Over the last week we’ve had High Stakes spoilers from our fellow content creators over at Dice Commando, The Hyperloops, SWDBrazil, Diggity Destiny and ARH themselves. Today on echobase we will be giving our initial thoughts on those spoiled so far (or at least all those not spoiled in the last couple of days).
First up – Dice Commando spoilers. You can check out Andrew’s excellent spoiler video here for the original reveal and interview with set lead Aaron Chapman.
Ahsoka Tano comes to the game with no subtype, this is in line like her character iteration from Empire at War. It’s such a tough decision within the design team to accurately put a subtype on Ahsoka; thematically she was not a Jedi and she’s no longer an apprentice. Ahsoka‘s a force user out in the wild searching for revenge on that big blue dude, Thrawn. I think it’s the right call to not give her a subtype or create a new subtype that’s just going to get lost with no future support.
The parallel dice is a really nice touch, I’m up for more new iterations of characters taking on their previous dice. At first glance I’m concerned about pumping 17 points into a 12 health character; Ahsoka looks primed to come in at single die for 14pts. Her Power Action is thematic as she is known for duel wielding lightsabers and once you’ve loaded her up with two weapons she’s going to be able to put out some serious damage.
The key to maximise that damage output would be to also get a Jar’Kai equipped. Note: you can’t use her Power Action if she only has one weapon. Well, technically you can; you exhaust the weapon but you won’t get to roll the die into the pool. If Ahsoka has two weapons, and one of the dice is already in the pool, you can Power Action, to exhaust both weapons to roll the other weapon die into the pool. This of course doesn’t optimise usage of your dice, but there will be a scenario where this may be the case: out of cards to re-roll; or if you want to avoid stranded modified sides etc.
Ahsoka Tano’s Lightsaber is quite the dream of a two cost weapon. The die is good for its cost but the text is where this upgrade shines, and reminiscent of the Empire at War Shoto Lightsaber. On Ahsoka, if she has two of these, it’s above curve and verging on broken given that Ahsoka will get two goes with these. Each die will be able to deal a maximum of 3 damage each, and with the PA you’ll get to do this an additional time. Hold on to your mitigation if you find yourself facing off against a set up Ahsoka; you’ll want to get rid of these dice [echo7: the best strategy against multiple roll-ins is often soft mitigation and turn to blanks, as you can often neutralise the die and deny that second roll-in].
Outside of an Ahsoka build, every blue hero deck focused on a weapon suite should be including this as at least a one-of; you’ll find yourself not getting any profit from the ability if you find the upgrade mid to late game but even then it’s still worth playing as a 2-drop.
Next up, some Red Hero love:
Cara Dune comes in at 11/14 for 11 health and pretty decent Luke’s Lightning Rod dice sides. Her passive ability makes finding base sides for weapon upgrades really easy, making her a prime target for a blue/red middle/middle build. The Power Action is pretty so-so. You’re taking an additional action and denying modifier sides for a 1 health swing. I could see myself skipping on this ability if I’m worried about mitigation, but it’s decent if I happen to be resolving one of her die sides on its own anyway. Finally, she comes with the trooper subtype, which is handy, and might make something like Kes/Cara/Advanced Training possible, as then her blanks become 1 ranged sides (when she has a weapon).
Cara Dune’s Blaster is a very good 2 drop and comes with very consistent Luke’s X-Wing die sides. Where it further shines is in its passive ability. Suddenly all those blanks on weapons become 1 melee sides, or 2 melee when combined with Jar’Kai, but crucially only when they’re resolved, meaning they’re immune to mitigation that targets damage sides. I expect to see this card a lot.
Pitch In is more fuel for the red weapons fire. If you’re running red upgrades, this will be in your deck. I could see this being a huge game swinger in round 2, if you got off to a strong start with your upgrades. You could easily be sitting on 3 upgrades if you’re playing Riot Shields and DC-17s, and netting 2 resources off an event is virtually unprecedented. It’s even strong if you are only spotting 2 upgrades.
The Hyperloops returned to our favourite dice game last week to drop some fresh spoilers, and I couldn’t think of better cards for Joe to spoil. You can check out the Hyperloops spoiler Video here.
What’s crucial here is that the character iterations of C-3PO (Perfect Gentleman) and R2-D2 (Loyal Companion) find themselves on the ARH restricted list; this may be to many folks chagrin, but the final FFG meta was plagued with ‘droid’ variance and dominance for far too long. With the introduction of these character’s as supports you can now fulfil the ‘spot’ requirement on the character cards. This is a really nice touch to bring the droids back into character line-ups. Kudos to design team here.
R2-D2 comes to the game within Hero Command; this is important as C-3PO – A Perfect Gentleman is also within Command, and can fully turn on 3PO‘s amazing activation ability. The card itself is good; if you hit that special you’ll most likely be resolving as a resource or focus, so effectively he’s a one cost drop with no blanks and 2 resource sides.
