After missing last week (I suck and forgot), I’ve got an extra special update for you this week. Instead of opening new packs from the current set, I’m listing 10 new Arbiter decks (https://www.kingwoodhobbies.com/product-category/solforge-fusion/deck-market/?pofily-tag=arbiter) that have come into my possession. If you’re unfamiliar with Arbiter decks, these are standard SolForge Fusion decks with a twist. They have a unique card back that identifies them as special promotional decks from Stone Blade. You can see the unique card back here (https://solforgefusion.com/organized-play-hobby-kits)
In addition to these Arbiter decks, I still have a couple of foil decks looking for a home. If you have some time, take a look at www.kingwoodhobbies.com/deckmarket and see if there’s something that fits what you need.
Without further ado, here are some highlights from the new Arbiter decks.
Division of Wasting and Flattening (https://www.kingwoodhobbies.com/product/division-of-wasting-and-flattening/) Uterradon Mauler Regenerating Decayasaur Vine Lash
Samples of Steam and Cyrus (https://www.kingwoodhobbies.com/product/samples-of-steam-and-cyrus/) Lots of removal Cercee’s Call + 3 other spells Omnomnom Spiritleash Vyric’s Embrace Cutthroat Fiend
The Abducting Demons and Vampires (https://www.kingwoodhobbies.com/product/the-abducting-demons-vampires/) Giant Beaters Dreadbolt Epidemic
The Alphas of the Sprite (https://www.kingwoodhobbies.com/product/the-alphas-of-the-sprite/) 5 Spells Betrayer – Roaring Skeleton Spring Dryad with Multiple Minion Generators Venerable Basher
The Brighttusk Grovekeeper Grooms (https://www.kingwoodhobbies.com/product/the-brighttusk-grovekeeper-grooms/) 2 Armored creatures Botanimate Lysian Rain 2 Creatures with Activate abilities
The Detail of Editing and Testifying (https://www.kingwoodhobbies.com/product/the-detail-of-editing-and-testifying/) Forcefield with 3 Warriors Sonic Burst Charge Plated Reinforcements Stabilizing Warcharger Brightsteel Sentinel with 3 more Robots
The Experts of the Rift and Gestures (https://www.kingwoodhobbies.com/product/the-experts-of-the-rift-gestures/) Thundersaur Turnabout Volcanic Spellknight
The Ultimate Sitting Preachers (https://www.kingwoodhobbies.com/product/the-ultimate-sitting-preachers/) Everflame Phoenix Thundersaur Scorchmane Dragon
Behext is a magical combat deck-building game, where your hand of spells is both your only defense and your only currency. To that end, you must sacrifice cards from your hand, and even your own willpower, to custom-build your arcane arsenal.
Begin as one of 6 unique Battlemages specialized in their own magical discipline. Then, tailor your deck to your strategic tastes and in reaction to emerging opportunities. Curse and counter-curse your opponents into submission. . . without being Hexed yourself by the wild magics that have since passed beyond your control.
An unconventional deck-builder that is highly interactive as you constantly deflect Hexes around the table. You are not building a resource engine so much as constructing your deck to deliver the types of interactions you want to have with other players. Will you specialize in forcing discards to deprive them, focus on negation magic, attack their Willpower with direct damage – or take on chaotic and possibly dangerous spells to build Victory points into your deck at great risk to yourself?
Plus, newly conjured spells are not put into your discard pile, rather than forcing you to wait for their return, but are placed directly into your hand. You can play them immediately – right when you need them most.
Sometimes, in every card game ever, cards are printed that make you look like this when you read them.
There have been a variety of ways companies address these imperfections when they crop up. From changing the number you’re allowed to use in your deck to simply rewriting what the cards do, there are competing philosophies on how to handle it. Each of these has its strengths and weaknesses. Do you risk the feel bad of your players getting cards they’re not allowed to play? Is it better to piss people off when their cards don’t work the way they expect them to? Either way, players aren’t happy with this bad, but necessary, part of managing Organized Play for these games.
