Written by CLAUS STAAL
10 cards out of the 160 cards in Spark of Hope, the eighth expansion set for Star Wars Destiny, received a star rating of 5/5. That's around 6% of the pool of cards that we considered over-the-top good straight out of the box in our comprehensive Set Review (and exactly the same ratio as we rated 5/5 in Convergence).
The cards are, as we've pointed out, evaluated in a vacuum and primarily for Standard Format ... and we'll most likely have to swallow a few camels once we get to fiddle around with the set.
Four authors pitched in to complete the set review, who apart from myself were: Mark Lockett, newest member of our team of writers and British mill specialist, rowdy US southener Lake Quittmeyer and one of the few Irish players in the world Simon Willis!
Actually, every single colour and faction had at least one card evaluated at (5/5) and some of the statistics are quite interesting [EDIT: The first graph wrongly shows Red as having 4 cards rated 5/5. It's in fact 5 cards!]
Once again it looks like Blue across faction is being overlooked, while Red and Yellow keep having their ranks of great cards bolstered. Generally, the Legendary cards of the set do not look too impressive, although 3 found their way into the upper echelon of cards in Spark of Hope, while not a single rare card was deemed powerful enough to be included.
Prior to the release of the set, and even after having analysed some of the spoilers, I wasn't too impressed with what I saw, but now, I've gotta admit, I'm actually hyped and can't wait to see what the impact will be of the best cards of the set on the general meta as we are closing in on the two biggest championship leading up to Worlds 2019, the North American Championship at GenCon and the European Championship in Krakow, Poland.
2. COMPLETE SET REVIEW:
3. TOP OF THE PACK:
COUNTER INTELLIGENCE (Red Villain)
This is a slightly weaker version of Friends in Low Places that recently rotated out of Standard format, while it retains some of the power of that card. Most players agreed that Friends in Low Places was a GAWD tier card, but since the hero counterpart Scruffy Looking Nerf-Herder costs 1 resource and has some degree of uncertainty, I guess the power level is about right. And it is still REALLY good unless you play against Aphra decks, and even here you can disrupt their game plan if you choose the event to place on top of the deck carefully. Counter Intelligence might even replace Stifle in Blue/Red decks, while it's a great addition to the growing power of Red Villain decks. The play restriction of having to spot a Leader should be easy to fulfill.
SEPARATIST EMBARGO (Red Villain)
VERY VERY VERY powerful effect that can make life difficult, like VERY difficult, for combo decks and at the same time provide unparalleled protection from almost any single deck archetype. It stops FAT Vehicle decks dead in its tracks, while making it all but impossible for your opponent to get that key upgrade or support in play. Imagine an Aphra deck without one of the murder droids in play - like for the entire game! OUCH! It's also a support that rewards knowledge of the meta, which I think is great, and in a funny twisted way also serves as protection for those archetypes that would be threatened by its very existence. I really like the design of this card. Separatist Embargo is probably at its weakest if used to stop events, unless they are combo pieces, while it's the strongest when successfully used to prevent your opponent from playing key upgrades or supports.
DESPERATE MEASURES (Yellow Villain)
DAMN ... this is nuts. For the majority of the Across the Galaxy and Convergence meta players have been grinding their teeth and cursed at the prospect of being Fisted to death or being run over be a loaded up Shadow Caster, or preventing that Anakin Skywalker's Podracer just keeping adding Shields and discarding cards from deck or hand! Desperate Measures is an answer to all these problems! Like every single one of them.
While players are still discussing how meta defining it will be, the quality of the card is unquestionable! This could be my early nomination for the card of the set.
PULSE CANNON (Yellow Villain)
I've already been in several discussions on whether or not the Pulse Cannon deserved our perfect rating of (5/5), and although I'm not the one who did the original rating, I was contemplating for a long time whether or not it would be a mediocre or AWESOME card. And while I do agree that it suffers from weaknesses, it still has enough going for it for me to at least give it a (4/5) rating and strongly consider the (5/5) to be warranted.
The main weakness compared to a card like Vader's Fist is that once your opponent removes the Pulse Cannon die you'll miss out on a possible 3 resolutions, while another weakness is the die itself which does have some pretty mediocre sides. The 1 Disrupt side is not exactly desirable, while the 1 Disrupt for 1 Resource side is appallingly bad, but other than that 66% of the die sides are pretty good.
