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.
Other High Stakes Reviews:
Cad Bane: Callous Outlaw – 3.5/C
Game: The die on this guy is quite good, I’d be happy to see any of these sides most of the time. The ability could be great, or it could be a blank, depending on when you get a kill.
Theme: I’m glad to see one of my favorite bounty hunters back! From the quote, I assume that this is the version of Cad Bane that has just escaped from prison and is with Obi-Wan/Rako during which he stole a guard’s blaster on his way out. I don’t think it’s what he’s all about but it’s a cool effect. I don’t really like the second resource side, because Cad, like other bounty hunters, gets most of his resources through bounties. (To me it made sense for Jango to have 2 resource sides, because of his income from Kamino). Maybe this is a weird thing to get hung up on, but now that bounty hunters have access to bounties that give additional resources, most of them don’t have a thematic need for extra resource sides.
Gamorrean Fighter – 1/A+
Game: A pay side, a modifier, 2 blanks, and no resource sides, no subtype, and a Power Action that is likely to damage you (and maybe give you a resource). So much to hate, in a card that I love, but only from the perspective of…
Theme: This card is so great! The power action makes them feel like a gladiators that gets paid to lose to more impressive warriors; absolutely brilliant!
IG-11: Programmable Hunter – 2*/A
Game: As a villain, he is fair at best. His ability to be with a Hero Engineer is the reason I put the asterisk by his point cost, because, with the ability to mix hero and villain cards there is always the potential for something absolutely OP. I don’t know what that might be, but as long as he’s around, there is a small chance for a broken combo deck. I don’t think this is likely in this set, if only because of the small selection of Engineers.
Theme: I love this guy too, the designers could have chosen to make two different versions or a double-sided version, but I think that they just nailed it with this choice.
Now It’s Personal – 1/A
Game: Cards that require characters to be defeated are just too inconsistent to be good, and this one requires two: one of your unique to play, and one of your opponent’s to reap the benefit. (Ed Note: Random aside here, this is one of those weird cards that you get more than two of in a Kingwood Hobbies playset. The existence of Greef in the set means you could have four in a deck, so four are in the playset.)
Theme: This is a great reinterpretation of the same idea that led to Vow of Vengeance.
Chemical Strike – 4/B
Game: I think this could be outstanding in a burn deck (a deck designed to deal damage very fast, not worrying about the damage it take), I’m not sure what that deck will be, but I think it’s there, or it will be. This could also be great if Ewoks become popular again. (Ed Note: the Kingwood Hobbies playset also comes with four of these, because Gas Bomb.)
Theme: Chemical weapons hurt everyone in the area, which makes sense here, however, we often see it used by military forces, so I’m not sure I like the Spot Yellow…
Grab – 1/B
Game: I love gaining resources as much as the next person, but why would you want to bring back a die that I just removed?!? I can think of a couple of circumstances in which this could be good, but they are so unlikely that I still think this is terrible.
Theme: I didn’t get this one at first, but as I thought about it, it made me think of a heist in which you could all get out, but someone decides to grab that one more thing that makes it more dangerous for everyone. Not specific to Star Wars, but an interesting story nonetheless.
Interdiction Field – 1/F
Game: This will only be decent if massive supports become big in the meta and then only in a deck that runs cheap supports.
Theme: To my memory, we only see interdiction fields being used by the Imperial navy, which would put this card squarely in Red. (Ed Note: You need to read up on the High Republic.)
Self-Destruct – 4/A
Game: Perfect for an Aphra deck; not sure if we’ll see this elsewhere.
Theme: One of the most poignant moments of The Mandalorian so far, coming to a table near you!
Smash – 4.5-A
Game: In a deck with 3-damage sides, this could easily be the ever-coveted 2-for-1 removal. The only reason I don’t put this at a “5” is that it could force you into sub-optimal plays, where you leave a big damage side in the pool, giving your opponent more chances to mitigate it. It also requires that you keep up tempo, so you have a damage die ready to use it on.
Theme: Is this a reference to Dice Commando’s excellent format? I do love a meta-reference(not to be confused with a reference to the meta, [although that could also be a meta-reference] someone, please save me from myself!) (Ed Note: You literally just
reviewed panned a card called Grab that rewards you for removing multiple dice. Smash and Grab? In the same set?)
Hostage Situation – 5/A–
Game: In many circumstances, this is like He Doesn’t Like You with an extra step (that costs your opponent an action) to get your resource back. The fact that it only works on character dice is the only reason it doesn’t rival Headstrong for the best removal in Yellow.
Theme: Feels like a hostage situation. What more is there to say?
Xanadu Blood – 4/C+
Game: Solid die for the cost; though I don’t think I’ll ever resolve the 1-for-2-disrupt. This is definitely great with Cad Bane. But the power action is what intrigues me the most. You can use it to redeploy your best upgrade when your team is getting low, or transfer your opponent’s weapon to a character that’s about to die. You could even use it to remove an upgrade die by moving it to an exhausted character after it’s in the pool.
Theme: I would have had no idea that this was Bane’s ship if it weren’t for his name in the text; it’s not as memorable as Slave I, or even Hound’s Tooth (at least to me), but it’s still cool to see it.
