Written by CLAUS STAAL
This week's second live stream event from Fantasy Flight Games saw 41 new cards spoiled from Convergence, and while it puts my keyboard into overdrive, I think the format in which the cards are spoiled is pretty amazing. It's creating hype ...and I'm all for it!
Some of the cards are absolutely monstrous (I have several favourites already) and I'm getting more and more excited about the release of Convergence! Thank God, I ordered plenty of displays!!
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1. FFG's Announcement of Convergence
2. New Convergence Spoilers
3. Fantasy Flight Game Livestream
2. REPRINTED CARDS:
I guess the biggest surprise inclusion amongst the reprints was CRIME LORD! It's not exactly been popular for a very long time - although I briefly tried it out in a eYoda/eLeia3 Combo Deck, but that was mostly to try something wacky - and I guess it's mostly included to go along with the new Jabba the Hut (and we really need more versions of him ... not really). That'll probably be an unpopular Legendary inclusion, and one I'll be crossing fingers not to pull too many of.
THE BEST DEFENSE... remains one of my favourite villain removal cards and I'm happy to see it reprinted, while the same is kinda true for ISOLATION, which might be a favoured monoblue villain removal card again with Overconfidence rotating out (unless it's also reprinted).
I'm honestly surprised to see FIELD MEDIC reprinted as I was certain that First Aid would fully replace it, but maybe it's to keep the thematic feel of red heroes, while FLANK was expected to be reprinted as a great staple removal card for 3wide decks.
TRUCE is also somewhat of a surprise. It keeps eBeckett/eTalzin decks alive as well as the discussion on whether or not Vader's Fist is in for a nerf!
3. HERO CARDS:
Star Wars fans will be rejoicing that they finally got an AHSOKA TANO which is not only playable, but looks pretty strong! She's one of the most beloved characters from the animated shows (I've been told) and is definitely feeling the love in her new shape and form.
AWESOME ability, and although a bit weak on health, 8hp really isn't a lot, she's cheap and allows for some great 3wide character line-ups. Her die is pretty strong, at least when considering her special ability and should see plenty of play. Love the art work!
So, VIGILANT JEDI is our replacement for the Padawan that rotates out. BUUUUUH ... well .. to be fair, the Vigilant Jedi is a mash-up between the Padawan and the Temple Guard, and while the Special is pretty cool and should be decent with Yoda as a sidekick, the 2 Melee payside is a real pain in the ass and the die or the ability doesn't come close to replacing the consistency of the Padawan, even if you get an additional health.
I guess it is possible to design a Holocron which is not broken ... The JEDI HOLOCRON has all the qualities of the Sith Holocron, which is likely to be one of the most broken cards designed for the game, but is almost too fair! The Special is ok by allowing you to basically replace it (overwrite) with a Blue ability from your hand and giving you a triple card draw advantage. If there's a way to tutor the Jedi Holocron back from the bottom of your deck, it'll be incredibly good, but I'm sure they won't make that mistake.
KNIGHTHOOD is an improved Take Cover for blue characters only and although it takes up an upgrade slot it's still superior. The design team is definitely going all in on subtypes and if Jedi is going to be a thing, with powerful effects, then Knighthood could also be a thing ... I doubt it though.
CONVERGENCE is expensive, and will only be able to compete with Vandalize if you can spot 2+ characters with the same subtype and are targeting supports or upgrades that costs 2 resources or more, while it also has the ability to remove Downgrades. Its popularity will definitely depend on the prevalence of Downgrades, but does feel incredible overcosted.
If you though action cheating was a thing of the past, then INSTIGATE has another thing coming for you. It goes along with Drop In to make Yellow the preferred action cheating colour and is pushing for yellow to much more support based. It should be pretty strong with Millenium Falcons, Shadow Casters and pure yellow aggro characters like Han Solo and Qi'Ra, and might in fact exactly support those characters if they can just get the guns to replace those that will rotate out (X-8 Night Sniper and Holdout Blaster).
SURE SHOT follows the design of yellow removal like Double Cross and actually looks pretty decent. It's superior to He Doesn't Like You when removing character and upgrade dice, while useless against support dice. It looks good, even if a bit limited in its application, and should be able to slide nicely into yellow ranged decks.
