High Stakes set review – blue

High Stakes is here, and as is tradition at echobase after the release of a set we review each individual card from that set. Today we will be taking a look at the Force cards within High Stakes. We will be reviewing these by affiliation/card type, giving each card a score out of 5, with that score representing our opinion on their power level, rather than an opinion on how well designed they are. A few cards in our reviews we have given the ‘Legendary’ status and are highlighted in Purple. Let’s begin!

The newest version of the Grand Inquisitor is 14/17 for 13 health with a 2 and a 3 base side. Where he shines is in that special, which 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 (3/5)

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. The future power of this character will depend heavily on the card pool (4/5)

Darth Momin has a strong die for 12/14, and shares stats with Ki-Adi-Mundi, trading his 1 focus for a a 1 discard. His Power Action is easily worth a resource per round. You can either hope the opponent rolls a blank, or you can force it with Salt Flats or a pairing with Taron (and United). You don’t have to play the ability on him, which is also very strong. If you can find a way to survive, this character combined with existing blue villain ramp could be strong.
Momin comes with a flip side on defeat:

Mask of Momin continues the style of Momin‘s ability, except you have to take a damage and the card comes exclusively from your discard pile. Again, you don’t have to play the ability on attached character. I like this ability mostly as I love Watch Your Career With Great Interest. If we kill Momin with WYCWGI, we can attach this to Vader (as Momin‘s ability kicks in after the plot fully resolves), or even a non-blue character, and potentially use Momin and his Mask‘s ability in the same round. The only problem is 12/14 is 1 point too many to slot him in to my favourite WYCWGI pairing of eDooku/Zannah/Pyke/plot. This means we have to play something like eMomin/eDooku/plot, which sounds weaker, not least of all since a fast aggro deck could knock off Dooku before you flip. As you can’t include the Mask in your deck, I’m combining the score for this character: (3/5)

Ahsoka Tano comes with her Empire at War parallel dice. At first glance, 17 points for 12 health seems a lot these days. 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. I can see this character having an answer to the problem of having to wade through a sea of mitigation, but I think the high points cost is going to cause problems (2.5/5)

I don’t know why people aren’t keen on Guardian of the Whills. This 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 (4/5)

Coming in at 12/14, Ki-Adi-Mundi has decent health and ability, and two excellent abilities. His passive after ability can be triggered any number of times, so is limited only by the card pool and how determined you are. Other than Renew, we already have a lot of ways to play cards from your discard pile. Ki-Adi-Mundi‘s Power Action is where he really shines. Discard equipments or weapons with impunity, just to pull them from your discard pile and net a shield is pretty amazing. The obvious synergy here is with Jedi Lightsaber. If you can get 2 of these out of your deck, they can overwrite each other, once per round, and you net 3 free shields (2 on KAM, 1 on anyone), every round, for zero cost. This survivability means his points to health ratio, in practice, will work out much better than Momin. There’s little shield hate in the new meta, and I still think this character is going to find a place, despite being entirely absent from the release event (5/5)

Baby Yoda aka Grogu enters the game as a diceless 6 health character for 7 points, but his ability is potentially epic. Tutoring an ability and rolling in its die is pretty amazing with upgrades like Shien Mastery and Makashi Mastery around, but that 6 health is going to be the limiting factor. The curious side of this character though is that, on defeat, he becomes a plot for the opponent, which allows them to do exactly the same back at you, using your own abilities against you. You can get around this if you can pull those abilities out of your discard pile, perhaps with the requisite Training card, Lor San Tekka, Deathwatch Hideout (with Satine) or Salvaged Parts. Otherwise, your opponent is using them against you, which is bad. However, when you kill an opponent’s character, you return Grogu to play, ready (as the opponent’s plot is always ready) and fully healed, which is a huge bonus.
Note that he effectively has 5 usable health, as when you activate him on 5 damage, defeating and flipping him, if you choose to roll in a blue ability die, your opponent’s next action will be to PA the plot on the very same ability in your discard pile. This allows them to steal the die from your pool (as each card only has one matching die) and roll it in to their pool before you get a chance to resolve it.
I feel he synergises best with other blue heroes, as then you’re playing blue abilities anyway, but his points allow a pairing with eeDin Djarin/Protect the Child for full-on big dice. He’s also another 7 point blue with no play restrictions, so may find a place in 3-wide rainbow decks in the future (5/5).

