Written by Matthew Williams
This year’s World Champion playmat featured an awesome image of Sabine holding the Darksaber and by the end of the tournament, we had the Darksaber card spoiled too! This card honestly has a lot to love, and I’ll be happy to open a pack with one of these in it, especially in draft! No blanks, 0.83 damage per roll, and a two focus side makes this a really powerful die. However, that isn’t the entire story. It has redeploy and a unique ability that states that its values go up by one for characters that are 15 points or more or by two for characters that cost 20 or more! That pumps the average damage up to 1.17 and 1.5 per roll respectively and my average of sentences with exclamations in this paragrah jumps to 67%!
So, as of this writing, there are two problems with the Darksaber. First, it costs four. That’s actually not horrible, as Yellow has a few different ways of pumping in resources, and it does have redeploy. The biggest problem is the lack of decks that can truly capitalize on the extra ability. There aren’t a lot of pairings that give you either two 15 point characters, or a 20/10 lineup that also includes Yellow and melee.
For our first potential pairing, we have a lineup that makes no thematic sense, but that’s not going to stop us. This gives you a four-dice, 22 health matchup, and Zeb is obviously the target for the Darksaber. However, as will be the problem with basically all of the matchups that we can make right now, the second character (Wahnakin here) cannot make use of Darksaber’s ability, slightly diminishing its utility As we saw at World’s, Blue and Yellow are by far the most represented colors in competitive decks, so this checks off those boxes, and it keeps us squarely in melee, which is not something all of the other pairings can say.
So, the best target for Darksaber should be Sabine, right? I mean, it’s her picture on the card and eSabine/Yoda is already a thing. On top of that, you can pitch the Darksaber, making it even easier to get out. Plus Sabine costs 20 so she can fully maximize the ability and you have Yoda there to focus the die. Buuuuuuutttt, it’s melee, and Sabine is all about the ranged. I know a lot of decks can make good use of mixed damage, but it just seems like this deck is only going to be slowed down by Darksaber from the melee sides. When you consider the other four sides being pumped by +2 on Sabine, it does seem like it should be worth testing to see how well it works, so I’m including it here.
But we could use Jyn! Fine, I’ll move on…
If Sabine is interesting despite the ranged damage, then Iggy Pop should be considered as well. Gamorrean Guard is a nice pairing, with the Guardian ability and good health. Additionally, Iggy’s ability, though it is dependent on rolling the special, lets you play the Darksaber for two resources. Still, when it gets shifted to Mr. Piggy, it loses it’s luster, and Piggy doesn’t give us the focus chances that Yoda does. Also, being mono-Yellow could present issues as well, especially given the likely resurgence of Kylo – Tormented One post World’s.
Ok, but we could use K-2SO! No?! Why do you guys just hate Rogue One characters so much? You don’t want to pay 6 for Darksaber? Pfft!
So Obi-Wan Kenobi – Mysterious Hermit and Luke Skywalker – Jedi Knight are both 20, and Wookie Warrior makes a decent partner (except for those resource costs). These could be plausible. The Guardian on Old Ben is weird here, since he’s the one you’d want to protect to get maximum utility from the Darksaber. Also, the ability and dice sides are arguably better on Luke, in addition to the one extra health. Obi2 is potentially great here, but the 19 points instead of 20 causes the Darksaber to be worse across the board, which is a big ding to him here.
This is the pairing I most want to work. I already expressed my love for the new Grievous card in a previous article, and pairing him with the Gamorrean makes sense. The worst thing about this matchup is that it knocks you out of Blue, so one die Anakin may make more sense here, despite losing the guardian. Really, it’s hard to value Yellow’s utility at getting resources versus Blue’s longevity, so playtesting both will be in order. Either way, getting a Darksaber on Grievous seems like a disaster waiting to happen for your opponent, if you could ever pull it off.
Darksaber is a card that is going to warrant playtesting and working into a deck, at least as a 1-of. It’s a solid neutral legendary in a color that is solidly in the two-spot for utility. Ideally, I’m hoping a 15/15 pairing shows up, where both characters are elite. Rey2 is dying for a Yellow 15 point partner, but I’m not sure if non-elite Sabine is really it. With many more cards left to come, I have a feeling Darksaber is in line for some serious playtime in Tier 1 decks.
Did I miss any pairings? Do you feel 15/15 or 20/10 is a better use of Darksaber? Is it Darksaber worth it without using its ability? Let me know in the comments what you think of this new legendary from Way of the Force!