Posted on

The Assembly Line: Deck Building With Trey – Three Speed Jank

A couple of weeks ago one of our regulars bid us adieu. His wife got a new job out of state, so they were moving away. On his final Wednesday night with us, he wanted us to have a big jank shindig, so with thoughts of Brian Piana on our minds, most everyone dreamt up some utter bullshit and brought it to the table.

Digging through my bag of stupidity, I remembered that I once built a reasonable deck with one of the most maligned characters of all time.

This dude is so bad that he saw the largest negative point balance in the history of the game. I’ll have whatever FFG was smoking when they built him out because 14/17 was stupid. He’s since gotten a FOUR POINT drop, and people still don’t play him. This dude has some stank on him.

This is jank week, though, so stank is what we want. After sliding the puzzle pieces around in my head, twisting point values this way and that, I settled on this team.

That’s an all Covert Missions lineup for those of you checking. That intra-set love is spoiled a bit when I introduce you to the battlefield, Mean Streets. It’s not all that exciting, but it was the only one I could find that helped me a bit while not helping my opponent.

None of these characters really synergize with each other; they’re all just kinda doing their own thing. Each one excels at what they do, though

  • Sinjir is actually not that bad; he just plays really weirdly. He’s all about removing their crappy dice at the expense of one of your cards. You’re not paying a resource or losing a card out of the deck to do it, though. Most of the time your opening play is sending Sinjir‘s dice into the pool so that you’re ready to pounce on whatever die your opponent happens to throw that matches what you’ve got. One of the fun things about rolling Sinjir is that you put your opponent back into that mode I love so much where they’re afraid to activate a character because they’re walking those dice into your ‘free’ removal.
  • Jawa Junk Dealer is a known quantity at this pont, but I haven’t seen him taken advantage of since all the new ARH hotness came out. They haven’t made many Gray Neutral cards we want to run, but there is one good one. How you play the JJD is going to depend on what’s in your hand. If you’re sitting on some blowout removal you hold him back. If you’ve got face punchy cards, then activate him pretty quickly.
  • Kanan is a card that’s never seen too much play, but I really, really like him. That nine health throws serious doubt into how long you can keep him on the table, but he is such a knockout punch when you load him up with his lightsaber. Once you hand the man that tool, you then sit back and wait on your opponent to do something so that you can sabotage it while getting all the hot turningness at the same time.

Like most of my decks, this one wants to control, but unlike most of them, this one doesn’t have a single path to get there. This deck has a fast (activate Sinjir), medium (Jawa Man is ready whenever you need him), and slow (Kanan needs the opponent to activate before he’s at all useful), so you’re ready to knock them back no matter how they play.

The Deck

I won’t leave you in suspense this time around. This is what the deck looks like. Remember, this was pre-Reprint List.

If you look closely, there are some, to put it politely, unusual choices in there. Punch Dagger? C-3PO? Shock Collar, for heaven’s sake!? Relax, we’ll get there. It will all be explained in due time. Remember, the goal was to win with jank. I had to make this qualify for more than just running Sinjir.

Punchy Punchy Face Face Cards

Kanan does melee. SRV does melee. We loadin’ up on sticks, people.

  • Punch Dagger is a Gray Neutral one-drop, meaning we can toss it out there immediately in Round 1 for free with our brown-headed-and-glowy-eyed-friend. This is actually a very sneaky way to hit a 3-drop immediately. Play the Punch Dagger for free, and then overwrite with a Beskar Spear, Vibrosword, or, sweet baby Jesus please, Kanan Saber. Boom, it took a card, but your Jawa just reduced the cost of a colored card.
  • Vibroblade is just a solid two-drop that becomes a one with the Jawa. It’s not a bad consolation price to land a beat stick in Round One while keeping money in your pocket to back your boys up with removal.
  • Vibrosword is Vibrosword. It’s dumb and easy and hits like a truck. We have unique Yellow character that’s elite, so it’s a no brainer. Having a route to get this online in Round One (see Punch Dagger) is just gravy.
  • Beskar Spear is also just a solid card. It Redeploys, so that’s good. It dodges shields, too, and in our Houston metagame, shields are the mechanism of choice for keeping a significant portion of our decks alive. Beskar + Vibroblade Power Action mean there’s enough unblockable in here to knock someone down completely without ever touching their shields.
  • Kanan Jarrus’ Lightsaber is the one you want, though. This is the dream opening because it just wrecks an opponent. It’s pretty obvious, since it’s written right there on the card, but Kanan + Kanan Saber activation means you get to turn one of your opponent’s dice away from a good side, get the exact side you want on the Saber, and THEN get the exact side you want with Kanan! One Instigate requires you to roll a single two-melee side on Kanan to hit for SEVEN out of nowhere! That is straight fire.

Make It Happen Now! Cards

The event suite here is mostly about leveraging the Jawa and igniting the Kanan bloodbath with a few other goodies thrown in.

  • Block, Dodge, and Harmless Trick are all there to spring excitement out of nowhere on your opponent. Most likely one of the Block and Dodge combo are going to be Sinjir fodder, but the other is going to make your opponent very, very sad. Block and Dodge have been powerful forever, but devoting four cards that cost two each when two of them are dead has always held them back. Now, the off-cards are useful to put on the bottom with Sinjir to keep removin’ stuff.
  • Flee the Scene is solid removal for when you just need that panic button. Sure, the round is probably over, but they also probably don’t have any dice left to hit you with.
  • Truce is money, literally.
  • Instigate is that hot saunce that make the Kanan-splosion live.
  • Rally the Covert is a card I’ve been disappointed with. This is a card I designed, and I really thought it would have more of an impact. Sadly, the Mando Super Commando dice you throw into the pool just aren’t typically strong enough to do much. In this deck, however, I’ve discovered a solid use for it. We already have a chap ready and waiting to turn sideways for this, so you’re able to toss those four dice out there on your very first action, meaning you can hit for a solid three damage even if they’re going first. Having them activate and toss the nuts makes a really fun and tense moment when you plop this down to try and kill all those dice they just threw by offing a dude.

One note about the events before we move on. This deck was made before the reprint list came out. The Reprint list is dumb, especially when you look at the Yellow Hero removal that’s become available to you. Most of the stuff in this list has probably been trumped by the ridiculous suite of cards that Yellow Hero is now required to run because they’re obviously the best cards. If you’re running this deck into a group that is using the reprint list, you can substantially upgrade the power of the deck by taking a look at cards like Easy Pickings.

And the Rest, Here on Gilligan’s ISSSSLLLE!!

  • C-3P0 was the last card I added to the deck. I’m not sure what he does in here, and I never actually played him. He’s not reduced by the Jawa, he’s Hero, so you’re paying full price. I think I chose him because I figured he might have some synergy with resolve both of Sinjir‘s dice to remove two dice of theirs all at once. None of that ever happened during play, however, because every single person I played against used Cunning and I didn’t want to give them access to 3PO‘s special
  • Merchant Freighter is a no brainer, like a few other cards in here. It makes money. You want money. It does pair nicely with a character that can pop it out for free, though.
  • Shock Collar is easily the wildest choice in this deck. At 2, it’s just not reasonable value. You’re spending an entire Round’s worth of resources to do a single damage per Round. From just a cost/benefit analysis, this has to work three Rounds before it’s hit par for what damage out of hand should be able to do, and that doesn’t even factor in that doing one per Round is much worse than doing three at once. For 1 cost, this still isn’t great, but it’s playable and it’s a whole lot of fun to see someone’s eyes bug out and watch them have to read what the hell this thing does.

And that’s the deck! Our Jank Party Send-Off Party for Jordan was a hoot, with the finals coming down to Jordan and myself. It was a close battle, but I got there in the end on the strength of a four-damage rollout from Rally the Covert. Just like I mentioned above, he activated a dude with enough damage showing to finish me off, so I snapped ole J sideways, spent three, and tossed four Super Trooper for the win.

For all of my efforts, I went home with the Grand Prize for the evening. Turned out the prize was apropos for the manner in which I took him down, a sweet foily Mandalorian Super Commando promo from World’s 2019.

Posted on

The Assembly Line: Deck Building with Trey – The Special Kids

Update: Because I have all the power with this site, I can add blurbs from folks who really appreciate what I’m doing after articles are already published. From the Coaxium Discord, moments after posting the link.

So, it’s been a while, like a long while, since I dazzled my fine readers with wit and wisdom surrounding one of my deck concoctions. I don’t have much defense except to say that the advent of A Renewed Hope cards has really kept me busy with Kingwood Hobbies, and I just haven’t felt up to it. I’ve still been deckbuilding for my Wednesday night shenanigans, though, so I have a long list of delicious brews to send your way. For my first foray back into the deck writing game I’m going with my baby. This is the deck I’ve been coaxing along for months now. With the writing bug hitting me again, this is the one I want to share immediately.

