Spark of Hope 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 or Infinite 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 0-5, 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.

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

1. BLUE HERO CARDS:
Written by CLAUS STAAL

Blue Heroes have been grossly overlooked in previous sets much to the avail of many players. And while they do look to become stronger with Spark of Hope, one just can't shake the feeling that Blue Heroes are still being overlooked. Like, classical lightsaber wielding blue heroes.

R2-D2 is definitely going to be one of the stars of Spark of Hope, and I hope Yoda will be as well, but I also fear that villains got the better deal: AGAIN, which in turn means that Blue Heroes will be playing second or third fiddle for yet another cycle.

The return of Mind Trick, this time for Jedis only, is a shimmer of light in an otherwise pretty dark mess and there's no denying that the shield laden avenue the design team want the Jedis to follow could be their undoing.

2. BLUE HERO CHARACTERS:
R2-D2 (4/5)
This is the third iteration of R2-D2 printed for Star Wars Destiny, but the first as a character. He comes in a premade package with his protocol droid buddy C-3P0 and nicely ribboned together by the plot Fateful Companions.

R2-D2 in a vacuum doesn't look too good, low health, mediocre die (very similar to that of Ezra Bridger2) and an ability that's fine, but nothing extraordinary, while coupled with C-3P0, who's die and ability is MUCH more powerful, and Fateful Companions his value simply skyrocket. Outside of the Faithful Companion pairing I'd probably rate R2-D2 at (3/5).spoilers2jpg
Their abilities go so braindeadly well together that it's almost laughable. They make for a possible ramp engine that can match or outmatch their villain counterparts. Everything in this set point towards heroes, in particular hero support decks, finally getting the boost they need to rise to the top of the meta.

Add a splash of yellow to the character team, i.e. Anakin Skywalker, and you can add Entourages to really boost your boardstate.

REY - BOUND BY THE FORCE (3/5)
I rated Kylo Ren - Bound By The Force at (3/5) and while Rey feels marginally better, I'll still offer her the same rating. Mostly because they are meant to go together with the Plot Temporary Truce.REYLOjpgAs you are probably becoming aware of, I'm just not a fan of the new premade character pairings, even if their combination of Power Actions and Specials can make for some nice plays. It feels pretty unimaginative although thematic and all. The artwork on the two characters and the plot though is pretty dope.

Rey's die is okay, and a slight improvement from the last iteration, while her Power Action is actually pretty good - so is her Special. I'd be interested in trying her out with Poe Dameron - More Than A Pilot for a revamped version of the old R2-P2 deck, which I guess would then be R3-P2. There are some obvious synergies available and the potential for some crazy Shield madness. Another choice could be coupling her with Han Solo to add Yellow, which looks slightly stronger than Blue/Red, but then the synergies are much weaker.

YODA - MYSTICAL MENTOR (4/5)
Everyone has been dreaming of a new version of Yoda. Not that the old version wasn't extremely good - he was in fact one of the best support characters ever printed - but exactly because of that reason, people were wondering what a lightsaber wielding ninja-kung-fu-style Yoda would look like. Now, we know.review25jpg
I honestly like him. A LOT. I'm aware that a lot of players were less than impressed with his dice sides, in particular the 1 Melee damage side will leave a lot wanting for more, but that would probably be a gross underestimation of his 4 Shields for 1 resource side, which coupled with his passive ability is such a beast. He also still doesn't have any Blanks which makes him immune to Salt Flats, Force Jump, etc.

His point cost is probably the biggest stumbling block, which leaves very little room for finding good teammates. Currently, he probably looks the best with Aayla Secura (which means that you are likely to be able to effectively use Niman Training and Niman Mastery) or Satine Kryze (and a plot), while Ahsoka Tano could also be an option if you are looking to take advantage of his second passive ability (using his Shields to block damage dealt to an Apprentice). All in all, I'm pretty certain that Yoda will see plenty of play!

YOUNGLING (2/5)
I still have no idea how to properly evaluate the diceless characters. One thing which is still to be seen is how impactful it's going to be that they give very cheap access to various colours, and while blue hero cards haven't been particularly powerful in recent sets, there are still a few that are nice includes in most decks.

