It’s been a couple of weeks since the first Unlikely Heroes spoilers arrived, and we thought we’d have a look at them all. First up, the very first set of spoilers, courtesy of Dice Commando:
Bo-Katan is a beast for 13/16 points. She uses the parallel dice from her earlier Way of the Force iteration, which cost 16/20 points, though was balanced down to 13/18 (that was 5 points for the second die!). 13 points makes her big enough to wield a Mandalorian Executioner Vibro-Ax, and is pretty generous. In fact, so generous that it’s got people talking about whether 13 health is fair for 13 points non-elite.
There have been characters with similar points/health stats before. Chewbacca the Beast was 12/15, then balanced to 11/13, for his 13 health. Savage Opress was 11/14 for 13 health. However, both those characters had decidedly poor dice sides. Jaro Tapal has not dissimilar dice sides, plus Guardian and an action cheating ability, and is 13/16 for 13. Covert Missions Anakin was balanced to 13/17 for his 13 health, had a 4 melee side and could steal shields.
The talk about health to points ratios got me thinking about effective health. The points on the card doesn’t tell the whole story sometimes:
Ki-Adi-Mundi generates shields with his ability. I reached out to Galactic Open winner Hipo, who reckoned that Ki-Adi‘s ability can often generate 15 shields by cycling Jedi Lightsaber/KAM’s Lightsaber. Even accounting for the fact that you’re playing a sub-par weapon which takes up an upgrade slot, and the first 2 shields you’d get with any Jedi, you’re still looking at an 11/14 character who has an effective health of around 20. Leia Organa from Redepemption similarly has an effective health of around 20 in the right deck.
Lumpawaroo is 10/12 and if he gets hit with only 2’s has an effective health of 14, as he hits the opponent for 5 damage.
Ultimately, health is just part of the whole package. And it looks strong here because the rest of the Bo-Katan package looks so solid. That 3 direct free damage is a first for this cost, and the special may be indirect damage, but it’s unblockable indirect damage.
Finally though, the Power Action is where it gets interesting. This is pretty versatile, and potentially very effective early game against characters with low value pay sides, though it must be said there simply aren’t many of those around. You can also use it to pull a base side off the table and strand modifiers. And then the icing on the cake is you can get a +1 on damage sides if you’ve got one in the pool. Honestly, although this all sounds very good, I don’t think it’s actually going to play out as particularly strong in reality. It’s nice to have, but on balance it’s a fairly weak ability on an otherwise solid character, which is where it should be.
Mandalorian Vault is slow 1 cost removal for character dice, but you can use it twice, or more if you run Kuill, making it very cost effective removal while you have a Blue character on the table. It is also a Yellow card with a Blue spot requirement.
A quick check suggests that the only cards in the history of Destiny which specifically referred to a different colour in their ability (not counting cards which mentioned all colours like Faltering Allegiances/2-player Kylo, or force wielding Rogues like EaW Ezra) are Cassian Andor (Faltering Allegiances), Watto (post-errata), Aayla, and Guardian of the Whills. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the only card in that very short shortlist that called out another colour for the purposes of encouraging cross-colour cooperation was Guardian of the Whills. Yet in the 16 cards we’ve seen from Unlikely Heroes, we’ve now seen this twice (the other is This is War!, below). I like this direction and look forward to seeing more.
I like Strike a Deal. In general you’re not going to want to give the opponent free resources, certainly early game. However, this card is 0 cost with no play restriction to remove any non-special/non-blank die. That’s an unheard of safety net, and one I’ll appreciate having, even if it’s only going to be a one-of in my decklist.
Next, Red hero, brought to us by Destiny Junior:
Cody is pretty pricey at 14/17, but comes with the beefy ARC-170 Starfighter die. He keeps his two relevant subtypes, and his abilities are pretty monstrous. If you start the round (or the game) with the battlefield, or take control of it during the round, you get a free card draw. In standard we’ve got Seizing Territory for this, which seems like an auto-include for Cody as it’s got ambush and costs nothing to get the card draw plus battlefield control. In general, in a fast deck, his ability means you’ll probably be playing with a 6 card hand throughout the game.
His second ability is complementary as it requires you to discard a card, so you can leverage your hand advantage: Power Action him and discard a card, and you get to turn a trooper die to any side. This is most likely going to be used offensively, but could be used as pseudo-mitigation against the opponent’s troopers. The consistency this offers shouldn’t be underestimated. I used to play villain troopers a lot, and Imperial Officer‘s autofocus of a trooper die always made the game feel much more comfortable. This really makes me consider a pairing with new trooper Bo-Katan.
Next up, the big spoiler, The Bad Batch. Not only does it have a solid die with no blanks, but it rolls in two dice of your choice between Clone Trooper or Rebel Engineer (1 of each, or 2 of one), so long as you can spot a leader. The obvious parallel here is Megablaster Troopers. The difference is that Bad Batch is better:
On the die we’re trading 3 indirect for 2 indirect, but we’re replacing the 2 disrupt and 2 blanks with a 1 shield, 2 shield and 1 resource;
The extra dice you roll in are simply better: the Clone Trooper die has a free 2 indirect instead of a 2 ranged pay side, and the Engineer die is really very good, especially if you’re after money or focus. Plus you get to choose which you roll depending on the circumstances. You can also roll in The Bad Batch, then decide whether to roll in a Clone or an Engineer, then decide whether to roll in a Clone or Engineer for your second bonus die after you’ve seen what you’ve got from the first two.