Destiny, in both eras, has chosen to go with the errata format. Before ARH took over, changing the text of cards was an incredibly ponderous process that sometimes took so long that the changes didn’t make sense when they finally arrived. One bonus of being out from under the shackles of The Mouse is that ARH can be much more nimble in responding to imbalances in play. As a digital-only product, it’s a relatively quick process to change points on a character or remove some piece of text that looked good during design but proved oppressive once players really sank their teeth into it.
As a professional printer of the ARH releases, I want to make sure folks have an opportunity to have physical cards that represent what our ARH OP Overlords say the cards mean now. To that end, Kingwood Hobbies is proud to present our Errata Packs! This version is current as of July 4, 2022, and includes full playsets of all 31 currently errata’d cards, a total of 52 new cards to replace what you have in your collection.
If you are a previous customer of our complete playsets, these errata packs are completely free for one year following your most recent set printing purchase through our Errata Insurance Program. Simply pick this up at the regular price and include a note with your order that you’ve picked up a complete playset from us in the last year and we will refund the full price of the set (not including shipping).
The absolute best thing about sports and gaming is that they’re not scripted. Individuals or teams meet in contests where the outcome has yet to be decided. Even if one side is heavily favored, the upset exists. That moment when something low-percentage comes true and David beats Goliath is an unbelievable emotional payoff. Whether it’s the Kick 6, Max Verstappen winning the Championship, the $16,000 Lightning Helix, or even just Jonathan Lowe holding the improbable Imperial Might to beat me in a draft, these are the moments that form memories and stories that deepen our love for the contest.
Destiny is a game that is uniquely suited for setting up these moments, whether they pay off or not. Every roll of the dice is a caught breath. A moment where time stands still and fate is balanced on the edge of a knife. Do you win? Do you lose? No one knows until the dice stop tumbling. This is one of the biggest reasons we all love this game, but there is a dark side to this.
Pain. When you’ve worked and hustled for every advantage to put yourself in a position to bring home ultimate glory, and, right at the moment you’re about to succeed, that little shit you’re competing against pulls something off that snatches your hard-earned victory from you. Something that would happen only a few times in a thousand actually occurs in this reality, and all your hard work turns to ashes in your mouth as you sit in stunned silence while the confetti falls for the wrong person.
Destiny has this pain. For every tumble of the dice and play of a card someone wins and someone loses. As game designers, our job is to balance the sweet, sweet ecstasy of dice coming up aces versus the agony of an opponent playing the most devastating card at the most devastating time. For all the highs that Destiny has there are corresponding lows, and it is our job as creators to navigate this high wire for our players.
One of the ways Destiny designers have attempted to walk that high wire is through limits. Whether it’s an explicit limit like Rigged Detonation or Unending Hate or a soft limit like Side By Side, restricting how hard a card can work by limiting its application has been a core tool in the designer’s toolbox from the beginning. Are these limits useful? Probably. Easy Pickings was insanely powerful even with the restrictions. Side By Side, however, was completely unplayed. The added randomness of not knowing if you’d get to use the removal part limited its utility to the point that it simply never made the cut. What about hard number limits? Are they necessary? How amazing would it have been in FFG-era Destiny to punish someone for 10 damage for accumulating too many resources? The inner Bernie Sanders inside many would stand and applaud seeing the rich pay for their greed. Alas, that wasn’t to be. The pain of being on the receiving end was either tested to be too great, or designers preemptively censored themselves based on how they thought the players would react. Is that right? Is that wrong? Should we all just ‘git gud’ and learn to deal with the swings, or should we all cry at the pain and ask the mighty gods of design and balance to step in and ease our woes? The answer to that is personal to all of us, and no one is completely correct. Personally, I savor the stories of upset, even when I’m on the receiving end of the pain. That might not be you, though. Maybe it hurts too much to take 6 or more damage from an Unending Hate no matter how rarely that actually happens.
What does any of this have to do with Seeking Answers spoilers? Well, I’m glad you asked. Take a look at our first card.
