Charitable Forces

Today on echobase, we’re looking at Charitable Forces, the new draft set produced through a collaboration between Aegis Creative and the inimitable Parker Simpson. We’re also very excited to bring you, for the first time, the complete set of 20 cards as we have kindly been given the final 7 spoilers from this set.

First up though, a bit of background. This set, Charitable Forces, is designed to be played in Draft Format. For those unfamiliar, this is a fun alternative to constructed formats, in which you build and compete with a deck made up of cards drawn from booster packs combined with a draft set, which is a small set of core cards to help deck building. FFG previously released two draft sets: Rivals and Allies of Necessity. Just like these sets, this pack contains 20 cards and 9 dice.

Charitable Forces is so named because it is being released in support of charity. Proceeds from the sale of this set, which retails at $20, will be going towards Extra Life 2020 and Texas Children’s Hospital, causes which both aim to save and improve the lives of sick children.

The other important point to make is that this set is unaffiliated with FFG or A Renewed Hope (who released Faltering Allegiances). However, since this is designed to be used for draft play, this makes no difference to its playability. In fact, one of the beauties of a draft set is that it in no way competes with, but rather complements all other releases, be they official or fan-made.

If you’re interested in buying a set, these can be purchased here.

Before we get on to reviewing the cards, we’d like to share some questions we had for the team as well as answers, kindly provided by MF_Kamikazi20 of the Aegis team, except for the last question which was answered by most of the team:

When did you come up with the idea for Charitable Forces and how long has it been in development?  How many people have been involved in this project?

“This idea was a twinkle in my eye around March. But at that time my company was trying to research and develop building actual cards from card stock. The objective was to have the ability to build Destiny content by the end of the year. I’m supported by a great team of five members. The art is handled by the great and honorable Parker Simpson.  The card team consists of three members, the great and honorable Josh, Mark, and Richard.  The development time for this set is about 6 months.  Most of us are dads and work :)”

The sets cost $20. How much of this will be going to charity?

“I’m surprised no one’s actually asked this question. But 35% goes to extra life, 35% goes to AEGIS for materials cost, and 30% goes to the team members involved in the project. That is correct, the team is getting paid for their time and effort on this project, which is a first for me.”

What led you to pick Extra Life and Texas Children’s Hospital as causes to benefit from sales?

“I have the ability to play games for 24 hours and stream it for a good cause.   I’ve been doing it for 5 years. But officially 3 years with AEGIS. This year is more significant than any other year because of the birth of my daughter Cassie. Texas Children’s Hospital has been ensuring the health of my baby girl. That’s what led me to contribute and donate to Texas Children’s Hospital for this year and more to come.”

You’re having a draft-athon on 5 December. Tell me more. And can anyone get involved?

“I want everyone to get involved. The process is very simple. First purchase the digital set of charitable forces here. This set comes with a bunch of cool tabletop simulator cards and Print and Play as well.

“Proceeds go divided as mentioned above. Then starting on December 5th@11:00 a.m. CST [5pm UK time] come join me on the stream and the Coaxium discord.  I will be drafting for a straight 24 hours! Draft with your friends, your family, your dog, your neighbor’s cat, etc….(lol). Every year it is an all-out brawl for cool prizes.”

Have you found a way to incorporate Faltering Allegiances into the planned draft events?

“When we originally designed this set the objective was to be completely modular and have the ability to play with any fan set that came out.  The physical set and digital set is compatible with Faltering Allegiances and its TTS Mods.”

What’s your favourite card from the draft set?

MF_Kamikazi20: “This is the hardest question. My favorite card in this set is Ulterior Motive. This is the card that I designed as an homage to Hidden Motive.  As always Parker Simpson knocked the art right out of the window and the card creation team did a fantastic job on wording it properly.”

Mark Evans: For me it’s a toss up between Second Sister, and Ulterior MotiveSecond Sister fits the aggro style that I love to play. Only requiring a single upgrade to get her Power Action online feels really good. Then Ulterior Motive is such a good spin on the previous motive. Giving yourself a reroll, and either removing an opponent’s die, or just soft mitigating it.

Richard Urich: Second Sister. Love the art, character and Power Action. Super aggro and with a weapon attached to her you get to toss in a die.  This is what makes Destiny fun for me, rolling them dice. Also got to mention Gonk because he is a legend!

Parker Simpson: Greef Karga is the card I’m most excited about. He is the type of character I generally gravitate to when building decks, and yellow villain has always been my favorite faction.

Now, on to the cards.
Before we review them, let’s admire a couple of them:

These cards just look stunning. Astonishing artwork, clean layout, uniquely different, yet familiar.

The team also decided to change the dice symbols. MF_Kamikazi20 said that “we wanted the set to look different and stand out from the other sets” and added that the “symbols are copyrighted by FFG”. I think the symbols on these cards are distinctive, but recognisable enough that it should be fairly obvious what each of them indicate. For the avoidance of doubt though, a symbol guide comes with the set:

I cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy of these cards. They just look amazing.

