t, nothing happens.

To explain, here’s some examples.
I’m facing Saw Gerrera and Cal Kestis:

First off, the simple one. Let’s say all 4 of their character dice are out, and they’re showing a lot of damage. If I roll a melee and a blank, I can select my blank and a Saw die, and flip his character die to a blank (and the opponent deals 1 indirect to themselves in the process thanks to Saw‘s ability). So far, so good.

What if my opponent is showing all blanks and I roll 2 resource sides? I really don’t want to help out my opponent here, but fortunately I can choose one of my resource showing dice and a Saw die. Since he has no resource sides, this fails. A bit awkward, but we got away with it.

However, if my opponent has only activated Cal and rolled double blanks, and I roll in with 2 resource sides, I have to flip a Cal die to a resource, as there’s no combination of my die and an opponent’s die that can’t be utilised.

I feel this is a bit convoluted. I’d like it if this had just been a may and in one swoop would have no downside and wouldn’t be confusing, but this way does make for a fun gamble.

The special is decent, and is reminiscent of Arhinda Pryce, except that it’s limited to character dice. Getting a plus two on a resource side could be great, but it’s a bit situational and removes two of your dice. Again, I’d have liked to see the flip as a may followed by a new sentence for resolving your die, so that you could pump a side that’s already showing.

Overall, a weak character as she stands, though she could be fun. If there’s some cards that interact with flipping the opponent’s dice we might see her gain in power.

Sith Warblade has some big sides, but damn, dealing 1 damage to yourself every time you resolve it hurts. Redeploy has typically come at a premium, but I do think this is too high a cost for the sides. If we can get a 3-wide villain lineup with a lot of health, this might see play, but it’s going to be a tough include for a 2-wide. That being said, I can definitely see this being a strong choice for a Maul deck especially with Maul’s Lightsaber and Vader’s Lightsaber rotating out.

Taron’s Lightsaber is decent weapon with good sides. In fact, they’re identical to Anakin Skywalker’s Lightsaber, and the on-play ability is reminiscent of this card too, though a bit less reliable and kind of the villain equivalent i.e. it strips shields rather than gives them. This ability could be worth 4(+) damage, though is more likely to be worth 1 or 2.

For me, Unending Hate is the big new blue villain card. It’s soft mitigation and aggro rolled into one, and I believe significantly above curve.

Turning a die to a blank has typically cost a card from hand, a condition, and 0 resources, such as Let The Hate Flow or Consumed By The Darkside. Damage from hand has typically cost a card from hand, a condition, and 1 resource for 2 damage (such as Lightsaber Throw or Make Demands) or 2 resources for 3 damage (such as Pulverize or Chain Lightning).

Here we have a card, a condition and 1 resource to both turn a die to a blank and deal an uncapped amount of damage. If your opponent rolls out a few dice, and hits a single blank, they’re getting a die blanked and taking 2 damage. If they’re Palpatine and roll out 10 dice, they could easily be looking at 4 or 5 damage if they roll badly.

To demonstrate how above curve this is, let’s compare it to Cornered Prey. This card dealt damage to a character equal to the number of dice the opponent had showing blank. Sure, it had no spot requirement, but it didn’t turn any dice and it cost 2 resources!

I’m expecting to see this card as an auto-include in decks that feature a Sith or an Inquisitor. I think it’s a great idea, but I think the damage should be capped, probably at 2, but I’ll accept 3. It would still be a very good card with such a cap. Will you often deal 4+ damage with this card as it stands? No. Will it be a big NPE when it happens? Yes.

Next up, the 5 hero weapons spoiled last night:

Cassian and Jyn get new guns, and they’re both pretty good. Cass‘ is my favourite, as combined with the Power Action those are big base sides. In fact, the only 3 drop upgrade with redeploy that features an effective 3 damage non-pay base side so far is Heirloom Lightsaber (and the Sith Warblade), though this has the big disadvantage that it’s slower and can’t be modified. I feel it’s going to be a little frustrating though combining this weapon with new Cassian because you might end up stranding one of his modify sides.

Jyn‘s blaster is going to be great for tempo on Jyn. Being able to play it, roll it in and then resolve it is a strong play, so long as you’ve saved a resource to resolve that pay side, and especially as, unlike FN, you can just leave it in your pool if it rolls a blank. Alternatively you could play this then activate Jyn then resolve a die.

The hero blue sticks are my favourite of the spoiled weapons, but maybe that’s just because I love blue hero. Jaro Tapal’s Lightsaber has on-par sides for a 2-drop, and the nice bonus of redeploy on the Lasat himself. And its Power Action to replace it with Cal’s Lightsaber is a particularly thematic ability.

Talking of Cal Kestis’ Lightsaber (and yes, in English it is perfectly acceptable to append an apostrophe to the end of a proper noun ending in S to indicate possession), this is an upgrade with slightly sub-par sides for a 3-cost, but it has a great Power Action.

If it’s on Cal, you can turn it to a shield or blank side to roll in a second copy. If it’s not on Cal, you can roll in a second copy if it’s already showing a shield or blank. This means that on Cal you always get a second copy, on anyone else you get one 50% of the time (ignoring re-rolls and turning dice).

This is pretty good. Pong Krell’s Lightsaber had a similar effect, but had worse die sides and you had to pay one to roll it in (or play PK himself).

Finally, we get one of the strangest weapons in the game. You can resolve this die against yourself, and then spot any number of damaged characters to deal that much indirect to the opponent +1.

If you’re playing 3-wide, you’ll deal yourself 2-5 damage to deal the opponent 4. Best case scenario, if you’re on Ewoks, you might deal yourself 2-5 damage to deal the opponent 7-8 damage (depending on your line-up and how much damage your characters have already soaked up).

I’ve got to say, this doesn’t sound like a great deal. The mechanic is really interesting, but I don’t think it’s worth it. I think the only time this card is going to be worth it is in a Ahsoka – Brash Prodigy deck (thank you to Az for sharing this suggestion) where if you can crowbar a Jedi (or Knighthood) and yellow in there, you might be able to resolve this as if it were a regular base side.

However, this comment on Facebook suggests that there may be more to this card than meets the eye:

So it looks like there may be cards in the set that will make this upgrade make a bit more sense.

A finally, we also have some new sticker sheet spoilers from the A Renewed Hope team today:

Sticker sheet sample from the Continuing Committee

Not only does this signify that we’re going to be getting sticker sheets for these cards so you can get them printed (woohoo), and that those sticker sheets are going to look awesome, but it also teases an unseen card (row 2). Hard to tell whether it’s a characters or upgrade, but it looks like it could be Second Sister’s Lightsaber with sides that would fit with a 2 or 3 cost upgrade depending on the text.

One final thing:
A lot of these cards seem quite… wordy. I had a look at the number of characters in the text of cards throughout Destiny, and here’s what I came up with:

Graph showing average number of characters in card text across Destiny expansions

Back in Awakenings through to Legacies, there were about 100 letters per card. This climbed steadily to around the 140 mark in Covert Missions. Faltering Allegiances, based on just these spoilers, represents a jump to over 180 characters per card.

I’m loving all these mechanics, but I feel like there might be just a bit too much going on. It may well be that the committee were enthusiastic to share their most interesting and therefore most prolix cards, but I worry that there may be a bit too much to keep track of here. I know this style may appeal to more seasoned players, but I am concerned it might put off the casual players.

Overall though, we’re looking at a lot of interesting cards in these spoilers, with mechanics that I hope will generate some interesting and varied decks. I can’t wait to get deck-building with the full set.

That’s all for now. Looking forward to the 16th.

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