Written by Bill Yankosky (aka Yodaman)
We continue our look at Spark of Hope by focusing on the Red Villain cards in the set. Convergence saw Red Villain gain lots of good cards and the trend seems to have continued here. In general, it appears like Red Villain got some pretty solid cards.
As mentioned in the introductory article about Blue Villain cards, I’ll be using 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.
As a reminder, I like to look at cards both from their potential use in both casual and competitive settings. Feel free to agree or disagree with my thoughts about cards, just please do whichever in a respectful way.
My Top 3 Favorite
- Thrawn – May not be top tier, but I’ve always been a big fan of the character and can’t wait to try out the new version.
- Counterintelligence – Great for disrupting your opponent’s plans.
- Mastermind – Could see this showing up in a variety of decks.
My Least Favorite
- Priority Target – A Red Villain bounty downgrade seems out of place.
- Crushing Advantage – Seems too situational for the cost.
- Mudtrooper – Not sure we really needed a non-unique 8 cost Red Villain Trooper
Onto my thoughts and ratings!
Conan Motti: 3
Motti should fit in a mill deck with his 2 sides that are discard. Some combination of Motti and Yularen might form the foundation for that. Being able to remove an opponent’s die when your resolve one of his discard sides by discarding a card from your own hand contributes to the mill strategy his design suggests. The Leader subtype is useful.
Gideon Hask: 3
Gideon seems to be a good fit with Iden since you could run them both elite and include a plot like Advanced Training since both are troopers. The die sides are good for his cost although 9 health is a bit squishy. Good thing Riot Shield is available to Red villain. His Power Action can be used with Megablasters and Vader’s Fist among other things to get an extra roll of those powerful dice.
The Mudtrooper is essentially a First Order Stormtrooper which costs more and has one more health. The die sides are exactly the same. Being able to reroll blanks after the Mudtrooper is activated is certainly useful since trooper dice tend to have lots of those. Could fit into a Phasma3 deck with Retribution if you want to run mono-red and not waste points, but with FOST being cheaper, it will be interesting to see how much play this actually sees.
I’m probably rating Thrawn too high because he has always been one of my favorite characters. Much like he has been portrayed in the recent canon novels, this new version of Thrawn seems to be conflicted because his die sides are a bit all over the place. On the one hand, he has a 2 melee and 3 melee so it seems like you want him to deal damage. On the other hand, that 2 discard side, his Power action and some of the other Red Villain cards in the set make it seem like he might be mean for a mill deck. Thematically, Jeremy and his team knocked it out of the park with his after activation ability and Power Action though. Thrawn knows what you’re going to do before you do and then uses your assets against you just like his character does in the Star Wars universe. His point cost makes it tricky to figure out what to do with him though. If he’s elite there aren’t many options to pair him with, but one option that seems intriguing to try is to pair him with elite Nute.
Priority Target: 1
It’s a 0 cost downgrade for Red Villain, but making it also a bounty is an interesting choice since there aren’t currently any Red Villain Bounty Hunters and Red doesn’t seem to have much that synergizes with downgrades. But, this one is free and depending on the battlefield that’s in play, could give you a nice bonus when you defeat the character this is on. Maybe there’s some clever rainbow deck focused on bounties that could really make use of this, but on the surface it’s hard to see where this might fit.
This card seems above the curve for what it does. Spotting a leader isn’t going to be difficult playing Red since characters like Phasma and Wat Tambor are staples of current meta decks and that seems somewhat unlikely to change with Spark of Hope barring a major RRG update coming out with it too. For free you get to take your opponent’s most crucial event and keep them from playing it that round by putting it on the top of their deck. Sure, they’ll draw it back next round unless you have a way to discard the card from their deck first or even set it up to play with Thrawn2’s Power Action. No matter what, keeping them from playing it might be the key to victory. Couple this with Probe and someone like Yularen and you’re going to be able to have some serious hand control to mess with your opponent’s plans.
Crushing Advantage: 1
This feels like a win more card that requires a lot of set up. In the right situation you could remove 3 dice for 2 cost, but there are probably more effective removal options and it seems like this won’t see that much play because of that.
Order 66: 4
The Blue Villain Order 66 plot makes all your opponent’s characters Jedi and lets you add 4 copies of this card to your deck even if you’re not playing Red and it’s hard to imagine this card being played without the plot. This card, along with the Order 66 plot, has the potential to dictate the meta going forward via gameplay and deckbuilding choices. It seems like it could be extremely powerful since you get removal and damage in one card. You will definitely have to play around this card as much as possible if you see an opponent running the plot and any 2 character decks may struggle against this matchup. Having all of your character dice in your pool removed with one card and then taking damage on top of that could very easily wreck your plans. It’s important to note that this can hit both players so in a mirror match both players could be affected if either person plays this card and has character dice in the pool.
