I have always loved the Set Reviews that have been done by YOUR Destiny and EchoBase; so, when I was unable to attend the release event and needed a way to channel my excitement, I decided to create my own. I decided to try something I haven’t seen done in these reviews yet: rate each card, not only on how I perceive playability (on a scale from 1 to 5) but also on the thematics (on a grade scale from F to A).
The ARH team has done incredible work on all of these cards and I’m super excited to play this set. These are my first impressions, and I could be very wrong, both in-game and theme. The opinions herein are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Coaxium Gaming. I’ve avoided looking at other reviews so they don’t color my opinion.
Previous High Stakes Reviews
Dr. Pershing: Remnant Scientist – 3/C
Game: I’m not sure where to put him. He could be okay in a big/little deck by being a constant threat that the big might come back, but he doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table otherwise. If the points worked out it would be interesting to try him with We Will Watch Your Career with Great Interest or Darth Zannah.
Theme: I like the idea that his experiments were about resurrection, but that isn’t clear at this point in the story.
Incinerator Trooper – 4/A–
Game: Those die sides for that point value are incredible. Of course, there is a downside, which probably means that you don’t want to run wide with them.
Theme: BURN EVERYTHING! The only thing I think is off here is maybe the resource side. I don’t see these guys creating value as much as burning everything down. (Ed Note: Sometimes you have to make concessions on theme for playability reasons. This all still has to work inside the rules of the game.)
Moff Gideon: Ruthless Mastermind – 2.5/D
Game: His die side is great for a ramp/control deck, but I’m concerned that most of the time his ability will be effectively blank. The fact that a weapon play would be after he activated is a bit weak; though you could overwrite it to keep the value. Detect 2 is fine. Maybe with Garindan, you could consistently have massive card advantage or Bing could be ready for that extra action no matter what. If ramp decks come back, I could see him working out.
Theme: I don’t get why he has this particular ability. It’s definitely interesting and messing with the hand matches what red villain has been doing, but this doesn’t feel Gideon.
Danger Close – 3/C-
Game: Could be a great card for ramp decks, if there are some better vehicles or artillery; but right now the best villain supports that can be discounted are troopers.
Theme: Not much here, but it makes sense for villains to damage themselves for resources. A different name could have invoked the idea of sacrificing health for industry better.
Deserted – 1/C
Game: Cards that make your opponent choose are rarely good (Mind Trick being a notable exception.) There are so many opportunities for them to chose to do nothing.
Theme: The moment pictured ended pretty badly for the villains, just like it will for you if you play it.
Intel Breach – 1/D
Game: This could be okay in a mill deck but it just doesn’t feel good. Thrawn could use the second sentence, but that relies on hitting an event. Not consistent enough to be good. (Ed Note: This puts a card from A discard pile on top of the deck, not necessarily theirs. Think about using it as a sometimes get one of your power cards back)
Theme: Intel breaches seem much more of a rebel tactic, but the Empire did occasionally cause them instead of being a victim of them.
Overwhelming Forces – 1/A
Game: If the second sentence didn’t say “ready” this could be decent (particularly in Trey’s 4-wide trooper deck.) With that and it being 3-cost, this isn’t a very good card.
Theme: This is what villain red is all about! Fits perfectly with Relentless Advance.
Rewritten History – 2/B
Game: The problem with villain mill has consistently been an inability to hit the opponent’s deck. Maybe with this and No Answer, they could stand a chance, but that seems unlikely.
Theme: I just like this card, maybe it’s that creepy grin but it just feels so perfectly villainous.
Dark Trooper – 2.5/B
Game: All those damage sides are beautiful, but I’m not sure they’re good enough for the cost. Maybe in an Aphra deck, but even there I’d prefer the Assassin Droid.
Theme: Just damage, nothing special, perfect for the Dark Troopers
Outland TIE Fighter – 3.5/B+
Game: At 2-cost this isn’t that great, but for the one resource that you can bring in the second, third and fourth, it’s great. Unlike the “generic” TIE Fighter it doesn’t find all the copies for you, but that might be broken. This could have a higher rating if wide support decks come back into style.
Theme: I really like that ARH took a different and equally interesting approach to the swarm aspect of TIEs.
MSE-6 Droid – 3/B-
Game: I think this is the perfect card for an Aphra deck: play one for free, deal a damage, focus a die, self-destruct, repeat. I think it could potentially find a home in a deck that needs focus for one particular die, but that’s a bit of a stretch.
