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JUNE 26, 2019.
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5 THINGS TO BE EXCITED ABOUT IN SPARK OF HOPE:
Written by MARK LOCKETT
With the eighth installment of Star Wars Destiny - Spark of Hope - literally just around the corner, it’s time to make sure you have some folder space, a new box for all those new dice and maybe treat yourself to some new card sleeves. Then it’s simply a case of getting your pre-order in at your favoured retailer and you’ll be ready for Spark of Hope.
With 70 of the cards from the set already spoiled by FFG and various other sources we can start to try and piece together what we might see on our gaming tables very soon. YOUR Destiny has already written some great spoiler articles and an insight into Spark of Hope that you should check out. I’ll try and give a different perspective.
1. YOUR OLD FAVOURITES ARE BACK...
21 characters have been spoiled so far. 8 characters so far in this set have previous versions. 3 of those have had their characters rotate out of standard play but now they are back.
Thrawn, IG-88 and Jango Fett are the 3. All with really good new abilities. I can’t even pick out a favourite from them.
Thrawn has such a thematic ability, look at the top 4 cards of a deck essentially knowing a little of what your opponent will have in the next round. Very fitting for this Imperial Mastermind. That’s not all though – you also have the option of using an event from your opponent’s deck with his Power Action. Amazing option and great against mill, save your removal and use your opponents instead. Could this ability be used in a mill deck taking a card a turn much like Jyn Erso? All this and I have not even mentioned his dice that has four sides that are 2 and above with 13 health on top of that.
IG-88 is a killing machine with 3 damage sides (a 2, 2 and a 3 for 1 Ranged damage). He changes the way Bounties get played as with IG-88 you want to spread them across your opponent’s characters so you can use his Power Action that lets you damage all characters with a bounty using a single non-indirect damage dice. Taking this droid into a 3 wide meta that we currently have could be very very handy if you can find the bounties. Bounty Board anyone.
And last but not least is Jango Fett who I think will see a lot of play. 3 Damage sides and 2 resource sides makes him a very consistent and focused character to use. Add to that his ability gets you a resource refund on an equipment you buy and you’ve suddenly got a lot of money to mess with your opponents side of things as well. The other half of his ability is that he has an inbuilt Custom Bandolier and can have as much equipment as you can pay for and you should be able to pay for it. Add in the Bacta Therapies and you have a very straight forward deck ready to go. I didn’t tell you this either but you might want to Fight Dirty with Jango.
It’s worth noting that these three are all villain. I’ll make a bold prediction because I want it to be true. There should be some Hero characters that make it back too. Personally, I’d like to see a new Hera, Admiral Ackbar and Kanan Jarrus back in standard too.
That leaves us 5 characters that get a new version of themselves. Han Solo, Yoda, Rey, Kylo Ren and Maul. Han Solo being the first and only character to get a 4th version in the game, with 3 being standard legal. These all have interesting possibilities but with the plot Temporary Truce, it is Rey and Kylo Ren that are the most intriguing. Their Specials have the potential to roll back in which is very efficient right from the beginning. They do feel like a sequencing nightmare though that you’ll need to perfect to get the most out of them.
2. THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK!
One of the most exciting things about a new set is what new characters are going to be chosen that we haven’t seen in the game before. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan and these characters force me to go and find out who they are. I end up delving further into the Star Wars universe which for me is a great side result of every new set.
So far we know of the following 14 new characters coming in this set:-
Old Daka, Nightsister Zombie, Conan Motti, Gideon Hask, Mudtrooper, 4-LOM, Zuckuss, Amilyn Holdo, Hoth Trooper, Chief Chirpa, Wicket, Ewok Warrior, R2-D2 and C-3PO.
There are 6 of these characters that I have no idea who they are so I’ll be doing a little research after I’ve finished writing this.
As far as playing Star Wars Destiny goes there are a lot of interesting options here. The one I am the most excited to try first is Gideon Hask. For the sole reason of I love playing Iden Versio and just have to put these two together with Advanced Training, essentially meaning this combination doesn’t have a Blank side. That has to be good especially when you consider all the supports you can add to this that have the trooper subtype. Gideon has the extra ability of when you have the Battlefield you can roll in a trooper dice which gives an extra dice of no blanks. This could be a lot of pressure on your opponent. With the new event Seizing Territory this could happen quite often. I know eGideon/eIden doesn’t have blue which would give Gideon the possibility of rolling out a Vader’s Fist with his ability. That’s a pretty powerful option.
