Across the Galaxy Set Review - Blue Hero


A NOTE ON CARD RATINGS:


The card ratings are mostly created in a vacuum and for Standard Format exclusively. Some cards are much better in Trilogy Format, and notes are sometimes made of this, but the set is reviewed from the point of view of Standard Format play.

It is always going to be difficult to adequately rate a card, and all the ratings are obviously going to be subjective, although we have tried to proximate an objective rating. The rating system is 1-5, with 1 being the rating of a card that will rarely see play and 5 a card that will become a staple in many decks and will most likely feature heavily in competitive play.

The cards with medals are the 3 stand out cards of that faction and color in the set.

There are links to all the other parts of the set review at the end of this article!

1. BLUE HERO CARDS:
Anyone following spoilers is probably already aware that Blue Villain got some big cards. By comparison, Blue Hero feels a little deflating. If we look at how far Vader has come since Awakenings and compare him to Qui-Gon, we’re bound to feel a little disappointed. Likewise, the two unique sabers for these characters feel a little mismatched.

I’m hoping that we don’t find ourselves in a mismatched meta, like we did in the early days when Hero shields were no match for Villain damage. Hopefully the older sets will carry us to some balance of the force.

2. BLUE HERO CHARACTERS:
blue hero2jpgBARRISS OFFEE (2/5)
An interesting place to start. A unique blue stick support character for 9 points with a relatively interesting ability. At first, I read the ability as something that I needed to trigger myself but then I considered how it works if I’m facing down Count Dooku and, as it says 'after another character die is turned', I figured I could abuse my opponents focus abilities too. That said, so what? You’re going to risk turning it to a blue +2 in the hope that your base damage isn’t removed? Or get a 1 melee side? It’s hardly setting the world on fire. I’ve seen her compared to Talzin but Barriss is miles off the pace: Mother Talzin lets you turn any of your dice.

Realistically, this character is the same cost as the original Rey, with an almost identical die (trading a Resource for a Shield side), a worse ability and less health. Bearing in mind that Rey’s die is still considered one of the worst in the game, I’m not sure you’ll ever choose to play this character. For one less point you can have Ezra Bridger and for one more, you get Yoda, Aayla, Kanan… Moving forward, there might be a space for this cost character after rotation, but right now, it’s a niche position on your team. And with plots that let you gain a character point, she seems to get worse.blue hero1jpg
FORCE MYSTIC (2/5)
I feel it’s difficult to evaluate this character without taking Old Man Luke into consideration. Luke is an excellent character and he already sees so much play but his Power Action has never been fully utilized and felt like a bit of a trap. Until now.

This seems to be Luke’s iteration of Padawan. She might not reduce the cost of the upgrades themselves but giving all abilities redeploy is a huge bonus. It means that you can play abilities on Luke and then shift them to the Mystic without fear of losing the value you’ve invested.

The die isn’t great. No modified sides, but there’s no real punch here. There is a bit of synergy with lots of blue ability dice but nothing to write home about. Your best side is the Special which gives you a chance to recycle some solid dice. You can set up some sneaky plays too, with ability dice that have Specials and might just roll the Special straight in to resolve immediately. Could be powerful with Force Throw, Speed, Wave etc.

The biggest issue here is the same weakness that the original Padawan had: Health. 8 is nothing these days and Force Mystic will struggle to see play outside decks that can utilize that ability and special effectively. That said, you can play two of these with a single die Luke and that might be worth a look at some stage. Right now though, I can’t see where else you’d want this.

KIT FISTO (3/5)
Despite me being rude about his artwork in my "5 Things That Are Hot and Not About Destiny", Kit Fisto is a card I’ve been pretty excited about since we got a sneak peek at him. His die is substantial with three black Melee sides and a 2 Focus. 3 Melee for 1 sides are always difficult to justify paying for and I don’t think Kit’s is an exception. It’s his ability that makes this side exceptional.

You can remove any of Kit's dice showing sticks (character or upgrades) before he takes damage to block that much damage. Game changer. That makes Kit’s 3 for 1 side very useful. Just use it to block 3 damage.