One of the major themes in ARH sets has been the Inquisitors. If you’re unfamiliar with these rapscallions, they show up in the post-prequel, pre-OG trilogy era. Despite the vast majority of the Jedi getting the wrong end of several dozen E-11 blasters, some few of them escaped Order 66. Ole Palpy was having none of that, however, so he decided to form a crack squad of twisted Force users to help the remaining Jedi survivors become one with the Force. This crack team was known as the Inquisitorius. Known only by a number and their gender (Ninth Sister, Sixth Brother), these individuals raced around the galaxy whacking Jedi on the noggin with the scary red lightsabers in an attempt to fulfill the Emperor’s wishes.

The Inquisitors have been represented in Destiny’s history a number of times. Empire at War gave us the first two versions of these characters in The Grand Inquisitor and Seventh Sister. Ole GI was mostly a dud, but Seventh Sister was a knockout, landing in multiple Tier 1 decks of her era. Way of the Force rounded out the last of FFG’s attempts to make Inquisitors with the dud, Fifth Brother.

Four more sets from FFG crossed our paths with nary a mention of these baddies, but that was all rectified when ARH took over development. Inquisitors are literally everywhere. So much so that I think they might be someone’s pet project. Faltering Allegiances had Ninth Sister and Second Sister as well as the plot, The Inquisitorius. Redemption brought us Cunning-on-a-stick, Tenth Brother. High Stakes introduced us to a new version of the Grand Inquisitor. Of the eleven unique Blue villain character cards in ARH-created sets, 36% of them are Inquisitors. Someone’s got a fetish, y’all.

Despite us being waist-deep in inquisitorium options, they’ve actually not seen that much play. So much so that both Ninth Sister and Second Sister had their points dropped in an effort to boost their playability. It’s the very lack of playtime that piqued my interest, however, as I have a crushing need to prove I’m smarter than everyone else by whipping them with their own castoffs.

The first iteration of the deck was quite easy. Nearly all the cards that felt like they wanted to be in the deck fit, and there weren’t really all that many tough decisions to make. Many of Blue villain’s normal options come with the word ‘Sith’ explicitly written on them, so that knocked a bunch of options off the board immediately. There were some tweaks when things didn’t work as I expected (Malice might just be bad, folks) and some additions when later sets were released, but it was actually playing the deck that required a lot of adjustment. I had to shape what I naturally want to do to what the deck was offering to really get the most out of it. Once I surrendered to the cards, however, this stack o’ thirty has become something to be feared on Wednesday nights at Dragon’s Lair. This deck regularly drops, and uses twice, Shien Mastery in the first round.

May I present, The Special Kids

The Squad

The point values on this team line up just like they were designed. Second Sister got that one-point drop, but it was completely unnecessary. This is the team you want. Four dice geared around getting exactly what you want with enough points left over for a completely free soft mitigation action every round. (soft mitigation or soft removal is when you turn a die away from a side your opponent would like to resolve rather than simply removing the die. It’s called ‘soft’ because your opponent has an opportunity to undo the removal)

There haven’t been that many good battlefields for this deck recently. As a control deck, it’s not going to claim all that often unless you’re foregoing some juiciness, so I don’t really want anything that’s going to power up my enemies. For the longest time Valley of the Dark Lords was what I ran with. There’s a lot of character-specific dice removal in this deck, and it was nice to have a panic button to get out of situations where my cards were telling me ‘character die only’ while the die threatening my demise came from an upgrade or support.

That all changed with the release of this dumb reprint list, however. If you’re going to give me free specials, or, more accurately, terrify my opponent into giving me shields because I’m not winning the roll-off with character dice this small, I’m going to take it. Enter Emperor’s Throne Room. I am a little sad, though. Valley of the Dark Lords was interesting and different. Emperor’s Throne Room is easy and boring.

The Deck – Upgrades

With one character’s special saying, “Be any other special” and the other character’s special saying, “Special Chain that other guy’s dice”, the upgrades were always going to be about abilities doing neat special stuff. All of the upgrades have specials and all of those specials are awesome.

These are the heart and soul of the deck. Once you land these on the board you don’t even need to roll their specials to get their specials. It’s great if you do, but either Tenth Brother‘s dice or Second Sister‘s dice into Tenth Brother‘s dice get you everything you need out of these cards. I tell you, there is nothing like ruining someone’s night by resolving four Shien Mastery dice in the same round. I can do that in Round 1. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

The final card is a relatively new addition to the deck. Force Crush is absolutely soul-destroying. Essentially a soft removal version of Reversal on a stick, it’s one of those cards that tips the normal, I-want-my-opponent-to-roll-bad-while-they-want-to-roll-good dynamic on its head. They’re soiling themselves afraid that they’re going to walk those giant dice they’re tossing right into you slapping them across the face with them, and you’re making that creepy Jack Nicholson nodding gif begging them to throw the nuts. The only downside to Force Crush is that you have so much other mitigation running around that you don’t always need this special, and there really aren’t any other sides that do something you want. It’s either soul-destroying or whiff, there’s no in-between. For that reason, I only have the one.

The Deck – Supports

For all the cards in Standard that irksomely have the word ‘Sith’ on them, there are some shockingly good bits of cardboard catering specifically to Inquisitors. One of the things I love the most about sleeving up something off-the-wall is my opponent having to pick up and read a card they’ve never really internalized as it smacks them about the face and neck. In this case, I’m talking about Interrogation Chair.

At first glance, this bit of chicanery may not look like much, but you have to remember that there are certain dice sides you simply cannot resolve. If you point this at a modified Blue side, a paid side when they’re broke, or a blank they are completely unable to fulfill the ‘unless they resolve that die’ part of the card, and are simply stuck with taking two to the face. In a deck that specializes (<-lol, I really didn’t do that on purpose) in turning dice to blanks this translates simply to “Take 2” every single round. That’s a heck of a return on your investment of one card and one resource.

The second piece of interesting tech here is the inclusion of Prescient Leap. Because the dice in this deck tend to chain together, (resolve this die to turn that die to a special and resolve it), you’re going to be constantly ticking up this bomb. There are so many splashy upgrades in the game today that it often comes in handy to be able to dispose of them. If they’re not playing upgrades, though, this makes for a good pitch-to-reroll choice.

The final array of supports come in the form of money makers. This deck tosses big, feisty cards around. It has a voracious appetite for money, and it absolutely wants that money immediately. That’s why I have one more card slot than normal dedicated to generating the cash.

The Deck – Events

Because we have so much small removal wrapped up in the cards we already have on the board (our plot, Second Sister‘s ability, all of our upgrades, Tenth Brother looking at any of the above) we don’t need to devote any event slots at all to it. We can load up on those bomb-ass multi-dice removal cards that can really blow our opponent out of the round.

Your Powers are Weak is just a misery-inducing play for two resources. I’ll take three Hidden Motives that blank the die if it misses, please. The number of times I remove three dice with this is just ugly.

Dark Dispatch is a really interesting card in that it mucks up two dice, one permanently, but then also adds a high-damage die to our side of the table. I’ve finished off characters with that Purge Trooper die a number of times.

Pincer Movement is gross. Y’all seriously, it’s just gross. I have a really tough time keeping my poker face when I pull this off the top of my deck. There’s a flow to this playing this thing, both playing it and playing against it. One of the contributors to this flow is that most of my mitigation comes from dice in my pool. If my opponent can get the jump on me and get their dice into the pool before I can roll out, they will have a window to resolve something bonkers before I can respond. Deep into a game when my opponent has figured that out, they tend to claim early to make sure they have the battlefield and then immediately roll their best character into the pool. It makes sense because they want the juiciest dice out there before I can do anything about them. It’s in that moment that I break their will. Spend a resource, plunk down Pincer Movement, and watch their spirit flee their body. Not only do I utterly wreck everything they just did, but I put ALL of my dice into the pool to set up the rest of the round. The entire moment flips from them being the aggressor to a moment of “oh shit, I’m going to die if I don’t do something about this plethora of dice”. It warms the cockles of my heart.

Contentions Opportunity is a card I resisted for a long time. I hadn’t really recognized the power of rolling a die back into my pool after an opponent’s dealt with it. I’ve always wanted to focus on my remaining dice and move forward. After finally seeing it in action, however, I’m hooked. Again we go to the fact that this deck wants to chain all its dice together for MAXIMUM DISCOMFORT. Having that die back out there gives us more links in that chain and more opportunities to wreck stuff.

Harness the Force exists because sometimes you don’t roll the specials. It’s always satisfying to see the relief on my opponent’s face that they dodged the special barrage only to ignite that chain with a card from my hand.

No Mercy is in here because you sometimes, not often but sometimes, just need to pitch your hand to murder a dude. Spending two to deal 6 and off someone out of nowhere is alright in my book.

Playing the Deck

If you decide to sleeve this list up you’re going to learn from my long list of mistakes, but dammit, you’re going to spend some time reading about them first. In hindsight, it all makes perfect sense, but that’s the beauty of hindsight. Things you smash your head-on at the time end up looking easy once you figure them out.

