Evaluating a set at first glance can be a daunting task. Some cards can look much better than others, but when the meta fleshes out, cards that look like contenders end up completely unused. I’m trying to base my picks off of two things: quality and potential success within the new meta. My picks are probably wrong. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll have some hidden wisdom buried in my ramblings. Only time will tell.
I’m sure we’ll all look back at these articles and pick them apart and laugh. And really, that’s half the fun.
Bottom: Old Daka
Now Daka isn’t an awful character at first glance. She has a decent die, good health for cost at 9 for 9…but then she goes elite. 5 points for an extra die that has one 2 side on it seems bad unless there’s some other upside for it. In this case, her power action nets you a second Nightsister Zombie. So, to really evaluate Old Daka, we need to evaluate those Zombies too. Needs a round to be useful, can’t soak indirect damage effectively, and can conditionally do 1 damage? Oh boy! One of the new dice-less characters introduced in SoH, the Zombies cannot have indirect damage prioritized to them and can deal 1 damage upon activation to a character with a curse on it. Curses, of course, are a new downgrade subtype featured in SoH. Adding that all up, Daka can spend a resource once per round to add 10 health and potentially 2 damage to your team. So why is this not good? Firstly, her zombies enter play exhausted, so any hope of them being relevant round 1 is out the door. Secondly, when Old Daka dies, you are forced to set aside ALL of your Zombies (even if they were, for some reason, part of your original team). This means that Old Daka will have a MASSIVE bullseye on her from the start of round 1 until she’s dead. She neutralizes the only big upside to playing her upon being defeated. Without the Zombies she has a decent 9-point die or a very middling 14 point pair of dice. Even with the various pieces of Witch/Curse support we have, I don’t see her surviving round 2 in most games and at that point I feel she will not have contributed much to you actually winning the game.
Top: Jango Fett
Jango is back with his first iteration since Awakenings, and he’s back with some style. With a solid die (even with two 1-damage sides) he has 11 health and a decent cost of 12/14. His abilities, however, are where he really shines.
He has a Palpatine-esque ability with equipment, meaning he can have any number of upgrades on him with that subtype. Additionally, the first time each round you play an equipment on him you may gain a resource. This makes a lot of playable 1-cost equipment pay for themselves while mitigating the cost on more expensive ones (i.e. Gauntlet Rockets).
While the equipment suite available in Standard doesn’t necessarily wow me, I think there are enough good options to make Jango’s abilities relevant. With them, Jango offers a solid elite character that is relatively low cost for high potential output. I don’t think he’s the most flashy character in the set but I think he offers enough upside and versatility to see play in various lists.
Bottom: Professor Huyang
For 3 resources the Prof offers us an automatic activation when you play a Blue upgrade on an apprentice AND if that upgrade is a weapon you get to roll its die into your pool. That seems good, right? Well, it is. But is it good enough for a 3 resource investment? I don’t believe so. I might be wrong, but when it comes to Blue Heroes you want to jam upgrades and be aggressive. If you have resources to play Huyang and good weapon upgrades, you might as well just play more good weapon upgrades instead. While the Prof can have big payoff over multiple uses, I feel he’s more of a trap than anything else. He gets 4 out of 5 Ackbars from me.
Mmmm…more trooper support! Trooper was arguably the best subtype to emerge from Convergence and being neutral means both Heroes and Villains can happily jam this in their decks. With the ability to modify any Trooper die sides, this bad boy can push out bigger damage or, better yet, ramp you harder into more supports and upgrades! Imagine using one of Phasma’s free FOST dice to generate 3 to 4 resources? That’s my kind of deal! For 2 cost I think this sees play in any deck that uses Trooper dice and I expect it to put in a lot of work.
Bottom: Ancient Magicks
A 1 cost upgrade that interacts favorably with curses…and that’s about it. The special readies a curse and the curses available right now are okay at best. I really can’t see this having much impact and I doubt we’d even see it in a dedicated Witch/curse deck.
Top: Han Solo’s Dice
Now THIS is a 1 cost upgrade! Even with a blank text box I think this would see play as a more reliable but weaker Chance Cube. But it does have text! It lets you exhaust it to reroll one of your attached character’s dice when it rolls a blank. Free reroll and nice money production? I’m sold. AND, if this upgrade is Han Solo, you can ready it after triggering its reroll effect so our favorite scruffy-looking nerfherder never has to have blank dice! I think any yellow Hero deck should give this card a look and if you’re running Han it’s a no brainer.
Worst: Acceptable Losses
Every set or so we get a few cards that are just BAD. Not all cards are created equal and I get that. Some cards will be worse than others. Acceptable Losses is that card for me this set. If you are in a position to get significant resources from this card I think you are either A) so far ahead it doesn’t really matter or B) so far behind it doesn’t really matter. This is like a one-sided Aftermath or The Price of Failure with less upside. I can’t see a deck ever playing this unless some characters are printed that have impressive “when defeated” abilities or mayyyybe if you run Old Daka with some zombies to net you a few resources. This goes in the pile with Extract and No Cheating for me.
Best: Spark of Hope
The obligatory titular card of the set, Spark of Hope offers big blowout potential and is a unique position to get better as the game goes on. Offering the powerful effect of rerolling ALL of your dice and then resolving any number of them, 3 resources can be steep early but as you lose characters it becomes easier to afford. I can see this seeing play in any Hero deck that wants to deal damage and is capable of getting a lot of dice in the pool. I’m a fan.
Bottom: Uncontrollable Rage
Well it seems a lot of my ‘worsts’ are working along a theme. Uncontrollable Rage is a 1 cost downgrade curse that lets you deal 1 or 2 damage to the attached character each round if you spot a witch. Unless they’re activated or exhausted. Or if it’s the first turn in the round. Or if you want to play good cards in your deck. I think we’ve seen enough niche downgrades with too many stipulations already and this is just another to add to that list. I don’t think this will see play outside of the most committed witch/curse deck, and even then it will probably be because you lost a bet or if your name is Shane.
Top: Temporary Truce
When this card was revealed I knew I’d have to build a deck with it. Are there better plots/battlefields/downgrades in this set? Sure. But this card makes me excited to build a deck, even if that deck is very straightforward and probably just okay that uses two characters designed to go together on a battlefield also designed for them (Snoke’s Throne Room). This is the kind of thematic, thoughtful design I appreciate and the fact that it opens up a one-of-a-kind deckbuilding experience means I’ve got to try it out. Sometimes the best card isn’t what’s going to win you the most games, it’s the card that inspires you to build and play more. Put that on a cheesy calendar or something.