Destiny has a history of struggling with how much power a 1-dop should have. What should a player get for being able to add a die to their side of the table while still keeping up a resource for removal? What’s more, that target has shifted as Destiny has evolved. The power and value of a single resource today are not the same as they were in the early days. The unplayable Infiltrate from Awakenings was obviously too bad, but DH-17 Blaster Pistol (the OG one) went into every deck that could run it. Today, however, the DC-17 Hand Blaster, a better card than the DH-17 Blaster Pistol, is routinely axed from decks it seems perfectly suited for.
Where does the Special Operative title lie, then? Its die is certainly not as powerful as the rarely played DC-17 Hand Blaster, but maybe its target deck isn’t the same. Han Solo’s Dice doesn’t do damage, but it sees plenty of play in decks that need all the money. Enter its Power Action.
The Power Action on Special Operative, at first glance, seems amazing. Paying one resource to get a die that will repeatedly remove your opponent’s die looks like a no-brainer inclusion for any list running Red. Reading a little more, though, we run into that designer tool I was talking about earlier, restrictions. The power of Spec Op’s PA is tightly controlled by the face of its corresponding die. You have to match both the symbol and value of the die for it to work out.
Well, let’s look at the die then. With five 1 sides, the limitation on value means you’re never going to remove anything game-breaking. When you use the removal Power Action you’re almost only ever going to only use it to remove a die that landed on something suboptimal that was going to get rerolled. The additional restriction of matching the side further pushes us down the realm of probability. There are 10 (wait, no, 11 now) different sides possible on Destiny dice. This die has six of them. I’m going to assume that an opponent has, on average, three different sides showing when you’re ready to use this. Furthermore, most folks only run one kind of damage, so that essentially blanks one of the six sides on this die in terms of Power Action. So, in order to use it, my opponent:
Must be playing and rolling dice that match the five valid sides I have available to me on the Spec Ops die.
Of the sides they’re playing that match this die, one of the three sides they have in their pool must also match whatever I randomly rolled with this die.
Must have that same die be on a 1 value.
That’s extremely narrow. One of the things I try to teach people when I help them build decks is that each, “if this happens” you have to add for a cool combo to work means it is exponentially less likely to happen. Having three of them doesn’t mean it will never happen, but it will be rare, and, because you’re limited to removing a die showing a 1, the impact will be low. Given my druthers, I would have loved to see this card without the ‘value’ restriction to see if the randomness of all those different sides would keep its power in check enough to be playable. I’m curious if the restrictions on this card were preemptively added, or if playtesting showed far too much pain in letting a 1-drop remove a larger die despite its rare occurrence.
So if the PA is marginal and the die is erratic, how would I rate this card? Well, it’s still a 1-drop. There is still value to be had in throwing something out there immediately that has the potential to throw a kink into the opponent’s plans. That being said, however, I just don’t currently see the deck this will excel in. To me, this feels like the card I will try to throw into every Red deck but will hit the deckbuilding bin when I make those agonizing cuts getting from 34 to 30 cards. Maybe in the future when we elect Andrew Heintz commissioner of Destiny and he drags us kicking and screaming into the world of 40 card decks there will be room for a generic utility card like this. When that happens it will be played everywhere, but until then I see this losing out to cards that simply have more power. Hopefully, I’m wrong about our current 30-card world. I’m really looking forward to someone at Dragon’s Lair ruining my night with this card simply because I somewhat panned it in this article. That would make my evening.
One of the hardest things I’ve found as a designer in Destiny is trying to balance effects that lend themselves to the Negative Play Experience (NPE). Pirates was a recent example of this. Players love playing Destiny. They do not love trying to play Destiny only to have their opponent take their stuff and not let them play. As a mechanic, Pirates was strong but beatable. You had to change your style of play, but it was not inherently stronger than other mechanics. Most people just hated it anyway because it didn’t let them play the way they wanted to play. (I love having my thinking challenged, though, so I had a blast fighting it). Similarly, mill has been hated from the beginning. It forces players rethink their play style, and people hate that.