There were two main issues I ran into early in the deck’s development. Soft removal and money.

While hard removal (pointing at some dice and declaring that your opponent get that crap out of the pool) is always the same, Vader escapades aside, soft removal is heavily dependent on the overall state of Destiny. Because your opponent always has the option to pitch and reroll, the probability dynamics of what they will hit when they reroll contributes mightily to what soft mitigation can really do. If I’m trying to stay alive by turning your die from a 3 melee side to a blank, it’s a lot more effective if that’s the only damage side on the die. If that die is five 3 melee sides and the blank, a pitch to reroll is probably going to get them right back where they want to be.

The state of Destiny today is that it has some seriously BLADDOW! dice being tossed around. The main die that won the first World Championships looked like the one on the left, while the die on the right can’t even find a home any more. Power creep is real, y’all. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s something we must contend with if we’re going to rely on soft mitigation.

Early in this deck’s development, this was a huge deal. I was turning dice only to have my opponent pitch something and get 80% of the goodness right back in the pool. I wasn’t losing my dudes in Round 1, but I was so far behind that I simply couldn’t catch up.

For a long time, I was convinced that the answer was cards that hit the opponent’s hand. The rationale there being that an opponent facing the hard choice of playing that last card in their hand or pitching it to reroll was good for me. It’s the reason I relied on Malice for so long. That’s a one-drop upgrade with multiple discard sides as well as specials that do some damage while their dice are blanked. In theory, it was great. In reality, it was simply too slow. It just took too many actions to both flip their dice and take cards out of their hand.

Eventually, Malice hit the dustbin in favor of Niman Training. I figured out another way to make the soft mitigation work and was able to remove a bad card for something that contributed to my game plan.

The second, and biggest issue I faced was money. If you want to scroll up again and look at the cards I’m slinging, they ain’t cheap. It was taking me forever to build up enough resources to drop those tasty upgrades. This was intertwined with the soft mitigation problem because I was essentially relying on that soft removal to stay alive for a round or two while I built up the cash to let those big hammer upgrades take over. With a little luck, I could get there, but my kids had taken quite the beating during the process. It’s rough trying to win when your game plan starts with half-dead characters.

The solution to this wasn’t a card change but gaining more understanding of the deck. Up until this point, Second Sister had kinda been that red-headed stepchild that wasn’t quite as loved as the more popular kid. Tenth Brother does some WHACKY stuff with his dice and is the reason I wanted to give this deck a go. The Sister was just there to maybe muck up a die on activation, bring that plot online, and sometimes win games by flipping a Tenth Brother die to deal 4 melee damage. She just wasn’t a strong pairing with TB.

That’s on me, though. Second Sister is AMAZING. Once you learn how to play her correctly, she lights the booster rockets that fling this deck into outer space. She has go juice that I never dreamed of when I started tinkering with this. Imagine this sequence of plays: (this is the Magical Christmasland version, but you can do 80% of this regularly in Round 1)

  • Early in your turns you activate Second Sister, hitting literally anything on both dice. You’re also turning an opponent’s die to something that matches whatever hurts them the most.
  • You pay two resource to drop Niman Mastery on Tenth Brother, turning one of your Second Sister dice to a special.
  • You resolve your Second Sister special to turn her other side to a resource. That’s two resources for you unless, sweet baby Jesus, they have a resource showing. Then, you get three resources.
  • Overwrite Niman Mastery with Shien Mastery. Toss that die into your pool. Some sides are better than others, but anything you get is going to be sweet, sweet sauce.
  • Activate Tenth Brother. You literally just rolled three dice into your pool with the ability to rip off a Shien special. IN ROUND ONE!
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4

The catch there was me learning that Second Sister can make INSANE MONEY early in the game when you need it, and then switch to dealing out the blows later when you’re trying to finish the opponent off. By embracing Second Sister and learning her ways, this deck went from something I was tinkering with that got beat regularly to something that people fear at the tables of Dragon’s Lair. This also solved my problem with the soft mitigation because I was able to back it up instantly with hard removal. You want to pitch to reroll something better because I ruined what you already had? That’s fine, but you’re doing it into my multiple Shien Mastery dice. Good luck.

This deck is super fun to play because it totally fits my controlling play style. If you’re looking for something that’s going to roll sticks all the time and pound your opponent into the dirt, this isn’t it. This is going to frustrate that person across the table to no end over and over and over as you do just enough to make them feel like they can’t make any headway in killing you.

A few other tips before I go:

  • Always keep an eye on your opponent’s cards for juicy specials to hit with Tenth Brother‘s dice. They hit anything, and it’s even more satisfying to win by resolving their specials than it is yours. Don’t be too obvious about it though, because they’re likely to forget that from time to time. I dunno, fly casual.
  • Just because you have a million specials on the board does not mean that you have to resolve them all in one go. Use just enough to break up what the bad guy is doing while keeping yourself loaded for whatever they come back with.
  • If they have a million dice in the pool and only one of them is what they want, it’s often best to let them hit you for two rather than softly mitigate that die. They’re going to pitch to reroll anyway, so you want to save that die turn for when they can’t fix it. Turning their die into an obvious reroll situation opens you up to getting blown out by big rerolls.
  • Thoroughly exhaust the mitigation you have on the table before you start firing away with the big cards in your hand. They know you can break their rolls with what you have showing, so they’re going to try and play around it. Often, it will take everything they have to get through what you have showing. If they finally break through and you have nothing left out there, that’s when you hit them with the card you’re holding that ruins their whole round.

And that’s it! I hope you found something in here you want to sleeve up, or at least you were entertained. Until next time! (it won’t be another year, I promise).

Posted on Leave a comment

Limited Edition Printing of New KeyForge Adventure

Summer is in full swing, which means it’s the peak season for slipping into swimsuits, slathering on sunscreen and…exploring the ocean’s depths to uncover a villainous and dangerous conspiracy?!?

Well, if you’re a fan of KeyForge Adventures, then yeah, sure! Fantasy Flight Games recently released The Abyssal Conspiracy, the second adventure to expand on the Dark Tidings two-player starter set – and Kingwood Hobbies now offers a limited edition printing that you won’t want to miss.

New Way to Play

Earlier this spring, FFG announced KeyForge Adventures, a cooperative play version of KeyForge that pits one to three players – using decks from their existing collections – against a unique, pre-constructed adventure that replaces your usual human opponent and features multiple difficulty levels. 

In the first adventure, Rise of the Keyraken, players battle the Keyraken, a powerful creature that absorbs the psychic power of Æmber. Players can choose multiple strategies for defeating this mythological monster. In the second adventure, The Abyssal Conspiracy, players must navigate a grid of nine locations as they descend into the ocean’s depths to uncover the conspiracy and find the tool needed to put an end to its villainy.

Value-added Adventure

Both Rise of the Keyraken and The Abyssal Conspiracy are available as free downloads for fans who simply want a print-and-play experience. However, for players who prefer their KeyForge gameplay frustration-free and their game pieces high-quality, Kingwood Hobbies provides professional printing services for these cards along with unique additional accessories.

Included in this Kingwood Hobbies limited edition printing of The Abyssal Conspiracy:

  • All Seals and Vaultbinder cards are printed with a delightful foil finish that will make your gaming sessions shimmer.
  • An oversized 3.5″ x 5″ Tide card encased in hard plastic to give you an easy-to-read and easy-to-manipulate card for everyone at the table to see.
  • A high-resolution 8.5″ x 11″ booklet containing rules for The Abyssal Conspiracy, so that you’re never left wondering what you’re supposed to do.
  • The adventure deck comes in its own hard plastic case for secure storage of your professionally printed cards.

There’s no conspiracy, scheme, machinations or intrigue going on here – just a quality version of the latest flavor of KeyForge fun for you and your friends and family to explore this summer! Sunscreen not included: we prefer to leave that choice to the individual.

Posted on

SMASH! For Real

While I’ve always thought they were a bit silly in the movies, Ewoks have held a place near and dear to my heart since their inception in Destiny. Whether it’s independently designing the Plowoks burn deck right at the beginning of the Spark of Hope metagame, or bringing Wicket and Yoda to our local tables and frustrating the hell out of folks, I’ve been rocking the little yellow monsters from Day 1.

So, when I was asked which Smash Phase 3 deck I’d like to spoil, boom; no brainer. Gimme fur. Please allow me to introduce your newest spoiled Smash Phase 3 deck, Wicket – Crafty Scout and Ewok Warrior.

Teamed up with this illustrious pair of furry half-pints is the oft-maligned battlefield, Main Plaza – Vashka. Main Plaza is an interesting choice given that there’s actually an Ewok Village battlefield they could have chosen. If they didn’t go with that one, why not? The only thing I can come up with is that Main Plaza’s damage moving ability both avoids shields and allows you to add targeted damage in a deck that would otherwise scatter it around with indirect.

