It’s the last day before High Stakes, and we’ve got a look at some of the final spoilers, including an exclusive echobase spoiler at the end. First up, the previously spoiled cards.
Cad Bane and Now It’s Personal were spoiled by ORFFME, and you can find his video here.
Cad packs a slightly above par 13 health for 14/17 points, and strong sides which are reminiscent of his Empire at War iteration. However, he’s dropped the pay sides and his action cheating. Honestly, I find this character solid, but unexciting. His Awakenings Grievous-style weapon stealing is nice to have, but unlikely come up very often, unless we find ourselves in a very weapon heavy meta.
Now It’s Personal is a card with a very high upside, but very difficult play conditions. You have to lose your character first, before killing the opponent’s, which makes the timing really awkward. The play restriction of having to have a defeated unique character I think is prohibitive; bounty decks want to be dropping bounties asap to ramp with Nightsister Lair, and drawing this one early would be useless.
The newest version of the Grand Inquisitor follows Cad‘s pattern of 14/17 for 13 health with a 2 and a 3 base side. However, that special is potentially monstrous. So long as the opponent has a die showing a blank, it’s effectively a 3 damage side which you can incorporate into a special chain. If you can Niman Mastery to the GI special and a 2 or 3 base side on an upgrade, you can then resolve the GI special to deal 5 or 6 damage out of nowhere. The team-up is a handy bonus. If we want to use it, we have elite Ninth Sister, non-elite Tenth Brother with Inquisitorius, or Second Sister and a 2 point plot as good options, the first I think being the strongest option.
Grand Inquisitor’s Lightsaber is another good use of a parallel die, but costs 1 less and has a better special. It follows the Inquisitor blank die modus operandi we’ve seen before. The ability to roll in a GI die, or any character die for that matter, plus get the re-roll on the upgrade, is very solid. You also get the re-roll on it if you subsequently roll the special again, even if its exhausted. 3, 3-melee sides on a 3 cost weapon is above curve, but the lack of redeploy does hurt its strength a bit.
The first ever 10 point elite character (with no play restriction) outside yellow ever (except C-3PO, who was printed at 8/10 but then balanced to 9/11), Rebel Pilot opens up a huge number of options for deck building. She also carries piloting and really very good die sides for the cost, as well as an acceptable 8 health, which can be boosted with 12 (effectively) with a well-timed Eject. I expect this character to see a lot of casual play, but whether it sees competitive play will depend on pairing options. I’m currently thinking that we have a good aggressive partner for BDLuke, or we’ve got 3-wide options such as all pilots, or the first multi-colour 6 die hero starts with eWicket, eSatine or eKuiil.
The most obvious and clearly intentional partner for her is Wedge. That pairing gives you effectively guaranteed value out of both her dice, as her blanks on roll-out become free shields. Roll out double blanks, and re-roll into double 2 ranged, and you’ve got yourself a 6 health swing from a 10 point character. Sure, this is unlikely, but either way, I’m really liking this character.
A trip to Mustafar now, Alazmec Colonist is a tricky character to assess. The after ability has a potentially very high upside, but is likely to come in at 1 or 2 damage per round, which is pretty good for unmitigatable damage from a 7 point character. Talking of points, historically 7 points has been unheard of for a blue character; we’ve normally had to spend 8 points to have access to blue. This character means you can splash blue into an otherwise 23 point line-up for the first time, outside Grievous and Zombie builds.
Vader’s Fortress has a pretty powerful on-play ability, which is non-optional if you have a Sith, but you could easily include this card in a non-Sith deck if you didn’t want it. I initially completely misread this, and didn’t realise you draw up to your hand size. If you play this as the last card in your hand (ideally after your opponent has claimed/spent their money) you get to draw 6 more cards (combined with the action). This could be huge early game in a support deck, or in a deck which packs a lot of cheap tech. Thanks to BastMaster for spotting my error.
The action itself gives you a 6 card hand for the rest of the game, and, if combined with some blanking tricks or an opponent with unlucky rolls, some slow payback. I feel that although the payback is a little situational, the benefit of effectively a 6 card draw on play is certainly worth the 2 cost in the right deck. Beautiful art too.
Incinerator Trooper is a bit of a monster for 7 points. Those a 4 very good sides. When you compare it to the First Order Stormtrooper, you’re trading 1, 2 and 2-for-1 direct sides, for 2, 2 and 3 indirect, all for free. Sure, that 2 ranged side on the FOST is a loss, but I’ll happily resolve any of this guys sides, while the FOST 1 ranged and pay-side were always a bit annoying. His on-defeat ability is certainly a problem, but he’s unlikely to be the first target. If I’m playing a deck with modified ranged sides, I’ll still run the FOST, but otherwise, and especially if I’m playing Relentless Advance, I’m probably using this guy.
The mouse droid is the first card with a cost of X, in this case 0 for the first one, 1 for the next and so on. I say “and so on”, because being a droid you can include many of these in an Aphra build. With this little droid you’re paying 0 resources, 2 actions and 1 card for 1 focus, then 1 resource, 2 actions and a card for 2 focus. This is slightly above curve, so I think will be a popular include in decks which are slow anyway. It’ll be especially popular in Aphra decks, thanks to the damage ping and the ability to Self-Destruct them. Also, I like that you can play one for 0 resources, but the opponent has to take 1 indirect damage to Desperate Measures it (as its cost is 0 resources in your hand but 1 resource once it’s on the table).
