Character Analysis - The Governator

Honestly, I haven't watched any of the Star Wars animated series, so I had to look up who Arihnda Pryce was. I had absolutely no clue. You are excused if you are as clueless as I was.Pryce Articlejpg

But man
... when Arihnda Pryce was spoiled I was ecstatic, and although less so now, I feel she's just what villains needed (and Snoke to boot is just fantastic!). There's no doubt that at the end of the "Legacies" meta, villains had fallen way down in the pecking order compared to their hero counterparts, and villain players - myself included - were longing for the good ol' days of the empire ruling the galaxy. The meta, generally, might have been better for it, but villain characters were collecting dust - and nothing but dust (apart from that Worlds trophy of course!).

Pryce though ... sweet mother ... she's good. I mean, really REALLY good! It's still too early to say what her impact on the competitive scene will be, but I'll try and put forth my initial thoughts in the following article.

First of all ... the PRYCE IS RIGHT!!! She's a full blooded support character with a points cost to match. Coming in at 10/13e, she should slot in perfectly with a great deal of our favorite characters. From the outset she looks like a perfect fit for a number of 2 character decks, but I bet there will be a few great 3 character combinations that will benefit greatly from her dice and ability as well.


Saving the best for last, let's start off by saying that her die sides are OK, and maybe unique in the sense that as a support character she also packs a punch. Her 2 Melee damage means that even if she's the last (wo)man standing, she'll be able to act as a finisher albeit not a particularly efficient one.

With the introduction of Tarkin (Legacies), the game designers finally abandoned the general idea of villain support characters having to boast a Disrupt side, arguably the weakest die side in the game, and added a Discard side instead, which is not only stronger, more usable, but also ironically enough much more disruptive to your opponent's game plans. "Hand" interference is really incredibly powerful! Two Special sides though is what makes Pryce ... well ... special.Pryce2jpg
By now, we have gotten used to characters having broken Specials on their dice (yes, YODA - I'm looking at you!), and Pryce is no exception to this. Without control of the Battlefield it's essentially just a Focus, with the added bonus of being able to chain with other Specials, but IF YOU DO CONTROL THE BATTLEFIELD ... oh boy! Then there are some really nasty plays available.

We'll go through some of the power plays when we look at the specific character pairings, but the ability to resolve Resource sides for an added resource or a Chance Cube for 4 resources is just bonkers. Suddenly, she turns 'ok' die sides into 'good' sides and 'great' die sides into 'OMG' sides! There are just so many plays that she can facilitate that really rivals that of even Yoda (sic!).

Obviously, controlling the Battlefield is important with Pryce, and the new set generally seems to put an even greater emphasis on this tactical aspect of the game. We already saw this idea with Director Krennic (and early Awakenings events), but as the game is evolving and the addition of characters that either manipulate control with the Battlefield, have their abilities augmented through control of it, and even Battlefields with ongoing effects and/or a die, then there's no doubt that it's a part of the game that needs to be fully understood (and exploited) by players to optimize not only decks, but also their game plays in the course of a game of Destiny.
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Controlling the Battlefield can be pivotal to the success of a number of decks as it enables them by triggering cards (i.e. Defensive Position, Dug In, Guard, Force Misdirection, etc.) and in the case of Pryce significantly improves her general usability and power level. While NOT controlling the Battlefield doesn't "turn off" her Special it becomes exceedingly weaker, and control of it, enables some crazy, potentially backbreaking, plays.

For the purpose of this article, we'll be looking at Arihnda Pryce as a support character in 2-character aggro builds. It is not necessarily her best role, but at a first glance it does look like she would thrive better there than in support based decks (is there such a thing as a villain vehicle deck?), and she'd be competing for a spot with Snoke in both mill and vehicle decks.Pryce Article1jpg
Most of the available character pairings have several things in common (du'h - being aggro characters all!), which includes fairly high health (11-12hp), good damage sides and the best side mostly being a pay side.

As mentioned in the YOUR Destiny Podcast Episode 16, the health pool in Star Wars Destiny seems to be on the rise, which then means that aggro characters are going to have to work harder to fulfill their win condition, but Pryce brings all the right tools for them to do exactly that.

There's one choice that has to be made immediately when deciding for a Blue/Red, Pryce/X, deck, and that is whether to go with a suite of Holocrons, Sabers or something entirely different (unless you pair her with Fifth Brother. His Special doesn't work with Force abilities!). It is almost counter intuitive to use her alongside Supports and Vehicles, unless you can find a reliable means to get control of the Battlefield, as you'd surely be too slow to take advantage of the power plays with her Special side.

The advantages of the Holocron package is obvious. You enable yourself to get a tons of Blue Ability upgrades in play for "free", and because of Pryce's Special you are almost sure to hit the Holocron Special. If you put it on Pryce first, and if your opponent mitigates the Holocron die, you are free to bring the pain with your aggro character. Disadvantages includes:
  • The Holocron suite makes you somewhat slower, working against one of the premises of the deck, because in most instances you'll be looking at mixed damage sides.
  • It makes you dependent on the Holocrons to put upgrades on Pryce, so it will feel and play out like a "one-trick" pony.
Pryce Article4jpgThe Holocrons do look alluring though as there are some really tasty upgrades that plays out well with Pryce/X. The most obvious character to pair her with if you do decide on the Holocron path is Darth Vader - Dark Apprentice, as he also has a Ranged side and a Special, which should make him a tad faster, allowing for Special Chaining and simultaneous resolution of several Damage sides, and also sets up some foul Unyielding plays. Although you are probably not praying to see too many 1 Ranged sides showing on Vader's dice! Force Lightning is expensive with 2 pay sides, but damn ... that 4 Ranged damage for a resource that Pryce can turn into a 5 Ranged damage for a resource: HOLY CRAP!