I guess the design team realised that Quick Escape was a dud and hope FLEE THE SCENE will fit the bill better. It's obviously MUCH better as it removes any 2 dice at the same resource cost and you "only" have to pass two turns. Sequencing when you play this card however is pretty important and it is in many instance inferior to Easy Pickings and can easily end up in you being time walked.
LASER TRIPWIRE is a cute card. It's like an uncontrollable Backup Muscle. I kind of like the design, but don't think it will be a huge hit. Against non-aggro decks it's a dead card and with the popularity of those archetypes it will be difficult for Laser Tripwire to become anything but a fringe card.
PADMÉ AMIDALA'S ROYAL STARSHIP essentially has the same die as Count Dooku's Solar Sailer and the latter has actually seen some play lately. The thing is that the card draw with the Solar Sailer is infinitely better than a Shield and even the speed from being able to activate Padmé Amidala doesn't make up for it. Red heroes got shafted with the Royal Starship even if it isn't too shabby.
4. VILLAIN CARDS:
A TALE OF TRAGEDY is sort of the villain version of Concentrate, but it's cheaper when affecting two character dice, but limited to only turning character dice. The thing is that you cannot affect the character dice of the Sith you spot to play the card, which means it would be almost impossible to affect Darth Vader - Terror to Behold's dice, where the application would be the most powerful. One would almost think it was planned!
With blue heroes receiving plenty of shield love it's really no surprise to see blue villains receive shield hate cards. Removing all shields from all an opponent's characters is definitely powerful, but I still think Freighten is the superior card to FIT OF RAGE. The artwork though is pretty dope!
FORBIDDEN LORE is apparently the replacement for It Binds All Things, for Villains, and because it replaces itself with the card draw it is actually pretty good. The discount is nice and it will probably see some play with new Palpatine!
COUNT DOOKU'S LIGHSABER is a pretty good 2cost Lightsaber although it's a pretty big downside that it doesn't have a Resource side. It could set precedent for a totally new template for villain lightsabers, leaving behind the classic Melee/Melee/Melee/Shield/Resource/Blank, favouring synergies between the upgrades and the named characters. It does look pretty mean with the new Count Dooku, but could also be a nice sidearm to Darth Tyrannus! I'm certain it'll see plenty of play.
The QUARREN TRACKER is our new replacement for Bazine Netal, but honestly a tad more powerful, even if coming in at 8points. Fitting him in with Snoke will be a priority as his dice sides are just DELICIOUS targets for the Supreme Leader's Power Action!! Whether or not it will matter that he's a Bounty Hunter is still somewhat unclear, but I'll definitely be testing him out!
It's clear that FFG want the subtype design space to matter and EXTERMINATE clearly underpins this ambition. It can be an incredible mitigation card when played against (older) cards with no subtype, but as it looks to become more and more prevalent (on newer cards) it probably won't be the blow-out card it first appears to be.
I love the artwork on HUNT THEM DOWN, which reminds me of the artwork from the classical murder comedy Man Bites Dog, and it definitely makes it worth examining the Bounty
Downgrades design space. It's an incredibly thematic card, which could even be quite effective.
I think the SNIPER TEAM is very pricy, and although it's guaranteed to deal damage courtesy of its Power Action, the 4 Ranged damage side feels very bad ... Also, discarding a card from your hand to use the Power Action is a pretty heavy price to pay.
MEGABLASTER TROOPERS can potentially be a MASSIVE card! As in INCREDIBLY powerful. If you spot a leader it will add three dice to the pool, which is absolutely INSANE! The damage sides are not particularly impressive, but it will add loads of dice to your pool, which in some instances can be even better than a single powerful die side. If you have Focuses around there's a potential 4 Ranged damage and 3 Indirect damage from this beast! AWESOME!
5. NEUTRAL CARDS:
NEAR MISS is another card goes all in on the subtype shenanigans, but it just doesn't seem particularly strong. Sure, it's automatically removes a die, but unless you play 3wide of a given subtype it can easily turn out to be a dead card in your hand. I also think that 1 resource with this kind of restriction is a bit steep.
I like the how CHANCE ENCOUNTER has a Use the Force or Triple Threat or very weak Electroshock built into it. It would be awesome if you could do several things if your met several requirements, but I guess that'd make it a total blow-out card. The flexibility of the card makes it an interesting pick and should look pretty good with a character like Captain Phasma.
BACTA THERAPY doesn't fully replace Rise Again for blue characters and will not be able to compete with First Aid or Field Medic for red heroes, but will be an absolute monster on new Palpatine.
