Across the Galaxy Set Review - Blue Villain


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 0/1-5, with 0 being absolutely useless, 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 VILLAIN CARDS:
Blue villains once again look like they've been very spoiled in the Across the Galaxy expansion set. They received the long awaited Darth Vader and probably a few of the stand out cards of the set, while the new blue upgrades are nothing to scoff at either.

A few of the cards in the set will be the talking point of many debates in the weeks to come, and I'm certain that many of them will be mainstays in tier1 decks!

2. BLUE VILLAIN CHARACTERS:
Blue villain set reviewjpg
DARTH VADER (4/5)
We already did an extensive preview article on DARTH VADER - TERROR TO BEHOLD, and he doesn't disappoint. Darth Vader aficionados around the world have been screaming for a dark lord to match their ambitions of galaxy dominion!

He's good, and his damage sides are unrivaled by any character in the game, and while he's expensive he's probably also worth it. Most people will probably look to play him elite (18/23e) due to his Power Action, which then restricts the characters he can line up with, whereas a few might be tempted at adding BITTER RIVALRY to allow for a Nute or Ciena Ree match-up and some nasty Leadership plays. The cost of doing that though is effectively starting with 13hp on Vader and allowing your opponent a minimum of a 6 card starting hand. That's a hefty price to pay and could be absolutely devastating against aggro decks.

It's likely we'll mostly see Darth Vader in a classic Big/Little team with either the trusty First Order Storm Trooper (Blue/Red) or Greedo (Blue/Yellow) as sidekicks, both of which offers their own unique style and pool of cards. There are possibilities of him becoming the gravitation point for OTK decks as well, although that's a somewhat risky strategy.

I'm not sure if Darth Vader - Terror to Behold has what it takes to make it all the way to the top of the competitive scene, but there's no doubt that plenty of players will be trying and he looks pretty menacing at a glance and with a bit of variance going your way he can go toe-to-toe with ANY character (team) in the game!blue1jpg
LUCE - CALLOUS NIGHTSISTER (3/5)
Luce goes straight into the same design philosophy as Mother Talzin and the Nightsister, being cheap (8/11e), squishy (8hp), has a pretty good die and a special ability that synergises perfectly with your (assumed preferable) deck building strategy.

Trading off the Focus side on Mother Talzin with an Indirect damage side makes Luce a tad more aggressive, but I'm not sure the overall trade is better for the combined power of your character team. It does make her somewhat less prone to being targeted by Easy Pickings though if paired up with Mother Talzin.

Luce's ability is obviously a non-ability, and hence worthless (unless synergised with cards like the Energy Bow or Nightbrother), if used on your own dice and feels much weaker than that of the Nightsister when applied to your opponent's dice (it's WAY better to take a damage to reroll than discard a card from hand). Had the ability been just a bit stronger, i.e. rerolling and forcing your opponent to resolve the die, Luce would have had a better rating. She does fill out a good space for an alternative 8point character though, but is nowhere the power level of Mother Talzin.

NIGHTBROTHER (3/5)
For anyone dreaming of a 33hp triple Nightbrother deck - STOP IT! NOW! People had the same wacky dream when the Gamorrean Guard aka Piggy McPiggerson was released and well ... that never took off.

The Nightbrother does have some things going for him though. His die is superior to the Gamorrean die, the latter boasting two Blanks and NO Resource sides, while his Special ability is arguably also better than Guardian. Fitting him into a 4 or 5dice start is a bit more difficult though and I still think that's where you want to be in the meta.

SAVAGE OPPRESS (2/5)
So, Savage Oppress - according to Star Wars lore the lost brother of Darth Maul and invigorated by Nightsister magic is an interesting character build. He occupies the exact same design space as Seventh Sister (11/14e), but has 13hp (+3 compared to the Seventh Sister), four Melee damage sides, although two of them pretty weak, and NO RESOURCE sides. It is generally a HUGE downside to a character with no Resource sides, and with his best side a payside, I'm not sure that the huge health swing and reliability of the dice is making him worth it.

Seventh Sister has seen little to no play in the Way of the Force meta, and her 3 dice are arguably making her a better character than Savage Oppress. There's no doubt that thematic decks focusing on eMaul/eSavage will see casual play or even a 3dice eDooku/Savage deck, but I find it unlikely that he'll push his way into regular competitive decks.

