The Art of Drafting: Chapter 1, Part 1

Dissecting the Rivals Set Part 1 – The Characters

Written by Kamper_SWDHK

You draft around the Rivals set. Without knowing the tools, you will not be able to make informed decisions. The most impactful card types you can draft are characters, because their dice come onto the board for free and you always get the most rolls out of them.

Because of how the Rivals set is structured, some factions are less desirable in the draft. Let’s start by examining the point cost.

Anakin (10), Lobot (10), Ketsu (11) Jawa (6)

Right off the bat, you may notice that YOU CANNOT rainbow out of the box. You need to include Jawa(a fine character btw) if you draft 0 characters. You must begin your draft with one of these teams in mind:

Anakin / Lobot / Jawa
Anakin / Ketsu / Jawa
Ketsu / Lobot / Jawa

Which one of the three combinations is the best? Let’s find out step-by-step.

Anakin Skywalker – Conflicted Apprentice Force
His special
Anakin sucks hard in drafts. You only draft 30 cards, and you are tasked with building a 20-30 card deck out of the 30(boosters) + 20(Rivals) = 50 cards. That means that you have to include many of neutral cards in your deck. When you have the villain/hero cards in your hand, they are quite often THE GOOD CARDS. Can you consistently pitch them to activate his special? That means that Anakin usually has 2 blanks.

His utility
While he has a sweet 2 melee Damage face, he has a 2 melee damage/1 resource cost face. You do not want to spend the resources early in the game because you need the 2 resources to upgrade your pool.

Think of it this way:
In a standard format game, 1 upgrade = 25% increase (4 -> 5 dice)
but in draft, most of the time 1 upgrade = 33% increase (3 -> 4 dice)
Upgrading with ALL your resources in drafts is the key to victory, so that gives Anakin 3 blanks in some games. Unless you are drafting melee, Anakin is the character to drop.

That leaves us with…

Lobot – Cyborg Aide Command
Lobot is the star of the set. Like I previously mentioned, you want to spend all your resources on dice. What mitigates damage for free you ask? Guardian. Lobot comes with it 50% of the time. Lobot’s die is nothing to sneeze at. Every single face of his die is useful, and the special is impactful in all stages of the game.

Ketsu Onyo – Black Sun Operative Rogue
Ketsu’s ability forces opponents to kill her first because redeploy is scarce in draft and Ketsu comes with it. Her die is the most powerful of the four characters with 2 free 2-damage sides. Disrupt 1 is solid round 1 and discard symbols are ridiculously powerful in drafts, especially when you Lobot special it.

In standard play, cards are higher in quality, and they are often in sync with other cards. Each card does its job as expected. In drafts, cards are seldom synergistic. You usually need 2 cards to do what 1 card can do in standard. That means that players burn through their decks more easily.

Jawa Scavenger General
Jawa is the secret powerhouse in the set. In drafts, hoarding the dice cards is an appropriate drafting strategy. With Jawa, you can safely draft all the expensive upgrades that do not redeploy. Turning a card into a dollar before the character dies is a pseudo-redeploy.

His die is robust for its cost. It comes with 2 ranged damage sides, allowing you to resolve all the modifiers Red and Yellow upgrades bring to the table.

TL;DR for part 1:
In sum, I think it is fair to say that the Ketsu / Lobot / Jawa is the value lineup every draft player should have in their mind before the draft. That means that Red and Yellow cards are worth quite a bit more than Blue by default, ceteris paribus.

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