There are plenty of ways to action cheat the die into the pool if you are afraid of losing the die early, i.e. Tactical Mastery and Seize the Day in a Yellow/Red deck, while the Rebel Traitor will enjoy slinging the Pulse Cannon as long as your opponent has a ready character around. The Pulse Cannon is also likely to be a great weapon for Tobias Beckett, possibly overwriting a Tobias Beckett's Rifle. He also doesn't have any problems finding the resources to resolve the paysides, while he can actually benefit from the otherwise bad Disrupts.
Looking a bit into the probability for various resolutions of the Pulse Cannon die, which is important for understanding the power level of it, we get the following:
The percentages cover situations in which you use the Pulse Cannon Power Action with 0, 1 and 2 resources, respectively, and your chances of getting:
- Risk of not resolving the die at all.
- At least 1 resolution.
- At least 2 resolutions.
- 3 resolutions
JEDI MIND TRICK (Blue Hero)
The only Blue card to find its way into the hallowed group of cards that are rated (5/5) and finally a bit of love for Blue Heroes. Although Blue across factions did receive a number of cards that were close to the perfect score all of them did fall short at the finish line. They just missed that umpfhh that is the condition for a card destined for greatness. Jedi Mind Trick though, the reinvention of the old Mind Trick, requiring to spot a Jedi rather than merely a Blue character, seems to fit that bill exactly. The card rewards high skill level and is truly a subgame within the game itself. It can be extremely punishing to play against and is a great card to finish a game, whether used in offensive or defensively.
C-3P0 (Red Hero)
& FATEFUL COMPANIONS (Grey Hero)
Players are already complaining about C-3P0, which is probably an indication of how good he is! The nerf to Snoke, twice, was a warning shot of how abusive it can be to give decks to easy access to resources. Especially if you have something useful to use all your resources for. And while Spark of Hope has given us plenty of ammunition to combat supports, it does look like C-3P0 is going to be the king of resources.
Coupling him with the Plot Fateful Companions and his trusty buddy R2-D2 is such an obvious synergy that you almost feel it's an abuse of the term while adding Military Camp to the mix makes you feel pretty dirty. LIKE DIRTY. Add to this the wealth of great supports available as well as the character teams possible and well ... this might just be the deck to to beat. I'm not sure that all other decks will be playing second fiddle, but they sure do look strong.
YOU ARE IN COMMAND NOW (Red Neutral)
& ADMIRAL (both Red Neutral)
There has never been a playable Upgrade - Title, apart from the very brief period in which eThrawn/eSnoke could utilise Grand Moff together with Jedi Temple to devastating effect. Titles have generally been too expensive and too difficult to play and benefit from. You Are In Command Now, apart from having some AWESOME artwork, kind of solves this problem by allowing you to play any Title at a discount, but more importantly from your hand OR discard pile. This allows you to get rid of an early unwanted - or unplayable - Title and grab it later when its more opportune. It also allows you to ignore play restrictions which means that the upgrade can go on any of your characters! Imagine what Darth Vader, Palpatine or a tooled up Yoda2 can do with an Admiral upgrade?! I know ...
DEAD OR ALIVE (Yellow Neutral)
Spark of Hope has gone all in on giving Bounty Hunters a much needed boost. Not only did we get another 4 Bounty Hunter characters, but we also got another 2 Downgrade - Bounty to use with them. Alright, I'll be the first to admit that Priority Target is kind of weird, primarily because it's Red, which is not exactly Bounty Hunters preferred colour, but Dead or Alive looks really good. It's essentially a free Bounty when the attached character activates for the first time and it is likely to gain you another resource when/if you defeat that character. It also triggers also the abilities that require you to have a Bounty in play, including IG-88's pretty awesome Power Action.
The more bounties we get that are worth pulling from your deck, the stronger characters like Jabba3 and IG-88 becomes, while anytime you can get a resource for free, you'll need to carefully examine that card. I'm assuming that Dead or Alive will actually be an argument for playing Bounty Hunters and not just an add-on because you play them.
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