The Youngling Power Action is reminiscent of the Padawan ability, but somewhat more of a gamble on a 4hp character. UNLESS, you use Yoda's ability to make the fairly robust. I see what you did there FFG. Seriously, STOP force feeding me!spoilers4jpg
The synergy between Professor Huyang and the Youngling is also cute, and might even make a home for the all but forgotten Crafted Lightsaber - not to mention the new Yoda's Lightsaber. I can also see how the Jedi Lightsaber is made for the Younglings, beefing them up when played, but that upgrade just feels weak. We are certainly far from the days of the Ancient and Shotos. Younglings are good at soaking up Indirect damage though, which is kind of bizarrely twisted, right?! It gets even more sicking if the Younglings are first used to soak damage and then defeated to give Shields with Destiny Fulfilled.

I'm assuming that if Younglings are going to see play so is Respite, which looks built to go with them and just get better due to them.

3. BLUE HERO DOWNGRADES:
set review1jpgREFUSAL (3/5)
So, Refusal has been discussed quite extensively already, and the most important points to underscore are the following:
  1. Downgrades cannot be played on your own characters.
  2. You can deal Melee damage and Ranged damage to your own characters.
Both these points obviously limits the potential abusive power level of Refusal quite significantly. And while it is by no means unplayable, it will most likely be an endgame piece. Allowing your opponent a significant ramp advantage in the beginning is probably NOT the best idea, although it goes well together with cards like In The Crosshairs and Snuff Out, but that combo is fairly difficult to set up. Late game, it could be a very decisive card like any other mitigation card affecting multiple dice.

4. BLUE HERO EVENTS:
review26jpgDESTINY FULFILLED (2/5)
It's kind of hilarious, in a dark and twisted way, how Destiny Fulfilled can be used on the Younglings - well, basically any cheap diceless character - which is probably where it is the most applicable. Remember that it doesn't work on L3-37 similar to how Honorable Sacrifice doesn't trigger due to L3-37's ability. It would work in conjunction with Diplomatic Protection though, which could go a long way to make an eYoda2/3*Youngling deck pretty beefy ... this is obviously not an actual strategy, but is a fun thought experiment nonetheless. It's honestly not a great card for the same reason that Honorable Sacrifice never sees play.

EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION (2/5)
This is basically a Blue version of Truce and Well-Connected. It's just worse. In all respects. Although Exchange of Information can potentially be of more use to you than your opponent, because you get to dictate the terms on which it's played, it's still a quid pro quo card which doesn't really seem to offer you any significant benefits. For it to be impactful, you'll need to be able to ensure that you are in a much better position than your opponent when playing it (and after), which both Truce and Well-Connected offers, while Exchange of Information doesn't really.

HEROIC STAND (0/5)
Similar to Final Moment and Desperate Hour, Heroic Stand requires you to be in a losing position to play it. The effect can of course be game changing, but this card is such an act of desperation that you are probably doing something wrong if you add it to your 30 cards in your deck. You don't remove any of the potential lethal dice staring you down, you just ready a character. Bleh!review27jpg
HUMBLE SERVICE (0/5)
Really ... Cards like Alter rarely sees any play and Humble Service is a massively worse card. Sure, it can affect 4 dice, but the conditions are horrible and the price horrendous. Please do not play this card.

JEDI MIND TRICK (5/5)
Players have been longing for the old Mind Trick to come back, and it's been particularly missed in a support heavy environment. Villain players will probably be upset that it came in the guise of a Jedi only card, but it is every bit as powerful as the previous iteration.

It's in fact better, although trickier, because you can also affect your own dice if wanted, but since your opponent chooses the distribution of dice into the two groups, and you choose to either remove one group entirely or turn any number of dice in one group to sides of your choice, there's a vast range of potential outcomes that has to be taken into consideration. For 2 resources this is an incredibly good card and by far the best blue event to come in Spark of Hope.review28jpg
MOVING ROCKS (1/5)
Wauw ... the design team is really going all in on the Shield theme for Spark of Hope. Coming in at 3 resources Moving Rocks is basically unplayable. There are already a number of cards that allows you to gain Shields and while it's nice to be able to move them from an opponent's characters to your own, it's never going to be worth that price.