3. BLUE VILLAIN EVENTS:
blue3jpgBURST OF LIGHTNING (2/5)
The most expensive shield removal card and also the most elaborate. Intimidate removes all Shields from a single character for free, while Frighten removes up to 3 Shields from any number of characters for 1 resource, and Burst of Lightning combining Intimidate with dice removal.

In a vacuum this card is pretty bad, but gets exponentially better as your opponent has more shields. If your opponent has 3 Shields on a character Burst of Lightning is pretty dope and represents excellent value. But if your opponent has just 1 shield on a character 3 Resources is absolutely ludicrous. Depending on the meta this card could develop from being useless to being bonkers!

ENDOW (2/5)
This is a pretty bad card. Paying extra resources for any upgrade based deck is going to be prohibitive, and although it does make cards like Crafted Lightsaber usable the round you play it or make possible plays where you activate a character, generate resources, then play upgrades and then roll them into the pool, it still feels weak. Putting a card into your deck normally entails fitting that card into your overall strategy - in this respect, Endow doesn't look powerful enough to include. On top of this it is limited to blue upgrades ... Buuuu'h!

I could imagine it being used by decks that has the ability to generate absurd amounts of resources (Thrawn or any Snoke based deck comes to mind), using Boundless Ambition or another draw mechanism to fill your hand with upgrades, THEN use Endow to play those upgrades and roll their dice into the pool.

FEAR AND DEAD MEN (3/5)
This card is what 2wide character teams, usually Big/Little decks, have been waiting for and which might give upgrades like BD-1 Cutter Vibro Ax or even the Vibrocutlass a much needed boost. The Vibro Ax can actually be pretty damn devastating against 3wide teams utilising shields!Blue villain set review2jpg
Fear and Dead Men can potentially be good in conjunction with any character die sporting Melee damage sides with a payside, although the effect can be used on any Melee side, but you'll most likely want at least one character with a big Melee side to make the card as reliable as possible. The card's rating goes up the higher and the more consistent your deck is at producing Melee sides. Obviously Darth Vader will be your go to character for the most powerful uses of Fear and Dead Men, but it can be equally powerful on Count Dooku and even on General Grievous or God forbid Dryden Vos. I'd actually imagine that a first round playing a Fear and Dead Men on a big Vader or Dooku Melee side against a 3wide team is as powerful a first turn as you'll ever get!

I AM THE SENATE (4/5)
This card is actually pretty dope if you can fulfill the requirements. I Am the Senate is obviously not going to see play in a 3wide environment, but could be extremely useful in a Big/Little setup or in a Darth Vader/Price of Failure deck. And it has an incredibly high ceiling. The real trick is going to bait slower opponents into committing as many dice as possible in the pool, while you durdle around, to get the most out of itblue4jpg

LET THE HATE FLOW (1/5)
This is bad. Let The Hate Flow is similar to Manipulate and Anger, but with the latter being far superior although requiring 2 Blanks! It sort of play into the new anti-Vader pseudo removal. I'm not a fan!

4. BLUE VILLAIN SUPPORT:
blue5jpgDARTH VADER'S MEDITATION CHAMBER (2/5)
2 Resources is actually pretty expensive for a support that will in average heal 2-3 damage in a game and use all your resources in the round it's played and while the additional ability might add a bit to the strength of the card, it doesn't really feel worth it until you play it with Darth Vader.

The draw ability when spotting Vader does make the card pretty good because any card that allows you to filter through your deck is outstanding(ish). So, basically it replaces itself on the turn it's played and will allow you to draw an additional card every round following that and fully negates the negative effect of Vader's Power Action. The rating should probably be 3/5 in conjunction with Vader.

GALACTIC DECEPTION (2/5)
Another card in the line of the new "counterspell" type of supports. Being able to prevent your opponent from taking Shields for an entire round can be pretty great against monoblue heroes (in that particular match-up the rating should be higher). Whether it's better than a surprise Frighten or Intimidate is a bit more questionable.

