Spark of Hope - Spoilers II


1. INTRODUCTION:


Written by CLAUS STAAL

Fantasy Flight Games has released their second spoiler article following the announcement of the eighth expansion to Star Wars Destiny: Spark of Hope! This time focusing on hero vehicles spearheaded by Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo as well as a bit of love for red villains.

LINKS:
You can find the original spoiler articles/podcasts from the content creators here:
DISCARD TO REROLL: 4-LOM, Zuckuss and Mist Hunter
GOLDEN DICE PODCAST: Han Solo, Blaster and Golden Dice
TEAM COVENANT: C-3P0 and R2-D2 plus loads more.

YOUR DESTINY SPOILER ARTICLES:
5 Things We've Learned About SoH
Bounty Hunters and Han Solo
Old Daka and necromancy

OFFICIAL FFG ARTICLES:
ANNOUNCEMENT ARTICLE for Spark of Hope (FFG)
Spark of Hope Spoiler Article 1
Spark of Hope Spoiler Article 2

ESTIMATED RELEASE:
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.

2. THE RETURN OF HERO VEHICLES ...

Small vehicle decks, which for a long time was the go-to deck for heroes, have been totally absent from the meta for the vast majority of the Across the Galaxy and Convergence meta. In fact, we haven't posted a competitive hero vehicle deck, outside of FAT Vehicles, in more than 6 months. Plenty of this had to do with the oppressiveness of Snoke, who just outshone his hero counterparts in almost every single aspect of the game. He was better at ramping, had access to better supports and access to a far superior mitigation suite.

Another reason has been Rally Aid rotating out of Standard Format. Curiously enough, a few days ago I was wondering if the design team would be crazy enough to consider reprinting Rally Aid, probably one of the best ramp cards in the game, just to bring small vehicle decks back into the game. And ... lo and behold! FFG proudly bring you: AMILYN HOLDO!Spoilers4jpg
At a glance it seems to be a liability having the Rally Aid effect locked into dice, but with Vandalize being a pretty staple card these days (for me at least), I think it's going to be extremely impactful and being able to trigger the Special twice is just CRAZY value. You are essentially netting 4 resources off her Specials and that's some SERIOUS ramping. Amilyn Holdo could singlehandedly bring small vehicle decks back into the game. She's in some odd way a combination of Yoda and Rose, and will be competing for the same character slots as those two.

Amilyn Holdo is obviously begging to be played elite because her dice are just NUTS! The only thing that would have made them better would have been two Special sides or a Resource side in place of the Shield side. But let's not get carried away here. She's already incredibly good. I'm  definitely going to try her out with Satine Kryze and Lor San Tekka for a decent 4dice start, plenty of Focuses and an above average 28hp.
Spoilers1jpg
That character pairing would also offer you two leaders, which means you could play - if you are into that kamikaze madness - LIGHTSPEED ASSAULT and the accompanying combo pieces: FIRM RESOLVE and TAKE CONTROL.Spoilers5jpg
You'll of course never play those cards unless the meta is going to change dramatically. Defeating a Leader AND discarding a vehicle is a ridiculously steep price to pay! And your maximum damage output would be something like 10 Indirect damage. Sure, it would be fine as an endgame piece when one of your Leaders is about to die anyways or in a suicide bomber Clawdite deck. Problem is that it still requires your opponent to have vehicles in play to maximise benefit from it, which is kind of the big stumbling block here! It's just one of these Final Moment style cards. It's not even good in theory.spoilers12jpg
Final judgements should of course be reserved until we get to see the entire set, but I'm quite certain that this is one of these deal-breakers.

Another character team I'd be curious to try out with Amilyn Holdo, who definitely looks like one of the stars of the set, gravitating around the same 3wide rainbow theme as eHoldo/Satine/Lor would be:Spoilers3jpg
This could be a pretty nasty team, with less health, 26hp, but the ability to churn out vehicles in a mad pace. Adding cards like Strong Intuition, Respite, Insight and Ancient Wisdom will help you qualify your hand to maximise on Holdo's Special. A deck running small vehicles will need to reach critical mass fast and being able to pick and choose cards for your hand will help facilitate that.spoilers14jpg
There are loads of other character pairings that are viable with Amilyn Holdo, including the two fateful companions C-3P0 and R2-D2. I'd also be keen to try and squeeze Rose in there as her Special means more resources and the ability to run the Modified HWK-290, probably alongside the Crait Resistance Speeder the best 2cost supports available.Spoilers15jpg
The fact that there are so many different character teams readily available for Amilyn Holdo to slot into is a testimony to how good she in fact is and how she'll signal the start of a new era of hero vehicle decks. Whether they'll dominate is another story.

3. SUPPORTS ...
I'm not excluding the possibility that I'm simply being dumb and just missing something here, but unless some broken card is going to be revealed that makes B-WINGs into some hard hitting muddafuggas that can take advantage of its die in the pool at the beginning of the action phase, then the B-Wing is just bad. The die is all over the place - what is this 2 Shield side doing here? - and at 3 resources you'd really expect MUCH more value. And there are currently plenty of better alternatives in that price range. Need I remind you that Entourage is a 3cost support (yes, I know, it's not a vehicle).Spoilers16jpg
The AT-RT is an interesting support, reminiscent of the old Lure of Power, which limits you to only resolve it together with Trooper dice, but seeing past this limitation, it's actually pretty good for 2 resources and should fit in well with Conscript Squads as well as Megablaster Troopers and Vader's Fist for villains. Unfortunately it's not itself a trooper die, but there are plenty of great trooper dice out there waiting to be modified and it's fast becoming one of the best subtypes available.