Ewok’s are by far the next characters to jump out at you from the above line up, Wicket, Chief Chirpa and the lowly Ewok Warrior. You simply have to give these a try. They may have more available to them than first meets the eye. The Ewok line up could see the namesake of the last set Convergence do some work as you could quite easily have 5 or 6 characters with the same subtype on the field.
This could put a major dent in your opponents board state. They all do Indirect damage which I’m not a fan of but there are a few cards that could be used to help direct this damage and focus a character down. There is also the underused Diplomatic Protection. Get this on one of your little guys and use something like under attack to take him out and every other character you have gains 2 shields, that’s a 50% increase in the health of any non-unique Ewok. Competitively though, I’m not sure this gets very far. I’m dying for someone to prove me wrong though.
We certainly see some Bounty Hunter love in this set and Zuckuss and 4-LOM are designed to go together straight out of the box. Zuckuss getting those bounties early with his Special and 4-LOM then picking it straight back up to play again. Zuckuss seems way more useful to me when it comes to actual play. This guy’s Special can activate a bounty. So I activate the Enticing Reward I played for 1 resource and play a 3-4 cost weapon or equipment and potentially get to use it straight away. Now where did I put my Vibro-Cutlasses.
From the Hero side we have Amilyn Holdo. She could certainly lead the way for a return of hero vehicles with a fabulous special that discounts your vehicles by 2 resources (reminiscent of the old Rally Aid) There are a lot of options in red hero vehicles at that cost already, A-Wing, X-Wing and the Resistance Crait Speeder. This lets you save your resources for removal or tricks. She also boasts a 1 and 2 Focus side which are always good to maximise damage from these cheaper vehicles. I think her passive ability of readying a vehicle when she is defeated is a bit of a trap though as your opponent can likely leave her to target last, meaning you are only going to get this if you choose to defeat her yourself somehow.
Then we have the droids we have seen on our movie screens since 1977: C-3PO and R2-D2. I urge you to go and see what these Fateful Companions can do in the Team Covenant reveal video. It’s very impressive and I couldn’t really give a better example here. These guys will be a popular choice from the get go in Spark of Hope.
The character there that worries me the most is Old Daka. Having the ability to create characters, specifically the new Nightsister Zombie increasing your life pool feels like a dangerous mechanic to have. If you can divert any damage away from your starting line up onto these characters then you are already hampering their game plan. Even if you don’t use their actual ability, they give you a character to respite with. All I can advise is to kill her fast and move on as once she dies the Nightsister Zombies go with her.
3. NO DICE!
A very new concept we have seen in the spoilers for Spark of Hope is the introduction of diceless characters. So far we know of three. The Nightsister Zombie, a Hoth Trooper and an Ewok Warrior. These characters are the squishiest of characters seen so far with health levels of 5, 5 and 4 respectively. Their points cost is also equivalent to this.
The Nightsister Zombie has two downsides. The first is that you can only assign indirect damage to this character last so it can’t be used to shield your more important characters much. Secondly you need a Downgrade-Curse in place for these to do any damage whatsoever. Don’t all rush to pack your protective suits as I can’t see this being slotted into many decks. They however could be crazy with Old Daka as discussed in the section above.
The Hoth Trooper has a strange ability in that he can only damage a ready character your opponent has which only becomes a problem if you are trying to run a team with multiples of this character. He does however give heroes cheap access to red and can again be used to respite or even show you the way to the garbage chute. I’m guessing this will be how he gets used but there may be more in this set to help him cause a stir. Check out Arrowbrook Gaming’s video where they try out a 6wide deck of these.
By far my favourite of the three is the Ewok Warrior. The only downside they have as a character is that you have to have a unique Ewok in your line up to include. Not even a downside really, who doesn’t want to do that already. These are going to be loads of fun on the kitchen table at home which I covered earlier but that’s probably as far as they will get.