There are not a lot of instances where I’d choose this over my other battlefield, but there are some:

  • Ewoks paired with a character that will let you use the Claim ability of battlefields outside of just the claiming action.
  • Playing against a team with three or more characters that will be slower at claiming than you.

Main Plaza puts tremendous pressure on the Claim portion of the round, so choose carefully.

Onto the Deck!

We’ve got fifteen cards left to spoil, so let’s get to it. The first three come as a group and are possibly the easiest inclusion in a Smash deck ever. Wicket uses traps? Well then, include the Downgrade – Traps.

Rolling Logs and Net Trap are outstanding removal that doesn’t take an action to use. Wicket makes them repeating. Bonkers. Ensnare is one of those cards that totally turns the game on its head. You’re rooting for a nut roll when they activate their guy, and they’re deathly afraid to even turn him sideways. So much brutality in so small of a package.

After the traps come the cards that might as well have come from the printer stamped with “For Use With Ewok Decks Only” on them. Chief Chirpa’s Hut, Ewok Bow, Ewok Ambush, and Glider Attack are all meant to soup-up the power of a base Ewok to help it compete with more powerful teams. One thing to remember, you may want to pick up some extra Ewok Warriors for when the Hut starts humming that Special tune.

The next two cards weren’t specifically designed for Ewok decks, but they play really strong roles in making them good.

  • Easy Pickings is the most obvious of this pair and is In the running for the best removal ever printed, any Hero Yellow deck that can will choose to pack this monster bullet. Spending a card and a resource for back-breaking removal? Yes, please.
  • Diplomatic Protection is a card that didn’t see much play when it first came out, but became an instant staple once Ewoks became a thing. By giving all of your characters two shields, the wider your team is the more health this puts in play. Couple this with some of the damage moving cards we’ll see later and your tiny little Ewok Warrior can use its death to super heal the rest of your guys.

Nine cards down, six to go. Those first batches of cards went a long way towards building the deck themselves. Here’s where the choices get more difficult and more interesting.

The final two dice cards are sticks that feature some interesting interactions with your Ewok Bois.

  • Rey’s Staff is a basic weapon with three damage sides from a time when cards didn’t really have three damage sides. Add in a special that keeps your guys alive longer and you have a solid 2-drop you’re never unhappy to see.
  • Vibrocutlass is one of those ginaormous sticks where you get giddy when it sticks. Once it hits the table it’s going to be there for the rest of the game. Redeploy in this deck means you have multiple Yellow Bois to tote is around regardless of who you’re paired up with. It’s also downright hilarious to see a fuzzy little bear bonk someone on the head for four damage.

As I mentioned above with Diplomatic Protection, this deck features some cards that don’t necessarily heal damage but do keep your guys around longer by moving things around. They’re reasonably strong on their own, but Dangerous Maneuver and Draw Attention get super-powered when DP adorns your diceless Ewok.

Our final two cards are great utility cards that will push your team closer to victory no matter who they’re paired up with.

  • Smuggling Ring is a utility common that generates a great advantage if you can overcome the initial outlay of landing it on the table. It works best in a deck that can survive Round 1 on only one resource, and this deck has plenty of options for doing just that.
  • Improvised Explosive is a great way to use that one resource from Smuggling Ring in Round 1. Put it out there and eventually, Pop!, three less health on the other team.

And that’s it! That’s the Ewok deck for your Smash Phase 3. Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to Friday and getting my hands on the full list.

Posted on Leave a comment

X-Wing Stuff!

Lots of news swirling around X-Wing these days. Check out this new stuff.

Two new expansions ready for preorder for Resistance and First Order

BTA-NR2 Y-Wing

Update your Resistance squadrons with a modern version of a classic starfighter! The BTA-NR2 Y-wing was designed as a craft capable of filling nearly any role with the right suite of modifications. The standard wartime loadout has been reworked as a separate upgrade module, making the craft lighter and more user-friendly. An ideal choice for small planetary governments, independent security operations, or even criminal cartels.

This expansion includes everything players need to add two of these reworked starfighters into their Star Wars™: X-Wing collection, beginning with two beautifully painted BTA-NR2 Y-wing miniatures. Additionally, beings from across the galaxy flock to join the Resistance, and 12 ship cards let them handpick the right pilots for their strategy. The BTA-NR2 Y-wing is highly versatile and 18 upgrade cards invite players to customize their ships to meet your parameters. Finally, four Quick Build cards help players combine pilots and upgrades to jump into missions as fast as possible.

Fury of the First Order

The First Order’s starfighter engineers continue to develop new technologies for use by their ace pilots, and the Fury of the First Order Squadron Pack allows players to bring these advanced starfighters to their games of Star Wars™: X-Wing!. The TIE/se Bomber bristles with a heavy payload of ordnance, while the TIE/wi Whisper Modified Interceptor is a deadly craft worthy of the Supreme Leader himself. Armed with its stealth capabilities, advanced maneuverability, and heavy weapon turret, Kylo Ren leads his fanatical 709th Legion as they mercilessly hunt pockets of resistance across the galaxy.

This squadron pack includes content for Kylo Ren and his devoted diehards, featuring new abilities and upgrades based on their appearance in Star Wars™: The Rise of Skywalker and Star Wars™: Resistance. This pack includes everything you need to add 1 TIE/wi Whisper Modified Interceptor ship and 2 TIE/se Bomber ships to your games of Star Wars: X-Wing! 14 pilot cards create a pool of versatile pilots for these ships which can be customized in a myriad of ways with the 32 included upgrade cards. Players eager to play with these ships can as soon as possible can utilize the four included Quick Build cards which will get these powerful ships on the table in record time with effective suggestions on upgrades and configurations.

The Trident-class Assault Ship is in stock and shipping

Trident-class Assault Ship

Whether spearheading surprise attacks on key Republic facilities or pirate raids on innocent worlds, the Trident-class assault ship heralds the arrival of hostile forces, emerging ominously from the seas of stars. Armed with crushing tentacles and capable of operating in space, atmosphere, or the ocean’s depths, these versatile warships present an unorthodox threat that can strike unexpectedly to seize control of nearly any battlefield. Inside you will find multiple new Huge Ship Upgrade cards, Quick Build cards, and several new scenarios for using this craft: Rising Tide, a head-to-head scenario, and Leviathan Hunt, a co-operative scenario where multiple players work together to bring down a single Trident-class assault ship controlled by a simplified Solo System AI deck. This pack includes everything you need to add 1 Trident-class Assault Ship to your game.

Restocks are in hand for a number of hard-to-find ships

TIE/rb Heavy

The TIE/rb Heavy is one of the largest TIE variants produced for the Galactic Empire and is often assigned to patrol routes where it is expected to fight without the support of a carrier or escorts. Thanks to its robust armor, swiveling laser cannons, and integrated MGK-300-series droid intelligence, this vessel lives up to its nickname: the “Brute.”

The TIE/rb Heavy Expansion Pack includes everything you need to add one of these imposing ships to your Galactic Empire squadrons, beginning with a beautifully detailed, pre-painted miniature and a medium plastic base. Four ship cards give you the freedom to choose your pilot, while 12 upgrade cards invite you to customize your ship to fir your needs. Finally, two Quick Build cards offer helpful combinations of pilots and upgrades to get you into the fight right away.

LAAT/I Gunship

A durable, reliable workhorse capable of serving in a wide array of environments, the LAAT/i gunship is renowned for getting the job done. Whether making precision drops of clone troopers on contested worlds, supporting Republic formations with interlaced fire in atmospheric battles, or engaging starfighters in the depths of space, the LAAT/i can be outfitted for nearly any role or battlefield.

The LAAT/i Gunship Expansion Pack contains everything you need to add one of these sturdy ships to your Galactic Republic squadrons, including a finely detailed LAAT/i Gunship miniature, four ship cards, 14 upgrade cards, and two quick build cards to get your ship directly into the fight.

HMP Droid Gunship

A menacing silhouette slides overhead, repulsorlifts humming ominously and eyes glowing with malevolence. The HMP gunship’s presence invokes fear thanks to predatory droid intelligence and an unpredictable capacity to strafe targets with devastating missile pods, bombs, and a wide-sweeping array of laser cannons.

The HMP Droid Gunship Expansion Pack unlocks new possibilities with a beautifully detailed HMP Droid Gunship miniature and six ship cards with their own programming and protocols for battle. Your droid gunship can be further modified to your exact specifications with eight upgrade cards, or you can follow the recommendations of three quick build cards to get your gunship into battle as quickly as possible.

Posted on Leave a comment

Sommelier’s Selection: Trial By Trolley

While the COVID-19 pandemic hurt traffic to American board gaming cafes, the global board gaming industry continues to grow. One report projects revenue from board games to increase 13% over the next five years. A 2018 analysis estimated about 3,500 new board games are released every year. It seems like a pretty safe bet that many of them will suck. With such an overwhelming avalanche of choices, how can average Joes and Janes possibly expect to discover fun games worth spending their hard-earned dollars to play?

