In the following, I'll be going through most of the changes, although not ALL of them as some were mostly cosmetic, and I'll be discussing what effect it might have.
You can find the new Rules Reference 1.8 here!
You can find the new Standard Holocron here!
You can find the new Trilogy Holocron here!
The documents are all "effective" as of November 27, 2018. Which is ... well ... some time ago.
1. SNOKE(D), BUT STILL FISTING:
The most widely anticipated nerf of them all was the change to SNOKE! Everybody knew that it was coming, question was how hard the Supreme Leader would get hit! Generally I think it was too lenient. Capping him at 12/14e still allows for Thrawn/Snoke to run wild albeit fighting with a handicap. I agree that adding Bitter Rivalry into the mix is a serious handicap, but not one that cannot be overcome by what is the most dominant character pairing we've seen in Destiny since the broken age of Poe/Maz, and I honestly don't even think that character pairing was as good as Thrawn/Snoke despite abusing the shit out of a glitch in the intended card.
At the end of the day, players generally can rejoice that Snoke was nerfed and several extremely good character teams gravitating around his Power Action and Focus sides have been limited for now, but might still be left with doubts as to whether it will be enough to shackle the best of the best. I'd still include Thrawn/Snoke/Bitter Rivalry in a Gauntlet - and might in fact rate them at the top still ... if that's any clue.
To this it probably should also be added that I'm very curious as to why Vader's Fist was left to its own destructive devices?! That support is not just the symptoms of the problem of Thrawn/Snoke, but indeed one of the wheels that makes the dynamic duo run wild. Being able to consistently get a Vader's Fist in play round 1 and end games by round 2 is not really going to suffer too much of a blow by losing 2hp.
They also clarified what we already knew, but now it's in the Rules Reference 1.8, which means that everybody should be aware of it, namely that if using Snoke's Power Action would defeat a character the Power Action doesn't fully resolve! Move along nothing to see here!
2. OTK/OTM IS DEAD:
It looks like the design team managed to curb the power of the OTK (One Turn Kill) and OTM (One Turn Mill) decks by hitting some of the cards that were essential to the execution of their game plan.
Halving the effectiveness of Award Ceremony AND requiring an equal number of cards set aside as drawn makes it a dead card, while reducing the resource gain from Long Con, to just 1 resource (2 resources for the second one if you play Double Down), means that it can no longer be used to feed vehicle-reset decks or the Buy Out/Lying in Wait mill deck.
The Long Con fix probably also simultaneously took care of the most degenerate versions of the Shadow Caster reset-OTK deck, and adding to that also a nerf on Strategic Planning meaning that only a support with no mods attached can be readied. Let still be on the lookout for FAT-Shadow Caster decks though as the R2 Astromech is still available, and while you might not be able to find resources and cards to ready your Shadow Caster four times in a round, getting hit twice is still going to sting!
Fixing FAT-Vehicle decks also meant taking care of Ciena Ree. Her ability was "somehow" always meant to be a Power Action. That action just didn't exist when they made the card. It does now! It's sensible and she's still incredibly good! I could honestly see eSnoke/Bazine/Ciena become very strong going forward.
3. LUKE SKYWALKER AND ATARU STRIKE
There was a player from the UK who rage-quit Destiny and sold all her cards because it was rumoured that Ataru Strike could be used in conjunction with Luke Skywalker's dice showing Shield sides. Due to the wording on Luke Skywalker - Reluctant Instructor his dice are also considered showing Melee damage when resolving as such (because it's an ongoing ability). "The stupidest things she ever heard" was the famous last words before slamming the door in our faces (other things were said as well) ... and ... the madness continues. The ruling has now been made canon by Fantasy Flight Games and applies also to Finishing Strike.
We already had been advised of this ruling, but the important thing is the precedent it sets with ongoing abilities, resolve x and showing x! I wouldn't exactly quit the game over the issue, but now it's settled!
4. THE QUEUE
So, while the above have been in the Rules Reference for quite some time, they also clarified when cards leave the queue and enter either the "discard pile" or are "put into play". That's relevant for cards like Steadfast played using Destiny!
With the new clarification a card has not left the queue until it has resolved, which means that Steadfast would heal 2 damage (provided that no OTHER card is in the discard pile). Destiny does not go to the discard pile until it has fully resolved, which includes playing and resolving Steadfast.
5. ILLEGAL ACTIONS
This addition is an important change for tournament players, while it might not impact at all how normal casual play has been done.
If a player performs and illegal action at any point during the "Play A Card Sequence", the following then applies:
Previously a player was not allowed to reverse an action and would not be allowed a new action either. The illegal action, which would be without effect, would be considered his action (and would fizzle), whereas now there are "take backsies" ... like it or not, but it protects inexperienced players from being punished too severely by their sequencing mistakes in Destiny.
The notable exception to this is "Spot X", since it is not a play restrictions, but merely to see if the card has any effect, and therefore not "an illegal action":
Stifle is NOT an optional, or a may, ability. So if affects the next event played by your opponent. Remains in play until after cancelling the next event and is then discarded. This was previously clarified in the Official Rules thread in the FFG community pages.
7. VAL AND BECKETT
Both Tobias Beckett and Val follows the same outline. Their abilities separated by the full stop are not THEN abilities and one does not necessarily preceed the other. You do NOT have to take a resource to (a) gain a resource with Beckett, (b) deal 2 damage with Val.
It also follows that since one is independent of the other, you can TAKE 1 resource and still resolve the second paragraph, which would be (a) gain 1 resource with Beckett, (b) deal 2 damage with Val.
If nothing else it makes them actually playable - probably not as a monoyellow team, but maybe Beckett with Mother Talzin or FN-2199.
8. MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
Generally there are some good changes, that were needed, and while not all of them address the problems, but rather the symptoms, it looks as if it is to the general satisfaction of (most) players.
I'm concerned that FFG did not take the opportunity to rectify some more serious structural problems such as the "abusive draw cards" alongside Award Ceremony, i.e. Bounty Postings, Don't Get Cocky, Renewed Purpose, etc. But I assume they are confident that rotation will take care of that and won't print cards similar to that in the future?!
Also, although I'm not completely certain about this, I'm a bit surprised to see them not proactively balance out Yoda. He has felt too cheap since his release, and the only reason we forgot about him is because he's been overshadowed by Snoke. Yoda is still good - and I believe too good!
9. WHERE NOW ...
I'm still confident that Snoke is going to be relevant, and still extremely powerful! Now, the problem of powerful characters, like Snoke, or powerful cards, like Vader's Fist, is NOT that they are inherently powerful, but rather that they are limiting (at least in competitive play). Why would you NOT find a way to use the most powerful cards if they will - most likely - eventually win you the game, the tournament, the trophy, the ... I'm certain that we will see players going to find ways, and decks - or at least attempt to - that will consistently bring out a Vader's Fist or similar backbreaking thing in round 1.
I'm still convinced that FAT Vehicle decks will see play, and I'm also certain they will come to dominate, at least for some time, while I think good players will still be pushing the limits for what can be achieved with Thrawn/Snoke until rotation. Maybe the slight chip in the armor of Snoke and/or Thrawn, or whoever he is going to be paired up with, is going to give fastpaced aggro teams, i.e. Jyn/Cassian and Yoda/Boussh a fighting chance against that particular character shell, but the domination of heavy vehicles will continue, and decked out Shadow Casters, Firespray-31s and Falcons are going to run wild until Convergence is upon us!
Oh ... wait did I remember to mention Armored Reinforcement ... that one is still pretty good.