The disadvantage of course is it’s unique, though on the plus side this means I don’t have to go seeking out more Engineer dice, as I only own 2.
This card alone makes a huge difference for hero support decks. Having something to actually spend their money on is something hero decks have struggled with for some time, and this is definitely worth spending money on. Also, if you’re playing Cody, not only do you get the leader you need to roll out two extra dice, but if you roll out the Clone Trooper die you can focus it with his ability.
And finally, we have This is War! It must be said that removal doesn’t get more situational than this. You have to have a Blue character, a ready Red character, and there has to be a non-damage die with a value of 1 or less in the pool that you want to remove. On the plus side, it costs 0 and gives you tempo, plus it can remove 1 resource sides and specials. On balance, I think if I’m actually playing Blue/Red, I’m going to be including this card.
Now, some Blue spoilers thanks to Hyperloops:
Monster Mace follows the trend of parallel dice and has a simple but deadly ability: damage dealt by his dice is unblockable. And if you modify his dice, you get to push through even more unblockable damage. It must be said that it’s a little peculiar that the answer to the Blue hero shield wall is a Blue hero rather than a Blue villain, but that eccentricity aside this character looks to be a solid choice in the right meta. At 13/17 points this die costs a lot less than the original 16/22 points, though that did get balanced to 14/19 and still didn’t see play.
His Power Action is reminiscent of old Mace. I’d love to use this on a 4 side to deal 8 unblockable damage for just 1 resource, but in reality this is probably not going to get used very much.
The 13/17 points opens up elite pairings with Aayla (who is on Echoes of Destiny 2.0) or Sifo Dyas leaving room for the Lightsaber Ignition plot, which has a 50/50 chance of dealing at least 4 unblockable damage.
One final consideration is a point raised by Dice Commando: this big bad blue is an excellent target for an Apt Lesson/Draw Closer combo deck. Get a Niman Mastery on him, and you’re looking at being able to spring 6 unblockable damage on the opponent out of nowhere.
The power of his dice and the above combo really makes me consider Caretaker Village seriously. That Spark of Hope card has seen almost no play, but as a reminder it’s a 2 cost with an after effect in which you exhaust it to roll back in an apprentice or Jedi die that the opponent just removed, much like United. Having this around would mean that the opponent cannot effectively remove both of Mace‘s dice in one action. And if they do remove a die, you get to roll any removed dice back in and then take another action.
Yoda’s Teachings keeps Legacies classic Yoda alive, albeit in Upgrade form. You’re very much playing this one for the special chaining, and it’s going to be a solid include for hero blue decks. Is it better than Force Valor? Hard to tell, but at the very least it’s on a par.
As The Force Wills It is an interesting card: you need the opponent to roll something they don’t want, and then you play this and they can’t re-roll it. Of course it’s pretty ineffective into decks that use focus sides, but it’s also 0 cost pseudo-mitigation without a play restriction. I kind of want to include this in decks with Acute Awareness, so that if the opponent does focus the target die, I get to just flip it back. It also comes with Renew, which is what makes this card actually includable. Late game that could be a life safer. Just be sure to take note of the die targeted by this event in some way, probably by separating it from the rest of the dice, so it doesn’t accidentally get rerolled later.
And finally, some Halloween spoilers, courtesy of ARH themselves:
Nightsister Acolyte is a very cheap non-unique elite, pitched at about the same level as Rebel Pilot, sharing cost, health and damage sides. Her die is actually a parallel die to the original Nightsister (as well as Outer Rim Smuggler, Force Sensitive Outcast and Ezra Bridger), and her ability is reminiscent of her ability. However, instead of dealing 1 damage to the character for a re-roll, you play a card costing an odd number. Assuming you’re playing a witch deck with the reprinted Talzin, you’ll be playing at least 2 cards that cost an odd number each round, meaning you’ll get two completely free re-rolls, of yours or an opponent’s die, or more if you’re running the newly reprinted Energy Bow.
Also, the art is absolutely stunning, and courtesy of Steph Does Art. Check out her Instagram account here.
Influence is an odd curse. The art is taken from the same scene in Clone Wars, when Talzin used a doll of Dooku to torture him, which led him to immediately send Grievous to Dathomir. Some might say that strategy backfired. That miscalculation aside, this downgrade has the potential for removing the opponent’s die, but they can keep the die in their pool exchange for letting you gain a resource.
Honestly, I can’t see this getting play. First of all, the opponent chooses whether a die is removed or if you gain a resource. Plus, if a die is removed, they get to pick the die. And you have to spot a witch to keep it alive. Even if you net 1 resource per round from this, to do so requires good timing, the right rolls from the opponent, and a spot requirement. As ramp cards go, this one is pretty poor. That being said, if there is enough additional incentive for playing curses (such as Zombies, Dark Magick or Nightsiser Assassins) beyond what the curse achieves on its own, this could become playable.
Finally, Water of Life is a solid utility upgrade. Sharing the Dark Counsel die, and just like that card, the special is an “exploding die”, with the potential for unlimited resolves if you get lucky with the re-roll. All sides of this die are worth resolving for the 1-cost, and it’s a good addition to the odd-cost-card corpus available to witches.
That’s all for now, but keep an eye out for future spoilers coming down the line soon, especially the OTS spoilers which go live tomorrow.
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