As we draw nearer (hopefully) to heavy spoiler season, I thought I’d give my two cents on the characters we’ve seen so far. All the characters that have been spoiled are intriguing to some degree – I don’t think any of them are slam dunks, nor are any of them complete duds. Below are some of my initial thoughts:
1. Han Solo and Iden Versio remind me of Luke Skywalker – Reluctant Instructor
Luke3 is one of those mid-range characters that is very mathy – he has great sides and health for his cost, as well as a decent ability – but does nothing broken by himself. These type of characters tend to constantly hang around the fringe of the meta, occupying space in a lot of tier 1.5-2 decks, but can sometimes have difficulty breaking through into Tier 1 status. Though they are certainly capable with the right pairing and build – R2P2 being a great example of a deck that centered around two mid-range mathy characters.
Both Iden and Han fit into this category. They have great sides for their cost (consider that Poe2 and Hondo are the only other 15 point characters to feature 3 sides of value two or higher). Iden also has great health for her cost as well as a useful ability (if not highly impactful). And Han’s special may be one of the best early game die sides in the game (which I’ll explain shortly). But neither has an abusable die side (think Boba or Poe1) or a game breaking ability (think Talzin or Snoke). I would not be surprised if either character sees play in top tier decks, but I would also not be surprised if we only see the occasional appearance of these characters in top cuts – similar to what we’ve seen with Luke3 in the current meta.
2. Han’s special side is really good (for Heroes)
Early game ramp is ultra important (see this excellent YourDestiny article on the importance of resources), but it often comes at the expense of early game damage. A die side that allows you to both deal damage and generate resources is pretty nuts, especially early in the game. Seeing that Han special early in the game will be amazing. Because of this, I have high expectations for the Hero version of Han, especially paired with the special master himself, Yoda. Yoda/Han is one of the decks I’m currently most excited about trying on release of Across the Galaxy.
3. Jyn will be good, but only with Cassian
Jynn has already sparked a lot of debate. Her die sides and health are arguably very good for her cost (three 2 damage sides is no joke), but there are obvious weak spots as well (no resource sides and a modified damage side). Her ability is intriguing, but the merits of it are difficult to discern at this junction (see the spirited discussion on a Hyperloops post from last week). I tend to think it will be impactful, but not game changing. It helps control the game by giving you hand knowledge and filtering out some of your opponents best cards. But I don’t believe it’s good enough to make her universally good – she’s not going to pull a Snoke and show up at top level tournaments in all kinds of deck combinations. With the right partner, however, I think she could make a splash – and Cassian may be that partner, for several reasons:
- Jyn is good at controlling your opponents hand – both through her ability and her discard sides (Commando Raid anyone?). Cassian is also good at this, and can help augment her ability nicely. Consider that if you flip two strong cards with Jyn’s passive, you can use Cassian’s passive to make sure you filter out both of them. For example, if both of an opponent’s Shotos show up at once, or an Easy Pickings and Into the Garbage Chute are lumped together, you can make sure that both those cards never make it to an opponents hand. Because of this, Jyn/Cassian’s opponents will have consistently worse hands than usual. Combine this with both characters’ ability to hit the hand consistently, and this pair has a chance to be one of the most disruptive in the game.
- The consistent hand and deck disruption will give this pairing a legitimate alternative win condition. Anyone who’s played Yoda/Cassian damage knows that there is value in this. It puts your opponent on a clock – if they can’t win the game fast enough they will lose, even if they have prevented you from taking out their characters – and it gives you a chance to win games that have become unwinnable from a damage perspective.
- Red/Yellow hero is the best combination for Docking Bay recursion. Red hero already has Honor Guard and Suppressive Fire, and Across the Galaxy introduces Improvised Defense as well. I’m really high on Docking Bay as a battlefield that can be abused, and Jyn/Cassian may be the best deck for it.
4. Qui-Gon’s ability might be broken, but Kit Fisto’s ability isn’t
Qui-Gon has the highest upside of any of the characters revealed so far. If you can manage to keep shields on him, he is an absolute monster. That it increases his damage sides is already good – having a 3 damage for free side on an 18 point character is above the curve. Increasing his resource side is also really spicy, potentially giving him that oh so powerful 2 resource side on round one (not to mention that he’s a Destiny (the ramp card) maestro, since his sides increase generally, not just on resolution). But what really skyrockets his upside is the potential to increase his upgrade dice as well. Consider that your round one Ancient could be looking at 2 2 +4 for damage sides, or your Shoto could be 2 +2 +3. Or again, consider that your round one Shoto or Ancient could have a 2 resource side. The bottom line: with three shields on him, Qui-Gon may be the best character in the game, period. The question will be, how consistently can he keep those shields on? It’s hard to say at this point, but the upside is enormous. Do not be surprised if he turns out to be one of the best characters in the set.
I’m less optimistic about Kit Fisto. His dice are just ok for his cost, though they aren’t terrible. They’re good enough that if his ability turns out to be fantastic he could see play at top levels. But I’m just not convinced his ability is that good. There are a couple reasons for my pessimism.
- Cheap defensive options are most valuable early in the game, but Kit Fisto is unlikely to be targeted earlier in the game. So you’re not getting anything from the ability when it would be most valuable.
- It also has the significant downside of taking away your damage sides. Damage is generally considered to be more important than shields, so are you really going to use that 2 melee side to prevent 2 damage? Sometimes it will be worth it, but generally that’s not a trade off you want to make.
- Timing can be weird. Depending on the pace of the opponent’s deck compared to yours, the melee sides you need for the ability may not be in the pool when you need them. Faster decks may get in their damage too quickly, and slower decks leave you with an awkward choice – do you leave those damage sides in the pool in case you need them to prevent damage later in the turn?
To be fair, I do think his ability is good – turning a 3 for 1 side into a 3 shield side is no joke. I just don’t think it will be good enough to carry him, for the reasons listed above. I could be wrong, but I’m not optimistic at this point.
So what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!