One potential NPE that has been even harder to pull off has been playing your opponent’s cards. There have been a small few cards that tried, but the mechanic is so incredibly boom/bust that they’ve never really caught on. You’re revealing a small pile of unknown cards with the hopes that there will be something useful in there. It’s a mechanic that, in my experience, hits about 30% of the time on a back-breaking Round-finishing move, but 70% of the time on a resounding meh or thud.
Let’s add another one to the fray.
This is a very interesting card to me. Previous attempts at playing your opponent’s cards generally take them out of their deck. That can be useful but doesn’t impact them this Round. Taking a card from the opponent’s hand has a much more profound and immediate impact on the game. It’s a Reversal effect where you’re not just getting the utility of whatever you take from your opponent, but you’re also denying them the same utility. Using an opponent’s card to remove their dice both protects you from the effects of their dice while simultaneously allowing a greater chance for your dice to land. That’s a lot of power to pack into one card, and that means restrictions meant to reign it in. Let’s take a look at those.
Red Hero – The color part of this card isn’t too much of a restriction. Most decks that run spies are already in Red, and, if not, it’s generally pretty easy to slot a Red character in. The hero part, though, is limiting. Cards that let you manipulate your opponent’s hand with foreknowledge of the cards they’re holding (as opposed to blindly, like a discard) are pretty rare in both Hero and Neutral. At the moment, Rebel Schemes is the only one that exists. There’s just nothing like Face the Enemy or OG Thrawn in a Hero deck that grants you perfect knowledge of your opponent’s hand to go along with damaging it.
Discarding a Card – By costing zero resources to play, you’re effectively just playing a card out of the opponent’s hand for the resources printed on that card. Without some other cost, that would be far too strong an ability. In addition to gaining the benefit for yourself while denying it to them, you’d also be removing an option for them to pitch to reroll later in the round. That kind of card advantage would put them in an even deeper hole than this already leaves them in. By adding a ‘discard a card’ cost on your end, the designers have framed this in a way that shows they wanted to limit the power of this card to just the first portion, you gaining utility while denying it to them.
Spot a Spy – This is an important restriction on two fronts. First, it’s just thematic. I love me some theme, and forcing there to be a spy in play for you to do some espionage stuff is perfect. Second, and more importantly for gameplay, you definitely don’t want to give every Red hero deck the option to shred your opponent’s grip. By adding this restriction you’ve made it my favorite type of card. It’s a staple for the decks that can use it, but it’s not something that just gets jammed into every deck. Some of the cards I hate the most are the ones that are just objectively head and shoulders above everything else with nothing limiting their inclusion (Vibrosword I’m looking at you). This is the antithesis of that.
Another restriction that’s not written into the card is an important one to note. Previous, ‘play your opponent’s card’ cards granted you the ability to spot cards on their side of the table as if they were your own. This line granted a much higher hit rate when using the ability because you could play cards like Electroshock without actually being in Yellow. That’s not on this card, so the opposite is true. If you have no Leaders on your side that Command is going to just mock you when you reveal it from their hand.
Overall, I think this is a well-designed card that will find a home in Spy decks across the format. With Jyn/Han gone I don’t know if it’s enough by itself to push them to the top of tables, but I do think dedicated Spy/Detect players are getting a solid tool to help them compete.
One of the recurring themes in Star Wars is changing sides. This universe is rife with stories of both fall and redemption. Anakin becomes Vader. Vader is redeemed. Kylo follows a similar path. Even the central government goes from protagonist to antagonist to protagonist to antagonist over the course of the Skywalker Saga. While some of these large story arcs have been covered by Destiny in the past, there are countless smaller stories that have not shown up in the cards. Imperial Mud Trooper Han Solo? Haven’t seen him. Padawan Dooku? Nope. Imperial cadet Wedge? Wrong again. Our final card today does explore one of these lesser-known side-changing stories. If you’re familiar with the Rebels story, the vast majority of the show pitted the plucky underdog Spectres against the crushing might of the Imperial machine. Arihnda Pryce, Thrawn, and Alexsandr Kallus were the main faces of this foe, constantly hunting for our heroes to bring them to justice. Near the end of Season 3, however, it is revealed that Agent Kallus, a once implacable foe of the fledgling Rebellion, has turned his coat and been feeding intelligence to the other side. This agent’s codename? Fulcrum.
