Written by Bill Yankosky (aka Yodaman)
For a couple of years (basically until the game ended) I was part of a team that reviewed cards for the Star Wars LCG, so when JGG recently asked me if I would be willing to write some review articles giving my thoughts about Spark of Hope cards, I figured what the heck and agreed to do it.
I do want to preface this series of articles by saying that I play casually all the time and that is what I enjoy most about Star Wars: Destiny. I attend local tournaments (and have won a couple of those) and played at a Regional close to where I live, but due to a variety of personal reasons, that is the limit of my foray into the competitive scene. Basically, what I’m saying is that if you continue to read this review expecting to only get an in-depth and insightful look at a card’s value in top-level competitive play, you may be disappointed. I’ll do that at times, but for the most part I’ll leave the overall discussion of power level to the other great content creators in the community whose main focus is on that aspect of the game.
From my previous experience reviewing cards, I realize that while there can often be general agreement about the power (or lack of power) of certain cards, at other times opinions can range across the spectrum. I like to look at cards both from their potential in a competitive setting as well as something that I just might find fun to try out for casual play. Even if a card isn’t strong, I like to give credit when the design team comes up with something thematic or captures something I perceive to be synergistic in a card combo. I certainly expect there will be readers who think what I have to say about certain cards is way off the mark, and that’s fine. I know I’ll probably look back a month from now after people have had the chance to play with the cards and ask myself what was I thinking when I wrote certain things. So feel free to agree or disagree with me, just please do whichever in a respectful way.
Even though I’m a numbers guy, I find it hard to assign numerical values when rating cards so take each with a grain of salt. I’ve decided to use a 4 point rating scale with the numbers generally representing the following:
4 – Potentially powerful card. Definitely thematic and useful in multiple decks.
3 – Solid card that could be very effective in the right build and fun to build around.
2 – Very situational card that will need the right deck and matchup to shine.
1 – Binder Fodder.
To start, here are my personal top 3 favorite Blue Villain cards and my 3 least favorite from Spark of Hope. This is not based on perceived power level, just personal preference based on my initial thoughts after seeing the cards.
My Top 3 Favorite:
- Old Daka – Love the theme with this and other related cards.
- Talisman of Resurrection – Get resources and the potential to also bring a character back via an upgrade rather relying on an event? Sure, why not?
- Maul – Always been a fan of the character and he looks like a damage dealer.
My Least Favorite:
- Sinister Ruse – Very situational
- Recovered Sith Lightsaber – Only 2 cost, but there are better options available.
- Chancellor’s Edict – Wish there had just been a 4th curse downgrade instead.
Onto my thoughts and ratings! Our apologies for some of the blurry images. We hope to get better ones soon.
Dark Mystic: 2
A Blue Villain Scavenger seems a bit odd, but it is what it is. The special seems pretty good, especially since you can play the upgrade from hand or discard. He might synergize with a Palpatine deck since his special will allow for another die to be rolled into the pool without an activation, although Palp really has better partners. For 9 points and 9 health, the die seems fine, but the Mystic will probably will compete with other characters at this point cost so it’s hard to know how much play he’ll see.
Kylo Ren: 3
The synergy with Rey is really neat for thematic reasons using the Temporary Truce plot. His special does give him 3 damage sides and his power action gives you the ability to do more damage when paired with Rey. It’s hard to foresee the Kylo3/Rey3 decks becoming top tier, but they should be fun and give players who like building thematic decks something to try.
Once again we get a 20 point elite character that may have trouble finding a spot in the competitive meta due to better options. You could always run Phasma at 21 and effectively start with 4 dice and Vader is truly a terror at 23. But Maul’s die sides are pretty attractive with 4 damage sides and a resource side. Having a Power Action which can be a mini-version of Fear and Dead Men for free means people will probably try him out. Will probably be best with an 8 or 9 point character that would let you run a plot like Retribution or even Order 66. He’ll probably be fun, but it’s hard to see Maul becoming the basis for a competitive deck. That’s a shame since this version is Legendary.
Nightsister Zombie: 3
So a 5 point blue villain character gives lots of flexibility for deckbuilding even if it is diceless. There may be some combination lurking out there which could really take advantage of having cheap access to blue for just 5 points since it will allow you to include Vader’s Fist. It’s a good thing they made it so that the Zombies can’t take indirect damage unless you only have Zombies on the board. Otherwise, with Elite Daka, you could have put out 10 points of what would have effectively been Bubble Shields for 1 resource each round. The Zombies are Witches and the set includes 3 curse downgrades to help trigger their ability so you’ll want to include as many curses in your deck as possible to make use of that. They are common and that’s good since you may want to bring a lot of them to the game in your set aside zone if you’re running a fun Zombie deck.
Old Daka: 3
I really like the thematic approach FFG took with the design Daka and the Zombies. There is a pretty steep cost to run her Elite as opposed to single die, but it does give you the opportunity to put in 2 Zombies per round with her Power Action and get 10 extra health on the board. The key will obviously be keeping her alive. While her die sides seem pretty typical for the Witch/Nightsister characters we’ve gotten throughout the life of the game (such as the 2 damage sides and the discard), a shield side might have been good for her to help with that. If you decide to try out Daka (because what could be more thematic in Star Wars than a bunch of Zombies), you could try running her with Talzin and a 3rd character and going with mainly or entirely odd costs to get access to both Witch Magick and the new Spark of Hope card Weave the Ichor for healing. Splashing in Red will get you Riot Shield and this set sees the reprint of Armor Plating so Yellow is an option too. My gut says it would be good to pair Daka with a character that is a big threat that has be dealt with so your opponent won’t know who to target first. Perhaps 1 die Daka with Phasma might be interesting although you wouldn’t be able to get a plot. Another option is to run her elite with someone like the new Jango and have 2 points left over for a plot like Double Down or Order 66. It’s also pretty thematic that when she’d defeated all the Zombies go too. Thankfully, they are set aside or it could have potentially caused issues with tiebreakers on the competitive side.