Fear not, our board gaming buddies: your friends at Kingwood Hobbies have already done the hard work of weeding through what’s wack and weak sauce to curate for you a trusted collection of games we think you’re likely to love. Much in the same way sommeliers develop wine lists for restaurants, we are experienced and knowledgeable game stewards who can personally vouch for and recommend every game we offer. So, mesdames et messieurs, mais oui…may we…recommend a fun party game for three to 13 adult players? It’s called Trial By Trolley and we think it’s worth your while.

Philosophical Fun

Described as “an adult card game of moral dilemmas and murder,” Trial By Trolley is based on the famous Trolley Problem, a series of thought experiments in ethics and psychology introduced in 1967 by English philosopher Philippa Foot. In this fictional scenario, an onlooker has the chance to save five people in danger of being hit by a runaway trolley by diverting the trolley to another track to kill just one person. This experiment was explored in the second season of the fantasy-comedy television series The Good Place.

In the game, one player acts as the trolley conductor while the remaining players are split into two teams. Each team draws three “innocent” cards, three “guilty” cards, and three modifier cards. A round begins when teams place a good card on their track, attempting to dissuade the trolley operator from rolling down it. Then teams place a bad card on their opponents’ track. Finally, teams place a modifier card on either track, attempting to make something good worse or something bad better. Then the teams debate, each attempting to persuade the trolley operator to run over their opponents’ track.

Easy Decision

Trial By Trolley is highly portable, simple to set up, and lends itself easily to custom variations of the rules based on your group of players. The cards are high-quality and durable. While the goal is to kill people on your opponents’ track, the game is not exactly family-friendly. However, the cards aren’t as risqué as those in games like Cards Against Humanity or Joking Hazard, so it’s better suited to play with older kids.

We’ve had a blast playing this game and think you will, too. Trial By Trolley fosters creative and hilarious debate that’s all in good fun and, in our opinion is great for parties and game nights. The easiest decision you have to make is to simply buy this game. The only thing we haven’t determined yet is what wine best pairs with it – and if you think we’re just being silly, there ARE indeed wine trolley tours. Probably something that comes in a wineskin to avoid spillage….

Posted on

High Stakes Set Review: General

I have always loved the Set Reviews that have been done by YOUR Destiny and EchoBase; so, when I was unable to attend the release event and needed a way to channel my excitement, I decided to create my own. I decided to try something I haven’t seen done in these reviews yet: rate each card, not only on how I perceive playability (on a scale from 1 to 5) but also on the thematics (on a grade scale from F to A).

The ARH team has done incredible work on all of these cards and I’m super excited to play this set. These are my first impressions, and I could be very wrong, both in-game and theme. The opinions herein are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Coaxium Gaming. I’ve avoided looking at other reviews so they don’t color my opinion.

Previous High Stakes Reviews

Blue Red Yellow



Game: Not quite as good as R2-D2, mostly because C-3PO – Perfect Gentleman is better alone than R2-D2 – Loyal Companion is. If you can spot R2, the special is incredible, but if not it’s still good. Even without increasing their values, resolving 2 dice with different symbols in the same action

Theme: I actually like C-3PO more as a support than as a character; I can imagine R2-D2 or Chopper wielding all sorts of weapons, but not C-3PO. I do think he fits pretty clearly in Red but I don’t have a big problem with him being Gray.

Forest Clearing: Corvus2/D

Game: A replacement of sorts for Obi-Wan’s Hut, but unfortunately, unlike that card, this one mills a card. While that may not seem like a downside, blue hero decks are often the ones that drag the game out and get the closest to milling themselves. Could be good with characters that can play from the discard pile, but I’m not sure.

Theme: I like the idea of a battlefield being limited to a specific faction, but, whereas it made a lot of sense for Defensive Perimeter as a defensive location held by rebels, this one doesn’t make as much sense to me.


Amban Blaster4/D+

Game: Upgrades that can remove dice when they’re played have consistently done well because they keep the tempo up and they can be replaced with themselves for a 0-cost removal. I don’t love the die sides, other than that sweet unblockable special, but they are consistent with a 2-cost weapon (if you consider the third resource spent on the removal).

Theme: I wish this was yellow hero, instead of the Beskar Spear. I also wish that one of these sides was melee damage (though I’m pretty sure that its use as a melee weapon is being alluded to by the removal effect). The damage sides seem a little light for a weapon that vaporizes Klatooinians and Jawas

Vibroblade 4.5/C

Game: A 2-cost weapon, with slightly subpar sides, but it can make any die showing damage unblockable. I may be overvaluing unblockable damage, but with this much of it around, I worry that decks that make a lot of shields have gotten a fair bit worse.

Theme: I don’t love that it makes any other damage side unblockable (even if this die isn’t in the pool to be resolved).

Hanger 3-5: Tatooine1/A

Game: This could go with a jank deck that puts resources on things (maybe Extort Cooperation can finally be good), but the downside of giving your opponent the opportunity to remove a resource is probably too much for it to be good.

Theme: This just screams pit droids, scrapping one thing to build another… unfortunately not always the thing you want them to scrap.

Krayt Dragon Lair5/B

Game: Such a great battlefield for a fast aggro deck or a burn deck! (Are you sick of me mentioning this fabled burn deck yet?) This battlefield is Benthic‘s best friend.

Theme: My initial thought was that Krayt Dragons don’t care how rich you are! But then I thought more about it and begrudgingly decided that those resources could represent the banthas you’re feeding him.

Mandalorian Covert2/F

Game: I really like this concept as part of a control-type deck as it slowly thins your opponent’s deck of cards that are good for them while adding back cards that aren’t good at the time or in your particular matchup. However, I don’t think it’s actually good.

Theme: I can’t help but think that I’m missing something here. With this being the Armorer’s home, I would have expected some thing like Weapons Factory Alpha, but for equipment and weapons instead of vehicles. Or as the last hideout of this sect of Mandalorians, perhaps it could have a shielding effect.


Well that’s all of them! This set is full of great cards; the design team did an outstanding job, especially with characters! I only have one overall criticism; many of the events are almost good, but have been weighed down with extra requirements (e.g. Kyber Quest, Overwhelming Forces, Come to Aid, Rally the Covert). I’d rather there be a chance of something being a bit overpowered than have several cards that are almost unplayable. Again, this is only one small gripe among a cornucopia of great cards that I’m very excited about. I hope ARH keeps up the great work that they’ve done on these three sets!

An enormous amount of thanks goes to Trey for editing all of these articles, I made it really difficult with my inexperience in WordPress and he has done an absolutely stellar job! Let me know what you think by commenting on whatever platform you found this or dropping me a line on Discord: Oeklampadius#7833.

Posted on

High Stakes Set Review: Rogue

I have always loved the set reviews that have been done by YOUR Destiny and EchoBase; so, when I was unable to attend the release event and needed a way to channel my excitement, I decided to create my own. I decided to try something I haven’t seen done in these reviews yet: rate each card, not only on how I perceive playability (on a scale from 1 to 5) but also on the thematics (on a grade scale from F to A).

The ARH team has done incredible work on all of these cards and I’m super excited to play this set. These are my first impressions, and I could be very wrong, both in-game and theme. The opinions herein are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Coaxium Gaming. I’ve avoided looking at other reviews so they don’t color my opinion.

Other High Stakes Reviews:

Blue Red


Cad Bane: Callous Outlaw3.5/C

Game: The die on this guy is quite good, I’d be happy to see any of these sides most of the time. The ability could be great, or it could be a blank, depending on when you get a kill.

Theme: I’m glad to see one of my favorite bounty hunters back! From the quote, I assume that this is the version of Cad Bane that has just escaped from prison and is with Obi-Wan/Rako during which he stole a guard’s blaster on his way out. I don’t think it’s what he’s all about but it’s a cool effect. I don’t really like the second resource side, because Cad, like other bounty hunters, gets most of his resources through bounties. (To me it made sense for Jango to have 2 resource sides, because of his income from Kamino). Maybe this is a weird thing to get hung up on, but now that bounty hunters have access to bounties that give additional resources, most of them don’t have a thematic need for extra resource sides.

Gamorrean Fighter1/A+

Game: A pay side, a modifier, 2 blanks, and no resource sides, no subtype, and a Power Action that is likely to damage you (and maybe give you a resource). So much to hate, in a card that I love, but only from the perspective of…

Theme: This card is so great! The power action makes them feel like a gladiators that gets paid to lose to more impressive warriors; absolutely brilliant!

IG-11: Programmable Hunter2*/A

Game: As a villain, he is fair at best. His ability to be with a Hero Engineer is the reason I put the asterisk by his point cost, because, with the ability to mix hero and villain cards there is always the potential for something absolutely OP. I don’t know what that might be, but as long as he’s around, there is a small chance for a broken combo deck. I don’t think this is likely in this set, if only because of the small selection of Engineers.