Outland TIE Fighter shares the cost, ambush, deck building bonus, and sides of TIE Fighter, except it trades the +2 ranged for a 2 ranged, which is a huge step up. You lose the tutor ability, but once you have one of these out, all future copies cost you just 1 resource, which is a bargain. Expect this card to be an a common include in a villain support decks.
Our first greys of the set, the Amban Blaster has sides which would be acceptable on a 2-cost weapon, but costs 3 resources due to its on-play ability. The convenience of combining upgrade and mitigation into one card is nice, but the 3 cost means you can’t drop this with your starting resources. In an upgrade deck with decent ramp, I think this is going to be strong, especially as it can be overwritten later essentially netting you a resource (as the mitigation becomes “free”).
The Mandalorian Covert has some anti-Renew tech built in, and could be used with the Alazmec Colonist to try to remove the cheap cards from the opponent’s discard pile. I also like that it’s a battlefield which is pretty low powered, so a good option for slow support decks that aren’t doing much claiming.
I’m Alright Pal is a faster version of Draw Attention, and a handy one for spreading the damage around if you’ve got guardians on your team. Bear in mind that the card resolves before guardian kicks in so you can’t take damage from guardian and then move the damage.
Rally the Covert is a card which has caused some disagreement amongst us here at echobase. I think it’s so-so, but the others think it’s potentially very strong. Yes, you can include this in a deck with a character like Pyke Sentinel or Nightsister Zombie and do a decent amount of potential damage, but in reality, the average damage this does is about 3 for 3 resources. However, if the opponent is sitting on a number of 0, 1 and 2 sides, this could be a strong mitigation play. Note, those Mando dice have no resource sides, so you can’t net a resource back with a decent roll.
Greef Karga is an exceptional character. Starting with Bounty Board on the table and 3 copies of Dead or Alive in your deck means your ramp is going to be through the roof, especially if you’re playing on Nightsister Lair. It also means you don’t have to dilute your deck with lots of bounties to synergise with cards like IG-88, Dengar and Trandoshan Hunter. Talking of Trandoshans, you can pair Greef non-elite with 2 elite Trandoshans and Extremist Campaign.
I asked for a TK-422 version of Han Solo a while ago on Discord, and either someone was listening, or I got lucky. It turns out that Han is now TK-710 in the new canon, but the art used by solis is pretty much exactly the art used on the old SWCCG card, which makes me very happy. For 12 points, you get 2 Veteran Stormtrooper dice, which are really good dice, with 3 damage sides and a resource side. They also don’t get removed when Han dies, which is a nice bonus. Being trooper dice you can also target them with Measure for Measure and AT-RT. 12 points sets up a pairing with elite Jyn (or Obi-Wan – Rako Hardine) and Intelligence Operation, and I think that pairing is going to be pretty strong.
The Guardian of the Whills is a really great support character. A guardian with 9 health for 8 points is good enough, but he also has a 2 damage base side, and you can run him elite. This guy is basically the hero version of Savage. However, since hero have Heroic Protector, and since he has no pay sides or modify sides, I’d say he’s potentially got the edge. Not being able to play blue abilities on him is a fair compromise. The partisan subtype is a curious addition. Tricky to see what it’s achieving in the current card pool, but does I suppose allow for Reckless Ambush plays, as well as Near Miss in a pairing with Benthic. I like this guy non-elite with e²Din Djarin.
The penultimate spoiler, and the eponymous card of the set, High Stakes is going to be hugely influential. No play requirements for it; you just need to be running yellow and have a point spare, and you can start the game with 3 resources. Being able to plan around starting with 3 resources means that 3-cost upgrades and supports can be included more readily in your deck, as you know you can open with them. Turn 1 Vibrosword anyone?
And finally, we have an exclusive spoiler for you all, Come to Aid.
I’ve got to admit, I find this card highly underwhelming.
The obvious top choice for a die which you increase by 2 is a resource side. If you do, you’re netting 1 resource (as the card costs 1). That means this card functions like Logistics. Except it’s non-unique character die only. And you have to already have a resource to play it. And you have to exhaust one of your characters to play it.
So much for that comparison. How about pumping a damage side? Well, cards like Intense Fire and many others set the benchmark there, of easy condition, 1 card and 1 resource to increase the side by 2. Here the condition is non-unique character die only. But you have to exhaust one of your characters to play it.
The non-unique character die only restriction I feel makes up for the fact that this card has the flexibility to target any die side. So why does it both cost 1 resource to play AND force you to exhaust a character? Exhausting a character is worth 1 resource and no cards (a precedent set by Respite). Honestly, I think if this card cost 0 resources it would still only be merely playable. At 1 resource, it’s never leaving the binder.
But it would be a shame if I thought that every card produced by ARH was powerful. And to be honest, I enjoyed getting the first word on this one.
That’s all for now folks. Tomorrow, it’s go time.