On with the card reviews.
We’re going to group these cards by colour but not by affiliation. This is because in draft format, just like in constructed format, you can only include cards which match the colours of the characters on your team. However, unlike constructed, you can include hero and villain cards on your team and in your deck, regardless of your lineup.

We’re also going to be reviewing cards mostly based on their strength in draft, rather than constructed. Sure, you can certainly use these cards for casual play in constructed format, but we anticipate these sets to be primarily used for drafting.

First up, blue:

Second Sister could be a solid character in draft. 11 points (you can’t run her elite in draft) for 9 health, with 3 damage sides is fine, however her Power Action is fantastic if you can get a weapon on her. In Awakenings, 19% of rares were weapons, 11% in Spirit of Rebellion and 21% in Empire at War. This means if you draft 6 packs, you’re likely to get a weapon in addition to the 2 in the draft pack. Getting 1 or 2 free, unmitigatable damage per round in draft format is strong, but will certainly paint a target on her head.

The two blue deck building cards (non-plot, non-character, non-battlefield) revolve around Second Sister‘s ability: we get a weapon and an event which targets weapons:

The Lightsaber is great on Second Sister, thanks to those modifier sides becoming base sides (even when used with her ability), but they are likely to be a pain on anyone else unless you draft a solid melee based character. Can’t Escape comes in here, allowing you to remove a +2 melee to deal 3 damage to a character. A nice trio of cards in the faction.

In draft you’re allowed to build decks of between 20 and 30 cards, and I could see myself deliberately building a short deck in order to improve my chances of getting the saber to hand early.

I loved The Bad Batch from the Clone Wars, and it’s great to see one of them in Destiny finally. I’m slightly surprised to see Wrecker, who’s all about smashing things, with ranged sides, but given that red upgrades often feature modified ranged sides, this is probably a smart choice. 10 points for 10 health is excellent value, and his ability helps deal with pesky blanks as well as providing additional ping.

Red gets a generous 3 deck building cards in this set (in all previous draft sets each colour, except grey, only got 2 deck building cards):

The AT-TE effectively has 4 damage sides of 2 or more, which is good for 3 resources. Sure, you can only resolve it 3 times, but if we manage that I’d say it was worth the investment.

Experienced Medic feels like a classic Destiny hero red card. I love that you could use it to blank your own die then activate Wrecker, in order to effect a free re-roll with a guarantee of either a damage side or damage ping. That’s some nice synergy.

War Profiteering is the first of our previously unspoiled cards, and is a great little support to make use of stranded disrupt sides. 3 out of 4 of the draft characters have disrupt sides, so I could see this dealing 2 damage pretty easily. It’s worth noting that you can resolve a disrupt side even if the opponent has no resources.

Greef Karga arguably has the best sides for draft, with two 2 damage sides, neither of them pay sides, as well as two resource sides. However, his abilities revolve around downgrades. There’s one in the draft set, but if you want more you’ll have to draft with Convergence or later. Of course if you do draft a Dead or Alive, you’re in good shape.

Yellow get a very generous 4 deck building cards. The first three have been spoiled already:

The D-5 Mantis Patrol Craft, from the Old Republic game series, has so-so sides for a 3-drop, especially when compared to the AT-TE, but no blanks. The ability to resolve the indirect sides as ranged is a nice perk, but probably not worth building your deck around.

Ulterior Motive is such a great card. A true tribute to Hidden Motive, the ubiquitous removal card from Rivals, this 0 cost is similarly conditional, and features elegantly similar artwork. Simply getting a re-roll on the opponent’s die and one of yours for 0 resources is acceptable. If you also get free removal, excellent. But how likely is that? Second Sister and Wrecker for instance both have two 2s, three 1s and a blank. A reroll on any combination of those two removes the opponent’s die 39% of the time, which is actually pretty good. However, your opponent could roll their best side and you could roll a blank. That makes this card higher risk than Hidden Motive. It’s fitting that this higher risk alternative is yellow.

Bounty Contract is good 0 cost soft control. Flipping to a resource side is likely to not always be what you want to do, but if you’re flipping away from damage, especially if you’re stranding a modifier side, it could be strong. The additional bonus of this card to draw a card puts this card above curve in my mind. Alternatively, if you get to drop a one-cost bounty for free, this is situationally quite strong (control and ramp rolled into one) especially if you’re running Greef as you’ll get to play the bounty for free then gain a resource. Also, the Aurebesh reads “Organa“.

Talking of bounties, the previously unspoiled Marked Target is a nice little bit of re-usable control, which I would certainly include with Greef. Getting a re-roll of the opponent’s die once per round is going to really annoy them and, given you’re likely to be lacking mitigation, is a card I would seriously consider depending on what I drafted. Also, in case you were wondering, the Aurebesh reads “CT-7567” aka Rex.