Theme: I love this guy too, the designers could have chosen to make two different versions or a double-sided version, but I think that they just nailed it with this choice.

Now It’s Personal1/A

Game: Cards that require characters to be defeated are just too inconsistent to be good, and this one requires two: one of your unique to play, and one of your opponent’s to reap the benefit. (Ed Note: Random aside here, this is one of those weird cards that you get more than two of in a Kingwood Hobbies playset. The existence of Greef in the set means you could have four in a deck, so four are in the playset.)

Theme: This is a great reinterpretation of the same idea that led to Vow of Vengeance.

Chemical Strike4/B

Game: I think this could be outstanding in a burn deck (a deck designed to deal damage very fast, not worrying about the damage it take), I’m not sure what that deck will be, but I think it’s there, or it will be. This could also be great if Ewoks become popular again. (Ed Note: the Kingwood Hobbies playset also comes with four of these, because Gas Bomb.)

Theme: Chemical weapons hurt everyone in the area, which makes sense here, however, we often see it used by military forces, so I’m not sure I like the Spot Yellow…


Game: I love gaining resources as much as the next person, but why would you want to bring back a die that I just removed?!? I can think of a couple of circumstances in which this could be good, but they are so unlikely that I still think this is terrible.

Theme: I didn’t get this one at first, but as I thought about it, it made me think of a heist in which you could all get out, but someone decides to grab that one more thing that makes it more dangerous for everyone. Not specific to Star Wars, but an interesting story nonetheless.

Interdiction Field1/F

Game: This will only be decent if massive supports become big in the meta and then only in a deck that runs cheap supports.

Theme: To my memory, we only see interdiction fields being used by the Imperial navy, which would put this card squarely in Red. (Ed Note: You need to read up on the High Republic.)


Game: Perfect for an Aphra deck; not sure if we’ll see this elsewhere.

Theme: One of the most poignant moments of The Mandalorian so far, coming to a table near you!


Game: In a deck with 3-damage sides, this could easily be the ever-coveted 2-for-1 removal. The only reason I don’t put this at a “5” is that it could force you into sub-optimal plays, where you leave a big damage side in the pool, giving your opponent more chances to mitigate it. It also requires that you keep up tempo, so you have a damage die ready to use it on.

Theme: Is this a reference to Dice Commando’s excellent format? I do love a meta-reference(not to be confused with a reference to the meta, [although that could also be a meta-reference] someone, please save me from myself!) (Ed Note: You literally just reviewed panned a card called Grab that rewards you for removing multiple dice. Smash and Grab? In the same set?)

Hostage Situation5/A

Game: In many circumstances, this is like He Doesn’t Like You with an extra step (that costs your opponent an action) to get your resource back. The fact that it only works on character dice is the only reason it doesn’t rival Headstrong for the best removal in Yellow.

Theme: Feels like a hostage situation. What more is there to say?

Xanadu Blood4/C+

Game: Solid die for the cost; though I don’t think I’ll ever resolve the 1-for-2-disrupt. This is definitely great with Cad Bane. But the power action is what intrigues me the most. You can use it to redeploy your best upgrade when your team is getting low, or transfer your opponent’s weapon to a character that’s about to die. You could even use it to remove an upgrade die by moving it to an exhausted character after it’s in the pool.

Theme: I would have had no idea that this was Bane’s ship if it weren’t for his name in the text; it’s not as memorable as Slave I, or even Hound’s Tooth (at least to me), but it’s still cool to see it.

Gas Bomb1.5/D

Game: If this allowed you to play Chemical Strike for free, it could be good; as is, it can put you in a bind by taking your last resource. The only reason I don’t give it a one is this elusive burn deck that I think is out there.

Theme: I really like this idea of a bomb that’s likely to go off, but I’m not sure how it’s doing indirect damage without blowing up; maybe some of them have a slow leak?

Path Engine2/C

If big modded ships come back, maybe this will find a place, but for now, this isn’t great. The only consistent use for its effect right now is the Stinger Mantis, which could be a guaranteed early disrupt and card draw twice a turn; but at that point you’ve sunk 4 resources into a support that doesn’t have damage sides.

Theme: This effect is an interesting way to depict faster hyperspace travel, but I’m not sure how the path engine does indirect damage without destroying the ship it’s on.


Din Djarin: The Mandalorian5/B-

Game: What an absolute unit! Our first 3 dice character, and what dice they are! 3 damage sides, a 2 shield, and 2 disrupt. He doesn’t have any resource sides, but with his ability; at 3 dice he has an 87.5% chance to get a resource, at 2 dice, a 75% chance, and at 1 die, a 50% chance. I doubt anyone will run him with one die, though. He’s also a bounty hunter, so Dead or Alive active. I’ve been playing a bit of Obi-Wan – Rako Hardeen lately, and a great thing about him (he’s nowhere near this good) is that when you are getting resources without resolving dice, you can concentrate on dealing damage with your dice rather than making resources with them as the other poor sods do. The main downside is if you need that third resource to pay for a good upgrade, you can’t drop it before activating.

Theme: I’m not too hot on the theme here. I do like that his resource generation is tied to his damage sides, because that’s what he’s really good at. I don’t know that the power action does all that much for him here; perhaps the idea is that he has so many things as part of his armor that pulling out armaments is quick and easy.

Han Solo: TK-7105/A

Game: Those two Veteran Stormtrooper dice and 10 health are incredible for 12 points! Add in detect and cycling a card and you have one of the best characters in the set… if he’s elite. Non-elite, I wouldn’t even consider running him. Because his character dice aren’t technically his, he’s very weak to Mind Extraction, but slightly stronger against Chewbacca and Hostage Situation

Theme: I love innovative take on a character we’ve seen many times! This will join Boushh and Rako Hardeen are two of my favorite interpretations of known characters. I hope to see TK-421 in an upcoming set!

Kuill: Free of Servitude3/B+

Game: 10 is such an excellent point cost for 2 dice and 9 health. It sets up a possible 6-dice start without a negative plot. Unfortunately, wide, low health teams have been off-meta lately. Because so many decks can easily slaughter a 8-9 health character on turn one. I still think there’s something here and I love the idea of exploiting the power action.

Theme: B+. I have spoken.

Fly Casual2/D

Game: I love 1 for 1 removal that can remove any die; but I don’t like having to have a die in the pool to activate it. There is far better removal, but this might be a one-of in a mono-yellow vehicle deck.

Theme: This would be more thematic (at the cost of being less playable) if it said “Resolve one of your vehicle dice not showing damage to remove a die.”

I Have Spoken2/B+

Game: There are very few circumstances in which this could be useful. The obvious is when you have 2 removal cards in hand and your opponent rolls out more dice than you can remove with either one. You can play this with one and have the other to play after their next turn. This requires that you have 3 relatively specific cards in hand at once; which is not likely. The one character that I think this might be successful with is Benthic, as he has built in removal. Another use is in the late game, to gain tempo when it comes down to the last few health points and your opponent has rolled out first.

Theme: I can’t use the same joke again can I? I’m not sure why this effect fits so well with this quote, but it does. It’s ineffable.

I Like Those Odds1/C-

Game: I generally hate ramp cards that aren’t guaranteed; doubly so with this huge downside. I know that you could play this with 0 resources and avoid the downside, but that means that you can’t play it to get to 3 resources.

Theme: But I don’t actually like these odds… Also, a better card to portray this moment could have had had to do with the opponent having more characters or more ready characters than you do.

I’m Alright Pal1/B

Game: Draw Attention is rarely played and it’s far less restrictive than this. (Ed Note: I don’t think you’re giving this one enough credit. Think about it as, “If you have a character with Guardian, activate a non-Guardian character, giving it Guardian. Not world beating, but might have spot.)

Theme: This does make me think of Chewie taking care of Han, just after he came out of carbonite.

Nimble Fingers1.5/D

Game: Yellow is usually pretty low on focus, so that keeps this from just being a “1”, but only being able to target a yellow character die is way too restrictive. If this had Ambush, I could see it being a 2 or 3.

Theme: I’m not sure what Timothy Olyphant’s (admittedly beautiful) fingers have to do with any of this…


Game: If Ackbar or Benthic Decks continue to be good, this could be a decent counter to them. Ackbar, because you care far more about his X-wings than his dice, and Benthic because he will usually claim before you. Even outside of countering those decks, you can just wait for your opponent to claim to pick off their Merchant Freighter or It Binds All Things. If you have a slow deck it’s an easy choice to include one of these.

Theme: An uprising would destroy things, and it makes sense that it would spur the villains to action to try to quell it.

Stay Ahead 5/A

Game: The release event has shown us how powerful this card can be, either with a super fast deck, or one that disincentives claiming. Excellent!

Theme: This picture perfectly goes with the effect. Please give us a Lando or Lobot who would go well with this!

