Written by CLAUS STAAL
The release date for Spark of Hope is approaching rapidly and I almost cannot keep up with writing the spoiler articles. I was recording games for our patrons as the spoilers dropped. Bear with me that today's article feels a bit all over the place. It quite accurately reflects my own state of mind!
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.
I REBEL: Conan Motti, Separatist Embargo, etc.
YOUR DESTINY SPOILER ARTICLES:
5 Things We've Learned About SoH
Bounty Hunters and Han Solo
Red Hero and Villain cards
OFFICIAL FFG ARTICLES:
ANNOUNCEMENT ARTICLE for Spark of Hope (FFG)
Spark of Hope Spoiler Article 1
Spark of Hope Spoiler Article 2
Spark of Hope Spoiler Article 3
It's been announced from several distributors that we can expect Spark of Hope on July 5, 2019. It's locally delayed in Europe.
2. YODA AND THE APPRENTICES:
We already saw the new YODA in the FFG Livestream, but he is now fully displayed in all his nasty might. I know that lots of players are appalled by his 1 Melee damage side, and while I agree that it's an eyesore, I just can't help drool over the prospect of slapping a million Shields on him.
Obviously, having a 4 Shield side is only going to be useful on Yoda himself (or if you have Defensive Teaching in play) since most characters are limited in their Shields. Yoda not so much. His Shields can also be used to block damage dealt to apprentice characters, like the new YOUNGLING, another diceless character to accompany the Ewok Warrior, Hoth Trooper and Nightsister Zombie.
I'm fairly certain that using Yoda's ability to block damage on Younglings or any other apprentice character is nifty, but ultimately a trap. You are probably better off keeping Yoda alive, although Younglings do look somewhat more healthy with that option at hand.
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. Stop force feeding me!
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. If we were to get a few more high impact cheap blue upgrades in Spark of Hope, there might even be a way back for blue heroes and villains in the meta.
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 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.
Let's also not forget that the tiny Younglings are not the only apprentices around, and note that both Rey and Kylo Ren will potentially benefit from the focus of Spark of Hope on the cards that interact with apprentices. UNTAMED POWER looks tailor made to go with them in a Bound By The Force style deck, and while the die is really all over the place it at least underscores the ambition of the set. It does feel pretty useless though, even if the Special is good, and reminds me of old cards like Force Training and Force Choke that were only marginally playable in vacuum of a tiny card pool.
The promotion of the Jedi/Apprentice connection is getting pretty obvious with cards like MOVING ROCKS and THREE LESSONS, and while the former is meant to be good with Yoda, it's really not. Sure, you can move Shields from your opponent's characters to your own, which makes it good with Pacify, but there's a pretty steep price tag on this. 3 Resources feels like way too much. Three Lessons on the other hand could be 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. It will probably find a nice home in the Rey3/Kylo3 deck. These appearance of these cards will probably also make Knighthood a better card than is currently the case, although it recently has started to pop up in eAhsoka/eAayla/Ani decks.
3. CHECK OUT MY MOVES...
The above image should quite precisely explain why we haven't heard a whole lot from European Champion and my teammate Mads Utzon for a while. He's preparing all his great moves.
There are now 6 Event - Move in total: Circle of Shelter, Deflecting Slash, Fatal Blow, Twin Strike, PUSHING SLASH and DRAW CLOSER and will probably make the stock of Lightsaber Mastery rise marginally.
Pushing Slash is pretty good and can in conjunction with a Niman Mastery card both give a bit of action cheat and mitigation. It's obviously good if you have big die sides, i.e. Vader3, Maul2 or QGJ2 fully loaded with Shields and can be used to snipe off characters. It can even be great on Yoda2 with his massive 4 Shield side.
Draw Closer could look enticing with any character that boasts big Melee sides and looks really strong coupled with Niman Mastery, but for villains, it'd be difficult to justify this over Fear and Dead Men, while heroes would probably look towards either Ataru Strike. Either faction could even consider Twin Strike or Fatal Blow to be superior alternatives. The cost is just prohibitive.
4. NIMAN MASTERY THINGY ...
I had to google Niman Mastery and it's something about lightsaber combat. Lightsabers are those buzzing shiny swords. I didn't have to google those.
The synergy between Niman Training and Niman Mastery is the same as between Soresu Training and Soresu Mastery. I think the latter are stronger, but the difference is subtle and although thematic and should be appreciated due to that, it feels like its getting lost in translation in game terms.
The dice are comparatively better on the Soresu cards, but the resource cost is of course also higher. I can see the Niman abilities being pretty good with Vader3 and Maul2 though. I'm assuming the reduced resource cost will make some Palpatine lovers gravitate towards them. If you can find an early Niman Training and Mastery it could potentially be pretty good.
5. SPIRITS AND STUFF ...
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 because it cannot be used on Qui-Gon Jinn2, its use is limited outside of a Yoda2 deck, where the Special can be absolutely NUTS!
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.
Alright ... let me stop you right there!
NO, YOU CANNOT PLAY REFUSAL ON YOUR OWN CHARACTERS!
Yeah, I know, it would have been beautiful. But it's NOT! On the other hand, it answers the question on how you make people put Unshackle in every single aggro deck. Print Refusal. The risk of having mill decks put a Refusal on two of your characters is just too high not to run an Unshackle. It's a pretty annoying card and should be a must include in any mill deck.
[EDIT:] It's worth noting that you are allowed to resolve direct damage, Melee and Ranged damage, against your own characters, which then would remove the Refusal. It's still going to be a good card in a mill deck though. Having your opponent remove his own dice doesn't seem to bad an idea.
Btw. I love how this guy keeps coming up in discussions ... at least with this card the discussion is pretty thematic. Please don't rage quit. It's still a great game!
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