Theme: A cheap tiny droid that does it’s one job, then scurries away. I imagine that they could do more as a group, but I don’t think they’d cost more.
Cruel Tactician – 1.5/A
Game: The die sides are sub-par for the cost and the ability doesn’t seem good enough to make up for it. If the damage/resolve effect was a repeatable Power Action instead of an on-play effect, I could see this being decent, but for now, I wouldn’t play it.
Theme: Pain and fear are excellent motivators, or at least that’s the Empire’s MO.
Cara Dune: Vengeance of Alderaan – 4.5/B+
Game: The power action can regularly provide a bunch of value, though I think she’ll be better against villains. Her ability to resolve melee as ranged means that you don’t have to worry about mixing damage sides, solid all around.
Theme: I think her first ability conveys the idea of a character who can switch between ranged and melee combat better than either of the others we’ve seen (Zeb and Kallus). Tying it to having a weapon is brilliant.
Rebel Pilot – 4/A
Game: 10 point elite characters are hard to find and this die seems great for 2 points. I love Red with Luke and she might be a good partner for him.
Theme: Super simple and elegant design.
Wedge Antilles: Flight Instructor – 3/A
Game: I was part of the team who spoiled this guy, and I wasn’t thrilled with his point cost. At the time I mentioned that he’d really only be good if there was an 18 point elite pilot or an absolutely bonkers plot (cue Stay Ahead with Benthic). I’m still not in love with his die, even though he has 4 damage sides, one is a pay side and another is a +1. Piloting is great though, and so is his ability (even if somewhat unreliable).
Theme: His ability to help other pilots with blanks is a near-perfect depiction of the flight instructor period of his career that we don’t get to see much of.
Contraband Seizure – 1/D
Game: Will only really be good again if Pirates are running rampant. If it said “caused you to lose” instead of “they took from you” it could be a decent resource protection card, but right now it’s not.
Theme: I would have preferred art depicting the Spectres taking cargo back from Azmorigan or Vizago. This also strikes me as an ability that would fit better in yellow.
Coordinated Strike – 3/B+
Game: I think this could be decent in a pilot deck that makes a lot of shields, but the timing would have to be very specific so you end up getting more value from your damage than you would from effectively damaging yourself.
Theme: I love this card existing as Hero Red, because there are so many instances of rebel and resistance pilots throwing caution to the wind to take down something huge. I wish the name conveyed that idea of overextension a bit better, but that’s just getting nit-picky.
Pitch In – 1.5/B
Game: This is a ramp card that doesn’t work until you have at least 2 (red) upgrades in play. Generally you want your ramp cards available early and start focus on damage by the time you have several upgrades. The timing on this just doesn’t work out.
Theme: I love 99 being on a card and I think “Pitch In” is the perfect name for a card featuring him.
Roll in the Mud – 3/A
Game: I had a really difficult time evaluating this one. It seems like it could be excellent in some circumstances, especially when you’re opponent relies on very specific sequencing or hasn’t yet played an upgrade. On the other hand, it can help their tempo, and if they roll like thunder, you can only remove the one die, followed by them resolving as many as they can. (Ed Note: This also dodges “After you activate” abilities like TK Han)
Theme: This card feels up close and messy like a roll in the mud: getting up close with your opponent, throwing them off but also opening yourself up to an attack.
Strategic Strike – 5/D
Game: Such a great way to get rid of supports. Not as outstanding as Desperate Measures but what is? Straight up better than previous options: Vandalize and Surgical Strike. I’m afraid this might be the death knell for Ackbar.
Theme: Nothing particularly special here.
Armory – 5/C+
Game: Forbidden Lore for weapons! This is worth including two in every weapon-heavy deck, even when playing weapons on non-Red characters.
Theme: An armory feels more permanent than this card implies, but I guess Weapons Cache was already taken. (As was Rebel Cache, and Stolen Cache; I guess FFG really liked chaches.)
R2-D2 – 5/B+
Game: Excellent cost for value, to steal what Elrathion has said, you basically have a 33% chance of getting whatever side you want. Get ready for C-3PO to break the game again!
Theme: R2 has always shown off his versatility in every movie he’s in and it’s fitting that this card should be all about versatility. I think it was okay that previous versions have been blue or gray, but I think he fits just as easily into red.
Wedge’s X-Wing – 4.5/B
Game: Excellent die sides for the cost: no pay sides and no modifiers. Giving Wedge a shield every turn is great, but even without him, I think this is worth the 2 resources. The rest of the ability is too inconsistent to rely on, but could be the little extra effect you need to win the game.