I love that Blue Heroes allows you to switch from offense to defense easily and Kit is the embodiment of that idea. If you want to, you can make him very difficult to kill. Even those modified blue sides will be valuable to him (something that will be even more significant after rotation). The only issue here is, like so much exceptional blue hero mitigation, you need the dice in the pool first to be able to use them. You will need to get your timing right when it comes to playing upgrades on him, but your opponent will also struggle to decide if Kit is worth going after early or leaving til last.

Kit's only real downside is his cost. 13/16e is a difficult price point. He feels like he belongs in a monoblue hero deck but he might struggle to fit. His dice are good enough to play two of and elite will help protect him more but he costs too much for that tasty pairing with Rey2 or Luke3. Is he strong enough to carry Yoda or Aayla to a win? Maybe. Or try him single die with the old Qui-Gon and make life really frustrating for your opponent. I’m also not beyond trying him with Luke3 and Solidarity.

Hmmm... Maybe I should have kept that to myself.

QUI-GON JINN (3/5)
New QGJ on the block. No surprise that he’s still shield savvy and I’m glad he is. Although the OG QGJ never really lit up the scene, he certainly came close. This one has some good things going for it.

You’re paying an extra point for two upgrades initially. Firstly an extra point of health and secondly, his original 1 shield side has been bumped to 2. Both ok but moving from Awakenings to the present day would require a bit of a boost in stats anyway.

So his ability really does need to make that extra point worthwhile. And I’m really not sure that it does. The old QGJ could ping this damage all day. It was irritating but also effective, allowing damage to come from both hand and die. Here, we only have one option.

I suppose the question come down to this: how many dice or cards are you going to need to use to keep shields on him that give you the extra damage? And how much damage could you have had by using those same sources on the old QG and pinging shield damage? Do we get more with this new version? Or at least, do we get substantially more considering the 18 cost and the power creep that has happened since Awakenings?

Don’t get me wrong, as a build around character, he will absolutely hit hard. Potentially cards like Heightened Awareness can add 5 damage to your dice and allow you to resolve immediately, and cards like All In let you drop shields before you hit to guarantee a solid punch. But it all relies on you keeping shields on him. His character die is nothing to write home about, even when you boost it by 1 so we really need 3 shields on him to make him work. And that’s a big ask.

At 18, he is not cheap, and unless you want to run a negative plot, you’re going to end up missing out on a Yoda pairing. He feels good ... NOT legendary.

3. BLUE HERO EVENTS:
bluejpgBEWILDER (3/5)
Normally, rerolling an opponent's die is not particularly powerful, but that's essentially "just" a side-effect of this card with the main effect being discarding cards from your opponent's deck. It's unfortunately only Character dice that can be affected which severely limits the power level of the card. As long as you discard 2 cards or more Bewilder should pay off though. I'm not sure that it's strong enough to muscle its way into mill decks, but it certainly does have potential!blue hero3jpg
FINISHING STRIKE (1/5)
A surprise kill can be devastating to an opponent. Most of the time, we know a character is going to die. We usually get a turn to work out if dice are worth resolving or we can overwrite with a redeploy upgrade. If you can take a character off the board without response, you take at least one extra step forward.

Finishing Strike offers you that option and for one resource, that’s not bad. When I first read the card, I couldn’t see why it didn’t just tell you to increase the value of the melee side by one as it would do the same thing. Then I realized that I was only thinking about instances where you were going to kill a character.

And that’s the biggest issue with this card; to really make it worth a resource, you have to kill a character with it. And that isn’t going to happen very often. As nice as it might seem to imagine a Vader, sitting on 3 shields and a Force Illusion with only 2 health left and monster dice in the pool, getting cut down with a single melee side, it’s never going to happen. If you include this card in your deck, you have to be prepared to use it to deal unblockable damage alone. That might work for some melee decks that run Synchronicity, Vibroknives and the unblockable Lightsabers, but again, it’s niche. And I’d argue that at this moment in time, we have more valuable cards to include in even those decks.

