WHAT IS THIS?
The "5 Things That Are Hot and Not About Destiny" is our regular weekly segment here at the YOUR Destiny website and meant to be a column on what has been going on, either, in Destiny generally, or in the head of the columnist specifically.
The column will be written by our resident writers and their opinions are obviously just opinions - you might disagree, heck, we'd almost be disappointed if you don't disagree! Feel free to participate in the discussion on our Facebook Page!
Today, we'll be looking at "5 Things That We've Learned About Spark of Hope", examining different things that we can take away from the spoilers we've received this far from Spark of Hope, the eighth expansion to Star Wars Destiny.
JUNE 5, 2019.
Read OUR PREVIOUS COLUMNS!
5 THINGS WE'VE LEARNED ABOUT SPARK OF HOPE:
Written by CLAUS STAAL
We haven't talked a whole lot about Spark of Hope on the YOUR Destiny website. It's not that I'm not excited about it, there's just been so many things to write about in Convergence and all the events that have taken place.
Anyways ... today, I thought would be a good moment - with all the crazy changes taking place in the meta game - to take a huge step forward and look at "5 Things We've Learned About Spark of Hope", also doing a bit of analysis of some of the spoiled cards.
Ah ... may I just add that I don't own any of the rights to ANY of the images in this article. Not a single one. I've never claimed to have these rights. I'm using these images SOLELY to promote Star Wars Destiny simply because I like the game. I've done that for the last 12 months on this website.
You can check out all the cards from the FFG Livestream that aired Tuesday June 4, 2019, in this Facebook post!
In the FFG Livestream there were indications that the release time for Spark of Hope would be July-August, which is going to be interesting for the two Intercontinental Championships, European Championship and North American Championship, in August 2019.
ANNOUNCEMENT ARTICLE for Spark of Hope (FFG)
SECOND PREVIEW ARTICLE for Spark of Hope (FFG)
C-3P0 and R2-D2 Spoilers for Spark of Hope (TC)
BOUNTY HUNTER Spoilers for Spark of Hope (TC)
1. IT'S GOING TO BE THEMATIC ...
It looks as if the design team have gone all in on making Spark of Hope an incredible thematic expansion, and while it does little for the game per se, it's going to be great for all the casual players who like to contextualise their games of Destiny in narratives and enjoy wrapping them in stories of glory or gory battle betweem arch-enemies, and the forces of good and evil (I'll let you decide who's who).
Adding cards to the game like the adorable furry EWOKS and their village leader CHIEF CHIRPA definitely adds to the thematic feel of the game, and now makes possible 6wide teams, albeit not exactly competitive stuff (especially when you have stuff like this flying around).
As any good collectible toy, The Ewoks come complete with Hut, Bow and Ambush! There are no Blanks on the Ewoks and they can potentially do about as much damage as a Planetary Bombardment. Go figure. I already see a grand commercial right here!You can also add the Ewok Traps Expansion pack to your shopping cart for that wholesome experience of furry madness, ROLLING LOGS, NET TRAPS and ENSNARING ropes. You'll need to make you own sound effects, but it's going to be great! These DOWNGRADE - TRAPS, actually look pretty decent and combos well to punish characters for rolling damage, and stacks to both dealing damage and removing dice.
But as much love as the Ewoks were able to attract when announced, it's safe to assume that the biggest pull of the first wave of spoilers was the new REYLO pairing: Rey & Kylo.
It's the first time we have been able to pair a Hero character with a Villain character and what could possibly be more thematic than the pseudo-lovers tied beautifully together by the new plot TEMPORARY TRUCE. The two new Rey and Kylo characters are designed around the same template, overcosted (the elite dice is 4 points on both characters) and a weak character dice apart from a Special that works in conjunction with one another - well basically as each other's diametrical opposite.
What's the most captivating about this design is the attention to detail of The Last Jedi. Basically turning that one scene where they together muscle down the Praetorian Guards into a niche design of the game. It's also a visually pretty appealing scene - even if I hated close to everything else about it when watching it in the cinema.
It'd be interesting if what will save monoblue heroes and villains is to combine the two. Probably a less than delicate solution to the meta problem.
2. BIGS ARE GETTING BETTER'ISH ...
We've had two BIGS (tentatively defined as characters with an elite value of 18+) spoiled so far from the Spark of Hope expansion. Both are Villain and both look pretty good.
MAUL - SKILLED DUELIST was revealed as an alternative art card at the Star Wars Celebration, while THRAWN was spoiled in the announcement article from FFG. It looks as if there's a general trend to evaluating BIGS' elite dice at 4+ points. We've seen the same tendency in both Across the Galaxy and Convergence with Captain Phasma being the odd one out.
Maul looks pretty powerful at a glance, but I honestly think that Nick Cuenca from The Hyperloops has some pretty good points in his article on why Maul might not be the Skilled Duelist we've been waiting for. Having a 16/20e character with a 1 Melee damage side is really not a great place to be, and while he doesn't have any pay sides, which is definitely an upside, there's AT LEAST functionally two Blanks on his die, in particular if you also count in his Power Action. Unless a good x/10e sidekick shows up and you can have a 4dice start, he might not see as much play as we had dreamed of.
Thrawn on the other hand looks pretty MENACING and has a great die for the cost. I like the redesign of the old Thrawn's ability and think that his Power Action can be absolutely NUTS! Using your opponent's deck to functionally increase your hand size for mitigation purposes - AND being able to spot your opponent's characters to fulfill the play restrictions is nuts! I'm quite certain he'll see plenty of play.