Rally the Troops: 3
Cards with multiple options on them for you to choose from when playing it seems to be popping up more in Destiny. I always like cards that are versatile and this one is since you can use it offensively or defensively. Being able to resolve 2 dice with different symbols if they share a subtype helps with tempo as you could focus into something you need and not worry about it being mitigated, like a mini Impulsive. Seems good for the 0 cost.
To Victory: 2
Another card that seems situation and definitely a bit like a “win more” card. Gaining resources is always good, but there are lots of ways to do that which might be more effective than this card. It’s a dead card until you defeat an opponent’s character and if you’re able to use it to get multiple resources, you’re probably on your way to winning anyway. Might really be helpful in draft and sealed where games tend to last longer and there are usually 3 wide teams.
Warning Siren: 2
Targeted 1 cost removal that lets you remove a die in the pool showing the same value as one of your own dice. But Red Villain seems to have gotten access to lots of good removal options recently like A Sinster Peace, Measure for Measure (if you have Troopers) and Rout so this one may not make the cut when building a deck because it’s sort of narrow. The best tradeoff might probably be using this to remove a special if you have a blank in your own pool.
Cultural Records: 3
This card looks really good for the 2 cost and other than the blank, every die side is useful. It should fit in well with control based decks and mill decks. That the special lets you set aside any card from your opponent’s hand is powerful enough on its own. On top of that you get another action after you set the card aside to help you keep tempo. Just resolving it’s special once may prevent your opponent from trying to play another copy of a card you set aside since, if they do, you get a resource and get to remove a die. It’s interesting that a potential counter to Red Villain based Execute Order 66 decks was printed in Red Villain.
This card is bonkers and seems bound to see play. It is important to note that it’s unique (apparently the Separatists could only block one location at a time) and that no player can play copies of the card named when this is played. But top players should be able to find a way to maximize the effect of this card by knowing what card is most likely to disrupt their plans and preventing an opponent from playing it. Another natural counter to Execute Order 66 in addition to slowing down the Scoundrel support packages fueled by Entourage. And if you can use this to prevent your opponent from playing some big support like Fist, Megablasters or Shadowcaster, it’s well worth the 1 cost.
Superlaser Siege Cannon: 3
We’ve seen that it’s fairly easy to play expensive supports and/or multiple supports Round 1 and time will tell if the recent changes to Snoke and Watto will slow resource generation down enough to make an impact on that support meta. Because of that, this card looks like it could be extremely powerful in the right build. The damage sides are decent as is, although 2 of them are pay sides, but the ability to essentially increase them without limit makes this a potential blowout card. The Power Action lets you turn the damage sides into 3, 4, 5 and 6 even if you don’t have resources to spare. You could also save up resources over a round or two to easily one-shot most characters. In a Wat deck, you’d have the potential to roll the die in twice in the round you play it and do serious damage. Definitely a die that your opponent will have to deal with if you get it out. The question is whether or not it’s good enough to compete with the “Unholy Trinity” (Entourage, Megablasters & Vader’s Fist) for card spots. I have a feeling someone will find a way to really take advantage of this card.
Crimson Star: 2
As a 0 cost equipment, this will work well with Jango2 since you could potentially play it on him and immediately gain a resource. If you’ve defeated at least one of your opponent’s character then the Crimson Star basically is a repeatable Motivate for the character it’s on. Definitely intriguing and will be curious to see if this makes the cut in people’s decks since it seems like it may take a really specific type of deck for it to work well. Another card that probably will be very useful in draft and sealed.
A 1 cost upgrade that’s pretty powerful in conjunction with other things we’ve already seen this set in Red Villain. Since it’s an ability, you could put it on Palpatine3 and never be disappointed to see any of the die sides other than the blank. Couple it with some other cards that can give you knowledge of your opponent’s hand like Cultural Records and Counterintelligence from this set. Savvy players will find a way to really use this card to their advantage. Very thematic and synergistic with Thrawn2 and that’s great to see.
TL-50 Heavy Repeater: 2
Whenever I see a die that can be rerolled after resolving one of its sides rather than being removed, it always gives me pause. The special will only ping your opponent for 1 indirect, but that can add up if this is on a trooper and use the Power Action or if you have focus sides available. Time will tell if this upgrade is powerful enough to see extensive play in the current support heavy meta.
Thanks for reading. In the next review article, we’ll give our thoughts about the Yellow Villain cards and single Gray Villain card in the set.
May the Force be with you!