GATHERING INTELLIGENCE (0/5)
We have lots of cards that offer hand and deck information at a low cost. This one will at least let you know what your opponent has and what you and they will draw into next. It’s not useless. But how many of these cards have seen play in the past? Card slots are so valuable at the moment and including this seems like a waste, even at zero cost. It’s worth considering in the multiplayer formats as it says ‘each opponent’ and ‘each deck’ but beyond that, you don’t want this.blue hero5jpg
HOLD OFF (2/5)
Con: I need to have a die showing shield.
Pro: It costs zero.
Con: My opponent needs to have a die showing melee if I want to get the most out of the card.
Pro: Even if they don’t, I can still get a free shield.
This isn’t necessarily a bad card. If you couldn’t use this at all against non-melee decks then it would be garbage but as it stands, it could be useful in decks where shields are more valuable (Rey2, Qui-Gon). It’s another card that feels like it’d make it into a sideboard if we had the option so, again, it’s very niche and difficult to justify including. At zero cost it’s fine but justifying a card slot is difficult.

INSIGHT (1/5)
Another zero cost event. We are a little spoiled with these so they have to be good to see play. This is ideal if you want to smooth your draws out or you’re looking for something specific. There aren’t a whole host of decks trying to do this in Blue Hero right now. Mostly because, again, we’re spoiled with good cards. Weapon decks are better off with Pull so it feels a little redundant. I think this will be better a) in draft, b) after rotation or c) in decks that run yellow or red. Both these options have cards you might want to find more quickly because of synergies in your deck via Jyn, Rex, Anakin, Lando, L3-37, etc.

Putting cards to the bottom of your deck isn’t really that strong. You can cycle cards you don’t need but you can’t rely on drawing them again. You need a specific focus for this to be worth your time.blue hero7jpg
INTO EXILE (2/5)
OK. This is about to get complicated. Do I want to pay a resource to exhaust a character and essentially protect it for a whole round. So I don’t get to activate it, but it can’t die. Well, I might do but what purpose could it serve? It could stop your opponent from winning the game on a certain round. That’s good, right? And I could stop them from dealing damage that round? Wrong.
You have to have 2 ready characters in order to play this so your opponent will always have another target, I’m afraid.

It could be a tidy play if one of your characters is going to die anyway and your opponent god rolls. You can protect your other guy from the excess that would normally be coming his/her way.
This event really comes into its own when you’ve flooded the board with supports and you don’t care about that Gungan die you were going to roll. Could be a better Into the Garbage Chute in the right deck. I like it in this instance but you need to remember that it’s useless late game when you only have one character left. It also blocks damage so you’re still susceptible to anything that cuts through shields so beware.

REPULSE (3/5)
Very straightforward. 2 dice of different colours get removed. Blue removal that doesn’t require dice in the pool is always welcome. At 2 cost, we already have two solid options: Beguile and Mind Trick. Repulse is quite simply a meta call, just like the other two. If you get a Planetary Bombardment and a Vader die (not sure what deck you’d be playing against but it could happen) then you’re happy. If you’re playing against a mono deck, not so happy.

SAFEGUARD (3/5)
If there’s one thing that Blue Hero characters end up with, it’s upgrades. Force Speed and Force Illusion appear in most decks and Destiny and It Binds All Things reduce the cost of the big sticks enough to get these characters tooled up. Blue Hero also benefits hugely from shields in many ways (even more with new QG) and paying a resource for 3 shields is good value. You’d happily pay it to remove a 3 damage side and, again, it doesn’t require dice in the pool. If you see this as mitigation, it’s good. If you consider the upsides with the characters that like shields, it gets better. I often play Heightened Awareness and don’t regret it. It has ambush but costs one extra so this seems great value for 3 shields or OK if you get 2. You don’t want it early but it will always be useful.

4. BLUE HERO SUPPORT:
blue hero6jpgIMMUTABILITY (2/5)
Immutability is an insurance policy. It means the cash you spent on a character doesn’t get wasted. Mostly ... I like the idea of keeping all my upgrades from one character and it makes expensive stuff without redeploy more viable. But it costs 1, so you’ve lost that straightaway.
You also have to forecast your intentions to your opponent. Since this disappears at the end of the turn, they could just move their attention elsewhere until next round. Nothing is guaranteed.
Again, this is useless late game with a single character left and useless early game when nothing is going to die.