Kallus’ abilities seem like he has some opportunity to exist in a couple of different styles of deck with unique benefits for each. In one mode, you’re trying to win as a Big/Little pair through the traditional damage model. Beating your opponent’s characters into submission with the Big while using Fulcrum’s disruptive powers to toss monkey wrenches into your opponent’s plans. Stripping removal from their hands to use on their dice means clearing the way for your big fat dice to hit and stay on the table.
Some of the Bigs I see as potentially strong pairings with Kallus are Obi-Wan Kenobi – “Rako Hardeen” and Jyn Erso – Rebellion Operative. Both of those will help you maximize the plink damage from Kallus’ 1 indirect ability, and both will give you some insight into what you might be hitting when you fire off Kallu’s Power Action. This type of knowledge is key to gaining an advantage when using symmetrical abilities like this. In each of these teams, Kallus is only running one die, but the disruptive nature of his text box more than makes up for that loss.
Alternatively, you might try using Kallus in a mill deck. With two discard sides, he has the ability to put some hurting on your opponent’s hand. This does invalidate the indirect damage part of his ability, meaning you’re paying a points cost for this character that includes a feature you’re not using, but he might be good enough to pay that tax anyway. With an elite Kallus you’re hitting a 56% chance that you’re knocking two of the cards out of his hand per turn above what he’s playing (Probability of at least one die landing on discard + Power Action) with a solid chance (after rerolls) of getting three. If you’re going the mill route, you definitely want him elite.
One possible character pairing here is with our favorite Star Wars mamma who has yet to find a home, Padmé Amidala – Political Idealist. An elite/elite pairing would leave you with three points leftover to run one of the more powerful plots in the game. Extra Firepower can resolve discard sides or Rescue Han Solo adds a ton of health to your team. This also puts you into Hero Red and Yellow with access to the best removal suite in the game.
Another would be to team up with a pair of Republic Senator and Solidarity to completely wreck their hand. It would be interesting to try and mitigate your opponent’s dice by simply denying them any and all rerolls. If you’re familiar with the game Destiny, sometimes you get to the end of a match and you or your opponent cannot reroll your cards simply because you have no cards left to pitch. Can you imagine that every round?
One final way to try and abuse Kallus would be to find a way to squeeze a Jawa Junk Dealer in with him and load up on expensive Gray neutral removal. While you’re living in world of extra cheap Block and Dodge, your opponent is left with a sour taste in their mouth when they have to pay full price to MAYBE hit one die.
Traditionally, Destiny playsets have consisted of two cards, and, if applicable, two dice. With the advent of cards like TIE Fighter and Double Down that traditional idea of a playset broke down a little. You definitely wanted four copies of TIE Fighter, but does the existence of Double Down mean you need three copies of every card in Across the Galaxy to have a full ‘playset’? Furthermore, does that mean your previous playset of Awakenings was invalid now that you can run three copies of everything? What was once a hard and fast rule became much murkier.
Enter ARH. With Across the Galaxy breaking the seal on what a playset means, and then Covert Missions blowing the lid off with elite non-unique characters, design space was wide open for new sets to require varying numbers of dice and cards.
As a completionist collector myself, it would drive me insane to buy a ‘complete playset’ and find myself in a position where I was missing something I needed. Being my own toughest customer, I decided that I was going to do right by you guys and make sure no one was in a position where they needed a card or die and it was not to be found in my product. To that end, professional printings of ARH sets have come with some weird numbers of cards and dice from the beginning. I sit down at the release of every new set and try to come up with all the ways you would need different numbers of dice and cards. Outland TIE Fighter? You get four copies and four dice. Rebel Pilot? I can’t imagine anyone wanting to sleeve up a deck with three elite, but you do you. Three cards and six dice are there if you want them. Combinations of cards, too. Form Drills letting you add more Moves to your deck? Let’s get some extra Move cards in there for you.
