Even the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our favorite galaxy far, far away. All of us — the Steering Committee included — have been adjusting to the consequences of this changed world which has shut down almost all face-to-face play. Having less time for playtesting or playing competitive games in general for these past couple of months has been quite the negative play experience. Hopefully your schedules have adjusted for more free time as we enter the summer months.
Over the past couple of weeks, the Steering Committee has been hard at work with developing content for Season 4. We’ve also assessed the playtesting survey feedback you’ve been giving us for our Official Changes v3.1. We’re now prepared to introduce a few more tweaks to Season 3 content in the new Official Changes v3.2, which are now available in English.
Read on below for what cards got changed… and why. (More we will teach you today. Clear your minds.)
Mercenaries Who Stun & Boba Fett Deployment Card Change
One of the concerns that many of you had with our Season 3 content was the amount of Mercenary figures that could Stun with relative ease: Zuckuss, Dengar & Season 3 Boba Fett. In our Official Changes v3.1 announcement post, we mentioned that we felt like the ability to Stun felt especially overpowered when it was coupled with the normal damage output that a Hunter can provide; and in those changes, we nerfed Dengar’s ability to do both heavy damage & apply conditions.
Since then, the only significant source of concern we’ve seen with Stun and these Season 3 figures has been with Boba Fett. We were alerted to an exploit with Boba’s Wrist cord when we watched a player in the March 2020 IACP Online Regionals use Boba Fett’s Wrist Cord to Stun an AT-ST. We definitely don’t fault the player for using the card as it was presented; it was an oversight to allow Boba to act like a Snowspeeder with tow cables.
After the tournament and reviewing more playtesting data, the Steering Committee spent some time deliberating whether or not Boba should be issuing a Stun or any other Harmful condition as part of his Wrist Cord ability. Ultimately we decided that pulling a small figure up to 3 spaces — leaving it exposed to attacks from Boba’s allies or removing it from contesting an important objective– was a powerful enough ability without any additional effects.
With this change, we feel confident in Boba as the best bounty hunter in the IACP galaxy. However, we could still be just short of making him a good of a “queen” piece as Vader, Han Solo or IG-88. Be sure to play some games with and against v3.2 Boba Fett and let us know what you think of him in the Playtesting Survey. Our goal has always been to get him right.
Yoda Deployment Card Change
The Steering Committee wanted to take another look at how Yoda *should* fit in a list as a support figure. We felt like Mind Muddle, while a well-received mechanic, just didn’t make any sense for Yoda from the original trilogy of movies. We also felt like Yoda wasn’t providing enough value to be worth 5 Deployment points: This was shared by some of you as well. We also wanted to have him become a more defensive support unit, a Yoda that punished aggressive actions taken by the opponent.
In Official Changes v3.2, Yoda gets a significant overhaul. The Steering Committee felt like it would be easier for players to build Force User lists if Yoda has a deployment & figure cost of 4. With this price reduction, players can now upgrade one of their deployments to something a little bit more expensive or add a Skirmish Upgrade like Channel the Force or Extra Armor. To justify this drop in cost — and to prevent sacrificing the power of his other abilities — we removed the Leader trait, dropped the static +1<block> and +1<evade> that made him surprisingly hard to kill and removed his attack die and surge abilities. (He cannot attack unless an ability gives him an attack type; we’re pretty sure you shouldn’t be concerned with Yoda using Improvised Weapons.) We also removed his Jedi Code limiting ability since every ability but Wisdom is restricted to a friendly Rebel figure.
To replace Mind Muddle and to give opponents some second thoughts before declaring an attack anywhere near Yoda, the Steering Committee created Force Deflection, an ability that combines design elements from C-3PO, Jedi Luke, and Han Solo. We felt like exploring a new design space by having the power of Yoda’s retaliatory ability be based on the number of attack dice rolled. Given that the ability is open knowledge to opponents, we felt it was fair to have an opponent try to determine if the damage Yoda can deflect back was worth the potential finishing blow. Cards that add symbols like Positioning Advantage or Assassinate don’t get included as part of Yoda’s Deflection ability. And with Get Behind Me!, Yoda can pull an attack completely off a valuable figure even if Yoda is several spaces away, or vice versa to protect yoda from dying and get a nice Deflection on the attacker!
Several members of our community has suggested allowing Yoda to Focus a Rebel Force User from anywhere on the board. We typically counter this argument by asserting that a Yoda that can perform a Focus from anywhere is a Yoda that never leaves the deployment zone. However we will be watching your feedback to see if the Jedi Master can keep up with his melee-fighting knights, and if Force Deflection helps punish attackers going for the kill.