4. THE UPGRADES AND SUPPORTS:
While I would argue the characters are the most anticipated cards from any new set (that’s the reason I have spent more time going through them in this article than anything else), the upgrades and supports probably should have a higher profile as these can go into any deck that has it’s affiliation and b. I’m going to pick my top three to go through and my bottom 1 of the 17 spoiled so far.
Top of the List is the insane dice that you get when you play Han Solo’s Dice: 5 resource sides. You know exactly what your getting from this die. Whatever you choose to do with the resources after that is your choice but this should bring forth the Hero support/Vehicle decks that haven’t really featured in the Convergence Meta. Did I mention you also get to re-roll a Blank that the character with this rolled? Awesome card.
The second card has to be Han Solo’s Blaster. It is our new version of DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol. Remove a damage dice when you play it and have Ambush for the same cost as it’s much older version. This one however boasts 4 damage sides and a Resource side. This could cause a few players to blow the dust off their Quick Draws and come to a game all guns blazing. If you’re Han though, who always shoots first, you get the effect of Quick Draw anyway as you can activate Han when this is played on him. Very thematic but potentially very brutal too.
My third favourite is AT-RT that can modify any trooper dice side. Obviously I see this as going straight into an eIden/eGideon deck but there are loads of options for this card. The obvious ones like Vader’s Fist but also the fun ones like playing Stealthy to make someone an instant trooper.
The card I don’t like so far is Chief Chirpa’s Hut. You are playing this to make Ewok’s but at a cost of three for one Ewok and the additional cost of 3 resources to keep it on the table when you do. I can’t see this making it into any deck.
5. COMMONS AND UNCOMMONS
There are 30 further spoiled cards that fall into this category that are NOT characters. I’ll again go through a few of these cards that I believe will make an impact on the game.
The hottest topic that comes out of this category is the combination of the Plot Order 66 and the event Execute Order 66. You will only ever see these two together and they are certainly causing a stir. Order 66 turns all your opponent’s characters into Jedis and executing the order allows you to remove all Jedi dice doing damage for those dice removed.
Knowing that your opponent has this plot is immediately going to make you play differently against it. Rebel Traitor may also be able to exploit the benefit of this card forcing you to activate a character and fall foul of the order. It does however cost 2 resources to play which is all your resources for that turn. This could slow your ramp but with the ability to shuffle 4 copies into your deck with the plot, there is potential that you could do this every turn and cause all sorts of trouble for your opponent. There is the argument that it damages 2 wide decks more than anything else and because we have a predominantly 3wide meta that its impact may be lessened. I’m pretty sure we’ll all give it a go at some point as it is hugely thematic.
Seizing Territory is the next card I think could be very useful. This card allows you to spot a trooper and take control of the Battlefield. This could allow you to play some excellent events where the Battlefield is important to have without it being a Rex deck or a deck using the Landing Dock Battlefield. Aerial Advantage, Seize the Day, Fresh Supplies and Snuff Out all require Battlefield control and could be put to good use after a Seizing Territory which handily also comes with Ambush.
We also see a good few more of Downgrade – Traps in Spark of Hope. The best probably being the Net Trap which is a Suppressive Fire but fixed to one character and only affects damage sides. Still a very useful card that can’t be hit by a Probe. A bundle of the others are pretty much aimed at an Ewok only deck. I think this will see quite a bit of play as we all know how good Suppressive Fire is.
On the flipside, we have the card Acceptable Losses: Defeat up to three characters to earn that many resources. I can only see this being played in the Old Daka deck if she is about to die then you can cash in on your Nightsister Zombies that are about to die but even then, it feels like a poor include where you are waiting for this particular situation to be available.
X. CLOSING THOUGHTS!
Spark of Hope is setting up to be a great set and I have merely skimmed the surface of possibilities in this article. Hopefully your creative deck building juices are now ready to go for when the set drops in July 2019 (I have my fingers crossed).
There is one thing that I think is missing from this set and that is some more Mod Upgrades. They didn’t get any love in the last set and so far, they are again missing from the spoilers of this set. The Mods for vehicles we did get when they were introduced were quite powerful from the start and I’m pretty sure we’d cope without anymore. I’d like to see mods available for locations. I think I just want a Shield Generator to protect my mod-ed vehicles again really.
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