Theme: This takes a different approach on simulating dogfights than Vader’s TIE or Mauler did, and it’s really interesting.
Cara Dune’s Blaster – 5/A-
Game: Turning blanks into damage is tight! (maybe I’ve been watching too many Pitch Meetings) This could be especially good in a Jar’Kai deck, this could be incredible, as each blank is effectively 2-melee.
Theme: Totally reminds me of when Cara’s blaster “jammed” and she turned her gun into a melee weapon. Might have been better to attach this ability to her, but that could have caused some balance issues.
Come to Aid – 1.5/D
Game: If this didn’t specify “non-unique” character dice, it would be excellent in a big/little deck. As is, the only deck I might run this in is 4-wide villain troopers.
Theme: Maybe I’m stuck on the “non-unique” thing, but having two of the most recognizable characters from the sequels doesn’t really fit.
Military Prowess – 4/B-
Game: Even in a deck with only one trooper, this removal is more than decent; in a deck with two or more, it’s outstandingly versatile.
Theme: Military prowess is definitely a thing that troopers should have.
Plan Ahead – 2/B
Game: A poor replacement for All In or Impulsive, both of which are much more versatile. This could find a home in a mono-red deck with focus, but even there it’s a bit weak.
Theme: Resolving dice showing several different symbols together does invoke the idea of planning ahead. I’m also happy to see Rose on a card again, after seeing so little of her in Rise of Skywalker. Don’t @ me.
Target Their Supplies – 1/A
Game: There are definitely occasions in which resolving damage as disrupt could be good, but they are nowhere near frequent enough to warrant inclusion in a deck.
Theme: This definitely seems like something that both Rebels and Imperials would do, and hitting supply lines instead of forces can often be a better move tactically. I’m glad it’s an option in the game, even if it’s not a good one.
Fortified Position – 4/B-
Game: 1 point plots have historically been garbage, and while this isn’t a great use of 1 point this is excellent for when you have a natural team that just ends up at 29 points this is great! It also guarantees that you’ll have Nullify ready from turn one if you happen to also have a Blue hero.
Theme: I feel like this fortified of a position is worth more than one shield, but otherwise it’s thematic.
Supply Team – 3/B
Game: Reminds me of Long-Term Plan, but not as powerful, because you need to find it in your deck, remove a die each turn, and protect it from being blown up. There are too many ways to destroy it right now, but in a ramp deck where there are more valuable targets for support removal, using it to boost a resource die by even two could be worth it.
Theme: This feels like foraging for resources and I like it.
General – 4.5/B
Game: Resolving a die as if it were showing a different symbol is outstanding and the sides on this die are all really impressive. This makes me think that Yoda/Bail could possibly see a resurgence, with the ability to resolve his 4 shield side as damage or resolve any side of Admiral as a special. Although, maybe that particular team isn’t good enough anymore.
Theme: I’m glad that it’s unique character instead of “unique Red”, or “leader” because we’ve seen many of the Jedi knights as generals along with Han Solo, and I’m sure some others I’m not thinking of right now.
Medal of Bravery – 1/F
Game: A very restrictive play requirement and a resource cost that is one-too-high makes this really hard to find a home.
Theme: Are they just trying to keep this away from Chewie as they did in A New Hope? Weren’t most of the people who were awarded the pictured medal in A New Hope pilots, not troopers?
Proton Grenades – 3/A-
Game: I think this could definitely find a place in a burn deck with a lot of health. Taking damage to deal damage to an opponent can be a great strategy if you’re fast enough or have enough shields.
Theme: I love the idea that you could put yourself in harm’s way to place this in a more destructive place.
Westar-35 Blaster Pistol – 5/B+
Game: If this card had just its die and Redeploy it would be great. With the rest of the text, it’s outstanding. Even in a deck with ranged damage sides that only occasionally has control of the battlefield, this is a must-have.
Theme: I really like that they use Rex’s Blaster Pistol‘s die for the generic version of the same weapon and that it similarly has an ability dependent on battlefield control.
Well, that’s it for the Red cards from High Stakes! I do want to point out that several times, especially with these R0ed events, it seems like there was a pretty decent card that was made way too specific with just a couple of words. I wish that their use hadn’t been as severely restricted, because some of the things I love about this game are the huge moves and turnarounds. Like I said in my last post, I am incredibly grateful to the ARH folks for all the work that they’ve put into continuing the game.
Hope you’re enjoying reading these, and hopefully Rogue will be coming soon!