Zuckuss Command Card Change
Zuckuss’ Deployment card is probably in 2nd or 3rd place for the “Season 3 Cards That Have Not Collected A Whole Lot of Testing Data” championship currently. What little feedback we’ve received has been split evenly between being concerned that his damage output & his ability to Stun may both be too powerful… or no concern at all. Based off our current damage calculations, we feel that Zuckuss’ damage output drops an acceptable amount if he chooses to spend a surge on Stun Net instead of on his surge abilities for Pierce 2 and +2<damage>. Additionally there are very limited ways for Zuckuss to get above a 3-die attack pool. We like how Shared Calculations with a friendly Droid could make a card like Wild Attack an unwelcome surprise for your opponent. If you have time, please playtest with and against Zuckuss and let us know if changes are necessary. One change we can explore if necessary is that Stun Net caps the amount of damage suffered and then applies Stun.
In 1st place for “Season 3 Cards That Have Not Collected A Whole Lot of Testing Data” is Zuckuss’ Command card, Findsman Meditation. You’ve told us that the ability is difficult to pull off, and that difficulty makes the cost of the card too high. The Steering Committee still likes the idea of Zuckuss being able to interrupt for a move (to get away from a potentially finishing blow) or an attack (to finish off a figure or Deployment group) in late game situations. So we’d like to see the card be played a bit more before making any further changes. We have dropped the cost of the card to 0.
Since this card is very situational and potentially best used in late-game situations, having it cost 0 points means you’re not choosing it over Heightened Reflexes or Worth Every Credit. We also like how it now becomes a target for Negation; does your opponent take away Findsman Meditation to attempt to finish off your Zuckuss, or does he leave it knowing that a return shot will likely be buffed by Element of Surprise?
Please take both Zuckuss cards out for a game or two and help increase our playtesting data for them.
Elite ISB Infiltrator Deployment Card Change
Since the beginning of Season 3, there’s been a lot of discussion about our improved Elite ISB Infiltrator deployment cards, but not much in the way of testing data. Recently the Steering Committee took some time to focus on playtesting ISB Infiltrators from the Official Changes v3.1 document. We were pretty happy with how Stealthy not only increased the figure’s survivability from long ranged attacks but also pumped up the damage output; with the extra surge from the Hidden condition, Elite ISB Infiltrators now do roughly the same amount of average damage as an Elite Jet Trooper that uses Fly-By.
However we still weren’t happy that Coordinated Raid still felt too difficult to use. We started a discussion on improving the ability, and after juggling a few ideas, we settled on removing the line-of-sight restriction for the figure using Coordinated Raid:
This change opens up all sorts of creative play options for the ISB Infiltrator. Players can move one figure up to 8 spaces & have the other figure play Coordinated Raid for a quick strike — or play Strategic Shift before the Coordinated Raid to have the opponent lose any potential defensive Command cards. Getting at least 2 attacks from one ISB Infiltrator group per round without having to expose both figures can be a major advantage, even if there’s little in the way of buffing those attacks with Command cards. Getting 3 attacks from the 2 ISB Infiltrator figures is still possible with a combination of good positioning and Command cards granting free movement points, like Fleet Footed and Price of Glory.
We also decided to reduce the figure cost of the Elite ISB Infiltrator from 4 to 3. The Steering Committee tries to follow the major design themes that FFG implements. One of those themes is that the Empire typically has higher-priced Deployments and a lower average activation count compared to other factions. Dropping the figure cost of the Elite ISB Infiltrators allows players to give up less victory points with each defeated figure — which we felt would help with lists that focus on Spy cards & tricks — and still maintain the Empire’s design motif of pricier Deployment cards.
We feel like this new version of the Elite ISB Infiltrator now pairs up well with other Imperial deployments. Combining them with our new Elite Scout Trooper deployment is an obvious synergistic choice. We are also excited to see them paired up with other sets of Troopers that use Cross Training and potentially as flankers for lists featuring Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine and/or Thrawn.
Guardian Command card changes
The Steering Committee has gotten mixed results with Season 3’s wave of Guardian Command cards. After Official Changes v3.1, we’ve received some favorable reviews of Parry. Players want to have Get Behind Me! work, but found the limitations of playing the card on a non-Guardian, non-Brawler too difficult to work around. And Soften the Blow just never really took off, as it was low impact and difficult to use effectively.
