Written by Matthew Williams
I’ve been playing collectible card games since before Kurt Cobain died, Literally. I’ve been through numerous games, starting with Magic and now I’m primarily only a Star Wars: Destiny player, with a little Munchkin thrown in, once or twice a week, with my kids. Game companies have two options when it comes to governing how their cards will affect competitive play. They need to first be proactive by doing a tremendous amount of play testing, preferably using the cheesiest and sleaziest players they can find that will exploit every possible avenue to win a game. However, no matter how much play testing is done, there are bound to be some cards that slip through and cause the competitive scene to be shifted. At that point, the company can only be reactive. With a new Holocron dropping on our beloved Destiny, I want to look at how well FFG has reacted.
Maul’s Saber is a relatively easy card to get on the table turn one. Without its Power Action, the card has a lot of utility. It’s got a 50% chance of rolling a melee modifier side, so it needs some assistance to be resolved. If you’re going to try and resolve this die twice, once regularly and once through its Power Action, you’re likely going to need to have two base melee dice that don’t get mitigated away. This is on top of the requirement that your opponent not have shields on any of their characters.
This is a nice card, but it’s not game breaking on its own. It’s a legendary, so it isn’t going to be in everyone’s deck, but if we’re being honest, any competitive player is not going to blink at paying roughly $50 to grab two legendaries if they feel they have enough utility. So why is this card getting a nerf if it’s not super OP on its own? Simple: OTK (One Turn Kill – eSeventhSister with two partners).
When I first started playing Destiny, one of the things that immediately appealed to me was that turns were one action. When your opponent did their one thing, it was your turn. Sure there were ambush cards and a few action cheaters, like Rey – Force Prodigy. However, usually turns swapped back and forth and both players were constantly involved. When a deck like OTK fires off, it’s simply one player doing things and the other falling asleep while it happens.
FFG has already shown that they want to keep the pace up and keep both players interested. While I wasn’t expecting Maul’s Saber to get a nerf, I can see in hindsight that I should have seen this coming. Even though it’s just one extra die, resolving that +4 side twice in a round is what keeps OTK decks churning. Making them pay that one extra resource will actually cost a lot of OTK decks in the long run, but at the same time it doesn’t tear apart the archetype entirely.
My gut reaction to this is that it isn’t so bad of a nerf that it can’t be played around. Maul’s Sabers won’t plummet from $25-$30 to $2.50-$3.00. They’ll still see play. At the same time, one of the more annoying decks this side of the ironically named FUnkar (eUnkar/FN-2199/Trooper) will be dealt a reasonably significant blow. I’m not judging here. I played around with OTK in both the EaW meta and the current Legacies meta. But I feel anytime we get a deck that simply asks an opponent to sit and watch for 5-6 actions straight, the game suffers. This is a good change.
At a Regional a few months ago, I won a number of matches thanks to this card. I shudder to think how many R2P2s(eRey2/ePoe2) I had to play that day, but a well timed tapping of Running Interference could lock in a game win. However, I didn’t always have a knock out blow in mind. Sometimes, I just wanted to needle the opponent to prolong the inevitable and disrupt their game plans. For zero resources, I had a card that I could exhaust over and over again just to exhaust my opponent.
We’ve seen this exact nerf from FFG before when they changed Imperial Inspection. FFG decided that Running Interference was a card that had merit but they wanted the players to be more careful with when they decided to use it. Having to set it aside after use simply means a player will need to be very judicious if they’re going to try and lock an opponent out of an action type.
I’m not sure how I feel about this one. I’m certainly not up in arms about it. I’m just not immediately seeing how much changes with this. I know some decks are going to be slightly worse for this change but it doesn’t seem like a knock out blow for any particular deck. I suppose nerfs don’t always have to have a particular deck in mind, but it seems like FFG is always going after something specific with their nerfs.
So, another Holocron update has come and gone and we still don’t have another Balance of the Force. Rey – Finding the Way and Aayla Secura will likely charge their way to World’s untouched. There are other decks, to be sure, but consistency wins Destiny games, and I will exhibit no surprise if Rey – Finding the Way is a large potion of the field at World’s. FFG has decided to leave points costs alone, so the only deck that really got hurt by the Holocron is OTK. I wouldn’t expect anything else between now and World’s, so we’re going to have to look and see how the Way of the Force set shakes up the meta going into Store Championship season.
What do you think of the changes in this Holocron? Let us know in the comments below!