ELECTRO SWORD is our new Vibroknife and is quite disappointing. It's expensive and doesn't justify the price tag, even with Redeploy.
LR-57 COMBAT DROID will be good once more cards can synergise with it to consistently put resource tokens on it. Don't expect the Special to be worth more than 2-3 damage, which then makes the die sides underwhelming for 3 Resources.
Being able to play the FICKLE MERCENARIES for just 1 resource is pretty broken. Having your opponent take control of it is super annoying and incredibly thematic. I actually love the card and think it has a great "feel" to it. I'm not sure I'd bring a card like this into a competitive setting, but hey ... that's just me!
FOR A PRICE feels kinda weak. There is a tendency though that die sides are starting to have paysides, and if that trend continues, its stock might raise, but as it is, it doesn't look like a removal card you'd bet your life on.
PREY UPON is another card that rewards you for playing Downgrades, and is an indication of how important that design space is - probably also going forward into future expansions.
RENDEZVOUS is an interesting card and goes along with Impulsive and Instigate to suggest that yellow is our new speedsters in Destiny. Not sure the effect is worth it, but dependent on the composition of your dice in your character team and deck it might be a tech card for your deck. Could be great with either Lando Calrissian, Qi'Ra or HIRED MUSCLE!
I'm honestly not sure what I'm missing here ... Hired Muscle really looks outrageously good! I might have the math totally wrong, but it looks broken! Imagine having two of those insane dice hurled at you in round one?! So, maybe this is why Jeremy Zwirn said Vader's Fist isn't going to be a problem ...
We are finally seeing more of the Event - Move(s) that is going alongside the new 2 cost plot Lightsaber Mastery, and both TWIN STRIKE and FATAL BLOW looks pretty good. Twin Strike in particular looks awesome and will look sweet with several blue melee characters! Fatal Blow is pretty expensive, but will be absolutely mindblowingly insane on a tooled up Palpatine!
If I understand ATTUNEMENT correctly, you get to do all three things if you have a die showing Melee and a die showing Shield and a die showing Blank. If this reading is correct it's actually pretty good and a fullblooded replacement for the loss of Synchronicity (one of my favourite Blue Hero cards).
Same applies to STRIKE BACK as just discussed with Attunement, and I'm now certain that's the way to read it. If you fulfill all requirements, it's actually pretty dope. And I'm starting to see the light of these multiple effect events.
Action cheat for red characters used to be a villain thing with Tactical Mastery and Three Steps Ahead, but with SEIZE THE DAY Captain Rex is going to be one happy dude. Btw. That scene from the movie always makes me laugh!
I'll need to see how big subtypes will be before being able to properly evaluate the impact of cards like TEST OF CHARACTER. Assuming you bring two subtype dice yourself it's actually a pretty good mitigation card and assuming your opponent has two subtype dice it's an okay alternative to Overconfidence.
So, Captain Phasma's ability suddenly makes a whole lot more sense now, and the QUICKSILVER BATON looks like an incredibly solid pick on her. I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with the whole mechanic of getting to roll upgrade (and/or support) dice into the pool when playing the upgrade. It feels like we are tumbling down a rabbit's hole and games are going to end earlier and earlier, which doesn't fit with the interview that Jeremy Zwirn did when he took over as lead designer, claiming his design philosophy included to let a game of Destiny last more rounds. On Phasma you are basically always going to be able to resolve the Quicksilver Baton die. I'm already a huge fan!
I can't keep track of the shapes of all the vehicles, Y-Wing, X-Wing, A-Wing, V-WING. Not sure if the V-Wing is better than the Fang Fighter or the ARC-170, but both villain and hero abilities are great.
All of the three new spoiled 2cost plots have their own distinct feel to it, which is in line with the attempt to create a more thematic atmosphere to the game, which of course will be lost in game play, but is at least nice from a design perspective.
They share the same design template and can be exhausted for various effects after you play X. At a glance GRAND DESIGN seems the strongest, simply because card draws are so important and it could give rise to a renewed popularity for small vehicle decks. Not really sure PERILOUS ESCAPADE and ASTROGATION is going to see much play.
I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about downgrades, but a card like SHADOWED is definitely funny and can be punishing to low health character teams. I think we need more time with the entire set to be able to estimate the value of the downgrades individually and as a design.