4. IMPERIAL POWER:
There's been a lot of good news for red villains lately, in particular Convergence brought plenty of love for the Empire's finest, including one of the hardest cards to track down on the second hand market: Megablaster Troopers.Spoilers17jpg
The MUDTROOPER, who looks like something taken right out of a nuclear disaster area (Chernobyl anyone?) and slots in between the First Order Stormtrooper and the Veteran Stormtrooper in the imperial fashion line-up, is the villainous equivalent of the Clone Trooper. Their abilities are even quite similar.

Being able to reroll a Blank, on one of your dice (not just the Mudtrooper) whenever you activate the Mudtrooper or a Leader is pretty good, especially as the Mudtrooper enters battle with the trademark double Blanks. Leader and Trooper are already easily the two best subtypes in the game, at least the ones that are supported the most, and there are plenty of good character teams for them to join. The Mudtrooper will probably see some play, but being a filler character through and through it really depends on your leftover character points.Spoilers18jpg
When people saw the new Inferno Squad Commando GIDEON HASK, they probably immediately giggled realising that his Power Action could be used on cards like Sniper Team, Megablaster Troopers, Conscript Squads and most notably Vader's Fist. It doesn't seem like such a good idea to add to the already considerable power of what is generally agreed to be one of the most broken cards in the game - even if the resource generating engine of villains have been hit by the most recent Balance of the Force.

Luckily, Gideon Hask himself is pretty lacklustre, and he'll have difficulty forcing himself into teams despite his Power Action being abusable. 10/13e is a difficult slot and he'll have to compete with characters like Arihnda Pryce, Jabba the Hut and Anakin Skywalker, all of whom already rarely sees play, and elite he is costed the same as Count Dooku3 and Snoke. I'd be thoroughly surprised to see him as anything but a fringe character.

5. EVERYONE DESERVES A TITLE ...

The subtype 'Upgrade - Title' is likely to be the least popular design space in Star Wars Destiny. Sure, Grand Moff had its five minutes of fame during the days of eThrawn/eSnoke, but that wasn't so much down to the power of Grand Moff itself, but rather the Battlefield choice of Jedi Temple. Most Titles that are any good are EXTREMELY expensive and few will have an impact on the game to justify their big price tag.titlesjpgADMIRAL joins the ranks of 4cost upgrades that at a glance have a great die, and in this instance also a great Special, and yet it falls through ... as expected. Spoilers19jpg
It's already hard to justify putting a 2-3 cost upgrade on any character, people even cut Handheld Cannons from their deck, because the risk of losing the investment early is too high, which means the pressure on 4cost upgrades to perform is ENORMOUS. Do you remember the last time you invested 4 resources in anything which wasn't a support? Exactly.

Heroes already have plenty of alternatives outside of expensive upgrades to reset their vehicles, and the only vehicles really worth resetting are FAT Vehicles and they'll always be playing either R2 Astromech and/or N-1 Starfighter, while the most impactful villain supports are not even vehicles at all, i.e. The Unholy Trinity. Readying a loaded up character like Palpatine or Mace Windu could be absolutely nuts, which probably means this would fit in an ePalp/eWat deck, but hardly outside of that - and probably not even there.

Nobody should be in doubt that being able to reset a decked out FAT Vehicle is insane, that's why Ciena Ree's action: was turned into a Power Action, but as we are hopefully entering a phase in Star Wars Destiny that will curb the unlimited access to and hyperflation of resource generation, there is and should be a limitation to the price we can pay for this abusiveness, which in turn makes cards like Admiral utterly obsolete - even before we open the first Spark of Hope booster pack.

I'm saying this all the while that I'm going to endorse YOU ARE IN COMMAND NOW, functionally the Rearm for Titles, but with the added benefit of Ambush, which might not be so important, and ignoring play restrictions, which is important.Spoilers20jpg
Any card in Destiny that offers a discount is definitely worth examining. It's essentially a Truce with only you reaping the benefits AND a means to dig out a card from the discard pile (or play it from your hand). Of the three "Upgrade -Title" cards available in Standard Format (once Spark of Hope lands): Grand Moff, Rebellion Leader and Admiral, and worth playing with You Are In Command Now, I'm assuming that Grand Moff will be the one of most interest. The play restriction on Grand Moff has always been a nuisance, and being able to ignore that is going to seriously improve the playability of it! Just to be clear here ... I'm NOT saying that You Are In Command Now will suddenly turn Grand Moff, or any other "Upgrade - Title" into the best card ever, but it will definitely make me consider adding it in some decks. Mostly because there are some pretty good Battlefields out there with very powerful claim abilities.You are in command now battlefieldjpg
I'd love to see Grand Moff used in conjunction with Command Center in a villain mill deck, like the old eJabba/eTarkin deck, but that's not likely to happen anytime soon, while using it with Outer Rim Outpost is obviously going to be powerful offering both a resource and a card draw advantage, but the best use currently is probably going to be Mean Streets and the ability to play powerful events from your hand at a discount.

Anyways ... I'm just fantasizing here ... that's definitely not for a strictly competitive setting - unless there's going to be a deck out there with access to the Order 66/Executive Order 66 combo, which can abuse the hell out of Mean Streets ...66jpg

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