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!
4 thoughts on “FFG Runs Interference so Rey Can Find the Way to Maul World’s – Reactions to the Holocrons Update”
When you say FFG nerf’s don’t have to have a particular deck in mind re: Running Interference, the decks targeted with his errata were Sabine/(Ezra or Yoda) and Obi/Maz, both of which can use RI to lock opponents out of entire rounds using quick actions and hyperspace jump, or can use RI to play a card to fix their dice and prevent their opponent from playing a card to remove/reroll the fixed dice. This is a pretty decent nerf to both of these decks, because, while the combo still exists, it stops the work RI was doing with little meddlesome things (like minor tempo gains, extra removal etc) while we wait for the combo pieces. This nerf likely bumped Sabine and/or Obi down to tier 2 from tier 1.5.
I’m also a little confused by your conclusion. You talk a lot about the nerfs that did happen, and so talking about the nerfs that didn’t makes sense (i.e. Aayla), but then you drop the comment about Rey and how she’s headed to worlds. I don’t understand how these two erratas suddenly open up space for a character that hasn’t seen top tier in a few months, and you never elaborate. I got lost because I feel like you jumped from points A,B, and C to point F with the Rey thing.
I think his point was that he was expecting a “balance of the force” point cost change for either Rey or Aayla (particularly Aayla because she is so efficient). A 1-point cost change to either of those characters would prevent the use of the profitable connection, which is a 3 cost plot), while still allowing for the double elite pairing. Starting with 3 resources to drop a 3-cost weapon (or a 2-cost and still have 1 resource for a blowout mitigation such as force misdirection) is one of the main reasons that this deck is doing so well. That would have been a significant blow to Raayla. It would still be a great deck, but nowhere near as efficient on turn 1, which sets the tone for the game. I think they didn’t adjust point costs because the meta is very healthy. Also, if they hit Aayla, then Boba-Seventh would be everywhere at worlds in my opinion. It’s alreasy going to have a strong showing thow. I’m happy with the erratas. They hit two cards which generally were associated with negative play experiences (NPE), as the author pointed out, situations where you watch your opponent do multiple actions without a chance to respond every turn. Now with both Maul’s Saber, and RI, you can still pull off the combo, but you have to put more thought into it and it’s unlikely to be a turn 1 or even turn 2 NPE.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Your thoughts are correct on my original intent, and I’m sorry if they didn’t come across clearly. I agree that a nerf to Raayla would just make Boba’s Sister that much more powerful (since it isn’t as reliant on Maul’s Saber as OTK). It’s hard to watch these reactive nerfs because they inherently target something they didn’t think of during playtesting. That usually means something else they didn’t think of will just creep up to take its place.
I also agree that the meta is/was in a decent space overall. I do think this Holocron both limits NPEs and encourages a smaller selection of decks to be featured at World’s. It will be interesting to see what comes out on top. With Way of the Force looking like a Q3 release, we will likely be stuck with this meta throughout the bulk of Store Championship season. Hopefully we will still see a varied meta throughout, and not a single BDIF running rampant through the SCs. The end of the EaW meta was just plain boring to me so I’m hoping this doesn’t create a similar situation.
Rey2/Aayla has been seeing more competitive play of late and I feel that the consistency that is lent that deck by Aayla has it on par with R2P2. When you take out OTK, Obi/Maz, and Sabine/Ezra with this Holocron update, the only well represented deck left is Boba’s Sister. I personally believe Rey2 and/or Aayla deserve a 1-2 point Balance of the Force. Aayla at 12 points, with that level of consistency and an extra turn one resource when paired with Rey2, is a bit much.
Rey2/Aayla did come on late in the regional season. But Aayla has been showing up in decks throughout the season, thanks in large part to her favorable points cost. I’m not one hundred percent saying that I like having Balance of the Force added all the time, but I do think targeting a card like Running Interference or Maul’s Saber for errata without looking at any other negative player experiences is a bit short sighted. And to me, having to strongly consider running a small selection of characters due to their favorable points cost is a negative play experience. I’d prefer to have characters more evenly balanced so I can choose from the full gamut of characters, but if that’s not an option, I’d prefer for characters that are completely overused (Rey2 has been everywhere since the 2P set dropped and Aayla has been showing up frequently since Legacies) to at least be considered for a BotF.
It’s hard to say what their criteria are for making these changes. We haven’t seen anything get a points reduction to encourage the use of that character. Every errata and Balance of the Force we have seen has made the card in question indisputably worse. With huge gaps between releases, you would think they were spending that time carefully playtesting and balancing.