C-3PO is the better of the two supports: he’s Grey and can fit into any hero build and that adds versatility. If R2-D2 is in your character starting line-up you’ll want to hard mulligan and get this guy on the table first action, to get autofocusing on activation with R2. Two resource sides, a focus; a very solid 1 drop support even outside of R2-D2 builds. Don’t forget Aphra can brings these guys in as additional droids, I’d be surprised if these don’t find themselves in a bunch of decks.
Plan Ahead is a solid bit of action cheating for Red decks. Like a less versatile All In, it has the huge advantage that it’s free. I can see this being used to great effect with focus sides as your first die, especially if you have a Veteran of War in the pool, allowing you to focus to the special and resolve 4 dice in 1 action. I’m definitely putting this in my Padmé decks.
The honours for spoiling the form of the set went to SWDBR. You can check out their spoiler video here.
Makashi Mastery has some real tough competition within the form upgrade packages. We’ve seen that Shien Mastery and Niman Mastery can be run together, typically overwriting an early game Niman for the late game Shien. Alternatively loading one character up with the Niman, and the other with the Shien. Soresu Mastery has fallen out of favour, and Jar’Kai builds have their own definition of a build architype. So can Makashi find a home?
Makashi’s on play ability will be match-up dependent – so you may, or may not be able to use the ability for mitigation. The other down side to Makashi is that you’re only really happy with resolving that special or the 2 melee side.
The special though is powerful: to be able to resolve an opponent’s die as your own is incredibly strong. Comparing it to Shien: Shien removes a die showing damage and deals two damage, while Makashi deals the damage to the opponent. That means that the damage swing on a 1, 2 and 3 damage side is 3, 4 and 5 with Shien, but 2, 4 and 6 with Makashi. There’s also no hard ceiling for the damage resolution. Sitting on a Makashi special will put off your opponent from discarding to reroll and may leave them with sub optimal dice rolls. A surprise Harness the Force into that special to resolve an opponent’s high damage side could be gross. I like it.
Lightsaber Ignition is a nice 1 point filler plot. If you’re stuck on 29 points, you might as well throw this one in. If you hit a melee base side on the re-roll, great. If not, you got a free re-roll. Either way, the plot gets set aside. I like it, and it’s these kind of mini-plots that might open up some new build possibilities.
Contentious Opportunity is a cross between United and Darth Vader – Terror to Behold’s Power Action. An exceptional move event that will find itself in many decks or under Lightsaber Mastery. Combine this with United and your dice will become virtually untouchable. However, since your opponent will have removed your best side, and you have to roll the die back in for the cost of a card and an action, this probably won’t end up being as OP as it initially appears.
Click here for Diggity Destiny’s latest podcast where they discuss their exclusive spoilers in detail.
Wedge Antilles comes in at a respectable and playable 9/12 with 10 health. The die looks aggressive with 4 ranged damage sides, however one of those sides is a modifier with a value of 1. I’m really on the fence as to whether or not Wedge will be good. He’s a cross between Hera and Old Man Solo and neither have exactly set the meta alight. His passive ability is quite good, being rewarded for rolling badly is not a mechanic or design space which has yet been explored (outside gungans) so I really like the direction here with Wedge. A Wedge/Benthic pilot deck running Eject, Flanked by Wingman, Assail, Wedge’s X-Wing, Razor Crest & Power of the Tribe sounds good to me. There are 2 points floating there though.
Wedge’s X-Wing is a spicy little two cost support. An abundance of text, with perhaps a little bit too much going on. In keeping with the design space on Wedge, you are rewarded for rolling a blank. If you roll a blank, you can place one damage on a support or upgrade in play. The Power Action allows you to remove the die to discard a support or upgrade with damage equal to, or more than that cards cost. It’s a nifty way to get rid of an opponent’s upgrades and supports, and can be combined with other abilities like Kuiil. Nice.
Talking of getting rid of opponents supports – hero command get access to the new support hate event in the form of Strategic Strike. A very strong event that should help hero command creep up the meta pecking order.
I think this event is clearly modelled after Surgical Strike (it even shares a lot of the same letters), but while you don’t get the +1 on the sides, it’s laughably easy with this card to discard virtually any support from play as it’s not restricted to ranged sides. It’s also comparable to Vandalize, except you take the value of the dice and it’s not restricted to character dice. Ditching a stranded +2 to discard a 2 cost support for the cost of a resource seems a bargain to me, at least for the faction. Obviously Desperate Measures is better, but giving this tool to Red hero is really going to make a difference for that archetype.