I like the synergy of yellow, and would certainly want to be including Ulterior Motive, Bounty Contract and Marked Target in my deck if I’m running Greef. The D-5 I’d include if I was lacking aggression, or at least things to spend my money on, in my draft.

Finally, we have grey (yes, I know it’s spelled gray on the cards, but we’re British):

A 6 for 6 grey with two blanks is standard in draft, but while Jawa Scavenger and Clawdite Shapeshifter were damage dealers, EG-6 is there for tech and protection, coming with Guardian, a focus, a resource and a handy special. I’m not going to be playing this character unless I have to (though I do like that special) but it’s handy to have in case you don’t draft a good combination of characters (plus there’s two spot grey characters in the draft set). It’s worth noting that paired with Wrecker you can use its lack of damage sides to your advantage, to guarantee free damage if you hit one of the two blank sides.

Grey gets 4 deck building cards:

The Saberdart has 4 damage sides and costs 1 resource, features 3 base ranged sides and a special with situational removal, and is likely to be an auto-include in the format. Shield Generator seems like a tricky one. It’s an expensive way of getting shields, but I could see myself playing it given its consistency, if I don’t draft many good dice upgrades or supports.

We have two fresh spoilers in grey, Quick Cover and Guild Code. The former provides some rare mitigation. You’re only going to play it if you’re running the EG-6, but it’s a shoe-in if you are. Guild Code is a fantastic card for 1 resource. If you’re playing Wrecker or another trooper you can use it to stack your AT-TE or War Profiteering; if you’re playing EG-6 you get to move one damage to it; and if you’re playing Greef or another bounty hunter you get to remove a die; all for one resource. Great synergy with the characters in this draft set, and the presence of this card alone will make me much more inclined to use Greef.

More brand new spoilers, this time, the battlefields of the set.

Our battlefields are decent cards. If you’re playing AT-TE or War Profiteering, you might be on Ryloth, but it’s a double edged sword for these cards if your opponent claims. Alternatively, Anaxes provides a nice little Power Action, which is likely to enable you to discard a random card from the opponent’s hand, or at the very least give you some small hand knowledge.

These locations also nicely reference other cards from the set, with the Cyber Centre featuring in the Bad Batch story arc which introduced us to Wrecker, and Lessu being the inspiration for the final card from the set, the previously unspoiled double-sided Charitable Forces/Donations plot:

The eponymous card of the set, Charitable Forces/Donations is a wonderful card: thematic, a genuinely playable 1 cost plot with no play restrictions, a flip card, and a great reference to the Ryloth story arc where Waxer befriended the Twi’lek child Numa.

Getting the opportunity to resolve a pay side on a character die for nothing is good with all characters in this draft set, as they all have pay sides. Then you can sit on the flip side until you need to use it again, and gift the opponent a shield if that comes up (or flip it back for no loss if an opponent’s character is sitting on 3 shields). This is likely to be worth it as you can give your non-target character a shield then hit your target character with that pay side. Also, having to exhaust it before flipping it means it’s a once per round ability.

This card also reminds us that this set is raising money to heal children, as well as making Destiny more fun. Unless you happen to draft characters that give you exactly 30 points, you’re going to be running this plot. And that means every time we draft with Charitable Forces, we’ll be reminded of what this set is here for.

Thoughts on drafting with this set
There’s going to be a few key cards for synergies with these characters. Weapons, especially those with plenty of base sides, are going to be hot property with Second Sister around. If you draft a blue weapon, even better. Downgrades are also going to be handy if you want to play Greef, and yellow characters in general are going to be popular as they let you run the 4 yellow cards in the set.

If I don’t draft any characters or weapons, it’ll depend on the other cards I draft, but I think I would lean towards Greef/Wrecker/BD-6/Charitable Forces for my lineup, thanks to the strength of their support cards and the ranged damage synergy. However, if I get a weapon I’m playing Second Sister, probably swapping out Wrecker. I just can’t wait to try drafting with this set.

And finally
The first event which will publicly showcase Charitable Forces is the Content Creator Showdown on 22 November at 18:30 CST (23 November at 00:30 UK time). Full details are yet to be finalised but we’ll edit this post with more information as and when we have it. Our own Mark Lockett aka LandoWonka will be participating.

And do get involved on Saturday 5th December for the 24 hour draft-a-thon (it starts at 11am CST, which is 5pm UK time). All you need to do to join in with the fun is purchase the digital set here. You’ll also need to have Tabletop Simulator set up for playing Destiny, which I’m assuming most readers of this do. Leave a comment on this article if you don’t and we’ll sort you out.

More details will be on the Aegis Creative Facebook page and their twitch channel is here. On the day there will be silent auctions and giveaways, all in the name of Destiny fun and saving lives.

Get involved, buy a set here, play Destiny, heal kids.

Thanks for reading.

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