YODA'S PROTECTION (2/5)
This is obviously another card designed to increase the stock of Younglings. It can potentially be a tons of Shields if you play 5wide, but since that's never going to happen, you are more likely to look at 3 Shields gained, which then makes it difficult to justify Yoda's Protection over Loth-Wolf Bond or even Defensive Stance or Heightened Awareness. It will only be good in a very limited environment, which basically equates bad.

5. BLUE HERO SUPPORT:
review29jpgCARETAKER VILLAGE (3/5)
This is a tricky support to evaluate. Strictly in a vacuum it's pretty powerful. Being able to roll a QGJ2 or Yoda die back into the pool after your opponent has gone through the trouble of removing it is pretty awesome, but man ... 2 resources. You'll need to see this support early, as in round 1, for it to represent proper value and even then it might not be able to pay back the investment. I don't think it'll see a lot of play because it's a reactive card and Star Wars Destiny is all about being proactive. I'm going on a limb rating it at (3/5) despite my initial inclination to give it (1-2/5) due to the fact that you don't lose an action when using it. It's not anywhere near that rating though. Just sayin'.

PROFESSOR HUYANG (3/5)
Professor Huyang is yet another 3cost support with a 2 Resource side to go along side Count Dooku's Solar Sailer and Entourage (Escape Craft also has a 2 Resource side, but is a 2cost support). Huyang also doesn't have any Blanks, which seems to be a common trait amongst droids these days. I still think any 2 Resource sides (unless it's an expensive support like the Millennium Falcon) is a mistake. Apart from the 1 Melee sides, which is also a Droid trait, his die is pretty good. I'm not sure he'll see a whole lot of play though. I'm wondering if he could have a place in a support based Yoda1 deck.

QUI-GON JINN'S SPIRIT (3/5)
Everybody needs a spirit! Obi-Wan had one. Yoda had one. Obviously, Qui-Gon Jinn had to have one. Yoda's Spirit has really seen a lot of play, but that's mostly due to the fact that blue heroes have been out in the cold for quite some time. QUI-GON JINN'S SPIRIT arguably has a MUCH worse die and will probably see very limited outside of a Yoda2 deck, where the Special can be absolutely NUTS and the +2 Shield side looks pretty awesome.spoilers15jpg
The QGJ'S SPIRIT Special is essentially the return of Riposte, one of my favourite cards from Awakenings, and while it lacks the surprise element it could potentially be awesome with Yoda1 and might even bring cards like Loth-Wolf Bond, Heightened Awareness or the newly spoiled Pushing Slash into decks. There's some serious action chaining potential going on here. The one true redeeming thing about this card is that it's just 1 resource. That might go a long way to push it into decks looking to find some sneaky damage from Shields.review30jpg
THREE LESSONS (3/5)
Three Lessons feels ok'ish. Sure, you only get to turn an Apprentice die, but being able to do it three times might just make it worth it. There are a fair number of good Apprentices available and with the ability to add cheap supports like Qui-Gon Jinn's Spirit that allows you to spot a Jedi, there might just be a home for it in eRey3/eKylo3.

6. BLUE HERO UPGRADES:
JEDI LIGHTSABER (2/5)
I dislike the Jedi Lightsaber just like I really disliked the Recovered Sith Lightsaber. Maybe it's just me not being fully acclimatised for the brave new world of Destiny. But when I can get 2cost supports that has resources and damage coming out of their wazoos for the 2 resources or cheaper, why do I have to settle for this lightsaber? As long as supports remain at a higher power level and claiming and/or controlling the battlefield doesn't seem to be a priority in the game, why throw your resources at this?review31jpg
SACRED JEDI TEXTS (2/5)
I guess everyone is thinking about that crazy potential card draw from resolving the Special multiple times in a 5wide Jedi/Youngling deck. If there were anything to spend all that resources on I'd be with you. This is probably one of the cards with the biggest potentials for abuse in it though. Possibly stacking your deck with resource gain cards and draw effects. Outside of that I don't see this seeing a whole lot of play.

YODA'S LIGHTSABER (4/5)
The damage sides leave much to want, but the die is actually really good. Just the fact that it doesn't have any Blanks speaks volumes to its power. And at just 1 resource, this will be AMAZING in your starting hand. Mace Windu2, Luke and both iterations of Yoda will love this card. Imagine Yoda1 with this ligthsaber in one claw and a Treasured Lightsaber and Obi-Wan Kenobi's Lightsaber clawed together in the other. Yummy!

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