No Second Chances is a really odd card, but one which I think has so far been overlooked (judging by the fact I haven’t seen anyone even mention it). It featured in 2 of the 5 Grand Inquisitor decks in the release event, but really I think it’s got more of a place in a ping deck. For 0 resources, you can boost all damage dealt to a character by 1. Resolving dice is one way to do this of course (note, modified sides are resolved with the base side so you only get 1 extra damage), but there’s plenty of other ways, such as Force Affinity and many other events, Zombies and Dark Magick, Shock Collar and Pyre/Relentless Advance tricks. In fact, that last trick could be brutal if it’s the opponent’s last character (or you havee two of these in play) as you could trigger it 1 damage at a time, thereby doubling the damage output from the plot, though the build will look odd (Pyre/FN/Second/Relentless?).
The downside? You have to play an inquisitor, and that inquisitor takes 5 damage if the target character is still alive at the end of the round. Play this to secure a kill, and there’s no downside. Which is precisely the point of the card. I’m going to give this a low score, as it’s situational, but I think that someone is going to break someone with this one day (2/5)

Why Take the Chance is free focus to a special or blank and opponent’s die for 1 damage. An absolute bargain for Tenth Brother or Redemption Vader decks, and a great plot trigger for WYCWGI. Not so good in decks without specials (4/5)

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 (2/5)

Dark Dispatch is 2 cost mitigation that sort of works like Beguile except that instead of getting a re-roll on a die you roll in a Purge Trooper die. If you’re sitting on another resource, that’s great, but rolling that pay side could be really annoying if you’ve just spent all your resources. Roll in a resource or that 2 melee side and you’re happy. I think this is just a bit too situational and risky to be worth including when compared to other mitigation options. I don’t want to hold on to 2 resources just to mitigate one die, even if there’s a chance I get a bit of extra damage out of it (1/5)

Tranquility is very similar to old favourite Respite, but worse. The draw on Respite made it a fantastic card in a wide deck, but the extra ability on this version is just so situational as to be mostly ineffective. It’s still going to be a decent card in some decks, and it’s a good one for the card pool, though it is a shame it’s not neutral (2/5)

Dissuade is basically a Disciplined Mind, but swap “Jedi” for “Blue”. This means it can be included in more decks, but is much less effective. Even against Jedi decks, Disciplined Mind was useful against upgrades. Nevertheless, this will be handy mitigation in most games and is a nice bonus for hero rainbow decks who aren’t running a Jedi (if that’s even a thing still). Where it wins over Disciplined Mind is the Renew ability. For 2 resources, you can play this from your discard pile. That is very expensive, but could be clutch late game, and for that reason this card is likely to be seen in future hero blue decks so long as mono-Blue remains relatively niche in the new meta (3/5)

I Sense a Trap can net effectively unlimited shields for one character with this card, so you can discard 6 cards to shield up Yoda, 4 for Qui-Gon, or 3 for other characters. This card is clearly designed to work well with Ki-Adi-Mundi, and will function even better when he is paired with a character like Chopper. Note that it’s been ruled that you have to declare how many cards you’re milling before you mill them. You can’t just discard until you hit a card you want to pull from your discard and stop there. This card is nice with Lor San Tekka, or with Inflict Pain, which gets added to your hand when it’s discarded from your deck (2/5)

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 (4/5)

Kyber Quest appears good value: 2 dice for a 3 cost upgrade. However, you have to exhaust the character you attach it to, which means you sacrifice the upgrade die too. Best with cheap elites like Kanan or Ahsoka, it could also be good with new Ahsoka as it makes it easier to get 2 weapons on her to trigger her ability in the first round of the game (2/5)

Makashi Riposte is another free move event, similar to Twin Strike, except it targets 1 die and works on upgrade dice. Crucially though it nets 2 free shields if you’re playing Makashi Mastery. The Renew cost of 1 is a good deal if you’re playing that Mastery, but not so good otherwise. As this card is a bit niche, I’m giving it (2/5)

Lightsaber Ignition is one of the three 1 point filler plots in High Stakes, one in each colour, which is a nice touch. 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 (4/5)

Protect the Child is another 1 point plot, though much more specific. The ability to protect Grogu a bit (even from himself) is a nice thematic addition, and of course is meant to be included in a eeDin Djarin/Grogu/PtC deck (3/5)

Vader’s Fortress has a pretty powerful on-play ability. 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. 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 (4/5)