Another thing to note on the Wedge package is we finally have another strong candidate for blowing up the Death Star. Luke and his X-Wing were given 4 damage sides to give you a 44% chance of hitting the mark, compared with 25% for your average 3 damage side pilot/support combo. Another character and vehicle with the 4 damage sides makes achieving the mission relatively more likely, but it’s still going to be as hard as bulls-eyeing a womprat in a T-16.
Blue villain finally get some love with these two new cards. Dark Contrition initially set discord alight due to a typo, but above is the card as intended. Spot 2 blue is pretty easy, but does preclude its use in the end-game. This card is an effective way for the archetype to clear out the opponent’s mitigation before rolling in your biggest guns, though for me feels a little too situational. You can’t use this on, for example, Savage‘s 3 for 1 side. I kind of feel though that if you roll out a 2 melee base side and the opponent is holding mitigation, they’ll probably play it. But if you’re running a deck with lots of +2 melee sides, this card could be very strong.
Force Crush is a reimagining of Awakenings’ Force Choke. The special is even pretty similar, turning a die to a blank and dealing unblockable damage. However, the ability to target upgrade dice as well as character dice, and the lack of a ceiling makes this much more powerful. This could easily be doing 3 damage and blanking a die. However, I’d say it’s less powerful than Force Throw, which while not unblockable, removed the die it targeted, and that card saw little play. For me, I think there’s just too much competition for blue abilities, and this just won’t cut it for a 3-cost.
Next, the penultimate spoiler we’re looking over today, Darksaber:
Reusing the old Darksaber die, this costs a mere 2 resources, unlike the previous 4-cost Way of the Force version. However, while the text of the first iteration made those sides +2 each (on the right character), this iteration instead has no such boost, and instead gets stolen by the opponent when they kill the character wielding it. This is a nice nod to the crisis that was a major plot point in the latter part of the final episode of Season 2, but which was swiftly forgotten about moments later.
You can’t overwrite this card, but you can get around this problem by killing your character yourself. However, even with the issue of your opponent taking possession, I think this card is an absolute bargain. It’s relatively easy to play this on the opponent’s secondary target, so long as you don’t play it as your opening move. If they swap targets in order to reap the rewards of this upgrade, it’s done you a favour.
It’s also worth noting that if the opponent only has characters at their upgrade limit, if they choose to steal this weapon they have to discard one of their other upgrades from play. If they choose not to steal it, you get the redeploy.
Finally, we have an emotionally charged card:
Learned From My Master is the first card to feature artwork from the inimitable Parker Simpson, and is dedicated to the memory of Destiny legend Carl Harrison. A regular of the UK Destiny scene, he passed away this year, and his absence, in person, and online, is keenly felt.
The card itself opens up some pretty interesting mechanics. It has, just this evening, been ruled that the entire text box of the character carries over to the apprentice. That means we can copy Power Actions, Actions, passive abilities, ‘after you active this character’ abilities and even specials, though the latter is only relevant if the apprentice has a special side. I believe that flip abilities also copy, but fizzle under ‘do as much as you can’ on cards without flip sides.
This means that every Sith and Jedi has some usable ability you can copy, with the exception of Obi-Wan (Transformations) who is never defeated (except in Mind Extraction edge cases). My mind immediately jumps to Watch Your Career With Great Interest, as a reliable way to have a defeated Sith early game. The ability to kill, say, Dooku or Palpatine, redeploy his dice to Zannah, and copy their abilities to her and (if I draw both copies) my newly spawned Vader, seems like a very good deal for 0 resources. Redemption Vader with Palpatine‘s ability sounds nuts, and potentially broken for such an easy to trigger interaction. Time will tell there.
I think the characters with the most attractive abilities for copying are going to be Palpatine, Darth Vader (Transformations), Rako Hardine, Luke Skywalker (Transformations-B) and, my personal favourite, Anakin Skywalker (Transformations).
The best apprentice target for villain outside WYCWGI decks will probably be Savage. Zannah is good but she’s invariably the first target. I quite like the idea of eMaul-B/eSavage-A, and attempting to flip Savage, wait for the opponent to gun down Maul, then use Savage‘s special as a Maul special (I can dream can’t I?). Obviously this is a tool for Vader Savage but realistically Savage is always the first target (or if he wasn’t before, he is now), and Vader might be getting balanced soon anyway.
Hero has Ahsoka, Luke (A-side Transformations) and Redemption Leia. I could see myself playing this in a eRako/eLuke deck (since Rako gets a Team Up discount), and using this as a resource engine late game on Luke. Alternatively, copying Ki-Adi-Mundi‘s ability onto Leia could be huge. However, the big play, for bonus Destiny points, has got to be eAnakin/eLuke/Lightsaber Mastery, and using Anakin‘s ‘after you activate this character’ ability to flip baby Luke.
That’s all for now. 2 days to go!