Razor Crest4.5/A

Game: This is great for its cost, especially with the 2 focus side, which (as discussed above) is pretty rare in yellow. Protection from discarding is very good, and could possibly bring back modded vehicles.

Theme: I really love that once there is two damage on this guy, it’s never going away (as long as the second damage is placed by a different effect). The fact that this ship kept flying was wonderful and ridiculous!

Beskar Spear5/F

Game: If I put 3+ resources into an upgrade I want it to have Redeploy or be incredible. This has the first and gets close to the second! I love me some unblockable damage!

Theme: I don’t like that this is Hero, because we first see it in the possession of a villain. I also don’t like that it’s unblockable, because the duels that feature this weapon involve a lot of blocking, whether it is with other beskar implements or a lightsaber. (Ed Note: ‘Unblockable’ means that shields don’t work against it. You can stop the damage by removing the dice, but if this thing pokes you shields won’t help.)

Whistling Birds4/A-

Game: While this has a resource on it, it’s a 5, when it doesn’t it’s a 3. Between this and Lightsaber Tonfa, Kuill, Raiding Party, and Hustling are looking better. Resolving it with a resource and a modifier could be as back-breaking as Fear and Dead Men.

Theme: Does exactly what it does in the show (though Din must have been reloading it offscreen.)


Greef Karga4/A-

Game: That 2 ranged pay-side hurts, but the ability to have 3 copies of Dead or Alive in your deck and one guaranteed in your hand on turn one is outstanding. I look forward to trying him out with a variety of bounty hunters.

Theme: I love this mechanic attached to him and that he’s neutral. I’m not sure leader quite fits him, but I’m not sure it doesn’t either…

Boring Conversation Anyway4/C

Game: Great with 2 or more spies, okay with 1 spy, but with 0 spies running this is questionable.

Theme: I think it’s funny that this shows a moment of Han being a terrible spy. It also feels like it should be hero-only, but that probably restricts it a bit too much from a gameplay perspective.

Fake Your Own Death1/B

Game: Maybe, just maybe this could be okay if bounty hunters are ridiculously rampant; otherwise, terrible.

Theme: It would be cool if this was an upgrade that also made you a spy: (thinking of Obi-Wan). It’s still pretty cool.

Rally the Covert1/A-

Game: If you have a character that it doesn’t hurt you to exhaust; this could be interesting, but I don’t think it would be good; It’s not reliable enough as removal. If you’re playing it for damage (and ignoring shield sides) the expected damage value for 4 of these dice is only 2.67, which is well below the curve for 3 resources and an exhausted character. (Add the sides together [1+2+1+0+0+0=4]; divide by the number of sides [4/6=.66]; then multiply by the number of dice rolled [.67×4=2.67]). If you do want to include shields for an expected health swing, the expected value is 4; still not good for 3 resources and an exhausted character. I got this calculation from

Theme: I spent too much time on math so I’ll just say that I like this card.


Game: This could be good in a Jyn deck, but even there there are better cards.

Theme: It’s about time that we see a card that shows how much the droids can do to just take over a ship (or space station, or city). If it was as powerful as what we’ve seen R2 and Chopper do, though, it would be the best event card in the game.

High Stakes2/B

Game: I hate giving my opponents resources, unless I can guarantee that I can use the resource better (which you can’t without knowing who you’ll be against) or if I can disrupt it on the same turn (not really possible either).

Theme: The eponymous card! And what a perfect name for this set, with ARH keeping fans happy with both Grogu and Din Djarin. Great job y’all!


Game: Such a great die, even with Outdated Tech reducing it or basically just exhausting the card the first time it’s used.

Theme: It seems a bit like there were two competing designs for the Razor Crest and they decided to keep both. I’m not sure what I would have gone with, but I think there could be a name that makes it seem like a vehicle support rather than a downgrade that goes on a gamorrean. (Ed Note: Uglies are real things in Star Wars. Usually, they’re mish-mashes of different starfighters put together by pirates or scoundrels. Think TIE Fighter eyeball with X-Wing s-foils. That type of thing.)


Game: This die is incredible for the cost! Even if your opponent eventually ends up with it I think it can be worth it. I also like any card that incentivizes my opponent targeting the character that I want them to target, and this is the probably the best way to do that.

Theme: So strong! I mentioned in my review of Grogu that I loved the MacGuffin feeling that the design evoked and it’s strong here too!

That’s it for Yellow! I’m excited to finish up with the Gray cards and some final thoughts, coming soon.

Posted on Leave a comment

High Stakes Set Review: Command

I have always loved the Set Reviews that have been done by YOUR Destiny and EchoBase; so, when I was unable to attend the release event and needed a way to channel my excitement, I decided to create my own. I decided to try something I haven’t seen done in these reviews yet: rate each card, not only on how I perceive playability (on a scale from 1 to 5) but also on the thematics (on a grade scale from F to A).

The ARH team has done incredible work on all of these cards and I’m super excited to play this set. These are my first impressions, and I could be very wrong, both in-game and theme. The opinions herein are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Coaxium Gaming. I’ve avoided looking at other reviews so they don’t color my opinion.

Previous High Stakes Reviews



Dr. Pershing: Remnant Scientist3/C

Game: I’m not sure where to put him. He could be okay in a big/little deck by being a constant threat that the big might come back, but he doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table otherwise. If the points worked out it would be interesting to try him with We Will Watch Your Career with Great Interest or Darth Zannah.

Theme: I like the idea that his experiments were about resurrection, but that isn’t clear at this point in the story.

Incinerator Trooper4/A

Game: Those die sides for that point value are incredible. Of course, there is a downside, which probably means that you don’t want to run wide with them.

Theme: BURN EVERYTHING! The only thing I think is off here is maybe the resource side. I don’t see these guys creating value as much as burning everything down. (Ed Note: Sometimes you have to make concessions on theme for playability reasons. This all still has to work inside the rules of the game.)

Moff Gideon: Ruthless Mastermind2.5/D

Game: His die side is great for a ramp/control deck, but I’m concerned that most of the time his ability will be effectively blank. The fact that a weapon play would be after he activated is a bit weak; though you could overwrite it to keep the value. Detect 2 is fine. Maybe with Garindan, you could consistently have massive card advantage or Bing could be ready for that extra action no matter what. If ramp decks come back, I could see him working out.

Theme: I don’t get why he has this particular ability. It’s definitely interesting and messing with the hand matches what red villain has been doing, but this doesn’t feel Gideon.

Danger Close3/C-

Game: Could be a great card for ramp decks, if there are some better vehicles or artillery; but right now the best villain supports that can be discounted are troopers.

Theme: Not much here, but it makes sense for villains to damage themselves for resources. A different name could have invoked the idea of sacrificing health for industry better.

Deserted 1/C

Game: Cards that make your opponent choose are rarely good (Mind Trick being a notable exception.) There are so many opportunities for them to chose to do nothing.

Theme: The moment pictured ended pretty badly for the villains, just like it will for you if you play it.

Intel Breach1/D

Game: This could be okay in a mill deck but it just doesn’t feel good. Thrawn could use the second sentence, but that relies on hitting an event. Not consistent enough to be good. (Ed Note: This puts a card from A discard pile on top of the deck, not necessarily theirs. Think about using it as a sometimes get one of your power cards back)

Theme: Intel breaches seem much more of a rebel tactic, but the Empire did occasionally cause them instead of being a victim of them.

Overwhelming Forces1/A

Game: If the second sentence didn’t say “ready” this could be decent (particularly in Trey’s 4-wide trooper deck.) With that and it being 3-cost, this isn’t a very good card.

Theme: This is what villain red is all about! Fits perfectly with Relentless Advance.

Rewritten History2/B

Game: The problem with villain mill has consistently been an inability to hit the opponent’s deck. Maybe with this and No Answer, they could stand a chance, but that seems unlikely.

Theme: I just like this card, maybe it’s that creepy grin but it just feels so perfectly villainous.

Dark Trooper2.5/B

Game: All those damage sides are beautiful, but I’m not sure they’re good enough for the cost. Maybe in an Aphra deck, but even there I’d prefer the Assassin Droid.

Theme: Just damage, nothing special, perfect for the Dark Troopers

Outland TIE Fighter3.5/B+

Game: At 2-cost this isn’t that great, but for the one resource that you can bring in the second, third and fourth, it’s great. Unlike the “generic” TIE Fighter it doesn’t find all the copies for you, but that might be broken. This could have a higher rating if wide support decks come back into style.

Theme: I really like that ARH took a different and equally interesting approach to the swarm aspect of TIEs.

MSE-6 Droid3/B-

Game: I think this is the perfect card for an Aphra deck: play one for free, deal a damage, focus a die, self-destruct, repeat. I think it could potentially find a home in a deck that needs focus for one particular die, but that’s a bit of a stretch.

Theme: A cheap tiny droid that does it’s one job, then scurries away. I imagine that they could do more as a group, but I don’t think they’d cost more.