After some brainstorming, I came up with a system of rules to govern how I would handle varying numbers of cards required to make a true playset.
The base set will come with enough copies of every card and die that might be required for you to create and use any single deck you’d like, based on the cards in that set.Outland TIE Fighter comes with four copies. Nightsister Acolyte comes with three cards and six dice. This intraset limit keeps me from having to consider an ever expanding number of options with newly released cards. Some new Double Down-style card will not force me to include cards from previous sets, nor will it echo down through all of the following sets.
These rules worked really well until High Stakes was released. For the first time, my rules put me in a position where I would include fewer than two dice for some cards. In that set, there was no way you would be able to use more than one copy of a unique support die at a time, even if you had two in your deck. There simply wasn’t an actual use case scenario, based exclusively on High Stakes cards, where you would ever need more than one copy of the dice for Millennium Falcon, R2-D2, and other cards. I really did agonize over the decision on what to do about it. In the end, I made the choice that I would adhere to rules 1 and 2 above and include a single copy of the die in the base set, and the second copy of the die in the Extras set.
This was the wrong decision.
What seemed like a great application of my rules failed when met with the realities of playing Destiny. At first, it was just the ick factor. Despite having a way for people to fully flesh out their playsets with a collectible number of dice, I felt like I was generating disappointment in my customers when they cracked their Kingwood Hobbies set and discovered fewer dice than they expected. Based on that, and that alone, I changed my policy going forward.
Added a Rule 1B to my playset rules. All cards will come with at least one die for each copy of the card included.
Future copies of the High Stakes set will come with a second copy of all the unique support dice.
Both of these updates to my policy have already been implemented. Updated High Stakes sets have begun shipping to customers, and all copies of Unlikely Heroes come with at least one die for every card in the set.
I’d already announced this, although a bit less eloquently, before the release of Unlikely Heroes. What’s new is what happened at the first IRL Destiny tournament using Kingwood Hobbies-printed cards and dice. Specifically, there was at least one situation where Data Heist stole a unique card that was already in play, leaving the game with a copy of that card on each side of the table, but only one die between them.
That made me sick. I love this game and never want decisions I make to keep people from enjoying it to its fullest. To rectify this I’m offering free dice to anyone who didn’t receive enough the first time around. If you purchased your High Stakes printing from me and only received one of each unique support die, simply mention it during your next order and I will include one already-stickered copy each of Xanadu Blood, Millennium Falcon, R2-D2, Wedge’s X-Wing, Razor Crest, and C-3PO with your order.
TL;DR: High Stakes was missing a few dice based on a bad decision from me. This has already been corrected for new High Stakes set printing purchases as well as all sets going forward. If you got one of these sets that were missing dice, mention it in your next order and they will be included for free.
Top to bottom new cards, you’re going to have a blast with this thing. If you’re in the mood for even more preconstructed goodness, check out the Kingwood Hobbies ARH preconstructed decks. There are incredible levels of Star Wars fun just waiting for you.
There is more info to come, including pictures and spoilers.
This was going to be all creative and interesting to ready. But my juices have all been devoted to getting sets packed up and in the mail for you guys. We’re going to do bullet points instead.
I am exhausted.
Cards are here. They’re stunning. I don’t know how everyone else’s prints turned out, but these are the best looking Destiny cards so far, and that includes FFG ones.
The majority of sets have hit the mail. There are a few stragglers that require special attention that should go tomorrow.
The foil Mace has been held up in shipping, so I will be sending those out separately.
Just to make sure we all have a very Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you’re celebrating), I’ve upgraded every full set that’s destined for inside the US to Priority Mail shipping. You should have your cards in just a couple of days.
Thanks to a sneaky early reveal of the set, I was able to hop to on getting the cards put into our little site here, so they’re up and ready for your perusal. All of the cards are up and ready for you to preorder your individual card printings of, whether you want the regular card or foil and whether you want dice or not. It’s even there if you just want to see all the pictures in the same place.