Gas Bomb – 1.5/D
Game: If this allowed you to play Chemical Strike for free, it could be good; as is, it can put you in a bind by taking your last resource. The only reason I don’t give it a one is this elusive burn deck that I think is out there.
Theme: I really like this idea of a bomb that’s likely to go off, but I’m not sure how it’s doing indirect damage without blowing up; maybe some of them have a slow leak?
Path Engine – 2/C
If big modded ships come back, maybe this will find a place, but for now, this isn’t great. The only consistent use for its effect right now is the Stinger Mantis, which could be a guaranteed early disrupt and card draw twice a turn; but at that point you’ve sunk 4 resources into a support that doesn’t have damage sides.
Theme: This effect is an interesting way to depict faster hyperspace travel, but I’m not sure how the path engine does indirect damage without destroying the ship it’s on.
Din Djarin: The Mandalorian – 5/B-
Game: What an absolute unit! Our first 3 dice character, and what dice they are! 3 damage sides, a 2 shield, and 2 disrupt. He doesn’t have any resource sides, but with his ability; at 3 dice he has an 87.5% chance to get a resource, at 2 dice, a 75% chance, and at 1 die, a 50% chance. I doubt anyone will run him with one die, though. He’s also a bounty hunter, so Dead or Alive active. I’ve been playing a bit of Obi-Wan – Rako Hardeen lately, and a great thing about him (he’s nowhere near this good) is that when you are getting resources without resolving dice, you can concentrate on dealing damage with your dice rather than making resources with them as the other poor sods do. The main downside is if you need that third resource to pay for a good upgrade, you can’t drop it before activating.
Theme: I’m not too hot on the theme here. I do like that his resource generation is tied to his damage sides, because that’s what he’s really good at. I don’t know that the power action does all that much for him here; perhaps the idea is that he has so many things as part of his armor that pulling out armaments is quick and easy.
Han Solo: TK-710 – 5/A
Game: Those two Veteran Stormtrooper dice and 10 health are incredible for 12 points! Add in detect and cycling a card and you have one of the best characters in the set… if he’s elite. Non-elite, I wouldn’t even consider running him. Because his character dice aren’t technically his, he’s very weak to Mind Extraction, but slightly stronger against Chewbacca and Hostage Situation
Theme: I love innovative take on a character we’ve seen many times! This will join Boushh and Rako Hardeen are two of my favorite interpretations of known characters. I hope to see TK-421 in an upcoming set!
Kuill: Free of Servitude – 3/B+
Game: 10 is such an excellent point cost for 2 dice and 9 health. It sets up a possible 6-dice start without a negative plot. Unfortunately, wide, low health teams have been off-meta lately. Because so many decks can easily slaughter a 8-9 health character on turn one. I still think there’s something here and I love the idea of exploiting the power action.
Theme: B+. I have spoken.
Fly Casual – 2/D
Game: I love 1 for 1 removal that can remove any die; but I don’t like having to have a die in the pool to activate it. There is far better removal, but this might be a one-of in a mono-yellow vehicle deck.
Theme: This would be more thematic (at the cost of being less playable) if it said “Resolve one of your vehicle dice not showing damage to remove a die.”
I Have Spoken – 2/B+
Game: There are very few circumstances in which this could be useful. The obvious is when you have 2 removal cards in hand and your opponent rolls out more dice than you can remove with either one. You can play this with one and have the other to play after their next turn. This requires that you have 3 relatively specific cards in hand at once; which is not likely. The one character that I think this might be successful with is Benthic, as he has built in removal. Another use is in the late game, to gain tempo when it comes down to the last few health points and your opponent has rolled out first.
Theme: I can’t use the same joke again can I? I’m not sure why this effect fits so well with this quote, but it does. It’s ineffable.
I Like Those Odds – 1/C-
Game: I generally hate ramp cards that aren’t guaranteed; doubly so with this huge downside. I know that you could play this with 0 resources and avoid the downside, but that means that you can’t play it to get to 3 resources.
Theme: But I don’t actually like these odds… Also, a better card to portray this moment could have had had to do with the opponent having more characters or more ready characters than you do.
I’m Alright Pal – 1/B
Game: Draw Attention is rarely played and it’s far less restrictive than this. (Ed Note: I don’t think you’re giving this one enough credit. Think about it as, “If you have a character with Guardian, activate a non-Guardian character, giving it Guardian. Not world beating, but might have spot.)
Theme: This does make me think of Chewie taking care of Han, just after he came out of carbonite.
Nimble Fingers – 1.5/D
Game: Yellow is usually pretty low on focus, so that keeps this from just being a “1”, but only being able to target a yellow character die is way too restrictive. If this had Ambush, I could see it being a 2 or 3.
Theme: I’m not sure what Timothy Olyphant’s (admittedly beautiful) fingers have to do with any of this…
Uprising – 2.5/B-
Game: If Ackbar or Benthic Decks continue to be good, this could be a decent counter to them. Ackbar, because you care far more about his X-wings than his dice, and Benthic because he will usually claim before you. Even outside of countering those decks, you can just wait for your opponent to claim to pick off their Merchant Freighter or It Binds All Things. If you have a slow deck it’s an easy choice to include one of these.