For Official Changes v3.2, we wanted to take another stab at making the two new Guardian cards worth playing. We felt that the danger of making Get Behind Me! being played on all figures would be that “queen” pieces and other high-Health figures (like Guardians & Brawlers) would benefit too greatly. After looking at the card again with some playtesting data and fresh eyes, we now feel that the restriction should only be on figures that cost 11 or more and large figures. (A reminder: This includes figures that have their deployment cost reduced by attachments, like Han and Chewbacca.)
Any other small friendly figure with a figure cost of 10 or less is now eligible for Get Behind Me!‘s protection, which includes the Royal Guard Champion! And don’t forget, this gets played after the opponent uses their own “when you declare an attack” cards, which can trump certain cards that affect the defender like Element of Surprise. However, there are some cards that affect the attacker that won’t be ignored, like Wild Attack and Primary Target. There are many corner-case interactions with this card (and the original Bodyguard card by FFG) caused by Ability Resolution Order rules, so make sure to check our FAQ for more information about these interactions.
And yes, we did limit the card to any *small* friendly figure. We thought it didn’t make sense that a Riot Trooper could jump up 10 or more meters in the air to take the blaster bolt for an AT-DP.
For Soften the Blow, we decided to rework the card completely to be a true apex card for Guardians. Instead of reducing the amount of damage suffered for others, we decided to have it focus on reducing the amount of damage suffered by the Guardian themselves. Most Guardians are melee figures, or have a limited range of attack, or need some sort of increase in survivability when they do use Bodyguard or Get Behind Me!. Since it is a brand new design, we’ve given the card a new name to match, Iron Will.
The card is played when an attack is declared on a Guardian. This means that the attacker has already committed adding a green die to the attack with Focus, or any other Command cards used during the declare attack step (such as Tools for the Job, Element of Surprise or Arcing Shot). No matter the results of the attack, the maximum amount of damage the Guardian can suffer is 3. We feel this creates a nice new check to strategies that like to put a ton of dice into one attack, while not completely hurting “while attacking” cards like Positioning Advantage or the already nerfed Assassinate.
This does not prevent damage that is suffered after an attack is resolved, such as through Drokkatta’s Shrapnel ability, through the use of Heavy Fire or suffering a strain as a damage from the Regular Jawa Scavenger’s Harass ability. We also feel that because the first 3 damage is still guaranteed, this doesn’t protect figures that have already been brought down to low health and create the same kind of lose/lose scenarios that On the Lam and Miracle Worker can create when trying to finish off a heavily damaged “queen” piece figure.
The Steering Committee is aware that this ability could make Chewbacca very tanky in combination with On the Lam and other defensive cards. However we think this is a good alternative to our previous attempts at getting Chewie more table time. Also we feel the required 9 points invested in Iron Will, On the Lam and Debts Repaid is not an insignificant cost for just 3 cards in the deck. We’ll be looking forward to seeing your feedback using this card with Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Royal Guard Champion & other Guardians.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Changed Deployment card
When we introduced our Obi-Wan Kenobi changed deployment card, we mentioned we didn’t want to make any further changes and wanted to see how Old Ben played with Yoda and other Force Users. From your feedback, we saw that just the Guardian trait didn’t really inspire any new list building options & just exposed everybody to Obi-Wan’s weaknesses: A slow melee attacker who, once in a place where Alter Mind might matter, will get quickly defeated and give up a lot of victory points. Alter Mind can also be an unused ability if control points are contested by mid-cost figures like Sabine, Kayn Somos, or Shyla.
In Official Changes v3.2, we give Obi-Wan a tune-up based around the theme of Obi’s last mission on the Death Star. Alter Mind now prevents figures with a figure cost of 9 or less from interacting or controlling near Obi-Wan. Instead of trying to boost his individual defensive stats, we give him the optional Strike Me Down ability to become defeated when an attack is declared on him; if he does so, he is worth 4 victory points instead of 7. Strike Me Down also pairs well with his Guardian keyword, so that he can draw away an attack with Bodyguard or Get Behind Me! and then — if he is already at low health — become defeated and allow the ally he saved to become Focused. We feel these abilities allow him to be an aggressive hybrid attacker/support figure, where he and an ally can push hard towards objective points or taking away an opponent’s figure’s ability to control their terminal.
Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh!
As we close out the remainder of Season 3, we hope these changes inspire you to build a few armies and try them out in a safe, socially-distant way. You can find other players wanting to try out Season 3 cards on the Zion’s Finest Slack Channel and other places. When you’ve played a few games, be sure to leave your feedback in the Season 3 Playtest Survey.