For fans of the show, Diggity Destiny is on a bit of a hiatus at the moment. We are all still really into making it for you guys, but life has gotten in the way for a bit. New job and family situations have sucked up all of our time, so we don’t have anything left to devote to producing it. We have one recorded that seems to have thoroughly illustrated to the group that we don’t have time to add the polished editing that makes us sound so good. We could release it without that, but I don’t want to give folks the (correct) impression that I’m just a stammering idiot most of the time. I’m pretty sure this is temporary, so expect to see us dive back into creating the thing before too long.
That being said, we still got spoilers for Unlikely Heroes, and I’m here to share them with you.
Asajj Ventress is back, folks! If you’ve listened to any of my ramblings on card design, you’ll know that my biggest driver in putting a card out there is what’s known as top-down design; using the flavor of the card to drive how it works. I want to tell a story about Star Wars, and I want to use the game mechanics of Destiny to do it. This version of Asajj fits that to a tee! Let me point out some flavor notes that really struck me:
This version of the bad lady comes with the subtitle “Sister Returned”, and the art clearly shows she is on Dathomir. That tells me that our Unlikely Hero Asajj is probably from episode 19 of season 4 of Clone Wars, Massacre. In this episode, Asajj returns to her home planet with the idea of enlisting her sisters in exacting revenge on Count Dooku.
Her point cost of 10/12 shows that she wants to be part of a larger team rather than a pair of beaters or the main beater in a big/little combo.
Her Power Action specifically wants that to be a team of witches.
Her character subtype is only Witch. That means we’re at a spot in time after she was apprenticed to Dooku but before she became the bounty hunter.
At 10 points, her health total is low, protraying a once powerful character who is down on her luck and just scraping by.
Her die is exactly the same as the Spirit of Rebellion Asajj who comes from earlier in the Clone Wars when she and Savage attempted to kill Dooku together. Because they’re very close together in the timeline, reusing the SoR die is a wonderful way to show that this character has the same power as the other one.
Finally, there’s meta-flavor packed into the set for this card. We’re seeing Asajj come back and ask for help from her sisters and there they are right in the very set she shows up in!
If you’re an Asajj fan, this card is just dripping with flavor nuggets for you.
But how does she play?
While they’ve put a few bits o’ witch-ness into previous sets, ARH has spent a lot more time on Inquisitors and Sith than they have on the women of the Dark Side. It seems like Unlikely Heroes aims to rectify that.
One of the things I find interesting about Asajj is that there’s a General Veers-ness about her, but at a much reduced point cost over the Red-boi. You’re spending two resources in your first Round to add an extra die to your pool. What’s more, as you increase the power of the weapons on her the power of that die you added increases accordingly. You aren’t getting the health bonus Veers’ Snowtrooper brings with it, but the lower cost on Asajj lets you just play that extra character on your team.
For all of its flavor, her die is pretty garbage, and most likely not worth the extra two points you’re paying for the second one. I’m much more interested in running her single die and using her Power Action to generate extra dice.
At 10 points, a one-die Ventress pairs nicely with Old Daka and some other small-point character like a Pyke Sentinel. One of the problems with OD is that she’s a bullet-magnet since taking her down usually spells the end for the Daka player. She will still probably take the hits first in this case, but that will just mean more time to toss out massive weapons for Asajj to spit into the pool.
One of the coolest aspects of watching AV grace our screens in Clone Wars was seeing her whip out these bomb-ass dual lightsabers. Sure, they’re very similar to Dooku’s, but where his look like an 18th century dueling pistol in his old-man hands, there’s a feminine deadliness about them in hers. Ventress’s fluid fighting style brings these curved-hilt sabers alive like so many venomous snakes darting and striking their victims. Now we have them in Destiny.
Playability-wise, this thing is a bomb, especially in the hands of Asajj. I’m excited about the potential of pairing her with some traditional Big to create a lot of offense. Traditional Big/Little decks have a severe weakness where losing your Big means the game is pretty much over. Littles tend to not be able to hit very hard, so once your beefy smasher goes down it’s just a matter of time before the game ends in your opponent’s favor. Asajj wielding these things means that your Little can deliver some hammer blows even after the Big is dead. Sure, 10 health is going to disappear quickly in today’s game of Destiny, but there will be plenty of games where it’s still enough to rescue victory. [Maul/Vader/Grand Inquisitor/Kylo]/Ventress anyone?