On different note, I also like how Thrawn could be paving the way for some real control type decks, if only Close Quarters Assault hadn't rotated out, there'd be some crazy control options available. The artwork on both MASTERMIND and CULTURAL RECORDS is outrageously good as well.
Oh, btw.. I've saved one BIG for the end of the article!
3. THERE'S BAD DESIGN ...
I'll be the first one to say it ... the new plot ORDER 66 and EXECUTIVE ORDER 66 are BADLY designed cards. Not just because they are over-powered, because they can be seriously broken, but they are simply pushing it too hard! You'll of course need to play them together, but from there it's just broken.
Yesterday, Joe Colon from The Hyperloops made his case by suggesting to run the Order 66/Execute Order 66 combo with Talzin/Rebel Traitor*2, check that out and you'll start crying ... It honestly feels like a design space made ... you know ... for kids!
Mass dice removal is always going to be good at certain points in the game, and there should be cards that can all but end a round, but this is NOT the way to go about it. It feels clumsy and quite frankly a way too simplified design template. One can only fear that we are going to see some Sith hate cards in Spark of Hope as well, to balance it out, and that's going to make matters event worse.
And it's not that they didn't know how to design mass removal cards without going bananas:
All of these newly spoiled removal cards have the potential to tear apart your opponent's dice pool, JEDI MIND TRICK in particular looks pretty busted, but have requirements that can either be played around or requires some serious work and planning, which is not exactly something you can say about Order 66/Executive Order 66.
4. BOUNTY HUNTERS ...
So far, we have a total of 6 Bounty Hunters in Standard Format, Three each from the Legacies cycle and the Convergence cycle. None of them are any good. None of them have seen any competitive play. Well ... Boba Fett had his 5min of fame during the days of Boba/7th and Greedo was the handy useful idiot in the eVader/Greedo deck that terrorized the late Across the Galaxy meta, but other than that they've mostly seen the inside of a binder.
At least they've gotten better and Convergence did include an entire sub-category meant to boost the power of the Bounty Hunters, namely the Downgrades - X. Even though enticed with the many rewards of the various bounties players didn't bite the bait and for good reasons. The reward is just not worth the investment.Team Covenant (TC) got their hands on more exclusive spoilers for Spark of Hope followed along by an official FFG article on all the new goodies for the Bounty Hunters. Another push for us to embrace the ill-fated villainous scum of the galaxy. Well ... I'm not sure if force feeding us is going to help, but cards like BOUNTY HUNTER'S GUILD alongside already existing cards like Bounty Board might be a nudge in the right direction.
JANGO FETT honestly looks like a pretty strong character and although the damage sides on the die is not particularly impressive, those are in fact pretty bad, the two Resource sides can salvage some of the damage done here. He's also reasonably priced at 12/14e and comes with his own in-built modified Custom Bandolier. While there's currently not a whole lot of great Upgrade - Equipments available, the Mandalorian Jetpack is probably the best, the introduction of the GAUNTLET ROCKETS could be a stepping stone for Jango. The Gauntlet Rockets also work pretty well in conjunction with the Jetpack.I like the idea of a 3wide Jango deck either including Jabba the Hut and going all in on the Bounty shenanigans, adding a Battle Droid to the mix to allow for The Best Defense..., Probes and Conscript Squads or replacing Jabba for a more aggro version with Captain Phasma, who's now also a Trooper - Leader. Jango's elite die is just 2 points, so it almost doesn't make sense to NOT play him elite.
If you do decide to either go the Bounty Board or Jabba direction, the best bounties so far are probably still Enticing Reward and Wanted from Convergence, while CHANCELLOR'S EDICT feels good if you remove at least 2 Shields and the upside of getting 2 Shields when defeating the downgraded character can make the bounty extremely good! And may I just add that the artwork, again, is just BADASS!
The sneak peak we got on IG-88 could indicate that the time of Bounty Hunters have finally come!
5. AND THERE ARE BAD CARDS ...
If you've ever wondered if a price can be put on the life of a Battle Droid, you now know the answer. It's worth 1 resource. I'd probably have been a bit more generous. At least you are capped at defeating just 3 of your characters to gain 3 resources. Everything would have made this card absolutely broken. It's just bad. I guess they can't all be good.
B. AHHH ... AND YODA:
Yesterday, after having discussed the new Holocron changes, Lead designer Jeremy Zwirn and designer Aaron Haltom took two decks featuring loads of new cards for a test drive, and we got our first glimpse of Kung-Fu style Yoda!
YODA - MYSTICAL MENTOR is a Rare blue hero card, which we kind of knew as R2-D2 had already been spoiled as a Legendary blue hero character, but he comes along with the Legendary YODA'S LIGHTSABER and a JEDI LIGHTSABER as a side arm.
We've been yearning for some blue hero love, and while the un-nerfing of Aayla was a nice first step, she'll now slot beautifully into a character team with Yoda who has a pretty crazy die! 4 Shields for 1 Resource and a special ability that allows him to stack 6 Shields is pretty nuts. The Shields can even be used to block damage to apprentice characters on his team, which right now includes 3 characters for Standard, but adding to that Rey - Bound By The Force from Spark of Hope and it's starting to look pretty decent.
Yoda doesn't feel extraordinary as such, but with no Blanks and bringing the concept of turtling down to a new high should see plenty of play. While blue villains received the good weapons (compared to blue heroes) in Convergence, it looks as if it is indeed a Spark of Hope for blue heroes.
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