If you are going for the Lightsabers instead, Kylo Ren does look like YOUR MAN, but I'd like to advertise a bit for Fifth Brother though. His dice are somewhat mediocre for a 13/16e character, but the fact that he boasts a Special and a great ability might be what could sway me to give him a chance to prove his worth.Pryce Article5jpg
It's not exactly a secret that Fifth Brother combos well with Fifth Brother's Lightsaber, but the broken plays that can be made with that combo and Pryce is just stupid, and it doesn't even require that much. You'll need the 2 Specials on the Pryce dice, but that's not impossible (4/36 = 11,11% outright), and there are other results that will facilitate the same damage output (the example above is the simplest version).

I don't think the combo is worth creating a deck around, and although you'll see it being played, it'll be more than difficult for it to claim a regular place at the pinnacle of tournaments. Just thought it deserved an honorable mention here. It could make a push for a strong TRILOGY format deck though!

There are definitely strong arguments for running Pryce with a Yellow character, and there are even a few characters in between that rarely sees play, and Pryce might just be the support character they've been looking for. Whether or not Pryce is a better support character for yellow aggro characters than Captain Phasma is a tough one. My intuition says no, but tinkering minds out there might just prove me wrong.

What could make the whole difference though is the pure enabling power of Pryce. She's just incredibly good at making your other dice good. Boba Fett will run wild with Specials (enabled by the Pryce Specials), and as we gradually see more and more upgrades and support with crazy die sides, Resistance Bomber and Planetary Bombardment to mention a few, then Boba Fett's stock should rise proportionally. Article Pryce6jpg
When it comes to Red/Yellow, Pryce/X decks though, I'm absolutely certain that the team to keep an eye out for is Pryce/Cad Bane. Cad Bane has sort of been stranded in a limbo since the Balance of the Force swung the nerf-hammer on his beloved Captain Phasma. With Arihnda Pryce he might just found the match we've been longing for.

They pair up brilliantly, and although the 2 Melee damage side on Pryce doesn't really make anyone happy, it's not too shabby, but the real upside is how great Pryce makes almost every single Cad Bane die side. He becomes absolutely monstrous. The 3 Ranged damage for 1 resource was always going to cause headaches, and the 2 Discard for 1 resource was nigh unusable, but with a Pryce special in the mix, it's not just a different ballgame, it's another sport altogether.Pryce Article6jpg
The 3 Discard for 1 resource (facilitated by a Pryce Special) is an absolute MONSTER! It's almost better than the 3 Ranged damage. That kind of hand disruption is devastating. Even if it's going to cost you 1 resource, it's still incredibly powerful. If you can consistently discard 3 cards from your opponent's hand, while still retaining the ability to deal damage, that should put you in a very dominant position.Article Pryce7jpgCombine this with some of the best ranged weapon upgrades in the game, and I think it's fair to say that Cad Bane is VERY happy to see Pryce accompany him to the battlefield. Also remember that Pryce's Special is not limited to character dice, which then means that all your weapons, save the Hidden Blaster, have some SCARY damage sides. That potential 4 Ranged damage for 1 resource on the X-8 Night Sniper is mental! And on top of that, yellow adds loads of possibilities to gain resources (Truce, Well-Connected) and action cheating to bolster Cad Bane's already considerable skills in that department (Tactical Mastery and Three Steps Ahead, although the latter is probably not viable outside of a Thrawn deck).

DJ - Treacherous Rogue, follows very much the same recipe as Cad Bane. A bit less power, but a better overall resource economy. Your game plan is safer, more straight forward, but tentatively the same. I do prefer Cad Bane though. Tough, hard hitting, high risk, high reward!

I'm confident we'll never see FN-2199 back to his former glorious self, but if anyone can help him up the ladder it'll surely be Arihnda Pryce. FN-2199 was HIT HARD by the nerf hammer, and rightly so.Pryce FNjpg
But FN-2199 suffers from an absolutely mindblowingly bad die, and even Pryce will have a difficult time making up for that, even if she can focus (turn) and resolve the best dice in the pool. FN-based decks are also slow, which works against the philosophy of Pryce, but for the Loyal Trooper to receive at least a bit of love, I guess Pryce could be his mommy.

This is definitely going to be a vital card for Pryce decks. Even if it doesn't allow you take control of the Battlefield, but switching the Battlefield and using the Claim Action (i.e. Emperor's Throne Room, if you team Pryce up with Darth Vader or Rebel War Room with Cad Bane) is in itself pretty powerful and offers you the choice of handing your opponent the initiative after roll-off to claim the 2 shields. The shields will essentially cost you 2 resources later in the game, but effectively bumping your health pool by 2 is a pretty strong starting position nevertheless.
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Pryce's dice suck for the roll-off for initiative (4/4 face value on the dice), but Cad Bane's are pretty good (9/9), despite the special Darth Vader's are not to shabby either (7/7).

Will Ahrinda Pryce see play? DEFINITELY. She's really good and hits a soft spot with her points cost, good health (for a support character) and her dice offers flexibility and stability.

The following lists can be used as frameworks for decks that could be interesting with Pryce.Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 105555pngScreen Shot 2018-07-11 at 105642png
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