There’s an interesting design decision with cards like these, and I’m fascinated at the different approaches designers have taken to tell their story. How do you get across the plot point of a character being known as a dual wielder? FFG-era Destiny started it pretty simply with Rex’s Blaster Pistol. If he was wielding the pistol, then those copies were not unique. They did tie on a neat trick where having two of them let you double-trigger the ‘After’ ability, but overall it was pretty straightforward. You still had to draw the second one to really get it going, however.
Their second shot at it was with Vibro-Arbir Blades, the machetes wielded by Snoke’s personal guards. Those weren’t quite as restricted as Rex’s Blasters as any badass (read elite) character could tote them around. There was also no need to draw the second one. Instead, you just played them as a pair as long as you could afford it. I’m curious how these went in playtesting because they seemed like such a cool card until they hit the cold reality wall of four resources. Four resources in Destiny is massive. You’d better be readying a character or tossing out massive dice that I can resolve as any symbol if you want me to drop two full Rounds of resources all at once.
ARH took a stab at this in High Stakes with Ahsoka’s Sabers. These brought us back to the baseline of Rex’s Blasters where you can play a second unique as long as it’s on the dual weilder and tacking on an extra bonus. In this case it was making the dual wielder better at fighting with a weapon in each hand. You still had to draw the second one to really get the combo going, but at least you get some benefit when paired with any other weapon. Ahsoka’s sticks got a much warmer reception from the players than the VABs.
That brings us to Asajj’s Sabers. This has moved back in the direction of the Vibro-Arbirs, but it seems like the designers have really learned from the past mistakes of others. Rather than the full on commitment of four resources and two upgrade slots, these are only asking for 50% cost on the ‘second’ copy of the card. Compare this ‘3’-drop to other staples like Anakin’s Saber or Quilloned Lightsaber and I think these come out on top. There’s a much larger potential for game-changing effects with two dice, plus you can play it for two resources in a pinch. My read on this is that this price reduction will take these from unplayable to staples of Blue villain sticks decks for some time to come.
And the event?
Our final card today is this event here, Vile Machinations.
While it’s not 100% thematic since our Unlikely Heroes Ventress is pre-bounty hunter, it’s still on brand enough that I’m not docking full points in the flavor department. Asajj does eventually turn to bounties (should we have a Yellow Asajj someday?), and she spends a lot of time in the company of Yellow characters.
Borrowing from our Big/Little setup earlier, There are a few different pairings that would fully turn this card on for Asajj. IG-88, Cad Bane, and Bala-Tik are all right there to fill the role of Big and turn on this two dice hard/soft removal card. Outside of Asajj decks, I’m not aware of too many Blue/Yellow villain decks running around. I know there’s a Merrin/Ziro deck that would love to slot this in, and we do have a Second Sister/Cad Bane deck running around our local meta that is always looking for more solid removal options. It’s too bad that Convergence is rotating out or we might have a great candidate for the Asajj2/Bounty Hunter X deck that kept trying to poke its head up for a while.
Having not partaken in either design or playtesting in this round of cards, I’m very curious about the wording on this one. As it is, this card can only screw up two different dice. You have to remove the die not showing damage first. Only once that’s complete (or doesn’t happen), can you turn a die showing damage to a blank. The card would have been more versatile if the sentences had been swapped. In reverse order you could have turned a die showing damage to a blank and then removed that blank with the “remove a die not showing damage”. The card would have essentially read:
Spot a Yellow character and a Blue character to remove a die showing damage. OR
Fuck up two dice if they’re showing damage and not damage.
Was that just an oversight in templating the card, or was it a choice? Assuming it was a choice, what was the reasoning behind it? Was there too much power in having it both ways? Iunno, but I would love to hear that story some day.
And that’s it! Your Friday spoilers have been spoiled. Now I guess I’ve got to start mailing out these spotgloss cards…