STIFLE (?/5)
Stifle adds itself to a list of supports that are the equivalent of Star Wars Destiny 'Counter Spells', i.e. can be played or used to counter an action (or an effect created by) of an opponent - AND the effect is used in your opponent's turn. It started in Way of the Force with Suppressive Fire, and in Across the Galaxy also similar effects in cards such as Vigilance (Red Villain), Immutability (Blue Hero), Armed Escort (Red Hero), also Improvised Defense (Neutral Yellow), while Stifle CAN POTENTIALLY have a game changing effect on Destiny!

I'll finish the review for Stifle once the clarification on the timing for the card is released!hot or not 3jpg
VADER'S FIST (5/5)
Lots of talk has already been circulating concerning Vader's Fist, and while I gave it a somewhat lukewarm reception when first spoiled, I am now resigned to reviewing this card as possibly THE BEST CARD in the set, maybe even in the game so far!

The fact that you can roll the die into the pool when you play it, resolve it, then roll it back into the pool when activating it, resolve it (again) AND then Power Action the die back into the pool a third time and resolve it (again) for a potential 12 damage, IF you can find the 8 resources needed, is pretty damn INSANE!

We will be seeing this support everywhere and any Thrawn or Snoke (or Chance Cube) based deck will easily be able to find the resources needed to play it round 1. At least it's a Support so cannot be played at a discount with Weapons Factory Alpha and cannot be readied by Ciena Ree, but can be targeted by anything targeting the subtype "Trooper", so do watch out for any developments in that particular design space.

5. BLUE VILLAIN UPGRADES:
blue6jpgBLOODLUST (2/5)
Bloodlust feels a bit expensive. At 2 resources with a maximum damage output of 2 damage per round you can easily find more powerful alternatives. Add to this the fact that it only deals damage when you resolve sides showing damage on character dice makes the upgrade seem pretty underwhelming, and I think that most aggro decks will find better use for the 2 resources.blue8jpg
CHAIN SICKLE (3/5)
There's a lot of competition for powerful 3 cost upgrades! There are plenty of Force upgrades that can fill that spot as well as melee weapons. The fact that the Chain Sickle doesn't have Redeploy AND two Blanks is a huge drawback, but the Special ability is pretty awesome. What saves the Chain Sickle is its three huge base damage sides, which means it can effortlessly go into a Mother Talzin deck and be highly effective. It's probably still too early to evaluate whether it will be able to outcompete Dagger of Mortis and Heirloom Lightsaber in the 3 cost spot, but I doubt it though.

DARTH VADER'S LIGHTSABER (4/5)
Maul's Lightsaber used to be the benchmark for 3 cost upgrades without Redeploy, and that mark was pretty high before the nerf to Maul's. Now, it looks somewhat more down to earth, but still presents excellent value.

Darth Vader's Lightsaber is doing a pretty good job in attempting to outshine Maul's Lightsaber though, and has several things going for it:
  1. It's surprisingly enough NOT limited to Blue Characters only, which means that it can be fitted to any character, including Arihnda Pryce and Boba Fett (maybe even Grievous).
  2. It swaps the corresponding Resource side on Maul's with a 2 Shield side, which is actually pretty cool, and
  3. It can roll one of the attached character's character dice back into the pool for 1 resource. This is particularly good if the attached character, as expected, has dope character dice.
If it's equipped on Darth Vader it even deals 1 damage to a character after resolving the die. I could even imagine this lightsaber being pretty awesome on young Vader in a Vader/Pryce team.blue7jpg
ENERGY BOW (4/5)
I think the Energy Bow is pretty cool! Sure, it doesn't have more than 1 base damage side, and although not fully comparable to the indomitable DH-17 Blaster Pistol, it brings quite a package for just 1 resource. In the right deck, i.e. any Mother Talzin deck and in particular Talzin/Mandalorians, it's definitely going to slot in perfectly. The special ability is mean to work with the Nightsister(s), and it's 'fine', but even without it I'd still bring it along.

RED VILLAIN REVIEW
YELLOW VILLAIN REVIEW
BLUE HERO REVIEW
RED HERO REVIEW
YELLOW HERO REVIEW
BLUE NEUTRAL REVIEW
RED NEUTRAL REVIEW
YELLOW NEUTRAL REVIEW
GREY CARDS REVIEW

Written by
CLAUS STAAL