Chancellor’s Edict: 2
For 1 cost, this downgrade seems fine as it’s a combination of Intimidate and Defensive Stance. It’s a bounty so if you could include it in a Blue/Yellow villain deck focused on bounties. Might be a decent play if your opponent gets the shields to start and you have this in your hand. The payoff of getting 2 shields when you defeat a character won’t hurt either.
So this is the first curse downgrade we get in Spark of Hope and the first thing I noticed is that it costs 1 so it plays into the idea of using Daka and Talzin in an odd costed deck to generate Zombies and protect them. Having repeatable dice removal is nice, but it is pretty conditional since the die has to be on a blank. Really this is all about turning the Zombies on.
For 3 cost, we get a curse that is essentially character die targeted Reversal that’s repeatable. This could be great against Vader3 since it resolves the die rather than removes it, so it can’t be rolled back in. The odd cost fits right into the Daka/Talzin shell that the design team seems to be suggesting we try to build. It does have the condition that you need to control a Witch to have it in play. That’s thematic and is why you probably need to run Daka with another Witch like Talzin.
Uncontrollable Rage: 3
Another 1 cost curse (Talzin thanks you, Jeremy). It’s a bit restrictive since you can not use it as the first action of a round to get the damage. Most likely you’re only playing this in a Witch deck so it should be a guaranteed 2 damage to the character it’s on. The damage could add up very quickly. It’s basically the effect of Lightsaber Throw that’s repeatable.
Act of Betrayal: 2
Even though you can only remove upgrade dice with this, they often have some sides with big values (like Vader’s Saber and Maul’s Saber). For 2 cost, it seems worth the cost to remove something and deal damage at the same time.
Dark Magick: 2
Just when I thought every Curse related card was going to be odd, we get a 0 cost event that lets you reroll a character’s dice and do 1 damage to it if the character has a curse on it. It’s fairly costed, but if you’re using Talzin with Daka and building an odd deck, the spots for even costed cards are already pretty tight. Maybe tough to fit it in, but the effect is decent for free.
Sinister Ruse: 1
This event seems really situational for 1 cost. If you happen to have hand knowledge or if your opponent is playing a support heavy deck with lots of expensive cards, this could be really good. Otherwise, it might not see much play.
This card might work really well with Jango since there’s no limit on Equipment on him. You could potentially play something cheaply and then use that to get rid of any die you want. You might need to build your deck specifically with this card in mind though as a removal option and that seems to make it pretty limited despite the fact it’s 0 cost removal.
Weave the Ichor: 3
If you’re playing Daka and Zombies (or any deck with multiple Witches), this card is an auto-include. Healing for a 1 cost event fits right into Talzin decks and if you happen to be running Daka elite, you can turn the maximum potential of this card on immediately by using Daka’s Power Action as your first action of the round. Potentially healing 3 for just 1 cost is above the curve.
Order 66: 4
This plot has obviously been discussed at length since it was spoiled. Like Kylo2, it seems like the existence of this card is going to impact deckbuilding. There isn’t a lot of downside to making your opponent’s characters all gain Jedi (with the possible exception of a deck trying to make use of Ahsoka2) in order to turn the related event on. Being able to add 4 more cards to your deck will help against mill decks and even though it lessens your odds of drawing certain cards, it will certainly up your odds of drawing a copy of Execute Order 66 in your starting hand. Considering a hard mulligan, the odds of drawing at least 1 of your 6 copies of Execute Order 66 is about 87.5% so 7 out of 8 games you should expect to get your win condition online right from the get-go. Hopefully, FFG will do something about the potentially busted interaction between Rebel Traitor and Execute Order 66 or else it will most be a Negative Player Experience for players and that’s not good for the game’s health.
Maul’s ship has decent sides for a 3 cost support although it’s no Entourage. The ability to bring it back to your hand when your opponent plays an event could be an interesting play if you’ve already resolved the die since it could give you resources to play or do something else the same round. That being said, it’s a bit odd since the first sentence of the ability almost makes it seem like the intent was for you to be able to bounce the Scimitar to cancel an event, but that’s not really what it says. You can just return it to your hand. I guess that keeps it from being discarded by support hate, but it still seems like there might have been more originally intended that didn’t make it to the final version of this card.
Ancient Magicks: 2
It’s a cheap one cost upgrade that can deal indirect damage and has a focus. Being able to ready a curse like Hex or Possessed could be good if timed right. It never hurts to have another 1 cost ability for loading up Palpatine.
Recovered Sith Lightsaber: 2
As 2 cost Lightsabers go, this one just doesn’t seem up to par compared to others villains have access to like Dooku’s Saber, Palp’s Saber and Treasured Lightsaber. Removing shields upon entering play may be useful if shields are prevalent in the meta, but there are too many other options that seem better.
Talisman of Resurrection: 3
This 3 cost upgrade just seems like it could be fun even if it’s not great competitively. The 2 special sides will generate 2 resources even if you can’t get the bonus of bringing a defeated character back to the game. At some point, I can foresee playing a casual game and someone will find a way to bring someone else’s 9-10 point character back to life with this upgrade and everyone will get a big kick out of it. Very thematic card.
Thanks for reading. In our next review article, we’ll give thoughts about Red Villain cards in the set. May the Force be with you!