Cruel Tactician1.5/A

Game: The die sides are sub-par for the cost and the ability doesn’t seem good enough to make up for it. If the damage/resolve effect was a repeatable Power Action instead of an on-play effect, I could see this being decent, but for now, I wouldn’t play it.

Theme: Pain and fear are excellent motivators, or at least that’s the Empire’s MO.


Cara Dune: Vengeance of Alderaan4.5/B+

Game: The power action can regularly provide a bunch of value, though I think she’ll be better against villains. Her ability to resolve melee as ranged means that you don’t have to worry about mixing damage sides, solid all around.

Theme: I think her first ability conveys the idea of a character who can switch between ranged and melee combat better than either of the others we’ve seen (Zeb and Kallus). Tying it to having a weapon is brilliant.

Rebel Pilot4/A

Game: 10 point elite characters are hard to find and this die seems great for 2 points. I love Red with Luke and she might be a good partner for him.

Theme: Super simple and elegant design.

Wedge Antilles: Flight Instructor3/A

Game: I was part of the team who spoiled this guy, and I wasn’t thrilled with his point cost. At the time I mentioned that he’d really only be good if there was an 18 point elite pilot or an absolutely bonkers plot (cue Stay Ahead with Benthic). I’m still not in love with his die, even though he has 4 damage sides, one is a pay side and another is a +1. Piloting is great though, and so is his ability (even if somewhat unreliable).

Theme: His ability to help other pilots with blanks is a near-perfect depiction of the flight instructor period of his career that we don’t get to see much of.

Contraband Seizure1/D

Game: Will only really be good again if Pirates are running rampant. If it said “caused you to lose” instead of “they took from you” it could be a decent resource protection card, but right now it’s not.

Theme: I would have preferred art depicting the Spectres taking cargo back from Azmorigan or Vizago. This also strikes me as an ability that would fit better in yellow.

Coordinated Strike3/B+

Game: I think this could be decent in a pilot deck that makes a lot of shields, but the timing would have to be very specific so you end up getting more value from your damage than you would from effectively damaging yourself.

Theme: I love this card existing as Hero Red, because there are so many instances of rebel and resistance pilots throwing caution to the wind to take down something huge. I wish the name conveyed that idea of overextension a bit better, but that’s just getting nit-picky.

Pitch In1.5/B

Game: This is a ramp card that doesn’t work until you have at least 2 (red) upgrades in play. Generally you want your ramp cards available early and start focus on damage by the time you have several upgrades. The timing on this just doesn’t work out.

Theme: I love 99 being on a card and I think “Pitch In” is the perfect name for a card featuring him.

Roll in the Mud3/A

Game: I had a really difficult time evaluating this one. It seems like it could be excellent in some circumstances, especially when you’re opponent relies on very specific sequencing or hasn’t yet played an upgrade. On the other hand, it can help their tempo, and if they roll like thunder, you can only remove the one die, followed by them resolving as many as they can. (Ed Note: This also dodges “After you activate” abilities like TK Han)

Theme: This card feels up close and messy like a roll in the mud: getting up close with your opponent, throwing them off but also opening yourself up to an attack.

Strategic Strike5/D

Game: Such a great way to get rid of supports. Not as outstanding as Desperate Measures but what is? Straight up better than previous options: Vandalize and Surgical Strike. I’m afraid this might be the death knell for Ackbar.

Theme: Nothing particularly special here.


Game: Forbidden Lore for weapons! This is worth including two in every weapon-heavy deck, even when playing weapons on non-Red characters.

Theme: An armory feels more permanent than this card implies, but I guess Weapons Cache was already taken. (As was Rebel Cache, and Stolen Cache; I guess FFG really liked chaches.)


Game: Excellent cost for value, to steal what Elrathion has said, you basically have a 33% chance of getting whatever side you want. Get ready for C-3PO to break the game again!

Theme: R2 has always shown off his versatility in every movie he’s in and it’s fitting that this card should be all about versatility. I think it was okay that previous versions have been blue or gray, but I think he fits just as easily into red.

Wedge’s X-Wing4.5/B

Game: Excellent die sides for the cost: no pay sides and no modifiers. Giving Wedge a shield every turn is great, but even without him, I think this is worth the 2 resources. The rest of the ability is too inconsistent to rely on, but could be the little extra effect you need to win the game.

Theme: This takes a different approach on simulating dogfights than Vader’s TIE or Mauler did, and it’s really interesting.

Cara Dune’s Blaster5/A-

Game: Turning blanks into damage is tight! (maybe I’ve been watching too many Pitch Meetings) This could be especially good in a Jar’Kai deck, this could be incredible, as each blank is effectively 2-melee.

Theme: Totally reminds me of when Cara’s blaster “jammed” and she turned her gun into a melee weapon. Might have been better to attach this ability to her, but that could have caused some balance issues.


Come to Aid1.5/D

Game: If this didn’t specify “non-unique” character dice, it would be excellent in a big/little deck. As is, the only deck I might run this in is 4-wide villain troopers.

Theme: Maybe I’m stuck on the “non-unique” thing, but having two of the most recognizable characters from the sequels doesn’t really fit.

Military Prowess4/B-

Game: Even in a deck with only one trooper, this removal is more than decent; in a deck with two or more, it’s outstandingly versatile.

Theme: Military prowess is definitely a thing that troopers should have.

Plan Ahead2/B

Game: A poor replacement for All In or Impulsive, both of which are much more versatile. This could find a home in a mono-red deck with focus, but even there it’s a bit weak.

Theme: Resolving dice showing several different symbols together does invoke the idea of planning ahead. I’m also happy to see Rose on a card again, after seeing so little of her in Rise of Skywalker. Don’t @ me.

Target Their Supplies1/A

Game: There are definitely occasions in which resolving damage as disrupt could be good, but they are nowhere near frequent enough to warrant inclusion in a deck.

Theme: This definitely seems like something that both Rebels and Imperials would do, and hitting supply lines instead of forces can often be a better move tactically. I’m glad it’s an option in the game, even if it’s not a good one.

Fortified Position – 4/B-

Game: 1 point plots have historically been garbage, and while this isn’t a great use of 1 point this is excellent for when you have a natural team that just ends up at 29 points this is great! It also guarantees that you’ll have Nullify ready from turn one if you happen to also have a Blue hero.

Theme: I feel like this fortified of a position is worth more than one shield, but otherwise it’s thematic.

Supply Team3/B

Game: Reminds me of Long-Term Plan, but not as powerful, because you need to find it in your deck, remove a die each turn, and protect it from being blown up. There are too many ways to destroy it right now, but in a ramp deck where there are more valuable targets for support removal, using it to boost a resource die by even two could be worth it.

Theme: This feels like foraging for resources and I like it.


Game: Resolving a die as if it were showing a different symbol is outstanding and the sides on this die are all really impressive. This makes me think that Yoda/Bail could possibly see a resurgence, with the ability to resolve his 4 shield side as damage or resolve any side of Admiral as a special. Although, maybe that particular team isn’t good enough anymore.

Theme: I’m glad that it’s unique character instead of “unique Red”, or “leader” because we’ve seen many of the Jedi knights as generals along with Han Solo, and I’m sure some others I’m not thinking of right now.

Medal of Bravery1/F

Game: A very restrictive play requirement and a resource cost that is one-too-high makes this really hard to find a home.

Theme: Are they just trying to keep this away from Chewie as they did in A New Hope? Weren’t most of the people who were awarded the pictured medal in A New Hope pilots, not troopers?

Proton Grenades3/A-

Game: I think this could definitely find a place in a burn deck with a lot of health. Taking damage to deal damage to an opponent can be a great strategy if you’re fast enough or have enough shields.

Theme: I love the idea that you could put yourself in harm’s way to place this in a more destructive place.

Westar-35 Blaster Pistol5/B+

Game: If this card had just its die and Redeploy it would be great. With the rest of the text, it’s outstanding. Even in a deck with ranged damage sides that only occasionally has control of the battlefield, this is a must-have.

Theme: I really like that they use Rex’s Blaster Pistol‘s die for the generic version of the same weapon and that it similarly has an ability dependent on battlefield control.


Well, that’s it for the Red cards from High Stakes! I do want to point out that several times, especially with these R0ed events, it seems like there was a pretty decent card that was made way too specific with just a couple of words. I wish that their use hadn’t been as severely restricted, because some of the things I love about this game are the huge moves and turnarounds. Like I said in my last post, I am incredibly grateful to the ARH folks for all the work that they’ve put into continuing the game.

Hope you’re enjoying reading these, and hopefully Rogue will be coming soon!

Posted on 2 Comments

High Stakes Singles Ready to Order

I’ve finally figured out how this intarweb pages thing works and gotten all the singles from High Stakes up and ready to order. The cards themselves should be in stock mid-week for shipping out next weekend. If you’re looking for these new bits onesy-twosy rather than everything at once, this is for you.