Sith Eternal Cultist is a 1-cost blue villain support, which is virtually unheard of. It has acceptable sides for the cost, but it’s Power Action is where it shines. The ability to turn any blank into a single focus is a big boost, and will be especially appreciated by Palpatine. The problem is I think I’d struggle to actually fit this into a deck, and it’s really going to slow you down (2/5)

Seeing Stone I kind of feel has been overlooked. Play this card, and it costs you an extra action that round to reroll any number of dice, and no additional cards from hand. In future rounds, you’re effectively playing with a 6 card hand, as it gives you a bonus re-roll. And it costs 0 resources. This is effectively an Emperor’s Favor for 1 less resource. Unless you never re-roll, I can’t think of a compelling reason to not slot this in to your deck (4.5/5)

One of my favourite thematic cards, Millenium Falcon is a nice way to put Rey in the pilot seat. I think this is probably best in ReyLo, though it’s good with Luke too. It might even make Luke/Rey just about work. The problem though: it costs 3, and has only very marginally better sides than current 2 cost supports (1/5)

Renewal is a good include in a deck which revolves around I Sense a Trap/Seeing Stone plays, or with the truly phenomenal Forest Clearing. However, I think it’s especially strong for ramp with Grogu (or Rebel Partisan) since their character abilities trigger it, giving you some guaranteed ramp. Great in the right deck, but pretty niche (3/5)

Once per round focusing for 1 resource, Sith Wayfinder would be great as a support, but as an upgrade it takes up a slot on your character and is discarded when the character dies. I’d definitely include this in a Jango/Blue deck, but struggle to fit it in elsewhere (though it does trigger WYCWGI twice) (2/5)

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 potentially 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 (1/5)

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. It’s biggest weakness is probably the fact it’s a blue weapon, so doesn’t currently have a good home (2/5)

Ki-Adi-Mundi’s Lightsaber is exactly what he needs. A 1-cost weapon you can cycle with his ability, and 2 shields on play. Spot on. In a Ki-Adi deck this is a (5/5) auto-include. Elsewhere, thanks to Jar’Kai and Cara Dune’s Blaster, it’s still getting a (3.5/5)

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. 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 (4.5/5)

Force Telekinesis feels like an upgrade just waiting to be broken. That special is worth a triple focus and can be incorporated into a special chain. Otherwise, it has a lot of focus sides, which is something that blue abilities in general have been lacking. 2 cost is good value too. This is especially strong with Grogu, as you take no damage from that special (4/5)

Learned From My Master is a great card and one we reviewed in much more detail here. It opens up some pretty interesting mechanics. We can copy Power ActionsActions, passive abilities, ‘after you active this character’ abilities and even specials, though the latter is only relevant if the apprentice has a special side. Flip abilities also copy, but fizzle under ‘do as much as you can’ on cards without flip sides.
My mind immediately jumps to Watch Your Career With Great Interest, as a reliable way to have a defeated Sith early game. 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 PalpatineDarth Vader (Transformations)Rako HardineLuke Skywalker (Transformations-B) and, my personal favourite, Anakin Skywalker (Transformations). The big play, for maximum 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.
Generally though, I think this card is going to be too situational to be competitive. But it’s going to be a lot of fun (2/5)

Makashi Training is close to what I’d expect from the Training for the Mastery. However, those sides really are not great. It’s best side is probably the 2 shield, and the special is poor into a lot of decks. Just not great value for 2 resources (1/5)

Makashi Mastery is a solid Mastery in amongst tough competition. Those specials are epic, and potentially better than the Shien Mastery special for 1 less resource. I typically include double Niman and double Shien in my blue decks, but I could see myself slotting one or two of these in. This card is especially good in a Grogu deck, who negates the downside of not rolling this in on play versus Shien (4/5)

Finally, I’m including this battlefield in the blue review:

Fitting in with the discard-from-deck synergies in blue, we’re also getting pretty insane battlefield value from Forest Clearing. If you’re playing 3-wide blue, you’re netting 3 health on the claim, which is a better health swing than I think any other battlefield in Destiny ever (except Arena of Death in a very wide deck). Even in 2-wide, this is a strong choice, especially if we’re in a non-blue meta (4.5/5)

Overally, blue in High Stakes feels a bit weaker than we’ve been used to for the faction, which I think is a good thing, as blue has been very dominant lately. Look out for future faction reviews in the coming days.

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