Hellllllo hello! And welcome to this IACP Season 4 Preview article! So far we have seen a lot of exciting cards ranging from Trandoshans to Shoretroopers, but I can assure you that we’re only getting warmed up!
Season 4 represents a huge opportunity for many reasons; Imperial Vehicle units led by General Sorin are likely to work their way into the mainstream very quickly, as are Smuggler lists including the new Lando figure! However, we are also seeing a lot of old characters, previously considered to be ‘fixed enough’ by the IACP, making a return! Today, we see an old Force User return from the ashes, and a well known Mandalorian trade in her pistols for a more “up close and personal” option. This is the one and only Darksaber.
Now, there is a lot to unpack with this card, and it is arguably the most reworked, adjusted, and debated card this season. Due to this, we came up with a simple way to make the card as easy and straightforward to use as possible, especially considering that the card does different things depending on who it’s attached to. Therefore, the first line of ability text refers only to Sabine, and the second applies only to Maul, before displaying an intricate action that either figure can take.
Sabine Wren – Mandalorian Warrior
So let’s start with the Sabine-rework part of the card: Sabine replaces her Hunter Trait with the Brawler Trait, and changes her attack type to melee. This lets her use the Mobile keyword to get quickly into her opponent’s face (throwing a grenade on the way in). Her Green Green Blue attack pool is very consistent, and although the ability to perform an attack with a red die doesn’t help her quite as much as it does the ex-Dark Lord Maul, it is not to be scoffed at! The graph below shows that Sabine’s change of doing 5 damage against a black die increases by 36% when she makes an attack with a red die before her regular attack, and that’s not even counting her grenade, a Focus Token, or the vast number of Brawler cards she now has at her disposal!
The Darksaber fundamentally changes the playstyle of an already powerful figure, without making a new deployment. Rather than running Sabine in a Hunters list, why not give her a try in a Brawler list featuring other strong Rebel figures such as Biv or Diala, or perhaps even Temporary Alliance her into the Scum faction for Trandoshan goodness! The Darksaber could even be used in Specter Cell as the 40th point to change the way the list plays!
But now, let’s look at the biggest winner of this card:
Maul – Shadow Collective Founder
Anyone who has watched the Clone Wars will tell you of Maul’s impressive comeback story, and if you haven’t seen it for yourself yet, then do so! The former Darth earned the fabled Darksaber after a duel to the death, and as a skilled lightsaber duelist and an expert wielder of the Dark Side of the Force, we can see this upgrade card bringing out the very best of his abilities.
The second paragraph refers to abilities that only Maul will benefit from: A reroll, (because we all know how swingy the Red Yellow attack pool can be), and the ability to use Imperial Command Cards. This second ability especially is very interesting, as it allows him to access two very strong cards which all other figures in the game could only access exclusively, namely Price of Glory AND Worth Every Credit. Not only does this mean that Maul has the possibility of moving 8 and attacking twice, but it also increases his chance of drawing a card that could clear a crippling Stun, Bleed, or Weaken condition. In addition, Maul has always been an outlier in that he has been unable to use most of the powerful Force User cards due to his Scummy nature. While he can use Force Speed and Force Surge without any issues, powerful dark side powers such as Dark Energy or Force Lightning have been hidden from him. Now, the former Dark Lord can call upon his Sith training to resume his oppressive deeds.
However, the strongest ability of the Darksaber for Maul is actually the action on the card itself, which allows him to perform an attack with a red die followed by a regular attack. While this may seem underwhelming at first glance, remember that Maul’s Dual Bladed Fury ability allows him to either Focus, or gain Reach and Cleave 2 before each attack! This means that Maul will get two opportunities to perform his deadly work, either using the cleave if he is already Focused or has a nearby enemy who is close to death. In fact, in the graph below, you can see just how much an extra attack with a single red dice helps Maul’s damage output:
This doesn’t even account for the reroll, Maul using cleave instead of the focus, or any Brawler or Force User command cards! This increase in damage output is very fitting of Maul’s brutal nature, and is almost certain to make him a valuable… ally, from Imperial Force User lists featuring all the Sith, to Mercenary Brawlers, to even a Jedi list using Saska’s ability to pull Maul into the Rebel faction! And as the upgrade card is a Neutral attachment, it can be played regardless which faction Maul chooses to fight for.
So what do you think of the Darksaber? What are your plans to get it’s shimmering, pointed blade into the fray? And who is the rightful owner? Maul, Sabine… Or Obi-Wan? Let us know in the comments below, and we will see you soon for another preview article.
This article is part of our Season 4 Preview series. All through July, the Steering Committee will be revealing the new cards from Season 4! You can discuss these cards in the comments here or on the IACP subreddit.