Theme: An uprising would destroy things, and it makes sense that it would spur the villains to action to try to quell it.
Stay Ahead – 5/A
Game: The release event has shown us how powerful this card can be, either with a super fast deck, or one that disincentives claiming. Excellent!
Theme: This picture perfectly goes with the effect. Please give us a Lando or Lobot who would go well with this!
Razor Crest – 4.5/A
Game: This is great for its cost, especially with the 2 focus side, which (as discussed above) is pretty rare in yellow. Protection from discarding is very good, and could possibly bring back modded vehicles.
Theme: I really love that once there is two damage on this guy, it’s never going away (as long as the second damage is placed by a different effect). The fact that this ship kept flying was wonderful and ridiculous!
Beskar Spear – 5/F
Game: If I put 3+ resources into an upgrade I want it to have Redeploy or be incredible. This has the first and gets close to the second! I love me some unblockable damage!
Theme: I don’t like that this is Hero, because we first see it in the possession of a villain. I also don’t like that it’s unblockable, because the duels that feature this weapon involve a lot of blocking, whether it is with other beskar implements or a lightsaber. (Ed Note: ‘Unblockable’ means that shields don’t work against it. You can stop the damage by removing the dice, but if this thing pokes you shields won’t help.)
Whistling Birds – 4/A-
Game: While this has a resource on it, it’s a 5, when it doesn’t it’s a 3. Between this and Lightsaber Tonfa, Kuill, Raiding Party, and Hustling are looking better. Resolving it with a resource and a modifier could be as back-breaking as Fear and Dead Men.
Theme: Does exactly what it does in the show (though Din must have been reloading it offscreen.)
Greef Karga – 4/A-
Game: That 2 ranged pay-side hurts, but the ability to have 3 copies of Dead or Alive in your deck and one guaranteed in your hand on turn one is outstanding. I look forward to trying him out with a variety of bounty hunters.
Theme: I love this mechanic attached to him and that he’s neutral. I’m not sure leader quite fits him, but I’m not sure it doesn’t either…
Boring Conversation Anyway – 4/C
Game: Great with 2 or more spies, okay with 1 spy, but with 0 spies running this is questionable.
Theme: I think it’s funny that this shows a moment of Han being a terrible spy. It also feels like it should be hero-only, but that probably restricts it a bit too much from a gameplay perspective.
Fake Your Own Death – 1/B
Game: Maybe, just maybe this could be okay if bounty hunters are ridiculously rampant; otherwise, terrible.
Theme: It would be cool if this was an upgrade that also made you a spy: (thinking of Obi-Wan). It’s still pretty cool.
Rally the Covert – 1/A-
Game: If you have a character that it doesn’t hurt you to exhaust; this could be interesting, but I don’t think it would be good; It’s not reliable enough as removal. If you’re playing it for damage (and ignoring shield sides) the expected damage value for 4 of these dice is only 2.67, which is well below the curve for 3 resources and an exhausted character. (Add the sides together [1+2+1+0+0+0=4]; divide by the number of sides [4/6=.66]; then multiply by the number of dice rolled [.67×4=2.67]). If you do want to include shields for an expected health swing, the expected value is 4; still not good for 3 resources and an exhausted character. I got this calculation from math.stackexchange.com.
Theme: I spent too much time on math so I’ll just say that I like this card.
Slice – 1.5/A-
Game: This could be good in a Jyn deck, but even there there are better cards.
Theme: It’s about time that we see a card that shows how much the droids can do to just take over a ship (or space station, or city). If it was as powerful as what we’ve seen R2 and Chopper do, though, it would be the best event card in the game.
High Stakes – 2/B
Game: I hate giving my opponents resources, unless I can guarantee that I can use the resource better (which you can’t without knowing who you’ll be against) or if I can disrupt it on the same turn (not really possible either).
Theme: The eponymous card! And what a perfect name for this set, with ARH keeping fans happy with both Grogu and Din Djarin. Great job y’all!
Ugly – 4.5/D
Game: Such a great die, even with Outdated Tech reducing it or basically just exhausting the card the first time it’s used.
Theme: It seems a bit like there were two competing designs for the Razor Crest and they decided to keep both. I’m not sure what I would have gone with, but I think there could be a name that makes it seem like a vehicle support rather than a downgrade that goes on a gamorrean. (Ed Note: Uglies are real things in Star Wars. Usually, they’re mish-mashes of different starfighters put together by pirates or scoundrels. Think TIE Fighter eyeball with X-Wing s-foils. That type of thing.)
Darksaber – 4/A+
Game: This die is incredible for the cost! Even if your opponent eventually ends up with it I think it can be worth it. I also like any card that incentivizes my opponent targeting the character that I want them to target, and this is the probably the best way to do that.
Theme: So strong! I mentioned in my review of Grogu that I loved the MacGuffin feeling that the design evoked and it’s strong here too!
That’s it for Yellow! I’m excited to finish up with the Gray cards and some final thoughts, coming soon.