It could be a sneaky little play. Or it could be entirely useless.

5. BLUE HERO UPGRADES:
blue hero21jpgCOUNTER STROKE (3/5)
Hold the phone. A 2 cost Blue Ability that works with a melee deck? Yes please. OK, you could argue that Makashi Training does this but look at all those modified sides. Here, no blue sides!

You could argue that the 2 for 1 is bad. I know it costs and that does stink but if you think of it as a 3 for 1, it’s much better.

You obviously want to hold on to this until your opponent has laid down a marker of which character they want to kill first. Once this goes on that character, happy days. From here on in, you’re looking to increase this die by one every single round and it looks like a great upgrade at that point, with plus one to each side. Even the 2 discard isn’t to be sniffed at.

I’ll admit, a Resource side would be nice, but the Shield and Melee sides will probably work with everything else in your deck.

The Focus sets up some tasty plays as you can essentially focus 2 dice on your opponent’s turn and that may well be an incentive for them to move their attention to a different character for a round, or waste mitigation on this.

The only real thing this suffers against is mill where the die loses its power.

But on the whole, this turns defense into attack. It speeds up your turn. It’s tricky enough for shenanigans. Definitely worth a look in mono blue.blue hero8jpgLIGHTSABER TRAINING STAFF (3/5)
I’ve wanted a 1 cost Blue Melee weapon for an age now. It’s been top of my Christmas list. Something cheap to trigger Shoto Lightsabers was always going to be valuable. And then somebody went and made this… This is a tough card to evaluate.

I think it’s clever and introducing 0 value black sides will show their value in the course of time. But having 5 black melee sides can be useful no matter what their value. This is excellent with some of the big blue events like Force Misdirection and Synchronicity. You can even use it to trigger Ataru Strike, if you really want.

Again, like so many of these cards, moving beyond rotation will see this improve and smooth out those blue sides on big sabers. It costs one, sure. You can always overwrite it. It’s weird. But I really quite like it.blue hero9jpg
PILLIO STAR COMPASS (2/5)
Another 1 cost upgrade. Another weird 1 cost upgrade: Focus, Shields, Resource. Reasonable sides for a cheap die. You probably don’t want to pay for the 2 Shield side unless it’s going to save your skin but the Power Action could be useful if you’re chasing specific sides. It could make you money by fixing the resource side or even with the focus and give you a boost in the first few turns.

Is it a coincidence that this synergises perfectly with Luke’s die? I very much doubt it. On Luke, this becomes well worth the investment, especially early game. Having access to his ‘shield’ sides is obviously a bonus and multiple focus is always welcome. You’ll have to be careful if you want this in other decks and hope the sides match what you’re chasing. It’s ok as an upgrade but only really worth including if you can make use of that power action.

QUI-GON JINN'S LIGHTSABER (4/5)
Another 3 cost unique saber to sit with the rest that we play. It’s got big sides. Something to please anybody running Destiny for a start. The three Shield sides are obviously thematic, but add to the consistency of this weapon. And I really like that. A consistent die is a good die. You know you’re going to get Melee or Shields with this so any deck that wants those will value this weapon. End of. Sure, it has a blue side but none of them are pay sides so that’s solid.

I like that we now have some protection from shield removal. Blue villain has had some solid events to strip shields for relatively little cash so this is an added bonus in any blue deck. Obviously, again, any deck that values shields is going to benefit exponentially. And most blue hero decks are valuing shields these days so it’s hardly obscure.

Your ‘icing on the cake’ is with Qui-Gon. Not only does it give you a shield back, which is good on either version of him, but also, you get to draw a card which is very solid. If you can drop this alongside two Shotos, your opponent is going to get bored of removing shields quite quickly. And it’s another target for BTL. Not ‘blue character only’ either. Result!

BLUE VILLAIN REVIEW

RED VILLAIN REVIEW
YELLOW VILLAIN REVIEW
RED HERO REVIEW
YELLOW HERO REVIEW
BLUE NEUTRAL REVIEW
RED NEUTRAL REVIEW
YELLOW NEUTRAL REVIEW
GREY CARDS REVIEW
Written by
TIM MEADS